Pulaski Township

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From "The History of Jackson County, Michigan"

   The Township of Pulaski was organized in April, 1838, by the election of James Cross, supervisor, Warner I. Hodge, town clerk, with other officers provided by the statute.  Mr.Cross having resigned his office as supervisor, a special election was held in October, when Rev. J. B. Burroughs was elected supervisor.  At the organization of the town there were some 20 voters.
The earliest settlers were John Wilber, Col. Luther L. Ward, John Howard, Michael, Harvey and Harry Nowlin, Warner I. Hodge, J. M. Chatfield, the Fisher and Pennoyer families and a few others.  The town has now 1,168 inhabitants—Supervisor William Goffe, Town Clerk, Hiram L. Mason, a grandson of W. I. Hodge, the first town clerk.

The following history of this township is taken from the valuable
paper prepared by Ira A. Willis:-----   

    "Pulaski in its primitive state was what is known as an oak opening township of land, and the first settler in it was John Howard, who located in the south-west part of the town in 1834, on what was subsequently called Howard's Island.  Although a man had come into the township previous to Mr. Howard and built a shanty, he did not make a permanent settlement, and therefore should not have the honor of being named the first settler.  Soon after, other settlers came in.  Among the first were—Cornelius Fisher, Reuben Pennoyer, Reuben Luttenton, Sylvester Daniel, Stephen Cheesboro, James Cross, Benjamin Stookey, Joel Fiske, Charles Guile, Isaac N. Swain, Jesse Burrows, Michael Nowlin, Harry Nowlin, Isaac P. Wheeler, John Wilbur and Col. L. L. Ward.  The Colonel being quite a military man, gave the name to the town, naming it after the celebrated Polish chieftain, Count Pulaski.
"The first birth in the town was that of Goodell Wilbur, a son of Mr. John and Mrs. L. Wilbur.  This son is now nearly 46 years of age, and was a prosperous farmer in Iowa in 1874.  The first death also was in Mr. Wilbur's family,—a son about 13 years of age who was killed by the accidental discharge of a gun.
    "Among the first settlers were Henry and Eli Woodin, John Thorn, John Chatfield, Ashur Grover, Cyrus Daniels, Ira Jacobs, Henry Turner, F. D. Turner, Elijah and Barnett Dickson, Erastus Wyllis, Luther Miner, Cheney Day, with a large number of young Days, and many others; so that in 1840 we were able with a little assistance from the surrounding towns, to run two old-fashioned Fourth-of-July celebrations at the same time.  I would not wish to be understood that we had become so numerous that we could not all be accommodated at one place; but through the influence of hard cider in these days of' Tippecanoe and Tyler too' and ' little Van, a used-up man' party spirit ran so high that, I am sorry, to say, we could not unite to celebrate our natal day together.
    "About 1840 Rev. Wm. Page came into town and settled on quite a large farm on sec. 17, and organized the first religious society, it being a Presbyterian or Congregational Church, which was of very short duration, lasting only about two years.  In 1841 he established a classical school on the manual-labor plan, attended to his farm, and preached at Jonesville; but did not succeed very well in any of his callings, and soon failed in all except, perhaps, his preaching.  In 1841 there were established two Methodist societies, Protestant and Episcopal, and in the winter of 1842-'3, the year the world was to come to an end, here were numerous accessions to each of them; but as the world did not come to an end as was expected by some, there soon commenced a strife for the predominance in a religious point of view.  The Methodist Episcopals carried matters, and the Protestants soon became extinct as a religious organization.
    "The town was organized into a township for civil or legal purposes, with Concord and Spring Arbor, in 1837, and into its present limits the succeeding year.  At the first township meeting Jesse Burrows was chosen supervisor.  The town was settled by people from New York, New England and Pennsylvania, and some from other places, New York furnishing more than all other places together.  They have always been peaceable and industrious, gaining their subsistence from agricultural pursuits, and in point of improvements will compare favorably with her sister town.  Some of the time since the settlement of the town, farming has been rather an up-hill business, especially in those years when we had to draw wheat to Jackson over rough roads, and sell it for 40 or 45 cents a bushel, and take 'dicker' or 'part dicker' for that.  There have been times since the settlement of Pulaski when the dealers here at Jackson would take a whole hog dressed, and weighing 200 or 300 pounds, for one barrel of salt.  Yet we have stuck to the family, although we have been invited into a more southern country, that is, to join Hillsdale county.
    "Physically, Pulaski has a rolling surface, but no very bad hills, interspersed with a few lakes, Wilbur's and Swain's lakes being the largest.  Pulaski has some marsh ground along the Kalamazoo river, which flows through the town in a northwesterly direction, and the northwest part of the town is crossed by two railroads; one the Air Line, on the northwest corner, and the other the Fort Wayne, on the southeast corner, having no regular station in the town, except at Pulaski, on the Air Line, and the passenger house for that is in the town of Homer.  Some might infer that we are not well located for markets, but that is not the case; for we are so situated that we can go north, south, east or west, and soon strike a railroad.  We can hear the whistle from five different railroads every day.
    "Some thinking that God dwelt in temples made by hands, have called Pulaski a "no God" town; but they have no occasion to call it so now, for we have one church building in town, a nice Methodist Episcopal church, situated one and one-half miles from the main traveled road, running north and south through the town.  The town has six whole school districts, and five fractional ones; and for the amount of school property stands third in the county.  Pulaski makes no boast of being more patriotic than her sister towns, but is not ashamed of her record during the war for the suppression of the Rebellion, sending her quota of men, 25 of whom went to return no more; but, thanks be to God, a goodly number returned, among whom we have one who saw the president of the rebel confederacy taken in the last ditch, and stripped of his peculiar armor.
    "To bring my brief history to a close, Pulaski presents her greeting, pledging her fidelity and constancy, promising not to be barren, but fruitful, and claims the right hand of fellowship from her fair sisters of the family to which she belongs."


Following are personal sketches of well known residents of Pulaski township:

    Eugene BURDITT came to Michigan in the winter of 1872 and settled in Pulaski Township, on a farm of 80 acres in sees. 9 and 10.  He was born in Rutland county, Vermont, in June, 1824; was married March 12, 1845, to Miss Cordelia Stone, and they have 8 children living; 2 are dead.  Mr. Burditt moved to New York in 1831, and, until he was 16 years of age, worked on a farm with his father.  By trade he is a carpenter, and is building himself a handsome residence; his farm is a good one, and with his energy and tact he will make a success of his calling in Michigan.

    William BUTTERS was born in Lincolnshire, England, March 20, 1829; emigrated to America in the fall of 1849; in 1853 he moved to this township.  He was married to Sarah Van Wort in 1856, and she died the same year.  In March, 1859, he went to Pike's Peak, being attracted by the gold excitement then raging, but finding it not a prosperous move, returned to his home in Pulaski, where he had a farm of 100 acres in sections 16 and 21.  In June, 1861, he was married to Elizabeth Gill, of Jonesville, Hillsdale Co.; they have 3 children living—Wm. F., born April 2, 1864; Nellie May, born March 22, 1877, and Nettie A., born Oct 1, 1878; 2 children are dead.  Mr. Butters is a Greenbacker, and has voted with that party since its organization; has held the office of Postmaster several years, and is in every respect a consistent member of society.

   J. W. CLARK was born in Pulaski Township, Nov. 13, 1839.  His father settled about 160 acres of Government land, and cultivated the same about 11 years; he died in August, 1850, and in the division of the estate the old home place, which had been increased to 170 acres, was left to the subject of this sketch.  In 1862 he improved the place very much by building quite a nice residence and other buildings.  He enlisted as a private in Co. C, 2d Mich. Cav., in November, 1863, and served about one year.  He is a Republican and has always voted that ticket.  For six years past he has paid special attention to raising fine stock, and has some of the best breeds of short-horned cattle in the State.  He has 1 child living— Maud C, born July 2, 1868.  His wife, Miss Mallock, daughter of James Mallock, of Pulaski Township, has been dead a number of years.

    Benjamin DAUN is a native of Connecticut, where he was born July 10, 1807.  In 1816 he moved to Monroe County, N. Y., with his parents, and Jan. 8, 1846, he was married to Miranda Richardson.  In the fall of 1848 he came to this State; lived in several places before settling permanently; came to Pulaski in the spring of 1862, where he had bought a farm of 160 acres, in section 1.  He has 2 children living; as a farmer, is one of the most prosperous in his township.

    Curtis D. DIXON was born in Ohio, Nov. 17, 1828.  He came to Michigan with his parents in July, 1837; his father had bought a farm of 80 acres in this township, on sec. 12.  He was married July 11, 1852, to Miss Susie Fitton, and after the death of his father in August, 1857, came into possession of the farm which he has cultivated ever since.  They have 4 children living.  His mother is still living and makes her home with him; though now in her 82d year, still maintains, to a remarkable degree, her strength and vigor.  Mr. Dixon is politically a Democrat, and a member of the Masonic order.

    John FRITZ was born Nov. 5, 1828, and came to this State in the fall of 1855, settling in Concord Township; lived there about 10 years, working as a farmer.  He was married in April, 1860, to Julia Ruth, of Jackson city.  In 1863 he enlisted as a private in Co. I, 6th Michigan Artillery, and served in that capacity till the close of the war.  In 1865 he bought a farm of 80 acres in sec. 3, where he has lived ever since.  They have 6 children living. Mr. Fritz is a Republican and has always voted with that party.  His farm is one of the best in Pulaski Township; his buildings present a neat and substantial appearance.

    Thomas GOFFE, Jr., the present Supervisor of Pulaski Township, was born in Hanover Township, Oct. 24, 1838; he lived there, assisting his father on a farm, until 1862, when he moved to this township.  He was married in August, 1865, to Harriet A. Rogers; they have 3 children living.  He is a Greenbacker, and for four years has held the office of Supervisor of this township.  Mr. Goffe cultivates 80 acres of land in sec. 33; he is one of the most popular men in the community in which he lives, and his capacity, integrity and fidelity to duty as a public officer, and in all his social relations, have been universally recognized and admired.

    Allen W. GROVER was born in Monroe county, N. Y., Nov. 20, 1810; came to Michigan in June, 1836, and settled with his father on a tract of land, sec. 11, Pulaski Township.  In the spring of 1840 he was married to Miss Jane E. Phipps, and in the fall of the same year moved to a tract of 40 acres in sec. 13 of this township.  Mr. Grover has been exceedingly successful in his farming operations, and now owns over 300 acres of the best farming land in his township.  He is a Greenbacker and has always been since the organization of the party.  His father died in August, 1859, and his mother in the spring of 1843.  He has 6 children living, and 3 dead.  He has improved nearly all of his lands, and his residence is one of the most beautiful in Pulaski Township.

    Milton H. HODGE, son of Warner I. and Sarah Hodge, was born in Adams, Berkshire Co., Mass., Nov. 12, 1825.  He was 11 years old when his parents removed from Massachusetts to Michigan, and has since then resided in Pulaski, on the 160 acres of land which his father bought of the Government in 1835.  He and his maiden sister own the old homestead; it is described as the southwest quarter of sec. 28, town 4 south, of range 3 west, State of Michigan.  Mr. Hodge is a careful and successful farmer, is a brother of Hon. Hiram C. Hodge, of Concord, in the same county.  He has been twice married; his present wife was Eveline Holmes, born in Springwater, Livingston Co., N. Y.  His father, Warner I. Hodge, died in Pulaski in 1851.  He was the first Town Clerk of Pulaski, and for many years was Supervisor or Town Clerk of the town, a good officer and an upright man.

    D. C. HOLMES was born in Berkshire County, Mass., Feb. 24, 1836.  He came to this State in the fall of 1848, and worked by the month until he had accumulated enough to purchase a farm and start in life on his own account.  He was married to Lydia Chapman in May, 1857.  He bought a tract of land of 80 acres in sec. 34, this township, where he has resided ever since.  They have 2 children, both living with him.  Politically, Mr. Holmes is a Democrat.  He has held the office of Justice of the Peace for a number of years; he has cleared up most of his lands, and altogether he is one of the most prosperous men in Jackson County.

    Simon KING, Jr:, was born in Monroe County, N. Y., Sept. 19, 1827; came to Michigan in October,1848, and lived with his brother-in-law, Mr. Everts, in Oakland County, during the following winter; in April, 1849, came to Pulaski, where his father had bought a farm of 240 acres in sees. 30 and 31.  He was married to Miss Emily Tiffney, Dec. 19, 1851; they have 5 children living.  Mr. King is a Greenbacker; has held the office of Justice of the Peace and School Inspector.  His father bought this farm after it had been cultivated several years, for $12 per acre, and now it would easily bring $50, if not more.  His mother, Isabel King, died in October, 1863; his father is still living in Genesee County, this State, nearly 80 years of age, but still actively engaged as a farmer.  Mr. King is a strong temperance man, none of his family ever having formed the habit of intemperance in any form.

   Mrs. Alzira LUTTENTON, the widow of Reuben Luttenton, was born in Ontario County, N. Y., in 1812.  She was married to Mr. Luttenton in 1829, in the State of New York, and came to Michigan in the fall of 1835.  Mr. Luttenton was one of the first settlers in this township, and up to the time of his death, Feb. 1,1874,was among the most prominent and influential citizens of his township.
He settled on a farm of 120 acres in secs. 11 and 14, in this township.  Mr. Luttenton died in the 70th year of his age, leaving his wife, the subject of this sketch, and 7 children; two of her sons, Wm. W. and Frank, still live at the old home, working the farm for their mother: they are exemplary young men and quite successful in their business operations.

    James MATTOCK was born in Schenectady County, N. Y., Nov. 29, 1812.  He has been a resident of this county since the spring of 1843, at which time, in company with his devoted wife, he came to cast his fortunes in the new country.  He first settled in Hanover Township, where he resided about 13 years, engaged in cultivating his farm; but in the fall of 1856, he removed to Lenawee County.  This change, however, did not prove satisfactory, and in less than 12 months he returned to Jackson County, and bought a farm of 160 acres in Pulaski Township on sec. 22, where he has lived ever since, honored and respected as a citizen, and eminently successful in his calling.  He was united in marriage to Miss Ruth Bradshaw, June 9, 1839, in the State of New York.  Mrs. Mallock, naturally a woman of fine sense and correct judgment, has aided him by her counsels, and encouraged him by the faithful discharge of her duties as wife and mother.  They have 3 children living, all of whom are married and doing well.  Mr. Mallock is a Republican, and has always voted that ticket since the organization of the party.  He commenced life with little of this world's goods, and stands a living example of what may be accomplished by strict integrity and untiring energy.  He has taken an active interest in securing subscribers, and otherwise aiding the enterprise for a proposed railroad from Toledo, Ohio, to Grand Haven, Mich., which will pass directly through Pulaski Township, and when completed will be of incalculable benefit to the farmers.  The successful completion of the road is now an assured fact, and to the liberality and earnest exertions of such men as James Mallock is due the credit.

    H. L. MASON was born in Berkshire County, Mass., March 1, 1841; came to this county in June, 1852, with his parents, who settled in this township, sec. 27; his mother died Aug. 26, 1874.  He was married to Miss Carrie Bailey, in September, 1868, in Kent County, Mich., and has 2 children living.  He has held the office of Town Clerk two years, which he has filled acceptably to all concerned.  While peacefully engaged as a farmer, assisting his father, the harrowing bugle of civil war startled the country, and promptly responding to his country's call, he enlisted Jan. 4, 1861, as a private in Co. C, 7th Mich. Inf., Army of the Potomac, 2d Div.; was raised to the rank of Sergeant, then acting Quartermaster Sergeant, Adjutant, 1st Lieutenant, and in 1864 was made Captain of his company.  He served his country gallantly; was one of the heroes of Gettysburg, Harper's Ferry, and was present at the surrender of Lee at Richmond.  In 1878 Mr. Mason bought his present property from his father, who now makes his home with him.

    Lorenzo NOWLIN. This name is intimately associated with the early history of Jackson county, and especially Pulaski Township.  When the country that now "blossoms like the rose," the broad rich acres that yield such abundant harvests were wild forests of oak and hickory, where the present splendid public roads, that furnish such convenient outlets to every farmer were but irregular trails opened by the bands of Indians that infested this region, with all the hardships to contend with that usually annoy early settlers in a new country, the subject of this sketch (then a child three years of age) came with his parents to Michigan, and settled on a tract of 80 acres of land in what is now Pulaski Township.
    He was born in December, 1833, in Allegany county, N. Y.
    His mother died in 1862, and his father in 1866, leaving a family of 3 sons and 6 daughters.  By mutual agreement the children all relinquished their interest in the old homestead, and it was given to Lorenzo.  He was married March 15,1871, to Miss Margaret Ann Gregg, and in April, 1876, having disposed of his farm, he removed to a new home in sec. 15,where he had built a neat residence.  They have 3 children, 2 sons and 1 daughter.  There are but few citizens of this township who are older residents then Mr. Nowlin, and of him it may be truly said that he has grown up with the country.  Though comparatively a young man yet, and with the prospect for many years of usefulness before him, Mr. Nowlin has witnessed the gradual development of this part of his adopted State, from the "happy hunting ground" of savage Indians, into highly cultivated farms and beautiful homes of an educated people.  His brother, James Nowlin, who has been afflicted a number of years, having lost his sight entirely and being unable to walk without assistance, is a man of remarkable memory, and relates many incidents of interest in the early days of Michigan; as gentlemen and ladies they hold the respect and confidence of all.

    W. D. SEVERANCE came to Michigan, from Franklin County, Mass., in May, 1835, and located a farm of 80 acres in sec. 23; but in March, 1845, traded that land and bought a farm of 140 acres in sec. 20, this township.  He returned to New York, where his family had moved from Massachusetts, and taught school one winter.  In October, 1837, he was married to Miss Sarah Bullock; the same year he returned to Michigan with his wife, where he has remained ever since; they have 3 children living.  Mr. Severance is a Greenbacker, and a strong prohibitionist.  He has disposed of his land until he now cultivates but 40 acres; his son, Lovell Severance, is assisting him.  Mr. S. was born Nov. 17, 1812, and though an old man is yet possessor of a remarkable degree of strength and activity.

    Albert STOOKEY came to this county to live in January, 1860.  His first visit to this State was in 1836, he did not remain long, but returned to his home in Pennsylvania, where, in October, 1846, he was married to Miss Mary A. Boone.  In January, 1865, he again came to Michigan, and settled on a farm of 74 acres in Pulaski Township, sec. 26.  He is a Greenbacker, and a member of the Odd Fellows society.  His wife is a direct descendant of Daniel Boone, the great Kentucky pioneer, whose history is familiar to every school-boy in the country.  Mr. Stookey was born Dec. 9, 1815, in the State of Pennsylvania; his only child, Benjamin W. Stookey, died March 13, 1864.

    Frank D. TURNER, Pulaski Township, emigrated to Michigan from Genesee County, N. Y., in the fall of 1845.  His father, Mark Turner, was a native of Connecticut, and on one occasion, having contracted to build a turnpike road in that State, at great expense he hired his help and fully equipped himself for the undertaking.  Soon after commencing work the company failed, and Mr. Turner found himself alone responsible for all liabilities.  This was a heavy blow, but with his characteristic promptness and accuracy he paid all the indebtedness to the last farthing, and gathering the scanty remnant of his once comfortable fortune, he moved with his family to the State of New York, where he died July 11, 1869, in the 79th year of his age.  Frank D. was married to Miss Laura J. Mitchell in April, 1874; they have 4 children living and 2 dead.  Mr. Turner is a Republican and has always voted with that party.  He was born in Genesee County, N. Y., Sept. 29,1817.  In October, 1845, he settled on a tract of 120 acres of land in sec. 23, Pulaski Township.  This property he has entirely cleared, and in latter years, has added about 15 acres to his farm.  Though far advanced in years he still retains his usual health and vigor.

    Eli WATSON was born April 15, 1825, in Upper Canada, near Toronto.  In the fall of 1834 his father emigrated to Michigan, bringing his family, and settled in Washtenaw County.  They lived there only one year, then they removed to Jackson County, and located in Concord Township, where they remained about 10 years.  In the spring of 1845 they moved to this township and settled on a farm of 160 acres in sec. 21, where his father died.  Mr. Watson was married July 11, 1854, to Miss Rose Parks; they have 6 children living.  Of late years Mr. Watson has voted with the Greenback party; is strongly in favor of temperance, and is in every particular, one of the substantial men of this township.

    William WATSON was born in the northern part of Canada, near Toronto, Feb. 15, 1831.  He came to Jackson County, Mich., in 1835, with his parents, with whom he remained, working on the farm and assisting his father until 1851; then he went to California and engaged in gold mining.  He resided in that State about 16 years, and in 1867 returned to this county, and settled on a farm of 80 acres, in this township, sec. 28, where he has lived ever since.  He was married in April, 1870, to Miss M. Dresser, in Pulaski Township; they  have  3  children living,   viz.: Myrtle, born  Oct. 23, 1871: Mary A., born April 23, 1873, and Eli, Jr., born March  23, 1875.

    Hon. I. P. WHEELER has been closely identified with almost every movement designed for the advancement of his township since its organization, and such is the confidence he holds with all his fellow citizens, that nearly every office of importance in his community has at one time or other been held by him.  He is politically a Democrat, a strong advocate of temperance, and a member of the Masonic order.  The first mail ever carried to Pulaski P. O. was by Mr. Wheeler, who for several years held the office of Postmaster there.  He has held the office of Town Clerk, was Road Commissioner, held the office of Supervisor several years, represented his district one term, in the State Legislature, and in 1880 was a candidate on the Democratic ticket for Treasurer of Jackson County.  He married Almira R. Wilber, Dec. 14,1841; they have 3 children living.  He was born in Middlesex County, Mass., Aug. 10, 1817, and in his youth, moved to Jackson County; from there, he went to Hillsdale County, but after a sojourn of three years there, he returned to Jackson County and settled in this township, on a farm of 350 acres, which he has increased to 400 acres since.  All of Mr. Wheeler's efforts in life have been more or less crowned with success, and being possessed with a strong constitution, coupled with energy and thrift, bids fair to reach a higher round on the ladder of prosperity.

    Ira A. WYLLIS was born in St Lawrence County, N. Y., March 12, 1818, and, with his parents, moved to Jackson County in the fall of 1838; they settled in Pulaski Township, on a tract of 160 acres of land.  His father, Erastus Wyllis, died in the winter of 1840, after a long and well spent life; he left his property principally under the control of his son Ira; he was born in Connecticut, and was a direct descendant of the old family of Wyllises that figured prominently in establishing the charter of that State.  His mother was from Vermont, and died in August, 1843.  After the death of his parents, Mr. Ira Wyllis bought most of the original tract that his father settled, and Nov. 30, 1845, was married to Miss Adelia H. Putnam.  They have 2 children living, both daughters, and married to prosperous farmers, and live contentedly in this township.  Mr. Wyllis is a member of the Pioneer Association of Jackson County, and at one time was the Vice-President for Pulaski Township.  When the slavery question was agitating the country, and feelings of bitterness began to rankle in the breasts of Southern slaveowners, and their Northern sympathizers, Mr. Wyllis stood almost alone, in Pulaski Township, a strong and earnest advocate of liberty principles.  He has always interested himself in the temperance cause, and never allows an opportunity to pass wherein he can speak a word in its favor.  He now cultivates but 80 acres of land (having disposed of the remainder of his farm); this is situated in sec. 23, and there, surrounded by all the necessaries, and many of the luxuries of life, appreciated and respected by all who know him, for those sterling qualities of mind and heart that have always characterized him, he bids fair to live to a green old age.

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