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Full text of "A history of Van Buren County, Michigan a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests"

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A HISTORY 

OF 

VAN BUREN COUNTY 

MICHIGAN 

A Narrative Account of its Historical 

Progress, its People, and its 

Principal Interests. 



BY 
CAPTAIN O. W. ROWLAND 



VOLUME II 



ILLUSTRATED 



PUBLISHERS 

THE LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY 

CHICAGO AND NEW YORK 
1912 



HISTORY OF 

VAN BUREN COUNTY 



Pbvnk N Wakeman.— Born and reared on a farm, or as a f arm- 
or's son, obtaining a good high school education, then teaching 
school for a number of years and afterward filling an important 
county office with great credit to himself and satisfaction to the 
people for two terms, Prank N. AVakeman came to the duties he now 
performs as editor and publisher of a progressive newspaper with 
his faculties well developed and trained in an extended and varied 
experience. In all the lines of endeavor he has followed from his 
boyhood he has been attentive to their requirements and studied 
them with an earnest intention to obtain as thorough a mastery ot 
hem as possible. This wise and fruitful method of procedure has 
made him ready for almost any kind of work mvol^ang menta 
acuteness, scholarship and good judgment, and is one of the strong 
elements of his success in his present exacting and important 

''""llf Wakeman 's life began in Lawrence, Van Buren county, 
Michigan, on July 4, 1870, and he is a son of Nathan B-/nd Isa- 
belle (Braybrooks) Wakeman, the former a native ot the state ot 
New York and the latter of England. The father, who was a farmer 
all his life, and for a number of years was also engaged m Jjiismg 
live stock for the markets, came to Van Buren county m 1864 and 
located on a farm in Lawrence township, o^^^^^'^^ he passed the 
remainder of his days, dying in February, 1901 At the t.rne of 
his death he owned eighty acres of land especially we a.daP;f ^ to 
general farming and raising stock. The mother is still living and 
has her home in this county. She and l^^r husband were the par- 
ents of seven children, all of whom are residents of this county but 
one. They are: Frank N., the immediate subject f this review ; 
Nellie the wife of A. H. Abrams; Jennie, the wife of C. J. Kowlee, 
Carrie, the wife of A. E. Abrams ; Cora, the wife^of William Nower : 
Veda the wife of Irvin D. Moore, and Abbie. who is living at home 
with her mother. Nellie, Jennie, Carrie and Cora all live m Law- 
Tenee, and Veda has her home in Hillsdale, Michigan, one of the 
attractive cities of the state. 

After the death of their father the mother married a second time, 
uniting herself in this union with James H. Brown, of Lawrence 
where she now resides, finding great comfort m being near and 
associating freely with several of her children, and enjoying m a 
Sed degree, in company with her husband, the regard and 
good will of all classes of the people, among whom she is well known 

631 



632 HISTORY OF VAN BUEEN COUNTY 

and warmly appreciated for the excellence of her character and 
her cordial interest in everything that ministers to the comfort 
and betterment of the inhabitants of the town and county. 

After his graduation from the Lawrence high school Frank N. 
Wakeman taught a district school for two years, then was superin- 
tendent of the schools in Covert for six years. At the end of that 
period he was elected county clerk, and at the end of his term was 
re-elected, holding the office four years in all. When he retired 
from the public service he started an abstract business in Hillsdale, 
and this he conducted for two years. His ability and careful at- 
tention to all his duties in public and private life won him a high 
reputation to all his duties, resourceful and capable man, and opened 
the way to him for his present engagement as editor and publisher 
of the True Northerner, a newspaper published in Paw Paw under 
the direction of a stock company of which he is one of the leading 
members. He is, in fact, the controlling spirit and real inspiration 
of the paper, directing its policy and giving expression to its views, 
and by his clearness and force as a writer he has made it influential 
and popular, while his business acumen has made it prosperous 
financially. 

On July 31, 1895, Mr. Wakeman was united in marriage with 
Miss Mamie E. Cross, a daughter of Oeorge A. and Mary L. (Jen- 
nings) Cross. Her father was born in Michigan and her mother 
in the state of New York. They have had five children, four of 
whom are living: Mrs. Mamie Wakeman; George and Ina, twins, 
George having died in infancy, and Ina being now the wife of N. 
Nicholas, a resident of Arlington township ; and Harry A., who is 
at present (1911) county clerk of Van Buren county. Mr. and 
Mrs. Wakeman have one child, Wynn Francis, who was born on 
April 2, 1908. Mr. Wakeman is a Republican in politics and an 
energetic and efficient worker for the success of his party in all 
campaigns. Fraternally he is an enthusiastic member of the Ma- 
sonic order in all the branches of the York rite. He belongs to the 
Lodge and Chapter in Paw Paw, the Council in Lawrence and Pe- 
ninsular Commandery, Knights Templar, in Kalamazoo. He also 
belongs to the Knights of Pythias and the order of the Eastern 
Star in Paw Paw, and in all the stages of his Masonic affiliation he 
takes a deep interest and a serviceable part in the work of each. 
He is universally known as one of the most useful and representa- 
tive citizens of the county from every point of view, and well de- 
serves his rank. 

Jerome C. Warner. — Following the peaceful and productive 
occupation of a quiet farmer until his services were required in 
the army in defense of th*e Union, then going valiantly to the field 
and rendering the best service he could to the cause he had es- 
poused, Jerome C. Warner, of Paw Paw, has shown in his career 
as a man and a citizen that he is ready for any call to duty and 
can be depended on to perform his part ably and faithfully, what- 
ever it may be. When he returned from the war, bearing on his 
person the mark of his service in the scar from a dangerous wound 
received in one of the late battles of our sanguinary and disastrous 
sectional strife, he again turned his attention to farming for a 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 633 

short time, then became a merchant. In this last line of endeavor 
he has risen to high rank in the part of the state in which his 
operations are conducted, and has thus given another proof of 
his adaptibility to circumstances and capacity to meet require- 
ments, even in hitherto wholly untried fields of labor. 

Mr. Warner is a native of Van Buren county and has passed the 
whole of his life within its borders, except during the period of 
his military service. He was born on a farm in Almena township 
on December 14, 1840, and is a son of Rev. Junia and Arminda 
(Merry) Warner, natives of Herkimer county. New York. They 
came to Michigan and located on the Van Buren county farm in 
1835, the place of their son Jerome's birth. On their arrival in 
this county they entered three hundred acres of land belonging to 
the government and on that they made their home and bestowed 
their labor until the death of the father in 1847. After this event 
the mother remained on the farm and continued cultivating it and 
rearing her children to usefulness in life by having them perform 
their full share of the work in conducting it. She survived him 
thirty-six years, surrendering her trust at the behest of the Great 
Disposer of Events in 1883. Nine children were born in the family, 
three of whom died in infancy and four of the others have since 
died, the latter being Philura, Elam L., Francis and Mary. The 
two still living are Jerome C. and his brother Wilbur F., who lives 
in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Both were educated in the district 
schools and reared on the farm. Both have also sought other pur- 
suits in life and have won gratifying and well-deserved success in 
them. 

Jerome C. Warner remained on the farm until 1864. On Jan- 
uary 1, that year, he enlisted in Company H, Thirteenth Michigan 
Infantry, as a volunteer to fight for the preservation of the Union. 
This company was connected with the army corps commanded by 
General Sherman and he remained in active service until the battle 
of Bentonville, North Carolina, when he was wounded and removed 
to a hospital in New York city, where he remained about three 
months, or until the fall of the Southern Confederacy and the close 
of the war, being discharged in June, 1865. When he left the 
army he returned to the farm and conducted its operations for a 
short time. Finally he sold it and moved to Paw Paw, where for 
a number of years he was extensively and profitably engaged in 
merchandising, which business is now carried on by his sons. He 
now owns one of the largest and most imposing brick business 
buildings and one of the most attractive and valuable private resi- 
dences in the city. He also owns one hundred and thirty acres of 
fine farming land, which he has purchased since he became a mer- 
chant and to the cultivation of which he gives his personal atten- 
tion to the extent of supervising and directing it. 

Mr. Warner has taken a great interest in the affairs of the city, 
township and county of his hoine and has rendered their people 
excellent service in several important and responsible public offices. 
He has been under sheriff of the county, township treasurer two 
terms, township supervisor nine years and successively president, 
treasurer and assessor of Paw Paw. In fraternal circles he is con- 
nected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he also 



634 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic. His religious fealty 
is given to the Presbyterian church. In politics he is a Republican 
of pronounced convictions and zealous in the service of his party 
at all times. 

On May 24, 1876, Mr. Warner united in marriage with Miss Jen- 
nie Kelly, and by this union became the father of five children, all- 
of whom are living at Paw Paw. Wilbur J., who is conducting 
the business formerly carried on by his father, married Vivian, 
daughter of R. W. Broughton, of Paw Paw. They have one daugh- 
ter, Jean. Glenn E. and Guy are twins, the former being a lawyer 
and the present prosecuting attorney of Van Buren county, and 
the latter in the furniture business at Paw Paw. Guy married 
Mabel Showerman, of Paw Paw. Leland is associated with his 
brother Wilbur J. in business, and the youngest member of the 
family is Blaine. Glenn E., Leland and Blaine still reside be- 
neath the parental roof-tree and assist in making the household 
one of the most popular in the neighborhood and an attractive 
resort for numerous admiring friends of the family. All the 
members stand high in the regard and good will of the people 
and are looked upon as among the best and most useful citizens 
in the county. They are accepted everywhere as worthy representa- 
tives of its sterling manhood and the enterprise and progressive- 
ness which distinguish its inhabitants and sustain its excellent 
reputation in all parts of the state. 

Oscar Adams. — This sterling citizen of Van Buren county has 
passed the psalmist's span of three score years and ten, and more 
than half a century of his life has been passed in the county which 
is now his home and in which he is known and honored of men. 
He may well be designated as one of the pioneer citizens of the 
coimty and he has done his part in furthering its industrial and 
civic development and upbuilding, the while his earnest and well 
directed efforts as one of the world's productive workers have not 
been denied a gracious fruition. He has long been known as one of 
the representative exponents of agriculture in Keeler township and 
his fine homestead well shows the thrift and good management that 
have been brought to bear by him, the while he here finds himself 
surrounded by all that should compass old age. He is passing the 
gracious evening of his life in peace and prosperity and surrounded 
by friends that are tried and true and to whom his loyalty is in- 
violable. Such are the citizens whose careers merit special con- 
sideration in publications of this nature, and it will be a source 
of gratification to many residents of Van Buren county to find 
within these pages a brief review of the worthy life record of him 
whose name introduces this paragraph. 

Oscar Adams was born in Allegany county, New York, on the 
22d of March, 1839, and is a scion of one of the staunch old fam- 
ilies of the Empire commonwealth, which has given to Michigan 
m large and valuable a contribution, many of the early settlers of 
the southern part of the state having come from New York, as the 
annals of Michigan well indicate, as do also names of towns, cities 
and villages which in their titles give honor to old homes in New 
York. Mr. Adams is the youngest in a family of three sons and 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 6B5 

two daughters born to Willard and Esther (Baker) Adams, and he 
is now the only surviving member of the immediate family. His 
father was born in Vermont and was a representative of one of the 
pioneer families of that state, as well as one established in New 
England in the colonial days, when that section was the matrix in 
which was cast so much of the early history of the nation. Wtillard 
Adams was reared to adult age in the old Green Mountain state, 
and after he had passed his legal majority he accompanied two of 
his brothers in a migration to the state of New York. Owing to the 
exigencies of tim^ and place he had received but limited educational 
advantages, but he had the intrinsic elements for the gaining of 
v»-orthy success and made for himself a secure place in connection 
with economic industry. He acquired land in Allegany county, 
New York, where he reclaimed a productive farm and where he 
became a citizen of prominence and influence in his community. 
Upright in all the relations of life, industrious and God-fearing, 
his career was one marked by earnestness, sincerity and worthy 
accomplishment, as well as by temporal prosperity that was justly 
his due. In politics he was a Jeffersonian Democrat, he was affili- 
ated with the Masonic fraternity. Esther (Baker) Adams was 
likewise a native of Vermont but was a child of seven years at 
the time of the family removal to the state of New York, where 
she was reared to womanhood and where her marriage was solemn- 
ized. Her father, Thaddeus Baker, was graduated in a college 
in England and was a man of much ability, and he became one 
of the prominent pioneers of Allegany county. New York. He 
secured a tract of wild land in the southwestern part of that 
county and there developed a good farm. He found much re- 
quisition for his services as a skilled surveyor and was called 
upon to serve in various offices of public trust. He was for many 
years a justice of the peace and also served for a number of years 
as judge of the probate court of his county. Willard and Esther 
(Baker) Adams continued to reside in Allegany county until their 
death and both attained to venerable age. 

Oscar Adams was reared to the sturdy discipline of the farm 
and his early educational advantages were limited to a somewhat 
irregular attendance in the common schools of his native county. 
When but fifteen years of age he manifested his youthful inde- 
pendence, self-reliance and ambition by severing the home ties 
and setting forth alone to seek his fortunes in Michigan. He 
made the voyage by lake steamer to Detroit and thence came on 
the Michigan Central Railroad to Decatur, Van Buren county, 
where he arrived in March, 1857, with his cash capital reduced 
to less than ten dollars. The venturesome lad was ready to turn 
his attention to any honest employment and he soon secured work 
on a neighboring farm, where he received fourteen dollars a month 
for his services, this being the first money he had ever earned in 
an independent way. For six years he continued to be thus em- 
ployed as a farm hand,— in Hamilton and Keeler townships,— 
and for three years of this period he worked for Philotas Haydon, 
one of the well known pioneers of the county. He had carefully 
saved his earnings and at the expiration of six years he made his 
first purchase of land, securing one hundred and sixty acres, for 



636 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

which he paid one-fourth of the purchase price and assumed in- 
debtedness for the remainder. The land was but slightly im- 
proved and he set himself vigorously to the task of metamorphos- 
ing the same into a productive farm. He has continued in pos- 
session of this land during the long intervening years and the same 
constitutes his present homestead, which is recognized as one of 
the valuable farms of the county, with excellent improvements and 
with every evidence of thrift and prosperity. 

The first dwelling owned by Mr. Adams represented an expendi- 
ture on his part of the sum of twenty-four dollars. This was a 
wing of an old house and was transported to his farm by means 
of an ox team. At that time deer, wild turkeys and other native 
game were still plentiful, and he was enabled to add much to his 
larder from this source. His experience also compasses the use 
of the old-time cradle, which he has swung from sunny morn 
till dewy eve in the garnering of grain and he utilized the old- 
fashioned scythe in cutting hay, both kinds of products being 
raked up by hand. He has witnessed the marvelous development 
in agricultural machinery and implements and finds satisfaction 
in the use of modern improvements and facilities, though he ever 
reverts with pleasure to the ' ' dear, dead days beyond recall, ' ' and 
appreciates the generous friendships and mutual helpfulness that 
marked the associations of the pioneer epoch. He still has in his 
possession one of the grain cradles of the old times and the same 
is worthy of preservation as a family heirloom. By the use of this 
primitive implement he made a record of cutting two and one- 
half acres of grain in a day, and his memory constitutes a link 
between the pioneer past and the present era of opulent prosperity 
and manifold advantages. The first schoolhouse in the vicinity 
of his home was erected in 1858, and he drew the stone for the 
foundation of the same. He has used the goose-quill pen, prior 
to the manufacturing of steel pens, and has fashioned many of 
these quills for such use. As a boy he absorbed wisdom from 
DaboU's arithmetic, Kenyon's grammar and Town's spelling-book, 
and few of the present day remain to recall these early text-books. 

Within three years after the purchase of his farm Mr. Adams 
had labored so industriously and had so carefully husbanded his 
resources that he could have met all indebtedness. He had bor- 
rowed money of his friend and former employer, Mr. Haydon, and 
he toiled and planned until he was able to pay back dollar for 
dollar, the while he was laying the secure foundation for future 
independence and prosperity. Hard work, integrity of purpose 
and fairness and honor in all things have characterized the career 
of this sterling pioneer, and he has not only won but also deserved 
success, as well as the high regard of his fellow men. In the stern 
school of experience and through self -discipline he has gained 
valuable lessons, and he is one of the well informed men of his 
county, taking a lively interest in its affairs and also in the ques- 
tions and issues of the day. He has done his part in the further- 
ing of enterprises and measures advanced for the general good of 
the community and is known as a broad-minded and public-spirited 
citizen. Mr. Adams cast his first presidential vote for Stephen 
A. Douglas, and his second was in support of the immortal Lin- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 637 

coin, but since that time he has been unwavering in his allegiance 
to the Democratic party. He served several years as justice of 
the peace of his township and for thirty-three years has been an 
official of his school district. He has shown deep interest in educa- 
tional matters and has done much to forward the upbuilding of 
the public schools in the county that has so long been his home. 
He is a zealous and consistent member of the Methodist Episco- 
pal church and has been earnest in its work. He assisted in the 
erection of the first church building in the vicinity of his home, 
and this was used by those of the various religious faiths, without 
discrimination, tolerance and unity of spirit being in evidence 
and the cause of the Divine Master being held as the one essen- 
tial. He has been an official member of the Methodist church 
at Keeler for many years, having served as one of its trustees 
and having been liberal in his contributions to the various depart- 
ments of its work. He has thus shown a high sense of steward- 
ship, as has he also in the daily walks of life, and this church 
is still open for the use of all denominations at funeral and other 
occasions. Mr. Adams' fine homestead is located nine miles distant 
from the city of Dowagiac and eight miles from Decatur. It 
comprises ninety acres and the' attractive home is known for its 
generous hospitality, being a favorite rendezvous for a wide circle 
of friends whom he has "grappled to his soul with hoops of steel.'' 
Mr. Adams has been twice wedded. On the 16th of February, 
1862, was solemnized his marriage to Miss Sarah Geer, who was 
born in Van Buren county, on the 2d of April, 1839, and who 
here passed her entire life, her death having occurred on the 20th 
of February, 1894. She was a member of one of the well known 
and honored pioneer families of Hamilton township and her life 
was one of loving consecration to home and family. Concerning 
the nine children of this union the following brief record is given : 
Isabelle B. is the wife of Fred H. Baker, who is one of the repre- 
sentative business men of Dowagiac, where he is one of the princi- 
pal stockholders in the Colby Milling Company, and his wife is 
the owner of large land interests in Van Buren county as well 
as the owner of a landed estate of one thousand acres in Manitoba, 
Canada. Mrs. Baker was afforded excellent educational advan- 
tages, including a course in an excellent academic institution at 
Goshen, Indiana. Prior to her marriage she was a successful 
teacher in the schools of her home township and she is now a promi- 
nent factor in the leading social activities of the city of Dowagiac, 
being a woman whose culture has been enhanced by the extended 
travels which she and her husband have indulged through the 
various sections of the country. Oliver, the eldest of the sons, 
is one of the prosperous and progressive farmers of Keeler town- 
ship, where he secured his early education in the public schools. 
He married Miss Nora Someral and they have five children, — 
Wesley, Isabelle, Dorothy, Allen and Oscar. Wesley L., the sec- 
ond son, is engaged in mining enterprises in Alaska and is located 
thirty-four miles distant from Fairbanks, that territory. He was 
afforded the advantages of the Northern Indiana Normal School, 
now known as Valparaiso University, and has been in Alaska since 
1898. Deyo, the youngest of the children, is in active charge of 



638 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

liis father ^s old homestead farm and in this connection he has 
shown an energy and judgment that have made him justify the 
name which he bears. He is a Republican in politics, and he is 
affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He married 
Miss Valorie Earl and they have one son, Maurice. 

On the 26th of March, 1896, Mr. Adams contracted his second 
marriage, having then been united to Mrs. Marcia (Buck) Beattie, 
who proves a most gracious chatelaine of their beautiful rural 
home. She was born and reared in Van Buren county, and is a 
daughter of the late Lucius E. and Celina (Wise) Buck, w^ho 
came to this county from the vicinity of Geneseo, New York, and 
who here passed the residue of their lives, secure in the high re- 
gard of all w^ho knew them. Mrs. Adams is a specially earnest 
and devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal church and is a 
woman of marked culture and social attractiveness. She has served 
as both president and vice president of the Thursday Literary 
Club, in the village of Keeler, and for twenty years prior to her 
marriage she w^as one of the valued and loved teachers in the 
public schools of her native county, where her circle of friends 
IS coincident with that of her acquaintances. She is a pleasing 
public speaker and has been a popular factor in social and literary 
circles for many years. By her first marriage she became the 
mother of one child, Mrs. Nellie B. Sill, of Billings, Montana, and 
she has two daughters, Beatrice and Margarie. Since their mar- 
riage Mr. and Mrs. Adams have visited various sections of the 
Union, including the Pacific coast and the eastern states, and they 
have thus found both enjoyment and information, the while they 
have shown the proper recognition of the uses of such temporal 
prosperity as is theirs. Mr. Adams is a man of unassuming and 
thoroughly democratic bearing but his mind is a veritable store- 
house of knowledge and mature judgment, with a specially large 
department from which may be drawn most interesting reminis- 
cences toucliing the pioneer days in Van Buren county. 

John M. Ridlon. — Lacking but a few months of l)eing ninety 
years of age, and in the long period of his earthly existence having 
liad often trying, sometimes hazardous, and always instructive 
experience in several lines of useful endeavor; having started on 
life's journey in the remote East, and being, within a short time 
at the utmost, about to end it in the Middle West of this great 
country, and having also seen something of its Farther West 
by residence among its people for some years ; having taken up arms 
in defense of the Union when civil war threatened its dismember- 
ment, and devoted all the remainder of his years to augmenting its 
X)ower, increasing its prosperity and promoting the w^elfare of its 
people by fruitful industry in the domain of peaceful production, 
John M. Ridlon, of Lawrence, this county, presents in his career 
an epitome of American history itself. 

He saw the nation in the infancy of its life and has witnessed 
its struggles with the wild forces of nature and with foreign foes, 
and its triumph over both. He has seen it terribly torn and dis- 
tressed by internecine strife, and ending that to its far greater 
glor}^, progress and prosperity, and elevating its people through 



HISTORY OP VAN BUREN COUNTY 689 

the baptism of blood to a higher ('oneeption and standard of hu- 
manity. He has beheld its mighty triumphs in every department 
of human activity, mental, moral and material, and to the tull 
measure of his capacity and his opportunities he has aided in 
bringing about the great achievements the American people have 
written so luminously and in such large and enduring phrase m 
the annals of mankind. . ^, ^ x 

Poetry sparkles, Heroism glows, Tragedy darkens in the texture 
of his long life, and the golden thread of sentiment runs brightly 
through its woof. Wide gulfs of time and space are compassed 
in its range and made as naught. Since it began— since the hardy 
New Englander first saw time and tide between him and his an- 
cestral home— distant countries have become near neighbors the 
Atlantic has been made a narrow frith across which the Old World 
and the New shake hands, the Pacific has been bound to it with 
hoops of steel, and our own East and West have learned to look 
into each other's windows. The great Northwest, at the com- 
manding might of mind, has risen from her slumber ot centuries, 
and clad in comeliest habiliments, has come forth to greet her 
lord, the Genius of an advanced and progressive civilization and 
laid all her treasures at his feet. And he who has lived that lite 
and helped to make this record, is still among us m active vigor 
and usefulness, reminding all who know him of some genual year, 
proceeding to its close undoubtedly, but with its seasons ot warmth, 
and bloom and fruitfulness not yet wholly spent. 

Mr. Ridlon was born on May 16, 1822, in York county Maine, 
not far from the town of Bonny Eagle. He is a son ot Joseph 
and Mary (Hopkinson) Ridlon, also natives of that county, and 
belonging to families domesticated there for generations Joseph 
Ridlon was a son of James, the second son of Mathias Ridlon, who 
was the third son of Magnus Ridlon. The last named was born 
and reared on the Shetland Islands off the north coast of Scotland, 
where his life began in 1698. In 1717, when he was nineteen years 
of age, he came to America and located in New England. There 
he reared a family and started the name in this country. 

His grandson, Joseph Ridlon, the father of John M. was born m 
York county, Maine, on May 26, 1782, and in March, 1802, was 
united in marriage with Miss Mary Hopkinson, the daughter ot 
William Hopkinson, of that county. They became the parents 
of five sons, who were, like themselves, constant and honest in 
their industry, clean, upright and moral in their lives, and steadily 
useful to the people around them in their several localities^ 1 hev 
were all reared in their parental household, and all but John M. 
passed their lives on their native heath. He alone sought new 
scenes and associations and a new field of opportunity, and he is 
the only member of the family now living. 

John M. Ridlon grew to the age of eighteen m his father s home 
and by the time he reached that age he had already taught school 
three terms, although his own facilities for education were limited 
to those furnished by the primitive schools of the rural regions 
m his boyhood and youth. At the age of eighteen he found em- 
ployment as a clerk and salesman in a store in the town ot borham 
Cumberland county, but not far from his home. He remained 



640 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

in the store six years, and at the end of that period decided to 
eome West. He located at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with very little 
in the way of worldly wealth or capital for business, and took up 
one hundred and sixty acres of land which was still virgin to 
the plow and had never heard the persuasive voice of the husband- 
man. He cultivated this land for one year, then came to the con- 
clusion that he could do better in some other occupation. 

The lumber trade was then assuming large proportions and a 
very active condition in that neighborhood, and he sold his farm 
and embarked in this line of mercantile business. He remained 
in the lumber trade four years, and during this period he was 
happily married to Miss Sarah M. Phelps, the daughter of A. H. 
Phelps, at that time a resident of Lawrence. The marriage took 
place in 1852, fifty-nine years ago, and both parties to the con- 
tract are still enjoying the union which made them one so long ago. 

In 1854, two years after his marriage, Mr. Ridlon moved his 
family to Lawrence in this county, and bought a farm of ninety- 
four acres of land on the outskirts of the village or hamlet, as it 
was then, and in June, 1855, just one year after his arrival, he 
assumed the duties of deputy county treasurer of Van Buren 
county, under A. H. Phelps, his father-in-law, who had been elected 
treasurer. Mr. Ridlon served as deputy two years, and was then 
elected treasurer, being a candidate on the ticket which contained 
the name of General John C. Fremont as a candidate for the presi- 
dency of the United States, and was the first national ticket of the 
Republican party. His services were so acceptable to the people 
that they gladly elected him for a second term in the office of 
county treasurer. 

This term expired on December 31, 1861, and on August 27, 
1862, he was commissioned first lieutenant and quartermaster in 
the Twenty-fifth Michigan Infantry, then enlisted for service dur- 
ing the Civil war. He served in the army three years, lacking 
forty days, and was honorably discharged at Salisbury, North 
Carolina, on July 13, 1865. His services as quartermaster were 
rendered for a time at the headquarters of General Schofield in 
Ohio and at Knoxville, Tennessee, and afterward at the depart- 
ment headquarters of Kentucky in Louisville, of which General 
John M. Palmer was in command, and in performing them he was 
so capable and faithful to duty that he won the commendation of 
both these generals. 

In 1866 Mr. Ridlon took up his residence in the village of Law- 
rence, building for his use the dwelling in which he now lives. 
He entered mercantile life again, and was in business for him- 
self five years, after which he gave up his establishment and worked 
in stores of other merchants until 1888, when he and his wife went 
to live with their daughter, Addie, who is the wife of James H. 
Yund and resides in Grand Island, Nebraska. Mr. Yund owns a 
store in that city, and Mr. Ridlon assisted him in its management 
eight years. 

At the end of that time he returned to Lawrence, and here he 
and his wife have lived ever since. He has for a number of years 
been retired from active pursuits, ex:cept that he has acted as 
agent for several insurance companies. He and his wife have 



HISTORY OP VAN BUREN COUNTY 641 

three children, thirteen grandchildren and three great-grandchil- 
dren. Their children are: Jennie F., who is the wife of S. M. 
Hess, of Lawrence ; Addie B., who is the wife of James H. Yund, 
of Grand Island, Nebraska, as has been stated; and Charles A., 
whose home is at Roulette, Potter county, Pennsylvania, where he 
is superintendent of a stave factory, which carries on an extensive 

Mr. Ridlon and all the members of his family belong to the 
Congregational church. He and his wife hold their membership 
in the church in Lawrence, of which he had long been one of the 
deacons, and will in all probability continue to be as long as he 
lives. His father was a deacon in his church, the Baptist, for 
many years, and was always spoken of as ''Deacon Joseph'' in the 
community of his home. This official connection with the church 
in father and son probably covers nearly a century of time, and 
furnishes a strong proof of their genuine worth, the uprightness 
of their lives and their steadfast interest in the welfare of the 
people among whom they lived and labored. 

From his youth the venerable patriarch who is the interesting 
subject of these paragraphs has felt an interest in the affairs of 
his country and given special attention to the moral side of its 
government according to his convictions. He was a member of 
the Know Nothing party during its brief and stormy existence, 
and has been strong and steadfast in his devotion to the principles 
and candidates of the Republican party from its birth "Under 
the Oaks" in Jackson, Michigan. His loyalty to it has not been 
based on any hope of personal reward, but on his abiding faith 
in the virtue of his party and in its beneficence as an instrument 
in promoting good government, whether it be that of his county, 
his state or the nation. In political matters, as in all others, duty 
has thundered in his soul, and he has obeyed its supreme mandates. 

Harry L. McNeil.— A lawyer by profession and an abstracter by 
occupation, H. L. McNeil, of Paw Paw, is connected with two 
lines of work in which the interests of the county and its people 
are deeply involved. He is serviceable to those interests in both, 
and in the latter the people have come to depend on him for full 
information concerning the titles to their real property, and to 
demand his services almost constantly. But he attends to their 
wants cheerfully and with alacrity, and gives them information 
and papers on which they can rely with full confidence as to their 
correctness and completeness. 

Mr. McNeil is a native of Paw Paw, where he was born on 
April 21, 1870, and has passed nearly the whole of his subsequent 
life among its people. His parents were Allen F. and Alzma 
(Halsted) McNeil, the former a native of Michigan, born in 1844, 
and the latter, a native of Ohio. The father was a blacksmith 
and worked at his trade all his years after acquiring a knowledge 
of it. He died in 1909, at the age of sixty-five years. The mother 
is still living and has her home in Paw Paw, where she has lived 
many years and is well known and universally esteemed for her 
fidelity to every duty and the uprightness of her long career of 
quiet but effective usefulnes. 



642 HISTORY OP VAN BUREN COUNTY 

They were the parents of but one child, the subject of this brief 
inemoir. He obtained a high school education, being graduated 
in 1889, and then entered the office of Judge Heckert in Paw 
Paw, under whose direction he began the study of law. He passed 
one year in this office as a student, then entered the law depart^ 
ment of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, from which 
he was graduated in 1892. During the next four years he de- 
voted himself wholly to the practice of his ^profession. At the 
end of the period mentioned he bought the only abstracting busi- 
ness in Van Buren county, and since becoming the proprietor of 
this he has made it his chief concern and used his enterprise to 
make its operations co^extensive with the county and so com- 
plete as to meet every requirement of the people in its line of 
work. 

Taking a broad and comprehensive view of his business, Mr. 
McNeil has made every effort to increase its usefulness and ex- 
pand the volume of its trade. He helped to organize the Michi- 
gan Abstract Association, and served as its secretary for four 
years. He was also one of the founders of the National Associa- 
tion of Title Men, of which he was the first national secretary. 
He is now a member of the National Judiciary Committee of that 
Association. His extensive and accurate knowledge of the law 
governing real property, and his careful and exhaustive study 
of his business have given him great weight and made him an 
accepted authority on all questions connected with or growing 
out of the subject of real estate titles in Van Buren county and 
also in a general way. . 

On October 18, 1893, Mr. McNeil was united m marriage with 
Miss Jennie Towers, a daughter of E. C. and Ella A. (Fuller) 
Towers, both natives of Michigan and the parents of two chil- 
dren Mrs McNeil and her brother Lewis E., a resident of JMat- 
tawan in this county. Mr. and Mrs. McNeil have but one child, 
Azel A., who was born on February 8, 1899. Mr. McNeil is in- 
dependent in politics, giving consideration in all campaigns only 
to the general welfare and ignoring partisan interests altogether. 
He is a member of the Order of Odd Fellows and during the 
year (1911) held the office of Grand Warden of the state m the 
order and in October of that year, at the annual session held m 
Saginaw he was elected deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. 
He also belongs to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. 
He is in the first rank as a citizen, and the esteem bestowed on 
him is general and cordial. 

Willis V. Hall.— This gentleman, who is now one of the enter- 
prising and progressive merchants and highly esteemed citizens 
of Paw Paw, has lived in the city but five years, but m that 
period has made an excellent reputation as a business man, up- 
right and independent in all his transactions, but wide-awake to 
the needs and interests of the community, and full of public spirit 
in helping to provide for them and promote the comfort, con- 
venience and general welfare of all classes of its residents. 
' Mr Hall has been in business, either for himself or as man- 
ager for some one else, ever since he left school and like that of 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 643 

most business men his life has passed through quiet scenes of 
daily routine and been uneventful in large measure. But unlike 
many business men, he has made the most of his opportunities 
for his own advancement and the service of the locality in which 
he has lived. Every step of his progress has been the result of 
his own efforts, unaided by favors of fortune or adventitious cir- 
cumstances. 

He was born in Racine, Wisconsin, on February 14, 187b, and 
is a son of John H. and Louisa (Kingman) Hall, the former a 
native of Vermont and the latter of England. The father was a 
machinist and followed his trade to the end of his life, which 
came on May 12, 1881. The mother is still living and now re- 
sides in Chicago. They were the parents of two children, Willis 
V. and his brother George E., a resident also of Chicago, where 
he is a bookkeeper for the Apsley Rubber Company. 

Willis V. Hall obtained a high school education in Kenosha, 
and then attended the Illinois College of Pharmacy in Chicago. 
After his graduation from that institution he followed the drug 
trade in Kenosha, Wisconsin, for six years. At the end of that 
period he moved to Chicago, where he became assistant manager 
of one of the stores of the Dearborn Drug Company, a position 
which he held continuously for five years. He next passed a 
number of years in drug supply work in Chicago. 

In 1906 he moved to Paw^ Paw and bought a store, arid m this 
he has ever since been conducting a general merchandising busi- 
ness with a steadily advancing volume of trade and an intensify- 
ing hold on the confidence and regard of the people of the city 
and the surrounding country. He has shown himself to be a 
thorough master of his business, and has conducted it with a 
close and satisfying study of the wants of the community in his 
lines of trade and the best method of supplying them. In this 
way he has made his store extensively popular and won great 
credit for himself as an energetic, enterprising and up-to-date 
merchant. 

On July 30, 1900, Mr. Hall united in marriage with Miss Mira 
A. Grennell, a daughter of M. J. and Catherine (Morgan) Gren- 
nell and a native of Michigan. Two children have blessed the 
union and brightened the household, AVilbur Vern and Gilbert 
Kingman. The father is ind^endent in political affairs, but is 
always deeply interested in the progress and improvement of the 
city and county of his home. He was elected village clerk of 
Paw Paw in 1911, and his ability in the office and devotion to 
duty with unswerving fidelity have brought him high encomiums 
for the value of his w^ork and his close attention to the interests 
he has in charge. In fraternal relations he is a Freemason, and 
in church affiliation a Methodist, with ardent interest in the wel- 
fare of both his lodge and his church, taking an earnest and help- 
ful part in the work of each, as he does in connection with all other 
moral agencies at work among the people around him. 

Bangs F. Warner. — Selected for his appointment to the post- 
mastership of Paw Paw in 1900, because of his supposed special 
fitness for the office, Bangs F. Warner has demonstrated in his 



644 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

continuous service in the position since his first appointment that 
there was wisdom and good judgment in the selection, and the 
expectations involved in making it have been fully met in the 
capable and faithful performance of his official duties. He came 
to the office with his faculties well trained and his knowledge of 
public affairs expanded to considerable magnitude in a long and 
varied previous experience in several lines of usefulness, in all 
of which he has exhibited a high sense of duty and every quality 
of upright and enlightened manhood in the performance of it 
in an able and satisfactory manner. 

Mr. Warner's life began in Almena township, Van Buren county, 
Michigan, on June 24, 1858. His parents, Elam L. and Charlotte 
M. (Bangs) Warner, were born in the state of New York, and 
further mention of the genealogy of this prominent family is made 
in the biographical sketch of Jerome C. Warner, uncle of the sub- 
ject, which is found on other pages of this work. In this locality 
the father of Bangs F. Warner grew to manhood, was married 
and reared his offspring. He died in 1902, at the age of seventy- 
four years. The mother is still living and has now reached the 
age of seventy-seven. The father was a farmer all his life and 
at the time of his death he owned one hundred and sixty-six acres 
of fine farming land in this county, which showed the benefit of 
his well-applied industry throughout a long series of years in its 
high state of development and cultivation, the complete and com- 
fortable character of its buildings and other improvements, to- 
gether with its general attractiveness and value as a farm and a 
rural home. The mother is still living in Van Buren county and 
is now the oldest of its people in continuous residence within its 
boundaries. She is venerated as a veritable "Mother in Israel" 
on this account and she also enjoys the high regard of all classes 
of the population because of her integrity of character, upright- 
ness of life and strong American womanhood. She and her hus- 
band were the parents of four children, one of whom, Roy E., 
died an infant. Those living are: Frances A., who resides in 
Paw Paw; Bangs F., the immediate subject of this brief memoir; 
and Junia J., who resides in Oakland, California, and is the 
general passenger and freight agent of the Atchison, Topeka & 
Santa Fe railroad in that city, having held said position for a 
number of years. 

Bangs F. Warner grew to manhood and was educated in this 
county, having been graduated from a high school in 1876, at the 
age of eighteen. After completing his education he became a 
farmer during the summer months and taught school in the win- 
ters of several years. He conducted schools at Kendall, Breeds- 
ville and other places in this county and at Middleville in Barry 
county, continuing in the profession until 1883, when he moved 
to Paw Paw and turned his attention to insurance as an occupation 
and means of advancement. 

In 1889 he went to Idaho, and there for three years he bought 
range horses for shipment to the eastern markets. In 1893 he 
returned to his farm of one hundred acres in Waverly township, 
this county, where he remained until 1897, and made a specialty 
of dealing extensively in hay. In the year last mentioned he 




ISAAC W. VAN POSSEN 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 645 

again moved to Paw Paw, but continued his transactions in hay 
and has done so to the present time (1911). He has also been 
the postmaster of the city continuously since 1900, as has been 
noted, and enjoys an excellent reputation and general popularity 
for the manner in which he conducts the office and provides for 
the comfort and convenience of the people, whose welfare he makes 
the first consideration in the performance of his official duties 
within the law and the regulations governing the services, which, 
of course, he is obliged to obey. 

Mr. Warner was married on November 2, 1882, to Miss Clara 
Bray, a daughter of Benjamin and Rebecca (Clark) Bray, and 
by this marriage became the father of one child, his son Leo E., 
who is now a bookkeeper in the First National Bank of Paw Paw. 
The father is a Republican in his political faith and allegiance 
and always loyal to his party, but he never allows party consider- 
ations to interfere with the faithful and impartial discharge of 
his duties. In fraternal relations he is affiliated with the Masonic 
order, the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of 
America. 

The people of Van Buren county esteem him highly for his 
upright and commendable manhood, his enterprise and public- 
spirit as a citizen, and his ability and fidelity as a public official. 
He also ranks high in business circles as a progressive and far- 
seeing dealer, modern in his methods and strictly square in all 
his transactions. He well deserves the rank they accord him as 
one of their leading and most representative men and in every 
feature of his daily life exemplifies it. 

Isaac W. Van Fossen. — The venerable and venerated patriarch 
to whom these paragraphs are dedicated and the story of whose 
long and highly useful life they briefly chronicle, entered upon 
the great field of newspaper work at the age of sixteen and con- 
tinued in it until long after he passed the meridian of life. Dur- 
ing the extended period of his connection with that spectacular 
and sparkling line of human endeavor our country expanded and 
grew in power and importance as nothing in human history has 
ever done. It planted new commonwealths of vast expanse and 
almost boundless resources where but a little while before the 
Red Man roamed, the panther leaped, the deer disported, in a 
security that was undisturbed save by the ravages of one upon 
another. While it was passing, too, opposing political theories 
and their advocates were making history on our soil with the ele- 
vation of Man, the betterment of the race, as the prize of the con- 
tests. 

The hereditary lord of the soil, although for the greater part 
of the time sullenly accepting his fate, occasionally rose against 
the advancing march of civilization, and our people had to reduce 
him to subjection, sometimes at a great sacrifice of life and treasure. 
The majestic march of mind, the advance of science and art, the 
progress of discovery and invention, the expansion of education for 
lofty and lowly, and all the other concomitants of a militant and 
strident civilization kept pace with the flight of time and the se- 
quence of events. And throughout the whole of it Mr. Van Fossen 
Vol. n— 2 



646 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

was in touch with the leading thought and some of the leading ac- 
tors in the great progressive performance. His life is like a 
mighty bridge, spanning a wide, swift current of running water. 
Its one abutment rests on the undeveloped condition of the coun- 
try and its simplicity in life during our earlier days; and the other, 
when it shall have been completed— for he is still among us— will 
have its base in the full flower and fruitage of our twentieth cen- 
tury advancement and all that is involved therein. 

Mr Van Fossen was born at Livonia, Livingston county, New 
York, on July 24, 1826, and is a son of Isaac and Mary (Codding) 
Van Fossen, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of 
New York. ' They were the parents of eleven children, of whom 
only Isaac W. and his brother Thomas D., of Springfield, Missouri, 
are living. The father and his elder brother, John, owned large 
mills at Livonia, New York, and were the most prominent men m 
that locality. Through the failure of banks in 1829 they lost their 
business and property and then came to Michigan. After a pros- 
pecting tour of the wild western territory, which was to be his 
future home and that of his family, the father returned east and 
reported conditions and prospects. In 1831 he and his brother 
William, who lived in Ann Arbor, purchased a section of land 
where Concord, in Jackson county, Michigan, now stands. He was 
still in the east and from there shipped the machinery for a new 
mill to his brother William, who had moved to the new section on 
Kalamazoo river. In 1833 the family came to this state, where he 
had erected a new log house, journeying by way of the Erie canal 
to Buffalo, and thence over Lake Erie by steamboat to Detroit. On 
their arrival in the Detroit river they found it full of Indian ca- 
noes, the dav of their arrival being one on which the Indians re- 
ceived their annual allowance of money and presents from the gov- 
ernment. The family secured horses and wagons in Detroit and 
then made the journey overland to their new home in Jackson 
county, a distance of ninety-five or a hundred miles, as the crow 
flies, and the greater part of it through an almost unbroken wilder- 
ness in which there were no conveniences of travel. 

Isaac W. Van Fossen, who was then about seven years of age, 
stopped with an uncle at what is now Ann Arbor, and which re- 
ceived its name in honor of his uncle's wife, Ann Van Fossen. As 
soon as the family was settled in its new home the brothers be- 
stirred themselves to get things in order for the beginning of their 
business as millers. William had already begun damming the Kala- 
mazoo river at Concord to get power for the mill and as soon as the 
dam was completed and the mill erected operations were begun 
in a new industry which was soon appreciated as one of the great- 
est conveniences and benefactions of the region. 

Mr Van Fossen 's mother died on November 30, 1839, but his 
father lived to the age of eighty-seven. He remained at home, aid- 
ing in breaking up the farm with ox teams and with the other 
farm work, until the death of his mother. He then took up his 
residence with a relative, Mr. Morgan, who lived at Homer m the 
adjoining county of Calhoun. From Homer he went a few months 
later to Spring Arbor, riding a two-year old colt as his means of 
transportation. He worked at Spring Arbor about eighteen months, 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 647 

then moved to Jackson, where he secured employment in a window 
and other woodwork factory for a short time. Here his newspaper 
career began. He got into the office of the Jackson Democrat, 
George W. Raney, editor and proprietor, as an apprentice, and re- 
mained in connection with the paper three years, having his home 
with his employers. . 

They sold the paper to Messrs. Story & Cheney, proprietors ot 
the Jackson Patriot, and Mr. Van Fossen worked for them two 
years. His father owned a mill at Waterville, Ohio, and he went 
there on a visit. For about a year and a half he worked on the 
Maumee City Times and after that his engagements on newspapers 
were numerous. He was on the Toledo Blade, and later on the 
Detroit Advertiser, During the campaign of 1848, when General 
Cass was the Democratic candidate for the presidency, he worked 
on the Jackson Patriot. While working on the one last named he 
wrote an Indian story dealing with events in the history of the 
Ottawa and Pottawattomie tribes, which had been at war between 
themselves. The story made a great hit, for the war between the 
Indians had excited universal interest at the time. 

During his wanderings Mr. Van Fossen attended school at odd 
times, w^hen he had the chance, and kept on improving his educa- 
tion. On one occasion he rode from Jackson to Lansing on horse- 
back, stopping over night at Mason. There he found a gentleman 
who had a Washington iron hand printing press, but did not know 
how to set it up. Mr. Van Fossen put it in working order for him 
and it was soon thereafter dispensing the news and keeping the 
people enlightened. At the request of Messrs. Story & Cheney, of 
Jackson, his old employers, he went to Leslie, Ingham county, and 
took charge of a publication to secure the ''Tax List," of that 
county and was successful. The material and appliances he had 
to work with were very crude, but he did the best he could with 
them, as he had always done under all circumstances, no matter 
what the difficulties. t • i,+ 

While living in Jackson he was first corporal of the Jackson Light 
Guards for six years, and was then promoted quartermaster of the 
jyJighteenth Brigade, Ninth Division, of the Michigan Militia, now 
known as the Michigan National Guard. During a session of the 
state legislature in 1852 (December 23) he began work on the 
State Journal, published in Lansing, Michigan, by Hedges & Peck, 
state printers. He remained with this paper and after the legisla- 
ture adjourned he assisted in getting out the reports of the work 
of the legislature during that session as one of the three composi- 
tors who were chosen. A position was offered him in Detroit by 
Bagg, Patten & McDonald, printers, book-sellers and dealers m 
stationery. Here he had charge as foreman of the book and job 
office While here, on November 5, 1853, he joined the Detroit 
Typographical Union and is today probably its oldest living mem- 
ber. 

He remained with the concern until June, 1854. At that time 
John R. Baker, the district attorney of Van Buren county, arrived 
in Detroit, having been sent there by the business men of Paw 
Paw to secure a man to take charge of the Paw Paiv Free Press, 
which they had recently bought from S. T. Conway. Mr. Baker 



648 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

had been a student with Mr. Patten and he laid the situation be- 
fore him, and he immediately recommended Mr. Van Fossen for 
the place and granted him leave of absence to come to Paw Paw 
and look into the situation. He did so, and as a result of what he 
saw he, in June, 1854, moved to the village and bought the paper 
and office. 

The Free Press was at that time the organ of the Democratic 
party and the only paper published in the county then in the 
control of the political situation in Van Buren county, but in 1855 
the state passed into the hands of the Republicans and Mr. George 
W. Fitch, of Kalamazoo, was induced to send a printer-lawyer 
named Butler to Paw Paw to edit and print what was then and 
is still known as The True Northerner^ and which was at once 
given the political and official patronage of the political party 
then coming into power. 

Mr. Van Fossen still continued and, being a thoroughly practical 
man, his business increased and at the end of six months he was 
compelled to put in another press to take care of his increased busi- 
ness and job printing. In 1858 his office was destroyed by fire, but 
he succeeded in saving his newspaper files and books and imme- 
diately bought new material and continued the paper some months 
later. This continued until 1875, when he sold the paper to Land- 
phear & Matthews, after which he went to Florida and assisted in 
establishing a new Democratic paper, The Pensacola Advance. 
He then returned to Paw Paw, where in the meantime had been 
formed a central Greenback club, which had begun the publication 
of a paper — the Michigan Independent — ^but it had not been a re- 
markable success and w^as discontinued. He was solicited to buy 
an office and start a new paper, which he did on June 1, 1880, called 
the Paw Paiv Herald, and this he continued to publish until De- 
cember 31, 1889. He then retired from the publication of this and 
later published for awhile a campaign paper called the ''People's 
Alliance" for Sullivan Cook, the editor, of Hartford, Michigan. 
He also operated a job office up to 1902, when he sold out 
and retired from active business. His newspaper career covers a 
period of fifty years, in which time he has seen many advances 
and reverses in the course of his connection with it, and has es- 
tablished himself firmly in the esteem of newspaper men wherever 
he and his work are known. 

Mr. Van Fossen purchased his present residence and was mar- 
ried on June 23, 1858, to Miss Irene P. Simmons, the first white 
girl born in Paw Paw, then called the town of Lafayette, and by 
this union he became the father of three children, namely: Zell, 
who died in infancy ; Vern, who is a dentist and living at home ; 
and Rena R., who is a school teacher in Rossville, Illinois. The 
father was an ardent Greenbacker in the day when the Greenback 
issue was a prominent one in our politics, and he still adheres to 
the doctrines of the party. For some years he has not been active 
in political matters, but he still retains all his old-time interest 
in public affairs. In 1858 he was appointed deputy United States 
marshal for the District of Michigan by U. S. Marshal John S. 
Bagg. In 1866 he was made Department Collector of Revenue for 
the Second District. In 1884 he was nominated by the Greenback 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 649 

and Democratic parties for the State Senate, in opposition to C. 
J. Monroe, Republican, and was defeated by a small majority. 

Fraternally he is a Freemason, having been initiated in the Jack- 
son Lodge, No. 17, on February 8, 1849, and soon thereafter took 
the R. A. M. degrees. When he became a resident of Paw Paw 
he took a demit from the Jackson lodge and joined at Paw Paw, 
July 15, 1855, and from the chapter in 1860. He holds the rank 
of past high priest in his chapter and is the only charter member 
now living. He was also a member of Peninsular Commandery, 
Knight Templars, of Kalamazoo. His religious connection is with 
the Episcopal church. 

C. Ray Pugsley. — Pursuing the even tenor of his way as a quiet, 
unostentatious farmer and breeder of fine registered cattle, with 
comparative indifference to the great, wasting currents of life 
outside of his peaceful domain; with no desire to mingle in or be 
a part of its bustle, hurry and distracting cares, yet alert always 
to the needs of his own community and zealous in his efforts to aid 
in providing for them, C. Ray Pugsley, of Paw Paw township, 
in this county, has lived to this time a useful and productive life, 
and given to those around him a fine example of sturdy manhood 
and serviceable citizenship of the kind that the welfare of the 
country mainly depends upon. 

Mr. Pugsley was born on a Paw Paw township f arm, , in fact on 
the one he now lives on and cultivates, and the whole of his life 
to this time (1911) has been passed within the boundaries of Van 
Buren county. The date of his birth was February 12, 1883, and 
he is a son of William H. and Sarah A. (Harris) Pugsley, the 
former a native of England and the latter of Jackson county, 
Michigan. The father came to Michigan in 1857, when he was 
but ten years of age, and he has been a resident of the state ever 
since. He has been actively and profitably connected with the 
farming industry of the state for more than thirty years, and is 
even now deeply interested in it, although he has turned the man- 
agement of his home farm over to his son Ray. In 1880 he bought 
the eighty acres on which the family is now established, and to the 
cultivation and improvement of this tract he devoted all his time 
and energy until 1904, when his son took charge of the place and 
he retired from active pursuits. He and his wife are the parents 
of three children, all of whom are living. They are: Verne M., 
the wife of L. H. Weldon, of Battle Creek, Michigan; May, the 
wife of F. A. Dibble, of Paw Paw; and C. Ray, the interesting 
subject of this brief review. 

The last named obtained a high-school education in Paw Paw 
and remained at home working for and under the direction of his 
father on the farm until he reached the age of twenty-one. He 
then took over the management of the farm himself, under an 
agreement with his father, and since that time he alone has culti- 
vated it and conducted all the operations pertaining to it. His 
father was a first-rate farmer and he received good instruction 
while working under his direction. Yet he is a progressive man 
and studies his business with a view to securing the best possible 
returns for his labor and keeping in touch with the progress in 



650 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

what he has discovered his business to be — one of the most rapidly 
improving' industries among men. 

He is something of an enthusiast on the subject of stock im- 
provement, and in accordance with his theories he makes a spe- 
cialty of breeding fine registered Guernsey cattle, conducting this 
department of his enterprise both for his own satisfaction and ad- 
vantage, and also for the good of the country around him. He 
also feeds and ships live stock in general, and carries on a general 
farming industry with the utmost vigor and all the information 
concerning his operations he can gather from judicious reading 
and reflective and analytical observation. 

On October 25, 1905, Mr. Pugsley was united in marriage with 
Miss Frances Du Bois, a daughter of J. E. and Lucy Du Bois, 
liighly respected residents of Paw^ Paw. They have had six chil- 
dren: Milly, who has been dead several years; Frances, the wife 
of Mr. Pugsley; Claude; J. C, whose home is in Van Buren 
county ; Vernon, who is also a resident of this county ; and Gert- 
rude, who is still living at home with her parents. 

Mr. Pugsley has always taken an earnest interest and an active 
part in all commendable projects involving the development and 
improvement of the township and county of his home. He is a 
progressive and public-spirited man, and at all times eager to 
see Van Buren county as far forward in advancement of a whole- 
some character as judicious efforts can put it. The public affairs 
of the township and county interest him as a good citizen, but 
not as a man ambitious for public station or prominence among his 
fellows. Therefore, although he is a firm believer in the princi- 
ples of the Democratic party and does his part to secure their 
adoption for the government of the country, general and local, he 
has never sought or desired a political office for himself. His 
farming and live stock industries interest and occupy him in a 
leading way, and he prefers to leave the direction of public affairs 
to those who like such employment. In church relations he is a 
Baptist and one of the mainstays of the congregation in which he 
holds his membership. All who know him esteem him and he is in 
all respects worthy of their regard, confidence and good will. 

Benjamin A. Murdock. — Having rounded out the full score 
of years allotted to man by the sacred writer, and almost one more, 
the late Benjamin A. Murdock, of Paw Paw, who died on Novem- 
ber 29, 1895, surrendered his trust at the behest of the Great Dis- 
poser of Events after working out a career that was interesting 
in all and remarkable in some of its features. He was for many 
years a school teacher, and although persons who follow that pur- 
suit, especially those who teach in country or district schools, 
usually eke out only a slender living, he became a man of extensive 
possessions in a worldly way. He was a traveler of some note for 
the period in his young manhood, yet he passed the greater part of 
his subsequent life almost wholly in the locality of his home and 
warmly attached to its attractions. His life began soon after the 
close of the war of 1812, in fact but nine days after its latest and 
greatest victory was won for the citizen soldiers of our country, 
and he lived through two other wars of magnitude the arbitrament 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 651 

of fate forced on our people, and in addition through a number of 
Indian wars, some of them of great atrocity and at times of threat- 
ening proportions. He also witnessed the expansion of our terri- 
tory, the marvelous increase in our population, our wonderful 
strides in the arts and sciences and all the broadening and improve- 
ing forces of education, and to these he did his part to bring about 
the results that have no parallel in human history. 

Mr. Murdock was born in Hamilton, New York, on January 17, 
1815, a son of Ariel and Tryphosa (Bonney) Murdock. The father 
was the captain of a company of volunteers in the war of 1812, 
but did not long survive the w^ar, dying in September, 1826, when 
his son was less than twelve years old. His wife belonged to the 
Bonney family of distinction and had an extension and varied ex- 
perience. Their children are all now deceased : Sophia, Benjamin 
A., Hannah and Carey. Benjamin obtained a first-rate education, 
being graduated from Hamilton College at Clinton, New York, and 
for some years thereafter taught school in that state. He came to 
Michigan in 1836 and located in Van Buren county, taking up one 
hundred and sixty acres of government land near South Haven. 
During the next two years he taught school in that vicinity, and 
in 1839 made a visit to his native state and afterward an extended 
tour through the South. 

In 1842 he returned to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and for some 
months was the companion and chum of James Fennimore Cooper, 
the celebrated novelist. He again turned his attention to teaching, 
and continued his devotion to the profession for twelve years. At 
the end of that period he became a druggist in Paw Paw. In this 
business he was occupied until failing health induced him to retire 
and from that time until his death he gave his time and attention 
to looking after his large farming interests. At one period of his 
life he ow^ned more than sixteen hundred acres of Michigan land, 
and at the time of his death possessed between six and seven hun- 
dred acres. 

On May 1, 1859, Mr. Murdock was married to Miss Mary Vic- 
toria Anderson, a daughter of LeGrand and Catherine (Shaw) An- 
derson, natives of Virginia and the parents of ten children : Cor- 
nelius, Lydia Anna, William, George, John, Eliza, Harriet and Le- 
Grand, all deceased, and Mary, who married Mr. Murdock, and 
Jane, who is now Mrs. Dewey and living in Van Buren county, 
Michigan. LeGrand Anderson, the father of these children, came 
to Michigan in 1828 and located near Decatur. In 1832 he brought 
his family to his new home in the wilderness, and several Ohio 
families with them, whom he induced to settle in the same neigh- 
borhood. He bought five hundred acres of Government land, to 
which he added by subsequent purchases until at the time of his 
death, which occurred in July, 1869, he was the possessor of about 
one thousand acres. His wife died in 1842. Mrs. Murdock was 
well educated in her youth, living for a time in Ohio and having 
as her first tutor in that state Professor John Purdue, the founder 
of Purdue University at Lafayette, Indiana. 

Mr. and Mrs. Murdock became the parents of two children, their 
daughter Mary Eva, who died at the age of a few months, and 
their son Benjamin LeGrand, who lived to be only two years old. 



652 HISTOEY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Although their own home was childless, they found comfort in 
ministering to the happiness of the children of other households 
and made themselves foster parents to many, so to speak, by 
their numberless acts of kindness to them and their interest in 
everything that ministered to the happiness of all who came within 
the reach of their generosity and proved worthy of it. 

Mr. Murdock was a Republican in politics from the founding of 
the party and prior to that was a Whig. He was always warmly 
interested in the success of his party and worked to win it, but 
he did not care for official station for himself. His regular affilia- 
tion was with the Christian church, of which he was a devout and 
zealous member, and in whose work of making men and women 
better and happier he was an active participant, a wise counselor 
and a greatly valued aid. 

An incident of special interest in the history of the Murdock and 
Anderson families should not be overlooked: Mr. Lambert, the 
private secretary of John Quincy Adams, came to Kalamazoo for a 
rest. Later two nephews of George Washington, Spottswood and 
George by name, who were then being educated at West Point, left 
there on a vacation and came west looking for Mr. Lambert. The 
latter in the meantime had moved to the home of Mr. Anderson, 
and there they found him. They later obtained positions as school 
teachers in that section. Spottswood Washington taught the school 
nearest the home of Mrs. Murdock 's father, Mr. Anderson, and 
lived in the family. His brother George taught another school a 
short time in the same neighborhood, and he also was a member 
of the Anderson household. 

Kev. James Hatt Rennie. — Although the life of this divine 
lasted only forty -one years, and ended when it should have been 
in its prime and full of promise, and although his health was fail- 
ing for several years prior to his demise, he accomplished a great 
deal of good, and made every year of his activity fruitful in serv- 
ice to the cause of his Master and beneficial to the peoples among 
whom he ministered from time to time. 

Mr. Rennie was a native of Scotland, born on October 8, 1862, 
at Nether Tuloch, near Meldrum, the son of Robert and Anna 
(Hatt) Rennie. He completed his academic education at Park 
College in Parkville, Missouri, and his professional preparation 
for his great work in life at Auburn Theological Seminary, Au- 
burn, New York. After leaving this institution he was engaged 
in his sacred calling for a few years in the East, and then the 
hand of Providence turned his face in the direction of the setting 
son. 

In the autumn of 1894 he came to Michigan, and in 1895 located 
at Paw Paw, where he served the Presbyterian church as pastor 
for one year. He then went to Colorado and took up his work 
at Ouray in that state, remaining until 1898. During the next 
year he was in charge of a church of his creed in Omaha, Nebraska, 
and at the end of that period decided to rest from his labors for a 
year and seek to regain his health and strength. He returned to 
Michigan for the purpose, and here he remained until his death, 
which occurred on November 22, 1903. 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 653 

On June 28, 1899, Mr. Rennie was united in marriage with Miss 
Clara Susanne Anderson, the daughter of Le Grande Redmond 
and Susanne (Morris) Anderson. In domestic life, as in all other 
relations, he was a pattern of excellence and won high commen- 
dation. In politics he was by no means an active partisan, but 
in his faith adhered to the principles of the Republican party, and 
usually voted for the candidates it placed in the field for public 
office. In other respects besides the exercise of his suffrage he 
took a good citizen's interest in public affairs, and strongly favored 
everything that he thought likely to advance the welfare of the 
community in which he lived and promote the moral, mental or 
material progress of its people. 

He w^as a modest and unostentatious gentleman, of high char- 
acter and elevated tone, genial in manner, obliging in disposition, 
cultivated in intellect and rich in all the bland amenities of life. 
While he was able he was also tireless in his pastoral work and 
energetic in doing all he could to make it as effective for the good 
of his flock as possible. Wherever he lived he was greatly beloved, 
and his untimely death was deeply regretted in every pastorate 
he ever served. His memory is enshrined in the hearts of all who 
knew him, and the example he gave of upright living and earnest 
spiritual striving toward a higher and better life is still a poten- 
tial force wherever it was exhibited and exerted its influence while 
he walked, labored and counseled among men. 

Milton H. Pugsley. — One of the enterprising and progressive 
general farmers of Van Buren county for a number of years, and 
now one of the leaders and most successful of its fruit growers, Mil- 
ton H. Pugsley, of Paw Paw township, is contributing to the ad- 
vancement of the county and its mercantile and commercial influ- 
ence in a very material and substantial way, and has been doing so 
for a long time. He has tried his hand at other occupations and 
made a success of them, too. But his inclination has always been 
in the direction of the farm, and notwithstanding strong tempta- 
tions to remain away from it he returned to the vocation of the 
patriarchs and has never had occasion to regret his choice. 

Mr. Pugsley has a special interest in the welfare and progress 
of Van Buren county and Paw Paw township, for here he was 
born, grew to manhood and was educated. Here also he was mar- 
ried and established his domestic shrine, and here he has kept the 
fires burning brightly on it ever since. His life began in Paw Paw 
township on December 29, 1856, and he is a son of Henry M. and 
Mary A. (Prater) Pugsley, the former a native of England, born 
in 1823, and the latter of the state of New York. 

The father came to Michigan in 1845 and located in Van Buren 
county. He bought first eighty and then forty acres of land, and 
to this he added by subsequent purchases until, at the time of 
his death in 1901, when he was seventy-eight years of age, he 
owned two hundred and eighty-three acres. His widow survived 
him five years, passing away in 1906. They were the parents of 
seven children : William H., who is a resident of this county; 
Alice E., the wife of Harland P. Waters, of Paw Paw; John K., 
deceased; M. H., the subject of this writing; Dora M., the wife 



654 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

of Charles Lake, of Paw Paw; Myra A., the wife of L. E. Shepard, 
of Paw Paw; and Eliza, who died in infancy. 

Milton H. Pugsley remained with his father until he obtained 
a high-school education, pursued a course of instruction at the 
Normal College at Valparaiso, Indiana, and was graduated from 
a business college. He had obtained his first certificate after 
leaving the district school, and began this profession at that time, 
teaching at intervals, up to the time he was graduated from the 
business college. He then taught school six winters, and at the 
end of that period was offered an excellent position as a teacher. 
But he preferred to return to the farm, of which he then took 
charge, being twenty-four years of age at the time. The next year 
he married and continued his farming operations, in which there 
has been no break since, except that he followed general farming 
for years, but is now making a specialty of fruit growing, grapes 
in particular, having forty acres of these under cultivation, and 
keeping from fifteen to forty employes during the fruit season. 
He has gradually been drawn into this interesting and profitable 
line of production. 

Mr. Pugsley was married on May 24, 1882, to Miss Jennie F. 
Cash, a daughter of Erastus and Jennie (Pierson) Cash, an ac- 
count of whose lives will be found in this volume. They were the 
parents of three children, Mrs. Pugsley and her sister Carrie, who 
is the wife of C. L. Bowen, of this county, and a child that died 
in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Pugsley have had three children : Earl, 
who is a lawyer in good practice at Hart, Michigan; Henry Paul, 
who died at the age of two years; and Clifford Gale, who is still 
living at home with his parents. 

The oldest son, Earl Pugsley, was graduated from the Paw Paw 
high school and then taught in a district school one year and in 
the high school two years. While teaching he prepared himself 
to enter the law department of the University of Michigan, and 
from that institution he was graduated and admitted to the bar in 
1909. The father is a Republican in his political belief and a 
faithful worker for his party, although he does not seek or desire 
any of its honors or emoluments for himself. In religious faith 
and church affiliation he is a Baptist, and has long been active 
and effective in church work, being associated with the church in 
Gliddenburg. He also takes an active part in the work of the 
Sunday-school, and has been the teacher of a class of about twenty- 
five young people for many years and takes an interest in all that 
tends to improve the people around him and minister to their wel- 
fare in any way. 

Mr. Pugsley has taken a very earnest interest and a very active 
part in matters of importance to the community connected with 
his business and some that are not. He is president of the Farmers' 
Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Van Buren county and the 
Wolverine Nursery Company, and he is also one of the directors of 
the Southern Michigan Fruit Association. Wide-awake, alert, 
progressive and intelligent, devoted to the welfare of his town- 
ship and county, elevated in his citizenship and useful and loyal 
in all the relations of life, he is universally conceded to be one of 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 655 

the best and most representative men in Van Buren county, and 
lie is fully deserving of his rank. 

Hugh Brockway. — New York has given Michigan a number of 
her best citizens and the newer commonwealth cheerfully ac- 
knowledges her indebtedness to all the older states who have sent 
their enterprising sons w^estward in the track of the course of 
empire, and to none does she render sincerer thanks than to New 
York state. Mr. Brockway is a typical representative of these 
adoptive citizens of Van Buren county and though he was not 
early enough to be called a pioneer, yet he has lived here long 
enough to have been a factor in the advancement of the region. 

Hugh Brockway was born in Delaware county. New York, on 
December 5, 1865. His father, Delos Brockway, and his mother, 
Mary Gillespie Brockway, were both also natives of New York 
state. Both are now deceased. Hugh is the eldest of four chil- 
dren. Alexander, the next oldest, is dead ; Cora and Frederick M. 
still reside in Delaware county, New York, the former being the 
wife of David Calhoun. The father was a farmer all of his life 
and the children grew up in the country. 

A district school education constituted Mr. Brockway 's school- 
ing and until he was eighteen he remained with his father. In 
1893 he came to Paw Paw and bought one hundred and four acres 
of land and on this place he does general farming and makes 
a specialty of dairying. His cattle are of the Durham variety 
and of an unusually fine strain. His methods are those approved 
by the best modern authorities and his success is not due to 
chance, but to intelligent and scientific application of the prin- 
ciples of agriculture. 

Mrs. Brockway is Allie, the daughter of Aaron and Maria 
(Labardie) Harrison. She was married to Mr. Brockway Decem- 
ber 31, 1901. There were ten children in the Harrison family 
besides Mrs. Brockway. Their names and places of residence 
will be found in the sketch of their father, Aaron Harrison. The 
family of Mr. and Mrs. Brockway consists of two daughters and 
one son. Genevieve E. was born June 27, 1903 ; Delos A., Au- 
gust 8, 1905 ; and Charlotte E., January 12, 1911. 

Mr. Brockway is a Republican in politics. He and Mrs. Brock- 
way are loyal supporters of the work of the Christian church, 
of which she is a member. In the lodges of the county Mr. 
Brockway belongs to the Modern Woodmen. 

Isaac Gerow. — Having taken up the battle of life for himself 
when he was but eight years of age, and in the beginning of the 
struggle worked laboriously in the pine woods of Maine getting out 
timber for the industries; then living in various places and work- 
ing at several different occupations for a number of years under 
great difficulties, but with his eyes steadily fixed on the goal of his 
ambition, Isaac Gerow, of Paw Paw township, this county, is en- 
titled to high credit for the progress he has made and the success 
he has won, wholly by his own efforts, unaided by any of Fortune 's 
favors or propitious circumstances at any time. He is now a man 
of substance in a worldly way, and a citizen of consequence in the 
township and county of his home. 



656 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Mr. Gerow is a native of the state of Maine, where his life began 
on October 10, 1855. His parents, Isaac and Martha (Taylor) 
Gerow, were also born and reared in Maine, and both are now 
deceased. The lather was a farmer from his youth. He and his 
wife were the parents of three children ; Isaac, of this review ; Isa, 
who died in 1891 ; and Phebe, who died two years ago. Isaac was 
compelled by the condition of the family estate to begin earning 
his own living when he was only eight years old, as has been stated, 
and his educational opportunities were necessarily of the most 
limited character. At the age of fourteen he secured employment 
in the pine woods of his native state in the logging or lumber busi- 
ness, to which he adhered for six months. The work was hard, the 
pay was meager, and the privations and hardships of his situation 
were numerous and burdensome. But he bravely toiled on and 
saved his earnings in the confident belief that he would in time 
secure better chances for advancement. At the end of the season 
in the w^oods he returned to his home and gave his attention to 
farm work, ^hen he was twenty he went to the oil regions of 
Pennsylvania, where he remained tw^o years in search of the profits 
which did not come his way. 

In 1880 he came to Michigan and worked on farms and at what- 
ever else he could find to do. He kept this up five years, and at 
the end of that period rented forty acres of land in Arlington 
township. Van Buren county. He remained on this farm two years, 
then moved to one of one hundred and fifty-five acres in Law- 
rence township, which he also rented, but gave up at the end of 
the first year of his tenancy. His next venture was on another 
farm of forty acres, which he occupied two years, and his next 
on one of one hundred and twenty-three acres, on which he lived 
five years. From Lawrence township. Van Buren county, he 
moved to Oklahoma, but returned at the end of eight months to 
this state and Lawrence township, for another residence of one 
year, follow^ed by one of a year on a rented farm in Paw Paw 
township. 

By this time he was able to select and secure a permanent home 
of his own, and bought fifty acres of first-rate land in Paw Paw 
township, and on this he has ever since lived, made extensive im- 
provements and conducted a highly progressive farming and 
stock-raising industry. His farm is in section 30, and the fine 
improvements he has made on it and the high state of produc- 
tiveness to which he has brought it have made it one of the most 
valuable and desirable of its size in the township, and he has not 
yet made it all he intends it shall be if industry and good man- 
agement can bring about the conditions for which he is striving. 

Mr. Gerow was married on February 7, 1878, to Miss Louisa 
Gilger, and by this union has become the father of five children: 
Isa, who is a resident of South Dakota ; Daniel, whose home' is in 
Kalamazoo; Millen, who also resides in this state; Martha, the 
wife of Emory Hulbert, who lives in Bloomingdale township ; and 
Orvilla, who has her home in South Dakota. 

The father is a firm and faithful working member of the Re- 
publican party in his political faith and activity, and has filled 
a number of township offices as such, but has administered them 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 657 

all for the good of the township and the welfare and betterment 
of its people. Mrs. Gerow's church connection is with the Meth- 
odists, and in the congregation is one of the reliable and energetic 
workers for its advancement and general well being. Mr. Gerow is 
zealous and effective in his support of all worthy agencies working 
in his community for the progress and improvement of the region, 
and is esteemed on all sides as one of the sterling, sturdy and repre- 
sentative men in the citizenship of all Van Buren county. 

Jason J. Lyle. — Having passed the whole of his life to this time 
(1911) in Van Buren county, and Paw Paw township, Jason J. 
Lyle has an unusual and impressive interest in its welfare and 
that of its people. He has mingled with its residents from child- 
hood, obtained his education in its schools, taken his place and 
faithfully filled it in its industrial life, and contributed his full 
share to its improvement and advancement and the proper ad- 
ministration of its civil affairs through his activity as a citizen. 
He is therefore in full sympathy with its people, and one of their 
most representative and useful men, as well as one of their most 
progressive and successful farmers and live stock breeders and 
dealers. 

Mr. Lyle is a native of Van Buren county and Paw Paw town- 
ship, and his life began here on August 4, 1879. He is a son of 
Marshall and Mary (McWilliams) Lyle, also natives of Van 
Buren county, and a grandson of John and Ann (Armstrong) 
Lyle, who came to Michigan from their former home in England 
in 1848. More extended mention of the family may be found in 
the sketch of Levi N. Lyle elsewhere in this volume. Mr. Lyle's 
father, Marshall Lyle, passed the whole of his life in the town- 
ship, and on the farm with his father. They were stock breeders 
and general farmers, and made steady gains in their business as 
the years passed by. The father died on April 3, 1899, leaving 
his father, the grandfather of Jason, then well advanced in years, 
in charge of the business. His widow, Jason's mother, is still 
living, at the age of over sixty years. 

They were the parents of two children : Jason J. and his sister 
Ethel, who is now the wife of Dr. W. E. Collins, of Kalamazoo, 
Michigan. Jason attended the district school near his home and 
afterward the high school in Decatur, this county. His course 
of instruction at the latter was cut short, however, by the death 
of his grandfather, which laid upon him the burden of taking 
care of the farm and conducting its operations. He has managed 
it ever since, and in addition to this two hundred and thirty acres 
he has one hundred and sixty of his own, which he cultivates ac- 
cording to the best methods of present-day farming. On this he 
is extensively engaged in raising live stock, having ever in view^ 
the large and active dairying business he is carrying on in con- 
nection with his other industries. For this he breeds Holstein 
cattle, of which he has a fine herd. 

On October 30, 1901, Mr. Lyle was united in marriage with 
Miss Maud Goodenough, a daughter of Nelson and Adella 
(Wright) Goodenough, natives of Michigan, and their only child. 
Her father had been married before, and to his first union one 



658 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

child was born also, his son Ralph, who is a resident of Cass 
county, this state. The grandparents of Mrs. Lyle came to Michi- 
gan and located in Cass county, and were among the most re- 
spected residents of that portion of the state, filling their places 
and performing their duty as builders and improvers of the state 
in full measure according to their powers and opportunities. 

Mr. and Mrs. Lyle have one child, their son Kenneth Marshall, 
who was born on February 18, 1906. His father is a Republican 
in politics and earnestly loyal and serviceable to his party. He 
desires no place on the ofacial roster of the township or county 
for himself, but takes an interest in public affairs for the purpose 
of doing what he can to promote the best interests of the people. 
In church connection he is a Methodist. He is universally rec- 
ognized as one of the best and most useful citizens of the county. 

Harry J. Lurkins. — Representing the third generation of his 
family in continuous ownership of the same farm in Van Buren 
county, and never having known any other home, Harry J. Lurkins, 
of Paw Paw township, has an especial interest in this part of Mich- 
igan and the country. He was born and reared on this farm ; he 
was educated in the public schools of the county ; he acquired his 
social training in association with its people ; and he is indebted to 
its industrial opportunities for all he possesses in the way of worldly 
wealth. He is therefore wholly a product of the county, and in his 
career as a farmer, a citizen and a man he is a credit to the region 
of his birth. 

The farm upon which he now resides has been in the family tor 
three generations. It was formerly owned by his grandfather, who, 
when he died, left it to his son Charles, who resided upon it until 
his death, in 1889, and it is now owned by Mrs. Charles J. Lur- 
kins and her two sons, George W. and Harry J., and is known as 
the Lurkins Keepsake Home. 

Mr. Lurkins' life began on November 9, 1878, and he is a son of 
Charles H. and Angle (Sanders) Lurkins, the former a native of 
Geneva, New York, born in 1850, and the latter of Canada, born 
in 1854. The father was brought to Michigan and Van Buren 
county when he was but four years old by his parents. His wife, 
the mother of Harry J., was brought to this county by her parents 
in 1864. She is still living on the old homestead in Paw Paw and 
Harry J. has his home with her. Three children were born in the 
family: Harry J.; his older brother George W., who now lives in 
Ypsilanti, Michigan, and his younger sister, Maud B., who died 
when she was ten years old. 

Harry J. Lurkins obtained a high school education in Decatur, 
being graduated in 1897. He at once returned to the farm and 
has ever since lived on and cultivated it. He does general farming, 
emploving a judicious succession of crops to secure the best results, 
and raises live stock for the general market on a scale of some mag- 
nitude. Of late years he ha^ been giving special attention to the 
production of grapes, an industry of recent introduction m this 
part of the state, but one which promises to become a leader and a 
source of great profit to those engaged in it and of decided benefit 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 659 

to the inercantile interests of the county. Mr. Lurkins' farm com- 
prises two hundred and twenty-eight acres, including the interests 
of the other members of the family in it, but he cultivates it all and 
m so progressive and enterprising a way that he makes every acre 
yield its due tribute in return for the intelligent and careful labor 
bestowed upon it. 

In the public affairs of the township and county of his home Mr. 
Lurkins takes a warm and helpful interest. He is always ready to 
aid in promoting any worthy undertaking for the improvement of 
the locality and the welfare of the people, and he gives attention 
to the government by doing a good citizen ^s duty in reference to 
political matters, according to his convictions. Firm in his faith 
in the principles of the Republican party, he supports its candi- 
dates in all campaigns, if they are worthy, and does what he can to 
secure their election and keep up the general strength and spirit 
of the party. But he desires no political office for himself. His 
mother ^s church affiliations is with the Baptists. In all the relations 
of life he gives a fine example of progressive, enterprising and in- 
dustrious manhood and elevated American citizenship, and the 
people of the county esteem him as one of their most useful, up- 
right and representative men, ahvays faithful to every duty and 
sincerely devoted to the best interests of the region in which he 
lives. 

Charles Hood, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in sec- 
tion 29, Paw Paw township, is one of the successful farmers of Van 
Buren county, and the owner of one hundred and forty acres of 
fine land. The farms of this section are as well regulated as any 
to be found in the state, and Mr. Hood's land is no exception to this 
rule, as he is a skilled agriculturist and through years of hard, 
faithful endeavor he has brought his tract into an excellent state 
of cultivation. Charles Hood was born July 4, 1861, in county 
Norfolk, England, and is a son of Samuel and Rachel (Butcher) 
Hood. 

Mr. Hood came to the United States as a young man, and was 
followed four years later by his brother, George Hood, who is now 
engaged in farming in Paw Paw township. Charles Hood has 
always been engaged in agricultural pursuits, and he is now the 
owner of good land. He is a stanch Republican in politics, and 
his friends credit him with being an advocate of more liberal edu- 
cational facilities and stringent laws governing the same. He has 
won the respect of his fellow citizens for his fair dealings and hon- 
est methods, and is self-made in the full sense of the term, having, 
from a start of nothing, accumulated the comfortable property 
which he now enjoys and richly deserves. 

On April 14, 1897, Mr. Hood was married to Miss Annie Kay, 
daughter of Joseph and Jennie (Sheppard) Kay, and one child 
has been born to this union: Max, who was born March 7, 1904. 
Mr. Hood is a popular member of the Gleaners, and socially no 
family in Paw Paw township stands higher. 

Frank G. Hudson. — The son of a druggist who passed thirty- 
three years of his life in the trade in Paw Paw, and himself for 



660 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

some years engaged in the same department of mercantile enter- 
prise, Frank G. Hudson, now one of the leading retail merchants 
of Van Buren county, has seen a considerable amount of human 
suffering and been able to minister substantially to its relief. In 
his present mercantile enterprise, handling clothing, boots and 
shoes for the general trade, he is engaged in providing for the 
comfort of his fellow men in another way, and his services in 
the latter are as highly appreciated as those in the former were 
when he was rendering them. For in all undertakings he is faith- 
ful to every requirement and leaves nothing undone on his part 
to secure the best results for his patrons and himself. 

Mr. Hudson is a native of the Pacific slope, having been born 
in Sacramento, California, on April 22, 1857. His parents. Major 
G. J. and Maria (Prater) Hudson, were born in the state of New 
York. The father came to Michigan, and located in Almena 
township. Van Buren county. He later moved to Paw Paw and 
in company with Mr. Kilmer, opened a drug store, the firm being 
known as Hudson & Kilmer, and this he kept without interrup- 
tion, except during the four years of the Civil war, until his 
death, which occurred in 1883. His connection with the drug 
tra4e in one locality covered a full generation of human life, and 
as he had fine qualifications for the business, and a stern sense 
of duty in the use of them, he always gave satisfaction to the 
patrons of his store and stood high in the regard of the com- 
munity, both as a business man and a citizen. 

He was a major in the Third Michigan Militia when the Civil 
war began, and his regiment was one of the first to offer its ser- 
vices to the government for the defense of the Union. He was 
in the war four years, and although he faced death on many a 
hard-fought field in the sanguinary sectional strife, he escaped 
unharmed and was mustered out of the service at the close of 
the war. He and his wife were the parents of three children, all 
living and all residents of Michigan: Charles H., who lives at 
Marcellus in Cass county; Frank G., the immediate subject of 
these paragraphs; and Lizzie, the wife of Dr. J. C. Reynolds, 
whose home is in Battle Creek. 

Frank G. Hudson obtained a high school education m Paw 
Paw, and after leaving school entered the drug trade and con- 
tinued his connection with it for a number of years. He then 
turned his attention to farming, desiring a more outdoor life, and 
in this interesting but exacting pursuit he passed the next twenty 
years of his life agreeably and profitably. At the end of that 
period he determined to return to merchandising, and came back 
to Paw Paw for the purpose. He opened a clothing and shoe 
store and this he has been conducting ever since, with increas- 
ing advantage to the community and good results for himself. 
His store is one of the most satisfactory and popular m the 
county. The people find it always up-to-date in the completeness 
and variety of its stock, the reasonableness of its prices and the 
strict integrity that controls every transaction. 

Mr Hudson is not an active partisan m politics, but a good 
citizen in attention to public affairs and the performance of his 
duty to the city, county, state and nation. He is an Episcopalian 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 661 

in church connection, and full of zeal for the advancement of 
the best interests of the community in every way. His father 
was very active and prominent in the Masonic fraternity, and at 
one time was Grand Master gf the state. 

Charles C. Searls. — This venerable citizen of Paw Paw town- 
ship, Van Buren county, who has passed the age of four score 
years and is now living retired from active pursuits, making his 
home with his son John, has been a resident of Michigan for over 
forty-four years, and has passed the most of them in this county. 
His life has been long and useful, and the people of the county 
esteem him highly for the genuine worth of his manhood, the 
services he has rendered in several lines of active effort and pro- 
ductiveness, for his patriotism which took him to the battlelield 
during our Civil war, and for his sterling, upright and estimable 
demeanor in all the relations of life. 

Mr. Searls is a native of Genesee county. New York, where his 
life began on March 3, 1830. He is a son of John and Hannah 
(Stocking) Searls, the former born in the state of New York 
and the latter m Connecticut. The father passed his life on a 
farm and cultivated it with skill and energy. Both he and his 
wife died in 1875. They were the parents of four children, all of 
whom lived to good old age, and two are still living, well ad- 
vanced in years. These are C. C, who is eighty-one, and his 
brother Isaiah, who is still a resident of Genesee county, New 
York, and is eighty-three. Their sister Clarissa died at the age 
of eighty-five, and their brother Stephen D. in 1909, aged ninety- 
one. • 

C. C. Searls remained on the home farm with his parents until 
he reached the age of thirty-seven. In 1867 he came to Michigan 
and located in the southern part of the state, where he remained 
until 1871. In that year he changed his residence to Paw Paw, 
and here he has been living ever since except for some years, 
which he passed in Grand Rapids. In his active years he was a 
builder and contractor, and worked at that occupation here and 
in Grand Rapids, and also in other places. 

On July 4, 1849, Mr. Searls was married to Miss Hannah Shep- 
pard, who died on December 31, 1909, after sixty years of peace- 
ful domestic life and faithful devotion to the interests and wel- 
fare of her household. *She and Mr. Searls were the parents of 
two children: Mary, the wife of C. L. Fitch, of Grand Rapids, 
who has been the clerk of the United States court in that city 
during the last twenty-five years ; and John, who is a resident and 
prosperous farmer of Paw Paw township, this county. 

C. C. Searls is a firm and faithful Democrat in political rela- 
tions. He served two terms as assessor, and has been of value 
to the people in other ways by his fidelity in serving them and 
the force of his excellent example as a man and citizen. He be- 
longs to the Grand Army of the Republic and enjoys the meet- 
ings of his post in the organization. They bring vividly to his 
mind the memories of the Civil war, in which he served for a 
time, until a serious rupture disabled him from further military 
duty. He enlisted in April, 1861, in Company F, Twenty-eighth 
Vol. n— 3 



662 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

New York Volunteer Infantry, and was discharged on Septem- 
ber 29 of the same year on account of the disability already 

'^^ John Searls, the only son of C. C. and Hannah (Sheppard) 
Searls, was born in Byron, Genesee county. New York, on April 
29 1857 He received a high school education m Paw Paw, and 
when he reached the age of twenty began farming, continuing 
his operations in this pursuit two years. At the end of that time 
he ioined his father in contracting and building, and m Grand 
Rapids had entire charge of the building operations of the firtn 
for twelve years. In 1898 he returned to this county and bought 
eighty acres of good farming land in Paw Paw township. He 
has increased his farm by subsequent purchases until he now 
owns one hundred and sixty acres, on which he does general 
farming and raises live stock for the markets. 

On January 3, 1878, John Searls wa« united in marriage with 
Miss Carrie Adams, daughter of John Q. and Caroline (Tower) 
iXras, natives of Ihe state of New York. The mother died m 
1893 aud the father in 1896. They had three children Susan, 
who is the wife of J. D. Benson, of North Dakota; Josephine, 
who has been dead a number of years; and Carrie, who is now 
Mrs. John Searls. She and her husband are the parents of two 
children: Their daughter Mary, who was born on July 8, 188», 

and is now the wife of 6. W. Lewis of «-f , I^^^i.^U^i^tK 
and their son Charles C, who was born on July 15, 1889, and is 
also now a resident of Grand Rapids. ,-^- ^ t -.u 

Like his father. John Searls is a Democrat in his political faith 
Mnd alliance and an energetic and effective worker for the good 
of his party His occupation as a builder for a number of years 
deeply impressed him with the value of improvements m his com- 
munity, and he has always been full of enterprise and progress- 
"ss in helping to bring them about. He and his wife and 
chSn are very useful as citizens, and are universally esteemed 
bv all classes of the people in their county. 

Stephen D. Searls the brother of C. C, was also a highly ap- 
nreciated citizen and prosperous farmer of Van Buren county for 
SioretSnwenty-five years. He located in Paw Paw township 
ri865 and here he owned and cultivated one hundred and six 
acres of land in section 22. In 1890 he sold this farm and moved 
to North Dakota, and from there to Spokane mshington, where 
he paLed the remainder of his days, dying there m 1909, at the 
advanced age of ninety-one years. 

J B Breed.— The Almena township citizenship is fortunate in 
the possession of the Breed family, of which Joshua B. Breed, a 
prominent gentleman, is an estimable member of society ax.d a repre- 
sentative of the agricultural industry. He is one of Van Buren 
countyl pioneers, having resided here since 1835, the year of his 
Sh His eyes first opened to the light of day on July 5 of the 
year mentioned, in the state of New York, and while he was a babe 
fn arms his parents severed old associations in the Empire state and 
setS in Van Buren county, Michigan. His parents were Silas 
and Nancy (Bangs) Breed and their coming to this section was in 




J. B. BEEED 




MRS. J, B. BREED 



IIISTOKY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 66B 

the pioneer days, when Van Buren county was original ground. It 
goes without saying that the first years w^ere filled with the hard- 
ships encountered by the representative pioneers, but there was 
doubtless ample recompense in the wholesome life, the generous 
spirit of good-will which characterized the dealings of the people 
of the time and section. The original Breed home w^as at Breeds- 
ville, on the Black river. The subject's father erected a mill there 
(a saw-mill) which he operated for about four years, then removed 
to Antwerp and buying a farm there. At the latter point he re- 
sided for four years ; then went to another farm and after a short 
time disposed of that land and took up his residence within the 
borders of Almena tow^nship, where his son lives now^ He spent the 
remainder of his days here, his demise occurring in 1877. The de- 
mise of his w^orthy wife, the mother of the subject, was many years 
previous, when Mr. Breed was a little lad but four years of age. 
Of the five children of that union but two survive, the other being 
Albert T., of northern Michigan. After the death of his first wife 
Slias Breed was united in marriage to Mary (Jones) Miller, and 
the three children born to them all survive, namely: Nancy, wife 
of George W. Meyer; Mina, wdfe of Dr. Bennett, residing in north- 
ern Michigan ; and Silas A. 

When J. B. Breed was a lad he attended the district school for 
two or three months out of the year, educational facilities being 
somew^hat meagre at that time, and there being much need of his 
assistance in the affairs of his father's farm. He attended school 
until his eighteenth year and then until his majority he worked 
tor his father. He then determined to establish himself upon an 
independent footing and for a year or two managed his father's 
place, subsequent to that buying a farm in Vv^averly township. 
Here he engaged successfully in farming for eight years and then 
came to Almena township, where he bought a farm and has ever 
since made his home upon it. It is very desirably situated and has 
been brought to a fine state of improvement by its owner. 

At the age of twenty-three years Mr. Breed was married, his 
chosen lady being Marie Clark, daughter of Thomas Clark, Sr., 
the date of the celebration of their marriage being the year 1858. 
An ideally happy life companionship w^as terminated in 1907 by the 
death of the beloved and devoted wife. Three children were bom 
to them, two of w^hom are living at the present time, namely : Bur- 
dette L., w^ho is identified wdth the Van Buren County Fire In- 
surance Company as secretary and w^ho makes his home in Paw 
Paw ; and Lester E., who remains at home with his father, conduct- 
ing the affairs of the farm. 

Mr. Breed is a member of the Masons at Paw Paw and exempli- 
fies in his own living the ideals of moral and social justice and 
brotherly love of that order. He is also connected with the Order 
of the Eastern Star, as was his wife before her death. Both were 
members of the Baptist church, in w^hose affairs Mr. Breed is still 
active. He gives heart and hand to the men and measures of the 
Republican party and at one time took a leading part in political 
affairs of the county. However, of recent years he has lived a re- 
tired life. He has held all of the township offices and has ever en- 
joyed and merited the confidence and respect of the entire com- 



664 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

munity. He is a man of pleasing and accommodating nature, will- 
ing and ready to do all he can for his neighbor. Mr. Breed owns 
one hundred and sixty acres of land in this to\Miship, his estate 
being an eminently valuable and well-ordered one. 

Frank Van Blaricon. — Orphaned at the age of three years by 
the death of his father, and with his mother in moderate circum- 
stances so that she could not do all for her children she wished in 
the way of preparing them for advancement in life and providing 
them with opportunities for making it, Frank Van Blaricon, one 
of the enterprising and prosperous farmers and live stock men of 
Paw^ Paw^ township. Van Buren county, was thrown on his own re- 
sources early in life, and has been ever since obliged to make his 
own way in the world. But he has met his responsibilities coura- 
geously, and confronted all the difficulties of his progress with a 
determination to overcome them. 

Mr. Van Blaricon is a native of Wayne county, New^ York, where 
he was born on February 23, 1863. His parents were John and 
Margaret (Van Awken) Van Blaricon, also natives of Wayne 
county. New York, and both now deceased, the father having died 
in his native state in 1866, and the mother in this county in 1911. 
There were but tw^o children born in the family, Frank and his 
older sister Mary, who is now the wife of William Rickerson, of 
Paw Paw. In 1871, when Frank was eight years old, his mother 
brought him to Michigan and located in Paw Paw. When he 
reached the age of twenty-one he bought eighty acres of land in 
section 27, Paw Paw township, and started a farming industry, 
which he conducted for a short time, then turned his attention to 
electrical work. 

He was engaged in this interesting but hazardous occupation for 
twelve years in Minnesota, Cleveland, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan. 
In 1906 he returned to his farm, and ever since then has been profit- 
ably occupied in cultivating that, raising live stock for the general 
markets and operating a busy and remunerative peppermint dis- 
tillery which he owns. 

On October 8, 1901, Mr. Van Blaricon was united in marriage 
w^ith Miss Anna Paulson, a native of Sweden, the daughter of Nel- 
son and Eleanor (Morton) Paulson, and the first born of their seven 
children. The others are : Mary, the wife of Fred Jarl, of St. Paul, 
Minnesota ; John, Olaf , Albert and Jonas, all of whom are also resi- 
dents of St. Paul; and Emma, whose home is in Litchfield, Meeker 
county, Minnesota. They are all doing well in their several occupa- 
tions and giving the communities in which they live excellent ex- 
amples of worthy, upright, progressive and useful citizenship. 

Mr. Van Blaricon is a Republican in his political allegiance and 
always warmly interested in the success of his party. He is a faith- 
ful worker for its welfare because he believes firmly in its principles, 
and not with a desire for public office of any kind, although he has 
filled a number of township positions at the behest of the people, 
and has done it in a manner creditable to himself and beneficial to 
the township. He has for many years been an active member of 
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and taken great interest 
in the work of his lodge and the order in general. 



HISTORY OP VAN BUREN COUNTY 665 

Prosperous in his business undertakings, zealously interested in 
the progress and improvement of his township and county, and 
performing all the duties of citizenship in an estimable manner, he 
has earned by his merit the general esteem in which he is held by 
the people and proven himself worthy of their regard in every 
way. He is not ostentatious in his life, but sterling in his charac- 
ter and every manifestation of it, and is a good representative and 
sturdy product of the elevated and reliable manhood of Van Buren 
county that has given it its high rank in the state. 

George H. Myhan. — Born in this country of Irish parentage, 
George H. Myhan of South Haven has had the inspiration of his 
life from two of the most interesting countries in the world, both 
teeming with high examples and historical suggestions of the most 
impressive character. A native of Massachusetts and afterward a 
resident of New York, where he lived until he reached the age of 
thirteen, and now for nearly fifty years a factor in the industrial 
and civil life of Michigan, the East and West have commingled in 
his experience, and given him additional incentives to ambition 
and the effort necessary to realize all it pointed him to and prom- 
ised as a reward for his endeavors. 

Mr. Myhan 's life began in Massachusetts on April 13, 1850. His 
parents, James and Ann (O'Hara) Myhan, were born in Ireland, 
the former on May 1, 1815, near the city of Cork, and the latter 
in County Antrim on April 8, 1822. The father died in October, 
1899, and the mother in 1890. They were married in Burlington, 
Vermont, and became the parents of nine children, six of whom 
are living, their son George having been the third in the order 
of birth, and being the only one of the lot living in this state and 
taking part in its activities. 

The father lost his parents by death in his native land when he 
was a boy, and Avhen he was nine years old crossed the Atlantic 
in a sailing vessel to Quebec, Canada, arriving in that city in 1824, 
and remaining there sixteen or seventeen years. From Quebec 
he went to Vermont, and there he learned the tanner's trade, which 
later he worked at in the state of New York. In 1863 he came 
to Michigan and located in South Haven, where he put up one of 
the first tanneries erected and operated in this part of the state. 
He remained in the business and had personal charge of his tannery 
in every detail of its operation until 1890, when he retired from 
all active pursuits. He took a decided interest in public affairs, 
but was not allied with either of the two great political parties, 
always remaining independent of party connections and free from 
partisan preferences. 

George H. Myhan began his education in the schools of New York 
and completed it in those of South Haven. After leaving school, 
he learned the tanner's trade under the instruction of his father 
and was associated with him in business until his retirement in 
1890. The son then took charge of the tannery and continued to 
control and manage it until 1903. In that year he was appointed 
postmaster of South Haven, a position which he has filled ever since, 
performing its duties in a way that has given the patrons of the 
office great satisfaction and been very creditable to himself. He 



666 HISTORY OF VAN BIJREN COUNTY 

has also been a member of the school board and the city council 
of South Haven and in each of these positions has also rendered 
acceptable service. 

Mr. Myhan was married on October 81, 1880, to Miss Cora C. 
Grimes. She was born in Paw Paw, Michigan, and is a daughter 
of C. D. Grimes and P. L. (Bushnell) Grimes, who were born in 
Vermont and came with their parents to Michigan in 1836. These 
families were pioneers in the part of the state in which they set- 
tled, and when Mr. Grimes, the father of Mrs. Myhan, grew to 
manhood and began working at his trade as a carpenter, he found 
plenty of demand for his services. But he also had a farm and 
cultivated it with industry and good judgment. 

Mr. and Mrs. Myhan have had two children, their son James, 
who died at the age of five years, and their daughter Ruth, who 
is living, and is still at home with her parents. Mr. Myhan is a 
Republican in his political connection, and while he cannot be 
called a very active partisan, he is always loyal to his party and 
renders it effective service. 

Nelson Rowe. — The history of Van Buren county must of ne- 
cessity remain an incomplete record of the growth of that favored 
section of the state, without at least a brief mention of the life and 
worth of Nelson Rowe, since 1855 a resident of Hartford until the 
time of his demise, which sad event occurred at Hartford on Decem- 
ber 20, 1907, when the fine old pioneer had attained the patriarchal 
age of ninety-(me years, six months and six days. Settling in Hart- 
ford when it was n dense wilderness, Mr. Rowe was one of the few 
who lived to see it emerge from its pristine state into a thriving 
little city, and to him and his sturdy and honest effort much of 
the credit for this metamorphosis is undeniably due. 

Nelson Rowe was the son of Daniel and Polly (Grossman) Rowe. 
He was born on June 14, 1816, in Cayuga county, New York, and 
was reared there to the age of fourteen years. When he had 
I'eached that age, his parents migrated to Oakland county, Mich- 
igan, where the father settled on a wilderness farm. Here Nelson 
Rowe, aided by an older brother, labored for years in hewing out 
of the new country a home for themselves, and in time the Rowe 
farm became one of the beauty spots of Oakland county. It was 
in 1855 that Nelson Rowe came to Van Buren county and pur- 
chased the farm in southwest Hartford which was his home for 
so many years thereafter. As before, the farm was not a farm un- 
til the labors of Mr. Rowe reduced the forest to a goodly acreage 
of tillable soil. Before he might build his house, it was necessary 
for him to clear away a spot sufficient for that work to be done, 
and it goes without saying that the making of a fertile farm out 
of a tract of dense forest land is a task that would call forth 
every drop of energy, fortitude, perseverance and courage with 
which a man might be by nature endowed, and that only the pos- 
session of those traits in a generous degree would render such an 
accomplishment possible. The state of his beautiful Hartford 
farm at the time of his death speaks eloquently of the rugged and 
untiring character of the man, and will remain a monument to 
his unremitting labors of earlier years. I\rr. Rowe was a success- 



HISTORY OF VAN BITREN (BOUNTY 667 

ful man in the broader meaning of the word. Although he did 
not amass a fortune, he accumulated a fair competence, and he was 
always known as a liberal and generous giver to any cause con- 
ducive to the betterment of the communal life. He was a man of 
enterprise, and the onward march of development was never re- 
tarded by any untoward influence emanating from him; he rather 
aided and abetted every movement that might be calculated to 
result in the advancement and upbuilding of the civic life of the 
community. After settling in Hartford in 1855, Mr. Rowe's en- 
tire life was passed in that place, with the exception of two oc- 
casions when he made western trips, each covering a period of per- 
haps two years. These trips took place between the years 1859 
and 1864, and were made by ox train, his passage across the plains 
})eing attended by many hardships and perilous encounters with 
bands of marauding Indians. Barring these two trips, his life 
from 1855 was confined to the home place. 

Mr. Rowe was twice married. His first wife was Martha Ann 
Sibley, the marriage occurring on October 24, 1849. His second 
wife was Ann E. Wood, the daughter of George and Lucretia 
Wood, of Keeler, Michigan. Of this latter union three children 
were born. They are Jay M., born April 3, 1858, and who died 
September 20, 1887 ; George IL, born July 28, 1865, and Alma A., 
|)orn March 29, 1868, who is now the wife of Rev. Samuel H. 
Taylor, LL.D., of Avon, Illinois, and her mother, now seventy-four 
>ears of age, makes her home with Mrs. Taylor. George U., the 
only surviving son, lives on the farm which his father was in- 
strumental in bringing to its present flourishing state, and is carry- 
ing on the good work in a manner worthy of such a man. 

George Ulysses Rowe. — This prosperous, progressive and rep- 
resentative farmer of Hartford township. Van Buren county, is a 
native of the township and has passed almost all his life to this 
time (1911) within its borders. He has been deeply interested in 
the welfare and development of the township and county and al- 
ways ready and alert in his support of every worthy undertaking 
designed to advance their interests or promote the good of their 
residents. To him the locality of his home is the dearest part of 
the world, and he is sedulous and energetic at all times in doing 
what he can to make it better and increase its prosperity, influence 
and importance. 

Mr. Rowe's life began on July 28, 1865, and he is a son of Nel- 
son and Ann (Wood) Rowe, natives of the state of New York. Un- 
like his son, the father was something of a wanderer, but not to his 
detriment, for he made his wanderings profitable to himself and his 
family. When he was a young man he came to Michigan and 
located at Milford in Oakland county. A few years later he 
changed his residence to Van Buren county, purchasing of B. A. 
Olney the farm in Hartford tow^nship on which his son now lives. 
In 1850 he went to Calfornia under the influence of the gold ex- 
citement of that time. He was absent from this state some years, 
and during his absence traveled over all the western states. He 
accumulated some additional capital, and on his return to this 
county bought more land. He then went back to California and se- 



668 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

cured about four thousand dollars in gold during his two years' 
stay in that state. When he again came to Michigan after his sec- 
ond trip to the Pacific coast he determined to remain here, and he 
passed the rest of his life on the farm, where he died in 1908. He 
also passed some time during his absence from this state in the em- 
ploy of lumber boats on the Mississippi river. His widow is still 
living and makes her home with her daughter at Avon, Illinois. 
They were the parents of three children, two of whom are living: 
George U., the subject of this review, and his sister Alma, who is 
the wife of Dr. Samuel Taylor, a Congregational minister who 
came to this country from England and was in charge of the church 
of his sect in Hartford some years. The other child in the Rowe 
family, Jay Rowe, died in 1887, at the age of twenty-nine years, 
passing away in Hartford township, in which the whole of his life 
was spent. His widow is still living in this township, but one of 
his two children. Nelson Vance Rowe, died in Kalamazoo in 1907. 
The other one who was formerly Miss Lea Rowe, is now the wife 
of Monroe Chatterson and resides at Three Oaks in Berrien county. 
They have one child, Arlo. Dr. and Mrs. Taylor have two children, 
their son James Rowe Taylor, and their daughter, Alice Hope Tay- 
lor. 

George Ulysses Rowe grew to manhood in his father's home and 
obtained a part of his education in the country school in the neigh- 
borhood. When he was sixteen he moved with his parents to the 
village of Hartford, and here he attended the high school until 
near his completion of its course of study, then went back to the 
farm, to which the family returned at that time. He was married 
on April 9, 1885, to Miss Jennie Eby, a daughter of George W. 
and Gertrude (Pierce) Eby, of Grand Rapids. Her father was a 
native of Canada of German parentage, they living for a time in 
the state of Indiana. 

Mr. Rowe became acquainted with his wife while she was on a 
visit to this county in the vicinity of his father's farm, and music 
was the medium through which they came into close communion. 
After the return of the lady to Grand Rapids he went to that city 
and they were married there. Eight children have been born of 
their union, all of whom are living and enjoying robust health, like 
their parents. They are Eby D., Glorian G., Perry P., G. Nelson, 
Ardise L., Paul V., Lynn C. and Mary Elizabeth. All the mem- 
bers of the family belong to the Congregational church in Hart- 
ford. 

In his political views Mr. Rowe is liberal, looking always in the 
bestowal of his suffrage to the genuine welfare of the township 
and county, and not being bound by partisan considerations. In 
his farming he is enterprising and progressive. He owns one hun- 
dred and sixty-five acres of land in Hartford township. In his citi- 
zenship he is attentive to every public and private duty, and 
throughout the county he is esteemed as one of its most useful, 
creditable and estimable residents, and as representing in an ad- 
mirable manner the best attributes of sterling American manhood. 

Arthur W. Haydon. — The subject of this text is one of the lead- 
ing agriculturists of Van Buren county and is a native son and 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 669 

scion of one of the oldest and most highly respected of its families. 
He was born here April 22, 1844, and is the younger of two chil- 
dren bom to Philotas and Mary A. (Broughton) Hay don. He is 
also the only survivor. His brother, Charles B., was a volunteer 
soldier at the time of the Civil war and gave up his life upon the 
battlefield in defense of the Union. The father was a native of 
Montgomery county, New York, where his birth occurred in the 
year 1810, and he removed to Vermont when but a boy. There he 
was reared to young manhood and engaged in agriculture. His 
advantages were meagre and he was for the most part self-educated. 
He married in the Green Mountain state and came to Van Buren 
county in 1836 with his father-in-law. They purchased lands and 
the subject still possesses an ancient parchment deed. The first 
habitation was a rude log cabin and deer and wild turkeys were 
plentiful. For a long period everything was marketed at St. Jo- 
seph, where it was hauled with ox teams, and then Kalamazoo be- 
came the market. At that time wheat sold at forty cents a bushel. 
The father was a very successful man and ere he died he accumu- 
lated more than a thousand acres of land in Hamilton township. 
He was an old-line Whig and cast his vote for the first Republican 
president. He and the subject took an active part in campaigns, the 
father being an able speaker. Mother Haydon was a native of 
Vermont and was reared to young womanhood in that state. Both 
she and her husband died in Hamilton township and here their re- 
mains are interred. 

Arthur W. Haydon is an active agriculturist and one of the well- 
known stock breeders of the county. He has made a specialty of 
Merino sheep (Registered) and for the last twenty -five years has 
been a breeder of Percheron horses. He received his education in 
the common schools and in the Kalamazoo high school, completing 
the full course and graduating. He received a higher education, 
being a member of the class of 1867 of the University of Michigan 
at Ann Arbor, where he pursued a scientific course. He came home 
at his father's death to assume charge of the estate, and thus did 
not quite finish his course. He is thoroughly progressive and keeps 
pace with the latest discoveries in the agricultural field. 

Mr. Haydon was united in marriage to Mary E. Baker, their 
union being solemnized on October 19, 1868, and it has resulted in 
the birth of two children, an infant being deceased. The daughter 
lone is at home with her parents. She was educated in the high 
school of Decatur and is a member of the graduating class of 1891. 
Her father 's alma mater became her own and she was graduated in 
1896 from the University of Michigan. She is still a student of 
good books, in w^hich, as Emerson says, she finds her best compan- 
ionship. 

Mrs. Haydon is the representative of one of the well-known fam- 
ilies. She was born December 12, 1847, and is the daughter of 
Hiram and Hannah L. (Head) Baker. There were three children 
in her father's household, two being sons and one a daughter. 
Her brother Fred is one of the leading business men of Dowagiac, 
Michigan. Mrs. Haydon was a student in the Decatur high school. 
Her father, Hiram Baker, was a native of Andover, Allegany 
county, New York, and was an agriculturist. He was reared and 



670 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COILNTY 

(Hlucated in the Empire state and came to Michigan in 1853, Van 
Buren county being his objective point. Here he and his brother 
accumulated considerable property. He was a Jackson Democrat. 
His wife was a native of New York. The remains of both are in- 
terred in Keeler. 

When Mr. and Mrs. Haydon began life it was on the present es- 
tate and their home is known as ' ^ Shady Knoll. ' ' They have seven 
hundred and forty acres, all in this township, and the fine improve- 
ments thereupon have been achieved by the subject and his wife. 
The former is a Republican and his first presidential vote was cast 
for Grant. He is a " progressive ' ' in his ideas. Both Mr. and Mrs. 
Haydon are believers in the Spiritualistic faith and meet with the 
society established in Hamilton township fully seventeen years 
ago. There are one or two meetings each year, when some of the 
leading lecturers of the faith appear before them. 

Mr. and Mrs. Haydon and their daughter are active members of 
the Hamilton Grange. There are seventy members. At one time 
there was a membership of over three hundred. The Grange Hall 
is located in the center of the township. 

]Mr. and Mrs. Haydon are leading citizens and come from old 
and well-established families. They are held in highest esteem by 
all who know them and none are more worthy of recognition in 
this volume. 

The father of the subject was one of the most active Republicans 
in his localit}^ and represented his people in the state legislature 
from 1844 to 1851, and in 1859 he held the office of state senator. 
He was supervisor of the township and this office was given into 
his keeping as long as he would hold it. He wns a Christian gen- 
tleman in act and principle and did mueli for the furtherance of 
the general welfare. After the death of his first wife he married 
again, Miss Eliza Buck becoming his wife on October 24, 1880. A 
son and two daughters were born to them and the son and a daugh- 
ter survive. F. Mortimer is a resident of Hamilton township, re- 
siding on the old estate and being engaged in agriculture. He mar- 
ried Frances Skinner. Addie M. is the wife of Dr. F. C. Williams, 
a resident of Syracuse, New York, and a graduate of the University 
of Michigan. He is a very successful physician and surgeon. Dr. 
and Mrs. Williams have a son, Harold. 

William M. Traver. — To create something out of nothing is held 
to be impossible for human power to accomplish, yet to the casual 
observer that is what William M. Traver, of Hartford, Van Buren 
county, Michigan, seems to have achieved. He was the creator 
and has from the start been the proprietor and motive power 
of the Traver Cannery in Hartford, which is one of the largest 
in the state. The enterprise is devoted to canning all kinds 
of fruits and vegetables, has a capacity of one hundred and 
fifty cars a season, and always has more orders than it has fa- 
cilities to fill at once. The business is very extensive and ac- 
tive, and the cannery is a source of great benefit to the county 
in the employment it gives to labor, the ready market it affords 
for local products in its lines of raw material, and the large 



HISTORY OF VAN HVREN COUNTY 671 

amount of money it keeps continually in circulation in the com- 
munity in which it operates so extensively and successfully. 

Mr. Traver did not, however, create this big enterprise out of 
nothing. It is true he had no capital, in the way of money, to 
start with, and Fortune has never bestowed upon him any of her 
special favors. He began the battle of life as a poor young man 
forced to make his livelihood by whatever means he found avail- 
able, and to work for very meager compensation while getting 
a start. But he had that within him which was better than money 
capital, and the business he has established and built up to such 
magnitude is the result of his native energy, capacity, strong 
determination to make circumstances his obedient slaves, his quick- 
ness of observation in seeing and alertness in seizing opportunities 
for advancement, and his persistent industry in making the most 
of them when he had them. 

Mr. Traver is a native of Hartford township, this county, and 
was born on August 1, 1867. He was reared on a farm and edu- 
rated in the district school near his home. The circumstances 
of the family were such that he was forced to begin making his 
own living at an early age, and to do this he entered the employ 
of a wholesale grocery store in a very subordinate station. He 
was attentive to his duties, soon showed unusual capacity for the 
business, and made himself so valuable to his employer that his 
advancement in the service was steady and continued. 

But this is not the whole story. Mr. Traver worked hard, lived 
( conomically, denied himself all unnecessary expenditures, and 
saved his money to aid in procuring him a better position and 
larger opportunities in business. His great aim was to have an 
establishment of his own, and he bent all his energies to securing 
one. He kept his eyes open, too, so that no chance for the ac- 
complishment of his wishes, or that would help toward this, 
should pass him by unutilized. In time he found himself pre- 
pared to start something for himself, and the rapid development 
of the canning industry, together with the extensive production 
of fruits and vegetables in his locality, furnished him the longed 
for opening. 

He built his large plant in 1904, using cement or concrete l)locks 
m the construction of the building, and equipped it with the best 
modern devices known to the business. He then began opera- 
tions, and the new^ institution w^as soon found to be mutually 
beneficial to him and the community around him. His facilities 
for preserving the products of the region stimulated the old 
growers of fruits and vegetables to greater activity and larger 
plantings, and also brought many new ones into the field of pro- 
duction. The excellence of his output from the beginning soon 
brought his cannery a wide-spread reputation, and a large busi- 
ness. He found a rapidly increasing demand for his goods and 
was obliged to enlarge his facilities and augment his resources 
to meet the requirements of his trade, and this condition has con- 
tinued to the present time, with still greater prospects for the 
years to come, for the trade is growing more extensive all the 
time. 

Mr, Traver has been married three times, but his son William 



672 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

S., is his only child, the fruit of the second marriage, and is now 
twelve years old. The father is active in the fraternal life of his 
community and stands high in three of the leading benevolent 
societies. He belongs to Florada Masonic Lodge, No. 309, at 
Hartford, and also to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and 
the Knights of Pythias. His political faith and allegiance are 
given to the Republican party, but he has never been an active 
partisan. He has no desire for political prominence or public 
office, and his business requires all his time and attention except 
what is necessary for the ordinary duties of citizenship, and these he 
never neglects. He is zealous in helping to promote the progress 
and development of his township and county and contributes in any 
way open to him to the general and lasting welfare of their resi- 
dents. In all respects he is a very estimable citizen, and is uni- 
versally esteemed as such. 

Joseph Labadie. — Although born and reared on a farm, Joseph 
Labadie, of Paw Paw township. Van Buren county, has not ex- 
pended all his efforts in life on his own account as a farmer: He 
has devoted a portion of his time to other pursuits with advan- 
tage to himself, but in the main he has followed the occupation of 
his forefathers for many generations and has prospered in it. 
He has one of the finest farms in Paw Paw township. It is in 
the rich bottom land, and from the beginning his efforts to make 
it productive and profitable have succeeded admirably. 

Mr. Labadie knows Paw Paw township thoroughly, as he has 
passed the whole of his life to this time (1911) in it, and been 
connected with its industries in an active way from his boyhood. 
His life began in the township on September 22, 1867, his par- 
ents, George and Eliza (Scott) Labadie, being residents of it at 
the time. They were natives of the state of New York, and of 
English ancestry. The father was a farmer all his life from youth, 
and was one of the first settlers within the present limits of 
Van Buren county. He hewed his farm out of the wilderness, 
and transformed it into an attractive, valuable and well improved 
rural home. 

There were seven children born in the family, six of whom are 
living : George, who is a resident of Allegan county ; Joseph, who 
is the immediate subject of this review; Kittle, who is the wife 
of Samuel Handle, of Porter, Midland county, Michigan; Jesse, 
who lives in Paw Paw; Grace, the wife of Oscar Baughter, also 
a resident of Paw Paw ; and Thomas, whose home is in Florida. 
Lillie, the third child in the order of birth, died a number of 
years ago, making the only break in the family circle. 

Joseph Labadie remained at home with his parents u^itil he 
reached the age of sixteen, attending the district school when he 
had opportunity in relief from the work on the farm, in which 
he made a full hand from his early youth. After leaving home 
he followed farming for twelve years, then turned his attention 
to teaming in Paw Paw, in which he was engaged until 1902. In 
that year he bought fifty acres of land in Almena township, 
which he cultivated until 1906. He then sold this tract and pur- 
chased one hundred and ten acres in section 5, Paw Paw township, 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 673 

to which he has since added twenty acres by another purchase, and 
he now has one of the finest and most valuable bottom land farms 
in the township, as has already been stated, and w^hat it is he has 
made it, using its natural richness and fertility as the base of his 
operations, and making the most of them by intelligent and 
judicious cultivation. He carries on thriving industries in gen- 
eral farming and raising and feeding cattle for the markets. 

On March 3, 1894, Mr. Labadie was married to Mrs. Flora 
(Jacobs) Franklin, a daughter of Lucius C. and Hester Ann 
(Snyder) Jacobs, who came from Indiana to Michigan and lo- 
cated in Van Buren county. They had nine children : Flora, 
now Mrs. Labadie; Ella, the wife of Ernest Ilungerford, of Kala- 
mazoo county; William, who is a resident of Paw Paw; Eugene, 
who lives at Honor in this state ; Thomas, John and Louis, all 
residents of Paw Paw ; Robert, whose home is at La Porte, In- 
diana ; and Myrtle, the wife of 'Gruy Cooper, of Nortli Dakota. 

Mrs. Labadie 's first husband was William B. Franklin, of 
Mantua, Ohio. By her marriage with him she had one child, her 
son Otto C. Franklin, who is now living with her. Since her 
marriage with Mr. Labadie she has become the mother of one 
additional child, their son Paul, who is still living at liome with 
[lis parents and assisting in the work on the farm. 

Mr. Labadie 's deep and abiding interest in the welfare of his 
township and county leads him to ignore partisan considerations 
in local public affairs and act in the bestowal of his sufiPrage in- 
dependently. His primary purpose in reference to all public 
matters is to aid in promoting the best interests of the people 
around him, and he always votes with this object in view and 
for its attainment as far as possible. He does the same with refer- 
ence to all other functions of citizenship, and his independence 
is w^ell known, and he is cordially esteemed for it, as IVe is for 
all the commendable qualities of his sterling and elevated man- 
hood. The people of his township and the county generally re- 
gard him as one of their most upright, reliable and representative 
citizens, and respect him in accordance with this judgment, which 
is based on intimate knowledge of him and his whole career in 
all the relations of life. 

Simon B. Poor. — A venerable and highly respected citizen of 
Van Buren county is Simon B. Poor, who is known from border to 
l)order of this particularly favored section and w^hose career has 
ever been such as to warrant the trust and confidence of the busi- 
ness world, for he has ever conducted all transactions according to 
the strictest principles of honor. He is a native of the state of 
New^ York, his birth having occurred on May 5, 1827, and he is the 
third in a family of eight children, five of w^hom were sons and 
three daughters, born to Daniel and Malinda (Ingersoll) Poor. Of 
this number the subject is the only survivor. 

The father w^as a native of New York and was reared as a me- 
chanic. He received his education in the common schools and in 
the Empire state married. His progenitors were worthy citizens, 
some having been soldiers in the Revolutionary w^ar. In 1846 he 
severed old associations and came w^est, his destination being Keeler 



674 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COIJNTY 

township, Van Buren county. He had previously purchased sixty 
acres in Cass county, where Dowagiac now stands, the present city 
of seven thousand then boasting but a few houses and two small 
stores. He was a Jackson Democrat and always upheld the princi- 
ples of that party. The lineage of the family is traced to England. 
Three brothers came to America and one of them was the ancestor 
of the subject. The subject's mother was a native of New York; 
educated in the common schools and a member of the Congrega- 
tional church. Both Father and Mother Poor are interred in the 
old cemetery at Dowagiac. 

Simon B. Poor w^as reared to young manhood in his native state 
and received his education in one of the old subscription schools. 
He well remembers the crude forms and the text books of that day. 
He came west with his parents by stage. In those primitive times 
deer w^ere plentiful and he remembers an occasion upon which he 
saw a herd of nine deer on the Keeler township farm. Hartford 
was not in existence at that time. The closest market was St. Jo- 
seph, Michigan. Mr. Poor had taken up the trade of a blacksmith 
and conducted a shop with his brother in Keeler township. They 
also had a shop in Hamilton township. The first purchase of land 
made by him was w^hen he bought from his father sixty acres near 
Dowagiac and he went in debt for the same, paying, however, one 
hundred dollars on the house. He lived in a little shack, six or seven 
feet high and covered with rough boards, through which the rain 
often leaked, making it unbearabhi inside. He thought he would 
like to have a new^ house, but had no money and so he went to a 
Mr. Ijybrooks in Dowagiac, w^ho had a large store, and stated his 
case to him. He asked him whether he w^ould sell him material for 
his house on time. Mr. Lybrooks w^alked the floor and considered 
and finally said, "Simon, it's all right. I will sell you what you 
want and you can pay for it when you can." The subject then 
visited the owner of the saw mill and made arrangements to have 
his lumber cut and in a short time the abode w^as erected. He was 
deeply in debt, but by the exercise of industry and thrift finally 
got his head above water. 

Mr. Poor w^as married June 30, 1861, Mrs. Mary E. (Higgins) 
Williams becoming his wife. To them w^ere born four children, 
three sons and one daughter, and two of this number are living. 
Byron W. is a resident of San Antonio, Texas, where he is a con- 
tractor and builder. He has been successful in life, was educated 
in the Cassopolis high school ; is a member of the Oddf ellow^s fra- 
ternity, is affiliated with the Theosophical Society ; and is a Social- 
ist in political opinion. He taught for a time in Michigan and was 
professor of music at Gibbon, Nebraska. The second son, George 
Harold, resides upon the old homestead with his parents. He was 
educated in the Decatur schools, graduating from the higher de- 
partment and is now^ a practical agriculturist and horticulturist. 
He married Miss Ada McAllister on March 28, 1905, and they have 
a young son, Melvin Harold. His wife was born in Van Buren 
county, March 4, 1880, and is a daughter of Eli and Laura (Young) 
McAllister, both of her parents being now deceased. Socially Mr. 
Poor is a member of the Knights of the Maccabees, Tent No. 113, 



HKSTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 677^ 

and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, both of Decatur, 
Michigan. 

The wife of the subject is a native of DeKalb, Indiana, where 
she was born June 18, 1840. She is a daughter of William and 
Nancy (Berry) Higgins. She w^as a little girl, six years of age, 
when her parents came to Cass county and located between Cassop- 
olis and Dowagiac. She was educated in the common schools and 
had the pleasure of attending the old log-cabin schoolhouse, where 
the logs burned in the great fire-place and the pupils sat at a long 
desk at the end of the building. The seats were made of puncheon, 
with holes bored through w^here sticks were inserted for legs. The 
school was supported by subscription. ]\Irs. Poor attended schools 
of this primitive character in both Indiana and Michigan. She 
had many experiences outside of the imagination of the modern 
girl. Once upon a time she saw a deer killing a rattlesnake and she 
has never forgotten it. Both she and her husband in their younger 
(lays enjoyed thc^ old time sports and merry-makings, and attended 
rallys and af)p]e-parings and quiltings. They well remember the 
great Lincoln rnlly in 1864, when Mr. Poor made an iron wedge to 
go in a wagon which was to be drawn in the procession, and some of 
the "Copperheads^' ass(Tted that the wedge split the Union. 

Mr. and Mrs. Poor l)egan life as young married people on the 
little farm near Dowagiac and lived there some years, before they 
sold out and went to reside in Dowagia(\ There the subject worked 
for P. D. Beck with, drill and plow-maker, for four or five years. 
He then came to Van Buren county and purchased one hundred 
acres in south Hamilton township, and after living there six months 
went to Cass county. They sold the one hundred acres and then 
purchased one hundred and tAventy acres in Volina township, Cass 
connty. and there resided five years. He sold that and went to Vo- 
lina Corners and there lived two years, working at his trade of 
blacksmith. He then secured one hundred and twenty acres in 
Penn township and remained there eighteen years. He sold out 
and bought one hundred and fifty acres of fine land in Hamilton 
township, his present estate. He and his family removed to this 
location in 1 898 and they now possess one of the finest farms in the 
tow^nship. 

Mr. Poor is an independent voter, supporting the man rathei* 
than the party. He cast his first presidential vote for Martin Van 
lluren. Both he and his wife are valiant friends of the public 
schools. They are Spiritualists and their home has been the scene 
of many successful seances. Mr. Riley, the well-known medium, is 
a great friend of the Poors. Both Mr. and Mrs. Poor are connected 
with the Hamilton Grange. 

On June 30, 1911, Mr. and ^Irs. Poor celebrated their golden 
wedding at the Grange Hall and the members of the organization 
paid them every honor. They are citizens who are held in highest 
esteem and the record of their useful lives is well worthy of per- 
petuation in this History of Van Buren County, Michigan. 

William H. Gleason. — With all his energies devoted to farm- 
ing in one form or another from his boyhood, and with steady 
progress in his struggle for advancement among men since he 



676 HISTORY OF VAN BUKEN COUNTY 

started out in life for himself, all the result of his own industry 
and ability, William H. Gleason, of Paw Paw township, has fully 
demonstrated that he is sturdy in spirit, sterling in character and 
self-reliant in all his undertakings. He has performed all the 
duties of citizenship, too, with a sole desire for the general wel- 
fare, and in continued efforts to secure the best possible state of 
development and improvement in every way for the locality in 
which he has so long lived and labored. 

Mr. Gleason^s life began in Byron, Genesee county, New York, 
on January 18, 1846, and he came to Michigan in 1865, when he 
was nineteen years old, with his parents, Richard and Sarah 
(Parish) Gleason, also natives of New York state. On their ar- 
rival in this state they located on a farm in Paw Paw township. 
Van Buren county, and there they passed the remainder of their 
days. They had two children, William H. and his younger sister 
Ruth, who has been dead a number of years. 

The son has never left the home of his parents, but has added 
to the extent of the homestead until his farm now comprises one 
hundred acres. For many years he devoted himself to general 
farming, but he now makes a specialty of grape culture, tinding 
his land, which is located in sections 5 and 8, Paw Paw town- 
ship, especially well adapted to this line of production. He has 
studied his industry by reading and reflective observation in 
order to secure the best results, and the extent and success of 
his operations prove that the time he has devoted to the study 
has been well and wisely employed. 

On January 25, 1871, Mr. Gleason united himself in marriage 
with Miss Frances Prater, a daughter of William and Sophia 
(Salt) Prater, who came to Michigan and became one of the lead- 
ing farmers of Van Buren county. They were the parents of 
eleven children, only two of whom are now living, Mrs. Gleason 
and her older brother George, who is also a resident of Paw Paw 
township in this county. The children who have died were: 
William, Susan, James, Maria, Elizabeth, Giles, Julia, Sophia and 
one who passed away in infancy. 

Mr. and Mrs. Gleason have one child, their son Bert, who re- 
sides in Paw Paw township and is engaged in farming and fruit 
growing. (See sketch of him on another page of this volume.) 
Mr. Gleason takes an Earnest interest and an active part in local 
public affairs. His political faith and allegiance are given firmly 
to the Democratic party, but he has never sought or desired a 
public office of any kind. He is also energetic and helpful in all 
undertakings for the improvement of the township and county, 
of his home and the substantial and enduring welfare of their 
people. No duty of citizenship has ever been neglected by him, 
and all who know him esteem him for his fidelity, his sterling 
worth and his elevated and elevating manhood. In church con- 
nection he is a Baptist, and while not ostentatious in his church 
work, he is one of the leading members of the congregation to 
which he belongs, and one of its main reliances in all its com- 
mendable projects for the good of the people. The residents of 
Paw Paw township look upon him as one of their best and most 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 677 

useful and representative citizens, and he is entirely worthy of 
the high regard they have for him. 

Enos E. Hazard. — A native of the state of New York and of 
New England parentage, Enos E. Hazard, of Paw Paw township, 
this county, inherits the traits of a sturdy race and was trained in 
the industry, thrift and frugality of a section of our country re- 
nowned for these qualifications for success among its people. He 
has been alert in accepting his opportunities in life as they have 
come, and with the energy characteristic of his ancestry has been 
zealous in making the most of them. While his success has not 
been striking or spectacular, it has been steady and continued ; and 
while he has not built his fortune to great proportions, he has made 
a comfortable estate for himself and his family, and has done it 
all by his own efforts. 

Mr. Hazard was born in Chenango county. New York, on October 
28, 1838. His father, Charles Hazard, was born in Rhode Island, 
and his mother, whose maiden name was Fanny Brodrick, was a 
native of Massachusetts. Their son, E. E. Hazard, was the first 
born of their six children. Of the others, Dewayne and Sarah are 
deceased ; Charles lives at Decatur in this county ; George is a resi- 
dent of Denver, Colorado ; and Ella M. is the wife of William Bell, 
of Manteno, Illinois. 

At the age of fifteen E. E. Hazard accompanied his parents and 
the rest of the family, as it was then, to Illinois, and remained at 
home helping in the work on the farm until he reached the age of 
twenty-one. He secured a common, country school education, di- 
rected specially to preparing him for usefulness and business suc- 
cess as a farmer, and not looking beyond this. When he was 
twenty-one he took charge of the home farm in association with one 
of his brothers, and they cultivated it in partnership for twelve 
years. At the end of that period his brother retired from the ar- 
rangement, and from then until 1896 he had sole charge of the 
farm. 

In the year last named he came to Michigan and located in Van 
Buren county. For four years he farmed land which he rented, 
then, in 1900^ bought the tract of eighty acres in sections 8, 4 and 5 
which he now owns and lives on. Here he carries on a general 
farming industry, raises some cattle and makes a specialty of fruit, 
which he raises in abundance and fine quality. He gives his per- 
sonal attention to every department of his business, and applies 
his best powers to each with steady regularity and commendable 
intelligence and skill. The result is that he has one of the best 
farms in the township of its size, and every feature of his work 
brings him in good returns. 

On December 30, 1868, Mr. Hazard was married to Miss Mary 
Bell, a daughter of David and Sarah (Cook) Bell, the former a 
native of Scotland and the latter of the state of New York. The 
father came to this country in his youth or young manhood and 
located in Illinois. He was a prosperous farmer there and rose to 
some prominence and influence in his locality. He and his wife be- 
came the parents of three children : Mary, who is now the wife of 

Vol. II— 4 



678 HISTORY OF VAN Bl^REN COUNTY 

Mr. Hazard ; William, who still lives in Illinois ; and Bertina, who 
died a number of years ago. The parents are both deceased. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hazard have tw^o children, their daughters Ella 
S. and Mabel J., both of whom are still members of the parental 
family circle. The father is a Republican in his political faith 
and allegiance, and one of the appreciated workers for the success 
of his party. He has serv^ed the people of his township w^ell and 
faithfully as township clerk, and has long had considerable in- 
fluence among them in party councils and with reference to public 
affairs in general. He is a Presbyterian in church relations and 
one of the leading members of the congregation to which he be- 
longs. 

Lewis P. AValker. — The record of Lewis P. Walker is one of sig- 
nal business ability coupled with a sturdy integrity. He is at the 
head of a manufacturing concern which turns out lumber, hoops, 
headings, barrels, boxes and crates at Hartford, Michigan. Mr. 
Walker was born in Columbiana county, Ohio, February 1, 1862, 
the son of E. J. and Maria (Beck) Walker and the grandson of 
Lewis B. Walker. Lewis B. Walker went to Pennsylvania and at 
Brownsville, Fayette county, married Tamson H. Haynes. He and 
his wife soon after migrated to Columbiana county, Ohio, where 
they settled permanently and became the parents of seven children, 
namely: Ely J., Mary H., two little daughters who died in infancy, 
Abel, Ruth and Joseph. Abel is the only one living in 1911. He 
is a farmer in Logan county, Kansas. Lewis B. AYalker and his 
wife were strict adherents of the Quaker faith and leading mem- 
bers of the Quaker church at Winona, Ohio. 

Lewis P., the grandson of Lewds B. Walker, came with his par- 
ents to Van Buren county, Michigan, at the age of eight years. 
Here his father built a mill three miles north of Hartford, which 
he operated for three years. He then moved it to the village, and 
continued to run it until 1883, in which year he moved it to Keeler 
township. He stayed there for six years and then brought the 
enterprise back to Hartford, and some time afterward took his son, 
Lewis P., into the business as a partner. Since his father ^s death 
Mr. Walker has conducted the business alone. Besides the mill, 
Mr. Walker owns a brick and tile plant in Hartford. 

On November 5, 1896, was solemnized his marriage to Miss Myrta 
Ray, of Hartford, and this union has since been blessed by two 
children, both of them now attending the public schools, — Ruth, 
aged fourteen, and Ray, aged ten. The Walker family attend the 
Methodist Episcopal church, in which Mr. Walker has served as 
trustee and has been active in Sunday-school work. 

Fraternally Mr. Walker is a member of Florada lodge, No. 309, 
Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and of the Order of the East- 
ern Star, of which his wife is also a member. He is also a member 
of Charter Oak Lodge, No. 231, of the Independent Order of Odd 
Fellows, of which lodge he was treasurer for a number of years; 
and of the Order of the Maccabees. Politically Mr. Walker gives 
his allegiance to the men and measures of the Republican party. 
He is a councilman and is at present the treasurer of the school 
board. 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 679 

Dr. a. S. Haskin. — The venerable and venerated physician of 
Lawrence, Dr. Haskin, was born in Moriah, Essex county, New 
York, on September 15, 1827. For the first twenty years of his 
life he led rather an unsettled existence, beginning his wander- 
ings at the age of one year, when his parents moved to Bridport, 
Addison county, Vermont. Six years later they again changed 
their place of residence, going this time to Brockport, Monroe 
county. New York. After another six years the family came west 
to La Grange county, Indiana, going from there to Elkhart 
county in 1843 and then to Cass county, Michigan, in 1848. At 
this time Dr. Haskin was twenty-one years of age and had had 
only a common-school education. 

When the Haskin family settled in Cass county our subject 
began to work for the railroad, the Michigan Central. His work 
was near Dow^agiac, w^hich was then a populous settlement of two 
buildings in the business part, the boarding house and the grocery 
store, and had a residence section which consisted of Patrick 
Hamilton's house and barn, making a grand total of four struc- 
tures. Dr. Haskin worked only a short time here before he be- 
came ill from overwork. During the time . of the sickness his 
parents moved to Lagrange, then called Whitmanville, in Cass 
county. For a year and a half he continued to be ailing and then 
was able to w^ork on the farms in the summers. For a number of 
years he taught school in the w^inters too. On April 9, 1854, he 
was married to Olive, the daughter of Selah and Charity Pickett. 
She died on November 10, 1855, and it w^as then that Dr. Haskin 
began his medical studies in the office of Dr. William E. Clark, 
of Dowagiac. After spending two years in this office, he attended 
the medical school of the State University at Ann Arbor and then 
began his practice. In 1860, on December 17, he w^as united in 
marriage to the wife who is still his companion after fifty years 
and who has been such a help and an inspiration to him through 
all the vicissitudes of this changing scene — Martha Jane McKnight 
Haskin. 

When the Doctor first began to practice he was in partnership 
with Dr. Nelson Rowe, with, whom he remained for about two 
years and since that partnership was dissolved he has practiced 
alone. It was not until Dr. Haskin w^as in his eighty-fourth year, 
in 1910, that he retired from active work in his profession and he 
still prescribes for some of his old patients. 

In the time-honored institution of Masonry Dr. Haskin has at- 
tained considerable honor. He belongs to the lodge of Lawrence 
and also to the Council and Chapter at the same place. He has 
been through the chairs in all of these degrees and several years 
ago w^as master of the lodge for one year. As long as his strength 
permitted he w^as an active worker in the lodge of Lawrence. 

The father of Dr. Haskin was of Scotch descent and his religious 
faith was embodied in the doctrine of the Baptist church. The 
Doctor was brought up in this church but when he became head 
of his ow^n household he joined the Methodist body. He has al- 
ways been a regular attendant upon religious services and one of 
the hardest workers in the church, where he has held the office 



680 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

of trustee for a number of years. His wife, too, is one of the most 
faithful in carrying on the many duties which fall to those who 
keep up the activities of the church. 

It was Dr. Haskin/s privilege to vote for the first Republican 
candidate when the party was organized and he has never varied 
in his allegiance to it. For a few years he held the office of coroner 
in the county and discharged the duties of that office in a manner 
satisfactory. 

Probably the oldest practitioner in the county, Dr. Haskin has 
rendered incalculable service to it; he has brought many of its 
leading citizens into this life and has kept as many others in it 
to finish their work. A doctor may not speak as freely of his work 
as a business man, but none the less his ministrations are known 
in part; they can never be wholly known. Mrs. Haskin is the 
oldest settler in the township, and as she and her husband wait 
in the bright evening of their lives the interest and the affection- 
ate good will of all the county are theirs. Life has been full of 
noble work for them and it continues to be full of zest for them 
and a thing of gladness, and it is the hope of all who know them 
that they may be granted many more years and die young, before 
life has robbed them of one dear illusion. 

Mrs. Grace F. Warren. — The ladies of the nation play a con- 
spicuous part in the historical annals of state and county. Mrs. 
Grace F. Warren, subject of this review, is a woman of marked 
business acumen and activity. Now of Hartford township, she 
is a native of Lewis county. New York, her birth having occurred 
December 14, 1873. She is the younger of two children born to 
Stephen and Jennie (Lambert) Jones, there being an elder brother. 
This brother, Grant Jones, resides in Hartford, Michigan, is an 
agriculturist by vocation and is married. Stephen Jones, father 
of the subject, w^as a native of the Green Mountain state and by 
trade was a sawyer. He traced his progenitors to the little country 
of Wales. The demise of this good man occurred in the year 
1873. The mother was a native of the ''Land of the Lily'' — Bonnie 
France — and was but a child when her parents immigrated to 
America. She has passed the greater part of her life in Michigan 
and is now living in Hartford, a venerable and beloved widow. 

Mrs. Warren, immediate subject of this review, was but a little 
girl when she came to Michigan and the greater part of her life 
has been spent in this state. She received a good practical edu- 
cation in the common schools of Van Buren county. She married 
Hugh E. Warren, a scion of one of the prominent families of Hart- 
ford township. They were wedded April 2, 1889, and Jhere are 
two daughters living of the children born to this marriage. The 
elder, Ruby C, is a graduate from the eighth grade of the public 
schools and the Hartford high school and is a pianist; Pearl B. 
is now a student in the eighth grade. Mrs. Warren will give her 
daughters the benefits of an excellent educational training, fitting 
them for the higher walks of life. 

Hugh E. Warren was born in Van Buren county, August 2, 
1862, and his lamentable demise occurred on January 26, 19Q8. 
He was a successful agriculturist and managed his business af- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 681 

fairs with wisdom and rare tactful administrative dealing. He 
received merely a common school education and demonstrated the 
fact that much success may follow upon strict honesty, energy and 
industry, wisely applied. When the young couple began life it 
was upon the farm upon which the family now reside. This con- 
sists of one hundred and forty acres of land, two miles from Hart- 
ford. When this was first purchased they went in debt for the 
major portion of it. However, with the aid and counsel of his 
estimable wife they succeeded. The estate is now valuable, its 
desirability being enhanced by its beautiful and costly buildings. 
There is a beautiful, modern residence, elegantly furnished, lighted 
by an acetylene plant and furnace-heated. All this accumulation 
has been accomplished through the industry and toil, as well as 
the economy, of Mrs. Warren and her late husband. 

When Mr. Warren passed away in the prime and zenith of his 
manhood, county and township lost a valuable citizen and the home 
a kind and loving father and affectionate husband. In his polit- 
ical affiliation Mr. Warren was a Republican and fraternally he 
was a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. Mrs. Warren 
is a member of the Royal Neighbors, the auxiliary of the Modern 
Woodmen of America. The deceased was well insured in both the 
Modern Woodmen of America and the North Western Life Insur- 
ance Company, indicative of his never-failing thoughtfulness for 
his family. He possessed hosts of friends. 

Mr. Warren's remains are interred in the Maple Hill cemetery, 
where the loving Avife has erected a beautiful monument sacred 
to his memory. 

]\Irs. Warren and her daughters occupy the beautiful estate 
known as Pleasant View Farm, which commands a magnificent 
view of the surrounding country. Their delightful home is the 
abode of hospitality and their many friends are perpetually ex- 
tended a cordial welcome within its portals. 

Frank F. Cutter. — Left to the care of foster parents at the 
age of three^ years by the migratory life of his own father and 
mother, and by the man who adopted him turned over to the care 
of strangers when he was nine, Frank F. Cutter, of Paw Paw 
township, learned early in life to rely on his own resources and 
efforts for advancement in life, and they have been his dependence 
ever since. He has mingled and worked with men in many places 
and under widely differing circumstances, but wherever he has 
been and whatever he has done he has always made his ow^n way 
in the world, and found himself equal to any requirement of his 
situation. He has encountered adversities and faced them bravely. 
He has succeeded in many things, and success has not disturbed 
him. Under all circumstances and in every condition he has gone 
steadily forward, the same self-reliant and resourceful man, secur- 
ing none of Fortune's special favors and asking none, but making 
the most of his opportunities as they have come to him, whether 
weighted with benefits or only lightly laden. 

Mr. Cutter was bom in Indiana, on January 28, 1856, and is 
a son of Robert and Harriet (Morell) Cutter, the former a native 
of Ireland and the latter of Indiana. The father came to the 



682 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

United States when he was eighteen years of age, and proceeded 
at once to Indiana, where he remained four years. At the end 
of that period he moved to Michigan and located for a time at 
Vandalia in Cass county. From this state he went to Vermont, and 
after a short residence in that state, came West again, taking up 
his residence in Nebraska, and there engaging in farming. 

There w^ere three children born in the household: William A., 
who is now living at Marshfield, Missouri; Frank F., the subject 
of this sketch ; and Cyle C, who is a resident of Carlisle, Indiana. 
When he was three years old Frank was adopted by Azel Fuller, 
of Vandalia, Michigan, and during the next six years made his 
home with the family of that gentleman, who lived on a farm which 
the lad helped to cultivate as much as he could. When he reached 
the age of nine the Fuller family moved away and he remained 
with the new tenants of the farm a year and a half longer. He 
then returned to Indiana, and there he remained until he was 
seventeen, attending school when he was able and doing whatever 
he found to do to provide for his livelihood. At the age of seven- 
teen he moved to Nebraska, and in that state he lived two years. 
From Nebraska he went to White Oaks, New Mexico, where he 
secured employment in the mines. While engaged in mining he 
was seriously crippled and unfitted for further usefulness in that 
laborious and hazardous occupation. He therefore determined 
to seek something to do above ground in a well-favored locality, 
and came to Van Buren county, Michigan, for the purpose. 

Since his arrival in this county he has followed farming mainly, 
but has also done considerable work in well driving. In 1889 he 
formed a partnership with Charles H. Butler for carrying on a 
business in the farming implement trade in Paw Paw village. 
While it was interesting to Mr. Cutter, and gave some variety 
and spice to his life, it was not altogether agreeable to him and 
in 1894 the business was sold and the partnership dissolved. Mr. 
Cutter then decided to begin the work of his forefathers and pur- 
chased eighty acres of land, which was then heavily timbered, 
and began the herculean task of clearing this land and getting 
it into a state of cultivation. The vast amount of work which 
w^as necessary to accomplish this can scarcely be conceived, but 
he has demonstrated what can be accomplished, for the con- 
dition of a portion of this land which he has brought into a high 
state of cultivation is a wonderful evidence of what can be done 
in this direction. 

For six years he worked alone and unaided, but in 1910 he was 
joined by his son-in-law, Mr. Gilbert, as noted further on in this 
article. His farm comprises eighty acres and is well improved 
and has been skillfully cultivated ever since it came into his pos- 
session and under his intelligent care. 

On July 4, 1883, Mr. Cutter w^as united in marriage with Miss 
May Wilcox, a native of New York state. They have no children 
of their own, but have reared an adopted daughter, Martha School- 
craft, who is now the wife of Lawrence Gilbert. Mr. and Mrs. 
Gilbert live with Mr. Cutter, and Mr. Gilbert gives him valuable 
assistance in the cultivation of the farm. The Gilberts have one 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 688 

child, their son Laurence, who was born on March 20, 1911, and 
is the light and life of the home. 

In his activity and belief in reference to public affairs Mr. Cutter 
is a Socialist, which necessarily precludes the probability of his 
being elected to a public office at this time, if he desired to have 
one. But he does not. He is eager to see and help to bring about 
such a state of affairs in county, state and nation as will do the 
greatest good for the greatest number, and he has no other am- 
bition with regard to the government, local, state or national. But 
he is interested in the improvement of his locality and always 
ready to do what he can to promote it and give the genius of 
progress which incites its people the wddest sweep and most rapid 
pace the circumstances wall allow. He is in all respects an ex- 
cellent citizen, and is universally esteemed as such wherever he 
is known. 

Charles Austin. — The English colonists who settled America 
brought to the new country the ideals of liberty and enlighten- 
ment and lofty standards of public responsibility, which crystal- 
lized, in the new and trying environment, into those qualities 
which we proudly call typical American. Our debt to England 
did not end with the founding of the thirteen colonies. Contin- 
ually the ranks of our best citizens receive recruits from our cousins 
across the sea and the race from which we sprang adds its un- 
failing steadfastness to our sometimes reckless tendencies. Charles 
Austin is one of Van Buren county's prominent men who was 
born about sixty miles from the greatest city in the world, London. 
Devonshire was his native place and the date of his birth was 
September 13, 1839. He was one of six children born to George 
and Harriet Hurst Austin and is the eldest of the three now 
living. His tw^o sisters are ^Irs. Lazarus Flaherty, of Keeler, where 
her husband is a tinner, and Amelia, the widow^ of William G lea- 
son. She is the mother of one son and three daughters. 

George Austin, the father, was a farmer, born in Devonshire, 
England. In 1841 he decided to bring his family to America and 
after a voyage of fourteen weeks the sailing vessel in which they 
made the trip dropped anchor in New York. It was a grateful set 
of passengers who disembarked from that ship, for the voyage had 
been a stormy one and only the most undaunted hoped ever to 
come safe to port. For two years after their arrival the family 
remained in New York and then came west to Michigan. The 
father purchased two hundred and six acres of land, for six dol- 
lars an acre. At that time not only was the farm unimproved, 
but there was little in the way of improvement in the whole town- 
ship. 

Charles Austin was but a child when his father died and con- 
sequently life has been a hard school for the fatherless boy, w^ho 
was obliged to make his own way in the world. He got little chance 
to go to school but was obliged to spend the most of his time at 
work to make his living. The competence he has acquired is the 
result of his native industry and shrewdness. 

In all his undertakings Mr. Austin has been ably assisted by 
his wife, Laura L. Baylor Austin, to whom he was united on Jan- 



684 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

uary 1, 1865, and who for forty-six years has been his unfailing 
comrade and helper. Mr. and Mrs, Austin are the proud grand- 
parents of three granddaughters. Doris and Majorie Liver- 
meyer, are the children of their daughter Gertrude, whose husband, 
Charles Livermeyer, is a prosperous farmer residing on the Austin 
estate. Harriet Austin is the daughter of Ludwig and Minnie Irish 
Austin, of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Mr. Austin is electrician for the 
state asylum. 

Mr. and Mrs. Austin reside on a fine farm of eighty acres, 
which provides them with an ample income and enables them to 
meet the advancing years without anxiety. They have met and 
conquered the fickle goddess Fortune, who was not always show- 
ering luck upon them. When Mr. Austin bought his first forty 
acres of land he worked by the month for the money to pay for 
it, spending five and a half years in the employ of one man. In 
time he sold the first forty and then bought eighty acres. The 
success which has been his is viewed with pleasure by all who 
know his sterling worth and tireless industry. 

Mr. Austin supports the principles and the policies of the 
Democratic party. He is not unknown to public office, as he has 
been highway commissioner of Keeler township for six years and 
township treasurer for two years. He has filled these posts to 
the satisfaction of all the people and has shown himself a man 
who has the public welfare at heart and works to promote it. 
Mrs. Austin shares in the respect and affection which are ac- 
corded to her husband, not only as his wife, but for her own 
many fine traits of character and for her neighborly kindness. 
The record of the lives of Charles and Laura Austin is one for 
their children to remember with pride and to emulate in their 
own careers. 

Carey Dunham, manager of the Southern Michigan Fruit As- 
sociation, and one of the leading business men of Lawton, has 
for many years been closely identified with the agricultural in- 
terests of Van Buren county, and is the owner of more than 
three hundred acres of valuable farming land. He has won his 
position in the world by his own energy, industry and good man- 
agement, and has always been, since his residence in Lawton, an 
eager promoter of the town's prosperity by all means within his 
power. Mr. Dunham was bom in Lawrence, Michigan, December 
5, 1853, and is a son of Edwin S. and Adelia (Rood) Dunham. 

Mr. Dunham's parents, who were both natives of New York, 
came to Michigan about 1837, and settled as pioneers near the 
village of Plainwell. There Edwin S. Dunham, who was a min- 
ister of the Baptist church, spent the remainder of his life in 
preaching the Gospel, and passed away in 1900, his wife dying 
in 1890. They had four children : Mary, the wife of Chauncey 
Drury, of Lawton ; Carey, of this review ; and William and Silas, 
who are deceased. Carey Dunham received his education in the 
district schools, later attending graded schools, and as a young 
man took up farming. He first purchased forty acres of land, and 
so successful did he become in his operations, that at the time of 
his retirement from farming, In 1899, he owned three hundred 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 685 

acres, a part of which was well improved land. In the year men- 
tioned Mr. Dunham became manager of the Southern Michigan 
Fruit Association, one of the largest institutions of its kind in 
this part of the country, which, under his skilled and experienced 
management had increased the scope of its operations greatly dur- 
ing the past ten years. Mr. Dunham is a man of more than ordi- 
nary business ability, and his many years of experience in fruit 
growing have made him a valuable man for the position he now 
holds. His reputation is that of a man of the highest business 
integrity, and those who have been associated with him in matters 
of a commercial nature will vouch for his fair dealing and sense 
of honor. 

On September 15, 1874, Mr. Dunham was married to Miss Mar- 
tha Ann Barker, daughter of George and Martha Barker, both of 
whom are deceased, and to this union there have been born six 
children : Belle, who married A. G. Dawson, of Lawton ; May, 
who is residing at home; George and Jesse, residents of Lawton; 
Grace, who is deceased ; and Elsie, residing at home. In matters 
of political importance Mr. Dunham lends his support to the Re- 
publican party, and he has served his township as highway com- 
missioner. He and his family are affiliated with the Baptist church. 

Royal R. Knapp. — The present high place which Royal R. Knapp 
holds in the confidence and affection of the county can best be 
explained by a brief sketch of his life, for it is in the actual record 
of his deeds that one may best read of his unswerving honesty, 
kindliness and determined persistence in whatever enterprises he 
has ever undertaken. Born in Wayne township, Cass county, 
Michigan, on June 20, 1859, Royal Knapp was the son of Ezra 
and Alvira (Ramsey) Knapp. The father was a farmer, but at 
one time during his residence in Lawton he was the proprietor 
of a grocery business. His wife has since passed to her eternal 
reward, and he now makes his home with his son Royal, the im- 
mediate subject of this sketch. 

The boyhood of Royal R. Knapp was spent in Cass county, Mich- 
igan, where the family lived until his eighth year. At that time 
he came with them to Lawton and entered the Lawton public 
schools, which he attended until he went to work for himself. At 
an early age he entered the train service of the Michigan Central 
Railroad, and later was made clerk at Paw Paw. After that he 
removed to Hartford, Michigan, and for fourteen years was agent 
for the railroad at that place. By that time he had saved con- 
siderable money, which he determined to invest in a grocery busi- 
ness. Before he entered the grocery business, however, he went 
into the fruit trade and in that venture lost all that he had saved 
in twenty-five years except two hundred dollars. The spirit of 
the man is made apparent when it is known that he was in no 
wise daunted by the unfortunate outcome of his venture but rather 
felt that it was a challenge to renewed vigor and persistence in 
the next project. It is a fact that the groeery business which he 
then started was managed with such success that within four 
years' time he erected his present brick block, where he has car- 
ried on his prosperous business since 1906. 



686 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

On April 9, 1877, Mr. Knapp laid the foundations of the happy 
home life which has been his for so many years by his marriage 
on that date to Miss Eva Cushman, who has since been to him an 
ideal helpmeet and congenial companion. To her counsel and 
companionship Mr. Knapp attributes in a large measure the suc- 
cess of his various undertakings. They are the parents of one 
child, a daughter Rosa M., who has graduated from the Hartford 
high school, and now makes her home with her parents. 

Mr. Knapp has attained prominence and distinction in fraternal 
circles. He is a member of Plorada Lodge, No. 309, Ancient Free 
and Accepted Masons, and of Lawrence Chapter, No. 95, Royal 
Arch Masons, and Council No. 43, R. & S. M., and S. E. M. 

In the field of politics Mr. Knapp conforms to the Democratic 
view on national issues, but in local situations he has the broad 
attitude which overlooks party lines in an effort to get the greatest 
good for the greatest number, freely deciding what is best in every 
situation. 

Glenn S. Easton. — Although he has lived in many places and 
mingled freely with the residents of them all, manifesting a cordial 
interest in their welfare and contributing to their advancement 
by every means at his command, Glenn S. Easton, of Lawrence, 
this county, has devoted all his years since leaving school to one 
line of effort, that of newspaper work, with which he has been 
connected in large cities and several small ones, in this state and 
New York. He has lived in Lawrence and been the editor and 
publisher of the Lawrence Times only two years. But even in 
that short period he has won a high place in the regard of the 
people as a capable and straightforward newspaper man and a 
wide-awake, enterprising and progressive citizen. 

Mr. Easton was born in Union City, Branch county, Michigan, 
on February 19, 1878, and is a son of the late Major D. J. and 
Delia (Stowe) Easton, the former a native of Elmira, New York, 
and the latter of Coldwater, Michigan. They were the parents 
of seven children, four of whom are living : Ora C. ; Glenn S. ; 
Elva, now the wife of H. R. Robedee; and Lynn. The father 
passed a portion of his boyhood in his native city, and was brought 
from there to Michigan by his parents while he was yet young. 
The family located in Coldwater, Branch county, this state, and 
there he grew to manhood and obtained a part of his education, 
completing it at some college in the East, from which he was grad- 
uated after a full course of academic instruction. 

The parents were pioneers in Branch county and took a hearty 
interest in the progress and development of that portion of the 
state. When the Civil war began the young man and future mil- 
itary hero of the family was living at Sturgis in St. Joseph county, 
and was editing the Sturgis Journal, which was published in that 
city. Prior to this he had shown a very strong support of the 
principles of the Republican party and taken a great interest in 
its campaigns. His zeal and fidelity in its behalf brought him a 
reward in the form of an appointment as internal revenue collector 
for the district in which he lived, and he filled the office with great 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 687 

acceptability to the government at Washin^on and the people of 
the district as well. 

In 1860, when the sectional war cloud became very ominous and 
gave unmistakable signs of bursting with fury over the country, 
he was impelled by his strong sense of patriotic duty to oppose 
the dismemberment of the Union and raised a company of volun- 
teers for the purpose of aiding in defending it from that disaster. 
He went to the field as captain of his company, and remained with 
it to the end of the sanguinary contest, being promoted major for 
gallantry in battle and the capacity and faithfulness he showed 
in other work in the service. The regiment with which he was 
connected suffered severely in the war. He was severely wounded 
at the battle of Resaca, and in all received nine bullet wounds. 
He was taken prisoner and was confined in Libby prison for several 
months. 

After his discharge from the army he returned to Coldwater, and 
during the next two years he published the Coldwater Repuhli- 
can. At the end of the period mentioned he sold his interests 
in the Coldwater Republican and moved to Union City, where he 
founded and for twenty-eight years published the Union City 
Register. He died in the harness, working on this paper, in Au- 
gust, 1900, and then for one year and a half his son Glenn edited 
and published it. The Major was postmaster of Union City six- 
teen years, and represented that town in the state legislature one 
term. 

Glenn S. Easton was reared and received a high school educa- 
tion in Union City, a year in Albion college following, and after 
leaving school he took up his residence in Detroit. As he had 
l)een trained in newspaper work under the direction of his father, 
he determined to devote himself to that line of endeavor. He 
worked on the Detroit Free Press, then on the Buffalo (New York) 
Daily Courier. From Buffalo he returned to Union City and took 
charge of his father's paper when death ended the labors of that 
gentleman, as has been already noted. He was connected with 
other papers for a time after leaving the Union Register, then 
for four years he published the News at Onstead in Lenawee county. 
In 1909 he located at Lawrence, Van Buren county, where he has 
ever since been publishing the Lawrence Times. 

On August 17, 1910, Mr. Easton was united in marriage with 
Miss Lucile Hess, a daughter of S. M. and Jennie (Ridlon) Hess, 
of Lawrence. One child has been born of the union, Edwin Paul 
Easton, whose life began on August 16, 1911. Mr. Easton be- 
longs to the Masonic fraternity and the Independent Order of Odd 
Fellows, holding his membership in the former in the lodge at 
Ousted and in the latter at the one in Lawrence. He and his wife 
are members of the Congregational church, and in political rela- 
tions he is a firm and faithful member of the Republican party. 
To all the duties of citizenship he is steadfastly attentive, and 
to every commendable enterprise for the good of his community 
and county he gives ardent and intelligent support, both through 
the columns of his paper and by his personal influence and help- 
ful services. He is appreciated throughout the county as one of 
its best and most progressive citizens, and is fully deserving of 



688 HISTORY OP VAN BUREN COUNTY 

the rank in this respect so cheerfully and readily bestowed on 
Wm by the estimate of the people in whose service he is laboring. 

George Milton Harrison.— Doubly orphaned at the age of one 
vear by thf death of both his father and his mother, who were vic- 
tims of an epidemic of spinal meningitis which raged with great 
Sncetn the city of their home in 1847, George M Harrison of 
?aw Paw where he has been engaged in general merchandising dur- 
fng theTaXforty-six years, passed the greater part of his boyhood 
under the shadoi of this great bereavement, and was forced by it 
to begin the battle of life for himself at a very early age^ 

Mr Harrison was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on June 4, 1846 
and was [he last born of the thirteen fil^ren of Benjamin and 
Jane (Stillwell) Harrison, and one of two of them who are still 
living The father was a native of Virginia, born January 21, 1799, 
and he died December 13, 1847, aged forty-eight years, ten months 
and tweXtwo days, and the mother's life began m Maryland 
May 1M804, and Ihe died December 13, 1847, on the same day as 
he father aged forty-four years, seven months and one day. They 
werrmarried on February 21, 1822, and moved to Prairie Ronde, 
Iw sSolcraJt" Michigan^ in 1830, -d remained the^^^ yea^^ 
Tn October 1834, they changed their residence to Kalamazoo, wnicn 
was then Called' Bronson, and there they met their tragic fate 
which hSrried them out of the world in the prime of hfe ^fd M* 
Thdr hXlei offspring to the mercy of whatever fate might befall 
them Botrdkd in 1847, during a destructive epidemic of spina 
me^ndtis as has been stated, the disease being of the most violent 
Spea?dsWeepTng hundreds .^f the residents of Kalamazoo and the 
^^nrronndine country into their graves. 

Thrfalhfr was a millwright of skill and ability, and wrought m- 
dultriouiy It his trade during all the years of his manhood until 
Ms uSely death. He and his wife --Jhe parents ot thirteen 
children: Joseph, who was born on September 6, 1822, and died i„ 
October, 1824; Skuy or Sarah, who came int<) being on Augjt 30 
1894 ffrew to womanhood, became the wife of Liberty H. liaiiey, oi 
Soutii^Hrven, and died in 1868, at the age of forty-four; Nancy 
whose Ufe began on April 3, 1826, who became the wife of W^er 
Russell, of Decatur, this state, and who died i« /^f ' ^^n.^^^X' 
who w^ born on March 26, 1828, and died July 3, 1830 , John 
Strang? w2"e life began on March 4, 1830, and e-^ed ^'^ .^ecem- 
1 lonk. T^milv Tane who lived from February 5, 1832, to Ucto- 
5 S; .''nd"^.sTe :«, of John Simmon, of Santt B„b.ra 
Oaliforni4- Henry, who was born on September 26, 1833, and diea 
FebrX 16 1834; Lucinda, who was born on November 9, 1834 
f eoruary iu, -loo , Ricelow of Allington township, this 

became the .^/f .«*i854 hS whcSe life extended from March 
S'Sv'to 1893 Tnd wt; w^fhe wife of Joseph R.. Bonebright, of 

SnsSine,'MTchtgan; Charlotte, -ho -me-? ^^u! Big'^W 
16 1839, and who is still living and the wife of ^^^^^'l^^f^^'^'^A^ 
UZnee, this county ; Arvilla, who was born on Novemb^ 4, mO 
and is the wife of Jefferson Archer, of South Haven , J ames maai 
son, who was born on September 3, 1842 and died May 18, 1844; 
and George M., the immediate subject of this review. 











GEDRGE M. HARRISON 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 689 

At the age of fourteen Mr. Harrison took up his residence with 
his brother-in-law, Mr. Russell of Decatur, with whom he found a 
home for four years. In March, 1864, he secured a position as 
clerk and salesman in a general store in Constantine, with which 
he was connected for a year and a half. Then, in 1865, on October 
1, he arrived in Paw Paw to take a position in the store of E. Smith 
& Company. From the clerkship which he then accepted and was 
glad to get, he rose by demonstrated merit and capacity to mem- 
bership in the firm, and is now the only survivor of those who com- 
posed it when he went into it. His residence in the city and his 
service to the people in mercantile channels has extended over a 
period of forty-six years, and now all classes of the population re- 
spect him highly, and those who know him well have the most cor- 
dial esteem for him. 

Mr. Harrison was married July 23, 1871, to Miss H. Ella Fra- 
ley, and by this union became the father of five children, four of. 
whom are living: Julia H., who was born in 1874, and is the wife 
of Rev. A. J. Holland, of Owosso, Michigan; Jessie G., who was 
born in 1876, and is the wife of Thomas J. Cavanaugh, a promi- 
nent attorney of Paw Paw ; Edmund S., who was born on November 
30, 1877, and has his home in Paw Paw; and Besse M., who was 
born on May 28, 1881, and resides in Paw Paw. 

Mr. Harrison married a second time, April 2, 1892, being united 
on this occasion with Miss Maud Cornell. They have had four 
children, two of whom are living: Doane C, of Paw Paw, who is 
a graduate of the high school; and Thomas Cavanaugh, who was 
born in 1901. Geraldine and Rex Milton died in infancy. The 
two sons who are living still have their home with their parents. 

Although his father was a Whig and he was reared under cir- 
cumstances of strong bias toward the tenets of his father's party 
in political affairs, Mr. Harrison is a Democrat in his own politi- 
cal faith and allegiance. His religious connection is with the 
Baptist church, and he is one of the most loyal and serviceable 
members of the congregation to which he belongs. In addition 
to the duties of his business he takes an interest in other matters 
involving the welfare of his community and does his part toward 
promoting it in every way open to his efforts. For years he has 
been the vice president of the First National Bank of Paw Paw, 
and connected with other enterprises of value in service to the 
people and in helping to advance the progress and prosperity of 
the city and county in which he lives. 

Charles G. Hall, proprietor of the only agricultural implement 
establishment in the southeastern part of Van Buren county, lo- 
cated in the village of Lawton, and one of the most progressive and 
enterprising business men of his community, has resided in Lawton 
all of his life and is well and favorably known to its citizens. 
His birth occurred in Lawton September 5, 1867, and he is a son 
of A. J. and Mary (Lee) Hall, the former a native of New York 
and the latter a Southerner by birth. 

A. J. Hall came to Michigan when he was a lad of seven years, 
was educated in the district schools, and grew up on the farm of 
his parents in Plymouth. He was reared to agricultural pursuits. 



690 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

which he followed throughout his life and became a well known 
and successful farmer. He and his wife had three children: 
Charles G. ; Hattie, w^ho is the wife of Calvin Kinney, of Porter 
township; and R^ed, a resident of Seattle, Washington. Charles 
G. Hall's education was obtained in the district schools in the 
vicinity of his father 's farm and in the Lawton high school, which 
he attended for one year, and in 1891 he established himself in 
the restaurant business, continuing therein for one and one-half 
years. At this time, seeing the opportunity to better himself in a 
different field, Mr. Hall entered the agricultural implement busi- 
ness in Lawton, starting in a small way and gradually increasing 
his stock until he now conducts one of the important enterprises 
of his section. His establishment filled a long needed want, and 
the farmers of this part of the county were quick to realize the 
advantages offered in being able to purchase their machinery close 
at hand instead of having to send a great distance for it or make 
extended trips to look over stock. Naturally Mr. Hall's business 
has steadily grown, and he now represents some of the leading 
implement houses of the country, among which may be mentioned 
the Syracuse and International Harvester Companies, located at 
Chicago, and the John Deer Plow Works and Studebaker Brothers 
of South Bend, Indiana. Progressive ideas, enterprising methods 
and faithful and conscientious work, backed by inherent business 
ability, have made ]\Ir. Hall one of the substantial men of Lawton, 
and his honest dealings have won him the confidence and patron- 
age of the countryside. 

On April 17, 1890, Mr. Hall was married to Miss Jennie Gib- 
son, daughter of Hugh and Mary (Cummings) Gibson, Mrs. Hall's 
parents had the following children : Jennie ; William ; Mattie, 
married and living in Los Angeles, California; Robert, of Chi- 
cago ; Fred, residing in Lawton ; Maud, the wife of Mancil Hough, 
of Lawton; Belle, of California; and Harry, residing in Lawton. 
Mr. Hall is a Republican in politics, and has served for two years 
as township clerk and as a member of the board for three years. 
Fraternally he is connected with the Masons, the Knights of 
Pythias, the Elks and the Modern Woodmen. With his family 
he attends the Methodist Episcopal church. 

Harry A. Martin. — Well educated academically for almost any 
calling in life, nerved by nature for arduous effort in any depart- 
ment of useful labor that may enlist his interest or engage his 
faculties, and trained to skill by continued practical experience 
in several lines of work, Harry A. Martin, one of the leading 
merchants of Lawrence, this county, and head of the firm of Mar- 
tin Brothers & Company, has made good use of his endowments, 
acquisitions and opportunities, and given Van Buren county one 
of its most impressive examples of progressive citizenship. 

Mr. Martin is a native of this county, born in Paw Paw town- 
ship, where his life began on December 2, 1865. His parents, 
Oscar and Henrietta (Smith) Martin, were farmers during their 
years of activity, and energetic and prosperous in their work. 
Oscar Martin was born, reared to the age of thirteen and partially 
educated in the state of New York. He is a son of Harry and 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 691 

Emily (Hungerford) Martin, also natives of New York, where 
they were married and all their offspring were born. When their 
son Oscar was thirteen years old they moved to Michigan and 
located near Paw Paw in Van Buren county, and here Oscar grew 
to manhood and completed his education. Here also he was mar- 
ried, and has passed all his subsequent years, except during three 
of the Civil war which he passed in the army. 

When that memorable contest burst with all its fury on our 
unhappy country in 1861, he enlisted in Company C, Third Mich- 
igan Cavalry, and in this company he served until late in 1864. 
His regiment was kept most of the time in the West, and was 
part of the army of General Grant for a time and afterward in 
that of General Rosecrans. It saw a great deal of very active 
service and considerable fighting of the hardest kind, and Mr. 
Martin took part in all its engagements with the enemy and all 
its other work. 

After his discharge from the army Mr. Martin returned to liis 
father ^s home, and soon afterw^ard was married. He and his wife 
became the parents of two children: Their son Harry A., the 
subject of this brief memoir, and their daughter Nellie, who is 
still living at home w^ith them in Lawrence, they having moved 
to the township of Lawrence in 1882. The father is now (1911) 
seventy-three years of age, and the mother is seventy years of age. 

Harry A. Martin remained at home with his parents until he 
was seventeen, working on the farm and attending school in Paw 
Paw^ township, and then moved with them to Lawrence township, 
where he assisted in the farm work three years longer. In 1885, 
after his graduation from the Lawrence high school, which oc- 
curred that year, he began teaching school in the winter and at- 
tending the State Agricultural College during the rest of the year, 
until he completed its full four years' course of instruction in 
1889. On October 16 of that year he was united in marriage with 
Miss Eva C. Sheldon, a daughter of Julian and Melvina (Wallace) 
Sheldon, of Paw Paw township, and during the first year of his 
married life he still remained on the farm with his father and 
worked under his direction, but continued teaching two winters 
more. 

His next move was into mercantile life, but after a trial of ten 
years and a half in that, as clerk in a store in Lawrence, he returned 
to farming. For this purpose he bought a farm in Lawrence town- 
ship, which he cultivated for six years, but lived in the village of 
Lawrence during the whole of that period. Since the beginning 
of this year (1911) he and his sons have had entire ownership 
and control of the store in Lawrence which they are now conduct- 
ing, and which they bought just before they took charge of it. 
They are making this one of the most complete and satisfactory 
mercantile establishments of its kind in the county, and rapidly 
building up its trade to large proportions and strengthening and 
widening its hold on the confidence and good will of the people 
throughout the surrounding country for many miles in every 
direction. 

Mr. and Mrs. Martin have had six children, all of whom are 
living and still members of the parental family circle. They are : 



692 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Marguerita G., who is a graduate of the Lawrence high school and 
the State Normal College in Kalamazoo; Rex S. and Robert D., 
who are also graduates of the Lawrence high school, and are now 
associated in business with their father ; Roscoe J. and Ruth, who 
are attending school at present; and Wayne 0., who will begin 
going to school in 1912. 

Mr. Martin has long been prominent in the Masonic order. He 
belongs to Rising Sun Lodge, No. 119, at Lawrence, and served 
as its Worshipful Master five years. He also holds membership 
in a Royal Arch Chapter and a Council of Royal and Select Masters 
in the order, and has occupied the leading offices in each. He 
was High Priest of the Chapter several years, and is at this time 
(1911) Thrice Illustrious Master of the Council. In politics he 
is a Democrat, and has served as township clerk at various times, 
as a member of the village council, and two years as its president. 
He was also a member of the school board for nine years in suc- 
cession. His ancestors were English, Irish and Scotch in their 
nationalities, and he has exhibited in his highly creditable career 
the best attributes of the citizenship of each of the countries from 
which they hailed. In Van Buren county he is regarded as a 
leading and thoroughly representative citizen. 

John Martin Klett. — It is always gratifying to true citizens 
of this Republic to note the readiness of many men, born under 
foreign flags, to become loyal and patriotic supporters of the 
United States Government when they adopt this country as their 
home. This can never be misconstrued as an act displaying lack 
of fidelity to their native land, for which they must always hold 
the warmest affection, but it is evidence that they are men who 
recognize their duty as citizens in common with the native-born 
of the Republic, and do not hesitate to perform it. One of these 
representative men now living in Keeler township. Van Buren 
county, served faithfully in the Union army during the Civil 
war, and is now living in quiet retirement, his many years of in- 
dustrious labor having brought him a comfortable competence. 
John Martin Klett was born in Wittenberg, Germany, April 15, 
1832, a son of Christopher and Katherine (Nagel) Klett. Mr. 
Klett has one brother, Christopher, for thirty years a wagon 
maker and now an agriculturist of Whitehall, Michigan, the four 
other children of his parents being deceased. 

Christopher Klett, father of John M., was a native of Wit- 
tenberg, Germany, was reared and educated in the Fatherland, 
and left his native country only for a short time when he made 
a visit to America. He and his wife both died in the old coun- 
try in the faith of the Lutheran church, of which they were de- 
vout, life-long members. 

John Martin Klett was a young man of nineteen years when 
he boarded a sailing vessel from Havre, France, and six weeks 
later he landed at New York city, from whence he made his way 
to Rochester. He then located in Monroe county. New York, and 
for three years worked by the month, and after coming to Keeler 
township, Van Buren county, Michigan, he continued to be thus 
employed until his enlistment, December 30, 1863, in Company I, 



HISTORY OF \^AN BUREN COUNTY 693 

Nineteenth Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry, which was 
assigned to the Twentieth Corps of the Army of the Cumberland, 
and he continued in the service until the close of the war. Under 
the command of ''Fighting Joe'' Hooker the regiment participated 
in the battles of Resaca, Carrville and Dollys Woods, at which 
latter battle Mr. Klett fell, badly wounded in the hip by a grape 
shot one inch in diameter. This shot, which was cut from his hip 
by the surgeon, is still in Mr. Klett 's possession. He was disabled 
from May 25, 1864, until April 1, 1865, when he was transferred 
to the Veteran Reserve Corps, at Johnson's Island, Sandusky, Ohio, 
' ^pre he was kept until his honorable discharge, July 23, 1865, 
although he was ahvays desirous of rejoining his regiment. For 
this brave and faithful service Mr. Klett now receives a pension 
of twenty dollars a month, although it might seem as though a 
grateful country could afford to reimburse its defenders to a little 
greater extent, especially when they have endured such suffering 
as fell to Mr. Klett 's lot. On his return to Michigan, ^Ir. Klett 
resumed the civilian's garb, and shortly thereafter purchased sev- 
enteen acres of land in Keeler township, later adding tracts of 
forty and sixty acres, and during the remainder of his active life 
he followed agricultural pursuits, proving just as good a citizen 
in times of peace as he was a soldier during times of war. Polit- 
ically a Republican, he cast his first presidential vote for the 
Martyred President Lincoln, and he has served as township treas- 
urer for two years and as school director for nine years, both he 
and his wife being active friends of and hard workers in the 
cause of education. An honored member of Gilbert Post, G. A. R., 
at Dowagiac, Michigan, Mr. Klett has been as popular with his 
comrades as he has been esteemed and respected by his fellow 
citizens, and in every walk of life he has proven himself an up- 
right, law-abiding and public-spirited citizen. 

On February 2, 1862, Mr. Klett was married to Miss ]\Iary 
Klett, in Berrien county, Michigan, she was born in Wurtemburg, 
Germany, July 81, 1844, and came to the United States when 
thirteen years of ag(^. She is a prominent member of the Evan- 
gelical Association. Mr. and Mrs. Klett have been the parents 
of seven children, of whom six still survive. 

William Bennett. — As a sterling citizen who has the interest 
of the whole community at heart, a veteran of the great Civil 
war, and as one of the leading hardware merchants, a progressive 
and thoroughly honest business man, has William Bennett, of Hart- 
ford, won the respect and friendly regard of Van Buren county. 
He holds high place among those whose industry and unselfish in- 
terest have laid the foundations of a general prosperity. Mr. 
Bennett was born in Columbiana county, Ohio, on August 16, 1841, 
the son of Samuel and Ruth (Hannum) Bennett. The father was 
a native of Chester county, Pennsylvania, the son of James Ben- 
nett, well known in that part of the state. Samuel Bennett and 
his wife were quiet, unassuming people, who lived and died in the 
state of Ohio. They were the parents of five children, two of whom 
are living at this date, 1911. Caroline became Mrs. Joshua Whin- 
ery. She died, and her husband has since remarried and become 



694 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

the father of a family. Ruth was united in marriage to Hiram 
Cameron, and her sister Anna married Joseph Whinery. Lee 
Bennett is deceased. William Bennett was raised on his father ^s 
Ohio farm, and educated in the local schools and academy. Be- 
fore his school days were over the war cloud that had cast its 
shadow over the nation for so many years finally broke, and the 
country became *'the North'' and ''the South." William Ben- 
nett at once enlisted in Company I, Nineteenth Ohio Volunteer 
Infantry, the date being in October, 1860. He was appointed a 
non-commissioned officer, and was later promoted to the rank of 
orderly surgeon. He was in the Army of the Cumberland and 
was present at twenty-three engagements. In all his active serv- 
ice he was never wounded and was mustered out in December, 1865. 
He is now the recipient of a monthly pension of seventeen dollars 
in recognition of his gallant and faithful service. 

At the close of the war Mr. Bennett returned to Ohio, and was 
there engaged in farming until his removal, in 1870, to Van Buren 
county, Michigan. In 1867 he was united in marriage to Miss 
Pheniah Beatty, the daughter of Mahlan Beatty. Mrs. Bennett 
was born in Carlton, Carroll county, Ohio, where she attended 
school until her eighteenth year. As a wife she has shown her- 
self a capable helpmeet, a cheery companion and a tender mother. 
She was a member of the Order of Eastern Star lodge of Hartford, 
and of the Hartford Ladies Club, of which she was several times 
an office-holder. Upon his advent in Hartford, Mr. Bennett pur- 
chased a stock of hardware. He now owns his place of business, 
and through his careful management has achieved a large patron- 
age. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are the parents of two sons: Eugene 
B., born July 23, 1870, was educated in the public schools and 
later attended a business college. He married Miss Alice L. Bab- 
bolt, and has since become the father of two children, Eugene B., 
Jr., aged nine, and Alice L., aged six. Their mother is an 
Episcopalian. Eugene Bennett is a member of Florada Lodge, No. 
309, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and of the Benevolent 
and Protective Order of Elks, lodge No. 544, at Benton Harbor. 
George W., the second Bennett son, was born in March, 1873, at 
Hartford, Michigan. He is both a Mason and an Elk; he married 
Miss Mary O'Brien, of Lansing. 

William Bennett is a member of Charter Oak lodge, No. 231, 
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in wiiich he is a past noble 
grand. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and 
is a past commander of his post. He had the honor to be the 
first commander of Elsworth post. In the field of politics Mr. 
Bennett is found under the standard of the Republican party. He 
has served as village president, and as township clerk and treas- 
urer, and for five years under the McKinley and Roosevelt admin- 
istrations held to the eminent satisfaction of all the postmaster- 
ship of Hartford. Mr. Bennett well deserves the esteem and af- 
fection in which he is held by all who know him. 

Frank L. Spencer. — The treasurer of Lawrence township was 
born in Van Buren county, Antwerp township, on December 10, 
1851. His parents had been married eleven years before and had 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 695 

come to Michigan to begin their wedded life. The father, William 

B. Spencer, was a native of Connecticut and the mother, Nancy 
A. Borden Spencer, of New York. There were two other children 
in the family besides Frank L. These are Mary, the widow of D. 

C. Rush, and Edith, the widow of David E. Hinman. The family 
resided in Antwerp township for about fifteen years and then 
they went to St. Joseph county, Indiana, where they lived for 
about twenty-four years before returning to this county. In 1875 
they bought a farm in Lawrence township and lived there until 
they died. William Spencer passed away in January, 1891, and 
his w^ife in August, 1889. 

Frank Spencer attended the district school near his father's 
farm in St. Joseph county, Indiana, and then the graded school 
of New Carlisle and that of South l^end, where he was in the 
high school. After this he worked for his father and on New 
Year's day of 1874 was married to Edith E. Stryker, of Berrien 
county, Michigan. She was born in the state of New York on 
April 8, 1855, the daughter of G. C. and A. S. Chamberlain Stry- 
ker, both of New^ York state. Mrs. Spencer has lived in Michi- 
gan since she was ten and was educated in the district schools of 
Berrien county. There were three children born to her and Mr. 
Spencer: Albert E., born December 12, 1877, Carrie M., in 1883, 
and Edna L. in 1885. All attended the Lawrence schools and the 
girls both graduated from the high school. Edna is now a ste- 
nographer in South Bend, Indiana. The son is a member of the 
Independent Order of the Odd Fellow^s and of the Knights of the 
Maccabees, to both of which lodges his father belongs. In the for- 
mer organization Frank Spencer is treasurer of the Shady Grove 
lodge. No. 499. In the Maccabees his tent is No. 205, and he is 
secretary of the lodge. 

In politics Mr. Spencer is a loyal Democrat and, although the 
township is predominantly Republican, he was elected treasurer, 
from which fact one may deduce the correct conclusion that he is 
a man of unusual personal popularity and high ability. No man 
stands higher in the esteem of his fellow citizens and his affable 
manner wins him an easy liking which closer acquaintance deepens 
into regard. 

His farm of eighty acres on sections twenty and twenty-one is 
a flourishing and profitable estate, conducted on modern principles 
and, like its owners, representative of the best of the country. 

Edw^in S. Douglas. — Although a resident of Lawrence, Mich- 
igan, only during the last seven years, and unostentatious and re- 
tiring in his life during that period, Edwin S. Douglas, now one 
of the prominent and successful real estate dealers in this part 
of the state, has w^on his way to a high place in the confidence and 
regard of the people, and has shown at every step of his progress 
that he is fully entitled to their faith in him and the generous 
manner in which they manifest it, both in patronage for his busi- 
ness and in esteem for his manhood and citizenship. 

Mr. Douglas brought to the service of his interests in this county 
acquisitions secured in the great Empire state, in which he was 
born and reared, and with whose business he was connected in an 



696 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

important way for many years. He was born in Delhi, Delaware 
county, New York, on August 12, 1864, and is the son of Robert 
and Frances (Sheldon) Douglas, also natives of the state of New 
York, the father of Scotch ancestry and the mother descended 
from an English family long resident in New York state. 

Robert Douglas was the son of Adam and Jennie Douglas, na- 
tives of Aberdeen, Scotland, who were reared, educated and mar- 
ried in the old country, but came to the United States at an early 
date, and located in New Kingston, Delaware county. New York, 
where their son Robert was born, grew to manhood and w^as edu- 
cated, graduating at the end of his course of academic instruc- 
tion from the Delaware Academy at Delhi, New York, the curric- 
uhim of which he went through from beginning to end. After 
his graduation from this institution, having no desire to follow 
in the footsteps of his ancestors for many generations in tilling 
tlie soil, he entered mercantile life as the proprietor of a general 
store, which he conducted for ten years. From general merchan- 
dising he turned to the wholesale clothing trade, with his estab- 
lishment located in Albany, New York, where he remained five 
years carrying on an active business and winning an excellent repu- 
tation as a man and merchant. From Albany at the end of the 
period named he moved to Chicago, and in that city also engaged 
in the clothing trade, remaining until 1894. He then moved to 
Montague, Muskegon county, in this state, where he died the same 
year and where his wadow died in 1898. 

Their son, Edwin S. Douglas, was their only child. He moved 
to Chicago with his parents in 1875. There he attended school 
until 1884, when he engaged in the real estate business. In 1904 
he moved to Lawrence in this county, and here he has ever since 
been actively and extensively engaged in handling real estate. He 
is one of the best known and most esteemed men in the business 
in this part of the state, and his judgment is always relied on 
by purchasers and sellers who are familiar with his ability and 
his complete and accurate knowledge of properties and their values, 
as to which he is a widely accredited authority. He has been en- 
gaged in the handling of IMichigan real estate for the past twenty 
years. 

Mr. Douglas was married on February 22, 1887, to Miss Mary 
M. Power, a daughter of Colonel John M. and Lydia A. Power, 
('olonel Power was a valiant soldier for the cause of the Union 
during the Civil war, and won his title and military rank in that 
memorable contest, entering the army from New Castle, Pennsyl- 
vania, and making an excellent record in one of the hard-fighting 
regiments enrolled in that state. 

' Mr. Douglas and his wife are members of the Episcopal church, 
holding their membership in one of the congregations in Chicago. 
He is a Free Mason, belonging to Rising Sun Lodge, No. 119, at 
Lawrence in this fraternity, and he also belongs to Chicago Lodge, 
No. 4, of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. 

His great-grandfather on his mother's side of the house was 
Corporal Job Sheldon in the Revolutionary war and one of the 
faithful soldiers who captured Major Andre, the British spy, 
during that struggle for liberty and independence. The grand- 



HISTOEY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 697 

father of Mr. Douglas was also a man of prominence and influence 
in Delaware county, New York, where he passed the greater part 
of his life, and where he served as county clerk for twenty-four 
consecutive years. Mr. Douglas also takes an active interest in 
public affairs, but only in the performance of the duties of citizen- 
ship and with no aspiration toward public office or prominence 
in the affairs of any political party. He and his wife stand well 
in the county, and are regarded as most worthy, estimable and 
useful citizens. 

Silas A. Breed. — The world instinctively and justly renders 
deference to the man whose success in life has been worthily 
achieved, who has attained a competence by honorable methods 
and whose high reputation is solely the result of preeminent 
merit. Such a man is Silas A. Breed, a prominent farmer and 
fruit-grower of Almena township, whose valuable and highly im- 
proved estate of one hundred and twenty acres is situated in 
sections 7 and 8, his pleasant residence being in the former sec- 
tion. His is the remarkable record of having lived on the same 
farm nearly all his life, to which he came as a baby two years 
of age. 

Mr. Breed is a native son of the Wolverine state, his birth 
having taken place in Antwerp township, Van Buren county, on 
December 11, 1848, his parents being Silas and Mary Ann Jones 
(Miller) Breed. The father was born in New Hampshire and 
resided until he became of age in that state. He then removed 
to the Empire state, where he settled and where he was married 
to his first ^dfe, whose name was Nancy Bangs. They lived in 
New York until 1835. at which time four children had been 
born to them. After the birth of their son Joshua, they came to 
the newly opened state of Michigan, and located first at Breeds- 
ville, where the head of the house erected a mill. A few years 
later he removed to a point just east of Paw Paw, on the old 
territorial road. Here be rented land and resided for two years, 
previous to taking tbe Elden-Gillman farm, where he lived for 
five years. It was subsequent to that, that he removed to the 
farm upon which his son, the subject, now resides, and there the 
elder gentleman passed the remainder of his days, his demise 
occurring on May 7, 1878. Three children were born to him and 
his good wife, all of whom survive at the present time. Nancy 
B. is the wife of George W. Meyers and Ermine is the wife of 
J. H. Bennett, of Boyne City in northern Michigan, Dr. Bennett 
being a practicing physician and surgeon. 

Silas A. Breed is indebted to the district schools for his educa- 
tion. Within the walls of the district school-room he pursued 
his studies until he was in the neighborhood of twenty years old, 
in the meantime assisting his father in his work and becoming 
under his excellent tutelage familiar with farming in all its 
departments. Subsequently he purchased the farm for his own 
and as previously mentioned he has lived here ever since baby- 
hood, every inch of it being dear to him with some association. 

On June 4, 1870, Mr. Breed was united in marriage to Emily 
Stoughton, daughter of James W. Stoughton, of Almena town- 



698 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

ship, and to this happy union two children have been born — 
Charles and Glenn. The former, who lives upon the old home 
place and assists in its management, married Myrtle Kessler and 
is the father of seven children : Theo, James, Frank, La Rue, 
Carl, Mina and Robert. Glenn is in Kansas, where he is prom- 
inent in the automobile business. He left home when a youth 
of eighteen years. He is single. 

Mr. and Mrs. Breed are members of the Maccabees at Goble- 
ville and both for a good many years have been members of the 
Waverly Free Baptist church. Mr. Breed is a trustee at the 
present time and for several years was clerk of the church. He 
is one of the most active members, assisting in every way 
possible in the campaign for good instituted by the church body. 
Mr. Breed has always voted with the Republican party and is a 
stalwart supporter of its policies and principles. He is held in 
generally high esteem and confidence and it is appropriate that 
in him should have been vested the responsibilities of office, he 
having held the offices of treasurer and township clerk. He is 
a man of pleasing address and it has been his successful aim 
and ambition to lead a true and upright life. He is, in truth, one 
of the most highly respected citizens of Almena township. 

Mrs. Sophie Krohne. — If the history of our county is more 
concerned with the deeds of its men than with those of its women, 
it is not because they are so much more important, but because 
they are of the sort which lend themselves to narrative. Van Buren 
(*ounty owes as much to the women who are its loyal citizens as to 
the masculine element of her population, and this no man will 
gainsay. Prominent among the women who ably conduct their 
estates and whose enterprise has won them the administration of the 
entire community is Mrs. Krohne. 

Westphalen, Germany, was the birthplace of Sophie Wolf Krohne 
as well as that of her parents, Wilhelm and Angela Rupencamp 
Wolf, and of her four brothers and one sister. Sophie was the 
fourth in the family in point of age and was born December 21, 
1862. The father of this family was a butcher and a farmer who 
spent his life in Germany. After his death the mother decided 
to come to America, and accordingly she and her family sailed 
from Bremen to New York in 1882 and came directly to Berrien 
county. At present all the children except Henry reside in the 
state of Michigan. He lives in Kingman county, Kansas. 

The resources of the Wolf family were very limited when they 
arrived in the new country, and until her marriage Sophie worked 
for wages. On September 13, 1885, she was married to Henry 
Krohne. He, like his bride, had been born and reared in West- 
phalen, Germany, and had come to America in the same year. At 
the time of his arrival he not only had no money, but was in 
debt. He went to work on the farm of his uncle and then came 
to Van Buren county and secured employment on the farm of 
Mr. Gregory, one of the pioneers of the county. For ten years 
Mr. Krohne worked for Mr. Gregory and then he and his wife were 
able to purchase a home of their own. To be sure, they were 
obliged to go- into debt for a part of their first eighty acres, but 



HISTORY OF VAN BIJREN COUNTY 699 

careful husbandry and wise management presently enabled them 
to pay off what they owed and to purchase an additional twenty 
acres. Sixty of the first tract was in Van Buren county and the 
remainder in Cass county. 

In time the small house was replaced by a pleasant modern 
dwelling and the "shack'' by the excellent barns. The farm has 
grown to a place of two hundred and sixty acres, all finely im- 
proved and in prosperous condition. In the success which was 
his before he was called from this life in 1910 Mr. Krohne owed 
no little part to the wife, who had so ably aided him throughout 
the toilsome journey from poverty to affluence. Mr. Krohne was 
a Lutheran and his family are also valued members of that church. 
In politics he was a Republican and though not active in political 
life, he was genuinely interested in the public welfare. At the 
time of his death he was a member of the school board, for educa- 
tional matters always claimed his attention. 

There were two sons and two daughters in the family of Sophie 
and Henry Krohne. John is the eldest and has received his educa- 
tion in this county where he now is one of the thrifty farmers. 
For a time he also engaged in the butcher business. On July 19, 
1911, he was married to Miss Eva Rupencamp, of Council Bluffs, 
Iowa, where she graduated from the high school. They are mem- 
bers of the Lutheran church and he is a Republican in politics. 
The other son, William, is at home with his mother and is a prac- 
tical farmer. In political views he follows the family tradition and 
supports the Republican party. Louise, the elder daughter, -has 
completed the course of the common school and has studied music. 
Rosa, the youngest, is in the first year of high school. 

These children have received an inheritance from their honored 
father more valuable than the material one his industry attained 
for them, for he has left them a name which is a synonym of recti- 
tude and probity. Not only for the sake of him but for their own 
many lofty qualities, Mrs. Krohne and her family are accorded a 
place among the most highly respected people of the county. 

Anson D. Pease. — Holding a prominent and well assured place 
in the affairs of Almena township. Van Buren county, is Anson 
D. Pease, one of the representatives of the agricultural industry, 
which more than any other factor contributes to the unusual 
prosperity of this favored section of the United States. Mr. 
Pease was born at Eckford, Calhoun county, Michigan, on July 14, 
1857. He is the son of John L. and Julia E. (Osborn) Pease. The 
former was born in Oneida county. New York, and was the son 
of John W. Pease, a native of Connecticut, who lived to the great 
old age of ninety-six years. The father survives at the present 
time, a gentleman of eighty years, still hale and hearty and 
greatly interested in the progress of the times. He makes his 
residence at Cadillac, Michigan. He is a veteran of the Civil war 
and his father, John W., carried a musket in the war of 1812. As 
previously mentioned John L. Pease was born in New York and 
there resided until the attainment of liis majority. Then, favor- 
ably impressed with the newly opened northwest, he concluded 
to cast his fortunes with this section and accordingly took up his 



700 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

residence within the borders of the state. Two years later he 
was followed by his father, who secured land in the vicinity of 
Eckford and there resided until his demise in 1879. He then re- 
moved to Wexford county, near Cadillac, and farmed there until 
1901, when he retired and took up his abode in Cadillac, where 
he is an honored citizen. He is the father of five children, An- 
son D. Pease, the immediate subject of this record being the only 
one surviving at the present time. 

The boyhood of Anson D. Pease was passed in Eckford, Cal- 
houn county. When he was about ten years of age his mother's 
death broke up the home and five children were left without a 
mother's care. The children found various homes and Anson 
lived in the neighborhood until he was thirty years of age, when 
he established an independent home by marriage. He has pros- 
pered in very definite manner and is now the possessor of two 
hundred and ninety acres of Almena township's best land. The 
entire tract is paid for and almost the whole of it he has gained 
himself. He is of that typically American product, — the self-made 
man. 

Mr. Pease was married on September 20, 1887, the young 
woman to become his wife being Euphemia Crofoot, daughter of 
Asa Crofoot, of Almena township, a native of the state of New 
York and a man of considerable affairs in this township. His 
demise occurred some twenty-four years ago. Mr. and Mrs. Pease 
are the parents of two children, Roy D., aged twenty-one, hold- 
ing an excellent position with the American Express Company, of 
Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Kyle D., aged fourteen (born August 
25, 1897), a student in the public schools. The Crofoots are an 
eastern family. Asa Crofoot married Elenore Erkenbeck. His 
father's name was Joseph Crofoot. 

The subject is a Mason, belonging to Hudson Lodge, No. 325 
at Gobleville and to the Chapter at Paw Paw. He is likewise 
affiliated with the Gleaners. He is a Republican in politics, and 
he has been honored by the bestowal of public office, he having 
served as treasurer and highway commissioner, and in an emi- 
nently satisfactory manner. 

Hiram A. Cole. — Following the migratory genius of his craft, 
which was almost universal in practice among its members until 
within a comparatively recent period, Hiram A. Cole, of Paw 
Paw, owner and publisher of the Paw Paw Free Press and 
Courier, has worked in many places at the printer's case, and 
had valuable experience in association with men under widely 
differing circumstances and conditions. Unlike the proverbial 
rolling stone, however, he gathered moss in the form of worldly 
substance as he roamed, and found himself steadily moving to- 
ward the goal of his ambition, where he is now safely anchored, 
and with power to work out any other aspirations he may have. 

Mr. Cole is a native of Kalamazoo county, where his life began 
on a farm on March 24, 1856. He is a son of Hiram and Ann 
(Shaw) Cole, natives of the state of New York who came to 
Michigan in 1846 and took up their residence on the farm in 
Kalamazoo county already alluded to as the birthplace of their 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 701 

son Hiram. After farming several years in Kalamazoo county 
the father moved his family to Decatur in this county, where he 
passed the remainder of his life actively engaged in a general law 
practice, serving as prosecuting attorney of Van Buren county 
several terms. He died in April, 1870. 

His widow survived him nearly twenty-nine years, passing 
away on January 1, 1899. They were the parents of three chil- 
dren, all of whom are living: Louise M., widow of the late E. A. 
Blackman, of Hillsdale county, who was a prominent journalist 
of this county, and widely and favorably known as such all over 
the state; Hiram A., the subject of these paragraphs; and Charles 
S., who is with his brother Hiram. 

Hiram A. Cole obtained a high-school education in Decatur, 
and then began life for himself by learning the trade of printer 
in the office of the Decatur Republican, of which Mr. Blackman, 
mentioned above, was the editor and proprietor. Mr. Cole re- 
mained with the Republican three years, then went to Battle 
Creek, Michigan, and there .worked on the Michigau Tribune two 
years. Returning to Decatur at the end of that period, he pur- 
chased an interest in the Republican. But he sold this soon after- 
ward and moved to South Bend, Indiana, where he worked on 
the Daily Tribune for a year and a half, winning credit for him- 
self and giving his employers full satisfaction. 

By this time he had grown weary of the continuous monotony 
of his trade and determined to enter another line of useful en- 
deavor. He returned again to Decatur and followed the grocery 
business for a year. ^Mercantile life was not to his taste, and he 
returned to the case, becoming a compositor on the Paw Paw 
Free Press and Courier, Avith which he was connected three years. 
His next engagement was as foreman on the True Noi^iherner, in 
which capacity he served that paper for a year and a half. 

There was now an opening for him in a higher department of 
his calling, and he promptly took advantage of it. He bought 
an interest in the Paw Paw Free J^ress and Courier and entered 
into a partnership with James F. Jordan in the ownership and 
management of the paper. He bought Mr. Jordan out within 
the first year, and thus became the sole owner of the publication, 
which he has been ever since. The paper has a large local cir- 
culation and wields a considerable influence with the people. It 
is the only Democratic newspaper in the county, and always sup- 
ports the principles and candidates of its party with fearless 
courage, impressive force and unwavering loyalty, as it acts 
wholly on conviction and never has occasion to dodge an issue 
or side-step or shuffle on any question. 

Mr. Cole was married on December 1, 1875, to Miss Carrie A. 
Neff, a daughter of Emanuel and Laurilla A. (Field) Neff, who 
are the parents of three children: Mrs. Cole, her brother Wal- 
lace, and her sister Mabel, now the wife of E. S. Briggs of Paw 
Paw. Mr. and Mrs. Cole have four children: Alberto N., who was 
born on June 2, 1878, and is now engaged in newspaper work in 
Chicago ; Carlos C, who was born on August 21, 1888 ; and is now 
a teacher of Latin and Greek in the Battle Creek High School; 
Katharine, whose life began on July 15, 1890; and Margaret, who 



702 HISTORY OP VAN mjREN COUNTY 

came into being on June 4, 1896. The two last named are still 
living at home with their parents. 

In his political faith and allegiance Mr. Cole is an uncomprom- 
ising Democrat in state and national affairs. In local matters 
he regards always the best interests of the community, and does 
not allow his zeal for their promotion to be overborne by partisan 
considerations. But he also endeavors to have his party pursue 
such a course in determining its policy and selecting its can- 
didates as will best subserve the public welfare. In fraternal 
circles he is something of an enthusiast, holding membership in 
the Masonic order, the Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of the 
Maccabees and the Knights of Pythias, and taking an active part 
in the proceedings of his lodge in each. He is regarded on all 
sides as one of Van Buren county's most reliable, useful and rep- 
resentative citizens from every point of view. 

Oliver P. Ketchum. — The birthplace of Oliver P. Ketchum was 
in New England, the cradle of so much of our national history, but 
in Michigan he has made his home since the age of one year and he 
is very loyal to the section. The estate of this prominent farmer and 
good citizen consists of two hundred acres, advantageously situated 
in sections sixteen and ten, and his operations in the great basic 
industry have proved of very successful character. He has played 
a useful part in township affairs and has the distinction of being 
a veteran of the Civil war, having worn the blue during the con- 
flict between the states. His military record is indeed gallant and 
interesting. 

This citizen of Almena township w^as born in Berkshire county, 
Massachusetts, on January 4, 1844, and is the son of Elihu and 
Abigail (Darling) Ketchum. Elihu was also born in the Bay state 
and there was reared, educated and married. There he and his 
worthy wife spent their younger days and all but one of their 
children were born in Massachusetts, where the head of the house 
was a farmer. Of their children, five are now living, as follows: 
A. J., who makes his home in Mason county, Michigan; Harriet, 
who married J. H. Stevens, of North Dakota, now deceased; Ann 
married Allen Gorman and is also a widow ; Helen became the 
Avife of Mr. Patterson and makes her home in the Bay state. 

The newly opened northwest appealed to the parents of Oliver 
P. Ketchum as presenting greater opportunities for their sons and 
(laughters and accordingly, when the subject was an infant, they 
severed the old associations and brought goods and chattels to 
Michigan. They chose Van Buren county as a location and pos- 
sessed themselves of land which was new and uncleared. Their 
farm consisted of one hundred and sixty acres and a great part of 
it was covered with timber, vast labor being entailed in bringing 
it to a state of cultivation. Of the original tract Mr. Ketchum now 
owns eighty acres. There the father and mother spent the residue 
of their lives, the mother dying when Oliver was a lad of seven 
years. In course of time the father again married Casdania Clark, 
also of Massachusetts, becoming his second wife. The father sur- 
vived until 1864. 

Mr. Ketchum remained beneath the parental roof-tree until 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 703 

1861, when the long gathering Civil war cloud broke in all its fury 
and the young men of the nation were called to risk and sacrifice 
their lives upon the battlefield. He enlisted soon after the firing of 
the first guns at Sumter, as a member of Company K, Thirteenth 
Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and saw almost four years of service. 
Throughout almost all of this period he was with ''Uncle Billy'' 
Sherman and was with that gallant commander on the famous 
march to the sea. He experienced many iiardships and saw much 
fighting. When the war was over Mr. Ketchum returned to Mich- 
igan and on July 14, 1866, w^as united in marriage to Clara Story, 
daughter of Thomas Story, of Pine Grove. No children have been 
born to this union, but in the kindness of their hearts Mr. and Mrs. 
Ketchum have reared a boy from babyhood and he is as their own 
son. This admirable young man, Mark E. Ketchum, married Laura 
Emmons and they have three children, all living, who bear the 
names of Thomas E., Oliver R. and Mark J. 

Mr. Ketchum is a Mason and exemplifies in his own life those 
ideals of moral and social justice and brotherly love for which the 
order stands. His membership is w4th Gobleville Lodge, No. 325. 
He is a tried and true Republican, and cast his maiden vote for 
Abraham Lincoln. He belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic 
of Gobleville, Michigan. He has held public office with the utmost 
acceptability, having been at one time highway commissioner and 
having given service in other capacity. In short, Mr. and Mrs. 
Ketchum are popular and highly esteemed citizens of the commu- 
nity in which for so many years their interests have been centered. 

Donald F. Cochrane. — As editor and publisher of the Hartford 
Day Spnng and clerk of the village of Hartford, Donald F. Coch- 
rane is in close touch with public sentiment in his locality and a 
leading man in giving it trend and expression. He is also directly 
connected with the financial interests of the community and its 
people, and has excellent opportunities to aid in caring for them 
in an intelligent and forceful way. It must be said, greatly to his 
credit but in perfect candor, that in both capacities he is faithful 
to his trust, and his services are rendered in an upright, con- 
scientious and able manner, which makes them satisfactory to the 
public, and enables him to maintain the hold on its confidence and 
regard which he long ago won. Mr. Cochrane is a native of this 
state, though not of Van Buren county. He was born at York, 
Washtenaw county, on IMay 21, 1881. He is a son of Rev. Henry 
F. and Coral M. (Wray) Cochrane, the former a native of the 
state of Massachusetts and the latter of Illinois. The father was a 
clergyman of the Baptist denomination, and was nationally promi- 
nent in the councils of his church. While living in Michigan he 
was secretary of the state organization of the sect, and his fidelity 
to duty and pronounced ability in this position were matters of 
general commendation. He received an excellent education, being 
graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and re- 
ceiving the degree of LL. D. in a post-graduate course at Yale 
University. His theological teaching and training for the ministry 
was secured at the Rochester (New York) Theological Seminary, 
and he served for some years as pastor of the leading Baptist 



704 HISTORY OF VA.\ BUREN COUNTY 

church in that city. In the year 1879 he moved to this state and 
located in Detroit, subsequently holding pastorates at Ypsilanti, 
Gentreville, St. Joseph county, and at Adrian, and in 1887 he 
moved his family to Van Buren county. Here he passed the re- 
mainder of his days, dying in 1895. At the time of his death he 
was the owner and editor of the Hartford Day Spring, having pur- 
chased it in 1898 in association with his son Donald. He was a 
Royal Arch degree Freemason and very devoted to the fraternity, 
active in its meetings and zealously and effectively serviceable in 
its behalf from his young manhood. 

ReV/ Mr. Cochrane and his wife were the parents of six children, 
all of whom are living : Frederick, who is an extensive fruit grower 
in Florida; Grace, who is the wife of Rev. Mr. Clark and resides 
with him at Chelsea, Massachusetts ; Robert W., who is in the drug 
business in Kalamazoo ; Donald F., who succeeded the father as the 
owner and editor of the Hartford Day Spring; Beatrice F., who 
has for some years been principal of a high school in Lansing ; and 
Everett AV., who is at this time (1911) sporting editor of the Kan- 
sas City (Missouri) Journal. 

Donald F. Cochrane was six years old when his parents located 
in Van Buren county. He began his education in the public 
school at Bloomingdale, continued it at the Grand Rapids High 
School and completed it at Ferris College in Mecosta county. While 
attending the institution last named he also did editorial work in 
Big Rapids and Benton Harbor, Michigan. In 1898, as has been 
stated, in company with his father, he purchased the newspaper he 
now owns and publishes. This publication is an earnest advocate 
and defender of the principles of the Republican party, of which 
Mr. Cochrane is a true and loyal member, and in whose behalf he 
is an energetic and effective worker. But above all and before all 
else, the paper and its editor are ardently devoted to the welfare 
and improvement of Hartford township and Van Buren county. 
As a justice of the peace Mr. Cochrane is also able to aid in pro- 
moting the interests of his locality, and he does it with firmness and 
intelligence. He is a member of Florada Lodge, No. 309, in the 
Masonic order and zealous in the service of the fraternity. 

On October 12, 1902, Mr. Cochrane was married to Miss Sadie 
Stow^e, of Bangor, Michigan. She is a graduate of the Hartford 
High school, and before her marriage was a teacher of considerable 
local celebrity. They have one child, their son Donald S., who was 
bom on March 4, 1904. The lives of his parents have been devoted 
to pursuits which are educational in character, and they feel a deep 
interest in the intellectual improvement of the people, especially 
those of the rising generation. They are cordial supporters of the 
public school system, and make their interest in it effective by ac- 
tive efforts for its betterment and increased usefulness. They also 
stand by and befriend every agency working in the community for 
the moral and material good of its residents and their social en- 
joyment. Their citizenship is highly valued throughout the county, 
and in every relation of life they have shown themselves altogether 
worthy of the hearty regard and good will the people generally 
have for them. 



HISTORY OF VAN Bl^REN COl^NTY 70*5 

Mrs. Syrena B. Hall. — It will not be gainsaid that one of the 
most highly revered and best beloved of the good people of 
Alraena township is Mrs. Syrena B. Hall, who, crowned with years 
and honor, is a representative of the noble womanhood of Van 
Buren county. Mrs. Hall has been granted more extended life 
than the majority of mankind and has long passed the psalmist's 
allotment, being now in her ninetieth year. In her long and use- 
ful life she has indeed been proved 

"A noble woman, nobly planned, 
To warn, to comfort and command." 

]\Irs, Hall, who is the widow of Freeman Hall, is a native of the 
state of New^ York, her birth having occurred in Otsego county 
on August 8, 1822. Her husband, who was the son of Joseph 
Hall, was born in Massachusetts. Her maiden name was Syrena 
Bonfoey and she w^as the daughter of Horace and Susanna 
(Smith) Bonfoey, the former the scion of one of the old families 
of New England, — that cradle of so much of our national his- 
tory. His eyes first opened to the light, of day at Had- 
dam. ^Middlesex county, Connecticut. His father was Benanual 
Bonfoey. 

Wlien Mrs. Hall was a young girl thirteen years of age she 
came to Michigan with her parents, who had become impressed 
with the rich resources and opportunity of the northwest. The 
country was little developed then — in 1835 — in fact Horace Bon- 
foey was one of the first settlers in Almena township, and here 
he and his family met the joys and sorrows peculiar to the lot 
of the pioneer, conquering the wild young virgin country and 
cutting new paths, laying them straight and clean. Mrs. Hall 
vividly remembers the Indians and bears and w^olves which in- 
habited the region in abundance. Their first home was a cabin 
in the woods, a mere rough shanty, in truth, but they lived in it 
but a short time, and then built a log cabin of more comfortable 
sort. Subsequently the father built the house in which the family 
lived for many years and in which George Brooks makes his 
home at the present time. The father resided in this house until 
his summons to the ''Undiscovered Country'' a good many years 
ago. Eight children Avere born into the houshold of Horace 
Bonfoey and his good wife, but Mrs. Hall is the only one who 
survives. She was the third in order of birth. 

When a maiden of twenty she was united in marriage to one 
of the young men of Almena township, — Freeman Hall, their 
union being celebrated on November 9, 1842. After their mar- 
riage they came to the house in which Mrs. Hall still makes her 
home and beneath its roof they lived together for nearly fifty 
years, Mr. Hall dying in 1891. Their long companionship was 
of the happiest and most congenial sort and although no children 
were born to them, they reared a number of boys and girls who 
might otherwise have been homeless. One of these was the son 
of Mrs. Hall's brother, who took the name of Frederick Hall. 
This estimable citizen now lives across the road from his aunt 
and foster-mother. 



706 HISTOKY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Mrs. Hall has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal 
church since her twentieth year and still retains her membership, 
although the weight of years precludes the possibility of her 
being as active as formerly. Her influence is and long has been 
a real factor for good, for she has lived a Christian life in the 
truest sense of the w^ord, and respect and high standing are hers. 
She owns two hundred and twenty acres of land, whose manage- 
ment she has given into other hands. 

John C. Kennedy. — Prominent among the honored and sub- 
stantial citizenship of Almena township, Van Buren county, JMichi- 
gan, is John C. Kennedy, an extensive farmer and fruit grower. 
Mr. Kennedy is one of those native sons of Almena township who 
have paid the section the highest compliment within his power by 
electing to remain permanently wdthin its borders. The date of his 
birth was February 17, 1857, and he is the son of Newton and Mary 
(Williams) Kennedy. The father's birthplace was Bradford 
county, Pennsylvania, and he was the son of David Kennedy, 
probably also a native of the Keystone state. The subject's father 
was a young man twenty-one years of age when he came to Michi- 
gan, and he first located at Stevens' Corners, in Almena township. 
At that time this section was practically a wilderness and Mr. Ken- 
nedy remembers as a child listening to his father's tales of the days 
when wolves roamed this part of the country. His memory of his 
father's return with venison from hunting is equally vivid. The 
original homestead w^as all forest and it was his father's monu- 
mental task to clear this and begin farming. He spent the entire 
remainder of his life here with the exception of one year which he 
and his family spent in the state of Iowa. He was not satisfied 
with the land there and, the old associates remaining dear to 
him, he came back to Michigan. He died in 1872 and his wife sur- 
vived him for a number of years, her demise occurring in 1897. 
Five children were born to them, and of the number three are liv- 
ing at the present time. Albert makes his home at Pine Grove vil- 
lage in Van Buren county; Martin is a Kalamazoo county farmer 
and John C. is the subject of this review. 

John C. Kennedy received such limited education as it was his 
portion to secure behind a desk in the district school of Almena 
township. He assisted his father with the work of the farm and 
resided beneath the home roof until 1872. In that year he estab- 
lished himself upon an independent footing and took up the car- 
penter trade, which he followed for the space of twenty years, 
five years of which were passed in Gobleville. -Following this he 
sold out his business and bought a farm in Almena tow^nship. He 
remained engaged in the great basic industry of agriculture until 
1905, when he retired from the more active labors of life and re- 
moved to Armstrong's Corners, where he purchased a very pretty 
home and where he now resides, secure in the possession of hosts 
of friends. 

An August 25, 1880, Mr. Kennedy laid the foundation of a 
happy household by his union with Ida Covey, daughter of Luther 
and Phoebe (Strong) Covey, the father a native of the Empire 
state and the mother of Michigan. Covey Plill, of some renown in 



HISTORY OF VAN IWREN COUxNTY 707 

Waverly township, was the place where Mrs. Kennedy \s grand- 
father Covey first located, and a large tract of the surrounding 
country w^as in his possession. 

Fraternally Mr. Kennedy is a Mason, who exemplifies the noble 
principles of the order in his own living. He is also affiliated with 
the Knights of Pythias at Gobleville and with the Grangers and 
(xleaners, insurance orders. In politics he is a Republican and in 
evidence of the confidence in which he is held in the community is 
the fact that for a number of terms he has held the offices of super- 
visor and tow^nship treasurer (the latter for two years) with credit 
to himself and honor to his constituents. His tenure of the above 
offices covers a period of seven consecutive years. Mr. Kennedy 
owns one hundred and thirty acres of Almena township's most de- 
sirable land. He is widely known and it may almost be said that 
his circle of acciuaintances is co-incident with that of his friends. 

Merle II. Young. — Energetic and enterprising in everything he 
undertakes, and well prepared for the duties of life by natural 
ability well developed and trained in botli academic and profes- 
sional lines. Merle II. Young, present supervisor of the town of 
Paw Paw and one of the younger lawyers of Van Buren county, 
living in Paw Paw, is one of the most promising members of his 
profession in this part of the state, and ranks high in the estima- 
tion of the people as one of their brightest, best and most capable 
citizens. He has been at the bar only five years, but even in that 
short period has made his mark in his profession and won general 
commendation for the ability he has shown and his high character 
and general worth as a man. 

Mr. Young is a native of Paw Paw, and therefore has a special 
interest in its growth and development and the substantial and 
enduring welfare of its people. He seeks to promote these by every 
means at his command, applying both intelligence and energy to 
all public affairs, and stimulating other citizens to activity by his 
own. He was born on May 25, 1884, and is a son of Charles Wes- 
ley and Anna (Vanauken) Young, the former a native of Ohio and 
the latter of Michigan. The father came to this state and county in 
1849 and took up his residence in Paw^ Paw township, where he 
has lived ever since and been engaged in business as a farmer, fruit 
grower and dealer in farming implements. He w^as connected 
officially with the State Agricultural Society for twenty-two years 
and its treasurer for fifteen. He has also served a number of years 
as supervisor and has done excellent work for his township and 
the county in many other w^ays. He is now living quietly in Paw 
l^aw^ at the age of sixty-eight, in the full enjoyment of his ''green 
old age," the fruits of his many years of useful industry and the 
universal regard and good will of all classes of the inhabitants of 
the county w^hich has had the benefits of his enterprise in business, 
his fidelity and ability in the public service and the stimulus of 
his fine example as a man and citizen. 

Merle H. Young is one of the tw^o children and sons born to his 
parents, their offspring comprising only himself and his older 
brother, Dr. George F. Young, a prominent physician in active gen- 
eral practice at South Haven, the beautiful lake city of this county. 



708 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Merle was graduated from the Paw Paw High School at the age of 
eighteen, then entered the law department of the State University 
at Ann Arbor, from which he received his degree of LL. B. in 1906. 
He was at once admitted to the bar and took charge of his father's 
business as legal counselor and manager, and is still looking after 
it in that dual capacity and also enlarging his professional work 
by extending his general practice in the county. 

On April 4, 1911, he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth 
Whitman, one of the four daughters of Irving A. and Caroline 
(Stainton) Whitman. Their other children are: Bertha, the 
wife of Charles Batchelder, who resides in Detroit, ]\Iichigan; 
Anna, who is living at home with her parents ; and Sarah, the wife 
of Charles N. Hathaway, whose home is in Seattle, Washington. 
All are doing well in their several localities and exemplifying in 
their daily lives the lessons acquired from the teaching and exam- 
ples of their parents around the family hearthstone. 

Mr. Young is a Republican in his political faith and allegiance, 
and an ardent supporter of the principles and candidates of his 
party in all campaigns. His fraternal affiliations are with the 
Masonic Order in which he is senior warden, and the Order of the 
Eastern Star. Mrs. Young is also a member of the latter order. 
In Freemasonry he has taken all the degrees in Lodge, Chapter 
and Council, and is an earnest worker in each. His religious con- 
nection is with the Presbyterian church, and his wife is a Christian 
Scientist. 

Jewett Cleveland. — A prominent citizen of Waverly township 
is Jewett Cleveland, farmer and stockman, and also a veteran of 
the Civil war, having served in the gallant First Michigan Cavalry 
during the last year of the struggle between the states. It is almost 
needless to say that he came from the state of New York, an un- 
usually large number of Empire state people having assisted in the 
development of this section of the Wolverine state. Mr. Cleve- 
land's well-improved place of thirty-eight acres is located in sec- 
tion 17 and is the scene of intelligent operations in general farm- 
ing and stock raising. 

Jewett Cleveland was born in Oswego county, New York, April 
4, 1848, and is the son of Henry and Elizabeth (Bessey) Cleveland, 
})ot]i natives of Saratoga Springs, New York. The father was 
twice married, first to Elizabeth Bessey and after her demise to 
her cousin Elnora. To the first union six children were born, 
three of whom are living in 1911. To the second were also born 
six children, and of these four are living in 1911, namely: Jewett 
of this review, Zelon, Arthur K., and Edwin (of Kalamazoo, 
Michigan). 

Jewett Cleveland was a lad six years of age when his parents 
made their adieux to old associations and brought their goods and 
chattels to Michigan, of whose resources and advantages they had 
heard good report. They located in Columbia township. Van 
Buren county, and while growing to young manhood Jewett at- 
tended school in the winter months and worked on the farm in 
the summer. As was the case with the young men of his day and 
generation, the threatening noise of the approaching great civil 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 709 

stmiggle disturbed the serenity of his younger days. He was very 
young when the Nation first went down into the ^^ Valley of De- 
cision, ' ' but he was patriotic and high spirited and on February 9, 
1864, at the age of seventeen years, he hearkened to his country ^s 
call and enlisted as a member of Company E, First Michigan Cav- 
alry. He remained in service until the close of the war, being 
mustered out October 9, 1865. Shortly thereafter he returned to 
Van Buren county. 

For a number of years after the war Mr. Cleveland was engaged 
in farming and saw-milling and in the year 1904 he came into 
possession of his present farm. On July 13, 1873, he married 
Emma A. Salisbury, thus establishing an independent household. 
Mrs. Cleveland was born January 20, 1855, in Cass county, Michi- 
gan, and received her education in the schools of that county. To 
this union have been born four children, namely : Grace, wife of 
Carl Tibbitt, of Galesburg, Michigan; May, wife of John Wilson, 
of Galesburg; Lynn, who married Ada Zwansig, and lives at Ot- 
tawa, Illinois ; and Fay, who is single and remains at home. 

Mr Cleveland is a valued member of the Methodist Episcopal 
church of Glendale and is one of its trustees. Fraternally he is a 
member of Glendale Lodge, No. 408, Independent Order of Odd 
Fellows. He has given hand and heart to the cause of the Repub- 
lican party since his earliest voting days and has given excellent 
service as highway commissioner of his township. He has not for- 
gotten the comrades of other days and is interested in all the ''Old 
Boys" doings. 

George Langdon. — One of Almena tow^nship, Van Buren 
county's, highly respected citizens and representative farmers 
and fruit growers is George Langdon, who, although not a na- 
tive son of the Wolverine state, has resided within its boundaries 
since youth. His eyes first opened to the light of day in "Wayne 
county, New York, April 23, 1855. He is the son of Henry and 
Phoebe (Smith) Langdon and the grandson of Ananias Langdon. 
Henry Langdon was also a native of the Empire state, where he 
was reared and married, and where he resided until summoned 
to the Great Beyond. He and his wife were the parents of four 
children, only one of whom is now living, namely : the subject. 

George Langdon was about fifteen years of age when his father 
died and he came to Michigan with his mother, who with her 
own home broken up had acepted her sister's invitation to make 
her home with her. They remained permanently in the state, 
eventually having a home of their own and beneath its roof the 
subject remained until his marriage. He laid the foundations of 
an independent household when on November 5, 1882, he was 
united in matrimony to Phoebe French, daughter of Warren and 
Sarah (Eager) French. Sarah Eager 's father, Benjamin Eager, 
came to Michigan when it was a territory, and was one of its 
early pioneers and followed farming all his life. He and his 
Avife were the parents of thirteen children. The mother dying 
when the youngest was a baby. The care of the family fell upon 
the shoulders of the older children, of whom Mrs. Langdon 's 
mother, Sarah, was one, making her life one of extreme and 



710 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

severe toil and responsibility. She and her husband, Warren 
Eager, lived together for many years, the husband being one 
year the older and his death proved so great a shock to his widow 
that she only survived one week. Mrs. Langdon's father was a 
native of Vermont and remained in the Green Mountain state 
until his marriage, when he and his wife took up their residence 
in the state of New York and later moved to ]\lichigan and set- 
tled in Almena, where he followed farming some forty years, up 
to the time of his death, which occurred when he was over eighty 
years. He was a Democrat in politics and always took an active 
part in town affairs, holding a number of town offices, among 
them being that of supervisor, which office he filled for many 
years. Both he and his wife claimed St. Albans, Vermont, as 
their birthplace. Nine children were bom to them, of which 
number six are now living, namely : Mary J., wife of Levi Brown ; 
Henry French ; Ella, wife of Wells Edgerley ; Walter ; Phoebe, 
wife of the immediate subject of the review; and Hiram T. 

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Langdon located on the 
farm upon which they have ever since resided. This consists of 
ninety-four acres of excellent land, located in Almena township, 
and here Mr. Langdon has engaged successfully in fruit grow- 
ing and general farming. Here nine sons and daughters have 
been born to bless the home, seven of the number now surviving. 
Claude is an employe in a factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan; 
Ralph, now at home, was engaged in farming in Idaho for i\Ye 
years; Ray is employed in a drug store in Grand Rapids; Prank 
is employed in a factory in Grand Rapids; Charlie is a student 
in the Paw Paw high school, and Reo and Lettie are in attend- 
ance at the country schools. 

Although inclined towards the men and measures of the Re- 
publican party, Mr. Langdon is liberal in his political views, cast- 
ing his vote for whomever he believes to be the best man, regard- 
less of mere partisanship. Both he and his excellent wife are 
members of the Maccabees at Almena and the family enjoy high 
standing in the community in which they are best known. Mr. 
Langdon 's brother James wore the Union blue at the time of the 
Civil war. 

Charles R. Avery. — Starting in life as a clerk and salesman in 
a general dry goods store, and acquiring a fondness for the ])usi- 
ness, Charles R. Avery, now one of the leading merchants of Paw 
Paw, has adhered to it ever since, and although he has suffered 
some severe losses he has on the w^hole made steady advances to his 
present high standing in business circles, and shown at all times a 
spirit of determination to win his way in spite of every obstacle 
and over every difficulty. 

Mr. Avery is a native of Paw Paw, and was born on September 
10, 1842. He is a son of Richardson and Sarah A. (Lumbard) 
Avery, the former born in Jefferson county, New York, and the 
latter in Pawlet, Rutland county, Vermont. The father came to 
Michigan in 1840 and located in Paw Paw after a short residence 
in Detroit, during which he faced all the horrors of the great epi- 
demic of cholera of the early days in that city that was fatal to so 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 711 

many persons but left him unharmed. He was a carpenter and 
joiner, and wrought at his trade until his death, which occurred 
in Paw Paw in 1875. The mother lived to be eighty-three years 
of age, surviving her husband a long time. They had four children, 
of whom Charles R. is the only one living. The third and fourth 
in the order of birth passed away in infancy. The second son, 
Fred E., grew to manhood and was in business as a merchant for 
some years in Paw Paw. He died some years ago, generally es- 
teemed for his excellent business traits and his general worth as a 
man and citizen. 

Charles R. Avery obtained a high school education in Paw Paw. 
He left school in 1859, and in 1860 entered the employ of E. Smith 
and Company, a general dry goods firm of Paw Paw, with wiiom 
he remained ten years, by his capacity and faithful attention to 
duty ac(iuiring an interest in the business, which covered the last 
few years of his connection with the house. But he was eager to 
have an establishment of his own, or a larger interest in one than 
he possessed in that of Mr. Smith. 

Accordingly, in 1870 he formed a partnership with his brother 
Fred, and together they opened a general merchandising store, 
which they conducted under the firm name of C. R. and F. E. 
Avery until 1877. In that year C. R. sold his interest in the busi- 
ness to his brother and started a new store of his own, of which he 
is still in charge. He started his separate store in a building which 
he rented for the purpose, and in 1880 had his stock of goods 
entirely destroyed by a disastrous fire. 

Not disheartened by this calamity, he kept on trading, and in 
1890, or soon afterward, bought the commodious and substantial 
building of brick in which his store is now located, and in which it 
has ever since been carried on. His business ability and studious 
attention to the wants of the community brought him prosperity, 
increased his popularity as a merchant and strengthened his hold 
on the confidence and esteem of the people. In addition to his 
store building and stock of merchandise he owns an attractive and 
valuable residence and other property. 

On June 12, 1865, Mr. Avery w^as married at Jackson, Michigan, 
to Miss Flora A. Kemble, a daughter of A. C. and Emeline Kem- 
ble, of that city. Three children have been born of this union: 
Nettie, who died in infancy ; Bernetta, who died at the age of eleven 
years; and Frank, who is associated in business with his father. 
The father is a Democrat in his political faith and allegiance, and 
while not strictly an active partisan, has always been loyal to his 
party and zealous in its service. He has taken a cordial interest in 
the affairs of the village, too, independently of political considera- 
tions, serving it well and wisely as president, trustee and treasurer. 
His fraternal connection is with the Knights of the Maccabees, and 
his religious affiliation with the Presbyterian church. These organi- 
zations enlist liis hearty support, and all their affairs receive his 
energetic and helpful attention. He is ardent also in his zeal in 
behalf of all worthy undertakings for the good of the people and 
all the mental and moral agencies at work among them. 



712 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Dr. Robert R. Lawrence. — Probably the most useful, and cer- 
tainly the most comforting to mankind, of all the professions 
among men is the science of medicine and surgery, and its prac- 
titioners deserve, and usually secure, the universal regard and 
good will of the people among whom they labor. They are called 
upon for service at any hour of the day or night, in any rigor of 
the seasons, and under any pressure of other engagements; and 
as a rule they respond to all calls as promptly as possible, no mat- 
ter what the personal sacrifice or inconvenience, or even hard- 
ship to themselves. They devote their lives and energies to the 
welfare of their fellow men, and the rew^ards for their fidelity 
are seldom commensurate with the value of their services in a 
material way. But the people who are their beneficiaries always 
hold them in high esteem, and in many cases give them great and 
lasting popularity. 

Dr. Robert R. Lawrence, of Hartford, furnishes in his useful 
career an impressive illustration of these facts. He has lived in 
Hartford thirty years and during the whole of that period has 
been actively engaged in an extensive and very exacting practice 
of his profession. The people have found him capable and skill- 
ful, attentive to their needs in his line of work, abreast with his 
calling in knowledge of his teachings and very judicious in the 
practical application of that knowledge; and they have bestowed 
on him the full measure of their approval and popular esteem. 

The Doctor was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 28, 1851, and 
is a son of Daniel T. and Jane (Crawford) Lawrence, the former 
a native of Canada and the latter of Warren county, Ohio. The 
father was captain of a river boat on the Ohio river and became ac- 
quainted with the lady whom he made his wife in Cincinnati. It 
seems to have been a case of love at first sight, for they were mar- 
ried after a short companionship, and a little later located in Jen- 
nings county, Indiana. From there they moved to Berrien county, 
Michigan, settling on a farm on which they passed the remainder 
of their lives. That of the mother ended in 1883, and that of the 
father in 1886, each having reached a good old age. 

They were devoted to their home and its duties, and gave the 
greater part of their attention to the rearing and education of 
their children, nine being born to them, four of whom are living: 
Judith, who is the wife of John Osborne, of Benton Harbor, this 
state; John C, who is also a resident of that city; Hadassah, now 
the wdfe of John Withey and a resident of Los Gatos, California; 
and the Doctor. The father was a man of fine education and ex- 
cellent business capacity. He was also a man of the strictest moral 
rectitude, and was impelled in everything he did by a strong sense 
of duty. This made him industrious in his affairs, and his care- 
ful management of them enabled him to accumulate a competence 
lor the benefit of his offspring, as well as for the enjoyment of him- 
self and his wife in their declining years. 

Dr. Lawrence was reared on the farm in Berrien county, and 
began his education in the Union school in Benton Harbor. Hav- 
ing completed its full course of instruction, he entered the Univer- 
sity of Michigan in 1871, becoming a student in the medical depart- 
ment and, in due course received his degree of M. D., in 1875. He 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 713 

at once located at Watervliet, Michigan, and for six years was en- 
gaged in an active practice as a physician and surgeon at that 
place. In 1881 he came to Hartford as surgeon for the Chicago & 
West Michigan Railroad Company, and in that capacity he is now- 
serving that highway of travel and great public convenience, the 
Pere Marquette. He has not, however, confined his professional 
work to the requirements of the railroad, but has been occupied in a 
large general practice throughout the county of Van Buren and 
portions of those which adjoin it. lie has been successful in a ma- 
terial way as well as in his profession, ])eing interested in farming, 
a stockholder in one of tlie banks of the city, and the owner of other 
property of value. 

Dr. Lawrence was married on Marcli 24, 1876, to Miss Carrie H. 
Merrifield, of Coloma, Berrien county, where she was ])orn and 
reared. She is a highly accomplished and cultivated lady, weil 
versed in literature, with fine natural ability well developed by the 
most careful training. Although she and the Doctor have no chil- 
dren, i\Irs. Lawrence is devoted to her home, and takes delight in 
making it an agreeable resort for her own and the Doctor's numc^r- 
ous friends and acquaintances. 

The Doctor is a member oi' Florada .Masonic Lodge, No. ^]01), at 
Hartford, and also takes great interest in the organizations formed 
in and devoted to the welfare of his profession. He was formerly 
vice president of the International Association of Railroad Sur- 
geons, and is an active and serviceable nu^mber of the American 
Medical Association. He has written for publication several bro- 
chures and a number of articles on medicine and surgery, which 
have been received with high approval. His political faith and 
services are given to the Republican party, to which he is earnestly' 
devoted, but the only political, or semi-political, office he has ever 
held is that of secretary of the local pension board, which he is now 
filling and has filled for many years. 

M. L. Decker. — In the forty-nine years of his life M. L. Deeker, 
of Paw Paw, has dwelt and been in business in three states of the 
American Union and the city of Quebec, Canada. He has been 
occupied in several lines of trade, filled a number of public offices 
and suffered some reverses in his undertakings. His experience 
has therefore been extensive and varied, and of a character to 
broaden and develop him in capacity, make him firm in fiber and 
flexible in function, and give him an excellent and useful knowl- 
edge of human nature, evolving him into the intelligent, influen- 
tial and serviceable citizen he is and has long been known to be. 
He has traveled extensively, has made ten trips across the conti- 
nent to California and on these trips has covered most of the west- 
ern states aud New Mexico and Arizona. Some of his journeys have 
been made in the interest of fruit growers, but after an extended 
investigation he returned to his home county firmly convinced that 
the richest and most adaptable land for fruit culture anywhere 
in the United States w^as located in Van Buren county. 

Mr. Decker is a native of Ohio and was born on August 28, 1862. 
His parents were Absalom and Sarah (Rees) Decker, the former 
born in Pennsylvania and the latter in Wales. The father was a 



714 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

wag'on maker and blacksmith for a number of years, then turned 
his attention to farming, in which he was engaged to the end of 
his life, which came when he was about fifty-eight years old. The 
mother died at the age of thirty-seven. They prospered in life, 
and when the father died he owned a line farm of one hundred and 
sixty acres, which show^ed by its improved condition and high state 
of cultivation that he had been attentive to his work and performed 
it with energy, skill and intelligence, according to the most ap- 
proved methods of his time. 

They had eight children, of whom but two are living, M. L. and 
his older brother Elmer W., who is a resident of Grand Rapids in 
this state. The children who have died were: Mary, wife of E. A. 
Whitney, of Tacoma, Washington; Wilbur, w^ho lived at Grand 
Rapids; Naomi, wife of William Long, of Coldwater, Michigan; 
Horace, whose home was at Grand Rapids; Leora, wife of M. M. 
Marshall, of Bowling Green, Ohio; and Alice, wife of G. A. Bates, 
of Denver, Colorado. 

At the age of eighteen M. L. Decker started in business as a 
grocer at Deshler, Ohio, w^here he did a very successful business. 
He was later engaged for a time in buying lumber in Quebec, Can- 
ada, for parties residing in Deshler. He followed the insurance 
business two years in low^a. At the end of that period he moved 
to Michigan, locating in Bloomingdale, this county, where he was 
in the drug trade six years. The taste he had of the West gave him 
an appetite for more of it and a region farther removed from his 
boyhood's home, and to gratify this desire he moved to Colorado. 
He was engaged in merchandising in that state for a year, and 
then returned to Bloomingdale. But at the end of another year 
he changed his residence to Lacota, Van Buren county, where he 
was destined to remain for a time. 

Soon after his removal to Lacota he was appointed postmaster 
of the village, a position which he held for nine years, conducting 
the office in a drug store W'hich he owned and managed. He rose 
to prominence among the people of the township and w^as chosen 
to serve them as township clerk six years and as supervisor three 
years. He was a member of the county board of supervisors when 
the court house was built in Paw Paw. He was also a member of 
the Republican County Committee for nine years. He was elected 
register of deeds in 1902, being the first to occupy this office in the 
new court house, and then moved to Paw Paw. In the second year 
of his residence here he was chosen president of the village. 

Within the year of his removal to Paw Paw he bought the general 
merchandising store of Longwell Brothers, which he afterward 
sold to A. C. Martin. But he bought it back again, and then sold 
all of the goods but those in the drug department, with which he 
started an independent drug business and this he is still carrying 
on in connection with his partner, E. M. Bailey, who has been asso- 
ciated with him three years, and a sketch of whom will be found in 
this work. The firm is widely known as one of the most reliable in 
the county, handling only the best and purest drugs, compounding 
them with the utmost care and skill, dealing squarely with all pat- 
rons, and representing the most desirable traits of first rate business 
men and the most modern methods of doing business. In addition 



HISTORY OP" VAN BUREN COUNTY 715 

to the drug business, Mr. Decker also carries on a real estate busi- 
ness. 

In December, 1887, Mr. Decker was married to Miss Mina Eaton, 
a daughter of Hon. R. C. Eaton. Mrs. Decker ^s father was a mem- 
ber of the state legislature for a number of years. She and her 
husband have two children: Royal E., who completed his education 
with a two years ' course in college, and is now deputy county clerk ; 
and Verne C, who is still living at home with his parents. 

The father is a Republican in his political faith and allegiance, 
and has always been loyal to his party and done all that good citi- 
zenship required for its advancement in progress and success in its 
campaigns. In fraternal circles he is connected with the Inde- 
pendent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the 
Knights of the Maccabees. His religious affiliation is with the Bap- 
tist church, in which he takes an active and serviceable interest at 
all times. He has always been earnest and zealous in behalf of all 
public improvements for the city and county of his home, and has 
applied his efforts with intelligence and good judgment. Van 
Buren county has no better citizen, none more enterprising and 
public spirited, and none whom the people hold in higher esteem. 
Mr. Decker says that although he has traveled extensively, in no 
place did he find more congenial people than in the village of Paw 
Paw. 

Ed. M. Bailey, one of the leading business men of Paw Paw, 
and the junior member of the firm of Decker & Bailey, druggists, 
has passed the whole of his life to this time (1911) in Michigan, 
and during all the years of his maturity has contributed sub- 
stantially and valuably to the mercantile and social influence of 
the state and the direction of its public affairs through his in- 
fluence and activity in the locality of his home. His partner in 
his present business enterprise is M. L. Decker, a sketch of whose 
life will be found in this volume. 

Mr. Bailey was born in Hastings, Barry county, on October 6, 
1868, and is a son of Norman and Rachel (Aldrich) Bailey, the 
former born in Cayuga county. New York, and the latter in Michi- 
gan. The father came to Michigan in 1845 and located in Grand 
Rapids. During the Civil war he was provost marshal and served 
the government faithfully and effectively until the close of the 
momentous conflict. In 1866 he moved to Hastings, and there he 
was engaged in merchandising until his death, which occurred 
when he was seventy-six years of age. The mother is still living 
and has her home in Grand Rapids. They were the parents of 
three children : Emma, who was the wife of Daniel Donohue, of 
Hastings, but is now deceased; Ernest A., who resides in Grand 
Rapids; and Ed. M. 

The last named, who is the immediate subject of these para- 
graphs, was graduated from the high school at Hastings in 1886 
and after a course of two years' instruction at Ann Arbor Col- 
lege, received his diploma in 1890. After leaving school he be- 
came connected with the drug business in Otsego, and was en- 
gaged in it in that city for two years and a half. From Otsego 
he moved to Michigan City, where he carried on the same line 



716 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

of trade three years. He next passed twelve years as the leading 
druggist and general merchant of Gobleville, and in addition to 
this he was engaged in the manufacture of lumber and in the 
buying and shipping of live stock. He was later at Mattawan 
and Bradley, having drug stores at both places. In 1908 he 
moved to Paw Paw, and directly after his arrival and location in 
the city, formed a partnership with M. L. Decker for conducting 
a real estate and drug business. In these enterprises he is still 
actively and profitably engaged, and, although he has resided in 
the city but three years, he has fully won the confidence and es- 
teem of the people as a business man and citizen, and holds a 
high rank in mercantile circles throughout Van Buren county 
and a large extent of the surrounding country. 

On June 21, 1893, Mr. Bailey was united in marriage with Miss 
Nellie Bush, a daughter of George A. and Lucy (Palmer) Bush, 
and a native of Gobleville. Of the seven children born of this 
union six are living: Cyril E., George A., Norman, Carl, Rachel 
L. and Gertrude. The last born of the seven, Joy Valentine, died 
at the age of one year. Otherwise the family circle is unbroken, 
as all the living children are still members of it, and add life 
and light to their parental home. 

Mr. Bailey is a Republican in political belief and adherence, 
and has never wavered in his loyalty to his party, or withheld 
any service he has been able to render it. He is a member of the 
Masonic fraternity, the Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of 
Pythias, the Knights of the Maccabees, the Woodmen and the 
Order of Elks. He and his wife divide their religious affiliation 
between the Baptist and the Episcopal churches, he belonging to 
one and she to the other, and both are true to their church duties, 
as they are to every interest of their community, and helpful to 
all good agencies at work among its people. 

Adam Beach. — Farming, the oldest oF the industries, has a suc- 
cessful and well and favorably known representative in Waverly 
township in the person of Adam Beach, who engages in general 
farming and stock-raising, his land being located in sections 16 
and 21, forty acres being in the former and twenty in the latter. 
Mr. Beach was born in Hancock county, Ohio, on October 6, 1867, 
and is the son of Tobias and Eliza (Bame) Beach. He is of Ger- 
man descent, his father having been born in the Fatherland, in 
February, 1837. He came to the conclusion to seek the wider op- 
portunity presented by the new world and crossed the Atlantic 
when but eighteen years of age. In course of time he found his 
way to Hancock county, Ohio, where he located. His wife was 
a native of Springfield, Ohio. In 1878 the elder Mr. and Mrs. 
Beach came with their family to Michigan, where they encount- 
ered good fortunes and where they are now living, their resi- 
dence being maintained in Waverly township, where they enjoy 
general esteem. They became the parents of a family of seven 
children, all of whom are living (in 1911) ; Catherine is the wife 
of James Steinman, of Bloomingdale township ; John W., who 
married Amanda Wolford, resides in Bloomingdale village; 
Adam is the next in order of birth; Anna is the wife of Volney 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 717 

Robinson; Louisa is the wife of Bert Blackman, of Allegan 
county, Michigan; Conrad, who married Mabel Ashbrook, makes 
his home in Bloomingdale village; Jacob took as his wife Mabel 
Howard, and they make their home in the state of Washington. 

Adam Beach spent his earlier boyhood and school days in the 
Buckeye state and was eleven years of age when he came with 
his parents to Van Buren county, Michigan. He pursued his 
studies in the public schools of this section and did not conclude 
his educational discipline until about sixteen years of age. At 
that early age he embarked upon his career as a farmer and has 
ever since continued thus engaged, employing the most enlight- 
ened methods in his agricultural endeavors. He has brought his 
land to a high state of improvement and his stock is known for 
its high quality. 

Mr. Beach laid the foundation of an independent household 
when, in 1895, he was united in marriage to Rena Hollister, of 
Waverly township, borji in Paw Paw township on May 24, 1879. 
She is the daughter of Cyrus L. and Clara E. (Richmond) Hol- 
lister and received her education in the common schools. Mr. 
and Mrs. Beach share their pleasant home.\^ith three children: 
Claris E., aged thirteen; Mildred, aged eight; and Lawrence W., 
aged four. Mrs. Beach is a member of the Methodist Episcopal 
church at Glendale, as is also her eldest daughter. The subject 
is a popular member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows 
and the Modern Woodmen of America. He is in harmony with 
the men and measures of the Democratic party, but has never 
taken an active part in political affairs, his agricultural duties 
leaving him little time for other considerations. 

William Killefp:r. — A volunteer in the defense of the Union at 
the age of eighteen, and remaining in the service of his country 
until the Civil war was ended and for half a year longer ; then a 
merchant, afterward an insurance agent for some years, and since 
1896 a public official standing high in the appreciation and esteem 
of the people to whom he is giving faithful service, William Kille- 
fer, of Paw Paw, has tried his hand at several occupations and 
found it skilful and ready for any duty in them all. 

Mr. Killefer was born at Richfield, Ohio, on August 5, 1846, and 
is the only son and one of the two children of Henry and Abigail 
(Coolman) Killefer, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the 
latter of Connecticut. He therefore unites in his inherited traits 
the sturdy industry, perseverance and frugality of the true Penn- 
sylvanian with the shrewdness, resourcefulness and self-reliance of 
the New Englander, and in his career he has exemplified the most 
sterling attributes of each. 

The father came to Michigan and Van Buren county in 1857, and 
located in Bloomingdale, where he was engaged in general mer- 
chandising until his death, w^hich occurred on November 23, 1872. 
The mother died in April, 1864. They were the parents of a son 
and a daughter, William and his sister Mary, the latter being now 
a resident of Los Angeles, California. Their mother was their 
father's second wife. His first was Jane Ann Curtis, and of their 
union three children were born : John, who resides in Los Angeles, 



718 HISTOJIY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

California; and Henry and Elizabeth, both of whom have been 
dead a number of years, leaving three of the five born in the two 
families to represent them and perpetuate the virtues and practice 
the teachings of the parents. 

William Killefer was practically but a schoolboy when his pa- 
triotism led him into the military service to aid in saving the Amer- 
ican Union from being torn asunder in sectional strife. He en- 
listed in 1864 in Battery C, First Michigan Light Artillery, and in 
this battery he served until October 27, 1865, when he was mustered 
out at Detroit. On his return to his home in this county he became 
a part of his father's mercantile establishment in Bloomingdale, 
and continued as such until 1888, then moved to Paw Paw, where 
he was in the insurance business for five years. 

In 1896 he was appointed postmaster of Paw Paw, and he held 
the office for a full term of four years. Since retiring from that 
position he has been a justice of the peace, and has also carried on 
an insurance business in addition to his judicial duties. But he 
gives the duties of his office his first consideration, and does not 
allow any other claim on his time or attention to interfere with 
them under any cirpumstances. He is energetic and resourceful, 
however, in pushing the insurance end of his activity, making use 
of all his power to render his days of usefulness profitable to him- 
self and serviceable to the community. 

Mr. Killefer was married on June 3, 1880, to Miss Emma Fergu- 
son, and they have had four children : Carl, w^ho was born on June 
23, 1881, and was accidentally killed on October 13, 189e5, while 
hunting; Ola, whose life began on October 10, 1883, and who is still 
living with her parents; Wade, who was born on April 13, 1885, 
and is now a professional base ball player on the team at ]\Iinne- 
apolis, Minnesota; William M., who came into being on October 
10, 1887, and is also a professional base ball player, formerly a 
member of the team at Buffalo, New York, and now with the Phila- 
delphia National team. 

The father is a Republican in politics and one of the wheelhorses 
of his party in the county. He serves its best interests with judg- 
ment and energy at all times, and his counsel is always appreciated 
by both the leaders and the rank and file as worthy of weight. He 
has held the township offices of every grade, some of them for 
lengthy periods. He w^as supervisor five years in Bloomingdale 
and five in Paw Paw. In fraternal circles he is also prominent in 
the Masonic order and the Order of Odd Fellows, taking an earnest 
and serviceable interest in affairs of his lodge in each. His 
church affiliation is with the Baptists, and among them, too, his in- 
fluence is strong, as he is helpful in all the work of the congrega- 
tion in which he holds his membership and true to the Christian 
teachings of the sect in all the relations of life. As a citizen, as a 
business man and as a public official he meets all the requirements 
of uprightness, integrity and enterprise, and his loyalty to these 
requirements has not only given him force and influence with the 
people of the city and county, but has won for him their enduring 
confidence and regard. 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 719 

Sylvester II. Jones. — The untimely death of the late Sylvester 
H. Jones, of Paw Paw, on January 22, 1887, at the early age of 
fifty-seven years and in the prime of his manhood and fulness of 
his usefulness, enshrouded the whole community in grief and 
gloom. He had been a resident of Van Buren county twenty-one 
years, and during one-third of this period had lived and been in 
business in Paw Paw. His worth as a man, his business ability, 
his public spirit and enterprise as a citizen, and his genial and 
companionable nature had given him a high place in the regard 
of the people and greatly endeared him to all who knew him in- 
timately, and each felt a sense of personal loss in his death, which 
was universally lamented. 

Mr. Jones was a native of Maine, and was born at Camden in 
that state on July 21, 1830. He was a son of Johnson Jones of 
that place, whose wife died when her son Sylvester was but two 
years old, and as all the members of the family have passed away 
her maiden name cannot now be given. There were four chil- 
dren in the family, of whom Sylvester was the second in the or- 
der of birth. The place and "circumstances of his nativity deter- 
mined his first pursuit in life, and might have been expected to 
give him more robust health than he had. For Camden, Maine, 
is on the coast of the Atlantic, and its air is supposed to be full of 
life-giving elements. 

Mr. Jones grew to manhood and obtained his education in his 
native town, and as soon as he left school began work in its prin- 
cipal industry, shipbuilding. He wrought in this industry, at 
first for others and later for himself, until he reached the age of 
thirty-six years. Then, in 1866, he came to Michigan and Van 
Buren county, and took up his residence at Glendale. There he 
owned a steam saw mill, where he sawed large quantities of 
butternut and ash lumber, which he sold to be used in the build- 
ing of churches and other fine buildings in Paw Paw, where he 
was well and favorably known among the contractors. This mill 
had long been a landmark in the locality and is familiarly 
spoken of as ''the Old Pioneer Mill" through all the country 
around, the name indicating not only something of the age of 
the structure, but also some measure of the attachment the people 
have for it and its interesting history. 

Mr. Jones moved to Paw Paw in 1880 and started an enterprise 
in the furniture trade. He conducted the business for a few 
years, then sold it, owing to his failing health, but retained the 
ownership of the building in which it was carried on. But he 
did not live long to enjoy the rest he had promised himself. On 
January 22, 1887, as has been noted, he passed away. He was 
married on December 2, 1858, to Miss Mary Adelia Thorndike, a 
daughter of David W. and Betsy Jane (Hilt) Thorndike. They 
were born and reared on the coast of Maine also, and the father 
became a sea captain. 

When the Civil war began he offered his services to the govern- 
ment in defense of the Union, and was soon in the midst of active 
naval operations. In the course of the conflict his ship was 
blockaded in the port of Cienfuegos, Cuba, by the Confederate 
terror of the sea, the Alabama. The climate was so hot and ener- 



720 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

vating during the period of the blockade that the whole ship's 
crew and all the officers contracted ship's fever, and many of 
them died of it. The Captain passed through this ordeal safely, 
but in the subsequent exposure incurred the illness of which he 
died, not many months later, as scarcely any constitution could 
have resisted the extreme heat to which he was subjected and 
the great change he suddenly encountered in a debilitated and 
wasted condition. 

He and his wife were the parents of five children : Mary Adelia, 
the widow of Mr. Jones; Sarah, the wife of John T. Clapp, of 
Paw Paw, and Washburn W. and Francella, both of whom have 
been dead for a number of years. Emma, the last born of the 
family, is also deceased, leaving Mrs. Jones and her sister, Mrs. 
Clapp, the only living representatives of the family. But they 
do it credit in their worthy aspirations and the elevated Ameri- 
can womanhood with which they work toward them in their 
daily lives. 

Mr. and Mrs. Jones had two children, both sons and both liv- 
ing. Winfield Scott, who was born in 1862, is now a resident of 
South Bend, Indiana; and Ralph Sylvester, who was born in 1876, 
has his home at present in Chicago. The father was a loyal and 
devoted member of the Republican party in politics, and always 
energetic and effective in the service of its principles and can- 
didates. His religious faith was expressed by active and ser- 
viceable attendance in the Congregational church. In business, 
in relation to public affairs and the welfare of his community 
and in private life he was true to every claim of duty, and the 
citizenship of the county found him worthy of its highest esteem 
from every point of view and freely bestowed this upon him. 

Charles A. Finch, farmer and owner of the creamery at Al- 
mena in Almena township, was born in this same township on Octo- 
ber 25, 1877. He is the son of George A. and Sarah Rhodes Finch, 
the former a native of Oswego county. New York. His father 
Chauncey P. Finch, was a New Englander of the state of New 
Hampshire. He grew up there but when a young man went to 
Oswego county, New York, where he was married and where all 
his family were born. Five children were born to him, but only 
three lived to grow up and the father of Charles of this sketch was 
fhe middle one of the three. He was but eight years of age when 
the family came to Michigan in 1854. Edward Finch was a vet- 
eran of the Civil war. He belonged to the Michigan cavalry and 
served throughout the entire period of the war. His death oc- 
curred in 1903. The other one of the three children of Chauncey 
Finch, Mrs. Helen Finch Daily, died in 1910. Her husband, Wal- 
ter Daily, died in 1904, at Mattawan. The Finches first settled in 
Pine Grove township of this county, and for over half a century 
they have lived there and in Almena township. 

George Finch grew up in the county and was married to Sarah 
Rhodes. She died in 1886, when Charles was not ten years old, 
leaving two little children. A few years later the father married 
Miss Georgia Thomas, and they are still living at Mattawan, Mr. 
George Finch being agent for the Fruit Belt Line in that place. 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 721 

Charles A. Finch lived at home until he was fourteen years old 
and then began to make his own way by hiring out in the summers. 
He continued to go to school in the winter until he was seventeen. 
At that age he finished the district school course, and then worked 
for wages for another year. At eighteen he purchased forty acres 
of land and kept bachelor's hall on it until he was married, on 
March 17, 1896. Mrs. Charles Finch was Miss Hettie Palmer be- 
fore her marriage, the daughter of George Palmer, of Almena 
tow^nship. Her mother died when she w^as four days old and her 
father now resides in Nebraska, where he is telegraph operator for 
the Northern Railroad. The mother of Mr. George Palmer was 
Selina Downing. She was born in Cayuga county. New York, April 
29, 1828. Her father, Isaiah Smith Downing, was born in New York 
state and came to Van Buren county, Michigan, and settled in Al- 
mena in 1836, at the present home of his daughter, Mrs. Palmer. 
This country was then nearly an unbroken wilderness and Mrs. 
Palmer, now in her eighty-third year, vividly remembers the events 
of those pioneer days when the wolves and bears were often the un- 
welcome intruders into the small brood of chickens, or occasionally 
the sheepfold, and when the Indians were far more numerous than 
the white neighbors. Mrs. Palmer's mother was Hannah Barnum, 
also born in Cayuga county, New York. She had three children, 
but Decatur and Eliza are both deceased, Mrs. Palmer being the 
youngest. The mother died at sixty years of age. Mrs. Palmer 
has spent her entire life since eight years old in the town of Al- 
mena where she received her education in the district schools and 
in Paw Paw, and at the age of sixteen, in 1844, she began teaching, 
which she continued for seven terms, two in Almena, one in Law- 
rence and the other four in nearby towns. In 1850 she married 
Chauncey B. Palmer, who was born in New York state, and as a 
young man came to Almena, where he followed agricultural pur- 
suits all his life and died in 1900. She is the mother of four chil- 
dren : George, mentioned above ; Chauncey ; Flora, residing with 
her mother on the farm; and Hannah, now deceased. 

Lois, the only child of the union of Charles and Hettie Finch, 
was born in December 19, 1898, and is now attending school in Al- 
mena. Mr. Finch holds membership in several of the best known 
fraternal orders. He is a Mason in lodge No. 268 at Mattawan. 
In Almena he is affiliated w^ith the Modern Woodmen, No. 9333, 
and the A. O. of G., in both of which he carries insurance. Mrs. 
Finch is a member of the Methodist church and in politics Mr. 
Finch holds with the Republican party. 

After his marriage, ]\Ir. Fincli ])Ought forty acres of land ad- 
joining the forty he already owned. Two years later he sold the 
eighty and then came to Almena and started in the grocery busi- 
ness. At the end of one year he sold out and went into the cream- 
ery business, w^here he learned the butter-maker's trade. Not con- 
tent with the knowledge he acquired from conducting the business 
for some time, Mr. Finch w^ent to the Agricultural College at Lans- 
ing and finished a course in butter making. He received his di- 
ploma and then returned to the creamery business, being associated 
with the Worden Co-Operative Creamery, near Detroit. He spent 
three years with this concern and then went into business for him- 



722 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

self at Lake Odessa, Michigan, where he stayed for six months. He 
desired to learn still another branch of the milk business, so he 
sold out and went into a condensed milk factory and learned that 
trade. Upon leaving the factory where he had been employed he 
bought the plant at Almena and since February, 1905, he has been 
in business in this county. In addition to his creamery i\Ir. Finch 
owns one hundred and forty acres of land in sections 33 and 34 
and he is building a ten-room house in the village of Almena. The 
thorough preparation and the practical experience have put Mr. 
Finch in the ranks of the foremost men of his trade and his plant 
is one of the best assets of the county from a business standpoint. 

John T. Clapp. — The late John T. Clapp, of Paw Paw^ who died 
on November 17, 1891, on the verge of seventy years of age, was 
at the time of his demise one of the most prominent and sub- 
stantial citizens of Van Buren county. He had accumulated the 
greater part of his estate by industry and ability in the county, 
and he had therefore a particularly cordial interest in its welfare 
and the advancement of its people, as they had a warm admira- 
tion and a high regard for him. For, although he looked after 
his own interests with the utmost care and diligence, he never 
neglected those of the county, and was an ardent practical sup- 
porter of all w^orthy undertakings designed to promote them with- 
out reference to any personal advantage for himself, but wholly 
with a view to the public good and general well being. 

Mr. Clapp w^as a native of the state of New York, and his life be- 
gan in one of its most enterprising and interesting cities. He was 
born on March 12, 1823, in Rochester, where the tides of industrial, 
mercantile and commercial life flow in strong and steady progress, 
and never seem to ebb. He came to Michigan and located in 
Van Buren county, and all his subsequent years of activity were 
devoted to farming and buying and selling wool, in which he 
was an extensive dealer. He also dealt with some energy and 
considerable success in real estate, especially farming lands, and 
made a widely extended reputation for his judgment of land and 
its value. 

Mr. Clapp did not, however, let everything go by him in his 
transactions. He began as a farmer on a small scale, but added 
to his possessions until at one time he owned and farmed four 
hundred and sixty acres of excellent land. To this he applied 
his industry with such skill and judgment that every acre was 
made to yield its full recompense for the care and labor bestowed 
upon it, and thus strengthen his hands for more extended opera- 
tions. Pie also owned several houses in Paw Paw, and as he kept 
them in good order he always secured the full measure of revenue 
from them that he had a right to expect. 

These facts prove that Mr. Clapp was an excellent business 
man and made the most of his opportunities. But his record 
also includes a long course of first-rate and upright progressive 
citizenship, and the people esteemed him highly and revere his 
memory for that. Some years prior to his death, desiring to en- 
joy the remainder of his days in quiet, freedom from care and 
the rest he had so richly earned, he sold all his farms and moved 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 723 

to Paw Paw. He was a Democrat in his political faith and al- 
legiance, and always gave his party energetic and effective serv- 
ice during his period of active life. The party rewarded his 
zeal and efficiency by nominating him for several township of- 
fices in turn, and the people of the township eagerly embraced 
the opportunity thus afforded them to secure service of high char- 
acter in connection with their local affairs by electing him to 
each. He was affiliated in religion with the Presbyterian church, 
and was an active worker in his congregation. 

Mr. Clapp was married three times. His first union was with 
a Miss Rickerd. They had two children, both of whom died in 
infancy. The second was with Miss Eliza Rickerd, a sister of 
his first wife, and the fruits of it were seven children : Julius, 
whose home is in Ithaca, New York; Willis, who is a resident of 
Paw Paw; Eva, the wife of Charles Bailey, of Boston, Massa- 
chusetts; Frank, who lives in Portland, Oregon; Ida, who mar- 
ried Samuel Mawrey, of Three Rivers, Illinois; John, who dwells 
in Bay City, Michigan ; and Nellie, the wife of Frank Francisco, 
whose home is at Chicago, Illinois. 

Mr. Clapp 's third marriage took place on November 6, 1888, 
and united him with Miss Sarah A. Thorndike, a daughter of 
Captain David AV. and Betsy Jane (Hilt) Thorndike, members 
of old New England families, and born and reared on the coast 
of Maine. The salient points in the life of Captain Thorndike are 
given in a sketch of Sylvester H. Jones, deceased, the husband of 
his other living child, j\Irs. Mary Adelia Jones, which will be 
found on another page of this work. Mrs. Clapp is still living in 
Paw Paw, and is always numbered among its best and most ad- 
mirable matrons. Her home is a center of gracious hospitality, 
and a popular resort for the numerous friends of the family, who 
always find the time passed there agreeable, and the influences 
emanating therefrom stimulating and helpful. 

(lEORGE IIooD. — When George Hood became a resident of Van 
Buren county in 1887 he added to its active and productive forces 
something of the spirit of the 'M:)right little, tight little islands'^ 
of England and Scotland across the sea, the spirit that has made 
the British empire the great civilizing force of modern times, 
and one of the greatest agencies of progress the world has ever 
known. He was born in England on February 14, 1866, and is 
a son of Samuel and Rachel (Butcher) Hood, natives of that 
country, who passed their lives within its borders and died on 
the soil that had been hallowed by their labors and which now 
piously covers their remains. The father passed aAvay in 1906 
and the mother in 1907, leaving four of their five children to 
mourn their death. The children who survive them are: Frede- 
rick, who lives in England ; Charles, who lives in Van Buren 
county; Alice, who is the w4fe of Frederick Whissel and also has 
her home in England ; and George, the subject of this brief re- 
view\ Lucy, the fifth child in the order of birth, died a number 
of years ago. 

George remained in his native land until he reached the age 
of twenty-one, and then came to the United States. He did not 



724 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

linger on the Atlantic seaboard, but came at once to Michigan 
and located in Van Buren county, where he engaged in farming 
for a number of years, on rented land. He then l)ought forty 
acres in Decatur township, which he owned and cultivated six 
years. At the end of that period he sold the forty acres and 
bought eighty in section 34, Paw Paw township, on which he is 
still living and conducting an industry in general farming. In 
addition to this he has an interest with his wife in sixty-four acres 
adjoining his eighty, and forty acres of timber land, and in con- 
nection with his farming operations he raises and feeds cattle for 
the general market on a considerable scale. 

On November 27, 1891, Mr. Hood united himself in marriage 
with Miss Mary Burnett, a daughter of John and Elizabeth 
(Watton) Burnett, natives of England, who came to Michigan in 
1852 and took up their residence in Paw Paw, where they died 
many years ago. They had three children, Mrs. Hood and her 
sisters Annie and Kittie, both of whom are deceased, leaving her 
the only living representative of the family. Mr. and Mrs. Hood 
have had one child, their son Carl, who was born on June 9, 
1893 and died on June 23, 1893. Kitty, a sister of Mrs. Hood, 
married George Andrews and they had one child, Lillian, born 
May 18, 1899. Her mother died when she was ten days old and 
since that time she has been a member of the household of Mr. 
and Mrs. Hood, who are greatly attached to her and have given 
her all the care of a daughter^ Mr. Hood is a Democrat in ref- 
erence to national political affairs, and true to his party in all 
campaigns. Locally he looks only to the substantial and endur- 
ing welfare of the people, and exerts his influence to promote 
that. He is now the treasurer of the township school board, and 
has been a member of the board for several years. In fraternal 
life he is a member of the Order of Gleaners, and in church con- 
nection both he and his wife are Methodists. The people of Van 
Buren county esteem him highly and he is entitled to the regard 
in which they hold him, for he is a citizen deeply interested in 
the enduring welfare of the township and county of his home, 
and a man exemplifies in his daily life the best attributes of 
American manhood. 

Garrie W. Hunt. — The late Garrie W. Hunt, of Paw Paw, whose 
untimely death on December 17, 1891, at the early age of forty- 
six years and nine months, was universally regretted, was in his 
young manhood a storekeeper and in his later years an extensive 
buyer and shipper of live stock. He was recognized in all parts 
of Van Buren county as an excellent business man, an upright and 
progressive citizen, and an exemplar of the best attributes of Amer- 
ican manhood of the most sturdy and sterling kind. 

He was born in Antwerp township, Van Buren county, Michigan, 
on March 3, 1845, and was a son of John and Eliza (King) Hunt. 
They had nine children : Laurentio, who is now a resident of Ant- 
werp township, this county ; Sarah, who has been dead a number of 
years; Harty, deceased, the former wife of J. J. Woodward, of 
Van Buren county ; Nathaniel K., who resides in St. Cloud, Minne- 
sota; Lydia, the wife of W. W. Dole, of Kalamazoo, Michigan; 



HISTORY OF VAN I^UREN COUNTY 725 

Garrie W., the lamented subject of this brief memoir; Eliza, the 
wife of Edward Stevens, of Spokane, Washington; John, whose 
home is at Mattawan, Michigan; and Simeon, who died a number 
of years ago. 

On June 7, 1883, Mr. Hunt was joined in marriage with Miss 
Adeline Palmer, who was born at Lyme, Connecticut, on October 
15, 1845, and is a daughter and the only child of Elisha C. and 
Eliza H. (Fowler) Palmer, the former a native of Connecticut, 
who came to Paw Paw in 1856, and the latter a native of New York. 
Mrs. Hunt 's father was a contractor and prominent in his business. 
He died at the home of his daughter on February 23, 1878. Her 
mother died on April 4, 1895. Mr. and Mrs. Hunt became the par- 
ents of one child, their daughter Ruth A., who was born on October 
3, 1885 and died on March 27, 1886. Mr. Hunt was married twice, 
and by his first marriage became the father of one child, his son 
J. W. Hunt, who is now a resident of Aurora, Illinois. 

Mr. Hunt was a Republican in politics and loyally devoted to the 
principles and theories of his party. He rendered it effective serv- 
ice at all times, and was regarded as a man of importance in its 
councils. But he had no aspiration to public office, either by ap- 
pointment or election, and never sought a political position. His 
standing in his community, however, was such, and the general es- 
teem in which he was held was so high, that it is probable he would 
have been compelled to yield to the importunities of the people 
and accept a position in their service if he had lived a few years 
longer, for they recognized his ability for official duties and his 
high character as a man as the best qualifications for effective and 
acceptable public service, and in time would have demanded that 
he employ these qualifications for the public good in the most prac- 
tical way. 

He took a great interest in the Order of Patrons of Husbandry 
(the* Grange) and was prominent and influential in its organiza- 
tion. In church relations he was what is known as a Presbyterian 
Baptist. His consideration for the welfare of his community was 
shown in many ways, particularly by his warm and helpful in- 
terest in public improvements, his ardent support of public educa- 
tion and all other beneficial and elevating institutions, mental, 
moral, civil and social, and his wisdom and energy in what he did 
to keep the -shining wheels of progress in motion toward desirable 
ends. No man stood higher in his township and none better de- 
served the rank he occupied. For he was true to every claim of 
duty and every requirement of citizenship. 

George W. Davis. — A well known farmer of Waverly township 
is George W. Davis, who in addition to his agricultural activities 
gives no small amount of interest to several other institutions, 
among these being the Republican party and the Independent Order 
of Odd Fellows. In the councils of the former he is indeed influen- 
tial and he can ever be depended upon to give his support to all 
measures likely to prove of general benefit. His forty acres of 
land are located in section 16. What may be said of a goodly pro- 
portion of the prominent citizens of the community — that they 
were born in the state of New York — may be said of him, his first 
Vol. n— 7 



726 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

appearance on this mundane sphere having been made in Oneida 
county, New York, September 15, 1845. His parents were Delatrius 
and Harriet (Collins) Davis, and both of the older people lived in 
New York until after the demise of the mother, when the father 
went to Michigan to make his home with the subject. They were 
farmers and they reared a family of four children, all of whom 
have passed on to the ' ' Undiscovered Country ' ' with the exception 
of he whose name inaugurates this review. 

Mr. Davis was educated in the common schools of his locality 
and subsequently entered the high school of Wilson, Niagara 
county, New York, from which institution he was graduated. When 
it came to a time when he must decide in his vocation in life he 
chose agriculture, to which his fathers had devoted their energies 
and in whose wholesome independence he found content. Many 
New Yorkers had preceded him to Van Buren county, Michigan, a 
section of great resource and natural wealth, and he came to the 
conclusion to cast his fortunes with it also. He came in February, 
1876, and was so well suited with it that he has ever since remained 
here and here he has played a manly and conscientious part in the 
many-sided life. 

In 1864, when a very young man, Mr. Davis married, the young 
woman to become his wife being Juliana Deland Carter, of New 
York, and a native of Canada. To this union were born three 
children: William D., who resides at Waverly and who has been 
three times married, his present wife having been a Miss Coulson ; 
Harriet M., the wife of Clinton Hungerford, of South Bend, In- 
diana ; and Elmer C, of this township, and who married Lislia 
Davis. The first wife of the subject passed away on March 17, 
1885, and on April 14, 1888, he was a second time married, to May- 
ette Bradley, of this county. They maintain a hospitable home 
and botli are highly esteemed in the community. 

As previously mentioned, Mr. Davis is an enthusiastic Odd Fel- 
low, holding membership in Glendale Lodge and holding the office 
of gate keeper on the Inside of the lodge. He gives heart and hand 
to the men and measures of the Rei)ublican party and has held a 
number of public offices with great faithfulness and efficiency, hav- 
ing been highway commissioner and for twenty-four years justice 
of the peace of the township, during which time he has married 
twenty-four couples. 

Frank E. Stephens^ whose death occurred February 16, 1903, 
on the family homestead near iMattawan, Van Buren county, was 
one of the skilled agriculturists of his locality, and during many 
years spent in operations in this township displayed traits of char- 
acter that stamped him as a good citizen and enterprising work- 
man. Born on the farm which he was operating at the time of his 
death, July 10, 1857, Mr. Stephens was a son of Orange and Mary 
Ann (Armstrong) Stephens, natives of Vermont. Mr. Stephens' 
mother was for some years a school teacher in Van Buren county, 
her father being one of the early hotel keepers of Lawton. After 
coming to IMichigan, Orange Stephens traveled west to California, 
where he worked for wages until he had sent back enough to pur- 
chase two hundred and forty acres, wiiich became the family home- 



HISTOKY OF VAX J^IJREN COUNTY 727 

stead. Three children were born to Orange and Mary Ann (Arm- 
strong) Stephens, namely: Ransom E., deceased; JMary Jane, who 
died in infancy; and Frank E. 

Frank E. Stephens attended the public schools of his native 
locality and always remained on the home farm, wiiich he operated 
as a stock farm, breeding thoroughbred cattle and Shropshire sheep. 
He was considered one of the best judges of live stock in his part 
of the county, and his advice was often sought in matters pertain- 
ing to the raising of sheep and cattle. Mr. Stephens did not con- 
iine his interests to his own personal affairs, for he was ever found 
ready and willing to lend his aid to Avhatever promised to work 
out for the ultimate good of the community, and by his own ex- 
ample did much to advance and improve the standard of agricul- 
tural work throughout Van Buren county. He was a Republican 
in politics, and although he never cared for public office for himself, 
was always a hard worker in the ranks of his party. Fraternally 
he was connected with the Masonic order. He was a Universalist 
in his religious belief, as is his widow, who survives him and lives 
in the comfortable fa mil v residence on Mattawan Rural Route 
No. 2. 

Mr. Stephens was married on December 3, 1878, to Miss Amanda 
Beardsley, daughter of Ransom and Susanna (Wood) Beardsley, 
whose other four children were : Capitola, who is deceased ; Lorene, 
w^ho married Isaac Scott, of Mattawan; Fred R., who is deceased; 
and Lincoln E., residing in Mattawan. Mr. Beardsley died No- 
vember 29, 1909, his wife having passed away February 21, 1905. 
Mr. and Mrs. Stephens had a family of three children : Elsie, the 
w^ife of Walter Hunt, living on the old Stephens homestead; 
Gladys, the wife of Philbrook jMunson, of Kalamazoo county, Mich- 
igan; and Orange R., born February 12, 1898, and now making his 
home with his mother. 

Alonzo Sherman. — Merchant, mill man and banker, Alonzo 
Sherman, until 1887 one of the leading forces in the business life 
of Paw^ Paw, and whose useful career was then ended by death, 
gave to the people of this community a fine example of enter- 
prise and progressiveness in mercantile and commercial life and 
in elevated and serviceable citizenship, and in his career illus- 
trated what can be accomplished in this land of boundless re- 
sources and almost boundless opportunity by industry, thrift, 
business capacity and good management. He was a resident of 
Paw Paw forty-four years, and during that long period his life 
Avas an open book before the people of the city and county, and 
Ihey never saw^ a blot on any page of it. 

Mr. Sherman was a native of Massachusetts, born in Conw^ay, 
Franklin county, on May 8, 1811. He was a son of John and 
Mary (Warren) Sherman, New^ Englanders by nativity and rear- 
ing, and thoroughly imbued with the spirit and aspirations of 
the people of the portion of the country which was their home 
from birth to death, and had been the home of their ancestors for 
generations before them. 

Their son, Alonzo Sherman, grew to manhood and obtained 
his education in his native place. After leaving school he learned 



728 HISTORY OP VAN BlIREN COUNTY 

the trade of a shoemaker. He went to York, Genesee county, New 
York, in search of better opportunities in life than his native 
town seemed ever likely to afford him, and there he worked at 
his trade two years. But the work he had to do was journey- 
man work only, and his ambitious soul longed for something 
better. He therefore opened a shoe factory at Leroy in Genesee 
county, in the same state, and carried it on for ten years. To dis- 
pose of the output he opened a boot and shoe store of his own, 
and this he also conducted with success and general approval for 
ten years, and in addition to this he owned a farm. By the end 
of that period the Western fever had secured a firm hold on him 
and he could no longer resist its demands. In the spring of 1844 
he traded his business and farm in Leroy for a half interest in 
a store in Paw Paw, forming a partnership with E. J. House to 
conduct a general merchandising business. The firm as originally 
organized lasted two years. Then H. L. Dickenson was taken in 
as a member of it, and two years later its numbers were increased 
and its forces augmented by the addition of Joseph Sherman, a 
brother of Alonzo. In 1848 Thomas L. Stevens was taken into the 
firm, and this continued until 1849. When Joseph Sherman died, 
the other partners continuing until 1866, when fire destroyed the 
store. But it was rebuilt and the business continued up to 1868, 
in which year Mr. Sherman sold the store to his partner but was 
obliged to repurchase it, and operated it alone until 1870, when 
he sold it to Mr. Thomas R. Ross. The house was popular, and 
its trade was large and active. But its affairs were not sufficient 
to fully occupy Mr. Sherman's energetic, resourceful and ver- 
satile mind. He therefore, in company with T. L. Stevens, bought 
the Paw Paw Mill Company in 1849, and this he conducted and 
managed until 1868. In that year Mr. Ross purchased Mr. 
Stevens' share of the mill property and rented Mr. Sherman's 
share, and this continued until 1870, when the mill was sold to 
Mr. Anderson. In 1873 Mr. Sherman again repurchased his half 
of the mill and continued to operate it up to 1880, when he deeded 
it to his son John D. 

In 1864, in connection with Thomas L. Stevens, he founded the 
First National Bank of Paw Paw, he being elected its president. 
From this position he retired in 1886, and on December 21, 1887, 
his useful and instructive life ended, at the age of seventy-six 
years and seven months. His death was a great loss to the com- 
munity, as he was a man of fine public spirit and had been one 
of the potential factors in building up and improving Paw Paw 
and Van Buren county, and promoting the substantial welfare of 
their people in every way available to him. 

Mr. Sherman was united in marriage with Miss Lucy Ann 
Dickenson, who died in 1883, at sixty-five years of age. By this 
marriage he became the father of five children; Charles, John D., 
(a sketch of whom is to be found in this work). Delia P. who died 
in 1873, Frank and George W. The mother died and the father 
took to himself another wife in the person of Miss Elizabeth 
Boyington. She died and he contracted a third marriage, uniting 
himself on this occasion with Miss Eugenia T. Esterbrook, a 
daughter of Dr. Joseph H. Esterbrook, of Camden, Maine. 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 729 

The third Mrs. Sherman is one of a family of nineteen children, 
fourteen of whom grew to maturity. She and her husband be- 
came the parents of one child, their son Joseph Hubbard Sher- 
man, who was born on July 13, 1869, obtained a high school ed- 
ucation, and has been engaged in mercantile business ever since 
leaving school. He owns and occupies the old homestead in Paw 
Paw and has a large block of stock in the First National Bank. 
In politics he is independent; an Odd Fellow and a Knight of 
Pythias in fraternal life; and a Baptist in religious faith and 
church connection. 

Charles B. Allp:rton. — To plant one^s feet in the wilderness, 
amid the unpruned growth of ages, with the wild life of man and 
beast indigenous to the soil still prevalent in full vigor and unre- 
strained freedom in the region, is an experience no longer possible 
in this country, and the few remaining men and women who have 
had it are always interesting in themselves and their history. To 
this steadily diminishing number belong Andrew J. and Martha J. 
(Babcock) Allerton, of Van Buren county, the parents of Charles 
B. Allerton, one of the enterprising and prosperous farmers of 
Keeler township. 

When they located in this county in 1865 there were only two 
small stores in the village of Hartford, and there was not a railroad 
anywhere in this part of the state. They saw the country in its 
primeval wildness, became familiar with the sight of its untamed 
denizens of the forest, savage beasts and still more savage men, 
and they have witnessed and contributed to its progress from that 
condition to its present high state of development and advanced im- 
provement. 

This interesting couple were born and reared in Ohio, the father 
in Stark county, where his life began on May 21, 1831, and the 
mother in Wood county, where she came into being on April 6, 
1841. She was a daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth (Roberts) Bab- 
cock, and had four brothers, being herself the only girl in the fam- 
ily. She and her husband made the trip overland from their native 
state to IMichigan and Van Buren county nearly fifty years ago, 
and on their arrival in this locality they bought twenty acres of 
land in Keeler township, for which the purchase price was three 
hundred dollars. On this they built a log cabin, which was called 
''The Bass Wood Cabin, '^ as it w^as constructed of split bass wood 
logs, with the smooth side inside the dwelling as a finish, and hum- 
ble and unpretentious as the cabin would look now, it was a habita- 
tion of more than ordinary consequence when it was put up. A 
few years later they sold their little farm of twenty acres and 
made other purchases, adding to their acreage as time passed until 
they were the owners of a considerable quantity of good land. They 
helped to lay the foundations of the township in its civil govern- 
ment, aided in the erection of the little log schoolhouse in which 
their children began their education, and bore their full part of 
the labor and responsibility incident to speaking a new region into 
being as a civilized community and starting it on its career of 
progress and development. 

This gentleman and his wife were distinguished in their an- 



730 HISTORY OP VAN BIJREN COUNTY 

cestry as well as in their own achievements. Mr. Allerton^s grand- 
father was a soldier in the Revolutionary war and connected with 
the immediate command of General Washington. The Allertons 
came to this country in the Mayflower and from the time of the 
arrival of the first of the name members of the family have been 
prominent in American history. They have dignified and adorned 
every worthy walk in public and private life, and the same is true 
of the forefathers of Mrs. Allerton. Their children and their chil- 
dren 's children are entitled to honorary membership in the socie- 
ties of the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution. They 
are themselves the parents of three sons and one daughter, all of 
whom are living: Curtis 0., the first born, is a contractor and 
builder in Battle Creek, Michigan. He completed his education in 
the high school in Hartford, is married and has an attractive resi- 
dence in the city of his home. Ella E., the second child, married 
Henry Harmon, a prosperous barber who now lives at New Buffalo, 
Berrien county, Michigan. Charles B. is the third child in the or- 
der of birth, and the fourth is William F., who is also married and 
carries on extensively as a contractor and builder in the state of 
Florida, where he has lived for a number of years. 

Charles B. Allerton was born in Van Buren county, Michigan, 
on October 5, 1867. He was reared on his father's farm, attended 
the common school in its vicinity and completed his education 
in the high school in Hartford. He also pursued a two years ^ 
I'ourse of instruction in the literary and business departments 
of Mount Union College in Ohio, })eing graduated in the busi- 
ness department. While attending this institution he paid his 
own way out of money he had earned and saved. 

After leaving the college he located in Grand Rapids, iMielii- 
gan, where he did office work for a time. From there he moved 
to Chicago and accepted a position as shipping clerk in the em- 
ploy of T. A. Shaw & Company, dry goods commission mer- 
chants. At the end of a year sickness compelled him to give up 
his position, and his next engagement was as city bill clerk for 
Kelly, Maus & Company, hardware merchants on Lake street, 
Chicago. He was with this company during the World's Fair of 
1893, and afterward became a traveling salesman for the Tack 
and Nail Company, of Grand Crossing, Illinois. 

On December 28, 1892, IMr. Allerton was married to Miss 
Jennie I. Gould, who was born in Van Buren county on August 
2, 1870, and is a daughter of Gilbert and Mary (Garrett) Gould, 
prominent residents of Keeler township. She was educated in 
the public schools and at the Collegiate Institute in Benton Har- 
bor, and after completing her education was one of the success- 
ful and popular teachers of the county for three years. Mrs. 
Allerton is a lady of unusual sunniness and cheerfulness of dis- 
position and makes her home one of the most popular resorts in 
the township of its location. 

After his marriage Mr. Allerton took a position with the Anglo- 
Swiss Milk Company at Dixon, Illinois, to which he rendered 
valuable service as a salesman for two years. He then became 
the superintendent of the shipping, department of the Reynolds 
Wire Company, of Dixon, Illinois, but at the end of one year in 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 731 

that responsible position he found himself weary of business and 
determined to turn his attention and devote his energies to farm- 
ing. With this end in view, he bought forty acres of land, which 
is part of his present farm, and two years later he added twenty 
Mcres of timber and pasture land. In 1910 he purchased one hun- 
dred and twenty acres of choice land in Berrien county, and he 
also owns a valuable piece of property, one hundred and sixty- 
four by one hundred and thirty-seven feet in size, on Broadway 
in Benton Harbor, which is steadily increasing in desirability and 
value. 

Mr. AUerton began the battle of life for himself before he 
went to college. He paid his own way through that and has been 
steadily progressing ever since. He now owns one hundred and 
eighty acres of fine, productive land, which he has enriched with 
good buildings and other improvements, and of which he is mak- 
ing model farms. He does general farming and raises live stock. 
He was the first farmer in Keeler township to raise alfalfa, the 
production of which he started as an experiment on nine acres 
of land. In 1911 he cut three crops from this tract and secured 
an average of four tons to the acre. 

In politics Mr. Allerton is independent. He has no time or 
desire for public office himself, and will not allow himself to be 
bound by party ties, but bestows his suffrage on the candidates 
he deems best fitted for the offices sought and most likely to 
promote the general welfare of the township, county or state. 
At this time (1911) his father and mother are among the oldest 
living residents of Van Bur en county who came here as pioneers, 
and he is one of the county's most wide-awake, intelligent, en- 
terprising and progressive farmers, as well as one of its most es- 
teemed and influential and useful citizens. His beautiful farm 
is on the line between Keeler and Hartford townships, five miles 
distant from Hartford, Keeler and Watervliet, and has many ad- 
vantages in its location. 

Mr. and Mrs. Allerton have five children, two sons and three 
daughters, but only two are living. Their daughter Helen is in 
the third grade in school and is making a record in her studies 
of w^hich her parents are justly proud. The other child is their 
daughter Marian M., who is not yet old enough to go to school. 
Their home is a social center and one of the popular resorts of 
the county, throughout which it is renowned for its intellectual 
atmosphere, many artistic attractions and genuine hospitality. 
It is like its occupants, full of life's brightness and cheer, and a 
source of betterment and refined enjoyment for all who come 
within its influence. 

I. P. Bates. — In the year 1776 there was born to Israel Bates, 
of Vermont, a son, Jacob. The father went into the war a little 
later and fought for the independence of the colonies, so the little 
boy grew up in an atmosphere of rumors of battles and of the 
fine indifference to small matters of personal comfort which char- 
acterized these earlier Americans whose faces were set as a flint 
toward the goal of liberty. Jacob Bates w^ent west when he 
grew to manhood and settled in New York, where his son Daniel 



732 HISTORY OF VAN BIJREN COUNTY 

was born in Herkimer county. Daniel married Eliza Pinkhara, 
of Onondaga county, and of this union was born in 1835, on the 
thirtieth of December, I. P. Bates, the subject of this review. 

There were twelve children in the family of Daniel Bates, 
eleven of whom grew to maturity. Lydia is the widow of Isaac 
Nelson, of Pennsylvania. John D. Bates also lives in the Key- 
stone state. Eliza Jane is the wddow of AVebster Johnston, of 
Arlington township. Perry is now dead, Lovina is the w4dow 
of J. L. Williams, of Kansas, and Ellen is the widow of L. G. 
Cunningham, of the same state. Otis is judge of the probate 
court in Lane county, Kansas. Russell is a United States mar- 
shal in Nome, Alaska. iMansel is a contractor and builder in 
Kansas. Emma is the wife of Henry A. Gerdes, of Minneapolis, 
Minnesota, where her husband is a cement contractor for the 
city. The father moved to Kansas in his latter years and died 
there at the age of sixty-one. The mother lived to the age of 
eighty-eight and died in 1901. 

Israel P. Bates was the third in the family and until he was 
twenty he stayed with his father. At that age he came to Ar- 
lington Centre, Van Buren county. He had attended the May- 
ville academy in New York for one year and after coming to Van 
Buren county in the years 1856 to 1859 he went to school at Law- 
rence and then was for two years a student in Hillsdale College. 
When the war broke out he shouldered a musket to preserve the 
country his great-grandfather had fought to make a nation, en- 
listing in Company G, Second Michigan Cavalry, under Captain 
Fred Fowler. He served for three years and w^as mustered out 
October 3, 1864, at Washington, D, C. 

Mr. Bates had begun preaching in 1859, his first sermon having 
been given in April, of that year, and after returning from the 
war on May 6, 1866, he was ordained for the ministry of the 
Baptist church and began the w^ork of preaching, which has been 
his work ever since. He is still active in this profession after 
more than forty years in its service. He is of that company who, 
like the pioneers of Kansas, take a rifle and a Bible to guide 
their course by, and while they do valiant service both with their 
muskets and with ^^the sw^ord of the spirit, which is the word 
of God,'' they are in no whit lacking in what we term the prac- 
tical concerns of life. Mr. Bates not only preaches the gospel, 
but he farms his place of forty acres besides. 

On the first of December, 1864, Mr. Bates was married to 
Sarah, the daughter of Alfred C. and Maria Church. Mrs. Bates 
is a native of Michigan, being born one month after it became a 
state, her birthday and that of President Cleveland's being but 
one day apart. There were five children in the family in which 
she grew up. The others: Mary, Arietta, Matilda and Elliot W., 
are deceased. There have been six children born to Mr. and 
Mrs. Bates. Ina, the eldest is dead. .She was the wife of E. 
Peacock, of Paw Paw. Rose is at home and Alva C. lives in 
this county. Relly T. is a resident of Waverly. Florence and 
Clyde are both dead, the latter having been accidentally shot, 
while in North Dakota. 

Mr. Bates is a Republican and a worker in the G. A. R. For 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 733 

twenty-two years he has been chairman of the Soldiers' Relief 
Commission. He is commander of the Grand Army Post and 
has also been its chaplain. It would be impossible to speak too 
highly of the w^ork of this patriotic and devoted citizen who has 
striven so long and so faithfully for all which makes for the 
best life of the country. 

John D. Sherman. — Having passed sixty-seven of the seventy- 
four years of his life in Paw Paw with but one little interval of 
two years, during which he was in business in another county, and 
having been in mercantile and industrial life among this people 
from the very dawn of his manhood, and in one line of trade 
throughout the last twenty-three years, the life of John D. Sher- 
man is well known to the residents of Van Buren county, and in 
its long course of active and general usefulness he has given them 
many proofs of his business capacity, his high character as a man 
and his public spirit and progressiveness as a citizen. 

Mr. Sherman's life began in Genesee county. New York, on 
June 14, 1837, where he lived until he was seven years of age. 
He is a son of Alonzo and Lucy Ann (Dickenson) Sherman, a 
sketch of whose lives will be found elsewhere in this volume. They 
had five children, of whom John D. and his brother George of 
Topeka, Kansas, are living. The latter is superintendent of The 
Dining Car Service of the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad Com- 
pany; Charles, Delia P. and Frank have passed away. 

Mr. Sherman started in business when he was but twenty years 
old, and almost immediately after completing his education. His 
first venture was in the hardware trade, in which he was engaged 
three years. He then started an exchange office in Paw Paw, 
which he conducted for two years, and at the end of that period 
turned his attention to the grocery business. This occupied his 
attention and held his interest from 1861 to 1868, when he sold 
his own store and took a hand in helping to carry on that of his 
father, whicli he did during all of the next two years. 

He was eager during this period, however, to be again in busi- 
ness for himself, and as soon as he saw an opening gratified his 
desire. He went to Coloma in Berrien county and remained two 
years keeping a general store. In 1873 he returned to Paw Paw 
and bought an interest in a flour mill, with which he w^as con- 
nected as a member of the firm seven years. At the beginning of 
the eighth year he bought the whole outfit, and from 1880 to 1888 
conducted the mill altogether on his own account. Since 1888 he 
has been continuously engaged in the sale of seed on a large scale, 
and also carries general produce. 

On June 14, 1860, Mr. Sherman was united in marriage with 
Miss Helen A. Belfy, a daughter of Henry and Catherine H. 
(Pease) Belfy of western New York. Two children have been 
born of the union, both of whom are living. They are Henry 
Ellsworth and Lulu May. In his political faith the father is 
a pronounced Democrat and a loyal member of his party. He 
has served it faithfully as one of its rank and file for many years, 
and he has also represented it in several township offices, in each 
having carefully looked after the interests of the township and 



784 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

its people. In religious belief and alliance he is a Spiritualist, 
firm in his faith and consistent in his actions in connection witli 
it at all times. 

Silas N. Barker. — Perhaps no part of Van Buren county has 
more comfortable old homes or a more prosperous class of citizens 
than has Paw Paw township, and the farm of Silas N. Barner, 
in section 13, offers proof of the statement. Mr. Barner was born 
in Schoharie county, New York, March 25, 1833, and is a son 
of Silas and Nancy (Shaffer) Barner, natives of New York and 
descendants of German ancestry. Silas Barner was a farmer and 
preacher of the Methodist faith, and his death occurred in 1886. 
His wife died at the birth of their only child, Silas N., and Mr. 
Barner was married then to Sally Barton, who bore him two 
children : Brad, of Brooklyn, New York ; and Eli, who is deceased. 

Silas N. Barner went to Pennsylvania at the age of sixteen 
years, and there purchased twenty acres of farming land, which 
he operated for fourteen years, becoming a prominent agriculturist 
and filling positions of political importance in his community. 
Going to Kansas at that time, Mr. Barner was for one year 
engaged in the lumber and sawmill business, and he then re- 
turned to Pennsylvania, remaining on the homestead for about 
ten years. He subsequently located in Longview, Texas, where 
he conducted a grist, saw and planing mill for five years, after 
which he purchased a tract of one hundred and thirty-five acres 
of farming land in Scotland county, Missouri, and in connection 
with cultivating this property conducted a sawmill and milling 
business and a blacksmith and machine shop for twenty years. 
In 1901 Mr. Barner came to Paw Paw township, purchasing one 
hundred and eight acres of land in section 13, and here he has 
since been engaged in general farming and fruit raising. He 
is a successful agriculturist, progressive and enterprising, and 
is recognized as one of Paw Paw township's public-spirited citi- 
zens, always ready to encourage and assist every movement for 
the improvement and advancement of his section. 

On November 25, 1852, Mr. Barner was married to Miss Helen 
Parker, daughter of Isaac and Margery (Smith) Parker, t\u) 
latter a native of Holland and the former of New York state. 
Mrs. Barner died in 1886. Mr. and Mrs. Barner had four chil- 
dren, namely: Menzo, who met an accidental death in 1910, 
when the team of horses he was driving ran away with the binder ; 
Minnie N., w^ho is deceased ; Hattie N., the wife of Ivan B. Shull, 
who is now assisting his father-in-law on the Barner homestead ; 
and Ola Lapette, the wife of Hiram L. Pickel, chief deputy sheriff 
of Polk county, Iowa, and a resident of Des Moines. 

In his political views Mr. Barner is a Republican, and he al- 
ways takes an interest in public matters, although he has never 
found time to hold public office since leaving Pennsylvania. His 
fraternal connection is with the Masons, and Mrs. Barner was a 
consistent member of the Methodist church. 

Ferdinand Menig. — The German-Americans of this country are 
regarded as among the most reliable and esteemed citizens of the 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 735 

land, and where they live there is sure to be found a number of 
substantial homes. They usually take a great interest in the 
development of the resources of a community and make for good 
government, thus proving themselves very desirable additions to 
their adopted country's citizenship. Among the men of this class 
in Van l^uren county was the late Ferdinand Menig, a success- 
ful agriculturist and veteran of the Civil war, who Avas born in 
Bavaria, Germany, October 13, 1841, and died eTanuary 4, 1910, 
in Paw Paw township. Mr. Menig was a son of John and Mar- 
garet Menig, natives of Germany, whose other children were: 
George and Ursula, both of whom are deceal^ed. 

The Menig family came to the United States in 1852, when 
Ferdinand was eleven years old, and settled in New York, where 
Mr. Menig learned the trade of baker and where he was living 
at the time of his enlistment in Company C, Fourtli Regiment, 
New York Artillery, wdth w^hich organization he served five years. 
He then entered the arsenal at Watertown, Massacusetts, where 
he worked three years as a baker. On completing his service Mr. 
Menig went to p]gerton, Ohio, and formed a partnership with 
(ieorge Kerr, with whom he was engaged in operating a woolen 
mill until 1878, then going to Danville, Illinois, where he pur- 
chased of Henry Riggs a half interest in woolen mills at that 
])lace, and after three years bought out his partner's interests 
and continued it for twenty-five years. While in Ohio he had 
met with an accident which deprived him of an arm, but he did 
not allow this misfortune to keep him from making a success of 
his business ventures. After conducting the Danville mills alone 
up to 1906 he moved to Antwerp township. Van Buren county, 
and took up one hundred acres of farming land in section 19, 
which he continued to operate until his deatli. During his entire 
business career he was actuated by the highest principles of honor, 
and he stood high in the esteem of his fellows. 

On December 8, 1864, Mr. jNIenig w^as married to ^liss Mary 
Sliean, who was born in Massachusetts, and nine children were 
l)orn to this union, as follows: Margaret, now known as Sister 
Eunice, is at present teaching in Alexandria, Virginia. She 
was educated at the Holy Cross Convent of Notre Dame, South 
Bend, Indiana, and following her graduation taught nine years 
in South Bend. Mary is the wife of Thomas E. Brown, 
assistant cashier in the bank of J. G., Cannon, Danville, Illi- 
nois. George is a resident of Kokomo, Indiana. Gertrude is 
the wife of Dr. Hooton, of Danville, Illinois. Ursula C. lives 
at home with her mother. Frank is a resident of Paw Paw. 
Nellie H. is residing at home. August is living in Danville, 
Illinois. Bertha is the wife of George Fisher, superintendent of 
light and heat for the Illinois Traction Company at Danville. 

Mr. Menig was a Republican in his political views, and served 
as school director and justice of the peace for many years, be- 
ing closely identified with the progress of his tow^nship and be- 
ing justly regarded as one of its most influential men. He and 
his family were connected with the Catholic church. 



736 HISTORY OF VAN BUEEN COUNTY 

Allen Harwick.— The Harwiek family is intimately associated 
with the pioneer history of Van Buren county, and its represen- 
tatives are deserving of much credit for the part they have borne 
in the improvement and development of this section of the state. 
Perhaps no more substantial or better liked man ever resided m 
Antwerp township than the late Allen Harwick, who was for 
many years one of Van Buren county's successful farmers. Mr. 
Harwick was born in Caledonia, New York, December 6, 1838, 
a son of Peter and Belva (Eoot) Harwick, natives of the Em- 
pire state. Mr. and Mrs. Harwick came to Michigan m 1843, 
taking up government land in section 16, Antwerp township, and 
here they spent the remainder of their lives, the father passing 
away October 4, 1892, and his wife September 9 of that year. 
They had only one child, Allen. • -, r,- 

Allen Harwick was five years of age w^hen he accompanied his 
parents to Michigan, and his education was secured in the prim- 
itive district schools. Sharing with his parents all the hardships 
and privations incident to pioneer life, he early learned the traits 
of honesty, industry and economy which characterized his whole 
later life, and became a skilled agriculturist. He succeeded his 
father to the home property, and there he spent his active career, 
being engaged in general farming and fruit raising and making 
a general success of his operations. He was highly respected by 
his neighbors and loved in his home, and his funeral was largely 
attended, those who knew him being glad to pay respect to his 
memory. He was a Mason and a Democrat, and with his family 
attended the Congregational church. 

On March 5, 1863, Mr. Harwick was married to Mertice Bowen, 
daughter of Frank and Nancy (Hicks) Bowen, natives of New 
York, who came to Michigan in 1845 and settled m Arhngton 
township. During the year 1848 they rented a part of their 
house, which consisted of two large rooms, two bedrooms, a but- 
tery and an attic, and during the spring following Mr. Bowen pur- 
chased a forty-acre tract, paying for it with personal property, 
and rented the Arlington place and started to go East. When 
the family had gone as far as Paw Paw, Mr. Bowen was prevailed 
upon to locate in Pine Grove, and they settled in an unfinished 
log house, with no doors nor windows, and the floors laid down 
as the boards had come from the lumber mill. During the spring 
following Mr. Bowen cut the lumber, sawed the timber, and built 
a small house, into which they moved, but in 1851 he purchased 
a farm east of Paw Paw and moved into it, building a house and 
barn and making numerous improvements from year to year, 
but eventually sold it. In 1858 Mr. Bowen 's brother died and 
the family moved East, so that he could take charge of affairs. 
During the following year, however, the family returned to Mich- 
igan, and here Mr. Bowen continued to carry on agricultural 
pursuits until his death, which occurred December 16, 1892. His 
widow died on September 30, 1911, in her eighty-ninth year. 
They had the following children : Mertice, wddow of Mr. Har- 
wick ; George, who grew to manhood, married Miss Carrie Hamlin, 
and removed' to ]\Iinnesota, where he died in 1896 ; Maria and 
Jerod, who died in 1858, within a few days of each other, of 



^^^ 






P 

o 
o 

I— I 

? 



^^' 



HISTORY OP VAN BUREN COUNTY 737 

scarlet fever; and Cliauncey, who lives in Kalamazoo county. 
Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Harwick, namely: Frank 
who IS now engaged in cultivating the home farm; Minnie, who 
IS deceased; Grace, who is engaged in school teaching in the West; 
and Isa, the wife of Sheldon Coleman, of Lawton. 

Daniel Coy.— An enterprising and progressive farmer in times 
of peace and a valiant soldier to the limit of endurance under hard- 
ships and bravery m battle while the war drum of our Civil strife 
throbbed Daniel Coy, of Paw Paw township, Van Buren county, 
has hearkened to the call of duty in every line of endeavor in which 
he has engaged, and faithfully performed his part in each. He has 
prospered in his fidelity, too, as he is now one of the substantial 
men of his locality, with a comfortable competence for life, which 
he has accumulated by his own efforts and ability 

Mr. Coy was born and reared to the age of fifteen years in the 
iiast and passed his boyhood in one of the most populous and in- 
teresting portions of that section of the country. But when he 
came West he had no diificulty in adapting himself to the change 
m conditions which he found here, as he has never had in getting 
in touch with his surroundings wherever he has been. His life be- 
gan m Albaiiy county. New York, on July 3, 1849, and he is a son 
of John and Margaret (McMechen) Coy, and the third of their 
seven chddren m the order of birth. The others are: James, who 
lives m Kalamazoo; Mary, the wife of John Boyd, also a resident 
ot Kalamazoo; Louisa, the widow of the late Theodore Merwin of 
Van Buren county; Andrew, whose home is at Bloomingdale, this 
county ; Jane who has been dead a number of yeare; and John, who 
also lives at Bloomingdale. The parents were born, passed the last 
years of their lives and died in Bloomingdale, Michigan. The father 
was a farmer and mill -man. 

Daniel Coy came to Michigan when he was fifteen years old and 
located at Lawton for a short time, then moved to Bloomingdale 
working in mills at the latter place. The only education he ob- 
teined was secured m the common schools of his native county 
J^rom the time of his arrival in Michigan he was always too busy 
and too much m need of work to go to school while his school age 
lasted, but he took advantage of such means as were available to 
him for the improvement of his mind and the acquisition of useful 
information. 

A ^wT "^I^l-^^^ beginning of the Civil war he enlisted in Company 
A, Ihird Michigan Cavalry, under command of Captain Mover 
He was mustered into the service on July 22, 1861, and discharged 
on duly Jb 1865. Hostilities were in rapid progress at the time 
or ills enlistment, and his company was soon called into the field 
m an aggressive campaign against the forts on the Cumberland 
and Tennessee rivers which were held by the Confederate forces 
Coy^was taken prisoner at the battle of Fort Donelson but 
succeeded m making his escape soon afterward. Prom then until 
the close of the war he was in active service, and during the course 
ot It took part m many engagements. He was mustered out at 
bprmgfield, Illinois, and at once returned to his home and went to- 
work m a mill. 



738 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

After passing two years in this occupation he went again to Ten- 
nessee. J^ut this time he was bent on no conquest except that of 
industrial prosperity; and bore no arms but those which nature had 
equipped him with in his ready and resourceful mind and strong 
and responsive body. He remained in Tennessee two years profit- 
ably engaged in farming, then sold his farm in that state and came 
back to Michigan. On his return to this state he ])ouglit forty acres 
of land in Almena township, Van Buren county. In 1878 he sold 
this tract and bought forty acres in Waverly township, to which 
he added forty more by a subsequent purchase. In 1891 he sold 
the eighty acres and purchased one hundred and forty-six in Paw 
Paw township, which he still owns, occupies and cultivates. He 
does general farming and raises and feeds live stock for the general 
market, and succeeds well in both lines of his business. 

Mr. Coy was married on November 26, 1877, to i\Iiss May Thayer, 
a daughter of Zara and JMary (Parker) Thayer, the father a native 
of New Hampshire and the mother of Vermont. They came to 
Michigan in 1865 and located in Waverly township, Van Buren 
county, where the mother died on INIarch 22, 1877, and the father 
on June 1, 1907. They were the parents of seven children, of 
whom Mrs. Coy was the fifth in the order of birth. The others 
who are living are: Maria, the wife of Ira Jenkins, of Cadillac, 
Michigan; and Orisa, the wife of William ]\larkley of Gobleville, 
also in this state. Mary Jane, Joseph, Johannus and Addie have 
been dead for a number of years. 

Mr. and Mrs. Coy have seven children : Edward J., resides in 
Gobleville; their daughter Addie lives at Mattawan; their son 
Zara is a resident of Paw Paw ; Joseph has his home in Cleveland, 
Ohio; and May, Daniel and Andrew^ are still living at home with 
their parents. The father is a Republican in his political faith 
and allegiance, and a Baptist in his church affiliation. He keeps 
alive the memory of his military service by active membership in 
the Grand Army of the Republic, but recollects only its pleasant 
features without any of the bitterness of feeling he experienced 
when he was going through it. He stands well in the regard of the 
people of Van Buren county, and deserves their esteem and good 
will from every point of view. 

Henry Waite. — ^When a man has resided in a community for 
a number of years and has proven himself always industrious, 
energetic, responsible and public spirited, his death is keenly felt 
m the community and his place is not readily filled. Such a 
man was the late Henry Waite, who for many years was engaged 
in agricultural pursuits in Antwerp township, and w^as closely 
identified with the development of this part of Van Buren county. 
Mr. Waite was born September 10, 1825, in Washington county, 
New York, son of Green and Lida (Moon) Waite, also natives of 
ihe Empire state. 

Henry Waite was one of a family of fifteen children, all of 
whom grew to maturity, and he was only fifteen years of age 
when he left his home with his blankets on his back and the sura 
of ten dollars in his pocket. After a long and tedious journey 
on foot he arrived in Adrian, Michigan, his money meanwhile 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN- COUNTY 739 

having dwindled to two and one-half dollars, but after spending 
about two years and six months at that point he returned to New 
York. In 1847 he again came to Michigan, remaining only a 
short time, when he once more went to his home in the East, 
but in 1855 came to Michigan and purchased seventy acres of 
wild land in Van Buren county. Here he spent ten years of hard, 
unremitting toil, and when he had succeeded in clearing his land 
and putting it under cultivation he disposed of it at a good profit 
and purchased eighty acres in xVntwerp township, which he had 
increased to one hundred and thirty acres at the time of his death, 
January 6, 1888. His father had passed aw^ay in 1869 and his 
mother in 1867. Mr. Waite's whole career was one which should 
encourage the youth of today in their efforts to gain a competence. 
Starting in life a poor boy, with but ordinary educational ad- 
vantages and practically no assistance of a financial nature, ho 
Vi'on success through the sheer force of his own industry and per- 
severance, and made a name and reputation for himself among 
the substantial men of his community. Always alive to oppor- 
tunities to better his own condition, lie was also considerate of 
the rights of others, and his honest dealings with those wljo were 
associated with him in a business way won for him the respect 
and friendship of his fellow townsmen. 

On .March 26, 1850, Mr. Waite was imited in marriage with 
]\liss (Caroline i\lcCrossen, who was born in New York state, De- 
cember 5, 1831, daughter of natives of Ireland and New York, 
respectively, whose other children were : (ieorge, who is deceased ; 
Ellen, the widow of George Owen, of Ontario county, New York; 
and Christopher, living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mr. and 
Mrs. Waite had no children of their own, but became the parents 
of an adopted daughter, now the wife of Asa Sheldon, of Van 
liuren county. ]\Ir. and Mrs. Sheldon have two children: Asa 
Ford, born February 10, 1896; and Alma Marie, born September 
25, 1903. Mr. Waite was a stanch Republican in politics, and a 
consistent member of the Christian church. Mrs. Waite sur- 
vives her husband, and has reached the advanced age of eighty 
years, but is in the best of health and spirits and in possession 
of her full faculties. She is as well known in this vicinity as 
was her esteemed husband, and has many friends and acquaint- 
ances. 

David Lytle. — Industry, perseverance, intelligence and good 
judgment are the. price of success in agricultural work in these 
modern days of farming, wiien the hard, unremitting toil of former 
years has given away to scientific use of modern machinery and a 
knowledge of the proper treatment of the soil. Van Buren county, 
Michigan, has many skilled farmers who treat their vocation more 
as a profession than as a mere occupation, and take a justifiable 
pride in their accomplishments, and among these may be men- 
tioned David Lytle, the owner of a well-cultivated tract of farm- 
ing land located in Antwerp tow^nship. Mr. Lytle was born De- 
cember 11, 1860, in Porter township. Van Buren county, and is 
a son of Dewitt Clinton and Mary Jane (Wilcox) Lytle. 

Dewitt Clinton Lytle, who was a native of the Empire state and 



740 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

a carpenter by trade, came to Michigan in the year 1853, settling 
on eighty acres of land on which the southern part of Lawton 
now stands. He engaged in agricultural pursuits, but after hold- 
ing this property a short time, sold it to buy one hundred and 
sixty acres in Porter township, and to this he added from time 
to time, being the owner of eight hundred acres of valuable land 
at the time of his death, which occurred June 27, 1898. His wife, 
who was a native of Michigan, died February 18, 1904, having 
been the mother of the following children : Charles S., who resides 
in Porter township ; David ; John, also living in Porter township ; 
Wilbur, who makes his residence in Lawton; N. Verne, the wife 
of Woodson N. Shaffer, of Paw Paw; and Robert, who is operat- 
ing the old homestead in Porter township. 

The education of David Lytic was secured in the public schools 
in the vicinity of the old homestead, and he was reared to the 
life of an agriculturist, being early taught the value of industry, 
economy and clean living. He remained on the homestead farm 
with his parents until he was twenty-eight years old, at which 
time he started working for himself on a farm, and in 1892 he 
purchased his present farm of ninety-three acres, situated in 
section 9, Antwerp township. Mixed farming and fruit raising 
have claimed his attention, and he is one of the most progressive 
of farmers, being prompt to experiment with new methods or 
devices. 

On February 20, 1889, Mr. Lytle was united in marriage with 
Miss Belle F. Ellison, daughter of Joseph and Mary Ellison, of 
Lawton, Michigan, and she died April 16, 1904, having been the 
mother of two children: Gladys M., who died in infancy; and 
Theo. Belle, who was born July 4, 1899. In his political belief 
Mr. Lytle is a Republican, and he takes an active interest in 
those movements which his judgment tells him will be of benefit 
to his community, although he has never aspired to public office. 
Fraternally he is a popular member of the M. W. A. He ranks 
high among the agriculturists of his section, and is known as a 
good neighbor and public-spirited citizen. 

Edward Aaron Morehouse. — Van Buren county is the home 
of some excellent citizens who have employed themselves in tilling 
the soil; many of them have spent their lives on the farm, but 
there are others who have been engaged in other lines and have 
returned to an agricultural vocation, and among these may be 
mentioned Edward Aaron Morehouse, who ranks high among the 
farmers of Antwerp township, a man of many sterling character- 
istics, and a public-spirited citizen whose influence is always cast 
in favor of those movements which have for their object the ad- 
vancement or development of his county and township along any 
line. Born in Branch county, Michigan, Mr. Morehouse is a son 
of Daniel and Elizabeth Ann (Robinson) Morehouse. 

Mr. Morehouse is a direct descendant of Ethan Allen, the 
Revolutionary patriot, and the British spy, Major Andre, was 
captured on his grandfather's farm. The latter, Aaron More- 
house, was taken prisoner by the British on account of his Revolu- 
tionary tendencies and for quite a long i>eriod was made to work 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 741 

at making clothes for the British soldiers. Daniel C. Morehouse, 
the father of Edward Aaron, was born February 13, 1815, in Ball- 
ston Spa, Saratoga county, New York, and came to Michigan in 
1823, settling at Coldwater. He had begun to study with the 
idea of entering the legal profession. He was later admitted 
to the bar in New York state, but returned to Coldwater, where 
he practiced his profession until 1878, and for ten years served 
as justice of the peace. In the year mentioned he purchased a 
tract of eighty acres of farming land in Antwerp township, and 
here he continued to engage in farming and fruit growing until 
his death, May 7, 1896. His first wife, who bore the maiden name 
of Ann Robinson, died January 16, 1857, at Coldwater, having 
been the mother of two children : Edward Aaron ; and George 
Amos, the latter born December 31, 1856, and died May 12, 1858. 
On November 24, 1858, Mr. Morehouse was married to Eunice 
Gager Graham, who now makes her home w^ith her stepson, there 
having been no children born to her union with Mr. Morehouse. 

Edward Aaron Morehouse was reared to manhood in Coldwater, 
Michigan, and as a young man took up carriage painting, an 
occupation which he followed until his fathef lost his health, at 
which time he considered it his duty to return home and take 
charge of the farm. Since taking over the management, Mr. 
Morehouse has made numerous improvements, and has set out 
numerous fruit trees and grape vines. He is an excellent example 
of the live, progressive, up-to-date farmer of the tw^entieth century, 
who know^s how to make his land pay him a good profit, and how 
to enjoy life among congenial surroundings. 

On May 3, 1876, Mr. Morehouse was married to Miss Clara Mead, 
daughter of Henry arid Maria Mead, of Genesee county. New 
York, and she died May 3, 1877, leaving one child: Daniel M., 
now a resident of Seattle, Washington. On October 5, 1882, Mr. 
Morehouse was married to Mary Williams, wlio was born Sep- 
tember 15, 1851, at Burr Oak, St. Joseph county, Michigan, daugh- 
ter of Erastus and Lucy (Cummings) Williams, and a descendant 
of Chief Justice Waite. Two children have been born to this 
union: Harry E., born July 28, 1883, superintendent for Thomp- 
son & Starritt, contractors of Chicago; and Percy E., who was 
born July 20, 1900. 

Mr. Morehouse's political views are those of the Republican 
party. His fraternal connections are wdth the Masons, the Mac- 
cabees and the Eastern Star, and he and Mrs. Morehouse are 
consistent members of the Congregational church. 

Andrew^ H. Campbell. — ^Most immediately associated with the 
growth and character of any community are its business interests. 
They mold the life of the people, give direction to their efforts, 
and crystallize the present and future possibilities of the locality 
into concrete form. The leading business men of a town are its 
greatest benefactors, silently controlling the forces that bring 
progress and prosperity, and the measure of the credit that is 
due them is not always appreciated. To write of the lives of 
these leaders in material growth is a pleasure, for the influence 
of their careers is always helpful and cheering. When the de- 

Vol. II-- 8 



742 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

velopinent of ]\Iattawan, ]\licliigaii, is under discussion, one name 
is always mentioned, viz: that of Campbell, and one of the mem- 
bers of this family is Andrew H. Campbell, who as a business 
man has made his influence felt for many years, and always for 
the good of the community. Mr. Campbell was born in Portage 
"township, Kalamazoo county, Michigan, March 24, 1861, and is a 
son of Hugh and Mary (Gilmore) Campbell, natives of Ireland. 

Hugh Campbell and his wife came to the United States in 
1838 and settled in New York, from whence ten years later they 
made their way to Kalamazoo county, purchasing one hundred 
and twenty acres of farming land in Texas township, on which 
the remainder of their lives were spent^ Mr. Campbell dying in 
1882 and his widow in 1901. They were the parents of a family 
of twelve children, namely: John, of Eudora, Kansas; William, 
of Texas township, Kalamazoo county, and Mary Jane, deceased, 
twins; Ella, who died in infancy; Albert, who is acting in the 
capacity of sheriff of Kalamazoo county ; Gilmore, residing in 
Everett, Washington; Sarah, who married L. C. Rix, of Texas 
township; Etta, whose death occurred in Minnesota in 1880; An- 
drew H. ; Charles, who is president of the Michigan National Bank 
of Kalamazoo; Lizzie, who died in 1893, the wife of J. W. Bud- 
row, editor of the Schoolcraft (Michigan) Express-, and one child 
who died in infancy. 

Andrew H. Campbell was reared on the homestead farm, but at 
the age of twenty-four years, feeling that there were better op- 
portunities offered in a mercantile career, he came to Mattawan 
and engaged in a general merchandise business with D. O. Rix, 
with whom he w^as associated for fourteen years. He then pur- 
chased Mr. Rix's interests, and for four years conducted the busi- 
ness alone, at the end of that time entering the furniture, under- 
taking and real estate business, in which he has continued to 
the present time, in addition to engaging extensively in dealing 
in loans. Mr. Campbell is an excellent type of the old-school 
gentleman, and his sympathetic manner and tactful capability 
have made him welcome at many homes of mourning. His under- 
taking establishment is equipped with the most modern appliances 
and inventions, and he is admirably fitted to take charge of ar- 
rangements at the time when the Grim Reaper has made a visit 
to some home of sorrow. 

On December 3, 1882, Mr. Campbell was married to Carrie L. 
McElroy, daughter of Owen and Jane McElroy, and one child has 
been born to this union; Eva, the wife of George H. Murch of 
Mattawan. In his political belief Mr. Campbell is a Democrat, 
and the high esteem in which he is held by his fellow-townsmen 
has been evidenced by his election to various positions of honor 
and trust, including the offices of justices of the peace and town 
treasurer. Fraternally he is connected with the Masons and the 
M. W. A., and for twenty years he has been a consistent member 
and trustee of the Congregational church, to which Mrs. Campbell 
also belongs. 

Edward H. Harvey. — In studying the lives and characters of 
prominent men we are naturally led to inquire into the secrets 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 743 

of their success and the motives which have prompted their ac- 
tions. Success is a matter of the application of experience and 
sound judgment at the right time and in the right manner. In 
almost every instance the successful men of any profession or 
line of business have attained success through persistent individ- 
ual effort. Edward H. Harvey, one of the very successful men 
of Van Buren county, residing in the '^finest house in Southern 
Michigan, '' in Antwerp township, has throughout his life ex- 
hibited the sterling traits of character which would have made 
him successful in whatever line of endeavor he found himself. 
He was born near Cazenovia, New York, February 11, 1845, and 
is a son of Reuben and Susan (Howlett) Harvey, natives of 
England. 

Mr. Harvey 's parents came to the United States in 1836, settling 
in Madison county. New York, where the father remained until 
1854. He then came to Michigan and later to the home of his 
son. Rev. Henry W. Harvey, and here he died August 25, 1903, 
having attained the remarkable age of ninety-seven years. His 
wife passed away June 21, 1892, having been the mother of 
twelve children, of whom five died in infancy; while the others 
are as follows: John and Mary, who are deceased; Edward H., 
Henry W., residing in Van Buren county; Clarence, living in 
Kalamazoo county ; Elizabeth, the wife of James Miller, of Middle- 
ville, Michigan; and Alice, the wife of Professor A. J. Steel, of 
Coldwater, Michigan, who for many years was President of Le- 
Moine Institute, Memphis, Tennessee, and is now traveling in 
Europe, being the recipient of a Carnegie pension for long service. 
He was also in the Civil war. 

Edward H. Harvey remained with his father until he was 
seventeen years of age, at which time he enlisted for service in 
the Civil war, becoming a member of the Seventh ]\Iichigan Cav- 
alry, under Captain Alexander Walker, of Company A. He 
entered the service at Prairieville, Michigan, in November, 1862, 
serving until December, 1864, when he was mustered out at De- 
troit. He was severely wounded at Hawes Shop, Virginia, and 
his right leg was amputated on the field of battle. After forty- 
eight hours of travel he w^as placed in an ambulance on a boat 
and in this manner taken to Washington, D. C, which city he 
reached June 4, 1864. He remained in the hospital until his 
recovery in November. After recuperating to some extent, Mr. 
Harvey entered the Prairie Seminary at Richland, Michigan, 
where he remained for two years, and then spent a like period 
in the college of Kalamazoo. For two years he was a student 
in the McCormick Theological Seminary, and he then went to the 
Union Theological Seminary, from which he was graduated in 
1872, being ordained to the ministry of the Presbyterian church. 
He was called to Summit, New Jersey, for two years, and to 
Albion, Michigan, for four years, and in 1878 he started on a 
tour of Europe. After a year spent at Broadhead, Wisconsin, he 
was pastor at Augusta, Michigan, from 1881 until 1884, when he 
again made a tour of Europe, returning to fill the charge at 
Paw Paw. In 1890 he was appointed United States pension agent, 
by President Harrison, remaining at that place for four years. 



744 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COl^NTY 

He then came to Paw Paw township and purchased sixty acres 
of land, on which he resided during the summer months, while 
his winters were spent in the south of California, and he then 
bought his present tract, a sixty-acre property, on which is located 
his magnificent modern two and one-half story residence. This 
residence, known as the "finest house in Southern Michigan, '^ 
is built in old Colonial style, and is up-to-date in every respect, 
being equipped with running water, modern lavatories and acety- 
lene gas for lighting. Mr. Harvey is the owner of one of the 
finest libraries in the state. In addition to preaching and lectur- 
ing, he has engaged somewhat in Republican politics and at 
various times has been offered the nomination for member of 
legislature and also for the office of state senator, being nomi- 
nated the last time, in 1911. 

On September 26, 1881, ]\Ir. Harvey was married to Florence 
Godfrey, daughter of Lyman and Laura Godfrey, of Battle Creek, 
Michigan, and five children were born to this union : Dr. W. L., 
of Battle Creek; Frank, residing in Chicago; Vietta, the wife of 
Arthur Blanchard, of Battle Creek; Grace, the wife of Charles 
Thomas, of Buffalo, New York ; and Ferdinand, a railroad engineer 
of Ashland, Wisconsin. 

Henry W. Harvey, who during the past twenty years has been 
engaged in agricultural pursuits in Van Buren county, where 
he owns an excellent tract of one hundred and forty acres of 
land, is a veteran of the Civil war, and for a long period was 
widely and favorably known as a preacher of the Gospel. Born 
in Cazenovia, New York, April 2, 1847, Mr. Harvey is a son of 
Reuben and Susan (Howlett) Harvey, natives of England. Mr. 
Harvey's parents came to the United States in 1836, settling first 
in Madison county, New York, and coming later to Michigan. In 
1865 they settled in Richland, and there Mrs. Harvey passed 
away June 21, 1892, her husband surviving her until August 25, 
1903, and attaining the remarkable age of ninety-seven years. 
They had a family of twelve children, of whom five died in in- 
fancy, while the others were: John and Mary, who are deceased; 
Edward, who is living in Van Buren county ; Henry W. ; Clarence, 
who lives in Kalamazoo county; Elizabeth, the wife of James 
Miller, of Middleville, Michigan; and Alice, the wife of Professor 
A. J. Steel, of Coldwater, Michigan. Professor Steel now draws 
a substantial pension from the Carnegie Fund for long service 
in LeMoine Institute, Memphis, Tennessee. 

Henry W. Harvey remained on his father's farm until he was 
sixteen years of age, and on September 22, 1863, he enlisted in 
Company H, Eleventh Michigan Cavalry, under Captain Henry 
Bewell. After a brave and faithful service, during which he 
participated in numerous hard-fought engagements, Mr. Harvey 
was mustered out of the service September 22, 1865, at Nash- 
ville, Tennessee, and returned to Michigan, joining his parents 
at their home in Richland. In 1867 he went to Kalamazoo College, 
and later attended Olivet College, from which he was graduated 
in 1867. He then spent a year in Yale College, New Haven, Con- 
necticut, and a like period in the Presbyterian Theological Sem- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 745 

iiiary at Auburn, New York, from which he was graduated in 
J 877, and was ordained during the same year in the ministry 
of the Presbyterian church. During the next three years he had 
the charge at Wihner, Minnesota, and after a European trip he 
returned to Michigan, locating in Paw Paw in 1880. After an- 
other seven years spent in the service of the church, he took a 
second trip to Europe, and on his return preached for four years 
in Allegan. In 1892 Mr. Harvey decided to turn his attention 
to agricultural pursuits, and since that time has been engaged 
in dairying and fruit-raising. His farm of one hundred and 
forty acres is most carefully cultivated, comparing favorably with 
any of its size in this part of the county, and most of the buildings 
and improvements have been put on the property by him. He 
is known to be a power in influencing his neighbors along the 
lines of good government, and his own reputation is beyond re- 
proach. He is no politician, but is a studious and well-read man, 
alive to all of the leading topics of the day, and takes an interest 
in all matters pertaining to his community. He votes with the 
Republican party. 

On October 25, 1881, Mr. Harvey was united in marriage with 
Miss Isabella McEntee, daughter of Steven J. and Mary Jane 
(Ferguson) McEntee, natives of New York, and they have had 
two children: Edith, born March 17, 1883, the wife of Harry 
C. Marvin, of Augusta, Michigan; and Lloyd, who resides at 
home, born November 17, 1887. The comfortable residence of 
the Harvey family is located on Paw Paw Rural Route No. 3, 
where the many friends of this worthy family are always welcome. 

J. E. Sebring. — The banking interests of any community are 
so important and play such a prominent part in the financial 
life of the people that naturally the greater care is taken in the 
selection of those in whose hands the affairs of the banks are 
placed. Bangor, Michigan, located as it is in the midst of a rich 
farming section, handles a large amount of money, and its bank 
officials must be men of experience, as well as of unblemished 
business records. The West Michigan Savings Bank of Bangor 
is to be congratulated for the record of its president, J. E. 
Sebring, long identified with the business interests of Bangor 
as proprietor of the Sebring House. Mr. Sebring was born June 
10, 1853, in Lawton, Michigan, and is a son of Horace and 
Eunice (Harper) Sebring, the former a native of New York and 
the latter of Ohio. 

Horace Sebring, who in early life was a railroad man, came 
to Michigan in 1850, and about 1857 established himself in the 
hotel business at Lawton. He had a successful career at that 
place, but in 1869 decided to come to Bangor, and subsequently 
traded his Lawton property for a hostelry in Bangor, which he 
named the Sebring House and conducted for nine years, or until 
his death. His widow now makes her home in Paw Paw, where 
she is one of the venerable and highly respected residents. . They 
had a family of three children, namely : J. E. ; Sarah, who 
married Peter McKeller, of Paw Pawj and Charles, who is 
deceased. 



746 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

J. E. Sebring attended school at Olivet, Michigan, and as a 
youth assisted his father in the hotel, with which he has been 
connected for thirty years. He also spent four years as an em- 
ploye of the Bank of Bangor, and in 1892 he was elected president 
of the West Michigan Savings Bank, a position which he has 
since held. President Sebring has always taken an active part 
in securing the promotion of enterprises calculated to build up 
his city, and has never been sparing of either time or money to 
effect such improvements. He is one of the soundest business 
men his community has known, displaying that sense of values 
and ability to economize that bring success in almost every case, 
and since 1892, when he accepted the presidency, the deposits of 
the institution have advanced from sixty-five thousand dollars to 
more than four hundred thousand dollars. As a citizen he stands 
equally high, and the confidence in which he is held by his fellow- 
citizens has been evidenced by his election to the offices of town- 
ship treasurer and village treasurer, in both of which capacities 
he acted with marked ability. In political matters he is a stal- 
wart Republican and one of the influential party men of his 
section of Van Buren county. President Sebring is a prominent 
Mason, belonging to the Benton Harbor Commandery and the 
Grand Rapids Shriners. 

On December 17, 1878, Mr. Sebring was married to Miss Clara 
J. Stebbins, daughter of William H. and Emily Stebbins, natives 
of New York state, and two children have blessed this union: 
Myron, of Bangor, and Clara J. 

Clifton B. Charles. — One of the most extensive land holders 
in all Van Buren county is that well-known gentleman, Clifton 
B. Charles, whose holdings consist of -two thousand one hundred 
and seventy acres, located in the state of Washington and in 
Van Buren county, Michigan. He is one of the ouccessful farmers 
who believes that the oldest of the industries presents one of the 
richest fields of scientific endeavor, and he has proved the truth 
of this by bringing his acres to the highest possible point of pro- 
ductiveness and managing so well that the resources of the soil 
bring the best possible results. He does not keep his convictions 
to himself, but has proved one of the most able and original of 
lecturers. He was formerly engaged in banking. 

Mr. Charles was born in Allegany county. New York, June 
21, 1857, the son of David K. Charles, a farmer, and his wife, 
Caroline M. (Barnum) Charles. The father was a native of Ire- 
land, born March 25, 1829, and the mother of New York. The 
former came to America in 1841, when twelve years of age, mak- 
ing the voyage with an uncle and locating in Angelica, New York. 
Of his immediate family he was the first to come to this country, 
his father, mother and the rest of the family coming ten years 
later. David K. Charles came to Michigan in 1866 and located 
in Bangor, where he learned the various departments of farming, 
and he was a merchant for many years, later becoming a farmer. 
He is an extensive holder of real estate, and has erected no less 
than twenty-two buildings in Bangor. At one time he owned 
within the boundaries of Bangor township five hundred and twenty 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 747 

acres and at the present he retains a fine estate, consisting of two 
hundred and thirty-six acres. This is now given over to general 
farming. He is now retired and living, at a very advanced age, 
m Bangor, where in leisure he enjoys the fruits of previous in- 
dustry and thrift. His cherished and devoted wife, who was born 
June 27, 1830, was called to her eternal rest November 27, 1897. 

By his union with his first wife, whose maiden name was Caro- 
line M. Barnum, Mr. Charles, the elder, became the father of 
four children, namely : Amelia, who died in childhood ; Emma, 
wife of T. T. McNitt, of Bangor; Clifton B. ; and Hattie, who 
died November 18, 1910, wife of William Taylor, of Bangor. Mr. 
Charles married for his second wife the widow of Mitchell Ustick. 
By her union with Mr. Ustick she had these five children: May, 
wife of Charles Williams, of Greeley, Colorado; Myrtle, wife of 
Phillip Slaughter, of Bangor; Julia, wife of Charles Cross, of 
Bangor; Carl, of Victor, Colorado; and John P., now resident in 
Grand Junction, Colorado. 

Clifton B. Charles received his preliminary education in Bangor 
and for four years attended the Agricultural College at Lansing. 
Upon the completion of his education he came home and rented 
two hundred and forty acres, which he continued to operate fyr 
fourteen years, and meantime became a landholder by the pur- 
chase of two hundred and eighty acres near McDonald. It was 
new land and he commenced clearing it in 1880 and when he 
sold it in 1898 he had brought it to a high state of improvement. 

In the year 1898 Mr. Charles entered upon an entirely new field 
of endeavor, in that year starting a private bank in Bangor and 
becoming a director in the same. He subsequently sold this to 
the West Michigan Savings Bank and took a position in the new 
consolidation as cashier. He continued in this office until 1901, 
when he disposed of this interest and removed to Sprague, Wash- 
ington, where, in association with Anson Goss, of Bangor, he 
organized a bank. He remained in the far west for two years, 
but the charms of Michigan were by no means forgotten and he 
returned to Bangor and invested in numerous tracts of land. 

Mr. Charles was married February 25, 1882, the lady of his 
choice being Ionia F. Grills, daughter of Henry S. and Sarah 
(Roberts) Grills, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter 
of Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. Grills were the parents of the follow- 
ing eight children: James A., deceased; Cynthia, wife of Amos 
Ellabarger, of Cambridge City, Indiana; Rebecca, widow of E. 
Quakenbush, of Van Buren county; Mrs. Charles; Loretta, wife 
of F. McLane, of Cambridge City, Indiana; and three younger 
children who died in infancy. After the death of Mrs. Charles^ 
mother in 1863, her father married again. Miss Susan (Keesey) 
Church becoming his wife, and seven children were born to them, 
namely: Serena, of Indiana; Mahala, deceased; May, of In- 
diana; Lenora, of Kansas City, Missouri; Calfina, deceased; 
Vernia, of Indiana; and Leroy, a surgeon, of Hastings, Michigan. 
Mr. and Mrs. Charles have one daughter, Jennie S., now the wife 
of Guy B. Findley, of Elyria, Ohio. 

Mr. Charles pays allegiance to the men and measures of the 
Republican party. He is a member of the time-honored Masonic 



748 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

order and in his own life follows its noble teachings. He is also 
affiliated with the Maccabees. His wife is a member of the Chris- 
tian church, and both are held in the highest confidence and esteem 
in the comriiunity. 

Upon the state college, Mr. Charles had the honor to be one of 
the six to receive the degree of Master of Agriculture. He, 
in fact, was the second to receive that degree from the Michigan 
Agricultural College. For four seasons he has lectured through- 
out the state on agricultural subjects. 

F. D. Newbre. — The fruit-growers of Van Buren county have 
always kept their standard high; no other county in the state 
can boast of larger or better crops, and this may be explained 
by the fact that in addition to being a class of energetic, pro- 
gressive and industrious men, the Van Buren citizens have been 
quick to grasp modern ideas and to make use of the latest and 
most highly improved machinery and implements. F. D. Newbre, 
wiiose successful operations have placed him in the front rank 
of fruit-growers of Van Buren county, is the owner of a fine 
farm of ninety-six acres, located in section 22. He is a native 
of Erie county, New York, and was born October 20, 1850, a 
son of David and Pamelia (Stearns) Newbre. 

David Newbre, who w^as a shoe maker by occupation, and a 
native of New York state, died in the East in 1890, and his wife, 
also born in the Empire state, survived him until 1901. They 
were the parents of four children, namely: Adelbert, who is 
deceased; F. D.; Martha, the wife of George Brinley, of James- 
tow^n, New^ York; and Franklin, who resides in Mississippi. F. 
D. Newbre remained at his father's home until he was nineteen 
years of age, at which time he took up carpentry as a trade and 
followed it until his marriage in 1876, when he began the manu- 
facture of cheese. He continued to reside in the East until 1888, 
in which year he made his way to Michigan and first settled in 
Cass county, where for nine years he was engaged in the wind- 
mill business. He was also employed in a drill works for eight 
years there, but in 1901 came to Van Buren county and purchased 
his present ninety-six acre farm in section 22, Antwerp township, 
w^here he has since been engaged in fruit cultivation. Progressive 
to a high degree, Mr. Newbre has done much towards raising the 
standard of his occupation, and it is such men that the farming 
communities need — men who keep abreast of the times and do 
not hesitate to improve every opportunity to improve their land 
and to rear their families in comfort and plenty. 

On January 4, 1876, Mr. Newbre was married to Miss Cynthia 
Brindley, whose parents died when she was a child of four years, 
and to this union there have been born five children, as follows: 
May, the w^ife of Joseph Burke, of California; Robert, residing 
in Kalamazoo, Michigan; Edith, the wife of Clyde Fuller, of 
Porter township; Lynn, who is assisting his father on the farm; 
and Olive, residing at home. Mr. Newbre is a Republican in his 
political views, and for six years served very acceptably as school 
director of Antwerp township. Fraternally he is connected with 
the Tribe of Ben Hur, and his religious affiliation is with the 



HISTORY OF VAN BUKEN COUxNTY 749 

Methodist ehureh. i\lr. Newbre and his family reside in a com- 
fortable residence situated on Lawton Rural Route No. 3. 

Clair G. Hall. — Some of the most successful farmers of Van 
Buren county are those of the younger generation, who are now 
profiting from the sacrifices made for them by the pioneers who 
braved innumerable hardships and privations to secure homes for 
their families in the new country. One of the progressive young 
agriculturists of section 24, Antwerp township, is Clair G. Hall, 
who was born at Lawrence, Van Buren county, October 11, 1881, 
a son of Gilbert and Anna (French) Hall, the former a native 
of Oswego county, New York, and the latter of Canada. 

Gilbert Hall came to Michigan from the Empire state at an 
early day, first settling on one hundred and sixty acres of land 
in Cass county, farming this land in connection with following the 
trade of cooper until 1896, in which year he came to Van Buren 
county, settling in Lawrence, where he followed his trade of 
cooper. He later moved to Decatur, where he followed farming 
and the same trade, and in 1896 moved to section 24, Antwerp 
township, where he purchased eighty acres of land. Here he 
followed general farming until his death, which occurred in Au- 
gust, 1904, and his widow still survives and makes her home 
at Kalamazoo. They were the parents of four children: Ida, 
who is living in Arizona; Minnie, who is the wife of C. J. Stuy- 
vesant, of Van Buren county; Etta, the wife of Arthur Conklin, 
of Kalamazoo; and Clair G. 

Clair G. Hall received his education in the public schools of 
Decatur, and remained on the home farm in Antwerp township 
assisting his father until the latter 's death, at which time he 
fell heir to the property. He is now engaged in raising grapes, 
and has brought to his work that enthusiasm that is bound to 
make for success. Enterprising and energetic, he is always ready 
to make experiments and to test new innovations, and the satis- 
factory results already obtained by him speak well for his pro- 
gressive spirit. Mr. Hall has also been before the public as an 
auctioneer, and his pleasant personality, his jovial, friendly man- 
ner, and the faculty of introducing real witticisms into his 
speeches has made him much sought after by those wishing to 
dispose of goods by auction. In political matters he favors the 
principles of the Republican party, and his fraternal connection 
is with the Modern Woodmen of America, in which he is very 
popular. 

Mr. Hall was married to Miss Lena Eager, the estimable daugh- 
ter of Orlando and Jennie Eager. Mrs. HalFs parents had four 
children, as follows : Lena, who married Mr. Hall ; John, who 
lives in Detroit; William, residing in Almena township; and 
Hazel, who married Winnie Fisk, of that township. Mr. and 
Mrs. ilall have had two children: Pauline, born July 5, 1908, 
and Gilbert, born October 31, 1907. 

C. F. HosMER. — In the life and career of C. F. Hosmer, one of 
the substantial business citizens of Mattawan, Michigan, there is 
to be found much to encourage the youth of this generation, and 



750 HISTORY OF VAN BURExN COUNTY 

no better example could be placed before the ambitious young 
men of today of success finally gained after the most dishearten- 
ing discouragements. Starting in life as the proprietor of a 
small business establishment, he worked his way up to a point 
where success seemed just in reach, only to have his years of labor 
destroyed with a single hour, and when, nothing daunted, he 
had reached comfortable circumstances for a second time, his 
earnings were again lost through no fault of his own. With the 
courage and perseverance that have been the foundation for the 
fortunes of all successful business men, he made a new start, and 
now may be ranked among the substantial men of his community 
and a factor to be reckoned with in the business world. 

Mr. Hosmer was born July 18, 1856, in Edwards, St. Lawrence 
county, New York, and is a son of Charles and Lura (Church) 
Hosmer, natives of Vermont. Mr. Hosmer 's father, who was a 
mechanic, came to Michigan in 1865, and there resided at Coopers- 
ville until his death, in 1889, his widow surviving until 1898. 
They had two children: C. F. and Sherman E., the latter of 
Ottawa county, Michigan. C. F. Hosmer remained in Coopers- 
ville until 1879, in which year he was married, and then engaged 
in the mercantile business, which he continued to conduct until 
1894. In that year he started the first grocery in Coopersville, 
but on July 22, 1898, a fire destroyed his entire stock, and he sub- 
sequently went to Hammond, Indiana, where he was in the same 
business for one year. Returning to Coopersville, in 1900 he 
embarked in the milling business, which he continued for four 
years, and in 1904 came to Mattawan and bought the general mer- 
chandise stock of W. C. Mosier, and was successfully engaged in 
business until December, 1908, when he was again wiped out by 
fire. He then started a general merchandise store, which he later 
sold to Ryan Brothers, and in 1909 went to Rockford, Michigan, 
and formed a partnership with E. L. Prichard in the grocery 
business, but during August of that year sold out and went to 
Lowell, w^here he was interested in the same line. In February, 
1910, Mr. Hosmer returned to Mattaw^an, and here he has since 
carried on a successful general merchandise establishment. Mr. 
Hosmer is a man who makes friends easily and keeps them a life- 
time; he is enterprising and progressive in his ideas and is quick 
to recognize an opportunity and to grasp it; and his inherent busi- 
ness ability has never been questioned, but all of these would have 
counted for naught were it not for the fact that he has never 
allowed himself to be discouraged, no matter how dark the out- 
look, nor how great have been his misfortunes. He has gone 
steadily forward, rebuilding his fortune each time it has been 
swept away, showing an indomitable spirit that refuses to be 
broken, and earning the respect and esteem of his fellow men 
by the very earnestness of his endeavors. 

On March 29, 1879, Mr. Hosmer was married to Miss Effie 
Dickinson, who died December 22, 1903. On January 26, 1905, 
he was married to Jennie Meredith. There have been no children 
to either union. Mr. Hosmer is a popular member of the F. and 
A. M. and the I. O. 0. F., and in his political views takes an 
independent stand. 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 751 

C. E. BuRDicK. — In every community there are men who by 
reason of their ability stand out from their fellows. Upon such 
men many cares devolve; they are the center of activity; it is 
their brains and money that are back of the important enterprises, 
whether public or private, and to them belongs the credit of 
progress gained. Van Buren county has its full quota of these 
progressive citizens, public-spirited individuals who are always 
ready to cast their influence with movements that will benefit 
their communities, and among these may be mentioned C. E. 
Burdick, business man and agriculturist of Mattawan, and one 
of his section's best known men. Mr. Burdick 's birth occurred 
July 28, 1861, at Kalamazoo, Michigan, and he is a son of Wil- 
liam H. and Harriet (Putnam) Burdick, the latter a direct de- 
scendant of the famous Revolutionary hero, General Israel Putnam. 

William H. Burdick, a native of New York state, brought his 
family to Michigan at an early day, settling in Kalamazoo, where 
until 1868 he was the proprietor of a shoe establishment. In the 
year mentioned he came to Mattawan, purchasing fifty acres of 
farming land, and there he was engaged in agricultural pursuits 
until his death, in 1896, his widow surviving him until 1903. 
They were the parents of two children: William H., of Shafts- 
burg, Michigan, who has been an employe of the Grand Trunk 
Railroad for the past twenty-five years; and C. E. 

C. E. Burdick was twenty-one years of age when he entered 
the employ of the Michigan Central Railroad Company, and 
for the following twenty-one years he was engaged in railroad 
work at various stations throughout this part of the country, but 
eventually located in Mattawan and took up farming for four years. 
He then entered the mercantile field at Mattawan, in which city 
he makes his home, although he is still interested in farming and 
owns a well-cultivated tract of eighty acres of land. He has 
been active in Democratic politics, serving as school director for 
a number of years, and was a prominent factor in the consolida- 
tion of the school district, the school building here being the finest 
in the county. He is a popular member of the Masons, the I. 0. F. 
and the M. W. A., and his religious connections is with the Con- 
gregational church, of which his wife is also a consistent mem- 
ber. Thoroughly conversant with farming conditions and possess- 
ing much business ability, Mr. Burdick has made a success in both 
lines, and is regarded as one of his community's subtantial citi- 
zens. 

Mr. Burdick was married to Miss Susan McClintock, a former 
schoolmistress of Shiawassee county, and to this union there has 
been born one son: Gordon C, January 21, 1909. 

Nathan Thomas. — Beginning life as an Iowa farmer, follow- 
ing a short experience in this useful and invigorating occupation 
with more than three years' service as a Union soldier during the 
Civil war, and since then variously occupied as a farmer, a mer- 
chant, a public official and again as a farmer, Nathan Thomas, of 
Paw Paw, has seen life under many conditions and been tried in 
many pursuits. In all his manhood has shown himself to be 
sterling, his courage and self-reliance have come out strong under 



752 HISTORY OF VAN BIJREN COUNTY 

the tests and his citizenship has always been of the most sturdy, 
patriotic and serviceable character, a credit to himself and the 
people among whom he has exhibited in and exercised its rights 
and functions. 

Mr. Thomas was born at Newgarden, Ohio, on December 19, 
1837, and is a son of Henry and Sarah (Johns) Thomas, the 
former a native of North Carolina and the latter of Ohio. The 
father died in 1858 and the mother in 1883. They were the par- 
ents of ten children : Rachel, who has been dead for a number of 
years; Jesse, who resides at Hartford in this county; Elizabeth, 
the wife of Joseph Shafer, of Homeworth, Ohio; Nathan, the im- 
mediate subject of this brief review; Stanton, whose home is in 
Alliance, Ohio ; JNIaria, the widow of John Kerns, who lives at 
Winona, Ohio ; Phebe Ann, who has been dead some years ; Frank- 
lin, who is also deceased; Edwin, who is a resident of Winona, 
Ohio ; and Kersey, who died several years ago. 

In the spring of 1861 Nathan Thomas came West to Cedar 
county, Iowa, and worked on a farm by the month during the 
summer. In the fall he felt impelled by a strong sense of duty 
to go to the assistance of the government in its effort to prevent 
the forcible dismemberment of the Union, and on October 28th 
enlisted in the Tenth Kansas Infantry, under Captain Foreman. In 
this regiment he served three years, being much in active service 
and taking part in numerous engagements, the most important of 
which was the battle of Prairie Grove. Mr. Thomas was mus- 
tered out of the army in St. Louis at the end of his term in 1864 
and returned to his Ohio home. He remained there all winter, 
but not wholly inactive. He helped to organize a company for 
further service in the war, which was still in progress, and went 
with it into camp on March 5, 1865. He was the first lieutenant 
of his company, and the regiment of which it formed a part was 
the One Hundred and Ninety-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The 
regiment proceeded to Winchester, Virginia, but the war closed 
before it saw any active field work. Mr. Thomas was again 
mustered out of the service, this time at Columbus, Ohio, and 
once more he returned to his former home. 

In 1866 he was married and at once set up a domestic shrine 
on land which he rented for farming purposes, and during the 
next two years was busily and profitably employed in tilling the 
soil. An opening in mercantile life attracted him at the end of 
the time named, and he embraced it, starting a grocery store at 
Winona, Ohio, which he conducted for one year, or thereabouts. 
In 1870 he came to Michigan and located at Hartford in this 
county. He passed the first year in farming, and then again went 
into business as a merchant, selecting the hardware . trade as his 
line on this occasion, and adhering to it about seven years. At 
the end of that period he was appointed postmaster of Hartford 
and sold his hardware business. Soon afterward he moved to 
Paw Paw, having been elected sheriff of Van Buren county. He 
filled this office four years, then returned to Hartford and was 
again appointed postmaster. He held the office until after the 
election of Mr. Cleveland to the presidency, and on the appoint- 
ment of his successor, bought a farm of sixty acres in the vicinity 



HISTORY OF VAN BUR EN COUNTY 758 

of Hartford. This he cultivated for two years, when he was once 
more elected sheriff, and again held the office four years. When 
his term closed he turned his attention to farming again, but con- 
tinued to reside in Paw Paw, where he still owns a home, although 
he is now living on a farm belonging to one of his sons, located 
in section twelve. Paw Paw township, and distant from the city 
about one and one half miles. 

On March 1, 1866, Mr. Thomas was married to Miss Rebecca 
A. Votaw, a daughter of Moses and Mary Votaw, old settlers in 
Ohio. Five children have been born of the union, and four of 
them are living: Mary V., who is the widow of the late Albro A. 
Whitcomb and lives with her father; Wesley J. and Lester, twins, 
the former, who has also served as sheriff, living in Paw Paw^ 
and the latter deceased; Emmet E., a resident of Milwaukee, 
Wisconsin ; and Jesse B., who is a commercial traveler. 

Mr. Thomas is a firm and faithful Republican in his political 
faith, and is loyally attached to the principles of his party and 
a zealous worker in its behalf. His services are energetic and 
effective, and are highly appreciated by both the leaders of the 
party and its rank and file. Fraternally he is a Free Mason and a 
member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He takes an earnest 
interest in the affairs of his lodge in the Masonic order and his 
post in the Grand Army of the Republics aiding their good work 
by all the means available to him, as he does every worthy enter- 
prise for the good of his city and county. 

Roy Hinckley. — Among the prominent l)usiness men of Hart- 
ford, and highly respected as a citizen who has always shown an 
interest in whatever has been advanced to increase the general 
welfare of the county, is Roy Hinckley, the proprietor of a thriving 
livery business. He was born in Paw Paw township. Van Buren 
county, on May 3, 1876, the son of J. Henry and Harriett (Webb • 
Hinckley. J. Henry was the son of Asa G. Hinckley, who was of 
direct I]nglish descent. Roy Hinckley was one in a family of ten 
children, five sons and five daughters. He w^as reared on the farm 
until he was eighteen, and was educated in the district schools and 
in the Paw Paw high school. He was variously employed u}) to 
1908. In that year, at the outbreak of the Spanish-American war, 
he enlisted with the Second Regiment of IMichigan Volunteer In- 
fantry at Battle Creek, Michigan. He went with his regiment to 
Cuba, and was present in the engagement at Santiago. He was on 
the island from June until August, and was then mustered out 
at Anniston, Alabama, receiving a pension of six dollars per 
month. He returned to Paw Paw. In 1899 he came to Harvard 
and embarked in the livery business. 

On March 27, 1901, Mr. Hinckley was united in marriage to 
Mrs. Nina Hewitt, who was born in Hartford, Michigan, January 
21, 1873, the daughter of A. E. and Julia (Olds) Reynolds. A. 
E. Reynolds was born in the Dominion of Canada on August 8, 
1826 and came with his parents to Ypsilanti, JMichigan, when he 
was twelve years old, later coming to Hartford when it was still 
a patch of woodland. He took up farming, but later rented his 
farm and established himself in a general store, one of the first 



754 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

enterprises of the sort in the town. It was he who built the Rey- 
nolds Block, in which the first opera house was located. He w^as 
a public spirited man and did much to promote the growth and 
prosperity of Hartford. He died in June, 1910, and his wife 
passed away in 1896. He and his wife were the parents of six 
children, of whom five are still living in 1911 : Emma, who is now 
the wife of Dan Hubbard and lives in Chicago, Illinois; Clara, 
who is now Mrs. Henry Nichols, of Chattanooga, Tennessee; Otta 
Reynolds, who lives in Chicago; William Reynolds; and Nina, the 
wife of Roy Hinckley, w^as educated in the public schools of Hart- 
ford and in the Catholic school at Logansport, Indiana. Mrs. 
Hinckley was first married to Mr. Hewitt, and by him had one 
son, Harry Hewitt, eighteen years old, who is a graduate of the 
Hartford high school and is now in his second .year at the Univer- 
sity of Michigan at Ann Arbor. 

Mr. Hinckley is a stanch Republican and is the constable of the 
township. He owns the fine modern home on Maple street which 
he and his wife have made so popular by their pleasant hospitality. 

Charles De AVitt Laavton. — The death of Charles De Witt 
Lawton, which occurred August 24, 1909, removed from Michigan 
a man who had long been prominent in the state's political, scien- 
tific and intellectual life, but who left behind the memory and 
influence of a life w^ork that is a bequest of value to the common- 
wealth. 

Mr. Lawton was born in Rome, New York, November 4, 1835. 
The son of Nathan and Esther (Wiggins) Lawton, he was of 
strictly English descent and of martial ancestry, his paternal and 
maternal grandfathers having been Revolutionary soldiers in New- 
York and New England regiments. The family is one of the 
oldest in the country. The original American Lawtons came from 
-Lawton, England, in 1636, settling in Rhode Island as colonists 
under Roger Williams. The records of that colony give ample 
evidence of the distinguished and formative services rendered by 
them both previous to and during the Revolution. That those 
family traits have not been lost is proved by the recent record of 
]\Ir. Lawton 's nephew, Major Louis B. Lawton, who, for his bravery 
at Tien Tsin in bringing relief to the American forces through 
the open fire of Chinese bullets, was awarded a medal by Congress. 

Mr. Lawton 's paternal grandfather settled in Herkimer county, 
New York, in 1794, and his father, Nathan Lawton, moved from 
there to Auburn, New York, where for many years he was a well- 
known and influential citizen. Mr. Lawton 's early life was passed 
in Herkimer county and in the city of Auburn, where he attended 
Auburn Academy. In 1858 he was graduated, with the degree of 
Bachelor of Arts, from Union College at Schenectady, which in 
that day was one of the largest American colleges. One year af- 
ter his graduation he received the degree of Civil Engineer, and 
some time lat^r that of Master of Arts. He then returned to his 
home city, Auburn, and with his brother George W. (the late 
Judge Lawton), took charge of Auburn Academy. Academies in 
those days comprised a large share of the higher educational in- 
stitutions. Many students were enrolled w^ho have since become 



HISTORY OF, VAN BUREN COUNTY 755 

famous, among them Hon. Sereno Payne of New York. Mr. Law- 
ton's influence and friendship with them was life-long. 

In 1861 Mr. Lawton married Miss Lucy Lovina Latham, daugh- 
ter of Oliver Sanford and Lucy Maria (Eastman) Latham, of 
Seneca Falls, New York. Mr. Latham was a prominent contractor 
and builder, and, associated with his three brothers, was the 
builder of many government locks, bridges, canals and custom 
houses. 

In 1865, his health not being good and advised by physicians 
to go West, Mr. Lawton, with Mrs. Lawton, removed to the village 
of Lawton, Van Buren county, Michigan, where his father owned 
a great quantity of land and which had received his name. He 
concluded to make his home here, and from that time on his in- 
terests have been identified with the gro\\i:h of Michigan, with 
its mining interests, its agricultural interests and its development 
in every way, for Mr. Lawton was primarily and essentially the 
best of citizens. 

To Mr. and Mrs. Lawton were born nine children: Charles 
Ijatham, general manager of the Quincy & Adventurer Mining 
Company of Hancock, ^Michigan; Nathan Oliver, superintendent 
of the Miami mine at Globe, Arizona; Frederick Percy, a physi- 
cian at Traverse City, Michigan; Swaby Latham, of the law firm 
of Hanchette & Lawton, at Hancock; Eugene Wright, of San 
Antonio, Texas; Margaret Brooks; Rebecca Estella; Marion 
Agnes, wife of Dr. Thomas J. Swantz, of South Bend, Indiana; 
and Gertrude Genevieve, wife of Clarence R. Van Vleck, of Jack- 
son, Wyoming. The family home has long been an intellectual 
and social center, owing much to the culture, accomplishments, 
dignity and charm of Mrs. La\\i;on, who has wielded a sympathetic 
influence in the growth and progress of the town. 

Mr. Lawton 's brilliant mentality soon won for him a prominent 
place in his community, and there early were recognized in him 
those qualities which won for him so many successes in after life. 
Together with his brother George W., who had preceded him to 
Lawton two years, and the late Nathan Bitely, he embarked in 
the nursery business and began the cultivation of grapes, which 
has since grown into such a magnificent industry. Finding the 
soil to be of a sandy nature and seemingly unproductive, they be- 
gan to investigate in a small way, until the growing of grapes 
became widespread. The first big planting was done by Mr. Law- 
ton in 1865 and 1866, when he put out five thousand vines secured 
at Geneva, in the famous grape district of New York. However, 
Mr. Lawton was a man of varied interests. He was prominent in 
establishing a blast-furnace in Lawton for the manufacture of 
charcoal pig-iron from Lake Superior ores. 

In 1870 Mr. Lawton was appointed assistant professor of en- 
gineering at the University of Michigan. From the university he 
spread into practical work, and in 1872 and 1873 assisted Major 
T. B. Brooks in the geological survey of the Marquette Iron region 
and the Menominee Range, where so much wealth was then dis- 
covered. He continued in the work of developing the Upper 
Peninsula, and in 1877 and 1878 assisted his nephew, the late 
Charles E. Wright, in the field work and in the preparation of his 



756 HISTORY OF VAN BURP]N COUNTY 

report as commissioner of mineral statistics, eventually taking over 
the active duties of the mining department and writing the im- 
mensely valuable reports of 1880, 1881 and 1882. 

In 1884 Governor Alger offered him the position of state geol- 
ogist, but he preferred to continue his work as commissioner of 
mineral statistics, publishing each year a report covering the 
mines and mineral interests of the state. This office, a purely 
scientific one, he held until 1891, and his reports for the years of 
his tenure of it are now much sought for and prized by men in all 
parts of the world who are interested in Michigan geology and 
Michigan mines, as they were and still are absolutely to be relied 
on. His knowledge of the mineral ranges of the Northern Penin- 
sula was vast, and his ready pen made his reports not merely 
technical but delightful to read. Mr. Lawton was never a per- 
manent resident of the Upper Peninsula, but his numerous visits 
to the copper and iron region, his interest in geology and his 
friendship for the early mining men of that section made him in 
spirit one of them, and the Northern Peninsula was always glad 
to claim him as one of its loyal friends. 

In the meantime he never relinciuished his interests at home and 
throughout Van Buren county. Practically all the county was 
surveyed by him, and he made the first and the su])sequent sur- 
veys for what was known as the Narrow Gauge Railroad. In this 
way he had an intimate and wide acquaintance with all parts of 
the county and with all its residents. His notes and surveys, be- 
cause of their accuracy, would, if published and edited, be a val- 
uable reference in the archives of the county. 

Mr. Lawton always retained his interest in farming. Besides 
the running of his fruit farm, he owned and managed a grain farm 
in Porter township, and was always an active and a large con- 
tributing member to the various horticultural and agricultural 
societies of the county and state; and being a fluent writer, be 
was a frequent contributor to the various journals. 

His father a Whig before him, IMr. Lawton was always a staunch 
Republican, one of the noble old Romans w^ho laid the foundations 
for the new Republican party under the oaks of Jackson. As an 
intrepid Abolitionist he cast his first vote for Fremont, and was 
an advocate of the nomination of William II. Seward for the 
presidency at the time of Lincoln 's nomination ; as he and Mr. Sew- 
ard were fellow^-towTismen and friends. Mr. Lawton 's father 
was a delegate to the national Republican convention at that time. 

Mr. Lawton was always actively interested in county, state and 
national politics. In county and state conventions he led the list 
of delegates, and ever exercised a potent influence. He was an 
easy speaker as w^ell as a vigorous and fearless writer, and his 
speech-making tours throughout the state made him a familiar 
figure to thousands. He w^as an honorary member of the United 
States Historical Society and of many Michigan state organiza- 
tions formed for the betterment and enlightenment of the people. 

In 1897 — the only election in which Mr. Lawton figured as a 
candidate — he w^as elected on the Republican ticket by a large 
majority regent of the University, which office he held eight years. 
Probably few^ men had his love for educational institutions or 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 757 

were better fitted to help govern them. He was especially en- 
dowed with a keen mentality, a broad insight, a scholarly and well 
furnished mind, for he was a man of much learning and vast in- 
formation, all of which made him a valuable public servant. Al- 
ways ready to be of service to his fellow-citizens as well as to his 
state, for thirty years he was a member of the school board of his 
village and gave to his duties as such the same degree of attention 
and interest that he devoted to other claims upon his time or 
faculties. 

Mr. Lawton was a man of great versatility and a rare diversity 
of gifts. Handicapped at the outset of early manhood with a weak 
side, and often enduring severe pain, he, nevertheless, manifested 
an ever restless and intense diligence in the attainment of knowl- 
edge or in the pursuance of some line of work. He was a natural 
student and possessed a remarkable memory. In his later years, 
during his hours of recreation, he was always to be seen reading 
in the original some French, German, Spanish or Italian classic. 

Mr. Lawton was the ideal American citizen. While discriminat- 
ing in his friendships and scholarly in his tastes, he was, however, 
democratic in his ideas, sympathetic and approachable toward all. 
He was a man of the soundest judgment, wholly sane, unbiased 
and unprejudiced in his views, of the highest character, uncom- 
promisingly honest, broadly charitable, genial in his nature and 
delightful in his home. 

To quote from the True Northerner: ''Those who knew Mr. 
Lawton best appreciated his sterling worth and rare diversity of 
gifts. 'He knew so much,' was the heartfelt testimonial of a dis- 
criminating and eminent friend. Yet, after a life-time of study, 
his wisdom was never paraded for applause, but treasured to him- 
self, save when friendship or service called it forth. He was ever 
the most modest of men. 

"No citizen of our state was better posted on the current ques- 
tions of the day, and few were better equipped in the classics. 
Concerning the most momentous issues, as with the commonest 
practical affairs, his opinion was lucid and his judgment sound. 
The record Mr. Lawton made in mastering the geological status 
of Upper Michigan is a tribute to his intelligence and industry, 
and his long time official association wath the affairs of our State 
University is one of the most notable achievements of his public 
career. In all his connection with the varied affairs of his busy 
life, no hint of dishonesty, incompetence or slightest shade of self- 
seeking was ever heard. His family and neighborhood life was 
simple, kindly and pure. Sturdy and straightforward, frank and 
fearless, he did what he thought was right, and left judgment of 
consequences to a higher tribunal than the vacillating opinions 
of men. 

"The men of Mr. Lawton 's generation, with whom he so long 
affiliated, have, for the most part, passed from the stage of action. 
But the impress of their rugged honor and stalwart courage has 
been left as a legacy for those who succeed them. The life-work, 
the influence, the memory of such a man as Charles D. Lawton 
are a bequest of value to the commonwealth and will be appre- 
ciated for their actual value and increasing worth.'' 
Vol. n— 9 



758 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

In every field Mr. Lawton was recognized as a leader, a man 
among men, and one who will leave his impress upon his adopted 
state. The good he has done cannot be estimated, and his children, 
friends and fellow-citizens have a priceless legacy in the memory 
of his life. 

He was the fifth in order of birth of the seven children of his 
parents, all of whom are now deceased. The others were Eliza, 
Nathan, Esther, George W., Albert W. and one who died in in- 
fancy. Mrs. Lawton was the first born of the nine children who 
blessed and brightened her parental home. All but her and her 
brother William Arthur Swaby, of Syracuse, New York, have 
passed away. Her sisters and brothers who have died were: 
Gertrude Isadore, Oliver Sanford, Sanford, Jessie Maria, Stephen 
Eastman, Margaret Aurelia and Marion Agnes. 

George W. Clements. — Enjoying general honor and esteem in 
the community in which he is best known and to whose interests 
he has ever shown a whole-hearted and helpful loyalty is George 
W. Clements, a pioneer farmer of Lawrence township. Van Buren 
county. Now in the pleasant evening of life he can look back over 
the busy well-spent years with satisfaction and has leisure to cul- 
tivate the acquaintance of his hosts of friends. Mr, Clements 
is of English birth, his eyes having first opened to the light of day 
on February 28, 1830. His parents w^ere William and Mary 
(Cook) Clements, and when the subject was a babe in arms they 
decided to cross the Atlantic in quest of the greater opportunity to 
be found in the New World. They went first to Canada, locating 
in Quebec, but remained in that quaint and lovely old city for 
only a short time. Removing farther south, they settled in On- 
tario. When Mr. Clements was a lad of fourteen years his mother 
died. Finding it necessary to make his own living, he started out 
to find any employment he could and eventually found his way 
to Detroit. He spent the fir^ winter scoring ties on the Michigan 
Central Railroad and doing a man's work, although only a boy. 
While in that city he saved sufficient money to make his way to 
Kalamazoo, which was at that time the western terminal of the 
Michigan Central. He stayed in Kalamazoo only over night and 
then he and two or three other boys set out on foot for the neigh- 
borhood of the present town of Lawton. Here he was thrown into 
association with a '^ tough bunch'' of Irishmen and stayed three 
days, chopping wood and again doing a man's work. Accommo- 
dations were poor and he and another boy decided not to tarry, but 
started off toward Paw Paw, where they stopped. Mr. Clements 
hired out to a man of the name of Willard and continued in his 
employ for over a year. The love of change and adventure was a 
part of his character, however, and he again started out, wander- 
ing for a time and then locating in Lawrence, where he secured 
work in a saw-mill. He was so proficient that he rapidly advanced 
and soon came to be head sawyer, a position he held for a year 
and a half. Shortly after this, having saved a little money, he 
started a little grocery store and continued in this line of en- 
deavor for three years. He was somewhat successful and ])egan 
to gather together a little means. 



PIISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 759 

In the meantime Mr. Clements had taken unto himself a wife, 
his marriage occurring on April 17, 1856, to Harriet Christy, 
daughter of Robert Christy, of Lawrence, and thus he established 
a household of his own. 

After three years in the grocery business Mr. Clements entered 
the carpentry business and he and a partner built the Congrega- 
tional church and sawed the lumber for another church edifice in 
the early days. This proved congenial work and he remained thus 
engaged for twenty years. In 1865 he concluded to devote some 
of his time to farming and moved onto land in Lawrence township. 
His farm consists of fifty-iive acres. In the ensuing years he has 
farmed successfully, and has just as successfully played the part of 
a good citizen. 

The union of Mr. Clement and his estimable wife was blessed 
by the birth of one daughter, whose name is Edith, and who is 
now the wife of B. B. Fisher. Mr. and Mrs. Fisher reside on Mr. 
Clements farm and direct its affairs, now that the father is re- 
tired. 

Mr. Clements has since his earliest voting days been one of the 
stanchest and unfaltering of Republicans. He cast his first vote 
for Zachary Taylor and has supported all the candidates of the 
''Grand Old Party" since that day. He is a man of pleasing ad- 
dress and patriarchal appearance, well preserved and still active 
in mind and body. His wife has preceded liim to the ''Better 
Land," having died October 28, 1899. 

James E. Abrams. — In the development and progress of Van 
Buren county from pioneer times to the present no family has 
shown itself more devoted to the solid virtues of industrious hus- 
bandry and patriotic citizenship then that represented by Mr. 
James E. Abrams, of Lawrence township. He himself has been a 
resident of the county for sixty years, has been one of the most 
successful in agriculture, and has served his country and his 
community in promoting their best welfare. 

James E. Abrams was born in Orleans county. New York, Octo- 
ber 7, 1841. His family has been identified with American his- 
tory for several generations, and its military record is especially 
noteworthy, since the members of three successive generations have 
served in the most important wars that occurred during their re- 
spective careers. His grandfather bore arms in the war of the 
Revolution. Then his son John, who was born at Newburgh on 
the Hudson in 1797, was a member of the New York state militia 
when the British crossed Lake Champlain. John Abrams spent 
most of his life in New York state. He married Eunice Shepard, 
and they were the parents of eleven children, all of whom were 
born in New York, and the five now living are: Eunice, Anne, 
Lindy, James E. and Nancy, all except James being residents of 
different states in the west. 

In 1851 John Abrams, with his wife and family, set out for 
Michigan, which at that time was the destination of many people 
leaving Orleans and neighboring counties of New York. He 
crossed Lake Erie to Detroit, and from there came overland by 
wagon to Kalamazoo, where he spent the winter. On March 4th 



760 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

of the following year they arrived in what is now Paw Paw town- 
ship, where the father bought eighty acres of cleared land for one 
thousand dollars. At that time many of the settlers had joined 
the rush to California, and for this reason it was possible to secure 
good bargains in improved or partially improved land. On this 
place John Abrams lived for thirty years, until his life came to a 
peaceful close in 1881. His wife died three years later, in 1884. 

During his youth Mr. Abrams was privileged to attend school 
only about three months in the year and continued his efforts in 
obtaining an education until he was nineteen. By that time he 
had saved some money, which he planned to use in attending the 
college at Ypsilanti. Just then the Civil war broke out. The day 
following the firing on Fort Sumter, April 15, 1861, he enlisted in 
the Lafayette Light Guards under Captain Hugo. From here 
he went to New York and was attached to Sickle's Brigade, in the 
Seventieth New York Regiment, and saw nearly four years of serv- 
ice in many campaigns through the south. 

A veteran soldier, he returned to Michigan to take up the prac- 
tical duties of civil life. In December, 1865, he purchased a farm, 
and the following March he married Miss Helen Beddo, of a well 
known family near Paw Paw. Together they began to make a 
home and continued to live on their first farm fourteen years. In 
the fall of 1882 they moved to another place, which remained their 
home until 1896. Mr. Abrams then engaged in the mercantile 
business at Lawrence until in 1900. For two years after that he 
served in the office of town treasurer, and then returned to the 
farm. In 1907 he bought the farm of one hundred and thirty-two 
acres which is now his attractive home. Altogether he owns one 
hundred and sixty-six acres in Lawrence township. His material 
prosperity has been generous and has been gained as the result 
of his own well bestowed labors and good business management. 
Mr. Abrams has held several offices in Post Wads worth. No. 49, 
G. A. R., at Lawrence. His citizenship has always been of the 
substantial kind that supports the best movements in the com- 
munity, and when entrusted with public responsibility he has dis- 
charged his duties with conscientious faithfulness and energy. 
He and his family are members of the Methodist church at Law- 
rence. 

Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Abrams : Hetty 
is the wife of Rev. E. H. Bradfield, of La Pierre; A. H., is in a 
general store at Lawrence; Katie is the wife of A. B. Carris, of 
Highland, California; Archie E. is on his father's farm; Richard 
J., who continued the military record of the family by serving 
with the rank of corporal in the Spanish war, is now an electrical 
engineer residing in Chicago; James G. is on his father's farm in 
Lawrence township ; Helen is the wife of Frank Jones, of Mendon, 
St. Joseph county; and Harold E. is on his father's farm. 

George Mutchler. — The present incumbent of the office of drain 
commissioner of Van Buren county, Michigan, is a fine example 
of the man who accepts an office of public trust and responsibility 
and brings to the same the same unswerving rectitude and per- 
sistent industry which would mark his private endeavors. It is 




HIRAM SHERROD 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 761 

to such men as George Mutchler that our democratic government 
must look for the redemption of her administrations from the in- 
efficiency of "political jobbery/' George Mutchler was born in Osh- 
temo, Kalamazoo county, this state, July 21, 1862, to Martin and 
Mary Mutchler. Both his father and mother, whose maiden name 
was Miller, came to the United States from the Fatherland. They 
met and were married in New York state before they came to the 
state of Michigan. They were the parents of nine children, of 
whom George, the immediate subject of this sketch, was the sixth 
in order of birth. The family came to Van Buren county when 
George was a child of three years, the date being 1865. Here the 
father was employed as section foreman on railroads for a great 
many years. Both Martin Mutchler and his wife have since passed 
to their eternal reward. 

George Mutchler was raised in Van Buren county, and received 
an excellent common school education in the district schools of the 
county. On December 20, 1888, he was united in marriage to Miss 
Edah Gibney, of Bangor township, Van Buren county, a daughter 
of Mr. and Mrs. Henry E. Gibney, the former of. whom was born 
in Bethney, New York state, and the latter of whom first saw the 
light of this world in Bloomington, Indiana. She was raised in 
Van Buren county, and attended the public schools of the district. 
To Mr. and Mrs. George Mutchler was born one son, Harrie E., 
the date of his nativity being December 29, 1889. He has grad- 
uated from the Hartford high school and is now a student at Lans- 
ing, Michigan. The family are members of the Christian denom- 
ination, and Mr. Mutchler is an elder in the church and a trustee 
of the same. 

Politically Mr. Mutchler adheres to the party of Lincoln, Mc- 
Kinley and Taft, and is accounted a worthy promoter of the in- 
terests of the ''Grand Old Party ^' in this part of the state. He 
has served the county in the capacity of surveyor for three terms, 
of two years each. After an appointment to fill out an unexpired 
term Mr. Mutchler has since been appointed for three terms as 
county drain commissioner and also twice elected to the office, this 
being ample proof of the quality of his service and the high place 
he holds in the esteem of his constituency. It is worthy of note 
that he held the office of county surveyor and drainage commis- 
sioner for one year, the same being very unusual, since it is a rare 
thing to find a man holding two active county offices at one time. 

Fraternally Mr. Mutchler is affiliated with Charter Oak Lodge, 
No. 231, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. 

Hiram Sherrod represents a family who came to Michigan from 
Pennsylvania in 1867. He was born in the Keystone state on 
November 29, 1835. His parents were Daniel and Hannah Cole 
Sherrod, the father a Pennsylvanian and the mother a New 
Yorker. When they came to Michigan they settled near Paw 
Paw and the parents spent the rest of their lives there. The 
mother died in 1885, and the father three years later. There 
were seven children in the family, five sons and two daughters. 
Matilda lives in Paw Paw and is Mrs. Levi Lyle. The other 
sister is married to John Cleckner, of Colorado. One brother, 



762 HISTORY OP VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Almond, also lives in Colorado. Lorenzo, the other brother now 
living, resides in Detroit. 

Hiram Sherrod learned the blacksmith trade from his father 
and in 1857, bought seventy-five acres of land, to which he later 
added a tract of thirty-eight acres, making a total of one hun- 
dred and eighteen acres. Upon this he has put a fine brick house 
two stories high and good barns and other outhouses. He has one 
of the best managed farms in the community and one of which the 
whole county is proud. 

In 1861 jNIr. Sherrod was married to Salina Lee, and eight 
children were born of their union ; three who died in infancy and 
Henry, Minnie, Wilbur, Carrie and Vincent. The mother died 
in 1879, and the father took for his second Avife Letissa Stephenson, 
and of this union there is one child, Grover. 

]\Ir. Sherrod is a Democrat in his political convictions, but he is 
not a practical politician nor has he ever sought any public office. 
He belongs to the Grangers and to the Good Templars. The 
Christian church counts him one of its most interested members 
and he is known throughout the county as one sincerely interested 
in all which builds up the economic, educational and moral life of 
the country. 

Erastus Osborn is one of the leading citizens of Hamilton town- 
ship, and a pioneer of the locality as well. He is a gentleman so 
well known for his integrity and honesty, thrift and manliness, 
that he needs no introduction to the citizens of Van Buren county. 
He and his estimable wife are citizens who are held in the highest 
esteem and it is with pleasure that the ensuing sketch is presented 
in the record and history of Van Buren county, Michigan. 

Erastus Osborn is a native of Alleghany county. New York, 
where his birth occurred on March 24, 1838. He is the second 
in a family of eight children, equally divided as to sons and daugh- 
ters, born to Stephen and Sallie (Hungerford) Osborn. Of this 
number but three are living at the present time, Mr. Osborn being 
the eldest; Benjamin, an agriculturist, residing in Hamilton town- 
ship; and the same being true of Horace. Stephen Osborn also 
raised to maturity four sons and four daughters by a former mar- 
riage. The father was born in Vermont, October 11, 1794, and 
died in 1853. He was a courageous man and a good citizen, of 
the type of General Stark and his Green Mountain Boys. He 
adopted agriculture as his life work and his politics was that of 
a Jackson Democrat. The Osborn family ultimately removed from 
New York to Michigan (about 1844), making the journey m 
pioneer fashion in covered wagons, across swamps and through 
forests. This interesting journey is well remembered by the sub- 
ject, who was about six years old at the time. Near where the 
family located deer and wild turkeys were abundant. The first 
farm owned by the family consisted of but forty acres and the 
first habitation was an underground log house. Conditions were 
indeed primitive, for the Osborns were among the first white set- 
tlers. The Indians still looked upon the district as their own. The 
elder ]\Ir. and Mrs. Osborn were Christian people and of good in- 
fluence in the communitv. The mother was a native of New York 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 768 

and her grandfather Weston was a soldier of the Revolutionary 
^var, the present day Osborns being thus entitled to membership in 
the Sons and Daughters of the" American Revolution. Her grand- 
mother AVeston rode horseback with a little baby in her arms to 
witness the surrender of Cornwallis. Both of the subject's par- 
ents are interred in the Hamilton township cemetery where suit- 
able stones stand sacred to their memory. His maternal grand- 
father, Benjamin Hungerford, was born in 1773 and the grand- 
mother in 1778, the latter dying in 1854. Their remains are in- 
terred in the Keeler cemetery, their tombstones being among the 
earliest placed in that burial ground. Benjamin Hungerford at 
one time was proprietor of a cording mill in Alleghany county, 
New York, and there in his early life Millard Fillmore worked as 
an apprentice. When an old man he revisited and wept over those 
scenes of his boyhood. 

Erastus Osborn has spent his life in Van Buren county and has 
devoted his energies to agriculture and stock-raising. He received 
his education in the common schools, when conditions were 
primitive, the first school house he attended being a log cabin, 
where the pens used were quills. In 1859 he made a six months' 
trip with ox teams to Pike's Peak. He has used the old fashioned 
grain cradle, swinging it all day long, and he has cut as much as 
seven acres of grain in one day, using also a scythe and flail. The 
Osborns were innovators, however, and the subject's father bought 
the first threshing-box with a cylinder in the township. In those 
days the closest market was St. Joe, Paw Paw not then being in 
existence. His memory goes back to the day when Decatur was 
a mere hamlet, when the Michigan Central Railway was being 
built, his half brother assisting in the construction of the same. 

AA^ien Mr. Osborn began life he had no capital, but his industry 
and thrift made his success certain from the beginning. He was 
not afraid of hard work and has split rails at fifty cents per hun- 
dred, the fact being apparent that he began life at the bottom. 
On March 24, 1864, he was united in marriage to ]\Iiss Annette 
Maria Lascelle, and two daughters have been born to them. Mary 
E. is the wife of William H. iMyrkle, a resident of Hamilton town- 
ship, and an agriculturist. The Myrkles have ^ye children, all 
living and as follows: Harold E., a student of the public schools; 
Grover C, in the junior class of the Dowagiac high school; Law- 
rence, in the eighth grade of the public school; Helen Gertrude, 
in the- fifth grade; and Marjorie Lascelle, the youngest child. 
Agnes Luana, younger daughter of Mr. Osborn, received her pre- 
liminary education in the common schools and subsequently 
studied in the high schools of Decatur and Dowagiac and the 
Atheneum Institute in Chicago. She makes her home with her 
parents. 

Mrs. Osborn is a native of Jefferson county, New York, her 
birthplace having been near the Thousand Isles. The date of her 
birth was December 29, 1841, and she is the seventh in a family of 
eight children. She is the only member of her family now living. 
She was reared in Jefferson county until her seventeenth year and 
received an education in the public schools. While a resident of 
Chicago she was a student in the Bryant & Stratton Business Col- 



764 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

lege. At the age of sixteen years she began her career as a teacher 
in Jefferson county, New York, and she taught subsequently in 
"Wayne township, Cass county, and Van Buren county. She is a 
cultured woman, and has ever improved her mind with good liter- 
ature. She has been a true and helpful wife. When she and the 
subject began life it was in a frame house made of black walnut, 
this building is still standing. It was built in the early '40s and 
is one of the oldest frame houses in the town. Their present home 
is a pretty and commodious one and they own a fine tract of four 
hundred and forty acres lying in Keeler and Hamilton townships. 
They have made all its improvements themselves and today (in 
1911) this valuable estate is without a dollar's debt. Their lives 
furnish a splendid example to the young of what courageous 
industry will accomplish. 

Mr. Osborn is a sound Democrat and has never strayed from 
its Jeffersonian principles. He is the champion of good schools 
and has been treasurer of his township, an office he held for seven 
years. His wife is a member of the Swedenborgian church. Mr. 
and Mrs. Osborn are representative citizens of Hamilton township 
and owners of one of its finest estates, its broad acres being known 
as ^ * Brookside, " and its hospitable doors being ever open to their 
many friends. It is indeed appropriate that record of their lives 
be perpetuated in this History of Van Buren County. 

Ephraim S. Appleton. — The eventful life of Mr. Appleton be- 
gan at Buxton, Maine, on December 22, 1846. His parents were 
Samuel B. and Elizabeth (Morgan) Appleton, members of promi- 
nent families of that place. The family went west to Chicago and 
from there, at the age of seventeen, Ephraim went to the front 
at the call of the country for troops to save the Union and was 
six months in the service. He enlisted in the Chicago Board of 
Trade Battery. Mr. Appleton was discharged on account of dis- 
ability and still draws the pension granted him somewhat later. 

For forty years after his return from the war, Chicago con- 
tinued to be Mr. Appleton 's home. He was for a time a fireman 
on the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, working at this for 
three years. Another three years he spent in California as a 
sheep herder, and while there he passed through the many ex- 
periences which are incident to that calling. Upon returning to 
Chicago, he learned the machinist trade and worked at that for 
the remainder of his stay in Chicago. 

In 1905 Mr. Appleton came to Van Buren county and purchased 
a farm of forty acres. Mrs. Appleton was formerly Miss Frances 
L. Coif, of Allegan county, Michigan. She became the wife of Mr. 
Appleton in 1872 and is the mother of two sons. William C. 
Appleton is a graduate of a commercial school in Chicago also 
took a course in commercial law, and is now cashier of the Stan- 
dard Varnish Company of Chicago. Herbert is a bachelor of 
thirty-five and lives at home. 

Mr. Appleton, like most of the Civil war veterans, is a Republi- 
can in politics. He and his wife are members of the Methodist 
church and he is affiliated with the Ancient Free and Accepted 
Masons in Florada Lodge, No. 309. Although they have lived in 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 765 

the county but a short time, Mr. Appleton and his family have 
won a place among the best citizens of this section and are in all 
ways worthy of the regard in which they are held. 

Dr. John C. Maxwell, of Paw Paw, was born in Hamilton 
township, Van Buren county, Michigan, on March 5, 1866, and is 
a son of James Edward and Mary (Conway) Maxwell, who were 
born in Ireland. The father came to this country about 1846, and 
at once made his way to the West to take part in its development 
and improvement and secure for himself a share in the results of 
its progress. He located in this county on a farm but little re- 
moved from its state of primal wildness, and on this he passed the 
remainder of his life, which ended in 1884, eight years after the 
death of his wife, in 1876. He labored diligently and intelligently 
in the cultivation of his farm, and when he died left it in an ad- 
vanced state of development and productiveness, and well im- 
proved with good buildings. 

Eight children were born in the family and seven of them are 
living, only Mary, the late wife of Joseph Godley, of Kalamazoo 
county, having died. The others are: Celia, the wife of Jacob 
Knowles, of Van Buren county; Thomas C, who resides in Spring- 
field, South Dakota; Elizabeth, the wife of Otis Gould, of Law- 
rence, this county; C. Ella, who is dean of women in the Mar- 
quette State Normal School, and a teacher of history in that in- 
stitution; Frances, the wife of M. S. Bullard, of this county; 
James Edward, a prominent physician and surgeon whose home 
is in Decatur, Michigan ; and Dr. John C. 

The last named, when his father died, was the only one at home 
to take charge of the farm until it could be sold, and he was com- 
pelled to leave school and devote his time to its management. As 
soon as he was able to get away he entered the University of 
Michigan at Ann Arbor as a medical student, and while pursuing 
his professional course also followed the high school course of 
academic instruction. He was graduated from the department of 
pharmacy in the university in 1894, and from the medical depart- 
ment in 1895. When he left the University he at once located in 
Paw Paw, and here he has worked out his subsequent career, mak- 
ing an admirable record as a physician and surgeon. His prac- 
tice is large and active, laying all his time and energy under tribute 
except what is required for the duties of citizenship outside of pro- 
fessional lines, for these he never neglects in any degree whatever. 

Dr. Maxwell was married in December, 1898, to Miss Cleo Lyle 
Stevens, a daughter of F. E. and Ida M. (Parker) Stevens, of 
Paw Paw. Three children have been born of the union, two of 
whom are living: James Hoyt, who was born December 15, 1902, 
and Catherine Frances, whose life began on December 1, 1908. 
The first born child, Helen, came into being on December 15, 1899, 
and died on March 13, 1902. 

The Doctor holds to the principles and theories of government 
of the Republican party in political affairs, but he is not desirous 
of official station of any kind. He is a member of several local 
lodges. 



766 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Samuel Culver. — As the leading industry of Van Buren county 
is farming, and as that industry is in large measure the basis of 
the wealth, prosperity and progress of almost every land under 
the sun, its representatives are entitled to full consideration in any 
work that purports to give an account of the forces which have 
made a people what they are, and the steps by which they reach 
a stage of progress which may be the subject of the work. This 
volume is designed as a portrayal of the people of Van Buren 
county at the present time, and their advancement from the pioneer 
stage of the county's existence to the high state of development, 
improvement and prosperity to which its residents have brought 
it. The greater part of the population have been farmers from 
the start, and Samuel Culver, of Keeler township, is one of their 
best representatives in the generation to which he belongs. 

Mr. Culver was born in the state of Ohio, Stark county, on 
July 2, 1840, and was the last of the eight children (three sons 
and five daughters), born to his parents, Cliristopher and Su- 
sanna (Chiesley) Culver. Three of the eight are living: William, 
who is a farmer near Howard City, Montcalm county, Michigan; 
Polly, who is a widow and resides in La Grange county, Indiana; 
and Samuel, the immediate subject of this brief review. 

The father of this family was a native of Pennsylvania, and 
was reared, educated and married in that state. He was of Ger- 
man ancestry, his parents having come to this country from the 
Fatherland during our Revolutionary war. The mother of the 
family was also of German extraction and both she and her hus- 
band could speak the German language fluently. After their 
marriage they moved to Ohio, and some years later to La Grange 
county, Indiana, where the father died in October, 1861. He was 
first a Democrat in political allegiance, but when the Republican 
party was organized he espoused its principles, and to them he 
adhered to the end of his life. His wife died several years before 
his death. They were Presbyterians in their religious connection, 
and consistent members of their church from their youth, holding 
firmly to its teachings and exemplifying the Christian spirit in 
their daily lives. 

Samuel Culver was a boy of four years when his parents moved 
to Indiana, and he passed the succeeding thirty years of his life 
in that state. He has always been warmly attached to the Union, 
and when the Civil war was raging he joined the forces enlisted 
for its defense and salvation. He was enrolled in September, 
1864, in Company G, One Hundred and Forty-second Indiana 
Volunteer Infantry, and received his honorable discharge from 
the army in July, 1865. His company was commanded by Captain 
Schlegel, and the regiment to which it belonged by Colonel John 
Comparet. The regiment was assigned to the Army of the Ten- 
nessee and took part in the second battle of Nashville. In this 
contest Mr. Culver had a narrow escape from death, the band of 
his cap being shot away. But the regiment was fighting under 
the inspiration of the presence and heroic example of its great 
general, George H. Thomas, the idol of his soldiers, who called 
him '^Pap Thomas" in the ardor of their affectionate devotion. 

On February 21, 1867, Mr. C/ulver was united in marriage with 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 767 

]\liss Maryette E. Emerson^ the nuptials being solemnized in La 
Grange county, Indiana. Mrs. Culver is a daughter of Elial Todd 
and Huldah M. (King) Emerson, the former a native of the state 
of New York, born in 1814, near the Connecticut line, and the 
latter of Rhode Island, where her life began on July 1, 1817. She 
died on March 31, 1900, and her husband's life ended in 1894. 
He was a distant relative of the great American philosopher, essay- 
ist and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. His occupation through life 
was that of a farmer, and his marriage occurred in Michigan, 
whither he came after attaining his majority and residing for a 
number of years in Indiana, moving to the latter state in 1841, 
after having bought land in La Grange county. He became a resi- 
dent of Yan Buren county in this state in 1870. 

On his arrival in this county he purchased the tract of eighty 
acres of land which now constitutes the old Emerson homestead, 
located on the township line 1)etween Keeler and Hartford town- 
ships, within four miles of the village of Hartford. During his 
life in Yan Buren county Mr. Emerson took a great interest in 
the i)ublic schools and for a number of years rendered them valu- 
able service as school director. He and his wife were devout mem- 
l)ers of the Baptist church at Keeler, and were persons of strict in- 
tegrity and true to every duty. They reared their offspring in 
paths of rectitude and to useful lives. ]\Irs. Enu^rson was de- 
scended from old New England stock and English ancestry, one of 
her grandmothers having been a native of the Isle of Wight, Eng- 
land. Her grandfathers were soldiers in the Revolutionary war. 
This entitles i\Irs. Culver and her daughter to membership in the 
society of Daughters of the American Revolution, They could 
certainly meet all the re(|uir(Mnents of membership in respect to 
high character, intelligenci^ and acceptable social standing, no 
matter how exacting they may be. 

Mrs. Culver grew to womanhood in Indiana, and there I'CK'cived 
a very good education, although sh(^ had only the facilities afforded 
by the public schools; nor did her husband have any other, and, 
lie, too, is well infoi'uied and has a well trained mind. The fruit 
of their union is one child, their daughter Grace Belle, who is the 
wife of Theodore Samuel Allen and has had two children, a daugh- 
ter named Maryette Isa belle, who died at the age of fifteen months, 
and a son named George Lial, who is now in the fourth grade of 
the pu])lic school he attends. iMrs. Allen was born in the Emer- 
son homestead and educated in the district schools and at the high 
schools in Hartford and Benton Hai'boi'. She is a member of the 
l^aptist church, tlie Sunday-school of tlu^ congregation to which 
she belongs, and tlie Women's Christian Temperance Union. 

Mr. Culver is a .progressive farmer and studies his business in 
all its details with a view to securing the best returns and most 
satisfactory results from the labor and care he bestows on his 
farm. He is also an enterprising and public spirited citizen, with 
great interest in the development and enduring welfare of his 
township and county. In political faith he is a Republican, and 
at all times serviceable to his party, although he has no desire for 
any of the honors or profits it may have to bestow on its faithful 
and capable adherents. He cast his first vote for our martyred 



768 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

president, Abraham Lincoln. In addition to their farm the Cul- 
vers own a residence property in Hartford. Mr. Culver and his 
wife are deeply interested in the cause of public education, and 
this fact has induced him to serve on the school board. Like their 
daughter, the parents are members of the Baptist church and 
zealous workers in the Sunday-school of their congregation. All 
the members of the family stand high in the regard of the people, 
and the record of their useful, upright and estimable lives shows 
that they are worthy of all the respect and good will that is so 
richly bestowed upon them. Van Buren county has no better or 
more serviceable citizens. 

John J. Markillie. — Among the men who have given the farm- 
ers of Van Buren county their high name for industry and pro- 
gressive methods is John J. Markille, of Hartford township. He 
comes of sturdy old English stock. He was born March 17, 1849, 
in Longsutton Crosses, Lincolnshire, Old England, the son of Ed- 
ward and Mary (Skeels) Markillie, neither of whom ever came to 
this country, and both of whom have now passed away. The early 
life of John Markillie was spent upon the farm, and his education 
was slight, for he was obliged to be busy early and late at his farm 
duties. He worked on the farm until he attained his majority, 
not accumulating, however, very much of this world's goods. On 
Christmas day, 1871, he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Chris- 
topher, of Lutton, England. The young couple made their home on 
a rented farm and the husband not only ran that but was em- 
ployed by other farmers as well. Mrs. Markillie was born on the 
15th of November, 1851. Mr. Markillie came to the United States, 
landing here on the 11th of October, 1881, and settled near Gobles- 
ville, his wife joining lain}, in the following spring. Mr. and Mrs. 
Markillie were the parents of twelve children, concerning whom 
the following brief data is here inserted : Carrie became the wife 
of Prank Webster ; Samuel is deceased ; Sarah is now Mrs. Charles 
Koons ; Florence was united in marriage to Charles Baldwin ; Alice 
married Odis Curtis; George remains on the home farm and he is 
a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Walter W.. 
is single; Clarence married Miss Cecil Olds; Grace is the wife of 
Clair Leach; Ella M. graduated from the Hartford high school 
and is now engaged in teaching school ; Ralph is a graduate of the 
public schools. The family are not members of any church. 

Mr. Markillie carries insurance in the Order of the Maccabees. 
He is affiliated with the Republican party, and has for the past 
two years served the community as path master. He went to live on 
the Olney farm, in section 33, seven years ago, and has since 
raised some very fine short-horned Durham cattle, which he pur- 
chased from the well-known Rutland stock farm, and he is the 
owner of a half interest in the stock, produce and tools now on 
the place. He and his family are well liked in the neighborhood, 
and have many friends. 

Dr. Wilbur F. Hoyt, of Paw Paw, is a native of this state and 
was bom in Battle Creek on January 25, 1863. His parents, Ben- 
jamin Franklin and Frances (Warner) Hoyt, were natives of 
New York state, and passed the earlier years of their lives within 



HISTORY OP VAN BUREN COUNTY 769 

its borders. The father came to Michigan in 1847 and located near 
Battle Creek, some years afterward moving to Paw Paw. He was 
a carpenter and worked at his trade in both localities with profit 
for himself and benefit to the places in which he labored. During 
the Civil war he was a soldier in the Union army, and although he 
lived to see the end of the gigantic sectional conflict, he died in 
1866 from disabilities due to his military service. 

Some time after his death the mother contracted a second mar- 
riage, in which she was united with Frederick S. Eldred, of James- 
ville, Wisconsin, now deceased. She died on August 25, 1908. 
She and her first husband were the parents of two children: Lu- 
cius W., who died in 1910, and Dr. Wilbur F. The latter attended 
school in Paw Paw and Grand Rapids until he reached the age of 
sixteen, then became a student in the State Agricultural College in 
Lansing, from which he was graduated in 1883. 

Having completed his scholastic training, he turned his whole 
attention to the work of preparing for his professional career, 
which he did at a medical college in Columbus, Ohio. He received 
his degree from that institution in 1885, then passed one year as 
resident physician at St. Frances Hospital in Columbus. In 1886 
he located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he remained actively 
engaged in the practice of medicine until the winter of 1890-91, 
when failing health obliged him to give up the practice for a period 
of two years. 

In the summer of 1892 he pursued a special course in clinics at 
Bellevue Hospital in New York city, and after concluding that 
located in Paw Paw, where he has resided most of the time since 
and been actively occupied with a large and exacting practice. 
During 1903 and 1904 he served as clinical assistant in the Samari- 
tan Hospital of London, England, but at the end of his connec- 
tion with that institution returned to Paw Paw, and here he has 
ever since had his home and been one of the strong forces in his 
profession and one of the leading citizens of the community. 

On July 7, 1903, the Doctor was married to i\Irs. Amanda B. 
Bartram. She has a son by her former marriage, E. W. Bartram, 
who is living in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is connected with 
the United Drug Company. Dr. Hoyt is a member of the Masonic 
order and its adjunct, the Order of the Eastern Star, and of the 
Knights of Pythias. He is a Republican in politics and a member 
of the Park Street Congregational church of Grand Rapids. 

Edwin A. Chase. — A citizen of very considerable prominence 
and public spirit in Van Buren county is Edwin A. Chase, a pros- 
perous agriculturist and supervisor of Waverly township. He is 
a man of influence in public affairs and has brought about more 
than one good thing, while any public trust given into his hands 
is sure of such intelligent and conscientious attention as to re- 
dound to his credit and the honor and profit of the people. 

Edwin A. Chase is a native of the state of New York, his birth 
having occurred in Genesee county on September 2, 1848, his 
parents being Johnson and Almira (Baker) Chase. The birth of 
Johnson Chase was in Vermont and the mother was a New Yorker. 



770 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

They were married in New York and in the fall of 1864 came to 
Michigan and located on a farm nine miles from Paw Paw, where 
the father lived until his demise. The mother is still living (in 
1911), a venerable lady approaching her ninetieth year. (She was 
born in 1824.) Mrs. Chase lives on the old homestead, just across 
the road from her son, E. A. Chase. She and her husband had 
six children, four of whom are living, namely : Edwin A. ; Wallace 
F., of Waverly township ; Albert L. ; and Ella, wife of Charles A. 
Fox. The father, by a previous marriage, had one daughter. 

The immediate subject of this review was reared on a farm in 
New York state and in the district schools he obtained his educa- 
tion, attending until his eighteenth year, when he came to Michi- 
gan. He worked in the meantime, however, and soon became 
familiar with the many secrets of seedtime and harvest. He 
practically was thrown upon his own resources from his thirteenth 
year, for at that early age he began to work for his living. He was 
a strong and sturdy young fellow and a good assistant. At the age 
of twenty-one years he was still without property, but by twenty- 
eight he had begun to get a start and owned forty acres of land, 
a tract which had not yet been improved and which required an 
expenditure of much time and labor. 

In the meantime Mr. Chase married, the young woman to be- 
come his wife being Nettie Burns, of Almena township. She was 
born in 1854 and was a daughter of Able and Sarah (Bidgood) 
Burns, who came to Michigan at an early date from the Empire 
state. By Mr. Chase's first marriage there were two children, one 
dying in infancy. The other, Lottie, is the wife of Leroy Hutchins, 
of Waverly township ; she was educated in the Waverly schools 
and taught one term ; she has one child, Clair. The first wife of 
the subject passed away in June, 1880, and in 1884 he was united 
to Ruhany Huey, and to this marriage were born three children, 
two being deceased. The surviving child, Lena, is the wife of 
Frank McGary. Upon the demise of the second Mrs. Chase the 
subject married, on November 26, 1893, Mrs. Celia (Congdon) 
Davis, widow of John Davis. She is the daughter of Daniel and 
Eliza (Stoddard) Congdon, both natives of Connecticut, who 
came to Michigan in 1837 and settled in Washtenaw county. She 
was born November 28, 1852, in Kalamazoo and received her educa- 
tion in the common schools. By her first marriage she became the 
mother of three children, two of whom are living. Earl received 
a commercial education and is now a farmer, and Leon is single 
and lives with Mr. Chase. He now owns forty acres in section ten 
and pursues successful operations in general farming. 

Mr. Chase is a prominent Mason, holding membership in the 
Bloomingdale Lodge, No. 222, A. F. & A. M., and he and his wife 
are members of the Bloomingdale Chapter, No. 58, Order of the 
Eastern Star. He is affiliated with Glendale Lodge, Independent 
Order of Odd Fellows, and also with the Grange. In politics he is 
found valiantly marching under the standard of the Democratic 
party, for whose policies and principles he has stood since his 
earliest voting days. He is serving his twelfth term as supervisor 
of Waverly township and was elected in a township that is largely 
Republican. He was at one time chairman of the board of super- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 771 

visors. He was a member of the building committee of the Van 
Buren county court house and his name is inscribed on the corner- 
stone. In that, as in other things, he played a valuable part. 

Mr. Chase is one of the best known hunters in Michigan and 
each year devotes a month to the hunting of deer and other large 
game. He has laid low many splendid animals, his prowess in this 
line being remarkable. His hunting takes him north each year, 
and each year adds new laurels to the share of this Van Buren 
county Nimrod. He has moreover done much to secure juster 
game laAvs for the state, his lobbying at the state capital having 
probably done as much as any one factor to bring about this re- 
sult. His wife has a natural ability for the raising of flowers and 
has many beautiful specimens. 

Dw^GHT Foster. — One of the oldest and most highly esteemed 
families of Keeler township, Van Buren county, is that of Foster, 
members of which have been prominent in ever}^ walk of life. 
One of its worthy representatives is Dwight Foster, one of the lead- 
ing agriculturists of this part of the county, who during a long 
and useful career has established a reputation for probity and in- 
tegrity that does credit to himself and the family name. Mr. 
Foster was born in Keeler township, December 10, 1854, the eighth 
in a family of nine children born to Ira and Caroline (Bishop) 
Foster, a complete review of whose lives will be found in the sketch 
of the Foster sisters in another part of this work. 

In common with other farmers' sons of his day Mr. Foster's 
early education was secured in the district schools near his father's 
farm, attending during the winter months when his services could 
be spared from the duties of the some place, and in the summer 
months learning the details of practical and scientific farming. 
Later he was sent to the Northern Indiana University, and after 
graduation returned to the home farm for some time. After his 
marriage, which occurred September 22, 1881, to Miss Mary Lil- 
lian Buck, he began renting the Foster homestead, which he suc- 
cessfully operated for a period covering sixteen years, and at the 
end of that time purchased eighty acres in Keeler township, to 
which later ten acres were added by inheritance. Feeling that 
they wished to own their own property Mr. and Mrs. Foster had 
gone into debt for this land, then but a fairly productive tract, 
with no buildings on it. To-day there is not a more highly culti- 
vated tract to be found in this part of the to^ynship, and the build- 
ings are of the most modern architecture and equipped with up-to- 
date improvements in every way. Mr. Foster has proven himself 
an able farmer, and today he stands as one of the substantial 
men of his locality, his property being entirely clear from in- 
debtedness. He has also shown himself a good and public-spirited 
citizen, and one who is ready at all times to lend his influence to 
those movements which he feels will be of benefit to his community. 
Reliable in all matters, conscientious in what he believes to be his 
duty, an honest business man and kind husband and father, Mr. 
Foster wields a power for good among his neighbors and fellow 
townsmen, w^ho expressed their confidence in him by electing him 
to the office of supervisor of Keeler township from 1896 until 1902. 



772 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Although Mr. Foster is a Democrat, he is very progressive in his 
views and is a great admirer of the ideas and principles of Robert 
LaFollette. Fraternally he is connected with the K. 0. T. M. of 
Keeler township, and believes earnestly in the benefits to be de- 
rived from life insurance, holding a good policy in the North- 
western Life Insurance Company. He is a trustee and member of 
the Methodist Episcopal church of Keeler. 

On September 22, 1881, Mr. Foster was married to Miss Mary 
Lillian Buck and five children were born to this union, of whom 
three survive, namely: Gladys, who finished eighth grade in the 
common schools and in 1908 graduated from the Hartford High 
school and is now a student at Valparaiso, Indiana ; L. Dean, edu- 
cated in the common schools, and graduated from the Hartford 
High School in 1910, and later from the Van Buren Normal School, 
is now one of the successful young teachers of Keeler township ; 
and Newton B., also a graduate of the Keeler common schools 
and now in the tenth year of the Hartford High School. 

Mrs. Foster was born in Keeler township, October 19, 1857, and 
is the third of a family of six children, one son and five daughters, 
born to Lucius and Celina A. (Wise) Buck. Five of her parents^ 
children still survive : Marcia, who married Oscar Adams, one of 
the prominent farmers of Keeler township ; Luella, the wife of 
C. H. Tuller, a furniture dealer and undertaker of Shelby, Michi- 
gan; Mary Lillian, who married Mr. Foster; Nellie, the wife of 
E. C. Parmlee, a dealer in real estate and insurance at Auburn 
Park, Chicago, Illinois; and C. Edwin, an agriculturist of San 
Jose, California. 

Lucius E. Buck was born about 1823, in Livingston county. New 
York, and his death occurred in 1889. He received a good educa- 
tion for his day and locality, and during the early settlement of 
Van Buren county, Michigan, came to this section as a teacher, 
although the major portion of his life was spent in agricultural 
pursuits. Settling first in a log cabin in the heavy timber, at a 
time when bear, deer and wolves were to be found in plenty and 
the red man roamed the woods, Mr. Buck bravely started to work 
to establish himself and his family in a comfortable home, and 
after years of untiring, persistent toil he accomplished his object, 
and at the time of his death was the owner of two hundred and 
forty acres of magnificent farming land. He was a Jacksonian 
Democrat, and a stanch advocate of good roads and public educa- 
tion facilities, and served his community well as supervisor and 
town clerk of Keeler township. Always a faithful member of the 
Methodist Episcopal church, he served for many years as trustee 
and was liberal in supporting movements of a benevolent or char- 
itable nature. His wife, who was also a faithful Christian, was 
born about 1825 and died in 1901. She was a child when she 
came with her parents to Livingston county, New York, from her 
native state of New Jersey, and was educated in the Lima Ladies 
Seminary. Both she and her husband are interred in the Keeler 
Cemetery, where beautiful tablets mark their final resting-place. 

Mrs. Poster was educated in the township and public schools of 
Keeler, and for a number of years was successfully engaged in 
teaching school in Keeler and Hamilton townships. An estimable, 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 773 

Christian lady .of cheerful and loving disposition, she has done 
much to assist her husband in attaining his success, her counsel 
and active advice being helpful and bracing in times of discourage- 
ment. Mrs. Foster has been prominent in social circles and in the 
work of the Methodist church, she having been a teacher in the 
Sabbath-school for many years. She has been a member of the 
Keeler Thursday Club, an organization of some literary distinc- 
tion, and has served very ably as its president. 

VoLNEY Robert Hungerford. — The standard of excellence 
among educators all over the country is being raised higher and 
higher, and especially is this true in Michigan, where the people 
are so proud of their public school system. Van Buren county 
keeps well abreast of her sister counties in this, as in other things, 
and is fortunate in the possession of a superintendent of schools 
that comes of a line of educators and has many years of practical 
experience back of him. Volney Robert Hungerford was born in 
Branch county, Michigan, August 6, 1874, and is a son of Henry 
W. and Sophia (Mabbs) Hungerford. 

Henry Hungerford was born in Oakland county, Michigan, in 
1834, and as a young man began teaching school. Later he took 
up the occupation of farming, and he was so engaged at the time 
of his death, January 30, 1901. His widow, who was born in New 
York, still survives, and makes her home at Coldwater, Michigan. 
They had a family of five children, namely: Virgil U., residing at 
Coldwater ; Bertha, the wife of Edgar Conklin, of Branch county ; 
Mary, the wife of Loren H. Draper, of Branch county; Volney 
Robert; and Emily E., a teacher in the high school at Coldwater. 

Volney Robert Hungerford graduated from the public schools 
at the age of seventeen years, and in three years completed the 
four years ^ course in the high school and began teaching, but af- 
ter one year decided that he was in need of a more comprehensive 
education, and for the next four years attended Olivet College. 
Graduating in 1900, with the degree of Bachelor of Sciences, he 
was for one year assistant at the Schoolcraft High School. In the 
following year he became superintendent of schools, and then went 
to Decatur, where he served in a like capacity for five years. His 
perfect fitness for the position at this time resulted in his election 
to the office of county superintendent of schools, and he has ably 
continued to act in that capacity to the present time. Mr. Hunger- 
ford has brought to his work an enthusiasm that is contagious 
among his fellow workers. Modern ideas, progressive innovations 
and a well expended effort to learn and cater to the needs of the 
young minds under his fostering and developing care have made 
the school system of Van Buren county something to model other 
systems by. Mr. Hungerford is a man of delightful personality 
and a close student, not only of books, but of mankind. That he 
has been successful in his life work, the host of his former pupils, 
now his warm, personal friends, testify. 

On June 19, 1901, Mr. Hungerford was married to Lula Knapp, 
and one child, Harlan, was born to this union June 15, 1902. 
Politically a Republican, Mr. Hungerford has taken a deep inter- 
est in matters pertaining to the welfare of his party and his com- 



774 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

munity. He is past grand master of the Odd Fellows, and a con- 
sistent and liberal member of the Presbyterian church. 

Charles B. Molby. — An honorable farmer-citizen of Waverly 
township is Charles B. Molby, who has resided in this locality 
since boyhood and who, although leading a quiet life, has been a 
factor for good in the community, never failing to yield support 
and co-operation to any measure that has appealed to him as likely 
to be conducive to the public good. He has spent his life as a 
farmer and on his small, but well-improved farm of forty acres 
conducts successful operations in general farming. 

Mr. Molby is one of that large portion of the citizenship of Van 
Buren county, Michigan, which the section owes to the state of 
New York, his birth having occurred in Onondaga county, that 
state, February 2, 1857. He is the only child of Benjamin and 
Betsy (Stanley) Molby, both likewise natives of New York. They 
came to Van Buren county in 1866, when the subject was less than 
ten years old, and here resided until their demise, that of the 
father taking place on February 19, 1906, and that of the latter 
in June 1881. Benjamin Molby, whose death removed from the 
community a venerable and esteemed citizen, was a Democrat in 
politics and a Spiritualist in religious conviction. During his 
active career he pursued the occupation of a carpenter, joiner and 
farmer. 

Charles Molby received his education in the public schools and 
under the preceptorship of his father became well versed in the 
many secrets of seed time and harvest. When his school days were 
concluded he gave his time to the great basic industry and has 
ever since remained thus engaged. He secured his present farm 
December 17, 1903. 

Mr. Molby laid the foundations of a home of his own when on 
October 27, 1878, he was united in marriage to Amelia Palmer, 
daughter of Harvey and Aurilla (Baker) Palmer. She was born 
in Genesee county, New York, November 7, 1855, and came to this 
county with her parents when only about ten years old. The union 
of Mr. and Mrs. Molby has been blessed by the birth of two daugh- 
ters. Mertie is the wife of Ivan Sergeant and her two children. 
Ima J. and Boyd C, entitle the subject to the distinction of grand- 
father. Kitty Christine is the wife of John Weiner. 

In politics Mr. Molby is independent, giving his support to 
what he esteems the best man and the best measure and deeming 
partisanship a secondary Cj^nsideration. Fraternally he is a mem- 
ber of the Modern Woodmen of America and the Royal Neighbors 
and in each carries a thousand dollars insurance. 

William H. Miller. — The farming interests of Van Buren 
county are in charge of efficient, capable men who have given to 
their labor that application of scientific effort that is bound to 
bring the best results. Years of observance of the best methods 
have brought the occupation of farming up to the standard of one 
of the sciences, and the constant improving of farming machinery 
has done wonders in making the harvesting of large crops a surety. 
One of the leading agriculturists of Antwerp township, now spe- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 775 

cializing in fruit growing, is William H. Miller, of section 25, a 
prominent citizen and veteran of the Civil war, who has met with 
much success in his operations. Mr. Miller was born in Hadley, 
Lapeer county, Michigan, September 17, 1844, and is a son of Jacob 
and Elizabeth (Randolph) Miller, natives of New York. 

As a young man Jacob Miller came from New York to Lapeer 
county, and here the remainder of his life was spent in farming. 
Here he was a pioneer and endured all the hardships and hard 
work incident to pioneer life, such as cutting wood at fifty cents 
a cord, and walking four miles each way to and from his work. 
The nearest market in those days was Detroit, and there he took 
his beef, a distance of fifty miles, traveling with an ox team, and 
taking nearly a week to make the trip. His death was a sad one, 
he having been murdered in Lapeer City by a man who had forged 
his name to a note, and his body was burned to destroy the 
evidence of his crime. His wife, who died in 1851, bore him the 
following seven children : Charles, Daniel and Jane, who are de- 
ceased ; James, residing in Mattawan ; Henry, who lives in Fenton- 
ville ; William H. ; and Otis, who is deceased. William H. Miller 
was reared to an agricultural life and was employed on his 
father's farm until he was twenty years old, at which time he en- 
listed in the Third Division of Colonel Jew^ell's Department, Sev- 
enteenth Army Corps, and as a member of a Michigan regiment 
was with General Sherman on his famous "IMarch to the Sea." 
He w^as seriously wounded at Hilton Head, South Carolina, and 
after being mustered out of the service there w^ent to New^ York, 
from whence he returned to Michigan, and for about four years 
was engaged in land speculation. He then purchased a tract of 
one hundred and twenty acres in section 25, Antwerp township, 
where he has since been engaged in farming and fruit growing, 
and his undertakings have met with unqualified success. His life 
has been that of an upright, honorable and public-spirited citizen, 
and he enjoys the respect and esteem of the community. 

On December 9, 1873, Mr. Miller was united in marriage with 
Miss Emily Burgess, daughter of Charles 0. and Ludencia 
(Morey) Burgess, natives of New York state, and to this union 
there has been born one daughter, Emily. Mr. Miller has been 
so occupied with his farming interests that lie lias had little time 
for public matters, but he takes a. keen interest in measures that 
are apt to prove of benefit to his community, and votes the Demo- 
cratic ticket. He is prominent fraternally as a member of the 
.Alasons and the Eastern Star. 

Mrs. Sophia L. Nesbttt. — A venerable and notable figure in the 
life of A^an Buren county, Micliigan, is Mrs. Sophia L. Nesbitt, 
mistress of one of the fairest and most valuable country estates in 
all Michigan, a great tract of two hundred and eighty-two of the 
state's most advantageously situated acres, ornamented by one of 
the most beautiful mansions in the county. In the evening of 
life this admirable woman may look back over a career of great 
usefulness, of faithfulness and helpfulness, as a wife and devotion 
as a mother, for she has been 



776 HISTOEY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

''Earth's noblest thing, a woman perfected/^ 

Mrs. Nesbitt is a native of Brockville, Canada, situated on Lake 
Ontario, on the "Broken Front,'' her birth having occurred on 
October 23, 1828. She is the youngest member of a family of four 
(children, equally divided as to sons and daughters, born to Crin- 
ness and Mary (Baxter) LaRue, she being the only one surviving. 
Her father was of French descent, as is indicated in the name, his 
father having come to America at an early day. He was a de- 
scendant of the Huguenots. He was a Parisian and of the mer- 
cantile class. He was of a noble family, the name originally hav- 
ing been De laRue, but upon coming to this country the French 
government deprived him of his honors. Mrs. Nesbitt 's father 
was a prominent man and engaged in banking about the time of 
the war of 1812. One of the LaRues — Henry — was aide-de-camp 
to General Washington. Among the most prized possessions of the 
family are the shaving implements and other personal belongings 
of the ''Father of his Country." In course of time the family 
took up their residence in the Dominion of Canada and it was 
while they were there residing that she whose name inaugurates 
this review was born. She received her education in the schools 
of Canada, eventually entering the National School at New Castle 
and she later taught for some years, proving a gifted young in- 
structor. 

She was first married in 1846, when a damsel in her teens, be- 
coming the bride of George Griffin. To their union were borri 
four children, three daughters and a son, two of the number sur- 
viving: Addie is the widow of Thomas Nesbitt and resides in 
Schoolcraft, Michigan ; Emma is the wife of 0. M. Geer and makes 
her home in Harrington, Montana. She is the mother of eight 
children. The subject and her first husband were married in 
Dunham county, Canada, and there resided until the death of Mr. 
Griffin, who was an agriculturist. He traced his lineage to Scot- 
land. His religion was that of the Methodist Episcopal church. 
His untimely demise was caused from becoming overheated on the 
occasion of a conflagration, which caused typhoid fever and from 
which sudden death resulted, in June, 1853. 

On September 22, 1858, the widow was united in marriage to 
Robert Nesbitt, of Decatur, Michigan. To this union three daugh- 
ters were born and reared to maturity, two of whom are living at 
the present time. Miss Minnie Nesbitt is well known in Van Buren 
county as a particularly gifted business woman. She is in charge 
of the great Nesbitt estate and manages its affairs worthily and 
successfully. She received an excellent high school education in 
Decatur, but the best part of her culture is self acquired and her 
mind and business ability are of the highest order. She takes 
pleasure in the higher things of life, is literary in her tastes and 
is a valued and active member of the "Corwin Woman's Literary 
Club" and the "Every Tuesday Club" of Decatur. Miss Nesbitt 
is affiliated with the Christian Science Society of Decatur and is a 
firm believer in its wonderful and beautiful teachings. She be- 
longs to the Order of the Eastern Star, No. 333, at Decatur, and 
has served as secretary of the same. She is a friend of the town- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 777 

ship Grange and has assisted in its achievements. She has as- 
sumed full charge of the affairs of her mother ^s estate and worthily 
does the robe of responsibility rest upon her shoulders. She is 
fond of travel and in 1904 she and her sister made an interesting 
voyage to Cuba. She has also journeyed through the middle west 
and has had a season in the Adirondacks. In her father's life- 
time he was wont to take various members of his family with him 
to New York and the east. He had charge of the affairs of Mrs. 
Nesbitt's first husband, who although young when summoned to 
the Undiscovered Country had already shown fine capacity and 
would doubtless have made a fortune had his life been spared. 
The second daughter, Nellie, died at the age of three years. Dora, 
who resides with her mother and sister, was educated in the schools 
of the county. She has a taste for good books and would doubt- 
less say with the poet: 

''That place that does contain 
My books, the best companions, is to me 
A glorious court, where hourly I converse 
With the old sages and philosophers; 
And sometimes, for variety, I confer 
With kings and emperors, and weigh their counsels. '^ 

George Nesbitt, of Decatur, Michigan, is a son of Mr. Nesbitt by 
a former marriage. 

Mr. Nesbitt, the father of these children, was born in the parish 
of Glanova, county Antrim, Ireland, his birthplace being twelve 
miles from Belfast. The date of his birth was March 18, 1810, and 
that of his demise, April 11, 1888. He lived until his fourteenth 
year in his native land and came to this country in 1824, with his 
elder brother, John. They came on a sailing-vessel, the Rob Roy, 
landing at Quebec, Canada, after having experienced a voyage 
eventful from the fact that they were blown out of their course. 
The two young fellows worked their way to Plattsburg, on Lake 
Champlain. Mr. Nesbitt clerked in a store in the winter and also 
learned to tally lumber. He went thence to Detroit and became a 
clerk in his brother William's store and bakery. William became 
a banker and real estate dealer and found the highest success in his 
adapted country, leaving a fortune at his death. 

Mr. Nesbitt received a common-school education in his native 
land. He was of good family. His father, George Nesbitt, was a 
member of King George's Royal Guards and his grandmother was 
a daughter of Lord Ireland. The first Nesbitt came from Bonnie 
Scotland. Robert Nesbitt 's uncle, William, was one of the first 
teachers in the Carolinas. To revert to the early years of Robert, 
he came from Detroit to Monroe, Michigan, in 1825 and there re- 
mained for a time, then going to Kalamazoo county, where he lo- 
cated lands from the government. There he remained until 1834, 
when he came to Van Bur en county. His wife and daughters pos- 
sess six of the parchment deeds signed by Presidents Van Buren 
and Jackson, — valuable heirlooms, indeed. At one time he owned 
as much as two thousand six hundred acres in Van Buren county. 
The first home of the Nesbitts was a log cabin, located on the site 



778 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

of the present magnifieent residence. At that time there were 
plenty of deer and wild turkeys on the farm. St. Joseph was the 
nearest market and wheat sold at twenty-eight cents a bushel, while 
salt was ten dollars a barrel. Journeys to market were made with 
ox teams. While in Monroe Mr. Nesbitt learned the trade of a 
millwright and ' most of his life in Michigan was devoted to the 
milling industry. He erected four mills in the vicinity of his 
home, these being saw^ and grist mills and a steam saw mill in 
Allegan county. 

Mr. Nesbitt Avas a man of wonderful activity and indomitable 
will, and he had a most remarkable memory. He marketed lum- 
ber by hundreds of thousands of feet and his part as a maker of 
\'an Buren county was considerable. He served as a soldier in 
the Black Hawk war, being a lieutenant, and he well remembered 
Chicago at that time and Fort Dearborn. All his life he was a 
Jackson Democrat. He was a valued official, serving as super- 
visor of his township for several years. He was the champion of 
good education and in the pioneer days of Van Buren county he 
maintained a school in his own home. He was a Spiritualist and 
entertained such noted mediums as the Davenport Brothers. 

In 1871 Mr. and Mrs. Nesbitt began the erection of their mag- 
nificent country residence, one of the country 's finest homes, erected 
at a cost of twenty-five thousand dollars, and finished in hard 
woods, such as oak and w^alnut. This is known as '^The Nesbitt 
Homestead," and is graciously presided over by the daughters of 
the subject, whose gentle and lovable personality impresses all who 
come within the sphere of their influence. Like all citizens who 
stand high in the esteem and respect of all of Van Buren county, 
it is with pleasure that we present this record of an admirable 
woman and those nearest and dearest to her. 

Joseph C. Allen. — The casual observer w^ould seem justified in 
his conclusion that not many years ago the state of New York 
suffered a real misfortune in the exodus of a great number of its 
best citizens to Michigan. For in looking over the biographical 
data of those representative men and women who form the sub- 
ject matter of the History of Van Buren county it seems the rule, 
rather than the exception, to meet with the information that the 
subject was born in New York and eventually came hither. Then, 
judging by the high standard of citizenship here. New York must 
produce a particularly fine type of men. Joseph C. Allen is one 
of the great company of New Yorkers who make their present 
residence in Waverly township, Van Buren county. His eyes first 
opened to the light of day on January 12, 1847, his parents being 
Job and Hannah (Odell) Allen. His paternal grandfather was 
Daniel Allen. 

In 1866 Job Allen severed the old associations and brought his 
family to the state of Michigan, first locating in Kalamazoo 
county, where he remained four years, engaged in farming and 
in his trade of chair-making. In 1870 the Aliens came to Van 
Buren county, which they elected to make their permanent abode. 
The father passed away in November, 1886, but his cherished and 
devoted wife survived him some years, her demise occurring on 



HICTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 779 

September 10, 1894. They were the parents of seven children, 
six of whom survive (1911) namely: Daniel, Joseph C, William, 
Alberta, Lydia, Job and Allen. 

Joseph C. Allen was about eighteen years of age when he first 
came to the Wolverine state, his education having been previously 
secured in the district schools of his native state. He chose farm- 
ing as his life work and first became an independent agriculturist 
in the year 1870, when he secured forty acres of land. He is now 
a considerable land holder, owning eighty acres in sections 8 and 
9 and eighty acres in Section 29, all in Waverly township. This 
estate is well situated and highly improved. 

Mr. Allen contracted a happy marriage on August 12, 1889, 
when Mary M. Epley became his wife. She, like her husband, 
was born in New York, Alleghany county, the date of her birth 
])eing October 26, 1854, and her parents being S. W. Epley and 
Charlotte C. (Bird) Epley. The father was born in Danville, New 
York, and the mother in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mrs. Allen re- 
ceived an excellent education, graduating from the Buchanan 
(Michigan) high school and the Normal School at Valparaiso, 
Indiana. They share their delightful home • with one daughter, 
Ruth L., born August 25, 1897, an alert young high school student. 

Mrs. Allen is a valued member of the Congregational church at 
Bangor. The subject is found marching under the standard of 
the party which produced Lincoln, McKinley and Taft and is 
helpfully interested in all matters concerning the public welfare. 
He served two years as township drain commissioner and as a 
member of the school board. The Aliens enjoy the esteem of the 
community. 

Harlan P. Waters. — A soldier in the Civil war at the age of 
seventeen, and remaining in the service nearly three years, during 
which he took part in many engagements on the battlefield, and has 
ever since borne the marks of his fidelity to duty in wounds that 
still trouble him at times ; then a school teacher, a farmer, a sales- 
man, and since again a farmer and merchant, Harlan P. Waters, 
of Paw Paw, has followed several pursuits and given valuable serv- 
ice to the people in each of them. He is now nearing the limit of 
human life as fixed by the psalmist, but is still hale and vigorous in 
spite of his long years of arduous labor and the wounds he re- 
ceived in the army, and ranks as one of the most prosperous, pro- 
gressive and esteemed citizens of Van Buren county, which has been 
I lis home for more than forty years. 

Mr. Waters is a native of Ohio, w^here he was born on Septem- 
ber 9, 1843. His parents were Asa M. and Caroline (Evans) 
Waters, the former born in Ohio, the latter in Vermont. The 
father came to Michigan and Van Buren county in 1868, and took 
up his residence on a farm in Antwerp township. There he passed 
the remainder of his life, following the pursuit in which he 
started, and that of his father and other members of the family 
for generations. He died on his farm in Antwerp township in 
April, 1900. The mother's life ended in February, 1901, at the 
same place. They were the parents of five children; Harlan P., 
the immediate subject of this memoir; Celia, who was the wife of 



780 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

B. F. Morris, of Paw Paw, and died on June 21, 1911 ; Elma and 
Elbert, twins, the latter of whom died at the age of three years, 
and the former at that of twenty; and James H., who is now a 
resident of Benton Harbor, and is as highly esteemed in his com- 
munity as his brother Harlan P. is in his. 

At the beginning of the Civil war, which almost rent this coun- 
try asunder and brought untold havoc to all its interests while it 
was in progress, Harlan P. Waters, who was then but seventeen 
years old, enlisted in Company G, Eighty-sixth Ohio Infantry, 
under Captain Milligan, to fight in defense of the Union. He 
served in this regiment two years, but before enlisting in it be- 
longed to the Squirrel Hunters, an organization that was kept busy 
in following and defeating the Southern General Early in his 
famous raiding expeditions. 

When he was mustered out at the end of his first term of enlist- 
ment he returned to his home and attended school about four 
months. He then enlisted in Company K, One Hundred and 
Ninety-sixth Ohio Infantry, whose comma;nder was Captain Hughes. 
He was connected with this company eleven months, and during 
this period was made first sergeant of the regiment. At the end 
of the term he was mustered out at Baltimore, Maryland, and 
again returned to his home in Ohio. 

He took advantage of the opportunity now presented to ad- 
vance his education by attending the Spencerian Institute at 
Geneva in his native state, from which he was graduated at the 
end of his course of instruction. He at once went to Hamilton, 
Ohio, and passed about one year as a teacher in the Commercial 
College in that city. During the next three years he was engaged 
in farming, one year in Ohio and two in Michigan. From this 
occupation he turned to selling nursery stock for the L. G. Bragg 
Nursery Company, with which he was connected as a salesman 
eleven years. Since the end of that period he has again been en- 
gaged in farming, and now owns three farms, comprising two 
hundred and eighty acres, all located in Antwerp township. He 
also owns and occupies a fine residence in Paw Paw, and is in- 
terested in an extensive hardware business in the same city, which 
makes him and his son Harry M. proprietors of the largest and 
most active establishment of the kind in Van Buren county. 

Mr. Waters was married on December 26, 1870, to Miss Alice 
E. Pugsley, a daughter of Henry M. and Mary A. (Prater) Pugsley, 
the father a native of England and the mother, whose parents 
were also from England, born in the state of New York. They 
were the parents of five children: Mrs. Waters; John, who has 
been dead for some years; Milton H., who lives in this county; 
Dora M., the wife of Charles Lake, of Paw Paw; and Myra, the 
wife of L. E. Sheppard, whose home is also in Paw Paw. By a 
previous marriage of the father there was one child, William 
Pugsley, who lives in Paw Paw. Mr. and Mrs. Waters have three 
children: Harry M., who is associated with his father in the 
hardware trade in Paw Paw ; Charles M., a civil engineer at Wya- 
net, Illinois; and Pearl, who is the wife of L. A. Packer, of Law- 
ton in thi^ county. The father is a Republican in politics and 
loyally devoted to the interests of his party. He was supervisor 



HISTOEY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 781 

of Antwerp township for eleven years, and chairman of the board 
for a considerable portion of the time. He has also held a num- 
ber of other township offices. He is a Royal Arch Mason in fra- 
ternal life and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. In 
religious affiliation he is a Baptist. 

The military record of Mr. Waters in the Civil war would be 
far from complete if it were not mentioned that he was wounded 
near Mills Springs, Kentucky, in 1862, and now carries a bullet 
in his hip received during the service. He was taken prisoner 
and held in captivity for forty-eight hours at the battle of Look- 
out Mountain, when he was recaptured by members of the Union 
army. He also had one of his shoulders badly smashed at the 
battle of Cumberland Gap. His defense of his country was always, 
therefore, hazardous, for he was in active service a great deal of 
the time he passed in the army, and it proved disastrous to him on 
three separate occasions, and fully established his fortitude and 
devotion to his cause by the patience and serenity with which he 
bore his sufferings, and his willingness to continue in the ranks and 
keep on fighting after he incurred them. 

He has met all the other trials and troubles of life with the 
same lofty spirit of endurance and determination to make the 
best of them and overcome them by close attention to whatever 
he had in hand and the use of all his faculties to advance himself 
in prosperity in spite of them. By his manly course and fidelity to 
duty in every relation of life he has won the universal regard 
and good will of all who know him, and established himself in 
public esteem as one of the best and most useful citizens of the 
county in which his labors have so long contributed to the gen- 
eral welfare by both the value of their products and the ability 
with which they have been performed under all circumstances. 

Wesley M. Hall. — ^Working on his father ^s farm until he 
reached the age of twenty-three, except while he was attending 
college in Kalamazoo; then enlisting in the Federal army in de- 
fense of the Union, but before the end of his first year in the war 
receiving a wound that disabled him for further service; and 
after his discharge returning to the pursuits of peaceful industry, 
in which he has ever since been engaged, Wesley M. Hall, one of 
the wideawake and progressive farmers of Paw Paw township, 
Van Buren county, has shown his devotion to the welfare of his 
country and its people in every way open to him, no matter what 
the hazard of his situation. 

Mr. Hall was born in Macomb county, Michigan, on November 
16, 1838, the second of the two children and sons of Myron and 
Caroline (Sagar) Hall. The father came to Michigan in 1834 
and located on eighty acres of government land in Macomb county, 
on which he lived twelve years. In the spring of 1847 he moved 
to Jackson county, and in the autumn of the same year to Porter 
township in Van Buren county. Here he began operations on 
forty acres of land, to which he added by subsequent purchases 
until he owned two hundred acres. He later sold one hundred and 
sixty acres of this, keeping forty, which was still in his possession 
at the time of his death, which occurred on March 5, 1881. The 



782 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

mother is still living, at the age of ninety-four, and has her home 
with her son Wesley. Her other son and first born child died in 
1892. 

Wesley M. Hall began his education in the district schools and 
completed it at Kalamazoo College, which he attended in 1857 
and 1858. On October 29, 1861, he enlisted in Company H, 
Twelfth Michigan Volunteer Infantry, as a Union soldier, the 
company being under the command of Captain G. D. Johnson. 
The regiment to which his company was attached was soon at the 
front and in the midst of hostilities. Mr. Hall took part in the 
deluge of death on the historic field of Shiloh, where he was twice 
wounded and taken prisoner. 

Five days after his capture Federal forces recaptured him, but 
he was in turn retaken by the Union forces and again by the Con- 
federates, this continuing until he had been taken and retaken 
six times in one day and finally left in the hands of the enemy. 
Mr. Hall demanded of them that he be removed to the hospital in 
a wagon, but as the wagons were all in use he was ordered to get 
on the back of a horse behind a rebel cavalryman. This he re- 
fused to do and they left him upon the field, where he was found 
next day by the Union ambulance corps and taken back to his 
regiment. He was then taken to a hospital in St. Louis for treat- 
ment. On May 5, 1862, he w^as given a furlough and returned to 
his Michigan home. He remained at home nearly sixty days, then, 
on July 5, 1862, reported in Detroit in obedience to orders. There 
he was examined, and on August 25, 1862, was discharged from 
the service on account of the disability occasioned by his wound. 
After that he remained on the home farm until the spring of 
1880, when he bought seventy-three acres of land and began 
farming on his own account, his land being located in Van Buren 
county. In 1883 he sold this land and bought seventy acres in 
sections 25 and 26 in Paw Paw township. Van Buren county, not 
far from the county seat. On this land he has ever since lived and 
employed his energies, greatly to his o\Aai benefit and that of the 
farm, which he has made one of the most productive and valuable 
in the township for its size. 

Mr. Hall was married on November 4, 1865, to Miss Sarah A. 
McCon, a daughter of Isaac and Eliza (Stears) McCon, of New 
York state. One child has been born in the Hall household, Leora 
W., who is now the wife of D. P. Smith, of Paw Paw. Mr. Hall 
is a Republican in his political faith and allegiance and loyal and 
energetic in the service of his party. Fraternally he belongs to 
the Grand Army of the Republic, and in church connection is a 
Methodist Episcopal. He takes an interest in the work of his 
church, as he does in that of every other good agency active in the 
community, and is zealous in his support of all worthy under- 
takings for the improvement of his township or county, and is an 
excellent citizen in every way. 

John Q. Burdick. — A well and favorably known farmer of 
Waverly township, Van Buren county, is John Q. Burdick, whose 
fifty w^ell improved acres and pleasant home are situated in sec- 
tion 17. Like so many of his neighbors he is a native of the state 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 788 

of New York, but he came to jNIichigan at an early age and has 
ever since remained a citizen. He is a veteran of the Civil war 
nnd the grandson of a Revolutionary soldier, an admirable pa- 
triotism and love of country having been transmitted from one 
generation to the next. The birth of Mr. Burdick occurred on 
November 11, 1837, in Wyoming county, New York, and he is the 
son of William G. and Abigail (Dibble) Burdick. William G. 
Burdick 's father was Elisha Burdick, the colonial patriot men- 
tioned above. The father of the immediate subject of this review 
came to Michigan at an early day and here resided for the residue 
of his life. He became the father of fourteen children, ten of 
whom grew to young manhood and womanhood, this number being 
equally divided as to sons and daughters. Only two of them are 
living at the present time (1911), John Q. and a sister Mary L., 
a maiden lady. 

Mr. Burdick was reared amid the wholesome surroundings of 
liis father's country home and his educational discipline was se- 
cured in the district school. Some time before the outbreak of 
the war he married, but in 1864, in spite of strong home ties, he 
enlisted in Company I, of the Fifth Michigan Cavalry, and the 
following year he was transferred to Company H, of the Seventh 
Michigan Regiment, At Fort Bridges these two regiments were 
consolidated with the First and became know^n as the First Mich- 
gan Volunteer Cavalry. In the new organization the subject was 
a member of Company A. He saw much hard service and was 
discharged on March 12, 1866, at Salt Lake City, Utah. After 
the termination of hostilities he returned to Allegan county and 
remained there until 1867, when he came to W^averly township 
and he has been a continuous resident here ever since that time, 
taking a loyal interest in its county and township affairs and 
supporting all measures likely to prove of benefit to the whole 
community. He had devoted his attention to farming and is the 
recipient of a pension. 

Mr. Burdick was united in marriage on January 1, 1861, his 
chosen lady being Jane Ann Reedman, who, like her husband, was 
born in New York, in October, 1842. They have had four children, 
two of whom died in infancy. Bertha K. is the mfe of Claude 
Brown, and Ruth G. makes her home in Benton Harbor, Michi- 
gan. Mr. Burdick is one of the standard-bearers of local Repub- 
licanism, having given hand and heart to its men and measure^ 
for many years. 

Edward F. Bilsborrow. — In the death of Edward F. Bils- 
borrow, which occurred March 17, 1910, Van Buren county lost 
one of its representative men, and one who, during a long and 
useful life, had always been prominent in important movements 
and innovations. His activities, confined principally to farming 
and stock raising, stamped him as one of the most progressive men 
of his day and locality, and his reputation, honestly gained, was 
that of a public-spirited citizen, honest and sincere friend and 
excellent business man. Mr. Bilsborrow 's birth occurred in Nia- 
gara county. New York, in July, 1852, and he was a son of Charles 
and Caroline (Moss) Bilsborrow. 



784 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Charles Bilsborrow was a native of England, and as a young 
man came to the United States and settled in the state of New 
York, where he was married to Miss Caroline Moss, a native of 
the Empire state. Shortly after their union they made their way 
West, eventually locating in Van Buren county, Michigan, and 
here they spent the remaining years of their lives engaged in ag- 
ricultural pursuits. They were the parents of five children, as 
follows : William, who is deceased ; Edward F. ; Louisa, the wife of 
Edwin Thayer, of Paw Paw ; George, who is a resident of Albion, 
Michigan; and Frederick, also living in Paw Paw. Charles Bils- 
borrow became one of the well l^nown agriculturists of Antwerp 
township, and was honored and esteemed by his fellow townsmen. 

Edward F. Bilsborrow was still an infant when he was brought 
to Van Buren county by his parents, and he secured his education 
in the little schoolhouses of that day, his youth being spent much 
the same as that of other farmers' boys, the summer months being 
given to the hard work of clearing the farm, while in the winter 
he accepted such educational advantages as were offered. He re- 
mained on the home farm, assisting his father, until 1878, in 
which year he was married and took up a tract of eighty acres 
in Antwerp township, which he continued to farm for some years. 
At the time of his father's retirement he purchased the old home- 
stead of one hundred and sixty acres, and there continued to en- 
gage in agricultural pursuits until his death. Mr. Bilsborrow was 
one of the first men of his locality to engage in breeding Perche- 
ron horses for the market, and this he made a specialty for many 
years. In 1907 he established himself in the dairy business, and 
in this, like in all of his other ventures, he was eminently success- 
ful. Always a hard-working man, he was never satisfied unless 
his time was filled with duties, and this industry and persistence 
accomplished much. The dairy business, now a firmly established, 
well regulated enterprise, is being conducted by his son, Charles 
W., one of the progressive young business men of Antwerp town- 
ship. 

On January 1, 1878, Mr. Bilsborrow was married to Miss Cora 
Webster, daughter of Stephen and Catherine R. (Bidewell) Web- 
ster, natives of New York. Mrs. Bilsborrow 's parents had the 
following children : Henry C, residing in Denver, Colorado ; Ag- 
nes E., the wife of J. Bangs, of Chicago; Katy II., the widow of 
John Huston, of Buffalo, New York; George 0., residing in Albion, 
Michigan; Ida E., the wife of George Markham, of Marshall, 
Michigan; Cora, who married Mr. Bilsborrow; and two children 
who died in infancy. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. 
Bilsborrow : Charles W., born June 10, 1879, now engaged in the 
dairy business; and Frank Lynn, of Alton, Illinois, born January 
23, 1885. 

Mr. Bilsborrow was a Republican, and was always interested in 
the success of his party, although he never aspired to public office. 
Death seized him while in the midst of a happy, useful life, 
although he had attained an age when most men are beginning to 
think of their own comfort. He always acted from the purest and 
best of motives and his death caused the deepest sorrow among 
those who knew him and called him friend. His widow, who sur- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 785 

vives him and lives in the comfortable family home on Paw Paw 
Rural Route No. 3, is one of the best known ladies of her com- 
munity, and, like her late husband, has niany warm personal 
friends. 

Barnabas O'Dell. — Of ancestry distinguished in history by 
achievement or association on both sides of his house, and hold- 
ing the fact in high appreciation, Barnabas O'Dell, of Paw Paw, 
has endeavored to live up to the standards of his forefathers in 
working out an earnest desire to promote the welfare and help 
along the advancement of the people around him, doing all he 
could for the general well being on his small stage of action, as 
they did on their larger one of majestic proportions and world- 
wide renown. Mr. 'Dell is a Canadian by birth and an American 
by voluntary adoption. He was born on March 11, 1843, in what 
was then known as Upper Canada, and is a son of Dr. Charles 
Mann and Hannah R. (Tuttle) O'Dell. The parents were also 
natives of Canada, and passed their early lives in that country, ex- 
cept during short absences from time to time while traveling. In 
1850 they came to Van Buren county, Michigan, and here spent 
the rest of their lives and died here. They were the parents of 
five children : Henry, who died in 1853 ; James, who died in in- 
fancy; Barnabas, the subject of this memoir; Henrietta F., the 
wife of Stephen C. Maynard, of Chicago; and Noble F., who also 
died in infancy. 

Barnabas O'Dell came to Paw Paw in 1851 and here he studied 
medicine with his father. He then spent one year as a clerk in a 
store, and at the age of twenty-one left home, burning with a de- 
sire to take part in our Civil war as a recruit to our naval forces. 
He enlisted in the United States navy at Chicago, but was credited 
to the town of Paw Paw, then called Lafayette, and was assigned 
to duty on the Receiving Ship Great Western. Some time after- 
ward he was transferred to Collier No. 29 for a period of six 
months, and by the end of that time the war was over and he was 
mustered out of the service. During his connection with the navy 
he was captain of the forecastle on his vessel, and took great pride 
and interest in his duties. 

After he left the navy Mr. 'Dell determined to remain in this 
country, and returned to Paw Paw as the place of his residence. 
He had some knowledge of the town and its surroundings, its pace 
in business and prospects for the future, his father having come 
here in 1851 and passed a year in the place in an effort to improve 
his health. But, deciding to remain, spent the rest of his life here 
with the exception of five wears. On locating here after the war 
the son as soon as he was able entered mercantile life as a clerk 
and remained in it one year, thus supplementing his knowledge 
of business gained in a previous year's experience. 

In the spring of 1869, however, having been married in the fall 
preceding, he desired a more stable home and occupation, and 
moved to a farm of one hundred and sixty acres owned by his 
wife's father and later purchased one of forty acres a mile north 
of one of eighty acres owned by his wife. On these two tracts of 
land he engaged in general farming and raising live stock until 



786 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

1883, when he moved his family to Decatur to secure better educa- 
tional facilities for his children than his own neighborhood 
afforded. After a residence of nine years at Decatur he changed 
his abiding place to Paw Paw, where he has ever since had his 
home. 

On November 26, 1868, he was united in marriage with Miss 
Maria L. Stebbins, a daughter of Horace and Lydia (Skinner) 
Stebbins, old settlers in Van Buren county, and residents of it 
from 1842. Mrs. O'Dell still owns the farm on which the family 
originally located, and it has never been out of the family since 
her parents carved it into comeliness and fruitfulness from the 
wilderness. Their offspring numbered two: Mrs. O^Dell, who 
was bom on December 12, 1849; and Emma, who was born in 
June, 1851, and died when she was six years old. Mr. Stebbins 
had been married before his union with the mother of these chil- 
dren, and by his first marriage he also became the father of two 
children: M. Eliza, who was born in 1843 and has been dead 
for a number of years; and Lewis J., who was a valiant soldier 
in the Civil war and sealed his devotion to his country with his 
life. He was wounded at the terrible battle of Chickamauga, 
and lay in a hospital in Chattanooga nine weeks, then died far 
from home and kindred, one of the multitude of sacrifices to the 
blind fury of our great sectional conflict. The mother of these 
children was Miss Jane Mulholland before her marriage to their 
father. 

Mr. and Mrs. O'Dell have five children, all of whom are living. 
They are: Hubert L., who was born on February 20, 1871, 
and is now a resident of Pasadena, California ; Louis N., who was 
born on February 4, 1873, and also lives at Pasadena; Mabel C 
whose life began on May 30, 1875, and who is the wife of Frank 
Shers of Kalamazoo, Michigan ; Lillian I., who was born on No- 
vember 23, 1877, and is the wife of Frank Rhodes, of Bay City, 
Michigan; and Myrtle L., who was born on April 17, 1880, and 
is living in Pasadena. 

In his political relations Mr. O'Dell is an Independent, con- 
sidering always, in the bestowal of his suffrage, the good of the 
people and ignoring all partisan considerations. He has served 
as justice of the peace for thirteen years and as constable for 
one. During all of the last forty-seven years he has been con- 
nected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he is 
also a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. In religious 
belief he is a spiritualist of firm convictions and devotion to the 
teachings of the most advanced thinkers of his cult. 

Mr. O 'Dell's maternal great-grandfather, Thomas Averel, was 
a personal body-guard of General Washington during the Revolu- 
tionary war and his messenger in many important transactions. 
On one occasion he crossed the Onion river late at night in the 
service of the great commander, to whom he was carrying dis- 
patches. He had crossed at the same place on a bridge in the 
morning, but during the day the bridge had been swept away, 
aiid he rode over on the main beam or stringer, which was all 
that was left. It was so dark that he could not see the bridge 
was gone. But his horse was true and skillful, and took him over 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 787 

the roaring torrent in safety, and he did not know how hazardous 
his venture was until afterward. This is a fact recorded in his- 
tory, and is alluded to by some of the writers as proof of the 
guiding hand of Providence in our great struggle for independ- 
ence. Mr. O'Dell still has in his possession a knapsack that his 
great-grandfather carried at the time and the watch he wore. 
His maternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Martha Mann, 
was a sister of Horace Mann, the great apostle and advocate of 
public education, and one of the finest products of the system the 
country has ever known. In 1852 the father of Barnabas O'Dell 
bought a place on Main street, Paw Paw village, opposite the 
Methodist Episcopal church, and in front of this place father and 
son planted the beautiful elm trees, which still stand as monu- 
ments and are admired by all. In the fifty years which Mr. 
O'Dell has lived in Paw Paw, he has seen all its improvements 
made, its public buildings erected and the village grow from 
five hundred to two thousand inhabitants. 

Juan McKeyes. — The financial interests of any community are 
of such an important nature that they cannot be too carefully 
conserved, and those citizens to whom are given the keeping of 
public and private moneys have a large responsibility indeed and 
must necessarily be men of the greatest integrity, in whom im- 
plicit confidence can be placed. When it can be truthfully said 
of a man that he has been at various times trusted with the man- 
agement of business other than his own and never had a com- 
plaint made against him; when he has made a success of what- 
ever he has undertaken because of his thoroughness and realization 
of the rights of others ; when he has tried to live up to a high 
standard and help others do the same — then that man is a good 
citizen and any community may be proud to own him. Juan 
McKeyes, president of the banking firm of Juan ]\IcKeyes & 
Company, at Lawton, Michigan, is a man who can be depended 
upon in any emergency. He was born in Berrien county, Mich- 
igan, August 26, 1842. and is a son of Samuel and Roxy (Taylor) 
McKeyes, natives of Connecticut. 

Mr. McKeyes' parents came to iMichigan in 1834, settling on a 
farm in Bainbridge township, Berrien county, where the father 
was engaged in agricultural pursuits up to the time of his death, 
in 1854, his widow surviving him only one year. Mr. ]\IcKeyes 
was decidedly successful in his farming and stock raising ope- 
rations, and became the owner of five hundred acres of good 
land. Both Samuel McKeyes and his wife had been previously 
married, he having five children by his first union and she two, 
and there was but one child born to their marriage, Juan. After 
the death of his mother, Juan McKeyes went to live with a half- 
sister, near Schoolcraft, where he attended the district school, 
and later he went to the seminary at that place and the Kala- 
mazoo College, where he took a two-year course in civil engineer- 
ing. After spending some time in Illinois and Iowa he returned 
to Michigan, and for ten years was engaged in the milling busi- 
ness in Van Buren county, at which time he fir^t came to Lawton 
and established himself in the drug business. After twelve years 



788 HISTORY OF YAN BUREN COUNTY 

^he sold out his interest in this business and became proprietor 
of a general store, and at the end of five years more organized 
the bank of Juan McKeyes & Company, in partnership with his 
son Frank. Mr. McKeyes has never faltered in his upward course, 
and is now the manager of one of the most substantial concerns 
of its kind in this part of the state. He possesses the confidence 
of the community to a remarkable degree, and is looked upon 
a^ one of the most progressive men of Van Buren county. He 
has invested his means in realty to a large extent, and is the 
owner of some excellent farming land and several valuable town 
properties. . 

On February 2, 1866, Mr. McKeyes was married to Miss Maria 
Cowgill daughter of James S. and Eliza (Smith) Cowgill, the 
former a native of Virginia and the latter of Ohio. Mrs. McKeyes' 
brothers, Edward and Frank, are both deceased. Two children 
have been born to Mr. and Mrs. McKeyes: Frank, who is in- 
terested in business with his father, and Grace, the wife of H. D. 
Brown, of Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Mr. McKeyes is a Republican in his political views, and has 
served as supervisor of his township for five years, while m fra- 
ternal matters he is affiliated with the Masons. He is not a 
member of any church, but has been active in the support and 
charitable work of the different churches, both Methodist and 
Baptist. 

Port H. Henderson.— We have the sanction of Holy Writ for 
the faith that special rewards follow filial affection, obedience and 
reverence from children for their parents, and the general tenor 
of human experience and history fully justifies the assurance given 
by the sacred writer. Although the rewards do not always come 
literally in the form specified by him, they come, nevertheless, m 
some substantial and appreciable form. And the promise of length 
of days is not to be limited in its meaning to days on earth, tor the 
memory of a good man lives after him with increasing fragrance, 
and its influence continues in widening circles of benefaction long 
subsequent to the time of his demise. 

Port H. Henderson, in his early struggle for advancement and 
self-denying devotion to his parents during its continuance, his 
present condition of material comfort and independence m a worldly 
way, and his consequence of high standing among the people who 
live 'around him, furnishes a striking illustration of the truth and 
force of the Divine promise. In his young manhood he met Fate 
in the lists and wrested small favors from her reluctant hands, 
and these with his efforts, and the rewards of his filial attection 
began at once in his increased prosperity and broadening oppor- 
tunities. Now he is well established in life, and all his early fidelity 
to duty is approvingly remembered to his high credit wherever he is 

known. r^, • i r^ 

Mr Henderson is a native of Wyandot county, Ohio, born on De- 
cember 3, 1858, and the second of the seven children (five sons and 
two daughters) of Joseph R. and Sarah A. (Long) Henderson, 
three of whom are living, as far as he knows. These are himselt, 
his older sister Jennie and his younger brother Charles 0. Jennie 




f^ 





HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 789 

is the wife of Burr Benton, a prosperous farmer living in Keeler 
township, this county. Charles 0. is married, and he also lives in 
Keeler township and tills the soil with enterprise and progressive- 
ness as his regular occupation, with success following his efforts. 

The father was born in the state of New York on November 5, 
1832, and is still living, enjoying good health and vigor and a 
sprightliness and vivacity unusual to men of his advanced age. 
He obtained his education in the common schools of his native 
place, and when he determined to seek his chance of advancement 
in this state he made the journey overland by wagon and located 
in Berrien county on his arrival. Here he purchased forty acres 
of land, but misfortunes came, and his progress was not what he 
expected or what his industry and persistency entitled him to. 
When the Civil war began he enlisted for the defense of the Union 
and served to the close of the disastrous conflict. He was the 
color-bearer of his company, and in one of the terrible battles of 
the war he was seriously shot in one of his hands. But, notwith- 
standing his wound, he made an excellent record in the war, never 
shirking duty for a day or hesitating to go forward promptly in 
the face of danger, even in the fiercest shock qf battle or intensest 
frenzy of the charge. Indeed, like many others, under circum- 
stances of unusual peril his courage seemed to rise to almost super- 
natural heights and make him ready for any possible requirement. 
After his discharge from military service he returned to his 
liome, and he has ever since given his energies to farming. He 
has been a member of the Republican party from its organization 
and always fervidly loyal to its principles and its candidates. In 
social and fraternal relations he is connected with the Grand Army 
of the Republic and the Order of Odd Fellows, and he and his ex- 
cellent wife went together to the Methodist Episcopal church to 
which they both belonged, during her life, and of which he is 
still a member and regular attendant. Mrs. Henderson was born 
in Ohio, on Christmas day, 1832, and died in Van Buren county, 
Michigan, at the age of forty-five years. She was a noble Christian 
woman, earnestly devoted to the welfare of her family, and also 
a great financier, whose business capacity and good management 
conducted the household through all its difficulties. 

Port H. Henderson was reared as a farmer's son and he has 
devoted all the years of his life from boyhood to farming. He ob- 
tained a small start in mental and scholastic training in the dis- 
trict school near the home of his parents, but in all the essentials 
of his intellectual development and his acquisitions of information, 
he is what may properly be termed a self-educated man, and his 
self-instruction has been along the most practical and serviceable 
lines with a view to making all his attainments useful to him as 
capital in his life work. 

During his youth and the early years of his manhood he worked 
industriously and gave his earnings to his mother for the benefit 
of the family. When he determined to set up a domestic shrine of 
his own he did not have fifty dollars in money. But he deemed it 
wise to establish a home for himself and trust to his own endeavors 
to make it stable and in time valuable. On September 8, 1882, he 
united in marriage with Miss Jessie Benton, who was then living 

Vol. IT— 1 1 ^ 



790 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

in Berrien county, where the marriage was solemnized. Mrs. Hen- 
derson was born in that county on October 2, 1861, and died in 
Van Buren county on May 28, 1907. She was an exemplary Chris- 
tian woman and won the regard of everybody who knew her by 
her upright and useful life and the excellent example she gave of 
elevated American womanhood. Mr. and Mrs. Henderson became 
the parents of three sons and two daughters, all of whom are liv- 
ing. Lester T., who resides on and helps to cultivate his father's 
farm, was educated in the district school and pursued a special 
course of business training in the commercial school of Professor 
Ferris in Big Rapids. He married Miss Delia JNIann, and they 
have one child, their little daughter Helen. Ora M., the second 
child, is now the wife of William J. Barnard, a lawyer of Paw Paw, 
and a successful man in his profession. She completed her edu- 
cation at the State Normal School in Kalamazoo, from which she 
received a certificate of qualification as a teacher, and while she 
taught she was very capable and Dopular in the work. Vera P.. 
third of the children in the order of birth, married George Denna- 
fell, a prominent young farmer of Keeler township. They have 
one child, their son George III. Oven E., the next in order numer- 
ically, is a commercial salesman in the state of Washington : and 
Ray M., the youngest member of the family, is a promising stu- 
dent in the high school in Hartford, his record in Avhich is win- 
ning him a high place on the roster of students and bringing his 
family gratifying credit. 

Port H. Henderson, the father of these children, began farming 
as a tenant on his father's farm, and continued his work as such 
eight years. By the end of that time he had saved one thousand 
two hundred dollars, through the valued aid of his wife, and began 
to arrange for a permanent home of his own. He bought eighty 
acres of land, going in debt for the purchase price to the extent of 
two thousand two hundred and twenty dollars. In due time he fully 
discharged this obligation, and immediately created another by 
the purchase of another tract of fifty-five acres, for wbich he went 
m debt one thousand five hundred dollars. He paid this debt, 
too, and he also improved his land. But misfortune overtook him 
in the destruction of two barns in succession by fire, one thousand 
three hundred bu?liels of grain and seventy-five tons of hay bein^' 
also consumed in the fires, as were nearly all his farming imple- 
ments in addition. 

These were severe blow« to Mr. Henderson, but he did not lose 
any time in lamenting over them. He at once went to work in each 
case to recoup his losses, and he has now one of the finest and 
largest bams in Keeler township. The structure is forty by one 
hundred feet in size, conveniently arranged and complete in equip- 
ment for its purposes in every particular. Mr. Henderson lias 
also remodeled his residence and made it one of the most com- 
fortable and attractive rural dwellings in his locality. In addition 
to his farm in Keeler township he has bought thirty acres of land 
in Hartford township, on which he has a large peach orchard. In 
all he owns one hundred and sixty-five acres of first rate land, 
nearly all of which is under cultivation, and does not ow^e a dollar 
on any of it. He also has a paid up life insurance policy for 



HISTORY OF VAN BUEEN COUNTY 791 

one thousand dollars. Altogether, he is one of the most prosperous 
farmers and stock men in Keeler township, as well as one of its 
most highly esteemed citizens. His beautiful home is on the line 
between Keeler and Hartford townships, and is known throughout 
all this part of the state as ''The Plum Grove Stock Farm.'' It 
is four miles and a half from Hartford, and is the seat of a large 
and flourishing live stock industry as well as a v(^ry active and 
profitable general farming enterprise. 

Politically Mr. Henderson has always trained with the Republi- 
can party. He cast his first vote in the presidential election for 
General Grant, and he has ever since stood by the principles which 
governed him at the start. Fraternally he is a member of tlie 
Order of Odd Fellows, belonging to the lodge in the order at Keeler, 
in which he has been through all the chairs. He and his wife, 
during her lifetime, belonged to the order of Daughters of Rebekah, 
and when she died her remains were interred according to the 
rites of that elevated, useful and popular auxiliary of the Odd 
Fellows ' Fraternity. 

Mrs. Henderson stood firmly by her husband in all his struggh^s 
and difficulties, and gave him substantial aid; as well as excelhmt 
advice. The duties of her home were her first consideration, and 
devoted and intelligent care for her children her higliest aspiration. 
It was her aim to make them as good and useful citizens as she 
could, and she put all her energies in service for the accomplishment 
of this purpose. That she did not labor in tliis behalf in vain is 
shown by the uprightness of their lives, the lofty ideals by whicli 
they are impelled in all they do, and the high-minded and service- 
able citizenship they so steadfastly exemplify. In these respects 
they but follow^ the example and teachings of their parents, and, like 
their parents, the^^ have the entire confidence and the high esteem of 
the whole people in every part of the county of Van Puren and 
wherever else they are knoAvn. Mr. Henderson and his childi-cu 
contribute in every way open to them to the advance, improve- 
ment and general welfare of their several localities, morally, men- 
tally, materially and socially, and are everywhere regarded as high 
types of American manhood and womanhood. 

Daniel M. Allen. — The oldest of the firm of Allen l^rothers 
of Glendale, Michigan, was born in Waverly township of Van 
Buren county on July 19, 1865. His parents, Truman and Har- 
riet Sinclair Allen, were both born in Monroe county, New^ York, 
and there grew to maturity and were wedded. In 1860 they 
came to Waverly township and purchased land in section 2. The 
father became the owner of one hundred and seventy-five acres 
of good land and w^as a man of infiuence in the county. He \vas 
active in the Republican party, of which he was an ardent sup- 
porter. He died on September 20, 1909. His w4fe is still living. 

There were three sons and one daughter in the family of Tru- 
man and Harriet Allen. The sister of our subject. Lura, is now 
the wife of E. J. Dayton. His two brothers. IT. B. and R. E. 
Allen, are partners in the store at Glendale and joint ow^ners of 
four hundred and fifteen acres of land in Waverly township. Here 
they raise registered Hereford cattle and Poland China hogs, for 



792 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

which they have a large sale. Twenty acres of their land they 
use for the propogation of strawberry plants, which they ship to 
every state in the union and to Canada and Mexico. Reuben 
takes, the active management of this farm and also of the dairy 
farm and the general farming business. The firm own twelve 
houses in Glendale and their estate requires the services of four 
men whom they keep by the year and four more whom they hire 
by the day. From March 1 to May 15 is strawberry time, and 
during that season they employ about thirty extra men and women. 
The other two brothers attend to the store in Glendale. 

Daniel M. Allen was united in marriage to Miss Allie Boaze 
in 1899. She is the daughter of Harvey Boaze and received her 
education in the schools of the county. Their household includes 
two children, Clare and Atha, both now in school. In the Republi- 
can party Mr. Allen has always been an active and an honored 
worker. He has been twice sent as United States delegate to the 
National conventions of the Modern Woodmen of America at Buf- 
falo. He was also state delegate for the Modern Woodmen of Amer- 
ica to the Michigan convention at Sault Ste. Marie. He has filled 
several of the township and county offices with honor and from 
1902 to 1906 was treasurer of Van Buren county. In the Masonic 
order Mr. Allen is a member of the Bloomingdale lodge, No. 221, 
of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and of the Royal Arch 
Chapter of Paw Paw. At Lawrence he belongs to the Council. 
He is an Odd Fellow of the Glendale lodge, No. 408 and a Modern 
Woodman. 

Besides his signal success in the field of commerce and his 
activities in public affairs, Mr. Allen has given fifteen years to 
the profession of teaching and his work in the county in that line 
was of the high quality which was to be expected from one of 
his ability and education. He is a graduate of the Valparaiso 
University at Valparaiso, Indiana, in both the normal and the 
business course. He has been and continues to be a powerful 
and a valuable factor in the development of the county and a 
contributor to its economic progress. 

Sheldon Coleman escaped being a native of Van Buren count}^ 
by the distance of a half mile and began his life in Oshtemo 
township, Kalamazoo county, on May 4, 1870. His father, D. 0. 
Coleman, was born in Kalamazoo county in 1843, in the town- 
ship of Oshtemo. D. 0. Coleman was married to Mary E. Sheldon, 
a native of Washington, D. C. Besides Sheldon, there was one 
boy and four girls in the Coleman family: Cora, the oldest, is 
Mre. W. W. Brown, of Kalamazoo; Allie is Mrs. S. C. Gibbs, of 
Kalamazoo township ; Kate, Mrs. Lee Gibbs, resides in Kalamazoo ; 
Pearl is the wife of Claude Weed, of Texas township; and the 
other son is Owen, of Oshtemo, living with his father. All live 
in Kalamazoo county, and all but Pearl and Owen in Kalamazoo 
township. 

After completing the course of the common schools, Sheldon 
Coleman taught for three years. He then decided to study phar- 
macy and attended the State University at Ann Arbor. In two 
years he completed the course in pharmacy and began to manage 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 793 

a drug store. After some years he came to Lawton and in 1894 
went into a drug store. Six years later he and Mr. Showers 
bought the present store and organized the Coleman Drug Com- 
pany. The partnership continued for nine years and then Mr. 
Coleman bought out his partner. Since 1909 he has been sole 
proprietor and has the best drug store in Lawton, conducting 
the same with much success. 

On October 23, 1895, Mr. Coleman was married to Miss Isa 
Harwick. She is a native of this state and her parents, Allen and 
Mertice E. (Bo wen) Harwick, were also born in the state. The 
mother is still living in this township, but the father died in 
1900. Mrs. Coleman's sister, Grace, is a teacher in Idaho and 
her brother Frank lives in Antwerp township. Another sister, 
Minnie, died in childhood. Mrs. Coleman has been the mother of 
four children, but only the two sons, David Allen and Richard 
H., are now living. Mildred, the eldest of the family, died at 
six years, and another child, just older than Richard, died in 
childhood. 

Mr. Coleman is now serving his fifth term as supervisor of the 
township. He has held all the village offices except that of presi- 
dent of the village. His politics are Republican and he is influen- 
tial in his party, of which he is regarded as one of the most valu- 
able members in Lawton. Fraternally Mr. Coleman is affiliated 
with the Masons, the Knights of Pythias, the ]\Iaccabees, the Mys- 
tic Workers and the Woodmen. His wife is a member of the Con- 
gregational church at Mattawan. One of the foremost of Law- 
ton's business men, ]\Ir. Coleman is also one of its most popular 
citizens and one most genuinely interested in all civic matters. 

Aaron Harrison was born in New Jersey, in the town of 
Newark, on June 3, 1824. His parents, Jonas and Hannah Mark- 
ham Harrison, were both natives of New Jersey, who spent several 
years in New York state. In 1843 they came to Paw Paw town- 
ship and there they made their home until they died. There 
were seven children in the Harrison family, as follows: William 
Henry, now ninety-one years of age, a resident of Kalamazoo; 
Aaron; Phoebe Ann, residing in Paw Paw, the widow of Martin 
De Graff; Albert, Matilda and John, all deceased; and Ellinore. 
the wife of M. P. Allen, of Paw Paw. 

After coming to Michigan Aaron Harrison worked for some 
years at his trade of carpenter and joiner. He began his career 
as a land owner by purchasing ten acres of land in the county 
and he has continued to add to this from time to time until now 
he holds some thirty times that amount. 

Mrs. Harrison is one of the fifteen children of Anthony and 
Sarah Muson Labady. She became the wife of Aaron Harrison 
on June 8, 1855. Five of the children of her parents died in 
infancy. Edgar, Mary and Ellen reside in Paw Paw. Edgar's 
twin brother, John, lives in Eau Claire. William resides in Mis- 
souri and Nancy Jane and Jackson are deceased. Charles lives 
in Decatur, and Frank in Paw Paw, Van Buren county. 

A family of eleven was born to Maria and Aaron Harrison: 
John is at home and unmarried; Anna is Mrs. Lewis Holster, of 



794 HISTORY OP' VAN BURExX COUxNTY 

Pontiac and has two children, Grover and Miriam; Mary J. is 
deceased; Mrs. Andrew Graham, of Glendale, Michigan, and she 
has one daughter AUie; Mrs. Robert Mc Williams, of Paw Paw, 
has four children, Beulah, Lulu, Myrtle and Ruth; Mrs. Hugh 
Brockway, of Paw Paw, has three children : Genevieve Elizabeth, 
De Loss Aaron, Charlotte Eleanor; Mrs, Alva Burke, of Paw 
Paw^ has three children, Philo, Emily and Wilbur; Alpha is 
deceased; Frederick lives in Oakland, California; Edward, in 
Cherokee, Iowa ; and Owen, who died in infancy. 

The sixty-eight years which Mr. Harrison has spent in the 
county have been years of profit to him and to the community 
w^hich his efforts have helped to build. He has seen his children 
and grandchildren growing up to enjoy the fruits of his labors 
and w^orking to carry on the development of the land carved out 
of the wilderness but two generations ago. 

Herman Meyer. — Among the well and favorably known young 
citizens of Arlington township. Van Buren county, is Herman 
JMeyer, at present engaged in the management of agricultural prop- 
erties and previously identified with the wholesale and retail gro- 
cery business. He is one of the heirs of the great Meyer property 
of eight hundred acres in Illinois. Mr. Meyer is a native son 
of Illinois, his entrance upon this mundane sphere having been 
made at Peru, that state, on November 25, 1883. He is the son 
of Anton and Elizabeth (Aaron) jMeyer, the father a native of 
Germany and the mother of Illinois. jMr. Meyer gives evidence 
in himself of many of those stanch, fine Teutonic characteristics 
to which he has right by paternal heritage. Anton Meyer came 
to America in youth, in quest of the wider opportunity promised 
by the New World, and made location in Illinois, where he owned 
and operated farms, and later in life engaged in the mercantile 
business. The demise of this prominent and prosperous man 
occurred on June 16, 1905, and his cherished and devoted wife 
survived him but a few years, going on to ''the Undiscovered 
Country, from whose bourne no traveler returns" on January 19, 
1909. Mr. Meyer, the immediate subject of this review, was one 
of a family of eight children, of whom the following is an enumera- 
tion: William, deceased; Emma, wife of William Newreuther, of 
Peru, Illinois; Kate, wife of William Doll, of Westfield, Illinois; 
Anton, Jr., of Peru, Illinois; Sybilla, wife of Charles Siebert, of 
Bangor, Michigan ; Fred, located at Breedville. Michigan ; Herman ; 
and Edward, of Breedville, Michigan. 

Mr. Meyer received his educational discipline in the public 
schools of Peru, finishing in the higher department. His first 
adventures as a wage-earner were in the capacity of a cigar 
maker, a vocation he followed for two and one-half years. He 
then embarked in the grocery business in association with his 
father, but the partnership was interrupted by the death of the 
elder gentleman, and shortly after this Mr. Meyer removed to 
Pasadena, California. In that western city he engaged in the 
wholesale and retail grocery business for about six months. He 
came home for a visit and then returned to Pasadena, but stayed 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 795 

only a short time, disposing of his interests there. He first be- 
came identified with Bangor, Michigan, on June 13, 1911. 

On June 8, 1911, Mr. Meyer established an independent house- 
hold by marriage, making Miss Eva Giesler its mistress. Mrs. 
Meyer is a daughter of William and Nellie (Jacobs) Giesler, her 
father being a native of Germany and her mother of Illinois. 
They reside in Peru, Illinois, the father being engaged in mer- 
cantile business. The subject's wife is one of two children, her 
sister Emma residing at home. 

In political allegiance Mr. Meyer is to be found marching be- 
neath the banners of the "Grand Old Party" and his religious 
conviction is that of the Evangelical church. 

The father at his death, as previously mentioned, left about 
eight hundred acres of land in Illinois. He was a man of w^ealth, 
possessing in addition a large amount of city property. In addi- 
tion to his Illinois holdings, Mr. Meyer has an interest in land 
in Arlington township, Van Buren county. 

Oscar Karmsen. — One of those thoroughly up-to-date and well- 
managed concerns which add in material fashion to the general 
prosperity and commercial prestige of Bangor is the drug store 
of Oscar Karmsen, the largest store of its kind in all Van Buren 
county. In the legitimate channels of trade he has won the suc- 
cess which always crowns well directed labor, sound judgment 
and untiring i)erseverance, and at the same time he has concerned 
himself with the affairs of the community in an admirably public- 
spirited fashion. Although a native of Montcalm county, Mich- 
igan, he is German in descent and manifests in his own individ- 
uality that sterling worth which has been of such great value 
in fostering and supporting our national institutions, the Ger- 
man being generally recognized as one of the most desirable ele- 
ments of American immigration. 

Oscar Karmsen was born in Greenville, Michigan, November 
24, 1872, and is the son of Charles and Zelma Karmsen, both of 
whom are natives of Germany. The father and mother of the sub- 
ject, like so many of their countrymen, became favorably im- 
pressed with the opportunity of the land across the Atlantic and 
concluded to cast their fortunes with it. Upon arriving on our 
shores they located in Lowell, Michigan, where the father, who 
was a cabinet maker by occupation, engaged in this means of live- 
lihood. They subsequently removed to Greenville, and in that 
place they now reside, being among the most honored and estimable 
of its citizenship. They became the parents of four children, — 
Oscar and his brother, Theodore, who are twins; the latter being 
a resident of Chicago; Zelma, a teacher in the schools of Green- 
ville, Michigan; and Julia, deceased. 

Mr. Karmsen attended the district schools and subsequently 
matriculated in the College of Pharmacy in Detroit, where he 
pursued his studies for the space of six years. He is naturally 
adept in this interesting science and thus is fitted by both nature 
and training for the life work he has chosen. His first practical 
work in this line was done at Alpena, Michigan, where for four 
years he was a valued assistant in a drug store. Thence he came 



796 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

to Bangor, where he established himself upon an independent foot- 
ing and where, as before stated, he maintains the largest drug 
store in all Van Buren county, its operations being based upon a 
capital stock of six thousand dollars. He is by no means one 
of those content to ''let well enough alone,'' but is constantly 
adding new improvements and every effort is bent toward keep- 
ing abreast of all the latest discoveries in his line. In connec- 
tion with his drug store, Mr. Karmsen conducts a circulating 
library, which adds to the popularity of the establishment. 

On March 4, 1901, Mr. Karmsen, by marriage, laid the founda- 
tion of an independent household, making Miss Carrie Ouellette, 
daughter of Charles Ouellette, its mistress. Mrs. Karmsen is one 
of a family of six children. The subject and his wife are the 
parents of one son, Oscar Jr. Mr. Karmsen is in harmony with 
the principles of the ''Grand Old Party," and is of that type 
of high-principled citizen a record of whose life it is particularly 
appropriate to include in this history of representative men and 
women of Van Buren county, Michigan. 

H. D. Harvey. — Prominent among the successful business men 
of Bangor, Michigan, may be mentioned H. D. Harvey, who dur- 
ing the past forty years has been the proprietor of a drug store, 
and during this time has established an enviable reputation for 
honorable business dealings and public-spirited citizenship. Air. 
Harvey was born in Ohio, April 21, 1851, and is a son of Ephraim 
and Nancy (Hubbard) Harvey, natives of Ohio. 

Mr. Harvey's grandfather and father were both ministers of 
the Christian church, preaching the Gospel throughout Ohio and 
Michigan for many years. Ephraim Harvey passed away in 
January, 1901, at the advanced age of eighty-four years, while 
his wife, who was born in 1818, died October 23, 1908. They 
had a family comprising eight children, as follows: Amanda, 
deceased ; a child who died in infancy ; Lisha, who is also deceased ; 
Samuel P., who lives in Bangor ; Willis, residing at Kenton, Ohio ; 
Thomas M., who is deceased; Enoch S., of Washington. D. C. : 
and H. D. 

H. D. Harvey attended the public schools of his native state, 
and graduated from the Bangor high school at the age of twenty 
years, at which time he was fully qualified to teach school, having 
acquired his teacher's certificate. He decided, however, to enter 
the mercantile field instead of following the profession of an 
educator, and his first venture was in the drug businesv<^ in Bangor, 
an enterprise that has proved a highly successful one through- 
out the years that have followed. In addition to the large brick 
block in which his establishment is situated, Mr. Harvey owns 
one of the finest residences in Bangor, and he also has accumulated 
two hundred and forty acres of excellent farming land located 
in Arlington township. Mr. Harvey's success in life is due to 
hard work and good business management, completed with good 
sense and sound judgment, which have brought him the reward he 
so well merits. As a citizen his standing is high, and he has al- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 797 

ways had the best interests of his community at heart, being a 
leader in all of Bangor's progressive movements. 

On October 1, 1878, Mr. Harvey was married to Miss Martha 
L. Menbon, daughter of George and Lucinda (Eckler) Menbon, 
natives of the state of New York, both now deceased. Nine chil- 
dren were born to Mr. and Mrs. Menbon : Albert, William, Mary 
Helen, John, Cynthia, Florence and Frederick, all of whom are 
deceased ; Frank, residing in Waverly township ; and Martha Lu- 
cinda, who married Mr. Harvey. Mr. and Mrs. Harvey have 
had five children: Florence, who is deceased; Grace, who mar- 
ried Fred Reams; Leo, who is deceased; and Flossie and Gladys, 
who live at home. 

In his political views Mr. Harvey is a Republican, but he has 
never cared for public office. His fraternal connection is with 
the Elks. His family are w^ell known members of the Christian 
church, in which they have taken an active interest. 

Fred W. Reams. — Many of the successful business houses of 
Bangor. Michigan, are those which were established a number 
of years ago and whose original proprietors have infused new 
blood and new methods into their enterprises by the addition of 
younger members to their firms. One of these, the well-known 
Wagner Drug Company, has a large and flourishing trade through- 
out the village of Bangor and vicinity. Fred W. Reams, who has 
shown himself to be a business man of no mean ability, is a product 
of Paw Paw, Lee county, Illinois, and was born October 7, 1879. 
a son of .Marshall R. and Elizabeth (Sanford) Reams, the former 
a native of Ohio and the latter of New^ York. They came to Mich- 
igan in 1899, settling in Bangor, where Marshall R. Reams first 
entered the mercantile field, but eventually took up the fruit 
and produce business, in which he has since continued. Mr. and 
Mrs. Reams had a family of three children : Wilbur P., who lives 
in Buchanan, Michigan, and is engaged in the mercantile business : 
Fred W. ; and Grace M., the wife of Charles F. Dandert, of 
Bangor. 

Fred W. Reams received his education in the public and high 
school of Paw Paw, Illinois, but after tw^o years in the latter 
accompanied his parents to Bangor, where until 1901 he was 
engaged in the general merchandise business with his father. In 
the year mentioneil he entered the drug business of his father- 
in-law, H. D. Harvey, and continued with him for seven years. 

Mr. Reams is a progressive and enterprising business man, alive 
to the modern methods and well versed in matters pertaining to 
the drug trade. His popularity is evidenced by his many warm, 
personal friends, and he is well known in fraternal circles as a 
member of the Modern Woodmen. He and Mrs. Reams are con- 
sistent attendants of the Christian church. Mr. Reams takes an 
independent stand in matters of a political nature, reserving 
the right to vote for the man whom he thinks will best serve the 
interests of the people, regardless of party ties. 

On January 18, 1905, Mr. Reams was united in marriage with 
Miss Grace L, Harvey, the estimable daughter of H. D. and Martha 



t 



798 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Lucinda (Meabon) Harvey, and they have had one son, Roscoe 
Harvey, who was born January 19, 1906. 

Shepard H. Shattuck, a native of New England, has for over 
a quarter of a century played a helpful and highly honorable 
part in the life of this part of Van Buren county, Michigan. His 
is the somewhat unusual record of having held some public office 
ever since the year 1885, and to every trust he has brought a 
whole-hearted loyalty which never lost sight of the interests of 
the many in any personal consideration. At the present time he 
is chairman of the county board of supervisors. Although now 
living in Covert, where he owns an attractive and commodious 
home, he still retains ownership of some thirty-five acres which 
he operates. Previous to casting his fortunes with the great basic 
industry Mr. Shattuck was engaged in sawmill work and in the 
hardware business. 

Shepard H. Shattuck was bom in Hampshire county, Massa- 
chusetts, May 24, 1859, his parents being William J. and Laura 
(Pratt) Shattuck. The father was a native of the Empire state 
and the mother of the Bay state. They followed the tide of 
migration to the developing northwest in 1871 and settled in 
Covert. The father was a farmer and was also interested in 
woolen mills before coming to this state. He died in April, 1905, 
the mother preceding him to the other land in 1872. To their 
union were born the following fiYe children: Orlo W., deceased 
in 1906; Ella A., wife of George W. Leslie, of Covert; Carrie A., 
wife of S. D. Kenny, of Covert; Fred O., of Cincinnati, Ohio, 
secretary and treasurer of the Church-Bienkamp Piano Company ; 
and the subject. jNIr. Shattuck took as his second wife Eliza A. 
AVarner, who also preceded him to the Great Beyond, the date 
of her demise having been October, 1903. 

Shepard H. Shattuck began life as a wage-earner at the early 
age of fifteen years, engaging in sawmilling with the A. S. Pack- 
ard Company, with whom he remained for a number of years in 
the capacity of foreman. In December, 1883, he entered upon a 
new department of enterprise by taking up the hardware business, 
which he followed in Covert until August, 1887, when he pur- 
chased a small farm of sixty acres and proceded to improve and 
cultivate the same. He made a success of this wholesome and 
independent vocation and continued thus engaged until 1901, 
when he disposed of the property. He then removed to Covert, 
where he built a fine home, his residence being beautifully situated 
in the midst of a tract of five acres. He has also bought a farm 
of thirty-five acres in Covert township, section 14, thus still re- 
taining his connection with farming. 

On April 22, 1885, Miss Clara Sherburne, daughter of E. B. 
and Jane (Morrison) Sherburne, both natives of Canada, became 
the wife of Mr. Shattuck. The Sherburnes came to Michigan in 
1860 and located in Covert township. The father, whose occupa- 
tion in his more active days was farming, survives, but his wife 
died in February, 1902. They were the parents of the follow- 
ing ten children: Roland, of Lone Tree, Iowa; filla, wife of C. 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 799 

AV. Knowles, of Chicago; Clara, the wife of Mr. Shattuck; Minnie, 
wife of William Simison, of San Diego, California; Lettie, wife 
of Elmer Blodgett, of Pueblo, Colorado; Harriet, wife of W. H. 
Seil, of Seattle, Washington; Bertha, wife of William Lees, of 
Auburn, New York ; and three children who died in infancy. Mr. 
and Mrs. Shattuck share their home with two children, — Karl B., 
born October 3, 1888 ; and Winnifred D., born September 10, 1900. 
The subject is of influence in the counsels of the Republican 
party and, as mentioned in a preceding paragraph, he is super- 
visor of Covert township and chairman of the county board of 
supervisors. He has, in fact, held the office of supervisor for no 
less than six terms. 

Hiram E. Norton is the scion of one of the oldest of Michigan 
families, the founder having come here as early as the year 1836. 
He is a native son of the state and, although familiar with other 
scenes and for a time a resident of the far west, he has paid 
this section the highest and most eloquent compliment within 
liis poAver by electing to return and take up his permanent resi- 
dence within its boundaries. Mr. Norton is a blacksmith by trade 
and has ever proved a public-spirited citizen. 

Tlie birth of Mr. Norton occurred in Porter township on April 
15, 1868, his parents being Emanuel and Mary Jane (McNitt) 
Norton. The McNitt family came to Michigan in the spring of 
1836, not long after the engagement at Battle Creek between the 
whites and Indians. The father was a native of Canada. He 
and his family resided in Kalamazoo county for four years and 
then removed to Hartford township, the date of that event be- 
ing 1841. They too took up one hundred and sixty acres from 
the government. The father who was a farmer throughout his 
active years is now retired and living in Gregory, Michigan. He 
is of very advanced age and enjoys the respect and confidence 
of the community in which he is so well known. The mother 
died in 1898. Mr. Norton, immediate subject of this review, is 
the sole issue of their union. 

Mr. Norton had the usual experiences of the young folks of his 
day and locality. He acquired his education in the public schools 
and under his father's direction learned some of the secrets of 
seed-time and harvest. At the age of thirteen years he decided 
to l)ecome a wage-earner and began work in a sawmill, in which 
he remained employed for a number of years. At the age of 
twenty-five years he learned the trade of a blacksmith and for a 
time owned a shop in South Haven. He disposed of the South 
Haven interest and removed to Covert in 1900, but shortly after- 
ward was seized with western fever and went to Montana, where 
in Missoula he opened a shop. Throughout his absence, from 
home, however, the charms of the old location remained vivid 
with him and resulted in his returning to Covert, where he now 
resides. 

On January 16, 1892, Mr. Norton established a happy home 
of his own by his union with Miss Clarissa Morgan, daughter of 
G. AV. and Mary (Smith) Morgan. Mrs. Norton's brother, Thomas, 



800 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

is now a resident of Bangor township and foreman of the Ever- 
green Farm. To the marriage of the subject and his wife have 
been born two children, Leah, at home ; and Myrtle, deceased. 

Politically Mr. Norton is in harmony with the men and meas- 
ures of the Republican party and takes no small amount of in- 
terest in local issues. Fraternally he is a member of the Inde- 
pendent Order of Odd Fellows, belonging to the encampment at 
South Haven. He and his wife and daughter are members of 
the Congregational church and are valued helpers in its cam- 
paign for good. They are helpfully interested in all matters per- 
taining to the welfare of Covert and the county. 

Charles Radtke. — From sturdy German stock comes Charles 
Radtke, whose splendid farm of one hundred and ninety-five acres 
in Bangor township is brought to its fullest productiveness under 
his capable hands. He has fulfilled in himself all the traditions 
of this thrifty, honorable race and stands among Van Buren 
county's representative citizens. Mr. Radtke was born September 
30, 1857, the son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Yernitsky) Radtke, 
both of whom were natives of Germany. In 1874, when seven- 
teen years of age, the subject became the leading spirit in an 
expedition to the United States. He brought with him his father 
and mother and supported them until their death. The date of 
their arrival upon American shores was November 11. The family 
first located in Columbus City, Indiana, and there remained for 
a year prior to going to South Haven, where the subject bought 
eighty acres of land and engaged in agricultural operations. The 
father died in 1884, and the mother survived until 1894. They 
were the parents of the following eight children: Godfrey, de- 
ceased ; Ludwig, of South Haven township ; Minnie, deceased ; 
Augusta, wife of John Kuhn, of South Haven township; August, 
a citizen of Monroe, Michigan ; Frederick, deceased ; Charles ; and 
John, deceased. Mr. Radtke has experienced the success which 
usually crowns enlightened industry, honest methods and the de- 
termination to succeed. He has added to his property from time 
to time and now owns one hundred and ninety-five acres in Bangor 
township. He engages in general farming and stock-raising. 
When he first came to Michigan he engaged for a time in the 
lumber industry. For eight years Mr. Radtke was buyer for 
Frank Lauderbach, commission merchant of South Water street, 
Chicago, this business taking him over the state of Michigan in 
the spring and through the south in the winter. 

Mr. Radtke founded a home of his own by his marriage to 
Matilda J. Willis, their union being solemnized on October 18, 
1885. To them have been born three children. The eldest son, 
Willis L., is now engaged in the livery and feed business in Covert; 
Carl is a stationary engineer; and the daughter, Anna Elizabeth, 
is deceased. Mrs. Radtke 's maiden name was Matilda Willis, 
and she was the daughter of Thomas E. and Annie (Lamb) 
Willis, natives of Indiana. The family came to Michigan in 1864 
and located in Bangor township, where they lived until their 
demise, the father being called to his eternal rest at the age of 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 801 

fifty-three years and the mother in 1887, aged fifty-seven years. 
They were the parents of a large family of children, eleven sons 
and daughters coming to them. An enumeration of the family 
is as follows: Hosea, of Pine Grove township; Isaac W., of 
Bangor township; Charles and Mary, deceased; Mrs. Radtke; 
Ella, deceased; Rebecca, wife of William Shine, of Bangor town- 
ship; Thomas E., of Bangor township; Eli, living in Bangor 
township; Lydia, deceased; and John R., of Porter township. 

]Mr. Radtke is a Republican and takes an interest in public 
issues. His church is the Lutheran. Mr. and Mrs. Radtke now 
live in Covert, where they have a pleasant home, the hospitable 
gathering-place of hosts of friends which they are sufficiently 
fortunate to possess. 

Harvey Harper. — Every veteran of the Civil war commands 
our respect and honor in memory of what he accomplished and 
what he risked in those dark days. A brave defender of his flag, 
always ready whenever his services have been needed either in 
war or peace, Harvey Harper, a successful agriculturist of Law- 
ton, Michigan, sets an example of noble-minded living and true 
patriotism that the rising generation will do well to follow. Mr. 
Harper was born August 17, 1840, in Huron county, Ohio, and 
is a son of Samuel D. and Nancy (Spears) Harper. 

Mr. Harper's parents, both natives of New York, came to Michi- 
gan in October, 1841, from Ohio, and, locating in Porter town- 
ship. Van Buren county, purchased one hundred and forty acres 
of wild land, which they were engaged in cultivating until 1855. 
At that time they came to Lawton and erected and opened the 
first hotel at this place, which they conducted for one year, then 
purchasing one hundred and twenty acres of farming land just 
south of the town. In 1861 Samuel D. Harper gave this land to 
his sons, Harvey and James, and retired from active life, dying 
in February, 1872, while his widow surviv_ed him twenty years 
and passed away in 1892, on her eighty-third birthday. Eight 
children were born to this noble pioneer couple, as follow^s : Sarah 
and Esther, who are deceased; Eunice, the widow of John Ihling, 
of Van Buren county; Amanda, the widow of G. P. McNeil, of 
Lawton ; William, who is deceased ; James, residing on the home 
farm; Harvey; and Clarissa, the wife of James Atwell, of Lawton. 

Harvey Harper remained on the home farm until he had at- 
tained his majority, and in 1861 he enlisted in Company H, 
Twelfth Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry, under Captain 
Johnson. For six and one-half months he was a prisoner of the 
enemy, being captured at the battle of Shiloh and taken to Mobile, 
Alabama, and later to Montgomery. He was then paroled and 
sent to Chattanooga, Tennessee, from whence he w^as sent to 
Bridgeport, Alabama, and taken to the Union lines to be exchanged. 
General Mitchell, however, refused to receive the prisoners, as 
he was about to go into battle, and they were returned to Chatta- 
nooga and a few days later General Mitchell crossed the river and 
began to shell the city. The prisoners were then put on cars 
and sent to Atlanta, Georgia, one of the men in the same batch 



802 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

as Mr. Harper being the noted raider, Andrews, who was after- 
wards hung on the limb of a peach tree. The limb being too 
slight for his weight, it is related, the captors shoveled a hole 
in the ground underneath his feet, thus accomplishing their pur- 
pose. While on a trip to Atlanta, in March, 1911, Mr. Harper 
became acquainted with an old gentleman who vouched for the 
truth of this story. The street on which it occurred is now named 
Peach Tree street, and is one of the most beautiful thoroughfares 
of the Southern city. From Atlanta Mr. Harper and his com- 
panions were taken to Griffin, Georgia, and later to the famous 
Libby Prison, from whence they were paroled and Mr. Harper 
was sent to Washington, D. C, on to Annapolis, JMaryland, and 
then to Columbus, Ohio, where he was put on detached duty 
until he was mustered out of the service, August 18, 1863. The 
brave young soldier, much emaciated and broken in health from 
his terrible experiences, returned to his home in Michigan and 
the next year was spent in recovering his health and attending 
school, and he was then married and went to Morrison, Illinois, 
where he was engaged in a mercantile business with his uncle. 
Later he went to Lake City, Minnesota, where he remained for 
about one year, and returned to the farm which had been given 
him by his father. In the fall of 1868 he moved to the town of 
Lawton, where he had purchased ten acres of land, and on this 
he erected a modern, two-story residence and a fine vineyard. He 
also owns the town ball park, several building lots and the old 
homestead farm south of the town, and is considered one of Law- 
ton's successful men, which may be attributed to the fact that 
he has never shirked hard work, but has always been willing and 
ready to do his full share. 

On April 4, 1865, Mr. Harper was married to Martha J. Kinney, 
daughter of Warren D. and Martha (Roberts) Kinney, and she 
died June 6, 1904, having been the mother of three children : 
Bertha, the wife of Crawford Smith, of Ypsilanti, Michigan: 
Catherine, who resides at home with her father; and Grace, the 
wife of Hamilton Ewing, of Lawton. Mr. Harper is a stanch 
Republican in his political views and has served as a member of 
the village board and as highw^ay commissioner of Porter town- 
ship. He and his children are members of the Methodist Epis- 
copal church, 

Hon. Charles Jay Monroe. — If the people of Van Buren 
county were challenged to name an admirable product and high 
type of their citizenship they might with eminent propriety say : 
"Here is Hon. Charles Jay Monroe — show us his fellow! Be- 
hold the fruit and the representative of our civilization! 'Of 
thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble-bush gather they 
grapes!' '' In every field of duty, and his have been numerous, 
and in every relation of life, Mr. Monroe has exemplified sterling 
manhood, elevated citizenship, and all the other fine attributes 
of the genuine American gentleman. 

Mr. Monroe is wholly a product of Van Buren county. He was 
born in the township of Lawrence of November 20, 1839. He 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 803 

obtained his elementary education and first impressions of his 
relations to his fellow men in the country school near his home. 
He grew to manhood on his father's farm and did his part of 
the labor necessary for its cultivation, acquiring therein habits 
of useful industry, a practical knowledge of farming, and an in- 
terest in his native soil that has grown with his years and been 
intensified by his experience. The activities, aspirations and tend- 
encies of the people of this locality have also been objects of the 
greatest interest to him at all times, for he has been one of them 
and fully imbued with their spirit and in sympathy with their 
desires. 

Moreover, he taught their children in the schools, surveyed their 
land, served them wisely and faithfully in many important public 
capacities, and in time became, in large measure, their banker. 
And when, in the pride and power of his young manhood, he 
bowed beneath the flowery yoke of Eros, he united himself in 
marriage with one of their most estimable and accomplished young 
ladies, with whom he walked life's troubled way for over forty 
years. 

Mr. ]\lonroe is of Scotch ancestry on his father's side of the 
house. His grandfather, Isaac Monroe, was the son of Scotch 
parents and became a resident of this country early in his life. 
He was a physician and lived many years in Surry, New Hamp- 
shire, then moved to Hamilton, Madison county. New York, where 
he passed the remainder of his days. He reared a family of 
ten children, of whom his son Jay R. Monroe, the father of Charles 
Jay, was the eighth in the order of birth, and came into being on 
April 11, 1806, in Surry, New Hampshire, where the family was 
then living. 

The father of Mr. Monroe had very limited opportunities for 
securing an education. He was but a boy when the family moved 
to Hamilton, New York, and soon afterward he was apprenticed 
to a stonemason to learn the trade. When he was twenty he 
decided to cast his lot with the great West, which, in those days, 
meant anywhere beyond Buffalo, New York. So he resolutely 
fixed his face in the direction of the setting sun and plunged into 
the largely untrodden wilderness. His first stop was at Detroit, 
where he worked at his trade for a time, and made some progress 
toward independence. 

But his ability and force of character were soon discovered, and 
his services were solicited for more adventurous and ambitious 
employment. ]\Ir. Campeau engaged him to go with a party of 
his men on a circuit of the lakes in the interest of his fur trade. 
After his return he passed two years in the employ of Mr. Campeau 
and General Cass in locating lands for incoming settlers. He 
then inade a trip to his old New York home. In 1830 he returned 
to Michigan and located at Prairie Ronde, but the greater part 
of his time was occupied in traveling over the territory of Mich- 
igan locating lands for others, as before. He was thrifty and 
frugal, however, and applied his commissions in the purchase of 
lands for himself. 

His wandering showed him much of the territory in its state 



804 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COl^NTY 

of primeval wilderness. He was the first white man to pass over 
the site on which South Haven now stands, and in 1833 he built 
the first house put up within the limits of the present city. He 
was unmarried at the time, and a family by the name of Thomas 
occupied his house. It was an unpretentious habitation, on, or, if 
you please, beyond the borders of civilization, but it was not ex- 
empt from the romance and tragedy that visits all human abodes. 
A child was born and died in that house soon after it was first 
occupied, and this was the first birth and death in the history 
of the city. 

There were not wanting, even at that early day, indications of 
the coming of a host to people the region, and a plan for a village 
was projected. Mr. Monroe made a plat of the village as planned, 
and the plat was embraced in Hannah's plat of 1852, and has 
been a part of every one that has been made since. Along with 
other wise provisions, the plan required the reservation of a lot 
for a school house, and this was shown on the plat made by Mr. 
Monroe. 

In 1835, in association with Charles U. Cross, he laid out a road 
between South Haven and Paw Paw, and what remains of that 
highway now is still known as the' 'Monroe road.'' He had pre- 
viously laid out a road between South Haven and Prairie Ronde. 
Thus he was a potential force in the great work of opening the 
country to settlement, and in bringing settlers in to occupy and 
improve it. The excellent results that followed his activity in 
these respects proved his general intelligence, sound judgment 
and comprehensive grasp of the situation that required his atten- 
tion. 

Jay R. Monroe w^as married on September 10, 1836, to Miss 
Fanny Rawson, a native of Massachusetts. For some months after 
their marriage they boarded in Kalamazoo. But in 1837 they 
located on the land owned by Mr. Monroe in Lawrence township, 
it seeming probable at the time that the county seat would be 
located near his farm. The prize of being the center of govern- 
ment in the county was won by Paw Paw, but Mr. Monroe con- 
tinued to reside on his land in Lawrence township and improved 
a portion of a farm of nine hundred acres he owned there. He 
also continued to act as land agent, and in time he became one of 
the most extensive landholders in this part of the country, being 
at one period the possessor of eighty eighty-acre tracts, or six 
thousand four hundred acres in all, and expanse equal in extent 
to ten square miles. 

Under the territorial government of Michigan Jay R. Monroe 
was appointed a judge, and from then to the end of his life he 
was always known and spoken of as Judge Monroe. He was a 
man of great benignity of disposition, and in his administration 
of the law always tempered justice with mercy. He was also the 
friend and adviser of the early settlers, and served as commis- 
sioner of the poor in Yan Buren county for more than twenty-five, 
years. He was earnest in his interest and active in his support 
of all public undertakings for the good of the state, too, helping 
to organize the State Agricultural Society and assisting at the 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 805 

baptism of many other excellent institutions from which the people 
have derived great benefit. 

In the early history of the county and those who made it he 
always manifested the deepest interest. He was one of the found- 
ers of the Van Buren County Pioneers' Society, and to the end 
of his life one of its most active and serviceable members. In 
politics he was a life-long Democrat, and in spiritual matters a 
firm believer in the Christian religion, but not connected by mem- 
bership with any church organization. His death occurred in 
South Haven on October 30, 1876, soon after his return from a 
visit to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. His widow 
survived him one day over thirty-one years, her death coming 
on October 31, 1907. 

Mrs. Jay R. Monroe departed this life at the age of eighty-two 
years, five months and three days. She was universally beloved 
throughout the city of South Haven, where she passed all the 
years of her life after the death of her husband, and she well 
deserved the veneration of the community which she so fully en- 
joyed. Her pastor, who had been long associated with her in 
church relations, said in his address at her .funeral: ''She was 
a woman whom Lincoln would have loved, and Roosevelt would 
have praised,'' and her heroic character fully justified this eulogy. 
The first forty years of her life after her marriage were passed 
on a farm in Law^rence township, which was remote from other 
human dwellings, the nearest neighbor living about a mile distant, 
and twenty years elapsing before the woods were cut away so that 
another house could be seen from her home. 

Most of her years on this farm were very busy ones for ' ' IMother 
Monroe," as she was affectionately called by the whole community. 
Here her nine children were born, and in addition to the in- 
numerable cares incident to rearing and providing for so large a 
family, she did all the writing and figuring required by her hus- 
band 's business, including his land agency. Besides as the home 
was located about the center of the county, it became a sort of 
halfway house for strangers and travelers, so that there were 
almost always extra persons to provide for with meals and lodg- 
ing. Her isolation from society and church privileges, and her 
burden of work and care imposed great hardships on her, but she 
bore them all bravely, patiently and cheerfully, for she was a 
woman of extraordinary virility of body, mind and character, and 
knew no higher claim on her attention than the voice of duty, 
which she always heard with reverence and obeyed with fidelity. 
Of the nine children born to her and her husband only four are 
living: Charles Jay, Isaac, Andrew and Eunice, the latter the 
widow of David F. Moore. The mother passed the last thirty-one 
years of her life in the home of INIrs. Moore. 

About the time Charles Jay Moore completed his seventeenth 
year the State Agricultural College was ready to receive students, 
and he was one of the first to be enrolled. He was present at its 
opening session, and remained under its beneficent instructions 
two years and a half. Then, on account of weakness in his eyes, 
he was obliged to give up his studies. His father, however, found 

Vol TT— 12 



806 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

employment for him that he was able to attend to by placing him 
in charge of the land agency business he was conducting. In 
connection with this he taught school eight terms, and also did 
surveying in Van Buren and Allegan counties, serving as county 
surveyor for the former two terms, and being in frequent requisi- 
tion for work in the same line in the latter, both while he was in 
office and afterward. 

In January, 1867, in partnership with S. R. Boardman, ]\Ir. 
Monroe opened a private bank, which was the first enterprise of 
the kind in South Haven. In 1871 the First National Bank of 
South Haven was organized, with Mr. Boardman as president and 
Mr. Monroe as cashier of the institution. After serving the bank 
as cashier some four years Mr. Monroe was elected vice president 
and the next year president. He held this position until 1889, 
when the bank was reorganized as the First State Bank of South 
Haven. He was chosen president of this and is still serving it in 
that office. 

In 1879 Mr. Monroe pursued a course of instruction in the law 
department of the University of Michigan, not with any intention 
of practing the profession, but to assist him in carrying on his 
multitudinous business affairs. As he stated the case, he had 
more business than knowledge, so he quit business for a time to 
obtain more knowledge. In 1880 (or 1881) he organized the West 
Michigan Savings Bank of Bangor, and he served as its president 
until he sold his interest in it. He also organized the Kalamazoo 
Savings Bank, and was its president for some years. He is now- 
one of its directors. In addition he is president of the Van Buren 
County Pioneers' Society, and one of the most active men con- 
nected with that organization. 

In politics Mr. Monroe has given his allegiance steadfastly and 
continuously to the Republican party, and as its candidate has 
been elected township supervisor for three terms, county sur- 
veyor for two terms, and school inspector for many years. In 
1883 he was elected state senator for Van Buren and Allegan 
counties, and to this office he was twice re-elected, serving three 
consecutive terms in all. In the state senate he was chairman of 
the committee on banks and banking and a member of other im- 
portant committees. He is the author of the present state banking 
law, which he had enacted while he was in the senate. In his 
last term he was unanimously elected president pro tempore of the 
senate, and during the term was in the chair almost every day. 

In a material way the interests of South Haven have always 
been of great consequence in his regard, and he has done his part 
in promoting them. He has built a number of brick business 
blocks and other houses, and done valuable work in many ways 
for the advancement and improvement of the city. He has also 
given the welfare and progress of the county his careful and 
helpful attention, looking after its interests in every field of effort, 
intellectual, moral, social and in business affairs. His farm of 
three hundred and twenty acres, on which he resides, is in the 
county, just outside of South Haven, and has been a source of 
considerable addition to the mercantile and commercial wealth and 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 807 

importance of the county. Here he carried on for some years an 
extensive dairying business, which was a great convenience to 
the residents of the city and township, and on the farm he now 
' raises large quantities of fine fruit of various kinds, his peach 
orchard alone comprising thirty acres, with the other orchards in 
proportion. In June, 1911, he was elected president of the Mich- 
igan Bankers' Association. 

Mr. Monroe was first married in 1866, to Miss Ilattie Morehouse, 
who was born in Albion, Michigan, and was the daughter of 
Stephen and Lucy (Blackmar) Morehouse. She died on June 
22, 1903, and her death removed from South Haven its oldest 
inhabitant in length of continuous residence, she having lived in 
the locality from 1852 to the end of her life. By her marriage 
to Mr. Monroe she became the mother of five children : Stephen 
B., who is president of the Kalamazoo City Savings Bank; George 
C, a sketch of whose life will be found in this volume; Cora J., 
who died in 1905, and was the wife of William Shakespeare, Jr. ; 
Lucy E., w^ho died in 1906; and Charles O., who is the editor and 
manager of the Daily Tribune of South Haven. 

On September 16, 1905, Mr. Monroe contracted a second mar- 
riage, in which he was united with Mrs. Clara O. (Atkinson) 
Packard, who still abides with him. In fraternal relations he is 
a Freemason of the Royal Arch degree, and takes a very cordial 
and serviceable interest in the fraternity. Van Buren county has 
never had a citizen whom its people esteemed more highly or more 
universally, or one who was more worthy of their confidence, and 
hearty regard and good will. He has the good fortune of being 
estimated at his real value during his life, which is a rare experi- 
ence among men, and must be due to merit made clear and services 
beyond question. 

Jesse S. Barton. — Illustrating practically in his present course 
his firm faith in the theory "Ten acres enough," which a few 
years ago was held by persons in all parts of the country to be full 
of wisdom and is still adhered to with tenacity in many localities. 
Jesse S. Barton, of Paw Paw, is making his ten acres pay well 
for the labor and intelligence bestowed upon them and finds in 
thp cultivation of them enough to occupy all the time and atten- 
tion he cares to devote to farming, whether it is enough to satisfy 
any other man or not. Mr. Barton knows how much farm work 
and farm produce he wants, too, for he has farmed larger tracts 
with success and profit, and according to the most advanced ideas 
and methods of this day of universal search into every department 
of human labor, interest, thought and speculation. 

Mr. Barton is a native of Michigan and was born in Washtenaw 
county on July 17, 1837. He is a son of William and Charity 
(Stevens) Barton, natives of New York state. The father, who 
came to Michigan in 1824, was a farmer all his life, beginning to 
learn the business in boyhood. Mr. William Barton worked by 
the month in a mill for the man who later became his father-in-law. 
After reaching twenty-one years of age he purchased a farm in 
Washtenaw county, Michigan; conducted it a number of years and 



808 HISTORY OF VAxN BUREN COUNTY 

then sold it and came to Paw Paw, where he remained six months. 
He then purchased a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in 
Almena township, and remained there until selling his farm to 
his son, Jesse S. Barton. The father, William Barton, returned 
to New York state, where he remained for a time and then returned 
to Gobleville, Michigan, where he died at the age of ninety-five 
years. He and his wife were the parents of five children : Mahala, 
who has been dead many years; Jesse S., the interesting subject 
of this writing ; John and Emeline, both deceased ; and Josephine, 
the wife of C. D. Meyers, of Gobleville, Michigan. The mother 
died aged fifty-six years. 

Jesse S. Barton obtained a district school education and began 
farming on his own account at the age of eighteen. As soon as 
he was able he bought twenty acres of good land, but soon after- 
ward sold this and bought eighty acres of the old farm, which 
he kept for five years. At the end of that period he bought the 
remaining forty acres of the old homestead and five years later 
bought an additional tract of eighty acres, and the two together 
he farmed for more than tw^enty years, conducting general farming 
operations and raising live stock for the markets. 

When he grew weary of the hard work he was obliged to do 
to keep the business going, he leased his farm to his son and moved 
to Paw Paw. This arrangement continued eleven years. At the 
end of that time i\Ir. Barton sold all but eighty acres of his old 
land and bought sixty acres more in Antwerp township, which he re- 
tained in his possession about six years. His next move was to 
sell this and to buy ten acres about half a mile from Paw Paw, 
and on this he now resides. He is well contented with his move 
and finds both employment and recreation in looking after his 
small acreage and bringing out of it all that skillful labor and 
advanced methods of cultivation can make it yield. It is a model 
of agricultural enterprise and one of the most attractive rural 
homes in this part of Van Buren county. 

On January 23. 1864, Mr. Barton was united in marriage with 
Miss Anne Swick, by whom he became the father of three children : 
IMinnie, the wife of E. A. Aseltine, of Antwerp township and the 
mother of a son, Leland B. ; William, who resides at Dowagiac, 
Michigan, and has three children — Leta, Carl and Frank ; and Allie, 
married and living in Lansing, Michigan, the mother of Fay and 
Max. The mother of these children, who is known to fame for 
her literary work and her ministeral services, died on June 8, 
1907. and on June 24, 1908, the father was married to Mrs. Leona 
A. Jennings, the widow of Henry H. Jennings and by her first 
marriage the mother of three children: Lilly E., the wife of 
William L. Nelson, of Lawton; Ralph E., who lives in Waverly 
township, this county; and Lottie M., the wife of H. C. Buck, of 
Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

The present Mrs. Barton is a daughter of Josiah and Amelia 
(Hannum) Hopkins, the former a native of New York and the 
latter of Massachussetts. The father came to Michigan in 1852, 
one of the pioneers of the county and the first man who operated 
a grist mill in Almena township. He and his wife were the parents 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 809 

of five children: Mrs. Barton; Luther J., who lives at Ocean 
Springs, Mississippi; Ella M., the wife of G. P. Kingsbury, of 
Ann Arbor, Michigan; Willis D., a resident of Cassopolis, Mich- 
igan; and Albert, who died in infancy. There is also a son by 
a second marriage, Jay Paul, a captain in the regular army of 
the United States and at present (19P1) stationed at Fortress 
Monroe, Virginia. 

Josiah Hopkins, a venerable man, who passed four-score years 
in his earthly career, had a wide range of experience in several 
localities and different lines of achievement. He w^as born 
at Crown Point, Essex county. New York, on November 25, 1826, 
and was a son of Ebenezer and Tryphenia (Searls) Hopkins, na- 
tives of Vermont, the father born at West Rutland, that state. 
Josiah was the last born of the family of six children, and accom- 
panied his parents to Ohio when they moved to that state. 

When he was eighteen years of age his father died and he was 
obliged to take charge of the affairs of the family. The father 
owned and operated a sawmill in Ohio, and the son continued to 
operate it after the father's death until 1852, running it for the 
benefit of the family. In the year last mentioned he came to Mich- 
igan and Van Buren county and took up one hundred and sixty 
acres of new and unbroken land in Almena township. For some 
years he devoted his energies to general farming and raising stock 
for the markets. He saw in time a good opportunity to enhance 
his own profits and supply a pressing need of the country around 
him by starting a dairy business, and he did it. After conducting 
this business ten years he sold it and his farm and bought eighty 
acres of land, which he owned and worked three years. At the 
end of that period he traded this tract for a planing mill in 
Mattawan and afterward disposed of this and purchased a grist 
and sawmill at Decatur. These were destroyed by fire and he then 
bought a grist mill in Antwerp township, which three years later 
he traded for a farm of one hundred and sixty acres. For three 
years after this deal he operated a flour mill in Decatur and then 
bought a grist and sawmill at Cassopolis. In the course of some 
fifteen years he sold his interest in the grist mill to his son, who 
controlled the practical operation of the sawmill twenty years. Tn 
1905 he gave up all active pursuits and made his home with his 
daughter, Mrs. Barton, in Paw Paw, remaining until his death, 
on September 18, 1911. 

Anne Swick Barton, Jesse S. Barton's first wife, w-as a teacher 
in the state of New York at the age of seventeen. She came to 
Michigan in 1862 and here she was engaged in teaching until 
her marriage with Mr. Barton. While she w^as yet very young 
she began writing verse for publication. The first collection 
of her poems was published in 1882, under the title ''For Friend- 
ship's Sake." She was also well and favorably known for her 
work as a minister of the gospel. In 1874 she was requested to 
take charge of the young people's Bible class at Waverly. She 
yielded to the request and retained the position three years. 

During the absence of the pastor of the church to which she 
belonged on one occasion she was asked to read a sermon. She 



810 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

did this and her performance gave the people so much gratification 
that she was called on afterward to aid the pastor in revival work. 
The next winter she accepted a call to a pastorate of a newly 
organized congregation at Gliddenberg, six miles west of Paw 
Paw. She remained in charge of this congregation one year and 
was then called to her own church at Waverly. She gave this 
church highly acceptable service as pastor and preacher for two 
years. In December, 1886, she was regularly ordained to the min- 
istry and from then until her death she devoted all her energies 
to ministerial work, winning high commendation for her care and 
solicitude as a pastor and her pathos and fervor as a preacher. 

Henry H. Jennings, the first husband of the present Mrs. Barton, 
was a soldier in the Union army during the Civil war. He was 
a member of Company G, First ^Michigan Engineer and Mechanics 
regiment, under the command of Captain Innis. He enlisted in 
18i):3 and was with General Sherman on his march to Washington, 
arriving in the capital of his country in rags, after two years' 
faithful service in its defense. After the war he taught school 
for over twenty years in Van Buren county. His death occurred 
in Paw Paw on December 5, 1903. 

Jesse S. Barton is a Republican in politics of pronounced belief 
in the principles of his party and reliable energy and efficiency 
in its service. He has not sought nor desired public office himself, 
however, as he has always preferred to serve the state from the 
honorable post of private citizenship. He is a Baptist in church 
affiliation. 

William Broadwell, Sr. — A chronicle of the representative men 
and women of Van Buren county which aims to give credit to 
usefulness and honor, such as is the purpose of this history, would 
scarcely be complete without record of that prominent and highly 
esteemed citizen William Broadwell, Sr., owner of forty acres 
within the corporate limits of Bangor and of sixty acres in Arl- 
ington township. He is also a veteran of the Civil war and one 
of the public-spirited citizens who have contributed in no small 
ineasure to the general prosperity. 

William Broadwell, Sr., was born in Granby, New York, Feb- 
ruary 26, 1838, the son of William Henry and Olive (Hughnin) 
Broadwell, both natives of the Empire state. The father devoted 
his entire life-time to the great basic industry. The subject 's sister, 
Harriet, now deceased, became the wife of Edward Mayhew, of 
Detroit, Michigan, 

AVilliam Broadwell, Sr., was by no means reared in the lap of 
luxury, but in his youth knew the meaning of hard work, which 
seems to be one of the surest '^open sesames" to success. At the 
age of thirteen he learned what it was to win hunger and weari- 
ness by honest toil, for six years working on the Oswego canal. 
He then took up farming for a year or so and first took up his 
residence in Michigan in 1856. He located at South Haven and 
in 1857 first embarked in the lumber business, in which he en- 
gaged until 1861. In the meantime the first guns had been fired 
at Sumter, and the patriotic young man was one of the first to 



HISTORY OF VAN BURLX COUNTY 811 

tnlist, on August 20, 1861, becoming a member of Company D, 
Sixth Michigan Volunteer Infantry, which later became heavy 
artillery, and he served in the cause of the Union for the ensuing 
three years. He was mustered out in Kalamazoo on August 20, 
1864, exactly three years after his enlistment. 

Upon again donning civilian's garb, Mr. Broadwell returned 
to South Haven and began the work of overseeing the operation 
of several sawmills in Van Buren county. His identification with 
Bangor dates from the year 1878 and his activities in his first years 
here was divided between sawmill and lumber business. He later 
took up agriculture in addition to his other interests, and has 
proved exceedingly successful in this line. As previously men- 
tioned, he has a splendid homestead of forty acres within the cor- 
poration of Bangor, upon which his fine home is located. He is 
a director and vice president of the West Michigan Savings Bank. 

In 1865 Mr. Broadwell laid the foundation of a happy home 
life by his union with Anna McDonald, daughter of Donald and 
Catherine (McPherson) McDonald, both natives of Scotland. His 
first wife died in 1896 and he married a second time, in 1898, 
Mary Grant, i^y the first marriage there is one child, William 
McDonald, who has taken over his father's lumber business. This 
son was born November 11, 1866. He has been twice married. His 
first wife was Rosa Cooper and this union was blessed by the birth 
of a daughter, Anna, now a teacher in the public schools. She 
\vas graduated from Michigan Normal School in 1910. After the 
death of the first Mrs. Broadwell he married Barbara Moore and 
they share their pleasant home with three children, namely: Mil- 
dred, William McDonald, Jr., and Catherine. He and his wife are 
affiliated with the Congregational church. 

In his political faith William Broadwell, Sr., is a tried and 
true Republican and his fraternal loyalty is with the Masonic order. 
in religious views he is a Congregationalist. 

L. R. Wagner, one of Bangor's successful young business men, 
has only been connected with the interests of this village for tw^o 
years, but already has established a reputation for progressive 
methods, enterprising spirit and upright principles. Mr. Wagner 
is a native of Gratid Rapids, Michigan, where he w^as born August 
i8, 1883, and is a son of Herbert and Nellie (Van Bloise) Wagner, 
who were both born in Holland. 

Herbert Wagner came to the United States with his family in 
.1865, and located in Grand Rapids, where for a number of years 
he was engaged in doing contract paving work, but eventually he 
turned his attention to farming, and he was thus engaged at the 
time of his death, which occurred in May, 1911, his wife having 
])assed away eleven years before. They w^ere the parents of nine 
children, as follows: Isaac, IMartin, Cornelius and John, all resi- 
dents and business men of Grand Rapids; William Andrew, who 
resides in New York city ; L. R. ; and Mary, Jennie and Martha, 
all deceased. 

L. R. Wagner attended the school of Grand Rapids, after leav- 
ing which he settled on his father's farm, and for the five years 



812 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

that followed assisted him in his operations. Deciding upon a 
business career in preference to the life of an agriculturist, he 
entered McLaughlin's Business College, at Grand Rapids, from 
which he was graduated in bookkeeping, and then took a four- 
year apprenticeship in the drug business. Later he entered the 
Ferris Institute at Grand Rapids, and after his graduation in 
1906 went to Decatur for one year, spent a short time in Hart 
and a year in Coloma, where he had charge of a pharmacy, and 
in February, 1909, came to Bangor and purchased the business of 
H. D. Harvey, in company with his father-in-law, John DeKruif. 
Mr. Wagner has applied modern methods in his carrying on of 
this drug business, and has built up a large and lucrative trade. 
He has a completely-stocked establishment, central^ located, and 
it is equipped with all modern appliances and appurtenances. 

On December 25, 1907, Mr. Wagner was married to ]\liss Ilattie 
DeKruif, natives of Michigan, whose other children are: Delia, 
the wife of Benjamin VenKlossen, of Grand Rapids; and Anna, 
who lives with her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Wagner had one child : 
Ora Leona, who was born August 17, 1909, and died September 
21, 1909. Politically Mr. Wagner is a Republican, and his fra- 
ternal connection is with the Elks. Progressive in his ideas, he 
is always ready to support matters which promise to be of bene- 
fit to his community, and he is looked upon as one of Bangor's 
rising young business citizens. 

Michael Enlow. — An excellent citizen and able farmer is 
Michael Enlow, who is engaged in the operation of eighty acres of 
land in Covert township, section 11, and w^ho preceded his present 
occupation by many years in the sawmilling business. He was 
born in Monroe county, Ohio, June 5, 1850, and is the son of John 
and Elizabeth (Blair) Enlow, both natives of the Buckeye state 
and both deceased. In having adopted agriculture, which Daniel 
Webster has called the most important labor of man, he is follow- 
ing in the paternal footsteps, for John Enlow was a farmer. The 
family removed to Covert township, Van Buren county, in 1857. 
when the subject was a small lad, and here the father secured 
eighty acres, which he improved and cultivated. There were 
seven children in the family, namely: Amelia^ deceased; James, 
of Covert ; Mr. Enlow, of this record ; Sarah Jane, widow of John 
Carpenter, of Kansas ; Henry, located in Northern IMichigan ; and 
Margaret and Elizabeth, twins, the former the wife of A. N. Logan, 
of Nebraska, and the latter, of 0. W. Helvy, also of that state. 

Having secured such education as the district schools had to 
ofPer, Mr. Enlow, at the age of eighteen, secured a position in a 
sawmill, and continued in this field of industry until 1 890. He 
did the last sawing done in the Packard sawmills that were located 
in Covert township and he was familiar and proficient in every 
detail of the business. Previous to choosing another line of activity 
he had made a purchase of eighty acres of land in Covect town- 
ship, and after finishing his milling affairs he moved onto this 
farm, where he has ever since been engaged. Here he engages in 
general farming, stock-raising and horticulture, and has been very 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 81-] 

successful in these lines, being a foremost representative of the 
great basic industry on which Van Buren county so securely founds 
its wealth and standing. 

On February 26, 1871, Mr. Enlow laid the most important stone 
in the foundation of his prosperity by his marriage to Lillian 
Hunt, daughter of A. P. and Cecelia (Frier) Hunt, both natives 
of the state of New York. Into their happy home have been born 
five sons and daughters, namely: Eva C, wife of Watson Reed, 
of Covert ; Gertrude, at home ; Ralph, deceased ; Glendora, at home ; 
and Alice at home. The Enlow household is a pleasant and popular 
abode. ]\lrs. Enlow was one of a family of eight children, as fol- 
lows : Ella, wife of A. T. Breed, of northern Michigan ; Mrs. Enlow ; 
Dennis R., deceased; Charles, of Grand Rapids; Frank, of South 
Bend, Indiana ; Allen, of Michigan ; Clara, widow of Dan Lamaroux, 
of Grand Rapids; and Eugene, of Grand Rapids. 

The family are Congregationalist in their religious views and 
the head of the house is to be found marching beneath the ban- 
ners of the party which produced Jefferson. Jackson and Cleve- 
land. Mr. Enlow has given conscientious service in several minor 
township offices. 

AViLLTAM S. Bradley. — A valiant soldier in defense of his country 
in time of war, and an industrious and progressive merchant and 
farmer and afterward banker and potent force in educational and 
civic affairs in time of peace, William S. Bradley, of South Haven, 
Van Buren county, Michigan, has demonstrated his manliness and 
usefulness and his devotion to the public weal, local and general, 
in widely different fields of action and under circumstances varied 
greatly in character and requirements. Wherever he has been, 
and whatever he has been engaged in, he has met all the demands 
of duty with fidelity that is above price and a capacity and readi- 
ness of resources that have always commanded admiration and 
been highly commended. 

Mr. Bradley is a native of New England, and has all of the 
typical New Englander 's versatility — shrewdness in business, quick- 
ness in seeing and Adgor in seizing and using opportunities for 
his own advantage. He has also all the lofty ideals of citizenship 
which obtain in the section of his nativity, and has f ollow^ed them 
through life to this time. He was born in the village of Lee, 
Berkshire county, Massachusetts, on March 11, 1834, and is a son 
of Elisha and Sophronia (Jarvis) Bradley, also natives of ]\Ias- 
sachusetts, and members of families resident in that state from 
early colonial times. Both have passed to the life beyond, and 
only two of their nine children are living, William S. and his 
older sister, Cordelia. 

The father w^as a farmer, and removed from his native place 
to Oswego county. New York, many years before his death. In 
his new home he continued farming and also carried on a brisk 
and profitable dairying enterprise wdth advantage to himself and 
greatly to the convenience of his patrons. He was a member of 
the Congregational church in his religious connection and an 
old line Whig in his political faith and allegiance. In his com- 



814 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COL NT V 

munity lie was a man of force and influence, and in all the rela- 
tions of life an estimable and highly respected citizen. 

His son, William S. Bradley, was educated in the public schools 
of his home county, and after leaving school engaged in the 
tanning curriers line until August, 1862, when he responded to 
duty in another and far more tragic field of endeavor. On Au- 
gust 28, 1862, he enlisted in Company D, One Hundred and Tenth 
New York Volunteer Infantry, Nineteenth Army Corps. He served 
for awhile as second and afterward as first lieutenant of his com- 
pany, remained in the service from the time of his enlistment to 
the close of the war, and took part in every contest his regiment 
was engaged in. He finally rose to the rank of captain through 
his ability and fidelity to duty, and as such w^as mustered out of 
the army on August 28, 1865, at Albany. 

When the war was over and the great armies of conquest melted 
away in the far greater armies of peaceful production. Mr. Bradley 
moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he was engaged in the manu- 
facture and sale of leather goods until 1881. In that year he moved 
to Chicago, and there he passed three years in the wool, hide and 
fur trade. In 1884 he came to Michigan and took up his residence 
in South Haven. Soon after his arrival in that city he bought a 
farm and turned his attention to general farming and fruit grow- 
ing. In these industries he prospered and his operations became 
extensive. But he had idle capital in his mental force as well as 
in his bank account, and he determined to use both in a way that 
would be agreeable and profitable to him and, at the same time, 
afford some additional conveniences and advantages to the com- 
munity around him. 

In 1892 he helped to found the Citizens Bank, and in 1897 w^as 
elected president of this institution, a position he has held con- 
tinuously ever since his first election to it. He was also one of 
the founders of the City and Township Library, and is now (1911) 
a member of its board of directors. In addition to these great and 
serviceable institutions others of a public or semi-public character 
engage the attention and have the practical personal assistance 
of this enterprising man of comprehensive and varied activities. 
He is president of the board of directors of the South Haven City 
Hospital AvSsociation and one of the directors of the South Haven 
Telephone Company, and he takes an earnest interest and an active 
])art in the affairs and all the work of each of these commendable 
agencies for good. 

Moreover, his genuine interest in the welfare of his home city 
lias led him to accept the position of city councilman in its service, 
which he filled for several terms; and the fraternal life of his 
community has always been, in his view, a source of benefit to the 
people generally and of special value and enjoy ment to those who 
participate in it. He is a member of the Masonic order in Lodge, 
Chapter, Council and Commandery, and an enthusiastic devotee be- 
fore the altars of them all, helping to give life and sparkle to their 
meetings and direct their energies into beneficial channels, and 
make them as serviceable as possible. 

Mr. Bradley was married on December 27, 1882, to Miss Frances 



HISTORY OF VAN BIJREN COUNTY 815 

Hale, a native of Oswego county. New York, and a daughter of 
Colonel William and Amanda Hale, also natives of New York. 
The family moved to South Haven, where the father became one 
of the prominent lumbermen of this region, and was also con- 
spicuous as a real estate dealer. Mr. and Mrs. Bradley have four 
children, three sons and one daughter. They are universally re- 
garded as among the leading and most representative citizens of 
the city and county in which they live, and are held in the highest 
esteem as such by all classes of the people, 

Erastus Cash. — The life of the ordinary farmer in this country 
generally has few spectacular features or incidents of unusual in- 
terest. It is a continual succession of attention to daily duties, 
performed without ostentation or blare of trumpets, and with little 
or no notice on the part of the great, busy w^orld. Yet these duties 
are all important in themselves and in the good they do, both for 
him who performs them and the public in his community, and 
the man who attends to them faithfully and discharges them as 
well as he can is entitled to full credit as a sterling and useful 
citizen, and one of the great body of men who fix the standards 
by which manhood and citizenship must be judged. 

Erastus Cash, of Paw Paw township, this county, in such a 
man and enjoys the esteem of his fellows in the large measure 
such a man should win, and always does if the people around him 
are right in their own conduct and aspirations. He was born in 
Genesee county. New York, on June 14, 1837, one of the ten chil- 
dren and the third son of Benjamin Franklin and Lucy (Deming) 
Cash, both of the same nativity as himself. The other children of 
the family were : Andrew, Eliza and Hiram, all of whom have died ; 
William, who is a resident of New York state; Mary, the widow 
of William Whitcher who lives in Batavia, New York ; Fannie, the 
wife of Albert White, also of Batavia, New York; Isabelle, the 
wife of Bennett Waterman, of Genesee county, New York, Stafford 
township; and Reuben and Benjamin, deceased. 

Erastus Cash began life for himself at an early age. Wlien he 
was twenty-two he associated with one of his brothers in buying 
and shipping live stock, continuing his connection with this line 
of mercantile enterprise until some months after his marriage, 
although that event made him eager for a permanent home and 
more stable business. Soon after it occurred, therefore, he bought 
one hundred acres of land in his native county and settled down 
to general farming. He kept this land and cultivated it five years, 
then sold it and moved to Michigan, locating in Van Buren county. 
Here again he bought one hundred acres and began a new enter- 
prise as a farmer and raiser of live stock. He owned this tract 
only three or four years, however, as he found something that 
pleased him better. He sold his one hundred acres and bought the 
eighty he now lives on in section 4, Paw Paw township, and which 
has ever since been his home and furnished him occupation in 
farming and raising fruit as a commodity and to aid in supplying 
an extensive and exacting market. His product, like that of his 
son-in-law, Milton H. Pugsley, a sketch of whom is to be found in 



816 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

this work, is abundant in quantity and first grade in quality. He 
gives its culture careful attention at all times, and makes every 
endeavor to secure the best possible results from his labors in 
connection with it, as he does in everything else he undertakes. 
On November 2, 1859, Mr. Cash was united in marriage with 
Miss Jennie Pierson, and by this union became the father of three 
children : Jennie, the wife of Milton H. Pugsley ; Carrie, the wife 
of Chan Bowen, of Kalamazoo county, Michigan; and Lucy May, 
who is deceased. Their mother died on May 24, 1866, and on 
March 11, 1867, the father contracted a second marriage, uniting 
himself at this time with Miss Cordelia Phillips, a daughter of 
Aaron and Trephonia (Chapin) Phillips, respected residents of 
Decatur. Twelve children were born in the Phillips family, nine 
of whom are living: Charles, who resides at Arlington; Horace, 
a resident of Indiana ; Mary Ann, the widow of Joseph Edmonds 
of Goshen, Indiana; Adeline, the widow of Monroe Selby, whose 
home is in Branch county, this state; Aaron, who is a citizen of 
Indiana; Mrs. Cordelia Cash; Eliza, the wife of Frank Wood, of 
Decatur, Michigan ; William, who lives at Galesburg, this state ; 
and Alexander, whose home is at Bangor, Michigan. Mr. and 
Mrs. Cash have had one child, their daughter Franc A., who was 
born on September 26, 1875, and died on December 9, 1905. I\Ir. 
Cash is a pronounced Democrat in his political faith, a firm be- 
liever in the principles of his party and an energetic worker in 
its behalf, but only because he believes in it, and not because he 
desires for himself anything it has to bestow in the way of pu])lic 
office. In church affiliation he is a Baptist, and while not showy 
or desirous of prominence in his membership, he is true to the teach- 
ings of his sect and devoted in his interest in the welfare of the 
congregation to which he belongs. A^an Buren county has no more 
sturdy or sterling citizen, and none who is more generally or 
highly respected by all classes of its people. 

Alpheus a. McNitt. — This enterprising, progressive and stu- 
dious, and therefore successful and prosperous, farmer of Keeler 
township has been a resident of Van Buren county for more than 
forty-eight years, having been brought to the county by his par- 
ents when he was about two years old. He grew to manhood 
there, drawing his stature and his strength from the soil of this 
county, obtained his education in the public schools of the lo- 
cality in which he now lives, and acquired his social training in 
mingling with its people. He is therefore, practically, a re^l 
product of the county, and has no recollection of any other home, 
although he was born in Niagara county. New York, on Decem- 
ber 16, 1851. Moreover, he is a thorough and creditable repre- 
sentative of the citizenship of the county, although his modesty 
would never allow him to think so. 

Mr. McNitt 's parents, Sylvester and Susan (Brown) McNitt, 
were of British ancestry, and the father was a native of Great 
Britain, bom in Scotland. He. died in this county when he was 
about fifty-three years old, on November 8, 1864. He was a me- 
chanic and farmer, and was successful and prosperous in both 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 817 

lines of his industry. In 1853, after a residence of some years 
in the state of New York, he moved to Van Buren county, Michi- 
gan, and bought sixty acres of land in Hartford township. Some- 
time afterward he purchased eighty acres more in the same town- 
ship, and was possessed of both tracts at the time of his death. 
During his life he was a great friend of the cause of public edu- 
cation, through which he received his mental training, and did 
everything in his power to aid in making them better and more 
useful. In politics he was a firm believer in the Jeffersonian 
principles, and therefore, a staunch adherent of the Democratic 
party, which represented, according to his views, the greatest good 
^nd safety for the people, locally and nationally. 

Mrs. McNitt, the mother of Alpheus A., was born in Pennsyl- 
vania in 1821, and grew to womanhood in her native state. Her 
parents came to this country from Ireland and passed the re- 
mainder of their lives in the state of her nativity. She, also, 
was educated in the common schools, and always felt a cordial in- 
terest in them and their work. Her upright and useful life ended 
in Van Buren county, Michigan, in 1898. She was a loving wife 
and mother, and gave the people around her an excellent example 
of American womanhood, and her offspring the best training and 
counsel. 

Of the seven sons and four daughters born to this estimable 
couple six are living: Charles, w^ho is a resident of Casco, this 
county, and one of the progressive farmers of his locality ; 
Thaddeus, who is a resident of Bangor, Michigan ; Julia, who mar- 
ried Ezra Curtis, a farmer of Hartford township, this state ; Archi- 
bald E., a structural steel worker and engineer living in Chicago; 
Flora A., who is the wife of IMarion Hoover, a skillful and highly 
respected blacksmith of Hartford ; and tlie subject of this memoir. 
All the sons are married. 

Alpheus A. McNitt obtained a common school education in 
the schools of Van Buren county, and has passed all the years 
of his life, since leaving school, in farming and working at his 
trade as a carpenter, following in the footsteps of his father in 
botli lines of effort. His progress in life has been the result of 
his own industry, frugal living and excellent management. He 
began with very little capital, but, with the aid of his estimable 
witV, he has accunuilated a comfortable estate, which puts him, w^ith 
his prudent scale of living, l)eyond the reach of adversity. 

He is independent in his political sentiments, always casting his 
vote for the men he considers best fitted for the offices sought and 
most likely to work for the good of the township and county and 
their residents. In this respect his stand is well known, and he is 
highly respected for it, as well as for his excellent character as 
a man and his usefulness and public spirit as a citizen. He and 
his wife have a beautiful farm of two hundred and twenty-five 
acres, all in Keeler township, and located six miles from Hartford 
and four from Watervliet. The farm is devoted to general farm- 
ing, but the land is admirably adapted to the culture of fruit. It 
is well improved with good buildings, and completely equipped 
with everything needed for its advanced and profitable cultivation. 



818 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

It is on the line between Keeler and Hartford townships and known 
as the ' ' Walnut Avenue Farm. ' ' 

Mr. McNitt was married on October 7, 1875, to Miss Emma 
Havens, a daughter of William H. and Eleanor Jane (Lewis) 
Havens, and the third of their six children, all of whom are liv- 
ing. The other five are : Olive, the wife of Marcius Olds, a coal 
merchant doing business and residing at Fergus Falls, Minnesota, 
and the mother of eight children ; Metcalf E., a Hartford township 
farmer, and the father of two children ; William, also a resident of 
Hartford, and married; Charles, another of Hartford township's 
successful and representative farmers; and Ella, a widow with two 
children, whose home is in St. Joseph, Michigan. 

William H. Havens, the father of these children, was a native 
of Coshocton, New York, born in 1828. About the year 1853 he 
located in Michigan and Van Buren county, where he died in 
1891. He was a Republican in politics until the formation of the 
Populist party, and then joined that organization, to which he 
adhered faithfully to the end of his life. At the age of sixteen 
he became a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and 
throughout all his subsequent years he was true and faithful to its 
teachings, taking a great interest in its w^ork, wherever he lived, 
and for a long time being one of the chief singers in the choir of 
the congregation in which he held his membership. He was also 
a strong advocate of temperance and the restriction of liquor 
traffic, and took high ground on this great moral and economic 
question. Mrs. Eleanor Jane (Lewds) Havens, his wdfe, now his 
widow, was born in the state of New York on April 30, 1835. She 
is of German ancestry, and in all the years of her long, upright 
and serviceable life has exemplified the best traits of the thrifty, 
persevering and sturdy race from which she came. For some 
generations her forefathers lived in Pennsylvania. She is now 
living in Hartford, this county, w^here all classes of the people 
hold her in the highest esteem. Her religious connection from her 
youth has been with the Methodist Episcopal church. 

Mr. and Mrs. Alpheus A. McNitt have two sons and one daugh- 
ter, all living, and all practitioners of the art of healing accord- 
ing to the theories of the Chiropractic school. They are Leslie, 
who resides in Benton Harbor; Nellie, the wife of Hermie AVar- 
ren, whose home and business are at Casnovia, in this state; and 
William, who is located at Niles, Michigan. The special trend of 
these young people is so unusual in its uniformity and their achieve- 
ments in it are so highly creditable to them and the family and so 
beneficial to their fellow men and women that each deserves a 
separate notice somewhat in detail. 

Dr. Leslie A. McNitt is what is called, in the nomenclature 
of the new art of healing which he practices, a chiropractor, and 
the theory of his science is that all human ills can be cured by 
removing the cause. Then nature will restore the organism to 
a normal condition. The method of operation is adjustment of 
the spine, the center and force distributor of the whole nervous 
system, which largely controls all the rest of the body. When 
the spinal column is properly adjusted and performing its func- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 819 

tions in a proper way, and the nervous system acts as it should, 
the other organs of the body will soon be in harmonious accord, 
and local ailments will fade away like mists in the sunbeams of 
the morning. 

Dr. Leslie A. McNitt is in years a young man, but he is full of 
the right spirit, has been well prepared for his work and is rapidly 
attaining prominence in his profession. Ilis patients are among 
the leading men and women of the community, and as he gives them 
positive benefits in Avhat he does for them they realize that he 
is capable and that his science and art, for his profession includes 
both, are worthy of confidence and open a new avenue to human 
welfare, comfort and happiness. 

Dr. Nellie (McNitt) Warren, as she should properly be called, 
completed her academic education in the Hartford high school, 
being graduated in the class of 1901. For several years thereafter 
she was a successful public school teacher in her home county. She 
then studied chiropractry at the Grand Rapids institute of this 
school of the healing art, and was graduated from it in 1910. She 
has been very successful in the practice of her profession, and 
her reputation in it grows as the years go by. Mr. AVarren, lier 
husband, is a farmer, and he also does well in his business. 

Dr. William McNitt, who is located at Niles, Michigan, and 
steadily growing into popular favor as a professional man and 
estimable citizen there, is, like his brother. Dr. Leslie McNitt, and 
his sister. Dr. Nellie AVarren, a graduate of the Chiropractic Col- 
lege in Grand Rapids, from which he received his degree July 1, 
1911. Since leaving the Grand Rapids institution, which is de- 
voted to the dissemination of the new and very rational method 
of dealing with human ailments that he and his work represent, 
he has been active in propaganda work in behalf of his theory and 
in practical demonstration of its verity and value. He states its 
claims to consideration clearly and forcibly in his professional 
card, which says: "Chiropractic is the science of adjusting by 
hand the subluxations (displacements) in the spinal column, com- 
monly called the back bone, for the purpose of removing pressure 
from nerves. 

""The spinal column is the only place where nerves pass between 
two hard or bony surfaces that are movable, therefore, practically 
the only place where nerves can be impinged, or the nerve re- 
stricted, and it matters not w^hat part of the body or organ is 
affected, the cause is in the spinal column. I ask no questions. 
I simply analyze the spine, and I tell you every place you are 
affected. Chiropractic is the only science that removes the cause 
of disease, and this is done without pain, drugs or knife. I use 
nothing but my hands, and it takes but the fraction of a second ; 
the whole object is accomplished when the nerve is released. 
Paralysis, deafness, loss of voice, cancer, catarrh, gall stones, over 
weight, rheumatism, appendicitis, neuralgia, neurasthenia, eye, ear, 
throat, lung, stomach, liver, kidney, bladder trouble, etc., all quickly 
and permanently disappear under chiropractic adjustments prop- 
erly given. 

"I do not treat, T remove the cause, nature cures. 



820 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

''Analysis and consultation free; let me tell you where you 
are affected by analyzing your spine. 

"Because it is new do not say 'it is impossible.' That is what 
they told Marconi.'' 

Mr. and Mrs. McNitt are fully justified in the pride they have 
in the ambitions and achievements of their children, who have 
attained a high place in the confidence and esteem of the people 
who know them, and have admirably proven their right to the 
general regard and good will they so richly enjoy. In their pro- 
fession they have severally done some wonderful work and reached 
some wonderful results. In their interest in the enduring and sub- 
stantial welfare of the communities in which they live, and in their 
elevated and serviceable citizenship generally, they have exem- 
plified the best attributes of exalted American manhood and woman- 
hood, and in the correctness and uprightness of their lives in every 
way they have put into practice the lessons given them in child- 
hood and youth at the parental fireside. All the members of the 
family are highly creditable to the place of their birth, the insti- 
tutions from which they got their training, the people among whom 
they acquired their social culture, and the several communities 
in w^hich their efforts and energies are being so beneficially ex- 
pended for the welfare of their kind. Whether representing 
new theories or old ones, they would command respect for their 
beliefs and teachings, and the people around them prove their own 
real worth by showing that they realize this fact and estimate these 
worthy and estimable citizens at the full measure of their value. 

Henry Y. Tarbell. — Born and reared to the age of nineteen in 
Franklin county. New York, then passing twenty-six years in South 
Dakota extensively engaged in growing wheat and raising and feed- 
ing horses for the Eastern markets, and up to 1911 one of the 
enterprising and progressive farmers of Van Buren county, ]\Iich- 
igan, Henry Y. Tarbell, of Paw Paw tow^nship, has mingled with 
the people and taken part in the industrial life of three of the 
great states of the American Union, in which the circumstances, 
the methods of action and the conditions in general differ widely. 
But he has been able by his versatility and general business capacity 
to adapt himself to all requirements and do well in every situation 
in which he has found himself. 

Mr. Tarbell 's life began in Franklin county, New York, on April 
7, 1865, and he is a son of Newell I. and Julia M. (Duefraine) 
Tarbell, also natives of the state of New^ York. The father was 
occupied in farming in his native state continuously until May, 
1910, when he and his wife came to Michigan and Van Buren 
county, where they now make their home with their son Henry. 
They have three children besides Henry: Belle, who is the wife 
of Allan Tullar and lives in Springfield, Massachusetts; Fred E., 
who is also a resident of Springfield Massachusetts, and one of the 
foremen of the Smith & Wesson Gun Works there ; and Etta, the 
wife of W. E. Wiley, of Schagticoke, Eensselaer county, New York. 

Henry Y. Tarbell remained on the farm with his parents until 
he reached the age of nineteen, assisting in the farm work and 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 821 

attending the district school near his home when he could. At 
the age mentioned he gratihed a longing he had cherished for 
years by throwing himself into the midst of the colossal activities 
of the great West and taking a part in conducting them. He 
moved to South Dakota, purchased three hundred and twenty acres 
of land, and started an industry in raising wheat on a large scale. 
He also engaged in raising and handling horses for the markets 
on a similar scale, taking advantage of every opening he saw for 
the furtherance of his interests, and with characteristic enterprise 
and energy using each for all it was worth. 

Mr. Tarbell remained in South Dakota twenty-six years, thriving 
in his business and rising to consequence and influence among the 
people. In 1902 he came to Michigan and bought a farm of one 
hundred and sixty-two acres in section 22, Paw Paw township, 
this county, and here he maintained his home and carried on a 
vigorous industry in general farming up to August, 1911. We 
here quote from The True Northerner of November 17, 1911 : 

' ' Henry Tarbell has surely earned the title of ' Land King. ^ He 
sold his farm south of town last summer, and bought a place in 
the village where he could live near his friends and enjoy himself. 
He soon got restless, however, and started with his wife for a trip 
through the west, and for a visit with a son who lives in Dekota. 
The fine level farms of that country were a delight to his eye, and 
the temptation became too strong for him to resist. The result 
was that before he left for home he w^as the possessor of a deed for 
one thousand acres of that rich farming land. It is all under 
cultivation, has fine buildings, is as level as a floor, and is said to 
be one of the most valuable farms in that locality. 

''His many friends are glad to know, however, that he does not 
contemplate moving to that country, but will be content to make 
Paw Paw his home, and rent the big farm in the west. 

' ' Henry has lived here but a short time comparatively, but dur- 
ing that time he has shown himself to be a valuable acquisition to 
any community, and his friends are legion. 

''He not only is a good judge of farm lands, but knows a horse 
from A to Z and has handled many horses since coming here. He 
is the happiest when dealing in horse flesh or swapping with a 
neighbor. He always has a horse that can step some, and knows 
how^ to get the speed out of him. Harry Showerman can give 
testimony in evidence of his ability as a driver, and it makes an 
interesting story to listen to.'' 

Mr. Tarbeirs residence and operations on the plains of the 
Farther West taught him the value of conducting the farming 
industry on the largest scale the circumstances would allow and 
having labor saving machinery commensurate with its utmost re- 
quirements, and he has applied the lessons there learned to his 
operations in this county, making himself one of its most pro- 
gressive and successful farmers, and settling a pace which his 
neighbors and observers generally are following to their own ad- 
vantage and the benefit of the county. 

On September 2, 1888, Mr. Tarbell united in marriage with Miss 

Myra E. Thayer, a daughter of R. 0. and Ellen (Tullar) Thayer, 
Vol. n— 1 3 



822 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

residents of Iowa. Six children have been born of the union, all 
of whom are living. They are: Walter W. and Mabel A., who 
reside in South Dakota; and Feme T.j Julia, Thusa Pearl and 
Newell L., who are still living under the parental rooftree, add- 
ing to the social life and enjoyment of the community and doing 
what they can in a quiet but effective way for the general welfare 
of their township and county. 

While Mr. Tarbell has no ambition for public office of any kind, 
and never sought a political position in his life, he has an earnest 
interest and takes an active part in local public affairs for the good 
of the community. He believes firmly in the principles of the 
Republican party, and does what he can to have them prevail in 
the government of his county, state and country. He also regards 
fraternal societies as beneficial among men, and does his share to- 
ward making some of them as potential and effective for good as 
possible. He belongs to the Masonic order and the Independent Or- 
der of Odd Fellows, and is active in the work of his lodge in each. 
In church connections he is a Presbyterian. Van Buren county 
has no better citizen, and none whom the peoph^ hold in higlier or 
more deserved esteem. 

George C. Monroe. — Industrial and business life in this country 
is full of mutations. The ground beneath our feet perpetually 
rocks and heaves, throwing up new eminences and opening chasms 
where heights have lately been. New opportunities are ever com- 
ing to the wary and making new demands upon the capable. The 
young man who enters upon the stage of action at twenty as a 
farmer, trader, doctor, or something else, will not unlikely be found 
pursuing a very different avocation at forty, so numerous and 
various are the currents of activity in this electric age and in a 
land ol such multitudinous interests as ours possesses and demands 
attention. 

George C. Monroe, of South Haven, where he is one of the lead- 
ing business men of the community, furnishes in his (^areer a 
striking illustration of these facts. He began independ<mt exer- 
tions for his own advancement as a surveyor of land ind a fruit 
grower. Yet for many years he has been almost exclusively en- 
gaged in banking and other occupations kindred to or allied with 
this interesting but exacting pursuit. But, although he has changed 
his business, he has not changed the seat of his operations. Ilis 
energies are employed now where they first found service, and 
have alw^ays been devoted to the place of his birth and its vicinity. 

Mr. Monroe's life began in South Haven, Michigan, on February 
20, 1871, and in that city the whole of it to the present time (1911 ) 
has been passed, except the period spend by him at college and the 
years 1896 to 1899 when he lived in Covert. He is a son of Hon. 
Charles Jay and Hattie (Morehouse) Monroe, a sketch of wliose 
lives will be found in this work. He attended the public schools 
in his native city to obtain the basis of his education, and the State 
Agricultural College to get instruction in the more advanced stages 
of his mental training. 

After leaving college he engaged in surveying land and raising 



PIISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 823 

fruit for the markets seven or eight years. But his mental bias 
was toward business and its leaning was decidedly in the direction 
of banking. And what nature had implanted in him was bound 
to come out, whatever might be his zeal and industry in other 
directions. On December 1, 1899, he accepted the position of cashier 
of the First State Bank of South Haven, having had almost a full 
year's experience in the banking business as the president of the 
Bank of Covert, which he helped to organize under the auspices of 
C. J. iMonroe Sons & Company on January 1 of the same year. 

Mr. jMonroe is a son of one of the founders of the Kalamazoo 
Savings Bank and is now a large stockholder in that institution. 
In addition he is secretary of the Hotel Columbus Association and 
the South Haven Hospital Association, of the latter of which he 
was one of the organizers. In 1906 he gave up the cashiership of 
the First State Bank, being promoted to the position of vice presi- 
dent in its directorate. His interest in the institution has never 
waned, however, and his influence has been at all times, from the 
beginning of his connection with it, potential in helping to give 
it standing in the community and increase tlie volume of its busi- 
ness and its popularity among the people. 

On February 14, 1893, he was united in marriage witli Miss 
Helen Smith, a native of Emden, Germany. Three children have 
been born of this union, George S., Helen L. and Randolph B., all 
of whom are still members of the parental houseliold and elements 
in its attractiveness to the numerous friends and associates of tlie 
family. These make its home a frequent resort, and always find 
it a center of mental and social culture and refined and gracious 
hospitality. 

Mr. Monroe is an enthusiastic Freemason, and has ascended all 
the rounds of the mystic ladder in the York rite and to the thirty- 
second degree in the Scottish rite. He holds membership in Star 
of the Lake Lodge, No. L55 ; Royal Arch Chapter, No. dS; and 
South Haven Council, Royal and Select Masters, No. 45, hav- 
ing presided over all three bodies in South Haven; Malta Com- 
mandery No. 44, Knights Templars, at Benton Harbor; Saladin 
Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Grand Rapids; and De 
Witt Clinton Consistory, Scottish Rite Masons, at Grand Rapids. 
He is also a member of the Grand Council of Royal and Select 
Masters of the state, and in addition belongs to Hamilton Grange, 
Patrons of Husbandry, and the Order of the Knights of Pythias 
and several insurance orders. 

In the affairs of his city and county he has a deep and abiding 
interest and manifests it by actively supporting all commendable 
undertakings for their improvement and the betterment of their 
residents. In political faith and allegiance he is pronounced Re- 
publican, not with a view to securing public office, which he never 
desires, but because he believes in the principles of that party 
and thinks their prevalence in the government, local, state and 
national, would be beneficial. But he does not allow partisan con- 
siderations to outweigh his sense of duty to his community in 
local affairs, and always gives that sway without regard to personal 
or partisan claims of any kind. He is looked upon as one of the 



824 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

most useful, public spirited and representative citizens of tha 
county, and esteemed in all parts of it in accordance with this 
estimate. 

Charles L. Nower. — This enterprising, progressive and pros- 
perous farmer and live stock man of Paw Paw township, this county, 
was born in Paw Paw on September 15, 1893, and is a son of Will- 
iam G. and Melissa (Russell) Nower, for many years industrious 
and prominent farmers in Van Buren county but now living re- 
tired from active pursuits in Lawrence. The father, William G. 
Nower, was born in Central New York on April 24, 1853, and 
came to Michigan with his parents in 1857. The parents were 
James and Frances (Wickens) Nower, natives of England who 
came to this country early in life and made a new home for them- 
selves in the state of New York. 

In 1857 they moved their family to Michigan and located in 
Van Buren county, where the father bought fifty-three acres of 
farming land, on which they passed the remainder of their lives, 
the father dying in 1860 and the mother in 1888, on the land 
that had been hallowed and greatly improved by their labor and 
skillful cultivation. They had seven children, three of whom are 
living: William G., Henry and John, all of whom reside in 
Lawrence. The four of their offspring who died were Frances, 
Charles, Martha and Alfred. 

William G. Nower grew to manhood on his father 's farm in this 
county, and when he reached the age of twenty years began farm- 
ing on his own account. At the age of twenty-seven he bought 
forty acres of land, but soon afterward sold this and bought 
ninety-five acres in section 19 in Paw Paw township, which his 
son Charles L. is now farming. The father was married on May 
17, 1879, to Miss Melissa Russell, and they became the parents of 
three children, all of whom are living. They are : William J., 
who resides in Lawrence township, this county; Charles Leslie, 
who is living on and cultivating the parental homestead; and 
Charlotte, whose home is in Lawrence. 

The father of these children is independent in his political 
action, looking only to the good of his township and county without 
regard to partisan considerations. He has always been an earnest 
advocate and supporter of public improvements, and every agency 
that worked for the progress of his locality and the betterment 
of its people in any way. In church relations he is a Methodist, 
and one of the energetic and devoted members of the congregation 
to which he belongs. Whenever he is known he is highly esteemed 
as a good citizen, an upright man and a very useful force for good. 

Charles Leslie Nower, the second son of William G., obtained a 
high school education and, at the age of nineteen, started out in 
life for himself to make his own way in the world and work out 
a creditable career by useful industry, which he felt he had the 
spirit and determination to make profitable to himself and service- 
able to any community in which he might live. For two years 
after leaving school he served the government faithfully as a mail 
carrier. Then, in March, 1911, he took charge of the homestead 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 825 

on which he has been conducting a general farming and live stock 
industry on as large and energetic scale as his facilities will permit. 

On December 31, 1902, Mr. Nower was united in marriage with 
Miss Bernice Feegles, a daughter of Joseph and Anna (Kelly) 
Feegles, of this county. The parents were born and reared in Mich- 
igan, and here the father was a contractor and builder for a 
number of years. He died on August 29, 1896, and some time after- 
ward the mother married a second husband, being united on this 
occasion with 0. D. Allen, a resident of Van Buren county. 

Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. Nower have four children : Norma, who 
was born on August 12, 1903 ; Vaughn, who was born on June 23, 
1905 ; Rex, whose life began on May 2, 1907 ; and Donna, the date 
of whose birth was August 29, 1909. The father holds himself free 
for independent action in connection with all political matters, and 
partisan considerations have no w^eight with him. His first and 
chief desire in affairs of government, local, state and national, is 
to aid as far as he can in securing the substantial welfare of the 
people, and he works for this without regard to the political am- 
bitions of candidates and with none of his own. 

Mrs. Nower was the last born of the four children of her parents. 
Three of the four are living: Nina, who is the wife of Thomas 
Clark, of Cleveland, Ohio; Hattie, who is the wife of Owen Bab- 
bitt, of Winthrop, Minnesota; and Bernice, who is now the wife 
of Mr. Nower. The only son in the family, Ebert Feegles, died 
some years ago. The parents were highly respected by all classes 
of the people wherever they were known, as the mother and sur- 
viving children are now. All have been faithful to duty in all the 
relations of life, and have w^on public esteem by the impiessive ex- 
amples they have given of upright living and earnest and helpful 
interest in their several communities. 

William I. Gay. — Practical industry, wisely and vigorously ap- 
plied, never fails of success ; it carries a man onward and upward, 
brings out his individual character, and acts as a powerful stimulus 
to the efforts of others. The greatest results in life are usually 
attained by simple means, implying the exercise of the ordinary 
qualities of common sense and perseverance. The every-day life, 
with its cares, necessities and duties, affords ample opportunities 
for acquiring experiences of the best kind and its most beaten 
paths provide a true worker with abundant scope for effort and 
self-improvement. In the legitimate channels of progressive agri- 
culture, William L Gay has won the success which usually crowns 
well directed labor, sound judgment and untiring perseverance 
and at the same time he has concerned himself with the affairs 
of the county in a loyal, public-spirited fashion. This well-known 
farmer and stock raiser owns one hundred acres in sections 14 and 
15. He is a native of Van Buren county, his birth having occurred 
in Paw Paw township on November 25, 1876. He is the son of 
William and Sarah (Hunt) Gay. His father was born in England, 
March 19, 1840, and the birth of the mother also occurred in ^^the 
right little, tight little island'' the date of her nativity being 
March 11, 1845. Both came to America in childhood with their 



826 HISTORY OP' VAN BlIREN COUNTY 

parents, he at the age of eleven and she at the age of thirteen. 
Both families found their way to Michigan, the Gays settling in 
Richland, Kalamazoo county, and the Hunts in Paw Paw town- 
ship, Van Buren county. William Gay married in Paw Paw town- 
ship and took his wife to Richland, where they made their home for 
two years before coming to Paw Paw township. They afterward 
purchased land in Waverly township, where they resided until 
summoned to the ''Undiscovered Country." The admirable wife 
and mother died January 9, l^Ol, but the father survived for some 
years, his demise coming on November 4, 1907. They were the 
parents of three children : the subject ; Fred Gay, of Waverly ; and 
P^dith, wife of AVilliam D. Davis. 

William I. Gay was reared amid the wholesome surroundings of 
his father's farm and behind a desk in the district school house 
gained his first introduction to Minerva, Goddess of W^isdom. He 
attended the institutions of learning of the township until his 
eighteenth year and since then he has devoted his time to farming. 
He owns one hundred acres in sections 14 and 15 and in addition 
to his general farming also raises stock. He is a truly self-made 
man and is known for his honor and integrity, reflecting honor 
upon the country which gave his parents birth. 

On October 30, 1900, Mr. Gay was united in marriage to Lulu M. 
Furbush, of AVaverly township, her birth having occurred here 
JMarch 14, 1880. iMrs. Gay is the daughter of Robert and Emma 
(Haydon) Furbusli. Their union has resulted in the birth of three 
daughters and two sons, namely: Russell, born in 1901; Mildred, 
born in 1903; Florence, born in 1904; Bertha, born in 1908; and 
Robert, born December 15, 1911. 

Mr. Gay is a member of the Masonic order and exemplifies in 
himself the ideals of moral and social justice and brotherly love 
for which the order stands. He belongs to Goble Lodge, No. 325 ; 
to Glendale Lodge, No. 408, Independent Order of Odd P'ellows ; 
and to the Modern W^oodmen of America. He is Republican in 
politics, but has never taken an active part in party affairs. 

Richard E. Sage. — On the roll of those who have laid the founda- 
tions of the prosperity of W^averly township, Van Buren county, 
by their thrift, progressiveness and wise management of the agri- 
cultural resources of the country is written the name of Richard 
E. Sage, a prominent farmer and stockman and a citizen whose un- 
blemished record for integrity and fine principles had won for him 
general respect and esteem. His farm, which consists of one hun- 
dred and tw^enty acres of particularly excellent land, is located in 
section 12. By no means afraid of innovation, he employs the latest 
agricultural methods, and that with success, and the stock raised 
by him is of high standard. 

Van Buren county boasts a goodly number of native sons who 
have paid it the highest compliment within their power by electing 
to remain permanently within its borders and Mr. Sage is one of 
these. His birth occurred on June 10, 1860, in Bloomingdale town- 
ship, his parents being William H. and Sarah (Gay) Sage. The 
former was born in county Clare, Ireland, in 1849, and at the age 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 827 

of nine years eame to the United States with his father, Patrick 
Sage. They first located in the state of New York, where the father 
and one of his sons found employment upon the Erie Canal, which 
was then being enlarged, and later on were employed in the build- 
ing of the New York Central Railroad. Thereby they earned suf- 
ficient money to pay the passage of the remainder of the family 
wlio until that time had remained at their old home in the Emerald 
Isle. They then came on to ^lichigan in 1860, where the grandfather 
of the immediate subject located near Gobleville and followed farm- 
ing and masonry work until his death, at the age of seventy-five 
years. 

Mr. William Sage, the father, received his early education in the 
schools of Ireland and upon coming to this country completed his 
education in the public schools. He arrived in Michigan at the age 
of nineteen and upon the breaking out of the Civil war enlisted in 
J^attery E, First Michigan Light Artillery, connected with the 
Fourth Army Corps, in which he served one year, passing through a 
nulnber of battles. After his discharge from the service he took up 
farming near Gobleville and followed that until retiring in 1906, 
in which year he returned to Paw Paw, where he still resides. Dur- 
ing the childhood days of Mr. Sage, while living in Ireland, the 
great famine took place, during w^hich terrible period, over two 
million people starved to death, and he vividly recalls the awful 
suffering which he witnessed at that time and which made so fright- 
ful an impression on his youthful mind. He married Sarah Jane 
Gay and tliey had nine children, four of whom died in infancy. 
One of his sons, W. V. Sage, is a graduate of the Lansing schools 
and also of the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor ; he w^as for- 
merly superintendent of schools and is now engaged in farming in 
Hloomingdale township, on the place where the subject of the sketch 
was born. Florence is now the wife of George Connery, of Bloom- 
ingdale township, and was formerly a teacher in the public schools. 
May is the wife of Arthur Cleveland, of Janesville, Wisconsin. 
Dr. E. D. Sage is a graduate of Chicago University and is now 
resident in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he is a successful physician 
and surgeon. 

Richard E. Sage passed his youth amid the rural surroundings 
of his father's farm and was educated in the Gobleville public 
schools. When it came to adopting an occupation of his own he 
followed in the paternal footsteps, and, being the eldest, he worked 
on the farm, thereby enabling his brothers to remain at college. 
Mr. Sage was first married April 28, 1888. to Mary Leaibe, and 
their union w^as blessed by the birth of a son, Leroy W^., who mar- 
ried Isa Beach, daughter of William Beach. i\lr. and Mrs. Leroy 
W. Sage have a son, Cleon. The first wife of the subject was called 
to the Great Beyond in 1890, and on September 30, 1903, he was 
united to Minnie Johnson, daughter of L. J. Johnson. The second 
union has resulted in the birth of two little daughters, — Florence, 
aged six; and Alberta, aged two. 

Mr. and Mrs. Sage are members of the Free Will Baptist church 
and the former is one of the trustees of Covey Hill church, an his- 
torical place. He is a prominent member of the Grange, in whose 



828 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

affairs lie takes an active and interested part. In the field of poli- 
tics he is found under the standard of the "Grand Old Party/' 
but, although interested in the success of good government, he has 
never been active in partisan affairs. He has been highway overseer 
or pathmaster. He has held the position of chairman of the school 
board for several terms, being the incumbent of that office at the 
present time, and was one of the founders and at the present time 
a trustee of the Gobleville ^lutual Telephone Company. He enjoys 
the regard of the comnmnity in which his interests are centered 
and his circle of friends may be said to be co-incident with that of 
his acquaintances. 

Ora F. Fuller. — Among the prominent and progressive farmers 
of Van ]3uren county who have made their agricultural enterprises 
successful because of careful business management and resourceful 
scientific methods is Ora F. Fuller, the proprietor of the Walnut 
Knob Farm of Hartford township. ]\Ir. Fuller is a native of Alle- 
gan county, Michigan, having been born there on June 27, 1857, a 
son of Riley H. and Mary (Upson) Fuller. The father of Riley 
Fuller was born and lived his entire life in the state of Connecticut. 
At his death his wife, in a one-horse covered wagon migrated to 
Pennsylvania, hauling her household goods in the covered wagon 
and accompanied by her eight children. Later, when Riley H. was 
about thirteen years old, she married Mr. Brennand. After some 
time with his mother and her husband, Riley Fuller returned to 
Connecticut and there married Miss Mary Upson, of Unionville, that 
state. Later he returned to Pennsylvania with his wife and two 
children and there engaged in the lumber business, later still re- 
moving to Allegan county, Michigan, where he engaged in the lum- 
ber business also. In 1863, at the call from President Lincoln, he 
enlisted in the Union army, becoming a member of the Twenty- 
eighth i\lichigan Regiment. He served from that time until the 
end of the war, when he received his honorable discharge with the 
rank of quartermaster. He returned to Michigan at the close of 
the conflict and took up his old interests of lumbering and farm- 
ing. He was the father of eight children, six of whom survive to 
this date, 1911, namely : Lenetta, now the wife of William McGraw ; 
Alice, now Mrs. Willis Slocomb ; Ora F. ; Carrie, wife of Frank 
Myers; Riley H., Jr., who married Miss Jennie McDonal; Frank, 
who married iVIiss Hattie Sargent. 

Ora F. Fuller was reared on the home farm and spent much of 
his boyhood in the heavily wooded timber tracts of Michigan. His 
education he received at the hands of the grade school teachers of 
the day. He remained at home until he attained his majority, when 
he w^ent to take up a homestead in Luce county, Michigan, upon 
which he remained for sixteen years. At the end of that time he 
sold his Luce county property and went to Florida for two years, 
after which he returned to Luce county and bought a farm of one 
hundred and sixty acres. Mr. Fuller has also spent two years in 
New Mexico. Mrs. Fuller filed on a desert claim and they lived 
there for two vears. jNIr. Fuller came back to Van Buren county. 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 829 

Michigan, in the spring of 1911 and purchased the Walnut Knob 
Farm, where they now live. 

On Alay 5, 1885, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Fuller to 
Miss Nancy A. Vollick, who was born in the Dominion of Canada, 
in December, 1865. She was educated in the common schools of 
Canada. She and iMr. Fuller are the parents of nine children, 
namely : Everett, Vina, Lena, Alfred, Edith, Maude, Lewis, Roy 
and Beatrice. They and their family attend the Methodist Episco- 
pal church, in which church, during his stay in northern Michigan, 
Mr. Fuller w^as an active w^orker and member of the official board. 

In the field of politics Mr. Fuller is a Republican, and has served 
the community as county superintendent of the poor in Luce 
county, Michigan, as highway commissioner of Lakefield township, 
and as treasurer and justice of the peace in the township several 
times. Mr. Fuller has determined to settle permanently in Van 
J3uren county, which will enrich the county's list of able and public- 
spirited citizens. 

f J LILIAN 11. Anderson. — Among the men who have given Van 
Buren county its reliable and honorable name in the business cir- 
cles of the state is Julian 11. Anderson, one of the proprietors of 
the Anderson ]\Iill. lie is a quiet, unassuming man, but has gained 
the respect of all who knew him. for behind the quiet face they have 
found invariably strength and integrity. Mr. Anderson was born 
in Trumbull county, Ohio, in January, 1850, the son of William and 
Esther Stebbins Anderson and the grandson of John Anderson. 
William Anderson was born in New York state, as was also his 
wdfe. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. William Anderson re- 
moved to Trumbull county, Ohio, where the husband farmed until 
1859. In that year they came to Lawrence. INIichigan, where he 
purchased a saw-mill, and later, the former venture prospering, 
erected a grist mil. From there he came to Hartford township, 
where he remodeled the existing saw-mill into a grist mill. The 
mill is still one of the attractive old land-marks of the county, for 
it has stood in Hartford township for over sixty years. William 
Anderson continued to live in the township until his death in 
1900, thirty-two years after the passing aw^ay of his devoted wife. 
He was the father of ten children, five of whom are living at this 
date, 1911, as follows: Julian H., James E., Alphius S., George and 
Charles. Julian H. and James E. are partnership proprietors of 
the Anderson Mill, and also of the electric light and powder plant, 
which furnishes light and powder for the village of Hartford. 

Julian H. Anderson was nine years old when his parents brought 
him to Michigan and he is now the oldest of the surviving members 
of the family. He was educated in the public schools of Lawrence, 
and at a very early age began to work in his father's mill. Except- 
ing for about five years, three of which were spent in a store, Mr. 
Anderson has spent his entire life since his boyhood days in the 
mill business, and it is no w^onder that he knows it thoroughly. 

In 1871 Mr. Anderson was united to Miss Esther Rowland, sister 
of the well-known Captain Rowland, and a native of Ohio. She 
and her husband have three children: Mabel is now the wife of 



880 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUxNTY 

Wright Gardner and her sister Louise married Walter Hartman. 
JNIabel was a graduate of the Hartford high school and taught for 
some time in the grammar school. Marion attended and graduated 
from the Armour Institute of Chicago and later married Miss Ethel 
Clinton. They reside in Hartford, he being superintendent of the 
light and power plant. Mr. and Mrs. Julian Anderson are now the 
proud grandparents of seven grandchildren. They are members 
of the Methodist Episcopal church and active supporters of all its 
good works. Mr. Anderson serves the church as one of its trus- 
tees. 

Fraternally Mr. Anderson is affiliated with the Charter Oak 
Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In the field of 
politics he supports the Republican party, but he has never himself 
felt any desire for the honors and emoluments of public office. Be- 
sides his milling interests he owns twenty -hve acres of land in Hart- 
ford township, upon which he and his wife maintain their home. 

Frank McCon, one of the most successful farmers and stock 
raisers of this section of the country, was born in Galesburg, Kala- 
mazoo county, October 12, 1857. His parents were Isaac and Eliza 
Teers ]\IcCon, both natives of New York state, the birthplace of the 
father being Neufield and that of the mother Tompkins county. 
They were married in New York state and decided that they would 
go to Virginia to begin life. Isaac McCon was a carpenter by trade, 
though like almost every one of that generation of Americans he 
was also a farmer. Virginia lost its attractions when viewed at 
first hand, and the young couple decided that it was a poor country 
and, without unpacking their goods, they returned to New York 
state and stayed several years before starting out again to find a 
new location. This time they moved to Grand Rapids, which was 
then only a village, and here Isaac ]\IcCon bought two lots, upon 
which the post office now stands, for what we should consider ''a 
song.'' For several years he worked at his carpenter trade here 
and then moved to Galesburg, where he bought ninety acres of 
land, and it was there that Frank was born. When he was about 
two years old his father moved to Porter township, near Lawton, 
and bought another farm, upon which he lived three years. He was 
always interested in getting a little better place or one which he 
could make into a better one, so he traded this farm for one near 
Mattawan and kept that one three years. When he disposed of his 
third estate he bought another near Paw Paw and lived there two 
years, then came west of Paw Paw and stayed there for quite a long 
time before moving back to Paw Paw, where he retired and spent 
the rest of his days. He lived to the age of eighty-four, his wife 
surviving him two years and dying at the age of seventy-seven. 

There were five children born to Isaae McCon and his wife and 
four of them are still living : Mary resides on the old home place at 
Paw Paw; Sarah is the wife of Wesley Hall, who lives south of 
Paw Paw; George is a carpenter by trade and lives in Oklahoma; 
Frank is the youngest of the family. 

At the age of nineteen Frank McCon decided to go west, and 
accordingly went to Joliet, Illinois, and secured work on a farm 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 831 

there. When he had been there four months his parents persuaded 
him to eome home and he has remained in the county ever since. 
His father gradually gave the entire management of the place over 
to his son. 

On December S, 1887, was solemnized the marriage of Frank 
]\IcCon and Addie E. Cliristie, the daughter of Charles Christie, 
for whom Christie lake is named. Their wedding w^as celebrated 
at the old place on the banks of Christie lake. Mr. McCon now owns 
one hundred and sixteen acres of land, having disposed of the re- 
mainder of his holdings, which at one time amounted to two hun- 
dred and twenty acres. He has also been engaged in the stock 
business buying all over this part of the country and making his 
trips to Buffalo in the spring with the stock and looking after it 
personally and always securing the top price. 

Both .Mr. and Mrs. ]\lcCon are charter members of the Eastern 
Star. Mr. ]\lcCon belongs to the ]\lasonic lodge, No. 119, and to 
the (Jhapter and Council at Lawrence. He has passed through 
nearly all the chairs. In politics he is a Republican and a most 
loyal and devoted supporter of the party. His father was a Dem- 
ocrat, but his son did not find himself in sympathy with the policies 
of tiiat party and so cast his first vote for Hayes and has never 
varied in his allegiance to the party. 

Consistency and faithfulness to what he undertakes are highly 
characteristic of "Sir. IMcCon and the esteem and regard which are 
his in Van Buren county are but the fitting tribute to his upright 
and useful life. 

Turner W. Howard, the well known agriculturist of Van Buren 
county has the uni(]ue record of having been born in the farm upon 
which he now lives and which has always been his home. The 
pleasant acres of the Howard farm are located on section 32, Law- 
I'ence township. Turner W. was born Noveml)er 13, 1841, the 
youngest son of Hosea and P]lizabeth (l^eonard) Howard. Hosea 
Howard was reared in New York state and was there married. He, 
with his wife and three sons, came to Van l^uren county in 1838 
and purchased the farm of one hundred and sixty acres. He was 
a strong Democrat and an ardent worker for the w^elfare of his 
])arty. During his residence in New York, he served as a captain in 
the state militia. Ilis death occurred in 1847. His wife, surviving 
him thirty-five years, passed to her reward in 1882. Of the four 
children born to this union Turner, the subject of this review, is 
the only one now living. 

Turner W. Howard was reared on the old farm and attended the 
donation school which was at that tin e held in an extra room of 
one of the neighboring farm houses. Each man had to contribute 
so much in direct proportion to the number of his children attend- 
ing the school. The parents also furnished the fuel. Turner at- 
tended this school until he was thirteen years old, and then spent 
his entire time learning all there was to learn about farming and 
assisting in clearing the farm of its timber. 

On June 3, 1864. Mr. "Howard was united in marriage to Miss 
^larcia Place. She was born in Pennsylvania, June 3, 1842, the 



H32 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

daughter of Horace and Fanny (Litchfield) Place. Her father was 
a native of New York state and her mother of Massachusetts. Her 
parents were married in New York, moved to Erie county, Pennsyl- 
vania, and came to Hamilton township, Van Bur en county, Michi- 
gan, in 1848, where they continued to dw^ell for the rest of their 
lives. They were the parents of ten children, five of whom are now 
living. Their daughter Marcia was educated in the local schools, 
and later spent one year in a Pennsylvania school before becoming 
a teacher in the Van Buren county schools, where she taught three 
years prior to her marriage to Mr. Howard. She and her husband 
are the parents of live children. George E., who, following in the 
footsteps of his father, became a capable farmer. In 1890 he wa^ 
married to Lulu Cook and, purchasing the south forty acres of the 
home farm, made a home for his wife and six children, living there 
until his death in 1909. Effie, formerly a teacher in the public 
schools, is now Mrs. Thomas Maxwell. Fannie who was also a teacher 
in the public schools, is now^ the wife of John R. Cook. Isa is now 
teaching in Lawrence tow^nship. Van Buren county. Frank is still 
at home, active in church and Sunday-school work. 

Mr. Howard is a member of Rising Sun Lodge, No. 119, Ancient 
Free and Accepted Masons; of Lawrence Chapter, No. 95, Royal 
Arch Masons; and is a member of Lawrence Council, R. & S. M., 
No. 43. Politically, Mr. Howard may be found beneath the stand 
ard of the Democratic party, in whose counsels he takes a prominent 
and interested part. 

The Howards still own the one hundred sixty acres, which they 
farm, and where they have their pleasant homes. They are hospit- 
able and highly esteemed in the county as those who may be called 
upon when any movement for the general w^elfare is on foot. 

Roland B. Grant. — The subject of this brief review^ was born 
in Cook county on St. A^alentine's day of the year 1857. His father 
was Clarence Grant, who was born in Scotland and lived there un- 
til the age of seven, when he accompanied his father, John Grant, 
to Canada. They settled on a farm near Montreal and there John 
and his wife lived and died. Clarence Grant was one of a family of 
six boys and two girls, all now dead. His wife, Sabrina Farnum, 
was born in New Hampshire in 1829, and her parents, Roland and 
Mary Brooks Farnum, were also New Englanders. She became 
acquainted with Clarence Grant when he came to New England as 
a young man and went to work on a neighboring farm. They were 
married there and moved to a farm near Chicago. This was not 
an unknown country to Clarence Grant, as he had worked in Chi- 
cago on the breakwater before going to New England. Four chil- 
dren were born to them, three now living; Waldo, a contractor and 
builder of Chicago ; R. B. ; and May, who is the wife of Alfonso 
Chandler, a contractor and builder of Los Angeles, California. The 
mother died in 1901, and four years later the father went to live 
with his son Roland. 

Norwood Park, the place of his father's farm, was the home of 
Roland Grant until he was tw^enty-one yeffrs old. He then worked 
in the neighborhood of his home for one year, after which he w^ent 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 833 

to Chicago. From Chicago he went to New P^ngland to engage in 
the milling business and remained for one and a half years. When 
he left this he went to ^Missouri and bought a farm there, which he 
conducted for two years. It was during this time that he returned 
to Norwood Park to be married, his bride being Miss Elsie Cheever, 
the daughter of Benjamin S. and Anna Boise Cheever, the former 
being a native of New York State and the latter of England. Her 
grandfather, James Cheever, was born in Massachusetts. The wed- 
ding of Miss Cheever and Mr. Grant took place September 12, 1881, 
and the young couple began their married life on the Missouri 
farm, where they remained a year and a half. They then returned 
to Norwood Park and for eighteen years farmed their own place 
there. In 1901 they came to Arlington township, in March, and 
bought a farm upon w^hich they lived for ten years and in the 
spring of 1911, came to their present home. They own fifty-two 
acres in Law^rence township and forty in Bangor. Mr. Grant is 
occupied extensively in growing fruit and ships some fine crops to 
the markets. 

Two of the four children who have come into the home of Mr. and 
Mrs. Grant are still with their parents. Chase B. is a graduate of 
the Lawrence high school and has spent one year in Albion College, 
taking a literary course. Gordon is attending school. Both the 
daughters are married; Grace, to Charles J. Hughes, a contractor 
of Battle Creek, and Frances, to John Robbins, of Arlington town- 
ship. 

My. Grant is a member of the Shady Grove Lodge of the Inde- 
pendent Order of Odd Fellows of Lawrence. He and his family 
are members of the ^lethodist church in the same place and are ac- 
tive workers in it, as they take the keenest interest in all which 
tends to promote the higher life. iMr. Grant is a trustee in that 
body. In politics he is not actively interested, but favors the Re- 
publican principles in matters of national import. During the 
ten years which they have passed in the county ]\Ir. and Mrs. Grant 
have made its best interests their own and have won the lasting re- 
gard of all who have come to know them. They contribute a gen- 
erous share to the industrial efficiency which places Van Buren 
county so high in the commercial w^orld and add equally to the 
moral and intellectual forces which are of even more importance. 

George G. Hutchins. — Born in Devonshire, England, on the last 
day of the year 1846, George Hutchins, the son of George and Jane 
Iloils Hutchins, spent the first nineteen years of his life across the 
water. He acquired only a rudimentary education before leaving 
school to learn the blacksmith trade. He spent two years in the 
shop as an apprentice and then for a year and a half was em- 
ployed to shoe horses at the liberal salary of a shilling a week. An 
uncle and a brother, Richard, had come to America and Richard 
sent George the money for his passage and in his twentieth year, 
he joined his relatives at Paw Paw. Here he secured work on a 
shop owned by Philips and Kelly and was employed there for six 
months. The following year he worked on a farm and then for 
two winters and one summer attended school and thus added to his 



834 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUxNTY 

educational equipment. He then worked at his trade in Lawrence 
and in Paw Paw for a year and a half. After this time jNIr. Hutch- 
ins opened his shop in Paw Paw tow^nship and for four years he 
conducted the business at a good profit. This gave him his start 
and he was presently able to buy a farm in Arlington township 
with his savings. This place was his home for eight years and dur- 
ing that time he constantly improved it until he was able to sell 
it at a good advance and to buy another. He pursued the same 
policy with his second place and then bought the one he owns at 
present. This is the estate known as the Sterling Cole farm, a 
tract of one hundred and twenty-five acres w^hich has been in Mr. 
Hutchins' possession since 1891. He gives his attention to grow- 
ing fruit as well as to general farming, and at both is more than 
ordinarily successful. 

Mrs. Hutchins was formerly Miss Flora Cole, the daughter of 
Sterling Cole of Lawrence township. He came here from New 
York state in 1852, settling first in Berrien county. In 1854 he 
was married to ]\Iiss Euphemia Crumb, and then they went to 
Allegan county, making that their home until the year of 1861, 
when they came to Lawrence, and bought the farm now owned by 
Mr. Hutchins. Miss Cole became the wife of George Hutchins on 
February 4, 1874, and they have been the parents of six children 
as follows : Arthur, in business in the state of Washington ; Jennie. 
Mrs. R. F. Green, of Toledo ; Ellen, Mrs. Charles Harris, of Paw 
Paw township; liable, the wife of Professor C. M. Jennings, a 
teacher of Stanton, Michigan; Alice, Mrs. Earl Pugsley, of Hart, 
Michigan, where her husband is an attorney; and Mary, ^Irs. 
Arthur J. Dunning, of Sedro-Woolley, Washington, where she and 
her husband are both engaged in teaching. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hutchins are both members of the order of tlie 
Eastern Star at Lawrence. She has held several offices in that 
body, including that of worthy matron. Mr. Hutchins belongs to 
the Rising Sun lodge of the Masons at Lawrence. All the family 
are members of the Baptist church, where their interest and 
generous support are highly appreciated. Mr. Hutchins takes no 
active part in politics but he is a great admirer of Bryan and, 
although liberal in his views, inclines toward the Democratic plat- 
form. He and his wife are of the representative people of Van 
Buren county and are accorded a place of honor by the many 
friends they have made in the course of their life here. 

William P. Breeding. — One of the most enterprising, capable 
and enterprising young business men of South Haven, and one 
of the most esteemed citizens of Van Buren county, William I*. 
Breeding commands the admiration of all who know him by the 
success he has achieved and the promise his ability holds out for 
future accomplishments of a still more signal and enlarged char- 
acter, in whatever department of useful labor he may choose as 
the avenue of his activities. He has already done several things, 
and done each of them well, winning advancement for himself 
in each and contributing to the general weal of the community 
around him in all. 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 885 

Mr. Breeding was born in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsyl- 
vania, on April 20, 1875, and is a son of Elbert T. and Anna M. 
(Jackson) Breeding, the father a native of Massachusetts, born 
in 1849, and the mother of the same nativity as her son William. 
The father died on December 31, 1909, having outlived by only 
one month his wife, who passed aw^ay on January 30, 1910. They 
had three children, AVilliam P., Derwood M. and Florence. The 
daughter is now ]\Irs. Thomas A. Kennedy, of Kenilworth, a suburb 
of Chicago. The family moved to St. Louis some years before 
the death of the parents, and in that city the father was a mer- 
chant of good rank and repute. In politics he was a Republican, 
and in church connection a Baptist. 

William P. Breeding early in life secured employment with the 
Corticelli Silk Company of St. Louis, the family then being located 
in that city. He went into the employ of this company as an office 
boy at the age of fifteen, and by capacity, integrity and faithful 
attention to business worked himself up to the position of general 
department manager. He acquired a thorough knowledge of the 
business of the company he was working for, and at the same time 
attained to a sweep of vision which gave him a comprehensive 
knowledge of business in general and sufficient confidence in him- 
self to undertake an enterprise of his own. 

In 1907 he moved to Chicago and entered the lumber trade, with 
which he was actively and profitably connected for two years. 
Before going to Chicago, however, he had been married, and in 
1909 he took up his residence in South Haven, and there became 
associated with his father-in-law, Lyman S. ^lonroe, in the Soutli 
Haven Loan and Trust Company, Mr. .Monroe being the president 
at that time. After his death Mr. Breeding succeeded him in this 
office, and is still filling it with great advantage to the company 
and to the full satisfaction of its patrons. 

On January 28, 1905, Mr. Breeding was united in marriage with 
Miss Louise Monroe, a daughter of Lyman S. and Carrie J. 
(Curtiss) Monroe. Mr. Monroe was one of the leading business 
men and most prominent and influential citizens of Van Buren 
county. He was a brother of Hon. Charles Jay Monroe, in a sketch 
of whose life, to be found elsewhere in this volume, the history of 
the family is set forth at length. Mr. Breeding venerates the 
memory of his father-in-law, as he was a man worthy of the 
highest esteem and confidence in every respect, and he was also 
very helpful to iMr. Breeding, giving him every possible chance to 
advance himself, and not only opening the way for him to make 
headway, but aiding him materially in all his efforts in this direc- 
tion. 

Mr. Breeding is President of the South Haven Loan and Trust 
Company and also one of the directors of the First State Bank 
of South Haven and vice president and secretary of the Monroe 
Realty Company. He is a Republican in political affiliation and 
a Baptist in church connection, being chairman of the board of 
trustees of the First Baptist church. He and his wife have one 
child, their daughter Jane. The parents are among the most 



886 HISTORY OF YAN BUEEN COUNTY 

esteemed citizens of the city and county of their home, and the 
regard shown them by the people is based on genuine merit. 

Charles Funk. — No citizen of South Haven, Michigan, has been 
more prominently or beneficially connected with the public life 
of the city during the last few years than Charles Funk, one of 
its leading business men and now (1911) its chief executive. He 
served the people of the city so well and wisely as city councilman 
one term and part of another that they induced him to become 
their mayor, although he had to resign his seat in the council to 
become the nominee on what was known as the Citizens' Ticket, 
made up without regard to political party considerations. 

Mr. Funk was born in Bangor, this county, on November 9, 1875, 
and has passed the whole of his life to the present time within 
the borders of the county and in intimate association with its 
residents. He obtained his education principally in the common 
schools, attending them in winter and working on his father 's farm 
in summer. His scholastic training was finished at the high school 
in Bangor. He is a son of Martin and Minnie (Schlaack) Funk, 
the former born in Pennsylvania and the latter in Germany. Of 
the five children born of their union but three are living, Charles 
and his brothers Ernest and Preston. 

The father came to Michigan with his parents in the early fifties, 
when he was a small boy. They located at a place in Van Buren 
county known later as Funk's Settlement, where the father of 
Charles grew to manhood and acquired a knowledge of the oc- 
cupation of farming, in w^hich he has ever since been engaged, 
and which he began for himself on wild land unbroken as yet, 
and never before subject to the persuasive hand of the husbandman. 
He and his wife are still living on the farm he hewed out of the 
wilderness, but it is now highly improved, well cultivated and 
richly productive. He is a member of the German Lutheran church 
and in political affairs, sides with the Democratic party, although 
he is no longer a very active partisan, but is still always loyal to 
his political faith. 

On December 29, 1897, Mayor Funk, though he probably then 
never dreamed of becoming mayor, was married to Miss Bertha M. 
Springett, a native of Geneva township, this county, and a daughter 
of George and Flora M. Springett, also natives of Van Buren 
county and the children of English parents. Both are living on 
the farm the father has cultivated for many years. He is also 
a justice of the peace, and his political support is given to the 
Republican party. He and his wife are the parents of two chil- 
dren, Mrs. Funk and her brother Charles. 

For four years after his marriage Mr. Funk cultivated the farm 
of his grandfather, John Funk. He then moved to South Haven^ 
and was employed in a milling establishment for one year. He 
was eager, however, to have a business of his own, and at the end 
of his year in the mill formed a partnership with E. J. Merrifield 
and started an enterprise in the coal and wood trade under the 
firm name of Funk & Merrifield, which is still in existence and 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY B37 

actively engaged in business with ample yards on West Phoenix 
street, and with an extensive and profitable volume of trade. 

In 1907 Mr. Funk was elected alderman from the Second ward 
of the city, and at the end of his term in 1909 he was re-elected. 
He showed himself so capable and attentive to his official duties, 
so vigilant in caring for the interests of the city and the people, 
and so public-spirited and enterprising in municipal affairs, that 
before his second term expired he was obliged to resign his seat 
and become the candidate of the Citizens' party for mayor. To 
this office he was elected also, his term beginning in the spring of 
1911 and being for one year. In politics generally, especially in 
national and state affairs, Mr. Funk trains with the Democratic 
party, but in municipal elections he takes the view of many ex- 
cellent citizens in believing that partisan considerations should 
have but little weight, as municipal government is almost wholly 
a matter of business and should be conducted on business prin- 
ciples. Fraternally Mr. Funk is connected with the IModern Wood- 
men of America, and is one of the leading members of the organi- 
zation in the order in which he is enrolled. 

He and his wife are the parents of two cliildren, their son Lloyd 
and their daughter Velma. 

John Clair Mc Alpine was born in Hamilton township. Van 
Buren county, IMichigan, October 2, 1869, and is the only son of 
John and Mary I^hillips McAlpine, the former a native of Che- 
mung county, New York, and the latter of Livingston county. New 
York. i\lr. iMcAlpine has one sister, IMiss Ethel McAlpine. who re- 
sides with their mother in Hartford. 

As the name implies, ]Mr. ^McAlpine's ancestors were Scotch, his 
great-grandfather liaving settled in New York during the Revolu- 
tionary war. His grandfather, George ^IcAlpine, was born in New 
York, but moved with his family to Cass county, ^Michigan, in 
1858. Mr. IMcAlpine 's father, John McAlpine, was the eldest of a 
family of ten children, and, his parents being in poor circumstances 
financially, he early began to contribute to the support of his 
father's family. 

In 1863, at the age of eighteen, he enlisted in Company C, Sixty- 
sixth Illinois Sharpshooters, and with his company served faith- 
fully to the end of the war of the rebellion, when he Avas honor- 
ably discharged. He was a conscientious and law abiding citizen, 
a good husband and father, and was much loved by a wide circle of 
friends. He held various township offices, to which he brought un- 
swerving honesty, fidelity and good judgment. He was a member 
of the ]\Iasonic order and of the Grand Army of the Republic. 
His life began at Chemung county, New York, January 28, 184e5, 
and ended in Hartford, Michigan, November 6. 1910. 

John Clair McAlpine was educated in the common schools ex- 
cepting one year in a business college. Having determined early 
to be a farmer, he has adhered to his first choice of an occupation 
and is now an enterprising and progressive farmer in Keeler tow^n- 
ship. 

On October 8, 1888, Mr. iMcAlpine was united in marriage with 



838 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Miss Minnie E. Sheperd, a native of this county, born September 
4, 1868, and the daughter of Henry and Adelaide Van Der Voort 
Sheperd. Mrs. McAlpine, like her husband, secured her education 
in the public schools, and that and her home training, like his, 
were directed to practical ends. They have had four children, 
three of whom are living. Leila was educated in the public schools 
and also received good instruction in music. Beatrice, the second 
daughter, received a public school education and is now tho wife 
of William Bullard and has one child, a son, Gerald. They reside 
on a farm in Keeler township. The third daughter is Shirley, the 
youngest of the children. The son died at the age of three months. 
In his political allegiance Mr. McAlpine is a Republican, but in 
local affairs, especially, his first consideration is the good of this 
community and the w^elfare of its people, and he casts his ballot 
with this always in view. He is especially interested in the progress 
and usefulness of the public schools, and has been connected with 
their management for many years. Mr. McAlpine is a member of 
the Knights of the Modern Maccabees, holding his membership in 
Tent No. 623 at Keeler. All the members of the family belong to 
the Methodist Episcopal church. All are well and favorably known 
throughout the county as persons of high character, upright lives, 
advanced social culture and the genuine public spirit which leads 
them to welcome any worthy undertaking for the progress and 
improvement of the county and township of their home and are 
pleased with an opportunity to give it earnest and effective sup- 
port. They are well deserving of the universal esteem which they 
enjoy for their elevated standards of living, their sincere interest 
in the welfare of all who dwell around them, and their general high 
tone and usefulness as citizens. 

Almiron Robinson. — Mr. Robinson's parents were, like so many 
of the county's best citizens, natives of New York. Both Alfred 
Robinson and his wife, Esther Baird Robinson, were born in the 
Empire state and came to Michigan early in life. The father was 
a soldier in the Civil war and a life-long Republican. Both he and 
his wife were members of the United Brethren church. The mother 
is still living in Hartford, Michigan. There were five sons and 
two daughters in the household to which Almiron Robinson be- 
longed and four of the children are still living. Edward is a resi- 
dent of Keeler township ; Charles lives in Hartford ; Alfred is a 
merchant in Berlamont; and Almiron lives in Keeler township. 

The date of Mr. Robinson's birth was March 22, 1875, and this 
county has been his home all of his life. He was educated in the 
common schools and not until he was twenty-one did he begin 
working for himself. When he began his career as a wage earner 
ihe did not have a dollar to his name. In 1895 he was married to 
Miss Frankie V. Jackson and together they began to work for a 
competence. She is the only child of Andrew and Eliza St. John 
Jackson, of this county, and was born February 15, 1879. 

The first home of the young couple is now a part of their present 
farm. They were obliged to go in debt to buy it, but thrift and 
good management, as well as hard work, enabled them in time not 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 839 

only to pay for this but to acquire forty acres more. In 1899 they 
built a tasteful frame house, which has since been enlarged and 
modified. Three years afterwards they erected a large barn, which 
was destroyed by fire four years later and all its contents lost. 
Misfortunes are said never to come singly and the Robinson's ex- 
perience was no exception, for shortly before their valuable barn 
went up in fiames Mr. Robinson was confined to the hospital for 
five months. Adversity only develops fortitude in strong souls 
and these two were of that sort who refuse to be discouraged. 
They built another barn, whose dimensions are thirty-six by seventy 
feet and in 1911 were able to look out on their pleasant estate, 
''Ingleside" with the satisfying consciousness that there was not 
a dollar of indebtedness on it. This place is situated four and a 
half miles from Keeler and five and a half miles from Hartford, 
and is one of the pleasant homes of the county. 

There are four children in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Rol)inson 
and all are in school. Lloyd is in the eighth grade; Leon D., in 
the seventh ; Glenn, in the fourth ; and Laura Belle, in the third 
grade. It is the intention of the parents to give their children the 
education which will fit them to carry out their chosen careers to 
the best advantage. They are deeply interested in the question of 
education and are especially friendly to the public schools. 

Mr. Robinson endorses the political principles for which the 
Republican party stands and, though he is no politician, he is 
very much interested in public affairs. Both he and Mrs. Robin- 
son are always prompt to give support and encouragement to all 
undertakings which are for the general good. They have built 
up their fortune from nothing and it has been sometimes very 
much like making bricks without straw, but their satisfaction is 
all the keener for the conquered difficulties and their record will 
be a proud tale for their children to tell and to hear. 

Spencer Van Ostrand. — Whatever may be said of native gifts, 
inherent traits and hereditary characteristics in determining a 
man's course in life, no thoughtful and observant person can deny 
the force of circumstances in the same connection, which not in- 
frequently bend every qualification a man has in accordance with 
their requirements. His situation and surroundings made S. Van 
Ostrand, of South Plaven, a student of medicine in his youth and 
early manhood, and circumstances afterward veered him from his 
contemplated professional career and made him a merchant and 
promoter. 

Mr. Van Ostrand is a New Yorker by nativit.v, and was born in 
the town of Rose, Wayne county, in that state, on December 20, 
1844. His parents. Dr. and Sarah (Tuller) Van Ostrand, were also 
natives of New York, the former born at Sennett, Cayuga county, 
and the latter at Wolcott in Oswego county. The father lived to 
the age of eighty-four and the mother to that of fifty years. Their 
son, Spencer Van Ostrand, was the first born of their six children, 
four of whom are living. 

The father was a physician and obtained his professional train- 
ing at the Geneva (New York) Medical College, being graduated 



840 HISTORY OP VAN BUREN COUNTY 

from that institution under P. 11. Hamilton, of world-wide celebrity. 
Dr. Van Ostrand served three years in the First Michigan Regi- 
ment of Engineers and Mechanics during the Civil war, and after 
his release from that engagement returned to Albion, Calhoun 
county, this state. There he was busily occupied in a large general 
practice of his profession for a number of years, but about ten 
years before his death he was appointed examining surgeon in the 
regular army of the United States and assigned to duty at Yankton, 
South Dakota. He then moved to that city and there he passed the 
remainder of his life in faithful attention to his duties to the end. 

Before the Civil war he was a strong Abolitionist and a devoted 
worker against the curse of human slavery in this country. As 
such he rendered very efficient service to the cause of freedom for 
the slaves as a division superintendent of the famous "Under- 
ground Railroad,'' through the aid of which a great many South- 
ern slaves escaped from their involuntary servitude to Canada, 
where numbers of them became citizens of approved demeanor and 
some persons of consequence and influence. He joined the Repub- 
lican party when it was founded and always adhered to it firmly. 

Mr. Van Ostrand, the son, lived at home with his parents until 
he was twenty-two years of age, and, with a view to making a 
physician of himself, studied medicine under the tuition of his 
father. J^ut instead of entering on the practice of his profession 
he became a lumberman in South Haven, and followed that business 
for about two years. He then clerked in a drug store for five 
years, after which he opened a general store at Kibbie, this county, 
where he was also postmaster and agent for the Michigan Central 
Railroad for a period of ten years. At the end of that time he re- 
turned to South Haven and began an enterprise in the drug trade 
which he is still conducting, and has been ever since. 

In 1902, in conjunction with Dr. A. C. Runyan, he organized the 
Light, Fuel and Power Company of the city, which was later re- 
organized as the South Haven Gas Company, and of this he has 
ever since been secretary and treasurer. His political faith and 
support are given to the Democratic party, and he is an energetic 
and effective worker for its success, although not himself desirous 
of any of the honors or emoluments it has to bestow, as his various 
business interests occupy all his time and claim all his energies ex- 
cept what are required for the ordinary duties of citizenship, and 
these he never neglects or gives half-hearted attention. 

Mr. Van Ostrand was married on August 22, 1867, to Miss 
Panny H. Overy. She was born near the historic old city of Hast- 
ings, England, and is a daughter of Charles and Harriet (Wood) 
Overy, who were born, reared, educated and married in England, 
and remained in that country until they reached middle age. They 
.then came to the United States and located in Calhoun county, near 
Albion, Michigan, where the father died at the age of fifty-four 
and the mother is still living, being now ninety-four years old. 
Mrs. Van Ostrand w^as the second born of their six children, four 
of whom are living. Mr. and Mrs. Van Ostrand have had five chil- 
dren, three of whom are deceased. Two died in infancy and Rob- 
ert E., the fourth born son, was killed by accident in 1896, when he 



HISTORY OF VAN BIJREN COUNTY 841 

was twenty years of age. The two living children are Charles H. 
and Archie E. Charles H. is with his father in the drug business. 
Archie E. is in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, engaged in Christian Sci- 
ence w^ork. All the members of the family enjoy in a marked de- 
gree the regard and good will of the whole community, and are 
admired throughout the county for their genuine worth and the 
elevated character of their citizenship. They are earnest sup- 
porters of all commendable projects involving the growth and im- 
provement of their home city, and manifest in the most helpful and 
practical way their deep interest in the welfare of the county in 
which they live and all its residents, and the people esteem them 
accordingly, 

Daniel Cook Van Antwerp. — The name of Van Antwerp has 
been conspicuous in the history of Michigan for nearly a hundred 
years. For three generations the family has resided in this com- 
monwealth, and during the years that have elapsed since the first 
Van Antwerp came to this part of the country the different mem- 
bers of the family have been identified with the military, agricul- 
tural, commercial, political and fiscal life of the conmiunity. At 
all time they have been characterized by their high sense of honor, 
their valor and efftcient performance of any duties with which 
they were entrusted. Daniel Cook Van Antwerp, whose name in- 
augurates this biography, and a record of whose career follows, 
has done honor to the fair name he bears. 

The birth of this scion of an old Holland family occurred in 
Antwerp township, January 15, 1852. His grandfather, Daniel 
Van Antwerp, was born in Schenectady, New York, November 22, 
1795, and was descended from one of three brothers who came from 
Antw^erp, Holland, and settled in the Empire state. He came to 
Michigan about the year 1837, entered one thousand and eighty 
acres of land from the government and became a prominent citi- 
zen. He had the contract for considerable work in the building of 
the Michigan Central Railroad, but it was in his church affiliations 
that he was best known and remembered. He was a deacon in the 
Presbyterian church and took a very prominent part in all its af- 
fairs, giving freely of his time and means. At a memorial service 
held in his honor the elder said ''I never went to him for counsel 
and was turned away empty. ' ' He won distinction in the commu- 
nity and in honor of the family the township of Antwerp was 
named. 

His son Freeman was born in New York state, July 16, 1823, 
and when a lad accompanied his father to Michigan, where he 
later engaged in agricultural pursuits. On October 1, 1850, Free- 
man Van Antwerp married Miss Harriet Cook, who was born March 
29, 1827, in Covington, Tioga county, Pennsylvania, and was the 
daughter of Dr. Nathan and Ann (Hamilton) Cook, who were 
married March 18, 1824. Dr. Nathan Cook was born October 4, 
1799, in Richmond, Cheshire county, New Hampshire, a son of 
Nathan and Sally (Dix) Cook, who were married about 1796. 
This family is of New England Puritan descent, tracing their an- 
cestry to the Cooks who came over in the IVIayflower. Dr. Nathan 



842 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Cook*8 wife, Ann Hamilton, was a daughter of William Hamilton, 
who was born in Scotland and came to New York state when young. 
He bore arms in the defense of his country during the Revolutionary 
war. He married Hannah Weddaugh, of Dutch descent. Mr. and 
]\lrs. William Hamilton are buried in York, Sandusky county; 
Ohio. Dr. Nathan Cook was a graduate of Dartmouth College, New 
Hampshire, and practiced his profession in that state before coming 
west. 

In 1823 he started for what was then called the '^far wesf — 
western New York — locating in Chenango county, near the present 
city of Binghampton and making the entire journey on horseback. 
In 1826 they moved to Covington, Tioga county, Pennsylvania, 
where they lived four and a half years and then removed to Huron, 
Erie county, Ohio, and in 1833 came to Erie, Munroe county, Mich- 
igan, where the Doctor was very successful in his profession, but 
owing to poor health had to discontinue it. In 1836 he came as 
iar as Gravel Lake, where he purchased land and this trip was 
also made on horseback. On April 15, 1837, he started with his 
family for what was then called the St. Joseph Country. This 
journey was made with an ox team and w^as necessarily slow, ow- 
ing to one of the team having to be favored. The description of a 
portion of this journey is best told in the following article, copied 
from a biographical sketch written by Mrs. Freeman Van Ant- 
werp when nearly sixty-nine years old, and left as a precious pos- 
session to her son, Daniel Cook Van Antwerp, and 'her daughter, 
]Mrs. John Marshall. It is of particular interest, owing to the fact 
that when this portion of Van Buren county in which they located 
was renamed it was Harriet Cook (later Mrs. Freeman Van Ant- 
werp) who named it Porter. In her article she says: ''Monday 
morning. May 6, 1837, we left Mr. Clark's, being then about thir- 
teen or fourteen miles from our destination. The morning was 
(;old and misty, amounting almost to rain, but towards noon the 
sun came out and the remainder of the day was very bright, but 
cool. Moving slowly along, passing only one or two houses on our 
journey that day, about four o'clock in the afternoon, when just 
east of where Mr. Rock now lives, that same ox laid down again. 
My father told us to take the cows and go on, that it was not more 
than two miles, and when we came to a beautiful, clear lake on our 
left w^e would find Uncle Roderick Bell's log cabin back in the 
bushes on the bank of the lake. Following the road, if road it 
could be called, for it was just merely a wagon track winding in 
and out among the trees and logs, we soon saw the lake and soon a 
woman's voice called to us. It was my aunt, who had been looking 
for us several days and had seen us through an opening in the 
bushes. My uncle had settled here in 1836 and he and Mr. Alex- 
ander were the first white settlers in southwestern Porter. My un- 
<»le went to the assistance of my father and before sundown we 
were all at our journey's end. And how glad my sister and I were 
the next morning when we did not have to get up and move on 
again. 

*'Now began hardships and privations that lasted for years; 
hardships that no one can fully understand unless placed in simi- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 843 

lar circumstances. No schools, no churches, no newspapers, no 
books, society, nor amusements. We had the lakes with all their 
beauty, the forests with all their grandeur and solitude, and they 
really were companions for me. In early spring we went winter- 
greening, in summer we rambled in the woods and gathered wild 
berries, in the fall we went nutting and gathered cranberries 
(which we could not use for want of suger), and in winter we lis- 
tened to the lonely howling of wolves, — the most dismal sound one 
can imagine. Indians came to our house often; sometimes they 
would camp on the south side of the lake for several days at a 
time and at night we could hear them laugh and whoop and splash 
the water in their play. The second summer we were here was 
what was known for years as the sickly summer ; every family had 
its share, we were all sick, everybody was sick, but we all lived 
through. 

''After awhile we began to have a school here and there in the 
forest, and, though a long way for some to go all were glad of the 
opportunity. My sister and I had one girl friend, Sarah Ann 
Swift. We were together a great deal; we roamed the woods, 
played around the lakes and attended school together nearly all of 
our school days. After a time we began to have spelling schools. 
This was quite an item for us, as it broke the monotony of pioneer 
life. We were always first in spelling, we knew what the hrst call 
would be — it would be Harriet Cook or Sarah Ann Swift, or vice 
versa, and this was a source of much pleasure and usefulness to 
US; and in time we were far ahead of others in spelling. After a 
time we had township libraries and here began my taste for read- 
ing. After many hard struggles we began teaching school, — 
worked so hard for so little — just one dollar per week and 'board 
round.' My sister Sarah taught thirteen years, summer and win- 
ter. She taught the first school ever taught in the village of De- 
catur and the second one ever taught at Porter Center. 

"I taught six summers — the first two at Lagrange, Cass county, 
the next at Williams' Corners on the territorial road in Antwerp, 
then one term of four and one half months in the valley, then two 
summers at the (Corners again, making in all just twelve months at 
that place." 

Dr. Nathan Cook passed the remainder of his life in Van Buren 
county and was one of its best known citizens. Game was plenti- 
ful in these days and he did much hunting, becoming an expert in 
shooting deer when they were running, and if he saw them stand- 
ing still he would start them before attempting to shoot. He was 
town clerk and all business was transacted at his home. He died 
January 31, 1867, at Porter. His wife died in the same town, July 
12, 1887, aged eighty- four. Their daughter, Harriet Cook, married 
Freeman Van Antwerp, (as noted above). In 1863 Freeman Van 
Antwerp engaged in the livery business and ran a stage line from 
Paw Paw to Lawton, having the contract to carry the mail. He 
died in Paw Paw, Michigan, October 16, 1865. Both Mr. and Mrs. 
Van Antwerp were members of and attended the Presbyterian 
church in Paw Paw for many years. 

Freeman Van Antwerp left three children to be reared by their 



844 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUiNTY 

mother, — Daniel Cook, a lad of thirteen when his father died; 
Idale (wife of John Marshall, of Porter township), whose birth 
had occurred February 23, 1855; and Anna, who was born No- 
vember 22, 1862, and who died March 14, 1878. Mrs. Van Ant- 
werp, soon after her husband ^s death, bought a tract of sixty acres 
of land in Porter township, and there she went with her three chil- 
dren, superintended the management of the farm and the bringing 
up of her children, the youngest of whom was but three years 
old when her father died. The mother lived to see her son prosper 
in his undertakings, her elder daughter married and she buried 
her youngest child. On the 17th day of November, 1904, the 
mother was summoned to the Great Beyond. 

The first five years of Daniel Cook Van Antwerp's life were 
spent in the township which is named in honor of his family, then 
one year at Porter, where he began going to school at six years old, 
then returning to Antwerp, where he spent five years, then four 
years in Paw Paw, where he attended the high school and left on 
account of poor health. After his father's death in Paw Paw he 
removed to Porter township. When eighteen years old he began 
to farm the land which his mother had bought and in 1881 he 
bought one hundred and forty acres of land in Porter township. 
Some of this tract he sold and now owns one Iiundred and twenty 
acres in that township. On the 27th of February, 1911, he moved 
to Lawton, that his daughter might have the advantages afforded 
by its schools, but he and his wife still own two hundred acres of 
land, which he rents to farmers. 

On the 25th day of February, 1891, Mr. Van Antwerp married 
Miss Laura A. Hayne, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Turner) 
Hayne, both natives of Cornwall, England, where also their mar- 
riage occurred. They came to America in 1855, and settled in 
Wayne county, Michigan. The father died June 13, 1905, in 
Porter, and the mother's demise occurred September 11, 1892, in 
Porter. Of the four children who were born to Mr. and Mrs. 
Hayne two died in infancy; Mrs. Van Antwerp is the third and 
her brother, John D., resides in Porter township. Mr. and Mrs. 
Van Antwerp have had two children, — Elwyn H., born December 
1, 1891, who died on March 18, 1896 ; and Idale Elizabeth, whose 
birth occurred July 10, 1897. 

In politics Mr. Van Antwerp is a Republican and for two years 
he held the position of commissioner of highways in Porter town- 
ship, which office was given him unsolicited. His fraternal connec- 
tion is with the ^Modern Woodmen of America and in a religious 
way he and his wife and daughter hold membership with the Meth- 
odist church. He has resided only a short time in Lawton, but 
he has already made his presence felt and his fellow citizens re- 
gard his coming to the tow^n as an event of which they have reason 
to be proud. 

John Bailey. — A man who plays an active and useful part in 
the many-sided life of Paw Paw, Van Buren county, Michigan, is 
John Bailey, who formerly was identified with the agricultural in- 
terests of Waverly township and who at the present time is en- 



HISTORY OF VAN HHKEN COUNTY 845 

gaged in the livery business of Sage & l^ailey, which is one of the 
thriving and well-conducted enterprises of the town. He is a 
native son of Michigan and has been a resident of this township 
since the year 1885. i\Ir. Bailey was born in Jefferson township, 
Hillsdale county, ^Michigan, on the 25th day of January, 1864. 
His father, Josiah Bailey, was born in 1831, in Lenawee county, 
Michigan. As a young man he farmed in Lenawee county for a 
number of years and subse(iuently removed to Jefferson, Hillsdale 
county, where he passed the remainder of his days, the demise of 
this good citizen occurring in 1878. He laid the foundations of a 
liappy marriage in 1854, at ^Medina, Mary Jane Bump, born No- 
vember 12, 1836, becoming his wife. She survived him for more 
than a quarter of a century, her summons to the life eternal com- 
ing on February 3, 1904. They reared the following son and 
daughters : Hortensie, Susan, and John. 

John Bailey, youngest of the children of Josiah and Mary Bailey 
and the immediate subject of this review, spent his early years in 
Jefferson county and for his education is indebted to the country 
schools of the locality in which he spent his boyhood. At the time 
of his father's death lie was a boy of about fifteen years, but he 
was capable and serious and of the type which assumes responsi- 
bility successfully, and he at once took upon himself the manage- 
ment of the t'arm and continued at the head of its aft'airs until 
1888. In that year he made a radical change by coming to Wa- 
verly township, where he purchased a farm of eighty acres and 
proceeded to improve this and to engage in its cultivation. He was 
very successful in his operations in connection with the great 
basic industry and in time gained a comfortable competence. In 
1905 he purchased a half interest in the livery stable business in 
connection with his present partner, Joel Sage, the firm being 
known under the caption of Sage & Bailey, and he has continued 
engaged in this fashion up to the present time. Mr. Bailey and 
his partner keep from fourteen to twenty good horses and in addi- 
tion to operating a fine livery they have a sales stable and also run 
the local stage and baggage business in connection with the various 
trains coming into Paw Paw^ He is a progressive, public-spirited 
citizen who does all in his power to support and encourage all such 
measures and institutions as shall contribute to the general wel- 
fare. 

Mr. l^ailey was first married in 1886, Mary Weatherw^ax, of 
Hillsdale county, becoming his wife. Two daughters were born 
to this union, namely : Bessie, who married George Rock and is the 
mother of a son and daughter named Clyde and Laura; and 
Delta, w;ho is still at home. The mother passed away February 
12, 1896, mourned by all who know her. On April 8, 1899, Anah 
Noyes, a native of Hillsdale county, became the wife of the sub- 
ject. Mr. and Mrs. Hailey share their home with an adopted son, 
Eugene. They are well and favorably known in the community 
and their circle of friends may almost me said to be coincident with 
that of their acquaintance. 

In his political affiliations Mr. Bailey has ever given hand and 
heart to the Republican party. He gave his maiden vote to its men 



846 HISTORY OF VAN BURExN COUNTY 

and measures, and his loyalty to the party which produced such 
men as Lincoln, McKinley and Roosevelt is unswerving. His fra- 
ternal allegiance is given to the Independent Order of Odd Fel- 
lows. 

George W. Merriman. — Banker, lawyer, farmer, fruit-grower 
and public official of a high rank, George W. Merriman, of Hart- 
ford, is justly considered one of the leading and most useful citi- 
zens of Van Buren county. He has been a resident of the county 
for twenty-nine years, and in that time has been tried in several 
lines of useful endeavor and never been found wanting in in- 
tegrity, ability or fidelity to duty in any. He has risen to conse- 
quence and influence among the people, and has always used his 
influence and his opportunities for their welfare, the progress and 
improvement of the county and the betterment of the whole state, 
in every way open to him. 

i\Ir. Merriman was born in Savannah, Wayne county, New 
York, on February 4, 1851, and is a scion of a family, on his 
father's side, that has been resident in this country for more than 
Ihree hundred years. He is a son of Elijah and Maria (Winegar) 
I\Ierriman, also natives of the state of New York. Elijah Merri- 
man was a son of Elisha; Elisha, a son of Charles; Charles, a 
son of Joel. And so the lineage runs back in unbroken succession 
to very early in the seventeenth century, when Captain Nathaniel 
Merriman of England came to this country and settled in Rhode 
Island. From that time to the present the name has been promi- 
nent in the history of New England and many other parts of the 
country, and members of the family have dignified and adorned 
every w^orthy and commendable walk of life. 

George W. Merriman was reared on his father's farm in Wayne 
county. New York, and educated in a district school. After com- 
pleting his education he became a teacher, and was principal of 
the Union school at South Butler in his native county when he 
was only twenty years of age. At the age of twenty -one he came 
to Michigan and located in Plainwell, Allegan county, where he 
served as cashier of the Exchange Bank for eight years. He then 
left the bank for the purpose of pursuing a course in the study 
of law in the University of Michigan. He was graduated from the 
law department of this institution in 1882, with the degree of LL. B. 

Immediately after his graduation he came to Hartford as the 
head of the Exchange Bank in that town, and he has been conduct- 
ing this with expanding business and steadily increasing popularity 
ever since. Mr. Merriman is also interested extensively in farm- 
ing and fruit-growing, and he does some business in the line of his 
profession as a lawyer. But his other duties are too numerous 
jind exacting to allow him to devote himself to this exclusively or 
to any considerable extent. 

On June 25, 1882, he was joined in marriage with Miss Jennie 
Sherman, a school teacher at Plainwell, Michigan. The fruit of 
this union was one child, Harry J. Merriman, who was born at 
Hartford, this county, on July 25, 1883, and who is now associated 
with his father in carrying on the bank. His mother died in 1888, 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 847 

and in 1894 the father was married a second time, being united 
(•n this occasion with Mrs. Jennie (Smiley) Phelps, a native, like 
himself, of the state of New York. 

Air. Merriman, the elder, is a Freemason of the thirty-second 
degree. In Blue Lodge Masonry he belongs to Florada Lodge, 
No. 309, at Hartford, and to Lawrence Royal Arch Chapter at 
Lawrence. His membership in the Scottish rite and A. A. O. N. 
M. S. (Saladin Temple) is held in Grand Rapids. He also belongs 
to the Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of the Macca- 
bees, and has been the worshipful master of Florada lodge and 
held prominent positions in the other fraternities of which he is 
a member. 

In political faith and action he has for many years been one of 
the most influential and valued members of the Republican party, 
and his wise counsel and efficient w^ork in its behalf have been 
highly appreciated by both its leaders and its rank and file, locally 
and throughout the state. He was one of the delegates from Mich- 
igan to the national Republican convention of 1892. From 1895 
to 1899 he was a member of the state senate. He served six years 
as a member of the- state prison board, two of them as its presi- 
dent, and for tw^elve years has been a member of the state central 
committee of his party. His services to his party and to the people 
m the several public offices he has held have been conspicuous in 
their usefulness and extent, and his record in this connection iS 
highly creditable to him, and also to the people w^ho have known 
how to estimate him properly. 

In the matter of public improvements for the township and 
county in which he lives Mr. Merriman has also been of great 
service to the people. He judges of every project with intelligence, 
supports those he favors with great zeal and energy, and aids in 
guiding all the progressive tendencies of his locality along lines 
of wholesome development, enduring good and in behalf of the 
l)est interests of the people. All his business enterprises, also, 
contribute to the general weal and help to increase the material 
wealth and commercial importance of the county. 

Harry J. Merriman, the son and only child of George W., and 
his assistant in the bank, is a young man of ability and promise. 
He married Miss Nora Spaulding, of Hartford. They have two 
children, their daughters Ruth and Catherine. The young man 
is a worthy follower in the footsteps of his distinguished father, 
and shows by his daily walk and conversation that the fine ex- 
ample of citizenship which is always before him has made its due 
impression on him. He, also, stands high in the regard of the 
people and fully deserves their confidence and esteem. 

Edward George. — A striking example of cheerful self-sacrifice 
to one's country is found in the career of Edward George, a well 
known resident of Lawton, Michigan, who in the full bloom of 
young manhood marched away to the defense of the flag of his 
nation, and returned home shattered in health and spirit and only 
a shadow of the splendid specimen of young America who so 
readily had answered his country 's call in its time of need. Every 



848 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

veteran oi the Civil war is entitled to our respect and honor, and 
' when it has happened that one lias sacrificed his ambitions, his 
manhood and all that makes life dear, then he is doubly worthy 
of our reverence. Mr. George was born August 7, 1840, in Wayne 
county. New York, and is a son of Charles G. and Phoebe M. 
(Iloag) George, natives of Vermont. 

Mr. George's parents came to Michigan in 1843, locating in 
Marengo township, Calhoun county, where the elder George car- 
ried on carriage and wagonmaking until 1849, and then sold out 
and came to Keeler township, Van Buren county, and purchased 
one hundred and sixty acres of farming land, on w^hich he carried 
on agricultural pursuits until his death, October 29, 1898. His 
wife passed away February 17, 1857, having been the mother of 
four children: Almira, the wife of Coram 0. xVbbott, of Berrien 
county; Edward; AVilliam G., a veteran of the Civil war, and 
now a resident of Brunswick, Georgia, with which land he became 
acquainted while a soldier in the army; and Stephen F., who died 
in infancy. 

Edw^ard George received his education in the schools of his na- 
tive locality and in Keeler township, and he worked on the farm 
until he was twenty-two years of age. At this time, his youthful 
patriotism being inflamed by the stories of those who had already 
been to the front, he enlisted in Company I, Twentieth Regiment, 
Michigan Volunteer Infantry, under Captain C. C. Dodge. Private 
George w^as one of the most popular men in his company, and he 
was always in the thick of the fight and fighting bravely in a 
regiment that was noted for its brave, hard-fighting men. Faithful 
in his service, loyal to his company and proud in keeping up the 
standard of its ability, and cheerful to a degree on marches that 
taxed the stamina and temper of the bravest among his companions, 
Mr. George was a general favorite with men and officers, and there 
was universal sorrow in the ranks of his company when it was 
learned that he had been severely wounded in the hip. He was 
taken to the hospital at Fredericksburg, from wiience he was re- 
moved to Patterson Park Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, where he 
was kept until convalescent, when he was taken to Fort IMcHenry 
and there later received his honorable discharge. Everything that 
could be done for his injury was resorted to, but he has been an 
invalid throughout life, he being paralyzed from the hip down, and 
during the last twenty-four years he has been compelled to use a 
wheel chair. The same cheerfulness and patience that characterized 
his army service and cheered many of his comrades on some soul- 
trying march or kept up their spirits while in the thick of the hard- 
fought engagements that marked the course of the Twentieth Mich- 
igan have never deserted Mr. George, and in spite of his affliction 
he has been able to accomplish much and to complain little. Ever 
since his return from the war he has lived in Van Buren county, 
and he now owns a fine home in Lawton, where he is a popular 
member of the Grand Army Post. Tn political matters he is a 
life-long Republican. 

On March 2, 1864, Mr. Geprge was married to Miss Mary M. 
Austin, daughter of Harvey H. and Calista (Barry) Austin, and 



HISTORY OF VAN HUREN COUNTY 849 

she died January 5, 1902. One daughter has been born to this 
union: Annette C, born April 4, 1871, a graduate of the Lawton 
High School, who has taught in that institution, and is now keep- 
ing house for her father. Mr. George is a member of the Masonic 
fraternity, and with his daugliter affiliates with the Congregational 
church. 

GrEORGE H. BARKER is widcly known throughout Van 13uren 
county, where he holds highest standing as a splendid citizen and 
successful, up-to-date agriculturist. Like so many of the county's 
best stock, he is a native of the Empire state, his birth having 
occurred there on August 12, 1882. His parents were Lucian and 
Jjucindy (Bly) Barker, the father a native of Massachusetts and 
the mother of New^ York. ]\[r. P>arker first took up his residence 
within the boundaries of the AVolverine state when ho was a small 
lad, his father removing to JMichigan in 1888 and locating in Wasli- 
tenaw county. The elder gentleman took up farming land and 
lie followed this occupation until his summons to the Great Be- 
yond. He and his good wife were the parents of a family of 
pioneer proportions, ten boys i\nd girls coming to live beneath their 
roof-tree. Concerning them the following brief data is herewith 
entered. Mary is the widow of William Bush, of Ann Arbor, Mich- 
igan ; Russell, now deceased, was the captain of a company in a 
Michigan regiment of infantry at the time of the Civil war; Ellen 
is deceased ; the subject is fourth in order of birth ; Jane is the 
widow of James Haw^kin, of Detroit ; Nancy is the widow of Ben- 
jamin Todd, of Flint, ^lichigan; Philander I)., a young soldier in 
the Third Michigan Cavalry, gave up his life at the time of the 
struggle between tlie states to the cause of freedom ; Frank resides 
at Whitmore Lake, IMichigan; Sarah is deceased; and Angeline is 
the widow^ of Chester Todd, of Detroit. 

.Mr. Barker entered upon his career as a farmer at the age of 
sixteen years, taking up that occupation in association with his 
brother-in-law\ At the age of twenty-one years he located on a 
((uarter section of his father's land, this being situated within 
Section 22, in ('overt township. In addition to his general farm- 
ing he also followed saw-milling for a time. He then returned to 
New York, where he remained for two years, but in 1856 he came 
back to Michigan. LTis father had met with reverses and when 
his land w^as sold for taxes Mr. Barker l)ought it, securing a quarter- 
section at the remarkably low price of one hundred dollars. Then, 
in evidence of his generosity, he gave his fatlier a quit claim deed 
to the whole property and his father deeded him eighty acres. At 
the demise of the elder gentleman Mr. I^arker bought out the rest 
of the heirs and he has ever since retained this property, which 
has steadily increased in value and which now^ is one of the well- 
known homesteads in this part of the county. 

In 1861 Mr. Barker went to eastern ^Michigan, and there lived 
for two years. While there he married and when he returned to 
Covert in 1864 he brought back with him a wife. The maiden name 
of this estimable lady was Sarah C. DeWolf and the date of their 
union was January 15, 1862. Pier parents, both now deceased. 



850 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

were Jason and Elizabeth (Near) DeWolf, of New York. Their 
children were five in number and as follows : Anne, wife of Henry 
Doane, of Livingston county, Michigan; Hiram J., of Livingston 
county, Michigan, a soldier in the Civil war; Mrs. Barker; Mary 
L., wife of Thomas Winneger, of Howell, Michigan; and Horace 
Wesley, deceased. Into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Barker were 
born the following five children: Hiram D., deceased; Zilpha V., 
wife of Elmer Oliver, of Monroe county. New York, and mother 
of one child, Grace Eloise; Grace A., wife of Robert Ballou of 
Covert; George Cecil, deceased; and Ernest H. The last-named 
w^as married to Lottie Walters, of Chicago, and their four chil- 
dren, Cecil E., G. Herbert, Katheryn L. and Walter G., give 
to the subject and his wife the pleasant distinction of grand- 
father and grandmother. 

Mr. Barker, throughout his long and useful life, has been in 
harmony with the policies and principles of the Republican party 
and he has ever done all in his power to support its causes. His 
fine principles and stanchness of character have placed him in 
the possession of the general confidence and he has been confided 
with the keeping of some of the most important offices in the gift 
of the county. For nine years he served as supervisor and he has 
given most efficient service as treasurer and township clerk. He 
is one of the influential members of the Grange and his church 
home is the Congregational, to whose support he has ever con- 
tributed generously. Mr. Barker has now^ retired from the more 
strenuous duties of the great basic industry of agriculture and 
resides in Covert, where he owns and occupies a fine commodious 
residence, and in leisure well-earned enjoys the fruits of his former 
industry and thrift. 

Levi Nelson Lyle. — It has been given to some to help develop 
the country, to shape their surroundings according to their needs, 
and to bring forth the present high degree of civilization. Van 
Buren county, Michigan, became the home of many a sturdy pi- 
oneer who did not ask for anything more than wild timber land 
to work upon. Bravely, uncomplainingly, these forerunners of 
civilization went to work and now^ many of them have laid down 
the burdens of life, although it was given to most of them to see 
in some measure what they had accomplished. The son of a pi- 
oneer and a citizen who has himself developed an excellent farm 
from what was before only a tract of wild woodland is Levi Nel- 
son Lyle, residing in Paw Paw township. 

Levi Nelson Lyle was born in a rough hewn shanty in the woods 
of Paw Paw township, Van Buren county, March 29, 1846, his 
birthplace having been about thirty feet from where now stands 
the home of his nephew. Jay Lyle. His parents were John and 
Ann (Armstrong) Lyle. His grandfather, John Lyle, Sr., was a 
native of Cornwall, England, and was born on Christmas day, 
1793. With his family he immigrated to America in 1832 and in 
the spring of 1835 came to Michigan, locating his home in the 
wilderness, a mile and a half north of Paw Paw. He died Decem- 
ber 4, 1867, leaving a wife, ten children and numerous grand- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREX COUNTY 851 

children to mourn his loss. John Lyle Jr., eldest of the ten chil- 
dren of the foregoing, was born in Devonshire, England, January 
5, 1818, and came to Michigan with the family. At that time the 
only fashion in which he could find his way from his farm to 
Paw Paw was by marking the trees, this primitive method of blaz- 
ing the trail being the forerunner of the beautiful roads of to- 
day. The farm which he cleared became one of the best in the 
country and was his home until his death, October 5, 1899. He 
hauled his w^heat to St. Joseph with a yoke of oxen, taking three 
days to make the trip, and received for it fifty cents per bushel, 
w^hich was considered a very good price in those days. He was 
married here to Miss Ann Armstrong, who had come to Paw Paw 
from New York at a time when the village of Paw Paw consisted 
of two log stores and a hotel. He died on his farm, having sur- 
vived his wife three years. They were the parents of four cliil- 
dren : Levi Nelson ; Olive and Oliver, twins, Avho are deceased ; 
and Marshal], also deceased. 

Levi, the eldest of the children, grew to manhood on his father's 
farm. He first went to school in an old log schoolhouse on the 
Henry Hinckley place, but later a new schoolhouse was built on 
the crossroads corner, about forty rods from the family residence, 
which made it much more convenient. He later attended school 
for a time in Paw Paw, boarding with a family in the west part 
of town and also attended school for a time in Decatur. Professor 
Bellows being at the head of the high school. At the age of twenty- 
one years his father gave him eighty acres of land, which at that 
time w^as covered with a heavy growth of beech, maple and bass- 
wood timber that, were it all standing today, would be more valu- 
able than the land, but not foreseeing its future value Mr. Lyle 
cut it down mercilessly, and in clearing the land he resorted to 
what was called ''niggering it out," that is, he would lay pieces 
across each other on the tree and about twenty-five or thirty feet 
from the butt would build a fire, burning out the limbs and in 
many instances consuming the larger part of the tree, thus saving 
a great deal of chopping. Mr. Lyle boasts that he has gone to 
bed at times leaving as many as thirty "niggers'' working for him, 
or in other words consuming the fallen timber. The method and 
the expression were common in pioneer days, though the young 
people of today would scarcely understand the significance of the 
latter. Both Mr. Lyle's father and his grandfather made a vast 
amount of maple syrup from the trees now cut dow^n and Mr. Lyle 
still owns a small grove of maples from which he gets syrup each 
year, his output last year being about fifty gallons. Mr. Lyle has 
added to his property from time to time and now owns about two 
hundred acres, on which he carries on general farming. He is 
also interested in dairying, owning a fine herd of cattle, at the 
head of which is Dexter, a three-year old registered Guernsey bull 
and the registered cow, Belinda Hillcrest. He is considered one of 
the skilled farniers of his district and is known as a good neighbor 
and a public-spirited citizen. A staunch Republican in his political 
views, Mr. Lyle has served as township commissioner and his fra- 



852 HISTORY OF VAN J3UREN COUNTY 

ternal affiliation is with the Maccabees. He and his wife are at- 
tendants of the Methodist Episcopal church. 

On September 28, 1869, Mr. Lyle was married to ^Miss Matilda 
Sherrod, who was born in Erie county, Pennsylvania, the daughter 
of Daniel and Hannah (Cole) Sherrod. Daniel Sherrod was born 
September 20, 1800. He removed to Paw Paw in 1855 and fol- 
lowed farming until his death, on March 6, 1888. His first wife 
was Rebecca Kite, born May 5, 1804, and died in February, 1833. 
To this union were born four children, namely: JMichael, Mar- 
garet, Philip and Hiram, the daughter alone surviving. His sec- 
ond marriage, on February 5, 1836, w^as to Hanliah Cole, born in 
New York state November 17, 1809, and died February 17, 1884. 
Their children follow: Hiram J., born November 29, 1836; Jesse 
A., born October 5, 1837, died April 5, 1897; David A., born 
February 3, 1840, died August 25, 1896: Lorenzo, born October 
22, 1841; Sarah A., born August 4, 1844; Almond A., born Feb- 
ruary 25, 1849; and Matilda, born September 14, 1851, the wife of 
the subject. 

To Mr. and Mrs. Lyle have been born seven children, namely : 
Melvin, residing in Van Buren county; Nellie, the wife of Frank 
Patton, of Kalamazoo ; Gertrude, who married Fred Webb, of 
Chicago; Beatrice, wife of Ernest Edgely. formerly employed in 
Chicago, but now^ residing on a farm in Decatur; Wave, the wife 
of Roy Mosier, of Antwerp township ; Arlie, residing near home ; 
and Alta, who is still beneath the parental roof-tree. ]\lr. and 
Mrs. Lyle rejoice in the possession of eleven grandchildren. Mel- 
vin Jjyle's children are Ijco and Vivian; Mrs. Patton 's. are Lyle, 
Catherine, Donald, Max and Virginia; iMrs. Webb's, are Howard, 
Lucile and Sylvia; and Mrs. Mosier has a daughter, Evelyn. 

The following appreciation of the character of Mr. Ijyh^ has 
been given in another publication : 

•*A more honest, conscientious and upright citizen than Levi 
Lyle cannot be named. He has lived all his life in one neighbor- 
hood and it is not known that he has an enemy. His sense of 
right is such that he could not take even what is usually con- 
sidered a fair advantage of a fellow citizen. His life has been 
quiet and uneventful, but it furnishes an example of true citizen- 
ship which will be an influence for good in his community for 
generations to come." 

M. F. Russell, the enterprising and progressive publisher and 
proprietor of The Bangor Advnnce, at Bangor, Michigan, is purely 
a l^angor man, being born and brought up in the town, and has 
the distinction of being one of the very few business men who has 
made a success in the town where he w^as raised, it being generally 
conceded that a young man's chances for success are far better 
under different surroundings. 

]\Ir. Russell has been in the printing and newspaper business 
all his life, and conducts his paper along lines that are somewhat 
original and considerably different from the ordinary country 
paper, and on these lines and principles he has built up a large and 
constantly increasing circulation and a business not exceeded by 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 853 

its kind in any town of the size of Bangor in the state of Mich- 
igan. He is an enthusiastic booster for his town, county and 
state, and firmly believes that Van Buren county, Michigan is, 
all things considered, the peer of any county in the north. 

The Bangor Advance is always attractive in appearance and is 
welcomed weekly to nearly every home in a radius of many miles 
around Bangor. The proprietor of The Advance believes in prog- 
ress and his printing office equipment is an exceptionally good one. 
At one time there were three papers published in Bangor, but the 
principle of "the survival of the fittest'' applies in the case of The 
Advance, and today it is the only one published here. 

]Mr. Russell was born in Bangor, January 30, 1868, eldest son 
of Lyman S. and Laura (Overton) Russell, natives of Jefferson 
county, New York. L* S. Russell first entered the newspaper field 
in Bangor in 1882, when he became publisher of The West Mich- 
igan Advance, conducting it until he turned it over to his son, 
M. F. Russell in January, 1891, who changed its title to its pres- 
ent style. In 1893 L. S. Russell w^ent to Lansing, Michigan, w^iere 
he became chief clerk in the state department known as the Bureau 
of Labor and Industrial Statistics, which position he filled for 
fifteen consecutive years, or until his death, w^hich occurred April 
4, 1908. His widow, wdio survives, now resides at Lansing. They 
had a family of five children, as follows: Maude E., who is the 
wife of John C. Frye, of Lansing; M. F., the subject of this sketch ; 
Allan M., residing at Washington, D. C. ; Merton C, who died at 
the age of three years; and ]Mella O., the W'ife of S. T. ]\lcCallum, 
of Detroit, Michigan. 

M. F. Russell received his education in the Bangor schools, but 
w^as obliged to quit before finishing the High School course, and 
associated himself with his father in the printing office. He learned 
the printer's trade and has never had occasion to regret it. While 
at the present time he does little in the mechanical department 
of his business, he still does sufficient to keep in the front rank of 
the printing profession, and is a critical .judge of job printing 
and advertising. 

Barring three months which he spent in North Dakota, in 1887, 
he has resided in Bangor all his life. He edits his paper energet- 
ically, has always been an open champion of wiiat he considered 
right and fearlessly attacked what to him looked wrong. The 
Bangor Advance and one other paper of the county took aggressive 
action against the old convention system of nominations and largely 
through their influence succeeded in establishing the primary sys- 
tem of nominating candidates for office in the county, a system 
which has proven popular with the masses and verified the judg- 
ment of the promoters. 

Mr. Russell takes an active interest in every charitable move- 
ment and is a liberal contributor to charity and the church. He 
has a part in every movement for the betterment of his town and 
is ranked among its most public-spirited citizens. He is a pro- 
gressive Republican in politics, and the Odd Fellows is the only 
secret society to w^hich he belongs. The Church of Christ denomi- 
nation is his church home. 
Vol n— 15 



854 HISTOEY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

On August 26, 1891, Mr. Russell was united in marriage to ^liss 
Lissie M. DeLong, daughter of Henry and Eliza DeLong, and to 
this union were born two children: Zelpha L., born August 14, 
1893, who lived with her parents, enjoying all the advantages pos- 
sible, was taken ill and died December 10, 1911, after eleven days 
sickness, at the age of eighteen years, three months and twenty- 
six days; and Henry M., born April 20, 1904, died in November. 
1905. 

George Shine. — In the year of 1816 Jacob Shine came from 
Germany and settled in Pennsylvania, where his countrymen had 
already done so much for the land of their adoption, both ])y the 
valiant service they had rendered in the war for independence 
and by their skill in the pursuits of peace. Jacob Shine was mar- 
ried to a native of Pennsylvania, Mary Master^ and they moved 
to Stark county, Ohio. There were eleven children in their family, 
eight of whom grew to maturity. These were Jacob, Sarah, Chris- 
tian, Annie, John, Kate, Charles and George. At present but two 
survive, Kate, who is the widow of John Gertie, of Albuquerque, 
New Mexico, and George of Bangor, Michigan. They moved to 
Hancock county, Ohio, during Polk's administration, and in 1850 
the mother died. Jacob bought a piece of wild land, consisting 
of one hundred acres, and cleared about eighty acres of it. 

George, the subject of this sketch, was the fifth child of Jacob 
and Mary Shine. He was born in Stark county, Ohio, in 18:M, 
in February. At the age of fifteen he moved with his parents to 
Hancock county, Ohio, where he greatly assisted his father in clear- 
ing the farm. At twenty-five years of age he married i\lary Gar- 
man, of Ohio, and they began farming for themselves on land which 
George had rented from his father. Here they remained until 
the close of the Civil war, when his father sold out, and they moved 
to Pulaski county, Indiana. There Jacob bought one hundred 
and sixty acres of land. George remained with him about one 
year and a half, when Charles, his younger brother, married and 
worked his father's farm. George and his familv thou came in 
1867, to Michigan. 

Jacob, his father, died about ten years after George came to 
Michigan. The latter purchased a farm of eighty acres in Bangor 
township, Michigan. He added to this until he owned one hun- 
dred and five acres. All but forty-five acres of this he has given 
away to his two sons. This land was all in timber when Mr. Shine 
purchased it, and he has cleared and improved it all, getting it 
into fine condition and putting up the best of buildings. 

There were four children born to George and :\Iary Shine, 
namely, John, William L., Elizabeth and Ellen. The two sons 
reside in Bangor township and manage the fine places which their 
father has given them, and to which John has added nineteen acres 
and William forty-six acres. This land all adjoins, making in all 
a solid body of one hundred and seventy acres. Elizabeth is the 
wife of George Monk, of Geneva township. Ellen married John 
Edwards, of Geneva, but died in 1896. 

In politics Mr. Shine is a Democrat. He is a member of the 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 855 

Church of God, to which his wife also belonged. She passed away 
August 10, 1911, leaving behind her the memory of a life of love 
and usefulness. These parents brought up their boys to respect 
God, and to despise swearing, smoking and drinking. They now 
are respected citizens of l^angor township and can be depended 
upon to vote for local option. 

Chester P. Baggerly. — Both Mr. and Mrs. Baggerly belong to 
families w-ho have helped to make the history of our country. 
While, in America, each man may stand upon his own achievements, 
regardless of wiiat his ancestors have done, still the inheritance 
from a long line of men and women whose ideals and purposes 
were of the highest, is an advantage which any one may well covet 
and the pride in belonging to a race which gave soldiers to the 
Revolution and loyal citizens to every generation is a credit to him 
who possesses it. 

The Baggerlys settled in New York state before the Revolution 
and the great-grandfather of Chester Baggerly fought in the Con- 
tinental army. Ilis father, Charles A. Baggerly, was born in 
Ontario county. New York, in 1820. He grew up in that county 
and received his education there. During his long life he was 
remarkable for the tenacity with which he held to what he con- 
ceived to be his duty. He w^as at first an old line Whig and later 
an active Republican. When the first nominee of that party, 
General Fremont, was selected, ^Ir. Baggerly was one who cast 
his vote for the first representative of the new^ party. He was a 
staunch supporter of Lincoln and all his life was influential in 
the politics of his district. He died in 1909, being almost ninety 
years old. The wife of Charles A. Baggerly was also a New Yorker, 
her birthplace being Yates county. Her maiden name was ]\Iary 
A. Putney and she was a granddaughter of Adams, a Revolution- 
ary soldier, and a cousin of the second president of the Tnited 
States. She was a devout member of the Congregational church. 
She died in 1903, in Ontario county. New York. Chester Baggerly, 
of this sketch, is the eldest of a family of four children and also 
the only son. The three daughters are all married and reside in 
New York state. Kate is Mrs. B. C. Hobart, of Stanley, New York. 
Previous to her marriage she was a successful teacher. Her hus- 
band is a farmer, l^oth of the other sisters were teachers too. 
Nettie is the wife of M. S. Lonsbury, a farmer and dealer in gen- 
eral merchandise of Potter, New^ York. Mrs. Arnold Palmer, of 
Caledonia, New^ York, was formerly Elenor Baggerly. Mr. Palmer 
is a retired farmer. 

Until ten years ago jVIr. Baggerly lived in the county where he 
was born in 1855, on September 19. Since 1901 he has been one 
of the prosperous farmers of this county, who gives especial at- 
tention to raising fine horses. The farm of the Baggerly family 
is an estate of eighty acres known as the Maple Avenue Farm. 
The land is some of the best in the region and the residence both 
tasteful and comfortable. 

Mr. Baggerly has been twice married. His first wife was a 
Miss Flora Van Auken, who died leaving one son, Hershel. The 



Hr)6 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

boy was educated at Clifton Springs, New York, w^here he grad- 
uated from the high school. He is now^ a farmer and resides on 
the old Baggerly estate with his wife, Lena Francis Baggerly. 
Both he and his father were born on this farm. The union of 
Mr. Chester Baggerly and' Miss Ida B. Peters took place on 
February 7, 1901. Mrs. Baggerly w^as born in Yates county on 
February 4, 1855. She is the second in a family of four children, 
three of whom are now living. The brother Philip is a prosperous 
hardware merchant at Benton Harbor. He is married to Miss Ida 
Baker. ]Myrtle Peters became Mrs. F. F. Warren, of Hartford, 
Michigan, where her husband conducts one of the leading mer- 
cantile establishments. 

Mr. Peters was born in Yates county. New York, on December 
15, 1824. His ancestry is of Pennsylvania German stock. Until 
1861 he lived in his native country but at that time the family 
sold their old home and came w^est to Van Buren county. Here 
^Ir. Peters bought a quarter section of the Arnour homestead and 
.Mrs. Baggerly now^ resides on the place her father bought half 
a century ago, half a mile north of Keeler. Mrs. Peters was born 
in the same county a^ her husband three years after the date of 
his birth. She died in 1903, at Hartford, where she and her hus- 
band had retired from their farm several years before. 

Mrs. Baggerly was a child of seven when she came to Van Buren 
county. Every year she and her husband revisit their native state 
and so keep in touch with the old home and with the new as well. 
Mrs. Baggerly is a member of the Congregational church of Hart- 
ford and for five years taught a class in the Sunday-school. Mr. 
Baggerly follows his father's political preference. He is a mem- 
ber of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and of the Modern 
Woodmen of Keeler. Mrs. Bagerly is a valued member of the 
Thursday Club of Keeler, an organization of literary nature. The 
families of Mr. and Mrs. Baggerly are people of prominence in 
their native state and their position in Van Buren county is not 
less dignified. They are types of the best product of our Ameri- 
can civilization and well merit the esteem in which they are held 
by all who know them. 

The Foster Sisters. — Whatever there may be of high emprise 
and noble achievement in subsequent years, since the foundations 
of the county were laid either in carrying on to successful ful- 
fillment projects already started or originating new" ones nothing 
can rob the pioneers of Van Buren county of the full measure of 
credit that is due them for what they accomplished in their day 
and generation for the baptism into the domain of civilized life 
of this portion of the state and the start they gave it on the high- 
way toward its present condition of advanced development, rapid 
progress and fruitfulness in all the concomitants of civilized life 
and aspirations toward higher development. They were men and 
women of heroic mold, fashioned by their time for sturdy work — 
fit progenitors of the followers they begot. No toil deterred, no 
danger daunted, no hardship dismayed them. With unyielding 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 857 

will they pressed their way over every obstacle, often challenging 
Fate herself into the lists and meeting her on almost equal terms. 
To this class belonged Ira Foster, who boldly strode into the 
almost unbroken and savage wilderness of this region in 1837 
and bought one hundred and sixty acres of land, which was the nu- 
cleus of the present Foster homestead, located three-quarters of a 
mile north of Keeler, and now owned and occupied by Misses Joseph- 
ine and Ida Foster, the interesting subjects of this brief memoir. 
The father afterward added to his domain forty acres of school land, 
and the first dwelling he erected on it was a little log house, in 
which he sheltered his family and built the altar of his hopes. 

The region had not then surrendered to the commanding might 
of mind w^hich was to dominate it in the future, and in the main 
it was still given up to the dominion of the wild denizens of the 
forest and plain. The Red Man roamed at will through its path- 
less depths, beasts of prey made night hideous with their revels, 
bear and w^olves levied their tribute on other forms of life, and 
wild-eyed deer, gazing with wonder on the savage propensity of 
man and beast, took their chances for continued existence between 
wild men and wild animals on the one sid^ and the forerunners 
of civilizaton on the other. The Indians in the neighborhood be- 
longed to the Potaw^atami tribe, and while they were in the main 
friendly, they sometimes show^ed the other side of their nature. 

Mr. and Mrs. Foster of that day, however, courageously met the 
requirements of their situation and dealt wdth it according to its 
needs. They came to the wilderness with, the settled purpose of 
redeeming at least a small portion of it from the waste, and res- 
olutely and persistently they devoted themselves to the task they 
had laid out as their portion. They were devout members of the 
Methodist Episcopal church, and the first services held in the 
township of their home, under the auspices of this sect, were 
conducted in their residence. They w^ere also potential factors in 
the erection of the first church edifice of their faith at Keeler, 
and at all times ready and responsive supporters of all benevolences 
in the locality worthy of their consideration. 

The father was an unwavering Whig until the organization to 
which he belonged went to pieces and the Republican party was 
organized on its ruins. He then joined tlie new^ party, and cast 
his vote for its first presidential candidate. General John C. Fre- 
mont. Following that expression of his faith, he was, until the 
end of his life, a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln and James 
G. Blaine. To the principles wiiich they advocated, and the aspira- 
tions to which they devoted themselves for the good of the country, 
according to his view, he adhered to the end of his life, and at 
all times gave them his unwavering and energetic support. 

The mother was born in Madison county, New York, on October 
11, 1812, and died in Van Buren county, Michigan, on January 
15, 1889. She grew to womanhood in her native county and ob- 
tained her education in its district schools. After leaving school 
she was a teacher for some years, devoting her energies to that 
occupation until her marriage. Some of her forefathers were sol- 
diers in the Revolutionary w^ar, and throughout her own life she 



858 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUiNTY 

exhibited traits of character that would have made her a heroine 
in any sufficient crisis. As it was, her early years in this state 
were passed in heroic endurance of privations and hardships, and 
in the constant presence of danger. She was a woman of high 
character, of a stern and unrelenting sense of duty, and of great 
amiability of disposition, devoted to her family and constant in 
her zeal for the welfare of its members. Those of her children 
who survive her cherish her memory with the reverence that is 
due that of a faithful wife and mother and a noble pioneer matron. 
Her remains and those of the father rest in Keeler cemetery, and 
their graves are marked with imposing and suggestive memorial 
stones. 

The offspring of this interesting couple numbered eight, four 
sons and four daughters, seven of whom are living. 

Morris is married and successfully engaged in farming at Hector, 
Minnesota. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and 
was a high school teacher at Bay City and Benton Harbor for a 
number of years. He married with Miss Katharine Folwell, whose 
brother, Dr. Folwell, was president of the University of Minnesota 
from the beginning of its history to 1884. In politics Morris 
Foster is a Democrat. 

Josephine was educated in the common schools and the high 
schools at Dowagiac and Decatur. She was a successful teacher in 
the public schools of this county for a number of years. 

Riley is a prosperous and progressive farmer living at Hubbard, 
JMinnesota. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and 
passed several years of his useful life as a teacher in the public 
schools. He is a Democrat in politics and takes an earnest in- 
terest in the public affairs of the county in which he lives. His 
wife was Miss Alice Flanders before her marriage, and she and 
her husband are esteemed as among the best citizens of the great 
and progressive state in which they have their home. 

Olive is the wife of Isaac P. Newton and their home is in Muske- 
gon county, Michigan. Mr. Newton was prominently connected 
with the lumber trade of this state as an enterprising and pro- 
gressive merchant for a number of years. He is now living re- 
tired from business and devoting himself in a quiet and unostenta- 
tious way to the progress and improvement of his home county 
and the state of Michigan in general. 

Ida occupies the old family homestead in company with her 
sister Josephine. She received a high school education in Decatur, 
and the whole of her life since leaving school has been devoted to 
the service of the public in lines of usefulness which are highly 
appreciated, although they attract no noisy or special attention. 
She has been a successful teacher in the public schools of Van 
Buren and Kalkaska counties. 

Miss Josephine and Miss Ida, ''The Foster Sisters,'' as they are 
called in the respectful and appreciative language of the whole 
community in which they live, are active members of the Keeler 
Thursday Literary Club, which is one of the great promoters of 
social enjoyment and literary culture in the town. Miss Josephine 
is a leading member of the programme committee of this club. 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 859 

Slie is a devout member of the Episcopal church and one of its 
most efficient workers in behalf of the people of the town and 
township. She has traveled extensively in many parts of the 
United States, going where natural beauties or interesting works 
of man have led her, and having her love of country intensified by 
])otli. The}^ have a fine library of hundreds of volumes of choice 
literature, and are ladies of extensive information and high culture. 

Dwight is one of the prosperous and progressive young farmers 
of Keeler township, and one of the young men of influence in 
connection with its public affairs. He is a zealous member of the 
Democratic party, and his wisdom in counsel and energy and 
effectiveness in action in behalf of his party are highly appreciated 
by its leaders in the county and also by its rank and file. He mar- 
ried Miss Lillian Buck, and they have three children. 

Dean Foster, the youngest of the living members of the family, 
is a resident of Alaska, where he is vigorously engaged in pros- 
pecting for a portion of the seemingly inexhaustible mineral wealth 
of that wonderful country. He began his education in the com- 
mon schools of Van Buren county and completed it at the high 
school in Kalamazoo. There were many opportunities open to 
him in his native state, but being of an adventurous disposition 
he determined to seek his fortune in a far away region, and while 
his success in his venture has not been phenomenal or spectacular, 
it has been steady and substantial and given promise of much 
greater results in time to come if he continues his operations in 
our hyperborean territory. 

The Foster Sisters are representatives of the forces in human 
character, human endeavor and human worth that have made Yan 
Buren county what it is, and in their record, their activities and 
their aspirations they show impressively the high development to 
which it is tending and the ultimate lofty standard of living its 
people will attain to. Each human life, and every human life, 
however unnoted, embodies some substantial indication of the 
general trend and tendency of all human life, and the serviceable 
diligence of the Foster Sisters in the lines of usefulness open to 
them, unconscious as they may be of the fact, is contributing es- 
sentially and inevitably to the high destiny and prowess of Yan 
Buren county in working out the full measure of Michigan's part 
in the general elevation of the human race toward its imperial posi- 
tion in God's empire. 

George E. Brooks. — Numbered among the influential and well 
known residents of Yan Buren county is George E. Brooks, whose 
home and farm is in its township of Almena. His ancestry is 
Scotch Irish, and he is a grandson of Michael Brooks, a native son 
of the land of ''hills and heather,'' and on the maternal side a 
grandson of George Brown, who was born in the north of Ireland. 
The latter, however, left his native land in his youth and came 
to America, establishing his home in the east. His daughter Mar- 
garet became the wife of George F. Brooks, the son of Michael 
Brooks. 

Paterson, New Jersey, was the birthplace of George E. Brooks, 



860 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

and he began his existence on the 16th of March, 1840. When he 
was ten years of age he accompanied his father to Brooklyn, New 
York, and from there they went to St. Louis, Missouri, but sub- 
sequently returned East, to New York city. Later they returned 
to Paterson, New Jersey, the birthplace of George E., and, again 
migrating, they went to Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, where the 
father died. In the year 1862 George E. Brooks entered the em- 
ploy of the government and spent two years in its service. But 
before entering that work he had lived on a farm in Pennsylvania, 
and when he retired from the government service he returned to 
that farm. 

On the 14th of September, 1861, he was united in marriage to 
Anna E. Slater, a daughter of Isaiah Slater and his wife, Amy 
Mix Slater, both natives of the state of New York. Following their 
marriage the young couple lived in Susquehanna county until 
1882, when they moved to Pullman, Illinois, and for twelve years 
that city continued their home. The following eight years they 
spent in Roseland, Illinois, and in 1899 Mr. Brooks bought a farm, 
in Van Buren county, Michigan, the place being then known as 
the old Wilson farm. In 1902 they came to this state to reside and 
within its borders have since made their home. Until recently he 
owned a farm of one hundred and twenty-eight acres in Almena 
township and was one of the progressive and successful agricultur- 
ists of the county, but at present his son-in-law, j\Ir. K. E. Grouse, 
is the owner of this farm. 

There were five children born of the union of Mr. and Mrs. 
Brooks, and four of the number are now living: Flora, the wife 
of George Backus and residing in Almena township; Edwin IL, 
who died in infancy ; Margaret, whose husband, Kenneth E. Grouse, 
has bought the farm her father formerly owned; George W., a 
resident of Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Daisy, the wife of Walter 
Brown, supervisor of Almena township. It is Mr. Brooks' good 
fortune to have seen not only his children grow to useful man- 
hood and womanhood, but his grandchildren as well. His eldest 
daughter. Flora, has three children: William C., a bookkeeper 
for a factory in Bay City; Geraldine, the wife of L. O. Dustin. 
of Kalamazoo; and Laura, the wife of Koy Barringer, of Grand 
Rapids. Mrs. Margaret Brooks Grouse has had two children. 
Edgar and Margaret, but both are now deceased. George W-. 
Brooks has four children living : Geraldine, Laura, Loyd and Mar- 
guerite. Roy, the first born, was accidentally killed at the age of 
thirteen. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Brown has been without issue. 

Mr. Brooks is a member of the Masonic fraternity, affiliated with 
the lodge at Mattawan, No. 268. His daughters belong to the 
Eastern Star, and all but one have held ofBce in the order. ]\Ir. 
Brooks is also affiliated with the Knights of Pythias. The family 
are Methodists and have always been influential and active in 
the work of the church. Mr. and Mrs. Brooks^ membership is in 
the church at Almena, and that of the daughters in other churches 
of the denomination in the towns in which they have previously 
resided. Mr. Brooks has always been a stanch supporter of the 
policies of the Republican party, and was at one time road com- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 861 

missioner in Almena township. As a citizen he has achieved the 
respect of the entire community, and, although he has not lived 
in the county a great many years, he has so identified himself with 
its interests that he is universally regarded as one of the repre- 
sentative men of the district. 

FRxVnk Lamb is fortunate enough to own and cultivate the fine 
farm on w^hich he was born and to carry on the business which 
his father conducted before him. For farming is a business and 
only those who so regard it are making a success of it. Much 
has been written lately on the reason why our boys leave the 
farm for the city and about everything has been said on both 
sides of the question, but the best argument for the "back to 
the soil" movement is the one which our enterprising farmers 
present in their farms and in themselves. Mr. Lamb is one of 
Van Buren county's good arguments on the advantages of agri- 
culture as a profession. 

Charles Lamb, the father of Frank, was born in New Hamp- 
shire, on December 30, 1822. Two years later his parents moved 
to Lake county. Ohio, and there he grew up and in 1845 was 
married to Emeline Bartlett. In 1851 they came to Hartford 
township and settlecj on the farm where they spent the rest of 
their days. He died in 1906 and his wife in 1891. 

Frank Lamb was born June 28, 1856. He was the only child 
who grew up in his family, as the other son died in infancy. 
His schooling was finished at the age of eighteen and he then 
gave all his time to farming, having put in his summers at it 
ever since he was old enough to be of assistance. Before his 
twentieth birthday — on April 2, 1876 — he was married to Miss 
Helen Pierce, a native of Hume, New York. Her father, Will- 
iam L. Pierce, was born in Pike, Wyoming county, New York, 
on May 21, 1825. He was wedded to Marian Brockett, whose 
native place was AVyoming county. New York, and the date of 
whose birth Avas July 20, 1836. Their marriage took place in 
Ossian, New York, on June 1, 1854, and fifteen years later they 
came to Hartford township. Until 1878 they lived on a farm 
but in that year they moved into town. ]\irs. Pierce died at 
Hartford on July 19, 1905, and her husband survived her five 
years, passing to his reward on August 13, 1910. They were 
the parents of six children, two of whom are living now in 1911, 
Mrs. Lamb and her sister Louise, the wife of Daniel Stickney, of 
Hamilton township. 

Mrs. Lamb attended the Hartford schools after finishing the 
course in the district schools. The first two sons of her union with 
Mr. Lamb, Roy AV. and Orville C, did not live to maturity. A 
son and daughter were later born to them, the son Clare, on 
November 18, 1887. He is now married to Miss Iva Stratton of 
Benton Harbor, and has a farm of forty acres not far from the 
old homestead. The daughter, Margaret, is attending the district 
school, and was eleven on May 17, 1911. Mrs. Lamb is active in 
church work, being affiliated with the United Brethren denomina- 
tion. Here, as wherever she is known, Mrs. Lamb is regarded 



862 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

as one of the most valuable members. She is a person of executive 
ability and of tactful manner. The Lamb farm of one hundred 
and twenty acres is in section seven of Hartford township and is 
one of the best conducted places in Van Buren county. 

R. C. Nyhan, ex- treasurer of Bangor township and one of 
the leading and influential men of his community, is proprietor 
of a flour, grist, saw and woolen mill at Bangor, which was erected 
by his father more than fifty-five years ago and has remained in 
the family ever since. Mr. Nyman is a survivor of the Civil war, 
in which he made an excellent record, and he has proven himself 
as good a citizen in times of peace as he was a soldier during the 
dark days of the war of the rebellion. Mr. Nyman is a native of 
Niles, Michigan, and was born November 16, 1844, a son of J. 
H. and Julia M. (Youngs) Nyman, the former a native of Ohio 
and the latter of New York. 

The Nyman family first came to Michigan during the early 
'forties, and in 1856 J. H. Nyman brought his family to Bangor, 
where he established himself in business as the proprietor of a 
flour, grist, saw and woolen mill, which he conducted successfully 
during the remainder of his life. His death occurred in 1886, 
his wife having passed away three years be,fore, and they were 
the parents of five children, as follows: A. J., who is deceased; 
R. C. ; Emily, who is deceased ; Etta, the wife of Andrew Charles, 
of Denver, Colorado; and Oro, who lives in Bangor. 

R. C. Nyman was reared in his native village, and there was 
given a good education in the common schools. When he was only 
seventeen years of age, in September, 1861, he ran away from 
home and enlisted in Company C, Third Michigan Cavalry, under 
Captain Hudson, and on January 18, 1864, received his honorable 
discharge at La Grange, Tennessee. On the following day he 
re-enlisted in the same company, and he continued to serve wdth 
that organization until he received his final discharge at San 
Antonio, Texas, February 12, 1866. Mr. Nyman 's war record 
was that of a brave, faithful and valorous soldier. During the 
long, heart-breaking marches he was cheerful and patient, under 
fire he was always cool and in full command of his faculties, and 
in the thickest of the hardest-fought battles he displayed a bravery 
and lack of fear that won him respect of his comrades and words 
of praise from his officers. On his return to his home in Bangor 
he at once took up the duties of civil life, and ably assisted his 
father until the latter 's death, when the milling property was 
left to his children, R. C. receiving his share. After a short time 
he bought out the other heirs, and he now is the sole owner of 
the enterprise, which he has been engaged in operating ever since. 
Mr. Nyman is a good business man, and knows how to conduct 
his industry so that it will give him the best results. He has an 
unblemished record as a business man, and he is held in high 
esteem by his fellow townsmen in Bangor, who have elected him 
village president and councilman. He is a popular member of 
the Masons and the Grand Army of the Republic, and in politics 
takes an independent stand. 



HISTORY OF VAN BURp]N COUNTY 868 

In 1868 Mr. Nyman married ]\liss Lucy Martindale, daughter 
of Bennett Martindale, and- she died in 1896, having been the 
mother of two children: Harry, who is engaged in business with 
his father; and Audie, who is deceased. 

Michael Fitzsimmons. — Since the age of two Mr. Fitzsim- 
mons has been a resident of Van Buren county, and as he was 
fifty-six years old on June 10, 1911, he has seen a variety of 
changes in the various industries of the county, as well as its 
growth from a wild country to a populous and thriving district. 
He has always been a farmer and his father, too, followed that 
pursuit, so he has been especially interested in the changes which 
have taken place in methods of farming. He has cut many an 
acre with the old fashioned foot cradle and has swung the scythe 
all day long with the mowers. He has seen and used the flail, 
so he is prepared to speak with authority on the wonders of mod- 
ern farming. 

Both the father and the mother of Michael Fitzsimmons were 
born in Ireland. Kildare was his mother's native place, Dublin 
his father's. William Fitzsimmons sailed from Dublin at about 
the age of twenty-one and made the trip in seven weeks and three 
days. He settled in Clyde, Wayne county, New York, where he 
worked for wages, as his capital when he reached his new home 
amounted to only five shillings. Here he met and married Kath- 
erine O'Connor, and in 1857 the family moved to Michigan. 
The father had saved two hundred and fifty dollars, intending 
to invest in a farm and accordingly he bought a tract of forty 
acres, the present home of ]\Iichael Fitzsimmons. At that time 
Hartford was only a handful of people and roads had not been 
jTiade to a sufficient extent to render driving feasable. Most peo- 
ple walked or rode horseback from the railroad. Van Buren county 
was the home of the Fitzsimmons family continuously after 1857. 
The father lived to be almost a hundred years old. He and his wife 
were devout members of the Catholic church, in whose faith they 
lived and died, being laid to rest in St. Mary's Parish cemeter^^ at 
Silver Creek. There were two sons and one daughter in their fam- 
ily. Michael Fitzsimmpn's brother, William, is a painter in South 
Bend, Indiana. The sister is no longer living. 

Michael Fitzsimmons grew up on his father's farm and attended 
such schools as were to be attended. The first educational institu- 
tion of which he enjoyed the advantages was a small subscription 
school which was conducted in the home of a Mr. Kelly. Later he 
was a pupil in the first school built by the district and taught by 
^Marion Woodman. Although Mr. Fitzsimmons has not yet come to 
the age when he can be called an old man, yet he is one of the oldest 
residents of the county and is entitled to speak of the ''good old 
times" when deer were plentiful and time hadn't been hurried on 
by all the modern devices for saving it, which oblige us to get as 
much done in a day as our forefathers did in a week. He knows 
something about getting work done, for he has been doing it all his 
life. With no capital to start on, he has acquired a quarter section 
of fine land, eighty acres in Keeler township and the other half in 



864 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Watervliet. The tract in the former section is one of the best in 
the county and his home is situated on that. Besides general farm- 
ing he is an extensive fruit grower and highly successful in that 
branch of agriculture. 

In the prosperity and position he has attained Mr. Fitzsimmons 
has been ably assisted by his wife, who is a woman of unusual tact 
and intelligence. She is the daughter of William H. and Bridget 
(Carmody) Watson, christened Mary E. and born December 4, 1855, 
twenty-five miles west of Detroit. There were three sons and two 
daughters in her home circle. The boys are all dead, but the sister 
Sarah is the wife of Thomas Hawley, a farmer of Hartford town- 
ship, to whom she has borne eight children, seven of whom are 
living. Mrs. Fitzsimmons' father was a native of Kent county, Eng- 
land, born October 10, 1833. His opportunities for getting an edu- 
cation w^ere mostly of his own making and he was truly a self-edu- 
cated man. At the age of eighteen he came to America and- settled 
at Clyde, New York. Here he w^orked as a w^age earner for fourteen 
years and then, on December 14, 1864, he came to Berrien county. 
Michigan. From here he moved to Van Buren county, where he re- 
sided for the rest of his life. His wife, Bridget Carmody, came to 
America from Limerick, Ireland, when she was a voung lady, in 
1850. 

Both of them were communicants of the Catholic church and de- 
vout attendants upon its services. The father died in 1900 and 
is buried beside his wife in St. Mary's Parish cemetery. 

The union of Mr. Fitzsimmons and Miss Watson took place Jan- 
uary 10, 1893, and of the two daughters who have come into the 
home then begun one has been taken away by death. Florence, the 
other, is now in the eighth grade and is studying music. It is her 
parents' intention to give her an education which shall fit her for 
any vocation she may desire to follow. Her mother was for five years 
a successful teacher in the schools of Berrien and Van Buren coun- 
ties, and so is able to direct her daughter's education with more than 
ordinary understanding. 

William Fitzsimmons w^as a strong advocate of the principles of 
the Democratic party and his son Michael follows in his footsteps 
in this respect. The family are members of St. Joseph's Catholic 
church at Watervliet and Florence was confirmed by Bishop Kelly. 
All the benevolent undertakings of their denomination are gen- 
erously supported by Mr. and Mrs. Fitzsimmons. Mr. Fitzsimmons 
holds membership in the order of the Knights of the Tented Macca- 
bees of Watervliet, his tent being No. 821. 

The proprietors of Maple Avenue Farm are universally accorded 
a place among the leading citizens of the county. Their labors 
have brought them material prosperity and their many attractive 
personal qualities have won them the friendship and admiration of 
a wide circle of the county's representative men and women. 

GriLBERT GouLD. — Mr. Gould has been a resident of the county for 
over half a century and for that entire period has engaged in the 
pursuit of agriculture. Much has been said and written about 
farming as an occupation and of its value in producing a crop which 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 865 

is even more important than the food supply — that of character. 
One can not hope to say anything new on this matter, but neither 
is it a subject that is ever old, inasmuch as it is one of the eternal 
verities. The farmer is busy with a task that is always worth w^hile, 
since upon him all else depends. It is a work which requires that a 
man be able to spend time in his own society and not be dependent 
upon distractions, whose chief end is to prevent him from thinking. 
He must be a person of resource and of a philosophic mind. Small 
wonder that the farm-bred youth outstrips all competitors. No 
greater service to the land can be performed than that of causing 
the earth to yield of her fulness and those who devote themselves to 
this have ever been the strength and the flower of our civilization. 

Mr. Gould is a native of Litchfield, Ohio, born May 23, 1836. 
There were six sons and six daughters in the household and Mr. 
Gould is the sixth in point of age. Only three of the offspring of 
Ira and Nancy Strickland Gould are now living; Mr. Gould and 
tw^o sisters, Mrs. Esther Suits of Silver Creek township, and Mrs. 
Milton Shafer, of Laurence township. The Gould family is of Eng- 
lish origin. Three brothers came from England and settled in 
America early in the history of the country. The Jay Gould family, 
famed for its wealth, is a branch of the same stock. Ira Gould was 
born in Broome county. New York, in 1799, the year of Washing- 
ton's death. Until his death in 1880, he followed the occupation of 
agriculture, first in New Y^ork state, where he lived until after his 
marriage, and later in St. Lucas county, Ohio, then in Branch 
county, Michigan, near Coldwater, w^here he went in 1837 and lastly 
in Van Buren county. He had traded his forty acres in Branch 
for a tract of twice that extent in Van Buren county. Until re- 
cently this farm was in the possession of Mr. Gilbert Gould. At the 
time when his father bought his land the country was entirely un- 
cultivated, a vast expanse of virgin field and forest. The father 
was a Jeffersonian Democrat and ardent in his advocating of the 
principles of that party. For eight years the people of Keeler 
tow^nship kept him in their service as township treasurer. His strict 
adherence to his principles won him the respect even of those who 
disagreed with him. He took an active interest in public education 
and recognized its importance in a democratic government. At his 
death the funeral w^as conducted by the Odd Fellows, of which 
lodge he was a prominent member. 

The wife of Ira Gould was born in Connecticut, in 1808. Before 
her marriage she was a teacher in Broome county, New York, and 
the qualities which made her successful in that great profession 
made her also successful in the greater calling of a wife and mother. 
She was a devout Christian, whose sweet, every-day life was an 
irrefutable argument of the divinity of her doctrine. She passed 
from this life in 1892, and is buried in Keeler cemetery. 

Gilbert Gould was still a child when he came to Van Buren 
county. His early schooling was received in a log school house 
whose seats were great slabs with holes bored in them, into which 
the wooden pins w^ere set to hold up the benches. An old-fashioned 
fireplace heated the room, or a part of it at least, and the pupils 
sometimes wrote with goose quill pens. Cobb's Spelling Book was 



866 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

the chief text book on literature, though it was later superseded by 
a more pretentious volume with definitions, written by Towne. The 
teacher was paid by subscription and boarded around in the homes 
of his pupils. The change from this primitive equipment to the 
school of the twentieth century is great indeed and only those who 
have seen the two regimes of our education can realize the im- 
provement. Mr. Gould has been privileged to witness this and other 
great changes. AVhen he was a boy the deer were to be seen all 
around in droves and the Indians still in their aboriginal condition. 

Until his marriage Mr. Gould remained with his parents. In 
1862 he established his own home with his wife, Mary Garrett 
Gould. They were the parents of two sons and four daughters. 
Five of this family are still living. Jennie, the eldest, was edu- 
cated in the public schools and in Benton Harbor College. For 
three years she was one of the successful teachers of Van Buren 
county and then she became the wife of Charles Allerton, of Keeler. 
Will is a practical farmer whose residence is near that of his father. 
He and his wife, Kate Kent Gould, have two children, Mildred and 
George. Edna B. is a young lady of literary tastes, who is un- 
usually fond of good books. She makes her home with her parents 
and relieves them of much of the responsibility of the home. Mrs, 
Gould was born on March 15, 1842, in Montgomery county, Ohio. 
She was the seventh in a family of ten children, three sons and 
seven daughters. Three of the family of John and Dora Pettigrew 
Garrett still survive. Anne is the widow of John Kennedy, of Ben- 
ton Harbor. AVilliam is a farmer of Cass county, Michigan, and is 
married. Father Garrett was born in Ireland in 1799 and came 
to America at the age of twenty-one. It took six months for the 
sailing vessel in which he embarked to make the voyage — time 
enough to get used to water for a habitation. After working for a 
time in New York Mr. Garrett went to Ohio and there he was mar- 
ried. He bought a farm of forty acres in Ohio and later disposed 
of it and came to Michigan. He went first to Cass county and 
thence to Van Buren in about 1853. Keeler township was his home 
for the remaining eight years of his life and he w^as a successful 
agriculturist. In politics he was originally a Whig, but afterwards 
became a Democrat. His wife was born in Ohio in 1807 and died in 
Michigan in 1878. 

Since the age of seven Mrs. Gould has lived in Van Buren county 
and for forty-nine years she and her husband have labored to- 
gether and watched the progress of the county, contributing with 
a right good will their share toward its advancement. Their farm is 
called Oak Grove Farm and comprises a hundred acres of good 
land near Magician lake. They have been able to equip this with 
the best of appliances and fine buildings, including a handsome 
modern residence. 

Like his father, Mr. Gould is a Democrat. He cast his first vote 
for the ''Little Giant of the West" and he has never wavered in 
his support of the principles of that party. Fraternally he is con- 
nected with the Masonic lodge of Dowagiac, Michigan. The years 
he and his wife have spent in this county have been busy and benefi- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 867 

cent ones. Theirs are honored names in the history of the region 
which is proud to claim them as her citizens. 

Henry Shepard. — To recount the main events of the lives of ^Ir. 
and Mrs. Henry Shepard is to speak of people who need no intro- 
duction to the residents of Keeler township. The many years they 
have passed in that region have made them known to all its citi- 
zens and have brought them the gift of a high place in the affections 
of the entire community. For almost half a century their names 
have been linked with the history of the county and they have borne 
their full share of the labors which have produced its greatness and 
prosperity. Mr. Shepard is of English descent and is a native of 
Wayne county, New York, where he was born in 1841, on March 
21st. lie is the fourth in a family of five children ; three sons and 
two daughters, born to Mark and Sarah Class Shepard. Only two 
of that family are now living, Henry of this review, and Dorliske, 
the widow of Robert Rupel, a resident of Wexford county, ^liclii- 
gan. ]\lark Shepard was a native of the state of Maine and was 
born in 1796, three years before the first president of our republic 
died. At the age of sixteen he moved to New York state and be- 
gan life on his own account. His education was but meagre, as the 
advantages were poor. He married in New York state and pur- 
chased sixty -three acres in Wayne county near the town of Clarion. 

In 1862 the family came to Michigan, Henry Shepard, making 
the trip to Van Buren county with a team. They purchased ninety 
acres of unimproved land in Hartford township and here the father 
lived until his death in 1867. His grandfather had come to Canada 
from England and thence to Maine. It was his fate to be toma- 
hawked by the Indians while going out to bury a kettle containing 
valuable papers of the Shepard estate, and if these lost documents 
could be found a large inheritance would fall to the present genera- 
tion of that family. Mark Shepard belonged to the old Whig party 
and later joined the ranks of the new Republican faction. He 
voted for the first nominee of that party and was a warm admirer 
of Lincoln. His wife was a native of New Jersey. She was born 
in 1803 and died April 22, 1874. New Jersey was her home until 
she was ten years of age and then she moved to New York state. 
Circumstances deprived her of any means if livelihood except her 
own efforts, but adversity detracted nothing from her qualities as a 
true mother and her lofty character commanded the admiration of 
all who met her. In her widowhood she made her home with her 
son Henry, and it was here that she passed to her rest at the age 
of three score and ten. 

Henry Shepard was twenty-two when he left his native state. 
He had received the benefits of such educational opportunities as 
the time and locality afforded. It was not in the traditional log 
school house that he pursued the study of the three R's but in a 
stone building. However the difference in architecture did not 
extend to the interior furnishings. The seats were the usual wooden 
benches and the heat was supplied by a square box stove, which 
illustrated all the zones from the torrid to the frigid. The teacher 
was hired by subscription and while we might consider the instruc- 



B6B HISTORY OF VAN BURExN COUNTY 

tion rudimentary, it was probably far more in proportion than we 
secure for a like expenditure. Mrs. Shepard, too, was an attendant 
at this sort of school. 

Jefferson county, New York, was the home of Mrs. Shepard 's 
family and her maiden name was Vandervoort, one well known in 
the annals of New Amsterdam and borne by many a good burgher. 
Her father was by trade a fuller of cloth. He was born in New York 
state, in 1815, and lived there until 1851, when he and his family 
moved to Michigan. They purchased a farm in Hartford township 
of eighty acres and here their family grew up. The father enlisted 
in the war and was present at the battle of the Wilderness. Shortly 
afterwards he contracted typhoid fever and died at Nashville, Ten- 
nessee, in the service of his country. He was a charter member of 
the Lawrence Masonic Lodge. His wife was born in the same 
county as was he, on January 4, 1819. She was a strict member of 
the Presbyterian church and an earnest worker in the Sunday- 
school. Her devotion to the rearing of her children made her a 
model mother and bore fruit in the useful lives of the sons and 
daughters. Mrs. Shepard is the eldest of five children. The two 
sons are both dead, but the daughters are all now presiding over 
homes of their own. Augusta is Mrs. Fred Fish and resides on a 
farm in Lawrence township. Martha is the wife of a real estate 
dealer in Oklahoma City, Mr. C. R. Heminway, one of the city's 
most successful men. One son has been born to this couple. The 
mother of this family lived to the age of eighty and died March 
8, 1899. 

jMrs. Shepard was born in Watertown, New York, in 1845, on 
April 24. She has spent most of her life in this county and can re- 
member when Hartford had just one house. As the population of 
the town is now one thousand two hundred, she has witnessed a vast 
development of the country. The marriage of Adelaide Vander- 
voort and Henry Shepard was solemnized on February 21, 1862, at 
Decatur, Michigan. The young couple began life with small capital, 
purchasing a farm of forty acres, partly on credit. Their first 
house was an unplastered frame structure. This has given place 
to a comfortable residence, and the farm of eighty acres has been 
made one of the best improved in the section in the matter of build- 
ings and general equipment. The latch string is always out at the 
I. X. L. Farm for the friends and neighbors, as well as for the chil- 
dren and grandchildren. 

The three daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Shepard are all married. 
Alice Josephine is Mrs. Frank Hall. Her husband is a telegrapher, 
employed in New York city, but residing in Salamanca. There are 
four children in this home : Florence M., Elsie J., Francis H. and 
Oliver C. Mrs. Hall was educated in the Decatur schools and 
graduated from the high school. Mr. Hall is chairman of the Order 
of Railroad Telegraphers. He is also a member of the Elks. He 
and his wife belong to the Methodist church and he is a Republican 
in his political convictions. Lydia Shepard was educated in the 
common schools of the county and was later one of its successful 
teachers. She is now the wife of one of Hamilton township 's pros- 
perous farmers, Mr. Fred Harris. Minnie is the wife of John Clair 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 869 

.MeAlpine. Mr. and Mrs. Shepard gave their children a good edu- 
cation and also the care and sympathy which are such powerful 
factors in the making of happy and loyal citizens. 

It was Mr. Shepard 's privilege to cast his first presidential vote 
for Abraham Lincoln and he has always been a loyal supporter of 
the Republican party. He has been for a number of years deputy 
treasurer of the schools and served two years as road commissioner. 
Mr. Shepard is a member of the Methodist church at Keeler and 
both she and her husband are always ready to aid in all movements 
for the betterment of the community where they have been so long 
and so honorably known. 

Albert 0. Buncombe. — Although all the years of his manhood 
have been devoted to one pursuit, and that an occupation which is 
so exacting in its claims and so personal in its bearing that it nar- 
rows the views of many men engaged in it to their own interests and 
makes them abnormally acute in that limit, Albert 0. Buncombe, 
one of the leading merchants of Van Buren county, Michigan, with 
a large department store at Keeler, has never become a man of one 
idea, and his vision has always been broad enough in its sweep to 
take in the interests of the whole county in which he lives, and keep 
him keenly alive to the welfare, comfort and progress of its resi- 
dents. Since the dawn of his manhood no enterprise undertaken, in 
which their lasting good has been involved, has gone without his 
earnest and effective support, or been without the benefit of his wise 
and judicious counsel. 

Mr. Buncombe was born in this county in September 16, 1863, 
the third in a family of six children (three sons and three daugh- 
ters) born to Charles and Frances S. (Knights) Buncombe, four of 
whom are living. These include Albert's sister Fannie S., the old- 
est of the living children, who is the wife of Seth Felt, a prominent 
farmer of Keeler township; his other sister, Harriet, who is the 
wife of N. F. Simpson, warden of the Michigan state's prison in 
Jackson; and his brother Charles, a sketch of whom will be found in 
this volume, giving a brief account of his life. Mrs. Simpson is a 
High School graduate and she and her husband are the parents of 
two children, their daughter Frances Fae and their son Nathan B. 
Frances is a High School graduate in the class of 1905, and is now 
the wife of Ralph Z. Hopkins, a resident of Betroit, where he is 
connected with a contracting establishment as a draughtsman. Na- 
than is a. student at the Michigan Agricultural College, and will 
graduate in the regular course in 1913, if nothing happens to pre- 
vent his doing so. 

Charles Buncombe, the father of Albert 0., was a native of Can- 
ada, of Scotch parentage, and born on May 1, 1822. He died in 
Van Buren county, Michigan, on January 1, 1900. He was edu- 
cated in the public schools, and after leaving them became in suc- 
cession and all together a merchant, a banker, a real estate dealer 
and a farmer. Although he attended the public schools when he 
had opportunity, his benefits derived from them in the way of 
scholastic attainments were very limited, because his opportunities 
of seeking those benefits were limited and often interrupted. He 

Vol. TI— 1 6 



870 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

was practically a self-educated and self-made man, and one of much 
more than ordinary business capacity and extent and comprehen- 
siveness of information. This is one of Nature's ways of dealing 
with us. She often deprives her most promising offspring of ex- 
traneous advantages, then offers them compensation in the way of 
chances to develop their inherent faculties, and it is not her fault 
if they fail to accept and use the chance. 

Mr. Duncombe, the elder, accepted her terms, and made the most 
of his openings in life by his own efforts. Pie began operations with 
very little capital and at one period of his life owned more than two 
thousand acres of land. He was a young man when he came with 
his parents to Michigan, and not many years afterward he yielded 
to the excitement that filled the world over the discovery of gold in 
California and became one of the bold and resolute ' ' Forty-niners, ' ' 
that great band of hardy adventurers which crossed the plains in 
1849 to the new Eldorado on the Pacific slope. These modern argo- 
nauts used ox teams as their means of transporting their goods, and 
made the long and wearying journey themselves for the most part 
on foot. The bones of many of them whitened on the trackless llanos 
of the wilderness, as it was then, but Mr. Duncombe reached his des- 
tination in safety. He made Sacramento the seat of his operations 
and was successful in his venture. When he had accumulated a 
considerable sum of the virgin treasure of which he went in search 
of, he returned to civilization, traveling down the Pacific, across the 
Isthmus of Panama and up the Atlantic to New York, and thence 
across the continent to his former Michigan home. He invested his 
money in land, and kept adding to his holdings by subsequent pur- 
chases until, as has been noted, he owned two thousand acres and 
over. 

In his political faith Mr. Duncombe was first a Whig and after 
the birth of the Republican party a member of that organization. 
He adhered to this political party to the end of his days, and found 
his heroes of state craft among the leaders its critical times devel- 
oped. Its first candidate for the presidency, General John C. Fre- 
mont, received his ardent support, and to his last hour of life he was 
a warm admirer of Lincoln and Blaine. On the large field of 
political activity he was a member of the state constitutional con- 
vention, and locally he served for a number of years as supervisor 
of his township. Fraternally he was connected for many years with 
the Masonic order, and became a charter member of the lodge at 
Keeler when it was organized. He died in Keeler townsh>p, and in 
his passing away the township lost one of its best and most useful 
citizens. 

His wife was a native of Saratoga county, New York. She was 
bom there in 1830, and died in Keeler township, this county, in 
1882. She was reared and educated in her native county. During 
the greater part of her life she was an active working member of 
the Baptist church, and for some years was president of the local 
organization of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Her 
remains and those of her husband were interred in the cemetery in 
Keeler, and beautiful and suggestive memorial stones mark the 
place of their long sleep in the narrow house to which all must go. 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 871 

Albert 0. Duncombe grew to manhood in this county and ob- 
tained the greater part of his education in its schools. He began 
his scholastic instruction in the lower grades of the common schools^ 
continued it at the high school in Decatur, and completed it at the 
Northern Indiana State University. His whole life since leaving 
school has been passed in merchandising. In 1884 he and his father 
began business in this line in Keeler with a stock of goods valued at 
about two thousand, five hundred dollars, and since 1900 he has 
carried on the business alone. In conducting it he has been very 
successful, both in increasing his trade to great magnitude and in 
winning and holding the confidence and esteem of the people 
throughout a very large extent of the surrounding country. 

Mr. Buncombe's department store is the largest of the kind in 
Van Buren county, and carries a stock of merchandise sufficiently 
comprehensive and varied to meet every requirement of the commu- 
nity in which it operates, including agricultural implements. Its 
trade averages sixty-five thousand dollars per annum, and its well 
satisfied patrons number many hundred of the most intelligent and 
cultivated people residing in the region tributary to its traffic, as 
well as thousands of others. Mr. Duncombe is assisted in carrying 
on the business by his brother Charles and two saleswomen, with 
additional help on holiday and other rushing times. The force men- 
tioned would not be sufficient if all its members were not persons of 
superior qualifications for the work in which they are engaged, and 
it were not governed by perfect system, which prevents all w^aste of 
time and energy. 

Mr. Duncombe was married to Miss Alice G. Peters, who was born 
in this county on June 3, 1869, and is a daughter of James A. and 
Harriet (McMillan) Peters, and the first born of their three chil- 
dren, the other tw^o being her brother Stephen, who is a resident of 
Indiana, and her other brother, Tracey E., who is a salesman with 
headquarters in Spokane, A¥ashington. 

The father of these children was born in the state of New York 
on June 17, 1847, and died in Van Buren county, Michigan, in 
January, 1908. He was long engaged in mercantile pursuits as a 
salesman after leaving the Decatur High School, where he com- 
pleted his education. He was of German ancestry, a Republican in 
politics and a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge at Hartford, Michi- 
gan, fraternally. His wife was also a native of the state of New 
York, born in Sing Sing on December 20, 1850. She also died in 
this county. Her education was secured in the public schools of her 
native county, and her life was devoted to good works under the 
guidance of the church of which she was a faithful and zealous 
member during the greater part of her life, and a consistent ex- 
emplar of its teachings all the time. 

Mr. and Mrs. Duncombe have one child, their daughter Frances 
P. They also had one son who died in infancy. The daughter is a 
graduate of St. Mary's convent at ]\Ionroe, Michigan, class of 1907, 
and of the Kalamazoo State Normal School, from which she received 
her degree in 1909, her special course in that institution being that 
of music and art. She taught music in the public school at Belle- 
view, this state, one year, then her parents sent her to the Cosmo- 



872 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

politan School of Music in Chicago for the further development and 
cultivation of her talents, which are of a high order and show great 
promise. In that institution she is pursuing the study of voice cul- 
ture under the instruction of Professor L. A. Torrens, and that of 
dramatic art under instructors who are also highly competent. 

Miss Buncombe is unusually richly endowed for her art work, to 
which she intends to devote her life, and in all other respects she is 
a great credit to her family, her friends and the locality of her 
home. Appreciating fully the advantages she is enjoying through 
the liberality of her parents, she will undoubtedly make the most 
of them, and Van Buren county is delighted over the prospect of 
giving to the world a new star in the lofty firmament of intellectual 
radiance and power from which Miss Duncombe is destined to 
shine. The whole community unites with her parents in their just 
pride in her natural gifts and the use she contemplates making of 
them, and rejoices in the fact that she is well deserving, in her high 
character, devotion to duty and social accomplishments, of the uni- 
versal esteem bestowed upon her wherever she is known. 

Mi\ Buncombe has given his adherence to the Republican party 
in political affairs from the dawn of his manhood. His first presi- 
dential vote was cast for James G. Blaine, and his devotion to the 
party has been unwavering ever since. He has served as a delegate 
to its county and state conventions a number of times, and was one 
of the Republican national convention which met in Chicago in 
1904. He has always been a devoted friend of the public schools, 
and given them the benefit of his services for many years in some 
official capacity, regarding the cause of public education as one of 
the greatest claims on the attention of the people, and one of the 
strongest means for the preservation of liberty, intelligence and 
morality among them. 

Fraternally he is a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge at Keeler 
and of Benton Harbor Lodge, No. 544, Benevolent and Protective 
Order of Elks, in each of which he takes an earnest interest, show- 
ing commendable fervor in his zeal for the welfare of both fraterni- 
ties, as he does with reference to every other good agency at work 
among the people for their betterment in morals, in tellectual devel- 
opment, in social relations and as contributors to the general en- 
joyment of the community. 

Mr. and Mrs. Buncombe reside in a beautiful modern dwelling in 
Keeler. The house is conveniently arranged, richly and tastefully 
furnished, and provided with every appliance required for its com- 
fort and the enjoyment of its inmates. The home is a social center 
of great popularity, a radiating point of high culture and genial 
good fellowship, wherein gracious hospitality is dispensed and the 
best attributes of American domestic life are enthroned, in accord- 
ance with the sunny and elevated nature of its occupants, whose 
hearts are rich in kindly feelings for all mankind. 

Chares Buncombe. — Reared as a farmer and following that occu- 
pation until he was nearly forty years of age, then turning his 
attention to merchandising with as much deftness and capacity as 
if he had long been trained to the business, Charles Buncombe, of 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 873 

Keeler, has shown his adaptability to circumstances to be of an ex- 
tent and character that would win him success and credit in almost 
any line of endeavor that he might choose to turn his hand to. His 
is rather an unusual case, as farmers are not generally w^ell adapted 
to general merchandising, their usual pursuit not involving the fine 
points of this line of trade and unfitting them for its more graceful 
requirements. But JMr. Duncombe is as much at home behind the 
counter as he ever was behind the plow, and he can turn a mercan- 
tile transaction as neatly and as cleverly as he ever did a furrow. 
This show^s his versality and readiness for any station or duty, and 
he has given many proofs of them in his mercantile career in other 
ways. 

Of the six children born to his parents (Jliarles Duncombe was 
the fourth in the order of birth. He is a son of Charles and Frances 
S. (Knight) Duncombe, the story of whose lives is given at some 
length in the sketch of Albert O. Duncombe, which will be found in 
this volume. Like his brother Albert 0., Charles was born in Van 
Buren county, Michigan, and reared and largely educated on his 
native heath. He attended the district school near his home until 
he completed its course, then engaged in farming on shares for his 
father. This he continued until the death of the father, when he 
inherited one hundred and sixty acres of fine land in Hamilton 
township and began cultivating it entirely on his own account. He 
remained on this farm and devoted himself wholly to its development 
and improvement until 1907. And he has ever since superintended 
its cultivation and kept it up to the standard of excellence to which 
he raised it. It is devoted to general farming. 

In 1907 Mr. Duncan entered the employ of his older brother Al- 
bert as a clerk and assistant manager of the large department store 
the brother owns and carries on in Keeler. He has been a potent 
factor in helping to win the wide popularity the emporium enjoys 
and build it up to the high place it has in the confidence and regard 
of the business world and the general public. He is what the old 
Romans called suariier in modo, for (iter in re — genial and cour- 
teous in manner but strong or resolute in deed — and the two qual- 
ifications for business combined in him have given him great in- 
fluence wath the purchasing public, and pronounced success as a 
business man in the department of trade Avith which he is connected. 

Mr. Duncombe was married in April 2, 1891, in Keeler township, 
to Miss Maria IMcMillan, who was born in this county on February 
14, 1873, the first of the i\Ye children, all daughters, of John and 
Salome (Reece) ]\IcMillan, all of whom are living. The others are: 
Ada, who is the wife of A. "W. Gustine, formerly a merchant in 
Keeler but now a farmer in the same township ; Buna, who is the 
wife of H. A. AVelcher, also a Keeler township farmer; Nellie, who 
is the wife of D. F. Gregory, a scion of the old Gregory family so 
long prominent in this locality, and, like her sisters, a resident of 
Keeler township; and Zorah, who is the wife of ]\I. J. Teed, a 
butcher living and doing business in Benton Harbor. Mr. and IMrs. 
Gustine have three children, Mr. and Mrs. Welcher have two sons, 
and Mr. and Mrs. Gregory have one daughter. 

Four children, three sons and one daughter, have been born to 



874 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

^Ir. and Mrs. Buncombe, but only one of them is living, their son 
Charles McMillan. From the age at which he entered school until 
the present time his education has been carefully looked after. He 
completed the eighth grade of the elementary and grammar school 
at Hamilton, passed one year at the high school in Decatur, and 
was graduated from the Hartford high school in the class of 1910. 
At this time (1911) he is a student in the school of Professor Ferris 
in Big Rapids, which is considered one of the best of the kind in the 
state, and there he is pursuing a course in the commercial and busi- 
ness department to tit himself to follow in the footsteps of his 
father, his uncle and his grandfather as a merchant. 

John McMillan, the father of Mrs. Duncombe, is a native of the 
state of New York, and in earlier life was a blacksmith. He w^as a 
soklier in defense of the Union during the Civil war, and made an 
excellent record in the army. He has served as treasurer of Keeler 
township and is now township clerk. His political faith is pledged 
and his political services are given to the Republican party, and he 
IS ardently devoted to its principles. Fraternally he is a Freemason 
and belongs to the lodge of the order in Keeler, where he and his 
wife are living. The latter was also born in New York state, and she, 
too, takes an earnest interest in the fraternal life of the community 
as a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. No citizens of Van 
Buren county are more highly or more generally esteemed. 

Mr. Duncombe is a Republican of the most devoted loyalty to his 
party. He cast his first presidential vote for President Benjamin 
Harrison, and has kept himself steadfastly under the Republican 
banner ever since. He served several years as school director while 
living in Hamilton township and is now township treasurer of 
Keeler township. He is deeply and intelligently interested in the 
cause of public education, regarding it as a bulwark of American 
liberty, a valuable means of preparation for the duties of citizen- 
ship and a great force in democratizing our people and helping to 
make them homogeneous in their social and political activities. 

Mrs. Duncombe is a true partner of her husband 's joys, sorrows 
and ambitions. She shares in all his aspirations, takes part in all 
his work for the good of the community, and aids in making their 
home one of the choice domestic shrines of the township, and one 
of its most popular and agreeable centers of social culture, benefi- 
cent energy and genuine hospitality. Van Buren county has no 
better or more useful citizens than Mr. and Mrs. Duncombe, no bet- 
ter representatives of what is best in its citizenship, no more zealous 
promoters of its welfare in every way, and, to its credit be it said, 
no heads of a household within its borders who are more highly es- 
teemed or more thoroughly appreciated. 

Lester E. Osborn. — Among the native-born sons of Van Buren 
<?ounty, Michigan, is Lester E. Osborn, whose citizenship is of that 
stanch and admirable type which has made this section so pro- 
gressive and prosperous that it is widely noted for these qualities. 
The name of Osborn is well known hereabout and he whose name in- 
augurates this review is distinguished not only for his own record 
as a man and a citizen, but from the honored ancestry from which 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 875 

he is descended. He was born in Hamilton township on August 1, 
1854, and is the eldest member and only son in a family of four born 
to Stephen and Maria (Try on) Osborn. At the present time all 
the children survive. Lillie is the wife of H. A. Beardsley, an agri- 
culturist and a resident of Decatur. Lucy is the wife of Charles 
Harris, a prosperous agriculturist of Hamilton township ; and Lora 
is married to John Ingram, an engineer in the great Sheffield works 
of Three Rivers, Michigan. 

The father of the subject was a native of Allegheny county, New 
Y'ork, and was an agriculturist. He attended school in an old log 
school house in the Empire state and was of the self-made type. 
When but a lad he came with his parents to Van Buren county, 
Michigan, making the journey by wagon in pioneer style. AVhen 
the Osborus arrived in the AVolverine state wolves, deer and wild 
turkeys were plentiful and the traces of the redmen had by no 
means been obliterated. The father entered land from the govern- 
ment and became prosperous. All his life he was loyal in his sup- 
port of the principles of Jackson Democracy. He was well-known, 
a man of strong character and of influence in the community. In 
tiie early days he had sixteen yoke of oxen and with them broke the 
virgin soil. Both he and his worthy wife were members of the Dis- 
ciple church. He took a great interest in improving public school 
conditions and he was at the forefront in other progressive work. 
His wife was a native of Michigan and a woman of great ambition 
and industry. Both are interred in the Hamilton cemetery, where 
beautiful stones are erected sacred to their memory. 

Mr. Osborn, immediate subject of this review, was reared in old 
V^an l^uren county and was educated in the common school and the 
Paw Paw high school. He has devoted all his activities to agricul- 
ture. At the age of twenty he earned his first wages, twenty dol- 
lars a month, and until the demise of the beloved parents, to which 
lie had ever been devoted, he resided beneath the home roof. At the 
death of the father, p]rastus Osborn, of whom mention is made on 
other pages, was appointed administrator and the two worked the 
homestead on shares. At the age of twenty-four the subject wedded 
Miss Rena Gage, their union being on April 28, 1878. To them have 
been born two sons and two daughters. Adah M. is the wife of 
( yharles Lindsley, a resident of Bangor township, who operates the 
Smiley farm. Their daughter, Lucille Belle, is in school. Mrs. 
Lindsley was educated in the common schools and previous to her 
iiiarriage was a nmsic teacher. V. Belle became the wife of Claude 
Sterns, son of Z. Sterns, one of the pioneers of Van Buren county. 
She was educated in the common schools. Her husband is* one of 
Hamilton township's prosperous young farmers. Leroy S. is a resi- 
dent of Keeler tow^nship and an agriculturist. He married Miss 
Bessie Rathburne. He was educated in the common schools. Hugh 
1). is a resident of Dowagiac and is engaged as an iron moulder. 
He took as his wife Miss Lucille Baker, a school teacher, and they 
have a little daughter, Irma. 

Mr. and Mrs. Osborn have given their children good practical edii 
(^ations and fitted them for honorable lives and they have become 
honorable citizens and a credit to their parents. Mrs. Osborn was 



876 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

born in Cass county, Michigan, February 11, 1860, and she is the eld- 
est of two children, both daughters, born to Van Orman and Zilpha 
(Langley) Gage. Both are living and Mrs. Osborn is the elder. 
Her sister, Alpha M., is the widow of William Scoby, a resident of 
Battle Creek and they have one daughter, Edith, who was the wife 
of Theodore Shaw, and is now an actress in Chicago. ]Mrs. Shaw 
was educated in the Hastings high school. The father Gage was a 
native of Cattaraugus county, his birth having occurred in 1832 
and his death in 1869. He was only a boy when his parents came to 
Cass county, Michigan. He received a good education, a part of 
which was received in the Ypsilanti Normal School. His occupa- 
tion was that of a practical farmer and horticulturist and he was 
distinguished for unusual mentality. In politics he was a Republi- 
can and cast his vote for the first nominee of the party. lie died 
in Berrien county. His wife w^as a native of AVisconsin, born Au- 
gust 16, 1839, and still living at Battle Creek. She is a woman 
beautiful in face as well as in character and mind. She has long 
been a useful member of the Methodist Episcopal church. 

Mrs. Osborn was a little girl but four years of age when she be- 
came a resident of Berrien county. She has spent the greater part 
•of her life, however, in Hamilton township, and in its schools se- 
cured her education. She possesses a most pleasing personality and 
her home is her paradise. She has ably reared her family and is. 
indeed, in the words of Longfellow, 

' ' A noble type of good 
Heroic womanhood. ' ' 

Mr. and Mrs. Osborn moved onto this present place in 1897. It is 
known as "Oak Grove Homestead." The subject has ever been a 
Republican, nationally and locally, and he casts his vote for the 
men he believes best suited for the office. He is a public spirited 
man and his sixteen years' service as school director has been of 
value to the community. 

To conclude, Mr. and Mrs. Osborn stand high in the neigliborhood. 
where they command universal respect. They have reared an hon- 
orable and upright family and happy indeed is the old home when 
children and grandchildren congregate at such seasons as Christmas 
and Thanksgiving. The record of their worthy lives is indeed good 
material for perpetuation in the History of Van Buren County, 
^Michigan. 

Claude D. Robinson. — It is almost a tiresomely trite saying that 
the farms have given us our best citizens. Until two generations 
ago the most of our population lived in the country, so naturally 
the farm-bred boy had the advantage. Later came the great exodus 
to the city and for a time it was hard to find a young man of talent 
who intended to devote his life to agriculture. But now this is 
changing and we are beginning to return to our Anglo-Saxon no- 
tion that farming is an occupation worthy to engage the best skill 
of our best men, and ever increasing numbers of our youth are 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 877 

adopting it, not because they drift into it but as the profession of 
their choice. 

One of Keeler township 's notable young agriculturists is Claude 
D. Robinson. His family have lived in the state all their lives and 
his father, Edmund J. Robinson, is a well known and successful 
farmer in this county. This gentleman began life with no capital 
and for five years after his marriage to Miss Minnie Winch he 
rented land. His first eighty acres was purchased by going into 
debt, and their house was a little log cabin. Now he and his wife 
own together one hundred and twenty acres in Keeler tow^nship and 
in 1898 they built their handsome modern residence on the first 
eighty acres which he bought. The ruins of the old log cabin are 
still to be seen on the place. Three children were born to ^Ir. and 
Mrs. Robinson, all living in this state. Clyde lives at Marcellus and 
is a farmer. Ilis wife w^as formerly Miss Elizabeth Willis. Ruth 
Louise, the youngest of the Robinson family, is still at home. 

Claude Robinson was born July 30, 1888, in Keeler tow^nship. He 
^^tt ended the public schools of the county and early decided to de- 
vote himself to farming and stock raising. He began his w^ork with 
a capital of five hundred dollars from his parents, who having made 
a success of the same pursuit desired to give their son assistance in 
liis undertaking. On July 30, 1909, he w^as married to ]\liss Caro- 
line B. iMolter, a daughter of Katherine Weber and Peter Molter, of 
Bainbridge, ]\Iichigan. She was born January 25, 1889, and is one 
of a family of twelve children, seven of whom were sons. She re- 
ceived her education in the county schools and is a young woman of 
ability, well fitted to fill the position which devolves upon her. All 
but one of the children of her parents are still living and reside in« 
^lichigan. The father and mother, too, are still conducting their 
thriving truck farm, whose products they market in Benton Harbor. 
Both are members of the German Lutheran church. 

In 1910 Mr. Robinson built a pleasant residence, opposite his 
father's home, on eighty acres of land which belongs to him. Here 
he and his wife and their small son, Maurice Leland, constitute a 
household whose elders are w^ell known and popular in the county 
in which they hold an eminent position. ]Mr. Robinson is a Re- 
publican in his politics, as is also his father. He has already at- 
tained an enviable reputation as a farmer and will doubtless always 
keep his place in the front rank of the progressive agriculturists. 

Adoi.pii Danneffel. — Germany has given to America some of its 
best and most intellectual citizens. From the Fatherland has come 
much that is great and good, and although our German-Americans 
cherish in their hearts a tender love for the native country, they 
have ever proven themselves among our best and most loyal patriots 
and encourage in their offspring the same devotion to their adopted 
land. Van Buren county is the home of some of the leading Ger- 
man-American citizens of the country, and prominent among these, 
one who has risen to the front rank of agriculturists of his section 
through the force of his own industry and persevering labor, is 
Adolph Danneffel, of Keeler township, who, by a long and honorable 
business career, a thoughtful interest in others and public-spirited 



878 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

efforts in behalf of his community, has made himself known and 
respected all over this part of the county. Mr. Danneffel was born 
in Baden, Germany, April 16, 1831, and is the third in a family of 
eight children born to George and Mary (Elgas) Danneffel. 

George Danneffel, also a native of Germany, never left that coun- 
try, w^here throughout his life he was engaged in agricultural pur- 
suits and in school teaching. He and his wife were consistent mem- 
bers of the Roman Catholic faith, and they were interred in the 
cemetery of that denomination near their home. Those of their 
children who survive are: Adolph; Leopold, a veteran of the 
Franco-Prussian w^ar, and now an agriculturist in Germany; 
Charles, who received an excellent education and is now engaged in 
farming in Germany ; Otto, also a school teacher in the old country ; 
Phillip, who, like his brothers, is engaged in educational pursuits in 
the Fatherland; and Martha and Phillipine, who are also residents 
of Germany. One son and one daughter have passed away. 

Adolph Danneffel received a good education in the German lan- 
guage, and as a youth w^as apprenticed to the trade of shoemaker, 
w^hich he followed in Germany until he reached his twenty-second 
year, at which time, not being satisfied w^th his prospects, he de- 
cided to come to the United States. In April, 1854, he boarded a 
sailing vessel at Antwerp, and after a stormy voyage of thirty-three 
days, during which the passengers suffered the pangs of hunger 
and other hardships, finally landed at Castle Garden. On putting 
foot on American soil the sum total of the money })etween Adolph 
and his brother John Danneffel was one dollar and fifty cents, and 
with this they started out to make their fortunes among a strange 
people speaking a strange language. During the next three and 
one-half years Mr. Danneffel remained in New York state, working 
out as a farm hand at ten dollars per month, and about 1858 he 
came to Berrien county, Michigan, where he worked for a farmer 
during one summer. He then purchased eighty acres of wild land 
in Keeler township, Van Buren county, and this proved the nucleus 
for a magnificent farm of six hundred acres. On first settling here 
the country was a vast wilderness of timber land, in which still 
roamed wild beasts, and Indian camps were not unusual sisrhts. The 
axe and the ox-team were the principal implements used in clearing 
and cultivating the land, in sharp contrast to the improved imple- 
ments of today and the powerful machinery that is used to operate 
fhem. Mr. DanneffeUs career is a striking example of what inay be 
accomplished by a man w^ho has the determination to succeed and 
the ability to carry this determination through. He has replaced 
the primitive log buildings of half a century ago with modern struc- 
tures, a handsome residence and all necessary outbuildings, and his 
land is now some of the best in Van Buren county. Since 1903, 
when his wife died, he has resided on the old homestead with his 
youngest son, William. Mr. Danneffel stands square with the world, 
and he has always been honest and fair in all of his dealings with 
his fellow men. Alw^ays ready to stand up for what he believes 
to be right, he is, nevertheless, considerate of the feelings and opin- 
ions of others, and it is this sense of fairness that has made his 
name known and respected in his section. Although in his eightieth 




/%>a 



-/^^U^ 




HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 879 

year, Mr. Danneffel is in full possession of all of his faculties and 
his mind is as clear as when he came to this country many years 
ago, a poor immigrant boy looking for his fortunes in the new 
world, — clearer perhaps, for the years of experience and observa- 
tion have made him alert to all that is of interest to his community. 
He has always supported the principles of the Republican party, 
and cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln. His fellow citizens 
have recognized his ability as a public official by electing him to 
positions of honor and trust, and he has served as director of the 
school district for six years, highway commissioner for two years, 
and supervisor of his township for six years, and in none of these 
did he betray the confidence thus displayed in him. He has also 
at numerous times represented his party in county conventions, and 
as an official was ever alert to protect the people' s interests. Now, 
in the evening of life, he can look back over a well-spent, useful 
career, content in the knowledge that there is not the slightest stain 
or blemish upon his record. 

On March 14, 1857, Mr. Danneffel was married to JMiss Phoebe 
Arndt, and seven sons and two daughters were born to this union, 
all of whom survive : George, a retired farmer of Benton Harbor, 
Michigan, is married and has two children, George and Saide ; Mary! 
widow of Charles Swartz, resident of South Bend, Indiana, has one 
child, Charlie ; Charles, a retired farmer of Benton Harbor, is mar- 
ried ; Frank, living in Bainbridge, Michigan, is an agriculturist, and 
has three children. May, Herbert and Lymon; Adolph P., also an 
agriculturist of Bainbridge, is married and has two children, Flor- 
ence and Lloyd ; Catherine, the wife of Adelbert Salter, an agricul- 
turist of Keeler township ; Albert, who is farming in Keeler town- 
ship, is married and has three children. Dean, Robert and Ward ; 
Simon, also farming in Keeler township, is married and has two 
children, Edward and Margaret ; and William, who is living on the 
old homestead with his father, married ]\liss Emma Mundt and 
lias one child, Johnnie. Mr. Danneffel is a great-grandfather. 

In 1880 he made a visit to his native land, where he remained four 
months, and then returned to his adopted county, more pleased 
than ever with it. 

Hiram A. Smith.— Many years ago Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote 
01 one of his classmates, 

''There was a young fellow of excellent pith. 
Fate tried to obscure him by naming him Smith." 

It is unnecessary to add that Fate was cheated in her nefarious 
designs and the same is true of the subject, who is one of the 
prominent citizens of the county, of which he is also a native son. 
In addition to his success as a farmer he has great ability a^ 
an inventor, and the Smith Interlocking Cement Stave Silo is a 
mechanical device which he is now putting on the market and 
which promises to make him very well-known. He is also engaged 
in the manufacture of a number of other mechanical inventions. 



880 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

His ninety acres of good land are located in section 21, of Waverly 
township. 

Mr. Smith was born in Arlington township, Van Buren county, 
Michigan, November 13, 1864, and is the son of John P. and Helen 
M. (Goodeve) Smith. The father was born in Germany, Feb- 
ruary 21, 1836, and came to America at the age of four years 
with his parents, John M. and Catherine Smith. The mother was 
a native of New York city and a daughter of John B. Goodeve, of 
London, England. John B. Goodeve came with his family to Allegan 
county, Michigan, when the subject's mother was but one year old, 
and there they resided until their summons to the better land. The 
subject's parents were married in this county and to them were 
bom four children, namely : Hiram A. Smith ; William A. Smith ; 
Mabel, wife of C. H. Miller, of North Dakota; and Albert, who is 
unmarried and resides in Stevens county, Washington. 

Hiram A. Smith was reared on his father's farm in Van Buren 
county and received his education in the public schools, finish- 
ing with the eighth grade. Following that he received a com- 
mercial education and at an early age his natural mechanical 
ability became apparent. He is a manufacturer as well as agri- 
culturist, his stock tank having proved a particularly salable com- 
modity. He remained beneath the parental roof-tree until the 
attainment of his majority and in 1892 he was united in mar- 
riage to Ada E. Horton, also a native of this county. They 
share their pleasant home with four children : Homer L, now at 
home, was a student in the high school and is eighteen years of 
age; Warren H. is fifteen years old, and attends the high school 
at Paw Paw; Hiram A., Jr., is eleven; and Helen A. is seven. 

Fraternally Mr. Smith is a member of Glendale Lodge, In- 
dependent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Modern Woodmen of 
America, and his wife is affiliated with the Royal Neighbors. Both 
of them carry insurance. In politics the subject is independent, 
giving his support to the man and the measure he deems most 
likely to be conducive to the general benefit, although he has Demo- 
cratic inclinations, at present he is a Republican insurgent. He 
has been twice elected township treasurer on the Democratic ticket. 
He is, in short, a good citizen and widely known. 

Everett A. Fisher. — Among the prominent agriculturists of 
Keeler township, Van Buren county, none is more deserving of men- 
tion than Everett A. Fisher, who is a worthy member of one of the 
pioneer families of this section. When the family first settled here 
bears, deer and wolves still roamed the forests, and almost the en- 
tire country was yet in its primitive condition. Bears were often 
seen even on the farm and on occasion would attack and carry off 
the domestic animals. In those days not only the men but the 
women assisted in the clearing, and many were the hardships and 
privations endured by the early settlers before they had hewn for 
themselves a comfortable home from the dense forest. Everett A. 
Fisher was born in Berrien county, Michigan, March 9, 1861, the 
youngest of the three children born to Wanzer and Eliza J. (IMat- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 881 

tock) Fisher, and he now has one sister living: Evaline, a widow 
residing in Benton Harbor, Michigan. 

Wanzer Fisher was born in Ohio in 1834, and died April 8, 1875, 
in Keeler tow^nship. He was reared to the life of an agriculturist 
and educated in the common schools, and came by wagon to Berrien 
county, Michigan, with his parents. There the little band of pio- 
neers settled in a primitive log cabin, and ]\Ir. Fisher assisted his 
father and brothers in clearing the land to develop a farm. He 
was married in Berrien county to Miss Eliza Mattock, and they be- 
gan their married life in very humble circumstances, settling on a 
forty-acre tract of wild land, for which they went into debt, but 
eventually cleared the property and paid dollar for dollar for every 
acre of it. In 1866 they came to Keeler tow^nship, purchasing eighty 
acres of land, about one acre of which was cleared, and on this had 
been built a small house, which would now be considered little 
more than a shanty. Nevertheless, it was home to this young couple, 
who proceeded to work steadfastly and industriously, and after 
years of hard and incessant toil succeeded in cultivating the land 
and made their property the equal of any of its size in their part 
of the township. Wanzer Fisher was a stanch Democrat in politics 
and was a great friend of the cause of education. Both he and his 
wife were faithful members of the Christian church. Mr. Fisher 
died in Keeler township, and was buried in the cemetery here, a 
beautiful stone being erected in his memory. Mrs. Fisher, who 
survives her husband and makes her home with her son, w^as born 
in Ohio, June 30, 1839. She did much towards helping her husband 
during the pioneer days, and her many lovable traits of character 
have endeared her to all who know her. 

Everett Fisher was six years of age wlien the family came to 
Keeler township, and he received his education in the common 
schools. On i\Iay 17, 1888, he was married to Aliss Lillian Klett, 
and two children have been born to this union : I^essie L., who fin- 
ished the eighth grade in the public schools, was given a musical 
education, and then became a saleslady in the general store of A. 0. 
Buncombe, at Keeler, and Floyd P]., a graduate of the public schools 
and now a member of the class of 3912 in the Hartford High School. 
Mrs. Fisher is a native of Van Buren county and was born July 19. 
1870, the fourth of a family of seven children, one of whom is now 
deceased, while four live in Van Buren county and two in Berrien 
county. Both of IMrs. Fislier's parents reside in Keeler township, 
lier father being a veteran of the Civil war, in which he served for 
three years. He is a Republican in politics and a member of the 
G. A. R., while his wife is a devout member of the Evangelical 
church. 

After their marriage Mw and jMrs. Fisher settled down on the old 
Fisher homestead, which is known as "The Maples," and is devoted 
to general farming and stock raising. ^Ir. Fisher is a Democrat 
in his political affiliations, and both he and his wife are great friends 
of education, Mr. Fisher having served for six years as treasurer of 
his school district. They are worthy children of pioneer fathers 
who hewed out homes in the midst of the forest and from a start of 
nothing secured a comfortable property by years of patient toil. 



882 HISTORY OF VAN BUEEN COUNTY 

Henry E. Gibney attributes his success in life's undertakings to 
the quality of close application, persevering devotion to the task in 
hand, and an honest intention to perform every task in the day 's 
work with one's whole soul and best energy. The man who really 
lives with hard work as the key note of his life is bound to accom- 
plish things. Henry E. Gibney, who has now retired from active 
participation in the management of his farm and makes his pleas- 
ant home in Hartford, Michigan, was born in Genesee county, New 
York, the date of his nativity being May 23, 1840. He is the son of 
Thomas and Elizabeth (Munger) Gibney. Thomas Gibney was a 
native born son of Ireland who immigrated to the United States 
when he was a lad of fifteen years, choosing to try the broader 
opportunities of the western world. Elizabeth Munger, who after- 
wards became the mother of Henry E. Gibney, the immediate sub- 
ject of this review, was born in the state of Connecticut and married 
her husband in New York state, coming with him some time in the 
fifties to Berrien county, where they made their permanent home. 
She passed to her eternal reward in 1877, and was followed by her 
husband thirteen years later. They were the parents of eleven 
children, seven of whom are living at this date, 1911. Henry E. 
and one sister now live in Van Buren county. 

Henry E. Gibney was twelve years old at the time of his parents 
removal from New York state, and he remained at the parental 
home in Berrien county, Michigan, until he reached his majority. 
On August 9, 1862, he enlisted in Company ''M'', Fourth Michigan 
cavalry, and followed the starry ensign of the Union until the close 
of the war, serving in many notable engagements, including the bat- 
tle of Stone Eiver. When the conflict was over, and the blue and 
the gray were no longer the emblems of a divided nation, Mr. Gib- 
ney returned to ]\Iichigan, and was united in marriage to Miss 
Florence Wheeler, by whom he had one daughter, Edah, now the 
wife of George Mutchler, of Hartford, Michigan. 

On May 31, 1880, was solemnized the marriage of Henry E. Gib- 
ney to Anna C. Kemp, who was born in Van Buren county in July, 
1852. She was the daughter of William Kemp, a native of England, 
who was born in the mother country in 1818. He immigrated to 
this country and was married in New York to Miss Philena Potter, 
a native of that state. They came after their marriage to Michigan 
and Mr. Kemp was here engaged in agricultural pursuits until his 
death, in 1904. His wife followed him to that other land in 1911. 
Their daughter, Mrs. Henry E. Gibney, is a member of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal church. 

Although always a stanch supporter of the principles and policies 
of the Eepublican party, Mr. Gibney has never had time for the 
honors and emoluments of public office and has manifested his in- 
terest in the welfare of the community in the quieter but none the 
less expressive medium, the polls. 

In 1899 Mr. and Mrs. Gibney left their farms, located on sections 
27 and 30 of Bangor township, and they have since enjoyed the 
fruits of their past years of wise management and unfailing indus- 
try at their pleasant and hospitable home in Hartford. 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 883 

David Conklin. — The late David Conklin was one of the promi- 
nent farmers of Van Buren county, and in his death the county may 
feel a personal loss, for with his demise it was robbed of an upright 
and progressive citizen who was always willing to lend his strength 
to whatever good works were being put forward for the general wel- 
fare. 

David Conklin was a native of New York state, having been born 
in Philadelphia township, Jefferson county, that state, on April 10, 
1845, the son of Richard and Lucy (Gotham) Conklin. Richard 
Conklin was born in Rutland county. New York, and his wife was 
born at Cranes Corners, Westchester county. New York, now^ a 
suburb of New York city. Their son David was reared on the home 
farm and educated in the public schools until he was sixteen. At 
that age, in 1861, together with five of his brothers, he enlisted in 
Company E, Ninety-fourth New York Volunteer Infantry of the 
Union army. The six brothers, though they followed the fag 
through many desperate engagements, all returned without a 
scratch at the close of the struggle. 

In tlie spring of 1865 David Conklin left New York and came to 
Hartford, Michigan. He was without means, but he at once set 
about to "make good," and obtained employment in the tim])er 
business. 

On the 5th of June, 1869, was solemnized the marriage of David 
Conklin to Miss Mary E. Olds. She was born in Hartford township. 
May 29, 1849, a daughter of Iliram and :Marian A. (Stratton) Olds. 
Hiram B. Olds was a son of John Olds, who came to jMichigan from 
New York state as a pioneer settler in this part of the country. 
He located in Hartford township, and there cleared a farm in the 
timber region and lived on the clearing for the remainder of his 
life. Iliram Olds, his son, was reared in New York, where he grew 
to manhood and married IMarian A. Stratton. Shortly after the 
wedding the young husband came on to JMichigan, returning a year 
later for his wife. He had no '^ start'' in life and accumulated his 
fortune by his own industrious efforts. He became the owner of 
one hundred and forty acres of land and made his own furniture. 
He was a shrewd business man as well as a hard worker and a man 
of unquestioned honor. He passed away at the very outset of his 
career, at the age of thirty-five years, leaving a wife and three chil- 
dren, — Mary E., Ira V. and Stephen A. 

Mr. and Mrs. Conklin became the parents of nine children, seven 
of whom now survive, in 1911 : Melvin J. Conklin, who married Miss 
Ethel Parmeter and has become the father of three children ; Milton 
D., unmarried and now makes his home with his widowed mother ; 
Marian G., now Mrs. Hiram G. Hinkley ; Lillie ]M., who was united 
in marriage to Sheldon P. Straub, and is the mother of one daugh- 
ter; "Walter A., unmarried and living at the paternal home; Nora 
E. now Mrs. Gorham Blair; Charles H., who married Miss Fern 
Hummell. 

Mrs. Conklin, while not the member of any church, has been the 
supporter of the good works of all and has lived a truly upright life 
of kindly helpfulness. Her husband was a Mason and a member of 
the Knights of Pythias. Politically he was an ardent Democrat. 



884: HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Both he and his wife were members of the Patricians, and at the 
time of Mr. Conklin's death each carried a thousand dollars insur- 
ance in the order. 

Mrs. Conklin is the owner of forty acres in Hartford township ;. 
forty -nine acres across the road in Keeler township ; twentj^-seven 
acres west of the forty-nine ; and forty acres to the east of the same 
tract. In all her holdings amount to one hundred and fifty-seven 
acres, part of which is managed as a fruit farm and grapes and 
peaches of a high quality are raised. 

Edward Skinner. — Van Buren county is fortunate in the pos- 
session of the Skinner family, estimable members of society and rep- 
resentatives of the agricultural industry, an industry which is at 
once the oldest and, according to Daniel Webster, the most import- 
ant labor of man. Edward Skinner, who now farms and raises 
fruit on his fine tract of land in section 28 of Hartford township, 
Van Buren county, was born in Kendall county, Illinois, on the 6th 
of November, 1870. He is the son of Stephen and Eva (Brodie) 
Skinner, both of whom were natives of England, where they were 
married. They immigrated to this country in 1854 and located in 
Kendall county, Illinois. They made the journey across the ocean 
in a sail boat, and it consumed three months' time, an interesting 
fact in the light of modern steamship navigation. Stephen Skinner 
passed to his eternal reward on May 1, 1882, and was followed by 
his wife on the 29th of May, 1896. They made their home on a 
rented farm, and were the parents of seven children, five of whom 
are living at this date, 1911. George resides in the state of Illinois. 
Anna is now the wife of Richard Phillip. Mary is deceased. Libbie 
is now Mrs. Mike Lochran and resides in Montana. Meline is the 
wife of George Brockway. Kate is deceased. 

Edward Skinner was reared amid the healthful surroundings of 
the home farm, there learning the lessons of integrity and industry 
that have made his later success possible. He continued to work on 
the farm during the summer seasons and to attend the district school 
during the winters until he was eighteen years old. His father died 
when he was eleven years old, and he remained with his mother 
until she, too, passed away, after which his sister kept house for 
him until he was thirty years old. Part of this time he spent at 
Lisbon, Illinois, where for three years he was engaged in business. 
After selling out there Mr. Skinner came to Hartford township and 
bought the John Heins farm of one hundred and twenty acres, lo- 
cated in section 28, and he has made his home there since 1903. 

In February, 1902, was solemnized the marriage of Mr, Skinner 
to Mrs. Mettie Sleezer, who was Miss Mettie Ostrom, born January 
15, 1863, in Kendall county. She was educated in the Newark 
school, and later attended a seminary. To her first marriage were 
born two daughters. Miss Clara Sleezer was a graduate of the 
Newark high school and was a teacher in the public schools prior to 
her marriage to William Phillips and is now a resident on the home 
farm. Nina Sleezer was also a teacher prior to her marriage. She 
is now Mrs. Loveland Munson, and makes her home in Deerfield, 
Illinois. Mrs. Skinner is a member of the Methodist Episcopal 



HISTORY OF VAx\ J3UKEN COUNTY 885 

church of Hartford. Her husband is a member of the Modern 
Woodmen of America. 

Politically Mr. Skinner is a loyal member of the Republican party, 
and an active worker for its men and measures. 

Orville Fowler. — Among the citizens of Van Buren county 
whose names appear in the list of those whose industry, integrity 
and ability are responsible for the prosperity enjoyed by the county, 
no name is more deserving of its place than that of Orville Fowler, 
an agriculturist w^ell known in Hartford township, where he owns 
two fine farms of one hundred acres each. Mr. Fowler was born in 
La Salle county, Illinois, on the 11th of February, 1854, the son of 
Milton and Hannah (Phillips) Fowler. His father, Milton Fowler, 
was a native of Warner, New Hampshire, and his mother was born 
in Erie county, Pennsylvania. His parents both came when young 
with their respective families to settle in Newark, Kendall county, 
Illinois, some time prior to the end of the year 1842. The young 
people met, married and lived the rest of their lives in Kendall 
county, quiet and unassuming people, well-liked by all who came to 
know them. The father passed to his eternal reward in 1898, ten 
years after the demise of his wife. Orville Fowler was one in their 
family of nine children. He was brought up on the pleasant acres 
of the home farm, learning there the lessons of industry and honor 
which have so marked his after life, and there gaining the robust 
constitution that meant much when added to his native ability. 
His education was obtained at the local district school, which he 
attended until his eighteenth year. At that age he definitely took 
up agriculture as his permanent work and began to give his entire 
time to it. 

On the 6th of November, 1878, was solemnized the marriage of 
Orville Fowler to Miss Amelia Jones, the daughter of William and 
Martha (Powell) Jones. Both of her parents were natives of Dow- 
lais, South Wales, who had come from the old country about 1867 
and located their new home at Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania. They 
had only been in this country a short time when both the father and 
mother died, leaving their daughter Amelia to make her own way 
in a world that is none too kind to those who buffet its blasts alone. 
She was young and strong, however, and though her early education 
had been sadly neglected she won out against all odds. In 1876 she 
went to Newark, Illinois, and it was there that she met Orville Fow- 
ler. After a two years ' courtship they were married, and they later 
came to make their home in Van Buren county, Michigan. Their 
union has been blessed by the birth of two sons. Claude E. Fow- 
ler married Miss Inga Krone, and they are now living on a farm in 
Hartford township and are the parents of two fine children. Ray 
B. Fowler was united in marriage to Miss Deldee Martin, and, like 
his brother, is engaged in farming in Hartford township. 

Fraternally Mr. Fowler is connected with Charter Oak Lodge 
of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he is also a member 
of the Modern Woodmen of America. His wife is a member of 
Benevolence Chapter, No. 46, of the Order of the Eastern Star, in 
which she was initiated on October 9, 1911. Politically Mr. Fowler 

VoL n— 17 



886 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

is allied with the party of Jefferson, Jackson and Cleveland, but he 
has no desire for the honors and emoluments of public office and 
takes no active part in party affairs. 

Mr. Fowler 's farms are admirably located and are farmed by his 
two sons. He and his wife are quiet, kindly and both liked and re- 
spected by all who knew them. 

Edward W. Ewald. — The very roots of a community's pros- 
perity lie in the sturdiness and absolute integrity of its farmer 
class. If these be strong men, with a heart for any undertaking, 
the whole life around them grows into a solid fabric. The farmers 
of Van Buren county are notable throughout the state for their in- 
dustrious and progressive work, and not the least among the farm- 
ers who have given the county its good name is Edward W. Ewald, 
well-known in Hartford township as a fruit grower as well as a gen- 
eral farmer. Edward Ewald was born in Saint Joseph township, 
Berrien county, Michigan, in the city of St. Joseph, on July 17, 
1871. He was the son of Fred J. and Mary (Grimm) Ewald, both 
of whom were natives of Germany. The parents now make their 
home in St. Joseph. Edward W. was the hfth born in a family of 
thirteen children. When he was old enough he went to the local 
district school, and continued there until he was eighteen, by which 
time he had aquired a good general education. He then went to 
w^ork on a fruit farm, and has ever since been connected with the 
same industry. 

On the seventeenth of December, 1895, was solemnized the mar- 
riage of Mr. Ewald to Miss Clara Weber. She was born in 
Stephensville, Michigan, March 3, 1873, the daughter of John and 
Mary (Wright) Weber, and was reared in the city of St. Joseph, 
where she attended the public schools until she was fifteen years 
old. For three years she was employed as a clerk in a store in 
St. Joseph. Mr. and Mrs. Ewald became the parents of five chil- 
dren, namely : Evelyn, Leonard, Walter, Mar jorie and Clare. Mr. 
Ewald and his family attend the Baptist church, and he is one 
of the trustees of the church. Both he and his wife have taken 
a prominent part in the Sunday-school work of the church for a 
long time. 

Fraternally Mr. Ewald is a member of the Modern Woodmen 
of America. In the field of politics he is to be found beneath the 
Republican standard, and he was elected to be treasurer of St. 
Joseph township, Berrien county, upon the ticket of that party. 
He achieved an honorable and able record in that office. 

In 1905 Mr. Ewald came to Van Buren county and purchased 
the old Packer farm, two and a quarter miles southwest of Hart- 
ford, in section 29 of Hartford township, where he and his family 
have since made their home. Though a comparatively short time 
in the county, Mr. and Mrs. Ewald already have a large number 
of devoted and loyal friends, and have attained a high name 
among all who have had the opportunity to meet them. 

Jacob Oppenheim.— The story of the life of Jacob Oppenheim 
is the story of industry, courage and a determined ambition, for 



HISTORY OF VAN BIJREX COUxNTY 887 

he came to this country forty years ago on borrowed money and 
has attained his present successful position through his own splen- 
did efforts. He is now vice president of the Olney National Bank 
of Hartford, Michigan, and one of the town's highly respected 
citizens. 

Jacob Oppenheim was born in Russia, in July, 1854, the son of 
Bernard and Minnie (Demboskey) Oppenheim, neither of whom 
ever immigrated to this country. Mr. Oppenheim was reared in 
the village of Vistiten, and attended the little school of the place 
until his sixteenth year. When he w^as sixteen he made up his 
mind to essay his fortunes in the newer territory of the United 
States and accordingly immigrated to this country, locating first 
at Goshen, Indiana. He soon came to Hartford, however, on his 
peddling expedition. He carried his pack for almost a year be- 
fore obtaining a horse. He later obtained a team, and in seven 
years had earned enough to start a store in a small way. His 
brother, Mark Oppenheim, had furnished him the money with 
which to buy his passage to this country, and it was the same 
brother who let him have his first stock of goods on credit. Both 
kindnesses Jacob was able to pay back in later years. The little 
store that Mr. Oppenheim started so many years ago has grown 
into a prosperous business, besides which he has accumulated other 
financial interests, including the stock he holds in the Olney Na- 
tional Bank. 

In 1885 Mr. Oppenheim was united in the bonds of holy matri- 
mony to Miss Anna Mittenthal, of Detroit, Michigan. She was 
bom in Utica, New York state. She and her husband have since 
become the parents of three children. The eldest, M. 0. Oppen- 
heim, is now the ow^ner of the clothing store, w^hile Beatrice, aged 
fourteen, and Aubry, aged ten, are still school children. 

Mr. Oppenheim is a member of Florada Lodge, No. 309, An- 
cient Free and Accepted Masons. He is a stanch Republican, but 
up to Cleveland's administration was a supporter of the Demo- 
cratic party. He has held various offices of civic trust in the 
village of Hartford, and always shown himself an efficient public 
servant. It is interesting to note that Mr. Oppenheim has just 
returned from his first visit to his native land, a trip, it may be 
added, which has convinced him more than ever of the advantages 
of a republican government over Russian autocracy. 

JoiTK F. Nichols. — Prominent in the business world of Hart- 
ford, Van Buren county, Michigan, for his progressive methods 
and reputation as one who is always ''square" is John F. Nichols, 
now the proprietor of a thriving feed business. He was born in 
Arlington township, this county, July 23, 1865, the year of the end- 
ing of the Civil war. He is the son of George W. and Laorenda 
(Crapo) Nichols. George W. Nichols w^as born in New York state, 
November 24, 1839, and died in Michigan, October 10, 1898. His 
wife was a native of St. Joseph county, Michigan, born October 27, 
1844, and is still living, making her home in Benton Harbor. 

John F. Nichols was reared in this county and until he was 
twenty years of age attended the district and Lawrence graded 



888 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 



schools on April 19, 1887, his marriage was solemnized at Mendon, 
St. Joseph county, Michigan, the lady of his choice being Miss 
Maggie A. Lash, who was born in Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, 
September 29, 1865, and educated in the public schools of Mendon, 
Michigan. Mr. and Mrs. Nichols have no children. After their 
marriage the young couple moved to a farm in Arlington, where 
they remained four years before removing to Benton Harbor, in 
which place Mr. Nichols became employed as a carpenter. After 
ten years they returned to farm life, and spent two and a half 
years on a farm in Van Buren county, finally, however, coming to 
Hartford to engage in the poultry business. Until 1905 Mr. Nichols 
bought and sold poultry, making quite a profitable undertaking 
of the venture, but in that year he chose to become identified with 
a cider mill, which he left in 1908 to take up his present enter- 
prise as proprietor of a feed store. In this his long experience 
as a farm and poultry dealer has served him in good stead. He 
is now erecting a new house and bam on his Hartford property. 
This making the fourth house he has built, he having sold all but 
the one he now occupies. 

Fraternally . Mr. Nichols is connected with the Independent 
Order of Odd Fellows, being a member of Charter Oak Lodge, 
No. 231, and is a past Noble Grand and the present treasurer 
of the same. He is a member of an insurance company, the New 
Era, of Grand Rapids. Politically he supports the men and 
measures of the Democratic party, but he takes little interest in 
the honors and emoluments of public office, though he now serves 
on the town council. 

George W. Ocobock. — A native of the state of New York, but 
educated and reared in Michigan, where he has since been a 
resident actively engaged in mercantile life in this state during 
the greater part of the period and for the last twenty-seven years 
in Hartford, George W. Ocobock has had experience and made 
progress in one of the greatest states of the American Union. His 
life began in Medina, Orleans county, New York, on February 
22, 1853, and both on account of the date of his birth and his 
high character, general probity and public spirit his name is 
very properly George Washington. He is a son of James W. 
and Susan (Ostrum) Ocobock, also natives of New York state, 
and were of German ancestry. The father operated a shingle mill 
in Muskegon county, Michigan, and the son was put to work in 
this at an early age. He received a district school education and 
remained with his parents until their death. Since the age of 
fifteen years, Mr. Ocobock has made his own way in the world. 
In pursuance of a determination to engage in the mercantile busi- 
ness he located at Whitehall in Muskegon county in 1885. There 
he was engaged in general merchandising for two years and then 
moved to Hartford, where he opened a dry goods store, which he 
has ever since been conducting. His business has steadily increased 
as the years have passed, until now it is of considerable magni- 
tude, his store being one of the most popular and satisfactory in 
the township and he enjoys the confidence and esteem of the people 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 889 

of the community in a high degree and to a large extent of the 
county, wherever his dealings have made him known. 

i\lr. Ocobock was married on March 19, 1890, to Miss Emma 
Crager, w^ho was born in Berrien county, Michigan, and educated 
in Hartford. They have no children, and both have been able 
to take an active part in fraternal affairs. The husband is a past 
master of Florada Masonic Lodge, No. 309, in Hartford, and 
both husband and wife are energetic and serviceable members of 
the order of the Eastern Star. In this order Mrs. Ocobock has 
attained world-wide distinction. She is a past worthy grand ma- 
tron of the Grand Chapter of the order in Michigan, serving in 
1906 and 1907, and in 1910 was elected right worthy grand con- 
ductress of the General Grand Chapter of the World. Her elec- 
tion to these high offices in the order is a great honor to be con- 
ferred on hjer, but all who know her zeal and fidelity in the service 
of the organization, and the ability which she has displayed in 
the performance of her duties in lower stations, know that she is 
well worthy of any position it has to bestow, and highly quali- 
fied to fill any with benefit to the order and renown to herself. But 
the distinction is not all her own. It is greatly to the credit of 
the members of the order in this state that they know how to 
appreciate her membership at its real value, and no less to the 
credit of the general membership that all have seen and recog- 
nized her merit and demanded the benefit of her services in ex- 
alted stations. And as she has been true and faithful in her 
devotion to this order, so have she and her husband both been 
to every public and private duty, for which the people of Van 
I^uren county esteem them as among its best citizens. 

VoLNEY W. Olds, the present postmaster of Hartford in this 
county, has a very trying position, as the people of the community 
are his patrons and he is expected to please them all. But they 
knew his capacity, energy in everything he undertakes, and oblig- 
ing disposition before his first appointment to the office, and the 
good service they expected of him in the performance of its duties 
has been given them, and it is highly to his credit that he is uni- 
versally approved as a public official and well esteemed as a man 
and citizen. 

Mr. Olds was born on a farm in the township of his present 
residence on October 31, 1869, and has never lived anywhere else. 
He is a son of Allen 0. and Mahala (Lewis) Olds, both natives 
of the state of New York. The father was brought by his parents 
to Michigan when he was but one year old. He was reared on a 
farm and educated in the neighborhood school. As he grew 
toward manhood the Civil war began, and as soon as he was old 
enough he joined the forces mustering for the defense of the 
Union. He enlisted in Company G, Nineteenth Michigan Infantry, 
and served in that company nearly four years, rising to the rank 
of first lieutenant through meritorious service and holding that 
rank when he was mustered out of the army. 

After the close of his military career he returned to Hartford 
township, and for many years he has resided in the village of 



890 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Hartford. Here he served as alderman for eighteen years, and 
in many other ways he has helped to promote the progress and 
general welfare of the village and the township in which it is 
located. He has long been a very enthusiastic member of the 
Order of Odd Fellows and taken a prominent and helpful part 
in the work of its different branches. He and his wife are the 
parents of two children, their son Volney and their daughter 
Minnie B.,*the latter of whom is employed as a bookkeeper in a 
large establishment in Gary, Indiana. 

Volney W. Olds passed his boyhood and early youth on his 
father's farm and obtained his education in the Union school of 
Hartford. At the age of sixteen, being eager to make his own 
living, he accepted a position as clerk and salesman in a general 
hardware store belonging to V. E. Manley. On February 29, 
1904, he was appointed postmaster of Hartford, and in 1908 he 
was appointed for a second term of four years, which has not 
yet expired. He has taken a cordial interest also in the affairs 
of his township and county, and given every project involving 
their progress and improvement and the substantial and endur- 
ing welfare of their people his earnest and effective support. 

On July 17, 1895, he was united in marriage with Miss Estella 
McAllister, the daughter of John and Lena ]\IcAllister and born 
in Buchanan, Michigan. She was educated in schools in Niles, 
St. Joseph and Hartford, being graduated from the high school 
in the city last named in 1886. For some years after her gradua- 
tion she was employed in her father's store. She is now the effi- 
cient and popular assistant postmistress of the city, and a great 
help to her husband in the management of the office. They have 
no children. 

John McAllister, the father of Mrs. Olds, was born in Scotland 
in 1833, and was brought by his parents to the T-nited States when 
he was only two or three years old. His father was highly edu- 
cated of the University of Edinburgh. The family located near 
Niles, Michigan, soon after its arrival in this country, and there 
John McAllister grew to manhood and obtained his education. 
For many years he has been one of the leading merchants and 
most prominent and influential citizens of Hartford. 

Mr. Olds is a Freemason in fraternal relations, holding his 
membership in the order in FJorada Lodge, No. 309, at Hartford, 
and also belongs to the camp of the Modern Woodmen of America 
estahlished in that town. He is an ardent Republican in his 
political connection, and has long been a faithful and effective 
worker for the success of his party and a man of force and influ- 
ence in its councils. 

Timothy E. Blashfield. — Prominent in the lumber interests of 
Van Buren county, and as citizens who can be relied upon to 
foster whatever is advanced for the general welfare, are Timothy 
E. Blashfield and his son, William H. Blashfield, both of Hart- 
ford, Michigan. Timothy Blashfield was born in Clarendon, Cal- 
houn county, Michigan, on January 5, 1846, the son of William 
and Alvira (Keep) Blashfield, both of whom were natives of Homer, 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 891 

New York state. William Blashfield was a son of Iddo Blash- 
field, like his son, a native of Homer, New York. Both the Blash- 
field and Keep families removed to Calhoun county, Michigan, 
about the year 1836. It was there that the young people were mar- 
ried and lived upon the fertile acres of their farms. They be- 
came the parents oi four children, of whom Timothy is the only 
one surviving to this date. The others were William, George and 
Adelia Blashfield. Timothy E. was reared amid the pleasant and 
healthful surroundings of the home farm located in Calhoun 
county. Until he was eighteen he spent the summers helping hisf 
father in the fields and his winters attending the district schools 
of the vicinity. When he was eighteen he entered Albion College, 
where he spent a year preparing himself for public school teach- 
ing, and for nine Avinters thereafter he taught school, devoting his 
summer interests to his farm. 

In 1873 Mr. Blashfield was united in marriage to ]\Iiss Mary 
E. Smith, the daughter of Abida Smith, and they were the parents 
of three children, two of whom died in infancy. William H., and 
the only surviving one, is his father's business partner. William 
H. was born June 7, 1875, and was educated in the Hartford 
public schools. At the age of eighteen he began to learn the 
jeweler's trade, at which he worked until 1911, owning a half 
interest in his business, while his mother owned the rest. He 
married Miss Edith Montague, of Alpena, Alpena county, Mich- 
igan. They have no children. He is a member of Florada Lodge, 
No. 309, Ancient Free and Accepted JMasons, and both he and 
his father carry insurance in the order of the Maccabees. His 
mother passed to her eternal rew^ard in 1897. Timothy Blashfield 
later remarried, being united to IMrs. Emilv Tavlor in December, 
1899. She died in June, 1910. 

Politically Timothy Blashfield is found in the ranks of the 
Democratic party. His election to the office of treasurer of Hart- 
ford township was upon the nomination of that y^arty. His son 
also gives his allegiance to the party of Jefferson, Jackson and 
Cleveland. 

The prosperous business of the Blashfields is made up of deal- 
ings in lumber, wire fence, cement, lime and brick. 

William K. Scott, M. D. — Prominent among the leading phy- 
sicians of Van Buren county is William K. Scott, M. D., who has 
been in continuous practice at Bloomingdale for thirty-eight or 
more years, during w^hich time he has gained a large and lucrative 
practice, his natural talents and industry classing him among the 
successful members of the medical profession. A native of Can- 
ada, he was born in Farnham township, province of Quebec, a son 
of John Scott, whose birth occurred in the same province. 

Richard Scott, the Doctor 's grandfather, was, as far as known, 
a native of Canada, and was of pure Scotch ancestry. During 
his early life he was engaged in dairy farming in Canada, but 
later he migrated to Michigan, and for a time was engaged in 
agricultural and horticultural pursuits in Cooper township, Kala- 
mazoo county, where he became owner of forty acres of land. Dis- 



892 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

posing of his holdings in that locality, he bought forty acres of land 
in Trowbridge township, Allegan county, Michigan, and was there 
engaged in general farming and dairying, residing there until his 
death, at the age of eighty-six years. He married a Miss Healy, 
a native of Canada, and they reared seven children, as follows: 
Henry, Rodman, John, Edw^ard, Mary, Mercy and Dorcas. 

John Scott was brought up in Canada, and was there employed 
as a farmer and hotel keeper until after his marriage. In the 
early fifties he came with his family to Michigan, locating in Kala- 
mazoo county, where lie embarked in business as a fruit grower, 
making a specialty of raising apples and peaches. A few years 
later he moved to Allegan county, .Michigan, and having pur- 
chased forty acres of land in Trowbridge was there successfully 
engaged in tilling the soil until his death, at the comparatively 
early age of forty-five years. He married Rachel Johnson, who 
was born in Montreal, Canada, a daughter of William Johnson and 
his wife, a JMiss S wails. She is still living in Allegan county, a 
venerable and highly respected woman of eighty-eight years. To 
her and her husband five children were born and reared, namely: 
William R., Rodman J., Henry H., Sarah A. and Mercy D. 

But a small lad when his parents settled in Michigan, William 
R. Scott obtained his preliminary education in the public schools, 
and subsequently began the study of medicine with Dr. J. H. Ful- 
ton in Otsego, Michigan. Going then to Cincinnati, Ohio, he at- 
tended lectures at the Cincinnati Eclectic Medical College, and in 
1870 began the practice of his profession in Bloomingdale, where 
he has since continued, his success having been assured from the 
first. 

Dr. Scott married first in May, 1882, Etta Allen, who was born 
in Pine Grove township, Van Buren county, a daughter of Henry 
and Caroline Allen. Two children have blessed the union of Dr. 
and Mrs. Scott, namely: Erma Aline and AVilliam A. 

Fraternally Dr. Scott is a member of Bloomingdale Lodge, No. 
221, Ancient Free and Accepted Order of ^Masons; of Paw Paw 
Chapter, Royal Arch Masons,- of Lawrence Council, Royal and 
Select Masters ; of Lawrence Commandery, Knights Templar, and 
also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, of which Mrs. 
Scott is likewise a member; of Bloomingdale Lodge, No. 16J, In- 
dependent Order of Odd Fellows, and of Bonifoi Lodge, No. 382, 
Daughters of Rebekah, to w^hich IMrs. Scott also belongs. 

Charles W. Arhbrook. — An enterprising and thriving agricul- 
turist of Van Buren county, Charles W. Ashbrook, owning and 
occupying a valuable farming estate in Bloomingdale township, 
has brought to his independent vocation excellent business methods 
and sound judgment, and in his undertakings has met with well 
deserved success. A son of Joseph R. Ashbrook, he was born 
April 6, 1855, in Goshen, Elkhart county, Indiana. His paternal 
grandfather, Elias Ashbrook, was an early settler of Ohio, and 
for many years owned and operated a tannery near Zanesville. 
Migrating from there to Indiana, he conducted a tannery in the 
vicinity of Goshen for some time. Selling his tannery, he moved 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 898 

to Milford, Kosciusko county, Indiana, where he was engaged in 
the grocery business continuously until his death, at the vener- 
able age of eighty-seven years. He married Jane Smith, who 
was born in Scotland, and died in Milford, Indiana, at the ad- 
vanced age of ninety-four years. Her parents were weavers by 
trade, operating hand looms in their native country. On coming' 
from Scotland to America they brought a ciuantity of web with 
them, intending to weave it after they were settled in their new 
home, but could find in this country no loom fine enough to an- 
swer their purpose, and the web is now preserved as an heirloom 
by their descendants. 

Joseph R. Ashbrook was })orn near Zanesville, Ohio, and when 
a young man learned the trade of a cabinet maker, which he sub- 
sequently followed for awhile in Goshen, Indiana. He afterwards 
operated a sawmill at Milford, Indiana, manufacturing lumber. 
Coming to Michigan in 1870, he, in partnership with Jonathan 
Sell, bought a hotel at South Haven, and conducted it for about 
four years. Selling his share at the end of that time, he ])ought 
land in South Haven township, where he was profitably employed 
in general farming for a number of years. Now, a venerable man 
of eighty-seven years, he is living retired from active business at 
Grass Lake, ^Michigan. 

Joseph R. Ashbrook has been twice married. He married first 
Jerusha Flagert, who was born in Ohio, a daughter of Jacob 
Flagert, a blacksmith, who spent his last days in Milford, Indiana, 
passing away at the age of four score years. She died in middle 
life, leaving five children, Charles W., Jonathan, Amanda, Joseph 
R. and Amos K. The father subsequently married for his second 
life Avis King, now deceased. 

Charles W. Ashbrook acquired his early education in Indiana, 
attending the public schools of Milford and Goshen. After com- 
ing to Michigan he was variously employed for awhile, eventually, 
beginning his independent career as a farmer on rented land. For 
fifteen years he leased land in Columbia township, and in 1893 
bought his present farm in section twenty-eight, Bloomingdale town- 
ship. Industrious, energetic and a wise manager, ]\Ir. Ashbrook 
has made improvements on his place of great value, and is here 
profitably engaged in general farming and dairying, each year 
reaping a good income from his harvests. 

Mr. Ashbrook married, in 1878, Alvina Baxter, who was born in 
Bloomingdale township, a daughter of James Baxter. Mr. l^axter 
was born in 1798, in Washington county, Pennsylvania, where his 
father William Baxter, a native of the North of Ireland, settled 
just prior to his birth. He was brought up in his native state, 
and thus learned the trade of a distiller. After the death of his 
first wife he moved to Ohio, where he was for several years employed 
in the butchering business. Coming to Van Buren county, Mich- 
igan, with his family in 1850, Mr. Baxter was a pioneer of Bloom- 
ingdale township. Purchasing from the government a tract of 
timber land in section thirty, at one dollar and twenty five cents 
an acre, he erected a log house and began the improvement of a 
farm. The country throughout this section was then in its original 



894 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

wildness, and he had but three neighbors within reasonable distance 
from his clearing. Paw Paw was the nearest market and depot 
for supplies, and as there were no roads in this vicinity a trip 
there was somewhat of an undertaking. He cleared a large part 
of his land, and was just preparing to erect a frame house when, 
in 1872, his death occurred. Mr. Baxter was twice married, by 
his first wife having five children, Daniel, William, Catherine, 
Sarah and John. The maiden name of the second wife of Mr. 
Baxter was Mary Hull. She was born in Ohio, a daughter of 
Joseph and Catherine (Pyles) Hull, natives of Ohio. She died 
in 1898, leaving five children, namely: Mary Ann; Alvina^ now 
Mrs. Ashbrook ; Emily ; Joseph ; and James. Mr. and Mrs. Baxter 
have six children, named Mina, Sidney, James, Mabel, Irwin and 
Fern. Mina married George Confer and have two children, Ross 
and Hope. Sidney married Georgie Arnold. Mabel married Conrad 
Beach and they have two daughters, named Mona and Lucille. Mrs. 
Ashbrook is a charter member of Bloomingdale Lodge, No. 148, 
Order of the Eastern Star, and her son James is both a Mason 
and an Odd Fellow. 

Charles Linton. — A prominent business man of the village of 
l^looiiiingdale, Charles Linton holds a position of note in manu- 
facturing and mercantile circles, and as proprietor of both the 
Bloomingdale and the Berlamont Creameries is an important factor 
in advancing the dairy interests of this section of Van Buren 
county. A son of Abel Kaye, he was born in Saint Croix county, 
Wisconsin, of English lineage, his birth occurring in 1869. 

Born in England, Abel Kaye was there brought up and edu- 
cated. Immigrating to America in early manhood, he spent a few 
years in Minnesota, and then went to Dunn county, Wisconsin, 
where he bought land and was engaged in tilling the soil until 
1900. Selling out in that year, he migrated to Ridgefield, Oregon, 
where he has since resided, being employed in general farming. 
IVIr. Kaye married Eliza Wilson, who was born in New England, 
the birthplace, also, of her parents, who w^ere among the pioneer 
settlers of Alinnesota. She died in 1871, leaving four children, as 
follows : John, residing at Umatilla, Oregon ; Nettie, wife of 
Charles N. Weber, of Ridgefield, Oregon ; Charles L. ; and Maude, 
who died at the age of twenty years. 

But two years old when his mother died, Charles Kaye, as he 
was then called, was adopted by Francis ]\T. and Hannah (Adams) 
Linton, and was legally given their name. Mr. Linton was a native 
of Indiana and Mrs. Linton, of Ohio. They were engaged in farm- 
ing for many years in Saint Croix county, Wisconsin, but are liv- 
ing in Minneapolis, retired from active pursuits. Charles Linton 
was given good educational advantages as a boy, and while assist- 
ing in the care of the Linton farm developed a taste for agricult- 
ure in all of its branches. Desirous of becoming proficient in the 
art of making butter and cheese, he entered the dairy department 
of the University of Wisconsin, at Madison, where he studied 
faithfully a few months. Locating then in Saint Clair, JMinnesota, 
Mr. Linton worked in a creamery a year, obtaining a practical 



IIISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 895 

knowledge of his chosen work, after which he took another course 
of study at the University of Wisconsin, still further advancing 
his knowledge. Going then to Illinois, Mr. Linton operated a 
creamery in Shabbona for a year, after which he had charge of 
the Polar Creamery in La Fayette, Indiana, for a year. Coming 
from there to Van Buren county, Michigan, Mr. Linton operated 
the Berlamont Creamery for nine years, and then purchased the 
plant. Three years later, having met with eminent success in his 
field of endeavor, he bought the cheese factory in IMoomingdale, 
converted it into a creamery, and has since operated both plants 
most successfully. Although he manufactures butter and cheese 
at both plants, his principal production is butter, for which he 
finds a ready market in Michigan, much of it being sold near 
home and the remainder in Detroit. 

Mr. Linton married, in 1893, Vielda Stafford, who was born 
in Berlamont, Michigan, a daughter of Anson and Diana (Curtis) 
Stafford. Mr. Linton is a w^ell-known and valued member of both 
the Michigan Dairymen's Association and the National Creamery 
Butter Makers' Association. Fraternally he belongs to Blooming- 
dale Lodge, No. 221, Ancient Free and Acc^epted Order of Masons, 
and to Bloomingdale Lodge, No. 161, Independent Order of Odd 
Fellow^s. Mrs. Linton is a member of Bloomingdale Chapter, No. 
158, Order of Eastern Star, and of Bonifoi Rebekah Lodge, No. 382. 

George B. Connery. — Noteworthy among the enterprising and 
successful agriculturists of Van Buren county is George B. Con- 
nery one of the leading farmers of Bloomingdale tow^nship and a 
fine representative of the native-born citizens of this county, his 
i)irth having occurred here December 1, 1866. His father, George 
W. Connery, was born in 1832 in Rutland, Vermont, a son of 
Henry Connery, w^ho was of Scotch-Irish ancestry. Ijearning the 
blacksmith's trade when young, Henry Connery followed it in 
Vermont for several years. In 1839 he came with his family to 
Michigan, from Buffalo to Detroit coming by w^ay of the Lake. 
Starting from Detroit with an ox team, he journeyed through the 
wilderness to Hudson, Lenaw^ee county, where he was a pioneer 
settler, and there, it is said, built the second chimney put up in 
the village. After following his trade there for a time he bought 
a farm lying four miles south of the village, and was there engaged 
in tilling the soil until his death. To him and his wnfe eight children 
were born, five sons and three daughters. 

But seven years old when his parents settled in Lenawee county. 
George W. Connery was reared among pioneer scenes, and w^hen 
old enough to work in the woods assisted in the pioneer labor of 
clearing a homestead. Succeeding to the occupation to which he 
was brought up, he came to Van Buren county in early manhood 
and bought from the government the south half of the northeast 
quarter of section five, in Pine Grove tow^nship. The country 
roundabout was then almost entirely in its pristine wdldness, with 
here and there an opening in w^Wch the pioneer had reared his 
log cabin. He built a small log house, cleared a few acres of his 
purchase, and then sold out and bought the w^est half of the north- 



896 HISTORY OP VAN BUREN COUNTY 

east quarter of the same section, on which he made the first clear- 
ing. Improving a large part of his land, he resided there until 
1880, when he disposed of his farm at an advantage and bought 
land in section seven, in the same township. Selling that a few 
years later, he bought a farm in section one, Bloomingdale town- 
ship, and at the end of five years sold out, and for a time resided 
in Gobleville. Returning then to Pine Grove township, he pur- 
chased land and was there employed in tilling the soil until his 
death. 

The maiden name of the wife of George W. Connery was Cor- 
nelia Rockwell. She was born in Seneca county, Ohio, a daughter 
of Russell R. and Hannah (Foster) Rockwell. Her father came 
from Ohio to ^Michigan in pioneer days, making his way on foot 
through the dense woods from Paw Paw to Trowbridge township, 
Allegan county. Buying a tract of government land bordering 
on Bare Line Lake, he erected a log cabin, returned to Ohio for 
his family, and w^as afterwards engaged in farming on his newly- 
purchased land until his death. Mr. and Mrs. George AV. Con- 
nery reared four children, as follows: Elmer, Luella, George B. 
and Homer. 

Growing to manhood beneath the parental roof -tree, George B. 
Connery obtained his education in the district schools, and be- 
came acquainted with the many branches of agriculture while as- 
sisting his father on the home farm. In 1891 he located on the 
farm he now owns and occupies, and on which he has made prac- 
tical and valuable improvements. It is pleasantly located in sec- 
tion one, Bloomingdale township, on the shores of Sweet Lake. 
By dint of industry, energy and good management Mr. Connery 
has converted his land from its primitive condition to a highly 
cultivated farm, with a good set of frame buildings, his property 
in its appointments and equipments ranking with the best in the 
vicinity. 

Mr. Connery married, in 1891, Florence Lucelia Sage, who was 
born in Bloomingdale township, a daughter of William Sage. Her 
grandfather, Patrick Sage, was born in county Limerick, Ireland, 
where his parents, William and Catherine (O'Brien) Sage, were 
life-long residents. Soon after his marriage Patrick Sage settled 
in county Clare, Ireland, and began farming on rented land. Dur- 
ing the three years' famine in the forties he managed to support 
his family, but being unable to pay his rent was evicted. His 
wife in the meantime had died, leaving him with six little children. 
Placing these children under the care of their grandparents, he 
came to America to begin life anew. Landing in Boston, he worked 
as opportunity occurred for a time, and then went to New York 
state, where he was employed in laying stone on the Erie Canal, 
making his home in Manlius. As soon as he had acquired the 
means he sent for his children. In 1860 he came to Van Buren 
county, ^Michigan, bought land in section twenty-seven, I^loom- 
ingdale township, and having erected a log cabin in the wilderness 
began the improvement of a fafm, on which he resided until his 
death, at the age of seventy-five years. Patrick Sage's wife, 
whose maiden name was Catherine Ryan, was born in county 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 897 

Clare, Ireland, a daughter of John Ryan, who served for twenty 
years in the British Army, and, having lost his sight in India, 
received a pension during the later years of his life. William 
Sage, Mrs. Connery's father, was but a boy when he joined his 
father in New York state. Coming to Van Buren county with 
the family, he subsequently bought a tract of land in section 
twenty-six, Bloomingdale township, where he was successfully en- 
gaged in farming for many years, but is now living retired from 
active pursuits in Paw Paw, Michigan. He married Sarah Gay, 
who was born in the state of New York, a daughter of George and 
Mary Gay. 

Mr. and Mrs. Connery usually attend the Methodist Episcopal 
church. Fraternally Mr. Connery formerly belonged to Bloom- 
ingdale Lodge, No. 221, Ancient Free and Accepted Order of 
Masons, but demitted from that and joined Gobleville iLodge, No. 
393, of the same order. 

Jacob S. Eastmak. — Numbered among the active and well-to-do 
agriculturists of Van Buren county is Jacob S. Eastman, whose 
highly improved farm is located in Bloomingdale township. A 
native of Michigan, he was born October 2, 1844, in Cass county, 
where his father, John Eastman, was a pioneer settler. 

Born and bred in New England, John Eastman acquired a good 
education in his home town, and as a young man came to Michigan 
ere it had yet put on the garb of statehood, locating in Cass county. 
The greater part of the territory was then owned by the govern- 
ment and on sale at one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre. There 
were then no railways in this section of the country, and the dense 
forests were inhabited by wild animals and game of all kinds 
for many years after he came here. He rented land and carried 
on general farming with satisfactory results, in addition to man- 
aging his estate operating one of the first threshing machines intro- 
duced into this section of the state. On the farm which he im- 
proved he spent his remaining days, passing away in 1847. 

John Eastman married Maria Gilbert, who was born in New 
England and, like her husband, there received an academical edu- 
cation. Surviving him, she married for her second husband Hiram 
Richardson, of Cass county, and in 1863 removed with him to 
Allegan county, Michigan, and there ^pent her last years in Cheshire 
township. By her marriage with Mr. Eastman she reared six 
children, as follows: Alfred, Mary A., Rozene, Horace, Adelaide 
and Jacob. She had two children by her second marriage, but 
neither are now living. 

Two and one-half years old when his father's death occurred, 
Jacob S. Eastman lived with his mother until he was ten years 
old, when he became self-supporting, at first working for his board 
and clothing and winter schooling, having some winters to walk 
two and one-half miles to attend school. He began receiving wages 
after awhile, and in 1862 enlisted as a soldier, but on account of 
his youth was not accepted for service in the army. He was em- 
ployed, however, by the government as a teamster, and in that 
capacity accompanied General Grant's division, being for a long 



898 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

time with the First Kansas and Eightli ^Missouri Regiments in 
Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi. Early in 1865 Mr. East- 
man enlisted in Company B, Ninth Michigan Volunteer Infantry, 
and served in ''Pap" Thomas' army, much of the time being at 
the General's headquarters, l^eing honorably discharged from the 
service in October, 1865, he returned to ]\lichigan and entered the 
employ of D. A. Blodgett, a lumberman, working for awhile in 
the w^oods. In 1879 Mr. Eastman bought one hundred and eight 
acres of land in Bloomingdale township, in sections one and two. 
About twenty acres had been cleared and a log house and stable 
had thereon been erected. Assuming its possession, he began clear- 
ing the timber from the remainder of the tract, and since that time 
has carried on general farming with eminent success. As he ac- 
cumulated money Mr. Eastman wisely invested it in other lands, 
buying first forty-eight acres adjoining his original purchase, and 
afterwards buying the fifty acres on which he now resides, his 
holdings now amounting to two hundred and six acres, on which 
he has made improvements of an excellent character. 

Mr. Eastman married, in 1872, Elizabeth Long, w^ho w^as born 
in Summerville, Cass county, Michigan, a daughter of David Long 
and granddaughter of Jacob Long, w^hose father, Adam Long, and 
grandfather, John Long, were life-long residents of Virginia. Jacob 
Long was born in Virginia, November 20, 1791, and after his mar- 
riage with Elizabeth Keplinger moved to Reno, Indiana, which 
is still the home of some of his descendants. Born in Virginia, 
David Long removed to Michigan, locating in Summerville, Cass 
county, where he practiced medicine a number of years, being the 
pioneer physician of that part of the state, traveling on horse- 
back to visit his numerous patients. On retiring from his pro- 
fession, the Doctor purchased land in Calvin township, Cass county, 
and there resided until his death. Dr. Long married Sarah Russey, 
who was born in Indiana, February 20, 1826, and died April 1*4, 
1883. Her father, William Russey, a son of James and Sarah 
Russey, was born December 12, 1785, and was married, October 
14, 1806, to Mary Talbot, who was born December 22, 1785, a 
daughter of Jacob and Susanna Talbot. Dr. David Long survived 
his wife some years, dying August 25, 1889. To him and his wife 
six children were born and reared, as follows: Mary Caroline, 
Winfield Taylor who died on the 9th of August, 1901 ; Ambrose 
Henley, Ann Elizabeth, Martha J. and Minnie Merritt. 

Mr. and Mrs. Eastman are the parents of three children, namely : 
Sarah Elma, who married Albert James, has one daughter, Frances 
James; Zelda Arrissa, wife of William Pullen and has one daugh- 
ter named Violet Elizabeth ; and Arba M., born in 1877, married 
Ethel Leach, and died in 1907, leaving five children, Mildred, Rolla, 
J. G., Emma and Charlie. Mr. Eastman is a member of Calvin Post, 
No. 59, Grand Army of the Republic. Religiously he was reared 
in the Sw^edenborgian faith, while Mrs. Eastman's mother was a 
Quaker and her father, a Presbyterian. 

Hon. Harvey H. Howard. — A venerable and highly esteemed 
resident of Bloomingdale village, Honorable Harvey H. Howard 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUxNTY 899 

has been a resident of Van Buren county for upwards of three score 
years, during which time he has been actively identified with the 
advancement of the agricultural and industrial prosperity of his 
community and has established for himself a hne reputation as a 
thoroughly honest man and good citizen. Having as a farmer ac- 
complished a most satisfactory work, he and his good wife are now 
living retired, enjoying to the utmost the fruits of their earlier years 
of toil. A son of Barnard M. Howard, he was born September 6, 
1825, in Sweden township, Monroe county, New York, of New Eng- 
land ancestry. His paternal grandfather. Rev. Timothy Howard, a 
native of ]\lassachusetts, w^as educated for the ministry, and for 
many years was a Free Will Baptist preacher in Oneida county, 
New York, where his last years were spent. 

Barnard M. Howard was born in Oneida county. New York, in 
October, 1791. Migrating to Monroe county, New^ York, in early 
manhood, he passed through the now beautiful city of Rochester 
when its only only habitation was a log cabin, with no indication 
whatever of its present prosperity. Locating in Sweden town- 
ship, he purchased a tract of timber land, and from the dense 
forest began the arduous task of redeeming a farm, his first w^ork 
being to clear a space in which he might erect a log house. He 
met wdth good success in his labors, and in the course of a few 
years had a productive farm, wiiile the little log cabin had been 
replaced by a frame house, and other frame buildings had been 
erected. On this homestead property he spent the remainder of 
his days, dying at the age of fifty-nine years. He married Nancy 
Hinkley, a daughter of Jonathan N. Hinkley, and she survived 
him, attaining the age of seventy-three years. She reared six chil- 
dren, as follow^s: Jonathan N., Henry M., Zenas C, INlary, Harvey 
II. and Joseph P. 

Receiving a good common school education in his native county 
and being reared by a father who w^as well versed in agriculture, 
Harvey H. Howard became familiar with all branches of that 
independent industry in his youthful days, and selected farming 
as his life occupation. In 1850, soon after his marriage, Mr. 
Howard came to Michigan on a prospecting tour, and being pleased 
with Van Buren county and its prospects bought a tract of tim- 
ber land in section four, Bloomingdale tow^nship. Having erected 
a log cabin, he returned East for his wife, and with her came, 
by way of the Erie Canal and Lake Erie, to Detroit, thence by 
railway to the railroad terminus, Lawton, Michigan, and from 
there with a team to their home in Bloomingdale township, leav- 
ing Lawton early in the morning and not reaching their point of 
destination until after candle-light. The greater part of Michigan 
was then in its primitive wildness, much of the land being still 
owned by the government. The wild beasts of the forest had not 
then fled before the advancing steps of civilization, but roamed at 
will, and the few inhabitants of that vicinity lived in a primitive 
manner, possessing but few of the modern conveniences, their lux- 
uries being now our necessities. Laboring with energy and resolu- 
tion of purpose, Mr. Howard cleared and improved a fine and 
highly productive farm, on which he resided until 1902. In that 



900 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

year he and his wife moved into the village of Bloomingdale, where 
they have a pleasant and cheerful home and are enjoying life. 

Mr. Howard married, January 8, 1850, Sarah Cooley, who was 
born on the 10th of August, 1831, in a log cabin in Sweden town- 
ship, Monroe county. New York, a daughter of James B. Cooley 
and granddaughter of Thomas and Eunice (Barrett) Cooley, pi- 
oneer settlers of Sweden township. James B. Cooley was but 
a child when his parents settled on a farm in Sweden township. 
He became a farmer from choice, and when ready to start in life 
for himself installed his bride in the log cabin in which their 
children were born, and which was located just across the road 
from the old Howard homestead. Mr. Cooley was subsequently 
there employed in tilling the soil until his death, at the com- 
paratively early age of forty-six years. He married Adeline Fargo, 
who was born at German Flats, New York, and she died when 
but thirty-one years old. Mr. and Mrs. Howard have reared two 
children, namely: Clara and Edward M. Clara is the wife of 
Davis Haven, and has two children, Mabel and Lois. Edward 
M. married Carrie A. Church, and they have three children, Oren 
Harvey, Edward M. and Neta. Mrs. H. H. How^ard is a member 
of the Baptist church, of which her husband is an attendant and 
a liberal supporter. 

A Whig in politics during his early life, Mr. Howard cast his 
first presidential vote for Zachary Taylor. Since the formation of 
the Republican party, however, he has been one of its most loyal 
supporters, and has served his fellow-citizens in various official 
capacities. He assisted in organizing the first school district on 
the base line in Bloomingdale township and served as moderator 
at the meetings and also served as a school director. He served 
two terms as justice of the peace, nine terms as a member of the 
County Board of Supervisors and has been a member of the Board 
of Review since the board was established, being a member at the 
present time. Pie has been twice elected as a representative to the 
State Legislature, and had the honor of voting for Thomas A. 
Palmer for United States senator. Fraternally he has been a 
member of Bloomingdale Lodge, No. 221, Ancient Free and Ac- 
cepted Order of Masons, since 1871, and of Bloomingdale Lodge, 
No. 161, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, since 1872. Mr. 
Howard and his brothers were natural musicians, and before leav- 
ing New York state played in the local band, and after coming 
to Bloomingdale township Mr. Howard was a member of the first 
band organized in this part of Van Buren county. Mr, Howard 
also, with his brothers Zenas C. and Joseph P., built the railroad 
station at Bloomingdale and presented it to the railroad company. 

Edv^ard a. Haven. — Widely known throughout Van Buren 
county in connection with his business associations, Edward A. 
Haveji, of Bloomingdale village, manager of the Bloomingdale 
Produce and Lumber Company, was for several years the state 
food inspector and instructor in cheese making at the State Agri- 
cultural College. A son of Augustus Haven, he was born in Bloom- 
ingdale township, August 3, 1862. He comes of excellent New 



HLSTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 901 

England stock his grandfather, Davis Haven, a native of Ver- 
mont, having been the son of Elisha Haven, who was a descendant 
in the seventh generation from Richard and Susanna Haven, who 
immigrated from the west of England to America in 1640. 

Elisha Haven, who was a blacksmith, followed his trade at 
Shoreham, Vermont, until 1820, when he removed with his family 
to Portage county, Ohio, making the long and tedious journey 
through the wilderness with teams. One of the early settlers of 
Shalerville, Portage county, he continued his residence there until 
his death, at the venerable age of eighty-two years. His wife, 
whose maiden name was Molly Goodell, was born in Vermont, and 
died in Shalerville, Ohio, when upwards of four score years old. 
She reared eight children, four sons and four daughters. 

Davis Haven was thirteen years old when his parents moved 
from Vermont to Ohio. On attaining his majority he bought forty 
acres of timber land in Shalerville township, and in the space 
which he cleared built the log cabin in which his older children 
were born. He improved the land, erected a good set of buildings, 
and lived there until 1865. Selling out in that year, he came to 
^lichigan, locating in Genesee county, where he purchased two 
hundred and forty acres of land, on which he was successfully 
engaged as a tiller of the soil until his death, in 1869. The 
maiden name of his first wife, Mr. Haven's grandmother, was 
Julia Adams. She was born in Ohio, a daughter of Augustus and 
Mary (Hine) Adams, natives of Connecticut and pioneer settlers 
of Portage county, Ohio. She died at the early age of thirty- 
seven years, leaving five children, namely : Mary, Augustus, Cyn^ 
thia, Martha and Warren. 

x\ugustus Haven was born in Portage county, Ohio, and there 
acquired an excellent education. He began his career as a teacher 
at the age of eighteen years, and taught three terms in Ohio. In 
.1854 he came to Van Buren county, ^Michigan, traveling by rail 
to Lawton, then by stage to Paw Paw, from there footing it through 
the intervening woods to Bloomingdale township. Securing forty 
acres of government land in section eighteen, he was also fortunate 
enough to buy eighty acres in the same section from a settler, who 
had cleared five acres of his tract and had put up a log cabin. 
Beginning at once to clear his land, he rolled together huge piles 
of logs that would now be of great value and burned them, that 
being the only way to dispose of them. While living in Ohio he 
had learned the manufacture of dairy products, and after a few 
years engaged in the making of cheese in addition to general farm- 
ing. He improved his land, erected good buildings, and lived 
there until 1866, when he sold out and bought the farm in section 
seventeen, Bloomingdale township, where he has since resided. He 
married, in 1854, Emily McLellan, who was born in Erie county, 
Pennsylvania, a daughter of Henry and Melissa McLellan, natives 
of Pennsylvania and of Scotch ancestry. She died in 1907. 

Having completed the course of study in the public schools, 
Edward A. Haven attended the State Agricultural School and at 
the age of nineteen began teaching school. While young he as- 
sisted his father in the making of cheese, working in the factory. 

Vol. tl— 18 



902 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

and after his return from College he was engaged in the manu- 
facture of cheese during the summer months and teaching m 
winter. Going to Oregon in 1886, he taught school in Rosebury 
two years, and then returned to Michigan and farmed until 1895. 
He then bought the Bloomingdale Cheese factory which he con- 
ducted until 1905, then selling the factory to Charles Linton, who 
converted it into a creamery, one of the leading industries of the 
village. In 1905 Mr. Haven was elected state food inspector 
and served continuously until 1910, at the same time being in- 
structor of cheese making at the State Agricultural College. In 
1910 he accepted his present position as manager of the Bloom- 
ingdale Produce and Lumber Company, and is filling it ably and 
satisfactorily. 

:\Ir. Haven married in 1892 Myrtle L. Edwards, who was born 
in Cheshire township, Allegan county, a daughter of James and 
Mary (Galusha) Edwards, the former of whom was a native of 
England, while her mother was born and reared in New York 
state. Mr. and Mrs. Haven have one daughter. Iris. One of the 
leading Republicans of his community, Mr. Haven has served as 
chairman of the Republican County Committee, and is a member 
of the local school board, of the village council and vice president 
of the Commercial Club. 

Dr. Oel E. Lanphear. — The science and art of dental surgery 
is one of the most progressive in the whole range of human 
activity, and requires an alert, studious and enterprising man 
to keep up with it in its rapid advances. Every month brings 
some new discovery or invention in connection with it, designed 
to improve its methods, secure better results from its work, or 
aid in lessening the horrors of its chair torture. To say, then, 
that a practitioner of dentistry is up-to-date is to give him credit 
for wide knowledge and great skill in connection with his profession, 
and stamp him as a man who keeps pace with a rapid current of 
evolution and development. 

Dr. 0. E. Lanphear, of Paw Paw, one of the leading dentists 
in this part of Michigan, is entitled to full recognition and credit 
as such a man. He is diligently studious of his profession in all 
its branches, and keeps himself abreast of its most advanced thought 
and discoveries. And in his practice he gives his patrons the full 
benefit of his knowledge and the skill he has acquired in his grade 
work. He is genial and companionable, too, and by his manner of 
receiving and treating them, aids greatly in quieting apprehension 
and stimulating courage in his patients, and thus secures their co- 
operation in what he has to do for them. 

Dr. Lanphear is a native of Van Buren county, his life having 
begun at Lawrence on June 25, 1876. He is a son of Orin P. and 
Josephine I. (Dolson) Lanphear, the former a native of Water- 
town, Jefferson county. New York, born on December 20, 1847, 
and the latter of Michigan, born on August 10, 1852. 0. P. 
Lanphear spent his early days with his parents on a farm and en- 
listed in the One Hundred and Eight-sixth New York Infantry at 
the age of sixteen, and served until the close of the Civil war. 





. o\ ^^i^-n^^</C^<t^>^ 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 903 

He served mostly in Virginia, in the army of the Potomac. His 
regiment was present at the surrender of General Lee and from 
there he went to Washington to take part in the Grand Review. 
He was mustered out, and went to Sackett's Harbor, New York, 
where he was discharged, thence home, and spent two years with 
his folks. He moved to Michigan with his father and mother and 
was engaged in farming for several years. Then he returned to 
the state of his nativity and served an apprenticeship to the all 
mason's trade, becoming a mason contractor. As cement came to 
the front rank in the building trades, he carried on the business 
of cement contractor, supplying the cement and supervising the 
building of cement foundations and other similar work. He is now 
living retired on a farm in Lawrence. 

Of the six children born of their union five are living: O. E., 
the subject of this sketch; Jennie, the wife of Fred Carroll, of 
this county; Charles R., a resident of Paw Paw; J. E., who lives 
in Lawrence ; and Howard, w^ho is still at home with his parents. 
Orin, the second of the six in the order of birth, died at the age of 
two years. 

Dr. 0. E. Lanphear Avas graduated from the Lawrence high 
school in 1895, and then taught school on the Paw Paw town- 
ship line for one year. At the end of that period he entered 
the dental department of the State University at Ann Arbor, 
where he pursued a full course of instruction and practice in 
dental surgery, and was graduated in 1901, after passing three 
years in the institution, which he entered in 1898. He came at 
once to Paw Paw from the University and opened an office for 
the practice of his profession. In this he has been actively en- 
gaged with a rapidly growing patronage and extending repu- 
tation ever since, winning high regard among the people by the 
excellence of his professional work and his enterprising, up-to- 
date methods, his office being one of the most thoroughly equipped 
with the latest appliances for the practice of dental surgery in the 
state of Michigan. 

In addition to his profession as a doctor of dental surgery he 
has also taken a special course in anesthesia, and to this he has 
given considerable time and study and is regarded as an author- 
ity on this subject. Along these lines he has gone very thor- 
oughly into the properties and administration of the newest 
anesthetic now before the public, known as Somno form and has 
the only complete equipment for its administration, in combination 
with other anesthetics, in Van Buren county, and in this respect 
has been very successful. 

The doctor w^as married on June 25, 1902, to Miss Mamie L. 
Gould, a daughter of Otis and Elizabeth (Maxwell) Gould, who 
have three children, all daughters. Dr. and Mrs. Lanphear have 
two children : Marvel G., who was born on September 21, 1905, 
and Loel G., whose life began on July 22, 1908. The doctor is 
a Republican in politics and in fraternal circles belongs to the 
Masonic order and the Knights of Pythias. His religious connec- 
tion is with the Congregational church. He takes a great interest 
m the welfare of his church and the affairs of each of his fra- 



904 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

ternities, as he does in everything that is promotive of the bet- 
terment of the people around him and the progress and develop- 
ment of the region in which they live. He ardently desires the 
best that can be attained for Paw Paw and Van l^uren county, and 
shows it in the most practical manner on all occasions and in every 
M^ay open to his helpful and stimulating efforts. 

Thomas Harvey Ransom, M. D. — Engaged in the practice of 
one of the more important of the various professions and pursuits 
to which men devote their time and energies, Thomas Harvey 
Ransom, M. D., of Bloomingdale, has acquired prominence not 
only in the medical circles of Van Buren county, but in the busi- 
ness and social life of his community. A son of William Clark 
Ransom, M. D., he was born in Grant county, Indiana, of Revolu- 
tionary stock, his great-grandfather, James Ransome, a resident 
of Union county, Pennsylvania, having served as a soldier in the 
Revolutionary war. 

The Doctor's paternal grandfather, James Ransom, Jr., was 
born in Union county, Pennsylvania, in 1809, coming from thrifty 
Scotch ancestry. After learning the blacksmith trade he moved 
to Ohio and lived in Belmont and Guernsey counties until 1836. 
In that year, following the trend of migration westward, he made 
an overland journey to Indiana, going into the interior as far as 
Blackford county, being forced to cut his way through the heavy 
timber the last five miles of his trip. Settling in the wilderness, five 
miles from the nearest neighbor, he bought a tract of land, and 
in the opening which he made in the forest erected the typical 
pioneer log cabin, which was the first home of the family. Work- 
ing with indomitable perseverance, he improved a good homestead, 
and was there engaged in tilling the soil until his death, in 1862. 
His wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Anderson, was born 
near Baltimore, Maryland, and died, in 1873. Twelve of their 
children grew to years of maturity and married. Three of the 
sons became physicians, two of them became prosperous merchants 
and one was a contractor and builder. 

William Clark Ransom, M. 1)., was born in Belmont county, 
Ohio, December 6, 1828, and in boyhood accompanied his parents 
to Blackford county, Indiana, where, amid pioneer scenes, he 
grew to man's estate. For a year after attaining his majority 
he worked for a neighboring stockman. Not content, however, 
to spend his life in rural occupations, he started in 1850 for Cali- 
fornia, visiting on the way New Orleans, Mexico, Cuba and the 
Sandwich Islands. At the end of nine months he landed at San 
Francisco, without a penny to his name. The ensuing year he 
worked on a ranch, receiving one hundred and twenty-five dollars 
a month wages. He then took up a tract of land that is now in- 
cluded within the limits of the city of San Jose, but soon sold his 
claim for six thousand dollars, and put the money in a bank that 
soon after failed. During the time he earned one thousand five 
hundred dollars mining, and loaned the entire sum to a merchant 
who, likewise, failed a few months later. 

Before leaving home, William Clark Ransom had paid some 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 905 

attention to the study of medicine, and when starting westward 
had taken his books with him, and had spent his leisure time in 
advancing his professional knowledge. Giving up mining, there- 
fore, he became an interne in a private hospital in Sacramento, 
where he remained two years. Then, accompanying a surgeon 
general of a company of militia, he went to northern California 
and Oregon to care for the sick soldiers. Four years later he was 
stationed in a like capacity on an Indian reservation in ^ el Norte 
county, California, where he continued for a time. In 1864, pur- 
chasing four hundred dollars worth of drugs, he went to the 
island of Otaheite, in the South Pacific ocean, making the passage 
on an American built schooner. There disposing of his drugs, he 
visited China, after which he returned, on a man-of-war, to Ota- 
heite Island, locating in the village of Papieti, where he was for 
awhile employed in caring for the sick whalers that landed there. 
He afterwards visited the Fiji Islands, New Zealand and Aus- 
tralia, from the latter place going to South America on March 6, 
1865, and landing in Valparaiso, Chili, where he subsequently 
learned of the assassination of President Lincoln. From there he 
sailed to Calloa, Peru, thence to Quito, Ecuador, where he sailed 
for New York, coming home by way of the Isthmus of Panama, 
arriving at Hartford, Indiana, in the fall of 1865. 

After practicing medicine in Hartford, Indiana, for a year or 
more. Dr. William C. Ransom further pursued his studies at the 
Cleveland Medical College, and in 1870 w^as graduated from the 
Indiana Medical College. Removing to South Haven, Michigan, 
in 1881, he engaged in the practice of his profession, and also 
became an important factor in advancing the mercantile and in- 
dustrial interests of the place, becoming a member of the clothing 
firm of HemDsted Brothers & Ransom, and an extensive real estate 
dealer. A man of rare enterprise and judgment, he embarked in 
an entirely new venture in 1884, building a boat which he located 
with produce and took down the Mississippi river to New Orleans, 
where he sold both the boat and its cargo. He subsequently built 
three other boats for the same purpose, and was likewise engaged 
in lake transportation, building the ''Harvey Ransom,'' and other 
good boats that plied Lake Michigan. Going to the extreme 
Northwest in 1893, he explored Oregon, Washington and Alaska, 
and is now a resident of Klamath, Oregon. He is a member of 
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has passed all of the 
chairs of the subordinate lodge and of the Encampment. His 
wife, whose maiden name was Mary Emily Hodson, was born in 
Grant county, Indiana, November 22, 1848, a daughter of Samuel 
and Phebe Hodson. 

The only child of his parents, Thomas Harvey Ransom received 
his preliminary education in the common schools, and after his 
graduation from the South Haven high school began the study 
of medicine. He attended the University of Michigan, and was 
graduated from^he Central College of Physicians and Surgeons, 
at Indianapolis, Indiana, and later took post graduate courses in 
Philadelphia and Chicago. Beginning the practice of his profes- 
sion at South Haven, Michigan, Dr. Ransom remained therf^ a 



906 HISTORY OP VAN BUREx\ COILNTY 

year, and then settled in Lacota, Van Buren county. While in 
college, Dr. Ransom was active in base ball matters, and after 
practicing medicine in Lacota for a year entered the base ball 
lield as a professional and played two seasons with his team. 
Coming then to Bloomingdale, the Doctor has practiced here since, 
and is now recognized as one of the leading physicians and surgeons 
of this part of the county. 

In 1901 the Doctor was united in marriage with Nellie Pearl 
Wiggins, who was born in Bloomingdale, a daughter of Honorable 
Milan D. and Maria F. (Hubbard) Wiggins, of whom a brief 
sketch appears elsewhere in this work. Three children have been 
born to Dr. and Mrs. Ransom, namely: Theone, Ruth and Milan 
Wiggins. The Doctor is a man of excellent business ability, and 
is interested in the Bloomingdale Milling Company. He is a 
member of the Kalamazoo, the Van Buren County and the Mich- 
igan State Medical Societies, and of the American Medical Asso- 
ciation. A steadfast Republican in politics, he cast his first presi- 
dential vote, in 1892, for Benjamin Harrison. Although not an 
office seeker, he served six years as president of the local school 
board, and in 1910 and 1911 was elected mayor of Bloomingdale, 
the highest municipal office within the gift of his fellow-citizens. 
Fraternally Dr. Ransom is a member of Bloomingdale Lodge No. 
221, Ancient Free and Accepted Order of Masons; of Paw Paw 
Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; and of Bloomingdale Lodge, No. 
161, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, at the present writing 
being chairman of the committee on by-laws of the Grand Chapter. 
Both he and his wife are members of the Christian church. 

Marlin Lee Wilmot. — ^Prominent among the energetic and able 
agriculturists who have been actively associated with the advance- 
ment of the farming interests of Van Buren county is Marlin Lee 
Wilmot, who is profitably engaged in his chosen vocation on the 
paternal homestead in Bloomingdale township, managing it with 
ability and success. He was born March 19, 1863, in Eaton town, 
ship, Lorain county, Ohio, which was also the birthplace of his 
father, Albert Wilmot. 

Silas Wilmot, his grandfather, was born in Connecticut, and was 
there brought up and educated. At the age of twenty years he 
married Chide Tyler, one of his early school-mates, and very soon 
afterward started for the then far West to seek a home. He was ac- 
companied on his trip by a friend, Ira Morgan, with whom he made 
his way on foot to the wilds of Lorain county, Ohio, each carry- 
ing in addition to their other baggage an axe. Spending their 
first night in Lorain county under the spreading branches of a 
maple tree, they slept soundly. After prospecting awhile, Silas 
Wilmot bought a tract of land on Butternut Ridge, in Eaton town- 
ship, and having erected a log house was soon joined by his young 
wife, who made the journey from her New England home with 
another party of pioneers. All of that section of the country was 
then in its primeval wildness, Cleveland being a mere hamlet, with 
the land now included within its city limits for sale at one dollar 
and twenty-five cents an acre. The wild beasts of the forest had 



HISTORY OF VAN BURExN COUNTY 907 

not then fled before the advancing steps of civilization, but, with 
the dusky savage, habited the vast wilderness. Clearing and im- 
proving a good farm, he resided on it until his death, at the age 
of sixty-five years. His wife, who died when but forty-five years 
old, was the mother of fourteen children, all of whom grew to 
years of maturity, eleven of them marrying and rearing families. 

Born April 24, 1829, Albert Wilmot attended the pioneer schools 
of Eaton township in his native county, and subsequently began 
the study of medicine preparatory to entering upon a professional 
career. On account of the ill health of his father, however, he 
relinquished his studies, returned home, and had the charge of 
the parental acres until 1865. Disposing then of his share of 
the home farm, he migrated to Michigan, and having located in 
Van Buren county purchased timbered land in section two, Bloom- 
ingdale township. Five acres of the land had been previously 
cleared, and a board house stood upon the place. Continuing the 
improvements already inaugurated, he placed much of the land 
under cultivation, erected a good set of frame buildings, the house 
overlooking Duck Lake, and carried on farming successfully for 
many years. Here, having accomplished r satisfactory work, he 
is now living retired, enjoying all the comforts of modern life. 

Albert Wilmot married, in 1857, Sarah A. Lee, who was born in 
Newfleld, Tompkins county. New York, June 13, 1832, a daughter 
of George W. Lee. Her grandfather, Solomon Lee, was born in 
the same locality, of English ancestry, and spent his entire life 
in or near Fishkill. In 1845 George W. Lee removed from Tomp- 
kins county. New York, to Whitley county, Indiana, where, but 
a year later, his death occurred. His wife, whose maiden name 
was Hannah Wooden, was born in Fishkill, New York, and died 
in Whitley county, Indiana, on the very same day of his demise, 
leaving four children, as follows: Marena, John Emery, Esther 
and Sarah A. Mr. and Mrs. Albert Wilmot reared two children, 
Marlin Lee, the special subject of this sketch, and Elma, who died at 
the age of nineteen years. 

But two years old when brought by his parents to Blooming- 
dale township, Marlin Lee Wilmot obtained his education in the 
rural schools of his district, and from his earliest years assisted on 
the farm. Since the failure of his father's health, Mr. Wilmot 
has devoted his entire time and energy to the management of the 
homestead property, continuing each year to add improvements 
of value. The land is now under a high state of cultivation, while 
the buildings rank with the best in the neighborhood, the estate, 
which is picturesquely located on an elevation overlooking Duck 
Lake, being one of the most attractive and desirable in the town- 
ship. 

In 1894 Mr. Wilmot was united in marriage with Edna M. Mer- 
riam, who was born in Trowbridge township, Allegan county, 
Michigan, and is of stanch New England stock, her father, George 
0. Merriam, having been a native of Vermont, while her mother, 
whose maiden name was Helen Minckler, was born on the Isle of 
La Motte, in Lake Champlain. Mr. and Mrs. Wilmot have one 
daughter, Helen Sarah Wilmot. Fraternally Mr. Wilmot is a 



908 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

member of Woodmen Graage, No. 610, Patrons pf Husbandry; 
and of Gobleville Lodge, No. 393, Independent Order of Odd Fel- 
lows. 

Charles J. Anderson. — Many of the more enterprising and 
thrifty agriculturists of our country were born across the sea, 
prominent among the number being Charles J. Anderson, of Bloom- 
ingdale, Van Buren county, whose birth occurred January 16, 
1864, in Westervik, province of Smaland. His father, Andrew J. 
Anderson, a farmer in Sweden, where he has spent his entire life, 
reared two sons and three daughters, all of whom, with the excep- 
tion of his son Charles, still reside in their native land, his other 
son, Gustav Emil, being engaged in farming in Smaland. 

Leaving school at the age of fifteen years, Charles J. Anderson 
worked on the home farm until 1884, when he entered the mer- 
chant marine service, sailing for eight months on an English ves- 
sel and for seven months on a German vessel, during which time 
he visited all of the important sea ports of Europe. Immigrating 
to America, the land of promise, in 1887, Mr. Anderson was va- 
riously occupied for a time, finally becoming an entry clerk for 
the widely know^n firm of Hibbard, Spencer & Bartlett, of Chi- 
cago, Illinois, in whose employ he continued for ten years. Re- 
signing his position, he then visited his parents and friends, re- 
maining in Sweden ten months. Returning to Chicago, ^Ir. Ander- 
son was there employed as a watchman for nearly a year and a 
half. Coming from there to Van Buren county, Michigan, he 
bought an estate in Bloomingdale township, where he has since 
been profitably engaged in general farming and poultry raising. 

Mr. Anderson married, in 1891, Augusta Olev, who was born 
in Sweden, where her parents were life-long residents, she and 
three of her sisters being the only members of the family to come 
to America. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson have one child, Lillie Augusta. 
Religiously they were reared in the Lutheran faith. 

Theodore W. Valleau. — A venerable and highly respected citi- 
zen of Bloomingdale township. Van Buren county, Theodore W. 
Valleau is an honored representative of the early pioneers of this 
section of our beautiful country, and a true type of the energetic, 
hardy and enterprising men who have actively assisted in the 
development of this fertile and productive agricultural region. In 
the days of his boyhood the wild beasts of the forest had not fled 
before the advancing march of the sturdy pioneer, and not a build- 
ing had then been erected on the sites of the present villages of 
Bloomingdale and Gobleville, the country roundabout having been 
an almost impenetrable wilderness. Mr. Valleau began life for 
himself without other means than his natural endowments of energy, 
perseverance and resolution of purpose, but by his wise manage- 
ment, sagacity and keen foresight he has overcome all obstacles 
and has been able to accumulate a considerable fortune, his suc- 
cess in life being entirely due to his own efforts. A son of Peter 
Valleau, he was born October 27, 1823, in Monroe county. New 
York. His grandfather, Theodore Valleau, was born in the Em- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 909 

pire state, of French Huguenot ancestry, where his father, who 
served as a soldier in the Revolutionary war, settled on coming 
from France to this country. 

Born in or near Poughkeepsie, New York, Theodore Valleau 
moved in early manhood to Cayuga county, and subsequently re- 
sided a few years in Monroe county New York. Going from there 
to Ohio, he spent the remainder of his life in the vicinity of Cleve- 
land. He was twice married, and was the father of eighteen 
children. 

Peter Valleau was born in Cayuga county. New York, and was 
a young man when he accompanied the family to Monroe county. 
Among the early pioneers of that county, he subsequently bought 
a tract of timbered land in Wheatland, on the Genesee river, and 
on the farm which he improved lived until 1843. In that year, 
with his wife and nine children, he started for ^lichigan, going 
by team to Buffalo, thence by lake to Detroit, and from there by 
rail to Marshall, the railroad terminus, the remainder of the jour- 
ney to AVaverly township, Van Buren county, their point of desti- 
nation, ])eing performed with teams. He purchased from the gov- 
ernment eighty acres of land, paying one dollar and twenty-five 
cents an acre, and with his pioneer's axe began the clearing and 
improvement of a homestead, his fii^t work having been the erec- 
tion of a log cabin. At the end of two months he bought a tract 
of land in what is now section thirteen, Bloomingdale township, 
and settled in the wilderness, his nearest neighbor being three miles 
away. He built a log house on his new claim, making the chimney 
of earth and sticks and there lived in a most primitive style for 
several years, subsisting principally upon the game of the forest 
and the productions of the soil, the mother doing her cooking in 
the fireplace and dressing the family in homespun materials. 

Soon after his arrival new settlers came into the county, promi- 
nent among the number being Orlando Newcomb, Eben Armstrong, 
Ira Nash, Daniel Robinson and the Thayer, Brown and Meyers 
families. Soon a schoolhouse was erected on the present site of the 
village of Gobleville, it being the first building of that place. 
Peter Valleau cleared a good farm, but was subsequently unfor- 
tunate and lost his property. .He spent his later years of his life 
in Waverly township, on a place belonging to his son, Theodore W. 
Valleau, the subject of this sketch, dying there at the age of seventy- 
four years. 

Peter Valleau married Samantha Pike, who was born in Ver- 
mont, a daughter of Erastus Pike, who was a native of the same 
state and a pioneer settler of Monroe county. New York. She died 
at the home of her son Theodore at the advanced age of four score 
and four years. She was the mother of eleven children, of whom 
nine grew to years of maturity, as follows: Theodore W., Andrew, 
Susan, Norman, Freeman, William, Adeline, Phebe and Caroline. 
Theodore W., the first bom, is the only survivor of this large 
family. 

Theodore W. Valleau acquired his early education in Wheatland, 
Monroe county. New York, and with his parents came to Michigan 
to seek his fortune. Beginning life for himself even with the 



910 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

world, he worked at anything he could find to do, when wages were 
high receiving fifty cents a day for his labor, as a boy, however, 
being glad to get his board and clothing. Prior to his marriage 
he was exceedingly anxious to become a landholder, and found a 
tract of land containing twenty acres, in Waverly township, that 
he could have for the modest sum of two dollars and fifty cents 
an acre, but he had no money with which to make the purchase, 
and the owner needed the cash, but also wanted a cow. Mr. Val- 
leau, therefore, bought a cow, giving his note for the animal, gave 
the cow for the land, and then earned the money to redeem his 
note. He soon built a small log house on his newly-acquired pur- 
chase, and was ready to receive his bride, but having no money 
to pay the justice of the peace for performing the marriage cere- 
mony he made arrangements with the justice to pay him by work- 
ing for him at logging for two days. This recalls another instance 
of a similar nature, when Andrew Impson, of Almena township, 
this county, one of the first to be married in this vicinity, gave 
Almon Colby, the justice of the peace, one thousand shingles to 
perform the marriage ceremony, he and his bride-to-be going to Mr. 
Colby 's house in a cart drawn by a pair of oxen. 

For a number of years after taking unto himself a wife, Mr. 
Valleau took contracts to build roads and bridges, devoting his 
leisure time to the clearing of his land. In 1888 he moved from 
Waverly township to Pine Grove township, and there lived for two 
years on the large farm that he owned, and on which he made sub- 
stantial improvements. Coming to Bloomingdale township in 1890, 
he purchased what was then known as the Beddo farm, and is now 
living here retired from active business, enjoying the fruits of his 
earlier years of judicious toil. A man of rare discrimination and 
ability, Mr. Valleau has acquired large property interests, at one 
time having owned upwards of eleven hundred acres of choice land, 
and has assisted each of his children to homes of their own. 

Mr. Valleau has been twice married. He married first, at the 
age of twenty-four years, Mary B. Luddington, w^ho was born in 
Ashtabula county, Ohio, a daughter of Archibald and Abby (Mat- 
terson) Luddington, natives of either New York state or Pennsyl- 
vania, and pioneer settlers of Portage township, Kalamazoo county, 
Michigan. She died in 1865, leaving six children, namely : Alice, 
Eber, Harmon, Merlain, Mina and Archie. Alice married James 
Scoville and has seven children, Archie, Roy, Robert, Myrtle, Ma- 
rion, Benjamin T., and Earl. Eber died at the age of forty years. 
Harmon married first Alma Phillips, who bore him three chil- 
dren, Harley, Lulu and Gladys, and married (second) Maria Sco- 
ville, by whom he has three children also, Donald, Jack and Allie. 
Merlain, who married Stella Hanawald, has nine children, Erwin, 
Russell, Merle, Lawrence, Esther, Emilleo, Law, Antha and Asal 
B. Mina, wife of Clarence Brown, has six children, Effie, Ruby, 
Maude, Milton, Alice and Clare. Archie married Mary Bell, and 
they have two children, Ethel and George. 

Mr. Valleau married for his second wife Mrs. Mary A. (Skinner) 
Snell, who was bom in Hastings, Oswego county. New York, of 
New England ancestry. Her father, Zeri Skinner, who was born 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 911 

and bred in Vermont, removed to New York state when eighteen 
years of age, and after living for awhile in Oswego county went 
to Hard Scrabble, in Onondaga county, and from there to Bald- 
winsville, New York. In 1847 Mr. Skinner came with his family 
to Michigan, and was one of the earlier settlers of Waverly town- 
ship. Van Buren county, where he cleared and improved eighty 
acres of land, on which he resided until his death, at the age of 
sixty-six years. Mr. Skinner married Mary Cornell, who was 
born in Vermont, a daughter of Nathaniel and Sarah (Coffin) 
Cornell, natives of New England. She died at the age of sixty- 
five years, having reared nine children, as follows: Cornelia; 
Christopher; Joseph; Hiram; Mary A., now Mrs. Valleau; Irving; 
James ; Hezekiah ; and Nancy. 

At the age of nineteen years Mary A. Skinner became the bride 
of Theodore W. Snell, who was born in the Mohawk valley, New 
York, a son of Jacob I. and Gertrude (Fox) Snell. Jacob I. 
Snell, accompanied by his family, migrated from New York to 
Illinois, from there coming to Van Buren county, Michigan, where 
he spent his closing years of life. Theodore W. Snell learned the 
trade of a harness maker when young, and followed it success- 
fully for several years. In 1861 he enlisted in Company K, Second 
^Michigan Volunteer Infantry, which became a part of the Army 
of the Potomac. He was at the front in many battles of note, 
and in 1864 was captured by the enemy. He was subsequently 
exchanged, and being very ill at the time of his exchange died 
on board the vessel while en route to Fortress Monroe. He left 
his widow with a family of four children to care for, namely: 
Lillie B., Milton Eugene, Isadore and Archie Theodore. Lillie B. 
Snell married Alfred Kinciad, and six children, Gertrude, Grace, 
Ernest, Lillian, Marion and Hobart. Milton E. Snell married 
.Martha Smith, and they are the parents of seven children, Mabel, 
Earl, Marvin, Harold and Herbert, twins, Wendell and Lillian. 
Isadore Snell is the wife of Milton J. Sherrod, and has two children, 
Glen and Paul. Archie T. Snell married Rose Dunham, and they 
have five children, Neil, Beulah, Breta, Shirley and Beryl. 

Mr. and Mrs. Valleau have one child. Rose M., who married 
David E. Rich, and has three children, Mollie, Florence and 
Bernard. 

James Van Horn. — An enterprising, intelligent and able agri- 
culturist, James Van Horn is prosperously engaged in his inde- 
pendent vocation on one of the many pleasant and desirable farms 
in Bloomingdale township, to the improvements and value of which 
he is constantly adding. A son of John Van Horn, he was born 
August 12, 1872, near Hartford, Blackford county, Indiana. 

Jere Van Horn, his paternal grandfather, was born, it is thought, 
in Ohio, and was of pure Holland ancestry. Removing from Ohio 
to Indiana, he bought wild land in Blackford county, erected a 
log house and barn, tilled a sufficient number of acres to make a 
living for himself and family, and was there a resident during the 
remainder of his life. 

Born and reared in Ohio, John Van Horn went with the family 



912 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

to Blackford county, Indiana, and subsequently bought land ly- 
ing six miles north of Hartford. He cleared and improved a part 
of the tract, and lived there several years. Then impelled by the 
restless American spirit characteristic of the early pioneers, he 
came to Michigan, and having purchased eighty acres of land in 
Osceola county was there employed as a tiller of the soil until 1892. 
Removing in that year to Bloomingdale township, Van Buren 
county, he purchased a home, and lived here until his death, in 
1908. He married first Ardella Townsend, a native of Blackford 
county, Indiana. She died in 1875, leaving six children, as fol- 
lows: George, Clem, Mary, John, James and Charles. After the 
death of his first wife he subsequently married xMary Gathrup. 

During the days of his boyhood and youth James Van Horn 
attended the public schools and assisted in the lighter work of the 
home farm. He was early trained to habits of industry and thrift, 
and while yet a young lad worked out by the month, thereby earn- 
ing the money to make a payment on a tract of land. He first 
purchased seventy acres in Bloomingdale township, and after 
occupying it five years bought the farm where he now resides. It 
is pleasantly located in section three, and contains one hundred and 
sixty acres. iVIr. Van Horn has shown excellent judgment in im- 
proving his property, having cleared and drained portions of it, 
and having repaired and enlarged the buildings, his place in point 
of improvements and equipments ranking with the best in the 
vicinity. He pays especial attention to dairying, an industry which 
he finds profitable, having his farm well stocked with high graded 
Holstein cattle. 

Mr. Van Horn married August 12, 1894, Blanche Haven, who 
was born in Bloomingdale township, a daughter of Augustus and 
Emily Haven, of w^hom a brief account may be found elsewhere in 
this volume, in connection with the sketch of E. A. Haven. Mr. 
and Mrs. Van Horn are the parents of six children, namely : Vena. 
Clare, Herbert, Veta, Emily and George. Fraternally Mr. Van 
Horn is a member of Bloomingdale Lodge, No. 161, Independent 
Order of Odd Fellows. 

Benjamin S. Munn.— A well-known and respected citizen of 
Bloomingdale township, and one of its progressive and prosperous 
farmers, Benjamin S. Munn is of pioneer descent, being a son of 
the late Matthew A. Munn, who dauntlessly pushed his way into 
an uncultivated country and has left behind him a record for 
steadiness of purpose and persistent industry of which his chil- 
dren may well be proud. He was born on the homestead where he 
now resides, April 9, 1865, coming on both sides of the house of 
honored New^ England ancestry. 

His paternal grandfather, Obadiah Munn, was born in Massa- 
chusetts, the ancestral homestead in which he first opened his eyes 
to the light of this world having bordered in the Connecticut river. 
As a young man he followed the trail of the emigrant to New York 
state, and a few years later pushed his way onward to Ohio, jour- 
neying by team to Buffalo, thence by boat to Cleveland. Locating 
in Cuyahoga county, he bought a tract of unbroken land, and on 



HISTORY OF VAN BUHEN COUNTY 913 

the farm which he hnproved he and liis wife, whose maiden name 
was Mary Adgate, spent the remainder of their lives. 

Matthew A. IMunn was born, in 1825, in Painesville, Ohio, and 
was brought up on the home farm. When nineteen years of age he 
went to Boston, jMassachusetts, where he remained six years, serv- 
ing an apprenticeship at the stone cutter 's trade. Returning then 
to Ohio, he continued at his trade until 1853, when he, too, followed 
the march of civilization westward, becoming one of the early set- 
tlers of Bloomingdale township, Van Buren county, Michigan. 
Purchasing a tract of land in section ten, he built a log cabin in 
the forest and began to clear a farm, for a few years thereafter 
working at his trade in connection with farming. Subsequently 
devoting his entire time to the cultivation of his land, he im- 
proved a fine homestead, on which he lived until his death, Feb- 
ruary 27, 1909, an honored and highly esteemed member of his 
community. 

The maiden name of the wife of Matthew A. Munn was Rachel 
llealy. She was born and bred in Cuyahoga county, Ohio, coming 
from substantial New^ England stock. Her father, Jeremiah 
Spaulding Ilealy, was born in Vermont, among the rugged hills of 
the Green mountains. He subsequently migrated to Saint Law- 
rence county, New York, where he married, and afterwards moved 
with his family to Ohio. He bought a tract of wild land in Eaton 
township, Lorain county, and having no sawed lumber split by 
hand puncheon for the floor of the log cabin which he erected as 
a shelter for himself and family, when it was completed sending 
for his wife and children to join him. About 1841 his wife died, 
and ten years later he married again, and settled on a farm ad- 
joining his. first purchase. Coming to Van Buren county, Michi- 
gan, in 1853, he bought a tract of timbered land in Bloomingdale 
township, where he first built a rude shack and later a substantial 
log house, in which he resided until his death, in 1865. The maiden 
name of the first wife of Mr. Healy was Polly Fields. She was 
born in Saint Lawrence county, New York, and at her death left 
nine children, one of them being Rachel, who became the wife of 
Matthew A. JMunn. She died on the home farm in Bloomingdale 
township, February 10, 1895, leaving eight children, as follows: 
Horatio; Harriet; Orren ; Edgar; Jane; Alvin ; Benjaniin S., the 
special subject of this brief sketch ; and Julius. 

Acquiring his education in the district schools, Benjamin S. 
Munn was well drilled in the various branches of industry as a boy 
and youth, and having succeeded to the ownership of the home- 
stead cared tenderly for his parents during the later years that 
they lived. Since assuming management of the place, Mr. Munn 
has made marked improvements, having a good set of buildings, and 
an ample supply of all the necessary machinery and appliances for 
successfully carrying on his work, which consists of general farming 
and dairying. 

Mr. Munn married, October 20, 1888, Mary ]\L Pingree, who 
was born in Bloomingdale township, a daughter of David and 
Samantha (Bush) Pingree and granddaughter of Jewett Pingree, 
an early pioneer of Van Buren county. Born in Massachusetts^ 



914 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

David Pingree was quite young when he came with his parents to 
Michigan. At the outbreak of the Civil war he enlisted in a Michi- 
gan regiment of volunteer infantry, and served as a soldier until 
the close of the conflict, when he was honorably discharged from 
the army. Returning to Bloomingdale tow^nship, he was engaged 
in farming the remainder of his life. Four children have blessed 
the union of Mr. and Mrs. Munn, namely : Florence, Fern, Harold 
and Donald. Mr. Munn has ever evinced an intelligent interest 
in local affairs, and has never shirked the responsibilities of public 
office. In 1898 he was elected township treasurer for a term of 
two years, and, with the exception of two years, has served as 
highway commissioner since 1901. He belongs to Woodmen 
Grange, No. 610, Patrons of Husbandry. 

Mrs. Emma J. (Wheeler) Broughton. — ^A well-known and 
highly esteemed resident of Bloomingdale township, Van Buren 
county, Mrs. Broughton was born in Bedford, Connecticut, a 
daughter of George W. Wheeler, who was born and reared in the 
same state. Her paternal grandfather, Ephraim Wheeler, a na- 
tive of New England, served as a soldier in the struggle of the 
colonists for independence. Subsequently removing from Connec- 
ticut to Monroe county, New York, he bought three hundred acres 
of Government land in what is now the town of Charlotte, being 
one of its earliest settlers and the first to erect a frame house within 
its limits. He cleared and improved a homestead, and there re- 
sided until his death. His wife survived him, dying in the ninety- 
seventh year of her age. 

The youngest of a large family of children, George W. Wheeler 
was reared on a farm in Connecticut, and spent his early life in 
his native state. Subsequently, accompanied by his wife and four 
children, he migrated to New York state, making the removal with 
teams and settling in Charlotte, Monroe county, on a tract of tim- 
bered land given him by his father. Erecting a log cabin in the 
forest, he began the pioneer task of redeeming a farm from its 
pristine wildness. Selling out a few years later, he removed with 
his family to Chili, in the same county, and on a farm which he 
rented spent his remaining days. He married Catherine Reid, 
who was of Scotch ancestry, and she survived him a few years. 
They w^ere the parents of eight children, as follows: Catherine; 
Susan Elizabeth; John W. ; Theodore, a soldier in the Civil war, 
was killed at the battle of Gettysburg, when but eighteen years old ; 
James; Amos; Emma J.; and Frances. 

Brought up in Monroe county, New York, Emma J. Broughton 
was there educated, at her home being well trained in the domes- 
tic arts. After leaving school she went to Detroit, Michigan, to 
visit an uncle, and while there met and married John N. Chadsey, 
who was born in Sweden, Monroe county. New York. Mr. Chad- 
sey 's father, Benjamin Chadsey, a native of Massachusetts, was a 
man of undaunted courage and enterprise. When young he fol- 
lowed the migrant's trail to New York state, with his axe on his 
shoulder bravely making his way to Monroe county. Securing a 
tract of Government land, he soon began felling the mighty giants 



HISTORY Oi^ VAN BUREN COUNTY 915 

of the forest to make a space on which he might erect a log cabin 
to shelter himself and family, and on the farm which he cleared 
he resided until his death. John N. Chadsey was brought np on 
the home farm in Monroe county, New York, and educated in the 
pioneer schools of his district. Soon after the close of the Civil 
war he came to Michigan, settling in Bloomingdale tow^nship, Van 
Buren county, where he bought a tract of timbered land, erected 
a frame house, and began to clear a farm. Industrious, energetic 
and enterprising, Mr. Chadsey cleared a large part of his land and 
in due course of time made improvements of great value, replac- 
ing the original house by -a large brick structure, and erecting a 
substantial barn and other needed farm buildings, each year add- 
ing to the attractiveness and value of his property. He there con- 
tinued his agricultural labors until his death, in 1895. 

After the death of ]\Ir. Chadsey, Mrs. Chadsey married for her 
second husband, in 1901, George W. Broughton, who was born in 
Macomb county, Michigan, where his parents, James and Lucy 
Broughton, were pioneer settlers, going there from Massachusetts, 
their native state. Mr. Broughton was reared on the home farm in 
Macomb county, and as a young man tried the venture of new 
hazards, going West and living in different places until 1897. Re- 
turning then to Michigan, he bought land in Cheshire township, 
Allegan county, and embarked in general farming, continuing as 
an agriculturist until his death, March 3, 1910. Mrs. Broughton 
has no children of her own, but has an adopted son, Franklin M. 
Broughton. Mrs. Broughton is a conscientious member of the 
Baptist church, while Mr. Broughton was affiliated with the Meth- 
odist Episcopal church. 

Jacob Mitchell. — Although he is of distinguished ancestry and 
can trace his family line back through the history of this country in 
unbroken succession two hundred and seventy-six years, and al- 
though members of the family have dignified and adorned all the 
higher walks of life in various places as the generations have come 
and gone, Jacob Mitchell, one of the enterprising merchants and 
leading citizens of South Haven, has built his career along lines 
of ordinary productive usefulness, without a thought of attaining 
distinction or attracting the noisy admiration of the world. His 
labors have been important and serviceable in their day and lo- 
cality, but, while many of them required expert knowledge and 
the skill that comes from careful training, they have not been of 
a character to bring renown or secure public attention m any 
showy or extensive way. But he has not desired this. He has 
been content to walk faithfully in the plain and simple path of 
duty, and thus work out his destiny in life and render what serv- 
ice he could do his fellow men in his day and generation. 

Mr. Mitchell is a native of St. Lawrence county. New York, 
where his life began on July 31, 1836. His parents were Reuben 
and Margaret (Roberts) Mitchell, the former born in Clinton 
county, New York, in 1808, and the latter in county Cork, Ireland, 
m 1812. The mother died in 1880 and the father in 1890. Nine 
children were born of their union, three of whom are now living. 



916 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

Jacob and his brothers Henry and David, both younger than him- 
self. Henry is a resident of Fairgrove and David of Flint, 
Michigan. 

The first American representative of the family was Matthew 
Mitchell, who, with his wife and children, came to this country 
and settled in what was then Wethersfield, Connecticut, in 1635. 
The family came from Scotland, and the head of the household at 
once began to take an active part in the affairs of the town in 
which he had located, and four years after his arrival was its 
clerk. Stephen Mitchell, another member of the family, founded 
the public library in Glasgow, Scotland, which is the second in 
size in the country. Another distinguished member of the family 
was Professor Maria Mitchell, who belonged to the branch that 
settled on Nantucket Island at an early day, moving to the island 
from the mainland of Massachusetts. 

Elector Mitchell, another member of note in the early days, lived 
at Heathfield, Scotland ; Dr. Samuel Latham Mitchell, a renowned 
physician and surgeon, belonged to a branch that located on Long 
Island, and Stephen Mitchell, of the same family was chief justice 
of Connecticut in 1812. During the nineteenth century nine mem- 
bers of the family, all bearing the name of Mitchell, were gradu- 
ated from Harvard University and seven of the same lineage and 
name secured diplomas from Yale University. 

Jacob Mitchell's grandfather, whose name was also Jacob, was a 
native of Pennsylvania and a merchant in the state of New York. 
His son Reuben, the father of Jacob, the subject of this review, 
was a farmer in New York and came to Michigan in 1865. He 
first took up his residence in St. Clair county, but some time after- 
ward moved to Tuscola county, where he redeemed a farm from 
the wilderness on which he passed tlie remainder of his days. He 
was a l^resbyterian in church relations, and first a Whig and later 
a Republican in his political attachment. 

Jacob Mitchell, of South Haven, remained at home with his 
])arents until he was eight years old, then became a farm hand in the 
employ of Dr. iMead in Essex county, New York. He worked on 
the Doctor's farm, lived in his family and attended school, when he 
could be spared for the purpose, until he reached the age of twenty. 
While doing these things he also acquired a good knowledge of the 
millwright's trade, and for some years thereafter worked at it in 
his native state. 

In 1868 he came to iMichigan and located in St. Clair county, 
where he wrought at his trade as a millwright, did considerable 
other carpenter work and also built a number of boats, then passed 
a number of years as a contractor and builder in southern Michi- 
gan and northern Indiana, erecting mills and other structures. In 
1891 he moved to South Haven, and during the next two years 
and a half was occupied in building boats for the lake service. He 
also built the government light house at South Haven. 

By this time he became weary of his migratory life and deter- 
mined to secure a permanent abode and settled occupation for 
himself. Accordingly, in 1894, he located a claim on forty acres 
of land in Tuscola county, and to the improvement of this farm 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUxNTY 917 

and the cultivation of his land he devoted himself during the next 
six years. In September, 1900, he again came to South Haven and 
opened a meat market, and this he is still conducting. By strict 
attention to business and a careful study of the needs of the com- 
munity he has built up a large trade and won a vsride and appre- 
ciative popularity for his enterprise, and his business has become 
very active and extensive. Its cares do not, however, fall entirely 
on him. He is assisted in carrying it on by his two sons. 

On November 8, 1873, Mr. Mitchell was united in marriage with 
i\liss Theresa Metetall, who was born in St. Clair county, Michigan, 
and is a daughter of Frederick and Theresa (Silas) Metetall. Her 
father was born in France and died in this state at the age of 
sixty-five. The mother was a native of Germany, near the French 
line. She died in this state also, passing away in 1911, at the age 
of eighty-six. They had eleven children, eight of whom are living, 
Mrs. Mitchell being the fifth in the order of birth. Her father 
was a professional cook, and came to the United States when he 
was a young man. He lived for a time in Philadelphia, Pennsyl- 
vania, then was employed as the chef on a United States man-of- 
war until 1856. In that year he retired from the Government 
service and took up his residence in St. Clair county, this state, 
where he engaged in farming during the rest of his life. He was 
a Republican in political affiliation and a Presbyterian in church 
connection, and was devoted to both his party and his church, ren- 
dering both good service, and without looking for any reward in 
the way of office from the former or any prominence or distinction 
in the latter, his devotion in each case being a matter of firm belief 
in the basic principles and teachings involved. 

Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell have three children: Lydia, who is the 
wife of Hale Bradley and resides in South Haven; and William and 
Herbert, both of whom are associated in business with their father, 
as has already been noted. The father is a devout and consistent 
member of the Congregational church and deeply interested in the 
congregation to which he belongs. His political support is given 
cordially and steadily to the Republican party, his adherence to 
that organization being based on conviction and a sense of duty, 
for he has never sought or desired a political office, either by elec- 
tion or appointment, being well content to serve his country as 
well as he can in the highly creditable post of private citizenship. 
He is now past seventy-five years of age, and his long and useful 
life and fidelity to every call of duty have won him the universal 
respect and good will of the residents of Van Buren county, who 
have found him worthy of their commendation and esteem from 
every point of view. 

Charles W. Williams. — The son of a pioneer in the business 
of carrying passengers and freight out of and into South Haven 
by boats on the lake, and himself one of the leaders in lake traffic 
and transportation for many years, Charles W^. Williams has been 
a potential factor in building up the commercial importance and 
influence of the city and providing for the convenience and prog- 
ress of its people. For two generations this family has led the 



918 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

forces of communication by water between South Haven and other 
Lake Michigan points, and in that way have rendered a service to 
the lake shore towns that has probably not been surpassed in value 
by what any other line of enterprise has accomplished for them 
and the region in which they are located. 

Mr. Williams is practically a child of the Lake, and his devotion 
to it in his business enterprise has something of filial feeling in it. 
His life began on its shore, and the greater part of his energy 
through all his subsequent years has been expended in business 
for which it has furnished the medium. He was born in St. Jo- 
seph, Michigan, on February 2, 1868, and is a son of Henry W. 
and Loraine L. (Green) Williams, who were born, reared, edu- 
cated and married in Vermont, on the shore of Lake Champlain, 
the former born in 1829 and the latter in 1828. Both died in 1901, 
in South Haven, Michigan, after many years of steady industry 
and usefulness. Of the seven children born to them but two are 
living, their son Charles W. and their daughter Laura A., the 
latter now a resident of South Haven. 

The father was a very enterprising and progressive man. He 
obtained a good education in his native state, and when but seven- 
teen years of age built the first car ferry that crossed Lake Cham- 
plain. He also built there a truss bridge sixty feet in height. 
From Vermont he carried his talents and acquirements to a larger 
and more active market, moving to Chicago, and there for a short 
time he worked at his dual trade of ship and house carpenter. He 
then returned to Vermont and was married, and soon afterward 
came West again, this time locating at St. Joseph in this state. 
Here he again worked at his trade, and between the claims of 
others on his time and attention built himself two schooners for 
lake traffic between St. Joseph and Chicago and Milwaukee. 

To secure greater facilities in his operations and be in a position 
to use to better advantage some of the wealth of the country around 
him in timber, he built himself a saw mill on the Paw Paw river. 
This mill was destroyed by fire, and he then bought one located 
between Benton Harbor and St. Joseph. Sometime afterward he 
purchased a one-half interest in the steamer Skylark, engaged in 
carrying lumber, fruit and passengers between St. Josepli and 
Chicago. He was engaged in the manufacture of fruit packings 
at his saw mill, and this steamer gave him an easy and profitable 
way of transporting his products to places where they were needed. 

In 1880 he retired from the lumber business and gave his atten- 
tion exclusively to transportation work as a member of the firm 
of Graham, Morton & Company, which then owned two steamers, 
the Skylark and the Messenger. He withdrew from this firm in 
1882, and the next year moved to South Haven, having purchased 
the steamer City of St. Joseph for a new enterprise which he had 
under consideration. This was the establishment of a transporta- 
tion line by water between South Haven and Chicago. He put 
the line in operation and kept it going during 1883 and 1884. But 
it was not a profitable enterprise, and he turned the City of St. 
Joseph into an iron ore barge in 1885. and set her plying between 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 919 

St. Joseph and points on Lake Superior. In 1886 he sold the 
steamer. 

His next venture was undertaken at the request of the business 
men of South Haven in 1888, who induced him to build the Steamer 
H. W. Williams for carrying fruit and passengers between South 
Haven and Chicago. This also turned out to be a losing venture, 
and in 1890 he built the Steamer Glenn for the transportation of 
fruit between Pier (probably Union Pier now^) and South Haven 
and Chicago. The next year he built the Steamer Loraine L., put 
her on the line betw^een Pier and South Haven, and opened up an- 
other line between Michigan City, Indiana and Chicago with the 
Steamer Glenn. In 1890 he organized the H. W. Williams Trans- 
portation Company, with himself as president and his son Charles 
as secretary and treasurer, all the stock being held in the fcimily; 
and in the fall of 1892 he built for this company the steamer City 
of Kalamazoo, which made the fourth in the company's lake fleet. 

The elder Mr. Williams w^as also president of the Pierce-AVilliams 
Manufacturing Company, engaged in making fruit packages and 
doing a flourishing business in the enterj)rise. He was a man of 
large capacity for affairs, and could carry on successfully several 
industries at a time with more ease than many a man hnds in man- 
aging one, and he also had the nerve born of confidence in himself 
and good judgment of conditions and prospects. When his under- 
takings demonstrated in a full and fair trial that they would not 
pay, he abandoned them and began others, but he never wasted 
time in whining over his losses, his habit in such cases being to 
increase his energy and make them up in some new project. 

He was an enthusiastic believer in the value of benevolent fra- 
ternities, and manifested great interest in the one which he fa- 
vored with his membership. He was made a Master Alason in St. 
eloseph Lodge, but after moving to South Haven dimitted from 
that and became a charter member of Star of the Lake Lodge, \o. 
158, in that city. He was a Democrat in his political party alle- 
giance, and although he was never a candidate for any political 
office, and never desired to be, he gave his organization the best 
service of which he was capable at all times. In all the relations 
of life and in every duty of citizenship he was true and faithful, 
and his memory is embalmed in the lasting esteem and approval of 
his fellow men in every locality in which he was known. 

Charles W". Williams obtained his education in the schools of 
Benton Harbor and at the Notre Dame (Indiana) University. He 
also pursued a coui^e of special instruction at a business college 
in Lafayette, Indiana. At the age of seventeen he became clerk 
of the steamer St. Joseph, and during the next seven years he was 
employed in the same capacity on some one of his father's boats. 
In 1890, at its organization, he was made secretary and treasurer 
of the H. W. Williams Transportation Company, and at a later 
date became its manager, with headquarters at South Haven, oc- 
cupying this position until the death of his father in 1901. After 
that event he organized the Dunkley & Williams Transportation 
Company, for which he built the steamer City of South Haven in 



920 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

1903, and of which he was manager until 1904, when he sold his 
interests in the company and retired from the business. 

Mr. Williams is a Freemason and belongs to all the branches of 
the order in the York rite. He is a member of Star of the Lake 
Lodge, No. 158, at South Haven, and also of the Chapter of Royal 
Arch Masons and the Council of Royal and Select Masters in that 
city. As a Knight Templar he is connected with Malta Comman- 
dery, No. 44, at Benton Harbor, and as a Noble of the Mystic 
Shrine with Saladin Temple in Grand Rapids. In his political 
faith and allegiance he is a member of the Democratic party and 
takes an earnest interest in its welfare, but never seeks or desires 
anything in the way of a political office for himself. 

Mr. Williams was married on September 20, 1893, to Miss Zara- 
dia C. Brunson, a native of Benton Harbor and the daughter of 
Rufus and Sarah Jane (Stotts) Brunson. Her parents were born 
in Indiana and came to Michigan w4th their parents in childhood. 
Sterne Brunson, the paternal grandfather of Mr. Williams, was 
one of the first settlers of what is now Benton Harbor, but was 
called Brunson Harbor in his day and named in his honor. Mr. 
and Mrs. Williams have two children, their son Henry A. and their 
daughter Sarah L., both of whom are still living under the paren- 
tal rooftree and adding light, life and attractiveness to the parental 
family circle, which the friends and acquaintances of the family 
always find a center of social culture and refined and genuine hos- 
pitality. 

John S. Malbone. — Operating in business in five of the states 
of the American Union, and trying his hand at several lines of 
useful effort, with success in each, John S. Malbone, of South 
Haven, has had a varied experience and has profited by its some- 
times severe but always impressive lessons. He has been a me- 
chanic, a merchant and a farmer. These are widely divergent ave- 
nues to consequence in a worldly way, but Mr. Malbone has shown 
himself able to cope with their varied requirements in a masterly 
manner and command them all to his service and advancement. 

Mr. Malbone was born in F'ranklin county, Ohio, seven miles 
from Columbus. His parents, Solomon M. and Jerusha Malbone, 
were farmers, and he was born and reared on a farm. The father 
was born in Ohio in 1819, and died in Van Buren county, Michi- 
gan, in 1903. The mother was born in the state of New York in 
1821, and died in this county in 1908. The father farmed in his 
native state until 1864, then moved his family to Webster county, 
Iowa, and lived there until 1875, when they came to Van Buren 
county, Michigan. Here he continued to farm until 1893, then 
retired from active pursuits. He was a man of prominence and in- 
fluence in his native county and also in this county, and filled ac- 
ceptably a number of township offices in each. In politics he was 
a Republican, in fraternal relations an Odd Fellow, and in church 
connection a Congregationalist. 'He and his wife were the parents 
of five sons and two daughters, John S. being the second child in 
the order of birth. 

John S. Malbone remained at home with his parents on the 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 921 

farm until he reached the age of twenty-three, then started an 
independent course of activity for himself as a carpenter and stone- 
mason. In 1864 he went to Fort Dodge, Webster county, Iowa, 
and after abiding there and in other places for a time came to 
Van Buren county, this state, and took up his residence at South 
Haven. Here he was occupied in fruit growing for a time not 
far from the city, then, in 1894, moved into the city and built him- 
self a three-story brick business block with a pressed brick front. 
In this building he opened a hardware and furniture store, which 
he conducted until 1907, with good returns for his enterprise. 

In October of that year he sold his business and moved to Vir- 
ginia, w^here he bought two hundred acres of lumber land, going 
later to Pennsylvania. In 1910 he returned to South Haven and 
took back the business he had sold before leaving the city, and in 
carrying on this he has ever since been engaged. He has taken an 
earnest interest and a leading part in the affairs of his city and 
township, serving the public well and acceptably as township clerk 
two terms and as township supervisor three terms. To everything 
he has deemed of value in promoting the progress and improve- 
ment of the region of his home he has given his cordial support, 
and to every movement for the benefit of the people he has cheer- 
fully lent his energetic aid. 

In the fraternal life of the community he has been active and 
forceful, working for its welfare and expansion through his mem- 
bership in several branches of the Masonic order, including Star 
of the Lake Lodge, No. 158, South Haven Chapter, No. 58, Royal 
Arch Masons, and South Haven Council, No. 45, Royal and Select 
Masters. His religious alifiliation is with the Baptist church, and 
in this, too, he is an intelligent and- effective worker, taking a 
special interest in every good work undertaken by the congregation 
to which he belongs, but not limiting his energy and zeal to that. 
His political allegiance is given to the Republican party, and he 
is diligent and effective in the service of that organization also. 

Mr. Malbone was married on April 15, 1869, to Miss Mary C. 
Rawson, a native of Illinois. They have four sons and two daugh- 
ters: Edith, the wife of Robert A. Farrand, of Leslie, Michigan; 
and Willis L., Frank M., John H., Lloyd G. and Carrie B. Tb€ 
father is in all respects a first rate citizen and is highly esteeim^d 
as a man. He has made his own way in the world without the 
the aid of Fortime's favors or adventitious circumstances at any 
time, except as his foresight and energy enabled him to make any 
circumstances propitious by commanding them to his service. His 
education was obtained, so far as regular academic instruction is 
concerned, in a humble log school house in a rural district of Ohio, 
but he has supplemented that part of his mental training by keep- 
ing his eyes open and gathering in information from every source 
available to him in his journey through life, and he is now a man 
of extensive general information. The sterling and serviceable 
citizenship of our country is made up of such material, and Mr. 
Malbone is a very worthy representative of the most sturdy and 
commendable class. 



922 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

John F. Noud. — With the splendid record of his father as a 
manufacturer, business man and public spirited and pro^essive 
citizen before him, John F. Noud, of South Haven, began his own 
career under the stimulus of a high example, and also that of the 
responsibility of living up to it and holding the family name at 
least at the altitude at which his father had written it. It is high 
praise but only a just tribute to genuine and demonstrated merit 
to state that the son has fully lived up to the example of his 
father and dignified and adorned the name he bears as worthily in 
his generation as his father did in his ; and it is to his credit that 
he has been as ready in adaptation to the requirements of his day, 
much intensified as they are in exaction, as his father or any other 
member of his family ever was. 

Mr. Noud was born in Manistee county, Michigan, on September 
29, 1876, a son of Patrick and Susan A. (McCurdy) Noud, and the 
third of their eight children, six of whom are living. The father 
was born in Canada and became a resident of the United States 
and Michigan when he was yet a young man. For a time after his 
arrival in this state he worked as an employe at lumbering, and 
when he got a start engaged in the lumber trade in Manistee on 
his own account, operating a saw mill and carrying on a general 
lumber business. He was one of the pioneers in that part of the 
state in this line of industrial and mercantile effort, and one of 
the most prominent men engaged in it there. He is now and has 
been for several years president of the State Lumber Company of 
Manistee. This company is also engaged in the manufacture of 
salt. He is also president of the Chicago and South Haven Steam- 
ship Company. In all his business undertakings he was highly 
successful, and in his connection with the public affairs of the city 
and county in which he lived he was also prominent and influen- 
tial. His political connection was with the Democratic party, and 
in the local councils of that organization he was one of the most 
potential forces, being recognized as a judicious and reliable ad- 
viser and a resourceful and effective worker for the good of the 
party, while everything involving the substantial welfare of the 
city and county felt the quickening impulse of his vigorous mind 
4.nd the directing care of his strong and skillful hand greatly to 
it% advantage. 

His son, John F. Noud, was educated in the schools of Manistee, 
and for some years after completing their course of instruction was 
associated in business with his father. On November 21, 1900, he 
began business for himself as a retail lumber merchant in South 
Haven in association with Joseph F. Smith, the firm name being 
Noud & Smith. The partnership continued until late in 1901, 
when Mr. Noud bought Mr. Smith's interest in the business and 
started it anew under the name of the John F. Noud Company. 
Under this name Mr. Noud has been conducting the enterprise ever 
since with a steadily increasing volume of trade and an ascending 
rank and reputation as a merchant and business man in general, 
being esteemed as a leader by both the trade and the general pub- 
lic throughout this part of the country. 

Mr. Noud has also been active in city affairs and one of the 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 923 

awakening and stimulating forces in connection with them. He 
served as alderman from the First ward four years, giving the 
people excellent service as q, city official, and for many years has 
been zealous in promoting every undertaking of value for their 
benefit, mentally, morally and materially. His duty a^ a citizen 
is never neglected or given half-hearted attention, whatever the 
issue, whether political, business or social matters, and it is always 
performed with conscience and an effectiveness that indicates ele- 
vated manhood and a deep sense of personal responsibility for gen- 
eral conditions and the results of every agitation for their better- 
ment. 

His political support is given to the Republican party, but he 
is not a hide-bound partisan, and he never allows party considera- 
tions to overbear local needs with him. Fraternally he is a mem- 
ber of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, holding his 
membership in Benton Harbor Lodge, No. 544, and a Knight of 
Columbus, belonging to Benton Harbor Council, No. 1120. He is 
zealous in his devotion to these fraternities and energetic and help- 
ful in the work of the lodge and council in them to which he 
belongs. 

Mr. Noud was married on April 21, 1902, to Miss Alma M. 
Schaab, a native of Manistee and the daughter of John and Rose 
(Wise) Schaab. Five children have been born of the union, three 
of whom are living : Francis Patrick, J. Bernard and Roger Will- 
iam. Katherine, the second child, died in infancy, and Robert T., 
the fourth, at the age of two years. The parents are warmly wel- 
comed in all desirable social circles, and regarded as valuable addi- 
tions to any. They are genial and companionable, making associa- 
tion with them highly agreeable, and their advanced culture and 
lofty ideals win them the admiration of all who come in contact 
with them and aid extensively in keeping up the standard of citizen- 
ship in their community, of which they are such creditable 
representatives. 

Thomas WABER.—For upwards of half a century Thomas Waber 
has been a resident of Pine Grove township, and during that time 
he has established for himself a reputation as a thoroughly honest 
man and worthy citizen. Many of the active agriculturists of Van 
Buren county were born on the other side of the Atlantic, and to 
Germany, especially, is our country indebted for some of her pros- 
perous citizens, among them being Mr. Waber. He was born, May 
14, 1841, in Bavaria, Germany, the home of his ancestors for many 
generations. 

John Waber, his father, was born in the same part of Germany, 
being the only child of his parents. He there learned to hew tim- 
ber before the days of saw mills, or at least before they were gen- 
erally used, becoming an expert chopper and hewer. Bidding 
good bye to friends and relatives in 1848, he came with his family 
to the United States, being several weeks in crossing the ocean on 
a sailing vessel. Landing in New York city, he made his way to 
Rochester, and for a time worked on the Erie Canal, later being 
there employed in a foundry. Desirous of establishing a perma- 



924 HISTORY OF VAN BURP^N COUNTY 

nent home for himself, wife and children, and being attracted by 
the cheap Government land of the West, he came to Michigan in 
1854, and for a year lived in Kalamazoo county, from there coming, 
in 1855, to Van Buren county. Settling in the dense woods, he 
became one of the early pioneers of Pine Grove township. Buying 
eighty acres of timbered land on the east half of the southeast 
quarter of section two, he cut down giant trees to make room for 
the log house which he built as one of the first improvements on 
his place. Deer, wild turkeys and game of all kinds abounded 
and formed a large part of the subsistence of the brave-hearted 
pioneers. Working with a will, he cleared his land and was there 
engaged in tilling the soil for many years. Prior to his death, 
however, he went to Otsego, Allegan county, to live with his son 
Fred, and was there a resident until his death, at the ripe old age 
of eighty-one years. His wife, who was also a native of Bavaria, 
died before he did, her death occurring on the home farm. They 
reared seven children, as follows: George, Henry, Frederick, Anna, 
Thomas, Margaret and James. They w^ere worthy members of the 
Lutheran church, and reared their family in the same religious 
faith. 

Seven years old when he left the Fatherland, Thomas Waber 
still has a vivid recollection of many of the incidents connected 
with his ocean voyage, and likewise of pioneer life in Van Buren 
county. In his boyhood days the people hereabout lived in a primi- 
tive manner, with few if any of the modern conveniences, living 
on the fruits of the chase or the productions of the soil, and were 
clothed in garments made at home from material spun and woven 
by the good house mother. Traveling was mostly performed on 
horseback, or with heavy teams, slow methods as compared with 
the modern means of transportation. Reared to habits of industry, 
Mr. Waber began life as a wage-earner when quite young, work- 
ing out for his board and five dollars a month at first, but later 
being employed in a saw mill. In 1865 he bought the land now in- 
cluded in his present farm, and immediately began its improvement. 
He has cleared a large part of his estate, and is actively engaged 
in general farming, each year raising abundant crops of hay and 
grain. 

Mr. Waber married, in March, 1871, Ann Eliza Miller, who was 
born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, which was also the birthplace 
of her father, Nicholas Miller. Mr. .Miller 's wife immigrated to 
America with her ten children, leaving ]\Ir. Miller to attend to 
some business matters in the Fatherland, and took up her residenc(^ 
at Palmyra, New York, where her death occurred two years later. 
Mr. Miller subsequently joined his motherless children, and with 
them came to Trowbridge, Allegan county, Michigan, where he 
spent the remainder of his life, dying when upwards of eighty 
years of age. Mrs. Waber died at the age of forty-eight years, 
leaving five children, namely: Thomas Laverne, w^ho married 
Mabel Kingsley and has two sons, Henry and Clarence; Alma, 
wife of John McGregor, has four children, Donald, Anna, Lillian 
and Arthur; James; Paul Miller, who married Josie Champion, 
and they have one child, Pauline ; and Arthur, who married Bes- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 925 

sie Antinica Vedder, and has one daughter, Eleanor. Mr. Waber 's 
father, the founder of the Waber family in America, was an only 
child, but his seven children married and reared families, so that 
his descendants now living in Michigan number nearly one hun- 
dred, and are among the best citizens of the state, being enterpris- 
ing and thrifty. 



Herbert Lincoln Root. — Actively and intelligently engaged in 
the prosecution of one of the most independent, needful and use- 
ful occupations to which a man may devote his energies, Herbert 
Lincoln Root stands high among the prominent husbandmen of 
Pine Grove township, and is an important factor in the agricul- 
tural interests of Van Buren county. Coming on both sides of the 
house from honored New England ancestry, and of sturdy pio- 
neer stock, he was born August 9, 1865, in Oshtemo township, Kala- 
mazoo county, Michigan, a son of Isaac L. Root. 

His paternal grandfather, John Root, was born in Wilkesbarre, 
Pennsylvania, but spent a large part of his early life in Connecticut, 
where he followed the mason's trade. In 1857 he came with his 
family to Michigan, locating in Kalamazoo county, which was then 
but sparsely settled, the present city of Kalai)iazoo having been 
a small place, while the surrounding country was in its original 
wildness. l^urchasing a tract of land in Oshtemo township, five 
miles from Kalamazoo, he continued the improvements, which were 
very limited, and having placed a large share of it under cultiva- 
tion resided there until his death, at the age of seventy-five years. 
His wife, whose maiden name was Susan Moe, was born in New 
York city, and died on the home farm at the advanced age of four 
score years. They reared a family of seven children, as follows: 
Sarah, Beardsley, Frederick, Isaac L., Edward, Ebenezer and 
Martha. 

Born in Greenwich, Connecticut. Isaac L. Root began working 
with his father at the mason's trade while but a boy, and in 1857 
accompanied his parents to Michigan, and has since followed his 
trade in Kalamazoo and surrounding counties. He is a skilled 
workman, and his services are ever in demand. He married Han- 
nah Isadore Kihgsley, who was born in Oshtemo township, a daugh- 
ter of Moses Kingsley, who was the third in direct line of descent 
to bear that name. Moses Kingsley, the first, was born in North- 
ampton, Massachusetts, January 29, 1744, of English ancestry, and 
married Abigail Lyman, whose birth occurred January 21, 1744, 
in the same place. Their son, Moses Kingsley, the second, was 
born in Northampton, Massachusetts, November 8, 1772. After 
his marriage he located in Brighton, Massachusetts. He was twice 
married, his second wife, Mr. Root's great-grandmother, having 
been Mary Montague. Moses Kingsley, the third, was born in 
Brighton, Massachusetts, March 5, 1810, and there learned the 
cabinet maker's trade. Migrating to Michigan in 1831, while it 
was still under territorial government, he became one of the early 
settlers of what is now the town of Webster, in Webster, Washte- 
naw county, and while there served as postmaster and town clerk. 



926 HISTORY OF VAX BITREN COUNTY 

In 1836 he moved to Kalamazoo county and purchased a tract of 
timbered land, forty acres of which was located in Kalamazoo town- 
ship and forty acres in Oshtemo township. After devoting about 
twenty years to the clearing and improvement of his estate he 
organized the Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance Company, of which 
he was secretary and treasurer for a quarter of a century. In 
1873 he became a resident of Kalamazoo, which remained his home 
until his death, in 1891. He married first, in Webster, Michigan, 
in December 1, 1831, Hannah Williams, who was born in Sem- 
pronious, New York, October 7, 1808, a daughter of a pioneer of 
Washtenaw county, Michigan. She died January 13, 1844, leaving 
four children, as follows ; Daniel W. ; Amelia ; Floyd ; and Hannah 
Isadore, who became the wife of Isaac L. Root. Moses Kingsley, 
the third, subsequently married for his second wife Clarissa Beck- 
ley, who was born in Stafford, New York, March 25, 1818, a daugh- 
ter of Joseph and Clarissa (Jeifries) Beckley. She died May 16, 
1879, leaving six children, Henry M., Moses, Sabra W., Chester 
M., Clara F. and Homer M. Mrs. Isaac L. Root died in Oshtemo 
township, April 10, 1901. To her and her husband seven children 
w^ere born, namely : Herbert Lincoln, Myron, Bertha, Luella, Edna, 
Fanny and Mary. 

Brought up in Kalamazoo county, Herbert Lincoln Root ac- 
quired a practical education in the public schools, and at the age 
of nineteen years began working with his father at the mason's 
trade, which he followed for four years. Turning his attention 
then to agriculture, he bought the farm which he now owns and 
occupies. It is pleasantly located in section thirty-four, Pine Grove 
township, bordering on and overlooking North Lake, one of the 
many beautiful sheets of water to be found in Van Buren county. 
Mr. Root first bought eighty acres in the northwest quarter, and 
subsequently purchased twenty acres of adjoining land, and still 
later added more land by purchase, his farm now containing one 
hundred and sixty-two and one-half acres of as rich and product- 
ive land as can be found in the vicinity. Here he is prosperously 
engaged in general farming, making something of a specialty of 
stock-raising and dairying. 

In 1890 Mr. Root was united in marriage with Jennie A. Smith, 
who was born in Ridgeville township, Lorain county, Ohio, a 
daughter of Mark and Eunice (Kibby) Smith, natives, respectively, 
of New York and Ohio. Five children have blessed the union of 
Mr. and Mrs. Root, namely: Lillie, Carl, Alice, Harry and Nelson. 
Mr. and Mrs. Root are both members of the Congregational church, 
and give liberally towards its support. 

Dr. Arthur Casper Runyan. — With a high grade of capacity 
and skill in one of the most useful of the professions, a command- 
ing genius for the promotion and development of public utilities, 
an elevated tone and broad public spirit in his citizenship, and a 
humanitarian disposition that seeks the good of the whole people 
even if it may be, to some extent, at the expense of his private 
business. Dr. Arthur C. Runyan, of South Haven, one of the lead- 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 927 

ing dentists of Southwestern Michigan, is a very useful citizen and 
is universally esteemed as such. 

Dr. Runyan was born in White Pigeon, ]\lichigan, on September 
3, 1857, and grew to manhood on his father's tarm in St. Joseph 
county. There he served his apprenticeship to the farming in- 
dustry, but he had other desires in life, and as he neared maturity 
sought an opportunity to gratify them. His parents, Casper Y. 
and Louisa (Olmstead) Runyan, were natives of New York, the 
father born in the western part of the state in 1828 and the mother 
in Genesee county in 1837. The father died in 1895, but the mother 
is still living and has her home with her children. Of the nine 
children born to them seven grew to maturity and live are now 
living. The Doctor was the second child born in the family. 

The father was brought to Michigan by his parents, Philip E. 
and Priscilla (Brush) Runyan, when he was but seven years old. 
The family arrived in 1835, before Michigan was a state, and lo- 
cated at White Pigeon. The head of the house at that time, Philip 
E. Runyan, was of French Huguenot stock. He first engaged in 
keeping a tavern on the old Chicago turnpike, and afterward be- 
came a farmer. He was a man of prominence and influence in his 
locality and served in the state legislature while Detroit w^as the 
capital, and left a good name for the value and fidelity of his serv- 
ice in every trust and station. 

Dr. Runyan 's father, Casper Runyan, was educated in the schools 
of White Pigeon, and after leaving school engaged in farming, the 
occupation to w^hich he had been reared. In 1852 he caught the 
enthusiasm over the discovery of gold in the then far away region 
known as California, and journeyed overland to seek a rapid ad- 
vance in his fortune in the opportunities so widely and wildly 
proclaimed as abounding in that state. Two years later he re- 
turned to the old homestead in Michigan, making the return trip 
by way of the Isthmus of Panama. Farming in this state was good 
enough for him ever afterward, and it occupied him for the re- 
mainder of his days. 

He also took an earnest interest and an active part in the public 
affairs of his locality, serving for more than tw^enty-five years as 
township supervisor, and also filling with credit to himself and 
benefit to the people other township ofifices. In politics he was a 
genuine Democrat of the old school and to the end of his life served 
his party with unswerving loyalty, for he felt that it was the prom- 
ise and fulfillment of the highest and most enduring good to county, 
state and nation. 

Dr. Arthur C. Runyan was also educated academically in the 
schools of White Pigeon, but they were greatly improved in their 
facilities and appointments in comparison with what they had 
when his father attended them. After completing their course of 
instruction the Doctor studied dentistry under the instruction of 
Dr. S. M. White, and in 1904 took a post graduate course in the 
dental department of the University of Michigan. For the prac- 
tice of his profession he first located in Bangor, this county, where 
he remained until 1890, a period of ten years. In that year he 
changed his residence to South Haven, making the change in the 



928 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

spring, and here he has ever since lived and been actively en- 
gaged in an extensive and lucrative practice with a steadily in- 
creasing body of patrons and a steadily rising and expanding rep- 
utation for his professional work and his enterprise, public spirit 
and usefulness as a citizen. 

While living in Bangor he was a member of the village board of 
directors for a number of years and also served on the school board 
there. He has been alderman from the Third ward of South Haven 
two terms and a member of the school board of this city for over 
twenty years. His duties as alderman were not entirely agreeable 
to him and he declined to be a candidate for a third term. He 
has shown deep and abiding interest in the welfare of the commu- 
nity in other ways, however, having helped to organize the library 
board and served as its president for a time. He also was one of 
the founders of the City Hospital of South Haven, and is now 
(1911) a member of its board of directors. 

In more material matters contributing to the improvement of 
the city and the convenience and comfort of its residents, he has 
also been a potential factor for good, and his services in connec- 
tion with them have been extensive and conspicuous. He helped 
to organize the South Haven Gas Company and is its president. 
In addition he is president of the gas company at Sturgis, and of 
the Allegan County Gas Company of Allegan, Otsego and Plain- 
well, Michigan, in the adjoining counties of St. Joseph and Alle- 
gan. In connection with these utilities he is sedulous in his efforts 
to make their product and their service to their patrons as good as 
possible, managing them with primary reference to excellence of 
output and satisfaction to all classes of consumers. 

In his profession Dr. Runyan is studious and progressive, using 
all means available to him to keep up with its advances and in- 
formed as to its latest discoveries and improvements. He is an 
active member of the Southwestern Dental Society, and has been 
its president and secretary. He also belongs to the Michigan State 
Dental Society and the National Dental Association, and takes a 
very active and helpful part in their proceedings, both as a con- 
tributor to the interest and benefit of their meetings and an eager 
learner from the contributions of others. 

Doubtless Dr. Runyan began studying for his professional work 
and practicing it with a primary view to making a livelihood out 
of it. But in the course of his practice it has broadened in his 
vision to a great means of constant and permanent good for the 
whole community if the people, especially the young people, can 
be informed of the facts in the case. With the view of giving them 
this information he began in 1892 systematic course lectures on 
dental anatomy and hygiene and the proper care of the teeth in 
the public schools of South Haven, using lantern slides to illustrate 
and emphasize his instructions. These lectures have been a source 
of great benefit to the school children, and his enterprise and pub- 
lic spirit in giving them is regarded with great favor by everybody 
in the city. In furtherance of his work in this respect he has also 
written a booklet on ''Twentieth Century Dentistry,'' which he 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 929 

describes as "An Ethical Treatise on the Care and Treatment of 
the Human Teeth/' 

Dr. Runyan was married on October 12, 1881, to Miss Emma 
Cross, a native of Lawrence township, this county, and the daugh- 
ter of Calvin and Emily (Roby) Cross. Her parents are both 
deceased. They were born in the state of New York, and the par- 
ents of seven children, five of whom are living. Mrs. Runyan was 
the last born of the seven. Her father came to Michigan in 1844 
and located in Bangor, Van Buren county. He was a millwright, 
a farmer and a lawyer, and rose to prominence and influence in 
the county. In connection with public affairs he was an active 
working Democrat and enjoyed in full measure the confidence and 
regard of both the leaders and the rank and file of his party, being 
esteemed as wise in counsel as well as vigorous, skillful and effective 
in action in party matters. 

Dr. and Mrs. Runyan are the parents of two children, their son 
Cecil A. and their daughter Mabel A. The son is a gas engineer. 
He married Miss Louisa Tall and is living in South Haven. The 
daughter is still living at home with her parents. In political faith 
and allegiance the Doctor is also a pronounced Democrat, and in 
church relations he and his wife are Congregationalists. They are 
both members of the Order of the Eastern Star, the bright and 
popular auxiliary of the Masonic order. In the latter the Doctor 
has long been active and serviceable as a member of Star of the 
Lake Lodge, No. 158; South Haven Chapter, No. 58, Royal Arch 
]Masons; South Haven Council, No. 45, Royal and Select Masters; 
Peninsula Commandery, No. 8, Knights Templar, at Kalamazoo, and 
Saladin Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, in Grand Rapids. In 
these different branches of the fraternity he is not merely one of 
the silent units, but a very energetic working member, whose in- 
telligence and good judgment are highly valued, and whose high 
character, sterling manhood and elevated citizenship help to give 
consequence and standing to the order and exemplify its best 
teachings. 

George T. Waber. — Among the native-born citizens of Van Buren 
county who have spent their lives within its precincts, aiding in 
every possible way its growth and development, whether relating 
to its agricultural, mercantile or financial prosperity, is George T. 
Waber, an extensive landholder and prosperous agriculturist who 
is now engaged in mercantile pursuits in the village of Kendall, 
Pine Grove township, the township in which his birth occurred. 
A son of the late George Waber, he is a grandson of John Waber, 
the founder of the American family of Wabers, and of whom a 
brief account may be found on another page of this work, in con- 
nection with the sketch of Thomas Waber. 

Born in Bavaria, Germany, George Waber was educated in the 
Fatherland, and as a boy in his teens came to America with his 
parents. In Rochester, New York, he learned the trade of a 
butcher, but after accompanying the family to Michigan he worked 
out as a farm laborer by the month. Enlisting, at the breaking 
out of the Civil war, in the Thirteenth Michigan Volunteer Infan- 



930 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

try, he went South with his regiment, and continued in active serv- 
ice until the expiration of his term of enlistment, when he was 
honorably discharged. Returning to Van Buren county, Michigan, 
he purchased a tract of timber in Pine Grove township, and having 
cleared a large portion of his land was there engaged in farming 
several seasons. Later, leaving his family on the farm, he took up 
a homestead claim in Baraga county, Michigan, made the neces- 
sary improvements to secure a title to the land, and then returned 
to his home in Pine Grove township, and was there a resident the 
remainder of his life. He married Miss Mary Miller, who was 
born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, being a sister of Mrs. Thomas 
Waber. She died February 8, 1894, leaving the following children : 
George T., the subject of this sketch, Louis H., John N., and Eliza- 
beth. Having completed his early studies in the common schools 
of his native township, George T. Waber assisted his father on 
the parental homestead until attaining man's estate. Beginning 
life for himself as a farmer, he started in on a modest scale, with 
a comparatively few acres of land which he could call his own. 
Meeting with encouraging results in his labors, he made subse- 
quent investments in other tracts of land, acquiring title to upwards 
of two hundred acres of rich and fertile land, on which he has a 
substantial residence, a good barn and all the outbuildings and 
machinery required by an up-to-date agriculturist. In 1911 Mr. 
Waber embarked in the mercantile business in the village of Ken- 
dall, where he has a large store, well stocked with general mer- 
chandise, including a fine line of agricultural implements and ma- 
chinery. 

Mr. Waber married, October 29, 1889, Martha E. Way, a daugh- 
ter of Harrison S. Way, a granddaughter of Lyman Way and a 
great-granddaughter of John Way, of Vermont. Lyman Way, a 
native of Peacham, Vermont, was of a roving disposition, and not 
only lived in several different places in his native state, but made 
years in Minnesota. He spent his declining years, however, among 
three trips to California in pioneer days, and spent two or three 
the green hills of his native state, dying in the town of his birtli. 
His wife, w^hose maiden name was Sophia Stevens, was born in Ver- 
mont, and there died, her death occurring at Barton Landing, at 
the age of eighty-two years. They were the parents of six children, 
as follows: Julia; Mary: Harrison S., father of .Mrs. Waber: Rich- 
ard; and Marshall and Marcellus, twins. 

Harrison S. Way began when young to assist his mother in her 
efforts to support the family, his father being away from home a 
large part of the time. On September 6, 1861, he enlisted in Com- 
pany E, Sixth Vermont Volunteer Infantry, for three years, dur- 
ing which time he was frequently in battle, 'having participated in 
the engagements at Williamsburg, Lees Mills, White Oak Swamp, 
Fair Oaks, the siege of Richmond, and at Savage Station and Mal- 
vern Hill. Soon after the last mentioned battle he was sent to the 
hospital on account of illness, and when able to be about he was 
assigned to duty in the commissary department, in which he served 
until honorably discharged from the service. He was subsequently 
in the employ of the Government until 1865, when he enlisted in 



HISTORY OF VAN BIJREN COUNTY 981 

Company C, Fourth Regiment, United States Veteran Volunteers, 
with which he remained until honorably discharged, at Louisville, 
Kentucky, at the close of the conflict. Returning then to Vermont, 
Mr. Way remained there three years, when, in 1868, he went to 
Washington, District of Columbia, where for four years he was 
employed in the quartermaster's department. In 1872 Mr. Way 
came with his family to Michigan, settling in Penn Grove township, 
where he rented land for a few years. He afterwards bought one 
hundred and thirty acres of partly improved land in that town- 
ship, and was there engaged in farming until 1910, when he sold, 
and removed to his present home in the village of Kendall. 

In 1868 Mr. Way married Mrs. Sarah (Willey) Hatch, widow of 
Calvin Hatch. She was born in Danville, Vermont, a daughter of 
Noah and Sally (Gray) Willey. Her paternal grandfather, Sam- 
uel Wiley, was a life-long resident of Portsmouth, New Hamp- 
shire, while her maternal grandparents, John and Hannah (Otis) 
Gray, spent their entire lives in Vermont. Mr. and Mrs. Way 
reared four children, namely : Frank S. E. ; Martha Emma, now the 
wife of George T. Waber, the subject of this sketch ; Freeman W. ; 
and George Fred. 

iMr. and Mrs. Waber have three children, Bertha, Harry and 
Leon. An active and prominent member of the Democratic party, 
Mr. Waber has served as a member of the Township Democratic 
Committee, and as a delegate to different party conventions. He 
takes an intelligent interest in local affairs, and for ten years rep- 
resented Pine Grove township on the County Board of Supervisors. 

P>ERT S. Dyckman. — Taking a turn successively in the trans- 
portation industry on the lake, mercantile life as a dealer in ice, 
coal and wood, and finally as a manufacturer of cigars. Evert S. 
Dyckman, of South Haven, has given a striking evidence of his 
versatility and adaptability to circumstances and conditions. He 
has also shown that no matter what has engaged his faculties he 
has been equal to the requirements, and in all occupations has 
maintained and manifested his interest in the locality of his home 
and a strong desire to promote its progress and the substantial and 
enduring welfare of its people. 

Mr. Dyckman has bestowed his efforts on the region of his birth 
and found its opportunities sufficient to employ them to his own 
advantage and the benefit of that region. He was born in South 
Haven, Michigan, on December 5, 1856, and is a son of Aaron S. 
and Emeratta (Blood) Dyckman, natives of New York state, the 
former born in Seneca county of that state on February 16, 1826, 
and the latter in CJtica. The father died on December 14, 1899. 
and the mother is still living. They had four children, three of 
w^hom are living : Evert S. ; Harriet, who is the wife of F. G. Dewey, 
of Kalamazoo; and Claud, who resides in Chicago. The second 
child, George, died in infancy. • 

The father, A. S. Dyckman, was brought to Michigan by his 
parents while he was yet a little boy. The family located first in 
Paw Paw^ township, Van Buren county, but soon afterward re- 
moved to Schoolcraft, Kalamazoo county, where the father at- 



982 HISTORY OF VAN BUREiN COUNTY 

tended school, and after a due course of preparation was sent to 
college in Kalamazoo. In 1847, when he was twenty-one years old, 
he tirst visited South Haven, stopping but a short time. In 1849 
the golden music of California enlisted his attention and was soon 
pulling at his heartstrings as with the tug of gravitation, and he 
was unable to resist it. He joined a company of adventurers like 
himself and dared the hardships and dangers of the long jaunt 
across the plains and mountains to the region of fabulous wealth 
in an effort to make his fortune by a few strong and lucky strokes. 
But his success w^as very moderate, and in 1852 he returned to his 
Michigan home, making the trip by the Isthmus of Panama, over 
the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi to the landing place 
most convenient to South Haven. After his arrival at South 
Haven he formed a partnership with E. B. and B. H. Dyckman, 
A. W. Pantland, Joseph Sturgis, Marshall Hale and Uriah Con- 
ger, and together they conducted a thriving saw mill and lumber 
business under the firm name of Dyckman, Sturgis & Company. 
The undertaking was successful and the partnership continued 
several years. Mr. A. S. Dyckman did not, however, rest his hopes 
on this industry alone. He engaged in growing fruit, and was 
the first in this section to cultivate peaches commercially, and in 
time he became the most extensive producer of the tree fruits 
adapted to the region in this locality, holding this rank until his 
death, but with many followers of his stimulating example and 
sharers in the gratifying profits of the industry. He was also a 
man of prominence and influence in the public affairs of the town- 
ship and county, serving as township supervisor for a number of 
years and as county treasurer two terms. He was also one of the 
founders of the Scott Club, a literary society organized and con- 
ducted for the mental improvement and social enjoyment of its 
members. In politics he was a pronounced Republican, with strong 
faith in his party and great earnestness and zeal in its service and 
a voice of potency in its councils. 

His son, Evert S. Dyckman, obtained his education in the schools 
of South Haven and at the State Agricultural College in Lansing. 
He was then associated with his father in business for about eight 
years, and at the end of that period worked for a time for the H. 
W. Williams Transportation Company. But he was ambitious to 
have an establishment and a business of his own, and started one in 
the ice, coal and wood trade, which he carried on for awhile. From 
that he turned to the manufacture of cigars, in which he has ever 
since been profitably engaged. 

The public affairs of the city of his home have always interested 
him greatly, and he has done all he could to secure their proper 
administration. In 1903 he was elected mayor and in 1904 was 
re-elected, serving two consecutive terms in the office. He was 
also a member of the board of public works for five years. In 
these positions he was able to render the city signal service in the 
way of promoting public improvements, and he used his opportu- 
nities to the full measure in the work. 

In fraternal relations Mr. Dyckman has affiliated with but one 
of the benevolent societies so numerous among men, but in that 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 933 

he lias been an earnest and very helpful member. He belongs to 
Star of the Lake Lodge, No. 158, Ancient, Free and Accepted Ma- 
sons, and has been its Worshipful Master two terms. He is also 
a Royal Arch Mason, belonging to South Haven Chapter, No. 58, 
in this branch of the fraternity, and a Knight Templar of Malta 
Commandery at Benton Harbor. In addition he and his wife are 
members of the Masonic auxiliary, the Order of the Eastern Star. 
In political matters he sides with the Democratic party with loyalty 
and zeal. 

Mr. Dyckman was married on January 25, 1895, to Miss Lucille 
Plummer, who was born in South Haven and reared and educated 
here. She is a daughter of William G. and Susan (McDowell) 
Plummer, natives of Michigan and long residents of Allegan county. 
Mr. and Mrs. Dyckman have one child, their son Clovis, who was 
born on the 25th of May, 1896, and is still living at home with 
them. 

The parents are highly esteemed in all parts of the co-unty of their 
residence and by all classes of its people. They have shown that 
they follow high ideals of citizenship and embrace every oppor- 
tunity to aid in promoting the welfare of their city and county 
and that of their residents, and that they are impelled by a strong 
sense of duty in all the relations of life. They are worthy repre- 
sentatives of the sturdy and sterling citizenship of Van Buren 
county, and as such are well deserving of the strong hold they 
have on the confidence and regard of the people. 

Leander Simmons. — Noteworthy not only as the representative 
of an honored pioneer of Michigan, but as one of the self-made men 
of Van Buren county, Leander Simmons holds a prominent posi- 
tion among the successful agriculturists of Pine Grove township, 
where he has a large farm, which in its appointments compares 
favorably with any in the locality. The neatness, appearance and 
flourishing condition of his farming property bears visible evidence 
to the most casual observer the thrift and care of the proprietor, 
and show conclusively that he has a thorough understanding of his 
business and that he exercises excellent judgment in its manage- 
ment. He was born January 26, 1840, in Townsend township, 
Norfolk county, Ontario, Canada, a son of Isaac Simmons, and 
grandson of Philip Simmons, both natives of Newark, New Jersey. 
His great-grandparents on the paternal side immigrated from Ger- 
many in colonial days, settling in Newark, New Jersey, where they 
spent their remaining days. They reared four sons, two of whom 
lived and died in Newark, while the other two settled in Rochester, 
New York. Philip Simmons was a blacksmith by trade, and fol- 
lowed it through his active career. He married, and reared five 
sons and five daughters. 

Early in life Isaac Simmons learned the trade of a shoemaker, 
all shoes at that time having been made to order. Moving to Nor- 
folk county, Canada, when young, he bought fifty acres of land 
in Townsend township, and after marrying followed his trade and 
farmed. Selling his farm in 1841, he started for the West, ac- 
companied by his wife and son, and journeyed overland with 



934 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

teams to Allegan, Michigan. All of this part of the state was then 
heavily timbered, much of the land being owned by the Govern- 
ment. Deer, bear, catamounts, wild turkeys and, in fact, game of 
all kinds native to this section of the country were plentiful and, 
with the Indians, populated the forests. After looking about for 
a time Mr. Isaac Simmons bought, in Gun Plains township, forty 
acres of land, a very small patch of which had been cleared to 
make room for the substantial log house that stood upon it. Ready 
money was a scare article in those days, and he added to his in- 
come by working in a shoe factory at Kalamazoo, making shoes 
by hand, as no machinery for the making was then in use, being 
thus employed whenever work on his land was not imperative. 
Subsequently selling out there, he removed to Kalamazoo county, 
and having purchased land in section six. Cooper township, was 
there engaged in general farming until his death, at the age of 
sixty-six years, his life having been lost in a fierce tornado which 
he encountered while returning to his home from Flainwell. 

The maiden name of the wife of Isaac Simmons was Mary Cul- 
ver. She was born in Townsend township, Norfolk county, Can- 
ada, a daughter of Henry and Eunice Culver, both of whom were 
born in Pennsylvania, of German ancestry. She survived her 
husband, and lived to be nearly ninety years old. She reared 
three sons, namely : Leander, with whom this brief sketch is chiefly 
concerned ; Marvin, who owns and occupies the old homestead ; and 
Philip, who died at the age of thirty-one years. 

But an infant when he was brought by his parents to Michigan, 
Leander Simmons has no recollection of any other home. An am- 
bitious student in his youthful days, he attended the pioneer schools 
of Allegan county and of Cooper township, completing his studies 
at Kalamazoo College. He was reared to habits of industry and 
honesty, and began as a boy to assist his father on the farm, re- 
maining beneath the parental roof until attaining his majority, 
when he began life 's battle on his own account, with no other capi- 
tal than strong hands, a willing heart and an unlimited amount 
of courage and energy. Locating in Pine Grove township, Van 
Buren county, in 1862, Mr. Simmons bought eighty acres of land 
in section three, and immediately began the arduous labor of re- 
claiming a farm from the wilderness, and in a comparatively brief 
time had much of his land under cultivation, and in the raising of 
crops was making good money. As his means increased, he wisely 
invested in other lands and now has title to four hundred acres of 
as fertile and productive land as can be found in western Michi- 
gan. His large brick house is sheltered from the cold winds of 
winter by a natural grove of pine and oak trees, and near by 
stands his barn, which is conveniently arranged, and other sub- 
stantial farm buildings, his estate, with its excellent improvements, 
being one of the most attractive and desirable in the township. 

Mr. Simmons married, in 1866, Margaret Hazen, who was born 
in Townsend township, Norfolk county, Canada, a daughter of 
Daniel Hazen. Her father was a wagon maker, and for many years 
followed his trade at Woodhouse, Norfolk county, Canada, where 
he spent all of the later part of his life. Mrs. Simmons 's maternal 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 985 

grandfather, Colonel Gilbert, was an officer in the English army, 
and for several years was a recruiting officer in Norfolk county, 
Canada. Mrs. Simmons passed to the life beyond at the age of 
about sixty-four years, leaving four children, namely: Elgy, Ar- 
thur, Elmer and Mary. Elgy and Arthur are prosperous farmers. 
Arthur, who fought during the Spanish-American war in Cuba 
and the Philippines, has been for a number of years in the rail- 
way mail service, with headquarters at Seattle, Washington. Mary 
received her advanced education at the State Normal School in 
Ypsilanti, and is now a teacher in the Seattle High School. Al- 
though Mr. Simmons has even been too much engrossed with his 
own affairs to meddle with politics, he has always performed his 
duty at the polls, and has served on the Republican Township Com- 
mittee, and for twenty years has been a member of the local school 
board. 

Matthew Vassar Selkirk. — This enterprising merchant, influ- 
ential citizen and potential social and civic force in the life of 
South Haven and Van Buren county, has been a resident of the 
city ever since 1866, when he was fourteen years old. Here he 
completed his education and learned his trade as a harness maker. 
Here also he married and has maintained his domestic shrine. He 
has, therefore, been closely and serviceably connected with the 
interests of the community for a long time in business and private 
life, and in addition has given its residents good service as a public 
official at different times. 

Mr. Selkirk was born in Waukegan, Lake county, Illinois, on 
May 28, 1852. His parents, James and Electa C. (Austin) Selkirk, 
were natives of the state of New York, the father born in Homer, 
Cortland county. He died at the age of sixty-three years, and the 
mother died in July, 1907. Five children were born of their union, 
two of whom are living, Matthew V. and his older sister Lucia S., 
who is the wife of Charles P. Ludwig and resides in Otsego, Mich- 
igan. The father came West in 1837 and first located in La 
Porte, Indiana, for a short time, then moved to Lake county, Illi- 
nois. He was a Methodist Episcopal clergyman for over forty 
years, and busied himself in other affairs of great and signal serv- 
ice to the country in critical times. In 1849 he went to California 
by w^ay of the Isthmus of Panama, but in the fall of 1850 he 
returned to his former Illinois home in Lake county. There, in 
connection with his ministerial duties, he cultivated a farm and 
did a great deal toward keeping up the anti-slavery agitation. 

When the terrible storm cloud of the Civil war burst upon the 
country he made his faith good in practical work by organizing a 
company of volunteers to go to the defense of the Union. But 
he was refused entry into the service for the field himself, be- 
cause it was believed he could do a great deal more good at 
home recruiting men. His company comprised ninety-seven men. 
and he was to go with them as their chaplain. He remained at 
home, however, and in the course of the war enlisted one thous- 
and four hundred soldiers in Lake and McHenry counties, Illinois, 
and aided vastly in keeping up the enthusiasm of the people for 



936 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

the Union and its salvation from dismemberment. But his family 
paid its tribute to the Union cause in actual service in the field. 
His brother Charles enlisted in the South when he was but six- 
teen years old and was the captain of his company, but was soon 
afterward taken prisoner at Harper's Ferry, Virginia. He was 
paroled and sent home, and when his parole expired he again 
enlisted, although then barely seventeen, and served to the end 
of the war. In 1866 he came to South Haven and lived for a time, 
then went to Kalkaska county and engaged in the drug and grocery 
business several years, and served two terms as county clerk and 
register of deeds. He spent the last year of his life in Gibson City, 
Illinois. 

In the fall of 1866 the family of Rev. Mr. Selkirk was moved 
by him to South Haven, where he continued to do ministerial work 
and also carried on a flourishing drug business. In politics 
he was an ardent and zealous member of the Republican party 
from its organization to the close of his life. He cast his first vote 
for it in 1856, its first campaign, and never failed to support its 
candidates afterward while he lived. He also took an active stand in 
its favor in his talk and work, and rendered it considerable service 
at all times, notwithstanding he was a clergyman and in business. 

Matthew Vassar Selkirk began his education in Waukegan, Illi- 
nois, and completed it in South Haven. At the age of sixteen he 
started to learn the trade of harness maker, and in 1871 went into 
business as a manufacturer of harness. He continued his opera- 
tions in this line of production until the fall of 1899. He then 
devoted his attention to the real estate business for a few years, 
and in 1910 returned to harness-making, in which he is still en- 
gaged. His business is extensive and active, but it has never been 
so great or exacting as to deaden his interest in the welfare of 
his community or lessen his efforts to promote that by all means 
at his command. 

He served as village treasurer one term and as alderman from 
his city ward one term, and in many other ways has contributed 
directly and essentially to the progress and improvement of the 
city. He is the owner of the opera house in South Haven, and is 
careful to see that it offers only proper entertainment to its patrons, 
for in all respects, intellectually and morally, as well as materially, 
the public weal is an object of supreme interest to him and al- 
ways has his earnest and intelligent advocacy and aid. 

Mr. Selkirk was married on October 24, 1883, in Waukegan, Illi- 
nois, to Miss Helen J. Palmer. She was born in the state of 
New York and is a daughter of George and Sarah Jane (Morrison) 
Palmer. The father was born in New York state and died while 
serving his country in the Civil war. The mother is still living 
and makes her home with Mr. and Mrs. Selkirk. They had only 
one child, their daughter Helen J., now Mrs. Selkirk. By her 
marriage to Mr. Selkirk she has become the mother of two children, 
their daughters Effa N. and Mildred V. Effa married Ralph E. 
Longley and lives in Seattle, Washington. 




GEORGE W. HUTGHINS 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 937 

George W. Hutchins.— The death of George W. Hutchins, of 
Paw Paw township in this county, which occurred on May 5, 1911, 
took away from Van Buren county one of its most substantial 
and progressive farmers, a sturdy and sterling citizen, a man of 
high character and enlightened public spirit, and a friend of hun- 
dreds who felt a deep sense of personal bereavement when he could 
be with them no more. He had a special interest in the welfare 
of the county of Van Buren, because his parents were among 
its pioneer settlers; he was born and reared within its borders 
and passed the whole of the sixty-seven years of his life among 
its people; and his brothers and sisters were nearly all born and 
all who grew to maturity were reared upon its soil, which gave 
them their stature and their strength for life and became the 
resting pla(?e of their remains and those of their parents in death. 
Mr. Hutchins was born in Paw Paw township, this county, on 
November 6, 1843, a son of Richard and Sarah (Huxtable) Hutch- 
ins. The parents began their lives, grew to maturity, and were 
educated and married in England. They came to this country 
and Michigan in 1836, and located in Van J^uren county, where 
they hewed a farm out of the wilderness and transformed the 
unbroken wilds into a comforta])le home for their offspring. They 
had nine children: William, who was born on November 13, 1832, 
and has been dead for a number of years; Ann, who was born on 
June 30, 1834, and is also deceased; Elizabeth, whose life began 
on October 28, 1836, and ended many years ago; John, who came 
into being on February 18, 1839, and has long been dead; JMary, 
who was born on May 12, 1841, and is now the wife of Richard 
Hutchins, of Paw Paw; Charles, who first saw tlie light of this 
world on September 20, 1842, and now has his home in Kalamazoo, 
Michigan; George W., the subject of this brief memoir; Thomas, 
who was born on August 3, 1846, and is now living in the state of* 
California; and Sarah, who was born on Dc^cember 3, 1849, and 
is deceased. 

George W. Hutchins was a farmer all his life from his boyliood. 
He attended the country school in the neighborhood of his home 
when he had opportunity and could be spared from the exacting 
duties of cultivating a new tract of land which had not yet learned 
obedience and responsiveness to the developing hand of the hus- 
bandman. As soon as he was able he bought off the heirs and 
with his mother conducted the farm until her death, after which 
he purchased more land and at the time of his death he owned 
one hundred and three acres of land, well improved and brought 
to a high state of productiveness of his skillful cultivation. The 
farm is in section twelve of Paw Paw township, and is one of the 
best in this part of the county. 

For some years he occupied the old family homestead of ninety- 
seven acres, but a number of years ago the buildings on this were 
destroyed by fire, and he then bought the farm of one hundred 
and three acres which he thereafter occupied until his death. It 
is on the other side of the road from the homestead, and the land 
is of the same character as that. In selling the homestead, there- 
fore he neither left the scenes of his boyhood and youth nor sub- 
jected himself to new and untried conditions in his farming. 



93^ HISTORY Of^ VAN BURP^N COUNTY 

On February 28, 1886, Mr. Ilutchins was united in marriage 
with Mrs. Lydia (Carr) Warner, a daughter of George and 
Catherine (Snyder) Carr, natives of New York, and the parents 
of four children: William, who lives at Waverly, this county; 
Mrs. Hutchins; Moses, who was killed in the Civil war; and 
George, who died in infancy. These w^ere children of the father's 
second marriage. His first union in wedlock was with Miss Chris- 
tine Plank, who bore him four children : Jacob, who lives in Paw 
Paw; and Peter, Cornelius and William, all deceased. 

By her first marriage, which took place in 1859 and united her 
with Delos Warner, Mrs. Hutchins had one child, her son Willard 
Warner, who was a resident of Waverly, Van Buren county, but 
now resides with his mother. Her second husband, Mr. Hutchins, 
during all of his mature years gave faithful adherence and sup- 
port to the principles and candidates of the Republican party, and 
was a zealous worker for its success in all campaigns. He held 
several township offices and rendered the people good service in 
them all. He was a Baptist in religious faith and connection, and 
lor many years served as one of the deacons of the congregation 
in which he held his membership. In this he always manifested 
the warmest and most helpful interest, and was held in cordial 
regard as a force of great value in promoting its welfare and ex- 
panding its usefulness among its own members and the people of 
the community in general. 

Charles J. May. — Conspicuous among the earlier settlers of Pine 
Grove township, Van Buren county, was Charles J. May, who still 
owns and occupies the farm which he hewed from the wilderness, 
and which has been his home for a half century or more. A na- 
tive of Germany, he was born in the village of Laudenbach, Baden, 
in 1831. His father, William May, was born and reared in Ger- 
many, and with his wife spent his entire life in Germany. He was 
a traveling salesman, but owned a home in the village of Lauden- 
bach, where he was noted as a most successful bee raiser and 
keeper, generally having as many as one hundred and fifty hives 
of bees in his apiary. Two of his sons, Charles J., the subject of 
this sketch, and William came to America, the latter named settling 
in Pennsylvania. 

Educated in the Fatherland, Charles J. May attended school 
regularly until fourteen years old, acquiring a practical knowledge 
of books. Five years later he immigrated to America, being thirty- 
two days in crossing the ocean on a sailing vessel, and landing at 
the end of the voyage in New York city. Going from there to Ohio, 
he began the struggle of life among strangers, without capital other 
than he earned. For two years he was employed as a farm laborer 
in the vicinity of Cleveland. Being convinced that he could find 
more favorable opportunities for advancing his financial condi- 
tion in a newer country, Mr. May made his way to Van Buren 
county, Michigan. The county, especially its northern portion, 
was then sparsely settled, the people hereabout having but limited 
means at their command. He found employment in clearing the 
land and in farming. Industrious and thrifty, he saved his wages, 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 939 

and when he had accumulated a sufficient sum to warrant him in 
so doing bought eighty acres of the land now included in his 
present farm, in section eleven, Pine Grove township. The entire 
tract was covered with timber when he bought it, and for a few 
years he rented land near by, and during the time that he worked 
that cleared a few acres of his own estate. When ready to set 
up an establishment of his own he settled with his bride on his 
own farm, w^hich he has since placed under a high state of culti- 
vation. Mr. May has made other improvements of great value, 
erecting a substantial set of farm buildings, and installing all the 
machinery and equipments necessary for carrying on his agricul- 
tural work after the most approved modern methods. 

Mr. May married ]\Iargaret Waber, who was born in 1843, in 
Bavaria, Germany, her birth occurring on the sixth day of April. 
Her father, John Waber, was born and bred in Bavaria, and there 
learned the trade of a carpenter. In 1848, accompanied by his 
wife and eight children, he came to America in a sailing vessel, 
being six wrecks on ship board before landing in New York. Locat- 
ing in Rochester, New York, he lived there for six years, after which 
he spent a year in Kalamazoo, Michigan. From there he came to 
Van Buren county, which was then in its pristine wildness, with 
no railroad nearer than Lawton. He settled in Pine Grove town- 
ship, and a year or so after coming here purchased eighty acres of 
woodland in section two. Clearing a small space in the forest, he 
erected a log house, and having placed a part of his land under 
cultivation began farming in earnest, for several years taking 
his surplus productions to Kalamazoo with ox teams, and selling 
it, or exchanging it for needed household supplies. Late in life 
he sold his farm and moved to Otsego, wiiere he lived with his 
son Fred, dying at his home at the advanced age of eighty-one 
years. His wife died on the home farm in Pine Grove township, 
at the age of sixty-seven years. She reared seven children, as fol- 
lows: George, Henry, Frederick, Anna, Thomas. Margaret and 
James. 

Mr. and i\lrs. May have had nine children, namely: Frederick, 
Philip, Anna, Barbara, Frances, Charlie, Nellie, Alice and Elmer. 
Frederick married Caroline Stiloh. Philip married Mabel Cowan, 
and they have one son, Philip H. Cowan. Anna, wife of Peter 
Stevens, has six children, May, Royal, Dale, Adelbert, Isabelle and 
Isadore. Barbara, who married George Wyman, died in 1909, leav- 
ing two children, Margaret and Charlie. Frances is the wife of 
Clyde Scramlin. Nellie, wife of Florence Harbolt, has three chil- 
dren, Flossie, Anna and Elmer. Alice is the wife of Elmer Sim- 
mons. Elmer, the youngest member of the parental househould, 
married Gertrude Squires, and they have two children, Lyle and 
Claudie. Charlie is unmarried and manages the home farm. 

John H., Tripp. — Leaving the home of his parents and the scenes 
and associations of his childhood and youth at the age of seven- 
teen, and coming to Michigan when it was still a part of the re- 
mote West, to join a brother in South Haven who was conducting 
a general store in that city, himself far from his kindred and 



940 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

still a young man, John H. Tripp, now one of the leading busi- 
ness men and citizens of the town of his adoption, gave at an 
early age a signal proof of his mettle and an indication of the 
qualities of resolute and self-reliant manhood which have dis- 
tinguished him through all his subsequent years of life and in all 
his business undertakings. 

Mr. Tripp is a native of Orleans county, New York, where his 
life began on September 1, 1852. His parents, Alvah and Jane 
(Blakely) Tripp, were also natives of New York, the father born 
in Delaware county on March 15, 1806, and the mother was born 
in 1810. She died on January 22, 1866, and the father passed 
away in 1882. They were the parents of seven sons and seven 
daughters, of whom ten grew to maturity and five are now living, 
three of the daughters and two of the sons. John H. was the 
thirteenth child born in the family. 

The father was a carpenter and farmer, and located in western 
New York in 1832, and there he erected a sawmill which he ope- 
rated in connection with his farming and some work that he still 
did at his trade. Early in the forties he bought land in Michigan, 
near Lansing, where the State Agricultural College now stands. 
He made a tour of observation through this part of the country 
and foresaw its possibilities in the way of progress and improve- 
ment, and he eagerly embraced the opportunity to become possessed 
of some of the opportunities it offered for advancement to industry 
and thrift by purchasing the land spoken of. He then returned 
to his New York home with the intention of moving his family to 
his land in this state. But his wife declined to come West, and 
he abandoned his project. He then remained in New York until 
after her death, and passed his last days with his children in that 
state and this one, dying at Kibbie, Michigan, where his remains 
were buried. He was a great lover of good horses, and in his time 
owned some very fine ones. In politics he was a Whig in early life 
and later a Republican, and in religious connection belonged to the 
Free Methodist church from his boyhood. 

John H. Tripp was reared to the age of seventeen on his father's 
farm in the state of New York, and obtained the higher portion 
of his education in schools at Albion and Rochester in that state. 
In 1869, having finished his schooling, as he supposed, the problem 
of life was before him, and he made his choice of a locality in which 
to solve it. He came to South Haven, ]\lichigan, and there he 
clerked for a time in a general store kept by his brother, Samuel 
A. Tripp, with whom he remained two years. The next two years 
he passed in the same capacity in the employ of D. G. Wright, an- 
other merchant of South Haven, attaining his majority while in 
the employ of that gentleman. 

He felt at this time that his education was incomplete, and at 
the end of the period mentioned he went back to New York, took 
up his residence in Rochester, and again attended school there. 
While doing so he worked on a farm in the neighborhood of the 
city, so that he lost nothing in the way of provision for his liveli- 
hood while preparing himself for higher duties and the use of 



HISTORY OF VAxN BUREN COUNTY 941 

better opportunities for his advancement. He next taught school 
two winters in New York, and then returned to Michigan. 

After his second arrival in this state he located at Kibbie and 
bought one hundred and sixty acres of stumpage land in the 
vicinity of that town. He cleared his land and resided there for 
eighteen years, cultivated it and carried on a general merchan- 
dising enterprise in Kibbie, where he was also agent for the ]\Iich- 
igan Railroad. 

Keeping in touch with the spirit of progress, and always alert 
to the needs of his community, Mr. Tripp in 1896 organized a 
telephone company within his own family, and in March, 1898, 
incorporated it as the Kibbie Telephone Company, of which he 
has been secretary, treasurer and general manager from the start. 
The line runs into South Haven, of course, and the offices of the 
company are in that city. Mr. Tripp is progressive and studious 
of his Ibusiness, and keeps his telephone service up to the latest 
developments in the enterprise. He also makes every effort to meet 
every requirement of the community in the matter and fully satisfy 
all the proper demands of his patrons, so that his telephone line 
is one of the best in the state, and has no superior in this part of 
the country. 

Mr. Tripp was married on December 23, 1880, to ]\liss Flora 
Watson, a native of Michigan, born near Grand Rapids, and the 
daughter of Jerome B. and Catherine (Friant) Watson, who were 
born and reared in the state of New York and located in Van 
Buren county, Michigan, in 1854, being among the pioneers of 
the county. The father has been dead some years, but the mother 
is still living. They had ten children, of whom i\lrs. Tripp was 
the first born. The family home in this county was in Geneva 
township, seven miles east of South Haven, and was literally hewed 
out of the wilderness. The father filled a number of township 
offices, among them that of supervisor, which he held for a number 
of years. He was a Republican in politics. In the family of Mr. 
and Mrs. Tripp there are three children: Harold J., who mar- 
ried Miss Vera Nyman; Verne W., who married Miss Ilallie Mer- 
rett; and Hazel M., who is living at home with her parents. Mr. 
Tripp is a Republican in politics, and an excellent citizen in 
every particular. 

William Schoolcraft, of Pine Grove township. Van Buren 
county, was clearly destined to be the architect of his own for- 
tune. He began life for himself on the lowest rung of the ladder 
of attainments, and by untiring industry, a diligent use of his 
faculties and opportunities, and good business management he 
has rapidly made his way upward to an assured position among 
the leading farmers of his community. A son of Elijah School- 
craft, he was born March 20, 1834, in the province of Quebec, 
Canada, where his grandfather Schoolcraft settled with his family 
in the early part of the last century, going there from Mas- 
sachusetts, his native state. 

Born in Massachusetts, of English lineage, Elijah Schoolcraft 
accompanied his parents to the province of Quebec, and for many 



942 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

seasons was there employed in lumbering and rafting logs. He 
was subsequently engaged in general farming in Essex county, New 
York, a few years, from there coming to Michigan and living for 
awhile in Allegan county. His last days, however, were spent in 
Pine Grove township. Van Buren county, where his death oc- 
curred at the good old age of eighty-two years. He married Sarah 
Diamond, whose father, George Diamond, immigrated from Eng- 
land to Canada, where he bought a large tract of land, which he 
managed successfully a few years. Coming from there to Kala- 
mazoo county, Michigan, he purchased one hundred and sixty 
acres of timber land in Cooper township, and on the farm which 
he redeemed from the forest spent the remainder of his life, dying 
at the age of eighty-nine years. Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Schoolcraft 
reared nine children, as follows: George W., James, Freeman, 
Maria, William, Juliet, Sarah, Melissa and Guy. 

But a boy when his parents settled in Essex county. New York, 
William Schoolcraft grew to manhood on the home farm, being 
there reared to habits of industry and thrift. In 1855, having 
attained his majority, he came to Michigan in search of fortune, 
caring more for that than for fame. His most cherished posses- 
sion at that time was a spirited, three-year old colt, broken neither 
to harness or bridle. Leading this colt from his home in Essex 
county to Ogdensburg, New York, he there, with his colt, boarded 
a boat and came by way of Lake Ontario, Welland Canal and Lake 
Erie to Detroit, Michigan, from there walking to Allegan county. 
Soon after arriving at his point of destination Mr. Schoolcraft 
traded his colt for forty acres of heavily timbered land in Trow- 
bridge township. None of the land had been cleared, although a 
log cabin had been built in the dense forest. Having no money, 
he was forced to seek some remunerative employment, and for a 
short time worked in a sawmill, receiving twenty dollars a month 
wages. He subsequently worked on a farm for tiiirteen dollars 
a month and board, in this way making money enough to pay his 
expenses while clearing his land, on which he sul)sequently resided 
until 1864. Coming in that year to Pine Grove township, Mr. 
Schoolcraft bought the land which he now owns and occupies, his 
farm containing two hundred and thirty-nine acres of choice land, 
on which he has made extensive and valuable improvements, in- 
cluding the erection of a good set of farm buildings. During the 
fifty or more years that Mr. Schoolcraft has resided in Michigan 
he has witnessed marked changes in many directions, and has 
watched with pride and gratification the rapid development of a 
wilderness into a rich and well populated commonwealth, in its 
gradual development well performing his share of labor. 

Mr. Schoolcraft married, in 1857, Phebe Ann Mallery, who was 
born in Wayne county. New York, where her parents, John and 
Waitsel (Palmer) Mallery, were pioneer settlers. Seven children 
have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Schoolcraft, namely: Frankie, 
Laura, Delia, Nellie and Elba, also Charlie, the second child, who 
died aged fifteen months, and John, who died at the age of three 
months and twenty-five days. 



HISTORY OF VAN J31JKEN COUNTY 943 

Charles E. Abell. — During his residence of twenty-two years 
in South Haven, this county, Charles E. Abell, of that city, has 
shown great public spirit and enterprise in connection with the 
affairs of the city and has done as much as any other man, and 
much more than most, for its advancement and improvement, its 
enrichment with good educational institutions, its judicious govern- 
ment, and the general welfare of its residents in every way. He 
has long conducted a thriving and progressive business in the drug 
trade, whereby he has not only ministered directly and effectively 
to the comfort and benefit of the people, but has also aided in 
building up the mercantile and commercial importance of the 
municipality. He has also served two terms as mayor, and dur- 
ing that service a new face and condition was put upon the city 
in consequence of his determined persistency in the work of im- 
provement in a general way, and with reference to sanitary condi- 
tions especially. 

Mr. Abell is a native of Calhoun county, ^Michigan, where his 
life began on January 29, 1868. His father, De Witt Clinton Abell^ 
was born in Onondaga county, New York, in 1840, and died in 
Calhoun county, Michigan, in 1906. The mother, whose maiden 
name was Charlotte M. Culver, was born and reared in Calhoun 
county, this state, and is still living there on the farm on which 
the father died after many years of effort in improving and devel- 
oping it. They had six children, three of whom are living, Burt, 
Charles E. and Myrtle. Burt is a resident of Toledo and Myrtle 
has her home with her mother on the family homestead. 

The father was reared on a farm in the state of New York 
and came to Michigan a short time before attaining his majority. 
In 1861, with bitter opposition to the dismemberment of the Union, 
which was then threatened by the secession of several of the South- 
ern states and their determination to maintain the stand they had 
taken by force of arms, if necessary, he enlisted in the Union army 
to prevent the disaster, becoming a member of Company M, Sec- 
ond Michigan Cavalry. Not long after actual hostilities began, 
and he was in the maelstrom of the conflict, he was so seriously 
injured by the falling of his horse that he had to be sent to a 
hospital for treatment, and from that institution was later dis- 
charged from the service on account of his disability, which was 
permanent. The accident occurred while he was with his com- 
pany on a raid for the destruction of railroads which were of 
service to the enemy. 

When he got out of the hospital he returned to his Michigan 
home and was married. He then engaged in operating a saw and 
shingle mill in Burlington, Calhoun county, for awhile, after which 
he located on a farm near Battle Creek, where he passed the re- 
mainder of his days, and on which his widow and daughter are 
now living, as has been noted. He was president of the village 
board in Burlington two terms, a Republican in political faith and 
action, a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and a com- 
municant in the Baptist church in Battle Creek. 

Charles E. Abell grew to manhood on his father's farm and 
obtained his education in the public schools. In December, 1889, 



944 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

he located in South Haven, where he became associated with his 
uncle, R. W. Culver, in a drug business, and remained with him 
until 1895. In that year he set up in business for himself as a 
druggist, and he has been carrying on the same establishment ever 
since. His business is extensive and prosperous, and he is ac- 
counted one of the leading druggists of the county, a thorough 
master of pharmacy and skillful in the use of his knowledge con- 
cerning it; an excellent manager with the power of making all 
his resources tell to his advantage, and a straightforward dealer 
who is entitled to the full confidence of the people and enjoys it. 

In addition to his drug establishment and business Mr. Abell 
owns a forty acre fruit farm near the city, which is well im- 
proved and yields abundantly, and in the spring of 1911 he se- 
cured a ten-year lease on four hundred apple trees in w^hat is 
known as the Liberty Bailey orchard, and is one of the most prolific 
stands of its kind in this part of the country. He is therefore 
well prepared to enlarge his operations in fruit growing, which 
are already extensive, and thereby add his own skill and enterprise 
in greater measure to an industry in which those qualities have 
made a good name for Michigan throughout the civilized world. 

Mr. Abell has found his various personal undertakings exact- 
ing and in need of his close and continued attention. But he 
has not allowed them to abate his interest in the affairs of the com- 
munity, in which he has expended much of his surplus energy 
to the great advantage of the city. He organized the city Board 
of Trade and became its first president, and was also a member of 
the Board of Public Works for two terms. Backed by these two 
organizations, he has been able to accomplish a great deal in the 
way of improving the city streets, sidewalks and sewer system, 
and do many things of value to the municipality in other ways. 

His interest in such matters, and his energy and determined 
persistency in forcing attention to them, led to his election as 
mayor of the city in 1906, and his re-election for a second term 
at the end of the first. During his service in that office he was 
able to push the public work he had inaugurated with greater 
speed and vigor, and bring much of it to a successful and highly 
gratifying completion. 

Mr. Abell has taken an earnest interest in the fraternal life 
of the community around him for many years. He is a member 
and has served as chancellor of Pomona Lodge, No. 193, Knights 
of Pythias, and belongs to several other fraternities and social 
organizations. His political faith and allegiance are given without 
stint to the Republican party, for which he is on all occasions a 
hard and effective worker, but a square and upright one. But 
his political zeal and activity are never allowed to interfere with 
his business or his energetic action in behalf of his home city and 
its residents. To every undertaking in which their welfare is 
involved he always gives his best and most serviceable support. 
He helped to organize the City Library Association and was chair- 
man of the building committee which erected the structure in 
which the library is housed. 

On December 1, 1890, Mr. Abell united in marriage with Miss 



HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 945 

Cora I. Webb. They have three children, their daughter Vera, 
and their sons Carlos and Thornton. Mrs. Abell was born in 
Calhoun county, Michigan, and is a daughter of Joshua and Sarah 
(Brown) Webb. Her father is a native of England and hei: 
mother of this state. Both are living, as are four of their five 
children : Isaac, Mrs. Abell, Frank and Jesse. Their father came 
to this country and Calhoun county, Michigan, in his boyhood with 
his parents. They were pioneer farmers in their locality. He is 
now seventy-seven years old, a highly respected citizen, inde- 
pendent in politics and cordial in his interest in everything per- 
taining to the progress and improvement of the region in which 
he is passing the declining years of his long and useful life. 

John Wesley Herron. — Distinguished as having been the first 
child born of white parents in Bloomingdale township, Van Buren 
county, John Wesley Herron is an honored representative of the 
early pioneers of Van Buren county and a true type of the ener- 
getic and enterprising men who have rendered able assistance in 
the development and growth of his native county. He was born 
December 11, 1839, a son of Ashbel Herron, and on the paternal 
side is of Scotch ancestry, his grandfather Herron having been, 
it is said, a native of Scotland. 

Ashbel Herron was born April 2, 1804, in Whitehall, Washing- 
ton county, New York, where he grew to manhood, as a young man 
serving an apprenticeship at the blacksmith's trade. In 1836 
he joined a band of emigrants, which included his brothers-in-law, 
Hiram, Harrison, Reuben and Merlin Meyers, and their sister, 
Ruth ^leyers, and traveled across the country with ox teams to 
White Pigeon, Michigan, where he was for awhile employed in 
farming and butchering. In the fall of 1837 the entire band 
determined to settle in the ''North Woods," which included a 
part of Van Buren county. In December of that year Ashbel 
Herron brought the Meyers family, which had no teams, to Van 
Buren county, bringing them and a part of their household goods 
on ox sleds, from the Paw Paw river blazing their way through 
the woods to Bloomingdale township, where they located, buying 
a tract of land on section thirty-six. Leaving liis sleds, Ashbel 
Herron returned to White Pigeon, and the following spring came 
over the same route with his own family and household possessions, 
performing the journey with wagons. Securing a tract of govern- 
ment land in section thirty-six, Bloomingdale township, he made 
an opening in the woods and tliere erected a log house, making 
the chimney of sticks and mud, and building the large fireplace in 
which his wife for many years thereafter did all of her cooking, 
the meat w^hich supplied the family larder being obtained in the 
surrounding forest, wild game, now considered a luxury, being 
then simple and ordinary fare. One of the leading industries of 
this part of the country was at that time the manufacture of 
shingles, which found a ready sale at White Pigeon, Constantine and 
Three Rivers, and Mr. Herron marketed many a load at those 
places, bringing back on his return trip a load of provisions for 
himself and neighbors. He cleared a large portion of his land 



946 HISTORY OF VAN BUREN COUNTY 

and erected a good set of frame buildings, including the first frame 
barn put up in this part of the county. On his homestead he lived 
many years, dying January 27, 1875, honored and beloved for his 
many virtues. 

Ashbel Herron married Miranda Meyers, who was born in 
Cobleskill, New York, and died in Bloomingdale township, Mich- 
igan, October 27, 1880, at the advanced age of seventy-eight years. 
She reared seven children, as follows: Andrew M., Mary, Nancy, 
Jane, Harrison, Lucinda and John Wesley. 

The youngest child of his parents, John Wesley Herron was 
brought up and educated in Bloomingdale township, his first temple 
of learning having been a log cabin which stood on his father's 
land, in section thirty-six. The furniture was home made, the 
puncheon seats having no desks in front, a board being placed 
along the side wall for the scholars to write on. In his early 
days the Indians w^ere as numerous as the white people, and the 
dim