HISTORY OF TUSCOLA COUNTY
Census of 1860: Population, 263; number of families 43; number of dwellings 46; value of real estate owned, $50,265; number of farms, 40; number of acres improved, 1,054; number of horses, 15; number of cows, 71; number of cows, 71; number of sheep, 26; bushels of wheat raised, 2,164; bushels of corn, 2,210; bushels of oats, 1,522; bushels of potatoes, 2,684; pounds of butter made, 6,075.
Census of 1864: Population, 343; males, 173; females, 170; number of marriages preceding year, 7; number of deaths preceding year, 8; number of acres of taxable land, 5,915; number of acres of improved land, 872; bushels of corn raised preceding year, 3,370; bushels of wheat raised preceding year, 2,697; bushels of potatoes raised preceding year, 3,044; tons of hay cut, 306; pounds of butter made, 3,491; number of horses, 65; number of cows, 113.
Census of 1870: Population, 671; number of acres of improved land, 3,037; number of dwellings, 141; number of families, 141; number of farms, 87; number of horses, 113; number of cows, 72; number of sheep, 335; number of swine, 180; pounds of wool sheared, 1,066; pounds of butter made, 24,260; bushels of wheat raised, 8,739; bushels of rye, 64; bushels of potatoes. 7,293; tons of hay cut, 846; number of saw-mills, 1; feet of lumber cut, 1,300,000.
Census of 1874: Population, 745; males, 402; females, 343; number of horses, 181; number of cows, 246; bushels of wheat, 12,804; bushels of corn, 9,788; bushels of apples, 1,180; bushels of potatoes, 4,634; tons of hay, 879.
Population in 1880, 1,181. Total equalized valuation in 1182, $454,147. Number of farms in 1880, 187; acres of improved land, 7,715. Bushels of wheat raised in 1880, 46,586; of corn, 58,233; tons of hay, 1,190.
ALEXANDER P. COOPER was born in Cayuga County, N.Y., where he lived until he came to Tuscola County, in 1853. He first located at the forks of the Cass River, now called Cass City, afterward coming to that part of the township of Almer, adjoining the northern limits of the corporation of the village of Caro, where he is now engaged in farming. Mr. Cooper has also been extensively connected with lumbering operations and was also at one time a member of the firm of Woodward & Cooper, dealers in drugs, medicines, etc., in the village of Caro. Is married and has a family of three children, one of whom, a son, is in the mercantile business at Cass City.
BENJAMIN F. RICHARDS was born at Malone, Franklin County, N. Y., from where his family moved to Niagara County. He worked on a farm and also at the carpenter and builder’s trade until he came to Michigan in 1856. When he first came to this State he worked for Cooper & Wright, who were lumbering in Tuscola County. Was afterward in the employ of William A. Heartt, of Wahjamega, but at the breaking out of the war he enlisted in the Seventh Michigan Infantry. At the battle of Glendale, during General McClellan’s seven days’ retreat, he was wounded in three assistance. Was in Libby prison some nineteen days, when he was paroled and sent to David’s Island , in Long Island Sound, and was there two months, also two months at Fort Hamilton. The next place he was sent to was Fort Banks, at Alexandria, Va., and in September, 863, he was discharged on account of disability caused by gunshot wounds. On his return he again went into the employ of William A. Heartt, working for him in all about eight years. Was the first sheriff of the county after the removal of the county seat at Caro. Has also held the offices of canstable, justice of the peace and school director for District No. 1, Almer. For a number of years he has been a building contractor, and among some of the buildings he has had the job of erecting, the following may be mentioned: Sabin Gibb’s residence, John Staley, Jr.’s, C. P. Black’s, the store of Miss J. Ryan, two brick school-houses in Almer, etc. He is now (1883) engaged in farming. Married and has one child, a daughter.
JAMES L. SUTTON, son of J. D. Sutton, was born on the homestead in the township of Almer, Tuscola County, Mich., in 1860, and has since resided there. He purchased the homestead, which contains 160 acres, of his father, in 1882, it being the same tract taken up from the government by his uncle, and subsequently sold it to his father, who cleared the land, improved it and resided upon it till the spring of 1883. In 1881 he took the premium for the banner farm of the county Mr. Sutton was married in October 882, to Miss Jennie E. Hindley, of the township of Ellington, Tuscola County, Mich.; her birth place was in Nebraska.
JOHN PARSELL, farmer was born in
Dayton, N. Y., April 9, 1818. He received his education in his native
State, and spent his early manhood chiefly in agricultural pursuits. He came to Caro, Mich., February 4, 1862, and
shortly after settled in Almer. He was married September 28, 1842, to Miss
Betsey Ann Farnsworth, of Perrysburgh, N. Y. She was born December 1, 1824. They have five living children, Truman,
Franklin, Volney, Solon and Celia.
When they first came to Caro there were but three permanent residences in the place. He used to pick blackberries along an old log fence and pine stumps where the opera-house and the main brick buildings of Caro now stand as monuments in our county seat. The chief enterprise then was lumbering, while sportive persons made quite an avocation of hunting deer, elk, bear and other games. In 1862 there was a mail route established from East Saginaw by way of Caro and Elkland to Forestville, on Lake Huron, a distance of about ninety miles. Mr. P. was the first carrier. He carried the mail on foot, and made a round trip once a week. He has sometimes felt his pathway in utter darkness for quite a distance, creeping again and again on his hands and knees to feel the tracks and marks of the trail; and on one occasion he reclined on his mail bags in the woods during the entire night, with wolves howling frequently in the near distance, and at another time a drove of them came so closely around him that he could see them in the bushes and hear their snarls, and his only way of escape from them was to climb into small trees if they came too near. The land he first bought and prepared for a home was on section 35, now Mr. Darby’s residence. He has in his present farm home, on section 9, 320 acres with about 100 improved, a good dwelling and other farm buildings. He also owns over 100 acres of other lands. He has been township treasurer three years, and at intervals has served some six terms as supervisor; and he took an active part in securing the present choice of county seat. His grandfather, Robert Parsell, then sixteen years old, lived on Long Island when the British took it in the war of the Revolution. He and his widowed mother fled thence to New Jersey, and in later years he and his own family removed to York State. He was small in stature, but not in patriotism. At the close of the war, when the British armies were leaving, a British Colonel, riding in his stately carriage with his lady to join the retiring army, was compelled by Mr. Parsell and some others to get out of his carriage and kiss a liberty pole, and then, but not till then, was he allowed to proceed.
MRS. M. A. KLINE, was born in Columbia County, Penn., August 31, 1815. Her maiden name was Hess. She with her husband, J. D. Kline, came to Almer, in 1856, and settled on section 4. They at once began to prepare them a home in the wild but beautiful forest. Mrs. Kline, with her son to assist her, nobly braved the adversities of pioneer life and bereavement, and has now 240 acres of land and an inviting home.
DANIEL MCCREA, farmer, was born in Lansdown, Canada, January 10, 1832. He left his native place when about eighteen years of age, and visited York State, Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee and Minnesota, spending over four years in these States in various employments. Later, he returned to Canada and spent over a year there, mostly in farming. He first came to Almer, Michigan, April 7, 1857, and bought eighty acres of land in section 12, cleared some eight acres and returned to Canada. On March 8, 1859, he was married to Miss Caroline M. Landon, also of Lansdown. They arrived at their place in Almer April 7, 1859. She died September 4, 1870. His second marriage was to Mrs. M. E. Campbell, of Elkland, November 30, 1870. Mr. McCrea has six living children: James S., Mary E., Sarah J., John S., Eliza Ann, and Kittie Bell. Mrs. M. E. McCrea’s children by her first husband are Burton C. and Emma V. Campbell. When Mr. McCrea first came to Almer the nearest postoffice was at Watrousville, about sixteen miles away. He had to buy their meat at Vassar at twenty-five cents per pound, and he once carried home twenty pounds from there on his back. His neighbor, Mr. O. Higley, on one occasion carried 100 pounds of flour eleven miles, but now in his health he is all broken down. One day, as Mr. McCrea was going to Watrousville for his mail, he found that Mr. O. W. Leonard had felled a small beech tree across the road, and was hewing it for the first timber in the first frame house in Caro. He rested briefly thereon and resumed his journey. Previous to this time there had been there only a lumber shanty. Mr. McCrea has in his farm 120 acres of land, with eighty-six under cultivation. He has good buildings and about two acres of beautiful orchard, and inviting home comforts. In hunting Mr. McCrea has killed in this county eleven bears, (five this last season) one lynx, thirty-six wild-cats, and not less than 150 deer; but has never captured an elk nor a wolf.
REV. ALFRED HALL, local preacher and farmer, was born in New Brunswick, September 14, 1837. He left there when about eighteen years old, and spent over three years in Canada and then made a tour to Berlin, Michigan, but soon returned to Canada. He came from there to Almer, Michigan, in August, 1859. On September 14 following, he commenced to do settling duties on section 11, where he had taken up land. He was married to Miss Anabel Bearss, of Almer, March 27, 1860. They have six living children: Amanda A., Hannah E., Anna J., Ella, Cyrus A., and Ettie Bell. He has 158 ½ acres of land, about ninety of which are improved; also a thriving orchard of apples, plums, peaches, pears, quinces, cherries, grapes and small fruits, and an excellent dwelling and other buildings. They are members of the Free Methodist Church, and glory in salvation by faith. Mr. Hall has been engaged in the glorious strife for this salvation fourteen years. His conversion was clear and induced self-denial and disuse of tobacco and other indulgences. He is in his fraternal views strongly opposed to secret societies, especially Freemasonry. He holds that it is based upon laws and usages which require the taking of human life, in direct violation of the laws of the land. Its death penalties are barbarous and inhuman, and cannot be inflicted, except by assassination. Its so called charity is a sham, its pretensions to truth and virtue a fraud and a deception; and its religious ceremonies are Christless and pagan. He believes Masonry is the most gigantic swindle in the world. When they first went on their place, the roof of their shanty was made of shakes. They had floor enough to receive their bedstead, but they walked on the bare sleepers to reach the fire-place, which was a crib made of wood and filled with clay, pounded and afterward burned, and surmounted by a chimney made of sticks and earth. Just after their commencement on the farm, Mr. Hall was severely wounded by falling against a sharp ax, and was laid up eight weeks. Mrs. Hall chopped their wood, cut three acres of corn and husked the larger part of the crop; and he resumed chopping when he had to take his cane with him to assist him to escape from the falling trees. They heard from neighbors of “a store out north.” They asked, “Is it due north, and how far away?” The continued answer was, “Oh, it’s out north.” They started to find it; and found that “out north” meant what is now called Unionville; but to get there they had part of the way to wade in deep water, and to walk on logs where they could not wade. On the 4th of July, 1864, Mr. Humes provided a wagon and Mr. Hall a team of young steers, and the two families and others went to the celebration at Caro. A musical band frightened the steers until they bawled furiously in the midst of the crowd, and ran away when on the way home, and were about to crush the wagon on a pine stump, because one steer ran faster than the other; but Mr.
George Cleaver, from the front of the wagon, goaded the slow steer with the sharp stem of a new file just bought, saying calmly, “That does it;” thus the stump was missed and the passengers were conducted home in safety.
A. MCNEIL, farmer, was born in Canada, June 29 1840; was married to Miss Elizabeth Snider, of Canada, November 18, 1866. She was born in Canada, January 8, 1844. They have live in Tuscola County fourteen years. They have two children. They have eighty acres of land in Almer with twenty improved, and are members of the Free Methodist Church.
ASA B. HUMES, farmer was born in Woodcock, Penn., July 7, 1838. He came with his parents to Oakland County, Mich., when about nine years of age and spent several years there in agricultural pursuits. He was married to Miss Jane Thorpe, of Pontiac. October 13, 1859. She was born in England, December 2, 1840. They have five living children: Carson F., Frank, Freddie J., John and Lloyd. Alice and Elida have now been several years deceased. Mr. H. bought land in section 12, in Almer, in May, 1862, and in the following fall brought his family and at once began to open up a home in the forest. So near to their dwelling were the trees at first that Mrs. Humes several times had to retreat from it when these were being cut down, lest they should crush her in falling. They lived in a shanty seventeen years, but now the dangers and adversities of pioneer life have yielded to persistent effort and industry, and on their farm of 160 acres they have about 120 acres under cultivation, also an elegant brick dwelling, commodious barns and pleasing home attractions, one of which is a beautiful orchard of nearly 200 trees of various kinds of fruits. Mr. H. has served as justice of the peace, but usually declines all public office. Mr. and Mrs. Humes are members of the Protestant Methodist Church. His father, Archibald Humes, died in February, 1873. His mother, Eliza Humes, was born in Pittsburgh, December 1, 1809, and now resides with her son, but feels deeply at times the infirmities of age and the weight of years. She became pious in youth and is also a member of the Methodist Protestant Church.
JAMES D. SUTTON, farmer, was born in
Franklin County, N.Y., August 23, 1833 and was reared in Geauga County, Ohio,
where he received his education and early culture, and employed a large share
of his time in agricultural pursuits. He
came to Tuscola County, Mich., in September, 1852. He spent over two years in Indian Fields with
Mr. David H. Andrew. Caro was then not
yet commenced. He was married April 19,
1855, to Miss Eliza Ann Ingraham, of Springfield,
Mich. She was born in Jefferson County,
N. Y., June 5, 1830.
She died December 24, 1880. They
have had five children, Amelia O. (now deceased), Rachel M., James L., and Lovina and Livisa, twins. They settled on their place on section 12, in
Almer, April 27, 1855. He had erected a log house but had no windows nor doors yet furnished when they moved in. They at once began clearing and preparing
their home for future comfort; and soon the romantic forest was changed to
fertile fields, though the work was accomplished amid many disadvantages and
adversities. At one time they went to
the lumber woods on Sucker Creek, in the employ of Mr. James Ketchum, and when
returning in the spring they found the ice in the Cass River was broken up, and
the water very high. How
to get over they knew not. Mr.
Sutton left his wife and child and their trunk on the bank, and crossed over on
pieces of ice and drift wood intending to obtain tools, and form a raft for the
others to cross on. Just as he reached
the shore he looked back and saw that a large body of ice had lodged near him,
reaching quite across the river. He
rushed across seized his child and his wife followed. They dashed to the opposite side; he sped
back and carried over their trunk, and just as he reached the shore the ice
broke loose, and was borne on down the stream.
At one time they went all the way to Oakland County, a distance of about seventy miles, on a visit with an ox team, there being then no horse team in the place. At another time he carried a clock and pair of steelyards and other articles, weighing thirty-eight pounds, all the way from Flint to his present home. On April 18, 1882, Mr. Sutton was married to Miss Martha M. Burlingame. She was born in Canada, County of Oxford, August 24, 1856. Mr. S. has been school inspector and road commissioner; has served three years as township clerk, and several terms as supervisor, and is now superintendent of the poor. Fraternally he is a member of the Caro Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. Mr. and Mrs. Sutton have lately disposed of their valuable property on section 12, and their future residence will be in an elegant home lately purchased on section 34, near Caro.
JOHN D. HAYES, farmer, was born in Geneseo, N. Y., May 30, 1830. He came with his parents to Brighton, Mich., when eleven years of age, and to Gilford, Tuscola County, in 1854. From there he came to Almer, in 1880. He has in his farm home on section 24, eighty acres of excellent land; about sixty-five of which are under cultivation, with good farm buildings and a fine fruit bearing orchard of some 250 trees of the most desirable varieties of large and small fruits. He was married to Mrs. Anna A. Gregory, of Juniata, November 2, 1862. They have two children, Eta M. and John Jameson. Mrs. Hayes’ children by her first husband were Frank and Lottie Gregory.
ALONZO WELDON, farmer and lumberman, was born in Yates County, N. Y., June 14, 1824. He and his parents came to Macomb County, Mich., in 1837. He received his education and early culture mostly in that place, and took part in the culture of the home farm until in 1854. He then went to Sanilac County and engaged in lumbering. Three years later he went to Oakland County and spent over three years in farming. From there he went to Saginaw County, where he devoted his time for several years exclusively to lumbering, and with good success. Mr. Weldon’s first visit to Tuscola County was about the year 1848. He was in the employ of the lumbering firm of Emerson & Eldridge, of Saginaw. He, with some nine others, commenced near where Tuscola village now is and opened a road through to Indian Fields. While at this work they camped out twenty nights, and thus was opened what has since been known as the old supply road. At that time there was not a white settler in this region northeast of where that rod was commenced. Where Caro is was then an unbroken forest. Mr. Weldon’s permanent settlement in Almer was on June 27, 1867. Mr. Weldon was married first to Miss C. D. Crocker, but in about ten months she was removed by death. His second marriage was to Miss M. A. Tompkins, in November, 1855. In the summer of 1862 she also died. On May 27, 1866, he was married to Miss Harriet E. Johnson, of Davison, Mich. He has three living children, Jessie E. (now Mrs. A. Currey), Cora Lillian, and Alonzo Clyde. He has in his home farm eighty-six acres of land, about forty of which are improved, also a thriving fruit-bearing orchard, and an entertaining home. Mr. and Mrs. Weldon are members of the Universalist Church and of the Independent Order of Good Templars.
OTIS W. LEONARD, teacher, surveyor and farmer, was born in Smithfield, Madison County, N. Y., April 3, 1823. His grandfather, Noah Leonard, was one of the veterans of the Revolution, fought in the battle of Lexington, and served till the close of the war. His mother’s father, Captain Daniel Warren, was also a soldier in the Revolutionary struggle. His father, Isaac R. Leonard, was a soldier and drummer in the war of 1812, and took part in the
battle of Queenstown. Otis W. spent his youth and early manhood in his native State in teaching and other industrial pursuits, and came to Almer, Mich., September 19, 1856, when the site of Caro was blooming in all the magnificence of its primal forest beauty. When he arrived he bought 120 acres of land, on contract, where the Caro railway depot and postoffice and numerous other buildings now stand. The price was $300, and he paid $14 down. He built the first frame house in Caro, where the postoffice now is. It has been destroyed by fire. The first log house within the corporation was built by Mr. S. P. Sherman. Later Mr. L. sold the Caro estate, and in March, 1858, he and the family returned to York State, and were on the ill-fated train which went off the embankment near Dundas, Onatario. The entire train except the sleeping car was plunged down the embankment a distance of seventy-two feet. Several persons were killed and others wounded, but Mr. L. and family escaped unhurt. Six months later they returned to Tuscola County, and he spent some time in surveying and locating lands; and in March, 1861, he bought land and settled in section 35 in Almer, and at once engaged in preparing the pleasant home which they now enjoy. He was married to Miss Emily A. Briggs, of Dayton, N. Y., April 3, 1842. She was born in Middlesex, N. Y., October 28, 1823. They have one son, Warren Wellington. Mr. Leonard was the first male school teacher in Almer, and still teaches. He has been school director and moderator, school inspector and township superintendent of schools. He has been township clerk thirteen years. He has 100 acres of land, with about fifty-five under cultivation, and a thriving orchard of 100 trees. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and believes in the supremacy of the Grand Architect of the Universe and in the equality and common brotherhood of man. In 1861, when he was deputy United States marshal for taking the census, he one day left home on foot for Vassar, and while there he bought fifty-two pounds of nails, one bolt of sheeting, nine yards of bed-ticking, one codfish, one pound of tobacco, and one pound of tea – in all some sixty-eight pounds. He left Vassar at 4 ½ P. M. and carried the whole on his back sixteen miles to his home. He arrived at 1:30 in the morning, but was one hour going the last half mile. The son, W. W. Leonard, was born in Dayton, N. Y., November 15 845. He was married November 7, 1867, to Miss Laura A. Craw, of Caro. She was born September 17, 1848. They have one son, Warren Nelson, born March 30, 1869.
GEORGE MARSAW, farmer, was born in Hammond, N. Y., July 9, 1843. He lost his father in 1852, and the family removed to Alexandria, N. Y., and remained some years. In March, 1865, Mr. Marsaw bought eighty acres of land in section 25 in Almer, Mich., and in the spring of 867 he settled there and began preparing the pleasant home where he still resides. He was married to Miss Mary E. Vroman, of Tuscola, October 1, 1867. She was born in Morristown, N.Y., April 14, 1844. Their children are Nancy May (now deceased), George and Simeon Wallace. Mr. Marsaw has 160 acres of land, with eight-seven acres under cultivation, a fruit bearing orchard and inviting home conveniences. They are members of the Methodist Protestant Church in the Cass River circuit.
MYRON DAVID ORR, farmer and doctor of medicine, was born in Leroy, N. Y., February 8, 1831. He was bereaved of his mother in infancy, and spent his first eight years with Mr. J. Johnson. From that time he lived with Mr. A. B. Lewis until he attained his majority, his time being spent in school teaching, farming and mercantile work. He next engaged in reading medicine with Mr. William A. Ware, graduated at Albana College of Medicine, and came to Michigan and commenced medical practice in Flint Genesee County, in June, 1854, with Drs. Axford and Lamond. In September following he went to Tuscola and practiced with Dr. Johnson for a short time, but was taken sick and returned to Genesee County. Afterward he returned and spent nearly ten years in Watrousville and Tuscola in medical practice. He was married to Miss Elizabeth L. Hurd, of Portageville, N. Y., June 4, 1853. She was born in Pike, N. Y., October 3, 1836. Their children are Lyman A., Herbert C., Fred H. and Sadie Clara. In 1864 they bought lands and settled in section 25 in Almer, where they still reside. They have seventy acres, with about sixty under cultivation; also an excellent orchard of apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, gooseberries and currants. He has served as school inspector and justice of the peace in Tuscola. In Almer he has been nine years superintendent of the poor and judge of probate eight years, and for several years health officer also. He is Masonic in fraternity, and in politics a Republican, but approves of free trade.
JOSEPH W. MCCREA, farmer, was born in Lansdown, Canada, June 22, 1829. He left home in 1848. Went first to Sackett’s Harbor, shipped on board a vessel and sailed for Chicago by was of the upper lakes. He then followed the lakes four years, and became thoroughly acquainted with lake and river navigation from Ogdensburg to Chicago. He now changed his employment and learned shipsmithing, edge tools and mill work in Oswego, N.Y., spending three years and four months in learning the profession. He was now called home to visit a sick mother, and found it necessary to remain to give attention to the interests of a farm property which he owned in that place. He sold his Lansdown property in 1860, and came to Almer, Mich. He bought lands in section 11, and at once commenced agricultural improvements. He was married to Miss Caroline Pattison, of Almer, June 24, 1860, and came to Almer, Mich. He bought lands in section 11, and at once commenced agricultural improvements. He was married to Miss Caroline Pattison, of Almer, June 24, 1860. They had two children, Ella Adelaide and John William. Mrs. McCrea died November 17, 1863. He was married again May 6, 1866, to Mrs. Eliz Berryman of Ellington. They have had three sons, Benjamin A., Alvin H. and Charles, who is now deceased. Mr. McCrea now has eighty acres of land in section 13, with an improvement of sixty-five acres and an orchard of 300 trees and excellent home surroundings. He has chopped 406 acres of fallow, made timbers for fifteen barns and two churches, and with a helper has cut over 4,000,000 feet of saw logs. He has been school director six years, moderator three years, and inspector two years; and, except one year, justice of the peace seventeen years consecutively. He made the first hewed oak timber shipped from Centerville to Quebec, and Quebec oak. One stick was fifty-seven feet long and three feet square in the center.
HENRY D. HAMILTON, farmer, was born in Randolph, N. Y., February 4, 1833. He came with his parents to Fenton Mich., in 1837. He resided there some fifteen years and received there his education and early culture. From there he moved first to Flint and then to Genesee, and thence in 1849, he went to Vassar, and in the fall of 1853, he settled on section 23 in Almer, where he had already bought eighty acres of land, and made some improvements. On June 5, 1854, he was married to Miss Julia Callan, of Almer. She was born in Ireland, May 2, 1834. They have had eight children, Henry C., Amelia E. (now Mrs. D. A. Marsaw), Oren D., Eva M., Oscar A. (now deceased) Amanda A., Olin O. and Nellie Marie, all born on the home farm. Mrs. Hamilton came fro he natice country to New York when about fifteen years of age, and over four years later came with her parents (now deceased) , to section 24, in Almer, before it had yet been named. For a road the settlers then had to use the Indian trail. There were only two dwellings north of them; one house and one shanty. When Mr. Hamilton first came to Vassar he could not hear of any white settler between
there and Saginaw Bay, north. Caro was then a green pine forest. After settling on his place, he worked on it in summer and lumbered in winter, for eighteen seasons, and in the meantime has added eighty acres more to his farm lands. Thus by hard labor, steady perseverance and thorough pioneer effort, he has seen the forest change to fruitful fields, and the log hamlet, 10x15 feet outside, has given way to an elegant dwelling and commodious farm buildings, and they also have almost five acres of thriving fruit bearing orchard. The sons all work together in the work of the home farm, and sometimes engage in lumbering or any industrial enterprise by which to increase their future convenience and welfare. The son-in-law, Daniel A. Marsaw, also a farmer, was born in Hammond, N. Y., September 3, 1848. He came to Tuscola County, when about fourteen years of age, and engaged in farm work and lumbering with good success. In 1865 he bought lands in section 24, in Almer, where he now resides. He was married to Miss Amelia E. Hamilton, of Almer, January 10, 1875. They have one daughter, Maud M. Mr. M. has eighty acres of land with about seventy under cultivation, about two acres of thriving orchard and a most attractive home. He now devotes his time exclusively to agriculture, and last year had fifty bushels of wheat to the acre.
HORACE N. Montague, farmer and lumberman, was born in Westminster, Canada, October 22, 1824. He spent his youth and early manhood in the country of his birth, employed chiefly in agriculture. He was married August 7, 1845, to Miss Jane Smith, of Canada. They had five children, Charles, Mary Jane, Alexander, Horace N. and Maria Abigail. Mrs. Jane Montague, died July 3, 1866. Mr. Montague was married to Mrs. Eliza J. Utter, of Caro, August 7, 1869. She was born in Onondaga County, N. Y., August 13, 1825. They have one daughter, Ida. Mrs. E. J. Montague’s children by her former husband were Charles >, Edmond H., Emma R., Frank S., Flora M. and Willie E. Utter. Mr. Montague came with his family to Port Huron, Mich., in the spring of 1856; went two years after this to Macomb County, and remained some four years of more, and then came to Tuscola County. In October, 1863, he opened a blacksmith shop on land he had bought and built on in Centerville (now Caro), when there were only five or six houses in the place. He continued the blacksmith work four years, part of each season, working some at farm work in summers. During this time he bought eighty acres of land in Almer, north of Caro. Later he sold this and bought property in Indian Fields, and sold his first village property in Caro, but bought and built on another lot. Still later he sold all his estates there and settled in Wayne County. Nearly three years later he removed to Wells, and after residing there about six years, settled in section 16, in Almer, where they 640 acres of excellent land, 200 of which are already under cultivation. Mr. Montague himself turned the first furrow on the new place five years ago last August, and now on the whole 200 acres of improvement there are not 200 stumps. The soil is mostly a clay loam, and last year he had some thirty-five bushels of wheat to the acre. When he first came to Centerville or Caro, from Macomb County, twenty years ago last April, there was no direct road by which to come. He had to go first to Forestville (now Otisville)thence to Pine Run, from there to Pine Grove, thence by Tuscola Village to Vassar, and from there by Watrousville to Centerville. In returning, he and his brother went on horseback from Centerville to Macomb County, directly through the dense wilderness in two days. In bringing in the family he attempted to bring them by a newly cut road from Otisville to Vassar, saving a distance of some twenty miles. He mired his horses in the night; had to make a fire to see them, laid down poles and pried out one horse and with him drew the other out of the mud, and finally, though with great difficulty, reached his destination at Caro. When he landed, he and his sons only had $10 left but by frugality and persistent industry they have come to possess real and personal estate worth not less than $350,000. When Mrs. E. J. Utter, now Mrs. Montague, lived in Fair Grove there was there a family of eleven children whose father had been killed by a falling tree. The eldest boy, seventeen years of age, could not procure sufficient food to keep the rest from suffering. At one time they subsisted for two weeks on boiled oats, and at different times lived two or three days on birch bark. Once when Mr. Utter called there and showed the little sufferers some fried cakes, which he had with him for his own lunch, they darted to him with an intense desire for relief, and ate all he had with him. Two or three of them died at almost one time, and seemed to die for want of food and other comforts.
JOBE H. WHIPPLE, farmer, was born in Ohio, July 8, 1849. He came with his parents to Tuscola County, Mich., when he was fourteen years of age, and engaged in farm work, and also in trapping and hunting. He was married June 2, 1873, to Miss Estelle Cooley of Almer. She was born in Almer, September 11, 1857. Their children are Leroy, Mirl and Delbert. They have eighty acres of land in section 22, in Almer, with thirty-five already improved, and are preparing them a most desirable home. In hunting and trapping he has killed deer and bears, wild cats, otters and minks, but has not kept and account of the exact numbers. On one occasion a huge bear came pressing against their door, and when it was opened came partly in, but then retreated. Two days later he returned. Mr. W. shot at and wounded him; followed and shot him again breaking his jaw; yet old bruin encountered him before he had re-loaded his gun. Mr. W. however, finally overcame and killed him, and he was estimated to weigh about 400 pounds.
LEONARD VAN GUILDER, farmer, was born in Cayuga County, N.Y., September 26, 1830. He spent his youth in his native State, and came to Tuscola Count in October, 1857. He came with his team to Buffalo, and shipped his team and goods for Detroit and thence onward. He drove through from Saginaw to Tuscola village, thence to Vassar, and from there to Almer, but was two full days in getting through to his destination. He bought eighty acres of land in section 15 and at once began preparing a home in the forest. He helped to cut out the first road through where Caro now stands. The neighbors made a bee to open the road toward Mr. Heartt’s mill. They proved to be nine in number, and opened at that time about four miles of road. Mr. Van Guilder was married to Miss Sarah Bentley, of Allegany County, N. Y., May 12, 1853. They had one daughter, Harriet A. Mrs. V. died in 1872. His second marriage was to Miss Olive Grace, of Farmington, July 30, 1875. They have two sons, Leonard D. and Frank. They have forty acres of land, over thirty of which are under cultivation. Mr. V. has formerly been intensely afflicted, and last season had to go to the hospital and undergo two painful surgical operations, but is now quite improved, and is fitting up their home in a most tasteful and inviting manner. His mother, Mrs. Waty Van Guilder, was born in Onondaga County, N. Y., February 22, 1806. She and her husband, Elisha Van Guilder, first visited this State about eighteen years ago. He became ill and died in Caro August 8, 1867. She returned to York State for a time, but she now resides with her son, Leonard; and though aged is cheerful, and finds happiness in seeing other happy, but chiefly in hope of endless happiness in blissful future immortality. She has been for many years an acceptable member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
ELISHA P. RANDALL, farmer, was born in Brookfield, N. Y., October 15, 1820. When about ten yars of age he went with his
parents to Cattaraugus County and resided there until in October, 1857, he came to Almer, Mich. Several years of his life were devoted to carpenter and joiner work, but of late he has engaged mostly in agriculture. He was married November 4, 1851, to Miss Lucy A. Parsell, of Dayton, N. Y. She was born in Dayton September 1, 1828. They have had ten children, John, Ellen (now deceased), George (also deceased), Layfayette (also dead), Clara, Ernest, Lottie, Herman, James and Alice. On August 13, 1864, he enlisted in the Twenty-ninth Michigan Infantry, Company A, and served in the suppression of the late rebellion until honorably discharged September 6, 1865. When the Vassar and Forestville State road was laid along the line of the Cass River through Almer and Indian Fields some settlers opposed its direction, but Mr. Randall and some eight others united together and spent some eight or nine days each, and opened it from the Almer cemetery to the Dickinson gulf. When they came to the gulf Mr. C. R. Selden first tried the new road with a load of supplies for the northeast, and was escorted by the parties through the newly made road, which is now State Street in our county town. A village where Caro now is had not then been even proposed. A village of Richland was proposed and platted in those days farther up the river, but was afterward given up in the interest of the Caro plat. The nearest railway in those pioneer days was one from Detroit to Holly. When Mr. Randall first came to Almer he drove a team of young oxen thirty-six miles to Buffalo, sent them by boat to East Saginaw, and he drew their goods and supplies with them from there to Almer, sometimes going on road lines, sometimes on lumber roads, and sometimes on other trails; thus at last reaching their forest home. Their present home farm of eighty acres is in section 10. They have nearly forty improved, rendering them a pleasant situation. Mr. Randall’s grandfather, Jonas Randall, was one of the Green Mountain Boys in war of the Revolutions, and accompanied General Washington when he captured the 10,000 Hessians at the battle of Trenton, December 26, 1776, and he afterward received a pension for his services in that war.
JOHN T. KANE, farmer and keeper of the county-house, Tuscola County, was born in Harford County, Maryland, October 6, 1842. He went with his parents to Ohio in his boyhood and remained there until 1863, when he visited Michigan, but soon returned, ad in August, 1864, he enlisted in the Twenty-third Ohio Infantry to serve his country, and bore his part nobly in the suppression of the rebellion, taking part in the battles of Summit Point, Opequan Creek, Fisher’s Hill and Cedar Creek, and he witnessed General Sheridan’s famous ride from Winchester, and shared in the charge that won the victory of that memorable day. He was married to Miss Emily A. Kelly, of Plymouth, Mich., September 18, 1878. She was born in Webster, Mich., March 22, 1838. After the age of ten years she resided in Wayne County until January, 1879, when they came and settled in section 26 in Almer, where they have a beautiful farm home. They have had their present charge two years, and have between twenty and thirty persons now in care, whose personal comfort seems to be subserved with the utmost diligence and carefulness. Fraternally Mr. Kane is an Odd Fellow, and also a Free and Accepted Mason, and delights in the promulgation of faith, hope and charity, brotherly love, relief and truth.
DAVID JUNE, farmer, born in Lyons, Wayne County, N. Y., September 26, 1829, was reared in Farmington, Oakland County, Mich. He came to Almer, then a part of Indian Fields, August 29, 1853. He had been married to Miss Elizabeth Delling, of Southfield, Oakland County, Mich., January 6, 1852. She was born in Lyons, N. Y., February 13, 1828. Her parents came to Michigan when she was about eighteen months old, but are now both deceased. Mr. and Mrs. June have one adopted daughter, Edna, now Mrs. Eugene Ames. Mr. June’s first improvement on his place was to chop a small piece and hedge it in with the brush of the timbers and to erect a shanty 16X14 feet outside, which they covered with poles and shakes. They brought one load of their goods through from Oakland County with a hired horse team. It was the first horse team that ever passed from Caro to their place. Mr. June then at once set out for East Saginaw with a hired ox team to get their tools, provisions and cooking stove. Mrs. June remained to upack their bedding and arrange their new home. She could get no straw for their beds, and a Miss Dickenson suggested that she might fill them with fine hemlock brush. This she did and they used brush beds until they raised straw on their own place. After retiring on that first night Mrs. June was soon greeted with a doleful howling of wolves near the shanty, which had only a blanket for a door, but the fires at which their food had been cooked kept these natives at a respectful distance. On his return Mr. June made a door from a board which he brought from Vassar in two pieces on the sides of his load of goods. This was the only piece of lumber in the building. The floor they made of basswood puncheons. Their first roof was too flat and the first rain that came drenched them copiously, but a second effort at roofing secured them an effectual shelter. Into this rude dwelling they cheerfully entered as their first forest home. When they brought in their goods they had to follow lumbering trails among the trees from Vassar to where Caro now is. From there they had to underbrush and cut a track, the team waiting at intervals for the track to be opened before them. The first season he cleared ten acres and raised corn on part of it, but his chief crop was wheat. In the second winter after he came he lumbered for Mr. S. P. Sherman, and drew the mammoth pine logs (some of them five feet through), from the forest, then newly broken, which has since became the thriving town of Caro. In those days Mr. June wore one pair of buckskin pants five years. They at last became too short for comfort, and Mrs. June made them into mittens. Once when taking a grist to Vassar his oxen became so entirely exhausted that further advance seemed impossible, but, prompted by oats placed a short distance before them, they took the load by short pulls up the entire hill. Thus before physical strength and pioneer industry the lofty forest has been made to bow, and he now has his farm of eighty acres all under cultivation and grass. He is also engaged in the culture of Poland China hogs and short horn Durham cattle. They have between two and three acres of thriving orchard of the best varieties of apples; also plums, pears, peaches and grapes, a good dwelling and other commodious farm buildings, rendering the estate truly an inviting home. Mr. June has been township supervisor, has served six years as treasurer, and ten or twelve years as justice of the peace.
CHARLES M. DELLING, farmer, was born in Farmington, Oakland County, Mich., April 25, 1833. When about eighteen years of age he came with his uncle, Mr. S. P. Sherman, and pre-empted 160 acres of land in section 27 and 38 in Almer. On February 14, 1858, he arrived with his family and goods to settle on his chosen forest home. He had been married December 1, 1857, to Miss Martha June, also of Oakland County. She was born in Farmington June 13, 1833. They have one living son, Harvey E. Delling. After settling on his place Mr. Delling at once engaged in clearing and improving his lands, and, where then the stately trees of the forest held unrivaled domain, he now has over 100 acres under cultivation, with a large fruit bearing orchard of the best varieties of apples, plums, peaches, pears, quinces, cherries and small fruits. He has a commodious dwelling and other farm buildings. Thus they now enjoy a most desirable home. In the summer of 1879 he raised 1,647 bushels of wheat on about thirty-
six acres of land, and from year to year he and Mrs. Delling are raping rich reward for their heavy toils and pioneer encounters in early days. He also deals largely in graded stock and with good success. He has at different times been elected to office, but has always declined to qualify or serve. They record some hard time and many disadvantages of pioneer days. Once he carried two bushels of seed potatoes from south of Watrousville to his home, a distance of twelve miles, only putting them down twice in the journey; and he has gone fifty miles to mill with oxen to get flour for himself and neighbors. But they say they also had some good times, and times of enjoyment then as well as now; yet they record with pleasure their present conveniences of schools and religious services now immediately near them. Religiously they are Episcopal Methodists and find pleasure in supporting charitable and religious enterprises. The son, Harvey E. Delling, was married October 13, 1880, to Miss Sarah Ann Guilds, of Caro. They have one daughter, Emma, born October 10, 1881.
DEXTER M. MACOMBER,farmer, born in Brighton, Mich., March 10, 1842, left there at seventeen years of age, and spent two years in Farmington. He enlisted in the First Michigan Cavalry September 21, 1861, and served in thirty-two battles under Generals Custer, Kilpatrick and others. On December 21, 1863, he reenlisted in the field as a veteran in the same regiment Among the larger battles in which he fought were those of Gettysburg, Brandy Station, Falling Waters, Yellow Tavern and Cold Harbor. He was at last captured by the rebel general Rosser’s command, at the surrounding of General Custer’s Brigade, June 11, 1864 He was thenceforth held as a prisoner of war until the breaking up of the Confederacy. During the time he was in seven different prisons, among which were Andersonville, Florence, Libby and Millen. He was finally discharged June 7, 1865, but while in those prisons he was seized with scurvy, which became so seated in his system that he has never fully recovered, but still suffers from its virulent effects. He was married February 22, 1866, to Miss Laura J. Stoughton, of Farmington, Mich. She was born at Williamstown, Mich., December 13, 1846. They have four living children, Edith E., Hattie L., Mabel N. and Frank L. They have formerly lived four years in Ovid, but in the fall of 1870 they settled in section 33 in Almer. They have forty-seven acres of land stumped, under drained, and under fine cultivation, with a good dwelling and other buildings and an orchard of apples, pears, plums, quinces and small fruits, making theirs a pleasant and valuable home, yielding rich return for the outlay and labor bestowed upon it. His father, Ezra Macomber, was born in Norton, Mass., February 3, 1802. He came to Livingston County, Mich., in 1833, was one of the first settlers in that place, and remained there twenty-fives years. He was married to Miss Jedidah Fuller December 13, 1827. She was born in Ashfield, Mass., July 12, 1804. Their children are Rosina, Harriet, Almirett and Alpheus, born in Savoy, Mass.; also Carrie, Aurora S., Dexter M., Acastus L. and Ellen M., born in Michigan. From Livingston he went to Oakland County and remained twelve years, and came from there to Almer in October, 1870. In his occupation he has been exclusively a farmer, and continued to labor regularly until he was seventy-seven years of age. His religious choice is the Universalist Church. His home is now with his daughter, Mrs. Charles Mudge.
ROBERT L. BURTON, farmer, was born in Attica, N. Y., March 2, 1821. He spent his youth and received his early culture in his native State, and came to Oakland County, Mich., in May, 1849, and engaged in agriculture. He had been married to Miss Olive Bostick, of Erie County, N. Y., March 2, 1845. She was born in Canada September 11, 1829. They have five living children, Elwin, Mary, Joseph, Josephine and Ida. In 1865 they removed to Genesee County. In 1869 they came to Denmark, and in March, 1870, they settled in section 34 in Almer. They have sixty-three acres of land, most of which is under cultivation. They have an excellent orchard of the best varieties of fruit and a commodious dwelling and other buildings, and hence occupy and enjoy a most desirable situation. Mrs. Burton is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
CHRISTOPHER CALLAN, farmer, was born in County Meath, Ireland, April 20, 1823. He came to New York in 1846, and spent over five years in that State engaged in mercantile work and farm work. He came to Vassar, Mich., November 4, 1852, and settled in what is now Almer, about the fifteenth of that month. He bought eighty acres of land in section 24, and at once commenced preparing a home in the forest, while there were yet no roads in that region except an Indian trail. They had to literally cut their own road for some distance in order to reach their lands. He was married April 1, 1860, to Miss Mary A. White, of Elllington. She was born in Ohio September 19, 1826. They have five children, Christopher W., Ella A., John A., Emma C. and James W. They now have 240 acres of land, 100 of which are under cultivation. They have a flourishing orchard of the best varieties of fruit and other pleasant home surroundings Mr. Callan has worked on his lands in summer, and has lumbered in winters for twenty years; thus by earnest industry and diligent toil he has overcome the disadvantages of pioneer life, and secured the comforts that now surround them.
FREEMAN SMITH, was born in Canada February 5, 1843. He came to Almer, Mich., July 4, 1863, and attended celebration held on Dr. Dickinson’s place. Caro then had only one small store, Mr. E. B. Sherman’s. Mr. Smith chopped eight or ten acres of the lands around where the old grist-mill in Caro now stands, and helped to log the land from the Montague Bank Block to where the court-house now is. When he came first to Almer he came by stage from Holly to Vassar and then had to finish his journey on foot. He spent a winter in Michigan and a summer in Illinois, but then returned, and on February 25, 1864, he enlisted in Company One, Sharpshooters, in the Twenty-seventh Michigan Infantry, and served in the suppression of the rebellion. Early in his term of service he was promoted to the rank of corporal and later to the office of sergeant, in which he served until the close of the war. He fought in the battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylania Court-House and at Petersburgh at the blowing up of the fort, and finally after many other conflicts took part in the siege and capture of Petersburgh at the breaking up of the Confederacy. He bore the colors of the regiment in that memorable hour when the stars and stripes waved the triumph of freedom and union over the regions of slavery and treason. While watching his colors on the breastworks two boys fell near him, and to Colonel Waite who was just coming into the range of the rebel sharpshooters he called out: “Lay down once for my sake, you are too good a man to die’” and as the colonel obeyed a ball came whizzing across where he had stood, but his life was safe fro its power. He frequently served valiantly in front of the skirmish line of his regient to reconnoiter the situation of the rebels and report to the commander. For this and for volunteer service in the night as a vedette in front of his regiment, and among the moans of the wounded and dying, he was granted a special furlough of twenty-five days respite from service, and visited his friends, having one-half his transportation charges borne by the government. He was honorably discharged July 26, 1865. On September 10 following he was married to Miss Rhoda Kile, of Juniata. She was born in Sugar Loaf, Penn., February 13, 1848. They have two children, F. Adell and Nelson E. They have 100 acres of land, with seventy-five improved, and with a fine
orchard, good buildings and other home conveniences. He has been school assessor seven years. His father, James Smith, who was a soldier in the war of 1812, has resided with him seven years, but departed this life in peace, December 10, 1882, aged over ninety-two years.