Religions services under the direction of the Methodist Episcopal Church and classes have been kept up since the first sermon was preached in the town. At present there are two classes, one meeting in the school-house in section 20, and under the pastoral charge of Rev. Mr. Robinson, of Tuscola, the other in the schoolhouse in section 32, and under charge of Rev. Mr. Barnum, of Pine Run.
A church of the Baptist denomination holds services at the Pinkham schoolhouse once in two weeks, Elder Elias M. Butler preaching.
Elder Shearer, of the Methodist Protestant Church preaches at Pine Grove and Gunnel school-houses, where this denomination has classes.
There is no church edifice in the town but one is being constructed by Rev. William H. Harrison upon his own land in section 8, as an individual enterprise.
The town of Arbela was organized in 1851, under act of the legislature. The name Arbela was adopted in honor of the wife of one of the oldest settlers of the town.
At the first town meeting, held April 7, 1851, the inspectors were Simeon Newton and James Brophy. There were eleven votes cast. Officers elected were: Supervisor, Simeon Newton; clerk, Edwin E. Brainerd; treasurer, Henry I. Stewart; assessors, Edwin E. Brainerd and Milton Whitney; school inspector, Richard Hooper; commissioner of highways, Jacob Phillips and James Brophy; justices of the peace, Henry I. Stewart, James Brophy, William Robinson, Milton Whitney; overseers of the poor, Milton Whitney, William Robinson; constables, Jacob Phillips, Richard Hooper, Amasa Otto. The meeting also voted for judge of the seventh judicial district, and for regent of the university. It was voted to raise one hundred dollars for town purposes, which the town board afterward reduced to fifty.
The amount of tax in the hands of the treasurer, for 1853, was: State and county, $168.77; town, $86; library, $25; to be appropriated to school purposes, $13.41; highway, $141.98; for schoolhouse, District No. 2, $200; District No. 1, $85; fractional District No 1, $43.53; treasurer's fees, $25.42.
Census of 1854: Total population 248, of whom 140 were males and 108 females. Number of acres of taxable land, 4,015; of improved land, 206; acres of wheat, 40; acres of corn harvested preceding year, 19; bushels of corn harvested, 480; bushels of wheat harvested preceding year, 260; bushels of potatoes raised, 714; tons of hay cut, 46; pounds of wool sheared, 26; pounds of pork marketed, 1,750; pounds of butter made, 1,325; number of horses on year old and over, 14; number of milch cows, 36.
Census of 1860: Population, 527; number of families, 124; number of dwelling-houses, 124; value of real estate, $2,510; number of occupied farms, 97; acres improved, 1,423; number of horses, 42; value of live stock, $13,995; bushels of wheat raised, 730; bushels of rye, 652; bushels of corn, 3,139; bushels of oats, 1,040; bushels of potatoes, 2,418; pounds of wool sheared, 32; pounds of butter made, 14,730; pounds of cheese made, 200; sawmills 2; feet of lumber sawed, 1,600,000.
Census of 1864; Population, 608; males, 343; females, 265; marriages preceding year, 2; deaths, 4; number of acres of taxable land, 7,616; acres of improved land, 1,299; acres of wheat, 66; number of bushels of corn preceding year, 2,496; bushels of wheat preceding year, 468; bushels of potatoes preceding year, 3,124; tons of hay cut preceding year, 685; pounds of wool sheared preceding year, 887; pounds of butter made, 12,025; pounds of cheese made, 7,030; number of saw-mills, 3; feet of lumber manufactured, 1,459,000.
Census of 1870: Population, 870; number of families, 178; number of dwellings, 183; number of voters, 197; number of deaths, 6; number of acres of improved land, 2,712; number of horses, 125; pounds of wool sheared, 2,865; pounds of butter made, 25,355; number of bushels of wheat raised, 2,456; bushels of rye, 90; bushels of corn, 5,751; bushels of oats, 3,243; potatoes, 8,103; tons of hay, 944; saw-mills, 2; feet of lumber cut, 342,308.
Census of 1874: Population, 979; males 513; female, 466; number of horses, 213; number of oxen, 90; number of cows, 354; number of sheep, 795; number of swine, 294: bushels of wheat, 4,5?1, bushels of corn, 19,530; bushels of apples, 1,453; bushels of potatoes, 9,658; tons of hay cut, 965.
Population in 188, 1,283; total equalized valuation in 1882, $ 304,055; number of farms in 1881, 180: acres of improved land, 5,338; bushels of wheat raised in 1880, 21,152; of corn, 43,836; tons of hay, 1,164.
The following facts pertaining to the schools of Arbela are compiled from the annual report of the school inspector for the year ending September 4, 1882. Names of directors for ensuing year: Robert Smith, William M. Rogers, William Allen, Richard Squares, William P. Guthrie, Enard Leach, Seelah M. Wilcox. Number of districts, 7, and one school-house in each district. Total number of children in the town, of school age, 368; number that attended school during the year, 284.
YEAR SUPERVISOR CLERK TREASURER
1883 George Van Nest John Jacobs Alanson Calkins
1882 George Van Nest John Jacobs Luther H. Donaldson
1881 Nobel E. York John Jacobs George Van Nest
1880 George C. Thompson John Jacobs George Van Nest
1879 George C. Thompson John Jacobs William Brophy
1878 Lorenzo D. Haines Simeon B. Newton William Brophy
1877 Lorenzo D. Haines Simeon B. Newton George Gunnel
1876 George C. Thompson John Jacobs Lorenzo D. Haines
1875 George C. Thompson John Jacobs Lorenzo D. Haines
1874 Charles V. VanWormer John Jacobs Charles W. Wright
1873 Noble E. York Roger Rathburn William D. Babcock
1872 Noble E. York John Jacobs William D. Babcock
1871 Noble E. York John Jacobs William D. Babcock
1870 Noble E. York John Jacobs William D. Babcock
1869 William M. Rogers John Jacobs Ransom H. Pierce
1868 Noble E. York John Jacobs Ransom H. Pierce
1867 Noble E. York Ronsom H. Pierce Ambrose Haines
1866 L. D. Haines Ransom H. Pierce Ambrose Haines
1865 D. W. Norton Levi Perry Orvil A. Kent
1864 William M. Rogers William H. Hinckley L. D. Haines
1863 George Wyckoff William H. Hinckley L. D. Haines
1862 William M. Rogers Roger Rathburn L. D. Haines
1861 William M. Rogers Roger Rathburn L. D. Haines
1860 William M. Rogers David Graves L. D. Haines
1859 William M. Rogers William H. Campbell L. D. Haines
1858 Andrew Whiteman Daniel H. Haines David P. Willett
1857 Andrew Whiteman Daniel H. Haines David P. Willett
1856 Andrew Whiteman Daniel H. Haines David P. Willett
1855 Andrew Whiteman Daniel H. Haines H. G. Hinckley
1854 Alanson Calkins Daniel H. Haines William Allen
1853 Alanson Calkins Daniel H. Haines William Allen
1852 Seth McLean Edwin e. Brainerd Henry I. Stewart
1851 Simeon Newton Edwin E. Brainerd Henry I. Stewart
THE NEW COUNTRY SONG
The following poem, which portrays pioneer experience in the new country to the letter, was sung by Mr. And Mrs. Henry Pettingill, of Arbela, in 1880, at a pioneer picnic held in Millington, Tuscola County.
This country was a wilderness full forty years ago,
And if good meat we chose to eat, we caught the buck and doe.
Our fish we caught with hook and line, we pounded corn to make it fine;
On Johnny cakes our ladies dine,
In the new country,
Our occupation was to make the lofty forest bow;
With axes good we chopped our wood for well we all knew how.
We tilled our soil for rye and wheat, for strangers and ourselves to eat,
From the maple trees we made our sweet
In the new country.
Our paths then went through winding vales, where oft the savage trod;
They were no roads, they were no guides, but all the ones we had.
Our huts were built of logs of wood, rolled up in squares and caulked with mud.
When the bark was tight, our roofs were good,
In the new country.
Our pastures were both long and wide, o'er every hill and dell;
We found our herds where'er we heard the tinkling of the bell.
Rattlesnakes were our children's dread, and oft the trembling mother said:
"Some Indian will steal my babe,"
In the new country
We had our music in the night for loud the wolves did howl,
The next in order to the fright was the hooting of the owl.
The mosquitoes oft disturbed our joys; the gnats they bit but made no noise.
The nettles made the lively boys,
In the new country
Thorn plums, they were our apples, when the mandrakes were all gone;
The little grapes we used to eat when frosty nights come on;
For wintergreens our girls did stray, for butternuts boys did climb the tree,
And evensroot was our ladies' tea,
In the new country.
The deerskins were for moccasins, to wear upon our feet,
With checkered shirts "twas thought no harm our company to greet;
And if a visit our ladies pay, on a winter's night or a winter's day, The oxen draw the ladies sleigh,
In the new country
We lived in social harmony, and drank the purling stream;
The lawyer, priest or doctor were seldom ever seen;
Our health it need no repair, form doctor's pills or parson's prayer'
How could we keep a lawyer where
All, all was harmony?
My friends, we've lived this many a year through our country's growth and pride;
My friends, we've lived this many a year, while thousands near have died;
But now we're growing old and gray, we've passed the flowery month of May,
And in our graves we soon must lay
In the old country.