Saginaw County Michigan

Brant Township


This section of the county is most favorably circumstanced so far as the quality of its lands, the number of its water-courses, and the purity of its flowing wells may be considered. The settlement of the township has been slow indeed: thousands of acres of its fertile soil are still untouched by the plowshare; other resources are still waiting upon enterprise to offer up their stores of wealth; the land summons the industrious to its embrace, and demands, as it were, that within the next decade the present population of 860 shall be increased centum per centum, the district developed, and its place among the inure important sections of the county insured.

Francis M. Cobb operates a steam saw-mill in this township, and George Severns a similar mill on the town line.


The undulations of the land are more marked than those of any other portion of the county. The soil is a sandy loam generally, with large tracts of black loam and clay subsoil. Bad river and its tributary streams may be said to course through every section. The main stream has its source in the southeastern sections of Marion, enters the township at the northwest quarter of section 31, and, flowing northeasterly, courses through sections 29, 21, 22, 14, and 13. The North Branch of Bad river has its head-waters in the northeastern sections of the adjoining township of Marion. This stream flows in a zigzag course through the northern sections of Brant, and forms a confluence with the larger stream in St. Charles township. Great and Little Potato creeks rise in the township of Marion, and, like Bad river, with which their waters conjoin in section 14 of this township, flow in a northeasterly course. Many rivulets, supplied by the flowing wells, aid in bestowing upon this portion of Saginaw a fair quantity of good water.

The "flowing," or Artesian, wells of the township are not the least important feature among its physical characteristics. In some places the water forced its way to the surface, and formed for itself, in the course of years, natural channels through which it might rush forward to join some parent stream. The average depth of a boring necessary to obtain a supply of Artesian water at any location in the township is said to be from 60 to 300 feet. In some situations the water has been reached at a depth of 25 feet.


As early as 1857 an application was made to the county board by 19 electors of this township, asking that the territory now known as Brant and Marion should be organized as a township under the former name. The board considered the application during its session of January, 1858, and on the 8th of that month acceded to all which the first settlers demanded in it. The following is a copy of the act of organization:—

It appearing to the Board or Supervisors that application has been made, and that notice thereof has been signed, posted up and published, as in manner required by law, and having duly considered the matter of said application, the Board orders and enacts that the territory described in said application, as follows, to wit: Township number ten (10) north of range number one (1) east, and township number ten (10) north, of range number two (2) east, be, and the same is hereby erected into a township, to be called and known by the name of the township of Brant.

The first annual meeting thereof shall be held at the house now occupied by Albert A. Aldrich, on the first Monday of April, A. D. 1858, and at said meeting, John B. Adams, Ezra T. Cogswell and Thomas Berry, three electors of said township, shall be the persons whose duly it shall be to preside at such meeting, appoint clerk, open and keep the polls, and exercise the same power as the inspectors of election at any township meeting, as the law provides.

The 15 members of the supervisors' board present were unanimous in support of the motion to grant the application.

The first township meeting was held April 5, 1858, at the house of Albert A. Aldrich, with Ezra T. Cogswell, Moderator; Bradley Adams, Clerk; Charles H. Cogswell, Assistant Clerk, and John B. Adams, Ezra T. Cogswell and Thomas Berry, inspectors of Election. Two hundred and twenty votes were recorded in the aggregate, but in reality there were only 19 citizen voters present: Thomas Berry was elected Supervisor; John B. Adams, Clerk; Ezra T. Cogswell, Treasurer; Bushrod W. Lamb, Bradley Adams, Jason B. Eldridge, Columb. L. Luther, Jason P. Eldridge and Benjamin Colville, Justices of the Peace; Alpheus Oliver and Bradley Adams, School Inspectors; Purchase R. Hill, Albert A. Aldrich, Charles H. Cogswell and G. M. Campfield, Constables, and Bradley Adams, Overseer of the Poor. Bushrod W. Lamb was appointed Overseer of the Poor by the township board April 21, 1858, vice Bradley Adams, resigned. The new officer had very little trouble with the office, as there were none so poor as to require his aid, and the township was too distant from the great highways to warrant a visit from the ordinary tramps.

In the following list the names of the principal township officers are given with, the dates of their services:


Thomas Berry 1858-60 Perry Crane 1873
John B. Adams 1861-61 George Ward 1874-77
Levi W. Berry 1863 B. J. Downing 1878
Stephen Crane 1864-67 George Ward 1879
Winsor Crane 1868-69 Giles McKeon 1880
Thomas Berry 1870 David J. Webb 1881
George Ward 1871-72    


John B. Adams 1858 Giles McKeon 1868-70
L. W. Berry 1859 B. J. Downing 1871-1872
Stephen Crane 1860 Hamilton Winter 1873-77
John D. Slider 1861 James Hart 1878
Charles H. Cogswell 1862 Winsor Crane 1879
Franklin Berry 1863 Hamilton Winter 1880
Perry Crane 1864-67 Adam C. Higler 1881


Ezra T. Cogswell 1858 George Ward 1867-69
Columb L. Luther 1859-60 Winsor Crane 1870
Levi W. Berry 1861-62 Jason P. Eldridge 1871
Jason P. Eldridge 1863 Ira Smith 1872
Levi K. Perry 1864 Winsor Crane 1873-78
Jason P. Eldridge 1864 Perry Crane 1879-80
L. K. Perry 1865-66 George Price 1881


Bushrod W. Lamb 1858 Jason P. Eldridge 1870
Bradley Adams 1858 Franklin Berry 1871
Jason P. Eldridge 1858 Columb L. Luther 1872
Ezra T. Cogswell 1859 Ira Smith 1873
Bushrod W. Lamb 1860 Winsor Crane 1874
Stephen Crane 1861 Franklin Berry 1875
Orrin Limbocker 1862-63 Elkanah Ring 1876
Ezra T. Cogswell 1864 Jason P. Eldridge 1877
Stephen Crane 1865 James Hart 1878
Thomas Perry 1866 Allen McDougal 1879
George Ward 1867 Daniel Thompson 1880
Orrin Limbocker 1868 James E. Brady 1881
Stephen Crane 1869 C. L. Luther 1881

The officers elected at the annual meeting, April 4, 1881, are as follows: David J. Webb, Supervisor; Adam C. Higler, Clerk; George Price, Treasurer; James E. Brady, Justice for full term; Columbus L. Luther, Justice to fill vacancy; Charles L. Huntley, Commissioner of Highways; Reuben Montague, School Superintendent; Joseph Whaley, School Inspector; Wm. H. Smith, Drain Commissioner; Charles Griffith, Charles Sweatland, Francis M. Cobb and Judson Sorrell, Constables.


The schools of the township are seven in number. The number of children of school age is 334. The number reported in attendance during the year 1880 was 233. The school property is valued at $2,375. The number of teachers employed is 12, three of whom are male teachers. The total expenditures for the year ending September, 1880, was $1,886.10. The amount derived from the primary school fund is about $150; the balance is derivable from the two-mill tax and direct taxation for school purposes.


The names of those who patented the lands of the township are as follows:

Surname Given Section Purchase Date
ADAMS Bradley 5 1855 Aug. 17
ADAMS Bradley 5 1854 June 17
ALDRIDGE Jackson A. 18 1854 Dec. 2
ALLEN James 25 1853 Sept. 19
ALLEN William P. 12 1852 March 2
BAGG John S. 12 1837 April 17
BAGG Joseph G. 14 1837 April 17
BAILEY Hiram 21 1852 Jan. 9
BAKER George 19 1855 Sept. 12
BERNARD Stephen 6 1855 Jan. 18
BERRY Levi 15 1855 Sept. 8
BOWLES William W. 4 1850 Sept. 23
BROWN Lemuel 29 1837 March 21
BUTLER Ephraim 23 1854 Nov. 28
CALKINS L. D. 30 1854 Dec. 30
CARROLL Charles H. 14 1836 Aug. 25
CARROLL Charles H. 15 1854 Oct. 28
CARROLL Charles H. 22 1836 Aug. 25
CARROLL Charles H. 15 1854 Nov. 28
CARROLL Charles H. 23 1836 Aug. 25
CARROLL William T. 23 1836 Aug. 25
CARROLL William T. 14 1836 Aug. 25
CARROLL William T. 22 1836 Aug. 25
CARROLL William T. 15 1836 Aug. 25
CARY Alfred 1 1847 Dec. 11
CHAPIN Volney 33 1854 May 8
CHIPMAN Anson B. 35 1854 Oct. 27
CHIPMAN Isaac M. 35 1854 Oct. 27
COBB E. S. 32 1836 Dec. 19
COGSWELL Ezra T. 6 1854 Oct. 21
COPELAND Joseph T. 6 1853 Sept. 13
CRANE Duncan 21 1854 Oct. 27
CRANE Stephen 20 1854 Oct. 9
CURRIER Willard 36 1854 Oct. 18
CURRIER Willard 36 1855 Jan. 26
DOONER James 2 1850 Sept. 23
DRAKE John 33 1854 Dec. 14
FERRIS Hiram T. 23 1854 Jan. 7
FLEMING Perry 31 1854 Dec. 13
FORD Charles 29 1854 Dec. 28
FRASER J. 11 1837 March 28
FRASER J. 10 1837 March 28
FRASER James 23 1836 Aug. 25
FRASER James 15 1854 Nov. 28
FRASER James 22 1836 Aug. 25
FRASER James 2 1837 March 28
FRASER James 22 1837 March 28
FRASER James 3 1837 March 28
FRASER James 12 1837 March 28
FRASER James 15 1854 Oct. 28
FRASER James 15 1837 March 28
FRASER James 9 1837 March 28
FRASER James 14 1837 March 28
FRASER James 14 1836 Aug. 25
FULLER James C. 36 1854 Dec. 2
FULLER James C. 36 1854 Oct. 26
GORMAN Patrick 22 1854 Nov. 28
GREEN Edmund 22 1854 Oct. 26
GROGON Peter 4 1850 Sept. 23
GROUT John R. 22 1838 July 6
HOWE Samuel R. 8 1854 Dec. 22
HUNT Gilford 9 1855 Feb. 9
JOHNSON Clement S. 35 1854 Oct. 18
JONES Methuselah 35 1854 Oct. 27
JONES Methuselah 35 1853 Oct. 4
JONES Oliver S. 12 1853 March 10
LAMB B. W. 32 1854 Nov. 28
LEE Fred. J. 24 1854 Oct. 27
LEE George W. 28 1854 Oct. 19
LEE Henry B. 17 1854 Oct. 27
LITTLE Norman 14 1836 Aug. 25
LITTLE Norman 15 1854 Oct. 28
LITTLE Norman 23 1836 Aug. 25
LITTLE Norman 15 1854 Nov. 28
LITTLE Norman 22 1836 Aug. 25
LONG Orsamus 13 1837 Jan. 16
LYTLE Henry H. 30 1853 March 15
MALDEN Joseph J. 21 1837 Nov. 6
MCEACHIN John 11 1869 Nov. 20
MCNEAL Fred. 30 1854 Oct. 23
MILLER Charles 20 1854 Oct. 23
MILLER Harvey 32 1837 March 21
MORGAN John 1 1850 Dec. 11
MORSE Zenas 32 1837 March 21
MORSE Zenas 31 1837 March 21
OLIVER Alpheus 5 1851 Nov. 5
OLIVER Alpheus 29 1852 Jan. 19
PARKER George 5 1853 Sept. 5
PATRICK William S. 7 1854 Dec. 26
PENOYER Lewis 9 1854 Nov. 28
PIERCE Daniel 26 1854 Dec. 21
PIERCE Daniel 35 1854 Oct. 14
QUACKENBUSH J. H. 30 1854 Dec. 12
QUACKENBUSH Mynder W. 20 1854 Oct. 26
REINART Joseph 4 1850 Sept. 23
RYAN Charles N. 13 1853 June 21
RYAN Charles N. 6 1853 Dec. 21
RYAN Charles N. 31 1853 April 30
SHELDON Anson 31 1853 Aug. 8
SMITH Albert G. 24 1854 Oct. 19
SMITH Otis F. 7 1854 Nov. 4
SMITH Pierpont L. 27 1854 Oct. 19
SMITH Stephen 1 1850 Sept. 23
SMITH W. August 27 1854 Oct. 27
SPEAR Edmund 24 1854 Oct. 26
STEVENS Fred H. 4 1837 May 9
STEVENS James O. 31 1854 Dec. 9
STICKNEY Samuel 35 1854 Nov. 28
SULLIVAN Hiram 4 1850 Sept. 23
SWIM George 27 1854 Dec. 8
TAYER William R. 25 1854 Oct. 14
TAYLOR Leonard 34 1854 Dec. 18
TEACHOUT John Jr. 34 1855 April 7
TEACHOUT Peter 23 1855 May 8
TOBIAS Solomon 33 1854 Dec. 2
TURNER Hannah 4 1850 Sept. 23
VAN RENSELLAER Durfee 21 1854 Oct. 27
VANAKIN Elizabeth 29 1853 Mar. 15
VANAKIN H. J. 31 1853 March 15
VANAKIN H. J. 29 1853 May 25
VANAKIN H. J. 29 1853 March 15
WARD Ruby A. 2 1850 June 3
WARREN Georgbe 23 1854 Dec. 11
WATKINS Homer 15 1854 Oct. 28
WATKINS Homer 15 1854 Nov. 28
WIILIAMS Gardner D. 22 1836 Aug. 25
WILLES Jesse 10 1854 Nov. 28
WILLIAMS Alpheus 14 1837 Jan. 16
WILLIAMS Alpheus 13 1837 Jan. 16
WILLIAMS Ephraim S. 14 1836 Aug. 25
WILLIAMS Ephraim S. 15 1854 Oct. 28
WILLIAMS Ephraim S. 23 1836 Aug. 25
WILLIAMS Ephraim S. 22 1836 Aug. 25
WILLIAMS Ephraim S. 15 1854 Nov. 28
WILLIAMS G. W. 3 1837 March 28
WILLIAMS G. W. 2 1837 March 28
WILLIAMS G. W. 9 1837 March 28
WILLIAMS G. W. 10 1837 March 28
WILLIAMS G. W. 11 1837 March 28
WILLIAMS G. W. 12 1837 March 28
WILLIAMS G. W. 14 1837 March 28
WILLIAMS G. W. 15 1837 March 28
WILLIAMS G. W. 22 1837 March 28
WILLIAMS Gard. D. 13 1837 Jan. 16
WILLIAMS Gard. D. 14 1837 Jan. 16
WILLIAMS Gardner D. 14 1836 Aug. 25
WILLIAMS Gardner D. 15 1854 Oct. 28
WILLIAMS Gardner D. 23 1836 Aug. 25
WILLIAMS Gardner D. 15 1854 Nov. 28
YAWKEY John H. 5 1854 Feb. 27
YAWKEY Samuel W. 11 1854 April 19


Only 10 of this large number of original purchasers ever dwelt on the land. Through them it has passed into the possession of the present occupying proprietary.


The brief sketches that follow are of pioneers and other representative citizens of Brant township.

E. T. Cogswell, son of Asahel and Susan (Tyler) Cogswell, was born in 1804, in Scipio, Cayuga Co., N. Y. His parents were born in Massachusetts, of English descent. He came West to Rochester in the summer of 1812, about the time war was declared against Great Britain. He was a farmer's boy and was ready to takes job of chopping or cleaning, or to do anything he could find. He drifted into Orleans county and worked around as a hired man among the farmers, until the spring of 1826, when, having been engaged to a farmer's daughter, he was married and for some time worked with his father-in-law. Getting a little ahead in purse, he hired a farm and commenced life for himself. His history for 25 years following his marriage was full of vicissitudes, and was little else than a continued series of failures. During these years he was alternately in Monroe, Ontario and Wayne counties, on different farms; and either from bad seasons, sickness, or, worse still, from the dishonesty and selfishness of men, soon found himself without any of this world's goods.

At one time he had been sick for several weeks and had not a single mouthful of food in his house for 24 hours, and at daylight in the morning he crawled out to the road, "waylaid" a man in a wagon, and went six miles in his feebleness to a neighbor to get something to eat for his starving wife and children, and on returning found his family almost distracted at his absence, and the neighbors had turned out to hunt him. In the spring of 1852 he set out for Michigan, forgetting the things that were behind, though fearing some of them. But the star of ill-luck had moved from above them. He took up 330 acres in Brant and 160 acres in Chapin tps. This appeared to be a fortunate strike. Additions in years following were made to this first purchase; the country grew and the family grew with it; two sons settled on farms near by; daughters were given in marriage, and 14 years of life crept along as well and as smoothly as the average of human life and condition usually does. Success had come slowly but surely, and the former days of darkness were not remembered in the present joy of the heart.

Things moved on smoothly and the spring of 1876 came around, and it occurred to them that March would bring around their golden wedding day; and as they had not been given much to wordly entertainments, they determined to celebrate it in good style. The invitations were sent out, and the morning arrived, and it was a beautiful morning; the guests came amid joy and greetings, and hearty welcomes, and all was ready for the beginning of the festivities, when an unwelcome and uninvited guest made his appearance among the company and commanded the attention of every one present. That unbidden guest was Death! As the bride of 50 years arose to repeat the ceremony of her maiden vows there was a shriek and a fall, and Death had done his awful work. Instead of the golden wedding it was the sundering of all earthly ties between Mr. Cogswell and his wife. The guests, after spending most of the day in solemn thoughts and communion with one another, reluctantly, and with grief, left for their homes. Time softened Mr. C.'s grief, and again he took unto himself a helpmeet. He married Mrs. Abigail Woodward, of New York, daughter of A. P. Merrill. Mr. C. had 4 sons, 2 of whom served in the Union army; one of these, Charles H., is now living near the homestead, and the other, George L., was killed at the battle of Gettysburg. The old gentleman is now 77 years of age, and still works his farm without help! He is a Universalist and a Republican.

Perry Crane, farmer, sec. 20, was born in Elgin Co., Ontario, Canada, in 1837; parents were Isaac and Sarah E. Crane; subject of sketch was educated in the common schools; in 1858 bought 80 acres of land in Brant tp.; price $300; gave one horse, valued at $100, in part payment, and worked at carpenter's trade to pay remainder; now owns 240 acres and house and barn worth several thousand dollars; was Supervisor one term, Tp. Clerk three years and Treasurer two years; in politics is Republican; in July, 1860, enlisted at East Saginaw in Co. F, 1st Mich. Vol. Inf., and was severely wounded at the battle of Gaines' Mill; while in hospital was captured by rebels and held in Libby prison for 25 days; was then paroled, and after lying in hospital at Philadelphia for five months, was discharged July 13, 1863; was married in 1863, to Elizabeth Caughill of Canada; have 5 children—William, Sherman, Ida May, Minnie and Jessie.

Winsor Crane, farmer, sec. 21, was born in Elgin Co., Province of Ontario. Canada, April 8, 1830. His parents were John B. and Mary E. (Henneker) Crane, the former of whom was a native of Canada, and the latter of England. Mr. Crane received a good education in Canada, and on Jan. 1, 1861, settled in Brant tp. where he has since resided, engaged in lumbering and farming. He owns 157 acres of land: is a Universalist in belief. He was married in 1864 to Caroline E. Limbocker, a native of Michigan, who died in Brant tp., Saginaw Co., May 15, 1865. Mr. Crane was again married in 1868, to Sarah E. McIntyre, whose parents are natives of New York. They have been blessed with 4 children—Bertha C., Maude M., Blanche E. and Chester M. Mr. Crane is a Republican in politics and has served his tp. in almost all of its local offices, among which are Supervisor two years, Treasurer seven years, Clerk one year and Justice of the Peace four years, etc. He is one of the representative farmers of the county and most substantial men of his tp.

Thomas Minto, farmer, sec. 18, was born at Edinburgh, Scotland, and is a son of Andrew and Rachel (Ramage) Minto, the latter of whom is a descendant of the old family of McGregors. Mr. Minto was a tobacco manufacturer and in comfortable circumstances, but having a large family of boys he determined to come to America, where each could learn a trade, and where wages were more remunerative than in Scotland. In 1851 he landed at Quebec, and the next year settled at Hamilton, Ontario, where for some time he was employed as time-keeper at the water works. In 1869 he settled in Brant tp., and bought 120 acres of land, half of which is now under cultivation. He was married in 1839 to Elizabeth McAllister, of Edinburgh, Scotland, who is a descendant of Sir Robert Bruce, and of the noble family of Sutherland. They have 9 children—Andrew, Rachel, William, Eliza, David, Adam, Thomas, James and Jennie. The first 7 are married and doing well, while the 2 youngest reside with their parents. Mr. Minto is a Republican, and himself and wife are members of the M. E. Church.

Elkanah Ring was born in 1809, and is a son of EIkanah and Sally (Cowan) Ring, the latter being a native of Massachusetts and of English parentage. Mr. Ring was educated in Massachusetts, and his occupation has been the manufacturing of wood work for machinery. He was a prominent Republican of the "Bay State," and was three times a nominee for the Legislature, but the Republican party being in the minority in his district, he was thrice defeated. He was a member of the committee appointed to revise the State Constitution, and of the County Board for six years. He was married in 1840, but his wife died in 1842. In 1844 he married Elizabeth Burr, who bore him 6 children, and departed this life in 1868. He was married the third time in 1860, and 1 child was given them. Mrs. Ring died in 1866.


Source: History of Saginaw County Michigan, By Michael A. Leeson, Damon Clarke, Published 1881 Chas. C. Chapman & Co., Chicago pages 751-757.

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