VAN BUREN CITIZENS
Edward H. King
is a leading photographer
of Van Buren county and one of the best known in the state of Michigan,
this having been achieved through the exercise of his natural ability to
which he has made telling addition through study and observation.
He as born in Fremont, Ohio, October 3, 1855. His father, Samuel
King, was born in Columbus, Ohio, and followed the occupation of farming
in Sandusky county, where he passed his life and where his demise occurred
at the age of sixty-two years. In his political views he was a stanch
Republican and Protectionist, taking an active part in political affairs
and serving faithfully and with efficiency in a number of township offices.
He married Mary Moore, who was born in Pennsylvania, the daughter of Samuel
Moore, a Sandusky county farmer, in which section he spent his entire life.
Mrs. Samuel King was one of a large family and the mother of eight children.
They are as follows: John, who is a builder and contractor in California;
James, a farmer in Gratiot county, Michigan; Laura, deceased; Charles,
who is one of the prominent men of Montcalm county, holding the office
of sheriff and being the proprietor of a hotel; Edward, of this review;
Ella, who resides at Battle Creek, Michigan; and two who died in infancy.
The mother, now eighty-eight years of age, also resides in Battle Creek.
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel King were attendants of the Advent church.
Edward H. King's father died when he was but seven
years old and he spent his early years on a farm, was educated in the public
schools and being of a musical bent, he early turned his talent to advantage
by teaching singing, both individually and in classes. After following
this occupation for a few years and discovering that he possessed an artistic
temperament in another direction, he began the study of photography in
1887 at Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he later established himself in business
and conducted the same successfully of twelve years. He was then
out of business for a year and subsequently removed to Belden, where he
built up a large business, which he later sold out. Some idea may
be gained of the prominence to which he had risen, when it is related that
the gentleman who bought out his business made prints from the negatives
and exhibited them a a convention, where in competition with a large number
of others took first prize. Mr. King was then out of business for
four years and then went to Grand Rapids, where he erected a building fitted
with all the latest appliances for making the highest grade portraits.
This building was declared by competent authorities to the most complete
of its kind to be found in the United States. After conducting this
for a time, he sold out and in 1908 removed to Paw Paw, where he has since
His work has evoked the highest praise from
all who have examined it and he not only ranks among the best as an all-round
photographer, but he is easily and by far the leader in his specialty as
an artist in the line which is an art in itself and to which he has given
a vast amount of attention, that of making his subject forget that he is
sitting for a picture and removing him from every vestige of camera embarrassment
with the result that he produces a likeness which is so strikingly natural
as to call forth the highest commendation from even the most critical.
He is known farm and wide as the photographer
who is capable of placing at perfect ease even the most nervous person
and thereby making a portrait which is a pleasing likeness and gives the
highest satisfaction possible.
Edwin J. Dayton
, farmer and stock-raiser
of Waverly township, was born near Cleveland, Ohio, on January 5, 1860.
His father Allen G. Dayton was born in he vicinity of the same city
in 1826. It was here that he was married to Fannie H. Slitor, born
November 6, 1832, in the state of Connecticut, the daughter of James and
Flavia Slitor. Her mother died when Fannie was two years old and
her father some years later. Of the five children born to Allen G.
and Fannie Dayton, only Edwin is living at present. Three grew to
maturity and the others died in childhood. The father of this family
moved to Michigan in 1862 and after living four years at Hillsdale county,
moved to the farm in Van Buren county which is now part of Mr. Dayton's
place. He lived there the rest of his life and it is still the home
of his wife Fannie Slitor Dayton, who has been a resident of the township
for forty-five years.
Until he was ten years old, Edwin Dayton attended
school. From that age until he was sixteen, he attended only part
of each term and then at seventeen, he entered the high school at Paw Paw
and completed the four years' course in three years, graduating in 1880.
He paid his own way while in school by milking cows and delivering the
milk for Mrs. L. L. Hall. He became a teacher in the public schools
of Van Buren county where he taught of six winters. He saved the
small salary he received and increased his capital by working at other
things and in time was able to invest in some valuable lands. At
present he owns 260 acres of land all in Waverly township and he has remodeled
the farm home where he lives and made it one of the most attractive places
in the county. Besides general farming Mr. Dayton is a breeder of
high grade cattle and sheep and he has done much to improved the stock
in this district. He is a stockholder in the Paw Paw Savings Bank
and altogether one of the substantial members of the community.
In April 1887, Mr. Dayton married Lura, the only
daughter of Truman and Harriet Sinclair Allen, mentioned elsewhere in the
history of the county. She was born January 9, 1861, and was educated
in the schools of Paw Paw. Two sons have been born to her and her
husband. Allen D. is a student in the Bangor high school, a member
of the class of 1915, and is sixteen years of age; Charles, aged thirteen,
is attending the district school.
Mr. Allen belongs to the Masonic order, his lodge
being the Bloomingdale, No. 221 of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.
As an enterprising and progressive farmer, he is influential in the Grange.
He has made a signal success of all that he has undertaken and he is of
that admirable class who are termed hustlers. What he has and what
he is are due entirely to his own work and character. "Character
is fate" said the old Greek, so Mr. Dayton's success is not so surprising.
In the eminence he has attained, he has been ably assisted by his wife,
who like himself, is esteemed for her neighborly kindness and for her sterling
.- In proportion
to its population, Van Buren county has great a number of substantial and
intelligent agriculturists as any county of its size in Michigan, and among
its number is Herman Langelan, of Keeler township, the owner of a farm
of excellently well cultivated land, which he has operated with such judgment
as to have made him, financially, a successful and substantial man.
Mr. Langelan was born in Westphalia, Germany, July 3, 1856, the fourth
in order of birth in the family of six children born to Wilhelm and Carolina
(Krohne) Langelan. All of these children are living except one son,
and the survivors reside in Michigan with the exception of Mr. Langelan's
sister, Caroline, the wife of Herman Ahrends, a resident of Cincinnati,
Ohio. Mr. Langelan's parents never came to the United States, but
both died in the Fatherland, where Wilhelm Langelan was an agriculturist
all of his life.
Herman Langelan received a good education
in the German language, and as a lad of sixteen decided to come to the
United States, having heard of the excellent opportunities offered in the
new country. In 1872 he sailed from Bremen, and when he landed in
New York City, he was not only without capital, but was $120 in debt.
Coming to Berrien county, Michigan, by way of Cincinnati, he became a wage
earner, and soon engaged in the milling business with his brother, continuing
therein for eight years and also spending one year in Minnesota.
During this time he practiced the strictest economy, and was able to clear
off his indebtedness, and he then purchased eighty acres of farming land
in Berrien county, for which he went into debt to the extent of $1,600.
In 1894, having sold his Berrien county farm, he came to Keeler township
and bought eighty-seven acres of land, to which he has since added another
tract of seventy-three acres, and he now has it all under cultivation.
This property, which is known as the "Maple Avenue Farm," is located ten
and one-half miles from Dowagiac, ten miles from Hartford, and one mile
from Sister Lakes, and is one of the best farms in Keeler township.
Mr. Langelan has been ably assisted in his operations by his estimable
wife, whose advice and counsel have done much to help him to succeed.
They stand high in the esteem of their neighbors, who recognize and appreciate
their many good qualities, and they have been active workers in church
and charitable work, and have reared a family that would do credit to any
community, giving their children good, practical educational advantages,
and teaching them lessons of honesty and honorable living. Mr. Langelan
is an adherent of Republican principles. Fraternally, he is a member
of the Keeler Camp, M. W. A., holding a policy for $3,000 therein, while
his wife has a policy for $1,000 in the Dowagiac Assembly No. 1, International
Congress. They are faithful members of the German Lutheran church,
and have liberally supported all movements of a benevolent nature that
have been worthy of their consideration.
On January 9, 1885, Mr. Langelan was married
to Miss Angeline Kettler, and to this union there have been born five sons,
one of whom is deceased, the survivors being: Henry Fred, educated in the
public schools and now a salesman in a grocery store at Sisters Lakes;
Clarence, a graduate of the public schools, who is now at home assisting
his father in the work of the home farm; Ernest, who is now attending public
school; and Herman, the youngest, is at home.
Frank E. Gorton
.- For over thirty
years the well-known and estimable citizen whose name inaugurates this
review has been enrolled among the successful farmers and stock raisers
of Waverly township, Van Buren county. His estate is located in section
24 and is typical of the picturesqueness and splendid agricultural methods
of this favored section of Michigan. Mr. Gorton is a native of the
state, his birth having occurred in Allegan county, on December 20, 1856.
He is the son of I. H. and Betsy (Cabot) Gorton, both of whom were natives
of the state of New York. There they were married, and like so many people
of that state, they eventually cast their fortunes with the newer state
of Michigan and its alluring wealth and natural resource. They took
up their residence in Van Buren county, in 1866 and here in 1872 the father
was summoned to the Great Beyond, his devoted wife and life companion surviving
him until February 1877. They became the parents of five children,
four of whom survive at the present time. William J. makes his home
in Kalamazoo, Michigan; Ida I. is the wife of Clarence Stephens of North
Dakota; Hattie L. is the wife of Albert Strubel of Allegan county, Michigan;
Marion L. is deceased.
Frank E. Gorton was a lad of ten years
of age when his parents took up their residence in Van Buren county.
He attended the district school and at the age of sixteen lost his father,
a circumstance which threw him at an early age entirely upon his own resources.
From that time he managed the farm and he continued thus engaged until
the death of his mother. He then assisted various agriculturists
by the month.
On April 23, 1881, Mr. Gorton laid the foundation
of a happy home life by his union with Laura E. Streator, a daughter of
Franklin M. and Mary (Green) Streator, and the representative of an old
and distinguished family. She was born in Waverly township, September
25, 1858. Her father was a native of Randolph, Portage county, Ohio,
where his birth occurred October 12, 1835, he being the son of Cyrus H.
and Laura (McCrinan) Streator. The date of the birth of Cyrus Streator
was March 1, 1811, his parents being Isaac and Clara (Plum) Streator.
Laura E. McCrinan was born May 18, 1813, and was married November 26, 1834.
They became the parents of four children, two of whom died in infancy.
The mother died in Ohio, and Cyrus Streator came from the Buckeye state
to Paw Paw in 1856. Franklin M. Streator was married in Ohio, January
1, 1856, and became the father of three children, namely: Laura E.; Clara
I., wife of Robert Taylor, of Waverly township; and Mattie, who died in
infancy. Franklin M. Streator was called to his eternal rest December
17, 1906, but his benignant influence will not soon be lost in the scenes
in which he was best known. He was quiet and unassuming by nature,
high principled and rightly respected. Prewitt T. Streator died in
August 13, 1906.
The union of Mr. Gorton and his admirable
wife has resulted in the birth of two children, a son and a daughter.
Mattie S., a graduate nurse, is connected with the Michigan State Hospital
at Kalamazoo, having charge of Monroe Cottage. Lynn E., is single,
and makes his home on his father's farm. The Gorton farm consists
of one hundred and twenty-six acres in sections 13 and 24 in Waverly township.
Mr. Gorton is a Republican and is a public-spirited type of citizen.
To revert to Mrs. Gorton's family, the Streators,
they were known far and wide as breeders of high grade sheep and cattle.
The family is an old one and on American shores has been traced back beyond
Isaac Streator, of Massachusetts, whose wife was Clara Plum, of the well-known
family of that name. Clara Streator bore her husband ten children.
Isaac H. was a son of Isaac H., Sr., who married Hannah Alderman, they
being the parents of five children. Mrs. Gorton's mother, whose maiden
name was Mary E. Green, was born in Portage county, Ohio, June 27, 1837,
and came with the Streators to Michigan in the spring of 1856, as a bride.
She survives, a venerable and well-established lady, and a member of the
Christian church in Bloomingdale. Mr. and Mrs. Gorton are people
who play quiet, but none the less useful part in the many-sided life of
.- The life of George
Weldin, one of the most prominent and successful agriculturists of Van
Buren county, Michigan, presents a striking example of enterprise, industry
and integrity, conducing to eminent success, and of business consistencies
based on enlightened and moderate views- views at all times compatible
with a generous toleration of the rights of others, and commanding general
confidence and esteem. Mr. Weldin was born November 20, 1839, in
Lenawee county, Michigan, and is a son of L. H. and Betsy (Merritt) Weldin,
natives of New York and Pennsylvania, respectively.
L. H. Weldin came to Michigan in 1837, and
in 1839 located in Porter township, Van Buren county, buying a farm of
170 acres which he cultivated until 1850. In this year he went West,
where he remained a short time, but eventually returned to Porter township
and bought another farm of 160 acres on which he was engaged in agricultural
pursuits at the time of his death in 1867. His wife, who passed away
in 1850, was the mother of nine children, as follows: Jewel, who is deceased;
Almira, the wife of L. R. Day, of Nebraska; Augustus I., Hannah, Polly
and Eliza, deceased; George; and Susan and Clara, deceased.
George Weldin was reared on his father's farm,
attending school each winter when he could be spared from the duties of
the home place, and when he had reached the age of twenty-two years purchased
eighty acres of land at Pine Grove, Michigan, which he still owns. As the
years went by, Mr. Weldin's operations grew rapidly, and from time to time
he added to his land until he became one of the heaviest taxpayers in the
county, owning 497 acres of well cultivated land in addition to considerable
other real estate, although he had disposed of a great deal of property,
now having 136 acres of farm land, most of which is devoted to the growing
of grapes. In addition to his home and the lots on which it stands
in Lawton, he is the owner of twenty building lots in this town.
He has always been alive to and identified with the promotion of the best
interests of Van Buren county, of which he has so long been a resident
and where he has seen so many changes for the better.
On February 3, 1862, Mr. Weldin was married to Margery
Turner, and to this union there have been born four children: Lewis H.,
a merchant of Battle Creek, Michigan; Cora, the wife of Henry Mock, of
Fort Morgan, Nebraska, the owner of a 1,600-acre ranch; Nora, the widow
of J. Dorsey, of Battle Creek; and Merritt, living in Porter township.
Mr. Weldin's first wife died in 1887, and he was married in July 1891,
to Manila Ray, born in Lake county, Ohio, daughter of G. C. and Elizabeth
(Bellington) Ray, the former a native of New Hampshire and the latter of
In his political views, Mr. Weldin is independent,
and his fraternal connection is with the Maccabees. Since his twenty-second
year he has been a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal church, he
assisted materially in the construction of the church of that denomination
in Lawton. Mr. Weldin has a comprehensive knowledge of realty valuations
in Van Buren county, and perhaps no man in the county can boast of an opinion
which carries more weight or advice which is deemed more reliable.
Nathaniel H. Bangs
.- The fertile
fields of Van Buren county have furnished some of its best citizens with
the means of working out their life's destiny, and of laying up for themselves
a comfortable provision of later years. Farming a hard, unremitting
work, and to carry it on successfully requires good management and an intimate
knowledge of all its details, but in these days of modern machinery the
life of the agriculturist has its advantages and is certainly remunerative.
One of the well known farmers of Antwerp township, who is specializing
in fruit growing, is Nathaniel H. Bangs, who was born in Monroe county,
New York, May 31, 1833, a son of Nathaniel and Mary (Woodman) Bangs, natives
Mr. Bang's father, who had spent his life
in agricultural pursuits, died in 1834, his widow surviving him for many
years. They had eleven children, namely: David, Didama, Lorenzo,
Maria, Daniel, Riley, Orange, all of whom are deceased; Woodman, Nathaniel
H., and two children who died in infancy. Nathaniel H. Bangs was
sixteen years of age when he went to Churchville, where he was apprenticed
to the trade of harness maker in the shop of Willard and Bangs for three
years, at the end of which time he became proprietor of a business at Bergen,
Genesee county, New York. One year later he sold out and went back
to the old homestead for two years, after which he purchased sixty-five
acres of farming land. In the spring of 1862, Mr. Bangs came to Michigan
and settled on a farm of ninety acres, situated in Antwerp township, but
traded this eleven years later for a property in Paw Paw, which in turn,
was traded six months later for forty acres in Bloomingdale township. Selling
this land, Mr. Bangs purchased 117 1/2 acres in sections 4 and 9, Antwerp
township, where he has since carried on fruit farming. Mr. Bangs
has established himself in the respect and esteem of the people of his
community, and is a man who has the ability and desire to form warm personal
friendships. He is a leading Republican of his community, having
served as treasurer of Antwerp township for one year. Fraternally
he is connected with the Masons and the Sons of Temperance, and religiously
with the Presbyterian church.
Mr. Bangs was married (first) to Miss Mary
Jane Warren, who died February 19, 1874, leaving four children: Jerome
W., of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Adie Loraine, the wife of E. F. Parks, cashier
of the First National Bank of Paw Paw; Byron, who is deceased; and Charles
Vernon, of Kansas City, Missouri. On October 21, 1875, Mr. Bangs
married for his second wife Arlette Morrison, daughter of Robert and Mariannia
(Harwick) Morrison. Mr. Morrison was a native of Vermont and his
wife of New York, and they came to Michigan in 1833, locating in Antwerp
township, where Mr. Morrison followed farming until his death, September
18, 1907, his wife having passed away June 19, 1887. They were the
parents of three children: Arlette, wife of Mr. Bangs; Alice, who died
in 1863; and Daniel, residing in Paw Paw. Mr. and Mrs. Bangs had
three children: Alice M., who was born January 21, 1878, the wife of Myron
Griswold, of Chicago; Robert M., born July 7, 1880, and now managing his
father's farm; and Earl Nathaniel, born July 7, 1882, now in Sheldon,
C. B. Manley
, whose farm home in sections
seven and eight of Lawrence township is one of the attractive places of
the vicinity and illustrates the thrift and enterprise of the man who developed
it, is a native son of Van Buren county and represents one of the oldest
families in the county.
He is the grandson of ___________Manley, who
came up from Ohio into Michigan and was one of the pioneers in the community
of Keeler township, where he entered his homestead about 1838. He
possessed the sturdy traits of the early settlers and set to work and cleared
and improved his land until it was a valuable and productive home.
It is now known as the Charles Hammond place. He was the father of
seven sons and three daughters, and three of the children are still alive:-Richard
is in northern Michigan, Judire is in California, and Joseph, who was the
seventh son, is a resident of Oregon.
James Manley, the father of C. B., died when the
latter was ten years of age. He was reared in Keeler township, and
married Miss Jane A. Olds. Their three children were: W. D., who
married a farmer in Montana; C. B.; and Clara J., wife of O. G. Hungford,
of Kalamazoo, Michigan.
C. B. Manley was born in Keeler township,
October 13, 1854, and was reared in his native township on what is now
known as the Lee Drullinger farm. During his boyhood he attended
the country schools during the winter and worked on the farm in summers
until he was twenty years old. On April 6, 1881, he married Miss
Laura Cook, and began to make a home and independence. Mrs. Manley was
born in Newbury township, Cass county, Michigan, November 5, 1859.
Her parents were Sullivan and Harriet (Austin) Cook, who were from Medina
county, Ohio, where they married, and in 1853 came to Michigan. Their
home for a number of years was in Cass county, and later in Van Buren.
Her father was in the lumber and saw mill business. Mrs. Manley received
her education in the schools at Hartford, and is an accomplished woman.
She formerly taught music for some time.
Mr. and Mrs. Manley are the parents of three
children: Bernice is the wife of Gordon Gould, and they have one son, Bernard;
Ralph married Miss Ava Bennett, and they have a daughter, Laura; Mildred
is the wife of Claire Sheppard. Mrs. Manley is an active member and
has served as president of the literary organization, the Corwin's Woman's
Club. Mr. Manley is affiliated with the Maccabees at Hartford.
In politics he is a Democrat, and at the present time is serving as treasurer
of the township. His farm consists of one hundred and sixty acres
of land in Lawrence township, and during a life of industry he has accumulated
sufficient of the world's prosperity to be comfortable the rest of his
life. In 1904 his right arm was severed by a corn shredder, so that
is former capacity for all kinds of work has been much impaired.
Albert B. Blackinton
.- Among the
enterprising, progressive and able business men of Van Buren county that
have triumphantly trod the pathway of success, and have acquired wealth
while developing the rich mineral resources of Northern Michigan, is Albert
B. Blackinton, of Pine Grove township. The descendant of a New England
family of prominence, he was born, April 29, 1861, in Susquehanna township,
Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, where the birth of his father, Albert
A. Blackinton, occurred in 1830.
His paternal grandfather, Lyman Blackinton,
was born in Blackinton, Massachusetts, of English lineage. In early
life he moved to Pennsylvania, going there before the day of railroads,
and for many years being a noted stage driver of his locality. Although
never wealthy, he acquired a modest sum of money, and spent his last days
in Susquehanna township, dying at the remarkable age of one hundred and
four years. He married and became the father of fours sons and two
Brought up and educated in Susquehanna township,
Pennsylvania, Albert A. Blackinton was there a resident until 1867.
Coming then with his family to Michigan, he purchased a home in Kendall,
Van Buren county, and was here employed in tilling the soil until his death,
in 1908, at the age of seventy-eighty years. He married first Caroline
Taylor, who was born in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, a daughter of
William and Margaret Taylor, natives of the Keystone state. She died
in 1866, leaving four children, Charles, William, Albert B. and Sarah,
of whom Albert B., the subject of this sketch, is the sole survivor.
The father subsequently married for his second wife Emily Merritt, who
Leaving school at the early age of thirteen
years, Albert B. Blackinton began to be self-supporting, working at any
offered employment. While yet in his teens, he was for a time employed
in a saw mill at Sand Lake, Kent county, afterwards being similarly occupied
at Sault Sainte Marie, in Chippewa county, for eight years. Then,
imbued with the restless spirit characteristic to the territory of Washington,
locating in Tacoma, then a city of about twelve thousand inhabitants.
He there continued work in the saw mills for four years, when he awoke
to the fact that working for daily wages was a very slow road to wealth.
Determining to find something more profitable as an employment, Mr. Blackinton
returned East, and became a prospector on the northern shores of Lake Superior.
He was exceedingly fortunate in his ventures, discovering valuable deposits
of iron, and in due course of time found himself the possessor of a handsome
fortune. He still retains an interest in mines on the Mesaba and
other ranges. Returning to the scene of his childhood days in 1911,
Mr. Blackinton purchased a farm in Pine Grove township, and is making extensive
and valuable improvements on his property, intending to make this his permanent
In 1880 Mr. Blackinton was united in marriage
with Maude Wilson, who died in early womanhood. Four children were
born to them, none of whom are living. Fraternally Mr. Blackinton
is a member of the Knights of Pythias.
S. E. Overton
.- The beautiful art of
carving on wood always enlists interest in both the artistic and the inartistic
mind, for there is something about it that appeals to every taste and gives
pleasure to all classes of observers. It has the majesty of fare
centuries upon it in practice, giving dignity and exaltation to its history,
and has found expression in every clime and country under the sun, which
proves its value in an esthetic sense and also in the line of utility,
for it is everywhere in operation for the service as well as for the enjoyment
This art has its highest and most extensive
expression in the city of South Haven in the establishment of the S. E.
Overton Company, of which S. E. Overton is the head and directing force.
This company manufactures artistic wood carvings, gable ornaments, stair
newels, oval door panels, and other fine products of wood, including some
of the delicate and many of the beautiful parts of pianos. Its plant
is one of the complete in the country, and its trade extends all over the
United States and Canada. S. E. Overton, the proprietor, is himself
a practical wood carver of unusual skill and refinement of taste, having
acquired a through knowledge of the business in a long and studious apprenticeship.
Mr. Overton was born in Chicago, Illinois,
on March 8, 1875, and is a son of Charles and Esther (McIntyre) Overton.
The father was a native of England, where his life began on July 21, 1855,
and the mother came into being in Ireland on August 19, 1857. They
had four children, all of whom are living, and of whom their son S. E.
was the first. The father came to this country with is parents and
lived with them for some years in Washington, D. C., where he obtained
his education. He was a machinist, and after his removal from Washington
to Chicago, worked for a number of years at his trade in Streator, Illinois.
In church connection he was a Baptist, and in political affiliation a Republican.
S. E. Overton was educated in Chicago and
Streator, Illinois. After leaving school he worked for awhile at
molding, then learned the trade of wood carving. In 1903 he began
business as a manufacturer of wood carvings at 102 Lincoln street, Chicago,
where he conducted his operations one year. He then moved to 488
Carroll avenue, and there he remained until 1908, when he moved to South
Haven, Michigan. After locating in that city he built a large plant
for the general manufacture of wood work, in which he employs regularly
about sixty-five to seventy-five men, and from which he turns out large
quantities of goods to supply an active demand that comes as has been stated,
from all parts of the United States and the Dominion of Canada, and is
especially voluminous from the manufacturers of pianos.
Mr. Overton was married on April 22, 1897,
to Miss Linne Zehrden, who was born in La Crosse, Wisconsin. They
have two children, theirs sons Charles and Samuel R. The father
is a Freemason in the lodge, capitular and cryptic branches of the York
rite in the fraternity. He belongs to Star of the Lake Lodge, No.
158, Royal Arch Chapter, No. 58, and Council No. 45, Royal and Select Masters,
all located and working in South Haven. He is also a member of Pomona
Lodge, No. 153, Knights of Pythias, of that city.
Wesley T. Barker
.- The life of a
successful man is an interesting study, but that of a good one furnishes
a fitting example for others. Some men never shirk from the line
laid out by duty, but unflinchingly tread it to the goal, wherever it may
be. Many remarkable characters were developed by the Civil war, the
trials, dangers and privations of that struggle bringing out the good and
strengthening the weak points in a man, making him a hero. Among
those who are honored above the ordinary in Van Buren county is Wesley
T. Barker, who throughout his life has continued to heel the call of duty
as he did when his country made its call for defenders. Mr. Barker
is a native of Wayne county, Michigan, and was born December 12, 1835,
a son of Harvey and Content (McKinstry) Barker, the former a native of
Massachusetts and the latter of Vermont.
The Barker family came to Michigan in 1828,
settling in Wayne county, where Harvey Barker followed the occupations
of local preacher and farmer. He came to Van Buren county in 1839, and
was here engaged in agricultural pursuits for many years, owning at one
time three hundred and twenty acres of land in Porter township. He
spent his last years near Bellevue, Eaton county, and died in 1863.
He was the father of seven children, as follows: Eleanor, deceased; John
P., of Kalamazoo, Michigan, now eighty years of age; Lucy; Wesley T.; Oscar
J. and Harriet, deceased; and Charles H., residing at Kalamazoo Junction.
Wesley T. Barker as a young man was engaged
in breaking land, and estimates that during his life he has laid open for
cultivation over six hundred acres of Michigan property. When he
was twenty-one years of age he began hauling wood with an ox team to Lawton.
In 1858, having secured eighty acres in section 19, Porter township, he
drove to his property with an ox team, the snow at that time, in March
1862, being three feet deep. In August of the same year, he enlisted
for service in the Civil war, becoming a member of Company C, Fourth Michigan
Calvary, under Captain Melchor, and he served with that organization until
July 1865. During this time, in the numerous skirmishes, raids and
engagements in which the Fourth Michigan participated, Mr. Barker faced
the enemy no fewer than ninety-seven separate times, but his only injuries
were received when his horse fell on him after a seven mile charge at Shelbyville,
Tennessee. He was honorably discharged at Nashville, that state,
after a brave and faithful service and one of which he may well fell proud,
returning thence to his Michigan land, which he proceeded to clear from
the wilderness. On this land, which is located only about a mile
from where the family first settled on coming to Van Buren county, Mr.
Barker erected all the buildings and fences and made all the improvements.
On November 20, 1861, he was married to Mary
H. Barker, a daughter of Thomas and Melissa Barker, who came to Michigan
in 1849. Mrs' Barker's parents had six children: Mary, William, John
C, Elizabeth (deceased), Peter, Alsophine (the wife of George Kerby, of
Volenia township). Mrs. Barker died in May 1911. Mr. Barker
is a Republican in politics and is affiliated with the Grand Army of the
Republic. He and his wife are members of the Methodist church.
Many and great are the changes which have taken place in Van Buren county
since the family first settled here. When they came from Wayne county
Mr. Barker and his father drove one hundred and sixty miles through the
woods with ox teams, the journey consuming a space of time that seems almost
incredible in these days of speedy railroad trains. The stock, a
little herd of cattle that formed the nucleus of Mr. Barker's present magnificent
herd of animals, had to be driven through the wilderness of trees and brush
which formed this part of the country at that time. Finally, on their
arrival, it was found they did not have enough provisions to carry them
through, and the father was compelled to trade a wagon for the bare necessities
of life. The father grew the flax from which their mother made thread,
and wool was carded to make the clothes for the family. All of the
original buildings were made of logs, there being no boards available at
that time, but these have been replaced by modern buildings. Now,
looking back over the intervening years, Mr. Barker can appreciate the
changes that have come over the section, and can see that he has taken
no small part in bringing about the development of Van Buren county from
a wilderness into a smiling, prosperous farming community. He is
one of his section's true pioneers, and as such is honored and respected
by his fellow townsmen, many of whom are reaping the benefit of the years
of hard and incessant toil of just such men as he.
, farmer, stock raiser
and fruit grower of Arlington township, has through hard and persistent
labor won a place for himself among the successful farmers of his community,
and is now the owner of an excellent tract of one hundred and fifteen acres.
With no other advantages than a progressive mind, a determination to succeed
and inherent ability as an agriculturist, he started out to establish himself
in a profitable occupation, and the success which he has attended his efforts
is well deserved. William Leedy was born September 3, 1866, in the
state of Indiana, and is a son of Henry C. and Mary (Lawrence) Leedy, the
former boron in Indiana and the latter in Pennsylvania.
The Leedy family was established in
Michigan in 1865, when the parents brought their children to Arlington
township, buying one hundred and sixty acres of land. Mr. Leedy was
for some time engaged in the mercantile business at Bangor, but sold out
and for two years was located in Kansas and later in Iowa. On his
return to Michigan he opened a market, which he operated in conjunction
with a livery business for three years. For three or four years following
he operated a part of the old homestead, and he then purchased fifty acres
of timber land and worked the timber into lumber, having built a sawmill
on the place. Eventually he purchased seventy acres, moving his sawmill
to the new land, and from time to time added to his property until he was
the owner of three hundred and twenty-two acres of well cultivated land.
He died June 26, 1899, and his widow is now living at the family home in
Columbia township. Henry C. and Mary Leedy had eleven children, as
follows: Sarah, who is deceased; William; Jacob, living in Kalamazoo; James,
a resident of Arlington; Viola, the wife of Fred Goodwin, of Columbia township;
Cora and Anna, who died in infancy; Daniel, a farmer of Arlington township;
Alice, the wife of Arthur Lee, of Arlington; Mattie, the wife of Emory
Hathaway, of Arlington township; and Earl, who resides at home.
William Leedy was reared to manhood on the home
farm, and when he was eighteen years of age he went to northern Michigan
and for a year worked in a lumber camp. On his return he took up
farming, and he and his brother Jacob raised a mortgage of three hundred
dollars on sixty-six acres of their father's farm. After a few years
William Leedy purchased his brother's interest in the land, and later purchased
fifty acres and eventually thirty-three acres more, and he now has one
hundred and fifteen acres of some of the best land in Arlington township.
He has made numerous improvements on this land, and can point with pride
to as fine a set of buildings as can be found in the township. A
man of Mr. Leedy's abilities is always a valued citizen, and he has many
warm friends and admirers in his community.
On April 5, 1883, Mr. Leedy was married to
Miss Tamson Pathie, and she died leaving two children: Annie, the wife
of Clifford Daniels, of Waverly; and John, who is deceased. Mr. Leedy
was married (second) December 8, 1904, to Miss Edith Weikel, daughter of
Levi and Martha (Curtis) Weikel, and two children have been born to them:
Glen Levi and Orville Clay. Mrs. Leedy's father was born in Indiana
and her mother in Michigan, and both are now living in Columbia township.
They had four children: Edith, who married Mr. Leedy; Ellen, the wife of
Fred Corden, of Elkhart, Indiana; George, residing in Columbia township;
and Perry, who also lives in that township.
Mr. Leedy is independent in his political
views, voting for the man rather than the party. His religious
faith is that of the Methodist church, and he is known as a liberal supporter
of the religious and charitable movements.
.- A resident of Porter
township, this county, for twenty-five years, and living on and cultivating
the farm of two hundred acres which he now occupies for fifteen years,
Lemuel Lyle has been a long-continued and substantial contributor to the
progress and improvement of Van Buren county, a potential force in its
industrial life, a valued aid in the work of the intellectual and moral
agencies laboring among its people, and a man of influence in connection
with its civil affairs as a citizen who never neglects his duty or abates
his interest with reference to them.
Mr. Lyle is not a native of Michigan or the
United States, but he is as warmly attached to the institutions of the
land and state of his adoption and as earnest in support of them as he
ever could have been in connection with those of the country and province
of his birth. This was Prince Edward Island, Dominion of Canada,
where his life began on March 14, 1842. He is a son of James and
Elizabeth (Berch) Lyle, the former English and the latter Irish by nativity.
Both died many years ago on Prince Edward Island, of which they became
residents in early life. Eleven children were born to them, and of
these nine are living, Lemuel was the sixth in the order of birth.
The others who are living are: John R., who still resides on Prince Edward
Island; Thomas B., whose home is in Wexford county, Michigan; Edward James,
who is living in New Hampshire; Mary, the widow of George Gay, whose home
is also on the island which was the scene of the parent's labor; Lizzie,
the widow of James Rod, another resident of Prince Edward Island; Letitia,
the widow of James Dailey, who lives at Wexford in this state; Eliza, the
wife of Alexander McCormick, of Prince Edward Island; and Caroline, a widow,
who also has her dwelling place in New Hampshire. The children who
died were the fifth and tenth, William and Henrietta, who passed away a
number of years ago.
Lemuel Lyle came to Michigan in 1866 and located
in Paw Paw township, this county, where he remained three years. He then
moved to the town of Paw Paw and made that his home for a short time.
In 1869 he returned to his native place, where he passed the next five
years. Soon afterward he bought forty acres of land near White Oak
in Ingham county, which he farmed for five years, then rented one hundred
and sixty acres which he cultivated for five years.
During all this time he has a strong yearning
for Van Buren county, and at length he determined to gratify it.
He once more returned to the county and rented the two hundred acres which
he now owns and occupies, after devoting ten years to the development and
improvement of other land. He has lived on this farm ever since,
and been a resident of Porter township for a full quarter of a century
continuously, as has been already noted. He has made his farm one
of the great productiveness and value, and one of the most desirable and
attractive in the township by his industry and skill as a farmer and his
excellent business management.
On August 18, 1869, Mr. Lyle united himself
in marriage with Miss Louisa Labadie, a daughter of Anthony and Sara (Mason)
Labadie and a native of Paw Paw township, residing in Mattawan at the time
of her marriage. She and her husband had five children, four of whom
are living: Anna, the wife of John Reits, of Decatur township, this county;
William, who has his home in Porter township, not far from that of his
parents; and Frank and Ebenezer, who live at Wexford in this state.
Alonzo, the third born of the five children, died at the age of thirteen
months. The wife and mother has also passed away, after having traveled
life's pathway with her husband for more than forty years.
Mr. Lyle has been an active member of the
Democratic party from the beginning of his citizenship in this country.
He believes in the principles of the party and its theories of government,
and he supports it warmly on that account. The desire for public
office has been no part of his incentive to loyalty, for he has never felt
it. But earnestly interested in the welfare of his county, state
and country, as he is, that party seems to him to offer the best means
of securing that welfare and enlarging it. He was reared under the guidance
of the Episcopal church, and he still adheres to it with devoted earnestness
and a sincere zeal for its advancement to the largest measure of usefulness
and a constant willingness to do everything in his power to aid its progress.
His membership is valued highly by the congregation in which he holds it,
as his citizenship is in all parts of the county in which he has so long
lived and labored.
.- Forced by circumstances
to make his own way in the world from the age of ten years, with nothing
in the way of capital but his willing spirit, his good health and his strong
determination to win an independent estate, and with his efforts, now crowned
by a success that grows with his advancing years, Phineas Farrow, one of
the prosperous farmers in Porter Township in this county, has given in
his creditable career a fine illustration of the all-conquering mettle
of American manhood, and of the possibilities always open to industry,
frugality and steady perseverance in this land of boundless wealth and
Mr. Farrow was born in Kalamazoo county, Michigan,
on November 1, 1853, and is a son of Phineas and Maria (Bennett) Farrow,
natives of New York, who came to Michigan in the forties. The father
was a blacksmith and worked diligently at his trade until the discovery
of gold in California set the world on fire with excitement and unlimited
expectations. He then yielded to the prevailing enthusiasm and joined
the army of argonuats that streamed across the plains to the new Elderado.
He remained in the Golden state until 1861, and then enlisted in a California
regiment of volunteers raised for the defense of the Union at the beginning
of the Civil war. He served through the memorable conflict, and at
its end returned to Illinois and was never heard from afterward.
Three children were born in the family: Phineas, the last born, and his
brothers John and Charles. John died at an early age, and Charles
is now living in Nebraska.
After the death of her first husband the mother
married his brother Edward, and of this union three children were also
born: Thurman, who is a resident of Nebraska; Eugenia, who is the wife
of Charles Souls, of Paw Paw; and George, who lives in Battle Creek.
The mother has also passed away, her death having occurred a number of
years ago. She was sorely pressed by adversities at times in her
life, but she did the best she could for her offspring and was almost heroic
in her efforts to rear to usefulness her two families children.
Her son Phineas remained at home until he
reached the age of twenty-one but, as has been stated, began making his
own living when he was ten. He had very limited opportunities for
schooling, and the greater part of his training for the struggle among
men for advancement has come from the harsh but thorough school of experience,
and many of its lessons have been difficult, while its discipline has always
been severe. But While its rod of stimulus at times seemed merciless,
he never winced under the pain to an extent that deprived him of his nerve
or abated his efforts for progress.
On January 1, 1877, when he was twenty-four years
old, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary Lonfeor, who abode with him
only ten years, three months and fifteen days, dying on April 15, 1887.
Directly after this marriage he rented eighty acres of land, which he continued
to farm for thirteen years. He then contracted a second marriage,
on March 26, 1890, which united him with Miss Emma Hubbard, a daughter
of Roswell and Samantha (Smith) Hubbard. The father was a native
of Ohio and the mother of New York, and both were early arrivals to Michigan.
They were the parents of six children: Pliny, who lives at Lawton; Emma
A., the wife of Mr. Farrow; Eva, the wife of George La More, of Eau Claire,
Michigan; Effie, the wife of William Waugh, of Marcellus, Cass county;
Francis, a physician at Eau Claire, this state; and Frederick, who died
After his second marriage Mr. Farrow rented
eighty acres which constitute his present farm in section 29, Porter township,
for one year. At the end of that lease he rented two hundred and
sixteen acres south of this eighty and lived on it three years. He
then moved to Prairie Ronde township, Kalamazoo county, where he rented
C. F. Nesbitt's farm of two hundred and sixty acres, and this he occupied
and cultivated eleven years. In the meantime he had bought the eighty acres
in section 29, Porter township, this county, on which he formerly lived
one year as a tenant, and when his lease in Kalamazoo county expired he
removed to his own farm, where he has ever since been living and prospering
finely, as his industry and wisdom in the cultivation of his land entitle
him to. He carries on general farming and live stock raising on a
scale commensurate with his facilities, and gets good returns from both.
The place has been highly improved by him, and is now one of the choice
farms of its size in the township, and one of its most attractive rural
Mrs. Farrow was a school teacher for more
than fifteen years and taught thirty-five terms in all. She and her
husband have three children: Cletah May, who married Edward Cornish and
lives in Porter township, not far from the home of her parents; and Irma
Lena and Thelma Marie, who are still members of the parental family circle.
The father is a Democrat in his political faith and allegiance, a Methodist
Protestant in his church connection, and a member of the Eastern Star,
and the Farmer's Union in fraternal relations. He was a director
of school district No. 6 for 5 years.
No citizen of the township enjoys and none deserve a higher degree
of respect and good will from its residents of all classes and conditions.
.- The name Spaulding
has been one connected with the history of our county since the Colonial
times and the representative of that family whose life is briefly outlined
in this sketch has borne a part worthy of the best. His great-grandfather
was Zebulon Spaulding of Connecticut; his grandfather, Marcus Spaulding,
also born in Connecticut, but for the most of his life, a resident of New
York state. He married Sarah Bump and they became the parents of eight
children, four boys and four girls. The boys were M. M. Spaulding,
the father of Henry of this sketch; Merritt, aged ninety years, still living;
Warren W. and Almond M., who died December 25, 1909, aged fifty-two years.
Of the girls, Mary died in infancy and Elizabeth before she was married.
The other two became mistresses of homes of their own. Shortly after
his marriage, Marcus Spaulding the grandfather, moved to Erie county, Pennsylvania,
and there spent the remainder of his life. The father of Henry also
lived and died in that county. He was married to Emeline Van Ostran
and there were eight children in their family too. Three are now
living (in 1911), Henry, Mary Spaulding Crane, and Sarah Spaulding Smith,
both the latter are widows. M. M. Spaulding died in 1901 and his
wife thirty-two years before.
Henry Spaulding was born in Erie, Pennsylvania,
in 1842, on July 25. He grew up in that city and attended the public
schools until in 1861 when he enlisted in the Eighty-third Pennsylvania
Infantry, Company H. He was in the first division of the third brigade
of the fifth army corps and was a sergeant. He was wounded at the
battle of Gettysburg and thus disabled for further service and on December
27, 1863, was discharged. After this he returned to Erie and for
about two years followed the trade of carpentering. Later he became
a contractor and in 1870 came to Lawrence. It was the fifth of October
when he arrived at that city and in the following April, he came to Hartford
and did his first work on the Hartford hotel.
On the twenty-fifth of September of the year in which
Mr. Spaulding came to Hartford he was married to Helen Beaman and for nearly
forty years, this union lasted being broken in April 29, 1910, by the death
of Mrs. Spaulding. She was born and reared in Orleans county, New
York, and was very well known in this district. She was a member
of the Benevolence Chapter, No. 46 of the Eastern Star and of the Hartford
Rebecca Lodge, No. 281. Her death removed a zealous worker and an
estimable woman from the county.
Mr. Spaulding has long been prominent in the lodge
circles of the township. He is a member of the Florada Lodge, No.
309, and a past master of that body. In the Odd Fellows fraternity,
he belongs to the Charter Oak Lodge, No. 231, and is a past Grand in it.
He belongs to the Elsworth Post, No. 20 of the Grand Army of the Republic
and is a past commander of the same. In the Michigan G. A. R. he
is a past Junior Vice-Commander and is now chairman of the executive committee.
In the Benevolence Chapter No. 46 of the Eastern Star he is a past Patron,
being the first to hold that office in the chapter.
In political matters, the Republican party
has always had his support and he has served his party in various office.
He has been the clerk of Hartford township, justice of the peace, and supervisor
for one year. While supervisor, he was appointed by the legislature
assistant sergeant at arms and served during the term in 1889 and in 1893
was again elected to the same office. This same year he was appointed
custodian of the Military Museum at Lansing and held that position until
1897, when he was made postmaster of the senate. He concluded his
services at the capital by serving two years on the police force at the
Conscientious in all he does, a kind neighbor,
and a citizen of unimpeachable integrity, Mr. Spaulding has the universal
respect of the community where he has lived so long. He has borne
his part in peace and war and has acquitted himself in both with steadfastness
and valiant courage.
is one of the well-known
and representative farmers of Decatur township, Van Buren county, where
he has lived for upwards of half a century. Since he first engaged
in agricultural pursuits the status of the farmer has undergone a radical
change. A farm and a mortgage used at one time to be synonymous terms,
but a man burdened with debt is not apt to be beautiful either in looks
or disposition. Now all has been changed and "back to the farm" means
a return to efficiency, health and life; we reach the farm by going forward,
not by going backward. The business of the farmer who produces food
must be regarded as a fine art, not to be left to the whipped-out and the
discouraged, as in former times. Much of this changed condition has
come about within the recollection of Mr. Canning, and it is due to the
work and example of such as he that ideas on this subject have so completely
Ireland is the country which Mr. Canning proudly
claims as his birthplace, his nativity having occurred in County Antrim,
in 1833, but he is of Scotch ancestry. The first twenty-four years
of his life were passed in the Emerald Isle, where he learned farming,
according to the methods which have been practiced by the Irish from time
immemorial. Mr. Canning, however, was progressive in his ideas, and
determined to leave the land which is bound by custom to remain in the
rut formed by primitive methods, and he took passage in a sailing vessel
bound for New York, in which city he landed in 1857. He remained
in the east for the ensuing nine years, during which time he succeeded
in earning money, and as his wants were simple he was enabled to save a
large proportion of his wages. In 1866 he came to Michigan, bought
eighty-two acres of land in Decatur township, in section 7, and here he
has remained ever since, engaged in general farming and in stock raising.
The year 1857 was doubly memorable to Mr.
Canning, as he then came to America, as above mentioned, and he was united
in marriage to Miss Margaret Richard on the 2nd day of July. Mrs.
Cannning is a daughter of Alexander and Jane (Reed) Richard, of County
Antrim. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Canning: Robert,
living in Idaho; Alexander, also a resident of Idaho; Jane, wife
of Ed Kernes, of Van Buren county; Mary, married to Milo Youels, of Van
Buren county; James, who makes his home in Indiana; and William, who lives
on the old homestead.
Mr. Canning is a Republican in his political
sympathies, stanch in his allegiance to the party to which he has always
given his support since he first became an American citizen. In religious
connection he is a Presbyterian, a devout member of the church in Decatur.
During the years of his residence in this neighborhood Mr. Canning has
made many friends, and his uprightness of character and his kindly personality
have won him the respect and esteem of all who come within the sphere of
his sympathetic nature and his genial kindliness.
.- The late John Barker,
who was for many years engaged in agricultural pursuits in Porter township,
showed so much ability in handling his own affairs that during a long period
he was elected to positions of honor, where he displayed marked fidelity
to his trust in taking care of the affairs of his fellow townsmen. Possessing
the full confidence of his community, he worked always for the public welfare
and the influence of his life will be felt long after his name has been
forgotten. Mr. Barker was born in Yorkshire, England, April 15, 1817,
and was a son of Jeremiah and Mary (Bentley) Barker.
The parents of Mr. Barker immigrated to the
United States some time after their marriage, and first settled in New
York, from whence they made their way to Michigan during the early days
of this state and settled in Porter township, where they spent the remainder
of their lives, the father dying in 1849 and the mother in 1862.
They had a family of ten children, as follows: Thomas, John and Ann, deceased;
Mary, who married Robert Gould of Ceresco, Michigan, and she died aged
ninety years; Elizabeth, Susan, George and Joseph and Josiah, the latter
twins, all deceased; and Ezra, deceased.
When his father's estate was divided John Barker
inherited eighty acres of the old homestead, and this land he was engaged
in cultivating throughout the remainder of his life. He was a good
farmer, a public spirited citizen and an honest official, and he possessed
in the fullest extent the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens.
An ardent Republican in politics, he was always a hard worker in the ranks
of his party, and was considered one of the most influential men of his
organization in this part of Van Buren county. For many years he
served in positions within the gift of the people of Porter township, including
the offices of township clerk and township supervisor. He died firm
in the faith of the Baptist church. Mr. Barker
was married to Mrs. Grace (Hayne) Marshall, widow of John Marshall, and
they had a family of five children, as follows: George, who died in infancy;
Ella J., who is now the owner one hundred and fourteen acres in section
9, Porter township, which she cultivates as a general stock and fruit farm;
Mary, who married George Hathaway, one of Porter township's leading agriculturists;
Irwin M., also engaged in farming in this township; and Joseph H., who
is deceased. The Barker family is one of the best known in Porter
township, and its representatives have been prominent in almost every line
Irwin M. Barker
.- When the visitor
to a farming property sees neatly arranged buildings, well-built fences,
graded land, sleek cattle and carefully cleaned machinery and implements,
he is not apt to be far wrong in the surmise that he is looking at the
land of a successful farmer, for the agriculturist who is thus conscientious
in his work cannot fail to achieve success, especially it he be the owner
of such fertile land as to be found in Van Buren county. Such a general
air of prosperity is to be found pervading the homestead of Irwin M. Barker,
farmer and stockman of Porter township, who has lived on his present property
all of his life. Mr. Barker was born in Porter township, March 19,
1862, a son of John and Grace (Hayne) (Marshall) Barker, members of one
of Van Buren county's old families.
Jeremiah and Mary (Bentley) Barker, the grandparents
of Irwin M. Barker, immigrated to the United States from England, settling
first in New York, and then going to Michigan as pioneers and settling
in Porter township, where Jeremiah Barker spent the rest of his life in
farming and died in 1849, his widow surviving him until 1862. They had
ten children, as follows: Thomas, John, Ann, Mary, Elizabeth, Susan, George,
Joseph and Josiah, twins, and Ezra. John Barker
was born in Yorkshire, England, April 15, 1817, and accompanied his parents
to the United States as a lad. He had always lived at home, and when
his father's estate was divided he came into possession of eighty acres
of the homestead in Porter township, where he became a leading and influential
farmer and served in various township offices. He married Mrs. Grace
(Hayne) Marshall, widow of John Marshall, and they had five children, as
follows: George, who died in infancy; Ella J., the owner of a general stock
and fruit farm; Mary, the wife of George Hathaway; Irwin M., of this review;
and Joe H., deceased.
Irwin M. Barker was born on the homestead farm and
grew to manhood there, attending the district schools of that vicinity.
At the time of his father's death he inherited a part of the property and
bought more land until he now owns a tract of eighty acres, all under a
high state of cultivation. He is a skilled farmer, and in addition to farming
along general lines he specializes in grapes. His success is well
merited, as it has been gained through industrious, persevering labor and
energy that has overcome all obstacles. He has many friends in this
part of the county.
Mr. Barker was married December 23, 1891,
to Miss Franc C. Burlington, daughter of James and Mary (Rich) Burlington.
Mrs. Baker's parents had nine children: Franc C., who married Mr. Barker;
James, of Porter township; Grace, the wife of Charles Mohney, of Porter
township; Guy, who is engaged in farming in Porter township; Nellie, who
married Claude Miller, of Marcellus, Michigan; Floy and Roy, residents
of Marcellus; Jay, of Decatur, Michigan; and George, residing in Porter
township. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Barker, namely:
Marshal J., born November 20, 1893, and died November 1, 1908; and Joe
Whitney, born December 1, 1895, and died December 7, 1910. Mr. Barker
is a Republican, a member of the Maccabees and a Methodist, and he is active
in the work of his party, popular in fraternal circles and a consistent
attendant of his church.
.- Presenting as
it does a worthy example to the rising generation, the life of this gentleman,
which from early boyhood has been one of assiduous industry, untiring energy
and unquestioned integrity, is well deserving of being sketched, however
briefly, in the pages of this volume. George Hathaway was born on
the farm which he is now operating, in section 16, Porter township, Van
Buren county, December 13, 1860, being a son of Anson and Experience (Reynolds)
Hathaway, the former a native of Massachusetts and the latter of Ohio.
The family was founded here when Michigan was still a territory, by Mr.
Hathaway's grandfather, who settled in Kalamazoo county and took up wild
land where he lived for a time then went to Antwerp township, Van Buren
county, where he died two years later. Anson Hathaway, son of the pioneer
and father of George, was brought up to the life of a farmer, and as a
young man located at Porter township on eighty acres of land which as yet
had not known the touch of the axe or plow. He built a small house
and started in to clear the property, but having only a limited supply
of farming implements and no improved machinery, the work cultivating and
improving progressed slowly. he persevered, however, keeping ever
before him the prospect of one day owning a comfortable property which
he could call his own. With constant care and industry his land finally
was converted into a smiling, productive farm, and the original little
buildings were supplanted by modern structures of the best workmanship.
Here his wife died July 31, 1879, and he followed her to the grave March
4, 1889. They were the parents of five children: Mary Adell, who
died August 15, 1908; Ella, the wife of Charles Wiles of Oxford, Kansas;
Frances, the widow of William Hoyt of Lawton; George; and Ida, who died
May 17, 1900.
George Hathaway received his education in the district
schools of Porter township and the high school at Lawton, from which he
was graduated in 1883, for one year after which he was engaged in teaching
school. During the next two years he attended Parsons Business College,
but eventually returned to the home farm, which he has conducted ever since.
Farming and stock raising have occupied his attention, and his energy,
economical habits and physical strength have been factors in his success,
but his business sagacity and good judgment have also proved on no small
value. Honest and trustworthy, he has always enjoyed the confidence
of all who have had dealings with him in any way. Politically he
is a Democrat, and has always been stanch in supporting the principles
of his party, but he has never aspired to political honors himself, his
own extensive interests demanding the greater share of his time.
In religious connection he and his wife are members of the Methodist church
and support it liberally.
On August 14, 1902, Mr. Hathaway was married
to Miss Mary Barker, daughter of John and Grace (Hayne) Barker (a sketch
of Mr. Barker appears on another page of this work). Four children
were born to Mr. and Mrs. Barker: Ella, who lives in Porter township; Mary,
wife of Mr. Hathaway; Irwin, residing on the old homestead in Porter township;
and Joseph, who died February 28, 1889.
Jacob D. Houseknecht
.- The substantial
and prosperous citizens of Bloomingdale township have no more worthy representative
than Jacob D. Houseknecht, who stands high among the industrious, progressive,
and business like farmers who are so ably conducting the extensive agricultural
interests of Van Buren county. A son of John Houseknecht, Jr., he
was born in Penn township, Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, March 26, 1842.
His grandfather, John Houseknecht, Sr., was born
either in Germany or in Pennsylvania of German parentage. Early in
life he moved to Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, from his former home, which
was near Reading, locating in Penn township when nearly all the land in
that vicinity was owned by the government, and was covered with a heavy
growth of native timber. Purchasing seven hundred acres of land,
he began the pioneer task of hewing a farm from the wilderness. After
putting up the customary log house he built a bank barn eighty-four feet
long and forty-five feet wide, putting heavy bars across the windows to
keep out the bears and other wild animals, which were plentiful, and oft
times very destructive to crops and stock. With the assistance of
his stalwart sons, he cleared and improved a valuable homestead, on which
he and his good wife spent their remaining years. He married Elizabeth
Smith, and they reared ten children, as follows: Betsey, John, Jacob, Benjamin,
Daniel, George, Christopher, Katie, Hannah and Polly. All of the
children married, reared families, and many of their descendants still
live in Penn township.
John Houseknecht, Jr., was born in Reading,
Pennsylvania, but was reared and educated in Lycoming county, where his
parents settled when he was a child. Choosing for his life work the
independent occupation of his ancestors, he succeeded to the ownership
of the parental acres, and was successfully engaged in farming in Penn
township until his death, which occurred in the fifty-sixth year of his
age. He was twice married, by his first wife whose maiden name was
Christie Ann Hill, having five children, namely: Julia Ann, George, Charles,
Ellis and Frank. He married second Mrs. Sally Ann (Fox) Houseknecht,
who was born in Pennsylvania, of English ancestry, and was the widow of
Christopher Houseknecht, by whom she had four children, Charles, Philip,
John and Elizabeth. By this second marriage John Houseknecht, Jr.,
became the father of seven children, namely: Christopher, Sarah, Jacob
D., Albert L., Reuben, Frederick and Hiram S. The mother lived to
the venerable age of four score and four years.
At the age of fifteen years, being left fatherless,
Jacob D. Houseknecht went to Genesee county, New York, and for two years
there lived with his half-brother, in Alabama township. Enlisting
then in the Nineteenth New York Battery, he went South, and, was with the
Army of the Potomac, to which his company was assigned, participated in
many of the more important engagements in and around Richmond and Petersburg.
At the battle of Spottsylvania Court House his battery was charged by two
brigades, and the greater number of its members were either killed or wounded.
At the close of the conflict, Mr. Houseknecht was honorable discharged
from the service, and returned to New York state, where, at Indian Falls,
he was engaged in farming for a number of years. Migrating to Van
Buren county, Michigan, in 1882, he purchased a tract of timbered land
in Bloomingdale township, one and one half miles west of Gobleville, and
immediately began felling the huge progeny of the forest, preparatory to
placing the ground under cultivation. Laboring with a will, he has
succeeded well in his undertakings, and has now a finely improved and highly
productive farm of one hundred and forty-two acres, with good buildings,
and well stocked.
Mr. Houseknecht married, in 1878, Elizabeth
Nighthart, who was born at Honeoye Falls, New York. Her father, Anson
Nighthart, was born in Germany, where his parents were life-long residents.
With two of his sisters he immigrated to the United States, locating first
as a farmer at Honeoye Falls, New York, but afterwards buying land at Indian
Falls, in the same state, where he continued as a farmer until his death,
at the age of seventy-four years. The maiden name of Anson Nighthart's
wife was Susan Sliker. She was born in Germany, and as a girl came
with her parents to Indian Falls, New York, where her father bought land,
and was thereafter a resident until his death. She died on the home
farm at the age of sixty-four years, leaving seven children, namely: Elizabeth,
now Mrs. Houseknecht; Kate; Enos; Annie; Susan; and Martha, all of whom
were reared in the German Lutheran faith. Mr. and Mrs. Houseknecht
have one son, George Houseknecht, who is associated with his father in
farming. Mr. Houseknecht is an active member of A. Calvin Post, No.
59, Grand Army of the Republic.
Dr. Marshall J. Harvey
.- That field
of usefulness in which Dr. Marshall J. Harvey has played an active and
satisfactory part in Waverly for many years is that of a veterinary surgeon,
and in this capacity, so necessary to an agriculturist community, he has
proved conscientious and enlightened. That which may be said of so
many Van Buren county's best citizens may be said of him--he is a native
of the state of New York, his birth having occurred in Genesee county,
November 23, 1839. He is the son of Norman and Louise (Wright) Harvey,
both of whom were born in the Empire state and the latter in Byron, Genesee
county. The father came to Michigan at a much later date than his son,
his arrival within its boundaries being in 1887. He made his home
with Mr. Harvey until summoned to a better land. The mother died
in 1844. They were the parents of three children. Reuben P.
was a member of Company H, of the Eighth New York Regiment and in 1864
gave up his life for the salvation of he Union on the battlefield of Lookout
Mountain. Louise, wife of Wilson Martin, lived in New York until
Marshall J. Harvey was reared upon a farm in Genesee
county and received his education in the district school. At the
age of twenty-two years he left the home of Dr. Peter Crowell who had reared
him and began life for himself. Esteeming the acquisition of a loyal
and helpful wife the first element towards a successful career, he was
united in marriage to Mary E. Root, on August 25, 1861. Mrs. Harvey
was born in Hamlin, Monroe county, New York, February 8, 1842, and received
her education in the district schools. On November 1, 1866, a little
over five years after their marriage, Dr. and Mrs. Harvey severed old associations
in the Empire state and came to Van Buren county, Michigan, where they
engaged in farming shortly after they went back to the old home, but remained
in New York only two years, and subsequent to that came back to Michigan
where they have ever since remained. With his uncle, Dr. Peter Crowell,
Dr. Harvey made a study of veterinary science and ever since finishing
his preparation he has engaged in its practice. He resides in Waverly
township, section 1, southwest quarter of northwest quarter.
In his children, Dr. Harvey has given a number
of good citizens to the community. The union of himself and his wife
was blessed by the birth of five sons and one daughter and four sons survive.
Charles, who married Rosa Beardsley of Waverly township, makes his home
at Waverly; Frank, took as his wife Hattie Weatherwax, and resides at Waverly;
Ray, is unmarried, living with and being associated in business with his
father; and Martin, who married Dessie Herrington, is also located at Waverly.
The daughter, Hattie, became the wife of Bert Cleveland, and an admirable
life was ended in untimely fashion by death. Dr. Harvey and his wife
have several grandchildren to perpetuate the good name and high principles
of the head of the house.
In the matter of politics Dr. Harvey is a
Democrat, but he has never taken an active part in public life, other than
to give to all public-spirited measures his interests support. He
and his wife enjoy high standing among the good citizens of Van Buren county
and are well entitled to a place in this record of its representative men
Goodwin S. Tolles
, general farmer
and stock-raiser, residing in the vicinity of South Haven, supervisor and
justice of the peace of Geneva township, is one of the well-known citizens
of Van Buren county, Michigan. He was at one time engaged in the
lumber business, but has found a more congenial occupation in the great
basic industry of agriculture. Mr. Tolles was born in Burton township,
Geauga county, Ohio, on February 6, 1858, the son of Goodwin S. and Clarinda
(Tracy) Tolles, both natives of the Buckeye state. The family removed to
this state in 1865, just following the termination of the conflict between
the states, and located in Geneva township. The father owned at one
time three hundred and twenty acres of land, during the most of his active
career was in possession of a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres.
He eventually sold his holdings and at his death was living a retired life,
enjoying in ease and quietness the fruits of his former industry and thrift.
He passed to the Great Beyond in the year 1895 and his wife's death occurred
in 1909. To their union were born four children, namely: Mary, deceased;
Goodwin S.; one who died in infancy; and James, who resides in Geneva township.
Until the age of twenty-one years Goodwin
S. Tolles, the subject, devoted his energies to securing an education and
to assisting his father in the work of the farm. Upon the attainment
of his majority he embarked in the lumber business and was identified with
the lumber camp in Bangor township for four years. Subsequent to
this he purchased eighty acres of land in Geneva township and removed to
this well-situated farm where he has ever since maintained his home and
which is the scene of successful and intelligent operations in the line
of general farming and stock-raising.
On August 9, 1883, Mr. Tolles laid the foundations
of a congenial life companionship by his marriage to Miss Clara Warner,
daughter of A. and Olive Warner, both natives of the state which has given
to Van Buren county a large proportion of its stanchest and finest citizenship,-
New York. Mrs. Tolles is one of a family of six children, the other
of the original household having been as follows: Husam, a citizen of South
Haven; Frank, who makes his home in Geneva township; Lucy, who is the wife
of John Meyers, of Kibbie, Michigan; Lilly, who is the wife of W. V. Chaddock,
of Geneva township; and Emma, who married Claude Lockwood, of Geneva township.
Into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Tolles was born one son, Shirley E., who
is associated with his father in his farming operations. On July 1, 1907,
the younger Mr. Tolles married Myrtle Wilkins, daughter of George and Mary
Wilkins and they have a small son and daughter- Mary Morie, born August
20, 1908; and Ralph Goodwin, born April 11, 1910.
Mr. Tolles takes a helpful and public-spirited
interest in all the affairs of the community and can ever be depended upon
to give his support to all such measures as are likely to be of general
benefit. He is affiliated with the ancient and august Masonic order
and also with the Maccabees. His religious conviction is that of
the United Brethren church. Mr. and Mrs. Tolles maintain a pleasant
and hospitable home, their address being South Haven, R. R. No. 5.
Mr. Tolles has since his earliest voting days given his wholehearted allegiance
to the policies and principles of the Republican party and he has several
times been entrusted with public office. He is at the present time
supervisor and in times past has given valuable service as township clerk
and highway commissioner.
Daniel W. Allen
, a representative
man of Waverly township, is a dairy-farmer, whose well-situated, well kept
estate is in section 3, of this township. One must go far to find
a better citizen, one more liberal and broad-minded, altruistic by nature
and generous and public-spirited in his attitude towards the affairs of
the community. He is the friend of good government, the champion
of the best education possible and it truly typical of the citizens who
have made Waverly township one of the favored portions of earth.
The Allen family is of Welsh origin and the American founder of this particular
branch was among the earliest colonial immigrants, coming sometime in the
In the state of New York, Daniel W. Allen first
opened his eyes to the light of day in Providence, Saratoga county, May
7, 1845. He is the son of Job and Hannah M. (Odell) Allen, while
his paternal grandparents were Daniel and Susannah (Almey) Allen.
Daniel Allen was born in Washington county, New York, and was a blacksmith
by occupation; his death occurred in Providence, New York. The father,
Job Allen, was a manufacturer of chairs; he was married in New York and
came to Michigan about the year 1865, locating in Kalamazoo county, where
he rented a farm and remained for four years. He then removed to
Van Buren county, where he purchased forty acres of land, on which his
son, Joseph C. Allen now resides. On the homestead mentioned he passed
on to the life eternal in 1886, his beloved wife and life companion surviving
until September 1895. They were the parents of seven children (six
of whom were living in 1911), namely: Daniel W.; Joseph C.; Susan, who
died at the age of sixteen years; William C., of New Haven, Connecticut;
Alberta L., wife of J. L. McKnight; Lydia, wife of George Scott, of South
Haven, Michigan; and Job S., of Waverly township.
Daniel W. Allen came with his parents to Kalamazoo
county, Michigan, at a time when he was learning his trade, which was that
of a carpenter. Shortly thereafter he returned to his native state
and there completed his apprenticeship. He remained there until 1877
and then returned to Van Buren county. In the meantime the married,
the young woman to become his wife being Katie Hughes, of Saratoga county,
New York, who was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and was left an orphan
at the age of three years. She remained in the city of her birth
until about eleven years of age, then lived with Mr. and Mrs. Geer until
her marriage. She has proved an ideal wife and mother, possessing
grit, energy, capability and cleverness in marked degree and she is respected
most by those who know her best. She is devoted to her children in
whom she has ever placed implicit confidence. It might be said in
this instance, slightly to paraphrase the words of the poet.
With such a mother!
faith in womankind
Beats with their blood,
and trust in all things high
Comes easy to them." Mrs.
Allen's father was of Scotch descent. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Allen
has been blessed by the birth of two daughters, Mina M., who is now the
wife of Rev. D. G. Wakeman, and resides in Worthington, Indiana.
They have four children; the second daughter, is the wife of Dr. Hugh Smith,
of Gobleville, Michigan, and they have two children.
Mr.and Mrs. Allen are not members of any particular
church, but they attend the churches and support them and are essentially
moral people. In politics Mr. Allen is in harmony with the tenets
of the Democratic party. He has given the most enlightened service
as a member of the Bangor school board and his work while connected therewith
was greatly appreciated. He is a stanch friend of the cause of securing
the best education possible. He is a great reader and keeps abreast
of the issues of the day. He and his wife are rightly known as friendly,
courteous and hospitable people.
.- Although he has been
actively and successfully engaged in farming almost ever since the dawn
of his manhood, and has gone at the work and conducted his operations as
if he never had any other purpose in life, Floyd Harris of Porter township,
this county, did not begin his efforts for advancement in a worldly way
in this department of useful endeavor, or seek his education as if he had
only it in view. But the pulse of life is so rapid and the currents
are so various in American enterprise that no man's destiny, and scarcely
one's vocation can be predicted for any length of times with any degree
of certainty in this country. This condition, to the man usually
enters upon the stage of action prepared for usefulness in almost any possible
Mr. Harris was born in Porter township, Van
Buren county, Michigan, on February 27, 1884, and is a son of Lafayette
and Cora B., (Glover) Harris, the former born in Mattawan on March 26,
1856, and the latter born in Lawton, July 14, 1866. The father was a son
of Leonard M. and Esther (Munger) Harris, and the first born son of their
three children, the other two being William Henry, who lives in Kalamazoo,
and Flora L., whose life ended some years ago. Lafayette Harris passed
the whole of his life to this time (1911) on a farm, and is still engaged
in tilling the soil with energy, skill and progressiveness, and prospering
in the occupation. He owns one hundred and sixty acres of land in
Van Buren county.
The mother is a daughter of Jonathan and Lovina
(Fifield) Glover. Mr. Glover was born in Canada and Mrs. Glover in
Pierpoint, St. Lawrence county, New York. Mr. Glover served in an
Indiana Regiment in the Civil war. He came to Michigan, 1866, and
engaged in farming in Porter township and spent his last years here.
Mrs. Glover still resides in this county. Mr. Harris' parents were residents
of this county until 1908, and in all respects so passed their years among
these people so to win their cordial and lasting regard for their fidelity
to their family, their wisdom and care in rearing their children, and their
serviceable interest in the community around them. Mr. and Mrs. Harris
became the parents of three children: Their son Floyd; their daughter Ethel
May, who married with William Ferre and now has her home in California;
and their other son, Mack, who is deceased.
Floyd Harris began his academic education
in the district school in the vicinity of his father's home and completed
it at the Coloma (Michigan) State Normal School. After leaving the
Normal school he pursued a course of special training at a business college
in Kalamazoo. He then taught school for two years and a half, but
at the end of that time felt such a yearning for the farm that he returned
to it. Since then he has made farming his principle occupation, but
has done something in the way of raising live stock for market in addition.
He has always given attention to the public affairs of his township in
the way that every citizen should and every good citizen does, by zealous
support of whatever is best for the locality and the people who live in
it, and by aiding in the development of its resources and the quickening
of its progress and improvement.
On May 10, 1905, Mr. Harris was united in
marriage with Miss Isabelle Copenhaver, a daughter of Samuel and Mary (Kline)
Copenhaver, and the fourth born of their seven children, only one of whom,
Charles, has died. Those who are living, besides Mrs. Harris, are:
Jennie May, the wife of Oliver Everhart of St. Joseph county, Michigan;
Emma Eugenia, the wife of Lewis Jones of Battle Creek, Michigan; Carrie,
the wife of Luther Thomas of Schoolcraft, Michigan; and Merle and Earl,
twins, both of whom are living in Porter township, this county.
Mr. Harris is a Republican in his political
faith and gives strong allegiance to his party because he believes firmly
in its principles and theories of government. In fraternal relations
he is a member of the Order of Gleaners, and in church connection a Methodist.
He and his wife have two children: Zorma E., who was born on April 28,
1906; and Maxine L., whose life began on April 26, 1910. The parents
are esteemed throughout the township and in other parts of the county for
their genuine worth, their upright lives and the helpful interest they
show in everything that contributes to the
enduring welfare of the locality in which they live and the people
by whom they are surrounded.
.- If the secret
of the success of the German-American farmer is sought it will be found
in the qualities of his character. He is primarily a home-maker and
he has besides a real liking for work. His native land is not large
enough to permit of waste and so he trained to make the most of all that
comes to his hand. When he brings his capacity for taking pains-which Carlyle
declared to be the definition of genius-to the pursuit of farming he makes
a signal success of that industry, upon which all our economic life depends
and so becomes a potent factor in our industrial prosperity. Van
Buren county is fortunate in having a number of such farmers, among whom
Charles Kietzer holds a high place.
The family to which he belonged are natives
of Prussia. He is one of four sons born to Michael and Minnie (Dahms)
Kietzer. In 1881, the family decided to come to America to take advantage
of the greater opportunities here and accordingly sailed from Bremerhaven
and landed at Baltimore after a voyage of three weeks. They came
directly to Berrien county, Michigan, and rented a home, supported themselves
by working by the day. In time, the father purchased eight acres
of land and there he lived until his death. He was a Republican and
a member of the Lutheran church in his native land. When he came
to America, he joined the German Evangelical body of the Christian church.
He died at the age of 77, but his faithful wife is still living.
All four of the sons, Michael, John, Charles and Frederick are farmers
and residents of the state of Michigan. Frederick and Michael live
at Bainbridge, John at Watervliet and Charles in Keeler township.
All are married.
Charles is next to the youngest of the family and
was born April 1, 1863. He was therefore, seventeen when he came
with his family to America. He first went to La Fayette, Indiana,
where he worked for an Englishman. He remained in La Fayette for
a year and a half and did any work by which he could earn an honest living.
He came to Berrien county in 1883 and thence to Van Buren county where
he has since resided. At first here, he supported himself by
working for wages; then he became a renter and so gradually climbed the
latter of fortune.
On October 3, 1894, he wedded Miss Clara Rokenbauch.
They became the parents of three sons and two daughters of whom three are
living. Eva K., and Dean G. are bright pupils of the seventh grade
and Eva will study music. Maurice Elden, the youngest, is in the
third grade. Mrs. Kietzer was born in Van Buren county in a log house
which stood on the farm where she now lives. The date of her birth was
May 21, 1863. There were four children in the Rokenbauch household
and Mrs. Kietzer is the youngest. Only two are now living, the other
surviving member being Louise, the wife of Willard Mays, residing in Bainbridge.
Mrs. May has four children. Father Rokenbauch was born in Wurtemburg,
Germany and came to America when a young man. He made the trip in
a sailing vessel which lost its course and wandered north almost to the
coast of Labrador, and so took fourteen weeks to reach New York.
The young immigrant worked as a laborer in New York state and then came
to Van Buren county. The country was mostly improved when Mr. Rokenbauch
came to Michigan and the first tract of forty acres which he purchased
was all woods. It is on this place that Mr. Kietzer now resides.
The log cabin gave place to more comfortable and modern structure and the
place was freed from encumbrance. Mrs. Rokenbauch was a native of
Prussia and was born June 22, 1820. She died October 3, 1890, eight
years before her husband's decease. Both of them were members of the Evangelical
church. They are buried in the Keeler cemetery where monuments mark
their last resting place.
Mr. and Mrs. Kietzer began their wedded life on
a farm of forty acres for which they had gone into debt. They have
added to their original place and after purchasing Mrs. Kietzer' sister's
share of the estate lived for time in the frame house her father had built
to replace the log structure. In 1907 they built their present comfortable
and spacious modern dwelling and now it stands on their eighty acres of
fruitful land, all free from debt and adapted in every way to be a place
where it is a joy to live. Prospect Hill Farm is a home in the truest
sense of the term.
Mr.Kietzer has always supported the policies
of the Republican party and while in no sense a politician, his interests
in the public questions is keen and intelligent. Mrs. Kietzer is
a member of the Christian church of Bainbridge. It is impossible
to speak too highly of Mr. and Mrs. Kietzer. He is known as one of the
truest as well as one of the most eminent citizens of the county and his
wife is worthy of sharing all the success which falls to his lot.
These are the "timbers our of which to build a republic" and their record
deserves a lasting place in the history of the county their industry has
Henry L. Dobbyn
him whose name inaugurates this review, belongs to the distinction of having
lived on the same half section in Van Buren county since the age of seven
years. He is a Canadian by circumstance of birth, but for many years
has been one of the most loyal and helpful of the adopted sons of this
township, and has ever given his support to such measures as he has esteemed
likely to be of general benefit to the community. Henry F. Dobbyn
was born September 9, 1846, and is the son of James and Margaret (Drake)
Dobbyn. They were among the early pioneers in this section, having
come to Michigan, in April 1854, at which time they took up three hundred
and twenty acres of land from the government in section 32. The father
who engaged in farming throughout his entire life, died in 1907, his wife
preceding him the Great Beyond in 1905. They were the parents of
a family of children of typical pioneer proportions, eleven boys and girls
coming to bless their household. An enumeration of them is as follow:
William, residing in Mancelona, Michigan; Henry L.; John and Richard, deceased;
Jane, wife of George W. Hale, of Mancelona; George, a citizen of Mancelona;
Curtis, residing in Hyburn; Mary, deceased; and George and his twin brother
whose young lives ended in infancy.
Mr. Dobbyn's homestead, a desirably situated
tract, consists of eighty acres and it is the scene of successful operations
in the field of general farming. He makes a specialty of the raising
of grain and fruit, and has done his share toward the achievement of the
agricultural prosperity of Van Buren county, which more than any other
factor gives it its prestige.
On April 21, 1868, Mr. Dobbyn laid the most important
stone in the foundation of his success by his marriage to Martha Johnson,
the daughter of Newton Johnson, deceased, both of whom are natives of the
state of New York. Her family came to Michigan at an early day and
Mrs. Dobbyn was engaged in teaching school in this district when she married.
Their happy marriage has resulted in a family of four children, as follows:
Ida B., wife of Elsworth Chorpenning, of Coloma; Alvin, an employee of
the offices of the Michigan Central Railroad and located in Chicago; Minne,
wife of E. Rockwell, of Coloma; and Daniel, of Covert township.
Mr. Dobbyn is a stalwart supporter of the
cause of the Republican party. There is nothing of public import
in his township in which he is not helpfully interested and no local movement
which in his judgment promises to benefit any considerable number of his
fellow citizens that does not have his cordial advocacy and support.
He has held several township offices very creditably. He enjoys that
highest honor of being a true and useful citizen, of the type whose record
is essential to the completeness of this history of Van Buren coutny, Michigan.
Charles W. Havens
.- The father and
grandfather of Charles W. Havens, both of whom were christened William,
were natives of Stueben county, New York. The grandfather was one
of the early settlers of Keeler township where he had a small farm upon
which he and his wife lived to the end of their lives. William Havens
grew to manhood in the county in which he was born and was married to Jane
Lewis. There was one other child of their union besides Charles,
of this review, Olive, who became the wife of Martin Olds. The father
came to Michigan after his marriage and settled in Keeler township, Van
Buren county, where he lived until 1874 when he moved to Hartford, remaining
there until his death on September 24, 1892.
Charles was born on the 29th of November 1867,
in Keeler township, and lived there until he was six years old. His
life was that of a farmer's son of that time, to work on his father's place
and to attending the district school. After the age of seventeen
he gave all his time to farming. He now owns sixty acres and has
an interest in an additional ninety. Besides general farming, Mr.
Havens is engaged in quite extensively in growing fruitand in both lines
of agriculture is successful.
On September 28, 1898, Mr. Havens was married
to Miss Pearl Humphrey who was born in Girard, Illinois, in 1875.
Her father, B. F. Humphrey, had graduated from the theological course of
a well known Baptist school and was a minister of that denomination.
Mrs. Havens was one of a family of six children and two others are still
living. F. D. Humphrey is a physician in Henrick, Oklahoma, and May
is the wife of Elmer Benedict. Mrs. Havens was educated in the high
school of Mishawaka, Indiana, and later her family came to Hartford township
to live. It was here that she met Mr. Havens and became the mistress of
his home and the mother of their three sons. The boys are aged twelve,
eleven and nine years respectively. The eldest is William B. Havens;
William being a name which has been a favorite in the family for generations.
The two younger children are called Russell and Gerald. All of them
are in school and are among the best students in their class.
Mrs. Havens is a member of the church in which
her father spent so many years of faithful service for the salvation of
souls, her membership being in the church at Hartford. She also belongs
to the Fraternal Brotherhood in which she carries two thousand dollars
insurance. Mr. Havens is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America,
and carries one thousand dollars insurance.
For twelve years Mr. Havens has been treasurer
of the school district and he has the welfare of the educational activities
of the district always at heart. In politics, he is aligned with
the Democrats. Personally he is a man of pleasant address and sociable
in disposition. Both he and his wife are widely acquainted in the
county and count a host of friends here.
Frank J. Tedrow
,- Well versed in the
art and science of agriculture, Frank J. Tedrow ranks high among the progressive
and successful farmers of Bloomingdale township, his well-kept farm, on
section 29, and everything about his premises, bespeaking the thrift and
good management of the proprietor. A native of this township, he
was born April 7, 1865, a son of the late Aaron K. Tedrow.
Born in Somerset county, Pennsylvania, in
December 1827, Aaron K. Tedrow was left motherless when a child, and at
an early age became self-supporting. He was blessed with a rugged
constitution, a cheerful heart and willing hands, and thus equipped began
as soon as old enough to learn the stone mason's trade, which he followed
for a number of years. In 1856, desirous of investing his earnings
in cheap land, be came to Bloomingdale township, Van Buren county, Michigan,
and bought eighty acres of land, which included the east half of the northeast
quarter of section 29. This entire section and the surrounding country
was at that time heavily wooded, and the few settlers lived in log cabins,
subsisting the first few years of their residence in this locality largely
on the wild game to be found in the forests. Building a typical log
house, he began the improvement of the land, and was here engaged in farming
until his death, in 1876, at the age of forty-nine years. He had in the
meantime acquired considerable wealth, being the owner of four hundred
and forty acres of rich land, much of which was under a good state of cultivation.
His wife, whose maiden name was Catherine Kooser, was born in Pennsylvania,
and died in Bloomingdale township, in 1906, leaving six children.
After completing his early education in the
district schools, Frank J. Tedrow took a course of study at Parson's Commercial
College, in Kalamazoo. Familiar with the various branches of agriculture
from his youth up, he then decided to continue in the occupation to which
he was bred, and in 1899 settled in section 29, on the place which he now
owns and occupies. Energetic and enterprising, Mr. Tedrow has placed his
rich and fertile land under a good state of cultivation, and has erected
a tasteful and convenient residence, a good barn, and all the necessary
out buildings, and has installed all the machinery required by a first-class
modern agriculturist. He carries on general farming with excellent pecuniary
results, making a specialty of dairying and poultry raising.
In 1897 Mr. Tedrow was united in marriage
with Myrtle M. Baughman, who was born in Bloomingdale township, Van Buren
county, a daughter of Edmund and Catherine Baughman. Two children
have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Tedrow, namely: Gladys and Doris.
Fraternally Mr. Tedrow is a member of the Bloomingdale Lodge, No. 161,
Independent Order of Odd Fellows; and of Bloomingdale Camp, No. 1859, Modern
Woodmen of America. He has been treasurer of the school board for
the past fifteen years.
George W. Chapman
.- Having earned
all they have in the way of worldly possessions by hard and continuous
labor, and worked their way through difficulties, over obstacles and under
privations and hardships that were at times oppressive in both their extent
and severity, George W. Chapman, one of the progressive and enterprising
farmers and fruit-growers of Lawrence township, and his faithful and industrious
wife are entitled to all the pleasures they can get out of their present
property, and all the pride they may ever feel over the gratifying success
that has crowned their efforts.
Both of these excellent persons are products of
the township in which they now live, and they are also fine representatives
of its most sterling and reliable citizenship. Mr. Chapman was born
in Antwerp township, this county, on May 4, 1848, a son of Clinton and
Lydia (Wait) Chapman, natives of New York. Clinton was the son of
"Elder Chapman," as the respect of all who knew him and his standing in
his community induced the people to call him at times, and he was a native
of Allegany county, New York, where he passed the whole of his life and
reared his family. The elder died about the time his son Clinton
came to Michigan with his young wife, the mother of George W., to whom
he was married in their native state a short time before.
On the arrival of the young couple in this
state they located at Litchfield, Hillsdale county, where they remained
until 1847, the head of the house working out on farms and in other pursuits
to earn a living for his family and secure what the could in the way of
advancement in the world. In the year last named they moved to Van
Buren county, where they passed the remainder of their lives, the mother's
ending in 1864, the father surviving a number of years, and dying at the
age of sixty-seven. They were the parents of nine children, of whom
their son George W. is the only one now living. His mother's death occurred
when he was sixteen years of age, and his father was afterward married
to Miss Malinda Logan. By his second marriage the father had two
children. Their mother died, and the father contracted a third marriage,
which united him with Mrs. Celeste (Hayden) Swift. They had four children,
two of whom have departed this life. The two who are living Freedeus
and his sister Lilly, who is the wife of James Horton, of Minnesota, where
he is profitably engaged in farming.
George W. Chapman has passed the whole of
his life in Van Buren county. He was educated in its country schools, assisting
his father in the labors of the home farm while attending them. When
he reached the age of seventeen, being ambitious to work out his own destiny
and make his own way in the world, he left school and hired out to work
for others by the month. This he continued five years, living frugally,
laboring industriously and saving his earnings for use in starting his
own independent career, which he was eager to begin.
On July 30, 1870, being then a little over
twenty-two years old, he was united in marriage with Miss Laura J. Braybrooks,
a daughter of James and Jane (Simmons) Braybrooks of Lawrence township.
After his marriage he worked by the day at whatever he could get to do
until the following February, when he located on a farm near Hartford,
and this he farmed as a tenant for two years. He then moved to Keeler
township, and there he and his wife cultivated a farm which they rented
for eight years.
At the end of that period, in 1880, he bought
sixty acres of land across the road from where he now lives, and moved
on the tract in 1881. But by the fall of 1887 he found something
more to his desire, and bought the farm he now lives on and located on
it at once. Here he has lived ever since, cultivating his land with
enterprise and skill, improving his property with good judgment, and developing
all the possibilities of his situation by studying what might be and devoting
himself with steady industry to their full realization. He built
his present dwelling in 1899.
One of the avenues to prosperity which he
opened and has made the most of is his industry in fruit culture.
He planted his orchards with intelligence and has cultivated them with
care, and they have yielded good returns for his enterprise in starting
them and his zeal and prudence in caring for them. While he is not one
of the great fruit-growers of the county, he is one of the most successful,
and the products of his orchards always bring good prices, for they are
choice and prepared for the market with every attention to details in packing
and shipping required to bring the best results.
Mr. and Mrs. Chapman have one child, their
son H. Hurvey Chapman. He is a graduate of the Lawrence High School,
and now usefully engaged in working his way forward in the struggle for
advancement among men. On November 10, 1896, he was married to Miss
Frances Clark, the daughter of Edward and Ellen (Wallace) Clark, residents
of Arlington. Two sons have been born of the union: Keith Clark,
who is now thirteen years of age; and George Virgil, who is eight.
Mr. Chapman and his son Hurvey are members of the
Masonic order in several of its branches. They belong to Rising Sun
Lodge No. 119, at Lawrence, and also to a Royal Arch Chapter and Council
of Royal and Select Masters in the fraternity. In addition, they
have and their wives all belong to the Masonic auxiliary the Order of the
Eastern Star, and the elder Mrs. Chapman holds membership in the fraternity
of the Maccabees.
The father is independent in his political
action, always casting his vote for the good of the community and the candidates
he deems best fitted for the offices they seek. His son trains with
the Republican party, and is zealous in its service. The father has
filled the office of road commissioner acceptably in Lawrence township,
but he has never been desirous of public office. His farm of one
hundred and sixty-five acres, which he calls "Maple Ridge Farm," and which
is so designated by everybody else, occupies his time and attention, and
furnishes him all the drafts on his energies he cares to have. It
is the fruit of his own and his wife's hard labor and thrift, and the object
of chief concern to them. But they never neglect the duties of citizenship,
and are highly esteemed for their fidelity to them.
Henry J. Dodge
.- Both as a citizen
who has always shown an active interest in all that pertains to the general
welfare, and as the proprietor and partner in the Hartford City Mills of
Hartford, Michigan, and enterprise that has done much to promote the general
welfare of the whole city, Henry J. Dodge has well deserved the general
esteem with which he is regarded by all who know him. He was born
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 15, 1844, a son of Philander and Thirza (Eastman)
Dodge. His father was a native of Oneida county, New York, and his
mother was born in West Poultney, Vermont. After their marriage in
New York state, his parents went to Milwaukee in 1835, where his father
who had first been a farmer, served on the city police force for twenty-two
years. For some time he lived in Casco, Allegan county, Michigan
and engaged in farming. His death occurred in Milwaukee. He
and his wife were the parents of four children, Henry J., being the only
survivor in 1911. Truman and Henry died in infancy and Leander W.,
Henry J. Dodge was reared until his fourteenth year
in Milwaukee and attended the public schools of that place until he went
to Dane county, Wisconsin, to live with his grandfather Eastman on a farm.
There he attended the district schools until his seventeenth year when
he enlisted in Company "K," 33rd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry on August
4, 1862. His military career lasted for three years, one month and
five days. During his service, his regiment many times saw the front,
and he was present at the battles of Vicksburg and Nashville, and was in
the celebrated Red River Expedition under Banks. After he was mustered
out, he returned to Dane county, Wisconsin, and for two years engaged in
farming for himself.
On the 26th of January 1866, he was united in marriage
to Miss Mary E. Shumway. Two years later Mr. and Mrs. Dodge came
to Michigan and in February 1869, located in Allegany county where Mr.
Dodge proceeded to farm for twenty-two years, gaining in that time many
loyal friends and the respect of the whole county. He then sold out
and came to Casco where for four years he was variously engaged before
buying a farm in South Haven township, Van Buren county, and in the latter
place he served for fifteen years as highway commissioner. In 1910,
Mr. Dodge came to Hartford and purchased the Hartford City Mills, and has
taken a prominent place among the business interests of the community.
To Mr. and Mrs. Dodge have been born four
children. Truman A. is a farmer in Allegan county, Michigan; Warren
S. is a contractor and builder in South Haven; Clara E. is now the wife
of Isaac McKinzie of South Haven township; while Thirza M. is Mrs. W. A.
Keeny of Hartford, her husband being associated with her father in the
Hartford City Mills.
Mr. Dodge is a member of the Baptist church
and interested in all of its good works. He is also a member and
ex-commander of the Jack Chandler Post of the G. A. R. In his political
affiliations, he is a stanch Republican, thoroughly convinced that the
men and measures of that party are best fitted to manage public affairs.
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