Edwin Orin Wood.

History of Genesee county Michigan; her people, industries and institutions, with biographical sketches of representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families online

. (page 55 of 89)
Online LibraryEdwin Orin WoodHistory of Genesee county Michigan; her people, industries and institutions, with biographical sketches of representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families → online text (page 55 of 89)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

York, August 12, 1853, and is a son of William H. Topham, who was
born in 1824, in Nottingham, England, from w-hich country he came to
the United States at the age of seventeen, stopping in New York .ind
later locating in Pennsylvania, where he remained until 1856, when lie
removed to Detroit, Michigan, where he did teaming for two years; then
bought forty acres in Lapeer county, where he followed general farming
and raised large numbers of cattle on the free range. He later added to his


original purchase until he had a farm of two hundred and forty-six acres.
His death occurred in April, 1900. He married Nancy E. Long, who was
horn in Dublin, Ireland, in 1825. She came to America when young and
they were married in Pennsylvania. To their union five children were born,
namely: John L., the subject of this sketch; Andrew P., born in 1855, who
is now engaged in farming in Lapeer township, Lapeer county; W'illiam
H., October 18, 1857, also farming in Lapeer county; Charles H., April
18, 1859, who died in April, 1887, and Johnston S., born in September,
1866, now farming in Lapeer count}'. The mother of these children died
on April 13, 1877, and William H. Topham later married Rosanna Perkins,
who died in 1004, and to this second union two children were born, Isaac,
who is farming in I*"Iint township, and Hiram, who is engaged in farming
east of the city of Flint.

John L. Topham grew up on the home farm and attended the district
schools and the high school, after which he engaged in teaching four years
in Lapeer county, and later bought forty acres in Oregon township, that
county, on which he spent two years; then rented his father's farm for one
year, later worked in the lumber camps for two years; then bought forty
acres in section 17 of Flushing township, this county, later adding twenty-
one acres to his first purchase, and subsequently added twenty-four acres.
He operated his farm of eighty-five acres until 1897, then bought eighty
acres in section 8, then traded his entire tract — one hundred and si.xty-five
acre.s — for a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in section 5, Flushing
township, which jilace he lived on until Fel)ruary 5, 1916, when he sold
out to his two sons and retired from active life, partly on account of fail-
ing health.

Air. Topham was married in 1875 to Lydia A. Beebe, a resident of
Lapeer county, and to this union one diild was born, Nancy A., whose birth
occurred in September. 1876, who married Nelson Goodman, of Bay City,
Michigan. Mr. Topham was married a second time to Frances Slaterline,
who was born in Pennsylvania, January 4. 1864, a daughter of Andrew
Slaterline. who was born in Germany, February 14, 1803, from which coun-
try he came to the United States in 1833, taking up a farm in Pennsylvania,
where he remained until 1864, in which year he came to Michigan, locating
on a farm near Flushing, this county, where he remained until his death,
which occurred in November, 1885. He married Harriet Wate, who was
born in England in 1820, from which country she came with her adopted
])arents to America when nine years of age. She was married in 1843 ^'""^1
died in 1873. To Mr. and Mrs. Slaterline ten children were born, six of


whdiii grew to maturity, namely: Barbara, born in 1844, who married
Samuel Alexander, a farmer of Ohio; Mary, born in 1846, now deceased;
John, Ixirn in 1848, who is farming in Flushing township, this county;
Joseph, born in August, 1850, who is now a retired farmer, of Brent
Creek; Jacob, born in 1857, now living at Indian river, Sheboygan county,
and Frances, who married Mr. Topham, the subject of this sketch.

Three children were born to Mr. Topham's second marriage, namely :
William, born on September 20, 1883, who now owns half of the home-
stead, which he is operating; Charles G., December 28, 1886, who is farming
in Flushing township, and Lonson H., April i, 1890, who owns a half inter-
est in the old home place and is there engaged in general farming.

Mr. Topham is a Republican. He served as highway commissioner
during 1897 and 189S and is at present justice of the peace, which office
he also filled during the years from 1904 to 1908. He also served as
school director in his district for a period of sixteen years. Fraternallv.
he is a member of the local tent of the Knights of the Maccabees at Flush-
ing and he and his wife attend and support the Methodist Episcopal church
at Brent Creek.


F. A. Chapin, the present popular and efficient postmaster at Fenton,
Genesee county, has always been deeply interested in whatever made for "the
general improvement of his native locality, having been content to spend his
life here, believing that, for him, better opportunities existed here than anv-
where else. He was born in this county, May 9, 1870, and is a son of Addi-
son P. and Mina G. (Hamper) Chapin. The father was bom in Genesee
county, Michigan, and the mother was a native of England and a daughter of
Richard Hamper, who followed the baker's trade in his native land, but
finally came to Genesee county, Michigan, and engaged in farming at Grass
Lake. Addison P. Chapin was a son of Alonzo J. and Eliza (Gale) Chapin.
the latter a daughter of Henry Gale, of Washtenaw county, Michigan, having
originally come from the state of New York, being born in Monroe county
in 181 7. He took up a homestead in Washtenaw county. Alonzo J. Chapin
was also a native of New York, from which state he came to Fenton, Michi-
gan, being one of the first pioneers, and here he spent the rest of his life.
Addison P. Chapin was bom in Fenton, Michigan, and received a good edu-
cation in the public schools and the State University. He and his wife live



on a farm west (if the village of Fenton, where he is active in the affairs of
his community. His faniih- consists of the following children: F. A., of
this sketch : J. .\. is single and lives at home ; H. W. is employed by the
Bonner Cigar Company in Detroit.

F. A. Chapin was graduated from the high school of Fenton. then at-
tended the State I'niversity two years. On October 20, 1907. he married
Olive O. Robinson, a native of Oakland county, Michigan. Mr. Chapin was
superintendent of the Etna cement plant at F""enton until he was appointed
postmaster, February 7, 191 4, the duties of which position he has since dis-
charged in a manner highh satisfactory. In liis earlier career he taught
school in Genesee count}- ten years with much success. He was president of
the village in 1913, was a member of the board of trustees in 1912 and 1913,
and was supervisor of his township for eight years. Politically, he is a Demo-
crat. He belongs to the Masonic order, including the chapter and com-
mander)', and has been a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of
the Mvstic Shrine for ten years. He also belongs to the Independent Order
of Odd Fellows.


George Packard, Sr., deceased, was born in Lebanon, Xew Hampshire,
January 11, 1836, and came with his ])arents to this county in 1841, when
five years of age, and was reared and educated here. He assisted his father
on the home farm just south of Flushing during his youthful years, after-
ward working on the same farm in partnership with his father and brothers.
During the winter seasons they engaged in the lumber business, clearing
the land and converting the timber into lumber. At the death of his father,
Thomas Packard, the estate was divided and George took the old home-
stead and operated the farm for about five years. In 1880 he sold the farm
and moved to Flushing village, and in 1882, organized the First National
Bank of Flushing, becoming its first cashier. In 1890 the name of the bank
was changed to the First State and Savings Bank of Flushing, and he con-
tinued in service with the new bank, as cashier and director until his death,
which occurred on June 14, 1906, at the age of seventy years. In addition
to his banking interests Mr. Packard continued to give attention to farming
and real estate until his death. His political affiliation was with the Repub-
lican party. He was a Mason, a member of the blue lodge at Flushing.


On September i8, 1883, George Packard was married to Ida O'Dell,
only child of Charles M. and Jane (Whitmore) O'Dell. Her father was
Ijorn in Oakland, Michigan, and aime to Genesee coimty when a young
man. He worked on the farm in Mundy township with his father during
his early years, and afterward engaged in farming oin his account, follow-
ing this occupation during the remainder of his life. In November, 1862,
he was married to Jane Whitmore, daughter of Xoah and Jane (Xims)
Whitmore, who were natives of Jefferson county, New York. They came
to Michigan, settling in Oakland county, and later in Genesee county, where
Mrs. Whitmore died in young womanhood. Mr. Whitmore went to Ore-
gon about 1852, settling in Williamette valley, where he later died. There
were five children in this family : James, Margaret, Jane, Juliette and jNIilton.

Charles M. O'Dell, father of Mrs. Ida Packard, 'was a son of Moses
and Betsie (Seeley) O'Dell, natives of Orange county. New York. They
settled in Mundy township, this county, where they lived the remainder of
their lives. They were the parents of seven children : Lydia, who became
the wife of William Taylor; Charles M., father of Mrs. Packard; Harris.
Myron and Sarah, who died young; Charlotte, the wife of Benjamin Pease,
and Dewitt S.

Ida (O'Dell) Packard was born in Mundy township, this county, Sep-
tember 2, 1864. Her mother, after the death of her first husband, married
Ephraim El well, and moved to Flushing township in Februar}-, 1868, where
Ida attended the district schools and the high school. In 1880 she engaged
in teaching and taught in the district schools of Flushing, Clayton and
Mundy townships. On September 18, 1883. she was married to George
Packard, and to this union two children were born, Clarion and George, Jr.
Both children were graduated from the Flushing high school and later
received degrees from the State University at Ann Arbor. In July, 1914,
George Packard, Jr., took a position as assistant cashier in the First State
and Savings Bank at Flushing, the institution which his father had organ-
ized. In October, 19 15, he was made cashier of that bank, and became a
stockholder and director. He is a IMason, being a member of the blue lodge,
at Flushing, and is also a member of the Knights of Pythias. Both Mr.
Packard and his sister, with their mother, are members of the First Metho-
dist church of Flushing.

Thomas Packard, the father of Goerge Packard, Sr., was I>orn in
Lebanon, New Hampshire, in Octoljer, 1804. He was a son of Ichabod
and Rachel (Chamberlain) Packard, natives of Brockton, Massachusetts.
Ichabod Packard was a private soldier in the Revolutionary AX'ar. and


his ancestry dates back to Samuel Packard, who came to the United States
in 1638, and located near Boston. The ship on which he made the voyage
was the "Diligence," which followed soon after the historic "Mayflower."
As a young man, Ichabod Packard moved to Lebanon, New Hampshire,
where he lived to quite an old age, his death occurring in 1841. He built
the first dam across the river at Lebanon, New Hampshire, and operated a
saw-mill, also followed farming to some extent. He was married to Rachel
Chamberlain, and to that union there were six children born : Chamberlain,
Louisa, Betsy (who married Daniel Hardy), Thomas, Origin and Asahel,
the last three named, of whom came to Genesee county and took up govern-
ment land in Flushing township.

On July 4, 1833, Thomas Packard was married to Pamelia Hartshorn,
in Norridge, Vermont. His wife was born in the latter place on March 19,
181 1. She lived to the age of seventy-eight years, and was widely known
as a sincere Christian woman. Her death occurred in Flushing in March,
1889. The children of this union were George, Carlos, Emeline, Eliza and
Caroline. After his marriage Thomas Packard came to Genesee county, in
1 84 1, and settled first in the village of Flushing. Soon after he bought
some land from L. L. Brent, and engaged in farming; later he purchased
other farms and became one of the large landowners of the township. He
was one of the pioneers in the lumber industry hereabout, his mill for the
manufacture of lumber and shingles being located at Flushing. He also
followed farming, which was his principal occupation until the time of his
death, which occurred on July 4, 1875, at the age of seventy years.


Byron S. Jennings, president of the Clio village council, former sheriff
of Genesee county, former county superintendent, and for many years super-
visor of Vienna township, was born in Genesee township, this county, July
10, 1855, a son of William C. and Caroline (Johnson) Jennings, the
former of whom was bom near Willoughby, Ohio, and came to Michi-
gan when a young man and took up eighty acres of government land
in section 24, in Genesee township, this county. He and his father, Abner
Jennings, came together and worked together on the farm for several years.
WilHam Jennings was a carpenter by trade and worked at his trade part
of the time. He worked at Saginaw most of the time and had to walk


the distance of thirty miles to that place. He lived to the age of seventy-
five. He was a Republican and was justice of the peace for many \ears.
He also held the position of highway commissioner for several terms. He
was a man highly respected in the community and his efiforts and influence
were always exerted in behalf of things that were commendable and right.

Caroline (Johnson) Jennings was born in New York state and came
^^'est with her parents, who settled on forty acres of land in Thetford
township, this countw Later her father took up and owned the section of
land on which the town of Clio is now located. There he made his home
until his death, which occurred at the age of about seventy years. His
name was John Wesley Johnson, but among his intimate associates he was
called "One-Thumb Johnson," because he had lost a thumb in a F"ourth
of July accident. William C. Jennings and Caroline Johnson were married
in Genesee count}" and se\en children were born td that union: Byron S.,
the subject of this sketch; Clara, deceased, who was the wife of Henry
Kurtz; William Wesley, who is now living in Flint; Emma, who married
Seward Thompson and is li\ing in Flint: Alberta, deceased, who was the
wife of Ira Dixon; Albert X., now living on the old homestead, and one
child who died in infancy.

Byron S. Jennings was educated in the township schools of Genesee
township, and in the Flint grades and high school, which was at that time
located in the old city hall. After completing his studies in the high school
he engaged in teaching school and taught for twelve years, teaching in the
Miller school, at Richfield ; in the Diamond schot>l, on the Irish road ; in
the Kirsley school, near Flint; in the Pine Run school, six years; in the
Diamond school, in \'ienna township, and in the county line school.

On December .25, 1881, Byron S. Jennings was married to Clara E.
Young, daughter of James and Sarah (Stewart) Young, natives of Pennsyl-
vania, who moved to \'assar, in Tuscola county, this state, where Mr.
Young served as postmaster for a number of years. After moving to
Pine Run Mr. Young opened a grocery store and was again appointed
postmaster, and kept the postoffice in his store. He and his wife were
the parents of two children, William and Mrs. Jennings, the latter of whom
was educated in the district schools of Genesee county and was graduated
from the Flint high school. She taught in the country schools for two
years and then went to Flint and taught in the school for the blind. When
that school was moved to Lansing she went there and was engaged in teach-
ing in the school for one year. Then she returned home and soon after
was married to Mr. Jennings. To this union three chiklren have been lx)rn.


Mabel V., who died at the age of twelve years; LilHan, who married Charles
W. Obee, of Adrian, Michigan, a professor in the college there, and Harley,
who was graduated from the college at Adrian and is now farming.

Byron S. Jennings is a Republican and in 1888 was honored by his
party by being elected to the office of sheriff of the county, for a two-year
term. After serving his term of office he bought one hundred and ten
acres of land in section 23, one mile east of Clio, and engaged in farming
until 1908, when he retired and moved to town. Since then he bought
thirty-five acres adjacent to the town of Clio, and platted the same in city
lots, the greater part of which he has sold at a good price. He rents his
farm. Mr. Jennings has been supervisor of Vienna township for fourteen
years. He was school superintendent of Genesee county for four years
and was then made school inspector, an office that supplanted the office
of county superintendent. He is president of the village council, and has
been a member of the council since moving to town. He was school treas-
urer of Clio for a few years. He is a member of the Methodist Protestant
church, has served as treasurer of the congregation for many years, and is
conference trustee and treasurer of the board. He is a teacher in the Sun-
day school and has had one class for more than twenty years. In all mat-
ters pertaining to the church and in all its activities, Mr. Jennings is a lead-
ing spirit. He is not only active and influential in church affairs but he
is also interested in civic affairs, and his influence is always exerted in behalf
of any cause that has for its object the uplift of humanity and the making
of a better citizenship. Mr. Jennings' fraternal affiliation is with the
Masonic order.


A worthy scion of an honored old family of Genesee county is Patrick
J. Green, farmer of Montrose township. He has been content to spend his
life in his native locality, fully appreciating home opportunities. He was
born in Genesee township, this county, November 9, 1863, a son of James
and Ellen (Mackin) Green. The father was born in Ireland in 1826, from
which country he came to Michigan when about eighteen years old, locating
near FHnt, among the pioneers; buying there a farm which is now a part
of the city of Flint. He operated that place until 1865, then moved to
Vienna township, buying a farm on which he spent the rest of his life, his
death occurring in 1892. He engaged in luml>ering during the winter


months for many years. His wife, Ellen Mackin, was born in New York
City and when young in years came to Michigan with her parents, Patrick
Mackin and wife, the family locating in Flint about 1848, settling on a farm
that finally was owned by the subject of this sketch, and there Mr. and
Mrs. Mackin spent the rest of their lives. Six children were born to James
Green and wife, namel}-: Thomas, who is farming in Vienna township;
William, who is farming in Saginaw county; James, who now lives in
Detroit and is employed as a timber estimator for a Chicago firm ; Elizabeth,
who married James Shanahan, a farmer of Montrose township; Michael,
who is farming in Vienna township, and Patrick, the subject of this sketch.

Patrick J. Green grew up on the home farm and was educated in
the IMontrose public schools. He remained on the farm with his parents
during their lifetime, his mother dying on May 8, 1908. He then bought
one hundred and forty acres in section 4, and there he has since resided.
In connection with general farming he is specializing in raising blooded live
stock — Hereford cattle, Chester White hogs, Shropshire sheep and a fine
grade of horses. During the fifteen years that he has lived there he has
made many important improvements on his farm, which is one of the best
in that locality.

On April 28, 1898, Patrick J. Green was married to Elizabeth Berry,
who was born in 1861 in ^lontrose township, this county, where she grew
to womanhood and was educated in the common schools. She is a sister
of Duncan Berry, a sketch of whom, which contains a history of the Berry
familv, will be found elsewhere in this volume. Politically, Mr. Green is
a Democrat. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows
at Montrose, and is a member of the Catholic church.


The twentieth-century farmer can no longer follow the methods of
his grandfather, who worked the virgin soil when land, climate — in fact,
most everything — was different. One must not only "be up and doing,
and learn to labor and to wait," as the poet admonished, but one must be
a close student of literature bearing on agricultural themes and also a
keen observer and a logical thinker. One of the successful farmers of
Flushing township, Genesee county, is John H. Wood, who was born on
the farm he now occupies. October 20. 1846, a son of James Wood, who


was born on December 22, 1810, in Wetton, England, where he grew up
and became a mechanic. He immigrated to the United States in 1842 and
located in this count}', where he purchased forty acres in Flushing town-
ship, which place is now owned by the subject of this sketch. It was
government land and heavily timbered, but he cleared it and made a good
farm of it. It was in what was called the English settlement, as a number
of his countrymen had previously located in that locality, including the
families of John Reed and James Bailey, who came with about ten English
families that settled there. They had all lived in towns in the old country,
none of them knowing anything about farming, but they set to work with
determination, and after a struggle, succeeding in establishing comfortable
homes. James Wood spent fifty-four years on his farm and died there.
May 20, 1896. He was a son of John Wood, who was born in England
in 1770. John Wood came with his son, James, to America, and died here
in 1854. His wife, Elizabeth, had died in England. They were parents of
eight children, two of whom, Samuel and James, came to the United States.

James Wood grew up in England, where he married Sarah Burgess,
who was born in Adlington, England, September 19, 181 5, and was a
daughter of Henry and Mary Burgess, both of whom spent their lives in
England. They were parents of eleven children, all of whom remained in
England but Sarah. They were a family of farmers. The death of Mrs.
Sarah Wood occurred on March 28, 1892.

To James and Sarah (Burgess) Wood, seven children were born,
namely: Mary, who died on July 4, 1842, at the age of seven years; Ann,
bom on July 14, 1839, who married Chester Felton, a veteran of the Civil
War and at one time a resident of the English settlement here, who died
on February 8, 1913; Jane, September 7, 1841, who married Edward Judd,
a farmer of Shiawassee county, whose death occurred on August 14, 1913;
Ellen S., August 26, 1844, who married Edwin A. Bailey, a son of the
original settler in the English settlement, Mr. Bailey dying on March 31,
1913, his widow now living in Flushing; John H., the subject of this sketch;
Carrie E., December 4, 1848, who married the Rev. Alexander Fair, a Meth-
odist minister, of Shiawassee county, who died in December, 1912, and
Charles E., May 27, 1852, now a retired farmer and real-estate dealer, of

John H. Wood grew up on the home farm and received his education
in the district schools, after which he taught five terms in the Flushing and
Montrose districts, then resumed farming, buying forty acres in section 8,


Mushing township, to which he added sixty acres, in Montrose township.
He lias made a success as a general farmer.

On January 24. 1872, John H. Wood married Georgiana W'ickham,
\\h(i was h(irn on January 29, 1855, a daughter of Gabriel and Mary Jane
( .\rnnut ) W ickham. The father was born on September 11, 1815, lived in
the English settlement here, and died on September 10, 1883. The mother
was born on March 3, 1821, and died on September 15, 1904. To John H.
Wood and wife three children were born, nameh': Edith M., torn on
June 4, 1873; Arnott B., July 26, 1880, now farming on his father's place,
who married Rosella E. Ghristler, September 19, 1906, and has one son.
John Wyman. born on November 28, 1912, and Tmogene S., January 11,
1883, who married h>ank lunerick, an auditor, now in the employ of the

Online LibraryEdwin Orin WoodHistory of Genesee county Michigan; her people, industries and institutions, with biographical sketches of representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families → online text (page 55 of 89)