Marilla Twp. Michigan
Until the month of June, 1860, the territory now included in
the township of Manila was a dense forest of maple, beech, hemlock and pine, and inhabited only by birds and beasts. At that
time a man by the name of C. Churchill, who had left the Empire
State, with his family, to find a home in the new West, arrived here
and was pleased with the appearance of the country. There were
numerous springs and streams, and the soil promised fruitful
returns, lie built a log cabin and in the dense solitude of the forest formed a home.
Shortly after the arrival of Mr. Churchill, two bachelors named Lever wended their way thitherward, and made for themselves a home. In the Fall of the same year S. Evens and J. Rinard, with their families, came along and settled about a mile from the Lever brothers. D. Boyd and family also located in the same neighborhood, and the work of developing this new and wild country was begun.
These new comers were persevering and energetic, and were prepared to battle with hardships and trials. Through the day the cattle browsed twigs and leaves, and at night their mangers were filled with moss gathered from trees by the children. But there were dark days and times that tested their fortitude and endurance. There were times of sickness and misfortune. Some of the cattle died, and some had to be sold to meet various wants. Most of their provisions had to be brought on the shoulders of the men from logging camps, that were miles away.
But the dark days passed. The land was cleared, fields cultivated and prosperity came as the years went on. Other settlers arrived, until in the Fall of 1860 the town of Manila was erected by the board of supervisors. The town was set off from the region known as Brown town.
At a special meeting of the supervisors, held in January, 1870, James H. Winters, James B. Boyd and William H. Pope were appointed inspectors of the first election to be held in April, at the house of John Wilson.
The first town officers elected were as follows: Supervisor, J. D. Bond; town clerk, J. H. Winters; treasurer, G. Lever; school inspector, 0. Lackey; justices of the peace, W. Pope and L. F. Hall: highway commissioners, P. Hower, B. Yates, J. Willson, H. Farnsworth.
The first school in the new township was taught by Mrs. Jennie Pope, who continued to teach for several terms. As the settlers increased, various school districts were formed and comfortable buildings erected. Two of the school buildings are especially line, costing about $1,000 each. The town has a well filled public library, which speaks well for the enterprise and intelligence of the people.
There is a very handsome cemetery located near the central part of the town, which is well fenced and handsomely decorated with trees.
The church societies are a Congregational and Baptist. The former was organized in 1872, and the latter in 1876. The first person baptized by immersion in the town was Mrs. M. Snyder. The ordinance was administered in May, 1876.
The town is located in the eastern part of the county, bordering on the county line. It embraces thirty-six square miles. The land is generally rolling, heavily timbered and well watered. The soil is heavy clay loam and sand loam, and some of the best farms in tho county have been made in this section. The roads are good and the people thrifty, industrious and intelligent. According to the census of 1874, the population of the township was 183. There were 16,811.22 acres of taxable land; 456 acres of improved land.
In 1878 there were raised 746 bushels of wheat; 1,685 bushels
of corn; 8,827 bushels of other grains; 4,235 bushels of potatoes;
104 tons of hay were cut; 40 pounds of wool sheared; 8,050 pounds
of butter, and 2,080 pounds of maple sugar made. Other statistical facts are given elsewhere. The present supervisor is Robert Knowles.