HISTORY OF TUSCOLA
VILLAGE OF MAYVILLE
January 15, 1865, the first bill of goods ever sold in Mayville was sold by H. K. Crittenden to a lady, now Mrs. George Crampton. His place of business was east of the village proper and a few rods east of the house of William Hamilton, and the building now stands a living landmark of the first commercial mart. At that time Mayville wasn't thought of -the idea of its birth had not begun to grow. There was no Romulus to plow a furrow and say, " Here shall be builded a city." The winds sighted through the towering trees and the sun looked down on an unbroken forest. Here the pioneer merchant opened his doors and exposed to view his wares. He had only just returned from the war, and was doing a small business in groceries and general backwoods stock. He kept the store there until the following September, when he built the long, low building, so well remembered, a part of which now forms the rear of D'Arcy's drug store.
THE FIRST POSTMASTER
Mr. Crittenden was appointed postmaster of Mayville, July 19, 1865, and kept the office in the new building finished a week or ten days after he received his commission. He had no drawers, no boxes, no case. For all intents and purposes he might have carried his mail in his hat. His salary was munificent, and together with perquisites amounted to $9.50 per quarter. The mail was carried by a Mr. Pierson, who carried et every Thursday from Piersonville
through May to Vassar and return. It is sad to relate we had no money order office then, postal cards or narrow gauge railway. We did not pay for lock boxes, and as a sequence did not have to pay for a lock boxes, and as a sequence did not have to pay for a lock if we lost the key. The mail was carried on horseback and no vehicle was used for years afterwards.
The first building of any kind in the village was the one referred to, and was built and owned by H. K. Crittenden. During the winter of 1865-6 he lived alone in the place; not a sound of habitation was heard or a sight of civilization seen. He was in the center of a howling wilderness as deep and dense and dark as can be woven in the warp and woof of fiction. This was a store in the wilderness, an oasis in the desert. Civilization sprung up around him, the trees were felled, and the glorious sunshine soon made the clearing smile. Mr. C. thinks the first child born in the village was a daughter of E. A. Shepard, born in the building where Mr. Crittenden first opened his store, but he cannot enumerate those that have followed.
In the spring of 1866 Walter Tubbs built the hotel and Curtis Coffeen built a store, which was destroyed by fire in 1867 and soon afterward rebuilt.
MAYVILLE IN NOVEMBER 1867
In November, 1867, a visitor to the place made the
"A little more than a year since, where the little village of Mayville now stands, the forests had just been leveled and not a single human tenement marked the locality. At that time no one had suspected that a little town would spring up on the corners where the heavy timber cumbered the ground just as the woodman's ax had left it. Now, however, the appearance is changed. A commodious hotel on one corner solicits the weary traveler to participate of a liberal hospitality which for moderate fare is provided for himself and beast. The proprietor, Walter Tubbs, provides ungrudgingly, moves among his guests with an easy and congenial manner which makes you feel at home, and on leaving resolve that you will come again some time. Directly south from the hotel and on the owned by Mr. Crittenden which contains a fair assortment of goods, and the postoffice, himself being postmaster.
"The largest amount of trade, however, is at C. Coffeen's on the corner east from Crittenden's. Here Mr. Coffeen has a neat store, and just now it is well stocked with a good selection of goods. We were surprised on being told by Mr. Coffeen that he very frequently retailed over $400 worth of goods in one day, and that there had scarcely been a day during the fall in which his sales had not over gone $100. He deals in produce, and in another part of this paper will be found the selling and purchase prices of the staple articles in which he deals. It is chiefly through the efforts of this enterprising gentleman that the improvements at Mayville have been made.
"Dr. E. A. Shepard, M. D., a graduate from Ann Arbor, is erecting, and has nearly completed, a drug store and office, and will in a few days offer a stock of drugs to the public. A boot and shoe store the property of A. J. Simpson, is just completed, in which four men are employed manufacturing custom work.
"In front of a shop, new, and as yet unpainted, we observed a lumber wagon perfectly complete to the last coat of varnish on the 'end board,' on which was painted, 'A. Lockard, Marker, Mayville.'
"There are two blacksmith shops, one paint shop, one shop for all work, one photograph room, and eight or ten dwellings. It is expected that a cabinet-ware room will be opened this fall, and a grist and shingle-mill to be run by steam will be established another spring.
"The surrounding country presents an attractive surface, and is destined to furnish some of the very best farms of our county, and as an agricultural district it is not surpassed by any region of similar extent. Many farms embracing hundreds of acres begin to wear the appearance of age and a high degree of culture. Numerous and beautiful wheat fields, thrifty young orchards, meadow lands, and substantial buildings meet the eye in all directions. These things plainly foreshadow the future of this part of Fremont."
March 31, 1868, William Turner and Leonard Fox platted the village, which has had a steady growth from that time to the present.
SWEPT BY FIRE.
June 19, 1873, Mayville was visited by a destructive fire, of which the following account was given at the time:
"As near as can be determined the fire originated at about 1:30 o'clock in the morning, between the hardware store of N. Schermerhorn and the dry goods store of C. B. Stuck, in an alley less than four feet wide. Arthur Veitch was, perhaps, the discoverer of the fire,, having just got up to prepare to go to the circus at Vassar. His first impression was that some of Mr. Stuck's family were up, but soon he became alarmed, and upon going to the place saw flames rapidly spreading toward the roof of Mr. Schermerhorn's hardware store, and before he could get any water they were beyond control. He immediately gave the alarm, but before assistance was at hand the flames had communicated with the walls of both buildings, and it became a certainty that the block was beyond redemption. In an almost incredible short space of time the dwelling houses of B. G. Harris and George Fowler, and the shoe shop of the latter, hardware store of Schermerhorn and store of C. B. Stuck, were one mass of flames, those buildings being in a solid block. The wind being very mild in the southwest, Allison Bryant thought his store, standing seventy feet north of Stuck's, could be saved; and could the men have held out five minutes longer that could have been accomplished, but human power cannot always last, and the heat was intense. A heavy column of flame rolled over the space, and Bryant's store was soon counted among the things that were. Soon the flames leaped the distance of one hundred feet and enveloped the drug store of John Veitch & Son, and immediately thereafter the store of W. A. Clark was consumed with most, if not all, of the contents. The time consumed in its destruction did not exceed twelve minutes. In somewhat less than two hours $30,000 worth of property had been swept away and five families made homeless. The heroism and coolness of the ladies was truly wonderful. Charles Reynick was a power within himself, but worked beyond his strength and fainted. He was carried to the office of H. R. Thomas and cared for. B. G. Harris saved only a part of his household goods, among which was not a spoon, plate, knife or fork, and worst of all, what money he had was consumed in his vest left hanging on the bed post. George Fowler saved only a small portion of his household goods and nothing to eat. N. Schermerhorn saved a small part of his hardware, with no insurance on the rest. C. B. Stuck carried a large portion of his goods across the street, only to be consumed there, none of his household goods being saved, neither he nor his wife saving a change of raiment. Allison Bryant saved a goodly portion of his dry goods, but lost all of his household goods, and his clerk, E. G. Fox, lost all his wearing apparel, even to his shoes, and was seen in the street barefoot, working heroically. It was with difficulty that the houses of W. B. Trend and Abram Lockard were saved, but thanks to the surrounding rain barrels they were. fourteen building in all were burned, and the total loss foots up $28,500, with an insurance of $12,500. The names of the principal losers are B. G. Harris,
George Fowler, Barker & Ripley, N. Schermerhorn, C. B. Stuck, Allison Bryant, W. A. Clark, Veitch & Son and W. B. Trend.
MAYVILLE IN 1882
A glimpse of Mayville, at a recent date, may be obtained from the following which was written in 1882:
"We found a little village located upon a slope of
land receding to the north, and in the heart of as rich an agricultural region
as Michigan can boast of. There are
Farms to the right of them
Farms to the left of them,
Farms in front of them,
Farms without number:
and all good farms too, where the owners have become well off, and in many instances, their sons likewise. It is this rich surrounding region that has given Mayville its life and strength, and which will continue to build it up in an enduring manner.
"The morals of a town is told largely by the character of its schools and number of its churches. In Mayville we find both these corner stones of the republic prosperous. The average number of pupils attending the public school is 100, the principal being Frank Doying, of Cass City, a gentleman, by the way, who is one of the rising young men of Tuscola County, if we mistake not. He is assisted by Mrs. Ada Shepard.
"There are two church edifices in the place, the Baptist, of which Rev. W. D. Potter, is pastor, and the Methodist Episcopal, Rev. J. H. McCune, formerly of Unionville, being the pastor. Both have excellent congregations, good church edifices (the former being provided with a fine bell in its belfry) and both are evidently exerting an excellent influence in the community.
"The Port Huron & Northwestern Narrow Gauge Railroad gives the people of the town communication with the outside world, and a busy little road it is, too. the agent of the road is J. F. Turner.
"There are two elevators here, one owned by J. H.
Hollenbeck, for whom N. K. Lawrence does the purchasing, and another by Horace
"A. L. Bryant has a grist and saw-mill that is one of the institutions of Mayville. There are already 2,000,000 feet of logs on hand ready to saw out. In this connection it might not be amiss to mention that 400 car loads of timber were shipped from this point during the year past. Mr. Bryant also has a shingle-mill in connection with his other milling business.
"There is also a planing-mill, sash, door and blind factory, of which Mr. Hilliker is the proprietor. A cheese factory is also located about sixty rods east of the elevators, which is successfully managed. A carding-mill is also located here, but not running at present. a good foundry is run by Wadley & Kelley.
"A. B. Markham, Esq., who is well known to the people of the county, and who has served several terms as cercuit court commissioner, has a monopoly in the line of law. He has a pleasant office, connected by telegraph line with the station, and soon to be connected by telephone with his home. Mr. Markham is well liked, is a good lawyer, and proposes to 'hold the fort' in Mayville, for years to come.
"The sick of the village and vicinity have their wants ministered to by Drs. W. B. curtis and Benjamin D'arcy, two physicians well known to the profession of the county, as unusually successful practitioners. They are held in high esteem by the community.
"the mercantile establishments of Mayville are such
as the town may well feel proud of. There isn't a poor or slovenly kept
one in the lot, though nearly all handle general stock. One of the
foremost merchants is E. G. Fox, Esq., resister of deeds for this county.
He has a large brick store, forty feet front by sixty fee deep. Stepping
inside, one is strouck with the neat, methodical appearance of everything.
the motto seems to be 'a place for everything and everything in its place.'
It would seem difficult to arrange a stock of dry goods, groceries, crockery,
boots and shoes, ready-made clothing, hats and caps, carpets, etc., so that all
would harmonize and look well, but it is done here. Mr. Fox's business is
carried on by his father-in-law, Dr. W. C. Caulton, his brother, Frank J. Fox,
and Mr. g. Hollingshead, and, judging from what we saw Saturday, neither their
heads nor hands were often idle. Mr. Fox has lived in this place since
1856, and been in business for himself since 1876, commencing on a capital of
$600, which he had saved by hard work for others. Just eighteen days after
coming to Caro, to take possession of the register's office, Mr.. Fox's store
burned to the ground with everything in it, one barrel of kerosene being the
only thing saved, entailing a loss of fully $3,000, over and above the
insurance. This was a severe blow, but economy, diligence and square
dealing is making good the loss. Over Mr. Fox's store is located the
public hall, where concerts, meetings, lectures, etc., are held.
"Another extensive dealer is William A. Clark, who carries a general stock, and sells sewing machines in addition. Mr. C. has been in business here eleven years; his store is located on Main Street.
"Directly across the street, in a neat new brick block, we find the firm of Clark & Hopkins, who have a complete stock of general hardware, together with groceries. The firm started in business on the 1st of last October.
"H. K. Crittenden started the first grocery store in the place, and still continues in the same line of trade. His store is on Main Street, next west of Clark & Hopkins.
"N. R. Schermerhorn has an immense stock of heneral merchandise, besides a store full of hardware He has a large double store and carries an immense line of goods.
"A. L. Bryant also carries on a general store, at the corner of Main and Turner Streets, which, taken together with his mills and an agricultural implement store, gives him quite a 'corner' on the trade of the place.
"Arthur Veitch is the postmaster, and he has a nicely arranged office, in the front of which he has a complete drug store. Everything in and about the place denotes a man of methodical business habits. Uncle Sam tied to a safe man when he was chosen as postmaster.
"Across the street from the postoffice is the drug store of Dr. D'Arcy, who is also a practicing physician. On the corner to the north, the Doctor has the frame up for an immense block three stories high, which, we are told he intended to veneer with brink and finish off in good style.
"Opposite this new block, on Main Street, is the
Fremont House, the hotel of the town, kept in good shape by Mr. Blackmore one of
the Vassar family of hotel keepers.
G. V. Ingersoll carries on a furniture store, as successor to Walter Tubbs. He also carries on the undertaking business in connection with it.
"A good meat market is kept by Arnold & Marlow; a livery stable by C. Harrington; a cabinet shop by D. Taylor; there are two shoe shops; and a bakery, selling groceries in connection. The four blacksmith shops are kept by Messrs. W. B. Trend, c. W. Weston, John Higgins and J. E. Johnson, the latter also keeping a wagon shop, as does A. Lockard.
"William Johnson is a large landed proprietor, owning a farm of 200 acres near the place. Among the prominent farmers whose
land lie close to the town may be mentioned Messrs. William Turner, Calvin Fox and Leonard Fox."
Since the foregoing was written Mr. Fox has erected
a handsome brick building which is a credit to the village.
There is a Knights of Honor Lodge in the village, organized October 15, 1879, having twenty-three members. Peter Rumph is dictator and A. B. Markham, reporter.
There is a flourishing lodge of Good Templars, recently organized.
The name of the postoffice is May, it having never been changed. The "ville" was added when the village arrived at a christening age. Arthur Veitch has been postmaster since March, 1876, when he succeeded his father, John Veitch.
In 1875 Cornelius Kealand built a grist and saw-mill in the village of Mayville, which, in 1876, he sold to the present proprietor, Allison L. Bryant. In 1877 Mr. Bryant added a shingle-mill to the establishment. The grist-mill has three run of stones, and has a copacity of forty barrels per day of ten hours. It is a custom and merchant mill. The saw-mill has a capacity of 20,000 feet per day, and cuts a considerable amount of hardwood lumber, such as maple, oak, cherry, birch, ash, etc. The shingle-mill will cut 20,000 per diem. run by steam power.
BRYANT & FOX'S ELEVATOR
was built in 1882 by Bryant & Fox, and is alongside of the track of the Saginaw branch of the Port Huron & Northwestern Railroad, in the village of Mayvill. It has a capacity of 2,500 bushels, which can easily be increased to 7,000 or 8,000 bushels.
The county records show the following religious
societies to have been incorporated int he town of Fremont:
At a quarterly conference held in Dayton and Kingston circuit October 16, 1869, the following persons were duly elected as trustees to be called "The Trustees of the First Methodist Episcopal Church in the village of Mayville," viz: Nelson Cody, John Keefe, William Frend, William Choate, Harris Shepard and George Richards, of the town of Fremont; A. D. Hardy and John McKay, of the town of Dayton, Tuscola County, and Lewis Wilcox, of the town of Rich, Lapeer County.
Articles of association having been entered into and a constitution adopted for the "Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Paulus" in Fremont Township, "the male persons of full age belonging to a church and society in which divine worship is celebrated according to the rites of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the United States" met at St. Paulus Church, "where the congregation of St. Paulus had statedly met before," and elected three trustees, viz.: Conrad Weiler, Frederick Blasius and Peter Brier.
January 9, 1879, articles of association and incorporation, constitution and by-laws were adopted for the German Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul's Church and Congregation of Fremont Township, and at an election at which the Rev. John Haas presided Conrad Weiler, Sr., John Muntz, Sr., and William Ellwanger were elected trustees.
At a meeting held in Randall's Hall n the village of Mayville January 19, 1878, for the purpose of organizing a religious society to be known as the Baptist Society of Mayville, articles of association were adopted and the following trustees elected, viz.: William Turner, Isaiah Crandall, Aaron B. Randall, Jacob Harris, W. B. Curtis, James B. Crosby and Eli Brooks.
From the annual school report of the town of Fremont for the year ending September 4, 1882, the following facts are obtained: Directors for the ensuing year, A. Veitch, John Haas, F. H. Kitchen, Henry Knibbs, Gustavus A. Frenzel, S. B Hovey and John Barron. there are five whole and two fractional districts, with six frame and one log school-house. Number of children of school age, 501: attending school during the year, 407.