Day Township

Montcalm County MI

Day is designated in the United States survey as town 11 north, of range 6 west, and is bounded north by the township of Home, east by Ferris, south by Evergreen, and west by Douglass. The greater part of the township was formerly covered with a dense growth of pine, shading to beech and maple in the northern part, where, on the rise of ground extending east and west, the best farming lands are located. There are few lakes or streams in the township, which is drained by small streams flowing towards the Flat and Saginaw Rivers.


The first settler of the township was John A. Dyer, now a resident of Ferris, who came in in 1854 and settled on the southeast quarter of section 12. He built a good log house, set out an orchard, planted the first crops, and made the first improvements of note long before any other settler came in. His wife, who died subsequently, is regarded as being the first to die in Day.

About the year 1862 several families came to the township and entered small tracts on section 8. They all built small cabins, but soon after, selling their claims, removed. The next settler and the first permanent one in that vicinity was Alonzo Darling, who, under the State homestead law, entered one hundred and twenty acres, principally on section 8. He made some permanent improvements, conspicuous among which was building a large barn and clearing forty acres. He now lives in Hastings, Mich. Sebastian Martin was the first settler in the west part of the town, having entered land and built a cabin on section 6 as early as 1862. With his wife he lived here for a time, making shingles by band; but at length he, too, sold for one thousand dollars, and removed. His wife was subsequently drowned in Grand River.

The oldest resident of Day at this time is H. E. W. Palmer, a native of Allegany Co., N. Y., and later a resident of St Lawrence County.

In May, 1864, accompanied by his cousin, Marcellus Palmer, he came in, and with him purchased two hundred acres of Jacob Lemasters for three dollars and fifty cents per acre. H. E. W. Palmer was formerly a regular minister of the Baptist Church, but his health failing sought the pine-lands of Michigan iu hopes of restoring it. After purchasing, Marcellus returned to Ionia, and in about eight months brought his family to Day, where he continues to reside. In 1865, Conrad Rouash settled on section 7, where he remained a number of years, when he moved to Douglass.

Some time after the settlement of the Palmers, Norman Webster came in and bought the northeast quarter of section 8, for which he paid a team of horses, a wagon, and some minor consideration. He also sold out and removed to Kent County, thence to Texas. John Harrington came from Hillsdale Co., Mich., in 1864, and settled on section 19, where he now remains.

It will be seen, from these brief references to the early settlers of Day, that few now live in the township who are cognizant of its earliest history and those reminiscences which make the first settlement of a township novel and interesting. The first settlers were of that class that docs not remain long in one place. Those who remained were of a better class, and to them the rapid development of the agricultural resources of late are to be attributed. In the spring of 1866 the school board formed the northwest quarter of the township into a school district, the general outlines of which were similar to those of this district at present. The first school-meeting was held at the house of H. B. W. Palmer, he being chosen director and Samuel Butts moderator, Marcellus Palmer assessor. The first school was taught by Mrs. H. B. W. Palmer, in an unoccupied room of her dwelling. Arrangements were made to build a log school-house, but the motion was reconsidered by a vote of the district, and it was decided to erect a frame one, which was accordingly done. The second term, however, was taught by Miss Lodema Palmer in the log house of Samuel Butts, before the school-house was completed. She became the wife of E. M. Mallet, and now resides in Little Traverse. The second school was taught in the northeastern part of the township; but, as the inhabitants mostly soon after removed, the district formation was dropped. The fractional school district at Stanton was next perfected.

The first public religious meeting in Day, so far as is known, was conducted by Rev. H. E. W. Palmer, in his house in 1864. The first Sabbath-school was organized by Marcellus Palmer at his house, and of which he was elected first superintendent.


This village is named after Alexander McBride, a native of Wayne Co., N. Y., who came to Day, and in 1874 purchased the saw-mill built by Emery Mallet the year previous. The following year it burned, being a total loss, but it was at once rebuilt by him, and from this time the locality was known as McBride's Mill. When the railroad company established its station near by, it adopted the name which has accordingly been applied to the village. It is situated principally upon the southwest quarter of section 9, on the farm of D. L. Jacobs, who platted it in 1877. About the same time Phipps Waldo laid out the east half of the northeast quarter of section 8 in village lots, which he named Custer. Several lots were sold, and a number of buildings erected; the first completed was the blacksmith- and wagon-shop of Dean Wilber, being the first business place in the village of Custer, which is now properly considered a part of McBride.

Phipps Waldo came to Day in 1864, and entered the southeast quarter of section 2, where he resided until February, 1872. C. A. Chillson opened the first store in the Tillage. The sales for the first six months amounted to eight or ten thousand dollars. In 1880 the sales will amount to twenty-five thousand dollars, the stock in general being composed of ready-made clothing, drygoods, boots, shoes, etc.

Soon after J. A. Walden opened a stock of ready-made clothing, being the second in the village. The sales amount to ten thousand dollars per year.

The firm of Wood & Thayer commenced business in McBride in the spring of 1878. The stock was the largest in the village, and the sales for the first six mouths amounted to twenty thousand dollars. The stock is now composed of a complete assortment of dry goods, boots, shoes, groceries, hardware, etc., and the sales are among the heaviest of any firm in the county, amounting in 1880 to eighty thousand dollars. This firm also deals extensively in lumber.

There are seventeen saw-mills now in active operation in the vicinity of this village, and the shipments of lumber and shingles at times are enormous.

In July, 1880, the freightage received at this station amounted to $639.73; in August to $1087.22} and in September it amounted to $894.73.

The tickets sold in July amounted to $466.85, August to $450.70, and September to $518.25.

Although the Methodist Episcopal and Baptist Churches have societies here, no meeting-houses have thus far been erected. The first school was taught in a little shanty near her father's mill by Miss Cora McBride. She also taught the first school in the village school-house which was erected in 1876.


In the winter of 186*1-65 a petition was circulated whereby the Legislature* was prayed to erect town 11 north, of range 6 west, into a separate township. The name was selected by a mere accident. While a number of its citizens were debating and unable to select one from the many names proposed, some one suggested that action in regard to it be postponed until another day. It was then proposed that all other names be dropped and the word " Day" inserted in the petition, which was accordingly done, and, in compliance with an appointment made by the Legislature, the electors of the township met to bold their first town- meeting at the house of Henry Kretzinger, on the 3d day of April, 1865. This meeting was called to order by H. E. W. Palmer, one of the inspectors appointed by the board of supervisors. The other two inspectors being absent, George F. Case and John D. Harrington were appointed by the electors present to fill their places. George F. Case was chosen chairman of the board of inspectors, H. E. W. Palmer clerk. These preliminaries being completed and the constitutional oath administered, the election proceeded, which resulted in electing the following-named persons to the several offices: Supervisor, Sylvester Derby; Town Clerk, Edwin K. Wood; Treasurer, II. E. W. Palmer; School Inspectors, G. F. Case, H. E. W. Palmer; Commissioners of Highways, John D. Harrington, John K. Marston, Henry Kretzinger; Justices of the Peace, George F. Case, John D. Harrington, Samuel Butts, Albert Register; Constables, Aaron F. Lee, Phipps Waldo, H. E. W. Palmer, John J. Owen.

The township at this time was divided into two road districts, of which Aaron Grosh was appointed overseer in District No. 1, and II. E. W. Palmer in District No. 2. It was then voted to raise two hundred and fifty dollars for highway purposes, and one hundred dollars to defray the expenses of the township the ensuing year. It being necessary at this time that all bonds, notes, etc., bear the revenue stamp of the United States, it was voted to raise money to procure the stamps required for the " official bonds of the officers elect." It was then resolved to hold the next annual meeting at the house of H. E. W. Palmer.


The following is a list of the supervisors, town clerks, treasurers, and justices of the peace from the organization of the township to the year 1880 inclusive:


1865, Sylvester Derby; 1865-68, George P. Case; 1869, Edwin K. Wood; 1870, George F. Caso; 1871-72, E. D. Finch; 1873, George F. Case; 1874-75, George Howarth; 1876, Asa Morse; 1877-79, Henry H. Hinds; 1880, A. F. Gardner.


1865, Edwin K. Wood; 1866-69, Harmon Smith; 1870, James M. Zinkbam; 1871-72, James K. Brown ; 1873-74, John Englebeck; 1875-79, A. F. Gardner; 1880, Fred E. Moffatt.


1865, H. E. W. Palmer; 1866, Marcollus Palmer; 1867, H. E. W. Palmer; 1868, Edwin A. Shaw; 1869-70, Gideon Dingman; 1871-74, Jacob A. Bradford; 1875, E. D. Hawley ; 1876-78,Oscar Feon; 1879, Norman Shepherd; 1880, George F. Case.


1865, George F. Ciso, John D. Harrington, Samuel Butts, Albert E. Register; 1866, John D. Harrington; 1867, Mills Dingham, J. D. Valds; 1868, Marcellus Palmer, James Eakright; 1869, Nelson M. Turner; 1870, James Eakright, Francis Palmer; 1871, Jacob M. Dickerson; 1872, Alonio Darling, Oscar Fenn; 1873, George F. Case, Stephen M. Miles; 1874, Robert Bamber, Galusha Lamb; 1875, Asa Morse; 1876, Marcellus Palmer; 1877, C. E. Soule; 1878, James G. McGarry; 1879, C. Ellis Elliott, 0. E. Ellicott; 1880, Joseph L. Moffatt, Alpheus M. Beebee.

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