Washington Gardner.

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

. (page 41 of 74)
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It repeatedly carried off the first prize at state tournaments, its victo-
ries heralding the name of Battle Creek through the commonwealth.

On the eleventh of May, 1863, the common council appointed a
committee with authority to purchase a Button and Blake steam lire
engine. The committee reported they had selected such engine, weigh-
ing four thousand four hundred pounds, which, with a hose cart and
eight hundred feet of hose, the city could purchase for five thousand
dollars. The committee was authorized to buy the same. In 1874 the

Fire Department

Goguac Hook and Ladder Company was organized and equipped with
one thirty foot practice ladder, one scaling and two extension ladders
and eight Babcock extinguishers.

This year, 1912, the equipment, strength, personnel and cost of the
department is as follows: No. 1 Station — W. P. Weeks, chief; Charles
II. Ireland, assistant chief; D. P. Kibby, captain; N. J. Hicks, lieu-
tenant; and fourteen full paid firemen. One motor car for the chief;
one combination ehemical engine and hose motor car; one combination
pumping engine, chemical engine and hose motor car; one (>") ft. aerial
hook and ladder truck, three horse.

No. 2 Station — George W. Collins, captain; A. V. Fuller, lieutenant;
four full paid firemen. One combination chemical engine ami hose
wagon, horse-drawn ; one extra first size steam fire engine, 1,000 gallons
per minute, horse-drawn.

No. '■] Station — E. E. Sager, captain-. F. ^I. Huggett, lieutenant;


three full paid Hi-fiiifii. One coiuliiniition i-lR'iiiic;il ciiiiiiic aiul liose
wagon, horse-drawn.

No. 4 Station — W. II. Fisher, eaptaiu ; R. B. Burnhaiii, lieiitenaut ;
three full paid tirenien. Oue eonibination eheniieal engine and hose
wagou, liorse-drawn ; one third size steam tire engine, 500 gallons per
minute, horse-drawn. Gamewell Fire Alarm system with 92 street
boxes; 10,000 feet 2\U inch cotton rubber lined tire hose. The yearly
maintenance of the department $-40,000.00.

Battle Creek and its ^Ilnicipal Government

"The village of Battle Creek was tirst surveyed in 1835 by General
Ezra Convis assisted by John ^leaehem, though no regular plot was
made from that survey. During this year ilessrs. Joseph, Abraham and
Isaac Merritt and Jonatiian Hart purchased the interest of General
Convis and the year following, in conjunction with Sands McCamley,
engaged the service of Samuel D. Moore, a practical civil engineer to
re-survey the village and make a plot of the same, which was accordingly
done." In 1837 the connnunity at Battle Creek contained an estimated
population of four hundred. At that time it had six stores, two taverns,
two saw mills, two flouring mills, two machine shops, one cabinet fac-
tory and two blacksmith sliops. There was an air of thrift and enter-
prise about the village that gave promise of a future. In 1850 the
tirst charter was obtained aiul Battle Creek became an incorporated
village. AVilliam Brooks; Charles ]\Iason, two years; Edward ("ox,
.M. D.; R. T. ;\Ierrill, two years; Chester Buckley, two years; Jonathan
Hart ; Leander Ethridge, appointed the same year to fill the vacancy
occasioned by the death of Mr. Hart, served as presidents. During tiie
same time the office of clerk was filled by Isaac C. ]\Iott ; Dwight May ;
Leonard H. Stewart, two years; Charles S. Gray, resigned July 13,
1854; Eli L. Stillson. appointed to fill vacancy; Joseph Dodge; William
F. Xeal ; Cornelius Byington and William F. Neal.

Battle Creek A City

Such was the growth, development and prospects of the town that in
the winter of 1858-59 a public meeting was called to consider the
advisability of procuring a new charter and adopting a city government.
The proposition was regarded favorably and a committee consisting of
Leonidas D. Dibble, ]\Iyron H. Joy and Walter W. Woolnough was
appointed to draft a charter for the city.

There seems to have been a considerable difference of opinion as to
what name the city should bear. There is a legend that in the long ago
two powerful tribes of Indians fought a bloody battle on the banks of
the stream flowing through Battle Creek near where the city is now
located. So sanguinary was the contest that the waters of the river were
stained with the blood of the warriors. Another seemingly well authen-
ticated story is that one of the earliest surveying parties in this section
had an encounter at this point with some Indians in which the blood of
the aborigines flowed (juite freely, but that the whites were so alarmed


that they left their work of surveying unfinished and hurried to Detroit,
followed by the aggrieved Indians where both parties laid their case
before Governor Cass leaving to that astute, but withal just official, the
task of settling the difficulty to the satisfaction of both parties. What-
ever of truth there may be in legend or story, certain it is that the river
on which Battle Creek is located was known to the children of the forest
as Waupokisko, which signifies in the Indian tongue "bloody river" or
' ' river of blood. ' ' The honorable committee which drafted the city char-
ter recommended that the Indian name rather than its English transla-
tion be given to the new city. The recommendation of the committee
was submitted to a vote of the people and all but sixty registered in favor
of giving the city its present name.

The fifty-three years of Battle Creek's existence as a city have been
years of growth, development and progress gratifying to the whole

Photo by J. H. Brown

Oldest Building in Battle Creek

First stood on Momimeut Square; has been moved several times

county. By the census of 1910 the population was 25,267. The old
city hall built nearly a half century ago is soon to be abandoned for a
new structure to be erected at the intersection of Division and Marshall
streets, at a cost of about $200,000.00. The county has an alternate
circuit court held in the city of Battle Creek, which is presided over by
Judge Walter H. North. Its municipal court rooms are at this time in
the old Ward building. This court is presided over by Justice John C.
Davis and Justice JMaxwell B. Allen, with Charles R. Young as clerk.
The city is supplied with water from Goguac lake. The arc and cluster
lighting system is used with admirable effect. The gas plant and the
electric light plant by which the homes, public buildings and streets
are lighted are owned by private corporations. The city has about
twelve miles of brick pavement and thirtv-one and one-half of sewer.

IIISTOKY OF ("ALllorX ("Ol'XTY :')25

Goguae lake and park and the McCamley park an- pojiular iiiid iniicli

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 41 of 74)