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

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In 1900 he retired from the farm and moved to the village of Davison,
where he spent the rest of his life, his death occurring on June 29, 1914,
he then being eighty-five years of age. His wife had preceded him to the
grave some years, her death having occurred on April 30, 191 1, at the age
of eighty. They reared eight children, namely: Sarah, wife of Lucius
Knowles, of Davison; Addie, wife of James H. Baxter, of Davison; Elbert,
who died in March, 1908 ; George, Clarence and Frank, of Atlas ; Mrs. F.
B. Hatch, of Ann Arbor, this state, and William J., the subject of this
biographical sketch.

William J. Leach remained on the home farm until his marriage at
the age of twenty-one, when he bought an eighty-acre farm in Gaines town-
ship and there established his home. That farm was merely a woods clearing
and the task of ridding it of stumps and bringing it under cultivation was
no small one. Seven years later he sold the place to advantage and bought
a farm in Davison township, four miles south of the village of Davison
and there made his home until the spring of 1907, when he bought a com-
fortable modern home on South State street, Davison, where he moved and
is now living. He also bought a farm of sixty-six acres one mile south of
Davison the same spring. In igio he bought another small farm of forty-
five acres inside the corporation of the village and has since given his
attention to the cultivation and development of the two farms" and has them
well improved. In the spring of 19 12 he sold the farm four miles south
of town.

Mr. Leach has been twice married. It was in 1881 that he was united
in marriage to Arvilla Hill, who was born in Davison township, daughter
of Joseph and Sarah Hill and a sister of Philip P. Hill, a biographical


sketch of whom is presented elsewhere in this volume. She died in June,
1897, without issue, and in 1900 Mr. Leach married his deceased wife's
niece, Edith Hill, who was born and reared in Davison township, daughter
of Philip P. and Eliza (Mann) Hill, and to this union one child has been
born, a son, Bernard, born on October 9, 1907. Mr. and Mrs. Leach have
a very pleasant home in Davison and take a proper part in the various social
and cultural activities of their home town.


Ira W. Cole, supervisor of Davison township, former treasurer of that
â– township; former member of the village council at Davison and for some
time a resident of that village: a well-known and well-to-do farmer of
that township, proprietor of a fine farm of one hundred and forty acres
on rural route No. 3, out of Davison, and for years actively identified with
the best interests of that community, is a native son of Genesee county, and
has lived here all his life. He was born on the farm where he now lives,
one mile east of the village of Davison, February 19, 1868, son of Nathaniel
and Marv E. (Potter) Cole, both natives of the state of New York and
early settlers in this part of Michigan, where their last days were spent.

Nathaniel Cole was born in Monroe county. New York, October 31,
1824, son of Nathaniel White and Mary (Peters) Cole, both natives of
that same state, the former born in Watertown, Jefferson county, and the
latter in ^Vayne county, who came to Michigan in early days and settled in
Lenawee county, whtre the wife died in 1832, leaving the husband with
several small children. These children were sent back to New York to
make their home with kinsfolk, but about 1840 Nathaniel W. Cole came
over into Genesee county and bought a farm in Davison township. He then
gathered his children about him again, established his home in this county
and here spent the remainder of his life. Nathaniel Cole was about sixteen
years old when he joined his father in this county and he grew to manhood
on the home farm in Davison township. On March 2, 1851, he married
Mary E. Potter, who was born in New York, a daughter of Ira and Clarissa
(Train) Potter, natives of that same state, the former of whom was lx)rn
on May 16, 1792, and the latter, February 22, 1793, who came to Michi-
gan in 1836 and settled at Black River, where they- lived for two years,
at the end of which time thev moved to Kearslev Mills, in Genesee countv.


After spending a year there, Ira Potter cut his way through the woods to
the lake in the northeast part of Davison township, the toilsome journey
requiring two days of arduous labor, and there established his home, that
lake bearing to this day the name of Potters Lake, in his honor. His sons
cleared a lot of land in that part of the county and became a numbered
among the best-known citizens of Genesee county.

After his marriage, Nathaniel Cole located on a quarter of a section
of land near where his son, Ira W. Cole, now lives, east of Davison, and
there established his home. A part of that land he later sold, but on the
remainder spent the rest of his life, a well-known and influential pioneer
farmer. Though not particularly active in politics, Nathaniel Cole took an
earnest interest in local civic affairs and for some time served as treasurer
of the township. His wife was a member of the Baptist church and both
were active in local good works. He died on August lo, 189 1, and she
survived him nearly three years, her death occurring on July 11, 1894.
They were the parents of three children, Ira, who died in early childliood;
Ira W., the subject of this review, who lives on the old home farm, and
Mercy Ann, wife of John F. Cartwright, of Davison.

Ira W. Cole was reared on the farm on which he was born, receiving
his schooling in the neighlx)rhood school, and remained there until his
marriage in 1889, a valued assistant to his father in the labor of de\elop-
ing and improving the home place. After his marriage he and J. F. Cart-
wright, his brother-in-law, formed a partnership and were engaged in oper-
ating a grain elevator at Davison until 1908, in which year they sold the
elevator, Mr. Cole remaining for some time in the employ of the new con-
cern. In the spring of 19 15 he returned to his farm and since then has
devoted his attention to farming and the general development and improve-
ment of his place, which he has brought to a liigh state of cultivation, tlie
same being reckoned as one of the best farms in that part of the county.
Mr. Cole is a Republican and in 191 1 was elected supervisor of Davison
township and in 191 6 was again elected to that office. He also served
two two-year terms as township treasurer, his first term of service in that
office beginning in 1899 and the second in 19 14. He has always taken an
active part in the affairs of his party in this county and during his residence
in the village served as a memlaer of the council and for one year as presi-
dent of the village.

Mr. Cole has been twice married. It was in 1889 that he was married
to Alice Dillenbeck, who was reared in Goodrich, this county. Her parents
came here from New York and settled in Goodrich, where Mr. Dillen-


heck (lied, ami Avhere his widow, Airs. Hattie Cheney Dillenbeck, later
married a Mr. HemlersDii, who died some years ago, and she is still living at
Goodrich. To Ira \\'. and Alice (Dillenbeck) Cole three children were bom,
Ray and Roy ( t\\ins ) and Ida, all of whom died in childhood. The mother
of these children died in August, 1909, and on March 10, 191 5, Mr. Cole
married Ruby E. Wadsworth, who was born at Lapeer, this state, daughter
of Albert and Martha (Ruby) Wadsworth, the former a native of New
"^'ork. and the latter of Michigan. .Mliert Wadsworth came to ^Michigan
when a young man and settled at Lapeer, where he married Martha Ruby,
who was born at LItica, this state. Mr. and Airs. Wadsworth still live at
Lapeer, where the former is successfully engaged in the plumbing business.
Before her marriage, Mrs. Cole was a printer, a compositor in newspaper
offices at Lapeer, Imlay and Davison. Mr. Cole is a member of the Inde-
pendent Order of Odd Fellows, and of the Daughters of Rebekah, and Mrs.
Cole is a memljer of the Lady Alaccabees, ijoth taking an active part in the
general social affairs of the neighborhood in which they live.


Fred Hovey, a well-known and substantial farmer of Genesee township,
owner of a fine farm of three hundred and twenty acres in the northern
part of that township and for many years one of the most active factors in
the development of the interests of that part of the comity, is a native son
of Genesee county and has lived here all his life. Fie was born, February
18, 1851, on a pioneer farm in section 2 of Genesee township, the farm on
which he now lives and where he has spent all his life. He is the son of
George W. and Lucinda (Snyder) Hovey, both natives of Genesee county.
New York, who came to Michigan in the middle forties and spent the rest
of their lives in this county, useful and influential residents of the Genesee

George W. Flovey was bom on January 19, 1814, and grew to man-
hood on a farm in Genesee county. New York, where he was born. There
he married, in 1842, Lucinda Snyder, who was born in that same county on
March 14, 1815, of German descent, and in 1844 came to Michigan and'
located in this county. LTpon coming here, George W. Hovey bought four
hundred acres of timber land in sections i, 2 and 12 of Genesee township
and on his tract in section 2 he established his home, erecting a house of



planks and logs, held together by wooden pegs, nails hereabout not only
being very scarce but expensive in those days. He bought his land from
George Dewey, who at that time owned a large tract of land in this county,
for the purpose of hunbering, and immediately after getting settled on hi.s
place erected a saw-mill on Butternut creek, running through his tract in
section i, and for twenty years ran that mill, until he not only had exhausted
his available supply of timber, but had worn the mill completely out. As
the pioneer lumber man in that district, George W. Hovey furnislied prac-
tically all the lumber that entered into the construction of the old houses in
that part of the county, many of which houses are still standing and in
excellent condition. Upon closing his mill on the Butternut, Mr. Hovey
went over to the village of Genesee or Geneseeville, as it was called in those
days, where his eldest son, William Hovey, had started a saw-mill, and
remained with his son, as a sort of mill supervisor, until the latter's death
in 1871, after which he returned to his old home and there spent the rest
of his life. He was a Republican, ever took an earnest part in local political
atfairg and for years was the director of the school in his district. He
helped build the old Congregational church in that neighborhood, of which
he and his wife were faithful attendants, and was ever helpful in all neigh-
borhood good works. Mrs. Hovey died in 1889 and Mr. Hovey survived
her ten years, his death occurring in May, 1899. They were the parents of
five children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the last-born, the others
being as follow : William, born in April, 1843, foi" years a well-known
lumberman at Geneseeville. who died in 1871 ; Martha, 1845, who married
David Flynn, now a retired farmer living at Lafayette; Charles M., 1847.
who is engaged in the insurance business at Detroit, and Emily C, 1849,
now living in California, who married N. M. Richardson, who died in 1914.
Fred Hovey was reared on the old home farm, following the course of
schooling in the district school in the neighborhood of his home by a year
in the high school at Flint, after which he engaged in farming on his own
account and cleared practically all of the tract of three hundred and twenty _
acres which he has owned for years, a part of the old home tract. He has
lived there all iiis life, a period of sixty-five years, during which time he
has witnessed the wonderful development that has marked this region since
his boyhood days. In addition to his general fanning, Mr. Hovey has given
considerable attention to the raising of live stock and has done very well,
for many years having been regarded as one of the most substantial farmers


in that part of the county. In his poHtical views Mr. Hovey holds liiniself
independent of party and has never been an aspirant for pubHc office.

On December 8, 1872, when he was twenty-one years old, Fred Hovey
was united in marriage to Stella Snell, who was born in Genesee county.
New York, March 16, 1852, daughter of Edward and Mary (Wicking)
Snell, natives of England, who came to the United States and for a sliort
time lived in Genesee county. New York, later, about 1853, coming to Mich-
igan and settling in Shiawassee county, where Mrs. Snell died in 1865. Later
Edward Snell went to California, where he spent the rest of his life. He
and his wife were the parents of four children, of whom Mrs. Hovey was
the first-bom, the others being, William, of California; George, also of
California, and Edwin, a carpenter at Flint, this county. To Mr. and Mrs.
Hovey, the latter of wliom died on January 8, 1908, eight children were
born, namely: Lena, born on May i, 1874, who married Clarence Williams,
of Flint, and died on January 13, 191^; Roy, December 15, 1875, now liv-
ing in California; William, April 25, 1877, a well-known farmer of Forest
township, this county; Floyd, November 27, 1880, a mechanic, living at
Lansing; Rex, July 23, 1882, who died on September i' of that same year;
Nellie A., August 14, 1884, who married Albert Young, a mechanic, living
at Flint; Josephine, February i, 1887, who married Dale Rhoades and is
living on the old home farm with her father, and Morey K., April 26, i8go.
a mechanic and foreman of a manufacturing plant at Flint.


Among the fanners of Thetford township, this county, who is pro-
gressive in his ideas, and in connection with his sound judgment and fore-
sight has the proper industry and perseverance to make his chosen life work
a success, is Albert J. Erabazon, who was born in the above-named town-
ship and county, March 25, 1853, on the farm settled by his parents, John
and Wealthy (Skinner) Brabazon. The father was bom in Cheshire, Eng-
land, where he lived until he was about twenty-four years old, then went to
London, where he studied medicine four years, but not liking the profession
he came to America and bought a farm in Oakland county, Michigan, where
he married Wealthy Skinner. They moved to Thetford township, this
county, in 1838, thus being among the early pioneers, and bought eighty
acres, which Mr. Brabazon cleared and farmed, remaining there until his


death in the spring of 1864, at the age of fifty-three years, his son, Albert
]., being ele\'en years old at the time. He was one of six children, five of
whom grew to maturity, but he is the only survivor. They were named
as follow: Lois .\nn, deceased, who was the wife of Gilbert Perry; Mary
Grace, deceased, who was the wife of John Woolfitt; Thomas Edward, who
was a soldier in Company I, Tenth Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry,
during the Civil War who died in the service; Charlotte M., deceased, who
was the wife of Charles Rathbone; Joseph William, who died when fifteen
years of age, and Albert J., the subject of this sketch.

Albert J. Brabazon grew up on the home farm and attended the dis-
trict schools. He was married on March 11, 1878, to Alvira Coolidge,
daughter and only child of Moses D. and Mary (Veach) Coolidge, the former
of whom was born in Massachusetts, where he lived until he was twenty-
one years old, wlien he came to Michigan, locating in Davison township,
Genesee county, where he met and married Mary Veach. In 1862 he enlisted
in an infantry regiment of Michigan volunteers and served for some time
in the Civil War, was taken prisoner and died at Andersonville prison. His
widow married W. O. Boughton, and they lived on her farm one year, then
moved to Thetford township, where she spent the rest of her life, but his
death occurred in Mt. Morris. Six children were born to them, namely:
W. W., who lives in Detroit; Hattie, the wife of Arthur Miller, of Flint;
Lewis, who lives in Flint; Claire, who lives in Detroit; Albert, who died
after reaching manhood, and ]\Iattie, wife of Earl May, of Sandusky, Mich-

After his marriage Albert J. Brabazon lived on the old home place
fifteen years, then, in 1893, sold out and bought his present farm of eighty
acres, known as "Cloverleaf Farm." in Tlietford township, where he has
since resided. His family consists of six children, namely: Edward W..
born on July 26, 1880, who completed liis schooling in the Michigan Agricul-
tural College, married Jennie Johnson, and is now a farmer of Thetford
township; Eva May, September 17, 1882. the wife of Roy Brown, of Flint;
Byron M.. May 11, 1885, who married Eva Smith, and now lives in South
Dakota; Linnie A., April 9, 1888, a nurse, who lives at Flint; Mabel A.,
March 11, 1890, wife of Neal Galbraith, of Thetford township, and Clinton
A., March 20, 1894, who married Cleta French.

Mr. Brabazon is a Democrat and is an active worker in his party. He
served two years as township treasurer and was elected township super-
visor for thirteen consecutive terms, serving from 1888 to 1901. He has

676 c:exi:?ee cointy. Michigan.

also served as school director for a number of years and as a member of
the board of review. He is a member of the Methodist church at Qio
and of the local arbor of Gleaners, of the Grange and of Vienna Lodge No.
205, Free and Accepted Masons, at Clio.


One of the oldest citizens of Genesee county is Myron Harris, a pioneer
of this section of the state and for many years a leading business man of
Linden, in which town he is now living retired, spending the December of
his years quietly and in the midst of plenty, on his small farm. He is widelv
known in this locality and bears a reputation that is unassailable.

Myron Harris was born near Pontiac, Michigan, January 22, 1830, and
is therefore now in his eighty-seventh year, but is well preserved, having
lived a clean and careful life and kept a good conscience. He is a son of
Heman and Lucy (Bancroft) Harris. Joseph Harris, the grandfather,
came to Michigan in a very early day from the state of New York, and
homesteaded land in Oakland county, which he cleared and on which he
farmed the rest of his life. He married Esther Ives. Joseph Bancroft.
the maternal grandfather, was a native of New England, and he also came
to. Michigan in pioneer days, locating on a farm near Pontiac, where he
and his wife, whose maiden name was Warner, spent the rest of their li\es.
.She died first and he married a second time.

Heman Harris grew up on the farm and attended school in a log school
liouse in Oakland county. He devoted most of his active life to farming,
owning seventy acres near Linden, Genesee county, having come to this
locality when young and when it was sparsely settled. He finally rented
his farm and moved to the viHage of Linden. His wife, Lucy Bancroft,
was a native of the state of New York. To these parents the following
children were born: Myron, the subject of this sketch; Abigail, deceased;
Esther, deceased ; ^\'arner, deceased, and Lucy, the youngest. Heman Har-
ris was twice married, his last wife having been known in her maidenhood
as Mary Carter. That union was without issue. The death of Heman Har-
ris occurred in October, 1850. He had settled in Genesee county in 1836.

Myron Harris grew up on the home farm, amid a pioneer environment,
and he received a common-school education in Linden. He engaged in
farming: for a time in his earlier career, but sold his farm and now owns


only twenty acres, which join the village of Linden. He has a patent from
the government for the old home place in Oakland county. He engaged
in the general hardware business in Linden for a period of twenty years,
then was burned, out. From 1884 to 1900 he engaged in the manufacture
of wagons under the firm name of the Linden Wagon Company, enjoying
a large business, owing to the excellent quality and workmanship of his
wagons, which found a very ready market all over this part of the country.
He was also in the furnace business five or six years. He has been very
successful in a business way, having been energetic, a good manager and
dealt honestly with his fellow-men. He has lived in his present house since
1845, over seventy years. It is one of the oldest houses now standing in
Linden and vicinity and he is the oldest citizen in that locality. Mrs. Saraii
M. Judson is his housekeeper. He has never married. He was formerly a
Republican, but is now a Prohibitionist. He is highly resix;cted by all wlio
know him.


George M. Gaylord, a well-known and substantial retired fanner of
Davison township, this county, now living at Davison, where for the past
nine or ten years he has been engaged as local field man for the Owosso
Sugar Beet Companv, is a native of Massachusetts, but has been a resident
of â– Michigan since he was sixteen years of age. He was born at North Had-
ley, Massachusetts, August 2, 1861, son of George and Electa (Morton)
Boice, but was adopted, after the death of his parents, by Charles Gaylord
and wife, hence his present name of Gaylord.

Both George Boice and his wife were natives of Massachusetts, of old
New England stock, George Boice having been born at North Hadley, of
Scottish descent, the founder of his family in this country having settled in
New England in Colonial days. Electa Morton was of French ancestry, the
founder of her family having come over with the Pilgrims in the very earl\
days of the New England settlement. In 1861 George Boice enlisted for
fervice during the Civil War in the Twenty-seventh Regiment, Massachu-
setts \'olunteer Infantry, and served for three years, at the end of which
period of enlistment he re-enlisted, was taken prisoner by the enemy and
died in Andersonville prison in 1864. A month or two later, on Septeml:)er
26. 1864, his widow died at her home in North Hadley, leaving five chil-
dren, four daughters and the little son, George, the last-bom, who was but


three years old. In the following April George M. Boice was adopted by
Charles and Jane (Cook) Gaylord, of Old Hadley, Massachusetts, who
came to Michigan about the year 1877, and located in the vicinity of Lapeer.
Mr. Gaylord rented a farm there, the tract on which the Michigan state
school for the feeble-minded is now located, and there he made his home
for several years, at the end of which time he moved back to Massachusetts.
George M. Gaylord, however, remained at Lapeer, where he was working
in a sash, door and blind factory, and where he married in 1883. Six years
after his marriage he and his family came to Genesee county, locating in
Davison county, where for several years Mr. Gaylord was engaged in farm-
ing on a rented farm. In 1896 he bought a farm of eighty acres in section
16 of that township, and there established his home. As his operations
prospered he bought other land adjoining and now is the owner of a fine
farm of two hundred and twenty acres in sections 16 and 22. In 191 1
Mr. Gaylord retired from the active labors of the farm, turning the manage-
ment of the same over to his younger son, and moved to Davison, where
he and his wife have since made their home. In 1914 he built a fine, mod-
ern brick residence in the village and he and his wife are very pleasantly
located there. Since 1907 Mr. Gaylord has been local field man for the
Owosso Sugar Beet Company, and since retiring from the farm has given
practically all his attention to the afifairs of that company. He is a Mason,
an Odd Fellow and a member of the Order of Gleaners, and takes a warm
interest in the affairs of these organizations.

On February 8, 1883, George W. Gaylord was married to Martha Pat-
tis<:)n, who was born in Wayne county, this state, in the vicinity of Detroit,
tlaughter of Thomas and Mary (Seabury) Pattison, natives of the north
of Ireland, of Scottish descent, who came to the United States, residing
for a time in the vicinit\ of the city of Albany, New York, after which,
during the days of the Civil War, they came to Michigan and settled near
Detroit. Thomas Pattison sought enlistment in the Union army during
the war, but was rejected on account of an asthmatic affection. He had

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 70 of 89)