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 west line.
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 river, and that a spring
brook live 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 future."
Pine River, one of the largest affluents 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 are 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 on 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 drag 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 during 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 lands 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 $60 down and
$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 script at considerable less
than the minimum price of $1.25 per acre. As is usually the case in new
counties, 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 ago.
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, u 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 up, 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 Manisee just west of the village
is completed, the distance will be shortened to about three miles.
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 routs 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 county. No county in the
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 land"
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 Manton with Sherman. The local highways are uniformly good.
The school districts are numerous, and every effort is made to sustain good
schools. Lumbering is 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
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
1880 - 6,815
In 1880 the population was divided among the towns
Antioch - 114
Boon - 113
Cadillac Village - 2,218
Cedar Creek - 558
Cherry Grove - 275
Clam Lake - 620
Cleon - 270
Colfax - 875
Concord - 171
Greenwood - 122
Hanover - 154
Henderson - 194
Liberty - 109
Selma - 288
Wexford - 419
The census of 1874 gave the following statistics
of vote and population.
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
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 it otherwise unbroken forests.
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 pert of the village of Sherman. Mr. Perry was the second postmaster of 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 Hanover.
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, Ezra Myhill.
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. David, John H. Wheeler, Samuel Jones,
Daniel Baldwin I. N. Carpenter, Myron Baldwin and J. Foust came soon after
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 teh 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 county.
The state road
bridge across the Manistee River was built in 1864.
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 as 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.
time Mr. Andrew Anderson emigrated to this county, and was the first
shoemaker in the county.
By this time it has 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 flame 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 quite without its difficulties. After the settlers
of the county began to raise grain and 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 in those days
a days journey of that distance was a formidable undertaking.
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 settler with
revewed energy, roads were opened up and development received a new impetus.
TOWN OF COLFAX
In 1867 the first settlement in the town of Colfax was
made, the first settlers being Charles Soper and Mr. Lameraux.
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.
During the summer and fall a large number settled in the
western part of the town and before one year having elapsed the whole
territory now comprising Colfax was well settled up by a thriving,
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.
KAUTAWAUBET LAID OFF & NAME CHANGED TO WEXFORD
In 1840 that portion
of the state embraced in Towns 21, 22, 23 and 24 north, of Ranges 9, 10. 11
and 12 west were laid off as a separate county and designated 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 community of Wexford be and the same
hereby organized into a separate county by the name of Wexford, and the
inhabitants thereof shall be entitled to all the privileges, posers and
immunities to which, by law, the inhabitants of other organized communities
in 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 in 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 hose 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.
The first election was held April 5, 1800. The highest
number of votes pulled was 129. The following county officers were elected:
Sheriff, Harrison H. Skinner; county treasurer, John H. Wheeler; county
clerk, Leroy P. Champfenois; 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:
||H. B. Sturtevant
||T. A. Fegurson
||Judge of Probate
||T. A. Ferguson
||R. S. McClain
|Highest Number of votes polled,
||E. D. Abbott
||Clerk and Register
||H. B. Sturevant
||S. S. Fallasse
||Judge of Probate
||R. A. Rice
||S. H,. Beardslee
||Clerk and Register
||C. J. Manktelow
||D. A. Rice
||Judge of Probate
||D. E. McIntyre
||J. W. Houghtalin
||Charles C. Dunham
||Clerk and Register
||T. J. Thorp
||Judge of Probate
||Hon. H. N. Green
||S. J. Wall
||J. B. Bishop
||David E. Cook
||Clerk and Register
||T. J. Thorp
||Judge of Probate
||Hon. H. N. Green
||D. E. McIntyre
||W. C. Haire
||Secretary of Board of
||H. M. Enos
||John H. Wheeler
The board of supervisors in 1884 is composed of the
following persons from the several towns:
|Cadillac, First Ward
|Cadillac, Second Ward
||David A. Rice
|Cadillac, Third Ward
||G. W. Wheeler
||H. F. Campbell
||A. T. Vance
||N. A. Reynold
||S. C. Worth
||R. D. Cuddleback
||Marion Van Antwerp
||Menno C. Hoffman
||William E. Dean
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 1:30 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.
treasurer fixed at $6,000.
Ordered that the treasurer 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 not
Resolved - That the Traverse Bay
Eagle do the printing for Wexford County.
Superintendents of the poor
appointed: Lewis Cornell, William Thomas and Orson Abbott.
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
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.
The report of the county treasurer was received and accepted.
Account standing as follows:
|Dr. to amount moneys received
|Cr. by orders paid as per vouchers,
|Leaving an unexpected balance in hands of treasurer of
|Total Valuations were declared as follows:
|Hanover, Real estate
|Hanover, personal property
|Colfax, Real estate
|Colfax, personal property
|Springville, Real estate
|Springville, personal property
|Wexford, Real estate
|Wexford, personal property
|Total valuation of Wexford County
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 ($5) dollars additional
bounty be paid for wolves killed in the county of Wexford.
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 writ; 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 Springville.
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 recommenced 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 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.
assessment rolls were equalized as follows:
The state and county tax was apportioned as follows:
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 in the families of many of our citizens, and whereby this
board feels 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 business.
THE COUNTY SEAT
Like al 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, and became an 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 part of the proceedings in that
contest, but the town is 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 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 on the board.
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. Fallass.
Fallass, the present circuit judge is a resident of the city of Cadillac,
and was born in Kent County, Mich., 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 five 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.
first lawyers in the county were T. A. Ferguson and E. W. Stewart, who
located at Sherman. The former is now dead and the 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. Haines, J.B.
Rosevelt, S.J. Wall, E. Eugene Haskins, D.A. Rice, W.H. Parks, H.M. Dunahm,
D.E. McIntyre, M.L. Dunham, Clyde C. Chittenden.
Officers of the
court: Hon. S.D. 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.
The act of legislation which provided for the organization of
Wexford County, also provided for the organization of several towns as
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, Ranges 12 west. First town meeting at the house of
William Masters. Inspectors of election, Isaac U. Davis, Isaac N. Carpenter
and Lewis Cornell.
Springville to embrace the territory of Township
21, 22, 28 north, of Ranges 11 and 12 west. First town meeting at the store
of L.O. Clark. Inspectors of election, A.C. Ranker, Dan Tewett, H.C. Hunning.
Colfax to embrace the territory of Township 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 N. Dayhuff.
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 Hall
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.
Townships 22 and 18 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. The first town meeting was
held in April, 1873, 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 to Thelma.
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 1873, 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. Keating.
Cleon was detached form 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 in 1875, and embraced the
territory described as follows: Bounded on 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.
town of Sherman was organized by the board of supervisors in March, 11877,
and embraced territory described as follows: Commencing at the southeast
corner of Section 1, in Township 28 north, of Range 12 west, running east
two miles to the southeast corner 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, O. B. Taylor and I.H.
Maqueston. In 1879 this town was vacated by act of legislature and the
territory apportioned among the towns of Springville, Antioch, Hanover and
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 20, in Township
24 north, of Range 11 west, on the east by Section 33, in Township 21 north,
or Range 11 west, and Section 4, in Township 28 north, or 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, consisting of 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 eight 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
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 election.
COUNTY AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY
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
Seaman, 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; C.J. Manktelow, Selma.
On the motion of T. A. Ferguson, the
following persons were chosen to draft the by-laws for the government of
this society: George Manton, I.N. Carpenter, C. J. Manktelow.
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 sine die. George Manton, Sec.
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 A. 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, O. B. Taylor, George W.
Wheeler, Chauncey Hollister, Arthur Campbell, Edmond Austin, Clarence
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 12, 1855),
"We, the undersigned, citizens of Wexford 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 following:"
record of the meeting at Manton, in January, 1874, is as follows:
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
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
Very creditable annual fairs were held from that time on,
and in 1888 the society was reorganized and grounds located at Cadillac.
Click on the name to access a short biographical
sketch of these pioneers of Wexford County.
D. W. Connine
H. C. Meyer
H. C. Foxworthy
George W. Blue
Taylor W. Gray
Isaac N. Carpenter
William E. Dean