Linden, Michigan

Genesee County

Linden MI 1910's from Paul Petosky

The first settlers in what is now the corporation of Lindon were Richard and Perry Lamb, and the first white woman in the place was the wife of the latter, who still resides in the village. These persons settled on section 20, in the fall of 1835. A log house was built on Richard's place, and he remained through the winter, while Perry went to Ann Arbor, and returned with his family in the spring of 1830. Richard Lamb was subsequently removed from town, and Perry died. His widow became the wife of Maxwell Fisk. For a long time the house of Perry Lamb furnished accommodations for travelers, and Mrs. Lamb was known far and wide as an excellent housewife, a courteous entertainer, and a most exemplary pioneer lady. When Perry Lamb returned to Linden, in March, 1836, he brought with him his wife's brother, J. Z. Fairbank, then a boy. The latter had come from Wayne Co., N. Y., in the fail of 1835, with his father, Zenas Fairbank, and located in Washtenaw County, where they remained that winter. The elder Fairbank followed his son to the village in May, 1836, when the only houses here were those of Richard and Perry Lamb, standing in its eastern limits, near the river. Mr. Fairbunk purchased land just outside what in now the corporation, but subsequently moved within its limits, built and opened the second store, and carried it on two or three years, his death occurring in December, 1852, while yet in business.

Mr. Fairbank had studied medicine some, and upon locating at Linden engaged in practice, which became quite extensive. Although not a regularly educated physician, his services were called into requisition by settlers living in many instances miles away. He traveled into adjoining townships, and many an afflicted family had cause to rememher his kindness and skill, he was the first who practiced medicine in Linden, and the second in the township, Dr. Pattisn, of Fenton, having but a short time preceded him. When he (Fairbank) moved up with his family from Washtenaw County, there were no roads after leaving Highland, Oakland Co., and an Indian trail was followed from there to Dibbleville, where they stayed overnight with Dostin Cheney, who brought them to their destination the next day via Silver Lake, with an ox-team, following also in Indian trail.

Mr. Fairbanks daughter, Mrs. Perry Lamb, became anxious, in the winter of 1836, to see friends in Ann Arbor, fifty miles away, of which distance more than half was along a trail. Accordingly, mounting an Indian pony, and being accompanied by a lad named Lorenzo Cheney, she started. Cheney going on foot, and bringing back the pony after Mrs. Lamb had reached her destination. Huckleberries and wild plums were abundant in the neighborhood, and J. Z. Fairbank relates that he and his sister Mrs. Lamb, used to cross the Shiawassee on a log, and go huckeleberrying. The settlers at Linden, in common with others in this region, experienced considerable trouble from a scarcity of provisions. On one occasion. Mr. Fairbank and his son, Francis C, went to Ann Arbor, purchased 43 pounds of pork, paying 18 cents per pound, and walked back with it to Linden,— first one carrying the loud and then the other. It was in a sack, and they were very careful of their burden, as pork was considered by the pioneers more precious than gold." The only music the settlers had was that furished by the wolves, who howled in exciting chorus the long nights through.

The fires which annually swept across the country had kept down vegetation to such a degree that an insufficient quantity had decayed to enrich the soil to a great degree, and it was consequently thin and poor. The first crops rained yielded only from three to seven bushels per acre, but in a few years—as soon as fences were built and fires kept down—the soil deepened and the yield rapidly increased. After a year or two of cultivation everybody became sick, and many left discouraged. It is to be remarked, however, that a large proportion of those who left return¦ 1 in time and located permanently.

Of the family of Zenas Fairbank, one son, James, for some time a merchant in Linden, now lives in Nebraska; another, Dr. Henry C. Fairbank, is a resident of Flint, and enjoys an extensive practice; while two others, La Fayette and Jerome Z., are still at Linden.

Asahel Ticknor, who settled in the village in 1836. was from the State of New York, to which he returned after a residence of a few years in Michigan. He was a veteran of the war of 1812.

Byram Lake, immediately south of Linden, was named from Charles Byram, who settled on its north shore in February, 1836. His brother, Joseph Byram, arrived shortly after. The first election for the township of Argentine was held in the board shanty belonging to Charles Byram, in the fall of 1836.

Seth C. Sadler, from Monroe Co., N. Y., a native of Massachusetts, emigrated to Michigan, in 1831, aud settled in Oakland County, where he lived for several years in the townships of Bloorufield nnd Troy. In October, 1835, he purchased 120 acres of land on sections 31 and 32, in Kenton township, built a small shanty thereon, and early in February, 1836, moved up his family from Oakland County a few days before the arrival in town of Charles Byram. When Mr. Sadler come his nearest neighbor on the west was John Kuaggs, a half-breed Indian trailer, in Shiawassee County. In the spring of the same year James Murray, William Lobdell, and others located west of him, in what is now the township of Argentine. In what now constitutes Fenton township, the only persons then living were Lauren P. Biggs, Clark Dibble, Dustin Cheney, John Wilbur, and James Thorp. Others who hud been here had moved away. Of those mentioned Mr. Riggs had moved upon a farm two and one-half miles west of Dobbleville. The village of Linden dates its origin from Feb. 3,1840, when it was laid out by Messrs. Warner «V Harris. Additions have been made since as follows : Walter Davenport's addition, Jun. 28, 1857; Linden Cemetery addition, by J. Z. Fairbank and Mrs. Fisk (formerly Mrs. Perry Lamb), April 20, 1870; Fairbauk's addition, by J. Z. Fairbauk, in the summer of 1878.

Consider Warner, one of the original proprietors of the village, came here in the full of 1836, from Genesee Co., N. Y., in company with several others, constructed a dam across the river and erected a saw-mill,— the latter in the fall of 1837. The frame of a grist-mill was raised in 1838, and when the latter building was completed it contained one run of stones and a tub wheel. It was finally destroyed by fire, as was also the saw-mill, and the property lay idle for a number of years. In the winter of 1845—40 it was purchased by Messrs. Thompson & Ueesou, who creeled the frames of a saw-mill and a grist-mill, but did not complete them while they were the owners. In 1850, Seth C. Sadler purchased the saw-mill, aud he and M. Warren became proprietors of the grist-mill. They finished the work on the buildings and operated the mills successfully. The grist-mill, which is yet standing, contaius three runs of stones, and is owned by I. B. Hyatt.

Eben (Hamen?) Harris, the partner of Mr. Warner in business, and one of the original proprietors of the village, came here in the fall of 1838, from Pontiac, Oakland Co. In 1839 the firm opened a store in a frame building which they had erected the same year on the same ground where now stands the west end of the brick "Union Block." It has been moved across the street and largely repaired, and is now used as a drug-store by Dr. S. D. Harris. The frame hotel now known as "Springer's Hotel" was built by Warner & Harris in 1840, the timber being drawn from the woods by Alonzo J. Chapin. It was afterwards the property of Seth C. Sadler, who rebuilt it, and has since been extensively repaired. It is now owned by Mrs. James B. Moshier, formerly the widow of Henry Springer.

Seth C. Sadler moved from his farm to the village of Linden in April, 1851, and engaged in business, purchasing the saw-mill and a share in the grist-mill, as stated, also the hotel. He built a carding-machiue and a cloth-dressing machine in 1851, and operated them in company with others; these were burned after the war of the Rebellion, as was also the sawmill. The latter was rebuilt by Joseph A. Gardner, now of Petoskey, and a plaster-mill was subsequently added by the same man. He finally sold to Myron Harris, who built a wagon-factory near, which is known as the "Linden Wagon-Works and now owned by Harris & Beach, who manufacture on quite an extensive scale.

Jonathan Shephard, who died in 1878, was one of the early settlers of Linden, coming with Consider Warner from the Slate of New York, and helping build the first mills at the place.

Benaiah Sanborn settled at Linden in the fall of 1836 and on the site of the present Union Block built the first log shanty that was erected in the main part of the village. Two others were constructed at nearly the same time, by Richard Newton and Joseph Irving, the latter a Scotchman. Mr. Sanborn came from Genesee Co., N. Y., in company with Consider Warner, for whom he worked that winter and helped build the saw-mill. In the following spring (1837) he removed to a farm south of Flint, where he died in 1801. His son, Rev. O. Sanborn, a minister of the Methodist denomination, is now in charge of that church at Linden, serving his second term of three years. He was but ten years old when his father moved here with the family. Mr. Warner did not bring his family with him when he first came, but boarded with some of those who came with him, either with Mr. Sanborn or Mr. Newton. His foreman, Hem an Harris, boarded with the former.

Tho first bridge across the Shiawassee river at Linden was a log structure which stood about a hundred rods above the present dam, and was built at some date between 1836 and 18r0, probably in l836* or '37,as, when the dam was raised, it was carried off by the water. Soon after, a frame bridge was thrown across at the same place where the stream is now spanned, and since then several have been built, all, including the present one, frame. The first marriage in the village was that of Jared Ball and a Miss Sage, which was solomized about 1840—41. Lafayette Fairbank and Almeda Hunt were also married early, as were Walter Davenport and Lucinda Hunt, and Alden Tupper and Louisa Lamb.

The first school in Linden was taught in a long, low- roofed, one-story shanty which stood in front of the grist- mill, by a daughter of Abel D. Huut, in the summer of 1830. Hunt had settled here the same year. The house was a temporary affair which had been used as a boarding. house by the men at work building the saw-mill. Walter Brown taught at the same place the following winter. This school, although the first in the main settlement, was not the first in the vicinity, as another had been taught in 1838. three-fourths of a mile east, by Walter Brown. The first building erected purposely for a school-house in what are now the corporate limits of the village was a log edifice which stood in the southeast comer thereof. A frame structure was afterwards built on the street running south from the hotel and "Union Block" and about thirty rods south of the hotel. The log house was built about 1840. Louisa Hillman and John Morris were among its early teachers. It was used but about two years, or until the frame building was erected.

North of Linden the first school was taught in the summer of 1840 in a small frame schoolhouse, built by the district on the north end of Morris Ripley's farm. The teacher was a lady, whose name is forgotten. This schoolhouse has been removed and a new one erected farther east. The Linden post-office was established in the fall of 1850, principally through the efforts of Seth C. Sadler, and Claudius T. Thompson received the first appointment as postmaster. His successors have been William H. Cook, Frank Fry, Charles Brown, aud the present incumbent, N. B. Cochran.

James Fairbank, now in Nebraska, about 1865-55. built the first brick store in Linden, and opened a hardware establishment in it. Tho building is now owned by Myron Harris, who has enlarged it to accommodate his business. It stands opposite (west of) Springer's Hotel. The brick "Union Block" on the north side of the main street and opposite the hotel, was built in 1868-69, under the superintendence of I. B. Hyatt The parties owning the property and who built the block were William Middlesworth, Hyatt & Moshier, J. J. Johnson, Charles Browu, W. H. Cook, and Allen Leonard, beginning at the west end. Of these, Middlesworth is dead; Moshier went out to take charge of the hotel; and Leonard's part is owned by Asa Whitehead. The others still remain. James B. Moshier came to Linden in January, 1852, and in 1860 engaged in the mercantile business, which he continued until May 1, 1870, when he relinquished it in order to atteud to the affairs of the hotel. He is from Warren Co., N. Y.

I. B. Hyatt also located here in January, 1852, and entered into busiuess with his brother, Jacob Hyatt. Their stock—considered large in those days—consisted of a wagon- load of goods which had been purchased at and brought from Detroit. I. B. Hyatt subse/|ueutly entered partnership with J. B. Moshier, with whom he loug continued. Be is the present owner of tho grist-mill, and was the first Master of the Linden Masonic lodge.

Charles Brown, still in business in the Union Block, started the first drugstore in the place, in 1858, and has continued since in the same line of trade. He came from the State of New York.

About 1858-59 a foundry was built and started by Stephen Clark, who did general furnace work, and in two or three years added a steam stave-cutter. The foundry is now the property of Sadler & Lobdell.

The addition laid out by Walter Davenport near the railroad is called North Linden. About 1857, a hotel was built near the depot by Mr. Davenport, since deceased. The present proprietor is William Gamber. The frame elevator and warehouse near by was built about 1868, by Joseph Middlesworth, and is still owned by him. Grain, lime, salt, land-plaster, etc., are handled. Mr. Middlesworth's rather, John Middlesworth, settled in Argentine township in 1838, coming from New Jersey. He purchased 1600 acres of land in the southwestern part of said township from second hands. He is now deceased.

Linden Cemetery.— Perry Lamb, at an early date, gave to the township half an acre of land, to be used for burial purposes, and afterwards sold an additional half-acre for $10. Subsequently P. C. Fairbank added half an acre on the east side, laid it out into 40 lots, and sold it for $20. J. Z. Fairbank and his sister, Mrs. Mary K. Fisk (widow of Perry Lamb), have since added 181 lots, and the cemetery now contains about 3| acres. Of this one acre—that given and sold by Perry Lamb—is free to the township, while the balance is owned by tbe individuals who made the additions. The first person buried in it was James Ball, a millwright by trade, who, in August, 1836, while building a mill at Shiawassee town, in Shiawassee County, fell about eight feet, striking on a rock and killing him. He lived at Linden, where the funeral sermon was preached by Rev. Hiram Madison, a Free-Will Baptist minister, and one of the first of that denomination who preached iu this neighborhood.

Lodge #132, F. and A. M., was organized underr dispensation early in 1861, and chartered Jan. 10, l862. It started with 7 members and has at present about 90. Its first Master was I. B. Hyatt. The hall is in Union Block. Three of the members belong to Fenton Commandary, No. 14, K. T., and several are Royal Arch Masons. The officers for 1870 are: Worshipful Master, A. H. Bench; Senior Warden, George West; Junior Warden, A. B. Hyatt; Sec., James MoFarland; Treas., James B. Moshier; Senior Deacon, John Sleman ; Junior Deacon, I. Fairbank.

Strict Account Lodge No. 276, I.O.O.F. was organised March 17,1876, with 11 members. Its first executive officer was E. R. Parker. The present membership is about 40, and the officers are: Noble Grand, Warren G. Ripley; Vice-Grand, Albert Billings; Treas.. J. G. Hicks; Sec, E. D. Webber; Permanent Secretary, Frank Luce; Treas., J. G. Hicks.

Linden Division, No. 103, Sons of Temperance, was organised Jan. 25, 1877, with about 30 members, and had at the beginning of May, 1870, about 150, with the following officers, viz.: Worthy Patriarch, E.D. Webber ; Worthy Associate, William Collins; Past Worthy Patriarch, John is. Snook; Recording Scribe, William Hyatt; Assistant Recording Scribe, Miss Jenny Cooper; Treas., Thomas Geriw; Financial Scribe, Arthur Webber; Chaplain, Mrs, Alfred Cooper, Conductor, Silas Henry; Assistant Conductor,

Miss Annie Gerow; Inside Sentinel, Joseph Miller; Outside Sentinel, L. M. Howe. The first religious society in the village was organised previous to 1838 by the Free-Will Baptists, and kept up for a considerable number of years. Its first minister was Rev. Mr. Jones, from Holly, Oakland Co, who preached his first serman here as early as 1837, from a pile of sawlogs in tho mill-yard. Kev. Hiram Madison was also early, —having preach a funeral sermon in August, 1836, as mentioned. The early meetings were held in the log houses and barns of the pioneers, and afterwards the schoolhouses were pressed into service. The Baptists have no organisation here at present.

Methodist Episcopal Church.— The second religious organization in the place was formed by the Methodists, who organised a class about 1838-39 and had services in connection with the church at Fenton. An early minister was Rev. Daniel Miller, a local preacher, who was sent here as a missionary from Miller's Settlement, now Hamilton Station, on the Chicago and Lake Huron Railway. Among the pastors since the organization of tho society hare been Revs. 0. H. P. Green., R. McConnell, P. O. Johnson, James Armstrong, Joseph Shank, John G. Whitoomb, T. J. Joslin, D. W. Hammond, Orlando Sanborn, John Hamilton, and Mr. Sanborn a second time, he being at present in charge. Linden Circuit has charges in Fenton, Argentine, and Mundy townships. The only church edifice among the Fenton township charges is at Linden. It was commenced in the summer of 1867 and dedicated Oct. I8, I868. The other two churches on the circuit are located, one at Argentine, built and dedicated in 1873, and the other at South Mundy, dedicated in December, 1872, having been built that year. All three are frame buildings. The appointments on the circuit are at the following places, viz.: Linden, head of Long Lake, and "Sand Bar" schoolhouse, in Fenton township; Argentine and Dodder school - house, in Argentine; and South Mundy church, in Mundy. The membership of these is as follows: Linden, 149; Long Lake, 53; Sand Bar school-house, 25; South Mundy, 90; Dodder school-house, 27; Argentine, 34, Mr. Sanborn has the supervision of the entire circuit, and by tho aid of local preachers all the appointmenta arc regularly filled. The Long Lake class was first organised in 1837, at or near the Odell school-house in Mundy; it was afterward changed to a location near the township line, where a log church was built, and was finally transferred to Lnng take. The South Mundy class was organized in 1840; the Argentine class in February, 1809, by Iter. J. W. Holt, with D. 0. Whitney as first class-leader, attached to Linden circuit in 1870, having been previously on Oak Grove circuit; Blair school-house class, in Kenton, organized in February, 1807, by Ilev. James Berry, B. F. Hitchcock first class-leader, changed since to Dodder school-house in Argentine.

Linden circuit was organized in the Conference of 1869, and Rev. D. W. Hammond appointed pastor. The classes then connected were Linden. Long Lake, South Mundy, Kennedy school-house, and Blair school-house. Rev. Orlando Sanborn was appointed to the circuit iu 1870, and remained three years. During that time a debt of $1000 on the church at Linden was cleared up, and the churches built at Mundy and Argentine, at a cost of $2500 each. The organizations of this denomination in Mundy and Argentine, belonging to the Linden circuit, are the only ones of the kind in those townships. The church at Fenton is separate from this circuit.

The Presbyterian Church at Linden was organised about 1863, during the war of the Rebellion, and the present frame church built at the same time, at a cost of about $1700. The first pastor was Rev. Thomas Wright. Those since have been Revs.- Herrick,-Wallace, and D. H. Taylor, the latter now in charge and living at Fenton, being the pastor also of the church at that place. The membership of the Linden church is about 55. A good Sabbath-school is sustained with an attendance of about 70. It poesses a library of 200 volumes or more, and is superintended by A. B. Hyatt. Both church and school are in good condition.

The village of Linden was incorporated by act of the Legislature in 1871. The first village election wan held on the 6th of March of that year, when the following officers' were chosen, vis.: President, William H. Cook ; Clerk, L. D. Cook ; Marshal, E. H. Spencer; Treasurer, Myron Harris; Assessor, James B. Moshier; Trustees (two years), John J. Castle, I. B. Hyatt, L. H. Pierce (one year), Parley Warner, L. A. Curtis, J. Z. Fairbank. The presidents and trustees of the village since have been the following:

1872.—President. William H. Cook ; Trustees(two years), 0. F. Jamison, Parley Warner, James R. Copper.

1873.—President. Y. E. Benton ; Trustees. (two years, John J. Castle, Michael W. Johnson, Julius P. Warren.

1874.—President. Beach J. Whitney ; Trustees (two years) Y. B. Benton, Silas K. Warner, James R. Cooper.

1875.-President. Homer B. Smith; Trustees (two years) Allen Leonard Allen J. Beach, Julius Warner

1976.—President. Silas A. Cook, Trustees (two years) Silas K. Warner, Charles Brown, Jam«« K. Cooper.

1877.—President, Myron Harris, Trustees (two years), Eugene. S. Cram, Morris L. Groom, Alonzo B. Hunt.

I878.— President. Alfred Cooper, Trustees (two years), Anton Morehouse John J. Castle, George Davenport.

1879.—President. Leonard H. Pierce; Clerk. William H. Johnson, Treasurer, John H. Leal; Assesor, Stephen T. Davenport; Marshal, Lorenzo M. Howe: Trustees (two years) Alfred Cooper, Seth C. Sadler, Jr., George West.


A fire company was organised June 21, 1871, with 17 members, and buckets were supplied for use at fires. In the spring of 1879 the company was furnished with hand extinguishing pumps, the utility of which is to he demonstrated Fire wardens are appointed each year, and the company is kept up to the regulation standard, 18 members.

The village has suffered from but few fire?\s-, none of which were extensive, and all except one or two occurred before incorporation.

In May, 1879, the Village contained thirteen stores, a foundry, a wagonfactory (Linden Wagon-Works), a carriagc-factory (property of Joseph Beach & Son) Beach Platform Truss Gearing Company's factory, an axe- and pick-handle factory (owned by Gerow & Orton), a saw-mill, a grist-mill, two churches, a graded school, with one brick school-building and a small frame one, a newspaper called the Linden Record, edited and published by Orlando White, several physicians, of whom the oldest is Dr. Leonard H. Pierce, who has practiced here twenty-five years, and the usual number of blacksmith- and other shops found in a place of the size. Its population is estimated as being in the neighborhood of 800.

Immediately north of the village of Linden resides Parley Warner, who came to tho township with his father at an early date, and who happened unfortunately to be absent from home when called upon for information.

Farther north is the farm of Morris Ripley, who came from Queenstown, Warren Co., N. Y., to Michigan, in 1836, and located land where he now lives. In the fall of 1839 he returned to New York and was married, and in the spring of 1840 brought his wife with him to their future abiding place in Michigan. He had then a log; shanty built and one field cleared on the place. At that date (1840) no one lived iu Fenton township north of them, and a road had not yet been cut through the timber. Mr. Ripley'a brothers, Anson and Alanson Ripley, followed him to the township, the former locating three-fourths of a mile east of him, and the latter next south. Anson Hipley is since deeeased, and Alanson resides at present in the township of Mundy.