Newaygo County


Land of White Ash
Submitted by Linda Dougan

Land of White Ash -
Contributed by Linda Dougan

The first annual meeting of the township of Ashland was held at the house of Sullivan Armstrong on April 2 1855. The following officers were; Sullivan Armstrong, Ezra Burrill,George Fuller,Joseph Cady, Joseph Henderson,and Joseph Shippy. Nathanial Brown, Henry Herrington, AFArmstrong, EA Simmons and NA Markham. Overseers of the poor; David Thurston, AF Armstrong, James Smith, and William McCune. At a meeting it was resolved to raise 150 dollars for township puposes, and 250 dollars to be expanded on road improvements. By 1856 the township had set up records for artifical marks on domestic animals in the town of Ashland. Nathanial Brown marked his animals with a hole in the left ear and a crop off the right. His and others recorded there marks in the township record book, among them was William Dougan. The last recorded mark was September 14 1885, by Sherman Tufts. Ashland Center was named precinct one. After voting became heaver, a second precinct was formed and that was number two in Grant.

Before towns were incorporated there welfare was shaped and there growth controlled by township government. After they were incorporated decision making was up to the township board. The Ashland township books show the steps that were taken to insure economic growth in the area. Through the board roads were laid, bridges built, cemeteries were bought, farmers were compensated for sheep slaughtered by wild dogs and the poor were given a helping hand. The overseer would sometimes traveled by foot, or by horse to assess the damage and often the amount paid out in a month was 150 dollars, he was also paid a fee for his services. It was the towns justice of the peace who also was the person to determine damage.

Ashland Township

Ashland Township is one of the oldest and wealthiest in Newaygo County. It is township 11 north, 13 west, Congressional survey, and lies in the southern tier of townships in the county. It is bounded on the north by Garfield'on the east by Grant, on the south by Muskegon County, and on the west by Bridgeton. The Muskegon River flows through sections 4,5, 6 and 7, in the northwestern corner. The Newaygo division of the C. & W. M. R. R. runs almost due south through the eastern tier of sections 1, 12, 13, 24, 25 and 36. Sand Lake is on the south half of section 19, Mud Lake in the southwest quarter of section 29, and the greater part of Blanche Lake is on section 13, in the eastern part of the township.

Ashland was the fifth township organized in Newaygo County, and was the first one erected after the county machinery was fairly started. It was organized by the Board of Supervisors Oct. 9, 1854, and the first "town meeting " was held at the house of Sullivan Armstrong, the first Monday in April, 1855. Sullivan Armstrong was chosen the first Supervisor. At the last election, April 2, 1883, the following township officers were chosen: Orvin Headley, Supervisor; Nathaniel H. Brown, Clerk; Robert C. Wallace, Treasurer; Hiram L. Brace, Highway Commissioner; Henry Avery, School Inspector; Samuel W. Peterson and William N. Hutchinson, Justices of the Peace; Sylvester Peats, Henry J. Brown, John Raymer and Wm. H. Soyer, Constables.

The population of Ashland Township in 1880 was

There are now six school districts in the township. For the year ending Sept. 3, 1883, the number of children between the ages of five and twenty was 514; the number that attended school during the year, 392; number of non-resident pupils, 8; number of days of school taught, 1,059; number of volumes in district libraries, 186; number of brick school-houses, 1; number of frame school-houses, 6; number of pupils that can be seated, 496; value of school property, $6,580; number of male teachers employed, 5; number of female teachers employed, 9; amount paid to male teachers, $950; amount paid to female teachers, 8840.

The equalized valuation of the property of Ashland Township in 1855 amounted to $39,740.50, and the taxes collected to $198.70, while for 1883 the value of property was $181,615, and the taxes $2,176.70.

The following is a complete list of the Supervisors of the township:
Sullivan Armstrong, 1855-7
George Fuller, 1858
Sullivan Armstrong, 1859-60
Alfred F. Armstrong, 1861-2
George Fuller, 1863
Alfred F. Armstrong, 1864
John L. McLain, 1864
Milo White, 1865-9
Sullivan Armstrong, 1870-2
Alfred F. Armstrong, 1873
Sullivan Armstrong, 1874
S. W. Peterson, 1874
Andrew T. Squier, 1875-8
George Fuller, 1879
Orvin T. Headley, 1880
Sullivan Armstrong, 1881
W. Seaman, 1882
Orvin T. Headley, 1883

Portrait and biographical album of Newaygo county, Mich 1884