Ionia County, Michigan
A. K. Hall, the oldest in a family of eight children, was born May 30, 1815, in Oswego Co., N. Y. His father, Daniel Hall, was a native of Rensselaer County, and his mother, Jerusha (King) Hall, was born in Herkimer County, same State. The family settled early in Scriba, Oswego Co. Mrs. Hall died May 10, 1844, and Mr. Hall Jan. 4, 1874, on the old homestead in Oswego County. A. K. Hall remained at home, assisting his father, who was a carpenter by trade, until September, 1840, when, having become master of his trade, he came to Michigan and located on the farm upon which Mrs. Hall now resides, being one hundred and twenty acres on section 22, Orange township, Ionia Co. Mr. Hall purchased his land from the government, and returned to New York. One year later, having suffered from a severe illness in the mean time, he came again to Michigan, and began making improvements on his farm. Feb. 5, 1843, he was married to Miss Adeline Barrett, daughter of Alfred and Dalmatia Barrett. She was born Jan. 15, 1828, in Volney, Oswego Co., N. Y. Her mother was a native of Vermont, and her father of Connecticut. The latter died when the daughter was quite young, and her mother was subsequently married a second time. The family removed to Michigan in 1842. Mr. and Mrs. Hall became the parents of five children, as follows: Daniel A., born Nov. 14, 1844; Jerusha D., born June 4, 1847; Charles O., born July 10, 1850; Alice I., born Dec. 22, 1857; Lydia L., born Aug. 21, 1859. Mr. Hall died Aug. 18, 1878, and his widow and their youngest daughter are residing on the eighty acres on sections 22 and 23 which he located, the other children being married and settled in homes of their own. Politically, Mr. Hall was originally a Whig, and later a Democrat. Upon the latter ticket he was elected to several important positions in his township - township clerk, supervisor, etc., - though he was not a seeker after official honors. Both himself and wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with which they united at the same time. Mr. Hall's advantages for obtaining an education were limited to the district schools of his youth. He was liberal in the support of schools and churches, and aided largely in erecting the church which is located upon his farm. The first funeral sermon preached in it was delivered at his burial. Mr. Hall was what may be termed a "mixed farmer," making no specialty in any department. ["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]
Hon. Frederick Hall*
* From "Representative Men of Michigan."
Hon. Frederick Hall was born in Shelburn, Chittenden Co., Vt., March 24, 1816. His father, Burgess Hall, was an associate judge and a member of the Legislature of Vermont. Mr. Hall was educated in the public schools of his native town. He was well drilled in all the elementary branches, but liked hunting and fishing better than study. In 1835 he went to Galena, Ill. While there his funds failed, and he crossed the Mississippi and spent the winter of 1835-36 in chopping cord-wood. He was variously occupied at different places until the fall and winter of 1836-37, when he was engaged in looking up government lands. In the fall of the latter year he was appointed deputy register at Lyons, Mich. In the spring of 1842 he became associated with John Ball, of Grand Rapids, and assisted him in selecting five hundred thousand acres of land granted by the United States to Michigan for internal improvements. In July, 1842, he engaged with Daniel Ball as clerk in a general mercantile business. The following February he was appointed deputy register, and was also made clerk for the receiving of public money. In 1844 he was elected register of deeds, and in 1845 was appointed receiver of public money, which position he held until 1849. From that time until 1853 he was engaged extensively in land speculation. In 1853 he was again appointed receiver of public money by President Pierce. In 1840 he was justice of the peace of Lyons township, Ionia Co. In 1849 he was elected to the Legislature. He was nominated for Congress on the Democratic ticket in 1864. In 1873 he was the first mayor of Ionia, and the following year was the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant-Governor. In 1876 he was one of the State electors. He was a director of the Ionia and Lansing Railroad until its consolidation with the Detroit, Lansing and Lake Michigan Railroad, and was president of the First National Bank for a number of years,-from its organization. Mr. Hall has been actively engaged as general land-operator for many years. He is the wealthiest man in Ionia County, and one of its most generous and public-spirited citizens. His political views and sentiments harmonize with those of the Democratic party. He took a prominent part in getting up a regiment during the late Rebellion. Mr. Hall became a member of the Masonic fraternity in December, 1849, and was exalted to Ionia Chapter, No. 14, in 1852. He is also a member of Ionia Commandery, No. 11, Knights Templar. He belongs to the council of Royal and Select Masters, and was knighted at Detroit Commandery, No. 1, in 1853. He became an Odd-Fellow in 1875. He has held the offices of High Priest in Chapter No. 14, Commander of Ionia Commandery, and Chief Patriarch of Ionia Encampment. Mr. Hall has always been intimately identified with the educational and public interests of Ionia. He is a liberal supporter of churches and schools, and contributes to the building of railroads. His rare business qualifications have gained for him universal respect, and his unvarying courtesy and hearty sociability win the love of those fortunate enough to be thrown into intimate relations with him. In person he is tall, of graceful bearing, and prepossessing appearance. His residence on Main Street, Ionia,-one of the most elegant in Western Michigan,-is built entirely of the variegated sandstone obtained from the Ionia quarries. Mr. Hall was married Jan. 8, 1848, to Ann Eager. They have one child, a daughter. [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]
Benjamin Harter, son of Michael Harter, was born in Herkimer Co., N. Y., April 18, 1813. His father was a native of the same county, in which eight brothers who bore the name of Harter had settled at an early date. The family came from Germany. Michael Harter was a farmer. His wife, Abigail Harter, was a native of the same county. Benjamin Harter was the third in a family of thirteen children, and assisted on the home-farm until he was sixteen years of age, attending the common schools in the vicinity. At the age of sixteen he entered as clerk in a Utica grocery, and after a short time went to Little Falls, where he was employed as a clerk for eight years, attending select school during a portion of the same time. His wages were given to his father until he was twenty-one. In 1839 he came to Michigan and located upon one hundred and sixty acres of unimproved land in Ionia County, four miles from Ionia. At that time he states that the county contained but two or three stores. Aug. 9, 1841, he was married to Miss Sarah Yates, of Ionia, who was born in Skaneateles, Onondaga Co., N. Y., May 26, 1823. In 1845, Mr. Harter moved to Ionia village, and was employed for two years as a clerk by James M. Kidd. At the expiration of that time he established a drygoods-house, and continued in business from 1847 until 1867. During that period he served his township one year as supervisor, and was for several years a village trustee. In 1867 he retired from business, and since then has lived most of the time a quiet life, although engaging to a small extent in farming. His residence is in a very pleasant location on the heights in Ionia City. He has ever known good health, and has been an active worker. Of his four children two are now living,-Mrs. L. B. Avery, of Ionia, and Mrs. U. B. Rogers, of Detroit. Politically, Mr. Harter is a staunch Republican. For twenty-one years he has been connected with the Christian Church, and his wife is a member of the Baptist Church. Mrs. Harter's parents, Samuel H. and Hannah (Lockwood) Yates, settled in Ionia County in 1835. Mr. Harter has always been identified with the best interests of Ionia, and the brick block of stores known as "Harter's Block" was built by him. He has liberally aided churches, railroads, etc., and for about eighteen years, or since its organization, has been a director in the First National Bank of Ionia. [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]
N. B. Haynes.
The father of this gentleman, Hector Hayes, was born in Prattsburg, N. Y., in 1804, and was a farmer by occupation. His wife, Lucinda (Warren) Hayes, was born in Connecticut in 1806. Hector Hayes removed to Ontario Co., N. Y., when a young man, and was there married. In 1836 he removed with his wife and two sons (George and Bradford) to Michigan, and settled in North Plains, Ionia Co., in a region covered mostly with burr-oak. But one other family was then in the township, and had settled at the same time with Mr. Hayes. The nearest grist-mill was at Marshall, Calhoun Co. Wheat was ground for immediate use in a coffee-mill, and "bolted" through a common sieve. The family realized in their experience the broadest meaning of the word "pioneering." The sons remained at home, attending to matters on the farm and spending a portion of their time at school in winter. N. B. Hayes ("Brad") began attending Olivet Institute when twenty years of age, remaining two years. He subsequently rented his father's farm for two years, and taught school during five winters. At the age of twenty-four he purchased eighty acres of land, and commenced improving it. When twenty-nine years old he was married to Miss Mary A. Olmsted, of North Plains. Her parents, Jay and A ___ (Case) Olmsted [or Olmstead], were early settlers in the township, and came from Onondaga Co., N. Y.
N. B. Hayes was chosen president of the First National Bank of Muir at its organization, filling that office two years. He was for two years president of the Ionia Co-operative Mutual Benefit Association, and held the position of president or director of the Grand Rapids and Muir Log-running Association during its existence - about seven years. With the exception of one year, he has been a trustee in his school district since he was twenty-one years of age. In 1876 he was elected by the Republicans to the Legislature, running one hundred votes ahead of his ticket in his township, and three hundred in the district. While in the Legislature he was a member of the committee to investigate the noted Rose-Douglas university case. Mr. Hayes is now the largest farmer in the county of Ionia, owning two hundred acres in the town of Lyons, fourteen hundred in North Plains, and about fifteen hundred acres of pine-land (cut and uncut) in Montcalm County. He carries over forty-six thousand dollars of insurance on his farm-buildings, etc. In 1862 he engaged in the lumbering business, which he has continued successfully to follow, manufacturing from one million to six million feet of lumber annually. His farm in North Plains is connected with his office in Muir by a Bell telephone, the distance being three and one-half miles. This was the second telephone erected in the county. Connections are also made with his bookkeeper's residence, the residence of Mr. Just, cashier of the bank, the bank, the railway depot, the residence of S. W. Webber in Lyons, and two stores in the same Tillage. Mr. Hayes, whose parents are both living, is the father of four sons, who are all residing at home. He is the owner of the largest barn in Ionia County, it being one hundred and sixty-two feet in length, with a wing one hundred feet long, with twenty-three-feet posts. A cellar is constructed under a portion of the edifice, and one hundred head of cattle can be fed and sheltered at one time. The building cost seven thousand dollars. [Source: Portrait and Biographical of Ionia and Montcalm MI, Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891]
Alvason Hopkins is a native of the Empire State. Born in the county of Wayne in 1816, removed with his parents to Pittsford, in the adjoining county of Monroe, where his youth was spent, receiving as liberal an education as the common schools of the day afforded. When about eighteen he removed to Clarkson, on the western borders of the same county, and two years later, which was in June, 1836, turned his face towards the setting sun, settling in the Peninsula State, which he has ever since made his home, first locating at Adrian, where he remained until January of the following year, when he removed to Ionia County, settling in Portland township. Mr. Hopkins therefore belongs to the older class of Ionia's pioneers, and is one of the few who have witnessed its change from the wilderness with its forest and bramble to cultivated fields, and from the haunts of the red man to the home of the white. The general prosperity has been shared by Mr. Hopkins, and we find him to-day, forty-four years after he first landed in the county and located in the valley of Grand River for a permanent home, secure in the competency which industry and economy have well earned, and with his wife, formerly Miss Mary S. Kenyon, daughter of one of the pioneers of Ionia County, enjoying the results of their labors and the confidence and respect of their neighbors and fellow-citizens. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . .," by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
Decker B. Hoppough
Decker B. Hoppough was born in Frankfort, Sussex Co., N. J., Jan. 7, 1813.
When thirteen years of age his father, Peter Hoppough, moved to Ontario Co., N.Y., and settled at Canadice, where he died Jan. 3, 1844. The early life of Decker B. was spent upon his father's farm and working in his saw mill until he was twenty-one, when, with twenty-five cents in his pocket, he left home to seek his fortune. The first year he worked as a farm hand; after that rented a farm; was married, July 12, 1838, to Lydia Noble, daughter of Levi Noble, a farmer in Richmond, Ontario Co. The Noble family were early settlers in Massachusetts, and trace their genealogy to Thomas Noble, who emigrated from England in the sixteenth century. After Mr. Hoppough was married he continued to work a farm on shares for two or three years, when he bought a farm at Canadice, known as the freeman farm, where he lived until 1864, when he purchased the large farm where he now lives, situated on Flat River, in the southern part of Otisco. Mr. Hoppough is a man of strong common sense and great force of character; acts upon the Golden Rule; is one of the most substantial and independent farmers of Ionia County; has raised a family of ten children, five sons and five daughters several of whom are married and settled near their parents, except one who resides in New York State. Mrs. Hoppough united with the Methodist Church many years ago, and is at this time a consistent member and an exemplary woman. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
This gentleman was born July 11, 1823, on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake, in the State of New York. His parents were of German descent, and their circumstances were meagre. The boy became inured to a life of poverty, and at the age of eight years we find him working for his board among farmers, and attending school whenever opportunity presented. His mother gave him into the keeping of one Dr. Swett, with whom he remained until he was fifteen years of age, and then determined to try his fortunes in the West. Accordingly he walked to Buffalo, took passage on the "Constitution," and arrived at Detroit, after a perilous trip, in the last of November, 1838, with fifty cents in his pocket. Starting to reach friends in Ionia, he stopped for a week ten miles west of Detroit, and then proceeded on his way through a country at the best but thinly populated, and often through an almost trackless wilderness. For about three years he worked in the employ of his stepfather, Ezra Winslow, then a resident of this county (Ionia), then at various occupations until the spring of 1845, when he purchased forty acres of land in Easton township, on section 4. He had learned the trade of a mason, and about the last-named date returned to New York, worked at his trade, and attended school for three years. He finally returned to Michigan, bought forty acres of land adjoining his first purchase, cleared five acres, erected a small cabin, and on the 5th of May, 1849, married Harriet J. Abbott, daughter of Gilbert and Charlotte Abbott, of Saranac. In 1859 he journeyed to California via New York, returning in 1860. In 1862 he became indebted for a purchase of eighty-eight and a half acres of land, included in his present home. About ten acres only were cleared, all other improvements and changes having been made since, and he is now enjoying life in a beautiful home. His wife died July 27, 1876, leaving five children - viz., Orvis, born May 25, 1850; Ellen, born Aug. 5, 1852, married Dr. Wilson, of Branchport, N. Y.; Warren, born April 25, 1854, now a resident of Medina Co., Ohio; Numie, born March 12, 1856, now Mrs. Byron Weeden, of Berlin township; Burt, born Dec. 5, 1868. Mr. Hosford and his wife were both members of the Disciples' Church, which they assisted in organizing. The parents of the present Mrs. Hosford were natives of New Jersey, and were named Samuel and Sally Vandoran. The daughter, Anna E., was born in Kalamazoo Co., Mich., Sept. 11, 1837, where her parents were early settlers. When she was nine years of age they returned to New York (Yates County). In 1876 Anna came to Palo, Ionia Co., Mich., on a visit to a brother, and there met Mr. Hosford, to whom she was married Oct. 14, 1876. She had previously been twice married - first to Edwin Besemer, of Port Byron, N. Y., and second to Marvin Harris, of Dresden, N. Y. She is a most estimable lady, and is in possession of the sincere regard of those who know her. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . .," by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by GT Trans. Team]
Philander R. Howe
Maj. Philander R. Howe was born in Norwich, Chenango Co., N. Y., Jan. 29, 1812. His father, Capt. Orin Howe, was a native of Connecticut, where he was born in 1784; he was a farmer, and in 1802 removed to Chenango County. Here he met his destiny in the person of Miss Jane Mead, whom he married. She was the daughter of John Mead, one of the prominent citizens of that county. Capt. Howe resided in Chenango until 1824, when, by reason of reverses in business, he decided to try his fortunes in the wilds of Michigan. He came to Washtenaw County and purchased a farm in the township of Lodi. He returned East, and the following spring came back and built a log house and made some minor improvements. Michigan was at this time an almost unbroken wilderness, and Capt. Howe's purchase was upon the verge of civilization, there being only one settler west. He returned to the State of New York, and the following May returned with his family, which consisted of his wife and six children - Betsy, Philander R., Polly Harlow, Sarah, Edwin, and Jane. Capt. Howe was a man of more than ordinary ability, and he at once took a prominent and leading position in the affairs of the county. He was for years a prominent member of the Legislature; he was a member of the first Constitutional Convention, and was conspicuous in military matters. He died in February, 1848. Philander R. received such advantages for education as were afforded by the district schools of that day; he studied surveying, and was also engaged as a teacher. In 1833 the Black Hawk war broke out, and Maj. Howe enlisted. He received a minor position in the regiment, but, as he evidenced much military acumen, he received a commission as major from Governor Mason. In the spring of 1835 he went to Wisconsin, where he was engaged as a surveyor. He remained, however, but a short time, and returned to Washtenaw County, and for some time was engaged in the location and purchase of lands; he located and purchased in different portions of the State over twelve thousand acres. In 1845 he was appointed marshal of the county for the purpose of taking the census. This work he conducted successfully, doing the work himself, with the exception of three townships. In 1835 he purchased the farm where he now resides; he did not make a permanent settlement, however, until 1847. In the spring of that year he was married to Miss Mary Lowry. She died in 1871. Maj. Howe has been prominently identified with Portland. In 1839 he was elected supervisor, which position he held for five terms. He has never sought political preferment, having a decided distaste for political life. He is emphatically a man of affairs, industrious, sagacious, and enterprising. He has accumulated a well-won competency, and is in every way worthy of the prominent position he holds among the representative men of the county. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . .," by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
Daniel Hoyt was born in the town and county of Windsor, State of Vermont, Dec. 3, 1811, and was the youngest in a family of seven children, - two sons and five daughters. His father, John Hoyt, was a native of Hopkinton, N.H., as was also his mother, Joanna (Tenney) Hoyt. When the son was but four years old his father moved with the family to Allegany Co., N.Y. At the age of seventeen Daniel Hoyt sought employment away from the home-farm, upon which he had until then remained. Oct. 22, 1834, he married Elsey Ann Handy, who was born in West Bloomfield, Ontario Co., N.Y., Oct. 9, 1816, and was the second in a family of seven children. Her father, Russell Handy, was a native of Connecticut, while her mother, Eunice Houghton Handy, was born in Vermont. After his marriage Mr. Hoyt purchased a small place of seventeen acres of land, but sold out in 1838 and removed by team to Michigan. He purchased, in 1839, eighty acres of the farm upon which he now resides, and built a shanty upon it the same fall. During the next year he erected a log house. He is now the owner of one hundred and seventeen acres of land, and is in good circumstances.
To Mr. and Mrs. Hoyt have been born ten children, as follows: Lucy Maria, Aug. 4, 1835; Almira Eunice, June 9, 1837; Dwight Handy, Jan. 29, 1839, died Oct 7, 1854; Maryetta Eliza, Nov. 9, 1842; John Russell, Feb. 18, 1843, died Jan. 31, 1865, in the rebel prison at Florence, S.C.; Sylvia Susan, Oct. 16, 1847; Quincy Daniel, June 11, 1852; Edna Elsie, July 23, 1854, died Sept. 3,1854; Edgar, July 23, 1854, died Aug. 20, 1854; George Handy, March 31, 1859.
Politically, Mr. Hoyt is a Republican, and his views are liberal upon religious matters, although he respects the opinions of others. He has been very successful in life, as is esteemed for his worth as a man and a friend. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . .," by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
The gentleman above named was born in Ontario Co., N. Y., Dec. 11, 1821, and was the second in a family of six children. His father, William Hunt, was born in Pittstown, N. Y. His mother, whose maiden-name was Mary Shadock, was also a native of the latter State, in which she was married to Mr. Hunt, Sr., who, in his younger days, was engaged in the hatter's business, which he continued until some years after his arrival in Michigan. He settled at Ann Arbor, Washtenaw Co., in 1825, and remained there five years, when he changed his place of residence to Lyons township, Ionia Co. For about three years he was engaged in trading with the Indians, and did not move his family to Ionia County until the spring of 1834. He kept "public-house" for two years in Lyons, and was a well-known pioneer. His "tavern'' was one of the earliest in the county. During the latter part of his life he engaged in farming. His death occurred in the spring of 1859, and that of his wife in 1863. Abram Hunt, who was thirteen years of age when the family removed to Ionia County, became accustomed to the toil which sons of pioneers necessarily underwent, and inured to all the hardships of a life on the frontier. His advantages for obtaining an education were very limited, but the common schools of the vicinity found him in attendance during the winters, ready to learn all that was possible under the circumstances. He assisted at home until he was twenty-two years of age, when he journeyed west to Iowa, and remained in that State two years. Returning to Michigan, he purchased eighty acres of land on section 6 in Portland township, Ionia Co., which he occupied about seven years and largely improved. Disposing of that place, he purchased his present home in the township of Orange. In August, 1852, he married Miss Frances A. Hoyt, a native of New York, who came with her people to Michigan in 1837. One son and daughter were born to them, the daughter dying in infancy and the son at the age of twenty-six years. The mother herself died in May, 1861, and after her death Mr. Hunt enlisted in the Ninth Michigan Infantry, and served one year. Jan. 14, 1864, he was married to Mrs. Mary Jane Bugbee, who was born in Seneca Co., N. Y., July 28, 1830, and has the second in a family of five children. When she was but two years of age her parents removed to Ohio, in which State they continued to reside until their death - that of her father occurring Aug. 30, 1860, and that of her mother in July, 1870. Mrs. Hunt's parents were born in New York - her father, Lewis Green, in 1803, and her mother in 1800. The daughter was married to Mr. Bugbee in Seneca Co., Ohio, Dec. 11, 1853, and bore him three sons, who are all living. Mr. and Mrs. Bugbee came to Michigan in 1854, and settled in Portland township, Ionia Co., where Mr. Bugbee died Oct. 19, 1854. His widow, since becoming the wife of Mr. Hunt, has borne him one son, Frank A. Hunt, whose birth occurred March 5, 1872. When Mr. Hunt purchased the farm of eighty acres which he now occupies, it was covered with a heavy growth of beech and maple timber. He has cleared it up and made excellent and substantial improvements. In politics, Mr. Hunt is a Democrat, but his farm occupies his attention to such an extent that he does not feel inclined to look for nor wish for office. Religiously, his views are liberal. ["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]
Ormond Freemont Hunt
Lawyer; born, Saranac, Mich., (Ionia Co) Sept. 4, 1856; son of Herman and Elizabeth (English) Hunt; A.B., University of Michigan, 1881; LL.B., Law Department, University of Michigan, 1882; married at Detroit, June 14, 1899, Caroline Bloom. Began practice of law at Detroit, 1883, as member of firm of Griffing, Warner & Hunt, continuing until 1893l assistant prosecuting attorney, 1893-1901; prosecuting attorney Wayne County six years, 1901-07. Republican. Member Beta Theta Pi college fraternity, Detroit Board of Commerce. Mason (32*); member Detroit Commandery No. 1 and Moslem Temple, Mystic Shrine. Club: Detroit. Recreations: Books and outdoor sports. Office: 816-817 Hammond Bldg. Residence: 90 E. Canfield Av. [Source: The Book of Detroiters by Albert Nelson Marquis 1908]
Ormond Freemont Hunt
Ormond F. Hunt, whose death occurred at Santa Monica, California, April 26, 1939, was for sixteen years prior to his retirement in 1935 connected with the courts of Wayne County, Michigan as prosecuting attorney and judge. He was forced to retire form the bench on account of ill health and had made his home in California from the time of his retirement until death. Judge Hunt was born in Saranac, Michigan, September 4, 1856, a son of Herman and Elizabeth (English) Hunt. He attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where in 1881 he received his Bachelor of Arts degree and was graduated from the law college of the University in 1882. He began in practice of law in Detroit and for ten years was a member of the firm Griffin, Warner & Hunt. In 1893 he was made assistant prosecuting attorney, continuing in that office for four terms, under Allen H. Frazer, and upon Mr. Frazer's retirement in 1901 Judge Hunt was elected prosecuting attorney and served three terms. During his terms as prosecutor he was successful in many noted cases, the first to win him recognition having been that of Frank C. Andrews, police commissioner and banker. Judge Hunt believed that all public officials should be honest and therefore relentlessly prosecuted any evidence of graft found existing within his jurisdiction. He was also firm in his belief that laws should be upheld, and in that belief vigorously prosecuted and eventually was successful in stopping the betting at the Michigan State Fair Association horse races in 1905. It is generally believed this was the principal cause of his defeat when he sought a fourth term as prosecuting attorney. He then retired to private practice and was also connected with the teaching staff at the Detroit College of Law. Judge Hunt was a successful candidate for one of the four judgeships created by an act of the State Legislature in 1917, and on January 1, 1919, was sworn in as judge of the Wayne County Circuit Court. His career both as a prosecutor and jurist was notable for his successful manner of handling all matters pertaining to the upholding of the law. On the bench his decisions were always rendered fearlessly and in strict accordance with his interpretation of the right. In his political affiliations Judge Hunt was a Republican. He held membership in the Detroit Club, Lochmoor Club, the Detroit Bar Association, Beta Theta Pi Fraternity and the Knights Templar. He married Miss Caroline E. Blom, of Detroit, on June 14, 1899. His widow and one daughter, Mrs. George W. Willette, of Los Angeles California, survive him. [Source: Michigan A Centennial History Of The State And Its People Edited by George N. Fuller, The Lewis Publishing Company: Chicago 1939 Page 23]
Frank W. Hutchings
Secretary National Founders' Association; born, Belle Plaine, Ia., July 27, 1873; son of Gideon and Mary Augusta (Dresser) Hutchings; educated in public schools and at Columbian and Georgetown universities, graduating from the latter, with degrees of LL.B an LL.M; married at Lyons, Mich., (Ionia Co) Oct. 6, 1897, Eve Manning. After graduation from university, was private secretary for Hon. Richard C. McCormick, of New York, and later assoricated with the offical stenographers of the House of Representatives, Washington; accepted position at Congressional Library Building and Grounds, subsequently being appointed chief clerk; removed to Detroit, July 1902, and has since acted as secretary National Founders' Association. Republican. Member Detroit Board Commerce. Club Detroit. Recreations: Tennis and automobiling. Office: 915 Hammond Bldg. Residence: Hotel Plaza. [Source: The Book of Detroiters by Albert Nelson Marquis 1908 by Albert Nelson Marquis]
Edmund Ingalls was born in Hartford, Washington co., N.Y., Dec. 25, 1802. When nine years of age his father moved to what was known as Gouverneur Morris' tract of land, and here in the wilderness his mother died, leaving three children at home, of whom Edmund was the eldest. He had an elder brother who was married and lived some distance from his father, with whom Edmund went to live until he was twenty-one, when he was given one hundred dollars and a suit of clothes, and he started out to seek his fortune. We will pass over his struggles with the world in his various capacities as saw mill man and farm hand until he was twenty-five years of age, when he bought a small farm of forty acres for himself, and was married Feb. 7, 1828, to Sarah Dixon, formerly from Roxbury, Litchfield Co., Conn., where she was born Jan. 22, 1810. Her mother died when she was six years old. Her father took her to live with her uncler in Washington County, where she remained until she was married. Her father was a seafaring man, and left New York on a sail vessel, September, 1818, and was never heard from more. Soon after Mr. Ingalls was married he traded his land for a larger tract in Allegany Co., N. Y., and removed there, and lived in a shanty without window or chimney, only a hole through the roof for the escape of the smoke. But, although he worked very hard, he suffered great hardships, for his land was too poor to afford a living, so he determined to go West. After several ineffectual attempts, being deterred by sickness, he started for Illinois, got as far as Ohio, where he stopped to work a while. Here he found parties going to Illinois, who took him along. On their way back they came through Southern Michigan, and hearing much praise of Ionia County, came and located one hundred and sixty acres of land in the eastern part of the town. Returning for his family (whom he had left in the southern part of the State), he brought them to Otisco, June, 1844, and pre-empted eighty acres of land, where he now lives. Their first few weeks were spent in Caswell's barn, while a log house was being built. This was of the most primitive kind, even to a blanket for a door. That fall he put in less than an acre of wheat, from which he threshed twelve bushels, and made bread from wheat of his own raising. The first few years upon their new farm their trials were severe. Mrs. Ingalls, being a true helpmeet, had a loom made and took in weaving, which aided her husband and furnished many comfort to the family. At first their progress was slow, but by industry and economy they have secured a competence which insures the downhill of life less rugged than the uphill was. Six children have been born to them; two died in infancy. John P. was a soldier in the war of the Rebellion, and died in a hospital at Bowling Green, Ky., March, 1863; Frank D. is a farmer in Otisco; Susan C. married Gains Northway, a farmer in Missouri; Diana M. married Amasa L. Hull, a farmer in Oakfield, Kent Co.
Mr. Ingalls and his wife united with the Baptist Church in Washington co., N.Y., soon after they were married. On coming to Otisco they joined the church at Cook's Corners, where they have since been consistent and worthy members. Mr. Ingalls was formerly a Whig, but upon the formation of the Republican party identified himself with that organization. Although he has nearly reached his fourscore years, he reads the papers and is well posted on the political questions of the day. And now, after a married life of more than half a century, this pioneer couple are in good health and cheerful spirits, as they look back over the joys and sorrows of an industrious life. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Erastus S. Jenks
Erastus S. Jenks was born in Cheshire, Berkshire Co., Mass., July 6, 1814, where the Jenks family were numerous and influential people. At an early day they came from Rhode Island, and trace their origin to England. Erastus S. Jenks was raised on the fam which his grandfather, Jesse Jenks, cleared up when twenty-one years fo age he left the old farm to seek a home for himself. For a few years he worked as a farm hand. Feb. 22, 1838, he was married to Ailes Dean, daughter of David Dean, of Adams, Mass. They were one of the oldest and most respected families in that part of the country. For a few years after Mr. Jenks was married he worked land on shares until the spring of 1844. When several families were starting for the then remote frontier of Michigan, Mr. Jenks, thinking the chances for getting a farm of his own were better in a new country, joined the expedition. The journey wa slow and tiresome, especially for Mrs. Jenks, with her three small children, the youngest only six weeks old. From Detroit they came by ox team, and took a longer time than would be required now to cross the continent. During this long journey the expense account kept running, and when the young pioneer counted his money on arriving in Otisco, he found the amount ten dollars short of paying for the sixty acres of government land he had selected. A neighbor lent him the amount which enabled him to pay for the sixty acres where he now lives. With neither team nor cow, the outlook work a grave aspect. For the necessaries of life he went out to work, and at intervals of spare time worked on his land. The following summer a small, low shanty was built, a small clearing made, and so on, year by year, the improvements were made, other lands added, until he now has one hundred and sixty acres. The small clearing has expanded to broad and fertile fields. The cabin did good service for a few years when a more comfortable house was built, and this has been succeeded by a substantial modern house, with such surroundings as indicate the thrifty farmer.
Mrs. Jenks died February, 1873, in her fifty-fifth year, leaving a family of nine children, -- six sons and three daughters, -- all now living: Dallas E., born Aug. 6. 1839; Albert, Dec. 22, 1840; Hiram, March 19, 1844; Cornelia, May 27, 1846; Mary Ann, Jan. 19, 1848; Perry E., Nov. 19, 1852; Jettory, Jan 5, 1854; Ambrose Oct. 4, 1855; Elmer E., Nov. 3, 1862.
Mr. Jenks and his wife were members of the Christian Church at the East, and took an active part in the organization of the church at Belding, contributing liberally to the erection and support of that church. He is now and has been for some years deacon and trustee of the church, also trustee of the State board of conference. After a long and industrious life this worthy pioneer finds himself in the enjoyment of good health and abundance of this world's goods, surrounded by a large and loving family, who have not disregarded a father's example of temperance and high morals. Three of the sons were in the army during the war of the Rebellion. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Josiah E. Just
Josiah E. Just was born on the 20th of December, 1847, on the farm still owned and occupied by his parents in the township of Otisco, Ionia Co. His parents were James and Jane (McClure) Just. He attended the common school until he was twelve years old, after that attending the common school winters and working on his father's farm summers until he was eighteen, when he obtained employment as clerk in the First National Bank of Lowell. The confinement becoming irksome, he at the expiration of three months returned to his farm-work. After remaining one summer, he went to Chicago and became clerk in a store, where he remained only one month and again returned home. Soon after, in January, 1870, he was employed in the banking-house of S. W. Webber & Co. at Muir, where he remained about three years. At the end of that time he was elected cashier of the National Bank of Lyons, in which Mr. S. W. Webber was a large stockholder. He held this position until the bank was removed to Ionia. He was then elected cashier of the First National Bank at Muir. In 1878 this bank was succeeded by the banking firm of Webber, Just & Co., Mr. Just being continued as cashier, which position he still occupies. Mr. Just is Republican in politics, outspoken in his opinions, and renders enthusiastic support to his party; has held the position of president of the village of Muir, and is now member of the board of trustees. In the last election he was elected treasurer of Ionia County by a majority of six hundred and twenty-five, which, on account of a fusion ticket in opposition, was a large majority. He belongs to the Knights of Pythias, and is now Past Chancellor. He was married, July 29, 1875, to Ella V. Fox, daughter of Mathew H. Fox, of Muir. [Source: Portrait and Biographical of Ionia and Montcalm MI, Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891]
Oliver S. Kimball
Oliver S. Kimball, of New England parentage, and the eldest in a family of ten children, was born at Russell, St. Lawrence Co., March 10, 1812. His father, Stephen Kimball, was born in New Hampshire in 1785, and his mother, Mercy Styles Kimball, first saw the light in Massachusetts in 1784. In 1831, when Oliver Kimball was nineteen years of age, he came with his father to Calhoun Co., Mich., which then contained but one house, and in that they lived for a time. Oliver remained with his father until he was twenty-one, doing the earliest pioneer work in the county of Calhoun; but he soon purchased a farm of his own, and conducted its affairs until 1839, when he sold it and purchased four hundred acres in Lyons township, Ionia Co., which was then but thinly settled and contained very few houses. Returning to Calhoun County, he remained there until 1849, when he settled finally in Lyons. He was married, Oct, 29, 1848, to Mrs. Rebecca Ann Wright, widow of Samuel L. Wright, of Washington Co., N. Y. She was born in West Haven, Rutland Co., Vt., in 1814, and by her first husband had three children. By Mr. Kimball she had two - viz.: William H. and Helen M. Kimball. As the result of an accident, Mr. Kimball's death occurred on the 6th of March, 1880. His widow, who survives him, occupies the finely-improved farm which he left, and is an energetic, hard-working woman. Mr. Kimball was in politics a Democrat, but was too much occupied with other work to trouble himself much with political matters. He was once elected township treasurer, and was among the most influential and respected members of the community in which he resided. [Source: Portrait and Biographical of Ionia and Montcalm MI, Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891]
Stephen H. Kimball
This gentleman - the son of Stephen Kimball, who was born in New Hampshire in 1785 and died in 1872 - was born in St. Lawrence Co., N. Y., Feb. 2, 1827. His mother, Mercy Styles Kimball, was born in Massachusetts in 1784, and became the mother of ten children, of whom Stephen H. was the youngest. Stephen Kimball, Sr., served in the war of 1812, and moved with his family to Calhoun Co., Mich., in 1831. When Stephen H. Kimball was nineteen years of age his mother died, and a year afterwards he commenced work for himself, being employed by the month. In the fall of 1852 he went to California and remained for two years in the mines, making money enough to afford him a start in life. Before leaving for the new "El Dorado" he had purchased one hundred and sixty acres of unimproved land in Lyons township, Ionia Co., and on his return he purchased one hundred acres in addition. When he was thirty-two years of age he married Mary Jane Wright, of Lyons, the daughter of Samuel and Rebecca Wright, who lived in Marshall, where they were among the early settlers. Mr. and Mrs. Kimball are the parents of eight children, all living but one, and at home. These are Henry L., Flora D., Minnie C., Emma Ann, Annie, Frankie, Heeler H., and one, between the first two named, who died. Mr. Kimball at present owns two hundred and eighty acres of land, mostly improved, and a house which ranks among the finest farm-dwellings in the State. In politics he is a Democrat, but has never cared to hold office. He is an esteemed and honorable citizen, a man of fine personal appearance, and an honor, to the town in which he lives. [Source: Portrait and Biographical of Ionia and Montcalm MI, Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891]
In tracing out the early surroundings of some of our best representative men we often find that chilling adversity companioned their youth and that hard labor filled their early years.
These reflections have arisen from hearing the reminiscences of one of our most esteembed citizens, James Moon, a man whose name is associated with the earlies settlement of the town of Otisco, and who by his own exertions has risen to the position of one of the substantial men of the town. He was born in Antwerp, Jefferson co., N. Y., Jan. 16, 1820. His father, James Moon, was a farmer in Jefferson City; moved to Herkimer county and Western New York, and came to Michigan in 1836; remained in Jackson County a few years, then came to Otisco and "squatted" on eighty acres of land, February, 1839. Subsequently bought the land, bult a comfortable home, where he died, leaving a large family of children, of whom James the subject of this sketch, was the oldest son. He remained at home until he was twenty-one. Soon after that he pre-empted eighty acres of land in Otisco, upon which he had a small improvement. Being entirely without means, progress was slow. By his firm resolution and strong arm he kept steadily on, determined to have a home. Jan. 17, 1847, he was married to Lydia M. Russell, formerly of Cortland Co., N.Y., where she was born Sept. 27, 1826. The year after they were married Mr. Moon built a small log house on his land, and commenced in earnest to improve his farm. Here this pioneer couple have diligently worked for more than thirty years. The original eighty acres of land have expanded to one of the largest and finest farms in the township, bringing its owner such returns as place him beyond the necessity of labor, and giving him the position of a substantial, representative man. As this pioneer couple look back to their small beginning they have the satisfaction of having acted well their parts, as they enjoyed their well-earned competency and the respect of all. Six children have been born to them, four of whom are now living, -- Adelbert L., Frank L., Dayton F., and Alton. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Hon. Allen B. Morse *
* From "Eminent Men of Michigan"
Hon. Allen B. Morse is the eldest of the nine children of the Hon. John L. and Susan A. (Cowles) Morse, and was born Jan. 7, 1839, in Otisco, Ionia Co., Mich. His father, now of Wright Co., Iowa, began to earn his own living at seventeen; he married at nineteen, and was one of the first settlers in Ionia County. While in Michigan he held various township offices; was judge of the Probate Court for twelve years, and a member of the State Legislature. In Iowa he has been county judge and county auditor, and is now a member of the Iowa Assembly. The education of Allen B. Morse was carried on mostly at home. He was an apt scholar, but loved sport too well to be a close student. He excelled in mathematics, English literature, and botany; the last is still his favorite study. He took a two years' course at the Agricultural College, taught a few months, and in the spring of 1860 commenced the study of law. In 1861 he enlisted as a private in the Sixteenth Regiment of Michigan Infantry. In December, 1863, he was transferred to the Twenty-first Regiment, and soon after the battle of Chickamauga assigned to duty as acting assistant adjutant-general on the staff of Col. F. T. Sherman, who commanded the First Brigade of Sheridan's division. While in this position he lost his arm at the storming of Mission Ridge. He was in the battles of Hanover Court-house, Gaines' Mill, Pope's battle of Manassas, Antietam, Chickamauga, and in numerous skirmishes. On severing his connection with his staff he received the following flattering testimonial:
"Headquarters First Brigade, Second Division, Fourth Army Corps,
Camp Laibold, East Tennessee, Feb. 9, 1864.
To whom it may Concern: The undersigned takes great pleasure in bearing testimony to the ability and bravery of Lieut. A. B. Morse, adjutant of the Twenty-first Michigan Infantry Volunteers. Lieut. Morse was, by my orders, detailed as acting assistant adjutant-general of my brigade, and was selected by me for this responsible position because of his peculiar fitness and ability to discharge the duties which would devolve upon him. Ever at the post of duty, either in the office or the field, he won the esteem and confidence of his superior officers, and the love and respect of his juniors. I respectfully recommend him to the consideration of his country and government for any position in the Invalid Corps which he may desire.
"F. T. SHERMAN, Colonel Eighty-eighth Illinois Infantry Volunteers, County Brigade.
First Lieut. A. B. Morse, Ionia, Mich.
Headquarters Second Division, Fourth Army Corps, Loudon, Tenn., Feb. 11, 1864.
I take great pleasure in approving the wishes and recommendations of Col. Sherman. "Lieut. Morse while in my division proved himself to be an able, efficient, and gallant officer, and was wounded while leading his men in the storming of Mission Ridge.
P. H. Sheridan, Major-General."
Lieut. Morse concluded his law studies on his return home, and has practiced since February, 1865, at Ionia. In 1866 he was elected prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. In 1874 he was the Democratic candidate for senator for his district, and was elected by a majority of two thousand two hundred and eleven in a strong Republican district. While in the Senate he was chairman of the military committee, and a member of the committee on State affairs and constitutional amendments. Mr. Morse is an enthusiastic lover of field sports; all his spare hours at the proper season are spent with rod and gun, or in the study of the flora of forest and field. He is of medium size and active temperament. As a boy he thought deeply and was well informed on political subjects. Taking the side of humanity and liberty, he early became a Union soldier, and showed a courage that proved him worthy to be one of the lifeguard of a great nation. On his return from the war, made victorious by the valor of soldiers like himself, and bearing its scars, a grateful people were swift to honor him with public position. His opinions are tenaciously held and fearlessly declared. He is an expert in his profession. Seizing the material points of a case, he examines and masters them, drawing conclusions that are rarely erroneous. In addressing a court, a jury, or a public meeting he is fluent, clear, and forcible. He has already an extensive practice. He is strong in his friendships and frank in his animosities. So decided are his convictions and characteristics that his presence is acknowledged wherever he moves. In Nov. 25, 1874, he married Frances Marian Van Allen, daughter of George W. Van Allen. They have two children, a son and daughter. In 1878 he ran for attorney-general of State on the Democratic ticket and was defeated, and in 1880 was a delegate from State of Michigan to the Democratic National Convention at Cincinnati. [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]
Lorand and Mrs. Mosher - Lucretia Mosher
Lorand J. Mosher, the third in a family of eight children, was born in Otsego Co., N. Y., Nov. 4, 1824. His father, William Mosher, and his mother, Samantha (Lawrence) Mosher, were natives of the same State, in which also they were married. William Mosher was a farmer and millwright. In June, 1830, he removed with his family to Michigan, and settled in Royal Oak township, Oakland Co. From there they removed to Clinton County in January, 1836, and in 1815 Lorand, with his father, removed to Ionia County, William Mosher living until his death (in June, 1849) with his son Lorand. Mrs. William Mosher died in August, 1855. Lorand J. Mosher's early life was spent similarly to that of other farmer boys, and work occupied more of his time than did attendance at school. He remained with his father until of age, and in 1846 purchased eighty acres of unimproved land in Ronald township, Ionia Co., Mich., which he began work upon at once. Nov. 12, 1848, he married Miss Lucretia Bovee, a resident of Ronald and a native of Ohio. Five children were born to them - viz., William M., born Jan. 18, 1850; Chloe M., born March 7, 1852, married Perry M. Little, died May 18, 1875; Alice S., born April 6, 1854; Harriet E., born Sept. 30, 1855, died June 16, 1880; George J., born March 14, 1868, died July 20, 1872. William M. Mosher resides on a portion of his father's farm, and Alice S. is now Mrs. Loomis, residing in Kansas. Mrs. Mosher died July 20, 1869, and on the 23d of March, 1870, Mr. Mosher married Miss Sarah E. Kellogg, who was born in Onondaga Co., N. Y., June 19, 1829, and was the youngest in a family of three children. Her father, Jonathan Kellogg, was a native of New York, and her mother of Vermont. They removed to Michigan in 1837, and settled in Oakland County, where her mother died Aug. 23, 1839, and her father in March, 1871. Mr. Mosher married his second wife in Wayne Co., Mich. He has always been engaged in farming. His present farm, containing two hundred and forty acres (purchased in December, 1849), has one hundred and sixty acres improved. With the exception of one year spent in Eaton County and three and a half years in Gratiot County (where he was postmaster of Alma post-office, appointed in January, 1858), his home has been in the township of Ronald since he made his purchase in it. When he has changed one farm or one purchase for another, it has been with a view of bettering his circumstances. He is a general farmer. Politically he is a Republican, and has held the position of highway commissioner. He was never an office-seeker, and always had business enough of his own to attend to. He is an active member of the order of Patrons of Husbandry, and both he and his wife are connected with the Disciples' Church. Mr. Mosher aids every way in his power to advance moral and educational interests in his locality. He is truly a self-made man, having commenced at the bottom round of the ladder and made his way upward by persevering industry and economy, and for his pains has a fine property and the esteem of those who know him. ["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]
M. V. Olmstead
M. V. Olmstead was born Aug. 4, 1816, in Burlington township, Chittenden Co., Vt., and was the ninth in a family of ten children. His father, Lewis Olmstead, was a farmer, and a native of Norwalk, Conn., and his mother, whose maiden-name was Hannah Hulbert, was also a native of Connecticut, in which State she and Mr. Olmstead, Sr., were married, soon afterwards removing to Vermont, where they passed the remainder of their lives. Mrs. Olmstead died in March, 1834, and Mr. Olmstead in December, 1842, and M. V. Olmstead is the only survivor of their children. In the summer when M. V. Olmstead was fifteen years of age he entered the employ of a farmer at monthly wages, and thus began life for himself. His time was spent on the farm summers, and in winter partly in the district schools, a portion of it also being spent in the occupation of wood chopping at the unremunerative wages of twenty-five cents per cord for four-feet wood, for the purpose of paying his board. In May of the year he was nineteen years of age (1835), he changed his abode to Lyons township, Ionia Co., Mich., where he found employment for two years with James Tabor. Until May, 1842, he engaged in various capacities, and worked land on shares. At the latter date he purchased one hundred and twenty-three acres of land in Lyons township. April 23, 1843, he was married to Miss Abigail McKelvey, who was born in Rochester, N. Y., April 6, 1820, and came, when small, with her parents to Oakland Co., Mich. In 1834 they removed to Ionia County. To Mr. and Mrs. Olmstead were born five children. Their new home was cleared and improved, and traded, in 1850, for the eighty acres Mr. Olmstead now owns. He is also the owner of one hundred and sixty acres one mile farther south. Mrs. Olmstead died March 23, 1855, since which time the children have attended to the household duties. One daughter and two sons remain at home. Mr. Olmstead, aside from conducting the affairs of his own farm, rents and works one hundred and sixty acres adjoining. In politics Mr. Olmstead was formerly a Whig and a "Free-Soiler," but upon the break-up of the parties he chose to accompany the Democrats. He is at present a Greenbacker, and has long been prominent in the political affairs of his township. He has represented it for a number of years upon the board of supervisors - six as a Democrat. He was the "war supervisor" of the township, and was the only Democrat on the board. For six years he held the position of commissioner of highways. His views upon religion are liberal. Mr. Olmstead is a descendant of patriotic stock, and has in his possession a powder-horn, over one hundred years old, which was carried by his grand-uncle, Ebenezer Gilbert, who lost his life during the struggle for independence. ["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]
Amon Otis is ex-County Treasurer of Ionia County. His farm is situated on section 9, of Berlin Township. He is a son of Amos Otis, a native of New York, who was born in 1820, and through life pursued the business of a farmer. He was a very early settler of Michigan, coming to this State with his parents when but nine years of age. The father of Amos Otis took up Government land in 1828, within six miles of the present city hall at Detroit. This land has been in the family ever since and is still owned by the father of our subject. Amos Otis' wife Phila (Harwood) Otis, was also a native of New York, being born there in 1822. They were married in Berlin Township, Ionia County, February 17, 1841, and then went back to the farm near Detroit where tbey have resided ever since. On February 17, 1891, they celebrated their golden wedding at the old homestead. The father of Mrs. Amos Otis came to this township in a very early day. She and her husband are the parents of twelve children, seven of whom are now living. They were formerly members of the Baptist Church but for some time have belonged to the Methodist Church in the affairs of which they take an active interest.
Asa H. Otis, the grandfather of our subject, was a member of the Michigan State Legislature in 1850, also of the Michigan State Constitutional Convention in 1835. For four years he was under- Sheriff at Detroit. He also for many years held the office of Supervisor and was Justice of the Peace in his township. During those early days and indeed throughout his life he was a prominent politician, being a Jackeonian Democrat and carrying great weight with the followers of his party. He came to Michigan a poor man and bought eighty acres of wild land. When he had purchased for home consumption, one barrel of pork, one barrel of flour and a jug of molasses, and had brought his family to the new home he had $5 left. At his death at the age of fifty-eight years, he owned five hundred acres of land near Detroit, three hundred and twenty acres at Grand Rapids, and a large tract in Lapeer County. He was in other ways besides that of farming a prominent business man, being a great trader, undertaking large transactions. He constructed the plank road from Plymouth to Detroit. Amon Otis was the eldest child of his parents, being born October 30, 1842, in the old homestead in Wayne County, Mich. He availed himself of the best education which could be obtained in the district schools of that region, until at seventeen years of age he went to the State Normal School at Ypsilanti, of which institution he was a member for two terms. He began teaching school at nineteen years of age in Ionia County, and for five winters the district schools of Berlin Township knew him as one of their most capable and earnest teachers. Except this experience in the schoolroom he has adhered to his business as a farmer. Our subject was married March 24, 1866, to Cynthia Harwood, a daughter of Isaac Harwood, of Berlin Township. This lady was born July 25, 1847, in Orleans Township, Ionia County. She had been prepared in the common schools for the profession of a teacher, and taught until her marriage. After this event our subject worked a farm upon the shares for two years until 1867, when he settled upon the farm which he now occupies. It comprised eighty acres of perfectly wild, raw land and heavy timber. At the same time that he was occupied in clearing off this land, breakiug and cultivating it, he worked the land of others upon shares. A log house made their home until fourteen years ago, when he built his present residence at a cost of $1,500. The barns, outbuildings and fences uiwn this farm have been put up by him. He carries on mixed farming, and has a fine orchard and small fruit in cultivation. This couple were the parents of five children. Their eldest daughter, Sarah P., has but a year more to complete a full course at the State Normal School. She is now teaching at Sand Beach, Huron County, Mich. Nora is a student at the Ionia High School. The third daughter, Myrtie, is deceased. The remaining children are Lee and Burt. Mr. Otis is a member of the Masonic order at Ionia, is also a Granger in which organization he has been for many years a Master and is so at present. His intelligence and ability cause him to stand well in the estimation of his neighbors. This 1ms been shown by his being placed for years upon the School Board, also by his election in 1870 to the office of Supervisor of Berlin Township in which office he served for three years, and was at another time returned to the same position. In 1874 he was elected County Treasurer. This office he held two years. He has also been Clerk of Berlin Township. His political convictions are with the Democratic party and he has always taken a lively interest in polities. [Source: Portrait and Biographical of Ionia and Montcalm MI, Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891]
William R. Pike
Born, Ionia, Mich., Oct. 22, 1868; son of William B. and Lucy (Findlater) Pike; educated in public schools of London, Ont., Can.; married at Greenville, Mich., 1905, Helen Neilsen. Began active career in wholesale hat business at London, Ont., later continuing in same business at Toronto, Ont.; came to Detroit, 1890, and traveled for Henry A. Newland & Co. until 1899, when he assisted in organizing the firm of G.H. Gates & Co., of which he is a partner. Independent Republican. Presbyterian. Member Oriental Lodge No. 240, A.F. & A.M., Loyal Guard. Recreation: Trout fishing. Office: 190-192 Jefferson Av. Residence: 94 Lincoln Av. [Source: The Book of Detroiters by Albert Nelson Marquis 1908]
Joseph P. Powell
Joseph Priestley Powell
Joseph Priestley Powell was born in Oneida Co., N. Y., Feb. 28, 1821, being the tenth in a family of thirteen children. His father, John L. Powell, who was born Jan. 1, 1780, at Lanesboro', Mass., was one of the pioneers to Trenton township in the county named. He was a student at Williams College, Massachusetts. In 1800 he married Miss Nancy Ann Peck, and removed to Oneida Co., N. Y., in 1804. His wife died in December of the same year, leaving him three children. In 1806 he married, for his second wife, Miss Margaret Hulburt, daughter of Hezekiah Hulburt, one of the four landlords of Holland Patent. Mr. Powell, after his second marriage, turned his attention to agriculture, and lived for sixty-five years on a farm about a mile east of the village of Holland Patent. His education and talents, united with a generous, noble nature, won him the entire confidence of the community in which he lived. He was a counselor and arbitrator whom the inhabitants of the new colony were wont to honor. He was an officer in the army in the war of 1812, and at the close of that conflict returned to his family and loved occupation - farming. He died of paralysis, June 25, 1871, aged ninety-one years. Mrs. Margaret Powell was very ill at the time of her husband's death, and survived him but a few days. Her decease occurred July 7, 1871, when she had reached the age of eighty-four years and ten months. Joseph P. Powell enjoyed the educational advantages afforded by an academy, and at the age of sixteen began teaching school winters, passing his summers at home on the farm. When he became of age he came to Michigan, and, while living with a sister, continued his occupation of teaching, being employed in that capacity for one year in Marengo township, Calhoun Co. Returning to New York he remained one year, after which he spent a year in Illinois, finally coming to Ronald township, Ionia Co., Mich., and purchasing and locating upon one hundred and sixty acres of land which form a part of his present farm of four hundred acres. He is the owner of an aggregate of about seven hundred acres, the larger portion of which is improved.
Nov. 11, 1846, he married Miss Ruth Goodwin, daughter of Chauncey and Sarah Goodwin. She was born in Steuben township, Oneida Co., N. Y., Sept. 14, 1831. Her father was a native of Connecticut, and her mother, whose maiden-name was Sarah Hubbard, was born at Middletown, in the same State. Mrs. Powell was the ninth in a family of eleven children. Her parents removed to Michigan in 1840, and settled on section 34 in the township of Ronald, Ionia Co. Her mother died Aug. 11, 1847, and her father April 3, 1864. To Mr. and Mrs. Powell have been born seven children, who are all living. They arc C. Frances, born Aug. 8, 1849; Henry W., born July 30, 1852; Mary C., born Nov. 29, 1854; Ella M., born May 16, 1857; Horace H., born March 24, 1859; Herman J., born Jan. 30, 1864; Herbert E., born April 27, 1866. For three years succeeding his marriage Mr. Powell engaged during the winters in teaching, and since then has devoted his time to the culture and improvement of his farm. In politics he is a Republican. He has always manifested much interest in school affairs, but has never aspired to political honors. His oldest daughter, Frances, is now Mrs. William E. Normington, residing in Ronald township. Mr. Powell and his wife have been members of the Baptist Church since 1858. Their oldest son, Henry, is a member of the senior class at Kalamazoo College, and is preparing himself for the Baptist ministry. A daughter, Mary, has been a student in the art department of Hillsdale College, and is now pursuing a course of select studies in that institution. ["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]
Aaron B. Pratt
Aaron B. Pratt, one of the pioneers of Ionia County, was born in the town of Newstead, Erie Co., N. Y., June 16, 1813. His father, Jacob Pratt, was a native of the eastern part of the State, and by occupation a carpenter and joiner, and an energetic and successful business man. He emigrated to Michigan in 1838, and settled in Bloomfield, Oakland Co. Here he remained two years, when he removed to Saranac, where he resided until his decease, which occurred in August, 1849. He was an exemplary man in all respects, a prominent member of the Methodist Church, and was highly esteemed for his kindly nature and manly virtues. Aaron acquired a good common-school education, and, being of a mechanical turn, learned the trade of a millwright. In 1837 he came to Michigan, and for three years worked at his trade in Oakland County; he then removed to the town of Lyons, Ionia Co., where he built the first mill within the present limits of the town. Mr. Pratt resided in Lyons twenty-six years, and identified himself largely with its development and material interests. In 1866 he came to Saranac, and after a residence of seven years removed to his farm in Keene, where he has since resided. In 1839, Mr. Pratt was married to Miss Pluma Fox. She was born in Niagara Co., N. Y., March 28, 1820, and came to Michigan in 1825 with her parents, who settled in Auburn, Oakland Co. They have eight children - Amanda, Walter E., Frank W., Lydia M., Dora C, Truman J., Mary A., and George C.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Pratt are prominent members of the Church of the Disciples, and are highly respected by all who know them for their real worth. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . ." by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; transcribed by Genealogy Trails Transcription Team]
Mr. and Mrs. George Pray
George Pray, M.D.
Ezek Pray, father of the doctor, was a farmer by occupation, and a native of Connecticut. His wife, whose maiden-name was Sallie A. Hammond, was born in Rhode Island, where she married Mr. Pray. A short time later they removed to Allegany Co., N. Y., and in 1825 came to Michigan, and were among the earliest settlers in the township of Superior, Washtenaw Co. In that township Mr. Pray purchased and improved a large farm, upon which he remained until his death, in 1856. His wife died in 1872.
George Pray, who was born Aug. 27, 1825, was but five weeks old when his parents arrived in Michigan, and his life up to the age of fourteen years was similar to that of all boys in a new country. When fourteen he entered the Ann Arbor Academy, and was prepared for the university, and in 1841, at the opening of that institution, entered its first class. He was graduated from the classical department in 1845. In 1846, after teaching a term of school, he commenced the study of medicine in the private medical school of Professors Sager, Douglass, and Gunn, and was graduated from the medical department of the Western Reserve College, at Cleveland, Ohio, in 1849. He located and began practice in Salem, Washtenaw Co., and in October 1856, came to Ronald township, Ionia Co., purchased a tract of land, and has since engaged in real-estate business in connection with his practice. He was the first physician to locate permanently in this township, and his memory recalls many long and hard rides in pursuit of his duty in the field of medicine. Thirty and forty miles per day were sometimes traversed, corn enough for his horse being taken along, while his own fare was such as could be obtained, often very meagre. He is at present located on a very fine farm of two hundred and ninety acres, and is the possessor of an aggregate of five hundred acres in the township. In 1863 he returned to Ann Arbor and engaged in practice, but after four years came back to his present residence. His business at Ann Arbor was very lucrative, but he preferred his country home, which he had seen changed from an unimproved tract to a most excellent and productive farm. July 4, 1849, at Ann Arbor, he married Miss Deidamia H. Pope, daughter of Willard and Barbara Pope, who was born in Pennsylvania, in November, 1828, and died at her home in Ronald, March 14, 1875. Her loss was mourned by all who knew her, and friends at Ann Arbor and elsewhere united in expressions of sympathy and regret with those nearer to her home. In 1846 she was graduated from the Misses Clark's school at Ann Arbor.
April 9, 1876, Dr. Pray married Miss Ellen Adele Cornstock, daughter of Jared V. and Mary Comstock. She was born in Montcalm Co., Mich., in February, 1858. One son, George Pray, has been born since this union, June 16, 1877. Dr. Pray has been a Republican in politics since the organization of the latter party, but was formerly a Democrat. He represented his district in the Legislature in 1879-80, was supervisor of his township for fourteen years, chairman of the board of supervisors of Ionia County for several years. In religion his views are liberal. His wife is a member of the Disciples' Church, as was also Mrs. Pray deceased. The doctor has also taken great interest in the grange movement, and, with the exception of the year spent in the Legislature, has been either Master or secretary of the Woodard Lake Grange since its organization. For four years he was Master of the Ionia County Grange. ["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]
Benjamin H. Preston
A position of prominence among the residents of Ronald Township is that which is accorded by generous consent to Mr. Preston, who has been interested in the welfare of this part of Ionia County since the year 1853. His interest in the county dates several years farther back, but at the time mentioned he located on a farm on section 32, and cast in his lot with the people of that locality to the fullest extent. He bought one hundred and sixty acres of land, upon which but thirty acres had been plowed. He now has a well-developed farm with suitable improvements and derives from it an income amply sufficient for his needs. Mr. Preston is the grandson of Benjamin Preston, a Revolutionary soldier, and the son of John A. Preston, who fought in the War of 1812. The latter was, born and reared in Vermont and adopted the trade of a stonemason as the work by which to gain a maintenance. He married Orilla Harris, a native of New York, and in the Empire State he made his home from that time. He died in Buffalo, but his widow breathed her last in this State, to which she afterward came with her children. The parental family included four daughters and two sons, one of whom died in early life, and one, Mrs. Orilla Hancock, in later years. The survivors are Mrs. Betsey R. Norton, whose home is in Eaton County, this State; Benjamin H., subject of this notice; Mis. Mary Ann Ford, living in Oakland County; and Clark A., whose home is in the city of Ionia. Our subject, who is the oldest son and second child, was born in Jefferson County, N. Y., September 12, 1820. He was thirteen years old when his father died, and he became the mainstay of his mother and the guide of his brothers and sisters. The year of his father's death be came West with his mother and located in Troy, Oakland County, this State. He learned the tailor's trade and followed it in that place until 1843. He then located in the city of Ionia and for about two years worked at his trade with E. S. Johnson, after which he engaged in business for himself. Ten years altogether were given to his handicraft in the county seat, and he then sold out his business and bought the farm to the cultivation of which he has since devoted his energies. In 1846 Mr. Preston was married to Miss Caroline E. Brooks, and to them have been born one daughter and three sons, named respectively: Frances A.; Howard C. and Benjamin H. (twins), and Harley. They also adopted a little girl - Maggie Brook, on whom they bestowed equal care with their own offspring. Mrs. Preston, who is the first-born in a family of ten children, is a native of Watertown, Jefferson County, N. Y., her natal day being October 7, 1824. She is now afflicted with paralysis, which makes it very difficult for her to talk, and prevents the use of one side of her body.
Mr. Preston is Vice-President of Ionia County Pioneer Society and been oue of its leading members for years. He was at one time Secretary of the organization. For four years he was Supervisor of Ronald Township and for twelve years Superintendent of the Poor, and he has also served as School Inspector and Justice of the Peace. He was at one time a member of the Grange and active in its work. It is twenty-six years since he was chosen an Elder in the Christian Church, and his qualifications for that responsible office are recognized by all who know him well. Mr. Preston has for thirty years kept a record of the weather and other incidents of the day and is able to compare the atmospheric phenomena of the passing time with that of bygone years whenever he wishes. He has learned many lessons about the weather by means of this practice and found pleasure also in the record. [Source: Portrait and Biographical of Ionia and Montcalm MI, Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891]
Andrew M. Ralston
This gentleman was born April 3, 1830, in Brook Co., Va., and was the fourth in a family of ten children, having two brothers and seven sisters. His parents, Daniel and Elizabeth (Parks) Ralston, were both natives of Virginia, and in 1834 removed to Holmes Co., Ohio. A few years later they removed to Seneca County, and sixteen years afterwards to Wyandotte County, where Daniel Ralston died in January, 1867. The latter's wife is still living in the same locality.
A. M. Ralston, at the age of twenty-one, began cutting wood on contract, and for two years he worked also at the carpenter's trade. In the spring of 1854 he came to Michigan, and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of government land. Dec. 30, 1855, he married Miss Ann A. Crapo, whose parents were early settlers. To them were given two children - namely, Gideon D., born May 2, 1859, and Florence A., born May 22, 1863. Mrs. Ralston died June 3, 1863, and after her death Mr. Ralston visited Ohio, remaining four years. Dec. 6, 1866, he married Catharine Spitler, who was born Nov. 26, 1835, in Fairfield Co., Ohio, and was the fourth in a family of eight children (two sons and six daughters). The fruits of this marriage have been three children - Charles M., born Feb. 23, 1867; Joseph G., born Aug. 15, 1868; Walter E., born June 24, 1871. In 1855, Mr. Ralston purchased the place upon which he has since continued to reside, with the exception of the four years spent in Ohio. His children were all born here except Charles, whose birth occurred in Wyandotte Co., Ohio. This place, when purchased by Mr. Ralston, had about twelve acres cleared, and a small log house had been erected upon it. It is at present finely improved, and a source of much pride to its owner. Mr. Ralston is a Republican in politics, and has held the most important offices in the gift of his townsmen. He is at present township treasurer. Both himself and his wife are members of 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 C. Reed
William Reed, father of the above, first saw the light of day on ground made memorable in the "long-ago," during the struggle of the colonies for independence. He was born in 1805, near the Bunker Hill battle-ground, in Massachusetts. At the age of twenty he shipped aboard a whaler, and led the life of a sailor a few years. On his return he visited his grandparents, residents of New York, and fell in company with Mr. David Beebe and family, who were preparing to come to Michigan; he came with them and located in Oakland County, where Sarah, one of the daughters of Beebe, taught two terms of school, but in the mean time Mr. Reed married her, she completing her school after marriage. In September, 1836, he removed to Berlin township, Ionia Co., and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 3. On the Sunday following his arrival, with the assistance of four men, he erected a log house on his place. He afterwards purchased two hundred and ten acres additional on section 10, upon which he erected substantial buildings. His death occurred in June, 1873, at the age of sixty-seven years eight months and three days. He was married three times, and his third wife survives him. He was the father of ten children - six by his first wife and four by his second. He was a man who was much respected. He was energetic and industrious, and from having funds barely sufficient to make his first purchase from government he accumulated a handsome property.
William C. Reed, the second in his father's family, was born Jan. 25, 1835. His youth was spent on the home farm, and he occasionally assisted in a mill owned by his father. Sept. 25, 1858, he married Samantha Shilton, daughter of Benjamin and Hannah Shilton, of Orange township, in which (on section 7) they were early settlers. The daughter was born in Raleigh township, Kent Co., Canada West; removed to Michigan, where they arrived April 1, 1819. In 1860, Mr. Reed purchased eighty acres of land on section 10 in Berlin, to which he removed with his wife, occupying a frame dwelling, fourteen by twenty, which he had erected. It was roughly constructed, but served a good purpose. Mrs. Reed died Jan. 3, 1872, leaving her husband and one child (the only survivor of four) to mourn her loss. He subsequently married Miss Mary A. West, daughter of William and Vina West, who was born March 27, 1845, in Kent Co. (township of Raleigh), Canada. Her parents had settled in Orange township, Ionia Co., in 1855, and are still residents thereof. In 1879, Mr. Reed replaced his first home with the finest brick residence in the township. He is the present owner of two hundred acres of land, finely improved, well stocked, and having a tenement-house and three large barns and other outbuildings. Mr. Reed and his first wife united with the Disciples' Church, and his present wife is a member of the Episcopal Church. To each of these ladies is given the great credit due to most excellent and exemplary wives. Mr. Reed's children now living are Clara Belle, by first marriage, born May 31, 1863; Jennie Bird Reed and Berton Lewe Reed, by second marriage, the former born Oct. 7, 1873, and the latter June 16, 1878. Mr. Reed is a man of liberal spirit, and is foremost in all enterprises in the interest of his town. He has contributed much towards religious and benevolent objects, and is highly esteemed for his many manly qualities. He is a member of the Masonic lodge, chapter, and council, and of Berlin Grange, Patrons of Husbandry. He has never sought notoriety in public life, and sickness, caused by heavy labor and exposure early and late, also a hurt, has resulted in weak eyes, which at times makes him nearly blind, the trouble being chronic granulated eyelids and iritis of corona, for which he has been treated at Ann Arbor University, and is now enabled to attend to business, though not able to read newspaper print. [Source: "History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan . . .," by John S. Schenck, Philadelphia, Pa., D. W. Ensign & Co., 1881; tr. by GT Trans. Team]
Charles A. Ranney
Charles A. Ranney, of Routt county, (CO) living in the neighborhood of Craig, is a younger brother of Frank B. Ranney, of the same neighborhood, a sketch of whom will be found on another page of this volume, in which the family history can be seen. Mr. Ranney was born on May 1, 1867, in Belding, Ionia county, Michigan, and there received a high-school education, the conditions in his case not opening to him the way to anything beyond in the line of schooling. He was, however, diligent and studious and acquired sufficient knowledge and had sufficient self-confidence and force of character to begin teaching school at the age of seventeen. He followed his important vocation six years in his native state, then came to Colorado in 1890 and taught school at Craig four years. From 1899 to 1903 he conducted a drug store at Craig, and in the year last named he traded the store for the ranch he now owns and manages located on Fortification creek, twenty-six miles north of Craig. It comprises two hundred acres, of which about three-fourths can be cultivated. Hay and cattle are the most important products on the place, but grain, vegetables and fruit are also raised in quantities. Mr. Ranney, although not an active partisan, is a loyal and firm Republican in political faith. He was married on May 1, 1902, to Miss Josephine Bassett, who was born in Arkansas but reared in Colorado . Mr. Ranney is a progressive man and has a voice of influence in the local affairs of the county, aiding always in the promotion of enterprises of value and helping to give the proper trend to public sentiment in reference to public improvements. (Source: Progressive Men of Western Colorado , Publ 1905. Transcribed by Kim Mohler)
Adam L. Roof
Hon. Adam L. Roof [from "Representative Men of Michigan" (sic)], of Lyons, Ionia Co., was born at Canajoharie, Montgomery Co., N. Y., Feb. 22, 1810. His grandfather, Johannes Roof, was a captain under Gen. Herkimer; his uncle, John Roof, was colonel under the same commander, and fought with courage in the battle of Oriskany, near Fort Stanwix [see Stone's "History of the Campaign of General Burgoyne and Colonel Barry St. Leger," pp. 166, 196, 197]. The maternal grandfather of Judge Roof, Philip Van Alstine, was an ardent patriot in the war of the Revolution. His father built Fort Van Rensselaer on the east bank of Canajoharie Creek, where it may still be seen, having been little injured by the ravages of time. He was a member of the State Legislature in 1798. In 1828, Judge Roof entered Williams College, where he remained two years. He then went to Hamilton College, from which he graduated in 1832. The following year he was appointed division quartermaster, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, on Maj.-Gen. Schemerhorn's staff, by Hon. William L. Marcy, then Governor of the State of New York. He was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the State of New York in August, 1836. In the same month he left his native residence, in company with his friend, A. F. Bell, to seek his fortune in the West. They reached the city of Monroe, Mich., and were advised to go to Ionia, where the general government had established a land-office, which was about to be opened for the sale of public lands. On the 28th of August they arrived at Jackson, then a village of about fifty inhabitants. Here they ascertained, much to their disappointment, that there were no roads leading to the interior, the land between there and Ionia, a distance of eighty miles, being an unbroken wilderness. They had a boat built, and on the morning of the 1st of September launched it at the junction of Portage and Grand Rivers and continued their journey. Three days after they camped on the west bank of Grand River, on section 16, where the city of Lansing now stands. After suffering many perils and hardships they reached Portland, which then contained in all four log houses. Here, after singing the Te Deum for their safe deliverance, they rested during the night. The next day they proceeded to Lyons, a little village of three log houses. This place was so inviting, its surroundings so beautiful, and its future prospects so encouraging that they concluded to make it their future home. They suffered, however, many privations of pioneer life, being at one time ten weeks without bread. During the fall of 1836, Michigan was made a State. The county of Ionia at that time contained about four hundred inhabitants, widely scattered over a large area, and little employment was to be had. Judge Roof and Mr. Bell spent the first two years of their residence in the county in laying out cities, making State roads and public highways, and in private surveys. In 1838 the county of Ionia was organized, and Judge Roof was elected the first register of deeds. In October of that year he married Clarissa, eldest daughter of John Knox. Mr. Knox was a distant relative of Henry Knox, a general in the Revolutionary war, and was a direct descendant of John Knox, the Scotch Reformer. In 1840, Mr. Roof was appointed prosecuting attorney by Governor Barry. In 1842 he was elected representative to the State Legislature by a large Democratic majority, although the district, which was composed of the counties of Kent, Ottawa, Ionia, and Clinton, had been for many years represented by the Whigs. As the farmers of the upper counties had no means of shipping their produce, they were desirous to obtain an appropriation of public land sufficient to construct a canal around Grand Rapids, which would enable them to obtain cheap transportation by the river and upper lakes. The people of the southern part of the State were working for the construction and extension of the Michigan Central Railroad, and, as they wanted all the public lands, vigorously opposed every effort to obtain grants elsewhere in the State. Through the influence of Judge Roof, however, they were defeated, and a large appropriation of land was obtained for the canal and the Northern Railroad. In 1848, Judge Roof was elected State senator against the combined opposition of the Free-Soil and Whig parties. The interest in politics ran high that year, and his election was hotly contested. In 1852 he was made judge of Probate for a term of four years. Entering upon the duties of his office, he found that the records of the court had not been fully kept, that the papers of the office were in a state of confusion, and that the cases were without proper forms and some without precedents. In a short time he reduced all to order; he remodeled the old forms and adopted new ones, all of which have since been ratified by his successors. In 1859, having been in poor health for many years, he retired from the practice of law and gave his attention to farming, which occupation he has since continued. During the late Rebellion he was a War Democrat; he made many speeches on the war, and inspired the people to such an extent that they contributed their money freely and no draft was found necessary in the township of Lyons. Judge Roof has always taken pleasure in stating the fact that every requisition of the general government upon Lyons was promptly filled by volunteers. Judge Roof is slightly under medium size, and is well formed. He has dark eyes, plentiful brown hair, a high forehead, and regular features ; his movements are deliberate and dignified; he has a good constitution, and his habits have always been regular. He is therefore, both in body and mind, a well-preserved man. He is a ripe scholar, possessing a classical taste. His language is unusually correct and chaste, and his reasoning logical. He is an excellent conversationalist. Clear in his statements, ready in illustrations, candid, and earnest, he is an eloquent and effective speaker. His counsel always commanded respect among the members of his profession, and but for his undue modesty he might have risen to marked distinction. As it was, during the period of his active practice he stood second to no lawyer in his county. He is the first and oldest lawyer who settled permanently in Ionia County, and is highly esteemed. The following persons, among others, studied law in his office, and from it were admitted to the bar: A. F. Bell, H. Bartow, J. Toan, J. C. Blanchard, and his son, A. K. Roof. As a public officer, Judge Roof was ever at his post, correct, and incorruptible. In business he has always been industrious and reliable, and now enjoys the results of his labor. He is a firm friend, whose advice and criticisms are of rare value. In every public enterprise he has taken a deep interest, while the causes of education, temperance, morality, and religion have received from him substantial aid. His opinions are formed after much thought, and adhered to accordingly. His success in life is but the natural outgrowth of integrity, industry, and economy, governed by intelligence - a combination of qualities well worthy of imitation. [Source: Portrait and Biographical of Ionia and Montcalm MI, Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891]
Chauncy J. Rumsey
This cognomen is well known in Ionia County and the region surrounding it, as that of a gentleman who has been crowned by fortune with abundant worldly means. He is one of the strongest capitalists in the county and has stock in various companies and land in several localities, with houses and lots in Muir and other towns. Every wish that reasonable man can have, he is able to gratify and every taste he is able to cultivate. He is a resident of Muir, adjoining which village he has a fine farm of two hundred and forty acres with good improvements, where he keeps about twenty-four head of Hambletonian horses. At Jackson he has a herd of about the same number, both being worthy the examination of all lovers of noble steeds. In raising these fine animals Mr. Rumsey has been interested for the past fifteen years. Our subject is the son of William H. and Elizabeth S. (Marvin) Rumsey; the former was born in Rutland County, Vt., in 1737, and the latter in Genesee County, N. Y., in 1801. The father was a farmer and merchant and for some years kept a hotel. They came to this State in 1856, and settled at Albion, Calhoun County, where they lived in retirement, enjoying the fruits of former labors. Mr. Rumsey died January 24, 1873, and Mrs. Rumsey in 1872. Roth were of English descent. They had two sons, but he of whom we write is the only one now living. His brother, William M. was born in 1839 and was a farmer and druggist; he died in Jackson County in 1883. The birthplace of Chauncy Rumsey was near Batavia. Genesee County, N. Y., and the date of the event February 4, 1844. Until twelve years old he attended school in his native county and afterward studied in Albion (Mich.) College. When eighteen years of age he left home to begin the battle of life for himself and his first position was at Jackson in the flouring mill of H. A. Haden & Co. He began his work there at $6 per week and during the last year received $1,500 for his services. He had worked for the firm from 1860 to 1869 and risen to the position of manager, and also kept the company's books. In the fall of 1860 Mr. Rumsey came to Muir and securing men and teams went North and cut lumber in the pineries of Montcalm County, whence it was rafted down Fish Creek and Maple River to the mill of Jeremiah Marvin - uncle of Mr. Rumsey - at Muir. After a year spent in working in the interest of that gentleman, Mr. Rumsey bought him out and carried on lumbering for himself until 1873, when he sold out to N. B. Hayes. Two years later he bought a steam mill on the same stream, now known as the J. J. Begole Mill and ran it until 1883, when he sold the machinery and turned his attention to farming, hee owned some seven hundred acres of land in Montcalm County, all covered with pine trees, and from that tract he cut timber, clearing the entire tract. The farm and timber lands of Mr. Rumsey amount to some two thousand acres located in several counties. He was one of the organizers of the Savings Bank established in Ionia in January, 1886, and is a stockholder and director; the same is true of the Electric Light Company, established in that city December 12, 1888. He was also instrumental in organizing the Capital Wagon Works of Ionia and has $10,000 invested therein and holds the office of President of the corporation. Mr. Rumsey is Trustee of Muir and has been for fifteen years. He is an affable gentleman, interested in the social orders and is a Royal Arch Mason. Politically he is a Democrat. [Source: Portrait and Biographical of Ionia and Montcalm MI, Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1891]
The ancestors of the gentleman above named were among the earliest settlers in that portion of the valley of the Connecticut embraced in what is now Franklin Co., Mass., and the family continued in that section for many years without emigrating, and became quite numerous.
Esteven Russell was born at Sunderland, Feb. 28, 1817. His father, Elihu Russell, had been twice married, and had nine children by his first wife and six by his second. Of the latter, Esteven was the third born. About the year 1818 the family emigrated to Monroe Co., N. Y., where its younger members grew to maturity. Esteven worked summers on the farm, and in the winter engaged in shoe- making with his father, until he was about nineteen years of age. With the aid of other members of the family, he conducted the affairs of the farm until about 1843, when he came to Odessa township, Ionia Co., Mich., and purchased forty acres of government land. In 1852, having procured means for the journey, he proceeded to California via the Isthmus of Panama, arriving on the "golden coast" in December of that year, and entering at once the mining district. In 1855 he returned home by the same route, but an injury received by the wrecking of the train on the isthmus caused him to remain in Michigan instead of going again to California. Before leaving home he had exchanged his first purchase of land for seventy-five acres on section 27, and he began the improvement of this. Nov. 4, 1860, he married Rosetta Tupper, the first white child born in the township of Odessa, and daughter of Myron Tupper, the first white settler in said township. July 21, 1870, Mrs. Tupper died, leaving a family of three children, - viz., Lina, born Sept. 23, 1863; Clayton, born March 15, 1866; and Pliny, born Sept. 10, 1869. A daughter, Eunice, next younger than Clayton, died at the age of six months.
Mr. Russell now resides on the old home-farm, surrounded by a large circle of friends and relatives. He has filled numerous offices in his township, - township clerk, supervisor, justice of the peace, overseer of the poor, etc., - and was postmaster under President Lincoln. In 1872 he favored the election of Horace Greeley for President, and is at present a Greenbacker. Mr. Russell’s mother, whose name was Warner, was also of English descent, the family having settled in the Connecticut valley as early as 1693, since which time the name appears in the church record. ["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]
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