SEBEWAING TOWNSHIP HISTORY

Huron County Michigan


SEBEWAING Township first known as Auchville—was organized by act of the Legislature passed Feb. 12, 1853. Prior to this it was attached, for judicial purposes, with Fair Haven and Geneva, to Tuscola County, under the name of Auchville. The first meeting was held at the residence of Frederick Schilling. Mr. Schilling was chosen Chairman, Frederick Luckhard, Clerk, and Christian Bach and John Muellerweiss, inspectors of the Election.

There were fifteen votes cast, resulting in the election of Frederick Schilling for Supervisor, Frederick Luck hard, Clerk, and Jacob F Ruehle, Treasurer; C. Bach, Peter Schairer, Jacob Armbuster for Justices of the Peace; J. F. Strieter, Gottfried Beck and Andrew Volz for Highway Commissioners; for School Inspector, Edmond Roeder; Constables— John Muellerweiss, John Wcidner and Frederick Ziegler.

This township is numbered 15 north, of range o east, and is situated in the southwest corner of the county. Fair Haven bounds it on the north, Brookfield on the east, Tuscola County on the south, with Saginaw Bay on the west. There are four school districts in this township, which are located as follows: No. 1, on section 8; No. 2, on section 32; No. 3, on section 10; and No. 4, on section 23. The first school district has 360 scholars on the roll; the second, 75; the third, too; and the fourth, 60. The school buildings are all frame, and cost respectively as follows: District No 1, $4,000; No. 2, $400; No. 3, $700; and No. 4, $400. In District No. 1, there are two private schools, both of them Lutheran, with about 200 scholars in attendance.

The first white settler in this township was Rev. John J. F. Auch, who came as a missionary to the Indians in 1845- He resides at Sebewaing.

The original timber in this township consisted of the hard-woods, interspersed with some pine. The surface of the land is flat. The soil in the central part of the township is very rich; the eastern part swampy, and near the bay, sandy. The fire of 1871 burned in the center, on the north line, and in the swamps. All the high land is now under cultivation. When the township was first settled it was nearly all swamp. It is drained by the Sebewaing River, which flows into Saginaw Bay. The cereals do well. Potatoes do splendidly, yielding as high as 200 bushels per acre. It is an excellent township for fruit, except peaches. The cultivation of grapes is carried on extensively. There is one vineyard of five acres. The water is good. The township contains the incorporated village of Sebewaing and the little hamlet of Kihnanagh. It contains a large number of fine farms, with commodious dwellings and good farm buildings. Its orchards are numerous and under good cultivation.

Sebewaing Township is rapidly increasing in population, and in this respect is third in order.

SUPERVISORS. Below is given the names of the men who have represented the township:

Frederick Schilling 1853
Frederick Ziegler 1854
Peter Schairer, 1855
Frederick Schilling 1856
Peter Schairer, 1857
Frederick Schilling 1858-60
Wm. J. Davis, 1861
Frederick Schilling 1862-5
Peter Schairer, 1866-8
Christian Bach, 1869-74
John F. Ziegler 1875-82
Henry Neumann, 1884

Town of Sebewaing. SEBEWAING village is located at the mouth of Sebewaing River, in the Township of Sebewaing, on Saginaw Bay. Its early history is one of peculiar interest. The first white man who settled at this place was the Rev. J. J. F. Auch, who came in 1845. Mr. Auch came from the Lutheran Church Society, of Ann Arbor, Mich., as a missionary to the Indians. There was one house here then, which was built by Charles Rodd, a half-breed. Mr. Auch put up the second house, which he built of logs. Frederick Ziegler came in 1849. His brother John followed three months later. In 1851, Frederick Schilling, Gottfried Reck, Christian Auch, Jacob F. Ruchle, Frederick Smith, Ustus Schmidt, with their wives and children (Schilling had eight), all from Ann Arbor, Mich., were landed by the steam-boat "Julia Smith" on Lone-Tree Island, off from the mouth of Sebewaing River. This island has since been washed away. It was some three weeks before this little colony, with their goods, were landed on the main land.

This was effected by means of a little boat which they procured from the Indians. This little band did not feel particularly happy, or safe either, when they had got over, for they had no roof to shelter their heads, and the land was very low and swampy.

Often they had to wade in water three feet deep They had arranged before their coming to have some houses put ur>, but this had not been done. They located their lands here and then began to lay out and build houses. At first they all had to spend their nights in a log house, and it was not a large one either. There were forty-five of them, men women and children, and they must have been, as they admit, pretty closely packed together. They got their provisions from Saginaw, which were brought in small boats. There was plenty of game here then,—elk, bear, deer, wolves on land, and pike, pickerel and sturgeon in the bay.

J. Muellerweiss came in the fall of 1851. The first marriage that was celebrated here his between John Gruenbeck and Margaret Schmidt, in the fall of 1851. The first child born was to the wife of Frederick Schmidt, who was christened Mary.

The first church was built and dedicated two years later. It was built by the Lutherans. The first sermon preached was in 1849, in German, and was delivered by Rev. J. J. F. Auch. This gentleman was the established Pastor of the Lutheran Church from 1853 to 1867.

During the earlier period of the village's history these people got their mail from Hampton, now Bay City. The first Postmaster at Sebewaing was David Philbrick,who received his commission in 1854. The mail then came from Watrousville, Tuscola County. The first school opened here was in 1854, and was taught by Mr. Auch. It was attached to the Lutheran Church, and there were about a dozen pupils. It was opened in the church building. The new church edifice of this society, which is called the "Evangelical Lutheran St. John Church," was erected in 1873. Their present Pastor is the Rev. H. Ganyneiss.

During the early times there was a congregation of Indians located near this point. It was in charge of the Lutheran Church: Rev. E. Raeder was the preacher. Services were held at their town, not far from Sebewaing, called " Shebahyonk." Nock-che-ko-may was their chief. They bought some land here from the Government in 1847 and settled on it. They belonged to the Chippewa and Sebewaing tribes. Of the former there were some forty in number; of the latter, about seventy-five. They sold their lands to Christian Auch, F. Schiller.and Gottfried Beck, in 1856, and emigrated; some went back to Canada, and some into Saginaw County, where there was an Indian reservation. Whenever the traders would bring in whisky these Indians would manage to get hold of it, and then would follow a grand debauch. But they were always good-natured, and it is not known that any white person was ever injured by them.

Sebewaing is now an industrious and thriving village, with a population of some 850 souls. It is well built up with good dwellings and substantial business houses, that of J. C. Liken & Co. being one of the best in the county. It is a two-story building, of brick, with a stone foundation, eighty by sixty feet in dimensions.

Many of the first settlers are still living, enjoying the blessings that come to a ripe old age from habits of industry, economy and sobriety. They have passed through the deprivations, struggles, and oftentimes sad experiences of pioneer life, and are now reaping their just rewards. They have beheld the water settling away, the swamps disappear, and in their place rich, cultivated fields and happy, peaceful homes.

Mr. Frederick Schilling relates a strange experience: that befell his parents when they came to this land of freedom. They had left the old country (Wurtemberg) with a desire of being freed from monarchical slavery, and not expecting any other when they landed on these shores. They came to Baltimore, which was about the year 1817. After they had been there awhile, they were sold into slavery and taken up into Pennsylvania, where they remained three years before they procured their liberty.

INCORPORATED.

The village of Sebewaing was incorporated by a special act of the Legislature, approved March 13, 1879. This act provided, "That fractional section No. 7, and section No. 8 in township No. 15 north, of range No. 9 east, the same lying and being in the township of Sebewaing, County of Huron, and State of Michigan, be and the same is hereby constituted a village corporate to l>e known as the village of Sebewaing." The first election was held in accordance with this act, on Monday, April 14, 1879. John J. F. Auch and John C. Liken were appointed a Board of Registration for the purpose of registering voters for said election. Officers chosen at this election were—President, William Budde; Treasurer, Jacob Spiess; Clerk, Olin Pengra; Trustees—J. J F. Auch, John C. Liken, Henry Vahle, William Finger, John Muellerweiss and Charles Henning. This was the beginning of their corporate government, The village affairs at present are intrusted to the following named citizens: President, Henry Goebeli Treasurer, Jacob Spiess; Clerk, Peter Surine ; Street Commissioner, August Bur; Trustees—J. J. F. Auch, John C. Liken, Henry Vahic, A. C. Pierce, William Kellogg and Charles Henning.

BUSINESS INTERESTS.

The largest firm doing business in Sebewaing is J. C. Liken & Co. The members of this firm are J. C. Liken, Charles W. Liken and Richard Martini. They are dealers in general merchandise, all kinds of agricultural implements and are manufacturers of flour, lumber, staves and heading for barrels; and have an elevator for the handling of their grain. This firm has a branch store at Bay Port and one at Kilmanagh. At Sebewaing they handle about $100,000 annually, and with their branches about $150,000. Number of men employed, from 125 to 150. The barrel factory, in which Christian F. Bach is a partner, was started in 1874- This factory has the capacity of making 30,000 staves per day, and turning off 25,000 sets of heading during the working season, which is ten months. They employ twenty men and ten boys,

Christoph Halm is one of the heavy dealers in Sebewaing, in general merchandise, drugs and agricultural implements. He is successor to John Muellerweiss, who opened business at Sebewaing in 1851. Christoph Halm is one of the heavy dealers in Sebewaing, in general merchandise, drugs and agricultural implements. He is successor to John Muellerweiss, who opened business at Sebewaing in 1851. Ernst Vol/ is one of the enterprising men of Sebewaing, which fact he demonstrates by having one of the best harness and saddlery stores in the county, if not the best. He keeps a general assortment in his line, including trunks, robes, etc. He takes great pains in the manufacture of his harness, and has an extensive sale for there throughout the country.

Lawinstine & Hirshberg keep dry goods and clothing, and D. Hess a clothing store. (Diaries Henning has an important industry, which he established in 1875. This-is a planing-mill, sash, door and broom-handle manufactory. He is not only Alois Berger keeps the village supplied with everything in the market line.

There also three saloons, two blacksmith and two shoe shops.

The legal profession is ably represented by Olin Pengra and W. F. Drury.

August Reinhold has a saw-mill in the edge of town.

One of the summer resorts of this town is Bay Shore Park, situated about a mile from the village on Saginaw Bay. John Boegert is the proprietor.

A livery stable is carried on by Staplcford & Dowd.

The Saginaw, Huron & Tuscola Railroad comes into this town. It has recently extended a line to Bay Port.

THE HARBOR.

The people of this town have been for several years improving their harbor facilities. They spent $8,000 in dredging and putting out breakwaters, and the Government made two appropriations in all, $15,000 for this work. In 1880, Congress made an appropriation of $7,000 to restore and improve the channel of 1876, by dredging it to seven feet in depth. It had previously appropriated $8,000 for improvement of this harbor. The channel now has an average depth of seven feet, terminating in six feet soundings. There was shipped from this harbor for the year ending July 1, 1879: Grain, 135,000 bushels; cedar posts, 15,000; railroad ties, 40,000; wood, 2,000 cords; apples, 2,000 bushels; butter, 50,000 pounds; potatoes, 3,000 bushels; headings for barrels, 15,000; staves, 4,000,000; white-oak pipe staves, 100,000; hoops, 7,000,000; hard-wood lumber, 4,000,000 feet.

The imports and general merchandise for the year ending July 1, 1884, was $350,000.

SCHOOLS.

The people of Sebewaing have given special attention to the education of their children. District No. 1 has a large, fine building. This school is partially graded. C. E. Stoddard is Principal. He has in his department 49 scholars. Miss Carrie Dupont is assistant, with 67 pupils. It is a two-story building, with two large apartments; cost, $4,000.

The parochial school of the Lutheran Evangelic a Church has 140 pupils. E. H. Dress is Principal; Assistant, Miss May Gremel. The building has two apartments, and cost $1,000. German is taught in the forenoon and English in the afternoon. There is another school, attached to the German Reformed Church.

CHURCHES.

The Methodist Evangelical Church.—This society has had but a small membership from the earliest settlement. Services have been held at odd times in school-houses and halls. A church building was begun in 1883, completed this year, and was dedicated Oct. 12, 1884. Presiding Elder Bigelow and Rev. T. B. McGee, the present Pastor, officiated. Services are held every fourth Sabbath. The cost of this building was about $1,200.

The German Evangelical Lutheran Emanuel's Church,—Rev. J. L. Hahn, Pastor. This society was organized in Sebewaing in 1851, beginning with about twelve members. Their first meeting was held in a missionary house built for Indian service. Afterwards a log church was put up. This has given place to a large, fine new church edifice, costing $6,000, and furnishing, $2,000. This society has 400 communicants and has given expression to its musical taste by putting into their church a good pipe organ.

Evangelical Association, whose headquarters are at Sebewaing, has four organizations in the county, including the one in this village. Rev, E. W. Schafer is in charge of the four societies. Sebewaing village has a membership of nineteen. This association has in this country and in Europe 120,000 members. Bishop E. E. Aschaer, of Chicago, is at present in charge.

Moravian Church was organized in 1871, with four families. Rev, E. J. Regennass was the first Pastor. A very neat and substantial church building was completed by this society in 1880, at a cost of $1,800. Rev. Henry Lehmann is the present Pastor. Its membership now embraces six families. Services every Sunday afternoon.

SOCIETIES.

Maccabees, Morning Star Tent, No. 133, was organized and charter granted April 12, 1884. It was organized with seventeen members, Sir Knight Commander, John Berger; Sir Knight Lieut. Commander, J. Pregitzer; Finance Keeper, Henry Goebel; Physician, Dr. J. Black, and a long list of officers. This society has a lodge hall fitted up in good style, and is in a flourishing condition financially.

Workingmens Society.—This society was organized in March, 1878, with twenty members. Present number, forty-six. Its present officers are: President, Ernst Reinhard; Vice President, John Boegert; Treasurer, John Muellerweiss; Secretary, Charles Schmidt; Second Secretary, Henry Goebel; Trustees—Daniel Hersinger, Henry Gruff, Adam Zimmer; Physician, C. A. Burger.

Saengerbund of Sebewaing—Organized Nov. 1, 1884, with eighteen members. President, Henry Goebel; Secretary, Gustave Reinhard; Treasurer, John Muellerweiss; Director, Andrew Kuch. Object of this society is to improve in music, and for enjoyment.

FIRE DEPARTMENT.

Fire Company, No. i, of Sebewaing, was organized in the spring of 1883, with twenty members. Wm. Budde is Chief Engineer. Cost of engine, $2,500. This company is paid when on duty. Tiger Company, No. 2, organized in June, 1884, with eighteen members. They have a hand engine. It is an independent company. Theodore Peters is Foreman.

Postoffice.

Jacob Price has charge of the postoffice. Daily mails by rail from Saginaw, and by stage from Caseville; semi-weekly by stage from Bad Axe.