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History of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) online

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tion of the to^\^lship is more uneven. "Wet Prairie" in the northeast
corner is a very fine level tract of land. The Saint Joseph river enters
the towiiship from Tekonsha, flowing through section 24, by the village of
Burlington and continues in a southwesterly direction until it enters
Branch county, through section 38. Some of the earliest and finest
farms in the township were located on either side of this stream. It was
on section 26, in the valley of the Saint Joseph, that Eleazer McCamley.
the earliest pioneer, settled with his family in the year 1832. Richard
Tucker, another of the early comers, settled on this same section 26. It was
on this section the first log house in the township was built by Mr. Tucker.
Joseph Sanders, a Vermonter by birth, but a New Yorker by adoption,
came from the latter state in the fall of 1833 and settled on Section 24.
He was one of the last of the early pioneers to pass away and is still
well remembered by the older residents of the towiship. In 1834, two
brothers, William and Ansel Adams, came with their widowed mother and
invested largely in land lying in sections 23 and 24, buying the water
power where the village of Burlington is now located, and building
there in 1837 the first saw mill in the township. Here, too, was erected
the first grist mill by Rufus Osborn, in 1861. The first tavern in the
to^\^lship was built of logs about 1835 and stood within the present
limits of Burlington village. The first bridge of any consequence in the
township was over the Saint Joseph, built in 1838 by the Adams brothers
and did good seVvice for thirty years when it was replaced by a new one.

\'lLI,A(iE DF HrRI,IX(iT(lN

The village of Burlington was surveyed and platted by William and
Ansel Adams in 1842, and incorporated in 1869. The fii-st frame house
was built by these brothers and which they and their mother occupied.
It was here that the first store opened; here, too, the Baptists in 1841
built the fiz-st house of worship in the township ; the first school house was
opened in 1837, the school being taught by Miss Mary Buckingham.


Here, too, was established a post office which is still serving the people,
sending out mail by rural carriers daily to all the farmers round about.
The* Methodists early came into the town and the Burlington circuit
supplied the people at Abscota, Clarendon, Tekonsha, Lyon Lake and
Eckford with preaching services.

The Free Will Baptists organized in 1840. The Seventh Day Ad-
veutists came into Burlington in 1857 and in 1861 effected a church
organization which resulted in erecting in 1876 a neat frame church.

The village of Abscota is located on Wet Prairie, a fine agricultural
section in the northeast part of the towaiship. Until taken up on the
introduction of rural free delivery, a postoffice was maintained at this
point. A village church, store, school, blacksmith shop and other con-
veniences that go with the country village, are maintained here.

Among the more prominent of the early day pioneers was Homer C.
Hurd, who came into the township in 1834 and settled on the southwest
quarter of Section 27. Mr. Hurd served for eight years on the Board
of Suijervisoi-s and four years represented the county in the State legis-
lature. Theron Hamilton, another of the comparatively early settlers,
served the county as probate judge from 1864 to 1869 inclusive. Besides
those already named, there may be mentioned David Dexter, Zachariah
Thomas, Cornelius Kii-kendall, John L. iMeserole, David Ripley, Reuben
Van Fleet, G. P. and Elijah Olnistead, James Pendill and Luther Wilson,
all of whom came about 1835. From 1886 to 1840 many more came,
among them, Edwin A. Hayden, who was long a prominent citizen in
the county, holding as he did various couuty offices; Allen Wood, A.
McWithey, Josiah, Brodish, Sylvanus Reed, Gilbert B. Murray, E. N.
Edmonds, Anson Strong, Lewis Miller, F. Burnett and Alonzo Colliers.
These, with others e(iually worthy, have helped to make tiie Burlington
township of today what it is, for they cleared the farms from which
others reap, they built the homes in which others live, they planted the
orchards from which others eat the fruit, they built the churches in
which others worship. They are held in honor by the later generation,
as they should be.

The "Air Line" Railroad, a branch of the Michigan Central, built in
1870, crosses the southeast coi-ner of the towoiship. Burlington station
is about one and a half miles from the village.

Clarence Towxsiiip

In the extreme northeast corner of Calhoun county is located the
township of Clarence. According to the United States government sur-
vey it is designated as town 1 south, range 4 west. Originally it was
confederated with Lee, Sheridan and Marengo. This was done by an
act of the territorial legislature in the year 1834.

It was not until the spring of 1836 that Benjamin P. Gillette, the
recognized pioneer of Clarence, settled with his family on sections 23
and 24 in the southeast part of the township. The same year there
came C. W. Clapp, Andrew Bell and Archibald Green, all locating in
the same vicinity as Gillette, while Cook Tyler, William B. Noble, John
Austin, Frank and John Dyer settled the following year in the central


and eastern portions, hi 18;!8 Y. Jl. Hatch located in the south west on
section 30. About llic same time I). Y. Carrier located on section 7 in
the northwest part of the township. It was in 1838 that Judge Theron
Hamilton. Norris Barnes, Abram Hadden and Samuel Sellers, the last
named the first blacksmith in the township, came to make homes in
Clarence. The first house built at the head of Duck Lake was of hewn
logs put up in 1845 by Jacob Nichols. For years a remnant of the
Pottawattomies living in that vicinity were his only neighbors. These
Indians were peaceable and gave no particular trouble to the "pale
face" comers, except they were inveterate borrowers.

The first celebation ever held in Clarence was on the Fourth of
July, 1835. The inhabitants of the township rallied at a designated meet-
ing place at the head of Duck Lake and w'hen a count was made there
was found to be present just fourteen persons. But these loyal sons
of a patriotic ancestry found pleasure and satisfaction in commemorating
an event dear to every true American. The Declaration of Independence
was read by C. W. Clapp and an address given by Judge Hamilton.

In 1848, Jesse Crowell and others, having purchased a large tract of
timber in the north part of the township, erected a saw mill at tlie foot
of Duck Lake and began the manufacture of lumber. This mill was de-
stroyed by fire but in 1860 ^Villiam Leonard built another. In 1863 a
JMr. Bolles put up a steam saw mill in the northeast part of the town. A
store was opened at the foot of the lake near the location of the saw mill
and ever since the people have had the conveniences it affords. Schools
were early established and have been well sustained through all the
years since i\Iiss Reliance Dixon, afterwards ^Irs. Oliver S. Bell, taught
the first school in the township, about 1839. Chui-ch services have l)een
held and Sunday schools maintained in school houses.

The first town meeting was held at the home of Norris Barnes in
1838, at which the following were chosen to office: Andrew Bell, super-
visor; Cook Tyler, town clerk; A. M. Green, treasurer; "W. B. Noble.
C. W. Clapp, Samuel Sellers and A. P. Bell, justices of the peace; Non-is
Barnes, A. M. Green and W. B. Noble, assessors; A. C. Bell, Y. M. Hatch
and Roswell Barnes, highway commissioners; W. B. Noble, C. W. Clapp
and Norris Barnes, school inspectors; Andrew Bell and John Austin,
overseers of the poor ; O. S. Bell, collector, and Messrs. Bell and Bennett,

The township of Clarence has long been noted for its lakes, marshes
and springs. Prairie Lake is situated in the southwest part of the
township. A little north and east of this is a chain of six lakes, all
connected by Rice creek and are its main source of water supply. Duck
Lake is situated a little north of the center of the township and nearly
midway east and west. This is the largest body of water in the town-
ship and one of the largest in the county, covering as it does about seven
hundred acres, being a mile and a half long by three-quarters wide. The
banks are generally high, affording fine building sites for cottages. In
these later years the lake has developed into quite a summer resort.
Quite a large number of cottages have been erected and people from
Albion. ^larshall. Charlotte. Eaton Rapids and Olivet resort there dur-
ing the summer and early fall months. The beautiful sheet of clear,


pure water; the grove covered banks that border it; the fine fishing it
affords and the pure invigorating air, lend a permanent and potent
charm to this locality and have made Clarence one of the best known
purely rural townships in the county.

Clarendon Township

But for minor local diflferences the early history of Albion, Homer,
Clarendon and Eckford is essentially the same. The rugged pioneers
in each and all of these townships were young men and women, largely
from the state of New Yoi-k. They were generally possessed of courage,
enterprise and thrift. It was these qualities that enabled them to pull
out from the old home settlements in the east, brave the dangers and hard-
ships of the long and tedious journey and settle down with all the at-
tending discomforts and privations of a new and isolated country and
slowly but surely clear the forests, fence the fields, plant the orchards
and vineyards, build and improve the highways, construct the houses
and barns, the schools houses and churches and rear their children in
comfort and in a moral and religious atmosphere, leaving not only
worthy descendants but leaving the world better for having lived and
wrought in it. All honor to the pioneer fathers and mothers who left
us so good an inheritance.

The Doolittles, the Cooks, the Keeps, the Balentines, the Rogers, the
Flints, the Humestons, the Perines and many others equally worthy to
be enumerated, whose united efforts have served to make Clarendon one
of the best townships in Calhoun county, deserve to be remembered.

Although Anthony Doolittle came in May, 1832, and settled in the
northeast corner of the township, and David L. Hutchinson in the fall
of the same year; Loren Keep and Erastus B. Enos, Alonzo H. Rogers,
Timothy Hamlin, who married Elizabeth Doolittle (theirs being the
first marriage in the township), Calvin Rogers with his wife and five
children, Calvin Heath, A. B. Bartlett, George W. Hayes and a number
of others who came during the four or five years after Doolittle 's arrival,
it was not until 1838 that the township was organized and given the
name of Clarendon ; it is said because so many of the early comers were
from the town of Clarendon, Orleans county. New York.

According to the United States government surveys, the township
is town 4 south, range 5 west. Except in the northeast part, the township
was generally covered with a thick growth of heavy timber of various
kinds, the maple being in abundance and affording an annual supply of
sugar and delicious syrup. The soil is of excellent quality, comparing
favorably with that of the best townships in the county. The St. Joseph
river enters the town from the south on section 36 and flowing in a north-
easterly direction nearly to Homer, turns west and leaves it on section
18 by the way of Tekonsha. This stream is small and narrow but in an
early day afforded power for one or more saw mills. There is compara-
tively little marsh or waste land in the township. The "Air Line," a
branch of the Michigan Central Railroad, completed in 1870, traverses
the north central part of the towu from east to west. Clarendon Sta-


tion is located about two miles northeast of the center of the town and
from which much of the surplus products of the fine farms are shipped.
The fii"st town meeting was held in 1838, of which Aaron B. Bartlett
was chosen chairman and Timothy Hamlin, clerk. Truman Rathhuru
was elected supervisor; Timothy Hamlin, township clerk; Horace B.
Hayes, John Jlain and Ira Sumner, assessors; Charles B. White, col-
lector; Samuel Blair and Cornelius Putnam, directors of the poor;
Alonzo H. Rogei-s, George W. Hayes and Elijah Andrus, commissioners
of highways; John ^lain, Ira Sumner and Horace B. Hayes, school
inspectors; Truman Rathburn, William Cooper, John Main and Ira
Sumner, justices of the peace. The first school in the township was
taught on Cook's prairie in 1833. The first religious society was or-
ganized by the Presbyterians in 1838. Meetings were held in school
houses until a log church was built on the southeast quarter of section
18, which was used for a number of years. The Methodists organized
in 1840 and held services in a log house built by Lewis Benham. A
frame church was built some time between 1840 ajid 1850. The young
men of Clarendon responded nobly to the call of their country during
the Civil war, leaving a record of which the township will ever be proud.

CoNvis Township

The township of Convis was named after General Ezra Convis, one
of the most prominent and widely known of the early residents of south-
em ^Michigan. He was the first representative to the state legislature
from Calhoun county and was the first speaker of the Michigan House of
Representatives. While serving in the legislature, he introduced a bill
to organize and name the central township in the northern tier in Cal-
houn county, but before action had been taken upon the bill, General
Convis died, as the result of an injury received in the accidental over-
turning of a sleigh, and his successor, out of compliment to the deceased
legislator, had the town named Convis.

Although Sanford Chaffee, the recognized first settler, did- not come
into Convis until the spring of 1835, such was the rapid arrival of home
seekers that a sufficient number had located here to warrant the organiza-
tion of the township in 1837. James Lane, William Newman, and Paul
Moss, all Englishmen, were among the early comers. David Beers
settled in 1836 on section 24 and about the same time Asahel Hawkins
settled on the .same section. Hawkins and family came from Saratoga
county. New York.

Among others who came in 1836 were Hiram and Elisha Brace,
Jesse Smith, George Bentley, T. J. Van Geisin, Jasper Haywood,
Philander Brooke, Wessel Smith and Granville Stowe. In 1837, B.
Austin, Ira II. Ellsworth, William Kinyon, Levi Rowley, Leach S.
Loomis, Allen ^lattison, Nathan Chidster and Levi Eaton were among
those who came to make homes in Convis. James Walkinshaw and
family, consi.sting of wife and four children, came to ^larshall direct
from Scotland in 1842 and some five or six years later moved on to a
farm in Convis township, where he became one of the largest land owners


and most prosperous farmers in the county. He took an interest in
public affairs, was a Republican in politics and in 1876 was elected a
member of the Michigan legislature.

The men aliove named and others like them found Convis township
rather uninviting in the northwest section, because of the hills and in
the southwest because it was low and marshy and much of the whole
heavily timbered. Notwithstanding these barriers, they entered upon
the task of overcoming them and how well they succeeded will be seen
by a visit to that township, with its beautiful and well stocked farms,
its many excellent homes, fine barns, thrifty orchards and its happy, eon-
tented people.

Schools were established in 1838, the first year after the township
was organized and have ever since been well maintained. Many of the
young men of Convis in the Civil war times entered the service and
fought heroically for the preservation of the Union. Some were buried
where fliey frll, some died of wounds received in battle and some in
prison. Some returned home wounded and maimed and have ever since
been sufferers on account of service rendered their country.

EcKFOKD Township

^lany well informed people think Eckford is the finest purely agri-
cultural township in Calhoun county and some go so far as to claim that
it is not sin|i,iss(Ml in the state. Without discussing comparative merits,
it is cert;iiii 1 li.il the intelligent pioneers who came from the states of New
York, JMassacliusclls. Pennsylvania and Connecticut in the thirties and
located ill this township, showed excellent judgment. There is relatively
little waste land. Its soil is uniformly of excellent quality. Its surface
is gently undulating, affording good drainage without damage from soil
washing. It is abundantly watered by natural springs, lakes and rivers so
that while it is noted for its grains, grasses and fruits, it is particularly
adapted to stock raising. Brace lakes in the northwest part of the
township are beautiful sheets of water, not onl.y affording fine fishing
but the east lake is utilized by resorters, a number of cottages having
been built on the beach. The Nottawa creek crosses the southwest cor-
ner of the township and flows in a general westerly course until it empties
into the Kalamazoo river. Wilder creek takes its rise in the southeast
part of the township. It makes a detour into Albion township, then
returns into Eckford, flowing in a northwesterly direction across the
township, entering Marengo at the northeast corner of section 5, and
Anally emptying into the Kalamazoo. In an early day it afforded power
for a saw mill.

Oshea Wilder was the earliest and at the same time one of the most
prominent settlers in Eckford. It was in 1831 that he came and located
all but the northwest quarter of section 8. In the fall of 1832, he came
with his «dfe and seven children, six sons and one daughter, and settled
on the stream that now bears his name. Mr. Wilder was a Massachusetts
man by birth, having removed from Gardiner, in that state, to Rochester,
New York, from which place he came to Michigan. I\Ir. Wilder was an
active and an enterprising citizen. He served as a soldier in the war of


1812. He was ii surveyor ;inil \v;is iniicli .■inployrcl in thai work all.'i-
coining to MifliigMii. lie Imilt tlic tii-sl hotel in Eckl'ord and one of the
lease conditions was tiiat no l)ai- shoidd he connected with it. lie huilt
the first saw mill, platted a viila^'e ni lower Eekford, huilt a hiacksmitii
siiop and enijiloycd a smith, put u]) a huilding for the making of wagons,
also a chair factory. A mail route having heen instituted from Jones-
ville to Marshall, a post office was established at lower Eekfortl in IM.'Sf),
and Mr. Wilder was made postmaster. The mail over the route from
Jonesville to Marshall, via lower Eekford, was iirst carried on horse-
hack, then with a horse and huggy and finally to accommodate the in-
creasing number of travelers as well as carry the mail, a four horse
stage route was put in opei'ation. This stage route was the connecting
link between the Lake Shore and ^Michigan Central Railroads.

In the spring of 1882, Henry Cook, who the year before came into
Washtenaw county from New York, removed to the prairie in the south-
ea.st.part of Eekford and that portion of the township has ever since lieen
known as Cook's Prairie. Mr. Cook was for many years regarded a.s
one of the leading men of the county. He served in a number of offices
of trust ; in 18;^9 he was a member of the legislature. He was for many
years a prominent member of the Presbyterian church at Homer. In
18:^2, Charles K. Palmer came fi-om Rochester, New York, and settled on
the open plain in section 1!) and this section has ever since Ijeen known
as Palmer's Plains. Palmer, in later years, lost his life on Lake Erie.

The township was mostly .settled during the years from 18:52-:i6.
Among others who came about this time were Edward L. Rogers, Charles
Olin, Jeremiah Hinkle, jNIedad Hordwell, John Kennedy, Thomas J.
Walker, Samuel Whitconib, Elijah Cook, Henry Caldwell." Lionel Udell.
Joel H. Marsh, William Herrick and Silas Comstock. These were followed
by Daniel D. Dunakin, David Patterson, Eli T. Chase, Anthony Rogers.
John Lusk, Sr., Joseph Otis, Augustus Lusk, Ralph Dibble and George
White. These men did nuich to give Eekford township the enviable
position it occupies in the county.

Schools were early established and have always been well sustained.
A considerable number of her young men and women have been students
in the colleges at Hillsdale, Albion^ Olivet and at the state university.
Churches were organized by the Free Will Baptists in 1835, in 18:5!) In-
the Presbyterians and in the same .year by the Jlethodist P^iiiscojjal
church. In this year, 1912, Eekford is distinguished above any other
purely rural township in Calhoun county for its tine churches and its
excellent roads. It has not now and never has had a .saloon within its
borders. A number of her leading men were enrolled as abolitionists
when to be such meant contumely and reproach. Among her citizens
who have been honored with positions beyond the limits of the county
are Henry Cook, Daniel Dunakin and Lote C. Robinson, each and all of
whom have served in the Michigan legislature. John C. Patterson, born
and reared in Eekford, served two terms in the Michigan state senate.

The township was organized in 1836 and was named Eekford at the
suggestion of Oshea Wilder, who had in England an esteemed friend of
that name. Wilderville is the only village in the towniship. It is located
on the railroad running from Toledo to Allegan. This road enters the


township at the southeast corner and running diagonally, departs from
it at the northwest corner. Besides this road within the township, Mar-
shall, Albion, Homer and Marengo are each and all so situated that fine
shipping facilities are afforded the people of this township.

Eckford's record in the Civil war was most creditable to the patriotic
spirit of the township and will ever resound to her honor.

Emmett Tovs^nship (1830-1912)

By Miss Crosby

This township belonged to the confederation of townships originally
organized under the name of Milton. At the session of legislature 1837-
38, it was set off and organized into a separate township and called Cady.
The name was not satisfactory, for we find that the followdng resolution
was passed at the first township meeting: "Resolved, that the honourable
legislature of this state be, and is hereby, requested to change the name of
the township from Cady to Andover. ' ' On examination there were found
to be three other to\raships in the state by that name, so nothing was done
affecting a change until during the legislative session of 1839-40, when
the name Emmett was given it, in honor of Robert Emmet, the Irish

The earliest settlement within present boundaries was made by Jere-
miah Gardner, June 7, 1831, on section 14. All of Mr. Gardner's descend-
ants are dead and the place is now owned by George Perrett, of Marshall.

Mr. Gardner kept the first postoffice and the mail was delivered in
a knapsack, by a man named Kennedy. This postoffice was called
Andover. In 1834, a stage route was established and Milton Barney
was the driver between Battle Creek and Marshall. The route extended
from Chicago to Detroit, but in 1900 the rural free delivery was estab-
lished, forming a network of routes from Ceresco and Battle Creek.

Among those first settlei-s from '31 to '36 were Estes Rich on section
12, Henry L. and Benjamin Dwinell on section 23, Daniel Guernsey on
sections 6 and 7, Es(iuire Hall. Esq., on 7, Stephen Warren on sections
14 and 15, Jacob Spaulding on section 29.

I\Ir. Rich erected the first log house on his land on section 12. It is
now, after undergoing several repairs, owned by Mary J. Sayres, and is
one of the most venerable landmarks remaining.

Messrs. Dwinell came from Auburn, New York. They were promi-
nently identified with the development of the township. They opened
the first farm when they sowed two acres of wheat which turned out
exceedingly smutty.

In 1833 they, with the help of Robert Wheaton, erected a primitive
bridge of poles over the Kalamazoo river, at the place now called Wheat-
field. This was then called White's Station, but later was changed when
people found out about the surrounding wheat growing land. A mill
was erected and for many years was the only one used by the people
in that part of the township, in 1908 a magnificent new iron bridge was

Online LibraryWashington GardnerHistory of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) → online text (page 24 of 74)