Wexford County is composed of Townships 21, 22, 28, 24
north, of Ranges 9, 10, 11, 12 west, embracing sixteen surveyed
townships. There are, therefore, in the county 576 sections of
640 acres each, or a total of 868,640 acres.
The county is bounded on the north by Grand Traverse
County; east by Missaukee, south by Lake, and west by Manistee.
The lakes in the county may, perhaps, cover an area of ten
sections, or 6,400 acres. The largest of these, the Big and Little
Clam Lakes, are in Towns 21 and 22 north of Ranges 9 and 10
west. There are many other lakes in the county, but all of them
are very small.
The Manistee River enters Wexford County about a mile south
of the northeast corner. Thence it runs nearly west about eight
miles, when it turns to the southwest, passing on through the
county, and leaving it about two miles north of the center of the
Speaking of this river Mr. A. S. Wadsworth said: “Draining
an area including the upper Manistee, equal to the state of Vermont, the richest state per capita in the Union, with double the
number of arable acres of that state, with a better soil and less vigorous climate, with 300 miles, by the meander line, of floatable j
river, and that a spring brook liver but little affected by drought
or frost, with tributaries abounding in water power, with abundance of pine timber, yet two-thirds of its area beech and maple
land, of great fertility, and including the fruit belt on its higher
soils near Lake Michigan, it needs not a prophet to predict its
Pine River, one of the largest affluent's of the Manistee, runs
for several miles through the southwest corner of the county. In
addition to these streams there are many fine creeks in different
parts of the county which afford excellent mill sites, but two or
three of which are yet improved.
The surface of the county may be properly characterized as
rolling. There arc large tracts, however, that are level or only
gently undulating, while in some of the townships there are hills
that are worthy of the name.
The soil is a sand and gravel loam, and in some places a
clay loam, but in only a few places is clay found 011 the surface.
The soil is very productive, maturing any production of the soil
that will grow here, in the utmost perfection. With the single exception of corn, anything that can be grown in the south part of
the state will grow and mature here, and corn only fails for the
want of warm nights and the seasons being rather short for it.”
As is the case in the Traverse Region generally, wheat, oats,
rye, buckwheat, potatoes and all other root crops and garden vegetables flourish finely. The county is too new yet to show from
actual trial what its capacity is for producing fruit, but comparing
its soil and climate with those of adjoining counties there can be
no doubt that apples, plums, pears, cherries, the hardy varieties of
grapes, and the small fruits generally will do well.
In April, 1870, mention was made of the county as follows:
Hitherto there has been from the first a home market for everything the farmers could produce. At the present time potatoes are a
drug in the market, but as soon as the “ jams ”are removed from the
river so as to give easy access to the rapidly growing city at its
mouth, potatoes and other root crops will sell as rapidly as wheat,
oats and hay now do. The large amount of lumbering to be done
on the Manistee and its tributaries daring the next thirty years
will keep the home market in a healthy condition.
There, are some choice government lands yet to be had in this
county. There is also a large amount of Agricultural College land
held by the state. These lauds are sold at $8 an acre, one-fourth
down and the balance on unlimited time at seven per cent, interest.
Thus, a man buying eighty acres of this land pays $00 down and J
$12.60 interest each year thereafter, until he chooses to pay up in
full. On the purchase of 160 acres he pays $120 and $25.20 interest annually. There are state swamp lands that can be bought
with scrip at considerable less than the minimum price of $1.25
per acre. As is usually the case in new countries opportunities
may be found in this county for buying second-hand lands and
improved farms on favorable terms.
The settlement of this county commenced about seven years
The Northport and Newaygo state road passes through the
county north and south six miles from the west line. This is a
good road, over which passes a stage daily, bringing the mails for
all this northern region. The other roads are new and little improved, with perhaps slight exceptions in the township of Wexford.
There are four organized townships, viz: Colfax, Hanover,
Springville and Wexford. In addition to these is the township of
Reeder, in Missaukee County. The whole of Missaukee is attached to Wexford, but it is only of Wexford County proper that
we speak in this article.
Sherman, the county seat, is on the Northport and Newaygo
state road, about three-fourths of a mile south of where it crosses
the Manistee River. As a village it is only a year old, and consequently not very large, but the present season is likely to make
important changes in it. Sheriff Skinner says:
“Sherman is at present the only village in the county. It is
a very young place, having been started only last June, at which
time it consisted of two log houses and a postoffice. Now we
have a number of houses, a hotel, two stores, one a very large
nice store. This summer we shall build a court-house, and one
that will do honor to the county, and place us, in that respect, far
in advance of our sister counties of this part of the state. The
court-house is to be forty by fifty feet, two stories high, with a
cupola ten by fifteen feet. ”
We may add that there is a probability that Mr. Gasser, late
of Big Rapids, and now proprietor of the village of Sherman,
will bring in a portable saw-mill and put it in operation near the
Mr. J. H. Wheeler has a saw-mill two and a half miles northeast of the village. The Fletcher Brothers have a saw and gristmill three miles west. Their mills can only be reached by traveling some five or six miles, but when the new bridge over the Manistee just west of the village is completed, the distance will be
shortened to about three miles.
At present there are but two post offices in the county, one at
Sherman, L. J. Clark, postmaster, and one four miles farther
north on the state road, called Wexford, William Masters, postmaster. It is expected that a mail route will soon be opened from
Sherman to Manistee, and another from Sherman through the
eastern settlements of the county, and thence to Hersey. When
these routes are opened several new offices will be established.
They are much needed and those having control of the matter
should see that there is no unnecessary delay.
There are two attorneys in the county, Messrs. T. A. Ferguson
and E. W. Stewart, both of Sherman.
Since the foregoing was written great changes have taken place
in the comity. No county in this region has developed more rapidly in some respects.
About 1,000 acres of government, 310 acres
state swamp, 8,400 acres of primary school, 24,500 acres of agricultural college, and 92,420 acres of Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad lands, were subject to entry May 1, 1888. Large tracts of
unimproved land, with good soil, and within easy reach of markets
are for sale at prices ranging from $4 to $12 per acre. Plenty of
“stump lands” desirable for farming purposes can be had at a low
figure. Improved farms are proportionately higher. A state road,
running north and south, bisects the county, crossing the Manistee
River at Sherman; another state road connects Man ton with Sherman. The local highways are uniformly good.
The school districts are numerous, and every effort is made to
sustain good schools. Lumbering is as yet the principal industry.
Portable mills are being stationed at different points to work up the
hard wood timber, and large quantities of posts, poles and ties are
gotten out every year. The Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad
traverses the county from north to south, and a branch of the Chicago and West Michigan will eventually reach Cadillac from the
Every inducement is held out to the energetic settler with small
means to make his home in this county. Lands are cheap, the soil
good, and the privileges of schools and churches are unexcelled by
any of the new counties.
The population of Wexford County at different periods has
been as follows: 1870, 650; 1874, 8,010; 1880, 6,815.
In 1880 the population was divided among the towns as follows: Antioch, 114; Boon, 115; Cadillac Village, 2,218;
Cedar Creek, 558; Cherry Grove; 275; Clam Lake, 620; Cleon, 270; Colfax, 875; Concord, 171; Greenwood, 122; Hanover, 154; Haring,
728; Henderson, 194; Liberty, 109; Selma, 288; Springville, 150;
The census of 1874 gave the following statistics of vote and
Townships. Voters. Inhabitants.
Antioch 47 - 168
Cedar Creek. 85 - 248
Cherry Grove 28 - 101
It will be noticed in perusing the history of the region covered
by this work that certain localities were settled, often several years
before the surrounding country would have an inhabitant. The
immediate vicinity of Grand Traverse Bay was settled some time
before any white man made a home in Wexford County.
The first settlement of this county resulted from the outgrowth
of the excitement which prevailed, occasioned by the settlement of
the Grand Traverse region, encouraged by the construction of the
Newaygo and Northport State Road, more familiarly known as the
“trail.” This road was opened through our county during the
year 1863, and was the only thoroughfare leading into its otherwise
It will be remembered the north line of Wexford County is
twenty miles south from Traverse City, and as the settlement, commenced on the lake and Bay shore, it became necessary to locate
farther and farther back.
In the spring of 1863 Dr. John Perry, anxious with others to
carve out for himself and family a home in this new but delightful country, located under the Homestead act on the northwest
quarter of Section C, Town 23 north, of Range 11 west, now a part
of the village of Sherman. Mr. Perry was the second postmaster
in the county. He died in May, 1875, but the old log house he
erected at the time of his settlement here is still standing.
Robert Myhill was first to follow, and settled in Wexford Township, Aaron Baker in what is now Springville, and B. W. Hall in
In June of the same year (1863) Lewis Cornell, Elon Cornell,
James Wart, and William Masters selected lands in Wexford, and
in the following fall brought on their families, forming the nucleus
of what has since been known as the Cornell settlement.
Others came about the same time, or soon after, and as near
as can be ascertained the settlers in the county in November, 1865,
were as follows, in addition to those already named: John Cornell, N. H. Dunham, Lewis C. Dunham, Hamilton Bartley, Jerome
B. Bartley, Jacob S. York, Charles Crissell, A. K. Harrington,
R. W. Updyke, John Hanny, George Hunt, John Schufeldt,
David Jones, Samuel Jones, Elliott Greenough, Peter Tindall, P. C.
Perry, N. L. Hanna, A. D. Hanna, E. Annis, Charles Cornell,
Charles Fancher, David Baker, Otis Morrill, W. J. C. Davis, John
H. Wheeler, Samuel Jones, Daniel Baldwin, I. N. Carpenter,
Myron Baldwin and J. Foust came soon after this time.
William Masters was the first postmaster in Wexford County,
and in the early settlement of the county kept provisions, etc., for
sale, which could not be procured at any other point short of
Traverse City. He also kept a boarding-house and home for every
one who came along. Mr. Masters’ family will long be remembered and esteemed for their kind hospitality and generosity.
The Cornell school-house was the first one built in the county.
The first saw-mill in the county was built by John H. Wheeler,
in the summer of 1866, on what is called Wheeler Creek about two
and one-half miles northeast of the Tillage of Sherman. That
was the first frame building in the county. The following year Mr.
Wheeler and J. J. Copley each built a frame house, the first in the
The state road bridge across the Manistee River was built in 1864.
The first minister in the county was Rev. Almon K. Harrington, a Baptist clergyman.
In the spring of 1860 by an action of the board of supervisors
of Manistee County, the entire county of Wexford was organized
in one township. The first election was held the same spring at
what is known as the Cornell school-house, Lewis C. Dunham,
supervisor. The first lawsuit in justice court was held before I. U.
Davis, Esq., in the year 1867.
About this time Mr. Andrew Anderson emigrated to this
county, and was the first shoemaker in the county.
By this time it had become generally known that the “trail"
or state road above alluded to led from the south into this famous
country, and then the flood of immigration commenced from north
and south. The stream of homestead seekers seemed almost incessant. A spark was kindled in the outside world by returned
hunters, trappers and land-lookers, and was very soon fanned to a
flume by their encouraging reports, and before the close of the
year 1868 hundreds had started “over the trail to Wexford," and
many who made the start with anticipation of sport- only found
themselves mistaken; while a trip “over the trail” was replete with
interest and amusement, yet it was not without its difficulties.
After the settlers of the county began to raise grain an important question arose, viz.: How to use their grain to their own
and their families' benefit. The nearest grist-mill was at Traverse
City, twenty-six miles distant, and iu those days a journey of that
distance was a formidable undertaking.
In the year 1868 Oren Fletcher purchased a piece of land near
the present village of Sherman, and erected the first flouring mill
in Wexford County. The erection of such an institution inspired
the minds of the settlers with renewed energy, roads were opened
up and development received a new impetus.
In 1867 the first settlement in tho town of Colfax was made,
the first settlers being Charles Soper and Mr. Lameraux.
The first house erected within the territory first comprising
Colfax was built by Charles Soper, and the first, and for several
weeks the only white women who were ever in this town, were Mrs.
Soper and her daughter, Mrs. Warner.
During the summer and fall a largo number settled in the
western part of the town, and before one year had elapsed the
whole territory now comprising Colfax was well settled up by a
thriving, enterprising people.
The settlement from its very commencement was known as
the Unionville Settlement, from the fact that more than nine-tenths
of the male inhabitants at that time had served in the armies of
the United States, in the war for the Union. Another reason for
the name was. the unity of feeling among the settlers at that time.
When the town was organized the name was changed to Colfax.
Before proceeding farther with the settlement of the county
we will review briefly its civil history.
County of Kautawaubet Laid Off — Name Changed to Wexford
In 1840 that portion of the stale embraced in Towns 21, 22,
23 and 24 north, of Ranges 9, 10, 11 and 12 west was laid off as a
separate county and designated by the name of Kautawaubet. In
1848 the name was changed to Wexford
In 1869 the county was organized by act of legislature, approved March 30, and which reads in part as follows: That the
county of Wexford, consisting of the territory embraced by the
present comity of Wexford be and the same is hereby organized
into a separate county by the name of Wexford, and the inhabitants thereof shall be entitled to all the privileges, powers and immunities to which, by law, the inhabitants of other organized
comities iu this state are entitled.
The unorganized county of Missaukee shall be attached to the
county of Wexford for municipal and judicial purposes.
Said county shall be iu the thirteenth judicial circuit and shall
be entitled to two courts therein, in each year.
Sec. 10 of the act provides for the election of county officers
on the first Monday in April.
Sec. 11. County canvass to be held on the second Tuesday
succeeding the election at the house of George W: Bryant.
Other sections provided for the organization of towns, as elsewhere given.
The county seat was to be in Township 21 north, of Range 12
west, at or near Manistee Bridge. Commissioners to locate the
same: H. J. Devoe, I. U. Davis and E. C. Day huff.
The first election was held April 5, 1800. The highest number
of votes polled was 129. The following county officers were elected
Sheriff, Harrison H. Skinner; county treasurer, John H. Wheeler;
county clerk, Leroy P. Champfenis; register of deeds, Leroy P.
Champenois; judge of probate, Isaac N. Carpenter; prosecuting attorney, O. H. Mills; superintendent of schools, C. Northrop; surveyor, R. S. McClain.
Since that time the county officers have been as follows:
1870.—Sheriff, Joseph Sturr; clerk, H. 13. Sturtevant; treasurer, W. Masters; prosecuting attorney, T. A. Ferguson; judge of probate,!. N. Carpenter; circuit court commissioner, T. A. Ferguson;
county surveyor, R. S. McClain. Highest number of votes polled, 191.
1872.—Sheriff, E. D. Abbott; clerk and register, H. B. Sturtevant; treasurer, Ezra Harger; prosecuting attorney, S. S. Fallasse;
judge of probate court. William Mears; circuit court commissioner.
S. S. Fallass; county surveyor, A. K. Herrington.
1874.—Sheriff, J. Shackelton; clerk and register, H. B. Sturtevant; treasurer, Ezra Harger; prosecuting attorney, D. A. Rice;
judge of probate, William Mears; circuit court commissioner, D. A.
Rice; county surveyor, S. H. Beardslee.
1876.—Sheriff, Frank Weaver; clerk and register, C. J. Manktelow; treasurer, Ezra Haider; prosecuting attorney, D. A. Rice;
judge of probate, Alonzo Chubb; circuit court commissioner, John
B. Roosevelt; county surveyor, S. H Beardslee.
1878.—Sheriff, Charles C. Dunham; clerk and register, C. J.
Manktelow; treasurer, Ephraim Shay; prosecuting attorney, D. A.
Rice; judge of probate, Alonzo Chubb; circuit court commissioner,
D. E. McIntyre; county surveyor, J. W. Houghtalin.
1880.—Sheriff, Charles C. Dunham; clerk and register of deeds,
T. J. Thorp; judge of probate, Hon. H. N. Green; county treasurer,
John Minefield; prosecuting attorney, 8. J. Wall; circuit court commissioner, J. B. Bishop.
1882.—Sheriff, David E. Cook; clerk and register of deeds,
T. J. Thorp; judge of probate, Hon. H. N. Green; county treasurer,
John Mansfield; prosecuting attorney, D. E. McIntyre; circuit
court commissioner, W. C. Haire; secretary of board of examiners,
H. M. Enos; coroner, Osmond Beed; coroner, John H. Wheeler.
The board of supervisors in 1884' is composed of the following
persons from the several towns;—Antioch, Edmond Austin; Boon,
William McNitt; Cadillac, First Ward, James Croly; Cadillac, Second W«rd, David A. Rice; Cadillac, Third Ward, G. W. Wheeler;
Cedar Creek, H. F. Campbell; Cherry Grove, William East; Clam
Lake, A. T. Vance; Colfax, Peter Will . Greenwood, N. A. Reynolds;
Hanover, S. C. Worth; Haring, R. D. Cuddeback; Henderson,
Marion Van Antwerp; Liberty, Menno C. Hoffman; Selma, George
Boyd;'South Branch, John Henderson; Springville, William E.
EARLY ACTS OF SUPERVISORS.
The first meeting of the board of supervisors was a special
meeting, held at the house of Sylvester Clark, of said county, on the
first day of May, 1869, present:
R. S. McClain, Colfax; L. C. Northroys, Hanover; William
Thomas, Springville; H. I. Devoe, Wexford.
Henry I. Devoe, of the township of Wexford, was chosen chairman of the board for the present year.
Board went into committee of the whole on equalization of assessment. Amount, fixed at from seven to twelve dollars per acre.
Board adjourned till 1:3O p. m.
Called to order at the specified time, and proceeded to take up
the finance question. Voted to make a loan for county expenses of
not more than $800.
Bond of treasurer fixed at $6,000.
Ordered that the treasurers of the townships of Wexford turn
over to the county treasurer-all the moneys now in their possession
belonging" to the county, to be held as a county fund.
Ordered that the books on hand be distributed to the townships
Resolved - That the Traverse Bay Eagle do the printing for
Superintendents of the poor appointed: Lewis Cornell, William
Thomas and Orson Abbott.
Ordered that the board of supervisors of Wexford County meet
the board of Manistee for settlement of account.
The chairman was authorized to select a suitable place for holding court.
Board adjourned subject to call of the chairman.
Henry I. Devoe, Chairman. L. P. Champenois, Clerk.
The first annual meeting of the board of supervisors of Wexford
County was held in Sherman, in the county of Wexford, on the
eleventh day of October, a. d. 1869. Present:
Wexford, Henry I. Devoe, chairman; Colfax, Rascelas S. McClain; Hanover, L. Clarence Northrop; Springville, William E. Dean.
The following named persons were appointed superintendents
of the poor for Wexford County: Lewis C. Dunham, three years;
Almond R. Herrington, two years; Joseph Sturr, one year.
Voted that five (35) dollars additional bounty be paid for
wolves killed in the county of Wexford.
Adjourned to Oct. 16.
It was ordered that the sum of six hundred ( $600) dollars be
appropriated from the contingent fund for highways and bridges, to
be expended as follows, to wit: On the bridge across the Manistee
River on town line road between the townships of Wexford and
Springville, not to exceed four hundred ($400) dollars; the remainder on town line road between the townships of Hanover and
Voted that the judge of probate receive one hundred dollars per annum.
Voted that the salary of treasurer remain as voted at last meeting.
Voted that the prosecuting attorney receive an annual salary of
two hundred ($200) dollars.
At the annual meeting in October, 1871, the board recommended that $400 be raised for the poor fund for the ensuing
year. The board also recommended that the east half of northeast quarter of Section 10, Township 28 north, Range 11 west be
purchased for a poor farm. On motion of H. I. Devoe the report
was accepted. On motion of G. W. Wheeler, resolved that $800
be raised for poor fund for the ensuing year. On motion of G. W.
Wheeler, John Hanna was appointed superintendent of the poor
for full term by said committee. On motion of Thomas Henderson, resolved that the superintendents of the poor be instructed to
purchase the piece of land described in their report, providing it
can be had for $870.
The following resolution was unanimously adopted by the
Whereas, Intoxicating liquors are being sold in different
parts of our county in violation of the laws of this state, sending
misery and wretchedness into the families of many of our citizens,
and whereas this board feel that stringent measures ought to be
taken to suppress this unholy traffic, be it
Resolved - That we will pledge ourselves to give aid and
support to the officers of our county whose duty it is to bring to
justice all who may be found engaged in this wicked and unholy
THE COUNTY SEAT.
Like all other counties wherein the county seat has originally
been located far from the geographical center, Wexford had a
county seat war. In this case it lasted ten years and was the
most conspicuous feature of civil history during those ten years.
As early as 1872 the storm signal was run up and from that time
all other interests were shaped with reference to the pending issue.
When the county was organized the county seat was located in
the oldest part of the territory, but in 1872 the village of Clam
Lake came into existence and grew very rapidly, both in insulation and business importance. Naturally it coveted the county
seat. Manton also was born, an 1 became quite ah important
factor in the contest. Looking back over the proceedings of
Supervisors from 1872 to 1882, the resolution to remove the county
seat greets the eye upon every page. There was a manifest determination on the part of the supervisors to prevent the question
being submitted to a vote of the people. In the winter of 1877
Clam Lake was incorporated as a city under the name of Cadillac,
giving it increased representation on the board. At the same time
a special meeting of the supervisors was called, and a resolution
adopted organizing four new towns. The resolution was subsequently reconsidered as to three of the towns, leaving the town
of Sherman to go on and complete its organization. The town of
Concord was organized as a part of the proceedings in that contest, but the town i* not recognized by the board of supervisors as a
legal organization. So this annual battle engaged the attention
and efforts of the people without reaching any result until in 1881
it was removed to Manton, and the year following to Cadillac.
After its removal to Manton a special meeting of the board of
supervisors was held at Cadillac and six towns organized. They
held their town meetings and elected supervisors, but were never
permitted representation 011 the hoard.
The vote of the people affirming the decision of the supervisors
to remove the county seat to Cadillac, settled the question and
ended an annoying and demoralizing contest. As yet temporary
quarters are occupied by the county officers and the circuit court.
Wexford County originally belonged to the Thirteenth Judicial
Circuit. In 1873 it was made a part of the Nineteenth, and in
1881 of the Twenty-eighth Circuit composed of the counties of
Wexford Missaukee, Kalkaska, Benzie and Roscommon. The
judges have been Hons. J. G. Rantsdell, Shubal F. White, H. H.
Wheeler, A. V. McAlvey, S. D. Haight, J. B. Judkins and Silas S.
Judge Fallass, the present circuit judge is a resident of the
city of Cadillac, and was born in Kent County, MI., in 1817
received his education at Albion College, and graduated at the
law school at Ann Arbor, Mich. Came to Cadillac in 1872, soon
after his admission to the bar, and in the fall of the same year was
elected prosecuting attorney, which office he held for two years.
He was a member of the board of supervisors for live years and was
a leading actor in many of the stormy events of the famous Wexford County seat war. In April, 1882, he relinquished a lucrative
law practice to accept the position of circuit judge by appointment
from Governor Jerome. He was unanimously nominated for
election as his own successor by the bar convention of the circuit
and was elected in the following November. Married Dec.
31, 1873, to Margaret A. Bates, a native of Fulton County, Ohio.
They have three children. Judge Fallass has taken a prominent
part in the local affairs of Wexford County, as will be seen in the
perusal of its history.
The first lawyers in the county were T. A. Ferguson and E.
W. Stewart, who located at Sherman. The former is now dead
and tho latter lives elsewhere. The next lawyers were S. S. Fallass,
now circuit judge, and D. A. Rice, both of whom located at Clam
Lake, now Cadillac, in 1872. W. H. Cavenaugh, R. L. Rice, E.
F. Sawyer and D. E. McIntyre came soon after. The members of
the bar in 1884 are as follows: E. F. Sawyer, J. R. Bishop, W.
C. Haine, J. B. Rosevelt, S. J. Wall, E. Eugene Haskins, D. A.
Rice, W. H. Parks, H. M. Dunham, D. E. McIntyre, M. L. Dunham, Clyde C Chittenden.
Officers of the court: Hon. S. S. Fallass, circuit judge; D.
E. McIntyre, prosecuting attorney; T. J Thorp, clerk; W. C. Reber,
deputy clerk; D E. Cooke, sheriff; C. C. Dunham, deputy sheriff;
William Cassler, under sheriff; W. C. Haire, circuit court commissioner; M. H. Ford, stenographer.
ORGANIZATION OF TOWNS.
The act of legislature which provided for the organization of
Wexford County, also provided for the organization of several
towns as follows:
Hanover to embrace the territory of Township 24 north,
Ranges 9, 10, 11 west. First township meeting at the house of
Lewis C. Dunham, first Monday in April. Inspectors of election,
Robert Henderson, L. C. Dunham and John H. Wheeler.
Wexford to embrace the territory of Township 21 north, Range
12 west. First town meeting at the house of William Masters.
Inspectors of election, Isaac U. Davis, Isaac N. Carpenter and
Springville to embrace the territory of Townships 21, 22, 28
north, of Ranges 11 and 12 west. First town meeting at the store
of L. 0. Clark. Inspectors of election, A. C. Raker, Dan Tewett,
H. C. Dunning.
Colfax to embrace the territory of Townships 21, 22, 28 north,
of Ranges 9 and 10 west. First town meeting at the house of L.
W. Gates. Inspectors of election, William Goff, L. W. Gates and
Henderson was organized by act of legislature, approved
March 23, 1871, and embraced the territory of Township 21 north,
of Range 12 west. The first town meeting was held at the house
of Thomas S. Henderson on the first Monday of April, 1871. The
inspectors of election were Thomas Henderson, Hiram Owens and
The town of Thorp was organized by the board of supervisors
at the October session in 1870, and embraced the territory of
Township 22 north, of Range 10 west. The first annual meeting
was held at the house of Eli J. Woodard. Inspectors of election
were Thomas J. Thorp, T. G. Thompson and D. A. Durphy.
Cherry Grove, Antioch and Clam Lake were organized by the
board of supervisors in 1872.
Cherry Grove embraced Township 21 north of Range 10 west.
The first town meeting was held at the house of James C. Dancers
on the first Monday of April, 1872. Inspectors of election were
J. R. Brisco, John Bonesteel and C. W. Miller.
Antioch embraced Townships 22 and 28 north, of Range 11
west The first town meeting was held at the house of Daniel Jewett
the first Monday of April, 1872. Inspectors of election were
George W. Wheeler, John Wheeler and H. J. Carpenter.
Clam Lake embraced Township 21 north, of Range 9 west.
The first town meeting was held at the Mansion House, in the
village of Clam Lake. Inspectors of election were L. C. Shee, C.
W. Phillips and W. C. Armstrong.
Cedar Creek was organized by the board of supervisors in
August, 1872, and embraced Township 28 north of Range 9 west.
Tho first town meeting was held in April, 1878, at the house of
James Hawthorn. Inspectors of election were James Hawthorn,
Denmon More and John Carpenter.
In 1872, by act of legislature, the name of Thorp was changed
Greenwood was organized by act of legislature, approved Feb.
28, 1878, and embraced the territory of Township 24 north, of
Ranges 9 and 10 west. The first town meeting was held at the
house of Geo. W. Wheeler on the first Monday of April, 1878.
Geo. W. Wheeler, Taylor Gray and John Hewlett were inspectors
Haring was organized by the legislature in 1878, and embraced the territory of Township 22 north, of Range 9 west. The
first election was held at the house of C. S. Haring, and the inspectors of election were C. S. Haring, J. E. Stewart and J. P.
In 1878 Cleon was detached from Manistee County and annexed to Wexford. The territory having belonged to another representative district, the act was, by decision of the supreme court,
unconstitutional. However, in 1875 the legal annexation was
accomplished, and Cleon remained a part of Wexford County until 1881, when it was set back to Manistee.
The town of Liberty was organized by the board of supervisors at the October session in 1874, and embraced the territory of
Township 24 north, of Range 9 west. The first annual meeting
was appointed at the house of John W. Welton on the first Monday
of April, 1875. Taylor W. Gray, George W. Blue and John W.
Welton were inspectors of election.
The town of Boon was organized by the board of supervisors
at the October session iu 1875, and embrace 1 territory described as
follows: Bounded 011 the north by Antioch, east by Selma, south
by Henderson and west by Springville, and being Township 22
north, of Range 11 west. The first annual meeting was appointed
at the house of James E. Mansfield, on the first Monday in April,
1876. The inspectors of election were John Mansfield, William
McNitt and John Perkins.
The town of Sherman was organized by the board of supervisors in March, 1877, and embraced territory described as follows:
Commencing at the southeast comer of Section 1, in Township 28
north, of Range 12 west, running east two miles to the southeast
comer of Section 6, in Township 28 north, of Range 11 west,
thence north two miles to the northeast corner of Section 81, in
Township 21 north, of Range 11 west, thence west two miles to
the northwest corner of Section 86, in Township 21 north, of Range
12 west, thence south five miles to place of beginning. The first
town meeting was appointed at the post office occupied by Charles
E. Cooper, April 16, 1877. The inspectors of election were John
H. Wheeler, 0. B. Taylor and I. H. Maqueston. In 1870 this
town was vacated by act of legislature and the territory apportioned
among the towns of Springville, Antioch, Hanover and Wexford.
The town of Concord was organized by the board of supervisors at a meeting held in August, 1879, and embraced the following described territory: Bounded on the north by Sections 29 and
30, in Township 24 north, of Range 11 west, on the east by Section 33, in Township 21 north, of Range 11 west, and Section 4,
in Township 28 north, of Range 11 west, on the south by Sections
7 and 8, in Township 28 north, of Range 11 west, and on the west
by Section 1, in Township 28 north, of Range 12 west, and Section 36, in Township 24 north, of Range 12 west,
Sections 5 and 6 in Township 28 north, of Range 11 west, and
Sections 31 and 32, in Township 24 north, of Range 11 west.
The first annual meeting was appointed at the postoffice in said
town on the eighth day of September, 1879. H. B. Sturtevant,
T. W. Rogers and H. J. Wheeler were inspectors of election. This
town is not recognized by the board of supervisors as a legal organization.
The town of South Branch was organized by the board of supervisors at a meeting held in November, 1880, and embraced the
following territory: Township 21 north, of Range 12 west. The
first annual meeting was appointed at the school house in School
District Number 3, on the first Monday of April, 1881. James
Banker, Neil D. Ford and Philip S. Frost, were inspectors of
COUNTY AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.
There is evidence of an early interest in the agricultural advancement of the county, in the fact that before the population of
the county -had reached* 8,000, a county agricultural society was
organized. Early in October, 1878, a meeting was held at Sherman, a report of which was published in the local paper as follows:
At a meeting of the citizens of Wexford County at the courthouse in this village on Tuesday last for the purpose of organizing
an agricultural society, the following committee was chosen to draft
articles of association: T. A. Ferguson, C. Hollister and I. N.
Carpenter. The committee were requested to make their reports
on Thursday evening. October 10th. As no more business came before the meeting, after a few remarks, it adjourned until Thursday
evening, at seven o’clock.
Sherman, Oct. 16, 1878. The meeting was called to order by
Alonzo Chubb, chairman. On motion H. B. Sturtevant was chosen
secretary pro-tem. The committee on articles of association made
their report. On motion of William Mears the report was accepted
and the committee discharged. On motion the articles were voted
on separately and adopted. On motion of George Wheeler the
society proceeded to elect the following officers:
President—Alonzo Chubb, Cleon.
Vice-Presidents—A. Lamb, Clam Lake; T. A. Ferguson,
Hanover; and Warren Beam in, Cedar Creek.
Secretary—George Manton, Colfax.
Treasurer—C. J. Manktelow, Selma.
Directors—Chauncey Hollister, Clam Lake; William E. Dean,
Springville; J. S. Walling, Antioch; H. B. Sturtevant, Hanover;
George Manton, Colfax; Warren Seaman, Cedar Creek; George
Wheeler, Greenwood; Philip Frost, Henderson; I. N. Carpenter,
Wexford; Alonzo Chubb, Cleon; G. J. Manktelow, Selma.
On motion of T. A. Ferguson, the following persons were
chosen to draft by-laws for the government of this society: George
Manton, I. N. Carpenter, C. J. Manktelow.
Moved and carried the board of directors meet at Manton on
the second Tuesday of January, A. D. 1874, at 10 o'clock a. m.
On motion the meeting adjourned nine die.
George Manton, Sec.
The following is a list of names subscribed to the articles of
association immediately after their adoption: A. Chubb, William
E. Dean, Isaac N. Carpenter, J. S. Walling, William Mears, George
Manton, C. J. Manktelow, Warren Seaman, Philip S. Frost, T. A.
Ferguson, J. N. Hanna, H. W. Fast, H. B. Sturtevant, Charles E.
Cooper, W. H. Preston, H. J. Carpenter, R. Redeoff, W. K. Wart,
J. R. Gilbert, A. M. Lamb, S. Gasser, 0. B. Taylor, George W.
Wheeler, Chauncey Hollister, Arthur Campbell, Edmond Austin,
Articles of association were adopted, of which the following
was the preamble:
“In compliance with requirements of an act of the legislature,
entitled ‘An act to authorize the formation of county and town
agricultural societies ’ (said act having been approved February
“We, the undersigned, citizens of We:, ford County, in the state
of Michigan, and at the village of Sherman, this 10th day of October, 1878, do hereby associate ourselves together under the name
and style of the Wexford County Agricultural, Manufacturing and
Mechanical Society, and do hereby agree to be regulated by the
The record of the meeting at. Manton, in January, 1874, is as
The Wexford County A. M. & M. Society met at the village of
Manton on Tuesday, the 14th, and completed its organization by
adopting the articles of association presented by the committee on
the same. In the absence of the secretary, H. B. Sturtevant was
elected secretary (protem) and Arthur Campbell was elected director
for the township of Colfax in place of George Manton, removed.
On motion a committee of three consisting of Ezra Harger, William E. Dean and G. W. Wheeler, were appointed to draft a code
of by-laws, to be submitted at the next annual meeting on the first
Tuesday of June next. A committee was also appointed to procure
tickets, etc., for the fair. The meeting then adjourned to the next
annual meeting to be held as stated above.
In the evening a public meeting was held at the school house.
The meeting was called to order by Ezra Harger, G. W. Wheeler
called to the chair, and O. P. Carver chosen secretary. Short
speeches were made by A. L. Thurston, Alonzo Chubb, H. B. Sturtevant and G. W. Wheeler, pertaining to clearing land, crops and
culture, seeding, stock and mechanics.
Very creditable annual fairs were held from that time on, and
in 1888 the society was reorganized and grounds located at Cadillac.
Ezra Harger, farmer, Colfax, Wexford County, was born in
Kent, Portage County, Ohio, in 1888; moved to St. Clair, Allegheny County, Penn., with his parents when a child, and about
the year 1848 moved back to the same place in Ohio, and in 1852
went to Jefferson County, N. Y., and in the fall of the same
year came to Lapeer County, Mich., and lived there till April, 1861,
when he, being in Fulton County, Ohio, visiting a sister, enlisted
in the Fourteenth Ohio Infantry, a three-months regiment; was
discharged at Toledo in August and returned to Lapeer County,
Mich., and in October, 1861, enlisted in the Fifteenth United
States Infantry, and served in the Western Army till February,
1804, when he re-enlisted for three years, and was discharged in
February, 1867. Soon after that time came to the Traverse Region looking for land, and in August of the same year located a
homestead of eighty acres on Section 12, Township 23, Range 10,
where he now lives. Has since bought forty acres adjoining his
homestead, has put up fine buildings and made large improvements. The county was organized two years after he came in.
He helped to organize the township. Has been county treasurer six
years, supervisor one year and justice of the peace ever since he
moved into this part of the county; also township treasurer three
years. Was the first settler in Manton, and in company with William Mears and George Manton, platted the village and he built the
first building at Manton. In August, 1872, he moved from Lapeer
County to his present home with an ox team in mid-winter and
broke the road moat of the way. Married Dec. 25, 1867, to Mary
Bayes, of Ohio. They have three daughters living.
J. Foust, merchant and postmaster, Wexford, was born in
Ohio in 1837. Was engaged in fanning and mining coal in Ohio
till 1805, when he came to Grant, Wexford County, Mich., and
located a homestead of 100 acres on Section 30. Now owns eighty
acres of the same land. He built a fine house. Commenced the
sale of Dry goods, groceries, etc., in 1871, in company with W.
N. Mears. The partnership ceased in the fall of the same year.
Since that time has carried on the business alone. Was appointed
postmaster Jan. 8, 1872. Still holds the office. Has been justice
of the peace one term. Mrs. Foust carries on the millinery, dress
making and fancy goods business. He was married in 1864 to
Anna M. Conn, of Ohio. They have one son, John Calvin, and
one daughter, Jennie.
D. W. Connine, physician, also dealer in dry goods, groceries,
provisions, boots and shoes, hats, caps and clothing, drugs, medicines and notions, confectionery, cigars and tobacco, Wexford,
established in 1882: also practices medicine. Was born in Onondaga County, N. Y., in 1882. Came to Cass County, Mich., in
1810, with his parents. Attended school iu that county and
also the Bennett College at Chicago, and graduated in 1854, and
commenced the practice of his profession in Chicago, remaining a
few years. Returned to Cass Comity, Mich., and practiced medicine about five years; thence went to Pleasant Hill. Mo.,from there
to Tuscumbia, Ala., thence to Florence, Ala., then returned to
Cass County, Mich., and in 1880 moved to Sherman, Wexford
County, and in 1882 came to Wexford postoffice. Has been practicing medicine all these years. Married in 1851 to Margaret A.
Tice, of Albany, N. Y., who died Feb. 22, 1871. They had one
son and one daughter. Second marriage in 1873 to Johanna Klatt.
They have one child.
H. C. Meyer, merchant, of Antioch, Wexford County, was
born in Germany, Sept. 17, 1840. Came to America in 1857 with
his parents, landing in New York City January 8th. They settled
in Lehigh County, Penn., where they now live. There he was
brought up and attended school. Was graduated at the Polytechnic
School of Philadelphia. June 13, 1861, he enlisted with all his
class in the Twenty-eighth Ohio Infantry, and after examination
was detailed to the signal corps, in which he served in California,
on the Plains, iu West Virginia, and in the army of the Cumberland, accompanying Sherman’s march to the sea. Was mustered
out July 12. 1805. Was married Aug. 20, 1865, to Meta Mechlin,
who died Nov. 22, 1866, leaving one son who has since died. Mr.
Meyer followed civil engineering for ten years for the Maxatowny
Iron Company. June 9, 1870. he came to Antioch and engaged in
farming. Was elected supervisor two years after he came and
held the office five years. On the establishment of the Bandola
postoffice he was-appointed postmaster, and has held the office ever
since. Engaged in the mercantile business in 1882.
H. C. Foxworthy, teacher and postmaster, Colfax, was horn
in Morgan County, Ind., 1848. Followed music and school teaching in that state till 1880, when he came to Liberty Township,
Wexford County, and to Colfax in 1888, where he follows the same
business. Is a member of the county board of school examiners.
Was appointed postmaster at Colfax in December, 1883. Married
Feb. 28, 1879, to Zilpha La force, a native of Indiana. They have
Charles Dechlow, farmer, of Antioch, Wexford County, was
born in Berlin, Prussia, in 1825, came to America in 1857, and
settled in St. Joseph County, Mich., where he engaged in farming.
Being a baker by trade he was for a year employed, in baking for
troops which rendezvoused in that county during the war. Came
to Wexford County in 1871, and bought his present farm in Section 4, Town 28, Range 11. Bought 100 acres, of which he has
given a part to his son, and sold forty acres, retaining sixty
acres. Has lately bought 120 acres in Town 24, Range 11, and
has other lands in the vicinity. He was two years highway commissioner and then town clerk for seven years. Has been moderator of school district. Was married in 1843 to Henrietta Schultz.
They have one sou and one daughter. Three children have died.
George W. Blue, farmer, town of Liberty, Wexford County,
was born in the town of Marathon, Lapeer County, Mich., Sept.
21, 1846. At the age of twenty-one went to Iowa. Made his
home there five or six years and in Kansas one year. In the fall
of 1878 came to Wexford County and homesteaded forty acres of
land in Section 82, Town 24, Range 9, where he now resides. Has
since bought eighty acres in Section 28. Has been supervisor of
the town four terms, and has also been commissioner of highways
and justice of the peace. Was married Oct. 1, 1867, to Rachel
Harger, a native of Pennsylvania. Has one son and two daughters.
Taylor W. Gray, farmer, of Liberty, Wexford County, was
born in Morgan County, Ind., Jan. 6, 1889, and was brought up
there. In August, 1861, he enlisted in the Thirty-third Indiana
Infantry Regiment, serving in the western army and under Sherman in the march to the sea. Was in the battles of Thompson's
Station, Tenn., Resaca, Ga., Dallas Wood, Peach Tree Creek, etc.
Mustered out in July, 1865, and returned to Morgan County, Ind.
Came to Wexford County in the spring of 1870 and took as a
homestead his present farm of eighty acres in Section 28, Town
24, Range 9, being the first settler in the town* Has been supervisor of the town of Liberty two years and treasurer three years.
He was married April 10, 1864, to Emma Nichols, who died April
80,1871, leaving three children. He was married in March, 1872,
to Mrs. Jane Yeomans, who had three children. Four children
have been born to them.
Isaac N. Carpenter, farmer, Wexford Township, was born in
Harmony, Chautauqua County, N. Y., June 7, 1838; brought up on
a farm, learned the carpenter’s trade and worked at that business
seven years. He came to Michigan in the spring of 1864 and settled in Kalamazoo Count , where he lived till the fall of 1865 when
he came to what is now Wexford County and took a homestead of
160 acres on Section 26, Township 24, Range 12, where he has
lived ever since that time, except four years that he had charge of the
county farm in Antioch Township. Has been supervisor four terms
in Wexford Township and two terms in Antioch ; was the first pro-
bate judge in Wexford County. Married in 1850 to Charlotte E.
Baldwin, of Allegany County, N. Y., who died in 1869. They
had two children. Second marriage in December, 1871, to Anna
Clark, of Allegany County, N. Y. They have two sons.
Howard Mesick, farmer, Springville, Wexford County, was
born in Columbia County, N. Y., in 1838, moved to Canada with
his parents when a child, and in 1845 they moved to Oswego, N.
Y., thence to Columbia County, N. Y., and in 1852 moved again to
Canada, and one year later moved to Marshall, Calhoun County,
Mich., remaining two years, and in 1855 came to Muskegon County
and settled near Big Rapids, now Mecosta County. This was the
first load of household furniture moved into Big Rapids. He went
to Lake Superior and spent one season; returning to Traverse City,
and with the help of one man, cut thirty-six miles of the state road
between that place and Otsego Lake; was engaged in hunting and
trapping for many years after coming into this part of the country,
and finally settled on Section 12, Township 28, Range 12, where he
owns 160 acres of land, with 100 acres improved; has a fine house
and barn, good orchard, etc. Has been highway commissioner six
years. Married in 1868 to Eleanor Baker, of Ohio. They have four
William E. Dean, farmer, Springville, Wexford Co., Mich., was
born in Chautauqua County, N. Y., in 1846, came to the Traverse
region in 1866, three years before Wexford County was organized,
it being at that time attached to Manistee County for judicial purposes. He settled on Section 2, Township 28, Range 12 west,
when there were only seven settlers in Manistee County south of
the river. Was one of the board of supervisors in 1860 when the
county of Wexford was organized, and has held the office ever since,
except four years. He has been justice of the peace since 1872 and
has held some one of the school offices since lie moved into this
part of the county. He located a homestead of 160 acres. Has improved eighty acres. Put up buildings, planted an orchard, etc.
Married, 1867, to Demarius C. Baldwin, who came to what is now
Wexford Township in 1965. They have five children.
See City of Sherman
See City of Manton