South Haven Township

Van Buren County Michigan

Deerfield changed to Covert—Description of the Township—Pioneer Settlers in Deerfield—The Village of Covert—Resident Tax-payers in 1856—-Civil History—The Congregational Church.


The township of Covert was for many years after its organization known as the township of Deerfield. This name proving inconvenient, from the fact that there were other towns and villages of the same name in the State, a bill was introduced into the Legislature in 1876, by W. 0. Packard, Esq., praying that it be changed to Covert, which was accordingly done. It is designated as township 2 south, range 17 west, and is located on the western side of Van Buren County, its western border being washed by the waters of Lake Michigan. On its northern side lies South Haven, on the east Bangor, while Berrien County joins it on the south.

Its name was suggestive of the early pioneer days, when the deer roamed unharmed through its forests; and when circumstances rendered a change in its cognomen necessary these reminiscences were not ignored in its subsequent christening. The soil of Covert presents a very attractive field of labor to the agriculturist, and is especially well adapted to tho growth of fruit. It is a mixture of sand and clay, which is very productive, and yields abundant crops of corn and wheat. Notwithstanding this feet settlers were tardy in availing themselves of its advantages, and it was not until 1844 that the first settler broke the soil and began clearing the forests. The surface is gently undulating until the lake-shore is approached, when it becomes broken and uneven, abrupt and often picturesque hills adorning the landscape. One or two of these have from their height and striking appearance something of the dignity of mountains, and are objects of some interest to the traveler. From their summits is afforded a view of the lake, which is at once commanding and expansive. Covert is well watered by numerous streams which meander through its limits, principal among which is Brandy wine Creek, a considerable stream, which flows west of the centre of the township, and finds an outlet in Lake Michigan at the northwest corner of section 8.

On section 30 is Mud Lake, which, though not of large size, is the only lake of consequence, and affords attractions to the lover of piscatorial sports. Covert, however, derives its importance from the fact that it lies adjacent to Lake Michigan, and is thus afforded commercial facilities which are denied its inland neighbors. The last census, 1874, does not indicate a flattering yield of grain, but since that time much additional land has been cultivated and its productiveness greatly increased.


The township is a comparatively new one, and very little progress was made in its development until after 1860. Its timbered lands, until the enterprise of later residents made them the chief sources of its revenue, offered many obstacles to the pioneer, and retarded rather than promoted its advancement. It contained no rich prairie land, and every acre of tillable soil was obtained at a cost of much labor in clearing. The coming of the earliest settler occurred in 1845. In that year Benoni Young migrated from the distant State of Maine and located upon section 13, where he entered 160 acres. Here, with his family, in the midst of the forest, he lived for seven years an isolated life, with no other settler in the township, and for a long period no indication of an increase in its population. His nearest neighbor, Mason Wood, resided in the township of Bangor, and became a resident after Mr. Young's arrival. Isaac Swain, another neighbor, lived in the township of Watervliet. Mr. Young was obliged to depend chiefly upon his own exertions for the improvement of his farm, and realizing this fact, he began with a will the preliminary work of chopping and erecting the necessary buildings for the comfort of his family. By industry he soon rendered a portion of this land productive, and proved the fine quality of the soil in the abundant crops which he produced. Mr. Young, however, seems not to have been strongly attached to the scene of his early pioneer experiences, for in 1861 he made the township of Hartford his home, and still resides there. In his family occurred the earliest birth in Covert, that of his daughter, Marietta Young. His home was the scene during the year 1859 of a very merry gathering, which celebrated tho earliest marriage in the township, that of Miss Jane Young, his daughter, to Mr. Allen Fish. They still reside in Covert.

The next settler was John Peters, who purchased a farm and located upon section 32, the land having been previously owned by one Ingraham. He did not, however, remain long to improve his purchase, but removed to Berrien County. He afterwards entered the United States army and died in the service.

Matthias Farnum's settlement soon followed that of Mr. Peters. He chose section 7 as a location, and built upon it a saw-mill, the first in the township, in which for a period of years much of the lumber was sawed which was used in the construction of the frame houses and barns of the township. Mr. Farnum later removed to Benton Harbor, where he now resides.

On the site of this early mill was built in 1857 a sawmill, which formed the nucleus of an extensive enterprise under the direction of a settler named Paul. The scheme of this ambitious company seemed to have been one of no small magnitude, contemplating the running of 60 saws which were to be propelled by steam furnished by three huge boilers. The settlement was christened Paulville, and boarding-houses were erected for the numerous choppers. The enterprise, however, proved a failure, and the decline of the little village of Paulville on tho shore of Lake Michigan was scarcely less rapid than its mushroom growth. No vestige of its former importance remains, and other mills have performed the labor that was intended by its projectors to have been accomplished by this.

Canada scut a pioneer to the township in the person of James Dobbyn, who arrived in 1854 and entered 280 acres on section 32. John Peters and family extended to the Canadian settlers a cordial welcome, and offered them such shelter and hospitality as was possible in their limited quarters. This was gladly accepted during the interval of six weeks in which Mr. Dobbyn was engaged in constructing a cabin for his household, and sixteen souls at this time composed the family circle.

Mr. Dobbyn at once began the work of clearing and improving his land, and with the aid of the axe and the fire about five acres were soon cleared. During this periods he suffered much from illness, which seriously impeded his progress, but a sufficient tract had been improved to render the family a modest subsistence. Arriving without a team their early labors wore made the more arduous, and indeed this fact was the more apparent in their progress towards their new home, when all the household goods they possessed were borne upon their backs. Very great aid was afforded Mr. Dobbyn in his early struggles as a pioneer by the abundance of game to be found. Not only did this supply their larder with fresh and dried meats, but much of it was shipped to Chicago, where good prices were realized.

The earliest school-house was built in the neighborhood of Mr. Dobbyn's farm, by the side of the highway, on section 33. The young lady who guided the youthful minds of Covert at this early day was Miss Geraldine Taft, who had just attained the age of fourteen summers, maturity of years not being deemed an essential clement in the qualifications of a district school-teacher. The years of her oldest pupil fully equaled her own, while the youngest had seen but four summers.

The pupils at this early school were Josephine Lee, Henry Wygent, Violetta Wygent, John Dobbyn, Jane Dobbyn, Emma Dell, Isabella Dobbyn, William Lee, David Lee, William Wygent, Richard Dobbyn, Lita Fish, Mary Doll, Sarah J. Dobbyn, and Solon Ingraham.

In connection with this it may be stated that the township is now divided into five whole and one fractional districts, the directors of which are William Y. Trafford, Henry Curtis, Franklin Ganson, David Leslie, D. Ballen, and Bryan Everhan.

The number of children receiving instruction is 287, who are taught by 1 male and 9 female teachers, to whom in salaries tho sum of $1366 is paid. The value of school property is $4375, and the total resources are $2065.67, of which $172.12 is derived from the school fund.

John Wygent arrived during tho winter of 1854, with hie family, and settled upon section 32, in the house vacated by John Peters. He cultivated and improved his land, converting it into a valuable property, but finally was attracted by the Battering prospects held out to the emigrants who were fast populating Nebraska, and became a resident of that Territory. Archibald Wygent arrived soon after, but ultimately made Watervliet his home, where he still resides.

Hiram Fish was another of the New York State pioneers who came in 1854. He selected section 21 as a borne, where he became a considerable land-owner, having entered 360 acres. This he began early to improve, his first efforts being devoted to the building of a log house. During the interval he remained at Watervliet. Mr. Fish was among the most active of the early pioneers, and manifested a deep interest in affairs pertaining to the welfare of the township. This, however, did not conflict with the more pressing business of cultivating his farm, to which he devoted himself with an energy which was afterwards amply rewarded. His throe sons—Allen, Miram, and Draperstill reside in tho township.

Frank Beal entered, in 1855, 80 acres under the graduation act. He found his land entirely uncultivated, and began at once the work of chopping a sufficient space on which to erect a house, meanwhile remaining in Berrien County. His land lay upon sections 34 and 35. With him came William Kelley and W. W. Lampson, who entered 160 acres on section 35. William and J. McConnell took up there abode on section 36 where they still reside.

The settlers were principally occupied at this time in laying out and improving highways. For this service fair wages were paid by the commissioners, which greatly aided them in living, and afforded them means to carry on the work of clearing and improving their lands. Often while engaged in this labor at a remote distance from their home night overtook them, and such shelter as the woods afforded was gladly accepted. With a log for a pillow and a cluster of boughs for a couch, they would enjoy the rest which toil had made sweet, regardless of the howling of the wolves around them. The first highway cut through the forests of the township was probably the one leading to the saw- mill of Matthias Farnum. James Dobbyn and his neighbors also cut an early road in the immediate vicinity of their own homes.

William A. Dell, who enjoyed the distinction of having been chosen as the first supervisor, was a former resident of New York State, from which he emigrated in the summer of 1855 and purchased 80 acres in Covert, on section 29. Mr. Dobbyn's log house afforded him a temporary abode, while the neighbors made a 11 bee" for the purpose of building a cabin for his family. His experiences were not un- like those of other pioneers, but Covert seems not to have offered permanent attractions, as later years found him a resident of Watervliet, where he died.

The same year came Reuben Lee, who settled upon section 33, where he purchased and improved 60 acres. He seems to have found the township a more congenial abode than his neighbor, Mr. Dell, as he is still a resident upon the farm he purchased.

Ohio sent to Deerfield a pioneer in the person of J. Enlow, who purchased of John House, in 1857, a farm on section 12. This laud was entirely uncultivated, and no settlers had located in the immediate vicinity, the nearest neighbors being Mason Wood, in Bangor, and a settler upon section 11. His family were left in Lawrence while he engaged in the construction of a log house, he himself making Bangor his temporary abode during its progress. After the house was completed Mr. Enlow removed his family, and at once found an extended field of labor in the clearing of his land. The southern portion of the township having been earliest settled, the centre and northern sections were at this time almost in their primitive condition. No roads were visible, those originally surveyed having been covered by a heavy growth of brush, which, from want of travel, made them almost impassable. The Indian trail was the highway most used until late emigration made good roads a necessity. Mr. Enlow succeeded in improving this land and developing its resources, and ultimately cleared a fine farm, upon which he now resides.

Dawson Pompey came from Indiana in 1866, and purchased of William Sherburne 160 acres on section 13. ThiB farm had previously been owned by Benoni Young, and was the first land cleared in the township. Mr. Poropey had, therefore, to undergo none of the severe experiences of his pioneer neighbors in its early improvement. He has by his industry added greatly to its productiveness, and is esteemed as one of the most successful farmers in Covert.

The township has in later years had many accessions to the ranks of its agricultural population, but none of them can properly be included among its pioneers.


The hamlet of Covert—which by courtesy is termed a village, though not incorporated—is located principally on section 14, though a portion of it crosses the section line and covers a part of section 13. Its growth may be regarded in some respects not only as rapid but remarkable, the year 1866 having witnessed the earliest effort which later resulted in a promising settlement. Messrs. Hawks & Lambert, of Niles, Mich., being attracted by the very luxuriant growth of timber in the township, purchased timber- lands in the vicinity, aud immediately began the erection of mills, locating them where the grist-mill of Packard & Sons now stands. They carried on a lumbering business for three years, when their interest was purchased by Packard & Co.

To these gentlemen may be ascribed the credit of having promoted the growth of the village, and placed the township on a business equality with the most enterprising townships of the county. Alfred H. Packard, Jr., had previously established himself upon section 2, where he had in 1868 erected saw-mills and made large purchases of land. Messrs. Packard & Co had added much to their timbered lands purchased of Messrs. Hawks & Lambert, and finding the capacity of the mill already built insufficient, erected in 1872 a mill of larger dimensions, which was operated by steam. One of these mills was later devoted to sawing and planing, and a grist-mill was built for the purpose of doing custom work. In this mill corn, and feed of various kinds are ground, but no flour. The saw-mills have a capacity of 4,000,000 feet a year, and the firm also deal largely in bark and wood. They employ in the various departments of labor about 10 men, most of these being engaged in chopping. A horse-railroad has been built from the mills to the lake, which affords them superior advantages of shipping. For this purpose substantial piers have been built on the lake-shore at the terminus of the horse-railroad.

The mills of Alfred H. Packard, Jr.,saw nearly 6,000,000 feet of lumber annually. They also have a horse-rail road, which conveys lumber directly to the lake. The market for this lumber is found in Milwaukee. Chicago, Racine, and other lake-ports. The store was formerly connected with the business, but is now owned by Josiah Packard, who removed from Ohio, and was previously a member of the firm of Packard & Co.

There is much business activity manifested in Covert aside from the lumber interest. Josiah Packard conducts a general merchandise store, in which an extended trade is had. E. G. Allen & Co. deal in drugs and medicines, with which they combine groceries, and E. A, Rood is a heavy dealer in hardware. In addition there arc two black- smith-shops, kept by O. B. Shine and Mark Peters; one watch- and clock-shop, kept by J. R. Shine; one livery- stable, owned by S. I). Kenney ; one market, kept by G. H. Michaels; one shoe-shop, the proprietor of which is - Colvin ; and a master-builder, G. R. Ross, who has shown much skill in the construction of the new church at Covert, Dr. G. D. Carnes, the only allopathic physician, enjoys an extensive practice.

The public school is under the superintendence of De Forest Ross, with Miss Ellen Shaw as assistant.


The following list embraces the resident tax-payers in Deerfield (now Covert) for the year 1856: Matthias Farnum, Benoni Young, Charles Phillips, Allen Fish, Draper Fish, Miram Fish, John Burnham, Ira H. Derby, William A. Dell, James Dobbyn, John Wygent, A. G. Wygent, Reuben Lee, F. Beal, W. W. Lampson, William Kelley, Nelson Kelley, George Sinkler, J. Packard, R. Parker.


This township, originally forming part of the old town- ship of Lafayette, was included within the boundaries of South Haven by an act of the State Legislature erecting the latter township, bearing date March 11,1837. It continued as South Haven until Oct. 8, 1855, when, by the action of the Board of Supervisors of Van Buren County, surveyed township No. 2 south, of range No. 17 west, was organized as Deerfield. Its name was changed to Covert by the State Legislative body, then in session, March 29, 1877.

First Township Election.—Pursuant to the act of organization, the electors assembled at the house of Hiram Fish on the first Monday in April, 1856, and organized by choosing William A. Dell chairman, Miram Fish and John E. Wygent inspectors of election, A. G. Wygent and Miram Fish clerks. As the final result of this meeting the following-named officers were declared elected, viz.: William A. Dell, Supervisor; Miram Fish, Township Clerk; Draper Fish, Treasurer; Hiram Fish, J. E. Wygent, Franklin Beal, Highway Commissioners ; Benoni Young, A. G. Wygent, John A. Hunt, Reuben Lee, Justices of the Peace; A. G. Wygent, William A. Dell, School Inspectors; R. Packer, Allen Fish, A. E. Wygent, George Sinkler, Constables; Hiram Fish, Wallace Lawson, Directors of the Poor.

Township Civil List.—The towuship officers elected at subsequent annual town-meetings (from 1857 to 1879, inclusive) have been as follows:


1857, William A. Dell; 1858-59, Miram Fish; 1860-61, George H. Barker; 1862-63, Miram Fish ; 1864 -67, George H. Barker; 1868, William F. Trafford; 1869, Miram Fish; 1870-74, George H. Barker; 1875-76, George Grant; 1877-78, 0. S. Shaw; 1879, George Grant.


1857, James Dobbyn; 1858, A. Cress: 1859, William A. Dell; 1860, James Dobbyn; 1861, Minim Fish; 1862, It. 11. Randall; 1863- 64, William A. Dull; 1865, R. R. Randall; 1866, J. S. Packard; 1867, William F. Trafford, 1868, W. M. Simpson; 1869-70, Jeremiah Hartman; 1871-74, J. S. Bunnell; 1875, George H. Barker; 1876, O. S. Shaw; 1877-79, E. G. Allen.


1857-59, John A. Hunt; I860, A. G. Wygent; 1861-63, Allen Fish; 1864-65, James Dobbyn; 1866-67, Miram Fish; 1868, Robert Hartley; 1869, George H. Barker; 1870-75, William F. Trafford; 1876, James Dobbyn; 1877-78, Robert Hartley: 1879, William J. Shattuck.


1857, William Willcomb; 1858, A. G. Wygent; 1859, Charles Phillips, J. K. Packard; I860, 0. F. Ingersoll; 1861, George H. Parker: 1862, 0. F. Ingersoll, J. S. Packard; 1863, C. H. Sherborne;

1864, G. II. Parker, 0. F. Ingersoll ; 1865, J. S. Packard: 1866, G. II. Barker; 1867, Charles Lockwood ; 1668,George H. Barker; 1869. Miram Fish; 1870. D. B.Allen; W.Thaddeus Rood; 1872, D. B. Allen, Miram Fish; 1673, D. B. Allen; IS74, Miram Fish; 1875, James O. Keith; 1876, A. B. Sherborne; 1877, P. B. Allen ; 1878-79, George H. Barker.


1857. James Dobbyn, J. S. Packard, Benoni Young; 1858, William Willcomb, Miram Fish; 1859, C. C. Leathers, J. S. Packard; I860, William Sherborne; 1861, Miram Fish, O. II. Barker; 1862, William Sherborne; 1863, John A. Hunt; 1864, William Willey; 1865, J. S. Packard, R. It. Randall: 1806, W. F. Trafford, Miram Fish; 1867, W. F. Trafford; 1868, Bryant Milliman, G. H. Barker: 1869, William Kenney, A. R. Sherborne; 1870, Miram Fish; 1871, J. S. Packard; 1872, Daniel Luti; 1873, A. R. Sherborne, William II. Wynn ; 1871, Miram Fish; 187-r«, William F. Conner; 1876, J. S. Packard; 1877, Thaddeus Rood; 1878, E. G. Allen, Gordon Sinclair; 1879, J. O. Keith, K. 0. Rood, Miram Fish.


1857, Franklin Beal: 1858, H. F. Wing, S. C. Paul; 1869, Franklin Real, Draper Fish ; 1860, Charles Phillips; 1861, W. W. Lamson ; 1862, Draper Fish, George Andrews; 1863, C. n. Sherborne, W. Patterson: 1864, J. W. Tripp, George F. Mast; 1865, J. S. Packard, C. W. Darling, Allen Fish ; 1866, J. W. Tripp, Draper Fish; 1867, Charles Lockwood, Draper Fish; 1868, C. W. Bunnell; 1869, Stephen Reed, Bryant Hilliman; 1870. I.S. Bunnell; 1871, J. S. Packard; 1872, Draper Fish; 1873, I. S. Bunnell; 1874, R. R. Randall; 1875, 0. K. Lockwood; 1876-78, W.J. Shattuck; 1879, Robert Hartley.


1872, Charles Phillips; 1873, Stephen Reed; 1874, R. K. Randall; 1875, William E. Knapp; 1870, C. 0. Fraxier; 1877, F. W. Conner; 1878, John A. Hart; 1879, Jacob Gunsaul.


1875, Brainard Allen; 1876-78, D. B. Allen; 1879, A. N. Ballon.


1857, George Sinkler, J. B. Greenlee, S. B. Greenlee, Ernest Lopolt; 1858, C. M. Blora, George Sinkler, A. G. Wygent; 1859, R. B. Cooper, Allen Fish, William A. Dull, Goorge Sinkler; I860, W. H. Sherborne, Ira A. Derby, William A. Dell, George F. Mast; 1861, George F. Mast, George Andrews, W. W. Lamson, William A. Dell; 1862, George Andrews, George Sinkler, Charles U. Sherborne, C. T. Tilton; 1863, Reuben Loe, Charles H. Sherborne, H. P. Sinkler, John Burnbain ; 18G4, William A. Dell, T. U. Humphrey, W. McConnell, B. F. Jenkins; 1865, R. R. Randall, George Sinkler, B. F. Jenkins, C. W. Darling; 1866, R. R. Randall, George Sinkler, J. A. Derby, J. W. Tripp ; 1867, Charles Phillips, Lyman Ingram; 1868, Thomas Anderson, R. R. Randall, W. 8. Lambert, Charles Stoddard, Sr.; 1869, John Lilly, Jeffries Reed, John Carpenter, A. Lilly; 1870, Thomas Wynn, G. P. Williams. 8. G. Jameson; 1871, I. S. Bunnell, D. W. Weenall, R. R. Randall, Thomas Anderson; 1872, Orin Hill, C. 0, Franier, Charles Burton, John West; 1873, T. B. Wynn, 0. Shine, N. Kelley, C. E. Lockwood; 1874, H. L. Dobbyn, K. M. Symonds, William Cbapin, N. Bartes; 1875, Thomas J. Chaffee, Ezekiel Milliman, B. F. Wynn, Alfred Packard; 1876, George Michaels, William Tripp, A. Lovelace, Thomas J. Chaffee; 1877, J. Dalson, H. Curtis, T. B. Wynn, J. Hartman ; 1878, John Dalson, George Michaels, Jeremiah Hartman, Frank Stewart; 1870, B. Milliman, F. B. Harris, C. O. Frazier, George Michaels.


The Congregational Church at Covert was orgauized Sept. 27, 1870, Rev. D. F. Peet and Rev. -Anderson officiating at the services held on the occasion. Its early membership embraced the following names: Josiah Packard, Elizabeth Packard, Perlia Packard, Margaret Smith, Edward Rood, Panelia Packard, Alfred Packard, Flora Rood, Mary Packard, William Packard, E. P. Shaw, Mrs. E. P. Shaw, Milan Packard, W. F. Trafford, Martha B. Trafford, Gordon Sinclair, Thaddeus Rood, Martha Rood, Flora A. Allen, and D. B. Allen. The early services were held in a barn fitted for the purpose, and soon after the members convened in a new school-house that had meanwhile been built. The congregation, however, increased so rapidly that these quarters were too limited, and Packard's Hall was opened for the use of the congregation.

For a period of more than five years this spacious apartment was occupied as a place of worship without expense to the society. The first regular pastor, Rev. F. W. Bush, began his ministry in January, 1873, and a parsonage costing $1500 was ready for his occupancy and paid for on his arrival.

In 1878 the congregation determined to erect a house of worship, and in August of that year began the work. The building is of wood, with stone foundations, and having a side-tower from which entrance is effected into both audience- and lecture-rooms. These rooms open into each other through doors mounted on rollers and running into the walls. The edifice is well built, neatly finished, and will seat comfortably 400 people, having cost, completely furnished, more than $4000. The building was finished in October, 1879, and the dedicatory services were held on the 6th day of November, 1879. These exercises, which were


This gentleman traces his ancestry back to days of Puritanism in New England, his mother, whose maiden name was Abigail Hawes, being a direct descendant from a member of the colony which crossed the Atlantic in the "Mayflower," and settled at Plymouth, Mass. His father, Josiah F. Rood, was born in Buckland, Franklin Co., Mass., and was married to Miss Hawes, June 13, 1815. Their children were as follows: Abigail G., born April 16, 1816; David, born April 25, 1818; Marshall, born May 26, 1820, died April 12, 1854; Aurelia, born Sept. 16, 1822, died June 19, 1860; Josiah, born June 30, 1824, died July 10, 1863, in the army; Henry F., born March 1,1828, died March 13, 1852; Susan A., born March 21,1831, died Feb. 15, 1864; Thaddeus, born June 8,1833; Edward A., born May 18, 1840. Of these the oldest sou now living is a missionary in South Africa. Josiah F. Rood died Aug. 19,1864, his wife's death having occurred July 28, 1863.

Edward A. Rood came from Massachusetts to Michigan in 1861, and settled in the township of Ganges, Allegan Co. After one year he returned to his old home, and on the 25th of October, 1863, he was married to Miss Flora M. Warner, daughter of William and Annis Warner. She was born Oct. 24, 1843, and was the third in a family of four children. Her brother, Edwards W. Warner, died in the army; Eliza A., her oldest sister, was married to W. J. Shattuck, and is now living with her husband in the township of Covert. The youngest sister is now the wife of George Campbell, residing at Florence, Mass.

Mr. Hood and his wife are the parents of two children,— Frank E., born Oct. 27, 1864, and Lillian A., born Oct. 7, 1868. Mr. Rood came to Michigan Ibr the purpose of entering the employ of Messrs. Packard & Sons, and remained with them about eleven years. In 1863 he purchased land in Allegan Co., Mich., and at present is the owner of two hundred acres in the township of Covert, Van Buren Co.

In 1873 he established a hardware store, which he still continues to operate, handling agricultural implements and a general line of hardware. Mr. Rood and his wife are members of the Covert Congregational Church, having united with it at its organization. Politically, Mr. Rood is a Republican, but he has not aspired to office.


A son of William and Mary (Rude) Packard, he was born in Rensselaer Co., N. Y. Sept. 22, 1834, and was the second in a family of four children. His father was a native of Massachusetts. In 1836 the family removed to Ohio, where Alfred S. Packard remained with his father, working on the farm and lumbering, until he became of age. On the 1st of May, 1859, he married Laura A., daughter of [ram and Cynthia Packard, she being a native of Plainfield, Mass. To this couple was born one son, Ernest, his birth occurring April 2, 1870, and his death five months later. Mrs. Packard died April 10,1870, and on the 22d of June, 1871, Mr. Packard was married to Mary E., daughter of Nelson T. and Emily C. Burnham, who was born in Middletown, Coun., April 28,1846, and moved, with her father, to Ohio, in which State she resided until her marriage. Mr. Packard came from Ohio in 1859, and settled in the township of Ganges, Allegan Co., Mich.; removed from Ganges to Deerfield (now Covert) in 1867. Until 1877 he was in business with his father and brother, but iu the fall of that year a division was made, Mr. Packard taking what is known as the " upper mill" property. He now owns and operates that, also one at South Haven, and has a horse-railway from the former to a pier on the lake-shore, four miles distant. He is at present the owner of two thousand five hundred acres of land, from which he is clearing the timber, and his home is situated on two hundred acres already cleared and well improved. Mr. Packard is a Republican iu politics, and both himself and wife are members of the Congregational Church.




The grandfather of this gentleman (W.M. Packard) was born in Bridgewater, Mass., and at the age of fourteen years entered the Revolutionary army. At twenty-four he was married to Miss Edson, and by her became the father of eight children, —five sons and three daughters. His occupation was that of a farmer. Among his children was Arassa Packard (father of William), who, at the age of eighteen years, married Lucinda, daughter of John Ford, her parents being also natives of Bridgewater,—where Amasa Packard was born, Jan. 6, 1788. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Packard occupied a tract of wild land, which they improved and resided upon until 1832, when they removed to Ohio. William, son of Amasa and Lucinda Packard, was born in Plainfield, Mass., July 23, 1808, and was the first in a family of eight children,—five sons and three daughters. Until he had reached his majority he assisted his father on the home farm, and for two years subsequently hired "by the month." May 19,1831, he married Mary F., daughter of Thaddeus and Mary Rude, a native of Massachusetts. The wedded pair removed to Rensselaer Co., N. Y. (and occupied a farm which Mr. Packard had previously purchased. In 1836 they changed their residence to Chatham township, Medina Co., Ohio, where Mr. Packard bought and cleared a farm, and remained upon it until 1859. In the latter year he removed to Allegan Co., Mich., and in 1870, to the place he now occupies in Covert township, Van Buren Co.

Mr. and Mrs. Packard are the parents of the following children: William 0., born Sept. 14,1832, Alfred S., born Sept. 22, 1834, Mary P., born August 18, 1836; Helen Celestia, born Oct. 28,1842, died at the age of six months. July 14, 1863, Mr. Packard was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died and was buried in Allegan Co. Sept. 5, 1864, Mr. Packard was married to Mrs. Mary F. Rood, widow of Marshall Rood. Her death occurred in Covert township August 25, 1875;«and on the 19th of September, 1876, Mr. Packard was married to Josephine L. Seymour, daughter of William H. and Ruth Seymour.

This union has been blessed with one child,—Ruth Celestia, born Oct. 5, 1879. Mr. Packard united with the Congregational Church in 1844. He is a staunch Republican iu politics, and has been the recipient of numerous favors from his fellow-citizens, in the shape of offices of greater or less importance. While a resident of Ohio he occupied all the official positions in his township, and was twice chosen to the Legislature from Allegan Co., Mich. Since he settled in Michigan, Mr. Packard has, in company with his sons, been extensively engaged in the lumber business, their possessions at one time including upwards of four thousand five hundred acres of timber, with four saw-mills in full operation. In 1877, Alfred S. Packard withdrew from the firm, and is now individually engaged in business. William Packard and his son, William O. Packard, are yet associated, and own and operate the saw-mills at Covert, one saw- and planing-mill having a run of stone attached for the purpose of grinding feed. Mr. Packard's brother, Josiah Packard, with his son-in-law, belonged to the firm of Packard, Sons & Co. for eight years. William O. Packard was elected to the State Senate in 1876, from Van Buren County, serving one term.

History of Berrien and Van Buren counties, Michigan. With ... biographical sketches of its prominent men and pioneers. Ellis, Franklin, 1828-1885., Johnson, Crisfield., D.W. Ensign & Co. Philadelphia: D. W. Ensign & Co., 1880.