Flowerfield History

The excerpts written out below are from a small booklet entitled,
"St. Joseph County Historical Review and Business Guide"
written and compiled by Roy D. F. Sowers, Historian.
Also, check out this article by Becky Sanders on the History of Flowerfield.

Flowerfield township was so named because of the beautiful fields of flowers that met the eyes of the early settlers. Each fall the Indians would burn off the underbrush and in the spring the countryside was a veritable flower bed.

The land was covered with "oak-openings" and plentiful of timber. Some parts of the township is hilly and stony. The township was laid out in 1829 and consisted of the four northern tier of townships.

The first white settler was Mishael BEADLE in 1829. Accompanied by his family he came from Ohio. He built the first log house and one year later he built the first frame house. In 1830 James VALENTINE, Henry WHITED, and Henry GARVER arrived from Ohio. Several families moved in later from New York. Daniel WHEELER planted the first orchard. Aaron HARLAND built the first brick house in 1847. The first marriage was that of Matilda BEADLE, a daughter of Mishael BEADLE, to Justin CLARK. Their child was the first born in the township.

The first saw mill in Flowerfield was built in 1830 by Mr. BEADLE. It burned down two years later and was rebuilt and operated successfully for thirty years. He also built the first grist mill in 1831 which was burned down in 1851. In 1855 it was rebuilt and is still running. C. S. WHEELER opened the first store.

The village of Flowerfield was laid out in 1833 by Dr. David E. BROWN and M. J. NICHOLS. The land was filed by James VALENTINE but owned at this time by Challenge S. WHEELER.

Joshua BARNUM opened the first Tavern in 1833, near WHEELER's store. Mr. GILLMAN built a Tavern in 1839. The old stage coach from White Pigeon use to stop at these Taverns on its way to Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo was then called Bronson. The early blacksmith shop, foundry, grain, cradle factory, drug store and hardware store, made this village a very active place. It was considered a real merchandising center. The Lake Shore and Michigan railroad was given a liberal donation by the settlers and then missed the village by a mile, establishing a depot north of the village. This caused a lot of litigation but the railroad won out.

The first religious service was held in the bar-room of BARNUM's Tavern, by Rev. Benjamin TAYLOR, a Baptist minister. The first church was built for a school house but upon completion, the Baptist bought it for a church. In visiting the quiet little village one can hardly imagine it was the seat of so much activity in the early days. Many are the interesting tales told of the early hardships, joys and sorrows, and dance hall where so many happy parties were held.

 

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