History of Kalkaska Co MI - Chapter XLVI
The Traverse Region - H.R. Page & Co 1884
Kalkaska County is composed of Townships 25, 26, 27, 28,
north of Ranges 5, 6, 7 and 8 west, all but four of which are organized into towns. It is bounded on the north by Antrim County,
east by Crawford County, south by Missaukee County, and west by
Grand Traverse County. It forms a part of the Traverse Region so
famous for its productiveness of soil, salubrious climate and romantic scenery. The county is what is known as "heavy timbered"
land—sugar maple largely prevailing. The other timber is pine,
ash, elm, basswood, oak, and hemlock. The soil is a sandy loam,
and exceedingly fertile. The crops grown are wheat, corn, clover and timothy, rye, buckwheat, beans, oats, potatoes, turnips and
other root crops—all of which yield abundantly. Forty bushels of
wheat and one hundred bushels of com have been grown to the
acre. The common yield of wheat is from fifteen to twenty-rive
bushels, and of corn from forty to sixty bushels; potatoes from two
to four hundred bushels. It is a natural fruit country, growing the
finest apples, pears, plums, grapes, cherries and small fruits of any
portion of the state.
There is still a large quantity of standing pine in the eastern
portion. It is estimated at six hundred million feet—more than is
contained in any other county on the lower peninsula.
The entire country, with very rare exceptions, is well watered
by streams, originating from springs, of clear mid cold water.
These streams literally swarm with speckled trout, which afford the
most delicious food, and rare sport for the leisure hours. There
are also numerous small lakes, clear and deep, fringed with dense
foliage, romantic, chasing away the monotony of the forest, and
concealing within their waters an abundance of pickerel, bass and
other kinds of fish. The Manistee River touches the east line of
the county and flows in a southwesterly direction across its southern
portion. The Boardman River also crosses a portion of the county.
There is a good slate road running east and west through the
county, from Traverse Bay, on Lake Michigan, to the Manistee
River. An excellent road from Kalkaska to Torch River connects
in the business season with steamboats on the numerous inland
lakes in Grand Traverse and Antrim Counties, several of which
enter Kalkaska County in its northwest corner. The face of the
country is such that roads can easily be made, and there is the
purest water in abundance. Torch Lake and Round Lake—the
latter an arm of Elk Lake—enter the northwest corner, and into
the former Rapid River discharges its waters. The four northwestern towns contain numerous small lakes formed from springs,
in which plenty of fish ere found.
A number of the towns in this county show almost marvelous
development. Good roads and schools, church privileges, Homing
and saw-mills conveniently located, a highly intelligent and rapidly
increasing population, together with cheap lands and a good soil,
present a most inviting field to the seeker for a new home. The
Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad traverses the northwest tier of
towns, in a northeasterly course, crossing the Boardman, South
Boardman & Rapid Rivers. The railroad stations in Kalkaska
County are South Boardman, Crofton, Kalkaska, Leetsville and
Very few of the early settlers in Kalkaska County, who do not
have occasion for remembering with grateful feelings the services
rendered by A. K. Fairbanks, then and now a resident of the town
of Whitewater in Grand Traverse County, and near the Kalkaska
County line. He was familiar with the land in this whole region,
and interested himself in going with those who came to this region
seeking homes, and aided them in various ways after they had located here. His latch string was always out, and while there was
meal in his barrel a neighbor in need was welcome to his portion of it.
The first settler in Kalkaska County was William Copeland,
who located in what is now the town of Clearwater, in the fall of
1855, and is still a resident of that town. For twelve years Mr.
Copeland and wife were the only permanent residents of the county.
About the time Mr. Copeland located there a dam was built on
Barker Creek, but the parties did not build a mill, and did not become residents of the county. Mr. Copeland was near the Grand
Traverse County line and had neighbors in that direction, but in
his own county he was the monarch of all he surveyed and a good
deal more. The following is a brief personal sketch of Mr. Copeland:
William Copeland, farmer, Clearwater, was born in Nottinghamshire, England, Aug. C, 182*2. He spent his youth in his native country, and removed lo America in 1844. He resided for a
short time at Grandville, Mich., and then spent some years in millwright work in various places. He came to what is now Clearwater, Kalkaska County, then a part of Antrim County, in the fall of
1855, located land in Section 81, and opened a pioneer home in the
magnificent Traverse forest. He was the first settler in the
county- On July 11, 1859, he was married to Miss Mary Swaney,
of Old Mission. She was born in Crawford County, Penn., Jan.
20, 1836 She came to Old Mission when only sixteen years of
age, and consequently has had personal experience from childhood
of the stern realities of pioneer life in Traverse Region. Mr. Copeland has in all 860 acres of land, with about 100 under cultivation
and grass. They have some two acres of thriving orchard, part of
which has been in bearing over twenty years. They have good
buildings and commodious and inviting home surroundings. Thus
while they were The first to invade the lofty forest, the first to grapple with the untold hardships of pioneer experience in the wild
domain, having nobly met the emergency, and grandly fulfilled the
task, they now enjoy the reward of their early toil and momentary
hardships. Multitudes of others also have imitated their worthy
example, and the mighty forests of the county already bud and blossom as the
rose. Mr. Copeland has been treasurer of Clearwater six years, and has been school assessor ever since the district
was organized in 1870.
The second settler in the county was L. A. Haynes, present
county treasurer, who located in what is now Wilson, in September, 1866. This year the settlement of the county really began,
although for the next year only a very few arrived.
William H. Bockes, farmer, Clearwater, was born in Medina
County, Ohio. Feb. 18, 1842. He was reared and educated in his
native state. In May, 1861, be enlisted in Company K, Eighth
Ohio Volunteer Infantry, served his country seventeen months in
that regiment, and then re-enlisted in the Sixth United States Cavalry and served nineteen months. At the close of his term of three
years. He enlisted in the Second Ohio Cavalry and served until
honorably discharged in September, 1865. He then returned to
Medina County, and in June, 1866, he made a tour into Traverse
Region and purchased lands in what is now Clearwater, Kalkaska
County, Mich., before the organization of either the county or
township. The only settler then in the county was Mr. William
Copeland. Mr. Bockes then returned to Ohio, and on Oct. 11, 1860,
was married to Miss Margaret Cook, also of Medina County. She
was born there May 4, 1844. Their children are W. Everetta,
Margia E., Z. Cook and Lena 0. After marriage Mr. and Mrs.
Bockes went immediately to their chosen pioneer home, where they
still reside. They then had to obtain their supplies from Elk Rapids. Mr. Bockes has in all 800 acres of laud, about 100 of which
is now under cultivation. He has a flourishing orchard of apples,
pears, cherries, plums, quinces and small fruits, and an elegant
dwelling and other good farm buildings. He has served about
eight years as township treasurer, and is now, in 1884, serving in
his sixth year as supervisor of Clearwater. He has also been for
some six years postmaster of Barker Creek postoffice. Fraternally
he belongs to the I. 0. 0. F. and the G. A. R.
John H. F. Letherby, mason, Clearwater, was born in England, Nov. 30, 1886. He left his native country for Woodstock,
Ont., when sixteen years of age, and remained in that vicinity
until the fall of 1865, and then removed to Traverse Region, Mich.
His marriage was on April 11, 1850, to Miss Matilda Lloyd, also
of England. She was born Aug. 28, 1836. Their children are
John W., Mary E., James Emma, Rebecca., Irene Leslie F.
and George Herbert. In October, 1860, Mr. L. brought his family
from Canada to what is now Clearwater, Kalkaska County, Mich.,
then a part of Antrim County, and opened a home in the lovely forest of Section 82. Ho was then the farthest east of any settler
in the locality. Their supplies came chiefly from Elk Rapids,
brought part way by boat, and carried the rest of the way through
a swamp to the home. He has eighty acres of land, with about
forty improved. He has also a thriving orchard of apples, pears,
plums, cherries, peaches and small fruits, and an excellent dwelling
and other farm buildings. Mr. Letherby devotes his time chiefly
to his work as a mason. The farm is conducted by his son, John
W. Mr. Letherby has served as county surveyor, township superintendent of schools, township clerk and school director, and is
now, in 1884, serving as county coroner. Fraternally he is a Free
Mason, and glories in the promulgation of brotherly love, relief
located on section 36 in the present town of
Clearwater, in the spring of 1867. He was born in Susquehanna
County, Pa., in the year 1838. In 1861 he married Ellen, daughter of Norman Boss, who is also one of the pioneers of Kalkaska
County. September, 1862, Mr. Beebe enlisted in Company H, One Hundred and Forty-third Pennsylvania regiment, and was in the
service one year, at the end of which time he was discharged for
disability. He had been brought up on a farm and desiring to
find a home in some new country where land was cheap, decided to
try northern Michigan. Accordingly, in the spring of 1867 he
brought his family to Indiana, where Mr. Boss was then living, and
leaving them there he came up to the Traverse Region and selected
a location on Section 36, as above stated. He then brought his
family and they lived in what was known as the Jerry Curtis house
until he could build one. They moved into their own house the
following fall, and Mr. Beebe went at work to make a farm. The
next year the town of Clearwater was organized and he was elected
the first town treasurer. In 1870 he was elected sheriff of the
county and removed to the village of Kalkaska where he still lives.
He sold his farm to the county for a part of the poor farm. He
afterwards purchased land in Excelsior, and still owns a farm not
far from the village. Mr. Beebe is a prominent member of the Odd
Fellows and Masonic fraternities. They have four children.
Norman Boss moved from Indiana to Clearwater in the summer of 1867, and located on Section 36, where he lived until the
fall of 1882, when he removed to the village of Kalkaska where he
now resides. He is a native of Susquehanna County, Pa., and was
born in January, 1808. In 1866 he removed to Indiana. Mr.
Boss took a leading part in the organization of the town of Clearwater, and was the first supervisor from that town. He has also
been prominently identified with the religious activities of the
Elisha W. Clement, farmer, Clearwater, was born in Brantford, Canada, Sept. 7, 1840. His early youth was spent in his
native country. He came to Macomb County, Mich., in the fall of
1864, and in the spring of 1867 he removed to Traverse City, Grand
Traverse County, and in December following settled on Section 14,
of what is now Clearwater, Kalkaska County. His marriage was
on May 7, 1867, to Miss Amelia Fox, of Macomb County. She
was born in Westminster, Canada, May 29, 1889. They have five
living children, Charles W., Minnie, Delia, Allena and Anna. He
has 200 acres of land with about fifty under cultivation, an apple
orchard and a pleasant home. He has a mill in course of erection
for the manufacture of lumber, with a capacity of cutting eight
thousand feet per day. He has served as highway commissioner
one year. He and his family are members of the Roman Catholic
A. C. Beebe settled on Section 86, in Clearwater, in May, 1868.
He came from Susquehauua County, Pa. He had served three years
in the war, from 1862 to 1865, and came west to make a home
where land was cheap. By the time he had settled his family in a
home his money was exhausted. He had no team but was fortunate in the possession of a wife who could be a helpmate, and together they did the first work of logging and clearing. Mr. Beebe
was town clerk three years and was the first treasurer of the county.
The first term of court in the county was held at his house. In
the fall of 1876 he removed to the village of Kalkaska where he
has been engaged in mercantile business, lumbering and milling.
He has a wife and two sons.
farmer and postmaster, Clearwater, was born in
England, Nov. 22, 1833. His youth was spent in his native
country. On March 28, 1855, he started for New York, arriving
on May 11. Ho went from there to Lisbon, Wis. He remained
there seven years, and then returned and spent two years more in
England. On June 2, 1864, he was married to Miss Mary Bolton,
also of England. Their living children are Jemima, George W.,
Charles P. and John Elmer. In the summer of 1886 Mr. Gillett
returned to Wisconsin, and in the spring of 1868 they removed to
what is now Clearwater, Kalkaska County, Mich. They located
land in Section 22, and opened a pioneer dwelling in the majestic
forest. They covered their dwelling first with hemlock boughs.
No lumber could then be obtained. Later they covered it with
brick, and after some three years obtained and put on a more perfect and permanent roofing. At various times he has traveled over
forty miles in a day in getting their supplies, carrying them on his
back over twenty miles to his home. He has 120 acres of land,
with about twenty-eight acres under cultivation. He has an orchard of various fruits, and inviting home comforts. He has been
school officer nearly nine years, and postmaster of Clearwater postoffice since 1877. In the spring of 1851 they opened a small store
of general merchandise, and are receiving a liberal patronage. They
are members of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
Jacob N. Rickers, of the firm of Rickers Bros., of the township
of Clearwater, was born in Holstein, Europe, May 18, 1651. In
August, 1864, he arrived with his parents and their family in Quebec, Canada. About two years later they removed to Detroit, Mich.,
and in August, 1868, they located land in what is now Clearwater,
Kalkaska County, and prepared them a pioneer home in the forest.
His parents are now both deceased. Their present mill was built
in 1882 by himself and his brothers, Julius, William and Carl
Rickers. It has a capacity for cutting about 10,030 feet of lumber
per day. They also have 400 acres of real estate, with about
seventy-five acres under cultivation. They have also a thriving orchard, a good dwelling, and inviting home conveniences. Julius
and William Rickers, twins, were born in Holstein, Feb. 15, 1867.
Carl was born Aug. 28, 1864, in Montreal, Can. Mr. J. N. Rickers
has been justice of the peace four years, clerk over two years and
treasurer two years in Clearwater.
A.T. Kellogg one of the early settlers in the town of
Clearwater. He was born in Cortland County, N. Y., in the year
1834. Lived in Allegany County twelve years. He was a carpenter and wagon maker by trade, and was in the army nearly a
year engaged in building bridges. In September, 1868, he came
to the Traverse Region to select a site for a home. He landed at
Elk Rapids, and went from there to Torch Lake on a tug boat.
From that point he started into the woods without a compass or
anything to cat, but fortunately found a settler s cabin before going
a great distance. He located 160 acres of land on Section 14, in
Town 28 north, of Range 8, built a house, and in November was
joined by his family. They came to Elk Rapids, and thence on a
tug boat to Torch Lake. From there they walked to their new
home, a distance of four miles, their household goods being carried
on a wagon. He lived on the farm about six years. In November,
1874, he moved to the village of Kalkaska, and opened a general
store where the bank now stands. He also owned and kept the
hotel now called the Manning House. He has been engaged in
mercantile business more or less to the present time; is also interested in a lumber yard, and in the Kalkaska Manufacturing
Company. He owns about 1,000 acres of timbered land, and is
engaged in lumbering. He has built a number of dwelling-houses
in the village. In 1872 he was admitted to the bar, and in the
fall of that year was elected prosecuting attorney. He has held the
office of supervisor of Clearwater and Kalkaska about eleven years.
He owned the second horse team in the county. Has a wife and
Thomas Lancaster, farmer, Clearwater, was born in Canada
Oct. 27, 1844. He spent his youth and received his early education
in his native country. In the fall of 1866 he removed to Forestville, Mich. Two years later he removed to what is now Clearwater, Kalkaska County, before either the county or township was
organized. He located land in Section 26, and opened a pioneer
home in the beautiful Traverse forest. The nearest store and postoffice were at Elk Rapids. He had to carry the lumber for his
dwelling three-quarters of a mile, and draw the shingles over three
miles on a hand sleigh. The logs for the dwelling, also, they carried to the place on their shoulders. There was then but one ox
team and one horse team in the county. On April 16, 1870, he
was married to Miss Amelia Ross, also of Clearwater. She was
born in Susquehanna County, Penn., Jan. 14, 1862. Their living
children are Flora B., Albert A., Roy A. and Tula A. Mr. Lancaster has eighty acres of land, with forty acres under cultivation.
He has a flourishing fruit-bearing orchard of apples, peaches,
plums, quinces, pears, cherries, grapes and other small fruits, and
also commodious farm buildings. He has served as school assessor
nine years, as highway commissioner three years, and two years as
county superintendent of the poor. He and Mrs. Lancaster are
members of the Protestant Methodist Church.
Thomas Hurley, farmer, Clearwater, was born in England
Feb. 21, 1857. He came with his parents in the fall of 1867 to
Waukesha County, Wis. In April, 1869, they came to what is now
Clearwater, Kalkaska Co., Mich. They located land in Section 22,
and forthwith prepared them a pioneer forest home. Mr. Hurley
has spent five years in the butcher business in Elk Rapids, and has
purchased and now resides on the homestead farm taken up by his
father. He owns 120 acres of land, with about sixty-five acres
under cultivation. He has a fine fruit-bearing orchard and good
farm buildings. His marriage was on November 25, 1879, to Miss
Charlotte E. Baynton, of Whitewater, Grand Traverse County.
She was born in Canada in 1868. Their children are Clarence H.,
and Bertha Hay. Mr. Hurley is overseer of highways, and also
Richard Towers, teacher and tanner, Clearwater, was born in
England March 9, 1887. He came from his native country to New
York in 1855 or '56. Thence he went to near Litchfield, Conn.,
and from there to Waukesha County, Wis. After some time spent
there in farm work and school teaching, and in attendance at Carroll College, he traveled through parts of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri
and Tennessee to Ohio, where he spent some two years at Oberlin
College, and then, returning to Wisconsin, resumed his work of
teaching. Later he taught in Illinois and also in Iowa. In April,
1861, he enlisted in Company C, Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry,
and served four months in the suppression of the rebellion under
the first call for three months of service. In March, 1868, he was
married to Miss Catharine Small, also of Waukesha County, Wis.
She was born in Scotland in 1889. Their living children are Alice
L, Edith J., Willard J., John S. and Amy Laura. From Iowa Mr.
Towers returned to Wisconsin, and in 1869 they removed to what
is now Clearwater, Kalkaska County, Mich. They located land on
Section 22, where they have eighty acres, with about twenty-five
acres under cultivation. They have also a thriving orchard of
apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries and small fruits, and various home comforts. Mr. Towers has been school inspector several
years, and is now (1884) serving in his third year as township
clerk of Clearwater. He and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a local preacher in that church,
and also has been ten or twelve years superintendent of the Sabbath-school in his district. Fraternally, he is an Odd Fellow and
a Free Mason. There were a few others who settled in Clearwater
at an early day, among whom were Varguson Balch, Master, Lane,
0. S. Curtis and Brookmyer, most of whom are now gone from the
Mr. M. Moran came from Kentucky in the fall of 1860 and settled in Clearwater. He lauded at Elk Rapids in the month of
October. He had started from Kentucky with the intention of going to Minnesota. A sister-in-law whom he visited in the state of
Wisconsin advised him to visit this part of Michigan which he did.
After looking about he bought eighty acres in the township of Clearwater of Cornelius Cronin, who was at that time working at Elk
Rapids. He then bought his furniture and started with his family
for his new possessions which were perfectly wild. Lumber had
been delivered on the spot for building a temporary shelter, but it
was raining every day and rather than take the risk of this exposure
of his family to the elements, Mr. Moran bought eighty acres adjoining,
upon which a rude log house had been built, paying there for $800, the man to give immediate possession; accordingly he
moved out and Mr. M. moved in. The family were a little homesick while backing a stove and other furniture through the woods.
L. A. Haynes, the present treasurer of Kalkaska County, was
the second settler to remain permanently in the county, and the first
in what is now the town of Wilson. He was born in Livingston
County, N. Y., in the year 1829. When he was about two years of
age his parents removed to Ohio, and settled in the township of
York, Sandusky County. February 24, 1851, he married the daughter of a Mr. Hoot, one of the early settlers in that township, and in
1855 they removed to Michigan and settled in Lenawee County.
September, 1884, he enlisted and was in service until May, 1866.
After the close of the war his company was sent to Texas. After
returning home he made up his mind to go into a new country
where he could settle upon a homestead, and in August of that year,
1888 visited the Traverse Region. A friend who had located in
Traverse County gave him information about the country, and after
looking about, he located eighty acres on Section 8, in what is now
the town of Wilson. In September, 1800, he brought his family.
They went to Elk Rapids and were taken by team to Smith Lake,
where they lived in a lumber shanty about a month, while their
log house was being built. William Hough, also of Rome, Mich.,
settled with his family at the same time, and located on a homestead adjoining Mr. Haynes. Mr. Hough afterward went into
lumbering and removed from the county.
The first clearing in Wilson was done by Mr. Haynes. Mr.
Hough had some money but poor health, while Mr. Haynes had no
money and with pork at thirty-six dollars and flour at fourteen dollars per barrel, it was necessary to labor.
During that winter he chopped five acres for Mr. Hough and five acres for himself. He
was the first justice of the peace and first supervisor in the town,
and as a member of the board of supervisors, took an active part in
the first affairs of the county. In the fall of 1800 he went to Rome
with his family, and remained there until February, 1871, when
they returned and located on Section 7, where they lived until the
winter of 1888, when, having been elected treasurer of the county,
Mr. Haynes removed with his family to the village of Kalkaska.
They have had four children, and buried one son. The first school in Wilson was taught by Miss Ada Haynes, at
Mr. Haynes' house, in the winter of 1868-69.
The first death in Wilson was that of a son of Mr. Hough,
which occurred about 1869.
Thomas Johnson owned the first team, a yoke of oxen.
The next settlers in Wilson after Messrs. Haynes and Hough
were William Gibson and Thomas Johnson.
Very early in the history of the county a few settlers found
their way into what is now Rapid River, the first settlement in this
town being made in the full of 1867. H. U. Hill, Horace Rice and
his two sons, L. A. and S. A. Rice, were the first to locate and
build houses. William H. Ashdon came about that time. Wood,
Evans, the two Holleys, Henry Lannin and McCutcheon followed
the next spring.
H.U. Hill was born in Ontario County, N. Y., in the year
1825. His parents removed to Chautauqna County. In August,
1861, he enlisted in Company G, Forty-ninth New York Infantry,
and remained in the service until September, 1864. In the spring
of 1867 he went to Iowa in pursuit of a home in a new country, but
not liking the climate, did not make a location. He was at that
time a reader of the New York Tribune, which was then publishing
letters from Michigan descriptive of the country. He was broken
in health as the result of his army experiences, but had sons old
enough to engage in labor. They decided to try the new country
in Michigan. In September, 1867, Mr. Hill came to the Traverse
Region. He landed at Traverse City and spent several days examining maps and making inquiries regarding the country. The Grand
Rapids & Indiana Railroad was projected although not surveyed.
He was of the opinion that such a road would be built, and desired
to select a location as near the line of the road as possible. Taking
a land looker he visited the present township of Clearwater, and
thence into other townships. He finally made a location on Section
82, of Town 28 north, of Range 7, now in the town of Rapid River.
He took up a homestead of eighty acres, and subsequently located
another eighty acres adjoining. He was accompanied by one son,
and they immediately went at work and built a good log house, completing it in December. In October his family came to Traverse
City by way of the straits, and were taken to their new home by
team. He lived on his farm until the fall of 1880, when he removed to the village. Mr. Hill was the first judge of probate in
the county, and held that office until 1881. He was the first justice
of the peace in the county, being elected in the spring of 1868. The
county at that time belonged to Antrim County. He also held the
office of supervisor for several years, and was president of the county
Farmers Club for sometime. Married in 1846, at Ripley, Chautauqua County. N. Y., to Climena P. Bigelow. She died Jane 1,1879.
Seven children were born to them, of whom four are now living.
Mr. Hill is now a justice of the peace.
The first death in the town of Rapid River was that of Horace
Rice, father of 8. A. and L. A. Rice, which occurred in March.
1868. The snow was deep, and there being no roads, it was impossible to get a coffin from outside, and one was
made of boards
taken from the floor overhead in one of the log houses. Rev. Daniel Schofield, of Williamsburg, preached the funeral sermon.
The first team in Rapid River was a yoke of oxen which S. A.
Rice brought with him when he moved into the township.
The first school in Rapid River was taught by Mrs. H. U. Hill
at her home, in the summer of 1868. The lint school-house was
built in 1869. It was of hewed logs and is still standing. Mrs.
Hill and her daughter Eliza taught the first three terms of school
in the township. Roth are now dead.
The first store in that part of the county was started by James
Campbell in 1878, about a mile from the present village of Westwood. This was one of the earliest stores to the county.
William H. Ashdon, farmer, Rapid River, was born in England,
Aug. 25, 1825. At the age of eighteen years ho enlisted in the
British Army and spent six years in the service of his native country.
In 1818 he came to Lock port, Niagara County, N. Y. He purchased
land and remained there several years. His marriage was to Miss
Mary A. Harmer, also of Niagara County, They had three children, Myron H., Mary M., and William R. Mrs. Ashdon died Nov.
2, 1862. His second marriage was on July 2, 1868, to Miss Miranda C. Dean, of Tuscola County, Mich. She was born in Sanilac
County, July 10, 1845. Their children are George L., Edwin S.,
Alice L., and Annie Grace. Mr. Ashdon's removal from New York
State was to Tuscola County. Mich. From there, in 1867, he came
to Rapid River, Kalkaska County, where he located land on Section
6, and opened for himself and family a pioneer home in the waving forest. He then had to bring their supplies from Elk Rapids,
a distance of twenty miles. He has eighty acres of beautiful land,
with forty-live under cultivation. He has also a fruit-bearing orchard of choice varieties of fruit, and an inviting home. He has
been four years township treasurer, and five years commissioner of
highways. He is a member of the I. 0. O. F.
Henry Lannin, proprietor of mill, Rapid River, was born in
Canada, March 8, 1845. He spent his youth and learned the trade
of carpenter and joiner in his native country. In 1886 he came to
Saginaw, Mich., and spent two years. In 1868 ho removed to
Rapid River, Kalkaska County, and located land on Section 6, where
he still resides. In 1870 he opened a mill in which he manufactures
shingles and lumber. Mr. L. has been twice married. His first
marriage was to Miss Mary L. Barber, of Canada. She died
in 1875. His second marriage was on Oct. 28, 1878, to Mi»s Lucinda A. Herriman, of Rapid River. They have one daughter,
Mary Arvilla. He has been supervisor of Rapid River four years.
Hie fraternity is the I. 0. 0. F.
The first settlement in the present town of Kalkaska was
made by William Richardson, who came from the southern part of
the state in March, 1867. He hauled his goods into the county
on a hand Bled, and suffered a good deal from hardship on account
of the cold and deep snow. George W. Smith, Antoine Buckle
and a man named Gerber came in soon after. There was quite a
length of time that there were no additions to the number of
settlers. In 1878 the village of Kalkaska was started in this town
and its population suddenly and rapidly increased.
The town of Springfield was settled about this time, and was
organized in 1871. H. H. Haskin, Adrian Clark and Robert
Creighton were among the first settlers. Mr. Haskin came from
Traverse City, where he was foreman of the first planing-mill
operated in the Traverse Region.
Hymen H. Haskin was born in Cayuga County, N. Y., Oct. 18,
1881. He came with his parents to Washtenaw County, Mich.,
in 1844, and went thence to Kent County in the spring of 1849.
Five years later he removed to St. Joseph County, Ind. His youth
and early manhood were spent chiefly in farming and school teaching. On March 25, 1858, he was married to Miss Sarah Ann
Rupel, also of St. Joseph County. They had one daughter, Harriet. Mrs. Haskin died Aug. 80, 1855. His second marriage was
on March 18, 1857, to Miss Adelia P. Orommon, of Marshall
County, Ind. She was born in Jefferson County, N. Y., April 18,
1828. Their children* arc Elthea E., Octavia S., Grant and Henrietta A. In 1801 Mr. Haskin went to California, and was engaged chiefly in mining until June, 1800. He then returned,
visited Traverse Region to August, and in November brought his
family to Traverse City, where he put up the machinery, and for
five years conducted the work to the planing-mill of Hannah,
Greilick A Co. It was the first ever operated in Traverse Region.
In May, 1869, he located land in Springfield, Kalkaska County,
before a tree was felled on the shores of Fife Lake, and before any
railroad or village there was contemplated. He often had to carry
supplies from Traverse City on his back. In going to his homestead he and three others drew a load of some 200 pounds on a
light sleigh from Traverse City twenty-two miles. Through twelve
miles of the distance there was no track broken and the snow was
two feet deep. He and his family entered their chosen home in
November, 1870. He has eighty acres of land with about thirty
under cultivation. He has also a flourishing fruit-bearing orchard
of various kinds of fruit, and an inviting home. In the early pioneer times the forest was greatly infested by wolves. Mr. Haskin
has caught gray wolves on his own premises weighing 100 pounds.
Mr. Haskin was one of those who organized the county and also
the township. He was appointed by the legislature as one of the
inspectors of the first election held in the county. He was the
first township clerk in Springfield and served two years. He then
served as supervisor the next throe years, and has filled various
other official positions.
The first land entered in the town of Boardman by any person who became a settler of the town was by W. H. Leach, now a
resident of South Boardman, in the fall of 1870. He did not
become a resident of the town until 187-2. The first settlers came
in, in the spring of 1871. They were F. Sutter, J. M. Myers, J,
S. Ely, J. M. Rhodes, the Wells, E. and C. Luce, S. Heller. Soon
afterward came J. McClory, James M. Flagg, M. C. Smith and
Mr. House. J. M. Myers was the first supervisor, and Mrs. Myers
taught the school in District No. 1 six terms.
The town of Orange dates back to the spring of 1871, when
Orange A. Row, A. P. Wheeler and Lewis Deuel located homesteads, Row and Wheeler on Section 18, and Deuel on Section 8.
The three men named from Hillsdale County set out in March to
locate homes in this new country. They were accompanied by
four others who came up here but did not remain. The party
came by train to Paris, near Big Rapids, and from there the journey was made on foot. The first night after arriving here they
camped out in the woods. There were plenty of hemlock boughs
for shelter, but their stock of provisions consisted of one loaf of
bread. A pioneer, however, was never known to starve. Persons
die of hunger in crowded cities and in midst of plenty, but all the
annals of history do not furnish an instance where the genuine
pioneer has died of starvation.
The three men first named selected their homesteads, and the
preparations for homes were begun. Mr. Bow built the first house
and Mr. Wheeler's family arriving in August lived in it until his
own was finished a little later.
Mr. Row's family arrived in February and Mr. Deuel's in the
summer. James Drake and Edward Davis were also among the
first to locate in the town. Their homesteads were on Section 4.
Their families came in 1872.
In the fall of 1872 the town was organized and those who
signed the petition as residents and freeholders were as follows:
James H. Drake, John Dubois, Lewis Deuel, 0. A. Row, Francis
Doyel, L. W. Blanchard, A. P. Wheeler, E. C. Davis, A. S. Pool,
N. Patterson and Andrew Nelson.
The first election was the Presidential election of 1872, at
which nine votes were cast.
The first teams in the town were owned by Drake and
0. A. Row was the first supervisor, James U. Drake, first
clerk, and Norman Saunders, first treasurer.
The first chopping was done by Bow and Wheeler.
The first school was kept by Mrs. Mary Dixon at her home.
The first school-house, known as " Row's school-house," was
built on Section 19 about four years after the town was settled.
The postoffice was first established in 1879 with 0. A. Bow
postmaster. The office is called Lodi. William Barnes is the
The first frame barn to Orange was raised May 15, 1878, on
the farm of Mr Row.
The town of Orange settled very rapidly, and by the fall of
1871, the government land had been nearly all taken up. When
When the first house was built there was not another within a distance
of seven miles. The nearest postoffice was at Traverse City,
thirty-five miles away, and from that place the settlers had to
transport their supplies upon their backs.
Orange A. Row was born in Monroe County, N. Y., in the
year 1887. About the year 1849 his parents removed to Michigan
and settled in Eaton County October, 1862, Mr. Row enlisted in
Company K, Forty-fourth Indiana Infantry, and remained in the
service until the close of the war. Sept. 7, 1871, he was married
at Wright, Hillsdale. He was engaged in farming in that county
before coming to Kalkaska County, in 1872, as already stated.
He lived on his farm in Orange until 1881, when, having been
elected sheriff of the county at the previous fall election,
he removed to the village of Kalkaska. Since his term of office
expired he has been in the real estate business. His homestead
farm is one of the finest in the county, there being about seventy-
five acres improved and good buildings.
The first settler in the town of Cold Springs was David Horsburg, who came from Ionia County in 1871, and settled on Section 18. He came by railroad as far as Big Rapids, thence by
stage to Traverse City, and by boat to Spencer Creek, by way of
Elk Rapids and Brownstown. From Spencer Creek he walked
fourteen miles through the forest to his homestead, with nothing
but section line's to guide him, and not a habitation on his route.
He carried on his back fifty pounds of flour and some groceries.
His first habitation, in which he spent six weeks, was made of
hemlock boughs. While staying in this shelter he was taken sick
and for three days could not help himself to a drink of water at
the brook only two rods distant. When he got ready to build his
house, he went to Mancelona, six miles distant, and got Perry
Andrews' team to draw the logs together. L. M. Nye and Nathan
Holiday assisted him in erecting his house.
The second settler was Samuel Bigerow, who came from Canada and located on the cost one-half of the southeast one-quarter
of Section 20, in May, 1872. He came by boat to the Pine River, in
Charlevoix County. There he loaded his family and household
goods into a wagon, attached to which was a team be had brought
with him from Canada, and drove through to his homestead.
Four miles of the way be had cut his own road, which cost him
twenty dollars. When he got within half a mile of his place the
wagon upset, killing his little boy, aged five years, and dangerously
wounding a little girl. Mr. Halverson, who came here a few days
previous, heard the noise and went to their assistance. They made
a box of rough boards and buried the little fellow by the roadside.
Arrived at his destination, Mr. Bigerow built a shelter of elm
bark laid on poles, in which himself and family stayed for two
weeks. In the meantime Mr. B. cut and drew together logs, and,
with the help of five or six neighbors, raised a substantial house.
His next operation was to chop and clear two acres and sow
it to millet and rutabagas, from which he cut two tons of the millet and dug forty bushels of the vegetables. On these crops he
wintered twelve head of cattle, with what they would manage to
pick up during the day.
For his family supplies Mr. B. had to go to Elk Rapids or
Traverse City, the former twenty-five miles and the latter thirty-
four miles distant
The third settler in Cold Springs was Joseph Halverson. who
located on Section 20 in March, 1872. He came on his homestead in-May, built a house and remained until the following November, when he went after his family. They came from Fife
Lake to Kalkaska on a construction train, and were taken by
wagon to their new home, arriving there in December. In the
fall of 1878 he sold fifty bushels of potatoes.
Joseph Halverson was born at Fall River, Mass. July 31,
1830. He was bereft of his mother, and removed with his father
to Rochester, N. Y., in childhood. In 1841 they removed to Hillsdale Comity, Mich. Shortly after he attained his majority he went
to California and was engaged in mining until 1862. He then re-
turned home, and on May 4, 1863, he was married to Miss Hattie
L. Mead, of Spring Arbor, Jackson County, Mich. She was born
in Livingston County, Mich., June 25, 1828. Their children are
Nettie, Anna S., Grace and an infant daughter. After marriage
Mr. H. spent three years in farming in Spring Arbor, and then removed with his family to California, and continued his work of
mining until December, 1871. In March following he located land
on Section 20 in what is now Cold Springs, Kalkaska County,
Mich. On Dec. 12, 1872, his family arrived and took possession
of their primeval forest home. They arrived at what is now Kalkaska on a construction tram. There was no dwelling there then.
They took supper in a cloth tent. When preparing his dwelling
Mr. Halverson had to carry his supplies from Elk Rapids and
Spencer Creek. He bought lumber for his house at eight dollars
per 1,000 feet at a lumber camp and had to give nine dollars per
1,000 to have it drawn nine miles to his place. He has eighty
acres of land with nearly forty under cultivation. He has an orchard of apples, pears, cherries, plums and small fruits, and an inviting home. He has served as township superintendent of schools
two years, justice of the peace eight years, and is now, in 1881,
serving in his fifth year as township clerk of Cold Springs.
Allen E. Burnham, carpenter and joiner and farmer, was
born in Shelby, Orleans County, N. Y., April 14, 1880. He came
with his parents to Washtenaw County, Mich., in 1888, and, with
the exception of two years, remained there until his removal to
Traverse Region. In August, 1847 he enlisted in Company D,
First Michigan Infantry, and served his country in the Mexican
war until its close. His honorable discharge was on July 26, 1848.
On April 6, 1854, be was married to Miss Nancy A. Squire, of
Milan, Monroe County, She was born to Villanuovia, Chautauqua
County, N. Y., Dec 7, 1880. Their children are Charles E., William A. and Minnie G. In October, 1872, Mr.
Burnham located lands in Section 20, in Cold Springs, Kalkaska County, and opened
them a pioneer home in the waving forest, before Kalkaska village
was commenced. He then had to obtain their supplies from
Grand Traverse and Elk Rapids, He thinks his was the third
family that settled in that township. After dealing forty acres
and erecting good buildings on his homestead land, he sold it, and
in March, 1882, removed to Section 30, where he is again causing
the wilderness to bud and blossom as the rose. He took part in
the organization of Cold Springs Township; was its first treasurer
and its second supervisor. He has also been superintendent of
schools, highway commissioner and justice of the peace. He is a
member of the I. O. O. F. In the fall of 1864, Sept, 1, he again enlisted, and on November 8 muttered Company B, Hall's Battalion
Independent Sharpshooters, Michigan Volunteers (afterward consolidated with the First Michigan Volunteers). He received his com-
mission as captain and served until honorably discharged April 10,
1805. His regiment was the first to plant the Union flag in
Elijah Goodwin, farmer, Cold Springs, was born in Cayuga
County, N. Y., on Oct. 3, 1842. He came with his parents to
Oakland County, Mich., in October, 1845, and remained there until
1878. On Aug. 6, 1861, he enlisted in Company D, Fifth Michigan Infantry, served his country about three years in that capacity,
and then re-enlisted as a veteran and served until honorably discharged in July, 1865. After the close of the war he returned
home, and on Feb. 27, 1866, he was married to Miss Elizabeth A.
Urch, of Independence, Oakland County, Mich. She was born
there Feb. 8, 1844. Their living children are Etta L., William A.,
Alice and Elwin Clarence. After marriage they resided seven
years in Milford, and then removed to Cold Springs, Kalkaska
County, and located 100 acres of land on Section G. Mr. Goodwin
has nearly fifty acres of his estate under cultivation, and has a
thriving fruit bearing orchard, a pleasant dwelling, commodious
barn and other farm buildings. His residence is beautifully situated in full view of the rising village of Westwood, on the Grand
Rapids A Indiana Railway. He has served two years as highway
commissioner, eight years as justice of the peace, two years as
clerk and three years as supervisor of Cold Springs. He is now,
in 1884, noble grand in the I. O. O. F.
John E. Rainbow, farmer, was born in Wheatland County,
N. Y., April 26, 1840. At the age of eight years he removed with
his parents to Canada. Two years later they removed to Coldwater, Mich., where he remained several years, On Dec. 7, 1872,
he was married to Miss Elizabeth Nye, also of Cold water. She
was born there in 1847. She died in August, 1880. His second
marriage was to Miss Libbie Heart, of Cold Springs, May 11, 1882.
She was a native of Indiana. In 1878 Mr. Rainbow removed to
Mancelone spent one year, and then settled in Cold Springs, Kalkaska County. He has 210 acres of land with fifteen under cultivation, a thriving orchard and a pleasant farm-house. He has
filled all the township offices except that of clerk. Fraternally he
is a member of the I. 0. 0. F. and of the Grand Army of the
Republic. He has served his country three years in the suppression of the rebellion, and receives a pension for a wound received
in his left shoulder at the battle of the Wilderness.
James F. McKay came from Canada in the spring of 1878
and located on Section 20. When he arrived here his money was
gone and he had to work out to earn enough to enable him to
enter his land. He found employment on the railroad and his wife
worked In Traverse City. In the full of 1878 they came to their
homestead and built a small shanty.
The first settlers in this part of the county had a long distance
to go for provisions until James Campbell started his store on the
line of the railroad in 1873.
The first settlement in the town of Excelsior was made in
1874. During that year Nathaniel Woodfield took up a homestead
and located. The next to hew out homes in the woods were James
Elliot, W. W. Crippen, D. E. Wherry and the Hughes family. All
moved here with families, except Nathaniel Woodfield, to commence making their homes in the forest, without either houses or
roads. At the October session of the board of supervisors in 1874,
the above named and other gentlemen who had located in the town
at the same time, presented a petition for the organization on the
township. In the spring of 1875 the first township meeting was
held, fifteen votes being cast. W. W. Crippen was elected supervisor; W. L. Stewart, clerk; L. I.. Eldred, treasurer; D. E.
Wheny, commissioner of highways. The first improvement in the
township was made by W. W. Crippen, who cleared about five
acres. Other improvements were started by each of the early setters. During 1875 quite a number were added to the list, and the
immigration to the town has steadily increased from then down to
the present time, until now there is a population of 800 or more,
and about ninety voters. There are now 1,300 acres of land under
cultivation. The largest improvement is that of W. W. Crippen,
being about seventy acres, while James Greacen and William
Lewis come next, with fifty acres each. At present there is one
saw-mill in operation, an Odd Fellows hall and a postoffice. The
postoffice that was used first was a large elm tree on the premises
of James Greacen. It was probably the largest tree in the county,
measuring thirty-three feet around the body, and hollow at the bottom. It flood at the side of a by-road, and those who went to
Kalkaska would carry back all mail for parties residing here, who
would then go to the "postoffice" and get it. There are now a
good postoffice and a tri-weekly mail. There are six school-houses
in The town, four of which are supplied with patent seats; one
church society and three Sunday-schools, with occasional preaching at two or three points.
Forest Lodge, No. 379, I.0. 0. F., located in the town of Excelsior, is of recent birth, and its history is as follows: Early in
1883 a call was made for all Odd Fellows in Excelsior to meet
at the school-house in District No. 2. This meeting was followed by others, it was agreed to build a hall and organize a
lodge. One-half acre of laud was purchased of John Lewis, and a
building counties, consisting of P. Grands, S. J. Raker, James
Greacen and A. H. Clark, appointed. December 17 a dispensation was issued and a commissioner sent to the D. D. G. M. of
Kalkaska Lodge, to institute a lodge in Excelsior. December 29
the lodge was formally instituted. The following officers were installed:—N. G., 8. J. Baker; V. G., M. S. Weed; B. S., A. II.
Clark; -P. H., E. 8- Carpenter; treasurer, James M. Porter; W. M.,
J. Stewart; conductor, F. Hotelling; J. G., John M. Guilford.
The new lodge started out with eighteen members.
We have traced the early settlement far enough to show the
early stages of development in the county. We have not undertaken to give the names of every person who may have located in
the county during the period covered; that is not important. It is,
however, important to know the general progress of early development. The statistics which are hereafter given, show that in 1870
the aggregate imputation of Kalkaska and Crawford Counties was
only 424, and four years later it had increased to 1,259; while in
1880 Kalkaska County had a population of 2,937.
During the time of which we have been speaking, Kalkaska
village was started, and its history is given in a separate
The first Fourth of July celebration in the county was held in
1868, at what is now the Rice school-house, near the line between
Rapid River and Kalkaska Township. There were thirty-four persons present, which comprised a good share of the population of
the county. The national anniversary was there observed with as
true and earnest a patriotism as though it had been attended by the
most glittering pageantry. At the close of the day it was agreed
to meet at the same place each year, and for three years that
arrangement was carried out. By the time the fourth year had
arrived other settlements had been planted in the county, and each
neighborhood regulated its own social festivities.
The first horse teams in the county were owned by Messrs.
William Copeland and A. T. Kellogg, of Clearwater Township.
We will now turn to matters connected with the civil history
and general progress of the county.
The first Sunday-school in the county was organized at the
house of Mrs. Betsey Rice, in the town of Rapid River, July 11,
1869. S. W. Stacy was superintendent. There were eleven pupils.
The school was continued until the following October, and a portion of the time meetings were held in the woods. The number of
members was increased to twenty-six, some of them walking five
miles to attend these meetings. Civilization works great changes.
The number of persons who, walk five miles to attend Sunday-school in 1684 is not so large us to excite astonishment.
The first term of court in the county was held at the house of
A. C. Beebe in the town of Clearwater.
County of Wabassee laid off—Name Changed to Kalkaska—Organization of the County—Acts of Supervisors—Organization of Towns
—Town Officers—County Officers—The Bar—Church Organizations—School Matters—War Pensioners—
County Agricultural Society—Statistical —Postoffices.
In 1840 when the northern part of the southern peninsula was
laid off into unorganized counties, the present territory of Kalkaska County was laid off and named Wabassee. In 1843 the
name was changed to Kalkaska. The county was for some time attached to the county of Grand Traverse and afterward to Antrim,
remaining attached to the latter until its organization was effected.
The county of Kalkaska was organized under an act of legislature approved Jan. 27, 1871, which provided as follows:
"That the county of Kalkaska consisting of the territory embraced by the present county of Kalkaska, be and the same is
hereby organized into a separate county by the name of Kalkaska,
and the inhabitants thereof shall be entitled to all the privileges,
powers and immunities to which by law the inhabitants of other organized counties in this state are entitled.
The unorganized county of Crawford shall be attached to
the county of Kalkaska, for municipal and judicial purposes.
"Joseph B. Haviland, Charles H. Estes and Morris Mahan, are
hereby appointed commissioners to locate the county seat for said
county. The county seat for said county shall be located by said
commissioners during the year 1878. If said commissioners or
any two of them shall fail to locate said county seat at the time
herein specified then the board of supervisors and county clerk of
said county shall locate the same.
"At the township meeting of the several townships in said
county to be held on the first Monday of April next, there shall be
an election of all the county officers to which the said county is
entitled, who shall hold their several offices until the first day of
January, in the year of our Lord 1873, and until their successors
shall have been elected and qualified. Said election shall be conducted in the same way, by the same officers, and the returns
thereof made in the same manner, as near as may be, as
is now required by law in the election of county officers in this state.
"The county canvass of votes cast for county officers shall be
held on the second Tuesday succeeding the election, at the house
of John Sheldon, in the township of Round Lake, county aforesaid: and said canvass shall be conducted in the same way, and
by the same officers as the requirements of law now provide in organized counties, as nearly as may be, by the appointment by the
board of canvassers, of one of their own number to act as secretary
to said board of county canvassers.
"Said county shall be in the thirteenth judicial circuit.
"It shall be the duty of the register of deeds for said county
of Kalkaska, when elected, to procure, maintain and keep in his
office two sets of books for the record of deeds, mortgages, and
other instruments affecting the titles of real estate, the one to be
denominated 'Records for Kalkaska County,' and the other to be
denominated 'Records for Crawford County.' All deeds, mortgages,
conveyances and other instruments affecting real estate which shall
be situated in Kalkaska County shall be recorded in the books
denominated 'Records for Kalkaska County,' as the same are now
required by law; and all deeds, mortgages, conveyances and other
instruments affecting real estate situated in Crawford County shall
be recorded in books designated 'Records for Crawford County,'
with the same effect, and to the same purpose as the same are
now authorized to be recorded by law."
PROCEEDINGS OF SUPERVISOR.
The first meeting of the board of supervisors was held at the
school-house in District No. 1 of Round Lake, April 25, 1871.
There were present, A. T. Kellogg, of Round Lake; H. U. Hill, of
Rapid River, and A. W. Jones, of Kaska. On motion of H. U.
Hill it was voted to fix the amount of the bonds of the county
treasurer at $5,000. The house of A. C. Beele was designated
as the place for holding circuit court.
The salaries of county officers were regulated as follows:
Sheriff, $100; clerk, $150; prosecuting attorney, $200; judge of
E. S. Pratt and A. T. Kellogg were appointed a committee to
settle with Antrim County.
The Traverse Bay Eagle was designated as the official paper
of the county.
The next meeting of the board at which any business was
transacted was held at the office of the county clerk at Clear
Water, June 14, 1871. Present, A. T. Kellogg, of Round Lake;
H. U. Hill, of Rapid River; and A. W. Jones, of Kaska. The
assessment rolls were equalized as follows:
Round Lake: Acres, 50,088; equalized valuation $62,530;
personal property. $7,980.
Rapid River: Acres, 42,468; equalized Valuation, $51,891;
personal property, $8,195.
Kaska: Acres, 44,871; equalized valuation, $55,011; personal property, $1,647.
The board voted to issue orders on the county treasurer to
the amount of $100, to be disposed of by him for money to be
used as a contingent fund. It was voted that swine be prohibited
from running at large between the first day of April and the first
day of September each year.
At a meeting held in July, 1871, it was voted to pay the register of deeds $150 for transcribing the records from the books of
At the October session it was voted to raise by tax $3,400 as
a contingent fund, and $447 for a poor fund.
The following persons were elected county superintendents of
poor: Lorenzo Evans, L. A. Haynes, Martin V. Taylor.
The first recorded opinion of the board upon the constitutionality of any law, was uttered at a meeting held Jan. 2, 1872, when
the claim of John Pulcipher, local commissioner of the Traverse
Bay and Harrisville state road, was presented for the expense of
survey through the counties of Kalkaska and Crawford. After
considering this claim the board adopted a resolution rejecting the
claim, on the ground that in the opinion of the board, the law requiring this county to pay the expense of surveying
said road through said counties, was unconstitutional.
At the January session in 1873, the boundary line between the
counties of Antrim and Kalkaska was changed so that Torch
River should constitute the boundary. The name of the town of
Round Lake was »hanged to Clearwater, and that of Kaska to
A meeting of the board was called for June 20, 1878, to meet
the commissioners appointed to locate the county seat. Owing to
the illness of J. B. Haviland, one of the commissioners, they were
unable to meet, and the board of supervisors adopted a resolution,
requesting the commissioners to locate the county seat at the village of Kalkaska.
July 14, 1878, tee commissioners met and located the county
seat at the village of Kalkaska. At the October session of the supervisors, it was voted to appropriate $1,000 for the purpose of
erecting a building on Court House Square for county proposes.
The prosecuting attorney was appointed to confer with Mr. A. A.
Abbott, with a view of procuring a contract for the lot called and
known as Court House Square. A building committee was appointed, consisting of the following persons: S. Bacheller, L. A.
Haynes, and H. H. Haskins. The contract for the lot above mentioned was obtained and presented to the board at this meeting.
At the January session in 1874, the building committee imported the county building completed at a cost of $1,075.51. The
contract for building was let to H. L. Birdsall, and the lathing and
plastering to A. W. Jones.
At this session the sum of $2,500 was appropriated for the
purpose of building a jail. S. Bachelder, L. Haynes and J. M.
Myers were elected a building committee.
At the October session, 1874, it was voted to purchase laud of
D. B. Beebe, to the amount of eighty acres in Clearwater Township, also the north half of the northeast quarter of Section 1, in
the Township of Wilson, for a poor farm. The appointment of state and county taxes for the year 1875 was as follows:
In 1883 a new court-house was completed at a cost of about $20,000 that is an ornament to the village and a credit to the county. It
is without doubt one of the finest in northern Michigan. It is built
of red brick and occupies an elevated position in the western portion of the village.
ORGANIZATION OF TOWNS.
Rapid River was the first town organized, in what is now Kalkaska County. In 1808 a few settlers had located in the territory,
and they were desirous of voting at the Presidential election. The
territory was thou attached to Antrim County, and the distance to
the polls was so great that some would be deprived of the privilege
of voting. Norman Ross, then a resident of what is now Clearwater, circulated a petition to the hoard of supervisors for the organization of a town to be called Rapid River. The first town
election was held at the house of S. A. Rice, in what is now Rapid
River, and nineteen votes were cast. H. U. Hill had been elected
justice of the peace at the spring election, and Norman Ross was
elected first supervisor. The day following was the Presidential
election and the voting place was at the house of Norman Ross.
At this election fifteen votes were cast.
The town of Clearwater was organized under the name of
Round Lake, by an act of legislature approved Jan. 18, 1871. The
act provided that Township 26 north of Ranges 5, 6 and 7 west,
Township 27 north, of Ranges 4, 5 and 6 west, also Townships 27
and 28 north, of Range 8 west in the unorganized counties of Kalkaska and Crawford, be detached from the town of Rapid River,
and organized into a separate town by the name of Round Lake.
The first election was appointed at the house of John Sheldon,
and A. T. Kellogg, Asa D. Fessenden and Calvin Storms were inspectors of election.
In 1878 the name was changed to Clearwater.
The town of Springfield was organized under the name of
Kaska, by an act of legislature approved Feb. 14, 1871. The territory embraced was described as follows: Township 25 north, of
Ranges 1, 2, 8, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 west, also Township 26 north, of
Ranges 1, 2, 8, 4, and 8 west, also Township 27 north, of Range 8
The first election was appointed at the house of Adrial Clark,
on the first Monday of April, 1871, and H. H. Haskin, Robert
Creighton and Adrial Clark were inspectors of election. The town
at present is bounded on the north by Boardman, east by Garfield,
south and west by county line.
The town of Orange was organized by the board of supervisors
at a meeting held at Rapid River, Oct. 14, 1672. The territory
embraced was Township 26 north, of Range 7 west. The first
election was appointed at the house of A. P. Wheeler, Oct. 20,
1872, of which James A. Drake, Lewis Deuel and Robert 0. Pool
were inspectors. The town is bounded on the north by Kalkaska,
cast by Oliver, south by Garfield, and west by Boardman. The
town was named in honor of one of its first settlers. Orange A.
Row. The petition asked for the name of Roseville, but there
being another town of that name, Orange was taken instead.
The town of Boardman was organized by act of legislature
approved Feb. 28, 1873, and embraced the territory of Township
20 north, of Range 8 west. The first election was held at the house
of Emery Myers, on the first Monday of April, 1873. Edwin Luce,
H. H. Cole and W. H. Leach were appointed inspectors of election. Boardman is bounded on the north by Wilson, east by Orange,
south by Springfield, and west by county line.
The town of Wilson was detached from Clearwater by act of
legislature, approved March 14, 1878. It comprised the territory of
Township 27 north, of Range 8 west. The first election was held
at the house of William Huff, on the first Monday in April, 1873.
Asa D. Fessenden, William Huff and Empire Stiles were appointed
inspectors of election. Wilson is bounded on the north by Clearwater; cast by Kalkaska; south by Boardman, and west by county
The town of Kalkaska was organized by the board of supervisors, and the first election held at the house of Charles E. Whitney,
April 7, 1873. Albert A. Abbott, W. C. McLarren and C. W.
Smith were inspectors of election. The territory embraced was described as follows: Township 27 north, of Range 7 west. The
town is bounded on the north by Rapid River; east by Excelsior;
south by Orange, and west by Wilson.
The town of Cold Springs was organized by the board of supervisors, at a meeting held Oct. 13, 1873, and embraced Township
28 north, of Range C west. The first election was held at the house
of A. E. Burnham, on the first Monday in April, 1874, and A. E.
Burnham, Andrew Croy and W. H. Stoddard were inspectors of
election. The town is bounded north by county line; east by the
unorganized Township of 28-5; south by Excelsior, and west by
The town of Excelsior, comprising the territory of Township 27
north, of Range 0 west, was organized by act of legislature approved
March 12, 1875. The first annual meeting was held at the house
of David E. Wherry, on the first Monday of April following. The
inspectors of election were David E. Wherry, James Crawford and
John Elliot. Excelsior is bounded on the north by Cold Springs:
east by unorganized territory; south by Oliver, and west by Kalkaska.
Garfield was organized by the board of supervisors, at a meeting held in October, 1880, and comprised the territory of Township
25 north, of Range 7 west, formerly belonging to Springfield. The
petition was signed by the following persons, residents of that township: Names of freeholders of Town 25 north, of Range 7 west:
Ervin A. Fuller, John M. Calkins, L. W. Fifield, Joseph Doherty,
Delevan Smith, George D. Higley, Charles Carpenter, John J.
Davis, William Rosebrook, Isaac Eldredge, Philo J. Hen Bey, Delos
Rosebrook. The first election was held at the Davis school-house
the first Monday in April, 1881. George D. Higley, Ervin A. Fuller and Daniel D. Smith were appointed inspectors of erection.
Garfield is bounded on the north by Orange; east by Oliver; south
by county line, and west by Springfield.
The town of Oliver, comprising the territory of Township 20
north, of Range 0 west, was detached from Clearwater by act of legislature, approved March 22, 1881 The first annual meeting was
held on the first Monday of April, 1891, at tho house of W. G.
Barnes. J. J. Harshman, Jerry H. Kniss and David Arres were
appointed inspectors of election. Oliver is bounded on the north by
Excelsior; east and south by unorganized territory, and west by
The town of Glade, comprising the territory of Township 25
north, of Range 5 west, was organized by the board of supervisors
at the October session in 1883. The first election was held on-the
first Monday in April, 1881, at the residence of John F. Clark. Oscar
L. Giddings, Oscar J. Smith and Samuel Laughlin were appointed
inspectors of election. Glade is bounded north by unorganized
territory; east and south by county line, and west by unorganized
Boardman.—Supervisor, John D. Dagle; clerk, Charles H. Brown; treasurer, James Isbell.
Clearwater. —Supervisor, W. H. Bookes; clerk, John H. F. Letherby; treasurer, Robert Morrison.
Cold Springs.—Supervisor, Elijah Goodwin; clerk, Joseph Halverson; treasurer, John E. Rainbow.
Excelsior.—Supervisor, James Greacen; clerk, A. H. Clark; treasurer, Samuel J. Boker.
Garfield. - Supervisor, George D. Higley; clerk Delevan Smith; treasurer, A brain West.
Oliver.—Supervisor, J. H. Kniss; clerk, James Jenkins; treasurer, J. M. Hamilton.
Orange.—Supervisor, E. R. Parmelee; clerk, Elmer Jenks; treasurer, William Richardson.
Rapid River.—Supervisor, Henry Lannin; clerk, Zach. Taylor; treasurer, Henry M. Crane.
Springfield.—Supervisor, John A. Butterfield; clerk, William S. Crooks; treasurer, Henry Howe.
Kalkaska. Supervisor, C. C. Jencks; cleric, A. G. Drake; treasurer, Henry Harvey.
Wilson.—Supervisor, Sperry Storms; clerk, C. J. Clausen; treasurer, Patrick Bristlin.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE IN 1888.
Boardman.—John Thompson, Asa Purler, James Isbell, Henry Harper.
Clearwater.—Seth Dandas, Uriah Vargasou, George Knight, John Jordan.
Cold Springs.—Albert Farrar, Daniel A. Steele, Albert Barker, Thomas Catlin.
Excelsior.—Abraham Roosa, James M. Potes, Frederick Wagenshuty, John Austin.
Garfield.—John M. Calkins, Delos Rosebrook, Joseph Doherty, Charles Carpenter.
Kalkaska — Anthony W. Carroll, Charles E. Ramsey, Henry
U. Hill, H. Wright
Orange - Lewis Deiel, W. J. Reynolds, Allison Drake, E. K. Parmelee.
Oliver.— Anthony C. Labadie, J. H. Kniss, James H. Jenkins, Elijah Kniss.
Rapid River.—Sherman W. Beebe, Allen Lannin, Alanson Barden, Erastus Watrous.
Springfield.—Ambrose W. Jones, John A. Battenfield, Ira J. White, Henry Howe.
Wilson.— James W. Mosher, Giles Milke, Patrick Bristlin, William Sheldon.
1871. —Sheriff, William Sheldon; clerk and register. 0. S.
Curtis; treasurer, A. 0. Beebe; judge of probate court, H. U. Hill;
prosecuting attorney, E. S. Pratt, of Traverse City; county surveyor. D. E. McVean.
1872. —Sheriff. A. W. Jones; clerk and register, 0. S. Curtis;
treasurer, A. C. Beebe; judge of probate, H. U. Hill; prosecuting
attorney, A. T. Kellogg; county Surveyor, D. E. McVean.
1874.—Sheriff, A. W. Jones; clerk and register. O. S. Curtis;
treasurer, A. C. Beebe; judge of probate, H. U. Hill; prosecuting
attorney, C. P. Sweet; county surveyor, D. E. McVean.
1876.—Sheriff, D. P. Beebe; clerk and register, 0. S. Curtis;
treasurer, A. C. Beebe; judge of probate, H. U. Hill; prosecuting
attorney, C. P. Sweet; circuit court commissioner, A. T. Kellogg;
county surveyor, D. E. McVean.
1878.—Sheriff, D. P.-Beebe; clerk and register, 0. S. Curtis;
treasurer, C. Cronin; judge of probate, H. U. Hill; prosecuting attorney, H. S. Howe; circuit court commissioner, J. H. Boyd; county
surveyor, D. E. McVean.
1880.—Sheriff, O. A. Row; clerk and register, C. V. Selkirk;
treasurer, C. Cronin; judge of probate, W. E. Clark; prosecuting
attorney, A. A. Bleazby; circuit commissioner, W. D. Totten;
county surveyor, D. E. McVean.
1882.—Sheriff, C. Cronin; clerk and register, C. V. Selkirk;
treasurer, L. A. Haynes; judge of probate, W. E. Clark; prosecuting attorney, J. L. Boyd; circuit court commissioner, C. C. Jenks;
county surveyor, E. Mosher.
KALKASKA COUNTY BAR
Burton S. Howe was the first lawyer to locate in Kalkaska
County for the purpose of practicing law. A. T. Kellogg had been
admitted to the bar and held the office of prosecuting attorney of the
county, but did not make the practice of law a pursuit. Mr. Howe
was born at Centerville, St. Joseph County, Mich., in 1833. In
September, 1861, he enlisted in the Fourth Michigan Battery. At
Pittsburgh Landing he received severe internal injuries, and a gunshot wound in his left hand. At the end of eighteen months he
was discharged for disability and returned home. He engaged in
the hardware business, but suffering from injuries received in the
war, was led to take up the study of law. He was admitted to the
bar in 1868, and practiced iu St. Joseph County until the winter of
1874, when he removed to the village of Kalkaska, and was the only
attorney in the county for about two years. Has held the office of
prosecuting attorney one term.
Arthur A. Bleazby was the second lawyer to locate in Kalkaska Comity. He is a native of Ireland and emigrated to Canada
with his parents at the age of six years. He attended school there
and subsequently entered college. Before completing the course he
came to the States, and in 1861 enlisted at Lockport, N. Y., and
went into the service with Colonel Ellsworth. He remained in the
service about two yearn, and soon after his return north went to
Kalamazoo, Mich., and entered Kalamazoo College. After graduating
from that institution he studied law in the office of Severance
& Burroughs, and was admitted lo the bar in 1873. Having business interests at Niles requiring his attention he went there and
remained until March, 1870, when he removed to the village of
Kalkaska, and engaged in the practice of law. He has held the
office of prosecuting attorney one term and is extensively connected
with the business interests of the village. He is one of the owners
of the large brick block built in 1880, is secretary and treasurer of
the Smith Lumber Co., and vice president of the Kalkaska Manufacturing Co. He also has manufacturing interests at Mancelona,
William D. Totten was born at New Loudon, Oneida Co.,
N. Y., and came from that county to Kalkaska in 1877, arriving
here in June. His first work at this place was logging several
acres of land, in what is now the village. He made a bargain to
do the work at two dollars and fifty cents per acre, but realized be-
fore he had finished that he was not posted as to prices for such
work in a new country. He taught school several term-, and
studied law here and at Grand Rapids. September, 1880, he was
admitted to the bar, and engaged in the practice of law. He is now
a member of the law firm of Boyd & Totten. He was elected circuit court commissioner in the fall of 1880 and held the office one
C. C. Jencks was born at Dansville, Livingston County, N. Y.,
and came to Kalkaska in the spring of 1880. He studied law in
Kent County and here, and was admitted to the bar in September,
1881. Since that time, he has been engaged in the practice of law,
and has taken a prominent part in local affairs. He is circuit court
commissioner, moderator of the school board, and was supervisor
of the town of Kalkaska in 1883-84.
Willis B. Perkins is a native of Linden, Genesee County,
Mich. He graduated from the law department of Michigan University at Ann Arbor, in the spring of 1883. He began the practice of law at Grand Rapids, and remained there until September,
1888, when he removed to Kalkaska, and formed a law partnership
with A. A. Bleazby, which still continues. The style of the firm is
Bleazby & Perkins.
J. L. Boyd, prosecuting attorney of Kalkaska County, is a native of Hillsdale, Mich. He came to Kalkaska about six years ago
and was subsequently admitted to the bar, having studied law at
Hillsdale, and also at Kalkaska. He was elected prosecuting attorney in the year of 1882.
The following religious societies in the county have been incorporated in addition to those else where mentioned:
The Methodist Protestant Church in Wilson was organized in
January 1877. Names of members as follows: Eli Pickard, Lyman Bears, Malcolm Pickard, Sarah J. Pickard, E. A. Sheldon,
Lizzie Way, John Way, S. W. Beebe, Margaret Sheldon, George
Way, Benjamin Pickard, Norman Ross, Benj. W. Wilson.
The first pioneer Free Methodist Church of Orange was
organized and incorporated in November, 1878. The names of
charter members are as follows: Christopher J. Schnurer, Eber
A. Blodgett, Jesse Decker, Wm. Richardson, E. K. Parmelee,
Joseph Doherty, Joseph M. Blodgett, Sidney W. Butler, K. Hartman.
The first Congregational Church of Excelsior was incorporated
in April, 1881. The charter members were William H. Eckler,
Almedia Eckler, Emma H. Lewis, Juliet Wright, John Lewis, Benjamin Barns, Alison Webb, A. L. Williams, Eliza Woodruff, Charles
Bailey, Hiram Bailey, Nettie Steward, William J. Steward, Elizabeth Campbell, Samuel Burns, Harriet Burns, Richard Lewis.
The first Congregational Church of Christ of Westwood was
incorporated in April, 1881. The charter members were as follows:
Erastus Watrous, Sarah M. Watrous, Eliza Campbell, Charles
Leonard, Sarah Leonard, Christian Hansen, Christine Hansen,
Thomas H. Paige, Eunice M. Paige.
The annual reports of school inspectors of the several towns
in the county for the year 1883 contain the following facts:
Boardman.— Number of school children, 176: number of
frame school-houses, 5; whole number of volumes iu the district
Clearwater:—Number of school children, 147; number of school
buildings, 8 frame and 2 log.
Cold Springs:—Number of school children, 35; number of
school buildings, 2; number of volumes in the district libraries, 140.
Excelsior:—Number of school children, 100; number of
school buildings, 6; number of volumes in district libraries, 21.
Garfield:— Number of school children, 40. There is only one
school building and no library.
Kalkaska—Number of school children, 367; number of school
buildings, 4: number of volumes; in district libraries, 155, all in
District No. 1.
Orange: —Number of school children, 118; number of School
Oliver:—Number of school children, 22; number of school
Rapid River:—Number of school children, 160; number of
school buildings, 5. The school-house of fractional District No. 1
is in Kalkaska Township. There are 38-volumes in the school
Springfield: —Number of school children, 110; number of
School buildings, 4: number of volumes in district libraries, 163.
Wilson: -Number of school children, 42; number of school
Following is a complete list of government pensioners in Kalkaska County, also the amount received monthly by each:
Hilland S. Beach.................................... $4.00
Charles Van Buren.................................. $8 00
Gardner C. Abbott $8.00
Geo. W. Simonson..$8.00
Ann E. Cohoon, widow..$8.00
In 1878 a number of the lending farmers of the county determined to interest themselves in promoting the agricultural interests
of thee county, and with that end in view a farmers club
was organized. The meeting for the purpose of effecting an organization was held at the courthouse in Kalkaska. Wednesday,
July 21, 1878 A committee on permanent organization was appointed to report at a subsequent meeting. August 15 an adjourned meeting was held, of which H. U. Hill was chairman and
D. D. Smith, secretary. A permanent organization was effected
by the election at the following officers: President, H. U. Hill,
vice-presidents, one from each township; secretary, C. H. Metzgar;
treasurer, Henry Spence. The object of the organization was to
facilitate the study of agriculture, gather statistics for local and
general circulation and promote the general welfare of the county.
Stated meetings were held for discussion, and the membership of
the organization steadily increased.
In April, 1879, it was decided to organize for a county fair,
and such an organization was effected. J. E. Rainbow was elected
president, C. H. Metzgar, secretary, and Henry Spence, treasurer.
A constitution and by-laws were adopted, and a very successful
fair was held in the fall of that year. Grounds were provided and
buildings erected. This society has been liberally encouraged by
the people of the county and village, and its annual exhibitions
have increased in variety and interest. The officers in 1881 are as
follows: President, D. E. McVean; vice-president, James Greacen;
secretary, A. E. Palmer; treasurer, L. A. Rice.
In 1870 the population of the county was 424, including the
unorganized county of Crawford.
The census of 1874 gives the population of the several towns
as follows: Boardman, 127; Clearwater, 310; Cold Springs, 51;
Kalkaska, 207; Orange, 61; Rapid River, 235; Springfield, 109;
Wilson, 96; total, 1,259. This included the population in the unorganized county of Crawford. Number of marriages in the county,
6; number of deaths, 16; number of acres of improved land, 1,591.
In 1878 there were harvested 170 acres of wheat, 175 acres of
corn, 11,178 bushels of potatoes, 294 tons of hay; 82,715 pounds
of maple sugar was made in 1871.
In 1874 there were owned in the county 04 horses, 4 mules,
138 work oxen, 173 milch cows and 15 sheep.
According to the census reports there were in the county in
1874, 309 farmers, one grocer, one druggist, one clergyman, one
saloon, one lawyer and eight lumbermen.
The census of 1880 gave the population as follows:—Boardman, 807; Clearwater, 350; Cold Springs, 101; Excelsior, 168;
Kalkaska, 690; Orange, 324; Rapid River, 882; Springfield, 404;
Wilson, 151; Total, 2,987.
Total school population in 1880, 917.
Total number of votes cast in the county 1880, 695.
Total number of school children in 1888, 1,386.
In 1880 there were 15,397 bushels of wheat harvested from 1,142 acres.
The following postoffices are in Kalkaska County:—Barker
Creek, Clearwater, Cold Springs, Crofton, Excelsior, Ivan, Kalkaska, Leetsville, Lodi, South Boardman, Westwood.
VILLAGE of KALKASKA
This village is the county seat of Kalkaska County and contains about one thousand inhabitants. The village is located on
the Grand Rapids \ Indiana Railroad, in the town of Kalkaska
and but a short distance from the geographical center of the
county. It is a natural center for business and general trade controlling an area of over forty miles square in territory
unsurpassed in its resource. There is no town west nearer than thirty
miles, northwest nearer than twenty-two miles and none east.
The village has reached its present size through gradual and
steady development. There have been no periods of spasmodic
prosperity or business booms, but a continuous and healthy growth
duriug the eleven years since the first blow was struck upon its site.
In the spring of 1872 Mr. A. A. Abbott, then living at Decatur, Van Buren County, started out to find a suitable location for
n mill and village site. The Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad
was finished and trains running as far as Cadillac, and work on
the grade was being prosecuted as far as Walton. Mr. Abbott visited the present site of Kalkaska nnd was favorably impressed with
the location. The county had been organized but the county seat
had not been located. He reasoned that a village at this point
being on the line of the railroad and near the center of the county
would probably become the county seat. The north branch of the
Boardman afforded a desirable location for a mill site, and he made
a purchase of one thousand acres of laud of the railroad company,
Hannah, Lay & Co. and Dexter & Noble. He remained here until
August aud then returned to Decatur to complete his arrangements
for beginning work at this point.
Before starting on his prospecting tour, Mr. Abbott had arranged with
R. L. Thompson, then living at Graud Junction, to
join him in the enterprise, should he find a satisfactory location.
In October, 1872, Messrs. Abbott and Thompson arrived upon
the site of their operations with men to begin wink. Trees were
cut down and a log house built for a boarding house. After work
was well under way, Mr. Thompson went hack after teams and
tools necessary for lumbering, and returned with them in December. Work was pushed forward on the mill and some time in
February it commenced running, Mr. Thompson owned and
operated the mill. The site and lands belonged to the firm of H.
S. Buskirk & Co. During the winter Mr. Buskirk sold his interest
to 0. S. Abbott, brother of A. A. Abbott, and the style of the firm
was changed to O. S. Abbott & Co. The instincts at this point,
however, was transacted by A. A. Abbott, who remained upon the
ground and became a resident of the place. Mr. Abbott carried
on lumbering operations and stocked the mill for several years.
Mr. Thompson operated the mill about a year when he sold it and
took up a homestead on Section 36, in what is now the town of
During the winter of 1873 Mr. Abbott platted 210 acres lying
upon both sides of the railroad and commenced selling village lots.
At the same time the mill was building, Charles E. Whitney built
a log house which he finished in February and opened as a hotel
called the Kalkaska House.
During that winter, R. S. Abbott, son of A. A. Abbott, kept
a store in a small shanty which he built where the depot now
stands. The following spring he put up a frame building where
the bank now stands, and moved his stock of goods into it. This
was the first store in the county.
Toward spring, Tracy & Kendall began a building for a hotel
which was the original part of the present Manning House. It
was soon after purchased by D. E. McVean, who furnished the
building and kept hotel a short time.
As spring opened settlers began to come in and a number of
buildings were put up. Jacob Hunt and M. D. Mapes put up
store buildings and general stores were started by Mr. Hunt and a
Mr. Groff. A post office was established with A. A. Abbott postmaster. The office was kept in K. S. Abbott's stole and the mail
brought up from Walton. Mr. Abbott has continual to be postmaster to the present time. A money order office was established
in July, 1877.
In July, 1873, the county seat was located at Kalkaska and a
court-house was erected the following full.
The ground upon which the village stands was covered with
brush and logs making it difficult to determine distance without
actual measurement. Lots located a few rods away from the
railroad seemed to he out of reach. The consequence was that
stores were built near the truck and parallel with it, giving the
business street of the village an unfortunate location.
The business that first flourished most luxuriantly was that
of selling liquor. In the spring of 1873 five saloons were running,
and full doing a good business. They were mainly supported by
men connected with the construction of the railroad, and as they
passed along with their work beyond the village, the saloon business became less
profitable, and finally was driven out by force of public sentiment.
GLIMPSE OF THE VILLAGE IN 1874
In May, 1871, a visitor to the village of Kalkaska described
the place as follows: "About three o'clock in the afternoon we
landed at Torch River camp and took the new Kalkaska stage line,
0. S. Curtis, proprietor, and arrived at our destination about seven
o'clock in the evening. The last time that we visited this spot
there was only a logging camp in the midst of an uninhabited wilderness.
Since then the railroad track has been laid through
the county, but the cars are not yet running regularly. In anticipatioin
of tho opening of this road at a much earlier period a
village had been laid out here and the county seat established.
Knowing they had bean disappointed in their expectation about
the running of the road at an earlier period, we were not prepared
to see such evidences of life and growth as met our eyes when we
first rode into the town. In spite of discouragements and unexpected obstacles
they had already put on every appearance of a
thriving village. We were agreeably entertained at Hicks &
Abbott's hotel and after a good night's rest we .....
view the various improvements and enterprises of the place. We
found the proprietor of the Kalkaskian "sweet" tempered
and confident of success. He has shown his faith in the future of
the place by not only bringing type and press, but by putting up a
new, large and substantial building for permanent use with stores
below to rent. Hicks & Abbott are enlarging their hotel to meet
the demands of an overflowing custom, and Messrs. Tyler & McVein are putting up
a still larger one to be opened this summer.
Several branches of trade are now represented there, and new
ones to be established as soon as buildings can be completed.
A large saw-mill has just been completed, and is now
ready for business with a full stock of logs already in its yard.
The county last winter built a court house containing also rooms
for county offices, and also another building which is really a permanent
ornament externally to the place, though designed for
sheriff's residence and jail. New buildings are constantly going up
and village lots are almost daily selling at from fifty
to three hundred dollars each. All these improvements have been
made in advance of the running of the cars, while shut out from
the rest of the world, in the midst of a great financial panic
throughout the country, and in spite of the most discouraging
obstacles. If luck, faith and enterprise deserve reward, surely
the Kalkaskaians must be among the recipients of such blessings.
We see no reason now why they should not. It must be the first
important town on the main line of the road north of Clam Lake
at least. It is surrounded by sufficient pine forests to give it a lively
impetus for years to come, and the good farming lands in the
country arc abundant and fast filling up with settlers. Even now,
in advance of the cars, squads of men daily arrive, who either
locate in the village or select some location in the surrounding
country for a farm."
The village continued to grow steadily and the various interests of the place
prospered. In March, 1874, the Kalkankaian was
started by C. P. Sweet, and the interests of the village and county
were advocated in its columns.
In 1877 G. A. Sheldon built a grist-mill, and a tannery was
built by C. W. Farrand. The former is now owned by A. C.
Beebe and the latter by Jacob Hunt.
As soon as the nucleus of a village was formed in 1878, religious work was inaugurate!. Tho first sermon preached in the
village was in the sitting-room of the hotel, now the Manning
House, by an itinerant preacher. During that first year Elder
Kilgore, a Free-will Baptist minister, preached hare several times
and a number of that denomination associated themselves together
for religious worship, but it was only a temporary effort. A Methodist
class of three members was also formed and conducted religious worship a short time.
The Congregational society was the
first one regularly organized.
In the spring of 1871 Rev. J. R. Savage, a Congregational
preacher, came to Kalkaska occasionally from Mancelona, and
preached in the old school-honse. These services continued
until December of that year, when a meeting was held at the
courthouse for the purpose of the initiatory steps toward organizing
a society. The following named persons were presented to become
members, viz: S. W. Stacy, W. C. McFarren, Jacob Metzgar,
Catherine Metzgar, Mrs. Lottie Houck, Mrs. Anna A. Sweet,
Judith Stacy, Cynthia McFarren. Jacob Metzgar was elected
deacon, S. W. Stacy clerk, and W. C. McFarren treasurer. Jin.
15, 1875, an ecclesiastical council was held at the court-house, of
which Rev. Leroy Warren was moderator. In February the following persons
were elected trustees: W. C. McFarren, S. W.
Stacy and A. A. Abbott. Early in 1876 steps were taken toward
building a church edifice, and about one thousand dollars subscribed for that purpose. A judicious business course was pursued
by the trustees, who sought to avoid burdening the church with
debt. The enterprise was forwarded with caution and the building
was not formally opened until March, 1880. It was plastered in
the fall of 1879 and Christmas festivities were held in the building
that season. The seats of the church were made by A. D. Fessenden, assisted by L. D. Curtis and A. F. Smith. The society has
had only three pastors, Revs. J. R. Savage, S. 0. Bryant and T.
The first Baptist Church of Kalkaska was duly organized May
18, 1876. At the meeting held for the purpose of perfecting an
organization, A. A. Bleazby was moderator and R. S. Abbott clerk.
The charter members of the society were as follows: Maggie C.
Hunt, Mary A. Hough, Mrs. Arthur A. Bleazby, Mrs. Miry A.
Hunt, Mrs. Kate Barber, Mrs. Nellie Carlisle and Jacob Hunt.
The trustees were Albert G. Barber, Jacob Hunt and Arthur A.
Bleazby. Church officers: Deacon, Jacob Hunt; clerk, Mrs.
Arthur A. Bleazby; treasurer, Mrs. Kate Barber. It was proposed
to make immediate arrangements for building a church edifice and
a building committee was appointed consisting of Jacob Hunt,
Arthur A. Bleazby, Albert G. Barber, F. R. Osgood and R. S.
Abbott. Tho first pastor was Rev. F. R. Osgood, who came from
Clam Lake but remained only a short time. In the spring of 1877
he was succeeded by Rev. W. S. Munger. April 1, 1877, the rite
of baptism was conferred on Robert S. Abbott and Miss Lena
Hunt by Rev. W. 8. Munger. Nothing was done toward building
a church until the spring of 1878, when it was voted to proceed
with the erection of a church building and a new building committee
was appointed, consisting of the trustees and A. E. Palmer and
Lloyd M. Mills. In the summer of 1878 Rev. J. Munro became
pastor. He was succeeded the following year by Rev. C. H.
Rhodes. The corner stone of the church building was laid with
appropriate ceremonies May 9, 1878, but it was not dedicated until
the fall of 1879. It was built, however, only to be suddenly destroyed,
for Dec. 21, 1879, the building caught fire from a defective
flue and was totally destroyed. It was a severe misfortune to the
society, the loss being about $1,500. There has been occasional
preaching but no pastor since the church burned until, early' in
1884, Rev. S. G. Bruuitage entered upon tin pastorate of the
society. There are about twenty-five members of the church in
1884. Officers: Clerk, W. E. Martin; treasurer, Miry A. Hunt:
trustees, J. P. Hunt, A. A. Bleazby, C. P. Sweet.
The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Kalkaska was incorporated Oct. 15, 187(J. A. F. Smith, C. S. Edwards, N. E.
Esty, N. A. French and G. Myers were elected trustees.
Soon after the village started a Methodist class was formed
with three members, viz: Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Alson Webb.
This class continued but a short time and a society was not organized
until 1879. In September of that year Rev. Joseph Greenstead came here and services were held in the school-house. The
following month an organization was effected. Services were
held in the school-house until after the Congregational Church
was completed and services were held there every other Sunday.
They continued for a time and then the society occupied a public
hall. A house of worship was begun in 1882 and is not yet
The officers of the society have been elected as follows: 1881,
president, Joseph Bakery-secretary, H. Van Warstrun; treasurer,
A. F. Smith. 1882, president, Joseph Baker; secretary, A. F.
Smith; treasurer, K. B. Lapham. 1888, Mr. Baker having removed from
the place, 0. Christian was elected to fill the vacancy.
Since Mr. Greenstead the pastors have been Revs. 0. G. Golden,
S. Moves, 0. G. Whitman, C. Becker, G. S. Barnes. The church
was made a station in 1888. The new church building when completed will cost about $4,000.
During a short portion of this time Rev. J. R. Savage held
what were called union services. There was, however, no organization and the effort was of brief duration.
Soon after religious work was begun in the village a union
Sunday school was organized and very successfully maintained
until recently, when the several denominations organized schools
in their respective churches.
The first Episcopalian services ever held in the village were
held in December, 1888, by Rev. E. J. Babcock in the Congregational Church. There are upwards of twenty persons in the
village and vicinity belonging to this denomination, and it is proposed
to soon organize a society. Occasional services are now held.
Mr. Alfred G. Drake, a merchant in the village, has been mainly
instrumental in the inauguration of the movement.
Kalkaska. Lodge, No. 287, I. 0. 0. F. was instituted on Friday evening, July 81, 1874, by the Grand Master of the state,
George W. Griggs, of Grand Rapids, assisted by several prominent members of the order from Traverse City and other places.
The following persons were duly elected and installed officers of
Peter C. McKay, N. G., S. Bachelder, V. G., C. H. Metzgar,
R. S., H. U. Hill, Treas.
This lodge has been a faithful exponent of Odd Fellowship.
Its first meetings were held at private houses, and many of the
members lived several miles from the village. A number of
neighboring lodges have been organized from its ranks, and many
of its members are now scattered. C. H. Metzgar is the only one
of the charter members left in Kalkaska who is now a member of
the lodge. The present membership is 55. Officers in 1884: —
D. P. Beebe, N. G.; 0. A. Row, V. G.; R. L. Thompson, Sec'y;
W. B. Ferguson, Treas. There is also a Rebekah lodge that was
instituted in June, 1882.
Kalkaska Lodge, No. 382, F. & A. M., was instituted in 1875,
and the first meeting held June 4 of that year. The first officers
were as follows: D. E. McVean, W. M.; C. W. Farron, S. W.;
Austin Corpe, J. W., George Leibarker, S. D.; A. W. Jones, J. D.;
A. C. Beebe, Secy; A. S. Pool, Treas.; P. H. Russell, tyler. Officers in 1884 as follows: —N. A. French, W. M.; D. P. Beebe, S. W.;
T. D. Hobbs, J. W.; C. E. Ramsey, Secy; C. V. Selkirk, Treas.;
G. W. Wooden, S. D.; Henry Harvey, J. D.; A. 0. Burt, tyler;
P. H. Russell, chaplain; Robert Campbell, and D. D. Haven,
Royal Orange Lodge was instituted in 1879; Henry Harper
was W. M., and George Scafe, secretary. The society has enjoyed
a good degree of prosperity. In 1884 James Greacen is W. M.
and George Scafe, secretary. -
Col. Baker Post, No. 84, G. A. R., was mustered in, during
September, 1882, with thirty-five members. The principal officers
were as follows: Commander, D. E. McVean; S. C, C. V. Selkirk; J. C, James Greacen;
adjutant, J. W. Morelyr quartermaster, A. C. Beebe. There are in 1884 about sixty-five members, and
the following officers: Commander, D. E. McVean; S. C, James
Greacen; J. C, J. W. Morely; adjutant, J. W. Wilson; quarter-
master, M. C. Kidder.
Kalkaska Lodge, No. 880, I. O. G. T., is in the succession of
efforts started in 1876. A lodge was then organized which subsequently became inoperative. Some form of temperance, however,
has been kept in existence during the whole time. The present
lodge is in a prosperous condition. Officers in January, 1884, as
follows: W. C. T., 0. Christian; W. V. T., Mrs. C. R. Hill;
W. S„ Edgar S. Carroll; W. A. S, Mrs. Maude Hughes; W. T.,
Arthur Gibson; W. M., H. H. Miller; W. D. M., Adda Gardner;
W. I. G., Bertha Whipple; W. 0. GM George Moses; W. F. S.,
W. F. Ramsev.
THE FIRST FIRE.
The first fire in the village occurred Jan. 28, 1877, and was the
first calamity that had befallen the place.
The Clayton House, the store of R. S. Abbott, and the store
of M. D. Mapes, were totally destroyed by fire. The Clayton House
was occupied by Coakley & Moore, and the store of M. D. Mapes
by J. H. Collins as a grocery. The loss to the village was a serious one, and fell heavily upon individuals who were ill able to bear
The losses were in amount about as follows: Clayton House,
about three thousand dollars. No insurance. It was owned by
W. C. Abbott, with an interest by Hicks of about $800 and 0. S.
Abbott & Co. of about $400.
R. S. Abbott, on building, $1,000. Insured for $500. The
loss on stock fully insured.
M. D. Mapes about $2,000. Insured for $500. J. H. Collins, on stock, $300. Insured for $500.
W. C. Abbott, in addition to the building, lost a large portion
of the hotel furniture, which was owned by him. Also a portion
of the furniture and provisions in his dwelling, in the rear of the
store of R. S. Abbott. Jacob Hunt, who occupied rooms in the
upper story of the same building, was a considerable loser in
furniture and provisions—probably $200.
The fire broke out about two o'clock a. m., on the outside of
the front of the Clayton House. When first discovered the fire had
made but little progress, and was burning between the siding and
ceiling. It was supposed to have been, and undoubtedly was the
work of an incendiary. An attempt was made only a few weeks
before to burn this house in precisely the same way.
School District No. 1, Kalkaska, was organized at a meeting held May 17, 1873. The district consisted of the south
half of Sections 7, 8, !), and all of Sections 10, 17, 18, 19, 20 and
21. L. H. Birdsall was chosen chairman, and W. S. Kendall,
secretary. Mr. Mapes whs elected moderator, W. S. Kendall, director, and A. A. Abbott, assessor. It was voted to raise one hundred and seventeen dollars for teachers' salary and one hundred
dollars for building a school-house.
The proprietor of the village site offered the board an acre of
land for school purposes, for one dollar, which offer was accepted.
The house of M. Pool was hired at one dollar per week for a school-
house, until the new school building should be completed. Miss
Lizzie Farnham was hired at a salary of eight dollars per week to
teach for a term of twelve weeks from June 2, 1873. The school-
house was finished ready for use, the following November.
At the meeting held Sept. 1, 1873, it was voted to raise three
hundred dollars for school purposes. The second teacher was
Miss L. Pratt. The board voted to open the school-house for
singing and divine service.
The third teacher was Miss Emma Bachelder, who was paid
seven dollars per week. Following Miss Bachelder was Ella Birdsall. The first male teacher was 0. S. Curtis, who was engaged to
teach three and one half months, commencing Nov. 10, 1874, at a
salary of $45 per month.
In the summer of 1874 the question of building a good frame
school-house was agitated by the board, and in February, 1875, it
was decided to borrow the sum of three thousand dollars on the
bonds of the district for that purpose. In June, 1875, the contract
was let to Myers and Gurnsey. The building was finished and
accepted the following November. The location of the school-
house was on Lots 14, 15, 16 and 17, Block 2, of the recorded
plat of the village of Kalkaska.
In 1877 the schools were divided into primary and grammar departments, and Mrs. M. D. McVean elected teacher in the grammar
department, and Miss Jennie Kellogg, teacher of the primary department.
At the annual meeting in September, 1882, a graded school
district was organized, and it was voted to institute a school district library. The teachers engaged were Elmer E. Rogers, Florence L. Elms, and Ella E. Taber. The old Masonic hall on Third
Street was hired for school purposes.
In 1888 it was found necessary to enlarge the school building
and contract was let to Empire Stites to build a wing at a cost of
At the annual meeting in July, 1878, $1,550 were voted for
teachers' salary; $450 for contingent fund and $50 for library fund.
It was also voted to purchase Lots 3,4, 5,6,7 and 13, in Block
2 for school purposes.
In July, 1883, it was voted to bond the district in the sum of
five thousand dollars for the purpose of purchasing a school site
and the erection of a school building. Plans and specifications
have been adopted, and it is expected that the new building will be
erected in 1884.
The teachers in 1884 are as follows: William E. Martin,
principal; Miss Florence L. Elms, intermediate; Miss Ella E.
Taber, 1st primary; Miss Hattie E. Borden, 2d primary.
The trustees are Alf. G. Drake, A. E. Palmer, C. C. Jencks,
A. A. Abbott and C. P. Sweet.
Officers of the board: A. A. Abbott, director; C. C. Jencks,
moderator, and Alf. G. Drake, assessor.
The male teachers have been C. S. Edwards, now judge of
probate of Antrim County; Alexander Hadlock, now professor of
mathematics in Kalamazoo College; W. F. Hubbard, still teaching in another locality, and W. E. Martin, the present principal.
THE MEDICAL PROFESSION.
The first physician in the village of Kalkaska was Dr. E. Morgan, who was a resident of the county several years. In the spring
of 1884 the profession is represented in the village as follows:
B. C. Elms, M. D., homeoeopathist, is a native of La Fayetteville, N. Y. In September, 1863, he enlisted in the Fourth Michigan Battery, and was in the service until the close of the war. In
the spring of 1880 he graduated from the Chicago Homoeopathic
College. He practiced in Chicago until the fall of 1880, when he
located at Kalkaska, where he is still engaged in practice,
F. R. Boyd, M. D., a physician of the regular school, is a
native of Genesee County, N. Y. He was in practice in Hillsdale
County from 1875 to 1881. He then came to Kalkaska and remained a year, when he went to Berrien County. In the fall of
1882 he returned to Kalkaska, where he is now engaged in practice.
Zina Pitcher, M. D., is a native of Detroit, and spent his
early years in that city, mostly as a student. He graduated from
the city schools and afterward receive I private instruction. Taking
up the study of medicine he pursued it vigorously, finally graduating from the Michigan College of Medicine at Detroit early in
1883% He practiced a short time there, and in the spring of 1883
located in Kalkaska, where he is acquiring an extensive practice.
The first hotels in what is now the village of Kalkaska, were
kept in tents near the river. This was in the early part of 1878
and during the time that preparations tor building were in progress.
Iu February, 1873, Mr. Charles E. Whitney completed a log house
which was kept as a hotel, and called the Kalkaska House. It was
a primitive affair, but to the extent of its accommodations is Baid
to have been well kept.
The same winter Messrs. Tracy & Kendall began to build what
is now the Manning House, or rather the original part of it. Before
it was finished it was sold to Tyler & McVean, who fitted it up and
kept it as a hotel a few months, when Mr. McVean sold to H. E.
Tyler. Mr. Tyler subsequently sold to A. T. Kellogg, and in 1882
the property was purchased by James L. Manning, the present proprietor. It is now a three-story frame building and well arranged
for hotel use.
The Clayton House was burned in the fire of 1874 and never rebuilt.
The Kidder House was built by Kidder & Abbott in the fall of
1882. It is now kept by Mason C. Kidder, who purchased Mr.
Abbott's interest in the property. It is a substantial frame building situated opposite the depot. Mr. Kidder is an old resident of
Michigan, having come to the state from Maine in 1854, and was
engaged in fishing at Beaver Island and other points. In 1857 he
went to Grand Rapids and was there twelve years, with the exception of two years, which he served in the war. Iu 18(59 he went
into the town of Algona where he built a mill and engaged in lumbering. In the fall of 1880 he came to Kalkaska County and was
lumbering on pine land which he owned here, until 1882, when he
went into the hotel business as above stated. He still owns an excellent farm in Kent County.
Nov. 9, 1882, the firm of Wylie, Bleazby A Co. began a banking business in one part of the room occupied by Bannard's drug
store. In September, 1883, they purchased the building which had
been begun on the comer of Cedar and Third Streets, by Messrs.
Goodrich k Son. The building was finished and fitted up for banking purposes. Dec. 1, 1883, Mr. Bleazby withdrew, and the firm
was changed to Wylie, Curtis ft Co. Mr. Bleazby's interest was
transferred to James R. Wylie and W. L. Curtis, of the Petoskey
bank, and Walter Wylie, of Kalkaska. The last named gentleman
has the management of the business. He came to Kalkaska about
the time the business was started in 1882 from Allegan County,
Mich. He is a native of that county, and was engaged in the
mercantile business at Martin in that county.
The Kalkaska Manufacturing Company is a stock company,
and was organized in 1883, with a capital of $50,000, for the purpose of manufacturing druggists' boxes and sample wooden ware.
The buildings were erected and work commenced in December.
The site purchased was the French & Palmer plant for manufacturing hoops. The officers of the company are as follows: President,
A. E. Palmer; vice-president, A. A. Bleazby; secretary, J. J. Williams; treasurer, Walter Wylie; directors, the stockholders already
named, and A. C. Beebe. The works give employment to about
The Smith Lumber Company was organized in 1883, and purchased the saw-mill
property that formed the nucleus of the village.
The mill has had various owners and varied fortunes since it first
began operations. The present company was organized with a capital stock of
$25,000. George E. Smith is presilent; A. A. Bleazby,
secretary and treasurer, and D. E. McVean, vice-president; directors, George Smith, D. E. McVean, Robert Campbell, and A. A.
Bleazby. The company manufacture lumber, lath and shingles.
There are also a grist-mill built by George Sheldon, and now
owned by A. C. Beebe; planing-mill built in fall of 1882 by John
Woodward & Son, the tannery of Jacob Hunt, and the usual variety
of smaller industries.
The high order of public morals that prevails in the village of
Kalkaska has much to do with the healthfulness of its prosperity
and the stability of its interests. Churches are well sustained
and religious interests are fostered by the masses. Educational
matters are carefully attended to and the youth of the village are
liberally provided with educational advantages. The school-house
was one of the first buildings of the place, and the new school
building to be erected in 1884, at a cost of about $6,000, is a monument to the intelligent enterprise of the people. The temperance
sentiment of the community is a prominent feature. There is not a
public liquor or beer saloon in the county of Kalkaska, nor has any
been allowed to exist any considerable time for several years. The
business and representative men of the village, while in no sense
fanatical in their theories, are sturdy advocates of sobriety and
good morals. They unite in their opposition to drunkenness and
anything which is a menace to good order and the safety of the
youth. Several attempts have been made to establish an open saloon but none have been successful. In 1877 the danger of an
open saloon threatened the community, and the temper of the
people may be seen in resolutions adopted at that time. These
resolutions were signed by all, or nearly all, the business and representative men of the village, and read as follows:
Whereas, An establishment for the sale of intoxicating liquor
has been, or is about to be opened in this village; and
Whereas, We believe that such an institution will work a
great injury to this community; will retard and hinder the progress
and prosperity of the town; will tend to corrupt morals, destroy
peace, prevent good order, create idleness, disturbance and crime;
Whereas, We regard the sale of liquor to working-men whose
families depend upon their earnings for support, us nothing short
of absolute robbery; and
Whereas, We believe the person who is engaged in an attempt
to establish this infamous traffic well knew, and does know, that a
large majority of the citizens of Kalkaska are temperate and order-
loving people, and opposed to the sale of liquor in their midst;
Resolved, That we consider the attempt to establish such a
concern a flagrant insult to the people of this village and county.
Resolved, That we will use every honorable and legal means in
our power to prevent the sale of this deadly poison.
Resolved, That we will use our influence at all times and under
all circumstances to prevent our citizens from paying their money
for liquor, which leads to poverty and degradation.
Resolved, That we will, under no circumstances, patronize or
countenance a person who will thus thrust himself and his damnable wares upon a community that spurns his calling and repudiates
his claims to manhood.
Resolved, That we will stand by each other, as one common
brotherhood, in every effort that may be made to carry out the
principles herein set forth.
The Kalkaskaian was the first newspaper published in Kalkaska
County. It was first issued March 6, 1874. In January of that
year Charles P. Sweet came to Kalkaska from Van Buren County
with the view of starting a newspaper at the county seat. He first
established his printing office in the Mapes Building, where he carried on business until he erected a building of his own, which is
now occupied as a harness shop and is known as the Kalkaskaian
building. He remained there until the new brick block was completed in 1880, when he removed to rooms in the second story.
The Kalkaskaian is a Republican newspaper and has always been
an earnest advocate of local interests. Mr. Sweet is a native of
Vermont and began newspaper publishing in 1800, at Paw Paw,
where he published the True Northerner. Subsequently be published
the Tribune at Decatur, then the True Northerner again, and still
later was connected with the Michigan Herald, published at Kalamazoo.
He also published the Mendonian, at Mendon. He has
held the office of prosecuting attorney of the county, supervisor,
justice of the peace and various other local offices. In connection
with his newspaper he has carried on a law and real estate business. In 1870 be platted an addition to the village of Kalkaska.
He is one of the owners of the big brick block built in 1880. He
also carries on a clothing store in addition to his other business
The Kalkaska Leader, a Republican newspaper, was started in
May, 1878, by Dennis & Tinklepaugh. The paper was started as
a seven-column folio and has since been changed in form to a six-
column quarto. The publishers are both natives of Wayne County,
N. Y., and came from that county to Kalkaska in 1868.
Village of South Boardman Chapter XLIX Pg 329
To be Continued --