Reed City Michigan
Osceola County

History of Reed City
Portraits & Biographical Osceola Co 1884

Reed City, MI (Main Street) (1908) - Contributed by Paul Petosky

Upon the pleasant banks of the Hersey at the junction of the Flint & Pere Marquette and Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroads, is situated the prosperous and rapidly growing town of Reed City, and, at present, the largest in Osceola County. The site chosen for this village was pre-eminently a good one. In the business portion the land is well adapted for business blocks, while around the business center, in the suburbs, are beautiful locations for residences. No better location than this for a town could be found in the county, and none with superior advantages. With the clear waters of the Hersey meandering around it, offering, in addition to its attractions as a water course, the best of facilities for manufacturing establishments; with the junction of the two great railroads that traverse the State, and the lovely rolling grounds formed to gratify every taste for the location of homes, and shaded with grand old forest trees, it would seem that nature had left nothing more to be wished for.

Reed City, MI (Chestnut Street 1910s) - Contributed by Paul Petosky

While the track of the Flint & Pere Marquette was in process of construction, and early in the year of 1870, Davenport Brothers came here with a stock of goods and opened a general store. This was the first business^ house opened in the place. Mr. Gibbs came soon afterwards and also opened a general store. He was followed by E. Trout, who opened a drug store. Win. Blank came along about this time with a stock of liquors, and, attracted by the business features of the new town, concluded to cast his fortunes with it.

Nathaniel Clark, who is among the first settlers, came in the fall. He footed it up the railroad track from Hersey. Arriving at the town, he began the construction of a home by locating a site, cutting off the timber, clearing up the ground and building a dwelling.

The railroad was completed to Reed City, and the locomotive steamed up with its train of cars about the middle of November.

In the spring of 1871 Lonsbury & Crocker started a general store.

About this time the crossing of the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad by the Grand Rapids & Indiana had been fixed at Reed City. This action of the latter company determined the future prosperity of the town and settled the question of its success, and from this period commenced its rapid growth. One business house was quickly followed by another, together with dwellings, and soon this site, which a few short months previous was but a wilderness, had the appearance of a thriving town. Early in the fall of 1871 the Grand Rapids & Indiana completed its track through the village, and continued its construction northward. The Baptist society was the first to erect a church building, which was in the early part of 1872; and this society was the first to hold religious services. The first school taught in the town was by Miss Mary Clark, and was opened in 1872 in the Baptist church.

Reed City village was incorporated by a special act of the legislature, passed Dec. 3, 1872. The act of incorporation having been decided illegal by the courts, the village was re-incorporated in April, 1875

The officers of the first organization consisted of Charles Clark, President; J. N. Crocker, D. M. McClellan, H. C. Stoddard, M. O- Green, J. L. Heath and John Moore, Trustees; O. V. Monroe, Clerk; and Stephen Kissinger for Marshal.

The village plat embraces one-half of section 9, one-fourth of section 10, one-half of section 16 and one-fourth of section 15- It is located 69-miles north of Grand Rapids, and 179 miles from Detroit.

The population now is estimated to be over 2,000, and is increasing very rapidly.

The location of the United States Land Office at Reed City was of great advantage to it, as it brought land dealers here and facilitated the settling up of the country.

At the time the town was platted, which was in 1872, it contained less than a score of people. Comparing this with the present number of inhabitants, it will be seen that there is scarcely a town in the country that has developed faster. It is surrounded by a finely located and rich farming country, and these farms are yearly increasing their acreage of cultivated ground. It has a good water transportation, and by its two railroads it is connected with all the great business interests of the continent. The manufacturing industries, though already extensive, are constantly enlarging. Liberal expenditures have been made in improving the streets, grading off the ground, laying sidewalks, etc There are many first-class business blocks, and they are well constructed for elegance and durability. Many of the residences, too, are conspicuous for their architectural beauty and the lovely and picturesque grounds which surround them. There are also several quite fine church edifices, and a large and handsome school building.

For sporting men, Reed City is a favorite headquarters. The grayling and other fish are quite plentiful in the waters of the Hersey, and the woods adjacent to the town are abundantly supplied with game.

The location is extremely a healthy one, and malarial and pestilential diseases are unknown. The people are wide awake and energetic, and endowed with that enterprise so essential to the building up of a great city; they are ready to take advantage of every opportunity that is presented which will increase their business or advance the interests of their town; they are also liberal-minded and hospitable. With these elements in her citizens, with her splendid location and fertile country surrounding her, with her extensive manufacturing advantages, and ready transportation facilities. Reed City can only look forward to a constant and rapid growth and a prosperous future.


T. H. Peacock has an extensive planing-mill. He also manufactures sash, doors, blinds and moldings, and is a wholesale lumber dealer. He established his business in 1876, and has now one of the largest establishments in the county.

The Reed City Roller Mills, Morris & Martin, proprietors, were first started in 1876, with the old buhr system. In 1880, they adopted the roller system, putting in eight sets of rollers. The machinery is run by water power, with a turbine wheel, having a 14-foot water-fall. The capacity of this mill is 100 barrels per day. The machinery of this mill is complete, and arranged with the skill which only experience can give. The flour manufactured is as good as any in the State.

I. Grant has also a flouring-mill, with three run of stone, where he manufactures first-class flour. Capacity, 300 bushels per day. In connection with this business Mr. Grant has a saw-mill and planing-mill, and a livery and feed stable.

William Horner is another of the large manufacturers of Reed City. He has a planing-mill, matching and molding machine; puts up boxes for shipment, and is a general dealer in lumber. He established his business in 1882. He is a young man and has the energy and strength to manage the large and increasing business before him.

Collins & Amspoker are extensive manufacturers of furniture, and is very creditable to Reed City. They established their business in 1876, and employ at present 15 men.

W. H. Whipple has a planing mill, also an elevator, and is a large dealer in grain.

The Reed City Woolen Mills is one of the prominent and valuable industries of the town, and was established in the spring of 1884, by William Lambert. The people of Osceola County can procure at this factory, at very reasonable rates, the best of goods in his line of manufacture, such as flannels, fulled cloths and woolen yarns. Mr. Lambert has four looms and employs from 12 to 15 men.

J. & J. Wittner have a water-power roller mill, situated on the Hersey a little below town. They have four sets of rollers. In town they have also a flour and feed store, and are dealers in grain.

Stoddard & Bros, are dealers in general hardware and mill supplies, of which they have a very large and complete assortment. They opened their business in 1873, and have now one of the largest hardware stores in the county. They put up the first brick block in town, which was in 1874. Densmore & Bros, carry a well selected stock of dry goods and groceries.

Seymour & Smith deal largely in dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes.

F. J. Tracy keeps dry goods, notions, etc.

Cook Brothers carry a general line of hardware and mill supplies.

Muehlig & Huss are dealers in hardware.

William & Kerry deal in groceries.

John M. Cadzow has general merchandise.

C. H. Coles is a jeweler with a well-selected stock and goods in line.

D. M. McClellan has a dry-goods and clothing establishment.

Edward Fletcher & Co. keep boots and shoes and rubber goods.

Fred Ballacker has a boot and shoe store.

Charles G. Loase has a banking house, established Jan. i, 1880, and was the first bank opened in Reed City.

Marble and granite works by C. H. Mason.

The good ladies of Reed City are well supplied with milliners and millinery goods by Mesdames L. T. Bayliss, E. Gilbert and Connaut. The Misses Lamberts are dressmakers, and do fancy work. Miss Yates is a dress and mantua maker.

C. Rothweller and J. H. Auer arc merchant tailors, and keep the gentlemen of the city well dressed.

There are three first-class drug stores in the village, which carry a fine assortment of goods in this line. They are represented by P. M. Lonsbury, E. R. White and P. H. Hoonan.

W. H. Smith has a general furniture store. Another important branch of industry in this town is the manufacture of brick. This business is carried on by L. D. Webster and Wm. Jaching. A good quality of brick is made by them.

Bowie & Mills have a machine shop, where they attend to all business given them in their line.

A. C. Barclay and Hawkins Brothers are dealers in groceries; so also is C. J. Kleischhauer.

G. W. Shay has a livery and sale stable.

H. Buergman, jeweler and gunsmith.

William Curtis supplies the town with news.

T. H. Clayton is a dealer in furniture.

R. L. Wilcox keeps a fruit stand.

H. K. Smith and H. Gerhart have a large assortment of harness and saddlery, and goods in line.

McCultoch & Haynes carry a general line of groceries and provisions.

The bakery business is represented by John Russell and R. Reiners.

William Blank has a grocery (one of the oldest in town) and a saloon.

John Melvin has a furniture store.

Fred Fleischhauer, B. C. Curtis and C. E. Barnes have restaurants.

John Howden, H. Kelley and O. S. Buck supply the town with markets.

D. Adams is a dealer in real estate.

Avery & Williams has a pop factory.

Fred P. Atherson and Frank H. Nix have photograph galleries, and are skilled in their art.

There are two skating rinks in town, run by Higbe & Avery and Hamilton & Titus.

Also there are several saloons, with billiards, and several barber-shops.

Reed City is liberally supplied with hotel accommodations. Among the first of these stands the National Hotel, with E. A. Carroll as landlord. This hotel is a three-story building and is located on the best site in the town. The house is well appointed throughout; the cuisine is first-class and the service is attentive and good. This is one of those favorite hostelries that make a traveler feel at home and comfortable. Landlord Carroll is one's ideal of a host. He is ever cheerful and happy, and is always around to sec that his guests are well attended to. If they are sad and lonely, he will cheer them up; if they are homesick, or have the blues, he will, in order to comfort them, take a game of pedro with them. This is a great resort for traveling people, and of those who want good living, good company and good cheer.

The Oaks House is a good hotel and has a fine location, being near the depot. It is kept by Messrs. Bradley & Gray. This house is well furnished, sets a good table and is well spoken of by the traveling public.

The Gilbert House, George Gilbert, proprietor, is located near the depot. The hotel is a good one, the landlord is a genial fellow and has many patrons.

At the depot there is a first-class eating-house, presided over by D. Adams, who is a very popular caterer. This is the best point on the railroad for the traveler to supply the inner wants.

Dentistry is represented by D. C. Felt and H. B. Peck.

Reed City has a very able Bar, which is represented by Messrs. Holden & Whitney, who are also extensive dealers in real estate.

In the same line are Cooper & Winsor, Melville Stone and W. E. Bellows.

The village is a very healthy place, yet it is well supplied with the followers of Esculapius. The M. D. s arc Collins & Nevill, E. S. Richardson, C. H. White, A. W. Miller, D. S. Taplin and Albert P. Heckman.

Reed City shows her musical taste by supporting a good brass band. It was organized in 1884, and has 16 members, with Q. D. Hoyt as leader. President, A. T. Amspoker; William Adams, Treasurer; John Auer, Secretary, and L. B. Avery, Drum Major The United States Land Office is a consolidation of the Ionia and Traverse Districts, and was transferred to Reed City soon after it was laid out,—or a few years after,—being established in April, 1878. Nathaniel Clark is Register and W. H. C. Mitchell is Receiver. It embraces the western half of the State. There is yet to be disposed of in this district about 50,000 acres of Government land. The location of this land office at Reed City was a great benefit to the town.

The enterprising citizens of this place have organized an industrial association, the object of which is to further the interests of the town, but more particularly to assist worthy manufacturers who want aid in extending their business. They are clear-headed enough to know that if they build up the manufactures they are establishing the foundation for the future growth of their village. The president of this creditable organization is Charles H. Holden, an able lawyer and an extensive dealer in real estate, and a man who is aiding very largely in the growth of Reed City.

The Reed City Hospital and Sanitarium, a branch established by the Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota Hospital Company, was opened in 1884, and is established on the ticket system. A ticket is issued for one year and is sold for $5, which entitles the holder to medical attendance during this period if sick. They have a large four-story brick building, centrally located, and constructed with all the modern improvements. There are no rooms in the establishment, many of them large and elegantly furnished, and all well fitted up. Bach patient has a separate room, which is carpeted and contains a complete chamber set. A large dining hall is on the first floor, the tables of which are furnished with first-class table ware and supplied with the best that the markets afford. Patients that have no tickets are also admitted, and at reasonable rates. Dr. Norman Johnson is managing physician, and Dr. H. T. Jones is the resident physician and surgeon. This hospital is one of the attractive features of Reed City. The postoffice was established in Reed City in 1872, and E. Traut received his commission as Postmaster. He held his position until 1877, when he was succeeded by James N. Crocker, who is the present incumbent. This is a salaried office. Mails daily, by the two railroad lines. This office handles more mail matter than any other in the county.


The people of Reed City have erected for the education of their children a fine, large two-story school-building, and secured the services of able and experienced teachers. This is the school district No. 7, in Richmond Township. The building cost $5,500. and has a seating capacity of over 400; yet it is not large enough to meet the wants of the citizens, as they have to rent rooms outside. There are 412 pupils on the rolls. A full English course is taught and the school is thoroughly graded up to eleven grades. A. B. Perrin is Principal, and is assisted by Alvira Brown, Maltie Dalzcll, Bertie Yorks, Nettie Thompson, Orell Brown, Euphrasia Johns and Lily Clark. The Principal seems to be a man born to instruct the young; if not, he is certainly well adapted for it, and understands the science of imparting in a pleasant way the knowledge he possesses to others. Besides these qualities, he is as much interested in this large family of children placed under his care for instruction as though they were his own.


St. Philip's Church, Catholic,—Mission service has been held here by this Church for about ten years. In 1880 they completed their church edifice, which cost S3.000, and is a good, substantial structure. A station was established in November, 1883, and Rev. Father M. T. Nyssen was placed in charge. Membership, about 30 families. A parsonage is yet to be built. Services every other Sunday. Father Nyssen has charge of the Evait Church, holding service there every two weeks. The Catholics of Hersey come to Reed City for worship.

First Congregational Church

This Church was organized Dec. 29, 1872. The members that formed the first organization were Daniel A. Lathrop, J. N. Crocker, Mrs. T. Clark, Mrs. Harriet Hart, Mrs. Loretta A. Smith, Mrs. Sarah J. Franklinberger and P. F. McClelland. The last mentioned was chosen Pastor. As this society increased in membership, the necessity of having a place of their own for worship was felt, and accordingly a movement was made in this direction, which resulted in the construction of a fine church edifice, at a cost of $3,000. This was dedicated Jan. 26, 1879, by Rev. Wallcot B. Williams. Present membership is 75, with Rev. George L. Bench as Pastor. This society has a very neat church, and is in a thriving condition.

Methodist Episcopal Church

In 1878 this was in a circuit embracing Reed City and Crapo, with Rev. J. Turner as Pastor. Services were held in the Baptist church. Mr. Turner was succeeded in 1879 by Rev. J. B. Knott. In 1880 Mr. Knott was succeeded by Rev. W. H. Thompson, and during his administration the foundation of the church was laid. In 1881, Rev. J. W. Hallenbeck was appointed to take charge, who in 1883 was succeeded by J. W. H. Carlisle, under whom the church edifice was carried to its present stage. The next pastor to preside over this congregation was Rev. G. Daniels, the present worthy incumbent. The membership now numbers 125, and is increasing. The cost of the building so far is $7,000. When completed, which is only to finish up the towers and some minor details, it will cost $8,000. It is a fine edifice, built of brick, and constructed with architectural beauty. It is the finest church building in the county. A large and interesting Sabbath-school is attached Church.

The Baptist Church was organized in 1872. M. O. Green and wife, George Haycock and wife, Wm. Johnson and wife, Mrs. N, Clark, Mary, Emma and Ela Clark were the first members. The society was founded by Rev. D. L. Deland, of Saginaw. A church edifice was erected the same year of the organization of the society, and was the first built in the village. Later members—H. B. Peck and wife, Theodore Talbert and wife, S. F. Thomas and wife, Calvin Thompson and wife, and E. N. Traut and wife.

The first pastor was Rev. Mr. Chapman.- They first organized as a "Church and Society." In 1881 they organized under the new statutory law, as a Church, dropping the " Society." Previous to and after the change. Rev. O. S. Wolfe was Pastor. Rev. Wm. P. Squiers is the Pastor now in charge of the Church, which has a membership of 65. Cost of church building was $1,500.

The Evangelical Lutheran Association

Was established in 1878, with 40 members. They have a church building under construction which, when completed, will cost $1,600; lot and property, about $3,000. The present Pastor is Rev. B. Merg. It belongs to the "Synod of Michigan." This church has two schools.—one in the village with about 45 pupils, and is a parochial school, with the other branches, together with the English. The other school is in the country four miles, and has 35 pupils. Evangelical Lutheran, Synod of Missouri (Unaltered Confession of Augsburg). This society was organized in July, 1867, by the Rev. John Karrer. A church building was erected in 1881. Membership, 55 voters. Cost of building and property, $1,500. Rev. H. Juengel is the present Pastor.

The Evangelical Association was established in 1879, with about 30 members. This society is completing a church which will cost about $3,000, with the parsonage included. The church building was dedicated Nov. 28, 1884. Service every two weeks by Rev. E. Weiss, of Hersey. Present membership, 80, with an interesting Sabbath-school.

THE PRESS Reed City, with all the advantages, would not have progressed very rapidly without the aid of the newspaper. The people were cognizant of this fact and have had one of these potent auxiliaries to the development of a new country with them from the organization of the village, and this is the Reed City Clarion, which was established in the spring of 1872, by C. K. Fairchilds. From that date it passed through several hands and was finally purchased by L. A. Barker, who is the present editor and proprietor. It is now a nine-column folio paper, published weekly, with a circulation of about 1,100. Mr. Barker has lately added a new power press, at a cost of $1,000 and otherwise improved the establishment. This journal is ably conducted, and the editor is looking carefully after the interests of his patrons, and especially .those of Reed City This paper is Republican in politics, and has been so from its foundation.

The Union Banner, J. H. Whitney, editor as proprietor, is a weekly paper, was established 1884, sending forth its first issue March 8. It is Prohibition paper and has a circulation of about 40 It is a newsy little sheet.


Reed City (Masonic) Lodge, No. 363.—This lodge was instituted Jan. 21, 1883. Charter members— L. B. Winter, Willis B. Slosson, Edwin Trump, John F. Twitchell, H. B. Peck, J. C. Tobias, Simon Vanakin, Calvin Thompson, Lewis J. Johnson, Fred M. Mason, Robert J. Johnson, James F. Hall, James R. Youngs, Isaac Peacock, Benjamin F. Reynolds, Jacob Bush, Charles Corwin, I. M. Thompson, Peter T. Morris and John Quinn. Present membership, 60. The lodge has a fine hall and is in good working order.

Chapter No. 112— Instituted Jan. 16,1884. Charter members—L. B. Winsor, Willis B. Slosson, A. B. Diggins, John F. Twitchell, John Densmore, Robert W. Hull, Edwin Trump, Lewis J. Johnson, Arthur B. Slosson, John F. Quinn, Charles I. Bellany, Jeremiah A. Tobias, Alonzo M. Shank, James A. Ladd, H. H. Hammond and Thomas Guilmer. This Chapter meets in the Blue Lodge hall, is well equipped and in good working condition.

Grand Army of the Republic, Steadman Post, No. 198,—This lodge was chartered Oct. 30. 1883, with the following members : C. H. Holden, I. Grant, A. G. Buck, G. H. Gilbert, P. M. Lonsbury, H. C. Stoddard, N. Clark, J. Q. Patterson, P. W. Vaughn, V. R. Coles, Louis Barrett, L. D. Webster, A.C. Loomis, Alfred Brown, J. C. Langdon, Isaac Watkins, C. M. Ferdon, John Mitchell, C. C. Church, E. A. Cross and Joseph Frankenberger. This post is equipped with 32 muskets. It has a good hall and is in a growing condition.

The I. O. O. F. No. 316 was instituted Aug. 12, 1878, with the following charter members: T. H. Peacock, T. H. Willson, G. H. Gilbert, J. Q. Patterson, J. F. Radcliffe, R. D. Simon ton and George Mort.

Encampment No. 95.—This lodge was established March 29,1883. Charter members—T. J. Amspoker, H. H. Freedraan, G. H. Gilbert and C. E. Barnes. These lodges are well equipped, have a good hall and are flourishing.

Patriarchal Circle No. 12 was organized May 12, 1883. Members—J. N. Crocker, H. C. Stoddard, H. E Buck, Frank H. Nix, T. J. Amspoker, Charles J. Flinn, M. N. Witherell, J. C. Holden and J. H. Gilbert.


Reed City has been progressive in the establishment of its fire department. It has adopted the Holly system with the Dean improvement. Connected with this is also the water-works for the supply of town demands. The works are located on the banks of the Hersey. Here there is a fine spring of pure water, with a reservoir into which the spring water flows for a reserve supply. A pipe is extended from the pumps to the river for use in case of fire. Mains (eight-inch) are laid through the principal streets, with hydrants placed at proper places and connecting with them. Water is forced direct from the engine through the different mains, and is so arranged that all the force, if necessary, can be concentrated at any one given point. There are alarm stations about the town, with wires connecting with the engine house. The engine is about 45-horsepower, and is always ready. Cost; about $10,000. Operating with this system there is an organized hose department, with three hose companies and one hook and ladder company, which are organized as follows:

Cataract, No. 1.—Charles Vaughn, Foreman; Jacob Marzoff, Assistant Foreman; F. M. Mason, Secretary; John Twitchell, Treasurer.

Eclipse, No. 2.—H. K. Smith, Foreman; John Hamilton, Assistant Foreman ; Burt Trumbull, Secretary, and T. J. Amspoker, Treasurer.

Tempest, No. 4.—Foreman, Miles Callahan ; Assistant Foreman, Sherman John; Secretary and Treasurer, Will Fleischhauer.

Hook and Ladder, No. 3.—Foreman, W. M. Slosson; Assistant Foreman, F. J. Tracy; Secretary, L. B. Winsor; Treasurer, N. A. Stoddard.

These companies have 2,000 feet of hose to operate with in case of fire.

H. C. Stoddard is Chief of the Fire Department; T. J. Amspoker is Assistant Chief; L. B. Winsor is Secretary, and Charles Wolf, Treasurer.