Saginaw County Michigan

Chapin Township

This township occupies the southwestern corner of the county, and, with the 12 adjoining sections in Gratiot county, forms a Congressional township of 36 sections. The Chapin postoffice is located in section 35. The head-waters of Bad river may be said to rise in this township. Pine creek and its tributary streamlets form the principal water-courses of the district. Lamb and Gould creeks are in the northeastern sections.

There are a few old farms in the township. Within the last half decade a number of industrious agriculturists have been added to the population, which now reaches 646, according to the census returns of June, 1880. Within the past 12 months a few settlers have made their locations there, so that it is presumed by the residents that the actual population exceeds 700.

The question of organizing this fractional township began to be agitated immediately after the close of the war. The small band of settlers then residing there petitioned the county board to erect the 24 southwestern sections of the county into a township to be named "Chapin." The motion to organize was supported by 24 members of the board, and opposed by one; so that the following order to organize was made Oct. 10, 1866:

It appearing to the Board of Supervisors that application has been made, and that notice thereof has been signed, posted up and published, as in the manner required by law, and having duly considered the matter of said application, the board order and enact that the territory described in said application, bounded as follows, to-wit : fractional township 9 north of range 1 east, be, and the same is, hereby erected into a township to be called and known by the name of the township of Chapin.

The first annual township meeting thereof shall be held at Joseph Taylor's house on section 14, on the first Monday in April, A. D. 1867, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, and at said meeting Ferdinand F. Smith, Austin Chapin and Joseph G. Taylor, three electors of said township, shall be the persons whose duty it shall be to preside at such meeting, appoint a clerk, to open and keep the polls.

The order took effect in April, 1867, and the first township meeting was carried out with due regard to the formalities prescribed by the law in such cases. The municipal affairs of Chapin have been zealously guarded since that time, and every effort made by the local legislators to advance the position and prosperity of their constituents. The present township officers are: John McChristian, Supervisor; Edgar W. Winter, Clerk; Morris S. Brown, Treasurer; W. O. Wilson, David Van Bell, Austin Chapin and Gilbert Smith, Justices; Wm. Murlin, School Superintendent; Chris. Roebacher, School Inspector; Barney Hopee, Road Commissioner; Jesse Hall, Drain Commissioner; Walter Brown, Constable. This election was held at Bell's Corners, or Chapin, near the post office. Joseph Taylor, the oldest settler, was present.

There are four schools in this fractional township.


The original purchasers of the public lands of this township were not resident proprietors as a rule. In the following list of those who entered the United States lands, the names of non-residents as well as residents are given:

Surname Given Section Purchase Date
A. L. and T. B. R. R.
3 1863 June 3
A. L. and T. B. R. R.
9 1863 June 3
A. L. and T. B. R. R.
11 1861 Feb. 4
A. L. and T. B. R. R.
17 1863 June 3
A. L. and T. B. R. R.
29 1863 June 3
ADAMS William 26 1851 Jan. 29
BROWN Lemuel 11 1837 May 16
BURCH Hiram 28 1855 June 16
CARROLL Charles H. 35 1836 Aug. 25
CARROLL William T. 35 1836 Aug. 25
CHAPIN Volney 2 1853 Nov. 23
CHAPIN Volney 4 1853 Nov. 23
CHAPIN Volney 5 1853 Nov. 23
CHAPIN Volney 9 1854 May 8
CHAPIN Volney 9 1853 Nov. 23
CHAPIN Volney 11 1853 Nov. 23
CLARK James 2 1855 July 25
CLARKE O. A. 8 1835 Jan. 26
COGSWELL A. K. 25 1854 Oct. 25
CRAVEN Robert E. 13 1854 April 1
CRAVEN Robert E. 13 1854 April 1
D and M. R. R.
3 1863 June 3
D. and M. R. R.
9 1863 June 3
D. and M. R. R.
17 1863 June 3
D. and M. R. R.
29 1863 June 3
EVANS David E. 32 1836 June 27
FORD John 25 1855 Jan. 9
FRASER James 35 1836 Aug. 25
GIBSON Alfred S. 9 1876 Aug. 14
GLEASON Philip 24 1855 Jan. 9
GORDON John M. 13 1836 Dec. 20
GORDON John M. 14 1836 Dec. 20
GORDON John M. 20 1836 Dec. 20
GORDON John M. 21 1836 Dec. 20
GORDON John M. 22 1836 Dec. 20
GORDON John M. 23 1836 Dec. 20
GOULD Amos 4 1872 May 31
GOULD Amos 10 1871 July 1
GOULD Amos 14 1872 May 25
HAMILTON G. W. 28 1855 Dec. 18
HARRIS Isaac 28 1875 Oct. 27
HARTER Robert 28 1866 June 16
HAYMAN Archibald 24 1855 July 3
HOPPE Barnard 12 1876 May 31
HOPPE Barnard 12 1836 Dec. 24
HOWE Philander R. 2 1836 Dec. 19
HOWE Philander R. 2 1837 Jan. 17
INGALLS Chester 1 1836 Dec. 19
INGALLS Chester 2 1836 Dec. 19
IRELAND John G. 33 1836 June 7
IRELAND John L. 36 1836 June 7
KOHLER Gottleib 12 1877 May 26
KOHLER Gottleib 12 1854 April 1
LEE Gideon 1 1836 Dec. 24
LEE Gideon 12 1836 Dec. 24
LEE Gideon 13 1836 Dec. 24
LEE Gideon 13 1836 Dec. 20
LEE Gideon 14 1836 Dec. 24
LEE Gideon 21 1836 Dec. 24
LEE Gideon 23 1836 Dec. 24
LEE Gideon 34 1836 Dec. 24
LEE Gideon 35 1836 Dec. 24
LEWIS John L. 28 1855 July 25
LITTLE Norman 35 1836 Aug. 25
MAIN Miles 28 1855 July 25
MAYBURRY T. 23 1855 March 16
McNEIL John 24 1837 March 16
MERRILL Nathaniel 14 1854 April 1
MOORE James B. 4 1867 Dec. 10
MORRILL John C. 1 1854 Nov. 23
NEWTON Miles C. 1 1854 Nov. 23
PEAVY Neh. P. 14 1856 May 8
PEREE Freeman F. 27 1854 Oct. 10
PEREE Freeman F. 27 1854 Nov. 18
PUTMAN Henry H. 12 1872 Nov. 21
RICH Emanuel 28 1855 June 30
SETTS Nicholas H. 8 1865 Jan. 26
SETTS Nicholas H. 8 1866 Feb. 2
SOMERS J. 27 1855 June 19
SOMERS J. 27 1855 June 23
STEVENS Abram 4 1866 Nov. 9
TAYLOR Elijah 12 1856 Aug. 4
TAYLOR Joseph G. 14 1856 April 26
TROWBRIDGE Steven V. R. 10 1836 Dec. 20
TROWBRIDGE Steven V. R. 11 1836 Dec. 20
TROWBRIDGE Stephn V. R. 15 1836 Dec. 20
VAN DUSEN J. R. 14 1860 Oct. 23
WALTER Philip G. 25 1856 April 25
WILLIAMS G. D. 35 1836 Aug. 25
WILLIAMS E. S. 35 1836 Aug. 25
YAWGER Wm. B. 26 1854 Oct. 22

The settlers, both old and new, are as industrious as they are affable. Perhaps in no part of the State can the pioneer of 50 years ago find a better living remembrance of his early days than in this township. A little community of genial hearts, bound together by a solidarity of interests as well as true friendship, exists there, to tell the traveler, as it were, that there is one corner of the world, at least, free from the heavy cares which weigh upon more ambitious and older settlers.


David V. Bell, second son of George and Asenath (Clapp) Bell, was born in Cuyahoga Co., 0., Jan. 10, 1842, of Irish and English ancestry. His first occupation was sailing on the lakes two years. He next worked on the Ohio canal five or six years. In the fall of 1860 he engaged in farming, at which he continued until Aug. 12, 1861, when he enlisted at Cleveland, O., in Co. B, 2d O. Cav., under Capt. Smith, and served in the Western army. He was discharged Dec. 12, 1865, and returned to Ohio, and the following spring he came to Chapin tp. and bought 80 acres of land on sec. 35, 70 of which are under cultivation. He was married in Chapin tp., Dec. 25, 1867, to Calista A., daughter of Steward and Margaret (Bonsteel) Thompson, born in Summit Co., 0., Aug. 2, 1848. They have 6 children, all born in Chapin tp.—Charles It, born March 30, 1870; Ella M., born Dec. 10, 1871; Daisy A., born Oct. 21, 1874; George S., born July 26, 1876; Clyde H., born July 6, 1878, and James C., born Jan. 29, 1881. Mr. Bell has been Commissioner one year, Justice of the Peace six years, and School Superintendent one year. Himself and wife are members of the Disciples of Christ.

Ferdinand F. Smith, third son of John B. and Annie (Hardy) Smith, was born in Sullivan Co., N. Y., May 6, 1813, of English and German ancestry. When four years of age his parents moved to Sussex Co., N. J., where they remained until he was 20 years of age, when he removed to Niagara Co., N. Y., and remained until the summer of 1857. He then removed to Ingham Co., Mich., where he resided until 1864, when he came to Chapin tp. and purchased 360acres of land on secs. 13 and 14. He was married in Niagara Co., N. Y., May 11, 1843, to Clarissa, daughter of Timothy and Polly (Kinney) Baird, born in Niagara Co., N. Y. They have 2 children, born in Niagara Co.—Gilbert A. and William J. Mr. Smith has been Township Treasurer three years and Justice of the Peace 11 years. He was burned out in 1871, loss estimated at $2,000. Mr. Smith and wife are connected with the United Brethren Church and he is a Democrat.

William B. Taylor, second son of Joseph G. and Almira (Brundage) Taylor, was born in Adams Co., Ind., Sept. 12, 1841. His father was born June 25, 1812, of English and German ancestry. His mother was born in New York Dec. 23, 1807. When six months old his parents removed to Yates county, and then to Chemung county, where they resided until he was 11 years of age. In the summer of 1855 he came with parents to Chapin tp. He purchased 40 acres of land on sec. 14, since when he has purchased 40 acres adjoining, 30 of which are under cultivation. He was married in Chapin tp., Dec. 3, 1865, to Sarah E., daughter of James and Aurora S. (Rising) Hervey, born at Manchester, Vt., July 9, 1850. They have 4 children, born in Chapin tp.—Ida M., born Sept. 10, 1866; William B., born June 29, 1871; Charles C., born Dec. 11, 1874, and Maude, born Aug. 11, 1877. In politics Mr. Taylor is a Republican and himself and wife are members of the Disciple Church. At the time of the Chicago fire he lost $500 worth of farming tools, buildings, etc. Joseph G. Taylor, his father, has 40 acres of land, on sec. 1.



Source: History of Saginaw County Michigan, By Michael A. Leeson, Damon Clarke, Published 1881 Chas. C. Chapman & Co., Chicago pages 791-794.
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