The Traverse Region - H.R. Page & Co 1884

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 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 future.

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 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, 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 village.

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 southwest.

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; Wexford 419.

The census of 1874 gave the following statistics of vote and population.

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 unbroken forests.

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 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. 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 county.

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. Dean; Wexford,-Ransom.


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 not supplied.

Resolution adopted:

Resolved - That the Traverse Bay Eagle do the printing for Wexford County.

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.

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 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 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 board:

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 business.


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. Fallass.

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.


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 Lewis Cornell.

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 N. Dayhuff.

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 Hall Cross.

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 to Selma.

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 of election.

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. Keating.

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, 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 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 election.


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, Clarence Northrop.

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 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 following:”

The record of the meeting at. Manton, in January, 1874, is as follows:

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 two children.

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 children.

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