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H. G. CUTLER, General Historian 











The main interest attaching to a county history depends upon 
a personal, or individual flavor ; it is largely a story of the citizen, 
the family or the community. But the county can no more cut 
itself adrift from the great outside world than the individual, in 
this day and generation, can make a hermit of himself and refuse 
to associate with the members of his family and his neighbors. 

The latter statement peculiarly applies to St. Joseph county, 
and a consistent attempt has been made throughout this work to 
show its relations to the northeastern and the southwestern regions 
in whose connecting highway it lay. There is no doubt that this 
section of southern Michigan owes its early development to the fact 
that the old Chicago trail from Detroit (whose course was so closely 
followed in the survey of the Chicago Eoad) passed through the 
southern part of the county. That great highway of travel intro- 
duced it to a comparatively large acquaintance in early times, and 
a more intimate knowledge of the country transformed visitors 
into home-seekers and settlers. 

In this, as in other matters, the authors have endeavored to 
arrange the facts so that the picture of the development of St. 
Joseph county to its present fine proportions shall be revealed 
gradually and methodically, that the reader may not lose the gen- 
eral lines of growth in a mass of details, however interesting and 


The Lewis Publishing Company. 



Scene on Klinger^s Lake ^ 

View on Portage River H 

Remains of an Old-Timer 44 

Wayne County of 1803-5 '76 

Old Court House (1842) 86 

The Court House of Today 90 

Willie White Pigeon 1^^ 

Descendants of White Pigeon 140 

' ' Wild-Cat ' ' Money of 1839 1^0 

White Pigeon's Grave 1^4 

An End of Sturgeon Lake 

Manufacturing Section, Three Rivers 

High School Building, Three Rivers 323 

Riverside Cemetery (G. A. R. Plat in Foreground) 326 

The Kellogg Strawberry Farms, Three Rivers 330 

Sturgis Union School 358 

Oak Lawn Cemetery, Sturgis 362 

Methodist Church, Sturgis 364 

Bridge and Light and Power Plant, Constantino 382 

Mill Dam, Colon ^^^ 

The Colon Union School 397 

Union School, Mendon ^^^ 

St. Edward's Parish Church, Mendon 409 

Centerville Union School ^^^ 

Burr Oak in the Fifties ^^^ 

The Old Mill, White Pigeon ^^^ 





Drainage of the County— Its Lakes— Geological Features 
—Building Materials— Soil and Agriculture— Pbppbb- 
MiNT AND Oil— Earliest Growers and Manufacturers- 
Oil Distillation — Good Pioneering Country — "The St. 
Joseph River," by Delia S. Crossette. 1-14 



Ancient Garden Beds— The Colon Mounds— Fortifications- 
Sacrificial Fire-Place— Nottawa-seepe Reservation— Art 
RIVAL of Patrick Marantette— Paper by Mrs. Alice (Mar- 
antbtte) Bosset— The Pottawatomies in 1830— Sau-au- 
QUETT Relinquishes Reservation— Landed in Kansas— 
The Black Hawk Wart-The First Payment— Attempted 
Murder of Sau-au-quett— Death of Morreau— Details of 
Sau-au-quett's Murder. l^"^'^ 



The Old Chicago Trail-Black Hawk Used It^His Sense of 
Honor-Surveyors Use the Old Trail-The Road Put 
Through the County— First Mail Route and Stages- 
Surveyors Advertise the Country-Wayne County Pio- 
neers-Judge Sturgis Comes-Nottawa Prairie Settlers- 


Sites of Constantine and Three Rivers — Centerville and 
Colon — French Settlers of Mendon — First Comers to 
Burr Oak Townshif^~The Washtenaw Trail — Settle- 
ments About Nottawa-seepe — George Matthews — The 
DuNKiN Brothers — McMillan and Sherman— Joseph But- 
ler—Robert Cowan and Wipe— Andrew Watkins. 28-40 



First Land Entries — Land Offices — First Orchards — Pioneer 
Agricultural Implements — First Mills of the County — 
First Real Grist Mill— Other Early Industries — Com- 
mencement OF Business — The Hotel Appears— Enter Post- 
office AND Mail Route — Life and Death — County Seat 
Located — Civil, Political, Judicial — Religious — Educa- 
tional AND Professionaltt— Medical Society and Physicians 
— County Agricultural Society — *'The Old Log House,'' 
BY L. D. Watkins in ''Pioneer Collections"— ''Pioneer- 
ing IN Southern Michigan," by Professor J. W. Beal— 
"Old Times from a Woman's Standpoint," by Mrs. Henry 
Church — "Maple Sugar Making," from "St. Joseph 
County Republican." 41-68 


Southern Michigan a Military Key — British Loth to With- 
draw — British- American Land Combine — Congressional 
Intrigue — Downfall of Conspiracy — Narrow Escape for 
Southern Michigan — American Civil Jurisdiction— Wayne 
County Organized— First Land Titles and Surveys — 
Township of St. Joseph— County Government Inaugu- 
rated — The Original Townships— First Election in County 
Proper — Changes in County Government — Subdivision op 
Original Townships — First Town Meetings — ^White Pig- 
eon, Temporary County Seat— Centerville, Permanent 


County Seat — Jail, First County Building — Offered 
Bribe to Be Re-jailed— A Terrifying Lock— New Jail 
Erected — Temporary Court House — Two * ' Permanent ' ' 
Court Houses — ^Protecting the County Records — Fa- 
mous Robbery of Records— Care of the County ^s Poor — 
County Officials (1830-1910) — Education in the County 
— Bird^s-Eye View of Pioneer Settlement. 69-97 



Leading Organizers — Constitution of Society— First Officers 
— ANNtJAL Meetings from First to Thirty-seventh (1873- 
1910)— Came Prior to 1840— Death of Hon. E. H. Lothrop 
(Second Annual Meeting) —Year 1845 Made Membership 
Limit (Fourth Meeting) — Settlers of Thirty Years Eligi- 
ble (Fifth Meeting) — Historical Contributions in 1880-1 
— Peter Klinger, of Klinger's Lake — Death of Three For- 
mer Presidents (Fourteenth Meeting) — Minister Paid in 
Cats and Dogs— Letter from Samuel P. Williams (Twenty- 
first Meeting)— Death of Hon. Andrew Ellison and Hon. 
S. P. Williams (Twenty-fourth Meeting) — Greatest Suc- 
cess Up to Date (Thirty-third Annual Meeting). 98-134 



White Pigeon Prairie— Story of Chief White Pigeon— Sequel 
TO THE Story — Unveiling of the Memorial — Mrs. W. C. 
Cameron's Address — Other Proceedings — The Pioneer 
Trio— Judge Winchell — Leonard Cutler— Arba Hbald — 
First Farms in the County — *'Old Diggins," First Hotel — 
End of Colonel Savery — ^Village Platted — Pioneer 
County School House — First Religious Services — Cutting 
Down and Building Up — Topography, Drainage and Lakes 
— *' Pioneer Incidents/' by Charles B. Kellogg— First 
Farmers and Business Men— Kellogg Brothers —Judge 

viii ^ 'CONTENTS 

Levi Baxter — George W. Beisel — English Settlers— Rob- 
ert Clark, the Surveyor — Chief White Pigeon and Indian 
Prairie — Items by William Bair — ** Webster's Visit to 
White Pigeon/' by Mrs. A. E. Kellogg. 135-157 



MoTTViLLE Township of To-Day — Quimby at the Grand Trav- 
erse — First Farms Opened — Mottville Village Platted — 
First Bridge a Good Advertiser — Once a Great Shipping 
Point — ^Lockport Township — Jacob McInterfer, First Set- 
tler — George Buck and Hotel — ''Echol's" Rise and Fall 
— Early Mill Enterprises — First Farms — Moab and St. 
Joseph Villages— Three Rivers Platted — First Town 
Meeting and Officers— Beginning op Things — ^Lockport 
Boat Building and Boating — Township op Constantine — 
Meek's Mills or Constantine — Judge MeSk Surveys Con- 
stantine — The City^s Early Manufactures — First Town 
Meeting— Natural Features — Florence Township — Ear- 
liest Settlements — Alvin Calhoon — Banner Mint vInd Oil 
Township — Fabius Township — Studded with Sparkling 
Lakes — First Permanent Settler — First Elections and 
Officers. 158-177 



The Township as Now — Early Settlers — ^Lands, Taxes and 
Products— Cultivation op Mint — Official Rosters — ^Roads 
and postoffices — schools and attendance — population — 
Political Record— Fawn River Township — Judge Sturgis — 
Other Early Locations — First Postmasters — Rise of 
Manufactures — ^Pioneer Election and Roads — ^Property 
AND Valuations— Ex- Village op Freedom — Warfare and 
Murder — Capt. Toll and Fawn River Village — Francis 
Flanders, Father and Son — Tiny Township — Sturgis, 


Last Township — Sad Coming of a Pioneer — George Buck's 
Death — First Hotels — ^Nottawa Township — Judges Con- 
nor AND Sturgis — Introduction of Fruits, etc. — Center- 
viLLE Platted — Township of Colon — Schellhous Brothers 
— Colon Village — Burr Oak Township — Haslet and Snow 
— First Frame Residence— Township in General. 178-216 



First Settler, Michael Beadle— Early Flowerfield and How- 
ARDviLLE — Reduced to Present Area— Appropriate Name — 
First Road and Noted Trail — First Township Officers — 
How Leonidas Was Named — Description of Township — In- 
dian Trader Hatch — Permanent Settlers of 1831 — The 
CowEN Mills — Captain Levi Watkins— First Hotels — ^Hor- 
ticultural Sproutings— Settlers of 1834-40 — First Town 
Meetings — Factoryville — Leonidas Tillage — Mendon 
Township — Francois Moutan and Patrick Marantette — 
Village of Mendon Founded — Settlers from 1833 to 1837— 
Old-Time Officials — General Physical Features— Park 
Township— First Settlers along Fisher^s Lake — ^First 
Town Meeting — ^Parkville and Moore Park. 217-234 


By Hon. R. R. Pealer. 

In the Black Hawk War— Mexican War and Hon. Isaac D. 
Toll — Francis Flanders, Jr. — In the Civil War — The 
Eleventh Michigan— History of the Nineteenth — 
Twenty-fifth Infantry — Seventh Michigan — First Michi- 
gan Infantry — Second Michigan— Fourth Michigan— The 
Isolated Sixth — The Fifteenth Infantry — The Artil- 
lery — Other Military Branches in Civil War — Spanish- 
American War. 235-283 



By Hon. R. R. Pealer. 

Supreme Court of Michigan — Judge Woodward— Division op 
Legislative and Judicial — The State Supreme Court — 
Judge Ransom — Constituted a Separate Body — Circuit 
Court Judges — Judge Osborn — Probate Court Judges — 
Judge Barry — Judge Cross — Pioneer Probate Matters — 
First Regular Court Room — The Old County Court — 
First Law^yer Admitted to Bar — ^Personnel of Pioneer 
Lawyers — Judge Severens — Talcott C. Carpenter— Judge 
Keightley — Judge Pealer — The Andrews Family — At- 
torneys OF 1877 — Lawyers op To-day. 284-306 



Water Power and Manufactories— Manufacture op Paper — 
Old Bowman Flour Mill — Hon. Edward S. Moore — Hon. 
A. C. Prutzman— Home-Coming Pioneer Literature — 
George W. Buck — Arthur Silliman — Sylvester Troy — Al- 
len Wescott — The Richardson Letter— Letter of J. C. 
Morse — Corporation op Three Rivers — ^Public School Sys- 
tem — ^FiRE Protection and Water Supply — ^Riverside Ceme- 
tery — The Sheffield Car Company — ^R. M. Kellogg Com- 
pany — Three Rivers Robe Tannery — Other Industries^ — 
First National Bank — State Savings Bank— Building 
AND Loan Association — The Civic League— The Local 
Press — Methodists as Church Pioneers — ^First Presby- 
terian Church — The Baptist Church — ^First Reformed 
Church — St. John^s Evangelical Lutheran — The Masonic 
Bodies — The Odd Fellows — Knights op Pythias — G. A. R. 
Post— D. A. R. and Mrs. Lucy F. Andrews — M. W. A. and 
Other Societies. 307-352 




Railroad Expansion — Hon. J. G. Wait as a Railroad Man — Not 
Really Sturgis until 1858 — Hotel, Stage Lines and Mails 
— Sturgis as It Is — ^Public School System — City Water, 
Light and Power — Free Public Library — Corporation and 
Fire Department — Township and City Cemetery — Method- 
ist Pioneers — Baptist Church — ^Presbyterian Church — 
—Evangelical Lutheran, St. John^s and Trinity— -St. 
John^s Parish House (Episcopal) — Pioneer Masons — Odd 
Fellows and Other Orders — Sturgis W. C. T. U.— Woman's 
Literary Club— The Local Press — Grobhiser-Cabinet Mak- 
ers Companies — Aulsbrook & Jones Furniture Company — 
Sturgis Steel Go-Cart Company — Royal Chair Factory — 
Other Industries — Banks. 353-874 



Development of River Trade — The Barrys of Constantine— 
Corporations of 1837 and 1861— Substantial Water 
Power Improvements — Constantine Milling Company — 
Other Leading Manufactories — Constantine 's Great 
Bridge — *' Safety Fund'' Bank — First State and Commer- 
cial State Banks — The Town of the Present — City Water 
AND Light— Constantine Newspapers — The Methodist 
Church— First Congregational Church — Mrs. Crossette's 
Recollections — The Reformed Church — Messiah Evan- 
gelical Lutheran Church — Secret and Benevolent Socie- 
ties. 375-390 



Oldest Colon Manufactory— The Pioneer Merchant— The 
Hills, Father and Sons — Opera House Block — The Lamb 
Knit Goods Company— Other Manufactories— Secures 


Railroad Connections— Colon in the Seventies— Schools 
— Colon Seminary — '^ Colon Express" — Churches and So- 
cieties — Mendon Founded as a Village — Development of 
Early Manufactories — Old Hotels — Mendon Banks — Cor- 
poration AND Public Schools— Free Library— The Mendon 
Press — Churches and Societies — St. Edward ^s Parish 
(Catholic) — Methodist Episcopal Church. 391-413 



The Tolls at Centerville— Village Corporation — Landlords 
AND Politics — Centerville Flour Mills — Knit Goods Man- 
ufacturing — ^^Banking Craze — Solid Banks— Josiah Wolf 
—Village of To-day — The Centerville Press — Schools — 
The M. E. and Presbyterian Churches — Masons, Macca- 
bees AND Other Societies — Burr Oak Village — The Cor- 
poration— Sheffield Manufacturing Company — Garment 
Factories— Burr Oak Banks — Union School — Electric 
Light and Powder Plant — Telephone Company— ** The 
Burr Oak Acorn" — The M. E. and Evangelical Lutheran 
Churches — Secret and Benevolent Societies. 414-434 



Beautiful Village Sketch— Historical Review — ^White Pig- 
eon Academy — District and Union Schools — ^White Pig- 
eon Newspapers— Farmers' Savings Bank — Local Indus- 
tries — ^White Pigeon M. B. Church — The Presbyterian and 
Reformed Churches — St. Joseph ^s (Catholic) Church— 
The Alba Columba Club— Secret, Benevolent and Patri- 
otic Societies. 435-448 

History of St. Joseph County 



Drainage op the County — Its Lakes — Geological Features 
— Building Materials— Soil and Agriculture— Pepper- 
mint AND Oil — Earliest Growers and Manufacturers- 
Oil Distillation — Good Pioneering Country — ''The St. 
Joseph River/' by Delia S. Crossette. 

The keynote to the history and progress of St. Joseph county 
is the valley of the St. Joseph river. Its main stream enters the 
county from the east, passing diagonally through Sturgeon lake, 
then cutting the southwestern comer of Leonidas township and 
flowing westward to the village of Mendon ; thence in a southwest- 
erly direction across the northwestern comer of Nottawa township 
and through the northeast, central and western sections of Lockport 
township to the city of Three Rivers. It then flows in a nearly 
southerly course from Lockport township to the southeastern sec- 
tion of Fabius township and the eastern portions of Constantine to 
the city by that name, and passes from St. Joseph county by way 
of the townships of Constantine and Mottville. 

Drainage of the County. 

Each of the sixteen townships which compose St. Joseph 
county is copiously drained by the main stream of the St. Joseph 
river, or some of its numerous branches, and the western and east- 
em townships are plentifully sprinkled with beautiful lakes, Fabius 
and Colon townships being especially fortunate in this regard. The 
most noteworthy conjunction of streams in St. Joseph county 
occurs at the city of Three Rivers, where Rocky and Portage rivers 
join the main channel of the St. Joseph from the north. 


Vol. I— 1 


The Fawn river enters the county from Indiana, runs north- 
erly and enters the St. Joseph above Constantine. The Pigeon 
rises in the same state near the southern lakes of St. Joseph county 
and enters the St. Joseph below Mbttville, running through the 
townships of White Pigeon and Mottville in a westerly direction. 

Nottawa creek enters the St. Joseph near the southwest comer 
of Leonidas township from Branch county, while Hog creek, which 
rises in the same county to the east, drains Burr Oak, Nottawa and 
Lockport townships, entering the St. Joseph river on section 30 of 
the township last named. 

Swan creek empties into Sturgeon lake near the entrance of 


the St. Joseph and flows through the northeastern portion of Burr 
Oak township and the southern and eastern sections of Colon. 

Its Lakes. 

As stated, the principal lake surface in St. Joseph county is 
confined to Colon township in the east and Fabius township in the 
west ; in the former are Sturgeon, Palmer, Long and Beaver lakes 
and in the latter, Corey's, Pleasant, and Clear lakes, as well 
as many others of smaller area. Among the other larger and most 
beautiful lakes in St. Joseph county are Pickerel, Klinger's and 
Aldrich lakes in White Pigeon township, Fisher's lake in Park 
township and Portage lake in Mendon township. There are also 


numerous small lakes in Nottawa — such as Evans and Sand — ^and 
in Sherman, such as Fish, Chapin, Crotch, Thompson's, Johnson's 
and Middle. 

It will be at once understood how this network of streams and 
lakes in St. Joseph county has guaranteed its high standing from 
the first as an agricultural and fruit raising country, besides con- 
tributing to its strength as an industrial section of the state by 
furnishing its citizens with an abundance of water power. 

Prairies and Oak Openings. 

Perhaps the second most striking physical feature of St. Joseph 
county is its constant succession of beautiful prairies and oak open- 
ings which stretch from Burr Oak township, in the far southeast, 
to Flowerfield township in the extreme northwest, and along the 
main valley of the St. Joseph river from Mendon to Mottville town- 

Geological Features. 

This peculiar and beautiful feature of the landscape is ac- 
counted for by the prehistoric forces of geology. It is a well estab- 
lished fact that lakes Michigan and Huron were at one time con- 
nected by a great river, or estuary, which passed almost diagonally 
across the southern peninsula of Michigan. The present valley of 
the St. Joseph river, with its numerous branches and network of 
lakes, was in those times a section of this connecting band 
between the two lakes, and the floor of its beautiful prairies was 
laid by deposits which sifted down from these ocean waters which 
then mingled with the great sea stretching over the northern por- 
tion of the United States and the northeastern section of Canada 
to the British Isles. 

In many portions of St. Joseph county geologists have found 
many rare specimen belonging to the Silurian, or reptile age, and 
the Carboniferous, or coal age, when this section of the country was 
under the dominion of the sea. A list of some of the more impor- 
tant specimens is here given: 

Fossils of the Lower Silurian age, Trenton period : Radiates— 
popyp corals, the petraia eomiculum, columnaria alveolata, taeni- 
asta spinoza. MoUusks — chateles lycoperdon or costalis leptaena 
plicifera, ptilodictya fenestrata, retepora incepta, trilobites, caly- 
mene senaria. 


Hudson period: Radiates — favisstella stellata. 

Upper Silurian, Niagara period: Radiates^ — chaeteles-eorals, 
chonophyllum Niagarense, favosites Niag. MoUusks — fenestella. 
Radiates — erinoids, earyocrinus omatus. Braehiopods — atrypa 
nodostriata ; spirifer sulcatus oceidentalis ; 0. testudintaria. 

Carboniferous: trigoncarpum, tricuspidatum and lepidoden- 
dron. Some very perfectly preserved crinoid stems, showing the 
star-shaped joint most distinctly. 

Devonian, carniferous period: Radiates — ^Zaphrentis gigantes, 
Z. Rafinesquii, Phillipsastrea vemeuill; cyahophyllum rugosum; 
favosites Goldfussi ; syringopora Maclurii ; aulopora corunta. 

Following the geological ages when the limestones and other 
rock deposits were crudely formed in St. Joseph county was what is 
known as the Glacial epoch, when the great glaciers from the north- 
east crept over a large portion of Canada and northern United 
States, not missing southern Michigan or St. Joseph county in their 
resistless onward movement. It is probable that they assisted in 
forming the valley of the St. Joseph river and scooping out some 
of the lake basins. From some cause which is still unsolved by sci- 
entists and geologists, the climate of this portion of the globe was 
so moderated that the glaciers melted and retreated northward, 
forming gradually, as is supposed, the nucleus of the chain of great 

In many portions of St. Joseph county there are abundant 
evidences of glacial action, the most striking and conclusive being 
perhaps the presence of huge boulders which are foreign to this 
part of the state and must have been carried by some other agency 
than water. It is a peculiarity that, as a rule, they seem to be 
found rather in the oak openings than on the prairies. On the west 
side of the township of Constantine, there are large quantities of 
boulder stone, as also in Nottawa, Leonidas and Fawn River town- 
ships. This boulder stone, which is undoubtedly a portion of the 
glacial drift, is composed largely of flint, granite, gneiss, trap and 
quartz, some fine garnets being also found imbedded in it. 

Building Materials. 

The stone has been used to a considerable extent in building 
cellars and foundation walls and occasionally an entire building 
has been constructed of it, as for instance, the Union School House 
at Centerville. In the bottom of many of the lakes and marshes in 


St. Joseph county are also marl beds, formed largely of shells which 
carry, of course, a large portion of lime. In the early settlement 
of the county, this deposit was manufactured into a sort of lime- 
stone, but since the days of free transportation its manufacture has 
been abandoned, as the natural limestone is much stronger and 
more durable. But neither the boulder stone nor marl beds have 
been found in sufficient quantities to be considered of real commer- 
cial value. 

Building materials have never formed an important item in 
the natural wealth of St. Joseph county. Its building rocks were 
too deeply imbedded in the glacial drift, or soil, to be easily reached, 
and from the first it seemed to be ordained that it was to be an 
agricultural and horticultural country. 

Soil and Agriculture. 

The soil is for the most part rich sandy loam, light and warm, 
and both mechanically and chemically adapted to the raising of 
fruit. On White Pigeon and Sturgis prairies, this soil changes to 
a heavier loam, and on Nottawa prairie is noticeably black and 
reaches to a remarkable depth. It is in the prairie soils that such 
staple grains as wheat and com have so thriven, and in the oak 
openings mint culture has been carried to a remarkable state of 
perfection. Both the raising of peppermint and its distillation into 
oil still form a very important industry in the county, although 
the output, neither of the mint nor the oil, is as large as it was in 
former years. 

The raising of peaches received quite a serious setback by the 
severe winters which followed that of 1850, but the industry has 
since revived and now St. Joseph county is one of the banner pro- 
ducers of the country. Cherries are also productive and a certain 
crop. Plums were once the most abundant natural fruit crop of 
the county. They were also cultivated at quite an early day, but 
growers were greatly discouraged for a number of years by the 
ravages of the Corculio. The scientific investigations of recent 
years have resulted in almost exterminating this pest to plum grow- 
ers, so that this branch of horticulture is again on the upper grade. 

Peppermint and Oil. 

Peppermint, in the production of which St. Joseph county led 
the United States for many years, if not any section in the world of 


equal area, began to be cultivated in 1835. As is well known, its 
manufactured product, oil of peppermint, has been an important 
ingredient in confectionery, perfumery and pharmaceutical prep- 
arations for many years. Although the United States produces 
annually about four fifths of all the peppermint distilled in the 
world, the banner section of America has been transferred 
from St. Joseph county, which some forty years ago produced one 
fourth the amount raised in the United States. Several counties 
in Michigan have overtaken St. Joseph — Allegan, Berrien, Kala- 
mazoo, Van Buren and Eaton preceding it, with Branch county, 
to the east, a close competitor. On the authority of Charles W. 
Schellhous, government oil inspector, it is safe to say that Allegan 
county now produces about 50,000 pomids of essential oil of mint 
and St. Joseph about 20,000. 

In 1865 the county produced 40,000 pounds of mint-oils, and 
in 1870 only 23,000, while the figures for 1910 will probably be 
even less than those of forty years ago. 

Mr. Sawyer commenced the cultivation of mint on White 
Pigeon prairie, within the present limits of the town of Florence, 
this pioneer in the combined industry of raising and manufacturing 
bringing the roots of the plant from Ohio. Before he distilled any 
of the crop, he sold his farm to Glover and Earle (1836), who con- 
tinued the culture for a time. But these pioneer cultivators made 
up their minds that the prairies were entirely unsuited to the 
growth of mint, and it was discontinued for several years. About 
1840, Marshall and Orrin Craw introduced its culture into the oak 
openings in the northern part of Florence township. This experi- 
ment proved such a success that the Craw brothers continued both 
the cultivation of the plant and the distillation of its essential oils 
for several years, and their example was followed by many of the 
settlers in the oak openings, these lands bringing high prices both 
to investors and those who wished to dispose of them to ambitious 
cultivators. Ranney & Smith began the culture in 1843, and 
within the next twenty years the business of raising peppermint 
and distilling oils from it reached huge proportions. 

Earliest Growers and Manufacturers. 

Wolf Brothers, of Centerville, were among the early and heavi- 
est growers and manufacturers, and, in spite of the general decline 
of the industry, retain their supremacy. Thirty-five years ago 


they were thus referred to, in a county publication: *'Wolf Broth- 
ers & Keech (George, Jr.) are the heaviest producers of oils; aside 
from peppermint, they have probably the largest field of wormwood 
in the world— twenty-three acres; and the only fields of spearmint 
in the county, fifty acres. They also cultivate tansy and penny- 
royal.'' At this time Henry Hall, of Three Rivers, was also an 
extensive dealer in oils, and his son, Robert Hall (ex-mayor of the 
city) has long been operating perhaps the largest oil distillery in 
the county, five miles south of Three Rivers. Among the other 
leading manufacturers and dealers in essential oils of these early 
and *' booming" times were A. P. Emery, of Mendon; William 
Roys, of Florence; Charles W. Jones, of Sherman, and Daniel 
Francisco, of Three Rivers. 

For many years, in St. Joseph county, the mint crops contin- 
ued to be raised almost entirely on the uplands, but as these tracts 
commenced to be utilized by fruit growers, grain producers and 
farmers who had turned to standard and comparatively sure crops, 
those who still clung to mint culture and oil distillation turned 
again to the prairies and the lowlands. Improved methods of cul- 
tivation of recent years have demonstrated that, with perhaps a 
little additional expense, mint can be cultivated as successfully on 
the lowlands as the highlands, and, as Mr. Shellhouse remarks, 
* ^ growers show a decided tendency to reach out into the muck lands 
for their mint fields." 

Oil Distillation. 

The ordinary metKod of oil distillation, employed in pioneer 
times, consisted in cooking the plants in a common iron kettle. 
After a thorough boiling, the oil was skimmed off the water. When 
it had been demonstrated that the business was profitable, the regu- 
lar distillery was introduced which does not differ in its essentials 
from that of thirty or forty years ago, when the following descrip- 
tion of the cultivation of the plant and the manufacture of the oil 
in St. Joseph county was prepared by Albert M. Todd, of Nottawa : 
**In addition to peppermint, there are also other essential oils in 
our county — spearmint, wormwood, pennyroyal, tansy and fire- 
weed — but the combined amount of all these is but a trifle when 
compared with peppermint; therefore this sketch will be de- 
voted to this oil alone, especially as the process of distillation is the 
same in all. 


''Soon as spring opens, the ground being duly prepared, is 
marked out in deep furrows thirty inches apart. The roots and 
creeping tendrils (called runners) which have grown from the set- 
tings of the preceding season, being taken from the ground and 
separated, are packed into large sacks. These are thrown over the 
shoulders of the workmen in such a manner that there shall be at 
least one living root or runner the entire length of the row, and 
these, as they are thrown down, are covered by the feet of the work- 
men to the depth of an inch. 

''Cultivation commences as soon as the rows can be distin- 
guished above ground. As the plants advance in growth, a com- 
plete network of roots is formed beneath the surface ; they also send 
forth runners above ground in every direction. These, sometimes 
attaining a length of three feet, completely envelop the ground. 
As the runners also throw down roots, a second crop will be obtained 
from one setting, and sometimes a third, should they escape the 
frosts of the succeeding winters. The height attained by the plants 
is usually not over twenty-four inches, though sometimes it reaches 
forty-eight inches. 

"Distillation commences in August when the plants begin to 
bloom. The effect produced by a large field of peppermint with its 
beautiful purple blossoms and rich fragrance is quite enchanting. 
The process of distillation is as follows : The plants having been cut 
and having lain in the hot sun for six or eight hours, are taken to 
the distillery and tightly packed in large vats capable of holding 
from two thousand to two thousand five hundred pounds each. The 
vat, when filled, is closed over by a steam-tight cover. The steam 
being generated in a large engine boiler, is conveyed through a pipe 
to the plants by means of an opening in the bottom of the vat. 
The oil, in the form of globules, is contained in minute vesicles on 
the lower side of the leaves and the blossoms. As the steam is 
forced through the plants, the globules, being expanded by the 
intense heat, burst from their prison cells and are carried off in 
steam, which escapes from an opening in the top into a pipe called 
the condenser, and thence into its continuation, the worm. 

"Cold water being constantly pumped over these pipes, the 
steam inside is re-converted into fluid form. This having reached 
the terminus of the worm, flows out into the receiver, a deep vessel, 
from near the bottom of which a spout runs up on the outside to 
within a few inches of the top. As the fluid flows in, the water and 
oil separate of their own accord ; the oil being lighter rises to the 


top and is dipped off ; the water, continually sinking to the bottom, 
is forced by the weight above to flow out through the spout. The 
time required for steaming the plants is, if they are well dried, not 
over forty minutes, with a high pressure of steam; but the time 
varies with the steam capacity of the distillery. 

''The amount of oil obtained from a given amoiuit of plants 
varies greatly. If they are fine and well covered with leaves, and 
are distilled during warm, dry weather, and well dried, ten pounds 
of oil can be obtained from two thousand pounds of plants; but 
from coarse, undried plants less than one third of that amount can 
be obtained. 

''After the charge is sufficiently steamed, it is lifted from the 
vat by pulleys attached to a crane, and being dropped upon a car 
or wagon is run off and used for fertilizing the fields. Our average 
crop in this county will not exceed twenty pounds per acre, al- 
though in other localities double this amount has occasionally been 
produced upon lowlands." 

Good Pioneering Country. 

This brief review of the natural features and riches of St. 
Joseph county is fully explanatory of the favor which it earned in 
the judgment of pioneers from the eastern states. Coming hither 
from New England the old middle states, Ohio, Indiana and south- 
eastern Michigan, they found ready at hand and cleared of under- 
brush and trees, beautiful and fertile prairies and sunny openings 
in the timberland. Along the streams and dotting the landscape 
were abundant supplies of oak, beech, maple, hickory, ash, black 
walnut, butternut, cherry and elm; so that St. Joseph county 
pioneers found awaiting them a beautiful country with well wa- 
tered soil and heavy timber, thus assuring them bountiful crops, 
building material, and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of fuel to 
guard them against the severe winters of the frontier country. 
Although in those days the woods harbored wolves and bears, they 
also abounded in herds of deer, and when the first settlers came, 
and for several years afterwards, it was an easy matter for the 
householder, although he may not have been an expert marksman, 
to bring to his family a daily supply of venison. Wild turkey, 
geese, ducks and grouse were plentiful in the numerous lakes, and 
quail, woodcock, plover and snipe haunted the prairies and banks 
of the streams. The abundance of food supply which St. Joseph 


county offered its first comers is by no means completed in the above 
statement, for its lakes and rivers abounded with sturgeon, pike, 
bass, perch and other rich supplies for the frying pan. 

The favor with which St. Joseph county was viewed by those 
seeking homesteads in the early ^ thirties'' is thus indicated by an 
extract from the *^ Gazetteer for the State of Michigan and Direc- 
tory of Emigrants, ' ' published in 1838, only a few years subsequent 
to its first settlement by white men : * ^ This was formerly considered 
the best county in the state. The surface of the country is moder- 
ately undulating. The soil is exceedingly fertile and consists prin- 
cipally of oak openings and prairies. There is, however, a suffi- 
ciency of timber found in the western part of the country as high 
up as the Portage river and down as low as the Grand Traverse. 
The principal prairies are Sturgis, AVhite Pigeon and Nottawa- 
seepe, which are not exceeded for their fertility by any in this or 
any other state. There are innumerable water privileges in the 
county, especially in the St. Joseph, Hog creek. Crooked, Portage 
and Pigeon rivers. The public lands are mostly taken up. This 
county is included in the Kalamazoo Land District. ' ' 

As at present constituted, St. Joseph coiuity contains about 
329,619 acres, of which 319,895 are of land and 9,724 of water. In 
the early days the prairie surface included about 12,535 acres, the 
balance of the land being oak openings and heavy timber. Of 
course within the past twenty or thirty years the proportion of 
timber to prairie land has been very much decreased. 

By Delia S. Crossette. 

In 1671 Pere Marquette founded a mission at St. Ignaee, just 
across from Mackinaw. Two years later he discovered the Missis- 
sippi river, the greatest event of his life. On his return to St. Ig- 
naee he discovered and explored our river for some distance from 
its mouth, and named it the St. Joseph river; which name it has 
borne for two hundred and thirty-three years. But from Mar- 
quette's time until settlers came, it was only for the red men and 
wild animals to enjoy this river and country and hold almost un- 
disputed sway. 

I can imagine the beautiful deer taking their morning draught 
of water from the banks of the St. Jo. What was Michigan — at 


least our part — ^when seventy-eight years ago the first settlers came 
to make their homes on the banks of this river? For answer, we 
must go back into the history of the southwestern territory: — A 
wilderness, whose vast and almost endless forests were as yet a 
stranger to the white man^s tread: no farms, with their white-robed 
cottages and extensive bams ; no cities, no villages, no railroads, no 
din or confusion of business strife. All was still and solitary, as 
the time when the stars of the morning first sang together. 

What a wondrous change this mighty march of progress has 
accomplished ! It is as far removed from its primeval state as the 
east is from the west. The St. Joseph rippled on then as now ; but 


there was no Constantine reflected in its beautiful waters. It was 
thus when Judge Meek pitched his tent in our town in 1828. I 
have many letters written to relatives here, commencing *'Dear 
Ones in the far West. ' ' Michigan was at this time looked upon as 
the far West; St. Jo county now looked upon as the garden spot 
of the state. We feel constrained to laud Judge Meek's choice. 
Prompted perhaps by speculation, more than any other, he selected 
this spot at the intersection of the Fawn and St. Joseph rivers, as 
the most desirable place for the then prospective village of Con- 
stantine. Meek erected a small saw and grist mill near the site 
of the present roller mills. This was the starting point and nu- 
cleus of the town which was laid out a year or two later. Of all 


the people that settled here in Judge Meek's time, not one or any 
of their descendants are now living here. I remember some of 

Constantine, situated on the St. Jo river, a stream navigable 
for small boats, gave her an outlet to the great lakes. This was a 
matter of no small importance to the surrounding country, and in 
fact it made Constantine headquarters for trade for a considerable 
distance round in those early days. 

The St. Joseph river rises in Hillsdale county, in Bawbees 
lake. While in Hillsdale, some forty years ago, I crossed our river 
there between the station and college. It reminded me of a New 
England trout brook, so clear and narrow then. The river from 
its source to Three Rivers, runs on in a very crooked way, at Colon 
passing through Sturgeon lake in front of Colon station, thence on 
through Mendon to Three Rivers. This part of the river might be 
called the upper part; the lower part, from Three Rivers, Con- 
stantine, Mottville, Bristol, Elkhart, Mishawaka, South Bend, Niles, 
Benton Harbor and on to its mouth at St. Joseph City, where it 
empties into Lake Michigan ; then finds its way around the chain of 
great lakes, Niagara river and falls, to Lake Ontaria, down the St. 
Lawrence river and into the Atlantic ocean to mix with the oceans 
and seas of this world. A great thing for our lovely river to 
accomplish ! 

The valley of the St. Joseph river throughout almost its entire 
length contains abundant and unmistakable evidence of having been 
the habitation of that unknown and mysterious people, which mod- 
em science has named Mound Builders. I so well remember some 
of the mounds on our farm on the banks of the St. Jo river, where 
we dug out flint arrows, beads, etc. 

The first bridge was built on the St. Joseph river at Mottville 
in 1833, with timbers 60 feet long and 18 inches square, was used 
twelve years, and replaced by a pile bridge at that point where the 
Chicago road crossed the river; hence, the need of this bridge. 

The St. Joseph river was the channel by which the people 
brought their goods into the country in the early days, and by 
which they forwarded their products until 1851, when the rail- 
roads supplanted the old way. Before the railroads came, mer- 
chandise was shipped from New York (by the Erie canal) to Buf- 
falo ; then by sail or steamboats around the lakes to the mouth of 
the St. Joseph river. There it was transferred by keel or flat 
boats, and finally by steamboats to Constantine, as often as occa- 


sion required. From Constantine to Three Rivers the water was 
shallow; in places could not always make the trip there. These 
steamboats ran on the river from 1842 to 1850, or until the rail- 
roads crowded them out. No freight was sent down the river 
before 1837. The crops were needed at home by the sparse set- 

With little land under the plow, I so well remember the days 
before the threshing machines were invented or at least came 
among us. I used to hold the tin lantern, punctured full of holes 
to let the light through with its tallow candle (our own make) in 
it to light our bam floor (this barn built in 1833). The neighbors 
changed work in threshing, going from one farm to another to 
thresh their wheat, rye and buckwheat on their bam floors with a 
flail. I love to think of these early privations. They fit one to be 
happy with whatever befalls afterward. 

After a good class of mills were built and there was produce 
sufficient to warrant it, then the flat-boats and arks were built to 
take the produce to St. Joseph and the eastern markets. An ark 
would hold some six hundred barrels of flour. After they went to 
the mouth of the river these arks were either broken up and sold 
or broken up and sent adrift into Lake Michigan. The millers 
would ship their flour in the fall or spring and not get returns for 
the same for six months. 

Two men living in Colon wanted to purchase seed potatoes 
and wheat. They went to Allen's lake in Hillsdale county, pur- 
chased the wheat and potatoes, built two canoes, loaded their prod- 
ucts in, and drifted down Sand lake a few miles into the St. Jo 
river. This trip back to Colon occupied ten days. ''Such was 
life in a new country. ' ' 

The first dam across the St. Jo was built at Leonidas by Judge 
Cross. Today many are. across the St. Jo, thereby furnishing 
power for manufacturing and lighting purposes. Before the dams 
were built fish were larger and more abundant. We do not get 
any more sturgeon, that used to come from the lake up the river 
before the dams were built. In writing this sketch, my mind goes 
back to the crossing and recrossing the river from our farm to 
visit in Florence; also crossing in lumber wagons with our feet 
high up on the seats, as the horses had to swim a small portion of 
the way — so exciting for little folks ! 

Then the picnics! The last one I attended was thirty-eight 
years ago. We went by railroad to Three Rivers, with fifty of our 


townspeople, the Constantine band to furnish, plenty of good 
music. After the six boats were made ready we floated down 
to an island, where we had dinner; and such a dinner! It rained; 
it poured ; but we were provided for this and did not get wet. Of 
those fifty townspeople I do not believe there are more than fifteen 
now living that thoroughly enjoyed this day. There are some now 
that prefer the river for their outings. Surely we are justly proud 
of our state, St. Joseph county and its river St. Joseph ! 



Ancient Garden Beds — The Colon Mounds — Fortifications — 
Sacrificial Fire-Place — Nottawa-seepe Reservation — Ar- 
rival OF Patrick Marantette — ^Paper by Mrs. Alice (Mar- 
antette) Bosset — The Pottawatomies in 1830 — Sau-au- 
QUETT Relinquishes Reservation — Landed in Kansas — 
The Black Hawk War — The First Payment — ^Attempted 
Murder of Sau-au-quett — Death of Morreau — Details op 
Sau-au-quett's Murder. 

The advent of humankind into St. Joseph county commences, 
so far as any records go, with the mysterious Mound Builders, whose 
impressive marks in the shape of fortifications, altars, gardens and 
other evidences of an active occupation of American soil are scat- 
tered along its great river valleys almost from the AUeghanies to 
the far western plains. Marks left by the Mound Builders of 
Southern Michigan lack somewhat the impressiveness and military 
character of the earthworks and forts found further south in the 
Ohio valley, and seem to be largely garden plats and mounds of 
rather small dimensions. In the latter are found bones of animals, 
which point to the custom of these prehistoric Americans of mak- 
ing sacrificial offerings to their deities. Flints, celts (stone-heads), 
various utensils evidently of the household, and remains of huge 
fire-places, indicate that these early inhabitants of the state and St. 
Joseph county were more devoted to the ways of peace and the 
excitements of the chase than to the ambitions and horrors of war ; 
but when the Mound Builders first commenced to occupy the fer- 
tile soil of this section of the state will probably always be one of 
the unsolved mysteries. All that archaeologists can see for certain 
is that their coming far antedates historical records. 



Ancient Garden Beds. 

The ancient origin of their works is testified to by the pres- 
ence of huge oaks growing at times from many feet of soil, and thus 
proving from what is known as to the age of such trees that the 
mounds must have been constructed many centuries before the In- 
dians, as the early settlers know them, commenced to occupy the 
land. In the *' Schoolcraft Papers'' are several descriptions of the 
garden-beds prepared by the Mound Builders in the upper St. 
Joseph valley, which apply closely to those found in the county 
itself. ^*Many of the lines of the plats are rectangular and par- 
allel," he says. '*They consist of low ridges, as if corn had been 
planted in drills. They average four feet in width and twenty-five 
of them have been counted in a space of one hundred feet. The 
depth of the walk between them is about six inches." 

The Colon Mounds. 

In Colon there are several mounds, some of which were exca- 
vated years ago by E. H. Crane, a professor of taxidermy and em- 
balming and an archaeologist, who resided at Colon. Mr. Crane 
opened two mounds on the farm of Phineas Farrand, in which he 
found all the characteristics of the works of the Mound-Builders, 
but no bones; the soil of which they were composed being porous 
and not capable of preserving the latter. He found flints — small 
ones — and in one, a fireplace. In a mound he opened on H. K. 
Farrand 's farm, he found some remnants of bones, a very beauti- 
fully wrought celt, and some flints ; and in one opened on George 
Teller's farm, flints and celts. Mr. Crane found in the mounds he 
opened in the county nearly every form of implement known to 
the Mound Builders, some of them very unique and handsomely 
wrought, and others in the rough, or first stage of work, as well as 
the partially prepared blocks of stone, for working. 


Within three hours' ride of Colon village, there are no less 
than six fortifications of these ancient people. One of them is 
distinctly visible yet, and is in a square form, fronting on the St. 
Joseph river, with an avenue leading from the rear to Bear creek. 
Others in Leonidas had breastworks three feet high when first 


discovered, with circular entrenchments, and pathways leading into 
the same, and sally-ports, showing method and skill in their con- 
struction. Some of these fortifications had three breastworks or 
circles, the gateway being at a different place in each, so that an 
enemy forcing an entrance, must still fight the besieged behind 
his entrenchments before he could force the second or third en- 
trance. On these breastworks, trees are, or were, growing four 
feet in diameter, of the same character as those of the surround- 
ing forest in which the entrenchments are now found. 

Sacrificial Fire-Place. 

Mr. Crane opened a mound on the banks of Sturgeon lake, 
which he calls a * ^ sacrificial fire-place, ' ' in which he found the bones 
of all the animals and fish now known to St. Joseph county, besides 
some of the extinct animals. He, however, believes this deposit 
was made by the modern Indians, who in former times used to 
offer such sacrifices, by building a fire-place and a fire therein, and 
throw on their offerings of flesh, fish and fowl, and immediately 
cover the whole with earth, and the charred remains would pre- 
serve the bones. Mr. Crane also found in a mound he excavated in 
Burr Oak copper utensils and the usual flints. These relics are 
found all over the county, and are to be seen in every cabinet the 
people have taken the trouble to gather. Dr. Nelson I. Packard, 
of Sturgis, had some very fine flints, but Mr. Crane had the finest 
selection, he having paid more attention to the subject. 


The settled occupancy of the soil of St. Joseph county by the 
aborigines of today commenced in 1821, when by the treaty with 
the Indians made in Chicago the territory of southwestern Michi- 
gan was ceded by the red men to the United States, several reser- 
vations, however, being omitted in this important transfer. Among 
these was the Nottawa-seepe reservation which embraced one hun- 
dred and fifteen sections, or 73,600 acres of land, in the northern 
and northeastern parts of St. Joseph county, and the southern and 
southeastern sections of Kalamazoo county to the north. The res- 
ervation which lay within this county embraced the township of 
Mendon, a portion of the western part of Leonidas and the eastern 
part of Park to^vnship. 

Vol. I — 2 


Arrival of Patrick Marantette. 

Patrick Marantette, for years afterward one of the leading 
citizens of the county, acted as government agent of the Nottawa- 
seepe Indians from 1823 to 1833, when they finally ceded their 
lands to the general government and the state of Michigan. He 
was therefore the first personage afterwards to become identified 
with the history of the county who came into intimate contact with 
the bands of Pottawatomies, Ottawas and Chippewas which com- 
prised the (so-called) Nottawa-seepe Indians. At the time when 
he first commenced to have dealing with these wards of the govern- 
ment, the Indians had two principal villages in St. Joseph county. 
The larger was in the present township of Leonidas, on the river, 
and the smaller on the opposite bank from the present village of 

As has been well stated by an early writer, the reservation 
comprised some of the choicest lands in St. Joseph county, taking in 
a portion of Nottawa prairie, the oak openings of Mendon, Leoni- 
das and Park, and the heavy timbered lands to the north ; the set- 
tlers looked with longing eyes upon the Indians' home and desired 
to possess it for themselves. 

The Pottawatomie Nation. 

At the settlement of St. Joseph county, the Pottawatomie na- 
tion (which preponderated on the Nottawa-seepe reservation) 
was scattered over a vast territory. A portion remained in Can- 
ada, a portion in what is now known as the Upper Peninsula, a 
portion along the Miami of the lakes and a portion in the 
state of Illinois, besides the comparatively small branch which re- 
mained on the reservation. The separate branches or sub-divisions 
were governed by their respective head and subordinate chiefs, 
agreeable to their national policy and the usages, customs and tra- 
ditions by which they had always been governed. No national 
measures could be adopted, nor transfer of their hunting grounds 
be made, without the sanction of the majority of the head chiefs of 
all the several departments or tribes. 

Paper by Mrs. Alice (Marantette) Bosset. 

At this point, the author can do no better than to fall back 
upon the pen, and reliable information of Mrs. Alice Marantette 


Bosset, a granddaughter of Patrick Marantette, the old-time In- 
dian agent and trader mentioned above. She has furnished the 
following interesting paper, which is reproduced in full, even 
though some repetition may be apparent: **At the time of the first 
settlement of Michigan, the home of various bands of Indians, not- 
ably those of the Pottawatomie, Ottawa and Chippewa, were in the 
St. Joseph Valley and they were known as the Nottawa-seepe In- 
dians. In 1821, at the treaty of Chicago, when the territory of this 
section was ceded to the United States, there were several sections 
or reservations exempted from the provisions of the general land 
laws, among them being the Nottawa-seepe reservation which in- 
cluded all what is now Mendon township, the western part of Leoni- 
das, eastern part of Park and the township of Kalamazoo county 
lying directly north of these lands. On this reservation were the 
homes of the Nottawa Indians, and their tepees were distributed 
over its area. One of their villages was in Leonidas, another across 
the St. Joseph River from the present site of the village of Men- 
don, called Marantette 's old trading post. The lands of this res- 
ervation were the choicest ones of St. Joseph county, taking in as 
it did part of the famous Nottawa prairie, the Burr Oak openings 
of Mendon, Park and Leonidas, and the fine timber land of Wake- 
shma and Brady. Therefore, it is little wonder that the warrior 
in his eager quest for domain, cast longing eyes upon these broad 
acres that only awaited the hand of husbandry to yield bountiful 
harvests. From 1823 until 1833 the government agent, Patrick 
Marantette, tried to get the Nottawa-seepe Indians to relinquish 
to the government the lands that had been so long their fore- 
fathers' but without much success. This was partially owing to 
the peculiar conditions of the Pottawatomie nation and the great 
area of country covered by it, as well as their national customs, 
laws and usages. To more intelligently understand the situation 
and the Indian title of the lands of this reservation, a brief re- 
view of the Pottawatomie nation in 1830 is necessary. 


' ' Part of this powerful Indian nation was in Canada, some in 
the Upper Peninsula near Marquette, others in the Miami valley, 
a portion in Illinois near Peoria, and the small bands on the Notta- 
wa-seepe reservation. Each of these portions had its head men or 
tribal chiefs, and no measure of national importance, such as sell- 


ing their hunting grounds, etc., could be made without the sanc- 
tion or consent of all the head chiefs. As it was difficult to get 
them all together, the work of inducing them to relinquish these 
lands was slow. Nor was this all ; the peculiar status of the Notta- 
was themselves made the question more complex. 

' * The legitimate Pottawatomie chief at this time was Cush-ee- 
wees, but he had been supplanted by Pierre Morreau, a native of 
France and belonging to one of the first families of Canada. Meet- 
ing with reverses in Detroit in early life, he came to the banks of 
the beautiful winding St. Joe. Here he wedded a dusky maiden of 
the forest, and by his superior wisdom and cunning ways soon 
gained such ascendency over the poor untutored savages that they 
renounced the sway of Cush-ee-wees, then hereditary sachem, and 
installed Morreau in his stead. He reigned over them for many 
years until the oldest son, Sau-au-quett, became of man's estate 
and took the reins of government from his father, who was now in 
his dotage. Thus matters stood at the close of the Black Hawk 
war; when Gush-oo-woo died and was succeeded by Pee-quoit-ah- 
kissee, a direct descendant of the Pottawatomie sachem. But the 
tribe, having been under the sway of Morreau and his son a long 
time, the most of the Indians acknowledged Sau-au-quett as their 
head man. 

Sau-au-quett Relinquishes Reservation. 

''In the fall of 1833, the government having almost despaired 
of getting the Indians to relinquish the reservation, induced Sau-au- 
quett and a few others of his followers to cede the lands to the 
United States. They were to receive about $30,000 and be allotted 
land west of the Mississippi, whither they were to go by land with 
their ponies, dogs and other belongings. After two years' peacable 
possession of their reservation, the first payment of $10,000 worth 
of calico, beads and other trinkets was made on the reservation 
near the Marantette homestead, across the river from Mendon 

''The first December of the same year (1883), for nearly a 
week the Indians were camping on the bank of the old St. Joe, 
casting eager looks at the bright colored calico, blankets, beads, 
etc., so temptingly displayed by the government agent, but refuse 
ing to confirm the treaty by receiving them, as they had consulted 
among themselves and had concluded that Sau-au-quett and his 
followers had no authority to cede their lands. 


''Governor Porter had issued proclamations that no liquor 
should be allowed on or near the reservation, but parties disobeyed 
the orders and provided the Indians with plenty of fire-water, until 
at length patience ceased to be a virtue, and Governor Porter com- 
manded his agent, Mr. Marantette, to break in the heads of the 
barrels containing the whiskey. This was accordingly done and 
the Indians in their desire for the liquor drank it from the ground 
and eagerly lapped the place where it was spilled. Subsequently 
Mr. Marantette was sued for the value of the liquor and forced to 
pay several hundred dollars, notwithstanding he was obeying ex- 
plicit orders of Governor Porter when he broke the heads of the 
barrels; nor was he ever reimbursed for this unjust payment of 
money. The Indians finally accepted the provisions of the treaty 
and received their money at the earnest solicitation of Sau-au-quett 
who said, 'I did sell this land, and I would sell it again for two 
gallons of whiskey.' The bad blood this engendered among the 
Indians was only wiped out by the murder of Sau-au-quett. at 
Coldwater in 1839, by one of his band who opposed the sale. 

Landed in Kansas. 

''In 1835, which was the time the Indians were to leave the res- 
ervation, they had refused, claiming that the whites had en- 
croached upon their lands and had not lived up to the terms of the 
treaty. Thus matters went on until 1840, when General Brady with 
a force of troops compelled them to vacate. The remnants of this 
once powerful tribe were taken to the Mississippi, whence they 
were to cross to the borders of Kansas. All went by land on their 
horses which were well packed for their journey. When arriving 
at their crossing on the Mississippi, Mr. Marantette and his assist- 
ant observed that some of the tribe were trying to escape. Mr. 
Marantette immediately sent Governor Porter a message apprising 
him that the Indians were trying to escape, and that the surest and 
only way to stop them from escaping would be to confiscate the 
horses of the leading conspirators. Receiving an approval from 
Governor Porter, Mr. Marantette and his assistants crossed them 
all on barges over to the border of Kansas, returning their horses 
after crossing where they settled; but finally their lands became 
so valuable that they sold them and many went to the Indian 

"Thus we have seen that the fair land of St. Joseph county has 
been inhabited by three distinct nations— Mound Builders, In- 


dians and Caucasians. Two of these races have passed away from 
this section; one into the darkest oblivion, and the other into a 
strange land, far from kindred and native hearths. Few of those 
who now enjoy the benefits of all the institutions of the Land of 
the Free realize the trials and tribulations of those who prepared 
the way and laid the foundations of our liberties. The poor sav- 
age who at first held possession of the land has gone, and we should 
fully realize the grand opportunities and possibilities which are 
before those who now till the soil of the Nottawa-seepe Indians.'' 

The Black Hawk War. 

The crushing of Black Hawk, the great chief of the Sacs and 
Foxes, as a result of the war which he waged against the United 
States government, in 1832, led to the cession by most of the 
Indians of all their lands east of the Mississippi river, and un- 
doubtedly had a bearing upon the relinquishment of the Nottawa- 
seepe reservation. As the warlike tribes led by Black Hawk were 
in the habit of annually passing through St. Joseph county, along 
the Chicago trail, to receive their annuities from the British 
Government, the early settlers became well acquainted with the 
fierce disposition of their leader, and when war actually was de- 
clared by him, they were naturally thrown into a high state of 
excitement and alarm. The settlers armed themselves in anticipa- 
tion of Black Hawk's invasion of St. Joseph county, on his way 
to Detroit, and for several weeks during the progress of actual 
hostilities in Illinois ** business was almost at a stand-still" in this 
part of Michigan. As an illustration of what a complete cessation 
was put to the life of St. Joseph county, it may be stated that the 
stage lines which had been running for a number of years and 
been well patronized were entirely abandoned during the **war 
scare," and as a result the principal line, under the proprietorship 
of Asahel Savery, was thrown into bankruptcy, or at least sus- 
pended business ; but, as the historian knows. Black Hawk pene- 
trated the country only a few miles east of the Mississippi river, 
and St. Joseph county soon resumed its accustomed life. 

Not long after the Black Hawk troubles were quieted, Cush- 
ee-wees, the able chief of the Nottawa-seepe Indians, died of con- 
sumption and Peequoit-ah-kis-see, the Pottawatomie chief of ancient 
lineage, succeeded him in name, although in actual authority 


Sau-au-quett continued to be the master spirit. It was with the 
latter that Governor Porter treated in September, 1833, when the 
chiefs of the Nottawa-seepe Indians were induced to sign their 
reservation over to the United States government. 

Although the treaty of cession was made in September 1833, 
it was not until the spring of 1840 that the Indians really left the 
reservation. Sau-au-quett had been killed at Coldwater the year 
before, and it also happens that the last murder committed by 
an Indian, of which a white man was a victim, occurred in the 
winter of the same year, so that 1839-40 may be considered the 
end of Indian occupancy in St. Joseph county. The period cover- 
ing the six years preceding, in which Sau-au-quett and Marantette 
appeared to be the central figures, is thus sketched, chiefly on the 
authority of the Indian agent himself. 

The First Payment. 

The treaty signed, a day for the first payment for the cession 
was appointed in December following, at Marantette 's, near Men- 
don village. In the conditions of the treaty was one that the 
Indians should retain quiet and peaceable possession of their 
reservation for two years before they were removed to a new 
reservation to be set off for them west of the Mississippi, to which 
they were to be taken by land, with their ponies and dogs, pre- 
pared to provide for themselves as best they could. The day of 
the **big payment'' came, but in the meantime the Indians had 
been consulting among themselves, and the Nottawa band re- 
pudiated the treaty, holding that Sau-au-quett and the men who 
signed it, had no authority to sell the land, and they would not 
confirm the sale by receiving the payment offered. Governor 
Porter had issued his proclamation forbidding the sale of liquors 
on or near the reservation, but, notwithstanding, parties did bring 
it, and sold it, thereby getting the Indians drunk. 

For some days the negotiations went on without success, and 
in the midst of them Sau-au-quett came, dressed in his gayest 
apparel, blue military coat, regulation buttons, an immense ehap- 
eau with tall plumes, sword, sash and pistols, and mounted upon 
his horse caparisoned in grand style. Swinging his sword above 
his head, he exclaimed, * 'I have sold the land! and I would sell 
it again for two gallons of whiskey." 


Attempted Murder of Sau-au-quett. 

Quau-sett stood by his side, and as the chief uttered his last 
declaration, he sprang forward, and, seizing one of the pistols, 
aimed it full at the chief's breast, and pulled the trigger. The 
weapon missed fire, and before Quau-sett could recover himself, 
Sau-au-quett aimed a sweeping blow with his sword, which, strik- 
ing on the shoulder of his foe, cut through the blanket which was 
around him, but a heavy plug of navy tobacco rolled up inside 
saved Quau-sett 's head. Mr. Marantette, who had great influence 
with the Indians, immediately took Quau-sett in charge, and kept 
him out of the way. 

After much delay, the Indians w^ere finally induced, largely 
by Sau-au-quett, to receive their first payment, about ten thou- 
sand dollars' worth of calicoes, trinkets, blankets, knives, tobacco, 
pipes, saddles, bridles, guns, hatchets, etc., which were distributed 
to them under the supervision of Governor Porter, by Messrs. 
Marantette, La Borde and Navarre. The Indians were dissatisfied 
at the payment, claiming that partiality was shown, but they 
finally took what was given them, and, as soon as it was possible 
to do so, squandered it all for drink, or were robbed of it by 
unprincipled white men. 

During the deliberations of the Indians, certain persons 
brought their whiskey, not only up to the reservation, but imme- 
diately on it where the council was being held, and, refusing to 
withdraw. Governor Porter ordered Mr. Marantette to break in 
the heads of the barrels, which was accordingly done, the Indians 
falling down on the ground and drinking as much as they could 
before the earth swallowed it up. Even the heads of the tribe did 
this worse than beastly thing, much to the disgust of the governor, 
who had not been intimately acquainted with the red man on his 
''native heath." 

Mr. Marantette was subsequently sued by the owner of the 
liquor, and a judgment obtained against him, which went to the 
circuit court, and, notwithstanding the facts of the case — the 
orders of Governor Porter— the judgment was affirmed, which, 
with his attorney's fees, amounted to several hundred dollars; and 
Mr. Marantette was forced to pay the sum. 

In 1835, the time set for the Indians' removal, they showed 
signs of rebellion and reluctance to remove according to the 
terms of the treaty, claiming that the same had been violated on 


the part of the government, in that, though they (the Indians) 
were to have peaceable and undisturbed possession of their land 
for two years, yet the settlers had begun locating their lands 
immediately after the payment, which was true. As soon as it 
was ascertained that the United States had acquired title to the 
reservation, the settlers, disregarding the treaty stipulation to 
the contrary, began at once to make claims of choice locations, and 
it was but a short time before the better part of the lands were 
located. This movement closed up the trails of the Indians, cir- 
cumscribed their hunting privileges, and drove off the game ; and 
the cattle of the settlers trespassed on the fields and gardens of 
the Indians, which were unfenced. Bad blood was thereby en- 
gendered on both sides. Negotiations were entered into to get the 
Indians together and obtain their consent to move, but no master- 
spirit was now among them to control them, or rouse their pride. 
Morreau was dead, Isadore had been poisoned, Sau-au-quette 
warned by the death of his brother and of the chief, Sag-a-mo, of 
Chicago, was not able to command the people as before, and it 
was not until the spring of 1840, as stated, that the Indians were 
finally induced to leave their homes, and then only by the appear- 
ance on the scene of General Brady and a troop of United States 

Sau-au-quett, in 1839, had fallen a victim to the never-dying 
sentiment and desire for revenge which filled the hearts of some 
of his tribe. Pamp-te-pe and John Maguago were in hiding, and 
it was only after the appearance of the cavalry that the Indians 
saw it was useless to resist any longer, and thereupon submitted 
to the inevitable, and left their ancient home for their new one 
in the west. The women and children, the infirm and unhorsed, 
were carried in wagons, while those who had horses rode them; 
and thus passed this remnant of the Pottawatomie nation, which 
was once the lord of every foot of territory they traversed, to their 
halting-place in Holdeman 's grove, La Salle county, Illinois. Here 
Maguago and his family, fearing assassination at the hands of 
some of his tribe for his acts in securing their removal, secreted 
themselves until the search for them was given up, when they 
retraced their way to the reservation, and his descendants lived 
for many years thereafter in the township of Athens, Calhoun 

At Peoria the faith of the government agents with the Indians 
was again broken, and contrary to the agreement that they were 


to be taken by land to the new reservation, with their ponies and 
dogs, they were cajoled and driven, at the point of the bayonet, 
on board of a steamboat, their ponies sold for a trifle, or con- 
fiscated; then down the Illinois to the Mississippi, thence to the 
Arkansas, up the Arkansas to the border of Kansas Territory, the 
powerless and impoverished people were taken, and disembarked 
under the superintendence of Buel Holcomb, an Athens man, the 
agents not daring to put in their appearance. Thence, as stated, 
in after years they migrated to the reservation provided for them 
in Indian Territory. 

Death of Morreau. 

The death of Isadore, or Setone Morreau, has been mentioned. 
He was poisoned by the squaw of a neighboring family, who offered 
him a drink of whiskey, which he refused to take after smelling 
of it; but, on being taunted by her of cowardice, he drank, and 
soon after died. Isadore was as cruel as a savage could well be. 
He killed his own sister, who was known to the settlers as Betts^ — 
her family calling her Nem-ee-na-os — stabbing her to the heart 
in a drunken frenzy, about two years after the **big payment'* 
in Colon township. 

Details of Sau-au-quett^s Murder. 

Sau-au-quett had a little squaw, who was quite a favorite 
with the old chief, who, when everything was pleasant and she 
was not under the influence of liquor, was comparatively amiable, 
but at other times was a fiend incarnate. She killed Quau-sett in 
1835, the same who attempted to kill Sau-au-quett on the reserva- 
tion in December, 1833. This murder, however, was condoned by 
the presentation of a horse, saddle and bridle to the son of the 
dead man, by Sau-au-quett, in accordance with the Indian custom 
and laws. 

Sau-au-quett was killed at Coldwater, in 1839, by one of the 
tribe who was opposed to the sale of the lands. The old chief was 
sleeping in his tent when the murderer crept stealthily into the 
apartment, and, with one blow, drove his knife through the old 
man's belt and leather shirt, into his bosom to the handle. The 
chief sprang to his feet, gave one whoop, and fell to the ground 
dead. The murderer was arrested by the authorities of the county 


of Branch, and held in custody. The friends of the murdered 
chief demanded the murderer, to be dealt with according to their 
laws and customs, but were refused. After some negotiation they 
were appeased by the present of blankets, a pony and equipments, 
whereupon the friends of the prisoner came and demanded his 
release, the offense having been condoned. But they, too, were 
refused, unless they would consent to remove, with the tribe, at 
once from the reservation. This they declined to do ; but in the 
spring of 1840, when the Indians were finally removed, the prisoner 
was released and went away with them. 



The Old Chicago Trail — Black Hawk Used It — His Sense of 
Honor — Surveyors Use the Old Trail — The Road Put 
Through the County — First Mail Route and Stages — 
Surveyors Advertise the Country — ^Wayne County Pio- 
neers—Judge Sturgis Comes — Nottawa Prairie Settlers — 
Sites of Constantine and Three Rivers — Centerville and 
Colon — ^French Settlers of Mendon — First Comers to 
Burr Oak Township — The Washtenaw Trail — Settle- 
ments About Nottawa-seefe^ — George Matthews — The 
DuNKiN Brothers — McMillan and Sherman— Joseph But- 
ler—Robert Cowan and Wife — Andrew Watkins. 

Among the most prominent features which project themselves 
from the details of the first settlements in St. Joseph county is the 
fact that the incursion of white men into its present area was by 
way of the old Indian trail from Detroit. It was also near this 
historic highAvay that their first homes were made, the spread of 
settlement later reaching the borders of the Nottawa-seepe reserva- 
tion to the north. 

The Old Chicago Trail. 

As the St. Joseph valley is the acknowledged keynote to the 
settlement and development of the county, so was the old Chicago 
trail — ^later, the ** military road" — ^the avenue along which the In- 
dian tribes and the first white settlers entered this section of south- 
em Michigan. From the advent of the first Frenchmen and En- 
glishmen who penetrated into the central regions of the United 
States, until the period of Black Hawk's greatest activities, from 
1812 to 1832, the Indian trail around the foot of Lake Michigan 
had been the highway for the red men of northern America trav- 
eling anywhere by land between the regions of the St. Lawrence 
and the Mississippi valley. When the country became a battling 



ground between England and the United States, in 1812, and De- 
troit and Fort Dearborn were recognized as military keys to the 
occupancy of interior America, the old Indian trail was still the 
traveled path between those points and was utilized by both white 
and red men. 

Black Hawk Used It. 

In the war of 1812, Black Hawk was the most powerful native 
ally of the British. He felt that he had good grounds for desert- 
ing the Americans, but found, after he had joined the British, 
that they were not as powerful as he had been led to believe, and 
soon returned to the home of his people (the Sacs and Foxes) . 
During his absence these tribes had been removed by the United 
States government up the Missouri river, and Black Hawk found 
that he had been displaced by the more pacific chief, Keokuk. 
Through the influence of the two, the Sacs and Foxes were divided 
into war and peace parties, in their relations to the Americans. 

After the war of 1812 Black Hawk was in constant communi- 
cation with the British government, and every year passed along 
' the Chicago trail, at the head of other less noted warriors of the 
Sac nation, to receive his annuities from his royal patron repre- 
sented by the authorities at Fort Maiden. When the procession be- 
gan to approach the settlements, runners were sent out to notify 
the inhabitants along the trail that the main body of dusky war- 
riors was coming and to assure them of the pacific intentions of the 
Indians. It was rarely that any trouble arose; in fact, for many 
years previous to the outbreak of the Black Hawk war, in 1832, 
the sole cause of disturbance between the whites and the Indians 
migrating along the Chicago trail was ''fire water,'' and all the 
name implies. From the fact that Black Hawk and his representa- 
tive men and women made these pilgrimages annually through St. 
Joseph county, the fierce and able chief was well known to several 
of its first settlers. 

Black Hawk's Sense of Honor. 

Patrick Marantette, the government Indian agent from 1823 
to 1833, was particularly well acquainted with the doughty war- 
rior and had this story to tell, which well illustrated the honest 
streak in the Indian's character, but which, from the best accounts, 
was largely patched with dishonesty and deception. The scene was 


laid in the trading post at Coldwater and the time was 1825. Mar- 
antette was then about twenty-four. Black Hawk and his people 
had been to Maiden and were on their return home with their annu- 
ity. As Marantette 's, at Coldwater, was the last trading post before 
reaching Chicago, the Indians naturally stopped there. They dis- 
mouinted from their ponies, and soon the room where the youth 
sold his goods was crowded by braves and squaws, all eager to buy. 
Black Hawk, armed with a long lance, was in the thick of the bar- 

While the hubbub and the trading were at their height, a 
squaw offered Marantette a fine deer skin in exchange for some- 
thing which took her fancy on his shelf. A glance at the skin showed 
him that it bore his private price mark (sixteen shillings) on one 
comer, and a closer examination brought the fact to mind that it 
was one he had bought but a few days before. He therefore seized it 
and claimed it as his property. But the squaw clung to it, and re- 
fused to give it up. In the midst of the wrangle. Black Hawk came 
up, and without examining into the merits of the case laid his spear 
on the deer skin, thus claiming it as his own. But Marantette re- 
fused to be imposed upon by the squaw or to be bullied by the great 
Sac warrior, and taking another skin which he had just bought of 
the Indians made his price mark on a comer of it, and laid it be- 
side the skin in dispute. The young trader pointed to the two marks 
as evidence of his title, Black Hawk could not but ''see the point." 
and the other Indians in the room, who had gathered around loudly 
gnmted ''How! How! How!" which is an equivalent to the En- 
glish exclamation of approval, "Hear! Hear!' The skin was passed 
over without further protest to Marantette, the deceitful squaw 
was driven in disgrace from the trading room, and the Indians 
approved the sturdy conduct of the young merchant by making the 
almost unprecedented purchase of five or six hundred dollars' 
worth of goods. 

Surveyors Use the Old Trah.. 

In 1825 the congress of the United States appropriated ten 
thousand dollars to survey a military road one hundred feet in 
width between Detroit and Chicago. The surveyor made beauti- 
ful and elaborate plans for a grand military highway, but after he 
had progressed a short distance from Detroit found that he was 
not going to get very far along on his way to Chicago if he cut his 
road according to his appropriation. He therefore fell back on the 


old Chicago trail, which became thenceforth the center line of his 
survey. The flagmen were sent in advance as far as they could be 
seen, the bearings taken by the compass, and the distance chained 
and marked ; then the flag was advanced as before, the trees being 
blazed fifty feet on either side of the trail. With the exception of 
a single mile in Washtenaw county, every bend and angle of the 
Indian trail w^as followed by the government surveyors, from Te- 
cumseh to Chicago. 

The Egad Put Through the County. 

The Chicago road was not put through St. Joseph county un- 
til after tht Black Haw^k war, but the first settlers filled up the 
marshes and bridged most of the streams along the route before 
the government put the finishing touches to their work. The stage 
companies also found it necessary to build more bridges and make 
the road more substantial, and in 1833-4 the government completed 
the road through Branch and St. Joseph counties. The ** hundred- 
feet highway,'' as provided by the 1825 congress, was divided into 
three sections ; for thirty feet the Chicago road was grubbed and 
leveled, for another thirty feet the trees were cut low, and for forty 
feet the trees were cut down to ** ordinary height." 

The Chicago trail and the Chicago road entered St. Joseph 
county on the east line of the southeast quarter of the southeast 
quarter of section 25, Burr Oak township, running southwest 
across the southeast corner of the township into Fawn River 
township, thence w^esterly between Sweet and Honey lakes to the 
present village site of Sturgis, and thence through the northern 
portions of the townships of Sturgis, White Pigeon and Mottville, 
south of Klinger's lake, and through the present sites of the 
villages of White Pigeon and Mottville. As far as White Pigeon, 
it substantially followed the route of the Lake Shore & Michigan 
Southern Railroad, passing south of it almost to the line between 
Sturgis and White Pigeon townships, and leaving it where the 
iron way bends northw^ard from White Pigeon village to Con- 

First Mail Route and Stages. 

In 1829 the first mail route in St. Joseph county was estab- 
lished on the Chicago road, from Tecumseh to White Pigeon, the 
contractor being John Winchell, of the latter place, who bound 


himself to carry the mail weekly each way in summer and twice 
a week in winter. 

In 1830 two-horse stages were run over the route to Niles 
by Asahel Savery and the Stewarts, twice every week. In 1832 
the frequency of the trips was increased to two per week, but 
during the several weeks covering the Black Hawk war the 
coaches were deserted, although they continued their regular trips. 

Surveyors Advertise the Country. 

When the government surveyors, following the old Chicago 
trail, ran their lines through the southern sections of the present 
St. Joseph county, they saw the country was most fair to look 
upon, and also brought back to Detroit most enthusiastic reports 
of its fertility, the abundance of the game and fish which crowded 
its woods and lakes, and the manifold excellencies of the country 
as a site and a creator of homes. 

These enthusiastic representations found a fertile soil among 
the pioneers of Wayne county, with its great, malarial-breeding 
marshes and its dank, heavy forests, and among the prospectors 
who followed closely on the heels of the surveyors of the national 
*' military road'' were John W. Fletcher, Greorge Hubbard and 
Captain Moses Allen. In the early summer of 1826 they started 
from the Detroit end of the Chicago trail, followed it to Ber- 
trand's, on the St. Joseph river, no cabin of a white man greeting 
them at this time west of Ypsilanti. Continuing their south- 
westerly course, in southwestern Michigan they finally sighted 
to the north the beauties of Nottawa prairie, which stretched to- 
ward the Indian reservation occupied four years before. As 
Nottawa prairie had not then been surveyed and Indians were 
still numerous, although they had their special reserve, the Wayne 
county prospectors failed to make any location. But in the spring 
of 1827 two Wayne county men actually settled in St. Joseph 
county with their families, thus forming the first nucleus of its 

Wayne County Pioneers. 

On April 10, 1827, John Winchell made his home on the west 
end of White Pigeon prairie, deserting Wayne county for the 
purpose. In May, Leonard Cutler, of Indiana, and his family of 
boys settled on the eastern edge of the same prairie, and not long 


afterward Arba Heald, also a Wayne county man, made his home 
not far from Cutler's. The story is current that these three 
pioneers of St. Joseph county divided White Pigeon prairie 
among themselves by running two furrows across it from north 
to south. 

The next comer to the prairie after the tripartite division of 
the land was Dr. David Page, who arrived later in the summer of 
1827. He was the first physician in the county, unmarried, ex- 
tremely youthful in appearance and was accompanied by a brother, 
Reed Page. They built themselves a house of logs not far west 
from the present village of White Pigeon. 

Judge Sturgis Comes. 

In August, of the same year, John Sturgis, afterward first 
judge of the county court, and George Thurston, a younger man, 
came from Monroe, in the Lake Erie region, broke up ten acres 
on the eastern edge of Sturgis prairie (now in Fawn River town- 
ship), and sowed the tract to wheat. In the spring of the follow- 
ing year Mr. Sturgis brought his family to the locality to reside, 
but in August, 1829, took up homestead land in section 4, now 
Nottawa township and then near the southern border of the 
Nottawa-seepe reservation. 

Nottawa Prairie Settlers. 

About the same time John W. Fletcher, who went out from 
Wayne county with the first band of prospectors, located on 
Nottawa prairie, finished a cabin in October, and celebrated 
Christmas eve by bringing his parents and two sisters to occupy it. 
Mr. Fletcher lived on this homestead for more than fifty years. 

Others who came to Nottawa prairie in 1829 were Amos 
Howe, Henry Powers, Russell Post and Dr. Alexander McMillan, 
the last named living with his family all that winter in wagons. 

Sites of Constantine and Three Rivers. 

Captain Alvin Calhoon came to White Pigeon prairie in 1829, 
locating within the present limits of Florence, and probably at 
even an earlier date William Meek, of Wayne county, selected 
land at the intersection of the St. Joseph and Fawn rivers, on 
the site of Constantine village. 

Vol. 1—3 


In the spring of the same year Jacob Mclnterfer and his 
family also migrated from Wayne county to locate on the section 
of land west of the Rocky river, which the head of the household 
had selected in the previous year. The Third ward of Three 
Rivers now occupies a portion of the Mclnterfer homestead. 
While he was erecting his permanent log house, his family lived 
in the wagons in which they had journeyed from near Detroit, 
and the cooking was done in an improvised shanty which he had 
thrown together between two trees. 

Centerville and Colon. 

The coming of Judge William Connor to Nottawa prairie, in 
1829, soon followed by the advent of Judge John Sturgis, Henry 
Powers, Henry Post and others, gave white men a foothold on the 
fertile acres of Nottawa prairie. Centerville, the county seat, 
came into being in November, 1831, when the original plat of the 
village was surveyed and recorded, one of its proprietors, and 
really the only active one, being Robert Clark, Jr., a government 

The Schellhous family was also established on Nottawa 
prairie in 1829, when Roswell of that name came from Ohio. In 
the following year three other brothers arrived, George being one 
of the chief projectors of the village of Colon in 1832. 

French Settlers of Mendon. 

The first settler of Mendon township was Francois Moutan, 
who came to the Nottawa-seepe reservation in 1831, as the agent 
of the Godfroi trading post situated on the south bank of the St. 
Joe, opposite the site of the present village of Mendon. His 
daughter, Frances, afterward married Patrick Marantette, who 
became the agent in August, 1833, after he had served for ten 
years as Indian agent at Coldwater. Mr. Marantette was bom 
of French parents, near Detroit, where his father had long been 
a trader and in daily contact with the Canadian Indians, whose 
confidence in him was unbounded. It was this paternal prestige 
which enabled young Marantette to receive the appointment of 
Indian agent for the Nottawa-seepe Indians while he was yet a 
mere youth, in 1823. He bought a section of land in the reserva- 
tion, which was reserved to him when the Indians disposed of 


their lands to the government in 1833. Two years afterward he 
married Mr. Moutan's daughter, was one of the founders of the 
village of Mendon in 1845, and in everything which constituted 
a pioneer tradesman, a good and generous citizen, stood among 
the foremost during his long and active life. Certainly no man 
in St. Joseph county had a stronger or a better influence with the 
Nottawa-seepe Indians, or was more instrumental in finally in- 
ducing them to leave the country to the superior development of 
the white man. 

Peter Neddeaux came to the reservation in 1833 and located 
near the fort. He was also a Frenchman, as was the next comer, 
Leander Metha, who came from Monroe in 1834, and settled on 
the north side of the river, on the present site of Mendon. There 
he built a rough log cabin, which was afterward used for school 

First Comers to Burr Oak Township. 

In 1831 Burr Oak township received as its first settlers, 
Samuel Haslet and family and George Miller, a bachelor, who 
settled upon land long known as the Elder Farley farm. The 
village of Burr Oak was not laid out until twenty years after- 
ward: so that compared with the other villages of the county, it 
is quite immature. 

A more detailed account of the settlement of the different 
townships of the county will be found in the sketches devoted to 
these civil sections. 

In the foregoing narrative it is evident that the pioneer set- 
tlements of St. Joseph county first followed the Chicago trail, 
and then spread northward along the borders of the reservation 
and the valley of the St. Joseph river. Outside of the reserva- 
tion, the lands were surveyed into townships in 1825-6 and sub- 
divided into sections in 1828. The only settlers who occupied 
their land before its subdivision into sections were Winchell, 
Cutler and Heald. 

The Washtenaw Trail. 

Some of the earliest settlers of St. Joseph county who entered 
land and came hither to make homes for themselves took a more 
northerly route than the Chicago road, following what was known 
as the Washtenaw trail. This approached St. Joseph valley from 
Calhoun county, entering from the northeast comer of Leonidas 


township, thence running in southwesterly direction to Nottawa 
prairie and thence, via Centerville, to White Pigeon. The Wash- 
tenaw trail was made the basis of a territorial road from Jackson- 
burg (now the city of Jackson), via Spring Arbor, the north bend 
of the St. Joseph river, through Nottawa prairie and Centerville, 
to White Pigeon. In April, 1833, it was laid out by Commissioners 
Edgar McCawley, Hiram Thompson and Milton Bam. 

Settlemeistts About Nottawa-seepe. 

It has been stated in a general way that a number of the 
earliest settlers of St. Joseph county located along the borders of 
the Nottawa-seepe reserve, waiting for the lands to be thrown 
open to the settlement of the whites. Some of these early pioneers, 
who thus looked with longing eyes across the border, are men- 
tioned by William H. Cross in a paper which he has contributed 
to the ** Michigan Pioneer Collections." It is given below be- 
cause it is both interesting and historically valuable: '*In 1829, 
Judge Connor had built his cabin, put in some crops, and was 
about to go to the landoffice at Monroe, to enter his land, and 
had saved a few dollars to pay necessary expenses there and back. 
One day in coming in from his work, he found his cabin had been 
entered, and on examination found his money gone, and could 
only imagine who was the thief, nor did he ever find out, but he 
consoled himself that it was only the expense money and not the 
means to pay for his land that was taken away from him, he not 
doubting that the robber, knowing of his intention to buy his 
land, had expected to find that there ; but the judge had ordered 
the sum for the land payment to be sent him at Ypsilanti, where 
he could get it on his way to Monroe, and the only inconvenience 
was short rations and close times on the trip to the landoffice and 
back, which, however, he accomplished, and saved that much 
desired home. This, so far as is known, was the first crime to be 
committed by a white man against a settler in Nottawa. 

George Matthews. 

''When in 1831 George Matthews, from Zanesville, Ohio, 
came to Leonidas, he settled on the east half of section 32, just 
south of the St. Joseph river, and above the ford known as Apple- 
tree ford, where he built his cabin. The village of the Nottawa 


Indians was on the river some distance below, generally on the 
north side, but at some seasons on the south or prairie side; on 
the river some half mile above was the trading post of Thomas 
Hatch, the Indian trader, and in passing from one to the other, 
Matthews' cabin was on the route. One day when Matthews was 
sick with chills and fever, and his wife also sick with fever in her 
bed, a drunken Indian came riding on his pony, whooping and 
yelling to the door, and calling him out. He tried to quiet him 
and have him leave, but he would not. Then Matthews' spirits 
rose above his chills and he went out and told him to go ; but not 
starting, he was pulled off his horse and his face slapped. A few 
days after he returned with a number of Indians and squaws, 
and told Matthews he had insulted him when drunk, and must 
now fight him when sober ; there was no dissent from the offer, 
only asking how they should fight. Rifles were chosen by; the 
Indian, and with his rifle in his hand they went a short distance to 
where the Indians were seated under some trees. Mrs. Matthews, 
fearing something wrong, took their hunting knife under her 
apron and went along. When they got where the others were 
Matthews says, *Come, where we stand.' The Indian looked at 
the determined white man and quailed, saying he would fight with 
knife. Matthews said: 'Well wife, go bring me my hunting 
knife.' She at once produced it from under her apron and he 
told his foe to come, but he did not. Then Matthews stepped out 
and cut a hickory switch, and stepping up to the fighting Indian, 
laid it with no light power over his shoulders. With which the 
Indians and squaws yelled out ^ squaw!' to the Indian, and ap- 
plauded the brave white man and his courageous wife; and no 
kindness or favor was too much for the Nottawa Indians to 
render to the fearless *Chemokeman' and his noble squaw so 
long as they were allowed to remain on their reservation. 

The Dunkin Brothers. 

'* Among the very early settlers on Nottawa prairie was 
James B. Dunkin and his brother Samuel, who, with their aged 
father, bought and settled on sections two and three. They were 
Virginians, and with more than usual means for early settlers, 
and Dr. James B. soon made good improvements and raised grain 
to spare when the settlers in Leonidas and on the Reserve came 
in. It was often times very hard for them to get enough to eat, 


and often times without money to buy with. At a time of great 
difficulty to procure supplies, application was made to the doctor 
for some of his grain, and he asked the person applying, ^Have 
you got the money to buy with?' and the man's reply was 'Yes 
sir, I have the means to pay for what I need. ' Then said Neighbor 
Dunkin, 'I cannot let you have any; for you can get it elsewhere. 
I am going to keep what I have got for those that have no money 
to buy with, and they will pay me in work when I want it, or 
when they can earn it. Their families must have it.' 

McMillan and Sherman. 

''In the first settlement of southwestern Michigan, it was 
deemed right and proper that the first person who settled on a 
piece of land should be entitled to the right of purchase of the 
same when it came into market by sale at the United States land- 
office of the district; and it was held unjust for any person to in 
any way interfere with the squatter's right. In 1828 Dr. Mc- 
Millan settled with his family on the southeast quarter of section 
4, on the prairie, and in the early summer of 1829 Benjamin 
Sherman, of Mt. Morris, N. Y., was looking in the country for a 
location, and the beauty of this section attracted his attention, and 
on his way homeward he went to the Monroe landoffice and en- 
tered the land. Soon after, he came on and took possession, and 
the fact of his so doing was known from Niles to Tecumseh, among 
all settlers, and a prejudicial feeling created that prevented Mr. 
Sherman, who was a man of more than ordinary education and 
ability, from ever becoming a popular or highly esteemed citizen 
among us ; and to-day, among the old settlers, when that piece of 
land comes to mind, that act is brought to remembrance. 

Joseph Butler. 

"In 1830 Joseph Butler settled on the east half of northeast 
quarter of section 10, in Nottawa, which he bought of another man 
who was on it. The next spring he had decided to purchase the 
east half of the northwest quarter of the same section, the lot 
joining him having been taken by Mr. Dunkin. One morning he 
was told that a man decided to buy that lot, and had just left for 
the landoffice on horseback. Butler went to his house, provided 
himself with moccasins for the journey, and on foot started on 


the race for his land. He could track the horseman and followed 
as best he could, and between Tecumseh and Monroe, while the 
horse and man were eating, he passed them, and without loss of 
time entered Monroe, found the land register, made his applica- 
tion for his land, stepped to the receiver's office, paid his money, 
got his duplicate for his land, and just as he crossed the Raisin 
bridge on his return, met his horseman friend going into town. 
He took it more leisurely home. Soon after, he built on that land, 
which was ever after his home until his death. 

Robert Cowan and Wife. 

''Robert Cowan says: 'I arrived at White Pigeon, November 
14, 1831, having traveled on foot from Cleveland and from Detroit, 
on the line of the Chicago trail ; and at Nottawa creek in Leonidas, 
on the 15th, got ready to raise a log cabin on the 16th ; asked every 
man within ten miles ; six came and got it half up, then it set in 
cold, and we, being close by the Indians' summer village, went 
into an Indian wigwam and did not get into our cabin until April. 
In the spring of 1832, while at work, I heard an axe, went to see 
who it was, and found Alfred Holcomb of Dry Prairie, felling small 
trees on which to cross the creek; he had his plow irons on his 
back, going to Prairie Ronde, nearly thirty miles. After five days 
he got back. My brother James, needing a small hook in our saw- 
mill, walked to Wlhite Pigeon, was gone five days, and expenses 
four dollars, for fifty cents worth of work. In 1833, I was reduced 
very low with sickness. Good Mother Fletcher, of Nottawa (now 
seventy-five years of age), rode ten miles on a buckboard behind 
a yoke of oxen, on Tuesday, stayed and nursed me with a mother's 
care until Thursday, then rode home on a load of lumber, and all 
this on very slight acquaintance. ' 

**Mrs. Jane Cowan, wife of Robert, relates the following: 'In 
the fall of 1838, Mr. Cowan went to Pennslyvania on business and 
was taken sick and detained. Every person in the neighborhood 
and country was taken sick and there was no medicine in the coun- 
try ; our two children, the youngest some two months old, and my- 
self were sick and no one well enough to take care of us. It was 
now October, and the nights became chilly, I was not able to bring 
in wood ; I saw a number of Indians passing on a hunting excur- 
sion, and crawling on my hands and knees to the door, beckoned 
them to come to me. They came in, a dozen or more, great, tall 


Indians with their guns and knives. I did not fear them now. I 
made signs to them to bring in some wood, telling them as well as 
I could, that chemokeman (white man) was not at home, gone far 
away, back paw-maw (by-and-by), then come home and mill make 
naponee (flour), and I would pay them. They brought in a nice 
lot of wood, and when Mr. Cowan came home and started the mill, 
they came and got their flour. I relate these incidents to show the 
kindness of the Indians if they are properly and kindly treated. ' 

Andrew Watkins. 

''Andrew Watkins, of Leonidas, gives us this: 'In the fall of 
1833 I was living at Dry Prairie, and Benjamin Ferris, of Sher- 
wood, was taken very sick. I was sent for, and found Ferris very 
sick with pleurisy, and in great pain, and the nearest doctor, Will- 
iam Mottraw^ of Nottawa. I at once took my Indian pony and 
started for the doctor, at his home ; I found he had gone to Pigeon. 
I kept on, and at Pigeon learned that he had left for Sturgis. At 
Sturgis, he had just started for Bishop's in Burr Oak, and there I 
found him, and he inquired how he could get to Ferris \ I said I 
would lead him and we started, and taking my course we forded 
the St. Joseph river above Sturgeon lake, some two miles, and got 
to Ferris' soon after sunrise the morning after I had started; rid- 
ing about sixty miles in the day and night, and much of it guided 
only by my knowledge of the country and of the course of the In- 
dian trails and their fording places of the streams. We found Fer- 
ris had suffered severely, but had vigor and strength enough, with 
good care and the doctor's aid, to pull through and recover.' " 



First Land Entries — Land Offices — First Orchards — Pioneer 
Agricultural Implements — First Mills of the County — 
First Real Grist Mill— Other Early Industries — Com- 
mencement of Business — The Hotel Appears— Enter Post- 
office AND Mail Route — Life and Death — County Seat 
Located — Civil, Political, Judicial — Religious — Educa- 
tional AND Professional — Medical Society and Physicians 
— County Agricultural Society — ''The Old Log House/' 
BY L. D. Watkins in ''Pioneer Collections''— "Pioneer- 
ing IN Southern Michigan," by Professor J. W. Beal— 
"Old Times from a Woman's Standpoint," by Mrs. Henry 
Church — "Maple Sugar Making," from "St. Joseph 
County Republican." 

Without making any pretense at close classification, the fol- 
lowing array of "first things" will form a fairly accurate account 
of the planting of the seeds of progress in St. Joseph county up to 
the final relinquishment of the soil by the Indians in 1840. 

First Land Entries. 

The first land entry was made by Ezekiel Metcalf , of Cattarau- 
gus county, New York, on the 14th day of June, 1828, of the east 
half of the northeast quarter of section 1, township 8, south 
of range 10, west of the principal meridian, in what is now known 
as the town of Sturgis. Metcalf sold his tract to DeGarmo Jones, 
of Detroit, November 3, 1830. A portion of the tract is included 
in the corporate limits of the village of Sturgis. 

The other entries made in 1828 were as follows : John Sturgis, 
October 22nd, southwest quarter of section 6, Fawn River town- 



ship ; October 24th, Arba Heald, east half of southwest quarter sec- 
tion 5, White Pigeon township • Robert Clark, Jr., west half of the 
southwest quarter of the same section and the east half of the 
southeast quarter of section 6, White Pigeon; John W. Anderson 
and Duncan R. Clark, west half of the same quarter, and Asahel 
Savery southwest quarter of the same section (6), October 24th; 
George Buck, west half of the southeast quarter of section 1, Stur- 
gis, on November 24th, and on the 29th of the same month Luther 
Newton and John Winchell, east half of the southeast quarter of 
section 9, White Pigeon; Leonard Cutler, on December 11th, east 
half of northeast quarter, section 6, same township ; Ruth A. 
Clarke, east half of the southwest quarter of section 1, Sturgis, and 
Hart L. Stewart, west half of southwest quarter of same section, 
on December 18th; on that day, Alanson C. Stewart, west half of 
northeast quarter and east half of northeast quarter, section 7, 
Fawn River. 

In the year 1829 one hundred and sixty entries were made, 
among the principal being the locations of Judge Meek at Constan- 
tine; Henry Powers, Henry and Russell Post, William Connor, 
William Hazzard and John W. Fletcher, Nottawa prairie; Jacob 
Mclnterfer, at Lockport and Three Rivers, and Joseph R. Williams, 
Robert Clark, Jr., and the Stewarts, at Mottville. 

Land Offices. 

From their first settlement until June 1. 1831, the pioneers of 
St. Joseph county were obliged to go to Monroe to enter their 
lands; but at that time a land office was established at White Pig- 
eon, of which Abram S. Edwards was register and T. P. Sheldon, 
receiver. In 1834 the office was removed to Kalamazoo. It is said 
that the United States surveyors took advantage of their knowledge 
of the lands they had surveyed, and entered for themselves and 
their friends some of the best sections in the county. Among them 
were Robert Clark, Jr., Prange Risdon, Musgrove Evans and John 
Mullett ; and the above statement is no intimation of dishonest con- 
duct, for since the United States government has sent out its sur- 
veyors, the practical use of the knowledge which they gain in the 
course of their professional work has always been considered one 
of the chief advantages of their position in a new and unknown 


First Orchards. 

Leonard Cutler planted the first apple seeds for nursery pur- 
poses, in the spring of 1828. When three years old, the young 
trees were grafted by a Mr. Jones, who on Cutler's arrival in 1831, 
transplanted them on the Disbrow farm five miles east of AYhite 
Pigeon. Many of the first orchards in the county were supplied 
from this nursery. 

The first orchard in the c6unty was set out in 1829, by Mr. 
Murray on White Pigeon Prairie. The trees came from Fort 

Improved Live Stock. 

The first improved live stock was introduced by Elisha White 
from Connecticut, in 1835-6. He first brought some short-horn 
cattle and an improved breed of hogs to his farm on White Pigeon 
Prairie. The hogs were known as White's breed. 

The father of J. J. Davis, of White Pigeon, brought the first 
blooded horse on that prairie for stock purposes, from Ulster 
county. New York, in 1833. 

Pioneer Agricultural Implements. 

The first plows used were of cast iron, but soon thrown aside. 

In 1841, A. C. Fisher invented a plow with heavy castings and 
timber, measuring about fifteen feet from handle to clevis and re- 
quiring ten yoke of oxen to work it. 

The first grain was cut with cradles. The first reaper was 
brought into the county in 1842, but did not work well, and was 
discarded. The next year a McCormick was introduced which 
frightened the horses so that they ran away, breaking the machine, 
and they had to finish the work with the ' ^ Kirby, ' ' which they had 

First Mills of the County. 

In the summer of 1823 Arba Heald, living near the east end of 
White Pigeon prairie, put up against a tree near his house a 
large pepper mill, with double cranks for two persons, which would 
grind about half a bushel of grain in half an hour. It was purely 
a neighborhood affair, and evidently built on very small lines. 

Also in the summer of 1828, Judge Luther Newton built a saw- 
mill one mile south of the Chicago road on Fawn river, then called 



Crooked creek; but the dam went out, the mill was undermined 
and fell into ruins before any work was done. It was rebuilt, how- 
ever, in 1829, and the first sawing was done in the fall of that year. 
The mill was built so a run of stones for gristing could be added, 
but no grinding was done until after Judge Meek 's mill commenced ' 
operations at Constantine. 

First Real Grist Mill. 

The first grist mill worthy of the name was the one put in 
operation by Judge William Meek, in 1830, on Crooked creek, 


near the present site of the railroad bridge at Constantine. He 
located the water-power and mill site June 15, 1829, and in the 
following spring built a mill, or rather, Hugh Wood erected it, 
and from him the historian obtained a description of this pioneer 
industrial ^* plant'' of St. Joseph county. 

The mud-sills of the dam were large logs sunk to the bottom 
of the stream and puncheons hewn out of other large logs, pinned 
upon them. Then a large log was placed on either side of the 
creek, one of them forming the foundation of the mill. Upon 
these two logs was hung the water-wheel, which was eighteen 
inches long and six feet in diameter. Brush and straw were 
thrown in above the mud-sills, and the water was thus raised 


about eighteen inches to form the current, or water-power which 
carried the wheel. The wheel-shaft was a hewn log, with arms 
mortised into it, upon which the floats or buckets were withed. 
The gudgeons were made of wood, banded with iron that had 
performed a similar service for water-wheel hubs. The bed-stone 
was made of a flat boulder found in the river, about two feet in 
diameter, and the runner was made of a similar one taken from 
the creek about three miles up. The wheels by which the stones 
were driven were entirely of wood. The wheel was stopped by 
floating a log under it, and when motion was again required, the 
log was drawn out. The mill structure was a log building eighteen 
feet square and a story and a half high. 

St. Joseph's first grist mill was completed in twenty days of 
the spring of 1830. Originally it had no bolt, but Judge Meek 
made one himself, consisting of flattened poles covered with ash 
bark; there was no iron in the bolt except the spindles. The 
meal was carried by hand from the stones to the bolt, which was 
turned by the hands of the owners of the grist, whether male or 
female. During the second season, the proprietor made a per- 
manent improvement of his water-power, putting in a more sub- 
stantial dam just above the first mill across Fawn river, digging 
a race and taking the water to the bank of the St. Joseph, where 
he built a saw mill. Into one end of it he put the stones of the 
primitive mill for a short time. He then erected a small building 
into which he put a run of good burr stones, subsequently enlarg- 
ing the building and installing two runs. The saw-mill went into 
operation in the summer of 1831. 

Other Early Industries. 

The first wool-carding and cloth-dressing factory in St. Joseph 
county was built by W. W. Bliss, on Pigeon creek, in 1831. 

First fanning mill made in the county, at White Pigeon, in 

First wood corded by W. W. Bliss,, in 1831, east of White 

Samuel Pratt and Philander A. Paine made the first brick, in 

Edwin Kellogg, at White Pigeon, was the first shoemaker in 
the county. 

The first distillery was built on Crooked creek in 1832, by 
Mr. Reed. 


The first wagon shop, built in 1830, was on White Pigeon 

The first founder ies were put in operation in Constantine, 
Flowerfield and Sturgis in 1836. 

The first flour barrels were made at Centerville in 1834. 

Commencement of Business. 

The first stock of goods for sale in the county were brought 
to White Pigeon by Hart L. and Alonzo C. Stewart in 1829, but 
before being opened for sale Avere transferred to Mottville, where 
the Stewarts were located. It consisted of codfish, one keg of 
tobacco and five barrels of whiskey. 

The business of the pioneer merchant was almost entirely 
conducted by exchange. Money was scarce and the dealers took 
wheat, had it made into flour, and shipped to their eastern 

The first and only safety-fund bank was chartered in 1836, at 

The Hotel Appears. 

The first hotel was a log house erected in 1828 on the present 
site of the Union school, in the village of White Pigeon, called 
^*01d Diggins,'' built by A. Savery, and kept by him as long as 
he lived in the county. 

The first postoffice was established on White Pigeon prairie 
in 1828; the second on Sturgis prairie in 1829. For some years 
the mails received at each place were kept in candle boxes. 

Enter Postoffice and Mail Route. 

The first mail route was established from Tecumseh to White 
Pigeon in 1829, by John Winchell, of White Pigeon. He was re- 
quired to carry the mail once a week each way in summer, and 
once in two weeks in the winter, the service being performed on 

The proprietor of the ''Old Diggins'' owned and operated the 
first stage coaches on the Chicago road in 1831-2, and himself 


drove, cutting out the roads and building bridges to get through 
from Tecumseh to Niles. 

First Railroad. 

The first railroad in the county was the Lake Shore & Michi- 
gan Southern, then known as the Michigan Southern, which was 
completed through Sturgis and White Pigeon in 1851 ; the Grand 
Rapids & Indiana in 1867, and the Michigan Air Line in 1871. 
The Goshen & Battle Creek was built in 1888. 

Life and Death. 

The first couple married in the county were Joseph Knapp 
and Martha Winchell, daughter of John Winchell, the only magis- 
trate in southwestern Michigan at that time, and by whom they 
were married. 

It had not been definitely ascertained as to the first white per- 
son born, but the honor seems to lie between Selinda Reichert 
and a child born in Leonard Cutler's family, both births occurring 
in 1829. 

In the same year the first deaths recorded were George Buck 
and Levi Waterman, who were buried in a well they were digging. 

The funeral service was the first ever held on Sturgis prairie 
by the whites. 

County Seat Located. 

In 1830 the governor appointed a commission to locate a 
county seat, and a report was made recommending what was then 
called George Buck's village, and now Lockport or Second Ward 
of Three Rivers, the proprietors, George Buck and Jacob Mcln- 
terfer, donating the necessary lots. The location not proving satis- 
factory to the county at large, the legislative council set aside 
the report and appointed a new commission, which reported in 
favor of Centerville, and on November 22, 1831, the governor, by 
proclamation, officially declared Centerville the county seat. 

Civil, Political, Judicial. 

First deed recorded 1830, Allen Tibbitts to Hubbel Loomis. 
First mortgage given by A. Heald to Nehemiah Coldrin in 


First election, at which fourteen votes were cast, was held at 
White Pigeon. 

First sheriff was Elias Taylor, of Mottville. 

First judge of probate was Hubbel Loomis, of Wliite Pigeon. 

First term of court was held at Centerville, 1833. 

First county judge was Epaphroditus Ransom, holding office 
from 1833 to 1845. 

First jail built of logs, in Centerville, 1833, burned in 1854. 

First divorce granted to Catherine Hecox from Adney A. 
Hecox in 1834. 


The Methodists organized the first church society at New- 
ville, about two miles east of White Pigeon, in 1829, David Craw- 
ford being leader. 

The first Sunday-school, organized at White Pigeon in the 
early days of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, was a 
union school and well attended; date not known. 

First cemetery laid out in White Pigeon, 1830. , 

Educational and Professional. 

White Pigeon has the honor of building the first school-house, 
which was constructed of logs, in 1830. The same year a school 
was taught in the upper room of the double log house of Philip 
H. Buck, in the village of Sturgis, (then called Sherman) by Dr. 
Henry. In 1832 a log house was built on the east side of Nottawa 
street, as now laid out. 

White Pigeon claimed the first physician, Dr. Page; also the 
first lawyer, Neal McGaffey. 

The first newspaper was called the Michigan Statesman and St, 
Joseph Chronicle^ issued in 1833; edited and owned by John D. 
Defrees a few months, then sold to Henry Gilbert. 

The St. Joseph County Temperance society was organized 
March 25, 1835. The society flourished for a time. This was 
followed by the Washingtonians, Sons of Temperance, Good Tem- 
plars, Red Ribbon and White Ribbon movements, and lastly by the 
Woman's Christian Temperance Union. 

Medical Society and Physicians. 

The St. Joseph Medical Society was organized about 1835. It 
was succeeded by the St. Joseph Valley Medical Association. 


The first physician to practice in St. Joseph county was Dr. 
Page, who came to White Pigeon prairie in the fall of 1827, fresh 
from an eastern college. Although he was twenty-five, he was at 
first considered remarkably 'Afresh'' by the bluff old pioneers of 
the county. The story told of his first coming into these parts is 
almost too good to be true; it is to the effect that he was once 
directed to a spring by the '* blazed'^ trees around it, and returned 
after some time from an unsuccessful hunt for burning trees. In 
the summer of 1828 Peter Klinger was injured by falling down a 
well he was digging for Judge Sturgis, and Dr. Page performed 
the first surgical operation in the county, when he set some of 
Mr. Klinger's misplaced bones. 

In 1828 Dr. Hubbel Loomis located at Newville for a time, 
but subsequently moved to White Pigeon, and combined the 
duties of a probate judge with those of his profession. 

Dr. Alexander McMillan, who came to Sturgis paririe in 
1829, spent more time in working out his various theories of 
life than in the practice of medicine, but was a well-meaning 

Dr. W. N. Elliott, who settled at White Pigeon in 1832, prac- 
ticed for fifty years. During the Civil war he went out as surgeon 
of the Eleventh Michigan Infantry. 

Dr. Watson Sumner, who came to Constantine in 1834, was 
noted both as a physician and a politician, but his health failed, 
after several years of activity, and he left the county. 

Dr. Nottram was a widely known member of the profession, 
who practiced on Nottawa prairie from 1834 to 1850. 

Dr. Cyrus Ingerson, Dr. Johnson and Dr. S. W. Truesdell 
represented the profession at the county seat after 1834. Dr. 
Truesdell died in 1844, while holding the office of judge of probate. 

Dr. Ira F. Packard was one of the ablest physicians in the 
county, his best and most active work being accomplished at 
Sturgis from 1839 to 1850. His son. Dr. Nelson I., went out with 
the Eleventh Michigan regiment as assistant surgeon. 

Dr. Van Buren was probably the first homeopathic physician 
who practiced in the county, settling at Center ville in 1836. 

Dr. Eagerly became a resident physician of Three Rivers in 
1836, and Dr. Hurd about the same time. Among those of a later 
day, but still of an early date, to settle in that city were: Dr. C. 
W. Backus, Dr. E. B. Graham, Dr. Lawrence D. Knowles, Dr. 

Vol. 1—4 


William M. Ikeler and Dr. W. A. Clark. Dr. Ikeler located in 
1873, and died December 12, 1902. Dr. A. W. Seidmore, the 
mayor of the city, came to Three Rivers in 1889. 

Dr. Edwin Stewart and Dr. Hyatt were early physicians of 
Mendon, and Dr. Isaac Sides, Dr. A. J. Kinne and Dr. Mitchell of 

Following is a list of the practicing physicians of St. Joseph 
county: Leon S. Barney, Leonidas; P. Leroy Hartman, Charles 
Stockhouse ,Edward L. Godfrey and W. E. Doran, Colon; Blanche 
M. Haines, Thomas J. Haines, Lawrence D. Knowles, Whitman E. 
Clark, F. K. Meyer, Arthur W. Seidmore, John H. O'Dell, Ray 
E. Dean and Guy L. Bliss, Three Rivers ; John R. Williams, Will- 
iam C. Cameron and William H. Snyder, White Pigeon; Samuel 
R. Robinson, John H. Moe, Fred W. Robinson, William H. Howard, 
Peter H. Van Vleek, David Y. Runyan, Peter Radebaugh and 
David M. Kane and Alfred A. Wade, Sturgis ; Samuel H. Bennett, 
William A. Royer and James W. Barnebee, Mendon; Homer H. 
Throop, Edward P. Partlow, Leal K. Slote, Bela P. Scoville and 
Amar J. East, Constantine ; Marden Sabin, Darius C. Gee, Bryant 
Weed and Frank Allen, Centerville; Charles E. Barringer, Park- 
ville; John C. RoUman, Charles D. Parsons, Rozilla Crofford, 
J. J. Kelley, Carl J. Rollman and Floyd W. Clements, Burr Oak ; 
John J. Sweetland, Mottville. 

County Agricultural Society. 

The St. Joseph County Agricultural society was organized 
November 27, 1849, by several citizens of the county, who met 
at the courthouse in Centerville and elected Mark H. Wakeman 
chairman. Mr. Wakeman was the first president; Samuel Chip- 
man, treasurer, and J. Eastman Johnson, recording secretary. 
The first fair of the society was October 22, 1850, the prizes in- 
cluding not only rewards for the best live stock and agricultural 
implements on exhibition, but for the most meritorious specimens 
of patchwork contributed by the women and girls. Hon. Joseph 
R. Williams, of Constantine, delivered the first address. 

For many years the fairs were well attended, the grounds in- 
cluding about twenty acres adjoining the village of Centerville. 
Of late years there seems to have been a gradual falling of in- 
terest, and the society is in rather a torpid state. 


Since 1860 the presidents of the society have been as follows : 
Jere H. Gardner, Charles Betts, Samuel Frankish, Henry Tracy, 
J. B. Dimick, N. S. Johnson, David D. Antes, Thomas Cuddy, 
Volney Patchm, H. S. Leinbach, Alonzo Palmer, Joseph Farrand, 
Henry Sevison, A. Sharp, A. W. Scidmore, Bruce Hart, F. S. 
Cummings, W. F. A. Bolender and Jeff Hull. President Antes 
held office from 1869 until October, 1880 (with the exception of 
one term), when he moved to Mississippi. 

By L. D. Watkins in ''Michigan Pioneer Collections.'' 

''The old time log house was the typical modem house of 
the early settlers. Note the porch in front and the huge rain- 
trough reaching along the entire end of the house. You can hardly 
see the latch-string that comes through the hole in the door above 
the wooden latch, or the great wooden hinges on which the door 
swung. The latch-string above referred to served a double pur- 
pose — ^to open the door and to fasten it shut at night, or when de- 
sired. All that was necessary was to pull it through from the in- 
side, and the great wooden latch did the rest. Hence, when the door 
was not fastened, was inaugurated the old saying, 'the latchstring 
is out. ' 

"These log houses were built just high enough for a bed to 
stand along the side of the chamber, and so near was the sleeper 
to the roof that he could easily touch the 'shakes' (long shingles) 
with the hand without rising. Early settlers will remember the 
tremendous clatter of rain storm upon these 'shakes,' or the snow 
sifting through the roof, sometimes in such quantity that in the 
morning there would be an inch or two all over the chamber floor 
and bed. The only safe place to deposit our clothing was under 
the bed. It would be hard to make people realize the delight in 
making a toilet in a room the temperature of which is near zero, 
and the putting on of clothing filled with sifted snow. 

"Still more vivid will be the recollections of the lower story 
with its great stick chimney built of split sticks laid up cob-house 
fashion plastering with clay on both sides ; a fire back was built of 
undressed field stones, against which a great log was placed, 'the 
back log,' with a smaller log in front, 'the fore-stick.* Between 


these smaller wood was piled. At night the remnants of the logs 
were covered with ashes to keep the fire over night. In the olden 
time, neighbors borrowed of each other in ease their fire went out 
over night. This was before matches were invented. In one corner, 
pinned to the wall, was a ladder to climb to the chamber above. A 
partition was made across the end opposite the fire ; this was again 
divided and one-half used for a bed — called a bed-sink — the other 
part for a pantry. The bed-sink referred to was simply a space in 
the board partition the length of the bed and was closed by cur- 
tains from the one main room. It was in this Itttle space that 
there was often found the bedstead with one post only. This bed- 
stead was a great puzzle to the uninitiated ; letters to their old 
eastern homes often told how impossible it was to get furniture 
(in fact, there was none to sell or buy) and that they slept upon a 
bedstead having but one post. This was true. It was made by 
boring holes in the logs at a suitable height for a bed, in a comer 
of the house, the side pieces were fitted, one end to these holes and 
the other to the straight post, making a one-post bedstead. The 
overhanging roof, making a rustic porch, was often omitted, 
though a luxury. 

** There was still a lower story in the old log house, the only 
entrance to which was by a trap-door formed by sawing a section 
about three feet square from the floor, that was formed into a door 
which was made to swing upward by a strap or ring. A ladder 
instead of stairs gave access to the cellar bottom which was a square 
hole under the center of the house, far enough from the outer walls 
to be safe from caving, as there were no walls under the house or 
around the cellar. 

**In this cellar was stored the vegetables for the winter, the 
housewife's crocks of butter, lard, jars of wild honey and fruit, 
and in one comer stood, high above all others, that king of kings, 
the old time pork-barrel. None but pioneers can fully compre- 
hend the importance of the pork-barrel to the early settlers. Even 
in the villages there was no such thing as a meat market known ; 
but the pork barrel reigned supreme. From its briny depths came 
the crisp and savory accompaniment of every morning meal and 
dinner of baked beans and boiled vegetables. It seems to me to- 
day that there was never a more delicious dish served than the 
buckwheat griddle-cakes, garnished with pork gravy, having the 
rich savory taste of the hickory nut, beech nut and sweet acorn 
which formed the fattening food from which the winter pork was 


made in pioneer days. And finally we must say to the old log 
house, farewell, for its day has passed. The next generation will 
only know of its existence through the pictures and pens of the 
pioneers. ' ' 


Land was to be had of the United States for a dollar and a 
quarter per acre. In numerous instances people spent most of 
their money for land and had not enough left with which to buy 
an outfit for farming. Then they were said to be land poor. Ev- 
erything was to be done in a new country. There were no houses, 
no fences, no roads. Most people had little money. 

Another Log Cabin. 

At first small unhewed logs were laid up cob-house style, ex- 
cepting that notches were cut near the ends of the logs, so that 
cracks between would not be large. The cracks were chinked with 
strips of wood and made tight each fall by plastering with wet clay. 
The roof consisted of ''shakes'' split from oak. They were about 
two and one-half feet long and not shaved or smoothed. They were 
held in place by horizontal poles, one coming over the laps of each 
two rows of shakes. These poles on the sloping roof were kept 
in place by numerous short props, the lower ones of which were 
near the eaves of the house. Sometimes bark or elm or basswood 
was used for a roof. No nails were used, as none were to be had. 
Floors were at first made of puncheons, which consisted of plank 
split from soft wood and hewed, but saw mills soon made it possi- 
ble to secure boards. The door was hung on home-made wooden 
strap hinges. The catch and latch were of wood. To lift the latch 
from the outside, a string went through a gimlet hole a little above. 
To lock the house at night, the latch-string was pulled in by those 
inside, but the latch-string was usually left outside at all times, 
as tramps and thieves were almost unknown. To permit the cat to 
go in and out at all times of day or night, a small notch was cut 
near one of the lower comers of the door and the piece of board 
was hung over the opening so it would swing in either direction. 
This was known as the cat hole. One window containing four 
lights of glass, six by eight or eight by ten, was considered gener- 


At one end of the house was a huge fire-place five to six feet 
across, the back consisting of flat stone, the sides or jambs of curved 
beams, above which rested a square stick chimney, the slender 
sticks piled up cob-house fashion often on the outside of the house. 
The inside of these sticks were well plastered with clay mud, in 
which was mixed a little chipped hay or straw. As this clay was 
washed off by rain, it was replaced. Sometimes the sticks would 
get bare and catch on fire. To use in case of such emergencies, a 
squirt gun was kept handy with which to shoot water up the chim- 
ney and put out the fire. Stones or rough andirons kept large 
sticks of wood three and four feet long up out of the ashes. Over 
the fire-place swung a great iron crane or bar, on which were hung 
half a dozen more or less of S-shaped pot-hooks and short pieces of 
chain. These hooks the housewife used supporting kettles, pots, 
tea-pots, and griddles. The crane was swung out, the kettles hung 
on the hooks, and back again went the crane with pots over the fire. 
Figs, chickens, and spare-ribs were roasted splendidly by suspend- 
ing them by a wire before the fire. In some places baking was 
mostly done in the old-fashioned brick oven. Johnny-cake (com 
cake) was often baked on one side of a small board tipped up lean- 
ing toward the fire. Potatoes were baked or roasted in hot ashes. 
A little later tin bakers were in vogue, in which the baking tins 
were supported about eight or ten inches above the hearth, while 
slanting above and below were tins for reflecting the heat from the 
fire to the baking tins. At best, cooking over an open fire was no 
easy or pleasant task. Still later, but not much later, crude cook- 
stoves arrived, costly, clumsy, heavy, and inefficient. 

Provisions and Out-Door Supplies. 

The provisions in store consisted of wheat flour, corn-meal, salt 
pork, potatoes, dried pumpkins, and sometimes a few dried black- 
berries. In summer or fall there were to be had wild plums, blue- 
berries, black raspberries, red raspberries, huckleberries, and cran- 
berries. Salt was often very scarce, at one time costing $21 a bar- 

But little attention was paid to vegetable gardens, partly be- 
cause cabbages, beets, onions, peas, parsnips, squashes, cucumbers, 
and the like were considered mere luxuries, partly because the peo- 
ple were very busy raising staple crops, and partly because they 
hadn't been trained in such work and looked at it as pottering 


business. Trees for bearing apples, peaches, cherries and pears 
were set out very soon among the stumps, though the quality of 
most of them was very inferior. Occasionally in autumn some 
person would bring, in open wagons, apples from Monroe to west- 
em Lenawee, a distance of about sixty miles, over bad roads. 

Overhead in the house were small rough beams supporting a 
chamber floor. On the sides of these poles were wooden hooks 
made of pieces of small trees with some of the limbs. These fas- 
tened to the beams held the gun, powder-horn and sundry other 
articles. Small poles on such hooks held seed corn, onions, and cir- 
cles of pumpkin to dry for use in winter as sauce or pies. 

There is no use in denying the fact that swamps were numer- 
ous in many places ; in fact, surveyors had said that Michigan con- 
sisted of scarcely anything more than swamps. Mosquitoes 
swarmed everywhere. There were no screens for windows or doors. 
At evening a smudge of decaying wood or chips was kept going 
until late into the night. Where people had not become used to 
it, they were not infrequently up once or more in the night hunt- 
ing mosquitoes and scorching them with a lighted candle. To this 
day I know just how a singed mosquito sounds as it drops from the 
flame of a candle. At evening the light was dim and sometimes 
flickering, depending on whether it came from a protruding rag 
in a saucer of grease, or blazing wood in the fire-place. The peo- 
ple were not accustomed to reading much. There were no maga- 
zines and few books or newspapers. In the evening men told 
stories, made plans for the next day or week, visited with neigh- 
bors who may have come in from six miles away, or they dozed by 
the fire, or went early to bed. The women usually finished some 
work or sat knitting the supply of stockings for the family, using 
every spare moment that no time be lost. 

Many farms contained an abundance of maple trees, and in 
spring these were tapped with an ax, the sap running over spouts 
into small wooden troughs or dugouts. The sap, collected in pails 
and carried by aid of a wooden **neckyoke'' on the shoulders, was 
boiled in open kettles hung on poles over a fire. It was not usually 
very clean, but it was highly prized by people, who could not af- 
ford to buy sugar from the market. 


Light was not furnished by electricity, gas, or coal oil. Can- 
dles were becoming common, and they were handmade. About 


twenty candle rods were made twenty inches long and a little larger 
than a leadpencil. On each of these were hung by a loop surround 
ing the stick, about ten twisted pieces of candle- wicking, each for 
the skeleton or frame-work of a candle. In a deep kettle was placed 
some hot tallow, reaching to the top. The expert dipped in the dry 
wicks, or got them into tallow in some way. These were shaped by 
thumb and finger as the tallow cooled. After dipping awhile the 
tallow became cooler and lower in the kettle. To warm it up and 
raise the tallow, hot water was poured in, going to the bottom be- 
cause it was heavier than tallow. Rod after rod was placed in 
turn over the tallow and the young candles dipped in, sometimes 
two candles sticking together, needing to be separated by hand. 
Very naturally, gravity assisted the lower part of the candle to 
become larger than the top. To remedy this to some extent, the 
lower ends were held in the kettle occasionally to melt off a little 
of the tallow. Later, candles were made in what are known as 
candle-molds. In connection with candles came the need of candle- 
sticks, snufPers, and sometimes extinguishers; the latter of which, 
your '*ma," when a little girl, called the overshow to the candle. 

In the '30s such matches as we now have were not known. It 
was the custom to take such pains in preserving fire buried in 
ashes. I remember to having gone half a mile to the house of a 
neighbor to get a new stock of fire. By use of flint, steel, powder, 
cotton and punk, one could usually secure fire. Scrolls of paper in 
a vase were made with which to light candles instead of live coals 
held by tongs. 

All Kinds of Comforts. 

Home-made bedsteads were constructed of four-by-four scant- 
ling, or nice poles from the woods. In either case holes in the sides 
and ends were made through which a bed-cord was strung *^ criss- 
cross,'' with meshes about eight inches apart. On this rope was 
placed a bed-tick filled with straw for use in summer, and above 
the straw tick was placed a feather bed, if the family was well-to- 
do. To economize space, a low, small bed, the trundle-bed, was kept 
during the day beneath the larger bed, and at night drawn out for 
the use of the children. Soft soap was home-made of lye from 
wood ashes and refuse grease. 

Blankets were made of wool or flax mixed, spun or woven by 
the woman of the house, or by someone in the neighborhood. Cloth- 
ing was nearly all home-spun from wool or flax. 


A few black sheep were kept that the wool could be mixed with 
white wool, and thus save dyeing the yarn. It was not long be- 
fore material for striped shirts could be had. Women bought cal- 
ico for dresses. Suspenders were made of woolen yam, and if a 
button gave out, a small stick or a nail took its place. 

An itinerant shoemaker spent a week or more in the fall at 
a house measuring and fitting and making the winter supply of 
footwear. At the same time he probably repaired or made har- 
nesses for horses. The local tanner tanned and dressed hides for 
the farmer. If the housewife did not possess the required skill, 
a woman tailor sometimes went from house to house, making 
clothes for the children. 

Clearing the Land. 

Much of the land was covered by a heavy growth of timber 
which had to be hewn down and gotten rid of that the farmer 
might grow wheat, corn, potatoes and other crops. The bushy 
growth, ** underbrush,'' was cut and piled, then the trees were 
attacked. The expert woodchopper who knew his business, could 
usually fell his trees in one of three different directions of the 
compass. He usually felled them so that a number of tree-tops 
would come close to each other, making one round or long pile, 
thus saving the labor of handling them all over to make a pile. 
Most of tlie logs were cut into pieces of 15 to 20 feet. Some very 
large ones, of little use, were not cut at all, but allowed to rest 
where they fell, and were destroyed by piling and burning smaller 
timber next to them. Some of the best oaks were cut 11 feet long 
and split into rails of irregular shape, each about the size of a 
four-by-four scantling, and laid up seven to eleven rails high in 
a zig-zag or worm fence. It was considered important that the 
rails be evenly laid so that a bullet would hit every corner when 
shot on one side of the fence. 

A rail splitter would cut his timber and split 100 rails in a 
day, and an expert 200, receiving therefor one dollar a hundred, 
and board himself. He needed an axe, a wooden beetle or very 
large mallet with an iron ring on each end, two or more iron 
wedges, two or more wooden wedges (gluts) of ironwood, 18 
inches long, 3 or 4 inches in diameter, and a handspike. When 
enough timber had been cut to make a new field for crops, and 
the weather became w^arm and dry, the torch was applied to one 


pile of brush after another till all were fired. The leaves and 
small sticks were mostly consumed. Later the charred logs and 
poles received attention. Then some morning came a gang of 
men with sleeves rolled up, driving one or more teams of oxen, 
most of these men carrying each an axe and a handspike or lever 
of ironwood. The logs were drawn and rolled into piles located 
in hollows. Poles and rubbish were carried by hand to the log- 
heaps. When many heaps had been made and the wind was 
right and the weather dry, they were set on fire. It was a grand 
and unique sight never to be erased from the memory of the person 
who had seen a group of log-heaps burning in a dark night. 

As the logs were burning, a man went from place to place to 
roll the fragments together. Timbered land thus cleared, only 
needed a rough, stout A-shaped harrow containing nine to eleven 
teeth, each stout enough to stand the strain of a yoke of oxen as 
they pulled among the roots and stumps. After the team had 
jerked the harrow in every direction over the land, it was ready 
for a crop of corn, wheat, or potatoes. There were very few 
weeds and not a foot of sod of any kind. It was too rooty to 
admit of plowing. If a man was ill, sometimes the neighbors 
turned out, making a bee and doing the logging for him. Two 
or three or more sowed or hoed crops, often followed in succession 
without seeding to clovers and grasses. 

As the smaller roots and stumps decayed, some rough plow- 
ing was done. On oak openings, the underbrush and the scatter- 
ing trees were cut and burned, after which the land was broken 
up (plowed) by the use of a very stout plow, and three or four, 
sometimes as many as seven, yoke of oxen, hitched one team 
ahead of another. This stout plow was almost always a home- 
made affair, constructed of wood, excepting the coulter and the 
share. This plow cut off and turned over oak-grubs (small stumps 
and roots) that were three or four inches in diameter. An axe 
was carried along to cut off obstructions and to release the plow 
when caught by roots. The driver carried a whipstock eight feet 
long, holding a lash made of home-tanned woodchuck skin. He 
went back and forth along the team, touching up Bright, Broad, 
Brim, Tom, Jerry, and the rest, as necessity seemed to dictate, 
seeing that each did his part of the work. A breaking-up team 
had a regular vocation, like threshing machines of today, and 
went from place to place at about five dollars per day. 


After stumps were partially gone, it was often the practice 
to use a yoke of oxen next the plow and a horse-team ahead, driven 
by a boy of 17 to 20, and he soon regarded it as a sleepy job of 
little interest. 

The man at the plow had all he could attend to in looking out 
for stumps, stones and roots. Sometimes they stirred up a nest 
of yellow- jackets or bumblebees that had to be humored, or ex- 
terminated when possible. This served to break up the monotony. 

I remember to have seen a plow with a wooden moldboard and 
only one handle. Wood's patent was the first plow with a cast- 
iron moldboard that I remember to have seen or used. I have 
read of a prejudice among farmers against using an iron plow on 
the ground that it poisoned the land for crops, but I never heard 
of this among the farmers of southern Michigan. A friend from 
North Carolina told me that in his state the wooden moldboard 
was often covered with the hard skin of a garpike or bill-fish, and 
that it was a great improvement over wood alone. On rough, 
new land the farmer required a boy to ride and guide the horse, 
as he looked after the shovel plow. 

Heavy ox-carts were not uncommon, as they could get about 
rough ground to better advantage. Sleds were mostly home-made, 
the runners being natural crook for the turned-up apex, and shod 
with ironwood or cast-iron shoes, made at the nearest foundry. 
A cart or wagon could not be bought of a dealer or manufacturer, 
as there were none, at least not in our part of the state. When 
wanting a wagon, the farmer held a council with a wheelwright, 
who had his shop near a blacksmith shop. The wagon-maker got 
up the wood-work to order, the farmer bought his iron, and the 
blacksmith ironed the vehicle, and one of the three put on a coat 
or two of red paint. 

In the '30s wild flowers were abundant almost everywhere. 
There were a few scattering weeds, mostly natives of the neighbor- 

Pests and Annoyances. 

Potatoes knew no blight, no sun scald, no scab, no rot; the 
Colorado beetle had not migrated eastward. In leaf mold of the 
virgin soil the potatoes were unmolested and abundant, often 
crowding each other in the hill. Wheat rusted, but the midge and 
the Hessian fly had not arrived. Smut was uncommon, and yet 
the wheat crop was not without its enemies. While seeding in 


autumn the farmer had often to guard his recently-sown wheat 
by killing or frightening wild pigeons which appeared in immense 
flocks. In October, deer frequented the young wheat to gather 
flesh for a long winter. In some portions of the southwestern 
counties in open winters, wild geese trampled down and fed 
on the wheat when not too far from a lake or pond. In cold 
weather the geese kept swimming about to keep the ice from 
closing in. 

Spring frosts were more troublesome than now. Black, gray, 
and red squirrels carried off some wheat. At times of corn-plant- 
ing, chipmunks (striped ground squirrels) must be shot or caught 
with a trap, consisting of a short board under which was a baited 
figure-four trap. Larger squirrels and coon were sometimes very 
annoying, as they Avere fond of roasting ears or even older corn. 
On one frosty morning a man, of course without club, gun, or dog, 
found five coons on one corn shock. The coons all escaped, in- 
stead of having their hides nailed on the north side of the house 
or barn. In the fall and winter, large flocks of quail, and occasion- 
ally flocks of wild turkeys, ate some of the corn left in the shock 
on account of niismanagement or illness of the owner of the farm. 

At one time my brother and I made a trap about eight feet 
square, of sticks, covering well with corn, unhusked. In a day 
or two, watching from the house, we saw eight turkeys not far 
from the trap, and not long after, we were delighted to see the 
trap spring and only seven turkeys depart. We had caught a 
turkey ! This was as good as a circus for the boys. 

The Live Stock. 

During winter and spring when fodder became scarce, trees 
were cut down, and the cattle were driven to the tree tops to 
browse on the buds and tender parts of the limbs. The young 
branches of black ash were the favorite for this purpose, as they 
were very large and tender. Wheat was cut with a cradle, some- 
times with a sickle, and raked and bound by hand. It was threshed 
with a flail and cleaned by tossing up a shovelful at a time, where 
it was exposed to a strong wind. Later the open threshing ma- 
chine, having no carrier or separator, was employed. Cheap 
mills soon sprang up over the country, where farmers had their 
wheat ground by giving one-tenth toll for the work. 

Horses were a mixed lot, mostly of an inferior grade ; cattle 
were also a mixed lot, many of them entitled to the name "scrub." 


Most of them ran at large, picking a living wherever it was to be 
found. One of the leaders was supplied with a bell, which told 
where the herd could be located, if they were not lying down. 
Sometimes they strayed away. Usually most of them were un- 
ruly, and would let down and jump fences to beat all. To pre- 
vent animals from jumping or craw^ling through a fence, almost 
everything had on its head or neck a poke or yoke of some style. 
This was true of cattle or horses. Pigs had a yoke on the neck 
which stuck up above and below the head to prevent them from 
crawling through the fence. The pigs were often very slim and 
hungry. I have heard that in some places they kept pigs from 
getting through a rail fence by tying a knot in the tail, but I 
never actually saw a pig so hampered. Geese had their necks 
adorned with yokes. Pigs were variable in quality, and got much 
of their living in the woods, especially in fall and early winter, 
eating beechnuts and acorns. 

Nearly every farmer knew enough to butcher pigs and cattle, 
but experts of a crude sort were to be had in almost every neigh- 

The United States mail soon penetrated every new settle- 
ment. There were very few letters or papers. Once a week the 
mail bag was taken on horseback over the route. Postage on a 
letter was twenty-five cents and was paid by the one receiving it. 
Each person had to learn how to fold a letter written on fools-cap 
paper, as there were no envelopes. It required about a month to 
get a letter from Western New York to Southern Michigan, a dis- 
tance of about 500 miles. When a person was to make a visit to 
his friends in the east, all the neighbors took advantage of the 
fact and sent letters by the traveler. 

Educational and Religious. 

There were very few papers, no such thing as a magazine, and 
very few books to be found in the houses of the pioneers. I re- 
member only two books that could interest young persons; one 
of them was Robinson Crusoe, the other was an account of a man 
by the name of Robinson, who kept a diary while he was wander- 
ing about the Sahara desert as a captive by Arabs. 

The schoolhouse was cheap, home-made, and inconvenient, 
and school was taught by most anyone who could be found willing 
to undertake the job. The benches consisted of slabs, supported 


by legs inserted in auger-holes from the round side of the slab. 
There was a chance to write in a copy book, the teacher making 
pens out of goose-quills. School tax was paid by rate bills, a 
rule which was favored by most of the wealthiest men, especially 
those with small families. There was no grammar taught and no 
blackboard on the walls. The teacher usually boarded around. 
Attending college was not thought of. Science was crude and 
elementary. No women served as clerks in stores or anything of 
the kind. 

Amusements were very few and simple in character. There 
were tea parties, quilting, husking, logging bees, and barn raisings. 
Boys were enthusiastic over washing sheep, visiting a neighbor- 
ing lake for a swim, and for catching fish. 

Science had not yet become prominent enough to prevent the 
reign of superstition. Farmers relied on the almanac for the 
phases of the weather, and the moon, learning by these rules when 
to plant potatoes, kill hogs and other operations. Gradually a 
kind of aristocracy crept in, the first symptoms of which were 
the possession of a large brass kettle, and a large iron kettle, known 
as a potash kettle. This was convenient for scalding hogs, cook- 
ing food for cattle, and for various other purposes. Later, some 
of the wealthiest purchased some silver-plated knives and forks, 
and a silk dress now and then. 

Religious exercises were usually held in the nearest school- 
house about once a month or once in two weeks. The country 
doctor rode on horseback for long distances, carrying medicines 
in saddlebags. 

The roads were almost always poor, and often terrible. Peo- 
ple frequently went on foot from place to place, or rode in lumber 
wagons, sometimes over a road of poles on stringers a quarter of 
a mile long, without dirt or gravel on top. This was a corduroy 
road, long to be remembered by anyone who has ever ridden over 
such a thing in a wagon without springs. — ^Written by Professor 
W. J. Beal, of the Michigan Agricultural College, and published 
in ** Pioneer Collections." 

By Mrs. Henry Church. 

The following paper was written by Mrs. Henry Church, a 
pioneer of the county, at Emporia, Kansas, and delivered by Mrs. 


J. J. Packard before the Woman's Club of Sturgis, in March, 1910. 
The editor of the St. Joseph county history is especially indebted 
to Mrs. George B. Reading and Mrs. R. C. Hamilton for a copy 
of the reproduced paper. 

'* Madam President and Ladies: 

*^I labor under great difficulty in furnishing incidents of pio- 
neer life, with all records of the same hundreds of miles away, and 
only a desire to once more contribute in a place where I have ever 
found benefit and happiness could tempt me to write under such 
adverse circumstances. 

^^From memory, I can relate, a^ told at pioneer meetings, of 
the long journeys over nearly impassable roads as they dragged 
their weary way, with wives and children nearly exhausted and of 
the joy when they reached their destination; of the hastily built 
cabins; of the wandering away of the stock not yet wonted to 
the new home and of the precious time lost in hunting it; of the 
malaria that came from the newly broken sod, causing fever and 
ague, freezing first the very marrow in their bones, followed by a 
burning fever and racking pain ; after which, pale and trembling 
the victims would take up their work till a recurrence of the same 
and so for weeks many times until the disease would wear itself 
out. Of nights, w^hen the wolves, fierce with hunger, would howl 
around them to be driven away, only by hurling firebrands in 
their midst, from which they would slink away in terror. 

''One thing I would state, that while the records only tell of 
the struggles of men in the new life, that brave as he may have 
been, the wife who followed was also worth her full meed of 
praise; she, who with tear-stained cheeks turned her back on 
parent and friends and left the endearing associations of a life- 
time to face the vicissitudes of an untried life. 

''In the absence of facts, will describe things as they were 
used, showing not so much the pioneer life as the advancement in 
every direction that has been made and which attribute much 
to applying the power of steam to machinery, cheapening produc- 
tion and placing the blessings of life in the hands of many, and to 
the busy brain so fertile in its power of intuition. I will simply 
describe things as I remember them, hoping, if I fail to interest, 
that you will patiently listen between naps until the reading is 


''WJiile I now quote a letter I have before me, giving a 
description of the beautiful prairie which now makes our home, 
I will state that the letter was written with a pen from a quill 
plucked from a goose — they had no other kind — made with a pen- 
knife, sharpened and kept for the purpose. Beside the writer was 
a little dish of black sand brought from far away and only found 
in one place in the world. As there were no blotters, this was 
sifted over the paper as the ink flowed too freely to absorb it. 
Afterward every grain had to be gathered up to be used again. 
At that time there were no envelopes and the last sheet was left 
blank and the letter folded so this sheet would slip over to be 
fastened by wafers. The postage was twenty-five cents, too much 
for poor pioneers. So my father would take a newspaper and 
write with skimmed milk, which, when held to the fire, would 
scorch and thus show the writing, bringing happiness at the ex- 
pense of our dear Uncle Samuel. 

* ' I now quote : ^I have a most beautiful situation in the center 
of a small prairie about two miles across; a small village, three 
stores, three taverns and three doctors. This is one of the finest 
countries I ever saw, being the most productive. Good water, 
distance sixty feet. Good wheat, old, seven shillings per bushel; 
corn, three to four shillings per bushel. Dried apples, $3.00 per 

*' 'If you could see this prairie, as it is now, covered with fields 
of wheat, corn and oats, frequently from one to two hundred acres 
in a field ! Inhabitants are beginning to set out orchards, etc., etc' 

''This village was called 'Sherman' the part lying east of 
Farr's hotel; and 'Ivanhoe' the part lying west of that place. 
Eighteen hundred and thirty-eight, the year before the letter was 
written, was ever known as the sickly season. There were not 
enough well to care for the sick. There were two men who were 
coffin makers. I might say right here, these coffims were of wood 
widening to give room for the shoulders, then tapering to the feet, 
lined with glazed cambric and pinked to relieve its bareness. 
The men worked at them by night, and by day went from house 
to house to relieve the necessities of the sick. A friend of mine 
buried her mother in the cemetery, marked the grave by those 
around it. Sickness prevented her visiting it for two weeks ; then 
the graves had so multiplied that she never found her resting 
place. Physicians were compelled to hire drivers so they could 
sleep while riding. Do not think of them starting out with a 


nice little ease filled with nicer medicines, but with a pair of un- 
couth saddlebags with sloping covers fastened with a strap and 
united with a strip of soft leather six or eight inches wide and long 
enough to rest each side of the saddle if riding on horseback. In- 
side were many packages of roots and herbs, replaced now by fluid 
extracts, quantities of calomel and jalap, and pills almost inde- 
scribable in their horrid taste and tremendous size. No spoon of 
sauce would be great enough so they would not sicken, and woi*se 
still, it seemed, it would take hours to remove the taste from the 
throat. An old man put one in a tumbler with a little water to 
carry it down. For hours it lay in his throat, driving sleep away. 
When he arose in the morning he found it in a dish where he had 
placed it the night before. Afterwards there was sickness but 
never to such an extent. 

* ' One other incident of pioneer life seldom mentioned, yet, as 
far as I know, ever present was the bed bugs. Only by boiling 
water and eternal vigilance were they subdued. It is said they 
were found on the bark of forests and even on fence rails. Fleas 
also kept humanity lively in those earlier days. 

**One more scourge I will mention. One season the country 
was invaded by the army worm ; a worm as large as your little fin- 
ger, reddish brown in color which came in such hordes, that enter- 
ing a field would strip it of every vestage of green. It was found 
before the season ended that by plowing a trench around the field 
the worms would tumble into it and be killed. 

''But we will leave the disagreeable things outside and step 
inside. Would you look at the bed f If in the rooms that had to 
be passed through, they were surrounded by curtains, the lower 
part below the bed by valances, or little curtains, falling to the floor 
fastened to the bedstead with tacks. There were holes bored 
through the bedstead at equal distances and a rope passed back 
and forth, securely fastened. This supported a straw tick which 
was to be filled twice a year, making it fragrant, sweet and clean. 
Above this, a feather bed of the lightest kind of feathers, sufficient 
for many pillows. The patchwork quilts and woven comforters 
with sheets, etc., and perhaps, some of you remember, too high for 
children to clamber on. 

''For our tables, it was steel knives, forks and dinner plates. 
No individual sauce dishes or butter plates, or any of the dainty 
conveniences of the present day. The white sugar came in a shaped 
loaf and was kept on an upper shelf, only to be taken down and 

Vol. 1—5 


chipped off for extra occasions. Dried fruit and preserves served 
for our sauce, the preserves being made by cooking slowly on the 
back of a stove for hours, then placed in a jar covered by a paper 
tightly tied over and closely watched lest fementation take place 
when they would have to be scalded. They were delicious and my 
mouth waters at the thought of them. Pie was used three times a 
day on the table. They had cake, I know and for teasing for it 
when callers were present, my mother took me across her knee 
and I, being at a tender age, such a glowing impression was made 
upon me that it was never forgotten. 

'^They used pearl ash, a cruder article than our baking soda, 
and sour milk for baking ; failing many times to be dissolved, our 
biscuit would be specked with it and many times too yellow. It 
is said when out of pearl ash, cob ashes would be used, but of this 
I do not know. They had only candles for lights, either run in 
molds or dipped by placing a number of wicks on sticks, dipping 
one lot while cooling another. Spermaceti candles could be pro- 
cured for extra occasions. At the very first months or years there 
were no matches, and to light these candles, a coal of fire held up 
by the tongs and blowed upon until the wick would ignite was the 
only recourse. The supper fire needed to be left with beds of live 
coals or brands of fire to be carefully covered up with ashes to 
keep for the coming day. For years after matches were produced, 
no matter how stifling the heat of the summer day, the old custom 
of burying the fire was adhered to by many. The most of the 
thread was bought in a skein, doubled and twisted at home, if I am 
not mistaken. One woman, after cloth was donated to clothe and 
make her children comfortable whined because the thread was not 
made ready for her use as she had no wheel. Nearly if not all 
stockings were knit at home. These were fastened two or three 
inches below the knee. If well dressed a pantalet was worn over 
them about eight or ten inches wide, with embroidery at the bottom, 
both held in place by a green worsted garter some wider than the 
modem dress binding; long enough to wind around numberless 
times, with the end skillfully tucked under made it always secure. 

**As to dress, I will tell a little incident that will show that 
fashion had its arbiters even then. At a party of the elite the ques- 
tion arose as to the suitability of a calico dress being worn to church 
after it was washed. It was decided in the negative. My mother 
denounced such extravagance and said a calico dress unless faded 
was good enough to be worn anywhere. 


*'In many of the intervening years, up to the time of the Civil 
war, the Fourth of July, when celebrated was a great event. Ush- 
ered in by the firing of cannons, bringing crowds of people from 
every direction, the grand feature of all, was that the young ladies 
of the commimity were invited to march with the procession and 
to represent the different states of the Union, with the name to 
designate printed on ribbons pinned to the shoulder. We were 
dressed in pure white, with a green wreath upon our heads. Our 
dignity was only surpassed by the marshal, who, erect upon his 
steed, put even royalty in the shade, or by the home talent em- 
ployed in reading the Declaration of Independence before the ora- 
tion of the day. With the music and the marching and the boom- 
ing of the cannon and the oratory, the day was spent, after which 
came the ball. 

** Invitations for this were always printed on good paper in this 
form: *A Fourth of July ball will be held at the Assembly room 
of McArthur & Ellis, Yourself and lady are respectfully invited 
to attend.' Mangers were chosen from White Pigeon, Center- 
ville, Lima and the country around. With room managers this 
invitation would sometimes have the name of the lady written on 
the back ; oftener not. This was handed to her when the invitation 
was given. 

**From the time of my remembrance, square dances were the 
rule, like cotillions. The floors would be cleared sometime in 
the evening for the benefit of the older people, when they would 
form on for * Money Musk,' or 'Opera Reel,' with others ac- 
quainted with the dance ; while the younger ones would move with 
a gliding motion, those older with a springing step and with the 
spirit with which they entered into it, give animation to the scene. 
The best of music was provided, and perfect order maintained. 

** Fearing that I have exhausted your patience, I will close by 
saying that over it all, scenes past and gone, there rests a halo, 
its skies were clearer and its sunshine brighter, and I say with 
the poet: 

*' *We are better and stronger. 
Under manhood's sterner reign. 
Yet we feel that something sweet. 
Followed youth with flying feet. 
And it never comes again. 


** * Something beautiful has vanished, 
And we sigh for it in vain, 
We behold it everywhere 
On the earth and in the air, 
But it never comes again.' " 


This is still the sugar camp, with the shivering woods around it, 
Where the eager, early alders loosen first their kerchiefed 

By the distant, russet ranks of the dripping maple bounded ; 

Hither, in the April weather, come the country boys and girls. 

Out across the olive down, still the lagging feet are guided 

To the fire of shattered branches, lightning-riven long ago ; 

By the narrow bubbling brook, field and forest stand divided. 
With the scarlet maple blossoms whirling in the pool below. 

Here they feed the open blaze ; here they build the shelter lightly ; 

Here they swing the gypsy kettle — merry-hearted Jack and 
Here they follow one another through the dusky forest nightly. 

While the silver April crescent drops to westward in the blue. 

Still the buckets back and forth to the heavy kettles bringing, 
Fain to hear the squirrel's warning, or the sparrow's note of 

Treading to the broken pulses of a robin's careless singing — 
Such a rhythm, such a measure, never dancer listened for. 

Soft and sultry are the days that the watchers spend together, 

With the stolen sweets of April — month of promise and delay ; 
And the searching winds of night touch with frost the ardent 
Ere the little play is ended, with the coming of the May. 
— St. Joseph Ccnmty Eepubliocm, June 16, 1883. 



Southern Michigan a Military Key — British Loth to With- 
draw — British- American Land Combine — Congressional 
Intrigue — Downfall of Conspiracy — ^Narrow Escape for 
Southern Michigan — ^American Civil Jurisdiction— Wayne 
County Organized— First Land Titles and Surveys — 
Township op St. Joseph— County Government Inaugu- 
rated — The Original Townships — First Election in County 
Proper — Changes in County Government — Subdivision op 
Original Townships — First Town Meetings — ^White Pig- 
eon, Temporary County Seat— Centerville, Permanent 
County Seat — Jail, First County Building — Offered 
Bribe to Be Re-jailed— A Terrifying Lock— New Jail 
Erected — Temporary Court House — Two * ^ Permanent ' ' 
Court Houses — ^Protecting the County Records — Fa- 
mous Robbery of Records— Care of the County's Poor — 
County Officials (1830-1910) — Education in the County 
— Bird's-Eye View of Pioneer Settlement. 

By the treaty of 1753, the territory now included in. St 
Joseph county passed from France to England, and thirty years 
later the fortunes of war transferred it from England to the 
United States. In the meantime several of the colonies had ob- 
tained certain vested rights from the mother country for the lands 
northwest of the Ohio river, and the last of these so-called * ' crown 
lands" did not pass from the state owners to the general govern- 
ment until 1787. Two years before the govemmient had com- 
menced to treat with the Indians for the extinguishment of their 
title to lands northwest of the Ohio, and in acknowledgment of 
the justice of their claim, that the United States could obtain a 



valid claim to this section of its domain only after their rights 
had been alienated. Congress and the state of Michigan continued 
its negotiations for half a century with the tribes which laid claim 
to the southern peninsula and St. Joseph county. 

Southern Michigan, a Military Key. 

Southern Michigan was the theater of some of the most im- 
portant of these conferences and treaties, and as it was also so 
important as a military vantage ground, proved to be the prize of 
a great plot on the part of British schemers who, even after the 
close of the Revolutionary war, were loth to relinquish it. The 
Wayne treaty of 1795 was hardly signed before they commenced 
to lay their plans for this master move against the territorial in- 
tegrity of the United States. 

This historical chapter, which includes St. Joseph county in 
its scope, has been so well written by a contributor to the ** Michi- 
gan Pioneer Collections'' (J. V. Campbell), that it is reproduced. 
It is worthy of note that little reference is ever made to the inci- 
dent in histories of Michigan, and none whatever in any history of 
St. Joseph county, which has come to the attention of the author. 

It is not generally known that Michigan was at a very early 
day the theater of some of the most extensive land speculations 
ever known in this country. One which was brought to the at- 
tention of congress in 1795, was so remarkable in some of its 
features that it is singular it should be so generally unknown. 

British Loth to Withdraw. 

When General Wayne brought his Indiana campaign to a 
successful termination, he appointed a time for the tribes to meet 
him at Greenville, to conclude a definite treaty. This council 
opened in June, 1795, and continued into August. It is well 
known that the hostilities were kept alive by the covert inter- 
ference of the British, and that Detroit was the source whence this 
influence was exerted most powerfully. In spite of the treaty of 
peace at the close of the Revolution, the British, on one pretext 
or another, kept possession of the country; and it was not until 
Jay's treaty provided definitely for its cession, that any steps 
were taken towards its possession. The British merchants, who 
were largely interested in the fur business, were very reluctant 
to see the American dominion established; and there is no doubt 


that, by this means, disaffection was long kept up among the 

Immediately upon the conclusion of Wayne's treaty (which 
put an end to all private dealings with the Indians for the pur- 
chase of land), an agreement was made between several prominent 
inhabitants of Detroit and several persons from Vermont and 
Pennsylvania, which, if it had proved successful, would have 
made an entire change in the destiny of this region. 

British- American Land Combine. 

Ebenezer Allen and Charles Whitney, of Vermont, and Robert 
Randall, of Philadelphia, who were professedly American citizens, 
entered into a contract with John Askin, Jonathan Schifflin 
(Schieffelin), William Robertson, John Askin, Jr., David Robert- 
son, Robert Jones and Richard Patterson (Pattinson), all of De- 
troit, and all attached to Great Britain, the terms of which were in 
effect as follows: They proposed to obtain from, the United 
States the title to all the land within the limits of the present 
peninsula of Michigan, then estimated at from eighteen to twenty 
millions of acres (excepting such parts as were appropriated along 
the settlements), upon the understanding that they would them- 
selves extinguish the Indian title. They meant to secure the pur- 
chase from congress at a half a million dollars (or a million at the 
outside), by inducing that body to believe that the Indians had 
not really been pacified by Wayne ; and nothing but the influence 
of the Canadian merchants could bring them to terms or render 
the important interests of the fur trade safe under the American 

But they relied upon a more potent method of persuasion in 
secret. Their enterprise was to take the form of a joint stock 
company, divided into forty-one shares. Five shares were allotted 
to the Detroit partners, twelve to the others and the remaining* 
twenty-four were to be divided among members of congress to 
secure their votes. The connection of the Canadian proprietors 
with the scheme does not appear to have been made public ; and 
it was probable they were not intended to appear until the scheme 
was consummated. 

Congressional Intrigue. 

Immediately after the plan was concocted, the three American 
partners set about operating upon the members of the next con- 


gress. They associated with them Colonel Pepune and others; 
Jones, of Massachusetts, aiding them in their honorable work. 
Whitney first applied to Daniel Buck, a member from Vermont, 
and was indiscreet enough not only to inform him pretty plainly 
of the plan proposed, but also to show him the articles of agree- 
ment. He also applied to Theodore Sedgwick, more cautiously, 
but allowed enough to be drawn from: him to expose the true 
character of the plot. Mr. Sedgwick quietly put himself in com- 
munication with the Vermont members to promote its progress. 
In the meantime, Randall approached the southern members 
and laid open his views to William Smith of South Carolina, Will- 
iam B. Giles of Virginia, and Mr. Murray of Maryland. These 
gentlemen, after consulting with the president and many other 
persons of character and standing, determined to throw no ob- 
stacle in the way of a presentation of a memorial to congress, 
desiring to fix the parties where they would be sure of exposure. 

Downfall of Conspiracy. 

The confederates, blindly imagining that they were on the 
highway to success, put into the hands of the members whom they 
approached the fullest information concerning all but the names 
of their Detroit associates, and assured Mr. Giles that they had 
secured a majority of the votes in the senate and lacked only three 
of a majority in the house. 

On the 28th of December, 1795, Messrs. Smith, Murray, and 
Giles announced to the house of representatives that Randall had 
made proposals to them to obtain their support to his memorial, 
for which support they were to receive a consideration in lands or 
money. Mr. Buck also stated that Whitney had made similar pro- 
posals to him and he supposed him to be an associate of Randall. 
Randall and Whitney were at once taken into custody, and an 
investigation was had, in the course of which, several other mem- 
bers came forward and testified to similar facts. Whitney made 
a full disclosure and produced the written agreement. Randall 
made no confession, but contented himself with questioning the 
witnesses. He was detained in arrest, but Whitney, who appears 
to have been less guilty, was discharged very soon after the in- 
vestigation closed. The memorial never made its appearance. 
The partners at Detroit had not been inactive. They, or most of 
them, had already, from time to time, obtained from the Indians 


large grants of land, in the hope, doubtless, that the purchase 
might be ratified by the authorities. Schifflin (Schieffelin) in 
particular had acquired enormous grants in this way. There is, 
however, much reason to believe that these grants were not all 
obtained from the recognized Indian rulers. 

An examination of the records shows that one of the largest 
was made under very peculiar circumstances. We have seen that 
the council in Greenville was in session from June till sometim;e 
in August. While this treaty of Greenville was in progress and 
the tribes were represented there by their chiefs and head men, a 
private council was held in Detroit on the first day of July, 1795, 
by the Chippewas, Ottawas, and Pottawattomies, as high con- 
tracting parties on the one side, there being present as witnesses, 
the Askins, Henry Hay, the oldest son of Governor Hay, and him- 
self a British officer, and some others of the principal British 

The purpose of the council was private in its nature, and 
under the treaties then existing, the British authorities could not 
well have acted as principals on such an occasion. Certain chiefs, 
purporting to act for their tribes, there named, granted to Jona- 
than Schifflin (Schieffelin), Jacobus Yisgar, Richard Pattinson 
and Robert Jones a large tract of land, embracing thirteen or 
fourteen of the oldest and best counties in the present state, for 
the expressed consideration of twenty-five pounds sterling. 

We can readily imagine that if their plan had succeeded in 
congress they would have had little difficulty in buying up the 
Indian claim to the whole peninsula. 

It may not be out of place to state that, in spite of their 
ill success, the four gentlemen named sold their Indian title, just 
mentioned, in 1797, for two hundred thousand pounds of York 
currency, amounting to half a million dollars. Whether the pur- 
chaser expected to claim against the treaty of Greenville, we 
are not informed. 

This formidable title has never turned up since. Whether 
disgusted with the experience of republics, or some other cause, 
the Detroit partners in the joint stock company all elected, under 
Jay's treaty, to become British subjects. The annals of our 
country have never shown a more extensive or audacious plan 
of bribery, and the public suffered no great detriment by their 


Narrow Escape for Southern Michigan. 

Had the plan of these confederates received the aid of con- 
gress it is difficult to imagine the importance of such an event 
in its bearing on the future of the peninsula. The circumstances 
render it highly probable that it was intended to retain a foot- 
ing for the advancement of the British interests, in the north- 
west. Be this as it may, the evil effect of having so large a 
proprietary monopoly, covering the whole country, cannot well 
be estimated. Neither the United States nor the future state 
would have owned any lands in the lower peninsula of Michigan ; 
while we should have been subjected to all the evils which 
abound when the tillers of the soil are mere tenants, and not free- 
holders. Such a domain would have been a powerful barrier 
against the increase of the union in this direction, and would 
have kept up a border population of a character by no means to 
be admired. 

The important and singular facts referred to should not 
be lost sight of by the historian who may narrate the annals of 
our state. — /. V. Camphell, August 11, 1857. 

American Civil Jurisdiction. 

While these British schemes were falling flat, southern 
Michigan and St. Joseph county were first being brought under 
the domain of civil government ; for in 1796 the acting governor 
of the northwest territory proclaimed the bounds of Wayne 
county as embracing a considerable section of northwestern 
Ohio, west of Cleveland, quite a slice of northeastern Indiana 
and the entire southern peninsula of Michigan. 

Wayne County Organized. 

The document by which Wayne county was brought into 
civil existence was to this effect : 

Proclamation by Winthrop Sargent, Acting as Governor 
OF THE Territory of the United States Northwest op the River 
Ohio — To all persons to whom these presents shall come. Greeting : 

Whereas, By an ordinance of congress of the 13th of July, 1787, 
for the settlement of the territory of the United States northwest 


of the River Ohio, it is directed that for the due execution of proc- 
ess, civil and criminal, the Grovernours shall make proper divisions 
of the said territory and proceed from time to time as circum- 
stances may require, to lay out the same into counties and town- 
ships; and, Whereas, it appearing to me expedient that a new 
county should immediately be erected to include the settlement 
of Detroit, &c., I do hereby ordain and order that all and singular 
the lands lying and being within the following boundaries, viz. : 

At the mouth of the Cuyahoga River upon Lake Erie, and 
with the said River to the portage between it and the Tuscarawa 
branch of the Muskingum— thence down the said branch to the 
forks at the carrying place above Port Lawrence — ^thence by a 
West line to the Eastern boundary of Hamilton county (which 
is a due North line from the lower Shawonese Town upon the 
Sciota River) — thence by a line West-northerly to the southern 
part of the portage between the Miamis of the Ohio and the St. 
Mary's River — thence by a line also west-northerly to the south- 
western part of the portage between the Wabash and the Miamis 
of Lake Erie, where Fort Wayne now stands — ^thence by a line 
west-northerly to the most southern part of Lake Michigan — 
thence along the western shores of the same to the northwest part 
thereof (including the lands upon the streams emptying into the 
said Lake) — thence by a due north line to the territorial boundary 
in Lake Superior, and with the said boundary through lakes 
Huron, St. Clair and Erie, to the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, 
the place of beginning 

Shall be a county, named and henceforth to be styled the 
County of Wayne — which said County shall have and enjoy all 
and singular the jurisdiction, rights, liberties, privileges, and im- 
munities whatsoever to a county appertaining and which any other 
county that now is or hereafter may be erected and laid out, shall 
or ought to enjoy conformable to the ordinance of Congress before 

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed 
the seal of the territory this fifteenth day of August, in the 
twenty-first year of the Independence of the United States, A. D. 
one thousand seven hundred and ninety-six, 

WiNTHROP Sargent. 

First Land Titles and Surveys. 

In the '* American State Papers,'' Vol. I, under the title 
** Public Lands,'' it is stated in the report of a commission on land 
claims in Michigan, that there were but eight legal titles passed 
during the French and English occupation of the country. The 
Detroit land office was established in 1804, and the evidence in 




support of the various land claims up to that time was gathered 
and submitted to congress, which subsequently vested the right 
to their lands in actual settlers who could show a reasonable color 
of title thereto. Thus early in the history of national legislation 
was the American principle promulgated that the best interests 
of the country were jeoparized by allowing land to get into the 
hands of speculators, instead of into the possession of those who 
wished to make them the basis of homes and industry. 

The first survey of public lands in the state of Michigan was 
made in 1816, on the Detroit river and vicinity. The principal 
meridian followed the west line of the present Lenawee county, 
and was run due north to the Sault Ste. Marie ; the base line com- 
menced on Lake St. Clair, between Macombe and Wayne counties, 
and was extended west to Lake Michigan. A portion only of the 
1816 survey was brought into the market in 1818, all within the 
Detroit land district. 

In 1821, by the treaty of Chicago with the Ottawas, Chippe- 
was, and Pottawatomies, all the country west of the principal 
meridian, south of the Grand river to the Indiana state line and 
west to Lake Michigan, with the exception of a few reservations, 
was ceded and confirmed to the general government. This tract 
included, of course, St. Joseph county, with the exception of the 
Nottawa-seepe reservation, which was cleared of its Indian title 
in 1833. 

In 1823 the Detroit land district had been divided, and an 
office established at Monroe, in the county of that name, near 
Lake Erie. Up to 1831, all land entries west of the principal 
meridian were made at this offi-fee; then a land office was opened 
at White Pigeon, which was moved to Kalamazoo (Bronson) in 

Township of St. Joseph. 

Another advance in civil government was made on November 
20, 1826, when the legislative council of the territory of Michigan 
attached to Lenawee county all of the territory to which the 
Indian title had been extinguished by the treaty of 1821, and on 
the following 12th of April created the township of St. Joseph, 
with boundaries including the area thus cleared of Indian claims. 

The first town meeting of the new civil division was ordered 
to be held at the house of Timothy S. Smith, situated on the site 
of the present town of Niles, Berrien county. On September 22, 


1828, the lands ceded by the treaty at Gary's mission, the same 
year, were attached to Lenawee county and made a part of St. 
Joseph township, and on October 29th, of the following year the 
council of Michigan constituted the territory within the lines of 
townships 5, 6 and 7, and fractional 8, south of the base line in 
ranges 9, 10, 11 and 12, west of the principal meridian, into the 
county of St. Joseph. 

County Government Inaugurated. 

On November 4, 1829, actual government was inaugurated 
within the present limits of St. Joseph county by an order which 
also issued from the territorial council for the holding of a circuit 
court at the house of Asahel Savery, on White Pigeon prairie, and 
also for the establishment of a county court with the usual juris- 
diction and functions. The following day witnessed the attach- 
m;ent of the following territory to the county: The counties of 
Kalamazoo, Barry, Branch, Eaton and Calhoun and all the country 
lying north of the townships numbered 4, west of the principal 
meridian, and south of the county of Michilimackinac and east 
of the lines between ranges 12 and 13 and Lake Michigan where 
said line intersects the lake. 

The Original Townships. 

This great civil division of Michigan, the original St. Joseph 
county, was divided into five townships. White Pigeon township 
embraced the present townships of Lockport, Florence, Fabius, 
Constantine, Mottville and White Pigeon; Sherman township in- 
cluded the township by that name, as well as Colon, Nottawa, 
Burr Oak, Fawn River and Sturgis; the Flowerfield of 1829 in- 
cluded the towQships (as they are now knovni) of Leonidas, 
Mendon, Park and Flowerfield; Brady township embraced the 
counties of Kalamazoo and Barry; and Greene township, the 
counties of Branch, Calhoun and Eaton and the country north of 
Eaton. Elections were ordered held in the three original town- 
ships of the present St. Joseph county at the following places: 
Wliite Pigeon, at the house of Asahel Savery; Sherman, at the 
house of John B. Clark, and for Flowerfield township, at the house 
of John Sturgis. 


First Election in County Proper. 

On the 4th of November, 1829, when the civil courts came into 
being, the temporary seat of justice for St. Joseph county was 
located at White Pigeon. The first election ever held in St. 
Joseph county proper was the town meeting of April, 1830, con- 
ducted in the townships of White Pigeon and Sherman, in pur- 
suance of the organizing acts passed by the territorial council. 
Besides the township officers, John Winchell was elected county 
treasurer, and during this and the preceding year Governor 
Cass appointed Dr. Hubbel Loomis, probate judge; John W. 
Anderson, register of probate ; John Sturgis and Luther Newton, 
county judges and E. Taylor, sheriff. 

The first meeting of the board of supervisors of St. Joseph 
county was held at Savery's house, at White Pigeon, on the 19th 
of April, 1830. Luther Newton, the representative of White 
Pigeon, and Henry Powers, of Sherman, gathered together, but 
not being sure whether two would be considered a working major- 
ity of the board agreed to adjourn until the 23rd. On that day 
they were joined by William Duncan, supervisor of Brady town- 
ship (Kalamazoo county), organized, and appointed Neal Mc- 
Gaffey, clerk. Afterward they proceeded to assert their rights 
as free-born American citizens by levying a tax of one hundred and 
eighty dollars for county and township purposes — ^fifty for the 
former ; fifty for White Pigeon township, thirty-five for Sherman, 
thirty for Brady and fifteen for Greene. They also instructed the 
assessors in the several townships for the year 1830 to return 
horses at thirty dollars each, oxen at forty dollars per yoke and 
cows at ten dollars, all animals taxed being over three years of age. 
Land was valued at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. 

Thus were the courts and the finances of St. Joseph county put 
in motion, and the county seat had a statutory location at least; 
pretty good start for any western county. 

Before proceeding further with the history of 'events in the 
development of St. Joseph county as a civil body, it is thought best 
and logical to briefly note the changes in her system of govern- 

Changes in County Government. 

In April, 1825, the territorial council gave the people the right 
to elect the county commissioners, treasurers, coroners and con- 


stables. During the continuance of the territorial form of govern- 
ment, the governor had the power to appoint the judges and 
the clerks of the several courts of record, and sheriffs and justices 
of the peace, but under the constitution of 1835 the people were 
given the power of electing all county officials, with the exception 
of the circuit, or chief judges of the circuit court and the prosecut- 
ing attorneys. Under the first state constitution the county offi- 
cials were associate judges of the circuit court, judges of the 
county court, judge of probate, sheriff, two or more coroners, 
county clerk (ex-officio, clerk of both the circuit and county 
courts), register of deeds, surveyor, treasurer and three county 
commissioners, who afterward gave place to the board of super- 

Under the constitution of 1850 the same officers were provided 
for except the associate judges of the circuit court, judges of the 
county court and county commissioners, and prosecuting attorneys 
were made elective. 

The official term of all was fixed at two years, with the excep- 
tion of the judge of probate, whose term was four years, with the 
privilege of an indefinite extension based on popular demands as 
expressed through the ballot. 

Under the territory, the township government was vested in 
a supervisor, clerk, collector of taxes, from three to five assessors, 
three commissioners of highways, two overseers of the poor, and 
constables, overseers of highways, fence viewers and pound mas- 
ters, according to the necessities of the case. 

The first state constitution provided for a supervisor for each 
township, clerk, treasurer, three assessors, one collector, three 
school inspectors, two directors of the poor, three commissioners 
of highways, not to exceed four justices of the peace and con- 
stables, and as many overseers of highways and pound masters as 
were necessary to keep the roads in repair and four-legged ani- 
mals within reasonable bounds. 

Under the second constitution, the town clerk and one in- 
spector were made to do the work of the former three school in- 
spectors, and only one commissioner of highways was allowed the 
people. Otherwise, there was virtually no change in the com- 
position of the officials. 


Subdivision of Original Townships. 

Taking up the subdivision of the original three townships 
which embraced what is now known as St. Joseph county, it is 
learned that the first to be added was Nottawa, which was created 
July 28, 1830, and constituted the present townships of Colon 
and Nottawa. 

On March 3, 1831, the council of the territory attached to 
the county all that part of Cass county lying east of the St. 
Joseph river and west of the township line, and made it a part 
of White Pigeon. This addition included a portion of the Mott- 
ville township of today. 

Colon came into civil existence March 21, 1833, but then 
included the present towns of Leonidas and Colon, and Mendon, 
as it is now known, was added to Nottawa. The territory in-, 
eluded in Pabius and Lockport was taken from White Pigeon 
and formed into Buck's township, reducing Flowerfield to the 
area now included in Flowerfield and Park. 

First Town Meetings. 

The first town meetings in the new sovereignties were 
ordered to be held at the house of Robert Shellhouse, in Colon; 
at the cabin of George Buck, in Buck's township, and at Joshua 
Barnum's, in Flowerfield. 

In 1841, the year after the organization of Lockport town- 
ship. Buck's was changed in name to Fabius township, with its 
present dimensions. Leonidas became a township in 1836, and 
Constantine, Mottville and Florence in 1837. Constantine and 
Florence were unchanged in territory, but with Mottville it was 
different; she gave to White Pigeon the eastern tier of sections 
of township 8 south, range 12 west, and received the triangle 
of the same township east of the St. Joseph river, originally part 
of Cass county. 

Mottville and Constantine held their first town meetings 
at the school houses in the villages by those names, and Florence, 
at the house of Giles Thompson. 

Burr Oak, Park and Fawn River were created as townships, 
in 1838, and in April of that year organized their governments 
in the house of Julius A. Thompson, for Burr Oak, at the resi- 
dence of James Hutchinson, for Park, and at the home of Free- 
man A. Tisdel, for Fawn River. 

Vol. 1—6 


Lockport came into the sisterhood of organized townships 
in 1840, and Solomon Cummings threw open his house to its 
first legislators, while in the following year Alfred Poes made his 
home the headquarters for the first town meeting of Fabius (old 

In 1843 Wakeman township appeared on the county map, 
but the name did not please her people, who changed it to Men- 
don in 1844. In 1845 Sturgis township straggled along, as the 
last of the sixteen in St. Joseph county. Thereafter, there were 
no changes in the territory of the townships, with the exception 
of Lockport and Florence; in 1856 the former relinquished the 
east halves of sections 25 and 36 to Nottawa, and the latter, 
sections 34, 35 and 36 to White Pigeon. 

White Pigeon, Temporary County Seat. 

White Pigeon was selected as the temporary seat of justice 
of St. Joseph county, for the very good reason that it was the 
only settlement worthy of the name which had thus far appeared 
on the landscape. It was recorded as a village plat. May 7, 1830 
— the first in the county; Mottville being the second to assume 
this formal dignity on the 31st of the same month. 

But as the settlements spread northward, there was a de- 
mand for a more central location. The commissioners appointed 
by the governor to locate the county seat had made a report, 
in 1830, favoring Lockport, or George Buck's village, but the 
territorial council wisely set aside the report and appointed a 
new commission, consisting of Thomas Rowland, Henry Desbrow 
and George A. O'Keefe. The report of the first commission had 
been set aside by the council's decree, March 4, 1831, and in 
November of that year Centerville was platted as a forecast df 
the prevailing sentiment which demanded that the county seat 
should be located near the geographical center. Its proprietors 
offered more liberal inducements, chiefly in the shape of land 
donations, than came from the owners of White Pigeon or Buck's 
village, and the territorial commissioners therefore made their 
recommendations to the governor accordingly. 

Centerville, Permanent County Seat. 

On the 22nd of November, 1831, the governor of Michigan 
issued his proclamation locating the county seat at Centerville; 


but the proclamation had resulted in no court house, or other 
provision for the conduct of the county government, by the fol- 
lowing spring. The legislative council thereupon ordered the 
courts to be held at the academy in White Pigeon, or such other 
suitable place as could be procured by the sheriff, pending the 
time when Centerville should really come to the front as the 
county seat. 

Jail, First County Building. 

At the meeting held by the board of supervisors, at White 
Pigeon, in May, 1832, it was voted to build a county jail at Cen- 
terville. In July, 1833, it was completed by A. H. Murray, and 
was the first building erected by the county. The jail was built 
of hewn timber, a foot square, and consisted of two square blocks, 
with a space of eight feet between ; two stories, fourteen feet high, 
the entire structure covered with a shingle roof. The lower 
floors were of the same thickness as the framework (a foot), the 
second floor eight inches, and the third, six inches. The doors 
were of four inch plank and the windows grated. It was a good, 
solid building, and evidently hard to get out of, through the 
walls or floor; but Contractor Murray overlooked the fastenings 
on the doors and windows, and the county refused to settle with 
him in full until he had made the jail more tight. 

Offered Bribe to Be Ee-jailed. 

It appears that the first man incarcerated in the jail com- 
mitted his offense when neither warrants for his arrest nor 
justices of the peace were convenient to send him there, by **due 
process of law. ' ^ He had assaulted Thomas W. Langley, the land- 
lord, and was ^'collared'' by Sheriff Taylor. This first offender 
against the peace and dignity of Centerville, after she had her 
jail, was thrust into one of the two ^'squares," or cells, above 
mentioned, and the door was closed but not locked after him. 
Being decidedly tipsy and finding a nice pile of shavings on the 
floor, he found everything so much to his liking that he was 
soon snoring like a contented pig. Sheriff Taylor had informed 
Jailer Walter 6. Stevens that he had his first boarder, but the 
latter forgot all about it until noon the next day. Stevens then 
went over to the log jail to investigate, but found his prisoner 


gone. At night the offender against the law routed up the jailer 
and offered him a quarter of a dollar to let him sleep in the county 
strong-hold again. 

The old log jail did service for twenty-one years, when it 
was condemned. The supervisors refused to repair it, and on 
August 14, 1854, it was burned, with one of the three prisoners 
(DeForest), who is supposed to have set it afire. 

A Terrifying Lock. 

It is said that the most remarkable thing about the first 
jail accredited to St. Joseph county was the lock by which its 
front door was secured for so many years. It was a most intri- 
cate and ingenious combination of wards and bolts, made by 
E. C. White, the gunsmith of the village, and none but the most 
expert locksmith could pick it, even with the key. The mechan- 
ism weighed twenty-five pounds and was proof against either 
rapid entrance or exit; this fact may have accounted for the 
death of Prisoner DeForest. That old lock is believed to have 
terrified more criminals in the early days of the county than its 
best sheriff or constable. It disappeared after the fire, and years 
afterward was fished out of the St. Joseph river by some boys 
at Mendon, who sold it to Orlando J. Fast, prosecuting attorney 
in the late seventies. 

New Jail Erected. 

In 1853, the year before the burning of the old jail, the board 
of supervisors appointed a committee to draft plans and specifi- 
cations for a suitable building ; but the brick jail opposite the court 
house on the east was not completed until 1856-7. The building 
committee — ^Mark Wakeman, Edward S. Moore, George W. Beisel 
and Judge Connor — ^was limited to an expenditure of $4,000 or 
$5,000, either way. As finally completed, it cost the greater sum ; 
the main building^ two stories in height, was thirty-two by forty- 
five feet, and there was an extension to the south, one story, twenty 
by forty-eight feet; the jail proper had ten cells and the family 
residence of the sheriff, nine rooms. 

Temporary Court House. 

But in the midst of the interest which attaches to the old jail, 
the writer has lost sight of the court house of the county, which 


is the outward evidence of its government. On January 23, 1833, 
Governor Porter issued a proclamation directing the courts to be 
held at the ' ' court house at the county seat. ' ' As Centerville had 
provided no court house, the gubernatorial order stirred the 
county authorities to brisk action, and, as stated in the chapter on 
the *' Bench and Bar," the board of supervisors soon leased an 
upper room in the first and only frame building in town — the two 
story affair built by Thomas W. Langley in the fall of 1832, located 
on the corner of Main and Clark streets. This served the courts 
and the county officials until the first court house erected by the 
county was completed in 1842, especially as the entire building was 
purchased and utilized by the county. 

Two ''Permanent'' Court Houses. 

On February 22, 1841, the county commissioners resolved to 
build a wooden court house in the center of the public square of 
the village plat, the limit of whose completion was to be three 
years. Judge Connor was appointed to draft plans and specifica- 
tions and furnish a bill of materials for the proposed structure, 
and on the basis of his report, made March 12th, the commissioners 
ordered contracts to be made for one hundred thousand feet of 
lumber. The expense was to be met by the appropriation of all 
money on hand from the sale of lots, the balance to be raised by 
direct taxation. Judge Connor was appointed superintendent of 
the work and Judge Bryan was awarded the contract for the build- 
ing of the superstructure at $43,200. The materials which went 
into this first court house were generally purchased by the county 
and the labor done by contract. 

The building was completed and accepted in the fall of 1842, 
cost altogether about seven thousand dollars, and, with some alter- 
ations, served the county until the erection of the substantial court 
house now occupied. The comer-stone of the latter was laid by 
the grand lodge of Masons of the state of Michigan, September 7, 
1899, and it was completed in the following year, while William 
E. McKee was chairmto of the board of supervisors. 

Protecting the County Records. 

Previous to the erection of the present-century court house, the 
principal improvements on the old accommodations were made for 





the purpose of protecting the records and other valuable official 
papers. As early as April, 1846, the people voted against a propo- 
sition to raise $41,000 for the erection of fire proof buildings for 
the county offices, but in December, 1859, the supervisors voted to 
erect brick offices for the county on the north side of the square. 
They were built by William Laffey and Isaac R. Belote, under the 
supervision of a committee consisting of Supervisors William All- 
man, Comfort Tyler and William H. Cross. They cost $3,200, 
covered forty-four by twenty-four feet, and were considered secure 
enough until the famous robbery of the records from the register's 
office in 1872. After that, a fire-proof vault was added to the 
quarters of that official — a case of locking the door after the steal- 
ing of the horse. 

Famous Robbery of Records. 

The case to which reference has been made is so remarkable 
that it forms an inalienable portion of the official history of St. 
Joseph county. The robbery was committed on the night of June 
28, 1872, twenty-two volumes of deeds, twenty-two of mortgages, 
three index books, and about one hundred deeds and mortgages 
not recorded having mysteriously disappeared. The board of 
supervisors were called together July 1st, and they promptly took 
measures to bring the guilty parties to justice and recover the 
records and papers. The result of their investigations and efforts 
was the arrest of Anthony P. Fonda (a member of Captain B. C. 
Yates' private detective agency, Chicago) and his brother, John 
Fonda, of Three Rivers. They were examined by Samuel W. Piatt, 
of Centerville, and Anthony Fonda was held for trial before the 
circuit in two thousand dollars bail. 

The next important move in the case was made by the indicted 
Fonda, who had the notorious Dick Lane arrested in Chicago, 
under a fictitious name, for the robbery, but he was discharged 
under a writ of habeas corpus. But as Lane still claimed to know 
all about the robbery. Sheriff Elva F. Peirce ran him down, re- 
arrested him and in February, 1873, brought him to St. Joseph 
county for trial. Soon afterward Fonda had his trial before Judge 
Cooley and was acquitted. In March, Lane was tried before Judge 
Brown, convicted and sentenced to five years in the penitentiary. 
Fonda was defended by Allen, of Chicago, Sadler of Centerville, 
and Judge Upson of Coldwater. Lane was defended by T. C. 


Carpenter, of Sturgis, and prosecuted by Hon. E. W. Keightly, 
prosecuting attorney, and Hon. H. H. Kiley, of Constantine. 

The story of the regaining of the records is thus told : "About 
the 15th of August, 1872, Sheriff Peirce was informed that a party 
had received a letter from Chicago saying the books would be 
turned over for $5,000. The sheriff sent a person to Chicago to 
ascertain what reliance could be placed on the representation, with 
directions to telegraph the result of the conference. On receipt 
of the telegram, Sheriff Peirce and William W. Watkiris, one of 
the supervisors, went to Chicago and to Eldredge & Tourtelotte 's 
law office, where the information originated. Five thousand 
dollars were demanded for the surrender of the books, and it was 
agreed to lay the matter before the board of supervisors. This 
was done, and the board offered three thousand dollars for the re- 
turn of the books, and privately instructed the sheriff to act on his 
own discretion, but to get the records at all hazards. 

*^ About the first of September, Sheriff Peirce went to Chicago, 
where he met Mancel Talcott and made arrangements with El- 
dredge & Tourtelotte for the delivery of the records for three thou- 
sand five hundred dollars, and on the 5th of September the sheriff 
(Peirce), County Treasurer James Hill and Supervisor W. W. 
Watkins, in behalf of the coimty, and Eldredge & Tourtelotte, for 
the thieves, entered into an agreement for the delivery of the rec- 
ords, and deposited with the law firm named the sum specified 
$3,500), Mancel Talcott being surety for the attorneys. 

' ' The records were to be delivered by the 12th inst. They were 
dug from the earth, where they had been buried since the 28th of 
June, on the night of the 6th of September, in a badly-damaged con- 
dition, and Winslow Hatch notified at 11 o 'clock P. M. The sheriff 
and Mr. Watkins were at the Hatch house in Three Rivers, on their 
return from Chicago. Mr. Hatch immediately informed them of 
the exhumation of the records and the sheriff ordered the books 
taken to the court house. This was done at 2 o'clock A. M. and 
when the sheriff discovered the terrible condition the records were 
in, he at once telegraphed to the attorneys, and took the cars at 
four o'clock for Chicago. On his arrival there, at ten o'clock, he 
immediately notified Eldredge & Tourtelotte of the damaged con- 
dition in which the records had been delivered, and demanded a 
return of the money deposited ; but the attorneys claimed it had 
already been paid over. 


'^Suit was then commenced against the attorneys for the re- 
covery of the money deposited, Tourtelotte coming to Centerville 
November 22, 1872, and registering as Tuttle. Sheriff Peirce 
happened to see him about 4 o'clock P. M., drove to Sturgis, saw 
General Stoughton, the county's attorney, came back to Center- 
ville and procured a writ, and then driving to Three Rivers pro- 
cured the services of the same by Under-Sheriff C. E. Peirce, who 
had been to that place from Centerville with Tourtelotte. During 
the drive the Chicago lawyer had had great sport with Peirce about 
the old sheriff and the records. 

' ' The writ was served about 12 o 'clock at night. Tourtelotte 
asked gruffly 'Who the h — 1 are you?' 

''Peirce replied 'I was your hostler coming over; I am under- 
sheriff now. ' ' ' 

The suit was transferred to the district court of the United 
States, Grand Rapids, March 19, 1873, tried in September, 1874, 
and judgment was rendered for the county for the $3,500 with in- 
terest. General Stoughton and Hon. H. H. Riley were the at- 
torneys for the county and Eldredge & Tourtelotte appeared in 
person, assisted by J. B. Church of Grand Rapids. A motion for a 
new trial was argued and overruled, and an appeal taken to the 
United States supreme court, which, however, reversed the de- 
cision of the lower court. 

Care of the County ^s Poor. 

The provision which has been made by St. Joseph county for 
the care of its poor commenced at an early date, but was not inau- 
gurated on modern methods until 1848. On the first day of that 
year the board of supervisors ordered the superintendents of the 
county poor to purchase a farm of from one hundred to one hun- 
dred and sixty acres. Before the year closed one was bought of 
Cyrus Schellhous in the township of Colon, for which the county 
paid $2,800. In 1857 the old Latta farm in Fawn River tov^niship 
came into possession of the county through the prosecution of its 
proprietor for counterfeiting and the flight of the criminal from 
the country. This fine piece of property, comprising two hundred 
and forty acres of land, was east of Sweet lake, in section 3, of 
Fawn River township, and section 34, of Burr Oak. The county 








poor-house was a large two story building, about seventy by 
seventy feet on the ground, and accommodated fifty persons com- 

The unfortunate poor have not only been cared for with 
humanity from the first, but through the initial efforts of Hon. 
Isaac D. Toll, while he was a member of the board of supervisors, 
the dead have been decently buried in Pawn River cemetery— at 
their graves neat marble headstones bearing appropriate records 
of the deceased. 

County Officials (1830-1910). 

The first sheriff elected by the people of St. Joseph county was 
Edward A. Trumbull, in 1836, his successors up to 1878 being as 
follows: Charles H. Knox, 1838-42; Horace Metcalf, 1842-3; Hor- 
ace M. Vesey; John Hull, 1850-4; William Harrington, 1854-8; 
William K. Haynes, 1858-62; William L. Worthington, 1862-6; 
William M. Watkins, 1866-70; Alvah F. Pierce, 1870-2; John A. J. 
Metzger, 1872-4 ; and Daniel H. Hawley, 1874-6. 

David Page was the first clerk of the county, being appointed 
in 1830 and appearing at the first term of the county court. He 
was succeeded by Isaac W. WiUard, who was also the first clerk of 
the circuit court. On September 6, 1834, Dr. Truesdell assumed 
the po.sition and retained it until 1838, when he was succeeded by 
Albert E. Massey, who had been elected at the November election 
of that year, and held the county clerkship for two years. The 
place was filled by Asher Bonham from 1840 to 1846; Massey held 
it again in 1846-8; Charles Upson, 1848-50; C. D. Bennett, 1850-4; 
Hiram Lindsly, 1860-4; John C. Joss, 1864-76, and R. W. Melendy, 

1876-8. ^ XV- • -1 ^ 

John W Anderson was register of probate from the civil or- 
ganization of the county until March 21, 1834; T. W Langley, 
March, 1834, to April 22, 1835. The first register of deeds was 
Jacob W. Coffinbury, who served from April, 1835, to December 
31 1838- Allen Goodridge, 1838-46; Edmund Stears, 1847-5&; 
As'ahel Clapp, 1855-65 ; Leverett A. Clapp, 1865-6; Myron A. Bene- 
dict, 1866-76 ; Thomas G. Greene, 1876-82. t x. w 

The first county treasurer of St. Joseph county, John Wm- 
chell, was elected in April, 1830, and held the office one term 5 Isaac 
I Ulman, 1833-5; Columbia Lancaster, 1836-8; Alexander V.SiU, 
1838-9- W B Brown, 1839-40; John W. Talbot, 1840-4; Jacob W. 


Coffinbury, 1844-6; William Laird, 1846-52; William McCormick, 
1852-6; William Hutchinson, 1856-60; David Oaks, 1860-1; Wil- 
liam Allison, 1861-6; William L. Worthington, 1866-70; James 
Hill, 1870-8. 

The first prosecuting attorney elected in the county was E. B. 
Turner, in 1850; Charles Upson served from 1852-4; William L. 
Stoughton, 1854-8; William Sadler, 1858-62; Henry F. Severnes, 
1862-4; Germain H. Mason, 1864-8; Talcott C. Carpenter, 1868-72; 
E. W. Keightley, 1872-4; R. R. Pealer, 1874-6; Orlando J. Fast, 

The first county surveyor elected was James Cowen, in Novem- 
ber, 1836, who held the office until 1838; his successor, Hiram 
Dresser, held it from 1838 to 1840 ; Hiram Draper, 1840-2 ; Simeon 
Gilbert, 1842-4; James Hutchinson, 1844-6; Josiah Knauer, 1846- 
50; James Hutchinson, 1850-2; A. F. Watkins, 1852-4; Norman S. 
Andrews, 1854-62; Hiram Hutchinson, 1862-4; Jere. H. Gardner, 
1864-70; John S. Rose, 1870-2; Jere. H. Gardner, 1872-4; Norman 
S. Andrews, 1874-8. 

The coroners who have served in St. Joseph county from 1833 
to 1878 are as follows: Benjamin Sherman, 1833-7; Samuel Pratt 
and Isaac G. Bailey, 1837-9; John Y. Overfield, 1840; William 
Thackery and Joseph Pharana, 1840-2; Peter F. Putnam, Charles 
McNair, Joseph Miller, John Aiken and Lyman Bean, 1842-52 ; A. 
D. Sprague and William Morrison, 1852-4; Fordyce Johnson and 
Orrin F. Howard, 1854-6; John S. Williams and Elisha Foote, 
1856-8 ; H. Brazee and William Amey, 1858-60 ; Charles E. Simons 
and Isaac Howard, 1860-2; Isaac Howard and Nathan Mitchell, 
1862-4 ; Joseph W. Pike and James W. Mandigo, 1864-6 ; Nathan 
Mitchell and James W. Mandigo, 1866-8 ; William Harrington and 
Nicholas I. Sixbey, 1868-70 ; Isaac Howard and J. A. Rogers, 1870- 
2; Isaac Howard and A. C. Williams, 1872-4; L. R. Weinberg and 
Charles J. Beerstecher, 1874-6 ; A. C. Williams and Seth W. Kea^ey, 

Since 1878, the officers who have served St. Joseph county 
have been as follows: 

1878-80 : Sheriff, Charles Coddington ; clerk, Levant E. White ; 
register, Thomas G. Greene; treasurer, Amos C. Wolf; prosecuting 
attorney, Orris P. Coffinbury ; surveyor, Oliver H. Todd ; coroners, 
Leander Weinberg and Daniel W. Shaw. 

1880-2: Sheriff, John A. Dice; clerk, Levant E. White; regis- 
ter, Thomas G. Greene; treasurer, Arthur E. Howard; prosecuting 


attorney, Daniel E. Thomas; surveyor, Norman S. Andrews; coro- 
ners, Oliver S. Norton and John Ferris. 

1882-4: Sheriff, Carlos E. Dexter; clerk, Charles A. Sturgis; 
register, Nicholas Hill; treasurer, Josephus Mosher; prosecuting 
attorney, David L. Akey; surveyor, William M. McLaughlin; 
coroners, William F. Arnold and Andrew M. Leland. 

1884-6: Sheriff, Carlos E. Dexter; clerk, Charles A. Sturgis; 
register, Nicholas Hill; treasurer, Josephus Mosher; prosecuting 
attorney, David L. Akey; surveyor, Oliver H. Todd; coroners, 
Jay Seymour and William F. Arnold. 

1886-8: Sheriff, John Dunham; clerk, Charles A. Sturgis; 
treasurer, Henry S. Leinbach; register, Nicholas Hill; prosecuting 
attorney, Frederick W. Knowlen ; surveyor, Oliver H. Todd ; coro- 
ners, William F. Arnold and George Start. 

1888-90 : Sheriff, J. Dunham ; clerk, Charles Erbsmehl ; treas- 
urer, Charles S. Perrin; register, John B. Handy; prosecuting 
attorney, Hugh P. Stew^art; surveyor, Samuel S. Reed; coroners, 
Oliver S. Norton and Oscar Hartranft. 

1890-2: Sheriff, William Beard; clerk, Charles Erbsmehl; 
treasurer, Charles E. Perrin ; register, John B. Handy ; prosecuting 
attorney, Hugh P. Stewart ; surveyor, Oliver H.- Todd ; coroners, 
Oliver S. Norton and Oscar Hartranft. 

1892-4: Sheriff, James H. Manbeck; clerk, John Farrow; 
treasurer, Samuel H. Angevine; register, Josephus Mosher; prose- 
cuting attorney, David L. Akey; surveyor, Oliver H. Todd; coro- 
ners, Edwin P. Wellesley and John T. Masterman. 

1894-6: Sheriff, Charles L. Seekell; clerk. Jay J. Stanton; 
register, Benjamin O. Gladding ; treasurer, Alexander Sharp ; pros- 
ecuting attorney, Bishop E. Andrews ; surveyor, Samuel S. Reed ; 
coroners, John G. K. Ayers and James McKerlie. 

1896-8 : Sheriff, Charles Felker ; clerk, DeLacy R. Hazen ; reg- 
ister, Leonard Valentine; treasurer, Darius A. Babcock; prosecut- 
ing attorney, George H. Arnold ; surveyor, Oliver H. Todd ; coro- 
ners, John Masterman and Charles L. Hauer. 

1898-1900: Sheriff, Fred J. Avery; clerk, J. Mark Harvey, 
Jr. ; register, Henry H. Ruggles ; treasurer, Fabius A. Fisk ; prose- 
cuting attorney, Wilbur F. Thomas; surveyor, Samuel S. Reed; 
coroners, Frank H. Church and George E. Grout. 

1900-2 : Sheriff, William R. Addison ; clerk, Edward F. Hack- 
man; register, William W. Slote; treasurer, Byron D. Goodrich; 


prosecuting attorney, Wilbur F. Thomas; surveyor, Oliver H. 
Todd; coroners, John Masterman and Charles L. Hauer. 

1902-4: Sheriff, William R. Addison; clerk, Edward F. Hack- 
man ; register, William W. Slote ; treasurer, Byron Q. Goodrich ; 
prosecuting attorney, Roy J. Wade; surveyor, Oliver H. Todd; 
coroners, Charles L. Hauer and John T. Masterman. 

1904-6: Sheriff, Mortimer C. Flewelin; clerk, Christ E. Fou- 
sel; register, William H. YanBuren; treasurer, Charles O. Bous- 
sum ; prosecuting attorney, Theodore T. Jacobs ; coroners, Gillespie 
B. Southworth and Bert H. Parker. 

1906-8: Sheriff, Carl C. Wing; clerk, Christ E. Fousel; regis- 
ter, William H. VanBuren ; treasurer, Charles 0. Boussum ; prose- 
cuting attorney, Theodore T. Jacobs; surveyor, William P. McCoy; 
coroners, Bert H. Parker and Albert C. Sheldon. 

1908-10: Sheriff, Carl C. Wing; clerk, Herman C. Kaas; reg- 
ister, Charles P. Savory ; treasurer, W. Irving Ashley ; prosecuting 
attorney, E. H. Andrews; surveyor, William P. McCoy; coroners, 
William C. Davis and Lewis J. Twitchell. 

1910 (elected in November): Sheriff, George W. Watkins; 
clerk, Herman C. Kaas; register, Charles P. Savory; treasurer, Wil- 
liam Harrison ; prosecuting attorney, George H. Arnold ; surveyor, 
George A. Eagleton; coroners, William C. Davis and Albert C. 

Education in the County. 

From the last accessible report covering the statistics re- 
lating to the public schools, teachers and pupils, included in the 
educational system of the county, definite information is obtained 
and a fair general picture of the entire subject. The last per 
capita apportionment of the school interest fund indicates that 
the total school population (from five to twenty years) is slightly 
in excess of 5,900. There are 123 districts in the county, and 
the valuation of school property is over $348,000. The number 
of teachers employed is 217, of whom thirty-six are men ; 92 are 
employed in the graded schools and the balance in the ungraded. 
The total amount of wages is more than $80,000, the average 
monthly wages of male teachers being $58 and of female, $40. 
Prom the one-mill tax, primary school interest fund, library fund, 
tuition of non-resident pupils, district taxes, etc., the total re- 
ceipts amount to more than $121,000; added to this, the money 


received from loans and on hand, the total resources available 
for educational purposes are found to be $178,500. 

The total ordinary expenditures for the year, including 
salaries, building repairs and library expenses, are over $92,000. 
To this are added the $8,600 paid on the principal of the indebted- 
ness and the amount on hand ($58,000) to bring the total ex- 
penditures up to $178,500. The total indebtedness of the dis- 
tricts is given at $55,600, of which $51,500 is bonded. It costs 
the tax-payers of St. Joseph county $23, on an average, to give 
one pupil the various privileges of the public school system; of 
this amount more than $16 goes toward instruction alone. Tbe 
balance is expended on libraries, interest fund, teachers^ insti- 
tutes, etc. The private and parochial schools of the county, ac- 
cording to official reports, do not cut much of a figure in its scheme 
of education ; only four institutions of this character are returned 
to the enumerators, with an enrollment of 62 pupils. 

The following interesting statistics are presented in con- 
nection with the graded school districts of the county: 

Property Teachers Annual 
Value Employed Expense 

The table below shows the school population of the cities and 
villages of the county, and the enrollment of scholars in the high 
schools and other departments of the public system : 

District Attendance 

Burr Oak 








Three Eivers 


White Pigeon 





$ 4,195 














High School 

Other Dep'ts 


Three Rivers 












Burr Oak 
















White Pigeon 









The total amounts paid in the cities (Three Eivers and Stur- 
gis) and villages of the county for the instruction of pupils are 
as follows: 

Corporation Superintendent Teachers Total 

Three Rivers 












Burr Oak 
















White Pigeon 




The St. Joseph County Teachers' Association was organized 
in 1860 at Constantine. It meets annually in the different towns 
where there are union schools. 

Superintendents of Schools. 

In April, 1867, Charles M. Temple was elected superintendent 
of schools for St. Joseph county, his successors having been as fol- 
lows : Luther B. Antisdale, 1867-73 ; John W. Beardsley, 1873-5 ; 
1875-93 — a superintendent of schools elected for each township dur- 
ing this period; 1893-1901, John F. Evert; 1901 to date, Lewis E. 

Bird's-Eye View of Pioneer History. 

A general, and yet a definite idea of the first settlement of 
the sixteen townships which constitute St. Joseph county, as well 
as the platting of its principal communities, may be gained from 
the following tabular statement : 



Township Year First Settled Village or City Year Platted 

White Pigeon 


White Pigeon 


Fawn River 






















Three Rivers 


















Burr Oak 


Burr Oak 






In drawing this chronological picture of the pioneer period 
of the county's history, the year 1840 has been made, substan- 
tially, the dividing line, in conformity with the original division 
made by the Pioneer Society. 

Vol. 1—7 



Leading Organizers — Constitution of Society— First Officers 
— ^Annual Meetings from First to Thirty-seventh (1873- 
1910)— Came Prior to 1840— Death of Hon. E. H. Lothrop 
(Second Annual Meeting) —Year 1845 Made Membership 
Limit (Fourth Meeting) — Settlers of Thirty Years Eligi- 
ble (Fifth Meeting) — Historical Contributions in 1880-1 
— Peter Klinger, op Klinger's Lake — ^Death op Three For- 
mer Presidents (Fourteenth Meeting) — Minister Paid in 
Cats AND Dogs— Letter from Samuel P. Williams (Twenty- 
first Meeting)— Death of Hon. Andrew Ellison and Hon. 
S. P. Williams (Twenty-fourth Meeting) — Greatest Suc- 
cess Up to Date (Thirty-third Annual Meeting). 

The following complete history of the St. Joseph County 
Pioneer Society has been furnished by its secretary, the well-known 
citizen, son of a pioneer merchant and an associate editor of this 
work — Charles B. Kellogg. 

Leading Organizers. 

The St. Joseph County Pioneer Society was organized October 
15, 1873, under the leadership of such citizens as J. Eastman John- 
son, Louis A. Leland, David Knox, James Thoms, John Loomison, 
John E. Overfield, James C. Bishop, Elijah Lancaster, Alfred R. 
Metcalf , William M. Watkins, Edward K. Wilcox, John C. Kinnie, 
Gersham Doane, Henry K. Parrand, Edmund Stears, John M. Le- 
land, Adam Wakeman, Lorance Shellhouse, Hiram Lindsley, Isaac 
D. Toll, David H. Johnson, A. C. Prutzman, E. H. Lathrop, Amos 
Howe, Jonathan Engle, John W. Fletcher, William Hazzard, 0. M. 


Howard, E. C. Wellesley, Ansel Clapp, Gieorge W. Beisel, Calvin 
H. Starr, W. H. Castle, John Hull, Stephen Barnabee, N. S. John- 
son, Phineas Farrand, Sam P. Williams, William B. Langley, John 
B. Howe, Elisha Hill and Samuel Burnell. 

After spending a time in cordial, kindly greetings and par- 
taking of a beautiful dinner provided at the Reformed church 
and at the hotel, the meeting, at 2 o'clock P. M., was called to 
order by Hon. J. Eastman Johnson and upon his nomination, 
Asahel Savery, of Sturgis, formerly of White Pigeon, was called 
to the chair. He was assisted by David Enox, of Sturgis, and Wil- 
liam H. Cross, Thomas C. Langley, George W. Beisel and George 
Osborn were appointed secretaries. A committee of three was 
appointed by the chair to present a constitution for the pioneer 
society ; Judge J. Eastman Johnson, Hon. A. R. Metcalf and John 
Hull, so appointed, presented the following: 

Constitution of Society. 

Preamble: We, whose names are hereto subscribed, having 
settled in this county previous to the year 1840, do hereby form 
ourselves into an organization under the following constitution: 

Article I. This association shall be called the Society of Pio- 
neers of St. Joseph County. 

Article H. Its objects are to promote the social intercourse 
of our citizens, to rescue from oblivion the early annals of our 
county, to obtain written statements from the settlers of the cir- 
cumstances of their emigration and settlement here, and to pro- 
mote the general good of the community. 

Article IH. The officers of this society shall be a president, 
sixteen vice presidents, one from each township, a treasurer, a sec- 
retary, and as many assistant secretaries as may from time to time 
be thought expedient. 

Article IV. Said officers are to be chosen on the 15th day of 
October, 1873, for the ensuing year, and at the annual meeting 

Article V. The time of the annual meeting of the society 
shall be on the second Wednesday of June, and a special meeting 
in each year at such other time as the president and the majority 
of the vice presidents may, by six weeks' notice in one or more of 
the newspapers of the county, designate. 


Article VI. In the absence of the president a vice president 
may be called on to preside at any meeting of the society. 

Article VII. The members of this society are requested to 
prepare a full statement of the circumstance of their settlement 
here and file the same with the secretary. 

Article VIII. The business to be done at the annual meeting 
of the society may be whatever shall be thought most suitable to 
promote its objects. 

Article IX. This constitution may be changed at any annual 
meeting of the society. 

First Officers. 

The constitution, after being read and considered was adopted 
and the following officers elected for the ensuing term (year) : 

President : Asahel Savery. 

Vice Presidents: Leonidas township, William M. Watkins; 
Burr Oak township, Samuel Needham; Colon township, Lorensie 
Schellhous; Fawn River township, Isaac D. Toll; Mendon town- 
ship, Patrick Marantette ; Nottawa township, Amos Howe ; Sher- 
man township, Stephen Cade; Sturgis township, Hiram Jacobs; 
Park township, Isaac F. Ulrich; Lockport township, Edwin H. 
Lothrop; Florence township, Alvin Calhoon; White Pigeon town- 
ship, George W. Beisel; Flowerfield township, Challenge S. 
Wheeler ; Fabius township, William Arney ; Constantine township, 
William Hamilton, and Mottville township, Thomas Burns. 

Treasurer : J. Eastman Johnson, Centerville. 

Secretary : William H. Cross, Centerville. 

It was then resolved that the vice presidents act as the exec- 
utive committee of the society and that, ' ' as those who have borne 
the heat and burden of the early days, who met the privations, who 
encountered the dangers and difficulties of the early settlements, we 
most respectfully ask the board of supervisors of our county such 
aid and assistance to gather together the incidents connected with 
such settlement and preserve a history of our county as it was, 
as is possible for them to render.'' An adjournment was taken to 
the annual meeting, second Wednesday in June, 1874. 

Came Prior to 1840. 

Among the charter members of the St. Joseph County Pioneer 
Society, settlers prior to 1840 who enrolled themselves at the meet- 
ing of October 15, 1873, were the following : 


Lorance Shellhouse ; located at Colon in 1831 ; native of Ver- 
mont ; died at Colon, June 28, 1877, aged eighty years. 

Charles H. Thorns ; located at Lockport in 1835; native of 
Switzerland ; died in Centerville. 

Norman Roys; located at Florence in 1832; native of Mass- 
achussetts ; died at Florence in 1891, at the age of seventy-six 

Alonzo Douglass ; located at Sturgis in 1832 ; a native of New 
York ; died at the age of fifty-seven years at Sturgis. 

William, H. Castle ; located at Colon in 1835 ; a native of Con- 
necticut ; died at the age of sixty-two years at Colon. 

Ariel C. Chaffee ; located at Colon, in 1835 ; a native of New 
York ; died at the age of sixty years, at Colon. 

John E. Overfield ; located at Nottawa in 1830 ; a native of 
Virginia ; died at Centerville, January 9, 1875, at the age of seventy 

Thomas Burns ; located at Mottville in 1830 ; a native of Penn- 
sylvania ; died at the age of sixty-seven years, at Mottville. 

Amos Howe ; located at Nottawa in 1828 ; a native of Vermont ; 
died at Centerville, August 24, 1875, at the age of eighty years. 

James Powers ; located at Nottawa in 1830 ; a native of New 
York ; died at the age of sixty years, at Mendon. 

Robert K. McMillan ; located at Nottawa in 1831 ; a native of 
Indiana; died August 7, 1875, at Mendon, at the age of fifty-one 

A. R. Metcalf ; located at Constantine in 1834 ; a native of New 
York ; died at Constantine, at the age of seventy-one years. 

. D. H. Johnson ; located at Constantine in 1835 ; a native of 
Maine ; died at Constantine, at the age of sixty-two years. 

Samuel A. Fitch; located at Lockport in 1830; a native of 
Ohio; died at Florence in 1891, at the age of sixty-two years. 

David Knox; located at Sturgis in 1832; a native of New 
York ; died at Sturgis at the age of sixty-seven years. 

Dwight Stebbins; located at Lockport in 1836; a native of 
Pennsylvania ; died at Parkville, April 17, 1874, at the age of fifty- 
eight years. 

John Lomison; located at Park in 1836; a native of Penn- 
sylvania ; died at Park at the age of sixty-six years. 

John Hutchison ; located at Park in 1834 ; a native of Penn- 
sylvania ; died in April, 1874, at the age of sixty-seven years. 


John Trog ; located at Park in 1835 ; a native of Pennsylvania ; 
died at Park on December 25, 1884, at the age of seventy-one years. 

Jairus Pierce ; located at Leonidas in 1836 ; a native of Massa- 
chusetts ; died at Leonidas at the age of seventy-four years. 

Samuel Tyler ; located at Colon in 1834 ; a native of New York ; 
died at Centerville, aged forty-seven. 

Ansel Tyler ; located at Colon in 1834 ; a native of New York ; 
died at Nottawa at the age of forty-five years. 

Asher Tyler ; located at Colon in 1834 ; a native of New York ; 
died in California at the age of forty-one. 

William Tyler ; located at Colon in 1836 ; a native of Michi- 
gan; died at Nottawa, at the age of thirty-seven years. 

H. W. Hampson ; located at Centerville in 1833 ; a native of 
Pennsylvania; died at Centerville, May 14, 1874, at the age of 
sixty-eight years. 

Thomas Cade ; located at Sturgis in 1830 ; a native of Eng- 
land ; died March 9, 1879, at the age of eighty-seven years. 

Alvin Calhoon ; located at Florence in 1829 ; a native of New 
York ; died at Constantine in 1888, at the age of seventy-one years. 

Jacob Lintz; located at Constantine in 1835; a native of 
Prance; died at Constantine, April 21, 1879, at the age of sixty- 
one years. 

Samuel Burnell ; located at White Pigeon in 1829 ; native of 
England; died at Lima, Indiana, January 7, 1889, at the age of 
sixty-three years. 

Samuel Needham; located at Burr Oak in 1836; native of 
Vermont ; died at Burr Oak at the age of sixty-one years. 

William Connor ; located at Nottawa in 1829 ; native of New 
Hampshire; died at Saugatuck, Michigan, at the age of seventy- 
one years. 

J. F. Ulrich ; located at Park in 1834 ; native of Pennsylvania; 
died at Park, April 17, 1879, at the age of seventy-three years. 

Cornelius Cline ; located at Nottawa in 1839 ; native of New 
York ; died at Nottawa in 1891, at the age of fifty-seven years. 

James C. Bishop ; located at Burr Oak in 1834 ; native of New 
York ; died at the age of forty-seven years. 

H. K. Farrand; located at Colon in 1836; native of New 
York; died at Colon at the age of sixty-one years. 

L. W. Ulrich; located at Park in 1834; native of Pennsyl- 
vania ; died at Parkville at the age of forty-seven years. 


J. A. Libhart; located at Leonidas in 1836; native of New 
York ; died at Leonidas at the age of fifty-four years. 

H. H. Lawrence ; located at Florence in 1829 ; native of Michi- 
gan ;' died at Florence in 1888, at the age of forty-eight years. 

William Major; located at Lockport in 1834; native of New 
York ;, died December 15, 1876, at the age of seventy-seven years. 

John Hull ; located at Florence in 1837 ; native of New York ; 
died December 24, 1884, at the age of fifty-seven years. 

Oliver P. Arnold; located at Constantine in 1839; native of 
New York ; died at White Pigeon, at the age of fifty-seven years. 

George Pashby ; located at Florence in 1834 ; a native of Eng- 
land ; died March 10, 1886, at the age of seventy years. 

Peter Putnam; located at White Pigeon in 1836; native of 
New York ; died at the age of thirty-seven years, at White Pigeon. 

J. M. Wetherbee ; located at Lockport in 1833 ; native of New 
York ; died at Three Rivers, at the age of forty-three years. 

Isaac Crossette; located at Nottawa in 1832; native of New 
York ; died at Three Rivers at the age of forty-nine years. 

Powell C. Lown ; located at Florence in 1836 ; native of New 
York ; died at Three Rivers at the age of fifty-five years. 

David Hazzard ; located at Nottawa in 1828 ; native of Michi- 
gan ; died at Centerville at the age of forty-five years. 

A. M. Carter; located at Clinton in 1830; native of Massa- 
chusetts; died at Tecumseh at the age of sixty-nine years. 

O. P. Wetherbee ; located at Lockport in 1833 ; native of New 
York ; died at Three Rivers at the age of fifty years. 

Alvin Hoyt ; located at Colon in 1835 ; native of New Hamp- 
shire ; died at Nottawa at the age of sixty years. 

Gabriel Langdon ; located at Florence in 1835 ; native of New 
York; died at Mendon February 7, 1875, at the age of sixty-five 

W. F. Arnold ; located at Fabius in 1832 ; native of New York ; 
died at Three Rivers, in 1890, at the age of sixty- one years. 

William B. Langley; located at Centerville in 1832; native 
of Pennsylvania; died at Centerville March 1, 1896, at the age 
of fifty-one years. 

Thomas C. Langley ; located at Centerville in 1832 ; native' of 

Pennsylvania; died at Centerville at the age of forty-five years. 

William N. Elliott, M. D. ; located at White Pigeon in 1832 ; 

native of New York ; died at White Pigeon in 1892, at the age of 

sixty-six years. 


Southard Chapin ; located at Sherman in 1836 ; native of New 
York ; died at Burr Oak at the age of fifty-one years. 

J. B. Millard ; located at Three Rivers in 1836 ; native of Penn- 
sylvania; died at Three Rivers at the age of fifty-six years. 

C. K. Wilcox; located at Leonidas in 1836; native of New 
York ; died at Leonidas at the age of sixty-eight years. 

David W. Birtch ; located at Sherman in 1836 ; native of New 
York; died at Sturgis at the age of fifty-seven years. 

James F. Thorns; located at Three Rivers in 1836; a native 
of Pennsylvania ; died at Three Rivers, at the age of sixty years. 

Peter Robinson; located at White Pigeon in 1833; native of 
New York ; died at White Pigeon, at the age of sixty years. 

Alfred Todd; located at Nottawa in 1838; native of New 
York; died at Nottawa August 17, 1877, at the age of seventy- 
four years. 

Henry W. Laird ; located at Nottawa in 1834 ; native of Ohio ; 
died at Mendon in 1882, at the age of sixty years. 

Stephen Price; located at Fabius in 1832; native of New 
York ; died at Three Rivers at the age of sixty-seven years. 

C. F. Dickinson ; located at Nottawa in 1836 ; native of New 
York ; died at Nottawa at the age of sixty-six years. 

Aaron McMillan ; located at Nottawa in 1831 ; native of New 
Hampshire ; died at Centerville May 19, 1874, at the age of eighty- 
four years. 

Andrew M. Leland ; located at Park in 1835 ; native of Penn- 
sylvania ; died at Mendon at the age of fifty-seven years. 

Stephen W. Cade ; located at Sherman in 1830 ; native of Eng- 
land ; died at Sturgis at the age of forty-seven years. 

Zerah Benjamin; located at Florence in 1835; native of New 
York ; died at White Pigeon in 1883 at the age of seventy years. 

Sutter Graves ; located at Burr Oak in 1833 ; native of New 
York ; died in Burr Oak at the age of fifty years. 

A. C. Purtzman; located at Three Rivers in 1834; native of 
Pennsylvania; died at Three Rivers at the age of sixty years. 

A. Harvey; located at Leonidas in 1837; native of New York; 
died at Mendon, at the age of fifty-nine years. 

George McGaffey; located at White Pigeon in 1832; native 
of Ohio ; died at White Pigeon at the age of fifty years. 

Hiram Draper ; located at Colon in 1836 ; native of Vermont 
died at Nottawa at the age of sixty-five years. 


J. R. Bonebright; located at Constantine in 1829; native of 
Ohio ; died at Constantine in March, 1884, at the age of forty-nine 

John Hamilton; located at Constantine in 1833; native of 
Ohio ; died at Constantine at the age of sixty-one years. 

E. H. Lathrop ; located at Three Rivers in 1830 ; native of 
Massachusetts ; died February 17, 1874, at the age of sixty-seven 

B. B. Gardner; located at Sturgis in 1831; native of Virginia; 
died at Sturgis at the age of sixty-four years. 

A. R. Hunt ; located at Florence in 1834 ; native of Vermont ; 
died at Three Rivers at the age of sixty-three years. 

Lewis M. Knox; located at Sturgis in 1829; native of New 
York ; died at Nottawa August 23, 1878, at the age of seventy years. 

Daniel West; located at Leonidas in 1834; native of New 
York ; died at Leonidas at the age of fifty-eight years. 

William O. Austin; located at White Pigeon in 1834; native 
of Massachusetts ; died at White Pigeon in 1889, at the age of sixty- 
one years. 

F. Putnam ; located at White Pigeon in 1836 ; native of New 
York ; died at White Pigeon at the age of fifty-three years. 

Charles R. Monroe; located at Burr Oak in 1836; native of 
New York ; died at Colon at the age of seventy years. 

H. A. Hecox ; located at Nottawa in 1829 ; native of Michigan ; 
died at Centerville at the age of forty-eight years. 

G. W. Buck ; located at Lockport in 1830 ; native of Ohio ; still 
living at Three Rivers. 

Hiram Lindsley ; located at Constantine in 1832; native of New 
Jersey ; died at Constantine June 2, 1878, at the age of sixty-three 

Orrin F. Howard ; located at Florence in 1831 ; native of Con- 
necticut; died at Florence, November 19, 1875, at the age of sixty- 
one years. 

Isaac Major ; located at Lockport in 1833 ; native of New York ; 
died at Centerville, March 23, 1877, at the age of eighty-one years. 

Whitfield Troy; located at Park in 1835; native of Pennsyl- 
vania ; died at Mendon at the age of fifty-one years. 

Isaac Runyan; located at White Pigeon in 1835; native of 
New York ; died at Sturgis at the age of fifty-one years. 

C. F. Runyan ; located at White Pigeon in 1835 ; native of New 
York; died at White Pigeon at the age of forty-five years. 


William Hutchison; located at Lockport in 1835; native of 
Pennsylv^ania ; died at Three Rivers February 15, 1878, at the age 
of seventy-one years. 

Josiah Livermore; located at Burr Oak in 1834; native of 
Massachusetts ; died at Burr Oak at the age of sixty-seven years. 

Asahel Clapp ; located at Mottville in 1835 ; native of Massa- 
chusetts; died at White Pigeon, December, 1876, at the age of 
seventy years. 

John M. Leland ; located at Lockport in 1833 ; native of Penn- 
sylvania; died at Three Rivers, November 7, 1873, at the age of 
sixty-six years. 

Asahel Savery ; located at White Pigeon in 1829 ; native of 
Vermont; died at Sturgis in June, 1882, at the age of eighty-six 

Adam Bower; located at Colon in 1836; native of New York; 
died at Colon, in 1889, at the age of fifty-nine years. 

Joseph Russell; located at Niottawa in 1833; nativ^e of Ohio; 
died at Nottawa at the age of fifty-seven years, 

Andrew Good ; located at Lockport in 1834 ; native of Penn- 
sylvania ; died at Park at the age of seventy-four years. 

J. C. Stowell, located at Burr Oak in 1835; native of New 
Hampshire ; died at Burr Oak at the age of sixty-three years. 

L. E. Schellhous; located at Colon in 1831; native of Ohio; 
died at Parkville, at the age of fifty-four years. 

Hiram Jacobs; located at Sturgis in 1831;. native of New 
York ; died at Sturgis in February, 1884, at the age of seventy-one 

Gilbert Liddle ; located at Colon in 1831 ; native of New York ; 
died at Colon in July, 1884, at the age of seventy-one years. 

Samuel P. Williams ; located at White Pigeon in 1832 ; native 
of Connecticut ; died in California, in 1897, at the age of fifty-eight 

George W. Beisel ; located at White Pigeon in 1832 ; native of 
Pennsylvania ; living at White Pigeon, aged eighty-nine years. 

William Minor; located at Leonidas in 1836; native of Ver- 
mont; died at Mendon, July 28, 1875, at the age of seventy-six 

Henry Yauney; located at Florence in 1836; native of New 
York ; died at Three Rivers at the age of fifty-one years. 

Gardner W. Pitts ; located at Florence in 1833 ; native of New 
York ; died at Three Rivers at the age of fifty-one years. 


Orrin Arnold ; located at Fabius in 1832 ; native of New York ; 
died in June, 1883, at Three Rivers, at the age of fifty-one years. 

Andrew J. Knapp; located at Centerville in 1836; native of 
New York ; died at Constantine at the age of forty-six years. 

William Hull ; located at Three Rivers in 1840 ; native of New 
York ; died at Three Rivers, at the age of sixty-seven years. 

The following also came to the county before 1840 : 

A. J. Troy, Leonidas, 1835. , 
Mary Ann Middagh, White Pigeon, 1827. 

Henry Bonebright, first child bom in Constantine, 1830. 
C. B. Kellogg, born February 6, 1840, at White Pigeon. 
Edmund H. Stears, Mottville township, 1839 ; living in Con- 

Elizabeth Kellogg, Three Rivers, 1837. 

J. H. Worthington, bom at Mendon, 1837. 

Caroline Troy, Three Rivers, in 1838. 

Elizabeth Miller, Three Rivers, 1835. 

Susan McKinley, Mendon, 1840. 

Mary D. Dockstader, Three Rivers, 1836. 

C. G. Langdon, Mendon, 1835. 

Myra Covey, Leonidas, 1839. 

Charles King, Colon, 1834. 

James A. Todd, Burr Oak, 1828. 

W. B. Corey, Sturgis, 1832. 

B. F. Fillmore, Nottawa, 1837. 
Alden W. Chase, White Pigeon, 1839. 
Henry L. Root, Constantine, 1839. 
Richard Wade, White Pigeon, 1830. 
George Lutz, Constantine, 1839. 
Marvin Cole, White Pigeon, 1835. 

R. M. Wetherbee, Florence, 1832. 
Mrs. Salsig, Three Rivers, 1829. 
Samuel Pugh, Three Rivers, 1837. 
Ruth Hoppin, Three Rivers, 1837. 
Rev. A. J. Eldred, now Saginaw, 1834. 
Mrs. Maria Richards, Florence, 1836. 
Mary J. Yauney, Florence, 1839. 
Mrs. Anna E. Austin, Florence, 1839. 
George W. Buck, Lockport, 1831. 
L. W. Ulrich, Park, 1834. 


Whitfield Troy, Mendon, 1835. 

David Handshaw, Mendon, 1836. 

James C. Bishop, Burr Oak, 1836. 

Henry Yauney, Three Rivers, 1836. 

James Yauney, Florence, 1836. 

George W. Osborne, Parkville, 1838. 

John Yauney, Florence, 1836. 

William Slote, Florence, 1837. 

B. F. Hibbard, Sturgis, 1840. 

David Beedle, Three Rivers, 1827. 

F. C. Knapp, Centerville, 1836. 

David W. Barnes, White Pigeon township, 1837. 

John J. Peak, Mendon, 1833. 

John F. Wolf, Lockport township, born at Centerville, 1834. 

Mrs. E. B. Dewing, Elkhom, Wisconsin. 

Joseph Dixon, Seattle, Washington. 

Mrs. Mary Cook, Seattle, Washington. 

Lyman Benjamin, Constantine. 

Joseph R. Watson, White Pigeon. 

Major Robert C. Knaggs; all through the war of the 
^^ Sixties''. 

Mrs. Hannah Harvey, Seattle, Washington. 

E. B. Gray, Daniel M, Harvey, Mrs. Geo. J. Crossette, Judge 
E. W. Keightley and Hon., Samuel Gibson. 

Mrs. Henry Middagh (nee Betsey Klinger), the first white 
child born in White Pigeon township on the banks of Klinger 's 
Lake, daughter of Peter Klinger (1827). 

Mrs. James Voorhies, bom in 1829. 

The members of the society who came here previous to 1840 
number about* four hundred and fifty. The total membership en- 
rolled, dead and living, to date is about eight hundred. The active 
membership is about four hundred. 

The following pioneer members of the society are still living 
(November, 1910) : 

Mrs. Maria Richards; located in Florence township, in 1836; 
still living there, 76 years of age. 

Mrs. Anna B. Austin (daughter of Norman Roys) ; located 
in Florence township in 1839 ; living there, aged 71. 

Mrs. Mary J. Yauney (daughter of 0. F. Howard) ; located 
in Florence township, in 1839 ; living in Three Rivers, 71 years of 


Frank D. Johnson; born in Florence township in 1845 and 
still living there. 

John Gibson (poet) ; located in Nottawa township in 1830 ; 
living there at the age of 80. 

Mrs. Delia H. Crossette; born at Constantine, where she is 
living at the age of 74. 

E. S. Amidon; located at Sturgis in 1840; still living there. 

Judge E. W. Keightley ; located at Constantine in 1840 ; pres- 
ent place of residence. 

Henry Middagh; located at White Pigeon in 1840; still re- 
siding there. 

Mrs. Betsy (Klinger) Middagh, wife of Henry; born on 
banks of Klinger lake in 1827, where still resides; first native 
white child of White Pigeon township. 

Mrs. James (Bonebright) Voorhies; born in Constantine town- 
ship in 1832 ; still living there. 

Henry Bonebright; born in Constantine township in 1830; 
first native white child of township ; still living there. 

Henry L. Root; born at Constantine in 1839; now at home 

Richard Wade; born in White Pigeon township, in 1835; 
residing there still. 

George Lintz ; came to Constantine township in 1839 ; living 
in village. 

George W. Buck ; located at Three Rivers in 1830 ; still living 

Samuel Pugh ; born at Three Rivers in 1837, and still a resi- 
dent of city. 

Edmund Stearns; located at Mottvile in 1839; now living 
at Constantine. 

Rev. A. J. Eldred ; came to county in 1834 ; a resident of Sagi- 
naw, Michigan. 

David Handshaw; located at Mendon in 1835; still living 
there (president. Pioneers' Society). 

James Yauney ; located in Florence township in 1836 ; still a 
resident of it (ex-president of society). 

John Yauney; came to Florence township in 1836; resident 
of Three Rivers. 

William Slote ; located at Constantine in 1837 ; living in Flor- 
ence township. 


David W. Barnes; located on Klinger^s lake in 1837; still 
living in White Pigeon township. 

John F. Wolf; located in Lockport township in 1834; resi- 
dent of Centerville. 

John J. Peak; came to Mendon in 1833; resident of Three 

Marvin Cole; came to St. Joseph county in 1835; living at 
White Pigeon. 

C. B. Kellogg ; born at White Pigeon in 1840 ; living in Flor- 
ence township (secretary, Pioneers' Society). 

Second Annual Meeting. 

On Wednesday, June 10, 1874, the society met at the Agri- 
cultural Society grounds, in Centerville, for their first annual meet- 
ing. The day was very pleasant and a large number of the pion- 
eers and their friends were in attendance. An old-fashioned pic- 
nic was organized by the families and enjoyed each in its own 
chosen way, the early part of the day being passed in friendly 
greetings and social intercourse. 

At about two o'clock in the afternoon the society was called 
to order, and the president, Asahel Savery, being absent, Alvin 
Calhoon, vice president from Florence, was placed in the chair, 
with Gen. Isaac D. Toll, vice-president from Fawn River, as assist- 
ant chairman. The secretary of the society reported the trans- 
actions of the last meeting and the death of members since the 
previous October. This mortuary list was as follows: John M. 
Leland, died at Lockport, aged sixty-six years; Russell Post, 
Nottawa, seventy-five; Edwin H. Lothrop, Three Rivers, sixty- 
seven; John Hutchinson, Park, sixty-seven; Dr. Aaron McMillan, 
Nottawa, eighty-four; Margaretta Mathew, Leonidas, seventy- 
eight ; Henry W. Hampson, Centerville, sixty-eight. 

After the report of the secretary was made and accepted, a 
motion was mjade to add the following to the constitution as 
Article X. That an executive committee of five members be chosen 
at each annual meeting to take charge of the general business of 
the society and to make arrangements for the history of the early 
settlement of the county. 

Whereupon William B. Langley, of Nottawa ; Edmund Stears, 
of Centerville ; Ansel Tyler, of Colon ; John Hull, of Constantine, 
and William M. Watkins, of Leonidas, were appointed on said com- 


The following officers were then elected for the ensuing year ; 
president, Alvin Calhoon ; vice presidents, Leonidas, Jairus Pierce ; 
Colon, Lorensie Schellhous; Burr Oak, Samuel Needham; Fawn 
River, George Thurston; Mendon, Patrick Marantette; Nottawa, 
Amos Howe; Sherman, Ralph Taylor; Sturgis, Hiram Jacobs; 
Park, Isaac F. Ulrich ; Lockport, Elisha Millard ; Florence, Norman 
Roys; White Pigeon, Lewis Rhodes; Flowerfield, Challenge S. 
Wheeler; Fabius, Stephen A. Rice; Constantine, John Hamilton; 
Mottville, Edward Gray ; treasurer, J. Eastman Johnson ; secretary, 
William H. Cross. 

Death of Hon. E. H. Lothrop. 

At the time of the election of vice-presidents, when Lockport 
was called. General Toll spoke of the departure of one vice-pres- 
ident, Hon. E. H. Lothrop, in a most feeling, appropriate and mer- 
ited manner, as an honored official in county and state, a loved 
citizen, a veteran pioneer and a peace-loving and respected 

Resolutions were passed, that, at any called meeting of the 
vice-presidents, if any are unable to attend personally, they may 
appoint others to represent them, and that Judge Connor was asked 
to donate to the society copies of newspapers of an early date, and 
Messrs. Schellhous of Colon, Ulrich of Park, Toll of Fawn River, 
and Draper of Colon, presented various statements of facts and 
manuscripts descriptive of pioneer times, for which a vote of 
thanks was passed. Pioneer Hazzard, J. G. Wait, Beadle Thur- 
ston, Jacobs^ Ulrich, Schellhous and Toll made remarks and re- 
lated incidents of interest and profit to the meeting. Many pledges 
were given for future manuscripts to be furnished the society. 

Henry W. Laird, Patrick Marantette, William M. Watkins, 
S. C. Coffinberry, Joseph Jewett and E. K. Wilcox be a committee 
to gather together the history of the treaty with the Indians for 
their removal from the county. 

Miss Lawrence, of Florence, described how she had labored and 
enjoyed the trials and privations of pioneer life, and drew a com- 
parison between the wives and women of these early days and the 
young ladies of the present, not altogether flattering to the latter. 

First Native Male Speaks. 

William Hazzard, Jr., was called on as the first male child born 
in St. Joseph county of white parents. At about five o'clock the 


society adjourned to meet at the same place on the second Wednes- 
day of June, 1875. 

Third Annual Meeting. 

The third annual meeting of the society was held at the St. 
Joseph county fair grounds, Centerville, Wednesday, June 9, 
1875, and in accordance with the programme of the executive 
committee, it was called to order by the president, Alvin Cal- 
houn, at 10 o'clock A. M. Reports of committees were then called 
for and Henry W. Laird, chairman of the committee on the ** His- 
tory of the Removal of the Indians from Nottawa-seepe Reserva- 
tion,'' asked for more time to prepare a more complete report, 
which was granted. 

Election of officers for the ensuing year resulted in the fol- 
lowing selection : 

Amos Howe, Nottawa, president ; vice-presidents, Edward K. 
Wicox, Leonidas township; Lorensie Schellhous, Colon; Josiah 
T. Livermore, Burr Oak; Joseph Johnson, Fawn River; Hiram 
Wakeman, Mendon; Jonathan Engle, Nottawa; Stephen Cade, 
Sherman; David Enox, Sturgis; John Lorinson, Park; Jonas 
Fisher, Lockport; Orrin F. Howard, Florence; John Hotchin, 
White Pigeon; Leander Weinburg, Flowerfield; Benjamin King, 
Fabius; Franklin Wells, Constantine, and Edward Gray, Mott- 
ville; treasurer, John W. Fletcher; secretary, Edmund Stears; 
executive committee, John W. Fletcher, James C. Bishop, Isaac 
D. Toll, Henry K. Farrand and^ Elisha Millard. 

It was decided to meet at the same place on the second 
Wednesday of the following June, and soon afterward an ad- 
journment was taken to discuss the picnic dinner. Upon re-as- 
sembling in the afternoon, the early pioneers took the east end 
of the grand stand and the entire stand was soon well filled with 
those assembled. 

After the secretary's report was read announcing the offi- 
cers elected for the ensuing year. General Isaac D. Toll arose and 
after paying a just and beautiful tribute of praise to the two 
former presidents, related facts and incidents in the life of Presi- 
dent-elect Howe that showed him to be in truth the pioneer in 
very many ways, not only of St. Joseph county, but also of the 
territory of Michigan outside of Detroit and Monroe. 


These interesting remarks were followed by the announce- 
ment of the pioneers who had been taken away by death since 
the last annual meeting, being thirty-four, as follows: John 
Howard, Hiram A. Pitts, and Mrs. Richard Garton, Florence 
township ; William Klady, Thomas Engle, John W. Talbot, Mrs. 
John Rutherford, Mrs. Robert McKinley and Mrs Esther Adams, 
Nottawa township; John Smith Klady, Ben Danberry, Tobias 
Teller, Charles Rumsey, Christian B. Hoffman, Colon township; 
Mrs. Betsy Douglas, James Buys, Henry M. Ransom, John 
Parker and John B. Parker, Sturgis township; Charles Klady, 
John Mossir, Mrs. Martha Buck, Lockport township ; Hosea Bar- 
nabee, Moses Taft, Mrs. Moses Taft, William Miner, Joseph Wood- 
ard, Gabriel Langdon, Mendon township; William Clark, 
Mrs. Mary C. Bishop, Henry Burger, Burr Oak township; Isaiah 
Sweet, Laurine Washburn, Fawn River township; John Hutch- 
inson, Park township. 

And of those who resided in the county during its early days, 
but who had left it previous to their death, were : Albert E. 
Massey, Cleveland, Ohio; John E. Overfield, Missouri, and Edwin 
Kellogg, Toronto, Woodson county, Kansas. After which an- 
nouncement, some allusions were made to those departed fellow 
pioneers and the meeting was open to general remarks by the 
old settlers. 

Captain Alvin Calhoon, of Florence township ; James John- 
son, Fawn River; David Knox, Sturgis; Alfred R. Metcalf, Con- 
stantine; Elisha Millard, Three Rivers; George Thurston, Stur- 
gis, and William B. Langley, Nottawa, gave interesting sketches 
of the early trials and joys^ of the days previous to 1835. 

Fourth Annual Meeting. 

The fourth annual meeting was called to order at 10 A. M., 
June 14, 1876, in accordance with the order of the executive com- 
mittee, and the president of the society, Amos Howe, of Nottawa, 
having died, Josiah Livermore, vice president for Burr Oak, acted 
as president and chairman. The secretary, Edmund Stears, be- 
ing absent, William H. Cross was chosen pro tem. 

The following were elected officers for the ensuing year: 
President, John W. Fletcher, of Nottawa; vice-presidents, Ed- 
ward K. Wilcox, Leonidas township ; Lorensie Schellhous, Colon ; 

Vol. T— 8 


Josiah Livermore, Burr Oak; Joseph Johnson, Pawn River; 
Hiram Wakeman, Mendon; Jonathan Engle, Nottawa; Stephen 
Cade, Sherman; David Knox, Sturgis; John Lorinson, Park; 
Jonas Fisher, Lockport; Norman Roys, Florence; John Hotchin, 
White Pigeon; Leander Wineberg, Flowerfield; Benjamin King, 
Fabius; Franklin Wells, Constantine, and Edward Gray, Mott- 
ville; treasurer, Edmund Stears, Centerville; secretary, W. H. 
Cross, Centerville; executive committe, John Hull, Constantine; 
Isaac D. Toll, Fawn River; James C. Bishop, Burr Oak; Henry 
K. Farrand, Colon, and Elisha Millard, Lockport. 

Year 1845 Made Membership Limit. 

At this meeting the time was extended to make persons 
eligible to membership who came here previous to 1845. Hon. 
Isaac D. Toll delivered an address abounding in historical and 
most interesting reminiscences of the early days ; a song of a pio- 
neer was then read by Hon. John Hull. The names of the officers 
elected in the morning were then announced. 

The callfor volunteer addresses brought out Judge Johnson, 
John Hull, William Hayward, William M. Watkins, Daniel H. 
Johnson, Isaac Kimball, and a few others, after which there was 
presented to the society a fine photograph of its deceased presi- 
dent, Amos Howe, by his son, William W. Howe, of Burr Oak, 
as well as one of the first president, Asahel Savery, by William 
H. Cross. 

Fifth Annual Meeting. 

The fifth annual meeting, June 13, 1877, was held in the fifti- 
eth year of the settlement of the county, and was called to order 
by John W. Fletcher, president. 

A full and lengthy report was made by Henry W. Laird, giving 
a history of the removal of the Pottawatomie Indians from Nottawa- 
seepe reservation. 

Settlers of Thirty Years Eligible. 

The constitution was also so amended that those who had been 
here thirty years were eligible to membership. 

The following were elected officers of the society for the en- 
suing year : President, George Thurston, Sturgis ; vice-presidents— 


E. K. Wilcox, Leonidas township; Lorensie Schellhous, Colon; 
J. T. Livermore, Burr Oak; James Johnson, Fawn River; Hiram 
Wakeman, Mendon; Jonathan Engle, Nottawa; Stephen Cade, 
Sherman; David Knox, Sturgis; John Lorinson, Park; Jonas 
Fisher, Loekport; Norman Roys, Florence; John Hotchin, "White 
Pigeon ; Leander Wineberg, Flowerfield ; Benjamin King, Fabius ; 
Franklin Wells, Constantine; and Edward Gray, Mottville; secre- 
tary, William B. Langley, Nottawa; treasurer, Edmund Stears, 
Centerville; executive committee — ^William M. Watkins, Leonidas 
township; John Hull, Florence; Isaac Runyan, Sturgis; Thomas 
Cuddy, Nottawa; Edmund Stears, Centerville. 

The Constantine cornet band discoursed fine music and the 
picnic dinner commenced at noon. 

When the meeting re-assembled in the afternoon Capt. Isaac 
D. Toll, of Fawn River; Hon. Orange Jacobs, later a delegate to 
Congress from Washington ; John Hull, S. C. Coffiuberry ; Samuel 
P. Williams, of Lima, and many others addressed the pioneers. 
Forty old pioneers had passed away since the last meeting. 

Sixth Annual Meeting. 

President George Thurston, of Burr Oak, opened the next an- 
nual meeting of the society, held August 21, 1878, and the follow- 
ing new officers were elected: William Connor, Nottawa, presi- 
dent; vice-presidents — George Benedict, Leonidas; Louis Leland, 
Colon; Harrison Kelley, Burr Oak; Attorney Wood, Fawn River; 
N. S. Johnson, Mendon; Jonathan Engle, Nottawa; Joseph Cade, 
Sherman; Hiram Jacobs, Sturgis; L. E. Schellhous, Park; Samuel 
Fitch, Loekport ; Thomas Stears, Florence ; George W. Beisel, White 
Pigeon; John Nichols, Flowerfield; Alfred R. Metcalf, Constan- 
tine, and Samuel Early, Mottville ; William B. Langley, secretary ; 
Edmund Stears, treasurer ; executive committee — ^William Watkins, 
John Hull, John W. Fletcher, Isaac Runyan, and Edmund Stears. 

A prayer was offered by Rev. A. J. Eldred, of Three Rivers, 
and speeches delivered by Hon. Wales Adams of Branch county, 
Hon. E. A. Tumbull of Detroit, Colorado, Charles Dickey of Mar- 
shall, and S. C. Coffinbury of Constantine. Forty-five deaths were 
reported as having occurred since the last meeting. 


Seventh Annual Meeting, 

The society held its next annual meeting June 11, 1879, at the 
fair grounds in Centerville. It wias called to order by William B. 
Langley, secretary, in the absence of President William Connor, 
and John Hull, of Constantine, was chosen president pro tern. After 
prayer by Eev. A. H. Van Vranken, the society proceeded to the 
election of officers, with this result: President, Dr. William N. 
Elliott, of White Pigeon ; vice-presidents, same as preceding year ; 
secretary, John Hull, of Constantine; treasurer, William McCor- 
mick of Centerville; executive committee — William B. Langley, 
H. A. Hecox, Edward S. Moore, I. D. Toll, and William M. Wat- 

The society adjourned for the regular noon picnic dinner and 
upon re-convening was regaled with music by the Centerville quar- 
tette. The members then listened with interest to addresses by E. 
A. TumbuU, S. C. Coffinbury, and W. H. Cross. Mr. Cross had just 
returned from a visit to the Straits of Mackinac and gave an 
account of the missionary station established there in 1671. 

The number of pioneers who had passed away since the August 
meeting of 1878 was forty-two. 

Addresses were also made at this meeting by Rev. A. J. Eldred, 
Three Rivers; Hon. H. H. Riley, Constantine; Hon. John B. 
Howe, of Lima, Indiana; Hon. Edward Moore, of Three Rivers; S. 
C. Coffinbury, of Constantine, and Oliver Wilcox, of Centerville. 

Hon. J. Eastman Johnson, attorney of Niles, Michigan, favored 
the meeting with a fine poem. The meeting was in every way a suc- 
cess, the attendance being about one thousand, and it really seemed 
good to see so many ^*gray heads" together. 

Eighth Annual Meeting. 

On June 9, 1880, in the fifty-third year of the settlement of St. 
Joseph county, the society convened at the Centerville fair grounds, 
and was called to order by William B. Langley. William Cross 
was chosen chairman, President W. N. Elliott being absent. Offi- 
cers elected: President, Hiram Jacobs, of Sturgis; secretary, Wil- 
liam B. Langley, of Centerville; treasurer, William McCormick, of 
Centerville; executive committee — ^W. B. Langley, E. S. Moore, H. 
A. Hecox, I. D. Toll, and William M. Watkins. The weather was 


so unfavorable (with its downpour of rain) for the picnic dinner 
that it was decided to adjourn to the court house. 

The afternoon meeting at the court house was called to order 
by Dr. William N. Elliott, president, which was followed by 
music by the band and prayer by Rev. W. I. Cogshall. It was 
reported that thirty-three pioneers had passed away since the 
last meeting. 

Historical CoNTRiBUTioisrs in 1880. 

It appears from the records that considerable history was 
contributed to the annals of the society in 1880 and 1881, the fol- 
lowing being specimen items: In 1829 Michael Beadle built a 
grist-mill on Rocky river from stone gotten out of the river, which 
ran in a hoop, the size of a half-bushel measure to grind grain for 
flour, and the water was conveyed to the water-wheel through a 
hollow log. 

The winter of 1831 was very cold, the St. Joseph river being 
frozen solid at Knapp's Riffles below Three Rivers mills, and the 
pioneers had to pound corn and grind buckwheat in a coffee-mill 
to make cakes. The Black Hawk war now broke out, all the 
men being ordered to meet at Captain Powers to go and fight the 

Jonathan Engle came with his family to Three Rivers, in 1830, 
and Benjamin Sherman at the same time. Captain Alvin Oal- 
hoon came to Michigan October 6, 1829, and traded eight pounds, 
of flour for two acres of wheat on the ground. 

Peter Klinger op Klinger's Lake. 

Peter Klinger, for whom Klinger 's lake is named, came to 
St. Joseph county in 1827 and located at that locality in White 
Pigeon township, where his daughter was one of the first born 
in St. Joseph county. She is still living in White Pigeon, the wife 
of Henry Middagh, being nearly eighty-three years of age. After- 
ward Mr. Klinger moved to a farm west of Constantine, some 
three miles on the north side of the St. Joseph river, and located 
a flouring mill on a small stream emptying into that stream. 
This stood and did work for fifty years, being last known as 
Hayman's Mill, and was finally wrecked by Chet Brown and 
the old lumber brought to Constantine. 

An executive meeting of the Pioneer Society was held at the 
office of Judge William H. Cross, May 11, 1882, to make arrange- 


ments for the annual meeting ; but there is no record of the latter 
in that year. 

Tenth Annual Meeting. 

On June 13, 1883, however, an annual meeting was held in 
Centerville, at the fair grounds, the principal address being de- 
livered by Governor Josiah W. Bagley, of Michigan, who came 
to the territory in 1836. 

The officers chosen for 1884 were: Samuel Fitch, of Lock- 
port, president; vice-presidents, sixteen in number; William Mc- 
Cormick, treasurer; Calvin H. Starr, secretary; executive com- 
mittee, Casper Kunyan, W. H. Cross, William B. Langley, Mar- 
cus Watkins and L. A. Leland. 

Eleventh Annual Meeting. 

The St. Joseph County Pioneer Society held its 1884 meeting 
at the fair grounds in Centerville on Wednesday, June 11th. The 
day was pleasant and many pioneers were on hand at an early 
hour. The meeting was called to order, at 10:30 A. M., by 
President Samuel Fitch, and Secretary C. H. Starr reported sev- 
enty-seven deaths in the society since its last meeting. Election 
of officers for the ensuing year were: W. H. Castle, president; 
sixteen vice-presidents, one for each township; H. A. Hecox, 
secretary; W. McCormick, treasurer; executive committee, Cas- 
per Runyan, W. M. Watkins, W. H. Cross, Wm. B. Langley and 
L. A. Leland. 

Upon re-assembling in the afternoon. Rev. A. M. Wayman 
offered prayer, the Centerville band furnished music and Hon. 
William Saddler made an address of thirty-five minutes, followed 
by five-minute speeches from John Hull, A. C. Purtzman, S. P. 
Williams, of Lima, and Harvey Kenney. 

Letters of regret for non-attendance were read from Colum- 
bia Lancaster, of Oregon ; George Kellogg, of Jackson and A. T. 
Prouty, and the meeting closed with a song by the ladies' 

Twelfth Annual Meeting. 

The society met at the fair grounds in Centerville, on June 
10, 1885, and was called to order by W. H. Castle, president. 


Officers for the ensuing year: President, Asher Bonham; 
H. A. Hecox, secretary ; Harvey Cady, treasurer, and sixteen vice 
president who represented the townships. From the secretary's 
report, read in the afternoon, it was learned that fourteen pio- 
neers had died during the past year. The addresses were by Hon. 
J. Eastman Johnson, Hon. H. H. Riley, Salatheal C. Coffinbury, 
Hon. A. Chandler, of Coldwater, and S. P. Doan, of Mendon. 
Before adjournment a floral monument was dedicated to the 
memory of the departed pioneers who had crossed to *Hhe other 

Thirteenth Annual Meeting. 

The thirteenth annual reunion of the St. Joseph County 
Pioneer Society was held at the fair grounds in Centerville on 
Wednesday, June 9, 1886, and was called to order by President 
Asher Bonham. Prayer was offered by Elder A. Fleming, of 
LaGrange, Indiana, and the following new officers were elected: 
Edward K. Wilcox, Leonidas, president ; usual sixteen vice-presi- 
dents ; H. A. Hecox, Centerville, secretary, and William B. Lang- 
ley, treasurer. 

An adjournment was then taken to Agricultural Hall for 
dinner, and an assembly of several hundred was called to order 
by president at 1 :30 P. M. The secretary reported ninety deaths 
of old pioneers since the last meeting, at an average age of sev- 
enty years — forty-eight male members and forty-seven female. 
The principal address was made by Hon. George L. Yaple, judge 
of the supreme court. Hon. J. Eastman Johnson presented a 
newpaper to the society, styled the White Pigeon Bepubliccm cmd 
St, Joseph County Advertiser, published by Hunger Adams in 1838 ; 
also copies of the Constantine Bepublicmi, published by Daniel 
Hunger in 1838. Judge R. R. Pealer and Rev. Hr. Peek made 
interesting addresses before the adjournment. 

Enthusiastic Fourteenth Annual Heeting. 

The fourteenth annual meeting of the St. Joseph County 
Pioneer Society was held at the fair grounds in Centerville, June 
8, 1887. Heeting called to order by the president, E. K. Wilcox, 
of Leonidas, and prayer by Rev. Hr. Peek. 


The election of officers for the ensuing year was held with the 
following results: President, William Sturgis, of Sturgis; secretary, 
William Hazzard, of Centerville ; and treasurer, Calvin H. Starr, of 
Centerville. As was customary, a vice president was elected for 
each of the sixteen townships of the county. 

Members of the society, relatives and friends adjourned for 
dinner at high noon to Agricultural Hall, which proved too small 
to hold the hundreds gathered on the grounds, and dinner parties 
were formed outside under every tree and shady spot, the feasts 
there spread being unknown in the pioneer days. 

Death of Three Former Presidents. 

The afternoon meeting was saddened by the fact that an un- 
usual large number of society members had passed away — one 
hundred and fifty — among whom were three former presidents of 
the society — J. W. Fletcher, William H. Cross and W. H. Castle. 
A fitting eulogy was pronounced upon their lives by Rev. Mr. Peek. 
Then came a poem, entitled ''My Michigan," by James Yauney of 
Florence, and music by the Centerville Military Band. 

Minister Paid in Cats and Dogs. 

The address by Rev. Mr. Eldred was replete with interesting 
incidents. It related to the pioneer times when, as minister in St. 
Joseph county, he traveled on a circuit of three hundred miles, on 
a salary of $250, and took his pay in cats and dogs, maple sugar 
and cranberries, so to speak; for all money was scarce, except 
** wild-cat," and as that flooded the country and was based upon 
little else than ''promises" much of it was of less value than 
mongrel curs. 

After Mr. Eldred 's address and music by the glee club, Hon. 
J. C. Burrows, congressman, was introduced and held the audience 
of more than two thousand people almost spell-bound under his 
eloquent oratory. Hon. J. Eastman Johnson also spoke and Hon. 
William Hull gave an interesting talk on the reform features of 
the state administrations of Governor John S. Barry, of Con- 
stantino, and Cyrus G. Luce, of Concord. Mr. A. Sharp of Sher- 
man township made some very appropriate remarks and letters of 
regret were received, because of their absence from the meeting, 
from Governor Luce, J. J. Woodman, Henry Steel, Col. Isaac D. 


Toll, Samuel P. Williams of Lima, and many others. The largest, 
the most enthusiastic and happiest pioneer reunion ever held in 
St. Joseph county up to this date then adjourned. 

Fifteenth Annual Meeting. 

The fifteenth annual meeting of the St. Joseph County Pioneer 
Society, which met at the Centerville fair grounds, June 13, 1888, 
was called to order at 11 -.00 A. M. by President William Sturgis and 
the following persons, besides sixteen vice-presidents, were elected 
for the ensuing year : President, William Arnold, of Three Rivers ; 
secretary, James Yauney of Florence; treasurer, Thomas R. 
Shaffer of Centerville. 

At the afternoon session, after prayer by Rev. Mr. Beecher and 
music by the Marshall band, an account of William Hazzard's 
pioneer experience in 1828 was read by Rev. J. F. Orwick, and an 
address delivered by Rev. W. I. Cogshall of Niles. Niimber of 
pioneers who had passed away since the last meeting, one hundred 
and twenty-seven. 

Sixteenth Annual Meeting. 

The sixteenth annual meeting of the society was held at the 
fair grounds in Centerville, June 12, 1889. President William F. 
Arnold called it to order and the following persons were elected for 
the ensuing year: President, H. E. Root, Constantine; sixteen vice- 
presidents ; secretary, William Hull ; treasurer, C. H. Starr, Center- 

The usual order of proceedings was observed in the afternoon, 
after dinner, and addresses were made by Dallis Boudeman, J. T. 
Cobb, S. P. Williams, Flemming Daugherty and others. The day 
was beautiful and serene and the gathering was said to be the 
largest ever assembled on a like occasion, estimated at from two 
the three thousand, mostly aged people. Fifty deaths of members 
were reported for the past year, at ages ranging from fifty-three to 
ninety-one years. 

Eighteenth Annual Meeting. 

There is no record of the seventeenth meeting, but the eight- 
eenth was held, as usual, on the fair grounds at Centerville ; date. 


10th of June, 1891. It was called to order by President C. H. Starr, 
an executive committee of five and sixteen vice-presidents were 
elected, besides the following regular officers : President, William 
M. Watkins ; secretary, W. L. Worthington ; treasurer, William B. 
Langley. Addresses were miade by President Starr and William 
Saddler, followed by the reading of the names of the pioneers who 
had passed away. A loss of interest in the objects of the society 
was apparent from the fact that only eight of the sixteen vice-pres- 
idents elected were present. 

Nineteenth Annual Meeting. 

The nineteenth annual meeting, held on the fair grounds at 
Centerville, June 22, 1892, was called to order by Secretary William 
L. Worthington, in the absence of President Watkins. William 
Benjamin was then called to the chair as president pro-tem, and 
the meeting proceeded to the election of officers, which resulted as 
follows : President, Stephen W. Cade ; secretary, William B. Lang- 
ley; treasurer, Volney Patchen; also the sixteen vice-presidents 
and executive committee of five. Interesting remarks bearing on 
the history of early days were made by Bishop Andrews, William 
Benjamin, James Yauney, Joseph Langley, D. Millard, William 
Saddler, Rev. H. H. Rood and others. The death list embraced 
sixty-nine members, from forty-five to ninety-nine years of age. At- 
tendance not large but interest manifested. 

Twentieth Annual. Meeting. 

On June 14, 1893, the twentieth annual meeting of the St. 
Joseph County Pioneer Society was held at the fair grounds in 
Centerville. The attendance was at first light, about one hun- 
dred joined the meeting later. It was called to order by Lewis 
Rhodes, elected president protem, to fill vacancy caused by death 
of Stephen Cade. The balloting for 1894 officers resulted in the 
choice of Mr. Rhodes for president; Samuel Cross, secretary, 
Henry Levison, treasurer; sixteen vice-presidents and executive 
committee of five members. Adjourned for dinner. 

At 1 :30 P. M., when President Rhodes called the meeting to 
order, the audience numbered about four hundred, and near the 


presiding officer sat Ex-Governor Cyrus 6. Luce, of Michigan, 
and Rev. C. H. Blanchard, of LaGrange, Indiana. The latter 
opened the meeting with an earnest and eloquent prayer, and 
appropriate resolutions were adopted commemorative of the soci- 
ety's lamented president, Stephen W. Cade. The constitution was 
amended so that the children of pioneers who settled in the county 
before 1845 might become members. One hundred and thirteen 
deaths of members were reported since the 1892 meeting, of 
whom sixty- three were males ; ages were from fifty-three to ninety- 
nine years and six months. 

Twenty-first Annual Meeting,. 

The twenty-first annual meeting of the St. Joseph County Pio- 
neer Society was held at the fair grounds in Centerville on June 
13, 1894. A deep gloom was cast over the meeting of the old pio- 
neers by the announcement that their president, Lewis Rhodes, of 
White Pigeon, had passed away. It seemed especially impressive 
from the fact that the meeting of the previous year had been 
called upon to mourn the death of President Cade. Henry Levi- 
son was appointed president by the executive committee to fill 
the vacancy occasioned by the death of Mr. Rhodes, and the 
regular election resulted in the choice of the following: Presi- 
dent, Henry Levison ; secretary, L. H. Hascall ; treasurer, William 
Benjamin; also vice-presidents. The executive committee was 
appointed at the afternoon session and consisted of the following ; 
William M. Watkins, Thomas Jones, M. Beardsley, E. A. Strong 
and Joseph H. Sheap. A resolution was also adopted to the 
effect that anyone who has been a resident of the county thirty 
years may become a member of the society. 

A very glowing tribute was read and spread on the minutes 
in memory of Lewis Rhodes, the honored citizen and president of 
the society. 

Letter from Samuel P. Williams. 

An interesting and historical letter was received from Samuel 
P. Williams, of Lima, Indiana, saying that he with fifty others 
landed in White Pigeon in 1832. At that date White Pigeon was 
the terminus of the stage line from Detroit to Chicago. The land 
office was at that place and at Savory's Hotel, the Grand Pacific 


of the territory of Michigan. ''For five years/' Mr. Williams 
says, '^I was a citizen of your grand state and in it cast my first 
vote and with pride have witnessed its growth and prosperity.'' 
His was a long letter of deep interest to all pioneers. Its author 
has since passed away with a crown of glory. 

Addresses were delivered by Rev. Lee Fisher, of White 
Pigeon ; Attorney Andrew Ellison, of LaOrange, Indiana ; Captain 
Frank Bungay, an old St. Joseph river pilot from 1835-47, and 

As reported by the vice-presidents, the number of members 
of the society who had passed away since the last meeting was 
seventy-seven — fifty-one males and twenty-six females. 

Twenty-second Annual Meeting. 

The twenty-second annual meeting was held at the Center- 
ville fair grounds on Wednesday, June 12, 1895, and was called 
to order by Henry Levison, president. The following officers 
were chosen for the ensuing year : President, William B. Langley ; 
secretary, George Dickinson; treasurer, William Benjamin. A 
motion to hold the next annual meeting at Three Rivers was lost, 
the society refusing to abandon its old '^stand-by," the Center- 
ville fair grounds. An adjournment was then taken to the picnic 
dinner, and at the afternoon meeting President Levison appointed 
the following executive committee: Wm. M. Watkins, J. C. 
Bishop, Henry Levison, Otto Moe and E. A. Strong. The good 
music rendered by the Centerville band was succeeded by the 
addresses of William B. Langley, William Saddler; Miss Ruth 
Hoppin; Captain Frank Bungay, the old river pilot; Rev. Mr. 
Lee, of Three Rivers, and Attorney Dallis Boudman, of Kala- 
mazoo. Poems were also contributed by John Gibson and James 
Yauney. Fifty society members had died since the last annual 
meeting — twenty-nine males and twenty-one females. 

Twenty-third Annual Meeting. 

The twenty-third annual meeting convened June 10, 1896, at 
the Centerville fair grounds, William B. Langley being the pre- 
siding officer. The session was opened, as usual, with prayer, 


and besides the sixteen vice-presidents, the following were elected : 
President, W. W. Benjamin^ of Florence ; secretary, George Dick- 
inson ; treasurer, Henry Levison. Adjourned for dinner. 

The features of the afternoon were addresses by Rev. G. R. 
Parish, of Constantine, and Mrs. Bishop Andrews, of Three Riv- 
ers, and the humorous talk of Captain Frank Bungay, who was 
dressed in the costume of a pioneer backwoodsman. Eighty- 
three deaths were reported for the year past, of whom forty-three 
were males and forty females. 

Twenty-fourth Annual Meeting. 

The twenty-fourth annual meeting was held at the Center- 
ville fair grounds, June 8, 1897 ; was called to order by President 
W. W. Benjamin, and the following officers were chosen for the 
ensuing year: President, George McGaffey; secretary, Richard 
Daugherty ; treasurer, Henry Levison ; also sixteen vice presidents. 
Executive committee: James Yauney, W. W. Benjamin, William 
M. Watkins, M. A. Dexter, and William B. Langley. Adjourned 
for dinner. 

Death of Hon. Andrew Ellison and Hon. Saml. P. Williams. 

In the afternoon the meeting re-assembled at the grand stand 
and, after prayer and routine business, Hon. Franklin Wells of 
Constantine read obituary notices of the deaths of Hon. Andrew 
Ellison, an attorney at LaGrange, Indiana, and of Hon. Samuel P. 
Williams, of Lima, that state, both of whom always attended the 
pioneer meetings. Then an address was given by Rev. Mr. Tuthill 
and poems offered by John Gibson and James Yauney. Deaths 
reported, sixty-five — forty-five males and twenty females. 

Twenty-fifth Annual Meeting. 

The twenty-fifth annual meeting of the society assembled at 
the usual place in Centerville, on June 8, 1898, and President 
George McGaffey called it to order. The members then proceeded 
to elect officers for the ensuing year with the following results: 
President, Hon. Franklin Wells of Constantine ; sixteen vice-pres- 
idents ; secretary, C. B. Kellogg of Florence ; treasurer, M. A. Deter 
of Finley. Adjourned to Agricultural Hall for dinner. 


In the afternoon Professor John Everett, county superintend- 
ent of schools, was called upon and gave a very interesting and in- 
structive address to an audience of about five hundred. Poems 
were also on the programme by James Yauney and John Gibson. 
Seventy deaths of old pioneers were reported-— forty males and 
thirty females. 

Twenty-sixth Annxjal Meeting. 

The twenty-sixth annual meeting of the society, held at the 
fair grounds in Centerville, on June 14, 1899, was called to order 
by W. Wi. Benjamin, president pro tem, in the absence of Hon. 
Franklin Wells, president-elect. 

Officers elected for the ensuing year : President, William Haz- 
zard, of Centerville; secretary, Charles A. Parshby, of Florence; 
treasurer, Charles B. Kellogg, of Florence ; and sixteen vice pres- 
idents, one for each township. Adjourned to Agricultural Hall, 
where the ladies had provided a sumptuous repast, of which all 
partook and enjoyed exceedingly. 

At 1 :30 P. M. the meeting was called to order and opened with 
prayer by Rev. Henry A. Decker, pastor of the Congregational 
church of Constantine. The reading of the poem by James Yauney, 
entitled **My Early Recollections of Pioneer Life,'^ was followed 
by a report from the secretary of correspondence from abroad, con- 
sisting of a letter and poem from Mr. Maria Gomer of LaGrange, 
Indiana ; one from George Beisel of White Pigeon, Michigan ; one 
from Edwin Kellogg, Pleasant Grove, Greenwood county, Kansas; 
one from Samuel A. Pratt of Spring Prairie, Walworth County, 
Wisconsin, relating to the early settlement of White Pigeon and 
White Pigeon prairie. 

The speaker of the day was then announced. Rev A. J. Eldred 
of Saginaw, Michigan. Mr. Eldred is a gentleman seventy-five 
years of age and was a pastor in the Methodist church at Center- 
ville, fifty-three years ago. 

** America'' was sung by the audience and followed by short 
volunteer speeches from C. H. Starr, Capt. Frank Bungay, William 
Hazzard and others. Sixty-two deaths were reported from nine 

Twenty-seventh Annual Meeting. 

The twenty-seventh annual gathering of the society menifbers 
and their relatives and friends was at the fair grounds. Center- 


ville, June 13, 1900. The meeting was called to order by President 
William Hazzard, and the following persons were then elected for 
the coming year : President, James Yauney of Florence ; secretary, 
Charles B. Kellogg of Florence ; treasurer, Mrs. Charles B. Kellogg 
of Florence ; sixteen vice-presidents. 

The meeting adjourned for the picnic dinner; re-assembled 
at 1 :00 P. M. ; prayer was offered by Rev. Isaac Wilson ; speeches 
made by Rev. Joshua White, Hon. E. W. Keightley of Constantine, 
James Yauney, Captain Frank Bungay, E. G. Tucker, Rev. Isaiah 
Wilson and Richard Daugherty, and a poem rendered by John 
Gibson. One hundred and seventy deaths of pioneers during the 
year were reported from twelve of the sixteen townships. 

Twenty -EIGHTH Annual Meeting 

The twenty-eighth annual meeting convened at the fair grounds 
in Three Rivers on Saturday, June 1, 1901, and it was estimated 
that five thousand people assembled there. President James Yau- 
ney called the meeting to order and the regular election of officers 
resulted as follows : President, Captain Frank Bungay of Constan- 
tine ; secretary, Charles B. Kellogg of Florence ; treasurer, Mrs. C. 
B. Kellogg of Florence; sixteen vice-presidents. 
Adjourned for dinner. 

The grand stand and every available space was filled to over- 
flowing at the afternoon session. The music was by the City band ; 
prayer by Rev. Mr. Wright, and addresses of welcome were deliv- 
ered by Major French and Mrs. B. E. Andrews, with responses by 
President James Yauney and Mrs. Mericle of Florence. Then 
came music by the Glee Club ; an eloquent address by Hon. George 
L. Yaple and volunteer speeches by such old pioneers as E. G. 
Tucker of Three Rivers and Captain Frank Bungay. All joined in 
singing *' America '^ and John G. Gibson recited a poem. 

A large and varied collection of pioneer relics was added to 
the society 's museum. Several interesting facts were brought out. 
The oldest pioneers present were Michael Beadle, who came to 
Flowerfield township in 1829 and Mrs. L. S. Salsig, who located at 
Three Rivers the same year. The combined ages of the Bean fam- 
ily of five was three hundred and seventy-five years, and they came 
to Florence township in 1830. One hundred and nineteen deaths 
reported for the past year from seven townships. 


Twenty-ninth Annual Meeting. 

The twenty-ninth annual meeting of the St. Joseph County Pio- 
neer Society, at the Three Rivers Fair Grounds was held June 14, 
1902, President Frank Bungay calling it to order. The following 
officers were elected, in addition to the sixteen vice-presidents : Pres- 
ident, George Dickinson of Florence; secretary, Byron Q. Goodrich 
of Nottawa ; treasurer, Mrs. Charles A. Pashby of Florence. An ad- 
journment was then voted to partake of the excellent dinner fur- 
nished by the ladies and business men of the city. 

At 1 :30 the meeting was called to order by Captain Frank 
Bungay, president, and, after music and prayer, the society was 
welcomed by Mayor J. J. Foster. President Bungay responded 
most fittingly, and the song rendered by the choir under the leader- 
ship of Professor Charles Hannaford was a musical treat. The 
appeal for the support and perpetuation of the society was a mas- 
terly effort by Hon. E. G. Tucker. More music by band and choir; 
an address by Rev. H. S. Bailey ; a poem by James Yauney and vol- 
unteer remarks by many old pioneers closed one of the most en- 
thusiastic and largest meetings in the history of the society. Its 
membership had been depleted by deaths to the number of eighty- 
tw^o since the close of the twenty-eighth annual meeting. 

Thirtieth Annual Meeting. 

The thirtieth annual meeting was held at the fair grounds, in 
Centerville, on Wednesday, June 10, 1903 ; but although the weather 
was fine the attendance was small. President Dickinson called the 
meeting to order at 1 :00 P. M. The music was furnished by the 
Burr Oak band and the prayer was offered by Rev. J. C. New- 
comer, of Centerville. There were addresses by Rev. C. C. Jessee, 
of the Constantine Congregational church and E. G. Tucker, and 
poems by James Yauney and John Gibson. 

Officers elected, besides vice-presidents: President, Mrs. E. W. 
Pendleton; secretary and treasurer, C. B. Kellogg. 

Thirty-first Annual Meeting. 

The city of Sturgis welcomed the society at its thirty-first an- 
nual meeting, held Saturday, June 18, 1904. The weather was ideal 


and the assembly place well chosen in the school-house park and 
grove, shaded with an extensive growth of maple trees. 

At 1 :30 P. M., E. G. Tucker, president pro tern, called the meet- 
ing to order for the business session. The election of officers for 
the ensuing year resulted in the following choice : President, George 
Dickinson; secretary and treasurer, C. B. Kellogg; besides the six- 
teen vice-presidents. 

Executive committee: C. Jacobs, E. G. Tucker, John Wal- 
tham, James Yauney, and David Purdy. 

Mrs. Pendleton, the president, extended a greeting to members 
and friends. After prayer by Rev. G. F. Sheldon, of Sturgis, 
Mayor Halbert delivered an address of welcome, to which the pres- 
ident of the society responded. The orator of the day was Hon. 
Bishop E. Andrews, of Three Rivers, and m^any poems and speeches 
were also contributed to the enjoyment and instruction of the oc- 
casion. The death record for 1893-4 was one hundred and six. 

Thirty-second Annual Meeting. 

The thirty-second annual meeting of the St. Joseph County 
Pioneer Society was held in the city of White Pigeon, on Thursday, 
August 10, 1905. A most enjoyable and pleasant time was had 
and a large assemblage was there. The place of meeting was the 
school-house park and grove which, in early days, from 1835 to 
1845, was occupied by the Avery hotel and stage bams. It was 
decided not to hold a forenoon session and all enjoyed the annual 
picnic dinner at noon. 

George Dickinson, the president, called the meeting to order 
promptly at 1 :30 P. M. The address of welcome by J. M. Ben- 
jamin, cashier of the Farmers' Exchange Bank of White Pigeon, 
was certainly a masterly effort, and very entertaining and appro- 
priate for the occasion. The principal address was macie by Rev. 
F. Ware, of White Pigeon. 

Election of officers for the ensuing year resulted as follows: 
President, L. B. Place of Three Rivers; secretary and treasurer, 
C. B. Kellogg of Florence ; and a vice-president for each township. 

Executive committee : C. Jacobs, E. G. Tucker, James Yauney, 
George Dickinson, and Joseph H. Sheap. 

A vote of thanks was tendered the citizens and people of White 
Pigeon for their kindness and hospitality during the thirty-second 

Vol. 1—9 


annual meeting. Eighteen deaths were reported in two townships 
during the past year. 

Thirty-thibd Annual Meeting. 

The thirty-third annual meeting was held in the city of Three 
Eivers on Tuesday, August 21, 1906, in connection with the Home- 
coming week. The people were assembled at the Lafayette Park 
in front of the city school building, under the shade of the grove 
of the beautiful maple trees, and the American flags stretched 
across the grand stand for an awning. The weather was all that 
could be desired and the assemblage thoroughly enjoyed the ex- 
ercises, the addresses of the speakers and the music. . President 
Place, the secretary and executive committee. Jamqs Yauney, 
George Dickinson and others, met at the grove at 11 :00 A. M. for 
the election of oflficers and the transaction of other business con- 
nected with the annual meeting. A motion was carried to hold the 
next meeting at Centerville in 1907. 

The following new officers were then elected: President: Dr. 
Harden Sabin; secretary and treasurer, C. B. Kellogg; sixteen 

Executive committee: James Yauney of Florence; S. A. 
Hunger of Sturgis; Gteorge Dickinson of Florence; E. G. Tucker 
of Three Rivers ; Sylvester Noel of White Pigeon ; E. Fletcher of 
Hendon ; J. H. Sheap of Sturgis, and Henry E. Root of Constantine. 

Adjourned for dinner in the grove. 

Greatest Success Up to Date. 

The meeting was called to order at 1 :30 P. H. by Hayor John 
J. Foster, president of the Home-coming week, participants in 
which united with the society to make the meeting the greatest 
success in the history of the organization. The streets of the city 
were decorated with flags and lined with gay booths. Hon. L. B. 
Place, president of the society, made a short address. Attorney 
Bishop E. Andrews of Three Rivers, secretary of the Home-coming 
week, made the address of welcome, which was eminently ap- 
propriate and interesting. The responses by H. F. Severens, United 
States circuit judge, and Hrs. Jesse Hiricle of Florence, were both 


very appropriate and eloquent, thanking the city and its people 
for their extended and hearty welcome and bountiful provisions 
they had made for comfort and entertainment of visitors and to 
render the pioneer meeting a grand success. 

The music for the occasion was furnished by the choir and the 
Three Rivers Cornet Band, and addresses were made as follows : 
By Congressman E. L. Hamilton, of Niles ; Rev. S. C. U. Skinner, 
of the Presbyterian church of Three Rivers; Mrs. M. B. Ferry of 
Lansing, on what the State Pioneer and Historical Society is doing 
in connection with the county ; and by Walter H. French of Lans- 
ing ** Co-operation in Pioneer Work by Our Public Schools.'' The 
benediction was by Rev. J. D. Brosy of the Lutheran church of 
Three Rivers. At the suggestion of James Yauney, it was agreed to 
meet at Centerville next year, at an earlier date (about June 15, 
1907), as provided in the by-laws. 

Thirty-fourth Aknual Meeting. 

The thirty-fourth annual meeting of the society occurred at 
the Centerville fair grounds on Thursday, June 13, 1907. The day 
was exceptionally fine and there was a fair attendance. The pro- 
gramme was not fully carried out, on account of the absence of 
some of the members who were to take part in the exercises. 

The meeting was called to order by Dr. Marden Sabin, presi- 
dent, at 11 :00 A. M., in the Exhibition building of the fair grounds, 
and the following were the officers elected : President, Dr. Marden 
Sabin ; secretary and treasurer, Charles B. Kellogg ; with the cus- 
tomary sixteen vice-presidents. 

Executive committee : James Yauney of Florence ; Alexander 
Sharp of Sherman ; W. F. A. Bolander of Centerville ; J. J. Bennett 
of Leonidas; C. Jacobs of Sturgis; and E. G. Tucker of Three 

Adjourned at 12 :00 M. for picnic dinner at the Agricultural 

The afternoon session was called to order by the president, Dr. 
Sabin ; prayer was offered by Rev. C. S. Risley of the Methodist 
church, and the music was furnished by the White Pigeon band. 
The president of the village, F. Lehr, extended a cordial welcome 
to the visiting society and Dr. Marden Sabin, its president, re- 
sponded in kind. The principal address of the meeting was by Rev. 


S. C. U. Skinner, pastor of the Presbyterian church of Three 

Hon. E. G. Tucker, of Three Rivers, made a very stirring ap- 
peal to the members and people for the strengthening and perpe- 
tuity of the organization, and was elected a delegate from the society 
to attend the meetings of the State Pioneer and Historical Society 
at Lansing, June 26 and 27, 1907. Voluntary talks, limited to ten 
minutes, were given by James Yauney, William Langley, Alexander 
Sharp and others. A committee was then chosen by the president, 
to take under consideration the location and erection of monuments 
commemorative of pioneer incidents of county history, composed 
of the following: E. G. Tucker, Three Rivers; Alexander Sharp, 
Sherman ; James Yaimey, Florence ; Dr. Harden Sabin, Centerville ; 
Rev. H. A. Simpson, Centerville. As was customary, the singing of 
'* America" by the audience and benediction brought the session to 
a close. 

Thirty-fifth Annual Meeting. 

The thirty-fifth annual meeting was also held at the Fair 
Grounds in Centerville; date, Thursday, June 11, 1908. The day 
was exceptionally fine, following a season of exceedingly cold and 
rainy weather. There was a fair attendance, drawn from all parts 
of the county and the programme was fully carried, all the officers 
being present with the exception of President Sabin, who was de- 
tained on account of illness. 

Hon. Alexander Sharp was appointed to fill the vacancy, and 
called the meeting to order at the grand stand. It was voted to hold 
the next annual meeting at Colon; Hon. Alexander Sharp was 
chosen president, and Charles B. Kellogg secretary and treasurer, 
of the society ; and the same vice-presidents and executive commit- 
tee were selected as those of 1907. The address of welcome by C. 
0. Bossom, village president, was certainly excellent and very ap- 
propriate, as was the response by Acting President Sharp. Music 
by the quartette preceded the principal address by Rev. J. D, Brosy 
of Three Rivers ; an interesting discourse, full of pathos and advice 
to the living pioneers and the coming generation and of eulogy on 
the dear old pioneers who have passed away. After the rendition 
of ** Michigan, My Michigan'' by the audience, Hon. E. G. Tucker 
spoke, as of yore, for the maintenance and perpetuation of the 
society. Voluntary talks by old pioneers were responded to by 


James Yauney and others; the Three Rivers band gave ''We'll 
never say good-bye, old pioneers," and Rev. C. S. Risley, Center- 
ville, offered the benediction. 

A. Sharp, Joseph A. Marsh, J. M. Benjamin and Daniel B. 
Blue were appointed a committee to secure funds and have a 
monument erected to mark the last resting place of the Indian 
Chieftain, White Pigeon, who acted as a flying messenger and 
saved the lives of the white settlers from massacre, sacrificing his 
own life to accomplish his errand of mercy. 

Thirty-sixth Annual Meeting. 

The thirty-sixth annual meeting of the St. Joseph County 
Pioneer Society was held at the city of Colon, Michigan, on 
Wednesday, June 16, 1909. The day was exceptionally fine, 
there was a large attendance, the programme was fully carried 
out and nearly all the officers were present. The meeting had the 
best attendance of any in the society's history. 

The executive committee and members of the society were 
called to order at 10:00 A. M. by President Sharp for the elec- 
tion of officers and the transaction of other business. The invita- 
tion presented from the mayor, council and citizens of Con- 
stantine, to hold the next annual meeting there, was unanimously 
accepted and, besides vice-presidents and executive committee 
(same as the preceding year), the following were chosen: Presi- 
dent, Judge E. W. Keightley, Constantine; secretary and treas- 
urer, C. B. Kellogg, of Florence. Adjournment was then voted 
to attend pioneer picnic dinner in the shady grove of the big 
maple trees and on the lawn before the beautiful residence of Hon. 
T. J. Hill. 

At 1 o'clock Rev. Mr. Eldred opened the meeting after 
noon with prayer and also made the address of welcome, in the 
absence of Mayor Lamberson. 

Succeeding order of exercises : Response by Alexander Sharp, 
president of the society ; song by the Colon Glee club ; announce- 
ment of the new county officers for the next annual meeting, to 
be held in Constantine ; principal address by Rev. H. A. Simpson ; 
music by the Colon band, members of which are employed in the 
large knitting mill owned and operated by Hon. T. J. Hill; 
forcible address by Hon. E. G. Tucker, for the maintenance and 
perpetuation of the society; benediction. 


Thirty-seventh Annual Meeting. 

The thirty-seventh and last annual meeting of the society 
was held in the Constantine Opera House on Wednesday, June 22, 
1910. The day was fine, but remarkably warm, and the attend- 
ance was light compared with that at Colon, of the previous year. 
The ladies were especially well represented and occupied 
most of the seats in Gray's Opera House; they certainly did 
their part. The citizens also did their part and thanks are due 
them for their kindness in helping to defray the incidental ex- 
penses of the meeting. 

The morning session was called to order by Judge E. W. 
Keightley for the election of county officers and resulted in the 
choice of David Handshaw of Mendon, for president and Charles 
B. Kellogg for secretary and treasurer; no change in vice-presi- 
dents and executive committee. At noon an adjournment was 
taken to Root 's hotel for dinner, and an hour afterward the meet- 
ing was re-opened by President Keightley at Gray's Opera House. 
Rev. Stevens of the Congregational church offered prayer and 
Judge Keightley 's telling address of welcome met with a bright 
response from Hon. A. Sharp. The principal address was by 
attorney and postmaster J. Mark Harvey. His was certainly a 
masterly effort and appreciated by all present, going back to 
the early conquest of the country from the Indians and foreign 
powers. James Yauney, A. Sharp and others made short speeches, 
and a recitation by Miss Fanny Slote was quite interesting and 
amusing, causing much cheering and clapping of hands. ** Amer- 
ica" was sung by the audience, under the leadership of Rev. 
Mr. Stevens, who also gave the benediction. 



White Pigeon Prairie — Story of Chief White Pigeon — Sequel 
TO the Story — Unveiling of the Memorial — Mrs. W. C. 
Cameron's Address — Other Proceedings — The Pioneer 
Trio— Judge Winchell — Leonard Cutler— Area Heald — 
First Farms in the County — ' ' Old Diggins, ' ' First Hotel — 
End of Colon-el Savery — Village Platted — Pioneer 
County School House — First Religious Services — Cutting 
Down and Building Up — Topography, Drainage and Lakes 
— ''Pioneer Incidents," by Charles B. Kellogg— First 
Farmers and Business Men — Kellogg Brothers— Judge 
Levi Baxter — George W. Beisel — English Settlers— Rob- 
ert Clark, the Surveyor — Chief White Pigeon and Indian 
Prairie — Items by William Bair — ''Webster's Visit to 
White Pigeon/' by Mrs. A. E. Kellogg. 

In the succeeding four chapters, devoted to sketches of the 
sixteen townships comiprising the county of St. Joseph, a logical 
and historical division is adopted. A grouping has been made, 
corresponding to the original division of the present county terri- 
tory into three townships. The first settlements were formed in 
White Pigeon, which in 1829 comprised the present townships of 
White Pigeon, Lockport, Florence, Fabius, Constantine and Mott- 
ville. Because of the historical importance of the White Pigeon 
township of the present, a chapter is devoted to it alone. 

White Pigeon Prairie. 

The beautiful prairie of White Pigeon was the first section of 
St. Joseph county to attract John Winchell, Arba Heald, Leonard 
Cutler and others, in 1826-7. They closely followed the govern- 



ment surveyors of the Chicago road from the Detroit region, and 
made their homes not far from the old-time Indian settlement of 
the friendly Pottawatomies to the south. Years before they came, 
the vicinity was the permanent camping place for the tribe, while 
traveling along the Chicago trail, and afterward was recognized 
as the natural station, or resting place for emigrants bound for 
southern Michigan or northwestern Indiana. Long before the 
settlement around Fort Dearborn became generally known. White 
Pigeon prairie was a noted spot in New England, N'ew York and 
Pennsylvania, and White Pigeon, the splendid chief of the Potta- 
watomies, was instanced as proof that the ^^ noble red man'' was 
no mere figure of speech. 

From the first, White Pigeon seems to have taken a fond in- 
terest in the little settlement budding forth on the northern banks 
of the stream which bore his name, and the story has long ago 
become history that he gave his life to save it from threatened 
destruction by his race. 

Story of Chief White Pigeon. 

''The story of White Pigeon's love for the people of this settle- 
ment and Ms noble sacrifice for the cause of friendship has long 
been a subject of local history. Various versions of the legend are 
extant, but the story as gleaned from best authorities is that long 
years ago, probably about 1830, Chief White Pigeon, while in the 
neighborhood of Detroit, learned of an uprising among the Indians, 
and a threatened attack upon the settlement. True to his name, he 
flew on the wings of love to warn his friends of the impending 
danger. The journey was a long one, necessitating the fording 
of creeks and the swimming of rivers, and taxed to the utmost his 
splendid powers of endurance ; yet the brave, loyal heart rushed 
on and on, until he had reached the settlement and warned his 
friends; and then, his mission accomplished, tired nature gave 
way — and the little Indian mound just west of the village finished 
the story of one who gave his life for the friends he loved. 'And 
greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for 
his friends. ' 

"It is only fitting, therefore, that later the settlement he had 
saved should bear his name and thus perpetuate his memory, and 
that a lasting tribute may tell to coming generations the story of 
his noble deed. 


' ' White Pigeon, or, in the Indian language, Wahbememe, was 
probably at the time of his death about thirty years of age. He is 
described as having been of much lighter complexion than others 
of his tribe; tall, athletic, and an especially fleet runner. He 
seems to have been a splendid type of the American Indian at his 
best, brave and chivalrous, with high ideals of truth and honor. 
The people of his tribe cherished his memory with reverence and 
love, ascribing to him all the best of Indian virtues, and long paid 
occasional visits to his grave. 

^^A story is told that, m(any years ago, some white miscreant, 
in open defiance of Pottawatomie commands, built a cabin over 
the grave ; needless to say, it was soon burned and no vandal since 
has dared to desecrate the place. ' ' 

Sequel to the Story. 

The sequel to the story which is so dear to the early settlers of 
St. Joseph county and their descendants, is the massive stone which 
now marks the grave of the faithful young chief. Upon the boulder 
is the inscription: ''Erected to the memory of Wahbememe, 
Indian Chief White Pigeon, who, about 1830, gave his life to save 
the settlement at this place. ' ' To the Alba Columba Club, of White 
Pigeon, is due the honor of bringing about this act of historic 
justice and human acknowledgement of "splendid services ren- 
dered," and largely through the personal efforts of Mrs. W. C. 
(Cora) Cameron and Mrs. Jessie Reynolds. 

Unveiling of the Memorial. 

The dedication of the monument itself was an event of his- 
toric importance, both to White Pigeon and the county at large, it 
being unveiled by Willie White Pigeon, the great-great-grandson 
of the martyred Pottawatomie chief. 

"More people were in White Pigeon Wednesday (August 11, 
1909) than have gathered here since the time of the departure of 
the soldiers for the south in 1861," says the News of that place. 
"The day's festivities opened with the booming of cannon at 
seven o'clock, and by noon the streets were so thronged with 
people that passage was difficult. They came in automobiles and 
carriages, by train, on floats, on wheel, and by wagon loads. The 
attendance is estimated at about seven thousand. 



. :,.„.uJ 



'^The prominent feature of the day's program was the dedica- 
tion of the monument to the memory of Chief White Pigeon which 
had been erected through the efforts of the Alba Columba Club. 
This project had been under consideration by the Three Rivers 
chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution and by the County 
Pioneer Society, but these White Pigeon ladies insisted that the 
task was a local one, and to them belongs the honor of carrying 
forward to completion this laudable enterprise. 

Impressive Movement to the Grave. 

''The movement to the grave, where the monument stands, 
took the form of a parade, led by an escort of a hundred local 
braves and squaws mounted on horseback. The place of honor in 
the procession was occupied by the descendants of Chief White 
Pigeon from Dorr, Allegan county, in a decorated float. Present 
were John White Pigeon, great-grandson of the chief, his wife 
Mary and children, Wallace, Lewis, Willie, Joe and Anna; James 
White Pigeon, wife and five children; Sampson White Pigeon, 
wife and two children, Alexander Pokagon and wife. 

' ' Then in order were the K. 0. T. M. M. band, a carriage with 
Lieut. Gov. Kelly, Arthur Dutton, Alfred Wickett and Dr. J. B. 
Williams, followed by floats bearing the Alba Columba Club, high 
school, intermediate and primary pupils, district schools, L. 0. T. 
M. M., 0. E. S., and many others. The decoration of these floats 
was delightfully conceived and beautifully carried out, the one 
bearing the Alba Columba ladies being especially noticeable. A 
white pigeon was suspended at the front with reins leading to the 
hands of Charlotte Baker who was seated in a miniature chariot at 
the top of the float and another white pigeon was perched on her 
shoulder. The Italian band, fire department, old pioneers in car- 
riages, dog teams, and the water wagon made a long procession. 
''As stated, the boulder bears the inscription: 'Erected in 
memory of Wahbememe, Indian Chief White Pigeon, who, about 
1830, gave his life to save the settlement at this place.' On the 
front of the base are the words, 'Greater love hath no man than 
this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. ' On the rear of 
the base, 'Erected by the Alba Columba Club, 1909.' " 


Mrs. W. C. Cameron's Address. 

The dedicatory address was delivered by Mrs. W. C. Cameron, 
who said, in part : 

' ' For years a wish has been expressed that the last resting place 
of the noble chief be marked by something more permanent than 
the tree that sheltered it. It remained for a little band of women, 
the Alba Columba Club, to take the initiative. It has been said 
that ^A woman roused is a determined woman, and what may she 


not accomplish,' and truly the women were aroused with en- 
thusiasm for the work in hand. To secure the necessary means, 
they published a book which they believed would appeal to all who 
were interested in this, the most widely known landmark in St. 
Joseph county. The reception of this book, 'White Pigeon,' was 
indeed most gratifying and the ladies were enabled to accomplish 
their purpose, by marking permanently the resting place of the 
chieftain whose name we cherish, and today, my friends, at the 
request of the Alba Columba Club, Master Willie White Pigeon will 
unveil to your sight this modest monument erected by the Alba 


Columba Club to the memory of Wahbememe, the Pottawatomie 
Indian chief, who gave his life to save the settlement at this place. 
' ' This, a rugged boulder, emblematic of the character of him 
whose dust it cov^ers, we present to you and to posterity, and with 
it the memory of one who, though untutored and unlearned in the 
manners of the cultivated, lived so in harmony with the Great 
Spirit that in his death he fulfilled to the utmost the highest law, 
for 'Love is the fulfilling of the law,' and 'Greater love hath no 
man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. ' ' ' 

Other Proceedings. 

Flowers were strewn upon the grave by the school children, 
the Indians sang in the Pottawatomie tongue, ''Jesus My All to 
Heaven is Gone/' closing the exercises at the grave. 

At the speakers' stand in the park, J. M. Benjamin, in a few 
well chosen sentences, gave a hearty welcome to the visitors and 
introduced the principal speaker, Lieut. Gov. P. H. Kelly, who 
emphasized the marvelous wealth of the heritage bequeathed to 
the rising generation. 

Mr. Benjamin introduced the Indians who were seated upon 
the platform, and Sampson White Pigeon, on behalf of the others, 
spoke appreciatively of the occasion. 

Jacob Yauney, of Florence township, who has lived in this 
vicinity since 1836, recalled early incidents of his life and read an 
original poem written in honor of the day. 

E. G. Tucker, one of the most active members of the County 
Pioneer association, spoke, as did Rev. Alexander McLaughlin of 
Pearl City, Illinois, who was a pastor in White Pigeon over thirty 
years ago. 

The songs by male voices were greatly enjoyed, the singers 
being Edwin, Reuben and Willis Rosebrook, Newton Gilmore, and 
Dick Bottorf. 

The program of sports was carried out in full and there was 
something doing all day long, closing with the most beautiful and 
varied pyrotechnic display ever attempted in this section. 

The ladies of the Alba Columba Club, the committee in charge, 
the business men, and in fact the entire community were warmly 
congratulated on the brilliant success of White Pigeon's Home- 


The Pioneer Trio. 

Soon after their arrival on White Pigeon prairie, in 1827, 
Messrs. Winehell, Cutler and Heald built their log cabins in the 
edge of the timber flanking the grassy expanse; and as they 
formed the center of the colonization of White Pigeon township 
they must receive more than mention at this point. 

Judge Winchell. 

John Winehell had nine children: Elizabeth, who married 
Samuel Markham; David, who married Mary Ann Mclnterfer, 
daughter of the first settler in Lockport township; Lyman and 
William Winehell; Martha, whose union with James Knapp con- 
stituted the first marriage in the county ; John, Cynthia, Angelina 
and James. In the fall of 1833 Judge Winehell moved to Door 
prairie, Laporte county, where he died December 20, 1836. He 
was the first justice of the peace in St. Joseph county and also 
its first postmaster, having charge of the few letters and papers 
which came to Millville, when it became a postoffice in 1828. 
Further, Mr. Winehell was the first mail contractor on the Chi- 
cago road, between Coldwater and Niles, and he was considered 
a most becoming type of accuracy, promptness and business hab- 
its, besides being a moral man. The Winehell log cabin was 
built on the north side of the Chicago road and the blacksmith 
shop on the south side, just in the edge of the timber. Both he 
and his wife were New England people. 

Leonard Cutler. 

Leonard Cutler was a native of Vermont, who migrated to 
Canada in 1811, shortly after his marriage. At the commence- 
ment of the war of 1812 he moved over the line into New York, 
and during hostilities performed good service in the artillery 
branch of the United States army. At the close of the war 
Mr. Cutler moved himself and family into the wilderness of 
Jennings county, Indiana, where he cleared a forest for farming 
purposes. As may be imagined, White Pigeon prairie, with its 
fringe of timber land, appealed to his home-loving instincts. It 
is said that he was stricken with fever on the road, and his con- 
dition became so serious that his sons drew up the wagon beside 


the Chicago trail, which had been just reached, and laid him 
upon an improvised bed. 

As soon as the boys could command their feelings sufficiently 
to put the question, they asked their father where they should 
bury him, in case of his death. 

Mr. Cutler ^s reply was a fair indication of his tenacity of 
purpose. ''Not here," he said, ''but on "White Pigeon prairie. 
There is where I started to go, and there I am going, dead or 
alive. If I die put me in the wagon, take me to the prairie and 
there bury me. But I am not going to die." And he did not. 

The family reached White Pigeon prairie, and a Pottawatomie 
Indian gave the fever patient some native herb medicine, made 
doubly effective by the offering of tobacco and fervent prayer to 
the Great Spirit. He was soon himself again, and he so be- 
friended a sick German, named Kimball, that the latter loaned 
him money to enter his eight hundred acres in the eastern portion 
of the prairie. On the 18th of May, 1827, when Mr. Cutler reached 
White Pigeon prairie, his family comprised his wife Mercy, and 
several children. One of them, Maurice D., afterward went to 
Wisconsin, and became one of the principal proprietors of 
Waukesha, while another, John, migrated to California, where 
he was prominent as a county judge and state legislator. The 
daughter, Mary Cutler, was the first white child born in the 
county. She was born in the early part of 1828, married a Mr. 
Hunt and died near Laporte about 1870. 

Mr. Cutler left St. Joseph county in the spring of 1831, sell- 
ing the lands which he had bought at $1.25 per acre at a large 
advance and locating on Door prairie, Indiana. Several years 
thereafter he made a move which took him still further west, 
locating at Decorah, Iowa, where he passed away close to the 
century mark. 

Area Heald. 

Arba Ileald, who came to White Pigeon in 1828, was a native 
of Maine, and brought to St. Joseph county his wife and five 
children. His wife was a New York lady, who he married in 
1818. In 1820 they removed to Pennsylvania; thence to Ohio; 
in 1825 to Monroe, Michigan, and thence to White Pigeon. 

Messrs. Winchell and Heald were prospecting southern Mich- 
igan, in the vicinity of the Chicago road, during the later part 
of 1826, and when they reached the western edge of White Pigeon 


prairie Heald exclaimed ^ ' Winchell, right about face ! We have 
gone far enough! This location is good enough for anybody!'' 
Thereupon the two retraced their way to Monroe, Winchell re- 
turning to White Pigeon in April, 1827, accompanied by Heald. 
The latter went to Monroe for his family, whom he brought with 
him in January, 1828, arriving toward the last of the month. In 
June, 1832, Mr. Heald disposed of his location to Dr. Isaac 0. 
Adams, and moved to Door prairie, Indiana. There he built a 
sawmill and became prominent, dying in 1853. 

First Farms in the County. 

The first farms in White Pigeon township, as well as in the 
county, were those of Winchell and Cutler, who, in the spring of 
1827, broke the new sod and planted corn, potatoes and buck- 
wheat, sowing wheat in the fall. Cutler had a strong team — 
three yoke of oxen and two of cows — and broke up several acres. 
In the following spring he also planted the first fruit-seeds for 
nursery purposes, devoting three acres to this enterprise. 

''Old Diggins', First Hotel. 

Dr. David Page, the first physician of the county, Eeed Page, 
his brother and Joseph Olds, located on the prairie in the fall of 
1827, and in December of that year came Asahel Savery, who at 
once build the east wing of the ' ' Old Diggins, ' ' the pioneer hotel. 
It was a log building, and the resort of all the important per- 
sonages of the day. Here the electors assembled and set in mo- 
tion the wheels of government of the new county, in the fall of 
1829, when the first caucus was held in the county and Elias 
Taylor was recommended to Governor Cass as a fit person to take 
charge of the courts and keep the peace in the sheriff's office; 
John W. Anderson received a similar recommendation for the 
position of register of probate and of deeds, and John Sturgis and 
William Meek were nominated for county judges. Here, too, 
in this pioneer hotel, the first town meeting was held in the spring 

In 1830 the proprietor added a very respectable frame struc- 
ture to his log building, it being really the main building of 
the hotel. Here the first court convened in the county was held 
in August, 1830, Hon. William Woodbridge and Henry Chipman 


being the presiding judges. Its proprietor also owned and op- 
erated the first stage coaches on the Chicago road in 1831, and 
drove them himself, cutting out the roads and building the bridges 
to get through from Tecumseh to Niles. 

End of Colonel Savery. 

Colonel Savery was a distinguished character and noted for 
years as a Michigan frontiersman. In 1835 he went to Texas 
and fought for the Lone Star republic under Houston; became 
also a soldier of the Mexican war; a prospector in California, 
Nevada and Idaho, and is supposed to have passed his last days 
in Texas. In 1837 his old tavern was occupied by Rev. Charles 
Newberry, or rather by the branch of the University of Michigan, 
of which he had charge. The occupancy was only temporary, 
pending the completion of a regular branch building. 

Village Platted. 

Savery 's log tavern was the first house built within the 
present limits of the village of White Pigeon. The original plat, 
which was surveyed and mapped May 6, 1830, was laid out by 
Robert Clark, Jr., the government surveyor; Niles F. Smith, the 
pioneer merchant ; Neal McGaffey, first lawyer of the county, and 
Mr. Savery himself. With the exception of Savery, all of these 
proprietors of White Pigeon village were comers of 1828-9. 

From this time onward, the settlement on White Pigeon 
prairie, including the village, was quite brisk and included among 
the principal comers — those who made local history — the follow- 
ing: In 1828 came James Knapp, the first Benedict; Beckwith 
and family; Luther Newton, the pioneer manufacturer; Peter 
Klinger and family, who gave their name to Klinger's lake; and 
Billy Naggs, a trader on Indian prairie a mile southwest of the 
village. In 1829 the additions were: Samuel Pratt, who was 
among the first to build a frame house on the village plat; Dr. 
Hubbel Loomis, who was the first probate judge, and John W. 
Anderson, first register of probate and deeds. In 1830 came Rev. 
William Jones, first Presbyterian minister in the county, and the 
Kellogg brothers, the leading merchants. In 1831, Dr. Isaac O. 
Adams and his family of sons arrived, with John S. Barry, after- 
ward governor of the state. 

Vol. I — 10 


Pioneer County School-house. 

The first schoolhouse in the county was built on White Pigeon 
prairie, in the summer of 1830, at a little settlement called New- 
ville, which had been promoted by the three Phelps brothers, 
who had arrived upon the scene about a year before. The log 
cabin in which it was held was erected especially for educational 
purposes, and although its desks and seats were not entirely 
devoid of bark it was not viewed by the pioneers of those times 
as a mere * ^ make-shift ' ' affair. Albert Allen, afterward post- 
master of both Newville and White Pigeon, was the first teacher. 
In its time White Pigeon Seminary was a high-class institution 
of learning, and enjoyed the distinction of being a branch of the 
University of Michigan. Governor Bagley received his education 

First Religious Services. 

The first religious services were also held at Newville, both 
in the school-house and at the homes of White Prairie settlers. 
A Methodist class had been formed in this vicinity, during the 
fall of 1829, with David Crawford as class leader. It was or- 
ganized by Rev. Erastus Felton. The Baptist church also had 
its commencement at Newville, but its headquarters were after- 
wards transferred to White Pigeon village. It is said that a 
Baptist minister named Holmes came to the Prairie in 1828 and 
lived for a time on WinchelPs farm; but it is certain that he 
devoted himself to the practical tilling of the soir rather than to 
religious work. 

Cutting Down and Building Up. 

The civil organization of White Pigeon township corresponds 
to that of the county — October 29, 1829 — it being one of the three 
original townships which embraced the present territory of St. 
Joseph county. In the process of being cut down to its present 
dimensions several steps were taken. On March 21, 1833, the 
present townships of Lockport and Fabius were set off from it, 
under the name of Buck's township, and in 1837 Florence, Con- 
stantine and Mottville were substracted from its original ter- 
ritory, reducing White Pigeon to little more than half a township. 

Then followed the building-up process from slices of ter- 
ritory taken from Mottville, to the west, and Florence, to the 


north. As a part of the White Pigeon plat was located in the first 
tier of sections in Mottville, this area was added to the township, 
as well as section 34, 35 and 36, of Florence township. The lat- 
ter was west and north of Klinger's lake, and above them was a 
large and then impassable swamp. This hard physical fact com- 
pelled the good citizens of Florence to take a wide swing almost 
to the village of White Pigeon, whenever they were obliged to go 
to township headquarters on business ; hence it was thought best 
to attach it civilly, as it was physically, to White Pigeon. 

Topography and Drainage. 

Speaking from the standpoint of topography. White Pigeon 
township is a plain, slightly undulating in portions. It was orig- 
inally covered with burr and white oak openings, with the excep- 
tion of about one thousand acres of its area, included in the beau- 
tiful and widely-known White Pigeon prairie. Altogether, its 
area is about 18,000 acres, of which 1,265 is included in water sur- 
face. It has no characteristics of soil, which would separate it 
from other sections of the county. 

The township is drained by the Pigeon and Fawn rivers and 
Pickerel, Klinger's, Aldrich, Marl and Fish lakes. The Pigeon 
enters the township from Indiana, in section 22, and passes in a 
generally northwesterly direction, through Marl lake, flows south 
of the village of White Pigeon, and makes its exit into Mottville 
township. The Fawn river enters the township by way of Aldrich 
lake, in the southeast corner, flows through Pickerel lake, which 
stretched generally toward the northwest, and thence takes a 
northerly course into the township of Florence, a branch con- 
necting the main stream with Klinger's lake to the east. 

Lakes of the Township. 

This latter is the largest body of water in the township, 
having an area of about seven hundred acres, and is named from 
Peter Klinger, who settled on its shores in 1829. It covers por- 
tions of several of the extreme northeastern sections of the town- 
ship. Aldrich lake overlaps the southeastern line between White 
Pigeon and Sturgis townships, and is connected with Pickerel 
lake by Fawn river. Marl lake is just south of the main stream 
of White Pigeon river and joined to it by a small stream, while 


Fish lake is in the extreme southwest and stretches over 
the Indiana line. With the exception of the last named, all the 
lakes in the township are included in the valleys of the Fawn and 
White Pigeon rivers. 

Thus have the main facts in connection with the early set- 
tlement of the township been set forth ; and it is evident that its 
pioneer history in its earliest period is that of the county at large. 
As a means of rounding out the story and record of this important 
section of St. Joseph county, the following additions are made, 
which speak for themselves. 

By Charles B. Kellogg. 

The pioneer days of St. Joseph county have long since passed 
into oblivion to the many, but are still fresh in the memory of a 
select few whose lives have been spared to the present day. The 
reminiscences of pioneer days and pioneer life are very interesting 
to many, and particularly interesting to the few who remain for 
the experience which they had in being participants in the develop- 
ment of this great country. 

First Farmers and Business Men. 

St. Joseph county without a doubt was one of the first counties 
in the state to demand the attention of New England and foreign 
people and was first settled, in 1829-1830, by New England and by 
English people direct from Old England. The bulk of the farmers 
in this locality were English and the men who platted and estab- 
lished the towns in business were New England people. 

Judge Baxter, Kellogg & Brothers, Neal McGaffey and others 
platted the town of White Pigeon, built the large water-way, dam 
and race — a mile long — erected a large flouring mill and sawmill 
there, and did a large business for that early day. 

The products of this and La Grange county, Indiana, were 
floated down the St. Joseph river from Mendon, Three Rivers, Con- 
stantine, Mottville and other points on the river, in arks, flat boats, 
keel boats and steamboats to the mouth of old St. Jo and then 
loaded on lake vessels for Buffalo ; thence taking the canal to New 
York for a market, at three and a half dollars per barrel. Wheat 


was then about forty cents per bushel and com fifteen to twenty, 
the latter being manufactured principally into whiskey by the 
numerous stills in the county and sold at twenty-five cents per 

The prairies were in those days traversed almost daily in the 
summer season by numerous bands of Indians, hunting and ex- 
changing their products of the chase and bush — deer, turkeys, ven- 
ison and maple sugar— to the merchants for goods and trinkets. 

They remained here for some time ; then ceded their lands to 
the government and were removed to Iowa ; thence to Kansas, where 
I met many of them in 1857 and during the Border Ruffian war 
with John Brown, while Kansas was yet a territory. 

The pioneer business men of White Pigeon were merchants. 
Kellogg & Brothers carried dry goods and general merchandise and 
were millers. Judge Levi Baxter was a miller and farmer, and I 
think, at an early day, judge of probate at Centerville. Lewis B. 
Judson was a merchant there, as was Governor John S. Barry for a 
short time. Mr. Barry removed to Constantine, erected a large 
store for merchandise and a large warehouse on the river, to accom- 
modate the river trade and the steamboats. He did quite a lucra- 
tive business for many years, and served as governor of the state 
for three terms. 

The Kellogg Brothers. 

Kellogg Brothers (George, Edwin and Charles), erected the 
then largest store building in the town, two stories high and front- 
ing two streets ; old colonial style, with a porch all across the front ; 
large round pillars to support the upper front and large blinds to 
be put on every night and locked. Kellogg & Brothers carried a 
large stock of general merchandise ; everything that a farmer and 
his family would require. They had the first fire-proof safe — a little 
salamander — and there was where the first White Pigeon bank was 
established in wild-cat times. I have not a sample of our White 
Pigeon money, but send you a Constantine **Shin Plaster.'' 

Kellogg & Brothers purchased the flouring mill of Judge Bax- 
ter in 1840 and operated it until the death of Charles Kellogg, who 
was drowned in the St. Joseph river at Mishawaka, Indiana, on his 
steamboat, the *' Pilot." He was the first one to agitate and pro- 
mote the sugar-beet industry in the United States, and a factory 
was erected there near the flouring mill in 1840, by a company or- 
ganized and principally promoted by him. Upon sending Governor 





Barry to France to investigate, he found that it would enlist more 
capital than they could control; so the scheme was abandoned and 
the factory was sold and converted into a brewery. After the 
death of Mr. Judson, a merchant across the street, G. W. Beisel, was 
his successor. 

Then there were E. S. Swan, J. H. Woodbury and Pratt & 
Preston. Samuel Pratt built the principal hotel in 1833, in the 
street opposite the Kellogg store. 

My parents came to White Pigeon in 1829 and were among 
the first settlers; my father, Charles Kellogg, was from Sheffield, 
Berkshire county, Massachusetts, and my mother from Yorkshire, 
England. The town was platted by such patriotic men as Neal 
McOaffey, Chapin Kellogg, Savery, Pratt and others, with the aid 
of the government surveyor, Robert Clark. 

Judge Levi Baxter. 

Among the prominent business men of that early day Judge 
Levi Baxter, who was president of the first Republican convention 
held in Michigan, was a leader. In 1831, he came from New York 
to Tecumseh, territory of Michigan, and entered upon a genuine 
pioneer life. Among other enterprises here he built the first grist 
mills of any size west of Monroe, long known a^ the ''Red Mills.'' 
These mills supplied a large section of the country, people some- 
times carrying their grist as much as fifty miles to them. In 1834, 
in connection with Cook Sisson, he built a mill at Jonesville, Hills- 
dale county, which he greatly enlarged in 1840. In 1836 he built 
extensive mills at White Pigeon, located there and remained until 
1848, when he returned to Jonesville with his family. This place 
became his permanent residence, and he died there in 1862, at the 
age of seventy-four years. 

George W. Beisel. 

George W. Beisel was a successful merchant in White Pigeon 
manv years and successor to Mr. Judson. George and Henry Clark 
kept the principal hotel. Then there was the C'Old Diggins'O 
stage hotel, with large bams to accommodate fifty horses, and a 
large circular track in front upon which to exercise the coach horses 
and for the drivers to show their skill as reinsmen. That was on 
the site where the new brick school house was erected. William 


Watson kept a hotel ri^ht opposite and many times the hotels could 
not accommodate the stages and traveling public, some having to 
camp out in that day. The Chicago road was a great thoroughfare, 
as all the travel was that way before the advent of the railway. 
Watson's was a little inn at which to water the horses and whet 
the appetite of the drivers with wet goods; then they could swing 
the four-in-hand, crack the whip and blow the horn. 

English Farmers Prior to 1835. 

The principal farmers of this locality, in that early day, were 
George Dixon, with a family of twelve children, located adjoining 
the town site of White Pigeon, who bought many small tracts of 
government land near the cemetery; William Watson, who run a 
tavern and a large farm ; William Hanson, a leading farmer ; John 
Jackson, who owned several farms; W. Stears, who located in 
Florence township with his family of six or eight children ; William 
Barnard, having a large family and a fine farm ; and John Burrell, 
Mr. Bumham, Mr. Boss, John Coats, Mr. Broadley, Joseph Garton, 
Richard Garton, William Cotton, Samuel Hotchin and Richard 
Wade, all with the generous families of those days. 

These are the principal English families who migrated to 
America, and came direct to St. Joseph county, Michigan, previous 
to 1835, while Michigan was yet a territory. There are many others 
that might be mentioned, who came in when the country was wild 
and in a state of nature ; prairie grass above your head and bear, 
deer, turkey and wild fowls of the air numerous. Indian prairie, 
to the south of White Pigeon, was the Indians' favorite camping 
ground, where their bark wigwams remained year after year. 

Other English Settlers. 

As stated, the early settlers on White Pigeon prairie were 
many of them English, and among others who came on early from 
England and took up government land in the thirties were the 
following : William Hamson, Richard Wade, Thomas Wade, John 
Burnett, William Laird, George Dickinson, William Dickinson, 
William Waltham, and families; Adolphus Chapin, Samuel 
Chapin, Orrin Loomis, William Redfom, William Anderson, John 
Cathcart, Captain White, Nicholas Sixby, William Cathcart, 
Thomas Schooley, Thomas Coats, Charles R. Homes, William 


Glover, Thomas Welborn, Richard Welbom, Robert Welborn, 
George Keteham, Rev. Steele, Henry Steele, William Catton, John 
Catton, James Shurtz, Charles Cooper, Peter Robinson, Ben 
Franklin, William Rowan, Matthev^ Rowan, John J. Davis, Corne- 
lius Newkirk, Salmon P. Wallace, Cornelius Cooper, Robert Clark, 
Mrs. Robert Clark, Daniel Shurtz, Thomas Shurtz and Fred 

William Glover was the first man to engage in peppermint 
culture in White Pigeon township, and still had a mill in operation 
on White Pigeon prairie in 1837. Robert Clark was the govern- 
ment surveyor who surveyed all of St. Joseph county and much 
of southern Michigan. 

John Hotchin, harnessmaker ; J. W. Cloys, furniture and un- 
dertaker; John Bowers, William Broadley and William Bycroft, 
pioneer blacksmiths, and W. 0. Austin, druggist and postmaster 
for many years, all came in the thirties. 

Here are a few more of the old settlers: Selden and Almon 
Martin, Alanson and Hart L. Stewart, John and George Hawkins 
and Almeron Markham. 

Robert Clark, the Surveyor. 

The survey of all this part of Michigan was made by Robert 
Clark, now buried in the cemetery at White Pigeon. The ceme- 
tery was originally located on his farm, and his residence was on 
the Chicago road, near where the old Presbyterian church was 
located previous to its removal and destruction by fire. Mr. 
Clark's house was erected about 1837, about the time the first 
sugar-beet factory in the United States was built, on White Pigeon 
river, at White Pigeon. 

In 1849, after Mr. Clark's death, his wife and two sons re- 
moved to Chicago and purchased a dairy farm near the city, which 
afterw^ard became a part of Clark street, and made them immensely 
wealthy. One of the sons, John M. Clark, is living there yet; for 
years a leading merchant, capitalist and public man. 

Chief White Pigeon and Indian Prairie. 

White Pigeon was named for the noted Indian chief. White 
Pigeon, who ran from Detroit to White Pigeon to warn the white 
settlers of the impending danger of the massacre and war to be 



made on the whites by the noted Pottawatomie chief, Black Hawk. 
The vigorous effort cost him his life, and he was buried one mile 
west of White Pigeon, on the Chicago road at Red Ferns Four 
Corners, on the southeast corner. A monument has been erected 
there, made of the native rock and of large proportions, bearing an 
appropriate inscription. It was dedicated in August, 1909, with 


very imposing ceremonies, many of the Indians being present who 
comprise the remnant of the tribes remaining in Michigan. A 
large procession marched to the grave, with bands of music and 
many decorated four-horse wagons loaded with ladies of the Alba 
Columba Club, who claimed the distinction of causing the monu- 
ment to be erected and gathering the people for such a great ova- 
tion. Many in the procession were mounted on fine horses, dressed 
and equipped in full Indian costumes, with war-paint on their 


faces. Excellent addresses were made by ladies of the club and 
citizens, and responded to by the Indians in their nativ^e language, 
who also rendered native songs suitable to the occasion. This was 
one of the greatest days White Pigeon ever witnessed. 

As stated, Indian prairie, one mile south of White Pigeon vil- 
lage, was the great camping ground and village of the Pottawa- 
tomie Indians. There they had permanent wigwams, where they 
always stopped in their migrations from north to south ; forward 
and back two or three times annually. They were under the guid- 
ance of White Pigeon and others, and William Naggs, a white man, 
as interpretor; for he could speak the Indian language fluently. 
His was the first white child buried in White Pigeon cemetery. 

Items by William Baib. 

The Indian name of White Pigeon was Katakee-qui-nawk, and 
means "White Pigeon." The name for Prairie Ronde was Wau- 
ash-quitak, meaning ''round fire." Nottawa-seepe means *'in 
comes the river." All names for prairie end in a word which 
means ''fire" (Squetak), the Indians having seen them on fire. 
Gull Prairie, " Am-sam-quitak. " 

St. Joseph river was named "Saw-gau-seepe." An old Indian 
told me that two squaw twins were drowned in this river, from 
which circumstances the river received its name. 

Judge Bazil Harrison was the first settler on the Prairie Ronde, 
where he located in November, 1828. 

J. Fennimore Cooper took, as some state, the brother of Mr. 
Bair (John Bair), as the "Bee Hunter" in his "Oak Openings." 
The author and Mr. Bair, at an early date, ate ripe cherries to- 
gether in Kalamazoo. Mr. Harrison was one of the characters in 
this same book. 

The next settler after Mr. Harrison was Henry Whipple, a 
son-in-law of Mr. Harrison. The fourth man was Christopher Bair, 
and then came Delamore Duncan, Erastus Gilford, Daniel Wil- 
mouth and Abraham S. Schaffer, a very eccentric man and a great 
story-teller and joker. One of his stories seems worth relating: 
"There came, in this early day, a company of people from Caven- 
dish, somewhat more intelligent than the rest of the community. 
There lived a man, Jim Smith, an intelligent grocer and general 
storekeeper, who died. The wife of Abraham Schaffer was Sally. 
When Abraham came back from the funeral his wife said, *Well, 


Abraham, what did they do at the funeral?' Abraham described 
the letting down of the old man-shaped coffin (not like the modern 
casket) and said: ^All Cavendish walked around the grave and 
each deposited a letter in the open coffin/ ^What in the world 
did they do that for?' asked Sally. 'Well, I presume they thought 
that Jim would go back to Cavendish, and could take the letters 
back without postage.' " They used to pay 25 cents a letter. 

William Bair was an early resident of White Pigeon, his 
father having taken up the claim on which now stands the village 
of White Pigeon. The claim was taken up by staking it out, in the 
summer of 1828, the first year of Jackson's administration. His 
father was a very patriotic man, who could not forbear getting 
down from the load drawn by oxen, and from time to time, shout- 
ing ** hurrah! for Jackson." They spent the winter just east of 
this place, on Crooked creek, near what is now the Chicago road. 

By Mrs. A. E. Kellogg. 

The old Presbyterian church was erected and built the summer 
of 1834, and completed, ready for the dedication services, on Janu- 
ary 1, 1835. The Rev. P. W. Warriner, of Monroe, accepted a call 
to fill the pulpit and became their pastor ; it was a New Year 's gift 
to the people. The house was completed, and it was commodious 
and comfortable. It was topped out with an old-fashioned steeple, 
the dome of which, being covered with bright tin, flashed back the 
sunlight, while the fish, somewhat out of its element at the top of 
the spire, served as a weather-vane. My father put them up, as 
the mechanics did not dare to go *' before the mast." A look-out, 
made safe by a railing, was constructed on four sides under the 
belfry. This was a favorite resort for those who wished to get a 
view of White Pigeon and its surroundings. A pleasant little inci- 
dent in this connection may not be without interest. 

It was July, 1836, Independence day had come and gone, wit- 
nessing a patriotic demonstration in the lively little village. The 
afternoon of the fifth found the hotel, then kept by Samuel Pratt, 
on the corner of Main and Kalamazoo streets, still in confusion and 
crowded, when a hackney coach halted in front of the house, and 
the landlord was electrified by the announcement that Daniel Web- 
ster (then at the zenith of his fame) was without, desiring accom- 


modation. Not a room in his house was in order and he was at his 
wits^ end. In his perplexity he rushed across the street to the 
store of H. and C. Kellogg and asked what he should do. Mr. H. 
Kellogg solved the problem shortly by walking over to the hotel 
and, after an introduction, mounting the seat beside the driver di- 
rected him to his own gate, where he left them while he entered to 
inform me of the honor which awaited me. 

I had seen the coach drive up from my chamber window, but 
did not dream of such an august party as it contained. So it was 
with much trepidation that I descended to receive Hon. Daniel 
Webster, his wife and daughter. Horses and coach were soon 
housed in the ample barn, which has since disappeared, and the 
travelers after a little rest, came down to the parlor where we en- 
joyed a delightful afternoon. After an early tea we all went out 
for a walk, and I must confess to a feeling of pride, just a little 
tempered with dread, when the great statesman offered me his 
arm, while my husband took his place beside Mrs. Webster ; Miss 
Julia being accompanied by Miss Ranger (afterwards Mrs. Edwin 
Kellogg), who was with me at the time as a companion. After 
looking about the town, we came to the church, and mounting the 
stairs, found ourselves on the landing, with a view of the broad 
acres which, under the skillful cultivation of their owners, made 
a picture of beauty and thrift not often equaled. My husband 
seemed as proud as if they had been all his own when Mr. Webster 
exclaimed: *^How beautiful! Never before have I seen such a 
garden as this.'^ 



MoTTviLLE Township of To-Day — Quimby at the Grand Trav- 
erse — First Farms Opened — Mottville Village Platted— 
First Bridge a Good Advertiser — Once a Great Shipping 
Point — Lockport Township — Jacob McInterfer, First Set- 
tler — George Buck and Hotel — *'Echol's" Rise and Fall 
— Early Mill Enterprises — First Farms — Moab and St. 
Joseph Villages— Three Rivers Platted — First Town 
Meeting and Officers— Beginning of Things — Lockport 
Boat Building and Boating — Township of Constantine — 
Meek^s Mills or Constantine — Judge Meek Surveys Con- 
stantine — The City^s Early Manufactures — First Town 
Meeting— Natural Features — Florence Township — Ear- 
liest Settlements — Alvin Calhoon — Banner Mint and Oil 
TovTNSHiP — Fabius Township — Studded with Sparkling 
Lakes — ^First Permanent Settler — First Elections and 

The topics covered in this chapter are the present townships 
of St. Joseph county, other than that of White Pigeon, which were 
included in the territory of the original township by that name, 
viz. — ^Mottville, Lockport, Florence, Constantine and Fabius, men- 
tioned in the chronological order of their first settlement. 

MoTTViLLE Township op To-day. 

In 1833 Buck's township was set off from old White Pigeon 
township, its territory covering the present area of Fabius and 
Lockport, and in 1837 the balance of the original township was 
erected into Mottville, Constantine, Florence and White Pigeon. 



Its present area includes 13,018 acres of land surface, of which 
1,600 acres were of the original White Pigeon prairie, the balance 
being occupied by the burr and white oak openings. The town- 
ship is drained by the White Pigeon and St. Joseph rivers. The 
Pigeon enters section 15 from the east, and pursues a tortuous, 
but generally westwardly course, through the eastern, central 
and southwestern portions of the township, joining the St. Joseph 
river in section 28. The latter forms nearly the entire western 
boundary of the township, cutting across the northwestern quar- 
ter of section six, north of the former village of Mottville. There 
is only one body of water in the township which can by any stretch 
of the imagination be dignified by the name of lake, occupying a 
portion of the southwest quarter of section 11. 


The commencement of settlement in Mottville township came 
about from the fact that the Grand Traverse of the St. Joseph 
river — the point where the Chicago trail crossed that stream — was 
so well known by travelers for years before they considered the 
country a safe abiding place for the white man. Joseph Quimby 
was the first to permanently reside on the site of what was for ten 
years a growing and promising village. For some months of 
1828 he remained the only white settler of the locality, but in 
August of that year was joined by Levi Beckwith, with his wife 
and four children. The third settler was John Bear, who came 
late in the same year and built a cabin, but subsequently sold 
his location and moved into Constantine, and thence to the lake 
in Cass county to which he gave his name. 

In the spring of 1829 Joel Stevenson and Elias Taylor added 
themselves to the little settlement at the Grand Traverse, and in 
the same year Aaron Brooks and the Odells — Nathan, Thomas 
and James — came from Ohio and made locations in section 
24, in the extreme southewestern portion of the township, east of 
the White Pigeon. Mr. Brooks brought his family with him. 

First Farms Opened. 

The first farm in Mottville township was opened by Levi 
Beckwith in 1829. A little later, in the same year, Aaron Brooks 
broke ground fo.r the second farm, and harvested the first crop 


of wheat in 1830. Elias Taylor, the oldest Indian trader at 
the Traverse, planted the first nursery from which an orchard 
commenced to bear in 1829. 

In August, 1829, Solomon Hartman and his family arrived 
in the western part of White Pigeon prairie and located in the 
present township of Mottville. They came from Ohio. In the 
following year, Thomas Burns, of Pennsylvania, located in sec- 
tion 12 ; in 1832, Andrew Thomas, a Buckeye state man, opened 
a farm in section 13, and in the same year William Cook, of New 
York, located two and a half miles east of the village. 

Mottville Village Platted. 

The plat of Mottville village was first surveyed May 31, 
1830, by Orange Eisdon and John E. Williams, proprietors of 
section 6. At the time, the site contained as its sole building the 
log hut built by Quimby immediately after his arrival. Soon 
after the platting of the village, Elias Taylor, the old Indian 
agent (also first sheriff of the county) built a frame house, and 
as it was not followed by another structure until 1833 it poses 
in local history as the first store, the first tavern and the first 
postoffice of Mottville village. 

First Bridge a Good Advertiser. 

Hart L. Stewart built a more pretentious tavern, in 1833, 
as well as a good bridge spanning the St. Joseph river. The 
latter gave Mottville its first real start as a village, as the bridge 
was one of the most substantial in southern Michigan. The 
sixteen thousand feet of timber built into it were furnished by 
Solomon and John Hartman; some of the pieces were ^' sixty feet 
in length and eighteen inches square,'' and the entire cost was 
about $5,000 1 From the first, it was a regular Brooklyn bridge 
for Mottville, and stood well until its displacement in 1845 by a 
still more elaborate affair. The third bridge was finished in 1867. 
John E. Williams and Hart L. Stewart were the chief pro- 
prietors of the original site of Mottville village. The former was 
a Detroit gentleman and, as is quite likely to be the case with for- 
eign land owners, he retarded the early growth of the town 
by holding his interest at an exorbitant price, especially when 
he found that the local proprietor, Mr. Stewart, was anxious to 


Once A Great Shipping Point. 

Despite these early drawbaeks, Mottville was a flourishing 
place from 1840 to 1850; soon afterward came the railroad (which 
branched away from it, both north and south), which gave it 
the cold shoulder and froze it to death. 

The leading feature of the former prosperity of the village 
was its facilities for transportation, it being the great freight 
depot of southern Michigan for water traffic. The keel-boats 
ran up to the village from the mouth of the St. Joseph river, 
propelled by man- worked poles. These were followed by steam- 
boats, which landed their freight at the Mottville docks, where 
it was taken over by the stages which tapped the place either 
for Detroit or Chicago. Bulky freight, of course, was handled 
entirely by water transportation, and at one time it is stated that 
fourteen thousand barrels of flour were lying at Mottville await- 
ing the opening of spring navigation. 

One of the earliest enterprises in the village was a distillery, 
which was established by Henry Heywood in 1829, and conducted 
by him for about fifteen years. The Stewarts built the first 
warehouse in the village and the second store, and brought in 
the second stock of goods. Kellogg & Paine also were in trade 
in the flush days before 1835, and Stewart kept the hotel in 
1835 and John Newells after 1840. 

In 1830, when the village was first platted. Hart L. Stewart 
was appointed postmaster. Now, with the co-operation of rural 
free delivery, the few who are left on the old site of Mottville 
are accommodated by the Constantine and "White Pigeon post- 

Rev. Brastus Felton, the Methodist missionary, provided the 
first preaching to Mottvillites, in 1829, services being held in 
Conrad Cook's dwelling house and at Stewart's hotel. Rev. 
Thomas Odell came from Ohio, in the spring of that year, and 
settled in Mottville, where he continued the good work for some 
time. Finally, he moved to Fort Scott, Kansas, where he died 
in 1872. 


On March 29, 1833, the area now included in the townships 
of Lockport and Fabius was constituted a separate township 
under the name of Buck's, in honor of George Buck, the first 

Vol. I— 11 


and only hotel keeper in the township, as well as its first justice 
of the peace appointed by Governor Porter, April 3rd of that 
year. In 1840 Lockport was erected into a separate body, with 
its present area of 22,897 acres, of which only 120 are water sur- 
face, consisting almost entirely of the St. Joseph river with its 
branches, the Portage, Rocky and Hog creek, or (more euphoni- 
ously) Prairie river. The union of the Portage and Rocky rivers 
with the St. Joseph at Three Rivers gives the city its name. 

The St. Joseph river takes a diagonal course through the 
township in a general direction from southwest to northeast, 
entering section 30 from Fabius and departing through section 1 
toward Mendon. The Rocky comes into the township from the 
west, within the corporate limits of Three Rivers, and also joins 
the St. Joseph within the city limits. The Portage comes from 
the north, its two branches draining Park township before they 
unite in the northwest quarter of section 4, Lockport township, 
flowing in a united stream southwest to the St. Joseph at Three 
Rivers, just above the junction of the Portage. Prairie river, 
but still known to the old settlers by the more homely name of 
Hog creek, comes in from the east, just north of Centerville, 
or section 24, Lockport township, and flows southwest and west 
through the two southern tiers of sections, and forms a junction 
with the St. Joseph in the southwest quarter of section 30. A 
portion of Fisher's lake also lies in the northern part of the 

Jacob McIntebfeb, First Settler. 

The first settlement made within the present limits of Lock- 
port township was by Jacob Mclnterfer and family, who, in the 
spring of 1829, selected a square mile of land on the west side 
of Rocky river, within which is now included a portion of the 
Third ward of Three Rivers. Returning, then, to his home in 
Wayne county, in the following spring he brought his wife and 
several daughters to the locality, drew up his wagons on his claim 
and fixed them as comfortably as he could, while he proceeded to 
build a shanty between two trees for cooking and a substantial 
hewn log house for the accommodation of the family. Mr. Mc- 
lnterfer died in 1831. 

George Buck and Hotel. 

George Buck and family were the next to locate permanently, 
coming in the spring of 1830 and to make their homestead upon 


land which is now a portion of the Second ward of Three Rivers. 
Mr. Buck erected a double log house, so large that he used a 
part of it as the pioneer hotel of the township. His tavern was 
long a popular resort of the sociably and politically inclined. The 
first convention held in the county convened at Buck's hotel, 
and it is still a matter of pleasant record that Mrs. Buck pre- 
pared a bountiful dinner for seventy-five guests. 

''Eschol's'' Rise and Fall. 

Charles B. Fitch, afterward county judge, came from White 
Pigeon prairie in 1831 and entered two hundred acres in sec- 
tion 31, lying in the extreme southwestern part of the township 
and including a valuable mill privilege on Hog creek. Here the 
judge completed a saw-mill in 1832, afterward adding a small 
set of stones for grinding purposes. R. M. Welch set a carding 
machine in operation in 1838, as well as a shingle mill, and for 
several years the village of ^^Eschol'' represented the most 
promising industrial hamlet outside of Three Rivers. But trade 
and population seemed to set irresistibly toward the point at 
the junction of the Three Rivers which enjoyed the greater nat- 
ural water power, and the final blow which spelled ruin for 
Eschol was the going out of its dam in 1840. 

Early Mill Enterprises. 

Soon after the death of Mr. Mclnterfer, Michael Beadle 
bought the mill privilege of the deceased on the west side of 
Rocky river, and completed the unfinished saw-mill in 1832. In 
1833 John H. Bowman made an examination of the mill priv- 
ileges at the junction of the rivers, entered lands on the present 
site of the city, and brought his family to reside thereon in 1834. 
In September, 1833, Phillip H. Hoffman, with his family of 
seven children, located in what would now be the First ward of 
Three Rivers. Both Mr. Bowman and Mr. Hoffman came from 
Pennsylvania and were large and successful farmers in the early 

John M. Leland was an arrival of 1833, also, making his 
location in sections 2 and 11, on either side of the St. Joseph river 
and in the northeastern part of the township. 


First Farms. 

When Jacob Mclnterfer put in a crop of corn and potatoes, 
in the spring of 1829, he opened the first farm in Lockport town- 
ship. George Buck followed with a crop in 1830. In 1833 Mr. 
Hoffman cleared and broke up five acres of his farm and ten 
during the following year, planting to corn, potatoes and buck- 

MoAB AND St. Joseph Villages. 

The village of Three Rivers came into being about the same 
time as the first farms of the township. On July 28, 1830, while 
the territorial commissioners were trying to decide upon a fitting 
location for the county seat, one Christopher Shinnaman laid out 
a village plat on the northwest quarter of section 19, which he 
called Moab. The location was near the center of the county, at 
the meeting of its chief waterways ; and on the 30th of June, 1831, 
George Buck and Jacob Mclnterfer, prompted by the manifest ad- 
vantages of the location for both an industrial town and a county 
seat, laid out the village plat of St. Joseph on the northeast quarter 
of the same section which included Mpab. In the fall of that year, 
when the governor issued his proclamation announcing Center- 
ville as the county seat, Moab was turned into a corn field, and, 
although St. Joseph was disappointed, it continued in the running, 
with good men behind it. 

Three Riv^ers Platted. 

On Nbvember 25, 1836, John H. Bowman platted the village 
of Three Rivers on section 18, and in the following month George 
Buck, Jonathan Brown, Benjamin Sherman, Edward Pierson and 
L. B. Brown laid out the new plat known as Lockport village. 
The proprietors of the latter projected a canal and an immense 
water power. Bowman's Three Rivers embraced the present First 
ward, between the Portage and Rocky rivers, and Lockport be- 
came the Second ward of the future city. ' * Canada, ' ' or the Third 
ward, was included in the old Mclnterfer tract, on the west side 
of the Rocky river. 

First Town Meeting and Officers. 

On the 11th of April, 1833, while Lockport township, as it is 
now known, was still a corporate part of Buck's township, the first 


town meeting within the present limits was held at Buck's tavern, 
which was known as the Half Way House, between White Pigeon 
and Prairie Eonde. Mr. Buck himself, the newly-appointed justice 
of the peace, conducted the election, and the seventeen votes cast, 
resulted in the choice of the following officers: Michael Beadle, 
supervisor ; Heman Harvey, clerk ; C. B. Fitch, James Whited and 
Alanson C. Stewart, assessors; David Beadle, Jr., constable and 
collector; Eleazur Lancaster, constable; Garrett Sickles, James 
Whited and Thomas H. Fitch, commissioners of highways; C. B. 
Fitch, poormaster ; Thomas Knall and George Buck, fence-viewers ; 
and Gideon Ball, Hiram Harwood, Levi Griswold and J. W. Coffin- 
bury, path-masters. 

As fifteen officers were elected at this first meeting by seven- 
teen voters, it is evident that two worthy citizens were crowded 
out from the office-holding list. 

In 1840, when Buck's township was divided and Lockport 
came into being, the following officers were in service : C. B. Fitch, 
supervisor; B. Osgood, clerk; and George Buck, Cyrus Ingerson, 
B. Osgood and Ezra Cole, justices of the peace. 

Settlers of the township, other than those already mentioned, 
up to 1840 (fixed upon as the close of the real pioneer period), may 
be mentioned as : The Wolf brothers, who came with their father 
from Pennsylvania, and located three hundred and twenty acres 
in section 27, north of Hog creek; A. C. Prutzman, Edward S. 
Moore, William and John I. Majors and Charles F. Thoms (Mr. 
Thoms was at one time a Swiss soldier in Napoleon's army), in 
1834 ; George W. Gardner and Andrew Goode, in 1835, and Joseph 
B. Millard and J. H. Gardner, in 1836. 

BEGiimiNG OF Things. 

The horticultural interests of the township had their origin 
when George Buck planted some apple trees in 1831, and Mr. 
Hoffman put some peach stones into the fertile soil during 1833. 
William Amey set out an orchard in 1834. 

In 1832 Michael Beadle built the first frame house in the 
township, on the west side of Rocky river, near the bridge in Three 

The first birth was a daughter of Solomon and a grand-daugh- 
ter of Jacob Mclnterfer, in November, 1829, and the first death of 
an adult was Grandfather Mclnterfer, who passed away in 1831. 


This family also furnished the first bride — Mary Melnterfer, 
who married David Winehell, a son of the first settler in the county, 
in February, 1830. 

The first white male child bom in the township was Asa Bear, 
son of John Bear, who came into the world while the parents were 
returning from a trip to Prairie Ronde. 

The first school was taught in the old Melnterfer cabin, in the 
winter of 1834-5, its teacher, Father Arny, having charge of thirty 

The first road laid out by township authority was six miles in 
length, and extended from the north boundary of White Pigeon 
township to the north boundary of Bucks. It was surveyed by 
Matthew Rowen in June, 1833. 

The first bridge built over the St. Joseph river, within the 
limits of Lockport township, was that completed by Asa Wetherbee 
in 1838, and was located near the present structure. Its builder 
died in the State Insane asylum in the seventies. 

Lockport Boat Building and Boating. 

The transportation of merchandise in the ante-railroad days 
was nearly all effected through the St. Joseph river. A shipyard 
was once established at Lockport, and Washington Gascon (who 
came to the township with Mr. Leland in 1834) built a number of 
keel boats and ran them on the river as early as 1836. Burroughs 
Moore (a settler of 1833) originated the idea of the arks, which 
were actually built by Captain Elisha Millard, considered the 
best pilot on the river. 

After the first arks were made and loaded, it was found that 
nothing but flour could be safely carried in them. The first one 
which went down the river from Three Rivers, in 1834, was 
loaded with wheat, and as none knew the strength of the current, 
or the exact condition of the channel, the voyage turned out 
disastrously. The first stopping place made was Constantine, 
and the Knapps and James Smith, who were in command, cast 
the lines ashore, pulling some of the boards off the stem and letting 
some wheat into the river. They refitted and went on, but met 
with the same mishap at Elkhart, and lower down the river stove 
a hole through the bottom of one of the cribs. Another unload- 
ing and refitting followed, and the ark was finally wrecked at 
the ''Granddad" ripple, Niles, its entire cargo being lost. 


This ended arking until 1838, the river freighting having 
been done, in the meantime, by keel boats. In the former year, 
when flour commenced to be shipped down the river, the arks 
again came into favor, as the strong points of their construction 
were well adapted to the transportation of this class of freight. 
The succeeding ten years were busy ones for Captain Millard and 
Captain Alvin Calhoon, of Florence township. An ordinary ark 
could carry from four to six hundred barrels of flour ; it was not 
bad going down-river, but the return was sometimes ** fierce.'' 
To overcome this drawback to the transportation business. Captain 
Calhoon constructed a fleet of small arks, which would carry 
about twenty barrels of flour each, and after unloading them he 
would bring them up the river in wagons. 

The first arks that ran from Colon were built in 1841-2, by 
Captain Millard and loaded by John H. Bowman at his mill on 
Swan creek. 

John H. Bowman. 

John H. Bowman was bom in Mount Bethel, Northumberland 
county, Pennsylvania, March 13, 1796. He removed to Brier 
Creek, Columbia county, that state, and resided therein until 1834, 
when he removed with his family, consisting of his wife and seven 
children, to Three Rivers. There, in the same year, he built the 
first frame house of any pretensions erected in that city, and which 
was also, for many years, the best in the country around. 

Buying one hundred and twenty acres of land on Johnnycake 
prairie, Mr. Bowman began farming, and in 1836, with the Smiths 
of Prairie Eonde, bought the Beadle mill property at Three Rivers. 
With them he erected the Three Rivers flouring-mill, and began its 
operation in February, 1837. This business the firm of Smith & 
Bowman carried on, together with merchandising, for about two 
years, when the mill was leased and afterwards bought by Mqore 
& Prutzman, while in 1838 Mr. Bowman began the erection of 
another flouring mill in Colon village with Dr. Yoorhis. This mill 
was not completed until after the doctor's death, commencing ope- 
rations in 1839. Soon afterward Mr. Bowman sold three-fourths 
of his interest to his son, William F. Bowman, and in 1845 re- 
moved from Three Rivers to Colon to reside. He retained one- 
fourth interest in the Colon mills until his leath in 1855, actively 
managing the property during the whole period. 

In the nullification times of 1832, Mr. Bowman was a major 
in the Pennsylvania state troops. In his younger days he was a 


member of the Whig party, but joined the Republican organiza- 
tion at its inception, though he died before he east a presidential 
vote therein. He was a member of the legislature of Michigan two 
terms. Although a member of the Methodist Episcopal church in 
Pennsylvania, he never united with it in Michigan. 

In May, 1855, Mr. Bowman went west on a tour of observation, 
was attacked by the cholera at Lexington, Missouri, and died after 
a short illness. The deceased was highly esteemed by his neigh- 
bors, and though sometimes despondent, was generally of a cheer- 
ful frame of mind, and liberal in the extreme toward the suffering 
and distressed. 

Township of Constantine. 

Originally included in the old township of White Pigeon, 
Constantine was organized in 1831. The township took its name 
from the village, which was laid out in 1831 and which was 
christened Constantine by Niles F, Smith, its first merchant. 
Some time in 1828 William Meek, of Wayne county, made the se- 
lection of a location at the intersection of the Fawn and St. 
Joseph rivers. His family did not come until the spring of 1829, 
when he built a cabin for them, which was the first house either 
on the site of the city or in the township. He then went to Monroe 
and entered the east half of section 23. Judge Meek was first 
attracted to the spot by its advantages for a manufacturing plant, 
being first directed to the location by Leonard Cutler, in 1828, 
the latter then living on White Pigeon prairie. 

Meek's Mills, or Constantine. 

During the first year of his residence. Judge Meek cleared 
off and plowed a few acres of his purchase, but he came to the 
place as a manufacturer. In the winter of 1829-30 he began the 
erection of the saw-mill on Fawn river, or Crooked creek, just 
below its junction with the St. Joseph, and in the spring, before 
he had completed the mill, he constructed a dam and water- 
wheel. This pioneer mill and water-power, this commencement 
of the industrial life of Constantine and St. Joseph county, is 
more fully described in the general history — as befitting its im- 

For many years afterward, the place was generally known 
as Meek 's Mills, although its rightful name was Constantine ; 


the jealousy of White Pigeon is said to have seriously retarded 
the general acceptance of its more dignified name. The charge is 
undoubtedly founded on fact that many emigrants from the east, 
who first came to White Pigeon in their search for Constantine, 
would be on the point of departing discouraged, when the citizen 
of the southern settlement would come to himself with a start 
and exclaim : ^ * Constantine ! Constantine ! Oh, you mean Meek 's 

Jacob Bonebright's family was the second to settle within 
the limits of Constantine township. They came from Pennsyl- 
vania in May, 1829, taking up land and building a house on sec- 
tion 26. Nathan Syas and family located in the same spring or 
summer; C. B. Fitch, afterward j^dge of the county court, came 
from Ohio in 1830 and built the first frame house outside of the 
village ; John G. and William Cathcart in the fall of 1831. 

Judge Meek Surveys Conbtantine. 

In August, 1831, Judge Meek surveyed and laid out the 
village of Constantine, there being then five families on its site. 
Mr. Smith, its first merchant, opened his little frame store on the 
bank of the river, at what would now be the south end of the 
bridge, and built his house at the corner of Water and Washing- 
ton streets, afterward opening the latter as a hotel. Isaac J. 
Ulmann was in partnership with Mr. Smith for a couple of years, 
and in July, 1834, John S. Barry left White Pigeon to engage in 
merchandise at Constantine. 

Hon. John S. Barry was one of the ablest business and public 
men who ever resided in the place, which was his home from 1834 
until his death in 1870. He served in the state senate three terms 
and gained a distinction enjoyed by no other public man in Michi- 
gan — of having served his state as governor for three terms. Be- 
sides operating his large mercantile and warehouse business, he 
became early and prominently interested in the Michigan South- 
em Railroad, and it was largely through his management that it 
was lifted from an uncertain property to one of the leading cor- 
porations of the country. 

The City's Early Manufactures. 

In regard to the early development of the manufactures of 
Constantine, which were also among the first in the township and 


county: Josiah Fisher, father-in-law of John Hull, of Florence, 
erected a shingle mill adjoining Judge Meek's saw-mill, but be- 
fore he could complete it and get it in operation, the water froze 
solid in the race, and not a wheel turned either in the Fisher or 
the Meek mill until spring. In 1835 Judge Meek built his second 
saw-mill and Isaac Benham erected the first foundry in 1837. 
The blast power for the latter was furnished by a horse, and Mr. 
and Mrs. Benham poured out the hot iron into the molds. This 
foundry made a specialty of the manufacture of andirons, and 
later Mr. Benham put up a foundry on the east side for plows. 

There were a number of blacksmith shops in operation in the 
early thirties, but the next plant which could be designated as a 
manufactory was the tannery built by Mr. Armstrong, further up 
the creek, in 1836. Later, the father of Governor Bagley built 
and operated one in the village. Chairs and furniture com- 
menced to be manufactured at Constantine about 1833 ; House & 
Ulmann made a few* plows in 1836, and Hunt & Grover turned 
out fanning mills in 1834. In the early forties a foundry was 
built and put in operation by a stock company composed of such 
mechanics as Brush Sutherland, Jason Shepherd, L. L. Richard- 
son and James E. Proudfit. These facts indicate how the early 
manufactures of the county were established. 

First Town Meeting. 

The first town meeting was held in the school-house in Con- 
stantine village, April 3, 1837, Dr. Watson Sumner being modera- 
tor and Thomas Charlton, clerk. Following are the officials 
chosen : John G. Cathcart, supervisor ; W. C. Pease, clerk ; Heman 
Harwood, W. C. Pease, William Cathcart and Horace Metcalf, 
justices of the peace ; Norman Harvey, A. R. Metcalf and William 
H. AdamSj assessors ; John Bryant, Ozias F. French, Alex. S. 
Sheperdj commissioners of highways; Erastus Thurber, constable 
and collector; Heman Harwood and John A. Appleton, overseers 
of the poor; Watson Sumner, Heman Harvey and Allan Good- 
ridge, school inspectors; Lyman R. Lowell, constable; Heman 
Harwood and John S. Kean, fence-viewers, and Erastus Hart, 

Other First Things. 

The first marriage in the township was that of Elliott Woods 
and Eliza Meek, who were married in 1830. 


The first death, in the same year, was a daughter of Nathan 

The first school taught in the township was in the winter of 
1830-1, by Thomas Charlton, in the basement of Niles F. Smith's 
store, Constantine village. In the summer of 1832, Miss Rhoda 
Churchill, a daughter of Dr. William Churchill and afterward the 
wife of William F. Arnold, commenced to teach school on the 
edge of the prairie; and she was the first ^* school ma'am.'' 

Natural Features. 

The surface of the township is generally level and the land 
is drained by the St. Joseph and its branches. As it approaches 
that river, which passes through its southeastern, eastern and 
northeastern sections, it becomes more broken. Of its 22,715 
acres, some 1,600 is included in White Pigeon prairie, the balance 
of the acres was originally covered with burr-oak and white-oak 
openings, some of the groves very heavy and others light and 
scattering. In the early times the river bottoms were also heavily 

There are about four hundred and sixty acres of water sur- 
face in the township, the St. Joseph river, in its entrance from the 
south, first taking an irregular course near the southern line of 
sections 31 and 32, and then in a northeasterly direction through 
33, 27, 26 and 23, city of Constantine, to section 13, where it bends 
more directly toward the north, and continues through three 
other sections before it makes its exit into Fabius and Lockport 
townships on its way to Three Rivers. 

Mill creek rises in two forks, in sections 3 and 6, unites in 
section 7 and runs nearly south into the St. Joseph. Fawn river, 
or Crooked creek, enters the township near the southeast corner 
of section 24 and passes through the corporate limits of the city 
of Constantine, entering the St. Joseph from the east through the 
elaborate works of the Hydraulic Company. Black run is a little 
creek, which rises on section 16, runs generally south and enters 
the mother stream on the southeast quarter of section 32. 

The soil of Constantine township is the same fertile, sandy 
loam, which characterizes the other openings in the county, and 
is highly productive of fruit, corn and the cereals in general. 
The boulder drift passed this township, except along the western, 
or Cass county line, where a heavy deposit of stone is found, 
which supplied the needs of the locality for many years. 


Florence Township. 

Florence township remained a portion of White Pigeon until 
1827, when it was erected into a separate civil body, and the fol- 
lowing officers were elected at the meeting which convened at 
the house of Giles Thompson : Giles Thompson, supervisor ; John 
Howard, Giles Thompson, Matthew Rowen and Jeremiah Law- 
rence, justices of the peace ; John Yauney, clerk ; Matthew Rowen, 
Orrin F. Howard and George T. Gray, assessors ; Solomon Wallace, 
collector; Alvin Calhoon, M. G. Craw and Solomon Wallace, com- 
missioners of highways ; Edward E. Adams and Albert H. Strong, 
directors of the poor; Norman Roys, Matthew Rowen and Giles 
Thompson, inspectors of schools; John Yauney and Smith Hunt, 
fence-viewers and pound-masters. 

The present area of the township is 22,500 acres, sections 34, 
35 and 36 being set off from its southeastern corner and attached 
to White Pigeon, because that tract of land was separated from 
the balance of the township by a large swamp, and geographically 
and topographically was a portion of the area to the south. 

The rich, sandy loam of Florence township has assured the 
successful cultivation of the cereals, fruit and mint, drainage be- 
ing mainly effected by the Fawn river, which flows southwest and 
west through its southeastern, southern and southwestern sec- 
tions toward Constantine and the St. Joseph river. 

Earliest Settlements. 

The earliest settlements in Florence township were effected 
in its extreme southern and northern sections. In the spring of 
1829 David Crawford and John Martin came from Monroe, Michi- 
gan, and located on section 32. This was in August and in the 
folloAving month Leonard Cutler filed a claim in the same locality. 

Alvin Calhoon. 

In October of the same year, Alvin Calhoon came with his 
wife and child and settled on the same section. He lived there 
for many years, was twice married and has numerous descendants 
in the township and county. Mr. Calhoon was a New Yorker, 
whose family fled from Monroe, Michigan, at the surrender of 
Hull in 1812, when he himself was a boy of ten ; who afterward 


went to Ohio, returned to Monroe and afterward to New York. 
He was married the first time in Rochester and came thence, when 
a young man, to White Pigeon prairie, wkither he arrived in 
October, 1829. 

In 1830 Jeremiah Lawrence moved into the township from 
Newville, a small settlement two miles east of the village of 
White Pigeon, and remained a resident of this section for many 
years; as did also Norman Roys, who located land in sections 5 
and 6, in the north of the township. 

In the spring of 1832 John Howard located with his family 
on section 6, dying there in 1875 at the age of ninety-three years. 

Elisha Dimick arrived with his family in 1833, and took up 
his permanent residence on section 7 ; in 1834 Greorge Pashby, Sr., 
brought his wife and two children to his new homestead in sec- 
tion 20, and in 1836 John Hagerman settled on the farm in section 
18, later occupied by his son, William Hagerman. 

How Things Started. 

In the spring of 1829 David Crawford built the first log 
house within the present limits of Florence township, and sowed 
the first wheat in the succeeding fall. Alvin Calhoon and Jere- 
miah Lawrence sowed twenty acres the following year. The first 
corn was planted by the same parties in the spring of 1830, and 
the pioneer orchard was planted by John Coats on the southwest 
quarter of section 31 in the spring of 1831. 

The first tavern was kept by Elisha Dimick, in 1833, in his 
log house on the farm, and he continued to conduct it until 1840. 

The first postoffice was established in Florence township in 
1840, and was kept at the tavern of Lyman Bean, a Maine 
Yankee, who, in 1834, drove a team of four horses the entire dis- 
tance from his home in the Pine Tree state to his claim on White 
Pigeon prairie, within the present limits of Florence township. 

The first distillery for the extraction of oil of peppermint, 
was operated by Reuben and Otis Matthews in 1837. In the spring 
of that year they procured a few roots of Calvin Sawyer, who had 
just arrived from Ohio, which they planted on the Joseph Brown 

It is probable that the first marriage was that of John Phelps 
with Leafy Wilder in 1831. The first death was that of an Eng- 
lishman named Burnham, who came in the early part of 1831, and 


died during the year. The first birth in the township was that 
of Wolcott H. Lawrence, son of Jeremiah and Altha Lawrence; 
date, November 27, 1830. 

In 1836 was built the Roys school-house, near the present 
No. 1 ; it was the pioneer of the township in its line. 

In 1834 the Methodists inaugurated the religious life of the 
township by holding a class meeting, under the leadership of 
Alvin Calhoon, at the house of Benjamin Ball. They continued 
at that place of meeting until the building of No. 2 school-house 
in 1835. Rev. Erastus Kellogg preached during these first years. 

Banner Mint and Oil Township. 

For many years Florence township was one of the banner 
sections of St. Joseph county in the raising of peppermint and 
the distillation of oil. In 1876 the entire product amounted to 
four thousand pounds of oil, to make which required the yield 
of about three hundred acres. Among the heaviest operators in 
the industry of the palmy days were William Hagerman and 
William, George and Frank Roys. 

Fabius TownsrsHip. 

In the tripartite civil division of what is now St. Joseph 
county, which occurred with its organization in 1829, the town- 
ship of White Pigeon comprised the territory included in the 
present western six townships south of Park and Flowerfield. 
In the winter of 1832-3 the area now included in Fabius and 
Lockport was erected into a township named Buck's, in honor 
of the pioneer George Buck, who is made to figure especially in 
the history of Lockport, as his first location and residence in 
the county occurred within its limits. 

In 1840 Lockport was detached, leaving the township of 
Buck's, and in the following year the state legislature gave 
the latter the more dignified name of Fabius. 

Studded With Sparkling Lakes. 

In water surface, Fabius leads all the other townships, 
twenty-one hundred of its entire twenty-three thousand acres 
being covered by its lakes, ponds and streams. Its other most 


noticeable feature is its broken surface, diversified by prairies 
and timber land, hills and knobs. The largest of the lakes, 
Corry's, lies in the western part of the township, and is named 
from Joshua Corry, a pioneer who located near it. Pleasant, 
Clear and Long (or Boot) lakes, so far as nomenclature goes, 
are victims of circumstance or local affection; besides these are 
numerous smaller bodies of water, which, of course, have names, 
but are so tiny that they are seldom designated on even county 
maps. But this commingling of sparkling lakes with varied and 
picturesque land surface makes Fabius township a constant de- 
light to the lover of nature. 

The timber of the township consists of beech, maple, oak, 
walnut and elm, oak predominating. Johnny Cake prairie, so 
called from its small size and its shape, lies in the eastern part 
of the township, in the immediate vicinity of Three Rivers. 
The balance of the township was covered, as a whole, with 
heavy timber forming numerous oak openings. 

First Permanent Settler. 

The first permanent settler in Fabius was Garrett Sickles, 
who came with his family in 1830, locating on Johnny Cake 
prairie in section 13. Although there were a number of settlers 
during the succeeding year, no one arrived to materially assist 
in the progress of the township until October, 1832, when Wil- 
liam F. Arnold, in company with his father's family, located on 
the west half of the southeast quarter of section 26. This was 
in the southeastern part of the township, and at the time of 
the coming of the Arnolds there were only four families within 
the present limits of Fabius township. 

About 1833-4 came Deacon William Churchill, with his fam- 
ily, who also settled on section 26 ; also, J. W. Coffiiibury, Andrew 
Burritt, Benjamin Smith, Charles Rice, Alonzo Hunt, Michael 
Beadle, Alfred Poe, Solomon Hartman and B. M. King. 

First Marriage and Birth. 

One important and natural result of the coming of the 
Arnolds and Churchills to section 26 was the marriage of the 
neighboring son and daughter of the two families, William F. 
Arnold and Rose Churchill. The first child of this pioneer union 


was Lydia Arnold, who was born February 28, 1835; four days 
later, Lydia 's boy cousin joined her in the land of the living, 
the new arrival being Thomas, son of Randall Churchill. 

First Elections and Officers. 

The first election after the formation of the township of 
Buck 's was held in the spring of 1833 at the house of Hiram Har- 
wood on Johnny Cake prairie, the meeting being called for the 
purpose of designating the popular choice for justices of the 
peace; as the governor then appointed those functionaries, it 
may perhaps be more appropriately designated a nominating 
caucus than an election. The township was entitled to three 
justices, and the candidates in the field were Messrs. Hiram Har- 
wood, Jacob W. Coffinbury, George Buck and Charles B. Fitch. 
Some twenty votes were polled, the moderator, Charles Rice, 
collecting them in his hat, and announcing that Messrs. Har- 
wood, Coffmbury and Buck had been recommended to the gov- 
ernor by the majority of balloters. 

After the township of Bucks was divided and Fabius had 
assumed its present area and name, the first election of officers 
was held at the house of Alfred Poe, April 5, 1841, and resulted 
in the choice of the following: Randall Churchill, Joel Redway 
and William Arney, assessors; Joel Redway, John Laughlin and 
Thomas Ward, school inspectors; William Arney, Joel Redway 
and Garrett Sickles, road commissioners; Charles Rice and Wil- 
liam Morrison, school directors; Charles J. Rice and Lewis K. 
Brodie, constables; Joel Redway, William Arney and Frederick 
Shurtz, justices of the peace. Frederick Shurtz was the first 
supervisor and Thomas Ward, the first clerk, after the creation 
of the present Fabius township. 

The first school-house in the township was built of logs, in 
1833, and stood on the edge of the woods on the south line of 
section 35, on the site of the farm owned long afterward by 
Lewis K. Brodie. After being used for several years as a meet- 
ing house and a Sunday-school, as well as for public school pur- 
poses, it was destroyed by fire. William F. Arnold taught the 
second school built by the township on section 34, his experience 
therein commencing in the winter of 1843-4 and his pay being 
fifty cents per day. 

The first saw-mill in the township was erected by Michael 
Beadle, in the spring of 1835, and was located near the mouth of 


Lake run about one mile from Three Rivers. The second saw- 
mill was built by Jasper and Barnabas Eddy, on the same stream, 
in the fall of 1837. 

James Valentine erected the first frame house in the town- 
ship, on the farm afterward owned by William Hartman, and 
the lumber used in its construction was sawed at the Beadle 
mill. This historic structure was completed in the spring of 

The first mower and reaper (an old Kirby) was brought into 
the township, in 1842, by Garrett Sickles (great self-control re- 
quired to prevent a play upon the name). 

Vol. 1—12 



The Township as Now^ — Early Settlers — Lands, Taxes and 
Products— Cultivation of Mint — Official Rosters — Roads 
and postoffices — schools and attendance — population — 
Political Record— Fawn River Township — Judge Sturgis — ' 
Other Early Locations — First Postmasters — Rise of 
Manufactures — Pioneer Election and Roads — Property 
AND Valuations— Ex- Village of Freedom — Warfare and 
Murder — Capt. Toll and Fawn River Village — Francis 
Flanders, Father and Son^ — Tiny Township — Sturgis, 
Last Township — Sad Coming of a Pioneer — George Buck^s 
Death] — First Hotels — ^Nottawa Township — Judges Con- 
nor AND Sturgis — Introduction of Fruits, etc. — Center- 
viLLE Platted — Township of Colon — Shellhouse Brothers 
— Colon Village — Burr Oak Township — Haslet and Snow 
— First Frame Residence— Township in General. 

Sherman was one of the original three townships which 
constituted the county of St. Joseph as it is known today, and 
when organized November 5, 1829, included the area of the pres- 
ent townships of Sherman, Sturgis, Fawn River, Burr Oak, 
Colon and Nottawa. The last township to be taken from the orig- 
onal territory, reducing Sherman to its present dimensions, was 
Sturgis, in 1845. 

The Township as Now. 

Sherman is now a full government township; that is, thirty- 
six square miles, or 23,040 acres, and is known to the United 
States survey as township 7, south of range 10 west. 

The township has five well known lakes, all of which con- 
tain a good assortment of fine fish. They are as follows : Chapin 



lake, named after David Chapin, an old settler living on its 
banks; Cross lake, named after Abel Crossman, who settled on 
a farm in its vicinity about 1840; Thompson lake, named after 
Elijah Thompson, who settled near it at an early date ; Johnson 
lake, thus named from Mr. Johnson's settlement near it at an 
early day; Fish lake, so named from the fact of its abounding 
in the different varieties of fine fish; Crotch lake, from its pe- 
culiar crotch-like shape; Middle lake, so named from the fact 
that it lies between Klinger's lake, in White Pigeon township, 
and Thompson's lake, in Sherman. 

Sherman township is generally rolling; some parts, quite 
hilly. The soil is a rich clay loam, intermixed with sand and 
sandy loam. It was originally covered with timber, known as 
white oak openings. There is a small per cent of prairie land 
mixed throughout the township. The soil is well adapted to 
wheat, com, oats, clover and fruits, especially apples, peaches 
and the various kinds of small fruit. Peppermint and other 
materials for essential oils are grown and manufactured in the 

Early Settlers. 

Most of the first settlers of the Sherman were of English 
extraction and from the eastern states. But at the present writ- 
ing three-fourths are German and of German extraction and 
their honesty, frugality and quick assimilation of American 
progressive methods mark them as a most valuable and enter- 
prising element in the population of St. Joseph county. 

The first white settler who took up his permanent habitation 
within the present limits of Sherman township was Thomas 
Cade, Sr., a native of Yorkshire, England, born at Wellington, 
near the city of Hull. He selected for his future home five eight- 
acre lots on section 36 and having an abundance of the best of 
timber to select from, he built perhaps the largest and best log 
house ever erected in the county, costing him one hundred dol- 
lars in gold, which sum in those days was regarded as quite an 
outlay. He broke up the first land in the months of August and 
September, 1830, and sowed twenty acres of wheat. Mr. Cade's 
family, when he arrived in the new settlement, consisted of his 
wife, four sons, Thomas, Joseph, Samuel and Stephen W., and 
one daughter, Mary. Charles E. Cade and grandson now own 
the old homestead and live upon it. 


Among those who came soon after Mr. Cade were David 
Petty and wife, who also settled on section 36, early in the year 
1831, and a man by the name of Johnson — an old bachelor who 
settled on section 35 the same year. Another of the early set- 
tlers was Mrs. John Gifford, who came from Lenawee county in 
1836. She afterward moved to Sand Lake, Nottawa. 

Lands, Taxes and Products. 

The first farm in the township was that of Thomas Cade, 
Sr., established in 1830-31. 

The first lands were entered at the general land office in 
1830 and were as follows: The southeast quarter of section 35, 
by William Johnson, of Scotland, June 7th ; the southeast quarter 
of section 36, by Eobert Storr, of England, July 15th ; the south- 
west quarter of section 36, by Thomas Cade, of England, July 
15th; the west half of the northwest quarter of section 36, by 
David Petty, of England, September 27, 1830. 

There were but four entries made the succeeding year. 

The taxes for township purposes in 1830 amounted to thirty- 
five dollars ; in 1852, three hundred and twenty-eight dollars and 
fifteen cents; in 1876, including schools, three thousand nine 
hundred and seventeen dollars and four cents. 

In 1873 there was harvested in the township nearly thirty- 
seven thousand bushels of wheat. There were also grown fifty- 
two thousand six hundred bushels of corn, and upward of five 
thousand bushels of other grain, and nearly twelve thousand 
bushels of potatoes and nine hundred tons of hay, as well as five 
thousand pounds of wool, eighty-five thousand pounds of pork, 
fifty thousand pounds of butter and cheese and six thousand 
pounds of dried fruit. Four hundred and thirty-six acres of 
orchard produced twelve thousand bushels of apples, valued at 
four thousand one hundred dollars. In 1873 there were owned 
in the township four hundred and ninety horses, fifteen mules, 
upward of seven hundred head of cattle, eight hundred hogs 
and one thousand sheep. 

The taxes paid by the citizens of Sherman for the year 1908 
were: State tax, dne thousand four hundred and ninety-seven 
dollars; county tax, one thousand eight hundred and ninety-two 
dollars ; township tax, seven hundred dollars ; highway tax, nine 


hundred and twenty-one dollars; school tax, six hundred and 
ninety-six dollars. 

Cultivation of Mint. 

The cultivation of mint was first introduced into Sherman 
township by Mero Jones, who settled in the township in 1838. 
This first mint crop was planted in 1846. The roots of pepper- 
mint were brought from a farm owned at that time by William 
Jones, of Centerville, now deceased. The crop of 1876 was about 
five thousand pounds. Mero Jones and his son Charles were the 
largest mint growers and distillers for a number of years. For 
the past year there has been grown by Charles Johnson and others 
in the township about ten thousand pounds of peppermint, tansy, 
wormwood and spearmint oils. 

Official Eosters. 

The first township meeting was held at the house of John 

B. Clark, in the village of Sherman (now Sturgis) in April, 1830, 
Amos Howe being moderator. It is impossible to give names of 
officers elected and other data, on account of the records being 
burned on the night of May 7, 1841. 

The supervisors have been as follows: John Sturgis, 1830; 
Jason Thurston, 1831-33; John Parker, 1834-41: Phillip H. Buck, 
William Henry, Harry H. Brezee, Levi E. Thompson, Salathial 

C. Coffinbury, George Buck, George Keech, George W. Warren, 
David Oakes, Stephen M, Cade, seven years; Samuel Tyler and 
H. C. Hopkins, five years; Caston Everett, John Kasdorf and 
Fred Kruger (present incumbent). 

Township clerks : William Fletcher, 1830 ; John Parker, 1831- 
33; Phillip N. Buck, 1834-36; Levi Holmes, 1841; J. C. Waite, 
Jeremiah H. Jones, Theodore Jones, Erastus Chapin; S. W. P. 
Hadden, George Taylor, George W. Warren, Thomas Wing, 
George W. Richards, A. C. Van Vleck, N. H. Gurney, Henry W. 
Pearsall, James Douglass, Thomas Perrin, Josiah Metzger, John 
A. Bancker, James H. Fonda, Gaston Everett, J. A. P. Mason, 
John Farrow, Joseph Farrow, John I. Taylor and Henry Yabel 
(present incumbent). 

John Sturgis, Amos Howe and William Hazzard were the 
first highway commissioners, in 1830. 


Justices of the peace: James Rolfe, 1836 (six years) ; Andrew 
Perrin, Harry H. Brezee (twelve years) ; Levi E. Thompson, 
Wilson D. Oviatt, Nathan H. Gurney (eight years) ; S. S. John- 
son, George Keech (fourteen years) ; George Buck, Erastus 
Chapin, S. C. Coffinbury, David Oakes, Stephen W. Cade, A. C. 
Van Vleck (six years) ; John H. Millard, Joseph A. Millard, 
Daniel N. Thompson, Darius Gee (eight years) ; Gilson Everton. 
Harvey Avery, Thomas Wing, Floris Bancker, Warren Palmer, 
Joseph Weber, Julius E. Fenn, William T. North, James M. 
White, Josiah Metzger, Theron Wilson (three years) ; John A. 
Bancker, Beers Wilson, Reuben J. Miller, John Kasdorf, Joseph 
Sweetland (three years) ; Thomas Sturgis, Christian Yelt, Frank 
Stuba, Christian Walter, Christian Yabel and Charles Frays. 

Phillip Buck was elected justice of the peace in 1837. He held 
his oiBce in the village of Sturgis until that township was set off in 
1845, and was the leading justice of his day in the township. In 
1838 he had two hundred and sixty-three cases on his docket. His 
first suit dated November 10, 1837, was one of Isaac Tyler vs. 
Elisha Bennett, which was called for trial November 20th, and 
judgment entered by confession for thirty-four dollars and forty 
cents damage and one dollar seventy-seven cents costs. 

Oliver Raymond and Hiram Humphrey were appointed jus- 
tices by Governor Porter on April 17, 1833. 

Roads and Postoffice. 

The first road laid out was ordered by the highway commis- 
sioners in 1830, from the Indiana line running north through Ox- 
bow and Sturgis prairies, to the north line of township 6, range 
10, now Nottawa. The route was subsequently adopted by the com- 
missioners for the territorial road from the same point to Grand 
Rapids, which was surveyed in 1833. The road was surveyed by 
Robert Clark, Jr., who received six dollars therefor, the road being 
over fifteen miles in length. Benjamin Sherman was granted a li- 
cense to keep a tavern on this road. 

A postoffice was established in the northeast part of the town- 
ship in 1837, A. Thompson being postmaster, but there has been no 
postoffice for a good many years. 

A United States signal station was erected on section 22 and 
for a number of years Old Prob. sent prognostications to the 
Weather Bureau. 


The Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, running through 
the township from north to south, was constructed in 1870. The 
Goshen and Battle Creek Railroad runs through section 36 from 
north to south. It was constructed some time in the ** eighties. ' ^ 

Other First Things. 

The first frame house was erected in Sherman township and 
was built by Thomas Cade on the present site of the residence of 
his grandson, Charles Cade. 

A saw-mill was built by D. P. Robinson in 1860, but permanent 
saw-mills are not now needed. 

The first marriage in Sherman township was that of William 
Stewart, Jr., to Mary Cade, in the fall of 1831. They removed to 
Madison, Wisconsin, immediately after getting married and after- 
ward to Chicago, where Mrs. Stewart died in 1838. 

The first birth was that of William, son of David and Fanny 
Petty, in 1833. He died quite young. 

According to best obtainable information the first death was 
that of William Leonard, who died in 1838. 

The first burying ground was the one now in Sturgis. It was 
used as a family burying ground as early as 1833, although not sur- 
veyed and laid out as a cemetery until 1839. It was surveyed by 
John Kums. The first interment in it was a Mr. Johnson, an early 
settler who lived on the banks of the lake which bears his name. 

The first preaching in the township was held in private houses 
by Rev. Christopher Carey, a Presbyterian minister. Meetings 
were frequently held at the residence of George Buck. A large 
brick church was erected by the Lutherans in the eighties, which 
is at present used and well attended. 

Township Schools and Attendance. 

The first school-house erected in Sherman was in the present 
district No. 1. It was first taught by Harriet Foote in 1843, she 
having thirteen scholars and receiving thirteen dollars for her 

The first division of the township into school districts took 
place on the 29th of May, 1841, as follows : 

District No. 1, to contain sections 17, 18, 7, 8, 6, 5 and the west 
half of sections 4, 9 and 16, township 8, south of range 10, 


west ; also the southeast quarter of southeast quarter and the north 
half of the southeast quarter and the east half of the southwest 
quarter of section 32. 

District No. 2 : Sections 2, 3, 10 and 11, and the north half of 
section 15, the east half of sections 4 and 9, and the northeast quar- 
ter of section 16. 

District No. 3 : Sections 1 and 12, township 8 south, range 10 
west, and also the west half of section 6, township 8, south of range 
9 west. 

District No. 4 : Sections 13 and 14, the south half of section 15, 
the southeast quarter of section 16, the northeast quarter of section 
21 and the north half of sections 22, 23 and 24. 

District No. 5 : Sections 24, 25 and 36 and the northeast quar- 
ter of section 26, township 7, south of 10 west ; also sections 19, 20, 
29, 30 and 31 and the north half of the northeast quarter of section 
32, township of Burr Oak. 

In 1876 there were four hundred and fifteen children of school 
age between five and twenty years, three himdred and twenty of 
whom attended the different schools in the township. The schools 
were session an average of eight months during the year. There 
were eight school-houses, six of wood and two of brick, valued at 
six thousand dollars. 

There were three hundred and thirty children of school age in 
the year 1894, one hundred and eighty-three male and one hundred 
and fifty-two females, accommodated by eiglit school buildings. In 
1909 there were two hundred and twenty-one children of school age 
who drew primary money. 


Suicidal mania in Sherman township first appeared in 1846, 
since which year several have died by their own hands. Babe 
Wells hung himself in a barn on the banks of Thompson lake in 
the above year, and in 1872 John Carl committed suicide by the 
same means on section 21. 

Floris Bancker, an old and respected farmer, committed 
suicide by poisoning, in 1871. 

John Dice was found dead near a stump September 30, 1859 ; 
death caused by hemorrhage of the lungs. 

In August, 1895, a Mr. Pieblekorn hung himself in his barn. 



In 1838 the population of Sherman, which then included 
Sturgis, only numbered one thousand and forty. In 1850, when 
the township had its present area, there were three hundred and 
sixty-four people. In 1860, there were eight hundred and sixty- 
seven inhabitants, two of them American citizens of African 
descent. The population had increased in 1870 to one thousand 
one hundred and sixty. The state census of 1874 showed a popu- 
lation of one thousand two hundred and fifteen, of whom six 
hundred and six were males and six hundred and nine females. 

The census of 1894 showed that the population had decreased 
to nine hundred and fifty-one, five hundred and nine males and 
four hundred and forty-two females. 

The census of 1904 shows a population of only seven hundred 
and fifty-five. 

The census of 1874 showed the population to be the most 
numerous in the history of the township, and at the present writ- 
ing the population perhaps does not exceed seven hundred, which 
shows a falling off of five hundred and fifteen. This is partly ac- 
counted for by the selling out and moving away of the small land 
holders. In 1874 there were nearly three hundred farms; at 
present there are two hundred. 

Political Record. 

In 1840 the tally lists for presidential electors in the township 
showed forty-eight majority for the Whigs, ''Tippecanoe and 
Tyler too'' leading Van Buren that much. 

In 1844 the Whig party gave Henry Clay one hundred and 
three votes; the Democrats gave Polk and Dallas fifty-eight, and 
the Liberty men numbered five in 1848, when Sherman was left 
to herself. She gave ''Old Zach" twenty-five votes, Governor 
Cass thirty-one, and Van Buren, "the Free Soiler,'' nine. 

In 1852 the voters paired on the leading candidates, giving 
thirty-two to each, the Abolitionists holding the balance of power 
with ten votes. 

In 1856 the Republicans gave their candidate, John C. Fre- 
mont, one hundred and three votes, while the sage of Wheatland 
had but thirty-three followers. 


In 1860 the Republicans gave Old Abe one hundred and 
twenty-nine votes, Douglas receiving only fifty-three votes. 

In 1864 the Republican votes stood one hundred and thirteen ; 
Democratic, forty-four. 

In 1868 the Republicans cast one hundred and fifty-five votes ; 
Democrats, ninety-five. 

In 1872 Republican vote stood one hundred and sixty-four; 
Democratic, sixty-seven. 

In 1876 Mr. Hayes received one hundred votes; Tilden one 
hundred and forty-two, and Peter Cooper twelve. 

From 1876 until the last . election, the voters have cast a 
majority of their ballots invariably for the Democratic candi- 
date ; from one hundred to one hundred and twenty-five majority. 

Sherman, in the Rebellion, in proportion to her population, 
bore as conspicuous and honorable a part as any of her sister 
towns. Her quotas were filled promptly and with good material, 
and she has just cause for pride in the conduct of her heroic citi- 
zens. For details regarding the part the township took in the 
Civil war, as well as the participation of other townships in the 
county, reference is made to the military chapter. 

Fawn River Township— Judge Sturgis. 

Fawn River township did not attain its present area until 
it was organized from the old township of Sherman in 1838, Burr 
Oak being set apart in the same year. 

Judge John Sturgis was the first settler within its limits as 
they are recognized today. In August, 1828, he reached the 
prairie which bears his name, in company with a young man 
named George Thurston. Together they broke ten acres on the 
southwest quarter of section 6, which is now east of the line be- 
tween Fawn River and Sturgis townships, and on the eastern 
edge of the prairie. After sowing the land to wheat, they returned 
to Brownsville, on the Detroit river, for the winter. In the fol- 
lowing spring, the judge brought his family with him, built on 
his tract the first house erected on Sturgis prairie, broke up an- 
other thirty acres, and on October 22, 1828, appeared at the 
land-office at Monroe to enter his claim in legal form. This was a 
year before the organization of St. Joseph county, when the 
country south of the GUrand river, and west of the principal 
meridian (which was the western boundary of the present Lenawee 


county extended north to Sault Ste. Marie), was all the township 
of St. Joseph. 

Other Early Location's. 

On December 18th of the same year, Alanson C. Stewart, of 
Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, entered one hundred and 
sixty acres in the section south of the Sturgis tract. These were 
the only entries made in 1828, and were the first in the township. 
In 1829 Judge Sturgis sold his interest in his property to Richard 
Hopkins and moved to Nottawa prairie. 

Thomas Hall, Lemuel Graham and Samuel Stewart came in 

1829. Mr. Hall lived on the Hopkins place until he secured a 
location for himself ; Samuel Stewart settled on the land entered 
by Alanson C. Stewart, and Mr. Graham entered a tract after- 
ward included in the well known farm of Sheldon Williams. 

George Thurston, who came with Judge StArgis, located a 
quarter adjoining the original Sturgis land, in 1833, and occupied 
it as a homestead for over half a century. 

From 1833 to 1836 came Captain Charles Moe, a soldier of 
the war of 1812; Joseph Bartholomew, who built the first house 
on the river ; Ebenezer Sweet, who erected the first tavern ; F. A. 
Tisdel, who laid out the little village of Freedom ; Moses Roberts, 
William Amidon and James McKerlie ; and Captain Philip R. 
Toll, who built the saw- and flouring-mills at Fawn River village, 
and brought his family to reside there in 1838. Later came W. 
F, Lee, who bought the lower mill, and Francis Flanders, who 
located about 1840, and was in after years (sixteen) the most 
popular justice of peace in the township. 

Jacob Knox located in 1830, as did James Johnson. 

First Postmasters. 

Samuel Stewart was the first postmaster of Fawn River town- 
ship, the postoffice being located in his cabin in 1829. He had a 
contract for carrying the mails between Niles and Detroit, and 
was also carrying passengers in his ** democrat wagon" before 
the stages commenced to run on the Chicago road. Isaac D. Toll 
was appointed postmaster of the office established at Fawn River 
Mills in 1844. 

The first white child bom in St. Joseph county was David 
Sturgis, son of Judge John Sturgis, who was bom February 11, 

1830, in the log cabin on the southwest quarter of section 6. 


The first marriage in the township was that of John W. 
Fletcher and Sarah Ejiox, daughter of Jacob Ejiox, the ceremony 
being performed by Samuel Stewart, justice of the peace, on 
the 18th of September, 1831. This was also the first marriage in 
the county of actual residents. 

The first tavern in Fawn River township (which corresponded 
to Avery's ^'Old Diggins" at White Pigeon) was built by Eben- 
ezer Sweet, in 1835, and was situated on the south bank of the 
lake to which the landlord gave his name. It was on the Chicago 
road, and a favorite social, as well as official resort. Viewed in 
its latter capacity, it accommodated many justices' courts and 
town meetings both before and after 1840. 

The first school in Fawn River township was taught by Jane 
Moe, daughter of Captain Moe, who afterward married James 
Johnson. In 1836 the first school house was erected at Freedom, 
in what is now District No. 1 ; the second, a frame building, com- 
pleted in 1839, at Fawn River village (District No. 3). 

Rise of Manufactures. 

The first manufacturing done in the town was the burning 
of lime by James Johnson, in 1835. There is a small lake in the 
southeast quarter of section 8, rich in the marl beds for which 
the county is somewhat famous, and it was on its eastern banks 
that Mr. Johnson built his kiln. His process was to cut the 
excavated marl into oblongs, brick-shape, sun-dry them and then 
place them in his lime kiln for the burning. For many years — 
almost until the advent of railroads — he enjoyed a flourishing 
business in this line. 

Thomas Cade had a brewery on Cade's lake, in 1836, the 
old malt house standing on the shores of Sweet's lake. The 
brewery afterward became a distillery. 

In 1840 a Mr. Freeman built a small flour mill and distillery 
on Fawn river, in section 16, east of Williams lake, and afterward 
sold it to the Lee brothers. 

Pioneer Election and Roads. 

The township of Fawn River was organized in 1838, and in 
pursuance of legislative enactment, the first meeting was held 
at the tavern of F. A. Tisdel, at Freedom, on April 2nd. Edward 


Swan was the judge and Benjamin D. Goodrich, the clerk. At 
this meeting the following officials were chosen to put the town- 
ship government in operation : Edw^ard Swan, John P. Van Pat- 
ten, James McKerlie and Freeman A. Tisdel, justices of the peace ; 
James McKerlie, supervisor; Isaac Sweet, clerk; Nicholas Good- 
rich, W. W. Plumb and Horace W. Fields, constables; Jonas 
Waters, John 0. Swan and George McKerlie, assessors; Horace 
W. Fields, collector ; Charles Moe, Jonas Waters and John P. 
Van Patten, commissioners of highways; F. A. Tisdel, Isaiah 
Sweet and Jonas Waters, school inspectors; Charles Moe and Att 
Wood, overseers of the poor; Ebenezer Sweet and Isaac Culver, 
fence-viewers, and John 0. Swan, Archer Matthews and John 
Houstin, overseers of highways. 

The first roads laid out by the town authorities were as 
follows: On March 23, 1839, the commissioners of Fawn River 
and Bronson (Branch county) jointly laid out the first one on the 
county line, running north half a mile from the southeast corner 
of section 1. The second, laid out by the commissioners of Fawn 
River alone, on March 26th, commenced at the northwest corner 
of the southwest corner of section 8, and ran eastwardly and 
northwardly through sections 8 and 4 to intersect the Chicago 
road. They also laid out a third, on the same day, commencing 
at the southwest comer of section 33, Burr Oak, and running south 
to the center of section 4, thence west and south to the Chicago 
road. The fourth was laid out May 27th, commencing at the 
southeast corner of section 2 and running west two miles to in- 
tersect the road running north and south at the southeast corner 
of section 4, Sherman township. The road leading north from 
Fawn River Mills to the Chicago road, at Freedom, was laid out 
in 1839. 

Property and Population. 

In 1840 there were assessed in Fawn River township, eleven 
thousand eight hundred and seventy-seven acres of land, with 
improvements of $30,239. The best buildings were those of F. A. 
Tisdel, valued at $750; Isaac D. Toll's, at $500; L. L. Graham's, 
at $400, and Richard Hopkin's, at $200. The sixty-seven horses 
in the township were valued at $1,895; seventy-four oxen and 
steers, at $1,184; sixty-seven cows and heifers, at $522; twenty- 
nine carriages and wagons, at $703. The total valuation of per- 
sonal property was $4,634; total assessment, $34,873, and taxes 


for the year, $257.19. There were forty-seven resident tax payers 
in the town, and one distillery and two taverns were rated for 
special taxes. 

In the same year there were forty-six votes cast at the annual 
town meeting, indicating about two hundred and fifty inhabitants. 

Ex- Village of Freedom. 

Brief references have been made to Freedom, the village of 
great expectations, in the thirties and forties. It was located on 
the Chicago road, in section 3, about half a mile from the northern 
township line, and was the first village in St. Joseph county on 
that great overland highway of travel for southern Michigan, 
one hundred and thirty miles from the Detroit terminus. Free- 
dom was platted by D. M. Cook, civil engineer, in September, 
1836, and F. A. Tisdel, who was the proprietor of the site, built 
a large frame tavern about the same time which did much to 
make the place a convenient resort for travelers and give it 
standing as a town of great promise. 

The site of the village was on high, rolling land, sprinkled 
with burr oak, white oak and hickory groves, and its streets well 
carried out the idea of its projectors, which was to attach to it 
an air of nature, as well as of history and romance. According 
to the village plat, the chief thoroughfares of Freedom were 
Maple, Pine, Hickory, Chestnut, Pearl, Branch, Minerva, Van 
Buren, Jefferson and Madison. 

The first postoffice for the accommodation of Fawn River 
people was also located at Freedom soon after it was platted, 
and Mr. Tisdel, who *'kept the office," handled the mails with 
increasing frequency, dependent on the improvement of stage 
service — first once a week, then twice, then three times, and 
finally six times each way between Detroit and Chicago. 

Postmaster Tisdel carried a stock of goods for a time, being 
succeeded, as a merchant, by Hewitt & Randall, and as a land- 
lord by the Mr. Latta who |led the country, in 1857, to escape the 
penitentiary as a counterfeiter, thereby leaving his property to 
the county for a poor farm. Both under the Tisdel and the Latta 
administrations the tavern at Freedom was one of the most popu- 
lar stopping places in the county, sharing the public favor in 
Fawn River township with Sweet's hotel further to the west on 
the southern shores of the lake. 


Early in the life of Freedom a school house was erected, 
which not only accommodated the scholars of the neighborhood, 
but was used for religious gatherings. Here preached Rev. Mr. 
Farley, a Christian minister, and Rev. J. H. Hard, a Baptist, al- 
though no church was ever organized within the village limits. 

Warfare and Murder. 

It was at Freedom, in the triangle formed by the intersection 
of the highways, that, in March, 1847, the gallant Colonel I. D. 
Toll, of Fawn River village (afterward one of the most prominent 
citizens of the county), drilled his recruits for the Mexican war. 

A locality near Freedom was also the scene of the murder of 
Constable Fanning in November, 1840, by a Mississippi desperado, 
who was being pursued by an Indiana sheriff for horse-thieving, 
and Latta's hotel was headquarters for the organized pursuit. 
The following account of the tragedy which caused so much stir 
in St. Joseph county is taken from a La Grange paper: *^Last 
Saturday a horse-thief, with two valuable bay horses, having 
stopped at Latta's hotel on the Chicago turnpike in Fawn River, 
killed Gamaliel Fanning, a constable, who, with three others, was 
attempting to arrest him. Half an hour afterward he was cap- 
tured in the woods, half a mile north of the tavern, through the 
intrepidity of Colonel J. D. Toll, who was a mile distant when 
Fanning was killed, and Sheriff Knox has him in jail. Toll has 
the knife now (an ugly looking weapon) with which the bloody 
deed was done. The murderer proved to be a Mississippi des- 
perado named Ward, who was convicted and sentenced to the 
state penitentiary at Jackson, and died there six years after- 
ward. His body was nearly covered with scars, from knife wounds 
principally. Had the sheriff, who pursued the thief from Indiana, 
been possessed of the courage of a man fit for the position, the 
murderer would have been arrested without harm to anyone; 
but he had not, and the pursuit being organized from the hotel 
in three parties (Fanning's being the largest), he came up un- 
supported, closed in upon the thief, and lost his life by several 
desperate thrusts of the knife.'' 

With the greater growth of Sherman, Ivanhoe and Sturgis 
(all one), the village of Freedom declined into virtual nothing- 
ness, the building of the Michigan Southern in 1851 giving the 
place its quietus; for the railroad passed several miles north of 


Freedom, and accommodated Ivanhoe (or Sturgis, as it was 
christened), in 1857. 

Captain Toll and Fawn River Village. 

Captain Philip R. Toll, father of Colonel I. D., whose coming 
to Fawn River township has already been noted, in 1836 built a 
house on the north side of the river, in which he first boarded the 
workmen who were constructing his dam, race, saw-mill and flour 
mill. The captain was what would be called a ''hustler/' even 
in these days, for he completed his industrial plant in 1836-7, and 
in April of the latter year laid out the village plat of Fawn River, 
on the south side of that stream, in portions of sections 10 and 15. 

There were six full and two fractional blocks included in the 
original plat of the village, which was not acknowledged or re- 
corded until May 1, 1852. 

Soon after he commenced to build his flour mill, in 1837, 
Captain Toll erected and equipped a blacksmith shop, which he 
operated for a time as a private aid to building operations. The 
first regular smith who worked in it was George G. Gilbert, of 
Burr Oak, who also ran a shop on his farm in that township. 
Captain Toll also had a cooper shop, and, in the early years of 
Fawn River village was its most prominent citizen. This state- 
ment applies in more ways than in a business and worldly sense ; 
for his house was always the home of the clergymen who came 
that way to preach in the school houses at Fawn River and Free- 
dom : Rev. Gershom B. Day, the Baptist divine. Rev. John Skelly, 
the Presbyterian, and others. Though Captain Toll's wife was a 
member of the Dutch Reform church, he was liberal toward all 
religious denominations, and was so desirous that there should 
be preaching of some kind in the new community, that he is said 
to have paid the expenses of the first minister out of his own 

John P. Van Patten and William Schermerhom were the first 
carpenters employed by Captain Toll, and they were the first to 
build a house on the village site, occupying it themselves as 
pioneer residents. 

The school district, which included the village in its bound- 
aries, was first organized as No. 7, of Sherman township, June 7, 
1837. At the meeting, which was held on that day at Captain 
Toll's house, Benjamin D. Goodrich was chosen moderator, John 


P. Van Patten director, and Nicholas Goodrich assessor. Captain 
Toll gave the site for a building at the southwest end of the vil- 
lage, and in May, 1839, the school authorities accepted it from 
Carpenter Van Patten, provided he would lath the same. They 
retained ten dollars from the contract price ($400) to secure such 
provision. Without attempting to decide the merits of the com- 
plication, it is sufficient to state that Mr. Van Patten was released 
from his contract and the school was finished by someone else. 
Another hundred dollars were spent on it for paint and a stove, 
and in the early portion of 1840 it was opened under the rule and 
rod wielded by Miss Harriet Starr. 

No lawyer ever settled within the precincts of Fawn River 
village, and few doctors. In 1838 Captain Toll laid off a ceme- 
tery of three acres, a beautiful tract of oak land, sloping toward 
Fawn river and adjoining the school house site. The first burial, 
in August, 1839, was the body of Mrs. Amos Wright, her husband 
being the millwright of Fawn River mills. At the north end 
of the cemetery is the space devoted to those who have died as 
the indigent poor of the county, but whose graves are neatly 
marked through the kindliness of the able son of the village 

Fawn River Mills. 

Fawn River faded from the county map as a '^ promising 
village '^ under the same blight which fell upon Freedom, when 
it lost all hopes of railroad communication in 1851. The mills 
of Captain Toll, however, long remained to do good work for the 
settlers, and mark the industrial center of the village. The saw- 
mill first fell into ruins. The flour mill, after a busy life of nearly 
forty years, was burned January 1, 1873, and rebuilt by Daniel 
Himebaugh & Sons in 1874. They conducted it for some years 

Francis Flanders rented the saw-mill of Captain Toll in the 
winter of 1841-2, and out of the lumber and timber made that 
season the old fulling mill and carding factory was built the fol- 
lowing summer. A new woolen mill was built in 1851, also by 
Mr. Flanders, and this concern turned out all kinds of woolen 
goods except broadcloths. It was in operation for many years, 
and materially helped to fix the name Fawn River Mills upon the 

When Captain Toll moved to Monroe, in 1852, besides his 
large milling interests he held about thirteen hundred acres of 

Vol. 1—13 


land, all in a body, adjoining his mills and much of it improved. 
He was also the owner of large tracts in other parts of the state. 
He built a fine residence and laid out elegant groimds in Monroe, 
Michigan, where he died August 17, 1862. 

Francis Flanders, Father and Son. 

Francis Flanders was a son of the Green Mountain state, a 
soldier of the war of 1812, and a New Hampshire woolen manu- 
facturer before he moved to Canandaigua, New York. He did not 
settle in Fawn River until October, 1841, but lost no time in 
establishing his carding and dressing factory, which developed 
into a regular woolen mill, conducted for years by Flanders & 
Sons. As stated, he was the prime justice of the peace of the 
township, both in point of business and popularity. One of his 
sons was Francis Flanders, Jr., who started life as a school 
teacher and a medical student, but found professional work so 
distasteful that he finally managed to serve in the Florida (Semi- 
nole war), as a regular soldier of the United States army, and 
throughout the Mexican war, as chief musician of a regiment. 
This gave him the title of major, by which he was generally 
known, and for more than a quarter of a century after the Mexi- 
can war he was an adventurer in California, Mexico and other 
sections of the southwestern country. He returned to Sturgis 
in 1876, where he died. 

Tiny Township. 

Fawn river (known in early days as Crooked creek) drains 
the southern sections of the township, entering from Branch county 
in sections 12 and 13, and, making a bold bend westward and 
southwestward, makes its exit, via section 19, into I^idiana. A 
connected chain of small lakes — ^Williams, Cade and Sweet- 
stretches in a generally northward direction to the center of the 
line between Fawn River and Burr Oak townships, draining a 
large area of the central sections of the town. They are all 
named after old settlers. 

The area of Fawn River township is about twenty-one square 
miles, being little more than half a government township. Its 
''tiny'' size, combined with a specially delicate beauty of land- 
scape, made the name proposed for it peculiarly appropriate, to 


the minds of the state legislators who first assigned its bounds at 
the session of 1838. The surface of the township is diversified by- 
hill and dale and gently rising slopes, dotted all over with com- 
fortable farm houses and barns, fields, orchards and meadows. 
With the exception of a portion of the northwestern sections, 
which include the eastern end of Sturgis prairie, the land was 
originally covered with timber — the usual oak openings, which 
were so great an inducement to many of the early comers to the 

Sturgis, Last Township. 

Sturgis did not ** break away'' from old Sherman township 
until 1845, when it was the last of the sixteen townships of the 
county to become organized civilly and to acquire its present area 
of 13,397 acres, or a little more than half a government township. 
Within these limits, George Buck was the first to locate perma- 

First Settler. 

Mr. Buck was a New Yorker, who had lived in Canada for 
years before he came to Michigan. In the summer of 1828 he 
brought his family to the site of the present village of Sturgis, by 
way of Detroit and Brownsville, making the journey from the lat- 
ter point by ox-team. While he was building his log hut north of 
the Chicago road, on what would now be the east side of Nottawa 
street, the family lived in a tent in the woods along Hog creek. 

The next settlers also came in 1828, before either Sherman 
township or St. Joseph county was organized, and when their land 
was included in old St. Joseph township. These pioneers — John B. 
Clark, Truman Bearss and Jacob Hopkins — also indicated their 
determination to keep out of the undesirable class of ** floaters" by 
bringing their families with them. 

Settled on Site of Sturgis. 

The first entries of land in the township were made in 1828. 
On the 14th of June, Ezekiel Metcalf, of Cattaraugus county. New 
York, entered the east half of the northwest quarter of section 1, 
township 8 south, range 10 west, and on the 28th of November 
George Buck entered his land, which was west half of the southeast 
quarter of the same section. Ruth A. Clark entered the southeast 


quarter of the southwest quarter, and Hart L. Stewart, the west 
half of the same quarter, on the 18th of December. The Buck, 
Stewart and Clark entries formed portions of the site of the village 
of Sturgis, which was originally platted in 1832. 

In 1829 David Petty, the Stewarts and Ephraim Bearss settled 
on Sturgis prairie; in 1830, Oliver Raymond, Major Isaac J. Ul- 
mann and Rev. J. E. Parker and his father John (with family). 

Sad Coming of a Pioneer. 

John Parker came to Sturgis prairie in deep grief, three of his 
children having been killed in a steamboat accident before he 
reached Detroit. Upon arriving at his destination, the bereaved 
family was admitted into the house of Ephraim Bearss, who, with 
his own wife and children, cheerfully shared the one-room hut with 
the new comers. 

Mr. Parker was a Pennsylvanian, but in 1825 moved with his 
wife and family of small children to Livingston county. New York. 
They lived there for about five years and in the spring of 1830 took 
steamer at Buffalo for Sturgis prairie, southern Michigan. When 
their boat (the *' Peacock") was about three miles out, one of its 
steampipes burst and fifteen of the passengers were terribly 
scalded — fourteen fatally. Among the latter were John Parker's 
children, Margaret, Lovina and Samuel. This catastrophe cast a 
deep gloom over the family, the casualty being regarded as an ill 
omen fraught with misfortune; but, as the future of the family 
proved, such apprehensions were groundless. 

Mr. Parker was the pioneer of quite a delegation, which, dur- 
ing the early thirties migrated from Livingston county. New York ; 
its members included, Jacob PearsoU, Hiram Jacobs, Nathaniel 
Rathbim, Aaron Gilham ; Parker, Washington and Edward Osborn ; 
Phillip Aurer, Michael Welliver, the Newhalls and Ransom and 
Henry Mumford. 

The first farms in the township were begun by George Buck 
and Ephraim Bearss, who in 1829 broke up and fenced a tract of 
seventy-five acres in the eastern part of the town. John S. Newhall 
was also one of the leading farmers of this early day, his four yoke 
of oxen, with his wooden mould board four feet long, being in con- 
stant use. 

George Buck's log cabin, north of the Chicago road, was the 
first house erected in Sturgis township. In the spring of 1830 his 


son, Phillip H., improved upon the father's work by erecting a 
house double the capacity of the first and equipping it with win- 
dows. The younger man platted the original village in 1832, and 
the upper part of his house was used for some years for religious 
and school purposes. 

George Buck^s Death. 

The first death in Sturgis township, was that of the pioneer, 
George Buck. On the 9th of August, 1829, about a year after locat- 
ing, he was digging a well, in company Avith Levi Watermann, and 
both were killed by a sudden caving-in of the sides. The alarm was 
quickly given, but the would-be rescuers, including men from White 
Pigeon, reached the bodies too late. 

First Hotels and Landlords. 

John B. Clark built the third house on Sturgis prairie, and a 
daughter, bom in it during May, 1830, was the first native child 
of the township. His house was also thrown open as a hotel— the 
first in the locality ; but his business was crippled when Oliver Eay- 
mond erected the first frame house, in 1831, and also threw it open 
as a place of public entertainment. 

Mr. Clark was succeeded as landlord by Major Isaac J. LHl- 
mann, a fiery Democrat and a typical German, who left the village 
in the fall of 1833. 

Luther Douglass took the hotel in the winter of 1833, but left 
it largely to his capable wife and children. He was himself 
drowned in a snow-storm in Lake Erie, May 14, 1833. In 1835 a 
Mr. Backus succeeded the Douglasses, the Douglass family moving 
to their farm in White Pigeon township. The mother of the family 
left behind her a reputation other than that of a capable and popu- 
lar landlady, her ministrations to the sick and suffering in **mind, 
body or estate ' ' gaining her widespread affection and love. 

Purely Pioneer Items. 

In the fall of 1830 the first school in Sturgis township was 
established in the upper room of Phillip Buck 's house, Dr. Henry, 
the first physician, acting as its first teacher. In 1833, the first 
school house built by the township was erected south of the 


Chicago road (then, in the village, known as Chicago street). 
The log house was replaced by a frame building, in 1838, both 
located in District No. 3, as now organized. 

The first cemetery in the township was laid out soon after 
the platting of the village, being in the rear of the old Lutheran 
church and west of the railroad. The ground was given to the 
town by Hiram Jacobs, and the first burial in it was that of a 
stranger who died suddenly in the summer of 1833. 

The first religious services were held in the ^^ upper cham- 
ber'' of the house built by Phillip Btick in 1830, and the first 
preacher to visit this part of Sturgis prairie was Rev. Erastus 
Felton, a Methodist missionary from Ohio. 

A regular church society was not established in Sturgis 
prairie until 1832, when Rev. Mr. Robinson, of the Indiana con- 
ference, organized a class composed of one man, David Knox, 
and seven women, including Mrs. David Knox, Mrs. Rachel Knox 
(David's mother), Mrs. Betsey Buck (widow of George), Har- 
riet Brooks and Mrs. Thomas Cade. 

The territorial road, which was surveyed and laid out in 
1833, passed through Sturgis township toward Grand Rapids, 
and in 1834 the old Chicago road was made a real highway in 
the township through the work of Contractor James Johnson. 
Mr. Johnson afterward became a leading business man of the 
village and city. 

Oliver Raymond was the first postmaster in the village and 
township of Sturgis and was appointed about the time the former 
was platted in 1832. He kept the mail of the entire settlement in 
one pigeon hole holding one candle box. Sturgis was on the 
route from White Pigeon to Cold Water, and the mails increased 
in frequency from an irregular weekly mail to a regular daily 

A number of the leading farmers of the very early times con- 
tinued to live in the township and prosper for many years. 
Judge John Sturgis owned at the time of his death, which oc- 
curred in 1874, some 1,400 acres lying in a body in Sturgis and 
Sherman. His sons, Amos, Thomas and David, succeeded to the 
greater portion of the estate. The widow survived her husband 
for several years and died on the old homestead. 

For half a century David Knox, who located in 1832, was a 
leading farmer of the township, as well as John S. Newhall, who 
came during the same year. 


Hiram Jacobs, Rice PearsoU, John Lanrick and Isaac Runyan 
were also settlers of the thirties who built their characters and 
fortunes by forty or fifty years of farming in Sturgis township, 

NoTTAWA Township and *'Seepe." 

The most striking natural features of St. Joseph county are 
the valleys of the St. Joseph and White Pigeon, and White Pigeon 
of Nottawa prairie. The prairies lay on either side of these 
beautiful streams, occupying a broad expanse and stretching 
diagonally through the county from southwest to northeast, or 
vice versa. About the center, or say at Centerville, they merged, 
Nottawa prairie including substantially the townships of Nottawa, 
Mendon, Leonidas and Colon. 

Nottawa-seepe, **a prairie by the river, ^' so called by the 
Pottawatomies, is well named; it describes the general topog- 
raphy of the country, and the fanciful may hear in the **seepe'' 
the rustle of the tall prairie grass as it is stirred by the fresh 
breezes of the St. Joseph valley. The prairie, in its prime, was 
of irregular shape, points of oak land jutting out into it, at 
places, and even meeting to form the ^' openings^' for which the 
county is famous. Again, the forest would retreat on either side 
and the waving grass would sweep away in unchecked billowy 
waves miles in extent. 

Such was the picture drawn by nature and presented to the 
admiring eyes of John W. Fletcher, Captain Moses Allen and 
George Hubbard, who, in 1826, followed the old Indian trail into 
southwestern Michigan and the preliminary survey of the gov- 
ernment engineers for the ** military road*' between Detroit and 

Judge Connor, First Settler. 

Judge William Connor, for more than half a century an 
honored resident of the township, came to the prairie as a young 
man, in May, 1829, and despite the objections of the Indians who 
claimed that he was encroaching on their reservation, located his 
claim on the west half of the northwest quarter of section 15, 
north of Prairie river. The judge returned to Monroe and en- 
tered his land, but decided to wait until the next year be- 
fore he settled permanently upon it. He therefore remained in 
Ypsilanti for several months teaching school, and did not re- 


appear as a permanent settler of Nottawa prairie until September 
1, 1829. 

Judge Sturgis Comes. 

A few days before his arrival, Judge John Sturgis had 
come from Sturgis, prairie and ventured still nearer the southern 
line of the Nottawa-seepe reservation by fixing his location on 
the northeast quarter of section 4, the northern boundary of 
his land being the township line as now established. The Indians 
protested louder than ever, insisting that what he and Judge 
Connor assumed were the southern bounds of their reservation 
ran, in reality, through its center. But the Nottawa-seepe In- 
dians had a friend at Lima (Mon-go-qui-nong prairie) in whom 
they had unshaken confidence, and they agreed to abide by his 
decision in the matter. Their head men repaired at once to the 
referee, who showed them that, by the terms of the government 
treaty, the southern line of the reservation had been correctly 
surveyed; so, although there were frequent mutterings afterward, 
the white settlers of Nottawa prairie were not disturbed by the 
Nottawa-seepe Indians; and in 1833 the red men relinquished all. 

Judge Sturgis entered his land in June, 1829, as did Henry 
Powers the west half of the southeast quarter of section 10 and 
the west half of the northeast quarter of section 15, and Henry 
Post, the west half of the southwest quarter of section 10. Sec- 
tion 10 was north of section 15, near the Prairie river. 

A Land-Office Business. 

On August 28, 1829, John W. Fletcher, one of the trio who 
first viewed the prairie in 1826, entered the land which had then 
so taken his fancy — the west half of the northeast quarter and 
the west half of the southeast quarter of section 17, which also 
abutted on Prairie river. On October 10th, William Hazzard en- 
tered the other half of the same quarter sections, and the land- 
office business of the year 1829 was closed on December 15th by 
the entry of Russell Post of the east half of the southwest quar- 
ter and the east half of the northwest quarter of section 10. 

Judge Sturgis finished his cabin first, and it stood for over fifty 
years on its originial site in section 4; Connor's log house on 
Spring creek, or Prairie river, was ready for occupancy soon 
after, and Mr. Connor's cabin had a hole cut in it, but it is said 


he took his time to provide it with a door. Mr. Fletcher also 
finished his before Christmas of 1829. 

Coming op the Fletchers. 

In October, after having entered his land at Monroe, Mr. 
Fletcher returned to his location on section 17 to cut and 
stack a crop of marsh hay. He then returned to his home in 
Wayne county and proceeded to move his father's family (he 
was unmarried) to the new home on the banks of the beautiful 
Prairie river. The Fletcher household consisted of the young 
man, his parents and two sisters, who, with all the family goods, 
were loaded upon a big wagon drawn by oxen. Accompanying 
them to Nottawa prairie were William Hazzard and family and 
Hiram A. Hecox and family, with all their cattle and hogs. 

The weather was cold and for eighteen days the brave pio- 
neers forded icy streams, lumbered over rough roads and the 
men and boys of the party drove the livestock and had to keep 
a wary eye upon this valuable item of their outfit. On the even- 
ing of Christmas Mr. Fletcher's rough looking, but welcome log 
cabin, came into view, which completed the hardest chapter in 
the history of the Fletchers. 

Henry Powers built a cabin on his claim in section 15, dur- 
ing the following winter, and Amos Howe also brought his fam- 
ily to the prairie in 1830. 

John W. Fletcher. 

In the year 1829, away out in the wilderness, could have been 
seen a few sturdy young men engaged in cutting logs and build- 
ing a house on the spot afterward occupied by the Fletcher family, 
of Nottawa township. Three years before, John W. Fletcher, in 
company with Captain Allen and George Hubbard, had made a 
trip through the wilderness as far as the present town of Niles, 
and again in 1829, in company with his brother, he made another 
trip into the wilds of southern Michigan — this time in quest of a 
desirable location for a home for himself and his father's family. 
He selected a quarter section of government land near the present 
county seat, on which he resided until his death. 

After entering his land at Monroe, Mr. Fletcher returned to 
the home of the family at Flat Rock, Wayne county, near Detroit, 


and procuring a yoke of oxen, wagon, tools and provisions, re- 
turned to his recent purchase, following the Indian trail all the 
way. After building a log-house and cutting a stack of hay, he 
returned, with his oxen and wagon, to bring the family to their 
new home. A number of families came in company with them, 
thus forming the nucleus of quite a settlement. As stated, the lit- 
tle colony was eighteen days on their tedious journey. The 
Fletcher family all lived together for the first few years, and the 
parents continued to live with John W. until the day of their 
death— Mr. Fletcher, the elder, dying in 1832, and his widow in 

On the 18th of September, 1831, John W. Fletcher and Miss 
Sarah Knox, the daughter of a settler on Sturgis prairie, were 
united in marriage, and it is conceded that this was the first mar- 
riage of a couple who became permanent residents of the county. 
The products of the farm for the first few years were floated down 
the St. Joseph river in the arks to its mouth in Lake Michigan, 
and there found a market, and in after years Hillsdale and Kala- 
mazoo became their market towns. 

Mr. Fletcher came of the good old Revolutionary stock, being 
the son of William Fletcher, who fought as a soldier all through 
the struggle for independence. He was bom at Otsego, New York, 
in the year 1806, and was one of a family of six children. When 
he was ten years old his father emigrated to Ohio, where they re- 
mained until 1824, when they made Michigan their home, settling 
on the Huron river, near Detroit, whence, as has been mentioned, 
they made a permanent settlement in St. Joseph. 

Mr. Fletcher became the father of ten children. He was an 
Episcopalian and a Democrat, and is also remembered by early 
settlers as President of the Pioneers' Society, in which he took a 
deep interest. 

Dr. McMillan ani> Others. 

Among the other early settlers were Dr. A. McMillan and his 
family, who came late in the year 1829 and lived the following 
winter in wagons. The good doctor, unlike most of the rough 
and ready pioneers of the prairie, was one of the most precise 
characters who ever settled in the locality. He also had a most 
mechanical eye ; the evident result was that it took him about a 
dozen times as long to complete his house as it did his neighbors. 

About the same time that Dr. McMillan came, the colony of 
Nottawa prairie was increased by the addition of Russell and 


Henry Post, John and Samuel Cuddy, Samuel McKee and James 
and Adney Heeox. Most of them were New Englanders who had 
come west and settled some years before at and near Smooth 
Rock, Michigan, which was Judge Connor's former school dis- 

In the spring or early part of 1830 the new comers included : 
Benjamin Sherman, Jonathan Engle, Sr., and Jr., George W. 
Dille, John Foreman, Glover L. Gardner, Hiram Gates and Henry 

Introduction of Fruits. 

Nottawa was an exception to every other township in the 
county, its first settlers coming in colonies, rather than singly. 
Mr. Fletcher, the advance guard from Wayne county, appears 
also to have been the Moses of the prairie in leading the pio- 
neers toward the promised land of horticultural and agricultural 
prosperity. In the fall of 1829 he brought thirteen hundred 
small apple trees, as well as currant and grape cuttings, from 
Wayne county, preserved them during the winter in a buried bee- 
hive, and in the following spring transplanted them into a nurs- 
ery. About this time, Benjamin Sherman introduced larger apple 
trees from his old Ohio home, which bore the first fruit on the prai- 
rie, and in the same year (1830) Judge Connor and H. A. Hecox 
also planted orchards. 

Went for Seed Potatoes and Oats. 

In the spring of 1830, Mr. Fletcher saw the need of the 
prairie settlers for seed potatoes and oats— potatoes for man and 
oats for beasts. Through John Allen, who was in his employ, he 
learned that they could be obtained at Allen's prairie, Hillsdale 
county. The trip thither was accomplished overland, but in their 
return journey of ten days they proved to be the first white men, 
so far as known, to navigate the upper St. Joseph. 

After Messrs. Fletcher and Allen had purchased ten bushels 
of seed potatoes and fifteen bushels of oats, they built two white 
wood canoes, loaded them with their purchase, and floated down 
Sand creek to the St. Joseph river. 'This part of their journey 
was very difficult by reason of shallows, ripples, dams of float- 
wood, and snags, until past the entrance of the Coldwater, after 
which the stream was clear and the water high. They slid their 


boats over the dams on peeled basswood skids, cut off snags with 
axe and saw and lightened over sandbars and shallows. As the 
motion of the boat disturbed their aim, they missed the game 
at which they shot, and were therefore obliged to live on baked 
potatoes and wild honey, finding the latter in a tree along the 
river bank. 

Potatoes, oats and com were all grown and harvested in Not- 
tawa township in 1830, wheat being sown in the fall of that year 
and harvested in 1831. At that time Judge Connor had the largest 
area under cultivation of anyone on the prairie. 

First Theft. 

The first theft committed in the settlement was at the expense 
of the judge. In 1830, when he was about to enter his second lot 
of land at Monroe, it was generally known that his purchase money 
had been sent from the east. The day before he was to start he 
left his cabin alone for several hours, and when he returned he 
found that his trunk had been broken open and twenty dollars, all 
his ready money, taken. Fortunately, this was not his land money, 
which had been sent to Ypsilanti ; but it was every cent he had, and 
its represented an appalling theft for those days. His good 
friend, John W. Fletcher, helped him out of his dilemma, as he was 
going to Monroe himself. The judge's nearest neighbor was Lane, 
half a mile away ; and after the burglary Lane 's character turned 
from *' shady'' to dense black. 

Nottawa township was originally included in the township of 
Sherman, whose organization, October 29, 1829, was coincident with 
that of St. Joseph county. It was first set off into a separate town- 
ship July 28, 1830, and included the present township of Colon, 
which was detached from it in 1833. 

New Township Organized. 

The first movement for a new township was made in June, 
1830, when all the adult male settlers of the prairie met at Judge 
Connor's cabin and petitioned the legislature to erect a new body 
politic and call it Nottawa, recommending Amos Howe to Governor 
Cass as a proper person to be appointed as justice of the peace. 
Through Judge Connor and Asahel Savery, a special committee, the 
needed legislation was effected in the following session of the legis- 


lature, and the first town meeting was held April 4, 1831. It was 
organized by Justice of the Peace Howe, and Benjamin Sherman 
was chosen moderator and William Connor, clerk. The balloting 
for town officers resulted as follows: William Connor, supervisor; 
William Fletcher, clerk; Benjamin Sherman, George W. Dille and 
William Hazzard, assessors; Henry Powers, J. W. Fletcher and 
William Connor, commissioners of highways ; Hiram A. Hecox, con- 
stable and collector; Eussell Post, Amos Howe, J. W. Fletcher, 
William Connor and Samuel McKee, directors of the poor; Will- 
iam Fletcher, treasurer ; William Connor, Henry Powers, Benjamin 
Newman, William Fletcher, Amos Howe and Alex McMillan, 
school commissioners and inspectors; Kussell Post, pathmaster; 
Eussell Post, William Hazzard and John Foreman, f ence- viewers ; 
William Hazzard, pound-master, and Jonathan Engle, overseer of 


The next important happening for the township of Nottawa 
was the platting of Centerville on the east half of the northeast 
quarter of section 25 and the east half of the southeast quarter of 
section 24. The plat was recorded by the proprietors, Robert Clark, 
Jr. (government surveyor), Electra W. Deane, Daniel B. Miller and 
Charles Noble, on the 7th of November, 1831, and on the 22d of 
the month the governor issued his proclamation establishing it as 
the county seat. In consideration of this location, the proprietors 
donated to the county for the erection of its buildings fifty-six lots 
and the public square — ^the court house, when built, to be on the 

Lancaster and Langley. 

It appears that Columbia Lancaster assisted in some way in 
the laying out of the town, as he received a lot just north of the 
public square for *^ services rendered.'' Upon this he built a hut 
of rough oak logs, without doors, windows or floor — ^simply a crude 
shelter for him while out on his frequent hunting expeditions. It 
has, however, a place in this history as the first house which ap- 
peared upon the site of Centerville. Lancaster, who was a man of 
some education, saw nothing then to bind him to the county 
seat, and during the following spring engaged in teaching at White 
Pigeon. There, in June, 1832, he met Thomas W. Langley, a Phila- 
delphia manufacturer who was health-seeking and sight-seeing in 
the west. 


Mr. Langley had joined a party from Detroit, who were pros- 
pecting through southern Michigan, and hearing of the location of 
the county seat at Centerville made inquiries about its location of 
Lancaster. The latter agreed to pilot him to it, at the end of his 
school week. The Philadelphia man viewed the site of Centerville, 
return to White Pigeon, thought he would look it over again, re- 
examined the budding county seat and finally thought so well of its 
prospects that he went to Monroe and bought not only the interests 
of Clark and Deane, but the location of H. W. Foster, who was 
putting up a saw-mill half a mile east. Mr. Langley 's entire pur- 
chase covered three-fourths of section 30. 

Centerville Founded. 

Making arrangements for the continuance of the mill work, 
Mr. Langley returned to Philadelphia for his family, consisting of 
his wife, five sons, a daughter, a nephew and two colored servants — 
the last named being the pioneers of their race in St. Joseph county. 
Buying a stock of general goods in New York, Mr. Langley shipped 
them ahead of the family to the mouth of the St. Joseph. From 
Troy, New York, to Buffalo, he brought his household, his household 
goods and a set of mill irons; the entire outfit being transported 
from the latter point to Detroit by steamer. The mill irons, the 
nephew and the colored servants were thence sent to Centerville 
direct, Mr. Langley and the rest of the family coming through to 
White Pigeon in one of Forsyth's coaches chartered expressly for 
the purpose. The roads had to be cleared in many places, the limbs 
of trees cut off and Hog creek made fordable, to let the coach 
through the woods and marshes to White Pigeon, where it arrived 
September 25, 1832. The party reached Centerville, October 3rd, 
and proceeded to find the Lancaster cabin in the tall prairie grass. 
Having been located, the ladies were told to make themselves at 
home, and the men and boys mowed down the grass and camped for 
the time being under the oaks. 

The next day's business began in earnest in this village of a 
single household ; a door was hung in the cabin and frame buildings 
begun for a court-house and a blacksmith shop. On the 4th of Oc- 
tober a double log house, with seven rooms, was begun, and finished 
on the 13th. The blacksmith shop was completed with even more 
remarkable celerity. On Tuesday morning its building material 


was in the trees of the neighboring woods, and by Thursday night 
the shop had been shingled and a horse stood shod before its forge. 
Thus Centerville came into being, its standing and growth as 
the county seat — the seat of justice of St. Joseph county — being set 
forth in detail in the chapters on ' ' Civil Organization ' ' and ' ' Bench 
and Bar." 

Township of Colon. 

Colon township acquired its present territory by various ex- 
changes with Nottawa and Leonidas. In 1830 it wa^ constituted 
as the eastern half of Nottawa township ; in 1833 it was detached 
and consolidated with Leonidas into a separate township, and 
in 1836 obtained its freedom and its present territory. 

Colon township is a full government township of thirty-six 
square miles, and takes its name from the town between Sturgeon 
and Palmer's lakes. Here the surface is somewhat broken, 
although generally so level that a hill which rises one hundred 
and twenty feet is not infrequently called Colon ** mountain. '^ 
The land was originally of the oak openings, which comprise the 
main feature of Burr Oak to the south, but Nottawa prairie abuts 
into its northeastern portion, in section 1, and there is also a 
small prairie on section 4. 

Within the limits of Colon are one thousand five hundred and 
seventy-five acres of water surface, so that it is one of the town- 
ships which was a most copious drainage. Its main channel of 
drainage is through Swan creek, which comes from the south, 
takes a bold northwestern sweep through the northeastern comer 
of Burr Oak township, and enters Colon through section 33. 
Thence its direction is generally northeast, through Long and 
Palmer's lakes, and it enters Sturgeon lake near the south line of 
section 2, a short distance below the entrance of the St. Joseph 
river. The main stream flows through Sturgeon lake from the 
east, diagonally across the northeast corner of the township, and 
makes its exit in the northeastern quarter of section 3. Palmer 
lake, so named from the pioneer who settled on its banks, and 
Sturgeon lake, from the fish which formerly so abounded in its 
waters, are the largest bodies of water in the township, having an 
area of about four hundred acres each. Beaver lake, which had 
a large beaver dam when it first became known to pioneers, lies 
on section 28 and contains one hundred and sixty acres. Lepley's 
lake, forty acres, is in the southeast corner of section 27. 


The ancient mounds and fortifications which are numerously 
scattered throughout Colon township are fully described in the 
general history. 

The Schellhous Brothers. 

The first things and the pioneer happenings pertaining to 
the history of Colon township are largely connected with the 
various Schellhous families. Roswell, the first of the colony, 
came from Ohio in 1829 and located on section 6 which is in the 
extreme northwestern corner of the township. He built a log 
house of two rooms, which he kept as a hotel, mainly for the 


accommodation of prospectors. In 1838 Mr. Schellhous located 
near Nauvoo, Illinois, and afterward moved into Missouri where 
he is said to have spent quite an uncomfortable time on account 
of his anti-slavery sentiments, freely and boldly expressed. 

In 1830 Roswell's three brothers, Lorensie, George F. and 
Martin G., bought land in sections 6 and 3, the first named also 
purchasing mill privileges on Swan creek on the present site of 
the village. During the winter of 1830-1 Lorensie busied himself 
making mill-irons and breaking-plow irons. In April, 1831, the 
three brothers, with their families, and George Brooks and family 
— altogether thirty-one persons — commenced their journey for 


the northeastern comer of old Sherman township, and on the 16th 
of May arrived at their destination, the log hut which had been 
built by Roswell Schellhous. 

Works of Lorensie Schellhous. 

There the party stopped over night and the next day (Sun- 
day) Lorensie Schellhous took up his journey to the southeast, 
and coming to his mill-site on Swan creek, cut some poles along 
the marsh which he made into a tent-like frame and covered it 
with bark. He slept in the shack that night, preferring it to the 
crowded cabin of his brother. Monday he commenced the erec- 
tion of a log cabin, which was ready for occupancy by the next 
Saturday night, its door being made of one of his wagon boxes. 
His family were all installed in their new house within a week from 
the time of their arrival, and his two wagons, five yoke of oxen, 
three cows, nine hogs, a sow and eight shoats, were also under his 
protecting care. 

The next week Mr. Schellhous made a breaking plow, select- 
ing a winding tree for the mould-board. He then broke up a 
garden at his own house and six acres on the prairie homestead 
of his brother, Roswell. In the latter he planted corn, and from 
this first garden and first farm in Colon township were harvested 
in a few months good crops of corn, vegetables and melons. Mr. 
Schellhous 's livestock also throve, his hogs fattening finely on the 
mast that had lain on the ground through the previous winter. 

Further, Lorensie built his saw-mill and commenced to ope- 
rate it in 1832, bringing his lumber from Bronson, Branch county. 
After the mill had sawed about twelve hundred feet of lumber, 
the water undermined the dam, which went out twice that year. 
Then Lorensie sold his location to his brother, Martin G., in order 
to raise funds to rebuild his dam, and so well did he perform the 
work finally that the foundation remained for more than half a 
century. It was during this same year (1832) that Cyrus Schell- 
hous, the fifth brother, arrived. Lorensie was in partnership 
with his brother George, in the running of the mill until 1835, 
when he retired to his farnl, built a blacksmith shop, in which he 
put a turning lathe and made chairs, spinning wheels, flax wheels 
and reels. 

By turning over the above facts, it is evident how nearly 
various members of the Schellhous families accomplished most 

Vol. 1—14 


of the first things in the township history ; and to the above must 
be added that the first white child born in the township was a son 
of Roswell Schellhous, who came into this world in the summer 
of 1830, and that in the passing away of the little one, not long 
afterward, occurred the first death. The first school house was 
boilt in 1833, and Martin G. Schellhous was installed therein dur- 
ing the winter of 1833-4, as the first teacher. 

The pioneer school house was located on the Brooks farm, 
and the first religious meeting (a Methodist service) was held 
there in 1833. 

Elder Alford, a Baptist minister, ofiiciated at the funerals. 
He came into the township in 1830 and had the reputation of 
being a very kind neighbor. 

Colon Village Platted. 

In 1832 George Schellhous and the Indian trader. Hatch, laid 
ofi[ the village plat of Colon, which is reported to have been named 
by Lorensie Schellhous, under the following circumstances: The 
proprietors were casting about for a name, and Lorensie opened 
a dictionary for inspiration. His eye fell upon the word ''colon," 
and he turned to his brother and Mr. Hatch and said, ''Call it 
Colon; for the lake and river form its lines.'' So it was named; 
and the name descended to the township. The village of Colon 
slept, however, for a number of years after it was platted; until 
the flour mill was built and other manufactories sprung up after 

Lorensie Schellhous was the first postmaster of the village of 
Colon, appointed in 1835. The mail, which was kept in his house, 
was distributed once a week, between Colon, and feent's, and 
Adams's mill. Branch county; when Mr. Schellhous was too busy 
he entrusted it to Henry Goodwin, an eight-year old. 

In 1837 Louis A. Leland carried the mail for two years, be- 
tween the county seats of Branch and Berrien counties, on either 
side of St. Joseph county. He made three trips a week in a two- 
horse wagon from Centerville to Berrien, via Three Eivers, Cass- 
opolis and Niles on horseback, there being nothing but a trail to 
follow between the latter points. 

After Lorensie Schellhous, the next settler on the site of Colon 
village was Charles Palmer, who came with his family in the 
fall of 1831, lived during that winter with Mr. Schellhous, and in 


the spring moved into his own cabin which he had built on the 
shore of the lake which bears his name. 

Industries and Business. 

In 1836 Dr. Isaac S. Voorhis came into the township and 
bought the mill site and water power of the Shellhouses. In 1839 
he completed the flour mill which was subsequently bought by 
John H. Bowman and continued to be a leading industry of the 
place for forty years or more, William E. Eck, then of Three 
Rivers, dressed its first three run of stones and ground the first 

John H. and William F. Bowman were very prominent in the 
formative period of Colon village, and in January, 1844, made the 
first survey which was thought worthy of record. 

The first retail stock of goods in the v^illage had been opened 
by Charles L. Miller. Until he completed his store, he displayed 
his wares in a cooper shop. For the succeeding twelve years Mr. 
Miller maintained his place as the leading merchant of Colon. 
In 1856 he was elected judge of probate for St. Joseph county, 
and was secretary of the committee on commerce of the United 
States senate from 1861 until his death. 

Following the Voorhis flour mill, the next important addition 
to the village industries was the wagon shop of Erastus Mills, 
opened in 1846, and the foundry of Shuert & Duel, established 
in the following year. 

It may be added that Dr. Voorhis, who located in 1836 as 
Colon's first physician, died in 1838. 

Among the prominent settlers of Colon township not already 
mentioned may be instanced the following, who became resi- 
dents prior to 1840 : Dr. A. J. Kline, 1831 ; Levi Matthews, Com- 
fort and Job Tyler and Alvin Hoyt, in 1832 ; Abel Belote, 1833 ; 
William H. Castle, 1835 ; Henry K. Farrand, 1836, and Phineas 
Farrand, 1838. The Tylers and the Farrands were long among 
the leading farmers of the township, the homestead of the latter 
being on the banks of Sturgeon lake — the original Brooks farm. 

Comfort and Job Tyler. 

Comfort Tyler was bom in the town of Marcellus, Onondaga 
county, New York, on the 7th day of March, 1801, where he received 


a limited education in the common schools of the county and assisted 
his father in the business of farming, milling and carding wool and 
dressing cloth, until he was twenty-four years of age. Then he be- 
gan life for himself in the paternal line. 

In the year 18e33 he traveled through Michigan and northern In- 
diana and returned to Marcellus, and in the spring of 1834 moved 
with his family to the west, thinking to locate in Indiana; but on 
arriving at White Pigeon, those of the residents of St. Joseph county 
who had met him in the previous summer, were so favorably im- 
pressed with his bearing, they persuaded him to look further for a 
location in the county. On doing so he made his selection for a home 
in the southwest corner of the township of Colon, buying 333 acres 
on sections 19 and 31, with the intention of making further pur- 
chases on the Nottawa prairie when the Indian reservation should 
come into the market, but did not do so by reason of the particular 
tract he wanted being located by another party. 

On this location on section 31 Mr. Tyler resided until his de- 
cease, bringing it from nature's dominion to the finely cultivated 
and productive fields of a thorough farmer. The people of the town- 
ship found in him an able guardian of their trusts, which they 
placed into his hands in the fullest measure. He was the super- 
visor of the township for twenty-five years, his last term ending in 
the year when his health would not permit of further service. He 
also represented St. Joseph county in the lower house of the general 
assembly in 1841, and in the upper house, as senator, in the year 
1859, and was a member of the constitutional convention of 1867. 
In politics Mr. Tyler was originally a member of the Whig party, 
joining the Republican party at its organization, of which he re- 
mained a stanch advocate until his death. He united with the 
Methodist Episcopal church at Centerville in 1841, and was its re- 
cording-steward for twenty-five years, and died in its communion. 

Mr. Tyler was broad in his views, and liberal and enterprising 
in schemes for the public good. Though not particularly to be bene- 
fited by his act, he nevertheless aided generously in the construction 
of the railroad through Colon, believing it to be of general value to 
the people of the township. 

Rev. Job Tyler, a brother of Comfort Tyler, preached to all 
classes of people without distinction of religious views, though a 
Sabbatarian himself. He was much esteemed by the people of St. 
Joseph county, among whom he dwelt and followed his calling until 
1851, when he died at San Diego on his way to California. 


Roads and Bridges. 

In 1836 the first road through Colon township was laid out 
passing through the village and Centerville, and thence to Cold- 
water, Branch county. With the first two hundred dollars sub- 
scribed by individuals and their donations of work, the road was 
cut through, streams bridged, marshes causewayed, etc., to the 
town of Mattison, Branch county. The first bridge over the St. 
Joseph river in the township was known as the Farrand bridge 
and was completed in 1839-40. The Leland bridge was built in 
1845; so that by that year means of communication were fairly 

First Town Meeting and Officials. 

The first town meeting was held in April, 1833, when Colon 
and Leonidas were one. Roswell Schellhous was elected super- 
visor and M. G. Shellhouse, clerk ; the latter also was the justice 
of the peace, having been appointed by Governor Porter. 

In April, 1834, George F. Schellhous was chosen supervisor, 
and served until 1836; M. G. Schellhous remained town clerk 
until 1835 and in the succeeding year was followed by F. A. 
Matthews; and M. W. Alford succeeded M. G. Schellhous as jus- 
tice of the peace in 1834, and held the position until the first 
election of that oflScial in 1836. At that election Roswell Schell- 
hous, Charles Palmer, M. G. Schellhous and Abel Belote were 
chosen ; but Belote did not qualify and Comfort Tyler was chosen 
in his place. This was the status of office holding, in 1836, when 
Colon township was finally severed from Leonidas and became a 
unit of the sixteen townships which now compose the county of 
St. Joseph. 

Burr Oak Township. 

In 1838 the state legislature granted Burr Oak and Fawn 
Rivei* townships independence from Sherman, leaving attached 
to the parent stem only the township of Sturgis (yet unborn). 
On the 6th of March, of that year, Randolph Manning, secretary 
of state, affixed his name to the act by which Burr Oak was 
erected into a separate township and its first official meeting 
ordered to be held at the house of Julius A. Thompson. 


As ordered, the meeting was convened at Mr. Thompson's 
house, April 2, 1838, and organized by electing Alvin Gates mod- 
erator, and James L. Bishop and Hiram Draper, clerks. The fol- 
lowing were then chosen to fill the several township offices : Super- 
visor, Marshall Livermore ; clerk, James L. Bishop ; assessors, Alvin 
Gates, Daniel Weaver and Hiram Draper; commissioners of high- 
ways, Oliver Raymond, Hiram Draper and Daniel Weaver; super- 
visors of primary schools, Norman Allen, Oliver Raymond and Sid- 
ney Carpenter; constables, John S. Sickles, Sidney Carpenter and 
Norman Allen; collector, Norman Allen; directors of the poor, 
Cyrus Benedict and Phineas H. Sheldon; justices of the peace, 
Alvin Gates, Marshall Livermore, Hiram Draper and Oliver Ray- 
mond; fence viewers and poi^nd masters, Julius A. Thompson, 
Warren Norton and Benjamin Stocking; overseers of highways, 
Josiah T. Livermore, Samuel Needham, Ervin K. Weaver, Nathan- 
iel Leavitt and Casper Reed. 

On the 9th of May, 1838, the inspectors of primary schools 
organized the township into four districts. 

The first road within the limits of Burr Oak township was 
ordered by the commissioners of highways, March 27, 1837, while 
the territory was still a part of Sherman township. It was four 
rods in width, ran from the line between sections 1 and 2 in an 
east-by-southerly direction and struck Big Swan creek in section 
11. It was surveyed by Hiram Draper. At about the same time 
another road was laid out in sections 12 and 13, southeast of the 

The father of Julius A. Thompson is credited with having 
taught the first school in what is now the township of Burr 
Oak, District No. 1. In 1838 Miss Sarah Washburn, afterward 
Mrs. Nathan Hackett, taught school in a new building, with a 
loose floor above and below, which was located a short distance 
east of the Thompson and Farley corners, in the same district. 

First Frame Residence. 

In 1833 Reuben Trussell settled on the road leading to Center- 
ville, in the following year erected the first frame residence in 
the township, in which he passed the remainder of his life. Va- 
rious members of the family also occupied the homestead for 
years afterward. The planting of the Trussell family at that lo- 
cality inaugurated the era of permanency in the history of Burr 


Oak township. Mr. Trussell purchased the lumber for his frame 
house at Dugg^s saw-mill, located not far from where the Jona- 
than Holmes mill afterward stood, and it was rafted down Swan 
creek to a point on section 11, on the Houston land, whence it 
was taken by teams to the building site. At that time the best 
white-wood lumber commanded five dollars per thousand, and 
nails sold for thirteen cents per pound; since then, lumber has 
gone up and nails have decidedly dropped. 

About 1834 Josiah and Marshall Livermore were among the 
new citizens of Burr Oak township ; in 1835 came James C. Sto- 
well and Daniel and Henry* S. Weaver, father and son ; James 
L. Bishop and Sidney Carpenter, in 1836, and Ervin K. Weaver 
in 1837. Besides those already mentioned, the foregoing were 
the leading citizens of the township at its organization in 1838. 

Haslet and Snow. 

The first settler within the present limits of Burr Oak town- 
ship is recognized as Samuel Haslet, who, with his family and a 
bachelor friend, George Miller, settled upon the land which was 
long known as the Elder Farley farm. In the year following his 
location, Mr. Haslet became the proud father of the first white 
child of the township. Mr. Haslet came from Snow prairie, 
Branch county, as did Mr. Snow who gave the prairie its name, 
in the year 1832 ; and of these two pioneers of the township, who 
seem to have been original in both senses of the word, the follow- 
ing description has come down from Hon. Wales Adams, an old- 
timer of Branch who knew the men intimately; ** Haslet was an 
easy body, with whom the world in which he moved generally 
wagged well. His wife was the presiding genius, and the more 
positive character of the two. 

**Snow was apparently forty or fifty years of age, and of a 
taciturn cast of mind. His figure was rather tall and spare. His 
sloping shoulders, compressed lips, and black evasive eye, gave 
him a repulsive appearance. He was from one of the New Eng- 
land states — had been married; but being a man of keen sensi- 
bilities and possessed of a fondness for variety, he became dis- 
gusted with the restraints and annoyances of conjugal life, abruptly 
left his family to the mercy of the world, and sought repose for 
himself amid the wilds of the west." 


A Pair of Turtle Doves. 

The bachelor friend of the Haslets, Miller (full name, George 
Miller), noted as having moved into Burr Oak township as a mem- 
ber of their household in 1831, was a chubby, grizzly German of 
middle age ; uneducated and, since he could remember, a dweller 
on the borders of civilization. Not long after his arrival, two 
bachelor brothers named Eldred came from Vermont, entered a 
quarter section near the Haslets, built a cabin, commenced to 
make improvements and then sent for a maiden sister to come on 
as their housekeeper. Miss Eldred, who had experienced per- 
haps forty years of industrious life, was plain almost to painful- 
ness — that is, as viewed by the average outsider. But such is the 
mystery of human love that Bachelor Miller and Maiden Eldred 
were strongly attracted, billed and cooed like a pair of turtle 
doves, and went into history, a few months after their meeting, 
as the first couple to be wedded in the township. 

Township in General. 

Burr Oak township is of the regulation government size, four 
hundred of its acres being covered by the waters of its streams 
and small lakes. Big Swan creek enters from the east through 
section 12, flows northwestwardly across its northeast corner and 
makes its exit into Colon township from section 4. Prairie river 
comes into the township over the line of section 24, runs north- 
west north of the village of Burr Oak into section 9, then reverses 
its course to the southwest, and, after passing through Hog creek 
lake, turns abruptly to the north, and leaves the township through 
the western half of sections 18, 7 and 6. 

The lakes of the township are as follows: Eberhard^s, in sec- 
tion 4; Bryant's, section 5; Fish, section 19; Stewart's, section 
32, and Adams', section 29. 

Agriculturally considered, the soil of Burr Oak township 
is one o£ the most productive in the county. It derived its name 
from the remarkable beauty of its burr oak openings, no town- 
ship except Florence approaching it in this feature of the 



First Settler, Michael Beadle— Early Flowerfield and How- 
ARDviLLE — Reduced to Present Area— Appropriate Name — 
First Road and Noted Trail — ^First Township Officers — 
How Leonidas Was Named — Description of Township — In- 
dian Trader Hatch — Permanent Settlers of 1831 — The 
Co WEN Mills — Captain Levi Watkins— First Hotels — Hor- 
ticultural Sproutings— Settlers of 1834-40 — First Town 
Meetings — Factoryvjlle — Leonidas Village — Mendon 
Township — Francois Moutan and Patrick Marantette — 
Village of Mendon Founded — Settlers from 1833 to 1837— 
Old-Time Officials — General Physical Features — ^Park 
Township— First Settlers along Fisher^s Lake — First 
Town Meeting — ^Parkville and Moore Park. 

Originally, the township of Flowerfield contained the pres- 
ent townships of Leonidas, Mendon, Park and Flowerfield, or the 
four northern townships of St. Joseph county of today. When it 
was organized, with the county itself, in November, 1829, the only 
settlers in this large area were Michael Beadle and his family, 
who had lately occupied their claim in section 1, comprising the 
north half of the northeast quarter and the northwest quarter 
of that section. A part of this tract — ^the northwest quarter — 
was afterward included in the plat of Flowerfield village, which 
was laid out in 1833. 

First Settler Michael Beadle. 

Mr. Beadle, who entered his land in June, 1830, soon after- 
ward built a log house — the first in the township — and in the 
succeeding year also erected its pioneer frame dwelling. In 1830, 
before the building of the frame house, Mr. Beadle's daughter, 



Matilda, had married Justin Clark ; but the local chronicles are 
uncertain as to whether the ^' newly weds" occupied the log cabin 
or the frame residence. 

In 1831 Michael Beadle erected a grist-mill on Rocky river, 
its single run of stone being made out of a natural boulder two 
or three feet in diameter. In the spring of the following year it 
passed into the hands of Challenge S. Wheeler, a settler of 1831. 
It was destroyed by fire, in the spring of 1832, but was rebuilt 
the same year and was operated steadily thereafter for two 

Early Flowerfiedd and Howardville. 

Mr. Wheeler thoroughly overhauled the mill, put in a new 
set of burrs, and in other ways proceeded to challenge the ad- 
miration of the pioneers for his energy and enterprise. He threw 
open his home to the first children of the township, about ten in 
number, who formed the pioneer school taught by Malvina Nich- 
ols, and in 1833 owned the site of the village of Flowerfield, which 
had been first entered by James Valentine three years previously. 
In the year named M. J. Nichols and Dr. David E. Brown sur- 
veyed the plat on section 1, and Mr. Wheeler became first post- 
master of the village. Mr. Nichols lived long in Flowerfield vil- 
lage to enjoy his deserved honors and popularity. 

Further south than Flowerfield, nearer the center of the 
township, was founded the burg of Howardville, named after 
the mill owner, Franklin Howard. Its site was contained in the 
purchase of Robert Gill, who bought the land in 1832 on^ account 
of the excellent water-power aflforded by the Rocky river at that 
point. Mr. Gill erected the first house thereon, in 1833, and com- 
menced the construction of a dam, but sold his property and his 
privileges to the Morse brothers who built a saw-mill during the 
same year. They conducted the mill until 1836, when Franklin 
Howard bought it and conducted it until his death in 1845. It 
was operated for many years, a grist mill and other industries 
were started, and Howardville promised to become quite a place 
until the early fifties, when it was certain that it would not be 
favored with railroad accommodations. 

From 1856, which year marks the appointment of Chauncey 
Tinker as postmaster, until it almost disappeared even as a set- 
tlement, the place was generally known as Tinker Town. 


Reduced to Present Area. 

In 1833 the township now known as Leonidas was set off 
from the original territory of Flowerfield, and, with Colon, con- 
stituted a separate civil division of the county, while Mendon was 
attached to Nottawa. When Park township was detached, in 
1838, Flowerfield was reduced to its present territory — one gov- 
ernment township of thirty-six square miles, of which only about 
thirty-five acres is of water-surface. 

The drainage of the township is chiefly effected by the Rocky 
river, which rises in the township of Penn, Cass county, runs east- 
wardly into Flowerfield, through its central sections, and joins 
the north branch in the southwest quarter of section 24 ; the latter 
tributary has its source in a small lake northwest of the former 
village of Flowerfield, and flows almost directly south through 
sections 1, 12, 13 and 24. A little creek also runs north through 
sections 35 and 36, and empties into the Rocky near the north 
line of the latter. 

Appropriate Name. 

The name of the township is almost self-explanatory. Every 
fall the Indians were accustomed to burn the brush and scrub 
timber, and in the spring such an abundance of wild flowers 
sprung up in this locality that the early surveyors gave the coun- 
try the name of Flowerfield, even before the township was erected. 
When the political body was formed, no other name was 

Before the settlers commenced to clear the lands to any ex- 
tent, the southern and eastern portions of the present township 
consisted almost entirely of oak openings, and the northern and 
western, of timber lands. The central and southwestern parts are 
hilly, and in some places very stony ; balance of the township level 
and slightly undulating. The soil is generally of a good sandy 
loam, admirably adapted to both horticulture and agriculture. 

First Road and Noted Trail. 

The first record of a surveyed road in Flowerfield township 
is dated April 17, 1834, its course being east and west, through 
the centers of sections 32, 33, 34, 35 and 36. The surveyor was 
a Mr. Briggs, assisted by M. John Nichols, and the road commis- 
sioners were Henry Garver, George Nichols and Robert Gill. 


Prior to the survey of this road, the old settlers used to 
drive through the clearings and over farms, picking their courses 
between streams and generally following the Indian trails which 
always led to the easiest fording places. One of the most trav- 
eled of these trails in Flowerfield township started at an Indian 
rendezvous that formerly existed in section 23, on Eocky run, 
and meandered along the valleys toward Three Eivers, carefully 
avoiding all the hills. From constant and long use it became a 
hard beaten path, on an average fifteen inches deep, and traces of 
it were plainly visible for fifty or sixty years after the settlement 
of the township. 

First Township Officers. 

The first justice of the peace of Flowerfield township was 
George Nichols, who was appointed by Governor Porter, under 
territorial laws, in 1832. 

The first township meeting was held at the house and tavern 
of Joshua Barnum, April 1, 1833 — the year when Leonidas and 
Mendon were carved from the original territory of Flowerfield. 
The result of the election was the choice of the following: C. S. 
Wheeler, supervisor; Joshua Barnum, clerk; Samuel Valentine, 
George Nichols and Abraham Vardemark, assessors; Ira Stowell 
and Henry Whited, overseers of the poor; William E. Gragg, 
collector; William Wheeler, M. John Nichols and C. L. Clewes, 
commissioners of highways; William E. Gragg, constable; Henry 
Garver, fence-viewer. At this time Assessor Vardemark was one 
of the proprietors of the first distillery erected in the township 
(on the site of the village). It was abandoned after a trial of 
several years. 

Barnum 's tavern, where this first township election was held, 
stood near the pioneer store which C. S. Wheeler had built in 

The principal township officers, when Flowerfield attained 
its present stature in 1838, were as follows: Supervisor, C. S. 
Wheeler; clerk, Aaron H. Foote; justices of the peace, Isaac F. 
Ulrich, Stephen P. Choat, Aaron H. Foote, Henry E. Moore, Henry 
Whited and Samuel Corry. 

How Leonidas Was Named. 

Leonidas township is in the extreme northeastern corner of 
St. Joseph county, and the various steps by which it assumed its 


present area are these: In 1829, at the first organization of the 
county, its territory formed a part of Flowerfield, which then 
embraced the four northern townships; in 1833 it was joined to 
Colon and formed one township under that name ; and in 1836 it 
became independent of its southern neighbor, and was named 
Leonidas through a mistake made by a clerk of the territorial 

Captain Levi Watkins, one of its earliest pioneers and most 
prominent citizens, desired to call the township Fort Pleasant, 
both from the fortification of the Mound Builders within its limits 
and as expressive of the charms of its landscape. Its first post- 
office, established in 1834, was so named, but when the meeting 
for the separate organization of the township was held the people 
could not accept that christening. After much discussion they 
agreed upon Leoni, and petitioned the legislature accordingly. 
At the same time, Jackson county, to the northeast, sent in a 
petition for a new township to be named Leonidas, and when the 
engrossing clerk copied the bill for the organization of the two 
townships he unintentionally substituted ** Leonidas'' for '* Leoni." 
The law was printed, with the incorporated error, and the names 
have ^^ stuck'' to the present time. 

Description of Township. 

Leonidas township is chiefly drained by the St. Joseph and 
the Nottawa rivers ; the former enters from Sturgeon lake, Colon, 
and flows across its southwestern sections toward Mendon, while 
the Nottawa, in two branches, enters from the northeast, flows 
southwest, and is one stream from the northeast quarter of sec- 
tion 20 to its juncture with the St. Joseph in section 30. The 
Little Portage runs diagonally across the west half of section 6 
into Mendon township, and a creek enters the township from 
the north in section 3, runs southerly and empties into the old 
Cowen mill-pond. There are only four bodies of water worthy 
of the name of lakes — Adams, Havens and Mud, in section 36 and 
Benedict's, in section 32, southern part of the township. 

Leonidas contains the usual thirty-six square miles of a 
government township, or twenty-three thousand and forty acres, 
of which only about five hundred acres comprise the water sur- 
face. When the first settlers came into the country they esti- 
mated that there were also five hundred acres of prairie within 


the limits of the present township. The balance of the land sur- 
face was covered with white and burr-oak groves, of varied 
density, merging into heavily timbered lands in the northern part 
of the township. About one-half of its area was co veered with a 
heavy growth of beech, maple, white-wood, ash, elm, walnut and 
hickory. The best of white-wood lumber was cut in the forests 
of Leonidas, and made into the ^' arks'' which transported much 
of the freight and most of the flour in the early days before the 
coming of railroads. It was this, more than any other drainage, 
which almost swept the Leonidas lands of their timber. 

First Settler, Indian Trader Hatch. 

The first white man to settle within the limits of the township 
was Hatch, the widely known Indian trader, who came to the 
country in the spring of 1831, and located near the permanent 
village of the Nottawa-seepe Indians on the prairie south of the 
river. Later he married Marchee-o-noqua, sister of Maguago, 
one of the chiefs, but appears to have tired of her ; at all events, 
he moved away, and the woman, who was a beauty of her tribe, 
afterward became the wife of Buel Holcomb, according to the 
custom of her people. She was converted to Christianity and 
tried to induce Holcomb to marry her according to the rites of 
her church. As he refused, she was divorced — or divorced her- 
self—and contracted a third marriage with one of her own race, 
and her descendants lived for many years in Athens, Calhoun 

The locations of Hatch and Holcomb are considered but 
temporary and had no bearing on the establishment of civil and 
domestic institutions in Leonidas tow^nship. The first permanent 
and worthy settlers came in 1831. 

Permanent Settlers of 1831. 

In May of that year George Mathews, with his wife and two 
children, settled on his land in section 32, on the banks of 
the St. Joseph river. The family came direct from New York 
city, where the parents even had been reared in comfort, if not 
luxury. Educated and cultured people of the old school, they 
had come into the timbered wilderness to carve out a new home. 
Mrs. Mathews was the first woman to locate in Leonidas township. 


and brav^ely supported her husband in all his unaccustomed un- 
dertakings. Their land was finally cleared and the courtly, but 
hard-working husband and father, died upon it in 1845 ; his wife 
survived him nearly thirty years; and no couple was ever more 
honored than Mr. and Mrs. George Mathews. Their daughter, 
who was born in the early summer of 1833, was the first native 
white child of the township. 

A few days after their arrival in 1831, Alexander Foreman 
and his family of sons and daughters from Ohio also located their 
claim near by. Afterward the Foremans ran the ferry across the 
St. Joseph at this point, and it is said that the Buckeye girls were 
not behind their brothers or father in its management. Both the 
Mathews and Foreman families raised crops of corn in the fall 
after their arrival, and the next year harvested the first wheat. 

In the fall of 1831 the central part of the township received 
an accession of settlers in James and Robert Cowen, from Penn- 
sylvania, and Isaac G. Bailey, from Connecticut. All were single 
men, but married afterward and brought their wives to the 
settlement ; Mr. Bailey in the fall of 1834, Robert Cowen in 1835 
and James later. They were the founders of the numerous in- 
dustries which were subsequently established along Nottawa and 
Bear creeks. 

The Cowen MujLS. 

It appears that Mr. Bailey was the first of the party to pros- 
pect Leonidas for a mill site, and, finding what he wanted, re- 
turned to the land office at White Pigeon to make his entries. 
While on this errand he met James Cowen, to whom he gave a 
description of his ''find,'' with the general locality. Mr. Cowen 
carefully marked Mr. Bailey's entries on his map and then set 
out for himself. Arriving on the ground, he found that Bailey 
had been careless and failed to enter the ''eighty" which really 
contained the water power and the most favorable mill site; so 
he quietly returned to White Pigeon and entered it himself. 
Afterward meeting Bailey, he told him that he had found a good 
mill-site himself and should proceed to utilize it. When Mr. 
Bailey found that, by his own negligence, the cream of his location 
had been skimmed by Mr. Cowen his chagrin was great; but he 
was obliged to swallow his bitter pill and, though he bought a 
large tract of land around the Cowen mill-site, or pond, he finally 
built a saw-mill on Bear creek. 


The saw-mill erected by James and Robert Cowen, on Not- 
tawa creek, was completed in 1832 and put in operation in the 
winter of that and the succeeding year. In 1836 they built their 
first flour mill; but the dam proving to be inadequate, as well as 
unsafe, in 1840 they abandoned it, constructed another, and also 
built a new saw-mill. 

James Cowen and Isaac G. Bailey were both educated for 
physicians and the former was an excellent surv^eyor. He moved 
to Indiana in 1846. When a postoffice was established at Cowen 's 
mills in 1834, Mr. Bailey was appointed postmaster, and in 1835 
he was influential in establishing a postal route from Jackson to 
White Pigeon. He was elected to the state legislature in 1838, 
and died in Detroit the following March, still retaining the post- 
mastership of Leonidas. 

Captain Levi Watkins. 

In the fall of 1832 Captain Levi Watkins built a cabin on the 
banks of Nottawa creek, stocked it with provisions, and went 
to work on the Cowen mill which was then in course of con- 
struction. He was joined by his family in the following Feb- 
ruary. Both he and his sons, Orrin M. and Martin C, were lead- 
ing citizens as long as they lived, being especially prominent in 
the encouragement of schools and churches. Although the 
captain was a Presbyterian, his house was always open to all who 
desired accommodations for religious meetings, and it was at his 
home that the first religious meeting of the township was held 
in May, 1833 — a gathering of Methodists under Rev. Mr. Dickin- 
son, a missionary from the Ohio conference. Meetings continued 
to be held at Captain Watkins' house until the school house was 
built in 1836, when the first religious meeting therein was held in 
the unroofed structure. 

Captain Watkins was also active in opening up the country 
to the outside world. He acted as one of the commissioners who 
laid out the first township road in 1836, from the settlement 
(which afterward became the village of Leonidas) in section 12, 
westwardly to the township line. He also ran the stage line for 
a time, which was established in 1838 from White Pigeon to 
Jacksonburg, via Leonidas. In 1835 he had thrown the first 
bridge over the St. Joseph river in the township, known as the 
Mathews bridge. 


Captain Watkins, who was of fine Revolutionary stock on both 
sides of the family, was bom in Partridgefield, Berkshire county, 
Massachusetts, August 5, 1785, and when eight years of age moved 
with his parents to a royal grant, near Little Falls, Herkimer 
county, New York, where they lived until Levi was sixteen years 
old, when the family removed to Naples, Ontario county, in the 
same state. He was the youngest of three sons and his father was 
a farmer. Levi had no opportunity to attend school except for a 
single month, but gained his education in the hard school of ex- 
perience. He always occupied the same farm with his father, but 
dwelt in a separate house, having everything produced on the farm 
in common. The young man followed farming and cattle-driving 
for a business, driving large herds to Philadelphia and Buffalo. In 
1812 he entered the American army and was stationed on picket be- 
tween Lewis and Buffalo in command of a company, which gave him 
his rank and title of captain. In 1820 he took contracts on the Erie 
canal, then in process of construction, which business he followed 
until 1824, but by the defalcation of the canal commissioner and the 
fraudulent practices of a party for whom he was surety, he lost 
heavily and was stripped of nearly all his property. 

In the early part of the autumn of 1832, Captain Watkins came 
to Leonidas^ — ^then known as Flowerfield — and selected a location 
on the Nottawa creek, near Dunkin's (now Climie's) mill, and built 
a log-house and put in nine acres of wheat. He brought a horse 
with him, which he exchanged for a yoke of oxen ; purchased some 
wheat and corn and had it ground for supplies for his family when 
they should arrive ; and went to work for the Cowen brothers, who 
were building their mill. He had purchased another yoke of oxen 
of Judge Meek, of Constantine, and engaged to work two months for 
the Cowens for sixty dollars, just the price he had agreed to pay for 
his last yoke of cattle. When his time was up, he took the Cowens' 
note for the amount due and exchanged it for his own note, which 
he had given for his team, and so ' ' squared ' ' the account. 

On the 20th day of February, 1833, the family arrived, bringing 
with them a span of horses and a wagon, which was an important 
addition to the pioneer's outfit. The location of Captain Watkins 
proving to be seminary lands, he relinquished it, and in 1836 bought 
lands contiguous thereto on what was afterwards known as the Ter- 
ritorial road, and built another house thereon. This location he 
transferred to his son, William M., with whom he continued to re- 
side until his death. 

Vol. 1—15 


After a life of untiring activity, Captain Watkins passed to his 
final rest, October 12, 1851. His second wife survived him a little 
more than ten years, when she fell asleep and was laid beside him, 
February 19, 1862. By both marriages he had seven children. 
And thus passed from the sight of men one of the most active and 
energetic citizens of his day. His executive ability was remarkdble, 
and the enterprises in which he was engaged while a resident of New 
York were monuments to his energy and determination, and had the 
state fulfilled its obligations, and its servants faithfully discharged 
their trusts, Captain Watkins would have been, nothwithstanding 
his generosity, a wealthy man, living at his ease long before his 
death. As it was, death found him with the harness on, every trace 
taut, and muscles strained for effective work, and he laid down 
*4ike a strong man taking his rest." 

The second Mrs. Watkins was a pioneer of Ontario county, and 
set out the first apple-tree in Naples, which is still known as Mother 
Watkins' apple-tree. 

William M. Watkins, the son mentioned, was long one of the 
foremost men of Leonidas township. He held the supervisorship 
for a number of years and was sheriff of the county from 1866 to 
1870, inclusive. 

First Hotels. 

In the spring of 1833 there was an accession to the substan- 
tial citizenship of Leonidas in the person of Arnold Hayward, 
who also brought his family. He built a log house just above 
Captain Watkin's, and the next summer added a frame ''lean-to," 
which he opened as the first hotel. In 1836 Captain Watkins 
built a new frame house on the Washtenaw trail, running from 
the east township line to the Leonidas settlement, and there kept 
the ''Farmers' Home." 

Horticultural Sproutings. 

The first fruit trees in the township were found by the first 
white settlers on the banks of the Nottawa, just below the present 
site of the Mathews bridge at the village of Leonidas. They were 
apple trees and the Indians then living in the locality had only 
a dim tradition of their planting by white missionaries. The trees 
were transplanted, but died. 

Captain Watkins planted apple seeds and peach and plum 
pits, in the spring of 1833, and by the fall of 1834 had quite a 


nursery under way. In the spring of 1835 George Mathews set 
out an orchard of quite mature trees and raised the first apples 
in the township. Peaches were first produced in Leonidas in 
1837 and plums artificially raised in 1845. 

Settlers op 1834-40. 

In the spring of 1834 Jarius Peirce, a Massachusetts man who 
had resided for some time in New York, came to Leonidas to work 
at his trade as a carpenter and was first employed on the Cowen 
flour mill. In 1836, after he had assisted in the building of many 
of the first Leonidas structures, he brought his family from On- 
tario county, New York, to permanently reside. 

In 1834-5 Augustus, Charles and Erastus Tyler located in the 
western part of the township, and were for years among its larg- 
est farmers. In 1835 Ezra Roberts, Abraham Rhynearson and 
N. V. Truesdell settled in the Indian reservation, same locality, 
and in the same year George Benedict became a resident of the 
eastern part of the prairie. Edward K. Wilcox was a settler of 
1836, as well as Justus L. Vough (who brought the first stock of 
goods into the township) ; William Bishop, with his sons, Lyman, 
Jr., and James, in 1837, and William Minor, James B. Dunkin and 
Stephen Van Rensselaer York, in 1840. 

First Town Meeting. 

The first town meeting after Leonidas became an independ- 
ent township was held at the house of Martin C. Watkins, April 
4, 1836, James Cowen being moderator and Aaron B. Wjatkins 
clerk. Isaac G. Bailey and Captain Watkins were both candi- 
dates for the office of supervisor; as they were also good friends, 
each worked hard for the other's election. The captain elected 
his man by a narrow margin; Bailey receiv^ing twelve votes and 
Watkins, ten. Others elected at the meeting : Martin C. Watkins, 
town clerk; Joseph Gilbert, George Mathews, I. G. Bailey and 
Aaron B. Watkins, justices of the peace; James Cowen, Levi 
Watkins and George Mathews, assessors; Charles Starke, Am- 
brose Nichols and Levi Watkins, commissioners of highways; 
James Cowen, George Mathews and M. C Watkins, school com- 
missioners; Arnold Hayward and Moses W. Whiting, overseers 
of the poor; and Orrin W. Watkins, constable and collector. At 


this meeting it was also voted to pay two dollars bounty for wolf 
scalps and fifty cents for foxes, and to raise twenty dollars for 
contingent expenses. 


In 1840 James B. Dunkin built a saw-mill on the Nottawa, 
above the Cowen's, owning and operating it until 1862. 

Theodore Robinson and James Bishop erected a saw-mill on 
Nottawa creek, on section, one, and operated it for several years, 
or until the Branch county mill owners enjoined the proprietors 
against raising their own dam. 

In 1842-3 William, Charles and Nathan Schofield built at the 
same place a woolen factory, but in 1845 the machinery was 
taken into Park township by Leonard Shellhouse. 

The little hamlet that gathered around these mills was called 

Leonidas Village. 

The original plat of the village of Leonidas was laid oif by 
E. G. Terry on the 30th of December, 1846, on the northeast quarter 
of section 12, at the intersection of the territorial road (Washtenaw 
tl'ail), which passed through the plat from northeast to southwest, 
and the Mendon and Colon roads, which ran through the village 
from north to south and from east to west. 

Mendon Township. 

When St. Joseph county was organized in 1829, what are now 
its four northernmost townships were included in the township of 
Flowerfield. The territory included in the present Leonidas 
was detached in 1833 and attached to Colon, and in the same year 
what is known as Mendon township became a part of Nottawa. 
In 1843 the present Mendon was organized as Wakeman township, 
in honor of Hiram Wakeman, one of its largest land owners. 

But this name proved unsatisfactory to the majority of peo- 
ple in the township, and in 1844 a meeting was called at the cooper 
shop of L. Salisbury to select one which would meet the popular 
taste. Among those present and most active in the discussion 
were Peter House and Moses Taft, the former from the town of 
Mendon, New York, and the latter, from Mendon, Massachusetts. 


Combining forces finally, the one moved, and the other seconded, 
that the township be called Mendon ; the motion was carried unan- 
imously, the usual petition presented to the legislature and the 
change of name officially made before the end of the year. 

Fran'cois Moutan, First Settler. 

The first white settler in the present territory of Mendon 
township was Francois Moutan who, in 1831, brought his family 
to live at the trading post of Peter and J. J. Godfroi, located 
near the Indian village on the southern banks of the St. Joseph 
opposite the present city of Mendon. Mr. Moutan had been ap- 
pointed manager of the post, which he conducted for about two 
years. When the reservation came into the market he bought 
lands of the government and became well-to-do and influential, 
his descendants making good records for themselves and the 

The buildings of the Godfroi trading post, erected in 1831, 
were the first of the township ; they consisted of two log houses — 
one for a store and the other for a blacksmith shop. To these 
Mr. Moutan added a log cabin for his family, consisting of his 
wife and several children. 

Marantette Succeeds Moutan. 

In August, 1833, Patrick Marantette arrived on the ground 
as Mr. Moutan 's successor in charge of the trading post. He 
came from Detroit, where his father was widely known as an 
Indian trader, and reached the reservation as an able and ener- 
getic young bachelor of about twenty-four. In 1835 he aban- 
doned single life by marrying one of Mr. Moutan 's daughters. 
He also reserved a section of land in the Nottawa-seepe reserva- 
tion, which eventually formed the basis of a considerable family 
estate. Mr. Marantette 's character and his invaluable labors in 
the legal acquirement of the soil of Mendon township and ad- 
joining sections from the Indians are more fully set forth in the 
general history of the county, as is most appropriate. 

Messrs. Moutan and Marantette were naturally the first farm- 
ers and fruit raisers of Mendon township, as they had the ground 
to themselves for some time. In 1832-3 Mr. Moutan raised a crop 
of corn, and Mr. Marantette gathered the first wheat harvest 


from the two bushels which he sowed in the spring of 1835. When 
Mr. Moutan reached the Indian village in 1831 he found some 
apple trees bearing therein, which were said to have been origi- 
nally planted by missionaries ; but he was the first white man to 
start an orchard of his own, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Mr. 
Marantette planted the first peach orchard in 1834 and gathered 
fruit from it in 1838. 

First Marriage and Birth. 

The marriage ceremony of Patrick Marantette and Miss 
Frances Moutan was performed according to the civil code by 
J. W. Coffinberry, justice of the peace, on the 23rd of November, 
1835, and as the contracting parties were strict Catholics it was 
afterward ratified by the bishop of Detroit at Bertrand^s on the 
St. Joseph river. The child of this union, bom in 1836, was the 
first native white of Mendon township. 

First Religious Services. 

The first religious services in the township were held by Roman 
Catholic missionaries at the Godfroi trading post in 1831, although 
the first mass was not celebrated until 1839, when Father Boss, of 
Detroit, stopped at Marantette 's on his way to Grand Rapids. 

Village op Mendon Founded. 

Besides Mr. Marantette, two Frenchmen, Peter Neddeaux and 
Leander Metha, came to the Nottawa-seepe reservation in 1833. The 
former located near the trading post, while Mr. Metha settled on 
the other side of the river, on the present site of Mendon. Mr. 
Neddeaux died in 1845. 

Mr. Metha came directly from Monroe and threw up a rough 
log cabin in short order. This was later replaced by a more com- 
modious and comfortable structure of hewn logs, the old one being 
then used for school purposes. 

The water power at Mendon village was created by damming 
the Little Portage on the southwest comer of the southeast quarter 
of the northeast quarter of section 21, and cutting a race one-half 
mile south to a series of marshes, and thence by a short flume to the 
bank of the St. Joseph, securing a head of sixteen feet of water. 


In 1844 Messrs. Bronson and Doan who had created this water 
power built a saw-mill, and it was undoubtedly their enterprise 
which induced Leander Metha to plat the original village of Men- 
don, on the east half of section 27, in 1845. 

The proprietors of this first saw-mill, also added grist facilities, 
a carding machine and a turning lathe, and in 1848 sold their 
buildings and water power to MeWin & Brown, of Centerville. 
Thus was the village of Mendon firmly founded. 

Settlers feom 1833 to 1837. 

In November, 1833, Samuel E. Johnson and his six sons (after- 
ward well known citizens of the township) migrated from Living- 
ston county, New York, and located in section 1, of Nottawa town- 
ship, just south of the reservation line. He died in 1839. 

Fordyce Johnson and Stephen Barnabee located in section 34, 
south of the Indian village, about 1834, and Oliver H. Foote and 
Moses Taft were arrivals of 1835. 

Mr. Taft was highly honored during the forty years of his resi- 
dence in Mendon township. He and his family were from Mendon, 
Massachusetts, and it was largely through his insistence and his 
popularity that the township dropped its old name of Wakeman. 
He resided in Leonidas township a year before coming to Mendon, 
and was a traveler in the upper Mississippi valley when that region 
was almost an unknown land to whites. Among citizens of promi- 
nence who married daughters of Moses Taft were William Harring- 
ton, Abram H. Voorhees, A. Wesley Maring and James S. Bar- 

Adams Wakeman located on Nottawa prairie in 1833, Hiram 
in 1834 and Mark, in 1836; N. Chapman was a settler of 1834; 
Timothy Kimball about 1835 ; Harvey White, 1836, and B. B. Bacon, 
Ephraim K. Atkinson, James Van Buren, Ira and William Pellett 
and Joseph Woodward, 1837. The Wakeman brothers introduced 
the first improved live-stock (Durham cattle) into the township. 

Old-Time Oppicials. 

Joseph Jewett was the first supervisor of Mendon township and 
was succeeded in 1845 by Joseph Woodward, and the first town 
clerk, E. Kellogg, also gave place to Mr. Jewett. Patrick Maran- 
tette, Moses Taft, Norman Hill, Benjamin Osgood, Cyrus Button, 


Ira Pellett and Abram H. Voorhees, all figure as supervisors pre- 
vious to 1860, and William Pellett, B. P. Doan, Edwin Stewart and 
A. Crandall, as clerks. 

General Physical Features. 

The northern portions of Mendon township were originally 
covered with a heavy growth of oak, walnut, white-wood, ash, 
sycamore, elm and maple, a feature of its southern, sections being 
the two thousand acres of Nottawa prairie which extended up 
from the south. It has a square mile of water surface, being well 
drained by the St. Joseph, Big and Little Portage rivers and 
Bear creek. The only lake of considerable size in the township 
is Portage, which occupies several hundred acres in sections 7 
and 8. 

The surface of the country is generally level, becoming some- 
wliRt rolling as it approaches the St. Joseph river, which drains 
the southern portions of the township. The Big Portage river 
flows through Portage lake in its course to the southwest and 
Three Rivers, while the Little Portage flows through the north- 
eastern, central and western sections of the township, and joins 
the larger stream in section 24, Park township. Bear creek 
also empties into Portage lake, coming in from the northeast. 

Park Township. 

This tow^nship was created and assumed its present area in 
1838, and of its thirty-six square miles, three hundred and thirteen 
acres only are covered by water. Its drainage is effected by the 
Portage river and Fisher's lake, the latter lying in section 34 in 
the southern part of the township. When the first settlers came 
to the country the township was a lovely succession of dense oak 
groves and green and level openings in the forest, resembling 
more than all else a series of well-kept parks; hence the name 
which the township so appropriately received. 

First Settlers Along Fisher ^s Lake. 

The first settlers of Park township located on the east shores 
of Fisher's lake in 1834. In that locality Harvey Kinney com- 
menced the building of a small log cabin, and was assisted in his 


work by Jonas and Leonard Fisher and George Leland. In the 
preceding fall the Indians of the Nottawa-seepe reservation, which 
extended into the eastern sections of Park township, had agreed 
to finally relinquish their lands in 1836. Soon after the Chicago 
treaty of 1833, squatters commenced to locate claims in the 
eastern portion of the reservation, but Kinney's was the first 
occupancy of their lands in the western part, or within the area 
now included in the two eastern sections of Park township. He 
completed his cabin, with the able assistance of his three com- 
panions, but did not occupy it until the spring of 1835. 

About the same time I. S. Ulrich and wife were journeying 
from Pennsylvania with a double team and all their household 
goods. After a trying experience of seventy-two days they 
reached what is now the site of Three Rivers and not long after- 
ward joined the squatters east of Fisher's lake. 

Besides the Ulriches, Kinney, the Fishers and Mr. Leland, the 
colony soon included Samuel Moore, who located in section 19 
near the village of Moore Park and George Wilson, who located 
on section 25 in the eastern part of the township. 

Michael Hower and John Boudeman also arrived in 1835, 
the latter joining the Fisher lake settlement, and in the following 
year Isaac Mowrey and John Hutchinson located claims further 
to the north, Mr. Hutchinson on section 27. 

About the same time John Lomison entered large tracts of 
land in sections 26, 27 and 36, both north and east of the lake, 
and in 1837 a good Scotchman, McDonald Campbell, settled in 
section 35. Alexander Frazier, Jacob Bannon and Andrew Reed 
were added to the pioneer populace of Park township within the 
succeeding two years. 

The settlers came in to such good purpose, despite the fever- 
and-ague epidemic of 1835, that they were successful, as has been 
seen, in inducing the state legislature to give them separate town- 
ship organization. 

First Town Meeting. 

The first town meeting was held at the house of Mr. Hutchin- 
son in section 27, during the month of April, 1838, and the fol- 
lowing were elected as the principal officials: Edward S. Moore, 
supervisor; Juba E. Day, clerk, and Isaac F. Ulrich, justice of the 
peace. The first assessment for taxation, made during that year, 
returned $55,823 ; taxes, $1,340.02. 


First Other Things. 

Mr. Ulrich sowed the first wheat in the township, in the spring 
of 1835, but the harvest is said to have resulted in ''a wonder- 
fully smutty lot.'' 

The first orchard was set out by Isaac Mowrey on his home- 
stead in section 35; year, 1836. 

Madison J. Ulrich, who was born December 6, 1835, was the 
first native white child of Park township, being one of the twelve 
bom to that good couple, Mr. and Mrs. I. S. Ulrich. 

'Squire Ulrich, who was authority on marriages, claimed that 
the first couple married within the township limits was legally 
tied by him in 1835. He only knew that the bridegroom's name 
was Fairchild, and that he brought his bride twenty miles in 
order to be *^jined. " The first of actual residents to be married 
were Amos Reed and Ann Hower, who were made man and wife 
in 1837. 

The first school house erected within the limits of the town- 
ship was in the fall of 1838, and was built by contributions of 
labor and material from the settlers. Isaac S. Ulrich opened it, 
as a teacher, in the spring of 1839. This old log building an- 
swered the necessary requirements of the southeastern part of 
the township until 1848, when a frame structure was erected 
about half a mile north. The township was divided into five 
school districts in 1839. 

Parkville and Moore Park. 

In 1851 James Hutchinson surveyed the village of Parkville 
on a piece of land in section 24 which had been purchased of N. H. 
Taylor by Luther Carlton. It was never more than a fair-sized 

Moore Park, a station on the Lake Shore & Michigan South- 
ern Railroad, was established in 1871, and so named from Hon. 
Edward S. Moore, whose picturesque homestead was in the 


By Hon. R. R. Pealer. 

In the Black Hawk War-— Mexican War and Hon. Isaac D. 
Toll — Francis Flanders, Jr. — In the Civil War — The 
Eleventh Michigan— History op the Nineteenth — 
Twenty-fifth Infantry — Seventh Michigan — First Michi- 
gan Infantry— Second Michigan — Fourth Michigan — The 
Isolated Sixth — The Fifteenth Infantry — The Artil- 
lery — Other Military Branches in Civil War — Spanish- 
American War. 

St. Joseph county was included in the ''war scare ^' caused 
by the uprising of the Sacs and Foxes under Black Hawk in 1832. 
Its scattered settlers were especially susceptible to panic on this 
score, first, because of the threat of the able Indian warrior that 
he was on his way to sweep all the white settlements from his 
path between the Mississippi river and Detroit, whose inhabit- 
ants he would also massacre, and secondly, because of the pres- 
ence of the considerable band of Nottawa-seepe warriors on their 
reservation in the northern part of St. Joseph county and the 
southern part of Kalamazoo. The bands of Pottawatomies, 
Chippewas and Ottaw^s, which had been grouped under this 
name, had two villages in St. Joseph county; one in the present 
township of Leonidas and the other, and larger, on the southern 
banks of St. Joe river, opposite the site of the future Mendon. 
The Nottawa-seepe reservation included some of the choicest 
prairie lands and groves in the county, and many of the early 
settlers had located their farms just without its boundaries. When 
the excitement over the Black Hawk raids in Illinois reached this 
part of the state, it therefore rose to the greatest height in the 



country bordering the Indian reservation, as it was generally 
believed that the Pottawatomies, who formed the bulk of the red 
settlers thereon, sympathized with Black Hawk and might actu- 
ally join him in his war against the whites. 

The County in the Black Hawk War. 

When it became known that Black Hawk had defeated the 
military sent against him, on May 14, 1832, the entire county was 
thrown into a ferment of unrest and apprehension. As soon as 
possible two companies were mustered ; that under Colonel Stew- 
art, of White Pigeon, was to advance westward to the relief of 
Chicago and the frontier, and the force under Captain Henry 
Powers was considered a corps of observation to watch the Pot- 
tawatomies of the reservation. The first step toward an effective 
observation of anything, on anybody, is evidently to provide a 
suitable place from which to obser\re. 

Fifty of Captain Powers' hundred men were drafted for 
active service and were ordered to the farm of Daniel H. Hogan, 
in the northwest corner of the present Colon township and ad- 
joining the southeast corner of the Indian reservation. This 
action was in pursuance of the majority report of the Committee 
on Ways and Means for the Public Safety, consisting of Martin 
G. Schellhous, Jonathan Engle, Sr., Benjamin Sherman, Amos 
Howe and Alvin Alvord, Sr. Of this little army of observation, 
Jonathan Engle, Jr., was lieutenant; Hiram Gates, ensign, and 
Frank McMillan, orderly sergeant. The report from the com- 
mittee was received by the company in the afternoon at four 
o 'clock and Captain Powers ordered his fifty chosen men to repair 
at once to the five acres of ground which had been selected as 
the site of the proposed Port Hogan. Before nightfall several 
furrows had been plowed the whole length of the western out- 
works ; moreover, a ridge of earth two feet high, three feet at its 
base and seventeen feet in length, picketed with stakes varying 
from one to three inches in diameter, loomed up as another step 
in the founding of Fort Hogan. 

Night brought repose, and perhaps calmer feelings through 
the assurances of the Schellhous brothers, Mr. Sherman and Mr. 
Engle, whose absolute fearlessness over the situation appears to 
have been largely a result of reliable information as to the atti- 
tude of the Pottawatomies toward the whites. At all events, at 


nine o ^clock of the morning following the breaking of ground for 
Fort Hogan, only a few spiritless men of the original fifty who 
manifested their ardor so unmistakably the night before ap- 
peared on the site of the proposed fortress for observation, and 
they soon went away. Thus was Fort Hogan abandoned, and 
Messrs. Schellhous and Engle, who had dissented from the ma- 
jority report which recommended its erection, were vindicated. 

Within a few weeks, the elder and less excitable men of the 
locality had had informal talks with Cush-ee-wees, head chief of 
the Pottawatomies, and other principal men of the Nottawa In- 
dians, and arranged for a formal council at Captain Powers ' house. 
At that interview it transpired that the Indians were not only 
anxious to adjust all their differences with the white settlers of St. 
Joseph county, but that several members of the tribe had actually 
gone with Captain Hatch, a trader, to join General Atkinson's 
forces at Chicago and assist the Pottawatomies at that point, who 
had always been friendly to Fort Dearborn and the village cluster- 
ing around it. This council at Captain Powers ' house, at which all 
the differences between the whites and the Nottawa-seepe Indians 
were explained and adjusted, occurred in the early part of August, 
1832, and the following day came the news of Black Hawk's defeat 
and capture in Wisconsin, which occurred on the second of that 

In the meantime, the southern contingent of troops, under 
Captain Stewart, had been holding themselves in readiness at White 
Pigeon to move to the relief of Chicago, in case Black Hawk invested 
Fort Dearborn and the village. Captain Stewart, by being placed 
in command of the Eleventh regiment of the territory, became a 
colonel, and was afterward elected brigadier general of the Sixth 
brigade ; but the Black Hawk war did not call him from Michigan. 
Under stress of the first excitement, forty of his men were drafted 
to march westward, but the order was revoked. The war scare 
was revived with the invasion of Wisconsin by Black Hawk, and 
fifty of Captain Stewart's men were drafted for immediate service, 
but before they could leave White Pigeon the news reached them of 
the defeat and capture of the great Indian warrior, who had struck 
terror into so many western settlements. 

An incident of this time and place is thus related by the late 
John Hamilton, of Constantine: *'When his father's family were 
coming to the county they arrived at Adrian just as the news came 
through of the advance of Black Hawk into Illinois, and Roberts, 


who was traveling in company of Hamilton, having considerable 
cattle and several small children, decided to return to Monroe 
county and wait until the war should be over. Hamilton submitted 
the question of advance or retreat to his son John, then about eigh- 
teen years old, and his son-in-law, Alfred Roe, who, with the father, 
decided to go on, and did so, arriving in Constantine in due time. 
The very day after their arrival. Roe and young Hamilton were 
enrolled in the militia, making an even hundred in White Pigeon 
township, as the territory was then called. The draft for forty 
men was then made, and Roe drew a prize to go to the west. This 
order for a draft was revoked, and another one for fifty men was 
ordered and made, and Roe drew the prize again, Hamilton drawing 
a blank each time. The next day the news of Black Hawk's cap- 
ture came, and the men were sent home, or never got together ; but 
drew eight dollars in cash (a month's pay) and forty acres of 

To give St. Joseph county full credit for what she did in the 
raising of men for the Black Hawk war, mention must also be made 
of the independent rifle company organized in Sturgis township, in 
command of Captain Hunter. Among its members were Hiram 
Jacobs, Asa W. Miller, P. H. Buck, John Parker, Moses Roberts 
and Edward Mortimer. They volunteered for a sixteen-days' cam- 
paign, but, as one of the boys remarked after he was gray-headed, 
''there being no enemy on whom to forage, they made their princi- 
pal raid on the commissary supplies and had a 'big time.' " 

Mexican War and Hon. Isaac D. Toll. 

The ablest and most heroic citizen of St. Joseph county to fig- 
ure in the brave deeds performed by her sons on the bloody battle- 
fields of Mexico was Hon. Isaac D. Toll, of Fawn River. Having 
enjoyed a partial collegiate education, he accompanied his father to 
Centerville, from New York state, in 1834. There, and at Fawn 
River, they engaged in mercantile and manufacturing pursuits, and 
continued in those lines until 1846 and, after the Mexican war, 
until 1853. The son, Isaac D., showed an early aptitude and liking 
for politics, commencing his public life as assessor of Fawn River 
township at the age of twenty-one. He was then supervisor for 
fifteen years, and in 1846 was elected to the lower house of the leg- 
islature. For years he had also been an enthusiast in military 
matters, and at that time, although but twenty-eight years of age 


and the youngest member of the Michigan legislature, was major 
general of the state troops. General Toll was made chairman of the 
committee on militia and framed the bill for the organization of the 
state troops which subsequently became law, and has been pro- 
nounced unexcelled by any similar legislation of that day. In the 
following year he was sent to the upper house, and at the close of the 
session accepted a captaincy in the Fifteenth United States Infan- 
try for service in the Mexican war. 

Captain Toll received his commission in March, 1847, and at 
once started for home to organize a company. St. Joseph, Kent, 
Kalamazoo, Cass and Jackson counties all furnished men, those who 
went from the home territory being as follows : Isaac D. Toll, cap- 
tain; John Cunningham, first sergeant; Francis Flanders, Jr., first 
sergeant; William S. Smith, sergeant; Daniel P. Hanks, corporal; 
Horace Bartholomew, corporal ; Theron Bartholomew and Levi Bar- 
tholomew (three brothers, of Fawn River) ; Fitch Cornell, a half 
brother of Corporal Hanks ; Abraham Berss, Ludlow Cox. Richard 
W. Corbus, Samuel B. Corbus, Nathaniel Crofoot, James H. Davis, 
Solomon Oilman, Wesley Gordon, Daniel W. Hamblin, Sylvester 
Holiday, John Ladd, Clark Munson, William J. Norton and Isaac 
A. Smith. 

The St. Joseph company (E) left Detroit for the seat of war in 
Mexico in April, 1847. Its immediate destination was Vera Cruz. 
The company was engaged at Riconada Pass, June 24th ; Contreras 
and Churubusco, August 19th and 20th ; Molina del Rey, Septem- 
ber 8th, and Chepultepee September 13th. Captain Toll com- 
manded in every engagement except Chepultepee, reaching that 
battle toward its close and being conveyed thither in an ambulance 
from the Mexcoac hospital, before he had recovered from his 
wounds at Churubusco. At the latter battle, which was especially 
disastrous to St. Joseph county men, he had command of the regi- 
mental colors. The regiment, under command of Colonel Morgan, 
was thrown into disorder by a fierce attack of the enemy who out- 
numbered the Americans eight to one. In this assault the com- 
manding officer was severely wounded. First Lieutenant Goodman, 
of Company E, killed, and Orderly Sergeant Cunningham mortally 
wounded. Captain Toll rallied the men on the colors, preparing 
for a charge, when the flanking companies of the regiment fell 
back, leaving Company E unsupported and fully exposed to the 
fire of the Mexicans. But the men bravely supported their captain, 
who rallied not only his little command but the entire regiment 


driving the enemy from his position which was protected by a 
ditch and a maguey fence. 

The victory, however, was gained at terrific cost to Company 
E, the brave men from St. Joseph county sharing largely in the 
casualties and the glory. Besides Captain Toll and Sergeant 
Cunningham, who were wounded, Corporal Hanks received his 
death wounds; Richard W. Corbus, Hamblin, Holiday, Ladd and 
Munson also died of their injuries ; Cornell was shot through the 
head, but recovered; and Samuel B. Corbus, Nathaniel Crofoot, 
Davis, Gilman, Gordon, Norton and Isaac A. Smith were 
wounded more or less severely. Sergeant William S. Smith, a 
brave soldier, who participated in every engagement and came 
through unscathed, died of chronic diarrhoea on his way home. 

Francis Flanders, Jr. 

Francis Flanders, Jr., who left for Mexico as first sergeant 
of his company, was transferred to another regiment as chief 
musician, which gave him the rank of major. He had served in 
the Florida war before going to Mexico, and after hostilities in 
the latter country had ceased, lived in California and Mexico 
until the summer of 1876, when he returned to Sturgis. He was 
the leading musician of the first brass band organized in St. 
Joseph county. It was formed at Sturgis, was called the St. 
Joseph County Democratic Brass Band and was commanded by 
Captain A. S. Drake. Mr. Flanders' grandfather was a soldier 
of the Revolution; his father a Vermont soldier in the war of 
1812 and a pioneer wool carder and justice of the peace of Fawn 
River township ; and as he himself participated in the Florida and 
Mexican wars, it is in strong evidence that the Flanders men were 
of fighting stock. And Francis Flanders, Jr., is one of the very 
few who enlisted from St. Joseph county for the Mexican war 
and was fortunate enough to escape unwounded from its battle 


Michigan furnished to the Union armies of the Civil war, 
thirty regiments of infantry, eleven of cavalry and fourteen of 
artillery; one of mechanics and engineers; one of sharpshooters; 
and several companies which were incorporated into the com- 


mands credited to other states. In the Michigan organizations, 
St. Joseph county is represented in all but the Eighteenth, 
Twenty-first and Twenty-second regiments of infantry. The 
Eleventh Infantry was raised almost entirely in St. Joseph county, 
and she also sent full companies to the First, Second, Fourth, 
Sixth, Seventh, Eleventh, Thirteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth and 
Twenty-fifth, as well as supplied three batteries (D, F and G) of 
the twelve which composed the First Regiment of Michigan Light 
Artillery. Altogether, the county raised 2,692 of the 90,747 
Union soldiers which Michigan sent forth to the battlefields of the 
Civil war. 

Not a single important campaign or battle of the war can 
be mentioned in which some Michigan regiment or company did 
not lead a desperate movement, or stand the brunt of some fierce 
assault of the enemy. Michigan soldiers were stanch, depend- 
able troops, as well as dashing and impetuous ones, who were 
ever ready to take the initiative. 

What words are too strong for the heroic conduct of the 
Eleventh, under Colonel W. L. Stoughton, at Stone River and 
Chickamauga, where it so added to the renown of the great 
Thomas ! Then there was the Nineteenth, which led the advance 
of Sherman's magnificent army against Atlanta; the Twenty- 
fifth, which at Green River bridge, Kentucky, repulsed Morgan's 
famed cavalry, saved Louisville, and afterwards bore itself so 
nobly at Resaea and Atlanta; the Seventh, which first crossed the 
Rappahannock at Fredericksburg, in the face of the concentrated 
Confederate fire, and whose gallant ranks were so terribly mowed 
down at Antietam and Gettysburg ; the First, which shared with 
Ellsworth's New York Zouaves the honor of first occupying 
Alexandria, which uncringingly received its real baptismal of 
fire at First and Second Bull Run, losing among its gallant officers 
the lamented Colonel H. S. Roberts, and shared in the disappoint- 
ments and victories of the awful battles of Antietam, Chancellors- 
ville and the Wilderness; the Second, which was always *Hhere," 
whether called upon at Fair Oaks, Knoxville or in the Wilder- 
ness; the Thirteenth, heroes also of Stone River and Chicka- 
mauga ; the Fourth, which covered the retreat of the Union army 
at First Bull Run, opened McClellan's Peninsula campaign, was 
in the advance across the Chickahominy, at Malvern Hill lost its 
gallant Colonel Woodbury and Captains DePuy and Rose, and 
continued its brilliant career at Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and 

Vol. T— 16 


the Wilderness; and the Sixth, isolated from the other Michigan 
Regiments, but in the campaigns of the far south splendidly up- 
holding the fighting and military reputation of the state — among 
the first of the Union troops to occupy New Orleans, under General 
Butler, repulsing the Confederates from Baton Rouge, leading 
Sherman's division in its assault on Port Hudson, and finally 
earning fame as a heavy artillery regiment during the investment 
of Mobile. And this was by no means the full meed which stands 
to the credit of the regiments in whose ranks and among whose 
officers fought the men which St. Joseph county sent to the front 
to uphold the Union idea by the awful force of war ; three of her 
batteries, incorporated into the First Light Artillery of Michigan, 
boldly and valiantly spoke at Chickamauga; and in numerous 
regiments of infantry, among the Union sharpshooters who hourly 
risked their lives for the cause, and in many organizations of 
cavalry and artillery scattered from Texas to Virginia, the sons 
of Michigan and St. Joseph county were content to sink their 
state, their county and themselves in the great army which rep- 
resented their principles and their patriotism. 

The Eleventh Michigan. 

That the Eleventh Michigan Infantry was pre-eminently a 
St. Joseph county command will be admitted from the facts that 
610 men and officers were recruited within its borders; that four 
full companies were raised in the county, and that its staff offi- 
cers, from organization to honorable discharge, were nearly all 
St. Joseph men. The four full companies recruited in this county 
were as follows : A, Captain David Oakes, Jr., Nottawa, w^ho died 
at Murfreesboro ; C, Captain Calvin C. Hood, Sturgis ; D, Captain 
Benjamin C. Bennett, Burr Oak, promoted to major and killed 
at Missionary Ridge ; E, Captain Henry N. Spencer, Lockport, re- 
signed, and Lieutenant Thomas Flynn, promoted to vacancy and 
killed at Stone River, and Second Lieutenant Charles W. New- 
berry, of Burr Oaks, promoted to captaincy and killed at Chick- 
amauga. Besides these companies, Company G. officered by Cap- 
tain Moase and Lieutenant Comstock, of Branch county, had over 
fifty men from St. Joseph county, and Company F, commanded in 
the later part of its career by Captain Myron C. Benedict, of 
Leonidas, had nearly as many more. Company I had a squad of 
about fifteen, recruited by Lieutenant Henry S. Piatt, of Sturgis. 


The original roster of the regiment, including the line officers 
of the St. Joseph companies, was as follows : Colonel, William L. 
May, of White Pigeon, who resigned April 1, 1862. 

Lieutenant colonel, William L. Stoughton, Sturgis. 

Major, Benjamin F. Doughty, Sturgis; resigned August 18, 

Surgeon, Dr. William N. Elliott, White Pigeon. 

Assistant surgeon. Nelson I. Packard, Sturgis. 

Chaplain, Holmes A. Pattison, Colon. 

Quartermaster, Addison T. Drake, Sturgis. 

Adjutant, Samuel Charwick, Lockport. 

Sergeant major, James M. Whallen, Burr Oak. 

Quartermaster's sergeant, John Underwood, White Pigeon. 

Commissary sergeant, Elva F. Peirce, Nottawa. 

Captain Company A, David Oakes, Jr., Nottawa ; first lieuten- 
ant, Christian Haight, Leonidas; second lieutenant, Aaron B. 
Sturgis, Sturgis. 

Captain Company C, Calvin C. Hood, Sturgis; first lieuten- 
ant, Mathias M. Faulkner, Sturgis; second lieutenant, Loren H. 
Howard, Fawn River. 

Captain Company D, Benjamin G. Bennett, Burr Oak; first 
lieutenant, John R. Keeler, Burr Oak. 

Captain Company E, Henry N. Spencer, Lockport; first lieu- 
tenant, Thomas Flynn, Lockport; second lieutenant, Charles W, 
Newberry, Burr Oak. 

Captain Company G, Charles Moase, Branch county; second 
lieutenant, Silas G. Comstock, Branch county. 

Second lieutenant Company I, Henry S. Piatt, Sturgis. 

The rank and file of the Eleventh always considered that 
they most gloriously met the supreme test of their fortitude at 
Stone River and Chickamauga. At the former battle, commanded 
by Colonel Stoughton, it was in Thomas' corps, near the center 
of the Union lines, and received and checked one of the fiercest 
assaults delivered by the Confederate army. The Eleventh Mich- 
igan and the Nineteenth Illinois charged in advance of Negley's 
division, to which they were attached, and drove back an entire 
Confederate division. The loss to the Michigan command was 


thirty-two killed, seventy-nine wounded and twenty-nine missing. 
After describing the first and indecisive engagement of Decem- 
ber 31st, Colonel Stoughton takes up the second battle of Stone 
River, in which the Eleventh were also heroes of the day. '*0n 
the second of January,^' he says, ''we were again called into 
action. In the afternoon of that day we were posted as a reserve 
in an open field in the rear of batteries, on the right of the left 
wing of our army. Between three and four o^clock the enemy 
made a heavy attack with artillery and infantry on our front. 
My command was kept lying upon the ground, protected by a 
slight hill for about half an hour. 

"At the expiration of this time the enemy had driven back 
our forces on the opposite side of the river, one regiment crossing 
in great disorder and rushing through our ranks. As soon as the 
enemy came within range, my regiment with the others of the 
brigade rose up, delivered its fire and charged across the river. 
In passing the river my line was necessarily broken, and I led the 
regiment forward to a fence on a rise of ground and re-formed 
the line. Here the firing continued for some time until the enemy 
was driven from his cover and retreated through the woods. My 
regiment was then promptly advanced to the edge of the woods 
and continued to fire upon the enemy as he fled in disorder across 
the open field in front of his line of intrenchments. At this time 
the ammunition was nearly exhausted, and my regiment, with the 
others in advance, formed in line of battle, threw out skirmishers 
and held our position until recalled across the river. The 
Eleventh was among the first to cross Stone river, and assisted in 
capturing four pieces of artillery abandoned by the enemy in his 

' ' I cannot speak too highly of the troops under my command. 
They fought with the bravery and coolness of veterans, and obeyed 
my commands under the hottest fire with the precision of the pa- 
rade ground. The officers of my command behaved with great gal- 
lantry and firmness. Where all nobly discharged their duty, it 
would, perhaps, be unjust to discriminate. Lieutenants Wilson and 
Flynn were killed while gallantly leading their companies. Major 
Smith and Lieutenants Hall, Briggs and Howard were wounded, 
the former two severely, and Lieutenant Hall is a prisoner. ' ' 

At the battle of Chickamauga, Colonel Stoughton commanded 
a brigade and the Eleventh regiment was led by Lieutenant Colonel 
Mudge. On the last day of that terrible conflict, the brigade formed 


one of the most important links in Thomas' great chain of defense 
and successfully repelled many charges of the enemy in greatly su- 
perior force. The regiment was one of the last to retire in the 
darkness of that fearful night; its casualties were seven killed (in 
eluding Captain Charles W. Newberry, of Burr Oak), seventy-six 
wounded and twenty-three missing. On the following morning 
Colonel Stoughton occupied the approach to the battlefield, held it 
during the day and at night covered the retreat of the Union army 
to Chattanooga. He silently drew off his artillery by hand, re- 
mained on the picket line until the following morning, made a 
forced march to Chattanooga without the loss of a man, and carried 
out his movements, from first to last, with such coolness and military 
skill that he was complimented personally by General Thomas. 

At Missionary Ridge Major B. G. Bennett, then in command of 
the regiment, met his death in the last and decisive charge; entire 
loss, in killed and wounded, thirty-nine. On the fourth of July 
following, in charging the enemy's works near Marietta, Colonel 
Stoughton was so severely wounded that he lost his leg, and Lieuten- 
ant Myron Benedict, his right arm. The Eleventh suffered a loss 
of eleven killed and wounded, and in front of Atlanta, August 7th, 
Lieutenant Edward Catlin lost his life among the fifteen men killed 
and wounded there. After a fruitless pursuit of the rebel cavalry 
leader. General Wheeler, the regiment left two commissioned offi- 
cers and one hundred and fifty men at Chattanooga, whose terms of 
enlistment had not expired, and the balance of the command started 
for Michigan, and was mustered out at Sturgis, September 25, 1864. 

Following is a roster of the soldiers, arranged by townships, 
who went into the Eleventh from St. Joseph county : 

Nottawa township— Company A: Captain David Oakes, Jr., 
died at Murfreesboro, January, 1862; First Lieutenant Henry S. 
Fisher, captain (Jan. 10, 1863), resigned; Commissary Sergeant 
Elva F. Peirce, veteran reserve corps; Musician George D. Clarke, 
mustered out August 22, 1862 ; Sergeant Walter A. Johnson, died 
at Centerville, January 12, 1862 ; Sergeant James F. Lovett, killed 
at Chickamauga ; Sergeant Hiram G. Piatt, discharged at expiration 
of service ; Corporal John W. Hall, discharged for disability ; Cor- 
poral Abner V. Wilcox, killed at Chattanooga; Corporal Melvin D. 
Hazzard, discharged at expiration of service; Musician George W. 
Kent, discharged for disability; Musician W. H. H. Piatt, sergeant 
major, discharged at expiration of service ; Robert Baker, Cyrus E. 


Pierce, William R. Thrasher, James A. Todd, and Aristus 0. Bishop, 
discharged for disability ; George W. Dickinson, Charles W. Don- 
kin, RoUin 0. Eaton, Charles Fisher, Henry Hall, William C. Id- 
dings, Francisco Klady, Hiram D. Westcott, Cyrus A. Bowers, John 
Fisher, George L. Clark, Andrew Knapp, Almema 0. Currier, John 
Savage, George Savage, all discharged at expiration of service ; Jay 
Dickinson, died at Louisville, Ky. ; Martin V. Wilcox and William 
Frankish, promoted and mustered out; Festus B. Eaton, James 
Bnnis, David Shafer, John Dickinson, Jacob Gruber, John Salmon 
and Edward Smith, mustered out ; James Findlay, enlisted in regu- 
lar army and disappeared; Duncan Stewart, died at Columbia, 
Tennessee, June 30, 1862; and Ephraim A. Austin, died at Nash- 
ville, Tennessee. 

White Pigeon township — Colonel William J. May, resigned 
April 1, 1862; Surgeon W. N. Elliott, mustered out with regiment; 
Quartermaster's Sergeant John Underwood, first lieutenant and 
quartermaster, mustered out; Musicians Henry H. Hackenburg 
and Henry F. Clifell, both mustered out August 22, 1862. Com- 
pany A: Martin V. B. Clark, discharged at expira:tion of service. 
Company C : James F. Bicklin, Warren F. Barnes, discharged at 
expiration of service ; Charles E. Barnes, died at Chattanooga, De- 
cember, 1863 ; John Fisher, killed at Stone River, December, 1862 ; 
Lorenzo H. Griffin, discharged at expiration of service ; Perry Let- 
son, discharged for disability. Company D : Sergeant William Rob- 
inson, discharged; Thomas R. Hodgkins, killed near Dallas, Geor- 
gia. Company E : Charles H. Dalton and Christ Welgamwood, mus- 
tered out; William E. Raymond, promoted and mustered out. 
Company G: Peter 0. Dowd, discharged at expiration of service. 

Lockport township — ^Adjutant Samuel Chadwick, resigned; 
Drum Major Charles E. Franklin, discharged February 6, 1862; 
Principal Musician Hiram M. Wheeler, mustered out August 22, 
1862, with Musicians Horatio G. Ta^gart, Jason Clarke, Charles 
Rice and James A. Knevels; Musicians Alfred Lantz and John B. 
SiUiman, discharged for disability. 

Company A — Charles Francisco, and Blias Ward, discharged 
for disability; Loriston Fulkerson, died at Bardstown, Kentucky; 
Henry Hale, Geoi^e S. Sheffijeld; Anson Spencer, Milo L. G. 
Wheeler, Thomas V. Woodhouse, discharged at expiration of serv- 
ice; John A. Mills, veteran relief corps. Company B: Dexter 


Avery and Samuel Pugh, discharged. Company C : Eliott S. Gray, 

Company E : Captain Henry N. Spencer, resigned ; First Lieu- 
tenant Thomas Flynn, captain, killed at Stone River; Sergeant 
John Graham; Sergeant Edward M. Frost, discharged at expirar 
tion of service; Sergeant George Nyce, discharged for disability; 
Corporal John W. Banter, dischai^ed at expiration of service; 
Corporal Harvey Lockwood, discharged at expiration of service; 
Corporal Lot T. Woodworth, discharged for disability; Corporal 
Ezra Spencer, died at Stone River; Corporal James T. Elliott, dis- 
charged for promotion. Privates: Frank M. Banter, Hiram L. 
Brewster, Edwin Craig, Michael Fellinger, Henry Hix, discharged ; 
George S. Baum, George Drescher, Charles David, John Eggek- 
hoffer, Augustus Ennis, Alexander Ennis, Phillip Jones, Samuel 
Quaco and George W. Spencer, discharged at expiration of service ; 
Arthur M. Bush, and John Ramsey, discharged for disability ; Cor- 
nelius J. Fonda, died at Nashville, Tennessee, August 10, 1862 
Caleb W. Elmer, died at Louisville, Kentucky, August 10, 1862 
Joseph Malalivly, died at Tullahoma, Tennessee, July 12, 1863 
James Graham, died at Charleston, Tennessee; William S. Wood- 
head, Dwight Cummings, Edward W. Franklin, William Oswalt, 
Charles E. Quace, Adrian Van Ordstrand and Reuben Truxler, 
mustered out. 

Company F : Alex. Detwiler, mustered out. Company G : Dan- 
iel Harwood, Eli Mann and Foster Drake, discharged at expiration 
of service. Company H : Charles H. Stamp and Adam Oswalt, mus- 
tered out. Company K : George W. Barton, discharged at expira- 
tion of service. 

Colon township— Chaplain Holmes A. Pattison, mustered out 
with regiment; John Downey, non-commissioned staflE, mustered 

Company A : Corporal Philo Hoit, died at Nashville, Decem- 
ber 24, 1862; William Davis, Bert Knickerbocker, Robert Renner 
and William T. Renner, discharged at expiration of service ; Hugh 
McCormick, dischai^ed for disability; Dudley C. Marvin, died at 
Murf reesboro, March 4, 1863 ; Jared M. Taylor, missing at Chick- 
amauga, died at Andersonville ; Wallace Washburn, died at Bards- 
town, Kentucky; Charles E. Powers and Isaac Knapp, wounded 
and mustered out. Company C : Solomon Burchard, died of small 
pox, February 6, 1862 ; Company D : Sergeants Edwin P. Wellesley 


and John H. Montgomery, discharged; Corporal Simeon D. Long, 
discharged at expiration of service ; Corporals Homer F. Romine 
and Narcelus A. Bronson, discharged for disability. Privates : Dan- 
iel B. Adams, James Everhard, Abram H. Wyant, discharged for 
disability; Ira R. Adams, lost arm at Lookout Mountain, dis- 
charged; Byron C. Brunson, died May 16, 1862; Stephen W. Chap- 
man, discharged at Louisville, August 19, 1862 ; George S. Gillett, 
killed at Chattanooga, November 25, 1863 ; Byron I. Liddle, re-en- 
listed and killed near Marietta, Georgia ; Martin Y . Lytle, died Jan- 
uary 13, 1862 ; Thomas Smith, John H. Spittler, Joseph Wixon and 
Thomas A. White, discharged at expiration of service; Stillman 
Robinson, died January 2, 1862; William H. Wyant, discharged 
at Nashville; Charles A. White, died April 20, 1862; William E. 
Thornton, Isaac Lowder, Isaac Kriberlin and Joseph P. Farrand, 
mustered out. 

Company E : Jacob Bower, died at Bardstown, Kentucky, Feb- 
ruary 22, 1862; George L, Bower and Benjamin Clubine, dis^ 
charged at expiration of service. 

Company F: Henry M. Davis, died June 22, 1864; John S. 
Taylor, William H. Howard, John Long and James Kammerling, 
mustered out. 

Company G: Sergeant Thomas H. Smith, discharged at ex- 
piration of service ; Cyrus Gilbert, killed at Stone River, December 
31, 1862 ; Isaac B. Lyon, discharged at expiration of service. Com- 
pany I : William L. Thornton, mustered out. 

Leonidas township — Company A: First Lieutenant Charles 
Haight, died at Bardstown, Kentucky, February 5, 1862 ; Sergeant 
Stephen P. Marsh, discharged at expiration of service; Sergeant 
Charles Coddington, captain, mustered out; Corporal Lemuel P. 
Pierce, discharged for disability; Eugene Carpenter and Olney 
Bishop, discharged for disability; Charles W. Baird, Byron V. 
Barker (second lieutenant) , Richard F. Huxley, discharged; Henry 
C. Damon, escaped from Anderson ville, pursued by blood hounds; 
discharged at expiration of service; Sidney A. Durfee, Barzillai 
M. Earl, James Overton, John L. Gould, Julius H. Thompkins, Al- 
bert O. Watkins, Elmer Surdam and Royal M. Taylor, discharged 
at expiration of service ; Sylvanus Gould, died at Bardstown, Ken- 
tucky ; William S. Lemunyon, died of wounds received at Atlanta, 
his bowels having been shot away; Charles B. Purchase, died at 
Lavergne, Tennessee, September 15, 1862; Byron Thomas, Harri- 


son Surdam, Richard Hemingway, James Benedict, Jonas N. 
Barker, Henry C. Barker, A. E. Famham, George W. Cramer, Jo- 
seph A. Franklin, Charles Millard, William E. Morgan, Hiram 
Vought and W. W. Tmslee, mustered out; William P. Thomas, 
died at Rossville, Georgia ; William J. Barker, veteran reserve corps. 

Company B : Addison R. Noble, Madison Watkins and Charles 
Woods, mustered out. 

Company C : Corporal Martin W. Gilbert, discharged for dis- 
ability ; Corporal Ezra Warren, died April 12, 1862 ; Daniel B. Wat- 
kins, discharged at expiration of service ; Levi Wilcox, died at Mur- 
freesboro, June 28, 1863. 

Company D : Rawdon Keyes, discharged as captain ; W. H. 
Overton, Anson T. Gilbert and Melvin J. Lyon, discharged; W. 
H. Taylor, died January 29, 1862 ; Paul H. Orcutt, mustered out. 

Company F : First Lieutenant J. L. Thompson, mustered out ; 
Edward White, killed before Atlanta; R. R. Barnes, wounded be- 
fore Atlanta, mustered out; Judson E. Hall, Milton Greenwood, 
Charles H. Famham, James C. Arnold, James L. Haines, Albert 
C. Lowther, Felix Baldery, John Etheridge, Henry Etheridge, 
Daniel Forbes, E. J. Covey and Wilson R. Lowther, mustered out. 

Company F: First Lieutenant Myron A. Benedict, lost his 
right arm before Atlanta, discharged; First Lieutenant J. L. 
Thomas, mustered out. 

Company G: Corporal Darius C. Dickinson, discharged at 
expiration of service ; also Augustus Dickinson and Henry Warren ; 
Samuel C. Dickinson, mustered out. 

Company I: A. C. Shafer, shot three times before Atlanta, 
mustered out; Walter S. Terry, William Miller, Snyder Tute- 
wiler, M. Wilder, D. Brockway, Jacob Leginger, Leander Porter, 
Frederick Roberts, Charles Smithe and William Snooks, mus- 
tered out. 

Company K: Edward W. Watkins, discharged at the close 
of the war. 

Flowerfield township — Company B : Musician John Ludwig, 
mustered out August 22, 1862; Oliver Stebbins, died at Chat- 
tanooga; Samuel P. Beck, Henry Parker, William Parker and 
Samuel Spiegelmoyer, mustered out. 

Company C: Aaron Hackenburgh, re-enlisted and mustered 


Company E: Corporal John I. Bloom, discharged at ex- 
piration of service; Musician William H. Seekel, died at Nash- 
ville, October 20, 1862; Musician James W. Seekel, discharged. 
Privates: Richard Brayman, James W. Beck, George Eggleson, 
Bradley L. Lane and Albert Osmer, discharged at expiration of 
service ; Alva P. Dailey, died at White Pigeon, December 19, 1861 ; 
John T. Hale, died at Bardstown, Kentucky, January 26, 1862; 
John Mcllvaune, died at Stone River, December 31, 1862; John 

C. Smith, discharged September 26, 1862; Joseph E. Thompson, 
cut his throat while home on a furlough; Reuben G, Weinburg, 
re-enlisted in Company C, Fifteenth regiment ; William H. Wein- 
burg and Edward Mosser, killed near Atlanta; John B. Alcock, 
died at Nashville ; Daniel Frees, Henry T. Frees, Joel Lee, Daniel 
Motter, Horace Smith, W. C. T. Sampsell and Charles P. Ludwig, 
mustered out. 

Company G: Sergeant Orlando Williams, died January 30, 
1862 ; Sergeant James Bouton, discharged at expiration of service ; 
Corporal George Straw ; Corporal Laban Pierce, died February 5, 
1862; Oscar Angle, killed at Stone River, December 31, 1862; 
Joel Pierce, died January 8, 1862 ; Thomas Straw, died February 
11, 1862 ; Myron C. Palmer, died at Jeffersonville, Indiana, March, 
1862; Daniel Condick, mustered out; James Walker and Charles 

D. Seekel, discharged at expiration of service. 

Fabius township — Company A: Drum Major Abishai Hois- 
ington, discharged; Corporal Benjamin F. Wells, discharged at 
expiration of service; James W. King; Edward Timm, died of 
wounds at Murfreesboro ; Lewis Timm, discharged at expiration 
of service; Frederick Timm, discharged for disability; August 
M. Wellman, mustered out. 

Company E : Sergeant Wallace W. Hoisington, died at Nash- 
ville, September 21, 1861; Sergeant Borden M. Hicks, captain, 
mustered out; Henry Close, John Salter and Nathan H. Legg, 
discharged at expiration of service; Reuben Manley died at 
White Pigeon, December, 1862; David Reish, mustered out. 

Mendon township — Company A: Sergeant Cuthbert Dixon, 
discharged at expiration of service; Corporals Aaron B. White 
and Edwin D. White, discharged at expiration of service ; Leonard 
F. Carknard, died at Stevenson, Alabama, October 15, 1863; 
Nicholas C. Carknard, discharged ; Thelismar A. Church, John R. 


Hamlin, Wiilliam F. Patterson, David Rockwell and Daniel D. V. 
Rose, discharged at expiration of service; Ephraim Gibson, died 
at Elizabethtown, Kentucky; Thomas A. White, discharged for 
disability ; Henry A. Key, Martin H. Glover, James K. Woodward 
and Richard H. Welch, mustered out. 

Company C: Harrison Auten, died May 2, 1862; Nelson 
Bacon and William F. Y. Bournes, discharged at expiration of 
service; William H. Auten, veteran reserve corps. 

Company E: Anthony Worthington, discharged at expira- 
tion of service. 

Company G: Thomas Crow, discharged November 30, 1861; 
Harvey Bates, mustered out. 

Company I: General V. Bland, mustered out. 

Sherman township — Company A: Royal M. Carlisle, died 
at Bardstown, Kentucky, January 2, 1862. 

Company B : George W. Wetmore, mustered out ; Charles V. 
Forbes and Jerome Morehouse, discharged at expiration of service. 

Company C: Eugene P. Willard and Edward P. Willard, 
discharged at expiration of service. 

Company E : W. H. Fress, Peter Fress, Robert H. Ives and 
Reuben Walls, mustered out. 

Company G: Stephen Gilkerson, mustered out. 

Fawn River township— Company C: Second Lieutenant 
Loren H. Howard, promoted to first lieutenant and captain, and 
mustered out at close of war; Sergeant Smith A. Benedict, dis- 
charged; Sergeant Alonzo H. Merrick, killed at Chattanooga; 
Sergeant Harrison Graves, enlisted in 1862, mustered out at close 
of war; Corporal Samuel L. Graves, enlisted in 1862, discharged 
for disability ; Lewis WKeeler, discharged at expiration of service 
and died at home from disease contracted in the service. 

Company G : Andrew Kershner, discharged at expiration of 

Park township— Company B : Charles Carter, mustered out. 
Company C; Henry M. Woodward, died of typhoid fever, April 
16, 1862. 

Company E : Corporal John M. Day, killed at Chattanooga ; 
David Clingman and Solomon Shirley, discharged at expiration 
of service; Hiram I. Evart, died at Stone River; Aaron Wilhelm 


discharged by Colonel May, September, 1861; Robert S. Day, 
James Slote, Manasseh Clingeman and Joseph S. Brown, mustered 

History of the Nineteenth. 

The Nineteenth Michigan Infantry was organized by Colonel 
Henry C. Gilbert, who was killed at the battle of Resaca while 
leading his regiment upon a rebel battery. There were two full 
companies in its ranks: Company D, Captain Hazen W. Brow^n, 
afterward commanded by Captain Prank D. Baldwin, and Com- 
pany E, Captain John J. Baker; all of whom were promoted to 
the lieutenant colonelcy of the regiment, the last named holding 
that rank when discharged. Lieutenant David J. Easton, also of 
Company E, was major of the regiment when he received his 
honorable discharge. 

The Nineteenth gave a consistent and soldierly account of 
itself throughout its career, but none better than at Thompson's 
Station, Tennessee, when, with two Indiana and one Wisconsin 
regiment, with a portion of an Ohio infantry command, and de- 
tachments of cavalry and artillery, it faced the entire cavalry 
of Bragg 's army, eighteen thousand strong. This was in com- 
mand of General Van Dorn, its six brigades being led by Generals 
Forrest, Wheeler, French, Armstrong, Jackson, Martin and 
Crosby. The left of the Union line was held by the Nineteenth 
Michigan and the Twenty-second Wisconsin, which repelled the 
charges of the enemy for some time. Through some misunder- 
standing of orders, the Union artillery and a portion of the cavalry 
which were supporting this part of the Federal forces, left the 
field, as did also three companies of the Wiisconsin regiment, which 
left the brunt of the affray on the shoulders of the Nineteenth. 
Discovering this^ predicament, two brigades of the Confederates 
charged fiercely and gallantly from opposite directions, but were 
three times repulsed. 

In one of these charges the Nineteenth Michigan captured the 
colors of the Fourth Mississippi regiment. But the enemy finally 
gained possession of a hill to the east of the main Union line, 
whence they were able to hurl their death-dealing grape and 
canister into the ranks of the northern forces. To add to the 
desperate situation, the ammunition of the Union troops was get- 
ting short, and the Confederate, Forrest, had pushed himself be- 


tween them and the relieving Union column which was advancing 
from the north. A new line was then formed by Colonel Coburn, 
the Union commander, to meet the new line of advance. Forrest 
was met and held in check until the last round of ammunition was 
fired. The gallant little band then fixed bayonets to charge and 
break through the enemy's line, but as they were about to charge, 
it was discovered that the Confederates had still another line in 
reserve, and a battery began to open fire from a new position. 
Escape was therefore hopeless and, to avoid useless loss of life, 
the Nineteenth surrendered, having lost one hundred and thirteen 
killed and wounded. Colonel Gilbert had his horse shot under 
him in the early part of the engagement and behaved most gal- 
lantly. When he offered his sword to the Confederate commander, 
the latter declined to receive it, saying that an officer who was so 
brave in battle '* deserved to retain his arms.'' At Resaca the 
Nineteenth was desperately engaged, as a part of the First brigade. 
Fourth division and Twentieth corps, and while gallantly charg- 
ing a Confederate battery, which it captured and held. Colonel 
Gilbert, still in command, was mortally wounded, dying at Chat- 
tanooga, on the 24th of that month (May, 1864). At Peach Tree 
Creek the regiment was commanded by Major John J. Baker, he 
being wounded in the engagement, with about thirty privates. It 
was with Sherman in his march to the sea and through the Caro- 
linas, Captain Leonard Gibbon and Lieutenant Charles G. Purcell 
being killed in the fierce assault of the Union forces upon the 
enemy's works and artillery at Averyboro, North Carolina. 

Lieutenant Baldwin, of Company D, was the hero of a re- 
markable defense at a stockade on the Nashville & Chattanooga 
railroad at Stone river. While occupying it with fifty men of 
his company, he was attacked by two divisions of cavalry and 
twelve pieces of artillery under General Wheeler. With his 
musketry fire he held the fort for an hour and a half, or until his 
stockade had been knocked into kindling wood, and surrendered. 
Strange to say, his loss was but six wounded, while the enemy lost 
two killed and eight wounded. 

The entire loss of the regiment during its term of service was 
seven officers and ninety-one men killed or died of wounds, and 
one hundred and fhirty-five men died of disease. 

The chief quotas to the Nineteenth, credited to the townships 
of the county, were as follows: 


Sturgis township — Company A: Martin Stuckman, George 
Stuckman, mustered out; Peter Nash, discharged at expiration 
of service. Company D : Peter Dyer and William Poppins, mus- 
tered out. 

Company E: Captain John J. Baker, major (June 27, 1864), 
lieutenant colonel (October 28, 1864), wounded at Lookout Moun- 
tain and discharged; First Lieutenant David J. Easton, captain 
(May 2, 1864), major and mustered out; Second Lieutenant John 
F. Clarke, first lieutenant (May 1, 1863), captain and mustered 
out; Sergeant Edmund S. Amidon, discharged for disability; 
Sergeant John J. Coblentz, second lieutenant and resigned; Ser- 
geant William J. Smith, killed at Resaca, May 14, 1864 ; Sergeant 
Andrew J. Lamb, mustered out ; Sergeant Wesley Locke, second 
lieutenant and mustered out; Corporal George Dawes, died at 
Annapolis, April 20, 1863; Corporals C. B. Rodabaugh, John H. 
Popino, Isaac B. Turner, mustered out ; Musician John W. Howk, 
mustered out; Wagoner John C. Davis, mustered out. Privates: 
William H. Allen, George H. Chandler, Robert Pox, Edmund S, 
Smith, all discharged ; Thomas Adams, Pulaski C. Crapo, William 
A. Culver, Clinton S. Compton, Charles B. Ford, Elon C. Green- 
man, Charles S. Harper, Franklin Hause, Henry D. Lester, Daniel 
H. Morrison, Franklin G. Rice, Charles E. Stowe, Daniel Thurs- 
ton, Eliah J. Mugg, Hamilton A. Coe, John R. Miller, Oliver P. 
Hanks, Delos Lake, Henry H. Pullman and Ephraim Warner, 
mustered out; Alonzo I. Bacon, killed at Thompson's Station, 
Tennessee, March 5, 1863; Thomas W. Barr, killed at Resaca; 
William H. Ashley, died at Annapolis, April 11, 1863 ; Frederick 
Doss, veteran reserve corps and mustered out; DeWitt C. Green- 
man, killed at Thompson's Station, March 5, 1863; Valentine 
Musteck, died at Nashville, February 25, 1863 ; Charles B. McAboy, 
deserted at Dowagiac; John Walker, died at Annapolis, May 8, 
1863; William G. Mugg, died of wounds May 30, 1864; John W. 
Anderson, died at McMinnville; John Thurston, transferred to 
Tenth regiment and mustered out; James Hoffstader, died at 
Annapolis, April 24, 1863. 

White Pigeon township — Company D: William Eastwood, 
Thomas Franklin and George Hudson, mustered out. 

Company E : Corporal William Haines, mustered out ; George 
W. Antis, James Griffith and George Shultice, discharged; Adam 
Bear and Isaac Green, died of wounds received at Thompson's 


Station ; Moses B. Tice, discharged for disability ; Lewis A. Laba- 
die, promoted to first lieutenant, mustered out; Henry Holder- 
man, died at Atlanta ; William Haines, William Baehman, Mathew: 
Daniels, Charles L. Ellis, John Pratt, James A. Prouty, John H. 
Pierce, William Snooks, Sol. B. Stephenson, William F. Whit- 
comb and George Wagner, mustered out. 

Nottawa township — ^Assistant Surgeon John Bennett, surgeon 
(July 18, 1863), mustered out. Company D: Sergeants Ira S. 
Carpenter and E. E. E. Bacon, mustered out; Corporals Henry 
Vivian and Charles H. Connor, mustered out; Wagoner William 
B. English, mustered out; George W. Adams, died at Annapolis, 
July 22, 1863 ; Chauncey Rose, died at Danville, Kentucky ; John 
A. Sutton, died at McMinnville, Tennessee; Charles Adams, Pem- 
broke S. Beckwith, Oliver Craft, Joseph Goodwin, Andrew Shaver, 
John L. Thomas, Frederick A. Thieabeaud, George W. Wynkoop 
and John C. Whittaker, mustered out. Company G: George Grub- 
ber, transferred to the Tenth and mustered out. Company H: 
George Henry Clark, mustered out. 

Constantine township — Company C : Francis C. Doty and 
Perry Holmes, mustered out. 

Company D: First Lieutenant Frank D. Baldwin, captain 
(January 22, 1864), lieutenant colonel and mustered out; Sergeant 
Charles W. Mandeville, died in action at Dallas woods; Sergeant 
James Harris, died after muster-out; Musician Charles M. Chit- 
tenden, discharged for disability ; Musician Charles Whitting, died 
at Nashville, May 9, 1863. Privates: Timothy Bailey, William 
Melvin, John Melvin, and Hiram Ray, discharged; John Lawler, 
veteran reserve corps ; Leman W. Bristol, Samuel Curtis, Shepherd 
Curtis, Charles H. Caswell, George Hate, David D. Knapp, Jacob 
Lintz, Benjamin F. Thomas, Aaron Thomas, C. F. Thomas, William 
J. Thomas, George D. Ward, Martin L. Ward, Mar\rin C. Hutehins, 
Almon Woodworth, Eben Odell, Joseph Shival and John Draper, 
mustered out; Peter Moyer, died at Gravel Pit, Ohio, October 5, 
1862; Obadiah M. Wright, died at Lexington, Kentucky. 

Company E: Austin Mereness and Matthias Hullen, mus- 
tered out. Company F : Daniel Christian, died at Chattanooga ; 
Marion Braden, mustered out. Company F : Perry Holmes, mus- 
tered out. 

Sherm^an township — Company D : Julius N. Carlisle, veteran 
reserve corps, mustered out ; Isaac Driese, William G. Oakes, AI- 


bert C. Wilson and H. Hackstaff, mustered out ; Charles LaClear, 
killed at Chattanooga. 

Company E: Moses Hibberlee, Washington Sprague and 
James K. Sackett, mustered out • Robert H. Hermance, discharged ; 
James Robertson, killed at Thompson's Station, Tennessee, March 
24, 1863. 

The Twenty-fifth Infantry. 

The two companies from St. Joseph county represented in the 
Twenty-fifth infantry were D, first commanded by Captain Julius 
C. Cross, of Three Rivers, and afterward by Lieutenant Henry 
McCrary, of Leonidas, and G, Captain William Fulkerson, of Lock- 
port, who was succeeded by Lieutenant John B. Handy, of Three 
Rivers. The regiment was in command of Colonel 0. H. Moore, of 
Kalamazoo, where it was recruited and organized. Its most note- 
worthy achievements were in Kentucky, July 4, 1863, when it un- 
doubtedly saved Louisville from a division of Morgan's men, and 
at Resaca, on Christmas day of the same year, when it participated 
in the famous charge of Judah's Union division, which saved the 
day for Sherman. 

About July 1st, Colonel Moore was stationed with five com- 
panies of his regiment on the north side of Green river, on the main 
road from Columbia to Lebanon, Kentucky, and on the following 
day was advised that the dashing and brave Confederate, John H. 
Morgan, w^as about to cross the Cumberland river with a cavalry 
force of some four thousand men and invade the state, his objective 
point being evidently Louisville. As there was no Union force 
within thirty miles, Colonel Moore decided that it was his patriotic 
duty to oppose this overwhelming force, if only to gain a little time 
to be joined by his supporting column. He therefore crossed the 
river with his five companies of three hundred men, and selected a 
battlefield about two miles from that stream, in a bend of the river, 
commanded by high bluffs and through which the road ran along 
which the enemy was to advance. On the evening of July 3d Mor- 
gan 's force encamped three miles away. By this time the little 
Union band had felled some trees along the first battle line to serve 
as a check to cavalry, and nearer the river a temporary earth work 
on a rise of groxmd which Colonel Moore conjectured would be se- 
lected by Morgan as a vantage ground for his batteries of artillery. 

Early on the morning of July 4th, the entire rebel division 
pressed to the front, their fire being returned with such spirit by 


Colonel Moore's seventy-five men, who held the breast-works, that 
the Confederates were evidently nonplussed as to the actual num- 
ber opposing them. Seventy-five more men joined the defenders 
of the forlorn hope, and as they were the best marksmen of the com- 
mand held the enemy in check for some minutes longer. But, as 
was inevitable, a force of Morgan's troops finally gained the works 
and there planted a battery of four pieces from which to shell the 
main Union position. After delivering a few rounds General Mor- 
gan sent his chief of staff. Colonel AUston, to the commander of the 
Twenty-fifth, under a flag of truce, and demanded an uncondi- 
tional surrender, to which Colonel Moore replied: ** Present my 
compliments to General Morgan, and say to him that this being the 
Fourth of July I cannot entertain the proposition to surrender.'' 

Colonel AUston replied : * ^ I hope you will not consider me dic- 
tatorial on this occasion. I will be frank. You see the breach we 
have made upon your works with our battery ; you cannot hope to 
repulse General Morgan 's whole division with your little command ; 
you have resisted us gallantly and deserve credit for it, and now 1 
hope you will save useless bloodshed by reconsidering your reply to 
General Morgan." 

Then Colonel Moore: *'Sir, when you assume to know my 
strength, you assume too much. I have a duty to perform to my 
country, and therefore cannot reconsider my reply to General Mor- 

The Confederate officer extended his hand and said: **Good- 
by. Colonel Moore. God only knows which of us may fall first." 
And they turned their horses and galloped in opposite directions the 
firing being at once resumed. 

No sooner had the rebel battery re-opened fire than Colonel 
Moore commanded his sharpshooters to * * rise up and pick off those 
gunners at the battery. ' ' It was therefore quickly silenced, but a 
Confederate brigade immediately charged the works, which were 
abandoned, as agreed upon. 

But a deadly fire was still maintained from the timber line, 
where the main Union force was stationed ; otherwise there was no 
sound, as Colonel Moore had instructed his men to refrain from 
cheering, whatever the occasion, as any such demonstration would 
enable the enemy to form some idea of the Union strength. With 
the famous rebel yell, a strong force of Morgan's men charged 
across the open field a number of times, but were repulsed by well 
directed fire. At the same time the Confederates were engaged in 

Vol. 1—17 


cutting a gorge through one of the bluffs to the river bottom, 
through which finally a regiment effected a passage and opened fire 
on the right flank of Colonel Moore's men. Still determined to keep 
the enemy in ignorance of his actual strength, he advanced a com- 
pany of skirmishers to meet this new attack, as if this were but the 
advance line of a superior force. Advancing them personally with 
the shrill notes of his bugle, his men poured forth a cool and deadly 
fire, and the Confederates retreated. The Union boys had already 
sustained eight determined charges upon their front, when they 
defeated this even more dangerous attack upon their flank. After 
a battle of four hours, Morgan's entire division finally withdrew, 
leaving a number of dead and wounded upon the field equal to the 
entire force in opposition. 

^^It was the intention of Morgan, as he declared, to capture 
the city of Louisville ; but this unexpected and terrible repulse cost 
him more than twelve hours' delay, and caused him — ^which fact 
he also afterward stated — to change his plans and abandon his at- 
tack on Louisville. By this brilliantly fought battle the city was 
saved from sack and pillage, and the government from the loss of 
an immense amount of property, consisting of munitions of war and 
army supplies amounting to many millions of dollars. Major Gen- 
eral Hartsuff acknowledged the victory in a general order recount- 
ing the heroic deed. The legislature of Kentucky also acknowl- 
edged the services of Colonel Moore and his command on that occa- 
sion in complimentary resolutions, Morgan himself admired Col- 
onel Moore 's generalship so much in the conduct of the battle that 
he too sent him complimentary messages and announced that he 
promoted him to the rank of Brigadier General. 

** Colonel AUston (Morgan's chief of staff), who was captured 
a few days after the battle and with him his private journal, in a 
memorandum of the battle of the fourth of July, remarks: ^The 
colonel is a gallant man, and the entire arrangement of the defense 
entitles him to the highest credit for military skill. We would mark 
such a man in our army for promotion.' " 

In the Georgia campaign of 1864, the Twenty-fifth regiment 
was identified with the army of the Ohio, and at Resaca, May 14th, 
participated with the movement made by the divisions of Generals 
Judah and Newton which dislodged the enemy from a strong and 
well-fortified position and enabled General Sherman to advance his 
lines and plant his artillery. This historic charge was made under 
a murderous fire of musketry and artillery, across an open field 


and through a stream bordered with thick bushes which the enemy 
had fashioned into breastworks. In the assault, the Twenty-fifth 
lost about fifty men in a few minutes, among the killed being Adju- 
tant E. M. Prutzman, of Three Rivers. On July 1st, near Kenesaw, 
the regiment again made a fine record for brilliant and staying 
qualities, being a unit of Hascall's division, which advanced seven 
miles during an intensely hot day, made two successful charges, was 
under fire from early forenoon until dark, and finally drove the 
enemy from the point desired by Sherman, the cross-roads near 
Nickajack creek. The ultimate result of the movement to the Con- 
federate army was Johnston's evacuation of his strong position on 
Kenesaw mountain and of all his works to the Chattahoochee. 

The Twenty-fifth was also a participant in the defense of Nash- 
ville, the pursuit of Hood, and the North Carolina campaigns. Its 
losses during the war were thirty-five men and one officer killed or 
died of wounds, and one hundred and twenty-three men and two 
officers died of diseases. 

Following are the officers and privates who went from St. Jo- 
seph county into the Twenty-fifth Infantry: 

Colon towtnship — Company D: Sergeant Warren E. Greene, 
discharged ; Lester Taggart, veteran reserve corps ; Wagoner Cal- 
vin J. Root, mustered out; Charles G. Liddle, Frank Young and 
Emory Blossom, mustered out; Henry M. Liddle, died at Bowling 
Green, Kentucky, March 1, 1863. Company E: William Ward, 
mustered out. 

Flowerfield township— Company D: George W. Bass, Charles 
W. Hicks, Isaac J. Kline, Ebenezer Rich, Erastus H. Hicks, Jacob 
N. Shocraft, Lovinsky Beers and George Barks, mustered out; 
Henry Beebe, died of wounds, August 22, 1863 ; Thomas Grossman 
and Richard Cotherman, discharged; William Dewey, killed by 
guerillas; John S. Hard, died at Chattanooga; Roswell Beebe, 
killed at Tibb's Bend, Kentucky, July 4, 1863. 

Company G : Lovinsky Beers, George Barks, George F. Wheeler 
and Abram V. Youell, mustered out; Richard Cotherman, dis- 
charged; Henry L. Cooper and Henry Stegeman, veteran reserve 
corps ; William Scott. Company K : Burton Kirby, mustered out. 

White Pigeon township — Company G : W. M. Kane. 

Mottville township — Company G: Charles Smith, died Octo- 
ber 19, 1863; George B. Harker and Wellington Smith, mustered 


Nottawa township — Company D : Jason Sayler, discharged for 
disability. Company G: Francis Bell, mustered out. 

Constantine township — Company D: W. W. Olmstead and 
Jasper N. Shaw. Company 6 : Jacob Appleman, mustered out. 

Lockport township — Sergeant Major Edward M. Prutzman, 
adjutant (June 17, 1863), and killed in action at Resaca; Quarter- 
master's Sergeant Edwin R. Wilbur, first lieutenant and mustered 
out. Company D : Captain Julius C. Cross, resigned ; Corporal Da- 
vid H. Dunham, mustered out ; Charles P. Buck, Joseph Detwiler, 
Levi E. Wing, Daniel W. Fease, Henry Hale, John E. Sickler and 
Christie G. Walters, mustered out ; George W. Detwiler, discharged ; 
Samuel S. Fease, died DeceiAber 3, 1862; William C. Hale, died 
August 7, 1864; Burton H. Wright, died at Louisville, Kentucky, 
January 19, 1863 ; George A. Garrison, veteran reserve corps. 

Company G: Captain William Fulkerson, resigned; First 
Lieutenant John B. Handy, captain and mustered out; Second 
Lieutenant D. D. Thorp, discharged for disability; Sergeant Ro- 
manzo J. E. Bailey, died at Louisville, February 8, 1863 ; Sergeant 
William L. Cole, first lieutenant and mustered out ; Sergeant John 
Gilbert, second lieutenant and resigned; Sergeant Philemon Bing- 
ham, discharged; Corporal Ashbel W. Snyder, second lieutenant 
and mustered out; Corporal David 0. Thorp, veteran reserve corps; 
Corporal James K. Franklin and Corporal Benjaman B. Cronk, 
mustered out; Corporal Hugh Wallace, died at Louisville, Ken- 
tucky, May 10, 1863; Corporal Wilkinson C. Porter, discharged; 
Musicians Charles W. Hiles and William H. Lesner, mustered out. 
Privates : Edward T. Bolton, died at Louisville, December 17, 1862 ; 
Charles S. Fitch, died at Bowling Green, Kentucky, March 8, 1863 ; 
John Forste, died at Louisville, November 14, 1862; James M. 
Snyder, died August 8, 1864 ; George A. Westover, killed by gueril- 
las ; Robert H. Buck, Charles W. Bassett, Hiram L. Brewster, Jo- 
seph CoUesi, William H. Cummins, John H. Cole, Venal Dupuies, 
Isaiah Dexsee, Bernard Euckerott, William Ferry, George Gearth, 
Henry J. Horn, William Jay, Edwin Lantz, Jefferson P. McKey, 
Wesley Noe, Benjamin Oswalt, William F. Stivers, Stephen M. 
Snyder, Isaac M. Van Ostrand, Aaron S. Wilhelm and Edward 
Miller, mustered out; Cyrus Judson and Allan Westcott, dis- 

Leonidas township — Company D : First Lieutenant Henry Mc- 
Crary, captain (April 7, 1863) and mustered out; Sergeant Will- 


iam L. Thomas, veteran reserve corps; Corporal Jubal Thomas and 
Corporal Charles Clement, mustered out ; Darius Gilbert, Slyvester 
McDonald, Andrew L. Pringle, Thaddeus Rulinson and Bruce C. 
Wilcox, also mustered out; Anson Lamport, discharged for dis- 
ability; Henry Lemm, discharged; William Miers, veteran relief 
corps; Morgan Wallace, killed at Tibb's Bend, Kentucky, July 4, 
1863. Company E : William Hoag, died September 17, 1864, and 
Nathan Schofield, mustered out. 

Fabius township — Company D : Sergeant Henry C. Lambert, 
first and second lieutenant, mustered out ; Corporal Orson Nelson, 
mustered out; Alonzo Burnett, also mustered out; Benjamin J. 
Burnett, died at Bowling Green, March 28, 1863. Company G; 
George J. Heckleman and James M. Walton, discharged; Eli Hart- 
man, Eli Houts, Charles H. Howe, George H. Mohney, Charles S. 
Newells, Amos Dean, John Bingle and Peter Bingle, mustered out ; 
Augustus Keiser, died at Bowling Green, March 12, 1863. 

Park township— Company D: Henry Barnes; Andrew Gon- 
ever and Samuel Stecker, mustered out; Wesley N. Hower died 
at Bowling Green, Kentucky; Elijah Reed; Southard Perrin, 
killed at Tibb's Bend, July 4, 1863. 

Mendon township— Company G: Frank Henderson and 
Charles F. Johnson, discharged. 

Seventh Michigan Infantry, 

The Seventh Infantry would have been ranked among the 
bright stars of the northern regiments had it done no more than 
lead the Union army in its passage of the Rappahannock, facing 
alone that terrific fire of Confederate sharpshooters, on the 11th 
of December, 1862. It had passed with credit through McClellan's 
peninsula campaign; at Antietam it had lost more than half its 
force engaged, including Captain Allen H. Zacharias (who died 
of his wounds) and Lieutenant John P. Eberhard, of Colon, who 
was killed in action ; but one of the great feats of the entire war 
was reserved to be performed by the Seventh Michigan Infantry 
at Fredericksburg. Bumside had concluded to cross the Rappa- 
hannock and attack the enemy on the other side. During the night 


of the 10th his engineers laid the upper pontoon bridge, but were 
driven off by the rebel sharpshooters Avith the early morning light 
of the following day. 

Volunteers were then called for, to cross the river and gain 
a position to protect the laying of the bridge. Immediately the 
Seventh Michigan, under the gallant Baxter, rushed to the boats 
and, under a terrific fire from the enemy's sharpshooters, crossed 
the stream in full view of both armies. Although losing heavily, 
the command vigorously charged the enemy, drove him from his 
rifle pits, took a number of prisoners and held the desired ground. 
Colonel Baxter, who had been severely wounded, recrossed the 
river, while the regiment, which had now been joined by the 
Nineteenth and Twentieth Massachusetts, dashed up the hill into 
the city of Fredericksburg. The Union forces swept all before 
them, but only at great loss. The Seventh captured nearly as 
many prisoners as the regiment numbered, and inflicted a severe 
loss in killed and wounded, but the fatalities of the command in- 
cluded Lieutenant Franklin Emery. With the river thus pro- 
tected, the laying of the pontoons was speedily accomplished, and 
a portion of Rosecrans' army safely crossed. 

When the weary Seventh arrived at the battlefield of Gettys- 
burg, July 2, 1863, it mustered fourteen officers and one hundred 
and fifty-one men, and on that and the following day lost from its 
depleted ranks, in the bloody affrays at Cemetery Hill, twenty-one 
killed and forty-four wounded. Among the killed was Lieutenant 
Colonel Amos E. Steele, commanding the regiment. What was 
left of it, fought through the Wilderness, at Petersburg and 
Hatcher ^s Run; on October 26th, at the last named engagement, 
it captured five hundred prisoners, of whom twenty were officers. 
Sergeant Alonzo Smith (afterward first lieutenant) captured the 
colors of the Twenty-sixth North Carolina Infantry, for which he 
was presented with a medal of honor by the secretary of war. 

Through some misunderstanding, the Seventh was left on 
the line after the Union forces were withdrawn and remained in 
that condition until the morning of the 28th, when Colonel La- 
pointe, then in command, finding his regiment had been left alone 
in the field, formed his men and explained to them their perilous 
situation, telling them to stand by him and they could find their 
way out. They commenced at once their dangerous undertaking, 
marching twelve miles through the country held by the enemy, 
gallantly fighting their way at almost every step, pursued and 


harassed constantly by cavalry, threatening to cut them off, but 
they arrived safely within the Union lines at sundown of the same 
day. General Hancock, their corps commander, complimented the 
regiment highly on the occasion, and characterized the undertak- 
ing as one of the most praiseworthy of the war. 

The regiment participated in the closing battles of the war, 
doing most excellent service and maintaining its high standard 
won on many hard fought fields. The total loss of the regiment 
during its entire service were one hundred and seventy men and 
eleven officers killed and died of wounds, and one hundred and 
fifty men and four officers died of disease.'^ 

The following recruits for the Seventh were furnished by St. 
Joseph county : Sturgis township (Company K) —James M. Vesey 
(musician), re-enlisted and mustered out at end of war; Orson D. 
Lampson, killed at Cold Harbor, Virginia, May 31, 1864 ; Cornelius 
Bixby, killed at Antietam ; Alonzo Chambers, discharged for dis- 
ability; Thomas Crampton, re-enlisted, sergeant January 1, 1863, 
first sergeant September 1, 1864, wounded at Petersburg, and 
mustered out at end of war as second lieutenant ; John B. Denny, 
transferred veteran reserve corps and mustered out; John A. 
Hooker, wounded, discharged November, 1862; George Pedler, 
re-enlisted and mustered out at end of war; Oscar Wilson, dis- 
charged for disability, 1862. 

Colon township— Company C : James Burr, discharged at 
expiration of service. Company I: Charles H. Trumbull, dis- 

Company K: First Lieutenant John P. Everhard, killed at 
Antietam; Second Lieutenant George H. Laird, resigned April, 
1862; Second Lieutenant Charles Hamilton, wounded at Fair Oaks, 
resigned ; Daniel D. Bennett, wounded at Spottsylvania, re-enlisted 
and promoted to lieutenant, captain and major, and mustered out 
1865; Elbert S. Schermerhorn, re-enlisted and mustered out as 
sergeant ; Lewis Frey, re-enlisted and mustered out ; Myron How- 
ard, killed at Deep Bottom, Virginia, August 10, 1864; William 
E. Romine, veteran reserve corps ; Orville Wood, wounded at Cold 
Harbor and mustered out ; Philip Hofield, wounded in the Wilder- 
ness and mustered out; Ezra Bell, mustered out; Truman E. 
Mason, transferred to United States cavalry. 

Leonidas township — Company B:. Joshua Wilferton, mus- 
tered out ; John Cramer, died while a prisoner ; George W. Foote, 


veteran reserve corps ; Henry B. Renner, discharged for dis- 
ability; Francis D. Lee, mustered out. Company F: Charles 
Bishop, mustered out. Company I: George A. Collins, and 
Anthony Gerue, discharged for disability; Thomas Hatch, dis- 
charged at expiration of service. 

Company K: Tower S. Benham, wounded at Antietam, re- 
enlisted and promoted to first lieutenant, captain and major, and 
mustered out; Thomas Foreman, wounded at Fair Oaks and dis- 
charged for disability; Meigs D. Wolf, wounded at Fair Oaks, 
veteran reserve corps ; Franklin Miles, missing at the Wilderness ; 
Franklin Bills, accidentally shot, December 4, 1863 ; John A. Ford 
and Festus V. Lyon, re-enlisted and discharged ; Mark W. Orcutt, 

Burr Oak township — Company I: Joseph M. Stowell, killed 
at Petersburg. 

Company K: Captain John H. Waterman, resigned January 
2, 1862 ; Sergeant Maro Abbott, wounded at Fair Oaks and Glen- 
dale, discharged October 15, 1862; Sergeant Lorenzo D. Culver, 
wounded at Fair Oaks, discharged November 2, 1862; Sergeant 
Edwin R. Green, discharged for disability; Corporal Welington 
Churchill, killed at Glendale; Corporal John Clinghan, died at 
Falmouth, Virginia ; Corporal Giles F. Williams, killed at Antietam. 
Privates: George W. Austin, died at Alexandria; Emory R. 
Belote, re-enlisted veteran, wounded at Spottsylvania ; Daniel 
Booth, William J. Church, Harry Kilmer, Benjamin F. Smiley, 
and Alonzo Wheaton, discharged for disability ; James* M. Green, 
John H. Story, discharged at expiration of service ; Leonard C. 
Green, discharged from veteran reserve corps; Nathan Kinley, 
killed at Glendale, June 3, 1862 ; Frank Lang, re-enlisted veteran 
and mustered out; James McDaniels, Adolphus Neitzkee, Joseph 
B. Stowell and Oscar G. Smith, discharged; Allison A. Mills and 
Duane A. Mills, killed at Glendale, June 30, 1862 ; James Pepper, 
re-enlisted veteran, discharged; James Pepper, Jr., wounded at 
Fair Oaks and Gettysburg, promoted to sergeant and mustered 
out; Alvah E. Stowell, wounded at Antietam and discharged; 
Addison Wheaton, killed in action, September 17, 1862; George 
W. Whitman, died of wounds received at Fair Oaks, June 1, 1862 ; 
Frank G. Shaw, died in Andersonville prison; John Alexander, 
died of wounds received by rebel guard at Salisbury prison. North 
Carolina, November 22, 1864 ; John W. Steadman, killed at Cold 
Harbor, Virginia, May 30, 1864 ; Henry Livermore, died at Stevens- 


burg, Virginia, May 19, 1864; Chester Terrell, died in hospital 
September 10, 1862; Nelson Tyler, re-enlisted veteran and pro- 
moted sergeant; Horace Calhoun, killed at Glendale, Virginia, 
June 30, 1862; Oliver Green, re-enlisted veteran, taken prisoner 
and died at Annapolis, January 1, 1865 ; Reason Green, re-enlisted 
and died February 1, 1865; Levi R. Tuttle, wounded at Gettys- 
burg, discharged. 

First Michigan Infantry. 

Through Burr Oak township, the First Michigan Infantry 
which led the advance of state troops to the front, was well repre- 
sented by St. Joseph men. Ira C. Abbott, who went out with the 
three-months' men as captain of Company G, was promoted to the 
command of the regiment in March, 1863. 

The First, which was hurriedly organized by Colonel Wilcox, 
arrived at Washington among the very first to respond to Presi- 
dent Lincoln's first call and as it passed in review before him was 
formally complimented and thanked for its patriotic promptness 
and soldierly appearance. On the 24th of May, 1861, it led the ad- 
vance of the Union troops across the long bridge into Virginia, 
driving in the Confederate pickets and entering Alexandria by 
road at the same time that Ellsworth's New York Zouaves entered 
it by steamer. Colonel Wilcox commanded a brigade at First Bull 
Run, where the First fought gallantly and stubbornly, establishing 
the high standard for Michigan troops which was never lowered 
throughout the war. Its dead were found nearest the enemy's 
works and its wounded were many. Among the latter were Colonel 
Wilcox, Captain Butterworth, and Lieutenants Maunch and Casey, 
all of whom were taken prisoners and all except Colonel Wilcox 
died of their wounds. He himself endured fifteen months of cap- 
tivity before he was exchanged. 

The First Michigan was mustered out of the service as a three- 
months ' regiment August 7, 1861, and when reorganized for the 
three-years' service left for the Army of the Potomac in command 
of Colonel John C. Robinson, captain in the regular army, who was 
succeeded, in April, 1862, by Colonel H. S. Roberts, promoted from 
lieutenant colonel. It was with MeClellan in his Peninsula cam- 
paign and at Malvern Hill and Gainesville. While at Manassas, or 
Second Bull Run, in August, 1862, every man was a hero, although 


forced to give ground against an ambushed and terrific fire of the 
enemy. In this disaster, which they shared with several other regi- 
ments, Colonel Roberts, Captains Charles E. Wendell, Russell H. 
Alcott, Eben T. Whittlesey and Edward Pomeroy, and Lieutenants 
H. Clay Arnold, J. S. Garrison and W. Bloodgood were killed. 

The regiment was engaged at Antietam and Fredericksburg, 
at the latter battle being commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Ira C. 
Abbott, of Burr Oak, who had gone out in the three-years' service 
as captain of Company B and was promoted to major April 28, 
1862. At Fredericksburg it lost Captain J. B. Kennedy and seven 
privates killed and thirty-three men wounded. At Chancellorsville, 
it went into action under command of Colonel Abbott, who had 
been promoted a short time before, with twenty-three officers and 
two hundred and forty men ; reached Gettysburg on the morning 
of the last day of the battle, and sustained a loss of one officer (Cap- 
tain Amos Ladd) and four men killed and six officers and twenty- 
five men wounded, leaving as its total effective force thirteen offi- 
cers and ninety-six men. As Colonel Abbott was disabled early in 
the action, the command devolved upon Lieutenant Colonel W. A. 
Throop, who led it through the battles of the Wilderness, as well as 
in the general advance by Grant on Richmond. It fired the first 
musket of the investing campaign and the brigade to which it was 
attached checked the Confederate advance on the road leading to 
Orange Court House. In the opening engagements, so constantly 
wa^ it under fire and so perilous were the duties to which it was as- 
signed, that on the evening of the 8th of May, after a gallant charge 
at Alsop 's farm, its brave commander was able to muster but twen- 
ty-three men fit for active service. But the fighting remnant still 
pressed forward at Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg (where 
Captain James H. Wheaton, its commander, was killed), Weldon 
Railroad, Hatcher ^s Run and Appomattox. 

The total fatalities of the regiment during the war were one 
hundred and forty-six men and fifteen commissioned officers killed 
and died of wounds, and ninety-six men and one officer died of dis- 

Following is the roster of St. Joseph county as represented in 
the First Michigan Infantry: 

Burr Oak township— Three-months' men. Company G: Cap- 
tain Ira C. Abbott, promoted to colonel of regiment ; E. A. Cross, 
Charles H. Palmer, John Steitz, J. N. Trask, Andrew Craig, Jonas 


Barker, A. N. Russell, John Archer and C. S. Trimm, all taken 
prisoners at Bull. Run. 

Burr Oak township — Three-years' men, Company B: Captain 
Ira C. Abbott (August 12, 1861), major (April 28, 1862), lieuten- 
ant colonel (August 30, 1862) and colonel (March 8, 1863) ; Ser- 
geant John Stepper, second and first lieutenant, captain, mustered 
out ; Corporal George Beaumeister, killed at Bull Run, August 30, 
1862; Corporal Benjamin F. Dow; Henry Green, re-enlisted vet- 
eran, discharged for disability; Daniel Heinbach, discharged at ex- 
piration of service; Joshua Hawkins, discharged at expiration of 
service; Willis H. Kibbe, first lieutenant, mustered out; William 
Lowry, discharged at expiration of service; Henry Lowry, dis- 
charged for disability ; Charles W. Patchen, discharged at expira- 
tion of service; and Levi Webb, re-enlisted veteran, died February 
7, 1865. Company C : Caspar Gamby, mustered out, and Elias G. 
Hill, killed near Poplar Grove church, Va. Company I : John R. 
Hoagland and Theodore Watson, both mustered out. 

Fawn River township — ^W. H. Marble (three months, Com- 
pany G) mustered out; John Annis (Company B), enlisted in 1861, 
transferred to Second U. S. Cavalry; Edward Dutcher (Company 
B), enlisted in 1861, died in hospital; Daniel J. Gates (Company 
B), enlisted in 1864, mustered out at close of war; Henry Seals 
(Company K), enlisted in 1861, discharged at expiration of service. 

Fabius township — Three-months' men: David A. Jones (Com- 
pany A), killed at Bull Run; Calvin Colgrove (Company I), killed 
at Bull Run; James W. Carpenter (Company A), re-enlisted; and 
James K. Fowler (Company K). 

Fabius township — Three years ^ men: James W. Carpenter 
(Company A), died at Harrison's Landing, April 5, 1862; and 
Gardner Eddy (Company B), discharged for disability. 

Second Michigan Infantry. 

Company G, of the Second Michigan Infantry, was largely 
recruited from Constantine township. The regiment participated 
in the Peninsula campaign, where it suffered severe losses, and its 
conduct at Fair Oaks, during which it charged across an open 
field against a greatly superior force, was such as to win high 


words of praise. It was also at First and Second Bull Run and 
Fredericksburg, but finished the last two years of the war with 
Grant on the lower Mississippi, with Bumside in east Tennessee 
and finally with Grant in the terrible battles of the Wilderness, 
Spottsylvania Court House, Petersburg and Williamsburg. At 
the siege of Knoxville, in November, 1863, the Second charged a 
strong force of Confederates protected by entrenchments, and 
lost over half of those engaged. Among the killed were Lieuten- 
ants William Noble and Charles R. Galpin, while Major Byington 
and Lieutenant Frank Zoellner were mortally wounded. 

Soon after this brilliant military feat the regiment returned 
with its corps to the army of the Potomac. Both at Kjiox\rille and 
the battles of the Wilderness, the Second was commanded by 
Colonel Humphrey. It was in the latter series of engagements 
that Captain John C. Joss, of Company G, lost his right leg. 
Captain James Farrand was killed at Spottsylvania Court House, 
and in the preliminary engagements before Petersburg the regi- 
ment's losses were twenty-two killed, one hundred and forty- three 
wounded and six missing. In the attack following the springing 
of the mine, it lost six killed, fourteen wounded and thirty-seven 
missing. Captain John S. Young and Lieutenant John G. Busch 
being among the killed. Before the capture of Petersburg in 
April, 1865, it suffered severely in other engagements of the cam- 
paign of investment. 

The New York Tribune thus speaks of its part at the battle of 
Williamsburg: '^The Second Michigan took into action only 
sixty men, the rest being left behind, exhausted with the quick 
march through mud and rain. Yet they lost one out of every five 
engaged. The regiment was in the hottest of the fight. By the 
confessions of prisoners, eight hundred of Perry's men (mostly 
Michigan) drove back, at the point of the bayonet, sixteen hundred 
rebels. ' ' 

The loss of the Second at Williamsburg was seventeen killed, 
thirty-eight wounded and four missing, and the total fatalities of 
the regiment during the war were eleven officers and one hundred 
and ninety-two men killed or died of wounds, and three officers 
and one hundred and twenty-eight men died of disease. 

Company G, as raised in Constantine township, consisted of 
the following: Captain John A. Lawson, cashiered September 
10, 1861 ; First Lieutenant Richard T. Morton, resigned March 6, 
1862; Sergeant John C. Joss, first lieutenant and captain, lost a 


leg in one of the battles of the Wilderness ; Sergeant Peter S. Bell, 
re-enlisted December 10, 1863, died of wounds June 25, 1864; 
Sergeant David M. Rumbaugh, re-enlisted December 31, 1863, 
died of wounds near Petersburg, July 20, 1864; Sergeant Elisha 
P. Clark, discharged at expiration of service; Corporal Jesse A. 
Gaines, re-enlisted and reported missing at Petersburg; Corporal 
Theodore Rumbaugh, discharged for disability; Corporal Charles 
W. Dryer, Corporal Clinton Snyder, discharged at expiration of 
service ; Corporal Marcus D. L. Train, died of of typhoid fever at 
Yorktown, Virginia, May 28, 1862; Corporal William H. Wool- 
worth, discharged for disability; Regimental Musician Addison 
R. Conklin, mustered out August 1, 1862; Regimental Musician 
Abner Thurber, mustered out August 1, 1862 ; Silas T. J. Abbott, 
discharged at expiration of service; John M, Adams, killed at 
Knoxville, November 24, 1863; William H. Clark, died January 
13, 1864; Forrest Doolittle, discharged; George Darlison, dis- 
charged at expiration of service ; O. F. French, enlisted in regular 
army; George Green, discharged for disability; Washington 
Georgia, re-enlisted December, 1863, mustered out, lost knapsack 
at Bull Run and found it again at Petersburg; Albert Harwood, 
lost right arm in Peninsula campaign, discharged for disability; 
Charles Henderson, discharged at expiration of service; David 
H. Knipple, shot accidentally at Camp Arlington, Virginia ; Cyrus 
Knight, killed at Enoxville, November 24, 1863; Fred Lang, 
killed at Knoxville; Daniel F. Motley, discharged at expiration 
of service; Charles Morton, lost right arm at Williamsburg, Vir- 
ginia, discharged for disability; Benjamin F. Morton, enlisted in 
regular army ; Philo R. Stewart, discharged at expiration of serv- 
ice ; Ernst Schinkle, re-enlisted and mustered out ; Benjamin S'tell, 
discharged at expiration of service; John L. Taylor, discharged 
for disability; Francis E. Thurber, killed at Campbeirs Station, 
Tennessee, November 16, 1863 ; Jacob Welshes, discharged at ex- 
piration of service ; and Arthur Williamson, discharged. 

Lockport township — Company F: Edwin P. Arnold and 
Martin V. Moore, mustered out; Henry Henner, discharged for 
disability. Company G: Corporal Samuel D. Southworth, lieu- 
tenant in regular army; William G. Bennett, Augustus Flint, 
Hiram Hutchinson and Alonzo Wescott, discharged for disability ; 
Gilbert Bloveldt, died of typhoid fever at Yorktown, Virginia, 
May 6, 1862; William S. Woodhead, discharged at expiration of 


Fabius and Lockport townships furnished most of the soldiers 
who went from St. Joseph county into the Thirteenth infantry, 
which was raised and organized by Colonel Charles E. Stuart, of 
Kalamazoo. At Stone River it lost out of a total of two hundred 
and twenty-four men who went into that bloody action, twenty- 
five killed or died of wounds, sixty-two wounded and eight miss- 
ing. At Chickamauga, then commanded by Colonel L. B. Culver, 
it again displayed stanch and dashing fighting qualities, especially 
on September 18th and 19th, when it rejoined its brigade some 
distance to the left of Lee, under a heavy fire of the enemy, on 
the double quick and with the mercury above ninety. Soon after- 
ward, the regiment charged and effectually checked the onslaught 
of the Confederates who were forcing back a portion of the brigade. 
In this engagement the Thirteenth lost fourteen killed, sixty-eight 
wounded (eleven fatally) and twenty-five missing, out of a total 
of two hundred and seventeen engaged. It joined Sherman's 
forces in his march to the sea and fought bravely and almost in- 
cessantly through the campaigns of the Carolinas. At Benton- 
ville. North Carolina, the engagement lasted the entire day, the 
casualties of the Thirteenth including one hundred and ten killed, 
wounded and missing and the death of Colonel W. G. Eaton, the 
commanding officer. Besides Captain Norman H. Hoisington, of 
Fabius, who commanded Company E, Captain William McLaugh- 
lin, of Sturgis, held a command in the Thirteenth. 

The roster of the recruits from Fabius township is as fol- 
lows: Captain Norman E. Hoisington, mustered out; Jasper 
Eddy, Jr., died at Savannah, Ga. ; Edward R. Hutson, Thomas P. 
Carr, Josiah M. Hopkins, John Harvey, Solomon Kaiser, George 
Jackson, Stephen P. Manley, Miles A. Pulver, George Shultice, 
Isaac W. Steininger, William H. Tando, James Avery, John W. 
Blodgett, William B. Eddy, Solomon Reish, Isaac E. Wing, John 
Yager, Peter Yager, Omar W. Hunt and Albert F. Keiser, all 
mustered out; and George Shultice, discharged for disability. 
All of the foregoing were members of Company E. In Company D 
was George Phertanbaugh, and in Company H, Omar W. Hunt, 
who were both mustered out at the expiration of their terms of 

The following were from Lockport township, mostly in Com- 
pany E : Samuel Stamp, missing at Benton ville, Ark. ; Otlando J. 
Bradley, mustered out; Herbert L. Chadwick, Charles Jackson, 
John Quake, Joseph S. Stamp, Conrad Wagner, Daniel F. Stamp, 


Garrett J. Wise, Philo Arnold and Charles C. Flint, all mustered 
out ; and Corporal George W. Buck, discharged June 16, 1862. 

Fourth Michigan Infantry. 

The Fourth Michigan Infantry was raised at Adrian and went 
into the field in command of the brave and lamented Colonel Wood- 
bury, who met his death while leading his regiment at Malvern Hill, 
during the Peninsula campaign under McClellan. Captain A. R. 
Wood recruited Company C, at Sturgis, and joined it, while the 
townships of Mendon and Burr Oak also assisted to fill its ranks. 

The regiment was in the first Bull Eim battle and helped to 
cover the retreat of the Union army. Its greatest fame, however, 
was won in the Peninsula campaign. The Fourth was the first 
Union regiment to open fire on the enemy at New Bridge, May 24, 
1862, five of its companies crossing the Chickahominy, a short dis- 
tance above, under a heavy and continuous fire. This was the open- 
ing movement of the great seven-days' battle, and General McClel- 
lan thus refers to the Michigan regiment in his despatch to the 
war department: ''Three skirmishes to-day; we drove the rebels 
from Mechanicsville, seven miles from New Bridge. The Fourth 
Michigan about finished the Louisiana Tigers — fifty prisoners and 
fifty killed and wounded. ' ' 

At Malvern Hill the Fourth was conspicuous in resisting the 
numerous and desperate charges of the Confederates, the men fight- 
ing until their cartridges were exhausted and then taking from the 
boxes of their fallen comrades. As stated, it was on this battlefield 
that Colonel Woodbury fell; also Captains Du Puy and Rose. 
From June 26th to July 1st, inclusive, the loss of the regiment was 
fifty-three killed, one hundred and forty-four wounded and forty- 
nine missing. Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg 
came, in order, one hundred and seventy-one men being snatched 
from its ranks during the awful engagements included in the * * bat- 
tle of Gettysburg.'' The casualties included twenty-six killed, six- 
ty-six wounded and seventy-nine missing. Colonel H. H. Jeffords 
was killed by a bayonet thrust while rescuing the colors of his regi- 
ment and Captain French, of Sturgis, and Lieutenant Sage, of 
White Pigeon, were wounded. In the battles of the Wilderness 
another commander was killed, Colonel Lombard ; also Captain W. 
H. Loveland. 


The Fourth acquitted itself, at Petersburg and Chancellors- 
ville, in a way to uphold the reputation for valor and tenacity 
which Michigan soldiers had long before earned. In this connec- 
tion a little story is apropos ; a story which some might pronounce 
more forcible than elegant. It is said that General Meade at Chan- 
cellorsville directed General Griffin to send two regiments to hold 
an important point. 

The general reported that he had sent them. 

General Meade asked, ''Can they hold itf 

Griffin replied, ''They are Michigan men.'^ 

Meade insisted on a direct answer; "Can they hold itf he 

Griffin: "General, they can*hold it against hell.'' 

The regiments sent to "hold if were the Fourth and Six- 
teenth Michigan ; and they held the position, as asserted by General 

The total loss of the Fourth Michigan in the war was one hun- 
dred and sixty-eight men and twelve officers killed or died of 
wounds, and one hundred and five men and one officer died of dis- 

The soldiers of the Fourth regiment sent from St. Joseph 
county were as follows: 

Sturgis township (Company C) — Captain Abraham R. Wood, 
shot on picket near Yorktown, April 18, 1862 j First Lieutenant 
Ebenezer French, wounded at Gettysburg, promoted to captain 
(September 1, 1862, and mustered out at end of service; Sergeant 
Gordon Bates, discharged for disability; Sergeant John McAfee, 
discharged at expiration of service ; Sergeant James W. Vesey, sec- 
ond lieutenant (November, 1862), died of wounds near Richmond, 
June 30, 1864; George A. Chandler, discharged at expiration of 
service ; David F. Dudley, discharged at expiration of service ; Nel- 
son Field, discharged for disability, June 1, 1861; Fayette Howk, 
discharged for disability; Joseph Thompkins, discharged for dis- 
ability; Thomas B. "Whittlesey, discharged at expiration of service. 

Burr Oak township — Charles F. Cames, discharged for dis- 
ability; Mahlon Fry, Alonza Kilmer, discharged at expiration of 
service; Henry Low, died; James Livingston, discharged for dis- 
ability; Charles M. Scirvin, mustered out. 

Mendon township —George Cook, discharged at expiration of 
service; Addison J. Carpenter, discharged at expiration of serv- 


iee ; Eugene Garvin, discharged at expiration of service ; James K. 
Rockwell, discharged for disability; William Stevens, discharged 
for disability; and John Sargeant, discharged at expiration of 

The Isolated Sixth. 

The Sixth Michigan was denied the comradeship and moral sup- 
port of its fellow soldiers of the state during the entire period of 
its service. The scenes of its splendid career were mostly laid in the 
extreme south, largely in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, and 
one of the brightest chapters in its history is the part it played as 
an organization of heavy artillerists in the reduction of Mobile. 
It was raised by Colonel F. W. Curtenius and left the state in Au- 
gust, 1861, under his command. It did not sail from Baltimore for 
Ship Island, Mississippi, until April, 1862, leaving that point for 
New Orleans. It was one of the first of the Union regiments to 
enter that city when it surrendered to General Butler. 

The battles of Baton Rouge and Port Hudson were the most 
conspicuous in which it was engaged as an infantry command. At 
the former engagement (August 5, 1862) it was in command of 
Captain Charles E. Clark, receiving and repulsing the principal 
attack made against the right wing of the Union forces by a Con- 
federate division of some six thousand men. The great import- 
ance of the repulse was acknowledged by General Butler in a con- 
gratulatory order issued soon after the engagement. 

At Port Hudson, the Sixth was to the fore during the entire 
siege. Colonel Clark commanding the regiment in the assault of 
May 27, 1863, when the Michigan men led Sherman's division. 
One-third of the regiment was put out of action, Lieutenant Fred 
T. Clark receiving his mortal wound while leading Company D to 
the charge. Sergeant M. O. Walker was wounded in the assault of 
June 29th, and at the conclusion of the disastrous campaign Gen- 
eral Banks formally thanked the Sixth for its faithfulness and 
bravery throughout. 

At the reduction of Mobile, the Sixth did most gallant and ef- 
fective service as heavy artillerists doing fine execution with bat- 
teries of ten-inch mortars at a range of fourteen hundred yards. 
After Spanish Fort was taken. Companies A and K manned and 
turned the heavy guns captured from the enemy on Forts Huger 
and Tracy, and materially assisted in their reduction and the cap- 
ture of the city. 

Vol. I— IS 


The losses of the regiment during the war were sixty-three men 
and two officers killed or died of wounds, and four hundred and 
fifty-two men and five officers died of disease ; its fatalities in the 
last named particular far exceeded that of any other Michigan 
regiment, its service being largely laid in the far south, then es- 
pecially subject to malarial diseases. 

Company C, of the Sixth regiment, was all raised in St. Jo- 
seph county, Lester Fox, of Flowerfield, going out as corporal and 
being mustered out as first lieutenant. Corporal George W. Hice, 
from the same township, died at Ship Island, Mississippi, May 15, 
1862. The privates of the company who went from Flowerfield 
were: W. W. Bullock, discharged at expiration of service; David 
R. Johnson, re-enlisted ,and mustered out; William McCumsey 
Samuel H. Hep worth and James Osmer, discharged for disability ; 
John Reis, discharged at expiration of service ; Nelson Straw, died 
at Carrollton, Louisiana, March 4, 1863 ; William J. Smith, re-en- 
listed and mustered out ; John V. Thurston, died at Port Hudson, 
Louisiana ; Jacob H. Hopkins, discharged. 

Lockport township sent the following into the ranks of Com- 
pany C : John R. Cowden, John P. Graham, Day Hicks, James M. 
Smithey and Solomon Sugars, re-enlisted and mustered out; 
George P. Sterling, mustered out; Jacob W. Monroe, discharged 
for disability; Jacob Feagles, died at New Orleans, August 14, 
1863 ; Walter I. Hunter, died at Port Hudson, Louisiana, February 
4, 1864 ; Ray Hicks, died at regiment hospital, October 2, 1862 ; Ru- 
dolph Mohney, died at Camp Williams, Louisiana, September 9, 
1862 ; and Samuel P. Babcock died at Memphis, Tennessee. 

Constantine township supplied the following to Company C, 
Sixth Infantry: Ezra Florence, re-enlisted and mustered out; 
Thomas B. Hill, mustered out; James Syas, mustered out and 
afterward died from disease contracted in the service ; Hiram Dris- 
coll, died of disease at Fort Gaines, Alabama; Garrett E. Moyer, 
died at Baton Rouge, June 21, 1862; David H. Simonds, dis- 
charged for disability. 

Nottawa township sent the following men to Company C : Mor- 
timer J. Barkman, discharged ; Jason B. Taylor and Nelson Wells 
(musician), discharged for disability; Isaac Gince, Henry C. Wal- 
ters, re-enlisted and mustered out; Hiram Hill, Joseph W. Rolfe 
and Francis Douglass, mustered out; Albert A. Jones, enlisted in 


re^lar service; Andrew W. Morrison, died in Michigan, March 
1, 1864 ; and George W. Walters, died in regimental hospital, Octo- 
ber 3, 1862. 

The Fifteenth Infantry. 

Company A, of the Fifteenth Infantry, was largely organized 
in Burr Oak and Colon townships, its first commander being John 
A. Waterman, of the former place. The regiment was in command 
of Colonel J. M. Oliver, by whom it was organized, and fought its 
first battle at Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, losing therein two officers aud 
thirty-one privates killed, one officer and sixty-three men wounded 
and seven missing. Before the general engagement at Corinth in 
October, 1862, it has the credit of checking the advance of the Con- 
federates under Price, for twenty-four hours, and thus enabling 
Rosecrans to so dispose of the Union forces as to assure them vic- 
tory. It first held the outpost of the northern army at Chewalla, 
ten miles from Corinth, its pickets being finally driven in on the 
morning of October 1st. After holding the enemy in check dur- 
ing the day, it was re-enforced by the Fourteenth Wisconsin and a 
battery section, the entire command under Colonel Oliver. The 
command fought during the 2d and 3d against overwhelming num- 
bers, several times being completely flanked, but stubbornly falling 
baek on Corinth and giving ground only inch by inch to an oppos- 
ing army of forty thousand men. 

The Fifteenth was also at Vicksburg, and on July 6, 1863, 
crossed the Black river and led the advance on Jackson. It was 
veteranized and participated in the Georgia campaign of 1864. 
At Kesaca, July 15th, it is fully credited with having averted a 
disastrous break in the Union lines by driving a strong Confeder- 
ate force from a position which it had occupied in the flank and 
rear of the Fifteenth corps. Upon this occasion it struck the enemy 
on the flank, and in the rout which followed captured seventeen 
officers and one hundred and sixty-seven men, as well as the colors 
of the Fifth Confederate Infantry and the Seventeenth and 
Eighteenth Texas. 

The Fifteenth was a part of the splendid Sherman campaigns 
and its fine record was earned at the expense of seventy -five offi- 
cers and men killed or died of wounds, and one hundred and thir- 
ty-two succumbed to disease. 

Burr Oak township sent to the Fifteenth regiment Captain 
John A. Waterman, who resigned September 21, 1862, and the 


following privates of Company A: Samuel Betz, Stephen Upham, 
Joseph Watson, and Chester Ward, discharged for disability; 
Joseph Z. Cames, John Floro, David Tyler, Stephen Whitney, 
Artemas Ward and Crosbey C. Whitney, re-enlisted and mus- 
tered out; and Calvin Marvin, veteran reserve corps. Andrew L. 
Hogaboom, from the same township, joined Company K and was 
mustered out at the expiration of his term of enlistment. 

Company A gathered from Colon township the following: 
Second Lieutenant Jonathan Snook, resigned; Daniel E. Decker, 
George B. Wilkinson and Edward E. Decker, discharged for 
disability; Joseph Lepley, re-enlisted and mustered out; Abram 
Snodk, died at Camp Sherman, August 25, 1863 ; Charles Sixbury, 
veteran relief corps, mustered out; and Reuben Everhard, dis- 
charged at expiration of service. 

The Artillery. 

St. Joseph county made good contributions to the artillery 
branch of the service, both from the standpoints of quantity and 
quality. Battery D, one of the twelve batteries comprising the 
First Regiment of Michigan Artillery, was largely filled up with 
men from this county, although it was officered by Branch county 
men. The townships of White Pigeon, Nottawa, Constantine, 
Sturgis and Lockport were mainly drawn upon to supply its 
ranks. Battery F received quite a portion of its recruits from 
White Pigeon, Constantine and Lockport; and White Pigeon, 
Constantine and Nottawa sent men into Battery G. Flowerfield 
and White Pigeon were the only townships in the county to fur- 
nish recruits for Battery N. 

Battery D (BidwelPs) left the state in 1861, and first got 
into action in the Rosecrans campaign at Hoover ^s Gap, Tenn., 
but its most desperate fighting was at the battle of Chickamauga, 
where its commander. Captain J. W. Church, was woimded, 
and several of its men wounded and missing. It was also in the 
subsequent assault on Missionary Ridge, covering Hooker ^s ad- 
vance up Lookout Mountain. 

Norman F. Andrews, of White Pigeon, officially represented 
the thirty or more men who joined Battery F from St. Joseph 
county, and went into the service with the organization as junior 
first lieutenant. Its first engagement was at Henderson, Ken- 


tucky, in 1862, but it was during Sherman's Atlanta campaign, in 
1864, that it gained especial distinction. At Otoy creek, Georgia, 
while in command of Lieutenant Miller it met with considerable 
loss of men, and although two of its guns were dismantled the 
battery not only held its own but finally silenced two Confederate 
batteries. It also did splendid service on the North Carolina 
coast early in 1865, being marked for especial efficiency and gal- 
lantry at the Wise Forks engagement. 

Battery G was raised by Captain C. H. Lamphere in 1862, in 
connection with the Thirteenth Infantry. It followed the for- 
tunes of that regiment, first engaging the enemy at Tazewell, Ken- 
tucky, in May, 1863. In the fall and winter of that year it was 
actively engaged in the operations in Mississippi, and suffered 
considerable losses at Chickasaw Bayou. It also participated in 
the Yicksburg campaign of the following spring, General Mc- 
Clemands's report on the battle of Port Gibson (May 1st) con- 
taining the following: **The splendid practice of Lamphere 's 
and Foster's batteries disabled two of the enemy's guns and con- 
tributed largely to our success. ' ' 

The St. Joseph county roster of men who joined Battery D, 
by townships, is as follows: 

White Pigeon — Corporal Josiah Flumerfelt, discharged at 
expiration of service; and Peter H. Stitzell, William Connor, Jo- 
siah Mosier, Daniel Saunter, John W. Swartz and Benjamin Win- 
slow, all mustered out. 

Nottawa — Sergeant Frederick C. Knox, mustered out; Wag- 
oner David Hazzard, mustered out; Samuel Cady, Justin Sinclair, 
Chauncey Veder, Daniel W. Williams, Nathan Adams, Horatio 
Allen, Samuel Mansfield, Abel L. Russell, William Waters and 
Daniel Williams, mustered out; Andrew Shafer, discharged at 
White Pigeon, December 6th ; Elias H. Shiunmel, died at Gallatin, 
Tennessee; and Burton S. Howe, discharged for disability. 

Constantine — ^Adelbert Chittenden, William Draper and 
Spencer King, mustered out. 

Lockport — George C. Meade (artificer), Columbus Fulker- 
son, Sylvester C. Smith, Joseph H. Dunworth, John Taylor, Sam- 
uel Pugh and John McClymont, mustered out; Charles Crachy 
and John H. Donahue, discharged for disability. 


Sturgis — Corporal Silas W. Allen, discharged at expiration 
of service ; Charles A. Bates, Asahel B. Hill and James D. Ridge, 
mustered out. 

The county's contributions to Battery F were as follows: 
White Pigeon— Junior First Lieutenant Norman S. Andrews, 

mustered out; Sergeant George W. Nash, mustered out; Corporal 

Charles A. Sweet, re-enlisted and mustered out; John Miller, L. 

S. Ellis and Charles Stevenson, mustered out; Charles Swan, 

died of disease. 

Constantine — ^Wagoner Lyman Irwin, mustered out; Andrew 
Almy, Samuel Brandall, James Cook, Justus Miller, Frederick 
Smith and Andrew Weatherwax, re-enlisted and mustered out; 
Henry F. Beecher, discharged for disability. 

Lockport — James Honts, George Honts, Adam Miller and Hi- 
ram Millard, re-enlisted and mustered out; James Wheeler, dis- 
charged for disability ; Alonzo Westcott, Edgar W. Ensign and 
William A. Ensign, mustered out. 

Colon — John J. VanHorst and Abner J. VanHorst, dis- 
charged for disability; John B. Winchell, mustered out. 

The following townships were represented in Battery G: 
White Pigeon — Corporal Adam V. Thompson, mustered out; 

Corporal James McElroy, re-enlisted in regular army; George W. 

Brown, John Kietlin, Fred Kleifish, John Myer, James Cloonan, 

John Huff and Peter Snook, mustered out. 

Nottawa — Joshua C. Goodrich, discharged for disability, and 
Julius A. Goodrich, mustered out. 

Constantine — Corporal Jonathan G. Waltham, discharged; 
Corporal Elisha Moyer, discharged and enlisted in regular army; 
Jacob R. Ackerman, transferred to the regular army; Thomas 
M. Curtis, Michael Loughran, and Henry L. Beecher, discharged 
for disability. 

Sturgis — John Allen and Eugene S. Munger, mustered out. 

Mottville — ^John Koon; Hiram L. Hartman, died November 
20, 1864. 

Battery Fourteen made the following draft upon St. Joseph 
county : 


Flawerfield township— John S. Bullock, Christian Motler, 
William H. Fry, Missouri Fetteral, Thomas Hazen, Aaron Hick- 
enburg, Yost Kern, Jacob Kern, Bmanual Kline, John Markle, 
Reuben Shy and Peter T. Youalls, mustered out; William Jones, 
enlisted in the regular army. 

White Pigeon— Charles Ackerman, Lorenzo C. Cooper, 
Henry M. Ellis, Henry Fitch, John Hill, Daniel Swartz and 
George A. Shoefelter, mustered out; John G. Bronson, Seventy- 
eighth New York Infantry, veteran reserve corps. 

Other Military Branches. 

St. Joseph coimty boys were represented in every regiment of 
Michigan cavalry from the First to the Eleventh, Mendon and 
Fawn River townships contributing especially large contingent* 
to the Ninth. Fawn River, Constantine and Mendon also sent $ 
number of troops to join the One Hundred and Second U. S. Col- 
ored regiment, and the First Michigan Sharpshooters of the 
county came from Constantine, Mendon, Lockport, Mottville and 
Fabius townships, while the few who entered the U. S. navy were 
supplied by Sturgis, Leonidas and Park. 

The County ^s Part in the Spanish- American War. 

Company K, of the Thirty-third Michigan Yolunteer Infantry, 
embraced nearly all those who served in the Spanish- American war 
from St. Joseph county. This company was in the United States 
service about four months in all, was largely made up of St. Joseph 
county boys and was known as the St. Joseph County Volunteers. It 
was organized in Three Rivers in May, 1898, and its officers were as 
follows : Captain, Charles P. Wheeler, Three Rivers ; first lieutenant. 
Wade L. Swartwout, Three Rivers; second lieutenant, William F. 
Pack, Centerville ; quartermaster sergeant, James McJury, Three 
Rivers; sergeants — (first) Willard King, Three Rivers, (second) 
Louis Evans, Three Rivers, (third) Charles Hitchcock, White 
Pigeon, (fourth) Walter C. Jones, Marcellus, and (fifth) Frank E. 
Davey, Constantine; corporals — Ernest J. Stilwell, Constantine, 
Sherman L. Culbertson, Centerville, Barton C. Nottingham, Mar- 
cellus, Charles Slater, Mendon, Charles R. Amer, Three Rivers, and 


Jesse L. Dockstader, Centerville ; artificer, Ross Appleman, Men- 
don ; wagoner, Harmon Legg, Three Rivers. 

The list of privates from the county of St. Joseph, when the 
company was first organized, was as follows: Three Rivers- 
Charles S. Boyer, William H. Hartgrove, John W. Hartgrove, Fred 
L. Kaiser, Frederick A. Kramb, Albert Maehalwaska, Warren A. 
Mowrer, Austin C. Ruggles, Clarence H. Ruggles, Harvey J. Rug- 
gles, Burney E. Reed, George M. Trickey and Otis D. Weinberg. 

Mendon — ^William E. Brown, Michael Butcher, William A. 
Butcher, Clarence J. Hatch, Frank E. Mero, John C. McGowan, 
Marion A. Young, Harry M. Younglove, George H. White and Joel 

Centerville— August C. Greenburg, Joseph L. Kirby, Amos I. 
Lincoln, Charles A. Loncoln and Ira R. Price. 

Constantine — L. C. Avery, Bert W. Evans, Henry D. Rogers and 
Edward E. Wortinger. 

Moore Park — Albert Benfer, Burton E. Gilman, Clyde R. 
Schoonmaker and Eugene P. Spangler. 

White Pigeon — Harry B. Brown, Christian W. Wolgamwood, 
Orbey L. Wright. 

Burr Oak — Bertrand I. Downs, Arthur B. Prouty and Arden 
R. Seymore. 

Howardsville — Arthur G. Bennett and Guy H. Pixley. 

Colon — Bennie Clay and John H. Gray. 

Parkville — Elijah D. Heimbach. 

The Company left Three Rivers on the sixteenth day of May, 
1898, eighty-four strong. Thousands of people came to see the 
boys bid good-by to home and friends and start off to war. Flags 
were floating, all hearts were sad, music was furnished by the Three 
Rivers cornet band, the martial band and Constantine 's martial 
band, and these organizations, together with members of the Grand 
Army of the Republic, Sons of Veterans, and citizens, marched with 
the soldiers to the Michigan Central depot where Judge Pealer, Rev. 
McPherson, M. H. Bumphrey and others made short addresses to 
the boys, to which Captain Wheeler responded in a few well-chosen 
words. Patriotic songs were sung by a male quartette. At 11 :40 


the company left for Island Lake, amid an outburst of cheers and 
sobs characteristic of such an occasion only. At Jackson, dinner 
was furnished at the hotel by the ladies of Three Rivers. 

The following from St. Joseph county joined Company K as re- 
cruits after the company had gone to the front : Ray W. Nihart, 
Mendon; Wally Barringer, Frank M. Boyer, Lewis E. Parker and 
Samuel Gemberling, Three Rivers; George F. Belote, William I. 
Fairman and Frank Shalla, Centerville. 

John Hartgrove and James McJury of Three Rivers, Henry D. 
Rogers of Constantine and Sherman L. Culbertson of Centerville, 
died of disease before the company was mustered out. 

The Thirty-third Michigan, of which Company K was a part, 
was sent forward to Camp Alger, Virginia, and was brigaded with 
the Thirty-fourth Michigan and Ninth Massachusetts regiments, of 
which General Henry M. Duflfield, of Detroit, had command. This 
brigade was assigned to General Bate's division of the Fifth Army 
Corps, commanded by General William I. Shafter, and on June 23rd 
the St. Joseph boys steamed out into the ocean from Chesapeake bay 
for Cuba, landing at Siboney and disembarking by means of life- 
boats. The descent from the ship was made on ladders, each soldier 
being loaded to his utmost with equipments and ammunition. This 
was slow work, the waves rolled five feet high and it was with diffi- 
culty the life-boats were landed. Some of the men would jump into 
the boat just as it went into a trough of the sea and would conse- 
quently land all in a heap in the bottom of the boat, or upon the 
heads of their comrades. The boats were cut adrift and towed 
ashore by steam launches, the landing was made in the surf-foam 
and most of the men got soaked and were covered with sand and 
grit. After the landing, the men were marched to their camping 
ground. A multitude of the people met them ; on either side of the 
marching column were crowds of half starved natives, ragged and 
shoeless, and black as coal. They were physically poor, with the 
exception of large stomachs caused by drinking cocoanut milk, 
which, since the devastation by the Spaniards, had been their only 

On June 30th and July 2nd, the Thirty-third took part in the af- 
fair near Aguadores, where the men were under fire and two were 
killed and one mortally wounded. All were exposed to diseases 
of the climate and the hardships of the camp until August 15th, 
when they were all ordered to return to the states. Some were sick 
in the hospitals and unable to return until later. 


Philippine Soldiers. 

The following named served in the Philippines: Charles S. 
Boyer served in the Thirtieth United States Infantry. 

L. C. Avery was in Company E, Thirty-fourth United States In- 
fantry, having enlisted to serve during the insurrection ; continued 
in this service for about twenty-one months and afterward enlisted 
in the Navy and served on the training ship, torpedo boats and the 
battleship * ^ Wisconsin, ' ' going around the world and seeing the Rus- 
sian vessels after they were defeated. 

Otis D. Weinberg served in the Thirtieth United States Infantry 
for two years and Eugene P. Spangler in the same command. 

General Fred M. Case of Three Rivers was inspector general of 
the state troops during Governor Pingree's administration, but saw 
no service in the field. 

Soldiers of Wars and Regular Army. 

Frank D. Baldwin was born on Nottawa prairie, June 26, 1842. 
His father died when Frank was but a small boy, and the widow 
married Jeriel R. Powers, who was a good citizen and a member of 
the Masonic Order. 

Frank enlisted in Constantine, where he then lived, became a 
second lieutenant, September 19, 1861, and was mustered out on No- 
vember 22d. He became first lieutenant in the Nineteenth Michigan 
Infantry August 12, 1862 ; captain, January 23, 1864, and was hon- 
orably mustered out June 10, 1865. He was transferred to the Nine- 
teenth Regular Infantry and commissioned second lieutenant Feb- 
ruary 23, 1866, and first lieutenant May 10, 1866, and was trans- 
ferred to the Thirty-seventh Infantry, September 21st ; transferred 
to the Fifth Infantrj^ May 19, 1869, and commissioned captain 
March 20, 1879, and major April 26, 1898 ; transferred to Third In- 
fantry November 3, 1899, and attained the rank of lieutenant 
colonel in the Fourth Infantry, December 18, 1899. He was trans- 
ferred to the First Infantry, July 25, 1901, and rose to colonel in 
the Twenty-seventh Infantry on July 26th and brigadier general 
June 9, 1902, retiring, after his distinguished service, June 26, 1906. 
The general is now enjoying the laurels he won on many hard 
fought fields, in the Civil war, the Indian wars, the Spanish and 
Philippine wars. He resides at Boulder, Colorado, near the foot- 
hills of the Rockies, and in looking to the west he can see the snow- 


capped mountain peaks, and to the east are spread out the great 
plains of Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas; and on and on over the 
prairies, through Illinois to Chicago, he can gaze in his imagina- 
tion and think of the part he played in the great struggles to make 
this grand country, and rejoice in the honors won. The people of 
St. Joseph county have followed him and rejoiced with him over 
these successes, and claim him as a son. 

Harry H. Bandholtz is another son of St. Joseph county who has 
made good, and of whom the people are justly proud ; they delight 
to do him honor because he has reflected so much credit upon his 
county and state. He was born in Constantine, December 18, 1864 ; 
entered the Military Academy July 1, 1886, and became a second 
lieutenant in the Sixth Infantry, June 12, 1890 ; first lieutenant in 
the Twenty-fourth Infantry, February 12, 1897, and was trans- 
ferred to the Seventh Infantry, March 2, 1892; was made a 
captain in the Second Infantry, November 15, 1899, in the United 
States regular service. He was also made a major in the Thirty- 
fifth Michigan Infantry, August 6, 1898, and was honorably mus- 
tered out, March 31, 1899. He is now in the regular service and has 
been given responsible and honorable positions in the Philippines. 
His father was a harness-maker in Constantine, and the family was 
of limited means, but of real worth. They were people of genuine 
character. Harry has advanced step by step, unaided, to the high 
rank which he has attained, but higher positions still await him. We 
will watch him and see him climb, and cheer him on and on and 
share in the glory which he will win. 


By Hon. R. R. Pealeb. 

Supreme Court of Michigan — Judge Woodward— Division op 
Legislative and Judicial — The State Supreme Court — 
Judge Ransom — Constituted a Separate Body — Circuit 
Court Judges — Judge Osborn — Probate Court Judges — 
Judge Barry — Judge Cross — Pioneer Probate Matters^ — 
First Regular Court Room — The Old County Court — 
First Lav^yer Admitted to Bar — ^Personnel of Pioneer 
Lawyers — Judge Severens — Talcott C. Carpenter— Judge 
Keightley — Judge Pealer — The Andrews Family — At- 
torneys OF 1877 — Lawyers of To-day. 

St. Joseph county is in the sixth judicial circuit of the United 
States, over which presides John M. Harlan, of Kentucky, asso- 
ciate justice of the national supreme court. The U. S. circuit 
judges for Michigan are Henry F. Severens, of Kalamazoo, who 
has served since March, 1900, and for the previous four years 
occupied the district bench of western Michigan, and Loyal E. 
Knappen, of Grand Rapids, formerly district judge. These are also 
members of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the sixth circuit. 
The county is under the jurisdiction of the United States district 
court for the western district of Michigan, whose presiding judge 
is Arthur C. Denison, of Grand Rapids, one of the leading members 
of the bar of that city for nearly twenty years before his eleva- 
tion to the bench. 

Supreme Court of Michigan. 

The history of the supreme court of Michigan commences 
with the creation of the territory, and from 1805 to 1823 the Presi- 



dent of the United States appointed the judges, three in number. 
Each presided over his assigned district, with two laymen as his 
associates, and the entire body formed the territorial legislature, 
of which the governor was chairman, ex-officio. In those days it 
was impossible to make any nice distinctions between the legis- 
lative and judicial functions of government. The districts were 
designated as Detroit, Erie and Huron, the territory now included 
in St. Joseph county being embraced in the first named. These 
supreme court judges had jurisdiction over land cases, capital 
offenses, and civil matters in which the amount involved was at 
least two hundred dollars. Inferior courts were organized for the 
transaction of minor civil business. 

Judge Woodward. 

President Jefferson appointed as the first judges of Michigan's 
supreme court, Augustus B. Woodward, Samuel Huntington and 
Frederick Bates, the governor being General William Hull (of 
*^Huirs surrender" fame). Judge Huntington, one of the judges 
of Ohio's first supreme court, declined the honor, and John Griffin 
was appointed in his place. Judge Woodward, of Detroit, who 
was the nearest related to the history of St. Joseph county, as 
stated in Reed's ^^ Bench and Bar of Michigan," "was in many 
respects a remarkable character — original certainly. He was 
possessed of considerable ability and a great deal of intellectual 
force. He had a liberal knowledge of the law, considerable learn- 
ing and more pedantry. He was a strange compound, frequently 
stubborn and wrong headed, generally audacious and capricious. 
He was responsible for the plat of Detroit, which was laid out on 
a scale of magnificence quite out of harmony with the times and 
the surroundings. Broad avenues, starting from a common center, 
which he styled the Circus Maximus, were projecting far into the 
woods and located by the aid of astronomical instruments. Al- 
though his scheme as a whole was impracticable, the visitor to 
Detroit as it stands today will find a city more beautiful for the 
nightly vigils and consultations of the heavenly bodies by the 
first chief justice, when he planned and platted the City of the 
Straits. Another marvelous creation of his mind was the Catho- 
lepistemiad, incorporated in 1817 with an array of professorships 
bearing unpronounceable Greek and Latin titles, governed by a 
president, vice president and other officials. While you smile at 


the conceit and vagaries of the man whose peculiar genius is 
shadowed by this dream, do not fail to remember that the Catho- 
lepistemiad of the eccentric chief justice has become the University 
of Michigan, to which so many lawyers of the state are debtors. 
''Judge Woodward quarreled with every member of the court 
whom he could not control. His henchman was Judge Griffin, and 
it was not unusual to witness a deadlock in matters of legislation 
between Woodward and Griffin on one side and Governor Hull 
and Judge Bates on the other. The quarrels were frequent and 
unseemly; so that Judge Bates, a man of high character and 
honorable purpose, resigned after two years of service and moved 
to St. Louis, where he won distinction at the bar. James Wetherell 
was appointed to succeed Bates. He was a good lawyer, an up- 
right judge. Firm in his convictions, he could not be influenced 
by another to favor legislation or a judicial decision which his 
conscience did not approve. He remained a member of the court 
to the end of the first epoch (ending 1823), and was re-appointed 
under the second (1824-35).'' With the latter year ended the 
territorial era. 

Division of Legislative and Judicial. 

In March, 1823, Congress passed a law dividing the legisla- 
tive and judicial functions of the territorial government, vesting 
the former in the governor and a council of nine citizens appointed 
by the president from a list of eighteen chosen by popular elec- 
tion. By the same law the term of judges of the supreme court 
was reduced from six to four years, and their powers extended 
to equity cases. On the 1st of February all the offices in the terri- 
tory were vacated, that the new code of laws might be put to a 
fair test, and James Witherell (chief justice), Solomon Sibley and 
John Hunt organized themselves into the supreme court. Solomon 
Sibley is described as **one of the wisest and best men that ever 
lived in Michigan," and served from 1824 to 1837. Justice 
Witherell remained on the bench until 1828, when he was ap- 
pointed secretary of the territory and was succeeded by William 
Woodbridge, of Connecticut, who had been an incumbent of that 
position for fourteen years (under original appointment from 
President Madison). Judge Hunt, the third member of the first 
supreme court under the new civic dispensation, died in 1827, and 
was succeeded by Henry Chipman, who served until 1832. Judge 
Woodbridge also retired the same year. 


A synopsis of the personnel of the Michigan supreme court 
during territorial times shows that both Augustus B. Woodward 
and John Wilkins served from 1805 to 1823 ; Frederick Bates from 
1805 to 1807, and James Witherell from 1808 to 1823. The last 
named, as has been seen, was appointed chief justice upon the re- 
organization of the civil and judicial departments of the govern- 
ment in 1823-4, and served until his appointment as secretary of 
the territory in 1828. Solomon Sibley remained on the supreme 
bench from 1824 to 1837, serving as chief justice from 1827. 
Judge Hunt was the only justice to die in office during this epoch, 
and his successor, Henry Chipman, was on the bench from 1827 
to 1832. William Woodbridge, who succeeded Judge Witherell, 
was supreme justice from 1828 to 1832. George Morell and Ross 
Wilkins were associate justices under Judge Sibley from 1832 to 

The State Supreme Court. 

The enabling act for the admission of Michigan as a state 
was approved by congress June 15, 1836, but on account of the 
disagreements with Ohio over the southern boundary of the pro- 
posed state, President Van Buren's official signature was not 
affixed to the document until January, 1837. Under the constitu- 
tion adopted in 1835, the first supreme court of the state, which 
was appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate, con- 
sisted of William A. Fletcher, chief justice, and George Morell 
and Epaphroditus Ransom, associates. To Judge Ransom was 
assigned the circuit comprising the seven counties which embraced 
the present territory of St. Joseph county. The state constitution 
retained the territorial provision providing for two assistants to 
the circuit judge in each county, who were to be elected for four 
years and were not required to have been admitted to the bar. 
The state constitution also provided for a probate court, four 
justices of the peace for each township, and as many other courts 
as the legislature might establish. The people certainly had no 
grounds of complaint as to the elasticity of that fundamental 
instrument in providing them legal redress. 

The original legislative council of the territory established 
supreme, circuit and probate courts. Until October 29, 1829, the 
territory included in the present county was attached to Lenawee 
county for judicial purposes; but on that date the territorial 
council gave St. Joseph county a political entity and constituted 


it the ninth judicial district. On the fourth of the following 
November it also ordered a circuit court to convene at the tavern 
of Asahel Savery, White Pigeon prairie, on the third Tuesday of 
August, 1830. The council further authorized a county court to 
be held on the first Tuesday of June and December ; but this body 
was abolished in April, 1833, its jurisdiction being assumed by 
the circuit court, consisting, as noted, of a circuit judge (one of 
the associate justices of the supreme court) and two citizens 
chosen by popular vote. 

Judge Fletcher resigned his seat on the supreme bench in 
1842, and Judge Morell succeeded him as chief justice. Daniel 
Goodwin followed Judge Morell, but returned to private practice 
in 1846 and was later judge of the Upper Peninsula. His entire 
service on the bench covered about thirty years. 

Judge Ransom. 

Judge Ransom, better known to the early lawyers and liti- 
gants of St. Joseph county, was a large, dignified, but genial man — 
the opposite of Judge Goodwin, who was small, quiet and even 
reserved. After becoming somewhat prominent in the law and 
politics of Vermont, Judge Ransom had settled in Kalamazoo 
three years before he ascended the bench. No one has ever thrown 
a slur on his integrity, but it is a settled verdict that his tastes 
and qualifications were better adapted for advancement in civic 
than in judicial affairs. He was an earnest Democrat, a popular 
and a respectable citizen of fair ability, and in 1847 his party 
elected him governor of Michigan. On New Year's day, 1848, 
before the end of his second judicial term, he resigned from the 
supreme bench to become chief executive of the state. Judge 
Ransom made a good governor, but unsuccessfully aspired to the 
United States senate. 

The constitution of 1835 provided for a chancery court, with 
one chancellor, which was abolished in 1847 and the business 
transferred to the circuit courts. In that year, the county court 
was re-established, but again abolished in 1853. In the days of 
the chancery court, St. Joseph county was in the third chancery 
district and third circuit. The constitution of 1850 vested the 
judicial power in one supreme court, a circuit court, probate 
courts and justices of the peace. 

Under the constitution of 1850 the state was divided into 
eight judicial circuits, whose judges were elected for terms of 


six years and constituted the supreme court of Michigan. Appeals 
from these circuits were carried to the supreme court. Five of 
the eight judges thus elected were carried over from service under 
the 1835 constitution, viz.: Warner Wing, S'anford M. Green, 
Charles Wiley Whipple, Abner Pratt and George Martin. The 
other three were Samuel Townsend Douglass, John Skinner 
Goodrich and David Johnson. Judge Whipple was secretary of 
the constitutional convention of 1835 and succeeded Judge Ran- 
som as chief justice when he resigned to become governor in 
1848. He died in 1855 and Nathaniel Bacon was appointed in 
his place. 

Constituted a Separate Body. 

With the organization of the Republican party in 1856 and 
its victory throughout Michigan in the elections of 1857, it fol- 
lowed that the state supreme court was constituted a separate 
body, comprising four judges elected by the people. The justices 
chosen, under the authority granted by the constitution to es- 
tablish necessary courts, were George Martin, Randolph Manning, 
Isaac P. Christiancy and James V. Campbell, the first named be- 
ing chosen chief justice. The independent supreme court was 
organized January 1, 1858, the term of eight years being so ar- 
ranged that one judge shall retire at the end of one term of two 
years. Originally, the chief justice was designated by the voters, 
but in 1867 the choice was determined by the member of the court 
whose term should soonest expire. In 1887 the number of judges 
was increased to five and the term fixed at ten years. Since 1857 
the state supreme court judges have not been required to sit in 
the circuits. 

George Martin, who was elected to the supreme bench under 
the constitution of 1835, also served for seventeen years as chief 
justice, under the constitution of 1850, dying in office on the 15th 
of December, 1867. 

An epitome of the changes in the personnel of the state su- 
preme courts under the constitution of 1850, as modified by the 
law of 1857, is given in ** Reed's Bench and Bar of Michigan," as 
follows: ''Judge Manning died in 1864 and was succeeded by 
Thomas M. Cooley, who was first appointed to fill the vacancy 
and then elected in 1865 for the remainder of the term, being re- 
elected twice and serving continuously until May, 1885, when he 
resigned to accept the chairmanship of the Interstate Commerce 

Vol. I~19 


Commission. Judge Campbell was re-elected three times, serv- 
ing twenty-two years and dying in office, March, 1890. Edward 
C'ahill, of Lansing, was appointed to fill the vacancy occasioned 
by Judge Campbell's death and served from March to December 
31, 1890. Judge Christiancy was re-elected twice and resigned 
in February, 1875, to accept the office of senator of the United 
States. Isaac Marston was appointed to fill the vacancy and 
elected for the residue of the term. He was then re-elected as his 
own successor for a full term, which expired December 31, 1889. 
He resigned in February, 1883, and Thomas R. Sherwood was 
appointed and then elected to fill the unexpired portion of the 
term. John W. Champlin, of Grand Rapids, was elected in 1883, 
and served one term of eight years, which expired December 31, 
1891. Allen B. Morse, of Ionia, was appointed for the residue of 
Judge Cooley's term. He had already been elected for the term 
beginning January 1, 1886. His service on the bench continued 
until August 30, 1892, when he resigned. Charles D. Long was 
elected in 1887 for a term of ten years beginning January 1, 1888. 
John W. McGrath, of Detroit, was elected in 1890 for the residue 
of Judge CampbelPs term, and served from January 1, 1891, to 
December 31, 1895. Claudius B. Grant, of Marquette, was elected 
in 1890 for a full term of ten years, and Robert M. Montgomery 
was also elected in 1892 for a full term. George H. Durand, of 
Flint, was appointed in 1892 to fill a vacancy for a few months, 
occasioned by the resignation of Judge Morse. Frank A. Hooker 
was elected first in November, 1892, for the residue of the term of 
Judge Morse, and was elected in 1894 for a full term beginning 
January 1, 1895. Joseph B. Moore was elected in 1895 for the 
term beginning January 1, 1896." 

Under the present law, circuit judges are elected for a term 
of six years, their courts having original jurisdiction over all 
civil or criminal matters not excepted by the constitution or the 
statutes, as well as appellate jurisdiction over all inferior tribu- 
nals. Probate courts have jurisdiction over wills, estates, etc., 
and the four justices in each township retain their old-time func- 
tions. Formerly the compensation of the probate judge was con- 
tingent upon his fees alone, but since 1873 the legislature has 
allowed him a salary of $1,500 per annum, and the only fees al- 
lowed him are for the examination of records and papers and 
the drafting of petitions and bonds. This change is believed to 


greatly benefit those in moderate circumstances who are obliged 
to probate estates of deceased relatives. 

Circuit Court Judges. 

The following have been the presiding judges of the circuit 
court embracing St. Joseph county since the adoption of the con- 
stitution of 1835: Epaphroditus Ransom, 1836-48; Charles W. 
Whipple, 1848-54; Niathaniel Bacon, 1854-64; Perrin M. Smith, 
1864-6; Nathaniel Bacon, 1866-7; R. W. Melendy, 1867-9; Charles 
Upson, 1869-73 ; Richmond W. Melendy, 1873 ; Edwin W. Keightly, 
1874-6; David Thompson, from April, 1877, to January 1, 1879; 
John B. Shipman, from January 1, 1879, to January 1, 1882; 
Russell R. Pealer, January 1, 1882, to January 1, 1888; John B. 
Shipman, January 1, 1888, to January 1, 1894; George L. Yaple, 
since January 1, 1894. 

In 1829 Luther Newton and John Sturgis were appointed 
associate justices of the circuit court for St. Joseph county, Will- 
iam Meek succeeding Judge Newton in 1831. Hart L. Stewart 
took his seat on the bench with Judges Meek and Sturgis at the 
December term of 1832, and in 1836 Judge Sturgis and Charles 
B. Fitch were elected. Melancthon Judson and Isaac B. Dunkin 
were elected the associates of the circuit judge, in 1840, and Judge 
Judson and James Parker were his seconds in 1844. In 1845 
Nathan Osbom was chosen to fill a vacancy, and in 1846 Judge 
Osbom was elected to preside over the new county court, with 
Chauncey May ss second judge. In 1847 Cyrus Schellhous was 
elected second judge, being re-elected in 1850, when William 
Savier was elected to the county judgeship. This was the last 
election of associate judges, the circuit court commissioners tak- 
ing their place. As stated, the county court was finally abolished 
in 1853. 

Judge Osborn. 

Hon. Nathan Osborn, who, in 1845-6, served as a connecting 
link between the old circuit and the new county court, was a man 
of note in the early progress of St. Joseph county. He was a native 
of New York and was a man of versatile, but practical accom- 
plishments, before he settled in the county. First educated in the 
fundamentals in the district schools of Catskill, New York, later 
he mastered surveying, under Surveyor General Campbell, of 


Otsego county; then he engaged in the manufacture of woolen 
goods for several years, and finally read law in the offices of 
James Brackett, of Cherry Valley, and Judge Baldwin, of Hornells- 
ville. He was admitted to the bar of Steuben county in 1836, and 
two years afterward moved to St. Joseph county with his father, 
Rev. Enos Osbom, a Methodist minister, who, although then in 
his sixty-fifth year, preached several years afterward and lived 
in the county for four decades. Judge Osbom first settled on 
section 16, Florence township, and devoted several years to in- 
dustrious and careful farming. He moved to Park township, in 
1842, and in the same year was elected county surveyor. As 
stated, his judicial service commenced in 1845, and ended in the 
following year. Judge Osborn never practiced his profession in 
St. Joseph county, but was widely known for his interest in 
county affairs and as an ardent Jacksonian Democrat. He was 
twice married, James D., one of his sons by the first union, be- 
coming a leading lawyer of Goshen, Indiana, and a circuit judge 
of that state. 

Probate Court Judges. 

The judges of the probate court of St. Joseph county have 
been as follows : Dr. Hubbel Loomis, January, 1830, to May, 1833 ; 
John S. Barry, 1833-5; Digby Y. Bell, 1835-6; William Connor, 
1836-7; Dr. Cyrus Ingerson, 1837-44 (until his death) ; Benjamin 
Osgood, 1844-57 ; Charles L. Miller, 1857-61 ; J. Eastman Johnson, 
1861-72 ; William H. Cross, January 1, 1872, to January 1, 1885 ; 
David M. Bateman, January 1, 1885, to January 1, 1901; C. A. 
Dockstader, January 1, 1901, to January 1, 1905; Wilbur F. 
Thomas since January 1, 1905. 

Judge Barry. 

Hon. John S. Barry, the second probate judge of St. Joseph 
county, was elected governor of Michigan five years after his 
term expired, and was re-elected in 1843 and 1847. When called 
to the gubernatorial chair he was a state senator, and had been 
state treasurer. His great work as governor was in establishing 
the finances of the state on a sound basis ; he found them as un- 
stable as can be conceived, except by those of the veteran genera- 
tion who have had experience in the Wild Cat banking and cur- 
rency of those days. Governor Barry lived in Constantine from 


1835 until the day of his death, January 14, 1870. A lawyer by 
profession, he never was active in practice, but engaged with 
credit and success in mercantile pursuits. 

It is said of him, that when he was state treasurer, he caused 
the state capitol grounds to be mowed, and the grass cured for 
hay, and that the crop was sold for $3.65 and the money turned 
into the state treasury. This story was circulated over the state 
and did much toward making him governor. Another story has 
been told of him, and it was this '*that he was so close that when 
traveling he always took a seat in the rear car (and in the last 
seat) so as to keep his money as long as possible.'' 

Judge Cross. 

There is no doubt as to the firm and warm place which Judge 
William H. Cross held in the minds and hearts of the lawyers, 
widows and orphans who resorted to the probate court from the 
early seventies to the early eighties. He came of patriotic Irish 
stock, his parents settling in Newburg, Orange county. New York, 
where his elder brother, Robert J., was born in 1804. The family 
moved to Bethel, Sullivan county, in 1806, and William H. was 
born there in the following year. In 1824 the father died in 
Canada, and in the following year the family was disrupted, the 
two sons locating on a farm near Tecumseh, Michigan, in 1826. 
For a year and a half their cabin stood alone on the banks of the 
Raisin river. In 1829, William Cross hauled a load of goods to 
Mottville, consigned to the old trader, Elias Taylor. This load, 
hauled by two yoke of oxen, consisted mostly of wet goods 
(whiskey), and the view which Brother William obtained of 
Sturgis and White Pigeon prairies was so enticing that he in- 
duced Brother Robert to sell his share of their lands on the Raisin. 
In September, 1830, they selected farms near the present Cold- 
water, Branch county, and they put up various log cabins, which 
they shared in bachelor style until Judge Cross's marriage in 
1832. He ser\red in the Black Hawk war, and both brothers sold 
their farms in 1835, Robert going to Illinois and William con- 
tinuing to reside at Coldwater. There, as well as at Hillsdale, he 
engaged in mercantile pursuits; was a railroad and a canal con- 
tractor, and in 1845 moved to Leonidas, St. Joseph county, again 
engaging in mercantile trade. He built the first dam ever thrown 
across the St. Joseph river in Michigan, during 1847, and from 


1851 to 1858 made futile attempts to wrest a fortune from the 
California mines. Judge Cross had served as supervisor for five 
years before leaving for the Pacific coast, and after his return 
was elected to the same position. Subsequently he entered the 
employ of the general government and was also in railway serv- 
ice, the discharge of these duties occupying his time until he was 
first chosen to the probate judgeship, in 1872. 

The warm and manly traits which characterized Judge Cross 
on the probate bench are well remembered by the writer and are 
described in the following : * ^ The tender and sympathizing nature 
of Judge Cross eminently fit him for the discharge of the delicate 
and arduous duties of his position, which brings him in contact 
with the widow and orphan, and charges him with the settlement 
of their estates and interests ; and it is currently stated that Judge 
Cross' tribunal is less a court for legal adjudication than an arbi- 
tration for the reconcilement of differences and difficulties be- 
tween heirs. His success in that direction is most satisfactory to 
the parties who appear before him, as well as to himself. 

**A single incident will illustrate his manner of dealing with 
questions, for which, by a technical construction, there is no 
warrant in law. A lady dying, expressed a wish that a small 
portion of her estate might be appropriated by her administrator 
for a certain object, but left no will or written instructions to 
that effect. When the estate was settled, the administrator asked 
Judge Cross what he ought to do in the premises. The judge 
quietly said, *What would you wish to have done if you were in 
her position and she in yours T ^Why, I should want my wishes 
carried out, ' replied the administrator. ^ Then, as you would have 
others do for you, so do you do for her,' responded the judge; 
and the matter was ended. His decisions, however, are good ; for, 
with a single exception, not one of them has ever been reversed 
on appeal to the circuit or supreme court.'' 

PioisTEER Probate Matters. 

Five months after St. Joseph county was organized, Judge 
Loomis held its first court of record at the office of the register of 
probate, John W. Anderson, in White Pigeon village, Friday, 
March 26, 1830. It is known that this was the date, because there 
is still extant a record showing that at that date the probate court 
granted letters of administration to Elizabeth Thurston, on the 


estate of Amos Cornor, deceased, of whom she was formerly the 
widow. This first paper to be recorded in the judicial annals of 
the county reads as follows : 

Territory of Michigan, County of St. Joseph. — By the 
Hon. Hubbel Loomis Esq Judge of the Probate of Wills and for 
granting Letters of Administration on the estate of persons de- 
ceased, having goods, chattels, rights or credits in the county of 
St. Joseph within the territory aforesaid 

To Elizabeth Thurston, 

of the county aforesaid, Greeting 

Whereas Amos Cornor of sd county deceased had while he 
lived & at the time of his decease goods, chattels, rights, or credits 
in the county aforesaid, lately died intestate whereby the power 
of committing administration and full disposition of all and sin- 
gular the goods, chattels & credits of the sd deceased and also the 
hearing examining & allowing the account of such administration 
doth appertain unto me 

Trusting therefore in your care and fidelity I do by these 
presents commit unto you full power to administer all and singu- 
lar the goods, chattels, rights and credits of the sd Deceased, and 
well and faithfully to dispose of the same according to law, & also 
to ask gather Levy recover & receive all and whatsoever, credits 
of the sd Dec which to him while he lived and at the time of his 
death did appertain and to pay all Debts into which the sd De- 
ceased stood bound so far as his goods, chattels, rights & credits 
did extend according to the value thereof 

And to make a true and perfect inventory of all and singular 
the goods chattels, rights & credits and to exhibit the same into 
the Eegistry of the court of probate for the county aforesaid at 
or before the twenty six day of June next insuing and to render 
a plain and true account of your sd Administration upon oath at 
or before the twenty six day of March in the year of our Lord one 
Thousand eight Hundred and Thirty one 

And I do hereby ordain, constitute and appoint you Admin- 
istratrix of all and singular the goods, chattels rights and credits 

In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal 
of the sd court of probate Dated at White Pigeon the twenty six 
day of March in the year of our lord one Thousand eight hundred 
and Thirty 


John W. Anderson Judge of Probate 

Attest Register of Probate 


Territory of Michigan, County of St. Joseph. — Office of 
the Register of Probate, White Pigeon, March 26, 1830 

Received for record March 26, 1830, at 11 o'clock A M and 
Recorded in Liber A Page 

John W. Anderson, Regr 
of Probate 
County of St. Joseph Ty of M. 

On the 23rd of August, 1830, the first will was presented for 
probate in the county (that of John Baumdee), and it was proven 
and admitted to record September 6th, Hart L. Stewart, Abraham 
Reichart and John Baer being appointed appraisers of the estate. 

First Regular Court Room. 

The seat of justice was located at Centerville in 1831, but the 
first probate court was not held at the county seat until October 
24, 1834, when orders were entered in the estates of William John- 
son, Robinson S. Hazard, Amos Cornor, Rufus Downing and Am- 
brose S'. Weeks. Judge Barry, who presided over the probate 
court until the following May, held his sessions alternately at 
Centerville and White Pigeon. On May 24, 1832, the legislative 
council had ordered the courts of the county to be held at the 
academy in White Pigeon, or other place in the village, until 
suitable quarters could be provided at the county seat. It is said 
that after Governor Porter issued his proclamation (January, 
1833) directing the courts to be held at ''the court house at the 
county seat'' that the new officials were thrown somewhat into a 
panic. They at once leased the upper room of the only frame 
building in Centerville, on the northwest corner of Main and 
Clark streets. It was twenty by thirty feet, had been built by 
Thomas W. Langley in 1832, and was afterward purchased by 
the county ; about ten years later, after the county had completed 
the court house in the public square, the old court room was occu- 
pied by a grange. It was in this little room that the first probate 
court held at the county seat commenced its session in October, 

The Old County Court. 

The old county court of St. Joseph county had a rather un- 
eventful career of a little over two years — from December, 1830, 
to the winter of 1832-3. Its first term was held at White Pigeon 


(Savery's tavern) and commenced December 7, 1830, with Luther 
Newton and John Sturgis occupying the bench; D. Page, clerk; 
Daniel Murray, crier; Jesse Baum, bailiff. The grand jury im- 
paneled comprised Hart L. Stewart, foreman; Ephraim Bears, 
Sylvester Brockway, W. W. Bliss, Jason Thurston, Blakeley 
Thurston, Alanson C. Stewart, I. J. UUman, William Hunter, 
Philander Paine, Nathaniel Syas, Joshua Gale, William Thomas, 
John McNeal, William Meek, Daniel Lyon, Jr., William C. Knaggs, 
William Stevens and Henry M. Paine. The day during which 
they were in session resulted in the indictment of John Knapp 
for shooting a mare, property of Frederick Sedorus. 

Court again convened June 7, 1831, at the same place and 
with the same judges presiding, but adjourned to the White 
Pigeon Academy, which was considered a more desirable meet-, 
ing place. The mare stealing case was continued, as John Knapp, 
the defendant, had not been able to haul Into court one of his 
most material witnesses; but as he was not able to furnish the 
required bail of $350 in twenty minutes, the case against him was 
tried by jury and he was found guilty. Knapp 's punishment was 
a fine of twenty dollars and costs, to be paid into the county 
treasury, and one hundred and eighty dollars, to the owner of 
the mare (treble her value), the defendant to stand committed 
until the fine was paid. In those days, to steal or kill a horse 
was considered one of the rankest crimes on the calendar, and 
justice was prompt and, in the eyes of today, rather severe; but 
if one can place himself in an imaginary wilderness, bereft of all 
means of transportation and relief except his horse, it is not diffi- 
cult to realize what the possession of that animal would mean to 

At the same term of court which dealt with the mare killer 
in such a prompt and summary manner, ferry rates were estab- 
lished for the grand traverse of the St. Joseph river (Mottville), 
and a county seal adopted with the following device : A sheaf of 
wheat, a sheep (merino) and a pair of scales. 

The third term of the county court was held by Judges Meek 
and Sturgis at the White Pigeon Academy, with John W. Ander- 
son as foreman of the grand jury. As the credentials of Rev. 
Reuben Sears, Presbyterian minister, were satisfactory, he was 
allowed to celebrate marriages within St. Joseph county, accord- 
ing to the laws of the territory. And this was about all that was 
done, the weather being so severe that most of the jurors im- 


paneled could not reach court. In the June term of 1832, a num- 
ber of new settlers applied for naturalization papers, and in 
December Hart S. Stewart took his seat with Judges Meek and 
Sturgis, constituting a full bench. Eight delinquent jurors were 
ordered to purge themselves of contempt at the next term of 
court (having failed to appear), but were not obliged to bring 
their excuses as the court was abolished in the following winter. 

First Lawyer Admitted to Bar. 

Savery's tavern was also the scene of meeting of the first cir- 
cuit court which assembled August 17, 1830, with the following 
present: Hon. William Woodbridge, circuit judge; Henry Chip- 
man, associate; E. B. Sherman, district attorney; D. Page, clerk; 
Daniel Murray, crier, and David Winchell, bailiff. Neal McGaf- 
fey was admitted to practice at the first attorney to be thus hon- 
ored in the county, a grand jury was impaneled, and William 
Johnson, of Berkshire, England, renounced his fealty to William 
IV and was the first foreign bom resident to be admitted to Amer- 
ican citizenship in St. Joseph county. 

Judges Woodbridge and Sibley held the next term of court, 
at Savery's tavern, the session commencing August 16, 1831. 
John Knapp, who was indicted at the first term for assault and 
battery, was fined twenty dollars and costs. Clearly, he was a bad 
citizen; he had already been more heavily fined, in the county 
court, for killing a mare. The earliest sessions of the courts held 
in St. Joseph county are therefore somewhat indebted to Mr. 
Knapp for business. Defaulting jurors were also cited to appear 
at the next term and show cause why they should not be pun- 
ished for contempt. Every lawyer and judge of today knows that 
it is comparatively easy to escape jury service ; but Yesterday, in 
the far western wildernesses of the early thirties, the excuses for 
non-attendance were usually valid, and there is yet to be cited a 
case in which the pioneer did not readily * Spurge himself of con- 

The third term of the circuit court was held at the White Pig- 
eon Academy, by Judges Sibley and Morell, in August, 1832, and 
Columbia Lancaster was sworn in a^ the new district attorney 
and the following admitted to practice: Cyrus Lovell, John S. 
Barry, Cogswell E. Green and Alexander H. Redfield. The ex- 
amining committee consisted of Messrs. E. B. Sherman, William 


H. Welch and L. I. Daniels. Two cases of assault and battery were 
disposed of, by the assessment of costs against the defendants. 

The fourth term of the circuit court was held in the tempo- 
rary court house at Centerville, after the abolishment of the county 
court (whose functions had been assumed). William A. Fletcher, 
the circuit judge, had as his associate, William Meek and Hart 
L. Stewart, formerly of the county court. The session convened 
October 24, 1833, with Isaac W. Willard, clerk, Isaac I. Ulman, 
foreman of grand jury, and E. Taylor, sheriff. A synopsis of the 
proceedings shows the following: Five suits dismissed, one con- 
tinued and one nolle prossed; rules of practice and pleadings 
adopted ; George Woodward, a Yorkshireman, admitted to citizen- 
ship; two judgments rendered by default for $384.85; and Isaac 
O. Adams obtained an order for sale of certain live-stock and 
produce belonging to Frederick Tobey, upon which he had levied 
on attachment. 

First Divorce Case. 

Nothing of especial interest occurred at the April term of 
1834, but at the October term was presented the first prayer for 
divorce ever considered by the courts of the county. Aurora Amu- 
let charged desertion against David B., and through the court 
which met in the following April she was enabled to legally re- 
sume her maiden name. A number of citizens of St. Joseph 
county were convicted of selling liquor to Pottawatomie Indians 
in the October term of 1835, and in 1837 the docket of the circuit 
court commenced to show some of the effects of the prevailing 
Wild Cat currency. At the October term of that 3^ear the first of 
the innumerable bank suits appeared. It also appears that 
Charles E. Harrison and Jonathan Vickers of St. Joseph county 
had been taken with counterfeit money in their possession, and 
that Prosecuting Attorney Lancaster was eager to bring their 
cases to trial. That official was so eager that he asked the court 
to order Sheriff Trumbull to produce the bodies of Messrs. Harri- 
son and Vickers instantly in court, or be fined $100 and $200, re- 
spectively. But Judge Ransom declined to enter the rule, on the 
ground that it would be too peremptory ; whereupon, the prosecu- 
tor declined any further service for that term and J. Eastman 
Johnson was appointed in his stead. At the next term Mr. John- 
son appeared as the regular appointee. 

Ever since the final discontinuance of the County court, in 
1853, the Circuit court has been the great trial body of St. Joseph 


county, and divides with the Probate court its importance as a 
court of record. Its working machinery is in the hands of the cir- 
cuit judge and two commissioners. 

Personnel op Pioneer Lawyers. 

The commencement of the history of St. Joseph ^s bar has al- 
ready been recorded in the admission of Neal McGaffey, of White 
Pigeon, to practice in its courts. His name was entered upon the 
roll on August 17, 1830 — on the first day of the first term of the 
circuit court — and he was admitted to the bar on motion of E. B. 
Sherman, prosecuting attorney; being sworn in as an attorney 
and ''solicitor in chancery^' by William Woodbridge, presiding 
judge of the circuit. 

On the 7th of June, 1831, Mr. McGaffey made a motion before 
the county court that Columbia Lancaster be admitted to practice ; 
and he was without opposition. Lancaster first appeared at the 
August term of the circuit court, 1832, as prosecuting attorney, 
and it has been seen how his eagerness to press the counterfeiting 
cases, in 1837, rather outran his discretion. But, from all accounts, 
he was among the ablest of the early lawyers. After practicing 
for more than a quarter of a century in St. Joseph county, he went 
to Oregon, where he attained high eminence at the bar and as at- 
torney general of the state. McGaffey, the pineer of St. Joseph's 
attorneys, also practiced for many years in the county and after- 
ward made a good record in Texas. 

As has been stated, the next lawyers to be admitted to the 
bar of St. Joseph county were Cyrus Lovell, John S. Barry, Cogs- 
well K. Green and Alexander H. Redfield; date and place, Au- 
gust term, 1832, of the circuit court. 

Charles H. Stewart, of Centerville, was also a prominent law- 
yer of the thirties, afterward going to Detroit, where he continued 
to extend his good record as a chancery practitioner. 

George H. Palmer was a Constantine lawyer of 1835. 

J. Eastman Johnson was admitted in April, 1837, and con- 
tinued to practice for more than forty years, both as lawyer and 
magistrate, or until he was a venerable, white-haired old gentle- 
man — but still the same earnest, honorable member of the pro- 
fession, and a thorn in the sides of all evil doers. 

In September, 1838, W. C. Montrose was admitted to the bar 
before the circuit court, and in 1839 Chester Gumey and Nathan 


Osborn joined the profession through the same medium. Before 
coming to Michigan Mr. Osborn was a practicing lawyer in Steu- 
ben county, New York, and after making a good professional 
record in this county moved to Marcellus, Cass county. 

In 1840 Horace Mower, Nathaniel Balch and Aaron E. Wait 
were added to the attorneys of St. Joseph county, Mr. Balch sub- 
sequently moving to Kalamazoo, this state, and Mr. Wait to Ore- 
gon. Mr. Balch was a fighter and for many years was employed 
in nearly every important case tried in the county. 

In the early forties Hon. H. H. Riley commenced practice at 
Constantine, as well as Judge S. C. Coffinberry at the same place. 
Mr. Riley was one of the best trial lawyers and came to be known 
as the father of the St. Joseph county bar. He was not only learned 
in the law, but he had tact and was a gentleman and he was honest 
and worthy. 

William C. Pease and Edward Flint were admitted to the bar 
in 1841 ; Hiram Draper and James C. Wood, in 1844, and Elisha 
Stevens, in 1845. 

S. C. Coffinberry was an orator, a good advocate at times, and 
attained distinction in this way rather than by his knowledge of 
the law. 

E. B. Turner located at Centerville about 1847, and was the 
first prosecuting attorney of the county, his election being under 
the constitution of 1850. At a later date he moved to Texas, 
where he became attorney general of the state and a leader of the 

Perrin M. Smith, afterward judge of the circuit, was admit- 
ted in 1849, and George W. Hadden and William L. Stoughton in 
1850. The last named who went from Sturgis as lieutenant col- 
onel of the Eleventh Michigan, at the outbreak of the Civil war, 
lost a leg at Atlanta, earned a brigadier generalship by his brav- 
ery, and after his discharge was elected attorney general of the 
state and later to congress for two terms from the St. Joseph dis- 

In November, 1851, Orange Jacobs, John C. Bishop and J. W. 
Flanders were admitted. Mr. Jacobs was afterward chief justice 
of Washington territory and its delegate to congress for two terms. 
Mr. Flanders was long one of the leading members of the county 
bar, at Sturgis, and his son, John S. Flanders, continues to up- 
hold the professional name of the family, though principally en- 
gaged in publishing a newspaper. 


The year 1856 brought John B. Shipman, Edward P. Wait, 
James H. Lyon, John H. Baker and William Sadler into the pro- 
fessional fold of the county. Mr. Shipman moved to Coldwater 
after a time and attained high standing as a lawyer and became 
circuit judge ; has been the nominee of his party at times for su- 
preme court justice and he would have made a good one had he 
been elected. 

Messrs. Lyon and Sadler continued to practice before the St. 
Joseph bar for many years after. Mr. Sadler became prosecuting 
attorney for the county January 1, 1860, and served his term. 

In 1857, A. E. Hewit and Gilbert R. Shays were added to the 
St. Joseph county attorneys; Paul J. Eaton, the wit of the bar, 
and William Allison and Samuel Chadwick came in 1858; Alson 
Bailey, Oscar Waters and Germain H. Mason in 1859, and Henry 
F. Severens in 1860. 

Judge Severens. 

Judge Severens was elected prosecuting attorney in 1862 
and served from January 1, 1863, to January 3, 1865. He also 
served as United States judge for the western district of Michi- 
gan from May, 1886, to March, 1900, and since the latter date 
has been one of the four United States judges for the 
sixth judicial circuit, which embraces the states of Michigan, 
Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Judge Severens' home is in 
Kalamazoo and there is no more honored or popular member of 
the United States circuit bench than this special representative 
of Michigan's interests in this high court of national jurisdiction. 
Judge Severens was a Vermonter, and after graduating from 
Middlebury college, studied his profession in the office of Henry 
E. Stoughton, United States district attorney of the Green Moun- 
tain state. In about one year after being admitted to the Vermont 
bar, he came to St. Joseph county and settled at Three Kivers. 
He at once became an attorney of the local bar, was elected prose- 
cuting attorney of St. Joseph county, and in February, 1865, 
moved to Kalamazoo. Being a strong Democrat, his politics were 
of the wrong kind to insure him advancement in southern Michi- 
gan, but when he was appointed United States district judge in 
1886 he had attained rank second to none as a practitioner be- 
fore the higher courts. Prior to his regular appointment as 
United States circuit judge, he had temporarily performed the 
duties of that bench by selection of Judges Taft and Lurton, and 


had even been called to preside over the entire circuit, so that his 
final selection as the permanent judge was by no means a matter 
of surprise. 

Talcott C. Carpenter. 

In 1861, the year following Judge Severens ' admission to the 
bar of St. Joseph county, Geron Brown and Talcott C. Carpenter 
knocked at its doors and entered. Mr. Carpenter is still engaged 
in practice at Sturgis, and is the oldest member of the county bar, 
from the standpoint of continuous professional work. He was 
born in Delaware county, New York, in 1835, and when he was 
two years of age his father, Younglove C. Carpenter, brought him 
to the township of Mendon, St. Joseph county, and there he was 
reared on the family homestead. The district schools of Mendon 
and Centerville, the normal school at Ypsilanti and the University 
of Michigan furnished the groundwork of his education previous 
to the commencement of his law studies. He also surveyed some 
and taught some, studied in 1860-1 in the law school of the State 
University, and in the summer of 1861 entered the law office of 
Henry F. Severens, then a struggling lawyer of Three Rivers. A 
few months afterward he moved to S'turgis, having been admitted 
to the bar, and assumed the practice of William L. Stoughton, 
who was then bravely fighting the battles of the Union and ad- 
vancing toward his brigadier-generalship. Mr. Carpenter carried 
along his professional business with great credit until General 
Stoughton returned from the front in 1864, and continued in 
partnership with him until 1866, or until the election of the 
latter as attorney general of the state. This was Mr. Carpenter ^s 
first and only partnership. Since that time he has served as prose- 
cuting attorney of St. Joseph county and circuit court commis- 
sioner, and has held other civil offices outside the professional 
field. He was industrious and took part in many trials. He 
prosecuted vigorously. 

The Civil war period was not fruitful of new members; be- 
sides Messrs. Carpenter and Brown, the list includes only Comfort 
T. Chaffee, in 1863 ; J. J. Crandall and Alfred Akey, in 1864, and 
Gresham P. Doan, in 1865. 

But 1866 yielded three new attorneys to the St. Joseph county 
bar — Frank H. Guion, R. W. Melendy and Edwin W. Keightley — 
of whom two (Messrs. Keightley and Melendy) became judges of 
the circuit court. 


Judge Keightley. 

Judge Keightley has been a resident of Constantine since 
1867. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1865, 
and spent the following two years at White Pigeon. Mr. Keight- 
ley 's first two years in Constantine (1867-9) were spent in part- 
nership with Judge S. C. Coffinberry and in 1872 he was elected 
prosecuting attorney of the county; served as circuit judge from 
1874 to 1876 (succeeding Hon. R. W. Melendy) and during the 
following two years was in congress. With the exception of a 
few years spent in Chicago, Judge Keightley has been a continuous 
and highly respected resident of St. Joseph county since his boy- 

Judge Pealer. 

Russel R. Pealer, who was admitted to the St. Joseph county 
courts in 1867, the year after Judge Keightley, had graduated 
from the Albany Law School. He had been reared and educated 
in Pennsylvania and served three years as a Union volunteer, and 
was promoted from time to time for creditable service in the 
Civil war, and not long before coming to Three Rivers had been 
admitted to the Bloomburg (Pennsylvania) bar. He has been 
in active practice ever since, except when on the bench and has 
served as circuit court commissioner, prosecuting attorney and cir- 
cuit judge in six years, from January 1, 1882, to January 1, 1888 ; 
was elected to the legislature in 1889, and has often been supported 
for higher judicial honors than he has enjoyed. 

Lawyers admitted in 1868 were : Philip Podgham and W. H. 
H. Wilcox; 1869, Walter Littlefield and Oscar L. Cowles; 1870, 
Alfred D. Dunning, Benton S. Hewe and D. Clayton Page ; 1873, 
Charles W. W. Clarke and William H. Howe, and 1874, Bishop 
E. Andrews. Philip Podgham moved to Allegan county where 
he is now a Circuit Judge of distinction. 

The Andrews Family. 

The Andrews family has earned a distinctive place in the 
legal annals of St. Joseph county from the fact that three of its 
members became members of the bar and have been engaged in 
the practice of law — ^father, mother and son. Both Bishop E. 
Andrews, the elder, and E. H. Andrews, the junior, have served 


as prosecuting attorneys of St. Joseph county, and have acquitted 
theinselves with honor and ability both in public and private 
practice. B. E. Andrews has long served as a school director and 
the city is greatly indebted to him for its fine system of public 
education. Lucy Fellows Andrews, the wife of Bishop E. and the 
mother of E. H., was the only lawyer of her sex in St. Joseph 
county, and a woman of talents. She was educated at Three 
Elvers and the school for girls conducted by Mrs. Lucinda H. 
Stone, at Kalamazoo. After she married Mr. Andrews, in 1873, 
she commenced the study of law in his office, with the object of 
assisting him in his practice. Mrs. Andrews was admitted to the 
bar in 1877 and entered into an active professional partnership 
with her husband. She thus assisted him mostly in the care of 
the office for many years, or until their son was old enough to 
become his father's partner. The later years of Mrs. Andrews' 
life were much devoted to delivering public addresses before lit- 
erary and other clubs, and her death, April 6, 1907, removed one of 
the most ambitious ladies in St. Joseph county. 

Attorneys of 1877. 

In 1877 the county bar included the following attorneys: 
Hon. H. H. Riley, Judge S. C. Coffinberry, Hon. E. W. Keightley, 
L. B. French, Constantine; J. W. Flanders, D. E. Thomas, T. C. 
Carpenter, A. B. Dunning and C. W. W. Clarke, Sturgis; James 
H. Lyon, 0. F. Bean, David Knox, Jr., R. R. Pealer, Bishop E. 
Andrews, Henry McClory and N. H. Barnard, Three Rivers; 
Judge J. Eastman Johnson, William Sadler, S. M. Sadler, Alfred 
Akey, P. J. Eaton, Hon. R. W. Melendy, Stillman L. Taylor and 
Charles J. Beerstecher, Centerville; D. Clayton Page, White 
Pigeon; 0. J. Fast and G. P. Doan, Mendon; W. W. Howe and 
0. L. Cowles, Burr Oak, and 0. P. Coffinberry. The latter became 
prosecuting attorney. 

Lawyers of Today. 

In this list of those who were actively practicing a third of a 
century ago appear the names of only half a dozen who are still 
in the professional harness and *' pulling their full share'' — Tal- 
cott C. Carpenter, of Sturgis ; Edwin W. Keightley, of Constantine; 
R. R. Pealer, B. E. Andrews and Oscar F. Bean, of Three Rivers ; 

Vol. T — 20 


and Alfred Akey, of Centerv^ille. Other active members of the 
St. Joseph county bar, besides those already mentioned, are the 
following: Hon. George L. Yaple (present circuit judge), Men- 
don; D. L. Akey (ex-prosecuting attorney). Colon; Theodore T. 
Jacobs (ex-circuit court commissioner) and Prosecuting Attorney, 
Sturgis; George E. Miller (ex-circuit court commissioner and ex- 
city attorney for two terms), Duane D. Arnold (ex-circuit court 
commissioner), Roy J. Wade (ex-prosecuting attorney), H. O. 
Bliss (Three Rivers city attorney), George H. Arnold, ex-prosecut- 
ing attorney, and William H. Wilson, Three Rivers ; H. P. Stewart, 
ex-prosecuting attorney. W. H. Pierce and W. F. Thomas, ex- 
prosecuting attorney, Centerville; F. K. Knowlen, ex-prosecuting 
attorney, Constantine; Benton H. Scoville, Arthur N. Culp and 
James M. Harvey, Jr. (postmaster), Constantine; E. E. Harwood 
and George E. Shank, Mendon; Wallace W. Weatherly, Charles 
A. Sturgis, Jay J. Stanton, ex-prosecuting attorney, P. H. Phillips 
and Elmer D. Smith, Sturgis ; and Andrew M. Graham, Burr Oak. 



Water Power and Manufactories— Manufacture of Paper — 
Old Bowman Flour Mill — Hon. Edward S. Moore — Hon. 
A. C. Prutzman— Home-Coming Pioneer Literature — 
George W. Buck — Arthur Silliman — Sylvester Troy — Al- 
len Wescott — The Richardson Letter— Letter of J. C. 
Morse — Corporation of Three Rivers — Public School Sys- 
tem — Fire Protection and Water Supply — ^Riverside Ceme- 
tery — The Sheffield Car Company — ^R. M. Kellogg Com- 
pany — Three Rivers Robe Tannery — Other Industries — 
First National Bank — State Savings Bank— Building 
AND Loan Association — The Civic League— The Local 
Press — Methodists as Church Pioneers — First Presby- 
terian Church — The Baptist Church — First Reformed 
Church — St. John^s Evangelical Lutheran — The Masonic 
Bodies — The Odd Fellows — ^Knights of Pythias — G. A. R. 
Post— D. A. R. and Mrs. Lucy F. Andrews — M. W. A. and 
Other Societies. 

In the history of Lockport township, the founding of the city 
of Three Rivers and its development up to 1840 have been briefly 
described. The main points in this sketch, as it relates to the city 
itself, were the founding of the village of Moab in 1830, the plat- 
ting of St. Joseph in 1831, and the establishment of the original 
Three Rivers and the village of Lockport in 1836. In 1871 these 
villages, with what was known as ** Canada" on the west side of 
the Rocky river, were consolidated to form the four wards em- 
braced in the present corporation, which was incorporated as a 
city in 1895. 

Water Power and Manufactories. 

Three Rivers, as we know it today, is a thriving city of about 
4,300 people at the junction of the Portage, Rocky and St. Joseph 



rivers (which give the place its name), and at the intersection of 
the north and south line of the Michigan Southern Railway and 
the east and west line of the Michigan Central. Its water-power 
is one of the best in southern Michigan, and consequently Three 
Rivers is not only the leading industrial center of the county, but 
an important manufacturing point in the state at large. 

The Sheffield Car Company, which embraces several large cor- 
porations, takes decided pre-eminence among the industries of 
Three Rivers. Its plants cover forty acres of ground. The Shef- 
field Car Company is one of the largest manufactories in the coun- 
try of what may be called the minor grade of cars — ^minor only in 
size, but very superior in quality. Three Rivers has also flourish- 
ing industries in the lines of knitting works, flour and paper mills, 
fur robe tanneries and furniture factories. Furthermore, the city 
enjoys the distinction of having the largest nursery for the propa- 
gation of strawberry plants in the world. 

The establishment of the early manufactories of Three Rivers 
has been narrated, especially the pioneer work of Jacob Mclnterf er 
and Michael Beadle. In 1839 to 1840 Luther L. Carlton erected 
a woolen factory on the west side of the Rocky river at the end 
of the present bridge and several years later put up a flour mill 
on the Portage river. The latter afterwards came into the pos- 
session of Philip Hoffman and John H. Bowman and was burned 
in 1851. 

In 1851 the Lockport Hydraulic Company constructed a dam 
across the St. Joseph river, added a large race, and thus decidedly 
increased the water power available at Three Rivers. 

Roberts Wheel and Car Company. 

The first use of the water power thus created was made by 
J. B. Millard and George Troy who built a furnace on the site 
of the large works afterwards erected by Roberts and Cox. In 
1855 that firm assumed ownership of the furnace, which by this 
time had reached the proportions of an extensive iron manufact- 
ory. This, in turn, formed the basis of the great business so long 
conducted by the Roberts Wheel and Car Company and later ab- 
sorbed by the Sheffield Car Company. 

Manufacture of Paper. 

For more than fifty years, Three Rivers has made a specialty 
of the manufacture of paper. The first paper mill was built in 



1853 by Shaler, Becker & White and was known as the ''Rosette.'' 
The enterprise was conducted many years by J. W. French and 
was afterwards incorporated by him under the name of ''Three 
Rivers Pulp Company.'' The present representative of this line 
of industry is the Eddy Paper Company, incorporated at $85,000 
and of which Henry D. Eddy is president. 

Another large industry of the earlier times was established 
by the Three Rivers Manufacturing Company (controlled by the 
Swarthouts), their furnace and machine-shops being erected in 

Development of Water Power. 

The immense water power now supplied the large manufact- 
uring plants of Three Rivers, is obtained, of course, from the Port- 

11 i iMli^ 



age. Rocky and St. Joseph rivers. The first two furnish about 
seven hundred horse power and the St. Joseph river much more. 
The first important move made in the creation of the water power 
of the St. Joseph river was in 1836, when George Buck built his 
sawmill on the Lockport side and when L. B. Brown, Edward 
Pierson and Benjamin Sherman formed the St. Joseph Canal and 
Lockport Manufacturing Company. Mr. Sherman was the chief 
agent of the company and advertised for proposals to construct a 
dam, a bridge, a canal and a lock at that point on the rivers. The 
panic of 1837 and the hard times which followed put a stop to 


the enterprise, ruined Mr. Sherman and made it necessary for 
Mr. Buck to take back the land which he had donated. This he 
sold to J. B. Millard some years afterward. 

The collapsed enterprise, however, resulted in the forma- 
tion of the Lockport Hydraulic Company in the spring of 1851. 
This corporation was composed of several eastern gentlemen of 
capital, with Joseph B. Millard as its local superintendent and 
manager, and during the year of its formation, the dam and race 
on the St. Joseph river were completed. As already stated, the 
first use of this water power was made by Millard & Troy in the 
operation of their furnace on the present site of the Roberts 
Wheel and Car Works. The present great power of the St. 
Joseph river is distributed by means of a large mill race which 
runs across the Second ward of the city. 

The Old Bowman Flour MhjL. 

In 1845 Luther Carlton commenced the erection of a flour- 
mill on the Portage river. It was subsequently completed by 
J. B. Millard and William Hutchinson, who afterwards disposed 
of the plant and the business to Philip H. Hoffman and John H. 
Bowman. While in the possession of these parties, in the fall of 
1851, it was destroyed by fire, but re-built the following year and 
for long afterward was conducted by Mr. Bowman. The old 
Bowman mill was again burned a few years ago, and a portion 
of its site is now occupied by the Three Rivers Power and Elec- 
trical plant. A large portion of the electric power which is used 
by the great Sheffield Car Works is generated by the city plant 
here located. 

Moore & Prutzman. 

No two men who were connected with the industrial and 
commercial founding of Three Rivers accomplished more than 
Hon. Edward S. Moore and Hon. Abraham C. Prutzman. As a 
firm, they first opened a branch store at Three Rivers in October, 
1836, and located personally in 1838, at which time they began 
the business of shipping flour down the St. Joseph River on the 
so-called *'arks.'' As they built their own boats, they were able 
to conduct this business with considerable profit until the railroad 
reached Niles in 1849. As the river intercepted the road at this 
point, their operations were even facilitated, and in 1853, when 


the Michigan Southern line was extended from the south to Con- 
stantine and Three Rivers, they continued their business with 
even greater profit until they were able to make their shipments 
entirely by rail. 

Hon. Edward S. Moore. 

Mr. Moore was especially prominent in obtaining for Three 
Rivers complete railroad connections through the Michigan 
Southern and the Michigan Central. In 1853 he was president of 
the St. Joseph Valley Railroad Company, and it was largely 
through his labors and strong personal influence that an arrange- 
ment was made by the Michigan Southern to build a spur of its 
main line from White Pigeon, north, to Constantine and Three 
Rivers. The main line had been constructed through the south- 
ern part of the county two years before. The charter of the 
Michigan Southern making it impossible for that corporation to 
constructed a line nearer than three miles from the northern 
boundary of Indiana, but by taking advantage of the St. Joseph 
valley charter, a road was built from the Indiana state line 
directly north, to Three Rivers and through St. Joseph county. 

When first built, the road to Three Rivers was laid with strap 
rail. After this had been used for a few years, it was worn out 
and the line threatened to fall into complete disuse, when Mr. 
Moore again came to the rescue and raised money to replace the 
worn out strap rails with the modern ^^T'' rail. The road was 
also extended to Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. 

In the reconstruction of this branch of the Michigan South- 
ern road, which occurred mainly in 1864, Three Rivers and the 
township of Lockport donated $35,000, and such liberal individ- 
uals as Messrs. Moore and Prutzman also made large contribu- 
tions to the building fund. Even when it was first built, they 
gave not only largely of their money, but donated considerable 
tracts of ground for the depot and also did much toward the grad- 
ing of the grounds. Although they were by far the most liberal 
donors to the project, the citizens generally contributed to the 
extent of their means. As an illustration, the right-of-way of 
the road, half way to Constantine, was given by citizens and 
farmers of the township, and when the line was extended north 
the bridge was built mostly by private subscriptions. This is a 
fair illustration of the public spirit which was so early manifested 
in the history of the city and locality. In view of the unusual 


prominence which attaches to the labors and personalities of 
Messrs. Moore and Pratzman, it is but fair that the reader should 
know a little more of their careers and private lives. 

Hon. Edward S. Moore was born in New Jersey, one of ten 
children, and when three years of age was brought by his parents 
to the county of Northumberland, Pennsylvania. As his father 
died when he was five years of age, it became necessary for him 
to be put to work at an early age in order to assist his widowed 
mother in the care of the family. Therefore, when but ten years 
of age, he entered the employ of the county register at Danville, 
Pennsylvania. He afterward learned the tailor's trade, in which 
he was engaged for several years before his marriage in 1824. 
His wife was Mary, a daughter of Joseph Prutzman, who, in turn, 
was a brother of A. C. Prutzman with whom he was engaged in 
various business enterprises for some thirty years. Soon after 
his marriage, Mr. Moore went to Detroit to seek a business loca- 
tion, but when he returned to Pennsylvania, instead of immedi- 
ately moving west, he became contractor (in 1824) on the canals 
which were then being constructed in western Pennsylvania. 
After obtaining several contracts for building dams, locks, and 
bridges on the new improvements, he sold his business to his 
brother Andrew and in the early *' thirties'' engaged in mer- 
chandise at various points in the western part of the state. In 
these enterprises he was associated with his brother Burrows, 
with whom he remained until 1833 when the latter withdrew from 
the firm and removed to Three Rivers, A. C. Prutzman then com- 
ing into the partnership. 

In the fall of 1834, Messrs. Moore and Prutzman packed their 
stock of goods and sent it to the mouth of the St. Joseph river, 
via New York, Buffalo and the Great Lakes. The partners them- 
selves followed (Mr. Moore being accompanied by his family), 
and after six weeks of hard travel they arrived (October 29, 1834) 
on the present site of the city— at that time but a hamlet of half 
a dozen houses. In the meantime, the harbor of St. Joseph had 
been closed by ice and the necessary stock of goods did not arrive 
until the following spring. Mr. Prutzman, then unmarried, 
passed the winter in Prairie Ronde, Kalamazoo county, and in the 
spring the firm built a store at that point which they conducted 
for two years. They then moved permanently to Three Rivers. 
About 1838 the firm rented the Three Rivers flour mill and bought 
it the next year. They continued to operate it, in connection with 


their extensive shipping trade down the river, until 1859, when 
their partnership was dissolved. 

In the meantime, Mr. Moore had become prominent in public 
affairs, having served as a member of the constitutional conven- 
tion of 1850, a regent of the University of Michigan and a state 
senator. In 1864 he helped to organize the First National Bank 
of Three Rivers, and was in every other way a leader in the 
financial and commercial progress of the city, which conclusively 
accounted for the influence which he wielded in bringing Three 
Rivers into complete railroad communication with the outside 

In his more private associations, it may be said that Mr. 
Moore was a stanch Presbyterian, and in 1837, very soon after 
coming to Three Rivers, assisted in the organization of the first 
society of that denomination. He was an active leader therein 
for more than thirty-seven years. His death occurred August 
29, 1876, two years after he had celebrated his golden wedding 
anniversary with the white-haired daughter of Joseph Prutzman. 
Although they had become the parents of but two children, it is 
to their everlasting credit that during their long and busy lives 
they gave happy homes to no less than fifteen orphaned boys and 
girls, ranging from two to twelve years of age. Mr. Moore's 
name is also recorded on the map of St. Joseph county, in the 
station on the line of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern road 
called Moore Park, in the southwestern portion of Park township. 

Hon. a. C. Prutzman. 

Much of the life of Hon. Abraham C. Prutzman has been 
sketched in the above biography of his old-time partner, Edward S. 
Moore. Mr. Prutzman was a Pennsylvanian of evident German de- 
scent and was trained from early boyhood in various mercantile 
lines. After the dissolution of his long partnership with Mr. Moore, 
he associated himself with his sons in various enterprises of a busi- 
ness and manufacturing nature. He retired from active business 
in 1867, having previously become somewhat known as a public 
man from his service of ten years on the State Board of Agri- 
culture and as a member of the Michigan senate, in which he rep- 
resented St. Joseph county for six years. In 1867, the sons men- 
tioned (J. E. and J. P. Prutzman) took over the business of the 
Three Rivers Manufacturing Company. In this they continued 


for a number of years, afterward building their large works on 
the Portage river conducted by the Michigan Pump Company and 
adding the manufacture of plows to their original business. The 
name of Prutzman for three-quarters of a century has therefore 
been identified with the industrial growth of Three Rivers. The 
senior Mr. Prutzman was also as much a leader in the promotion 
of religious and benevolent enterprises, as in the advancement of 
the business and industries of the place, his activities in this re- 
gard being chiefly associated with the Presbyterian church. 

HoME-CoMiNG Pioneer Literature. 

Three Rivers obtained its first railway about two years be- 
fore it became a city and the main facts in connection with its 
history up to this time have already been given. One of the most 
interesting events from a local historical standpoint occurred 
about fifty years after the incorporation of the city — namely, in 
August, 1906 — ^when its citizens celebrated with great enthusiasm 
what has come to be known all over the country as ^* Home-com- 
ing Week.'' Upon this occasion, letters were read to the com- 
mittee who had the celebration in charge from many old settlers 
who had moved from Three Rivers to various parts of the country, 
and from some who still lived in the locality which had been their 
home from a half to three-quarters of a century. One of the 
most prolific contributors to the historical literature of this cele- 
bration was ex-mayor M. H. Bumphrey who wrote among other 
interesting sketches, the following biographies of George W. 
Buck, Arthur Silliman, Sylvester Troy and Allen Wescott. 

George W. Buck. 

George W. Buck, a veteran of the Civil war, came to Three 
Rivers in 1830, with his parents, three brothers and one sister. He 
says: **I was very young, and my first remembrance is of our hotel 
and ferry, now near Mrs. Bucher's residence on Fourth street. Sec- 
ond ward. Father also had a ferry there across the St, Joseph 
river. I think the price was fifty cents for team and a large double 
wagon ; twenty-five cents for single rigs and ten cents for foot pas- 

''The ferry boat, as I recollect it, was fifty feet long and twenty 
feet wide, so as to accommodate two wagons side by side. It was 


towed across by rope, sometimes by hand, but generally with one 
horse. The road on the east bank came down direct from east, 
where the large willow tree now stands on Buck street, and con- 
nected on the west bank with a road that followed the highland, 
coming out near the present Three Rivers House. 

^ ' In time, as the country began to settle, there was a stage road 
running to Kalamazoo. We got our supplies from Mottville or 
Flowerfield. In the winter, if we could not go with horses, we 
could follow the river on foot or with canoes. 

''The first regular burying ground was on Eighth street, Sec- 
ond ward, near Broadway. My father, a brother and a sister 
were buried there, but later removed to Riverside and I think there 
are bodies there yet which have not been removed. 

' ' There were three camps of Indians near Three Rivers. They 
came to our house quite often. They would gather there, dance 
all night, and in the morning go about their business. We never 
locked the house. The Indians would come at night, stir up the 
fire, sit around, chat and smoke, and when they got ready to lie 
down, would say to me 'White pappoose go to bed,' then they 
would roll up in their blankets, lie down on the floor and at day- 
break be up and gone. They liked potatoes and pork, and were 
eager to exchange venison, maple sugar or berries for anything we 
raised. ' ' 

Arthur SilijIMAn. 

Arthur Silliman, one of the older pioneer residents, was bom 
in White Deer Valley, Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, in 1831. 
In 1861 he married Mary E. Stoufer, who is also one of the pioneer 
settlers, coming with her father, William Stoufer, in 1846 from Co- 
lumbia county, Pennsylvania, and settling in Park township. 

In 1847 Arthur Silliman 's father, Alexander, with his family 
of eleven, accompanied by Edwin Carrier and John Foresman, came 
in wagons from Lycoming county to Michigan, stopping for a few 
months at Dorr Prairie, Indiana. Mr. Silliman says that when they 
arrived in Three Rivers they found quite a little settlement of 
houses in a fine timber land — oak, hickory, quaking aspen — and 
with very little underbrush. Game was very plentiful — deer, wild 
hogs, turkeys, geese, squirrel and quantities of wild pigeon. 

In the early fifties the Silliman brothers — James and Samuel — 
established a pump factory in the Third ward, where the water 
works building now stands. 


Hibbs & Bannan were the general blacksmiths and Mr. Petit 
the wagon maker. Mr. Silliman learned blacksmithing of Boyer & 
White in 1849 and worked in Three Rivers at his trade in 1856 ; in 
1857 he opened a shop where the Avery residence now stands on 
Portage avenue ; then, as soon as his own building was completed, 
moved to the frame building which is now at the rear of the Cen- 
tral House, but at that time stood at the corner where the main part 
of the hotel now stands. Then it was the top of a high sandhill. A 
narrow road ran in front of the shop and the sandhill was after- 
ward graded down to widen the road into what is now St. Joe 
street; though many loads of sand went into the mortar used in the 
Methodist Episcopal church and other brick buildings. 

One of the oldest landmarks now remaining in Three Rivers 
is the old warehouse standing on the bank of the St. Joseph river 
between the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad bridge and 
the St. Joseph street bridge. It was owned by Moore and Prutz- 
man and many are the stories told concerning shipments of grain 
' ^ arked ' ' from this point. 

Among the old Silliman papers is the record of 1848 ; — an ac- 
count with Moore and Prutzman for ''arking'' 1,100 bushels of 
wheat at fifteen cents per bushel, the wheat netting the growers 
fifty cents per bushel. 

Mr. Silliman is a most enthusiastic Mason, having joined that 
order in 1859. Among the men then active in the lodge were Ezra 
Cole, Herman Cole, J. A. Kline, Sterling Harding, George Gillis- 
pie, Norman Hoisington, AY. C. Brokaw, A. C. Thiel, Joe Hile, R. 
E. Case, T. M. Clark, David Bateman, Peter Bell, J. C. Morse, John 
Cowling, D. S. Mead, Peter Colver, Norman Cole, L. T. Wilcox, I. 
C. Bassett, W. M. Griffiths, Reed M. Boutwell, J. B. Handy, Dr. 
Sidney Herrick, Dr. Sill and many others. 

Sylvester Troy. 

Mr. Troy came to Michigan in 1835, from Erie county, Penn- 
sylvania, to Three Rivers. He says (so writes Mr. Bumphrey for 
the Home Coming) : ''I came with father and mother— seven in our 
family — and we came through alone, and were about three weeks 
on the road. I was small, but I recollect something of it. There 
were but few houses here. I was seventeen years of age and came to 
learn the millwright trade with J. B. Millard. There were no 
worked roads except the Chicago turnpike and the stage road from 
Nottawa down through Florence. The others were just trails. 


' ' The first brick building was put up by Monroe H. Spencer & 
Co., and then James Kelsey built one just north of it. My brother, 
George, built the first shop in the Second ward, on what is now 
known as the Roberts & Throp company plant. He built it for a 
foundry, and first made plows there. The building is now torn 
down. I made the wooden beams for the plows. My brother 
George and I had the contract for building the first dam on the St. 
Joseph river in 1851. It took all summer to build it and the origi- 
nal foundation is there yet. It was built of logs, brush and dirt. 
We built it for parties in the east for whom J. B. Millard was 
agent. ' ' 

Allen Wescott. 

Allen Wescott, seventy-five years of age, who early in Civil war 
enlisted in Company G, Twenty-fifth Michigan Infantry, and who 
has resided in Three Rivers almost continually since coming in 1836, 
says: ''We came from Onondaga County, New York, in 1836. 
There were four in my grandfather's family and seven in my 
father's. My grandfather came here in the spring of that year and 
located 160 acres of land on section 27, east of Three Rivers. He 
made the round trip on horseback alone. 

We came overland in wagons through Canada, leaving New 
York in October, and crossing on a ferry boat at Detroit. There 
were two or three dozen people here, and only three houses and 
a gristmill in what is now know^n as First ward — tw^o on the east 
side of St. Joseph street and one on the west side near where 
Null block now stands. The mill was on the site of the Emory 
mill. The houses in the First ward were frame. There were no 
roads— just trails — the trees being blazed, and no roads chopped 
out. Supplies usually came from Detroit by wagon, and at Cen- 
terville there was a little trading post. 

There were neither schoolhouses nor churches, but schools 
and meetings held in private houses. There w^ere a good many 
Indians, friendly and all right, except when intoxicated; plenty 
of game of all kinds, including bear, deer and turkeys.'' 

Of the interesting and welcome letters which came from old 
pioneers who were residing in other states w^ere the following 
from O. W. Richardson and J. C. Morse : 


The Richardson Letter. 
[To E. G. Tucker.] 

'* Chicago, Dec. 13, 1906— My Dear Friend:— I often think of 
the Royal good time I had at the Home-Coming Carnival at Three 
Rivers, week of August 20th. To you and the many other good 
friends there are due abundant thanks for your indefatigable 
energy and good judgment in organizing such a delightful coming 
together of friends of former years and of our childhood. Such 
friends seem a part of our very life. 

* ^ While I have traveled over a large part of the world, I have 
had no keener pleasure than while I was meeting the friends of 
my boyhood while there. I was delighted to find Three Rivers 
so much improved since I moved away from there forty-two years 
ago. Many of the charming big shade trees lining both sides of 
many of the streets were not planted then. There was no bridge 
across the Rocky in town above the dam, and only one bridge 
over the Portage ; and the old red bridge, that an elephant broke 
through of P. T. Barnum's show once, was the only one ever over 
the St. Joe. 

''Lockport was small, and Portage not thought of. The old 
strap rail line from Three Rivers to White Pigeon was the rail- 
road outlet to the outer world. 

*'The old curiosities displayed in the old Hatch house made 
me think of the common things in use then that we see so little 
of now-a-days. The doctors pulled our teeth with that tortuous 
instrument, the turnkeys (no dentists) and they bled the sick 
copiously. A coal stove was unknown there, but our houses were 
heated with large wood-stoves that would burn large knots of 
oak wood, and we thought it wonderful to have a stove keep fire 
all night. To light our houses we had fish-oil lamps, fluid lamps, 
and candles; kerosene was just being introduced at one dollar 
per gallon. 

' ' The ladies wore large hoop skirts, made of old hoops, whale- 
bone, rattan, or old hoops sewed in skirts. The shaker bonnets 
were worn ; the girls wore pantalets and the boys long pants. The 
men wore high collars and stocks, and Barndoor pants and home- 
knit stockings. Our beds of straw and feathers were put on 
ropes crossed and recrossed on the bed frames. We ate with 
knives and 2-tined steel forks. Our guns were flint lock and 


percussion cap. Our skates were all wooden tops. Our pride 
was to wear red top boots, with our pants tucked in them. 

''Our carpets and rugs were made mostly of our old rags. 
Blacksmiths made their own horseshoe nails, and the round wire 
nails that we use now, almost entirely, were hardly ever seen. 
No bed-springs, no automobiles, or rubber-tired carriages, no tel- 
ephones, and still we were as happy as we were now. 

''But I missed many of the boys and girls of my day. I 
hoped more of them that were yet alive would be there. For in- 
stance : John Prutzman, Tom Snyder, Maggie Prutzman, Cyrus 
Pierce, Charley Tucker, Will La Suer, Burt M. Hicks, Chas. 
Bassett, Colonel Hicks, Gus Flint, Addison Crossett, Darius 
Throp, Elizabeth Jones, Laura Hiles, Noame Gordon, Burt Chad- 
wick, Fletcher Bateman, Dan Eagery, Wm. Henry Payne, and 
many others I cannot recall just now. It always gives me great 
pleasure to meet old friends. 

"I was impressed with the great crowd of young people that 
were on the streets evenings, and the thought that they had all 
been born since I lived there, and that another generation were 
doing the business of the place made me feel I was surely grow- 
ing old. 

"I must not forget Mrs. Henry Hall, her sister and her son, 
took me to ride in their automobile to dear old Centerville. I 
could only find a very few of the old friends I left there forty 
years ago, but it was a very keen joy to meet them, and to go 
around over the old streets where I used to play, a bare-footed 
little boy. The old town has not changed very much, but it is 
well preserved. I did not get lost there as I did on some of the 
new streets in Three Rivers. 

"The attractive locations to me, in both Three Rivers and 
Centerville, were where I went to school and to Sunday School; 
where I played ball and other games; where I learned to swim, 
and catch fish, skate, etc. ; where the hard work was done in the 
garden and on the wood pile. 

"My visit renewed my youth and boyhood, but now it seems 
like a pleasant dream. My mother, who is now eighty-two, wa^ en- 
thusiastic over the pictures of our homes and the scenes around 
there, which I took, and the description of my most enjoyable visit. 
Three Rivers and Centerville shall always have a warm spot in my 
heart as long as it continues to beat. 


^^ 'Count myself in nothing else so happy 
as in a soul remembering my good friends. 


*'With best wishes for a Happy New Year^ I am^ sincerely yours, 

Orlo W. Eichardson. 
''P. S. I hope you will celebrate the centennial fifty years 
hence. ' ' 

Letter of J. C. Morse. 
[To E. G. Tucker.] 

*' Toledo, Ohio, Aug. 20, 1906— My Dear Sir:— Not being able 
to be with you at Home Coming, I beg pardon for sending you a 
few reminiscences of the last fifty years. Fifty years ago your 
railroad was of the strap rail, ^snake-head' variety. The box cars 
carried six tons, and very few cars eight tons, and woe to the agent 
who overlooked this capacity ! Soon a very few ten-ton cars were 
added, and when Bush Rice could ship a thousand bushels by using 
three cars he was a happy man. Now you have a railroad second to 
none, and with a thousand bushels in a car shippers are not happy. 
Then Three Rivers was the largest wheat shipping station, save one, 
on the Michigan Southern Road. The same old freight house still 
serves for package freight. The old mill at the station has gone, as 
well as the men who owned and operated it. 

** Three Rivers was a live town, but the men who made it are 
mostly gone. One man I have in mind who can show more marks 
of his handicraft at that time and since, is still living with you. 
This is James Milton. Mr. Milton is one of the men who, working 
for his daily bread, worked to make Three Rivers grow. Should 
any one doubt this let him take Mr. Milton by the hand and note 
the crooked fingers caused by using the jackplane. 

'* Among the carpenters and builders that made Three Rivers 
were Hiles, Salsig, Gillespie, Ferguson, Troy, Milton and others. 
There were others of mechanical pursuits, who worked to make 
Three Rivers what it is, and among them E. 6. Tucker, who had a 
faculty of making things stick by using his trowel with cement or 
mortar. You still have with you the man who was well versed in 
making crooked things straight, in the person of Arthur Silliman, 
smithing the red hot iron. 

' ^ Some, at least, of our old-time merchants are still with you in 
business, among them my old-time friend, A. W. Snyder. His long 


business connection with your people is evidence that he has dealt 
honestly and that he is respected by your people. Another, who 
I understand has recently retired, is Frederick Frey. Another man 
who now lives in a near-by city and helped to make things hum, was 
J. W. French, in his spoke and handle factory and paper mills. 

''Fifty years ago standing in front of the old Three Elvers 
house and looking south, what did you see? Euts and holes; and 
teams hauling clay and gravel from the banks of Eocky river to 
make a passable road. Then we looked beyond the rivers south, and 
beheld nothing but a mass of tangled brush and mud. Fifty years 
ago the business was mostly conducted in small wooden buildings. 

''Fifty years ago today the now beautiful Riverside cemetery 
was a piece of natural oak openings; today, a city of our dead. 
Friends of my early day are resting within its borders. Norman 
Andrews, Herman Cole and one or two others first conceived the 
idea of converting it into a burial place. Mr. Andrews, being a civil 
engineer, and taking great interest in this, worked all winter map- 
ping out this beautiful place. The first grave was occupied by a 
child of the late Isaac Crossett, the second by a child of the 
writer, and the third by a child of Wenoel Nowak. During my 
travels I have seen many places of like character, but among them I 
found none that brought to my heart more sacred memories than 
Riverside, in my old-time home. Three Rivers. 

"God bless your 'home coming'; may it be all that you wish! 
Tell all my old friends in Three Rivers, or elsewhere, that I should 
certainly be with you, if possible. 

' ' From your old-time friend, 

"J. C. Morse. ^' 

Corporation of Three Rivers. 

Threa Rivers began its local existence as a village February 13, 
1855, when it was incorporated by the Michigan legislature. Its 
first president was Philip Lantz, with George B. Reed as clerk 
and A. B. Moore, Thomas M. Clark, L. L. Herrick, Sylvester Troy 
and W. D. Petit as trustees. In 1871 the corporation limits were 
extended over Lockport (Second ward) and "Canada" (Third 
ward) . Up to that time the presidents of the corporation had been 
the following: 

Philip Lantz— 1855-9. 

Daniel Francisco— 1859, 1861, 1864-1866, 1868-1870. 

Vol. 1—21 


Thomas M. Glark— 1860. 

Stephen Kelsey-1862, 1869, 1874. 

L. B. Rich— 1863. 

J. C. Morse-1867. 

At the first city election held in the spring of 1896, Marvin H. 
Bumphrey was elected mayor; Fred J. McMurtree, clerk, and 
Arthur E. Howard, treasurer. Since that time the mayors of the 
municipality have been as follows: 

1897— Lester B. Place. 

1898— Cadalzo A. Dockstader. 

1899-1900— Clarence A, Fellows. 

1901— Willard W. French. 

1902— John J. Foster. 

1903-4— Arthur W. Scidmore. 

1905— John J. Foster. 

1906— Fred D. Merrill. 

1907— WhitmaQ E. Clark. 

1908 — Clarence A. Howard. 

1909— Robert M. Hall. 

1910— Arthur W. Scidmore. 

The other officers now serving are: Stephen 0. Black, clerk; 
Arthur E. Howard, treasurer; William H. Wilson, justice of the 
peace ; Albert Oemst, constable. 

Public School System. 

Three Rivers has a well organized public school system, with 
one high school building on Third avenue, and four ward schools 
to accommodate the various sections of the city. The First ward 
building is located on Main, the Second at the foot of Ninth street, 
the Third, comer of Douglas avenue and North street and the 
Fourth, comer of Wood avenue and Fourth street. 

The oldest building is known as the old Union school on Main 
street, First ward. This was burned several times and the present 
structure was erected in 1890. 

The first school house in Three Rivers was built in the fall of 
1837, in the eastern part of the city opposite the residence long oc- 
cupied by John W. Hoffman. It was a small plank structure, 24 x 
30 feet, and erected to accommodate the pupils in what was then 
district No. 1, old Buck's township. On the first of July, 1837, the 
school district was organized by electing Philip H. Hoffman as mod- 



erator, Joseph Sterling, director, and Thomas Millard, assessor. The 
school district then included sections 4 and 9 and those portions of 
sections 16, 17 and 18 lying north of the St. Joseph and east of the 
Rocky river. The school board voted $100 to build a school house 
and $5 was afterward appropriated for a library. It appears that 
at this time there were forty-six children in the district between 
the ages of five and seventeen. This little plank building served 
the purposes for which it was designed, at the locality mentioned, 
until 1840, when it was moved to the public square west of the 
school-house lot. It was subsequently sold and again moved, and 
was used for school purposes until 1851 when a brick building was 


The district adopted the Union system in September, 1859, and 
graded the school. Under the improved system, the first board of 
education was Dr. 0. W. Richardson, S. P. Adam, D. Francisco, I. 
Crossett, John Cowling and J. C. Bassett. During the same year 
of the grading of the school, a substantial building was added to the 
brick school house completed in 1851. This was the old Union and 
high-school building in the First ward, which has already been men- 
tioned. Its first principal was W. H. Paine. 

School district No. 4 had its school house in the Second ward of 
the city and was separately organized in September, 1855, by the 
election of the following: William Fulkerson, moderator; W. F. 
Arnold, director; Frederick 0. "White, assessor. 


The first building erected was a little frame school house 26 by 
30 feet on the southwest comer of Mr. Arnold ^s farm, which was 
finished in the fall of 1855. In 1868 a convenient two-story build- 
ing was completed in Section 20 at a cost of $4,500. This school 
was first graded in 1869. 

Three Kivers Public Library. 

The Three Rivers Public Library is housed in one of the most 
striking buildings in the city and has entrances from both Main 
and Penn streets. It is built of vari-colored unfinished stone, its 
front on Main street being of a pink color and that which abuts on 
Penn being of a light gray color. The building is two-stories 
throughout, tastefully furnished and lighted by means of a beauti- 
ful circular sky-light of colored glass. 

The foundation of the library was laid in 1887 when a few hun- 
dred volumes were collected by interested citizens and placed in a 
little room in the Kelsey block. After the collection had grown 
considerably, it was removed to the second floor of the State Sav- 
ings Bank. By July, 1897, the library had grown to such propor- 
tions that the township of Lockport agreed with the city to consoli- 
date its collection with that of the public library, in consideration 
of the free use of the latter for a period of ten years. Throughout 
all these early struggles to found a public library, up to the present 
time, E. B'. Linsley has been at the head of the enterprise and done 
more than any other one man to promote it. In 1904 Andrew Car- 
negie offered $12,500 toward a new building, providing the manage- 
ment would raise the money for operating expenses. Warren J. 
Willits finally donated the site and the building now occupied was 
completed in January, 1905. Its final cost was about $25,000, Mr. 
Carnegie eventually increasing his first donation toward the build- 
ing fund. 

All public requirements are not only completely met by the 
library, but the Woman's Club of Three Elvers is also accommo- 
dated with convenient and tasteful quarters. The different rooms 
of the library are furnished in various historical styles — ^the read- 
ing room in Louis XIV; the delivery and director's rooms in Louis 
XV; and the assembly room in Moorish style. The Three Rivers 
public library now represents a collection of 11,000 volumes in its 
circulation and reference departments, besides many state docu- 
ments and other pamphlets. Its officers are E. B. Linsley, presi- 


dent; B. E. Andrews, vice president; M. J. Huss, secretary; and Dr. 
A. W. Scidmore, director. Miss Sue I. Silliman has been the cour- 
teous and efficient librarian for a number of years. 

Fire Protection, Water Supply, etc. 

Three Rivers is provided with protection from fire through a 
well-organized fire department. It was first organized in October, 
1859, with fifty members. Its first engine house was in John 
Young's shop. The village erected its own headquarters in 1866, 
and until the erection of the present water works plant, in 1890, the 
water supply for public purposes was obtained from cisterns which 
were built by the city. In the year named, the village council com- 
pleted its plant on North street, near Rocky river, and commenced 
to pinnp the supply not only for fire, but for domestic purposes 
from the productive artesian vein which underlies this portion of 
the city. At the present time, eight wells are drawn upon for this 
supply, the water coming from a depth of about one hundred and 
eighty feet. 

Riverside Cemetery. 

The Riverside Cemetery comprises more than forty-seven acres 
of tastefully improved grounds lying on the north bank of the 
St. Joseph about one mile east of the soldiers' monument on Main 
street; in surveyor's terms it is located on the northeast quarter of 
the southwest quarter of section 17. The association which con- 
trols the property was organized October 2, 1858, by the election 
of the following officers: Edward S. Moore, president; E. H. Lo- 
throp, vice president; Adolphus E. Hewitt, secretary; A. C. Prutz- 
man, treasurer ; and nine trustees. 

Three weeks afterwards, Messrs. Moore, Prutzman, James E. 
Kelsey and Joseph B. Millard deeded twenty acres to the Oakdale 
Cemetery Association (as it was originally known) for a consider- 
ation of $1,000. This tract included the north half of the present 
cemetery. In January, 1859, the name of the association was 
changed to the Riverside Cemetery and in 1861;, twelve and one- 
half acres lying north of the St. Joseph river were added to the 
original twenty acres, the balance of the cemetery grounds being 
purchased several years later. 

The first improvements of the cemetery grounds were made 
by Colonel Norman Andrews, a well known civil engineer w^ho 




worked all the winter following the organization of the associa- 
tion in mapping out his work. Since his time, the improvements 
have been carried on systematically and artistically so that the 
cemetery, as it now appears is a decided ornament and credit to 
the city of Three Rivers. Many of the old pioneers and found- 
ers of the cemetery now repose under its beautiful oaks and green 
sward — such as James E. Kelsey, Edward S. Moore and A. C. 
Prutzman. Most of the remains of the old pioneers are buried 
along Central avenue which was the original entrance to the 

Among the most striking features of the grounds are the 
elegant chapel and memorial hall in which religious services are 
often held for the honored dead, and the huge granite boulder 
which marks the resting place of the veterans of the Civil war, 
connected with the E. M. Prutzman post, G. A. R. ; the imposing 
boulder is native to St. Joseph county and was dedicated as a 
memorial to the ''boys in blue'' on May 30, 1903. In the same 
year the memorial chapel was completed at a cost of $3,600. 

As shown by the records of the associations, the first lots 
were purchased by Hon. E. S. Moore and Col. Andrews, February 
28, 1861. 

James E. Kelsey succeeded Mr. Moore as president, and was 
followed in 1866 by John W. Frey, who commenced to serve in 
1866; Abram C. Prutzman in 1868; Henry Yawney in 1871; 
Samuel P. Adams, 1874; Richmond E. Case, 1878; James F. 
Thoms, 1884, and Luther T. Wilcox, 1900. Warren J. Willits was 
head of the association from 1900 to 1902, when Dr. A. C. Sheldon 
was elected president and is still serving. 

Judge David M. Bateman followed Mr. Hewitt as secretary 
in 1863 ; Newton H. Barnard assumed the office in 1885 ; J. H. Huy- 
ler in 1886 ; Judge R. R. Pealer in 1888 ; Hosea Burch, 1890 ; Allen 
H. Huyler, 1895, and William E. Barnard (still in office), 1896. 

There have been but two treasurers of the association: 
Stephen Kelsey, 1858-85, and Jeff P. McKee from the latter year 
to 1910. 

The Sheffield Car Company. 

The Sheffield Car Company which covers forty acres of 
ground in the Second ward of the southern part of the city of Three 
Rivers, employs twelve hundred men and controls the following 
four corporations: 


The Three Rivers Electric Works. 
The Three Rivers Brass Works. 
The Three Rivers Velocipede Car Company. 
The Three Rivers Railway Supply Company. 
The Sheffield Car Company, as a corporation, is one of the 
largest manufacturers of light motor cars (up to the size of a 
street car) and other railway specialties in the United States: 
also turns out dump cars, mining cars, marine engines, stand 
pipes, electrical machinery, and an endless variety of drills and 
track tools. 

When it is considered that the total population of the city 
is about 4,500, its importance to the business stability of Three 
Rivers may be well understood. In fact, it is not going too far to 
say that about one-third the total population of the place directly 
depends upon the Sheffield Car Company for its livelihood. In 
full justice to the management of this great corporation, it should 
also be stated that its generous treatment of employees is in line 
with the most advanced ideas ; for not only are the wages paid to 
its skilled labor up to the full standard, but schools of instruc- 
tion have been established on the grounds by which many defects 
in earlier education may be remedied by ambitious youth and men. 
These schools are in session on an average of two nights a week. 
Boys who are desirous of learning various branches of mechanics 
—especially electroplating— also find opportunities at the shops 
of the Sheffield Car Company which are generous and unusual. 

On January 1, 1910, the capital of the Sheffield Car Company 
was increased from $200,000 to $400,000, and the following officers 
elected : 

Charles H. Morse, president. 
W. E. Miller, vice president. 
E. B. Linsley, treasurer and manager. 
M. J. Huss, secretary. 
W. S. Hovey, superintendent. 

The three last named are citizens of Three Rivers, Mr. Lins- 
ley being not only the active force behind the great transactions 
of the Sheffield Car Company, but a power for usefulness and 
good in the general advancement of the city. 

The Sheffield Car Company originated in the business estab- 
lished in March, 1879, under the name of George S. Sheffield & Com- 
pany, which, in turn, was based upon the inventions and inventive 
genius of Mr. Sheffield. He built his first three-wheel car at his 


farm ten miles from Three Rivers, and the story is quite well au- 
thenticated that he did so, that it might be easier for him to get 
home Saturday night after working all the week in his village shop. 
The first cars turned out had wooden spokes, but in 1890 Mr. Shef- 
field commenced to make them of boiler plate. His first partner in 
the enterprise was W. J. Willits, his office man, and in February, 
1881, E. B. Linsley joined the company, which was incorporated 
June 15, 1882, as the Sheffield Velocipede Car Company, and in 
1892 under its present name. By this time the manufacture of the 
velocipede three wheel car had been largely superseded in favor of 
various improved vehicles, such as a light engine for the use of road 
masters, weighing three or four hundred pounds, and various motor 
cars propelled by gasoline engines. 

In 1891 Mr. Sheffield withdrew from^the company, and in the 
late eighties Charles H. Morse, of Chicago, bought a small interest 
in the business. In 1902 he purchased Mr. Willits' entire interest 
and became president of the company, while W. E. Miller, who 
bought in at the same time, was elected vice president. It may be 
said that these gentlemen represent the outside capital and general 
control of the great industry known under the concentrated name 
of the Sheffield Car Company, and that since the retirement of Mr. 
Sheffield, especially, Mr. Linsley has been the strong man on the 
ground to see that the wheels hum and the business goes ahead in 
a practical way. Among other large corporations absorbed by the 
Sheffield Car Company is what is still known as the Roberts Wheel 
& Car Company. 

R. M. Kellogg Company. 

The Kellogg strawberry farms, or nurseries, covering some two 
hundred and twenty-five acres of land, at Three Rivers, represent by 
far the largest enterprise of the kind in the world. In the busy 
season of out-door propagation, an army of men and women, boys 
and girls, is employed not only in raising, packing and shipping the 
plants to all parts of the universe, but in spreading the literature 
of the great business abroad and in transacting the manifold de- 
tails involved in dealing with twenty thousand customers by corre- 
spondence. Before entering into a description of the Kellogg farms 
and the splendid business system which safeguards and promotes 
the vast enterprise, a brief history of the remarkable industry is 
demanded and presented, condensed from both printed and verbal 



After twelve years of study, observation and experience on a 
smaller but somewhat similar farm at Ionia, in this state, Russell 
M. Kellogg, the founder of these farms, determined to seek a field 
of larger endeavor and set out to find a location which combined 
what he deemed the necessary requisites, namely, ample land for 
expansion, composed of a soil adapted to the work; ample water 
supply for irrigating purposes, should irrigation be required in an 
extended drought, and ample shipping facilities. All these he 
found in the farm he bought at Three Rivers in the spring of 1896, 
and here he came in that year and began the work destined to make 
famous the Kellogg strain of Thoroughbred strawberry plants. 


The work Mr. Kellogg had done at Ionia won for him more 
than local fame and a patronage of fair proportions, but he began 
business here on a small scale— feeling his way to larger triumphs, 
as it were. His purchase consisted of an old homestead with a 
stately mansion and something a little under one hundred acres 
of land, lying on the banks of the Portage river. A portion of the 
farm was broken up and prepared for plant setting, and in 1897 
the first crop of plants was grown. Then the business steadily 
grew, until the entire original hundred acres was given over to the 
growing of plants. That is, approximately fifty acres of plants 
were grown each year, two fields alternating between cow peas, or 
some other legume, and strawberry plants ; it being the rule of the 


farm never to grow two crops of plants in succession on the same 
But greater things were in store. On account of an almost 
imprecedented increase in patronage in 1903 an addition to the 
farm of sixty-one acres was made, and the area given over to plants 
each year relatively extended. Still the business continued to grow. 
One year $13,000 in cash was returned to customers because the de- 
mand for plants was larger than the supply and their orders could 
not be filled. The following year, notwithstanding the number of 
plants grown, the sum returned reached $10,000, and during the 
succeding four yeai^ this item reached a total of an additional $27,- 
000, notwithstanding that in 1905 sixty-five acres were added to the 
area under cultivation. This brought the total to 225 acres, or the 
largest farm in the world, by many times, devoted to the production 
of strawberry plants. 

It may assist in giving the reader an idea of the magnitude of 
the business now transacted by the Kellogg farms to state that 
there is sent out from the large office building of the company about 
forty per cent of the total amount of mail handled by the Three 
Rivers postoffice. During the past four years more than $25,000 has 
been paid in postage, the outgoing mail of the concern averaging 
fully one hundred tons annually. Orders are received from every 
state and territory in the Union ; from Australia, Hawaii, Cuba and 
Bermuda, and from many European countries. Of such volume is 
the express business of the concern that both the American and 
United States companies have established branches in the com- 
pany's packing house. Each express company employs two clerks 
in handling the shipments, and many days entire carloads of plants 
go by express from the farms. 

As the matter is well put by an interesting booklet devoted to 
the exposition of the Kellogg industries: ''The foundation of the 
Kellogg success was an idea — the idea that the strawberry is suscep- 
tible to improvement through breeding and selection. Through 
infinite care and protracted observation and study, this idea was 
worked out to practical realization. The story is a long one— too 
long for this place ; but in a word we may say that the work done 
on this farm has proved conclusively that there is a distinct corre- 
spondence between plant life and animal life, and that characteris- 
tics of the plant may be intensified or discouraged, according to the 
will of the breeder, as may be done in the case of animals. Bur- 
bank in myriad ways; Hopkins, Reilly, Reid and the Funks with 


corn; Morrill with peaches^ — all have demonstrated the fact. The 
Kellogg Company proved to a skeptical world that these same fun- 
damental laws operate as perfectly in the case of the strawberry ; 
and thus we have the Kellogg Thoroughbred plants. ' ' 

The general rule followed by the Kellogg management in the 
propagation of the plants is that pistulate (female varieties) never 
should be set without bisexuals (male varieties) being set beside 
the females. ''If some pistulate is your favorite and you wish to 
make it your leader, set one row of bisexuals of earlier season than 
the pistulate; next, one row of bisexuals of later season than the 
pistulate. In other words, place three rows of pistulates between 
two rows of bisexuals of different seasons. ' ' An interesting fact is 
that the three most popular varieties of strawberries grown on the 
Kellogg farms — Warfield, Bederwood and Bubach — have been con- 
tinuously bred and selected from the stock which were first brought 
by Mr. Kellogg to his Ionia farm more than a quarter of a century 
ago. Glen Mary and Senator Dunlap are other leading thorough- 
breds, known to all strawberry growers. 

It is a sight long to be remembered when the brigade of plowers 
move down the mile-long rov/s of plants in the spring, ''tickling the 
soil and making the plants laugh." This is repeated scores of 
times. Then an army of hoemen work ten hours a day from spring 
to October, and not a weed or spear of grass is allowed to grow. 
Soil is drawn with the hoe over the runner cords just back of the 
young plant, which encourages a large number of strong roots to 
start directly from its crown. This also aids it to take root quickly 
so that it may become self-supporting, strong and vigorous. 

During the eight weeks of the packing and shipping season, 
the busiest scene is transferred to the packing house and express 
offices. About a hundred women count and tie the plants into bun- 
dles of twenty-six, each bearing a wooden label as to variety and sex. 
A force of men examine the plants carefully for shipment, packing 
them in alternate layers of dampened moss. Then come the load- 
ing of the express cars with the packed boxes and the busy shipping 
season, lasting substantially from the later days of March to those 
of May. In a typical season the Kellogg farms send out several 
carloads daily on the regular express trains, besides thirty special 
express carloads. 

Then there is the scientific work in connection with the experi- 
mental farm, in which both plants and berries are raised and tested 
as fruiters, drought-resisters, canners, etc. And the mounted 


sprayers, which ward off insect pests and plant diseases, are never 
idle from setting to mulching time. The latter is also a busy sea- 
son, approximately three hundred wagon-loads of straw being re- 
quired, each autumn, to cover the one hundred acres of plants. 

Frank E. Beatty is president and general manager of the R. 
M. Kellogg Company and is a man of great business ability, a 
national expert in the strawberry line; C. J. Beatty, vice-president; 
and W. H. Burke, secretary and treasurer. To Mr. Burke is chiefly 
due the effectiveness of the mail-order features of the business — 
the ** follow-up" system; in fact, the mass of details conveniently 
bulked under the term *' office work'' has been molded by his organ- 
izing and executive ability into a fine machine. 

Three Rivers Robe Tannery. 

The Three Rivers Robe Tannery is doing a good business in 
a two-story brick building, the products of the manufactory being 
coats, robes, gloves and mittens made from selected Galloway 
cattle hides, as well as horse hide coats and robes. Mr. Avery 
established the business in a little shop, during 1893, and had no 
expectation himself that it would develop into its present propor- 
tions. He is a practical live-stock man and his sole assistant, at 
the beginning of the venture, was an Englishman who had had a 
limited experience in tanning hides, with the hair on, in the '^old 
country." To condense a long story of hard work and ingenius 
improvements in the preservation, curing and tanning of the skins, 
and their manufacture into the warm glossy articles which are now 
turned out of the establishment — it may be briefly said that favor- 
able conditions and good management rapidly developed the en- 
terprise. In 1902 the large plant now occupied was erected, con- 
sisting of a main building of brick, two stories and 220 by 36 feet, 
and a one-story extension 40 feet square. W. E. Clark and B. R. 
Wheeler are partners in the business. 

Other Industries. 

A much smaller tannery and fur factory are conducted by 
Duane D. Arnold, while the Specialty Manufacturing Company 
stands for an enterprise which is only four years old, but already 
vigorous. The latter factory is chiefly concerned in the making 
of kitchen cabinets, its active superintendent being C. L. Gladdy. 


The Three Rivers Knitting works are among the substantial in- 
dustries of the place ; George E. Arnold being principally respon- 
sible for their success. The D. & A. Post Mold Company has a large 
plant and chiefly manufactures steel molds for concrete posts. 
Three Rivers Milling Company is a well established corporation, 
with F. M. Rudd as president and George T. Wolf, vice president; 
the Three Rivers Broom Company is well-to-do, and there are other 
industries of less standing which go to make up the industrial life 
of the place. 

First National Bank. 

The financial, business and manufacturing interests of Three 
Rivers enjoy adequate banking facilities through the First Na- 
tional and the State Savings banks. From the time the citizens 
of Lockport subscribed for $100,000 stock and elected directors 
for the establishment of a '^ wild-cat'^ bank (and that is as far as 
the movement went), in 1837, no further attempt was made to get 
a bank of issue upon its feet until the passage of the national 
banking law in 1864. In December of that year the First National 
of Three Rivers was organized, with Hon. Edward S. Moore as 
president and Charles C. Warren, cashier. In the succeeding year 
Charles L. Blood became cashier, and served thus until 1884, when 
he succeeded Mr. Moore as president. J. P. McKee succeeded Mr. 
Blood as cashier, the latter continuing at the head of the affairs 
of the bank until 1896, when S. A. Walton was elected president. 
Mr. Walton served out that year, and Hon. R. R. Pealer was 
president in 1897. C. H. Blood succeeded Mr. McKee as cashier 
in 1891 ; Charles W. Cox commenced to serve in that capacity dur- 
ing 1895 and retired in 1900, when Norman W. Garrison, present 
incumbent, assumed the cashiership. 

The present officers are as follows : Gardner Powell, president ; 
Charles W. Cox, vice president; G. W. Cole, vice president; Nor- 
man W. Garrison, cashier. Besides the foregoing, the directors 
are Charles W. Cox (assistant cashier), T. A. Sperry and P. P. 
Major. The capital stock of the First National is $50,000 ; surplus 
and undivided profits, $12,000; national bank notes outstanding, 
$50,000 ; deposits, $347,821. 

State Savings Bank. 

The State Savings Bank of Three Rivers was organized 
August 15, 1891, and commenced business on the 20th of Septem- 


ber, with W. J. Willits as president ; Cyrus Roberts, vice president, 
and George T. Wolf, cashier. Mr. Willits remained president 
until he went to California in 1902, when he was succeeded by 
Amos C. Wolf, Dr. W. E. Clark being vice president, George T. 
Wolf, cashier, and George M. Wolf, assistant cashier. These 
officers are still serving, with E. B. Linsley, chairman of the board. 
Capital of the bank, $60,000; surplus, $40,000. 

Building and Loan Association. 

There are two institutions in Three Rivers which have had an 
especially strong influence in improving its social and civic con- 
ditions — its Building and Loan Association and Civic League. 

The Three Rivers Building and Loan Association was organ- 
ized in 1887, by A. C. Titus, W. 0. Pealer and E. B. Linsley. The 
first organization was officered as follows : E. B. Linsley, president; 
A. C. Titus, secretary; W. 0. Pealer, attorney. This organization re- 
mained in force for about a year when Mr. Pealer removed to Du- 
luth. Two years later Mr. Titus retired and removed to Wiscon- 
sin, and was succeeded by E. E. Harwood, who held the office of 
secretary for about three years, when W. E. Barnard was elected 
to the office and has held the position ever since. B. E. Andrews, 
in the meantime, was elected attorney and has held that position 
until the present time. E. B. Linsley has continuously remained 
president during the twenty-three years that have elapsed since the 
organization, so that the present list of officers is: E. B. Linsley, 
president; 0. T. Avery, vice president; W. E. Barnard, secretary; 
G. T. Wolf, treasurer; B. E. Andrews, attorney. 

The association has been very successful and up to January 1, 
1910, had made loans to the amount of $579,625. While not the 
largest association in the state, it has always been economically 
managed and has not made a loss, owing to the faithful attention to 
its business by its board of directors. There have only been one 
or two cases where it has been obliged to take a piece of real estate 
and then only through some unusual circumstance, such as death of 
the owner, and in every case the property has been sold by the asso- 
ciation at a profit. The association is based upon a plan somewhat 
'Original, in that the funds are taken in by one set of officers and 
paid out by an entirely different set, and the name of the president 
and secretary is required to the signature of every order paid out. 
Over $800,000 has been handled by the association during its life 
and so far as known not a penny has been lost. 


The association has had wonderful influence in the up-building 
of Three Rivers, and through it a very large proportion of mechan- 
ics have obtained homes in place of being renters and more or less 
transient, as would be the case otherwise. The state inspection 
department, Building and Loan Bureau, has commended this asso- 
ciation more than once in respect to its unusual success, when the 
size of the town is taken into consideration. 

The Civic League. 

The Three Rivers Civic League was organized in the spring of 
1908 immediately after the local option campaign of that year, as 
a result of which the county adopted the policy of *'no open 

The purpose of the association was the improvement of the 
town and to assist in any way proper in the enforcement of all its 
laws, and an organization was effected by the election of the follow- 
ing: E. B. Linsley, president; M. J. Huss, Sherman Doty, J. L. 
Cann and E. H. Andrews, vice presidents ; W. H. Burke, secretary ; 
0. T. Avery, treasurer. 

In the spring of 1909 Mr. Linsley and Mr. Burke declined re- 
election on account of pressure of other matters and the following 
men were elected : M. J. Huss, president ; C. L. Bothwell, secretary ; 
0. T. Avery, C. A. Howard, F. Sweitzer and M. S. Langley, vice 
presidents; F. B. Watson, treasurer. The society has had excellent 
influence for the betterment of local conditions, and can always be 
relied upon to be found on the right side of every public question. 

The Locali Press. 

The press of Three Rivers is now controlled by the Three 
Rivers Publishing Company, which issues the Daily Commercial 
Hustler and the weekly Times. Its history, however, goes back for 
about half a century, or to January 1, 1861, when the Three 
Bivers Reporter was established by Wilbur H. Clute. It continued 
as a fearless Republican newspaper until 1875, when it became a 
radical Greenback organ and made a most aggressive campaign in 
1876. The Reporter was largely responsible for the fact that Lock- 
port township became the banner section of the state, if not the 
United States, in its overwhelming Greenback majority. It was 
discontinued in 1885, but revived by R. E. Case in the following 


year and conducted by him until the early nineties, when C. A. 
Maffett became its proprietor and changed its politics to Democratic. 
The paper remained of this persuasion until 1897, when it was pur- 
chased by a company of Republicans. It was conducted by them 
for about a year, and then discontinued. 

The Three Bivers Herald was founded in 1868, being origi- 
nally published by a Mr. Reynolds as the Stwrgis Star, the press 
and material for the first plant being brought from Chattanooga. 
It was later moved to Burr Oak by a Mr. Dewey, who there com- 
menced the publication of the Democrat. In July, 1872, this pa- 
per passed to Smith & Newton, but the enterprise languished, and 
in September, 1873, Arnold (Dr. Orin B.) & Son bought the dead 
plant of Mr. Newton, who was valiantly avoiding a sheriff's levy, 
and moved it to Three Rivers. In August, 1875, the name was 
changed from the Democrat to the Three Mvers Herald, and con- 
tinued under the vigorous management of Arnold & Son (T. L.) 
until the death of the doctor May 30, 1883, when the junior part- 
ner, a practical printer and journalist, assumed the sole proprietor- 
ship. In 1889, when he was appointed postmaster of Three Rivers, 
he sold to J. J. Parker. 

In 1877 George A. B. Cooke founded the Three Bivers Tribune, 
which was edited for some time by John Prutzman. 

On January 1, 1895, Mr. Parker commenced the publication of 
the Daily Hustler. He had already established the News-Reporter, 
which developed into the Commercial. In 1897 the Tribune was 
combined with the Three Bivers Herald. Mr. Parker sold an inter- 
est in his consolidated business to S. W. Doty in 1907, and in July, 
1909, the two organized a stock company under the name of the 
Three Rivers Publishing Company, to publish the Commercial- 
Hustler (daily) and the Times (weekly). Of this company, Mr. 
Doty is president and Mr. Parker secretary and general manager. 

The Methodists as Church Pioneers. 

Three Rivers is a church-going city and the presence of seven 
well-supported houses of worship in the community is the best 
witness to the fact. 

The genesis of organized religious work in this section 
is found in the labors of that tireless Methodist missionary, 
Rev. Erastus Felton, and the story is told with simplicity and 
interest in a little booklet recently issued by the First M. E. church. 

Vol. 1—22 


The past and the present of the town and the society are linked 
together by a single life, that of Mrs. Louis Salsig, who as a little 
girl came to Three Rivers in the days of beginnings. Her father, 
Jacob Mclnterfer, came here with his family in 1829, and while 
its members were still living in the wagon awaiting the building of 
a home, they had a pastoral call from Mr. Felton, who had just 
been appointed to the new St. Joseph mission. His circuit extended 
to Kalamazoo on the north and to Niles on the west and counted 
seventy-six members of the church. Today not less than fifty 
Methodist churches stand within the bounds of the old St. Joseph 

Erastus Felton followed the next year with L. B. Gurley as 
his comrade on the big circuit, and for many years the preachers 
were appointed by twos, generally a young man with an older and 
more experienced preacher. In 1831 came George W. Walker, of 
whom E. H. Pilcher says: *' No swollen river, no dismal swamp, or 
dangerous fen could daunt the lion heart that beat in his bosom. ' ' 
He preached at least once in the tavern of George Buck. 

The first class was organized in the year 1833, during which 
year John Arney and his wife came to Three Rivers. How we 
would prize a picture of this little group that met in Brother Har- 
wood's house. More than three quarters of a century have gone 
since that day, and presently a century will have passed, but the 
passing of many centuries will not efface the glory of this little 
band, nor diminish our debt to them. The year 1833 is a signifi- 
cant date in the history of this church. 

Richard C. Meek is remembered by William Arney as "A 
young man just from the farm ; a tall finely formed man, clad in 
jeans or blue linsey, home-spun and home-made. The class that 
met at this time (1834) enrolled nine members. The house of 
Hiram Harwood, where the meetings were held, was a log house 
standing on Sickle's Corners on Johnny-cake prairie. As the 
people met, some would sit on benches, some on rude chairs, on 
stools and on the beds, of which there were three in the room.'' 
This was a typical congregation for the early preacher. 

In the course of time the class met in the little frame school 
house in '* Canada" and one of their number, George Wilson, be- 
came a local preacher and was a man of ability. His wife also 
loved the church and used often to walk from her home at Esheol 
to the Thursday evening prayer meeting. In 1839, Rev. Ezra Cole 
and family came. He was a very useful preacher and for a time 


filled the regular appointments. He was always ready to preach 
funeral sermons and in this was very popular. 

It is not easy to obtain with accuracy the names of the mem- 
bers of the church here in 1839, for no records remain, but the 
older members would include the following: Joseph and Esther 
Sterling, Catherine Hoffman, Mrs. L. G. Brown, Charles, John and 
Hannah Carpenter, John and Ruth Arney, Keziah and Sally Sands, 
Simeon Frost, Emeline Arney, Samuel and Deborah Wescott, 
William and Rachel Ryder, William and Sarah Wescott, Lydia 
Snyder, Daniel Cole, Ezra Cole and his wife. 

This day of small beginnings was a day of many discourage- 
ments but despair never won. The Hoffmans would take a candle 
and go to the school house and hold a prayer meeting by them- 
selves, until one by one their company increased. Even the boys 
who came at first for fun remained to help in the singing and the 
prayer meeting became an established feature. With like faith a 
Sunday school was started, and in due time the little society had 
all the signs of being a full fledged church, except for the one lack 
of a church building of its own. 

Mrs. Z. B. Ruggles takes up the story at this point: **In the 
year 1839 I came with my parents to Three Rivers. We found 
here in the wilderness a little society of Methodists. There was 
a Union Sabbath school and about as many members in the Pres- 
byterian church as in the Methodist. Both societies met in the 
little school house which stood on the north side of the public 
square. The outgrowth of that little Sunday school is at present 
seven large and flourishing schools. In 1846 the little school house 
had become too small and our increasing congregation demanded 
a better place of worship. The few members went to work to erect 
a church. It was a neat little brick edifice 30x40 feet and was a 
great undertaking for so few members. Some of them went out 
of their shops, carried brick and mortar and worked with a will, 
and the Lord blessed their efforts. ' ^ 

The building was completed and formally dedicated in 1847, 
Professor Hinman of Albion being present. At first, service was 
held only once in two weeks, as the Methodists shared this build- 
ing with the Presbyterians, they holding services on alternate 
Sabbaths until their own church was built. Andrew J. Eldred and 
Salmon P. Steele came in 1847 and for the next half century these 
names were to be well known throughout Michigan Methodism. 
Many of these men of the early days rose to places of power in the 


church in after years. S. A. Osborn and S. P. Lee followed in 
1849 and during their stay the church experienced a great revival 
and the additions to the church very materially aided the grow- 
ing society. 

It is interesting to note how the authorities divorced this 
charge from one district and annexed it to another at their own 
pleasure, as it belonged at different times to the Ohio, Indiana and 
Michigan conferences. It was first a part of the St. Joseph mis- 
sion, then the La Porte district, then the Kalamazoo district, and 
finally the Mies district. Truly this has been an itinerant church. 

The church that stands today was begun early in the sixties ; 
its comer-stone was laid in September, 1863, and the completed 
house of worship was dedicated on Thursday, October 12, 1865. 
To build such a church during the dark days of the war is indica- 
tive of the strong faith of the members. For nearly a half century 
it has proved one of the best working plants in this corner of the 
state. It has been the scene of many gracious revivals. Loyal 
men and true have served here as pastors and upwards of two 
thousand people must have belonged to it at some time during 
the years of its history. More than that number of boys and girls 
have been taught in its classes and have gone out into all the 
world. These men of old builded better than they knew and hun- 
dreds have reason to rejoice in their sacrificial service. 

The first impetus for a new church came out of the enthusiastic 
revival during the pastorate of David Burns. Z. B. Ruggles had 
a class of seventy young people, mostly the converts of this re- 
vival. This need of a new church became so apparent that after 
a time a canvass was made of the members and friends of the 
church and about ten thousand dollars was pledged. The work 
was begun on the installment plan, getting the material together 
as best they could and getting ready for what all knew to be an 
undertaking that would tax their resources to the utmost. 

As the walls of the church rose, the difficulties increased and 
war prices for labor and material played havoc with the original 
estimates. But it pays to build in faith and one by one the difficul- 
ties were met and conquered. The church was well under way 
when the conference of 1864 brought the Rev. D. A. Gillett and 
into this enterprise he put his best life. Winter came upon the 
workers, the money gave out, and through the long winter the walls 
stood as a silent challenge to the faith of the Methodist fathers, 
and a source of pessimism to the doubting. There have always been 


plenty of people to say that things could not be done. ' ' They can 
never finish it, ' ' they said, ' ' but then the county seat will probably 
be moved to Three Rivers and it will make a fine court house. '' By 
this time they had put about $6,000 into their church and still they 
were worshipping in a rented hall. It was thought that at least 
$11,000 more would be needed to finish it. For this they worked 
and prayed and trusted, and their faith was not in vain. 

The spring of 1865 brought new courage and more funds and 
the work began again and slowly but surely the walls rose and the 
roof and steeple went on at last, and although this was only the 
beginning of the end, they knew that they had won. The base- 
ment was not finished until a little later, but the auditorium was 
completed and the church was ready for a congregation that was 
perfectly willing to say good-by to Kelsey's Hall that had been 
their church home for so long. 

In the diary of William Arney for October 12, 1865, is this 
entry, ''Cool and cloudy. All hands went to the dedication of 
the church at Three Rivers. Rev. R. M. Hatfield preached, as- 
sisted by Dr. Eddy of Chicago. $6,000 raised by subscription; 
$1,000 yet unprovided for.'' Then follows a statement of the 
amount of his own pledge and four days later the significant entry : 
''Borrowed $10 of Wetherbee." Probably all who attended the 
dedication had to borrow in like manner. On the last day of the 
year we find the words: "Farewell to 1865, an eventful year! The 
like we never expect to see again." 

Its founders put more into the building of this church than 
those of a later day shall ever know. No wonder they have 
a pardonable pride in the work of their hands. The older men 
will never forget how they labored upon the walls and on the 
building, or met in all-night session to plan to keep things moving. 
$32,000 was the total cost of the building and the furnishing, but 
it took more than money to build the church. 

Isaiah Wilson was here at that time and has a vivid recollec- 
tion of the day. "I was present on the day of dedication and a 
great day it was for Three Rivers Methodism. Bishop Ames was 
expected to preach and dedicate the church, but being unable to 
be present he sent Dr. Eddy and Dr. Hatfield in his place. The 
preachers were then in the prime of life and at their best on that 
occasion. The audience room was filled with enthusiastic Metho- 
dists. They came from Centerville and from all around the coun- 
try. I remember Brother Hardy, the old and faithful class leader ; 


he was shouting happy all day, and so were the Arneys. At that 
time Three Rivers was a great church, old-fashioned, noisy, full 
of fire and evangelistic power. Dr. Hatfield and Dr. Eddy were 
powerful preachers and there was no end to their wit and humor. 
We laughed, cried, and shouted, and freely gave while there was 
any money left in the crowd. ' ' 

The growth of the church was accompanied by wise provision 
for the pastor's home. It was Rev. T. B. Granger whose experience 
with official boards had taught him to ask for what he wanted, 
who with true diplomacy told the brethren that they must either 
provide him a house or he would live at Centerville. This argu- 
ment has always been a forceful one and the board acceded to the 
demand and purchased a little house on West street which house 
is still standing. This first location came afterwards to be con- 
sidered unhealthy, so the board traded the house in for a second 
parsonage right next door to the church. This was first occupied 
by Rev. W. H. Pearce, and did service until the pastorate of J. W. 
Reid, who led in the building of the present comfortable brick 
parsonage. The strong church, as now organized, numbers more 
than 450 members, with Rev. N. A. McCune as pastor. Those who 
have served the Methodists of Three Rivers, both as '* circuit 
riders'' and settled pastors since 1829, are as follows: 
1829-30 Erastus Felton. 
1830- 1 L. B. Gurley and Erastus Felton. 
1831-40 G. W. Walker, Benjamin Cooper, T. O'Dell, Benoni 

Harris, John Newell, Edward Smith, Jr., Wm. 

Todd, R. S. Robinson, Geo. M. Beswick, T. P. 

McCool, George Stanley, J. D. Sanford and John 


1840- 1 Erastus Kellogg. 

1841- 2 Richard C. Meek and J. W. Brier. 

1842- 3 Richard C. Meek and Charles Babcock. 

1843- 4 Peter Sabin and Daniel Bush. 

1844- 6 John Ercanbrack, Henry Worthington, E. S. Taylor. 

1846- 7 John Ercanbrack and George King. 

1847- 8 Salmon P. Steele and Andrew J. Eldred. 

1848- 9 Salmon P. Steele and W. E. Tappan. 
1849-51 S. A. Osborn, S. P. Lee, L. M. Earle. 
1851- 3 Henry Pennifield, Brother Finch. 

1853- 5 Y. G. Boynton, Enoch Holdstock, Alexander Camp- 


1855- 7 

Thomas B. Granger, 


David Burns. 

1860- 2 

Henry Pennifield. 

1862- 4 

Alfred A. Dunton. 

1864- 7 

Daniel D. Gillett. 


T. H. Jacokes. 


W. H. Pearee. 

1871- 3 

Levi Tarr. 

1873- 5 

Israel Cogshall. 

1875- 7 

J. W. Miller. 

1877- 9 

A. J. Eldred. 


F. B. Bangs. 

1881- 3 

David Engle. 

1883- 5 

C. S. Cox. 

1885- 8 

J. W. Reid. 


J. A. Sprague. 

1891- 4 

J. S. Montgomery. 

1894- 6 

F. C. Lee. 


J. A. Bready. 

1896- 7 

E. G. Lewis. 

1897- 8 

W. A. Frye. 


R. A. Wright. 


W. H. Phelps. 


Rev. N. A. McCune. 

First Presbyterian Church. 

The First Presbyterian church of Three Elvers was organized 
by Eev. Mr. Stanley of Mottville, August 12, 1838, with the foUow- 
ing nineteen members: James Slote and his wife Hannah; Mrs. 
Sarah Snyder and daughter; McDonald Campbell and Jane, his 
wife ; John Boudman ; Catherine Mowrey ; Mr. and Mrs. John Sick- 
ler; Hon. Edward S. Moore and his wife, Mary P.; Mrs. Elizabeth 
Moore; Dr. Edward S. Egery; Mrs. Louisa Manning; John Troy 
and his wife Eebecca; Mr. and Mrs. Miles Bristol and Samuel L. 
Sterling. On the same day Messrs. Moore, Slote and Campbell 
were ordained as elders. 

The first session meeting was held at the house of Dr. Egery, 
March 4, 1839, Mr. Moore being the only elder present; for Mr. 
Slote had died in Pennsylvania only the month previous, and Mr. 
Campbell had passed away September 4, 1838, about three weeks 


after being ordained. There was also present Rev. Benjamin 
Ogden, of New Brunswick Presbytery, who had been serving as 
pastor of the society since November. 

For the first ten years of their history the Presbyterians of 
Three Rivers had no separate house of worship, and during that 
period were served by the following: Rev. Benjamin Ogden, 1838- 
43 ; Rev. Albert H. Gaston, 1843-6 ; Rev. Robert McMath, 1846-50. 
The first communion was held January 29, 1844, and the first com- 
munion in the new church March 4, 1849. On February 14th, the 
house of worship was dedicated, Rev. 0. P. Hoyt, of Kalamazoo, 
preaching the sermon. Ten years later the church was enlarged so 
as to increase its seating capacity about one third, which was made 
necessary by the pronounced growth of the membership. 

Rev. William Page was called to the pastorate in 1850, served 
four years, and his successors, up to the time of the coming of the 
first installed paster (Rev. Joseph A. Ranney) in 1859, were Rev. 
William M. Blackburn, 1854-6 ; Rev. Almon G. Martin, 1856-9. 

Mr. Ranney 's fruitful pastorate continued until September, 
1872. In 1866 occurred the most memorable communion season in 
the history of the society, and during his entire pastorate 266 mem- 
bers united with the church. By 1868 it became evident that addi- 
tional accommodations must be provided, and ground was therefore 
broken for the large edifice which was completed and dedicated 
May 11, 1870, at a cost of about $30,000. The sermon was preached 
by Rev. William Hogarth, D. D., and the first church communion 
was held four days after the dedication. 

After Mr. Ranney, the settled pastors of the church were: 
Rev. George Barnes, 1872-3; Rev. John D. McCord, 1873-4; Rev. 
William A. Masker, 1874-8; Rev. Thomas Gordon, 1878-81; Rev. 
H. B. Thayer, 1882-4; Rev. George C. Frost, 1885-90; Rev. E. W. 
Ranken, 1891-2; Rev; Hope F. Ross, 1893-4; Rev. W. H. McPher- 
son, 1894-1901; Rev. L. R. Toner, 1901-4; Rev. A. C. V. Skinner, 
1904-7 ; Rev. J. A. Gallaher, May, 1908. 

The church membership is about 260, while the Sunday school 
numbers 190. 

The Baptist Church. 

The Baptists of Three Rivers first organized a society April 6, 
1861, the council for the purpose being composed of Rev. J. L. Mc- 
Cloud, of Schoolcraft, Rev. Samuel Haskell, of Kalamazoo, and 
Rev. S. E. Faxon. Its original roll of membership consisted of 


AVilliam F. Arnold and wife; William M. Griffin, wife and two 
daughters; Cornelius Young; William Churchill and son Adney; 
Mrs. Sally Woodhull, Mrs. Frost and Samuel Ludwig. Messrs. 
Churchill and Ludwig were the deacons and Mr. Griffin, clerk. The 
first pastor of the church was Rev. Luther H. Trowbridge, who was 
a licentiate when he first came, but was ordained at Three Rivers, 
and remained until 1869. 

The first house of worship, which was built in 1864 at a cost of 
$7,000 was burned in 1871, and for some time thereafter the society 
met at Kelsey's Hall. A Sunday school was organized before the 
church was built, J. W. French being one of its first superinten- 
dents. The present church, whose house of worship is on Main 
street, between Prutzman and Kelsey, is in charge of Rev. A. V. 

The First Reformed Church. 

The First Reformed Church of the United States in Three 
Rivers was organized by Rev. Daniel Kroh, February 1, 1863. 
Among the forty-three charter members were the following: John 
G. Ott, John Buss, Luca^ Thurer, F. Burgin and John Steininger, 
with their wives; Henry Stotz, George Scheidhart, Charles Ettel- 
man and F. Keiser. Its church in the Third ward was built in 
1870, at a cost of $11,000, and provided for 350 sittings. Since the 
organization of the society its pastors have been as follows: Revs. 
Daniel Kroh, Henry Wiegand, Jesse L. Schlosser, Louis Grosen- 
bach (nine years), William E. Ludwig, Freeman Ware, Henry S. 
Bailey, Elwood J. Bulgin, Parley E. Zartman, Charles R. Hart- 
man and George Longaker, the present incumbent, who assumed 
the charge in 1904. The church membership is about 190 and that 
of the Sunday school somewhat larger. 

Moore Park Reformed Church 

This society has a church about half a mile east of the station 
of Moore Park. It was founded in 1859 by Rev. Daniel Lantz, 
erected a building in 1880, and is now under the pastorate of Rev. 
Mr. Wiegand. 

St. John^s Evangelical Lutheran. 

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, of which Rev. J. D. 
Brosy is pastor, was organized April 3, 1870, by adopting a consti- 


tution and electing the following trustees: Aaron Schall, Samuel 
Weinberg, Levi Van Dorsten and the pastor, Rev. Delo. Among its 
twenty-nine charter members were Samuel Fees; S. H. Acker, 
James King, Lanson G. Reichart, Samuel Bobb, Samuel Van Dor- 
sten and Jacob Schwartz, with their wives ; Josiah Steininger ; and 
Mesdames M. C. Delo (the pastor's wife), and Mary M. Schall. 
Rev. Delo, the first pastor, remained with the church until 1876. In 
1872-3 the society erected in the Second ward, on Sixth street, a 
large brick church, valued at $10,000 and with a seating capacity of 

The following denominations are also represented at Three 
Rivers: Episcopal (Trinity church). Rev. Mr. Frankel; Methodist 
Protestant, organized about forty years ago. Rev. D. A. Van Doren 
present pastor of the local society; German Lutheran, Rev. Louis 
G. Beuchterlein pastor, and Catholic (branch of the Mendon church, 
with Father Kaufmann in charge) . 

Church of the Immaculate Conception, 

The story of the Three Rivers Catholic Mission can be told in 
a few words. The mission was without a church until quite recently, 
and the conditions of missions without churches are much the same 
everywhere. Previous to the year 1889, Father Cappen, of Niles, 
visited Three Rivers occasionally. He celebrated Holy Mass in a 
hall on the third floor of a store building. For a while the mission 
waa unattended. In 1892 Messrs. Behan and Donovan appealed to 
Father Buyse, of Jackson, who, calling upon the bishop, was given 
charge of Three Rivers. He and Father Jos. Stauss attended 
alternately for three years. Father Schaeper assumed charge in 
1895, the mission having been attached to Mendon. The hall which 
was the meeting place of several lodges, continued to be nsed for 
divine services. It was ill suited for the purpose for many reasons, 
but no better quarters could be had. 

The Rev. Henry J. Kaufmann succeeded Father Schaeper in 
the spring of 1903, and it was evident to him that the few Catholics 
who constituted the mission (the average attendance was 45) could 
not build a church unassisted. Upon application, the Rt. Rev. 
Bishop gave permission to build, and authorized the pastor to collect 
for the church from anyone who felt disposed to give for the pur- 
pose. At first it was planned to buy the building which was formerly 


occupied by the United Brethren, then by a Baptist sect, and at the 
time in question served as a dancing hall. For various reasons 
this plan was abandoned, and it was decided to build a church. Very 
fortunately a site was procured in the residence section of Main 
street, between the two depots. 

Early in the spring of 1904 the concrete foundation walls were 
built for a church of 34x64 ft. The cost of the site and the founda- 
tion exhausted the building fund of $750. Father Kaufmann then 
wrote a letter to forty wealthy Catholics of Detroit, in which he set 
forth the condition of his mission and the necessity of a church in 
a city of over 5,000 inhabitants. The returns were encouraging; 
about $3,000 were received, and in November the building was com- 
pleted, the dedication taking place on the fourth Sunday of that 

The Masonic Bodies. 

Three Kivers Lodge No. 57, F. & A. M., was instituted under 
dispensation in 1852 and chartered in 1853. Its first worshipful 
master was Ezra Cole, who served under the dispensation and two 
years under the charter. Thomas M. Greene, who presided in 1868- 
73 and 1876-7 and has filled all the other chairs, is an honorary 
member of the lodge today. It is in a flourishing condition, with 
more then two hundred members, and its present officers are as fol- 
lows : Orrin F. Howard, W. M. ; Burton H. Warner, S. W. ; Charles 
F. Dock, J. W. ; George M. Wolf, treasurer; Clarence A. Howard, 
secretary; Albert Lampman, S. D.; Warren A. Klocke, J. D. ; Ar- 
thur Silliman, tiler. 

Mr. Silliman, who joined the lodge in 1859, is its oldest mem- 
ber. At the time he was initiated the following were members, who 
had all joined previous to 1856: Ezra Cole, Herman Cole, J. A. 
Kline, Jacob D. Kline, Abraham Smith, Sterling Harding, Abner 
Leland, George Gillespie, Abisha Hoisington, Norman Hoisington, 
Harvey Dille, Charles Ludwig, W. C. Brokaw, T. C. Oliver, A. C. 
Thiel, J. Broadbent, Joe Hile, David Orton, P. L. McMurtrie, R. E. 
Case, T. M. Clark, S. A. Smith, George M. Knight, C. Duell, David 
Bateman and Peter S. Bell. 

In 1856 the following were initiated: J. C. Morse, D. H. 
Wheeler, H. Ohl, John Cowling, C. C. Hutchinson, D. S. Mead, 
F. C. White, Peter Colver, J. Hutchinson, Norman Cole, G. M. 
Cleveland and W. G. Caldwell; in 1857—0. B. Bean, J. F. Slenker. 
W. L. Worthington, M. V. Sweet and L. T. Wilcox; in 1858— Jamea 


H. Lyon, J. H. Tubbs, W. H. Reed, I. C. Bassett, William Griffiths, 
Lewis Salsig, Reed M. Boutwell and Richard C. Griffiths; in 
1859^J. B. Handy, John Gilbert, George Elliott, Dr. Sidney Her- 
rick, T. J. Edwards, Arthur Silliman, Dr. S. B. Sill, J. N. Rishel, 
B. B. Reed, W. E. Wheeler and J. S. Osborn. 

Salathiel Chapter No. 23, R. A. M., so named in honor of 
Judge S. C. Coffinberry, was instituted under dispensation in 1859 
and chartered in January following. Ezra Cole was its first high 
priest, Thomas M. Greene serving in 1872. John Cowling was for 
fourteen years high priest of the chapter and was long secretary of 
most of the Masonic bodies. 

Three Rivers Council No. 7 was chartered February 2, 1860, 
with B. F. Doughty, T. I. M. ; John Cowling, P. C. W., and H. H. 
Cole, recorder. 

Three Rivers Commandery No. 29, K. T., was chartered June 
20, 1872, with twenty- four members and the following officers: L. 
S. Stevens, E. C; S. B. Kingsbury, Gen'o; D. D. Thorp, C. G.; J. 
Eastman Johnson, prelate; John Cowling, recorder; L. T. Wilcox, 
treasurer. Thomas M. Greene is its only surviving charter member. 

The Odd Fellows. 

The Odd Fellows of Three Rivers are very strong, their lodge 
(Excelsior No. 80) being chartered January 19, 1860, by the fol- 
lowing grand officers : B. W. Dennis, M. W. G. M. ; Charles L. Dib- 
ble, R. W. G. W. ; J. G. Bugbee, R. W. D. G. M. ; B. Yernor, R. W. 
G. S. That year was the forty-first anniversary of the institution 
of the order, and was celebrated by the local body with great enthu- 
siasm. The first noble grands were Isaac C. Ba^ett and Cyrus 
Roberts, who both served during the initial year of the lodge. Ex- 
celsior Lodge No. 80 has now a membership of over two hundred. 
S. Y. Miller is N. G. ; William Strickland, V. G. ; W. A. Barrows, 
R. S. ; E. P. Hart, F. S. ; William A. Wolf, treasurer. 

Curtis Encampment No. 39, of Patriarchs, was instituted Feb- 
ruary 22, 1870. It has a present membership of more than eighty, 
with the following officers: James Bunn, C. P.; George AUcook, 
H. P. ; W. L. Bro^vn, S. W. ; I. 0. Hains, J. W. ; W. A. Barrows, 
secretary ; George Trickey, F. S. ; J. J. Foster, treasurer. 

Knights of Pythias. 

Three Rivers Lodge No. 43, Knights of Pythias, was instituted 
on February 8, 1883, with the following charter members: J. C. 


Sanderson, C. W. Kemberling, Charles Starr, O. F. Millard, E. M. 
Clark, H. D. Cushman, F. B. Watson, W. H. Titus, F. H. Case, H. 
L. Chadwick, F. N. Tucker, C. E. McCain, W. O. Pealer, A. R. Al- 
vord, C. H. Prouty, C. E. Dexter, D. W. Thayer, S. F. Street, 
E. F. Saunders, C. U. Fisher, L. O. Miller, W. E. Clark, John Vos- 
burg, J. B. Burns, H. A. Wing, P. L. Bodmer, Max Westheimer, 
J. B. Handy and A. E. Silliman. 

The first set of officers were as follows: O. F. Millard, P. 
C. ; F. B. Case, C. C. ,• W. E. Clark, V. C. ; H. D. Cushman, P. ; F. N. 
Tucker, K. of R. and S. ; C. W. Kemberling, M. of F. ; J. C. Sander- 
son, M. of E.; A. E. Silliman, M. at A.; H. L. Chadwick, I. G. and 

C. E. McCain, 0. G. 

Following is a list of the past chancellors, from the time the 
lodge was instituted, to the present time : W. 0. Pealer, H. L. Chad- 
wick, J. I. Specht, W. E. Clark, A. W. Scidmore, W. W. French, O. 

D. Hummell, F. B. Watson, R. L. Duncan, F. E. Buergin, F. W. 
Starr, L. O. Miller, N. W. Garrison, D. D. Arnold, W. J. Cook, 
M. J. Huss, Andrew Patrick, J. M. Pauli, F. N. Whitesell and J. J. 

Officers now serving: Webb W. Walter, C. C. ; Fred N. 
Whitesell, M. of W. ; Edward N. Brough, V. C. ; Bert A. Lewis, P. ; 
Fred E. Buergin, K. of R. and S. ; Herbert I. Wright, M. of F. ; 
Will Waters, Jr., M. of E. ; James K. Gibbs, M. at A. ; C. S. Eberly, 
I. G. ; R. A. Rensenhouse, O. G. 

Trustees — Andrew Patrick, Richard L. Duncan and J. M. 

The lodge now has a membership of 230 active members, and 
the regular meetings are held every Wednesday evening in Castle 
Hall, which is the second floor over the First State Savings Bank. 

The G. a. R. Post. 

Ed. M. Prutzman Post, No. 44, G. A. R., department of Michi- 
gan, was organized in September, 1868, with the following officers : 
B. M. Hicks, P. C. ; Samuel Chadwick, S. V. C. ; A. W. Snyder, J. 
V. C, P. Bingham, Chaplain; R. R. Pealer, Adjutant; A. B. Ran- 
ney, Q. M. ; W. S. Woodhead, S. M. ; C. P. Buck, Q. M. S. ; H. H. 
Whipple, Surgeon ; J. W. Bannan, O. G. ; J. P. McKey, 0. D. 

The successive commanders of the post were : R. R. Pealer, 
W. H. H. Wilcox, Philemon Bingham and B. M. Hicks, until the 
surrender of the charter in December, 1871, in consequence of the 
disbanding of the department. 


A reorganization was effected in 1882 as Post No. 72, of which 
the following have been commanders: M. H. Bumphrey, J. P. 
McKey, J. I. Specht, R. R. Pealer, James Bonton, W. C. Porter, 
Lewis Morrill, A. A. Udell, S. R. Burns, W. N. Hodge, R. M. 
Kellogg, J. L. Haines, B. E. Andrews, G. A. B. Cooke and W. W. 

Following is a roster of the present officers : J. D. Wolf, P. C. ; 
E. C. Graham, S. V. C. ; A. L. Garrison, J. V. C. ; Henry Kramle, 
Chaplain; H. W. Snyder, Surgeon; W. R. Matthews, Adjutant; 
J. P. McKey, Q. M. ; G. A. B. Cooke, S. M. ; Allen Wescott, Q. M. S. ; 
Jackson Young, 0. D. ; James Hartgrove, 0. G. The post has a 
membership of 50, in good standing. 

D. A. R. AND Mrs. Lucy F. Andrews. 

Three Rivers has the only chapter of the Daughters of the 
American Revolution in the county — Abiel Fellows Chapter, which 
was formally organized at the home of the late Mrs. Lucy Fellows 
Andrews, on the 4th of December, 1905. Mrs. Andrews was ap- 
pointed regent of the chapter by the state regent, Mrs. Irene 
Chittenden, of Detroit, and she, in turn, appointed the following : 
Mrs. Anna W. Barrows, registrar ; Mrs. Harriet Ikeler, treasurer ; 
Miss Ruth Pancake, secretary; Mrs. Minnette Coon, historian. 

The chapter was named in honor of the regent's ancestor, 
Cololiel Abiel Fellows, and has enjoyed a steady growth, from a 
membership of twelve to one of forty. The charter members were 
as follows: Mrs. Lucy Fellows Andrews, Mrs. Harriet Ikeler, 
Misses Kate and Sadie Fellows, Mrs. Emma Pancake and Miss 
Ruth Pancake, and Mesdames Minnette Coon, Eleanor K. Champ- 
lin, Josephine Bouton, Anna W. Barrows, Susan F. Perrin and 
Catherine Smith. 

There seems to be no more appropriate place than at this 
point to briefly picture the life and activities of the able and noble 
woman who was mainly instrumental in founding this branch of 
a splendid order of patriotism. Mrs. Andrews passed quietly 
away, on Saturday morning, at her home in Three Rivers, on the 
6th of April, 1907. The news of her death spread rapidly over 
the city, and everywhere expressions of sorrow were heard. The 
passing of Mrs. Andrews removed from Three Rivers one of the 
most prominent women, not only in the city and county, but in 
the commonwealth at large, where she was widely known in con- 


neetion with her work in the State Federation of Women's Clubs, 
and her activity in the promotion of the Lucinda Stone Memorial 
fund. Mrs. Andrews was chairman of the committee which had 
in charge the raising of this fund for a scholarship in the Univer- 
sity. It was through her efforts that this fund was started at the 
state meeting of Women 's Clubs, held in Kalamazoo in 1906. 

Mrs. Andrews was a practicing lawyer in Three Rivers, a 
member of the St. Joseph County Bar association. 

Lucy Fellows Andrews, who at her death was fifty-nine years 
of age, was born in Prairie Ronde, Kalamazoo county, May 13, 
1847. Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. 0. H. Fellows, and she was 
one of a family of nine children. Her early education was re- 
ceived in the schools of Three Rivers and later she attended the 
Mrs. Lucinda H. Stone private school for girls, at Kalamazoo. 
She married Bishop E. Andrews in 1873, and after her marriage 
entered his office in the study of law. She was admitted to the 
St. Joseph County Bar in 1877, after which she practiced law with 
her husband. 

Mrs. Andrews was very active in women's club work, es- 
pecially in her home town. At one time she was vice president 
of the State Federation of Women's Clubs, and at the time of her 
death was chairman of the Stone Memorial fund. She was also 
chairman of library board of the State Federation, and as stated, 
was the organizer and first regent of the Abiel Fellows Chapter 
of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1906 she was a 
delegate and in attendance at the National convention of the 
order at Washington, D. C. Mrs. Andrews was survived by her 
husband Bishop E. Andrews, one son, Edward H. Andrews, and 
four sisters: Mrs. Alice E. Hacket, Arthur, N. D. ; Mrs. Ora D. 
Carpenter, Phelps, New York ; Mrs. Maude F. Aspinwall, Jackson, 
Michigan ; and Miss Annie Fellows, Schoolcraft, that state. 

Funeral services were held at her home by Dr. A. C. V. Skin- 
ner, assisted by Rev. George Longaker, and the burial took place 
at Riverside. 

M. W. A. AND Other Societies. 

Three Rivers Camp No. 840, M. W. A., was instituted Febru- 
ary 19, 1889, with Leo Miller as its first venerable consul; A. Y. 
Masser, W. A. ; John A. Fulcher, banker; E. E. Wilcox, clerk. The 
camp has a present strength of about 290, and the following 
officers : William T. Copp, V. C. ; Garfield A. Hackenberg, W. A. ; 


Richard L. Duncan, clerk; John 0. Pollock, banker; Osro J. 
Kidder, escort ; Charles L. Prouty, sentry ; Edgar C. Brown, watch- 
man; George H. Delano, guard; Frank L. Millard, janitor; Isaac 
L. Keen, C. F. ; Arthur W. Scidmore, C. P. No. 840 has the honor 
of being the oldest camp of the order in Michigan. 

The Three Rivers Court of Honor (No. 468) was organized 
in September, 1889, and has a membership of over 160. There are 
also well established lodges of Daughters of Rebekah (No. 191) 
andK. O. T. M. (No. 87). 



Railroad Expansion — Hon. J. G. Wait as a Railroad Man — Not 
Really Sturgis until 1858 — Hotel, Stage Lines and Mails 
— Sturgis as It Is — ^Public School System — City Water, 
Light and Power — Free Public Library — Corporation and 
Fire Department — Township and City Cemetery — Method- 
ist Pioneers — Baptist Church — ^Presbyterian Church — 
—Evangelical Lutheran, St. John^s and Trinity— St. 
John's Parish House (Episcopal) — Pioneer Masons — Odd 
Fellows and Other Orders — Sturgis W. C. T. U.—Woman^s 
Literary Club— The Local Press — Grobhiser-Cabinet Mak- 
ers Companies — Aulsbrook & Jones Furniture Company — 
Sturgis Steel Go-Cart Company — Royal Chair Factory — 
Other Industries — Banks. 

Unlike Three Rivers, Sturgis has never enjoyed the early 
advantage of natural water power, being located on a prairie in 
the southern tier of townships, and forming almost a triangle with 
Three Rivers and Colon, which lie in the valley of the St. Joseph. 
It secured a decisive advantage over Three Rivers, in 1851, when 
the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern was completed through 
it and White Pigeon. The charter of that road prevented it from 
being built nearer than three miles from the Indiana state line 
and bound it to establish one of its stations, within the county, on 
the St. Joseph river. It was so thoroughly the general belief that 
the line would be constructed through the center of the county, 
touching at Three Rivers and Constantine (one or both), that little 
attention was paid to the claims of Sturgis and White Pigeon to 
the south. But the result shows that they worked to advantage, 
or, at all events, that the railroad company had its own ideas as 
to the most direct and feasible route. 

Vol. 1—23 


Railroad Expansion. 

In 1853, however, the charter of the St. Joseph Valley Railroad 
was utilized by its owner, the Michigan Southern, and a branch 
was constructed to Three Rivers. In 1867 the Grand Rapids and 
Indiana road was built through the county from Sturgis north, 
through Nottawa and Mendon, and in 1871 the Michigan Air Line 
(now the Michigan Central) was completed through the central 
sections, touching at Centerville and Three Rivers. So that after 
the latter date. Three Rivers and Sturgis stood on a par in regard 
to railroad communication, north and south, east and west. 

Hon. J. G. Wait as a Railboad Man. 

It was the liberal amount ($30,000) subscribed chiefly by the 
people of Sturgis and White Pigeon, which induced the Michigan 
Southern road to put the line through the southern, instead of the 
central portion of the county. No one was more prominent in 
promoting the interests of the southern part of the county, and 
of Sturgis in particular, than its sturdy pioneer, Hon. Jonathan G. 
Wait. First, he was largely instrumental in securing the right-of- 
way for the Michigan Southern through Branch and St. Joseph 
counties and, as a contractor, he afterward built the fences along 
the right-of-way, as well as the depots from Coldwater to Niles. 
Again, in the late fifties, he assisted in the organization of the 
Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad Company and ten years later 
did more than any one man in actually putting it through the 
county, thus giving Sturgis a north and south outlet. Mr. Wait's 
services were so invaluable in these connections, that a digression 
is here taken from the main narrative to do him justice in detail. 

Jonathan G. Wait was born in the town of York, Livingston 
county, New York, Nov^ember 11, 1811. His parents, Josiah and 
Martha Ann (Graham) Wait, were natives of the town of Alstead, 
State of New Hampshire, but in early life moved to the town of 
Ovid, New York, and fromi thence to York, before named, and 
thence to Perry, Lake county, Ohio. He came of good English 
and Welsh blood and from several generations of Njew England 
farming stock. He lived on his father's farm until he was four- 
teen, and when seventeen commenced teaching district schools, 
which occupation, for portions of the time, he followed for several 


In the fall of 1834 Mr. Wait left Ohio for the territory 
of Michigan, traveling through the southern part of the same, 
as far west as Laporte, Indiana, and thence returned to Ohio. In 
the spring of 1835 he moved to St. Joseph county, and made a per- 
manent location on Sturgis prairie, in what was then known as the 
village of Sherman. For two winters, succeeding his first location 
on the prairie, he taught the village school in the old log-house 
that was first erected in the place for that purpose. 

In the year 1836 Mr. Wait began to build in the village, and 
that season erected four dwelling-houses. He also began the manu- 
facture of boots and shoes, cabinet work and chairs, employing 
from ten to fifteen workmen. In 1841 he commenced business in 
the mercantile line, and was engaged therein fifteen years, as well 
as in the manufacture and sale of lumber in Bronson, Branch 
county, where he owned and operated two saw-mills during the 
same period. In 1849 and 1850 he was the agent of the Michigan 
Southern Eailroad Company, to procure the right-of-way and other- 
wise aid in the construction of the road. He also had heavy con- 
tracts on the road for building depots and fences, culverts and 
bridges, and furnishing ties. He built all of the buildings from 
Bronson to Sturgis on the road, furnished the ties from the former 
place to White Pigeon, and fenced the road the same distance. 
In the fall of 1850 he was elected to the legislature of Michigan 
as a Whig, during Governor Barry's administration. Hon. T. W. 
Ferry, afterward United States senator, was a member of the 
house that same session, and Hon. I. P. Christiancy (also United 
States senator at a later date) was in the senate. At this session 
occurred the greatest and last struggle between the Michigan Cen- 
tral and Michigan Southern railroads, in which the Southern came 
off victorious. 

In 1857 Mr. Wait assisted to organize the Grand Rapids and 
Indiana Eailroad Company, and was elected a director thereof, 
which position he held for many years. During that year he also 
graded and bridged twelve miles of the road between Sturgis and 
La Grange. In 1860 he was elected to the State senate, and re- 
elected for two succeeding terms — six years consecutively. Dur- 
ing this time he had charge in the senate of the bills providing for 
an extension of time limited for the construction of the Grand 
Rapids and Indiana road, by which the land-grant was saved to 
the road, the bills being successively passed through both houses 
and becoming laws. This action was the foundation of the final 


success of the road, as, if the land-grant had lapsed, the road 
would never have been built. Mr. Wait was, for several years, 
engaged in the location and construction of the road, and was 
amply rewarded by meeting with full success. 

In all things pertaining to the prosperity of Sturgis, Mr. 
Wait ever evinced the liveliest interest. In the early days of his 
residence in the township then called Sherman (including Sher- 
man, Burr Oak, Fawn River and Sturgis), he was the town clerk, 
supervisor and justice of the peace for several years. In politics 
he was a stanch Republican, being elected to the house of rep- 
resentatives of Michigan in 1850 as a Whig, and to the senate in 
1860, 1862 and 1864, as a Republican. In 1860 he commenced the 
publication of the Sturgis Journal, a radical Republican paper, in 
which he discussed the political issues of the day with marked 
ability and vigor. He continued to edit and publish the Journal 
for fourteen years, when he disposed of it to his son, who con- 
tinued to conduct it for a time. In 1872, as an acknowledgement 
of the faithful service rendered by the Journal to the Republican 
cause, Mr. Wait received the appointment of postmaster of Sturgis, 
which position he held for some years. 

On the 20th of October, 1839, Mr. Wait was united in mar- 
riage to Miss Susan S. Buck, a daughter of George Buck, of Erie 
county, New York, and the second family to settle on Sturgis 
prairie in 1828. Mrs. Wait was bom in Erie county. New York, 
June 8, 1821, and removed with her father and his family to Michi- 
gan, as before stated. She became the mother of twelve children. 

Not Really Sturgis until 1858. 

In 1828 George Buck and John B. Clarke built their log houses 
on the site of the Sturgis of to-day, but the locality had no name 
but Sturgis prairie until 1832. In that year Philip H. Buck, son 
of George, who had been accidentally killed three years before, sur- 
veyed and platted a tract of land 60 by 165 feet, on either side of 
the old Chicago road in section 1, and called it Sherman, as has 
already been narrated. In 1834 Andrew Bachus, who had pur- 
chased Clarke's land, laid off a plat on the west side of the present 
Nottawa street. Other additions were made and the settlement was 
in quite a perplexed state of mind as to its real identity until Febru- 
ary, 1857, when the state legislature replatted everything under 
the name of Sturgis; William K. Haynes, William L. Stoughton 


and E. H. Wallace, as commissioners, recorded the same February 
5, 1858. 

Hotel, Stage Lines and Mails. 

The first hotel of the village was kept by John B. Clarke and 
was situated on the site of the present Elliott House. 

The second stage line (after Savery's) to touch Sturgis was 
established by General Brown, DeGarmo Jones and Mr. Forsyth in 
1833. From 1836 to 1840 the rush of travel westward through St. 
Joseph county was immense. Extra coaches were often run daily, 
sometimes two or three a day. It followed that the mail matter 
which went over the same route was also heavy — sometimes weigh- 
ing nearly 1,500 pounds! The benefit of this unusual rush was 
mainly enjoyed by Sturgis, as it lay upon the most convenient route 
from Detroit toward Chicago and the farther west ; and this advan- 
tage was retained until the early fifties, when both Sturgis and 
Three Eivers obtained railway connection. 

Sturgis as It Is. 

The village of Sturgis was incorporated in 1855 and the city, 
in 1896. It is now given a population of about 3,800. With refer- 
ence to railroads, it is located on the Lake Shore and Michigan 
Southern, at the intersection of the Grand Eapids and Indiana; 
also at the crossing of the Battle Creek and Goshen branch of the 
Michigan Southern. In relation to larger cities of the Middle West, 
Sturgis is midway between Toledo and Chicago, ninety miles south 
of Grand Rapids and fifty north of Fort Wayne. Its twenty manu- 
factories, or more, employ about 1,000 men, the leading industrial 
line being the manufacture of furniture. The city has also large 
manufactories of children's go-carts, steel tanks, plumbers' sup- 
plies, sash, doors and blinds, proprietary medicines, wooden ware, 

Sturgis has a fine system of water works and lighting, the plant 
being owned and operated by the municipality. New works are 
nearly completed about sixteen miles northwest on the St. Joseph 
river, some three miles north of Centerville, from which power will 
be supplied to various points along the valley and even to the in- 
terior. The place also enjoys a particularly efficient public school 
system, with its high school on the university list, and a free city 
library is an additional factor in the intellectual progress of its 



people. Seven of eight flourishing churches and numerous benevo- 
lent and charitable bodies give the city spiritual and moral stamina 
and substantial place in the higher life of Michigan communities. 

Public School System. 

The public school system of Sturgis is conducted through a 
fine three-story brick building, surrounded by spacious grounds in 
the central part of the city, and a structure of small, but adequate 
size, to accommodate "Ward No. 3. The last report showed that there 
were 739 pupils in these two schools, divided as follows: High 


school, 106, and grammar, primary and kindergarten departments 
(in the same Central building), 541; Ward No. 3 school, 382. 

The Sturgis High school is organized on the most modem peda- 
gogic methods. As stated, it is on the accredited list of the Univer- 
sity of Michigan and other universities of the west. This does not 
mean that graduation from the High school is alone sufficient to 
secure admission to western state universities; in order to enter 
college or university without such examination, a certificate of rec- 
ommendation from the High school faculty endorsing the candi- 
date's scholarship and character is necessary. The Sturgis High 
school has physical and chemical laboratories which are especially 
complete for a city of its size. Each is in a separate room on the 
third floor. The building, as a whole, has a substantial appearance 


and is a credit to the place. Various additions have been made to 
the original building of 1861, the last and perhaps the most impor- 
tant having been made in 1908. 

For the origin of the Central, or Union school of Sturgis, the 
investigator must hark back to the year 1838, when School District 
No. 3 was organized (while yet the township was called Sherman), 
with Philip Buck moderator and Jacob French, director. The 
school partook of the assessment nature to a greater or less extent 
until September 1, 1859, when the voters made it free to all the 
children of the district and raised a tax of two hundred dollars for 
its support. On the 26th of the same month the district was organ- 
ized as a Union school district and the following were elected as its 
board of education : William AUman, Philip H. Buck, J. D. Cook, 
W. A. Wright, Jacob Sidner and William L. Stoughton. Seven 
hundred dollars were then voted for incidental expenses, one thou- 
sand dollars for a building fund and the basement of the Presby- 
terian church was temporarily leased for the use of the higher 

In 1860, the first year of the Union school, the receipts from all 
sources amounted to $1,454.73; $864 were paid for teachers' sala- 
ries; and there were 352 scholars. The same year the site of the 
school house was again changed to block 16 — the present beautiful 
location — $2,000 being paid for the same. The following year 
(1861) marked the completion of the original brick school building 
at a cost, with furnishings, of $10,718. In 1876, the school popula- 
tion had so increased, that an $8,000 addition was made to the 
original structure, and soon afterwards the tower clock was in- 
stalled in the main tower. 

City Water, Light and Power. 

The municipal water plant of the city of Sturgis was erected in 
1889 and the light plant about ten years later. They are capable 
of developing 3,000-horse power, although but half of that amount 
is utilized. The present annual income ($22,000) is sufficient to 
meet all operating expenses. The plants are under the control of 
the board of public works, consisting of the following: M. E. Auls- 
brook (president), F. W. Wait, J. J. Packard, C. P. Urie and 
George F. Smith. 

This branch of the public service is known as the Municipal 
Water, Electric Light and Power Department, and J. S. Flanders 


is its active manager. As has been briefly stated, the city has been 
constructing, for some time, a large plant on the St. Joseph river, 
sixteen miles away, and north of Centerville. It is nearly com- 
pleted and when in working order will have cost not far from $175,- 
000. From its more limited experience with the plants at Stnrgis, 
the city has every good reason to expect that this enterprise will 
become a paying municipal investment, as it will be in a position 
not only to sell power and light to its own citizens, but to Center- 
ville, Mendon, Colon, and (generally speaking) the northern and 
the eastern sections of the county. 

The Free Public Library. 

The free public library of Sturgis, which now contains five 
thousand well-selected volumes under the immediate control of 
Mrs. S. G. (Alida) Patterson, librarian, had its origin in the town- 
ship library established in 1846 and opened in a room on North Not- 
tawa street. This was the year after the township was set off from 
Sherman. The first appropriation for its support was $66.74, the 
books being purchased by the school inspector and distributed 
among the several districts according to the number of scholars en- 
rolled. Mainly, through the exertions of Crebilion Jacobs, D. E. 
Thomas and Dr. Van Vleck a $500 appropriation was subsequently 
secured and placed under the management of the board of educa- 
tion of the school district. 

In 1871 a library and lecture association was formed in Stur- 
gis, with C. M. Temple as president and Mrs. General Stoughton as 
secretary. Such lecturers were secured as * ^ Petroleum V. Nasby, ' ' 
the famous political humorist ; Paul Du Chaillu, the African hunter 
and traveler, and Mrs. Mary A. Livermore, the woman reformer 
and suffragist. But what was more to the present purpose, the 
association bought $555 worth of books for circulation among its 
members, who numbered nearly ninety. The library interests of the 
association and the township were finally consolidated, and the 
citizens of Burr Oak and Sherman townships even joined the move- 
ment by paying for the privilege of drawing out books from the 

In 1885 the township sold out to the city and a reorganization 
was effected as a city library, the collection of books being moved to 
more commodious quarters in the Masonic block on Chicago street, 
where it was very pleasantly located until April, 1909, when it was 
removed to the new Carnegie building. 


The question of having a Carnegie library had been brought 
before the city council at various times, but nothing of any import- 
ance done in regard to the matter. In 1904 the Woman's Club 
brought the subject up for discussion and decided to appoint a com- 
mittee to interview Mayor C. A. Freeland and learn what meas- 
ures should be taken to receive the required amount from Mr. Car- 
negie for a library building. After a somewhat lengthy corres- 
pondence and an agreement to fill all requirements, Mr. Freeland 
succeeded in getting the sum of $10,000. The lot was purchased 
and contract let; ground was broken on August 6th and on Sep- 
tember 17, 1908, a day long to be remembered by every good citi- 
zen of Sturgis, all business was suspended for the laying of the 

The building was constructed under the supervision of 
Mayor C. Wilhelm and is a credit to him and the city. It is located 
on the comer of Chicago and Clay streets, faces west and south and 
is built of dark red brick, with white stone trimmings. Its front 
entrance is of glass tiling, with two stairways to the basement, done 
in mission style; lobby-room in front of counter; two reading 
rooms, twenty by twenty-seven feet; stack room, twenty-four by 
thirty feet; and librarian's room on first floor, mission furniture. 
The assembly and historical rooms are in the basement ; wood- work 
finished in early English oak; walls in water color cream and 
browns; maple floors; Tungsten lights; heated with hot water. 

Twenty magazines are found on the tables in the reading 
rooms and ten newspapers; bound magazines in the stack-room, 
418 ; reference books, 130 ; Circulating books, 4,639. 

The total amount expended on building and furnishing is 

The present library board is as follows: W. A. Cavin, presi- 
dent; Mrs. F. W. Shoecraft, vice president; Dr. James Vleck, sec- 
retary; Dr. David Kane and Mrs. E. B. Gray, trustees. 

Corporation and Fire Department. 

The village was first incorporated as Sturgis, February 12, 
1855, by act of the legislature, and William K. Haynes was elected 
first president of the board of trustees and William L. Stoughton, 
recorder. The village was re-incorporated in March, 1875, and, 
as stated, became a city in 1896. 

On June 20, 1859, more than four years after the village was 
incorporated, the council passed an order to buy a fire engine. 



This was accordingly done, and the machine known as ' ' Old Tub ' ' 
was in commission for twenty years or more. The first regular 
organization formed for fire protection was Watchword Fire 
company and was officered as follows : William Hammond, fore- 
man ; Daniel Flynn, first assistant ; Henry McAfee, secretary, and 
C. B. Peck, treasurer. It numbered about fifty members. In 1863 
Extinguisher Fire Engine No. 2 was purchased, and in the follow- 
ing year the village council erected the firemen's hall. In 1873 
the council dug the public well, which, with several enlargements. 


furnished the department with water until the city built the 
municipal works in 1889. 

Township and City Cemetery. 

The first cemetery either in the present township or city of 
Sturgis, was founded in the summer of 1833, when Hiram Jacobs, 
father of Crebilion, deeded an acre of land to the township of Sher- 
man, west of the line of the future railroad tracks. The donation 
provided for a site of some religious house of worship, with a 
frontage of 130 feet, and the Methodist and Lutheran churches 
were afterward erected thereon. The burial grounds at the rear 
of the church (occupying the present site of the Royal Chair 
factory) continued to be used as a cemetery until 1867. 

In the year named, the board of health of the township of 
Sturgis, bought ten acres of land just south of the village, in 


section 12, which, by later additions, has been molded into beau- 
tiful Oak Lawn cemetery. The grounds now consist of more than 
thirty-two acres, lying on either side of Nottawa street, and there 
are few prettier homes for the dead in southern Michigan. 
Crebilion Jacobs, whose father deeded the land for the original 
cemetery, and who himself has long been prominent in educational 
and library matters, was superintendent of Oak Lawn for fifteen 
years and no one has done more to make it what it is. 

Methodist Pioneers. 

The religious history of Sturgis commences with the organiza- 
tion of the first Methodist society, by Rev. Richard Robinson, in 
November, 1832. At this time, the territory within the Ohio con- 
ference was called the St. Joseph mission and was attached to the 
Fort Wayne (Indiana) district until 1840. In that year was 
formed the Michigan conference, and the Sturgis society was at- 
tached to the Centerville circuit until 1851, when the circuit was 
divided and the society called Sturgis station. The history of the 
society up to that year is sketched in succeeding paragraphs. 

The first class of Methodists in Sturgis was composed of one 
man — David Knox, the leader — and seven women, among whom 
were Mrs. David Knox, Mrs. Rachel Knox (David's mother), Mrs. 
Betsey Buck (widow), Mrs. Thomas Cade and Miss Harriet Brooks. 
Revs. Smith, Newell, P. S. Robinson, Erastus Kellogg and William 
Todd, preached to the members of St. Joseph mission until 1837, 
and in May of that year the Methodist society of Sherman was 
organized, with David Knox as president of its board of trustees. 
During the year. Rev. John Ercanbrack and Rev. E. Arnold were 
appointed to the charge, and during 1838 and 1839 the former was 
associated in his religious work with Rev. Erastus Kellogg. As 
stated, the Michigan conference was formed in 1840, and for the 
succeeding three years the following were appointed to the cir- 
cuit : 1841— Rev. Richard Meek and James W. Brier; 1842— Rev. 
Meek and Rev. Charles Babcock ; 1843 — Rev. Peter Sabin and Rev. 
Daniel Bush. 

In 1843 the society erected its first church on the public 
ground, in front of the old cemetery. This building was afterward 
moved across the street and used as a factory, and the Lutheran 
church was erected there. 



The first to preach in the new church, which was dedicated 
early in the year, were Rev. Peter Sabin and Daniel Bush; in 
1844, Rev. Henry Worthington and Rev. E. S. Tyler, were ap- 
pointed to the circuit, and were succeeded in 1845 by Rev. Ercan- 
brack and E. S. Tyler. In the church records for the latter year 
appears a note to the effect that ** William Allman returned from 
Indiana Asbury University, re-united with the society, was elected 
steward and continued in that capacity for nearly forty years; 
prominent in the general conference and as a class leader." 

In 1845, when the township of Sherman was divided and 
Sturgis erected, the name of the local society was changed. In 


April, 1846, a Sunday school was organized, with William Allman 
as superintendent. From that year, until the division of the 
Centerville circuit and the founding of Sturgis station, the fol- 
lowing served the society as circuit preachers : 1846 — Rev. John 
Ercanbrack and George King; 1847 — Rev. J. Steele and A. J. 
Eldred ; 1848— Rev. J. Steele and Rev. W. E. Tappan ; 1849— Rev. 
S. A. Osborn and Rev. S. P. Lee ; 1850 — Rev. S. A. Osborn and Rev. 
L. W. Earl. 

When Sturgis was made a separate station, in 1851, Rev. W. 
G. Stoner was appointed its pastor, and the following served it 
during the succeeding four years: Rev. Jeremy Boynton, Rev. 


Elijah Crane and Rev. V. G. Boynton. In 1856 the society decided 
on the corporate name — ^the First Methodist Episcopal church, of 
Sturgis, and in October of that year, William AUman donated a 
lot for a parsonage. Rev. J. McAlister was pastor in 1857-8, and 
was succeeded by Rev. N. L. Brockway, B. F. Doughty, Rev. S. C. 
Woodward and Rev. G. D. Lee. 

Under the pastorate of the last named, the first church edifice 
was built, and dedicated in the same year (1863). It was a com- 
fortable brick structure, erected at a cost of $12,000, and provided 
for about four hundred sittings. 

Since then the church has steadily grown in usefulness and 
favor under the pastorate of such well known ministers as Rev. 
Thomas Lyon, Rev. A. A. Knappen, Rev. John Graham, Rev. A. M. 
Gillett, Rev. Elias Cooley, Rev. R. H. Bready, Rev. G. A. Buell, 
Rev. L. N. Pattison, Rev. L. H. Manning and Rev. Adam Clarke 
(who has occupied the pulpit since September, 1909). The beau- 
tiful edifice, which is now the home of the church was dedicated 
in March, 1908. It is large and picturesque, is built of unfinished 
stone, has an elegant interior finish, and comfortably accommo- 
dates the three hundred members who are affiliated with the 
denomination and the local body. The growth in membership is 
indicated by the fact that it was 104 in 1855, and 161 in 1883. 

Baptist Church. 

The Baptist church was organized October 6, 1836, as a con- 
ference composed of Elder Gershom B. Day, moderator; Abel 
Grossman, clerk ; Wear Drake, Mordecai Leighton, Thomas Davis, 
Elizabeth Day, Roxana Grossman and Lydia and Catherine Drake. 
On January 26, 1837, a council was held composed of Elder Will- 
iam Brown (moderator), Elder H. J. Hall (clerk), William Taylor 
and L. M. Choat, and the conference was formally organized as a 
church, with Polly S. Ellis and Eunice B. Raymond as additional 
members. The services of dedication consisted of the preaching 
of the sermon (from Luke xii, 32) by Elder Brown, who also 
gave the right hand of fellowship to the members ; charge to the 
new church, given by William Taylor, and prayer offered by Mr. 

In 1846 the people of Sturgis, irrespective of denominational 
preference, erected a house of worship, which was the first church 
building occupied by the Baptists ; in 1858 they bought the other 


interests in the structure and occupied it alone for many years. 
The Sunday school was organized in October, 1846, with P. 
H. Evans as superintendent. In the late seventies the church 
membership was about 90 ; it is now 150. The first pastor of the 
society was Elder Day, the pioneer Baptist preacher in the county, 
who was afterward killed by the Indians in California. Well 
known pastors who have served the church are the following : 
Revs. R. Graham, L. H. Stocker, R. H. Cook, P. Forbes, P. H. 
Evans, U. B. Miller, E. Curtis, G. L. Stevens, E, I. Fish, A. L. 
Vail, George A. Amos, L. F. Compton, A. J. Snyder, B. P. Hewitt, 
Ira Hall, E. P. Smallidge, J. J. Phelps, J. C. Rhodes, A. H. Bailey, 
C. G. Roadarmel and J. C. MacDonald (now in charge). 

Presbyterian Church. 

One of the oldest and most flourishing churches of Sturgis 
is the Presbyterian, which was organized by Rev. W. Corey, of 
Lima, Indiana, in 1836-7. Among the first members were : Elder 
James L. Bishop and wife, Rice PearsoU and wife, Mr. Wilbur and 
wife, Mrs. Ransom and Ahira Brooks. In August, 1853, the church 
was incorporated, with J. L. Bishop, William Kyte and P. H. Buck 
as trustees. The first church edifice was built in 1858 and was 
valued at $6,000. Among the earlier pastors of the society, besides 
Mr. Corey, were Rev. Charles Newberry, Rev. Mr. Fuller, Rev. 
Mr. Clarke, Rev. Mr. Knapp and Rev. C. M. Temple. A Sunday 
school was organized about the same time as the church, and 
among its early superintendents were John Taylor and Harvey 
H. Breese. Rev. C. B. Newsom now occupies the pulpit. 

Evangelical Lutheran St. John's Church 

The Evangelical Lutheran St. John's church was organized 
as a Reformed society in 1855. Not long afterward Lutheran 
ministers commenced to preach to the church, and on March 21, 
1864, it was incorporated as the Evangelical Reformed church, of 
Sturgis. In April, 1866, fourteen stanch Lutheran members with- 
drew from the society and organized as the Evangelical Lutheran 
St. John's Church, by which name it has ever since been known. 
The present church was erected in 1869, although the tower and 
several additions have since been made to the main structure. 

The pastors of the church, since the adoption of its present 
name, have been as follows : Rev. F. J. Hennicke, 1866-72 ; Rev. 


John Eipperle, 1872-6; Rev. William Rein, 1876-8; Rev. Fred. 
Miller, 1878-80; Rev. C. F. Boehner, 1880-7; Rev. Robert Hoeck, 
1887-9 ; Rev. Martin Kionka, 1889-93 ; Rev. Fr^d. Krauss, 1893- 
1900 ; Rev. 0. Eekert, 1900-6 ; Rev. H. C. Richter, 1906— present 
pastor. The St. John's church numbers 370 souls ; active members, 
about 100. Ecclesiastically, it is a part of the ''Evangelical 
Lutheran Synod of Michigan and other states.'' 

Evangelical Lutheran Trinity. 

Evangelical Lutheran Trinity church is an outgrowth of the 
First Lutheran church, organized January 14, 1864, with these 
members: Carl Froh, Christ Froh, Henry Lohrmann, Frederick 
Passehl, John Vallbrandt, Christ Germing, Carl Schroeder and 
Fred Ripke. Rev. Mr. Evers, the first pastor, after preaching 
about a year and a half, was called to Adams county, Indiana, and 
during the succeeding three years Rev. Mr. Hahn and Rev. G. A. 
Henkel preached not only at Sturgis, but at Hillsdale and Burr 
Oak. Mr. Henkel occupied the pulpit of the church regularly 
from 1869 to 1877, and during his pastorate (1871) the society 
built its first house of worship — a little frame building, twenty by 
thirty feet. In 1874 the church was attached to the German 
Evangelical Lutheran Synod of ' ^ Missouri, Ohio and other states, ' ' 
and on August 12, 1877, Rev. H. Gose was called from Illinois to 
assume the pastorate. 

The present parsonage was erected in 1881, which was occu- 
pied by Mr. Gose until he left to take up his new work at Three 
Rivers and Fabius, in 1885. During the succeeding fifteen years, 
or the period from 1885 to 1900, the following pastors were in 
charge of the Evangelical Lutheran Trinity: Revs. Kaemmerer, 
H. Yuengel, Theodore Ruhland (only a few months), Theodore 
Hahn and G. Wolter. Under Mr. Hahn's incumbency, which 
covered 1893-1900, the church was rebuilt, being dedicated Sep- 
tember 20, 1896. Rev. G. Wolter occupied the pulpit from 1900 
to 1903, when Rev. W. T. Schalm, the present incumbent, succeeded 

The secular educational work connected with the church had 
reaped such good results that a new parochial school building 
had been erected, and was dedicated on the 16th of April following 
Mr. Schalm 's assumption of pastoral duties. This feature has 
continued to be a leading one in the activities of the church, which 


now numbers 285 souls, 193 actual communicants and 65 voting 

The Evangelical Lutheran Trinity is a free and independent 
church, being supported entirely by voluntary monthly contribu- 
tions. Within the organization are a flourishing Sunday school, 
Ladies^ Aid society, Lutheran League and other auxiliaries of a 
religious and charitable nature. 

The Mission of Holy Angels. 

Holy Mass was celebrated by the Catholics of Sturgis for the 
first time in 1864, in the residence of Capt. Wm. McLaughlin, at 
the comer of Clay and Congress streets. Father C. Eyckaert was 
the celebrant; he visited Sturgis until 1872, when Rev. Korst, re- 
siding at Coldwater, took charge. The services continued to be 
held in the above residence and occasionally in other private houses 
in the village and the country. Father McKenna attended Sturgis 
while he was pastor of Mendon. From 1875 to 1880 the mission was 
attached to Elkhart, Indiana, where Father J. Noll was pastor. In 
1879 an effort was made for the third time to build a church. The 
initiative was taken by the devout and zealous Mrs. Cook, who 
placed the enterprise under the patronage of the Immaculate Vir- 
gin Mary and St. Joseph. Success seemed to have been assured from 
the beginning. Mr. Beck donated the site on Nottawa street, now 
the avenue of beautiful residences. All the people. Catholic and non- 
Catholic, united in building the church ; those who could not give 
money offered their labor gratis. In two months the building, 
about 32x60 feet, brick veneered, was completed and free of debt. 
About twenty families constituted the mission. 

The dedication took place in May, 1879. The Et. Eev. Bishop, 
assisted by his secretary, Father Korst and a few other priests, per- 
formed the ceremony. His Lordship also preached the dedicatory 
sermon, the subject was: *'The Church the House of God." 

From 1879 to 1884, Holy Angels' was attended by Fathers 
Slane from Hillsdale, Kroeger from Elkhart, Loughran from Men- 
don, KroU from Bronson. Father Korst had charge of it from 
1884 to 1895. He added the sacristy. He was succeeded by Father 
Schaeper. The church was still without a tower and beU. The 
tower was built by a local mechanic and a good bell weighing 800 
pounds, was placed in it. The old windows were replaced by new 
ones of artistic design, and rich colors. The church was now com- 


plete and was among the best of the so-called country churches. 
Rev. H. J. Kaufmann came in 1903. The following year being the 
jubilee year of the churchy it was thought proper to have the inte- 
rior frescoed, an electric chandelier put in, new statues and a new 
tabernacle purchased. These improvements considerably enhanced 
the interior. The jubilee was observed in a becoming manner. The 
exercises were conducted by the Rev. John Cavanaugh, C.S.C, now 
president of the Notre Dame University. 

St. John's Parish House. 

St. John's Parish House (Episcopal) is one of the most strik- 
ing, although not among the largest, of the church buildings in 
Sturgis. The parish property includes not only a somewhat low, 
but pretty and unique house of worship, and, an assembly hall for 
religious and social purposes, but an elegant auditorium devoted to 
public purposes; it is, in fact, the only public hall worthy of the 
name in the city. The comer-stone of the main building was laid 
in 1903, and the structure was consecrated May 20, 1906. The pub- 
lic auditorium is known as McKenzie Hall, being named in honor 
of the present rector of St. John's guild and mission. Rev. J. H. 
McKenzie; membership or communicants, about 120. 

Pioneer Masons. 

As is the rule in other places, the Masons were the first to or- 
ganize in Sturgis, Meridian Sun Lodge No. 49, A. F. & A. M., be- 
ing created under dispensation, March 12, 1851. Francis Flanders 
was its first worthy master. The lodge was first chartered January 
15, 1852, the treasured parchment which first called it into exist- 
ence being destroyed by fire. It was granted a new charter Janu- 
ary 12, 1862. W. H. Kent was worshipful master in 1853, and Dr. 
Nelson I. Packard filled the chair at different times for eleven 
years. The present membership numbers about 85, the officers for 
1910 being as follows: H. L. Anthony, W. M. ; L. H. Powers, S. W. ; 
Claude Curtis, J. W. ; T. J. Collins, treasurer ; W. A. Cavin, secre- 
tary ; William P. Townsend, S. D. ; Emil Marsch, J. D. ; William 
Lloyd, tiler. 

Sturgis Chapter No. 26, R. A. M., was organized by charter 
January 7, 1861, with B. F. Doughty as high priest; N. I. Packard, 
scribe, and Charles H. Putnam, king. The present officers are as 

Vol. 1—24 


follows : Charles J. Lockwood, H. P. ; J. J. Stanton, K. ; C. Wilhelm, 
S.; W. P. Townsend, C. of H. ; Claude D. Curtis, P. S. ; Emil 
Marsch, R. A. C. ; Thomas J. Collins, treasurer; C. J. Halbert, sec- 
retary; C. E. Boughton, M. 3 V.; A. W. Gardner, M. 2 V.; Luther 
H. Powers, M. 1 Y. ; William Lloyd, Sen. Membership of the chap- 
ter, over 100. 

Olive Branch Lodge of the Eastern Star was organized Octo- 
ber 2, 1879. It has a membership of some 150, with the following 
officers : Mrs. Helena M. Lockwood, W. M. ; Mrs. Portia Graves, A. 
M. ; Mrs. Claude Curtis, W. P.; Mrs. Lavina Alexander, treasurer; 
Mrs. Jessie Taylor, secretary ; Miss Edith Corey, Ada ; Miss Carrie 
Graves, Ruth; Miss Josie Rodebaugh, Esther; Miss Dorothea Rob- 
inson, Martha; Miss Mary Newman, Electra; Mrs. Lizzie Grob- 
hiser, marshal ; Mrs. Jennie Tracy, captain ; Mrs. Fannie Robinson, 
organist; William Lloyd, sentinel. 

Odd Fellows and Other Orders. 

The Odd Fellows of Sturgis organized themselves into Prairie 
Lodge No. 37 in the early fifties, and in July, 1860, dedicated what 
was then a fine hall. Hon. Henry Waldron, then a member of con- 
gress was the orator for the occasion. At the present time the 
lodge has a membership of about seventy, with William Hayes as 
noble grand, David A. Kribs as secretary, James J. Packard as 
treasurer, and H. L. Anthony as quartermaster. 

The Knights of Pythias organized February 21, 1893, and 
their lodge has now a membership of about 80, officered as follows : 
W. A. Gospel, C. C. ; Frank R. Eaton, Y. C. ; H. C. Kraft, secre- 

Maccabees Tent No. 557, was organized in 1880, and has now a 
membership of 160, with the following officers: F. H. Bailey, C. ; 
Fred Ruck, L. C. ; Wallace Merchant, R. K. ; and F. B. Dickerson, 
F. K. 

A. B. Sturgis Post No. 73, G. A. R., was organized in the 
eighties and has now a membership of about thirty. Officers : Dr. V. 
H. Van Vleck, Com. ; D. W. Robinson, S. Y. ; J. R. Tyler, J. V. ; E. 
B. Cook, adjutant; Emanuel Ziegler, 0. D. ; L. J, Twitchell, 

Sturgis W. C. T. U. 

On March 27, 1877, the W. C. T. U. of Sturgis originated in the 
organization known as the Ladies' Temperance Union, or the White 


Eibbon Club. Following were its officers : Mrs. J. A. Kyte, presi- 
dent ; Mrs. L. A. Packard, recording secretary ; Mrs. S. A. Wright, 
corresponding secretary. The offiicers for 1910 were: Mrs. Alma 
Robinson, president; Eliza Burridge, recording secretary; Mrs. M. 
L. Williams, corresponding secretary. 

Woman's Literary Club. 

The Woman's Literary Club of Sturgis was called into exist- 
ence through the efforts of a few progressive women of the city. 
The first meeting was held at the home of Mra. Burritt Hamilton, 
March 1, 1894, at which time a constitution was drawn up and 
adopted and officers elected. Committees were appointed and Mrs. 
Mary Hackstaff was elected president. A program was prepared 
that speedily set the members at work. The harder they worked, 
the more interested they grew and in all these years the enthusiasm 
has not flagged and Mrs. Hackstaff remained president until her 
death, which occurred November 4, 1897. Since that time new offi- 
cers have been elected annually and a new program provided. The 
club membership is limited to thirty-five. While death has visited 
it several times and drawn from the membership, and removals 
have occurred, their places have been filled in the club, so that in 
1910 its membership holds the full quota of thirty-five — all doing 
faithful work as stated by Mrs. R. C. Hamilton. Each year the 
members have grown stronger and topics great and small have been 
handled with more or less skill. Literature, History, Philosophy, 
Sociology, Psychology and Economics have been valiantly attacked 
and carefully studied, while Civil Service and Parliamentary Law 
have not been neglected. The club joined the State Federation in 
1897 and united with the St. Joseph County Federation in 1900. 
The club flower is the carnation; club colors are pink and white, 
and our club motto is **In essentials, unity — In small things lib- 
erty — In all things, charity. ' ' 

The Local Press. 

Sturgis has two newspapers — ^the Journal, published by the 
Journal Publishing Company, of which Edward A. Ferrier is edi- 
tor, and the Michigan Democrat, edited and published by H. 0. 

The Journal is one of the oldest newspapers in the county, 
being established as the Sturgis Bepiiblicam in 1844, twelve years 


before the Republican party (as we now know it) came into exist- 
ence. C. E. Simonds, its founder, continued it only a short time 
as a Democratic organ. Joseph Willis was its next regular pub- 
lisher, and was succeeded by Easton and Sawdy, who about 1860 
changed the name to the Sturgis Journal. J. G. Waite then con- 
ducted the paper for twelve years, after which it was edited and 
managed for two years by his son, Arthur E. Waite. Dr. T. F. 
Thornton assumed control in 1874, and two years later absorbed 
the Sturgis Times^ which had been published for a time by Messrs. 
Alleman and Sweet. The Joumal'Times continued for a number 
of years to be one of the leading papers in the county, as is its suc- 
cessor of to-day— the Journal. 

In 1876 the St. Joseph County Democrat (now the Michigan 
Democrat) was established in Sturgis by John S. and J. W. Flan- 
ders, the former being its publisher and owner. At different peri- 
ods since, E. W. Freeman, John S. Flanders, Dr. L. S. Putney, 

C. J. Lockwood and H. O. Eldredge have been its publishers, edi- 
tors, or both. It has been consistently and stanchly Democratic 
from the first. 

Grobhiser-Cabinetmakers Companies. 

The two leading manufacturers of furniture in Sturgis are 
known as the Grobhiser-Cabinetmakers Companies, and the Auls- 
brook & Jones Furniture Company. The business of the former com- 
pany was organized in 1887, since which time there has practically 
been no change in the management, other than that about two years 
ago the company was re-organized from the Grobhiser & Crosby 
Furniture Company, to the Grobhiser-Cabinetmakers Co's., James 

D. Robinson taking an interest at that time in place of Mr. Wilhelm. 
The company was originally incorporated as the Grobhiser & 
Crosby Furniture Company in February, 1887, at which time the 
first plant was built, and additions were made to the original plant 
about the years 1896, 1902, 1905, and 1906, these covering the main 
additions. There have been minor additions at different times, but 
the main improvements were made about these dates. The manu- 
facturing specialties are dining-room, library, and office furniture, 
with an annual output of about $225,000. The company was re- 
organized about October, 1908, as the Grobhiser-Cabinetmakers 
Co's., with a paid-up capital of $200,000, which is held by the fol- 
lowing gentlemen, who comprise the officers and all of the stock- 


holders: W. C. Grobhiser, president; J. G. Robinson, vice presi- 
dent; G. M. Jorn, secretary; M. E. Aulsbrook, treasurer. 

AuLSBROOK & Jones Furniture Company. 

The Aulsbrook & Jones Furniture Company was founded in 
1882 by Albert Sturgis and M. E. Aulsbrook, under the firm name 
of Aulsbrook & Sturgis. The business was continued as a co- 
partnership until Mr. Sturgis' death in 1903, when his interest 
was assumed by the Sturgis estate, represented by Charles A. 
Sturgis. There was no change in this arrangement until January 
1, 1908, when the Sturgis interests were purchased by J. D. Miskill, 
now vice president of the company, and the business capitalized 
at $100,000. Mr. Aulsbrook is president and E. L. Jones, secretary, 
A large addition to the original building was made in 1904, when 
the business was greatly expanded. The present output of the 
factory amounts to $200,000 annually, the special product of its 
manufacture being mahogany and oak bed-room furniture. 

Sturgis Steel Go-Cart Company. 

What is known as the Sturgis Steel Go-Cart Company also 
represents one of the leading industries of the city. The Foyer 
Manufacturing Company was engaged in a similar line a number 
of years ago, and Messrs. M. E. Aulsbrook, J. F. Walton and F. L. 
Burdick bought the Foyer patents as the basis of the large business 
which they have since promoted. They organized a company 
under its present name in July, 1907, incorporated it in the fol- 
lowing October, capitalized it at $85,000 (authorized, $100,000), 
and their completely equipped plant now turns out annually more 
than $300,000 worth of children's steel vehicles, illustrating an 
unusual variety, perfect reliability and fine taste in this line of 
goods. The product of the manufactory includes collapsible car- 
riages, folding carts, doll carts and speeders. 

Royal Chair Factory. 

The Royal Chair Factory was established in November, 1899, 
by J. F. Walton, its present secretary and treasurer. The busi- 
ness is incorporated with a capital stock of $15,000 and the annual 
output of the plant is about $200,000. Present management, the 


Walton brothers, consisting of the following: J. E. Walton, 
president; A. P. Walton, vice president; J. F. Walton, secretary 
and treasurer; and C. E. Walton. 

Other Industries. 

This by no means completes the list of Sturgis industries, 
among others being: Morency-Van Buren Manufacturing Com- 
pany (plumbers), B. F. Freeland & Sons Company (manufactur- 
ers of tanks, brass goods), Miller-Hubbard Manufacturing Com- 
pany, Utility Manufacturing Company (corn poppers, etc.), Sturgis 
Machine Company, Shoecraft-Smith Manufacturing Company (lad- 
der manufacturers) and the Diffusible Tonic Company. The last 
named was founded in 1888, is capitalized at $100,000 and con- 
trolled by Dr. L. I. Flanders (president) and John S. Flanders 

The leading lumber company of the place is the Wait-Yan 
Buren, of which Frank W. Wait is president and R. H. Yan Buren 
is secretary. 


The National Bank of Sturgis was organized as the First 
National Bank, February 18, 1865, Hugh McCuUoch then being 
secretary of the treasury. Its first president was Richard Reed. 
In 1884 the institution was reorganized under its present name, 
and the following constituted the management until about 1894: 
Nelson I. Packard, president; Samuel P. Williams, William All- 
man, John J. Beck, Ira F. Packard, James Thornton and Bracey 
Tobey. Levant E. White has been president of the bank for more 
than fifteen years and Henry L. Anthony, for twelve. Present 
capital, $65,000; surplus, $8,000; deposits, $360,000. 

The Citizens' State Bank was organized March 7, 1892, with 
Nelson I. Packard as president, T. J. Collins, vice president, and 
H. A. Clapp, cashier. Present officers: M. E. Aulsbrook, presi- 
dent; E. S. Amidon, vice president; T. J. Collins, cashier. Capital, 
$50,000 ; surplus and undivided profits, $20,000 ; deposits, $452,000. 



Development of Eiver Trade — The Barrys of Constantine — 
Corporations of 1837 and 1861 —Substantial Water 
Power Improvements — Constantine Milling Company — 
Other Leading Manufactories — Constantine 's Great 
Bridge — ''Safety Fund'^ Bank — First State and Commer- 
cial State Banks — The Town of the Present — City Water 
AND Light— Constantine Newspapers — The Methodist 
Church— First Congregational Church — Mrs. Crossette^s 
Recollections — The Reformed Church — Messiah Evan- 
gelical Lutheran Church — Secret and Benevolent Socie- 

The founding of Constantine as an industrial community, by 
such men as Judge William Meek and Governor John S. Barry, 
as well as its establishment in the world of business, has been 
traced in the history of the township. Although the place was 
platted as Constantine, in 1831, and first incorporated as a village, 
under that name, in the spring of 1837, for many years the county 
at large refused to recognize it otherwise than as Meek's Mills. 
In the fall of 1836 and spring of 1837, the village took its first de- 
cided step toward territorial expansion through the Constantine 
North Addition Land Company, which raised its first building 
November 10, 1836. It was but natural that the Bepuhliccm should 
take a leading hand in promoting the '*boom,'' as the paper was 
only three months old and ambitious to become '^ solid'' with the 
community. This journalistic organ of the young village dis- 
coursed most eloquently on the water privileges required to make 
Constantine what it should be, and was destined to be, and called 
aloud for capitalists to come forward and establish an oil mill, 
edge-tool manufactory, paper-mill and blast furnace. 



Development of River Trade. 

In 1839 Hon. Joseph R. Williams, who had bought the local 
vrater pov^er of Judge Meek's, erected a fine flour mill, interesting 
v^ith himself, George Howland, of New Bedford, and Hon. Daniel 
Webster, the statesman and orator. But the Massachusetts capital- 
ists and statesmen soon dropped out of the Constantine milling 
business. Mr. Williams completed his mill in 1841 and put it in 
operation, with six run of stone. He not only managed this, but a 
large mercantile trade. For many years he turned out some 25,000 
barrels of flour annually, and shared largely with Grovernor Barry 
the shipping trade of Constantine. But Mr. Williams by no means 
shared the governor's popularity, for in June, 1856, the Williams 
mill was destroyed by an incendiary and the dam was also badly 
damaged by malicious hands. It was rebuilt, however, by Miller, 
Hagenbuch & Harvey. 

In 1843 the first steamboat arrived at the wharves of Con- 
stantine, and from that year until 1851, their principal business 
was towing keel and flat boats from St. Joseph to that point and 
carrying light boats back. In 1845 Governor Barry built his ware- 
house on piles over the river, so that the steamers and other boats 
could unload directly therein without extra hauling. After the 
railroad came in 1853, and river navigation ceased, the warehouse 
was moved to the bank of the river. 

The Barrys op Constantine. 

In this locality (on the site of the present Harvey House) 
Governor Barry and his son Charles conducted the warehouse and 
general store for many years ; in fact, Charles Barry did not with- 
draw until 1896. William Watson and Mr. Cohn succeeded the 
Barrys, and when the Harvey House was erected in 1903, it was 
found unnecessary to displace the massive foundation of the old 
Barry warehouse. The residence occupied by the governor also 
stands as one of Constantine 's historic landmarks; it is a roomy 
two-story white house, colonial in architecture, its ells being sup- 
ported by fluted wooden pillars. 

Corporations of 1837 and 1861. 

When Constantine was first incorporated in 1837, the follow- 
ing trustees were elected : Dr. Watson Sumner, president ; Allen 


E. Massey, Willis T. House, James M. Hunt, Allen Goodridge, 
Pierrepont E. Grover and Erastus Thurber, other trustees; Albert 
Chandler, clerk. The first act of incorporation lapsed in 1839, and 
the village was not again incorporated until March 15, 1861, when 
the following officials were elected : H. H. Riley, president ; John 
B. Shipman, recorder; Ephraim H. Sheldon, treasurer; Almeron 
Bristol, Thomas C. Langley, John G. Miller, Levi T. Hull and 
Joseph Horton, trustees; Isaac T. Mozier and Cyrus Schellhous, 

Substantial Water-Power Improvement. 

By this time Constantine had not only well established saw- 
and flour-mills, but foundries, implement works, woolen mills, 
furniture factories and a brewery. It had become so firmly 
grounded in the industrial line that an organized movement was 
inaugurated through the Constantine Hydraulic Company to sub- 
stantially improve the water power of the St. Joseph and Pawn 
rivers. The company was organized February 10, 1868, by the 
following incorporators: Franklin Wells, Thomas Mitchell, S. P. 
Davis, Aaron Hagenbuch and H. H. Riley. Dr. Edward Thorne 
was elected president, Mr. Wells, secretary, and George I. Crossett, 
treasurer. The works, which were completed in 1873, included 
two brick buildings — one two stories, thirty-four by sixty feet, 
and the other three stories in height, twenty by twenty feet, with 
several frame structures, all covering more than five thousand 
square feet; a substantial dam across the St. Joseph river, and 
two raceways, or canals, one on each side of the river, eighty feet 
in width, seven feet in depth and nine feet fall. This first really 
improved water power was planned so that it could be used along 
a frontage of more than four thousand feet and embrace sixty acres 
of ground. The cost of making the improvements, including the 
amount paid for acquiring the necessary lands, was $35,500. 

In later years the improvements were extended to the Fawn 
river, and the entire water power is now owned by three parties : 
seven-twelfths by the Constantine Milling Company, three-twelfths 
by the village and two-twelfths by the Fawn River Manufacturing 

Constantine Milling Company. 

The Constantine Milling Company, which owns and operates 
a custom roller and feed mills, is one of the leading industrial 


organizations of the village. The business was established in the 
early fifties by E. H. Sheldon, and the feed mill was built in 1870. 
George I. Crossett, W. W. Harvey and J. M. Harvey were early 
interested in the roller mills and the business in general, and in 
1897 the J. F. Eesley Milling Company became the proprietors. 
Then W. M. Spencer and R. J. Fenner assumed control, and in 
1903 the Constantine Milling Company was incorporated by W. M. 
and A. F. Spencer and Mr. Fenner. The last named withdrew and 
the present officers are as follows : W. M. Spencer, president ; E. 
S. Hotchin (in charge of the feed mill), vice president; W. H. 
Barnard, secretary and treasurer. The daily output of the roller 
mills is 250 barrels of flour. 

Other Leading Manufactures. 

One of the leading industries of Constantine is conducted by 
the Board and Paper Company, which was established in 1900 by 
the present officers : Robert Weir, president ; John Weir, treasurer 
and Nelson Foley, secretary. In 1903 its present plant was put in 
operation, it being the old brewery of Constantine remodeled. 
The output of the factory amounts to twenty tons daily, the manu- 
facture being of box boards entirely. 

The Constantine Casket Company, whose business was estab- 
lished in 1895 and incorporated in 1909, occupies a plant which 
stands on the site of the old Oliver plow works, one of the first 
industries to be established in Three Rivers and southern Michi- 
gan. John P. Drake, secretary and general manager of the com- 
pany, is a native of Three Rivers, as was his mother (nee Roys). 
Other officials: O. K. Harvey, president; W. N. Harvey, vice 
president ; S. B. Hagenbuch, treasurer. 

Other industries than those already mentioned are the saw- 
mill of Irwin Brothers, and the Novelty Works of John B. George, 
the latter turning out such articles as curtain stretchers and 

Constantine ^s *' Safety Fund" Bank. 

The early importance of Constantine, or Meek's Mills, as an 
industrial and commercial point of the county and southern Michi- 
gan, is fairly demonstrated by the fact that it enjoyed the distinc- 
tion of possessing for about five years the first and only ''safety" 
fund bank in this section of the state. It (the Bank of Oonstan- 


tine) was chartered July 23, 1836, with an authorized capital of 
$250,000; and amon^ the many applications made to the legisla- 
ture for the purpose, this was the only charter granted. It was one 
of the signs of the times that within the first week after the stock 
books were opened, not only was the full authorized amount sub- 
scribed, but 447 surplus shares besides. Among the heaviest sub- 
scribers were Isaac J. Ullman, 210 shares; William E. Boardman, 
1,500 shares; J. S. Barry, 200 shares, and William H. Adams, 200 
shares. The first board of directors consisted of the following: W. 
T. House, president; W. E. Boardman, John A. Welles, I. J. Ull- 
man, E. S. Swan, W. H. Adams and John S. Barry. On February 
24, 1837, the bank received its first installment of capital in specie, 
and its doors were opened for business on the 3rd of the following 
month, with Charles Augustus Hopkins, of Buffalo, as cashier. 

The Bank of Constantine was a *^wild cat" bank, to designate 
it from the ^^red dog" species ; they were alike, in that they eventu- 
ally scratched or bit those who had anything to do with them, and 
were only different in a minor feature of their bills of exchange. 
If the bills were printed ready for circulation, they were **wild 
cat ; " if the locality of the bank of issue was left blank, to be after- 
ward filled in with red ink, they were of the **red dog" variety. 
Both the Constantine and Centerville banks were ''wild cat." 

The first statement issued by the Constantine institution was 
made March 6, 1838, and notwithstanding panic and hard times 
presented the following brave showing: Capital stock, $250,000; 
paid in, $27,025; circulation, $29,430; specie on hand, $15,465; 
bills of other banks, $9,821. But the day of reckoning came, after 
a few years of inflation of its circulating medium, and in 1841 it 
was forced to suspend specie payments and close its doors. 

First State Bank. 

The First State Bank of Constantine was organized as the 
First National Bank, November 29, 1864, by George I. Crossett, 
Norman Harvey, Thomas Mitchell, E. H. Sheldon, Samuel B. Jenks, 
Aaron Hagenbuch and Francis J. Morse. Mr. Sheldon was Its first 
president and George M. Clark, cashier. Mr. Clark was succeeded 
the following year by Peter Haslet, who was cashier up to the time 
of his death, in 1881, when W. "W. Harvey was elected to the posi- 
tion, which he held up to the time of the reorganization as the First 
State Bank in 1894. 


Mr. Sheldon was president for a short time, followed by Aaron 
Hagenbuch, who was succeeded in 1869 by George I. Crossett, who 
was at the head of its affairs for many years, or until poor health 
caused him to retire. J. W. Simons was elected to succeed him. 

On the reorganization as a state bank, in 1894, George I. Cros- 
sett was elected president; S. B. Hagenbuch, first vice president; 
B. P. Scoville, second vice president ; W. W. Harvey, cashier, and 
George Crossett Harvey, assistant cashier. After George I. Cros- 
sett's death, D. S. Crossett was elected president and later suc- 
ceeded by the present incumbent, S. B. Hagenbuch. W. W. Harvey 
was succeeded as cashier, in 1902, by the present official, George 
Crossett Harvey. 

Officers 1910: President, S. B. Hagenbuch; vice president, E. 
W. Keightley; cashier, George Crossett Harvey. 

In March, 1910, the resources of the bank were $360,412 ; cap- 
ital stock paid in, $30,000 ; surplus and undivided profits, $13,000. 

Commercial State Bank. 

The Commercial State Bank of Constantine was organized 
August 1, 1894, with a capital (as at present) of $25,000. The pres- 
ent officers are as follows: John H. Jones, president; Samuel Gib- 
son, first vice president; John Blue, second vice president; James 
A. Marsh, cashier. Surplus and undivided profits, $29,000, 

The Town of the Present. 

Constantine is now a well-built town of about 1,600 people, 
eight miles south of Three Rivers and ten miles southwest of Cen- 
terville. Its water power and electric plant are the strong features 
of its material life as a corporation and an industrial center. A 
public library, opera house, well-conducted press, substantial 
banks, a gem of a hotel (the Harvey House), a good Union school 
and its churches and benevolent societies, are also so many in- 
dications of an intelligent, moral and religious community. 

Its Public Schools. 

The first school in the village was opened in the basement of 
Niles P. Smithes store, a little frame building on the south bank 
of the St. Joseph, near the present iron bridge. Thomas Charlton 


commenced to teach the half dozen pupils in the winter of 1830-1, 
not long after this first store opened for business. 

The first school on Broad street was taught in 1836, in a 
building put up that year, and a lady taught its ten scholars. 

The Union building, now occupied by the high school and 
grammar grades, accommodates about 260 pupils, of whom 90 are 
enrolled in the former department. The building was remodeled 
in 1894 and 1910. All the modern laboratory facilities are pro- 
vided for the high school, and there is also a well-equipped gym- 
nasium. Music and drawing are both taught as adjuncts to the 
regular courses. J. Q. Roode is Constantine ^s superintendent of 
schools, and Miss Anna Brady principal of the high school. 


Contantine has had a number of bridges on the site of the sub- 
stantial iron structure of to-day. The first one was built on piles, 
with a swing in the center. It was rebuilt in 1841 and 1849, a high 
curving arch being its new feature — an improvement made neces- 
sary to admit of the passage of steamboats. When it was razed in 
1852 it was on a level with the second story of Barry's warehouse. 

The first iron suspension bridge, at this point, was completed in 
August, 1869. The contractor who put the work through for $15,- 
000 was Simon DeGraff, of New York, and at the time the struc- 
ture represented the largest single span, iron-truss bridge, in the 
west. After swinging over the St. Joseph with due dignity until 
November 23, 1869, it fell into the river; and it is safe to say that 
there was one event not listed in Constantine's causes for thanks- 
giving. The bridge, as rebuilt and completed in April, 1870, had 
a length of 231 feet. The building of the present-day iron bridge 
across the St. Joseph covered the period from September 26, 1905, 
to May 17, 1906. 

City Water and Light. 

In 1902 the fine plant was erected at Constantine, which fur- 
nished the city with its water and electric supply. The building 
and site cost about $250,000, and the laying of the transmission 
lines $100,000. The manager of the plant is L. J. Botting, of Three 

Constantine Newspapers. 

The Constantine Advertiser-Becord^ edited and published by 
Clayton W. Clemens, originated in the St. Joseph County Adver- 



tiser, which was founded at Centerville, by Albert E. Massey and 
Horace Metcalf, in February, 1845. It was started as a Whig 
paper, and continued to be published at the county seat, as the 
organ of that party, until June, 1851, when its new proprietors, 
Lee G. Hull and John M. Farquhar, moved it to Constantine. 
Thenceforth, it was issued as the St. Joseph Count')/ Advertiser and 
Constantine Weekly Mercury until 1900. In August following its 
establishment at Constantine, Mr. Farquhar withdrew from the 
paper, and for many years thereafter Mr. Hull published it con- 
tinuously, the only intermission being the burning of the building 
March 1, 1874, when the regular issues were suspended for a few 


At that time Mr. Hull was the oldest newspaper publisher in 
the state in continuous service, and during the period of his jour- 
nalistic activity he was prominently recognized by the general 
government as an influential Republican. From September, 1862, 
to May, 1873, he held the office of assistant assessor of internal 
revenue. That office was then abolished, and in the following 
August he was appointed collector of internal revenue, and served 
in that capacity until the consolidation of his district in September, 
1876. In the following January he became deputy collector of the 
fourth division of the third district, comprising Cass, Berrien, Van 
Buren and St. Joseph counties, and held it for a number of years. 


In 1867 Mr. Hull was also chosen a member of the state constitu- 
tional convention. He died in 1907, after having founded the 
Items of Constcmtine. 

The Comtcmtine Record was founded May 11, 1897, and was 
consolidated with the St, Joseph Count]/ Advertiser June 22, 1900, 
with Clayton W. and Earle R. Clemens as editors and publishers. 
In the following year the latter severed his connection with the 
Advertiser-Record, which has since been solely conducted by Clay- 
ton W. It is stanchly Republican. 

In 1903 the Items of Constantine was founded by Lee G. Hull, 
whose prominence in journalism and public life has already been 
noted, and since his death in 1907 it has been conducted by F. W. 
& L. W. Hull, as a weekly Republican newspaper. 

The Methodist Church. 

The first religious services in Constantine were held by the 
Methodist missionary, Erastus Felton, in 1830, and by his col- 
league, Lyman B. Gurley, who formed the pioneer class of that de- 
nomination. Meetings were held and services conducted in the old 
school house on the east side of Washington street until the Pres- 
byterian session house was built in 1839. That was its place of 
meeting and worship until the building of its own church in 1848. 

Up to the year 1847, when the church commenced to build its 
own house of worship under the pastorate of its first resident min- 
ister (Rev. Richard Pengelly), those who served the society were 
as follows: Erastus Felton, Lyman B. Gurley, Benjamin Cooper, 
William Sprague, R. S. Robinson, George M. Beswick, Newell E. 
Smith, Erastus Kellogg, Richard C. Meek, William Todd, John 
Ercanbrack, E. Arnold, J. Y. Watson, William H. Sampson, Henry 
Hudson, Peter Sabin, Wellington H. Collins, Roswell Parker, A. J. 
Eldred, Franklin Gage and Richard Pengelly. In 1850, two years 
after the completion of the church, the society built a parsonage on 
Three Rivers road, which was occupied as such until 1855, when the 
property on Pigeon street was purchased. 

During the thirty years which passed between the building of 
the first and the second church of the Methodist society the follow- 
ing pastors served the church: Samuel A. Osborne, S. Blanchard, 
Peter Sharp, Elijah Crane, Frank W. May, Horace Hall, Thomas 
B. Granger, L. W. Earl, Benjamin F. Doughty, Stephen C. Wood- 
ward, David R. Latham, M. B. Camburn, David Thomas, A. N. 


Knappen, H. M. Parker, James A. Dayton, A. A. Dunton, S. 
George, S. M. Edmonds and George D. Lee. 

The new church was dedicated December 1, 1878, and in the 
following year Eev. J. Boynton was called to the pastorate, his suc- 
cessors, who have served the charge for from one year to five years 
being as follows: William Prouty, I. B. Tallman, S. C. Strickland, 
S. C. Davis, J. G. Crozier, W. H. Parsons, J. B. Pinchard, Isaiah 
Wilson, J. C. Upton, B. H. Fleming, J. G. Bowerman and William 
Chapman. At present writing the church has a membership of 
about 200. 

First Congregational Church. 

The First Congregational church was founded in 1888 by 
members of the Presbyterian and Reformed societies. As early as 
October 27, 1836, six men and three women of Constantine organ- 
ized a Presbyterian church under the guidanceof Rev. P. W. War- 
riner, of White Pigeon. Various ruling elders supplied the pulpit 
for many years, but a church edifice was not completed until 
November, 1854. Rev. Samuel C. Logan was the first pastor to 
preach in it, and even at that time the Presbyterian church of 
Constantine was the only one of its denomination in southern 
Michigan. In 1874 the house was remodeled and was occupied by 
the Congregational church, organized, as stated, in 1888. 

The church, which has now a membership of 125 has been 
served by the following pastors: Rev. Bastian Smits (now of the 
First Congregational church, Jackson, Michigan), Rev. Mr. Decker, 
Rev. Mr. Higgins, Rev. Mr. Jessie, Rev. Harvey Bush and Rev. 
Wilmot E. Stevens. 

Hon. John G. Cathcart. 

John Gilford Cathcart was bom in Watsontown (formerly 
called Tobey township), Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, on 
the first day of January, 1799. He is a son of John and Mary Cath- 
cart, who passed away to their final rest many years ago. His 
father and grandfather were both Revolutionary soldiers in the 
stirring times of '76, and gave to their children little else than a 
sterling patriotism and sound religious views. 

In the spring of 1831 Mr. Cathcart came to White Pigeon 
prairie, to look for a location ; and finding one that suited him, pur- 


chased it of Judge C. B. Fitch, in the southeastern comer of the 
present limits of Constantine township. He returned to Pennsyl- 
vania for his family, with whom he came to St. Joseph county and 
settled on his purchase, where he remained until 1860, at which 
time he sold the land (then a fine farm) and removed to the village 
of Constantine, where he resided until his death. In 1835 Mr. Cath- 
cart was elected supervisor of the township of White Pigeon, then 
comprising the present township of White Pigeon, Florence, Con- 
stantine and Mottville, and was re-elected in the year 1836. In the 
spring of 1839 he was also elected one of the three county com- 
missioners, who took the place of the board of supervisors, and drew 
the two years' term; at the end of which the office wa^ abolished, 
the supervisors coming in again. In the fall of 1839 he was elected 
to represent the county in the lower house of the legislature. From 
1840 until his death Mr. Cathcart was a deacon in the Constantine 
Presbyterian Church. 

Mrs. Crossette's Eecollections. 

The Sunday school of the Congregational church has always 
been heartily maintained. Of its veteran members none have been 
more constant, or gained deeper affection, than Mrs. Delia S. 
Crossette; this is but introductory and explanatory of the follow- 
ing taken from the Items of May 19, 1910 : 

Over Seventy Years. 

^ ' It is a custom in the Congressional Sunday school to receive 
a birthday offering, and last Sunday Mrs. Delia S. Crossette gave 
with her offering a reminiscence of her Sunday school attendance, 
a period of over seventy years, which was both pleasing and in- 
teresting. When seven years old she began attending Sunday 
school on Broad street, in a little red school house, so common all 
over the country in an early day, where she also attended week 
day school, and the late Mrs. Arvilla Harwood, so lovingly re- 
membered, was her first teacher. Mr. French, father of Dayton 
French, of Broad street, was the Sunday school superintendent, a 
position he held many years. He also led the singing, using a 
tuning fork to get the key, a thing not known to the present gen- 
eration. She referred to the method of teaching in those days. 
The scholars were required to commit to memory verses in the 
New Testament during the week, reciting them in Sunday school. 
A reward was usually given for the greatest number of verses 

Vol. 1—25 


**What would appear a thrilling scene now was then quite 
common, that of meeting Indians, and she remembers hiding be- 
hind trees to avoid them. She also referred to her life spent in 
the city of Joliet, still attending Sunday school, when Bishop 
Vincent introduced the use of Lesson Leaves, the beginning of the 
present system. 

^*The many years Mrs. Crossette has been among us she has 
been a constant attendant ancj gave as her testimony to the chil- 
dren, that she liked the work and had said to her granddaughter, 
who asked her if she was never going to graduate, 'Not in this 
life. ' She admonished the young people to come into the church 
membership and live the life required— they would never regret 

The Reformed Church. 

The Reformed Church of North America, formerly known as 
the Dutch Reformed Church of Constantine, was organized March 
11, 1843, with Joseph Wells and John Sixbey as elders, and Nicho- 
las I. Sixbey and John Harrison as deacons— the last being the 
clerk of the consistory. The formal organization was effected 
April 23d by Rev. Asa Bennett, who ordained the officers named, 
and on May 20th the following were received as members of the 
church: Darius D. Evans, Asahel Slote, Eleanor Harrison, Lucy 
Wells, Rachel Hagenbuch, Elizabeth Sixbey, Catherine Sixbey, 
Christina Sixbey, Frances Slote and Peter F. Putnam. The first 
children baptized were Jane, daughter of John and Margaret 
Pearce, and Reuben, son of Asahel and Frances Slote. 

Rev. Asa Bennett held the first church services in the 1832 
school house, but before the close of his ministry, in 1845, the 
society was occupying its own house of worship, a neat $1,200 
frame building furnishing forty-four sittings. The membership 
was about half that number. The description given of this church, 
then considered quite a fine edifice, reads thus: *' Thirty-one by 
fifty feet on the ground ; eighteen feet clear in height ; flat ceiling ; 
vestibule nine feet wide; seats fronting the door, the two rear 
ones raised for the choir ; two aisles, with twenty-two seats opening 
into each ; doors of much superior finish to any church before at- 
tempted in Constantine. " 

The second pastor, Rev. David McNeish, dedicated the church 
on New Year's day, 1846, being assisted by three brother clergy- 
men. In the spring of 1865 the interior arrangements of the church 
were remodeled, and its seating capacity increased, while in 1876 
a tasteful and much larger house of worship was erected. It was 


a frame structure, veneered with white brick, stood eighty-one by 
sixty feet on the ground, and its southwest corner was surmounted 
by a lofty tower fourteen feet square. The building was dedicated 
December 31, 1876. 

The membership of the Reformed church of Constantine is 
forty, and the pastors, since the first incumbency of Rev. Mr. Mc- 
Neish, which included 1846-9, were as follows: Rev. David A. 
Jones, 1850-2; Rev. David McNeish, 1852-4 (died as pastor, Sep- 
tember 3d) ; Rev. William Bailey, 1856-63 ; Rev. J. W. Beardslee, 

1863-84; Rev. Bastian Smith, ; Rev. S. L. Gamble, stated 

supply, one year (1890) ; Rev. F. P. Baker, August, 1891- August, 
1893 ; Rev. J. A. DeSpelder, January, 1894-June, 1895 ; Rev. J. I. 
Gulick, April, 1896-February, 1898; Rev. Edward Kelder, June, 
1899- August, 1904 ; Rev. William Miedema, January, 1905-Novem- 
ber, 1907 ; Rev. C. Vander Mel, February, 1908, to the present. 

Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church. 

In April, 1865, Rev. Peter Bergstresser, pastor of the Mott- 
ville and Park Grove Evangelical Lutheran churches, commenced 
his monthly ministrations at Constantine, missionary work having 
been irregularly conducted in the same field by Rev. A. S. Bar- 
tholomew, a member of the Joint Synod of Ohio. On March 31st 
Mr. Bergstresser organized Messiah Evangelical Lutheran church, 
of Constantine, with thirty-three charter members. Of this num- 
ber, William and Sarah Pox, Christian Klappen, S. L. Dentler, and 
Charles Frank and wife were active members; all have passed to 
the Beyond with the exception of Mrs. Charles Frank. 

The first services were held in the Dutch Reformed church, 
the Lutherans paying a rental of two dollars for each meeting held 
therein. Rev. Bergstresser resigned the pastorate in the fall of 
1867, and was succeeded by Rev. J. N. Barnett, who also took 
charge of the congregations at Mottville and White Pigeon. Dur- 
ing the year the church society, in conjunction with the German 
Reformed church at White Pigeon, bought the old Baptist church 
at the latter place for joint occupancy, Mr. Barnett being in- 
stalled as pastor over the three churches at Constantine, Mottville 
and White Pigeon. The society at Constantine was incorporated 
March 19, 1870, the trustees elected being Daniel Kleckner, Aaron 
Heckman and Andrew Laverty. William Fox and Jacob Gentzler 


were appointed a building committee to act with the trustees, 
and in April, 1872, a lot was purchased on the corner of Canaris 
and Fifth streets for a church site. 

For five years and nine months after Rev. Barnett became 
pastor, the congregation in Constantine continued to worship in 
the Dutch Reformed church. He then saw that the future pros- 
perity of the congregation depended upon having its own house 
of worship. Although pastor and people earnestly co-operated 
in the work, progress was slow; it was not until the fall of 1873 
that the church was ready for occupancy. 

In relating the efforts to get the edifice erected, the secretary 
writes upon the records thus : ^ ' Much delay and indecision hav- 
ing arisen in proceeding to built a church, it was determined by 
some of the members to commence work, and by a ^coup d' etat' 
precipitate action. Therefore, on August 29, 1872, the ladies were 
called out to dig the basement and foundation trenches. Rev. R. 
F. Delo and wife and many others came down from Three Rivers 
to aid in the initiatory movement." It would seem that this 
appeal to chivalry and practical action brought matters to a crisis ; 
for the corner-stone of the church was laid October 5, 1872. Rev. 
Delo preached the sermon, and as the day was also the anniversary 
of the birth of Pastor Barnett, the occasion was doubly interesting 
and affecting. As completed late in the fall of 1873, the Messiah 
Lutheran church was a substantial edifice of red brick, seventy- 
two by forty-two feet, its round tower of castellated ramparts and 
stained glass windows being striking and pleasing features. The 
bell, costing five hundred dollars, was furnished by Miss Helen S. 
and Charles H. Barry, Jr., who were in other ways generous donors 
to the church. 

The congregation continued in connection with the Melanchton 
pastorate until October 1, 1873, when it was separated therefrom 
by the action of the synod, and undertook the support of its own 
pastor. The Messiah is one of the very few congregations of the 
synod which has never received any missionary aid; yet it has 
always been among the most faithful in meeting all calls from this 
field. In this particular, the Constantine society has ever shown 
the spirit for which Paul so highly commended the church of 

Rev. Barnett continued his faithful and effective labors until 
January 2, 1876, when he was succeeded by Rev. G. P. Raup, who 
entered upon his duties September 1st of the same year. It was his 


first pastorate, and he served his people with all the vigor of his 
youthful years. To the great regret of the church, failing health 
forced him to resign in July, 1879. Rev. H. C. Grossman took 
charge October 1, 1879, and continued for over a year. The pulpit 
was then temporarily supplied for several months, the next regular 
pastor being Rev. A. W. Burnes, who served for two years, from 
November, 1881. In November, 1883, he was succeeded by Rev. 
W. L. Tedrow, during whose successful pastorate of nine years, 
the membership of the church increased from seventy-five to more 
than two hundred; all of its interests being proportionately ad- 
vanced. Mr. Tedrow resigned in June, 1893, to accept a call from 
the Home Mission Board to establish an English Lutheran church 
at Ann Arbor, Michigan. Rev. C. A. Gelwicks, his successor, 
served until the succeeding August ; Rev. D. U. Bair from Febru- 
ary, 1895, to November, 1897; Rev. B. F. Grenoble, from Decem- 
ber, 1897, until November, 1904 ; and Rev. D. R. Huber from Janu- 
ary, 1905, until the later portion of 1908, when he was succeeded 
by the present pastor. Rev. R. E. TuUoss. 

The membership of the Messiah church is about 150. Its 
pastor is a young, vigorous man, a graduate of both Wittenberg 
college and the Hamma Divinity school, at Springfield, Ohio, and 
this is his first charge. Among other adjuncts to the church which 
he has been especially instrumental in strengthening, is the Augs- 
burg Bible class, which he has developed from a membership of 
about sixty to one of two hundred. 

Secret and Benevolent Societies. 

Of the secret and benevolent societies which have taken root 
in Constantine, the organizations connected with the orders of 
Masons and Knights of Pythias are the most flourishing — the for- 
mer of early, and the latter of late, origin. 

Siloam Lodge, No. 35, A. F. & A. M., was instituted under dis- 
pensation in 1849 and chartered the year following, with J. J. 
Mason as first worshipful master. Hon. S'. C. Coffinberry, who was 
head of the lodge in 1857-9, served as grand master of the state in 
1866-8. During the first year of his incumbency he performed the 
Masonic burial service at the funeral obsequies of Governor and 
Senator Cass. At the present time, the lodge has a membership 
of 134, with the following officers: W. M., L. K. Slope; S. W., 


C. M. Dewey; J. W., George C. Pigeon; S. D., Sydney D. Pigeon; 
J. D., S. S. Kittell; secretary, William Beasley, Jr.; treasurer, 
George C. Harvey. 

Knights of Pythias Lodge (Constantine No. 241) was organ- 
ized in 1907, has a membership of seventy-five and these officers : 
Ross Armstrong, C. Com. ; C. W. Clemens, V. Com. ; Arnold Tracy, 
prelate; S. A. Morrison, M. W. ; Charles Clemens, I. G. ; K. J. 
Flanders, 0. G. ; W. H. Smith, K. B. & S. 



Oldest Colon Manufactory — The Pioneer Merchant — The 
Hills, Father and Sons — Opera House Block — The Lamb 
Knit Goods Company — Other Manufactories — Secures 
Railroad Connections— Colon in the Seventies— Schools 
— Colon Seminary — ** Colon Express'' — Churches and So- 
cieties — Mendon Founded as a Village — Development of 
Early Manufactories — Old Hotels — Mendon Banks — Cor- 
poration AND Public Schools— Free Library— The Mendon 
Press — Churches and Societies — St. Edward's Parish 
(Catholic) — Methodist Episcopal Church. 

In the early history of the townships, a sketchy picture has 
been drawn of the first settlements upon the site of the present 
village of Colon, commencing with the Schellhous brothers, Lorensie 
and George, who came in 1831-2. The next really important ar- 
rival, as it directly affected the founding of a center of population, 
was that of Dr. Isaac S. Voorhis, who came in 1836 and bought the 
mill site and water power controlled by the Schellhous brothers. 
He finished a small flour mill in 1839, which was sold to John H. 
Bowman and put in operation by "William R. Eck, of Three Rivers, 
who dressed the first stones and ground the first grist therein. In 
1845 Mr. Eck moved to Colon, where he resided for many years. 

Oldest Colon Manufactory. 

This pioneer mill subsequently passed into the possession of C. 
B. Hoffman, and then for some time after his death was operated 
by his estate, with John Hoffman and Sylvester Troy, as lessees. 
James Hollingshead was a still later proprietor, and in 1877 C. A. 



Lamberson came from Three Rivers and bought into the business, 
which was conducted for twenty years under the firm name of 
Lamberson & Hoffman. In 1895 the style became C. A. Lamberson & 
Son (Frank D.), and in 1898 Joseph Farren, who had been con- 
nected with the business since the entry of the elder Lamberson to 
it, rented the Hoffman interest. Since that year, the business has 
been conducted as C. A. Lamberson & Company. The mill, which 
has been continuously increasing in capacity, now represents a 


daily output of one hundred barrels, and is the oldest manufactory 
of uninterrupted activity in Colon, and one of the pioneers of the 

The Pioneer Merchant. 

In 1841 Charles L. Miller opened the first retail store in Colon, 
and for thirty years the trade and industry of the place run a neck- 
and-neck race, although not of very exciting nature. Mr. Miller 
was the leading merchant at Colon for about twenty years, or until 
1861, when he was appointed secretary of the committee on com- 
merce of the United States senate, holding that position, which 
necessitated his rei^idence in Washington, until his death. 

In 1845 David Barrows started the first wagon shop in the vil- 
lage, which was the progenitor of a line of manufactures which ha*s 
come down to the present. 


Shuert & Duel established the first foundry in 1847, and Rich- 
ards & Hughes embarked in the same industry in the late fifties. 
Prior to 1860 David Brownfield built a tannery, which was after- 
ward owned by the late E. R. Hill, and in 1858 W. F. Bowman 
erected a machine shop for repairs, which was operated by him for 
more than twenty years. 

The Hilds^ Father and Sons. 

E. Hill & Sons commenced in the mercantile trade in the vil- 
lage in 1851, being leaders in business until 1868, when they be- 
came heavy and successful dealers in grain. The sons afterward 
engaged in the banking business, and E. R. Hill became especially 
prominent as a generous and public spirited citizen of Colon. In 
1870 was founded the Exchange Bank of E. Hill & Sons, which con- 
tinued under that name until 1908, with E. R. and Thomas J. Hill 
(the sons) in control. In the latter year E. R. Hill died and the 
institution was re-organized under its present name (E. Hill & Sons' 
State Bank), with Thomas J. Hill as president; Joseph Farrand 
and Grant E. Farrand, vice presidents; Frank E. Hill, cashier; 
John A. Karchner, assistant cashier. The capital and stockholders' 
liability of the bank amount to $81,000. Thomas J. Hill, its presi- 
dent, is also superintendent of the Lamb Knit Goods Works, the 
largest industrial plant in Colon. 

Opera House Block. 

One of its public institutions in which the village takes a par- 
donable pride is its Opera House. It is really a little gem and has 
done as much as any one institution to advertise the enterprise of 
Colon. It is beautifully furnished, has an up-to-date stage, has a 
seating capacity of over 600, and is in every way so convenient and 
tasteful that amusement companies go out of their way to take ad- 
vantage of its facilities. Not only the house of amusement, but 
the entire block, is one of the many evidences of the practical pride 
which was taken by E. R. Hill in his home town. The so called 
Opera House Block, a substantial and well-arranged metropolitan 
building, was completed in 1897. 

The Lamb Knit Goods Company. 

The Lamb Knit Goods Company was organized in 1889, with 
a capital of $14,975, and Isaac W. Lamb, inventor of the old Lamb 


knitting machine, with manufactory at Chickopee Falls, Michigan, 
was superintendent during the first year of operations at Colon. 
In 1891 Thomas J. Hill, the present superintendent, took charge, 
and has had the management of the business since. Under the 
impetus of vigorous promotion and the work accomplished by the 
new Lamb machine, the output of the plant has increased until 
it is now represented by about 300 dozen pair of gloves and mit- 
tens for the season from February to November ; also one hundred 
machines. The average annual output of the works is valued at 
$400,000, and the company has about 150 employees, including 
sixteen or eighteen traveling salesmen. The latter are on the road 
about three months of the year, during which they visit every state 
in the Union, although they consider that the cream of the trade 
is on the Pacific coast. 

The original building used by the company at Mendon was a 
seminary until 1889 — a three story brick, thirty-five by seventy- 
five feet, erected for educational purposes in 1862. This is now 
about in the middle of the group of buildings which cover the four 
acres of grounds comprising the site of the works. Since it was 
first occupied in 1889, ten or twelve additions have been made to 
accommodate the expanding business. 

Another old school building of wood, also on the grounds, 
was transformed into a box factory. 

The Lamb Knit Goods Company was incorporated in 1903, 
with the following officers: Charles Clement, president; Frank E. 
Hill, secretary and treasurer ; Thomas J. Hill, superintendent. 

Other Manufactories. 

The other industries of Colon, other than those already men- 
tioned, are conducted by Anderson Brothers, manufacturers of 
speed cars ; M. C. Corsett, makers of tanks ; J. L. Bosworth, who 
conducts the Colon Creamery Company, and Lutz & Schramm, who 
have a large salting station for the preservation of cucumbers, 
which are raised in large quantities by the farmers of the vicinity. 

Secures Railroad Connections. 

The first plat of the village of Colon was that of the survey 
of John H. and William F. Bowman, which was recorded January 
5, 1844. Although the manufactories of the place established 


Colon as a solid community, destined to grow into a thriving town, 
it was not until the completion of its railroad, in 1871, that its 
standing was assured beyond a doubt. It is now one of the most 
substantial little towns of its population— about a thousand — in 
Southern Michigan. 

The all-important feature in the development of Colon— the 
securing of railroad facilities — is thus fairly and fully described 
in words which were written not long after the famous Fourth of 
July celebration which marked the coming of the railroad to the 
village : * ^ The railroad passing through the village was a great 
achievement for the people, and they are mainly indebted to Henry 
K. Farrand, Dr. A. J. Kinne, C. B. Hoffman and E. R. Hill for the 
accomplishment of the much-to-be-desired means of communica- 
tion with the outside world. Mr. Farrand was especially zealous 
in securing the passage of the road through the town and village, 
spending several hundred dollars and the better part of two years 
in so doing. Dr. Kinne was also prominent in the work. 

''Aid for the Grand Trunk road of Michigan, from Port 
Huron to Chicago, was moved for, first in 1863-4. It was the 
object of the Grand Trunk of Canada to get a communication 
direct with Chicago. The first meeting of the citizens along its 
proposed line, from Jackson to Centerville, was held at the former 
place in 1865. The people saw that this was the time to get a rail- 
road through the township to Centerville, and during that year 
the company was organized under the name of the Grand Trunk 
Railroad of Michigan, and subscriptions were obtained therefor, 
but no aid was rendered by the Grand Trunk of Canada, as had 
been promised. Then the stockholders changed the name to the 
Michigan Air Line Railroad, and a vote was taken in Colon to aid 
the same by town bonds to the amount of $36,000, but the prop- 
osition was rejected. 

''Then Mr. Farrand and the gentlemen before named exerted 
themselves and procured subscriptions among the inhabitants of 
the township, amounting to $42,000, of which $38,000 was paid in ; 
and after the road was graded the town again voted on a propo- 
sition to aid the road and carried it through, loaning $25,000, for 
which bonds were issued, and the road completed to Colon July 
3, 1871. 

"The bonds of the township were never paid, the company 
not fulfilling its contracts with the township on which the issuance 
of the loan was based. The railroad company commenced suit on 


the bonds against the township, but was non-suited, and the bonds 
returned to the town authorities and cancelled. 

*^The citizens who subscribed for the stock were swindled 
out of the same, by the consolidation of the company with the 
Michigan Central. Adam Bower, Peter Wagner and Comfort 
Tyler were generous subscribers to the stock of the road, from a 
sense of public duty to the township at large, rather than that of 
personal benefit, as all lived at a distance from the village, especi- 
ally Bower and Tyler. 

' ' The entrance of the road was celebrated with great enthus- 
iasm, July 4th, succeeding the day the track was completed to 
the village." 

Colon in the Seventies. 

At this time Colon was a village fairly entitled to good rail- 
road connections. It had a dozen substantial stores, while E. Hill 
& Sons and Hoffman & Troy were shipping large quantities of 
produce. The list of manufactories included: Flour mills — ^Hoff- 
man & Troy and Philip Everhard ; saw-mills — Fredericks Brothers 
and Hoffman & Troy ; furnaces — Dane Miles & Company and D. C. 
Richards; wagons and carriages — ^Anderson Brothers and Adams 
& Mellen; plows— Daniel C. Richards; cooper shops — David 11. 
Oliver, E. P. Wellesley and J. Moore; fruit dryer — Charles L. 
Miller Jr.; tannery — ^Hill & Doran; cider mill — Simons & Com- 
pany; machine shop— W. F. Bowman. There were also two 
newspapers in the village — ^^the Colon Enterprise, published by H. 
Egabrod, and the Colon Standard, by L. E. Jacobs. 

' * Colon Express. ' ' 

Local journalism is now represented by the Colon Express, an 
eight-page quarto weekly newspaper, of independent type, which 
has been owned and published by W. S. Doty since April, 1903. It 
has quite an extensive circulation not only in the townships of 
Colon and Leonidas, this county, but also in Sherwood and Mette- 
son townships. Branch county. 

The Express was established in the fall of 1886 by McDowell 
Brothers, and among its proprietors, since that year, have been 
Moffit & Firestone, Samuel Greer and J. C. Lochner. 



Colon Schools. 

The fine Union school of Colon, which was erected in 1907, 
at a cost of $25,000, provides all the modern facilities of educating 
pupils according to well-established methods which conserve both 
their intellectual advancement and their physical health. The 
average attendance is 170, of which number 55 are pupils of the 
high school. The principal, R. P. Vansaw, has seven teachers 
under him, of whom Miss Ethelyn Gibson is assistant. 

The Wllage of Colon is included in school district No. 4, the 
first school house built therein being erected about 1837. It was 


a log house, twenty-four feet square, and stood on a corner of 
W. H. Castle's farm. District No. 4 was laid off in August, 1837, 
and comprised sections 23 to 26, inclusive, and 35 and 36. The 
frame school house, which was built in the village in 1847, is now 
the box factory of Lamb 's Knit Goods Works. 

Colon Seminary. 

In 1858 several of the citizens of the township, desirous of a 
higher grade of education than that provided by the public schools, 
organized the Colon Seminary Company. The leading stockhold- 
ers and trustees of the enterprise were H. K. and Phineas Farrand, 


A. J. Kinne, Charles L. Miller, W. F. Bowman and Adam Bower, 
and it was mainly through the energy and liberality of these 
gentlemen that the Colon Seminary, within the succeeding decade, 
reached high grade as an institution of superior education, its only 
rival in the county being the White Pigeon Seminary. It is said 
that more teachers went from this school during its existence than 
from any other of the same size in the state. Specific mention 
of its graduates include the names of Seth Moffatt, afterward a 
leading lawyer and public man of Michigan, and John Downey, 
who made his reputation as a distinguished educator in Pennsyl- 
vania. In explanation of the marked success attained by the Colon 
Seminary, too much credit cannot be given to H. K. Farrand and 
Dr. Kinne, who, as trustees, were constant visitors at the school, 
and kept in close touch with every detail of its management. 

The first building occupied by the Seminary Company was a 
frame structure, already standing, which was fitted up for the 
seventy pupils who were at first enrolled. This number soon in- 
creased to one hundred, and by 1862 the accommodations were so 
inadequate that a three-story brick building was erected at a cost 
of $9,000 (including cost of site). It was dedicated with appro- 
priate ceremonies, August 20, 1863, Judge J. Eastman Johnson de- 
livering the address on the occasion before a l^rge audience. Or- 
lando Moffatt was the first teacher in the first building and Elias 
Cooley, Jr., in the second. The new brick structure was thirty- 
four by seventy-five feet on the ground, its third story being a 
public hall used for religious and other purposes. Two hundred 
sittings were provided for scholars. 

The Colon Seminary was conducted until 1867, when the en- 
terprise was abandoned and the township school board rented it of 
its owner, William R. Eck, who was a stockholder in the original 
company. On September 4, 1871, the people voted to incorporate 
the district as a Union school district, and the seminary building 
was occupied for purposes of public education until 1889, when it 
was turned over to the Lamb Knit Goods Company for its main 
building. The first principal of the Union school was D. W. Her- 
man, who served in 1871-2. 

The Library. 

Colon has a library of 1,500 volumes, founded in April, 1897. 
The first librarian was S. H. Nicholson. Mrs. F. H. Morton, the 
present incumbent, has been in charge for nine years. 


Churches and Societies. 

Colon supports, as its strongest churches, Methodist and Bap- 
tist organizations and the Eeformed and Evangelical Lutheran 
churches have also a fair membership. The Reformed church was 
founded in 1898 and its settled pastor is Rev. C. G. Beaver, while 
the Lutheran society is administered to by Rev. Paul Noffze, of 
Burr Oak. 

The Masons and Odd Fellows, with their auxiliaries, have 
flourishing lodges, and the Maccabees and G. A. R. are also repre- 

The Baptist Church. 

The history of the First Baptist church of Colon really com- 
mences with the society organized in Leonidas, in 1837, by Elders 
Brown, of Centerville, Taylor, of Prairie Ronde, and G. B. Day, of 
Sturgis. The preliminary meeting was held June 25th of that 
year; on August 13th, the council organized the church and or- 
dained Elmore G. Terry as elder. The first members of the organ- 
ization were Elder Terry, David Franklin; Orrin W. Legg and 
Sarah, his wife; Mercy Vaughn, Experience Watkins, Enoch S. 
Gersline, Benjamin Blossom, Joseph Gilmore, Constance Vaughn, 
Armilla Terry, Justus W. Denton, Eli Denton, Lurelia Denton, 
Clarissa S. Denton, Mary Reynolds, Sally Reynolds, Clarissa Blos- 
som and Anna Gilbert. 

On January 20, 1845, the society was incorporated in Colon, 
and its first church edifice erected, with Orrin W. Legg, Lorensie 
Schellhous and Seth Goodwin as trustees. Elder Terry preached 
to the society until his death, being succeeded by Elder Fuller ; he, 
by Philo Forbes, and the latter by Elder Southworth. Previous to 
the building of the church, the society held its meetings in the store 
formerly occupied by Romine & Stoddard. 

One of the first noted revivals held by the church was in 1845, 
under the preaching of Elder Forbes, and a Sunday school was also 
organized under his ministry, in 1849. 

The present building occupied by the Baptists for church pur- 
poses was erected in 1903. The society has a membership of more 
than a hundred and is under the pastoral charge of Rev. A. L 


The Methodist Church. 

In 1844 the Methodists of Colon township formed a class of 
sixteen membei^ under the leadership of Ryan Williams and Aaron 
Bradley, local preachers who had moved to the locality in the pre- 
vious year. At that time Colon was a portion of the White Pigeon 
circuit. Among the members of this class, besides the gentlemen 
named, were Mrs. Ryan Williams, Samuel Sheik, Mrs. Barber Mills, 
Mrs. James Palmer and a Mr. Washburn. A society was regularly 
organized and a board of trustees elected August 18, 1856 ; members 
of the latter, Phineas Farrand, William H. Harper, William F. 
Bowman, Solomon R. Salisbury, Ellis Hughes, Gilbert Liddle and 
Moses Blanchard. No member of the society was more enthusiastic 
or helpful, both in the earlier and later years, than Mr. Bowman. 

Since and including 1856, the following have been in charge of 
the Colon church: Revs. Mosher, Hoag, Downing, Patterson (went 
into the Union army as chaplain of the Eleventh Michigan), Elias 
Cooley, Kellogg, A. C. Beach, Congdon, Franklin Gage, Joseph 
Jones, L. M. Edmunds (died in Wisconsin in the winter of 1909- 
10), T. T. George, J. E. White, A. E. Ketchum (died in 1909), R. 
H. Brady, Tolman, J. Clubine, Smith, Charles Jones, A. Marzolf, 
Young, William Barth, William Spence, Cronk, Joshua White, H. 
W. Thompson, A. E. Eldred, C. L. Beebe and Joseph C. Cook. 

The house of worship now occupied was erected in 1879, and 
parsonages were built in 1873 and 1896. The society is flourishing 
in every way; church membership, 215. 

The Masons. 

Colon Lodge No. 73, A. F. & A. M., was instituted by charter in 
1855, its original members being fifteen in number and its first offi- 
cers as follows: W. M., Martin Gloyd; S. W., A. J. Kinne; J. W, 
L. A. Leland. Mr. Gloyd continued as head of the lodge in 1855 
and 1860, and Dr. A. J. Kinne served as worthy master in 1856-8, 
1861-2 and 1865-6. The membership of the lodge is now 125 and 
the following are serving it as officers : Jesse L. Bosworth, W. M. ; 
Aura Arney, S. W. ; Pearl Van Slyke, J. W. ; Frank D. Lamberson, 
treasurer; Loren W. Clipfell, secretary; Glen E. Godfrey, S. D. ; 
S. Y. Bower, J. D. ; S. K. M. McMillen, tiler. 


Colon Chapter No. 81, R. A. M., was instituted under dispensa- 
tion July 7, 1871, and chartered the following January — A. J. 
Kinne, H. P. ; J. B. Peters, K. ; M. Yentler, S. 

The Odd Fellows. 

Dennis Lodge No. 96, I. 0. O. F., which was named in honor of 
Grand Master Dennis, of Michigan, was organized by dispensation, 
April 10, 1866, and instituted by charter in the following January. 
The charter members, with the offices to which they were elected, 
were as follows : I. Sides, N. G. ; E. C. Wellesley, Y. G. ; Edgar Bath- 
rick, R. S.; E. C. Bathrick, P. S.; W. Whitmore, treasurer; E. B. 
Struck and J. F. Bower. The first named, Dr. Sides, is dead ; the 
last, Mr. Whitmore, is living at the age of eighty-six. The present 
membership of the lodge is 120 and the officers as follows : Stephen 
C. Johnson, N. G. ; A. A. Bonner, Y. G. ; O. C. Shane, R. S. ; R. Edd. 
Fisk, F. S. ; H. T. Mowry, treasurer. 

Elsie Rebekah Lodge No. 3 was organized February 22, 1879, 
and has now a membership of about ninety. Its officers are : Mrs. 
Dora Gleason, N. G. ; Mrs. Minnie Tunison, Y. G. ; Mrs. Lula Thim- 
ple, R. S. ; Mrs. Julia Clement ; and Amanda Russell. 

The G. a. R. Post. 

Henry M. Liddle Post, G. A. R., was organized April 16, 1883, 
and, like other organizations of the kind, has dwindled pitifully in 

Woman's Relief Corps No. 160 was organized October 2, 1888. 


Mendon is a busy, pretty village of about 900 people, situated 
on the northern shores of the St. Joseph river and on the Grand 
Rapids & Indiana Railroad, which comes from the south and passes 
out of the county in a northwesterly direction. It is also at the 
crossing of the air-line division of the Michigan Central, and, with 
respect to the county seat, is about eight miles northeast of Cen- 
terville. There is a good natural water-power at Mendon, and 
several unsuccessful attempts have been made to fully develop it 
and make of the village a manufacturing center. The place, is, 
hoAvever, the center of a rich country^ well settled with prosperous 

Vol. 1—26 


farmers, and its mercantile establishments carry large and unusu- 
ally complete stocks of goods. 

Mendon is quite a large shipping point for grain, live stock, 
general produce and essential oils, and has one of the best cream- 
eries in the county. That its people are amusement-loving and 
intelligent, at the same time religious, is evidenced in the opera 
house, public library and churches, which are so well supported. 
The latter comprise societies representative of the Catholics, Meth- 
odists, Baptists and Adventists, the first named (known as St. Ed- 
ward's parish) being not only large, but perhaps the most inter- 
esting from the standpoint of local history. 

Founded as a Village. 

The coming of Francois Moutan and Patrick Marantette to 
the south banks of the St. Joseph river, in the early thirties, to 
take charge of the Godfroi trading post, has been noted in the 
early history of the county and of Mendon township; also how 
that other Frenchman, Leander Metha, located on the north bank 
of the river and settled on the site of the present village, in 1834. 
Here its pioneer settler built first a rough log cabin and afterward 
one of hewn logs, the former being used for a school. The local- 
ity did not take on a very promising appearance until 1844, when 
Bronson & Doan dammed the Little Portage river, which flows 
to the north, and brought its waters through the marshes to the 
banks of the St. Joseph, where they built a sawmill. This was 
the first of the manufacturing interests of Mendon, which really 
seemed to flourish for more than thirty years. 

The prospects of a substantial town springing up were so 
bright that on the 22nd of November, 1845, Mr. Metha platted 
Mendon on the east half of section 27, and Mr. Marantette after- 
wards made several additions to it, as did others. 

Development op Early Manufactories. 

Up to the early seventies the manufactories which developed 
promised to give Mendon a standing beside Constantine. Bron- 
son & Doan added machinery for corn-grinding and carding to 
their sawmill outfit, and when they sold their plant to Melvin and 
Eldredge Brown, of Centerville, in 1848, the new proprietors put 
in a turning lathe and other devises for manufacturing chairs and 


cabinet work. Still later, the Browns added a planing mill and 
a sash, door and blind factory, operating the entire plant until 
1855, when the cabinet making was discontinued. The firm was 
changed to Brown, Fisk & Mason, who continued in the old build- 
ing until 1870, when Brown & Bourn built a larger factory op- 
posite the present Wakeman house. 

In 1860 N. S. Harvey & Company built a planing mill and 
sash, door and blind factory on the banks of the river near the 
lower bridge. Subsequently, S. M. Williams introduced stave ma- 
chinery, and Wakeman & Lewis long conducted a flourishing plant 
which turned out large quantities of both staves and barrel heads. 

Gilbert E. Dart made edge tools as early as 1845, his power 
then being horse. In 1860 he erected a foundry, and both he and 
Mr. Richards operated it by steam for a number of years. 6. P. 
Doan manufactured wagons from 1854 to 1861, and at a later date 
Auten & Engle, White & Company and F. Grafke were in the same 
line. In 1872 Andrew Kellicut built a flour mill opposite the 
Wakeman House, which was afterward owned and operated by 
Adams Wakeman, the builder of the hostlery mentioned. 

Old Hotels. 

The first hotel in Mendon was opened by Lewis B. Lyman in 
the eastern part of the village, near the bridge. The first build- 
ing erected expressly for hotel purposes was also erected by Mr. 
Lyman, near the other combined house and tavern and was called 
the *^ Eastern.'^ George Van Buren built one afterward on the 
site of the Wakeman House, and called it the ** Western." Both 
of these hotels were burned, and in 1873 Adams Wakeman made 
sufficient brick to build a large hotel, which took his name and 
which, with various changes and additions, is still known as the 
Wakeman House. Mr. Van Buren leased the new house and con- 
ducted it until June, 1876, when Mr. Wakeman took over his own 
property, with William M. Marantette, son of Patrick, the pioneer, 
as manager. The former has been proprietor of the Wakeman 
House for many years, and takes a just pride in operating both a 
good and historic hotel. 

Founder of the Wakeman House. 

Adams Wakeman, founder of the hotel which still bears his 
name, was bom in Bedford, Westchester county. New York, Decem- 


ber 1, 1804. In the fall of 1833 he located on 240 acres of land in 
section 4, Nottawa township, and on July 1, 1836, married Mrs. 
Eliza Hartley, who had moved from Philadelphia to Centerville in 
October, 1832, as a member of the first family which settled in that 
village, that of T. W. Langley. 

In 1855 Adams sold his landed interests to his brothers, re- 
moved to the village of Mendon, and entered into a co-partnership 
with E. L. Yaple in the dry goods and grocery line, the firm build- 
ing the store afterward occupied by Lewis, Van Ness & Company. 
The partnership continued three years, when Mr. Wakeman bought 
Mr. Yaple 's interest and associated himself with Charles H. Lewis, 
the firm being Wakeman & Lewis. This continued for three years, 
when William Harrington came into the firm and thus continued 
for four years. Messrs. Wakeman and Harrington then withdrew 
from the firm and Mr. Wakeman gave his attention to manufactur- 
ing, owning and operating the saw-mill for some siBven years. He 
also built the Western Hotel, which was burned in 1873. Mr. Wake- 
man at once proceeded to rebuild the structure still known as the 
Wakeman House. He also assisted in the building of the Mendon 
flour mill and was largely interested in the stave and heading fac- 
tory, which did such a thriving business in the village. In June, 
1876, the lease of the hotel expiring, Mr. Wakeman took charge of 
it, and turned over its management to W. M. Marantette, who later 
became (as now) its proprietor. 

Mendon Banks. 

The Exchange Bank was the first establishment of the kind 
in Mendon, and was founded as a private institution in 1866, with 
J. J. McAllister as president and A. N. McAllister, cashier. 

The existing bank (First State Bank of Mendon) was founded 
in 1894, under the laws of Michigan. Its directors are Frank 
Wolf (Centerville), William Beard and Freeman H. Estes. The 
following items show its financial condition: Capital stock, $30,- 
000 ; surplus and undivided profits, $7,430, and deposits, $211,000. 

Mendon Corporation. 

Mendon village was first incorporated, in 1858, with the fol- 
lowing oflScers: President, William Miner; clerk, G. P. Doan; mar- 
shal, O. S. Norton. Mr. Doan continued as president of the board of 



trustees until the corporation lapsed and was re-incorporated in 
1870. Records of the meeting held on December 14th of that year 
show that the following were serving as trustees : George B. Reed, 
S. Bamabee, George Van Buren, R. E. Fletcher, Levi Cole and 
Frederick Glaf ke ; B. S. Howe, clerk. O. J. Fast was president in 
1871 and 1875, and Dr. H. C. Clapp in 1872. By special act of 
the state legislature, Mendon was re-incorporated for a second 
time in 1875. 

The village officers for 1910 were as follows : George E. Shank, 
president ; T. Z. Eveland, clerk ; William R. Gifford, treasurer ; W. 


P. McCoy, assessor; Loren Butler, marshal; Dell Hoes, street com- 

Public Schools. 

Reports regarding the public school of Mendon for 1910 indi- 
cate an enrollment of 229 scholars, of whom 85 are credited to the 
high school, and 144 to the elementary and grammar grades. The 
convenient building occupied as a Union school was erected in 1906. 

J. D. Gold Smith is superintendent of the village system, and 
also teaches science and mathematics in the high school. Miss 
Lucile Gregory is principal of the high school, and has two assist- 
ants; while four teachers are employed in the grammar and pri- 
mary departments. 


The Board of Education is as follows: John F. Evert, presi- 
dent; W. J. Hickmott, secretary; Dr. W. A. Royer, treasurer; C. 
E. Harvey and Frank Austin. 

Tov^TNSHip Free Public Library. 

The Mendon Township Free Public Library was organized 
April 25, 1889, through the efforts of Mrs. E. Flanders and the 
Ladies' Literary Society; the nucleus of its present fine collection 
of 5,600 volumes was the little library of 197 books presented to the 
township for that purpose by the society named. Until May, 1906, 
rented rooms were occupied, but since that time accommodations 
have been provided by the beautiful $10,000 building, with its 
well kept grounds, which is an ornament to the place. 

The presidents of the library board of directors have been as 
foUows: David E. Beckley, elected April 25, 1889; Dr. H. C. Clapp, 
April 4, 1894 ; George Hall, April 3, 1895 ; I. Schoonmaker, June 3, 
1896 ; Mrs. Fannie Dukette, elected April 7, 1897, and still holding 
the office. The other members of the governing board are : William 
P. McCoy, vice president; Mrs. Kittie Calkins, secretary; L. E. 
Marantette, James Memby and Mrs. Mattie Simpson, trustees. Mrs. 
Grace Osgood is librarian. 

Firemen's Hall and Cole's Opera House. 

The headquarters of Mendon 's department, organized to pro- 
tect its citizens from fire, is Firemen's Hall, a substantial building 
erected in 1896. 

Cole's Opera House, under the management of Cecil Butler, 
was originally erected in 1881 by Levi Cole, the old merchant ; but 
the house of amusement has been much improved since the earlier 

The Mendon Press. 

In 1857 Messrs. N. D. Glidden and A. C. Miles loosed the Men- 
don Eagle, as the pioneer newspaper of the community, but the 
people were not able, or willing, to support it, and it disappeared 
after about a year of high-flying. Its successor, the Mendon Inde- 
pendent, under Burlingame & Rockwell, endured for some two 
years. The office was then sold and passed through various hands, 
being at one time in possession of Patrick Marantette, one of the 


substantial citizens able to pay its bills — and willing **for the good 
of the town/' 

Charles P. Sweet published the Mendonian from 1871 to 1874, 
supporting Horace Greeley for the presidency in 1872. Soon after 
Mr. Sweet abandoned the local field and went to Kalamazoo county, 
the first newspaper of any real permanence appeared, under the 
proprietorship and editorship of Alfred Ringe. The first issue of 
his Mendon Weekly Times was published October 2, 1874, and Mr. 
Ringe continued to publish it as an independent paper for quite a 
number of years. 

The Mendon press is now represented by the Leader, edited 
and published by T. Z. Eveland. His father, D. M. Eveland, 
founded the Mendon Globe in April, 1880, and the son had a thor- 
ough training in printing and journalism before he himself estab- 
lished the Leader in April, 1893. In September, 1909, the two were 
consolidated under the name of Leader, with T. Z. Eveland as editor 
and publisher. 

Churches and Societies. 

Brief mention has been made of the religious, moral and social 
life of Mendon, as evinced by its churches and societies. Aside from 
its leading churches— the Catholic and Methodist— it has a Baptist 
society, under the pastorate of Rev. C. L. Randall, and one sup- 
ported by the Adventists, who have quite a unique house of wor- 
ship built in the cottage style. The Catholic church (St. Edward's 
parish). Father Henry Kaufmann in charge, has one of the most 
striking edifices in the county, and the Methodists (Rev. J. B. Peat- 
ling, pastor) also worship in a most substantial and tasteful relig- 
ious home. 

Catholicism in Southern Michigan. 

The Chicago Historical Society claims that the Recollect 
Father, Louis Hennepin, the companion of La Salle, came up the 
St. Joseph river as far as where Three Rivers is now situated. 
It is certain that Father Marquette explored the river upwards 
about twenty-five miles arid gave it the name St. Joseph. Tradi- 
tion has it that an Indian mission was established and for a long 
time flourished close by the concrete bridge in Three Rivers. This 
mission may have been founded by Father AUouez, who came to 
Niles in 1680, and labored along the St. Joseph river till his death 
in 1690. 


When Fort St. Joseph was attacked in 1759, all the mission- 
aries were taken as prisoners to Quebec. For nearly one hundred 
years the Christian Indians were left orphans. Nevertheless, the 
**poor natives preserved the memory of the Faithful Black Robes 
and their belief in the Christian religion. The log chapels and the 
various articles of the sacred service of the church were, in numer- 
ous places, guarded by the bereaved Christians, and often they 
made touching appeals for priests to instruct their children in the 
faith of their fathers." 

Father Richard, of Detroit, secured the services of the famous 
Kentucky missionary, the Rev. Stephen Theodore Badin. Fathers 
Badin, Louis de Seille and Benj. Marie Petit consecutively looked 
after the spiritual needs of the Christian Indians of northern In- 
diana and southern Michigan from 1830 to 1838. 

The Pottowatomies were ^* banished" by the government to 
the country beyond the Mississippi. Father Petit would not 
abandon his dear Indians, and so he accompanied them to the 
far west. 

Some Indians contrived to evade the order of banishment in 
spite of the presence of Governor Cass and his agents (the Godfrois) 
preferring to live and die in the land on the mitchi sawgyegan 
(great lake), from which is derived the name Lake Michigan. To 
these Indians as well as to the white men who now came in large 
numbers, the Fathers of the Holy Cross for several years admin- 
istered the consolations of Catholicism. They visited the mis- 
sions and the scattered families from St. Joseph to Kalamazoo. 
The names of Frs. Cointet, Granger, Schilling, Murriveaux are still 
held in grateful memory. 

St. Edward's Parish. 

Francis Moutan with his wife and three children were the 
first white settlers of Mendon. Mr. Moutaw had charge of the 
trading post established by J. J. Godfroi, in 1831, and in 1833 was 
succeeded by Patrick Marantette. Frances, the daughter of Mr. 
Moutaw, married, in 1835, Patrick Marantette. The next white 
settlers were Leander Mette, Peter Neddaux and others. Elizabeth, 
a daughter of Patrick and Frances Marantette, who afterwards 
became Mrs. Reed, was the first white child born in the settle- 
ment. This occurred in the year 1836. Father Charles Boss, in 
1837, traveling from Detroit to Grand Rapids, visited the local 



trading post and laid the foundations of the future St. Edward's 
congregation. Mr. Marantette generously offered his house for 
divine services, and for twenty years the whites and the reds gath- 
ered within its hospitable walls to attend the Holy Sacrifice and 
to hear the word of God whenever a priest could visit them. 
Thanks to the fervent zeal and spirit of self-sacrifice which ani- 
mated Mr. and Mrs. Marantette these visits were frequent enough 


to keep alive the faith of the infant congregation. From 1836 to 
1856, Fathers Barnie, Sorin, Quentin, Borcau, Schilling, Granger, 
Murriveaux, members of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, at- 
tended Mendon, enduring many inconveniences and much fatigue, 
for every visit meant a ride on horseback of sixty miles each way. 
The zeal and piety of Mr. Marantette was further manifested 
when, in 1861, he arranged the upper floor of the store on Main 


street as a chapel, and here for eleven years the people assembled 
to assist at Holy Mass. Father C. Ryckaert, to whose charge 
Mendon was added at this time, offered up the Holy Sacrifice for 
the first time in the store-chapel, on or about the eleventh of No- 
vember, the feast of St. Martin of Tours, and thenceforth the 
chapel was called after the great Apostle of Gaul. Father Ryck- 
aert continued to visit Mendon till 1866, when he was succeeded 
by Father C. Korst, who had charge until 1870. 

First Catholic Church in County. 

The time had now come when it seemed proper to the twenty- 
five families which made up the congregation, to build a church, 
and Mr. Marantette who, from the very beginning of the mission, 
had been its chief supporter, not only donated the site of the 
proposed church, but also gave a liberal donation, thus making 
the erection of the building possible. His generous efforts were 
fittingly seconded by all the Catholics of the place. Under the 
direction of Father Labelle the church was finished in 1871 ; but 
the dedication did not take place till the following year. 

How great must have been the joy of those self-sacrificing 
Catholic pioneers of Mendon when, on November 4, 1872, the first 
Catholic church in St. Joseph county was solemnly dedicated by 
the Rt. Rev. C. H. Borgess, bishop of Detroit. 

Pastors of St. Edward's Parish. 

Father McKenna was appointed the first resident pastor, but 
owing to ill-health and almost total loss of sight, he was obliged 
after a few months to give up his charge. Father C. Korst, in 1877, 
again looked after the spiritual wants of Mendon, and came at regu- 
lar intervals until 1883. In that year the second resident pastor. 
Rev. Peter Laughran, now of Emmet, was appointed and during 
his pastorate of one year he built the rectory, a frame structure 
costing about $1,500. From 1884 to 1888, Father O'Brien, of Kala- 
mazoo, took charge of Mendon ; his assistants. Fathers Thomas Ryan 
and J. McManus, attended most of the time, celebrating mass once a 
month. Then came Father KroU, the third resident pastor, who 
administered to the spiritual needs of Mendon Catholics from 1888 
to 1890. Father Lempka succeeded him, but died soon afterwards, 
having contracted a severe cold while attending the sick. Kalama- 


zoo again came to the fore, and for five years sent its assistants. 
The following names appear on the parish books: Father Dennis 
Mulcahy, Father George Maurer, Father E. M. CuUinane, Father 
C. J. Kennedy and Father J. Rivard. 

With the advent of Father Fred Schaeper, in the year 1895, as 
the fifth resident pastor, a new era began in the history of St. Ed- 
ward's. From May, 1895, to September of the same year, he 
attended from Bronson, being the assistant of Rev. C. Rohowski-. 
In September he took up his residence in Mendon and labored 
there until March of 1903. The church property was badly in need 
of repairs and improvements, and the new pastor set to work. He 
at once reshingled the church, painted the rectory, frescoed, for the 
first time, the interior of the church, purchased matting for the 
aisles, put in the two side altars, and wired the church for electric 
light. Then he built the sidewalks to the church and in front of 
the rectory, and set out shade trees. Through his efforts a petition 
was submitted to the village authorities for the grading of the 
streets. The basement was enlarged and the old furnace replaced 
by a new one. The lot north of the cemetery was secured for 
hitching purposes, and the lot east of the rectory was purchased by 
Father Schaeper, in his own name, and was donated by him to the 
congregation. All this and more was accomplished without incur- 
ring any debt. Meanwhile the spiritual wants were zealously at- 
tended to. Two missions were given, one by the Fathers of the 
Precious Blood and another by the Paulists, the latter to non-Cath- 
olics. When Father Schaeper was transferred to Adrian, he left 
the parish in good condition, both spiritually and financially. 

The Rev. Henry J. Kaufmaon, the sixth and present pastor, 
succeeded Father Schaeper in March, 1903. He is a native of Ger- 
many, who came to America in 1886. After three years of business 
life, he took up the studies for the priesthood at the Jesuit College 
in Detroit. Philosophy and theology, he studied in St. Francis, 
Wisconsin. He was ordained by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Foley in 1899, 
and appointed as assistant pastor of Sacred Heart church of Detroit. 

Erection of Present Church. 

In the spring of 1906 the proposition to build a new church in 
Mendon was presented to the congregation. The old church, al- 
though badly in need of repairs, could have been used for several 
years longer, but it seemed to the pastor an extravagant waste of 


money to spend so much on an old building which did not meet the 
requirements of the people. 

The congregation took the pastor at his word, and the pro- 
posed rock church became a fact. Today as the pastor and the 
people look back and recall the labor and the sacrifices of the two 
years that the building was under construction, their hearts are 
touched with gratitude to God for having preserved that unity 
among the members and their good will towards the pastor, which 
are the two essentials for success in every parochial enterprise. 

Messrs. John A. Haas, Michael Dukette and Patrick H. Maran- 
tette were elected a^ a committee by the congregation to assist the 
pastor in the erection of the church, and these gentlemen performed 
their duties faithfully, cheerfully and effectively. Michael Dukette 
also presented the church with a clock which has been installed in 
the steeple and has grown into favor with the people of Mendon 
and vicinity. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church. 

About 1857 the Methodists formed a class in Mendon, but 
their first building was not erected until 1860, the expenses in- 
curred in construction being borne almost entirely by Ezra Bourn, 
the well-to-do planing mill proprietor. Besides Mr. and Mrs. 
Bourn (the former of whom was class leader and steward), the 
early members of the society were A. J. Troy, George Maring, L. 
Blyman, Ziba White, Gilbert Bennett and Lentulus Huntley, with 
their wives, and Mrs. Adaline Pellett. 

The original church of the society, erected by Mr. Bourn, was 
a large brick building on the main street of the village, arranged 
for three hundred sittings, and the society has shown a cordial 
and democratic spirit for the first — a spirit which ensured its early 
and solid establishment in the community and its continued 
growth. Its Sunday school was organized during the year the 
church was built, and its large library has always been a strong 
agent in the growth of its wide influence as a society. The foun- 
dation of the library was laid largely through the generosity of 
Paulina (Harmon) McMillan. 

From 1860 to 1875, the pastors of the Mendon Methodist 
church have been as follows: Rev. Patterson, E. Kellogg, Beach, 
Joseph Jones, James L. Childs, William Mathias, William Rice, R. 
C. Welch, W. I. Cogshall and J. C. Abbott. 


Both the Mendon and the Nottawa Prairie charges are now 
under Eev. J. B. Peatling, the latter society enrolling about fifty 
of the total three hundred members. The Nottawa Prairie society 
was organized in 1905. The original house of worship was rebuilt 
and enlarged in 1904, and in 1909 a comfortable parsonage was 
added to the church property. 

Secret and Benevolent Societies. 

The secret and benevolent orders represented by societies, or 
lodges, in Mendon are the Masons (with their auxiliary, the Eastern 
Star), Foresters, Woodmen, Maccabees and Grand Army of the 
Republic. The local organizations are as follows : Mendon Lodge 
No. 137, A. P. & A. M.; Mendon Chapter No. 154, Eastern Star; 
Court Mendon No. 1121, Foresters; Mendon Lodge No. 1853, Wood- 
men ; Mendon Tent No. 389, K. O. T. M. ; and 0. J. Fast Post No. 
193, G. A. R. 

Mendon Lodge No. 137, A. F. & A. M, was instituted under 
dispensation in 1861 and chartered in 1863, with N. S. Johnson, 
worthy master. The lodge now numbers about one hundred, with 
the following officers: W. M., Glover E. Laird; S. W., I. J, Ste- 
phens; J. W., Guy Hamilton; S. D., Clarence V. Hoff; treasurer, 
J. H. Worthington; secretary, A. H. Estes; chaplain, D. E. Kuhn; 
marshal, William Baird. 

Court Mendon No. 1121, Foresters, was organized in 1897. It 
has a present membership of about thirty-five, with the following 
officers: (Elective) D. L. Worthington, C. R. ; J. A. McKinley, V. 
C. R. ; F. Flanders, R. S. ; P. I. Mervine, F. S. ; Guy Hamilton, 
treasurer. Commissioned: F. F. Flanders, CD.; Dr. C. E. Bam- 
inger, physician. 

Mendon Tent No. 389, K. O. T. M., was organized in 1891. It 
now numbers more than sixty members and has the following of- 
ficers: P. C, P. H. Marantette; C, H. F. Appleman; L. C, William 
Baird ; R. K. & F. K., C. E. Klose ; chaplain, G. E. Laird ; physician, 
C. E. Baminger. 

The Odd Fellows first organized Morrison Lodge No. 136, Jan- 
uary 7, 1870, its charter members being William Harrington, N. 
G.; Rev. William Mathias, V. G.; G. Engle, treasurer; T. H. Toby, 
secretary, and I. N. Caldwell. Morrison Encampment of Patri- 
archs was instituted in February, 1873, both bodies being named 
in honor of R. H. Morrison, of Sturgis, an eminent member of the 
order. At present the I. 0. 0. F. is unrepresented at Mendon. 



The ToiiLs at Centervili>e — Village Corporation — Landlords 
AND Politics — Centerville Flour Mills — ^Knit Goods Man- 
ufacturing — Banking Craze — Solid Banks— Josiah Wolf 
—Village of To-day — The Centerville Press — Schools — 
The M. E. and Presbyterian Churches — Masons, Macca- 
bees AND Other Societies — Burr Oak Village — The Cor- 
poration—Sheffield Manufacturing Company — Garment 
Factories — Burr Oak Banks — Union School — Electric 
Light and Power Plant — Telephone Company— *' The 
Burr Oak Acorn" — The M. E. and Evangelical Lutheran 
Churches — Secret and Benevolent Societies. 

When the coiinty seat was fixed at Centerville, it was foreor- 
dained that some kind of a settlement was to spring up at that 
point, and the coming of such men as Thomas W. Langley and John 
W. and George Talbot, as the pioneers of its tradesmen and man- 
ufacturers, has been noted. The goods that Mr. Langley brought 
from New York were bought by Niles F. Smith, who exposed the 
stock for sale about Christmas, 1832. It is on record that from that 
date until the following 20th of February, the sales amounted to 
$1,600; and, consequently, Mr. Smith decided he **had struck a 
good location." 

Dr. Johnson and C. H. Stewart opened a large stock of goods 
in 1833, but afterward came into control of the mills at the east 
of the village and removed their store to that locality. 

The Tolls at Centerville. 

The year 1834 witnessed the arrival of Captain Philip B. Toll, 
from Schenectady, New York, with his sons, Isaac D. and Alfred, 
and nephews, Philip R. and Charles H. As the nephews were then 



young men, they were active assistants of Captain Toll in his mer- 
cantile and manufacturing ventures at Centerville, but in 1838 all 
the Toll interests were transformed to Fawn River township. 
Isaac D. Toll was then but in his seventeenth year — a gay youth 
who is credited with promoting the first dance at Centerville — but 
in after years was to become one of the bravest soldiers and most 
prominent citizens ever credited to St. Joseph county, although 
he was not to make his record while living at the county seat. 

Thomas W. and William B. Langley. 

Foremost among the enterprising and sturdy pioneers of St. 
Joseph county was Thomas W. Langley, the first actual settler on 
the site of Centerville. Energetic and untiring, he achieved fully as 
much, if not more, with the means at his disposal, than any other 
man in the early days of the settlement of the county. Buying the 
bare site of the county set, he pushed to completion in the short space 
of three months, a frame court-house, twenty-four by thirty; the 
largest log-house in the county for hotel purposes, a blacksmith 
shop, store-building, and a flouring and saw-mill; and also had a 
postoffice, a school, and religious services in regular and successful 
operation. He was constantly doing something to aid in the pros- 
perity of the village and enhance the value of the property therein. 
He brought in the first stock of goods sold in Centerville, and en- 
gaged, at various times, in mercantile, manufacturing and agricul- 
tural pursuits, and, as occasion required, kept the hotel of the vil- 
lage. He was the first postmaster of the village, and held the posi- 
tion from 1833 to 1840. 

Mr. Langley wa^ bom in Murray street, New York, in the year 
1801. His father, William Langley, was a native of England; he 
was a mason by trade, and assisted in the building of the Drury 
Lane theater, in London, the old Bowery and the old City Bank in 
New York, and the first capitol buildings at Albany. 

Thomas W. Langley, the only son, served an apprenticeship 
in the woolen manufacturing business, and at the age of twenty-one 
went into partnership with his brother-in-law at Germantown, near 
Philadelphia, at the same time being connected with his mother in 
the mercantile trade, at Philadelphia. In 1832 Mr. Langley came to 
the territory of Michigan in quest of a location. He selected the site 
of the present town of Centerville, as the town had already been 
platted, and was owned by two or three individuals, of whom Mr. 


Langley purcha^d the entire prospective village. He also entered 
seven government lots^ lying contiguous. He then returned to 
Philadelphia and closed up his business, and his journey hither has 
been fully described. As also stated, he was for many years actively 
engaged in a variety of enterprises, such as farming, milling, dis- 
tilling, hotel-keeping and selling goods, in all of which William B. 
Langley, his eldest son, actively assisted him. The latter received 
a good education, both at home and in the east, and soon after his 
marriage in 1847, to Miss Julia V. R. Woodworth, of Centerville, 
moved to his farm three miles north of the village, on the south 
bank of the St. Joseph river, where he spent his later years. 

Village Corporation. 

Centerville was first incorporated as a village in 1837 and at 
an election held on May 1st of that year Captain Toll, J. W. Cof- 
finberry, Alexander V. Sill, Cyrus Ingerson, Edmund White, E. J. 
Van Buren, and John Graham were chosen trustees. The first ac- 
tion of the board was to express their gratitude to their constitu- 
ents, and invite them to partake of a collation at the Centerville ho- 
tel, kept by Mr. Sill. He and Thomas W. Langley were the stand- 
by landlords of the place. 

Landlords and Politics. 

While on the subject of early hotels, mention must be made of 
the ''Exchange,'' built in 1837 by Mr. Langley, and kept by E. J. 
Van Buren and Charles H. Knox. It was not so much noted for 
its menu, as for its architecture — the prominent feature of which 
was its balcony in front supported by huge, unbarked burr-oak 

Dr. Cyrus Ingerson was also landlord of the Mansion House, 
previous to 1840. 

In fact, as is quite apt to be the case with all county seats, 
Centerville was, if anything, over-supplied with hotels in its earlier 
years — the advantages, in a business way, attaching to a center of 
county government and politics being generally somewhat over- 
estimated, although it is generally admitted that there is much 
transient trade and travel which are always drawn toward the 
county seat. A landlord is considered especially well situated to 
further any little political ambitions he may have ; and this point 


is illustrated in the presence of two of the landlords of Centerville 
on its first board of trustees. 

Centerville Flour Mills. 

The first flour mills in the village were built by George Talbot 
and Henry D. Cushman in 1851, the dam being built by Mr. Lang- 
ley and sold to the firm. The mill, which first had three run of 
stone, was burned in 1856, but rebuilt soon afterward by Brokaw & 
Hoffman, and was owned in the seventies by D. D. Antes and Sam- 
uel Kline. 

The Centerville Roller Mills have been operated since about 
1896 by A. H. Reynolds, although several years ago Rev. H. A. 
Simpson and his brother, John, were interested for a short time in 
the business. The plant has a capacity of about 100 barrels of 
flour every twenty-four hours. 

Knit Goods Manufacturing. 

In 1872 the Centerville Knit Goods Manufacturing Company 
was established by the business men and farmers of the village and 
vicinity, such citizens as H. C. Campbell, John J. Joss, W. J. and 
John J. Major and the five Wolf brothers being interested in the 
enterprise during its early stages. The various business steps taken 
and the complications unraveled, which finally resulted in the es- 
tablishment of the present substantial corporation known as the 
**Dr. Denton Sleeping Garment Mills'' are given in detail in other 
pages. The concern operates on a capital stock of $50,000, has a 
fine plant, and the following personal organization : H. P. Stewart, 
president; F. W. Thomas, vice president and general manager; 
Frank S. Cummings, secretary and treasurer ; W. S. Herron, sales 
manager; W. E. Clogher, superintendent of manufacturing. 

Centerville 's Banking Craze. 

As the political center of the county and a municipality of 
good prospects, Centerville had a bad case of the banking craze in 
the late thirties. Its people gare both kinds a trial — ^the **wild 
cat'' and the '*red dog." The St. Joseph County Bank, a '*wild 
cat/' was chartered in the summer of 1837, a few weeks after Cen- 
terville was incorporated as a Tillage. It had an authorized capi- 

Vol. 1—27 


tal of $100,000, ten per cent of which was paid in specie by the 
following November. The bank was chiefly sustained by the farm- 
ers of the locality, and its first officers consisted of Columbia Lan- 
caster, president, and W. E. Boardman, cashier. Before the new 
institution had received a single note of its own for redemption in 
specie, counterfeits had been passed over the counter, and in a 
very short time its affairs were in confusion. As shown by the 
bank commissioners' statement March 6, 1838, its condition was 
as follows: Authorized capital, $100,000 (paid in, unknown; ; cir- 
culation, $18,095 ; specie on hand and on deposit with Bank of Con- 
stantine for redemption, $1,038 ; bills of other banks, $734. 

The Farmers' and Merchants' Bank, a ''red dog" institution, 
was designed for St. Joseph, Berrien county, but began business 
in Centerville. It was chartered February 1, 1838, and on the 6th 
of that month the stockholders elected a board of directors and 
officers, but had diffi.culty in getting them to serve, as the ''wild 
cat" institution wa^ already of somewhat uncertain life and in 
considerable disfavor. Finally the men most interested in the new 
bank gave bonds to T. W. Langley for the prompt redemption of 
the notes issued, and he published a notice warning the people 
against selling the notes at a discount, as they would be redeemed 
at par in twenty days. But the parties who gave the bonds did 
not fulfill their agreements, and the bank failed in the spring of 
1838, after even a shorter career than the St. Joseph County Bank. 

The primary causes of failure of all these early banks, whether 
"wild cat" or "red dog," were the flooding of the market with 
counterfeits, discount of genuine notes by holders, and the at- 
tempt of the banks themselves to make a limited amount of specie 
serve the purposes of redemption for too many institutions. 

The Solid Banks. 

The banking facilities of Centerville were not placed on a 
really substantial basis until the First National Bank was organ- 
ized, January 22, 1873, with C. T. Chaffee, president; Edward 
Talbot, cashier, and Henry S. Piatt, assistant cashier. D. F. Wolf 
succeeded Mr. Chaffee as president, and was himself succeeded by 
L. A. Clapp. 

The First National Bank, of Centerville, was followed by the 
private institution known as the A. C. Wolf & Brothers' Bank, 
the members of which were Amos C, Josiah, John F., Daniel and 


Thomas B. Wolf. Subsequently, Daniel died and Amos C. Wolf 
withdrew from the business, which, about 1889, was reorganized 
as Wolf Brothers' Bank, the members of which were Josiah, John 
F. and Samuel J. Wolf and H. P. Stewart. This association re- 
mained unbroken until the death of John F. Wolf in 1894 ; Josiah 
Wolf passed away March 7, 1904, and his son, Samuel J. Wolf, 
June 28, 1908. 

On April 1, 1908, was organized Wolf Brothers' State Bank, 
with a capital of $30,000 and the following officers : Frank Wolf 
(son of Samuel J.), president; H. P. Stewart and E. I. Wolf, vice 
presidents; C. D. Mosher, cashier. President Wolf also controls 
the state banks at Mendon and White Pigeon, and is vice president 
and general manager of the Central National Bank, of Battle Creek, 

Josiah Wolf. 

Josiah Wolf was so potent in fashioning the social, moral and 
business activities of his home community, that the following 
biography of his life is given. It was published at the time of his 
death, March 7, 1904: **In the weaving of the social, industrial 
and financial web of history of St. Joseph county, perhaps no one 
person has wrought more effectively than Josiah Wolf, whose 
death we today chronicle. His achievements have not been 
heralded with the blare of trumpets or in a blaze of light, but 
patiently, almost ploddingly, he bent his energies to his everyday 
work, and by tact, prudence and foresight has accomplished re- 
sults which, with less resolution and skill, would have been im- 
possible. In our local financial world he has been pre-eminently 
successful and there have been few matters of importance in 
which he was not interested, and in many of them he was the real 
power, although perhaps not so recognized by the public. 

*^He began life under adverse circumstances, but has lived to 
be the head of many valuable and important enterprises. In bank- 
ing circles his achievements have been most marked and at the 
time of his death he was president and chief stockholder of Wolf 
Brothers' Bank at Centerville and the First State Bank of Mendon. 
He was also a considerable stockholder in the Central State Bank of 
Geneseo, Kansas, the Old Detroit National Bank of Detroit, the 
National Bank of North America of Chicago, the Commercial 
National Bank of Detroit, and the Central National Bank of Bat- 
tle Creek, Michigan. Notwithstanding these large financial in- 


terests he was pre-eminently a farmer, and nothing would tempt 
him to abandon a farmer's life, in which he had achieved his first 
success. He owned several farms. The home farm was very dear 
to him and he made it one of the most perfect in appointments, 
culture, and beauty in St. Joseph county. He delighted in dis- 
pensing its hospitality to his friends in his quiet, unassuming man- 
ner. Mr. Wolf was never a social lion, but by his sterling in- 
tegrity, good advice and correct example has exercised an in- 
fluence which eternity only can measure. No word of slander or 
profanity ever crossed his lips and his most severe reproof to his 
loved ones was a kindly word of admonition which meant much 
from his mild lips. 

**Mr. Wolf was born in North Branch, Columbia county, 
Pennsylvania, August 8, 1819, and was the eldest of ten children, 
only two of whom now survive. He came to Michigan with his 
father's family in 1833, locating on a farm west of this village. 
On December 13, 1842, he was married to Mary Ann Wescott, who 
was to him a helpmeet indeed, and most ably seconded his every 
endeavor and whose death twelve years ago was the greatest sor- 
row of his life. Their one son, Samuel J., was Hhe apple of his 
eye,' and between them a bond existed which not even death can 

^* Through his final illness, his son's name was always on his 
lips during consciousness and delirium, and his ministrations were 
unceasing. His interest in the life and work of his only grandson, 
Frank, kept him young and alert. He was a fountain of resource- 
fulness and helpfulness, and his advice was always sought by his 
children and friends and always found valuable. For the past 
year his health has not been vigorous and during the past summer 
he was very seriously ill and only the most tender care and skillful 
treatment preserved his life. A complication of his old kidney 
troubles and la grippe caused his death, March 7, 1904, after a 
struggle in which every power of love and science had been ex- 
hausted. His death leaves a great vacancy in home, neighbor- 
hood and financial circles. 

*^His funeral occurred at his beautiful home on Thursday, and 
was conducted by his old friend and pastor. Rev. G. W. Tuthill, 
of Nashville, Michigan. His pall bearers were the employees of 
the Centerville and Mendon banks. He rests in Prairie River 
cemetery, by the side of his beloved wife. ' ' 


Paternal Ancestors of Wolf Family. 

The American ancestor of the Wolf families, various members 
of which have done so much for St. Joseph county, was John Wolf, 
who was bom in Wurttemberg, Germany, April 18, 1769, and emi- 
grated to America with his parents when he was but two years old, 
settling with them in Columbia county, Pennsylvania^ where he 
died April 18, 1824. His maternal ancestor, whose name was 
Catherine Hoan, a daughter of David Hoan, was bom in Pennsyl- 
s^ania, May 8, 1776, and died in Lockport township, Michigan, Sep- 
tember 28, 1835. 

The John Wolf, whose later life is identified with the early his- 
tory of this county, was born November 17, 1794, in Columbia 
county, Pennsylvania, where he lived nearly forty years. He was 
educated in the German language, and the only knowledge he ever 
obtained of the English tongue was such as was communicated to 
him by his children in after years, and by intercourse with his neigh- 
bors who spoke that language. He learned the trade of a miller, and 
followed it exclusively during the last nine or ten years of his resi- 
dence in Pennsylvania. 

In the spring of the year 1834, John Wolf removed from that 
state to St. Joseph county, locating 320 acres in section 27, in the 
southeastern part of the township of Lockport, on which he resided 
until his decease, October 16, 1851. He followed agriculture prin- 
cipally during his life in Michigan, but his practical knowledge in 
milling brought his service into requisition frequently to dress the 
stones in the different mills in the county and to put them in oper- 

In the year 1815 Mr. Wolf was united in marriage to Barbara 
Drescher, by whom the following children were bom to him : Sam- 
uel, who died August 17, 1839 ; Stephen, who died September 20, 
1828, when but ten years old; Josiah; Catharine, afterwards Mrs. 
Isaac Fort of Lockport; Daniel, John F., Aaron, Amos C, Mary 
Ann, afterwards the wife of David D. Antes, of Centerville, and 
Thomas B. All of the sons, except Stephen and Aaron, became very 
prominent as bankers, farmers and splendid citizens and their traits 
have descended to grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Mrs. Wolf, the wife of John, was born in August, 1790, in the 
state of Pennsylvania, where she was married. The family arrived 
at P. H. Hoffman's, in Lockport township. May 28, 1834, after a 
wearisome journey of a month in wagons, which latter vehicles and 


a small board shanty furnished them their only shelter during the 
first summer. In the fall of the year they removed into a frame 
house Mr. Wolf had built himself, for, although a miller by trade, 
his skill was not by any means confined to that branch of handiwork, 
but he was adept at anything in mechanics necessary to be done in a 
new community. 

Mrs. Wolf died on the 24th of April, 1866, in Centerville, at the 
residence of her son, Daniel F. Wolf, with whom her home had been 
for eight years previously. Mr. and Mrs. Wolf were members of the 
Methodist church at the time of their death; Mr. Wolf being one 
of its stewards for many years. They united with the church in 
Pennsylvania some years before they removed west. 

In politics Mr. Wolf was a Democrat, but not being a strict 
partisan, he voted for ** Tippecanoe and Tyler too," in 1840. He 
filled oiBces of trust in the township, and assisted in laying many of 
its early roads, being one of the highway commissioners for several 

This pioneer pair filled their station in life, well and quietly, 
without ostentation or parade, giving all who came to their house a 
hospitable welcome, unstinted in measure and unalloyed in quality ; 
and they left behind them naught but pleasing memories. 

Village op To-day. 

Centerville is a village of about seven hundred people, situ- 
ated just north of the Michigan Central Eailroad and south of the 
Prairie river, lying partly in Nottawa and partly in Lockport 
townships. It is in the geographical center of St. Joseph county 
and an ideal county seat in many respects. 

Its business houses are chiefly located opposite the court house 
square, and besides the manufactories already mentioned, it is 
the center of quite an extensive mint oil industry. Morris D. 
Wolf and George Engle have large mills in the vicinity of the 
place. Alexander Sharp also operates a cider mill, three miles 

The Centerville Water and Electric company is more strictly 
a village institution, although managed by private parties. It was 
incorporated in 1897, with a capital of $10,000, and its plant was 
put in operation January 10, 1898. The president of the company 
is H. J. Hampson. and the secretary, E. L. Clapp. 


The first cemetery was laid out in the village in 1833, the lots 
being donated by the county on condition that the people of the 
town or village enclose the grounds with a picket fence. This 
answered its purposes until 1870, when the local board of health 
bought the elevated tract of land northeast of the village, which 
has since been so beautifully improved under the name of Prairie 
River cemetery. 

The Centerville Press. 

It was from Centerville that the second paper published in 
St. Joseph county issued into the world. Its ambitious title was 
the Peninsula — an indication that it intended to extend its in- 
fluence at least over southern Michigan. Its first number appeared 
July 2, 1836, and E. Van Buren issued it until the December fol- 
lowing, when it was suspended until April, 1837. A Mr. Klnappen 
then resumed its publication for a short time; and then it died, 
Mr. Van Buren having, in the meantime, gone to White Pigeon 
and started the Gazette. 

In 1845 the St. Joseph County Republican was established 
by D. S. Weston, and endured for about two years. 

In April, 1869, another Bepiiblican was founded by H. Ega- 
broad, who continued to publish and edit it for many years. Dur- 
ing the later period of its existence the firm was H. & S. H. Ega- 

W. Irving Ashley is one oFthe bright and influential men of 
the county, who is an old and poi:i'ttlar member of the press. He 
is a native of Centerville, learned th^ printer's trade in Chicago, 
and afterward identified with the EepubUcan, and in 1890 estab- 
lished the Leader. He has kept it firmly attached to Republican 
policies, and has not only given the people of the county a good 
newspaper, but has well served it in various official capacities. 
He is now (1910) treasurer of the county. 

Centerville Schools. 

The first school house within the present limits of the village, 
was built in 1841, Harvey Cady ^* shaving'' the shingles for its 
roof. It was in district No. 1, fractional, Nottawa and Loekport 
townships. Deacon H. W. Hampson, the contractor, finished the 
building for about five hundred dollars, its site in block 29 costing 
fifty dollars. 



The first public school was taught by Mrs. Mary Chapin in 
the summer of 1843, and she received two dollars per week for 
teaching the eighty-three pupils in the district. In 1848 a new 
school house was built by Deacon Hampson and William Laffry, 
for which they received eight hundred dollars cash and the old 
school lot and building. The new structure was two stories in 
height, thirty-four by fifty-six feet on the ground. Hiram Hamil- 
ton, the first teacher in the new school house, received four hun- 
dred dollars for ten months' work, and was assisted by two ladies 
—his wife and Mrs. McMarter. 


On September 5, 1870, at the annual meeting of the district 
trustees, the question of a still better school house began to be 
agitated, and, after much discussion and balloting, the ^^Grrove'' 
was purchased of C. H. Starr for $1,000. A suitable site was thus 
provided, and in 1874 the large three-story building now occupied, 
was completed at a cost of $22,000. 

W. A. McLean is superintendent of the combined high school 
and grammar and primary departments, the entire system compris- 
ing the usual twelve grades ; the curriculum embraces the studies 
of the modern high school and grammar courses, with music and 
drawing as specialties. Of the 160 pupils in attendance, about 
forty are high school students. 


The Methodist Chuech. 

In 1841 the Methodists built the first house of worship in the 
village of Centerville; but in 1830, more than a decade before, a 
class of that denomination had been formed at the house of Will- 
iam Hazzard, on the prairie, by Rev. Erastus Felton, the old-time 
missionary. Five members composed this first Methodist class, 
Amos Howe, who joined it afterward, being its first regular leader. 
Services were held fortnightly at private and school houses, and 
finally in the court house, Erastus Kellogg being the preacher in 
charge when the skeleton of the little church was raised in 1838, 
and the structure completed in 1841. 

In 1856 the principal building of the present house of worship 
was completed, the dedicatory services being conducted by Rev. 
J. K. Gillett on September 20th of that year. This occurred under 
the pastorate of Rev. J. I. Buell. In 1871 the original building was 
materially improved, lecture and class rooms being added, and 
since that year repairs and improvements have been made as re- 
quired by the growing needs of the society. 

The following is a list of the pastors of the church since and 
including 1873 : Revs. William Riley, H. C. Peck, W. I. Cogswell, 
E. L. Kellogg, William Prouty, J. Clubine, J. F. Orwick, J. K. 
Stark, H. H. Rood, W. L. Barth, Delos Cronk, G. W. Tuthill, J. C. 
Newcomer, James Allen and Carl S. Risley. The last named has 
been pastor of the church since 1906 ; membership, 160. 

The Presbyterian Church. 

Until the fall of 1909, the Presbyterian church of Centerville, 
was what is known as the Reformed Church of North America. 
The latter, in turn, was originally organized as the Dutch Re- 
formed church on April 8, 1839, although services had been held 
as early as the winter of 1835-6 by Rev. Isaac S. Ketchum. Mr. 
Ketchum was sent from the Mohawk valley, by the New York 
Missionary Society of the Dutch Reformed Church, and after his 
family moved to Centerville in 1836, he continued to preach to 
the people until the regular church organization was effected in 
1839. Subsequently, he was the Indian agent for a time. His 
daughter married John W. Talbot. 

On May 25, 1839, a consistory was held at the court house, 
composed of Rev. Asa Bennett, president ; Dr. S. Cummings, Peter 


Cox and Jacob D. Kline, elders, and Alfred Todd and William 
Van Deusen, deacons, who formed the ^' First Protestant Reformed 
Dutch church of Centerville ' ' and admitted sixteen persons to 
membership. In 1845 a church building was completed, at a cost 
of $1,100. A bell was bought for the church in 1853, and two 
years later a parsonage was built, improvements to the original 
edifice keeping pace with the needs of the society. 

Rev. Asa Bennett, the first minister, completed his pastorate 
in September, 1843; Rev. B. C. Taylor, who succeeded him, re- 
mained but a year; Rev. David McNeish concluded his labors in 
January, 1847, and was succeeded by Rev. Safrenus Seeber. The 
pastors during the following two decades, who served the ^* First 
Protestant Reformed Dutch Church'' were: Rev. John Minor, 
1848-52; Rev. J. N. Schultz, 1852-5; Rev. J. H. Kershaw, 1855-65; 
Rev. A. H. Van Vranken, 1865-80. Mr. Van Vranken died at 
Centerville, October 24, 1880. 

In 1867 the name of the society was changed to the Reformed 
Church of North America, and during that year a noted revival 
was conducted by Rev. Van Vranken, who was most highly re- 
spected and much loved during his long service for the church and 
the community. 

Rev. Asa Bennett, the first pastor, served the church at Con- 
stantine after leaving Centerville, his lamented death occurring 
January 6, 1858. One of his sons. Dr. John Bennett, became a 
leading physician, and another, Cornelius D., a successful mer- 

The Reformed church of Centerville, was served, after the 
conclusion of Rev. A. H. Van Vranken 's pastorate, by Revs. A. 
Page Peeke, Henry Sonneme, H. S. Bailey, Garrett Kooiker and 
H. A. Simpson. 

On September 8, 1908, under Mr. Simpson's pastorate, the con- 
gregation of the Dutch Reformed church voted to join the Presby- 
terian denomination. A year afterward Rev. E. F. Lilley suc- 
ceeded Mr. Simpson as minister of the Presbyterian church, which 
has a present membership of over 130. 

Baptists and Lutherans. 

The Baptists of Centerville had enjoyed preaching by various 
missionaries of their faith from 1838 to 1852, before they formally 
organized a society. In February of the latter year Perrin M. 


Smith, Henry W. Hampson and Henry J. Cushman, in behalf of 
several other communicants, addressed a letter of invitation to 
Rev. G. N. TenBrook, inviting him to become their settled pastor. 
Mr. TenBrook accepted the invitation and began his labors July 
1, 1852, a regular organization being effected at Mr. Smith's house 
on the following 28th of August. 

In 1853 the brick church, east of the public square, was 
erected, and a chapel was built in 1887. 

Rev. Mr. TenBrook died in the service of the church, April 3, 

1857. The society has not been strong for a number of years. 
The Lutherans also have a small society, in charge of Rev. 

Mr. Neuchterlein. 

Masons of Centerville. 

Mount Harmon Lodge, No. 24, A. F. & A. M., was instituted 
under dispensation in 1848 and chartered January 10, 1849. Its 
first officers were as follows : Benjamin Osgood, W. M. ; Ezra 
Cole, S. W. ; S. C. Coffinberry, J. W. The lodge has a present 
membership of one hundred and the following officers : Miles C. 
Rider, W. M. ; Miles Bowersox, S. W. ; Samuel Cross, J. W. ; W. I. 
Ashley, treasurer ; William F. Myers, secretary ; John H. Senf , 
S. D. ; E. C. Engle, J. D. ; H. D. Wescott, tiler. 

Centerville Chapter, No. 11, R. A. M., was instituted under 
dispensation in July, 1852, and received its charter February 1, 
1853 — Solomon Cummin gs "being its first high priest, Benjamin 
Sherman, the first scribe, and John Belote, the first king. In 1856 
the chapter was moved' to Constantine, where it remained until 

1858, when it was returned to its original location. It has now a 
membership of about sixty, with the following officers: Thomas 
G. Greene, high priest; Samuel Cross, king; J. B. Dockstader, 
scribe ; R. F. Butler, treasurer ; William F. Meyer, secretary. 

There is also an Eastern Star lodge, of which Mrs. Nannette 
Rider is W. M. ; Thomas G. Greene, W. P.; Mrs. Sarah Fundy, 
secretary, and Mrs. Elizabeth Butler, treasurer. 

The Maccabees. 

Star Tent, No. 89, K. 0. T. M., was organized March 29, 1883, 
and at present has a membership of over ninety, with the follow- 
ing officers : George Deuel, C. ; A. H. Kinney, L. C ; John Lang- 
ton, P. C. ; W. Y. Craig, F. K. ; George R. Reuel, R. K. ; Robert 
Sengstoek, sergeant. 


Hive No. 741, Ladies of the Maccabees, was organized Decem- 
ber 10, 1891, and Nottawa Tent, No. 670, K. 0. T. M., on the 30th 
of April, 1892. 

G. A. R. AND W. R. C. 

The G. A. R. post and the Woman's Relief Corps occasionally 
meet, but more in the form of social gatherings than as organized 

Nottawa and Wasepi. 

Nottawa and Wasepi are two stations on the Grand Rapids and 
Indiana Railroad, with small settlements clustered around them. 

Nottawa occupies the former site of the village of Oporto, which 
once had considerable ^ ^ prospects. ' ' In the early times it had a 
store and a postoffice, the latter being removed to Hopper's Corners, 
with the decline of Oporto. It assumed its present name with the 
building of the railroad through the township in 1867, and is now 
the center of quite a produce and mint-oil trade. 

Wasepi is at the junction of the Michigan Central and Grand 
Rapids lines, and was platted in December, 1874. Besides being a 
junction point, it has long been the shipping station for considerable 
cider and dried fruit. 


As a village. Burr Oak is of rather recent origin, when com- 
pared to the other similar corporations of the county. It was first 
platted on the southeast quarter of section 23, in 1851, on land 
owned by William Lock ; and in the following year an addition was 
made by Henry Weaver, who platted part of the northeast quarter 
of the same section. It was surveyed by J. H. Gardner and Hiram 

William Betts erected the first frame house on the site of the 
original village the year before it was platted, and, soon after the 
survey had been made, John Talbot opened the pioneer store, and 
Julius A. Thompson the first tavern. In 1852 the postoffice was 
moved from Thompson 's Comers to the new village of Burr Oak. 

Burr Oak was a railroad town, being platted at the time the 
Michigan Southern road was in course of completion through the 

The Corporation. 


The village was regularly incorporated October 11, 1859, and 
the first annual meeting for the election of officers was held on the 
first Monday in March, 1860. The result was the selection of the 
following: E. J. Goff, president; George Boardner, Henry P. Sweet, 
Ira C. Abbott, Chester A. Ward, William Fuller, and Julius A. 
Thompson, trustees; Gilbert M. Lamb, clerk; Allen C. Arnold, 
treasurer; and Henry T. Williams, assessor. 

Some twenty years after its incorporation, the village con- 
tained five dry goods stores, two drug stores, one jewelry store, two 


hardware stores, two groceries, one boot and shoe store, two shoe 
shops, one agricultural implement depot, three hotels, one saw-mill, 
one grist-mill, one foundry, one wagon-shop, three blacksmith 
shops, one exchange bank, three lawyers and five doctors, and five 

The village has to-day a population of about eight hundred. 
Its business houses are substantially built and well stocked, its 
homes neat, and its residence streets beautified with not only the 
oaks, which have given the locality wide fame, but with numerous 
hard maples of luxuriant and graceful growth. A number of flour- 
ishing manufactories are located at Burr Oak, including the Shef- 
field Company; it has a solid lumber company (the C. A. Boyer) ; 


a neat little opera house ; a well conducted school ; a complete tele- 
phone exchange; a public library; an electric light and power 
plant ; religious privileges for all ; and last, but by no means least, 
a good local paper — The Bwrr Oak Acorn — whose very name is sug- 
gestive of originality. The village is the center of an unusually 
large potato trade. During an average season, it is estimated that 
300,000 bushels are marketed at this point. 

Sheffield Manufacturing Company. 

The leading manufacturing industry of Burr Oak is the Shef- 
field Manufacturing Company, established in 1891, by George S. 
Sheffield, after he withdrew from th6 enterprise at Three Rivers 
which has culminated in the great aggregation of plants known as 
the Sheffield Car Works. In the initiation of the business at Burr 
Oak, Mr. Sheffield associated with himself, A. C. Heimbaugh. The 
enterprise was incorporated in 1898, with Mr. Heimbaugh as presi- 
dent and manager ; Mr. Sheffield as vice president and Arch Heim- 
baugh as secretary and treasurer; capital, $50,000. 

In 1902 the first building of the present large plant was 
erected, much of the machinery therein being actually built by Mr. 
Sheffield himself. President Heimbaugh is the presiding financier ; 
he is also at the head of the First National Bank and a young man 
of remarkable business ability. The main products of the factory 
are the famous Sheffield hand com and potato planters and garden 
cultivators, although for the past few years the manufacture of 
steel hand sleds has been greatly expanded. 

The other industries of Burr Oak include the City Mills of 
which J. E. Wright is proprietor; the saw-mill operated by Wil- 
fred Thomas ; the Baird Skirt Company and the Whitehouse Under- 
wear Mills. 

Garment Factories. 

The Baird Skirt Company was incorporated in October, 1909, 
with a capital of $3,500, and under the energetic management of 
W. J. Hoshal has been placed on a substantial and progressive 
basis. Viloris Baird is the originator of the skirt turned out by the 
factory, and some 1,200 garments are now produced annually. 
Other officers of the company : C. A. Boyer, president ; Ansel Fer- 
ris, secretary and treasurer. 


The Whitehouse Underwear Mills represent an enterprise 
which is somewhat in its experimental stages, the plant not being 
installed until the spring of 1910. The company will manufacture 
the Merit brand of underwear, Alfred I. Whitehouse, the originator 
and present manager of the enterprise, having held a similar posi- 
tion with the Dr. Denton Sleeping Garment Mills at Centerville. 
The officers of the Burr Oak company are : President, R. B. Ferris ; 
vice president, James F. Brown; treasurer and manager, A. I. 
Whitehouse; secretary, Fred H. Camburn; director, C. A. Boyer. 

Burr Oak Banks. 

The First National Bank of Burr Oak was originally organ- 
ized by Messrs. Sheffield and Heimbaugh, as the Sheffield Banking 
Company. In 1909 the business was re-organized under the fed- 
eral banking laws under its present name. The bank owns the 
building which it occupies. The authorized capital of the First 
National Bank is $35,000; surplus, $7,000; total security, $77,000; 
deposits, $100,000. The management of the bank consists of the 
following : A. C. Heimbaugh, president ; B. F. Bordner, vice presi- 
dent; G. D. Bordner, cashier; A. C. Heimbaugh, John Frohriep, 
C. A. Boyer, Charles Stroud, George S. Sheffield, B. F. Lancaster 
and B. F. Bordner, directors. 

The State Bank of Burr Oak, was established December 1, 
1898, with a capital of $15,000 and the following officers: John 
T. Holmes, president ; F. Ernest Shaffmaster, cashier. Mr. Holmes, 
who died within the year, was succeeded by S. H. Hogle, and he, 
by H. P. Mo wry, of Bronson, who still holds the presidency (since 
1901). H. C. Kass was cashier from 1901-8, when Mr. Hogle, the 
present incumbent, was elected to that position. Mr. Kass re- 
signed to assume his duties as county clerk. The capital stock 
of the bank is still $15,000; surplus and undivided profits, $5,000; 
deposits, $100,000. 

The Union School. 

The first Union school in the village of Burr Oak was organ- 
ized in 1863, and was held in the old frame building afterward 
used as a temporary house of worship by the Lutherans. A second 
story was added to the building, and in 1868 the building now oc- 
cupied was erected. 

Nearly 200 pupils attend the Union school at present, of whom 
over seventy are high school scholars. The superintendent is 


C. 6. Porter; principal of the high school, H. C. Converse; and 
eight teachers are otherwise included in the working force of the 
local system of education. 

Electric Light and Power Plant. 

Until the fall of 1908, the streets of Burr Oak were lighted by 
gasoline lamps — ^that is, certain sections of the village were favored 
with an indifferent illumination. In the spring of the year named, 
however, the Burr Oak Electric company (B. E., H. F. and Edgar 
Seaver) commenced operations and in August, 1908, turned the 
current through their completed plant, one of the best in southern 
Michigan. Now the larger portion of the business houses and 
many of the residences are using the fluid. Within a year the 
company had nearly doubled the efficiency of the water power, 
and plan in the near future to make another marked improvement 
in this line by lowering the tail race. 

Telephone Company. 

The Southern Michigan Telephone Company was organized in 
1900 to build a telephone exchange at Burr Oak, and it has well 
succeeded. It was incorporated in 1901, with a working capital 
of $5,000, which has been increased from time to time until in 
January, 1907, it reached $1,000,000. The service, of which Burr 
Oak is the center, has been extended during this period to many 
neighboring towns and communities. 

''The Burr Oak Acorn.'' 

The Burr Oak Acorn was established in 1880, by Nathan A. 
Cole, who was succeeded, in 1882, by L. H. Mallory. Mr. Mallory 
continued to edit and publish it until 1888, when Edwin P. Bates 
took the helm, only to give place to Mr. Mallory again, in 1894. 
in 1904 Willis A. Carpenter became associated with Mr. Mallory 
in the publication of the Acorn, which, under the proprietorship 
of Mallory & Carpenter, has given Burr Oak and vicinity good 
newspaper service. In politics, the journal is independently Re- 


The Methodist Church. 

In 1853 the first class of Methodists to gather from the platted 
village of Burr Oak and vicinity met at the house of Lyman H. 
Johnson, under the pastoral care of Rev. Jeremiah Boynton, of 
Sturgis, and the leadership of Mr. Johnson himself. These first 
religious services were held on the site of Benjamin Swihart's 
house. The first class was composed of Mr. Johnson and wife, 
Ozias Atchison, Charles E. Kitibe, Mrs. Sophorona Hill and Mr. 
Avery. For several years preaching was generally arranged once 
every two weeks (evening services). 

In 1855 Rev. Jonathan Mosher was appointed to the circuit, 
then including Burr Oak, Bronson, Gilead and Snow Prairie, serv- 
ices being usually held in the school house occupying the site of 
the Lutheran church. 

At the first quarterly meeting held at Bronson, December 13, 
1856, the Methodist Episcopal church of Burr Oak, was regularly 
organized, with Rev. John Clubine as pastor and Gabriel Smith, 
local preacher. For about five years thereafter, services were held 
in Smith's hall, where the Presbyterian society also met. 

On January 8, 1861, the Methodists dedicated their church 
building, the membership of the church being then thirty-five. 
The Sunday school was organized in 1859; chapel built in 1874, 
and parsonage in 1907. Rev. R. E. Showerman is the present 
pastor, and the membership of the church numbers over 100. 

The pastors of the church since the incumbency of Rev. John 
Clubine, in 1856, are as follows: Revs. Alanson Coplin, E. L. 
Chambers, George D. Lee, A. W. Torry, William Doust, T. C 
Grundy, M. B. Camburn, William Paddock, Edgar Beard, John 
Hoyt, M. J. Smith, J. W. White, W. J. Hathaway, J. W. Buell, 
D. O. Ball, M. P. Fogleson, O. S. Paddock, F. A. Vandewalker, 
J. E. Crites, William Paddock, H. W. Thompson, L. W. Earl, R. A. 
Fulford, N. S. Tuttle, J. K. Skinner, J. E. Kirby, R. W. Paul, C. 
L. Keene, G. E. Pooler, J. S. Valentine, W. Greer and R. E. 

Evangelical Lutheran St. John^s Church. 

This church was organized April 3, 1864, by Rev. H. Evers, 
whose successors have been as follows: Rev. Henkel, 1868-80; 
Rev. L. Hertrich, 1880-2; Rev. P. Handel, 1882-6; Rev. F. Koch, 

Vol. 1—28 


1887-91 ; Rev. A. Neuendorf, 1892-97 ; Rev. T. Backus, 1897-1901 ; 
Rev. C. Tews, 1901-7 ; and Rev. Paul Noffze, the present incumbent. 
At first the society purchased the village school house for 
church and parochial school purposes. In 1870 a parsonage was 
erected, and the church edifice followed in 1877. The society has 
a total membership of 165, divided as follows: Voting, 43 and 
communicant, 122. 

Secret and Benevolent Societies. 

Eagle Lodge, No. 124, A. F. & A. M., was organized under 
dispensation in 1859, and chartered January 7, 1860. It now has a 
membership of about 90, with officers as follows : Dr. S. D. Peters, 
W. M. ; C. A. Boyer, secretary; H. C. Gilson, treasurer ; B. F. Bord- 
ner, S. W. ; F. W. Clements, J. W.; Frank Selby, S. D.; Charles 
Tobey, J. D. ; James Mowry, chaplain ; Charles Johnson, marshal ; 
Byron Churchill, tiler. Membership of the lodge about 90. 

Whitney Lodge, No. 142, I. O. O. F., has a membership of 
fifty. Melvin Faust is its N. G.; J. D. Coles, V. G.; C. L. Miller, 
secretary, and S. D. Hackman, treasurer. 

Both the Eastern Star and the Rebekahs, auxiliaries to the 
Masonic and Odd Fellows orders, are also represented in Burr 

The Woodmen organized November 8, 1906, and have a mem- 
bership of over 90. Lodge officers : Counsel, Abner Fair ; adviser, 
R. Wilcox; banker, Willis Wells; clerk, W. T. Boocher; escort, C. 
H. Froh ; watchman, Earl Gregg ; sentry, Roy Wagner ; physician, 
Dr. F. W. Clements; managers, C. C. Snyder, Ralph Baldwin and L. 
E. Miller. 

No. 744, K. 0. T. M., has a membership of about thirty, with 
C. A. Boyer as C. ; E. M. Gilbert, R. K., and F. H. Camburn, F. K. 


Beautiful Village Sketch— Historical Review — White Pig- 
eon Academy — District and Union Schools — ^White Pig- 
eon Newspapers— Farmers' Savings Bank — ^Local Indus- 
tries — White Pigeon M. E. Church — The Presbyterian and 
Reformed Churches — St. Joseph ^s (Catholic) Church— 
The Alba Columba Club— Secret, Benevolent and Patri- 
otic Societies. 

White Pigeon is a pretty, clean, quiet, refined little village of 
between seven and eight hundred people situated on White Pigeon 
river, a tributary of the St. Joseph, and at the junction of the Lake 
Shore and Michigan Southern road as its spur turns northward 
from the main line toward Constantine and Three Rivers. It w^ 
the first point on the old Chicago trail settled in the county; was 
named after the romantic young Indian chief, White Pigeon, whose 
noble character has been kept fragrant to this day, and, more than 
any other community in this section of the state, is typical of the 
pioneer history of the past and the literary activity of the present. 
Why this is so, and what the people of White Pigeon, especially its 
women, have done to earn this reputation, are points which are sus- 
tained with some detail in the history of the township. 

Beautiful Village Sketch. 

In that section of this work due credit has been given the Alba 
Columba Club for conceiving and perfecting the celebration in 
honor of White Pigeon's heroism and heroic character, and to the 
statements there made is now made the additional assertion that 
the organization of ladies named has done much to make White 



Pigeon known, even beyond the borders of the county, as a peo- 
ple of high intellectual character who take an ardent pride in the 
past history and the continuous development of their county along 
every line of effort. Several years ago the club issued a dainty 
booklet, containing a charming historical sketch of White Pigeon 
by Mrs. Jessie Reynolds and a beautiful poem by Miss Minnie Blue 
(^*The Legend of White Pigeon ''), which was revised for publica- 
tion by Mrs. Cora Cameron. 

The picture of the village of White Pigeon drawn therein is 
so simple, yet so complete, that it is here reproduced: *'A vista of 


wide, shady village streets, substantial old homes interspersed here 
and there with more showy modem dwellings, well-kept lawns, sweet 
air, that when the days are long, is heavy with the perfume of many 
flowers, sweet with the breath of nearby fields, a noisy little river, 
that, tumbling and laughing on its way, for years has turned a busy 
mill, an all-pervading air of thrift and comfort, a sense of home 
about the place — this is White Pigeon. 

'Not different essentially, one might say, from thousands of 
such places throughout the land, and yet if you who read can look 
back to earlier years spent in the old town's pleasant ways, if as a 
child you have roamed the woods skirting White Pigeon river, and 
bathed your bare feet in its clear, cool waters, if you have listened to 
some granddame's tales of early days, to you White Pigeon has a 


separate and distinct personality, and you can understand why her 
traditions and legends have been treasured from generation to gen- 
eration. To you many an old home, modernized though it be and 
ringing with joyous life of the present, still breathes an undertone 
of reminiscence, the mingled comedy and tragedy, the smiles and 
tears, success and failure, the sunshine and shadow that made up 
the life-story of those its roof-tree sheltered in other years. 

''So, too, while the passing stranger, gazing on the surround- 
ing prairie, sees only the agricultural possibilities of the fertile 
fields, he whose plow each year uncovers fragments of rude stone 
implements of warfare of the chase, reads in the arrow-strewn fur- 
rows the history of a race who once owned a continent and roamed 
in absolute freedom over its wide domain. 

''So long as field and forest and stream, all of nature's en- 
chanting allurements appeal to the human soul, so long will the 
meager history and interesting traditions of these true sons of na- 
ture find favor. The mystery surrounding their origin, the disso- 
lution and gradual extennination of the race before the advance of 
civilization, all lend an added fascination to that period of history 
antedating the advent of the white man. 

Historical. Review. 

"Just when the first settler arrived and staked his claim, just 
when the first cabin was built on the prairie, is difficult to say. 
Conflicting dates and an absence of early record cause the date of 
the first settlement, which probably occurred about eighteen hun- 
dred twenty-seven, to vary with different authorities; but what- 
ever may be the date and the story of that early struggle for ex- 
istence, certain it is that a thriving settlement flourished at White 
Pigeon when the city of Detroit was in its infancy and the site of 
Chicago was marked by little more than a rude log fort in a waste 
of marsh lands. 

' ' The steady growth of the settlement at this period was prob- 
ably due in a great measure to the early government survey of 
Chicago road, opening a highway one hundred feet wide its entire 
length and following with few deviations the old Indian trail from 
Detroit to Fort Dearborn. 

"Although a few persevering homeseekers from the east had 
already made their way hither, bridging streams and cutting their 
way through forests, the opening of a direct roadway brought an 


ever-increasing tide of emigration westward, with White Pigeon 
as the objective point. 

**The manifold advantages presented by southern Michigan, 
her wealth of woodland, her forests of beech, oak, and maple, her 
fertile prairie soil that responded to the lightest cultivation with 
bounteous harvests, her innumerable lakes and rivers teeming with 
fish, the abundance of wild game, combined to attract homeseekers 
from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and even from the far east- 
em states, and though many of these sojourned but a brief time at 
this place, and then, impelled by that spirit of restlessness without 
which the wilderness had never been reclaimed, pushed on to the far 
west, to the north and to the south, many others remained here and, 
building their homes and tilling their fields, became the pioneers of 
St. Joseph county, grand, heroic men and women, the story of 
whose sturdy courage and endurance through danger, privation 
and hardship is the pride of their posterity. 

** According to county records, the Legislative Council of Mich- 
igan territory in eighteen hundred twenty-nine officially organ- 
ized the county of St. Joseph, and White Pigeon enjoys the dis- 
tinction of having been the first village platted within the county. 
A post-office was established here the same year. 

'* Prior to eighteen hundred thirty-one the nearest land office 
was at Monroe, and settlers were obliged to make a journey of one 
hundred twenty-five miles to that place for the registration of 
claims. But in June of that year a land office was established in 
White Pigeon. 

''The first circuit court in St. Joseph county convened at White 
Pigeon in eighteen hundred twenty-nine, in the old log tavern 
known as Savery's 'Old Diggins.' This tavern, the first public 
building' erected in the village, and which occupied the site of the 
present school building, served the varied purposes of town-hall, 
inn, and court-house. Here, too, for a time was quartered the 
branch of the University of Michigan, pending the erection of a 
building for that institution. 

"Early in the thirties an academy and district school were or- 
ganized, although a building was not erected for the latter until 
eighteen hundred forty-four, when a small brick school house, now 
used as a dwelling, was built and served the needs of the district 
until eighteen hundred fifty-seven, when a larger frame building 
was erected to meet the demands of the increasing population. 


This, in turn, gave way in eighteen hundred seventy-two to the 
present brick structure. 

*^ Meantime the religious growth of the community seems to 
have kept pace with the educational advancement. Although a 
Methodist denomination had been previously organized, the Presby- 
terians in eighteen hundred thirty-four erected the first church edi- 
fice west of Ann Arbor. With the steady growth of the village 
other church buildings soon followed — Methodist, Baptist, Ee- 
formed and Catholic. 

* * But statistics and dates gathered from county records furnish 
but meager history of the place. If you would learn its real story, 
the facts that linger longest and fondest in memory, go to one 
whose life for years has been interwoven with the life of the town. 
Such an one will tell you of the steady growth of White Pigeon, 
of her prosperity and her adversity, of the prominence she gained 
as a shipping point at the junction of two railroads. He will tell 
you of the roundhouse and repair shops of the company located 

^ * He will tell you, too, of the exciting days of the sixties, and 
probably lead you to the old camping ground, where in sixty-one 
the Eleventh Eegiment of Michigan Volunteers was recruited, and 
show you the site of the old University branch that served as bar- 
racks. He will speak with pride of the brilliant record of this regi- 
ment during the war, and if he lead you adown the streets and 
across the way to that other village * whose marble doors are al- 
ways shut, ' stand with uncovered head and reverent, for here be- 
neath their low-thatched roofs of grasses and flowers sleep fifty- 
eight brave men who wore the army blue. 

* * One who knows the town will tell you of snug fortunes gar- 
nered here, scattered and gathered again, it may be, by other 
hands; of the various business enterprises that have arisen, lived 
their day and given way to others. The last of these old enter- 
prises to give way before the new was the old grist mill ; the build- 
ing, with a record of nearly fifty years' service, was removed dur- 
ing the past year, and the great buildings of the Oscar Felt Box- 
board & Paper Company, recently located here, now occupy the site. 

**The fire of nineteen hundred six that nearly destroyed the 
business portion of the town, swept away many old buildings that 
dated back to stage-coach days; but these are being rapidly re- 
placed by new and modem buildings of brick and stone, and White 
Pigeon, situated as she is, with excellent shipping facilities and 


surrounded by a farming country of unrivaled fertility, remembers 
with pride her past, joys in the present, and reaches out her hand 
to the good things of the future." 

White Pigeon Academy. 

White Pigeon was early established as a center of educa- 
tion and literary activity through the agency of its academy, 
which was second to none in the county, if in southern Michigan. 
Its first school was the district institution, taught in the winter of 
1830-1, by Neal McGaffey, over Pratt's store, but the village and 
the township craved something of a higher order. In 1831, there- 
fore, the White Pigeon academy was chartered by Dr. Isaac Adams, 
Charles B. Fitch, Albert E. Ball, David Page and Neal McGaffey. 
In the same year a small frame building was erected, which was 
used for a time for educational, religious and judicial purposes; 
it is doubtful if any building erected in St. Joseph county was ever 
put to more continuous or better uses, than the old White Pigeon 

In 1837 the branch of the State university was established 
in the village, and while a building was being completed for its 
accommodation, the academy scholars were taught in the Old 
Diggings hotel, by Rev. Samuel Newberry. When the building 
was finished, Wilson Grey, an Irishman and a relative and after- 
ward connected editorially with the famous Dublin Freeman, was 
Mr. Newberry's assistant. For a time, the school was supported 
by the state, but the appropriation for its maintenance gradually 
decreased and about 1846 ceased altogether. Then the building 
was repaired and refitted, a private institution was conducted 
by Rev. C. M. Temple from 1855 to 1858, and finally the enter- 
prise was abandoned. The old academy building was used as 
barracks during Civil war times, but some time in the seventies it 
was taken down and removed out on the prairie, where it was 
used for a stable by Lewis Rhoades. 

District and Union SoHOoiiS. 

The first district school was built of brick, in 1844, and Dr. 
W. N. Elliott, the first physician to practice in White Pigeon, was 
director at the time. The doctor was one of the best friends of 
public education the township ever had, a school having been 


taught in his office by Dr. J. W. Mandigo before the district had 
provided accommodations. 

The first frame house for school purposes was erected in 
1857, and was used until 1872, when the three-story red brick 
building was put up which is now occupied. It cost $16,500. The 
district has been Union since 1866 ; present superintendent, A. J. 
Collins. About 190 pupils are in attendance at the White Pigeon 
Union school, of whom 55 are credited to the high school, and 
seven teachers are employed. 

The township library comprises over 1,000 volumes, in charge 
of Miss Cora B. Cooper. 

White Pigeon Newspapers. 

The Miohigcm Statesman and St, Joseph Chronicle, the first 
number of which was issued at White Pigeon by John D. Defrees 
(afterward government printer at Washington), December 10, 
1833, was the pioneer newspaper of St. Joseph county. It was 
also the first paper published between Detroit and Chicago, and 
the third to appear in the territory of Michigan. It was a radical 
Democrat in politics. In June, 1834, Mr. Defrees sold to Henry 
Gilbert, who issued his first number on the twenty-eighth of the 
month. In September, 1835, Mr. Gilbert moved to Kalamazoo, and 
in the following month the office of the Statesman was also trans- 
ferred thither. At that point Mr. Gilbert continued its publica- 
tion for more than twenty-five years, although its name was 
changed to the Gazette. Mr. Gilbert retired from the editorial 
chair, and was afterward warden of the state penitentiary. 

The Argus was established by E. H. Graves in 1875, and both 
he and J. J. O'Brien conducted it for a number of years. 

In July, 1876, the Weekly Journal was founded by William 
A. DeGroot. For a number of years previous to its discontinuance 
at White Pigeon, it was conducted by Noah Johnson and Obert A. 
Johnson, father and son. 

On December 18, 1908, the White Pigeon News, was estab- 
lished by G. M. Dudley, who is still its publisher and editor. It 
is a good weekly paper, independent in all things. 

Farmers' Savings Bank. 

The Farmers' Savings Bank of White Pigeon, commenced 
business August 22, 1904, under the presidency of Joseph Brown. 


It is a state institution, and has a capital and surplus amounting 
of $25,000; its stockholders are liable for an additional $20,000, 
making a total margin of $45,000. Present officers: Edward 
Roderick, president; Frank Wolf (Centerville), vice president; J. 
M. Benjamin, cashier; H. F. Reynolds, assistant cashier. 

Local Industries. 

The Michigan Boxboard company operates a large plant at 
White Pigeon, which is by far its leading industry. It is, in fact, 
one of the leading manufactories of combination boxboards and 
newsboards in the middle west, its annual output being valued at 
more than half a million dollars. The company was organized as 
the Oscar Felt Boxboard and Paper company, in March, 1908, and 
its buildings were completed early in 1909. The first officers were : 
Oscar Gumbinsky, president; L. H. Kirby, vice president; Oscar 
E. Jacobs, secretary and treasurer ; R. E. Adams, general superin- 
tendent. In December, 1909, a re-organization was effected under 
the name of the Michigan Boxboard Company, with the following 
officers: A. L. Pratt, president; Louis H. Kirby, vice president; 
Roger K. Rogan, treasurer; Oscar E. Jacobs, secretary and man- 
ager: L. H. Breyfogle, general superintendent. 

Perhaps the only other manufactory at White Pigeon worthy 
of special mention, is that of John Midling, whose output con- 
sists of sulkies, carts and speed wagons. 

White PiGEOisr Methodist Episcopal Church. 

White Pigeon township was the mother of churches in the 
county, as well as of so many other institutions. The first religious 
society was a Methodist class formed at Newville in 1829, and the 
second, an organization supported by the same faith and born in 
White Pigeon village during February, 1830, with Captain Alvin 
Calhoon as leader. Besides, there were Alanson Stewart (local 
preacher) and his wife; David Rollins; and John Bowers and 
John Coates, with their wives. 

Erastus Felton, of course, preached to the little band, and 
Leonard B. Gurley also ministered to them in the fall of 1830. At 
that time Constantine and Mottville were in the same circuit, with 
headquarters at the Mottv^ille school house. 

In the fall of 1831 William Sprague preached to the White 
Pigeon society, and in the following summer Benjamin Cooper, 


Jr., assisted him. The charge was then included in the Indiana 
conference, Detroit district, but in 1840 became part of the Michi- 
gan conference, St. Joseph mission. 

In October, 1839, Rev. James Y. Watson was appointed to 
the charge, and became not only distinguished as a preacher, but 
as the first editor of the Northwestern Christian Advocate, of Chi- 
cago, where he died October 17, 1856. 

In the summer of 1832 a small frame building was erected on 
the site of the present church, except that it faced south, and it 
was occupied by the society as a house of worship until the sum- 
mer of 1854, when a more commodious structure was built at a cost 
of $2,000. It was dedicated by Rev. F. B. Bangs, former presiding 
elder of the circuit. 

In 1839 White Pigeon circuit was divided, Constantine being 
included in it, and in September, 1841, the Michigan conference 
of the church was held at White Pigeon village, Bishop R. R. 
Roberts presiding. The year 1855 was marked by a great revival 
at both White Pigeon and Constantine, and another re-arrange- 
ment of the circuit, by which Mottville and White Pigeon were 

Rev. James Webster was pastor at White Pigeon in 1877, at 
which time the society had seventy-five members, and the organiza- 
tion at Mottville about thirty. By 1890 the second church build- 
ing had been so far outgrown that the society at White Pigeon 
commenced active operations for the erection of a large brick edi- 
fice, which was not completed until April 26, 1891, the dedicatory 
sermon being preached by Rev. M. M. Cannon, of Jackson. At 
that time, Rev. H. H. Rood was pastor of the church. The present 
parsonage was built in 1873. 

The Methodist church of White Pigeon now numbers about 
100 members, and is in charge of Rev. William T. Hill, who has 
been an incumbent for two years. 

^ The Presbyterian Church. 

The Presbyterian church of White Pigeon dates from 1830, 
but as it was not organized until August 8th of that year, the 
Methodists claim priority as pioneers by several months. Rev. 
William Jones, who effected the organization, received, as ruling 
elders, Benjamin Blair, David Clark, Neal McGaffey, James Math- 
ers and James Blair; nineteen others were admitted as members. 


Thus was organized the first church of the denomination in western 
Michigan. Its membership was drawn from all parts of the 
county, as well as outside, and it afterward entered into the foun- 
dation of churches at Elkhart, Constantine, Prairie Ronde and 
even more distant points. 

The society at White Pigeon was first organized under the 
statute January 16, 1833, when Elijah White, Nicholas B. Chapin, 
Hubbel Loomis, Charles Kellogg, Lewis B. Judson and William 
Rowen were elected its first trustees. The first two preachers, 
Revs. William Jones and Christopher Cory, were not regularly in- 
stalled, but were *' stated supplies," as were others in after years. 
Among others who occupied the pulpit up to the time of the dedi- 
cation of the present church, in 1888, were Revs. P. W. Warringer, 
Julius Steel, H. H. Northrup, William Fuller, C. M. Temple, J. B. 
Hubbard and L. M. Gilleland. 

An interesting sketch of the church up to the year and event 
named, was prepared for the local press by Rev. J. E. Fisher, and 
is reproduced as follows: ^'The First Presbyterian church of 
White Pigeon, is one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in south- 
western Michigan. There is but one church west of Detroit which 
may be older, that at Monroe. The organization was effected in 
the house now standing west of Mr. Clapp 's residence, then occu- 
pied by Neal McGalfey. The White Pigeon church was organized 
August 8, 1830, with a membership of twenty-four. It is somewhat 
singular and worthy of note that she became a colonizing church 
very early in her history. In January, 1833, she parted with a 
number of her members who were given letters of dismissal and 
organized into a separate church at Elkhart, and again, in Novem- 
ber of the same year, a still greater number were dismissed to join 
in the organization of a Presbyterian church in La Grange county, 
Indiana. Some years later twenty- two others receiv^ed letters for 
the purpose of organizing a Congregational church. It seems that 
the organization was not effected and several of the letters were 
returned without having been presented elsewhere. Again, in 
1858 (a fourth time in twenty-five years) a number were dis- 
missed for the organization of the German Reformed church of 
this place. 

'^The first house of worship was erected in 1834, at a cost of 
$1,900, It had the distinction of having the first steeple and church 
bell west of Ann Arbor. The old church was remodeled in 1855, 
and when completed, re-dedicated. It had a seating capacity of 


300. This building remained in constant use until the present 
edifice was erected. At one time, during the Rev. Gilleland's pas- 
torate, the subject of erecting a new building was strongly agitated. 
Considerable interest and enthusiasm were aroused. Subscriptions 
were taken, and Elder Isaac Blue and Mr. L. Ferguson each 
pledged $500. Some $6,000 was subscribed. The pastor, on ad- 
vice of his physician, resigned his charge. The people, left with- 
out the leader whom they had been wont to follow, grew dis- 
couraged and the building project bore no apparent fruit. 

*^ Elder Blue still cherished his desire to aid in the erection of a 
new house of worship, even though he might not see it in his day. 
After his death, about two years later, the following bequest was 
found in his will: ^It is my will that my executors be and they 
are empowered to make sale and convey by sufficient deeds, in such 
manner as they may deem best, my village property at White 
Pigeon, being about four acres of ground (now the Pike place) 
and out of the proceeds of said sale pay as follows : 

'* 'First, to the First Presbyterian church of White Pigeon, 
Michigan, for building a new church edifice, the sum of one thou- 
sand dollars, provided said church be erected in two years after 
my death, and provided said real estate be sold within that time. 
If the church however, shall be erected within two years after my 
death, but the real estate shall not be sold within that time, the 
said one thousand dollars shall be paid over when the said real 
estate is sold and thereon collected.' The congregation failed to 
comply with the conditions of the will, but the request no doubt 
had great influence in leading to the building of the church which 
was completed about a year after the time specified in the will. 

''On a Sabbath morning, in 1887, the pastor broached the 
subject of a new building. After the sermon, it was proposed to 
begin at once to see what could be done in that direction. All 
were united in the desire to build. Pledges were taken, and four 
subscribed $250.00 each. Others followed with smaller, though 
equally generous subscriptions, and $1,600 was pledged before 
the close of the service. 

"In due time the progress of building began and soon the 
edifice which is now an ornament to our community, was ready * 
for dedication. The dedication service occurred on the 11th of 
March, 1888. 

"The Rev. Herrick Johnson, D.D., LL.D., of McCormick Sem- 
inary, Chicago, preached the sermon. The former pastors, the 


Revs. L. M. Gilleland and Judson Swift, were also present and 
participated in the services, as did Rev. Taft of the Baptist church. 
The pastor. Rev. J. Emery Fisher, who had labored with tireless 
energy, made the dedicatory prayer. The choir, under the leader- 
ship of J. M. Gragg, who has served as choirister for many years 
and for as many more sung in the choirs of this and other churches, 
rendered suitable music. That the church might be dedicated free 
from debt more than $3,000 was pledged at this service. 

' ' The valuation of the church and grounds, including furnish- 
ings and the value of materials and labor donated, may be said to 
approximate $10,000 to $12,000." 

Since the late nineties the following pastors have been in 
charge of the church : Revs. W. V. TeWinkel, T. A. Scott, William 
McPheeters, L. J. Eymer and Henry Arlen. Mr. Arlen was called 
to the pastorate in 1909, his service being devoted to an active 
society of about eighty members. 

The Reformed Church. 

The Reformed church at White Pigeon was founded by Daniel 
Kroh in 1849, although the regular organization is generally dated 
from June 10, 1865, when the society was organized under Rev. 
Henry Wiegand, who continued as pastor until 1872. He was suc- 
ceeded by Revs. Daniel Latze and E. R. Willard. With the Luth- 
erans, the members of the Reformed church occupied the old Bap- 
tist church as a house of worship until 1880, when the latter erected 
a separate edifice. At the conclusion of Mr. Willard 's pastorate in 
1882, Rev. Mr. Oplinger was called to the pulpit and was suc- 
ceeded, in 1887, by Rev. Israel Rothenberger, who remained in 
charge for about two years. Rev. Henry S. Bailey served the 
church from 1890 to 1894, his successors having been Rev. Reuben 
Keller and Rev. Freeman Ware, the present incumbent. Mr. Ware 
has been pastor since November, 1892 ; present membership of the 
church about fifty. 

St. Joseph's (Catholic) Church. 

The St. Joseph's mission of White Pigeon, was organized by 
the Fathers of the Holy Cross in 1848. The following were some of 
the earliest white settlers : J. Welch, Thomas Hogan, Geo. Argus, 


Fenton Hogan, Thoma« Kelley, John Probst, Mrs. Dickey, Michael 
McCarthy, Judith McGuire. Fathers Quentin and Shortus, of 
Notre Dame, attended the mission till 1856. In that year White 
Pigeon came under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Detroit. 
Father Ryckaert had charge of it until 1866. Father Korst re- 
placed him and visited White Pigeon monthly for ten years. 
Father Kroeger, Father Korst (for the second time), Father 
Duemmig, Father Slane, Father Loughran and Father Knoll 
attended the mission until Father Schaeper assumed charge 
in 1895. The church was built lat^ in 1871, while Father Korst 
was pastor. On October 20, Bishop Borgess gave permission to 
build in the following note to Father Korst : ' ' I am but too happy 
to learn that the good Catholics of White Pigeon in St. Joseph's 
county, entertain the good and laudable resolution to commence the 
erection of a church, and that the promise of success is very en- 
couraging. With pleasure, therefore, do I give the desired permis- 
sion.'' The church was constructed at a cost of $1,300, and when it 
was completed only a small debt remained on it. The mission was 
at its best about the year 1875 ; it then numbered twenty-five fami- 
lies. Only one-half this number worship at the church at present. 
Before the church was built divine services were held in private 
houses, and for a while in a Lutheran meeting house. The mission 
at one time owned a dwelling house, which was sold for a small 
consideration. In the year 1886 an addition of 12x24 feet was 
built to the church — one large room which still serves as sacristy 
and sitting room. Since 1903 Eev. H. J. Kaufmann of Mendon has 
had charge of the White Pigeon mission. 

The Alba Columba Club. 

This widely known organization of ladies was formed Febru- 
ary 15, 1898, with the following oflfiscers : Mrs. Ada Phillips, presi- 
dent; Mrs. Martha E. Williams, vice president; Mrs. Cora Came- 
ron, second vice president; Mrs. Jessie A. Reynolds, recording sec- 
retary ; Mrs. Christine Drury, corresponding secretary. Mrs. Phil- 
lips was president the first year and has held the office two years 

Present officers : President, Mrs. Mary Fogarty ; vice president, 
Mrs. Elizabeth Rhodes; second vice president, Mrs. Charles 
Rocker; recording and corresponding secretary, Miss Mary Perry; 


treasurer, Miss Fannie Shade. The membership is about thirty- 

The Alba Columba was founded primarily as a literary club 
and is a member of the County Federation of Women's Clubs. Its 
activities have been extended so as to include such movements as 
the conception of the White Pigeon memorial, and its dedication 
in August, 1909, and the initiation and management of memorial 
exercises and camp fires for the Gt. A. E. In acknowledgement of 
the value of its historical investigations, and especially its work in 
connection with the White Pigeon memorial, the State Federation 
of Women 's Clubs voted to the Alba Columba Club, the state prize 
consisting of thirty volumes of the *^ Michigan Pioneer and His- 
torical Collections. ' \ 

Secret, Benevolent anb Patriotic Societies. 

White Pigeon Lodge No. 104, A. F. & A. M., was instituted 
under dispensation November 11, 1857 ; and chartered the follow- 
ing January. Hon. J. Eastman Johnson was the worthy master 
until 1860. In 1867 the lodge, with the organizations at Constan- 
tine and Sturgis, celebrated St. John's day with most elaborate 
ceremonies, Hon. S. C. Coffinbury being the orator of the occasion. 
No. 104 has now about one hundred members and the following of- 
ficers: Hugh Hutton, W. M. ; Zera Zimmerman, S. W. ; J. L. Smith, 
J. W. ; F. C. Hotchin, secretary; A. L. Reed, treasurer; H. F. Rey- 
nolds, S. D. ; Theodore Musser, J. D. ; Thomas White, tiler. 

White Pigeon Lodge No. 78, I. O. O. F., was chartered in 
1859 and its first noble grands were T. E. Clapp and L. C. Laird, 
who both served in the year of its founding. Its membership num- 
bers, at present writing, about twenty-five, and its officers are Ed- 
win Rosebrook, N. G. ; P. H. Weaver, V. 6. ; A. R. Gilmore, secre- 
tary ; L. C. Reed, treasurer. 

The Maccabees of White Pigeon have a strong tent (No. 919) 
of eighty-five members, with the following officers : D. C. Caldwell, 
Com. ; E. W. Beckwith, R. K. ; A. L. Reed, F. K. 

The Modem Woodmen of America are represented by White 
Pigeon Camp No. 6,066, of which 0. A. Hendricks is consul and 
G. M. Dudley, clerk. 

Elliott Post No. 115, G. A. R., has dwindled to about a dozen 
members, with Daniel Saunter as commander. 

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