Arcada Michigan
Lapeer County

History of Lapeer - prominent men and pioneers
H.R. Page & Co Chicago 1884

Arcada lies nearly in the center of Lapeer County. On the north is the town of North Branch, Attica on the south, Goodlard on the east and" Mayfield on the west, scattered over the surface are numerous bodies of water, at least twenty-three of which are large enough to he dignified with the name of lake or pond. In these head various tributaries of Flint River and Mill Creek, the former flowing to the westward and into the Saginaw Hives; the latter to the eastward into Black River, this town with Attica and Dryden being on the divide between the waters of the East and the West. The soil of the eastern and western part of the town is a clay loam; between these two portions is generally a sandy loam. The town was originally covered with a heavy growth of the best quality of pine, bodies of which were found on every section. This has now been all cut off, a portion being manufactured into lumber at the saw-mills in the town and at Fish Lake and Five Lakes, but the main body of it driven out by Flint River and Mill Creek. This product of the soil, so valuable to commerce and the lumbermen, has yet been the means of delaying the advent of the actual settler and the agricultural development of the town. The land was bought for its pine, and in large tracts, of the government, and necessarily withheld from settlement until the pine should be removed, its value and price placing it beyond the reach of those who sought only a home and to cultivate the soil. Only lately has this barrier been removed. The pine timber having been exhausted the owners have sought and are finding purchasers of the soil.

The development of Arcadia in population and agriculture to 1874, is shown by the following statistics from the census of that year: Population, 621; number of acres of taxable land, 23,000; of improved land, 1,918; number of sheep, 551; of horses, 108; of cows, 152; bushels of wheat raised the preceding year, 8,862; of corn, 0,500; of other grains, 5,475; of apples, 2,388; of potatoes, 3,302; of tons of bay, 515; of pounds of wool sheared, 2,065; of pounds of pork marketed, 35,580; of butter made, 15,900.

In 1880 the population of the town was 1,043.

The aggregate valuation of real and personal property as equalized by the board of supervisors in 1882, was §324,000.


The following are the entries of land to 1861.


1. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
2. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
8. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
4. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
5. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
6. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
7. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
8. Lucius Lyon, May II, 1836.
9. Lucius Lyon, May 11, 1836.
10. Lucius Lyon. May 11, 1836.
11. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
12. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
13. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
14. Isaac N. Jenness, April 22, 1853.
Martin Cohnan, February 28, 1853.
James Stanton, September 7, 1854.
15. Lucius Lyon, May 11, 1836.
John Groover, November 7, 1850.
Francis Ruby, August 12, 1852.
16. Eber B. Ward, October 11, 1853.
Eber B. Ward, January 10, 1854.
17. Lucius Lyon, May 11, 1836.
18. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
19. Charles Rich and Gasca Rich, May 10, 1836.
Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
20. Lucius Lyon, May 11,1836.
21. Lucius Lyon, May 11, 1836.
Section 22. Lucius Lyon, May 11, 1836.
William Patrick, May 22, 1850.
William Shotwell, November 19, 1850.
Section 28. Byron Moses, September 9, 1850.
Alvah June, March 5, 1853.
Isaac N. Jenness, April 22, 1858.
Samuel Carpenter, Jr.. September 28, 1853.
Francis Ruby, November 28, 1854.
William Shotwell, November 29, 1854.
Alvah June, December 4, 1854.
Section 21. Lucius Lyon, June 30, 1836.
Elihu T. Rice, November 27, 1851.
Cyrus Humphrey, June 7, 1832.
Elisha Fornan, July 27, 1852.
Isaac N. Jenness, April 22, 1853.
Samuel Carpenter, Jr., September 15,1853.
William C. Matthews, October 26, 1853.
Section 25. George Frink, July 5, 1851.
James Baldwin, December 1, 1851.
George S. Osborne. May 17, 1852.
Lafayette W. Giddings, June 8, 1852.
Samuel Carpenter, Jr., September 28, 1853.
James B. Woodward, December 4, 1854.
Zeburs June, December 10, 1856.
John Groover, December 10, 1856.
Section 26. Alexander Livingston, December 7, 1850.
Jonathan Kindall, April 21, 1851.
Samuel Carpenter, Jr., September 15, 1853.
James R. June, December 4, 1854.
George M. Rutherford, July 1, 1853.
Section 27. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
Section 28. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
Section 29. Lucius Lyon, May 28, 1836.
Section 30. Clark C. Bontwell and Benjamin J. Bontwell, May 13,1836.
Thomas Haskill, March 1, 1842.
Major H. Haskill, March 1, 1842.
Isaac D. Coon, October 18, 1843.
Lucius M. Lyon, November 20, 1843.
Isaac Vorheis, March 1, 1850.
Barnibus Terry, November 16, 1850.
Isaac D. Coon, November 25, 1850.
Joseph Wager, August 6, 1852.
31. Charles and Gasca Rich. May 16, 1836.
Almon B. Pratt, February 17, 1833.
Elbridge G. laming. November 28, 1839.
Joseph B. Hart, August 18, 1840.
Jerome Davis, August 24. 1849.
James Goodrich, July 5, 1852.
32. Lucius Lyon. July 16, 1830.
Horace C. Weston, April 27, 1847.
Ralph Gates, October 26, 1849.
William W. Bachelor, October 20, 1852.
Joshua Terry, 2d., December 7, 1853.
Albion Whitney, November 28, 1851.
Peter Grosbeck, November 28. 1854.
John A. Datum, June 20, 1849.
33. Lucius Lyon. May 28, 1836.
34. Lucius Lyon. May 28,1836.
35. Nicholas Gats, Jr., June 11, 1836.
Peter Hagner, June 15, 1836.
Ebenezer Gould, June 21. 1836.
Lucius Lyon. July 15, 1836.
Section 35. Samuel Carpenter, Jr., September 15,1853,
Section 36. Nicholas Gass, Jr., Juno 11, 1836.
M. Healey and B. B. Kercheval, June 15, 1836.
John Barber, February 27, 1846.
John Barber, August 21, 1845.
William W. Barber, January 12, 1852.
Asael Whitcomb, August 23, 1853.
John M. Vincent, December 3, 1853.


For reasons heretofore given, viz., the purchase of the land of the government for speculative purposes, very few of the actual settlers of the town made entries of government land. The first settler, so far as can be learned, was Thomas Haskell, who, in 1889, settled on section 31. where for several years he kept a hotel. He died in Arcadia. In 1847 came Peter Grosbeck, who also settled on section 32 and died here. His family still reside in the town. In 1848 came Nicholas Gass and John B. Wilson, the former in section 80 and the latter in section 31.

J. B. Wilson was born iu Greenfield, Erie County, Pa., October 21, 1822, and came with his parents to Detroit in 1824. On the death of his father in 1881 he returned with his mother to her former home in Vermont. In 1847 he came to Lapeer and in 1848 removed to the township of Arcadia and located on section 81, where he has since resided. Since coming to the county he has been engaged in lumbering and farming and built the first saw-mill erected in the township. He has done an extensive business, owning at one time fourteen hundred acres of land in the county, besides large tracts in other sections of the State. Has been supervisor of Arcadia eleven years, justice of the peace sixteen years, and from 1800 to 1804 was a member of the State legislature. In 1859 was one of the commissioners appointed by Governor Wimer to locate the State road from Lexington to Lapeer and in the discharge of his duties was obliged to camp out and lie on the ground thirty nights during the month of March. His farm buildings are commodious and his grain barn, which is 50x100 feet on the ground, standing on a wall ten feet in height, ranks as one of the best in the comity. He was married in 1845 to Miss Clara Rich, a native of Shoreham, Vt., who was born Nov. 6, 1824. Their children were John D., born July 18, 1846, died October 26, 1867; Affia J., born Dec. 8, 1852; Charles EL, born April 80, 1857; Clara, born April 4, 1860; Mary E., born January 19, 1862; Julia B., born Aug. 5. 1864, and was killed by the kick of a horse Dec. 9, 1869.

Nicholas Gass, deceased, was born in Greene County, N. Y., in July, 1800, and first purchased land in the township of Arcadia in 1886. He moved upon the land in 1848 and resided there until his death, which occurred in 1855. He was county surveyor during the greater part of his residence in the county and laid out the village of North Branch and made a survey of the plank road from Lapeer to Port Huron. His books show that his first work as a surveyor was done April 21, 1840, and his last just prior to his death, Sept. 20, 1855. He died in Macomb County and is buried in Brooklyn. He was married January 28, 1836, to Miss Alinira Whitcomb, of New York, who resided in the vicinity of the Catskill Mountains. She still survives him and resides upon the original homestead in Arcadia. Of four children born to them none are now living, except Mrs. Rood, of the township of Lapeer. Romain M. Gass, the youngest son, always resided on the homestead and married Miss Mary St Thomas, of Cynthian a, Harrison County, Ky., Oct. 27, 1809. He died April 16, 1878. His widow and two sons still survive him and remain in his former home. William Lee Gass, eldest son, died Aug. 26, 1872. His home was on section 36, and he married Miss Annie M. St. Thomas, also of Cynthiana, Ky. They also had two sons. She is again married and is now a resident of Dakota.

In 1850 came William Shot well, settling on the southeast quarter of section 22, Munson Pendleton on section 19, William Eastman on section 28, and Joseph Wager, first township treasurer, on section 30.

It will be seen that settlement of the town began in the southwest and southeast parts of the town, to which it has been mostly confined until recently. Settlers in the southeast came in by the State road by way of Almont; and in the southwest by way of Lapeer.

During the administration of President Buchanan, a postoffice was established in section 80, M. E. Haskell being appointed postmaster. It was, however, subsequently discontinued. The first school-house in the town was a frame building, built in 1850, the lumber being furnished by Wilson's water-mill. The contract was let to John Sands and Stephen Warren. The cost was $115. It is still standing, weather-beaten and showing signs of age and long service, but still serviceable and in use. It is located on the town line in the southwest quarter of section 81. The first child born in the town was Elizabeth, daughter of M. K. Haskell, about 1812.

There is no church building in Arcadia, but classes of the Methodist Protestant Church have been formed and services are held at the DeGroat school-house in section 22, and at the Haskell school-house.

There is neither lawyer nor physician in the town. In the summer of 1883 a postoffice was established in section 86, being moved from the neighboring town of Attica. Mrs. R. M. J. Gass is postmistress.

The town-house of Arcadia was originally built for a schoolhouse and was bought by the town in 1879 for general town purposes. It is located in section 22.

The healthfulness of the town is shown by the fact that no town in the United States has a lower death rate.

Besides a productive soil, Arcadia possesses undoubted mineral wealth in beds of marl which appears here and there. It is said also to have beds of what appears to be kaolin or porcelain clay which in digging wells are frequently penetrated.

The annual report of the school inspectors of Arcadia for the year 1882 shows the number of school-houses to have been seven; total number of school children, 351. The school inspectors for the ensuing year as follows: Solon W. Bentley, George Window, Solomon Edwards, Moses M. Trenamen, Samuel Bearinger, John P. Byan, Charles D. Hough.

The Red Ribbon movement in 1877 reached Arcadia, and in December the Arcadia Reform Club was organized with the following officers: President, W. A. McKinley; secretary, Mrs. S. C. King; treasurer, W. Stockham.

Early in 1877 a man by the name of Davis came from Canada and commenced preaching the Mormon doctrine in Arcadia and Goodland. He claimed to be a prophet sent from God, invested with miraculous power, able and willing to heal the sick, etc. The skeptical and curious went to hear him. In the spring he went back to Canada, but returned the following fall, bringing with him another prophet, named Cornish. They made an aggressive war- fare, and for a time awakened some interest, but it was temporary and soon became a thing of the past.

The first town meeting was held at the house of William Shotwell in section 22, April 6, 1857. Of the large number of voters for a first town meeting, J. B. Wilson's mill furnished fourteen. Prior to this the township had been organized with Lapeer.

At this first election the whole number of votes for supervisor was forty and they were given for the following named persons, viz: John B. Wilson received sixteen, William Barber, six, mid William Barbour, eighteen. John B. Wilson declared elected. For clerk, William W. Barber received nineteen votes and Samuel Fitch, eighteen; William W. Barber was declared elected. For treasurer, William W. Wilson received nineteen votes and Joseph Wager, twenty-one. Joseph Wager was declared elected. For justices of the peace, John B. Wilson received twenty-one votes, James H. Abbott, twenty-two. James Stanton, twenty-four, Elisha C. Pendleton, sixteen, Samuel Perkins, twenty four and Don A. C. Hungerford,nineteen; John B. Wilson, James Abbott, Samuel Perkins and James Stanton were declared elected.

For commissioners of highways, James Abbott received twenty- seven votes, Samuel Fitch, twenty-one, A. H. Jones, thirteen, M. R. Haskell, nineteen. James Charles eleven, and Zebard June, twenty- one; Samuel Fitch, James H. Abbott and Zebard June were declared elected.

For school inspectors, William W. Wilson received forty votes, Elisha C. Pendleton, twenty and James H. Abbott, sixteen; William W. Wilson and Elisha C. Pendleton were declared elected. For overseers of the poor, Samuel Fitch received twenty-one votes, William II. McDade, nineteen, James June, nineteen, James -received three and William Shot well, one; Samuel Fitch and James June were declared elected.

For constables William H. McDade, Alexander Steward, James B. Woodward and Aaron Hunt received each twenty-one votes and were declared elected.

It was voted to raise one hundred dollars for town expenses; that the town pay four dollars bounty on each and every wolf caught and killed in the town. William Shotwell and Samuel Fitch were appointed a committee to select a suitable lot for a burying ground. At a regular meeting of the board of school inspectors at the office of the town clerk. May 10. 1857, Lydia Jane Garvey received a certificate to teach a primary school. And on the 25th of May a beginning was made of the town library by the purchase of thirty- two volumes of a miscellaneous character the list beginning with Joseph, 1 vol.


1857— Supervisor, John B. Wilson; clerk, William W. Barber; treasurer, Joseph Wager. Number of votes, 40.

1858— Supervisor, John B. Wilson; clerk, William W. Barber; treasurer, Joseph Wager. Number of votes, 82.

1859— Supervisor, William W. Barber; clerk, Samuel Fitch; treasurer, William W. Wilson. Number of votes, 48.

1860— No record.

1861— Supervisor, Joseph Wager; clerk, Abner C. Folsom; treasurer, William W. Wilson. Number of votes, 46.

1862— Supervisor, William W. Wilson; clerk, William W. Barber; treasurer, Samuel Fitch. Number of votes, 54.

1863—Supervisor, Joseph Wager; clerk, Aimer C. Folsom; treasurer, James H. Abbott. Number of votes, 45.

1864— Supervisor, William Y. Mead; clerk, Lorenzo D. Bur- ton; treasurer, James H. Abbott. Number of votes, 51.

1865— No record.

1866— Supervisor, John B. Wilson; clerk, Samuel Fitch; treasurer, William N. Bate holder. Number of votes, 65.

1867— Supervisor, John B. Wilson; clerk, Samuel Fitch; treasurer, Samuel Bevens. Number of votes, 74.

1868— Supervisor, John B. Wilson; clerk, Samuel Fitch; treasurer, Samuel Bevens. Number of votes. 80.

1869— Supervisor, William Y. Mead; clerk, Orson Gould; treasurer, David Ingersoll. Number of votes, 58.

1870— Supervisor, William Y. Mead; clerk, Orson Gould; treasurer, Pierce N. Rood.

1871— Supervisor, William Y. Mead; clerk, Samuel Fitch; treasurer, Walter S. Lyons.

1872— Supervisor, Truman H. Rice; clerk. Samuel Bevens; treasurer, Lewis Mitchell.

1878—Supervisor, Oscar M. Dodge; clerk, Harvey Goodrich; treasurer, Walter S. Lyons.

1874— Supervisor, Oscar M. Dodge; clerk, Horace D. Good- rich; treasurer, Walter S. Lyons.

1875— Supervisor, Oscar M. Dodge; clerk, Horace D. Good- rich; treasurer, Walter S. Lyons.

1876— Supervisor, Oscar M. Dodge; clerk, Leonard S. Fitch; treasurer, Walter S. Lyons.

1877— Supervisor, Lewis Mitchell; clerk, Orson Gould; treasurer, Samuel Bevens.

1878— Supervisor, Oscar M. Dodge; clerk, Orson Gould; treasurer, Samuel Bevens.

1879— Supervisor, Samuel Bevens; clerk, Orson Gould; treasurer, Lewis Mitchell.

1880— Supervisor, John B. Wilson; clerk, John P. Ryan; treasurer, John Dyer.

1881— Supervisor. John B. Wilson; clerk, John P. Ryan; treasurer, John Dyer.

1882— No record.

1883—Supervisor, John P. Ryan; clerk. George M. Selleck; treasurer, Francis M. Haines.


John P. Ryan wan born in St. Clair County, MI., February 26, 1866, where he remained until 1860, when he moved with his parents to the township of Lapeer, Lapeer County, and resided there until 1*79. He then purchased his present farm on section 26, township of Arcadia, and has since made that his home. In 1878 he married Miss Love West, of Attica, Lapeer County. Mr. Ryan attended the St. Clair union school for a time, and subsequently taught school for a number of terms in various places. Since his residence in the township has represented the voters in some official capacity; superintendent of schools in 1879, township clerk, 1880-'81-'82, and supervisor in 1888.

Rueben Purdy is a native of Ontario, Canada, where he was born March 4, 1828. He remained in Ontario until February, 1856, when he moved to Port Huron, Mich., and remained there until 1871. In that year he came to Lapeer County and engaged with Jenness & Co. as engineer in their mill at Attica. He continued with them until 1878. when he moved on his farm on section 88, where he has since resided. In 1852 married Miss Elizabeth Purdy, also a native of Canada, and has a family of seven children. George M. Selleck was born in Macomb County, Mich., July 15,1846, and at six months of ago came with his grandparents to Lapeer County and located in the township of Almont. His grandfather was James Hills, the first settler of the township of Goodland. At nine years of age he removed to Goodland. remaining there about eighteen months, after which he lived in Dryden, generally, until 1865, when he enlisted in the Eighth Michigan Cavalry, and was with that organization fourteen months in Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. Returning from the army he again located in Dryden, but subsequently went to Bay City, and from 1874 to 1878 was with Smith, Ballard A Co., in charge of their branch land plaster mill in West Bay City. He returned to Lapeer County in 1878, and located on section 18, of Arcadia, where he has since resided. He is the present town clerk, having been elected at the spring election of 1888. Married Miss Emma C. Jones, of Bruce, Macomb County, Mich., October 25, 1871.

Frank M. Haines, the subject of this sketch, was born in Greene County, N. Y., September 10, 1811, and when eight years of age came to Michigan with his parents, and located in the township of Addison, Oakland County, where he remained ten years, at the end of which time he removed at Macomb County, but soon thereafter returned to Oakland County, where he remained three years. Returning again to Macomb County, be remained there until he came to Lapeer County, and settled on section SO of the township of Goodland, at the same time purchasing land lying opposite in the township of Arcadia, where he now resides. Mr. Haines is the present (1883) township treasurer. He was married December 1, 1872, to Miss Lucy J. Nelson, of Macomb County. Michigan.

Charles H. Spalding was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, July 25, 1811, and resided there until 1852, when with his parents he moved to Holly, Oakland County, and remained there until seventeen years of age, when he enlisted in the One Hundred and Seventy-eighth Now York, on November 22.1861, and served three years and three months, participating in the battles of Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Lookout Mountain. Mission Ridge and Ringgold, Georgia, where he was wounded, after which to the close of his service he was on detail work and not in active service. He returned to Holly, but subsequently removed to Portsmouth, Ohio, where he remained three years, then again returning to Holly. In 1875 he removed to Wayne, Michigan, where after a residence of two and one half years, lie came to Lapeer County, and located on section 28, in the township of Arcadia, where he has since resided. He was married November 17, 1875, to Miss Eliza Jane Fagan, of the township of Holly, Oakland County, Michigan.

Henry C. DeGroat is a native of Oxford Comity, Ontario, and was born in 1845. In 1860. he came to Arcadia with his parents, and located on section 26, but two years later removed to his present location, his father purchasing the quarter section. In 1867 ho commenced the purchase of the land and little by little has acquired the entire quarter section, and 40 acres besides lying opposite. He has made all the improvements now to be seen on his farm, and has 152 acres now under cultivation. His surroundings indicate prosperity and home comfort. He married Miss C. E. Van Dyke, of Lapeer, Michigan.

Rev. Lewis Mitchell was born in Ireland in 1820, and emigrated to Canada in 1885, where ho remained two years, when he came to Detroit, Michigan. For sixteen years he sailed on the lakes, also making several ocean voyages. He then located permanently in Detroit, and engaged in house-painting until 1853, when he entered the service of the Methodist Episcopal Church as a minister and member of the Detroit conference, and has been engaged in the work more or less up to the present time. In 1869 he located on section 26, township of Arcadia, and has a farm of 60 acres. He was married in 1856 to Miss Pamelia Johnson of Oakland County, Michigan, whose father was one of the first settlers there. They have five children, Lincy C. James S., Jennie H., Fanny P., and Belle E.

James A. Palmer was born in the township of Arcadia, Lapeer County, Michigan, August 28, 1858, and remained on his father's farm until the spring of 1880, when he purchased 80 acres of land on section 38, which he still owns. Ho is unmarried and makes his home with his father in Attica.

Munson Pendleton, deceased, was a native of Vermont and was born June 19, 1800. He came to Lapeer County in 1850 and settled on section 19, iu the township of Arcadia, clearing up a farm of 80 acres which he managed until his death, which occurred April 29, 1873. He was married March 23,1828, to Miss Eleanor Justin, who was likewise a native of Vermont, and was born October 19, 1802, and who died April 25, 1870. They had four children, William J., born September 22, 1829, enlisted 1801 in the Tenth Michigan Infantry, and died of disease near Corinth, Mississippi, July 11, 1862; Elisha C, born August 9, 1831; Joseph S..born April 30, 1830, died January 24, 1805, and Betsey S., born March 19, 1839, died January 18, 1873.

E. C. Pendleton was born in Whiting, Addison County, Vt., and came with his parents to Arcadia, Lapeer County, Michigan, in 1850 and settled with them on section 19. He remained on his father's farm until 1858, when he removed to Almont where he engaged in farming for two years, thence to Mayfield, remaining there two years, when he returned to the homestead in Arcadia where he has since resided. He has been engaged in fanning and since 1802 has been running a saw-mill. He owns a good farm of 80 acres, has held the office of school inspector one year, and is at present justice of the peace. He was married December 25, 1857, to Miss Rosey D. Schenck, who was born in Almont, July 18,1889. They have had eight children: Lewis H., who was born November 17, 1858, and accidentally killed September 18, 1880, by being crushed by a load of logs; Bessie M., born September 4, 1861; Adella E., born September 8, 1865; Nina E., born Feb. 20, 1866; Electa M., born April 12, 1868; Amos D., bora November 5,1871; Eldin E., born June 24, 1872, died December 8, 1872, and Tressie M. born June 6, 1870.