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In 1983 the City of Battle Creek and Battle Creek Township were merged into one governmental unit.  The City of Springfield was once a part of Battle Creek township, and was chartered as an independent city in June, 1952.

City of Battle Creek

 
City of Battle Creek
City Hall
10 N. Division
Battle Creek, MI   49016
269-966-3300

City  Clerk's Office - 269-966-3348

Cemeteries
Click on hyperlink for more information
Funeral Homes

Bachman Frederick B Funeral
223 Bedford Road North
Battle Creek, MI  49017
269-965-5145

Baxter Scott Funeral

223 Bedford Road North
Battle Creek, MI  49017
269-965-5145

Farley-Estes & Dowdle Funeral Home Inc

105 Capital Avenue Northeast
Battle Creek, MI  49017
269-964-3775

Henry Richard A

703 Capital Avenue Southwest
Battle Creek, MI  49015
269-962-5191

Royal Funeral Home Inc
281 Upton Avenue
Battle Creek, MI  49015
269-964-3706

Shaw Funeral Homes
2838 Capital Avenue Southwest
Battle Creek, MI  49015
269-979-3838

Tm Hughes-Perry Mortuary LLC
140 Capital Avenue Northeast
Battle Creek, MI  49017
269-964-3775

Historical Society

Heritage Battle Creek
165 N. Washington Ave.
Battle Creek, MI  49017
269-965-2613 or 269-966-4157
info@heritagebattlecreek.org

Library
Willard Public Library
7 West VanBuren
Battle Creek, MI  49017
269-968-8166

Local history collection is at

Willard Public Library
Helen Warner Branch
36 Minges Place
Battle Creek, MI 49015
269-968-8166

 

Battle Creek Mayors, 1859-1959

Battle Creek Village Officials, 1850-1858

 

City of Springfield

 
City of Springfield
601 Avenue A
Springfield MI 49015
(269) 965-2354
fax (269) 965-0114
Cemeteries
Click on hyperlink for more information
Historical Society
See Battle Creek, above
Library
See Battle Creek, above
 

History of Battle Creek Township and City

Named "Battle Creek" because two Indians and two members of John Mullett's surveying party fought it out here in 1824.  A copy of Mr. Mullett's letter on this subject to territorial Governor Lewis Cass was read at the minutes of the Pioneer Society Annual meeting in 1883.

The township was organized as an independent township in 1836 and the first meetings were held at the home of General Ezra Convis. Early township officials were E.G. Smith (supervisor), Talman W. Hall (clerk), John Farnsworth (treasurer), and Moses Hall, Cephas Smith, Stephen Collins and Samuel Robinson (all justices of the peace).

Battle Creek township, often referred to as "Lakeview," merged with the city of Battle Creek in 1983. Urbandale on the border of Battle Creek and Bedford Township was founded in 1901, and is now part of the city of Battle Creek. Springfield was platted in 1904 and may have been named as a tribute to C.W. Post who came from Springfield, IL. It was incorporated as a city in 1952.

In 1854, the Adventist (later Seventh Day Adventist) Church was established in Battle Creek. In keeping with their lifestyle which believes in the sanctity of the body as well as the mind, in 1866 the SDA's opened a health retreat in Battle Creek, the Western Health Reform Institute. In 1876, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) took charge of the Institute and changed the name to the Battle Creek Sanitarium (the San, for short). In 1880, Dr. Kellogg hired his brother, Will Keith (W.K.) Kellogg (1860-1951) as a bookkeeper and business manager. The two brothers worked on the development of new food products including flaked cereals.

In 1902, a fire destroyed the San building; however, the brothers immediately began building a new six-story San building which was completed in 1903. In 1906, W.K. Kellogg founded the Battle Creek Toasted Cornflakes Company, forerunner of the Kellogg Company. C.W. Post came to the San as a patient in 1891 and was inspired to later develop cereals such as Post Toasties and Grape Nuts from his manufacturing plants in Battle Creek.

During its heyday, the San played host to the rich and famous. Henry Ford was the first guest to be registered in the Towers addition in 1928. The stock market crash and the depression sent the San into receivership and it was sold to the United States Army in 1942. The Army converted the facility into a hospital and renamed it Percy Jones Army Hospital. Percy Jones operated until 1953 and was a major center for rehabilitation of war wounds. Future senators Bob Dole and Phillip Hart were patients there.

The San/Percy Jones building now has two primary tenants: the Defense Logistics Information Service (DLIS), a cataloging activity and the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) which focuses on property disposal.  The building is now known as the Hart-Dole-Inuoye Federal Center.

 

Pioneer Society of Michigan
Records of the Annual Meeting of 1883, pgs 248-251

How Battle Creek Received Its Name.

BY 0. POPPLETON

Read at Annual Meeting of State Pioneer Society, June 11th, 1883.

MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE STATE PIONEER SOCIETY: The incidents, reminiscences, and early surveys and settlement of our State no doubt, have been presented by many who have had the honor to address you at previous meetings of the Society; and it may be expected of those who narrate these incidents, that they will confine themselves to the locality from whence they come. If such is the rule, or custom, I hope you will excuse me for trespassing upon other portions of the State than where I reside, in Oakland county. It is true, she has a history of her own, worthy an abler pen than mine, though I have had the pleasure of presenting to their Society such papers upon her early history. That county was the first surveyed and settled in the State, to any extent, except the early French settlements at Detroit and along the river, with a few English from the States.

There have been a number of accounts published from time to time, of an occurrence in the early survey of Calhoun, Barry, and Eaton counties, the last of which appeared in the Detroit Free Press of the date of March 22d, 1879. That article was headed "How Battle Creek Received its Name," and was the nearest correct version of the battle between two men of the surveying party engaged in running the exterior township lines about what are now known as Battle Creek, Penfield, Bedford, Convis, and Emmet, in Calhoun county, Assyria in Barry county, and Bellevue in Eaton County, which has come to my notice.

That article contained a few errors in dates and facts, which I have endeavored to correct. At the time of the publication of that article, a brother of Edward Baldwin, therein mentioned, resided in the place of my residence, and still lives there, from whom I have gleaned many facts relative to this event. He, Edwin Baldwin, was engaged in packing provisions for Sylvester Sibley, who had the contract for subdividing the townships mentioned in Calhoun county, and was engaged in those surveys during April and May, 1826, and frequently passed by the abandoned camp of John Mullett, who surveyed the exterior lines of the townships heretofore mentioned, commencing in March, 1825, and finishing in January, 1826, and from his personal observations, and from information obtained from his brother Edward, I am confident that I have been able to obtain the material facts in regard to that event. I have consulted the original minutes and surveys of the exterior and subdivisions of those townships, which enables me to arrive at the dates, and where Mullett's camp was located on the day of the attack upon Baldwin and Taylor, which was, as Mr. Mullet says, "In the west part of range six west, on the base line."

Mr. Edwin Baldwin says the camp was near a stream on the base line, afterwards called Battle Creek, and about a mile east of the four corners of the townships of Penfield and Convis, in Calhoun county, Assyria in Barry county, and Bellevue in Eaton county, which must have been on section six, town one south, range six west, Convis township, Calhoun county, or on section thirtyone, town one north, range six west, Bellevue, Eaton county.

In making these inquiries and researches for the purpose of eliciting the facts and vindicating the pioneer history of this event, its time and location, I very fortunately obtained a copy of John Mullett's letter, through his son, who resides in Eaton county, to Gov. Lewis Cass, which I have transcribed, and will now read:

March, 1825

"SIR: In consequence of depredations committed oil my party by Pottawattomie Indians, and the determined hostility to my surveying, I have thought it most prudent to leave my district to inform yon of the circumstances, and solicit your interference to prevent similar occurrences in the future, as well for the safety of the frontier settlements, as for those who may be engaged in Surveying the public lands. The district assigned to me is the surveying of the exterior townsbip lines of a tract of country from township seven south to township two north, inclusive, bounded on the east by former surveyed lands, and on the west by the line between ranges six and seven west. I commenced at the south part of my district and progressed north as far as T. 1 south, where I came to a tract apparently thickly inhabited with Indians, at their sugaring establishments. I frequently met with small parties, all of whom evinced a determination not to permit my surveying; in some instances would follow, pull up the posts, and efface the marks; and at other times would peremptorily order me to leave the country, step in before me to prevent my proceeding with my line, lay hold of my compass, etc. I have one man in my party who could understand and speak a little of the Indian tongue. Through him I made them understand that we were sent there by our chiefs, as I expressed it, that we were their friends, that no harm was done, or intended, and that our chiefs would be disappointed if we returned without completing our work, etc. They only replied that the land belonged to them; that they would not suffer our marking the trees, and that there were plenty of Indians near, and if I proceeded, they would kill me, etc. I continued, meeting with similar interruptions for several days, determined if possible to complete my district. On the 14th inst., I left my camp, which was on the base line, in the west part of range six west, in the care of two men, Mr. Taylor and Baldwin, and with my chainmen and axmen ran north, to return in the evening.

"About one o'clock two Indians came to the camp, with the same hostile appearance that they had uniformly evinced towards us, told Taylor and Baldwin to leave the country; that they had no right to hack the trees. Mr. Taylor made them understand that our chiefs sent us there; that they must got an order from them before we could go, and in every way tried to convince them that no harm was done, or meant.

"They pretended to be in fact satisfied, entered our tent, asked for food, which was given them. They then examined our rifle, saw that it was loaded, asked bow many belonged to our party, where they were gone, and at what time they would return, etc. Mr. Taylor answered that 4 men belonged to the party, that they were gone north, and that they would return about sunset. They then asked for tobacco, which was given them. After smoking some, they then went outside of the tent, conversed together some time, and renewed their order for my party to leave the country and give them the provisions. Mr. Taylor told them that he could spare no provisions; his men were hungry. One Indian then drew his hatchet and renewed his demand, while the other Indian presented his cocked rifle to enforce it; telling Taylor to be quick. Baldwin at that moment endeavored by a quick step, to get behind the Indian with the rifle; who, perceiving his intent, turned and discharged the rifle at him just as Baldwin struck it aside with his hand. The Indian then sprang, and seized the rifle which belonged to our camp, and discharged that, which was fortunately knocked aside by Baldwin in the same manner. He then made for the rifle belonging to the other Indian, who was all this time engaged with Taylor with the hatchet, which Taylor had caught hold of, as the Indian made a pass at him. Baldwin followed his antagonist so close as to prevent him from discharging the third rifle, and succeeded in wresting it from him, although they broke the stock in tile affray, and left Baldwin in possession of the naked barrel, with which he knocked him down, and flew to the assistance of Taylor, who lay with his antagonist on the ground struggling for the possession of the hatchet. Baldwin with one blow of his rifle barrel, relieved Taylor from his disagreeable situation. They bound tile Indians, hand and foot, and kept them until my return to camp; which was a little after sunset. I felt sensible of' the danger of our situation, but could see no alternative but to keep them until morning. After hearing the particulars of the affray from Taylor and Baldwin, I went to the Indians, asked their names, told them I should have to take them to Detroit to have them punished.

"Sig., JOHN MULLETT."

Gen. Cass dispatched Col, Louis Beaufait, an Indian interpreter, to investigate the difficulty between the surveying party and the Indians, and learned that they were instigated in their hostility to the surveys of these lands by old Baptis or Batiscon, all Indian trader, who feared that, should the Surveys be permitted, and the whites settle the country, his profitable vocation would be gone. The Chiefs whom Col. Beaufait interviewed, denied any knowledge of the attack upon Mr. Mullett's camp, and assured him that ft. was made by some young Indians of their band, for a little pleasantry' or fun, and the chiefs and Baptis promised to send out scouts to warn all Indians in that vicinity not to interfere with the surveying parties, and that they must desist from pulling up stakes and defacing marks upon the trees; which promise was strictly kept, and the surveying parties were not troubled thereafter. The survey of the exterior lines was resumed in Nov., 1825, and completed in Jan., 1826.

Edward Baldwin did not return with the surveying party, fearing all encounter with those Indians, to whom he was well known. Edward Baldwin and Mr. Taylor were of Mr. Mullett's surveying party, the latter in the capacity of cook. Those two Indians came to the tent in the afternoon of March 14th, 1825. Taylor being alone in the tent, called to Baldwin, who was within hailing distance, who hastened to camp, and upon entering it, found the two Indians helping themselves to flour, meat, and tobacco, filling their camp kettles, and making hostile demonstrations, being armed with tomahawk, knife, and each a loaded rifle. Baldwin and Taylor arrested them in their proceedings of plunder, and attempted to forcibly eject them, which the Indians resisted. Then the controversy commenced in earnest; white mail against red-skin, the Indian firing his rifle, and then caught Mullett’s from the tent, and aimed it at Baldwin, who struck the barrel aside with his arm just as the Indian fired, cutting a heavy woolen vest in two in, front with the ball and powder. The Indian then caught the other Indian's rifle. Baldwin, being a powerful, muscular mail, clinched the rifle barrel near the muzzle, wrenched it from the hands of the Indian, and dealt him a blow, felling him to the ground, breaking the gun stock off at the breech.

Taylor, who had grappled with the other Indian, had thrown him, and had become nearly exhausted in holding him down, and appealed to Baldwin for help. In the first struggle, Taylor had caught the Indian's arm at the wrist, as he raised it, tomahawk in hand, with the evident purpose of braining him, and continued holding his arm with one hand, the other clinched in his hair. Baldwin directed Taylor to let go the red-skin's hair, which he did, when he struck the Indian with the rifle barrel with which he had already felled one red-skin, crushing his skull.

When Mullett and his party returned to camp at evening, and found the two Indians lying senseless in the tent, they deemed it prudent to leave their work; which they did early the next morning, March 15th, leaving some provisions and water brought from the stream near by, for the Indians should they revive, and the surveying party returned to Detroit to await negotiations with the Indian chiefs, which was done by Col. Beaufait; and Mr. Mullett returned, continued and completed his surveys unmolested, as previously mentioned.

Edwin Baldwin, while packing provisions for Sibley the following year, encountered on an Indian trail, Simo, one of the Indians brained by his brother, who suddenly bid in a clump of bushes some distance ahead, and when approaching the point where he last saw him, was suddenly covered by the Indian's rifle, poised as if to shoot as he came into an open space. Baldwin met his fierce demoniacal look with a fearless, unconcerned gaze, with his eyes constantly upon the Indian, while approaching him, and called to him in French to come to him. The Indian replied that he was deaf. lie then beckoned for him to come, which he did, carrying his rifle at half rest as he approached. Upon reaching him Simo exclaimed. "You not the Chemocaman who crushed my skull in with a gun barrel," at the same time lifting a piece of buckskin from the top of his head, exposing the wound inflicted by his brother Edward. The brain was discernible through a thin white tissue which had closed over it. There being a strong family resemblance between the brothers, together with. the fact that Edwin wore the same woolen vest (which had been mended by his mother) that Edward wore in his encounter with the Indian, led Simo, at first sight, to believe him to be the same Chemocaman who crushed in his skull. After making some presents of tobacco to the Indian, Baldwin passed oil, but kept all eye on him until out of sight; fearing he would fire upon him as he kept his rifle ready and half raised to his face. This Indian lived about a year, though feeble, and died. Mr. Baldwin does not remember the other one's name, but knew him, and of his whereabouts for some years afterwards.