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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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 72 of 89)
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of that part of the county, is a native son of Genesee county and has lived
here all his life, always having resided on the farm on which he now lives
and where he was born. He was born on January 2j, 1859, son of Peter
and Fannie (Rogers) Reese, the former a native of Germany and the latter
of the state of New York, who came to Michigan in 1847 ^nd settled in
(.ienesee township, this county, where they spent the rest of their lives, use-
ful and influential ])ioneers of that section of the countv.

Peter Reese was boni on P'ebruary 16, 1824, and was seven years old
when he came with his parents to the United States, tlie family settling on
a farm in Erie county. New York, where he grew to manhood and where,
in 1845, when twenty-one years old, he married Fannie Rogers, who was
born in Erie county, New York, March 2, 1830. She was a daughter of
Laban and Susan (Davis) Rogers, both natives of that same state, who,
with their family and accompanied by Peter Reese and his young wife, came
to Michigan and settled in section i of Genesee township, this county, being
among the earliest settlers of that part of the county, and there Laban
Rogers and his wife spent the rest of their lives. They were the parents
of seven children, of whom Mrs. Reese was the fifth in order or birth, the
others having been Calvin, Philander, Ransom, S. J.. Eunice and Candice.
none of whom now survive.

Upon coming to this county in 1S47 Ptter Reese and his wife estab-
lished their home on. a farm of one hundred acres in section i of Genesee



township, adjoining the farm taken at the same time by Laban Rogers, and
there they spent the rest of their Hves, active and influential residents of that
community, the death of Peter Reese occurring on December 30, 1890. He
and his wife were the parents of seven children, of whom the subject of this
biographical sketch was the fifth in order of birth, the others being as fol-
low: Amelia, born in April, 1847, who married T. P. Hornung, a mer-
chant of Detroit; Marietta, who died at the age of nine years; Andrew^,
born in 1854, a well-known fanner of Genesee township ; Minerva, born in
1856, who married Andrew Cox, a farmer, now living retired at Flint;
Angenett, Avho died in infancy, and Belle, born on January 24, 1864, who
married Thomas Williams, a farmer, now living retired at Otisville, this

Loron A. Reese was reared on the homestead farm in Genesee town-
ship, receiving his schooling in the neighboring district school, and from
boyhood was a valuable assistant to his father in the work of improving and
developing the home place. After his marriage in 1883, he established his
home on the paternal farm and after the death of his father became the
owner of the same and has ever since lived there. He later added to the
farm by the purchase of a tract of thirty-five acres adjoining, over the line
in Richfield township, and has since been cultivating one hundred and thirty-
five acres, a well-improved and profitably cultivated farm, on which he has
done very well. Mr. Reese has not confined his activities wholly to farm-
ing and is one of the stockholders of the Bank of Otisville, being also other-
wise interested in the general development of his home community. He is
active in the ati'airs of the Grange and has long been secretary of the local
Grange for the Flint Ri\er and Richfield district. He also is a member of
the Order of Gleaners, connected with Lodge No. 131 of that order at
Rogersville, and takes a warm interest in its affairs. Mr. Reese is a Repub-
lican and gives a good citizen's attention to local politics, but has not been
included in the office-seeking class.

In the spring of 1883 Loron A. Reese was united in marriage to Nettie
J. Fowler, who was born in Waltham, LaSalle coimty, Illinois, on Septem-
ber 29, 1864. She is the daughter of Jackson and Susan M. (Sanborn)
FfAvler, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of New York
state, whose last davs were spent in this county. Jackson Fowler was bom
on Airril 15, 1824, son of Thomas and Ann Fowler, who had come to this
countrv' from Ireland and settled in Pennsylvania, where they spent the rest
of their lives. He grew up as a cabinet-maker and married Susan Sanborn.


who was bom on June u, 1835, daugiiter of Levi Sanborn and wife,
natives of Vennont, wlio latei- lived in New York, then in Illinois and finally
came to Michigan, settling in Richfield township, this county, where they
spent their last days. In 1861 Jackson Fowler and family came to Mich-
igan and settled in Genesee township, this county, where Mrs. Fowler died
on May i, 1870. Mr. Fowler sur\-ived for many years, his death occurring
on April 27, 1903. He and his wife were the parents of four children, of
whom Mrs. Reese was the third in order of birth, the others being as follow ;
William S.. born on November 9, 1859, who is now living on the old Rogers
homestead in Richfield township; Etta, December 19, 1861, who died in
youth, and Frank, October 14, 1869, who died on March 25, 1873. To Mr.
and Mrs. Reese two children have been born, Alta E., born on May 12, 1886.
who married George L. Jewell, a farmer, of Richfield township, and Everett
L., December 2t,, 1895. a trimmer by trade.


George M. Coggins. one of the prominent and successful merchants
of Grand Blanc, was born on Vugust 6, 1868, in Oakland county, this
state, son of Thomas I'', ant! .\nn ( Purcell ) Coggins.

Thomas F. Coggins was born at Youngstown, Xew York, where he
received his early education. There his father died, after whose death,
his mother with the children came to i\Iichigan, locating at Flint, where
Thomas F. and his brothers engaged in the meat business. He remained in
the business until some time later, when he married Ann Purcell, a native
of Cork, Ireland, after which he removed to a farm in Groveland town-
ship, Oakland county. There Mr. Coggins engaged in farming until 1870.
when he removed to Holly, where he again engaged in the meat business,
at which he remained until 1873, when he returned to Flint, where he
continued in the business. It was there that he died when the son, George,
was seven years of age. The young son lost his mother some months later.
Being left an orplian at st) tender an age, he was cared for in the home of
his uncle, James Coggins, for a few months, after which he was on a farm
east of Flint for a year, and then for two years was with a famil)- on a
farm west of the town, after which he went to work as a farm hand in
Grand Blanc township. He continued at this work until he was twenty
vears of age, when he began clerking in a liardware store at Holly, and


was later engaged there by Grant Cheney, in the meat and grocery busi-
ness, until thirteen years ago, when he purchased the store and has con-
ducted the same ever since. On September 6, 191 5, Mr. Coggins com-
pleted twenty-five years in the store he now owns, in Grand Blanc.

Eight years ago George M. Coggins bought forty acres of land near
Grand Blanc, and there he has erected his slaughter house and does much
of his own butchering. In addition to his extensive interests in the store,
he is a partner in the Farmers Exchange Bank, at Grand Blanc, and is the
chairman of the loan committee of the same. He has a good substantial
dwelling house located next to the store building. He owns the build-
ing in which he is conducting his business, having inirchased it some ten
years ago.

On No\eml)er 25, 1897, George M. Coggins was married to Florence
George, who was born in Mundy township, this county, a daughter of
Eugene and Harriett (Ganson) George. Eugene George was born in
Switzerland on December 19, 1829, the son of George George, a hatter by
trade, who was a soldier under Napoleon Bonaparte and who was present
at the burning of Moscow. George George left the home of his birth and
came to America in 1849, his wife, Angeline, following the ne.xt year. On
landing in the United States, George George came direct to Michigan and
located in Mundy township, this county and it was there that the family made
their home. In 1853 INIrs. George died while on a visit to a daughter in
Canada. Mr. George died in 1877. They were the parents of six children,
all of whom came to America. Eugene George learned the baker's trade
from his father, who owned a shop in his native country. Eugene George
did much traveling in Switzerland to see the country and the people. In
1849 lie came to America in a sailing vessel, being fifty-seven days on the
ocean. After landing at the port of New York he came direct to Michigan
and located in Genesee county.

On May 31, 185 1, Eugene George was united in marriage to Harriett
Ganson, a native of New York state. They located on a farm in this
county and here Mr. George became a prosperous farmer and stock raiser.
He owned two hundred acres of land, a part of which he divided with his
sons. Politically, he was a Democrat and took an active interest in local
affairs. He and his family were members of the Catholic church. In
1879 Mr. George visited his old home in Switzerland, where he remained
for six months. On his return he lived at his home in Mundy township
for many years, and died at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Coggins. His
wife died at her home in Mundv township in 1898.


Mr. and Mrs. Coggins are the parents of five children, Josie, Nora.
Bernadette, Celina and Clark. The family are active members of the Catho-
lic church and Mr. Coggins is a member of the Knights of Columbus and
of the Maccabees. The family are prominent in the social and civic activi-
ties in the community. Mr. Coggins is highly regarded as a man of sterling
worth and strict integrity. Left an orphan at the age of seven, he has
cared for himself since that time. By hard work and perseverance he has
accomplished much that is worthy of emulation and respect and has made
many friends, who regard him highly. Mr. Coggins gives his wife much
of the credit for his success in life, through her faithfulness and desire
to assist in all ways possible.


"The art preservative of all arts" has an able advocate in Genesee county
in the person of Charles M. Topping, who conducts a well-equipped job-
printing establishment at Fenton.

Charles M. Topping was born at Deerfield, Michigan, January 2, 1862,
son and only child of Orlando and Mary (Becker) Topping, the latter
a daughter of Joseph Becker, a native of New York, who removed with
his family many years ago to Tyrone township, Livingston county, Michi-
gan. Orlando Topping was born in this state, was educated in the common
schools, and became a school teacher. He later was employed in the flour
mills at Fenton several years, having moved there from Saginaw, where he
had been engaged in business for some time. His first wife died when their
only child, Charles M., the subject of this sketch, was two years old. His
second wife was Laura Reed, and to that union two children were born, I""an-
nie and Jennie, both living. Orlando Topping was a member of the Metho-
dist Episcopal church. His death occurred in 1912.

Charles M. Topping completed his schooling in the Fenton high school.
When but a boy he decided upon a career as newspaper publisher, and about
thirty-four years ago, in the early eighties, he established Tlic Fenton
Courier, which he published with pronounced success for a period of over
twenty years, at the end of which time he sold out and entered the ofiice
of the Egyptian Cement Company as bookkeeper. He remained there two
years, then worked in Detroit two years with Gregory, Mayer & Thom,
printers, then returned to Fenton and established his present jolvprinting


business, which was a success from the start. "The Topping Art Printery"
imprints will be found on much of the best job printing now produced in
that flourishing village.

Mr. Topping was married in 1881 to Nettie E. Arms, and they have
two children, Clara E., wife of W. C. Mardorf, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and

Charles M. Topping is a Democrat and has been active in party affairs.
He was postmaster at Fenton during Cleveland's administration and was
supervisor for three years, being succeeded by John Jennings. He has
also served as township clerk, as superintendent of the poor and as village
clerk, filled all these offices faithfully and ably. Mr. Topping is a mem-
ber of the Masonic order, including the Knights Templar, and is also
a member of the Maccabees.


James L. Spenser, president of the Bank of Linden, has by excellent
management and persistent industry attained a large degree of success in
the business world and at the same time has gained the confidence and respect
of all with whom he has come in contact.

Mr. Spenser was born in Livingston county, Michigan, January 25,
1853, a son of Olympus and Laura (Jacobs) Spenser. Mark Jacobs, the
maternal grandfather, was a native of Vermont, who came to Michigan in
an early day and was a pioneer of Livingston county, buying a farm there
on which he established his future home. He was twice married. Grand-
father Asa Spencer was a nati\'e of New York. He was a farmer and
Baptist minister, continuing to preach until his death at the age of sixty
years. He was of Dutch descent. Olympus Spenser came to Michigan
when sixteen years old, after the death of his father, and in Livingston
county he attended school and established his future home on a farm. His
first wife was Nancy Jacobs, a sister of his second wife, Laura Jacobs. The
latter died in December, 1904, his death having occurred in June, 1901. He
moved from Livingston county to Fenton, Genesee county, in 1866, and to
the town of Linden in 1886, where he lived until his death. He had three
children, Nora, who died in. infancy; James L., the subject of this sketch,
and George R., who lives in Flint.

James L. Spenser received his education in the public schools of Liv-


ingston caunty, in the Feiiton high school and in the State Normal, com-
pleting the full English course in the latter and graduating in 1876, being
given a state certificate to teach. He began his career as a teacher and fol-
lowed the same successfully for nine years, during which time his services
were in wide demand. He began teaching in the district schools of Genesee
county in 1870, and he taught as principal of the graded schools for three
years in Linden and two and one-half years in Flushing. Finally abandon-
ing the school room he engaged in the drug business in Linden for a period
of twenty-one years, enjoying a large trade. He formerly owned a good
farm, but sold it some time ago. He studied law and was admitted to the
bar in 1888, but has never practiced; however, he has handled a number of
estates and engaged in other similar matters in a legal capacity. In 1908
Mr. Spenser entered the banking field and has been president of the Bank
of Linden since that year, the rapid and substantial growth and prestige of
this popular institution being due for the most part to his able management
and wise counsel.

On August I, 1878, James L. Spenser was married to Ella Webber,
who died in 1902, leaving one child, Laura Zoe Spenser, who was given a
good education and was principal of the Linden schools for three years. In
1905 Mr. Spenser married, secondly, Mary G. Richards, which union has
been without issue.

Mr. Spenser is a Republican and has been active in public affairs for
many years. He served as county clerk from 1885 to 1889 and is now
village attorney, having held this office several terms, and has done much
for the general upbuilding and welfare of Linden. Fraternally, Mr. Spenser
is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and of the Loyal
Guards. He is a member of the Presbvterian church.


From the life record of George I\I. Buzzard, well known agriculturist
uf Fenton township, Genesee county, many useful lessons may be gleaned
by the youth starting out on the road to success as a farmer and stock man,
for,. Mr. Buzzard has believed in the wise saying of the ancient philosopher,
"Lose no time in getting off the wrong road as soon as you discover that
you are traveling it."

George M. Buzzard was Ijorn at I'ontiac, Oakland county, Michigan,


November 6, 1844, a son of Joseph and Mary E. (Osborn) Buzzard. The
father was born in Cattaragus county, New York, February 5, 1804, and
was left an orphan when young. He grew up in his native locahty, received
a meager education and there married, later moving to Oakland county.
Michigan, taking up a homestead of one hundred and seventy-six acres in
Pontiac township, on which he lived about' forty years; then moved to
C'larkston, Michigan, where he spent the rest of his life. His wife was
born on October 22, 181 1, and died many years ago. Both were acti\e
members of the Methodist Episcopal church. They were parents of thirteen
children, namely: i-Vlmira, born on December 4, 1827, who died on January
4, 1864; Adeline, December 4, 1823, also decea.sed; Israel, July 11, 1831,
deceased; John, April 1,^183-1, who died on March 30, 1835; Eli, March 23,
1836, who died on January 12, i8fi2; Jacob, May 8, 1838; Elizabeth, July
29, 1840; Edwin. January 5, 1842; George M., the subject of this review;
Isabel, November 9, i8_|6; Ardy, January 4, 1850, who died on July 24,
1854; Charles, July 10, 1852. who died on July 19, 1858, and William.
November 9, 1854.

George M. Buzzard grew up on the home farm in Oakland county and
there received a common-school education. He married Mary E. Commins,
a daughter of Mathias and Sarah Commins, and to this union four children
were born, namely: Olive P., born on October 8, 1872, who died on May
18, 1905; Flora L., June 9, 1874, who died on August 27 of that year;
Mathias, November 23, 1876, and Hazel H., June 13, 1887. The mother
of these children passed away on December 18, 1905, and Mr. Buzzard later
married Mrs. Caroline (Bennett) Till, who was born at Ridgeville, Ohio.
January 6, 1848, a daughter of Capt. Charles and Caroline M. (Thurston)
Bennett, the former a son of Jonathan Bennett, who served in the War of
1812, receiving a slight wound in battle. Jonathan Bennett married Mary
Fukes, a daughter of Captain Fukes, of Wales, who owned a fleet on the
Atlantic ocean. Capt. Charles Bennett sailed on the Great Lakes. He
owned a farm of one hundred and twenty acres near Ypsilanti, Michigan,
and in 1856 he settled at the head of Long Lake. He built the first steam-
boat that was operated on that lake and started the main health resort there.
He was a veterinarian and practiced his profession in that locality. He
was a Republican and an acti\e member of the Methodist church. His
family consisted of twelve children, all now deceased with the exception of
Mrs. Buzzard and John Bennett, the latter of whom lives in Monroe county,
Michigan. This family was named as follow: William, Marietta, Keziah,
Caroline, Paul, Emily, Frances, Eliza. Frank, John and Charley.


Capt. Charles Bennett was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Octoljer
12, 1808, and died on January 22, 1899. When but a child his parents
removed with him to New York stale, locating on the shores of Oneida
lake. His mother died soort thereafter and his father remarried. Charles
started out in life for himself when but a boj', leaving home, and for some
time was supposed to be lost. He began working at a lake port, which
marked the commencement of his maritime career of forty-four years,
becoming a captain in early manhood. In 1844 he made a memorable trip,
starting from Ogdenburg, New York, at the first opening of navigation,
with a cargo, and took the first vessel that reached Chicago by that route,
with provisions, and made forty thousand dollars. He explored Isle Royal
at the expense of Charles Chapin, of Detroit, sailing the vessel "Dream," of
Cleveland. He sailed in October of that year and wintered in Lake Superior.
He sunk a shaft on an island and found valuable ore, which brought his
employer the sum of one hundred thousand dollars. Captain Bennett
returned to his starting place the following June and discovered that his
boat had been given up as lost and its owner had collected insurance on it.
Captain Bennett was also connected with the early railroad history of Mich-
igan. Upon leaving the lakes he came to Genesee county and opened a
summer resort at Long Lake, in \\hich bod}- of water the Bennett Islands
were named for him. He retired at the age of seventy-five years, buying a
farm in Lasalle township, Monroe county, Michigan, where he died. He
was married in 1820, at Ithica, New York, to Caroline Thurston and to
that union twelve children were l)orn. Mrs. Caroline Buzzard's first hus-
band was Augustus 'William Till, who conducted a general store in Bay
City, Michigan, in 1865, which he later sold, and established a similar busi-
ness in Fenton, Genesee county. Mr. Till was born in Germany, x\ugust
28, 1828, and when young came to America alone. He married on February
4, 1864. He was a son of John William Till and wife, whose family con-
sisted of three children, Augustus William, Theodore, and Dora. Augustus
William Till was a Republican and was active in politics. He was a Mason
and a member of the Presbyterian church. His family consisted of three
children, namely: Jessie, born on December 3, 1868; Mabel, February i.
1870, who is living in Detroit, and Edward Artluir, April 28, 1882, who
died on April 14, 1915. The latter was a stage carpenter in the National
theater in Detroit.

George M. Buzzard located on his present farm of fifty-six acres in
Fenton township, in April, 1908. He devotes considerable attention to



fruit growing, having an apple orchard cjf four acres aiid one acre of berries
and small fruits. ;Mr. Buzzard is an independent voter. He is a member
of the Methodist Episcopal churcli at l^'enton and his wife belongs to the
Presbyterian church.


While there are many who enter the live-stock business, few make a
success of the same, for it re(piires a combination of sound judgment, fore-
sight, courage and industry. These qualities seem to be possessed by Calvin
Bunnell, of Goodrich, this county, who owns excellent farming land.
He was born on September 27, 1842, in Lapeer county, Michigan, a son of
Hiram and Lucy (iMason) Bunnell, both natives of Connecticut, probabl}'
born at Hartford. There they spent their earlier years, removing from there
to the state of New York. In 1836 the}- came to Michigan,- locating in
Oakland county, when it was sparsel)- settled and little improved; but later
moved to Hadley township, Lapeer cOunty, locating in the wilderness, from
which the}- carved out a home through their grit and industry, enduring the
hardships and privations incident to pioneer life. They took up government
land and spent the rest of their lixes in that locality. It was there that Calvin
Bunnell grew to manhood. He worked hard when a boy on the home farm
and had little opportunity to obtain an education. ^Vhen eighteen years old
he came to this county and worked in a mill in the village of Goodrich for
about fiA-e years. In 1867 he began buying and shipping live stock from that
town, or rather, driving them to market at Detroit, continuing to take his
stock overland for a period of about twelve years, sometimes driving the
stock eighty miles, taking some kind of stock there nearly every week. He
then began shipping by rail from Metamora ar.d also shipped from Grand
Blanc and from Davison. He has continued in this line of endeavor for
nearly a half century and is one of the best-known stock n-ien in this part
of the state, being regarded as one of the best judges of all kinds of live
stock in Genesee and surrounding counties. Although in his seventy-fourth
year, Mr. Bunnell is still active and continues to make regtilar trips with
stock to Detroit. He owns two well-improved farms in Lapeer county,
aggregating one hundred and fifty-five acres, .\lthough he has owned one
of these since young manhood, he has preferred to devote his attention
principally to shipping live stock. He has also Iwught and sold wool for
nearly forty years.


In 1865 Calvin Bunnell was married to Orlena Blodgett, who was burn
in Burlington, Vermont, a daughter of Isaac and Lucretia (Lee) Blodgett,

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 72 of 89)