Burdell Township was set off from LeRoy Township by order of the Board of
Supervisors. The first election was held on the first Monday in April, 1871, at the
house of Calvin Woodworth, on section 34.
The Inspectors of Election were Calvin
Woodworth, M. B. Holton and W. J. Townsend.
Enoch Starks was elected Supervisor, George W.
Somers, Clerk, and Wellington Starks, Treasurer.
Daniel Hewit, Stephen Allen and George Arnold had
the honor to be the first Trustees, with Lee Alden as
This township is located in the northwest corner
of the county, and is numbered 20 north, of range 10
west. Its boundaries are, Wexford County on the
north, Sherman Township on the east, LeRoy on the
south, and Lake County on the west. It is very
liberally supplied with school districts, having seven
school-houses, which are located as follows: School
District No. 2, on section 27 ; District No. 3, on section 25; No. 4, on section 31; No. 5, on section 23;
No. 6, on 9; No. 7, on section 17. Fractional No. 1 is located in Le Roy Township.
The first school meeting was held by the Inspectors April 30, 1872, at the residence of George W.
Somers, in Tustin; and the second meeting was held at the house of Walter Tank, on section 13, May 2, 1872.
The surface of the land is rolling, and in some
parts it might be called hilly. The soil is generally
a sandy loam, with a clay sub-soil. Elm, maple,
birch and hemlock are the principal timber, which is
interspersed with some pine. Pine River and its
branches water this township, which, with the rolling nature of the land, affords ample facilities for drainage. In these streams there is excellent fishing,
grayling, bass and other fish being plentiful.
Philo Newberry has the credit of being the first
settler in what is now Burdell Township. He located
on section 36, in 1865. The settlers who came in
before 1870 were Stephen Allen, Henry Comings and
John Byers, locating also on section 36; Patrick
Downey, on section 34; Calvin Woodworth, William
R. Simington, on section 28; S. Hewit and Enoch
Starks, on section 20.
W. J. Townsend was the first man to bring a horse
into the township. Miss Ida Jones opened the first
school, in a log school-house on section 24, in 1871.
Following this lady's efforts to impart knowledge to
the young, came the Rev. Mr. Miller to administer
to the religious wants of the older settlers, which was
in the winter of 1871-2, holding his services at the
house of John Mitchell, on section 26.
At one time quite an extensive lumbering business
was carried on in the township, the lumber going out
by the way of Lake County. Its means of transportation has been and is by the Grand Rapids &
Indiana Railroad, which runs along the eastern line
of the township, and which was completed through it
in the early part of 1S72. The trading place of the
people is Tustin, which is also their postoffice.
The census of 1884 gives the population at 840,
and the assessed value of the property in 1883 was
There are a few pretty well cultivated farms here,
and the soil is regarded good for vegetables and
grain. Hay and potatoes are the best crops. Fruit
has not been cultivated very much. This part of the
county being very heavily wooded, it required a great
deal of hard work to clear up the lands and make
In the early days there were some pretty "slashing " feats performed. John Lindburg, who located
on section 30, in 1871, "slashed" 49 acres during
the first twelve months, the timber of which was
As to business in this township, outside of Tustin,
Henry S. Kelley has a saw-mill and shingle-mill located on section 1. William Bullock has a saw-mill
on section 12; and a water-power grist-mill is operated
on section 21 by McHugh & Bros. James E. Bevins
has a saw-mill and shingle-mill on section 32. Section 7 has a shingle-mill owned by Mr. Slat; and
section 36 a saw-mill by Allen & Bros.
The following named Supervisors have had the
honor to look after this township's financial matters: