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 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.