VAN BUREN CITIZENS
.- A man who plays an active
and useful part in the many-sided life of Paw Paw, Van Buren county, Michigan,
is John Bailey, who formerly was identified with the agricultural interests
of Waverly township and who at the present time engaged in the livery business
of Sage & Bailey, which is one of the thriving and well-conducted enterprises
of the town. He is a native son of Michigan and has been a resident
of the township since the year 1885. Mr. Bailey was born in Jefferson
township, Hillsdale county, Michigan, on the 25th day of January, 1864.
His father, Josiah Bailey, was born in 1831, in Lenawee county, Michigan.
As a young man he farmed in Lenawee county for a number of years and subsequently
removed to Jefferson, Hillsdale county, where he passed the remainder of
his days, the demise of this good citizen occurring in 1878. He laid
the foundations of a happy marriage in 1854, at Medina, Mary Jane Bump,
born November 12, 1836, becoming his wife. She survived him for more
than a quarter of a century, her summons to the life eternal coming on
February 3, 1804. They reared the following son and daughters: Hortensie,
Susan, and John.
John Bailey, youngest of the children of Josiah
and Mary Bailey and the immediate subject of this review, spent his early
years in Jefferson county and for his education is indebted to the country
schools of the locality in which he spent his boyhood. At the time
of his father's death he was a boy of about fifteen years, but he was capable
and serious and of the type which assumes responsibility successfully,
and he at once took upon himself the management of the farm and continued
at the head of its affairs until 1888. In that year he made a radical
change by coming to Waverly township, where he purchased a farm of eighty
acres and proceeded to improve this and engage in its cultivation. He was
very successful in his operations in connection with the great basic industry
and in time gained a comfortable competence. In 1905 he purchased
a half interest in the livery stable business in connection with his present
partner, Joel Sage, the firm being known under the caption of Sage &
Bailey, and he has continued engaged in this fashion up to the present
time. Mr. Bailey and his partner keep from fourteen to twenty good
horses and in addition to operating a fine livery they have a sales stable
and also run the local stage and baggage business in connection with the
various trains coming into Paw Paw. He is a progressive, public-spirited
citizen who does all in his power to support and encourage all such measures
and institutions as shall contribute to the general welfare.
Mr. Bailey was first married in 1886, Mary
Weatherwax, of Hillsdale county, becoming his wife. Two daughters
were born to this union, namely: Bessie, who married George Rock and is
the mother of a son and daughter named Clyde and Laura; and Delta, who
is still at home. The mother passed away February 12, 1896, mourned
by all who know her. On April 8, 1899, Anah Noyes, a native of Hillsdale
county, became the wife of the subject. Mr. and Mrs. Bailey share
their home with an adopted son, Eugene. They are well and favorably
known in the community and their circle of friends may almost be said to
be coincident with that of their acquaintance.
In his political affiliations Mr. Bailey has
ever given hand and heart to the Republican party. He gave his maiden
vote to its men and measures, and his loyalty to the party which produced
such men as Lincoln, McKinley and Roosevelt is unswerving. His fraternal
allegiance is given to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
.- The hustling farmer
is always on the alert for new inventions which will minimize cost and
production, and it is indeed interesting to visit a well-equipped farm
and scrutinize the various implements used in preparing the products of
the ground for practical use. There is probably no class of people
who grasp anything new and progressive like the prosperous farmer, and
to this class belongs Nathan Hawkins, of Porter township, who is engaged
in general farming and fruit raising along modern, scientific lines.
Mr. Hawkins is a native of Adrian, Ohio, and was born February 8, 1871,
a son of Timothy B. and Margaret (Kimball) Hawkins.
Mr. Hawkins parent's who were also born in
the Buckeye state, came to Michigan in 1881 and settled in section 7, Porter
township, where they purchased farming land and settled down to an agricultural
life. Here Mrs. Hawkins died August 1, 1898, but her husband still survives
her and makes his home on his farm in Decatur township. He married
for his second wife Ella Dickey, who also survives. To Timothy and
Margaret Hawkins the following children were born: Nathan, Clara, who resides
at home; Gordon, who is deceased; Jessie, the wife of Martin Lechlitner,
of Mishawaka, Indiana; Metie E., who is deceased; and Earl, who resides
Nathan Hawkins received his education in the district
schools of Decatur township, and at the age of thirty years purchased the
home place, on which he has since carried on general farming and fruit
raising. Many changes have been made on the property since he has taken
charge, and he now ranks among the progressive agriculturists of his township.
He has always been a stanch advocate of the use of power machinery in the
farm work, and his property is well equipped with the most modern appliances.
As a citizen Mr. Hawkins stands high in the esteem of his fellow townsmen,
and he bears an excellent reputation for honesty in business dealings.
He is a supporter of Republican principles and works hard in the ranks
of his party, although he has never sought public office on his own account.
He and his family attend the Methodist church, and fraternally he is a
popular member of the Odd Fellows order.
On November 23, 1901, Mr. Hawkins was married
to Miss Rena G. Wiles, daughter of Henry and Jennie (Jones) Wiles.
Mrs. Hawkins has two sisters: Hortense, the wife of Harry Tompkins, of
Decatur, Michigan; and Jessie, who lives at home with her parents.
Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins have had two children, born as follows: Vivian Leola,
September 22, 1903; and Henry Gordon, July 2, 1906. The comfortable
Hawkins family home is situated on Lawton Rural Route No. 2, and there
are welcomed the many warm personal friends of Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins.
Daniel Cook Van Antwerp
name of Van Antwerp has been conspicuous in the history of Michigan for
nearly a hundred years. For three generations the family has resided
in this commonwealth, and during the years that have elapsed since the
first Van Antwerp came to this part of the country the different members
of the family have been identified with the military, agricultural, commercial,
political and fiscal life of the community. At all time they have been
characterized by their high sense of honor, their valor and efficient performance
of any duties with which they were entrusted. Daniel Cook Van Antwerp,
whose name inaugurates this biography, and a record of whose career follows,
has done honor to the fair name he bears.
The birth of this scion of an old Holland
family occurred in Antwerp township, January 15, 1852. His grandfather,
Daniel Van Antwerp, was born in Schenectady, New York, November 22, 1795,
and was descended from one of three brothers who came from Antwerp, Holland,
and settled in the Empire state. He came to Michigan about the year
1837, entered one thousand and eighty acres of land from the government
and became a prominent citizen. He had the contract for considerable
work in the building of the Michigan Central Railroad, but it was in his
church affiliations that he was best known and remembered. He was
a deacon in the Presbyterian church and took a very prominent part in all
its affairs, giving freely of his time and means. At a memorial service
held in his honor the elder said "I never went to him for counsel and was
turned away empty." He won distinction in the community and in honor of
the family the township of Antwerp was named.
His son Freeman was born in New York state,
July 16, 1823, and when a lad accompanied his father to Michigan, where
he later engaged in agricultural pursuits. On October 1, 1850, Freeman
Van Antwerp married Miss Harriet Cook, who was born March 29, 1827, in
Covington, Tioga county, Pennsylvania, and was the daughter of Dr. Nathan
and Ann (Hamilton) Cook, who were married March 18, 1824. Dr. Nathan
Cook was born October 4, 1799, in Richmond, Cheshire county, New Hampshire,
a son of Nathan and Sally (Dix) Cook, who were married about 1796.
This family is of New England Puritan descent, tracing their ancestry to
the Cooks who came over in the Mayflower. Dr. Nathan Cook's wife,
Ann Hamilton, was a daughter of William Hamilton, who was born in Scotland
and came to New York state when young. He bore arms in the defense
of his country during the Revolutionary war. He married Hannah Weddaugh,
of Dutch descent. Mr. and Mrs. William Hamilton are buried in York,
Sandusky county, Ohio. Dr. Nathan Cook was a graduate of Dartmouth
College, New Hampshire, and practiced his profession in that state before
In 1823 he started for what was then called the
"far west,"- western New York- locating in Chenango county, near the present
city of Binghampton and making the entire journey on horseback. In 1826
they moved to Covington, Tioga county, Pennsylvania, where they lived four
and a half years and then removed to Huron, Erie county, Ohio, and in 1833
came to Erie, Munroe county, Michigan, where the Doctor was very successful
in his profession, but owing to poor health had to discontinue it.
In 1836 he came as far as Gravel Lake, where he purchased land and this
trip was also made on horseback. On April 15, 1837, he started with
his family for what was then called the St. Joseph Country. This
journey was made with an ox team and was necessarily slow, owing to one
of team having to be favored. The description of a portion of this
journey is best told in the following article, copied from a biographical
sketch written by Mrs. Freeman Van Antwerp when nearly sixty-nine years
old, and left as a precious possession to her son, Daniel Cook Van Antwerp,
and her daughter Mrs. John Marshall. It is of particular interest,
owing to the fact that when this portion of Van Buren county in which they
located was renamed it was Harriet Cook (later Mrs. Freeman Van Antwerp)
who named it Porter. In her article she says: "Monday morning, May
6, 1837, we left Mr. Clark's, being then about thirteen or fourteen miles
from our destination. The morning was cold and misty, amounting almost
to rain, but towards noon the sun came out and the remainder of the day
was very bright, but cool. Moving slowly along, passing only one
or two houses on our journey that day, about four o'clock in the afternoon,
when just east of where Mr. Rock now lives, that same ox laid down again.
My father told us to take the cows and go on, that it was not more than
two miles, and when we came to a beautiful, clear lake on our left we would
find Uncle Roderick Bell's log cabin back in the bushes on the bank of
the lake. Following the road, if road it could be called, for it
was very merely a wagon track winding in and out among the trees and logs,
we soon saw the lake and soon a woman's voice called to us. It was
my aunt, who had been looking for us several days and had seen us through
an opening in the bushes. My uncle had settled here in 1836 and he
and Mr. Alexander were the first white settlers in southwestern Porter.
My uncle went to the assistance of my father and before sundown we were
all at our journey's end. And how glad my sister and I were the next
morning when we did not have to get up and move on again.
"Now began the hardships and privations that
lasted for years; hardships that no one can fully understand unless placed
in similar circumstances. No schools, no churches, no newspapers,
no books, society, nor amusements. We had the lakes with all their
beauty, the forests with all their grandeur and solitude, and they really
were companions for me. In early spring we went wintergreening, in
summer we rambled in the woods and gathered wild berries, in the fall we
went nutting and gathered cranberries (which we could not use for want
of sugar), and in winter we listened to the lonely howling of wolves,-
the most dismal sound one can imagine. Indians came to our house
often; sometimes they would camp on the south side of the lake for several
days at a time and at night we could hear them laugh and whoop and splash
the water in their play. The second summer we were here was what
was known for years as the sickly summer; every family had its share, we
were all sick, everybody was sick, but we all lived through.
"After a while we began to have a school here
and there in the forest, and, though a long way for some to go all were
glad of the opportunity. My sister and I had one girl friend, Sarah
Ann Swift. We were all together a great deal; we roamed the woods,
played around the lakes and attended school together nearly all of our
school days. After a time we began to have spelling schools.
This was quite an item for us, as it broke the monotony of pioneer life.
We were always first in spelling, we knew what the first call would be-it
would be Harriet Cook or Sarah Ann Swift, or vice versa, and this was a
source of much pleasure and usefulness to us; and in time we were far ahead
of others in spelling. After a time we had township libraries and
here began my taste for reading. After many hard struggles we began
teaching school,- worked so hard for so little- just one dollar a week
and 'board round.' My sister Sarah taught thirteen years, summer
and winter. She taught the first school ever taught in the village
of Decatur and the second one ever taught at Porter Center.
"I taught six summers-the first two at Lagrange,
Cass county, the next at William's Corners on the territorial road in Antwerp,
then one term of four and one half months in the valley, then two summers
at the Corners again, making in all just twelve months at that place."
Dr. Nathan Cook passed the remainder of his
life in Van Buren county and was one of its best known citizens.
Game was plentiful in those days and he did much hunting, becoming an expert
in shooting deer when they were running, and if he saw them standing still
he would start them before attempting to shoot. He was town clerk
and all business was transacted at his home. He died January 31,
1867, at Porter. His wife died in the same town, July 12, 1887, aged
eighty-four. Their daughter, Harriet Cook, married Freeman Van Antwerp.
(as noted above). In 1863 Freeman Van Antwerp engaged in the livery business
and ran a stage line from Paw Paw to Lawton, having contracted to carry
the mail. He died in Paw Paw, Michigan, October 16, 1865. Both
Mr. and Mrs. Van Antwerp were members of and attended the Presbyterian
church in Paw Paw for many years.
Freeman Van Antwerp left three children to
be reared by their mother,- Daniel Cook, a lad of thirteen when his father
died; Idale (wife of John Marshall, of Porter township), whose birth had
occurred February 23, 1855; and Anna, who was born November 22, 1862, and
who died March 14, 1878. Mrs. Van Antwerp, soon after her husband's
death, bought a tract of sixty acres of land in Porter township, and there
she went with her three children, superintended the management of the farm
and the bringing up of their children, the youngest of whom was but three
years old when her father died. The mother lived to see her son prosper
in his undertakings, her elder daughter married and she buried her youngest
child. On the 17th day of November, 1904, the mother was summoned
to the Great Beyond.
The first five years of Daniel Cook Van Antwerp's
life were spent in the township which is named in honor of his family,
then one year at Porter, where he began going to school at six years old,
then returning to Antwerp, where he spent five years, then four years in
Paw Paw, where he attended the high school and left on account of poor
health. After his father's death in Paw Paw he removed to Porter
township. When eighteen years old he began to farm the land which
his mother had bought and in 1881 he bought one hundred and forty acres
of land in Porter township. Some of this tract he sold and now owns
one hundred and twenty acres in that township. On the 27th of February,
1911, he moved to Lawton, that his daughter might have the advantages afforded
by its schools, but he and his wife still own two hundred acres of land,
which he rents to farmers.
On the 25th day of February, 1891, Mr.
Van Antwerp married Miss Laura A. Hayne, daughter of John and Elizabeth
(Turner) Hayne, both natives of Cornwall, England, where also their marriage
occurred. They came to America in 1855, and settled in Wayne county,
Michigan. The father died June 13, 1905, in Porter, and the mother's
demise occurred September 11, 1892, in Porter. Of the four children
who were born to Mr. and Mrs. Hayne two died in infancy; Mrs. Van Antwerp
is the third and her brother, John D., resides in Porter township.
Mr. and Mrs. Van Antwerp have had two children,- Elwyn H., born December
1, 1891, who died on March 18, 1896; and Idale Elizabeth, whose birth occurred
July 10, 1897.
In politics Mr. Van Antwerp is a Republican
and for two years he held the position of commissioner of highways in Porter
township, which office was given him unsolicited. Hid fraternal connection
is with the Modern Woodmen of America and in a religious way he and his
wife and daughter hold membership with the Methodist church. He has
resided only a short time in Lawton, but he has already made his presence
felt and his fellow citizens regard his coming to the town as an event
of which they have reason to be proud.
is fortunate enough to own
and cultivate the fine on which he was born and to carry on the business
which his father conducted before him. For farming is a business
and only those who so regard it are making a success of it. Much
has been written lately on the reasons why our boys leave the farm for
the city and about everything has been said on both sides of the question,
but the best argument for the "back to the soil" movement is the one which
our enterprising farmers present in their farms and in themselves.
Mr. Lamb is one of Van Buren county's good arguments on the advantages
of agriculture as a profession.
Charles Lamb, the father of Frank, was born
in New Hampshire, on December 30, 1822. Two years later his parents
moved to Lake county, Ohio, and there he grew up and in 1845 was married
to Emeline Bartlett. In 1854 they came to Hartford township and settled
on the farm where they spent the rest of their days. He died in 1906 and
his wife in 1894.
Frank Lamb was born June 28, 1856. He was
the only child who grew up in the family, as the other son died in infancy.
His schooling was finished at the age of eighteen and he then gave all
his time to farming, having put in his summers at it ever since he was
old enough to be of assistance. Before his twentieth birthday-on
April 2, 1876-he was married to Miss Helen Pierce, a a native of Hume,
New York. Her father, William L. Pierce, was born in Pike, Wyoming
county, New York, on May 24, 1825. He was wedded to Marian Brockett,
whose native place was Wyoming county, New York, and the date of whose
birth was July 20, 1836. Their marriage took place in Ossian, New
York, on June 1, 1854, and fifteen years later they came to Hartford township.
Until 1878 they lived on a farm but in that year they moved into town.
Mrs. Pierce died at Hartford, on July 19, 1905, and her husband survived
her five years, passing to his reward on August 13, 1910. They were
the parents of six children, two of whom are living now in 1911, Mrs. Lamb
and her sister Louise, the wife of Daniel Stickney,of Hamilton township.
Mrs. Lamb attended the Hartford schools after
finishing the course in the district schools. The first two sons
of her union with Mr. Lamb, Roy W. and Orville C., did not live to maturity.
A son and daughter were later born to them, the son Clare, on November
18, 1887. He is now married to Miss Iva Stratton of Benton Harbor,
and has a farm of forty acres not far from the old homestead. The
daughter, Margaret, is attending the district school, and was eleven on
May 17, 1911. Mrs. Lamb is active in church work, being affiliated
with the United Brethren denomination. Here, as wherever she is known,
Mrs. Lamb is regarded as one of the most valuable members. She is
a person of executive ability and of tactful manner. The Lamb farm
of one hundred and twenty acres is in section seven of Hartford township
and is one of the best conducted places in Van Buren county.
.- A prominent business
man of the village of Bloomingdale, Charles Linton holds a position of
note in manufacturing and mercantile circles, and is proprietor of both
the Bloomingdale and the Berlamont Creameries is and important factor in
advancing the dairy interests of this section of Van Buren county.
A son of Abel Kaye, he was born in Saint Croix county, Wisconsin, of English
lineage, his birth occurring in 1869.
Born in England, Abel Kaye was there brought up
and educated. Immigrating to America in early manhood, he spent a
few years in Minnesota, and then went to Dunn county, Wisconsin, where
he bought land and was engaged in tilling the soil until 1900. Selling
out in that year, he migrated to Ridgefield, Oregon, where he has since
resided, being employed in general farming. Mr. Kaye married Eliza
Wilson, who was born in New England, the birthplace, also, of her parents,
who were among the pioneer settlers in Minnesota. She died in 1871,
leaving four children, as follows: John, residing at Umatilla, Oregon;
Nettie, wife of Charles N. Weber, of Ridgefield, Oregon; Charles L., and
Maude, who died at the age of twenty years.
But two years of age when his mother died,
Kaye, as he was then called, was adopted by Francis M. and Hannah (Adams)
Linton, and was legally given their name. Mr. Linton was a native
of Indiana and Mrs. Linton, of Ohio. They were engaged in farming
for many years in Saint Croix county, Wisconsin, but are living in Minneapolis,
retired from active pursuits. Charles Linton was given good educational
advantages as a boy, and while assisting in the care of the Linton farm
developed a taste for agriculture in all of its branches. Desirous
of becoming proficient in the art of making butter and cheese, he entered
the dairy department of the University of Wisconsin, at Madison, where
he studied faithfully at few months. Locating then in Saint Clair,
Minnesota, Mr. Linton worked in a creamery a year, obtaining a practical
knowledge of his chosen work, after which he took another course of study
at the University of Wisconsin, still further advancing his knowledge.
Going then to Illinois, Mr. Linton operated a creamery in Shabbona for
a year, after which he had charge of the Polar Creamery in La Fayette,
Indiana, for a year. Coming from there to Van Buren county, Michigan,
Mr. Linton operated the Berlamont Creamery for nine years, and then purchased
the plant. Three years later, having met with eminent success in
his field of endeavor, he bought the cheese factory in Bloomingdale, converted
it into a creamery, and has since operated both plants most successfully.
Although he manufactures butter and cheese at both plants, his principle
production is butter, for which he finds a ready market in Michigan, much
of it being sold near home and the remainder in Detroit.
Mr. Linton married, in 1893, Vielda Stafford, who
was born in Berlamont, Michigan, a daughter of Anson and Diana (Curtis)
Stafford. Mr. Linton is a well-known and valued member of both the
Michigan Dairymen's Association and the National Creamery Butter Makers'
Association. Fraternally he belongs to Bloomingdale Lodge, No. 221,
Ancient Free and Accepted Order of Masons, and to the Bloomingdale Lodge,
No. 161, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Mrs. Linton is a member
of Bloomingdale Chapter, No. 158, Order of Eastern Star, and of Bonifoi
Rebekah Lodge, No. 382.
William G. Lyle
is one of the go-ahead
farmers and stockmen of Decatur township, Van Buren county, Michigan.
His fellow citizens feel that they have a proprietary interest in him,
as he was born in the township and has there spent his entire life.
While following the same occupation as his father, he has not been content
to live on the reputation that Mr. Lyle, Sr., made, but the son has shown
his own individuality, has made a name for himself, and won the esteem
and respect of the members of the community in which he lives.
On the 24th day of September, 1870, William
G. Lyle began life on a farm in Decatur township. His parents, Alonzo
M. and Mary (Gates) Lyle, were both born in Michigan and the father was
a farmer throughout his active life, and is now residing in Decatur, retired
from the work which he has been identified for so many years. His
wife died June 30, 1899. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Lyle,
Sr., William G. and Fred C., the latter now residing in Decatur.
The first twenty-one years of life of Will
G. Lyle were spent on his father's farm, during which time the son attended
school at Decatur and assisted his father in the duties of cultivating
the soil. On attaining his majority he left the parental roof and
commenced to farm independently and, beginning in a small way, he has gradually
added to his holdings until he now owns two hundred acres of land on section
4, where he does general farming and also raises stock. Having devoted
his life to agricultural pursuits, he understands his business thoroughly,
and he has prospered in his undertakings.
In January, 1890, Mr. Lyle was united in marriage
to Miss Jennie M. Simpson, daughter of Hubbell Z. Simpson, of Decatur,
and to the union of the young couple five children were born, - Harold
A., Gladys, Theodore, and Marian. Sylvia, the first born, died aged
two years. All the living children are at home with their parents,
and all attend the public school in Decatur. Mr. Lyle is deeply interested
in educational efforts, and for fifteen years has been a member of the
school board; the fact that he has continued on the board for so long is
proof that he has rendered acceptable service. Indeed, the standing
of the school has been distinctly improved during the past few years, and
this condition is largely due to the suggestions that Mr. Lyle has made
from time to time. In politics he is a Republican, but he does not
blindly vote for any candidate offered by his party; he considers most
carefully the qualifications of the man himself, and also his fitness to
fill any certain office; then Mr. Lyle places his vote with the man he
believes will best serve the people, regardless of party considerations.
Mr. Lyle is well-known and deservedly popular in this part of the country.
Spencer Van Ostrand
may be said of native gifts, inherent traits and hereditary characteristics
in determining a man's course in life, no thoughtful and observant person
can deny the force of circumstances in the same connection, which not infrequently
bend every qualification a man has in accordance with their requirements.
His situation and surroundings made S. Van Ostrand, of South Haven, a student
of medicine in his youth and early manhood, and circumstances afterward
veered him from his contemplated professional career and made him a merchant
Mr. Van Ostrand is a New Yorker by nativity,
and was born in the town of Rose, Wayne county, in that state, on December
20, 1844. His parents, Dr. and Sarah (Tuller) Van Ostrand, were also
natives of New York, the former born at Sennett, Cayuga county, and the
latter a Wolcott in Oswego county. The father lived to the age of eighty-four
and the mother to that of fifty years. Their son Spencer Van Ostrand,
was the first born of their six children, of whom four are living.
The father was a physician and obtained his
professional training at the Geneva (New York) Medical College, being graduated
from that institution under F. H. Hamilton, of world-wide celebrity.
Dr. Van Ostrand served three years in the First Michigan Regiment of Engineers
and Mechanics during the Civil war, and after his release from that engagement
returned to Albion, Calhoun county, this state. There he was busily
occupied in a large general practice of his profession for a number of
years, but about ten years before his death he was appointed examining
surgeon in the regular army of the United States and assigned to duty at
Yankton, South Dakota. He then moved to that city and there he passed
the remainder of his life in faithful attention to his duties to the end.
Before the Civil war he was a strong Abolitionist
and a devoted worker against the curse of human slavery in this country.
As such he rendered very efficient service tot he cause of freedom for
the slaves as a division superintendent of the famous "Underground Railroad,"through
the aid of which a great many Southern slaves escaped from their involuntary
servitude to Canada, where numbers of them became citizens of approved
demeanor and some persons of consequence and influence. He joined
the Republican party when it was founded and always adhered to it firmly.
Mr. Van Ostrand, the son, lived at home with
his parents until he was twenty-two years of age, and, with a view to making
a physician of himself, studied medicine under the tuition of his father.
But instead of entering on the practice of his profession he became a lumberman
in South Haven, and followed that business for about two years. He
then clerked in a drug store for five years, after which he opened a general
store at Kibbie, this county, where he was also postmaster and agent for
the Michigan Central Railroad for a period of ten years. At the end
of that time he returned to South Haven and began an enterprise in the
drug trade which he is still conducting, and has been ever since.
In 1902, in conjunction with Dr. A. C. Runyan,
he organized the Light, Fuel and Power Company of the city, which was later
reorganized as the South Haven Gas Company, and of this he has ever since
been secretary and treasurer. His political faith and support are
given to the Democratic party, and he is an energetic and effective worker
for its success, although not himself desirous of any of the honors or
emoluments it has to bestow, as his various business interests occupy all
his time and claim all his energies except what are required for the ordinary
duties of citizenship, and these he never neglects or gives half-hearted
Mr. Van Ostrand was married on August 22, 1867,
to Miss Fanny H. Overy. She was born near the historic old city of
Hastings, England, and is a daughter of Charles and Harriet (Wood) Overy,
who were born, reared, educated and married in England, and remained in
the country until they reached middle age. They then came to the
United States and located in Calhoun county, near Albion, Michigan, where
the father died at the age of fifty-four and the mother is still living,
being now ninety-four years old. Mrs. Van Ostrand was the second
born of their six children, four of whom are living. Mr. and Mrs.
Ostrand have had five children, three of whom are deceased. Two died
in infancy and Robert E., the fourth born son, was killed by accident in
1896, when he was twenty years of age. The two living children are
Charles H. and Archie E. Charles H. is with his father in the drug
business. Archie E. is in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, engaged in Christian
Science work. All the members of the family enjoy in a marked degree
the regard and good will of the whole community, and are admired throughout
the county for their genuine worth and the elevated character of their
citizenship. They are earnest supporters of all commendable projects
involving the growth and improvement of their home city, and manifest in
the most helpful and practical way their deep interest in the welfare of
the county in which they live and all it's residents, and the people esteem
Edward W. Ewald
.- The very roots of
a community's prosperity lie in the sturdiness and absolute integrity of
its farmer class. If these strong men, with a heart for any
undertaking, the whole life around them grows into a solid fabric.
The farmers of Van Buren county are notable throughout the state for their
industrious and progressive work, and not the least among the farmers who
have given the county its good name is Edward W. Ewald, well-known in Hartford
township as a fruit grower as well as a general farmer. Edward Ewald
was born in Saint Joseph township, Berrien county, Michigan, in the city
of St. Joseph, on July 17, 1871. He was the son of Fred J. and Mary
(Grimm) Ewald, both of whom were natives of Germany. The parents
now make their home in St. Joseph. Edward W. was the fifth born in
a family of thirteen children. When he was old enough he went to
the local district school, and continued there until he was eighteen, by
which time he had acquire a good general education. He then went
to work on a fruit farm, and has ever since been connected with the same
On the seventeenth of December, 1895, was
solemnized the marriage of Mr. Ewald to Miss Clara Weber. She was
born in Stephensville, Michigan, March 3, 1873, the daughter of John and
Mary (Wright) Weber, and was reared in the city of St. Joseph, where she
attened the public schools until she was fifteen years old. For three
years she was employed as a clerk in a store in St. Joseph. Mr. and
Mrs. Ewald became the parents of five children, namely: Evelyn, Leonard,
Walter, Marjorie and Clare. Mr. Ewald and his family attend the Baptist
church, and he is one of the trustees of the church. Both he and
his wife have taken a prominent part in the Sunday-school work of the church
for a long time.
Fraternally Mr. Ewald is a member of the Modern
Woodmen of America. In the field of politics he is to be found beneath
the Republican standard, and he was elected to be treasurer of St. Joseph
township, Berrien county, upon the ticket of that party. He achieved
an honorable and able record in that office.
In 1905 Mr. Ewald came to Van Buren county
and purchased the old Packer farm, two and a quarter miles southwest of
Hartford, in section 29 of Hartford township, where he and his family have
since made their home. Through a comparatively short time in the
county, Mr. and Mrs. Ewald already have a large number of devoted and loyal
friends, and have attained a high name among all who have had the opportunity
to meet them.
John Clair McAlpine
was born in Hamilton
township, Van Buren county, Michigan,October 2, 1869, and is the only son
of John and Mary Phillips McAlpine, the former a native of Chemung county,
New York, and the latter of Livingston county New York. Mr. McAlpine
has one sister, Miss Ethel McAlpine, who resides with their mother in Hartford.
As the name implies, Mr. McAlpine's ancestors
were Scotch, his great grandfather having settled in New York during the
Revolutionary war. His grandfather, George McAlpine, was born in
New York, but moved with his family to Cass county, Michigan, in 1858.
Mr. McAlpine's father, John McAlpine, was the eldest of a family of ten
children, and his parents being in poor circumstances financially, he early
began to contribute to the support of his father's family.
IN 1863, at the age of eighteen, he enlisted
in Company C, Sixty-sixth Illinois Sharpshooters, and with this company
served faithfully to the end of the war of the rebellion, when he was honorably
discharged. He was a conscientious and law abiding citizen, a good
husband and father, and was much loved by a wide circle of friends.
He held various township offices, to which he brought unswerving honesty,
fidelity and good judgment. He was a member of the Masonic order
and of the Grand Army of the Republic. His life began at Chemung
county, New York, January 28, 1845, and ended in Hartford, Michigan, November
John Clair McAlpine was educated in the common
schools excepting one year in a business college. Having determined
early to be a farmer, he has adhered to his first choice of an occupation
and is now an enterprising and progressive farmer in Keeler township.
On October 3, 1888, Mr. McAlpine was united
in marriage with Miss Minnie E. Sheperd, a native of this county, born
September 4, 1868, and the daughter of Henry and Adelaide Van Der Voort
Sheperd. Mrs. McAlpine like her husband, secured her education in
the public schools, and that and her home training, like his, were directed
to practical ends. They have had four children, three of whom are
living. Leila was educated in public schools and also received good
instruction in music. Beatrice, the second daughter, received a public
school education and is now the wife of William Bullard and has one child,
a son Gerald. They reside on a farm in Keeler township. The
third daughter is Shirley, the youngest of the children. the son
died at the age of three months.
In his political allegiance Mr. McAlpine is
a Republican, but in local affairs, especially, his first consideration
is the good of his community and the welfare of its people, and he casts
his ballot with this always in view. He is especially interested
in the progress and usefulness of the public schools, and has been connected
with their management for many years. Mr. McAlpine is a member of
the Knights of the Modern Maccabees, holding his membership in Tent No.
623 at Keeler. All the members of the family belong to the Methodist
Episcopal church. All are well and favorably known throughout the
county as persons of high character, upright lives, advanced social culture
and the genuine public spirit which leads them to welcome any worthy undertaking
for the progress and improvement of the county and township of their home
and are pleased with an opportunity to give it earnest and effective support.
They are well deserving of the universal esteem which they enjoy for their
elevated standards of living, their sincere interest in the welfare of
all who dwell around them, and their general high tone and usefulness as
.- No citizen of South
Haven, Michigan, has been more prominently or beneficially connected with
the public life of the city during the last few years than Charles Funk,
one of its leading business men and now (1911) its chief executive.
He served the people of the city so well and wisely as city councilman
one term and part of another that they induced him to become their mayor,
although he had to resign his seat in the council to become the nominee
on what was known as the Citizen's Ticket, made up without regard to political
Mr. Funk was born in Bangor, this county,
on November 9, 1875, and has passed the whole of his life to the present
time within the borders of the county and in intimate association with
its residents. He obtained his education principally in the common
schools, attending them in winter and working on his father's farm in summer.
His scholastic training was finished at the high school in Bangor.
He is a son of Martin and Minne (Schlaack) Funk, the former born in Pennsylvania
and the latter in Germany. Of the five children born of their union but
three are living, Charles and his brothers Ernest and Preston.
The father came to Michigan with his parents
in the early fifties, when he was a small boy. They located at a
place in Van Buren county known later as Funk's Settlement, where the father
of Charles grew to manhood and acquired a knowledge of the occupation of
farming, in which he has ever since been engaged, and which be began for
himself on wild land unbroken as yet, and never before subject to the persuasive
hand of the husbandman. He and his wife are still living on the farm
he hewed out of the wilderness, but it is now highly improved, well cultivated
and richly productive. He is a member of the German Lutheran church
and in political affairs, sides with the Democratic party, although he
is no longer a very active partisan, but is still always loyal to his political
On December 29, 1897, Mayor Funk, though he
probably then never dreamed of becoming mayor, was married to Miss Bertha
M. Springett, a native of Geneva township, this county, and a daughter
of George and Flora M. Springett, also natives of Van Buren county and
the children of English parents. Both are living on the farm the
father has cultivated for many years. He is also a justice of the
peace, and his political support is given to the Republican party.
He and his wife are the parents of two children, Mrs. Funk and her brother
For four years after his marriage Mr. Funk cultivated
the farm of his grandfather, John Funk. He then moved to South Haven,
and was employed in a milling establishment for one year. He was
eager, however, to have a business of his own and at the end of his year
in the mill formed a partnership with E. J. Merrifield and started an enterprise
in the coal and wood trade under the firm name of Funk & Merrifield,
which is still in existence and actively engaged in business with ample
yards on West Phoenix street, and with an extensive and profitable volume
In 1907 Mr. Funk was elected alderman from
the Second ward of the city, and at the end of his term in 1909 he was
re-elected. He showed himself so capable and attentive to his official
duties, so vigilant in caring for the interests of the city and the people,
and so public spirited and enterprising in municipal affairs, that before
his second term expired he was obliged to resign his seat and become the
candidate of the Citizen's party for mayor. To this office he was
elected also, his term beginning in the spring of 1911 and being for one
year. In politics generally, especially in national and state affairs,
Mr. Funk trains with the Democratic party, but in municipal elections he
takes the view of many excellent citizens in believing that partisan considerations
should have but little weight, as municipal government is almost wholly
a matter of business and should be conducted on business principles.
Fraternally Mr. Funk is connected with the Modern Woodmen of America, and
is one of the leading members of the organization in the order in which
he is enrolled.
He and his wife are the parents of two children,
their son Lloyd and their daughter Velma.
William P. Breeding
.- One of the
most enterprising, capable and enterprising young business men of South
Haven, and one of the most esteemed citizens of Van Buren county, William
P. Breeding commands the admiration of all who know him by the success
he has achieved and the promise his ability holds out for future accomplishments
of a still more signal and enlarged character, in whatever department of
useful labor he may choose as the avenue of his activities. He has
already done several things, and done each of them well, winning advancement
for himself in each and contributing to the general weal of the community
around him in all.
Mr. Breeding was born in the city of Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, on April 20, 1875, and is a son of Elbert T. and Anna M.
(Jackson) Breeding, the father a native of Massachusetts, born in 1849,
and the mother of the same nativity as her son William. The father
died on December 31, 1909, having outlived by only one month his wife,
who passed away on January 30, 1910. (note from writer: This is how
the dates were written in the book!) They had three children, William
P., Derwood M. and Florence. The daughter is now Mrs. Thomas A. Kennedy,
of Kenilworth, a suburb of Chicago. The family moved to St. Louis
some years before the death of the parents, and in that city the father
was a merchant of good rank and repute. In politics he was a Republican,
and in church connection a Baptist.
William P. Breeding early in life secured
employment with the Corticelli Silk Company of St. Louis, the family then
being located in that city. He went into the employ of this company
as an office boy at the age of fifteen, and by capacity, integrity and
faithful attention to business worked himself up to the position of general
department manager. He acquired a thorough knowledge of the business
of the company he was working for, and at the same time attained to sweep
a vision which gave him a comprehensive knowledge of business in general
and sufficient confidence in himself to undertake an enterprise of his
In 1907 he moved to Chicago and entered the
lumber trade, with which he was actively and profitably connected for two
years. Before going to Chicago, however, he had been married, and
in 1909 he took up residence in South Haven, and there became associated
with his father-in-law, Lyman S. Monroe, in the South Haven Loan and Trust
Company, Mr. Monroe being the president at that time. After his death
Mr. Breeding succeeded him in this office, and is still filling it with
great advantage to the company and to the full satisfaction of its patrons.
On January 28, 1905, Mr. Breeding was united in
marriage with Miss Louise Monroe, a daughter of Lyman s. and Carrie J.
(Curtiss) Monroe. Mr. Monroe was one of the leading business men and most
prominent and influential citizens of Van Buren county. He was a
brother of Hon. Charles Jay Monroe, in a sketch of whose life, to be found
elsewhere in this volume, the history of the family is set forth at length.
Mr. Breeding venerates the memory of his father-in-law, as he was a man
worthy of the highest esteem and confidence in every respect, and he was
also very helpful to Mr. Breeding, giving him every possible chance to
advance himself, and not only opening the way for him to make headway,
but aiding him materially in all efforts in this direction.
Mr. Breeding is President of the South Haven
Loan and Trust Company and also one of the directors of the First State
Bank of South Haven and vice president and secretary of the Monroe Realty
Company. He is a Republican in political affiliation and a Baptist
in church connection, being chairman of the board of trustees of the First
Baptist church. He and his wife have one child, their daughter Jane.
The parents are among the most esteemed citizens of the city and county
of their home, and the regard shown them by the people is based on genuine
George G. Hutchins
.- Born in Devonshire,
England, on the last day of the year 1846, George Hutchins, the son of
George and Jane Hoils Hutchins, spent the first nineteen years of his life
across the water. He acquired only a rudimentary education before
leaving school to learn the blacksmith trade. He spent two years
in the shop as an apprentice and then for a year and a half was employed
to shoe horses at the liberal salary of a shilling a week. An uncle
and a brother, Richard, had come to America and Richard sent George the
money for his passage and in his twentieth year, he joined the relatives
at Paw Paw. Here he secured work on a shop owned by Philips and Kelly and
was employed there for six months. The following year he worked on
a farm and then for two winters and one summer attended school and thus
added to his educational equipment. He then worked at his trade in
Lawrence and in Paw Paw for a year and a half. After this time Mr.
Hutchins opened his shop in Paw Paw township and for four years he conducted
the business at a good profit. This gave him his start and he was
presently able to buy a farm in Arlington township with his savings.
This place was his home for eight years and during that time he constantly
improved it until he was able to sell it at a good advance and to buy another.
He pursued the same policy with his second place and then bought the one
he owns at present. This is the estate known as the Sterling Cole
farm, a tract of one hundred and twenty-five acres which has been in Mr.
Hutchins' possession sine 1891. He gives his attention to growing
fruit as well as to general farming, and at both is more than ordinarily
Mrs. Hutchins was formerly Miss Flora Cole,
the daughter of Sterling Cole of Lawrence Township. He came here
from New York state in 1852, settling first in Berrien county. In
1854 he was married to Miss Euphemia Crumb, and then they went to Allegan
county, making that their home until the year of 1861, when they came to
Lawrence, and bought the farm now owned by Mr. Hutchins. Miss Cole
became the wife of George Hutchins on February 4, 1874, and they have been
the parents of six children as follows; Arthur, in business in the state
of Washington; Jennie, Mrs. R. F. Green, of Toledo; Ellen, Mrs. Charles
Harris, of Paw Paw township; Mable, the wife of Professor C. M. Jennings,
a teacher of Stanton, Michigan; Alice, Mrs. Earl Pugsley, of Hart, Michigan,
where her husband is an attorney; and Mary, Mrs. Arthur J. Dunning, of
Sedro-Woolley, Washington, where she and her husband are both engaged in
Mr. and Mrs. Hutchins are both members of
the order of the Eastern Star at Lawrence. She has held several offices
in that body, including that of worthy matron. Mr. Hutchins belongs
to the Rising Sun lodge of the Masons of Lawrence. All the family
are members of the Baptist church, where their interest and generous support
are highly appreciated. Mr. Hutchins takes no active part in politics
but he is a great admirer of Bryan and, although liberal in his views,
inclines toward the Democratic platform. He and his wife are of the
representative people of Van Buren county and are accorded a place of honor
by the many friends they have made in the course of their life here.
Roland B. Grant
.- The subject of this
brief review was born in Cook county on St. Valentine's Day of the year
1857. His father was Clarence Grant, who was born in Scotland and
lived there until the age of seven, when he accompanied his father, John
Grant, to Canada. They settled on a farm near Montreal and there
John and his wife lived and died. Clarence Grant was one of a family
of six boys and two girls, all now dead. His wife, Sabrina Farnum,
was born in New Hampshire in 1829, and her parents, Roland and Mary Brooks
Farnum, were also New Englanders. She became acquainted with Clarence
Grant when he came to New England as a young man and went to work on a
neighboring farm. They were not married there and moved to a farm
near Chicago. This was not an unknown country to Clarence Grant,
as he had worked in Chicago on the breakwater before going to New England.
Four children were born to them, three now living; Waldo, a contractor
and builder of Chicago; R. B.; and May, who is the wife of Alfonso Chandler,
a contractor and builder of Los Angeles, California. The mother died
in 1901, and four years later the father went to live with his son Roland.
Norwood Park, the place of his father's farm,
was the home of Roland Grant until he was twenty-one years old. He
then worked in the neighborhood of his home for one year, after which he
went to Chicago. From Chicago he went to New England to engage in
the milling business and remained for one and a half years. When
he left this he went to Missouri and bought a farm there, which he conducted
for two years. It was during this time that he returned to Norwood
Park to be married, his bride being Miss Elsie Cheever, the daughter of
Benjamin S. and Anna Boise Cheever, the former being a native of New York
State and the latter of England. Her grandfather, James Cheever,
was born in Massachusetts. The wedding of Miss Cheever and Mr. Grant
took place September 12, 1881, and the young couple began their married
life on the Missouri farm, where they remained a year and a half.
They then returned to Norwood Park and for eighteen years farmed their
own place there. In 1901 they came to Arlington township, in March,
and bought a farm upon which they have lived for ten years and in the spring
of 1911, came to their present home. They own fifty-two acres in
Lawrence township and forty in Bangor. Mr. Grant is occupied extensively
in growing fruit and ships some fine crops to the markets.
Two of the four children who have come into
the home of Mr. and Mrs. Grant are still with their parents. Chase
B., is a graduate of the Lawrence high school and has spent one year in
Albion College, taking a literary course. Gordon is attending school.
Both the daughters are married; Grace, to Charles J. Hughes, a contractor
of Battle Creek, and Frances, to John Robbins, of Arlington township.
Mr. Grant is a member of the Shady Grove Lodge
of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Lawrence. He and his family
are members of the Methodist church in the same place and are active workers
in it, as they take the keenest interest in all which tends to promote
the higher life. Mr. Grant is a trustee in that body. In politics
he is not actively interested, but favors the Republican principles in
matters of national import. During the ten years which they have
passed in the county Mr.and Mrs. Grant have made its best interests their
own and have won the lasting regard of all who have come to know them.
They contribute a generous share to the industrial efficiency which places
Van Buren county so high in the commercial world and add equally to the
moral and intellectual forces which are of even more importance.
Turner W. Howard
, the well known
agriculturist of Van Buren county has the unique record of having been
born in the farm upon which he now lives and which has always been his
home. The pleasant acres of the Howard farm are located on section
32, Lawrence township. Turner W. was born November 13, 1841, the
youngest son of Hosea and Elizabeth (Leonard) Howard. Hosea Howard
was reared in New York state and was there married. He, with his
wife and three sons, came to Van Buren county in 1838 and purchased the
farm of one hundred and sixty acres. He was a strong Democrat and
an ardent worker for the welfare of his party. During his residence
in New York, he served as a captain in the state militia. His death
occurred in 1847. His wife, surviving him thirty-five years, passed
to her reward in 1882. Of the four children born to this union Turner,
the subject of this review, is the only one now living.
Turner W. Howard was reared on the old farm
and attended the donation school which was at that time held in an extra
room of one of the neighboring farm houses. Each man had to contribute
so much in direct proportion to the number of his children attending school.
The parents also furnished the fuel. Turner attended this school
until he was thirteen years old, and then spent his entire time learning
all there was to learn about farming and assisting in clearing the farm
of its timber.
On June 3, 1864, Mr. Howard was united in
marriage to Miss Marcia Place. She was born in Pennsylvania, June
3, 1842, the daughter of Horace and Fanny (Litchfield) Place. Her
father was a native of New York state and her mother of Massachusetts.
Her parents were married in New York, moved to Erie county, Pennsylvania,
and came to Hamilton township, Van Buren county, Michigan, in 1848, where
they continued to dwell for the rest of their lives. They were the
parents of ten children, five of whom are now living. Their daughter
Marcia was educated in the local schools, and later spent one year in a
Pennsylvania school before becoming a teacher in Van Buren county schools,
where she taught three years prior to her marriage to Mr. Howard.
She and her husband are the parents of five children. George E.,
who, following in the footsteps of his father, became a capable farmer.
In 1890 e was married to Lulu Cook and, purchasing the south forty acres
of the home arm, made a home for his wife and six children, living there
until his death in 1909. Effie, formerly a school teacher in the
public schools, is now Mrs. homas Maxwell. Fannie who was also a
school teacher in the public schools, is now the wife of John R. Cook.
Isa is now teaching in Lawrence township,Van Buren county. Frank
is still at home, active in church and Sunday-school
Mr. Howard is a member of the Rising Sun Lodge,
No. 119, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; of Lawrence Chapter, No. 95,
Royal Arch Masons; and is a member of Lawrence Council, R. & S. M.,
No. 43. Politically, Mr. Howard may be found beneath the stand of
the Democratic party, in whose counsels he takes prominent and interested
The Howard's still own the one hundred sixty
acres, which they farm, and where they have their pleasant homes.
They are hospitable and highly esteemed in their county as those who may
be called upon when any movement for the general welfare in on foot.
Julian H. Anderson
.- Among the
men who have given Van Buren county its reliable and honorable name in
the business circles of the state is Julian H. Anderson, one of the proprietors
of the Anderson Mill. He is a quiet, unassuming man, but has gained
the respect of all who knew him, for behind the quiet face they have found
invariably strength and integrity. Mr. Anderson was born in Trumbull
county, Ohio, in January 1850, the son of William and Esther Stebbins Anderson
and the grandson of John Anderson. William Anderson was born in New
York state, as was also his wife. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs.
William Anderson removed to Trumbull county, Ohio, where the husband farmed
until 1859. In that year they came to Lawrence, Michigan, where he
purchased a saw-mill, and later, the former venture prospering, erected
a grist mill. From there he came to Hartford township, where he remodeled
the existing saw-mill into a grist mill. The mill is still one of
the attractive old land-marks of the county, for it has stood in Hartford
township for over sixty years. William Anderson continued to live
in the township until his death in 1900, thirty-two years after the passing
away of his devoted wife. He was the father of ten children, five
whom are living at this date, 1911, as follows: Julian H., James E., Alphius
S., George and Charles. Julian H. and James E. are partnership proprietors
of the Anderson Mill, and also of the electric light and power plant, which
furnishes light and power for the village of Hartford.
Julian H. Anderson was nine years old when
his parents brought him to Michigan and he is now the oldest of the surviving
members of the family. He was educated in the public schools of Lawrence,
and at a very early age began to work in his father's mill. Excepting
for about five years, three of which were spent in a store, Mr. Anderson
has spent his entire life since his boyhood days in the mill business,
and it is no wonder that he knows it thoroughly.
In 1871 Mr. Anderson was united to Miss
Esther Rowland, sister of the well-known Captain Rowland, and a native
of Ohio. She and her husband have three children: Mabel is now the
wife of Wright Gardner and her sister Louise married Walter Hartman.
Mabel was a graduate of the Hartford high school and taught for some time
in the grammar school. Marion attended and graduated from the Armour
Institute of Chicago and later married Miss Ethel Clinton. They reside
in Hartford, he being superintendent of the light and power plant.
Mr. and Mrs. Julian Anderson are now proud grandparents of seven grandchildren.
They are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and active supporters
of all its good works. Mr. Anderson serves the church as one of its
Fraternally Mr. Anderson is affiliated with
the Charter Oak Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In
the field of politics he supports the Republican party, but he has never
himself felt any desire for the honors and emoluments of public office.
Besides his milling interests he owns twenty-five acres of land in Hartford
township, upon which he and his wife maintain their home.
For more information on Esther Rowland - contact Barbara Eberhart
Richard E. Sage
.-On the roll of those
who have laid the foundations of the property of Waverly township, Van
Buren county, by their thrift, progressiveness and wise management of the
agricultural resources of the country is written the name Richard E. Sage,
a prominent farmer and stockman and a citizen whose unblemished record
of integrity and fine principles had won for him general respect and esteem.
His farm, which consists of one hundred and twenty acres of particularly
excellent land, is located in section 12. By no means afraid of innovation,
he employs the latest agricultural methods, and that with success, and
the stock raised by him is of high standard.
Van Buren county boasts a goodly number of
native sons who have paid it the highest compliment within their power
by electing to remain permanently within its borders and Mr. Sage is one
of these. His birth occurred on June 10, 1860, in Bloomingdale township,
his parents being William H. and Sarah (Gay) Sage. The former was
born in Clare, Ireland, in 1849, and at the age of nine years came to the
United States with his father, Patrick Sage. They first located in
the state of New York, where the father and one of his sons found employment
upon the Erie Canal, which was then being enlarged, and later on were employed
in the building of the New York Central Railroad. Thereby they
earned sufficient money to pay the passage of the remainder of the family
who until that time had remained at their old home in the Emerald Isle.
They came on to Michigan in 1860, where the grandfather of the immediate
subject located near Gobleville and followed farming and masonry work until
his death, at the age of seventy-five years.
Mr. William Sage, the father, received his
early education in the schools of Ireland and upon coming to this country
completed his education in the public schools. He arrived in Michigan
at the age of nineteen and upon the breaking out of the Civil war enlisted
in Battery E, First Michigan Light Artillery, connected with the Fourth
Army Corps, in which eh served one year, passing through a number of battles.
After his discharge from the service he took up farming near Gobleville
and followed that until retiring in 1906, in which year he returned to
Paw Paw, where he still resides. During childhood days of Mr. Sage,
while living in Ireland, the great famine took place, during which terrible
period, over two million people starved to death, and he vividly recalls
the awful suffering which he witnessed at that time and which made so frightful
an impression on his youthful mind. He married Sarah Jane Gay and
they had nine children, four of whom died in infancy. One of his sons,
W. V. Sage, is a graduate of the Lansing schools and also of the University
of Michigan, at Ann Arbor; he was formerly superintendent of schools and
is now engaged in farming in Bloomingdale township, on the place where
the subject of the sketch was born. Florence is now the wife of George
Connery, of Bloomingdale township, and was formerly a teacher in the public
schools. May is the wife of Arthur Cleveland, of Janesville, Wisconsin.
Dr. E. D. Sage is a graduate of Chicago University and is now resident
in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he is a successful physician and surgeon.
Richard E. Sage passed his youth amid the rural
surroundings of his father's farm and was educated in the Gobleville public
schools. When it came to adopting an occupation of his own he followed
in the paternal footsteps, and, being the eldest, he worked on the farm,
thereby enabling his brothers to remain at college. Mr. Sage was
first married April 28, 1883, to Mary Leaibe, and their union was blessed
by the birth of a son, Leroy W., who married Isa Beach, daughter of William
Beach, Mr. and Mrs. Leroy W. Sage have a son, Cleon. The first wife
of the subject was called to the Great Beyond in 1890, and on September
30, 1903, he was united to Minnie Johnson, daughter of L. J. Johnson.
The second union has resulted in the birth of two daughters,-Florence,
and aged six; and Alberta, aged two.
Mr. and Mrs. Sage are members of the Free
Will Baptist church and the former is one of the trustees of Covey Hill
church, a historical place. He is a prominent member of the Grange,
in whose affairs he takes an active and interested part. In the field
of politics he is found under the standard of the "Grand Old Party, " but,
although interested in the success of good government, he has never been
active in partisan affairs. He has been highway overseer or pathmaster.
He has held the position of chairman of the school board and for several
terms, being the incumbent of that office a the present time, and was one
of the founders and at the present time a trustee of the Gobleville Mutual
Telephone Company. He enjoys the regard of the community in which
his interests are centered and his circle of friends may be said to be
co-incident with that of his acquaintances.
Charles L. Nower
.- This enterprising,
progressive and prosperous farmer and live stock man of Paw Paw township,
this county, was born in Paw Paw on September 15, 1893, and is a son of
William G. and Melissa (Russell) Nower, for many years industrious and
prominent farmers in Van Buren county, but now living retired from active
pursuits in Lawrence. The father, William G. Nower, was born in Central
New York on April 24, 1853, and came to Michigan with his parents in 1857.
The parents were James and Frances (Wickens) Nower, natives of England
who came to this country early in life and made a new home for themselves
in the state of New York.
In 1857 they moved their family to Michigan
and located in Van Buren county, where the father bought fifty-three acres
of farming land, on which they passed the remainder of their lives, the
father dying in 1860 and the mother in 1888, on the land that had been
hallowed and greatly improved by their labor and skillful cultivation.
They had seven children, three of whom are living: William G., Henry and
John, all of whom reside in Lawrence. The four offspring who died were
Frances, Charles, Martha and Alfred.
William G. Nower grew to manhood on his father's
farm in this county, and when he reached the age of twenty years began
farming on his own account. At the age of twenty-seven he bought
forty acres of land, but soon afterward sold this and bought ninety-five
acres in section 19, in Paw Paw township, which his son Charles L. is now
farming. The father was married on May 17, 1879, to Miss Melissa
Russell, and they became the parents of three children, all of whom are
living. They are: William J., who resides in Lawrence township, this
county; Charles Leslie, who is living on and cultivating the parental homestead;
and Charlotte, whose home is in Lawrence.
The father of these children is independent
in his political action, looking only to the good of his township and county
without regard to partisan considerations. He has always been an
earnest advocate and supporter of public improvements, and every agency
that worked for the progress of his locality and the betterment of its
people in any way. In church relations he is a Methodist, and one
of the energetic and devoted members of the congregation to which he belongs.
Whenever he is known he is highly esteemed as a good citizen, an upright
man and a very useful force for good.
Charles Leslie Nower, the second son of William
G., obtained a high school education and, at the age of nineteen, started
out in life for himself to make his own way in the world and work out a
creditable career by useful industry, which he felt he had the spirit and
determination to make profitable to himself and serviceable to any community
in which he might live. For two years after leaving school he served
the government faithfully as a mail carrier. Then in March 1911,
he took charge of the homestead on which he has been conducting a general
farming and live stock industry on as large and energetic scale as his
facilities will permit.
On December 31, 1902, Mr. Nower was united
in marriage with Miss Bernice Feegles, a daughter of Joseph and Anna (Kelly)
Feegles, of this county. The parents were born and reared in Michigan,
and here the father was a contractor and builder for a number of years.
He died on August 29, 1896, and some time afterward the mother married
a second husbund, being united on this occasion with O. D. Allen, a resident
of Van Buren county.
Mr. and Mrs. Charles L. Nower have four children:
Norma, who was born on August 12, 1903; Vaughn, who was born on June 23,
1905; Rex, whose life began on May 2, 1907; and Donna, the date of whose
birth was August 29, 1909. The father holds himself free for independent
action in connection with all political matters, and partisan considerations
have no weight with him. His first and chief desire in affairs of
government, local, state and national, is to aid as far as he can in securing
the substantial welfare of the people, and he works for this without regard
to the political ambitions of candidates and with none of his own.
Mrs. Nower was the last born of the four children
of her parents. Three of the four are living: Nina, who is the wife
of Thomas Clark, of Cleveland, Ohio; Hattie, who is the wife of Owen Babbitt,
of Winthrop, Minnesota; and Bernice, who is now the wife of Mr. Nower.
The only son in the family, Ebert Feegles, died some years ago. The
parents were highly respected by all classes of the people wherever they
were known, as the mother and surviving children are now. All have
been faithful to duty in all the relations of life, and have won public
esteem by the impressive examples they have given of upright living and
earnest and helpful interest in their several communities.
George C. Monroe
.- Industrial and
business life in this country is full of mutations. The ground beneath
our feet perpetually rocks and heaves, throwing up new eminencies and opening
chasms where heights have lately been. New opportunities are ever
coming to the wary and making new demands upon the capable. The young
man who enters upon a stage of action at twenty as a farmer, trader, doctor,
or something else, will not unlikely be found pursuing a very different
vocation at forty, so numerous and various are the currents of activity
in this electric age and in a land of such multitudinous interests as ours
possesses and demands attention.
George C. Monroe, of South Haven, where he
is one of the leading business men of the community, furnishes in his career
a striking illustration of these facts. He began independent exertions
for his own advancement as a surveyor of land a fruit grower. Yet
for many years he has been almost exclusively engaged in banking and other
occupations kindred to or allied with this interesting but exacting pursuit.
But, although he has changed his business, he has not changed the seat
of his operations. His energies are employed now where they first
found service, and have always been devoted to the place of his birth and
Mr. Monroe's life began in South Haven, Michigan,
on February 20, 1871, and in that city the whole of it to the present time
(1911) has been passed, except the period spent by him at college and the
years 1896 to 1899 when he lived in Covert. He is a son of Hon. Charles
Jay and Hattie (Morehouse) Monroe, a sketch of whose lives will be found
in this work. He attended the public schools in his native city to
obtain the basis of his education, and the State Agricultural College to
get instruction in the more advanced stages of his mental training.
After leaving college he engaged in surveying
land and raising fruit for the markets seven or eight years. But
his mental bias was toward business and its leaning was decidedly in the
direction of banking. And what nature had implanted in him was bound
to come out, whatever might be his zeal and industry in other directions.
On December 1, 1899, he accepted the position of cashier of the First State
Bank of South Haven, having had almost a full year's experience in the
banking business as the president of the Bank of Covert, which he helped
to organize under the auspices of C. J. Monroe Sons & Company on January
1 of the same year.
Mr. Monroe is a son of one of the founders
of the Kalamazoo Savings Bank and is now a large stockholder in that institution.
In addition he is secretary of the Hotel Columbus Association and the South
Haven Hospital Association, of the latter of which he was one of the organizers.
In 1906 he gave up the cashiership of the First State Bank, being promoted
to the position of vice president in its directorate. His interest
in the institution has never waned, however, and his influence has been
at all times, from the beginning of his connection with it, potential in
helping to give it standing in the community and increase the volume of
its business and its popularity among the people.
On February 14, 1893, he was united in marriage
with Miss Helen Smith, a native of Emden, Germany. Three children
have been born of this union, George S., Helen L., and Randolph B., all
of whom are still members of the parental household and elements in its
attractiveness to the numerous friends and associates of the family.
These make its home a frequent resort, and always find it a center of mental
and social culture and refined and gracious hospitality.
Mr. Monroe is an enthusiastic Freemason, and
has ascended all the rounds of the mystic ladder in the York rite and to
the thirty-second degree int he Scottish rite. He holds membership
in Star of the Lake Lodge, No. 155; Royal Arch Chapter, No. 58; and South
Haven Council, Royal and Select Masters, No. 45, having presided over all
three bodies in South Haven; Malta Commandery No. 44, Knights Templars,
at Benton Harbor; Saladin Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Grand
Rapids; and DeWitt Clinton Consistory, Scottish Rite Masons, at Grand Rapids.
He is also a member of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of
the state, and in addition belongs to Hamilton Grange. Patrons of Husbandry,
and the Order of the Knights of Pythias and several other insurance orders.
In the affairs of his city and county he has
a deep and abiding interest and manifests it by actively supporting all
commendable undertakings for their improvement and the betterment of their
residents. In political faith and allegiance he is pronounced Republican,
not with a view to securing public office, which he never desires, but
because he believes in the principles of that party and thinks their prevalence
in the government, local, state and national, would be beneficial.
But he does not allow partisan considerations to outweigh his sense of
duty to his community in local affairs, and always gives that sway without
regard to personal or partisan claims of any kind. He is looked upon
as one of the most useful, public spirited and representative citizens
of the county, and esteemed in all parts of it in accordance with this
Henry Y. Tarbell
.- Born and reared
to the age of nineteen in Franklin county, New York, then passing twenty-six
years in South Dakota extensively engaged in growing wheat and raising
and feeding horses for the Eastern markets, and up to 1911 one of the enterprising
and progressive farmers in Van Buren county, Michigan, Henry Y. Tarbell,
of Paw Paw township, has mingled with the people and taken part in the
industrial life of three of the great states of the American union, in
which the circumstances, the methods of action and the conditions in general
differ widely. But he has been able by his versatility and general
business capacity to adapt himself to all requirements and do well in every
situation in which he has found himself.
Mr. Tarbell's life began in Franklin county,
New York, on April 7, 1865, and he is a son of Newell I. and Julia M. (Duefraine)
Tarbell, also natives of the state of New York. The father was occupied
in farming in his native state continuously until May, 1910, when he and
his wife came to Michigan and Van Buren county, where they now make their
happy home with their son Henry. They have three children besides Henry:
Belle, who is the wife of Allan Tullar and lives in Springfield, Massachusetts;
Fred E., who is also a resident of Springfield, Massachusetts, and one
of the foreman of the Smith & Wesson Gun Works there; and Etta, the
wife of W. E. Wiley, of Schagticoke, Rensselaer county, New York.
Henry Y. Tarbell remained on the farm of his
parents until he reached the age of nineteen, assisting in the farm work
and attending the district school near his home when he could. At
the age mentioned he gratified a longing he had cherished for years by
throwing himself into the midst of the colossal activities of the great
West and taking a part in conducting them. He moved to South Dakota, purchased
three hundred and twenty acres of land, and started an industry in raising
wheat on a large scale. He also engaged in raising and handling horses
for the markets on a similar scale, taking advantage of every opening he
saw for the furtherance of his interests, and with characteristic enterprise
and energy using each for all it was worth.
Mr. Tarbell remained in South Dakota twenty-six
years, thriving in his business and rising to consequence and influence
among the people. In 1902 he came to Michigan and bought a farm of
one hundred and sixty-two acres in section 22, Paw Paw township, this county,
and he maintained his home and carried on a vigorous industry in general
farming up to August, 1911. We here quote from the True Northerner
of November 17, 1911:
"Henry Tarbell has surely earned the title
of 'Land King.' He sold his farm south of town last summer, and bought
a place in the village where he could live near his friends and enjoy himself.
He soon got restless, however, and started with his wife for a trip through
the west, and for a visit with a son who lives in Dekota. The fine
level farms of the country were a delight to his eye, and the temptation
became too strong for him to resist. The result was that before he
left for home he was the possessor of a deed for one thousand acres of
that rich farming land. It was all under cultivation, has fine buildings,
is as level as a floor, and is said to be one of the most valuable farms
in that locality.
"His many friends are glad to know, however,
that he does not contemplate moving to that country, but will be content
to make Paw Paw his home, and rent the big farm in the west.
" Henry has lived here but a short time comparatively,
but during that time he has shown himself to be a valuable acquisition
to any community, and his friends are legion.
"He not only is a good judge of farm lands,
but knows a horse from A to Z and has handled many horses since coming
here. He is the happiest when dealing in horse flesh or swapping
with a neighbor. He always has a horse that can step some, and knows
how to get the speed out of him. Harry Showerman can give testimony
in evidence of his ability as a driver, and it makes an interesting story
to listen to."
Mr. Tarbell's residence and operations on
the plains of the Farther West taught him the value of conducting the farming
industry on the largest scale the circumstances would allow and having
labor saving machinery commensurate with its utmost requirements, and he
has applied the lessons there learned to his operations in this county,
making himself one of its most progressive and successful farmers, and
settling a pace which his neighbors and observers generally are following
to their own advantage and the benefit of the county.
On September 2, 1888, Mr. Tarbell united in marriage
with Miss Myra E. Thayer, a daughter of R. O. and Ellen (Tullar) Thayer,
residents of Iowa. Six children have been born of the union, all of whom
are living. They are: Walter W. and Mabel A., who reside in South
Dakota; and Ferne T., Julia, Thusa Pearl and Newell L., who are still living
under the parental rooftree, adding to the social life and enjoyment of
the community and doing what they can in a quiet but effective way for
the general welfare of their township and county.
While Mr. Tarbell has no ambition for public
office of any kind, and never sought a political position in his life,
he has an earnest interest and takes an active part in local public affairs
for the good of the community. He believes firmly in the principles of
the Republican party, and does what he can to have them prevail in the
government of this county, state and country. He also regards fraternal
societies as beneficial among men, and does his share toward making some
of them as potential and effective for good as possible. He belongs
to the Masonic order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is active
in the work of his lodge in each. In church connections he is a Presbyterian.
Van Buren county has no better citizen, and none whom the people hold in
higher or more deserved esteem.
.- The venerable citizen
whose name heads this sketch settled in Arlington township, Van Buren county,
Michigan, more than half a century ago, when the land he now owns was unimproved
and the country was sparsely settled. Now he gets his mail form a
box at the gate, addressed, "Lawrence, R. R. No. 2."
Thomas Carroll is a native of the "Emerald
Isle." He was born in county Meath, Ireland, March 16, 1824, a son of Thomas
and Mary (Gaffney) Carroll, who lived and died in Ireland, the father's
death having occurred in 1839, the mother's in 1856. In the Carroll
family were four children, of whom two, Patrick and James, are deceased.
Catherine, the youngest, is now a resident of St. Louis, Missouri.
Thomas spent his early life at the home of his birth. After reaching
man's estate he decided to try his fortunes in America, and in 1850 he
landed in New York. For three years he made his home near Rochester,
New York, and then, early in 1854, came west to Michigan and settled in
Arlington township, Van Buren county, where he bought timbered land and
in time he cleared and improved the farm. Here for many years he
personally cultivated his fields and cared for his stock, and he still
lives, enjoying the comforts which are the result of his early years of
energetic effort and good management.
On Saint Patrick's Day, 1856, was celebrated
the marriage of Thomas Carroll and Eliza Shanklin, and with the passing
years sons and daughters to the number of eleven have come to bless their
home, their names in order of birth being as follows: Henry, of Benton
Harbor, Michigan; Mary Jane, now Mrs. Vanhorn, of Des Moines, Iowa; John,
on the home farm with his father; William, of Hartford, Michigan; Gilbert,
of Van Buren county; Theresa, wife of Harry Seward, of South Haven, Michigan
(Gilbert and Theresa being twins; Lottie, wife of John Washburn, of Paw
Paw, Michigan; Fred, of Van Buren county, and Leo, at home.
Politically Mr. Carroll has always been independent,
casting his vote for the one he deems best fitted to perform the duties
of the office in question. Religiously he and his family are Catholics.
, a Civil war veteran
and for many years a highly respected citizen of Arlington township, Van
Buren county, Michigan, dates his birth in Indiana, April 29, 1840.
His parents, Thompson Alexander and Esther (Von Brough) Wallace, natives
respectively of Colerain, Massachusetts, and New York, moved from York
state to Indiana and from there to Michigan in 1852 and settled in Van
Buren county, where they spent the rest of their lives and died, the mother's
death occurring December 25, 1881, the father's March 19, 1884. Thompson
A. Wallace was a farmer all his life. On coming to Michigan he purchased
one hundred and sixty acres of land in section 26, Arlington township,
Van Buren county, eighty acres of which he afterward sold, and at the time
of his death was the owner of eighty acres. He and his wife were
the parents of seven children, namely: Levina, deceased; Maranda, widow
of Oscar Church, of Arlington township; William; Harriet, deceased; Henry
Cook, who was killed in the Civil war; Ellen, deceased; and Seymour, of
William Wallace had just emerged from his
"teens" at the time Civil war was inaugurated, and he at once tendered
his service to the Union cause. As a member of Company C, Third Battery
of Michigan Light Artillery, he went to the front, and for four years he
discharged his duty as a faithful soldier. The war over, he returned to
Michigan, and his honorable discharge is dated, "Detroit, June 22, 1865."
Since the war his life has been devoted to agricultural pursuits.
His first land purchase was eighty acres and he subsequently bought a forty
acre tract, making a farm of one hundred and twenty acres, in sections
25 and 26, Arlington township, where for nearly half a century he has been
engaged in general farming and stock raising.
On February 24, 1884, Mr. Wallace and Miss
Jennie Palmer were married, and a son and daughter are the fruits of their
union- Harmon P. and Esther, the latter, at this writing, being employed
as a district school teacher. Mrs. Wallace is a daughter of Hiram and Mabel
(Bush) Palmer, both natives of New York. Her father died in May 1855,
and the mother now lives in Pine Grove township, Van Buren county, Michigan.
In the Palmer family were eleven children, of whom eight are living.
Mr. Wallace is a member of the G. A. R., and
has been a supporter of the Republican party ever since he became a voter.
His religious faith is that of the Baptist church, of which both he and
his wife are members.
Alpheus A. McNitt.- This enterprising,
progressive and studious, and therefore successful and prosperous, farmer
of Keeler township has been a resident of Van Buren county for more than
forty-eight years, having been brought to the county by his parents when
he was about two years old. He grew to manhood there, drawing his
stature and his strength for the soil of this county, obtained his education
in the public schools of the locality in which he now lives, and acquired
his social training in mingling with people. He is therefore, practically,
a real product of the county, and has no recollection of any other home,
although he was born in Niagara county, New York, on December 16, 1851.
Moreover, he is a thorough and creditable representative of the citizenship
of the county, although his modesty would never allow him to think so.
Mr. McNitt's parents, Sylvester and Susan
(Brown) McNitt, were of British ancestry, and the father was a native of
Great Britain, born in Scotland. He died in this county when he was
about fifty-three years old, and was successful and prosperous in both
lines of his industry. In 1853, after a residence of some years in
the state of New York, he moved to Van Buren county, Michigan, and bought
sixty acres of land in Hartford township. Sometime afterward he purchased
eighty acres more in the same township, and was possessed of both tracts
at the time of his death. During his life he was a great friend of
the cause of public education, through which he received his mental training,
and did everything in his power to aid in making them better and more useful.
In politics he was a firm believer in the Jeffersonian principles, and
therefore, a staunch adherent of the Democratic party, which he represented,
according to his views, the greatest good and safety for the people, locally
Mrs. McNitt, the mother of Alpheus A., was
born in Pennsylvania in 1821, and grew to womanhood in her native state.
Her parents came to this country from Ireland and passed the remainder
of their lives in the state of her nativity. She, also, was educated
in the public in the common schools, and always felt a cordial interest
in them and their work. Her upright and useful life ended in Van
Buren county, Michigan, in 1898. She was a loving wife and mother,
and gave the people around her an excellent example of American womanhood,
and her offspring the best training and counsel.
Of the seven sons and four daughters born to this
estimable couple six are living: Charles, who is a resident of Casco, this
county, and one of the progressive farmers of this locality; Thaddeus,
who is a resident of Bangor, Michigan; Julia, who married Ezra Curtis,
a farmer of Hartford township, this state; Archibald E., a structural steel
worker and engineer living in Chicago; Flora A., who is the wife of Marion
Hoover, a skillful and highly respected blacksmith of Hartford; and the
subject of this memoir. All the sons are married.
Alpheus A. McNitt obtained a common school
education in the schools of Van Buren county, and has passed all the years
of his life, since leaving school, in farming and working at his trade
as a carpenter, following in the footsteps of his father in both lines
of effort. His progress in life has been the result of his own industry,
frugal living and excellent management. He began with very little capital,
but, with the aid of his estimable wife, he has accumulated a comfortable
estate, which puts him, with his prudent scale of living, beyond the reach
He is independent in his political sentiments,
always casting his vote for the men he considers best fitted for the offices
sought and most likely to work for the good of the township and county
and their residents. In this respect his stand is well known, and
he is highly respected for it, as well as for this excellent character
as a man and his usefulness and public spirit as a citizen. He and
his wife have a beautiful farm of two hundred and twenty-five acres, all
in Keeler township, and located six miles from Hartford and four from Watervliet.
The farm is devoted to general farming, but the land is admirably adapted
to the culture of fruit. It is well improved with good buildings,
and completely equipped with everything needed for its advanced and profitable
cultivation. It is on the line between Keeler and Hartford townships and
known as the "Walnut Avenue Farm."
Mr. McNitt was married on October 7, 1875,
to Miss Emma Havens, a daughter of William H. and Eleanor Jane (Lewis)
Havens, and the third of their six children, all of whom are living.
The other five are: Olive, the wife of Marcius Olds, a coal merchant doing
business and residing at Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and the mother of eight
children; Metcalf E., a Hartford township farmer, and the father of two
children; William, also a resident of Hartford, and married; Charles, another
of Hartford township's successful and representative farmers; and Ella,
a widow with two children, whose home is in St. Joseph, Michigan.
William H. Havens, the father of these children,
was a native of Coshocton, New York, born in 1828. About the year
1853 he located in Michigan and Van Buren county, where he died in 1891.
He was a Republican in politics until the formation of the Populist party,
and then he joined that organization, to which he adhered faithfully to
the end of his life. At the age of sixteen he became a member of
the Methodist Episcopal church, and throughout all his subsequent years
he was true and faithful to its teachings, taking a great interest in its
work, wherever he lived, and for a long time being one of the chief singers
in the choir of the congregation in which he held his membership.
He was also a strong advocate of temperance and the restriction of liquor
traffic, and took high ground on this great moral and economic question.
Mrs. Eleanor Jane (Lewis) Havens, his wife, now his widow, was born in
the state of New York on April 30, 1835. She is of German ancestry,
and in all the years of her long, upright and serviceable life has exemplified
the best traits of the thrifty, persevering and sturdy race from which
she came. For some generations her forefathers lived in Pennsylvania.
She is now living in Hartford, this county, where all classes of the people
hold her in the highest esteem. Her religious connection from her
youth has been with the Methodist Episcopal church.
Mr. and Mrs. Alpheus A. McNitt have two sons
and one daughter, all living, and all practitioners of the art of healing
according to the theories of the Chiropractic school. They are Leslie,
who resides on Benton Harbor; Nellie, the wife of Hermie Warren, whose
home and business are in Casnovia, in this state; and William, who is located
at Niles, Michigan. The special trend of these young people is so
unusual in its uniformity and their achievements in it are so highly creditable
to them and the family and so beneficial to their fellow men and women
that each deserves a separate notice somewhat in detail.
Dr. Leslie A. McNitt is what is called, in
the nomenclature of the new art of healing which he practices, a chiropractor,
and the theory of his science is that all human ills can be cured by removing
the cause. Then nature will restore the organism to a normal condition.
The method of operation is adjustment of the spine, the center and force
distributor of the whole nervous system, which largely controls all the
rest of the body. When the spinal column is properly adjusted and
performing its functions in a proper way, and the nervous system acts as
it should, the other organs of the body will soon be in harmonious accord,
and local ailments will fade away like mists in the sunbeams of the morning.
Dr. Leslie A. McNitt is in years a young man,
but he is full of the right spirit, has been well prepared for his work
and is rapidly attaining prominence in his profession. His patients
are among the leading men and women of the community, and as he gives them
positive benefits in what he does for them they realize that he is capable
and that his science and art, for his profession includes both, are worthy
of confidence and open a new avenue to human welfare, comfort and happiness.
Dr. Nellie (McNitt) Warren, as she should
properly be called, completed her academic education in the Hartford high
school, being graduated in the class of 1901. For several years thereafter
she was a successful public school teacher in her home county. She
then studied chiropractry at the Grand Rapids institute of this school
of the healing art, and was graduated from it in 1910. She has been
very successful in the practice of her profession, and her reputation in
it grows as the years go by. Mr. Warren, her husband, is a farmer,
and he also does well in his business.
Dr. William McNitt, who located at Niles,
Michigan, and steadily growing in popular favor as a professional man,
and estimable citizen there, is, like his brother, Dr. Leslie McNitt, and
his sister, Dr. Nellie Warren, a graduate of the Chiropractic College in
Grand Rapids, from which he received his degree July 1, 1911. Since leaving
the Grand Rapids institution, which is devoted to the dissemination of
the new and very rational method of dealing with human ailments that he
and his work represent, he has been active in propaganda work on behalf
of his theory and in practical demonstration of its verity and value.
He states its claims to consideration clearly and forcibly in his professional
card, which says: "Chiropractic is the science of adjusting by hand the
subluxations (displacements) in the spinal column, commonly called the
back bone, for the purpose of removing pressure from nerves.
"The spinal column is the only place where
nerves pass between two had or bony surfaces that are moveable, therefore,
practically the only place where nerves can be impinged, or the nerve restricted,
and it matters not what part of the body or organ is affected, the cause
is in the spinal column. I ask no questions. I simply analyze
the spine, and I tell you every place you are affected. Chiropractic
is the only science that removes the cause of disease, and this is done
without pain, drugs or knife. I sue nothing but my hands, and it
takes but the fraction of a second; the whole object is accomplished when
the nerve is released. Paralysis, deafness, loss of voice, cancer,
catarrh, gall stones, over weight, rheumatism, appendicitis, neuralgia,
neurasthenia, eye, ear, throat, lung, stomach, liver, kidney, bladder trouble,
etc., all quickly and permanently disappear under chiropractic adjustments
"I do not treat, I remove the cause,
"Analysis and consultation free; let me tell
you where you are affected by analyzing your spine."
"Because it is new do not say, 'it is impossible.'
That is what they told Marconi.
Mr. and Mrs. McNitt are fully justified in
the pride they have in the ambitions and achievements of their children,
who have attained a high place in the confidence and esteem of the people
who know them, and have admirably proven their right to the general regard
and good will they so richly enjoy. In their profession they have severally
done some wonderful work and reached some wonderful results. In their
interest in the enduring and substantial welfare of the communities in
which they live, and in their elevated and serviceable citizenship generally,
they have exemplified the best attributes of exalted American manhood and
womanhood, and in the correctness and uprightness of their lives in every
way they have put into practice the lessons given them in childhood and
youth at the parental fireside. All the members of the family are
highly creditable to the place of their birth, the institutions from which
they got their training, the people among whom they acquired their social
culture, and the several communities in which their efforts and energies
are being so beneficially expended for the welfare of their kind. Whether
representing new theories or old ones, they would command respect for their
beliefs and teachings, and the people around them prove their own real
worth by showing that they realize this fact and estimate these worthy
and estimable citizens at the full measure of their value.
William S. Bradley
.- A valiant
soldier in defense of his country in time of war, and an industrious and
progressive merchant and farmer and afterward banker and potent force in
educational and civic affairs in time of peace, William S. Bradley, of
South Haven, Van Buren county, Michigan, has demonstrated his manliness
and usefulness and his devotion to the public weal, local and general,
in widely different fields of action and under circumstances varied greatly
in character and requirements. Wherever he has been, and whatever
he has been engaged in, he has met all the demands of duty with fidelity
that is above price and a capacity and readiness of resources that have
always commanded admiration and been highly commended.
Mr. Bradley is a native of New England, and
has all of the typical New Englander's versatility-shrewdness in business,
quickness in seeing and vigor in seizing and using opportunities for his
own advantage. He has also all the lofty ideals of citizenship which
obtain in the section of his nativity,and has followed them through life
to this time. He was born in the villageof Lee, Berkshire county,
Massachusetts, on March 11, 1834, and is a son of Elisha and Sophronia
(Jarvis) Bradley, also natives of Massachusetts, andmembers of families
resident in that state form early colonial times. Both have passed
to the life beyond, and only two of their nine children are living.
William S. and his older sister, Cordelia.
The father was a farmer, and removed from
his native place to Oswego county, New York, many years before his death.
In his new home he continued farming and also carried on a brisk and profitable
dairying business with advantage to himself and greatly to the convenience
of his patrons. He was a member of the Congregational church in his religious
connection and an old line Whig in his political faith and allegiance.
In his community he was a man of force and influence, and in all the relations
of life an estimable and highly respected citizen.
His son, William S. Bradley, was educated
in the public schools of his home county, and after leaving school engaged
in the tanning curriers line until August, 1862, when he responded to duty
in another and far more tragic field of endeavor. On August 28, 1862, he
enlisted in Company D, One Hundred and Tenth New York Volunteer Infantry,
Nineteenth Army Corps. He served of awhile as second and afterward
as first lieutenant of his company, remained in the service from the time
of his enlistment to the close of the war, and took part in every contest
his regiment was engaged in. He finally rose to the rank of captain
through his ability and fidelity to duty, and as such was mustered out
of the army on August 28, 1865, at Albany.
When the war was over and the great armies
of conquest melted away in the far greater of armies of peaceful production,
Mr.Bradley moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he was engaged in the manufacture
and sale of leather goods until 1881. In that year he moved to Chicago,
and there he passed three years in the wool, hide and fur trade.
In 1884 he came to Michigan and took up his residence in South Haven.
Soon after his arrival in that city he bought a farm and turned his attention
to general farming and fruit growing. In these industries he prospered
and his operations became extensive. But he had idle capital in his
mental force as well as in his bank account, and he determined to use both
in a way that would be agreeable and profitable to him and, at the same
time, afford some additional conveniences and advantages to the community
In 1892 he helped to found the Citizens Bank, and
in 1897 was elected president of this institution, a position he has held
continuously ever since his first election to it. He was also one
of the founders of the City and Township Library, and is now (1911) a member
of its board of directors. In addition to these great and serviceable
institutions others of a public or semi-public character engage the attention
and have the practical personal assistance of this enterprising man of
comprehensive and varied activities. He is president of the board of directors
of the South Haven City Hospital Association and one of the directors of
the South Haven Telephone Company, and he takes an earnest interest and
an active part in the affairs and all the work of each of these commendable
agencies for good.
Moreover, he genuine interest in the welfare
of his home city has led him to accept the position of city councilman
in its service, which he filled for several terms, and the fraternal life
of his community has always been, in his view, a source of benefit to the
people generally and of special value and enjoyment to those who participate
in it. He is a member of the Masonic order in Lodge, Chapter, Council
and Commandery, and an enthusiastic devotee before the altars of them all,
helping to give life and sparkle to their meetings and direct their energies
into beneficial channels, and make them as serviceable as possible.
Mr. Bradley was married on December 27, 1882,
to Miss Frances Hale, a native of Oswego county, New York, and a daughter
of Colonel William and Amanda Hale, also natives of New York. The
family moved to South Haven, where the father became one of the prominent
lumbermen of this region, and was also conspicuous as a real estate dealer.
Mr. and Mrs. Bradley have four children, three sons and one daughter.
They are universally regarded as among the leading and most representative
citizens of the city and county in which they live, and are held in the
highest esteem as such by all classes of the people.
Ora F. Fuller
.- Among the prominent
and progressive farmers of Van Buren county who have made their agricultural
enterprises successful because of careful business management and resourceful
scientific methods is Ora F.Fuller, the proprietor of the Walnut Knob Farm
of Hartford township. Mr. Fuller is a native of Allegan county, Michigan,
having been born there on June 27, 1857, a son Riley H. and Mary (Upson)
Fuller. The father of Riley Fuller was born and lived his entire
life in the state of Connecticut. At his death his wife, in a one-horse
covered wagon migrated to Pennsylvania, hauling her household goods in
the covered wagon and accompanied by her eight children. Later, when
Riley H. was about thirteen years old, she married Mr. Brennand.
After some time with his mother and her husband, Riley Fuller returned
to Connecticut and there married Miss Mary Upson, of Unionville, that state.
Later he returned to Pennsylvania with his wife and two children and there
engaged in the lumber business, later still removing to Allegan county,
Michigan, where he engaged in the lumber business also. In 1863,
at the call from President Lincoln, he enlisted in the Union army, becoming
a member of the Twenty-eighth Michigan Regiment. He served from that
time until the end of the war, when he received his honorable discharge
with the rank of quartermaster. He returned to Michigan at the close
of the conflict and took up his old interests of lumbering and farming.
He was the father of eight children, six of whom survived to this date,
1911, namely: Lenetta, now the wife of William McGraw; Alice, now Mrs.
Willis Slocomb; Ora F.; Carrie, wife of Frank Myers; Riley H. Jr., who
married Miss Jennie McDonal; Frank, who married Miss Hattie Sargent.
Ora F. Fuller was reared on the home farm
and spent much of his boyhood in the heavily wooded timber tracts of Michigan.
His education he received at the hands of the grade school teachers of
the day. He remained at home until he attained his majority, when
he went to take up a homestead in Luce county, Michigan, upon which he
remained for sixteen years. At the end of that time he sold his Luce
county property and went to Florida for two years, after which he returned
to Luce county and bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres.
Mr. Fuller has also spent two years in New Mexico. Mrs. Fuller filed
on a desert claim and they lived there for two years. Mr. Fuller
came back to Van Buren county, Michigan, in the spring of 1911 and purchased
the Walnut Knob Farm, where they now live.
On May 5, 1885, was solemnized the marriage
of Mr. Fuller to Miss Nancy A. Vollick, who was born in the Dominion of
Canada, in December, 1865. She was educated in the common schools
of Canada. She and Mr. Fuller are the parents of nine children, namely:
Everett, Vina, Lena, Alfred, Edith, Maude, Lewis, Roy and Beatrice.
They and their family attend the Methodist Episcopal church, in which church,
during his stay in northern Michigan, Mr. Fuller was an active worker and
member of the official board.
In the field of politics Mr. Fuller is a Republican,
and has served the community as county superintendent of the poor in Luce
county, Michigan, as highway commissioner of Lakefield township, and as
treasurer and justice of the peace in the township several times.
Mr. Fuller has determined to settle permanently in Van Buren county, which
will enrich the county's list of able and public-spirited citizens.
Samuel J. Orton
.- In a review of the
good citizens of Waverly township, Van Buren county, the name of Samuel
J. Orton must take prominent place as a successful and popular farmer-citizen,
whose kindly personality and fine principles have given him a secure place
in general esteem. His farm of one hundred and twenty-three acres
is located in sections 17 and 20 and there he devotes his energies to general
farming and fruit raising. He is loyal to the county with the loyalty
of a native son, for his birth occurred in Arlington township, January
16, 1850. He is the son of Ira M. and Cornelia M. (Fitzcraft) Orton,
the birth of the former having occurred in Rutland county, Vermont, and
that of the latter in the state of New York. When a young man Ira
M. Orton left the New England hills for the Empire state and there he met
and married his wife, their union occurring in 1837. In 1845 they
made an important change by coming to Van Buren county and here spent the
remainder of their lives. They were the parents of seven children,
four of whom were living in 1911. Edwin P. resides in Arlington township;
Emory O., is a citizen of Bangor, Michigan; Samuel J., the subject of this
review; and Priscilla, the wife of James Bigelow.
Samuel J. Orton was reared on his father's
farm and obtained his education in the district schools and the Lawrence
high school, continuing as a student at the latter until his seventeenth
year. Following that he had some experience as a pedagogue, occupying
the preceptor's chair in a school in Wright county, Minnesota. When, however,
it came to choosing a permanent occupation he gave his heart to farming
and he has been prosperous in this field. He is particularly successful
as a horticulturist.
Mr. Orton was first married to Anna D. Slocum,
and one son was the fruit of their union, Percy L. Orton, who married Gertrude
Butterfield. Mrs. Orton was summoned to the Great Beyond on April
8, 1878, and he married for his second wife Minnie A. Briggs, their union
being solemnized September 26 1878. To this union have been born
six children, as follows: Floyd M., of British Columbia, a graduate of
Bangor high school; Bertha, a graduate of the Lawrence high school, a former
teacher in the public school, and now the wife of Fred McFarland; Mabel,
wife of Harry Scamehorn, they have one son, Zell; and Grace, wife of Howard
Towne, and they have one son, Milford; Glen W., a graduate of the common
schools, in which he displayed excellent scholarship; and Clare B., now
Fraternally Mr. Orton is a member of the Bangor
Maccabees and he is also affiliated with the Patrons of Husbandry. In Politics
he is in harmony with the principles of the Democratic party and he has
served as justice of the peace of Arlington.
.- In the year of 1816
Jacob Shine came from Germany and settled in Pennsylvania, where his countrymen
had already done so much for the land of their adoption, both by the valiant
service they had rendered in the war for independence and by their skill
in the pursuits of peace. Jacob Shine was married to a native of
Pennsylvania, Mary Master, and they moved to Stark county, Ohio.
There were eleven children in their family, eight of whom grew to maturity.
These were Jacob, Sarah, Christian, Annie, John, Kate, Charles and George.
At present but two survive, Kate, who is the widow of John Gertie, of Albuquerque,
New Mexico, and George of Bangor, Michigan. They moved to Hancock
county, Ohio, during Polk's administration, and in 1850 the mother died.
Jacob bought a piece of wild land, consisting of one hundred acres, and
cleared about eighty acres of it.
George, the subject of this sketch, was the
fifth child of Jacob and Mary Shine. He was born in Stark county,
Ohio, in 1834 in February. At the age of fifteen he moved with his
parents to Hancock county, Ohio, where he greatly assisted his father in
clearing the farm. At twenty-five years of age he married Mary Garman,
of Ohio, and they began farming for themselves on land which George had
rented from his father. Here they remained until the close of the
Civil war, when his father sold out, and they moved to Pulaski county,
Indiana. There Jacob bought one hundred and sixty acres of land.
George remained with him about one year and a half, when Charles, his younger
brother, married and worked his father's farm. George and his family
then came in 1867, to Michigan.
Jacob, his father, died about ten years after
George came to Michigan. The latter purchased a farm of eighty acres in
Bangor township, Michigan. He added to this until he owned one hundred
and five acres. All but forty-five acres of this he has given away
to his two sons. This land was all in timber when Mr. Shine purchased
it, and he has cleared and improved it all, getting it into fine condition
and putting up the best of buildings.
There were four children born to George and
Mary Shine, namely, John, William L., Elizabeth and Ellen. The two
sons reside in Bangor township and manage the fine places which their father
has given them, and to which John has added nineteen acres and William
forty-six acres. This land all adjoins, making in all a solid body
of one hundred and seventy acres. Elizabeth is the wife of George
Monk, of Geneva township. Ellen married John Edwards, of Geneva, but died
In politics Mr. Shine is a Democrat.
He is a member of the Church of God, to which his wife also belonged.
She passed away August 10, 1911, leaving behind her the memory of a life
of love and usefulness. These parents brought up their boys to respect
God, and to despise swearing, smoking and drinking. They now are
respected citizens of Bangor township and can be depended upon to vote
for local option.
, one of the most successful
farmers and stock raisers of this section of the country, was born in Galesburg,
Kalamazoo county, October 12, 1857. His parents were Isaac and Eliza
Teers McCon, both natives of New York state, the birthplace of the father
being Neufield and that of the mother Tompkins county. They were
married in New York state and decided that they would go to Virginia to
begin life. Isaac McCon was a carpenter by trade, though like almost
every one of that generation of Americans he was also a farmer. Virginia
lost its attractions when viewed at first hand, and the young couple decided
that it was a poor country and, without unpacking their goods, they returned
to New York state and stayed several years before starting out again to
find a new location. This time they moved to Grand Rapids, which
was then only a village, and here Isaac McCon bought two lots, upon which
the post office now stands, for what we should consider "a song." For several
years he worked at his carpenter trade here and then moved to Galesburg,
where he bought ninety acres of land, and it was there that Frank was born.
When he was about two years old his father moved to Porter township, near
Lawton, and bought another farm, upon which he lived three years.
He was always interested in getting a little better place or one
which he could make into a better one, so he traded this farm for one near
Mattawan and kept that one three years. When he disposed of his third
estate he bought another near Paw Paw and lived there two years, then came
west of Paw Paw and stayed there for a quite a long time before moving
back to Paw Paw, where he retired and spent the rest of his days.
He lived to the age of eighty-four, his wife surviving him two years and
dying at the age of seventy-seven.
There were five children born to Isaac McCon
and his wife and four of them are still living: Mary resides on the old
home place at Paw Paw; Sarah is the wife of Wesley Hall, who lives south
of Paw Paw; George is a carpenter by trade and lives in Oklahoma; Frank
is the youngest of the family.
At the age of nineteen Frank McCon decided
to go west, and accordingly went to Joliet, Illinois, and secured work
on a farm there. When he had been there four months his parents persuaded
him to come home and he has remained in the county ever since. His
father gradually gave the entire management of the place over to his son.
On December 8, 1887, was solemnized the marriage
of Frank McCon and Addie E. Christie, the daughter of Charles Christie,
for whom Christie lake is named. Their wedding was celebrated at
the old place on the banks of Christie lake. Mr. McCon now owns one
hundred and sixteen acres of land, having disposed of the remainder of
his holdings, which at one time amounted to two hundred and twenty acres.
He has also been engaged in the stock business buying all over this part
of the country and making his trips to Buffalo in the spring with the stock
and looking after it personally and always securing the top price.
Both Mr. and Mrs. McCon are charter
members of the Eastern Star. Mr. McCon belongs to the Masonic lodge,
No. 119, and to the Chapter and Council of Lawrence. He has passed
through nearly all the chairs. In politics he is a Republican and
a most loyal and devoted supporter of the party. His father was a
Democrat, but his son did not find himself in sympathy with the policies
of that party and so cast his first vote for Hayes and has never varied
in his allegiance to the party.
Consistency and faithfulness to what he undertakes
are highly characteristic of Mr. McCon and the esteem and regard which
are his in Van Buren county are but the fitting tribute to his upright
and useful life.
Jesse S. Barton
.- Illustrating practically
in his present course his firm faith in the theory "Ten acres enough,"
which a few years ago was held by persons in all parts of the country to
be full of wisdom and is still adhered to with tenacity in many localities.
Jesse S. Barton, of Paw Paw, is making his ten acres pay well for the labor
and intelligence bestowed upon them and finds in the cultivation of them
enough to occupy all the time and attention he cares to devote to farming,
whether it is enough to satisfy any other man or not. Mr. Barton
knows how much farm work and farm produce he wants, too, for he has farmed
larger tracts with success and profit, and according to the most advanced
ideas and methods of this day of universal search into every department
of human labor, interest, thought and speculation.
Mr. Barton is a native of Michigan and was
born in Washtenaw county on July 17, 1837. He is a son of William
and Charity (Stevens) Barton, natives of New York state. The father,
who came to Michigan in 1824, was a farmer all his life, beginning to learn
the business in boyhood. Mr. William Barton worked by the month in
a mill for the man who later became his father-in-law. After
reaching twenty-one years of age he purchased a farm in Washtenaw county,
Michigan; conducted it a number of years and then sold it and came to Paw
Paw, where he remained six months. He then purchased a farm of one
hundred and twenty acres in Almena township, and remained there until selling
his farm to his son, Jesse S. Barton. The father, William Barton,
returned to New York state, where he remained for time and then returned
to Gobleville, Michigan, where he died at the age of ninety-five years.
He and his wife were the parents of five children: Mahala, who has been
dead many years; Jesse S., the interesting subject of this writing; John
and Emeline, both deceased; and Josephine, the wife of C. D. Meyers, of
Gobleville, Michigan. The mother died aged fifty-six years.
Jesse S. Barton obtained a district school
education and began farming on his own account at the age of eighteen.
As soon as he was able he bought twenty acres of good land, but soon afterward
sold this and bought eighty acres of the old farm, which he kept for five
years. At the end of that period he bought the remaining forty acres
of the old homestead and five years later bought an additional tract of
eighty acres, and the two together he farmed for more than twenty years,
conducting general farming operations and raising live stock for the markets.
When he grew weary of the hard work he was
obliged to do to keep the business going, he leased his farm to his son
and moved to Paw Paw. This arrangement continued eleven years.
At the end of that time Mr. Barton sold all but eighty acres of his old
land and bought sixty acres more in Antwerp township, which he retaind
in his possession about six years. His next move was to sell this
and to buy ten acres about a half mile from Paw Paw, and on this he now
resides. He is well contented with his move and finds both employment
and recreation in looking after his small acreage and bringing out of it
all that skillful labor and advanced methods of cultivation can make it
yield. It is a model of agricultural enterprise and one of the most
attractive rural home in this part of Van Buren county.
On January 23, 1864, Mr. Barton was united
in marriage with Miss Anne Swick, by whom he became the father of three
children: Minnie, the wife of E. A. Aseltine, of Antwerp township and the
mother of a son, Leland B.; William, who resides at Dowagiac, Michigan,
and has three children- Leta, Carl and Frank; and Allie, married and living
in Lansing, Michigan, the mother of Fay and Max. The mother of these
children, who is known to fame for her literary work and her ministerial
services, died on June 8, 1907, and on June 24, 1908, the father was married
to Mrs. Leona A. Jennings, the widow of Henry H. Jennings and by her first
marriage the mother of three children: Lilly E., the wife of William L.
Nelson, of Lawton; Ralph E., who lives in Waverly township, this county;
and Lottie M., the wife of H. C. Buck, of Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The present Mrs. Barton is a daughter of
Josiah and Amelia (Hannum) Hopkins, the former a native of New York and
the latter of Massachusetts. The father came to Michigan in 1852, one of
the pioneers of the county and the first man who operated a grist mill
in Almena township. He and his wife were the parents of five children:
Mrs. Barton; Luther J., who lives at Ocean Springs, Mississippi; Ella M.,
the wife of G. P. Kingsbury, of Ann Arbor, Michigan; Willis D., a resident
of Cassopolis, Michigan; and Albert, who died in infancy. There is
also a son by a second marriage, Jay Paul, a captain in the regular army
of the United States and at present (1911) stationed at Fortress Monroe,
Josiah Hopkins, a venerable man, who passed
four-score years in his earthly career, had a wide range of experience
in several localities and different lines of achievement. He was
born at Crown Point, Essex county, New York, on November 25, 1826, and
was a son of Ebenezer and Tryphenia (Searls) Hopkins, natives of Vermont,
the father born at West Rutland, that state. Josiah was the last
born of the family of six children, and accompanied his parents to Ohio
when they moved to that state.
When he was eighteen years of age his father
died and he was obliged to take charge of the affairs of the family.
The father owned and operated a sawmill in Ohio, and the son continued
to operate it after the father's death until 1852, running it for the benefit
of the family. In the year last mentioned he came to Michigan and
Van Buren county and took up one hundred and sixty acres of new and unbroken
land in Almena township. For some years he devoted his energies to general
farming and raising stock for the markets. He saw in good time
a good opportunity to enhance his own profits and supply a pressing need
of the country around him by starting a dairy business, and he did it.
After conducting this business for ten years he sold it and his farm and
bought eighty acres of land, which he owned and worked for three years.
At the end of that period he traded this tract for a planing mill in Mattawan
and afterward disposed of this and purchased a grist and sawmill at Decatur.
These were destroyed by fire and he then bought a grist mill in Antwerp
township, which three years later he traded for a farm of one hundred and
sixty acres. For three years after this deal he operated a flour
mill in Decatur and then bought a grist and sawmill at Cassopolis.
In the course of some fifteen years he sold his interest in the grist mill
to his son, who controlled the practical operation of the sawmill twenty
years. In 1905 he gave up all active pursuits and made his home with
his daughter, Mrs. Barton, in Paw Paw, remaining until his death, on September
Anne Swick Barton, Jesse S. Barton's first
wife, was a teacher in the state of New York at the age of seventeen.
She came to Michigan in 1862 and here she was engaged in teaching until
her marriage with Mr. Barton. While she was yet very young she began
writing verse for publication. The first collection of her poems
was published in 1882 under the title "For Friendship's Sake." She
was also well and favorably known for her work as a minister of the gospel.
In 1874 she was requested to take charge of the young people's Bible class
at Waverly. She yielded to the request and retained the position
for three years.
During the absence of the pastor of the church
to which she belonged on one occasion she was asked to read a sermon.
She did this and her performance gave the people so much gratification
that she was called on afterward to aid the pastor in revival work.
The next winter she accepted a call to a pastorate of a newly organized
congregation at Gliddenberg, six miles west of Paw Paw. She remained
in charge of this congregation one year and was then called to her own
church in Waverly. She gave this church highly acceptable service
as pastor and preacher for two years. In December 1886, she was regularly
ordained to the ministry and from then until her death she devoted all
her energies to ministerial work, winning a high commendation for her care
and solicitude as a pastor and her pathos and fervor as a preacher.
Henry H. Jennings, the first husband of the
present Mrs. Barton, was a soldier in the Union army during the Civil war.
He was a member of Company G., First Michigan Engineer and Mechanics regiment,
under the command of Captain Innis. He enlisted in 1863, and was
with General Sherman on his march to Washington, arriving in the capital
of his country in rags, after two years' faithful service in its defense.
After the war he taught school for over twenty years in Van Buren county.
His death occurred in Paw Paw on December 5, 1903.
Jesse S. Barton is a Republican in politics
of pronounced belief in the principles of his party and reliable energy
and efficiency in its service. He has not sought nor desired public
office for himself, however, as he has always preferred to serve the state
from the honorable post of private citizenship. He is a Baptist in
William I. Gay
.- Practical industry,
wisely and vigorously applied, never fails of success; it carries a man
onward and upward, brings out his individual character, and acts as a powerful
stimulus to the efforts of others. The greatest results in life are
usually attained by simple means, implying the exercise of the ordinary
qualities of common sense and perseverance. The every-day life, with
its cares, necessities and duties, affords ample opportunities for acquiring
experiences of the best kind and its most beaten paths provide a true worker
with abundant scope for effort and self-improvement. In the legitimate
channels of progressive agriculture, William I. Gay has won the success
which usually crowns well directed labor, sound judgment and untiring perseverance
and at the same time he has concerned himself with the affairs of the county
in a loyal, public-spirited fashion. This well known farmer and stock
raiser owns one hundred acres in section 14 and 15. He is a native
of Van Buren county, his birth having occurred in Paw Paw township on November
25, 1876. He is the son of William and Sarah (Hunt) Gay. His
father was born in England, March 19, 1840, and the birth of the mother
also occurred in "the right little, tight little island" the date of her
nativity being March 11, 1845. Both came to America in childhood
with their parents, at the age eleven and she at the age of thirteen.
Both families found their way to Michigan, the Gay's settling in Richland,
Kalamazoo county, and the Hunt's in Paw Paw township, Van Buren county.
William Gay married in Paw Paw township and took his wife to Richland,
where they made their home for two years before coming to Paw Paw township.
They afterward purchased land in Waverly township, where they resided until
summoned to the "Undiscovered Country." The admirable wife and mother
died January 9, 1901, but the father survived for some years, his demise
coming on November 4, 1907. They were the parents of three children:
the subject; Fred Gay, of Waverly; and Edith, wife of William D. Davis.
William I. Gay was reared amid the wholesome
surroundings of this father's farm and behind a desk in the district school
house gained his first introduction to Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom.
He attended the institutions of learning of the township until his eighteenth
year and since then he has devoted his time to farming. He owns one
hundred acres in sections 14 and 15 and in addition to this general farming
also raises stock. He is a truly self-made man and is known for his
honor and integrity, reflecting honor upon the country which gave his parents
On October 30, 1900, Mr. Gay was united in
marriage to Lulu M. Furbush, of Waverly township, her birth having occurred
here March 14, 1880. Mrs. Gay is the daughter of Robert and Emma
(Haydon) Furbush. Their union has resulted in the birth of three
daughters and two sons, namely: Russell, born in 1901; Mildred, born in
1903; Florence, born in 1904; Bertha, born in 1908; and Robert, born December
Mr. Gay is a member of the Masonic order and
exemplifies in himself the ideals of moral and social justice and brotherly
love for which the order stands. He belongs to Goble Lodge, No. 325;
to Glendale Lodge, No. 408, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; and to the
Modern Woodmen of America. He is a Republican in politics, but has
never taken an active part in party affairs.
L. R. Wagner
, one of Bangor's successful
young business men, has only been connected with the interests of this
village for two years, but already has established a reputation for progressive
methods, enterprising spirit and upright principles. Mr. Wagner is
a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was born August 13, 1883,
and is a son of Herbert and Nellie (Van Bloise) Wagner, who both were born
Herbert Wagner came to the United States with
his family in 1865, and located in Grand Rapids, where for a number of
years he was engaged in doing contract paving work, but eventually he turned
his attention to farming, and he was thus engaged at the time of his death,
which occurred in May, 1911, his wife having passed away eleven years before.
They were the parents of nine children, as follows: Isaac, Martin, Cornelius
and John, all residents and business men of Grand Rapids; William Andrew,
who resides in New York city; L. R.; and Mary, Jennie and Martha, all deceased.
L. R. Wagner attended the school of Grand
Rapids, after leaving which he settled on his father's farm, and for the
five years that followed assisted him in his operations. Deciding
upon a business career in preference to the life of an agriculturist, he
entered McLaughlin's Business College, at Grand Rapids, from which he graduated
in bookkeeping, and then took a four-year apprenticeship in the drug business.
Later he entered the Ferris Institute at Grand Rapids, and after his graduation
in 1906 went to Decatur for one year, spent a short time in Hart and a
year in Coloma, where he had charge of a pharmacy, and in February, 1909,
came to Bangor and purchased the business of H. D. Harvey,in company with
his father-in-law, John DeKruif. Mr. Wagner has applied modern methods
in his carrying on of this drug business, and hasbuilt up a large and lucrative
trade. He has completely stocked establishment, centrally located,
and is equipped with all modern appliances and appurtenances.
On December 25, 1907, Mr. Wagner was married
to Miss Hattie DeKruif, natives of Michigan, whose other children are:
Delia, the wife of Benjamin VenKlossen, of Grand Rapids; and Anna, who
lives with her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Wagner had one child; Ora Leona,
who was born August 17, 1909, and died September 21, 1909. Politically
Mr. Wagner is a Republican, and his fraternal connection is with the Elks.
Progressive in his ideas, he is always ready to support matters which promise
to be of benefit to his community, and he is looked upon as one of Bangor's
rising young business citizens.
.- Every veteran of
the Civil war commands our respect and honor in memory of what he accomplished
and what he risked in those dark days. A brave defender of his flag,
always ready whenever his services have been needed either in war or peace,
Harvey Harper, a successful agriculturist of Lawton, Michigan, sets an
example of noble-minded living and true patriotism that the rising generation
will do well to follow. Mr. Harper was born August 17, 1840, in Huron
county, Ohio, and is a son of Samuel D. and Nancy (Spears) Harper.
Mr. Harper's parents, both natives of New
York, came to Michigan in October, 1841, from Ohio, and, locating in Porter
township, Van Buren county, purchased one hundred and forty acres of wild
land, which they were engaged in cultivating until 1855. At that time they
came to Lawton and erected and opened the first hotel at this place, which
they conducted for one year, then purchasing one hundred and twenty acres
of farming land just south of town. In 1861 Samuel D. Harper gave
this land to his sons, Harvey and James, and retired from active life,
dying in February, 1872, while his widow survived him twenty years and
passed away in 1892, on her eighty-third birthday. Eight children were
born to this noble pioneer couple, as follows: Sarah and Esther, who are
deceased; Eunice, the widow of John Ihling, of Van Buren county; Amanda,
the widow of G. P. McNeil, of Lawton; William, who is deceased; James,
residing on the home farm; Harvey; and Clarissa, the wife of James Atwell,
Harvey remained on the home farm until he
had attained his majority, and in 1861 he enlisted in Company H, Twelfth
Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry, under Captain Johnson. For
six and one-half months he was a prisoner of the enemy, being captured
at the battle of Shiloh and taken to Mobile, Alabama, and later to Montgomery.
He was then paroled and sent to Chattanooga, Tennessee, from whence he
was sent to Bridgeport, Alabama, and taken to the Union lines to be exchanged.
General Mitchell, however, refused to receive the prisoners, as he was
about to go into battle, and they were returned to Chattanooga and a few
days later General Mitchell crossed the river and began to shell the city.
The prisoners were then put on cars and sent to Atlanta, Georgia, one of
the men in the same batch as Mr. Harper being the noted raider, Andrews,
who was afterwards hung on the limb of a peach tree. The limb being
too slight for his weight, it is related, the captors shoveled a hole in
the ground underneath his feet, thus accomplishing their purpose. While
on a trip to Atlanta, in March, 1911, Mr. Harper became aquatinted with
an old gentleman who vouched for the truth of the story. The street
on which it occurred is now named Peach Tree street, and is one of the
most beautiful thoroughfares of the Southern city. From Atlanta Mr.
Harper and his companions were taken to Griffin, Georgia, and later the
famous Libby Prison, from whence they were paroled and Mr. Harper was sent
to Washington D. C., on to Annapolis, Maryland, and then to Columbus, Ohio,
where he was put on detached duty until he was mustered out of the service,
August 18, 1863. The brave young soldier, much emaciated and broken
in health from his terrible experiences, returned to his home in Michigan
and the next year was spent recovering his health and attending school,
and he was then married and went to Morrison, Illinois, where he was engaged
in the mercantile business with his uncle. Later he went to Lake
City, Minnesota, where he remained for about one year, and returned to
the farm which had been given him by his father. In the fall of 1868
he moved to the town of Lawton, where he had purchased ten acres of land,
and on this he erected a modern, two-story residence and a fine vineyard.
He also owns the town ball park, several building lots and the old homestead
farm south of the town, and is considered one of Lawton's successful men,
which may be attributed to the fact that he has never shirked hard work,
but has always been willing and ready to do his full share.
On April 4, 1865, Mr. Harper was married to
Martha J. Kinney, daughter of Warren D. and Martha (Roberts) Kinney, and
she died June 6, 1904, having been the mother of three children: Bertha,
the wife of Crawford Smith, of Ypsilanti, Michigan; Catherine, who resides
at home with her father; and Grace, the wife of Hamilton Ewing, of Lawton.
Mr. Harper is a stanch Republican in his political views and has served
as a member of the village board and as highway commissioner of Porter
township. He and his children are members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
.- From sturdy German
stock comes Charles Radtke, whose splendid farm of one hundred and ninety-five
acres in Bangor township is brought to its fullest productiveness under
his capable hands. He has fulfilled himself all the traditions of
this thrifty, honorable race and stands among Van Buren county's representative
citizens. Mr. Radtke was born September 30, 1857, the son of Jacob
and Elizabeth (Yernitsky) Radtke, both of whom were natives of Germany.
In 1874, when seventeen years of age, the subject became the leading spirit
in an expedition to the United States. He brought with him his father
and mother and supported them until their death. The date of their
arrival upon American shores was November 11. The family located in Columbus
City, Indiana, and there remained for a year prior to going to South Haven,
where the subject bought eighty acres of land and engaged in agricultural
operations. The father died in 1884, and the mother survived until 1894.
They were the parents of the following eight children: Godfrey, deceased;
Ludwig, of South Haven township; Minnie, deceased; Augusta, wife of John
Kuhn, of South Haven township; August, a citizen of Monroe, Michigan; Frederick,
deceased; Charles; and John, deceased. Mr. Radtke has experienced
the success which usually crowns enlightened industry, honest methods and
the determination to succeed. He has added to his property from time
to time and now owns one hundred and ninety-five acres in Bangor township.
He engages in general farming and stock raising. When he first came
to Michigan he engaged for a time in the lumber industry. For eight
years Mr. Radtke was buyer for Frank Lauderbach, commission merchant of
South Water street, Chicago, this business taking him over the state of
Michigan in the spring and through the south in the winter.
Mr. Radtke founded a home of his own by his marriage to Matilda J. Willis,
their union being solemnized on October 18, 1885. To them have been
born three children. The eldest son, Willis L., is now engaged in the livery
and feed business in Covert; Carl is a stationary engineer; and the daughter,
Anna Elizabeth, is deceased. Mrs. Radtke's maiden name was Matilda
Willis, and she was the daughter of Thomas E. and Annie (Lamb) Willis,
natives of Indiana. The family came to Michigan in 1864 and located
in Bangor township, where they lived until their demise, the father being
called to this eternal rest at the age of fifty-three years and the mother
in 1887, aged fifty-seven years. They were the parents of a large
family of children, eleven sons and daughters coming to them. An
enumeration of the family is as follows; Hosea, of Pine Grove township;
Isaac W., of Bangor township; Charles and Mary, deceased; Mrs. Radtke;
Ella, deceased; Rebecca, wife of William Shine, of Bangor township; Thomas
E., of Bangor township; Eli, living in Bangor township; Lydia, deceased;
and John R., of Porter township.
Mr. Radtke is a Republican and takes an interest
in public issues. His church is the Lutheran. Mr. and Mrs.
Radtke now live in Covert, where they have a pleasant home, the hospitable
gathering-place of hosts of friends which they are sufficiently fortunate
Hiram E. Norton
is the scion of the
oldest of Michigan families, the founder having come here as early as the
year 1836. He is a native son of the state, although familiar with
other scenes and for a time a resident of the far west, he has paid this
section the highest and most eloquent compliment within his power by electing
to return and take up his permanent residence within its boundaries.
Mr. Norton is a blacksmith by trade and has ever since proved a public-spirited
The birth of Mr. Norton occurred in Porter
township on April 15, 1868, his parents being Emanuel and Mary Jane (McNitt)
Norton. The McNitt family came to Michigan in the spring of 1836,
not long after the engagement at Battle Creek between the whites and the
Indians. The father was a native of Canada. He and his family
resided in Kalamazoo county for four years and then removed to Hartford
township, the date of the event being 1841. They too took up one
hundred and sixty acres from the government. The father who was a
farmer throughout his active years is now retired and living in Gregory,
Michigan. He is of very advanced age and enjoys the respect and confidence
of the community in which he is so well known. The mother died in
1898. Mr. Norton, immediate subject of this review, is the sole issue
of their union.
Mr. Norton had the usual experiences of the
young folks of his day and locality. He acquired his education in
the public schools and under his father's direction learned some of the
secrets of seed-time and harvest. At the age of thirteen years he
decided to become a wage-earner and began work in a sawmill, in which he
remained employed for a number of years. At the age of twenty-five
years he learned the trade of a blacksmith and for a time owned a shop
in South Haven. He disposed of the South Haven interest and removed
to Covert in 1900, but shortly afterward was seized with western fever
and went to Montana, where in Missoula he opened a shop. Throughout
his absence from home, however, the charms of the old location remained
vivid with him and resulted in his returning to Covert, where he now resides.
On January 16,1892, Mr Norton established a happy
home of his own by his union with Miss Clarissa Morgan, daughter of G.
W. and Mary (Smith) Morgan. Mrs. Norton's brother, Thomas, is now
a resident of Bangor township and foreman of the Evergreen Farm.
To the marriage of the subject and his wife have been born two children,
Leah, at home; and Myrtle, deceased.
Politically Mr. Norton is in harmony with
the men and measures of the Republican party and takes no small amount
of interest in local issues. Fraternally he is a member of the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, belonging to the encampment at South Haven.
He and his wife and daughter are members of the Congregational church and
are valued helpers in its campaign for good. They are helpfully interested
in all matters pertaining to the welfare of Covert and the county.
Shepard H. Shattuck,
of New England, has for over a quarter of a century played a helpful and
highly honorable part in the life of this part of the Van Buren county,
Michigan. His is somewhat unusual record of having held some public
office ever since the year 1885, and of every trust he has brought a whole-hearted
loyalty which never lost sight of the interests of the many in any personal
consideration. At the present time he is chairman of the county board
of supervisors. Although now living in Covert, where he owns an attractive
and commodious home, he still retains ownership of some thirty-five acres
which he operates. Previous to casting his fortunes with the great
basic industry Mr. Shattuck was engaged in sawmill work and in the hardware
Shepard H. Shattuck was born in Hampshire
county, Massachusetts, May 24, 1859, his parents being William J. and Laura
(Pratt) Shattuck. The father was a native of the Empire state and
the mother of the Bay state. They followed the tide of migration
to the developing northwest in 1871 and settled in Covert. The father
was a farmer and was also interested in woolen mills before coming to this
state. He died in April, 1905, the mother preceding him to the other
land in 1872. To their union were born the following five children:
Orlo W., deceased in 1906; Ella A., the wife of George W. Leslie, of Covert;
Carrie A., wife of S. D. Kenny, of Covert; Fred O., of Cincinnati, Ohio,
secretary and treasurer of the Church-Bienkamp Piano Company; and the subject.
Mr. Shattuck took as his second wife Eliza A. Warner, who also preceded
him to the Great Beyond, the date of her demise having been October, 1903.
Shepard H. Shattuck began life as a wage-earner
at the early age of fifteen years, engaging in sawmilling with the A. S.
Packard Company, with whom he remained for a number of years in the capacity
as foreman. In December, 1883, he entered upon a new department of
enterprise by taking up the hardware business, which he followed in Covert
until August, 1887, when he purchased a small farm of sixty acres and proceeded
to improve and cultivate the same. He made a success of this wholesome
and independent vocation and continued thus engaged until 1901, when he
disposed of the property. He then removed to Covert, where he built
a fine home, his residence being beautifully situated in the midst of a
tract of five acres. He has also bought a farm of thirty-five acres
in Covert township, section 14, thus still retaining his connection with
On April 22, 1885, Miss Clara Sherburne, daughter
of E. B. and Jane (Morrison) Sherburne, both natives of Canada, became
the wife of Mr. Shattuck. The Sherburnes came to Michigan in 1860
and located in Covert township. The father, whose occupation in his
more active days was farming, survives, but his wife died in Februrary,
1902. They were the parents of the following ten children: Roland,
of Lone Tree, Iowa; Ella, wife of C. W. Knowles, of Chicago; Clara, the
wife of Mr. Shattuck; Minnie, wife fo William Simison, of San Diego, California;
Lettie, wife of Elmer Blodgett, of Pueblo, Colorado; Harriet, wife of W.
H. Seil, of Seattle, Washington; Bertha, wife of William Lees, of Auburn,
New York; and three children who died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Shattuck
share their home with two children,- Kari B., born October 3, 1888; and
Winnifred D., born September 10, 1900.
The subject is of influence in the counsels
of the Republican party and as mentioned in a preceding paragraph, he is
supervisor of Covert township and chairman of the county board of supervisors.
He has, in fact, held the office of supervisor for no less than six terms.
Fred W. Reams
.- Many of the successful
business houses of Bangor, Michigan, are those which were established a
number of years ago and whose original proprietors have infused new blood
and new methods into their enterprises by the addition of younger members
to their firms. One of these, the well-known Wagner Drug Company,
has a large and flourishing trade throughout the village of Bangor and
vicinity. Fred W. Reams, who has shown himself to be a business man
of no mean ability, is a product of Paw Paw, Lee county, Illinois, and
was born October 7, 1879, a son of Marshall R. and Elizabeth (Sanford)
Reams, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of New York. They
came to Michigan in 1899, settling in Bangor, where Marshall R. Reams first
entered the mercantile field, but eventually took up the fruit and produce
business in which he has since continued. Mr. and Mrs. Reams had
a family of three children: Wilber P., who lives in Buchanan, Michigan,
and is engaged in the mercantile business; Fred W.; and Grace M., the wife
of Charles F. Dandert, of Bangor.
Fred W. Reams received his education in the
public and high school of Paw Paw, Illinois, but after two years in the
latter accompanied his parents to Bangor, where until 1901, he was engaged
in the general merchandise business with his father. In the year
mentioned he entered the drug business of his father-in-law, H. D. Harvey,
and continued with him for seven years.
Mr. Reams is a progressive and enterprising business man,
alive to the modern methods and well versed in matters pertaining to the
drug trade. His popularity is evidenced by his many warm, personal
friends, and he is well known in fraternal circles as a member of the Modern
Woodman. He and Mrs. Reams are consistent attendants of the Christian
church. Mr. Reams takes an independent stand in matters of a political
nature, reserving the right to vote for the man whom he thinks will best
serve the interests of the people, regardless of party ties.
On January 18, 1905, Mr. Reams was united
in marriage with Miss Grace L. Harvey, the estimable daughter of H. D.
and Martha Lucinda (Meabon) Harvey, and they have had one son, Roscoe Harvey,
who was born January 19, 1906.
Hon. Charles Jay Monroe
.- If the
people of Van Buren county were challenged to name an admirable product
and high type of their citizenship they might with eminent propriety say:
"Here is Hon. Charles Jay Monroe-show us his fellow! Behold the fruit
and the representative of our civilization! 'Of thorns men do not
gather figs, nor of a bramble-bush gather they grapes!' " In every
field of duty, and his have been numerous, and in every relation of life,
Mr. Monroe has exemplified sterling manhood, elevated citizenship, and
all the other fine attributes of the genuine American gentlemen.
Mr. Monroe is wholly a product of Van Buren
county. He was born in the township of Lawrence of November 20, 1839.
He obtained his elementary education and the first impressions of his relations
to his fellow men in the country school near his home. He grew to
manhood on his father's farm and did his part of the labor necessary for
its cultivation, acquiring therein habits of useful industry, a practical
knowledge of farming, and an interest in his native soil that has grown
with his years and been intensified by his experience. The activities,
aspirations and tendencies of the people of this locality have also been
objects of the greatest interest to him at all times, for he has been one
of them and fully imbued with their spirit and in sympathy with their desires.
Moreover, he taught their children in the
schools, surveyed their land, served them wisely and faithfully in many
important public capacities, and in time became, in large measure, their
banker. And when, in the pride and power of his young manhood, he
bowed beneath the flowery yoke of Eros, he united himself in marriage with
one of their most estimable and accomplished young ladies, with whom he
walked life's troubled way for over forty years.
Mr. Monroe is of Scotch ancestry on his father's
side of the house. His grandfather, Isaac Monroe, was the son of
Scotch parents and became a resident of this country early in life.
He was a physician and lived many years in Surry, New Hampshire, then moved
to Hamilton, Madison county, New York, where he passed the remainder of
his days. He reared a family of ten children, of whom his son Jay
R. Monroe, the father of Charles Jay, was the eighth in the order of birth,
and came into being on April 11, 1806, in Surry, New Hampshire, where the
family was then living.
The father of Mr. Monroe had very limited
opportunities for securing an education. He was but a boy when the
family moved to Hamilton, New York, and soon afterward he was apprenticed
to a stonemason to learn the trade. When he was twenty he decided
to cast his lot with the great West, which, in those days meant anywhere
beyond Buffalo, New York. So he resolutely fixed his face in the
direction of the setting sun and plunged into the largely untrodden wilderness.
His first stop was at Detroit, where he worked at his trade for a time,
and made some progress toward his independence.
But his ability and force of character were
soon discovered, and his services were solicited for more adventurous and
ambitious employment. Mr. Campeau engaged him to go with a party
of his men on a circuit of the lakes in the interest of his fur trade.
After his return he passed two years in the employ of Mr. Campeau and General
Cass in locating lands for incoming settlers. He then made a trip
to his old New York home. In 1830 he returned to Michigan and located
at Prairie Ronde, but the greater part of his time was occupied in traveling
over the territory of Michigan locating lands for others, as before.
He was thrifty and frugal, however, and applied his commissions in the
purchase of lands for himself.
His wandering showed him much of the territory
in its state of primeval wilderness. He was the first white man to
pass over the site on which South Haven now stands, and in 1833 he built
the first house put up within the limits of the present city. He
was unmarried at the time, and a family by the name of Thomas occupied
his house. It was an unpretentious habitation, on, or, if you please,
beyond the borders of civilization, but it was not exempt from the romance
and tragedy that visits all human abodes. A child was born and died
in that house soon after it was first occupied, and this was the first
birth and death in the history of the city. There
were not wanting, even at that early day, indications of the coming of
a host of people the region, and a plan for a village was projected.
Mr. Monroe made a plat of the village as planned, and the plat was embraced
in Hannah's plat of 1852, and has been a part of every one that has been
made since. Along with other wise provisions, the plan required the
reservation of a lot for a school house, and this was shown on the plat
made by Mr. Monroe.
In 1835, in association with Charles U. Cross,
he laid out a road between South Haven and Paw Paw, and what remains of
that highway now is still known as the "Monroe road." He had previously
laid out a road between South Haven and Prairie Ronde. Thus he was
a potential force in the great work of opening the country to settlement,
and in bringing settlers in to occupy and improve it. The excellent
results that followed his activity in these respects proved his general
intelligence, sound judgment and comprehensive grasp of the situation that
required his attention.
Jay R. Monroe was married on September 10, 1836,
to Miss Fanny Rawson, a native of Massachusetts. For some months
after their marriage they boarded in Kalamazoo. But in 1837 they
located on the land owned by Mr. Monroe in Lawrence township, it seeming
probable at the time that the county seat would be located near his farm.
The prize being the center of government in the county was won by Paw Paw,
but Mr. Monroe continued to reside on his land in Lawrence township and
improved a portion of a farm of nine hundred acres he owned there.
He also continued to act as land agent, and in time he became one of the
most extensive landholders in this part of the country, being at one period
the possessor of eighty eighty-acre tracts, or six thousand four hundred
acres in all, and expanse equal in extent to ten square miles.
Under the territorial government of Michigan
Jay R. Monroe was appointed a judge, and from then to the end of his life
he was always known and spoken of as Judge Monroe. He was a man of
great benignity of disposition, and in his administration of the law always
tempered justice with mercy. He was also the friend and advisor of
the early settlers, and served as commissioner of the poor in Van Buren
county for more than twenty-five years. He was earnest in his interest
and active in his support of all public undertakings for the good of the
state, too, helping to organize the State Agricultural Society and assisting
at the baptism of many other excellent institutions from which the people
have derived great benefit.
In the early history of the county and those who
made it he always manifested the deepest interest. He was one of
the founders of Van Buren County Pioneers' Society, and to the end of his
life one of its most active and serviceable members. In politics
he was a life-long Democrat, and in spiritual matters a firm believer in
the Christian religion, but not connected by membership with any church
organization. His death occurred in South Haven on October 30, 1876,
soon after his return from a visit to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
His widow survived him one day over thirty-one years, her death coming
on October 31, 1907.
Mrs. Jay R. Monroe departed this life at the age
of eighty-two years, five months and three days. She was universally
beloved throughout the city of South Haven, where she passed all the years
of her life after the death of her husband, and she well deserved the veneration
of the community which she so fully enjoyed. Her pastor, who had
been long associated with her in church relations, said in his address
at her funeral: "She was a woman whom Lincoln would have loved, and Roosevelt
would have praised," and her heroic character fully justified this eulogy.
The first forty years of her life after her marriage were passed on a farm
in Lawrence township, which was remote from other human dwellings, the
nearest neighbor living about a mile distant, and twenty years elapsing
before the woods were cut away so that another house could be seen from
Most of her years on this farm were very busy
ones for "Mother Monroe," as she was affectionately called by the whole
community. Here her nine children were born, and in addition to the
innumerable cares incident to rearing and providing for so large a family,
she did all the writing and figuring required by her husband's business,
including his land agency. Besides as the home was located about
the center of the county, it became a sort of halfway house for strangers
and travelers, so that there were almost always extra persons to provide
for with meals and lodging. Her isolation from society and church
privileges, and her burden of work and care imposed great hardships on
her, but she bore them bravely, patiently and cheerfully, for she was a
woman of extraordinary virility of body, mind and character, and knew now
higher claim on her attention than the voice of duty, which she always
heard with reverence and obeyed with fidelity. Of the nine children
born to her and her husband only four are living: Charles Jay, Isaac, Andrew
and Eunice, the latter the widow of David F. Moore. The mother passed
the last thirty-one years of her life in the home of Mrs. Moore.
About the time Charles Jay Moore completed
his seventeenth year the State Agricultural College was ready to receive
students, and he was one of the first to be enrolled. He was present
at its opening session, and remained under its beneficent instructions
two years and a half. Then, on account of weakness in his eyes, he
was obliged to give up his studies. His father, however, found employment
for him that he was able to attend to by placing him in charge of the land
agency business he was conducting. In connection with this he taught
school eight terms, and also did surveying in Van Buren and Allegan counties,
serving as county surveyor for the former two terms, and being in frequent
requisition work in the same line in the latter, both while he was in office
In January, 1867, in partnership with S. R.
Boardman, Mr. Monroe opened a private bank, which was the first enterprise
of the kind in South Haven. In 1871 the First National Bank of South
Haven was organized, with Mr. Boardman as president and Mr. Monroe as cashier
of the institution. After serving the bank as cashier some four years
Mr. Monroe was elected vice president and the next year president. He held
this position until 1889, when the bank was reorganized as the First State
Bank of South Haven. He was chosen president of this and is still
serving it in that office.
In 1879 Mr. Monroe pursued a course
of instruction in the law department of the University of Michigan, not
with any intention of practicing the profession, but to assist him in carrying
on his multitudinous business affairs. As he stated the case, he
had more business than knowledge, so he quit business for a time to obtain
more knowledge. In 1880 (or 1881) he organized the West Michigan
Savings Bank of Bangor, and he served as its president until he sold his
interest in it. He also organized the Kalamazoo Savings Bank, and
was its president for some years. He is know one of its directors.
In addition he is president of the Van Buren County Pioneers' Society,
and one of the most active men connected with that organization.
In politics Mr. Monroe has given
his allegiance steadfastly and continuously to the Republican party, and
as its candidate has been elected township supervisor for three terms,
county surveyor for two terms, and school inspector for many years.
In 1883 he was elected state senator for Van Buren and Allegan counties,
and to this office he was twice re-elected, serving three consecutive terms
in all. In the state senate he was chairman of the committee on banks
and banking and a member of other important committees. He is the
author of the present state banking law, which he enacted while he was
in the senate. In his last term, he was unanimously elected president
pro tempore of the senate, and during the term was in the chair almost
In a material way the interests of South Haven have always
been of great consequence in his regard, and he has done his part in promoting
them. He has built a number of brick business blocks and other houses,
and done valuable work in many ways for the advancement and improvement
of the city. He has also given the welfare and progress of the county
his careful and helpful attention, looking after its interests in every
field of effort, intellectual, moral, social and in business affairs.
His farm of three hundred and twenty acres, on which he resides, is in
the county, just outside of South Haven, and has been a source of considerable
addition to the mercantile and commercial wealth and importance of the
county. He carried on for some years an extensive dairying business, which
was a great convenience to the residents of the city and township, and
on the farm he now raises large quantities of fine fruit of various kinds,
his peach orchard alone comprising thirty acres, with other orchards in
proportion. In June, 1911, he was elected president of the Michigan
Mr. Monroe was first married in 1866, to Miss
Hattie Morehouse, who was born in Albion, Michigan, and was the daughter
of Stephen and Lucy (Blackmar) Morehouse. She died on June 22, 1903,
and her death removed from South Haven its oldest inhabitant in length
of continuous residence, she having lived in the locality from 1852 to
the end of her life. By her marriage to Mr. Monroe she became the
mother of five children: Stephen B., who is president of the Kalamazoo
City Savings Bank; George C., a sketch of whose life will be found in this
volume; Cora J., who died in 1905, and was the wife of William Shakespeare,
Jr.; Lucy E., who died in 1906; and Charles O., who is the editor and manager
of the Daily Tribune of South Haven.
On September 16, 1905, Mr. Monroe contracted a second
marriage, in which he was united with Mrs. Clara O. (Atkinson) Packard,
who still abides with him. In fraternal relations he is a Freemason
of the Royal Arch degree, and takes a cordial and serviceable interest
in the fraternity. Van Buren county has never had a citizen whom
its people esteemed more highly or more universally, or one who was more
worthy of their confidence and hearty regard and good will. He has
the good fortune of being estimated at his real value during his life,
which is a rare experience among, men, and must be due to merit made clear
and services beyond question.
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