Upon the western banks of Michigan's noblest river, the Muskegon, is situated the
pretty town of Evart, one of the most important commercial places in Osceola County.
It was founded by D. A. Blodgett and James Kennedy, in the early part of 1871, and named
after Frank Evart, one of the pioneers of Osceola Township. Kennedy afterwards (1873), sold his
interest out to the railroad company.
This village was organized and platted in 1872,
and lies in Osceola and Evart Townships. At first
it embraced section 36 in Osceola, and the northwest
part of section 3 in Evart Township. It was afterwards extended and took in section 35 in Osceola
Township. In 1873 it was incorporated, and re-incorporated in 1875. On the 2d of March, 1872,
the first election was held. Wm. A. Lewis was
chosen President, Joseph Sayles Clerk, and Ellery C. Cannon,
Treasurer; Trustees—Wm. A. Weightman, George E. Mills, Eugene L. Griggs, E. C. Martin, Warren Merritt and N. O. Pettibone;
Assessor, Laban J. Lemert; Marshal, Richard Holden.
About the middle of September, 1871, the first train of the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad
steamed into Evart, and since that date it has had a steady, healthy growth.
The first store opened, and the first saw-mill started, were by James Kennedy.
The first Fourth-of-July celebration was held in 1873. Extensive preparations were made for this
event, and for those pioneer days it was a grand affair. At this time the stumps had alt been taken
out of the street. Main was the only street then. The managers went to the woods, and they did not
have far to go, and brought in a lot of small pine trees, from which they cut off a portion of the body
and then set them out in rows along each side of the street. It gave a very pretty appearance to the
town, and those who came in and were not privy to the arrangement, thought they were trees that had been planted there.
The first death occurred in the winter of 1872.
There were no prayers said over the body, no sermon preached, no funeral rites; no sweet musk to waft the soul across the grim river into the spiritland. There was no elegant casket to receive the
corpse, nor any plumed hearse to carry it away; nor was there any monumental cemetery with broad avenues, shaded walks and fragrant flowers, in which to deposit it. It was placed in a rude box, put on a wagon with a wood-rack, and in this manner it was silently conveyed to mother earth.
Evart is splendidly located for a large and populous city. The Muskegon River, which penetrates
an almost inexhaustible lumber region, and down
which millions of feet of lumber pass annually,
meanders around its streets, offering the best of facilities for manufactories; and the Flint & Pere Marquette (which has recently established a division
here) connects it with the railway world. A movement is being made by the citizens to secure to this
town the line of the Toledo, Ann Arbor & Northern
Michigan Railroad, which runs through St. Louis,
and is to terminate at Cadillac, or some place on
Northern Michigan. The route has been examined
and favorably reported on by the railroad officials,
and in all probability Evart will secure this important auxiliary to her development. Should this be
accomplished, it is believed that the county seat,
which sooner or later will be moved, will be located
here. Evart is very advantageously located, and is
surrounded by a good farming country. Her citizens
are wide-awake and enterprising, and in addition to
their mercantile pursuits they are laying the foundation for an extensive manufacturing industry. With
all these combining influences, the future growth of
this city is well assured. Its present present population is estimated at 1,500.
James Trip, lumber manufacturer, operates the
oldest mill in the town, it being the one put up by
James Kennedy. Capacity, 10,000 feet per day.
Gray & Curtis are among the leading manufacturers of Evart. They have a large saw-mill, planing-mill and shingle mill; also a broom-handle factory.
Established in 1871. Capacity in lumber, 25,000
feet; broom handles, 2,000; clapboards, 5,000 feet,
and 30,000 shingles.
Charles Waffle has an extensive planing-mill,
molding, sash and door factory.
F. H. Starkey has a shook factory. These he
ships mostly to Cuba, which are put up into hogsheads for the sugar trade.
The Novelty Flour Mills are owned by M. Sherk,
who is the pioneer flour manufacturer of the town.
The mill has two run of stone, with a capacity of
300 bushels per day. Mr. Sherk also deals in grain.
L. J. Lemert also has a flouring-mill. It is a
water-power, located on the Muskegon River about
a mile from town. Mr. Lemert is going to adopt the
roller system this year.
John McManus is the enterprising citizen who has
established the Osceola Iron Works. He makes
engines, plows, lumber and shingle machinery, brass
goods, pipe fittings, etc.
Evart has added to its number the enterprising
banker, Allen Campbell, who is cashier and manager
of the Evart Bank.
C. L. Gray & Co., dealers in general merchandise
and lumber, handle about $100,000 in goods annually.
The Evart Land Company deals in pine and farming lands, and village property. Members—Allen
Campbell, F. S. Postal, C. L. Gray and J. C. Creith.
Real-estate and insurance business is conducted
by S. F. Dexter.
The Evart Hardware Company carry a general
line of hardware, harness, saddles, sleighs, etc. R.
A. Allured, manager.
J. J. Reik is a lumber dealer, and also has a livery.
G. H. Cannon & Co., O. M. Bush, J. M. Allen,
Robert Ponsford and E. C. Thompson are general
dealers in groceries and provisions.
A very important and creditable industry to Evart
is the establishment of T. R. Johns, who manufactures a very elegant style of cutters, sleighs, wagons
and carriages, and does a general business in blacksmithing.
M. Bellanger & Son are manufacturers of canthooks and lumbermen's implements.
Mark Ardis is a dealer in dry goods, groceries, crockery and hardware.
A. Root is a general dealer in hardware, agricultural implements and flour.
Dwight Foston manufactures wagons, buggies, sleighs, etc.
James H. Valler and F. Hibbard & Co. keep drugs, medicines and a general line of fancy articles.
Evart is well supplied with an elegant stock of jewelry and other articles in line, by Frank A. True.
E. F. Shaw keeps a supply of boots and shoes, and lumbermen's outfits.
Howard & Davy cany a general line of clothing and lumberman's goods.
Furniture, parlor sets, pictures, sewing-machines and organs are sold by W. M. Davies.
Wolf & Bros, carry a line of dry goods and clothing.
Miss Maggie McFarlane, Mrs. O. H. Carus and
Mrs. Carrie Benson are the joy of the fair ladies of Evart, who are supplied by them with millinery decorations and fancy goods.
George F. Andrews keeps a boot and shoe store also Warren Clark.
Thomas Snyder and Luther Russell are manufacturers of boots and shoes.
Gustave Steinborn and J. Englund are merchant tailors.
Mitchell & Son, James Deacy and Cressey & Lincoln keep the people well supplied with markets.
B. F. Griffith carries on blacksmithing business.
Jesse Williams keeps a restaurant, and F. A. Heck a bakery and confectionery.
F. E. Woodin is a printer and caricaturist.
J. W. Turner and Mark Ardis have livery and sale stables.
E. C. Martin and Frank Trumbull attend to surveying.
Evart is well supplied with hotels.
The Evart House, Frank S. Postal & Bro., proprietors, was established in 1871, and since then the north wing
and basement have been added. It has 36 rooms and 50 beds. Attached to the hotel is a bar, cigar
store and fine billiard hall; also a barbershop. This hotel is well appointed, the rooms are large and airy,
and the table is supplied with the best that can be had from the markets. The Postal Brothers are
very popular among the traveling public.
The Commercial House, J. G. McDonald, proprietor, is another good hotel, and has a good share of patronage.
The National Hotel, kept by Thomas Ruby, is a temperance house. The traveler will always receive
good attention at this house, and have a table supplied from a good larder.
The St. John candidacy does not seem to have closed up the saloons in this town, for it is welt supplied.
Evart has a skating rink for the amusement of the old as well as the young. A town would not be
thought much of in these days that did not furnish a place to whiz the roller skate.
The legal profession, so essential to the business man, and to governments, is ably represented by
W. A. Lewis, Sayles & Trumbull, R. A. Bennett and Charles A. Rose.
The medical profession is represented by Drs. D. L. Dinmore, J. M. Wilkinson, R. C. Hepburn and F. S. Sovereen.
The postoffice was established in December, 1871,
L. J. Lemert being the first Postmaster. He was
followed by Ira R. Ennis and Joseph Taylor, the
present Postmaster, who succeeded Mr. Ennis in
1880. It is a salaried office, with daily mails by
rail, and weekly mails by stage from Millburn and
Marion, and semi-weekly from Avondale.
The people of Evart have taken great interest in
educational matters, and the result is that they have
the best school and the finest school building in the
county. The building is an elegant one, with all the
modern improvements, and cost $6,000. It is heated
by steam, with water conductors to the different
rooms, and has a fire escape. A corps of able teachers are employed to instruct the pupils, who number
about 300. In addition to this they have a well selected library. J. A. Smith is Principal, Jennie M.
Johnston has charge of the intermediate, Anna Gibney, the grammar, Josephine Roche, the second
primary, and Lizzie McFarlane, the first primary department. All the English branches are taught here.
The people of Evart look after the dead as well as
the living. A cemetery has been established, the
grounds improved, walks laid out and trees planted.
Already there are some fine monuments to be seen
upon the grounds.
The First Presbyterian Church was organized
Oct. 25, 1872, with Wm. M. Briggs and wife, Elias
C. Martin, Mrs. Mary Bellows, Mrs. Eliza Feshpool,
W. Bostwick and wife and Wm. A. Lewis and wife
as first members. First service was held over Mr.
Cannon's store, and afterwards in what has since
been known as Presbyterian Hall.
As the society increased, the necessity for a good
church building was felt. Accordingly, energetic
efforts were made to bring about this result. Ground
was secured and the building finally begun, which
was completed in 1881 and dedicated in April, 1882,
at a cost of $5,000. It is a very pleasing edifice, and
meets all the wants of this society.
Rev. L. M. Berge, of Grand Rapids, organized the
Church. Rev. A. S. Badger.was called in 1873, who
came and took charge of the Church for one year.
He was followed by Rev. Edward Dickinson, who
served the society until the fall of 1875. For over
two years the church was without a minister. In
1878, they were served for a few months by James
Reid, a theological student. In 1879, another student served them for awhile. In June, 1880, the
society was able to secure the Rev. J. N. Crittenden,
who remained with it three years. He was followed
by Rev, Wm. H. Hoffman, who is the present minister, and through whose labors new interest has been
awakened and the membership increased. It has
now 50 members, with a large Sabbath-school.
Methodist Episcopal Church
On the first Sunday
in November, 1871, the followers of this faith assembled together and organized their society. Rev.
C. Fleming presided, and preached the first sermon.
Thomas Jeffs, Harlow Davis and wife, Charles Davis,
B. F. Hardy and wife, and Holland Underwood were
the first members, and the nucleus around which was
to gather a large and flourishing society. Services
were first held in a hall. Rev. N. Bray was sent to
take charge of the society in 1872. He was succeeded by Rev. W. H. Spaulding, who served this
charge during the year 1873-4. Next came Rev. N.
Saunders, in 1875. In 1876, Rev. C. H. Howe took
charge. Under his administration it was determined
by the society to commence the erection of a church
Rev. Wright Barrett succeeded Mr. Howe in 1877,
and remained until 1879. It was under his administration that the edifice was completed, and was
dedicated Feb. 23, 1879, by Rev. J. S. Smart, of Bay
City. Considerable enthusiasm was awakened at
this dedication. Mr. Smart is a very eloquent
preacher, or successful pleader. He acquired the
reputation for the latter, at least, for at this meeting
$1,186.79 was raised with which to pay off the
society's indebtedness. This amount left only a
balance due of $750. During the following summer
the edifice was completed, at a cost of $2,500.
Rev. J. C. Floyed was the next Pastor to serve this
Church, who, on account of ill health, was relieved in
1880 by Rev. J. Berry. In 1881, Rev. C. G. Thomas
took charge, and remained until 1883, when he was
succeeded by Rev. G. Donnaldson, the present popular minister, who presides over a congregation of 150
members. A large and interesting Sunday-school is
one of the attractive features of this Church. A good
and comfortable parsonage has been added by this
society, which is now comparatively out of debt.
Catholic Churh of the Sacred Heart
Has had mission service here for about ten years. In 1880 a
good substantial church building was erected, at a
cost of about $3,000. Membership consists of about
zo families. Services every two weeks, by Rev. M.
T. Nysson, of Reed City.
Evangelical Association has a small membership in this township. Services every two weeks, by Rev. E. Weiss, of Hersey.
The Evart Review
The people of Evart have
been wise in contributing liberally to the support of
newspapers. Through this medium the advantages
of their locality have been made known, and to them
they are largely indebted for their present prosperity
and the growth of their city.
In the brain of W. H. Hess the "Review" was conceived. Its printed sheets were cast into the reading
world Oct. 17, 1872. In May, 1873, I. Chase came
in as a partner. In October, 1874, the firm changed
to I. Chase & Co., Hess going out and W. G.
Cameron coming in as editor, in which capacity he
remained until 1875, when Asahel Chase (father of
I. Chase) took editorial charge. In the fall of 1880,
Minchin & Bro. became proprietors, and continued
the publication of the paper until Jan. 1, 1885, when
G. W. Minchin purchased his brother's interest and
became sole proprietor and editor.
The Revieiv is a six-column quarto weekly paper,
with a circulation of about 700. It is ably edited,
bright and newsy, and Republican in politics.
The Osceola County Democrat — Is published by
J. & L. J, Patterson. Its first issue was made Sept.
26, 1884, and has done remarkably well for the time
it has been published, having at present a circulation
of 500 copies. It is a four-column quarto paper, and
well conducted. In politics, as its name indicates,
it is Democratic, and is fortunate in having the same
political views, and in being in sympathy, with the
party that is soon to have control of the Government.
BUSINESS MENS ASSOCIATION OF EVART
Was organized Dec. 13, 1883. President, E. C.
Cannon; Vice-President, Allen Campbell; Secretary,
Jesse T. Minchin; Treasurer, Walter M. Davis.
Executive Committee—F. S. Postal, David Wolf,
M. E. Parkinson, C. L. Gray, E. C. Thompson and
D. L. Dumon. Present officers—Allen Campbell,
President; W. A. Lewis, Vice-President: C. L. Gray,
Second Vice-President; G. W. Minchin, Secretary;
W. W. Davis, Treasurer. Executive Committee—
Benj. Wolf, F. S. Postal, W. J. Mcllwain and C. L.
The object of this association is to promote the
business interests of Evart.
OSCEOLA DRIVING PARK ASSOCIATION
Was organized Nov. 15, 1882. It is a stock company, with a capital stock of $2,000, representing
200 shares, par value $10 each. President, W. R. Mapes; Secretary, F. A. True; Treasurer, Mark
Ardis. It was organized with 40 members, and has
now 86 members, and is in a prosperous condition.
Its present officers are—President, L. T. Southwort;
Secretary, F. A. True; Treasurer, W. R. Mapes. It
has a good half-mite track, which is located on the
Osceola County Fair Grounds, and several very in-
teresting meetings have been held. The association
has a good work before it.
EVART FIRE DEPARTMENT.
In this department Evart has secured the Holly
system, with the Walker improvement, which were
constructed here in 1879, at a cost of $16,000, as
now completed. It is located on Main Street near
the river. The building is well constructed, with
dwelling-house attachments for the engineer and his
family. There are three engines, with three pumps.
The engines can make 355 revolutions a minute,
and throw three gallons of water to each revolution.
One-half of a cord of wood is all that is required
for every 24 hours. Wood pipes are laid through the
town, which form connections with 15 hydrants.
The mains are 8, 6, 4, and 2-inch. Two wells,
which are sunk to a depth of 12 feet, supply the
water for the use of the town. When a fire breaks
out the water is taken from a creek which runs near
by. An alarm is placed in the engine house with
wires connecting with alarm stations about the town.
Edward Sith is the engineer in charge of this department.
This is a very superior system for extinguishing
fires, as it is always ready and can be used at a
moments warning, and the power is sufficient to
throw the water to any height desired.
Evart Hose Company, No. I — was organized in
1884. Officers: Foreman, Wm. Phillips; Assistant
Foreman, W. L. Stoddard; Second Assistant, G. W.
Griffith; Secretary, W. L. Stoddard; Members-
Thomas Snyder, Frank Duning, J. T. Minchin,
Frank Chase, Erwin Chase, Mark Bentley, Haben
Stewart, Wm. Davis and Fred Bowley.
Independent Hose Company, No. 1.—Organized in
1884. Officers: Thomas Sith, Foreman: Fred Mills,
Assistant Foreman; Czar Dexter, Second Assistant
Foreman, who is also Secretary; Members—True
Andrews, H. Bush, Nelson Toby, John Carpenter,
Fred Smith, Olem Smith, Sane Ford, Thomas Ford,
James Low, Fred Postal, Blank Quigley, Alden
Shetler, Walter Gaunt and Joseph Gaunt.
These companies have together 1,200 feet of hose,
and were organized to operate with the Fire Water Works.
F. B. Griffith is the Chief of the Fire Depart- ment.
Masonic Lodge, No. 320.—Dispensation was granted this lodge, giving it power to organize and work,
June 28, 1873, and the organization was completed
Dec. 27, of the same year. Charter members—Barlow Davis, W. H. Luncanshire, Charles F. Loasie,
Joseph Sayles, E. C. Cannon, Thomas Hall, J. B.
Sleezer, Frank S. Postal, John T. Peter, G. J. Hamilton, Henry Church, L. E. Cone and Warren Merrit. Officers—Barlow Davis, W. M.; W. H. Lancunshire, S. W.; Charles F. Loasic, J. W.; Joseph Sayles,
Secretary; E. C. Cannon, Treasurer; Thomas Hall,
J. D.; F. S. Postal, Tyler. Officers at present: D.
L Dumon, W. M.; C O. Trumbull, S. W.; C. H.
Rose, J. W.; B. G. Colton, Secretary; E. C. Cannon, Treasurer; G. F. Andrews, S. D.; C. L. Gray,
J. D.; H. A. Tibbets, Tyler.
This lodge is in a good working condition, with a
commodious hall, and is on the increase in membership, strength and influence.
Evart Chaptert No. .07, was instituted Jan. 19,
1876. Officers: Robert Laughlin, H. P.; John T.
Peters, K.; Charles T. Loasie, Scribe; John W.
Hyde, C. H.; ft. S. Postal, R. A. C.; John M. Wilkinson, P. G.; Henry A. Davis, F. V.; Thomas
Hull,S. V.; N. R. Taylor, T. V.; E. C. Cannon,
Treasurer; Joseph Sayles, Secretary, and R. F. Dunning, Guard. Many of the members of the chapter
have moved away, and only 28 members are now
working with it.
I. O. O. F. Lodge, No. 230, was initituted Jan. 9,
1874. Charter members and officers—W. S. Williams, N. G.; W.Nelson, V. G.; W. R, Livingston,
Secretary; H. Bassingtwaight, Treasurer; Andrew
Miller, Warden; Charles M. M. Green, Outside
Guard; I. W. Leggett, Inside Guard; E. O. Taylor,
Conductor; Edward J. Cox, R. S. N. G.; R. R.
Rapp, L. S. N. G.; Franklin Porter, R. S. V. G.
Present membership, 29. Hall 20 by 50 feet and
well equipped. The lodge .is out of debt and in a
good working condition.
Grand Army of the Republic, Sedgwick Post, No.
id, was established Aug. 19, 1880. Charter members : W. A. Lewis, Charles D. Hudson, Orville M.
Bush, C. E. Demont, James A. Ross, Ira R. Ennis,
C. C. Mills, Wm. Phillips, Andrew J. Rose, John H.
Chase, W. J. Griffith, Henry S. Briggs, Leonard Simmons and J. N. Mapes. Officers: John Hughes,
P. C; Moses Jerome, S. V. C.; Sanford Skath, J.
V. C; Andrew J. Rose, Q. ML; R. C. Dunn, Surgeon; Wm. A. Lewis, Chaplain; Wm. Phillips,
Officer of the Day; Orro D. Morton, Officer of
the Guard. Present membership, 19. Meetings are
held the second and fourth Monday in each month.
The lodge has a good hall and is prospering.
Evart W. C. T. U. was organized in March,
1877. Officers: Mrs. Howe, President; Mrs. Ada
Sluzer, Secretary; Mrs. Brandow, Treasurer. Members—Mesdames P. S. McFarlane, O. M. Brownson,
R. A. Allured, Wm. Sealey, Wm. Briggs, O. Spencer,
A. D. Torry, Lucy Mills, M. E. Parkinson, Frank
Trumbull, W. Bennett, J. E. Hudson, S. L. Gates,
Frank McDougall, L. H. T. Dexter, A. Horton, J.
McPhee, John H. Chase, W. J. Griffith and Thomas
Jeffs. This society was instituted by the ladies of
Evart for the purpose of promoting the cause of temperance, or perhaps more properly speaking, to establish prohibition. They meet every two weeks,
and hold their sociables every three weeks, with
Union service every month in the different churches.
Source: Portrait & Biographical History - 1884