Oceana County Michigan
VILLAGE OF SHELBY
An extract from the Pentwater "News"
of 1878, when the village was but one year old, will
contract with another from the same paper in 1881, which we
"The village of Barnett, in Shelby
Township, started last year, seems to be building, just now,
quite rapidly. W. H. Churchill, the postmaster of Shelby,
has removed the post office to Barnett Station, - where it
presents a very neat and imposing appearance - and, in
company with Mr. Neff, Mr. Churchill is keeping a hardware
and variety store. Mr. E. J. Shirts, lately of Lansing is
keeping a small dry goods store, and is now arranging to
build quite a capacious one. Mr. William Branch, in company
with another gentleman, has just opened a boot and shoe and
general variety store, and all seem to be in prospect of
doing a good business. Dr. C. F. Sweet is building a new
drug store, and G. W. Woodward, Esq., the newly elected
supervisor, is about erecting a grain warehouse, for the
purpose of buying and storing farmers' produce. This will be
quire an important feature of the town, as the opening of a
cash market for produce is a very great help to any village.
Messrs. Malcolm & Williams have a very fine mill in
operation here, and thousands of dollars have been paid by
different parties for logs, this Winter, to be sawed
up into lumber by this mill. Messrs. Williams & Son are
about putting up a new store, and will, as soon as it is
finished, remove their stock of goods into it from their
present location at Shelby Corners. Stumps are very thick in
the village of Burnett, but time and labor will soon efface
them, and Barnett may erelong be a very pleasant village."
SHELBY OF THE PRESENT
Shelby, MI (Bird's Eye View -
1910) - contributed by Paul Petosky
The following is from a recent issue
of the "News", and shows the village as it is:
1872, when the first iron horse rumbled over Section 17, of
Shelby Township, a few rude buildings, not exceeding half a
dozen in number, might be seen in the vicinity of what is
known as Churchill's Corners, in which were grouped all the
business interests of the place. A total inventory of all
stock in trade of all stock in trade of the business houses
at this time might have amounted to $2,000, but would
scarely exceed that amount. Farms, with small clearing upon
them, owned by Churchill, Randall the Elliotts, Jason
Carpenter, and others, were noticed, but did not appear to
offer very encouraging inducements to a stranger, and
travels generally gave a sigh of relief as they passed,
thankful that they were not located in this out-of-the-way
spot, among the immense forests which surrounded these hardy
pioneers. But the railroad came, a portable mill was built
on the site now occupied by C. A. Hawley's extensive mill
operations, and a few enterprising persons, noting the
wealth of the soil, the magnificent forests of fine timber
growing, its favorable location as a trading center, went to
work and platted a village, using the old farm of E. W.
Elliott, Pentwater's present landlord, for the site.
Buildings began to spring up as if by magic, stores to be
built, stocks of choice goods to arrive, the great and
abundant yield of the soil encouraged farmers, and farm
improvements kept pace with the work in the embryo village,
and just when the people needed some money, the pigeons came
in countless millions, and the Wealth they brought gave a
new stimulus to business. Other business enterprises began
to start up; William's Bros' mill, Halstead's wagon works,
the stave factory, Rankin's coal kilns, whose business
headquarters are in Shelby, all of which poured into the
business contribution of Shelby, thousands of dollars
monthly. Merchants, commencing poor, accumulated and spent
their surplus in improving and building up the place. Two
beautiful places of worship and one of hte finest school
buildings in the county were erected and today Shelby is a
village of nearly one thousand inhabitants, representing
nearly every trade and occupation, with two hotels, live dry
goods and grocery stores, three groceries, two hardware, two
harness shop, two jewelry establishments, one meat market,
four blacksmith shops, two sawmills, one planing mill, two
extensive wagon and carriage shops, five church
organizations, establish lodge of Odd Fellows and Masons.
Sidewalks extend both sides of Main Street, though the
entire business portion of the village. The people point
with pride to their business houses, and say that today an
inventory taken of capital employed in business would carry
the amount into the hundreds of thousands, and yet not a
failure to record against us. Shelby is located in the midst
of one of the most fertile farming counties to be found, her
shipments making her especially noted as a potato and wheat
producing section, while her fruit, hay and corn products
are now bringing her into prominent notice. As a trade
center, she draws from southern tier of towns she divides
with Hart. she is very favorably located upon the railroad,
and has the advantage of two trains a day, each way. Taken,
all in all, Shelby is a big ten-year-old, and is justified
in being proud of her own growth."
Wheeler Bros. general store was
established December, 1874, by R. H. Wheeler and M. A.
Bailey. In September, 1878, C. C. Wheeler purchased the
interest of Mr. Bailey, and now the line is Wheeler Bros.,
and in this they did a business amounting to $41,000.
carrying a general assortment of dry goods, groceries, and
ready-made coal kilns. The store is located on Michigan
Avenue. Store room twenty by ninety; side room for clothing,
etc., eighteen by forty-three warehouse on railroad track.
E. F. Coon established in 1881, on Michigan Avenue, a
business in dry goods and groceries.
White & Dewey's
general store in situated on Michigan Avenue, doing a
business of $10,000 annually. Business was established by M.
C. White as a grocery in 1878, and in the Fall of 1879 G. E.
Dewey bought an interest, and it has since been carried on
as a general store.
Shirts Bros. general store on
Michigan Avenue was established in 1881, doing about $10,000
annually. Partners are E. J. Shirts, and his son, J. D. M.
Shirts. They established the first store in what is now
Shelby village, September 11, 1872; sold in 1874, to D. P.
Glazier, and then to G. W. Newman, and since May 15, 1881,
A. G. Avery occupies the same building with a general stock,
doing a business of about $10,000 annually.
Twining commenced a grocery store, November 21, 1881.
The first hardware store in the village was by Churchill
& Neff, in 1872, the latter taking the whole business in
1876, and on July 15, 1880, Gaylord & Hill purchased the
business. Size of building, ninety-four by twenty-eight,
doing a business of $10,000 a year. They also deal in
agricultural implements, manufacture tin ware, and sell
paints, oils, sash and blinds.
Shirts & Rathbury's
jewelry store on Michigan Avenue was established in 1880.
A H. Stewart had for a time in the same store a stock of
musical instruments and sewing machines, but is now by
Hugh Johnston's boot and shoe store was
established March, 1879. The business annually amounts to
about $7,000. He carries a full assortment of manufactured
goods, and also makes to order.
F. W. Van Winkle's
drug, book, and stationery business, in Post Office Block,
established November, 1881, does a business of $5,000
R. W. Hamlin established the first drug
store in 1873-74, and a year later, Elliott Brown
established a business in the same line in another place. In
1875, Burt Royal purchased the entire stock of both, and
continued the business until 1877, when it was purchased by
Keyzartee & Runner. In 1879, Runner Bros., became the sole
proprietors, which, together with book and stationery
business, they still carry on. Joseph Tyler, in 1882,
purchased the hardware business of Dickerson & McCallum,
established the year previous on Michigan Avenue.
Shelby, MI (Hotel Shelby - 1909)
- contributed by Paul Petosky
All data on this website is © Copyright
by Genealogy Trails with full
rights reserved for original submitters.