Search billions of records on


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

Manistee is justly famed for the large number of magnificent private residences with which the city is adorned. In this respect the city is probably without a second rival in the Northwest.

The most elegant residence in the city, and, in fact, one of the finest in the state, is that of John Canfield, Esq., the pioneer lumberman of Manistee, and its wealthiest citizen. The structure is built of brick, three stories high, and is 75x100 feet in size. The interior finish is elaborate and elegant. The value of the house and grounds cannot be much less than $100,000.

Among the other residences which are especially fine, are those of Hon. T.J. Ramsdell, A.O. Wheeler, Louis Sands, S. Babcock, R.G. Peters, M. Engelmann, D.W. Filer, J.H. Shrigley, E.E. Benedict, A.B. Leonard, Charles Secor. Besides there are a very large number of tasty homes ranging in value from $5,000 to $10,000. Just outside the city are the residences of E.G. Filer and Charles Rietz, both of which are elegant homes.

In this work will be found fine lithographic views of the residences of Louis Sands, R.G. Peters, A.B. Leonard, D.W. Mowatt, E.G. Filer, D.W. Filer, E.E. Douville.

The Biography Index  has scans of these homes under the name of the owner.


The early history of religious work in Manistee is given in our extracts from Gen. Cutcheon's centennial address. As the city has advanced in the scale of commercial importance, the number and strength of church organizations have proportionately increased. All the various societies are liberally sustained, and the attendance upon Sabbath worship is unusually large, especially for a lumbering city.

The Congregational Society

dates from the year 1862. For a considerable portion of the time prior to the erection of the church edifice, services were held in Dr. Ellis' hall. In 1867 the society was formally organized as a corporate body. In 1870 the present church edifice was completed, at a cost of about $16,000. It is built of white brick, and is located up on a high elevation, making it one of the most conspicuous structures in the city. The membership is about 200, and the general attendance upon the Sunday services is very large. The pastors of the society have been as follows: Revs. John M. McLain, O.A. Thomas, Herman Gear, John B. Fiske, Joseph F. Gaylord, E.D. Chaddock, T.C. Jerome. The last named pastor resigned in July, since which time the society has been without a pastor, until, a few weeks since, Dr. E.B. Fairfield accepted a call to the pastorate of the society. The present trustees of the society are R.G. Peters, A.V. McVay, A.O. Wheeler, John Canfield, Louis Sands, E.E. Benedict.

There is a flourishing Sunday-school, having a membership of about 200, of which Dr. L.S. Ellis is superintendent.

St. Mary's Catholic Society

is one of the oldest and is the largest religious society in the city. The membership includes upwards of 1,000 families, and the average attendance upon Sunday services is not less than 2,500. The church edifice is a mammoth brick structure, located in the Fourth Ward, just east of Maple Street. The first story is used for the school, and the second story for the church. The present pastor is Rev. D. Callaert.

The First Methodist Episcopal Society

is a leading organization of the city, and one of the oldest. It has a large membership, and for many years worshiped in the church building near the Canfield store. Last year this property was sold, and the society is now finishing a new brick structure, very large, and which, when completed, will be a credit to the society and an ornament to the city. The present pastor is Rev. Geo. L. Haight.

The First Baptist Society

was organized in the Winter of 1872. The church edifice is a neat, frame building, in the Fourth Ward. The membership, at the present time, is about fifty-five. The present pastor is Rev. V. Pilblad.

The Maple Street Baptist Society

was organized about four years ago, with a small membership, and for a time services were held in Armory Hall. The society is at present building a church edifice on Maple Street. The present pastor is Rev. Wm. Snashall.

The German Lutheran Society

is one of the prominent religious organizations in the city, and has a large membership. The church is a neat frame structure, located on First Street. The present pastor is Rev. H. Lemke.

There is also another German Lutheran society, which was organized in 1881, and purchased the M.E. Church property, near the store of Mr. John Canfield. This society has a membership of about 100. The pastor is Rev. Mr. Koehler.

The Scandinavian M. E. Society

was organized in 1878, under the Rev. Mr. Gustafsen, and has enjoyed a very marked degree of prosperity. The church edifice is a commodious building, on Fourth Street. The present pastor is Rev. Mr. Daniels.

Grace Episcopal Society

was organized about four years ago. The organization has been maintained, and services held most of the time, but the society is yet without a church edifice. The present rector is Rev. Mr. Haywood.

In addition to the above, there are also Danish and Norwegian Lutheran societies of recent organization. The pastors are Rev. Mr. Lillesoe, of the former, and Rev. Mr. Norman, of the latter.

There is a suburban Congregational church at Maxwelltown, under the pastorate of Rev. W.E. Sillence, and another at Eastlake, under the pastorate of Rev. W. Beal.


The first school taught in Manistee was in 1852 and 1853, at Canfield's mill, near the mouth of the river. Mrs. Parsons was the first teacher and the school was mainly supported by Mr. John Canfield.

The first public school was established in 1854, and Miss Clark was the first teacher employed.

In 1866 the erection of the Central School building was undertaken, and completed in 1867. Hon. T.J. Ramsdell being the contractor. The first teachers were, D. Carlton, principal, and Miss Ellis, first assistant.

The graded Union School was established in 1870, and ward schools established in the First and Third Wards, and in 1871 the ward schoolhouse was built in the Fourth Ward. This building has given place to a new and elegant structure, furnishing simple facilities for the needs of that part of the city.

Board of Education 1881-'82

Name Term Expires
Giles M. Wing 1882
Edwin Russell 1882
David W. Mowatt 1883
Thomas J. Ramsdell 1883
Cyrus B. Lewis 1884
David Bemiss 1884

Organization of the Board

Cyrus B. Lewis, president; Edwin Russell, secretary; David W. Mowatt, treasurer.

Standing Committees.

On library and new books, Thomas J. Ramsdell and the superintendent; on buildings, furniture, etc., Giles M. Wing and David Bemiss; on teachers and course of study, Edwin Russell and Thomas J. Ramsdell; on text books and rules, Cyrus B. Lewis and David W. Mowatt.

Board of Education 1882-'83

Names Term Expires
David W. Mowatt 1883
Thomas J. Ramsdell 1883
Cyrus B. Lewis 1884
David Bemiss 1884
Edwin Russell 1885
Simeon Babcock 1885

Teachers For 1882 - '83

High School - Webster Cook, superintendent; Edwin K, Whitehead, principal; Mary Bassler, first assistant; Harriet L. Taylor, second assistant.

Retained Teachers - Mary Prowdly, R.A. Sager, Anna Buckner, Anna Sinclair, Ida Beecher, Ella T. Russell, Alice P. Collins, Eva Hamlin, Ada Harris, Ella Spofford, Florence A. Pietre.

New Teachers - First Ward: Miss Kate Hopson of Oswego, N.Y. Central School: Miss Sarah E. Straight, of Owosso, Mich., for fourth grade; Miss Helen M. Radley, of Oswego, N.Y., fifth grade; Miss Charity N. Green, of Oswego, N.Y., seventh grade. Third Ward: Miss Helen A. Tiffany, of Oswego, N.Y., first grade; Miss Kate Vrooman, of East Saginaw, second grade. Fourth Ward: Miss Harriet O. Culver, of Ypsilanti, for second grade.


The most important items for the school year 1881-'82 will be found
in the following tables:

1. Population of the district (estimated) 9,000
2. Number of school children of school age (5-20) 2,094
3. Cash valuation of school property $50,000.00
4. Assessed valuation of district property $2,798,218.98


5. Balance on hand $2,537.15
6. Direct tax 14,000.00
7. Tax for building purposes 10,000.00
8. Three-mill tax 848.90
9. Primary school money 2,687.65
10. Insurance 1,052.54
11. Total Available Resources $31,126.24
12. Paid outstanding orders $456.18
13. Teachers' salaries $9,674.50
14. Janitor's salaries 828.10
15. Building and heating 7,811.87
16. Directors' salary 100.00
17. School furniture 341.07
18. Library and care of library 351.78
19. Repairs 246.65
20. Rent 235.80
21. Insurance 57.06
22. Fuel 631.02
23. All other purposes 717.71
24. Total orders drawn 20,995.56
25. Deduct orders outstanding 170.18
26. Total orders paid 20,825.38
27. Paid interest on bonds 383.00 $21,208.38 $21,664.56
28. Balance on hand $9,461.68
In addition to the above there is due the district insurance on Fourth Ward building $3,700.00
Deduct outstanding orders $170.18 3,529.82
Total amount on hand and due the district $12,991.50


Primary Grammar High-
& Av'ge
Total enrollment (transfers excluded) 896 317 73 1286
Average number belonging 559-19 233-82 58-16 851-17
Average daily attendance 529-79 223-72 55-89 809-40
Number of men teachers, including Supt. 2 2
Number of women teachers 12 4-3 2 18-3
Cost of education per capita for superintendence
and instruction
9-50 9-29 38-73 11-44
Cost of education per capita for incid 3-23 3-23 3-23 3-23
Total cost of education per capita 12-73 12-52 41-96 14-67
Number of non-resident pupils 4 7 1 12
Average age of class promoted 10-52 14-56 18-


The library contains about 2,000 volumes, about 250 of which were added during the last year. To this the pupils of the High School have free access at all times, and as many of the books were selected with especial view to high-school work, the library is proving of great practical value to both teachers and pupils. Considerable funds are still on hand for library purposes, and other additions will soon be made. The library is also open to the public every Saturday afternoon from one to four, while the school is in session, and any resident of the district can then obtain books.

The leading citizens of Manistee are people of culture and refinement, and they have always pursued a liberal policy towards the schools. Anything that was calculated to improve educational facilities has always been secured, no matter what the cost. The best teachers have been selected and the best methods adopted. No other city of equal size can boast of providing its children with educational facilities superior to those of Manistee. 

Return to Index
1882 History of Manistee County

Return to Manistee County
MIGenWeb Main Page