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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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torn down as it was ({uaint and pretty. It is perhaps a sign of progress
to desire something better than we have had before but it has its un-
pleasant side if we judge from a sentimental point of view.

The Colonial house, now owned and occupied by .Mr. Charles E.
Gorham, was built about 1840, by Jabez Fitch of New York. It is said
to have been designed by liicharcl Upjohn the noted New York architect.
Mr. Charles T. Gorham bought the place in 1851 and it was the scene
of many gaieties ; every governor of the state down to Pingree was en-
tertained in the house as well as Charles Tappau, first president of
the university of Michigan, Dorothea Uix, Senator Chandler, \V. A.
Howard, lion. E. B. AVashburu, ambassador to France, lion. John J\l.
Francis, ambassador to Austria and Greece, Hon. Thomas O'Brien,
present ambassador to Konie, and many others. In 1861 the first mili-
tary company raised iu town, Company I, First Infantry, was enter-
tained by Mr. and Mrs. Gorham at a lawn party. Devillo Hubbard was
captain, Selden Gorham was first lieutenant. Mrs. Gorham presented
each man with a Testament as a parting gift. At the west side of the
place near the front enti'auce is a large oak tree under which Rev. John
i'ieice and General Crary were wont to sit on a log and discuss tlicir
plans for a school system. They were both educated men interested in
educational affairs and conversant with the best systems at that time in
use in' the world. Mr. Crary, as chairman of the committee on educa-
tion in the first constitutional convention (1835) introduced the article
relating to education which was adopted by Gen. Crary 's suggestion
to Governor ^lason. Rev. Pierce was made superintendent of public
instruction, the fii-st one in the United States. This system as adopted
was much in advance of the thought of the day and no commonwealth
makes provision more broad or thorough for the general education of the
people. The newer states of the union have been glad to follow the
example of Michigan. Gen. Crary and Rev. Pierce are both l)uricd in
our beautiful Oaki'idge cemeterj', the grave of the latter being marked
with a simple shaft given by the school children of Michigan. Another
intiicsting monument is that over the grave of Isaac Newton Hurd,
the liist jii rson to die in the town. He was buried on his own lantl
near the river. After the Marshall cemetery on Oak Ridge was opened
in 183!J. his body was moved, as was that of Mrs. Pierce and others. The
inscription on his monument says: ""P^rected to the memniy of Isaac
N. Hurd, who was born at Arlington, Vermont, September 4, 1804, and
died at this place of cholera, July 21, 1832.

■ ' Early and sudden was Xejiton 's fate
Severe and awful death his visit paid.
His thoughts went forth to meet him on his \\;lv
And GaJ-ety forgot it was to die. ' '

During the winter of 1847, there stood on the proiterty now owned
by Mrs. Marvin Ferguson, a humble dwelling. A colored himily uauied


Crosswhite occupied the house. Adam Crosswhite was born in Bourbon,
Kentucky, October 17, 17!I9. Ilis father was under the laws of the
state his iiuisIim-, iiis mother being at the time of his birth, a slave.
At an c;irl,\ .luv. Adam was given to his half sister as a servant. Miss
Crosswhite iillcrwaid married Ned Stone, a notorious slave dealer, who
if not the original Simon Legree, of "Uncle Tom's cabin," might have
been, so similar were his life and character to those so graphically por-
trayed by Mrs. Stowe. Stone retained possession of the boy for a time
and then sold him to a man named Troutman for $200.00. When twenty
years of age the bo.v was traded off to one Frank Giltner, with whom he
stayed until forty-five years of age. At that time he was married and
had seven ehiklren. Becoming aware that Giltner was going to sell part
of his fiimily he watched his opportunity, obtained a skiff and with his
family pushed off for .Madison. There he was received by the under-
ground railroad managers and sent north. Crosswhite "s experiences in
reaching Michigan might be written into an interesting book. In Marshall
he was known as a quiet, industrious man. Earl.v in the winter of 1846
there came to Marshall a young man, who represeuteil liiniself to be a
lawyer in search of business, but in fact was Giltiiei's repi-eseiitative in
identifying his fugitive slaves, and planning their recapture. He did
his work well through artifice and with the help of aid which he hii-ed
in Marsluill. but he did not succeed in perfectly concealing his plans.
The abduction was finally attempted, early on the morning of Januarv
27, 1847. Cro.sswhite saw their approach and succeeded in giving an
alarm. Though there was no violence the crowd gave the men to under-
stand that they would not allow the slaves to be taken. Finall.\- Trout-
man met the remonstrances with a demand for their name. One of them
replied, "Charles T. Gorham, write it in capital letters." Another
replied, "Oliver Cromwell Comstoek, Jr. Take it in full so that m.v
father will not be held responsible for what I do." Another was Jarvis
Hurd. These were well known citizens of pecuniary responsibilities.
Later in the day George Ingersoll took the family to Jackson in a wagon
and sent them on the cars to Canada. In a few days the Kentuckians
returned to their state which was soon aflame with wrath at this "North-
ern outrage."" Finall.v the state made an appropriation for the prose-
cution of all concerned in the escape of the Crosswhites. Troutman
returned to Michigan in the summer of 1847 and brought action to
recover the value of the rescued slaves in the United States court
against a large number of defendants. The case as tried was practically
a prosecution of Messrs. Gorham, Comstoek and Hurd. The trial lasted
three weeks, and the .jurv disagreed. In 1848 the second trial began.
Prominent Democratic politicians went to ilr. Gnrhani. who at that time
was a Democrat, and declared they were personally friendly to him,
but they wanted the case to go against the defendants. Lewis Cass was
candidate for President, and the politicians wanted at that particular
time, as they expressed it, the South to understand that Detroit and
Michigan sympathized with the slave-holding element. The case came
to trial, was ably defended by Judge H. H. Enfmons, J. F. Joy and
Theodore Romeyne. After a hard-fought struggle the case was decided
as Cass wanted it to he. for the slave hunters. The defendants were

UIS'I'OUV OF CAMlorX ('orXTY 245

miuiird to pay about $1,000.00 and costs. Heiuy Clay look the case
into the senate and there atlvocated the neL'es.sit\ ol' a iiioic sliiu^cnl
fugitive slave law. Tlie ■■riotous scenes ( ?) " enacted near the humble
cabin of Crosswhite, received national consideration. History tells the
rest. Mr. Clay took a personal interest in this matter as the Giltner
and Clay plantations were near each other. The result of Clay's effort
was the passing of the fugitive slave law. After the trial the Cross-
whites returned to Marshall. Living in Battle Creek a few years ago
was an old negro bootblack, Ben Crosswhite, who, when asked, "What
did yon have to do with the war?" would rejdy, " 1 was the cause of de
war. ' '

The Cholee.^ Scourge .\t M-iRSH.\Li. (1832)

The worst scoiirge that ever visited Calhoun eouuty came sutldeiily
and unexpectedly in the summer of 1832. On the morning of July
20, the little settlement at ^Marshall was startled by the report that
Isaac N. Kurd, one of the founders of the village, was sick with the
cholera. At noon on the 19th, he moved among his fellow pioneers in
the fullness of health and strength. At sunset on the 2()th, after an
illness of twenty houi-s, he was dead. A eotifin was hastily construeted and
a grave dug. Under a nnirky sky and through a gently falling I'ain,
guided by the flickering light of rude torches, men bore his body in
silence and laid it to rest in the first grave that opened in Calhoun
county to receive the white man's dead. One after another was stricken
with the dreadful malady until every house had its sick and every
family its dead.

In this time of calamity, among those sought to relieve the sick and
comfort the dying was the wife of ^Ir. John D. Pierce, a Congregational
missionary. She was a refined and cultured woman who had come less
than a year before with her husband and two small children to .share
in the labor and the honor of laying the foundations of a new civiliza-
tion in intelligence, morality and religion. Returning weary and faint
after ministering to the sick, she was seized almost at once by the fatal
disease. All uigiit long, the anxious husband stood a lonely vigil by the
side of the suffering wife, ministering to her wants as best he could,
while in the sauie room the babes slept, all unconscious that death with
hurrying step was coming to lay his icy hand upon their motlier. Just
as morning drew liack the curtain of the night, the gentle spirit took
its departure and the husliand without food or rest began at once, with
his own hands, to prepare the body for its burial, while liis uncared
for babes cried for the mother whose ears could no longer hear their
call, nor hands labor to relieve their wants. While two others lay in an
adjoining room suffering agonies peculiar to the disease, the body of
Mrs. Pierce, without religious fonu or ceremony, was borne to the grave
that waited to receive it.

Among others in the community, were three brothers from Kentucky.
One of these fell mortally ill and the other two, after making hurried
arrangements for his burial, mounted their horses and fled from the com-
munity, never to return. Cliildren and youth and parents, all felt its
l)lighting touch. The school house was turned into a hospital for the


sick aud the hillside into a graveyard for the dead. Some left the
stricken comnumity in the fliglit of fear aud terror; others hearing
back to eastern homes and friends the children bereft of father or mother
or both. For weeks, the pall of gloom hung over the stricken communitj^
and for years, conversation was hushed as its frightful memories were

In Athens township, the ravages of the same disease struck terror
to the bravest hearts in that new and growing settlement. There, the
lives of five in a single family, father, mother aud three sisters, went
out with startling suddenness. Exaggerated reports of the conditions in
Marshall and Athens spread through all the regions around about and
in all of these, lirave men and courageous women waited with fear and
trembling, not knowing when, or where, or to whom the dread specter
might appear. It is still regarded as the gloomiest period in the history
of the county.


The fii"st bank in Calhoun comity was chartered in 1836. It was
located in ^larshall and was capitalized at .'jilOO.OOO.OO. Sidney Ketchum
was president and George S. Wright, cashier. It closed its doors Sep-
tember 15, 1840, and ceased to do business. This bank M'as started in
the days when the rivalry between the east and west end, or "upper
town" and '"lower town" as the two sections were called, was intense.
The business men of the town having determined that Marshall ought
to have a bank, it became a very live (juestion as to where the institu-
tion should be located. Dr. Hayes, S. Camp, S. S. Alcott, Charles D.
Smith, with other prominent "west end" citizens felt they ought to have
the say as to location. The books were opened at the National House
and the stock was being subscribed very quietly but very generally by
the west enders, and everything seeihed to be going as they wished.
Towards evening, however, and just before the closing of the books,
George Ketchum of the "east end" came in, and taking up the book,
looked it over, after which he took his seat and began to subscribe for
himself and friends various amounts of stock and to pay into the hat,
the receptacle for the first iustallment, the five per cent of the subscrip-
tion demanded on the same. The subscriptions grew apace and the
money accumulated in the iiat until the west enders saw the Ketchums,
Sidney and George, with their adherents getting control of the stock,
whereupon Smith seized the book at the same time Ketchum reached
for the deposits, which he succeeded in retaining, and the organization of
the bank was temporarily delayed. Later the matter was compromised
l)y the Ketchums securing a controlling interest, a bank building was
erected just inside the line of the plat of the lower village where in diic
time the Calhoun county bank opened for business.

In the year 1837 "wild cat" banks were instituted in Marshall.
Battle Creek and Homer. The Bank of Marshall was capitalized at
$400,000.00. Its president was Horace Brace and Joseph C. Frink the
cashier. The bank's place of business was in the new court house in
1838; but before New Year's day, 1839, the Bank of Marshall was
adrift in the sea of irredeemable paper money and never after found a




mooring. Its doors wore permanently closed to business. The people
learned a costly lesson and the folly of those days has never been

Charles T. Gorhani and Horace J. Perrin carried on the banking
business in Marshall as private concerns for many years. Indeed, after
the failure of the Calhoun County bank in 1840 there was no regulai'ly
chartered bank in Marshall until 1863, when the Bank of JMichigan was
organized under the state banking law, with a capital of $100,000.00.
Joseph Sibley was president and William Powell cashier. In 1865 it
was re-organized as the National Bank of Michigan, with Horace J.
Perrin president and William Powell cashier; Manlius Man, Samuel S.
Lacey, Enos Church and J. M. Buckley, directors. At the re-organiza-
tion, the capital stock was fixed at $100,000.00 which in 1874 was in-
creased to $200,000.00. In later years this bank went into voluntary

The First National Bank was organized August 5, 1865, and com-
menced doing business on the 9th day of the following October. Charles
T. Gorham, president; Charles P. Dibble, vice-president; George S.
Wright, cashier; William R. Schuyler, George B. Murray, Asa B. Cook,
Pratt A. Spicer and Devillo Hubbard, members of the first board of
directors. Although its first president and all the other officers and
directors at the time the bank was organized are long since dead, the
institution has never failed to open its doors on time for business in
the more than forty-seven years of its existence as a national bank.
It was never on a sounder financial basis that at this time. On the
retirement of General Charles T. Gorham, the first president, he was
succeeded by his son Seldon, and upon the latter 's death in October,
1902, he was succeeded by his younger brother Charles E. Gorham,
who has since been the directing head. A full list of the present officers
and directors with a statement as to the status of the bank will be found
with the other banks of the county in the article entitled "Banking,
Bankers and Banks."

Another of the strong and sound financial concerns of the county is
the Commercial Savings Bank, of Marshall. This institution was or-
ganized May 9, 1902, by William J. Dilible and Winthrop T. Phelps.
The capital stock at organization was $50,000.00. The original board of
directors was composed of the following gentlemen in addition to the
two above named: E. G. Brewer, M. S. O'Keefe, W. E. Bosley, George
Perrett. John Powell, John Wiseman and Thonms L. Cronin. The
present board of officers and directors together wdth a statement of the
bank's condition will be found elsewhere. There have been no changes
in the original board of directors except those caused by death.


Bij sSamurJ F. Dnhhlns

Soon after the Michigan Central Raili-oad Company extended their
line through to ^larsliall in 1844. they erected shops for such work as
pertained to niaintainance of equipment and rolling stock, repairing


cars, engines, etc. These shops were enlarged previous to 1850 and at
that time Joseph Caywood was master mechanic until after 1852.
He was succeeded by Charles Sweet and Mr. Newhall. Amos Wilson
also had charge for some time.

Julius Engleman, at present one of our oldest citizens, came here
from Detroit and built the smoke hoods of the round house, which was
situated on the present site of the Michigan Central freight ware house.
He .ilfcrwards erected a 40 H. P. stationary engine, all of the work
being done here in .Marshall, which was quite a piece of mechanism at
that time.

These shops were maintained twenty-three years and over, during
which time they employed seventy-five to one hundred and twenty men.
They were removed from ^Marshall to Jackson June 8, 1873.

During the period 1858-1870 several factories were in operation in
ilarshall, mostly situated in Perrinville, where the present water and
electric light plant is located.

A large paper mill was situated on the site now occupied by the
Borough & Blood Buggy Co. Adjacent to this was a spring factory
owned by Horace J. Perrin, who also operated a saw and plaster mill and
bank on the west side of South Marshall avenue, just south of the Michi-
gan Central Railroad. He also operated a large twelve stone Houring
mill on the east side of the street and at one time a flouring mill at the
corner of Exchange and Mill streets, on Rice creek. All of these facto-
ries were run by water power and employed in all aliout fifty men.

Jas. L. Dobl)iiis was at that time proprietor of a large building and
contracting Ijusiut'ss occupying a factory just east of the large Perrin
flouring mill. Mr. Dobbins erected most of the best blocks and churches
in our city and employed about sixty men.

A fire May 4, 1872, destroyed nearly all of these industries and they
were not rebuilt.

jMarch 1, 1870, Messrs. Jas. L. Dobbins and Wm. Phelps embarked
in the manufacture of a furnace, which was patented by Mr. Phelps,
and we may say that this business was very successful from the start
and is still in existence, being now under the control of Messrs. Wm. R.
Simons and Geo. W. Leedle, who purchased the business from the for-
mer owner.s in the spring of 1911. They changed the corporate name
to The Simons-Leedle Furnace Company. Capital $25,000 and employ
in all fifteen to twenty men.

In 1873 Julius Engleman was proprietor of a foundry and machine
shop at the junction of Hanover, Exchange streets and Marshall
avenue. ^Mr. Engleman melted two heats per week of about two ton

Adjacent to this property were also smaller shops, a carriage and
wagon shop by Hoffman, Hiller & Vogt; one by Adam Rimes; black-
smith shop on the west side of the street by Theo. Welch, also a black-
smith shop owned and occupied by J. C. Egeler at the corner of Green
and Exchange streets, which was operated continuouslv by ]Mr. Egeler
from 1858 to 1908.

All of the above employed from twenty to thirty-five men.

Chas. E. Brooks owned and operated a flouring mill at the corner


of Exchange and Hanover streets, and was later engaged in the manu-
facture of flour at the corner of South ^Marshall avenue and Mill sti-eet.
Messrs. Crane & Hurd owned and operated a very large tlour mill
covering the period of 185(3 to 1884 of about 225 barrels daily capacity.
This mill was situateil cast and north of the Michigan Central depot
and was at that time one of the largest mills, if not the largest, in Michi-
gan, employing from thirty to fifty men.

Peters Bros. & ilurray also owned and operated the "Warreu" Hoe
Factory adjacent to the Michigan Central Railroad, opposite Locust
street. This factory was operated from ISid to lS7(i, i'tii])loying tweut.\-
to twenty-five men.

In 1872 a foundry and machine siiop under the management of
Geo. A. BuUard was started on the corner of South Kalamazoo avenue
and Spruce street, and the business gradually grew into one of ^lar-
shall's largest industries. Mr. Bullard manufactured furnaces for Jas.
L. Dol)bins from 1874 to 1882 and for Messrs. Edgar H. Grant and
Samuel F. Dobbins from 1882 to 1888, at which time he also manufac-
tured stoves, school and church furniture, agricultural implements, etc.,
at times employing as high as one hundred men. Mr. Bullard disposed
of his furnace business to ilessrs. Grant & Dobbins in 1888 and retired
from active business in 1909 and sold his manufacturing plant to
Chas. I. Murdock and Chas. W. Dobbins, the present owners.

A small wagon and carriage shop owned and operated by Wm. L.
Page on the site just east of the present location of the stone barn,
gradually grew into one of ^Marshall's best manufacturing plants, the
business being established in 1869; incorpoi-ated in 1890 and re-incor-
porated in 1893 with capitalization of $50,000, and has run continu-
ously ever since ; Wm. L. Page, president and general manager ; p]gbert
E. Page, secretary and treasurer. They manufacture a line of buggies
and high grade vehicles, which have gained a wide reputation, and
employ on an average of seventy-five men. They own and occupy a
large three-story brick factory 60 x 400 feet on South Kalamazoo

The Borough & Blood Buggy and Vehicle Company are also one of
^larshall's present industries, the business having been established by
W. J. Borough in 1902 and afterwards incorporated with capital stock
of $35,000. AVm. E. Bosley, president ; W. H. Arthur, vice-president ;
Anna M. ^IcDermott, secretary and treasurer ; A. T. Norton, manager.
They have about thirty employees. This firm started their business in
the plant formerly occupied by the Royal Cycle Works at the corner of
Spruce and iladisou sti'eets and in 1911 moved into a handsome new
plant erected by F. A. Stuart on thr site occupied liy tlic ]iapcr mill
in Perrinville.

The Lambert Marliine Company cmjilny a force of twcnty-ti\c men.
Their factory is located on South Madison street and they manufacture
machinery of all kinds for roasting cotit'ee, peanuts and cereals. This
factory was formerly occupied and managed by Nelson Church and
Franklin Edgerton. who manufactured sash doors and blinds and did
a large building and contracting business. Messrs. Franklin Edgerton


& Sons succeeded Messrs. Church & Edgerton in the manufacture of
building supplies.

The Foote Axle Company manufacture ball-bearing axle burrs and
quick shift couplers. F. M. Foote, president.

The Wolverine Temperature Regulator Company (Wells & Kelley,
proprietors) manufacture automatic heat regulators for furnaces,
steam and hot water. They o\v-ii and occupy a factory 'on Exchange
street, between State and Green streets.

When the Cincinnati, Northern & JMiehigan Railroad Company
built their line from Toledo to Allegan in 1884 their shops were located
in Marshall. Since then the road has changed hands and is now con-
trolled and owned by the Michigan Central with tliirty-tive to fifty

January 1, 1894, George Curren Bentley, with others, founded The
Marshall Wagon and Windmill Co.. incorporated with capital stock of

The Stone Barn, Old Stage Depot, A Relic of Stage" Days, Marshall

$25,000. In 1896 .Mr. Bentley and liis son. Rupert, purchase J interest
of the other stock holders, continuing the business until April 9, 1903.
This firm manufactured wagons, windmills, etc.. and employed twenty-
five to forty men.

The C. E. Brooks Rupture Appliance Company manufacture ap-
pliances for ruptures and this firm owns and occupies the Brooks Block
on Main street, corner of South Exchange and have from thirty to fifty

C. E. Gauss manufacturers Gauss' Celebrated Catarrh Remedy, and
occupies the Gauss building on the south side of Main street, between
Jefferson and Eagle, and have from thirty to fifty employees.

F. A. Stuart, numufacturer of Stuart's Famous Dyspepsia Tablets
and other proprietary medicines, occupies the Stuart Block a large
handsome building on the east side of Jefferson street, between Green
and State streets. This building is also the home of the Statesman Print-



ing establisluiu'iit and tliert- ari' cinplnx rd in llic two imlusliics alxml
fifty people.

The Pyramid Drug Company maniilacture proprietary medicines,
and oeeiipy offiee and building at the corner of Hamilton and State
streets, under the management of Wni. F. Church and employ fifteen to

The John R. Smyth Printing Company, Standard Printing Com-

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 32 of 74)