City of Free Soil

Mason Co Michigan

Freesoil, MI - Main Street 1913 - Contributed by Paul Petosky

(From the History of Manistee, Mason and Oceana counties, Michigan 1882-Pg 70)
The township of Free Soil is one of the three original townships erected at the time Sutton County was organized. It comprised all of the county lying north of the division line between Townships 19 and 20 north. The first township meeting was held at the house of Charles Freeman, at Free Soil mills, in the Spring of 1855. The population of the township in 1880 was 318 and the total vote ninety-five.

One of the earliest settlers in the township was Mr. S. K. Hutchinson. He was born in the state of New Hampshire in 1796. At an early age be learned the carpenters trade, which he followed through life. From New Hampshire be went to Vermont, where, in 1818, be was married. From Vermont be went to Rochester, N. Y. where his wife died, June 8, 1848. In 1855, with his two young daughters, then at home, he came West and settled in the township of Free Soil, and was a resident of this comity until his death, which occurred June 8, 1876 at the home of his daughter, Mrs. George Tripp in Ludington. He was a man of exemplary habits, and he was greatly esteemed by all who knew him.

In September 1870, a resident of Free Soil wrote to the Ludington "Harold" about the township as follow: "Though located in the remote northeastern portion of the county, we have us have a country as fruitful a soil and as honest, industrious citizens as can be found in any part of our county. A large portion of our township is heavily timbered with beech and maple, while in the northeast portion there are some fine tracts of pine, and along the streams are found a variety of other timber. Owing to the large amount of railroad lands in our county, which, until quite recently have been excluded from market, our township, like many other portions of the county, is yet sparsely settled, but its agricultural rescources are being rapidly developed. We have as rich and fertile a soil as can be found in this or any other state. In proof of this fact the evidence is at hand, though the dry weather of the present season has been unfavorable to a portion of the east. Farmers in this vicinity have all threshed their wheat, which yielded on an average from twenty-five to forty bushels per acre.

We advise every one taking up a new farm to make it one of the first points to set out an orchard, which will soon become one of the most productive sources of profit on the farm."

The "Free Methodists" have a class, and have held religious services in the "Riter's" schoolhouse since 1880. The present pastor is Rev. L. T. Jackson.
The Methodist Episcopal Society also hold religious services in the schoolhouse, there being no church edifice.

The present supervisor is F. Edwin Smith, and the town clerk is Wayland Hastings. Free Soil is bounded on the north by Manistee County, on the east by Lake County, on the south by Sherman, and on the west by Grant. The Manistee branch of the F. & P. M. R. R. runs through the western portion of the township, in a northwesterly direction.

Freesoil, MI (Pere Marquette Depot) (1910s) - Contributed by Paul Petosky