WAKESHMA TOWNSHIP

Kalamazoo Co MI



School House 1907 - Contributed by Paul Petosky


NATURAL FEATURES
Geography. The township of Wakeshma, which lies in the extreme southeast portion of the county, is bounded on the north by Climax, south by St. Joseph County, east by Calhoun County, and west by Brady.

The township lines were surveyed by John Mullett in 1825, and the subdivision survey made by Robert Clark, Jr., in 1826. Much of the land was entered in 1836 by Eastern parties for purposes of speculation, but for many years after it remained unimproved, and the township continued a wilderness while the adjoining townships of the county were being rapidly settled and the land cultivated.

In 1842 the axe of the earliest settler was heard, and soon after, on section 32, the few acres that had been cleared yielded a bountiful crop of wheat, and indicated the remarkably productive quality of the soil. Other settlers followed, but for years the population of the township was meager, and it was not until 1850 that the Territory showed indications of activity and growth. Since that time, energy, capital, and well-directed labor have done much to develp the land and promote the prosperity of the township.

Lakes and Water-Courses
Wakeshma differs from most of the townships of the county, in the fact that it has not a single lake within its boundaries.

The portage and the Bear Creeks, both considerable streams, rise in the township of Climax and flow through this township. The first flows through the centre in a southwest direction. Bear Creek flows nearly south, bearing towards the west as it leaves the township on sections 34 and 35. The two unite and form the Portage River, which empties into the St. Joseph River.

Soil
The soil of the township is gravelly loam intermixed with clay. It is easily tilled, making large yields with a comparatively small amount of labor. It was in an early day especially rich in timber, and much maple, beech, whitewood, elm, and basswood, is still uncut. Black walnut and cherry, which were formerly abundant, are now found only in limited quantities.

In the year 1873 the township produced 51,262 bushels of wheat and 84,691 bushels of corn, the latter yield exceeding that of any other township of the county.

ORGANIZATION

The township was organized March 25, 1846, under the following act;

"An ACT to organize certain townships and for other purposes."

"All that part of the county of Kalamazoo designated by the United States survey as township number four south, of number nine west, be and the same is hereby set off and organized into a separate township by the name of Wakeshma, and the first township-meeting shall be held at the house of Jacob J. Gardner."

"Approved March 25, 1846"

There was a strong desire expressed on the part of the early settlers to have the township called "Maple," but the Legislature christened it by its present appellation.

TOWNSHIP OFFICERS

The first township-meeting of the newly-organized township of Wakeshma was held at the house of Jacob J. Gardner, April 6, 1846. The inspectors of election, who were chosen by the qualified voters present, were Jacob J. Gardner, Caleb Orcutt, John Ker, Elias Stilwell, Asa Wixson.

The following officers were elected; Jacob J. Gardner, Supervisor; Caleb Orcutt, Township Clerk; Asa Wixson, Treasurer; Elias Stilwell, Justice of the Peace; Matthew Cullen, Highway Commissioner; Joseph Heminway, School Inspector; John Stilwell, Director of the Poor; Charles Carver, John Stilwell, Matthew Cullen, Constables. The following list embraces the remaining township officers to the present date:

Supervisors
1847, Caleb Orcutt; 1848, Joseph Heminway; 1849-50, Jacob J. Gardner; 1851-52, Joseph Heminway; 1853, Jacob J. Gardner; 1854, Henry Feed; 1855, A. R. Scott; 1856-57, Washington Noble; 1858-59, Ambrose B. Halsey; 1860-66 Samuel R. Culp; 1867, David Kindy; 1868-71, Sylvester Fredenburg; 1872-73, h. J. Daniels; 1874-76, Sylvester Fredenburg; 1877, David J. Fritz; 1878-79, Barnard Mathes.

Township Clerks
1847, Joseph Heminway; 1848-49, A. R. Scott; 1850, Caleb Orcutt; 1851, John G. Lipe; 1852, John D. Ker; 1853, Morris B. Dalson; 1854, Oliver Jones; 1855, Israel Leighton; 1856-57, Sylvester Fredenburgh; 1858, Edward H. Wood; 1859-63, Harvey Jones; 1864-66, Sylvester Fredenburgh; 1867-69, A. E. Brockett; 1870, S. C. Rosenberry; 1871, G. O. Byington; 1872-74, O. G. Cook; 1875-76, Horace W. Green; 1877, E. B. Skidmore; 1878, N. R. Hakes; 1879, John R. Mears.

Treasurers
1847, Asa Wixson; 1848-49, Elias Stilwell; 1850, John Heminway; 1851-54, A. R. Scott; 1855, John R. Lee; 1856-57, Jacob J. Gardner; 1858-60, Rufus Tyler; 1861-64, Seeley W. Merrill; 1865, Wm. H. Overholt; 1866-69, Charles C. Crotser; 1870-76, David I. Fritz; 1877, Washington Mapes; 1878-79, W. C. Smith.

Justices of the Peace
1847, Russell Worden; 1848, J. J. Gardner, Asa Wixson, John Ker; 1849, A. R. Scott, William Fairchild; 1850, Asa Wixson, A. W. Finch; 1851, Russell Worden, Lot North; 1852, John F. Lipe, Allen Rawson; 1853, George Pickard, A. M. Mead; 1854, John F. Tyler; 1855, Myron Lamunyon, George Pickard; 1856, Asa Wixson, Jacob Krader; 1857, Peter L. Rynearson, J. W. Codman; 1858, John Cullen, Charles Brown; 1859, Seeley W. Merrill, Parker Gilhams; 1860, J. W. Codman, E. V. Case; 1861, J. J. Gardner, J. W. Codman, Wm. Bradshaw; 1862, Parker Gilhams; 1863, p. L. Rynearson; 1864, J. W. Codman; 1856, Henry J. Daniels; 1866, Benjamin Matthews; 1867, P. L. Rynearson; 1868, J. O. Wilsey; 1869, H. J. Daniels; 1870, G. O. Byington; 1871, Henry Copley; 1872, J. W. Codman; 1873, H. F. Bartshe, Ga. A. Van Norsdell; 1874, A. E. Brockett; 1875, W. H. Overholt, G. O. Byington; 1876, James Griggs; 1877, D. F. Bartshe; 1878, Alex. Ritter, O. M. Gates; 1879, Rufus Skidmore, S. C. Rosenberry, D. V. Thomson.

School Inspectors
1847, A. R. Scott; 1848, Caleb Orcutt; 1849, J. J. Gardner; 1850, Joseph Heminway; 1851, Charles Root; 1852, Joseph Heminway, J. J. Gardner; 1853, R. R. Heminway, George Rickard; 1854, James Hawes, George W. Corliss; 1855, Israel Leighton; 1856, Walter F. Lovin, J. W. Codman; 1857, Samuel R. Culp; 1858, E. B. Skidmore; 1859, Valentine Cornwell; 1860, William Bradshaw; 1861, E. B. Southwick; 1862, David Kindy; 1863, Wm. H. Overholt; 1864, David Kindy; 1865, C. C. Crotser; 1866, David Kindy, A. E. Brockett; 1867, A. W. Pierce; 1868, J. O. Wilsey; 1869, A. W. Pierce; 1870, O. M. Gates; 1871, P. M. Thomson, A. W. Pierce; 1872, no record; 1873, A. W. Pierce; 1874, P. M. Thomson; 1875, A. E. Brockett; 1876, O. M. Gates; 1877-78, Samuel Rosenberry; 1879, S. B. Snyder.

Highway Commissioners
1847, Russell Worden, Frederick Harrison; 1848, J. J. Gardner; 1849, Charles Carver; 1850, Nathan C. Ker, John Beard; 1851, Matthew Cullen; 1852, J. W. Farr, Russell Worden; 1853, Nathan C. Ker; 1854, Jesse Reynolds; 1855, Rufus Tyler; 1856, J. J. Gardner; 1857, S. P. Beard; 1858, Jesse Reynolds; 1859, Frederick S. Foote; 1860, William Van Vleet , J. L. Hull; 1861, J. J. Gardner; 1862, George P. Mason; 1863, George W. Cary; 1864, A. A. Holcomb; 1865, M. T. Leggett, Charles S. Brown; 1866, A. H. Sherman; 1867, Frederick Steele, A. Harrison; 1868, William H. Overholt; 1869, E. B. Codman; 1870, James Griggs; 1871, Robinson Randall; 1872, Stephen P. Marsh, J. A. Van Debogert; 1873, P. M. Thomson; 1874, Jesse F. Alford; 1875, J. A. Van Debogert; 1876, E. B. Skidmore; 1877, William Beard; 1878, James Van Debogert; 1879, Ephraim Camp.

Directors of the Poor
1847-48, John Beard; 1849, John Stilwell; 1850, John C. Ker; 1851, A. R. Scott; 1852, Russell Worden; 1853, J. J. Gardner; 1854, Allen Ransom; 1855, John F. Lipe; 1856, Jacob Krader; 1857, Warren Beard; 1858, John Hannible.

Drain Commissioners
1873, G. P. Mason; 1874, George Ensminger; 1875, Thomas Copley; 1876, S. P. Marsh; 1877-78, W. C. Minnas; 1879, George P. Mason.

Constables
1847, George Beard, John D. Ker, C. S. Crofoot, Charles Carver; 1848, Wm. Fairchild, Charles Carver, Matthew Cullen, John Stilwell; 1849, Matthew Cullen, Abner Goodrich; 1850, Nathan C. Ker, Andrew Foote; 1851, Silas Wooden, Matthew Cullen, J. J. Stilwell, Elias Stilwell; 1852, Andrew T. Foote, John D. Ker, Charles H. Ker, John Ker; 1853, J. J. Gardner, A. Ransom; 1854, W. J. Simpson, Stephen Tapping, Frederick Foote; 1855, Warren Beard, Jonah Der, Wm. Fairchilds; 1856, Wm. Fairchilds, Samuel Bailey, Jesse Reynolds, S. F. Lafler; 1857, Abel Miller, Wm. Fairchilds, Jesse Reynolds, Fletcher Fredenburgh; 1858, Jesse Reynolds, George Cary, Henry G. Buffington, John H. Kearns; 1859, C. C. Hinckley, John Der, F. S. Foote, Wm. Van Vleet; 1860, F. G. Keeler, W. S. Tuttle, Wm. Van Vleet, Reuben Griggs; 1861, Orlando Porter, George Ensminger, Thomas J. Pierce, Hiram Der; 1862, Jesse Reynolds, A. R. Scott, Benjamin Atwood, E. Codman; 1863, Jonathan Hull, Isaac Johnson, S. P. Beard, Zurdus Jones; 1864, George W. Carr, A. W. Nash, M. F. Fredenburg, Charles Goisline; 1865, M. F. Fredenburgh, James Lynn, Aaron W. Nash, Cyril Tyler; 1866 Jacob Sherman, Frederick Steele, John E. Fritz, M. R. Fredenburgh; 1867, J. W. Barnes, H. H. Bradshaw, R. Randall, James McGurer; 1868, Charles Paige, Sylvanus Reed; 1869, David Carnes, A. Hunt, J. Seymour, Sylvanus Reed, 1870, Charles Haines, J. V. Frisby, Hiram Der; 1871, Hiram Der, Samuel Stein, Jr.; 1872, James Fulton; 1873, Arthur Longman, Hiram Der; 1874, James Griggs, Arthur Longman; 1875, John P. Pease, James Griggs; 1876, no record; 1877, Wm. Culp, John P. Pease, John Berger; 1878, Ralph Case, Charles Haines, Wm. Culp, Charles Potter; 1879, Lafayette Gardner, Charles Haines, Ralph Case.

Superintendent of Schools
1875, Samuel Beane; 1876, C. E. Faunce; 1877, John P. Reidinger; 1878-79, Amandus B. Hanshue.


The following are the original entries of land embraced in the present township of Wakeshma:


Section 1
John Ward & A. Bronson Jan 27 and Feb 26 and Sep. 1851
State Swamp Land Sep 1850
Acres
549.1
70.94
Section 2
W. Baker and H. Harvey, June 6, 1836
George Howland, July 25, 1836
Acres
520
804
Section 3
Daniel B. Eldred Jan13 & Feb 27 1836
Wm. Baker & H. Harvey Jun 6 1836
George Howland Jul 25 1836
Acres
1836.39
240
301.02
Section 4
Daniel B. Eldred
Festus Hall May 23 1836
H.Harvey & Wm. Baker Jun 6 1836
T.P. Sheldon Jul 18 1836
George Howland Jul 25 1836
Acres
80
40
160
49
296.92
Section 5
J.H. Ostrom, W.R. Palmer, T.R. Walker 26 Mar 1836
Jos. Caldwell May 25 1836
Oscar Howell May 25 1836
H. Harvey & Wm. Baker Jun 6 1836
George Howland Jul 25 1836
Acres
80
69.89
80
80
310.85
Section 6
Joseph Caldwell May 25 1836
Oscar Howell May 25 1836
George W. Allen Jun 27 1837
Acres
392.68
152.33
80
Section 7
Warren Watkins Dec 7 1836
J.W. Noyes Dec 9 1836
John Tack, C.W. Rockwell, J.A. Rockwell
Acres
80
80
402.44
Section 8
State of Michigan
Goldon Miller 1844
Acres
480
160
Section 9
James Noyes Nov 7 1835
Luther CarltonDec 16 1835
A.H. Ward Sep 25 1836
A.J. Eldred Apr 27 1836
H. Hervey, Wm. Baker Jun 6 1836
Acres
160
160
80
80
160
Section 10
J. Ward and A.Bronson Jan 27 1836
A.H. Ward Feb 25 1836
J. Ward and A. Bronson Jan 27 1836
Acres
320
160
160
Section 11
John McCourvey Jan 5 and Jan 12 1836
J. Ward and A. Bronson Jan 27 and Feb 25 1836
Acres
160
480
Section 12
John McCourvey Dec 27 1836
H.g. Wells, S. Vickery Jan 26 1836
Stephen Vickery Feb 3 1837
Asa Wixson Nov 24 1845
Acres
80
320
160
80
Section 13
J. Ward, A. Bronson Jan 27, Feb 25 1836
Nathaniel March Feb 18 1837
Phillip Goodrich Nov 28 1848
John Cullen Jul 2 1849
Jane M. Van De Walker Nov 26 1853
State Swamp Land Sep 1850
Acres
160
80
160
40
40
160
Section 14
Amplins Blake, N. Blake, Jason Steele, L. Bacon Apr 29 1836
George Stearns, A.C. Bacon Apr 29 1836

H. Hervey, William Baker Jun 6 1836
Acres
80
160
400
Section 15
Asa Bridges Feb 15 1836
Samuel B. Rose Feb 27 1836
J.H. Ostrom, Wm. R. Palmer, Thomas R. Walker Mar 26 1836
Thomas Griswold Apr 23 1836
James Horner Apr 29 1836
L.B. Holcomb May 10 1836
Asa Briggs Dec 10 1836
Acres
40
80
160
40
160
80
80
Section 16
School Section
 
Section 17
State of Michigan
Amos Nash Apr 10 1848
Jacob Kreader Apr 10 1848
John L. Lawson Oct 20 1851
Thomas W. Flanders Dec 2 1851
Acres
480
40
40
40
40
Section 18
State of Michigan
 
Section 19
State of Michigan
 
Section 20
State of Michigan
 
Section 21
John W. Noyes Dec 25 1835
J.B. Dawkin Mar 18 1836
H. Hervey, William Baker Jun 6 1836
Acres
80
160
400
Section 22
George J. Clark Jan 22 1836
D.A. Lovett Mar 5 1836
Samuel D. Lovett Mar 7 1836
James Horner Apr 29 1836
Acres
80
160
160
240
Section 23
James Horner Apr 29 1836
Amplin Blake, Nathan Blake, W.J. Steele, L. Bacon Apr 29 1836
Jacob Dir Dec 20 1853
State Swamp Land Sep 1850
A.R. Scott Sep 9 1854
Acres
320
160
40
40
80
Section 24
J.H. Ostrom, W.R. Palmer, T.R. Walker Apr 20 1836
Earl Durfee Dec 4 1836
Acres
80
480
160
Section 25
J.H. Ostrom, W.R. Palmer, T.R. Walker Apr 20 1836
Ambrose Cock Jul 12 1836
Josiah Bennett Jul 12 1836
Acres
320
160
160
Section 26
Charles Taylor Jul 12 1836
Acres
640
Section 27
James Horner Apr 29 1836
Chandler Pease Nov 1 1852
Calvin Frost Nov 9 1852
Acres
320
240
80
Section 28
H. Hervey, William Baker Jun 6 1836
Acres
640
Section 29
State of Michigan
 
Section 30
State of Michigan
 
Section 31
State of Michigan
 
Section 32
Nelson Washburn Dec 31 1842
Bara W. Moore Nov 14 1843
State of Michigan
John C. Morse Mar 14 1848
Acres
80
40
480
40
Section 33
George J. Clark Jan 22 1836
J.H. Ostrom, W.R. Palmer, T.R. Walker Mar 26 1836
Charles W., John A. Rockwell Dec 7 1836
A.B. Watkins Mar 7 1838
Acres
80
160
320
80
Section 34
George J . Clark Jan 22 1836
Chauncey Pratt Mar 19 1836
Caleb Orcutt Jan 30 1837
O.W. Legg Mar 4 1837
Joseph L. Taylor Mar 7 and May 10 1838
R.W. Wilferton Mar 25 1839
Acres
80
160
160
40
40
120
40
Section 35
J.H. Ostrom, W.R. Palmer, T.R. Walker Apr 20 1836
Enos Hinman Jul 8 1836
R.W. Wilferton Mar 25 1839
L.H. Bishop Nov 27 1845
Sylvester Fredenburg Jun 24 1852
Calvin Frost Nov 9 1852 & Jan 11 1854
William Kimball Apr 19 1854
Acres
160
80
40
40
200
180
40
Section 36
Wm. A. Tomlinson, W.A. Booth Mar 22 & Apr 26 1836
John Ostrom, Wm. R. Palmer, Thomas R. Walker Apr 20 1836
Acres
480
160


EARLY ROADS
As late as 1846 there was but one road in the township, known as the State road. This road ran on the section line between sections 7 and 18, on a section line from west to east, and at a distance of a mile and a half from the east line of the township diverged to the north and east. The earliest recorded road, with the exception of the one already mentioned, was surveyed the 13th day of October, 1846, "the whole of which road lies in township 4 south, of range 9 west, to wit; commencing at the quarter stake on the south line of section 5, running thence north three hundred and four rods and twenty links on the quarter line to the point where it strikes the town line, it being forty-seven links east of the quarter post at the south side of section 32, in township 3 south, of range 9 west, making in all three hundred and four rods and twenty links. This road is designated as a communicating portion of a road running north and south." The latter road passed through the southern portion of the township of Climax. The survey of this road was made by Randolph Nutting and approved by the highway commissioners, who were Nathan Kerr and Frederick Harrison.

EARLY SETTLERS
The earliest settler upon the soil of Wakeshma was Jacob J. Gardner, who first appeared in the township when it was a wilderness and located upon section 15. Finding no neighbors, he was obliged to depend wholly upon his own exertions in his efforts to improve his land and make for himself a comfortable home. He emigrated from Columbia Co., N. Y. , and became a resident of the township in 1843. Mr. Gardner's integrity of character and his indomitable will made him one of the most influential of the early pioneers. He was chosen the first supervisor of the township, and from that date until his death held many of the important offices within the gift of the people. His knowledge of parliamentary law and his excellent judgment made his influence important in the administration of public affairs. After a long life of usefulness, his remains sleep in sight of the homestead in which his life had been passed.

The following list embraces the tax-payers in Wakeshma for 1846, the year of its organization:



John Ker
Caleb Orcutt
John Beard
Joseph Heminway
Charles Carver
Wm. B. Logan
George Beard
Matthew Cullen
Nelson Washburn
Cornelius Cuyler
Russell Worden
A. R. Scott
Jacob I. Gardner
D. B. Eldred
Asa Wixson
I. Hall
Elias Stilwell
L. P. Sheldon
Frederick Harrison
---- Caldwell
David Stilwell
C. Howell
James Stilwell
Ostrom & Co.
John Baughy
J. W. Allen
Wm. Fairchild
Joseph Caldwell
John Stilwell, Jr.
I. Tack
Nathan C. Ker
C. W. Rockwell
Ward & Bronson
I. W. Noyes
Ward & Co.
Stephen Vickery
Blake & Co.
E. A. Hayden
G. S. Stearns & Co.
R. French
P Hasbrouk
T. Miller
---- Rundle
H. T. Palmer
C. Blackman
A. H. Ward
I. Horner
Ward & Bronson
L. B. Holcum
J. McCamsey
Rachel Crowell
N. Marsh
M. Ragan
Wm. Baker
E. C. Valentine
John Potter>
I. F. Abbey
Asa Day
H. S. Sanford
Edward Day
John Benham
James Graham
R. Nutting
I. E. Johnson
O. Valentine
Charles Grant
E. N. Shelton
Lee & Platt
F. P. Tuttle
E. A. Hayden
Richard Reed
F. Boober
E. C. Seaman
C. W. Rockwell
James Noyes
E. Harding
Aaron Proctor
M. O. Clark
Daniel Lovett
George Clark
---- Wilder
I. Deming
A.Cook
C. Pratt
J. Bennett
J. L. Taylor
Benjamin W. Davis
J. Hays
C. Pease
R. M. Wilferton
George Howland
E. Chisman
Henry Harvey
Lyman Bishop
----Eldred
Wm. A. Booth
Harvey & Co.


The next pioneer who cleared the forests of Wakeshma was John Beard, who came from St. Lawrence County, in New York, later in the same year, and purchased 40 acres of Harvey Jaycox, to which he added 80 acres, and later an additional 80, the latter having been purchased of William Beard. Upon Mr. Beard's arrival, he immediately turned his attention to the building of a shelter for his family, which consisted of a log house covered with basswood shakes. Mr. Beard had 12 children, but one of whom was born in the township, and who were on but one occasion together at the same time. His son George still resides in the township. He is known as a successful farmer, and a man of remarkable memory. Leveritt Beard, another son, was the first child born in the township, his birth having occurred in 1844.

Nelson Washburne may be ranked as among the foremost of the early pioneers, having made the township his home in 1842, and entered 80 acres of land in December of that year. This he at once improved and made productive.

The first religious service in the township was held at the log house of Mr. Washburne. Services followed soon after at the house of Jacob J. Gardner, which were led by Edward Chesebro, from Calhoun County.

Caleb Orcutt came from Cincinnati in 1837, and entered 160 acres of land on section 34. The date of his settlement it is impossible to give, though he may be ranked among the earliest pioneers. He first filled the office of township clerk, and acted as the second supervisor. His career was, however, brief, as a fatal illness ended his life in 1849, after which his family removed to Minnesota. His son later resumed his residence in the township, and died there in 1872.

John Stilwell, with his sons, Elias and David, removed to the township in 1842, when they chose a home on section 8. David removed to section 14, where he purchased 80 acres and still resides. They were among the earliest township officers, and took an active interest in affairs of public import.

Joseph Heminway was a resident of the township before its organization, and first filled the office of school inspector. He resided upon 160 acres, which he purchased of Ward & Bronson, who entered it for purposes of speculation, and lived upon this land until his death.

A.Nutting and his son Randolph were among the earliest purchasers of land in the southwest portion of the township. Randolph Nutting was a surveyor by profession, and the evidences of his professional skill are apparent in every portion of the township. He was a man of scholarly attainments, but eccentric in his tastes, and lived, apart from his neighbors, the life of a hermit. His death occurred in 1879.

In 1843, Russell Worden and Charles Carver arrived. They both purchased uncleared land on section 32, which by their energy and industry converted into productive farms.

John D. Kerr was among the early settlers upon section 20. With him came his son Nathan, who, in conjunction with Charles Root, built a saw-mill on section 11, which, though of limited capacity, sawed much of the timber used in that early day.

Cornelius Cuyler was one of the pioneers of 1846. He purchased of Stephen Vickery, who had previously entered it, 80 acres on section 12. The township in the immediate vicinity of his purchase was in a very primitive condition at this time. Wolves were abundant, and the game of the forest afforded an easy subsistence to the Indians, whose wigwams were seen at frequent intervals. Mr. Cuyler first built a house of logs and then removed his family to their new habitation. At the expiration of a few years he removed to Athens, where he died.

An early festive occasion of some significance in the township was the union on Mr. Cuyler's daughter to Matthew Cullen, - the first marriage in Wakeshma.

Asa Wixson was one of the pioneers of 1845. He came from Chemung Co., N. Y., and located, in November of that year, 80 acres on section 12. He remained with his family at Athens, with a settler named Dolph, until a log house was constructed, into which they removed on its completion. He then began the clearing of his land, having succeeded in improving ten acres the first winter. The following spring ten additional acres were chopped, half of which was sown with wheat. He became a successful farmer, and died in the township in 1871. His son Ozias has laid claim to his having raised the first wheat in the township, though it is quite probable that a wheat crop was produced earlier than 1846.

Augustus R. Scott purchased 80 acres of Asa Briggs, on section 15, in 1846. Mr. Scott was one of the foremost citizens of the township, a man of sound judgment and much force of character. He was the second township clerk, for many years supervisor, and filled other important local offices. His widow still resides upon the homestead.

A settler named Valentine, who lived west of Fulton, then known as Wakeshma Centre, died in 1846. A few of the settlers came to the funeral with ox-teams, the place having been reached with difficulty, owing to the want of roads. A prayer was offered on the occasion, but no further service was held. This was the earliest death in the township.

John and Matthew Cullen were in the township during the year of its organization, but did not enter land until 1849, in July of which year Matthew purchased 40 acres on section 13. They erected a log house and cleared the land embraced in the purchase, and later sold to Benjamin Atwood.

Sylvester Fredenburgh was a former resident of Wayne County, though born in Columbia Co., N. Y. He made Michigan his home in 1852, having purchased 200 acres on section 35. The land was then in a primitive condition, but Mr. Fredenburg's industry soon converted it into productive fields. He immediately built a log shanty, and soon afterwards the first frame barn in the township. The log house not meeting the requirements of his family, he afterwards erected his present spacious residence. This boasted not only a cellar but a cistern, and was altogether the most pretentious residence that appeared in Wakeshma for years. Mr. Fredenburgh was active in the organization of the early school districts, and has, by his well-directed enterprise, been greatly instrumental in the growth and prosperity of the township. The successive years in which he has filled the office of supervisor indicates the confidence manifested by the people in his executive ability. He is a prominent Mason, and has been Worshipful Master of the Wakeshma Lodge from its organization, with the exception of the present year. Mr. Fredenburgh was also instrumental in building the two churches of the township, in one of which he is an active officer. He still resides upon the land he originally purchased.

Benjamin Atwood was a pioneer from Steuben Co., N. Y., and early settled in Calhoun Co., Mich. In 1854, being attracted by the superior quality of the land in Wakeshma, he removed thither, and built the Atwood Mills on section 11, which are still running. He also for a brief period kept a store in the vicinity. Mr. Atwood was a man of strong personal traits, and firm in his convictions. His frank expressions of opinion during the war called forth severe judgment from others, but his subsequent course proved these criticisms to be groundless. He died in 1874, on the land he originally purchased.

Jeremiah Mears removed to the township in 1854, and has at various times owned many farms within its precincts. He now resides at Fulton.

Samuel R. Culp was the pioneer of a small colony of settlers from Ohio, from whence he came in 1856, and purchased the south half of section 24. This portion of the township was then a wilderness, and Mr. Culp devoted himself in the spring of his arrival to the clearing of a sufficient portion upon which to erect a log house, to which he removed his family in the fall. He also built a saw-mill the same year, which was run by steam power, and began operation in December of 1856. This mill was kept actively employed for ten years, and sawed 2,000,000 feet of lumber per year. It was the second saw-mill in the township, the Atwood Mill being the first.

For some time after Mr. Culp's arrival the southeast portion of the township was entirely unsettled, his location being one and a half miles from a road and two miles from the nearest log house. His presence, however, soon attracted a band of settlers from his own State, among whom was Anthony Fritz, who arrived the same fall and purchased a half interest in the mill. George Mason and family and Sidney Draper and family followed soon after and settled on section 25. They all enjoyed the hospitality of Mr. Culp (27 in number) until they were able to erect houses of their own, the size of this elastic log residence having been 16 by 24 feet. George Mason subsequently removed to section 16, where he still resides. Sidney Draper later emigrated to Kansas.

David Kindy was the next Ohio pioneer who selected a home, and now resides on section 24.

Mr. Culp subsequently purchased other lands in the township, and finally removed to Athens, where he is now engaged in mercantile pursuits.

VILLAGES

Fulton - The little Hamlet of Fulton, formerly known as Wakeshma Centre, and still designated by that name by many old residents of the township, is located on the four corners of sections 15, 16, 21, and 22. The land, with the exception of the portion on section 16, was entered by Joshua B. Dawkin, Daniel A. Lovett, J. H. Ostrom, W. R. Palmer, and Thomas R. Walker, in March, 1836. These parties bought for speculative purposes, and sold again long before the first log house was erected, or any preliminary steps were taken towards making it the business centre of the township.

The first settler in Fulton was John Y. Lipe, who emigrated from Onondaga Co., N. Y., and purchased 80 acres, a portion of which is now occupied by the hamlet. He first built a log house, and subsequently engaged in the manufacture of shingles, for which the demand was limited, and easily supplied by Mr. Lipe's industry. He afterwards removed to Wexford County, where he now resides.

Nathan Kerr came soon after and bought the half of Lipe's purchase, embracing 40 acres. He was employed in a saw-mill, built on section 11, but resided in the family of Mr. Lipe.

Calvin Frost, who now resides at Fulton, where he owns a productive farm, came from Canada, and was engaged as a contractor on the Michigan Southern Railroad. In the fall of 1851 he pre-empted land on section 26, on which he erected buildings and improved five acres. He subsequently purchased a land-warrant and located 80 acres, embracing his improvements, Nov. 9, 1852. He cultivated the remaining portion, and ultimately removed to his present residence.

Henry Selkrig built a store in 1869, which he filled with a general stock of goods. The building was three stories in height, the remaining portions having been built by the Good Templars and the Masonic lodge. Mr. Selkrig did not, however, remain long, his successors being William Green & Son. They were in turn succeeded by G. O. Byington, who afterwards removed to the store he at present occupies. The building erected by Mr. Selkrig ultimately passed into the hands of the Hon. Zachariah Chandler.

The hamlet, which in the business season has quite an important trade, has two churches, a flourishing school, taught by Miss Minnie Pierce, two general stores, the proprietors of which are G. O. Byington and Messrs. Culp & Bond, one hardware- and boot- and shoe-store, kept by A. F. Cropsey & Co., a drug-store, owned by O. G. Cook, who is also deputy postmaster (G. P. Mason being the postmaster), a blacksmith-shop, kept by Hakes Brothers, one harness-shop, owned by S. B. Lovin, a wagon-shop, the proprietor of which is G. F. M. Wright, and boot- and shoe-shop, kept by C. Mullen. J. R. Mears carries on a general undertaking business. The place also boasts two physicians, Dr. G. P. Pease, who represents the allopathic, and Dr. W. H. Haskin the homeopathic school.

CHURCHES

Methodist Episcopal.
A class was early organized in Wakeshma, and meetings were held in the school-house at Wakeshma Centre. The society attained such strength that it was determined, under the ministry of Rev. J. W. Hallowell, in 1871, to erect a house of worship. The work progressed so rapidly that the church was nearly completed the same year, and the following year witnessed the dedicatory services. The pastors in succession since the organization of the society have been:

Revs. Frank Gage, John Clubine, 1854; Noah Fassett, 1855; F. W. Hoag, 1856; ----Ostrom, 1858; ----McCarthy, 1860; J. Gore, 1861; ----Kize, 1862; A. W. Torry, 1864; Wm. Paddock, 1867; C. T. Van Antwerp, 1869; J. W. Hallowell, 1870; J. A. Van Fleet, 1873; J. White, 1875; J. R. Orwick, 1876; W. M. Ball, 1878.

The present stewards are D. J. Fritz, J. Hull, J. McIntire, W. C. Smith, P. Dier, G. W. Brownell, O. M. Gates. The trustees are J. Dir, J. B. Hawks, C. Snell, D. Richards, D. F. Bartsha, J. Tomlinson, S. Vickers, F. Harrison.

Connected with the church is a flourishing Sunday-school, over which W. Mapes is superintendent, who is aided by an efficient corps of teachers.

Evangelical Reformed Church
This religious society was organized on the 5th of May, 1866. The first officers were George Snyder and John W. Gibson, Elders; Bernard Mathes and Charles C. Cratser, Deacons; H. G. Hess, Treasurer. The first pastor was Rev. Samuel Z. Beam.

The church edifice was commenced in 1869, the cornerstone being laid on the 9th of October in that year. It was completed and dedicated in the following year, 1870. The pastors since the first mentioned have been L. M. Rershner, Samuel Z. Beam, ---Readlinger (not installed), Solomon Ream, and D. H. Reiter, the present pastor. The original membership numbered 13; the present number of members is 96.

MASONIC

Wakeshma Lodge, No. 284, F. and A. M., was granted a dispensation and held its first meeting Sept. 10, 1868. Its charter was granted January 15th of the following year. Its first officers were W. H. Overholt, S. W.; Charles Burnham, J. W.; E. H. Coller, Sec.; W. H. Selkrig, Treas.; A. A. Holcomb, S. D.; J. R. Seymour, J. D.; S. P. Marsh, Tyler. J. W. Codman, one of its charter members, was also a former member of the lodge to which the notorious Morgan belonged. The present officers are G. O. Byington, W. M.; D. J. Fritz, S. W.; C. Burnham, J. W.; S. P. Marsh, Treas.; N. R. Hakes, Sec.; J. N. Barker, S. D.; J. W. Carr, J. D.; E. B. Ford, Tyler. The present membership is 48.

SCHOOLS

The first school-house in the township was built near the log house of J. J. Gardner, some time after his advent. The early teacher in this rudely-constructed building is not remembered by the surviving settlers. Soon after a school was organized embracing the children of the families living on section 32, and a log school-house was built, the first teacher being Miss Crucia Ann Tuttle.

School-houses followed the arrival of settlers until the township is well supplied with means of instruction. There are in Wakeshma 6 whole and 4 fractional school districts, presided over by the following directors: J. G. Wicks, N. R. Wakes, Joseph Crotser, A. S. Pomeroy, William Culp, Nathan Holcomb, Thomas Copley, J. C. Mears, George Eberstein, and I. F. Alvord. The whole number of pupils receiving instruction is 463, who are taught by 10 male and 11 female teachers. The total amount paid them in salaries is $1488.50.

BIOGRAPHIES

HAINES, David

FREDENBURG, Sylvester

HOLCOMB, Albert A.

MARSH, Stephen R.

CORNWALL, Valentine

Transcribed by Jean Sova
History of Kalamazoo by Samuel W. Durant 1880

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