Ionia County, Michigan
B. W. Backus
B. W. Backus, the eighth in a family of ten children, was born in Winfield, Herkimer Co., N. Y., Oct. 11, 1818. When but five years of age he lost his father, and the mother was left with the large family of children dependent upon her. The products of their small farm were not sufficient to support them all, and the elder children sought employment elsewhere. B. W. Backus scarcely knew what home was after he was seven years old, and until he was sixteen found shelter wherever he could. At the age of sixteen he had by his energy and close application fitted himself for teaching, and engaged in that vocation for one year. He then learned the carpenter's trade, and at eighteen found employment thereat in Orleans Co., N. Y. In the spring of 1840 he married Rhoda A. Houseman, of Yates, Orleans Co., N. Y. In 1848 they removed to Michigan, via Erie Canal, Buffalo, and Lake Erie. From Detroit they passed to the interior of the State by rail, stopping for a time with relatives at Albion. He purchased eighty acres of land on section 17, in the township of Orange, Ionia Co., on which three acres had been cleared and a small shanty erected. His entire available means consisted of one hundred and ten dollars, with which a payment must be made upon his place and the necessaries of life procured. Very close calculating was the consequence. The shanty was twelve by twelve feet, and had neither floor nor fireplace. Their first fire was kindled in one corner of the room. During the following year Mr. Backus worked at his trade, thereby bettering his condition. In the next year he was incapacitated for labor by the ague, and, being unable to meet the payment due upon his place, exchanged the latter for forty acres of unimproved land, and later exchanged for twenty acres on section 19 in the same township. Ten acres on the last named place were improved. About one and a half years afterwards he sold out and removed to a forty-acre lot he had purchased on section 12 in Berlin township. This was also unimproved, and Mr. Backus erected a log house and cleared ten acres. In the fall of 1854 they were summoned to New York on account of sickness, and remained in that State four years. Finally returning to Michigan, and having accumulated some money, they traded their forty for eighty acres on section 12, of which about twenty-five acres were improved. In 1869 an additional forty acres was purchased, a commodious farm-house erected, and other improvements made. He had worked upon the farm and at his trade, and preached occasionally, and in 1869 was assigned to the charge of a church at Leoni, Jackson Co. In 1879, Mr. Backus removed to his present residence on section 12. His wife died Sept. 15, 1870, and on the 21st of May, 1871, he married Emily J., daughter of Ira Bartlett. Her death occurred Oct. 31, 1874, and on the 17th of April, 1879, he married Dolly J. Cain, a resident of Barry County. His first wife bore him three children, viz. - Sewell Warren, Odessa Benjamin, and Colorado Parker. Mr. Backus united with the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1838, and has been an influential member thereof, supplying pulpits and aiding in the formation of societies, among them that at East Berlin. His present wife is a member of the same denomination. Mr. Backus is highly esteemed and respected by those who know him, and is a model citizen. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . .," by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by GT Trans. Team]
Hervey Bartow, lawyer and real estate operator, was born in Freetown, Cortland Co., N. Y., March 31, 1813. His parents were William and Grace Bartow. His father was born in Rutland Co., Vt., in 1782. When a young man he came to Cortland Co., N. Y., and was married May 15, 1808. Was a member of the New York Assembly in 1824. In 1825 he moved to the Territory of Michigan. Only one steamboat then ran on Lake Erie, and the fort, as surrendered by Gen. Hull, was then garrisoned at Detroit. He settled in the woods twenty-one miles west of Detroit, cutting the first wagon-track part of the way; and the town, when organized, was called Plymouth, in Wayne County. He was elected to the Territorial Council in 1831, when Gen. Cass was Governor of said Territory. Hervey Bartow was twelve years old when his father moved to Michigan. With the exception of six weeks' attendance at a neighboring log school-house, he obtained all his subsequent education by studying at night, after severe hard labor through the day, by the light of burning hickory barks, and what he gained was secured that way. During the first fourteen years of his life his health was feeble, and, feeling the importance of a good constitution, he resolved, if possible, by thorough and severe industry and physical hardships, to establish his health on a firm basis. This resolution he succeeded in carrying out. In April, 1836, having earned a few hundred dollars by jobbing and clearing land and other hard labor, he started for the West. He traveled on foot through the forest, camping out nights, guided by Indian trails, section-lines, and pocket compass, to and along the valleys of the Maple River, Looking-Glass and Grand Rivers, and passing near where is now the pleasant city of Lansing and capital of Michigan, the whole of said country being then an unsettled wilderness; came to Cocoosh ("Hog") Prairie, at the junction of Maple and Grand Rivers. Being ten o'clock at night, and finding the Indians in a dance on the opposite side of the Grand River, and no sign of a white man, he retired to the bushes on the rising ground at the eastern skirt of the present village of Lyons. Thence he went up Grand River, past the mouth of Looking-Glass River, and by compass to the United States land-office at Kalamazoo. He made the first land purchase in the town now known as Lyons, and finally, in the fall of 1836, settled with several of his friends near the present village of Lyons. Here he cleared some of his lands and farmed till the fall of 1840, when he went to Lyons and commenced the study of law as a pastime, still looking to his farming interests. In the winter of 1846, having become unable to perform hard manual labor, he went to Portland, in said county, and gave more attention to law studies. He was admitted to practice in the several courts of the State in May, 1846, and opened a law-office at Portland, his characteristics being well adapted to that profession. His integrity as a man and as a legal adviser secured the confidence of the public and his share of the legal practice of the country. He never sought for office of any kind. Was elected public prosecutor for Ionia County for the years 1855 and 1856. The country being new, and the consequently small amount of legal business soon induced Mr. Bartow to leave the practice of law and attend to other matters.
He considered the interest of Portland as identical with his own, and has spent his life and means mostly in its behalf. An early attack was made upon the town of Portland by the county board and officials of the county of unjust claims against Portland. Mr. Bartow was Portland's representative on the board, and successfully defended the township against the almost united efforts of the county of Ionia, wherein considerable money and much asperity of feeling were involved, and saved the town from much embarrassment. Mr. Bartow says then an effort was made by his own neighbors and citizens to build up local interests in Portland, not by properly using and making available the great waterfall of Grand River, but by sacrificing the great and general interests of the place, and Mr. Bartow's in particular, by some sixteen of them forming a joint company to dam Grand River at the village of Portland - said to be for hydraulic purposes - and thereby destroy mainly its water-power interests on Grand River, and so as to flow and destroy Mr. Bartow's land on the west side of Grand River. Soon as he learned this, which had been purposely kept from him, he offered the free use of so much of his land as needed, by damming Grand River at a higher point up the river, and the privilege of racing down on his side, if desired, free of charge, only saving his land from flowage and soakage. This would give many times the power of a dam built at the lower point, and at the village, as now, and secure the health of the place. But jealousy of the sides of the river being the moving stimulant, their policy could not be changed; but by injunction he secured partial protection from its effects, and the town and county, by the peculiarly limited policy of those citizens, lost much - very much - of its manufacturing interests (unimproved) at that place; all of which might, Mr. Bartow contends, according to his policy, have been cheaply made available for largely extended manufacturing purposes. Whereas most of the great and natural advantages then open and free, were thus forcibly shut out from use and improvement. He served six years on the village board of trustees, with special reference to establishing by-laws, rules, and precedents, etc., in the beginning under the village charter of Portland. Notwithstanding the great jealousy existing against the west side of Grand River, and consequently against Mr. Bartow, by small and narrow-minded men, his services were always called into requisition to manage the thing when any strong efforts were required. In the summer of 1866 a few of the citizens agitated the idea of a railroad, and Mr. Bartow was chosen to confer with the Hon. James Turner, of Lansing, as to the practicability of procuring a railroad through Portland on a line from Lansing to Ionia. A company was formed, of which Mr. Bartow was chosen director. He took a very active part in its advancement, paying liberally of his limited means and obtaining aid from others, and the right of passage with little cost to the road. When this was mainly accomplished there seemed to be a peculiar falling off of zeal at Lansing and Ionia, at least in parties having control of the road. Mr. Bartow immediately opened correspondence with Hon. C. C. Elsworth, of Greenville, A. L. Green, of Olivet, and George Ingersoll, of Marshall, with a view to construct a railroad from Marshall through Portland to Greenville. A survey was made to Greenville via Portland, and through Lyons and Muir. A company was formed, in which Mr. Bartow was also director. This aroused the jealousy of the Ionia citizens, and people on other parts of the Ionia and Lansing line, and in the fall of 1869 that road was pushed in earnest to Greenville. Thus one railroad was secured to Portland. The other, called the Coldwater, Marshall and Mackinaw Railroad, raised its means for construction in subscriptions and town bonds. But just before these bonds were negotiated, the courts decided against their constitutionality. The people then tried to accomplish it by subscription alone. Mr. Bartow again was chosen, at a public meeting of its citizens, to take charge of the project for Portland, as the only condition that an effort would be made. These conditions were accepted by Mr. Bartow, with the further understanding that no sides of the river prejudices enter into or be known in the matter by the citizens of Portland. This the citizens in said meeting unanimously agreed to. The subscriptions were mostly obtained, but not fully, and the road-bed mostly graded from Marshall, in Calhoun County, to Elm Hall, in Gratiot County, being about one hundred and twenty miles, and many ties furnished. The prejudices and earnest opposition of parties on the east side of the river tended much to its failure of accomplishment, at present at least, which is much and sorely felt now, and considered to be a very great injury to the people, the place, and the adjacent country. Mr. Bartow put a large amount of time and effort and all his means at command into these public improvements, from which he has received little or nothing in return. Mr. Bartow belongs to the society of Free and Accepted Masons, and has taken the seventh degree. In early life he thought much of religion as instilled from Puritan teachings, but could not admit the practicability or adaptability of the theories and creeds as usually taught - that all things are governed, not by passionate edict, but by fixed laws in all varieties of existing things, whether physical or spiritual, and as adapted to organizations and character; and, as water by established laws runs down hill, it may be dammed and diverted; yet the same laws govern it still. So in all things, ad infinitum. Infinite in worlds, infinite in existence connected with them, in physical and spiritual capacities and characteristics, representing in this an infinite God. In politics, Mr. Bartow at first identified himself with the Whig party, and has thrown his influence for many years with the Republican party. He would, however, be glad to aid that party which would best secure the unity and strength of our country, and base its prosperity upon the broad principle of the rights of man as promulgated to the world on the day of the birth of the United States into the family of nations. He never was married. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . .," by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
Stephen Mathews Bayard, M.D.
James Bayard, the great-grandfather of the above-named gentleman, emigrated at an early day from Scotland to America, and died in Massachusetts in 1817. His wife, Martha Bayard, died in 1825. Their home had been for many years at Great Barrington, Mass., where both ended their days. Their sons were three in number,-James, Ezekiel, and Aaron. Lyman Bayard, the son of Ezekiel and father of the subject of this article, was born in Washington, Mass., March 29, 1794, and died at Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, Sept 1, 1850, while on his way to California. His wife, Rebecca Laura Mathews, was born at Watertown, Litchfield Co., Conn., June 5, 1795, and was descended from William and Jane Mathews, who emigrated from Wales to Connecticut in 1671. Their son, Thomas Mathews, was born in Watertown, Conn., in 1699, and died in 1798. His son, Stephen M., whose birth occurred in 1724, also in Connecticut, died in 1821. Thomas Mathews served in the French-and-Indian war, and Stephen in the Revolution. Daniel M., son of Stephen, was born Jan. 7, 1767, and married Lucy Foot, of Connecticut. Dr. Bayard is descended from a race of pioneers. His father was a merchant. The son at the age of twenty-one years began the study of medicine in Detroit, Mich., and in 1850 went to California, where he gained his first start in life. He was then thirty years of age, having been born Oct. 1, 1820, in the town of Harpersfield, Delaware Co., N. Y. At the age of thirty-three he began the practice of medicine in Ionia County, which he has continued to the present, and is now actively at work in his chosen field. In 1844 he was married to Catharine Amelia Corey, of Lansing. He is one of a family of physicians, four of five brothers having chosen the medical profession as a field of labor,-viz., A. L. Bayard, Daniel E. Bayard, Henry B. Bayard, and Stephen Mf. Bayard. The third mentioned is now deceased. Dr. Stephen M. Bayard, although sixty years of age, is in full possession of his mental faculties, and has the bodily vigor of a man much younger. [Source: "History of Ionia and Montcalm Counties, Michigan: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of their Prominent Men and Pioneers"; by John S. Schenck; D.W. Ensign & Co., 1881]
William Artemus Beach
Mankato. Res 420 Warren st, office 402 Front st. Physician and surgeon (H). Born Oct 20, 1868 in Ionia Mich, son of Benager H and Clarinda (Weston) Beach. Married Dec 10, 1902 to Gertrude C Hanna. Educated in the Minneapolis public schools; graduated from U of M; B S 1890; M D 1893. Member State Board of Medical Examiners 1903-1906; member Board of Education. [Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota. Publ. 1907 Transcribed by Rhonda Hill]
All who study the early history of Michigan hare noted with pride and pleasure that the first effort made by the pioneers after clearing a little spot upon which to erect a log cabin for a home, was to establish a district school. In many cases this was within log walls, and sometimes the first school was started in one end of the rude home which sheltered an earnest family of pioneers. The direct descendant of the log school house appears in these days as the white schoolhouse of the country districts and the splendidly appointed public schools of the towns and cities. The interest in education has never flagged but as opportunity has offered, the work has developed on broad and sure foundations. The County Board of School Examiners is a notable feature of the county school organization, and the appointment of a first-class man to the position of Secretary of this board, is one of the strongest elements in the prosperity of any county. Ionia County is unusually favored in this respect. Prof. Charles L. Bemis, who holds this position is worthy of the highest praise. Under his direction the schools arc taking a high rank, among other Michigan counties. He has excellent capability in the line of organization and he is a fluent and impressive speaker. His addresses made before gatherings of teachers and conventions of County Secretaries, have been listened to with great interest and are always requested for publication.
The subject of this sketch was born in Hampden County, Mass., March 30, 1850. His father was Marquis de LaFayette Bemis, a native of Massachusetts. His mother bore the maiden name of Eliza J. Stafford and was born in Vermont. The father was a cabinet-maker and undertaker, but now lives on a farm in Ionia County. He came to Michigan in 1863, and located first in Easton Township. He had previously lived in Lorain County, Ohio, where the mother of our subject died in 1854. By her, two children were born to Mr. Bemis, William Wallace and our subject. The father of our subject married again, Helen C. Gunn being his second wife. Her two children are: Arthur L. and Edla R. Arthur is the editor of a paper in Carson City, and the daughter is the widow of William R. Henderson.
C. L. Bemis was brought up on a farm and when seventeen years of age worked out on a farm for $16 a month, his first job being one of picking up stones. He attended school during the winter months and at the age of twenty years went to Lansing and hired out as a teamster for a year. While teaming he kept up his studies, keeping his text book of grammar upon the seat beside him, and snatching a few minutes for study whenever possible. The thoroughness and practicality of his plan of work was made apparent by his proficiency in this branch of study being so unusual as to afterward elicit high compliments from his professors. Working and studying, he managed to earn money and saving every cent possible he entered the Agricultural College at Lansing, from which he was graduated in the class of 1874. He never had a dollar's worth of aid extended to him in the pursuit of his education. He taught school for two years at Lyons, but although he had been a thorough student while in college he realized that he would be much benefited by a course of technical training. In pursuit of this he went to Ypsilanti and attended the Normal school for one year.
Prof. Bemis married Sarah Sprague, a daughter of Silas Sprague, August 7, 1878. That season he taught in Lyons but the next fall commenced teaching in Portland, where he continued eight years, and commenced teaching on the ninth, but resigned at the end of six weeks to accept an appointment as Secretary of the County Board of School Examiners. His appointment bore date October, 1887 and he still continues in that office. As a teacher he was eminently successful and in this office he has proved efficient and capable, he is one of the Elders in the Church of Christ at Ionia, having united with that body in 1875. He is a stanch Republican in politics, a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, of the Masonic order, in which he is Junior Warden, and a member of the Knights of Pythias. To him and his wife ha ye been born four children - Bessie Ethel, Melvin S., Delia H. and Elden J. Since the above sketch was written, Mr. Bemis, without any application on his part being made for the office was unanimously elected in May, 1891, by the School Board of Ionia as Superintendent of the city schools, and will enter upon his duties as such in September. [Source: Portrait and Biographical of Ionia and Montcalm MI, Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891]
This family traces its ancestry to the settlement of Salem, Mass., and is of English origin. Aaron Benedict, grandfather of the above, was a Presbyterian minister, and continued in the line of his duty until he was seventy years of age. He was also a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and was at the side of the lamented Warren at Bunker Hill when it was demonstrated to the satisfaction of in credulous Britons that "Yankees" would fight. He settled after the war in Sangerfield, Oneida Co., N. Y., and died at the age of ninety-three at Harvard, N. Y. His son Aaron married Achsah Foster, and about 1804 located at Attica, N. Y. (then in Genesee County), purchasing eighty acres on Wells' Hill, near the centre of the town. About 1820 he exchanged places with Grove Cooley and removed to Courtland Co., N. Y.
Loren Benedict was the third in a family of ten children, and was born at Attica, N. Y., Sept. 19, 1811. Remaining at home until he had attained his majority, he then worked a short time for monthly wages, and at the age of twenty-three set his face towards Michigan, coming via the Erie Canal to Buffalo, where he took water passage for Detroit. The vessel was wrecked off Erie, Pa., on the night of Nov. 22, 1834, stranding on a sand-bar. The boat was the steamer "Columbus," and had four hundred passengers on board, who were all safely landed in the morning. The remainder of the trip to Detroit was made by Mr. Benedict in a stage. He proceeded to Rochester, Oakland Co., and resided near that place two years, assisting his brother-in-law in making improvements and putting in grain. He was on one occasion lost at night while searching for the cattle, and only knew which way to find home by wetting his finger and holding it up to ascertain the direction of the wind. Feb. 15, 1838, he proceeded to Flat River with a load of pork, and crossed on a skiff to the cabin of Ambrose Spencer. Spent a day in looking at land, and purchased at Cook's Corners, in the township of Otisco, Ionia Co., one hundred and sixty acres. His money was of that uncertain breed known as "wild-cat," and he returned to Pontiac and disposed of it (two hundred dollars) in the purchase of two yokes of oxen. In less than two weeks the said money was worthless. He sold his cattle the following spring, receiving gold in payment, and on foot journeyed to his land in Otisco, erected a cabin, and began improvements. In December he again returned to Pontiac, where on the 1st of January, 1839, he married Paulina Adgate, daughter of Abel and Polly Adgate, and took her to his wilderness home. In 1846 he disposed of his place and removed to his present farm, lying in Berlin and Orange townships, Ionia Co. This purchase had upon it a log house and a frame barn, but little other improvement, and the labor necessarily expended upon it was great. Today it is in excellent condition, and additions have been made until it now consists of four hundred acres, including the residences of his sons George, Abel, Emerson, and Philo. One daughter, Emeline, was also born to Mr. and Mrs. Benedict, and is now Mrs. Henry Sprague, of Easton. Mrs. Benedict died Dec. 7, 1872, and her loss was deeply mourned by her family and a large circle of friends and relatives. Mr. Benedict is a Jefferson Democrat in politics. In his private life he is honest and upright, and those who know him testify to his worth as a friend and neighbor and business man, while the destitute and needy have cause to remember his many acts of kindness and charity towards them. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . .," by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by GT Trans. Team]
Martia L. (Davis) Berry
Mrs. Martia L. (Davis) Berry, political reformer, born in Portland, Mich., 22nd January, 1844. Her parents were born in New York State. Her father was of Irish and Italian descent. He was a firm believer in human rights, an earnest anti-slavery man and a strong prohibitionist. Her mother was of German descent, a woman far in advance of her times. Martia wished to teach school, and to that end she labored for a thorough education. She began to teach when she was seventeen years of age and taught five years in the public schools of her native town. At the close of the Rebellion she was married to John S. Berry, a soldier who had given to his country four years of service. In September, 1871, she removed with her husband and only child to Cawker City, Kans., and has since resided there. For twelve years she did a business in millinery and general merchandise. During eight years she was a superintendent of the Methodist Episcopal Sunday-school and a steward of the church. She organized the first Woman's Foreign Missionary Society west of the Missouri river, in April, 1872. The idea of the Woman's Club in her town originated with her and the club was organized 15th November, 1883. It is a monument to the literary taste and business ability of its founders. On 29th October, 1885, she was elected to the office of State treasurer of the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association, to which office she has every year since been reelected. On 14th April, 1887, she was placed at the head of the sixth district of the Kansas Woman's Christian Temprance Union. On 28th February, 1889, she was elected to the office of State treasurer of the Union, and her yearly re-election proves her faithfulness. Source: (American Women Fifteen Hundred Biographies, Volume 1, Publ. 1897. Transcribed by Marla Snow)
John Celus Blanchard*
* From "Representative Men of Michigan"
John C. Blanchard was born at Mentz, Cayuga Co., N. Y., Sept. 19, 1822. His father, Washington Z. Blanchard, is a leading physician of Lyons, Mich. His mother, Hannah (Jeffries) Blanchard, was a direct descendant of the celebrated Judge Jeffreys, of England. Mr. Blanchard was educated at Temple Hill Academy, at Genesee, N. Y., and Cayuga Institute. His father being unable to provide further for him, he engaged to work in a mill. As soon as he had earned ten dollars he left home for the Territory of Michigan. Upon arriving at Detroit, which was then a small village, he engaged in work on a farm at a salary of six dollars per month. At the end of the first month he received eight dollars, the additional sum being paid him because of his zeal. In the fall of 1836, being then fourteen years of age, he went to Shiawassee County, and did whatever work he could find until the spring of 1837, when, having accumulated fifty dollars, he started for the land-office at Ionia, walking the whole distance of sixty miles through an unbroken wilderness, and sleeping in the woods. Having reached his destination he sought the land-office and paid his fifty silver dollars for forty acres of land. Returning in the same manner to Shiawassee County, he remained there until the spring of 1838, when he removed to Ionia County and engaged to break land for a farmer at Lyons at twelve dollars a month. His engagement was fulfilled so satisfactorily that he received twenty dollars per month instead of the sum agreed upon. In the fall of 1838 he engaged as clerk in the store of Giles S. Isham and remained there one year, devoting his leisure time to study. Having then decided to study law, he entered the office of Roof & Bell, where he remained three years. After passing a creditable examination, in 1842, at the age of twenty, he was admitted to practice. Mr. Roof then proposed a partnership, which Mr. Blanchard accepted, and this business connection continued for three years. Afterwards, until 1850, Mr. Blanchard practiced alone. At that time, having been elected prosecuting attorney, he removed to Ionia and became the partner of Hon. A. F. Bell, under the firm-name of Blanchard & Bell, which is to-day [sic] a leading law firm of Ionia County.** During the Presidency of James Buchanan, Mr. Blanchard was appointed register of the United States Land-Office, and held the position four years. He was also president of Ionia for two terms. He was a school director for nine years, prosecuting attorney for Ionia County five years, and a trustee for Albion College, having liberally contributed to its endowment-fund. In 1872 he was the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant-Governor. He is a prominent member of the Democratic party, and has distinguished himself as a speaker in the public support of the Presidential candidates. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and has filled several of the principal offices of its various bodies. Mr. Blanchard has been a liberal benefactor of every worthy object. Besides his contributions to churches, schools, and railroads, he has, during the twenty-five years of his residence in Ionia, given not less than one thousand dollars a year to charitable purposes. He is a regular attendant of the Methodist Episcopal church. In 1845 he married Miss Harriet A. Brewster, daughter of Frederick Brewster, of Burlington, Vt. They have four children. As a lawyer Mr. Blanchard has many qualifications which fit him for successful public life. His opinions are his convictions on all subjects, and while firmly upholding them he has the greatest respect for the convictions of those with whom he may differ. As a criminal lawyer he is acknowledged to be at the head of his profession in Michigan. The innate ability and indomitable perseverance which overcame in succession every impediment in his path to success, and placed him in his present position of prosperity and influence, justly entitle him to a place among Michigan's self-made men. [Source: "History of Ionia and Montcalm Counties, Michigan: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of their Prominent Men and Pioneers"; by John S. Schenck; D.W. Ensign & Co., 1881]
** This firm was subsequently changed to Blanchard, Bell & Cagwin by the admission of Mr. George H. Cagwin, and at present consists of Blanchard & Cagwin, Mr. Bell having retired from the firm. Mr. Blanchard at the last election was the nominee of the National Greenback party for Congress from this district, and, though polling a very large vote, was defeated with the rest of that ticket.-Historian. [Source: "History of Ionia and Montcalm Counties, Michigan: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of their Prominent Men and Pioneers"; by John S. Schenck; D.W. Ensign & Co., 1881]
James Bowen was born in Orange Co., N.Y., April 2, 1820. He was the eldest son in the family of Israel and Jane Bowen, who reared a family of six children, - three boys and three girls. The elder Bowen was a wagon-maker and machinist; he was an industrious mechanic and a native of Orange County, where he followed his trade for nearly thirty years. He was married in 1819, and in 1832 emigrated with his family to Oakland Co., Mich., and settled in Pontiac, where he followed his trade; he subsequently removed to the town of Bloomfield, where he resided twelve years, when he came to Keene, where he died in April, 1876. James was a lad of twelve years at the time of his father's removal to Michigan. His education was received in the log school-house of the early days. He learned the trade of a carpenter and wheelwright. On coming to Keene he bought, in company with his brother Oliver, one hundred and sixty acres of land in the northwest quarter of the town, where he was the first settler. His name is connected with most of the initial events in the history of Keene, and he may with propriety be called one of the founders of thee town, being the founder of District No. 6. In November, 1848, Mr. Bowen was married to Miss Electa A. Lee at the home of her mother in Keene, Elder Cornell, of Ionia, officiating. Two children have been born to them,—Alfred L. and Elsie A. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bowen are prominent members of the Baptist Church, and have done much to advance the religious interests of the town. He organized the first Sabbath-school, and for many years was its superintendent. He has always been an ardent friend of education, and has done all in his power to give to others what he himself was unable to obtain. He established the first school in Keene, and assisted in the organization of the first school district. The life of Mr. Bowen, while it has been comparatively uneventful, is worthy of emulation. He is emphatically a self-made man, and has done his part in the development of Keene, and is worthy of the prominent position he holds in its history. ["History of Ionia and Montcalm Counties, Michigan: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of their Prominent Men and Pioneers"; by John S. Schenck; D.W. Ensign & Co., 1881]
John M. Brown
John M. Brown, one of the earliest pioneers of Otisco, was born in Scott, Cortland Co., N.Y., July 11, 1816, son of Timothy and Deborah (Marsh) Brown. Her father was a soldier in the war of the Revolution, and received the land where the village of Cortland now stands for his services in that war. Mr. Brown's grandfather was a captain in the Revolution, and of the same family of John Brown, of Ossawatomie, the martyr. The early life of John M. Brown was spent upon his father's farm in Cortland county until he was twenty-one, when he started out for himself, working at such employment as he could get until 1844, when, thinking the chances for getting himself a farm were better in a new country, he came to Michigan, stopping in Oakland County, where he remained a few years. Was married, March 5, 1848, to Marilda Skidmore, daughter of John and Sally (Bishop) Skidmore, among the early settlers of Macomb County, and who came from Rose, Wayne Co., where she was born Dec. 17, 1828. The family were formerly from Saratoga Co., N. Y. The following fall, after Mr. Brown was married, he moved to Otisco and purchased eighty acres of land, where he now lives, upon which there was a small long house and a small clearing made. Here this pioneer couple have diligently worked for more than thirty years. Soon after Mr. Brown came to Otisco he entered forty acres of government land, and since then has added other lands, until he now has a large and well cultivated farm. They have three children living (having buried two, who died in infancy): Franklin was born May 15, 1849, Mark H., born June 10, 1861, and Mary E., born Aug. 14, 1863. Politically, Mr. Brown was formerly an uncompromising Abolitionist, until the necessities of that party were past, when he joined the Democratic party. The business of his life has been that of a farmer. Has taken a deep interest in all agricultural matters. He and his wife are members of the grange. He has served as Master and Overseer. Mrs. Brown is the present chaplain of the grange. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
John M. Brown
This venerable man has long been numbered among the farmers of Ionia County and has done much hard work here, including the clearing of large tracts of land and the cultivation of an extnded acreage. His home is on section 7, Otisco Township, and the farm he now owns there consists of one hundred and sixty-five acres. He has been the owner of much more land, having given his children amounts aggregating a value of some $4,000. He has been a breeder of Berkshire swine, but the chief stock he now keeps is pure-bred Merino sheep, eligible to registration. The grandfather of our subject was John Brown, a native of Massachusetts and an early settler in New York, where he made his home during the remainder of his life. He held the rank of Captain in the Revolutionary forces. His son, Timothy, father of our subject, was born in Leyden, Mass., and was twelve years old when the family removed to New York. He began his personal work as a farmer when twenty-two years old and continued it until his death, which occurred in 1853. He was married in New York to Deborah Morse, a native of Hartford, Conn., and to them came several children, one of whom was born July 11, 1816, in Cortland County and christened John M. Until he was of age John M. Brown remained with his father and he then worked at various occupations in his native State until 1844. Being led to believe that the newer regions near the Great Lakes would afford him a better opportunity to advance he came to Michigan and until 1848 resided in Oakland County. He then removed to Ionia County and his first purchase of property was eighty acres in Otisco Township. To this he has added at various times, enabling him to start his children in life as before noted. His comfortable circumstances are creditable to the energy and persistence he has manifested during the decades that have passed since he came hither. The wife of Mr. Brown bore the maiden name of Marilda Skidmore and is a daughter of John and Sally (Bishop) Skidmore, who were natives of Guilford. Conn., and of New York respectively. The grandfather of Mrs. Brown, Joel Bishop, was related to John Bishop, who emigrated from England in 1639. Mrs. Brown was well reared and since her marriage, March 5, 1848, she has been devoted to the comfort of her husband and the children with whom they are blessed. They have two sons and a daughter living, and one son and daughter deceased. The latter are Frances E. and Mark, and the survivors, Franklin E., Mark H. and Mary E. When he first began to study national questions Mr. Brown decided that slavery was wrong and his first Presidential ballot was cast for the Abolition candidate, James G. Birney. He voted for Lincoln and Grant, but since 1872 his ballot has been a Democratic one. ["History of Ionia and Montcalm Counties, Michigan: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of their Prominent Men and Pioneers"; by John S. Schenck; D.W. Ensign & Co., 1881]
Mathew Brown one of the early settlers and prominent farmers of the township of Keene, was born in the town of Cyduff, county of Tyrone, Ireland, Feb. 4, 1822. His father, Robert Brown, was a farmer; he married Miss Sarah Kyle and reared a family of twelve children, six boys and six girls; he possessed a finished education, and was in the military service until he attained his twenty-second year. In 1831 the family came to America and settled in the town of West Bloomfield, Oakland Co., Mich., where the elder Brown purchased a farm and where he resided until his decease, which occurred in his eighty-second year. Mathew was thrown upon his own resources when eleven years of age. He obtained employment upon a farm at four dollars per month, and continued to work in that capacity until he was twenty-two years of age. In 1840 he came to Keene and located one hundred and twenty acres of land; he shortly after returned to Oakland, where he remained some years. In April, 1849, he was married to Miss Mary C. Cummings, of Oakland County. She was born in Orange Co.,N. Y., June 27, 1828 (her headstone shows birth 5 May 1828). After his marriage he made a permanent settlement upon his property in Keene, in which he has since resided. Jan. 1, 1869,(headstone shows June 1, 1867) Mrs. Brown died, and in December of that year he was again married, to Miss Melinda Kyle. She was born in Macomb Co., Mich., Oct. 17, 1841. In his religious belief Mr. Brown is a Methodist, in political matters a Republican. He is emphatically a self-made man. Starting in life at the early age of eleven, he has by his own efforts attained merited success in all departments of life, and is in every way worthy of the prominent position he holds among the representative farmers of Ionia County. ["History of Ionia and Montcalm Counties, Michigan: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of their Prominent Men and Pioneers"; by John S. Schenck; D.W. Ensign & Co., 1881]
Oreille Elizabeth Burgner
Born Flat Rock, O., April 22, 1862. Entered the Freshman class in 1878 and graduated from college in 1883. From 1883-85 she was a teacher in Chicago ; 1885-87 in the public schools of Oberlin. Jan. 31, 1888 she married Stuart M. McKee, and resided first in Dakota and later in Michigan . She died at her home in Portland , Mich. , July 29, 1897. [Source: (Class of 1883) Necrology Oberlin College For The Year 1897-8 Transcribed by: Helen Coughlin NOTE: Oreille is the daughter of Samuel H. and Sarah C. (Miller) Burgner. She is buried in Fulton Streeet Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Kent Co MI (cw)]
William Robert Campbell
Dry goods merchant; born, Saranac, Mich., (Ionia Co) June 15, 1863; son of William and Harriet (Rose) Campbell; educated in public schools; married at Bancroft, (Shiawassee Co) Nov. 28, 1889, Abbie E. Phillips. Began active career as clerk in general store at Pinckney, Mich., 1878; clerk in general store in Howell, Mich., 1881-82; came to Detroit in 1882 and became associated with and since 1902 a director Burnham, Stoepel & Co.; vice president and director Detroit Folding Cart Co. Clubs: Commercial, Detroit Athletic. Recreation: Outdoor athletic sports. Office: Bates and Larned Sts. Residence: 123 Canfield Av., W. [Source: The Book of Detroiters by Albert Nelson Marquis 1908]
Archibald F. Carr
This gentleman, whose name is so prominently associated with the history or the city of Ionia, was born in Amsterdam, Montgomery Co., N. Y., Sept. 3, 1814. The Carr family is descended from three brothers, who came from Paisley, Scotland, some time previous to the Revolution and settled in Providence, R. I. They were weavers by trade, and followed their vocation in this country. John T. Carr, father of the subject of this memoir, and son of one of the three brothers just mentioned, was born in Providence in 1784; when a young man, in company with two brothers, he emigrated to Amsterdam, N. Y., where he was married. He reared a family of seven children, Archibald being the second son. When he was three years of age the family moved to Syracuse, N. Y., where the elder Carr resided many years. At the age of thirteen Archibald F. went to live with an uncle who was a merchant in Orleans County. With him he remained until he attained his twenty-first year. He acquired a good practical business education, and in his youth evinced much perception and business acumen, and laid the foundation for a successful business career. In 1836 he was married to Miss Jane A. Howe, of Fairport, N. Y., and shortly after his marriage he went to Rochester, N. Y., where he was engaged as salesman in a wholesale drygoods-house. In 1839 his only child, Marion, was born. She married Dr. Zenas E. Bliss, who died in Grand Rapids in 1877. Mrs. Bliss is now at the University of Ann Arbor, educating her only daughter, Jennie. In 1843, Mr. Carr came to Ionia and engaged in mercantile pursuits up to 1865, when he turned his attention to other interests. But few men have been more prominently connected with the best interests of Ionia, or have identified themselves more largely with its growth and development. He was one of the first directors of the First National Bank of Ionia; he was its president a short time, and held the responsible position of cashier nearly eleven years. He then devoted his time and energies to his lumbering interests and pine lands. Mr. Carr is a gentleman well and favorably known, and, aside from his identification with the business interests of the city, has taken a prominent part in all social and educational enterprises. He was one of the projectors of the Stanton branch of the Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railroad, and prominently identified with its construction. In a word, he is one of those gentlemen whose identification with any county is always productive of good. [Source: "History of Ionia and Montcalm Counties, Michigan: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of their Prominent Men and Pioneers"; by John S. Schenck; D.W. Ensign & Co., 1881]
Eli A. Colemen
Mr. Coleman's father, Becket Coleman, was a native of Connecticut, and a farmer by occupation. He was married to Harriet Stratton, a native of the State of New York, and for a number of years resided in Jefferson County, in the latter State, finally removing to Ohio. In the spring of 1844 they came to Michigan and settled on section 26 in the township of Orange, Ionia Co., where Mrs. Coleman died in June, 1858, and Mr. Coleman in May, 1874. Eli A. Coleman, son of the above couple, was born Sept. 20, 1827, in Jefferson Co., N. Y., being the oldest in a family of nine children. He was quite young when his parents settled in Ohio, and but seventeen years of age when they removed to Michigan. He assisted his father in the care of the homestead until he became of age, when he entered the employ of Hopkins & Co., of Ottawa County, and worked at lumbering for three years. In the spring of 1851 he purchased eighty acres of land in Orange township, which compose a part of his present farm. It was what is familiarly known as "wild land" and he set about the task of clearing and improving it. On the 2d of December, 1855, he was married to Miss Hannah J. Smith, daughter of E. F. Smith, Sr., and Nancy Smith. She was born in Oakland Co., Mich., June 25, 1837, and was the fifth in a family of eight children. Her father was a native of New York, and her mother (Nancy Merryfield Smith) of Massachusetts. They were numbered among the pioneers of Oakland County, but removed to Orange township, Ionia Co., when the daughter was but seven years old. Both died in the township named, Mr. Smith in June, 1862, and his wife in December, 1866. Mr. and Mrs. Coleman are the parents of two children - Ella S., born Nov. 6, 1861, now Mrs. Edmond Harwood, living at home, and Ida A., born July 15, 1863, and died at the age of six months. Mr. Coleman and his wife began their wedded life on the farm upon which they now reside. It has been enlarged from eighty acres of woodland to three hundred and twenty acres - all improved and under a fine state of cultivation except forty acres. In place of the humble log cabin is seen a much more pretentious dwelling. Mr. Coleman is an admirer of fine stock, and is the owner of some excellent cattle and sheep. In 1863 his patriotism asserted itself, and he enlisted in the First Regiment Michigan Engineers and Mechanics. He served twenty-three months, and returned to his home in 1865. In politics he is a Republican, and he and his wife are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with which they united in 1865. Mr. Coleman has held several important township offices - highway commissioner, drain commissioner, etc. ["History of Ionia and Montcalm Counties, Michigan: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of their Prominent Men and Pioneers"; by John S. Schenck; D.W. Ensign & Co., 1881]
Rufus R. Cook
Rufus R. Cook, the founder of the village of "Cook's Corners," was born Sept. 11, 1811, at Hartland, Conn. When he was three years of age his parents moved to Rome, N.Y., and from there to Bergen, in the same State, where he lived until he was eighteen, when he moved with his parents to the then Territory of Michigan, and settled in Avon, Oakland Co. In 1837, in company with his brother-in-law, John L. Morse, and Amos and William Russell, he started on a prospecting tour. They left their teams at a point on the Looking Glass River, about three miles west of Laingsburg, Shiawassee Co., where they built a boat out of material they had brought with them. In this way they were four days reaching the mouth of Flat River. From there they traveled on foot to the burr oak plains in Otisco, where they made a location, Mr. Cook taking the land where a village commemorates his name. Here he and Mr. Morse erected a shelter, but after winter had set in they went home on foot. In February they returned with their wives, taking also a span of horses, nineteen head of cattle, and eighteen swine, and, as they supposed, money enough to carry them through to harvest time. Nine days of travel in extremely cold weather brought them to Lyons, where they found themselves unable to pay their tavern bill, as they had no money which the landlord would take, -- the first intimation they had of the "wild cat" collapse. They were therefore obliged to run in debt, but paid their bill they next fall, when the sale of some cattle gave them some money that had a value.
In 1839, Messrs. Cook, Morse, Lincoln, and Baldwin built the first saw mill in Montcalm County. It had a capacity to cut three or four thousand feet per day, which at that time was considered large. Until 1846, Mr. Cook had lived in a log house which had become quite popular among the traveling public, and that year he built the hotel which soon became popular and celebrated for its anniversary balls. Mr. Cook kept the hotel a short time, when he rented it and built a residence and went into the mercantile business. Mr. Cook was a good business man and had more than ordinary influence over men; was highly esteemed by the community; held the office of postmaster for thirty-five years; was also justice of the peace for the greater part of the time; was supervisor for several years, and held other positions; through all his life was the recipient of most responsible and delicate trusts, which were never abused; and although he held so many positions, he never sought office for himself. When he worked for others, however, he had a great power.
Mr. Cook was a representative man among the early settlers of the Grand River valley. He was public spirited, and contributed in many ways to the growth and prosperity of the country, and was well known throughout Ionia, Montcalm, and Kent Counties. He died Jan. 6, 1875, in his sixty-fourth year. Mr. Cook was married Jan. 2, 1834, to Cordelia W. Cowles, of Madison Co., N.Y., where she was born Oct. 2, 1811. Her father died when she was a child, leaving two children, Mrs. John L. Morse being her younger sister. Her mother subsequently married Joseph Davis, who came to Michigan in 1826 and settled in Oakland County. Mrs. Cook is well and favorably known in the community where she lives for her uniform kindness and Christian virtues, and is a member of the Baptist Church in their village. Both she and Mr. Cook found their peculiar enjoyment in the unobtrusive pleasures of the domestic circle. Having no children of their own, they have brought up several; a girl and a boy they adopted now carry on the large farm in connection with Mrs. Cook. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
George Cooley, one of the pioneers of Otisco, who took his land from government, and has helped to make this county what it is, was born in Deerfield, Mass., April 14, 1819. The family were old settlers in that county, and located there soon after the Revolution. Here his father Russell Cooley, was born, and lived until 1830, when he came to Michigan with a family of four children (having buried two children in Massachusetts). He stopped at Ann Arbor a year or two, then located one hundred and sixty acres of land in the town of Webster, that county, which he improved and made a fine farm, where he died, January, 1843. George, the only son, lived with his father until his death. He was married, February, 1842, to Caroline Kimberly, daughter of Silas Kimberly. The Kimberlys were early settlers and influential people in New Haven, conn., and trace their genealogy to Thomas Kimberly, who came from London, England, to New Haven, in 1633, Soon after the death of his father, Mr. Cooley left the paternal home to seek a home for himself. Having sufficient means to buy forty acres of government land, he came to Otisco and located the forty where he now lives. December, 1843, after securing his land, he worked at such employment as he could get, and at intervals worked on his land and at getting out logs for a house until the following summer, when he brought his wife from Washtenaw County. Soon after that the house was completed, and they moved in. This was a small log house of the most primitive kind. At this time the country was sparsely settled, their nearest neighbor was two miles distant, so they were thrown entirely upon their own resources; their necessities were few, and luxuries they did not indulge in but with strong hearts and willing hands they kept steadily at work, looking forward to the fine farm and elegant home they now enjoy, a view of which may be seen in this work. They have three children, -- Amelia C., Melvin A., and George J.
In educational matters Mr. Cooley takes a deep interest, and has served for several years on the school board. Mr. Cooley and his wife are active and consistent members of the Congregational Church at Smyrna. They assisted in organizing the first congregational church at cook's Corners, and are among the most substantial and respected citizens of their town. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Rev. Alfred Cornell
For many years pastor of the Baptist Church at Ionia, he was born in Madison County, N. Y., July 7, 1813. He is a son of Alfred and Nancy (Caldwell) Cornell, natives of Rhode Island, whence they came to Oneida County, N. Y., and journeyed to Michigan 1833, a few months after the Dexter settlement was made. The Dexlers arrived here the last of May and Mr. Cornell, a cousin of Mr. Dexter, reached here November 9, of the same year. Theie were no near neighbors and not a house in Ionia except the four occupied by Samuel Dexter, Erastus Yeomans, Darius Windsor and Edwin Giles; and on the other side was one house occupied by Oliver Arnold. Alfred was twenty years of age at the time of his first coming to Michigan, and the next year went to Grand Rapids, finding but two houses on the way there, and those occupied by traders. While at the Rapids he found but one family, that of Joel Guild, in getting to and from trading points Mr. Cornell encountered many difficulties. At the age of twenty-three he married Amanda, daughter of Judge Yoemans, the wedding taking place in December, 1836. She became the mother of six children, all of whom have passed away and she herself died in Ohio, February 20, 1862. In 1841 Mr. Cornell went to Colby University, at Hamilton, N. Y., to study for the ministry and remained there for three years. He graduated in 1844 and was settled as pastor over the church at Macedon, Wayne County, N. Y. After remaining there for two years the Ionia people pleaded that he should become the pastor of the Baptist Church here, to which he consented. After seventeen years' service in Ionia he responded to a call to a church in Norwalk, Ohio, and went there in January, 1861, remaining there for three years, After going to Norwalk he was tendered the Chaplaincy of the Twenty-First Michigan Infantry. Mr. Cornell returned to Ionia County in April, 1866, and preached here for two years. After this he resigned and went to Smyrna, this county, where he was stationed for three years, and then went to Portland for five and one-half years. He was elected Chaplain of the Michigan House of Correction in 1877, and held this position for four years until his health failed, on account of which he resigned. He spent some two years in Polo and some time in Carson City after which he returned to Ionia and has since lived a retired life. His second marriage was with Katie Mason and occurred January 23, 1863, in Ripley, N. Y. [Source: Portrait and Biographical of Ionia and Montcalm MI, Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891]
Lewis F. Cutcheon
Lewis F. Cutcheon, whose biographical record we have given us, lives an industrious and useful life and seeks to perform faithfully whatever duties fall to his lot. During his career he has won and maintains the confidence of his associates, and in the Masonic order of which he is a member, he is considered faithful and is much esteemed. Our subject was born in Detroit, Mich., July 9, 1856, and is the son of Franklin M. and Mary Stone Cutcheon, natives of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, respectively. Franklin, his father, was a shoemaker in Lynn, Mass., and followed this business during the greater portion of his life. In 1855 he came to Detroit, where he remained but a short time, returning to Massachusetts. Becoming dissatisfied there he again came to Michigan in 1868, locating in Portland, where he has since lived. Under Arthur's administration he was appointed Postmaster at this place, and has been in no regular business since. To himself and wife were born six children: James Clarence, a machinist, who lives in Lynn, Mass.; Lewis P.; Anna, wife of F. R. Savage, a resident of Lansing, Mich.; Hattie, who is at home; Nora, wife of Edward LaSalle, a farmer in Ronald Township, this county; and Josephine attending the State Normal School at Ypsilanti. Lewis F. lived in Massachusetts until thirteen years of age. He then came West with his parents. He came to Portland where he attended school until he was seventeen years of age, when he entered the office he now owns as an apprentice. J. W. Bailey at that time was owner of a paper called the Observer. In this office he worked for Bailey five years. He then went to Detroit, where he worked on the daily Tribune and in Scripps' job office three years. He then returned to Portland. From there he went to Belding where he aided in getting out the second issue of the Belding Telegram. Thence to Manistee, where he was in the postotfice two years. In 1881 Mr. Cutcheon edited and published the Montcalm County Republican, remaining here a year and a half. Again he returned to Manistee as assistant Postmaster four years. In 1886 he again came to Portland and bought the office of the Observer, which he has since edited. He was married to Miss Carrie Cromwell, of Amsterdam, N. Y., November 4, 1885. His wife was the daughter of S. J. and M. E. Cromwell. He is a member of the Masonic order both of the Blue Lodge and Chapter, and also belongs to the Ancient Order of United Workmen. [Source: Portrait and Biographical of Ionia and Montcalm MI, Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891]
Clark L. Demorest
Clark L. Demorest, one of the first settlers of Otisco, is of Holland descent. His ancestors were among those steadfast Christians who were driven out of Holland for their religious belief and came to New York City, where they settled before the Revolution, and where some of the family still reside, William Demorest, the publisher, being of the family. The parents of Clark L. lived in Eastern New York, where they were married. Subsequently moved to Steuben County, where the subject of this sketch was born Nov. 25, 1819. Here the family lived until 1837, when they came to Michigan, performing the journey with an ox team. The stopped in Washtenaw a few years. In the spring of 1840 the father, Samuel Demorest, came to Otisco and bought two hundred and forty acres of land. That fall the father, with two of the boys, came up and put in ten acres of wheat. The next spring (1841) the family located permanently upon their land. This was an important element in the then frontier settlement, as there eight grown-up children, all now living. The father died in 1872, at the mature age of seventy-nine years. The mother is still living, at the age of eighty-three years. Clark L. is the oldest of the children. He purchased eighty acres of land from the government in the fall of 1840. Remained with his father until 1842, when he went to cut logs at the "Lincoln Mill," to get lumber to build with. The summer of 1844 he worked at building a saw mill where Greenville now is; this was the first improvement where that city now stands. After the mill was finished he worked in the mill, and at such jobs as came in his way, until Dec. 29, 1846, when he was married to Sally Ann Thompson, daughter of Allen Thompson, who had moved here from Rensselaer Co., N. Y., two years before. After Mr. Demorest was married he commenced in earnest to improve his land and make himself a home. A small house was erected, and in which they passed many happy years of pioneer life, improving their land and adding other land until they now have a large and well-cultivated farm, a substantial house, with such surroundings as indicate the thrifty farmer. They have five children, -- three sons and two daughters. Dell W. is a farmer and occupies the old homestead of his grandfather Thompson; Clara A. lives at home; Allen T. is married and settled on a farm in the town of Orleans; Milon lives at home; May N. married N. B. Wordon, of Belding. Mr. Demorest was formerly a Whig until the organization of the Republican party, when he identified himself with that party; is interested in all local public affairs; has held several town offices. Mrs. Demorest, by her frugal and industrious habits, has aided her husband and discharged well the duties of a helpmeet. She and her people are active members of the Christian Church. This pioneer couple are among the best-known and highly-respected citizens of Otisco. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
John R. Dougherty
This gentleman, the son of James and Sarah (Loomis) Dougherty, was born in Cayuga Co., N. Y., on the 17th of December, 1842. His father was a native of Ireland, and came, alone, to the United States at the age of fourteen; his mother was a native of Scotland, and died when the son was young. The mother of John R. was born in Onondaga Co., N. Y. John R. Dougherty came to Michigan with his mother in 1857, and located near Lyons, Ionia Co. He remained at home until he was twenty years old, supporting his mother by working on a farm during the summers, and attended school winters. Her death occurred July 19, 1876. In August, 1862, Mr. Dougherty enlisted in the Eighth Michigan Infantry, and served his country three years. He was with Burnside in all his campaigns, and took part in the siege of Knoxville, Tenn., the battles of South Mountain and Antietam, Md., Fredericksburg, Va., Blue Springs, East Tenn., Petersburg, Va., etc. He was promoted to first lieutenant in May, 1865. For one year after his "coming home from the war" he worked by the month on a farm, and then engaged in the grocery and provision business in the village of Lyons. This was in 1867. In 1868 he purchased an unimproved farm, which is now in excellent condition and a source of pride to its owner. In 1862 he married Melissa J. Truesdell, of Broome Co., N. Y. She was the daughter of Samuel and Perthina Truesdell, who were early settlers in that region. Her grandfather, Jabish Truesdell, served seven years in the Revolutionary army. Mr. Dougherty is now the senior member of the banking firm of John R. Dougherty & Co., and also of the mercantile firm of Dougherty & Gleason, at Lyons, Mich., and is one of the most promising among the younger citizens of the town. In about fourteen years he has won his way from a position of dependence to one of independence. [Source: Portrait and Biographical of Ionia and Montcalm MI, Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891]
Mr. Richard Dye
Among those adventurous individuals who nearly a half century ago laid the foundation for the present wealth and prosperity of Ionia County is the subject of this biography, Mr. Richard Dye. He was born in Herkimer village, N. Y., Oct. 23, 1810, and was the son of Jonathan and Rebecca (Steel) Dye, who reared a family of three children - two sons and one daughter. The elder Dye was a carpenter and joiner by occupation, a thrifty and industrious man, and one of the pioneers of that county, whither he had removed from Rhode Island when a young man. He served with distinction in the war of 1812. He was highly esteemed for his integrity, and died in Herkimer at an advanced age. Richard lived under the parental roof until he was fifteen years of age, when, owing to some reverses in his father's affairs, he was thrown upon his own resources. He was apprenticed to the trade of a cabinet-maker, and completed his indentures about the time he attained his majority. In March, 1832, he was married to Miss Polly, daughter of Vine Welch, one of the substantial farmers of Herkimer County. After their marriage Mr. Dye followed his trade, working in Herkimer until 1836, when he decided to try his fortunes in the Territory of Michigan. He came to Ionia County, whither some of his old neighbors had already preceded him, and being favorably impressed with the soil and natural advantages, and foreseeing that it would ultimately become a more prosperous country than the one he had left, he made a purchase of one hundred and sixty acres of government land on section 19 in the town of Easton. In the fall of that year he returned East and the following spring came back with his family, which consisted of his wife and two children - George H. and Mary E. - and commenced the development of his purchase. A substantial log house was erected and twelve acres were cleared and prepared to receive a crop. Mr. Dye brought with him a lathe and such tools as were necessary for the manufacture of ordinary cabinet-ware. The lathe was placed in the garret, and the most common articles of household furniture were made, which found a ready sale among the settlers. In 1839 his business had so increased that he decided to remove to Ionia, then a little hamlet of perhaps one hundred and fifty inhabitants, and give the business his entire attention. He built a shop on what is now the corner of Dye and Washington Streets, and for many years prosecuted a successful business. In 1859 he engaged in merchandising in company with his brother Nelson. Two years later A. F. Carr became associated with them, and the firm did an extensive business for seven years, when Mr. Dye withdrew, and since this time has been retired from active business pursuits. He has taken an active interest in everything that pertains to the welfare and advancement of Ionia, and has filled several positions of trust and responsibility, although he has never courted political preferment, preferring to give his undivided attention to the demands of his business. In 1850 he was appointed postmaster, and for many years has been a prominent member of the city council. Mr. Dye is emphatically a self-made man. Starting in life with only a robust constitution and an indomitable will as his capital, he has attained a prominent position among the successful business men of the county. Honesty and a firm desire to succeed have been the essential media of his success. He has evinced excellent judgment in all his transactions, and sterling honesty has been the basis of his operations. This is high testimony, but it is only the reflex of the prominent traits of Mr. Dye's character, and what to the strange reader may seem peculiarly the language of eulogy will be readily recognized by all who know him as a plain statement of the salient points of his character and features of his commercial career. Mr. Dyenever enjoyed the advantages of education, but being naturally intelligent and endowed with a large amount of common sense, industry, and ambition he has succeeded in building an enviable reputation. Indeed it may be truly said of him that his career is one worthy the emulation of the young, and a fitting example for all sorts and conditions of business men to follow. This biography would not be complete without special mention of his estimable, wife who has shared with him the privations and hardships of the early days. For nearly fifty years she has been his faithful friend and adviser, and to her industry, sage counsel and advice he attributes much of his success. She was born in the town of Middleburg, Schoharie Co., N. Y., Jan. 29, 1814. Her mother, whose maiden-name was Ruth Squires, was born in Vermont. Her father was a native of Massachusetts, and emigrated to Schoharie County about 1800. He leased an unimproved farm of Peter Smith, father of Gerrit Smith, upon which he remained until about 1825, when he removed to Herkimer village, where he resided until his removal to Ionia. In the fall of 1836 he settled upon lands adjoining the farm of Mr. Dye. He was one of the prominent old settlers of the county, and died in Ionia in 1858. Mrs. Dye is a lady of rare personal excellence and a fine type of the pioneer woman. As illustrative of her pioneer experiences we append the following incident which occurred in the spring of 1838. At this time Indians were frequent visitors, and were generally peaceful excepting when crazed with liquor. They were in the habit of visiting the settlers and bartering maple-sugar and peltry for various articles. One day, while Mr. Dye and the male portion of the household were absent, two or three stalwart Indians with their squaws came and desired to exchange sugar for turnips. Mrs. Dye had acquired a slight knowledge of the Indian language, and gave them to understand that she would give them two baskets of turnips for five pounds of sugar. The sugar was weighed, and Mrs. Dye, followed by one of the Indians, started for the cellar, which was back of the house, leaving her mother to watch the squaws, who were much given to theft. She measured the turnips according to the bargain, giving him two baskets for every five pounds of sugar. He insisted that he was to have three. She told him in a very decided way that two was the number. He shouted three, and, drawing a long knife, jumped towards her and reiterated the assertion. Mrs. Dye, having much presence of mind and an insight into Indian character, looked him squarely in the face and gave him to understand that he could have but two. Seeing that she was not to be intimidated, he placed the vegetables in his bag and the party went away.
On another occasion two drunken Indians visited the house at night with the idea that they could obtain whisky. The family had retired, Mr. Dye being absent, and by neglect the doors were left unfastened. The first intimation that Mrs. Dye had of their presence was being awakened by a bright light. She drew aside the curtains of the bed, and there in the centre of the room, with torches above their heads, were two tall savages who demanded whisky. She told them that there was none in the house, and in such a way that they were convinced, and by a neat little ruse got them out of the house and closed the doors. As a wife, mother, neighbor, and friend, Mrs. Dye has performed all her duties and obligations with a scrupulous regard to the right and with a personal unselfishness. Both she and Mr. Dye are prominent members of the Church of the Disciples, and are in every way worthy of the prominent position they hold among the representative people of the county. Both are past the meridian of life, and, surrounded by their children and a large circle of friends, they feel that they have been in a measure rewarded for the hardships and privations of their pioneer life. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881]
Bingley Russell Fales
Assistant general manager, The Edison Illuminating Co.; born in Ionia Co., Mich., Apr. 25, 1866; son of Loren C. and Eliza (Russell) Fales; educated in public and high schools of Ionia; studied law in office of Alexander F. Bell, Ionia; admitted to the bar of Michigan in 1888; married, 1899, Alice Peck, of Minneapolis, Minn. Practiced law in Ionia, 1888-90, being elected Circuit Court commissioner of Ionia County in 1888; in 1890 came to Detroit and continued in the practice of law; in 1899 was appointed an assistant prosecuting attorney of Wayne Co., which position he filled for three years; in 1902 resigned office and became interested in commercial pursuits, organizing the Central Heating Co., of which he became secretary and general manager; in 1906 was made assistant general manager of The Edison Illuminating Co. Is also president and general manager of the Central Station Steam Co. Served 3 years in the Michigan National Guard at Ionia, and 9 years in Michigan Naval Reserves at Detroit; held commission as lieutenant of navigation and ordnance at time of resignation; served in Spanish-American War as quartermaster 3d class on U.S.S. Yosemite. Republican. Congregationalist. Mason. Member Detroit Board of Commerce, Detroit Engineering Society. Clubs: Detroit, Detroit Boat, Detroit Golf. Office: 18 Washington Av. Residence: 375 Seminole Av. [Source: The Book of Detroiters by Albert Nelson Marquis 1908 by Albert Nelson Marquis]
Dan T. Fargo
This gentleman is of English descent, his grandfather and uncle having come from England at an early day and settled in Connecticut. His father, Daniel Fargo, Jr., was born in Herkimer Co., N. Y., in 1792, and was by occupation a farmer. He served as a private in Capt. Bell's company in the war of 1812. He married Margaret Devendorf, who was also born in Herkimer County in 1796. In 1837 they removed to Tecumseh, Lenawee Co., Mich., and began clearing and improving a farm of eighty acres of new land. In 1840 they removed to the village of Tecumseh, for the purpose of educating their children, numbering ten. Dan T. Fargo was born in Busti, Chatauqua Co., N. Y., Sept. 1, 1828, being the fourth son in the family. He was but nine years old when his parents removed to Michigan. He attended the branches of the Michigan University, and in 1847 journeyed to Montcalm County and began work in a saw-mill. This was the beginning of his life-work, for he has since continued in that business. In 1853 he married Phebe A. Root, of Otisco, who has borne him two children. Mr. Fargo served one term as sheriff of Montcalm County, and surveyor one term. Upon the breaking out of the Rebellion he enlisted in the Second Michigan Cavalry, and remained in the service nearly four years. He rose from private to the rank of captain, and performed duty on the staff of Gen. Croxton. He was in active service during the entire period of his enlistment, and enjoyed excellent health through it all. Since 1865 he has resided in the city of Ionia and been actively engaged in lumbering. He is now numbered among the most substantial business men of the place, and has a host of friends and bright prospects for the future. [Source: "History of Ionia and Montcalm Counties, Michigan: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of their Prominent Men and Pioneers"; by John S. Schenck; D.W. Ensign & Co., 1881]
Tristram Freeman was born in Minot, Cumberland Co., Me., Feb. 4, 1816. His father, Samuel Freeman, was a native of the same town, and a farmer by occupation. He did his country good service as a private soldier in the War of 1812, and died at the good old age of eighty-seven years highly esteemed for his integrity. He reared a family of eleven children, Tristram being the third. At the age of twenty he left home, and apprenticed himself to the trade of a shoemaker; after the completion of his indentures he followed his trade for several years, working in Bridgewater, Mass., and other cities. In November, 1840, he left his home in Maine with a one-horse wagon and a stock of oil-cloths for South Carolina, where he remained until 1841. An elder brother, Samuel, had settled in Portland, Ionia Co., and Tristram resolved to join him. He left South Carolina in July of 1841 with his one-horse wagon, and arrived in Portland in September. He worked for his brother, who was a carpenter by trade, for some time. He then went back to his trade, which he followed until 1850, when he started for California by the overland route. He remained in California three years, and returned to Portland and engaged in mercantile pursuits in company with Hezekiah Smith. The firm prosecuted a successful business for several years, and upon their dissolution Mr. Freeman engaged in farming, which avocation he has since pursued. The life of Mr. Freeman has been comparatively uneventful, and marked by few incidents save such as occur to most men. He has never sought to attain prominence in any way. His sole ambition has been to perfect a valuable record as a citizen, and to amass a comfortable competency for old age. He has done his part in the development of Portland, and is in every way worthy of the honorable position he holds among its best citizens. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . .," by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
John Friend was born in Devonshire, England, March 4, 1825. His parents, John and Betty (Comb) Friend, were also natives of England. Mr. Friend's ancestors were landowners and farmers. In April, 1833, the family emigrated to America, settling at Royalton, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, where Mr. Friend followed the occupation of farming.
June 17, 1843, John Friend married Miss Polly Ann Meachum, of Brunswick, Medina Co., Ohio, who was born Dec. 22, 1826, at Shelby, Mass. By this union were born four children - viz., Francis N., May 20, 1844, now engaged in merchandising; George E., Feb. 18, 1846, who follows the occupation of farming; Phebe M., Dec. 30, 1847; and Emma A., June 4, 1850.
In April, 1854, Mr. Friend removed with his family to Sebewa township, Ionia Co., Mich. Dec. 17, 1857, he was afflicted by the death of his estimable wife. During this time Mr. Friend conducted a general store at Sebewa, in connection with his farm and grist- and saw-mills.
Dec. 24, 1858, he married for his second wife Miss Sarah J. Cramer, of Herkimer Co., N. Y., where she was born Feb. 10, 1839. Her father was a farmer by occupation. By this union were born the following children - viz., Estella Edith, July 17, 1861, died Oct. 24, 1861; Bertha, Nov. 11, 1862; Judson Zach, Oct. 6, 1865, died May 7, 1866; Mornie Bell, July 16, 1867; and Ethel Rose, July 9, 1871.
July 5, 1875, Mr. Friend was again afflicted by the death of his second wife, who was an excellent mother, as well as an intelligent business woman.
Nov. 12, 1876, he married for his third wife Mrs. Lou A. Farral, from whom he was divorced Nov. 15, 1880.
From 1859 to 1862, Mr. Friend engaged in business as a drover and stock-raiser. From 1862 to 1867 he followed the occupation of lumbering, and from 1868 to 1871 was engaged in the hard-lumber business. From 1871 to 1875 he resumed the business of stock-raising, and from 1875 to 1879 kept a general assortment store at Sebewa, during this time continuing the management of his extensive farms.
He was an ardent supporter of the Union in the war of the Rebellion, and has been a Republican since the organization of that party.
Mr. Friend is now located on sections 24 and 25, Sebewa township, and possesses three hundred and sixty-one acres of well-stocked land, embracing a beautiful and productive region of country, a view of which appears on another page of this work. Mr. Friend has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church for nearly three years. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; transcribed by GT Transcription Team]
Isaiah G. Frost
Isaiah G. Frost was born in Dutchess Co., N. Y., Nov. 5, 1805, and was the fourth in a family of eight children. His parents, Thomas and Phebe (Green) Frost, were born in the same State, and the father was a merchant in the city of New York. With him the son remained until he was twenty-three years of age, when he established himself in trade in Ulster County, where he married Maria Vernooy, March 17, 1832, who was born in Ulster Co., N. Y., Sept. 16, 1812, being the fifth in a family of ten children. Her parents, Charles and Sarah (Dubois) Vernooy, were born in the same county, their parents being early settlers and came from Holland, they being the builders and owners of the first flouring-mill in that vicinity. Mr. Frost sold out his business in 1838 and floated westward on the tide of emigration, finally landing, July 14th of that year, in the township of Danby, Ionia Co., Mich., where he had the previous year made a purchase of land. He occupied a house on the place of a neighbor until he could prepare logs and build a house of his own. The same farm has since been Mr. Frost's home, except during the four years that he lived in Ionia while holding the office of county treasurer. He has been prominent in the political history of his township since its u organization, having held numerous offices therein. To Mr. and Mrs. Frost were born the following children, five in number: Isaac T., Jan. 8, 1836; Sarah M., Dec. 1, 1838; John G., Aug. 28, 1843, who died Feb. 4, 1846, aged two and a half years; John G., Jr., Dec. 1, 1846, who died April 13, 1870, from the effects of a fall, aged twenty-three years; Thomas, Dec. 6, 1847. Isaac T. is now residing in New York City, Sarah M. is the wife of William Hixson, and Thomas remains on the old homestead. Mr. Frost's religious views are of a liberal nature, yet he belongs to that school which allows perfect freedom of thought and respects the opinions of those who may differ with him. Mr. Frost and his wife have vivid recollections of their experience as pioneers, and the stories of other days, though oft told, seem ever new. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; transcribed by Genealogy Trails Transcription Team]
D. W. Goddard, the third in a family of four children, was born March 2, 1831, in Livingston Co., N. Y. His parents, Rufus and Louisa (Rand) Goddard, were natives of Massachusetts. In 1838, Rufus Goddard removed with his family to Michigan, settling in Lenawee County. In 1844 he sold out, came to Ionia County, and purchased forty acres of land. He built and moved into a log house upon it in 1847, subsequently purchased eighty acres on the opposite side of the way, and died in August, 1851. The mother of D. W. Goddard died in 1833, and the father was afterwards a second time married. After his father's death, D. W. Goddard remained at home assisting the family. Together with his brother Rufus, he bought the interests of the other heirs, besides purchasing additional land, and when an addition was made he retained the old homestead. He is the present owner of one hundred and forty acres of land. April 11, 1868, he married Miss Frances A. Carpenter, whose father, Cyril Carpenter, came to Michigan in 1851. She was born in the State of Ohio, and lived but one year after her marriage to Mr. Goddard. Jan. 19, 1872, he married Mary De Pew, who was born in Noble Co., Ind., and spent the early portion of her life in De Kalb County, same State. Her birth occurred June 5, 1848, she being the second in a family of eleven children.
Mr. Goddard, who is a Republican in politics, has been often chosen to responsible positions by his townsmen, and is now serving his sixth term as supervisor. The township was yet quite new as late as the arrival of Mr. Goddard, and he assisted in cutting out most of the roads within its limits. Mr. Goddard and his wife are both connected with the Presbyterian Church. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; transcribed by GT Transcription Team]
William Hixson, the eldest in a family of seven children, was born Aug. 22, 1833, in Ulster Co., N. Y. His father, Virgil Hixson, was born in the same county in 1812 and died in 1853. The mother, whose maiden-name was Sarah Ann Hasbrook, was born in 1813, and married Mr. Hixson in 1832. William Hixson, who had previously assisted on the home-farm of his parents, at the age of sixteen entered a store as clerk, continuing four years. He then worked for his mother until 1858, when he visited Michigan, remaining through the summer, and going from here to La Porte Co., Ind. While there he engaged in farm-work, was employed in the freight-office one year, and finally went to Colorado, where he remained until 1866, except one year spent on a prospecting trip in Montana. Returning to New York in 1866, and remaining one year, he came thence to Michigan in 1867. October 3d in the latter year he married Miss Sarah M. Frost, who was born in Danby township (where her father was an early settler and is now living) Dec. 1, 1838. Mr. and Mrs. Hixson are the parents of four children, viz. - Phebe S., born July 29, 1868; Virgil J., born April 25, 1870; Sarah Ann, born March 3, 1877; Willie, born Sept. 9, 1878, died March 19, 1879. In the summer after his marriage Mr. Hixson purchased eighty acres of land, a small part of which had been cleared. He has since added thirty acres to his original purchase, and has his farm under a good state of improvement. Mr. Hixson and his wife are members of the Methodist Church. Politically Mr. Hixson is a Republican, and has been the recipient of numerous favors in his township in the way of official positions. He is a prominent member of the grange, and a respected and influential citizen. Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; transcribed by Genealogy Trails Transcription Team
DeLos Gibson, a representative farmer of Keene Township, residing on section 11, is a native of Genesee County, N. Y., and was born July 24, 1804. He is a son of Archibald K. and Sylvia (Gibbs) Gibson. When about two years old he removed with his parents to Otsego County, N. Y., and was there reared to manhood and has been a lifelong farmer. He was married November 1, 1827, to Louisa Adkins, a native of Otsego County, N. Y. Five children have been sent to bless the home of this worthy couple, namely: Mary J., who became Mrs. Henry, and is now a widow; Ruth A., the wife of S. M. Stebbins; Celesta, the wife of Jabez Hull; and William W. In 1839 he emigrated with his family to Michigan and located for a short time in Eaton County and came to Ionia County in 1841, making his residence in Keene Township. He has served his township faithfully, both as Treasurer and Highway Commissioner and is a man who is truly respected by all who know him. [Source: Portrait and Biographical of Ionia and Montcalm MI, Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891]
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