Porter Township
Van Buren Co MI


Boundaries and General Description—Pioneers and Early Settlements—Township Organization,
Name, and Civil List—Churches—Schools—Porter Grange, Patrons of Husbandry.

Porter Township, originally attached to Decatur township, covers an area of six miles square, and occupies the southeastern corner of Van Buren County, its boundaries being Antwerp township on the north, Cass County on the south, Kalamazoo County on the east, and Decatur township on the west. Designated in the original survey as town 4 south, range 13 west, it was not named until 1845, when it was set off from Decatur with separate jurisdiction.

The surface of the country is generally hilly, and from many of the eminences picturesque views, reaching over a wide extent of territory, may be obtained. In the southeast there is considerable swamp-land, although elsewhere the drainage is good and effective, by means of numerous lakes. The largest of these is Bankson's (or Mack’s) Lake, which has an area of about 600 acres. Cedar Lake covers about 500 acres, and among the smaller ones may be mentioned Grass, Gravel, Barker’s, Van Sickle's, and Hersey.

The water in Batikson’s Lake is deep and clear, and abounds in fish, having recently been stocked by the State. Gravel Lake has a remarkably fine, hard beach, which admits of a superb roadway around its entire circuit. Porter has no immediate railway conveniences, although the Michigan Central line touches the northwestern corner. In 1870 the township voted 815,000 in aid of the Paw Paw Valley Railroad, which was to pass through Porter, but the project failed. The township contains no village, has but one church building, and has no post-office, no store, or mercantile enterprise of any kind except one sawmill. The business interests are entirely agricultural. The population of Porter in 1874 was 1182, and the assessed valuation iu 1879 was $357,400.

PIONEERS AND EARLY SETTLEMENTS.

The southwestern corner of section 13, now occupied by Samuel Kidney, is conspicuous iu being the first tract of laud entered iu Porter township. Abner Mack, now living in Kalamazoo County, located the lot in 1833, and built a cabin upon it. He concluded, however, within a short time to abandon it, and effecting with Jonas Barber, of Kalamazoo County, an exchange for land in Prairie Ronde, he moved away. Barber hired Milton Van Duzer to work the Porter place, and there Van Duzer was living in 1835, when James Young, his half-sister, Elizabeth Gibson, and her sons, Washington and Robert, moved in from Prairie Rondo, and occupied a tract of 67 acres on section 14, bordering upon Bankson’s Lake. According to the best obtainable evidence, therefore, Porter’s first settler was Mack, its second was Van Duzer, and its third Young. Washington Gibson still occupies the original 67 acres. Young started for Utah in 1850, to cast his fortunes with the Mormons, but lost his life while on the way, by falling into the bold of a Mississippi River steamer. Mrs. Gibson died in Porter in 1870. Van Duzer remained but a brief period, and then removed farther west. The second house built in the township is supposed to have been put up by one Crooks, of Kalamazoo, although the structure was never finished or occupied. It stood on section 13, north of Mack’s, and, as the story goes, Crooks, repenting his choice of location, abandoned the place before preparing it for habitation, and Porter saw him no more. Settlements in the township having begun in the cast, this narrative will accordingly follow at first the settlers who came as pioneers into that district. The Kinney Settlement.—The father and founder of that portion of Porter known for years as the Kinney settlement was Elijah Kinney, who in 1835 came from Milan, Ohio, with his wife, seven unmarried children, his son Luther and family, and his son-in-law, Samuel Corey. The elder Kinney had bought four 80-acre lots, and built his cabin on section 24, where he died in 1864. The place is now occupied by his son Stephen. Luther located south of Mr. Kinney’s, and removing subsequently to St. Joseph, still lives there. Up to the time of Elijah Kinney’s arrival, James Young and Milton Van Duzer had been the only permanent settlers in Porter. Uri Kinney, Elijah Kinney’s nephew, was a settler in 1835, upon section 12, where he lived until his death.

Nelson Corey and his brother Sanford, both young men, entered Porter in 1836, and labored upon the farms of others until 1840. In that year Nelson bought a place on section 26 of one Chapin, who had located there in 1838, and who upon selling to Corey went to Illinois. Sanford purchased also on section 26, of T. R. Smith, a settler, who moved in 1840 farther west. Nelson Corey now lives on section 16. His brother Sanford died in Porter in 1878. Among the settlers in the Kinney settlement in 1836 wore George Wilson and Mathew Lewis. In that year Lewis lost a child by death, and buried it on the Luke Munger farm. Lewis’ child was the first person who died in the township. Lewis afterwards moved west. Wilson died in Porter.

Stephen, brother of Elijah Kinney, came from Milan, Ohio, in the fall of 1838, with a family of eight children, accompanied also by John Webber and family and John Bennett. Stephen Kinney bought 240 acres of new laud in section 26, where he died in 1847. His son, Orrin G., Who came with him, located on section 25 in 1842, and still lives there. Webber settled on section 25, and died in Lawton. Bennett, who bought a place on section 26, went afterwards to Iowa, where he died. E. Z. K. Munger, who came as a farm-hand with Elijah Kinney in 1835, worked a year for Mr. Kinney, and then located 80 acres on section 25. He migrated subsequently to Minnesota.

Among (he inhabitants of the Kinney settlement in 1838 were James Young, Elizabeth Gibson, George Colvin (on the Abner Mack place), Uri Kinney, Elijah, Luther, and Stephen Kinney, E. Z. K. Munger, T. R. Smith, Lyman Wood, and Clark Pratt. Colvin died in Porter. Wood moved to St. Joseph County, and there died. Pratt went to the far West.

Moses Monroe was considered the most useful man in the settlement. He was the only mechanic among them all, and he could turn his hand to carpentering as well as to Shoemaking, while he was quite clever at any work requiring mechanical skill. Truly, Moses was looked upon as a boon to the pioneers, and he was never a moment suffered to be idle; there were constant calls upon him from every side. He lived in the settlement until his death, in 1872.

Luke Munger, who settled in 1840 upon section 24, died in 1863 on section 26, where his son Abner lives. James Maxam, now living on section 34, settled in 1844 upon section 27. Manassch Kern located in 1846 upon section 13, where he now lives. In 1846 his neighbors on the north were the Wilsons, Longeoys, Harpers, Locks, and Finches. S. V. P. Bradt came in 1848, and located in 1848 upon section 24, his present homo. In the same year Jacob Markle settled on section 3, where he has since resided. Mr. Markle came West in 1837, and in that year became a resident of Antwerp township, whence in 1848 he moved to Porter. William H. McLane came from St. Joseph County in 1852, and located upon section 15, where he now lives; adjoining him, on the south, being his son John C., who bought his farm in 1860.

Settlements in the central part of the township wore made as early as 1835, in which year Benjamin Reynolds, of Ohio, came with a large family and located 160 acres in section 15. His sons, Buell and Benjamin, Jr., attended to the land, which was divided into two farms, the elder Reynolds living with Buell until 1852, when he took up his residence with his son-in-law, William Perley,and there died in 1853. His only child, now living in Porter, is Mrs. Miles Van Sickle.

Daniel Alexander, also from Ohio, became a resident of Michigan in 1832, and for four years lived in Cass County on leased land. In 1836 he bought 200 acres of government land in Porter township, on sections 20, 29, and 30, and while preparing a place of habitation upon his new possessions, he lived with his wife (a daughter of George Tittle, of Decatur) in Dolphin Morris’ old log cabin on Little Prairie. Alexander built on section 29 a log cabin 16 by 24, and when he moved into it, in 1836, he was the only white settler in the western portion of the township, except John Tittle, his brother-in-law, who kept bachelor’s hall on a place adjoining Alexander. Indeed, he thought for a time there were no other settlers in the township until he accidentally discovered James Young while out on a trip of discovery. Mr. Alexander died in 1862, on his Porter farm, where his widow still survives him. Mrs. Alexander tells many interesting stories of her lonesome experiences among the Indians while her husband and brother were away from the cabin. She was at first much alarmed at the sight of the savages, but soon grew to understand that they were peaceable and inclined to be friendly. Indeed, they were at times exceedingly sociable, and more than once did she receive presents as tokens of Indian friendship. Her husband used to say that he desired no better neighbors than those same Indians. John Tittle, to whom reference has been made, moved to Iowa in 1855.

In the summer of 1836, Roderick Bell settled near Gravel Lake, where he lived until 1862, when he removed farther West. Near Gravel Lake also, in 1837, settled Nathan Cook, George S. Freese, and John B. Compton. Cook died in Porter in 1867, leaving a widow, who now resides with her daughter on section 16. Freese caught the gold fever in 1849 and went to California, where he was drowned shortly afterwards. About 1840 other settlers were Thomas Alexander and the Nelsons, the latter of whom sold out to Silas Gould and moved away.

Miles Van Sickle, who settled in Michigan in 1826 and in Porter in 1840, still lives in the latter township, on section 17. In January, 1840, his father, John Van Sickle, came to Porter with Elias Harmon and Jacob Stillwell, and all three settled with their families in Porter. Van Sickle died in Porter in 1861. Elias Harmon, who settled on section 17, still lives in the township. Stillwell located on section 21, and died in Porter. His sou John resides on section 9. In the spring of 1840, L. H. Weldon located on section 28. He died in the township in 1872. Two of his sons, Augustus and George, now reside in Porter.

John Nesbitt was one of the pioneers in the settlement of Keeler township, where he says he and his brother James turned the first furrow and kept for a time bachelors’ hall in 1834. He came to Porter in 1837, and bought land on section 4. He hired one Wilcox to work the place, and pushed on to the far West. Coming back after an absence of two years, he married and settled upon the farm himself. In 1846 he changed his location to section 9, where he now lives. As an evidence of the newness of the country even at that date, it may be interesting to observe that when Mr. Nesbitt moved to his new farm, in 1846, he was obliged to make his own road, while his wife drove the ox-team. A quilt hung up before the cabin opening was the best door they could command for some time, while as to a kitchen, an open space under two- whitewood trees was for two months the spot where Mrs. Nesbitt did all the family cooking.

Isaac Hall came to Michigan in 1834, and to Porter in 1842. His brother Amos, also a Michigan pioneer of 1834, settled in Porter in 1846, when in the neighborhood between Grass and Cedar Lakes. The other settlers were Silas Gould, L. H. Weldon, David Gilson, and the Widow Merritt. Shortly after 1840, Thomas Fletcher, a Virginian, came to Porter and bought two hundred acres of new land on section 23, of Joel Clarke, living iu Prairie Ronde. Fletcher made a settlement at once, and lived on the place until his death, in 1875.

Samuel D. Harper, who settled in Porter in 1843, died in 1873, on section 5, where his son William now lives. Jeremiah Barker, a New Yorker, traded in 1845 some New York land for 320 acres on section 9, in Porter, and in that year settled there with his family, and there he died in 1849. John, a son, died on section 9 in 1876. Joseph, another son, still lives on a portion of the original farm.

William Hathaway, of New York, was a settler in Antwerp township in 1838, on section 27, and there in the same year died of fever and ague, which was then fatally prevalent in Antwerp. In 1848 his three sons, A. H., William N., and Charles E., settled in Porter. The only one of the three now in the township is A. H., who lives on section 16. His two brothers are now residents of Iowa.

The pioneers of Porter found a heavily-timbered but an inviting country. There were great tracts of heavy timber and oak openings, through which it was easy enough to drive a team without clearing a road. The vicinity of any one of the large lakes was peculiarly attractive to the eye of the new-comer, while the rich sandy soil promised the farmer an abundant yield and cheered his eager anticipations. Wolves, deer, and all kinds of game abounded in great profusion. But the wolves, although numerous, were troublesome only as depredators upon small live-stock, which required careful watching. Although Porter has now no post-office, it was better favored in the earlier days. About 1840, George S. Frees was appointed postmaster, and kept the office in his house near Gravel Lake. What little mail he received was left with him by a rail-rider, who traversed a route extending from Schoolcraft to Dowagiac. In 1845 the custody of the office was transferred to Isaac Hall, and shortly after the completion of the Michigan Central Railroad to Lawton, the Porter office was abolished.

In the matter of mills. Porter has never had anything to boast of, chiefly for the reason that the township has no water-power. There was no saw-mill even until 1866, when Samuel Strong built one on section 35. The only mill in the town now is the saw-mill of Leonard Waldron, on section 23. The early settlers wore, however, not so badly off for mill conveniences as pioneers in some towns, for Flowerfield and Whitmanville, with a grist- and sawmill, were not very far distant.

The only store ever opened in Porter was one kept at the Centre by a Mr. Lewis, which had, however, but a brief existence.

The only tavern was a house known as the Sisson place, but even that was not much more a tavern than every house in the town, since every resident kept open house in the pioneer days whenever a traveler sought entertainment. The first marriage was that of William Nixon, of Bertrand, to Electa, daughter of Tinker R. Smith, one of Porter’s pioneers. The ceremony was performed in Mr. Tinker's house by Rev. Samuel L. Julian, and took place some time during 1837.

TOWNSHIP ORGANIZATION, NAME, AND CIVIL LIST.

The township of Porter was originally a portion of Decatur, from which it was set off in 1845. Mrs. Harriet Van Antwerp says that one day, after it was decided to set the township off from Decatur, there was a consultation at the house of her father, Nathan Cook, as to what name ought to be selected. Miss Cook happened just then to be reading in the room “Cooper’s Naval Heroes,” and struck by the story of Com. Porter's career, suggested that as Decatur had appropriated a naval hero’s name, the new township should follow the example and take the name of Porter. The suggestion was voted an excellent one, and adopted at once.

The first township-meeting was held April 7,1845, when the greatest number of votes cast for any candidate was 45. A full list of the officials chosen on that occasion is given, as follows: Supervisor, Harvey Barker; Clerk, Isaac Hall; Treasurer, Isaac Hall; School Inspectors, W. S. Corey, Harvey Barker; Highway Commissioners, William L. Barker, John Nesbitt, and William I. Finch; Constables, Miles Van Sickle, John Bennett, and Richard Wilson; Overseers of the Poor, Ira Harman and Benjamin Reynolds; Poundmaster. John Tittle; Justices of the Peace, Harvey Barker, Samuel D. Harper, H. H. Adams, John Nesbitt; Overseers of Highways, Peter Van Etten, Orrin 0. Kinney, William McMinn, William L. Barker, Jacob Stillwell. The Township Board consisted of Horace H. Adams, Stephen Kinney, David A. Alexander, and Samuel D. Harper; Clerks of the Board were Nathan Cook and Warren S. Corey.

The jurors chosen to serve for the year 1845 were Samuel D. Harper, William McMinn, Uri Kinney, Luther Kinney, John Webber, Orrin G. Kinney, Buell Reynolds, David Gilson, Jacob Stillwell, Elias Harmon, Thomas Alexander, Charles Mitchelson.

The supervisors, clerks, treasurers, school inspectors, and justices of the peace from 1846 to 1880. were as follows:

1846.—Supervisor, Uri Kinney: Clerk, H. H. Adams: Treasurer, Nathan Cook; School Inspector, W. 0. Matthews; Justice of the Peace, Orrin Sisson.

1847.—Supervisor, John McKinney ; Clerk, H. H. Adams; Treasurer, Nathan Cook; School Inspector, W. S. Corey.

1848.—Supervisor, Uri Kinney; Clerk, Isaac Hull; Treasurer, Nathan Cook; School Inspector, W. 0. Matthews; Justice of the Peace, Manasseh Kern.

1849.—Supervisor, Orrin Sisson; Clerk, Isaac Hall; Treasurer, John Nesbitt; School Inspeotor, W. S. Corey.

1850.—Supervisor, Macasseh Kern; Clerk, E. A. Park ; Treasurer, W. Gibson; School Inspector, A. H. Hathaway; Justice of the Peace, Roderick Bell.

1851.—Supervisor, J. McKinney; Clerk, B. A. Park; Treasurer, J. Nesbltt; School Inspector, W. H. Paddock; Justice of the Peace, J. McKinney.

1852.—Supervisor, Luther Kinney; Clerk, J. McKinney; Treasurer, J., Nesbitt; School Inspector, A. H. Hathaway; Justice of the Peace, Manasseh Kern.

1853.—Supervisor, J. McKinney; Clerk, A. H. Hathaway ; Treasurer, J. Nesbitt; School Inspector, Asahel Bryant; Justice of the Peace, Elias Harmon.

1854.—Supervisor, J. McKinney ; Clerk, A. H. Hathaway ; Treasurer, J. Nesbitt; School Inspector, W. S. Corey; Justice of the Peace, Isaac Hall.

1865.—Supervisor, W. S. Corey; Clerk, S. I. Burnett; Treasurer, Harvey Barker; School Inspector, W. H. Paddock ; Justice of the Peace, C. Hollister.

1856.—Supervisor, W. S. Corey; Clerk, Thomas Barker; Treasurer, John Nesbitt; School Inspector, J. B. Sackett; Justice of the Peace, Manasseg Kern.

1867.—Supervisor, Asahel Bryant; Clerk, Thomas Barker; Treasurer, John Nesbitt; School Inspector, Asahel Bryant; Justice of the Peace, Elias Harmon.

1858.—Supervisor, Sanford Corey; Clerk, L. S. Hailey ; Treasurer, John Nesbitt; School Inspector, C. Hollister; Justice of the Peace, Isaac Hall.

1859.—Supervisor, Sanford Corey; Clerk, Amos Hall; Treasurer, 0. Sisson; School Inspector, Joseph McKay; Justice of the Peace, Dean Longeoy.

1860.—Supervisor, J. Barker; Clerk, Isaac* Hall; Treasurer, Asahel Bryant; School Inspector, C. Hollister; Justice of the Peace, M. Kern.

1861.—Supervisor, J. Barker; Clerk, Isaac Hall; Treasurer, Asahel Bryant; School Inspector, Asahel Bryant; Justicc of the Peace, C. Hollister.

1862.—Supervisor, C. Hollister; Clerk, Isaac Hall; Treasurer, Aaron Norton; School Inspector, A. H. Hathaway; Justice of the Peace, S. D. Harper.

1863.—Supervisor, C. Hollister; Clerk, Isaac Hall; Treasurer, Aaron Norton; School Inspector, A. Bryant; Justice of the Peace, A. H. Hathaway.

1864.—Supervisor, W. Anderson ; Clerk, Isaac Hall; Treasurer, Aaron Norton; School Inspector, W. Anderson; Justice of the Peace, M. Kern.

1865.—Supervisor, F. B. Adams; Clerk, A. H. Hathaway; Treasurer, J. Atwell: School Inspector, A. Bryant; Justice of the Peace, S. Corey.

1866.—Supervisor, 0. Williams; Clerk, A. H. Hathaway; Treasurer, A. II. Norton ; School Inspector, J. H. Hall; Justice of the Peace, L. B. Dewey.

1867.—Supervisor, J. Barker; Clerk, A. II. Hathaway ; Treasurer, A. H. Norton ; Sohool Inspector, R. M. J. Hall; Justice of the Peacc, J. A. Edmonds.

1868.—No record.

1869.—Supervisor, 0. William*; Clerk, A. H. Hathaway; Treasurer, J. C. McLane; School Inspector, J. II. Hall; Justice of the Peace, M. Kern.

1870.—No record.

1871.—Supervisor, S. Corey; Clerk, A. H. Hathaway; Treasurer, R. Al. J. Hall; School Inspector, A. Bryant; Justice of the Peace, M. Kern.

1872.—Supervisor, C. A. Van Riper; Clerk. A. H. Hathaway; Treasurer, R. M. J. Hall; School Inspecter, J. H. Hatl; .Justice of the Peace, T. Alexander.

1873.—Supervisor, 0. Williams; Clerk, J. W. Burlington: Treasurer, J. C. McLane; School Inspector, E. S. Upham; Justice of the Peace, J. A. Edmonds.

1874.—Supervisor, 0. Williams; Clerk, J. W. Burlington ; Treasurer, R. V. Munger; School Inspector, J. H. Hall; Justice of the Peace. A. J. Weldon.

1875.—Supervisor,0. Williams; Clerk, J. W. Burlington; Treasurer, It. V. Munger; School Inspector, James Nash; Justice of the Peace, E. Harmon.

1876.— Supervisor, 0. Williams; Clerk, J. W. Burlington; Treasurer, A. J. Hall; School Inspector, James Nash; Justice of the Peace, H. Corey.

1877.—Supervisor, J. C. McLane; Clerk, J. W. Burlington; Treasurer, Frank Cooley ; School Inspector, James Noah ; Justice of the Peace, R. A. Ward.

1878.—Supervisor, E. Warner; Clerk, J. W. Burlington; Treasurer, Frank Cooley; School Inspector, James Nash; Justice of the Peace, H. J. Kellogg.

1879.—Supervisor, J. C. MeLane; Clerk, J. W. Burlington ; Treasurer, J. H. Hall; School Inspector, James Nash; Justice of the Peace, C. A. Van Riper.

The Township Board for 1879 was composed of J. C. McLane, Jason Atwell, and J. W. Burlington. A neat town hall at the Centre, built in 1869, serves for all meetings connected with public affairs.

CHURCHES.

In 1837, Rev. Samuel L. Julian, a Free-Will Baptist preacher, settled in Porter, and immediately organized in the Kinney settlement a church of that denomination, which for a time flourished briskly. Julian removed to the far West in 1838, after selling his farm to Jacob Wright. After Mr. Julian’s time Elder Dodge, a Baptist minister, preached in the settlement. In the west, Rev. Wilder Mack, a Protestant Methodist preacher, held occasional services at the house of George S. Frees. Harvey Barker, from Wayne County, was a settler in 1841, and was also a local Methodist Episcopal preacher. For some time after his settlement he preached every Sunday at the dwelling-house of some settler.

The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Porter.—A Methodist Episcopal class was organized in Porter as far back as 1844 at Gravel Lake, and meetings were held in Roderick Bell's cooper-shop, as well as in town school-houses. The first class-leader of whom there is any recollection was Mr. Mitchelson, after whom, in 1847, Myron Hall was chosen. The class was on the Paw Paw circuit, and its first pastor was Rev. Mr. Reynolds. The Methodist Episcopal classes now in Porter—three in number—are attached to the Lawton charge, of which Rev. T. T. George is pastor. Their aggregate membership is 75, and they are called respectively South Porter, Porter Centre, and Number Nine, their places of worship being township school-houses.

A Free-Will Baptist Church was organized in 1858 by Rev. Edward Root, of Ohio, who then came to Porter as a settler. He was the church’s pastor continuously until 1870, when he moved farther west. For the past year the church has had no pastor. Elder Daniel Osborn holds services, however, once a month. The church attendance includes about 20 members. Isaac Parish and Abner Munger are the deacons, and James Bradt the clerk. The First Methodist Protestant Church was organized March 14, 1865, by Elder Samuel Reeves, as the West Porter class, in the school-house on section 17. The organizing members were B. White and wife, Augustus Weldon and wife, Merritt Tappen and wife, Elias Harmon and wife, John Stuyvesant- and wife, Miles Van Sickle, Malintha Harmon, and Leonard Harmon. The Valley class was organized Jan. 3, 1866, with 33 members, and the North Porter class Feb. 8, 1866, with a membership of 13. The West Porter class was attached to the Van Buren circuit, in which it was the first. The pastors who succeeded Elder Reeves were Revs. Nichols, Bayne, Newell, Reed, Phillips, Byers, Murray, and Clarke. Elder Reeves, the first pastor, is in charge now for the second time. The present membership of the three classes is 80.

In 1867 the society erected, on section 20, the One church building which is now in use. The church trustees now serving are Augustus Weldon, Henry Corey, Warren Wood, Elias Harmon, and James Ellis.

The Christian Advent Church, worshiping in the Bell school-house, was organized in 1871 by Rev. James Ferris, of Buchanan, at the Porter Centre school-house, with 25 members. Mr. Ferris continued to preach until 1878, since when no regular services have been held. The membership is now about 30. John Carver is the deacon and Peter Rock the clerk.

SCHOOLS

The first school-teacher in Porter of whom there appears to be any recollection was Warren S. Corey (brother to Nelson Corey), who taught in the Kinney settlement. Sarah, daughter of Nathan Cook, taught the first school in the Bell neighborhood, and the second one at Porter Centre,—the first teacher at the latter place being Josiah Judson. Loring Barker taught a school in 1841 in Miles Van Sickles’ log cabin. The township has now ten school districts, of which six were organized in 1845. The appended table will show the condition of the public schools as per official report for the year 1879:

Number of districts (whole, 7; fractional, 3)............ 10
Number of scholars of school age..................... 397
Average attendance..................................... 348
Value of school property............................. $4050
Number of teachers...................................... 22
Total expenses for the year.......................... $1587

The school directors for 1879 were George D. Boyce, Charles Hooper, J. W. Burlington, L. M. Walden, C. W. Lohr, A. J. Hall, D. Cornish, D. C. Van Antwerp, J. H. Hall, S. Beach.

PORTER GRANGE, No. 23, P. or H.
This grange was organized April 26, 1873, with 19 members. The first Master was George D. Boyce, whose successors in that office have been James W. Burlington, Elijah Warner, and John MeLane. The present membership is 50, and the officers as follows: John McLane, M.; Russell V. Munger, 0.; George H. Weldon, L.; Elias Harmon. Chaplain; Mrs. Elijah Warner, Sec.; Mrs. Manassch Kern, Treas.; Leonard Bates, Steward; Henry Yetter, Assistant Steward; Mrs. George Weldon, Pomona; Miss Mary Kern, Flora; Mrs. Samuel Bartlett, Ceres; Mrs. J. P. Barker, Stewardess. Regular sessions are held at the town hall, Porter Centre.

BIOGRAPHICAL


SAMUEL BARTLETT
The grandfather of this gentleman, Asaph Bartlett, was a native of Massachusetts, as was also his father, William L. Bartlett. The latter, at the age of nineteen, married Abigail Warren, and that couple were the parents of five children,—three sons and two daughters. Of these Samuel Bartlett was the oldest, having been born in Genesee Co., N. Y. Feb. 16, 1816, to which county his parents had moved from Massachusetts, and where they occupied a farm. At the age of sixteen years Samuel Bartlett was deprived of his mother, and from that time until he was twenty-one ho attended school winters and worked for monthly wages during the summers. His school days were over after he became of age, but his days of laboring for hire were not, and for seven years he found employment at different occupations, a portion of the time being spent in a store.
The latter was detrimental to his health, and he was forced to begin again on a farm. March 24, 1844, he was married to Miss Charlotte Parsons, daughter of David and Lucy Parsons. She was born in Le Roy, Genesee Co., N. Y., July 9, 1825, and was one of a family of six children, of whom but two were sons. Her grandfather’s name was Aaron Parsons; her grandmother was of Welsh descent. Her parents were natives of Vermont—the rugged “ Green Mountain State.” Samuel Bartlett and wife became the parents of one child, a daughter, Helen A., born Feb. 8, 1849. She became the wife of Russel Munger.
After Mr. Bartlett was married he worked a farm for two years on shares, after which he, in company with his brother, purchased one hundred acres of land, and farmed it together until 1853, when they sold it. In 1856, his health being poor and a change appearing necessary, Mr. Bartlett came to Michigan, and * purchased forty acres on section 25, Porter township, Van Buren County, including the site of his present residence. He has since added forty acres to his farm, and the whole is excellent in quality. It was covered with heavy timber when he came into possession, and in the respect of clearing he had all the experience of the earlier pioneers. Mr. Bartlett’s mind in earlier years was imbued with the teachings of the Baptist Church, but his religious views are at present of a liberal nature. He allows all the privilege of believing as they choose, and respects their opinions. His political status is that of a Democrat, but he has never taken an active part in township politics.
Mr. Bartlett is buried in Schoolcraft Township Cemetery, Kalamazoo Co. Michigan, USA

SANFORD COREY
Sanford Corey, the sixth in a family of nine children,— three sons and six daughters,—was born in the State of New York, May 7, 1821. In 1823 his father removed, with the family, to Ohio, and in 1835 the son came with an uncle, Samuel Corey, to Michigan, and lived with him five years. He then found employment at clearing land by contract, and soon purchased a tract for himself in Kalamazoo County, which he subsequently sold, and made another purchase of sixty acres on section 26, in Porter township, Van Buren Co. To this he has added from time to time, and now owns a fine farm of two hundred acres. Jan. 31,1844, Mr. Corey was married to Oliva J., daughter of Jabez and Eleanor Matthews, who was born April 25, 1826. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Corey were the following: Oliva S., born Aug. 15, 1845, died Oct. 17,1876; Charles M., born Sept. 17, 1847, died April 21, 1866; Ella M., born April 18, 1852. Mr. Corey was one of the first to settle and clear a farm in this portion of the town- ship, and it is related that the stories he told of his experience in those early days were interesting and amusing. His wife died Nov. 0,1875, and he survived her only until Aug. 1, 1876. His daughter Ella, who causes this sketch to be inserted in this work, was married, Sept. 28,1873, to Benjamin S. Harris, a native of Kalamazoo, at which place his people settled at an early date. He had one brother and one sister. Mr. Corey was a member of, and an active worker in, the Free-Will Baptist Church. In his political views he was a Democrat, and held various positions of trust iu tho township, including the offices of supervisor and justice of the peace. He was very much respected by his fellow-citizens, and his loss was sincerely regretted. His early educational advantages were quite limited.

NELSON COREY.
Nelson Corey was born in Vermont, Aug. 19, 1816, and was the fourth son in a family of nine children. His father, Jacob Corey, was a native of Vermont, and was married at the age of eighteen to Miss Betsey Durham, she being but sixteen years old. In the year 1818 he moved to Ashtabula, Ohio, where he remained until his death, which occurred in 1828. Nelson was then twelve years of age, and from that time until he was twenty-one he worked by the month. In the spring of 1837 he came to Michigan, and in 1840 bought his first piece of land, on section 26, Porter township. On the 12th of May, 1842, he married Miss Lucina Kinney, whose people were very early settlers in the township, and lived happily until Aug. 2, 1855, when death separated them. Mr. and Mrs. Corey were the parents of seven children, as follows: Sanford, born April 8, 1843, died July 16, 1843; Edward S., born October 1, 1844; Henry J., born May 26, 1846; Martha L., born May 14, 1848; Horace H., born November 26, 1849; Almon W., born August 12, 1853; Willis N., born August 2, 1855. Mr. Corey was married, in January, 1856, to Delila Fletcher, daughter of one of the early settlers of the township, and to them were born two children,—Deleena R., November 11, 1857, and Mary U., March 3, 1859. With this wife Mr. Corey lived until July 30, 1865, when death again entered his home and left him a widower. His children are all living, except two, some being settled in Michigan and others farther west. Mr. Corey is an active member of the Protestant Methodist Church. In politics he is a Republican. Since the death of his wife he has resided with his son Henry, who married Rohama Anderson, a daughter of one of the pioneers of the county. Mr. Corey is now sixty- five years of age, and has lived in Michigan forty-three years. He has witnessed the transition of a wilderness into a garden, and sees a productive and beautiful region in the place of a land covered with a mighty and unbroken forest. The history of Van Buren County would scarcely be complete without some account of the life of Mr. Corey.

RUSSEL V. MUNGER.

This gentleman was born in Ohio, August 22, 1837, and came to Van Buren County with his father, Luke Munger, in 1839. When he had reached the age of twenty-one years he went to Minnesota, with a capital of fifty dollars, and pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres of land, upon which he remained about one year, and returned to Michigan to assist his father with his farm duties. In June, 1861, he sold his Minnesota land for live hundred dollars, and iu August, 1862, purchased forty acres on section 34, in this township (Porter). That was disposed of in 1864, and he bought sixty acres on which he now resides, on section 28; to this he has added until his present farm consists of one hundred and forty-nine acres. On the 13th of August, 1865, Mr. Munger was married to Helen A., daughter and only child of Samuel and Charlotte Bartlett, who came to Michigan in 1856 from the State of New York. Her parents are residents of the township of Porter. Mr. and Mrs. Munger are the parents of four children, as follows: Frank R.,; born November 24, 1868, died March 27, 1871; Charlotte E., born June 10, 1872; Berenice A., born July 23, 1874, died March 6, 1875; Alberta M., born April 20, 1878. Mrs. Munger was born February 8, 1849. Mr. Munger is a Democrat in politics, and has held various township offices; is enthusiastic and energetic in all his undertakings, and has been blessed with prosperity.

MANASSEH KERN

The grandfather of this gentleman came from Germany to Pennsylvania at an early day, and settled in Lehigh County. His son, John Nicholas Kern, was born in that county in 1764, and was one of a family of ten children,— seven sons and three daughters. He was married to Catharine Sager, and was a farmer by occupation. His children were ten in number, as were his father's, and divided in the same ratio, and of these the gentleman whose name appears at the head of this notice was the youngest, his birth occurring in the same county in Pennsylvania, Oct. 31, 1809. When he was ten years old he suffered the loss of his father, after which he remained with his mother until he was eighteen, when he commenced to learn the tobacconist’s trade, at which he worked about eighteen years. In 1840 he was married to Miss Caroline Herlan, daughter of Jacob and Caroline Herlan, she being the oldest in a family of five children, who were all girls but one. She was born in Germany Feb. 7, 1820, and came to America with her father in 1832, the family settling in New York. In 1836 they removed to Detroit, Mich., where the daughter was married to Mr. Kern. For five years after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Kern resided in Detroit, and in the spring of 1846 came to Van Buren County and settled upon the present home, in the township of Porter, he having purchased it ten years before. It was then entirely new, not a spot cleared even large enough on which to erect a house. To his first purchase of one hundred and sixty acres one hundred and twenty have since been added, aggregating two hundred and eighty acres. Mr. and Mrs. Kern are the parents of six children, as follows: Frances Albina, born Oct. 24, 1841, married John W. Alexander; Caroline Catherine, born Jan. 22, 1844, died Feb. 21, 1852; Mary Cornelia, born Nov. 19, 1845 ; Clara Maria, born March 5, 1848, married Alfred Bayliss, who is a teacher at Sterling, Ill., where Mr. Alexander is also living and practicing law; Elizabeth Warren, born Feb. 7, 1850, died Jan. 7, 1853; Julius M., born June 10, 1853, married Margia, daughter of James Young, and now living in this township. Mary C. Kern, unmarried, is living at home. Mr. Kern’s education was acquired by attending the district schools during the winters, his summers being spent at hard labor. He is not a member of any religious denomination, and is liberal in his views on religious subjects, but his life has been one of uprightness. In politics he is a .Republican, although not an active politician. He has held the office of supervisor one term, and has been a justice of the peace for twenty years.

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.