MANISTEE RIVER
IMPROVEMENT COMPANY

HISTORY OF MANISTEE COUNTY, MICHIGAN
With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
of Some of Its Men and Pioneers.
Published 1882 by H.R. Page & Co., Chicago

Prior to 1870 no logs had been put into the Manistee River east of the county line. The river was obstructed by a great number of ancient jams, many of them of immense size, and hundreds of years old. The consequence was that all the vast amount of pine upon the headwaters of the Manistee was comparatively valueless, because there was no way of getting it down to where it could be manufactured into lumber. The work of removing these jams was too great to be undertaken by a single individual or as a private enterprise, and it was therefore decided to organize a river improvement company.

March 5, 1870, George W. Robinson, D.D. Ruggles, William Wheeler, Robert Risdon, B.M. Cutcheon and George W. Bullis met at the law office of Bullis and Cutcheon, and agreed to organize a company, under the provisions of the statute, for the purpose of clearing the river and improving navigation from the east line of Manistee County to the headwaters of the river, so as to make it practicable for running logs and navigation of all kinds of water craft.

March 16 another meeting was held, and articles of association adopted and signed. The capital stock was $100,000, divided into shares of $100 each.

The incorporators were George W. Robinson, William Wheeler, Robert M. Risdon, Daniel D. Ruggles, Niel Leitch, Horace Butters, Byron M. Cutcheon and George W. Bullis.

The term of existence was fixed at thirty years.

The first directors were George W. Robinson, Robert M. Risdon, Byron Cutcheon, William Wheeler and Horace Butters.

The officers were: President, George W. Robinson; secretary and treasurer, B.M. Cutcheon.

On the 9th day of May the directors met and adopted by-laws. The surveys were made, plans adopted, and work commenced the same year.

In 1872 tolls were, for the first time, fixed by the board of control, consisting of the governor, state treasurer and auditor general. These tolls, above the actual and necessary expense of conducting the organization, were applied to carry forward the improvement. In this way the work has been carried on, and the company has expended about $60,000. From 1878 to 1880 the company was involved in litigation as to its right to collect tolls. The result of this litigation was favorable to the company, and put an end to trouble with reference to tolls.

The present officers are: President, R.G. Peters; treasurer, T.J. Ramsdell; secretary, B.M. Cutcheon.

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1882 History of Manistee County

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