Gratiot County Michigan
 

BIOGRAPHIES

 

BARTON, William
BRIGGS, John A. 

HALL, Dixi 
HALL, Gilbert E.
HALL, James T.
HOLCOMB, Henry L.

KINNEY, Alson P.

TUCKER, Francis J.

 

BARTON, William 
William Barton, of Ithaca, was born in Kinross, Scotland, May 22, 1798, and is the son of William Barton, a native of County Tyrone, North Ireland. He was brought up and educated in the classic city of Glasgow. In 1814, he enlisted in the Duke of Wellington's regiment, and served nine years. He was in the famous battle of Waterloo, on which occasion only four privates and a sergeant besides himself, out of all his company, were able to walk away from the battlefield. Jan. i, 1822, he crossed the ocean to the island of Jamaica, and the ensuing fall went to New Brunswick, thence to Eastport, Me., Quebec, Portland, Boston, Pawtucket, R. I., and to Columbiana Co., Ohio, in 1823, where he engaged in wool-manufacturing until 1854, when he came to this county, settling in Hamilton Township. 
Jan. 17, 1837, he married Catharine Stickels, and five of their eight children are living, namely: Samuel, Sarah J., Mary L., Cassie and Laura H. William was starved to death in the prison at Salisbury, N. C. Cassie is the wife of Prof. A. E. Barstow. Mr. Barton is 86 years of age, and his wife 77: a venerable pair. 
Source: Portraits & Biographical - Chapman Bros. Chicago 1884

 

BRIGGS, John A. 
John A. Briggs, who is engaged in the successful operation of his eighty-acre farm in Bethany township, Gratiot county, was born in Shelby, Orleans county, New York, April 5, 1830, son of Giles and Rebecca (Wilson) Briggs, natives of New York State, who came from Orleans county, New York, to Jackson county, Michigan, and in 1856 removed to Ingham county, where the mother died. Giles Briggs died in Gratiot county in his seventy-eighth year. 
John A. Briggs was the youngest member of his parents' family of three children, and he was six years old when the family located in Ingham county, where he grew to manhood. In the spring of 1886 he came to Gratiot county and rented a farm in Bethany township for one year, removing to another farm for two and one-half years, at the end of that time settling on the land which he now occupies. This land, an eighty-acre tract, he had purchased on first coming to Gratiot county, since which time he has improved over half of it, and has erected good, substantial farm buildings. 
Mr Briggs was married to Melissa Rounds, a native of New York, and they have had three children: Olive, the wife of Hermon Hufford; Louis J., and Jennie M. Mr Briggs is a citizen who has the best interests of the section at heart. 
Contributed by Amy Robbins-Tjaden - Biographical Memoirs of Gratiot County, Michigan (J.H. Beers & Co., 1906) 

 

HALL, Dixi G. 
Dixi G. Hall, at Ithaca, was born Feb. 22, 1853, in Homer, Calhoun Co., Mich. His father, Dr. Oscar S. Hall, is now residing at Rumney, Grafton Co., N. H., and is descended from English and Welsh ancestors. His mother, Kate M. (Merchant) Hall, was born in the State of New York. Dr. Hall practiced his profession at Bellevue, Eaton Co., Mich., some years and went thence to Marshalltown, Iowa. He returned to Charlotte, Eaton County, where he resided until 1867, when he located at Ithaca and established himself as a druggist and physician ; there he operated until 1875, when he returned to New Hampshire. 
Mr. Hall was six years old when his parents went to Iowa and there attended school, as at Charlotte, whither they removed at a later date. At the age of 16, he entered the drug-store of his father at Ithaca as assistant, and remained thus occupied until the establishment was sold, in 1875. He bought 60 acres of land on section 28, in the township of North Star, on which he resided three years. At the expiration of that time he entered Church's abstract office, where he was employed until 1881, when he purchased a stock of drugs and groceries of George Richardson at the stand the latter now occupies. In the following fall he bought the jewelry stock of A. B. Scattergood and prosecuted the sale of both lines of goods. In June, 1883, he was appointed agent of the American Express Company at Ithaca, and is still attending to the business of the position. He sold his farm in the spring of 1883, and Jan. 11, 1884, he sold his drug business to its former proprietor, George Richardson 
Mr. Hall was married at Ithaca, Feb. 10, 1873, to Sue V., daughter of Lafayette and Sophronia (Benjamin) Church. She is a native of Ithaca. The three children of Mr. and Mrs. Hall are, Lafayette C, Harlan and Ruth. 
Portrait and Biographical Gratiot MI 1884

 

HALL, Gilbert E. 
Gilbert E. Hall, farmer, Bethany Township, occupies 40 acres of section 29, being the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter, and is an early settler of this county. He was born in Litchfield Township, Medina Co., Ohio, Oct. 7, 1834. His father, Frederick Hall, was a farmer of Genesee Co., N. Y., and his mother was Eliza, nee Beedle. 
When 20 years of age, Mr. Hall left his home in Ohio, came to Fulton Township, this county, and engaged in hard and steady work for two years at lumbering and clearing land. Thus he accumulated sufficient means to buy 80 acres of land at 50 cents an acre, on section 26, Fulton Township, then covered with timber. He cleared a little space in the woods, erected a log cabin and proceeded to clear up a farm. After reducing about 14 acres he exchanged for 80 acres on the same section, all timber, and when he had cleared about 30 acres here and made some other improvements, the war aroused his patriotic spirit and carried him away to the field of carnage. Jan. 3, 1864, he enlisted in Co. I, 27th Mich. Vol. Inf., under Capt. Wood, and served until the close of the war, participating in the engagements of the Wilderness, at Spottsylvania and Cold Harbor, at which latter place, June 5,1864, a finger was shot off from his right hand. The wound was severe, as he came near losing his hand, and he was laid up until the following November, when he volunteered for guard duty, and returned to his regiment in June, 1865. He was discharged at Detroit, Mich., Aug. 26, 1865. 
He then returned to Fulton Township. In March, 1868, he exchanged his land there for his present farm of 40 acres, on which he has cleared about 32 acres and erected a nice house, barns, etc., and planted an orchard. He is now Highway Commissioner. 
Mr. Hall was married in Fulton Township, Sept. 13, 1857, to Miss Lucy A., daughter of Palmer and Betsey Smith. She was born in Erie Co., N. Y., Aug. 29, 1832. They have one daughter, Ella A., who is now the wife of John J. Miller, of Bethany Township, and they also have one child. Maud A. 
Portrait and Biographical Gratiot MI 1884

 

HALL, James T. 
James T. Hall, resident at St. Louis, was a son of Abraham and Hannah (Jones) Hall. The parents were both of pure English extraction, and emigrated to the New World about 1832 or '33. They first located in Herkimer Co., N. Y., and from there moved to Oneida County, same State, where the father followed the occupation of a farmer until his death in 1856. The mother died in the same county in 1841. James T. Hall, the subject of our biographical notice, was born in Herkimer Co., N. Y., Feb. 8, 1836. When one year of age he was taken by his parents to Oneida County, same Slate. He resided in that county, working on his father's farm and attending the common schools, until 1868, when his parents had both deceased, and he came to this county and located at Alma. Oh his arrival at Alma he associated himself with a Messrs. Pierce and Ward, under the firm name of Pierce, Hall & Ward, in the lumber business. The firm had a lumber-yard at Alma and also a mill, and shipped the product of the latter to Saginaw. They were also engaged in the purchase of tracts of timber land on Pine river. The partnership lasted until 1875, when it was mutually dissolved. Politically, Mr. Hall is a Democrat. In the fall of 1874 he was elected County Register of Deeds, running against Joseph H. Seaver, of Ithaca, and, although the county was conceded to be 800 Republican, Mr. Hall was elected by a majority of 104 votes. In 1876 he again ran for the same position, but was defeated. 
After his retirement from office, Mr. Hall engaged with the Chicago, Saginaw & Canada Railroad as conductor, and followed that occupation until 1880, when he became Superintendent of the road. He served in that capacity from June, 1880, to June, 1883, when the road was sold to the Detroit, Lansing & Northern Railroad. After quitting the above business he commenced the manufacture of patent hoops, at Alma. His machine was one of three in the United States, and cut the hoops from the solid log, at the rate of 100 per minute. They ship to Chicago, New York city, St Louis (Mo.), and Saginaw City, and are meeting with signal success in the business. 
Mr. Hall was united in marriage, June 6, 1867, at Holland Patent, Oneida Co., N. Y., to Miss Catherine L. Hamlin (daughter of Joseph and Delia Hamlin), born in Holland Patent, April 1, 1841. Their union has been blessed with two children: Jessie W., born at Alma, March 10, 1870; and Nina A., born at Alma, in October, 1871. 
Mr. Hall held the position of Supervisor of Arcada Township four terms—187 1-72-74-77. Socially he is a member of the Order of Masonry, Knights Templar, A. O. U. W., and K. of H., and has been Trustee of the village of St. Louis one term—187 1-2. 
Portrait and Biographical Gratiot MI 1884

 

HOLCOMB, Henry L. 
Lumberman and manufacturer of salt, residing at St. Louis, was born Aug. 22, 1808, in Granby, Hartford Co., Conn. He is a son of Thomas and Clara (Pittibone) Holcomb. His father was an attorney of some prominence, and passed the latter years of his life in the pursuit of agriculture. Mr. Holcomb was reared to the calling of a farmer and was engaged in that vocation until he was 25 years old. At that age he embraced a seemingly feasible project for improving his fortunes, and operated four years as a contractor on the canal then being built between New Haven and Northampton. He again engaged in farming a short time, and then went to Georgia for the purpose of taking a contract on the Savannah Central railroad. This enterprise occupied two years, and at the expiration of that time he returned to the North. In 1848, he again went South and became a contractor on the Southwestern, Savannah& Brunswick railroad, and afterward on the Columbus Branch of the Southwestern. He was thus engaged eight years, after which he resumed farming. 
In 1860, Mr. Holcomb came to St. Louis and made extensive purchases of timber land, owning in the aggregate 2,000 acres. The tract included the present site of the village of St. Louis. In 1861 he built the saw-mill just north of the present grist-mill of James Henry. He continued its management until 1867, when he sold all his property in Michigan and returned to Connecticut and resumed operations on his firm, which he still retained. Six years later he found himself once more in possession of his property at St. Louis, the parties to whom he had sold it failing to meet the terms of the sale. The village had been platted and part of the lots sold, and Mr. Holcomb continued to dispose of them. The real estate of which he acquired possession amounted to 1,500 acres. He built the gristmill referred to in 1875 and sold the same to James Henry in 1882. He has been continuously and extensively engaged in lumbering, and besides his operations nearer home, owned a saw and shingle mill in Rockland, Montcalm County, which he managed until 1883. 
Mr. Holcomb built his present fine residence soon after coming to St. Louis the first time. In 1881 he built the 0pera House Block, and another adjoining in 1882. The first-named is one of the finest structures at St. Louis. The auditorium of the Opera House seats 1,000 persons, and in the two blocks there are six commodious rooms for store purposes. The upper floor of the second block is devoted to offices and society rooms. Mr. Holcomb is the proprietor of several business buildings on Mill Street. He was married at Granby, Conn. Sept. 22, 1828, to Aura P. daughter of Origen and Rosabelle Pinney, she was born Jan. 13, 1810, Simsbury, Conn., and died May 5, 1883, at St. Louis. Mr. Holcomb is a communicant in the Episcopal Church. 
Source: Portraits & Biographical - Chapman Bros. Chicago 1884

 

KINNEY, Alson P. 
Farmer on section 31, Fulton Township, is a son of David A. and Esther (Piatt) Kinney, natives of Connecticut and New York. They first settled after marriage, in Tioga Co., N. Y., afterwards removing to Huron Co., Ohio, where they lived until death, his occurring Feb. 25, 1861, and hers in 1872. Their family comprised four sons and two daughters. Alson P., the second son, was born in Tioga Co., N. Y., June 7, 1828, and was about 11 years old when his parents removed to Ohio. He received his education in the common schools, and also attended the Norwalk Academy at Norwalk, Ohio, for eight terms. He remained at home until 22 years old and then was engaged for eight winters in teaching in different places. He partially learned the carpenter's trade, under his brother, Edwin Kinney, the well-known architect and builder. Afterwards he obtained employment as foreman on a farm in Richland Co., Ohio, which position he held for seven years. 
In March, 1861, he came to Gratiot County and bought 120 acres of land 111 Fulton Township, section 31. He has since disposed of 20 acres, and has now 60 acres in an advanced state of cultivation. He enlisted during the rebellion in the 13th Mich. Vol. Inf., and served nine months and one day, receiving an honorable discharge at Detroit, Mich. Oct. 3, 1865, in Richland Co., Ohio, he married Miss Lydia J., daughter of Abraham T. and Thankful (Kirby) Huff, natives of New Jersey and Massachusetts. Mrs. Kinney was born in the State of New York, March 16, 1833. She died Sept. 21, 1863, having been the mother of four children: Flora J. (died when 16 years old); Carrie K., Ida E. and Abraham P. Mr. Kinney is a member of the Baptist Church, and is politically a Republican. The portrait of Mr. Kinney will be appreciated by all, especially those of his neighbors who have worked by his side in carving comfortable homes out the dense forest. 
Portrait & Biographical 1884

TUCKER, Francis J. 
The clerk of Sumner township, is one of Gratiot county's prominent and enterprising young business men. Mr. Tucker was born May 23, 1880, in Detroit, Michigan, son of Irett F. and Emma (Hicks) Tucker, residents of Sumner, who had two children, of whom Francis J. was the youngest and is the only survivor. Mr. Tucker was about three years old when he was brought by his parents to Sumner township, where he received his early education. He attended Yerrington's College, in 1899 and 1900. He was reared in Sumner, and has been associated with his father in the mercantile business since 1897. In April, 1904, Mr. Tucker was elected clerk of Sumner township, a position he has since held with great credit. He has also served as school inspector for two terms. Fraternally he is connected with the M. W. A. and the K. O. T. M. M. He is well known and is very popular in Sumner township. 
Biographical Memoirs (Compendium of Biography of Celebrated Americans) J.H. Beers 1906