City of Newaygo
Newaygo County

Newaygo, MI (Bird's Eye View) (1910s) - Contributed by Paul Petosky

According to the Congressional survey, Brooks Township is 12 west, 12 north and is bounded on the north by Everett on the east by Croton, on the south by Grant, on the west by Garfield. It at first contained the entire western half of the county and was one of the two first townships organized befor the county itself. For many years it contained the west half of township 12 north, 12 west, and the east half of 12 north, 13 west. In 1880, the latter track was used in making the new township of Garfield, and hall a township was taken from Croton, by way of compensation. By this arrangement, the village of Newaygo is thrown on the line between Garfield and Brooks. The Muskegon winds through the township from east 10 west, crossing sections 24, 13, 14, 15, 23, 26, 27, 22, 21, 20 and 19. The Newaygo division of the Chicago & West Michigan railroad runs through the northwestern quarter of the township, crossing sections 5, 4, 9, 17 and 18. In the southwestern corner the Big Brooks (or Hess) Lake and Little Brooks Lake. The former is about two miles long, and one of the largest bodies of water in the county. In the northwestern corner is Great Marl Lake, and portions of Little Marl and Pickerel Lakes. Brooks was one of the two townships organized in 1851, before the county was organized. Isaac D. Merrill was the first Supervisor. At the last election, held April 2, 1883, the following officers were elected: Sanford Brown, Supervisor; Frank Towns, Clerk; James Herron, Treasurer; Otis Freeman, Highway Commissioner; Henry Hyde, Drain Commissioner; Samuel D. Bonner, School Inspector; Sanford Brown and John A. Brooks, Justices of the Peace; Aaron Courtwright, George King, John T. Thompson and Anselrn Miller, Constable.

The population of the township of Brooks in 188o (then containing all of Newaygo village) was 1,497. There are now four school districts in Brooks Township. For the year ending Sept. 3, 1883, the number of children between the ages of 5 and 15 was 502; the number of children that attended school, 295 ; number of non-resident pupils, 8; number of days of school taught, 498; number of frame school-houses, 3; number of log school-houses, 1 number of pupils that can be seated, 384; value of school property, $5,500; number of male teachers employed, 3; number of female teachers employes 5; wages paid male teachers, $1,372; wages paid to females, $956.

The valuation of property in this township has in creased from $44,613.33 in 1853 to $127,775 in 188; and the taxation from $189.79 in 1852 to 82,242 in 1883.

Isaac D. Merrill 1851
Ephraim H. Utley 1852
John A. Brooks 1853
Sullivan Armstrong 1854
Ashley B. Fur man 1855
Alfred A. Maguire 1856
Hiram Baker 1857
Theodore Wilson 1858
Justus C. Hubbard 1859
Amasa B. Watson 1860,1861
Warren P. Adams 1862
Dexter P. Glazier 1863
Amasa B. Watson 1864-5
William T. Howell, E. S. Gray 1866
William D. Fuller 1867
Augustus Paddock 1868
Wm. D. Fuller 1869
Wilkes D. Stewart 1870
William Fuller 1871
Sanford Brown 1872
John A. Brooks 1873
Timothy Edwards 1873
Sanford Brown 1874
James Herron 1875
Sanford Brown 1876-8
George W. Fry 1879
Sanford Brown 1888-1889
C. K. Carter 1882
Frank Hoag, Sanford Brown, Wm. Glanville - 1883


Newaygo is one of the oldest villages in Northern Michigan, dating back nearly half a century, and has been for over thirty years the county seat of a magnificent county. It has grown slowly, but steadily and surely, and now presents an appearance of personal prosperity.

The first view which the traveler gets of Newaygo is always a surprise. As he comes around or over some hill, the village bursts into full view all at once, with the suddenness of a "jack in the box." To people journeying through here thirty years ago, the sensation on reaching Newaygo was novel as well as delightful. For many and weary miles an unbroken forest, and then with the suddenness of enchantment a compact, smiling village right at their feel, as though it bad been transplanted into the wilderness and set down in a sheltered nook for their special convenience.

The Muskegon River, a strong and rapid stream, running between high bluffs, here makes a crescent- shaped bend, and a small valley is made by the bluffs on the south side, receding from the river and cutting across the curve like the string of a bow. In this crescent-shaped valley lies Newaygo, raised a little above the river bottoms by a sort of natural terrace at the foot of the southern bluff. The view, from whatever direction, is highly picturesque. On the north is the river, hugging closely to the foot of the steep and curving bluffs, beyond which is rising ground with a few clearings, and the bare skeleton like dead pines, that stand like white tombstones of departed forests. The bluffs that rise almost perpendicularly from the river bank, arc in many places bare of vegetation, scarified and abraded by land slides, and scores of roll-ways down which hundreds of thousands of pine logs have been plunged into the river.

The village lies at the tout of the opposite bluffs, the principal part of it on one straight street, that leads from the depot to the court-house. The railroad comes 10 the river below and southwest of the village, creeps in along the face of the southern bluff, passes between the village and the river, which it crosses above the middle of the bend, and finds a way out of the valley through the deep ravine, by which Penneyer Creek cuts its way to the Muskegon.

On the business street, there are a number of brick buildings, all new, and constructed in 1883. Since the fire in the spring of this year, only brick buildings can be erected in the business portion of the village. The residences are almost entirely of frame, painted white. There is no ostentatious display in the direction of expensive residences. In viewing the beautiful grass-covered bluff overlooking the village and valley, one cannot avoid wondering that some wealthy citizen has never been tempted to crown its summit with a magnificent mansion, that would be the pride and envy of the town. But this feature remains to be added, and the only large building on the hill is the fine school-house with its spacious yard and surrounding lawn. Streets ascend the hill both above and below the village, but the stranger sees the face of the hillside street less and pathless, covered with meadows and orchards, and is puzzled to know how he shall reach the school building.

Finally he gets sight of a meandering stairway near the upper part of the village, and by diligent search, or inquiry, finds the narrow path that leads to its foot, aud climbs its long series of broad steps, wondering how many broken legs and anus it occasions among the school-children every winter.

The dam across the Muskegon River is between the railroad bridge and the upper wagon bridge, and is 14 feet in height. There is a dam across the mouth of the Pennoyer Creek, which comes dashing down from among the hills in a series of cascades and rapids, and a fluid to convey its waters if necessary into the Muskegon above the dam. It is a line sight to see the locomotive come out of the ravine at this dam, pausing, elephant like, before it moves upon the bridge, giving the passengers an opportunity to look out upon the flashing, foaming waters, the dam, and the beauties of the suddenly discovered village. Newaygo derives its name from an Indian chief of distinction, who lived in Western Michigan in an early day, before it was explored by the whites, and when the site of the present village and the hill above it were favorite camping grounds of the Indians. In 1836, the pine forests of Western Michigan had begun to be spoken of at the East, but it was left for years of growth and development in the Western States to create a market that would render the manufacture of lumber profitable.

It was in 1836 that Augustus and Frederick, brothers of Hon. Henry Pennoyer, of Ottawa County, built a saw-mill on Pennoyer Creek, which was the first settlement at Newaygo. This mill was afterward run by Samuel Rose and Robert W. Morris, and a grist-mill was added to it. The next miller was the well-known John A. Brooks, the father of Newaygo village. He was an enterprising and energetic man, who, previous to his coming to Michigan had been a hotel-keeper at Statistead, Canada. Until 1852, he transacted the largest part of the business of the place, and until his death, after the close of the war (in which he held the post of quartermaster), was prominent in both business and politics, being twice elected to the Legislature. The village was platted by John A. Brooks and Sarell Wood, in 1854. The palmy days in the history of Newaygo began in 1853, when a number of enterprising men at Glens Falls, N. Y., who had previously purchased large tracts of lands on the Muskegon River, organized the "Newaygo Company," and commenced building a dam across the river, and erected one of the largest mills in the county, in which 120 saws were run. The company consisted of A. N. Cheney, L. L. Anns, A. F. Orion, H. J. Orion and Amasa B. Watson. Almost everything to be used in this work had to be conveyed from Grand Rapids by teams, giving employment to a large number of men. Greater hotel accommodations were needed, and the Exchange Hotel was erected by Samuel W. Matevey. The Brooks House was erected four years later, by John A. Brooks. The mill added at once nearly 200 to the population of the village.

From this time forward, Newaygo was an important point. It became the headquarters of the lumber business north of Grand Rapids. Mr. Brooks secured an appropriation to improve the Muskegon River flats near Muskegon to facilitate the running of rafts, and the river was so far improved that steamboats made Tegular trips to Newaygo during favorable seasons. Appropriations were made for State roads, and a road was built 88 miles north to Traverse City, and the road to Grand Rapids was graded and turn piked. Centering at Newaygo, 187 miles of State roads were built in different directions. Hon. E. L. Gray, who came to the village in 1854, and thenceforward took an active part in all public enterprises, built 90 miles of these mads. As lumber operations extended up the Muskegon River, the trade of Newaygo increased, two large hotels were crowded with guests. Its merchants bandied vast quantities of lumbermen's supplies. Long trains of teams traveled the roads leading to Grand Rapids and Muskegon, and a daily stage ran to Grand Rapids, and afterward to Big Rapids, while a stage ran to Muskegon every other day. The Newaygo post-office was for several years the distributing post-office for the Grand Traverse region.

Bui all this was the work of years, during which Newaygo shared in the ups and downs of the lumber business. In 1857 the old Newaygo Company was compelled, like many other institutions in that disastrous year, to make an assignment and re-organize. In 1856, J. II. Maze, now of Grand Rapids, started the Newaygo Republican, which was for many years the only paper in the county. At present there are four.

A new order of things began in 1867, when the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad was built to Cedar Springs, and a share of the northern traffic and travel diverted in that direction, and it became evident that the commercial importance of the town could only be retained by securing railroad communications with Grand Rapids. This was accomplished through the persistent labor and wise management of D. P. Clay, ably seconded by W. D. Fuller, Hon. E. L. Gray, S. K. Riblet and other prominent citizens. The railroad reached Newaygo Sept. 11, 1872, and from that time has done a prosperous business. In 1876 it was extended to Morgan Station 011 the Big Rapids branch of the Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore railroad. Its final terminus will be at Traverse City. Soon after the railroad was built, the village was greatly improved by the grading and graveling of State Street, at an expense of between 3,000 and $4,000. This street, upon which are nearly all the stores, offices and public buildings, is excelled in few, if any, western villages.

The lumber trade, though it will continue some years longer, must yearly become less and less a factor in its business, and Newaygo will finally have to fall back on its agricultural resources, and those of the surrounding country, for its importance. Happily for the town, these are abundant, and of a high order. The water power furnished by Muskegon River and Brooks and Pennoyer Creeks is amply sufficient to run more machinery than now exists in any city in Michigan, and it can be managed and applied with little trouble and expense. The field is an inviting one to men of capital and enterprise, and when the one overshadowing business of lumbering ceases to monopolize both, they will doubtless be diverted into the many branches of manufactures for which Newaygo furnishes so fine an opening. Brooks Creek, with more than a hundred feet fall in half a mile, should be lined with factories, and Pennoyer Creek, with like the super finity of power, should also be put into use, while the strong and stable current of the Muskegon awaits the day when us tireless force shall turn hundreds of turbine* and do the work of thousands of men. Pure water and rapid streams render Newaygo one of the most healthful places in the State.

The act of the Legislature incorporating the village of Newaygo was approved March 16, 1867, and the first election was held April 8, following. The principal officers chosen at that time were xs follows: John H. Standish, President; Wilkes L. Stuart, Dexter P. Glazier, Aaron S. Skinner, John A. Brooks, Augustus Paddock and Henry Kritzer, Trustees; William D. Fuller, Clerk. The following are the present village officrs, chosen in April, 1883: President, John H. Simmons; Trustees, I. N. Robinson, Jno. A Brooks, Aaron S. Skinner, Tyson Smith, S. D. Hornier, Sanford Brown; Clerk, Walter. R. Taylor; Treasurer, S. D. Thompson; Assessor Wellington Persons; Marshal, Aaron Courtright; Village Attorney, William D. Fuller; Street Commissioner, S. K. Kiblet; Fire Warden, A. D. Graves; Health Officer, David W. Flora; Pound Master, Richard Potter; Constable, Fred Rode; Special Police, Hewett Potter, L. Meeker.

Regular meeting of Council, first and third Wednesdays of every month.

The population of the village was 703 in 1870, 976 in 1874 and 1,097 in 1880. The Newaygo Company has been defined to as one of the main pillars of Newaygo's prosperity, by employing a large number of hands, and adding to the general business of the village. The years of depression following the panic of 1873, caused this company to suspend, and many considered it dead. In 188o, all its property was bought out by a new company, called also the Newaygo Company. The stock in this new organization was comoosed of 4,000 shares, of $25 each. The shareholders at that time (substantially the same as now) were as follows: D. P. Clay, 3,600 shares; Bennett Fulkerson, 130; John B. Graves, 50; Luther Colby, 40; George H. Hobart, 40; Allien V. Thompson, 40; Hugo Harbinger, 40, and James M. Edwards, 20. This company has steadily enlarged its business, and now employs about 125 to 150 men, besides the large number in the store of D. P. Clay & Co, and in Mr. Clay's lumber camps. The principal branch of the business is the tub and pail factory, which employs about 30 hands and turns out daily about 57S pails, shipped to Grand Rapids and Chicago, chiefly. The company also have a planing mill, employing 20 hands, two saw-mills and a lumber yard, employing Ho hands. Mr. Clay also operates a flouring mill, on his own account.

The Newaygo Chair Company was incorporated in October, 1882. with the following stockholders: Lyman Guinnip, 500 shares; H. D. Guinnip, 100; J. F. A. Raider, 200; John H. Simmons, 40; E. L. Gray, 40; A. V. Thompson, 40; C. C. Kritzer, 20; S. D. Thompson, 20; Wm. D, Fuller, 20; H. J. Orton, 10. The company have their building completed, and are ready for the machinery. It is very advantageously situated, by the railroad. Its products can be loaded directly on the cars, and teaming will thus be saved.

The flouring mills of Henry Kritzer completes the list of Newaygo's present manufacturing enterprises.

Following is a list of the general business firms of Newaygo:

M. S. Angell, drugs and news.
John Bailey, saloon.
C. A. Banker, blacksmith.
D. P. Clay & Co., general merchandise.
Jerome Carpenter, furniture.
James C. Coon, blacksmithing and wagon shop.
Will Courtright, "The Courtright"
J. H. Edwards, hardware.
W. D. & E. S. Fuller, Newaygo 7'n'kmt.
George W. Fry, blacksmith.
G. H. Gates, billiards.
Isaac Hobbs, restaurant.
E. I. Hewes, general merchandise.
Mrs. M. E. Hunt, millinery.
Fred Jacobi, general merchandise.
Fred Jacobi, Jr., jeweller.
Mrs. Julia Jarse, Jarse House.
Keefe, Sutliff & Co., livery.
George King, harness and shoe shop.
Henry Kritzer, Newaygo Mills.
David Millard, general merchandise.
James H. McKee, photographer.
L. R. Meeker, drayman.
J. W. Maynard, barber.
H. C. Nobles, cooper.
Newaygo Company, lumber.
Persons & Edwards, abstract-makers.
Hewitt Potter, drayman.
S. K. Riblet, general merchandise.
J. F. A. Raider, drugs, groceries, etc.
I. N. Robinson, real estate and loans.
D. E. Soper, real estate, loans and insurance.
William Schan, blacksmith.
E. O. Shaw Bro., Newaygo Republican.
R. Surplice, grocery and saloon.
E. O. Shaw, post-office.
George A. Turner, meat market.
S. D. Thompson, grocery.
H. M. Van Gibson, music teacher.
Mrs. I. H. Wiseman, millinery.
Wm. Whitman. Newaygo House.
George H. Young, livery.

The Medical Profession is represented by D. W. Flora (Regular), Tyson Smith (Homeopathic), O. Smith (Homeopathic), and L. F. McCormick (Regular); and the attorneys residing in the village are George Luton, A. G. Day, E. I- Gray and W. D. Fuller.

The Methodist Episcopal Church is the pioneer religious organization here, as elsewhere. The first sermon preached in Newaygo in Newaygo County was delivered by Rev. William Kelley, June 30, 1850. There were at that time only three houses in Newaygo. The Muskegon circuit, embracing Newaygo, was organized in 1853, and Newaygo charge was first designated as such in 1857. The church was built in 1860, when Rev. Thomas H. Granger was pastor. He appointed as trustees William Loomis, Henry Looinis, Pomeroy C. Spooner, John Morse and T. J. Randolph. At that time the Church had but nine members. The present membership, under Rev. Mr. Van Wyck, is about 50.

The Congregational Church is an old society, and has the honor of building the first church in Newaygo. The society was formed Nov. 8, 1855, with the following members: Sarell Wood, James M. Stryker, E. P. Chapin, Edmund Lamb, Edgar L Gray, Ashley B. Furmaii and John H. Standish. The first trustees were Sarell Wood, James M. Stryker and Edmund Lamb. Their church was erected the winter ensuing, at a cost of about $3,000.

The society has always been a strong one until the fire of 1883, which destroyed the church. A new building will be erected this coming summer (1884.)

St. Mark's Protestant Episcopal Mission was organized in 1872. The pastors of the society have been Revs. Mosely Morris, E. W. Flower (now of Greenville), William H. Sparling (now of Geneseo, Ill.), and J. Rice Taylor (now of Poultney, Vt.). The last regular services were held in October, 1882. The society numbers 23, and the congregation about 60. In 1883, they have been erecting a very commodious, handsome brick church, which has already cost $1,300, and will cost finally $3,000 or more.

Newaygo Loge, No. 131, F. & A. M., was consecrated with very solemn ceremonies Jan. 29, 1862. The following first officers were installed : Charles W. Leonard, W. M.; W. Irving Latimer, S, W.; Warren P. Adams, J. W.; Solomon K Riblet,Treas,; Justus C. Hubbard, Sec; Daniel Weaver, S. D.; George H. Mallery, J. D.; and John B. Folger, Tyler. Tlie present membership of the lodge is about 60. The present officers are as follows: John Piltwood, W. M.; H. L. Brace, S. W.; Mollis T. Reed, J. W.; K. S. Bennett, Secretary; S. D.Thompson, S. D.; I. N. Robinson, J. D.; James McKee, Tyler. The lodge meets the Friday on or before the full moon of each month.

Newaygo Chapter, No. 138, R. A. M., was chartered Jan. 1865. Alanson St. Clair was the first High Priest; W. 1. Latimer, the first King; and J. L. Alexander, the first Scribe. The present officers are as follows: S. D. Thompson. H. P.; J. H. Simmons, K.; A. O. White, S.; G. W. Fry, C. of H.; J. Piltwood, P. S.; W. J. Pike, R. A. C; George Luton,; J. W. Dunning, M. ad V.; E. Edwards, M. 1st V.; I. N. Robinson, Treas.; W. Persons, Sec.; J. II. McKee, Sent. The chapter has about 40 members, and meets the Tuesday on or befure the full moon, each month.

Newaygo Lodge, No. 254,1. O. O. I'., was organized in February, 1875, with E. O. Shaw as N. G-; William Glanville, U". G.; R. Surplice, Secretary; Aaron Court right, Treas. The present officers are as follows: Aaron Skinner, V. G.; George E. Taylor, V. G.; Pierce Picket, Perm. Sec; C. K. Carter, Ret Sec; George King, Treas.; Mich. Rep. to G. L., William Graham, D. D. G. M. The lodge has membership of about 60, and meets every Monday.

Newaygo Encampment, No. 8, I. 0. O. F., was organized in March, 1877. with William Glanville as C. P.; E. O. Shaw as J. W.; Jerome Carpenter, H. P.; R. Surplice, S.; Aaron Court right, Treas. At present, Robert Wallace is C. P.; George King, J. W_; Ransom Eckels. H. P.; Jerome Carpenter, S.; and George King. Treas. The membership of the encampment is 26, and it meets the last Friday of each month.

Newaygo Lodge, No. 886, I. O. G. T., was organized Aug. 16, 1875, with 25 members, and the following officers: S. K. Riblet, C. T.; Mrs. S. F.Skinner, V. T.; E. A. Whitman, Chap.; Mrs. J. H. Edwards, Sec; J. F. A. Raider, Fin. Sec; S.X Bonner, Treas.; Wilford Knox, VI. ; Mrs. A. P. Day; John Mapes. The present officers are as follows; J. H. Edwards, C. T.; Mrs. J. H. McKee, V. T.; A H. Noma, Chap.; Walter R. Taylor, Sec; Ernest Fuller, Fin. Sec; Byron Joslin, Treas.; George H. Young. Mar.; Jennie Fuller, I. G.; Mattie Rosewarn, I >. G. The lodge now has a membership of about 40, and meets Wednesday evenings.

Newaygo Council, No. 46, R. T. of T., was organized Nov. 4, 1SS4, with 24 members. The first officers were as follows: J. F. A. Raider, P. C; N. H. Walbridge, S. C; S. D. Thompson, V. C; M. E. Massie, R. S.; Lucy Utley, F. S.; Phrebe Millard, Treas.; George Lolley, Herald; Georgette Fuller. Guard; C. F. Alwood. Sent.; J. P. Gallagher, Chap. The present officers are as follows: L. V. Skinner, S. C; David Millani, V. C; J. H. Edwards, R. S.; J. F. A. Raider, F. S.; A. N. Jones, Treas.; Charles F. Atwood. Herald; Mrs. J. H. Edwards, Guard; Mrs. Lucy H. Utley, Sent.; Marian Skinner, Chap. The council now has 22 members. It meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.


Newaygo's first serious fire was the burning of the Newaygo Company's saw-mill, some years before 1870. The second fire of importance occurred on the night of Sept. 5, 1874. The flames were discovered by James H. Wiseman, while standing in the door of his room at the Exchange Hotel, as they first issued from the rear of Luton 4; Sinclair's drug store. The alarm being given, at least 500 people were on the spot in ten minutes; but the building in which the fire originated was past saving, and the people turned their attention to saving the buildings on each side of it,—one owned by Hon. A. H. Giddings, and occupied by E. A. Simons as a grocery and lunch room, and the other owned and occupied by F. Jacobi as a grocery and dwelling.

So quickly did the names reach the latter that Mr. Jacobi s family had barely time to reach the street before the rooms they had occupied were filled with smoke and fire. It was soon discovered that this building could not be saved, and the work of removing goods commenced. Then the fire spread lo D. E. Sopcr's drug store, and the goods were removed from there in a short space of time. The building, occupied by Mr. Soper as an insurance office was then torn down and dragged away, and thus the fire was prevented from spreading to Mr. Super's book and Jewelry stor3.

At one lime it seemed impossible to prevent the destruction of Gidding's building on the west side; but a few of the coolest, most determined workers were stationed here, and although the cornice was on fire several times, they succeeded in preventing, any great damage. The losses were about as follows: Luton Art Sinclair, loss on building and stock, $1,500, no insurance; F. Jacobi, building stock, household goods, wearing apparel, etc.,$5,000, no insurance; D. E. Soper, two buildings, stock and fixtures of Palace Drug Store, $1,000 on store, and $1,500 on stock. Mr. Soper had $500 insurance on his store, but none whatever on his stock. There was no lack of water, but the means of using it to advantage were entirely inadequate.

The Groat Fire.

Sunday, April 30, 1883,occurred the most memorable fire which burned 30 buildings, and destroyed in all $50,000 worth of property. For many years the row of wooden buildings on Main Street had been considered a firetrap, and periodical agitation of the necessity of fire protection had occupied the minds of the people. But long continued exemption from the ravages of fire lulled the business men and property holders to rest, and the magnificent natural advantages for protecting the town by means of water were allowed to remain unused. Even the large pump and hose which had been placed on the public square by private subscription was not in shape for use, and when the hour of danger dawned upon the village of Newaygo, her people found themselves at the mercy of fire and flame. The following is the account given by the Republican:

"Sabbath morning dawned peaceful and smiling, and looked down upon a quiet town all unsuspicious of the rude awakening soon to break in upon its serenity and make it a day long lobe remembered. At about half past eight o'clock in the morning the alarm was given, and soon flames broke forth through the roof of the store building opposite the Brooks House, owned by E.L. Gray, and occupied by E. Pine as a jewelry and news store, and overhead for a dwelling." The cause of the fire is not certainly known, and as there are different reports concerning its origin, the question will doubtless remain an open one.

" It was soon apparent that the flames could not be stayed, and the work of saving property commenced. Men and women worked like heroes, and a large portion of the movables were taken from the burning building, and from those adjacent thereto. From this point the fire spread in both directions until it was finally stayed on the west at J. H. Edwards hardware store, and on the east by the dwelling of J. H. Standish. In the meantime the flames crossed the street, and in spite of every effort on the part of the workers, the 'Brooks House,' long the pride of the village, was a mass of fire and smoke. From this point the fire lapped up the old meat-market building, and the law and printing offices of W. D. Fuller, on the north, and, Jumping over the brick store of S. K. Riblet, stopped by the way long enough to remove the old vacant store building once used by J. F. A. Raider, and also a small building next adjoining, occupied by Persons and Edwards as an abstract office, and which had been an eye-sore to the villagers. Here the Raider brick block stopped the farther spread of the flames, although McKee and others on the south removed most of their goods and furniture to safer quarters.

"As soon as the fire was fairly under headway, dispatches for help were sent to Grand Rapids and Goodville, and just as the flames were under subjection an engine from each town appeared upon the scene of action. The Grand Rapids engine left a quantity of hose, and the Woodville machine, manned by a brave set of men, proceeded to wet down the burnt district in a thorough manner. All day long the joint work of destruction and salvation went on, and as the shadows of night closed in upon the village, the stars looked down upon a scene of widespread ruin and disaster. One hundred heads were shelterless, save as cared for by their more fortunate neighbors, and many had lost their all. Still a spirit of cheerfulness reigned, and plans for rebuilding were talked of before the hot Hames had sunk into sullen rest amid the smoking ruin they had so quickly wrought."

The principal losses were as follows:

W. L. Fuller, law office and personal property, $1,000. Insurance $500.

Aaron and William Courtright, Brooks House, furniture and other personal property, and old meatmarket building, $18,000. Insurance $4,500. The Brooks House was one of the ancient landmarks of the village, having been built by John A. Brooks.

J. F. A. Raider, vacant store and small building adjoining, and damage to brick store, $1,000, mostly covered by insurance.

J. H. Edwardi., small building adjoining his hardware store, and an old bam, $700.

Richard Surplice, store and dwelling. $5,500. Insurance, $2,200.

J. H. Simmons, two buildings. $3,500. Insurance, $1,500.

D. H. Gates, household goods, etc.. #250.

Mrs. Julia Jarse, Jarse House, $4,000. No insurance.

John Bailey, two buildings, $2,500. No insurance.

George King, store and dwelling, $2,800. No insurance.

E. I. Gray, office and store building and papers $500. No insurance.

A. G. Day, office and papers, $500. No insurance.

I. N. Robinson, personal property, $300. No insurance.

Banker & McKee, one building, $1,000. No insurance.

Kalamazoo Printing Company, $300. No insurance.

J. M. Allen, dwelling house and livery stable, $2,500. No insurance.

C. A. Banker, blacksmith shop, $500. No insurance.

Congregational Church, $3,000. No insurance.

Charles Atwood, dwelling. $200. No insurance.

A. T. Day, house and barn, §1,000.

Ed. Pine, personal property, $700. No insurance

Joe. Maynard, personal property. No insurance.

S. Thompson, damage to store building, $300. Covered by insurance.

S. K. Riblet, damage 10 store, $500. (Covered by insurance.

David Millard, goods, $200. No insurance.

E. I. Hewes, damaged goods. $700. Insured.

Jerome Carpenter, stock and goods, $1,200. No insurance.

Scarcely had the ruins stopped smoking, when the work of rebuilding began, and, before the winter set in, several brick structures were completed, or well underway. "The Courtright," which succeeds the Brooks House, was formally opened Nov. 16. Severe as the individual losses were, it is certain that by another year Newaygo will be all the better for the fire. A better class of buildings are going up, and the village is to have better protection from the destroying element. A liberal sum has been, voted for water works.

Source: Portrait and biographical album of Newaygo county, Mich. Chicago - Chapman Bros. 1884.

The Naming of Our County.

Compiled and edited by N. LaVon Titus
Book printed in 1979 - Submitted by Linda Dougan

There have been many legends about the naming of our county Newaygo. Henry Spooner in his "The first white pathfinders" Of Newaygo County laid those legends to rest. The boundaries of the county were first defined in 1849, the county was not organized and was attached to Kent County. At that time, counties were named for the Indians more or less prominent in the state.

Nah-way-go was a young Ottawa brave living his earlier life at Green Point on the Saginaw river. His later years were on the shore of Lake Huron. He was descried as a model of native strength and grace. His death was between 1830 and 1840, on an Indian battleground. He distinguished himself as a warrior of great bravery and courage. The word spread to the white settlements and he was admired there as well. Some of his bravery was witnessed by the white settlers and it was during this time the county was given its name.