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Bay County, Michigan Genealogy Trails
History of Bay County Michigan and Representative Citizens
by Capt. Augustus Gansser, 1905





Having brought the available data of Bay County down to the present day, we must turn back to the pages of the units comprising the county,--the townships, with their thriving little villages, and, above all, the twin cities, which until this year of grace, 1905, have been compelled by circumstances to live together in constant social intercourse, in joint business pursuits and transactions, one community of interests save that of political unity. It is well in this first year of the united cities, in the year which will ever be commemorated and blessed as the birth-year of Greater Bay City, to review the creation, growth and organization of the little hamlets and frontier cities, which first formed the nucleus of the metropolis of Northern Michigan.


The new life and energy and impetus given the river bottom settlements by the securing of the new county seat, in 1858, brought with it rosy visions of a mighty city, and the residents of Bay City at once planned to incorporate their village. The disappointed ones from Saginaw and Midland counties had their hammers out for Bay, and the anvil chorus was working overtime. But at the winter session of the Legislature, in 1859, Bay City was duly incorporated. In the 46 years since that incorporation the growth and development of that ambitious little village, on the border of an almost unknown wilderness in 1859, have surpassed the fondest hopes and expectations of its incorporators. Years after, when the new City Hall with its imposing high tower was being constructed, that veteran pioneer, Judge Sydney S. Campbell was taken to its cupola, and shown the beautiful panorama of the now beautiful city. The sight seemed to bewilder the sage pioneer. All he could say was: “Wonderful, wonderful,” and “Who would have thought it!”

When the village of Bay City was incorporated, it had probably 700 inhabitants. It was still a crude, booming, frontier lumber manufacturing settlement. The river front for some miles on the east shore was cleared of timber, the clearing extending back as far as Washington avenue. Most of the homes of the settlers stood in these clearings, with stumps all about, and the village could lay no claim to pastoral beauty. The place had ample school accommodations for the rising generation, Judge Birney, Dr. Fitzhugh, James Fraser and Judge Miller of the neighboring town of Portsmouth doing much for the settlers’ education. The spiritual welfare of the pioneers was not neglected, and even the Indians had their own place of worship at this time on the banks of the Kawkawlin. The lumber industry furnished employment to the community, and offered ever greater opportunities for the owners and operators of sawmills. The seemingly inexhaustible supply of pine and other timber, and the constantly increasing demand for manufactured lumber brought new sawmills at ever shortening intervals. The fishing industry also furnished employment to many hardy fisherman, and fish formed one of the most important exports of the village. So busy were the pioneers with cutting down and sawing of the pine trees, and the catching of the finny tribes in Saginaw bay and river, that farming was attempted only in isolated cases, and the fertile soil had to wait for future generations to reap the bounteous harvests which bless this valley, season after season. There was easy and ready money in lumber, and pine could be secured for a song. It was only after the pine trees had fallen under the axes of the picturesque backwoodsmen, and been devoured by the insatiable maw of many saws, that the virgin soil received the attention it merited. But for all that the village was highly prosperous. Wages were high, and living commodities were still simple and reasonable.

The boundaries of the new village, as it was incorporated, included all of the original plat of Bay City, and the territory originally in Portsmouth, extending from Columbus avenue to Lafayette avenue, which formed the section line. This was an error, for the lines of Portsmouth were then drawn along 24th street, and this block was for a time without both the municipal lines. At a later session of the Legislature this error was corrected by making the southern line of the village of Bay City extend to 24th street.

The first village election was held in the Birney Hall on Water street, May 2, 1859, Calvin C. C. Chilson and Dr. Louis Fuchsius were judges at the polls, and Albert Wedhoff was clerk. There were cast at this election 155 votes, of which Curtis Munger, merchant, received 92 votes for the office of president, against 63 cast for George Lord and Jonathan S. Barclay. Charles Atwood was elected recorder, John F. Cottrell was elected treasurer, while the trustees chosen were Albert Miller, James J. McCormick, Henry W. Jennison, Israel Catlin, Henry M. Bradley and Harmon A. Chamberlain.

The first meeting of the trustees was held in a room over the store of Jennison Brothers, located on what is now Water street and Fifth avenue, and where, oddly enough, 46 years later we find the Jennison hardware store, with its great business managed by the descendants to those early pioneers. The trustees did little more than organize on May 5, 1859, but at another meeting, held May 23, 1859, they completed the government of the village by appointing John A. Weed, village marshal; Henry M. Bradley, street commissioner, while the assessors named were Algernon S. Munger and William Daglish. Evidently things politic were managed somewhat differently during those early years, than they are in this year of grace, 1905. The gentlemen named for assessors not only did not seek the honor, but felt that their private affairs did not allow them to do justice to the public duties. Consequently the village trustees appointed in their stead A. G. Sinclair and Charles D. Fisher. But Mr. Sinclair was equally scrupulous in the matter, and Col. Henry Raymond was chosen on June 6, 1859.

One of the first official acts of the trustees was the ordering of board walks on Washington avenue from First to Tenth streets, and the opening of Jefferson street and Madison avenue, north of Center avenue. On June 3, 1859, Hon. James Birney was appointed attorney for the village at a salary of $75 per year! On June 27, 1859, a general tax for village purposes of $1.047 was certified to by the assessors, and they also levied a highway tax of one-half of one per cent. The efficient fire department of this community had its inception on December 19. 1859, when Israel Catlin, Henry M. Bradley and Harmon A. Chamberlin were appointed a committee on fire protection; on January 4, 1860, they were authorized to rent a sufficient amount of leather hose for use until spring, and they also procured a triangle for the hose house.

The first year of the village was rich with promise of future greatness and development. The government census showed a population of 810 in Bay City, and 3,164 in Bay County. Saginaw County, even after losing Bay two years previous, had 12.693 people. The first year of Bay City as an incorporated community was marked by a large increase in population, and new impetus in the financial and social conditions. The first salt-well was sunk in 1860. The lumber industry assumed larger proportions, and a few enterprising farmers proceeded to carve farms out of the wilderness of swamp and pine stumpage. The pioneers felt the need of better connection with the outside world, and about 11 miles of the plank road toward Tuscola County had been built before snow came that fall, and naturally the earliest farms were situated largely on this important highway. It has ever since been known as the Tuscola road. It was for years a toll road, and toll houses were doing business there during the first drive the writer took over its well-worn surface in 1882.

A roster of the village officers reads as follows: 1861: W. L. Fay, president; Sydney S. Campbell, recorder; B. Whittauer, treasurer. 1862: James Watson, president; J. L. Monroe, recorder; August Kaiser, treasurer. 1863: Curtis Munger, president’ Nathaniel Whittemore, recorder; C. Scheurman, treasurer. 1864: Curtis Munger, president; Nathaniel Whittemore, recorder; C. Scheurman, treasurer. 1865: Jule B. Hart, president; P. S. Hiesordt, recorder; Ernst Frank, treasurer.

In January, 1865, the village showed a population of 3,359, and the Legislature was asked to give the community a city charter, which was granted.

On the first Monday in April, 1865, the city of Bay City perfected its organization, by electing a full set of city officials, including aldermen for the three wards into which the ambitious settlement had been divided. The pioneers of that city of a little more than three thousand souls, hardly foresaw that in the course of events, just 40 years later, at the election on the first Monday in April, 1905, this city of Bay City would be united in wedlock to the equally healthy and beautiful city across the river, and that the family thus united would bring over 41,000 people within the boundaries of the new and greater city of Bay City.

At the time Bay City was chartered, the site of future West Bay City was a beautiful grove of oaks and stately pines. The little elevation extending back from the river was a favorite camping ground of the wandering Indians, and their bark and hide wigwams gave the western landscape a pretty and picturesque setting, as viewed from Bay City. But there was little evidence of the rapid development in store for that side of the river in the years to come. There was a settlement near the mouth of the river, which in 1865 became Banks, and an equally ambitious burg opposite Portsmouth fostered by Dr. Daniel Hughes Fitzhugh, which was called Salzburg by its German pioneers, a name which is still all its own. Since the years of agitation about uniting all these scattered and yet connected little communities under one head, the people have often expressed wonder why they were not all included in the charter provisions of Bay City as originally drawn by the Legislature in 1865. But in view of the foregoing it will be apparent, that there was really nothing but virgin forest and a few roving Indians to take in at that time on the west bank of the river. In 1864, H. W. Sage began the erection of his “Big Mill” directly across from the heart of Bay City, and workingmen were hurrying to the new lumber El Dorado, but it was not until May, 1866, that the village of Winona was incorporated. Hence Bay City did not take in anything originally, except the central portion of what is now included in the corporate city limits.

The first election of city offices in Bay City resulted as follows: Hon. Nathan B. Bradley, mayor; William T. Kennedy, recorder; Ernst Frank, treasurer. In this year of grace, 1905, Hon. Nathan B. Bradley is still with us, the same public-spirited, enterprising, beloved and esteemed citizen, that he was just 40 ago! It is a rare anniversary in the life of a community and in the career of a public official. And during all those 40 years our “First Mayor” has been indefatigable in the work of building up these communities, and in blessing its inhabitants. He is to-day the “Grand Old Man” of the pioneer days of our county. Nor is Mr. Bradley alone in celebrating this anniversary, for the first city treasurer of Bay City, Ernst Frank, is still actively engaged in his business pursuits, occupying a suite of offices in the Crapo Block, from whose lofty pinnacle can be gained a fine view of the new greater city, so far ahead of anything the first officials of our city perceived even in their fondest dreams. Both of these veteran officials and sterling citizens held many offices of trust and responsibility in the years following the incorporation of our city, and contributed much to the development of the city and county.

The first Board of Alderman was as follows: First Ward: George W. Hotchkiss and Jerome B. Sweet; Second Ward; Alexander M. Johnson and Jeffrie R. Thomas; Third Ward; James Watson and Herschel H. Hatch. Hon. Herschel H. Hatch is in 1905 a resident of Detroit, and one of Michigan’s most distinguished lawyers. He, too, filled many places of trust and responsibility in this city, county, district and State, and lives to enjoy the 40th anniversary of the birthday of this city, and of his entry upon its public duties. On April 11. 1865, these councilmen fixed the bond of the treasurer at $3,000, and appointed Thomas Carney, Sr., street commissioner; Theophilus C. Grier, city attorney; C. Feige, city marshal; and Andrew Huggins, city surveyor.

One of the first requirements of this bustling little “sawdust” town was more ample fire protection, and at a special election held the first Monday in September, 1865, the people voted in favor of purchasing a steam fire-engine. Accordingly on September 30th the aldermen ordered the sum of $4,997.47 spread on the city tax-rolls for the ensuing year, and by resolution, adopted November 18, 1865, the new “Silsby” fire-engine was duly accepted. The valuation of the city’s property during the first year of its existence was placed at $633,000.

Hon. Nathan B. Bradley came to Bay City in 1858, engaging in the lumber business, in which he has ever since been more or less interested to this day. He was one of the first lumber manufacturers to add the making of salt to his sawmill plant, using the refuse as fuel for the salt plant. In 1865, with that foresight which has ever made him the foremost citizen in all public enterprises in Bay City, he interested others with himself and applied for and secured a charter for building a street railway in the new lumber town! Verily things were moving fast! Only seven years before, the supervisors from Portsmouth had to come down in a canoe, because Indian trail and river road were both difficult and uncertain as a means of reaching the heart of the settlement, and now these settlers already have metropolitan ideas and want an up-to-date street car service! It is also to be noted in passing, that those sturdy pioneers did not enter any protest against giving away valuable franchises, about bartering away the people’s rights without adequate return, such as have become the fashion of these latter days. In 1865 the residents of this booming lumber town welcomed the prospect of rapid and easy transportation, such as the horse cars furnished all over the country at that time. Mr. Bradley was the secretary-treasurer and one of the managing directors for many years of the local street railway system. He served this growing community with eminent distinction in the State Senate, 1866-67, and in 1872 was elected to the 43rd Congress. He served on the committee of public lands, doing much to develop the interior of Michigan, which then contained much of the country’s public lands. He also secured large appropriations for dredging the Saginaw River and the harbors of his district, making them navigable for lake boats of the deepest draught, both of which measures were of vital importance to the commercial development of this city and county. The first mayor of Bay City stood like a stone-wall in defense of the electoral bill in the 44th Congress, believing it the only peaceful solution of the all important question. During all the 40 years since Mr. Bradley first guided the public affairs of the growing city, he has been conspicuous in every discussion of important public questions. He has presided at many city, county and district conventions, and there has not been an important political campaign during that long period that has not found him fighting in the very van for the principles he holds dear. Yet the love and esteem in which he is held by the entire community attest the fact, that he has never stooped to the guerrilla tactics, so common in partisan warfare during the heat of political campaigns. He has set the good example of placing his citizenship first! Partisan considerations come thereafter. Hence while his neighbors might differ with him on questions of national economy and the particular manner of conducting our national affairs, yet they were, after all, his fellow-citizens, whom he knew to be honest, as earnest and as sincere as he was himself.

The writer has no apology to offer for this transgression upon the tide of events in the city and county. For the first mayor of Bay City is to-day such a bright and living example of all that is noble, progressive, charitable, forceful and worthy of emulation by coming generations, that the pause in the narration of municipal events is really but an indicator of one of the leading factors in their consummation. It is usually easy enough to carry on a city government that has been well organized and properly started, and hence more importance attaches to the charter organization than to subsequent administrations, that had the benefit of the experience of the earlier officials. The esteem in which the first officials of Bay City were held, and the ability with which they served their young constituency, is best attested by the many honors subsequently conferred on Mayor Nathan B. Bradley and on City Treasurer Ernst Frank, who served continuously until April, 1869, and again in later years, and on Recorder W. T. Kennedy, who served until April, 1867.

The roster of city officials from that day to this includes many prominent names in the annals of the city, men who stood high in the business world, and others who stood equally high in their chosen professions. Here is the list of the successors of the first officials:

Mayors,--James Watson, 186-67; W. l. Fay, 1868; James J. McCormick, 1869; Algernon S. Munger, 1870; G. H. Van Eaten, 1871; Appleton Stevens, 1872-75; Archibald McDonell, 1876-77; George Lord, 1878; John H. Wilkins, 1879-82; Hon. T. A. E. Weadock, 1883-84; George H. Shearer, 1885-87; Hon. Hamilton M. Wright, 1888-89; Hon. George D. Jackson, 1890-95; Hon. Hamilton M. Wright, 1895-97; Alexander McEwan, 1897-1901; Dr. William Cunningham, 1902-03; Frank T. Woolworth, 1904-05.

Recorders,--Nathaniel Whittemore, 1868-70; I. G. Warden, 1871-77; T. A. Delzell, 1878-85; James B. Barber, 1886-92; Octavius A. Marsac, 1892-1903.

Treasurers,--I. G. Warden, 1869; August Kaiser, 1870; Lucien S. Coman, 1871-74; C. S. Braddock, 1875-76; Charles Supe, 1887; E. Wood, 1878; Jacob Knoblauch, 1879-80; Joseph Cusson, 1881-82; Charles Babe, 1883-85; William G. Beard, 1886-87; Albert Jeffrey, 1888-91; Ernst Frank, 1891-95; Ludwig Daniels, 1895-99; H. A. Gustin, 1899-1903; Edward E. Corliss, 1903-05 .

Comptrollers,--R. McKinney, 1869; George Lord, 1870-74; Patrick J. Perrott, 1875-76; W. H. Fennell, 1877-78; C. F. Branman, 1879-89; Capt. William Keith, 1889-97; G. F. Ambrose, 1897-1901; Thomas W. Moore, 1901-05.

The present city officials are as follows: Mayor, Frank T. Woodworth; recorder, Octavius A. Marsac; treasurer, Edward E. Corliss; comptroller, Thomas W. Moore; city attorney, Brakie J. Orr; city engineer, Capt. George Turner; chief of the fire department, Thomas K. Harding; chief of police, N. N. Murphy; police justice, William M. Kelley; street commissioner, Henry fox; pound masters,-- John Rowell, Sr., and Michael Dombrowski; librarian, Capt. Aaron J. Cooke; superintendent of water-works, E. L. Dunbar; superintendent of schools, Prof. John A. Stewart.


BANKS,--In 1851, Joseph Trombley, the far-famed Indian trader and pioneer, had 25 acres of his large land holdings on the west bank of the river, platted into village lots, which Thomas Whitney, of Bangor, Maine, who erected the first sawmill in that locality, named in honor of his birthplace, Bangor. In 1865 “Uncle Sam” established a post office in this little settlement, and finding another post office with the same name in Michigan, had it changed to Banks, which 40 years later still marks this enterprising portion of Greater Bay City. The village of Banks in 1865 was situated on section 16, in the township of Bangor, and had 350 inhabitants.

The village of Banks was incorporated by act of the Legislature, April 15, 1871, and this act was amended March 31, 1875, by extending the boundaries, which then included “all of Sections 15 and 16 lying north and west of Saginaw River, and the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 17, and all of said lands being in town 14 north range 5 east are made and constituted a village corporate by the name and title of the village of “Banks.

The first village president in 1871 was Robert Leng, a prominent salt manufacturer. Under the new charter, the recorder, treasurer, and assessor were to be elected, instead of appointed, and this first election proved unusually interesting. Fred W. Bradfield, now manager of the Bay City Hardware Company, and still a resident within the old corporate limits of Banks, was elected president without opposition. Since most of the inhabitants were of French extraction, the officials elected reflected the predominant nationality. John B. Poirier won out for recorder with 40 votes to spare. Robert Leng was chosen assessor, with 53 majority, while Bernard Lourim, treasurer, had no opposition. The trustees were Joseph Trombley John Brown and Peter Smith. The village management was very public-spirited, especially in the matter of public schools, the improvement of roadways, and the securing of new industries. In 1877, by act of the Legislature, Banks became a part of West Bay City.

SALBURG,--In 1862 Dr. Daniel Hughes Fitzhugh platted a strip of land fronting on the west bank of the river, and extending from the Lafayette avenue bridge north to the section line. The Laderach and other German families had settled here in 1861, and as the salt excitement ran high in the valley in those years, they named the embryo village Salzburg, after the ancient tower of Salzburg in Austria.

The village was never incorporated, yet fought vigorously against consolidation, together with its northern neighbor. Wenona village, in 1875, when the central division sought to absorb the wings. In 1868 the post office was established in the flourishing village, and as Frankenlust and Monitor township became settled, and the population rapidly increased, this office did a thriving business. In 1877, Salzburg became a part and parcel of West Bay City, but the southern suburb of the West Side will ever be known by the appropriate name accorded the hamlet by the early pioneers.

WENONA,--The beautiful grove of oaks and pines extending along the little sand-ridge above the river band and river bottom, directly opposite Portsmouth and Bay City, was a natural park, as beautiful and pleasing to the eye as any park ever artistically laid out by the hand of man. It was the favorite camping ground of the Indians, and Indian trails led to this picturesque park from all directions. It was picked out by Henry W. Sage, capitalist and lumberman of Ithaca, New York, during his first memorable visit here in 1847, as a very likely location for a booming lumber town. Yet the years rolled by and, while the less desirable east side of the river grew and prospered, “Jolly Jack” Hays in his lone cabin, the man who operated the only ferry across the river for years, and the Indians, who at all seasons of the year returned to their favorite camping ground, were the only people who enjoyed the many natural advantages offered by this site. The trail through the woods to Midland, 20 miles to the west, began here. On the edge of the grove stood the little cottage of George King, the second settler, and near by was the little school house, where the children of Bangor township were taught, and which also was the town hall of the few scattered settlers.

In 1862 Henry W. Sage proceeded to carry out the plans for building a sawmill on this promising site, which appeared to have waited all these 16 years for the return of the master mind that had so quickly grasped the advantages which appealed to later arrivals apparently in vain. After long and almost futile negotiations for the desired site, then owned by Dr. Daniel Hughes Fitzhugh and Mrs. Elizabeth P. Birney, who naturally desired to drive a sharp bargain, the late James Fraser succeeded in harmonizing the differences, and the great lumber firm of Sage, McGraw & Company transferred their activities from Lake Simcoe, in Canada, to the site of future Wenona, in 1863. They at once proceeded to erect the largest sawmill in the world, and the magnitude of the entrprise drew the attention, not only of this country, but also of Europe, to the shady groves of Wenona.

The little settlement gathering about the mammoth mill grew with leaps and bounds. The company at once laid out a village, selling the lots, 200 by 50 feet in dimensions, for $200 each, and named it Lake City, but when they applied for a post office, it was found that another village in Michigan had prior claims on the name. The wives of Messrs. Sage and McGraw then decided to call it Wenona, after the lamented mother of Hiawatha, in the book of Indian legends and traditions of that name, written by Longfellow, and then at the height of its popularity.

In May, 1866, the village of Wenona was incorporated by the Board of Supervisors, which described the village as laying in section 20, township 14 north, range 5 east. The first election was ordered held on June 1, 1866, at the school house in Bangor township, and C. F. Corbin, J. B. Ostrander and W. D. Chambers were named as election inspectors. The following village officials were elected: President, Maj. Newcomb Clark; trustees,--John G. Emery, William D. Chambers, Martin W. Brock, Lafayette Roundsville and Marcellus Faxon; clerk, Harrison H. Wheeler; treasurer, David G. Arnold; marshal, Ainsworth T. Russell; pound master, J. B. Ostrander; assessors,--John G. Sweeney and James A. McKnight; street commissioners,--Wilson O. Craft, Hiram C. Allard and Ainsworth T. Russell; fire wardens,--William Swart, Ainsworth T. Russell and John H. Burt.

In February, 1867, the Legislature granted a charter to Wenona, and on April 2, 1867, the charter election was held, resulting as follows; President, David G. Arnold; recorder, Maj. Newcomb Clark; treasurer, George A. Allen; assessor, James A. McKnight; trustee,--J. G. Emery, M. W. Brock, Carlos E. Root, Wilson O. Craft, Lafayette Roundsville and Harrison H. Wheeler. The charter was drawn by Maj. Newcomb Clark, the first president of Wenona, and speaker of the House of Representatives, 33rd General Assembly of Michigan. He was educated at Oxford Academy, served with distinction through the Civil War, with the 14th Regiment, Michigan Infantry, and later with the 102nd Regiment, U.S. (Colored) Infantry, and came to Wenona in 1865. For many years he held offices of trust in the rising community, and contributed much to the business development of the village and later of the city. Treasurer Allen, Assessor McKnight and Trustee Roundsville are still residing here, having watched through the varying fortunes of 40 years the gradual growth and increasing importance of the place that was infinite enough when it first assumed a place on the map of the county and State. They will likely live to see the cities united in April, 1905, and assume the place in our nation’s constellation of great cities, to which they are entitled.

It was Major Clark who drew up the special charter, and carried it to Lansing for the Board of Trustees. He placed it in the hands of Hon. Nathan B. Bradley, then State Senator, and it was made effective in short order. While such men as Mr. Bradley served this constituency at Lansing, there was no “railroading” of home rule measures. The people through their accredited representatives had merely to express their wishes, and the representatives saw to it that they were gratified without alteration of any kind.

The roster of village officials contains the names of some of the most enterprising pioneers, and the few survivors are among the most prominent and prosperous of our citizens, as the following roll of those who succeeded the first officials, will show: Village presidents,--Harrison H. Wheeler, 1867; David G. Arnold, 1869 and 1874; E. T. Carrington, 1870; C. F. Corbin, 1871; Lafayette Roundsville, 1872; S. A. Plummer, 1873; James A. McKnight, 1875; George Washington, 1876. Village recorders,--C. P. Black. 1868; Maj. Newcomb Clark, 1869; O. J. Root, 1870; E. C. Haviland, 1871; Maj. Newcomb Clark, 1872; T. P. Hawkins, 1873; C. F. Corbin, 1874; A. S. Nichols, 1875; E. S. Van Liew, 1876. Village trustees,--J. G. Emery, 1868; Wilson O. Craft; 1868-69; J. B. Ostrander, 1868; W. D. Chambers, 1868; Lafayette Roundsville, 1868-69; Martin W. Brock, 1868-70; C. W. Rounds, 1899; W. F. Hicks, 1869 and 1871; C. P. Black, 1869 and 1876; S. A. Plummer, 1870-72; George A. Allen, 1870 and 1872; C. F. Corbin, 1870; David G. Arnold, 1870 and 1876; James A. McKnight, 1870, 1873 and 1876; A. Agans, 1871; R. Stringer, 1871; W. M. Green, 1871-73; O. J. Root, 1871; P. Irwin, 1872-73; William Moots, 1872-73; George Kiesel, 1873; George G. Van Alstine, 1873-74; George Harmon, 1873; E. T. Carrington, 1874-75; A. S. Nichols, 1874; W. E. Lewis, 1874-75; Alex Laroche, 1874-75; T. P. Hawkins, 1874-75; Perry Phelps, 1875-76; R. H. Chase, 1875; John G. Kiesel, 1876; Benjamin Pierce, 1876.

Wenona had high ambitions in 1868, when it secured the Michigan Central Railroad line to Jackson, and it is pertinent in this consolidation year of 1905, to know that on March 2, 1867, at a trustee meeting to grant the railroad the right of way through Wenona, one of the enthusiastic citizens announced that Wenona was disposed to be magnanimous to Bay City folks, who should be allowed to take the cars over there for the outside world, and that if Bay City applied in good form for annexation to Wenona, the application would be granted!

Nor was this assumption merely a play of words, for in 1877 Wenona reached out and annexed to itself it’s not too willing neighbors,--the village of Banks on the north, and the village of Salzburg on the south,--and all three little burgs disappeared from the map, while by act of the Legislature there sprang up in their place the promising city of West Bay City. The residents of Wenona said this consolidation was a forcible illustration of the oft-repeated maxim: “In union there is strength!” The Legislature act was called “An Act to consolidate Wenona, Banks and Salzburg, to be known as the city of West Bay City,” and the boundaries included so much of the township of Bangor as formerly belonged to Wenona and Banks, and the plat of Salzburg included within the described limits.

The little city was divided into three wards, and the charter election was held on the first Monday in May, 1877. The vote in the First Ward was taken in the old Banks town hall, P. Lourim, Robert Leng, Alex. B. Moore, Thomas B. Raymond and Ephraim J. Kelton being the inspectors. The Second Ward held its election in the council rooms, David G. Arnold, T. P. Hawkins, James A. McKnight, Spencer O. Fisher and George G. Van Alstine being the inspectors. The Third Ward vote was taken at Davis’ Hotel, Frank Fitzhugh, J. W. Babcock, Bartholomew Staudacher, Aaron Wellman and Robert Elliot being the inspectors.

The first officials of West Bay City were as follows: Mayor, David G. Arnold; recorder, E. S. Van Liew; treasurer, W. M. Green; aldermen: E. J. Kelton, C. E. Root, William Davis, William J. Martin, W. I. Tozer and Michael Hufnagel. The mayor was an old and respected citizen of the rising community, and together with the Board of Aldermen did much in the next year to secure better fire protection, better roads and other local improvements. The salaries were fixed as follows: Recorder, $400; comptroller, $800; city attorney, $200; marshal, $300; harbor master, $100; while the mayor and aldermen received the munificent sum of 50 cents per session! This did not deter many good men from serving the city in an official capacity, as is shown by the following roster of city officials, until the consolidation of the East and West sides in 1905.

Mayors,--David G. Arnold, 1877; George Washington, 1878; William I. Tozer, 1879-80; William E. Magill, 1881-82; Hon, Spencer O. Fisher, 1883-85; S. A. Plummer, 1886-87; William J. Martin, 1888-91; Rousseau O. Crump, 1892-1895; Peter Lind, 1896-1901; John Walsh, 1902-03; C. J. Barnett, 1904-05.

Comptrollers,--William E. Magill, 1885-86; Alexander Zagelmeyer, 1887-88; James A. McKnight, 1889-90; F. C. Thompson, 1891; Charles Glaser, 1892; James Scott and Charles Glaser, 1893; Charles Glaser, 1894; Henry S. Lewis, 1895-96; F. W. Ingersoll, 1897; Frank G. Walton, 1898-1900; John Boston, 1901-03; George M. Staudacher, 1904-05.

Treasurers,--W. M. Green, 1877-81; Andrew Weir, 1882-83; James A. McKnight, 1884; H. W. Weber, 1885-86; D. McLaughlin, 1887-88; Theo. E. Bissel, 1889-90; W. M. Green, 1891-92; R. C. Tasker, 1893-96; August J. Bothe, 1897-1900; C. M. Larue, 1901-02; William E. Magill, 1903-1905.


BANGOR,--On petition of 18 freeholders, led by John G. Kiesel, John Gies, Charles Nickel, Scott W. Sayles, Frederick Kiesler and Mathew Miller, of Hampton township lying north and west of the Saginaw River, the Board of Supervisors on March 22, 1859, erected the township of Bangor, and on April 7, 1873, the township held its first election. Scott W. Sayles, John Raymond and Frederick Kiesler were the inspectors, and Scott W. Sayles was chosen supervisor. When West Bay City was chartered in 1877, Bangor lost most of its territory, wealth and importance. In 1864, for instance, Bangor paid $6,457.40 in county taxes, while for some years after losing the three villages the tax was less than $800, and the assessed valuation dropped from $259,885 in 1866, to a little over $100,000 in 1880. Since the land comprising Bangor has been thickly settled, some of the most important coal mines have there been opened, and the township is again taking a prominent place in the affairs of the county, despite its mutilation. The population in 1880 was but 271, while in 1894 it was 843, and in 1900, 1,195. Bangor township is bounded by Monitor and Kawkawlin townships on the west, West Bay City on the south and west, the Saginaw River on the east and Saginaw Bay on the north. The township officials for 1905 are: Supervisor, Stewart M. Powrie; clerk, N. D. Zimmer; treasurer, Charles Lind; highway commissioner, George Walker; School Board,--Nicholas Casper and Stephen Corbin; justice of the peace,--Joseph Carrier and John Zentz.

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BEAVER,--In February, 1867, the Legislature created the township of Beaver, by taking from Williams “Towns 15. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 north, range 3 east.” On the first Monday in April, 1867, the first election was held at the home of Levi Willard.

The inspectors were Levi Willard, Josiah L. Wellington and Oscar H. Kellogg. Levi Willard was the first supervisor. The new township was bounded on the north by Fraser (now Garfield) township, on the east by Kawkawlin township, on the south by Williams township and on the west by the Midland County line. It lies 10 milers west and five miles north of Bay City. During its early years considerable lumbering was done in its vicinity and the pioneers had no trouble selling their hay and other products right at their doors. Later the Midland Branch of the Michigan Central Railroad was constructed five miles to the south, on an east and west line through Williams township, and an excellent road system provided excellent means of disposing of the products of their rich farms. As late as 1873 there were less that 50 families in the township, and the land brought from $2.50 to $5.00 per acre. In 1905 this same land, since improved, drained and cleared, brings from $75 to $125 per acre. Branches of the Kawkawlin River thread all portions of the township. The population in 1870 was 164; in 1880, 350; in 1894, 1,236; and in 1900, 1,539. The present township officials are: Supervisor, William Peoples; clerk, John Endline; treasurer, Charles B. Craig; justice of the peace, Frank Nowak; highway commissioner, George Buchler. There are post offices at Willard, Loehne and Duel villages.

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FRANKENLUST township is bound on the south and west by Saginaw County, on the north by Monitor township and on the east by the Saginaw River. When the Legislature in February, 1881, took the township of Kochville from Saginaw County, it gave to Bay County at once one of its richest and most interesting additions. Rev. Ferdinand Sievers, born in Lunenburg, Germany, May 18, 1816, was left an orphan at the age of seven years. His uncle, Rev. Philip Sievers, educated the promising boy, who graduated from Goettingen University in 1838. After teaching school for three years, he studied theology at the universities of Berlin and Halle, taught for three years more to accumulate a little fund of his own, and in 1817 was ordained for the Lutheran ministry. Led by Rev, Mr. Sievers, a number of German families immigrated to the Saginaw Valley in 1848, and with commendable perseverance and foresight established the now prosperous township of Frankenlust. In May, 1850, Rev. Mr. Sievers married Caroline Koch, daughter of Rev. Frederick Koch, who had left the comforts of home to follow her affianced to the wilds of Michigan. Eleven children blessed their home, crude enough during the early years. Seven survive, but like most of the descendants of these early pioneers of far-famed Frankenlust, they have scattered over the surrounding townships and to other pastures new. The early history of Frankenlust is the story of the life-work of Rev. Mr. Sievers and his devoted colony. Their judgment in selecting that neighborhood has been verified by the passing years.

Frankenlust is one of the richest townships, for its soil is fertile, its location higher than the east shore of the river, and by thrift and industry these hardy pioneers and their descendants have made it a veritable garden spot in the State. Here it was the infant beet sugar industry found experienced and willing culturists, and the prosperous farmers of Frankenlust willingly invested in the German-American Sugar Factory built at their very doors on the cooperative plan, and which in 1904 had a most profitable season’s campaign. The discovery of coal added three mines to the industries of the township,--the manufacture of building and paving brick. A busy little village has sprung up around the white spire of the German Lutheran Church at Amelith, while well-kept roads point the way to Bay City.

German hospitality is proverbial, hence the cozy farms and inviting cross-road hostelries of Frankenlust township are the most popular outing places in the county. A drive over those well-kept roads, past thriving settlements and well-kept farms, either during the heat of summer, or over the snow on a crisp day in winter, is one of the townspeople’s delights. It usually produces an appetite for the good things to eat which always grace the tables of those hospitable people. The township has five school districts, and four churches, three of them German Lutheran, and the fourth, German Methodist.

Upon the application of 75 freeholders, the Board of Supervisors of Saginaw County erected Frankenlust township, then known as Kochville township, on October 12, 1855, including “Town 13 north, Range 4 east; sections 6, 7, 18, 19 and the north half of Section 30, Town 13 north, Range 5 east; and Sections 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 and 36. Town 14 north, Range 4 east.” The first election was held April 7, 1856, at the home of Adam Goetz, in the little village of Kochville. G. Stengel, J. P. Weggel and J. S. Hebelt were the inspectors, and the following officers were elected: Supervisor, Luke Wellington; clerk, John C. Schmidt; treasurer, Andreas Goetz; school inspectors,--J. G. Helmreich and Caspar Link; highway commissioners,--William Butz, Heinrich Hipser and Paul Stephan; justice of the peace--Luke Wellington and Louis Loeffler; poor commissioners,--George Henger and Andreas Goetz. Fifty-nine votes were cast, and the action was practically unanimous, the German settlers sympathizing with the oppressed black race of the South. They had left their native land seeking the land of liberty, and they had found peace and personal freedom is the wilds of Michigan, and their hearts went out to the chattel slaves of other days.

In 1851-52, John A. Leinberger carried “Uncle Sam’s “ mail on foot between Saginaw and Bay City. He would go up one day, and come back the next. One day he met the last James Fraser, Bay County’s famous “man on horseback,” in the woods, where both were following an Indian trail. Fraser asked Leinberger why he did not get a horse to carry him and the bag those 16 miles, and on being told that he could not afford the luxury of a horse, at the exorbitant value of horses in these wilds. Fraser told him to go to Fraser’s stable and take his pick, which was promptly done the following day. Meeting Fraser soon after on the same trail, Leinberger asked how much he owed for the horse. “Well, John,” Fraser replied, “when you get able, you can pay me $50, and if you never get able, keep the horse anyhow.” That horse helped John Leinberger over many a rocky place in the road, and by dint of thrift and industry he soon owed one of the finest farms in Frankenlust. Since the Frankenlusters sold all their farm products in Bay City, they long desired to join the new county near Saginaw Bay, and in 1881 they kept John A, Leinberger at Lansing to lobby for the separation. Having brought about the union with Bay County, he was elected the first supervisor, and for years represented Frankenlust on that board. He had 10 children by his first wife, and was married again in 1883.

The population of Frankenlust was 768 in 1880; 1,266 in 1894, and 1,395 in 1900.

The pioneers erected a log hut, 30 by 40 feet, in the wilderness in 1850 for a house of worship, and a frame church, 38 by 70 feet, was built in 1870. The year 1905 will be made memorable in the township by the erection of a large and handsome new brick and stone church, the material for which is now being gathered, and work will begin this spring.

The opening of the coal mines has brought new life and activity to Frankenlust, but it will require some time for the staid, quiet and devoted German farmers to become accustomed to the influx of coal miners from other States, with customs and manners so foreign to their own, and clashes between the younger generations are not infrequent. The present township officers are: Supervisor, John J. DeYoung; clerk, Philip Martens; treasurer, George C. Schmidt; justice of the peace, J. C. Neumeyer; highway commissioner, Fred Kolb.

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FRASER township was created at the session of the Legislature in 1875, and included “Town 16 north, Ranges 3, 4, and 5 east.” On the first Monday in April, 1875, the settlers of Fraser township met at the home of William Michie, and elected their first officials. Mr. Michie, Albert Neville an B. W. Merrick were the inspectors. William Michie was elected supervisor; B. W. Merrick, clerk; and Albert Neville, treasurer. Fraser is one of Bay County’s largest townships. It is bounded on the east by Saginaw Bay, on the north by Pinconning township, on the south by Kawkawlin township, and on the west by Garfield township. The Michigan Central and Detroit & Mackinac railroads traverse Fraser, stations being located at Lengsville, Michie and Linwood. Many French Canadians were among the early pioneers, and they have exercised a growing influence over the development and the destinies of the township.

Lumbering has been carried on for years in the township. After the virgin forest was denuded of pine, came the demand for the previously ignored and despised hardwood timber, and ere long the last giant of the primeval forest in that section will have fallen before the axes of the industrious settlers and lumberjacks. As the forest disappears, new farms spring up, and the locality will soon compare favorably with the older townships.

Among the pioneers of this township are a few men with interesting incidents in their careers, one of which will bear repeating. William Fitch, at the age of 21, was a sailor before the mast on the schooner “Henry Watson” when, in 1857, she collided with the brig “Giddings” on Lake Erie. With a boy as the only other survivor, he navigated the ship into the harbor at Buffalo, and was promoted to be captain of the ship. By 1868 he had wearied of a sailor’s life and having a good opinion of Bay County, which he had often visited in his lumber craft, he purchased a farm in Fraser township. There were no roads, and his team of oxen were his only help in erecting his large long hut, and his barn, 38 by 28 feet in size, with posts 10 by 10 inches and 16 feet long. He cleared the land with his own hands, solitary and alone. Twice, falling trees injured him, once breaking his leg, and next breaking his arm. He was Herculean strength. He would take a barrel of flour, placed in two sacks, one on each shoulder, and carry it nearly four miles to his log hut. The first supervisor, William Michie, was murdered near his home in Fraser township in 1882. The post office at State Road Crossing is named in his honor.

The population of Fraser township was 301 in 1880; 1,444 in 1894, and 1,656 in the United States census of 1900. The present township officers are: Supervisor, Henry B. Lents; clerk, Benjamin F. Parsons; treasurer, Joseph Loyer; justice of the peace, John Vincent; highway commissioner, George W. Meddaugh.

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GARFIELD,--On October 18, 1886, the following residents of Fraser township petitioned the Board of Supervisors to grant them a separate township: Elof Johnson, Gustav Menten, Valentine Knoedel, Owen Hazen, James Potter, Samuel L. Bishop, Francis Gallagher and Urban Lewenson. On October 19, 1886, the committee on township organization,--J. M. Reichard, Charles Fischer, Fred Schoof, J. Lourim and Jacob Dardas,--reported favorably on the petition, and by a vote of 18 ayes and no nayes the board concurred. In accordance with the action of the board at this session, the township of Garfield was organized, taking in the west half of Fraser township. Garfield township is bounded on the north by Mount Forest township, on the east by Fraser township, on the south by Beaver township, and on the west by Midland County. The first town election was held on April 4, 1887, and the following town officers were elected: Supervisor, Elof Johnson; clerk, Joseph H. Waldron; treasurer, Charles Johnson; school inspectors,--Erick Erickson and James Potter.

There is still considerable hardwood timber standing in Garfield, while the farms cleared show the soil to be fertile, while the North Branch of the Kawkawlin and the Michie drain furnish both a water supply and drainage. The Garfield stone road gives a ready means of getting to market, and has done much to develop the interior of the township. The post offices are at Taboo and Crump, the latter named in honor of the late Hon. R. O. Crump, Member of Congress from this district. The population in 1894 was 302, and 555 in 1900. Industrious and thrifty Swedes form the bulk of the population, who have their own church services. The township also has ample public school facilities for the scattered population. The voters are largely of Republican faith, casting 98 votes to their opponents’ 21 at the last election for Governor. The present township officials are: Supervisor, William H. Reid; clerk, W. V. Renner; treasurer, Francis Conrad; justice of the peace, Joseph Duben; highway commissioner, Alonzo Dodge.

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GIBSON township was erected by the Board of Supervisors on December 3, 1888. On October 18, 1888, the following residents of Pinconning township petitioned for the separation: Garrett J. Stanton, Charles L. Bingham, S. S. Morris, William Carter, W. J. Shirley, L. A. Pelkey, Dr. W. B. Abbott, J. Edmunds, H. Shook, H. Gardner, Z. W. DeGraw, B. W. Stewart, J. Barie, M. Dowley, A. E. Bell, M. G. Bentley, Frank E. Bentley, E. M. Burlingame, O. G. Davis, Peter Edmunds, C. Peterson, O. S. Bentley, James Johnson, Ed. Walsh, Samuel McGlinchey, Abram Edmunds, William Edmunds. The organization was to date from April 1, 1889, and on the first Monday in April, 1889, the town meeting was held at the school house in School District No. 5. Peter Edmunds, Frank E. Bentley and O. G. Davis being inspectors of the election. The following town officers were elected: Supervisor, Murray Bentley; clerk, Edward Walsh; treasurer, Smith Bowers; school inspectors, Andrew Faulds and Lafayette Dento.

Gibson township is bounded on the north and east by Arenac County, on the south by Mount Forest township, and on the west by Midland County. The branches of the Pine and Saginaw rivers traverse Gibson from west to east. It will be seen that Gibson township is really a projection into Arenac County, and the people of that county, which formerly was a part of Bay, have ever since their separate organization been trying to pry Gibson from Baay and add it to their own southern border. The eastern part of Arenac want the county seat at Omer, while the western part want to keep the county seat at Standish. Since Omer is more centrally located, Standish has to keep constantly on the alert to prevent the honor going to her enterprising rival on the east. The Standish people figure that with Gibson township added to Arenac County, the position of Standish as county headquarters would be secure for all time. The Michigan Central Railroad passes through Standish and hence is interested in the fight for Gibson because the Detroit & Mackinac Railway touches Omer.

These combined interests made an almost successful attempt to kidnap Gibson from Bay County in the legislative session of 1903. Representative J. J. McCarthy of Standish, Arenac County, introduced the bill, well backed by Senator Doherty of that district. The Bay County representatives turned up missing one fine day, and next morning Bay was notified that one of its most promising townships had been taken away, without one word of protest from Representatives Washer or Sheldon. Despite the protests from Bay, the separation bill was rushed through the Senate, Senator F. L. Westover also turning up missing, and as the Bay representatives made no protest the efforts of Hon. T. E. Webster and others were unavailing. The bill was signed by Governor Bliss and Bay had but 12 townships left.

When the citizens of Bay County realized their loss, they went to work with a will to save Gibson. The supervisors carried the case into the courts, claiming among other things that this steal of Gibson divided the 24th Senatorial District, contrary to law, besides causing no end of confusion in the affairs of the township and county. Judge T. F. Shepard of the 18th Judicial Circuit decided the case in favor of Bay; his decision was later sustained by the Supreme Court of Michigan and Gibson brought back into the fold. The three representatives of Bay, who allowed the disruption of the county without active opposition, were relegated to private life at the 1904 election, and any future attempts of Arenac to profit at the expense of Bay will be vigorously contested. As a matter of fact. Bay is one of the smallest counties in Michigan, owing to the large portion taken out by Saginaw Bay.

The residents of Gibson township are as earnest in their desire to remain with Bay County, as we are to have those sturdy pioneers remain. They are many miles nearer to Standish than they are to Bay City, but they will soon have stone road communication all the way, the splendid macadamized road system reaching out year after year in their direction, and the Gladwin Branch of the Michigan Central crosses Gibson from north to south, furnishing a ready and cheap means of reaching the metropolis of Northern Michigan. Gibson had for years paid its share of this stone road tax, and by the forced separation stood to lose it all. The township and county affairs were naturally much muddled during the interim between the legislative separation and the Supreme Court reunion, but these matters have now all been satisfactorily adjusted, and things are moving as smoothly as it though nothing had ever happened in our sisterhood of townships.

Gibson township has the same rich black and clay loam soil which makes farming in Bay County so easy and profitable, and many of the farms there had enough standing hardwood timber to more than pay for themselves. Bentley is the shopping center and post office of this flourishing young community. The residents are public-spirited, look well after their schools and their spiritual welfare, and have many road and drain problems to solve in the immediate future. Like their neighbors in Garfield, they are of the political faith of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley, almost to a unit, and by their vote have contributed much in recent years to the remarkable change of Bay County’s political complexion. The population in 1894 was 494, and 761 in 1900. The present town officers are: Supervisor, Ezra Truax; clerk, John C. Smith; treasurer, Matthew Loeffler; justice of the peace, Samuel Yeager; highway commissioner, Charles Shoultes.

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HAMPTON,--The history of Hampton township, the first organized in Michigan north of Saginaw, is the early history of Bay City, Bay County, and the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, from 1843 to 1857, when the county was organized. This township during its first years comprised more territory than many famed kingdoms of the Old World! As these outlying districts became settled, they secured separate organization, until to-day the township comprises but “23 full sections, and 11 fractional sections.” Its boundaries are Saginaw Bay and Tuscola County on the east, Merritt and Portsmouth townships on the south, and Bay City, the Saginaw River and Portsmouth township on the west. Since Bay City became a separate corporation, the village of Essexville is the ambitious “capital” of Hampton, and the founders of the one are the pioneers of the other. Joseph Hudson and Ransom P. Essex, who came in 1850, were the first settlers of Hampton township proper. Their descendants have done much to develop the rich farming country, which in 1850 was largely marsh, swamp and bayou. Huge ditches and numerous drains have been aided by a slight drop in the water level of the Great Lakes in leaving that rich alluvia soil in an ideal condition for cultivation.

Three nationalities have distinct settlements in Hampton. The large colony of Hollanders, settled south and east of their pretty church property, found their advance guard in Henry Rooiaker, Gerardus Vennix, A. VanWert, Peter Vanerp, Anthony Walraven, Charles Goddeyne and P. Van Hamlin, pioneers of 1857-60. The German colony, located in the southern section of Hampton, was led by Carl Wagner, Charles Wintemeyer, William Roecker, Michael Englehardt, Charles Weber, Philip Weber, Joseph Scheimer and John Meyer, all of whom took up the privations and incessant toil of pioneer life in Hamptom in 1857-59. Louis Guilette, who married the widow of Leon Trombley, one of Bay County’s first traders and settlers, and Joseph Paul DeCourval, were the first of the French Canadian nationality to appreciate the opportunities of Hampton, the former locating on a farm in 1858, the latter following the lumber and shingle business there since 1866.

One family has been signally honored by the township, Hon. Nathan Knight, a native of Maine, came to Hampton township in 1856 and hewed a farm out of the wilderness. He represented the Bay City district in the State Legislature of 1877-80, was justice of the peace for 10 years, and supervisor for 14 consecutive years. In this office he was succeeded by his son, Hon. Birdsey Knight, who is still in the harness, and who also served four years in the State Legislature,--1891-94,--from this district. Father and son were Democrats, but their personal popularity carried them safely over several political landslides in their bailiwick.

Joseph Eddy, came to Hampton in 1858, and five sons and one daughter reside there now. Three sons,--George P., Edward and Albert H.,--served through the entire Civil War in Company F, 23rd Reg., Michigan Vol. Inf., the former two being mustered out, when peace came to bless the land, as lieutenants, the last named with the rank of sergeant.

Hampton township has a beautiful location on Saginaw Bay, and the wooded ridge which skirts Saginaw Bay below Oak Grove, the most popular resort for family picnics on the bay, will some day surely rival the booming summer resorts on the west shore of the bay. The Center and Woodside avenue stone roads, with excellent cross-roads and all the facilities of the belt line railway, which skirts Hampton and connects with all the railroads centering in Bay City, give unrivaled shipping facilities to this rich farming country. The early pioneers paid $2.50 per acre of water, with here and there a visible speck of land thrown in for good measure, but by hard work, systematic draining and dyking in the lowest places, Hampton has been made one of the brightest flowers in this most favored garden spot of Michigan, where farm property ranges now from $100 to $250 per acre.

The industries of the township center in Essexville, and it was there that the first beet sugar factory, the Michigan, was built in 1898, to be closely followed by the mammoth Bay City Sugar Factory. The projectors of these factories selected these sites because they are in the very center of the most fertile lands in the county, lands owned and tilled by a sturdy race of intelligent and industrious farmers. Mere land grubbers could never succeed in raising profitable sugar beets. The soil must be right, then it must be thoroughly and properly prepared, the planting must be done as early as will be consistent with a proper germination of the beet seed, the thinning out requires good judgment and thorough work, and no crop requires such freedom from noxious weeds, as do the sugar beets. Frequent cultivation is essential to their full and sweet development. Fine discrimination is also required in their harvesting. It will not do to pull them too early, for every day of the ripening season adds sugar to their contents. Neither must they be left too long, lest they fall victims to one of the periodical cold waves, and freeze fast in the ground, as has happened to farmers in Hampton. Then, too, freedom from dirt and proper topping will reduce the loss from tare at the sugar factory, and a proper appreciation of the food value of the beet tops and the beet pulp at the factory will mean much profit to the beet grower. It will readily be seen that few farm crops require such constant study ad close attention, but the wise farmers of Hampton township and the county at large also know, that no other crop will yield such liberal and certain returns.

Since Hampton township has the distinction of having the first sugar factory in Michigan, a word on the industry in this connection is both opportune and appropriate. Hampton also had two of the first chicory factories, one on Borden avenue, which was destroyed by fire, and merged with the other plant recently enlarged and still doing a thriving business on Center and Livingston avenues, just east of the city limits. The location of these infant industries at the doors of Hampton reflect credit on the farmers tributary to these hives of industry. The investment of several million dollars was staked on the ability of these veteran farmers to supply the raw material needed and while there have been seasons when the farmer did not provide the acreage desired for a full operation of all these mammoth plants, still the experimental stage has been safely passed and, with better understanding all around, beets and chicory will take a foremost place in the crop rotation of the successful farmers of Bay County. Since these factories are operated late in fall and early winter, their offer employment to the sons of the country folk at the precise season in the year, when work on the farm is slack. Every acre devoted to sugar beets or chicory removes the competition of that acre from farm truck and other farm corps, which have ever since commanded higher prices. Hampton and the other townships have been correspondingly prosperous in recent years. Hundreds of mortgages have been lifted and hundreds of farms improved with the cash proceeds of these new industries. One has but to drive over the fine roads of Hampton to appreciate the amount and extent of improvements carried out on the farms of the township, to appreciate how much good has been accomplished in six short years! Hampton’s growth has been in keeping with these additions and improvements. The population in the State census of 1874 was 1,247; in the national census of 1880, it was 2,016; in 1894 it was3,204; and in 1900 it was 3,319. In the fall election of 1904, Hampton gave a clean Republican victory, for the first time in its history, and on March 13, 1905, the village of Essexville also elected a Republican ticket, for the first time in many years. The present officers of Hampton, elected in April, are: Supervisor, Hon. Birdsey Knight; clerk, William J. Stagray; treasurer, Frank Sirmeyer; justice of the peace, John H. Sharp; highway commissioner, John VanSumer.

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KAWKAWLIN,--On January 7, 1868, the Board of Supervisors erected the township of Kawkawlin by detaching its territory from Bangor, upon the petition of O. A. Ballou, Samuel Woods, John Sutherland, Charles Radcliff, Patrick Reynolds, Jeremiah Mack, Alex. Baird, A. G. Sinclair, Charles Powell, E. E. Gill, Paul Leme and Owen A. Maloney. The first annual meeting was held at the home of O. A. Ballou, in the village of Kawkawlin, on the first Monday in April, 1868, at 10 o’clock in the forenoon. O. A. Ballou, John Sutherland and Dennis Stanton were the election inspectors, and Alexander Beard was the first supervisor from Kawkawlin. The township is bounded on the east by Bangor township and Saginaw Bay, on the north by Fraser township, on the west by Beaver township and on the south by Monitor township.

Kaw-kaw-lin, as the Indians pronounced it, is said to have been one of the aborigines’ favorite hunting grounds, and well it might have been. The old German settlers still say that when the primeval forest was first seen by white men, it was blacker and denser than the historical Black Forest of Europe. The Indians called the river “O-gan-con-ning”, or “the place of the pike,” for then as now the streams of that vicinity were favorite haunts of the pike.

One of the oldest trading posts between the pale face trappers and traders and the Chippewas was at the mouth of the Kawkawlin, where O-at-ka summer resort is now situated, and Neh-way-go, the dare-devil warrior of the To-bi-co band of Indians, had his wigwam not far from where the modern water-works plant erected by West Bay City a few years ago is located.

Reluctantly enough, the Chippewas sold the 6,000 acres of their reservation along the north bank of the Kawkawlin in the treaty of 1837, for it was an ideal haunt for game of all kinds. The government sold it ere long for $1.25 per acre, and the purchasers realized fortunes from its wealth of pine and other timber.

From 1842 to 1864 “Uncle” Harvey Williams kept the Indian traders’ station at the mouth of the Kawkawlin, and he was much beloved by the red men. His wise counsel and generous conduct did much to smooth the way for the first pioneers of Kawkawlin.

In the winter of 1844-45, Israel Catlin built the first sawmill in the midst of this virgin forest on the Kawkawlin, utilizing the water power of the stream. For many years after, great log drives were brought down this river to be cut in the mammoth and modern sawmills at Bay City.

During the height of the logging operations along the Kawkawlin and its tributaries, the depth of the water in that river each spring was always a question of vital importance to the sawmill operators and employees. If the water was not sufficient to float the huge log jams, they would remain hung up all season. Equally vital was the question of snow for the many logging camps during each winter, for without snow it was a hard problem to get the logs to the streams. In later years water sprinklers were used to make icy roadways for the immense loads of logs that were drawn from the logging camp to the banks of the rivers.

In 1847 the first church, a humble mission for the Indians, was built on the banks of the Kawkawlin. The place is called Indiantown, and is still one of the main settlements of the natives in the county, but the numbers have been slowly but surely diminishing. With the stoicism ever characteristic of his proud race, Poor Lo at the dawn of the 20th century bears his deplorable lot in grim silence. The old men of the tribe recall the days when all this wealth of timber and prairie was all their own, and the comparison of those wild and care-free days with their hard lot at present cannot inspire satisfaction. The industrious and thrifty pale faces settled all about the remnant of the red men, preach by their every-day lives an eloquent sermon on the only means by which to reach a higher plane of living, and how to attain the comforts of this progressive age. But apparently it is beyond the power of the average aborigine to forsake the deadliest foe of their race, and to take up “the white man’s burden”! A very few have lifted themselves above the latter day level of their race, while most of them are now devout Christians.

Frederick A. Kaiser emigrated from German in 1849 and took up the work at the Kawkawlin’s first sawmill for the late James Fraser. In 1862 he bored for salt, and during the next 15 years built a number of sawmills in that paradise of pine and hemlock. He was the founder of the villages of Kawkawlin and Pinconning, connected the two backwoods lumber camps by railway and did much to develop the natural resources of that section of the county. He cleared considerable of the land of its timber, and demonstrated that the valley of the Kawkawlin is one of the riches farming districts of the State, and thereafter the township became rapidly settled. When the lumber jack left, with his axe and saw, the farmer followed with the plow and harrow, and pastoral wealth and beauty now grace the shores of the Kawkawlin.

The population of Kawkawlin township in 1880 was 1,118. In 1894 it had grown to 1,627 and to 1,964 in 1900. The real estate valuation is 1882 was $298,462. There were 452 school children in 1883, and the chronicler of those years notes with pardonable pride, that there were 67 births in the township, including “three pairs of twins”! On the other hand the Grim Reaper gathered but 12 inhabitants to the Great Beyond, the healthful climate staying his hand in most instances, until the burden of many years enfeebled the pioneers. The townspeople were busy building roads, drains and bridges during those years and their task is still far from done. This very year of 1905 several new steel bridges are planned to span the Kawkawlin and its tributaries, the stone road system will be extended and repaired, and new drains begun. The township spend $1,600 for school purposes in 1883, and is still keeping up and enlarging this good work. The officers of the township for 1905 are: Supervisor, Peter Bressette; clerk, Robert D. Hartley; treasurer, John Murphy; justice of the peace, George Goulette; highway commissioner, Fred D. Paige.

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MERRITT township, which is bound on the north by Portsmouth and Hampton townships, on the east by Tuscola County, on the south by Saginaw County and on the west by Portsmouth township and Saginaw County was erected by the Board of Supervisors at a session held July 8, 1871, upon the petition of 12 freeholders of Portsmouth township. On June I, 1871, 31 residents of the territory affected asked for separation. When the supervisors fixed the boundaries of the new township as including “all of Township 13 north, range 6 east, also Sections 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15, same Township, Range 5 east”, some of the residents of these nine sections on range 5 east protested vigorously against the separation. Their protest was filed on June 13, 1871. Two weeks later 11 of the remonstrators relented, and the separation and erection of Merritt followed. The first election was held at the home of Joseph Gerard on the Tuscola plant road. Gen. B. F. Partridge, Henry Hess and Martin Powell were named as election inspectors. Henry F. Shuler, a pioneer resident of Merritt, was elected to represent the new township on the Board of Supervisors.

Hundreds of acres of Merritt township have been redeemed for cultivation by drawing, chiefly through the large Quanicassee ditch. These lands are exceptionally fertile, and all went well until Denmark and Gilford townships of Tuscola County directed their drainage into the natural depression in the southeast corner of Merritt, since which time the township has been involved in an almost interminable legal tangle with their neighbors of the next county. Bay County has taken a hand, by voting some of the funds necessary to carry on the legal battle. Up to date the victory rests with Merritt township, which has secured an injunction restraining the Tuscola County people from flooding Merritt. The Tuscola farmers are fighters, however, and the courts are still considering the effects of Tuscola to dissolve the injunction.

Among the earliest settlers in Merritt were Rev. Thomas Histed and wife, who came here from Vassar with $3 in money, eight bushels of potatoes and a little flour. After cutting an opening through the woods for road purposes, building a cabin and draining his land, he created a fine farm. His crops wee often destroyed by spring freshets and heavy rain-storms. He always found time from his farm work to preach the Gospel to his neighbors, who came many miles through the woods to hear the message of salvation. In 1854, Marin Powell was employed in the sawmills of Bay City, and with his savings located 160 acres in Merritt township at one shilling per acre! After clearing it and making it habitable, he sold 30 acres for $1,450, and the rest is constantly increasing in value, being worth to-ay about $100 per acre. Samuel M. Brown located and moved on his farm in Merritt township in 1859. Ex-Supervisor B. Schabel received 38 cents for 12 hours work in the Bay City sawmills during 1857-58, when lumber was down to $5 per thousand, and wisely bought 160 acres of marsh lands, which by dint of his industry are to-day ideal farm property. Nicholas Thayer, Rober Whiteside, William Treiber, John Fegert, Frederick Beyer, A. Lovejoy, DeWitt Burr, Joseph B. Hazen and John M. Lefever were among the first permanent settlers of the township.

The prosperous little farm community at Munger station, on the Bay City Division of the Michigan Central Railroad, is the trading center for Merritt township, and Arn is another thriving little settlement on the same railroad a few miles further south. Horace D. Blodgett, one of Merritt’s earliest settlers, is postmaster at Munger; C. A. Howell, for many years supervisor from Merritt; Henry Horton, for years representing the township on the Republican County Committee; and F. R. Tennant are among the best known and highly esteemed residents of the township.

With the advent of the beet sugar and chicory factories in Bay City, farm property has advanced in value in Merritt township, and some of the banner crops in the county are harvested by its intelligent and industrious farmers. The township had but 26 farms in 1883, while to-day there are more than 200. The school facilities are excellent, and each of the leading denominations is represented by its house of worship and its devoted flock of parishioners.

The sinking of the What-Cheer coal mine in 1904 marks a new era for Merritt. The mine has one of the finest coal veins yet uncovered in Bay County, and all the surrounding territory has been covered by coal leases, with indications of a number of other mines going down in that vicinity in the near future. The farmers of the county at first sold the coal leases outright, but experience has taught them that a good royalty is more profitable, and this is now their favorite course of action. The discovery of coal on the east side of the river will enhance farm values still more, and the hardy pioneers, who dared to enter the wilderness to bring order out of chaos and thriving farms from malaria-breeding swamps, or their descendants, are now reaping the well-merited harvest. The population of Merritt township was 1,217 in 1894, and 1,562 in 1900. The new railroad planned to cross the “Thumb” of Michigan from Bay City to Port Huron will pass Munger, and it is said that the coal mine people are back of the enterprise, in order to get a direct route to deep water, and from there to the Eastern market.

Munger township was named in honor of Curtis and Algernon S. Munger, the veteran merchants of Bay City, who early invested in some choice farm property in Merritt township. The township officials elected in 1905 are: Supervisor; C. A. Howell; clerk, Fred Beyer; treasurer, Adam J. Schabel; justice of the peace, H. M. Rademacher; highway commissioner, Frank Laclair.

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MONITOR township was created by the Legislature of 1869, including “Section 30 and 31, Town 14 north, Range 5 east, and all of Town 14 north, Range 4 east, except Sections 1 and 2”. The first election was held at the home of Owen C.White, on the first Monday in April, 1869. Owen C. White, William H. Needham and William Hemingway were inspectors of election. William H.. Needham was the first supervisor. The officials of Bangor township objected to the organization of Moitor, claiming it was done for political purposes, but since Bangor was then a very large township, the petition was granted. Monitor township, is bounded on the north by Kawkawlin and Bangor townships, on the east by Bangor township and West BayCity, on the south by Frankenlust township and on the west by Williams township.

The first settlers in Montitor were descendants and members of the German colony which settled Frankenlust, and the township has many of the characteristics of the older settlement. J. Rittershofer, Henry Kraner, P. Graul, Charles Baxman, G. Schweinsberg and John Hunn were among the advance guard. Thomas Kent and five sons, James Felker, W. H. Needham, Jeremiah Waite, Fred Shaw, William Gaffney, Joseph Dell and T. C. Phillipps were among the earliest pioneers of Monitor. The wilderness was unbroken from the banks of the Kawkawlin to the Indian trail through Frankenlust. William Hemingway purchased 40 acres in 1858 in section 32. To reach his land he had to go to Kawkawlin over the corduroy road, up the Kawkawlin River in a dug-out canoe to the South Branch, then over a meandering Indian trail four miles south. After erecting a log hut, his first work was the clearing away of the trees and underbrush for a roadway large enough to pass a team of oxen, which roadway was used for many years after. Mr. Needham always pronounced Monitor one of the healthiest spots in Michigan, and as proof pointed with pride to his 12 children--six boys and six girls--all of whom attained their maturity. Joseph Dell settled on his “eighty: in 1859, cutting the trees, splitting the rails and erecting his log house, with rough oak flooring, and roofed with oak “shakes”!

Since then the township has been practically denuded of timber, and some of the finest farms in the countyare within its borders. The Midland stone road runs straight through the center of the township, and just north of this fine highway is the Midland Branch of the Michigan Central Railroad, from which a number of spurs run to the coal mines, offering excellent shipping facilities to the farmers. Much of the township was marsh and swamp when the first pioneer swung his axe in the silent forest, but many ditches and drains have reclaimed every acre for cultivation, and the two beet sugar factories on the West Side secure much of their supply from Monitor. The village of Kawkawlin is in Monitor township, and another thriving little settlement in the southwest portion of Monitor clusters about the German church and school erected in 1880. The township has four other schools, all of which are well attended. During its early years the township contained much railroad land exempt from taxation, which made the tax burden rather heavy for the pioneers. Henry Moeller, Samuel Hardy, Bernard Carroll, William Gillet, William Gaffney, and T. C. Phillips have done much for the schools of the township.

T. C. Phillips was one of the earliest business men in Bay City. In 1863 he served on the enrolling board of Bay County, this being the 85th sub district of Michigan, together with the late Judge Isaac Marston and R. P. Essex, of Hampton. Through the solicitation of Mr. Phillips at the War Department at Washington. Bay County’s quota of men for the conscription was reduced 45 men, which meant a saving of $15,000 to the county, while the untiring efforts of the board to secure single and non-resident men was another material advantage locally. In 1870, Mr. Phillips was appointed postmaster at Bay City. In 1878 President Rutherford B. Hayes issued the now famous civil service order, and Mr. Phillips tendered his resignation in the following terse letter: “I tender my resignation as postmaster of Bay City, to take effect as soon as my successor shall be appointed and qualified, for these reasons: I am now a member of the Republican State Central Committee, and chairman of the Bay County Republican Committee, and your civil service order obliges me to resign either the position of honor or profit. I therefore resign the office of profit”! And he forthwith retired to “Ne-bo-bish” Farm in Monitor. What a contrast between those sturdy pioneers in public affairs, and our own modern day ideals, or lack of them!

In 1872 the equalized valuation of Monitor township was $45,023, while in 1882 it had increased to $274,220. The population in 1874 was 554; in 1880 it was 931; in 18894 it had grown to 1,784; and in 1900, largely owing to the influx of coal miners, it was 2,150. The officers of Monitor township in 1905 are: Supervisor, Henry Moeller; clerk, Charles Thurgau; treasurer, John H. Popp; justice of the peace, W. P. McGrath; highway commissioner, Fred Schmidt.

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MOUNT FOREST township was erected by the Board of Supervisors on January 14, 1890. The following residents of Pinconning township petitioned for the separation: John T. Lynch, Clarence Fairchild, Charles Miller, Michael Paul, Lawrence, Joseph and George Wasielewski, Hugh Stevenson, John Barie, Fred Moore, George Collins, John Jankowiak and George Capter. Supervisor George Barie, of Pinconning approved of the petition, and thus sections 1 to 36, township 17 north, range 3 east, were set apart as the new township of Mount Forest. Mount Forest township is bounded by Gibson township on the north, by Pinconning township on the east, by Garfield township on the south and by Midland County on the west.

The first election was held at the home of Clarence Fairchild, and John T. Lynch, Clarence Fairfield and Charles Miller were the election inspectors. The following were the first township officials: John T. Lynch, supervisor; Cash Kelley, clerk; John L Hudson, treasurer; Henry V. Lucas, school inspector.

Since Mount Forest is the youngest, so is it also numerically the weakest, of the 14 townships of Bay County. But its fine track of hardwood timber has been opened up with branch logging-railways from the Gladwin Branch of the Michigan Central Railroad, and the last large belt of primitive forest in Bay is gradually falling before the advancing settlers and pioneers. Fifteen years ago the logging camps followed the rivers, where the water furnished a somewhat erratic but cheap transportation for the logs. In this 20th century the “Captains of Industry” simply construct spur tracks into the timber tracts, and these are doing much to open up this virgin section to settlement.

Many of the settlers are Polish emigrants, rugged sons of toil, who know and appreciate the difference between the tyranny of darkest Russia, where every avenue of progress is closed to them, and the independence, enlightenment and opportunity open to al the children of men. The disastrous war which Russian autocracy is waging against progressive Japan has driven many emigrants to these shores within the last year, and a good proportion have gone into the wilds of Mount Forest to make their homes and their fortunes.

The village of Mount Forest on the Gladwin Branch is the trading center and post office for Mount Forest township, and lies a little west of where the Garfield stone road will cross Mount Forest. The population of Mount Forest township was 263 in 1894, and 350 in 1900. The next decade will find this more than trebled. The present township officers are: Supervisor, John Anderson; clerk, James Quigley; treasurer, James Bryce; justice of the peace, William Pregor; highway commissioner, William Quigley, Jr.

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PINCONNING TOWNSHIP was created by act of Legislature, approved February 28, 1873, in conjunction with Deep River and Standish townships, which with Arenac then belonged to Bay County, but have since been erected into separate county organization. Originally Pinconning consisted of township 17 north, range 3, 4 and 5 east. The first town meeting was held at the warehouse of Kaiser & VanEtten, on the first Monday in April, 1873. E. B. Knight, Louis Pelkey and H. Packard were the election inspectors, and Joseph U. Mecchin was the first supervisor chosen at this election.

The Indians, who long made this part of the Saginaw Bay region one of their main fishing and hunting grounds, called the Pinconning River “O-pin-nic-con-ing”, meaning “potato place,” for wild potatoes grew abundantly in this neighborhood, and cultivation has since made this the potato belt of the county. The White Feather River in the northern part of the township was also named by the Indians in honor of one of the most famous Chippewa chiefs of the last century, who took the cruel “sun bath: on its shores. The large Indian settlements at the mouth of both rivers are gradually dwindling away, but an old log mission church is a vivid reminder at the mouth of the Pinconning of the earliest efforts in Michigan to Christianize the natives.

As early as 1850, Louis Chapell owned and operated a small wall-mill at the mouth of the Pinconning, and in 1853 L. A. Pelkey began fishing there. The entire township was covered with pine in those years, and the giants of the forest soon attracted attention. In the early “sixties” lumber operations began along both rivers, and when Frederick A. Kaiser of Kawkawlin entered the field, the township enjoyed a genuine boom. In 1871 a fierce and destructive forest fire swept over part of these woods, leaving a wide trail of havoc and destruction behind. In 1873 Kaiser & VanEtten laid out the village of Pinconning and the place has prospered until 1905 it is the leading village outside of Essexville, which latter, is really but a suburb of Bay City.

In recent years the pine barrens have been taken up by practical farmers, and the township is rapidly taking its place as an agricultural community among the older and earlier settled townships. The hardwood timber is now quite valuable and ere long the last vestige of the great forest of Pinconning will have disappeared.

Mount Forest township was carved out of Pinconning in 1890, so that at present Pinconning is bounded on the north by Arenac County, on the east by Saginaw Bay, on the south by Fraser township and on the west by Mount Forest township. Many of the inhabitants, including a number of Indians, make a living by catching the finny tribes in river and bay, and many others still find work in the surviving sawmills, stave and heading mills and shingle mills, which in a comparatively small way are clearing up the remaining timber north of Bay City. The population of Pinconning township was 2,166 in 1894, and 2,104 in 1900. This apparent loss in numbers is due to the decline of the lumber industry, the scattering of the Indians and the removal of many settlers to the newly-opened townships on the west and northwest. The pretty village of Pinconning is the natural mart of the township and its neighbors of the west and north. The Mackinaw Branch of the Michigan Central Railroad has fine depot facilities at Pinconning, which is also the southern terminal of the Gladwin Branch of the Michigan Central; Woodville is the last station in Pinconning township on the Gladwin Branch, and White Feather on the Mackinaw Branch. The township has long been clamoring for stone road connection with Bay City, and the splendid stone road system of Bay County, one of the finest in the United States, is gradually being extended to Pinconning. This township is better drained than some of its southern neighbors, and has less trouble and expense to keep up the drain system. Great improvements are annually being made to the township roads. The school system of the township is of a very high order, the village offering excellent school facilities, in addition to the little rural seats of culture and learning. The township officials for 1905 are: Supervisor, George Hartingh; clerk, L. A. Pelkey; treasurer, William T. Morris; highway commissioner, Peter Codey.

PORTSMOUTH. On March 25, 1859, the Board of Supervisors of Bay County erected the township of Portsmouth, and Appleton Stevens was it first supervisor. Being the oldest settlement, and lying somewhat higher than the village of Bay City, there was for some years a keen rivalry as to which of the two settlements should be county seat. The trend of business, however, was to the north, to get nearer to Saginaw Bay, where many of the early settlers found profitable employment in fishing and trapping, and eventually the younger settlement forged to the front.

In 1855, William Daglish purchased a large portion of the plat of Portsmouth village, and had it surveyed and replatted by A. Alberts. Later additions were made to the plat by Medor Trombley and A. H. Ingraham, The settlement prospered with the passing years, new industries springing up along the river front, and an army of industrious mechanics and laborer, many of them from Germany and Poland, supplied the brawn and sinew for these manufacturing enterprises. In 1866, when the village was still independent of Bay City, the equalized valuation of Portsmouth was placed at $152,300, while in 1882, with the village consolidated with Bay City, the valuation was $288,705.

By act of the Legislature, approved April 15, 1871, “Sections 19 to 36, the same being the south half of Township 13 north, Range 6 east” were detached from Saginaw County and added to Portsmouth township. The supervisors now considered Portsmouth too bulky, so on July 8, 1871, they erected the township of Merritt, taking the territory largely from Portsmouth, and against the protests of all the settlers residing on “Sections 1, 2, 3,10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15. Town 13 north, Range 5 east.” But these differences were duly adjusted, and at the July meeting the supervisors allowed the tax levy for Portsmouth, including the amount for building a new town hall.

In 1873 the village of Portsmouth was consolidated with Bay City. All the township officials resided in the village, and their last act was to vote the money for paying for the town hall, and to deed the lot and building to Bay City! The officers of the reconstructed township sued the retiring treasurer for all that moneys remaining in his possession, which they secured, but the property remained with the city.

On April 1, 1873, the Legislature took the remaining portions of two sections, added 13 sections from Merritt and nearly six from Hampton, and created Portsmouth township as now constituted. The reconstructed township held its regular town elections on April 5, 1873. Gen. B. F. Partridge was chose supervisor, which office he filled for more than 10 years thereafter. Henry Hess was chosen town clerk, and Nelson Merritt, town treasurer.

The township contains some of the richest farms in the county, and has always been well managed. The township officials have provided excellent drainage, good roads and three school houses for educational and meeting purposes. The business of the inhabitants is done entirely in Bay City, which is easily reached over two fine stone roads and the South End electric car system. Its present officials are as follows: Supervisor, William Wagner; clerk, Fred H. Hubner; treasurer, Herman Ruterbush; justice, Oscar F. Meiselbach; highway commissioner, Williams Alberts. The population of Portsmouth township was 1,222 in 1894 and 1,363 in 1900.

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WILLIAMS township was erected by the Midland County Board of Supervisors in 1855, and originally comprised all of towns 14, 15, 16 north, range 3 east and all of Arenac County. Charles Bradford was the first supervisor. In 1857 Williams township became part of Bay County, being with Hampton, the only organized township in the new county. George W. Smock was the first supervisor to represent Williams on the Bay County board. As the pioneers penetrated further into the wilds to the north and created new homes and new communities, they set up townships of their own, until to-day Williams is exactly six miles square, being bounded on the north by Beaver township, on the west by Midland County, on the south by Saginaw County, and on the east by Monitor township.

The pioneers, who made Williams one of the oldest settlements, laid the information for its prosperity as well as their own and their descendants’. In the fall of 1854 a party of land prospectors, including John Gaffney, Charles Bradford, George W. Smock, William Spofford and Charles Fitch were so well pleased with the well-watered region now constituting Williams township, that they forthwith went to the public land office at Flint and purchased the land upon which they soon after settled. John Gaffney felled the first tree on November 18, 1854. About that same year, William W. Skelton, A. J. Wiltse and Amos Culver located near what is now North Williams. In 1855 came Samuel Rowden, John C. Rowden, David Jones, Josiah Perry, John Plant, and they were soon followed by other settlers who appreciated the many advantages of Williams township. Amos Culver and O. N. C. White erected the first square log house, with comb roof, and when Mrs. Culver and family arrived in January, 1855, the rood was only partially completed!

As we review the privations and the hardships of our pioneers, we are apt to forget that the women did as much practical work, dared and suffered as much as any of the sterner sex. Mrs. Charles Bradford came to Williams township in February, 1855. A cousin, Lyman Brainerd, who also pitched his shack in this wilderness, carried her daughter, only 18 months old, for seven miles through the wood following the “blazed” trail cut by the pioneer surveyor, C. C. C. Chillson, on the line where he predicted the Midland road would be built, through mud, snow, ice and slush, to the log hut of her husband! Roving Indians were as common as roving packs of wolves, and both equally to the feared when hungry, thirsty or out of sorts. A blanket on a hard cot of oak slabs was a luxury after the hard day’s work was over, while food and medicine had to be brought seven weary miles over the “blazed” trail from Bay City.

Amid such wild surroundings and under such dismal circumstances, with only the rugged husband and father for comfort and help, there was born to Mrs. Amos Culver, in 1855, the first white child to see the light of day in Williams township. In 1856 the first school was established at the home of Charles Bradford: Mrs. Charles Fitch, wife of one of the five original settlers, was the first teacher. The first marriage in Williams was also performed at the home of Charles Bradford, Otto Roeser, justice, tying the nuptial knot for William Hendrick and Mrs. Arvilla Stewart. Little Miss Bradford, who was carried into the wilderness when 18 months old, became the township school teacher at the age of 17, and for 14 consecutive years served Williams township in that capacity with credit to herself and profit to the scholars. The Bradfords were direct descendants of the illustrious William Bradford, second Governor of Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts and one of the Pilgrim Fathers.

In 1866 the now thriving hamlet of Fisherville, named after the redoubtable Hon. Spencer O. Fisher, Congressman, gubernatorial candidate and one of Bay County’s most able and prominent citizens, was known as “Spicer’s Corners,” where Hotchkiss & Mercer operated a sawmill, which was cutting plank for the Bay City and Midland plank road, and incidentally did a grist-mill business on a small scale.

A resident of Williams in 1866 enumerated the Methodist Bible class at North Williams, supplied with preaching every two weeks; a Universalist class, with preaching every four weeks; and a Sunday-school kept regularly, with a good library in connection. In the southern part of the township they also had a Sunday-school class, with occasional preaching, and altogether the institutions of religion and ethics were not totally neglected in the wilds of Williams.

The township grew more ambitious by 1868. The same resident, mentioned in the foregoing paragraph, urged the need of a post office, invited settlers to try Williams, where wild lands with good soil and fine pine and other timber could be bought for $5 per acre, and lauded the plank road, then completed, which gave the settlement an easy road to market, and doubled the value of the farms, as the pioneers were not slow to notice. In 1868, Williams could boast one blacksmith shop, two saloons, and a Good Templar lodge of 43 members. Two sawmills and one shingle mill were being operated in the midst of the great forest.

By 1868 Williams township proper had over 300 inhabitants; in 1880 the population was 866; in 1894 it was 1,752, and in 1900 it was 1,818. In 1868 the township polled 47 votes; in 1900, 301.

The rich soil is a rich loam, lying high enough for cultivation, and the pine stumpage offered good grazing for cattle. From the first the soil has been easily tilled and very productive. The old plank road has been superseded by the stone road which is as far superior to the rotten old planks, as the original plank road was ahead of the “blazed” trail. The Garfield stone road crosses Williams township north and south, with fine cross roads, so that the road problem is well solved. The Midland Branch of the Michigan Central Railroad crosses the very heart of Williams, and since coal exists beneath the entire township the industrial development of that neighborhood will be both substantial and rapid. Four feeders of the South Branch of the Kawkawlin River furnish the water supply and drainage, aided by numerous drains and ditches, all leading to the Kawkawlin.

The Polish settlers of that vicinity have built a fine house of worship at Fisherville, while the churches at the pretty village of Auburn supply the several denominations. Williams has an excellent school system, and post offices at Auburn and North Williams. Some of the largest and richest farms in the State of Michigan are situated in Williams township, monuments to the industry, perseverance, and intelligent cultivation of its pioneers and their descendants. The town officers at present are: Linus W. Oviatt, supervisor; George W. Matthews, clerk; E. E. Rosenkrans, treasurer; A. H. Buzzard, justice; August Constantine, highway commissioner.


VILLAGE OF ESSEXVILLE.--In 1849, Joseph Hudson, a roving sailor, chanced to visit this harbor, and during a prospecting tour was favorably impressed with the prospects of the low-lying lands on the east bank of the Saginaw River and very near its mouth. Returning to Connecticut to marry Fidelia D. Essex, he told her brother, Ransom P. Essex, of the promised land in the Northwest. In 1850 Mr. Essex took up 80 acres of low land and Mr. Hudson 40 acres adjoining, on which the thriving village of Essexville is now situated. Until 1855 the two pioneers followed the fishing business, but later took up farming.

In 1867, Mr. Essex set aside eight acres for village lots, the tract being the “west half of the northeast quarter of section 14, town 14 north, range 5 east.” He called this embryo village “Essex” but the early settlers attached a “ville”, and so the name has remained to this day,-- “Essexville”. An addition was soon laid out, to accommodate arriving settlers, and the humble homestead of the Essex family is to-day in the center of a hustling suburb of Greater Bay City.

The village of Essexville was incorporated by act of the Legislature in February, 1883. The charter election resulted as follows: President, J. R. Hall; clerk, William Felker; treasurer, George Hall; assessor, Louis Felker; highway commissioner, William Leighton; constable, H. VanWert; trustees,--Philip Dargis, S. A. Hall, Joseph Hudson, Anthony Johnson, John Garber and John Widen.

Owing to the location of the village near the mouth of the river, the land lies low and required, first of all, much drainage, before roads and fields became useful to the settlers. Woodside avenue, through the village and east to the county line, was one of the county’s earliest and best stone roads, replacing planks. Fine cross roads run north and south from Woodside avenue to the Center avenue stone road. The old horse car system came early to Essexville, furnishing easy though somewhat slow communication with the business center of Bay City some three miles away, as judged by the standard of 1905, when modern electric cars speed over the same route every 20 minutes.

The first school house in Essexville was built in 1870, Miss Corbin, teacher. In 1879 it was destroyed by fire, and immediately replaced by the commodious and well-arranged, two-story brick school, which has ever since furnished ample opportunity for the ambitious children of the village. As might be expected, the large and prosperous settlement of Holland and Belgian farmers, largely increased by immigration during 1873-75, soon erected their own church and parochial school house, which are to this day two of the prominent landmarks and seats of learning and worship in Essexville. The tall spire of St. John’s Catholic Church is visible for miles around and on a quiet Sabbath morning the sweet chimes of the bells in the church belfry bid the community to worship. Well may the German poet, Theo. Koerner, sing:

Sweet day, so pure, so calm, so bright

The bridal of the earth and sky

Yon’ chimes, so sweet, my soul’s delight

Wing thoughts from earth to realms on high.

Essexville was for some years a field for missionary effort by the churches of Bay City. In 1870 the Methodist Episcopal Church established a mission, and in 1872 Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church established a mission and later built a chapel. In 1879 Rev. J. B. Dawson, a Congregational missionary, organized the now prosperous Congregational society, with a house of worship at Essex and Langstaff streets, dedicated in 1883. The First Baptist Church of Essexville, on Dunbar and Langstaff streets, has prospered in recent years. Rev. W. P. Lovett in March, 1905, resigned the pastorate, having accepted a call to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Holy Rosary Academy, a three-story preparatory school adjoining St. John’s Catholic Church and School, was destroyed by fire on March 10, 1904, and one of the Sisters of St. Dominic, enfeebled by age and infirmities, died two days later at Mercy Hospital, as a result of jumping from the second story and exposure in the bitter cold night. The Sisters lost all their personal property, as did a number of pupils from out of the city who slept there. Owing to the lack of modern fire-fighting apparatus, Essexville has lost thousands of dollars worth of property and a number of industries in recent years. Holy Rosary Academy is being rebuilt in March, 1905, but on Lincoln avenue, within the city limits, where fire protection has every been effective.

Essexville has from its infancy been the home of a number of flourishing fraternal and benevolent societies. Lighthouse Lodge, No. 235, I. O. O. F., was organized July 1, 1874, with nine charter members and has to-day a large membership. This lodge and Elmira Lodge, No. 102, Rebekahs, own the Odd Fellows’ Block on Woodside avenue in Essexville. The Knights of the Modern Maccabees, Ladies of the Modern Maccabees, Modern Woodmen of America and Independent Order of Foresters have thriving lodges in the village. The Maccabees have their own hall on Woodside avenue. The Hampton Band is the leading musical organization of the village. In 1882 Essexville had a “Reform Club”, which had its own hall on Woodside avenue, S. W. Green being president. Evidently the desired reforms were accomplished in time, for the “Reformers” as a organization have long since passed from view. The work of enforcing law and order and accomplishing reforms now rests entirely with the minions of the law,--Justice William Felker, the village marshal and the sheriff’s office,--and the law-abiding villagers cause them little trouble. Roving tramps and inebriates cause most of the arrests.

Essexville has for years had the post office of Hampton township. Although rural free delivery has in recent years provided a more speedy and modern mail service, still the post office continues to do a prosperous business for “Uncle Sam,” under the able management of Dr. E. F. Cranmer.

The Bay City Boat Club four years ago gave up its old club house in Essexville and built a modern club house a half mile nearer the mouth of the river. It is situated near the last bend of the Saginaw, commanding a fine view of the bay and of the summer resorts to the north and west, and the power and sailing yacht regattas held during the summer are over a course that is visible from the broad and shady verandas of the club house, and are always enjoyed by the villagers of leisure.

The business section of the village stretches for nearly a mile along Woodside avenue, and is gradually expanding to meet the requirements of the increasing population, especially in the rural sections tributary to Essexville. In 1882 the village had 1 apiary, 1 blacksmith, 1 boarding house, 1 shoemaker, 1 druggist, 3 grocers, 2 hotels, 1 ice dealer, 1 livery, 1 meat market, 1 saloon and 1 wagon-maker. In 1905 we find all these places of business more than doubled, the saloons showing the largest increase in numbers. There are now several large general stores, a hardware, dry goods and shoe store, photographer, music teacher and three practicing physicians.

Like other business centers of the valley, the industries of the village have undergone a complete change in the last 15 years, Carrier & Company built the first sawmill in 1867, with a capacity of 8,000,000 feet of lumber per year. The Rouse mill was built by J. M. Rouse in 1870-71. In January, 1878, his sons,--E. F. Rouse and William B. Rouse (the latter now village president),--took charge of the mill, which then cut 12,000,000 feet of lumber annually, built a salt-block in connection, producing 90 barrels per day, and operated it so long as the supply of logs held out. The lumber annually, built a salt-block in connection, producing 90 barrels per day, and operated it so long as the supply of logs held out. The lumber statistician of 1879 also counted the McEwan mill as part of Essexville, and while it has been within the limits of Bay City its employees came largely from this village. Then came the mill of J. R. Hall and the shingle mill of S. A. Hall, and still later Boyce’s mammoth sawmill and salt-block brought new life and business to the bustling lumbering community. Then came the $2 tariff on Canadian logs and with a single stroke of the pen at Washington, the lumber industry of the western shore of Lake Huron and on Saginaw Bay was totally destroyed. One by one Essexville’s sawmills closed down, were torn down, removed or fell a prey to the fiery elements. Penniman & Courval’s shingle mill near the mouth of the river is all that remains of this once booming lumbering community.

In 1898 Essexville profited by the experiments with sugar beets carried on for a term of years by Hon. Nathan B. Bradley, C. B. Chatfield, Rev. William Reuthert and other pioneers of that now flourishing farm and factory, industry, the Michigan Sugar Factory being built under the stimulus of a State bounty that year. This was the first beet sugar factory in Michigan; it was incorporated in 1897, capitalized at $200,000, and with these officers: Thomas Cranage, president; Hon. Nathan B. Bradley, vice-president; E. T. Carrington, secretary-treasurer. In December, 1898, the Bay City Sugar Company was incorporated with a capital of $600,000, being offered as follows: W. L. Churchill, president; Capt. Benjamin Boutell, vice-president; Eugene Fifield, secretary-treasurer. By January 1, 1990, this mammoth five-story sugar-house began its first beet-slicing campaign. The question of refuse molasses from these factories was solved a year later when the Michigan Chemical Company was organized by Pittsburg capital, and the following summer the first high-proof spirits were manufactured, the government taking most of the output for use in its manufacture of high-power explosives.

These, with the chicory factory on Borden avenue, since burned down and consolidated with the Center avenue factory, just south of the corporate limits of the village, and a number of large fishing institutions, comprise the present industries of the village. Many of the villagers have turned their attention to cultivating sugar beets during the summer and chemical factories in fall and winter. The Boyce Coal Company was organized in 1899, A. A. Boyce, president; G. J. Boyce, secretary-treasurer, with offices on Pine street. The erection of the Hecla cement plant just across the river from Essexville, with a capitalization of $5,000,000, furnished employment to hundreds of villagers, and, when the concern settles its internal troubles in the courts will prove a bonanza to Essexville and its inhabitants. The Essexville coal and wood yard built by William B. Rouse two years ago, and now operated by Charles Gardner, fills a long-felt want. The population of Essexville was 1,639 in 1900.

The dividing line between Greater Bay City and Essexville is about the center of Woodside avenue, east of Atlantic street, and many of the villagers are looking forward to the time when their community will form a ward of the great city. The main objection is the bonded indebtedness of the city, while Essexville has not one dollar of bonded debt. But this might be arranged on a mutually satisfactory basis, and the consolidation would at once give Essexville access to the municipal lighting plant, the water-works, with the much needed fire protection, the High School, for which the villagers must now pay extra, permanent pavements, improved drainage, and all the other modern advantages of an up-to-date city. That many of the villagers see this union of village and city in the not very far future is proven by the defeat of the proposition to bond the village for $50,000 for a village water-works plant, at the election on March 13, 1905. Consolidation will give them this water service, then why erect a separate plant? The dividing line is slender, the social and business interests closely interwoven, and ere long all the people residing on both sides of the Saginaw River, for five miles from its mouth, will comprise one city of more than 50,000 inhabitants, and Essexville is destined to be one of the busy wards of the greater city.

The village election held on March 13, 1905, was one of the most spirited in the annuals of Essexville, and more remarkable because only one candidate of the Democratic ticket won out, after that party had ruled the destinies of the village for years. Following was the vote:


William B. Rouse, Rep………………………………..................................................165

J. R. Cotter, Dem………………………………............................................................119

Rouse’s majority, 46.


O. A. Lloyd, Rep……………………………….............................................................135

F. O. Guindon, Dem……………………………….........................................................149

Guindon’s majority, 14.


W. C. Rothermel, Rep………………………………....................................................143

Jacob Van Hamlin, Dem……………………………….................................................130

Rothermel’s majority, 13.


Martin Richards, Rep………………………………......................................................154

William Felker, Dem……………………………….......................................................127

Richard’s majority, 27.


E. F. Crummer, Rep………………………………........................................................152

W. Portlance, Dem………………………………..........................................................130

Crummer’s majority, 32.

Archie Deary, Rep………………………………...........................................................144

Charles Wise, Dem………………………………..........................................................133

Deary’s majority, 11.

William Burgess, Rep………………………………......................................................154

Henry Hudson, Dem……………………………….........................................................123

Burgess’ majority, 46.

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VILLAGE OF KAWKAWLIN.--One of the prettiest and most enterprising hamlets in Bay County is situated on the banks of the placid river, which gives it its romantic Indian name. The earliest settlers clustered about the quaint little water-mill built by the late James Fraser, and later operated by O. A. Ballou & Company, Frederick A. Kaiser’s steam-mill, and the ford used by the Indians in their travels. In 1855 this village consisted of the two mills, five cottages, two log huts, several Indian wigwams, and one hundred million mosquitoes to the square mile. The pioneer Kaiser and his sturdy German wife never had any altercation at the dinner table, because they always had to keep muffled, to prevent being devoured by these winged demons of the swampy river bottom! Thomas Munn, Edward McGuinnes, Michael McGuinnes, Cromwell Barney, John Sutherland, the late Dr. T. A. MacTavish, Jans Jacobsen, Amos Wheeler, Calvin E. Bedell, Edwin M. Parsons, Carl Schmidt, George A. Schultz and John C. Westpinter, who came in 1852, were among the home-builders of this village in its pioneer days.

The fellow-citizens of genial “Tom” Munn know that there could not have been dull moments in the village, while Tom was there, and the pioneers tell many amusing stories of pioneer life on the “raging” Kawkawlin. One day in November, 1873, a lovesick and not overly bright young fellow wandered into the settlement, and before the week rolled around had received the icy mitt from all the young women of the town, to whom he proposed in short order. A fun-loving Scotchman thought he saw a chance to relieve the mosquito season. A beardless boy of feminine looks was togged up, Mr. Masher duly introduced, and the weird courtship duly started. A fellow named Smith made some insulting remark to Mr. Masher’s “girl” one evening, and next morning a warrant was secured before a fake justice, a mock trial was held, and Smith fined $13. To the delight of Mr. Masher. To settle matters he proposed to marry, and before night the fake justice had tied the knot. Then Smith bobbed up to spoil the wedding ceremony by demanding another trial, which was duly held next morning and Smith acquitted. In the same instant another fellow stepped forward to claim his wife, now Mrs. Masher, and the “girl” was promptly arrested for bigamy, to Mr. Newlywed’s horror! But his horror became aggravated when some way tore off the “girl’s” bonnet and other toggery. Tableau! Mr. Masher was set adrift on the Kawkawlin and drifted out of sight forever, but never out of mind in the settlement!

The spirit of the community also found expression in breezy rhymes. Here is a sample:

No fightin’ or brawlin is heard in Kawkawlin

And the only contention is at the ball park!

‘Tis here that the white man gives the red man his right

And helps him, as Penn did, to paddle, life’s bark!

Canadians in dozens, with “Old Country” cousins,

Are fleeing the maple leaf, thistle and rose;

And westwardly sally, to Kawkawlin valley,

To find richer homes where the prairie grass grows.

We have a fair river, a bountiful giver,

Of all sorts of fishes that dwell in the sea;

While placidly resting, or fearlessly breasting,

Its current, the wild duck is waiting for me.

We turn out together, in fair or foul weather,

To help any neighbor we think is in need;

Each man to the other is a scriptural brother,

Despite nationality, color or creed!

In 1861 the first school was opened in a little frame building, and Miss Carrie Chelsea, now Mrs. C. C. Faxon, of West Bay City, was the first teacher. The venerable lady has achieved in the 44 years since passed a foremost place for philanthropy, and earnest work in the missionary and temperance field. The post office was established in 1868 and D. Stanton was the first postmaster. The Presbyterians and Methodists held church services about 1863, and 10 years later substantial church edifices graced the thriving village. Social Lodge, No. 148, I. O. O. F., was organized December 13, 1871, two members being admitted by card, and seven by initiation. It has grown continually since then, and with the Pine Grove Lodge of Good Templars shares the honor of being the earliest fraternal and benevolent organizations in the village. The Knights of the Maccabees, Gleaners, Independent Order of Foresters, Modern Woodmen of America and Masons have strong lodges in the village. Many of the members live in the surrounding country.

In 1862, O.A. Ballou, A. M. Switzer and Dr. W. E. Vaughn, the latter still a resident of Bay City, operated for a few years a chemical plant for the manufacture of hemlock extract. It was the predecessor of a number of large chemical plants erected in Bay City since. Kawkawlin has had several genuine earthquakes, owing to the tendency of the H. H. Thomas dynamite plant, just south of the village, to create a terrific noise and a rocking of the universe, whenever it takes one of its periodical flights into space and minute particles! Window glass for miles around is a t a premium on such occasions, and more unfortunately still, a number of lives have been lost by these terrible explosions,

The village has suffered a number of times owing to fierce fires raging through the remaining forests and underbrush of the vicinity. One of the most destructive fires occurred on March 25, 1880, when the handsome home of the oldest pioneer, Frederick A. Kaiser, was destroyed by fired caused by defective flues in the heating apparatus. Mr. Kaiser was in Bay City on the eventful morning, and his son and hired men were at work. About 10 o’clock a son-in-law, living over a mile distant, looking toward the Kaiser home, saw flames and smoke pouring from the roof. Mounting a horse he rode the animal under the whip the entire distance, the exertion killing the faithful beast. Most of the furniture was saved but the house, valued at $16,000, was totally destroyed.

Just south of the village, in a beautiful grove of forest kings, on a little bluff overlooking the river and valley, facing the fine stone road, is “Riverside Farm,” one of Bay County’s prettiest and most famous ranches. It is the homestead of the Marston family, and was for years the beloved retreat of the late Hon. Isaac Marston, justice of the Supreme Court from 1875- to 1883, being chief justice in 1880 and 1881. He also filled, by appointment from Governor Bagley, a vacancy that occurred in the office of Attorney General of Michigan, this being prior to his elevation to the bench. “Riverside Farm” has for years had the distinction of being one of the model farms of the entire country, and is far-famed for its large herd of blooded cattle, mainly Jerseys. The Judge has a worthy successor at “Riverside Farm” in his son, Thomas Frank Marston, who served four years on the State Board of Agriculture, being president of the board during the administration of Governor A. T. Bliss, and has lately been reappointed to this board by Governor Fred M. Warner.

Like Frankenlust on the southwest, Williams on the west and Portsmouth and Merritt on the southeast of the county, Kawkawlin is noted for its hospitality. The dust and smoke-begrimed employees of factory and workshop in Bay City know and have no greater recreation, than a drive over the fine roads, where macadamized stone has replaced corduroy, mud and finally plank roads, to the cozy, well-stocked and hospitable homes of the villagers and farmers of Kawkawlin.

* * *


PINCONNING VILLAGE.-- “Pinconning: Change cars for Mount Forest, Bentley and Gladwin.” Such is the stentorian announcement of the pleasant-faced conductor on the “Mackinaw Flyer” of the Michigan Central, as the train pulls into the pretty village on the Pinconning River. We are 18 miles from Bay City. The trunk line to the Straits of Mackinac runs due north, the Gladwin Branch almost due west to Mount Forest, and then northwestward to the county seat of Gladwin County. As the townships to the north of Bay City are being settled, the importance of Pinconning as a trading center naturally increases.

The village dates from 1872, when Frederick A. Kaiser and George H. Van Etten built and operated the first sawmill there. They built a unique railroad of 3 by 5 maple rails for 18 miles into a timber belt that gave 140,000,000 feet of lumber, They platted 100 acres on both sides of the railway; the streets running north and south were named: Waters, Warren, Kaiser, Manitou and Van Etten, while those running east and west were numbered from one to six. With the later additions, these are the streets of the village to-day. A large general store was started by the firm, and a post office established. Pinconning township now has rural free delivery advantages, but the post office is still in much demand. George Barie is the popular postmaster of Pinconning.

With the falling of the last pine tree in that lumbering section the palmy days of the village ended for a time. The mills were wiped out by fire or torn down and removed nearer their timber supply. But the settlers followed the lumber jack, and ere long Pinconning took a new and permanent lease of life, so that in 1887 it was incorporated and reincorporated in 1891. In the census of 1900 it had 729 inhabitants.

The business section of the village has been repeatedly wiped out by fire, but, as often Pinconning rose from the ashes and always with more pretentious hotels, stores and homes. The fine brick school was destroyed by fire in 1904, and in 1905 an even more modern and handsome brick and stone school has replaced it. The Maccabee Hall is one of the conspicuous two-story structures and furnishes ample auditorium space for the public meetings and entertainments of the village. The first church was the Indian mission at the mouth of the Pinconning River. In 1884 the Methodist Episcopal and the Presbyterian Church were built, and almost every denomination is represented in this little hamlet. Women’s clubs and social organizations assist in furnishing diversion and enlightenment for the progressive villagers.

Practically every line of retail trade is represented in the village, the stores are well-stocked and well-kept, and the enterprising merchants know the value of paint in keeping things looking bright and new on the outside, and clean within. Two hotels and several taverns provide for the comfort and good cheer of transient visitors and industrious villagers. The fraternities are well represented in Pinconning, there being lodges of Masons, Odd Fellows, Maccabees and Modern Woodmen.

Edward Jennings, proprietor of the shingle, heading and stave mill, the only survivor of the palmy days of lumbering here, has held about all the positions of trust and responsibility in Pinconning village and township. In 1904 he was village president. On March 13, 1905, the following union ticket was elected without opposition: President, A. Grimshaw, hardware merchant; clerk, H. C. Mansfield, grocer; treasurer, W. A. McDonald, grocer; assessor, George Deremer, musician and tonsorial artist; trustees,--Alex. Lenhoff (clothing merchant), George Hassling (harness-maker) and Edward Jennings (lumberman).

* * *

AUBURN.--About 10 miles west of Bay City, exactly midway to Midland, on the splendid Midland stone road, is one of Michigan’s prettiest country hamlets, Well-kept stores and comfortable homes, inviting taverns and busy shops, cozy schools and dignified houses of worship, are clustered here, providing many of the diversions and ethics of life, and all its modern-day necessities. In the farming community about the village, the stump-puller has long since given way to the up-to-date sowing and reaping machines. In 1883 there were two churches (Methodist Episcopal and Catholic), the Auburn House (a fine brick hotel owned by W. P. Root), the fine store of Ira E. Swart, a blacksmith shop and two saloons. The pioneer, Ira E. Swart, joined the great majority eight years ago. The place has known many changes in the two decades intervening between 1883 and the present time.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of 25 years ago is still a landmark in Auburn, but the little Catholic Church has been replaced by St. Joseph’s Church, a brick structure, 40 by 65 feet, and modern in every respect at a cost of $10,000. The town hall is located in the heart of the village, furnishing an ample meeting place for the residents of Williams township. Just across the way is the office and cozy home of the veteran physician of the village, Dr. John P. Snyder, and Smith’s drug store fills a long-felt want in the community. John Nuffer’s cheese factory and general store, and the elevator and general store of C. A. Kern are among Auburn’s substantial business institutions. August Constantine presides at the Auburn Hotel and James Green at the Bay City Hall. The merry music of hammer and anvil is heard from early morning until late each day, where George Clark and the Hemingway Brothers operate their respective smithies. Interspersed with these busy institutions are the comfortable and well-kept homes of the villagers.

Here, too, the townspeople of Bay City find a breathing place, a source of rest and recreation after the day’s work or the week’s work is done. Sleigh-ride parties in winter, bicycling, coaching and auto parties during summer find Auburn a jolly good place to visit. The village folk enjoy these visits, and practice fraternity and benevolence within their own little community. We find here the Auburn Post, G. A. R., a reminder that Williams township furnished rather more than its quota of men when our country needed them most, and active lodges of the Independent Order of Odd Fellow, Modern Woodmen of America, Independent Order of Foresters, Gleaners, and leading “Farmers Club” of the county. Verily these worthy villagers know the town -meeting, love its associations, and profit by the lessons of progress and charity there espoused, worthy descendants of the idyllic New England village, whose Auburn brings vividly to mind. And verily here to we find:

Under a spreading chestnut tree

The village smithy stands;

The smith, a mighty man is he

With large and sinewy hands;

And the muscles of his brany arms

Are strong as iron bands.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,

You can hear his bellows blow;

You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,

With measured beat and slow,

Like a sexton ringing the village bell,

When the evening sun is low.


* * *

“ICEBURG, U. S. A.”--This is the famous fishing village, located from three to 30 miles north of Bay City, which appears each winter as if by magic, on the icy surface of Saginaw Bay. Just as soon as the ice on the bay is thick enough to sustain the weight, commercial fishermen, and men from every walk of life who happen to be out of employment, rig up their shanties on sleds, each shanty being provided with a stove for a heating, and a cot for sleeping purposes, and a box to hold provisions. Hundreds of these fishing shanties are moved out on the ice, their location depending upon the feeding grounds or runway of the finny tribes, and for from three to four months the fishermen are busy spearing fish. Fish buyers drive out each day and buy the catch. This picturesque and transient community has been named “Iceburg, U. S. A.” The season of 1904-05 brought out some 350 men, and while the catches for December and January were light, February and March proved bonanzas. Expert spear fishermen made from $5 to $10 per day. The ice for January, February and March, 1905, was three feet thick.


Chapter 5

Chapter 7

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