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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the governor ; after that elected by the people.

Circuit Court Commissioners: George C. Gibbs, 1853-1854; George
Won.lfuff, isr>r)-l,s(i(): Sidney Thomas, 1861-1862; George Woodruff,
1m;:;-1S(;(k James 1'.. Greenough, 1863-1864; Joseph G. Lodge. 1865-
1866; James A. iliner. 1867-1870; Phillip H. Eramerson, 1867-1868;
Rienzi Loud. 1869-1870; Moses D. Russell. 1871-1876; William D.
Adams, 1871-1878; Herbert E. Winsor, 1877-1880; Eugene M. Con-
verse, 1879-1882; M. D. Weeks. 1S81-1S82; Charles E. Thomas, 1883-
1884; Joseph S. Noyes, 18S:;-1SS4; Stephen S. Hulbert, 1885-1886;
George H. Southworth, 18S.-,-lSSS; (i,.orge W^ Mechera, 1887-1892;
Jesse M. Hatch, 1889-1892; .Al. [). Weeks, 1893-1896; Geo. W. Nichols.
1893-1896; L. E. Clawson. 1894-1896; E. R. Loud. 1897-1900; Henrv
P. Lewis, 1899-1902; L. E. Stewart. 1901-1902; J. L. Hooper. 1903-
1906; Adrian F. Cooper, 1903-1904; J. Howard Green, 1905-1906;


Walter H. North, 1907-1910; Walter L. Cornell, 1907-1910; Lawrence
S. Page, 1907-1910; Albert N. Ford, 1911-1912; Charles 0. Miller,

Surveyors: Edwin A. Hayden, 1841-1842; Cyrus Hewitt, 1843-
1844; Cyrus Robertson, 1845-1846; Cyrus Hewitt, 1847-1848; Cyrus
Robertson, 1849-1850; Cyrus Hewitt, 1851-1852; Cyrus Robertson,
1853-1854; CvTus Hewitt. 1855-1858; Globe D. Lewis, 1859-1860;
Loren Wing. 1861-1862; John Meaeham, 1863-1864; David H. Miller,
1865-1866; William A. Sweet, 1867-1872; David A. Lichenor, 1873-
1876; Benjamin F. Wells, 1877-1880; Globe Lewis, 1881-1882; James
M. Giffor, 1883-1884; Benjamin F. Wells, 1885-1886; George Marsh,
1887-1888; James M. Gifford, 1889-1890; Uriah M. Gifford, 1891-1892;
Pratt A. Cortright, 1893-1904; Edward Hoyt, 1905-1906; Arthur H.
Chase, 1907-1912.

Drain Commissioners : George Johnson, 1870-1871 ; William A.
Sweet, 1872-1873; Otto L. Johnson, 1874-1875; George Marsh, 1875-
1876; J. H. Laberteaux, 1882-1883; B. F. Wetherbee, 1886-1888; A.
D. Eldred, 1889-1891; Uriah Gifford, 1892-1893; Jacob Blind, 1893-
1897 ; Charles B. Mead, 1898-1901 ; Edward D. Dickinson, 1902-1910 ;
L. Chester Williams, 1911-1912.

Commissioners of Schools: A. G. Randall, 1891-1897; Emma S.
Willitts, 1897-1899; Ernest Burnham, 1899-1904; Frank D. Miller,

Coroners: Granville Stowe. 1841-1842; James Winters, 1841-1842;
Granville Stowe. 1843-1844; Wright J. Esmond, 1843-1844; Wright
J. Esmond, 1845-1846; H. B. Tud, 1845-1846; James D. Potts, 1847-
1848; Charles Harkins, 1847-1848; Nathan Davis, 1849-1850; Aaron
Ismond, 1849-1850; John Houston, 1851-1852; Silas Sheffield, 1851-
1852; John Barbour, 1853-1854; Nathan Chidister, 1853-1854; David
H. Miller, 1855-1856; Benjamin Chamberlain, 1855-1856; Traeey H.
Swarthout, 1857-1858; Reuben E. Waldo, 1857-1858; John F. Hinman,
1859-1860; Isaac Beers, 1859^1.S6(); Alanson Graham, 1861-1862; George
McAllister, 1861-1862; Isaac Beers, 1863-1864; Charles .AI. Bardwell,
1863-1864: Thomas Knight, 1865-1866 ; Ira Nash, 1865-1866 ; Moses B.
Russell, 1867-1868; Willoughby O'Donoughue. 1867-1868; John S.
Evans, 1869-1870; Alanson Graham, 1869-1870: Sylvcslci- S. Granger,
1871-1872; Zeno Gould. 1871-1872; Peter Kot-htT. IsT.i 1^74; Willougli-
by O'Donoughue, 1873-1874; W. O'Donoughue, 1875-187G; Tracey^C.
.Southworth. 1875-1876; Morgan J. Alexander, 1877-1878; Tolmaii W.
Hall, 1877-1878; Elias Hewitt. 1879-1880: Zeno Gould, 1879-1880;
Elias IlHwitt. 1881-1882; Charles Rowe, 1881-1882; Alex. H. Briggs,
],ss:i-lSS4; William Howard. 1883-1884; Mvron Jov. 1883-1884; Devillo
Iliil.lijird, 1S83-1884; Alex. H. Briggs, 1885-1886; Elias Hewitt, 1885-
18SU; Elias Hewitt, 1887-1888; Alex. H. Briggs, 1887-1888; Thomas H.
Briggs, 1889-1892 : Elias Hewitt, 1889-1892 ; H. M. Merrill, 1893 ; Leon
Gillett, 1893.

Population .\nd Property V.vluation

Calhoun county ranks seventh in population, being surpassed by
Kalamazoo, Bay, Houghton, Saginaw, Kent, and Wayne, in the order


Valuation ol' taxjililc propi-rty as I'scimated liy the Slali' Imaid of
Tax CoininissioiU'i's in l!K)(i, $42,!):{7.S()() ; a,s (.Miualizi'd liy I'.oai-d of Su-
pervisors in l!l(!ti, $4(t.401.',:i71 : as cM|u,-ilizcil by Statr ISoard of K(|ualiza-
tion ill 1906, $41.U0U.Ul)().

Feroeiitago of state tax ])aitl liy county aci-ording' to iMiuali/alioii of
1906, .02364.

Aggregate of state tax in 11)10. >)illl.80y.58.

In 1910, of all the counties in tlie state Calhoun was surpasseil in ag-
gregate of state* tax only by Saginaw, $117,263.75; Kent, $299. 976. 93 ;
Houghton, $381,788.81 ; anil Wayne, $970,834.43.


1837 7,959 1874 35,655

1840 10,599 1880 38,452

1845 15,769 1884 41,585

1850 19,162 1890 43,501

1854 22,517 1894 47,472

1860 .29,564 1900 49,315

1864 30,770 1904 52,963

1870 ; 36,569 1910 56,638


Divisions 1864 1874 1!)10

Albion, Village and Township 2,251 2,614



Athens, Village and Township 1,032

Battle Creek, Township 1,078

Battle Creek, City 3,856

Bedford, Township 1,323

Burlington, Township 1,128

Clarenee, Township 892

Convis, Township 945

Clarendon, Township 1,060

Eokford, Township 1 ,017

Emmet, Township 1,160

Fredonia, Townslii]) 869

Homer, Village and Township 1,173

Lee. Township 912

LeRoy, Township 1.194

.Marengo. Township 84/

JIarshall. Towii'^hi]) 1.076

.Marshall. City 4.192

Xewtoii. Township 957

Penntield, Townshii) 999

Sheridan, Township 1,487

Tekonsha, Township 1,040





























S8( 1


1 .046


1 029

















Early Settlement of Marshall (by Mary Wheeler Miller) — Land-
marks OP Marshall (by Amelia Frink Redfield) — The Cholera
Scourge (1832) — ]\L\.rshall Banks — Manufacturing in Marshall
— The Calhoun County Agricultural Society

The following articles relate mostly to matters conueeted willi llie
early times of the village and city of Marshall which resulted in its
firm establishment as a progressive municipality.

Early Settlement op Marshall

By Mary Wheeler Miller

Tlie accounts of the taking up of a wild, unoccupied region of ter-
ritory, and the settlement of the same are ever of thrilling interest, yet
how much deeper is the interest to us, if the story of how cultivated,
intelleetnal men and women went into the wilderness, sulidued the land,
aiid made homes for themselves and their posterity, be the recounting
of events in the lives of our own forbears, and that, to us, the region
brought a civilized state by them, bears the hallowed name of ■'home."

Historically, the story of the settlement of Marshall over eighty
j'ears ago, is one of notable intei-est, the hardships and conditions of a
life in the wilderness having been met bravely and courageously, by
men and women whose distinguished traits made the town, for many
years, the most important in tlie state outside of Detroit.

Because of the idea, prevalent ninety years ago, that Michigan was a
land of swamp, unfit for settlement, the western tide of immigration
had avoided its borders; it had even escaped the encumbrance of
soldier bounty lands. The Territorial Governor, Lewis ]\L Cass, (term
1813-1831) did much to destroy the popular illusion regarding iAIich-
igan, and to his efficient administration is due the rapid settleiiipnt of the
country after 1830. Under him two roads were opened across the
territory; the "Chicago Turnpike" which began at Detroit and termi-
nated at Chicago and had been worked at government expense, and
the "Territorial Road" which diverged from the Chicago road at or
near Ypsilanti, passed directly west to the mouth of the St. Jo river

(roOT Note. The territorial road is marked in Marshall by a boulder placed
by the Mary Marshall Chapter, D. A. E.)



aud had only been surveyed and marked. Both roads followed deep
cut Indian trails, and over them came the immigrants to settle the new

Of the great beauty of Jlit-higan in its virgineal state all early set-
tlers agree. The Indians burned all underbrush every fall, and this
kept the country like a vast park; at intervals the giant forest trees,
shading a beautiful greensward, which, in the spring was covered with
many hued flowers. It is said of Jabez Fitch and Littlejohn, that upon
beholding the beauty of the scene for the first time, they knelt aud offered
a prayer to the God of the Universe.

It' was in the summer of 1830 that Mr. Sidney Ketchum of Peru,
Clinton county, New York, decided to visit the territory of Michigan.
He was provided with letters of introdvxction to Gov. Cass, and landed
in Detroit in August. Having obtained all possible information, he
proceeded into the interior aud at Ann Arbor pi-ocured the aid of two
men who had some knowledge of the country. They went west over
the Territorial Road, and at Jackson found several newly erected log
houses. Pushing further west, they reached the junction of Rice creek
with the Kalamazoo river. Here, having determined that both streams
posses.sed good water power, and having bought up floating claims which
might interfere with ownership rights, Mr. Ketchum located his claims.
Because the land was not yet subject to entry, Mr. Ketchum arranged
with a certain ilcKinstry of Scliooleraft. for a commission of .$75.00
to locate the land for him upon the opening of the land office in
^Monroe the following October. McKinstry did locate these lands, Octo-
ber 15th, 1830, but in his own name. Mr. Ketchum subsequently pur-
chased them, the deed bearing date ilay 11, 1831.

Late in the fall of 1830 two young men, Isaac X. Kurd a civil
engineer, and Calvin Smith a lawyer, were seeking in Calhoun county
for a suitable location, and upon hearing that the lands at the junction
of Rice creek and the Kalamazoo river had been located, they con-
cluded that that would be a proper site for a county seat. They, to-
gether with Hon. J. Allen, procured floating claims, and laid these
claims on the map at a certain point between two eighties belonging
to two different sections. This was the site of the old Calhoun county
court 'house, now the West End Park. Sidney Ketchum, hearing of
this, ha,stened back from the east, bought Allen's share in the pro-
posed county seat, and then returned to bring his family out to their
new home.

In the .summer of 1831, Messrs. Hunl and Smitli. the owners ol' two
thirds of the county seat, procured a survey and platting of the same.
The government required that before the proclamation should be is-
sued declaring this point the seat of justice for Calhoun, that the
following conditions should be complied with ; the relinquishment on
the part of the owners of the land, for public use of the alleys, streets,
and squares to be used for public buildings. Upon Mr. Ketchum 's
return from New York this Avas arranged. The new seat of justice
was named Marshall in honor of John Marshall, then chief justice of
the United States, who was a warm and respected friend of Mr. Ket-
chum 's. Among the property released was the court house square


(now the West End Park), four church lots, for the Presbyterians,
Methodists, Baptists and Episcopalians; also a lot was put aside for
a seminary and one for a jail.

The first settler to arrive was Mr. George Ketchum. He was a man
of strong frame and well balanced mind, accustomed to carrying on
a diversity of business and of control of men. lie arrived in Marshall
the 18th of April, 1831, accompanied by a gang of men to build mills.
These were Horace P. Wisner, Solomon Allen, White Ketchum, a cousin,
John Kennedy, and Larson Ball. IMr. Ball brought his wife, and she
was for some time the only white woman here. The journey out from
Detroit over the Territorial Road was made with ox-teams, over almost
impassable, bridgeless highways, and took eleven days. There was no
house in the county at the time, the place being a veritable wilderness.
Mi-s. Ball slept in the wagon and cooked on the ground till a house
could be built. This first house in Calhoun county was of logs, twenty-
six feet long, 20 feet wide, and one and one-half stories high, and was
located on Rice creek.

After the erection of the house, work was commenced on the saw
mill; this was on Rice creek somewhat east of where the "White Mill"
now stands. The building of this saw mill was in progress when Dr.
A. L. Hays arrived the next month. May, 1831. Dr. Hays selected
three lots on the south side of the river, put up a shanty, and with the
help of a hired man put in a few acres to corn and potatoes. The
planting being accomplished, he built a log house, and returned P^ast
for his familv.

Of the first religious service in the new settlement we have the ac-
count from the pen of Rev. John D. Pierce who writes; "Arriving at
Marshall the last of June, I found one or two shanties, and a double
log house partly done. Next day. being the Sabbath day, July 1, 1831,
by consent of the owner the meeting was appointed. The entire com-
munit.v assembled, not one of the settlers was absent. When the con-
gregation came together it numbered about twenty-five. Some present
were non-residents in search of locations, land lookers they were called.
The novelt.v of the scene induced all to attend. There was one con-
gressman, and one judge from the East, and others were uien of learning
and intelligence. At that time there were three white females *in the
county, two in Marshall and one twelve miles west. I never preached
to a more attentive congregation. This was the first Christian assembly,
and the first sermon ever preached in that region for hundreds of miles
in extent, where the red man and his companion hunter, the wolf, had
roamed free for ages."

Mr. Sidney Ketchum returned in July with his family, consisting
of his wife, five children, parents, and a young sister. Here in this
true camp in the wilderness, did this little band of men and women
labor assidously, hewing the forest trees to make themselves homes, wrest-
ing from nature the wherewithal to live.

Sidney Ketchum is described as a man of commanding presence, an
air of confidence and honesty, and a ready command of most convincing
language. He was called by the Indians "The Great White Chief."
Marshall, in its building, owes much to Mr. Ketchum 's ability and enter-


prise. In September, 1831, Dr. A. L. Hays arrived with his family,
his house being on the south side of the river, between the stone
brewery and the ((uarry. They harvested the crop of corn and pota-
toes that the doctor had plantecl befoi-e leaving in the spring, and had a
plentiful crop of each. This was the first raised in the town. Peter
Chisholm had a shanty about a mile further down on the same side
of the river, but after the birth of his little daughter, Helen M., the
first white child to be born in the county, he removed to the town
(or where it was to be), thus leaving the Hays the only white family
living between the Kalamazoo and St. Jo rivers. Here they lived
during the \dnter of 1831-32, and here their son Luther H. was liorn
January 17. 1832. the first white male child born in our eountv.

Only Old Style Saw Mill Left

On the third of September, 1831, the saw mill was finished, and
its benefit to the settlers can hardly be estimated. Up to that time
the pioneers were living without flooi-s, and often without doors, to
their houses. The houses were covered with bark, shakes (split shingles)
or split logs. This, too, be it remembered when the woods swarmed
with Indians and wild beasts. On the completion of the mill, George
Ketchum returned to bring out his family. Mrs. Ketehum writes: "We
were ten days coming from Detroit in a lumber wagon. At Sandstone
creek iMr. Ketchum carried us across on his back. On the evening of
November 2, we arrived in Marshall, a howling wilderness. Wolves
and bears were our nightly visitors."

During 1831, Isaac N. Hurd, Lucius Lyon, H. H. Corastock and
John Bertram located twelve parcels of land in Marshall township, and
during that year John I. Guernsey, Stephen Kimball, Sidney Alcott,
Thomas and Peter Chisholm, Henry Cook, Heniy Faling, Ezera and
Samuel Conors, Nathan Pierce, Nathan Barney, Polodon Hudson,


Thomas J. Hurlbert, Asabel Warner, Thomas Burland, Thomas Knight,
S. G. Crossman, Oshea Wilder. Dowena Williams, Josiah Godard, Rev.
John D. Pierce, and many others came to the county. Upon Rev.
Pierce's return wdth his family the community urged them to make
Marshall their home instead of proceeding farther west as had been
their intention, and Mr. Pierce writes, "as an earnest of their good-
will and wishes they gave me one of two village lots on which the
double log house was built. (This lot was the second from the north-
east corner of Mansion street and Kalamazoo avenue.) I paid the
man who built it a fair compensation, and in this house, for two years,
meetings were held nearly every Sunday. There remained during the
winter about sixty persons." Since the double log house was the most
commodious in the little settlement, it speedily became a stopping place
for travelers and land lookers. With all her aristocratic training
Mrs. Pierce was a frugal house wife, and she saw a way to add a
honest dollar now and then to the income of her missionary husband,
and many were the settlers who paid tribute to the good accommoda-
tion of the Pierce home.

Among the ari-ivals in 1832 were Rev. Hobart, a Methodist preacher,
Dr. Luther Wells Hart, a physician, Isaac E. Crary, George E. Fake,
Marvin Preston, Charles D. Smith, Reuben White and others.

In May 1832, an historical event was the founding of the Con-
gregational church, formed mih seven members, Stephen Kimball be-
ing its first deacon.

During this month of May, too, there occurred a terrible fright to
the settlers when the alarm was given that the fierce "Black Hawk"
with his "braves" was on the war path, and that death and destruc-
tion would mark their trail. It was indeed appalling news to the
little band of colonists all unlearned in Indian warfare. A meeting
was called, and it was decided to send forth all available men to meet
the savages. Accordingly, two days later, twelve men. armed with
rifles, their blankets packed and provisioned, started forth. George
Ketchum was chosen first in command, Isaac E. Crary, second. On
the company's arrival at Prairie Ronde, they found Col. Daniels, com-
mander of the district, and learned to their relief that there was no
immediate danger. This ended the "Black Hawk war" as far as
Marshall was concerned, but the fear and feeling of insecurity caused,
remained long with the settlers.

In July, 1832, the cholera scourge broke out in the little settle-
ment, out of the seventy inhabitants eight died, and many were stricken.
The first victim of the dread disea.se was Isaac N. Hurd. He died at
the home of Mr. Pierce about sundown, and was buried that same
night, by torchlight, on his own land. The seven other cholera victims
(among whom was the gifted Mrs. Pierce) were buried by him. This
land was deeded by Mr. Kurd's heirs to the village for burial purposes
and M'as used as a cemetery till 1839. It was located west of Linden
street, between State and Hanover.

Despite these gloomy events the town had advanced in improve-
ments, and continued to grow.

The mail was received from Detroit regularly once a week, and


George Ketehum was the tirst postmaster. It is said tlie mail was kept
first in the clock and then in a cigar box.

In the spring of 1832 the tirst school house, a frame building, was
erected, and stood on the second lot west of the Presbyterian church
(northwest corner Eagle and Mansion streets) and Miss Eliza Ketehum
was its tirst teacher. However, during the previous year, when a loft
was the best school room that could be provided, instruction had been
given the few children of the settlement by a Miss Brown, who had
been called from Ann Arbor for the purpose. The first pioneers, being
people of learning and culture, recognized the importance of early in-
struction for the young, and had thus provided for it. The new school
house was also used for religious meetings, Mv. Pierce and Mr. Hobart
preaching alternately.

In 1832, the first dry goods store was established by Charles D.
Smith. He arrived with a box of dry goods, and u.sed the same box
for a counter in a little room ten by twelve feet.

In 1832, also, the first regular tavern was built in Jlai-shall. (Rev.
Pierce's having been a "house of hospitality" as boarding houses were
then called). It was a frame building built by Sam Camp the pro-
prietor, who called it the "Exchange Hotel." It was located where
the stone barn now stands, and was afterwards (Icslrnycd liy fire.

In 1833, Sidney Ketehum laid out an addilimi Id I lie \ill.ijiv. recorded
as the "upper village of Marshall" which was diifdly cast nT the village
fii-st planned ; this included all land east of Division and Jefferson
streets, from that time there existed, in the rapidly growing town, a
sharp rivalry between the two factions; everything was fought over,
the location of hotels, school house, mills, bank. An amusing incident
of the rivalry is related regarding the starting of the first l)ank in 1836.
The west end magnates were Dr. Hays, Sam C. Camp, Charles D. Smith,
S. S. Alcott and others; those of the east end were the Ketehum
brothers. The books were opened at the National Hotel, and stock
was being subscribed by the west enders (juietly, no one appeai'ing
from the east end till toward evening, when, just before the closing of
the books, George Ketehum came, in, took vip the book, and began to
subscribe for himself and his friends various amounts of stock, and to
pay into the hat, the receptacle for the first cash instalment the five
per cent, of the sul)scriptions demanded on the same. The subscrip-
tions grew apace, the money accumulated in the hat till the west enders
])egan to grow alarmed as they saw the Ketcluims ;nid their adherents
getting control of the stock. Whereupon Smitii snatched file book from
under Ketehum 's arm, but Ketehum reached for tlie ileposits whicli he
retained, and the work was suspended. The matter was compromised by
Ketehum 's securing a controlling interest. The bank was built just inside
the line of the plat of the lower village. It was chartered under the
safety fund system. Sidney Ketehum was the first and only presichmt,
and George S. Wright was its first cashier. Its capital was $100,000, and
it continued to do business till October 15, 1840, when it ceased opera-

Marshall was a lively, and interesting place in those booming days
before the panic of 1837. The town, which had a good chance of be-


coming the capital of the state attracted large numbers of college bred
men, and was long considered the most intellectual place outside of
Detroit. (The bill to locate the state capital at .Maishall actually
passed the senate by a majority of fourteen, but by undue influence it
was thrown out of the lower house by a majority of two). The town
also derived no small amount of prospective importance from the fact
that a college was incorporated, and steps were taken to prepare for
its early erection. A beautiful tract of land was purchased, a primary
building put up, and for a short time occupied for school purposes.
The Rev. John D. Cleveland was elected president of the college, was
upon the ground, devoted to the enterprise, and surely deserved suc-
cess. (The primary building was located on the second lot north of
the northeast corner Mansion and High streets.) An institution was
incorporated about the same time for the higher education of females,
and a building erected on the lot east of Sidney Ketchum's, called a
Female Seminary, which was occupied some two or three years, and
then with the college, utterly failed. Neither came to their end from
want of appreciation of their advantages. Init because they were jire-
maturely started.

The two centers of the to\vn's activity were the court house square
in the lower town, and the Marshall house square in the upper. On the

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 30 of 74)