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     Township 14 north, of range 9 east, was organized by the board of supervisors at a meeting held December 31, 1855, and designated by the name of Columbia.  The first township meeting was held at the house of David Clark on section 18.  The inspectors of election were Wesley Hess, Andrew Marshall and Horace Marvin.  This township had formerly belonged to Indian Fields.  It belongs to the north tier of townships and is bounded on the north by Huron County, east by Elmwood, south by Almer and Akron and west by Akron.

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     Its boundaries were slightly changed in 1879 by the annexation to its territory of sections 36 of Geneva and 1 of Akron, which included the site of Unionville.
     Owing to the absence of the town records from 1856 to 1866, inclusive, the proceedings to town meetings and of town boards during those years cannot be given.   It is known, however, that at the first town meeting there were thirteen voters present and fourteen offices to be filled.  Allen Brewer was chosen supervisor; H.C. Marvin, treasurer; Almon Achenbach, clerk.
     At the annual town meeting of 1883 the number of votes cast was 270.


The following entries of land were made prior to 1860:


SECTION 1        Martin W. Cramer, November 10, 1852
                            Charles E. Fonda, September 21, 1853
                            Charles E. Fonda, October 18, 1853
                            Michael F. Wurster, December 6, 1853
                            Levi Rumpel, March 20, 1854
                            Edward Van Demark, May 3, 1854
                            Levi Bluer, May 3, 1854
                            Leonard W. Kile, October 23, 1854
                            Samuel B. Covey, April 23, 1855


SECTION 36    Wa-ba-ta-wance, March 27, 1840
                            Christian Krepp, July 20, 1852
                            Waterman Burlingham, November 10, 1852
                            Horace C. Marvin, October 14, 1854
                            Robert Kile, October 23, 1854
                            Richard Goodwin, March 2, 1855
                            Asa Butricks, July 11, 1856


SECTION 3        Philip Krickbaum, May 30, 1855
                            Philo Harvey, October 3, 1855

SECTION 4        Allen Brewer, April, 1855
                            Philip Krickbaum May 30, 1855
                            Philo Harvey, October 3, 1855

SECTION 5        Jacob Theobald, August 26, 1853
                            John Mast, August 26, 1853
                            Mathias Bizer, December 2, 1853
                            Samuel B. Covey, April 18, 1853
                            Mathias Bizer, June 12, 1853

SECTION 6        John Van Demark, May 3, 1853
                            Mac-ca-koosh, October 10, 1842
                            Wa-ba-ta-wance, October 10, 1842

SECTION 7        Daniel D. Dewey, August 26, 1854
                            Daniel Marvin, August 26, 1854
                            John Dunnovin, November 8, 1854

SECTION 8        Daniel D. Dewey August 26, 1854
                            Daniel Marvin, June 5, 1855
                            John Covey, February 17, 1856
                            Abraham H. Farver, October 13, 1856

SECTION 9        Michael Culligan, October 27, 1856
                            James McDonnell, November 6, 1856

SECTION 10    John McDonall, November 1, 1856
                         James McDonnell, November 6, 1856

SECTION 17    Daniel Marvin, June 5, 1855
                          Abner S. Lamond, January 24, 1857

SECTION 18    David Clark, February 26, 1855
                          David Clark, March 2, 1855
                          Hosea A. Waldo, June 20, 1855
                          William Y. Phillips, October 16, 1855
                          John Woods, March 6, 1856
                         John Woods, March 19, 1856

SECTION 19    Almon Achenbach, December 20, 1854
                          Jacob Gould, April 17, 1855
                          Aaron Hagenbach, June 14, 1855

SECTION 20    Frederick Farver, may 30, 1855
                          John Staley, May 30, 1855
                          Jacob Hill, June 14, 1855
                          John Shawll, October 13, 1855

SECTION 21    Joseph Colling, June 5, 1854
                          Horace C. Hutchins, December 5, 1854
                          William Bird, April 17, 1856
                          Charles Conner, April 29, 1856

SECTION 22    Joseph Colling, June 5, 1854
                          William Abke, November 24, 1858
                          William Abke, March 23, 1859

SECTION 23    Joseph Colling, June 5, 1854
                          Hermon Camp, August 4, 1856
                          William Abke, November 24, 1858

SECTION 25    Edward W. White, November 22, 1856

SECTION 26    Henry H. Loomis, October 19, 1855
                          Hermon Camp, August 4, 1856
                          Duane Gillmore, October 16, 1856
                          John Kelley, March 8, 1858
                          William Hubbell, June 2, 1858
                          James H. Cumings, June 2, 1858

SECTION 27    Thomas Colling, June 5, 1854
                          John Cleaver, June 5, 1854

SECTION 28    Thomas Colling, June 5, 1854
                          John cleaver, June 5, 1854
                          Henry E. Gidley, November 4, 1854
                          Raymond P. Case, November 15, 1854

SECTION 29     Alinas Cole, October 26, 1854
                            Jackson Gifford, November 16, 1854
                            Jacob Hill, June 14, 1855
                            William S. Albertson, September 29, 1855
                            William King, August 15, 1856

SECTION 30    Almon Achenbach, December 20, 1854
                          Wesley Hess, April 26, 1855
                          Joseph King, June 5, 1855
                          Aaron Hagenbach, June 14, 1855

SECTION 31    Wesley Hess, July 14, 1854
                          Daniel Marvin, August 26, 1854
                          Benjamin G. Allegen, October 14, 1854

SECTION 32     Matthew Tuman, September 7, 1854
                            Ira Greenfield, October 11, 1854
                            Alson Greenfield, October 11, 1854
                            Silvester Smith, April 17, 1855

SECTION 33    Willard Greenaus, June 10, 1854
                          James Cleaver, November 6, 1854
                          Thomas Jackson, November 6, 1854
                          James Cleaver, July 26, 1855

SECTION 34    John Coverdale, November 6, 1854
                          James Cleaves, November 6, 1854
                          Thomas Jackson, November 6, 1854

SECTION 35    Samuel Tedford, November 19, 1855
                          Charles Mallory, November 19, 1855
                          Hermon Camp, August 4, 1856
                          Ceylon M. Kelly, December 30, 1857
                          Nathan J. Kelly, January 2, 1858

SECTION 36    Edward W. White, November 22, 1856
                          Nathan J. Kelly, January 22, 1858

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     The first settlement of Columbia was made in 1854 by H. C. Marvin and Andrew Marshall.  The northern part of the county was then all new; no roads were laid out, but a little underbrush had been cut, and the settlers picked their way slowly through brush and over logs.  The nearest postoffice was at Vassar, where also was the nearest grist-mill.  Sometimes they went to Saginaw City to mill, but oftener to Vassar, traveling frequently nearly all night.  When short of flour they often ground corn through the coffee-mill, taking turns at it, and grinding all the evening.  Old boot legs they saved to half sole boots with, doing their own cobbling.  The nearest railroad was at Pontiac.  Traveling was done chiefly on foot.  A great many Indians were camped in different parts of the county.

    Mr. Marvin, in speaking of early times says: "In 1854 I came from Ohio to Michigan.  After we left Farrandville, there was no public conveyance, and I walked from Farrandville to King Allen's three miles above Watrousville, in one day.  The next week in company with King Allen and andrew Marshall I went to Sebewaing.  We spent the night with one of the old settlers, Frederick Schelling, and the next day started back.  Coming to an Indian sugar-camp after we had traveled some eight miles, we rested, bought some of their sugar, and took a good view of the Indians, their way of living, etc.  We then started to go throught the woods south so as to strike the Allen neighborhood.  We followed section lines part of the way, Mr. Allen leading until nearly sundown; then, as he was tired and wished me to, I took the lead, through a large cedar swamp covered with water.  I was unacquainted with the country, but watched the sun closely, and after it became dark took the fixed star for my guide, and also felt the moss which always grows on the north side of trees.  My companions felt certain that we were on the wrong course, and would have to lie in the woods all night.  After traveling a considerable distance further we came to a chopping.  Mr. Allen did not know where we were, but approaching a house that stood in the little clearing he knocked at the door, which was opened by one of his neighbors, Mr. John Kelsey.  We had reached the desired destination of our journey.

     "My first building in Columbia was made of hewn timber in the form of a block-house 22x32 feet in size.  I did the work, assisted by Andrew Marshall.  The shingles were made from sapling pine in the winter by throwing the blocks on the fire in our shingle shanty to draw out the frost.  We made them up, sap and all, and they still remain on the roof of  apart of what is now called the Shellito House.  What lumber I used for floors, doors, etc., was hauled through the woods from Watrousville and Wahjamega, costing me $25 per thousand feet.  In the spring I cleared all the land I could, working early and late, planting corn and potatoes as late as June 16th, and sowing oats ten days later.  My drops were good.  I cut and sold prairie hay at $4 per ton.  Oats sold for 5 cents a bundle.  I often walked to Vassar,, Flint or Saginaw.  Have walked to Vassar between noon and dark and to Saginaw in less than a day, by way of Watrousville Junction.  I came into this wilderness because I thought the country was good, and I have not been disappointed.  The soil is rich, the climate healthful, and the rising generation will find desirable homes made so by the toil of the fathers."

     The first school in Columbia was taught in the winter of 1858-59' by Mrs. Fonda.  The school was taught in the first schoolhouse built in the town, and was located on section 6.

     The first sermon preached in the town was by Rev. Mr. Klumph at the house of Samuel B. Covey, in the fall of 1855.

     The postoffice of Columbia was established about 1877, and Ruolph Nemode was postmaster.  Present incumbent, N. B. White.  At an early day the settlers in Columbia received their mail at the Akron postoffice, which is now Unionville.

     Among the early settlers were Isaac Santee, R. P. Case, W. S. Albertson, David Clark, Allen Brewer, W. J. Davis, E. Staley, Wesley Hess, Almon Altenbach, John and Mathias Bitzer.


     Although the settlement of this section dates back about thirty years, the farming era commenced some years later.  It is a well known fact that Cass River cork pine was a valuable commodity for years, and lumbering was carried on on a scale that gave employment to hundreds of sinewy men and sustenance to their families.  Settlers found lumbering paid better than farming, and so for years agricultural development was a thing that obtained no lodgment in the minds of the pioneer toilers.  The almighty dollar was the incentive to labor in those days, as now, and the quickest way to earn the dollar was adopted as the means of livelihood.  a change came one day, however, and the fact that the vast forests of pine had succumbed to the ruthless advance of the lumberman was graven on the minds of those who had taken up homesteads or purchased farms.  The soil must be tilled for a livelihood, but before the tilling must come the clearing and burning.  The pioneer farmer is a resolute specimen of the genus homo, and when he began his warfare upon the forest each year marked a considerable advance toward its ultimate subjugation.  For a time the progress was slow, as the number of farmers was small and the hardships they had to endure were sufficient to make even a brave man shrink from the task.  Gradually the holes in the woods grew larger and more frequent, and the log cabin gave way to more pretentious dwellings.  But the forest was not the only enemy the farmers in Columbia had to contend with. The land is low, and in wet seasons much trouble was experienced.


    From three to four sections in the northeast part of the town are covered by what is known as the Columbia Swamp.  Previous tot eh fire of 1871 it was covered with a heavy growth of black ash, cedar and tararack, and an occasional ridge of hemlock.  The fire of 1871 burned over the surface, consuming the resinous cones and foliage and loosening the grip of the trees upon the soil, so that the hurricane which followed laid nearly the whole forest prostrate.  In 1881 the fire found here the best of fuel, through which it swept with a force and intensity unparelleled in other sections of the country.  The soil of this swamp is sandy loam and vegetable mold.  Systematic drainage would undoubtedly render this as valuable as any portion of the town or county, and it is only a question of time when this result will be reached.


     Services were for several years held in private houses in the town by Revs. G. Speckhart and J. L. Hahn.

     February 14, 1876, the members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Unionville met at that place and adopted a constitution, providing in section 1 that the name of the congregation should be "The German Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul's Congregation of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession , of Unionville."  January 22, 1877, a meeting of the male members of the church of full age met at their place of worship in the town of Unionville and elected three trustees, viz.: Gottfried Schultz, John Leger and Mathia Bitzer, thus legally organizing and incorparating the church.

     The number of members was nine; the pastor, Rev. J. L. Hahn.  A small building and grounds were bought in the following year, and in 1881 a church was built two miles distant from the village of Unionville, in the town of Columbia.  It is 26x40

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feet in size and has a seating capacity of three hundred.  Rev. Mr. Hahn is still pastor, but, having the church at Sebewaing and others under his charge, holds services here but once in three weeks.  Arrangements are being made for a settled pastor, and a Sunday-school is to be organized.  The trustees of the church are Christian Schutz, Reuben Bach and Gustav Streiter.  Clemens Martini is clerk.


    According to the report of the school inspector of the town of Columbia for the year ending September 4, 1882, the school directors for the ensuing year were William Hamlin, Frank c. Edgar, Fayette Haynes, R. A. Lyman and William J. Davis.  There were four whole and two fractional districts and five schoolhouses.  The total number of children of school age was 401; number attending school during the year, 303.


     Census of 1860:  Population, 94; families 22; dwellings, 24; number of occupied farms, 18; number of acres improved, 494; number of horses, 1; number of cows, 42; bushels of wheat raised, 529; bushels of rye raised, 129; bushels of corn raised, 663; bushels of oats raised, 365; bushels of potatoes raised, 769; pounds of butter made, 2,800; pounds of cheese made, 500; tons of hay cut, 71.

     Census of 1870:  Population, 424; families, 93; dwellings, 93; farms, 53; voters, 94; number of acres of improved land, 1,572; pounds of butter made, 14,650; bushels of wheat raised, 2,715; bushels of corn raised, 914; bushels of oats raised, 2,170; bushels of potatoes raised, 2,125.

     Census of 1874:  Population, 538; bushels of wheat raised, 4,041; bushels of corn raised, 8,890; bushels of potatoes, 4,657; tons of hay cut, 639.

     Population in 1880, 1,196.  In 1882 the number of acres assessed was 22, 769; total equalized valuation of real and personal property, $394,824;  number of farms in 1881, 137; acres of improved land 3,673; bushels of wheat raised in 1880, 1,823; of corn, 27,220; tons of hay, 1,168.


1883 Alson Greenfield Perry A. Marshall John S. Coy
1882 Alson Greenfield R. H. Russell D. C. Marvin
1881 E. Staley James W. Stiner Andrew Marshall
1880 E. Staley Roswell Surine Andrew Marshall
1879 E. Staley Griffin Covey, Jr. Herman Archibald
1878 E. Staley Francis a. Stiner Andrew Marshall
1877 E. Staley Francis a. Stiner Andrew Marshall
1876 Alson Greenfield Augustus Greenfield Andrew Marshall
1875 Alson Greenfield Roswell Surine Andrew Marshall
1874 Alson Greenfield Roswell Surine P. C. Coy
1873 Alson Greenfield Roswell Surine H. C. Marvin
1872 Alson Greenfield Roswell Surine H. C. Marvin
1871 Alson Greenfield John Russell H. C. Marvin
1870 Alson Greenfield P. C. Coy H. C. Marvin
1869 Alson Greenfield George H. Granger H. C. Marvin
1868 E. Staley George H. Granger H.  C. Marvin
1867 E. Staley S. Ale H. C. Marvn