HISTORY OF TUSCOLA COUNTY
Twenty-seven years ago, in the spring of 1856, Samuel Covey and William J. Davis brought to their home at the present site of Unionville a small stock of general merchandise, perhaps $500 or $600 worth. Taught by experience the wants of the community, they included a liberal stock of mosquito netting. They did not open a store, but kept the goods at Mr. Covey's for the convenience of the settlers. On their engaging in milling at Sebewaing, Horace C. Marvin succeeded to the merchandising business. After a year or two he commenced accommodating the traveling public. The hotel part of his establishment, a blockhouse sided up, is now the north wing of the Unionville House. This was the beginning of Unionville, this point being thus established as a center of trade. The first platting was made by Mr. Marvin, and to this additions have been made by others. Its growth has been gradual, though for the last few years more rapid than at first.
GLIMPSES OF UNIONVILLE
In a description of Unionville, made in the fall of 1872, we find the following:
"Unionville is a growing village, in the northwest portion of Tuscola County. It contains a number of fine buildings, recently erected, with not a few in process of completion. The Merry house is a fine wooden structure, with ample accommodations for the present and future growth of the town. The residences of some of the citizens are excellent specimens of good taste; Mr. Marvin's when completed, will be one of the finest in the county.
"During the past year the Moravian denomination built a commodious church. The Methodist people held a church which had been for two years in a state of incompletion. The society had become thoroughly discouraged and disheartened, until at their recent quarterly meeting, held November 10, when the Rev. Mr. Perrin, presiding elder of the Saginaw district, succeeded in raising $500, the required amount for the completion of the edifice. The contract has been let and the work begun. Great praise is due this feeble society, struggling so hard for this devoted object. The interest taken in the movement by the leading citizens, as well as members of other churches, merits the highest commendation. The largest subscription was given by Mr. Marvin, the leading merchant of the place. He was seconded by Dr. Granger, R. Whiteside, Mr. White, Mr. Merry and others. Daniel Preston, of Detroit, had pledged $50. The whole community were very much elated at the success. Under these favorable auspices, and the faithful labors of their energetic pastor, Rev. S. J. Brown, we predict a prosperous year for the Methodist Episcopal Church of Unionville.
"From a material standpoint, the outlook of this thriving village is very encouraging. The country around is heavily timbered, and the soil rich and fertile. Remote from any competing town, with facilities of ingress and egress, it cannot fail of becoming a place of considerable importance."
Unionville in the fall of 1880 was mentioned as follows: "The buildings are of a much better class, generally speaking, than one expects to see in an inland village of three or four hundred inhabitants. There is also an air of neatness about the village that favorably impresses a stranger and renders his visit all the more pleasant. The Merry House, a leading hotel viewed from the standpoint of size and external beauty, is a very fine looking and commodious building, such as would be creditable to a place of much greater size. The Unionville Hotel is also a large hostelry prepossessing in appearance and capable of furnishing good accommodations to local and traveling guests. Of churches there are three, Baptist, Methodist and German, all neat and quite commodious sanctuaries. The mercantile business is well represented by live and enterprising firms who not only have neat store rooms, but display as large and neat assortments of goods as could be expected in a place of its size. The residences are generally of a good class, and some of them elegant. H. C. Marvin, John S. Coy and Captain Greenfield occupy dwellings that would be ornaments to any city in northern Michigan. In many instances the grounds surrounding the better class of houses are in excellent order, and small orchards loaded with fruit abound on every hand. Unionville is a pretty and thriving place, but its progress has been retarded for some years by the lack of shipping facilities. Sebewaing has robbed it of its prestige as a wheat and produce market, but the business men and inhabitants are hopeful of a turn in the tide at no far distant day, when bands of iron will link the village to the outer world, and the puff of the iron horse will be heard in its streets."
Unionville was incorporated as a village by act of legislature, approved April 1, 1879, which provided that the following described lands should constitute a village corporate: "The northeast fractional quarter of section 1, township 14 north, of range 8 east, the same being in the town of Akron; the southeast quarter of section 36, township 15 north, of range 8 east, the same being in the township of Geneva; and all that part of the southwest corner of section 6, in township 14 north, of range 9 east, described as commencing at the southwest corner of said section, thence running east 140 rods on the section line; thence north sixty-six rods, be the same more or less, to the north line of H. C. Marvin's land; thence west nineteen rods to the southwest corner of William Brady's land; thence north 105 rods to the northeast corner of land owned by John Gall; thence west 121 rods to the township line; thence south on said line 171 5/8 rods to the southwest corner of section 6, the place of beginning; also the northwest fractional quarter of section 7, and west one-half of northeast quarter of section 7, in township 14 north, of range 9 east, and a strip of land joining the last description named on the south, described as commencing at the quarter stake on the west side of section 7, above referred to; thence running east on the quarter line 128 rods, to the southeast corner of the west half of the northeast quarter of section 7; thence south twenty rods; thence west 128 rods to the township line; thence north twenty rods to the place of beginning; the same being in the township of Columbia."
At the first meeting of the council, held May 1, 1879, D. C. Marvin was elected marshal and Isaac Keller engineer of the fire department.
Rules having been adopted for the government of the council, the civil career of the village was fairly inaugurated. Prompt attention was given to the streets and walks and the erection of a pound for the detention of stray cattle-an ordinance which stands upon the records as No. 1 prohibiting stock from running at large within the village limits. a pound master was also appointed. The national game of ball playing was peremptorily shut down upon by the city fathers, so far as concerned its practice on the business streets. Also the shooting of fire-crackers.
The laws of license for the sale of liquors were, and have subsequently, been strictly enforced.
The ground being level, though neither low nor swampy, early attention was paid to drainage and the removal of stagnant waters, and the streets of Unionville are now in excellent condition.
The village having made purchase of a tract of gravel, and made liberal use of the same, the streets are in excellent condition. Sidewalks also have been laid and kept in good repair, to all parts of the village. there are as yet no adequate means of extinguishing fires, but the question is being actively canvassed, and undoubtedly this lack will soon be supplied.
In the winter of 1881-82' the Saginaw, Tuscola & Huron Railroad was built through this section of country. At Unionville it had the strong inducement of a subsidy of from $4,000 to $5,000 raised by subscriptions of citizens of the village and vicinity, and right of way, and it was completed into the village in the spring of 1881. With its coming a new start has been taken, and the village is rapidly growing.
Until 1857 the mails had been brought from Watrousville by the settlers themselves, taking their turns to go once a week for the mail of the settlement. July 1, 1857, was an eventful day in the history of the towns of Columbia, Akron, Geneva and to the north, for on that day a United States mail carrier first made his appearance, and for a year he came through once a week, on foot, from Vassar to Sebewaing. Samuel B. Covey was appointed postmaster; the office was in his house in the portion of section 1, township 14 north, range 8 east, now included in the village of Unionville, and was called Akron postoffice. Mr. Covey and Amzy Clay, of Fair Grove, who was appointed postmaster in that town, were chiefly instrumental in having the route established. The first year of the war Lucius Waldo was appointed postmaster and the office was removed to a point about eight miles southwest of Unionville, on the Watrousville road, where it is still continued. a new office was established at Unionville with H. C. Marvin as postmaster. Mr. Marvin's successors have been Stephen Russell, John Staley, Jr. , J. S. Coy and George J. Hill, the present incumbent.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Services were held in the fall of 1855 and succeeding winter by Elder Klump in the house of Samuel B. Covey, in the town of Akron, and in Robert Kile's house, in the town of Geneva. And thereafter services were held with considerable regularity in the neighborhood. In the winter of 1857 a protracted meeting was held and as the immediate result, a class was formed in Thomas Nicholson's house. Frank Nichols was class leader. Services were held at private houses and finally in the school-house.
At the first quarterly meeting conference of Sebewaing circuit , Flint River district, held at North Akron, October 9, 1867, the following persons, viz.: Thomas Nicholson, Hugh Willson, Henry W. Hess, Francis T. Nichols, Andrew Marshall, Horace C. Marvin and George E. Merry, were elected as the board of trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Unionville. A church building was commenced about that time, but its completion was delayed for about six years, by lack of funds. For about ten years, however, it has been occupied.
The church numbers about 100 members, and has a Sunday school of an average attendance of eighty. The following have ministered to the church: Reverends Klump, L. Mitchell, J. Hamilton, A. Herrick, A. P. Lee, J. B. Russell, J. J. Gurnee, L. L. Houghton, A. Whitcomb, R. M. Hickey, J. a. Dunlap, W. H. Osborne, W. J. Bailey, J. H. McCune and Rev. B. C. Moore, the present pastor.
After due notice as required by law, the Moravian Congregation of Unionville met on the evening of June 14, 1870, for the purpose of organization and incorporation. The following were duly elected as trustees: John Bitzer, Christian hahn, g. Layer, M. Bitzer and J. G. Hoelyle. This organization was effected under the direction of Rev. Edward Regeness with about twelve families in connection with the church. a parsonage was built about the same time, the lower floor of which was used as a place of worship, the upper being occupied by the pastor and his family.
In 1872 their house of worship was built at a cost of $2,000. It is pleasantly located in the edge of the village, and is a neat, plain building, having a seating capacity of about 250. The church numbers 140 communicants, comprising about forty families. The Sunday-school has an average attendance of fifty.
Rev. Mr. Regeness was succeeded in the pastorate by Rev. Peter Gutensohn, and he by Rev. Mr. Lehman, the present pastor. The trustees are William Prady, John Lang, Gottlieb Layer, Martin Lohrer and George Kaven. The elders are Martin Zimmer and Philip Gutensohn. Services are held every Sunday.
April 26, 1875, the members of the Baptist Church of Unionville
formed a body corporate under the laws of the State by adoption of a constitution and election of trustees. The following were elected, viz.: Charles D. Currey, Norman Merford, Samuel B. Covey, Roswell Surine, Horace C. Marvin and William J. Davis. The deacons of the church were Samuel B. Covey and Charles D. Currey. The corporate name adopted was "The First Baptist to lapse.
For two years services were held in the school-house by the Rev. W. D. Potter. Subsequently Rev. A. A. Mead became pastor and reorganized the church. In 1877 a church building was completed and dedicated in July. The following description of the church and its dedication was made at the time:
"The First Baptist Church at Unionville dedicated their commodious house of worship, economically erected at a cost of over $2,500, on Sunday last. The morning sermon was preached by Rev. J L. DeLand, of East Saginaw, and the evening sermon by Rev. W. H. Osborne, pastor of the M. E. Church Unionville. The pastors of the Unionville churches, with Rev. J. L. Reid, pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Vassar, and Rev. I. B. Nunn, of Unionville, assisted in the dedicatory services. A sufficient amount had been raised and paid to leave an indebtedness of but a little over $1,000 to be provided for at dedication, which amount was received in cash or substantial pledges. The church members about forty members, and have secured as pastor, Rev. D. W. Leonard, an old resident of the county, who has lately entered the ministry."
The present membership of the church is about forty. Its trustees are W. J. Davis, Roswell Surine, James Surine, Cyrus Morford, John Covey and W. N. Covey.
Rev. Mr. Mead's successors in the pastorate have been Revs. Currey, I. B. Nunn, D. W. Leonard, Taylor, and the present pastor, Rev. George Biunie.
A union school was established some seventeen years ago for the towns of Columbia, Akron and Geneva, and a school-house completed about 1869. In 1877 this was made a graded school under the charge of A. E. Cook.
"At the annual school meeting held on the 9th of July, 1883, a financial report was read showing the total cost of the schoos to be for the year, $773.91: total number of pupils attending school during the year, 193; total cost of education per capita, $4.01; total receipts, $1,536.46, leaving a balance of $762.55 unexpended; amount of libary money received, $26.62. George E. Merry and R. S. Tolland were elected trustees for three years. The sum of $195 was voted for repairs to the school-house, etc. and $15 as director's salary for the year.
"At a meeting of the school board on Wednesday evening Samuel H. Wilson was elected moderator, R. S. Tolland, director, and William J. Davis, assessor. Charles D. Petershaus was engaged as principal and his wife as teacher in the primary department."
The Unionville Sun, a five column folio, is what every community requires, a lively, newsy, local paper. It was established April 14, 1883, by Robert S. Tolland, who is its editor and proprietor. It is furnished at the low price of 60 cents per year; has a circulation of 675. It was started as an experiment, but has realized the hopes of its founder, and has not only been a success financially, but is aiding materially in the development of the country.
ROBERT S. TOLLAND was born in Columbia, South Carolina. His grandfather and great grandfather were natives of the same State, his father having served as a sergeant in Marion's famous corps. At the commencement of the war of the rebellion his mother, being of Northern birth and training, brought her family North. His father, following his convictions, went into the Confederate army; was killed in battle. After a long term of active service in the Union army Mr. Tolland came to Michigan, and being then but twenty years of age, established the Alpena Pioneer, in 1867. This venture proving a failure he was for nine years engaged in the capacity of foreman and city editor on the papers of Bay City; then as city editor of the Saginaw Courier. He afterward established the Carol Citizen, but on account of ill health, due to the hardships and exposures of the war, he sold out and went to Vassar. He there, as representative of a stock company, established the Times. Being obliged again to relinquish editorial labor on account of ill health, he returned to the Bay City Tribune as foreman. In April, 1883, he went to Unionville and established the Unionville Sun. He finds the location and work conducive to health and generally satisfactory, and his new venture becoming a financial success, as it deserves by the faithful, intelligent and efficient work put upon it. Mr. Tolland still suffers from disease contracted in his military service, and is the recipient of a small bounty.
Northern Star Lodge No. 277, Free and Accepted Masons, was chartered February 24, 1870, with the following charter members: Hon. George H. Granger, W. M. : Charles F. Sees, S. W. : John C. Santee, J. W. : Isaac Santee, secretary; Albert T. Cook, treasurer; Alonzo Whitcomb, S. D.; Jacob Gould, J. D.; M. P. Randall, tyler. The lodge room and reorganized, and has been prosperous ever since. They have now nearly forty members, including some of the best and noblest of the community. The officers for 1883 are as follows: Hiram Cobine, W. M.; John Russell, S. W.; M. H. Vaughn, J. W.; John Covey, treasurer; C. F. Sees, secretary; Rev. D. W. Leonard, S. D.; E. A. Durkee, J. D.; Alva Moore, tyler; George H. Granger, E. C. Shaunan, stewards. Only two Brothers K. Allen, Jr., and I. Keller have been transferred to the death roll.
KNIGHTS OF THE MACCABEES
Justice Tent No. 75 of this order was organized February 2, 1883, with sixteen charter members. Its principal officers are Hiram Cobine, Sir K. C.; Henry G. Dozer, Sir K. L. C.; Robert H. Russell, finance keeper; W. H. Standart, record keeper; Dr. Geo. H. Granger, examining surgeon: B. C. Moore, prelate: Geo. Cobine, 1sst M. of G.; E. A. Durkee, 2d M. of G.: Myron Vanghn, Past Sir K. C.
|1883||Hiram Cobine||Daniel Schad||John S. Coy||Alson Greenfield|
|1882||George J. Hill||D. E. Dozer||John S. Coy||Alson Greenfield|
|1881||Andrew Marshall||Robert W. Durkee||Jas. W. Stiner||Alson Greenfield|
|1880||Geo. H. Granger||D. E. Dozer||Jas. W. Stiner||Stephen C. Hayes|
|1879||Horace C. Marvin||D. E. Dozer||Andrew Marshall||W. N. Covey|
1879-George E. Merry, Charles F. Sees, Hiram Cobine, Martin Lohrer, William H. Standart, George J. Hill.
1880-John Russell, James F. Wilson, Lorenzo Phelps
1881-W. H. C. Standart, Clemens Martini, Isaac Springer
1882- Charles F. Sees, Arad B. Town, James O. Oakley
1883= Clemens Martini, George E. Merry, R. H. Russell