D. R. PARKER
D. R. Parker comes of old and respectable Presbyterian families, his father, John Parker, having been born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1793, and his mother, Elizabeth Seiser, in the township of Linn, Northampton county, February 9, 1800. He was born in Nancy Creek township, Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, October 27, 1818. At the age of seven his parents moved to Livingston county, New York, where they remained about five years, and in 1830 removed to Michigan, and settled on Sturgis’ Prairie, in the County of St. Joseph. They embarked at Buffalo, in the steamer Peacock, and when but three miles out an accident occurred—the bursting of the steam-pipe—by which fifteen persons were scalded, fourteen fatally, among whom were Margaret, Lovina, and Samuel, two sisters and a brother of Mr. Parker’s. This catastrophe cast a deep gloom over the family, the accident being regarded as an ill omen, fraught with disagreeable consequences for the future; which, however, never transpired, for we find the residue of the family comfortably settled on a fine farm in Section 11, Sturgis township, where they remained for many years, enjoying that peace and happiness, contentment and prosperity, which are the inseparable concomitants of the farmer’s life. On the 13th of April, 1848, Mr. Parker took unto himself a wife in the person of Miss Mary J. Aikin, and the same year settled on his present farm, in Section 12. Four children were born unto them, of whom three survive. Olive L. was born November 8, 1849; Henry R., born January 9, 1852; Franklin L., born April 4, 1853—died September 4, 1856; John H., born March 16, 1855. On the 5th of September, 1856, Mrs. Parker died, after a happy wedded life of less than a decade. This great bereavement was keenly felt by Mr. Parker and his young family, and left a void in his heart which has never been filled. She was a woman of rare qualities; beloved by all her acquaintances and friends; worshipped by her husband and fondly loved by her children, by all of whom her memory is affectionately cherished.
In character, Mr. Parker is industrious, economical, and genial. By hard work and prudential management he has become possessed of two hundred and forty acres of improved and finely cultivated land. In politics, he is a Republican; in religious belief, a Spiritualist. He is generally esteemed as a shrewd business man, a good, practical farmer, and an intelligent and worthy citizen. (See Illustrations.)
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, pp. 82-83
HON. JONATHAN G. WAIT
Jonathan G. Wait was born in the town of York, Livingston county, New York, November 11, 1811. His parents, Josiah and Martha Ann (Graham) Wait, were natives of the town of Alstead, State of Hew Hampshire, but in early life moved to the town of Ovid, New York, and from thence to York, before named, and thence to Perry, Lake county, Ohio. The family name has been variously spelled at different periods, as follows: Waite, Wayte, Wayght, Waight, Wait, Waitt, Wate, Weight and Waiet. It has been traced back as far as A.D. 1075. William the Conqueror gave the earldom, city and castle of Norwich in England, to Rolf De Waiet, son of Rolf, an Englishman by a Welsh woman, who married Emma, sister to Roger, early of Hereford, cousin of the conqueror. Records show that Wayte, of county Warwick, A.D. 1315, was escheator of the counties of Wilts, Oxford, Berkshire, Bedford and Bucks. Thomas Wayte was a member of parliament, and one of the judges who signed a warrant in 1649 for the execution of King Charles the First. Their descendants, Richard, John and Thomas, were among the earliest settlers of New England. Thomas Wait was the father of Josiah Wait, the father of Jonathan G. Wait, the subject of our sketch. Josiah Wait, the father of Jonathan G. Wait, was a farmer, and the son was instructed in that business until the age of fourteen years, at which time the family removed to Lake county, Ohio. At the age of seventeen Jonathan G. Wait commenced teaching district schools, which occupation, for portions of the time, he followed for several years. In the fall of 1834 Mr. Wait left Ohio for the State or Territory of Michigan, traveling through the southern part of the same, and as far west as Laporte, Indiana, and thence returned to Ohio, and in the spring of 1835 removed to St. Joseph county, Michigan, and made a permanent location on the Sturgis prairie, in what was then known as the village of Sherman, but now is the city of Sturgis. Here he has remained to the present time. For two winters, succeeding his first location on the prairie, he taught the village school in the old log school-house that was first erected in the place for that purpose.
In the year 1836 he began to build in the village, and that season erected four dwelling-houses. He also began the manufacture of boots and shoes, and cabinet and chair-making, employing from ten to fifteen men, the work all being done by hand. In 1841 Mr. Wait commenced business in the mercantile line, and was engaged therein fifteen years, and was also engaged in the manufacture and sale of lumber in Bronson, Branch county, where he owned and operated two saw-mills during the same period. In 1849 and 1850 he was the agent of the Michigan Southern Railroad Company, to procure the right of way and otherwise aid in the construction of the road. He also had heavy contracts on the road for building depots and fences, culverts and bridges, and furnishing ties. He built al of the buildings from Bronson to Sturgis on the road, furnished the ties from the former place to White Pigeon, and fenced the road the same distance. In the fall of 1850 he was elected to the legislature of Michigan as a Whig, during Governor Barry’s administration. Hon. T.W. Ferry, now United States senator, was a member of the house that same session, and Hon. I. P. Christiancy, also United States senator, was in the senate. At this session occurred the greatest and last struggle between the Michigan Central and Michigan Southern railroads, in which the Southern came off victorious.
In 1857 Mt. Wait assisted to organize the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad Company, and was elected a director thereof, which position he has held continuously to the present. During this year he graded and bridged twelve miles of the road between Sturgis and La Grange. In 1860 he was elected to the State senate, and re-elected for two succeeding terms—six years consecutively. During this time he had charge in the senate of the bills providing for an extension of time limited for the construction of the Grand Rapids and Indiana road, the bills being successfully passed through both houses, and becoming laws. This action was the foundation of the final success of the road, as, if the land-grant had lapsed, the road would never have been built. Mr. Wait was for several years engaged in the location and construction of the road, and was amply rewarded by meeting with full success.
In all things pertaining to the prosperity of Sturgis, Mr. Wait has ever taken and still does take the liveliest interest, and is among the foremost to secure advantage for the town that seem to prophesy or promise well for its advancement in material wealth, or social improvement, or educational progress. In the early days of his residence in the township, then called Sherman, and including Sherman, Burr Oak, Fawn River and Sturgis, he was the town clerk, supervisor, and justice of the peace for several years.
In politics he is a staunch and uncompromising Republican, being elected to the house of representatives of Michigan in 1850 as a Whig, and to the senate in 1860, 1862 and 1864 as a Republican. In 1860 he commenced the publication of the Sturgis Journal, a radical Republican paper, in which he discussed the political issues of the day with marked ability and vigor. He continued to edit and publish the Journal for fourteen years, when he disposed of it to his son, who succeeded to the editorial tripod for a time. In 1872, as an acknowledgment of the faithful service rendered by the Journal to the Republican cause, Mr. Wait received the appointment of postmaster of Sturgis, which position he holds at the present time.
On the 20th day of October, 1839, Mr. Wait was united in marriage to Miss. Susan S. Buck, a daughter of George Buck, of Erie county, New York, and the second family to settle on Sturgis prairie in 1828. Mrs. Wait was born in Erie county, New York, June 8, 1821, and removed with her father and his family to Michigan, as before stated, where she has ever since resided. Twelve children have gathered around the family hearthstone of Mr. and Mrs. Wait—nine sons and three daughters, of whom five sons remain, the others having passed beyond this present state of existence. One son, Arthur, is the agent of the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad at Sturgis.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, pp. 83-84
DR. IRA F. PACKARD
Among the citizens of Sturgis, none have a more creditable position in its society than has Dr. Ira Fobes Packard. By his own endeavors and integrity he has made himself a place among his fellows, honorable to himself and the community in which he lives. He comes, too, of a sterling ancestry, who have made a record for themselves upon which their descendants may reflect with just and commendable pride. His grandfather, Elijah Packard, was a native of England, where he followed the profession of a dissenting clergyman, provoking thereby such fierce persecution from the State church authorities, that he was forced to flee to America, and leave a fine estate, which was confiscated to the British crown. On his arrival in America in the earlier part of the eighteenth century, he adopted the business of a civil engineer, and entered the service of the Bristol Company of the Massachusetts colony, for whom he surveyed large tracts of the country, receiving, in 1765, as part payment for his labors, a fine tract of land covering the site of a manufacturing city on the Kennebec, in the State of Maine. While engaged in the survey of the Company’s possessions within the present limits of the State of Maine, he was murdered and robbed.
He was the father of seven children, of whom Benjamin Packard, the father of Dr. Ira F. Packard, was the youngest son, and who was born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, June 7, 1760. At the age of fifteen years, Benjamin rallied with the minute-men of the colony to the defense of Lexington, and behind the stone walls, hedges and fences that lined the road, hung upon the retreating red-coats, pouring into their disordered ranks charge after charge of buck-shot, from the tube of an old "queen’s arm" he carried. At the end of that bloody day he entered the ranks of the colonial army, and never returned to his home until after the long and sanguinary war gloriously ended for the colonies, by the surrender of Cornwallis, at Yorktown, and the Republic was born. He was at Bunker Hill, and in most of the important battles of the Revolution. He received four wounds, but fortunately none of them were very serious. He was promoted to a lieutenancy for gallantry and meritorious action on the field. He was married in 1784, to Mehitable Fobes, of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and removed from thence to Royalton, Vermont, where he died September 19, 1823. Like his fathers before him, his family also consisted of seven children, of whom Dr. Ira F. Packard was also the youngest son, and who was born on the forty-eighth anniversary of his father’s birthday, June 7, 1808, in Royalton, Vermont, where the son went to school for nine years, until he was fifteen years of age, when, the father dying, the lad was thrown upon his own resources for his maintenance and education. In 1824, Ira went to Boston and entered the service of Kittredge & Wyman, as a clerk in their mercantile establishment, where he remained until the following winter, when he returned to Vermont to attend school. The next year he shipped for a whaling voyage, sailing from Newburyport, in the ship "Alexander," September, 1826, which voyage was completed successfully by filling the ship with oil and bone, and returning safely to port in July following. He made several other shorter voyages, brining up at last in Philadelphia, in the fall of 1828, when he engaged to assist in drifting coal for Adam Burr, in Pottsville, the work being managed by a nephew—George Burr. In February, 1829, he went to Pike, Allegheny county, New York, where his brother Benjamin resided, and from thence to Yorkshire, Catasauqua county, in the same State, where he engaged in the mercantile business; but the same not proving successful, he closed it out and removed to Erie, Pennsylvania, in the spring of 1832, and began the business of a merchant again in the grocery and provision line; but disappointment again overtook him. The cholera broke out that summer, and all business was temporarily suspended, and he therefore sold out his interests in Erie, and returned to Yorkshire and engaged as a clerk for Messrs. A. & W. Hibbard, merchants. In the spring of 1836, he commenced the study of medicine and surgery with Dr. Bela H. Colegrove, of Sardinia, Erie county, New York, and continued his readings for three years, attending lectures at the Western College of Physicians and Surgeons at Fairfield, Herkimer county, New York. In 1839 he made a tour in the west, seeking a location to settle for the practice of his profession, and selecting Sturgis prairie, in the then village of Sherman, returned and brought his family to his new home in St. Joseph county, Michigan, in the fall of the same year, where he has ever since resided. He was elected to the honorary degree of doctor of medicine in the Western College of Physicians and Surgeons, of Laporte, Indiana, a short time after he took up his residence in the county. He followed his profession until the spring of 1850, when his health failed, and he made a tour to California, returning the spring following, since which time he has not practiced except in emergencies.
On the 27th day of April, 1829, he was united in marriage to Miss Emily M., a daughter of Colonel Araunah Hibbard, a lieutenant in the war of 1812, who was a Lundy’s Lane with General Scott, and was severely wounded at Queenstown Heights. Colonel Hibbard was one of the earliest settlers on the Holland purchase, in the vicinity of the present site of Clarence, Niagara county, New York, where Emily was born April 23, 1811. She is said to have been the first white female born in that township, when it was a wilderness, with neighbors no nearer than three miles, and but very few at that. She was the daughter of a pioneer, and fitted for the trials and deprivations of the pioneer-life to which she succeeded in Michigan.
Dr. and Mrs. Packard have never lost a member of their family by death, though three sons and two daughters have gone out from their fireside to make firesides of their own, around which now cluster the fifth generation since the stout old dissenter sacrificed his property and fled from his native land, rather than relinquish his faith and his right to proclaim it. These sons and daughters are Dr. Nelson I. Packard, who succeeded to his father’s extensive practice in 1850, and still pursues it; Homer H., who now resides in Ashland, Nebraska; Emily N., now the wife of Henry S. Church, of Sturgis; Franklin S., a member of the firm of Johnson, Packard & Co., heavy lumber dealers of Sturgis, and formerly a member of the legislature from St. Joseph county; and Lucinda M., now Mrs. Thomas J. Acheson, of Emporia, Kansas.
Dr. Packard was for many years connected with the official relations of schools in Sherman, and afterwards Sturgis village, and has been a firm and zealous advocate for the maintenance and support of the public schools and their advancement to the highest grade of excellence possible. In public improvements and expenditures for the common good of all her citizens, Sturgis has had no more liberal hand than his. Prudent and well regulated in his habits, his example has been such as to bring him the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and the regard of all who have had the pleasure of his acquaintance, and the Packard homestead is a place at which every comer is made welcome by its master and mistress, with an unstinted hospitality.
Dr. Packard was originally a Whig in politics, and cordially embraced the principles of the Republican party at its organization, and has been an active supporter of its general policy up to the present time. In religious sentiment Dr. and Mrs. Packard are liberal, broad and catholic, and while holding to their own convictions, accord the same liberty to others without comment or reflections; and at an age when the silver which crowns their heads admonishes them of the inevitable change that must ere many years come to them, are serenely awaiting the summons, with naught of fear or dread to becloud or dim the vision of the future that slowly unfolds before them.
Dr. Packard was one of the original members of the Sturgis Prairie Lodge, I. O. O. F., and erected the hall of the same. He is also a member of the Masonic bodies in Sturgis, from the blue lodge to the commandery of Knights Templar.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 84
JOHN R. HARRIS
This gentleman was born in Livingston county, New York, December 28, 1817. His parents were in moderate circumstances, and having a family of ten children, it was necessary that the sons should commence at an early age to contribute to the support of the family; hence the advantages of education were poor. The subject of our sketch bought his time of his father by giving him all he earned, except enough to buy his every-day clothes. In 1836 he had a chance of emigrating to Michigan, which he embraced, coming with a man by the name of Abel Crossman, who agreed to give him fourteen dollars a month for a year, paying him in advance, out of which he bought of his father the balance of the time remaining before his majority. He arrived in Michigan, and purchased eighty acres of land. He fulfilled his contract with Mr. Crossman, and then went to work on his own land.
He had no experience and no education, procuring what knowledge he now possesses after his marriage. His capital was his health, his industry and his ambition. He was industrious and temperate, having been brought up to work, and having joined the Washingtonian society when but twelve years of age. These characteristics were just what were required in a new country, and by their practical application his success was insured. He first settled on section twenty-four in Sherman township, St. Joseph county, Michigan, and afterwards, in 1846, removed to his present home on section fourteen, in Sturgis township.
On the 3d of April, 1842, he married Sarah Parker, a native of Pennsylvania, by whom he had six children, namely:
HENRIETTA E., born April 26, 1844.
ALBERT E., born June 23, 1846; died March 28, 1848.
WILLIAM E., born May 12, 1848.
ELLEN R., born August 22, 1850.
CLAYTON J., born January 19, 1854.
CARRIE A., born December 24, 1855.
Mr. Harris has always devoted his attention to agriculture, and is generally considered a sound, practical farmer. In politics he is a Republican. In religious sentiment he is liberal, never having affiliated with any particular religious denomination. He adheres to the grand principle of human justice, unbiased by religious prejudice and unharassed by dogmatic theory. In his every-day life he is actuated by strict integrity, has comported himself with rectitude, has been an affectionate husband, a fond parent, a good neighbor and a firm friend—in manners genial and courteous, in disposition affable and kind, and in public career an honest and upright citizen. Having this lived, a retrospection of his past has no conscientious defects, and his future no disagreeable apprehensions.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 85
T. C. CARPENTER
Among the self-made men of St. Joseph county, Talcott C. Carpenter, one of the foremost members of the St. Joseph bar, stand eminently. Thrown upon his own unaided efforts at the early age of seventeen years, he gained an education at the common-schools of the county and the University at Ann Arbor, undergoing the severest privations in order to fit himself for his profession without incurring pecuniary obligations to any person, asking and receiving no assistance from a single individual, and paying his way by the labor of his own hands, performed after the hours of the day devoted to study had passed by. Such self-denial and determination have been amply rewarded in the success which has followed Mr. Carpenter thus far in his honorable career. He was born in Delphi, Delaware county, New York, February 19, 1835. His parents, Younglove C. and Rhoda (Sabin) Carpenter, were natives of Connecticut and Massachusetts respectively, and with them he migrated to Mendon, St. Joseph county, when but two years of age. Here, on a farm, in the log-house of the pioneer, the boy lived until the father died in 1852. The hardships endured by the family can scarcely be appreciated by the present rising generation, but a slight idea may be gained of them when it is stated that until the subject of our sketch had attained the age of fourteen years he had never enjoyed the luxury of a pair of shoes for his feet, but had worn cloth moccasins made by his mother. The cabin, like others in those days, scarcely kept out the snow, which sifted in under the shakes, upon the beds and over the floor, through which the children, of whom there were seven,--five girls and two boys,--left their tracks when they rose in the winter mornings, and went to the big fire-place to perform their toilets.
Upon the death of the father, Talcott told his brother that if he would stay on the farm and take care of the family, he (Talcott) would give him his (Talcott’s) interest in the estate, and, upon arrival at his majority, Talcott quitclaimed his interest accordingly. From that date (1852) onward, the boy took up the thread of life for himself. He attended the district school at Centreville for two terms, and was also two terms at the normal school at Ypsilanti, after which he spent two years at the Michigan University at Ann Arbor, in the literary department, supporting himself by sawing wood after school-hours, cutting and splitting one hundred cords of the same during his stay in Ann Arbor. His needs were so pressing and his determination so great to finish his two years’ course with honor, that he lived for four months on nineteen cents per week, and when he arrived at Kalamazoo at the end of his term, he had but a quarter of a dollar in his pocket, and a journey to Three Rivers before him. But a friend who heard the young man’s story, furnished him a breakfast and paid his fare to the latter place. He then went to Fulton county, Illinois, where he taught school for three years, accumulating during the time eight hundred dollars in gold. In the fall of 1860 Mr. Carpenter entered the law department of the Michigan University, where he remained for the fall and winter terms, and was admitted to the bar of St. Joseph county in the spring of 1861, entering the law-office of Henry Severns, of Three Rivers (now of Kalamazoo), where he remained until August of that year, and then removed to Sturgis, where he entered the law-office of Hon. William L. Stoughton, and, upon that gentleman’s entering the army, succeeded to his practice, and has ever since been located there.
Mr. Carpenter has an extensive and lucrative practice, which he conducts with success to himself and his clients. He is courteous and affable, and the amenities of the legal profession suffer no diminution at his hands, or by his manner. In the fall of 1862 he was elected to the position of circuit court commissioner of St. Joseph county, which position he held for six years. In 1868 he was chosen prosecuting attorney for the county, and held the office four years. In politics he is a Republican.
On the 3d of January, 1863, he was united in marriage with Miss Helen M. Whitney, a daughter of Nathan B. Whitney, of Fulton county, Illinois, but a native of Massachusetts. Three children have blessed this union,--John H., Ella L. and Carrie L., all now living with their parents in the beautiful and cozy cottage erected by Mr. Carpenter, in Sturgis.
The mother of Mr. Carpenter died at his residence in Sturgis, in December, 1864.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 85
DAVID KNOX, SR.
David Knox was born in Cayuga county, New York, August 30, 1806, and in the spring of 1822 came with his father and mother, Jacob and Rachel Knox, to Michigan, locating in Wayne county, near Detroit. Ten years later, in 1832, he removed to St. Joseph county, and settled at Sturgis. Here his life has been spent principally in the occupation of farming, and having endured the hardships of pioneer-life and the labor incident to the development of a new country, he is one of the few early settlers who yet remain strong and vigorous to enjoy the harvest of their toil.
Mr. Knox has raised a family of eight children, all but one being the children of his second wife, Thirza Knox, who was the daughter of Benjamin Jacobs, one of the early settlers on Sturgis prairie, to whom he was married in 1835, and who died in 1871. Of his children only five are now living, being Henry, David, Charles, Mary and Jennie.
His sons Henry and Charles are farmers. Davis is in business at Three Rivers, as a lawyer. In political belief and action, Mr. Knox is a Republican, being one of the original Abolitionists of that party. His religious tendencies led him early to connect himself with the Methodist church, and he has been one of its strongest and most faithful supporters from the first organization in this country to the present time. A man physically strong, with a liberal, cultivated mind, and a earnest, true nature, he has always been prominently identified with every good work about him, and the whole influence of his life has been on the right side.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 90
There is always something of peculiar interest
surrounding the life and labors of the pioneer; he who fearlessly leaves the
home of his childhood—perchance a home of comparative ease and comfort,
situated perhaps in some richly-settled eastern State, or amid the green hills
of New England—and who submits cheerfully and manfully to the privations and
hardships incident to new settlements, till his steady and earnest toil is
rewarded with the blessings commensurate with his laborious struggles, and
crowned with the many bounties of Providence. Great changes grow out of
unwearied and constant strokes; the sturdy forest is laid low, and there in time
is reared the pleasant home with all its cherished adornments, the quiet hamlet
and the wondrous city.
Oftentimes the whole of one’s allotted span of life
is spent amid the beauteous scenes of the country; and to agricultural pursuits
alone does he devote his earliest and his latest labors. To this latter class
belongs, pre-eminently, the subject of this sketch. Born away back beyond the
present century, the only time he ever left the plow was to take up the musket
in order to defend the flag his father fought to sustain.
Mr. Thompson first saw the light on the morning of
March 25, in the year 1790. His native element was the farm, and on a farm he
was born, within sixteen miles of the city of Leesburg, Virginia. When but four
years old he removed with his parents to Piqua Plains, in the State of Ohio, and
five years afterwards they again removed, this time settling on and clearing up
the present site of the town of Circleville, Ohio. In 1812 he enlisted in a
regiment of reserves, went to the front, and did good service for his country.
After the cessation of hostilities he married Mary
Davis, a native of Kentucky, and his home became the home of a dozen young olive
branches, lacking one. This sketch having been designed as a family record, we
annex a brief genealogy of this branch of the house of Thompson:
THOMAS D., born November 17, 1813; married April 15,
MORRIS, born December 27, 1814.
CYNTHIA, born July 6, 1816.
PHOEBE, born August 17, 1818.
ELLEN, born August 25, 1820; married David Kurshner,
February 6, 1840.
ISAAC, born May 14, 1822; married Susan Davis.
JEMIMA, born February 7, 1825; married George Kerstater,
April 16, 1843.
JAMES, born June 18, 1827; married Jane L. Davis,
February 16, 1850.
ELIZABETH, born February 15, 1829; married Joseph
Kleckner, June 5, 1853.
LEWIS, born June 5, 1831; married Margaret Connor,
January 14, 1857.
MARY ANN, born January 1, 1835; married William Milner,
January 10, 1860.
It was in 1832 that Mr. Thompson first took up his
abode in Mottville township. He then settled on a farm of one hundred and
seventy-five acres, pleasantly situated on both sides of Pigeon creek. He
subsequently purchased thirty-seven acres more, but has since sold some small
parcels, leaving him now one hundred and ninety-seven acres of well-cultivated
land. In 1837 Mr. Thompson assisted in the organization of the township, and was
chosen its first supervisor. He never sought political preferment, and
positively refused to serve after the expiration of his term.
In 1866 he sustained the deep-felt loss of his
estimable wife, who had shared his struggles for more than half a century,
having been married in 1813. In religion he is a Mormon of the Joseph Smith
branch of that faith—not believing in plurality of wives, but having a lasting
faith in the creed promulgated by the founder of this peculiar sect. In politics
he is Republican, having cast his first vote for the Whig candidate, Monroe, in
1816. On the regular organization of the Republican party he allied himself with
it, and has stood firmly by it, especially through the perilous times of
1861-1865. Socially, he is a genial, whole-souled gentleman; honest in all his
dealings, and enjoying the friendship of all with whom he comes in contact. By
industry and frugality, coupled with a certain degree of shrewdness, he has
managed to secure a comfortable competency, which, after his four-score and six
years, he enjoys, with a fair prospect of continuing thus to reap the benefits
of a good career yet for many years.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH
ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 90
There is always something of peculiar interest surrounding the life and labors of the pioneer; he who fearlessly leaves the home of his childhood—perchance a home of comparative ease and comfort, situated perhaps in some richly-settled eastern State, or amid the green hills of New England—and who submits cheerfully and manfully to the privations and hardships incident to new settlements, till his steady and earnest toil is rewarded with the blessings commensurate with his laborious struggles, and crowned with the many bounties of Providence. Great changes grow out of unwearied and constant strokes; the sturdy forest is laid low, and there in time is reared the pleasant home with all its cherished adornments, the quiet hamlet and the wondrous city.
Oftentimes the whole of one’s allotted span of life is spent amid the beauteous scenes of the country; and to agricultural pursuits alone does he devote his earliest and his latest labors. To this latter class belongs, pre-eminently, the subject of this sketch. Born away back beyond the present century, the only time he ever left the plow was to take up the musket in order to defend the flag his father fought to sustain.
Mr. Thompson first saw the light on the morning of March 25, in the year 1790. His native element was the farm, and on a farm he was born, within sixteen miles of the city of Leesburg, Virginia. When but four years old he removed with his parents to Piqua Plains, in the State of Ohio, and five years afterwards they again removed, this time settling on and clearing up the present site of the town of Circleville, Ohio. In 1812 he enlisted in a regiment of reserves, went to the front, and did good service for his country.
After the cessation of hostilities he married Mary Davis, a native of Kentucky, and his home became the home of a dozen young olive branches, lacking one. This sketch having been designed as a family record, we annex a brief genealogy of this branch of the house of Thompson:
THOMAS D., born November 17, 1813; married April 15, 1841.
MORRIS, born December 27, 1814.
CYNTHIA, born July 6, 1816.
PHOEBE, born August 17, 1818.
ELLEN, born August 25, 1820; married David Kurshner, February 6, 1840.
ISAAC, born May 14, 1822; married Susan Davis.
JEMIMA, born February 7, 1825; married George Kerstater, April 16, 1843.
JAMES, born June 18, 1827; married Jane L. Davis, February 16, 1850.
ELIZABETH, born February 15, 1829; married Joseph Kleckner, June 5, 1853.
LEWIS, born June 5, 1831; married Margaret Connor, January 14, 1857.
MARY ANN, born January 1, 1835; married William Milner, January 10, 1860.
It was in 1832 that Mr. Thompson first took up his abode in Mottville township. He then settled on a farm of one hundred and seventy-five acres, pleasantly situated on both sides of Pigeon creek. He subsequently purchased thirty-seven acres more, but has since sold some small parcels, leaving him now one hundred and ninety-seven acres of well-cultivated land. In 1837 Mr. Thompson assisted in the organization of the township, and was chosen its first supervisor. He never sought political preferment, and positively refused to serve after the expiration of his term.
In 1866 he sustained the deep-felt loss of his estimable wife, who had shared his struggles for more than half a century, having been married in 1813. In religion he is a Mormon of the Joseph Smith branch of that faith—not believing in plurality of wives, but having a lasting faith in the creed promulgated by the founder of this peculiar sect. In politics he is Republican, having cast his first vote for the Whig candidate, Monroe, in 1816. On the regular organization of the Republican party he allied himself with it, and has stood firmly by it, especially through the perilous times of 1861-1865. Socially, he is a genial, whole-souled gentleman; honest in all his dealings, and enjoying the friendship of all with whom he comes in contact. By industry and frugality, coupled with a certain degree of shrewdness, he has managed to secure a comfortable competency, which, after his four-score and six years, he enjoys, with a fair prospect of continuing thus to reap the benefits of a good career yet for many years.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 90AARON BROOKS
Aaron Brooks, the oldest living settler in Mottville township,--in point of settlement, and the third oldest in point of age,--was born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, on the 7th of February, 1798. He was reared on a farm, and has spent all his life in agricultural pursuits. In 1808 he removed to Licking county, Ohio, and settled within seven miles of the present site of the city of Newark. In 1829 he removed to Mottville township, St. Joseph county, Michigan, and settled on the farm he now occupies, located on section twenty-four. It was then included in Cass county, but in 1830 the citizens residing thereon petitioned the legislature to have all the land on the east side of the St. Joseph river annexed to St. Joseph county, which was accordingly done. On the 19th of July, 1819, he married Cassy Newell, a native of Tuscarawas county, Ohio, by whom he had six children. January 7, 1838, he sustained the loss of his wife, and after remaining single for about four years, he married, in 1842, Ann Bell, a native of Monroe county, New York. By this union he has three children, namely:
JANE ANN, born December 25, 1843; married Robert Corner, April 20, 1863.
AMY JEANETTE, born August 4, 1849; married Frank M. Anderson, January 1, 1866.
ELLEN, born June 13, 1854, and married Amos J. Yoder, December 30, 1875.
In 1844 the people of his township evinced their appreciation of his integrity and general good character by electing him to the office of justice of the peace, which he filled with general acceptability.
In 1849 Mr. Brooks "Took up his tent and silently stole away," so to speak, to California, the then newly-discovered Eldorado, where he remained for about one year. He returned with about two thousand dollars, the result of hard and constant toil in the diggings. He made the overland journey, occupying five months and twenty days in its accomplishment. He returned by Panama, New Orleans, St. Louis, Peru, and thence by rail to Chicago, and from there by stage to his destination.
In religion he has always entertained liberal views, and has never assimilated with any particular denomination. In politics a Democrat, he polled his first vote for Andrew Jackson in 1832. He has always adhered firmly to the principles of Jacksonian Democracy, and has refused to recognize any of the many political innovations that have been made upon the old-time Democratic principles.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 91
Among the many old gentlemen whose biographies grace the pages of this history, none deserve a better mention than he whose name stands at the head of this sketch. The facts of his history are furnished us by members of the family, and are somewhat incomplete.
Joseph Miller was a native of Heidelberg, Lehigh county, Pa., and was born September 13, 1793; here he lived, following the occupation of a farmer. In 1817 he was married to Miss Mary Hill, of Pennsylvania; she was born December 5, 1797. As a result of this union four sons and three daughters were born to them, viz: Charles F., Samuel, Stephen P., Joseph, Esther, Mary, and Rachel A.
In 1836 Mr. Miller and family removed to St. Joseph county, Michigan, and located one and a half miles east of Mottville, on the old Chicago road; here he followed farming, in connection with keeping a public-house, till the spring of 1864, when he settled a half-mile farther east, where he resided until his death.
During the early days—before the era of railroads—he was engaged in carrying goods for merchants in Constantine and White Pigeon from Detroit and other places.
His faithful wife died May 9, 1851, leaving a large circle of friends to mourn her loss.
Mr. Miller was again married to Miss Effie Barclay, of Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, January 5, 1854. She was born December 3, 1819. Five children were born to bless this union, viz: Hattie L., Emma A., Carrie M., Frank L., and Dellie,--all of whom are living except Carrie M.
Mr. Miller has lived a quiet, unassuming life, and enjoyed the confidence of his fellow-citizens. He was for more than thirty years a worthy member of the Masonic order.
On the 14th of August, 1876, Death came and claimed him for his own. Mr. Miller lived respected and died regretted by those who knew him.
Mrs. Effie Miller is still living at the old home, surrounded by many of her children. She is the generous donor of this sketch and portrait.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 91
John Hartman, for many years a resident of Mottville township, but now a resident of Cass county, Michigan, was born in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, on the 20th of August, 1811. When but four years old he moved with his parents to Wayne county, Ohio, and from thence, in 1819, to Crawford county, in the same state.
After remaining in Crawford county ten years, his father (Solomon Hartman) concluded to come still farther west, and in 1829 came to St. Joseph county, Michigan, and settled on the south side of the St. Joseph river, about two miles east of the village of Mottville. There they entered eighty acres, and proceeded at once to erect their log-cabin, which was then the only kind of habitation in all this region.
On the 4th of August, 1830, Solomon Hartman died, leaving the family under the protection of his sons, Solomon, and the subject of this sketch. Solomon soon removed, and John subsequently bought eighty acres more land, which he developed into a fine, well-cultivated farm. In 1839 he removed to Cass county, and settled on his present farm. They endured similar hardships to those of other pioneers, and Mr. Hartman relates, among other things, that when they first came into the country they camped out fifteen nights before they could make the necessary arrangements to erect their log-house.
In 1837 he married Mary, daughter of Armstrong Davidson, Esq., an old pioneer and prominent citizen of Cass county. They have reared a family of six children, of whom five are still living. Levi, the second son, died in California, and the rest are all married, and are respected citizens of Cass county, living within five miles of the paternal roof. Through hard work and sound, practical economy, Mr. H. has increased his possessions until he now has a farm of two hundred and forty acres, where he resides, and a smaller one of eighty acres a few miles distant.
In politics he is a Democrat of the "Old Hickory" school. His religious sentiments embrace an extensive liberality. Having joined no particular church, he yet rightfully assumes the character of a good citizen and a respected neighbor. His estimable wife, the partner of his early struggles, and faithful helpmate for forty years, enjoys, by virtue of her many excellent traits of character, the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends. A portrait of this worthy couple, together with an illustration of their pleasant home, will be found elsewhere in this work, where it will remain as an monument to their industry, economy and good sense.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 91
Among the many prominent settlers of Mottville township, none occupied a more worthy place in the esteem and confidence of his fellow-townsmen than he of whom we write. Halsey Caskey was born in New Jersey, on the 8th of February, 1811, and, when but a child, accompanied his parents to Ontario county, New York.
April 30, 1835, he married Mary Hoagland, a native of Canadice, New York, and a family of four children blessed this union.
On the 6th of September, 1844, Mr. Caskey and his family came to St. Joseph county, and in the year following took up their permanent residence on the farm now owned by his heirs. He was brought up to agricultural pursuits, and was in every respect a good, practical farmer. His homestead bears the imprint of his careful management, and is considered as fine a property as exists in the township.
He was for many years a working member of the Methodist Episcopal church of White Pigeon, with which organization he united soon after his settlement in this country. His piety was one of his most prominent characteristics, and he always maintained a leading position in all matters relating to the growth and prosperity of the religious body to which he belonged. In all his business transactions he was actuated by a stern integrity, and he was never known to defalcate in any financial engagement, his word always being considered as good as his bond. In politics he was a Republican, and, while he never took an active part in the political movements of his day, he ever evinced a deep interest in what he considered the country’s good demanded, and this by rendering intelligent support rather than by affiliating with the political machinery in vogue.
After a useful, though not a long life, on the 11th of September, 1869, he died, leaving behind him a record that will long survive. By his death his family lost a kind and affectionate husband and father, the community an honest and upright citizen, and the church a useful and earnest member. His widow still resides in the old home, enjoying the comforts which the industry of her husband, coupled with her own economical household management, enabled them to accumulate.
The portrait of Mr. Caskey, which adorns our pages, was inserted by his widow as a token of affectionate regard, and we feel assured that it will always be to her and her children a source of reverential remembrance of the dear departed one.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 92
JACOB S. SMITH
Jacob S. Smith, son of Jacob and Catharine Smith, was born in Bucks county, Pa., October 22, 1800. He continued to reside with his parents while they lived, working on the farm, and having a general supervision of the old Pennsylvania homestead,--he being the only surviving member of the family.
He began life very poor, but by hard and persistent industry and frugality he has succeeded in securing a fair competency. When in his twentieth year he had saved enough to warrant him taking a wife, which he did by marrying Elizabeth Wyant, a native of Union county, Pa. The event transpired in October, 1820. Ten children, six sons and four daughters, have been born to them, of which number nine are still living; their names are Julia Ann, Peter, John, Kate, Isaac, Maria, Aaron, Susan, Joseph and Robert; and they were born in the succession as their names appear.
In May, 1857, Mr. Smith and his family removed to Mottville township, St. Joseph county, Michigan, and settled on the farm they now occupy, located within a convenient distance of the village of Mottville. He owns one hundred and sixty acres of well-cultivated and highly-productive land, while he is also accredited with possessing one of the finest barns in the township.
In politics Mr. Smith has always been a Republican since the organization of that party. Most of his children are married, and reside in different parts of the county,--possessing many of the excellent traits of character which their father endeavored to instill into their minds before they left the parental roof.
Mr. Smith very rightly enjoys the confidence and respect of the community in which he lives. He is a quiet, unassuming man of very prudent habits, but always willing to patronize a laudable enterprise. A portrait of Mr. Smith is placed in this work as a tribute to his general worth, and as a monument for his family and friends to cherish.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 92
SAMUEL R. WILEY
Samuel R. Wiley of Mottville, St. Joseph county, Michigan, was born at Naples, Ontario county, New York, August 31, 1796, and is therefore past fourscore. He was educated at the common-schools of his native town, and, at an early age, was apprenticed to the shoemaking trade, which, with tanning and currying, he followed until he reached his thirty-fifth year. At this time, namely, in 1831, he purchased a farm of fifty acres in Ontario county, where he remained until his removal to St. Joseph county, Michigan, in 1850. He settled on his present farm, which then contained one hundred and forty-five acres, but now, through a subsequent purchase, increased to one hundred and eighty-five acres. For the former he paid eight dollars per acre, and for the latter ten dollars. His farm is now a model of neatness, and his land in a high state of cultivation.
In 1856 he built his present neat dwelling-house, and added, by various improvements, to the value and beauty of his adopted home.
In 1821 Mr. Wiley took unto himself a wife in the person of Patience Clark, who was born at Naples, Ontario county, New York, June 14, 1801. This marriage was productive of much happiness and eleven children, of which number eight reached the age of maturity and are now comfortably settled in various States, and are respectable members of society, evincing in their lives the admirable lessons of self-reliance and rectitude taught them by their parents.
On the 24th of September, 1852, Mr. Wiley lost, by death, his wife, who had been his faithful companion for more than thirty years. It was to him and his family a sorrowful bereavement, but with the fortitude born of his Spiritualistic faith he feels her essential presence always with him, and humbly abides the time when they shall be again united.
Mr. Wiley was elected to several offices of trust in his native township, and has also served as a school-director in the township of Mottville one term. In politics he is a Democrat, priding himself in having voted for "Old Hickory" away back more than half a century ago. In religious belief he is liberal, as before intimated, holding fast to the doctrines of Spiritualism of the higher and nobler nature, and discountenancing its charlatanism. He carries his four-score years well,--the result of an abstemious and industrious course of life; and possessing the use of all his faculties unimpaired, he has fair prospects of living yet to see the dawn of another decade. In character, he is positive; in business, honest; in the discharge of duty, prompt and fearless. A good citizen and a desirable neighbor, he enjoys the respect of all who know him.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 93
The subject of our sketch comes of an old and respectable family, his grandfather, David Ebi, having served as a soldier in the Revolution, in a Virginia regiment of volunteers, through the entire war, when he was honorably discharged, but never claimed the pension allowed the old veterans of 1776. He of whom we write was born near Canton, Stark county, Ohio, December 19, 1813, and was one of a family of seventeen children, of whom fourteen survive.
The first nineteen years of his life he remained at home, assisting his father on the farm. A this time, however, he evinced a desire to learn the carpenter trade, and stipulated with his father for the remaining years of his minority, agreeing to pay the old gentlemen fifty dollars therefore, which contact he faithfully fulfilled, much to the satisfaction of his father.
In 1832 he shouldered his knapsack and left his father’s roof to begin life for himself, and was domiciled for that year with his uncle, David Ebi; during which time he attended school.
In 1832, with his brother Michael, he was apprenticed to a carpenter, but worked so hard that at the end of the second year he was obliged to return to his uncle’s house to recuperate, availing himself of the opportunity, in the meantime, to again attend school, and resumed his apprenticeship in the spring.
On the 30th of August, 1835, he engaged in a business expedition to Michigan for a brother, and walked to Akron, Ohio, the first day. He arrived at Mottville on the 6th of September, walking from Detroit since the 2d of the month. On arriving at Mottville he found his brother, Daniel Ebi, living with his father-in-law, Daniel Shellhammer. Here he met his future wife, Catharine Shellhammer, to whom he was married March 30, 1837.
Mrs. Ebi was born in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, November 11, 1817, and died September 26, 1858.
Eight children were born to them, of whom five still survive. Among the greatest trials of the married life of Mr. and Mrs. Ebi was the loss of three of their older sons, who died at a time when they were just developing into interesting youths. An unfortunate financial transaction, caused by the delinquency of another, cost Mr. Ebi the loss of all of his hard-earned property, at a time when he was laying the foundation for future competence.
The life-history of Mr. Ebi is a checkered one, experiencing all of the vicissitudes of a pioneer existence. He has at last, after many wanderings and changes, returned to the township where he made his first stay in Michigan of more than a single night.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 94
STEPHEN M. NASH
Sampson N. Nash, father of the subject of our sketch, was born in Maryland, and Lovina Allerton, his wife, was born in Pennsylvania. Stephen M. was born in Stark county, Ohio, January 26, 1823. In the fall of 1843 Mr. S. M. Nash, in company with his father’s family, emigrated to St. Joseph county, Michigan, and located some four miles south of White Pigeon. Here Stephen continued to live till the spring of 1848, when he settled in Mottville township. In September, 1852, he purchased some eighty acres of land of Joseph Miller; this, together with what he previously owned, constitutes his present home. In April, 1853, he was married to Miss Caroline Voorhees, daughter of Christopher Voorhees. November 26, 1854, their only child, Ada A., was born. Mr. Nash has filled various positions of trust and honor in the town, with credit to himself and general satisfaction to his constituents,--has served as justice of the peace, supervisor of the town, and chairman of said board. In politics Mr. Nash affiliates with the Democratic party; and in religion his sympathies are with the Disciple church.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, p. 107
James Hazzard, the father of our subject, was born in Massachusetts in 1769; was married in 1791 to Miss Sally Andrus of the same State. The fruits of this union were five sons and five daughters. William, the fourth child, was born February 10, 1798, at Berkshire, Massachusetts. When he was thirteen years of age his father died. The family were at that time living in the State of New York. After the death of his father the family removed to Vermont, where they remained a short time, and then removed to Oneida county, N. Y., and from thence, in 1817, to the territory of Michigan. They settled on the Huron river, near Detroit, where they remained until 1829. In the spring of that year Mr. William Hazzard penetrated the wilderness as far as the present town of Centreville, in St. Joseph county, in quest of a location for a home. He selected a government lot about two miles east of the county-seat, which has ever since been the home of himself and family. He made a little improvement and put in some crops on his new purchase, and returned in the fall to the family in Wayne county, and in the month of December in company with the Fletchers and others, came out to St. Joseph county. They arrived on Christmas day, 1829. He was married at the age of twenty-five to Miss Cassandra Coan, of Monroe, Michigan, by whom he became the father of fourteen children, named respectively James, Augustus, David, William, Melvin, Electa, Emily, Huldah, Sarah, George, Elvira, Lovilley, and two infants not named. Eleven of these children are now living, and all married. Mrs Hazzard, the mother, died at the old homestead in 1871, aged sixty-four years, universally regretted and mourned by her husband and friends.
The old gentleman, having all his life enjoyed the loving care of a wife and companion, felt his loss keenly, and finding an opportunity of repairing his loss, he married a second time. This was consummated in 1875. His second wife was a worthy widow lady of Mendon, with whom he leads a peaceful, happy life in his old age.
Mr. Hazzard is to-day the only surviving member of the first Methodist class formed in St. Joseph county in 1830, and has been all his life an honored member and a zealous advocate of the claims of the Methodist Episcopal church. The children were all educated in the tenets of that church, and two of the sons became ministers, and another is an exhorter and licensed preacher.
We present in this work a fine view of the old homestead, and portraits of the old pioneer and his deceased wife.
HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, pp. 108-109
JUDGE WILLIAM H. CROSS
On the banks of the upper Delaware, in the hilly country of Sullivan county, New York, in the town of Bethel, on the 6th day of March, 1807, William Hanna Cross was born. His father, John Cross, was an only son of Joseph Cross, of country Londonderry, Ireland, who, soon after the birth of John, left his wife and child and came to America. The Revolution of the colonies soon after commenced, and the wife never again met her husband, nor heard from him but a few times, but learned that he had joined the armies of the colonies, and was wounded at Charleston, South Carolina, and so concluded that he died from this cause. Left alone, the mother struggled to provide for herself and child, and soon after he arrived at an age sufficient to do somewhat for his own support, she too left him, then, alone in the world. By dint of hard work and self-denial the lad obtained a limited education, and before he attained his majority became a convert to Methodism, and was licensed as one of Wesley’s earliest itinerants in his native land. In his travels he met Margaret, the young widow of Bernard Connolly, of Armagh, a daughter of the aristocratic Hannas, of Newry, and, contrary to their wishes, the young itinerant and the blooming widow were married. The opposition of the wife’s family continuing, the young couple removed to Sligo, where they resided for several years, and until after the Emmett rebellion in 1798.
Mr. Cross protected some of the implicated parties, and in consequence fell under the suspicion of the government as being in sympathy with the rebels; and his business as a grocer, which he had taken up some time after his removal to Sligo, was so much disturbed, that in 1803 he determined to remove to America. Fearing annoyance and possible arrest, the mother took the family and crossed the Atlantic alone with the children, leaving the father to close up his business and follow her two months later—when they were again united in New York city, and, after a short stay, settled in Newburg, Orange county, New York, where Robert J., the brother of the subject of this sketch, was born, in 1804. In 1806 the family removed to Bethel, Sullivan county, where Mr. Cross engaged in the mercantile business. Here, in the rude school-houses of that day, under the government of the birch-rod and maple-ruler, the ideas of school education instilled into the youthful minds of Robert J. and William H. were wrought out.
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