VAN BUREN CITIZENS
Charles A. Moses.- The agriculturists
of twenty or more years ago, as a general rule, gave their entire
attention to the growing of crops and the cultivation of their fields,
but the later generation of farmers have combined their farming operations
with those of dairying, stock raising and fruit growing, and have found
that this method, if managed properly, brings a greater degree of success.
One of the prosperous young agriculturists of Van Buren county is Charles
A. Moses, who now owns and operates the old Moses homestead in section
35, Arlington township, where he was born February 20, 1885.
Judson J. Moses, the father of Charles A.,
was born in New York, and as a young man came to Michigan, settling in
Van Buren county, where he became an agriculturist and land speculator.
At his death he was the owner of eighty acres of land now operated by his
son, Charles A. Judson J. Moses was married in Van Buren county to
Miss Sophia Prater, a native of Michigan, and they became the parents of
six children: Minnie, the wife of Wesley Nicholas, of Arlington; Andrew,
who makes his home in Benton Harbor, Michigan; Maude, the wife of John
Carney, of Lawrence; Mabel, the widow of Elmer Eldred, of Lawrence; Arthur,
who lives in Canada; and Charles A.
Charles A. Moses received a district school
education in Arlington township, and at the age of nineteen years began
fruit farming, an occupation which he followed for six years. He
then started raising grain, and in July 1909, he was deeded half of the
old homestead and moved thereto, later purchasing the remainder of the
land. He now follows general farming and stock raising, and also
now raises fruit. Mr. Moses lost his mother when he was thirteen
years of age, and his father died May 9, 1909. he was married February
20, 1906, to Miss Gladys Clements, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Barnum)
Clements, who had one other child: Grove, residing in Wisconsin.
Mr. and Mrs. Moses have had three children: Charles J., born September
21, 1907; Opal, born September 14, 1909; and Clements, born April 9, 1911.
Mr. Moses is a well known member of
the Gleaners, and a staunch Democrat in politics, although he has never
desired public office for himself. He has been very successful in
his operations, raising large crops and breeding some of the best cattle
yet turned out of this township. As a citizen he stands high, always
supporting public-spirited movements, and he has many warm friends in the
township who are welcomed at his comfortable residence on Lawrence Rural
.- Having taken up the battle
of life for himself when he was but eight years of age, and in the beginning
of the struggle worked laboriously in the pine woods of Maine getting out
timber for the industries; then living in various places and working several
different occupations for a number of years under great difficulties, but
with his eyes steadily fixed on the goal of his ambition, Isaac Gerow,
of Paw Paw township, this county, is entitled to high credit for the progress
he has made and the success he has won, wholly by his own efforts, unaided
by any of Fortune's favors or propitious circumstances at any time.
He is now a man of substance in a worldly way, and a citizen of consequence
in the township and county of his home.
Mr. Gerow is a native of the state of Maine,
where his life began on October 10, 1855. His parents, Isaac and
Martha (Taylor) Gerow, were also born and reared in Maine, and both are
now deceased. The father was a farmer from his youth. He and his
wife were the parents of three children; Isaac, of this review; Isa, who
died in 1891; and Phebe, who died two years ago. Isaac was compelled
by the condition of the family estate to begin earning his own living when
he was only eight years old, as has been stated, and his educational opportunities
were necessarily of the most limited character. At the age of fourteen
he secured employment in the pine woods of his native state in the logging
or lumber business, to which he adhered for six months. The work
was hard, the pay was meager, and the privations and hardships of his situation
were numerous and burdensome. But he bravely toiled on and saved
his earnings in the confident belief that he would in time secure better
chances for advancement. At the end of the season in the woods he
returned to his home and gave his attention to farm work. When he was twenty
he went to the oil regions of Pennsylvania, where he remained two years
in search of the profits which did not come his way.
In 1880 he came to Michigan and worked on
farms and at whatever else he could find to do. He kept this up five years,
and at the end of that period rented forty acres of land in Arlington township,
Van Buren county. He remained on this farm two years, then moved
to one of one hundred and fifty-five acres in Lawrence township, which
he also rented, but gave up at the end of the first year of tenancy.
His next venture was on another farm of forty acres, which he occupied
two years, and his next on one of one hundred and twenty-three acres, on
which he lived five years. From Lawrence township, Van Buren county,
he moved to Oklahoma, but returned at the end of eight months to this state
and Lawrence township, for another residence of one year, followed by one
of a year on a rented farm in Paw Paw township.
By this time he was able to select and secure
a permanent home of his own, and bought fifty acres of first-rate land
in Paw Paw township, and on this he has ever since lived, made extensive
improvements and conducted a highly progressive farming and stock raising
industry. His farm is in section 30, and the fine improvements he
has made on it and the high state of productiveness to which he has brought
it have made it one of the most valuable and desirable of its size in the
township, and he has not yet made it all he intends it shall be if industry
and good management can bring about the conditions for which he is striving.
Mr. Gerow was married on February 7, 1878, to Miss
Louisa Gilger, and by this union has become the father of five children:
Isa, who is a resident of South Dakota; Daniel, whose home is in Kalamazool;
Millen, who also resides in this state; Martha, the wife of Emory Hulbert,
who lives in Bloomingdale township; and Orvilla, who has her home in South
Dakota. The father is a firm and faithful working member of
the Republican party in his political faith and activity, and has filled
a number of township offices as such, but has administered them all for
the good of the township and the welfare and betterment of its people.
Mrs. Gerow's church connection is with the Methodists, and in the congregation
is one of the reliable and energetic workers for its advancement and general
well being. Mr. Gerow is zealous and effective in his support of
all worthy agencies working in his community for the progress and improvement
of the region, and is esteemed on all sides as one of the sterling, sturdy
and representative men in the citizenship of all Van Buren county.
Frank G. Hudson
.- The son of a druggist
who passed thirty-three years of his life in the trade on Paw Paw, and
himself for some years engaged in the same department of mercantile enterprise,
Frank G. Hudson, now one of the leading retail merchants of Van Buren county,
has seen a considerable amount of human suffering and been able to minister
substantially to its relief. In his present mercantile enterprise,
handling clothing, boots and shoes for the general trade, he is engaged
in providing for the comfort of his fellow men in another way, and his
services in the latter are as highly appreciated as those in the former
were when he was rendering them. For in all undertakings he is faithful
to every requirement and leaves nothing undone on his part to secure the
best results for his patrons and himself.
Mr. Hudson is a native of the Pacific slope,
having been born in Sacramento, California, on April 22, 1857. His
parents, Major G. J. and Maria (Prater) Hudson, were born in the
state of New York. The father came to Michigan and located in Almena
township, Van Buren county. He later moved to Paw Paw and in company
with Mr. Kilmer, opened a drug store, the firm being known as Hudson &
Kilmer, and this he kept without interruption, except during the four years
of the Civil war, until his death, which occurred in 1883. His connection
with the drug trade in one locality covered a full generation of human
life, and as he had fine qualifications of the business, and a stern sense
of duty in the use of them, he always gave satisfaction to the patrons
of his store and stood high in the regard of the community, both as a business
man and a citizen.
He was a major in the Third Michigan Militia
when the Civil war began, and his regiment was one of the first to offer
its services to the government for the defense of the Union. He was
in the war four years, and although he face death on many a hard-fought
field in the sanguinary sectional strife, he escaped unharmed and was mustered
out of the service at the close of the war. He and his wife were the parents
of three children, all living and all residents of Michigan: Charles H.,
who lives at Marcellus in Cass county; Frank G., the immediate subject
of these paragraphs; and Lizzie, the wife of Dr. J. C. Reynolds, whose
home is in Battle Creek.
Frank G. Hudson obtained a high school education
in Paw Paw, and after leaving school entered the drug trade and continued
his connection with it for a number of years. He then turned his
attention to farming, desiring a more outdoor life, and in this interesting
but exacting pursuit he passed the next twenty years of his life, agreeably
and profitably. At the end of that period he determined to return
to merchandising, and came back to Paw Paw for the purpose. He opened
a clothing and shoe store, and this he has been conducting ever since,
with increasing advantage to the community and good results for himself.
His store is one of the most satisfactory and popular in the county. The
people find it always up-to-date in the completeness and variety of its
stock, the reasonableness of its prices and the strict integrity that controls
Mr. Hudson is not an active partisan in politics,
but a good citizen in attention to public affairs and the performance of
his duty to the city, county, state and nation. He is an Episcopalian
in church connection, and full of zeal for the advancement of the best
interests of the community in every way. His father was very active
and prominent in the Masonic fraternity, and at one time was Grand Master
of the state.
Charles C. Searls
.- This venerable
citizen of Paw Paw township, Van Buren county, who has passed the age of
four score years and is now living retired from active pursuits, making
his home with his son John, has been a resident of Michigan for over forty-four
years, and has passed the most of them in this county. His life has
been long and useful, and the people of the county esteem him highly for
the genuine worth of his manhood, the services he has rendered in several
lines of active effort and productiveness, for his patriotism which took
him to the battlefield during our Civil war, and for his sterling, upright
and estimable demeanor in all the relations of life.
Mr. Searls is a native of Genesee county,
New York, where his life began on March 3, 1830. He is a son of John
and Hannah (Stocking) Searls, the former born in the state of New York
and the latter in Connecticut. The father passed his life on a farm
and cultivated it with skill and energy. Both he and his wife died in 1875.
They were the parents of four children, all of whom lived to good old age,
and two are still living, well advanced in years. These are C.C., who is
eighty-one, and his brother Isaiah, who is still a resident of Genesee
county, New York, and is eighty-three. Their sister Clarissa died
at the age of eighty-five, and their brother Stephen D. in 1909, aged ninety-one.
C.C. Searls remained on the home farm with
his parents until he reached the age of thirty-seven. In 1867 he
came to Michigan and located and located in the southern part of the state,
where he remained until 1871. In that year he changed his residence
to Paw Paw, and here he has been living ever since except for some years,
which he passed in Grand Rapids. In his active years he was a builder
and contractor, and worked at that occupation here and in Grand Rapids,
and also in other places.
On July 4, 1849, Mr. Searls was married to
Miss Hannah Sheppard, who died on December 31, 1909, after sixty years
of peaceful domestic life and faithful devotion t the interests and welfare
of her household. She and Mr. Searls were the parents of two children:
Mary, the wife of C. L. Fitch, of Grand Rapids, who has been the clerk
of the United States court in that city during the last twenty-five years;
and John, who is a resident and prosperous farmer of Paw Paw township,
C.C. Searls is a firm and faithful Democrat
in political relations. He served two terms as assessor, and has
been of value to the people in other ways by his fidelity in serving them
and the force of his excellent example as a man and a citizen. He
belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic and enjoys the meetings of his
post in the organization. They bring vividly to his mind the memories
of the Civil war, in which he served for a time, until a serious rupture
disabled him from further military duty. He enlisted in April 1861,
in Company F, Twenty-eighth New York Volunteer Infantry, and was discharged
on September 29 of the same year on account of the disability already alluded
John Searls, the only son of C.C. and Hannah
(Sheppard) Searls, was born in Byron, Genesee county, New York, on April
29, 1857. He received a high school education in Paw Paw, and when
he reached the age twenty began farming, continuing his operations in this
pursuit two years. At the end of that time he joined his father in
contracting and building, and in Grand Rapids had entire charge of the
building operations of the firm for twelve years. In 1898 he returned
to this county and bought eighty acres of good farming land in Paw Paw
township. He has increased his farm by subsequent purchases until
he now owns one hundred and sixty acres, on which he does general farming
and raises live stock for the markets.
On January 3, 1878, John Searls was united
in marriage with Miss Carrie Adams, daughter of John Q. and Caroline (Tower)
Adams, natives of the state of New York. The mother died in 1893
and the father in 1896. They had three children, Susan, who is the
wife of J.D. Benson, of North Dakota; Josephine, who has been dead a number
of years; Carrie, who is now Mrs. John Searls. She and her husband
are the parents of two children: Their daughter Mary, who was born July
8, 1888, and is now the wife of G.W. Lewis, of Grand Rapids, Michigan,
and their son Charles C., who was born on July 15, 1889, and is also now
a resident of Grand Rapids.
Like his father, John Searls is a Democrat
in his political faith and alliance, and an energetic and effective worker
for the good of his party. His occupation as a builder for a number of
years deeply impressed him with the value of improvements in his community,
and he has always been full of enterprise and progressiveness in helping
to bring them about. He and his wife and children are very useful
citizens, and are universally esteemed by all classes of the people in
Stephen D. Searls, the brother of C.C., was
also a highly appreciated citizen and prosperous farmer in Van Buren county
for more than twenty-five years. He located in Paw Paw township in
1865, and here he owned and cultivated one hundred and six acres of land
in section 22. In 1890 he sold this farm and moved to North Dakota,
and from there to Spokane, Washington, where he passed the remainder of
his days, dying there in 1909, at the advanced age of ninety-one years.
J. B. Breed
.- The Almena township
citizenship is fortunate in the possession of the Breed family, of which
Joshua B. Breed , a prominent gentleman, is an estimable member of society
and a representative of the agricultural industry. He is one of Van Buren
county's pioneers, having resided here since 1835, the year of his birth.
His eyes first opened to the light of day on July 5 of the year mentioned,
in the state of New York, and while he was a babe in arms his parents severed
old associations in the Empire state and settled in Van Buren county, Michigan.
His parents were Silas and Nancy (Bangs) Breed and their coming to this
section was in the pioneer days, when Van Buren county was original ground.
It goes without saying that the first years were filled with hardships
encountered by the representative pioneers, but there was doubtless ample
recompense in the wholesome life, the generous spirit of good-will which
characterized the dealings of the people of the time and section.
The original Breed home was in Breedsville, on the Black river. The
subjects father erected a mill there (a saw-mill) which he operated for
about four years, then removed to Antwerp and buying a farm there.
At the latter point he resided for four years; then went to another farm
and after a short time disposed of that land and took up his residence
within the borders of Almena township, where his son now lives. He
spent the remainder of his days here, his demise occurring in 1877.
The demise of his worthy wife, the mother of the subject, was many years
previous, when Mr. Breed was a little lad but four years of age.
Of the five children of that union but two survive, the other being Albert
T., of northern Michigan. After the death of his first wife Silas
Breed was united in marriage to Mary (Jones) Miller, and the three children
born to them all survive, namely: Nancy, wife of George W. Meyer; Mina,
wife of Dr. Bennett, residing in northern Michigan; and Silas A.
When J. B. Breed was a lad he attended
the district school for two or three months out of the year, educational
facilities being somewhat meager at that time, and there being much need
of his assistance in the affairs of his father's farm. He attended
school until his eighteenth year and then until his majority he worked
for his father. He then determined to establish himself upon an independent
footing for a year or two managed his father's place, subsequent to that
buying a farm in Waverly township. Here he engaged in farming for
eight years and then came to Almena township, where he bought a farm and
has ever since made his home upon it. It is very desirably situated
and has been brought to a fine state of improvement by its owner.
At the age of twenty-three years Mr. Breed
was married, his chosen lady being Marie Clark, daughter of Thomas Clark,
Sr., the date of the celebration of their marriage being the year 1858.
An ideally happy life companionship was terminated in 1907 by the death
of the beloved and devoted wife. Three children were born to them,
two of whom are living at the present time, namely: Burdette L., who is
identified with the Van Buren County Fire Insurance Company as secretary
and who makes his home in Paw Paw; Lester E., who remains at home with
his father, conducting the affairs of the farm.
Mr. Breed is a member of the Masons at Paw
Paw and exemplifies in his own living the ideals of moral and social justice
and brotherly love of that order. He is also connected with the Order
of the Eastern Star, as was his wife, before her death. Both were
members of the Baptist church, in whose affairs Mr. Breed is still active.
He gives heart and hand to the men and measures of the Republican party
and at one time took a leading part in political affairs of the county.
However, of recent years he has lived a retired life. He has held
all of the township offices and has ever enjoyed and merited the confidence
and respect of the entire community. He is a man of pleasing and
accommodating nature, willing and ready to do all he can for his neighbor.
Mr. Breed owns one hundred and sixty acres of land in this township, his
estate being an eminently valuable and well-ordered one.
Silas A Breed
.- The world instinctively
and justly renders deference to the man whose success in life has been
worthily achieved, who has attended a competence by honorable methods and
whose high reputation is solely the result of preeminent merit. Such
a man is Silas A. Breed, a prominent farmer and fruit-grower of Almena
township, whose valuable and highly improved estate of one hundred and
twenty acres is situated in sections 7 and 8, his pleasant residence being
in the former section. His is the remarkable record of having lived on
the same farm nearly all his life, to which he came as a baby two years
Mr. Breed is a native son of the Wolverine
state, his birth having taken place in Antwerp township, Van Buren county,
on December 11, 1848, his parents being Silas and Mary Ann Jones (Miller)
Breed. The father was born in New Hampshire and resided until he
became of age in that state. He then removed to the Empire State,
where he settled and where he was married to his first wife, whom name
was Nancy Bangs. They lived in New York until 1835, at which time
four children had been born to them. After the birth of their son
Joshua, they came to the newly opened state of Michigan, and located first
at Breedsville, where the head of the house erected a mill. A few
years later he removed to a point just east of Paw Paw, on the old territorial
road. Here he rented land and resided for two years, previous to
taking the Elden-Gillman farm, where he lived for five years. It
was subsequent to that, the he removed to the farm upon which his son,
the subject, now resides, and there the elder gentleman passed the remainder
of his days, his demise occurring on May 7, 1878. Three children
were born to him and his good wife, all of whom survive at the present
time. Nancy B. is the wife of George W. Meyers and Ermine is the
wife of J. H. Bennett, of Boyne City in northern Michigan, Dr. Bennett
being a practicing physician surgeon.
Silas A. Breed is indebted to the district
schools for his education. Within the walls of the district school-room
he pursued his studies until he was in the neighborhood of twenty years
old, in the meantime assisting his father in his work and becoming under
his excellent tutelage familiar with farming in all its departments.
Subsequently he purchased the farm for his own and as previously mentioned
he has lived here ever since babyhood, every inch of it being dear to him
with some association.
On June 4, 1870, Mr. Breed was united in marriage
to Emily Stoughton, daughter of James W. Stoughton, of Almena township,
and to this happy union two children have been born- Charles and Glenn.
The former, who lives upon the old home place and assists in its management,
married Myrtle Kessler and is the father of seven children: Theo, James,
Frank, La Rue, Carl, Mina, and Robert. Glenn is in Kansas, where
he is a prominent in the automobile business. He left home when a
youth of eighteen years. He is single.
Mr. and Mrs. Breed are members of the Maccabees
at Gobleville and both for a good many years have been members of the Waverly
Free Baptist church. Mr. Breed is a trustee at the present time and
for several years was clerk of the church. He is on of the most active
members, assisting in every way possible in the campaign for good instituted
by the church body. Mr. Breed has always voted with the Republican
party and is a stalwart supporter of its policies and principles.
He is held in generally high esteem and confidence and it is appropriate
that in him should have been vested the responsibilities of office, he
having held the offices of treasurer and township clerk. He is a man of
pleasing address and it has been his successful aim and ambition to lead
a true and upright life. He is, in truth, one of the most highly
respected citizens of Almena township.
Frank Van Blaricon
at the age of three years by the death of his father, and with his mother
in moderate circumstances so that she could not do all for her children
she wished in the way of preparing them for advancement in live and providing
them with opportunities for making it. Frank Van Blaricon, one of
the enterprising and prosperous farmers and live stock men of Paw Paw township,
Van Buren county, was thrown on his own resources early in life, and has
been ever since obligated to make his own way in the world. But he
has met his responsibilities courageously, and confronted all the difficulties
of his progress with a determination to overcome them.
Mr. Van Blaricon is a native of Wayne county,
New York, where he was born on February 23, 1863. His parents were
John and Margaret (Van Awken) Van Blaricon, also natives of Wayne county,
New York, and both now deceased, the father having died in his native state
in 1866, and the mother in this county in 1911. There were but two
children born in the family, Frank and his older sister Mary, who is now
the wife of William Rickerson, of Paw Paw. In 1871, when Frank was
eight years old, his mother brought him to Michigan and located in Paw
Paw. When he reached the age of twenty-one he bought eighty acres
of land in section 27, Paw Paw township, and started a farming industry,
which he conducted for a short time, then turning his attention to electrical
He was engaged in this interesting bur hazardous
occupation for twelve years in Minnesota, Cleveland, Ohio, and Detroit,
Michigan. In 1906 he returned to his farm, and ever since then has
been profitably occupied in cultivating that, and raising live stock for
the general markets and operating a busy and remunerative peppermint distillery
which he owns.
On October 8, 1901, Mr. Van Blaricon was united
in marriage with Miss Anna Paulson, a native of Sweden, the daughter of
Nelson and Eleanor (Morton) Paulson, and the first born of their seven
children. The others are: Mary, the wife of Fred Jarl, of St. Paul,
Minnesota; John Olaf, Albert and Jonas, all of whom are also residents
of St. Paul; and Emma, whose home is in Litchfield, Meeker county,
Minnesota. They are all doing well in their several occupations and
giving the communities in which they live excellent examples of worthy,
upright, progressive and useful citizenship.
Mr. Van Blaricon is a Republican in his political
allegiance and always warmly interested in the success of his party.
He is a faithful worker for its welfare because he believes firmly in its
principles, and not with a desire for public office of any kind, although
he has filled a number of township positions at the behest of the people,
and has done it in a manner creditable to himself and beneficial to the
township. He has for many years been an active member of the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, and taken great interest in the work of his lodge
and the order in general.
Prosperous in his business undertakings,
zealously interested in the progress and improvement of his township and
county, and performing all the duties of citizenship in an estimable manner,
he has earned by his merit the general esteem in which he is held by the
people and proven himself worthy of their regard in every way. He
is not Ostentatious in his life, but sterling in his character and every
manifestation of it, and is a good representative and sturdy product of
the elevated and reliable manhood of Van Buren county that has given it
its high rank in the state.
George H. Myhan
.- Born in this country
of Irish parentage, George H. Myhan of South Haven has had the inspiration
of his life from two of the most interesting countries in the world, both
teeming with high examples and historical suggestions of the most impressive
character. A native of Massachusetts and afterward a resident of
New York, where he lived until he reached the age of thirteen, and now
for nearly fifty years a factor in the industrial and civil life of Michigan,
the East and West have commingled in his experience, and given him additional
incentives to ambition and the effort necessary to realize all it pointed
him to and promised as a reward for his endeavors.
Mr. Myhan's life began in Massachusetts
on April 13, 1850. His parents, James and Ann (O'Hara) Myhan, were
born in Ireland, the former on May 1, 1815, near the city of Cork, and
the latter in County Antrim on April 8, 1822. The father died in
October 1899, and the mother in 1890. They were married in Burlington,
Vermont, and became the parents of nine children, six of whom are living,
their son George having been the third in the order of birth, and being
the only one of the lot living in this state and taking part in its activities.
The father lost his parents by death in his
native land when he was a boy, and when he was nine years old crossed the
Atlantic in a sailing vessel to Quebec, Canada, arriving in that city in
1824, and remaining there to sixteen or seventeen years. From Quebec
he went to Vermont, and there he learned the tanner's trade, which later
he worked at in the state of New York. In 1863 he came to Michigan and
located in South Haven, where he put up one of the first tanneries erected
and operated in this part of the state. He remained in the business
and had personal charge of his tannery in every detail of its operation
until 1890, when he retired from all active pursuits. He took a decided
interest in public affairs, but was not allied with either of the two great
political parties, always remaining independent of partyconnections and
free from partisan preferences.
George H. Myhan began his education in the
schools of New York and completed them in those of South Haven. After
leaving school, he learned the tanner's trade under the instruction of
his father and was associated with him in business until his retirement
in 1890. The son then took charge of the
tannery and continued to control and manage it until 1903. In
that year he was appointed postmaster of South Haven, a position which
he has filled ever since, performing it duties in a way that has given
the patrons of the office great satisfaction and been very creditable to
himself. He has also been a member of the school board and the city
council of South Haven and in each of these positions has also rendered
Mr. Myhan was married on October 31, 1880,
to Miss Cora C. Grimes. She was born in Paw Paw , Michigan, and is
a daughter of C.D. Grimes and P.L. (Bushnell) Grimes, who were born in
Vermont and came with their parents to Michigan in 1836. These families
were pioneers in the part of the state in which they settled, and when
Mr. Grimes, the father of Mr.s Myhan, grew to manhood and began orking
at his trade as a carpenter, he found plenty of demand for his services.
But he also had a farm and cultivated it with industry and good judgment.
Mr. and Mrs. Myhan have had two children,
their son James, who died at the age of five years, and their daughter
Ruth, who is living, and is still at home with her parents. Mr. Myhan
is a Republican in his political connection, and while he cannot be called
a very active partisan, he is always loyal to his party and renders it
.- Although born and
reared on a farm, Joseph Labadie of Paw Paw township, Van Buren county,
has not expended all his efforts in life on his own account as a farmer.
He has devoted a portion of his time to other pursuits with advantage to
himself, but in the main he has followed the occupation of his forefathers
for many generations and has prospered in it. He has one of the finest
farms in Paw Paw township. It is in the rich bottom land, and from
the beginning his efforts to make it productive and profitable have succeeded
Mr. Labadie knows Paw Paw township thoroughly,
as he has passed the whole of his life to this time (1911) in it, and been
connected with its industries in an active way from his boyhood.
His life began in the township on September 22, 1867, his parents, George
and Eliza (Scott) Labadie, being residents of it at the time. They
were natives of the state of New York, and of English ancestry. The
father was a farmer all his life from youth, and was one of the first settlers
within the present limits of Van Buren county. He hewed his farm
out of the wilderness and transformed it into an attractive, valuable and
well improved rural home.
There were seven children born in the family, six
of whom are living; George, who is a resident of Allegan county;
Joseph, who is the immediate subject of this review; Kittie, who
is the wife of Samuel Handle, of Porter, Midland county, Michigan;
Jesse, who lives in Paw Paw; Grace, the wife of Oscar Baughter, also a
resident of Paw Paw; and Thomas, whose home is in Florida, Lillie,
the third child in order of birth, died a number of years ago, making the
only break in the family circle.
Joseph Labadie remained at home with his parents
until he reached the age of sixteen, attending the district school when
he had opportunity in relief from the work on the farm, in which he made
a full hand from his early youth. After leaving home he followed farming
for twelve years, then turned his attention to teaming in Paw Paw, in which
he was engaged until 1902. In that year he cultivated until 1906.
He then sold this tract and purchased one hundred and ten acres in section
5, Paw Paw township, to which he has since added twenty acres by another
purchase, and he now has one of the finest and most valuable bottom land
farms in the township, as has already been stated, and what it is he has
made it, using its natural richness and fertility as the base of his operations,
and making the most of them by intelligent and judicious cultivation.
He carries on thriving industries in general farming and raising and feeding
cattle for the markets.
On March 3, 1894, Mr. Labadie was married
to Mrs. Flora (Jacobs) Franklin, a daughter of Lucius C. and Hester Ann
(Snyder) Jacobs, who came from Indiana to Michigan and located in Van Buren
county. They had nine children: Flora, now Mrs. Labadie; Ella,
the wife of Ernest Hungerford, of Kalamazoo county; William who is now
a resident of Paw Paw; Eugene, who lives at Honor in this state; Thomas,
John and Louis, all residents of Paw Paw; Robert, whose home is at La Porte,
Indiana; and Myrtle, the wife of Guy Cooper, of North Dakota.
Mrs. Labadie's first husband was William B.
Franklin, of Mantua, Ohio. By her marriage with him she had one child,
her son Otto C. Franklin, who is now living with her. Since her marriage
with Mr. Labadie she has become the mother of one additional child, their
son Paul, who is still living at home with his parents and assisting in
the work on the farm.
Mr. Labadie's deep and abiding interest in
the welfare of his township and county leads him to ignore partisan considerations
in local public affairs and act in the bestowal of his suffrage independently.
His primary purpose in reference to all public matters is to aid in promoting
the best interests of the people around him, and he always votes with this
object in view and for its attainment as far as possible. He does
the same with reference to all other functions of citizenship, and his
independence is well known, and he is cordially esteemed for it, as he
is for all the commendable qualities of his sterling and elevated manhood.
The people of his township and the county generally regard him as one of
their most upright, reliable and representative citizens, and respect him
in accordance with this judgment, which is based on intimate knowledge
of him and his whole career in all the relations of life.
.- The history of Van Buren
county must of necessity remain an incomplete record of the growth of that
favored section of the state, without a least a brief mention of the life
and worth of Nelson Rowe, since 1855 a resident of Hartford until the time
of his demise, which sad event occurred at Hartford on December 20, 1907,
when the fine old pioneer had attained the patriarchal age of ninety-one
years, six months, and six days. Settling in Hartford when it was
a dense wilderness, Mr. Rowe was one of the few who lived to see it emerge
from its pristine state into a thriving little city, and to him and his
sturdy and honest effort much of the credit for this metamorphosis is undeniably
Nelson Rowe was the son of Daniel and Polly
(Crossman) Rowe. He was born on June 14, 1816, in Cayuga county,
New York, and was reared there to the age of fourteen years. When
he had reached that age, his parents migrated to Oakland county, Michigan,
where the father settled on a wilderness farm. Here Nelson Rowe,
aided by an older brother, labored for years in hewing out of the new country
a home for themselves, and in time the Rowe farm became on of the beauty
spots of Oakland county. It was in 1855 that Nelson Rowe came to
Van Buren county and purchased the farm in southwest Hartford which was
his home so many years thereafter. As before the farm was not a farm
until the labors of Mr. Rowe reduced the forest to a goodly acreage of
tillable soil. Before he might build his house, it was necessary
for him to clear away a spot sufficient for that work to be done, and it
goes without saying that the making of a fertile farm out of a tract of
dense forest land is a task that would call forth every drop of energy,
fortitude, perseverance and courage with which a man might be by nature
endowed, and that only the possession of those traits in a generous degree
would render such an accomplishment possible. The state of his beautiful
Hartford farm at the time of his death speaks eloquently of the rugged
and untiring character of the man, and will remain a monument to his unremitting
labors of earlier years. Mr. Rowe was a successful man in the broader
meaning of the word. Although he did not amass a fortune, he accumulated
a fair competence, and he was always known as a liberal and generous giver
to any cause conductive to the betterment of the communal life. He
was a man of enterprise, and the onward march of development was never
retarded by any untoward influence emanating from him; he rather aided
and abetted every movement that might be calculated to result in the advancement
and upbuilding of the civic life of the community. After settling
in Hartford in 1855, Mr. Rowe's entire life passed in that place, with
the exception of two occasions when he made western trips, each covering
a period of perhaps two years. These trips took place between the
years of 1859 and 1864, and were made by ox train, his passage across the
plains being attended by many hardships and perilous encounters with bands
of marauding Indians. Barring these two trips, his life from 1855
was confined to the home place.
Mr. Rowe was twice married. His first
wife was Martha Ann Sibley, the marriage occurring on October 24, 1849.
His second wife was Ann E. Wood, the daughter of George and Lucretia Wood,
of Keeler, Michigan. Of this later union three children were born.
They are Jay M., born April 3, 1858, and who died September 20, 1887; George
U., born July 28, 1865, and Alma A., born March 29, 1868, who is now the
wife of Rev. Samuel H. Taylor, LL.D., of Avon , Illinois, and her mother,
now seventy-four years of age, makes her home with Mrs. Taylor. George
U., the only surviving son, lives on the farm which his father was instrumental
in bringing to its present flourishing state, and is carrying on the good
work in a manner worthy of such a man.
George Ulysses Rowe
This prosperous, progressive and representative farmer of Hartford township,
Van Buren county, is a native of the township and has passed almost all
his life to this time (1911) within its borders. He has been deeply
interested in the welfare and development of the township and county and
always ready and alert in his support of every worthy undertaking designed
to advance their interests or promote the good of their residents. To him
the locality of his home is the dearest part of the world, and he is sedulous
and energetic at all times in doing what he can to make it better and increase
its prosperity, influence and importance.
Mr. Rowes life began on July 28, 1865, and
he is the son of Nelson and Ann (Wood) Rowe, natives of the state of New
York. Unlike his son, the father was something of a wanderer, but
not to his detriment, for he made his wanderings profitable to himself
and his family. When he was a young man he came to Michigan and located
at Milford in Oakland county. A few years later he changed his residence
to Van Buren county, purchasing of B.A. Olney the farm in Hartford township
on which his son now lives. In 1850 he went to California under the
influence of the gold excitement of that time. He was absent from
this state some years, and during his absence traveled over all the western
states. He accumulated some additional capital, and on his return
to this county bought more land. He then went back to California
and secured about four thousand dollars in gold during his two years' stay
in that state. When he again come to Michigan after his second trip to
the Pacific coast he determined to remain here, and he passed the rest
of his life on the farm, where he died in 1908. He also passed some
time during his absence from this state in the employ of lumber boats on
the Mississippi river. His widow is still living and makes her home
with her daughter at Avon, Illinois. They were the parents of three
children, two of whom are living: George U., the subject of this review,
and his sister Alma, who is the wife of Dr. Samuel Taylor, a Congregational
minister who came to this country from England and was in charge of the
church of his sect in Hartford some years. The other child in the
Rowe family, Jay Rowe, died in 1887, at the age of twenty-nine years, passing
away in Hartford township, in which the whole of his life was spent.
His widow is still living in this township, but one of his two children,
Nelson Vance Rowe, died in Kalamazoo in 1907. The other one who was
formerly Miss Lea Rowe, is now the wife of Monroe Chatterson and resides
at Three Oaks in Berrien county. They have one child, Arlo.
Dr. and Mrs. Taylor have two children, their son James Rowe Taylor, and
their daughter, Alice Hope Taylor.
George Ulysses Rowe grew to manhood in his
father's home and obtained a part of his education in the county school
in the neighborhood. When he was sixteen he moved with his parents
to the village of Hartford, and he attended the high school until near
his completion of its course of study, then went back to the farm, to which
the family returned at that time. He was married on April 9, 1885,
to Miss Jennie Eby, a daughter of George W. and Gertrude (Pierce) Eby,
of Grand Rapids. Her father was a native of Canada of German parentage,
they living for a time in the state of Indiana.
Mr. Rowe became aquainted with his wife while
she was on a visit to this county in the vicinity of his father's farm,
and music was the medium through which they came into close communion.
After the return of the lady to Grand Rapids he went to that city and they
were married there. Eight children have been born of their union,
all of whom are living and enjoying robust health, like their parents.
They are Eby D., Glorian G., Perry F., G. Nelson, Ardise L., Paul V., Lynn
C., and Mary Elizabeth. All the members of the family belong to the
Congregational church in Hartford.
In his political views Mr. Rowe is liberal,
looking always in the bestowal of his suffrage to the genuine welfare of
the township and county, and not being bound by partisan considerations.
In his farming he is enterprising and progressive. He owns one hundred
and sixty-five acres of land in Hartford township. In his citizenship
his is attentive to every public and private duty, and throughout the county
he is esteemed as one of its most useful, creditable and estimable residents,
and as representing in an admirable manner the best attributes of sterling
Arthur W. Haydon
.- The subject of
this text is one of the leading agriculturists of Van Buren county and
is a native son and scion of one of the oldest and most highly respected
of its families. He was born here April 22, 1844, and is the younger
of two children born to Philotas and Mary A. (Broughton) Haydon.
He is also the only survivor. His brother, Charles B., was a volunteer
soldier at the time of the Civil war and gave up his live upon the battlefield
in defense of the Union. The father was a native of Montgomery county,
New York, where his birth occurred in the year 1810, and he removed to
Vermont when but a boy. There he was reared to young manhood and
engaged in agriculture. His advantages were meagre and he was for
the most part self-educated. He married in the Green Mountain state,
and came to Van Buren county in 1836 with his father-in-law. They
purchased lands and the subject still possesses an ancient parchment deed.
The first habitation was a rude log cabin and deer and wild turkeys were
plentiful. For a long period everything was marketed at St.Joseph,
where he hauled with ox teams, and then Kalamazoo became the market.
At the time wheat sold at forty cents a bushel. The father was a very successful
man and ere he died he accumulated more than a thousand acres of land in
Hamilton township. He was an old-line Whig and cast his vote for
the first Republican president. He and the subject took an active
part in campaigns, the father being an able speaker. Mother Haydon
was a native of Vermont and was reared to young womanhood in that state.
Both she and her husband died in Hamilton township and here their remains
Arthur W. Haydon is an active agriculturist and on of
the well known stock breeders of the county. He has made a specialty
of Merino sheep (Registered) and for the last twenty-five years has been
a breeder of Percheron horses. He received his education in the common
schools and in the Kalamazoo high school, completing the full course and
graduating. He received a higher education being a member of the
class of 1867 of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he pursued
a scientific course. He came home at his father's death to assume
charge of the estate, and thus did not quite finish his course. He
is thoroughly progressive and keeps pace with the latest discoveries in
the agricultural field.
Mr. Haydon was united in marriage to Mary
E. Baker, their union being solemnized on October 19, 1868, and is has
resulted in the birth of two children, and infant being deceased.
The daughter Ione is a home with her parents. She was educated in
the high school of Decatur and is a member of the graduating class of 1891.
Her father's alma mater became her own and she was graduated in 1896 from
the University of Michigan. She is still a student of good books,
in which, as Emerson says, she finds her best companionship.
Mrs. Haydon is the representative of one of
the well known families. She was born December 12, 1847, and is the
daughter of Hiram and Hannah L. (Head) Baker. There were three children
in her father's household, two being sons and one a daughter. Her
brother Fred is one of the leading business men of Dowagiac, Michigan.
Mrs. Haydon was a student in the Decatur high school. Her father, Hiram
Baker, was a native of Andover, Allegany county, New York, and was an agriculturist.
He was reared and educated in the Empire state and came to Michigan in
1853, Van Buren county being his objective point. Here he and his
brother accumulated considerable property. He was a Jackson Democrat.
His wife was a native of New York. The remains of both are interred
When Mr. and Mrs. Haydon began life it was
on the present estate and their home is known as "Shady Knoll." They
have seven hundred and forty acres, all in this township, and the fine
improvements thereupon have been achieved by the subject and his wife.
The former is a Republican and his first presidential vote was cast for
Grant. He is a "progressive" in his ideas. Both Mr. and Mrs.
Haydon are believers in the Spiritualistic faith and meet with the society
established in Hamilton township fully seventeen years ago. There
are one or two meetings each year, when some of the leading lecturers of
the faith appear before them.
Mr. and Mrs. Haydon and their daughter are active
members of the Hamilton Grange. There are seventy members.
At one time there was a membership of over three hundred. The Grange
Hall is located in the center of the township.
Mr. and Mrs. Haydon are leading citizens and
come from old and well-established families. They are held in highest
esteem by all who know them and none are more worthy of recognition in
The father of the subject was one of the most
active Republicans in his locality and represented his people in the state
legislature from 1844 to 1851, and in 1859 he held the office of state
senator. He was supervisor of the township and this office was given
into his keeping as long as he would hold it. He was a Christian
gentleman in act and principle and did much for the furtherance of the
general welfare. After the death of his first wife he married again,
Miss Eliza Buck becoming his wife on October 24, 1880. A son and
two daughters were born to them and the son and a daughter survive. F.
Mortimer is a resident of Hamilton township, residing on the old estate
and being engaged in agriculture. He married Frances Skinner.
Addie M. is the wife of Dr. F.C. Williams, a resident of Syracuse, New
York, and a graduate of the University of Michigan. He is a very
successful physician and surgeon. Dr. and Mrs. Williams have a son, Harold.
William M. Traver
.- To create something
out of nothing is held to be impossible for human power to accomplish,
yet to the casual observer that is what William M. Traver, of Hartford,
Van Buren county, Michigan, seems to have achieved. He was
the creator and has from the start been the proprietor and motive
power of the Traver Cannery in Hartford, which is one of the largest
in the state. The enterprise is devoted to canning all kinds of
fruits and vegetables, has a capacity of one hundred and fifty cars a season,
and always has more orders than it has facilities to fill at once.
The business is very extensive and active, and the cannery is a source
of great benefit to the county in the employment it gives to labor,
the ready market it affords for local products in its lines of raw
material, and the large amount of money it keeps continually in circulation
in the community in which it operates so extensively and successfully.
Mr. Traver did not, however, create this big
enterprise out of nothing. It is true had no capital, in the
way of money, to start with, and Fortune has never bestowed upon
him any of her special favors. He began the battle of life
as a poor young man forced to make his livelihood by whatever means he
found available, and to work for very meager compensation while getting
a start. But he had that within him which was better than money
capital, and the business he has established and built up to such magnitude
is the result of his native energy, capacity, strong determination to make
circumstances his obedient slaves, his quickness of observation in seeing
and alertness in seizing opportunities of advancement, and his persistent
industry in making the most of them when he had them.
Mr. Traver is a native of Hartford township,
this county, and was born on August 1, 1867. He was reared on a farm
and educated in the district school near his home. The circumstances
of the family were such that he was forced to begin making his own living
at an early age, and to do this he entered the employ of a wholesome grocery
store in a very subordinate station. He was attentive to his duties,
soon showed unusual capacity for the business, and made himself so valuable
to his employer that his advancement in the service was steady and continued.
But this is not the whole story. Mr.
Traver worked hard, lived economically, denied himself all unnecessary
expenditures, and saved his money to aid in procuring him a better position
and larger opportunities in business. His great aim was to have an
establishment of his own, and he bent all his energies to securing one.
He kept his eyes open, too, so that no chance for the accomplishment of
his wishes, or that would help toward this, should pass him by unutilized.
In time he found himself prepared to start something for himself, and the
rapid development of the canning industry, together with the extensive
production of fruits and vegetables in his locality, furnished him the
longed for opening.
He built his large plant in 19-4, using cement or
concrete blocks on the construction of the building, and equipped it with
the best modern devices known to the business. He then began operations,
and the new institution was soon found to be mutually beneficial to him
and the community around him. His facilities for preserving the products
of the region stimulated the old growers of fruits and vegetables to greater
activity and larger plantings, and also brought many new ones into the
field of production. The excellence of his output from the beginning
soon brought his cannery a wide-spread reputation, and a large business.
He found a rapidly increasing demand for his goods and was obliged to enlarge
his facilities and augment his resources to meet the requirements of his
trade, and this condition has continued to the present time. With
still greater prospects for the years to come, for the trade is growing
more extensive all the time.
Mr. Traver has been married three times, but
his son William S., is his only child, the fruit of the second marriage,
and is now twelve years old. The father is active in the fraternal
life of his community and stands high in three of the leading benevolent
societies. He belongs to Florada Masonic Lodge, No. 309, at Hartford,
and also to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knight of Pythias.
His political faith and allegiance are give to the Republican party, but
he has never been an active partisan. He has no desire for political
prominence or public office, and his business requires all his time and
attention except what is necessary for the ordinary duties of citizenship,
and these he never neglects. He is zealous in helping to promote
the progress and development of his township and county and contributes
in any way open to him to the general and lasting welfare of their residents.
In all respects he is a very estimable citizen, and is universally esteemed
Francis A. Burger
, who owns and
operates one hundred and sixty-four acres of well-culitvated land in sections
16 and 35, Bangor township, is one of the good, practical agriculturists
and fruit-raisers of Van Buren county, and one of the most popular men
in his part of the county. When a man of one political faith is elected
to positions of responsibility and trust in the community where the opposite
party is greatly in the majority, then it is very evident that that man
has so lived his life as to gain the respect and confidence of his fellow
citizens in general. Francis A. Burger is a native of Hillsdale county,
Michigan where he was born February 5, 1857, a son of Francis G. and Hattie
(Stuck) Burger, natives of New York.
The Burger family was first founded in Michigan
in 1849, by the parents of Mr. Burger, who first settled in Hillsdale county,
and later moved to Van Buren county and settled in Bangor township, where
Francis G. Burger spent the remainder of his life in agricultural pursuits.
At the time of his death, in February 1899, he was the owner of a valuable
tract of one hundred acres of land. His widow, who survives him,
is now eighty years of age and makes her home with her youngest son in
Berrien county. Frances and Hattie Burger had the following children:
Jerome, who is deceased; Maryette, the wife of Merrill Miller, living Idaho;
Emily Jane, who is deceased; Eleazer, who lives in Bangor; Francis A.;
Douglas and Notha, who are deceased; Judson, a teacher in the Bangor high
school; Minerva, the wife of Fred Durren, of Cass county, Michigan; and
Melvin, a teacher in the public schools of Berrien county.
Francis A. Burger attended the district schools
of his native vicinity, and later spent one year in the Bangor high school,
after which he spent twelve years in school, teaching in conjunction with
farming. In 1882 he bought thirty-five acres of land in section 14,
Bangor township, which he operated in the summers while teaching school
in the winters for six years, but eventually traded this land, with two
thousand five hundred dollars, for one hundred acres of good land in section16.
He began to engage in general farming, giving up school teaching, and soon
began to specialize in fruit growing, which he has continued to the present
time. He has added sixty-four acres to his original purchase, the
latter being located in section 35, and he now cultivates his land along
scientific lines and making his labor pay him well. He stands just
as high in his community as a citizen as he does as an agriculturist, and
although he is a Democrat in politics he has been elected in a Republican
county to the office of township supervisor for five terms, township treasurer,
school inspector and overseer of highways, and in none of these has he
betrayed his trust in any way. A good agriculturist, a sterling citizen,
and upright and efficient public official and a kind friend and neighbor,
it is no wonder that Mr. Burger is known as one of his county's representative
men. Fraternally he is connected with the A. F. & A. M., the
I. O. O. F., the K. O. T. M. and the Grange, and he is very popular in
On April 12, 1883, Mr. Burger was married to Miss
Mary Graves, a daughter of Ansel M. and Aurelia (Hough) Graves, and three
children have been born to this union: Mirth, wife of Fred Srackangast,
of South Haven, Michigan; Francis Vere, a graduate of the Bangor high school,
and now a student of the Agricultural College at Lansing; Nilva, who lives
as home. Mrs. Burger's parents, who were natives of the state of
New York, had seven children, namely: Chauncey, who is deceased; Isabel,
the widow of John Fairgailes, a resident of Nebraska; George, who lives
in Geneva township, Van Buren county; Alice, who is the widow of Horace
Vincent, of Nebraska; Adelbert, living in Iowa; Henry, who makes his residence
in Bangor; and Mary, who married Mr. Burger. The pleasant family
residence is situated on Bangor Rural Route No. 1, where Mr. Burger welcomes
his many warm and personal friends, especially the old settlers of this
section, to whom he often remarks the he "has lived here as long as any
of them-all of his life.
Simon B. Poor
.- A venerable and highly
respected citizen of Van Buren county is Simon B. Poor, who is known from
border to border of this particularly favored section and whose career
had ever been such as to warrant the trust and confidence of the business
world, for he has ever conducted all transactions according to the strictest
principles of honor. He is a native of the state of New York, his
birth having occurred on May 5, 1827, and he is the third in a family of
eight children, five of whom were sons and three daughters, born to Daniel
and Malinda (Ingersoll) Poor. Of this number the subject is the only
The father was a native of New York and was
reared as a mechanic. He received his education in the common schools
and in the Empire state married. His progenitors were worthy citizens,
some having been soldiers in the Revolutionary war. In 1846 he severed
old associations and came west, his destination being Keeler township,
Van Buren county. He had previously purchased sixty acres in Cass
county, where Dowagiac now stands, the present city of seven thousand then
boasting but a few houses and two small stores. He was a Jackson
Democrat and always upheld the principles of that party. The lineage
of the family is traced to England. Three brothers came to America
and one of them was the ancestor of the subject. The subject's mother
was a native of New York; educated in the common schools and a member of
the Congregational church. Both Father and Mother Poor are interred
in the cemetery at Dowagiac.
Simon B. Poor was reared to young manhood
in his native state and received his education in one of the old subscription
schools. He well remembers the crude forms and the text books of
that day. He came west with his parents by stage. In those
primitive times deer were plentiful and he remembers an occasion upon which
he saw a herd of nine deer on the Keeler township farm. Hartford
was not in existence at that time. The closest market was St. Joseph,
Michigan. Mr. Poor had taken up the trade of a blacksmith and conducted
a shop with his brother in Keeler township. They also had a shop
in Hamilton township. The first purchase of land made by him was
when he bought from his father sixty acres near Dowagiac and he went in
debt for the same, paying, however, one hundred dollars on the house. He
lived in a little shack, six or seven feet high and covered with rough
boards, through which the rain often leaked, making it unbearable inside.
He thought he would like to have a new house, but had no money and so he
went to a Mr. Lybrooks in Dowagiac, who had a large store, and stated his
case to him. He asked him whether he would sell him material for
his house on time. Mr. Lybrooks walked the floor and considered and
finally said, " Simon, it's all right. I will sell you what you want
and you can pay for it when you can." The subject then visited the
owner of the saw mill and made arrangements to have his lumber cut and
in a short time the abode was erected. He was deeply in debt, but
by the exercise of industry and thrift finally got his head above water.
Mr. Poor was married June 30, 1861, Mrs. Mary
E. (Higgins) Williams becoming his wife. To them were born four children,
three sons and one daughter, and two of this number are living. Byron
W. is a resident of San Antonio, Texas, where he is a contractor and builder.
He has been successful in life, was educated in the Cassopolis high school;
is a member of the Oddfellows fraternity, is affiliated with the Theosophical
Society; and is a Socialist in political opinion. He taught for a
time in Michigan and was professor of music at Gibbon, Nebraska.
The second son, George Harold, resides upon the old homestead with his
parents. He was educated in the Decatur schools graduating from the
higher department and is now a practical agriculturist and horticulturist.
He married Miss Ada McAllister on March 28, 1905, and they have a young
son, Melvin Harold. His wife was born in Van Buren county, March
4, 1880, and is a daughter of Eli and Laura (Young) McAllister, both of
her parents being now deceased. Socially Mr. Poor is a member of
the Knights of the Maccabees, Tent No. 113, and of the Independent Order
of Odd Fellows, both of Decatur, Michigan.
The wife of the subject is a native of DeKalb,
Indiana, where she was born June 18, 1840. She is the daughter of
William and Nancy (Berry) Higgins. She was a little girl, six years
of age, when her parents came to Cass county and located between Cassopolis
and Dowagiac. She was educated in the common schools and had the
pleasure of attending the old log-cabin schoolhouse, where the logs burned
in the great fire-place and the pupils sat at a long desk at the end of
the building. The seats were made of puncheon, with holes bored through
were sticks were inserted for legs. The school was supported by subscription.
Mrs. Poor attended schools of this primitive character in both Indiana
and Michigan. She had many experiences outside of the imagination
of the modern girl. Once upon a time she saw a deer killing a rattlesnake
and she has never forgotten it. Both she and her husband in their
younger days enjoyed the old time sports and merry-makings, and attended
rallys and apple-parings and quiltings. They well remember the great
Lincoln rally in 1864, when Mr. Poor made an iron wedge to go in a wagon
which was to be drawn in the procession, and some of the "Copperheads"
asserted that the wedge split the Union.
Mr. and Mrs. Poor began life as young married
people on the little farm near Dowagiac and lived there some years before
they sold out and went to reside in Dowagiac. There the subject worked
for P. D. Beckwith, drill and plow-maker, for four or five years.
He then came back to Van Buren county and purchased one hundred acres in
south Hamilton township, and after living there six months went to Cass
county. They sold the one hundred acres and then purchased one hundred
and twenty acres in Volina township, Cass county, and there resided five
years. He sold that and went to Volina Corners and there lived two
years, working at his trade of blacksmith. He then secured one hundred
and twenty acres in Penn township and remained there eighteen years.
He sold out and bought one hundred and fifty acres of fine land in Hamilton
township, his present estate. He and his family removed to this location
in 1893 and they now possess one of the finest farms in the township.
Mr. Poor is an independent voter, supporting
the man rather than the party. He cast his first presidential vote
for Martin Van Buren. Both he and his wife are valiant friends of
the public schools. They are Spiritualists and their home has been
the scene of many successful seances. Mr. Riley, the well-known medium,
is a great friend of the Poors. Both Mr. and Mrs. Poor are connected
with the Hamilton Grange.
On June 30, 1911, Mr. and Mrs. Poor celebrated
their golden wedding at the Grange Hall and the members of the organization
paid them every honor. They are citizens who are held in highest
esteem and the record of their useful lives is well worthy of perpetuation
in this History of Van Buren County, Michigan.
Lewis P. Walker
.- The record of Lewis
P. Walker is one of signal business ability coupled with a sturdy integrity.
He is at the head of a manufacturing concern which turns out lumber, hoops,
headings, barrels, boxes and crates at Hartford, Michigan. Mr. Walker
was born in Columbiana county, Ohio, February 1, 1862, the son of E. J.
and Maria (Beck) Walker and the grandson of Lewis B. Walker. Lewis
B. Walker went to Pennsylvania and at Brownsville, Fayette county, married
Tamson H. Haynes. He and his wife soon after migrated to Columbiana
county, Ohio, where they settled permanently and became the parents of
seven children, namely: Ely J., Mary H., two little daughters who died
in infancy, Abel, Ruth and Joseph. Abel is the only one living in
1911. He is a farmer in Logan county, Kansas. Lewis B. Walker
and his wife were strict adherents of the Quaker faith and leading members
of the Quaker church at Winona, Ohio.
Lewis P., the grandson of Lewis B. Walker,
came with his parents to Van Buren county, Michigan, at the age of eight
years. Here his father built a mill three miles north of Hartford,
which he operated for three years. He then moved to Keeler township.
He stayed there for six years and then brought the enterprise back to Hartford,
and some time afterward took his son, Lewis P., into the business as a
partner. Since his father's death Mr. Walker has conducted the business
alone. Besides the mill, Mr. Walker owns a brick and tile plant in
On November 5, 1896, was solemnized his marriage
to Miss Myrta Ray, of Hartford, and this union has since been blessed by
two children, both of them now attending the public schools, --Ruth, aged
fourteen, and Ray, aged ten. The Walker family attended the Methodist
Episcopal church, in which Mr. Walker has served as trustee and has been
active in Sunday-school work.
Fraternally Mr. Walker is a member of Florada lodge, No.
309, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and of the Order of the Eastern
Star, of which his wife is also a member. He is also a member of
Charter Oak Lodge, No. 231, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of
which lodge he was treasurer for a number of years; and of the Order of
the Maccabees. Politically Mr. Walker gives his allegiance to the
men and measures of the Republican party. He is a councilman and
is at present the treasurer of the school board.
of the Southern Michigan Fruit Association, and one of the leading business
men of Lawton, has for many years been closely identified with the agricultural
interests of Van Buren county, and is the owner of more than three hundred
acres of valuable farming land. He has won his position in the world
by his own energy, industry and good management, and has always been, since
his residence in Lawton, and eager promoter of the town's prosperity by
all means within his power. Mr. Dunham was born in Lawrence, Michigan,
December 5, 1853, and is a son of Edwin S. and Adelia (Rood) Dunham.
Mr. Dunham's parents, who were both natives
of New York, came to Michigan about 1837, and settled as pioneers near
the village of Plainwell. There Edwin S. Dunham, who was a minister
of the Baptist church, spent the remainder of his life in preaching the
Gospel, and passed away in 1900, his wife dying in 1890. They had
four children: Mary, the wife of Chauncey Drury, of Lawton; Carey, of this
review; and William and Silas, who are deceased. Carey Dunham received
his education in the district schools, later attending graded schools,
and as a young man took up farming. He first purchased forty acres
of land, and so successful did he become in his operations, that at the
time of his retirement from farming, in 1899, he owned three hundred acres,
a part of which was well improved land. In the year mentioned Mr.
Dunham became manager of the Southern Michigan Fruit Association, one of
the largest institutions of its kind in this part of the country, which,
under his skilled and experienced management had increased the scope of
its operations greatly during the past ten years. Mr. Dunham is a
man of more than ordinary business ability, and his many years of experience
in fruit growing have made him a valuable man for the position he now holds.
His reputation is that of a man of the highest business integrity, and
those who have been associated with him in matters of a commercial nature
will vouch for his fair dealing and sense of honor.
On September 15, 1874, Mr. Dunham was married
to Miss Martha Ann Baker, daughter of George and Martha Baker, both of
whom are deceased, and to this union there have been born six children:
Belle, who married A. G. Dawson, of Lawton; May, who is residing at home;
George and Jesse, residents of Lawton; Grace, who is deceased; and Elsie,
residing at home. In matters of political importance Mr. Dunham lends
his support to the Republican party, and he has served his township as
highway commissioner. He and his family are affiliated with the Baptist
Mrs. Grace F. Warren
.- The ladies
of the nation play a conspicuous part in the historical annals of the state
and county. Mrs. Grace F. Warren, subject of this review, is a woman
of marked business acumen and activity. Now of Hartford township,
she is a native of Lewis county, New York, her birth having occurred December
14, 1873. She is the younger of two children born to Stephen and
Jennie (Lambert) Jones, there being an elder brother. This brother,
Grant Jones, resides in Hartford, Michigan, is an agriculturist by vocation
and is married. Stephen Jones, father of the subject, was a native
of the Green Mountain state, and by trade was a sawyer. He traced
his progenitors to the little country of Wales. The demise of this
good man occurred in the year 1873. The mother was a native of the
"Land of the Lily"--Bonnie France-- and was but a child when her parents
immigrated to America. She has passed the greater part of her life
in Michigan and is now living in Hartford, a venerable and beloved widow.
Mrs. Warren, immediate subject of this review,
was but a little girl when she came to Michigan and the greater part of
her life has been spent in this state. She received a good practical
education in the common schools of Van Buren county. She married
Hugh E. Warren, a scion of one of the prominent families of Hartford township.
They were wedded on April 2, 1889, and there are two daughters living of
the children born to this marriage. The elder Ruby C., is a graduate
from the eighth grade of the public schools and the Hartford high school
and is a pianist; Pearl B., is now a student in the eighth grade.
Mrs. Warren will give her daughters the benefits of an excellent educational
training, fitting them for higher walks of life.
Hugh E. Warren was born in Van Buren county,
August 2, 1862, and his lamentable demise occurred on January 26, 1908.
He was a successful agriculturist and managed his business affairs with
wisdom and rare tactful administrative dealing. He received merely
a common school education and demonstrated the fact that much success may
follow upon strict honesty, energy and industry, wisely applied.
When the young couple began life it was upon a farm upon which the family
now reside. This consists of one hundred and forty acres of land,
two mile from Hartford. When this was first purchased they went in
debt for the major portion of it. However, with the aid and counsel
of his estimable wife they succeeded. The estate is now valuable,
its desirability being enhanced by its beautiful and costly buildings.
There is a beautiful, modern residence, elegantly furnished, lighted by
an acetylene plant and furnace-heated. All this accumulation has
been accomplished through the industry and toil, as well as the economy,
of Mrs. Warren and her late husband.
When Mr. Warren passed away in the prime and
zenith of his manhood, county and township lost a valuable citizen and
the home a kind and loving father and affectionate husband. In his
political affiliation Mr. Warren was a Republican and fraternally he was
a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. Mrs. Warren is a member
of the Royal Neighbors, the auxiliary of the Modern Woodmen of America.
The deceased was well insured in both the Modern Woodmen of America and
the North Western Life Insurance Company, indicative of his never-failing
thoughtfulness for his family. He possessed a host of friends.
Mr. Warren's remains are interred in the Maple
Hill cemetery, where the loving wife has erected a beautiful monument sacred
to his memory. Mrs. Warren and her daughters occupy
the beautiful estate known as Pleasant View Farm, which commands a magnificent
view of the surrounding country. Their delightful home is the abode
of hospitality and their many friends are perpetually extended a cordial
welcome within its portals.
William H. Gleason
.- With all his
energies devoted to farming in one form or another from his boyhood, and
with steady progress in his struggle for advancement among men since
he started out in life for himself, all the result of his own industry
and ability, William H. Gleason, of Paw Paw township, has fully demonstrated
that he is sturdy, in spirit, sterling in character and self-reliant in
all his undertakings. He has performed all the duties of citizenship,
too, with a sole desire for the general welfare, and in continued efforts
to secure the best possible state of development and improvement in every
way for the locality in which he has so long lived and labored.
Mr. Gleason's life began in Byron, Genesee
county, New York, on January 18, 1846, and he came to Michigan in 1865,
when he was nineteen years old, with his parents, Richard and Sarah (Parish)
Gleason, also natives of New York state. On their arrival in this
state they located on a farm in Paw Paw township, Van Buren county, and
there they passed the remainder of their days. They had two children,
William H. and his younger sister Ruth, who has been dead a number of years.
The son never left the home of his parents,
but has added to the extent of the homestead until his farm now comprises
one hundred acres. For many years he devoted himself to general farming,
but he now makes a specialty of grape culture, finding his land, which
is located in sections 5 and 8, Paw Paw township, especially well adapted
to this line of production. He has studied his industry by reading
and reflective observation, in order to secure the best results, and the
extent and success of his operations prove that the time he has devoted
to the study has been well and wisely employed.
On January 25, 1871, Mr. Gleason united in
marriage with Miss Frances Prater, a daughter of William and Sophia (Salt)
Prater, who came to Michigan and became one of the leading farmers of Van
Buren county. They were the parents of eleven children, only two
of whom are now living, Mrs. Gleason and her older brother George, who
is also a resident of Paw Paw township in this county. The children
who have died were: William, Susan, James, Maria, Elizabeth, Giles, Julia,
Sophia and one who passed away in infancy.
Mr. and Mrs. Gleason have one child, their
son Bert, who resides in Paw Paw township and is engaged in farming and
fruit growing. (See sketch of him on another page of this volume)
Mr. Gleason takes an earnest interest and an active part in local public
affairs. His political faith and allegiance are given firmly to the
Democratic party, but he has never sought or desired a public office of
any kind. He is also energetic and helpful in all undertakings for
the improvement of the township and county, of his home and the substantial
and enduring welfare of their people. No duty of citizenship has ever been
neglected by him, and all who know him esteem him for his fidelity, his
sterling worth and his elevated and elevating manhood. In church
connection he is a Baptist, and while not ostentatious in his church work,
he is one of the leading members of the congregation to which he belongs,
and one of its main reliances in all its commendable projects for the good
of the people. The residents of Paw Paw township look upon him as
one of their best and most useful and representative citizens and he is
entirely worthy of the high regard they have for him.
.- Actively engaged in
general farming in Paw Paw township, Van Buren county, during the last
seventeen years, and in fruit growing for a considerable portion of the
time, Bert Gleason is one of the men who have given life, volume and a
quickening spirit of progress to the agricultural industry of this portion
of the state, and added a new phase of value to it in his specialty of
fruit production, which he conducts on an extensive scale and with very
gratifying results, both in quality of his products and the profits he
derives from them,
Mr. Gleason is a son of William and Frances
(Prater) Gleason, a sketch of whose lives will be found in this work, and
was born in the township of his present residence on September 27, 1817.
He obtained a district school education, and as soon as he left school
he began to devote himself to farming on the parental homestead under the
direction of his father, with whom he had been working in the same line
from boyhood. When he reached the age of twenty-three he married,
and then bought sixty acres of land adjoining his father's farm on the
north. He has since added twenty acres by another purchase, and on
this whole tract of eighty acres he carries on a vigorous industry in general
farming, also raising and feeding some live stock for the general market,
and driving each department of his business with all the force of an energetic
spirit determined to win the best attainable results for himself and the
country around him.
By study and experiment he discovered some
years ago that his land was well adapted to fruit culture, and he at once
embarked in that department of production. His orchards are now among
the best and most prolific in the township, and he is an acknowledged authority
on all matters connected with the production of fruit in this part of the
country from the beginning to the end of the process.
On November 10, 1894, Mr. Gleason was married
to Miss Jennie V. Sheldon, a daughter of Julio and Melissa E. (Church)
Sheldon, whose life-story is briefly told elsewhere in this work.
Five children have been born of the union, all of whom still add life and
brightness to the parental family circle. They are: Duane, born December
8, 1900; Charles, born December 27, 1903; Marie, born June 13, 1906; Grace,
born January 4, 1908; and Leslie, born July 23, 1909.
Mr. Gleason is a Democrat in politics and
earnestly loyal in the support of his party in all campaigns. He
has not sought or desired political preferment, however, his chief desire
being to give his attention to his business without other cares and responsibilities
to disturb him in that. But he is always warmly interested in the
welfare of the township and county, and with a view to promoting that is
serving as a school director. Fraternally he is chief gleaner of
Gliddenburg Arbor of Gleaners, and in connection with his business, and
his desire to promote it, is one of the directors of the Wildy Fruit Growers'
Association of Paw Paw, and also president of the Farmers' Institute Society
of Van Buren county. In church affiliation he is a Baptist.
He is a square, straightforward man and an excellent citizen, and everybody
who knows him respects him highly as such.
Enos E. Hazard
.- A native of the state
of New York and of New England parentage, Enos E. Hazard, of Paw Paw township,
this county, inherits the traits of a sturdy race and was trained in the
industry, thrift and frugality of a section of our country renowned for
these qualifications for success among its people. He has been alert
in accepting his opportunities in life as they have come, and with the
energy characteristic of his ancestry has been zealous in making the most
of them. While his success has not been striking or spectacular,
it has been steady and continued; and while he has not built his fortune
to great proportions, he has made a comfortable estate for himself and
his family, and has done it all by his own efforts.
Mr. Hazard was born in Chenango county, New
York, on October 28, 1838. His father, Charles Hazard, was born in
Rhode Island, and his mother, whose maiden name was Fanny Brodrick, was
a native of Massachusetts. Their son, E. E. Hazard, was the first
born of their six children. Of the others, Dewayne and Sarah are
deceased; Charles lives at Decatur in this county; George is a resident
of Denver, Colorado; and Ella M., is the wife of William Bell, of Manteno,
At the age of fifteen, E. E. Hazard accompanied
his parents and the rest of the family, as it was then, to Illinois, and
remained at home helping in the work on the farm until he reached the age
of twenty-one. He secured a common, country school education, directed
specially to preparing him for usefulness and business success as a farmer,
and not looking beyond this. When he was twenty-one he took charge
of the home farm in association with one of his brothers, and they cultivated
it in partnership for twelve years. At the end of that period his
brother retired from the arrangement, and from then until 1896 he had sole
charge of the farm.
In the year last named he came to Michigan
and located in Van Buren county. For four years he farmed land which
he rented then, in 1900, bought the tract of eighty acres in sections 8.4
and 5 which he now owns and lives on. Here he carries on a general
farming industry, raises some cattle and makes a specialty of fruit, which
he raises in abundance and fine quality. He gives his personal attention
to every department of his business, and applies his best powers to each
with steady regularity and commendable intelligence and skill. The result
is that he has one of the best farms in the township of its size, and every
feature of his work brings him in good returns.
On December 30, 1868, Mr. Hazard was married
to Miss Mary Bell, a daughter of David and Sarah (Cook) Bell, the former
a native of Scotland and the latter of the state of New York. The
father came to this country in his youth or young manhood and located in
Illinois. He was a prosperous farmer there and rose to some prominence
and influence in his locality. He and his wife became the parents
of three children: Mary, who is now the wife of Mr. Hazard; William, who
still lives in Illinois; and Bertina, who died a number of years ago.
The parents are both deceased.
Mr. and Mrs. Hazard have two children, their
daughters Ella S. and Mabel J., both of whom are still members of the parental
family circle. The father is a Republican in his political faith
and allegiance, and one of the appreciated workers for the success of his
party. He has served the people of his township well and faithfully
as township clerk, and has long had considerable influence among them in
party councils and with reference to public affairs in general. He
is a Presbyterian in church relations and one of the leading members of
the congregation to which he belongs.
Dr. S. A. Haskin
.- The venerated
physician of Lawrence, Dr. Haskin, was born in Moriah, Essex county, New
York, on September 15, 1827. For the first twenty years of his life
he led rather and unsettled existence, beginning his wanderings at the
age of one year, when his parents moved to Bridgeport, Addison county,
Vermont. Six years later they again changed their place of residence,
going this time to Brockport, Monroe county, New York. After another
six years the family came west to La Grange county, Indiana, going from
there to Elkhart county in 1843 and then to Cass county, Michigan in 1848.
At this time Dr. Haskin was twenty-one years of age and had had only a
When the Haskin family settled in Cass county
our subject began to work for the railroad, the Michigan Central.
His work was near Dowagiac, which was then a populous settlement of two
buildings in the business part, the boarding house and the grocery store,
and had a residence section which consisted of Patrick Hamilton's house
and barn, making a grand total of four structures. Dr. Haskin worked
only a short time here before he became ill from overwork. During
the time of the sickness his parents moved to Lagrange, then called Whitmanville,
in Cass county. For a year and a half he continued to be ailing and
then was able to work on the farms in the summers. For a number of
years he taught school in the winters too. On April 9, 1854, he was
married to Olive, the daughter of Selah and Charity Pickett. She
died on November 10, 1855, and it was then that Dr. Haskin began his medical
studies in the office of Dr. William E. Clark, of Dowagiac. After
spending two years in this office, he attended the medical school of the
State University in Ann Arbor and then began his practice. In 1860,
on December 17, he was united in marriage to the wife who is still his
companion after fifty years and who has been such a help and an inspiration
to him through all the vicissitudes of this changing scene- Martha Jane
When the Doctor first began to practice he
was in partnership with Dr. Nelson Rowe, with whom he remained for about
two years and since that partnership was dissolved he has practiced alone.
It was not until Dr. Haskin was in his eighty-fourth year, in 1910, that
he retired from active work in his profession and he still prescribes for
some of his old patients. In the time-honored institution
of Masonry Dr. Haskin has attained considerable honor. He belongs
to the lodge of Lawrence and also to the Council and Chapter at the same
place. He has been through the chairs in all of these degrees and
several years ago was master of the lodge for one year. As long as
his strength permitted he was an active worker in the lodge of Lawrence.
The father of Dr. Haskins was of Scotch descent
and his religious faith was embodied in the doctrine of the Baptist church.
The Doctor was brought up in this church but when he became head of his
own household he joined the Methodist body. He has always been a
regular attendant upon religious services and one of the hardest workers
in the church, where he has held the office of trustee for a number of
years. His wife, too, is one of the most faithful in carrying on
the many duties which fall to those who keep up the activities of the church.
It was Dr. Haskin's privilege to vote for
the first Republican candidate when the party was organized and he has
never varied in his allegiance to it. For a few years he held the
office of coroner in the county, and discharged the duties of that office
in a manner satisfactory.
Probably the oldest practitioner in the county,
Dr. Haskin has rendered incalculable service to it; he has brought many
of its leading citizens into this life and has kept as many others in it
to finish their work. A doctor may not speak as freely of his work
as a business man, but none the less his ministrations are known in part;
they can never be wholly known. Mrs. Haskins is the oldest settler
in the township, and as she and her husband wait in the bright evening
of their lives the interest and the affectionoble work for them and it
continues to be full of zest for them and a thing of gladness, and it is
the hope of all who know them that they may be granted more years and die
young, before life has robbed them of one dear illusion.
Frank F. Cutter
.- Left to the care
of foster parents at the age of three years by the migratory life of his
own father and mother, and by the man who adopted him turned over to the
care of strangers when he was nine, Frank F. Cutter, of Paw Paw township,
learned early in life to rely on his own resources and efforts for advancement
in life and they have been his dependence ever since. He has mingled
and worked with men in many places and under widely differing circumstances,
but wherever he has been and whatever he has done he has always made his
own way in the world, and found himself equal to any requirement of his
situation. He has encountered adversities and faced them bravely.
He has succeeded in many things, and success has not disturbed him.
Under all circumstances and in every condition he has gone steadily forward,
the same self-reliant and resourceful man, securing none of the Fortune's
special favors and asking none, but making the most of his opportunities
as they have come to him, whether weighted with benefits or only lightly
Mr. Cutter was born in Indiana, on January
28, 1856, and is a son of Robert and Harriet (Morell) Cutter, the former
a native of Ireland and the latter of Indiana. The father came to
the United States when he was eighteen years of age, and proceeded at once
to Indiana, where he remained four years. At the end of that period
he moved to Michigan and located for a time at Vandalia, Cass county.
From this state he went to Vermont, and after a short residence in that
state, came West again, taking up his residence in Nebraska, and there
engaging in farming.
There were three children born in the household:
William A, who is now living at Marshfield, Missouri; Frank F., the subject
of this sketch; and Cyle C., who is a resident of Carlisle, Indiana.
When he was three years old Frank was adopted by Azel Fuller, of Vandalia,
Michigan, and during the next six years made his home with the family of
that gentleman, who lived on a farm which the lad helped to cultivate as
much as he could. When he reached the age of nine the Fuller family
moved away and he remained with the new tenants of the farm a year and
a half longer. He then returned to Indiana, and there he remained
until he was seventeen, attending school when he was able and doing whatever
he found to do to provide for his livelihood. At the age of seventeen
he moved to Nebraska, and in that state he lived two years. From Nebraska
he went to White Oaks, New Mexico, where he secured employment in the mines.
While engaged in mining he was seriously crippled and unfitted for further
usefulness in that laborious and hazardous occupation. He therefore
determined to seek something to do above ground in a well-favored locality,
and came to Van Buren county, Michigan for that purpose.
Since his arrival in this county he has followed
farming mainly, but has also done considerable work in well driving.
In 1889 he formed a partnership with Charles H. Butler for carrying on
a business in the farming implement trade in Paw Paw village. While it
was interesting to Mr. Cutter, and gave some variety and spice to his life,
it was not altogether agreeable to him and in 1894 the business was sold
and the partnership dissolved. Mr. Cutter then decided to begin the
work of his forefathers and purchased eighty acres of land, which was then
heavily timbered, and began the herculean task of clearing this land and
getting it into a state of cultivation. The vast amount of work which
was necessary to accomplish this can scarcely be conceived, but he has
demonstrated what can be accomplished, for the condition of a portion of
this land which he has brought into a high state of cultivation is a wonderful
evidence of what can be done in this direction.
For six years he worked alone and unaided,
but in 1910 he was joined by his son-in-law, Mr. Gilbert, as noted further
on in this article. His farm comprises eighty acres and is well improved
and has been skillfully cultivated ever since it came into his possession
and under his intelligent care.
On July 4, 1883, Mr. Cutter was united in
marriage with Miss May Wilcox, a native of New York state. They have no
children of their own, but have reared an adopted daughter, Martha Schoolcraft,
who is now the wife of Lawrence Gilbert. Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert live with
Mr. Cutter, and Mr. Gilbert gives him valuable assistance in the cultivation
of the farm. The Gilberts have one child, their son Laurence, who
was born on March 20, 1911, and is the light and life of the home.
In his activity and belief in reference to
public affairs Mr. Cutter is a Socialist, which necessarily precludes the
probability of his being elected to a public office at this time, if he
desired to have one. But he does not. He is eager to see and
help to bring about such a state of affairs in county, state and nation
as will do the greatest good for the greatest number, and he has no other
ambition with regard to government, local, state or national. But
he is interested in the improvement of his locality and always ready to
do what he can to promote it and give the genius of progress which incites
its people the widest sweep and most rapid pace that circumstances will
allow. He is in all respects an excellent citizen, and is universally
esteemed as such whenever he is known.
.- The English colonists
who settled America brought to the new country the ideals of liberty and
enlightenment and lofty standards of public responsibility, which crystallized
in the new and trying environment, into those qualities which we proudly
call typical American. Our debt to England did not end with the founding
of the thirteen colonies. Continually the ranks of our best citizens
receive recruits from our cousins across the sea and the race from which
we sprang adds its unfailing steadfastness to our sometimes reckless tendencies.
Charles Austin is one of Van Buren county's prominent men who was born
about sixty miles from the greatest city in the world, London. Devonshire
was his native place and the date of his birth was September 13, 1839.
He was one of six children born to George and Harriet Hurst Austin and
is the eldest of the three now living. His two sisters are Mrs. Lazarus
Flaherty, of Keeler, where her husband is a tinner, and Amelia, the widow
of William Gleason. She is the mother of one son and three daughters.
George Austin, the father, was a farmer, born in
Devonshire, England. In 1841 he decided to bring his family to America
and after a voyage of fourteen weeks the sailing vessel in which they made
the trip dropped anchor in New York. It was a grateful set of passengers
who disembarked from that ship, for the voyage had been a stormy one and
only the most undaunted hoped ever to come to safe port. For two
years after their arrival the family remained in New York, and then came
west to Michigan. The father purchased two hundred and six acres
of land, for six dollars an acre. At that time not only was the farm
unimproved, but there was little in the way of improvement on the whole
Charles Austin was but a child when his father
died and consequently life has been a hard school for the fatherless boy,
who was obliged to make his own way in the world. He got little chance
to go to school but was obliged to spend the most of his time at work to
make his living. The competence he has acquired is the result of
his native industry and shrewdness.
In all of his undertakings Mr. Austin has
been ably assisted by his wife, Laura L. Baylor Austin, to whom he was
united on January 1, 1865, and who for forty-six years has been his unfailing
comrade and helper. Mr. and Mrs. Austin are the proud grandparents
of three granddaughters. Doris and Majorie Livermeyer, are the children
of their daughter Gertrude, who husband, Charles Livermeyer, is a prosperous
farmer residing on the Austin estate. Harriet Austin is the daughter
of Ludwig and Minnie Irish Austin, of Kalamzoo, Michigan. Mr. Austin is
electrician for the state asylum.
Mr. and Mrs. Austin reside on a fine farm
of eighty acres, which provides them with an ample income and enables them
to meet the advancing years without anxiety. They have met and conquered
the fickle goddess Fortune, who was not always showering luck upon them.
When Mr. Austin bought his first forty acres of land he worked by the month
for money to pay for it, spending five and a half years in the employ of
one man. In time he sold the first forty and then bought eighty acres.
The success which has been his is viewed with pleasure by all who know
his sterling worth and tireless industry.
Mr. Austin supports the principles and the
policies of the Democratic party. He is not unknown to public office,
as he has been highway commissioner of Keeler township for six years and
township treasurer for two years. He has filled these posts to the
satisfaction of all the people and has shown himself a man who has the
public welfare at heart and works to promote it. Mrs. Austin shares
in the respect and affection which are accorded to her husband, not only
as his wife, but for her own many fine traits of character and for her
neighborly kindness. The record of the lives of Charles and Laura Austin
is one for their own children to remember with pride and to emulate in
their own careers.
Royal R. Knapp
.- The present
high place which Royal R. Knapp holds in the confidence and affection of
the county can best be explained by a brief sketch of his life, for it
is in the actual record of his deeds that one may best read of his unswerving
honesty, kindliness and determined persistence in whatever enterprises
he has ever undertaken. Born in Wayne township, Cass county, Michigan,
on June 20, 1859, Royal Knapp was the son of Ezra and Alvira (Ramsey) Knapp.
The father was a farmer, but at one time during his residence in Lawton
he was the proprietor of a grocery business. His wife has since passed
to her eternal reward, and he now makes his home with his son Royal, the
immediate subject of this sketch.
The boyhood of Royal R. Knapp was spent in
Cass county, Michigan, where the family lived until his eighth year.
At that time he came with them to Lawton and entered the Lawton public
schools, which he attended until he went to work for himself. At
an early age he entered the train service of the Michigan Central Railroad,
and later was made clerk at Paw Paw. After that he removed to Hartford,
Michigan, and for fourteen years was agent for the railroad at that place.
By that time he had saved considerable money, which he determined to invest
in a grocery business. Before he entered the grocery business, however,
he went into the fruit trade and in that venture lost all that he has saved
in twenty-five years except two hundred dollars. The spirit of the
man is made apparent when it is known that he was in no wise daunted by
the unfortunate outcome of his venture but rather felt that it was a challenge
to renewed vigor and persistence in the next project. It is a fact that
the grocery business which he then started was managed with such success
that within four years' time he erected his present brick block, where
he has carried on his prosperous business since 1906.
On April 9, 1877, Mr. Knapp laid the foundations
of the happy home life which has been his for so many years by his marriage
on that date to Miss Eva Cushman, who has since been to him an ideal helpmate
and congenial companion. To her counsel and companionship Mr. Knapp
attributes in a large measure the success of his various undertakings.
They are the parents of on child, a daughter Rosa M., who has graduated
from the Hartford high school, and now makes her home with her parents.
Mr. Knapp has attained prominence and distinction
in fraternal circles. He is a member of Florada Lodge, No. 309, Ancient
Free and Accepted Masons, and of Lawrence Chapter, No. 95, Royal Arch Masons,
and Council No. 43, R. & S. M., and S. E. M.
In the field of politics Mr. Knapp conforms
to the Democratic view on national issues, but in local situations he has
the broad attitude which overlooks party lines in an effort to get the
greatest good for the greatest number, freely deciding what is best in
Hiram A. Cole
.- Following the migratory
genius of his craft, which was almost universal in practice among its members
until which a comparatively recent period, Hiram A. Cole, of Paw Paw, owner
and publisher of the Paw Paw Free Press and Courier, has worked in many
places at the printer's case, and had valuable experience in association
with men under widely differing circumstances and conditions. Unlike
the proverbial rolling stone, however, he gathered moss in the form of
worldly substance as he roamed, and found himself steadily moving toward
the goal of his ambition, where he is now safely anchored, and with power
to work out any other aspirations he may have.
Mr. Cole is a native of Kalamazoo county,
where his life began on a farm on March 24, 1856. He is the son of
Hiram and Ann (Shaw) Cole, natives of the state of New York who came to
Michigan in 1846 and took up their residence on the farm in Kalamazoo county
already alluded to as the birthplace of their son Hiram. After farming
several years in Kalamazoo county the father moved the family to Decatur
in this county, where he passed the remainder of his life actively engaged
in a general law practice, serving as prosecuting attorney of Van Buren
county several terms. He died in April 1870.
His widow survived him nearly twenty-nine
years, passing away on January 1, 1899. They were the parents of
three children, all of whom are living: Louise M., widow of the late E.
A. Blackman, of Hillsdale county, who was a prominent journalist of this
county, and widely and favorably known as such all over the state; Hiram
A., the subject of these paragraphs; and Charles S., who is with his brother
Hiram A. Cole obtained a high-school education
in Decatur, and then began life for himself by learning the trade of printer
in the office of the Decatur Republican, of which Mr. Blackman, mentioned
above, was the editor and proprietor. Mr. Cole remained with the
Republican three years, then went to Battle Creek, Michigan, and there
worked on the Michigan Tribune two years. Returning to Decatur at
the end of that period, he purchased and interest in the Republican. But
he sold this soon afterward and moved to South Bend, Indiana, where he
worked on the Daily Tribune for a year and a half, winning credit for himself
and giving his employers full satisfaction.
By this time he had grown weary of the continuous
monotony of his trade and determined to enter another line of useful endeavor.
He returned again to Decatur and followed the grocery business for a year.
Mercantile life was not to his taste, and he returned to the case, becoming
the compositor on the Paw Paw Free Press and Courier, with which he was
connected three years. His next engagement was as foreman on the
True Northerner, in which capacity he served that paper for a year and
There was now an opening for him in a higher
department of his calling, and he promptly took advantage of it.
He bought an interest in the Paw Paw Free Press and Courier and entered
into a partnership with James F. Jordon in the ownership and management
of the paper. He bought Mr. Jordan out within the first year, and
thus became the sole owner of the publication, which he has been ever since.
The paper has a large local circulation and wields a considerable influence
with the people. It is the only Democratic newspaper in the county,
and always supports the principles and candidates of its party with fearless
courage, impressive force and unwavering loyalty, as it acts wholly on
conviction and never has occasion to dodge an issue or side-step or shuffle
on any question.
Mr. Cole was married on December 1, 1875,
to Miss Carrie A. Neff, a daughter of Emanuel and Laurilla A. (Field) Neff,
who are the parents of three children: Mrs. Cole, her brother Wallace,
and her sister Mabel, now the wife of E.S. Briggs of Paw Paw. Mr.
and Mrs. Cole have four children: Alberto N., who was born on June 2, 1878,
and is now engaged in newspaper work in Chicago; Carlos C., who was born
on August 21, 1888; and is now a teacher of Latin and Greek in the Battle
Creek High School; Katherine, whose life began on July 15, 1890; and Margaret,
who came into being on June 4, 1896. The two last named are still
living at home with their parents.
In his political faith and allegiance Mr. Cole is
an uncompromising Democrat in state and national affairs. In local
matters he regards always the best interests of the community, and does
not allow his zeal for their promotion to be overborne by partisan considerations.
But he also endeavors to have his party pursue such a course in determining
its policy and selecting its candidates as will best subserve the public
welfare. In fraternal circles he is something of an enthusiast, holding
membership in the Masonic order, the Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights
of the Maccabees and the Knights of Pythias, and taking an active part
in the proceedings of his lodge in each. He is regarded on all sides
as on of Van Buren county's most reliable, useful and representative citizens
from every point of view.
.- A prominent
citizen of Waverly township is Jewett Cleveland, farmer and stockman, and
also a veteran of the Civil war, having served in the gallant First Michigan
Cavalry during the last year of the struggle between the states.
It is almost needless to say that he came from the state of New York, an
unusually large number of Empire state people have assisted in the development
of this section of the Wolverine state. Mr. Cleveland's well-improved
place of thirty-eight acres is located in section 17 and is the scene of
intelligent operations in general farming and stock raising.
Jewett Cleveland was born in Oswego county,
New York, April 4, 1848, and is the son of Henry and Elizabeth (Bessey)
Cleveland, both natives of Saratoga Springs, New York. The father
was twice married, first to Elizabeth Bessey and after her demise to her
cousin Elnora. To the first union six children were born, three of
whom are living in 1911. To the second were also born six children,
and of these four are living in 1911, namely: Jewett, of this review, Zelon,
Arthur K. and Edwin (of Kalamazoo, Michigan).
(note from Barb- I have read the above chapter over
many times-it does say that Elizabeth was his mother in the first sentence
and later in the last sentence it does say that Jewett was the son
of the second wife!)
Jewett Cleveland was a lad six years
of age when his parents made their adieux to old associations and brought
their goods and chattels to Michigan, of whose resources and advantages
they had heard good report. They located in Columbia township, Van
Buren county, and while growing to young manhood Jewett attended school
in the winter months and worked on the farm in the summer. As was
the case with the young men of his day and generation, the threatening
noise of the approaching great civil struggle disturbed the serenity of
his younger days. He was very young when the Nation first went down
into the "Valley of Decision," but he was patriotic and high spirited and
on February 9, 1864, at the age of seventeen years, he hearkened to his
country's call and enlisted as a member of Company E, First Michigan Calvary.
He remained in service until the close of the war, being mustered out October
9, 1865. Shortly thereafter he returned to Van Buren county.
For a number of years after the war Mr. Cleveland
was engaged in farming and saw-milling and in the year 1904 he came into
possession of his present farm. On July 13, 1873, he married Emma
A. Salisbury, thus establishing and independent household. Mrs. Cleveland
was born January 20, 1855, in Cass county, Michigan, and received her education
in the schools of that county. To this union have been born four
children, namely: Grace, wife of Carl Tibbitt, of Galesburg, Michigan;
May, wife of John Wilson, of Galesburg; Lynn, who married Ada Zwansig,
and lives at Ottawa, Illinois; and Fay, who is single and remains at home.
Mr. Cleveland is a valued member of the Methodist
Episcopal church of Glendale and is one of its trustees. Fraternally
he is a member of Glendale Lodge, No. 408, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
He has given hand and heart to the cause of the Republican party since
his earliest voting days and has given excellent service as highway commissioner
of his township. He has not forgotten the comrades of other days
and is interested in all the "Old Boys" doings.
Mrs. Sophie Krohne
.- If the history
of our county is more concerned with the deeds of its men than with those
of its women, it is not because they are so much more important, but because
they are of the sort which lend themselves to narrative. Van Buren
county owes as much to the women who are its loyal citizens as to the masculine
element of her population, and this no man will gainsay. Prominent
among the women who ably conduct their estates and whose enterprise has
won them the administration of the entire community is Mrs. Krohne.
Westphalen, Germany, was the birthplace of
Sophie Wolf Krohne as well as that of her parents, Wilhelm and Angela Rupencamp
Wolf, and of her four brothers and one sister. Sophie was the fourth
in the family in point of age and was born December 12, 1862. The
father of this family was a butcher and a farmer who spent his life in
Germany. After his death the mother decided to come to America, and
accordingly she and her family sailed from Bremen to New York in 1882 and
came directly to Berrien county. At present all the children except
Henry reside in the state of Michigan. He lives in Kingman county,
The resources of the Wolf family were very
limited when they arrived to the new country, and until her marriage Sophie
worked for wages. On September 13, 1885, she was married to Henry
Krohne. He, like his bride, had been born and reared in Westphalen,
Germany, and had come to America in the same year. At the time of
his arrival he not only had no money, but was in debt. He went to
work on the farm of his uncle and then came to Van Buren county and secured
employment on the farm of Mr. Gregory, one of the pioneers of the county.
For ten years Mr. Krohne worked for Mr. Gregory and then he and his wife
were able to purchase a home of their own. To be sure, they were
obliged to go into debt for a part of their first eighty acres, but careful
husbandry and wise management presently enabled them to pay off what they
owed and to purchase an additional twenty acres. Sixty of the first
tract was in Van Buren county and the remainder in Cass county.
In time the small house was replaced by a
pleasant modern dwelling and the "shack" by the excellent barn. The
farm has grown to a place of two hundred and sixty acres, all finely improved
and in prosperous condition. In the success which was his before
he was called from this life in 1910 Mr. Krohne owed no little part to
the wife, who had so ably aided him throughout the toilsome journey from
poverty to affluence. Mr. Krohne was a Lutheran and his family are
also valued members of that church. In politics he was a Republican
and though not active in political life, he was genuinely interested in
the public welfare. At the time of his death he was a member of school
board, for educational matters always claimed his attention.
There were two sons and two daughters in the
family of Sophie and Henry Krohne. John is the eldest and has received
his education in this county where he now is one of the thrifty farmers.
For a time he also engaged in the butcher business. On July 19, 1911,
he was married to Miss Eva Rupencamp, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, where she
graduated from high school. They are members of the Lutheran church
and he is a Republican in politics. The other son, William, is at
home with his mother and is a practical farmer. In political views
he follows the family tradition and supports the Republican party.
Louise, the elder daughter, has completed the course of the common school
and has studied music. Rosa, the youngest, is in the first year of
These children have received an inheritance from their
honored father more valuable than the material one his industry attained
for them, for he has left them a name which is a synonym of rectitude and
probity. Not only for the sake of him but for their own many lofty
qualities, Mrs. Krohne and her family are accorded a place among the most
highly respected people of the county.
Andrew H. Campbell
.- Most immediately
associated with the growth and character of any community are its business
interests. They mold the life of the people, give direction to their
efforts, and crystallize the present and future possibilities of the locality
into concrete form. The leading business men of the town are its
greatest benefactors, silently controlling the forces that bring progress
and prosperity, and the measure of the credit that is due them is not always
appreciated. To write of the lives of these leaders in material growth
is a pleasure, for the influence of their careers is always helpful and
cheering. When the development of Mattawan, Michigan is under discussion,
one name is always mentioned, viz: that of Campbell, who as a business
man had made his influence felt for many years, and always for the good
of the community. Mr. Campbell was born in Portage township, Kalamazoo
county, Michigan, March 24, 1861, and is a son of Hugh and Mary (Gilmore)
Campbell, natives of Ireland.
Hugh Campbell and his wife came to the United
States in 1838 and settled in New York, from whence ten years later they
made their way to Kalamazoo county, purchasing one hundred and twenty acres
of farming land in Texas township, on which the remainder of their lives
were spent, Mr. Campbell dying in 1882 and his widow in 1901. They
were the parents of twelve children, namely: John, of Kansas; William of
Texas township, Kalamazoo county, and Mary Jane, deceased, twins; Ella,
who died in infancy; Albert, who is acting in the capacity of sheriff of
Kalamazoo county; Gilmore, residing in Everett, Washington; Sarah, who
married L. C. Rix, of Texas township; Etta, whose death occurred in Minnesota
in 1880; Andrew H.; Charles, who is president of the Michigan National
Bank of Kalamazoo; Lizzie, who died in 1893, the wife of J. W. Budrow,
editor of the Schoolcraft (Michigan) Express; and one child who died in
Andrew H. Campbell was reared on the homestead farm,
but at the age of twenty-four years, feeling that there were better opportunities
offered in a mercantile career, he came to Mattawan and engaged in a general
merchandise business with D. O. Rix, with whom he was associated for fourteen
years. He then purchased Mr. Rix's interests, and for four years
conducted the business alone, at the end of that time entering the furniture,
undertaking and real estate business, in which he has continued to the
present time, in addition to engaging extensively in dealing loans.
Mr. Campbell is an excellent type of the old-school gentleman, and his
sympathetic manner and tactful capability have made him welcome at many
homes of mourning. His undertaking establishment is equipped with
the most modern appliances and inventions, and he is admirably fitted to
take charge of arrangements at the time when the Grim Reaper has made a
visit to some home of sorrow.
On December 3, 1882, Mr. Campbell was married
to Carrie L. McElroy, daughter of Owen and Jane McElroy, and one child
has been born to this union; Eva, the wife of George H. Murch of Mattawan.
In his political belief Mr. Campbell is a Democrat, and the high esteem
in which he is held by his fellow-townsmen has been evidenced by his election
to various positions of honor and trust, including the offices of justice
of the peace and town treasurer. Fraternally he is connected with
the Masons and the M. W. A., and for twenty years he has been a consistent
member and trustee of the Congregational church, to which Mrs. Campbell
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