Washington Gardner.

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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erected and the mill and adjoining land was sold to the Citizens' Electric
Light Co., of Battle Creek.



IIlSTOliY OF CAIvlIorX CorXTY • 183

Tlic land wliich was owned by Daniel Guernsey is now part of Post's
addition in the city of Battle Creek. What became of Mr. Guernsey was
never known. •

The tirst graveyard was laid out and donated by Miehael Spencer
on section 14, in the fall of 1835. The first interment was that of Stephen
Warren, who died June 11, 1835, and was buried temporarily on his
farm, later his remains wei-e dug up and re-interred in the newly laid
out burying ground, where they still repose. The old farm on section 14
is still owned by the Warren estate, but the part on section 15 iS owned
by Julius Crosby and has been for the past twenty years.

As at the present day, education was cared for as early as possible
and it is found that a log school house was erected in the Spencer neigh-
borhood in 1833. Miss Cynthia Maynard, sister of Colonel Maynard one
of the old pioneers of Marengo township, taught it during the winter of
1833 and 1834. Not until 1876 and 77 was the township divided into
districts. At present date there are ten districts and it is expected that
there will be eleven in 1913, because of the talked of division of the
Raymond district on section 8.

Before any churches were erected in Battle Creek, some of the families
of Emmett held religious services, which were conducted by Rev. Merrill,
as early as 1834. Some of the regular attendants were Ira Warren and
wife, Benjamin Dwinell and wife, Estes Rich, and i\Iichael Spencer and
wife. No regularly organized church existed in the present limits of the
township, because all of the citizens gave liberally toward their respective
churches in Battle Creek. At the present writing, there is no regularly
organized church in the township, but in the Raymond district on section
8, Sunday school is held eveiy Sunday afternoon at 2:30, and there
is always a large attendance. Some of the ladies who are and have been
willing workers toward making the. service successful are, Mesdames
William Hall. Vivian Moore. Mort Nye, George Brininstool, Sara
llitiw iicil and E. Case. As in former days, the citizens all have their
respfctive churches in Battle Creek and there' they attend.

In 1836 the village of Verona was surveyed and laid out by General
Ezra Convis. It holds (juite an important history of this vicinity as
having been for two or three years a rival of the then strugging village of
Battle Creek. It has even been asserted that had General Convis lived.
and brought his interest as a member and speaker of the House of
Representatives to bear, the terminus of the railroad would have been
there instead of at Battle Creek and it would have stood now as a city
instead of a mere hamlet.

A grist mill was erected there in 1S38 liy John Stuart and Jolm Van
Arman, who was later the great crimiiuil lawyer of Chicago. The original
Imilding still remains after sustaining many additions and repairs, and
until last year was used as a gi'ist mill, when it was sold to the Connnon-
wealtli Power Co.

During the years 11)1)0 and 11)03. the intcrnrlian line was built
through this township. This i-oad i-uiis from Kalamazoo 1o Jackson.
Detroit and Toledo and the jicojilc in Emmett townshij) ilo not feel thai
thev are country folks anynmi-c. It is onl\- a few minntcs' ride to P.attlc



184 HISTORY OP CALHOUN COUNTY

Creek or Marshall and a few hours' ride will take them to Detroit or
Toledo.

There are three other roads running through the township. The
^Michigan Central, Grand Trunk and D. T. & M. The assessed valuation
of the electric road, alone, is .$40,000.00.

The Grand Trunk shops were built in Emmett in 1909 on sections
5 and 8. The main shops cost upwards from $3,000,000.00. Here from
four to five hundred men are employed. The men with their families
came here and as there were not enough empty houses near the shops,
they built homes on section 5, on what is now Brownlee Park. This led to
the laying out of more parks and suburbs. At present there are ten.
They are namely : Grand View Gardens on section 9, Eastdale on section
9, Green Acre on section 10, Wattles Park on section 10, Greenwood Park
on section 8, Greenfield Park on section 5, Wooden "s Park on section 18,
Morgan Park on section 18, Sunrise Heights on section 18, Brownlee on
sections 5 and 8,

The Citizens' Electric Light Plant have all of their property, motors
and water power in Emmett, their assessed valuation being upwards from
$30,000.00.

We find the following minutes of the first road in the township of
Emmett, in the early records on file in the township clerk's office:

' ' Beginning at a stake set in the centre of the road running westerly
to the bridge across Battle Creek near its conjunction with the Kalamazoo
river, on section 7, in town 2 south, of range 7 west, 2 rods east of the
section range line; thence running south parallel with the said section
7, towards south range 7, west, 2 rods from said line ; 50 chains and 50
links to the centre of the territorial road running through Goguac Prairie.

"Ezra Convis, Surveyor,

"Asahel Lowell,

' ' Isaac Thomas, Commissioners of Highways. ' '

This road is now paved and is Battle Creek's Main street.

During the last five years, five miles of state road has been built going
southeasterly from Battle Creek, and passes Beadle Lake. Said lake is
Emmett 's favorite resort, partly because of the beauty of the resort, but
mostly on account of the geniality of the host and hostess, Mr. and Mrs. C.
E. Kistler. They own a fine store and lunch room there and have boats
to let, and they do everything in their power to make one's stay there a
never-to-be-forgotten one.

In 1838, Emmett township was noted for its wheat-raising capacity,
and at that time White's Station was changed to Wheatfield. Some of
the prominent men of that time who raised wheat and grains were Loomis
Hutchinson on sections 27 and 34, William Neubre on sections 27 and
34, Thomas Knight on section 13. At the present time there is very
little done toward raising grains. The money-makers now specialize in
the gardening or dairy business. Some of the leading gardeners being
Ernest Chilson on section 8, Ray Panning on section 24, A. A. Peck on
section 4, and James Blankon on section 9. Ernest Chilson is the oldest
and most experienced gardener and has greenhouses built for winter use.



IIISTOKY OF CALllOrX COINTY



185



The leading dairyinen are William T. Sackrider on seel ion 14, .loliii
Cronkhite on section !), Charles Ilntchinson on seetiini '21. and Ka\ l-'an-
aing on section 24.

In 1888 a town meeting was held at Jeremiah Gardner's, on Monday,
April 2. ^Michael Spencer, was chosen moderator and Samnel Kohinson,
clerk of said meeting. Present, David H. Daniels, justice.

The following resolutions were then adopted.

■'Resolved, that fence four and a half feet high, well iiiadc of sub-
stantial materials shall he lawful fence.

"Resolved, that we raise fifty dollars for relief of the poor.

■■Resolved, that we raise fifty dollars for the support and re]iaiiing of
bridges in said township.

■■Resolved, that our supervisor be instructed to present to flic town-
ship of Milton a claim for our reasonable share of all money and prop-
erty- belonging to oriuinal townsliip of ]\Iilton.





■ .'







-Ikh-ev C



■■Resolved, that the supervisors of (.'alhoun county be authorized to
borrow twenty-eight hundred and eighty-eight dollars to finish the coui't
house at Marshall.

■■Resolved, that the legislatuie of this state be ami is hereby re-
quested to change the name of this township from Cady to Andover.

■■Resolved, that each and every overseer of highways shall be fence-
viewer and pound master and his owti yard a pound."

'■The following pensons were then elected overseers of highways in
their re.spective districts: j\Iichael Spencer, district No. 1 ; Asahel Beach,
district Xo. 2 ; Anson Inman, district No. 3 ; David N. Salter, district No.
4 ; Otis Williams, district No. 5 ; Samuel Robinson, district No. 6 ;
George Beau, district No. 7 ; Samuel G. Wallace, district No. 8 ; Augu.stus
Mather, district No. 9; Truman Allen, district No. 10; Arly N. Craw-



186 HISTORY OF CALHOUN COUNTY

ford, district No. 11 ; Daniel Wooden, district No. 12; William Newman,
district No. 13 ; Alanson Cantine, district No. 14.

"On canvassing the ballots, the following persons were found to
have been elected officers of the township of Cady for the ensuing year :
Levi Morton, Supervisor ; Samuel Robinson, Township Clerk ; Asa
Lowell, David Howell and Samuel G. Wallace, Justices of Peace ; David
W. Gibbs, Collector; Michael Spencer and Asahel Beach, Directors of
Poor; Samuel G. Wallace, David Calkins and Caleb 0. Ferris, Com-
missioners of Highways; David Howell, Fordyce Rhoades and Robert
Adams, Inspectors of Schools; David Gibbs, John Lowry, George More-
house, John DeGroat, Kenyon Johnson, John Rhoades, Constables ; Asa
Lowell, N. Salter and Smith Berry, Assessors.

"Resolved, that the next annual meeting shall be held at the house
now kept by Moses Lowell.

"Michael Spencer, Moderator,
"David H. Daniels, Justice,
"Samuel Robinson, Clerk."

The towiiship has always been a Republican one, and has only been
Democratic for live years since 1892. During that time some of the
leading men have been: Ray Fanning, two years treasurer; Charles
Kistler, clerk ten years and highway commissioner four years; Clayton
Strait, highway commissioner three years; John Cronkhite, clerk one
year and treasurer for two years ; Jake Paul, treasurer one year ; George
Blake, treasurer two years and clerk three years; and Julius Crosby,
supervisor twelve years. At the present time, Charles Hutchinson is the
supervisor. It might be well to say here that his father, Loomis, held
that office from 1865 to 1875. Some of the leading Democrats are William
Hall, George Reese, Charles Eyre, Ransom Markham and Eri Cowles.

The Union Grange, No. 292, was organized during the month of
March. 1.S74. Some of the first members were, John Woodworth, Mrs.
Whiting lluti-liinson. Theresa Johnson, Mr. and i\lrs. A. JM. Sharpsteen,
and Herbert Jlerchant. The society owned a hall where they held all
of their meetings.

In 1892, a club was organized under the name of the Ceresco Farmer's
Club. Some of the first members were, Mr. and Mrs. John Reese, Mr.
and Mrs. Ned Hough, Mr. and Mrs. John Woodworth, Mr. and Mrs.
Melzar Canright, Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Mills, Mr. and Mrs. Orson Avery,
Mr. and Mrs. George Brininstool, Mr. and ]\Irs. Mort Nye, Mr. and Mrs.
Julius Cidshy, Mr. and Mrs. Ransom Markham. ^Ir. and Mrs. Herbert
]\Icr(hanl jiiid Mr. and Mrs. L. L. Lewis. All of these members, except
Mv. Lewis, are living and still attend the club and have built it up until
now there are 200 members, and this club is the largest in the state.
The meetings are held the last Wednesday in every month at the re-
spective houses and after a picnic dinner, a fine literary program is en-
joyed and some topic of the day is discussed.

Fredonia Township

Fredonia is noted for its fine farms, its beautiful lakes and its excel-
lent churches. Among its numerous lakes may be mentioned Lyon, one



HISTORY OF CALHOUN COUNTY 187

of tlie most beautiful autl iicst known sheets of wafci' in the i-oiint\'. Its
watei's which are deep and put-e abound witli fish, lis high aiul wooded
banks fui-nish delightful loeatious for cottages, which are utilized by
season resorters, while the fine grove overlooking the lake furnishes a
popular place for holding large gatherings of the people. Cedar, Long
and Fish are other lakes of considerable size in the township, while the
Nottawa Creek with its characteristically low marshy banks flows from
the south, north and out into Newton through the west central part of the
town. Originally, Fredonia was abundantly supplied with a flne growth
of hard wood tindier; red, white and burr oak; ash, black and white,
maple and elm predominating. The surface is generally level, except
in localities in the west part where it is rolling. The soil, as a whole,
is of good (iualit.y, some parts being exceptionally fine. There are, in
Fredonia, farms which for beauty and fertility are not surpassed in
the county.

The township is designated l\v tlie United States surveyors as town
3 south, range 6 west. It was organized in 1838. The first town meet-
ing was held at the home of Ebby Hyde on the second day of April,
1838, when officers for the new township were chosen. John Houston
lieing the first supervisor, an office to which he was several times chosen,
and Putnam Root the first clerk.

Tlionias Burland is the recognized first pioneer. Born and reared
in Yorkshire, England, he with his wife and three daughters left that
country in 1831 and in May, 1833 settled on section 24 in the town-
ship of Fredonia.

On the flrst day of October, 1833, John Houston left Rochester, New
York, to which place he had previously moved from Hanover, New
Hampshire, where he was born, with his wife and three children for
Michigan, arriving at the place in November, settling on section 9,
whicli was ever after his home. Upon the section named he built the first
frame house in the town. 'Sir. Houston died in October, 1869, at seventy-
five years of age. To the day of his death he was regarded as one of the
leading men of the town. His son, John Houston, was sheriff of Cal-
houn county, for four years a member of the ^liehigan legislature and
vice-president of the City National l>ank of ^Mai'shall. Joel Houston
who now resides at the old home, is otie of tlie honored citizens of the
county.

Among others of the early settlers in Fredonia was Ezekiel Blue,
who, in 183-4, located on section 13, where his son Peter now owns 200
acres. Stephen Maynard came in 1836 and settled on section 12, south
of Brace Lake, near the Eckford township line. Caleb Tilton came from
Massachusetts and in 1834 located on section 2. In 1836 John B. Fre-
denburg l)rought his family from Orleans county, New Yoi'k, and set-
tled on section 23. ilr. Fredenburg was three times elected supervisor.

Besides those above mentioned, there nuiy be named among the early
settlers, Thomas P. Briggs and family, who settled on section 35 in the
year of 1836 ; Frank B. Wright, came to Marshall in 1836, but did not
locate in Fredonia until some years later. David Jagor came with his
family from Sussex county. New Jersey, in Decendier. 1836, and settled
on section 36. He liecame one of the more lu-ominent citizens of the



188 HISTORY OF CALHOUN COUNTY

county, being four times elected to tlie otifice of supervisor. Ebby Hyde,
father of the late A. 0. Hyde of Marshall, settled in 1835 on section 3.
It was at his house that the first town meeting was held in 1838. G. G.
Collins, Oliver Bailey, Solomon Platner, David Aldrich, Edward M.
Kingsbury, Putnam Root, Hiram Carey, Thomas Chambers and Arnold
Markhain, all deserve to be mentioned among the pioneers and early
.settlers in Fredonia and who helped to make the town what it is. Schools
and churches from the beginning have found a congenial atmosphere
and have thrived in the town, they in their turn doing much to make
the later generations worthy of the former.

Homer Township

The township of Homer is located in the southeastern portion of the
county. It has an undulating surface. Generally speaking, the soil
is fertile. Originally it was in part a plain "oak openings," much of
which was cleared and upon which the Indians raised maize. Other
portions were heavily timbered with maple, beach and ash. while oak
and some hickory were found on the hills and slopes. A number of small
lakes are located in different parts of the township. The Kalamazoo
river enters the town at the east side and fiowing in a northwesterly
direction deflects to the north at Homer village and from there flows
in a northeasterly direction. This stream furnishes excellent water power
at different points and it was the water power that determined the loca-
tion of Homer village.

Homer was fortunate in the number and character of its early settlers.
In this respect it compares most favorably with Marshall, Battle Creek
and Albion. What Jesse Crowell was to Albion, Sidney Ketchum to
Marshall and Sands ]McCanily to Battle Creek, Milton Barney was to
Homer. It was in 1832 that ]Mr. Barney came from Lyons, New York,
and entered a large part of the land on which the village of Homer now
stands, including the water power of the Homer mills. In 1833 he
brought his family, and that year he built a log house near the site of
the Homer mills. About this time he laid out a plot for a village, which
then, and for some time after, was called Barneyville. Mr. Barney built
the first saw mill and also the first gi-ist mill. These were constructed
by mechanics, whom Barney had induced to come west. He also built
and run the first hotel. He built, stocked and conducted the first store.
He gave the plot of the ground, two acres in area, for a cemetary. He
was president of the first bank, started in Homer in the year 1837. It
was first located in his store, but in the following year the directors put
up a fine brick structure in the central part of the town. The first town
meeting was held at the home of Mr. Barney in 1831. He was one of the
prime movers in the pro.iect to connect the waters of Lake Michigan
with those of the Detroit River and Lake Erie by means of a ship canal,
following in its general course the channels of the Saint Joseph and
Huron Rivers. Surveys were made, levels were struck and the project
regarded so feasible, that a favorable recommendation was made by the
engineers. At one time it really looked as though Homer might be an
important point on the line of a ship canal connecting the waters of



HISTORY OF CALHOUN COUNTY 189

two of our grt'iit iiilaiul seas. That it was not altogether visiouary may
i)e inferred from the fa



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 25 of 74)