Obituaries and Death Notices
from Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society Collections
 


A E L S
Adamy, Peter English, Edson Lake, Juliette Sabin, Caroline
Adgate, John   Lanster, Gottlieb F. Sandborn, Betsey
Aldrich, Daniel P. F Leach, Calvin Sanford, James
Allen, Dana C. First, Mary Leonard, James Sessions, Alonzo
Allen, Melvin B. Freeman, Sarah C. Lee, Francis Sessions, Margaret
Allen, William II Freeman, Tristram Libhart, Angeline Sessions, William
Arnold, G. Wesley   Lincoln, Dr. William B. Shaw, Martha
  G Lindley, Stephen Sherwood, Henry
B Gamage, Smith Lovell, Cyrus Simmons, David A.
Bailey, Rachel K. Gates, Fellow Lovell, Judge Louis Slater, Levi
Balcom, Mrs. Myron Gates, Samuel Lovell, Louisa Slauson, William
Beattie, Nathaniel Goodenough, Asa   Sloan, Foreman
Beers, Loraine Goodenough, Walter M Smith, Calvin
Bell, Alexander F. Goodrich, Leonard Mann, Loomis Smith, Harmon
Bell, Elizabeth Goodwin, Levi C. Mariett, Sarah Smith, Lewis D.
Benedict, Joel Gould, Moses Marsh, Thomas J. Smith, Lewis D.
Benedict, Loren Green, Samuel Martin, Elliot Soles, David
Bennett, Mary Griffin, David Mathews, Ann Spalding, Day
Bogue, Martha Griffin, Jennie Maxim, John Spaulding, Jerry
Bogue, William W. Griffin, Margaret McKelvey, John Spencer, William
Bretz, Valentine Gurnsey, Ezra M. Millard, Clarissa T. Spencer, William
Butler, Ann   Milne, James Sprague, Herman
  H Mitchell, Curtis Stains, Jane
C Hair, Jacob Mitchell, Henry L. Stannard, Jeremiah
Cadwell, Christina Hair, Levi Mitchell, William W. Stanton, Erastus H.
Cameron, John Hall, Frederick Moore, Jacob Steele, Paul
Carr, Archibald F. Hall, Julia A. Morehouse, Gertrude E. Stevenson, Edward
Charles, Anna M. Hamlin, Ira Morehouse, Josephine Stevenson, John
Churchill, William R. Hayes, Lucinda Morehouse, Sarah C. Stoddard, Corodon C.
Clark, Mrs. Lewis Herrick, Laura Morrison, Mrs. John E. Steele, Stephen
Clark, Polly Howell, Royal Mosher, Lorand J.  
Coe, Rev. John Hearsey, Mason   T
Colton, Matilda Heydlauff, Anna N Taggart, Henry
Comstock, Betsey F. Hill, Richard Newman, Frederick N. Taylor, Sylvester
Conner, James B. Hopkins, Alvason   Tibbitts, Jonathan
Conner, Virgil Hull, Henry F. O Thompson, John
Cook, Cordelia Hunt, Abram Overhiser, George Tower, Osmond
Conklin, Mary Hunt, Frank   Townsend, Sarah
Converse, Ruth   P Tupper, Benjamin
Cooledge, Seneca W. I Page, Wellington Tuttle, Nelson
Cornell, Rev. Alfred Isham, Caroline Pangborn, Samuel Tyler, Mary N.
Cornell, Emmeline   Peake, Theodocia  
Cornell, Thomas J Pew, Benjamin V
Crane, Sarah Jeffers, John Phillips, William G. VanAllen, George W.
Crawford, Sally Jennings, Elizabeth Pierce, George H. VanBuren, Henry
Cutler, Theresa   Pilkinton, Henrietta VanGeisen, John
  K Potter, Alden VanVleck, Albert
D Kelley, Elizabeth Powers, Mrs. Maurice  
Daniels, Andrew Kelsey, Mrs. A. L. Pratt, Ruth W
Davenport, Chester Kimball, Sophia Probart, John Ward, John
Decker, Isaiah King, Elizabeth Probart, Mary J. Way, Daniel
Dickinson, Lydia N. Kingston, Dina   Webster, James
Dildine, William Krup, Charles R Wedge, Henry
Dinsmore, Jane   Raby, Edward Welch, John
Divine, Elizabeth   Ransom, Rev. George White, Lucy
Divine, Mrs. Westbrook   Read, Henry White, Thomas
Divine, Westbrook   Reed, Otis H. Wilber, Sylvanus
Dodge, David   Rosecrans, Almon Wilson, Mary
Drum, Eleanor   Rosecrantz, Polly W. Wolcott, Adaline
Dye, Polly   Russell, Edwin A. Woodworth, William
Dye, Richard     Worden, H. H.
      Wright, Jennie
       
      Y
      Yeomans, Erastus

Volume 3 (1881) pages 490-491

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.
            Dr. Lincoln was born in Peru, Bennington county, Vermont, December 29, 1807. He was one of nine children and his father was a farmer. When a young man he taught school in the winter and worked on his father's farm in the summer. He studied medicine in the office of Dr. Abraham Lowell, of Chester, Vermont, and at the age of 25 graduated from the clinical school of medicine in Chester, Vt. In the spring of 1833 he set out on horseback on a prospecting tour through western New York, and coming to Herkimer learned of the formation of the Dexter colony, whose destination was Ionia county, Michigan, and visiting Mr. Dexter at his home in Schuyler, the young man decided to go west with him. They left Utica April 25, and arrived in Ionia, May 28, being one month and three days on the road. Arriving here after a journey through an unbroken wilderness extending from Jackson to the Grand river valley, the doctor decided to cast in his lot with the new colony. Coming here thus as one of the pioneers, he has made Ionia his home from that time to this. All old settlers will remember his pleasant home, where he lived so many years, just at the forks of the road south of Grand river. For several years he was the only physician in this region, and frequently traveled into adjoining counties, a distance of 40 miles on horseback. Often it was necessary to ford Grand river, and in the winter when the stream could not be crossed with a horse, he at times went on foot from 30 to 40 miles to visit the sick. He engaged in farming at times; also in the drug business. In 1834 he built the first frame house in Ionia county, which we believe still stands on the original site. In 1837 he married Anthy P. Arnold, daughter of one of the Dexter pioneers, Oliver Arnold. They were the first couple married in Ionia county; he was the first clerk of Ionia township, which then embraced the whole county; the first township meeting being held at the German Indian trading station, six miles up the river from the then village of Ionia. He was a whig until the republican party was formed, since that a republican; has been an active member of the Baptist church here since its organization, and was for many years trustee and deacon. The members of the family of the deceased who survive him are his wife and four children, three daughters and one son, viz.: Mrs. V. S. Eastman, Mrs. H. B. Barnes, Mrs. Geo. W. Nelles, and William T. Lincoln. Dr. Lincoln has thus passed the best part of his life in this vicinity, and from first to last he always had the confidence and esteem of all who knew him-and that includes the entire community. He was always a kind husband and father, a good citizen, exemplary in his daily life, a man of piety and a man of his word. His name, like that of the late Dr. Cornell, is a household word throughout Ionia county.

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.
            The following brief sketch will be read with deep interest by hundreds of his old friends throughout Ionia county and other parts of the State.
            Erastus Yeomans, youngest son of Daniel and Esther Yeomans, was born in New Lebanon, Conn., Aug. 11, 1791. His ancestry, as the name implies, was of pure English stock, who came to this country near the close of the seventeenth century. He was educated in the schools of his native place and as a student, early gave evidence of a superior mind. At the age of sixteen he removed with his parents to German Flats, Herkimer county, N. Y. The following year he engaged as teacher in one of the public schools of the county, continuing in the same school nearly three years. Soon after this occurred the war of 1812, with Great Britain, in which he demonstrated his fitness to be a citizen of the republic, by taking his place in the ranks of her defenders. March 19th, 1815, he married Phebe Arnold, daughter of Job and Hannah Arnold, of Fairfield, N. Y. Any sketch of the life of Mr. Yeomans, however brief, would be comparatively valueless, that should fail to acknowledge the fact, that in the marriage with Miss Arnold, a factor was added to his life-work, by the power of which was given the solution so perfectly expressed by Solomon in the words: "Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among elders of the land." From his marriage, for about fifteen years, he engaged in farming and brick-making. April 20, 1832, Mr. Yeomans and family joined a colony of five families, and emigrated to the then territory of Michigan. The magnitude of such an undertaking can at this time scarcely be estimated. After a journey of thirty-nine days, the last half of the distance from Detroit -being through a trackless wilderness, the little colony reached their destination, the present site of Ionia city, May 28, 1833. Small patches of corn and vegetables purchased from the Indians constituted all that could be grown for the subsistence of the colony the first year. With the work of organization peculiar to a new country, no one of the pioneers was more closely identified or efficient. He was appointed first postmaster of Ionia county, in 1834, receiving his commission from Amos Kendall, postmaster-general in the cabinet of Andrew Jackson, which position he held for six years. In 1841 he was elected associate judge of the county, an office in which he served eight years. For thirty of the fifty years which he lived in Ionia, as township, village and city, he was continually the recipient of unsought official trust. His death, in his ninety-second year, severs the last visible bond between pioneer struggles and our present success and prosperity, in the midst of which, the lesson from such a life should cause us to remember that,
                    "Ill fares the land to hastening ills a prey,
                     Where wealth accumulates and men decay."
            No better eulogy can be said of him than that he enters into rest with the silvery radiance cast athwart his brow by the sunset of life, undimmed by a single charge of wrong to his fellow men.

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.
            For more than forty years he was a leading figure in Ionia, and no one of the many worthy men who helped to build up our city and county, was more "widely known, or more highly respected. He had a cheerful smile and a kind word for all. He was especially fond of children, and rarely passed a child that he did not stop and say a pleasant word. None of those who grew to boyhood or girlhood in Ionia when it was a hamlet, can forget the tall and handsome form of Frederick Hall, then a young man, whose salutation to them was always smiling and pleasant, whose words were never else than winning and wholesome. The children all liked him, and no man who has not loveable traits of character, can win his way to the hearts of the young.
            As a business man he was singularly methodical and correct, as well as successful; indeed, his correct business methods were one secret of his success. In all his transactions he was governed by a high sense of honor. His integrity was unimpeached and unimpeachable.
            In politics he was a democrat, never swerving in his allegiance to that party, which, when it had a chance always honored him. When the war came on, he was unequivocally on the side of the union, and his voice and purse were used to encourage and support the government in carrying on the war against secession. He was selected as one of the field officers of a regiment of infantry, together with John L. Morse and Rev. Isaac Errett, but contented himself with contributing of his means and influence to aid younger men in doing the active work in the field. He was a good friend of the soldier and no man extended warmer words of congratulation to the Ionia boys when they received promotion, or gave them more hearty encouragement when they left home for the theatre of war. Doubtless had the party to which he belonged succeeded in getting control in the State and nation, he would have held high positions. His personal popularity when he ran for congress and for lieutenant governor, caused him to run far ahead of his ticket, though of course the strong republican majority in the district and state rendered his election hopeless.
            Mr. Hall was married in 1848 to Miss Ann Eager. The wedding took place at the residence of Hon. A. F. Bell, the house being the one known as the Dallas house. It stood near the site of the present Hackett block. His wife survives him, also his only child, a daughter, who is the wife of Capt. J. L. Fowler, U. S. army.
            There is one other matter that will to many of his friends be of especial interest. Several years ago Mr. Hall became a member of the Episcopal (St. John's) church, of this city, and for many years was one of its vestrymen. These facts conclusively show the religious opinions of the man. To many he had made known his faith in Christianity, and long before his death his hope in Jesus Christ. And this hope was not merely a blind grasping after a life beyond, as this life was slowly departing, but was the result of careful, intelligent thought, and a settled conviction of his judgment of the truth of Christianity, and his duty to obey those convictions.


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.
            In 1836 he was married in Fairport, N. Y., to Miss Jane A. Howe, of Fairport, and soon thereafter removed to Rochester where he engaged in the dry goods trade. In 1843 he came to Ionia and engaged in business as a merchant. His store on the corner of Main and Third street (site of Union Block) was one of the old landmarks, and the old building may be seen now in rear of Dye & Dye's store where it is used as a wool house. In 1857 he 57 sold out to R. & N. Dye and two years later re-entered business as a member of the firm of R. & N. Dye & Co., he being the "company." During the entire period of his career as merchant at that stand he lived in the house now occupied by Dr. Allen, only a few rods from the store, and was always remarkable for his close attention to business. He could always be found at his desk, or behind the counter, or walking rapidly to and from his meals. He was very methodical in his business, seeming to be always absorbed completely in its management, never allowing anything to divert him from it. In 1866 he retired from business as a merchant and became an active member of the board of directors of the First National Bank, and of which he subsequently was elected cashier, and held that position for eleven years, until, apprehensive that close application to his duties at the cashier's desk and incessant work was undermining his health, his friends induced him to resign. Since that he has given his attention to his lumber interests and the management of his real estate. It has been evident for a long time that he was rapidly failing, and that he must soon reach that bourne which awaits us all. He died calmly at half-past six this morning, surrounded by many of those who had been his close friends through life, as well as by the sorrowing relatives. His wife survives him, as does his only child, Mrs. Marion Bliss, widow of the late Dr. Zenas E. Bliss. Of the deceased it may be truthfully said, that during his long period of 40 years that he has lived in Ionia, he never for one moment lost the confidence and respect of his fellow citizens.


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.  

RICHARD DYE 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.
            The obsequies were held Thursday afternoon at the Church of Christ. An immense concourse of citizens attended, among whom the faces and whitened heads of scores of old citizens and friends of the deceased were conspicuous. The funeral sermon was by Rev. R. S. Groves, pastor of the church of which Mr. Dye was a member, and for many years a trustee. He was assisted in the service by Rev. D. Van Alstin, D. D., pastor of the Baptist Church, and Rev. Job Pierson, D. D., Rev. L. Master and Rev. W. S. Potter were also present. Ionia Commandery No. 11, sixty-five strong, turned out as an escort.
            Brief services were held at the house before going to the church, in accordance with the Templar ritual, which were conducted by Sir Knights John B. Hutchins and A. H. Heath. The remains and family were then escorted to the church by the commandery, the following acting as pall-bearers; Sir Knights H. H. Hinds, Wilmer Bishop, A. F. Kelsey, O. H. Heath, G. S. Cooper and William Steele.
            At the church the services were as follows: Hymn by the choir, "Come, Ye Disconsolate;" Scripture lesson, 90th Psalm; prayer; "Over There," favorite hymn of deceased, by the choir; sermon, text: I Corinthians, xv., 12.
            At the conclusion of the sermon the choir sung an anthem, "Prepare to Meet Thy God," and then the Knights filed out and the mournful procession moved to Highland Cemetery, where the last sad rites of the order were observed, as they laid the remains of their departed Sir Knight away in their last resting place on earth. The entire ceremonies were very solemn and impressive, the universal regret at the departure of "Uncle Richard Dye" being unaffected and profound.  

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.
            In 1838 Gov. Marcy of New York commissioned Mr. Stanton quartermaster of the 37th brigade of State troops, a position he held for four years. In 1861, being then in Illinois, Gen. Yates, afterwards governor of the State, appointed him as his military aide, in which capacity he visited the several Illinois regiments in the department of north Missouri, his duty being to see that the troops were properly equipped with arms, clothing, etc. During his residence in New York and Illinois he was several times elected supervisor, and held other positions. Always a public spirited and enterprising citizen, the people of Ionia were not slow to recognize his character. In 1872, when the Ionia and Stanton railroad project was inaugurated, Mr. Stanton was elected a director and the first secretary and treasurer of the company, which position he filled until the road was consolidated with the Detroit, Lansing, and Lake Michigan company. He took a lively interest in the completion of the road, taking upon himself many arduous duties, and as an officer of the company he proved himself a capable and energetic official.
            In politics Mr. Stanton was a staunch republican, severing his political ties with the democratic party as early as 1856. In 1879 he was elected mayor of Ionia, his competitor being James M. Kidd, and the following year he ran against A. F. Bell and was re-elected. In 1880 he was elected to represent the then twenty-fourth district in the State Senate, in which body he was a leading, influential member. In 1882 he declined to be a candidate for renomination, but at the urgent solicitation of numerous friends allowed his name to go before the State convention as a candidate for State treasurer. He was too modest and sensitive to make a personal canvass, and even refused to go to Kalamazoo to aid his own candidacy, and although he received the cordial and unanimous support of the Ionia delegation, and made a creditable run, was not successful. Those who were intimate with Mr. Stanton know how much he was hurt at the result, not because he was not nominated, he did not value office for its own sake, but for the reason that, as he believed, friends who had encouraged him with proffers of their support, failed him in the convention. He was the soul of political honor himself, as he was an example of business integrity. He never failed to carry out his own pledges, or held out false hopes to his friends. But he was perhaps of too confiding a nature, and placed too much stress upon talk, judging others by his own high standard of morals. He was often spoken of as an available candidate for other and higher positions, and there was no man in Ionia county, to say the least, who had a warmer personal following, based on genuine good will and respect for his high qualities of manhood. But he was modest and retiring in his disposition, and lacked the ability, not to say the disposition, to push himself to the front.
            As a neighbor he was kind and considerate to others, as a citizen upright and just, as a business man honest and honorable in all his dealings, as a legislator incorruptible and fearless, as a friend ever true. He was childlike in his faith, his implicit confidence in others, and it shocked him to find that all men are not as simple, as direct and ingenuous as he was himself. He had many friends who were knit to him by bonds of steel, and of the many good men who have gone from Ionia to the land of shadows within the last decade or two, none will be more kindly remembered or deeply regretted. Farewell, friend. May you rest in peace.  

            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.
            His early life was spent on his father's farm in Ohio. In 1855 he was married to Miss Sarah A. Telford, of Ohio, who survives him. There have been seven children born to them, of whom five are still living.
            Two years after his marriage he removed to Ionia county, Mich., and settled on the farm where he died.
            He enlisted in the 21st Michigan infantry, August 6, 1862, and served with his regiment until the close of the war.
            Comrade Bretz was a good, true soldier, always at his post of duty and with no spirit of complaining at the hardships endured. At the battle of Stone River he received a wound in the face, a ball of buckshot entering his nose and remaining lodged in his face until last winter, when sneezing violently the ball was discharged from his nose. This wound was the primary cause of his sickness and death. He has never been in good health since he came home' from the army.
            There were six of his comrades, members of his company, who accompanied the corpse as bearers, all that remain of a band of nineteen that went out together.
            As a citizen and neighbor, Bro. Bretz was held in great esteem, and was loved and respected by all who knew him.
            He had filled the office of supervisor and clerk of his township with fidelity and honor to his constituents. He was a stirring and ardent republican in principle, yet in action he was very considerate and was of the conservative order of men. He was always a strong advocate of temperance.
            As a christian man his influence was felt in his pure and exemplary life. He was a faithful and respected member of the M. E. church.  

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.  

ALONZO 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.
            Alonzo Sessions was born August 4, 1810, in Marcellus, Onondaga county, New York. He was of New England stock, his grandfather having lived on a rough farm in the state of Connecticut. Amasa, the eldest of eleven children, was the father of Alonzo. At the age of nineteen he made his way on foot to the wilds of central New York, where he taught school and cleared land alternately, till he earned enough to pay for a farm on the east side of Skeneateles lake, where he died in 1838. His wife, Phoebe Smith, was a daughter of Job Smith, an officer of the Revolutionary army. Her brother was sheriff of the county and member of the legislature. Alonzo was one of nine children and was trained in habits of frugality and industry and in the strictest of religious tenets, his parents being members of the Baptist church. Being a diligent student he early acquired a good education and taught school. In 1831 he went to Bennington and engaged as clerk in a store for two years, receiving as compensation for his services, board and ten dollars a month. In 1833 he left his native state for Michigan, traveling from Detroit on foot, most of the way, via Mt. Clemens, Romeo and Pontiac to Farmington, where he struck the Grand river trail and followed it through Shiawassee, Clinton and Ionia counties to the present site of the city of Ionia, where he found five families, part of them living in unfinished log cabins, and others in Indian wigwams. He then embarked on a batteau to Grand Rapids, and thence went on foot, by way of Kalamazoo, to White Pigeon, where the U. S. land office was, and entered his land. The next winter he spent in Ohio, teaching school in Dayton till 1835, when he bought a team and came through to his land on the south side of Grand river. The journey consumed sixteen days and from Marshall was through an unbroken wilderness. He built the first log cabin in the township of Berlin and the first bridges across the small streams between Ionia and Saranac. In 1837 he married Celia, daughter of Samuel Dexter, the pioneer of Ionia, and sister of the late John C. Dexter and Stephen F. Dexter, now of Evart, Mrs. on Jones and Mrs. Tibbetts. By her he has had 13 children, seven of whom with Mrs. Sessions survive him.
            The farm, which at first consisted of 360 acres, increased to 800 and, though hewn out of the wilderness, has come to be one of the most valuable in Ionia county. Mr. Sessions has been greatly honored by his fellow citizens in the matter of official positions. He was the first supervisor of' Berlin and chairman of the first board of supervisors for Ionia county, and held the office, at intervals, 18 years in all. He was justice of the peace for several years; was sheriff in 1841-2; member of the legislature in the lower house in 1856-58-60; during his last term in the legislature he was appointed assessor of internal revenue for the fourth Michigan district and held this position four years. In 1872 he was a presidential elector on the republican ticket and chosen president of the electoral college. In 1876 he was elected lieutenant governor and re-elected in 1878. When the national banking law passed he, with others, started the First National Bank of Ionia, of which he has been a director since its foundation and president since 1866. In politics he was a republican. He never united with any religious denomination. He was of a stern, unyielding disposition, direct and inflexible of purpose himself and intolerant of the opinions of those who differed with him. In his business relations he was the soul of honor and he had no sympathy for the weaknesses, or charity for the failings of others, and bad a hearty contempt for dishonesty in any of its forms. His austere and cold bearing toward others repelled many who would have liked to be his friends, but if he encouraged close intimacy it must have been with a limited circle. The rugged virtues of his character commanded the respect of his fellow citizens, while he did not win their affection like men of a more sympathetic mold and with more of the milk of human kindness in their composition. Yet in spite of all this few men have wielded a greater influence in the community, or done more to set an example of sturdy manhood and honest endeavor than Alonzo Sessions. He was certainly an exemplar of personal honesty and unflagging industry, and, viewed from almost any light, his life must be pronounced a success. If he appeared to take too morose and desponding a view of human nature and the motives that govern men, it was perhaps because he, in a long life devoted to the study and observation of public affairs and political questions, had detected so much that was unworthy, selfish and ignoble, that his mental vision was obscured to the good that is in men. He was inclined to be a pessimist in his measure of men's characters and motives. He had a lofty ideal to which few can attain and indeed of which he himself fell short. But if we could all come as near it, taken for all in all, as he did, it would be cause for profound thankfulness. A large number of the citizens of Ionia attended his funeral.  

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.  

HON. OSMOND 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 their arrival.
            By the death of Osmond Tower Ionia loses one more of that hardy race of pioneers who settled this county, and whose sturdy blows did so much to make the wilderness blossom as the rose. He was born at Cummington, Mass., Feb. 16, 1811. He was sixth in direct descent from John Tower, who emigrated in the year 1639, from Hingham, England, to Hingham, New England. He acquired a good education in the schools of his native town, learned the carpenter's trade and worked for ten dollars a month, teaching school in the winter until the age of twenty three, when he had accumulated $170 and decided to try his fortune in the West. Before leaving he married Sept. 1, 1834, Miss Martha Gallagher, of Albany, N. Y., adopted daughter of Dr. James Wade, brother of Hon. Ben. F. Wade. Dr. Wade had adopted her on the death of her mother soon after her arrival from Ireland, her native land. They arrived in Detroit in November. Mr. Tower worked at his trade in Detroit until stopped by cold weather, and removed to Farmington for the winter, where he engaged board for himself and wife at $1.50 a week. In the spring he returned to Detroit, and worked till fall, when he rode on horseback to Ionia, which consisted of two log houses. He went to the land office at Kalamazoo and located one hundred and twenty acres of land near Ionia. In the spring with his wife he removed to Ionia, arriving here March 25, 1836, with 75 cents in his pocket. He worked at his trade, securing work on the first school-house built in the valley. He soon built a house for himself which he sold, and built another, the old homestead on the site of the present insurance buildings, in which he lived thirty four years. The present residence, in which he died, was built in 1870. Aside from clearing his land, Mr. Tower worked at his trade until 1844, when he engaged in the manufacture of fanning mills, a business that he followed for twenty years. He was seven years a member of the firm of G. S. Cooper & Co.; six years with Tower & Chubb, foundrymen; for several years of the hardware firm of O. & O. S. Tower, and for many years the financial representative of the firm of Baker & Tower, makers of hot-air furnaces. In 1850 he went overland to California, returning by way of Panama in 1851.
            In politics he was a whig until the organization of the republican party and was an active member of both parties. In recent years, however, he has taken comparatively little interest in politics. He attended the first meeting held in Detroit to form the whig party; in 1840 he was elected county clerk, but in 1842 was defeated with the rest of the ticket. He was supervisor several terms and from 1858 to 1862 a member of the upper house in the state legislature. He was stockholder and treasurer of the Ionia & Lansing railroad company; director and president of the Ionia & Stanton railroad company, both of which were merged in the Detroit, Lansing & Northern. In March, 1863, President Lincoln appointed him U. S. marshal for the western district, a position he held until the Johnson regime in 1867, when he resigned. For most of the time since coming to Ionia he was officially connected with the public schools, and had held various other positions. He was at one time a prominent candidate for member of congress from this district, but was defeated for the nomination by the Hon. Thomas White Ferry.
            Mr. Tower was a man of extraordinary will, strong prejudices, positive character and unyielding disposition. He was a most devoted husband, an indulgent, kind father, an exemplary citizen. He was pugnacious, however, and always ready to fight for his rights, or for what he believed to be his rights, and he was generally able to defend himself, right or wrong. In religion he was a Universalist, and positive in matters of dogma as he was in his political opinions. He was straightforward, direct, open and aggressive in everything. People always knew where to find him. It was his nature to take sides and avow his position fearlessly. The caustic letter he wrote when he resigned his position as marshal in 1867 was a type of the utterances of the man on all subjects. Its bold and defiant tone was characteristic. But the powerful will and extraordinary physical vigor had to succumb to the inexorable call of disease and death, and there is no doubt, that if he had a moment of consciousness to realize the presence of the grim monster, he met him with the same fortitude and intrepid front that he was able to present to the difficulties that beset him at every step of a long, laborious and useful life.  

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.  

MRS. CORDELIA W. COOK. Mrs. Cordelia W. Cook, widow of the late R. R. Cook, died at Otisco, Mich., on Sunday, Dec. 11, 1886.
            Mrs. Cook was born in Sullivan, Madison county, N. Y., on the 2d day of Oct., 1811. Her father, Alvin Cowles, died on the 27th day of Sept., 1815, leaving her mother, Mrs. Roxana Cowles, a widow with two children, the subject of this notice and a sister. In the year 1817 her mother married Joseph Davis who, with her and her children, settled in the township of Chili, Monroe county, N. Y., where they lived until the year 1826, when they removed to Michigan and settled in the town of Avon, Oakland county. On the 2d day of Jan., 1834, she was married at the residence of her step-father to Rufus R. Cook, and in the spring of 1838 they removed to the township of Otisco, Ionia county, Mich., and settled upon a farm in a place now known as Cook's Corners, where they both resided until the time of their deaths. In June of the year 1870 Mrs. Cook united with the Baptist church of Otisco of which she remained an exemplary and consistent member up to the time of her death. Sister Cook was a woman of strong personalities and had a peculiar faculty of winning the affections of all with whom she came in contact. She was a devout Christian and an efficient helper in every good work. Her charity was remarkable. She could never hear a person censured or their faults spoken of but she was always ready to bring forward every palliating circumstance that the case admitted of to tone down the asperity of the accuser. She died at the ripe age of seventy five years.  

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.  

THOMAS J. 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.
            Thomas was married about this time, 1841, to Miss Nancy Crawford, of Seneca county, New York. Several children were born, only one of whom was a son.
            Thomas J. Marsh died Friday, May 6, 1887. His education was obtained at the district school.  

LEONARD 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.
            Deceased was born in Rutland county, Vermont, December 29, 1805, and when about 21 years of age moved with his father to Ohio. December 23, 1827, he was married to Jane Standish, sister of the late Hon. J. D. Standish, of Detroit. She died September 17, 1852, leaving, besides her husband, two sons and three daughters; one son, N. S. Goodrich, of Dakota, and two daughters, Mrs. Henry Taylor, of Minneapolis, Minn., and Mrs. Wm. Butman, of Illinois, still being alive. Mr. Goodrich afterward married Mrs. Henrietta Andrews, of Plymouth, England, who also survives him. He had resided in Ionia about thirty five years, twenty five years of that period being engaged in the grocery business, in the pursuit of which he made many friends by his uprightness as a man of business, and his daily walk as a man among men. He was for many years a consistent member of the Baptist church, and a kind and indulgent husband and father.  

DAVID A. 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.
            Mr. Simmons was no politician, and though often importuned to accept local office, would never consent, preferring the enjoyment of private life to the vexations of official position; yet he was tenacious of his opinions of men and measures, his preferences being with the republican party. In his views he was firm and but seldom changed. In his early years he was connected with the Christian denomination, but about four years prior to his death, during the series of meetings held by Rev. Mr. Rowland, his opinions of scriptural teachings were revised, and he accepted in all its fullness the divinity of Christ, and while his preferences were with the M. E. church, yet as Mrs. Simmons was a member of the Congregational church, he desired to be free to go with her to public service, and did not therefore openly unite with any denomination. His social qualities were of the first order, and his genial smile was as well known as was his countenance for the past forty years and upwards. He also possessed a fine taste for the beautiful in art and nature and never tired of his examination of them; in this respect his taste was a proverb to all who knew him. For several years past his health had been declining, but on the day before his death he was seen on-the streets as usual. On the day of his decease he arose and made a fire in the stove and soon after was seized with a congestive chill, from the effects of which he rapidly sank and expired about 8 o'clock in the evening. Thus as the years roll on, one by one of those first settlers who came here in their early life are, with their locks silvered with age, and revered by their fellow citizens, passing to the endless future beyond, where age knows no years and infirmities are unknown.


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.
            Squire Cornell was born in Eaton, Madison Co., N. Y., Jan. 28, 1806, and was in his 78th year of age. He lived in the State of N. Y. until the year 1833, when, in the spring of that year, he with his father came to Michigan on a prospecting tour, and both of them being satisfied with the outlook, they went back to New York and made preparations to move to Michigan. In November of the same year both families arrived in Michigan and located in Ionia, where the subject of this sketch lived a full half century, except one year spent near Grand Haven in Ottawa Co. Forty-two years he occupied the homestead where he died.
            In 1835 he was appointed by acting Gov. Stevens T. Mason, a justice of the peace under the territorial government, and upon the admission of Michigan into the Union as a State, he was elected to the same office and was continued therein for a period of 30 years.
            He was early chosen a member of the board of superintendents of the poor and was reelected for six consecutive terms, covering a period of 21 years.
            He was elected county treasurer for one or two terms, register of deeds from Jan. 1, 1853 to Jan. 1, 1855, supervisor and township clerk at different times, and was county surveyor about 15 years, until compelled by decay of mental and physical vigor to resign the office, and retire from all the active duties of life. During his long residence in Ionia there has scarcely been a time that he has not occupied an important "official position, often two, and sometimes three. Yet he was in no sense an office seeker, but he accepted the trust reposed in him and faithfully discharged the duties thereof, and all through his long official career he retained the confidence and respect of his fellow citizens, and his reputation for integrity and his capacity in the discharge of his official duties were never called in question.
            In 1830 he was married to Orpha Beckwith, of Nelson, Madison Co., N. Y., by which marriage seven children were born to them. The widow and four children survive to mourn the loss of a kind and indulgent husband and father. He was emphatically a domestic man, always happiest at his home surrounded by his family, was temperate in his habits, quiet in his manners, and genial in his intercourse with all, leaving many friends to mourn his loss. Nearly four score years of age and fully ripe, he has gone to eternal rest.  

FOREMAN SLOAN 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.
            Mr. Sloan was engaged for many years in the hardware business here and acquired a handsome competency.
            He was left an orphan at the age of ten and when he reached Ionia had only a horse and buggy, a box of tin and his tinner's tools to begin life with. His success counted from that time, and his indomitable pluck and energy made him what he was.

 JOEL 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.
            For fifty years Mr. Benedict lived an earnest, consistent christian life, ever read to give a reason for the hope that was within him. He was of a gentle disposition, making the ties binding him to wife, children and friends deeper and tenderer than are often met with.
            In politics he was an ardent republican from the organization of the party, and while seeking no honors for himself he was an earnest worker for others, giving his party and his friends a loyal support of no ordinary character. He was a well read, thoroughly informed man, of sound judgment and practical sense, a good neighbor and estimable citizen, and his death created profound regret in Ionia.  

MRS. 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.
            Mrs. Charles, whose maiden name was Langdon, was born in Friburg, Maine, September, 1804, hence, at the time of her death, was in her 84th year. She removed with her parents to the state of New York when 13 years of age. In 1830 was married to Nehemiah Charles, and in 1844, with her husband and family, removed to Ionia county and settled at North Plains upon the place where she has since lived, and where, surrounded by her family, she passed away. She was the mother of seven children, four sons and three daughters, all of whom were present at her death and funeral; one remarkable fact is that in the fifty-seven years of her married life her's was the first death in her immediate family. Mrs. Charles was a devoted wife and an affectionate mother, and her whole life was given to her family.  

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. 

ALBERT VAN 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 time.
            Albert Van Vleck has gone, but his name, "familiar as household words" in nearly every home in Ionia and Montcalm counties, will long remain. Mr. Van Vleck came to Ionia county with his parents and settled in Ronald, on what was then termed "Long Plains," in 1837, then being a mere lad of 11 years of age. In childhood he knew what it was to be poor, and this educated his heart and sympathies to be going out in that direction in his more mature and manhood years. For years he labored on the homestead farm assisting his father, Matthew Van Vleck, in securing a good, comfortable home. In October, 1860, he was married to Miss Helen Baxter, daughter of Daniel Baxter, one of Ionia's early pioneers, a lady of fine attainments, and one of Ionia's choicest young ladies, who now survives him. In this selection of a companion he exhibited that sagacity and good judgment which characterized his entire life and led to fortune. As a husband he was devoted, kind and true. As a neighbor and friend he had no superior. As a citizen he was public spirited, generous and kind, while he was for years ' the leading character in his section of the county, and extensively engaged in farming, milling, lumbering and merchandising, and his business brought him in contact with all classes and conditions of men, yet he was a stranger to your courts of justice. His word was as good as his bond, and he was justly entitled to the appellation, "An honest man," truly one of the noblest works of God.
            In the disposal of his large estate (having no children) he exhibited the same sagacity and goodness which has ever characterized him from first to last. To his wife he gave the homestead farm of 500 acres with all its appurtenances, valued at $50,000; $5,000 is set apart for monuments to his father, mother, himself, wife and brother (Rev. John Van Vleck, deceased); good farms were given to his adopted children and several thousand dollars to faithful, good men who had long been in his employ. Albert Van Vleck was a success, his life work was well and nobly done, he has gone to reap the reward of a true, faithful and honest man. He not only made ample provision for the temporal wants of this life, but also made provision for the wants of the soul and the greater and grander success in the better world to which he has gone.  

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.
            George W. VanAllen, "Uncle George," as his friends were apt to call him, was a man universally esteemed. It was more than esteem that his friends felt for him. They were warmly attached to him, for he had the very qualities which we like in a man, a warm heart, a generous nature and a sunny disposition. He was always brim full and bubbling over with good humor, ready for a joke and a hearty laugh. His humor was, however, good-natured. It was never intended to wound or cause pain. He was a genial companion, a true friend, a loving and indulgent father, an honorable business man, an upright citizen. In politics he was an earnest republican. Always earnest in the support of the principles and candidates of his party, he never failed to be at the polls on election day and could generally be seen at the primary -meetings of the party. He had the rare faculty of being able to differ with political opponents without interfering in the least with pleasant personal relations. Everybody respected his convictions, for they knew how strong and how sincere they were.
            He was almost a life long member of the church, having joined the M. E. church at Starkey, in 1838. He made no parade of his piety, but he was at heart as good and consistent a christian man as ever lived. He was constant in his attendance at the religious services of his denomination and his blameless life was the best evidence of the genuineness of his professions. He was bluff, hearty and whole souled, entirely free from cant or pretense, open and frank in every way, generous to a fault, and full of charity and good will towards others. Those who have occasion to remember him for acts of neighborly sympathy and kindness are many, and his death is a public loss.  

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. 
            In the year 1843, at the age of 21 years, he came to Michigan and bought a tract of wild land lying in the southern part of the township of Eureka, Montcalm county. He soon went to work making improvements on his farm, dividing his time between work upon it and the farm of his brother, R. K. Divine, who lived near by in the same township.
            January 27, 1845, he married Elizabeth Roosa, of the township of Otisco. Although not married in the township of Eureka, he was the first settler in that township to marry. In 1846 he built a dwelling house on his farm and settled down to housekeeping in his new home. The home then established soon became noted for its hospitality. The latch string always hung on the outside of the door, and all persons who crossed its threshold received a hearty welcome.
            At this early day he took a great interest in public affairs, and was soon singled out by his neighboring settlers as one well fitted to lead in the work of building up this wild, new country. Ionia county, south of him, was, for the most part, in a state of nature, and to the north the entire State was an unbroken wilderness, inhabited only by Indians. The history of this region was to be made; and when the history of the counties of Ionia and Montcalm is fully written, the name of Westbrook Divine will appear upon many a page, so many and varied were the offices he filled and the institutions he helped to build during the very active life of 45 years he spent in the Grand river valley.
            He was one of the highway commissioners to lay out the first roads in the township of Eureka. He was elected its first town clerk. In 1850 he was elected register of deeds of Montcalm county, in which office he continued four years. Although laying no claim to legal knowledge, such was the confidence of the people in his ability, he was elected prosecuting attorney of Montcalm county in 1854. In 1856 he was elected supervisor of the township of Eureka, and continued to be chosen for this office year after year with the exception of two years, until the year 1881, when he removed from the township to Belding, Ionia county. He served two terms as State senator, from 1863.to 1867. He was appointed United States internal revenue assessor for western Michigan in 1867, and retained the place until the office was abolished in 1872. In 1875 Governor Bagley appointed him one of the board of managers of Ionia House of Correction, which office he filled about three years. He was the first president of the Excelsior Agricultural Society, and continued in this capacity until 1881, when the society ceased to exist. He was president and member of the board of directors of the People's Fire Insurance company of the counties of Ionia and Montcalm.  He has been president of the Washington Club continuously from its organization in 1866 down to the present time.
            In 1879 he assisted in the organization of the Western Michigan Agricultural Society, and was elected a director, a position he held up to the time of his death. He filled many other positions of honor and trust, always discharging the duties of every office with ability and the strictest integrity.
            When in Grand Rapids in October, 1887, he was stricken with paralysis, from which he never fully recovered. His health continued poor, and he lived as it were, in the shadow of the death that came to him in the same city nearly a year later. In the latter part of August, 1888, he went again to Grand Rapids, hoping to receive benefit from medical treatment.
            Monday night, Sept. 10, he retired, apparently in his usual health. He was not seen again until the following Wednesday morning, when he was found dead, lying in a comfortable position, as though he had passed from a natural sleep, painlessly, to the sleep that knows no waking.
            He leaves a wife, three sons and a daughter to mourn his loss.
            Westbrook Divine was one of the most genial and companionable of men, and had a way of making lifelong friends of those who came in contact with him. He enlivened every social circle which he entered. He had a great fund of good humor, and it, had the contagious property of inspiring all who were in his presence long with the same happy good nature. The social traits of his character will long be treasured in memory by those who were privileged to be his intimate friends.  

MRS. LOUISA LOVELL. Mrs. Louisa Lovell, wife of Hon. Cyrus Lovell, died at Ionia, October 6, 1888, in the 77th year of her age.
            Mrs. Lovell came from Herkimer county, N. Y., with her father, Daniel Fargo, in the year 1825. She was married to Mr. Lovell at Ann Arbor, November 17, 1831. They removed immediately to Kalamazoo, where Mr. Lovell built the first framed dwelling house in Kalamazoo. A store was the only framed house' prior to his dwelling house.
            In 1836 they removed to Ionia where she died, and where Mr. Lovell now lives. Mrs. Lovell, as a wife, mother, citizen and christian was a woman of rare excellence. She had long been a highly esteemed member of the M. E. church. Her memory will long be cherished by those who knew her best.  

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.  

LEWIS D. SMITH. Lewis D. Smith died at his home in Ionia May 30, 1888, aged 70 years.
            He was born at Luzerne, Warren county, N. Y., July 16, 1818. Came to Orleans, Ionia county, in 1846, and settled as a farmer. Subsequently he removed to Ionia and engaged in the mercantile business. In 1856 he was appointed postmaster at Ionia, which office he held until 1873. As a good citizen and a christian man, he has left an unblemished record.  

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.  

WILLIAM R. 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.
            He was a pleasant companion, ever ready to speak of the experiences of pioneer times, the privations of which he shared in common with others in the settlement of this village. The most prominent points of his character were the strength of an iron will, connected with energy and untiring industry, and all governed by adherence to principles of honor and strict integrity. He left a widow and three children to enjoy the fortune acquired while in the strength of mature manhood.


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.  

MRS. 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.
            Mrs. Cornell was a self-sacrificing nurse at many a sick-bed, and fearless as she was tender and faithful. The dreaded scourge had no terrors for her, and with gentle hand she attended the sufferer, whatever the nature of the injury or disease.
            The brightness and cheer which made Mrs. Cornell exceptionally welcome in the sick room, made her own home and those of a large circle of appreciative friends happy by her presence. Though the weight of years and failing health have for a considerable time compelled her withdrawal from active scenes, a host of tender memories will draw about the casket in which her remains shall repose, a large gathering of the loving and loved, many of whom were participants with her in the earliest days of Ionia.
            Emmeline C. Cornell was born at Galway, N. Y., September 9, 1816.
            On May 25, 1836, she married Dr. Alanson Cornell of Fenner, N. Y., and with him removed here in 1838. Four children blessed their union, one of whom, Edwin, died in 1851. Dr. Cornell died in 1873. Henry A. Cornell, Lucian A. Cornell and Mrs. Mary E. Barnes are the surviving members of the family, and mourn the loss of a mother who was all that a mother could be to them.  

JOHN ADGATE. 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.
            John Adgate was a man of jolly temperament and had many friends, of upright conduct that won the respect and esteem of his neighbors. He was of the pioneer class of hard workers and did his full share in subduing the wilderness and making it to blossom as the rose.  

JOHN VAN 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.
            Mr. Van Geisen was an octogenarian, being 80 years old at the time of his decease. He came to Michigan about 45 years ago and to Ionia county a few years later. He left one son, Orson, who is well known to Ionia county people, as was his father. The deceased left but one brother, who resides in the southern part of the State.  

CURTIS B. 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 cemetery.
            Mr. Mitchell came to Berlin in 1839, and was one of the hardiest and most respected of Ionia's early settlers, and many a piece of heavy timber disappeared before his sturdy stroke. The editor of The Sentinel remembers well the time when the deceased had a job of clearing a piece of heavy hard-wood timbered land up on Flat river, in Otisco, with what powerful and rapid swing he wielded the ax, and how the big oaks fairly melted away before him. The boy was filled with wonder and would have given worlds for the assurance that he would one day possess the tough fibre, the firm muscle and endurance of Curtis Mitchell.
            Mr. Mitchell was as honorable as he was hard-working. He was of firm texture in every way. His convictions were strong and he was inflexible in his adherence to them. A life-long Democrat, he worked always for the success of his party because he believed in it. Though differing from him radically in views, the writer never ceased to have a real admiration for the rugged vigor and virtue of the man who was one of those who helped the wilderness to blossom as the rose. Naturally, by such hard work and honest effort, he acquired more than a competence, and has reared a family as self-reliant as himself, whom he leaves in comfortable circumstances.
            Fully 1,000 friends attended the funeral of the late Curtis B. Mitchell at the family residence in Berlin, Sunday. Col. L. V. Moulton, of Grand Rapids, delivered the address, Mr. Mitchell being a spiritualist.  

SAMUEL K. 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.
            In 1865 he sold his farm in Danby and came to Portland, where he purchased the Eureka foundry, but after a time sold out and was elected a justice of the peace. He had for some time before his death been a sufferer from disease contracted in the army, for which he obtained a pension. His health gradually declined until his death, which occurred December 7, 1889, aged 67 years. He was buried by the Masonic fraternity and the post of the G. A. R.  

JOHN 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.
            Mr. Stevenson was born at Windsor, England, Aug. 28, 1811. He crossed the water and settled in Montreal in 1832, removing to Ann Arbor in 1834. Two years later he came to this county, residing for a time at Prairie Creek, but since that time in Ionia excepting one year at Lyons.
            In 1832 Mr. Stevenson married Miss Jean Brown at Montreal. She died in February, 1883, and on May 30, 1886, he married Mrs. Eliza Holton, who died recently.
            Of the children of his first marriage there are living Mrs. Agnes B. Stevens, Frank W. Stevenson, and Maj. Thomas G. Stevenson of Ionia, and John P. Stevenson of Rocky Ford, Colorado, who was with his father at the last. One brother, Geo. Stevenson, and a sister, Catherine, wife of Rev. A. R. Bartlett of Marquette, survive him.
            The funeral services were held at the M. E. church on Saturday, and were attended by a large number of Ionia pioneers and friends of the family. Rev A. M. Gould conducted impressive ceremonies. The pall bearers were Loomis Mann, P. H. Taylor, C. Oscar Thompson, Geo. H McMullen, Dan. T. Fargo and George Watson. - Ionia Standard.

                          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.  

WM. H. DILDINE. Died, at his home in Easton, March 19, 1890, William Helper Dildine.
            Mr. Dildine was born in Luzerne county, Penn., Feb. 19, 1810. About 1820 his parents located near Elmira, N. Y., where they died. He was first married to Orissa Wing, of Southport, Chemung county, N. Y., in 1833. She died in 1838, leaving one son, Silas Dildine, well known in Ionia. where he was engaged for several years in the mercantile business, and now located in Portland, Oregon.
            Mr. Dildine was married in 1839 to Mrs. Jane Wing, a granddaughter of Judge Reed of Bath, who was on the bench for many years, and was a prominent man of that day in the State. She only lived about a year after her marriage, leaving one son, Daniel, a farmer residing near the paternal homestead in Easton.
            In 1840 Mr. Dildine was married to Miss Catherine Reynolds, of Elmira, who was a faithful helpmate during all the years of pioneer life, and who survives him. Four children of this union also survive: Jane, wife of George Connor, of Orleans; Orissa W., wife of James DeLong, of Lakeview; William, of Easton, and James, who occupies the old homestead.
            Wm. H. Dildine left Elmira with 'his family June 15, 1843, and arrived at Ionia on the 18th of the same month, taking breakfast at Zeke Welch's hotel, which stood on the ground now occupied by Coney's meat market. July 28, 1843, he moved to the farm in Easton, which he occupied to the day of his death, with the exception of about two year's residence in Ionia, and the locality has been known from pioneer days to the present time as "Dildine's Corners."
            He died on March 19, 1890, at the ripe age of 80 years and one month, from a cancerous affection, from which for two years he endured terrible suffering with the heroic fortitude with which he met all the ills and trials of life.
            "Father Dildine," as he was familiarly called, belonged to the hardy class of pioneers upon whom fell the struggles and self-denials of early life in the wilderness and who reaped the reward of their toil and self sacrifice in attaining positions of pecuniary independence to comfort their old age and a high place in the regard of their fellow citizens.
            He was rather reserved in his general manner, but-was an affectionate man in his domestic relations, and always manifested a tender regard for his family, for whose benefit he was glad to provide from the abundance with which heaven had blessed his labors. For over forty years he was a class leader in the M. E. congregation that met for worship in the school-house at Dildine's Corners, and his successor was not chosen until about a week before his death. He was a man of the strictest integrity, and conscientiously tried to do his duty as he understood it, and no man may do more. Peace to his ashes.  

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.  

WELLINGTON C. 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.
            Mr. Page was born in Whitestown, New York, November 12, 1820, his father being a native of Vermont and his mother of New Hampshire. In 1839 he came with his family to this county, a farm being purchased in Ronald. Later a large tract of land was purchased and he worked at clearing this for fourteen years. Afterward he engaged in mercantile business in Ronald, subsequently removing to Ionia, where he has successively associated in partnership in mercantile business and banking with H. J. Wilson, W. P. Burhans, and Burton Babcock. He was the contractor and builder of the railroads from Portland to Greenville and from Ionia to Stanton.
            Mr. Page has for many years been one of the most active members of the M. E. church and one of the most faithful members of the official board. He contributed largely to the building of the present Ionia church, as well as towards those of other denominations.
            In April, 1841, Mr. Page married Miss Maria Cronk, who died early in 1860. Of the children of this marriage, one son, George survives. On November 9, 1860, Mr. Page married Miss Amerilla O. Heath, of Palo, who, with a son, R. Lee Page, and a daughter, Mary A. Page, survive him.
            Mr. Page continued his active life to the last, his more recent business association, as a senior partner in the firm of Page, Bates & Co., being among the most important of his business enterprises. In politics Mr. Page has been actively identified with the republican party ever since its organization, though he has declined to accept the political preferment that was often tendered him.  

NELSON TUTTLE. COMPOSED AND READ BY REV. R. C. CRAWFORD AT THE FUNERAL.
            Nelson Tuttle was born in Deerfield, Sunderland county, Mass., Dec. 24, 1800. His parents moved to Ohio and settled in Palmyra, Portage county, in 1805, where he grew to manhood. He was soundly converted and joined the M. E. church in 1818. In 1829 he was made class leader and steward and has been kept in those offices continuously to the end of his life. He was united in marriage with Sophia Pangborn, May 23, 1824, and lived in happy fellowship with her until 1865, when she was called to her brighter mansion just across the river. She was the happy mother of eleven children, five sons and six daughters, of whom six are still living, five daughters and one son, the others having preceded her to the blissful shore.
            He came with his family to Michigan and settled in Ionia township, Ionia county, in 1846, and here has been his home since that day until called to his brighter home over on the other shore, August 18, 1890. In February, 1866, he was married to Eunice K. Talcott, with whom he has lived in blessed fellowship for almost twenty-five years, and now he rests from all his toils and his works do follow him, and will to the end of time. At an early day he built what was for many years known as the Tuttle church, which he kept in good condition for public worship until the more commodious brick church was erected, largely through his instrumentality, and where, with his family, he was always in his place at the hour for worship until declining health rendered it next to impossible for him to be present. Many things might be said of his fidelity to the church of his early choice and of his constant attendance upon the means of grace, of his fidelity as leader and steward, of his great liberality in furnishing money to meet the expenses of the church and to supply the means of grace to carry forward the benevolent enterprises of the church, a duty from which he never shrank, and the burden of which he was never wont to complain. Noble christian man! A member of the church militant seventy-two years and officer in the army for sixty-one years. True to every trust committed to his hands, he leaves with the church on earth an untarnished legacy of more value than a fortune of silver and gold.  

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.
            Deceased was born in Johnstown, Montgomery county, N. Y., August 24, 1811. When about six years of age his parents moved to western New York and lived in Livingston and Genesee counties. In the spring of 1830, in his nineteenth year, by consent of his parents, he came to the territory of Michigan, and stopped at Farmington. The following is from the deceased's own pen while yet with us: "Being there quite out of means, and a stranger, I went to work at whatever came to hand, principally chopping and clearing land for the first two years. I then learned the carpenter trade, at which I have done considerable work in my day.
            In the spring of 1832, while chopping in the woods for a Mr. Sessions, near Walled lake, in Oakland county, the Lord Jesus Christ found me, a poor sinner, and saved me by grace, I trust, and caused me to love him. Up to this time I had been a very wild and thoughtless young man. My educational opportunities had been very limited, and my religious training not very careful. On the 11th of November, 1832, I was baptized into the fellowship of the First Baptist church of Farmington, by Elder C. A. Lamb, pastor. At that time there were only six or seven Baptist churches in all Michigan. Among the early ministers whose names I recall were Elkanah Comstock of Pontiac, John Booth, Stephen Woodman, R. H. Benedict, J. S. Twiss, Elijah Weaver and C. A. Lamb, all gone home. Soon after I united with the church, my thoughts were turned to the subject of preaching the gospel to the perishing. I think it was the love I had for Jesus, and the wide-spreading destitution that pressed this subject, upon my mind. Under the sense of my lack of piety, education, and, in fact all other necessary qualifications, I shrank back for a time. 1 was encouraged by brethren, and after spending some time in school at Townsend, Vermont, and Hamilton, New York, I went into the ministry, and on the 19th day of June, 1839, I was ordained to the work of the ministry in Mr. Bennett's barn in the town of Nortfield, Washtenaw county, Michigan. Rev. Wm. Barrett, Samuel Jones and -- Guernsey were among the ministers who took part in the exercises. I have had the pastorate of several churches, among which are Ingham (now Dansville), from 1810 to 1844; Unadilla, Litchfield, Somerset, Wheatland, Second Rome, Oakfield and other places, in all of which I baptized a goodly number. During my labor with nearly all the churches, I was doing pioneer work in new settlements and poor churches with a salary that would average about $150 per year."
            Deceased was three times married; to him were born three-daughters and one son; his widow and two daughters survive him. To a friend a few years since he wrote as follows: "About the year 1849, a disease of the throat and lungs laid me aside, from which time my ministry has been very much interrupted, and for several years have preached but little, and now I am down on the border land, seventy-three years old, I look over the past and see much for which I ought to be humble and much for which I am thankful. The Lord is my rock and refuge."
            Rev. A. Cornell of Ionia, for many years intimately acquainted with Brother Coe, adds the following tribute to his memory: "Brother Coe had been quite feeble for some years. He failed very gradually, was fully conscious of his near approach to death, and would have gladly welcomed death but for his wife and children. He was highly respected as a man, a citizen and a christian. He had the entire confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens. As a minister he was sound in doctrine, clear and logical in his preaching, never turning aside to embrace new theories or discarding the 'old paths.' True to his Master and of unwavering faith, his end was such as might have been expected -- peaceful and happy:"


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.
            Mrs. Dye was a daughter of Vine Welch, a substantial farmer of Herkimer county, N. Y. She was born Jan. 29, 1813, at Middleburg, N. Y. She was married to Richard Dye, in Herkimer, N. Y., March 3, 1832, where they resided until the spring of 1837, when they joined the colonists at Ionia, where they passed the remainder of their lives.
            Eight children were born to them, five of whom are living: Geo. H., Ionia, Mary E., died in 1856, Rebecca, died in 1838, John W., Ionia, Bloomfield U., Rocky Ford, Col., Chas. R., Ionia, Franklin S., drowned in Grand river in 1862, and James K., of Rocky Ford, Col.
            Richard Dye died Jan. 28, 1886. In her father's family were nine children, of whom John B. Welch of Ionia township is now the last survivor.
            Mrs. Dye was for several years a member of the Presbyterian church, but in 1861 she joined the Disciples church at the same time as her husband, who became a convert under the ministrations of Rev. Isaac Errett.
            Few of the early pioneers were more widely known or more generally esteemed than "Aunt Polly Dye," whose kindly heart and cheerful disposition made her a universal favorite. She was indeed a fine type of the pioneer character, ready in resource to meet an emergency, quick to proffer aid in case of distress, whose sympathies had been broadened and deepened by the endurance of common hardships and privations, and whose generous nature had been unspoiled by the more selfish and exclusive social spirit that animates modern life.
            The annals of her life are filled with incidents showing the generous and sympathetic elements of her character. The history of Ionia county "contains two incidents which we give as indicating her tact in an emergency and as interesting in showing the conditions of early pioneer life in Ionia:
            In the spring of 1838, the Indians were numerous in this section and frequent visitors at the homes of the white settlers. One day when Mr. Dye was absent, two or three stalwart "braves" with their squaws came to the house desiring to exchange maple sugar for Turnips. Mrs. Dye had acquired a slight knowledge of the Indian language, and gave them to understand that she would give them two baskets of turnips for five pounds of sugar. The sugar was weighed arid Mrs. Dye, followed by one of the Indians started for the cellar, which was back of the house, leaving her mother to watch the squaws who were much given to theft. She measured the turnips according to the bargain, giving him two baskets for every five pounds of sugar. He insisted that he was to have three. She told him in a very decided way that two was the number. He shouted three, and drawing a long knife jumped toward her and reiterated the assertion. Mrs. Dye, having much presence of mind and an insight into Indian character, looked him squarely in the face and told him he could have but two. Seeing she could not be intimidated, he placed the vegetables in his bag and the party went away.
            On another occasion two drunken Indians visited the house at night with the idea that they could obtain whisky. The family had retired, and Mr. Dye being absent, and by neglect the doors were left unfastened. The first intimation that Mrs. Dye had of their presence was being awakened by a bright light. She drew aside the curtains of the bed, and there in the center of the room, with torches above their heads, were two tall savages who demanded whisky. She told them that there was none in the house, and in such a way that they were convinced, and by a neat little ruse got them out of the house and closed the doors.  

MRS. JULIETTE 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.
            All the members of her immediate family, with perhaps one exception, had preceded her in death. For many years she had made it her home with Mrs. H. M. Wilson and had devoted much of her time to the good of others. She was self-forgetful in all her works, gentle in all her ways, patient in all her surroundings and devoted to the good of all. Her sweet face was illumined by the purity of her soul and always cheered and blessed those upon whom it looked in trusting love. Every life associated with her or touched by her gentle ways was made better in the "substance of things hoped for."
            Her three score years and ten were not in vain. God wrought out of this gentle life in its quiet sphere influences that never could have been felt in all their power in other lines, had it been less sweet and patient and trusting. Her very presence, with that "look of love," was a benediction to every heart that trusted God or believed in his fellowmen. In the home, in society, in the church she left the impress of her pure, sweet, Christ-like life and it will live forever.
            "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God," is the inscription that should be cut into the stone above her grave. It tells as no other words can the worth of this life gone from us. In that lettering as resting down upon such a soul, we see clearly that life is worth living that the future is sure.
            Hence, though dead, yet does she live and her works do follow her. Such a life leaves its fragrance to perfume human hearts, and when it closes here it blossoms in its fruitage in the presence of God. One who knew her and loved her has well written,
                        "The death wind breathed on a blossom
                        Of gardens the best, most fair;
                        A garden of human spirits,
                        And one was no longer there,
                        The song died out of our lisping,
                        In darkness we groped,
                        When lo! Again came the angel whisper
                        Only asleep 'neath the snow.' "                   - HER PASTOR.  

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.  

JAMES M. 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.
            In June, 1869, Mr. Webster was married to Miss Mary Bailey, daughter of the late James Bailey, Esq., and sister of J. W. Bailey, former proprietor of the Portland Observer. By this marriage Mr. Webster had five children, now living. He was of a mild, amiable disposition, much liked by all his associates, and was at the time of his death a member of Portland Lodge No. 31, F. & A. M.; also of Portland Chapter No. 39, R. A. Masons; and of Ionia Commandery No. 11, Knight Templars. The funeral was under the auspices of the Portland Masonic Lodge.


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.
            In 1833 he left the army and went back to Niagara county and spent some time in keeping store in Buffalo. In 1835 he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and on the 2d of September of the same year was married to Sophia Van Duzen, and lived in Cleveland until 1853, when he moved with his family to Monroe county, Michigan, where he lived two years, and then moved with his family to Allegan county, where he lived until 1862. In that year he moved to Ionia county, stopping in the township of Orleans for one summer, and then settling in the township of Sebewa, which was his home thereafter. In 1843 he was converted to the christain faith under the preaching of the Rev. Sutton Hayden and became a member of the Church of Christ, and remained a devoted christian the remainder of his life. He was a good soldier, a merchant, a farmer, and a devoted christian, and one who contributed two sons to the federal army during the late unpleasantness with the south. He leaves a wife, two daughters and four sons.  

FELLOW GATES. Fellow Gates died at his home in Orange, January 15, 1893.
            The deceased was born in Vermont in 1802 and was married to Mary Williams in 1827. After his marriage he moved to New York, near Niagara Falls, and from there went to Buffalo, and thence to Camden, Ontario. In the year 1855, he moved and settled in the township of Orange, Ionia county, where he and his sons erected a log cabin. 1823.
            To Mr. and Mrs. Gates eight children were born, four sons, Elias, Nathan, Freeman, and George, and four daughters, Rachel, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Caroline.
            Mrs. Gates died April 11, 1881.
            Mr. Gates was 91 years of age, and leaves four sons and three daughters, thirty-five grandchildren, twenty-four great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren, besides a large number of friends to mourn his loss. He was a kind father and an affectionate husband, a true and good neighbor.  

ANNA M. HEYDLAUFF. Anna M. Heydlauff died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. S. Danner, in Ronald, Michigan, January 23, 1893, aged 83 years.
            Her maiden name was Anna M. Wagnor. She was born at Haslech, Kingdom of Wurtenburg, Germany, January 12, 1811. She was married to C. F. Heydlauff September 13, 1831, and in 1837 removed to America. Leaving her fatherland and all that was dear to her, crossed the ocean, landed at New York, remained there a few days, and continued their journey from there to Detroit, Michigan. From thence they went to the town of Freedom, Washtenaw county, and settled there, then an unbroken wilderness. Here they resided for 12 years, toil and privation being their lot. In March, 1846, they removed to Ronald, Michigan, where she resided the remainder of her life. Ronald can truly say that she was a pioneer. She was the mother of nine children, five of whom survive her, as follows: John Heydlauff of Day county, South Dakota; Wm. F. and L. H. Heydlauff of Ronald, Michigan; Mrs. R. Miller of Sheridan, Michigan; and Mrs. S. Danner of Ronald, Michigan. She was a good and devoted wife and a loving mother. She led a quiet life always looking to the welfare of others. Mother Heydlauff was a faithful christian to the last. Her life was so true, so pure, so unselfish, so full of love toward God and man. She had the rare Christ-like attributes of love for the sinner.  

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.
            The subject of this sketch was the daughter of Ebenezer and Rebecca Pinckney Hoyt and was born in July, 1806, in Montgomery county, N. Y., and with her parents she removed to Rush, Monroe county, N. Y., where in 1825 she married the late Hon. Levi Kelsey, so well and favorably known to the older residents of Ionia county, and who died in 1867.
            Mr. and Mrs. Kelsey were the parents of seven children, all of whom became residents of Ionia county, only three of whom are now living, A. F. Kelsey, E. P. Kelsey, and Hannah, wife of Wm. B. Taylor.
            Mrs. Kelsey came to Ionia township with her husband and family in 1857, where she continuously resided until her death, October 2, 1891.
            Although she had been quite infirm for many years, her robust constitution gradually yielding to repeated attacks of acute diseases and to more than four score years of labor, anxiety, and sorrow, yet her last sickness was of but few days' duration, and her passing away was peaceful and quiet, like the sleep which the Father gives his beloved. She was a member of the M. E. church for 60 years.
            She was one of those, the tidings of whose death brings memories of many words of cheer and acts of kindness, and with such memories come sorrow and regret that not oftener were spoken words of appreciation and of gratitude.  

STEPHEN J. LINDLEY. Stephen J. Lindley died at his home in Danby, December 5, 1892, aged 79 years. He had resided in Michigan since 1853.  

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.  

ALMON 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.
            The subject of our sketch was taken when eight or nine years old, to live with a Mr. Holmes, who soon after moved to Wayne county, Mich. Mr. Rosecrans remained with them until he arrived at maturity.
            Having a persevering nature and undaunted courage, supported by a "never say fail" will, he pushed his way into Ionia county, then a wilderness. In the year 1839 he purchased the farm he owned at the time of his death, and in the year 1840 was married to Caroline Brown, of Oakland county. Soon after their marriage they settled upon their land, with the determination to convert it into a home. With the genuine pluck which characterized many of the early pioneers and with the assistance of a devoted and prudent wife we have often heard him say, "If ever a man had a helpmate, I had one", he cleared and improved his farm, reared and educated his family, five sons and two daughters, who were with him as much as possible during his last illness, to care for him and comfort the surviving widow, who is past 70 years of age and keenly feels her loss, but mourns not as one without the hope of a happy reunion on the peaceful shores of heaven.
            Mr. Rosecrans was an honest hearted christian and a strong defender of the United Brethren faith, to which church and cause he contributed liberally. The most sterling integrity and scrupulous honesty characterized his life, both in dealings and conversation. His manner of expression was plain and candid, and his character and the principles of his life were worthy to be impressed upon the mind of the rising generation.
            The minister very fittingly said at the obsequies: "As the aged and respected pioneers pass away, it behooves us to recognize the traits which made their lives successful." The last year of his life was especially happy, socially and spiritually. He has always been a republican in politics until two years ago when he voted the prohibition ticket.  

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 

Death Notices:

Name To Michigan Place of Death Date of Death Age
Conklin, Mary 1843 Portland November 25, 1893 56
Converse, Ruth 1853 Portland June 27, 1893 83
Hair, Jacob 1863 Orange September 27, 1893 86
Hair, Levi 1863 Orange October 3, 1893 83
Hamlin, Ira 1843 Portland March 25, 1894 73
Maxim, John 1836 Sebewa January 15, 1894 86
Sandborn, Betsey A. 1843 Danby February 4, 1894 84
Woodworth, William H.   Lyons September 28, 1893 70

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.  

JUDGE LOUIS 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:
            1. The Hon. Louis S. Lovell, late circuit judge of the eighth judicial circuit of this State, and for 24 years the judge of this court, departed this life on the 30th day of March, A. D. 1894, and the bar desires to take notice of the event by expressing its sense of the great value of his public services and its admiration for the purity of his character and the elevation and nobility of his manhood.
            2. Judge Lovell was born on the 15th day of November, 1816, at Crafton, Vt. He removed to this county in the year 1841, and has resided in the city of Ionia continuously since that time. He was admitted to the bar in the year 1841, and in 1857 was elected to the office of circuit judge of the eighth judicial circuit of this State, and entered upon the performance of the duties of that office on the 1st day of January, 1858. The circuit then comprised the counties of Kent, Barry, Ionia, Ottawa, Clinton and Montcalm, and muo4 important litigation involving large interests, was disposed of by and before him. Possessed of a strong sense of right and wrong and untrammeled by precedents and technicalities, he sat in judgment between man and man; and neither private influence nor popular tumult could swerve him from what he deemed to be right. He was a lover of justice and equity. He hated chicanery, fraud and oppression.
            3. In the administration of the criminal law he tempered firmness with discretion and humanity, without unnecessary harshness and without vindictiveness.
            4. In his intercourse with the bar, he was a model of courtesy, dignity and patience. These qualities combined with long experience and legal learning made him an admirable judge.
            5. Judge Lovell was justly held in high esteem as a neighbor and citizen. The integrity of his life and the spotless purity of his character recommended him to all who regard manly honor; while his scholarly attainments, his delicate sympathy and the grace and seriousness of his manner afforded a peculiar charm to his presence and endeared him to a large circle of admiring friends. He has left a noble fame, the record of a life clear and clean in its aims, pure in public ways and private paths, full of busy, useful labors, and of duties well discharged and crowned with honor.
            6. Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with the several members of his family on account of their sudden bereavement and the great loss that they, in particular, have sustained.
            7. Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing be presented at the opening of this court on April 5, on behalf of this bar, with a request that the same be entered upon the record and that a copy be presented to the family of the deceased.  

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 

Death Notices:

Name Place of Death Date of Death Age
Drum, Eleanor Portland March 22, 1895 77
Freeman, Tristram Portland April 14, 1895 79
Hopkins, Alvason Lyons May 1, 1895 79
Hunt, Frank Portland September 20, 1894 85
Jeffers, John Danby August 7, 1894 76
Kingston, Dina Ionia August 31, 1894 82
Pratt, Ruth Of Saranac; died Grand Rapids January 19, 1895 71
Slater, Levi Lowell February 2, 1895 88
Stains, Jane Ronald February 5, 1895 78
Ward, John Ionia May 27, 1895 76
White, Lucy Portland April 8, 1895 84

 

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  

Death Notices:

Name Place of Death Date of Death Age Remarks
Aldrich, Daniel P. Saranac January 11, 1896 71 One of the first residents of Saranac
Cameron, John Portland December 13, 1895 76  
Dickinson, Lydia N. Portland December 16, 1895 78  
Goodenough, Walter Orange March 2, 1896 80  
Griffin, Jennie Portland December 15, 1895 56  
Hall, Julia A. Orleans January 29, 1898 82  
Hayes, Lucinda Ionia November 1895 90  
Leach, Calvin Aston (Eason?) February 14, 1896 80  
Matthews, Ann Portland November 1, 1895 79  
Newman, Frederick N. Portland November 7, 1895 58  
Phillips, William G. Danby December 18, 1895 65  
Slauson, William Belding March 2, 1896 81 Resident of county since 1859
Steele, Stephen Orange May 25, 1896 97 born in 1799
Stoddard, Corodon C. Hubbardston March 14, 1896 70  
Worden, H. H. Ionia April 2, 1896 80  

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

 Death Notices

Name

Residence

Date of Death

Age

Remarks

Bailey, Mrs. Rachel Klink

Ionia

Aug. 25, 1896

73

She came to Michigan in 1852 and settled in Ionia.

Conner, James B

Easton

June 6, 1896

84

 

Goodenough, Asa

Orange

Sept. 23, 1896

75

Had been a resident of township many years.

King, Elizabeth

Otisco

Oct. 4, 1896

87

 

Mosher, Lorand J.

Roland

Feb. 5, 1897

73

He was a resident of Michigan since 1848

Peake, Theodocia

Danby

Sept. 14, 1896

72

 

Taggart, Henry

Ionia

Feb. 6, 1897

75

He settled In Ionia county in 1855.

             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.  

TAYLOR - 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 pioneer life.
            He was married October 18, 1838, to Catherine A. Colton. In the fall of 1854 he came to Ionia. He was elected justice of the peace two or three times, having an office at one time in the old "Higham house." For several years he was supervisor of First and Second wards. During the war, he was assistant provost marshal, and was engaged in the work of raising troops, arresting deserters, attending to drafting soldiers, etc. After the war he was assistant assessor of internal revenue for five years, and filled other official positions.


Volume 28 (1900) pages 343-344

 Death Notices:

Name Residence Date of Death Age Remarks
Davenport, Chester Danby May 7, 1898 75  
First, Mrs. Mary Orange May 27, 1898 81  
Herrick, Laura Ionia February 11, 1898 93  
Kelley, Elizabeth Portland January 5, 1898 74  
Powers, Mrs. Maurice Hubbardston April 14, 1898 100  
Sessions, Margaret Orange January 31, 1898 76  
Townsend, Sarah E. Hubbardston January 13, 1898 54  

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.  

MITCHELL. 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.
            Mr. Mitchell removed from New York to Michigan in 1857, and to Ionia, then a village, in 1858, where he continued to reside for nearly forty years. He was first elected as one of the justices of the peace of the township of Ionia, before the city was organized, and continued to hold the office by four or more elections, giving him a continuous tenure of twenty-four years and upwards as one of the magistrates of the city and county.  

TIBBITTS.-The 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.
            Although Mr. Tibbitts was nearly 89 years old, having been born in Oneida county, N. Y., January 21. 1809, he was still possessed of keen mental faculties and kept well posted upon the affairs of the day until the very last. He was married to Miss Mary Dexter of Oneida March 1, 1832, and four years later came with his family to Michigan, cutting their way through the woods for eighty miles and settling in Ionia county, which was then only a wilderness. When he reached there in 1836 the village of Ionia was enjoying its first boom.
            It was that year that what was then known as the Eagle hotel was erected. It was a three story building, but was only partly finished when the hard times came on and blocked the enterprise. Mr. Tibbitts erected the frame building on East Main street known as the Stanton house. When the present brick took its place the wooden structure was moved to South Jefferson street, where it now stands. It was in this frame building that Jonathan Tibbitts enjoyed the distinction of being Ionia's first harnessmaker.
            In 1849 Mr. Tibbitts was appointed postmaster of Ionia. He was the fifth, those before him being Erastus Yeomans in 1835, Jacob W. Wisnor, 1841, then Ethan S. Johnson, and in 1845 Richard Dye. Mr. Tibbitts served from 1849 to 1853. When he was appointed he moved his harness shop down town into a building just east of the old Banner store of H. Rich & Co., where Uncle Sam's business was also attended to. Wm. Yerrington succeeded Mr. Tibbitts and the postoffice was then moved further west on the street into the Hall building.
            In 1857 Mr. Tibbitts moved to the Berlin farm where he resided until going to Lansing three years ago, where he has since resided with his daughters.


Volume 29 (1901) page 80

Death Notices: 

Name Residence Date of Death Age Remarks
Allen, Dana C. Orange May 26, 1899 78 came to Michigan in 1837
Allen, William II Orange June 8, 1898 78 came to Michigan in 1837
Bogue, Martha Portland April 24, 1899 69 came to Michigan in 1834
Bogue, William W. Portland March 7, 1899 72 came to Michigan in 1834
Butler, Ann Orange September 27, 1898 96 came to Michigan in an early day
Griffin, Margaret Portland August 1, 1898 82 came to Michigan in 1847
Mann, Loomis Ionia June 3, 1899 80 came to Michigan in 1844
Mariett, Sarah Hubbardston May 1, 1899 89 came to Michigan in 1836
Morehouse, Gertrude E. Portland August 3, 1898 58 came to Michigan in 1843.  A member of the pioneer society.
Panghorn, Samuel Ionia June 25, 1898 89  
Probart, John Portland February 6, 1899 84 came to Michigan in 1837
Read, Henry Portland July 8, 1898 70 came to Michigan in 1834
Spalding, Day Lyons July 7, 1898 70  
Spaulding, Jerry Ionia November 29, 1898 66 One of the most widely known persons in the county.
Sprague, Herman Lyons August 16, 1898 80 came to Michigan in 1844
Tyler, Mary N. Hubbardston January 28, 1899 86  
VanBuren, Henry Danby March 24, 1899 68 came to Michigan in 1854
Wolcott, Adaline Portland August 20, 1898 68  

Volume 29 (1901) page 444-446

 Death Notices:

Name Residence Date of Death Age
Clark, Polly Portland April 19, 1900 98
Colton, Matilda Easton October 9, 1899 87
Divine, Elizabeth Belding May 10, 1900 79
Gurnsey, Ezra M. Ionia September 27, 1899 81
Hunt, Abram Portland May 19, 1900 78
Jennings, Elizabeth North Plains April 26, 1900 89
Krup, Charles   May 19, 1900 76
Morehouse, Sarah C. Portland September 7, 1899 82
Pierce, George H. Orange May 27, 1900 83
Ransom, Rev. George Muir December 22, 1899 68
Reed, Otis H. Portland May 8, 1900 78
Russell, Edwin A.      
Sabin, Caroline      
Shaw, Martha      
Spencer, William      
Way, Daniel      

DIVINE. 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.
            Elizabeth Roosa was born in Ulster county, N. Y., January 9,1826, and came to Michigan in the year 1839, and lived in the family of her uncle, Charles Broas.
            She was united in marriage to Westbrook Divine of Eureka, Montcalm county, January 27, 1845, and they commenced housekeeping in the pioneer days, when the red man roved the country. She was always pleased to relate her experience of their visits and of the many hardships that bad to be endured when there were no railroads and the nearest trading stations were Ionia and Grand Rapids. She was often physician and nurse for those who were sick and helpless.
            Two daughters and three sons were born: Sarah C., wife of D. P. Fargo, who now resides in Dolan, South Dakota; Monroe B., who resides in Portland, Mich.; Asher A., who resides in Mapleton, North Dakota; Addie B., who died in infancy, and George E., who died July 30, 1898.
            Her husband, Westbrook Divine, died September 10, 1888, and after his death she resided with her son George until his death, when she accompanied her daughter, Mrs. Fargo, to Dolan, South Dakota, with whom she resided until her death. Her request was that she be brought back to her old home and laid to rest by the side of her husband and son.  

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.  

SPENCER. William Spencer died at the residence of his nephew, J. A. Spencer, in Belding, May 19, 1900.
            Uncle William, as he was familiarly known, was born in the town of Richmond, Ontario county, N. Y., September 17, 1821, and was therefore in his 79th year. He came to Michigan in an early day, and before railroads became so numerous used to run boats on Grand river. He also ran on Lake Michigan, and during the last years of his active business life spent each summer in New York city, where he was engaged with a navigation company during the season. He formerly owned a fine farm in the northwest corner of Otisco township, but about a dozen years before his death took up his residence in Belding. His wife died about five years earlier. They had one child, which also died many years before.  

CLARK. Mrs. Lewis Clark died April 19, 1900, aged 98 years.
            Polly Soles was born at Alburg, Vt., February 8, 1802. She was married at that place August 23, 1818, to Lewis T. Clark, a soldier of the war of 1812, who was one of the storming party at the capture of Fort Erie near Buffalo. In 1840 the family came to Ann Arbor, and in 1842 to Portland, Ionia county, where they continued to reside until death. Mrs. Clark was of a long-lived family; her father lived 88 years, her mother 85 years, her sister 82 years, her brother died at Portland at the age of 92 years, and she herself more than 98 years. Of a cheery disposition, her presence was always welcome, especially so in those early years of the new settlements, when the land, denuded of its sheltering trees, developed a deadly miasma, permeating the physical system and prostrating the settler on his bed of sickness when his active labor was most sorely needed. Remote from neighbors, with no physician near, what wonder, then, if the family of the immigrant gave way to despondency. Then it was that Mrs. Clark's presence and services were always desired and appreciated. Nor were her cheery counsels confined to words alone. With alert step she tidied up the home and provided some little delicacy, so grateful to a weakened patient, and when the light of that household was darkened by the entrance of death, the words of sympathy which she expressed alleviated the sorrows of the stricken family. Thus, while she lived, three generations of the human family were born, fulfilled their destiny and passed away. For more than half a century she was a consistent member of the Congregational church, though for many years preceding her death the infirmities of age precluded her attendance at the sanctuary. She waited patiently, and when the summons came she responded to the Master's call. Her funeral was attended in the same church edifice where in her younger days her seat was rarely vacant.


Volume 34 (1905) page 765-766

             BALCOM. Mrs. Myron Balcom was born June 7, 1830, was married in 1849, coming to Michigan the same year. She was devoted to her church and home.  

CONNER. Virgil Conner, born in Easton, Mich., November 10, 1842. He was a member of Co. K, Twenty-first Infantry, and was a brave and faithful soldier. He died at his home in August, 1903.  

CUTLER. Mrs. Theresa Cutler died June 16, 1904. She was born in New York State, July 10, 1824, and came to Ionia in 1842. She married Philo D. Cutler in 1843.  

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.  

WEDGE. Henry Wedge died June 22, 1904. He was born in 1836 in Pennsylvania, coming to Michigan in 1843.  

WILSON. Mrs. Mary L. Wilson was married in 1871, and lived in Otisco until her death, June 20, 1904.  

WRIGHT. Mrs. Jennie M. Wright came to Michigan in March, 1855. She was born in New York State in 1846, and married Oren C. Wright December 24, 1870.

 

 

Last update January 27, 2014