TUSCOLA COUNTY HISTORY
The town of Elkland was organized by the board of supervisors at a meeting held October 14, 1857, and comprised the territory of townships 13 and 14 north, or range 11 east.
The names of the freeholders of the township to be organized, who signed the petition, are as follows: Hiram Bailey, Alden Bird, H. F. Cooper, A. Walmsley, William Edgar, Hugh Seed, J. W. Saulsbary, William Jacobs, William H. Winton, David Winton, John Bird, A.P. Cooper, Lorenzo Teachout, Burton Himes.
At a special town meeting held at the house of H. F. Cooper, June 23, 1858, Charles W. Smith was chosen moderator, William H. Winton and Andrew Walmsley, inspectors; H. F. Cooper, clerk; and John H. Bird, assistant clerk. The meeting then proceeded to election of town officers. the total number of votes cast was fourteen, and the following was the result of the election;--Supervisor, John H. Bird; clerk, Charles W. Smith; treasurer, Andrew Walmsley; school inspectors, John H. Bird and H. F. Cooper; overseers of the poor, David Winton and William Jacobs; commissioners of highways, Charles W. Smith, S. P. Ramsdell and William H. Winton; justices of the peace, John H. Bird, Hugh Seed, Andrew Walmsley, David Winton; constables, Robert H. Winton, S.P. Ramsdell, Lorenzo Teachout, William Edgar.
Charles W. Smith was chosen overseer of Road District No. 1, and David Winton of District No. 2.
It was voted to divide the town into two road
districts, north and south, through the center of the town, the east half to be
designated as District No. 1, the west half as No. 2.
The sum of $600 was ordered to b e expended on roads designated, and $150 to be raised by tax for township purposes. The treasurer was allowed four per cent on all taxes collected by him.
It was voted that the next annual town meeting be held at the house of Charles W. Smith.
The voters present at this town meeting were William Edgar, William Jacobs, Burton H. Himes, John H. Bird, Andrew Walmsley, David Winton, Robert H. Winton, S. P. Ramsdell, Charles W. Smith, Hugh Seed, Lorenzo Teachout, William H. Winton, H. F. Cooper and A. P. Cooper.
The first recorded meeting of the town board was held December 21, 1858, the only business transacted being the auditing of various bills to the amount of $84.50. At the annual meeting of the board the following March the accounts of Andrew Walmsley, treasurer, were audited as follows: Money received, $260.63; paid out, $250.11; collecting fee, $10.42; receipt from county treasurer for $1,284.53; cash on hand, ten cents. The amount charged to the treasurer was $1, 587.83.
At the annual town meeting for 1859 it was ordered that $100 be raised for opening the State road east of the line of sections 14 and 15, or 10 and 11, to the county line of Sanilac County; also
$100 for a road between sections 27 and 28, and 27 and 22; also $100 for a
road from the southwest corner of 27 to the corner of 5; and $100 for contingent
expenses. The number of voters at this election was fifteen. At the
annual election in 1860 the poll list showed ten voters.
At a meeting of the school inspectors, held at the house of John Anyon, April 16, 1860.
The inspectors of election in 1861 met at the house of Charles W. Smith, but adjourned the town meeting to "the building known as the "County Building" on the southwest quarter of section 34, of township 14 north, range 11 east. the register being missing. and supposed to be stolen, the supervisor, John Anyon, demanded a search warrant which was issued by John H. Bird. Mr. Anyon assisting the constable in the performance of his duty, found the missing record in his own coat pocket. The whole number of votes cast at this election was nineteen. Considerable progress was made in the direction of opening and improving highways, $800 being appropriated for that purpose.
The board of registration, meeting April 5, 1862, was presented with the names of George Katahkeccons, Joseph Katahkecoons and Jacob Wandahbetong, but from the fact that they were Indians who had come into the town simply for the purpose of hunting, and not "civilized" within the meaning of the statute, they were not allowed the privilege of voting. It appears, however, that one Indian, whose name is not given, perhaps from the difficulty of spelling it, did swear in his vote at that election. An appropriation of one-half of the two mill tax was made for town library purposes. The whole number of votes cast at this town meeting was twenty-nine.
In April of this year District No. 3 was organized, comprising the northwest quarter of the town.
At a meetin of the town board September 3, 1862, Hiram Bailey was elected supervisor of the town, and Travis Leach highway commissioner. Mr. Bailey in the following November resigned the office of supervisor.
At the annual town meeting in 1864 it was decided to raise $400 for a volunteer bounty fund, and at a special town meeting held the following September it was voted that "a volunteer bounty fund of $100 a head be raised for all volunteers accredited to the township since January 1, 1864, or that may hereafter be raised or accredited to said township."
The annual town meeting in 1866 adjourned to the schoolhouse in District No. 1, the school-house in District No. 4 having been burned. $200 was appropriated for a bridge at the forks of Cass River.
The town meeting of 1868 appropriated $1,000 for highways and $300 for contingent expenses. The whole number of votes cast at this election was sixty-one.
September 13, 1869, the town boards of Elkland and the newly organized town of Novesta met at Cass City to apportion moneys and credits belonging to Novesta. It was determined that the amount of money due that town was $1,150. The claim of $343 from the two mill tax was left for the decision of the prosecuting attorney.
At a special town election held in August, 1870, it was unanimously voted to issue the bonds of the tow to the amount of $500 for the purchase of a burying ground to be selected by the board of health. Grounds were selected in the northeast quarter of northeast quarter of section 34.
The records of town meetings in 1872 and 1873 appear to be missing.
December 17, 1873, the town board elected Sylvester Ale supervisor, to fill vacancy caused by the resignation of Travis Leach.
In November, 1874, Samuel Miller was appointed town clerk to fill vacancy.
At the annual town meeting in 1875 it was decided to raise no money for highway purposed. Four hundred dollars was appropriated for contingent fund.
In September, 1876, John Randall was by the town board appointed township superintendent of public schools.
In February, 1878, Homer E. Gordon was appointed town clerk to fill vacancy. By treasurer's report for that year there was a balance of $1,058.61 in his hands. The number of votes on the registry list in March, 1878, was one hundred and fifty-five.
In June, 1878, Homer E. Gordon resigning as town clerk, Robert Tennant was appointed to till vacancy.
In May, 1880, Samuel C. Armstrong was appointed town clerk to fill vacancy, caused by the resignation of A. G. Houghton. In June the same year Peter H. Gage was appointed drain commissioner.
November 16, 1880, a special town meeting was held to vote on a proposition to bond the town in the sum of twenty-six hundred dollars for the purpose of building a town hall. There were ninety-five votes cast, sixty-one in favor of the loan, and thirty-four against. At a meeting of the town board held December 11, 1880, the size and character of building was determined on. a building committee, consisting of S. Ale, S. C. Armstrong and J. C. Laing, was appointed, and S. C. Armstrong was directed to get up plans and specifications. Subsequently thirty-eight feet off the west side were offered by J. L. Hitchcock as a site for the hall, and were accepted by the board. In due time the building was completed, a substantial brick, 80 X 30 feet, and two stories in height. The first floor is used as a hall and offices for town purposes, and furnishes a convenient hall for public meetings and entertainments. The second floor is occupied by the Cass City Enterprise and the Odd Fellows Hall.
Up to the year 1860 the town of Elkland lacked the facilities of a U.S. Mail. Mail had been brought by private individuals from time to time form Watrousville and Wahjamega. In that year a weekly mail was established from East Saginaw, by way of Watrousville and Wahjamega, thence up the river and to Forestville, mail being carried sometimes on horseback, sometimes on foot. A postoffice was established at John Winton's.Mr. Winton being appointed postmaster. In 1868 the village of Cass City was platted, and the following year the postoffice was removed to Cass City, and John C. Laing appointed postmaster, holding the office until 1874. The incumbents of the office since then have been Warren Weydemeyer, Dr. Deming, H. E. Gordon, and again Warren Weydemeyer, the present postmaster.
At one time during the county seat controversy a point in the town of Elkland, between the site of Cass City and the river, was designated by the county board of supervisors as the county seat and given the name of Moonshine." The exact object and significance of this act is somewhat uncertain. It probably was not a bona fide designation. A log building for county purposes was however, commenced, and the body of it completed, but the roof not put on.
The fire of 1871 was, as compared with that of ten years later, but little disastrous to the town of Elkland. The conditions were less favorable to a great conflagration;; there was less down timber and dry and combustible material. And there was less of property to be destroyed. A number of families were, however, burned our,
and considerable suffering would have resulted but for the prompt and humane relief accorded by neighbors and by other parts of the county. This fire was, however, a preparative for the subsequent one, leaving, as it did, so much dead and fallen timber as food for the flames.
THE GREAT FIRE OF 1881..
This terribly ruinous conflagration, which laid parts of Huron, Sanilac and Tuscola Counties in ruins, was described at the time from the standpoint of Cass city, as follows: "Ten years ago a conflagration swept through this region, leaving in its wake a charred and blackened country; but with all its hideous horrors it was not so destructive of property and life as the fire of this week, for the very good reason that there was not so much to destroy.
"It is utterly impossible at this time to form any intelligent estimate of the amount of damage done. In the sacrifice of human life it is simply overwhelming. From all directions reports of the finding of the blistered and charred remains of men women and little children continue to come in, until it is thought that within the burned district no less than three hundred lives have been destroyed. The thought of the untold sufferings accompanying these deaths from burning, suffocation and starvation is too awful to think of. No mind can conceive, nor pen portray one-tenth of the sickening sights presented to the eye in traversing the desert of destruction, and looking upon the realm of the dead. Mothers were found cold in the embrace of death, with their little children clasped in their blistered and blackened arms, bearing eloquent testimony to the genuineness of their parental fidelity and the almost superhuman efforts which they made to save from the jaws of death those who were dearer to them than life. Well authenticated stories are told of the devoted heroism of the husband in his utter abandonment of self and the sacrifice of his own life to save that of his wife, who may truthfully write over his grave, "He died for me."
"For two weeks past the fires have been burning with more of less fury, but not until last Sunday, September 4th, was the real danger apprehended. It was then that the winds began to fan the smoldering embers into hot and hissing flames, and by daylight Monday morning thirty townships were enveloped in fire. All day Monday and Tuesday the fiend was bravely fought by both men and women, who labored without food or sleep to save their little homes from ruin. But it was a struggle against fearful odds, and utterly in vain; and one by one they were driven off. Many fell exhausted by the way or, overtaken by the rapidly advancing monster, were consumed with hardly a moment's warning.
"During Sunday and the two following days the excitement in Cass City was terrible. During every moment of that time we were in imminent danger. It is only because of our abundant water supply, and the most heroic and persistent efforts of the part of our citizens that our name is not added to the long list of the consumed. The fire approached with unaccountable rapidity from the south and west, and it seemed again and again as if no human power could beat back the great roaring, hissing mountains of flame. But undaunted the brave men fought on, hour after hour, without food or sleep, and to look back over those three days of struggle, it indeed seems more like a dream than reality. Finally, however, hard work "won the day, and Wednesday morning the danger was past.
"Richard Meredith was brought in Tuesday night horrible burned, having been found by the side of the road near Mrs. Laplee's on the State road, where he lay for twenty-four hours. Over forty persons are reported burned in the single town of Paris. Huron County. In Argyle twelve or fifteen were burned. In the vicinity of Port Hope twenty-four lives were lost, principally from the township of Bloomfield.
"In Austin the wife of Morris Welch and three children were lost. Ira Humphrey, mail carrier between Marlette and Bad Axe, perished sixteen miles this side of Marlette, the buggy and mail being consumed, the horse only escaping.
"A pathetic story is told of a poor man in Sanilac, who fought fire until one of his arms was nearly burned off, returned to his home where his two little children were nearly suffocated, and realizing that he could not save them both, had to choose which one to carry off with the arm he had left. He hesitated in bewilderment for a moment, and then as the hot flames were already blistering him, picked up the older child and escaped, while the younger was burned to a crisp.
The following is a list of losses in the town of Elkland: T. E. Morse, everything; J. L. Hitchcock, two barns and house; George Hawkins, house and barn; John Little, house and barn; S. M. Woods, cooper-shop; H. Y. Depew, brick kiln and house; Edmund Brotherton, house and barn; William Withey, house and barn; Andrew Seegar, house and barn; Edgar Davis, barn; Elder Deming, house and barn; Clark Travers, house and barn; Seth Myers, house and barn; John Eno, house and barn; William Wyers, house and barn; Donald Kennedy, house and barn; H. C. Downing house; E. R. Hunt, barn; S. Strickland, T. Strickland, J. Bradshaw, George Kolb, Fred Burk, J. E. Wright, I. Striffler and George Houghton, everything; P. Carr, H. Ball, G. Gray and Ella Jacobs, Losses from $300 to $500; Daniel McClorey, wagon and hay; C. W. Lynds, house and barn; William Russell, barn.
The organized, systematic relief which came so spontaneously from the whole country largely prevented here, as in other towns of the county and adjoining counties, the suffering which would naturally result. and for the thrifty, enterprising, hard-working farmer but a short time was required to recover from the blow, and soon the last traces of the great disaster will disappear, and the blackened stumps which stand here and there as reminders of the fire will give place to cultivated fields.
Census of 1860: Population, 51; families, 13; dwellings, 12; number of occupied farms, 9; number of acres improved, 228; number of horses, 2; number of cows, 12; bushels of wheat, 158; bushels of corn, 416; bushels of oats, 170; bushels of potatoes, 551; pounds of butter, 1,125; tons of hay, 19.
Census of 1864: Population, 124; number of acres of taxable land, 2,880; number of acres improved, 201; bushels of corn, 274; bushels of wheat, 671; bushels of potatoes, 705; tons of hay, 80; pounds of butter made, 1,557.
Census of 1870: Population, 511; families, 108; dwellings, 108; farms, 51; voters, 99; pounds of wool sheared, 64; pounds of butter made, 8,050; bushels of wheat raised, 6366; bushels of corn raised, 1,762; bushels of oats raised, 8,401; bushels of potatoes raised, 3,626.
Census of 1874: Population, 726; number of horses, 114; number of cows, 203; bushels of wheat raised, 10,312; bushels of corn raised, 5,155; bushels of apples, 553; bushels of potatoes , 5,815; tons of hay cut, 716.
Population in 1880, 1,250. In 1882 the number of acres assessed was 21,253; total equalized valuation of real and personal property, $370,201.
|1883||George S. Farrar||H. S. Wickware||J. W. Adamson||Edwin Doying|
|1882||George S. Farrar||H. S. Wickware||J. W. Adamson||George Tennant|
|1881||Sylvester Ale||H. S. Wickware||John C. Laing||T. E Morse|
|1880||Sylvester Ale||A. G. Houghton||John C. Laing||W. T. Schenck|
|1879||William Medcalf||W. H. Winton||Sylvester Ale||George Farrar|
|1878||Sylvester Ale||H. E Gordon||john C. Laing||George Petershaus|
|1877||Sylvester Ale||Henry C. Hills||John C. Laing||George Farrar|
|1876||P. R. Weydemeyer||Henry C. Hills||John C. Laing||George Tennant|
|1875||Sylvester Ale||Henry C. Hills||John C. Laing||George Tennant|
|1874||Sylvester Ale||S. C. Armstrong||John C. Laing||James Doying|
|1873||Travis Leach||L. A. DeWitt||John C. Laing|
|1872||Travis Leach||L. A. DeWitt||John C. Laing|
|1871||Travis Leach||L. A. DeWitt||John C. Laing||Franz Karr|
|1870||Travis Leach||Joel D. Withey||John Striffler||George B. Hunt
Joel D. Withey
|1869||Nathaniel Clark||Levi S. Alwood||John Striffler||Levi S. Atwood
W. H. Winton
|1868||Travis Leach||R. H. Warner||John Striffler||Franz Karr|
|1867||Travis Leach||W. Houghton||George A. Kolb||T. McQuilling|
|1865||John Anyon||Levvi S. Alwood||A. Walmsley||George A. Kolb|
|1864||John Anyon||Levi S. Alwood||A. Walmsley||William Edgar|
|1863||Hiram Bailey||Levi S. Alwood||A. Walmsley||Levi S. Alwood
L. P. Ramsdell
|1862||W. A. Winton||John Anyon||A. Walmsley||Eli Baxter|
|1861||John Anyon||John Striffler||A. Walmsley||George Muntz
|1860||John Anyon||John Anyon||C. W. Smith||John Striffler
Robert H. Winton
|1859||John H. Bird||C. W. Smith||A. Walmsley||William Edgar|
|1858||John H. Bird||C. W. Smith||A. Walmsley||Charles W. Smith
S. P. Ramsdell
W. H. Winton
From the report of the school inspector of Elkland for the year ending September 4, 1882, the following facts are obtained: Directors for the ensuing year, George Predmore, A. E. Boulton, James Gage, Andrew Walmsley, P. R. Weydemeyer, Amos Bradshaw. There were five whole and one fractional districts, and six schoolhouses, one having been burned in September, 1881, Number of children of school age, 439; number that attended school during the year, 373.
The schools of Cass City occupy two buildings, and are under the superintendence of Professor Beach. They are in a prosperous condition, and are keeping pace with the progress of the village. Up to the present time they have remained under district organizaiton.