VAN BUREN CITIZENS
Frank N. Wakeman-
Born and reared on a farm, or as a farmer's son, obtaining a good high
school education, then teaching school for a number of years and afterward
filling an important county office with great credit to himself and satisfaction
to the people for two terms, Frank N. Wakeman came to the duties
he now performs as editor and publisher of a progressive newspaper with
his faculties well developed and trained in an extended and varied experience.
In all the lines of endeavor he has followed from his boyhood he has been
attentive to their requirements and studied them with an ernest intention
to obtain as thorough a mastery of them as possible. This wise and fruitful
method of procedure has made him ready for almost any kind of work involving
mental acuteness, scholarship and good judgment, and is one of the strong
elements of his success in his present exacting and important engagement.
Mr. Wakeman's live began
in Lawrence, Van Buren county, Michigan, on July 4, 1870, and he is a son
of Nathan B. and Isabelle (Braybrooks) Wakeman, the former a native of
the state of New York and the latter of England. The father, who
was a farmer all his life, and for a number of years was also engaged in
raising live stock for the markets, came to Van Buren county in 1864, and
located on a farm in Lawrence township, on which he passed the remainder
of his days, dying in February, 1901. At the time of his death he
owned eighty acres of land especially well adapted to general farming
and raising stock. The mother is still living and has her home in
this county. She and her husband were the parents of seven children,
all of whom are residents of this county but one. They are : Frank
N., the immediate subject of this review; Nellie, the wife of A.H.
Abrams; Jennie, the wife of C. J. Rowlee; Carrie , the
wife of A. E. Abrams; Cora, the wife of William Nower; Veda, the
wife of Irvin D. Moore; and Abbie, who is living at home with her mother.
Nellie, Jennie, Carrie, and Cora all live in Lawrence, and Veda has her
home in Hillsdale, Michigan, one of the attractive cities of the state.
After the death of their
father the mother married a second time, uniting herself in this union
with James H. Brown, of Lawrence where she now resides, finding great comfort
in being near and associating freely with several of her children, and
enjoying in a marked degree, in company with her husband, the regard and
good will of all classes of the people, among whom she is well known and
warmly appreciated for the excellence of her character and her cordial
interest in everything that ministers to the comfort and betterment of
the inhabitants of the town and county.
After his graduation
from the Lawrence high school Frank N. Wakeman taught a district school
for two years, then was superintendent of the schools in Covert for six
years. At the end of that period he was elected county clerk, and
at the end of his term was re-elected , holding the office for four years
in all. When he retired from the public service he started an abstract
business in Hillsdale, and this he conducted for two years. His ability
and careful attention to all his duties in public and private life won
him a high reputation to all his duties, resourceful and capable man, and
opened the way to him for his present engagement as editor and publisher
of the True Northerner, a newspaper published in Paw Paw under the direction
of a stock company of which he is one of the leading members. He
is, in fact, the controlling spirit and real inspiration of the paper,
directing its policy and giving expression to its views and by his clearness
and force as a writer he has made it influential and popular, while his
business acumen has made it prosperous financially.
On July 31, 1895, Mr.
Wakeman was united in marriage with Miss Mamie E. Cross, a daughter of
George A. and Mary L. (Jennings) Cross. Her father was born in Michigan
and her mother in the state of New York. They have five children,
four of whom are still living: Mrs. Mamie Wakeman; George and Ina,
twins, George having died in infancy, and Ina being now the wife of N.
Nicholas, a resident of Arlington township; and Harry A., who is at present
(1911) county clerk of Van Buren county Mr. and Mrs. Wakeman have
one child, Wynn Francis, who was born on April 2, 1908. Mr. Wakeman
is a Republican in politics and an energetic and efficient worker for the
success of his party in all campaigns. Fraternally he is an enthusiastic
member of the Masonic order in all the branches of the York rite.
He belongs to the Lodge and Chapter in Paw Paw, the Council in Lawrence
and peninsular Commandery, Knights Templar, in Kalamazoo. He also
belongs to the Knights of Pythias and the order of the Eastern Star in
Paw Paw, and in all stages of his Masonic affiliation he takes a
deep interest and a serviceable part in the work of each. He is universally
known as one of the most useful and representative citizens of the county
from every point of view, and will deserves his rank.
Jerome C. Warner
- Following the peaceful
and productive occupation of a quiet farmer until his services were required
in the army in defense of the Union, then going valiantly to the field
and rendering the best service he could to the cause he had espoused, Jerome
C. Warner, of Paw Paw, has shown in his career as a man and a citizen that
he is ready for any call to duty and can be depended on to perform his
part ably and faithfully, whatever it may be. When he returned from
the war , bearing on his person the mark of service in the scar from a
dangerous wound received in one of the late battles of our sanguinary and
disastrous sectional strife, he again turned his attention to farming
for a short time, then became a merchant. In this last line of endeavor
he has risen to high rank in the part of the state in which his operations
are conducted, and has thus given another proof of his adaptibility to
circumstances and capacity to meet requirements, even in hitherto wholly
untried fields of labor.
Mr. Warner is a native of Van Buren county
and has passed the whole of his life within its borders, except during
the period of his military service. He was born on a farm in
Almena township on December 14, 1840, and is a son of Rev. Junia and Arminda
(Merry) Warner, natives of Herkimer county, New York. They came to
Michigan and located on the Van Buren county farm in 1835, the place of
their son Jerome's birth. On their arrival in this county they entered
three hundred acres of land belonging to the government and on that they
made their home and bestowed their labor until the death of the father
in 1847. After this event the mother remained on the farm and continued
cultivating it and rearing her children to usefulness in life by having
them perforn their full share of the work in conducting it. She survived
him thirty-six years, surrendering her trust at the behest of the Great
Disposer of Events in 1883. Nine children were born in the family,
three of whom died in infancy and four of the others have since died, the
latter being Philura, Elam L., Francis and Mary. The two still living
are Jerome C. and his brother Wilber F., who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Both were educated in the district schools and reared on the farm.
Both have also sought other prusuits in life and have won gratifying and
ell-deserved success in them. Jerome C. Warner
remained on the farm until 1864. On January 1, that same year, he
enlisted in Company H, Thirteenth Michigan Infantry, as a volunteer to
fight for the preservation of the Union. This company was connected
with the army corps commanded by General Sherman and he remained in active
service until the battle of Bentonville, North Carolina, when he was wounded
and removed to a hospital in New York City, where he remained about three
months, or until the fall of the Southern Confederacy and the close of
the war, being discharged in June 1865. When he left the army he returned
to the farm and conducted its operations for a short time. Finally
he sold it and moved to Paw Paw, where for a number of years he was extensively
and profitably engaged in merchandising, which business is not carried
on by his sons. He now owns one of the largest and most imposing
brick buisness buildings and one of the most attractive and valuable private
residences in the city. He also owns one hundred and thirty acres
of fine farming land, which he has purchased since he became a merchant
and to the cultivation of which he gives his person attention to the extent
of supervising and directing it.
Mr. Warner has taken a great interest
in the affairs of the city, township and county of his home and has rendered
their people excellent service in several important and responsible public
offices. He has been under sheriff of the county, township treasurer
two terms, township supervisor nine years and successively president, treasurer
and assessor of Paw Paw. In fraternal circles he is connected with
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he also belongs to the Grand Army
of the Republic. His religious fealty is given to the Presbyterian
church. In politics he is a Republican of pronounced convictions
and zealous in the service of his party at all times. On May 24,
1876, Mr. Warner united in marriage with Miss Jennie Kelly, and by
this union became the father of five children, all of whom are living
at Paw Paw. Wilber J. who is conducting the business formerly carried
on by his father, married Vivian daughter of R.W. Broughton, of Paw Paw.
They have one daughter, Jean. Glenn E. and Guy are twins, the former
being a lawyer and the present prosecuting attorney of Van Buren county,
and the latter in the furniture buisness at Paw Paw. Leland is associated
with his brother Wilber J. in buisness, and the youngest member of the
family is Blaine. Glenn E., Leland and Blaine still reside beneath
the parental roof-tree and assist in making the household one of the most
popular in the neighborhood and an attractive resort for numerous admiring
friends of the family. All the members stand high in the regard and good
will of the people and are looked upon as among the best and most useful
citizens in the county. They are accepted everywhere as worth representatives
of its sterling manhoood and the enterprise and progressiveness which distinguish
its inhabitants and sustain its excellent reputation in all parts of the
- This sterling citizen
of Van Buren county has passed the psalmist's span of three score years
and ten, and more than half a century of his life has been passed in the
county which is now his home and in which he is known and honored of men.
He may well be designated as one of the pioneer citizens of the county
and he has done his part in furthering its industrial and civic development
and upbuilding, the while his earnest and well directed efforts as one
the world's productive workers have not been denied a gracious fruition.
He has long been known as one of the representative exponents of agriculture
in Keeler township and his fine homestead well shows the thrift and good
management that have brought to bear by him, the while he here finds himself
surrounded by all that should compass old age. He is passing the
gracious evening of his life in peace and prosperity and surrounded by
friends that are tried and true and to whom his loyalty is inviolable.
Such are the citizens whose careers merit special consideration in publications
of this nature, and it will be a source of gratification to many residents
of Van Buren county to find within these pages a brief review of the worthy
life record of him whose name introduces this paragraph.
Oscar Adams was born in Allegany county, New
York, on the 22d of March, 1839, and is a scion of one of the staunch
old families of the Empire commonwealth, which has given to Michigan so
large and valuable a contribution, many of the early settlers of the southern
part of the state, having come from New York, as the annals of Michigan
well indicate, as so also names of towns, cities and villages which in
their titles give honor to old homes in New York. Mr. Adams is the
youngest in a family of three sons and two daughters born to Willard and
Esther (Baker) Adams, and he is now the only surviving member of
the immediate family. His father was born in Vermont and was a representative
of one of the pioneer families of that state, as well as one established
in New England in the colonial days, when that section was the matrix in
which was cast so much of the early history of the nation. Willard Adams
was reared to adult age in the old Green Mountain State, and after he had
passed his legal majority he accompanied two of his brothers in migration
to the state of New York. Owing to the exigencies of time and place
he had received but limited educational advantages, but he had the intrinsic
elements for the gaining of worthy success and made for himself a secure
place in connection with economic industry. He acquired land in Allegany
county, New York, where he reclaimed a productive farm and where he became
a citizen of prominence and influence in his community. Upright in
all the relations of life, industrious and God-fearing, his career was
one marked by earnestness, sincerity and worthy accomplishment, as well
as by temporal prosperity that was justly his due. In politics he
was a Jeffersonian Democrat, he was affiliated with the Masonic fraternity.
Esther (Baker) Adams was likewise a native of Vermont but was a child of
seven years at the time the family removed to the state of New York, where
she was reared to womanhood and where her marriage was solemnized.
Her father, Thaddeus Baker, was graduated in a college in England and was
a man of much ability, and he became one of the prominent pioneers of Allegany
county, New York, He secured a tract of wild land in the southwestern part
of that county and there developed a good farm. He found much requisition
for his services as a skilled surveyor and was called upon to serve in
various offices of public trust. He was for many years a justice
of the peace and also served for a number of years as judge of the
probate court of his county. Willard and Esther (Baker) Adams continued
to reside in Allegany county until their death and both attained
to venerable age.
Oscar Adams was reared to the sturdy discipline
of the farm and his early educational advantages were limited to a somewhat
irregular attendance in the common schools of his native county.
When but fifteen years of age he manifested his youthful independence,
self-reliance and ambition by severing the home ties and setting forth
alone to seek his fortunes in Michigan. He made his voyage
by lake steamer to Detroit and thence came on the Michigan Central Railroad
to Decatur, Van Buren county, where he arrived in March, 1857, with his
cash capital reduced to less than ten dollars. The venturesome lad
was ready to turn his attention to any honest employment and he soon secured
work on a neighboring farm, where he received fourteen dollars a month
for his services, this being the first money he had ever earned in an independent
way. For six years he continued to be thus employed as a farm hand,-
in Hamilton and Keeler townships,- and for three years of this period he
worked for Philotas Haydon, one of the well known pioneers of the county.
He had carefully saved his earnings and at the expiration of six years
he made his first purchase of land, securing one hundred and sixty
acres, for which he paid one-fourth of the purchase price and assumed indebtedness
for the remainder. The land was but slightly improved and he set
himself vigorously to the task of metamorphosing the same into a
productive farm. He has continued in possession of this during the
long intervening years and the same constitutes his present homestead,
which is recognized as one of the valuable farms of the county, with excellent
improvements and with every evidence of thrift and prosperity.
The first dwelling owned by Mr. Adams represented
an expenditure on his part of the sum of twenty-four dollars. This
was a wing of an old house and was transported to his farm by means of
an ox team. At that time deer, wild turkeys and other native game
were still plentiful, and he was enabled to add much to his larder from
this source. His experience also compasses the use of the old-time
cradle, which he has swung from sunny morn till dewy eve in the garnering
of grain and he utilized the old-fashioned scythe in cutting hay, both
kinds of products being raked up my hand. He has witnessed the marvelous
development in agricultural machinery and implements and finds satisfaction
in the use of modern improvements and facilities, though he ever reverts
with pleasure to the "dear, dead days beyond recall," and appreciates the
generous friendships and mutual helpfulness that marked the associations
of the pioneer epoch. He still has in his possession one of the grain
cradles of the old times and the same is worthy of preservation as a family
heirloom. By the use of this primitive implement he made a record
of cutting two and one half acres of grain in a day, and his memory constitutes
a link between the pioneer past and the present era of opulent prosperity
and manifold advantages. The first schoolhouse in the vicinity of
his home was erected in 1858, and he drew the stone for the foundation
of the same. He has used the goose-quill pen, prior to the manufacturing
of steel pens, and has fashioned many of these quills for such use.
As a boy he absorbed wisdom from Daboll's arithmetic, Kenyon's grammar
and Town's spelling-book, and few of the present day remain to recall these
Within three years after the purchase of his
farm Mr. Adams had labored industriously and had so carefully husbanded
his resources that he could have met all indebtedness. He had borrowed
money of his friend and former employer, Mr. Haydon, and he toiled and
planned until he was able to pay back dollar for dollar, the while
he was laying the secure foundation of future independence and prosperity.
Hard work, integrity of purpose and fairness and honor in all things have
characterized the career of this sterling pioneer, and he has not only
won but also deserved success, as well as the high regard of his fellow
men. In the stern school of experience and through self-discipline
he has gained valuable lessons, and he is one of the well informed men
of his county, taking a lively interest in its affairs and also in the
questions and issues of the day. He has done his part in the furthering
of enterprises and measures advanced for the general good of the community
and is known as a broad-minded and public- spirited citizen. Mr.
Adams cast his first presidential vote for Stephen A. Douglas, and his
second was in support of the immortal Lincoln, but since that time
he has been unwavering in his allegiance to the Democratic party. He served
several years as justice of the peace of his township and for thirty-three
years has been an official of his school district. He has shown deep
interest in educational matters and has done much to forward the upbuilding
of the public schools in the county that has so long been his home.
He is a zealous and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church
and has been earnest in its work. He assisted in the erection of
the first church building in the vicinity of his home, and this was used
by various religious faiths, without discrimination, tolerance and unity
of spirit being in evidence and the cause of the Divine Master being held
as the one essential. He has been an official member of the Methodist church
at Keeler for many years, having served as one of its trustees and having
been liberal in his contributions to the various departments of its work.
He has thus shown a high sense of stewardship, as has he also in the daily
walks of life, and this church is still open for the use of all denominations
at funeral and other occasions. Mr. Adams' fine homestead is located
nine mile distant from the city of Dowagiac Dan eight miles from Decatur.
It comprises ninety acres and the attractive home is known for its generous
hospitality, being a favorite rendezvous for a wide circle of friends whom
he has "grappled to his soul with hoops of steel."
Mr. Adams has been twice wedded. On
the 16th of February, 1862, was solemnized his marriage to Miss Sarah Geer,
who was born in born in Van Buren county, on the 2d of April, 1839, and
who here passed her entire life, her death having occurred on the 20th
of February, 1894. She was a member of one of the well known and
honored pioneer families of Hamilton township and her life was one of loving
consecration to home and family. Concerning the nine children of
this union the following brief record is given: Isabelle B. is the
wife of Fred H. Baker, who is one of the representative business men of
Dowagiac, where he is one of the principal stockholders in the Colby
Milling Company, and his wife is the owner of large land interests in Van
Buren county as well as the owner of a landed estate of one thousand acres
in Manitoba, Canada. Mrs. Baker was afforded excellent educational
advantages, including a course in an excellent academic institution at
Goshen, Indiana. Prior to her marriage she was a successful teacher
in the schools of her home township and she is now a prominent factor in
the leading social activities of the city of Dowagiac, being a woman whose
culture has been enhanced by the extended travels which she and her husband
have indulged through the various sections of the county. Oliver,
the eldest of the sons, is one of the prosperous and progressive farmers
of Keeler township, where he secured his early education in the public
schools. He married Miss Nora Someral and they have five children-
Wesley, Isabelle, Dorothy, Allen, and Oscar. Welsey L., the
second son, is engaged in mining enterprises in Alaska and is located thirty-four
miles distant from Fairbanks, that territory. He was afforded the
advantages of the Northern Indiana Normal School, now known as Valparaiso
University, and has been in Alaska since 1898. Deyo, the youngest of the
children, is in active charge of his father's old homestead farm and in
this connection he has shown an energy and judgment that have made him
justify the name which he bears. He is a Republican in politics,
and he is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He
married Miss Valorie Earl and they have one son, Maurice.
On the 26th of March, 1869, Mr. Adams contracted
his second marriage, having then been united to Mrs. Marcia (Buck) Beattie,
who proves a most gracious chatelaine of their beautiful rural home.
She was born and reared in Van Buren county, and is a daughter of the late
Lucius E. and Celina (Wise) Buck, who came to this county from the vicinity
of Geneseo, New York, and who here passed the residue of their lives, secure
in the high regard of all who knew them. Mrs. Adams is a specially
earnest and devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal church and is a woman
of marked culture and social attractiveness. She has served as both
president and vice president of the Thursday Literary Club, in the
village of Keeler, and for twenty years prior to her marriage she was one
of the valued and loved teachers in the public schools of her native county,
where her circle of friends is coincident with that of her acquaintances.
She is a pleasing public speaker and has been a popular factor in social
and literary circles for many years. By her first marriage she became
the mother of one child, Mrs. Nellie B. Sill, of Billings, Montana, and
she has two daughters, Beatrice and Margarie. Since their marriage
Mr. and Mrs. Adams have visited various sections of the Union, including
the Pacific coast and the eastern states, and they have thus found both
enjoyment and information, the while they have shown the proper recognition
of the uses of such temporal prosperity as is theirs. Mr. Adams is
a man of unassuming and thoroughly democratic bearing but his mind is a
veritable storehouse of knowledge and mature judgment, with a specially
large department from which may be drawn most interesting reminiscences
touching the pioneer days in Van Buren county.
Harry L. McNeil
- A lawyer by profession
and an abstracter by occupation, H.L. McNeil, of Paw Paw, is connected
with tow lines of work in which the interests of the county and its people
are deeply involved. He is serviceable to those interests in both,
and in the latter the people have come to depend on him for full information
concerning the titles th their real property, and to demand his services
almost constantly. But he attends to their wants cheerfully and with
alacrity, and gives them information and papers on which they can rely
with full confidence as to their correctness and completeness.
Mr. McNeil is a native of Paw Paw, where he
was born on April 21, 1870, and has passed nearly the whole of his subsequent
life among its people. His parents were Allen F. and Alzina (Halsted) McNeil,
the former a native of Michigan, born in 1844, and the latter, a native
of Ohio. The father was a blacksmith and worked at his trade all
his years after aquiring a knowledge of it. He died in 1909, at the
age of sixty-five years. The mother is still living and has her home
in Paw Paw, where she has lived many years ans is well known and universally
esteemed for her fidelity to every duty and the uprightness of her long
career of quiet but effective usefulnes.
They were parents of but one child, the subject
of this brief memoir. He obtained a high school education, being
gradutate in 1889, and then entered the office of Judge Heckert in Paw
Paw, under whose direction he began the study of law. He passed one
year in this office as a student, then entered the law department of the
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, from which he was gradutated in 1892.
During the next four years he devoted himself wholly to the practice of
his profession. At the end of the period mentioned he bought the
only abstracting business in Van Buren county, and since becoming the proprietor
of this he has made it his chief concern and used his enterprise to make
its operations co-extensive with the county and so complete as to meet
every requirement of the people in its line of work.
Taking a broad and comprehensive view of his
business, Mr. McNeil has made every effort to increase its usefulness and
expand the volume of his trade. He helped to organize the Michigan Abstract
Association, and served as its secretary for four years. He was also
one of the founders of the National Association of Title Men, of which
he was the first national secretary. He is now a member of the National
Judiciary Committee of that Association. His extensive and accurate
knowledge of the law governing real property, and his careful and exhaustive
study of his business have given him great weight and made him an accepted
authority on all questions connected with or growing out of the subject
of real estate titles in Van Buren county and also in a general way.
On October 18, 1893, Mr. McNeil was
united in marriage with Miss Jennie Towers, a daughter of E.C. and Ella
A. (Fuller) Towers, both natives of Michigan and the parents of two children,
Mrs. McNeil and her brother Lewis E., a resident of Mattawan in this county.
Mr. and Mrs. McNeil have but one child, Azel A., who was born on February
8, 1899. Mr. McNeil is independant in politics, giving consideration
in all campaigns only to the general welfare and ignoring partisan interests
altogether. He is a member of the Order of Odd Fellows and during
the year (1911) held the office of Grand Warden of the state in the
order and in October of that year, at the annual session held in Saginaw,
he was elected deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. He also belongs
to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He is in the first
rank as a citizen, and the esteem bestowed on him is general and cordial.
Rev. James Hatt Rennie
- Although the
life of this divine lasted only forty-one years, and ended when it should
have been in its prime and full of promise, and although his health was
failing for several years prior to his demise, he accomplished a great
deal of good, and made every year of his activity fruitful in service to
the cause of his Master and beneficial to the peoples among whom he ministered
from time to time.
Mr. Rennie was a native of Scotland, born
October 8, 1862, at Nether Tuloch, near Meldrum, the son of Robert and
Anna (Hatt) Rennie. He completed his academic education at Park College
in Parkville, Missouri, and his professional preparation for his great
work in life at Auburn Theological Seminary, Auburn, New York. After
leaving this insitution he was engaged in his sacred calling for a few
years in the East, and then the hand of Providence turned his face in the
direction of the setting son.
In the autumn of 1894 he came to Michigan,
and in 1895 located at Paw Paw, where he served the Presbyterian church
as pastor for one year. He then went to Colorado and took up his
work at Ouray in the state , remaining until 1898. During the next
year he was in charge of a church of his creed in Omaha, Nebraska, and
at the end of that period decided to rest from his labors for a year and
seek to regain his health and strength. He returned to Michigan for
the purpose, and here he remained until his death, which occurred
on November 22, 1903.
On June 28, 1899, Mr. Rennie was united in
marriage with Miss Clara Susanne Anderson, the daughter of Le Grande Redmond
and Susanne (Morris) Anderson. In domestic life, as all other relations,
he was a pattern of excellence and won high commendation. In his
politics he was by no means an active partisan, but in his faith adhered
to the principles of the Republican party, and usually voted for the candidates
it placed in the field for public office. In other repects besides
the exercise of his suffrage he took a citizen's interest in public affairs,
and strongly favored everything that he thought likely to advance the welfare
of the community in which he lived and promote the moral, mental or material
progress of its people.
He was a modest and unostentatious gentleman,
of high character and elevated tone, genial in manner, obliging in disposition,
cultivated in intellect and rich in all the bland amenities of life.
While he was able he was also tireless in his pastoral work and energetic
in doing all he could to make it as effective for the good of his flock
as possible. Wherever he lived he was greatly beloved, and his untimely
death was deeply regretted in every pastorate he ever served. His
memory is enshrined in the hearts of all who knew him, and the example
he gave of upright living and earnest spiritual striving toward a higher
and better life is still a potential force wherever it was exhibited and
exerted its influence while he walked, labored and counseled among men.
Willis V. Hall- This gentleman, who
is now one of the enterprising and progressive merchants and highly esteemed
citizens of Paw Paw, has lived in the city but five years, but in that
period has made an excellent reputation as a business man, upright and
independent in all his transactions, but wide- awake, to the needs and
interests of the community, and full of public spirit in helping to provide
for them and promote the comfort, convenience and general welfare of all
classes of its residents.
Mr. Hall has been in business, either for
himself or as manager for someone else, ever since he left school, and
like that of most business men his life has passed through quiet scenes
of daily routine and uneventful in large measure. But unlike many
business men, he has made the most of his opportunities for his own advancement
and the service of the locality in which he has lived. Every step
of his progress has been the result of his own efforts, unaided by favors
of fortune or adventitious circumstances.
He was born in Racine, Wisconsin, on February
14, 1876, and is a son of John H. and Louisa (Kingman) Hall, the
former as native of Vermont and the later of England. The father
was a machinist and followed his trade to the end of his life, which came
on May 12, 1881. The mother is still living and now resides in Chicago.
They were the parents of two children, Willis V. and his brother George
E., a resident also of Chicago, where he is a bookkeeper for the Apsley
Willis V. Hall obtained a high school education
in Kenosha, and then attended the Illinois College of Pharmacy in Chicago.
After his graduation from that institution he followed the drug trade in
Kenosha, Wisconsin, for six years. At the end of that period he moved
to Chicago, where he became assistant manager of one of the stores of the
Dearborn Drug Company, a position which he held continuously for five years.
He next passed a number of years in drug supply work in Chicago.
In 1906 he moved to Paw Paw and bought
a store, and in this he has ever since been conducting a general merchandising
business with a steadily advancing volume of trade and intensifying
hold on the confidence and regard of the people of the city and the surrounding
country. He has shown himself to be a thorough master of this business,
and has conducted it with a close and satisfying study of the wants of
the community in his lines of trade and the best method of supplying them.
In this way he has made his store extensively popular and won great credit
for himself as an energetic, enterprising and up-to-date merchant.
On July 30, 1900, Mr. Hall united in marriage
with Miss Mira A. Grennell, a daughter of M. J. and Catherine (Morgan)
Grennell and a native of Michigan. Two children have blessed the union
and brightened the household, Wilber Vern and Gilbert Kingman. The
father is independent in political affairs, but is always deeply interested
in the progress and improvement of the city and county of his home.
He was elected village clerk of Paw Paw in 1911, and his ability in the
office and devotion to duty with unswerving fidelity have brought him high
encomiums for the value of his work and his close attention to the interests
he has in charge. In fraternal relations he is a Freemason, and in
church affiliation a Methodist, with ardent interest in the welfare of
both his lodge and church, taking an earnest and helpful part in the work
of each, as he does in connection with all other moral agencies at work
among the people around him .
Harry J. Lurkins
- Representing the
third generation of his family in continuous ownership of the same farm
in Van Buren county, and never having known any other home, Harry J. Lurkins,
of Paw Paw township, has an especial interest in this part of Michigan
and the country. He was born and reared on this farm; he was educated
in the public schools of the county; he acquired his social training in
association with its people; and he is indebted to its industrial opportunities
for all he possesses in the way of worldly wealth. He is therefore wholly
a product of the county, and in his career as a farmer, a citizen and a
man he is a credit to the region of his birth.
The farm upon which he now resides has been
in the family for three generations. It was formerly owned by his
grandfather, who, when he died, left it to his son Charles, who resided
upon it until his death, in 1889, and it is now owned by Mrs. Charles J.
Lurkins, and her two sons, George W. and Harry J., and is known as the
Lurkins Keepsake Home.
Mr. Lurkins' life began on November 9, 1878,
and he is a son of Charles H. and Angie (Sanders) Lurkins, the former
a native of Geneva, New York, born in 1850, and the latter of Canada, born
in 1854. The father was brought to Michiagan and Van Buren county
when he was but four years old by his parents. His wife, the mother
of Harry J., was brought to this county by her parents in 1864. She
is still living on the old homestead in Paw Paw and Harry J. has his home
with her. Three children were born in the family: Harry J.; his older
brother George W., who now lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and his younger
sister, Maud B., who died when she was ten years old.
Harry J. Lurkins obtained a high school education
in Decatur, being graduated in 1897. He at once returned to the farm
Dan has ever since lived on and cultivated it. He does general farming,
employing a judicious succession of crops to secure the best results, and
raises live stock for the general market on a scale of some magnitude.
Of late years he has been giving special attention to the production of
grapes, and industry of recent introduction in this part of the state,
but one which promises to become a leader and a source of great profit
to those engaged in it and of decided benefit to the mercantile interests
of the county. Mr. Lurkins' farm comprises two hundred and twenty-eight
acres, including the interests of the other members of the family in it,
but he cultivates it all and in so progressive and enterprising a way that
he makes every acre yield its due tribute in return for the intelligent
and careful labor bestowed upon it.
In the public affairs of the township and
county of his home Mr. Lurkins takes a warm and helpful interest.
He is always ready to aid in promoting any worthy undertaking for the improvement
of the locality and the welfare of the people, and he gives attention to
the government by doing a good citizen's duty in reference to political
matters, according to his convictions. Firm in his faith in the principles
of the Republican party, he supports its candidates in all campaigns, if
they are worthy, and does what he can to secure their election and keep
up the general strength and spirit of the party. But he desires no
political office for himself. His mother's church affiliations is
with the Baptists. In all the relations of life he gives a fine example
of progressive, enterprising and industrious manhood and elevated American
citizenship, and the people of the county esteem him as one of their most
useful, upright and representative men, always faithful to every duty and
sincerely devoted to the best interests of the region in which he lives.
, who is
engaged in agricultural pursuits in section 29, Paw Paw township, is one
of the successful farmers of Van Buren county, and the owner of one hundred
and forty acres of fine land. The farms of this section are as well
regulated as any to be found in the state, and Mr. Hood's land is
no exception to this rule, as he is a skilled africulturist and through
years of hard , faithful endeavor he has brought his tract into an excellent
state of cultivation. Charles Hood was born July 4, 1861, in county
Norfolk, England, and is a son of Sanuel and Rachel (Butcher) Hood.
Mr. Hood came to the United States as a young
man, and was followed four years later by his brother, George Hood, who
is now engaged in farming in Paw Paw township. Charles Hood has always
been engaged in agricultural pursuits, and he is now the owner of
good land. he is a stanch Republican in politics, and his friends
credit him with being an advocate of more liberal educational facilities
and stringent laws governing the same. He has won the respect of
his fellow citizens for his fair dealings and honest methods, ans is self-made
in the full sense of the term, having, from a start of nothing, accumulated
the comfortable property which he now and enjoys and richly deserves.
On April 14, 1897, Mr. Hood was married to
Miss Annie Kay, daughter of Joseph and Jennie (Sheppard) Kay, and one child
has been born to this union: Max, who was born March 7, 1904. Mr.
Hood is a popular member of the Gleaners, and socially no family in Paw
Paw township stands higher.
John M. Ridlon
.- Lacking but a few
months of being ninety years of age, and in the long period o his earthly
existence having had often trying, sometimes hazardous, and always instructive
experience in several lines of useful endeavor; having started on life's
journey in the remote East, and being, within a short time at the utmost,
about to end it in the Middle West of this great country, and having also
seen something of its Farther West by residence among its people for some
years; having taken up arms in defense of the Union when civil war threatened
to dismemberment, and devoted all the remainder of his years to augmenting
its power, increasing its prosperity and promoting the welfare of its people
by fruitful industry in the domain of peaceful production, John M. Ridlon,
of Lawrence, this county, presents in his career an epitome of American
He saw the nation in the infancy of its life
and has witnessed its struggles with the wild forces of nature and with
foreign foes, and its triumph over both. He has seen it terribly
torn and distressed by internecine strife, and ending that to its far greater
glory, progress and prosperity, and elevating its people through the baptism
of blood to a higher conception and standard of humanity. He has
beheld its mighty triumphs in every department of human activity, mental,
moral and material, and to the full measure of his capacity and his opportunities
he has aided in bringing about the great achievements the American people
have written so luminously and in such large and enduring phrase in the
annals of mankind.
Poetry sparkles, Heroism glows, Tragedy darkens
in the texture of his long life, and the golden thread of sentiment runs
brightly through its woof. Wide gulfs of time and space are compassed in
its range and made as naught. Since it began-since the hardy New Englander
first saw time and tide between him and his ancestral home- distant countries
have become near neighbors, the Atlantic has been mad a narrow frith across
which the Old World and the New shake hands, the Pacific has been bound
to it with hoops of steel, and our own East and West have learned to look
into each other's windows. The great Northwest, at the commanding
might of mind, has risen from her slumber of centuries and , clad in comeliest
habiliments, has come forth to greet her lord, the Genius of an advanced
and progressive civilization, and laid all her treasures at his feet.
And he who has lived that life and helped to make this record, is still
among us in active vigor and usefulness, reminding all who know him of
some genial year, proceeding its close undoubtedly, but with its seasons
of warmth, and bloom and fruitfulness not yet wholly spent.
Mr. Ridlon was born on May 16, 1822, in York
county, Maine, not far from the town of Bonny Eagle. He is the son
of Joseph and Mary (Hopkinson) Ridlon, also natives of that county, and
belonging to families domesticated there for generations. Joseph Ridlon
was a son of James, the second son of Mathias Ridlon, who was the third
son of Magnus Ridlon. The last named was born and reared on the Shetland
Islands off the north coast of Scotland, where his life began in 1698.
In 1717, when he was nineteen years of age, he came to America and
located in New England. There he reared a family and started the
name in this country.
His grandson, Joseph Ridlon, the father of
John M., was born in York county, Maine, on May 26, 1782, and in March,
1802, was united in marriage with Miss Mary Hopkinson, the daughter of
William Hopkinson, of that county. They became the parents of five
sons, who were, like themselves, constant and honest in their industry,
clean, upright and moral in their lives, and steadily useful to the people
around them in their several localities. They were all reared in
their parental household, and all but John M. passed their lives in their
native heath. He alone sought new scenes and associations and a new
field of opportunity, and he is the only member of the family now living.
John M. Ridlon grew to the age of eighteen
in his father's home, and by the time he reached that age he had already
taught school three terms, although his own facilities for education were
limited to those furnished by the primitive schools of the rural regions
in his boyhood and youth. At the age of eighteen he found employment
as a clerk and salesman in a store in the town of Gorham, Cumberland county,
but not far from his home. He remained in the store six years, and
at the end of that period decided to come West. He located at Oshkosh,
Wisconsin, with very little in the way of worldly wealth or capital for
business, and took up one hundred and sixty acres of land which was still
virgin to the plow and had never heard of the persuasive voice of the husbandman.
He cultivated this land for one year, then came to the conclusion that
he could do better in some other occupation. The lumber trade was
then assuming large proportions and a very active condition in that
neighborhood, and he sold his farm and embarked in this line of mercantile
business. He remained in the lumber trade four years, and during
this period he was happily married to Miss Sarah M. Phelps, the daughter
of A.H. Phelps, at that time a resident of Lawrence. The marriage
took place in 1852, fifty-nine years ago, and both parties to the contract
are still enjoying the union which made them one so long ago.
In 1854, two years after his marriage, Mr.
Ridlon moved his family to Lawrence in this county, and bought a farm of
ninety-four acres of land on the outskirts of the village or hamlet, as
it was then, and in June 1855, just one year after his arrival, he assumed
the duties of deputy county treasurer of Van Buren county, under A.H. Phelps,
his father-in-law, who had been elected treasurer. Mr. Ridlon served
as deputy two years, and was then elected treasurer, being a candidate
on the ticket which contained the name of General John C. Fremont as candidate
for the president of the United States, and was the first national ticket
of the Republican party. His services were so acceptable to the people
that they gladly elected him for a second term in the office of county
treasurer. This term expired on December 31, 1861, and on August
27, 1862, he was commissioned first lieutenant and quartermaster in the
Twenty-fifth Michigan Infantry, then enlisted for service during the Civil
War. He served in the army three years, lacking forty days, and was
honorably discharged at Salisbury, North Carolina, on July 13, 1865.
His services as quartermaster were rendered for a time at the headquarters
of General Schofield in Ohio and at Knoxville, Tennessee, and afterward
at the department headquarters of Kentucky in Louisville, of which General
John M. Palmer was in command, and in performing them he was so capable
and faithful to duty that he won the commendation of both these generals.
In 1866 Mr. Ridlon took up his residence in
the village of Lawrence, building for his use the dwelling in which he
know lives. He entered mercantile life again, and was in business
for himself five years, after which he gave up his establishment and worked
in stores of other merchants until 1888, when he and his wife went to live
with their daughter, Addie, who is the wife of James H. Yund and resides
in Grand Island, Nebraska. Mr. Yund owns a store in that city, and
Mr. Ridlon assisted him in its management eight years.
At the end of that time he returned to Lawrence,
and here he and his wife have lived ever since. He has a number of
years been retired from active pursuits, except that he has acted as agent
for several insurance companies. He and his wife have three children, thirteen
grandchildren and three great -grandchildren. Their children are:
Jennie F., who is the wife of S.M. Hess, of Lawrence; Addie B., who is
the wife of James H. Yund, of Grand Island, Nebraska, as has been stated;
and Charles A., whose home is at Roulette, Potter county, Pennsylvania,
where he is superintendent of a stave factory, which carries on an extensive
business. Mr. Ridlon and all the members
of his family belong to the Congregational church. He and his wife
hold their membership in the church in Lawrence, of which he had long been
one of the deacons, and will in all probability continue to be as long
as he lives. His father was a deacon in his church, the Baptist,
for many years, and was always spoken of as "Deacon Joseph" in the community
of his home. This official connection with the church in father and
son probably covers nearly a century of time, and furnishes a strong proof
of their genuine worth, the uprightness of their lives and their steadfast
interest in the welfare of the people among whom they lived and labored.
From his youth the venerable patriarch who
is the interesting subject of these paragraphs has felt an interest in
the affairs of his country and given special attention to the moral side
of its government according to his convictions. He was a member of
the Know Nothing party during his brief and stormy existence, and has been
strong and steadfast in his devotion to the principles and candidates of
the Republican party from its birth "Under the Oaks" in Jackson, Michigan.
His loyalty to it has not been based on any hope of personal reward, but
on his abiding faith in the virtue of his party and in its beneficence
as an instrument in promoting good government, whether it be that of this
county, his state, or the nation. In political matters, as in all
others, duty has thundered in his soul, and he has obeyed its supreme mandates.
Charles B. Molby
- An honorable farmer-citizen
of Waverly township is Charles B. Molby, who has resided in this locality
since boyhood and who, although leading a quiet life, has been a factor
for good in the community, never failing to yield support and co-operation
to any measure that has appealed to him as likely to be conducive to the
public good. He has spent his life as a farmer and on his small,
but well-improved farm of forty acres conducts successful operations in
Mr. Molby is one of that large portion of
the citizenship of Van Buren county, Michigan, which the section owes to
the state of New York, his birth having occurred in Onondaga county, that
state, February 2, 1857. He is the only child of Benjamin and
Betsy (Stanley) Molby, both likewise natives of New York. They came
to Van Buren county in 1866, when the subject was less than ten years old,
and here resided until their demise, that of the father taking place on
February 19, 1906, and that of the latter in June 1881. Benjamin Molby,
whose death removed from the community a venerable and esteemed citizen,
was a Democrat in politics and a Spiritualist in religious conviction.
During his active career he pursued the occupation of a carpenter, joiner
Charles Molby received his education in the
public schools and under the preceptorship of his father became well versed
in the many secrets of seed time and harvest. When his school days
were concluded he gave his time to the great basic industry and has ever
since remained thus engaged. He secured his present farm December
Mr. Molby laid the foundations of a home of
his own when on October 27, 1878, he was united in marriage to Amelia Palmer,
daughter of Harvey and Aurilla (Baker) Palmer. She was born in Genesee
county, New York, November 7, 1855, and came to this county with her parents
when only about ten years old. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Molby has been
blessed by the birth of two daughters. Mertie is the wife of Ivan
Sergeant and her two children, Ima J. and Boyd C., entitle the subject
to the distinction of grandfather. Kitty Christine is the wife of
In politics Mr. Molby is independent, giving
his support to what he esteems the best man and the best measure and deeming
partisanship a secondary consideration. Fraternally he is a member
of the Modern Woodmen of America and the Royal Neighbors and in each carries
a thousand dollars insurance.
belongs to a family
who heeded the injunction of the famous editor to go west and grow up with
the country. Both F. N. Overton and his wife, Louise Wood Overton,
were natives of New York. The mother of the latter, Grandmother Wood,
lived to the age of ninety-six and passed away in 1909. Her father
was a soldier in the Revolutionary war and she was a loyal member of the
order of the Daughters of the American Revolution. There were three
children born to F. N. and Louise Overton, Vern, Rene and Miller.
Verne is a resident of Allegan and is associated in the creamery business
with her brother Glen, of Van Buren county, and Rene is deceased.
Miller Overton was born on December 29, 1874, and before he was three years
old his mother died, passing to the other life on May 15, 1877. The
father took as his second wife Nettie Van Benschoten, and two children
were born of this union. These are Elsie, deceased, and Glen, of Allegan,
Miller Overton attended the district school
and then graduated from the Bangor high school, finishing his course there
in 1892. After this he spent a year in the University of Chicago, in its
preparatory school, and then returned to the farm to devote himself to
agriculture. Mr. Overton is a farmer of one hundred and forty acres
of land and he specializes in the growing of fruit and in dairy products.
He also gives considerable attention to the raising of peppermint.
On April 17, 1896, Mr. Overton was married
to Ivy, the only child of E. S. and Lida (Fry) Harvey, of this county.
This Union has been blessed with five children, Paul, Merit, Delila, Kenneth
and Carol. Delila died in childhood, but the others are all still
Mr. Overton is Independent as to his politics.
He belongs to the Grangers and attends the Christian Science church.
, whose post office address
is Rural Route No. 5, Bangor, Michigan, and who has been identified with
the old Monroe homestead for a period of fifty-five years, is one of the
highly respected citizens of this locality.
Mr. Monroe is a native of the "Empire State."
He was born in Livingston county, New York, July 31, 1839, a son of Samuel
and Laura (Swift) Monroe, both natives of New York. By trade his
father was a carpenter and builder, at which he worked in early life, but
later settled down to farming. In 1856 he moved with his family to
Michigan, and that year bought one hundred and sixty acres of land in section
15, Arlington township, Van Buren county, where he carried on general farming
the rest of his life. Of his four children, Miles is the youngest.
The eldest, Cornelia, is deceased; Bethia, the second born, is the wife
of G. W. Monroe, of Arlington township; the third child died in infancy.
The mother of this family died when Miles was a babe. He was eighteen
when he came with his father to Michigan, and since then his home has been
on the farm on which his father settled, eighty acres of which he now owns.
In addition to this land he has an interest in a forty acre tract in section
16. And here he has carried on general farming and stock raising,
cultivating the crops common to the locality and meeting with a fair degree
October 15, 1860, he married Christiana De
Haven, the daughter of Joel and Christiana De Haven, who traveled life's
pathway with him for nearly thirty-six years. She was called to her last
home February 15, 1896, and was laid to rest in the Hopkins Cemetery in
Arlington township. Two children were the fruits of their union-
Samuel E., a farmer of Arlington township, and Catherine, wife of Charles
J. Palmer, who lives at the old homestead with father.
Politically Mr. Monroe has always affiliated
with the Democratic party, and in his younger days took an active interest
in local affairs, having at different times served efficiently in such
offices as township treasurer, highway commissioner and justice of the
peace. Fraternally he is identified with the Masonic order.
William E. Zook
, who is engaged in
the dairy business in Van Buren county, Michigan, living on Rural Route
No. 5, near Bangor, is a native "Wolverine," having been born in Allegan
county in the "Lake State" February 3, 1873. His parents, William
L. and Tennie (Wydner) Zook, are natives respectively of Indiana and Ohio,
and are now residents of Bangor. During the Civil war his father
served as a Union soldier, and as a result of a wound received in battle
he was disabled for work at his trade, that of a blacksmith, and he became
a farmer. He bought land in Allegan county, Michigan, and farmed
there until the year 1889, When he sold out and moved to Bangor, his present
home. In his family were six children, namely: Zora, deceased; Bessie,
wife of Albert Judy, of Allegan county; Bert W., of Jamestown, Michigan;
William E., whose name introduces this sketch; Morton, deceased; and Ora
W., of Bangor.
William E. Zook, attended public school at
Bangor up to the time he was sixteen years of age, and since that time
he has devoted all his energies to farming. The sixty acre tract
on which he now lives is owned by his father, and is especially adapted
for dairy purposes.
On August 26, 1900, Mr. Zook and Miss Emma
Lawver were married, and their home had been blessed in the birth of six
children: Bessie E., born June 2, 1901; Ora L.., December 27, 1902; Ralph
H., December 4, 1904; Millmann, November 8, 1906; James Taft, November
21, 1908; and Carl E., March 1, 1911. Mrs. Zook is a daughter of Hiram
and Julia (Bump) Lawver, the former a native of Michigan and the later
of Ohio, and one of a family of eleven children, as follows: Wallace, deceased;
Alice; James, a seaman; Emma; David J., deceased; Ralph, deceased; Florence,
wife of Bert Casey, of Central Lake, Michigan; Bertha, of Kalamazoo, Michigan;
Ethel, of Pullman, Michigan; John, deceased; McKinley, of Pullman, Michigan.
Politically Mr. Zook is a Republican.
Fraternally he is identified with the Odd Fellows and the Gleaners.
As a citizen he has the confidence and respect of the people of his community.
Charles J. Anderson
.- Many of
the more enterprising and thrifty agriculturists of our country were born
across the sea, prominent among the number being Charles J. Anderson, of
Bloomingdale, Van Buren county, whose birth occurred January 16, 1864,
in Westervik, province of Smaland. His father, Andrew J.Anderson, a farmer
in Sweden, where he has spent his entire life, reared two sons and three
daughters, all of whom, with the exception of his son Charles, still reside
in their native land, his other son, Gustav Emil, being engaged in farming
Leaving school at the age of fifteen years,
Charles L. Anderson worked on the home farm until 1884, when he entered
the merchant marine service, sailing for eight months on an English vessel
and for seven months on a German vessel, during which time he visited all
of the important sea ports of Europe. Immigrating to America, the land
of promise, in 1887, Mr. Anderson was variously occupied for a time, finally
becoming an entry clerk for the widely known firm of Hibbard, Spencer &
Bartlett, of Chicago, Illinois, in whose employ he continued for ten years.
Resigning his position, he then visited his parents and friends, remaining
in Sweden for ten months. Returning to Chicago, Mr. Anderson was
there employed as a watchman for nearly a year and half. Coming from
there to Van Buren county, Michigan, he bought an estate in Bloomingdale
township, where he has since been a profitably engaged in general farming
and poultry raising.
Mr. Anderson married, in 1891, Augusta Olev,
who was born in Sweden, where her parents were life-long residents, she
and three of her sisters being the only members of the family to come to
America. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson have one child, Lillie Augusta.
Religiously they were reared in the Lutheran faith.
William Broadwell, Sr
.- A chronicle
of the representative men and women of Van Buren county, which aims to
give credit to usefulness and honor, such as is the purpose of this history,
would scarcely be complete without record of that prominent and highly
esteemed citizen William Broadwell, Sr., owner of forty acres within the
corporate limits of Bangor and of sixty acres in Arlington township.
He is a veteran of the Civil war and one of the public-spirited citizens
who have contributed in no small measure to the general prosperity.
William Broadwell, Sr., was born in Granby,
New York, February 26, 1838, the son of William Henry and Olive (Hughnin)
Broadwell, both natives of the Empire state. The father devoted his
entire life time to the great basic industry. The subject's sister,
Harriet, now deceased, became the wife of Edward Mayhew, of Detroit, Michigan.
William Broadwell, Sr., was by no means reared
in the lap of luxury, but in his youth knew the meaning of hard work, which
seems to be one of the surest "open sesames" to success. At the age
of thirteen he learned what it was to win hunger and weariness by honest
toil, for six years working on the Oswego canal. He then took up
farming for a year or so and first took up his residence in Michigan in
1856. He then located at South Haven and in 1857 first embarked in
the lumber business, in which he engaged until 1861. In the meantime
the first guns had been fired at Sumter, and the patriotic young man was
one of the first to enlist, on August 20, 1861, becoming a member of Company
D, Sixth Michigan Volunteer Infantry, which later became heavy artillery,
and he served in the cause of the Union for the ensuing three years.
He was mustered out in Kalamazoo on August 20, 1864, exactly three years
after his enlistment.
Upon again donning civilian's garb, Mr. Broadwell
returned to South Haven and began the work of overseeing the operation
of several sawmills in Van Buren county. His identification with
Bangor dates from the year 1878 and his activities in his first years here
was divided between sawmill and lumber business. He later took up
agriculture in addition to his other interests, and has proved exceedingly
successful in this line. As previously mentioned, he has a splendid
homestead of forty acres within the corporation of Bangor, upon which his
fine home is located. He is a director and vice president of the
West Michigan Savings Bank.
In 1865 Mr. Broadwell laid the foundation
of a happy home life by his union with Anna McDonald, daughter of Donald
and Catherine (McPherson) McDonald, both natives of Scotland. His
first wife died in 1896 and he married a second time, in 1898, Mary Grant.
By the first marriage there is one child, William McDonald, who has taken
over his father's lumber business. This son was born November 11, 1866.
He has been twice married. His first wife was Rosa Cooper and this
union was blessed by the birth of one daughter, Anna, now a teacher in
the public schools. She was graduated from Michigan Normal School
in 1910. After the death of the first Mrs. Broadwell he married Barbara
Moore and they share their pleasant home with three children, namely:Mildred,
William McDonald, Jr., and Catherine. He and his wife are affiliated
with the Congregational church.
In his political faith William Broadwell,
Sr., is a tried and true Republican and his fraternal loyalty is with the
Masonic order. In religious views he is a Congregationalist.
I. P. Bates
.- In the year 1776 there
was born to Israel Bates, of Vermont, a son, Jacob. The father went
into the war a little later and fought for the independence of the colonies,
so the little boy grew up in an atmosphere of rumors of battles and of
the fine indifference to small matters of personal comfort which characterized
these earlier Americans whose faces were set as a flint toward the goal
of liberty. Jacob Bates went west when he grew to manhood and settled
in New York, where his son Daniel was born in Herkimer county. Daniel
married Eliza Pinkham, of Onondaga county, and of this union was born in
1835, on the thirtieth of December, I. P. Bates, the subject of this review.
There were twelve children in the family of
Daniel Bates, eleven of whom grew to maturity. Lydia is the widow
of Isaac Nelson, of Pennsylvania. John D. Bates also lives in the
Keystone state. Eliza Jane is the widow of Webster Johnston, of Arlington
township. Perry is now dead, Lovina is the widow of J. L. Williams,
of Kansas, and Ellen is the widow of L. G. Cunningham, of the same state.
Otis is a judge of the probate court in Lane county, Kansas. Russell
is a United States Marshal in Nome, Alaska. Mansel is a contractor
and builder in Kansas. Emma is the wife of Henry A. Gerdes, of Minneapolis,
Minnesota, where her husband is a cement contractor for the city.
The father moved to Kansas in his latter years and died there at the age
of sixty-one. The mother lived to the age of eight-eight and died
Israel P. Bates was the third in the family
and until he was twenty he stayed with his father. At that age he
came to Arlington Centre, Van Buren county. He had attended the Mayville
academy in New York for one year and after coming to Van Buren county in
the years 1856-1859 he went to school at Lawrence and then was for two
years a student at Hillsdale College. When the war broke out he shouldered
a musket to preserve the country his great-grandfather had fought to make
a nation, enlisting in Company G, Second Michigan Cavalry, under Captain
Fred Fowler. He served for three years and was mustered out October
3, 1864, at Washington D. C.
Mr. Bates had begun preaching in 1859, his
first sermon having been given in April of that year, and after returning
from the war on May 6, 1866, he was ordained for the ministry of the Baptist
church and began the work of preaching, which has been his work ever since.
He is still active in this profession after more than forty years in its
service. He is of that company who, like the pioneers of Kansas,
take a rifle and a Bible to guide their course by, and while they do valiant
service both with their muskets and with "the sword of the spirit, which
is the word of God," they are in no whit lacking in what we term the practical
concerns of life. Mr. Bates not only preaches the gospel, but he
farms his place of forty acres besides.
On the first of December, 1864, Mr. Bates
was married to Sarah, the daughter of Alfred C. and Maria Church.
Mrs. Bates is a native of Michigan, being born one month after it became
a state, her birthday and that of President Cleveland's being but one day
apart. There were five children in the family in which she grew up.
The others: Mary, Arietta, Matilda and Elliot W., are deceased. There
have been six children born to Mr. and Mrs. Bates. Ina, the eldest,
is dead. She was the wife of E. Peacock, of Paw Paw. Rose is at home
and Alva C. lives in this county. Relly T. is a resident of Waverly.
Florence and Clyde are both dead, the latter having been accidentally shot,
while in North Dakota.
Mr. Bates is a Republican and a worker in
the G. A. R. For twenty-two years he has been chairman of the Soldier's
Relief Commission. He is commander of the Grand Army Post and has
also been its chaplain. It would be impossible to speak too highly
of the work of this patriotic and devoted citizen who has striven so long
and so faithfully in all which makes for the best life of the country.
.- The German-Americans
of this country are regarded as among the most reliable and esteemed citizens
of the land, and where they live there is sure to be found a number of
substantial homes. They usually take a great interest in the development
of the resources of a community and make for good government, thus proving
themselves very desirable additions to their adopted country's citizenship.
Among the men of this class in Van Buren county was the late Ferdinand
Menig, a successful agriculturist and veteran of the Civil war, who was
born in Bavaria, Germany, October 13, 1841, and died January 4, 1910, in
Paw Paw township. Mr. Menig was a son of John and Margaret Menig,
natives of Germany, whose other children were: George and Ursula, both
of whom are deceased.
The Menig family came to the United States
in 1852, when Ferdinand was eleven years old, and settled in New York,
where Mr. Menig learned the trade of baker and where he was living at the
time of his enlistment in Company C, Fourth Regiment, New York Artillery,
with which organization he served five years. He then entered the
arsenal at Watertown, Massachusetts, where he worked three years as a baker.
On completing his service Mr. Menig went to Egerton, Ohio, and formed a
partnership with George Kerr, with whom he was engaged in operating a woolen
mill until 1878, then going to Danville, Illinois, where he purchased of
Henry Riggs a half interest in woolen mills at that place, and after three
years bought out his partner's interests and continued it for twenty-five
years. While in Ohio he had met with an accident which deprived him
of an arm, but he did not allow misfortune to keep him from making a success
of his business ventures. After conducting the Danville mills alone
up to 1906 he moved to Antwerp township, Van Buren county, and took up
one hundred acres of farming land in section 19, which he continued to
operate until his death. During his entire business career he has
actuated by the highest principles of honor, and he stood high in the esteem
of his fellows.
On December 8, 1864, Mr. Menig was married
to Miss Mary Shean, who was born in Massachusetts, and nine children were
born to this union, as follows: Margaret, now known as Sister Eunice, is
at present teaching in Alexandria, Virginia. She was educated at
the Holy Cross Convent of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, and following
her graduation taught nine years in South Bend. Mary is the wife of Thomas
E. Brown, assistant cashier in the bank of J. G. Cannon, Danville, Illinois.
George is a resident of Kokomo, Indiana. Gertrude is the wife of Dr. Hooton,
of Danville, Illinois. Ursula C. lives at home with her mother. Frank is
a resident of Paw Paw. Nellie H. is residing at home. August is living
in Danville, Illinois. Bertha is the wife of George Fisher, superintendent
of light and heat for the Illinois Traction Company at Danville.
Mr. Menig was a Republican in his political
views, and served as school director and justice of the peace for many
years, being closely identified with the progress of his township and being
justly regarded as one of its most influential men. He and his family
were connected with the Catholic church.
John J. Markillie
.- Among the men
who have given the farmers of Van Buren county their high name for industry
and progressiveness of methods is John J. Markillie, of Hartford township.
He comes of sturdy old English stock. He was born March 17, 1849,
in Longsutton Crosses, Lincolnshire, Old England, the son of Edward and
Mary (Skeels) Markillie, neither of whom ever came to this country, and
both of whom have now passed away. The early life of John Markillie
was spent upon the farm, and his education was slight, for he was obliged
to be busy early and late at his farm duties. He worked on the farm
until he attained his majority, not accumulating, however, very much of
this world's goods. On Christmas Day, 1871, he was united in marriage
to Miss Mary Christopher, of Lutton, England. The young couple made
their home on a rented farm and the husband not only ran that but was employed
by other farmers as well. Mrs. Markillie was born on the 15th of
November, 1851. Mr. Markillie came to the United States, landing
here on the 11th October, 1881, and settled near Goblesville, his wife
joining him in the following spring. Mr. and Mrs. Markillie were
the parents of twelve children, concerning whom the following brief data
is here inserted: Carrie became the wife of Frank Webster; Samuel is deceased;
Sarah is now Mrs. Charles Koons; Florence was united in marriage to Charles
Baldwin; Alice married Odis Curtis; George remains on the home farm and
he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Walter W. is single;
Clarence married Miss Cecil Olds; Grace is the wife of Clair Leach; Ella
M. graduated from the Hartford high school and is now engaged in teaching
school; Ralph is a gradutate of the public schools. The family are not
members of any church.
Mr. Markillie carries insurance in the Order
of the Maccabees. He is affiliated with the Republican party, and
has for the past two years served the community as path master. He
went to live on the Olney farm, in section 33, seven years ago, and has
since raised some very fine short-horned Durham cattle, which he purchased
firm the well-known Rutland stock farm, and he is the owner of a half interest
in the stock, produce and tools now on the place. He and his family
are well liked in the neighborhood, and have many friends.
.- The Harwick family
is intimately associated with the pioneer history of Van Buren County,
and its representatives are deserving of much credit of the part they have
borne in the improvement and development of this section of the state.
Perhaps no more substantial or better liked man ever resided in Antwerp
township than the late Allen Harwick, who was for many years one of Van
Buren county's successful farmers. Mr. Harwick was born in Caledonia,
New York, December 6, 1838, a son of Peter and Belva (Root) Harwick, natives
of the Empire state. Mr. and Mrs. Harwick came to Michigan in 1843,
taking up government land in section 16, Antwerp township, and here they
spent the remainder of their lives, the father passing away October 4,
1892, and his wife September 9 of that year. They had only one child,
Allen Harwick was five years of age when he accompanied
his parents to Michigan, and his education was secured in the primitive
schools. Sharing with his parents all the hardships and privations
incident to pioneer life, he early learned that traits of honesty, industry
and economy which characterized his whole later life, and became a skilled
agriculturist. He succeeded his father to the home property, and
there he spent his active career, being engaged in general farming and
fruit raising and making a general success of his operations. He
was highly respected by his neighbors and loved in his home, and his funeral
was largely attended, those who knew him being glad to pay respect to his
memory. He was a mason and a Democrat, and with his family attended
the Congregational church.
On March 5, 1863, Mr. Harwick was married
to Mertice Bowen, daughter of Frank and Nancy (Hicks) Bowen, natives of
New York, who came to Michigan in 1845 and settled in Arlington township.
During the year of 1848 they rented a part of their house, which consisted
of two large rooms, two bedrooms, a buttery and an attic, and during the
spring following Mr. Bowen purchased a forty-acre tract, paying for it
with personal property, and rented the Arlington place and started to go
East. When the family had gone as far as Paw Paw, Mr. Bowen was prevailed
upon to locate in Pine Grove, and they settled in an unfinished log house,
with no doors nor windows, and the floors laid down as the boards had come
from the lumber mill. During the spring following, Mr. Bowen cut
the lumber, sawed the timber, and built a small house, into which they
moved, but in 1851 he purchased a farm east of Paw Paw and moved into it,
building a house and barn and making numerous improvements from year to
year, but eventually sold it. In 1858 Mr. Bowen's brother died and
the family moved East, so that he could take charge of affairs. During
the following year, however, the family returned to Michigan, and here
Mr. Bowen continued to carry on agricultural pursuits until his death,
which occurred on December 16, 1892. His widow died on September
30, 1911, in her eighty-ninth year. They had the following children:
Mertie, widow of Mr. Harwick; George, who grew to manhood, married Carrie
Hamlin, and removed to Minnesota, where he died in 1896; Maria and Jerod,
who died in 1858, within a few days of each other, of scarlet fever; and
Chauncey, who lives in Kalamazoo county. Four children were born
to Mr. and Mrs. Harwick, namely: Frank, who is now engaged in cultivating
the home farm; Minne, who is deceased; Grace, who is engaged in school
teaching in the West; and Isa, the wife of Sheldon Coleman, of Lawton.
.- An enterprising and progressive
farmer in times of peace and a valiant soldier to the limit of endurance
under hardships and bravery in battle while the war drum of our Civil strife
throbbed, Daniel Coy, of Paw Paw township, Van Buren county, has hearkened
to the call of duty in every line of endeavor in which he has engaged,
and faithfully performed his part in each. He has prospered in his
fidelity, too, as he is now one of the substantial men of his locality,
with a comfortable competence for life, which he has accumulated by his
own efforts and ability.
Mr. Coy was born and reared to the age
of fifteen years in the East, and passed his boyhood in one of the most
populous and interesting portions of that section of the country.
But when he came West he had no difficulty in adapting himself to the
change in conditions which he found here, as he has never had in getting
in touch with his surroundings wherever he has been. His life began
in Albany county, New York, on July 3, 1849, and he is a son of John and
Margaret (McMechen) Coy, and the third of their seven children in order
of birth. The others are: James, who lives in Kalamazoo; Mary, the
wife of John Boyd, also a resident of Kalamazoo; Louisa, the widow of the
late Theodore Merwin of Van Buren county; Andrew, whose home is at Bloomingdale,
this county; Jane, who has been dead a number of years; and John, who also
lives in Bloomingdale. The parents were born , passed the last years
of their lives and died in Bloomingdale, Michigan. The father was
a farmer and mill man.
Daniel Coy came to Michigan when he was fifteen
years old and located at Lawton for a short time, then moved to Bloomingdale,
working in mills at the latter place. The only education he obtained
was secured in the common schools of his native county. From the
time of his arrival in Michigan he was always too busy and too much in
need of work to go to school while his school age lasted, but he took advantage
of such means as were available to him for the improvement of his mind
and the acquistion of useful information.
Soon after the beginning of the Civil war he enlisted
in Company A, Third Michigan Cavalry, under command of Captain Moyer.
He was mustered into the service on July 22, 1861, and discharged on July
26, 1865. Hostilities were in rapid progress at the time of his enlistment,
and his company was soon called into the field in an aggressive campaign
against the forts in the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers which were held
by the Confederate forces. Mr. Coy was taken prisoner at the battle
of Fort Donelson, but he succeeded in making his escape soon afterward.
From then until the close of the war he was in active service, and during
the course of it took part in many engagements. He was mustered out
at Springfield, Illinois, and at once returned to his home and went to
work in a mill.
After passing two years in this occupation
he went again to Tennessee. But this time he was bent on conquest
except that of industrial prosperity, and bore no arms but those which
nature had equipped him with in his ready and resourceful mind and strong
and responsive body. He remained in Tennessee two years profitably
engaged in farming, then sold his farm in that state and came back to Michigan.
On his return to this state he bought forty acres of land in Almena township,
Van Buren county. In 1878 he sold this tract and bought forty acres
in Waverly township, to which he added forty more by a subsequent purchase.
In 1891 he sold the eighty acres and purchased one hundred and forty-six
in Paw Paw township, which he still owns, occupies and cultivates.
He does general farming and raises and feeds live stock for the general
market, and succeeds well in both lines of his business.
Mr. Coy was married on November 26, 1877,
to Miss May Thayer, a daughter of Zara and Mary (Parker) Thayer, the father
a native of New Hampshire and the mother of Vermont. They came to Michigan
in 1865 and located in Waverly township, Van Buren county, where the mother
died on March 22, 1877, and the father on June 1, 1907. They were
the parents of seven children, of whom Mrs. Coy was fifth in the order
of birth. The others who are living are: Maria, the wife of Ira Jenkins,
of Cadillac, Michigan; and Orisa, the wife of William Markley of Gobleville,
also in this state. Mary Jane, Joseph, Johannus and Addie have been
dead for a number of years.
Mr. and Mrs. Coy have seven children: Edward
J., resides in Goblesville; their daughter Addie lives at Mattawan; their
son Zara is a resident of Paw Paw; Joseph has his home in Cleveland, Ohio;
and May, Daniel and Andrew are still living at home with their parents.
The father is a Republican in his political faith and allegiance, and a
Baptist in his church affiliation. He keeps alive the memory of his
military service by active membership in the Grand Army of the Republic,
but recollects only its pleasant features without any of the bitterness
of feeling he experienced when he was going through it. He stands
well in the regard of the people of Van Buren county, and deserves their
esteem and good will from every point of view.
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