Obituaries and Death Notices
The following persons, among the pioneers of the Territory and State of Michigan, have passed away since the last annual meeting of the State Pioneer Society:
John Tompkins, Esq., died September 27, 1879, aged 73 years; settled in lonia in 1836.
Mrs. John E. Morrison, Sen., died January 8, 1880. Settled in Ionia county in 1835.
Mrs. Sally Crawford, wife of Robert Crawford, Esq., died January 14, 1880, aged 81 years and 5 months; settled in Oakland county in March, 1825; moved to and settled in Shiawassee county in 1836; thence to Lyons, Ionia county, in 1857.
Mrs. Polly W. Rosecrantz, died January 17, 1880, aged 86 years and 9 months; settled in Ionia county in 1840.
Volume 6 (1884) pages 301-306
MASON HEARSEY was born at New Auburn, Maine, on the 6th day of July, 1809, and removed to Michigan when 27 years old, settling at Ionia in 1836. In the following year he was married to Miss Caroline Cornell, a sister of Thomas Cornell. During his residence of 40 years in Ionia, he has been identified with the growth of our village, having been engaged for many years in the furniture business. He has frequently been elected to office, having filled at different times the positions of county clerk, county treasurer and justice of the peace. He served as justice for twenty-one years, and now (1882) at the ripe old age of 73, he has passed away, an honored and respected citizen, whose memory will long be cherished, and whose name will go down in local history as one of the first settlers of the Grand River valley.
DR. WILLIAM B. LINCOLN died at his
home in the city of Ionia in 1882 (date not reported), in the 75th year of his
age. He had been ill for some time, and his death was not unexpected.
EDSON ENGLISH was born September 12, 1801, in Tunbridge, Orange county, Vermont; was married April 12, 1823,.to Abigail Willard; moved from Vermont to Michigan, where they settled in Boston, Ionia county, October 2, 1840, with a family consisting of his mother (who lived until she was ninety-two years old), and three sons and two daughters; all of whom married and settled near enough to his home so that he could visit them all in one day. He died upon the farm where he first settled, May 20, 1883, in the eighty-second year of his age. His wife is living, and in the eighty-fifth year of her age. They had one son, born in 1842, who lives upon the farm on which he was born. He espoused the cause of Christ in early life, and was a faithful member of the i. E. church until his death, and while his family and many friends mourn their loss, they take consolation in the fact that he was ready and anxious to pass over the river, and welcomed the sound of the boatman's oar.
SAMUEL GREEN died at his residence, on section eighteen, in Portland, Ionia county, Michigan, May 24, 1883, aged seventy-four years. He was born in Cayuga county, New York, but while quite young his father removed to Wayne county, in the same State, where the subject of this notice continued to reside until his marriage with Miss Malinda Haskins, when the young couple decided to emigrate to Michigan, and cutting their way for a part of the distance west of Detroit, they arrived at Portland, July 4, 1837, with no resources, except twenty-five cents, and that indomitable energy called pluck, so essential to success with a pioneer. Mr. Green and his wife remained with William Dinsmore, at the mouth of the Looking-glass river, the first night of their arrival, and then located land on section 22, which, in 1842, he exchanged for land on section 18, where he continued to reside until his death. Having all his earlier years lived in a new country, he never enjoyed educational advantages, and therefore neither sought nor obtained official prominence, though he was ever an earnest voter, and true to his convictions. He was originally a whig, and then, by natural affiliation, a republican until his decease. He was by occupation a farmer, and by patient industry acquired a competency, to be divided among his heirs. At his death he left, besides his widow, eleven children, forty-five grandchildren, and four great grandchildren surviving him. Mr. Green was not a professor of religion, though never skeptical as to the teachings of the Bible. The great question of the future he regarded as beyond his comprehension, and left its solution until its development should be within his understanding.
JUDGE ERASTUS YEOMANS, the last
survivor of the original colony of pioneers who settled in Ionia fifty years
ago, died peacefully at his home in Ionia, June 8th, 1883, precisely eleven days
after the fiftieth anniversary of the date of his arrival on the spot where he
died. The funeral services were held in the Baptist church on Sunday afternoon
at 3 o'clock. The sermon was by Rev. James Lamb, and was very appropriate and
impressive. The bearers were Lewis S. Lovell, Alex. F. Bell, Osmond Tower, James
M. Kidd, John L. Taylor, and C. O. Thompson. The remains were deposited in Oak
Hill cemetery, within a stone's throw of the house where for half a century he
had lived and where at last he died full of years, taking with him to his grave
the respect and esteem of all who ever knew him, and leaving behind him the
memory of a well-ordered and useful life.
HON. FREDERICK HALL, who died at
his home in Ionia in 1883 (date not given), was born in Shelburn, Vt., March 24,
1816, and was therefore at the time of his death in his 68th year. His father
was Burgess Hall, at one time associate justice, and member of the legislature
in the Green Mountain State. The subject of this sketch was educated in the
common schools. In the year 1835 he migrated to Galena, Ill. In the fall of that
year he pushed on west of the Mississippi, where he spent the winter chopping
cordwood, an incident of his career to which he often referred with a certain
commendable pride. He came to Michigan in the following year (1836) and about
the first of September settled in Lyons, where for a time he was engaged as
clerk in the store of his uncle, G. S. Isham. His spare time was occupied in
looking up land, or surveying, in company with A. F. Bell, his life-long friend,
who was at that time also one of the young pioneers of the county. While
residing at Lyons he was appointed deputy to Adam L. Roof, the then register of
deeds. That was in '37. In 1840 he was chosen justice of the peace in the
township of Lyons. He removed to Ionia in 1841 and engaged as clerk for Daniel
Ball, and in 1842 assisted John Ball, of Grand Rapids, in selecting 500,000
acres of the lands granted to Michigan by the United States for internal
improvements. In '43 he was deputy register, and clerk for the receiver in the
United States land office. In 1844 he was elected register of deeds to fill
vacancy caused by death of William Dallas, and the spring following was
appointed by President Polk receiver of public moneys, a position which he held
for the full term of four years. He was elected to the lower house of the
Legislature in 1849. He was again appointed receiver of public moneys in the U.
S. land office by President Pierce, in 1853, and served the full term of four
years. He was the democratic candidate for congress in the 5th district in 1864,
and was the first mayor of the city of Ionia in 1873, a position to which he was
reelected. He was also the first president of the First National Bank of Ionia,
and one of the original directors and prime movers in building the Ionia &
Lansing railroad -afterwards merged in the Detroit, Lansing & Lake Michigan-now
the Detroit, Lansing & Northern. He was the democratic candidate for lieutenant
governor in 1874, and one of the Tilden electors in 1876. When he retired from
the land office in '57, he entered into a co-partnership with L. B. Townsend for
the transaction of a general real estate business, and under the firm name of
Hall & Townsend they dealt very heavily in pine lands, continuing the business
until a short time before his death. Mr. Hall's foresight early led him to see
the value of pine timber, and the buying and selling of pine lands was his main
business through life. If he at times turned his attention to mercantile,
banking, or other pursuits, it would be but temporarily, and it only served to
confirm his judgment that investments in pine lands were not only the safest but
the most profitable. By adhering steadily to this idea lie amassed a fortune
which fell to worthy hands, for there were few men so openhanded,
public-spirited, and benevolent. No public enterprise, no worthy charity, no
needy individual ever appealed to him for aid in vain. He seemed always to
observe the motto, "Freely ye have received, freely give." His benefactions were
many and munificent, none the less noteworthy, because unostentatious.
Volume 7 (1886) pages 449-450
SENECA W. COOLEDGE. The Lyons Herald, referring to the death of Mr. Cooledge, says: We have this week to chronicle the sad intelligence of the death of Seneca W. Cooledge, at Ionia, from the effect of a wound received at the hands of a tramp a little over three years ago, while a resident of this village. The deceased was born in the State of New York and was 55 years of age. He came to Lyons when a young man, married Miss Mary Burns, and settled in business here when Lyons was in its minority. He was a resident of this place for about 30 years, removing to Portland about two years ago, from which place he removed to Ionia last spring. He had a very large circle of friends in this vicinity, who sympathize with his family in their bereavement. The remains will be brought to this village by the Masonic order of Ionia, when the services will be conducted by the home lodge, of which he was a member for nearly thirty years. The services will take place at the Baptist church, today, (Saturday) at 2 P. M.
ARCHIBALD F. CARR. By the death of Mr. Carr still another
link is broken, of those who bind the Ionia of the present to the Ionia of the
past. Deceased came to Ionia in 1843 and has been a prominent business man and
citizen during the entire forty years of his residence here. His career as
merchant, banker, lumberman, was one of almost uninterrupted success and
prosperity. He was born in Amsterdam, Montgomery county, N. Y., September 3,
1814, and was therefore in his 69th year. He was the second son in a family of
seven children of John T. Carr, who was one of three brothers that came to this
country from Scotland before the revolutionary war. When the subject of this
sketch was three years old his father removed to Syracuse, N. Y. From there
Archibald F. went at the age of thirteen to live with an uncle who was a
merchant in Orleans county, with whom he remained until he was 21 years old,
acquiring in that period a practical knowledge of business affairs which ever
after was of value to him.
Volume 9 (1887) pages 43-47
NATHANIEL BEATTIE Nathaniel Beattie, who had been confined to his house for the past eight years, died on Friday, January 15, 1886. He had a paralytic shock the week before, which was the immediate cause of his death. Mr. Beattie was one of the oldest and most highly esteemed residents of Ionia, and the family have the sympathy of a host of friends in their affliction. The funeral services took place Sunday afternoon, and were attended by a large number of our citizens. The deceased was born in Coldenham, Orange county, N. Y., February 29, 1815. He removed to Bloomfield, Oakland county, in this State, in 1829. He was married April 9, 1839, to Catherine Wallace, who survives him, and removed to Ionia county in 1839. He settled in the township of Keene, where he followed the business of farming until 1853, when he removed to Ionia, where he afterward resided. Mr. Beattie was regarded as an honorable business man, and he was very successful. For nearly ten years he was ill, so as to incapacitate him almost entirely for any labor, for eight years being confined to the house, much of the time in bed, and requiring the constant care of a devoted wife and family. He was for many years a member of the M. E. Church. In politics he was a staunch democrat, and his last visit outside his sick room was to vote his party ticket.
Ionians were shocked Thursday evening, February 4, 1886, by the announcement of
the death of Richard Dye. He left his office, where he had been engaged all the
afternoon in business matters, about five o'clock, and was in good spirits and
apparently in excellent health. Going to his home, he went out to fill the coal
scuttles, and was discovered by J. W. Baldie a few minutes later lying upon his
back in the snow with one foot inside the coal house door. His eyes were closed,
and he had apparently died without a struggle. Rheumatism of the heart was
perhaps the cause of his sudden demise. Deceased was one of the earliest
settlers of this county. It is fifty years, this year, since he first located in
Ionia. He was born in Herkimer village, N. Y., October 23, 1810, and was
therefore in his 76th year. His father was a thrifty farmer and a pioneer of
Herkimer county, who served in the revolutionary war, and came from Rhode Island
when a young man. In March, 1832, the subject of this sketch married Miss Polly
Welch, daughter of Vine Welch, a substantial Herkimer county farmer. Mr. Dye was
a cabinet maker and worked at his trade in Herkimer until 1836, when he came to
Ionia in company with Simon and John B. Welch, his wife's brothers, and
Philander Hinds. They walked from Detroit. Mr. Dye selected a quarter section of
land in what is now the township of Keene-the farm owned by William Gunn-and
going to the United States land office, then at Kalamazoo, located it. Returning
to the east in the fall he came back in the spring with his family, consisting
at that time of his wife and two children, George H. and Mary E., and went to
work on the farm. He had brought with him a lathe and an outfit of tools for
cabinet making, and these he set up in the upper part of his log house and
manufactured many articles of common household furniture for the settlers. In
1832 he removed to Ionia and started a shop on what is now the corner of Dye and
Washington streets. The population of Ionia was then only about 150 souls. In
1859 he and his brother Nelson engaged in mercantile pursuits under the firm
name of R. & N. Dye; later the late A. F. Carr was associated with them as the
company of the concern. Seven years later Mr. Dye withdrew and retired from
business, having acquired more than a competence, and has since given his
attention to the care of his real estate and personal property. He has been a
life-long and ardent democrat, and in 1845 was appointed postmaster by President
Polk, and has been a member of the city council. He has been identified with the
masonic fraternity thirty-seven years, or since 1849, being a member of
Washtenong Lodge, Ionia Chapter No. 14, and Ionia Commandery No. 11. In these
bodies he has almost always been the trusted treasurer. He united with the
Church of Christ (Disciples) in 1861, under the ministrations of Rev. Isaac
Errett. The characteristics of the deceased as a business man were industry,
frugality, sterling honesty and rugged common sense. He was a devoted husband
and father; a true, sincere friend; an exemplary citizen. His constitution was
rugged and he was rarely, if ever, sick, and at the last stepped from one life
into the other, without a moment's premonition that the slender link that bound
him to a long and useful life was about to be snapped in twain.
HON. E. H.
STANTON It was with a feeling of sorrow and regret that the citizens of Ionia
learned of the death, May 8, 1886, at his home, of Hon. Erastus H. Stanton.
Erastus H. Stanton was born at Durham, Greene county, N. Y., November 13, 1817.
His grandfather moved from Connecticut to New York in 1790. The family is of
Welch descent. His mother was a daughter of Henry Niles, a descendant from a
Scotch family belonging to the sect of Quakers or Friends. They were persecuted
for their opinions under the reign of Charles II., and fled to a new continent
that they might enjoy that freedom of opinion denied at home. Mr. Stanton was
educated in the common schools and academy of his native town. An early
developed taste for reading was gratified by access to a circulating library. At
the age of sixteen he was placed, at his own request, with a mercantile firm at
Rensselaerville, Albany county, where he acquired a knowledge of the business.
He began business for himself in 1837 at Greenville, Green county, where he
remained twelve years. Here he was married, September 2, 1840, to Miss Mary
Sanford, who survives him. Owing to the ill health of Mrs. Stanton he removed to
Illinois, purchasing a farm near Rockton, only a mile from the Wisconsin line.
He remained there engaged in farming, banking and mercantile pursuits until
1867, when he came to Ionia and again embarked in mercantile pursuits, in which
he remained until he began lumbering operations at Sheridan. This business
occupied his time and personal attention until within the past three or four
years, when he gave up the cares of active business life.
BETSEY F. COMSTOCK Betsey Fuller Comstock, born in Exeter, Otsego county, New York, August 11, 1800, died in Ronald, Ionia county, June 1, 1886. She came to Michigan in 1842. She was mother of twelve children, nine sons and three daughters.
Volume 11 (1888) pages 46-58
VALENTINE BRETZ. Valentine Bretz was born in Fairfield
county, Ohio, Sept. 5, 1830, and died in Odessa, Ionia county, Mich., June 11,
1886. He was the son of David and Fannie Bretz, and was one of a family of ten
children, of whom four are still living.
DAVID DODGE. David Dodge, whose sickness was of long standing, died at the residence of his son, Alex. W. Dodge, in Ionia, on Sunday, June 13, 1886, in the 89th year of his age. He was born Dec. 21, 1797, in Herkimer county N. Y., whence his father had emigrated from Massachusetts that same year. In the following year, 1798, when David was only six weeks old, his father returned to his native state, living on a farm in Worcester county until David was 21 years of age, when the family removed to Oxford, Mass. In 1826 they removed to Rochester, N. Y. The subject of this sketch lived in Rochester till 1843, when he came to Ionia county and bought a farm on "Long plain" in the township of Ronald, and built a house. In 1844 he removed his family to his new home. Several years afterward lie exchanged his Ronald farm for one in North Plains, where he resided till 1857, when he came to Ionia and has resided here since. While in Rochester Mr. Dodge was a mason and master builder; he constructed three churches, and the great flouring mill on the Genesee river. He with his partner excavated the great races below the first fall in the Genesee through the solid rock. The work was a failure, the parties projecting it went into bankruptcy and the contractors lost their pay. Mr. Dodge then closed up his business and emigrated to Michigan. He cleared up three new farms in Ionia county. In 1855 his health failed and since 1859 he had lived in the family of his son, Alex. W. Dodge. Deceased was twice married. His first wife, Lucina Fitts, died a year after marriage, leaving one son, who died in Rochester at the age of 29.. Subsequently he married Ruth, sister of the late Joseph L. Freeman and of Mrs. P. C. Hutchins. By her he had ten children. She died Oct. 2, 1872. Mr. Dodge lived to seen born in his family eleven children, 45 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren, of whom 33 were boys. He was converted to the christian religion in 1831, under the preaching of Charles G. Finney, at Rochester, N. Y., and. joined the Presbyterian church, of which he was a member until the hour of death. Three sons and four daughters survive him.
SESSIONS. Hon. Alonzo Sessions died at his residence in Berlin on Saturday
morning, July 3, 1886, after a lingering illness, in the 76 h year of his age.
The funeral was held on the following Tuesday, from the residence, and he was
buried in a grave on the farm, the spot being selected by himself. For nearly
fifty years Mr. Sessions has been one of the most prominent citizens and
politicians of Ionia county, and in his death a striking and picturesque figure
is removed from local and state affairs.
MRS. ELIZABETH BELL. Mrs. Elizabeth Bell, wife of Hon. A. F. Bell, who died at her home in Ionia on Sunday night, July 11, 1886, was born in Philadelphia, August 19, 1823. She was a daughter of Joshua and Rebecca (Coleman) Boyer. From an early age her home was in Reading, Pa., at which place she graduated at the age of fourteen from the Bethlehem seminary. Her parents came to Michigan with Gov. Porter and settled in Detroit. The children were sent back to Reading to live with an aunt to complete their education. Her mother died in Detroit in 1834. In 1838 Mr. Boyer removed to Portland, in Ionia county, where Elizabeth was married a year later, at the age of 16, to Alexander F. Bell, then a rising young lawyer. Mr. and Mrs. Bell lived in Lyons one year, and came to Ionia in 1840, where their home has been most of the time since. In 1856 she had a partial stroke of paralysis which affected one side, and from the effects of which she never entirely recovered. For many years she has suffered at times from its recurrence. For nearly a year she has been confined to the house, a great sufferer, helpless, but receiving the tender care of a devoted family. The last time she was out of the house was in August. At last she passed away peacefully and without pain, as though falling asleep. Mrs. Bell was a kind neighbor and friend, and by many acts of generosity-and disinterested benevolence attracted to herself a large circle of friends. She had seven children, of whom five with her husband survive her. She was a member of the Episcopal church.
TOWER. Hon. Osmond Tower died at his residence in Ionia at 11 o'clock Wednesday
night, August 4, 1886. He was out riding during the day and no special
premonition of speedy dissolution was felt by him so far as known. He retired at
ten o'clock, and an hour later Mrs. Tower was awakened and found him sitting up
in bed. This occasioned no surprise, as, for a year or more, he has been
troubled with insomnia and difficulty of breathing, superinduced by heart
disease, and was in the habit of sitting up for relief. Mrs. Tower arose to give
him a spoonful of stimulant, but on returning to the bedside an instant later
found him unconscious. She aroused the household, but he died almost instantly,
and was beyond succor before anybody else could reach him. His death was quiet
and painless. Physicians were summoned, but the patient had passed away before
BENJAMIN R. TUPPER. Benjamin R. Tupper, one of the pioneers of Ionia county, died on Friday at 5 p. m. and was buried on Sunday from his residence in Bonanza. He was born in Monroe county, N. Y., Nov. 30, 1818; died Aug. 27, 1886, aged 68 years, 9 months and 27 days. He had been a resident of Ionia county 46 years.
JEREMIAH STANNARD. Died Nov. 25, 1886, at his residence in Boston, lonia county, Jeremiah Stannard, in the 88th year of his age. Mr. Stannard was a pioneer of Boston, having settled on the place where he died in 1837. Four families and three young men were the only ones who preceded him in the settlement, Mr. Stannard was elected one of the assessors at the first township meeting in 1838, and was elected treasurer in 1842. He has been an invalid for a long time, and has required much care and attention. He died at the house of his son, Hon. A. S. Stannard.
W. COOK. Mrs. Cordelia W. Cook, widow of the late R. R. Cook, died at Otisco,
Mich., on Sunday, Dec. 11, 1886.
EDWARD STEVENSON. Edward Stevenson was born in England nearly 68 years ago, and with his father and several brothers and sisters he settled in Ionia about 44 years ago, where he has chiefly resided. He became active in business life and one of the foremost among its honest, public spirited citizens. He was active and influential in all political movements and one of the first in Ionia to help organize the republican party. As the party became strong, and the democratic party grew weak under the storm of the prevailing anti-slavery agitation, internal conflicts arose within the republican ranks, mainly caused by the distribution of official favors within the gift of the party. In these contests Mr. Stevenson always took a bold and aggressive position, either for or against the men of his choice. He fought a great many political battles, not only against the common enemy, but against those whom he deemed the unworthy pretenders within the republican ranks. These partisans, whom he regarded as the hay and stubble rubbish of party politics, he opposed openly and manfully. He was always a magnanimous political manager, never resorting to acrimonious personal invective to down a political opponent. He was a steadfast friend to those who had his confidence in all social and political stations in life, and was more anxious to grant a favor to a friend than to receive one. But his earthly labors are finished and he has gone to his reward. Whatever of good he has accomplished will long be remembered in his favor, while his mistakes, if any, will be set down as among the inevitable to the common humanity in the struggles and perplexities of human life, where none are perfect. He was an active business man, acquired considerable property, and was generous to a fault, and was honored with many distinguished official positions. He held the office of justice of the peace, postmaster of Ionia, and register of the land office at Ionia and at Reed City, and against his integrity and efficiency in his official or business career there never was a breath of suspicion. We have been intimately acquainted with him during the past 40 years, and have ever been proud to claim him as one of our most valued personal friends. As one of the pioneers of Ionia county, he will long live in the memory of a host of personal friends who enjoyed his familiar acquaintance during his busy and somewhat eventful life. He died at Stanton, Jan. 4, 1887.
MRS. JANE DINSMORE. Mrs. Jane Dinsmore, widow of the late William Dinsmore, died at Portland on Saturday, Apr. 30, 1887, aged 75 years. Mrs. Dinsmore, with her husband, came to Portland from the state of New York in 1836, and consequently had resided here more than half a century. Their former home was in Caryville, near Batavia, N. Y., where Mrs. Dinsmore made a profession of religion and united with the M. E. church. When they came to Portland not a tree had been cut where the village now is, and for years after it was not unusual for deer and other game to pass among the trees standing where our residences now are. All old residents remember the enfeebling sickness that followed clearing the land, and from which no settler was exempt, nor can they ever forget that hunger from scarcity of provisions in the earlier years was not unknown. Mr. Dinsmore bought of the government 76 acres of land on section 34, at the head of the mill pond on the Looking Glass river, but at first made his home in a log house, where is now one of our principal streets. Mr. Dinsmore was the shoemaker of the village; dividing the time between working at his trade and clearing his land. In the privations of those years Mrs. Dinsmore was like a ministering angel to the sick in the neighborhood. When not prostrated by sickness herself, she went among her less fortunate neighbors, tidying up their sick rooms, and in a thousand nameless ways relieving the despondency of those nearly or quite discouraged. She possessed a very cheerful disposition, and always maintained a hopeful exterior, sympathizing with the distressed, bearing the burdens of those weighed down with grief, and pointing to a bright prospect when the clearings in the woods should be made larger, and the air should be purified from the miasma of decaying vegetation. When the Universalist church was organized in June, 1852, she was a constituent member and maintained her membership there while she lived.
MARSH. Thomas J. Marsh, late of the town of Orange, Ionia county, was born in
Tyre, Seneca county, New York, February 7, 1812. He came to Michigan in the fall
of 1835 to Calhoun county, leaving that section with his brother James and
arriving at their new location March 4, 1837. Their choice was on section five,
town 6, range 6, Ionia county. On this a shanty about 12x16 was built which
sufficed for a shelter till the summer of 1838, when quite a commodious log
house was built large enough to have two rooms. In the spring of '38 a sister
came on and kept house for the Marsh brothers. James, being a surveyor, left for
the west in 1840.
GOODRICH. Leonard Goodrich was stricken with paralysis while visiting at the
residence of F. Sloan on East Main street, Ionia, for a few days before going,
as was his intention, to spend the summer with his son in Dakota. He grew
gradually worse, and May 16, 1887, passed peacefully away.
SIMMONS David A. Simmons died at his residence in the village of Portland
on Saturday evening, October 6, 1883, aged 79 years. Mr. Simmons, with his
family, came from the state of New York to Michigan in 1836, and bought land
lying on both sides of the Looking Glass river, on sections 9 and 10 in the
township of Eagle, Clinton county. By his own labor he soon had a large clearing
and a comfortable log house and barn. In those early days every house on a
traveled road was a house of entertainment, and there are yet many among us who
remember the Simmons house on the east bank of the Looking Glass river, about
five miles east of Portland, on the direct road from Detroit to Ionia. In 1849
he removed to Portland because of its educational advantages to his children.
For a few years he was proprietor of the hotel, where the Welch house now
stands. After be disposed of this, he was temporarily absent in California for a
couple of years, and on his return he opened a jewelry store on the corner of
Kent and Bridge streets. Some years afterward he bought his late residence on
the west side of Grand river, which he prepared for his home for the remainder
of his days.
Volume 13 (1889) pages 205-211
THOMAS CORNELL. Thomas Cornell, after a long and useful
life, joined the hosts that have gone the way we must all tread. He died at his
residence in Ionia, August 19, 1884.
Foreman Sloan, an old resident, died June 28, 1887, at his residence on East
Main street, Ionia, after a lingering illness. He was born at Scrubgrass,
Venaungo county, Pa., June 22, 1820, and came to Ionia in February, 1846. He
married Louisa Goodrich at Hubbard, Trumbull county, Ohio, July 15, 1845, and
she still survives him, although in very feeble health. They had two sons who
died in their infancy.
BENEDICT The late Joel Benedict, who died at his home south of Grand river,
October 10, 1887, was born in Georgetown, N. Y., June 20, 1816. In 1832 he
removed with his father, Rev. Richard Benedict, a Baptist minister, to Mt.
Vernon, Oakland county, Michigan, where he resided until 1861, when he removed
to Pontiac, remaining there three years, and coming to Ionia November 22, 1864.
He was married October 5, 1842, to Mary Morrison, daughter of Joseph Morrison,
of Pontiac, October 5 of this year being the 45th anniversary of their marriage.
Besides the widow, deceased leaves seven children.
CHARLES. Mrs. Anna M. Charles, wife of Nehemiah Charles, of North Plains, died
October 11, 1887, and was buried October 13, at the North Plains cemetery. A
large company of the neighbors and old friends of the township and county were
present to show respect to one long known and express sympathy for the bereaved
family. The funeral was conducted by Rev. W. H. Scott, of Ionia.
MELVIN B. ALLEN. Melvin B. Allen, who died at his home in Ionia, on Tuesday morning, November 1, 1887, was born at South Hero, Grand Island, Vermont, February 26, 1811, where he spent his childhood. Subsequently he removed to Malone, N. Y., where he was married November 14, 1833, to Eliza C. Wood, who survives him. He lived in Malone four years and in 1838 removed to Michigan and settled on Grand river, seven miles below Ionia. Afterwards he purchased a farm near Palo, which he owned at the time of his death, and on which he lived thirty-six years, coming from there to Ionia, which has been his home during the past eleven years. Of eight children born to them only three survive, viz: Elizabeth 0. Cowan, of Easton; M. J. Allen and Herbert Allen, both of the township of Ronald. Mr. Allen was a man of strong likes and dislikes, firm in his convictions, modest, a good friend and neighbor, devoted to his family and friends, and as a citizen much respected.
CHRISTIANA O. CADWELL. Christiana O. Cadwell, wife of Almeron C. Cadwell, and sister of Hon. Hampton Rich. died at her home in Ionia, November 10, 1887, of congestion of the lungs, aged 75 years, 2 months and 6 days. Christiana Rich was born at Shoreham, Vermont, Sept. 4, 1812, and was married to Almeron C. Cadwell, at Prescott, Ontario, December 1, 1834. They came to Ionia in the fall of 1855. Mrs. Cadwell was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and was a loving and affectionate mother, a kind friend, and a good neighbor. She leaves a husband and five children to mourn her loss: Charles T. Cadwell, of Lyons; Mrs. Emma Raider, of Newaygo; George W. Cadwell, of Lyons; Mary Cadwell and Mrs. Edward Clark, of Ionia; and many sympathizing friends.
VLECK. Albert Van Vleck went to join the majority Wednesday, November 23, 1887,
aged 61 years. Mr. Van Vleck was confined to his house about six weeks and died
of malignant tumor of the liver, which had troubled him more or less for some
G. WESLEY ARNOLD. G. Wesley Arnold, better known as "Wet" Arnold, died at his home south of Grand river, Ionia, March 11, 1888, after a brief illness, of typhoid fever. He was born in Fairfield, Herkimer county, N. Y., March 11, 1832, and was therefore a little more than 56 years of age. He was one of a family of seven children, and his father was Oliver Arnold, who left New York State with the Dexter colony in April, 1833, arriving here in June of that year. Oliver Arnold was a blacksmith and settled south of Grand river, where he lived until the time of his death, and Wesley succeeded to the old homestead, where he has lived his entire life it may be truly said, as he was but a little more than one year old when his parents came here. In fact Oliver Arnold was the first man who settled in the township of Berlin, though it is claimed that John E. Morrison made the first location of land at the United States land office. For half a century, from his early boyhood, "Wet" Arnold has been a familiar figure in Ionia. Everybody knew him. There are not many men in or about Ionia whose death would be more generally regretted. Plain, unpretentious, modest, he was contented to pursue the even tenor of his way, and allowed no foolish ambition for place or for riches to interfere with the tranquil current of his life. Industrious, frugal, honest, contentment was a marked characteristic. He was endowed by nature with a fine mind, and it was a treat to talk with him and hear his quaint, sensible views on those subjects which he saw fit to discuss. There was a vein of originality about him that gave to his conversation an unique charm. He was a man of strong personality; mentally his individuality was marked; and he was a man of superb physique; indeed, though he was probably not aware of it himself, he might have posed as a model for a statue of Hercules. All in all, he was one of the men it is worth while living merely to have known; and who, now that he is gone, will be sadly missed.
GEO. W. VAN
ALLEN. George W. VanAllen, who died in Ionia on Memorial day, 1887, was born at
Lansingburg, Rensselaer county, New York, Feb. 27, 1811. February 15, 1833, he
was married in Starkey, N. Y., to Miss Susan Reeder, who survives him. Of this
marriage nine children were born, of whom the eldest, Mrs. L. B. Townsend, and
the youngest, Mr. Herman VanAllen, alone are living. Mr. VanAllen was for many
years a successful business man, engaged in milling in Elmira, N. Y., from which
place he removed to Ionia in June, 1870. Before going to Elmira he was engaged
in farming at Starkey, Yates county. Since coming here he had been for the most
part retired from business, though he was for some years a partner in the firm
of H. VanAllen & Co., druggists.
LEWIS D. SMITH. Lewis D. Smith died at his home in the city of Ionia, May 30, 1888, after a long and painful illness, aged 69 years, 10 months and 14 days. He was born at Luzerne, Warren county, New York, July 16, 1818; was married to Eliza Ann Grosvenor at Pine Grove, Penn., April 1, 1843; emigrated to Michigan and settled in the township of Orleans, Ionia county, in 1846, where he lived on his farm ten years, removing to Ionia in 1856, and becoming a member of the firm of J. & M. C. Smith & Co. The firm was afterwards changed to L. D. & M. C. Smith. Mr. Smith was appointed postmaster of the city of Ionia in 1865, which position he held until 1873, eight years. He was always prominent in Ionia politics, and was identified with the republican party from its earliest organization. He has long been a member of the M. E. church, was a kind husband and loving father, and was held in the highest respect and esteem by all who knew him. He leaves his wife, three sons and two daughters to mourn his loss.
Volume 14 (1890) pages 106-110
MRS. CLARISSA T. MILLARD. Mrs. Clarissa Thompson Millard died May 1, 1888, at Ionia, aged 84 years. She was born in Washington county, N. Y., June 30, 1803. She was married in 1824 to Chauncy Thompson. They came to Ionia, Michigan, in 1846. Her husband died in 1856. In 1861 she married Doctor Millard, of Lyons, one of the early pioneers of Ionia county, who died September, 1876. Her last years were spent with her son, 0. 0. Thompson, of Ionia. She worked industriously to within one day of her death, being sick but a day. She had been an earnest christian for more than 68 years.
WESTBROOK DIVINE. Westbrook Divine was born in Rochester,
N. Y., August 4, 1822. His education was obtained in the common schools, and by
a course of training in Kingston Academy, N. Y.
LOVELL. Mrs. Louisa Lovell, wife of Hon. Cyrus Lovell, died at Ionia, October 6,
1888, in the 77th year of her age.
REV. GEORGE C. OVERHISER. Rev. George C. Overhiser died at Ionia, June 22, 1888. He was born in the State of New York, 1811; came to Michigan in 1839. Was pastor of the Presbyterian church at Ionia from 1843 to 1847. Was pastor at Cook's Corners, in Otisco several years. Removed to Ionia, where he remained until the time of his death, at the age of 77.
PAUL STEELE. Paul Steele died in Orange, Ionia county, April 19, 1889. He came to Orange, in or prior to the year 1838, where he remained a farmer to the time of his death (aged 80 years), an esteemed and highly respected citizen.
SMITH. Lewis D. Smith died at his home in Ionia May 30, 1888, aged 70 years.
ROYAL HOWELL. Royal Howell died in Easton, Ionia county, May 24, 1889, aged 78 years. He was born in Seneca county, N. Y., in 1811. In 1834 he came to Michigan, purchased land in the township of Ronald, Ionia county, where he cleared a farm, upon which he lived until 1866. He was the second supervisor of Ronald and subsequently was township clerk, treasurer, justice of the peace and school inspector. In 1866 he removed to a farm in Easton. Fifteen years later he retired to the present family residence, where he died.
MR. JAMES LEONARD Mr. James Leonard, of Odessa, died suddenly, at his home, May 31, 1889, of heart disease. He was one of the pioneers of that township, having settled on section 3, in 1843, where he has ever since lived to the time of his death. He was 88 years of age, and was widely known throughout the county, and universally esteemed.
CHURCHILL. William R. Churchill was born at LeRoy, New York, December 22, 1808,
and died at Portland, Mich., December 11, 1888, being nearly 80 years of age. In
his youth he had only the advantages of a common school education, but he
improved them to his utmost ability. He was brought up as a farmer, and when
Michigan was admitted as a State into the Union Mr. Churchill joined the tide of
emigrants from the old States and came to Michigan in the spring of 1837. His
first stopping place was at Jackson, for a short time only, and then packing his
household goods in a canoe, with his little family came down Grand river to
Portland, arriving here during the early fall of that year. At that time, no
roads had yet been opened in this part of the State. The numerous Indian trails
were sufficient for persons on horseback, but the Grand and Looking-glass rivers
were the principal highways for the transportation of personal property. On his
arrival here he secured 160 acres of land on section two of what is now Danby.
As settlers were constantly moving in, he opened a small store in the embryo
village of Portland, and was so successful that from time to time it was
necessary to enlarge his accommodations until he became known at Detroit and New
York as one of the most reliable merchants in this portion of the State. His
capital at the beginning was quite limited, but the business principles by which
he was governed, and from which he never deviated, increased his popularity and
insured a degree of success not usually enjoyed by men under more favorable
circumstances. He caused to be erected several substantial buildings, including
the present residence of his family, which at the distance of a quarter of a
century has no superior in the village. He was eminently a self-made man, and
had that confidence in himself that imparted courage and enterprise which
insured success. In this respect, his example is worthy of emulation by all who
knew him. In politics he was a democrat, and tenacious of his opinions; but he
cheerfully accorded to others of a different school that freedom of opinion
which he claimed for himself. In religious faith he was a Presbyterian; but when
that church in Portland was merged in the Congregational church, he cast in his
lot with others, and remained in that communion until his death. For about
twenty of the last years of his life his health steadily declined, causing him
to retire from business cares, and almost imperceptibly he glided down the
declivity of life and peacefully passed away.
Volume 17 (1892) pages 104-110
MRS. LORAINE BEERS. Mrs. Loraine Beers, widow of Dr. M. B. Beers, formerly of Portland, died on Thursday last, July 4, 1889, at her late home at Hersey, at the advanced age of 90 years. Both the doctor and Mrs. Beers were well known in this and adjoining counties. They came to Portland about 1838 and for some years the doctor was the only physician here, and by exposure and hardships peculiar at that time to his profession, his hair was changed from a jet black to that of snow, when as yet he had not reached midway in the journey of life. His health failing, the family removed to Hersey, Osceola county, where he died, some twelve years ago. From infirmity of age, Mrs. Beers has been unable to leave her home, and now that she is no longer with us, her death will be deplored by such of the old settlers as yet remain, who knew the family and in the earlier years had partaken of its hospitality.
EMMELINE C. CORNELL, widow of the late Dr. Alanson Cornell, died at 2:30 Sunday
afternoon, Aug. 18, 1889. Dr. Cornell and his excellent wife are among the
foremost figures in every picture of pioneer life in Ionia county. Here they
shared with others the trials and vicissitudes of a pioneer settlement, bearing
a larger part of the burden than the most. In common they ministered to the
sick, soothed the dying and comforted the afflicted.
John Adgate, of Berlin, died about 11 o'clock, a. m., August 26, 1889, of
typhoid fever, aged 70 years. He had been sick about three weeks. Mr. Adgate
came to Ionia county in 1840, settling in Ionia township, near where is now the
Tuttle cemetery. He was twice married, his first wife being Catherine Taft, by
whom he leaves two surviving children, Chester, a resident of Berlin, and Luany,
wife of Riley Harwood, of Berlin. After his wife's death he married Rosetta
Briggs, of Campbell, by whom he leaves three surviving children, Wm. D., a
farmer in Berlin, and Philo and Milo, twins of mature age, but unmarried and
living on the homestead farm. His second wife died about five years ago. He also
leaves one brother, William of Ionia township.
GEISEN. John Van Geisen, one of the oldest and most respected settlers of Ionia,
died at his home in Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 15, 1889, of old age, and was buried
Monday at 2 o'clock from his late residence, the interment being in the cemetery
at Orleans Center.
MITCHELL. Curtis B. Mitchell, a pioneer farmer of the township of Berlin, died
at his home on Friday, Nov. 8, 1889, aged 67 years. His funeral was attended
from the residence at 1 o'clock on Saturday afternoon. Interment in Lett's
GATES. Samuel K. Gates was born at Fabius, Onondaga county, N. Y., November 30,
1822. In early manhood he taught school in Niagara county in the same state. In
the fall of 1848 he married Miss Clara Whiting and the same year came to Battle
Creek, Michigan. In 1856 he with his family settled in Danby, Ionia county,
having purchased a farm of uncleared land on which he made extensive
improvements. In the spring of 1864 he enlisted in the 27th Regt., Mich. Infty.
Vols., and at the battle of the wilderness he was taken prisoner by the rebels,
but was exchanged and sent to St. Mary's Hospital, Detroit, where he was
subsequently employed as a clerk until his discharge.
STEVENSON. After a residence of more than half a century in Ionia county, the
subject of this notice passed away to his Heavenly rest on Friday last Feb. 21,
1890. There are few men in the county who are better or more favorably known.
CRAPE ON THE DOOR.
There's crape on the door, a saint waiting long
Heard the glad message, come, join with the throng
Of the ransomed from sin, gone in before.
"Ring the bell softly, there's crape on the door."
There is crape on the door, soon, very soon
That token proclaim, another friend gone.
How swiftly they pass to the unseen shore,
"Ring the bell softly, there's crape on the door."
P. H. Taylor.
DILDINE. Died, at his home in Easton, March 19, 1890, William Helper Dildine.
MOSES M. GOULD. Moses M. Gould, died Friday night, May 16, 1890, at the home of his son, supervisor Nathan F. Gould, of Boston, at the age of 90 years. Mr. Gould settled upon the farm where he died in 1837, and his was the fifth family in the township. His daughter Mrs. Jas. A. Aldrich, was the first white child born in the town. He leaves four children, Nathan F., John T. and Mrs. J. A. Aldrich of this township and Mrs. S. A. Aldrich of Muskegon, wife of the probate judge of that county.
RICHARD HILL. Mr. Hill was born in. England in the year 1808-Removed to Orleans in Ionia county, in 1847, where he bought a wild farm upon which he lived until his death, June 10, 1890, leaving seven children. It was a long way to emigrate and a long life to live on one piece of land which he cleared up and made a comfortable home for his family.
Volume 18 (1892) pages 180-184
SYLVANUS WILBER. Mr. Sylvanus Wilber was born August 12, 1806, in Vermont, where he lived until 1826. He married Miss Sabra Blodgett of Vermont and from that state moved to St. Lawrence county, New York, where he lived as a farmer until 1854, when he moved to Easton, where he lived a model farmer until June 28, 1890. God then saw fit to move his resting place and give him one not prepared with hands, but eternal and in the heavens. Mr. Wilber has raised nine children, eight of whom survive to mourn the loss of their father, but mourn not as those' that have no hope.
PAGE. Wellington C. Page, one of the most highly esteemed of the old residents
of Ionia died at his home on East Main street July 25, 1890.
TUTTLE. COMPOSED AND READ BY REV. R. C. CRAWFORD AT THE FUNERAL.
ELLIOT M. MARTIN. Elliot M. Martin was born March 15, 1806 in Otsego, Otsego Co. New York, was married to Mrs. Catherine Quackenboss, October 12, 1831. In 1846, he with his family removed from New York to Michigan and settled in the township of Orange. In September of 1852 he was bereaved of his wife. In 1863 he removed to Danby which continued to be his home until his death. In January 1871 he was married to Mrs. Alzina Bennet, with whom he enjoyed life until her death May 14, 1885. Mr. Martin was born and always lived in a new country. Inured to work in his boyhood, his life was one of unceasing labor incident to pioneer experience. The support of a large family of eleven children allowed no time for recreation, and his mind was too practical to indulge in day dreams. He was respected by his neighbors for his sound sense and practical judgment, and when the pilgrimage of his life was ended he was borne to his silent resting place by sorrowing friends who realized that they had lost an old friend. His death occurred December 17, 1890.
REV. JOHN M.
COE. Rev. John M. Coe died at his home in Ionia, April 8, 1891, aged
seventy-nine years, six months and fourteen days.
Volume 21 (1994) pages 145-150
ISAIAH DECKER.-Another of the earliest settlers of Portland has fallen, and that form which for more than fifty years has been as familiar to our vision as the waters of our rivers or the hills which encircle our pleasant village we shall never look upon again in time. Isaiah Decker is dead. Mr. Decker was born August 8, 1817, in the State of New York. His native place was then a new country and he had educational advantages only in their elementary form, but of an industrious mind, he was inured to labor, so that when he came to Ann Arbor in 1840, he was prepared for all the vicissitudes of pioneer life. In 1841 he was married to Miss Arilla Clark and the following year removed to Portland, where the family continued to reside until the death of Mrs. Decker, August 22, 1888, and the death of Mr. Decker July 7, 1891. On his arrival at Portland Mr. Decker at once commenced clearing land which was then but little more than a primeval forest. He was especially skillful with the ax, in the use of which he had no superiors. By steady perseverance and economy he secured enough of this world's goods to sustain them in old age. Mrs. Decker was of a kindly disposition and when neighbors were prostrated by the sickness so prevalent in those early years she was always present with those little attentions so grateful to the settlers in their new homes. After the death of his wife Mr. Decker's-health gradually failed until his death.
MRS. POLLY DYE.
Mrs. Polly Dye died at 3 o'clock, a. m., Dec. 18, 1890, at the family homestead
on Dye street, Ionia. Death came quietly and peacefully after a long illness.
LAKE.-On Friday morning, Jan. 15, 1892, at the home of Mrs. H. M. Wilson in
Ionia, there closed a life that is entitled to more than a passing notice. The
memory of Mrs. Juliette Lake lives in all hearts that knew her or came into
touch with her sweet life. Born in the state of New York, she early came to
Michigan, and with her husband was identified with many interests in the life of
Ionia and other places. In 1854 she united with the First Baptist church of
Ionia, and at the time of her death was a consistent member of the same and an
earnest and devoted christian.
ALDEN J. POTTER. Alden J. Potter died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Nelson Wainwright in Danby, April 20, 1892, in the eighty-fifth year of his age. Mr. Potter was born in Washington county, New York, in February of 1808. He came to Ingham county, Michigan, in 1830, where he was married to Miss Jenette Howard, and in 1834 came to Portland where he resided some years, working at his trade-that of a carpenter. In 1845 he purchased a quarter section of land in Danby and moving upon it, by his own strong arms, cleared and otherwise improved it for a home for himself and family, occupying it until his death. He was a hard working and industrious man, honest in his dealings and outspoken as to his opinions. It is to be regretted that he-looked at christianity with a distorted vision, and was therefore a sceptic in matters of faith. His aged widow and one daughter yet survive him.
MRS. MARY J. PROBART. Mrs. Mary J. Probart, wife of John C. Probart, died at her home in Portland, May 4, 1892, aged sixty-five years. Mrs. Probart was the daughter of the late Warren Miner, and was born in Huron county, Ohio, February, 26, 1827, and came with her father's family to Oakland county, Michigan, in 1831. The family came to Portland in 1836. On the 21st day of April, 1844, she was married, by Rev. L. M. S. Smith, to Mr. John C. Probart, who yet survives her. In 1843 she made. a profession of religion and united with the Baptist church but subsequently left that denomination and united with the Congregational church, remaining in its membership until her death. Mr. and Mrs. Probart were no exceptions to the general rule respecting the first settlers. There were but few neighbors, separated in most instances by miles of dense forests, affording a home for bears, wolves and other offensive animals, and it was only a partial compensation that deer were also in abundance, to fill out the scanty supplies of the white settler, who also shared with his red brother in the stores of nature to supply the wants, common to them all. The early settlers were always tormented with dense swarms of mosquitoes, but their trials usually commenced with the first clearing. The hot summer sun shining on the decaying vegetation, produced a poisonous malaria which became evident to the settler in the loss of appetite, pains in the back and joints until every fibre of the body ached with pain and the flush of fever in the veins, succeeded by the chill freezing to the marrow, and then the settler was helplessly sick. All these experiences were the lot of Mr. and Mrs. Probart, but they were spared to outlive them, and they for many of their last years enjoyed the rich reward of their early privations.
WEBSTER. In the death of James M. Webster, July 12, 1891, Portland has lost
another link in the chain connecting the present with the times of the earliest
settlers. Mr. Webster's father, Ira Webster, came from Monroe county, N. Y.,
having to cut his way through the woods of the last eight miles of his journey,
and reaching Portland in 1837, when his son was of the age of eleven years. This
township was organized in 1838, and at its first town meeting in April of that
year, Ira Webster was elected supervisor. He was always a prominent man until
his untimely death at the age of forty-five years. Soon after attaining his
majority the subject of this article was elected township treasurer, which
office, with that of commissioner of highways, he continued to hold for a number
of years. During the gold excitement in California, he with other citizens went
to the Pacific coast; but not satisfied there he returned, and in company with
R. B. Smith and J. M. Benedict, engaged in the manufacture of school furniture.
Mr. Webster was also at one time engaged in buying and shipping wheat. Some
years ago he built a large and beautiful residence on his farm which engaged his
attention, until, with impaired health, he with his family removed to Portland,
where he resided at the time of his death.
Volume 22 (1894) Pages 97-101
PETER H. ADAMY.
Peter H. Adamy, who died July 7, 1892, was supposed to be the oldest person
living in Sebewa. He was born in Minham township, Montgomery county, N. Y., May
16, 1805, of German parentage, and his grandfather was conspicuous in the
revolutionary war. In 1810 he moved with his parents to Niagara county and spent
fifteen years in clearing up and cultivating the heavy timbered land of that
country. In 1827 he enlisted in the regular army for five years and saw service
in the Black Hawk war under General Brooks, who had his headquarters at Green
Bay. During a part of this time Mr. Adamy was assigned to a post at Chicago,
which was then composed of a few Indian huts. Here he spent some time carrying
the United States mail from Chicago to Niles, Michigan. The route was simply an
Indian trail on which creeks had to be waded and rivers swum. Along this route
he had many encounters with the redskins.
Fellow Gates died at his home in Orange, January 15, 1893.
HEYDLAUFF. Anna M. Heydlauff died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. S. Danner,
in Ronald, Michigan, January 23, 1893, aged 83 years.
REV. SMITH P. GAMAGE.-Rev. Smith P. Gamage was born at Crosgrove, Northampton county, England, December 28, 1810. He was converted in early life and united with the Congregational church and became a preacher at the age of 19 years. The principal points of his first sermon were in writing and were present at his funeral. He came to America in 1830 and soon afterward was ordained on Long Island, near Brooklyn, and was married to Miss Lydia E. King the same year. On the breaking out of the rebellion he enlisted as chaplain in the 75th Regiment, colored infantry, New York volunteers, and while in the service contracted diseases which terminated only with death. In 1877 he with his family came from Isabella county to Portland, where he continued to reside until his death. His health had prevented any settled pastorate though he occasionally preached in Sebewa and other places. He was fond of writing and had contemplated publishing one or more volumes on theological subjects, the material for which he had on hand. For several years he was the chaplain to the local post of the G. A. R. and was always present on Decoration days, though for the last two years of his life he was confined to his house nearly all the time. He was buried as he desired by the attendance of the post at his funeral. He was of a very amiable disposition and was much liked by all who knew him.
MRS. A. L.
KELSEY. Mrs. A. L. Kelsey died at her home October 2, 1892, aged 86 years.
MRS. HENRIETTA PILKINTON. Mrs. Henrietta Pilkinton was born at West Bloomfield, New York, in 1820, and was the daughter of Mr. Harry Bradley, who with his family came to Northville, Wayne county, Michigan, in 1829. Here she made a profession of religion and united with the Congregational church. She was married to Stephen Pilkinton in 1838, and with their little family moved to Sebewa, Ionia county, in 1840. When the Congregational church of Portland was organized, February 4, 1843, she with her husband were constituent members, though living in a dense wilderness and at so great a distance as to prevent attendance at public services of the church, and so keenly was this privation felt that they removed to Portland in 184-, where they continued to reside until Mrs. Pilkinton's death, December 17, 1892. The severe toil in clearing new land, and privations incident to an unsettled county, laid the foundation for disease, undermining the otherwise strong constitution and culminating in death at the age of 72 years. Mrs. Pilkinton was highly esteemed as a neighbor and christian in the community where she was known.
EDWARD RABY. Edward Raby died at Ionia November 30, 1892, aged 75 years. He was a member of Company K, 14th Michigan Infantry, and an old resident in this locality, having worked with the first gangs in the construction of the Detroit and Milwaukee railroad.
ROSECRANS. Almon Rosecrans died at his home in Ionia November 10, 1892. Mr.
Rosecrans was born near Lockport, Niagara county, N. Y., May 3, 1817, making his
age 75 years, 6 months, 1 week. He was one of a family of seven children, six of
whom were left without parents while very young, consequently were, of
necessity, separated and cared for in different homes.
JAMES BRONSON SANFORD. The life which has so recently gone out from among us deserves more than a passing notice, which has, for nearly 50 years, mingled in the business of Ionia and been a familiar figure on the streets. James Bronson Sanford was born in Ellisburgh, Jefferson county, N. Y., August 8, 1822. When three years old his parents removed to Camden, Oneida county. He came to Ionia with his sister, Mrs. Emily Warner, in 1839, and was engaged in L. S. Warner's store for a number of years. As the Indians were daily customers he learned some parts of their language so as to trade with them. He went to Chicago in 1844 and during the following years was connected with some of the old wholesale and retail firms of Magie & Co., Clark & Haines, then went into business for himself at ]96 Lake street. He was married to Maria Yeomans, daughter of Erastus Yeomans, September 8, 1846, raised six sons and three daughters. The eldest son died three years since, the other children all survive him and were all present at the funeral. He returned to Ionia in 1855 and took up farming. While in Chicago he united with St. James Episcopal church and was one of three male members, in the early history of the church here. His mother's family was identified with the early settlement of central New York, his mother being the second white child born at Fort Stanwix, near Rome in Oneida county. He died September 13, 1892, aged 70 years, one month and five days.
Volume 26 (1896) pages 121-127
REV. ALFRED CORNELL. Rev. Alfred Cornell who died at Ionia on Christmas afternoon, December 25, 1893, was born in Eaton, Madison county, N. Y., July 7, 1813. His parents were both born in Rhode Island, and were for many years members of the Baptist church in Morristown, N. Y. In November, 1833, they moved to Ionia, where they united with the Baptist church, of which they remained worthy and esteemed members until their respective deaths, each at the age of 85 years. Like shocks of corn fully ripe they were, in their season, gathered to their fathers. Of his early religious experience deceased left the following record: "Having been reared by parents who were devoted and consistent Christians, I had early in life strong convictions that it was my duty and interest to become a Christian. Sin had, however, blinded my eyes and perverted my heart and caused me, like many others, to give heed to the pride of my heart and love of the world, rather than to the convictions of duty to my God and myself. At about the age of 27 I was so deeply impressed that I ought at once to become a Christian that I began in earnest to search the scriptures and call upon God. After struggling with my depraved nature for months, I found peace in becoming reconciled to God. I was baptized into the fellowship of the Baptist church of Ionia by Rev. Buttolph in the spring of 1841." In addition to a common school and academic education, with the ministry in view, in 1841, he went to Hamilton, N. Y., where he took a course of English study, designated in the catalogue as a "Partial or shorter course" in Madison (now Colgate) university, from which he graduated in 1843. He was called to ordination by the Baptist church at Macedon, N. Y. Late in 1843, or early in 1844. This was his first pastorate, his second at Ionia from 1845 to 1863, at Norwalk, O., from 1863 to 1866, then a second pastorate at Ionia, at Portland 1871 to 1877, chaplain of State House of Correction, from 1877 to 1881. In many other convenient places he labored as he had opportunity and as time and strength permitted. About 50 years of faithful and efficient labor was rendered in Ionia county. Although no record of results has been preserved it is well known that he labored not in vain in the Lord. His ministry was characterized by conversions, by baptisms, and the building up of churches. In all churches in which he labored, or places in which he lived, his memory is fragrant with the aroma of heaven. During his entire pioneer ministry he neither asked nor received a farthing from any missionary treasury. His active interest in denominational affairs was mainly confined within his own association. The lack of roads and the difficulty of supporting families in pioneer days, prevented his attendance at the State convention or other public meetings far away, except at long intervals. Deceased was twice married, first to Miss Amanda Yeomans of Ionia, in December, 1836, daughter of Judge Erastus Yeomans. She died at Norwalk, Ohio, in February, 1863. Again to Miss Katie Mason of Ripley, Chautauqua county, N. Y., in 1863. He was father of six children. Three of whom are dead, three are living. Seymour A., the eldest, was a student at Kalamazoo for some years. At the breaking out of the war of the rebellion he enlisted in the army and was commissioned a lieutenant. He fell in battle before Petersburg, Va. During the rebellion while the 21st Michigan regiment was in the field in Kentucky, it selected the subject of this sketch for chaplain; Governor Blair assured him that his commission was ready, but illness of his wife and his acceptance of his pastorate at Norwalk, Ohio, prevented his joining the regiment. Upon a careful survey of his whole life, we can joyfully say that a truly good and noble man has fallen in Israel.
ANDREW DANIELS. Andrew Daniels, an old and respected resident of the State, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Aldrich, in Sebewa, Ionia county, April 18, 1894, of general decline. He was born in 1812 at Burlington, Vt. In 1827 he went to New York state, where in 1832, he was married to Miss Eunice Merryfield. To them eight children were born, two sons and six daughters. In 1854 he came to Michigan where he has since resided. In early life he became a Christian and was ever found an earnest and consistent advocate of the faith. In his political relations he was a radical republican, being at his death a member of the ''Harrison club." He leaves to mourn his loss an aged companion, seven children, thirty-two grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren, besides a large circle of friends. H. D. C.
DAVID GRIFFIN. Another of our old citizens has passed away. David Griffin died Wednesday afternoon, October 4, 1893, in the 80th year of his age. He was born in West Chester county, N. Y., August 9, 1814, and continued to reside there until after his marriage in 1836. He came with his little family to Albion, Mich., in 1847, and then removed to Sunfield, where he remained but a short time, when, having bought a farm in Sebewa, he went on to his land, and by tireless industry cleared up a farm, while the surrounding land was a wilderness. Wishing to give his children the advantages of schools, he removed to Portland in 1864, and continued to reside there until his death. He made a profession of religion and united with the Baptist church while living in Sebewa, subsequently uniting by letter with the church of that denomination in Portland. His manner of life was always exemplary and he always had the esteem and confidence of all who knew him. He was a kind old man, loved by all, and he died leaving not an enemy in the world. He leaves a widow, the wife of his youth, with five sons and two daughters, all of whom are married, having families.
MRS. CAROLINE ISHAM. Mrs. Caroline Isham, widow of Giles S. Isham died at her home in Lyons, Monday evening, November 27, 1893, at the age of 86 years. Mr. and Mrs. Isham removed from Burlington, Vt., to Lyons in 1833, where Mr. Isham engaged in the mercantile business. Except for a brief absence in California Mr. Isham lived in Lyons until his death. Mrs. Isham was a very benevolent, kind hearted woman, who will be remembered by the old residents of the Grand river valley as a good neighbor and a warm friend, and by the Ionia county pioneers as a kind and genial woman. Mrs. Isham leaves three children, Mrs. H. Hitchcock, Mrs. Marion Littlefield and F. A. Isham. Her sister, Mrs. J. C. Blanchard, of Ionia, is the last living of seven sisters and two brothers.
S. LOVELL.-The following resolutions were adopted by the bar of the county of
Ionia, at a meeting held at the court house Thursday afternoon, April 5, 1894,
at 2 o'clock, upon the occasion of the death of the Hon. Louis S. Lovell:
JOHN McKELVEY. John McKelvey died very suddenly at midnight, Saturday, August 19, 1893, while he was seated in a chair in his room at the Dexter house. All the evening he had been cheerful and gave no sign of illness. Landlord W. E. Southard and A H. Geok were beside him when he died. Dr. Defendorf was sent for and pronounced it a case of heart disease. For 60 years he had been a prominent figure in and about Ionia county, having settled in Lyons township in 1833, and had many friends. He was born October 15, 1816, at Albany, N. Y. He moved with friends, who were farmers, to Rochester, when 3 years old, moving thence to Michigan in 1833, settling in Oakland county. He remained there 8 years, after which he moved into Lyons township, where he has resided ever since. He never attended school, but was educated by a private tutor. He engaged in farming and began the study of law, when about 30 years of age. He was married about 49 years ago and was the father of four children, but one of whom is living, Byron L., residing in Boston township. The only other relative living is a sister, Mrs. Leonard, of Ionia, who is 75 years of age. Their family consisted of eleven children and came from long lived stock, his father living to the age of 120. Mr. McKelvey leaves a small estate, and at the time of his death was county truant agent.
JOSEPHINE A. MOREHOUSE. Josephine A. Morehouse died of cancer at Grand Rapids, Mich., where she had transiently gone for medical treatment, on the 25th day of July, 1893. Her social position, her prominence in literary circles and her usefulness in the church as a working member, demands more than a passing notice of her demise. She was the daughter of Justus S. and Temperance Sandborn and was born at Allan, N. Y., June 9, 1843. The same year the family came to Portland in this State, and at a proper age she enjoyed the advantages of our public schools, and when she graduated from our high school it was with distinguished honor. In January, 1861, she was united in marriage to Jasper Davis, who after a brief honeymoon of a month responded to the call of his country and in the 27th regiment, Michigan infantry, went to the front. He participated in the fortunes of his regiment until he was taken sick and died in hospital in June, 1864. In July, 1867, the subject of this sketch was married to Jephtha B. Morehouse, who yet survives her. In early life Mrs. Morehouse made a profession of religion and united with the M. E. church, but subsequently on a closer examination of the scriptures changed her views of its teaching and united with the Baptist church. She did not, however, change her feeling of regard for all Christians of whatever name or denomination. In Christian work or plans of benevolence she was second to few, and her energy imparted success. In public services and devotional meetings she was generally present and in the service of song she was a leader. She was especially prominent for her usefulness in the Sunday school of which she was superintendent for several years. She was also a charter member of the ladies' literary club and for a number of years its president. Her friends were only limited by her acquaintance, for all who knew her loved her. In her temper she was genial and amiable and will long be missed by church and society. When she was informed of the character of the disease (cancer) that was destroying her vitals, she did no fail in courage or give way to despondency, but with a living faith in her Redeemer, and leaning on the arm of the Savior in her increasing weakness, patiently she traversed the dismal valley made radiant by the sunlight of God's eternal love, and so she fell asleep.
BENJAMIN F. PEW. Benjamin F. Pew was born in Ithaca, Tompkins county, N. Y., March 22, 1815, and died August 2, 1894. In 1836 he came to Michigan and settled at Prairie Creek where he remained about two years. From there he went to Muskegon where he remained only one year. He came back to Ionia county. He was united in marriage to Miss Rachel Bradish September 13, 1840, and settled on his farm just east of Palo. In the spring of 1852 they made up their minds to move to California, and with two yoke of cattle, they started to cross the plains, arriving there six months later. They remained in California about two years and came back to Michigan, remained five years and returned to California taking again six months to cross the plains. Here they remained until about 1870 then came again to Michigan and settled in Palo. Mr. and Mrs. Pew have lived together nearly 53 years There were born to them four children, three of whom were laid to rest in California, all dying within ten days. One, Mrs. Turnbull, remains with the widow and mother to mourn their loss. He also leaves five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Mr. and Mrs. Pew crossed the ocean six times during their married life. Brother Pew joined the masonic lodge in the year 1852, and those who knew him best know how well he has kept that obligation. The funeral services were held-from the M. E. church under the service of the order of which he was a member. Sermon by Rev. O. J. Golden. He was laid to rest in North Plains cemetery.
HENRY W. SHERWOOD. Henry W. Sherwood died at his home in Berlin, Ionia county, March 5, 1894, at the age of 78 years. Deceased was born in Dansbury, Conn., February 18, 1816, and December 7, 1842, was married to Phoebe A. Knapp, at Fairfield, Conn., who died October 5, 1851. To them were born three children. One died in infancy, and two survive him, Mrs. Rebecca Lewis, of Holton, Muskegon county, and, Mrs. Thomas Noddins, of Orleans, Ionia county. Mr. Sherwood was again married July 4, 1852, to Miss Charlotte Noddins of Hartford, Niagara county, N. Y., and to them were born six children. Three survive him, Thomas H., Franklin N., and Mrs. Charlotte M. Woodard. The deceased removed with his parents when but a boy to Niagara county, N. Y., and lived there until 1860, when he removed to Berlin, Ionia county, where he resided until his death.
DAVID S. SOLES. David S. Soles died January 18, 1891, at his home in the village of Portland, where he has been a resident and an old landmark for much more than half a century. He was born at Alburg, Vt., December 18, 1803, and at the date of his death was over 90 years of age. In 1838 he went to Kirtland, Ohio, which was then the stronghold of Mormonism, and the residence of Joseph Smith, but though living among Mormons, he did not accept their creed, and dissatisfied with the community he removed the next year, 1839, to Ann Arbor, Mich., and in 1840 came to Portland where he continued to live until his death. He was brought up a farmer and on coming to Michigan, as such bore his share of hardships in clearing up the wilderness. In 1840 he was married to Miss Hester A. David who yet survives him. In 1845 he was elected constable, and because of the satisfaction he gave in the discharge of his duties, he was annually reelected for more than 40 years continuously. He assisted in the survey of the land on which he afterward built his residence, and in which he lived until his death which came to him as the fitting close of a long and useful life. He was a constituent member of the Congregational church of Portland at its organization in 1843 and from which church he was buried. An upright and honorable man and conscientious Christian his memory will be cherished long after he has passed away.
Volume 26 (1896) pages 418-423
MRS. SOPHIA KIMBALL. Mrs. Sophia Kimball, widow of the late Martin Kimball, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Ross, in Easton, on Saturday, April 6, 1895. The funeral was held from the residence on Monday. Deceased was sister of the late Wm. Rice, who owned the Rice farm mostly located in what is now the second ward of Ionia. They came here in 1836. She was the last of a family of thirteen children. She was twice married and was the mother of Seymour, George and Albert Stebbins. Three daughters also survive her, Mrs. S. A. Yeomans, Mrs. Andrew Ross and one daughter in Clinton county. She was 85 years of age. Interment in Oak Hill cemetery, opposite the old Rice homestead.
DR. FRANCIS G. LEE. Dr. Francis G. Lee, an old resident of Portland, died on Friday, April 26, 1895, aged 73 years. He had been for many years subject to attacks of neuralgia of the heart, and his last attack was extremely severe, giving him a premonition of its fatal termination. He came to Portland some 40 years ago and soon after married Miss Julia Bogue, and after her death married her sister Miss Louisa Bogue, who died some years ago. Subsequently he married the lady who now survives. In his younger years he was quite a politician of the democratic school and in addition to that of postmaster held several other offices. For several years past he has not practiced medicine, but having acquired a competency has led a quiet life at hit home in Portland. He was a member of the blue lodge, chapter and council of R. and S. masons. The funeral was conducted by the Portland lodge No. 31 F. and A. M.
HON. CYRUS LOVELL. Cyrus Lovell was born in Grafton, Windham county, Vt., September 9, 1804, and died at his home in Ionia, April 9, 1895. His parents, Enos and Mary Lovell, were both of New England origin. Mr. Lovell came to Michigan from Vermont in 1829, having spent the early part of his life in legal and other studies. He settled in Ann Arbor and in 1831 was married to Louise Fargo, going to Galesburg, Kalamazoo county, later building a frame residence in Kalamazoo in 1832. While at Kalamazoo he served as justice of the peace, prosecuting attorney and supervisor, and in 1837 was chosen first supervisor of Ionia county, having permanently settled here in 1836, devoting his time to the practice of law. In 1848 he was elected to the State legislature and served on the judiciary committee and the committee on banks and corporations. In 1850 he was a member of the constitutional convention and during a second term which he served in 1855, he was speaker of the house of representatives and filled the position with ability. In politics he was first a whig, and afterwards a republican until 1860 when he voted for Stephen A. Douglass, since then a democrat. Having been a resident here since 1836 he was a familiar figure in Ionia for many years. Four children survive him as follows: Mrs. Charlotte Ely of Rockford, Mrs. Mont Lyon of Holland, Mrs. Belle Downs and Mrs. A. W. Dodge of Ionia.
HON. WILLIAM SESSIONS. Hon. William Sessions, one of Ionia's old and respected pioneers, died at his home near Vickeryville, Montcalm county, Thursday, July 19, 1894, from a stroke of paralysis. Wm. Sessions was born May 2, 1821, in Marcellus, Onondaga county, N. Y., and was the third of a family of four children. He came to Michigan at the age of 16 with his parents, who settled in North Plains in 1837. He remained with his father, Nathaniel Sessions, until 21 years of age, aiding in clearing and improving the farm which had been purchased, and upon attaining his majority purchased a farm for himself in North Plains, clearing the same, 240 acres. March 26, 1854, he was married to Miss Julia A. Jennings, daughter of John and Elizabeth Jennings of Ronald. Three children were born of this union, of whom two are living, Clarence and John. Mr. Sessions has held various county offices, and in 1872 was elected to the State legislature, serving one term. In 1871 he moved to Ionia, and was for many years one of its most honored citizens. He was always an active and industrious man. He was a trustee for several years of the First Presbyterian church of Ionia and prominent in church matters. He was also a member of the session of said church for a number of years after his removal from the city, which was about six years ago. Socially he enjoyed the confidence and respect of all his acquaintances.
CALVIN SMITH. Another of Otisco's most esteemed citizens passed away Friday, April 26, 1895, aged 78 years. He was born August 17, 1817, in Washington county, N. Y. In his 19th year his parents removed to Ogden, Monroe county, N. Y., the family consisting of six brothers and three sisters. In 1843 he married Miss Phoebe T. Harroun and the same year he moved to Smyrna, Mich. In 1847 he lost his wife. August 13, 1849, he married Miss Philira Northway of Smyrna, who survives him. Two brothers and one sister also survive him, Judge Sidney Smith of Chicago, Ill., Edward Smith of LeRoy, N. Y., and Mrs. Raymond Goodhue of Rochester, N. Y. Mr. Smith sought farming for his occupation, in which he was successful. He was elected highway commissioner for three years, after which he was elected justice of the peace, which office he has held up to his death making 46 years. He has also been a member of the township board during the above period. During the time he was justice of the peace, never was a case decided by him where it was carried to the higher courts and his decision reversed. Deceased had always enjoyed good health until October 13, 1894, and since that time he gradually failed in spite of the best medical aid. During his long and painful sickness never was he heard to complain in the least, but instead he expressed a willingness to leave all with his Savior in whom he believed and trusted. At the Baptist church the funeral took place April 28, Rev. D. E. Hills of Greenville, officiating. Text, 2d Timothy, 1st chapter, last clause of the 10th verse. The church was insufficient to accommodate all, it being one of the largest gatherings ever witnessed of its kind in the village.
HON. JOHN B. WELCH. Hon. John B. Welch, familiarly known as "Uncle John," after an illness of several weeks, passed away at his home on East Washington street, Ionia, Tuesday night, February 26, 1895, at 10:30 o'clock. Although his death had been hourly expected for several days, when the end came and the news became generally known, there was an expression of sympathy and regret from all parts of the city. He was one of the good old pioneers who are gradually passing away, but one whose name will always live as a pleasant memory. He was a citizen loved, honored and respected by all. He came to Ionia to reside from his farm only a few years ago. His wife and five children survive him who with the relatives have the sympathy of the community. He was an active member and ex-president of the Ionia County Pioneer Society. John B. Welch was born March 21, 1816, at Petersburg Hill, Schoharie county, N. Y., being one of a family of ten children, his parents being Vine and Ruth Welch, natives of Vermont. When he was 9 years of age his parents moved to Herkimer county, N. Y., and in 1836 be came to Michigan, reaching Ionia" May 22, accompanied by his brother Simon and brother-in-law Richard Dye, and Philander Hinds who was also brother-in-law of Mr. Dye. At that time there were but three log houses in what now constitutes Ionia city. Upon reaching Ionia Mr. Welch's entire capital consisted only of seven dollars in money, an old shot gun, and an. old watch which he sold for five dollars. Arriving in Ionia Mr. Welch found the family of Samuel Dexter who had moved here in 1833, and by whom he was cordially received. Here he parted with his brother and Mr. Dye who went on to Kalamazoo to enter their land. Mr. Welch found employment with Mr. Dye until October 1, in the butchering business, which at that time was rendered profitable by the location of the land office at Ionia. At about this time provisions became scarce in Ionia, owing to frosts in August, when crops were destroyed. In September, 1836, his father and brothers, Ezekiel and Vine, arrived, bringing with them three barrels of flour, and one of pork, which were soon consumed, and it became apparent that before navigation opened all would be short of provisions, and John was selected with others to go and make a trip to Detroit for the purpose of securing a supply. This was a hazardous undertaking owing to the severity of the weather, the swollen rivers filled with floating ice, etc., through which he was obliged to swim his oxen. However, he made the trip in safety in thirty days, receiving provisions. At this time Mr. Welch and his brother, Vine, late of Keene, began preparing a home for the reception of the remainder of the family, their arrival occurring the following May. In June, 1837, Mr. Welch purchased land from Col. Roberts in Ionia township, three and one-half miles northeast of Ionia city, where he has spent most of his life since that time. In 1839 he returned to New York where he was married on October 8, 1840, to Marcia V. Wilson, daughter of Eliphalet and Matilda Wilson, and sister of the late Dr. Wilson of Grand Rapids. December 10, 1840, Mr. Welch returned to Ionia and began the work of preparing a home for himself and wife, and in September, 1841, revisited New York for the purpose of bringing his wife here. By this union three children were born, Eliza M., now a resident of Ionia, and Ruth K. and Eli. Ruth died at Pleasant Hill seminary, Penn., and Eli when six months of age. Mrs. Welch died in 1846, and in 1848 Mr. Welch was married to his present wife, the widow of Amos N. Roberts, and daughter of Selden Morgan, of Ilion, N. Y., who survives him. By this marriage there were four children, Marcia, wife of John H. Hamilton, Mary, wife of K. R. Smith, and Darius and Amos, all residents of Ionia. The principal occupation of Mr. Welch has been that of farming, which he always conducted with success. He also dealt largely in wool. Mr. Welch was a member of the legislature of Michigan during the sessions of 1863-4-5, and was a candidate for the eastern district of Ionia county in 1886, being defeated by Hon. A. J. Webber. In politics he joined the republican party upon its formation, later affiliating himself with the greenback, and later with the people's party. When the war broke out Mr. Welch raised men for the 3d Michigan volunteer infantry, and was afterwards commissioned by Governor Blair to raise volunteers for the 21st Michigan infantry which he did. This was an Ionia county regiment and rendezvoused at Prairie Creek before going to the front. At the annual reunions of the regiment of late years, Uncle John has always been in attendance; he was always an honored and esteemed guest. He was under sheriff of Ionia county for 8 years, and held the office of supervisor for 2 years. At the age of 44 years he became a devoted and earnest member of the church of Christ and contributed generously towards the erection of the house of worship. Although somewhat odd in his way he was a good, kind and honest man, loved and highly esteemed by all who knew him, and noted for his philanthropic and generous spirit. He was active in life up to the time of his last sickness, and one of the best acts of his life, showing his noble and energetic traits of character, was the building of the north and south roads leading into the city of Ionia. They with others will long remain as a monument to remind future generations of the good work of a faithful and loyal citizen, who always had the interests of his people in mind. Sixty-six of the old residents of Ionia whose total ages amounted to 4,320 years and averaging 65 years each, were in attendance at his funeral. Their total residence in the county was 2,971 years, an average of 45 years each.
THOMAS WHITE.-Thomas White, one of the best known and most highly respected citizens of Portland, was called from labor to reward Tuesday, February 26, 1895, at the ripe age of 86 years, 9 months and 26 days. He was born in Covington, Genesee county, N. Y., June 4, 1808. He came to Michigan in May, 1830, and settled in Macomb county. He was married to Miss Lucy Young in Oakland county, November 2, 1834, and for over 60 years he passed along with dignified, steady and faithful pace beside the noble and devoted woman whom he had chosen; and, like Isaac and Rebecca, they lived faithfully together in perfect love and peace and kept the vow and covenant between them made in the firm and peaceful bonds of mutual affection. In the fall of 1835 be removed to the township of Portland, where he has since resided. Three children gladdened his home, William White, Mrs. Harvey Knox and Mrs. Dr. Hugg, all of Portland, and who, with his aged companion, mourn his loss. He was converted to God in 1840 and united with the Methodist Episcopal church in which he served as class leader and steward for years and of which he continued a faithful member and most liberal supporter to the close of his earthly career. The years of his early manhood were years of trial and comparative privation, the common lot of those who encountered the difficulties of pioneer life. When he came to this town there were less than half a dozen houses in what is now the flourishing village of Portland, while the surrounding country was a dense forest; but with push and energy he took off his coat and began to add his strength to that of his neighbors to develop and bring these beautiful farms to their present perfection. As a result in a few years he found himself in possession of a magnificent property; but material success in life he accepted with gratitude, not in pride, and he used his abundant means according to the higher spirit of the parable of the talents and was always ready to extend a helping hand to a friend, to aid the church of God and to relieve distress. As to Christian character he was a man of unquestionable piety. The evidence to which the scriptures attach the highest importance, that is a life devoted to the service of God and regulated by the precepts of the gospel. His Christian faith exhibited itself as a steady, active, holy principle and his genuine goodness was something that words cannot quite measure. The true philosophy of religion was a great while ago expressed in these words: "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom." This was the life habit of the deceased. He was diligent getting riches but did not neglect his spiritual interests. His experience was a good embodiment of Paul's aphorism, "not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." Firm in his convictions as to duty, his constant aim was to be truthful and just and so he was to the end. What others might do from policy he did from principle. The moral principle which actuated him was as permanent as the faculties of his soul. This trait in his character was so manifest that it raised him above suspicion. In fact from his circumspect example and the whole development, public and private, which he made of his character, it was abundantly evident that he walked with God. His was a life that will bear to be examined and that deserves to be copied. His death was not unexpected as he had been gradually failing for at least two years and more than once in the past few months a friendly angel has been sent to accelerate his journey and to give greater and repeated warnings to his friends to be prepared for his removal. Death resulted from complete exhaustion of the vital forces and as it came upon him it threw gently over him the veil of deepest sleep under which he lay for hours and breathed his life peacefully out upon the bosom of his God. The funeral services were conducted at his residence by his pastor Thursday at 2 p. m., after which the body was placed in our beautiful cemetery where it sleeps beneath the silent dust over which the flowers of spring will soon bloom; but he is living in the Father's house above and death for him has forever passed away.
Volume 27 (1897) pages 95-97
HON. ALEXANDER F. BELL. Hon. Alexander F. Bell, who has been for three years confined to his home from an attack of paralysis, which affected his brain as well as his body, died at the home of his son-in-law, S. B. Gorham, in Ionia, at 2:30 o'clock, March 12, 1896. For forty-eight hours he had been in extremis, and he passed away as quietly and painlessly as if going to sleep. Alexander F. Bell was born August 5, 1812, in Charlton, Saratoga county, New York, of Scotch parentage. He graduated from Union college in 1836, and came to Michigan the same year, arriving at Jackson in August. From Jackson he, in company with the late Adam L. Roof, took a boat and floated down Grand River till he reached Lyons, then a village of three log houses. They camped over night, the third night out, in an unbroken wilderness where is now the capitol of the State. They also camped over night in Portland, a village of four log houses. Pleased with the picturesque appearance of the country around Lyons the two adventurers concluded to settle there. Mr. Roof was already a lawyer. He started a law office and Mr. Bell became his student. In 1839 he married Miss Elizabeth Boyer, of Portland. In 1840 lie was admitted to the bar and the same year removed to the county seat, Ionia, where he has resided for 56 years, except for a short residence in Grand Rapids in 1847, and in Detroit in 1859-60. In 1846 he was elected as a democrat to the State legislature, and in 1853 was appointed by President Pierce register of the United States Land Office. He was the first president of the village of Ionia, being elected on a non-partisan ticket. As a lawyer Mr. Bell always stood at the head of his profession in this part of the State, particularly as a counselor in civil cases. Indeed his ability was in the early days recognized throughout the State and there were few important cases hereabouts in which lie was not employed on one side or the other. He narrowly escaped being a member of the supreme court, and he would have brought to that distinguished tribunal a well-trained mind, and a keen power of analysis, rarely equaled. It was, however, as a citizen, a neighbor and a. friend that he will be best remembered. No man has rendered greater services to the town in which he lived and has less left in the way of worldly possessions to show for it. In all enterprises for the building up of Ionia and promoting its growth and prosperity he was a leading and influential spirit. He was a particularly potent factor in the work of bringing railroads into the town and so managing it as to derive the greatest good to the community to whose interests he was devotedly attached. He was one of the original founders of the Presbyterian church here and always a faithful, earnest and loyal supporter of that society. As a neighbor he was generous and sympathetic; in his family he was indulgent and kind. Few husbands and fathers could recall (le incidents of so long a domestic life and find so little to regret. Faultless he was not, as it is human to err, but his faults were of the kind that are easily forgotten and forgiven, and his virtues and rare good traits were immeasurably greater. Mr. Bell was a man of commanding personality. Of iron frame and unusual powers of endurance he was easily a leader among the hardy pioneers who willingly faced hardships and privations. He was a genial companion, a warm friend, a sturdy enemy, a loving father and a devoted husband. Witty, well-read, with a mind disciplined by study and experience, he was a man whom it was always a pleasure to meet. There was a charm about his conversation and an unaffected simplicity in his manners that it was hard to resist. Mrs. Bell died some years since. Of the seven children born to their union, only two survive, viz.: Mrs. Seymour B. Gorham and Mrs. J. C. Jennings, both of Ionia. Appropriate resolutions were adopted by the Ionia county bar.
LEVI C. GOODWIN Levi C. Goodwin was born in Monroe county, N. Y., March 18, 1814, and died in Easton, Ionia county, April 3, 1896, aged 82 years, 16 days. He was married to Ann Curtis, January 11, 1836. To this union were born two sons and two daughters. The living daughter is married to Peter Slaybaugh. The boys, Burdette and Marcellus, are living in Easton. Mr. Goodwin moved into Michigan in 1852. In 1855 lie moved on to the farm from which he was buried. His remains now rest in the Easton cemetery by the side of his wife who died about seven years before. Mr. Goodwin was one of the pioneers who helped to open the forest roads, and 'clear the country for the happiness of others, his heart was open to help the afflicted and needy. He accumulated a nice fortune, and paid his honest debts.
Volume 28 (1900) pages 56-58
BENNETT [sic BENEDICT] - Loren Bennett [sic Benedict]died September 23, 1896, at his home in Berlin, aged 85 years. Deceased traced his family history back to the settlement of Salem, Mass., and is of English origin. He was born at Attica, N. Y., and retained in his father's home until he had attained his majority, and in 1834 set his face towards Michigan, coming via the Erie canal to Buffalo, where he took passage to Detroit. The vessel was wrecked off Erie, Pa., on the night of November 22, 1834, stranding on a sandbar. The remainder of the trip to Detroit was made by Mr. Bennett [sic Benedict] in a stage. He proceeded to Rochester, Oakland county, and resided near that place two years. February 15, 1838, he proceeded to Flat river with a load of pork and crossed on a skiff to the cabin of Ambrose Spencer, spent a day in looking at land and purchased at Cook's Corners, in the township of Otisco, county of Ionia, one hundred and sixty acres. In 1846 he disposed of his place and removed to his present farm, lying in Berlin and Orange townships, Ionia county.
BENNETT - Mrs. Mary E. Bennett died at Lyons January 29, 1897, aged 81 years. Mrs. Bennett with her husband came from New York state to Michigan 44 years ago, and settled in Lyons township. They came west not only to build themselves a home but to assist in building and supporting churches, and took a lively interest in everything pertaining to prosperity and good citizenship. They were among the 24 citizens of Lyons and Muir who united in organizing the First Presbyterian church in the latter place, in February, 1862, under the leadership of the late Rev. Louis Mills of Ionia. A few of their first neighbors of venerable age were present at the funeral, notably Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Searing, Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Lewis and Mrs. A. L. Roof, of Lyons.
LIBHART - Mrs. Angeline Libhart of Lyons died May 28, 1897. Deceased was born in Naples, Ontario county, N. Y., July 1, 1811, which village was her home until December 31, 1828, when she became the wife of Henry V. Libhart, and with him resided in York, Livingston county, until 1832; they then came to Michigan, making a short stop at both Detroit and Ann Arbor. In 1833 they left for the Grand river valley, reaching Lyons July 4, since which date Ionia county has been her home. She experienced all the hardships of pioneer life. The trip to Ann Arbor was a nine day one, the last day being on horseback, and fatiguing, she carrying a babe part of the time. Settling in Lyons, that "White Papoose" was the wonder of the Indians. In pioneer days "the latch string" of the Libhart house was always "out."
MITCHELL.-William W. Mitchell was born February 20, 1831, in Madison county, New York. At the age of five years he came with his parents to Dexter, in this State, where they resided about one year and then removed to a farm near Howell in Livingston county. Here he made his home and worked upon his father's farm until he came to Ionia. He gained his education in the common schools and at the State Normal school at Ypsilanti. He studied law in the office and under the auspices of Hon. J. C. Blanchard and was admitted to the bar on October 1, 1859. He entered at once upon the practice of his profession and speedily gained a lucrative practice and an enviable reputation as an attorney. He was elected justice of the peace of the township of Ionia at the spring election in the year 1861. In 1862 he was elected prosecuting attorney of Ionia county and was re-elected in 1864, holding that office for two consecutive terms.
Sylvester Taylor died in Ionia February 7, 1897, at the ripe old age of 83
years. Deceased was born in Berkshire county, Mass., and removed with his
parents to New York city when only two years old. As a boy, his life was spent
in that city and the neighboring suburbs at the age of 15 he came with his
parents to the then frontier settlement known as the Western Reserve in Ohio,
where the years of his youth and early manhood were spent amid the privations of
Volume 28 (1900) pages 343-344
CRANE. Mrs. Sarah Crane was born in Whitby, Canada, June 15, 1832, and with her father's family came to Lyons in 1840. In 1848 she was married to Ansel Crane and at once began housekeeping in a little log cabin with but one room, and on this farm she spent her entire life, moving only once, and then from the little cabin into the new home near by. She died May 21, 1898, aged 66 years.
MILNE. James Milne was born in London, England, November 4, 1820, and died at Portland December 27, 1897. His father, John Milne, came to America in 1833 with his family, and the year following came to Portland. The United States land office was then at White Pigeon, and there the elder Milne entered his land, receiving in due time his deed bearing the name of Andrew Jackson as president. A portion of that farm yet remains in the family. Their first habitation was a tent, until a log cabin was built in which the family lived for fifteen years, when a larger and more convenient framed house was erected. The log cabin was the first house built by the settlers in Portland. The aged parents passed away several years ago. The brothers and sisters have scattered to different parts of the world, James only remaining. He was married in 1854 to Miss Helen Merchant, and after her decease, subsequently married Miss Mary Moore, daughter of William D. Moore, another of the old settlers. He ended his earthly pilgrimage at the age of 77 years.
Henry L. Mitchell died May 25, 1898, aged 83 years. Mr. Mitchell was born August
15, 1815, in Delaware county, New York. He was educated at Franklin academy, and
was admitted to the bar at Cooperstown, Otsego county, New York, about fifty
years ago, while Samuel Nelson, who afterwards became one of the justices of the
Supreme court of the United States, was one of the judges of the Supreme court
of New York.
death of Jonathan Tibbitts takes away one more of the typical pioneers of Ionia
county. He died December 20, 1897, at his home in Lansing, from the effects of a
fall sustained about four weeks before.
Volume 29 (1901) page 80
Volume 29 (1901) page 444-446
Mrs. Westbrook Divine, one more of the earliest pioneers of the section, was
called to her final rest May 10, 1900. She was well known to all the older
residents of Ionia and adjoining counties.
FREEMAN. Sarah C. Freeman was born at Waterford, N. Y., December 3, 1817, and died at Portland, Michigan, September 7, 1899. By the untimely death of her father in 1825 her mother was left a widow with two small children, the deceased and a younger brother who died in 1838. Subsequently the subject of this article went to reside with a married sister at Bennington, Vt. At the age of fifteen she was converted and joined the Baptist church at Shaftsbury, Vt. Afterwards she transferred her membership to Newark, N. J., thence to Troy, N. Y., where she was married to Albert F. Morehouse November 6, 1839. This union continued nearly 60 years. The family came to Portland, Mich., May 24, 1843. The deceased, with her husband, united with the Portland Baptist church August 20, 1843, but in 1871 she transferred her membership to the M. E. church, where she was a consistent member for 28 years, until her death. In her christian experience, as exemplified in her family, in the neighborhood and in the church, she gave evidence that the christian life was more than a form-was a power controlling the whole being. She, with her little family, came to Portland when the country was new. Their home was in a dense forest, with no road as yet opened, and no church edifice in the township for many years afterward. They were pioneers, and none but pioneers can tell of the privations of those early years. With no physician near, the sick settler could only wait with as much patience as possible the development of disease, and hope for the best, which always seemed to be a long time in coming. All this the deceased experienced. Her funeral was attended by three daughters from Arizona, Louisiana and Grand Rapids. Michigan, and a son from Illinois.
William Spencer died at the residence of his nephew, J. A. Spencer, in Belding,
May 19, 1900.
Lewis Clark died April 19, 1900, aged 98 years.
Volume 34 (1905) page 765-766
HULL. Henry F. Hull was born in New York State February 24, 1823, and came to Michigan in 1848. He was twice married. His mother was twice captured in the Wyoming massacre, making her escape and traveling 200 miles bareheaded and barefooted. Mr. Hull was a citizen greatly respected.
LANSTER. Gottlieb F. Lanster was born in Wurtemburg, Germany, December 7, 1827, and came to Ionia in 1856. He was a prosperous business man, retiring in 1893. He died December 7, 1903, leaving an enviable record.
MOORE. Uncle Jacob Moore passed from earth April 7, 1904. Born in Lancaster, Pa., in 1826, he was united to Mary E. Hoar in 1848 and they came to Oakland county for their wedding trip. In 1864 he became a resident of Ionia and was generally known and respected.
SMITH. Harmon Smith was born in 1832 in New York, and came to Ionia in 1843. He set the first type in Barry county, became a lawyer in Hastings, and joined the Seventh Michigan Cavalry, serving three years and taking part in 33 engagements, being twice wounded. He is survived by his second wife.
Last update January 27, 2014