OTHER SETTLEMENTS AND INCIDENTS.
Before proceeding to note some incidents concerning the early settlement of other parts of the County, it will perhaps be well, at the risk of repetition, to mention some facts connected with the three settlements described in the previous chapter. And in the beginning of this chapter we wish to acknowledge our indebtedness for the information it contains to the writings of John J. Adam and James J. Hogaboam, the latter of whom, in a little volume entitled "The Bean Creek Valley," has placed in enduring form a great deal that is of interest concerning the early settlement of Lenawee County. The first settlement of the present township of Raisin was in the west or main part and was included in the settlement of Darius Comstock and his associate Friends. The eastern part of the town did not begin to be settled until 1830. In the spring of that year Robert Boyd and some three or four others, started from Tecumseh, with General Brown as a guide, to explore that part of the town; and Mr. Boyd soon afterward located the land on section 1o, which was, his home for many years, and another young man of the party took up some land adjoining him. The nearest settlement to them on the south was at the village of Blissfield, distance about ten or twelve miles, through heavily timbered land. In 1831 quite a tide of immigration set in to this part of the township, mostly families of the Congregational or Presbyterian persuasions, being thus distinguished from the older or west part of town, which was mainly settled by the members of the Society of Friends.
Robert Boyd was born in Dungal, County Antrim, Ireland, October 20, 18o6. His father was a linen weaver, and carried on a farm in Dungal until 1818, when he came to America with his family, consisting of his wife and five children, Robert being the oldest. He settled in Livingston County, New York, and purchased a farm in the town of Groveland, where he died about the year 1820. Robert Boyd was reared a farmer, and after the death' of his father, when he was fourteen years old, he, with his younger brother, James, es, carried on the farm for nearly ten years. In the fall of 1828 Robert went to Ireland and remained until the following summer, when he returned, and in the spring of 1830 he came to Michigan, arriving in Tecumseh about the first of May in company with Fulton Jack. Boyd located 320 acres of land on section lo, in Raisin, and not only lived to see a better country, but he was instrumental in making it what it is. He participated in all movements, enterprises, and endeavors, to bring about the present high state of moral and religious civilization, and he assisted largely in proving to the world that Lenawee County is one of the most productive and beautiful counties in the United States. Mr. Boyd cleared off about i5o acres of land, erected a good frame house, with large barns, sheds, etc., and resided there until 1879, when he moved into the village of Tecumseh.
On May 3, 1824, William Kedzie, of Delhi, N. Y., purchased of the United States government a tract of land in the township of Blissfield, but he did not settle on it until October, 1826. Mr. Kedzie was born in Roxboro, Scotland, where he lived until the age of fourteen, when he immigrated to America with his brothers and sisters, landing in New York. He went to Washington County, New York, and settled in Salem, but soon afterward moved to Stamford, Delaware County, about the year 1810. He resided there about ten years, when he removed to Delhi, in the same County, and purchased a second farm, where he resided for six years, clearing up about 200 acres of land in the meantime. In the spring of 1824, as stated above, he came to Michigan and purchased 304 acres of land in what was then a part of the township of Blissfield, now Deerfield, it being the first land entered in the township. He then returned to Delhi and remained there until the spring of 1826, when he sold his farm and emigrated to Michigan territory. He took passage on a canal boat at Utica and came to Buffalo, where he remained four days waiting for a steamboat -the old "Superior"-which was the only one at that time running between Buffalo and Detroit. At Detroit he transferred his goods to the steamer "Chippewa," which brought his family to Monroe, landing there May 13, 1826. There he rented some land and stayed until the fall of that year, when he moved upon his farm in Blissfield into a new and unfinished log house, without doors or windows. During the winter of 1826-7 he let a job to Benjamin and Nathan Tibbets of chopping thirty acres, a portion of which was cleared and planted to corn and potatoes in the spring of 1827. On August 5, 1828, Mr. Kedzie died, which was the first death and burial in the township.
For the first two or three years the early settlers of Blissfield township had to go to Monroe to market, to mill, to post-office, for blacksmithing, and for a doctor. It is related that in the spring of 1825 Mr. Bliss lost one of his oxen, and had no means to buy another, but his new neighbor, a Mr. Harrison, being about to return to Massachusetts for his wife, loaned him a pair of young 'steers. With these he managed to log and drag a small field for spring crops. He had to go to Monroe to mill, but had no team he could drive on the road. He drove his remaining ox to the township of Raisin, yoked him with a borrowed ox, hitched the pair to a borrowed cart, returned to his residence, took in sixteen bushels of corn, and drove to Monroe. The grist ground, the whole distance had to be again traveled over in reverse order, and to get that grist ground it cost him eight days time and 100 miles travel. He found this milling so expensive that he burned a hollow in the top of a stump, of sufficient size to contain a half bushel of grain, and with a pestle attached to a spring hole, he pounded his corn for bread until he was enabled to procure another team.
With the opening of the spring of 1825 busy scenes recurred, and before autumn large accessions had been made to the population of Lenawee County. In that year the people of the Tecumseh settlement were principally engaged in making sure the progress of the preceding eventful year, in preparing dwellings for those on the ground and those arriving, and in clearing off ground for cultivation. Mr. Brown built a frame building and opened it as a public house, the first and then the only public house west of the village of Monroe. Jesse Osborn, in the fall of that year, sowed the first wheat in Lenawee County, on the ground a little north of the place where Judge Stacy long resided, and James Knoggs built and opened a store.
In the spring of 1826 Wing, Evans & Brown built a grist mill at Tecumseh, the settlers having agreed to pay $200 toward the cost of its erection. Turner Stetson was the builder. The dam was ready built, the building and water-wheel easily constructed, but it was extremely difficult to provide the mill-stones. A pair of French burr stones would cost a large sum at the East, and then it would have been difficult, not to say impossible, to transport them over Michigan mud, through Michigan forests, to the metropolis of Lenawee County. It has been said that "necessity is the mother of invention," and these pioneer mill builders were not to be discouraged by difficulties. A granite rock was found lying on the ground about two miles from the mill building. It had been broken into two pieces by the falling of a tree across it. The services of Sylvester Blackmar, a practical miller, were called into requisition and the pieces prepared. the larger for the upper and the smaller for the nether mill-stone, and with them for several years the grain of Lenawee County and surrounding country was ground. The mill was twenty feet wide and twenty-five feet long, two and one-half stories high-the first story thirteen feet high, the second eight feet in the clear, and from the top of the upper floor to the top of the plate, four feet-the first story built separate from the upper and of timber twelve inches square, braced in the strongest manner. Each story was of four bents and the whole building was boarded with inch boards, over which the sides and ends were clapboarded, and the roof was shingled with oak shingles. The whole of the timber used in the erection of the mill and flume was sound oak. The foundation was dug deep enough to receive the mill, which rested on three mud-sills. As will be seen the mill was on a small scale, but with regard to milling, as well as other matters, it was the day of small things, but adapted to the wants of an infant settlement, and toward which almost every one in the community gladly contributed. After the erection of other and larger mills it was known as the old pocket mill." The second grist mill of the County was the red mill of Comstock & Dean, at the village of Adrian, built in 1829.
The mill at Tecumseh was completed in the early summer of 1826. The people had determined to celebrate Independence Day that year and great preparation was made for the first Fourth of July celebration in Lenawee County. The mill was ready for business, the wheat sowed by Jesse Osborn the fall before had ripened, been harvested and threshed, and on this auspicious Fourth of July morning Jesse Osborn carried some wheat to the mill, Sylvester Blackmar ground it into flour, and Mrs. Brown made the cake and biscuit for the celebration of that day.
That the County had settled rapidly since the advent of its first family, in 1824, may be seen by the following extract from a letter, written by Mr. Brown, tinder date of January 14, 1827: "The Legislative Council have organized three new counties this winter, and in none of them was there a white inhabitant in the year 1823, and in ours not till June, 1824. This is the youngest and smallest of the three, and we have more than 6oo inhabitants." The surveyed towns nearest to the villages of Adrian and Tecumseh were naturally the first to attract immigration and to become settled. The town now called Madison, and of which a portion near the northeast corner was included in the village and is now a part of the city of Adrian, began to be settled in 1827. Nelson and Curran Bradish being the first settlers. Nelson built the first log house, and his wife was the first white woman to settle in the township. Their son Myron, born in April, 1830, was the first white child born in the town. Calvin Bradish built the first saw-mill.
Nelson Bradish was a native of Wayne County, New York, and was born in 1803. Upon coming to Lenawee County he took up a quarter section of land in Madison Township, and in 1828 put up a log house on section 16. After establishing himself and his young wife comfortably, he proceeded with the cultivation of the land, and remained there until the spring of 186o, when he retired from active labor and repaired to a snug home near the outskirts of Adrian, where he spent his declining years. He died there on May 6, 1875.
One of the first settlers in the township of Macon, and who is said to have entered the first land in the town, was John Pennington, who moved there from the township of Raisin' in 1831 but Peter Sones is said to have made the first actual settlement and improvement.
John Pennington was born in Stafford, Monmouth County, New Jersey, August 25, 1778, and there he lived until he was twenty years old, when he went to Monroe County, New York, where he was a pioneer. He purchased wild land there, improved it and lived upon it until he sold out and came to Michigan. He was a brother-in-law of Darius Comstock, and in 1828 he came to Michigan and located land in Raisin, near the land entered by the latter. When Mr. Pennington brought his family hither in the following year, he came from Detroit by the way of Ypsilanti and Saline, and while passing through the present town of Macon he was very much pleased with the appearance of the country and the land in certain portions. So after getting his family settled in Raisin he came back along the "trail," as it was then called, and took up i6o •acres on sections 5 and 8, this being the first land located in the township, and Mr. Pennington was then the first and only settler between Tecumseh and Saline, a distance of about twelve miles. In September a part of his family moved into a shanty he erected; and during that winter he chopped off twenty-
88 MEMOIRS OF LENAWEE COUNTY
three acres. In the following suing, 1830, he plowed and. planted a portion of it, this being the first ground plowed and the first crops planted in the township. In 183o he took up i6o acres of land adjoining his first purchase, and he afterward took tip 16o acres more. Mr. Pennington died in Macon, March 26, i86o.
Among the most prominent of the early settlers of Macon were Israel Pennington, who was the first postmaster, and Dr. Joseph Howell; who built the first frame house in the township.
Israel Pennington was born in Perinton, Monroe County, New York, November 17, i8o8, and was the oldest child in the family of John Pennington, who has been heretofore mentioned. He came to Michigan with his parents in 1829, and resided in Macon during the remainder of his life. In 1830 he located 24o acres of land in the present township of Dover, but he soon afterward sold this claim, which was said to he the first land taken up in that township. Mr. Pennington was always an active man and performed his full share of hard labor in developing and subduing the township of Macon from a wilderness. He held the plow to break up the first piece of land plowed in the township, which event took place in the spring of 1830. In 1832 he returned to his old home in Monroe County, New York, taking passage at Detroit on the steamboat "Washington." In the fall of 1835 he again went east, and during that winter made a tour of all the large eastern cities. Early in the spring of 1836 he spent some time in Washington and daily visited both houses of Congress. There he saw Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams, John C. Calhoun, James K. Polk, President Andrew Jackson, and all the great and noted men of those days. He also visited Mount Vernon. During his residence in Macon he' greatly assisted early settlers in examining, locating, and exploring the country, making extended trips into Clinton, Ionia and Ingham counties. In 1837 he was appointed the first postmaster, at Macon, and held the office twenty-five years. In 1-848 he was a delegate to the first Free Soil convention held at Adrian, and also a delegate to the first Republican convention, held at Tecumseh, at the organization of the party in this County, in 1854. He was a delegate to the Republican state convention in 1878, which nominated Governor and state officers, and in i88o he was a delegate to the state convention which nominated state officers. Re was ever a staunch temperance man, and was a member of the first temperance society organized in the County in the winter of. 1829-30. He started the first nursery in the County, and during a period of forty years sold large numbers of fruit trees. For many years he was an active worker in the County agricultural society, and was a director of the same for nearly fifteen years. In 1879 he was a delegate to the American Pomological convention at Rochester, N. Y., being appointed by the Michigan Pomological society, and he was present during the entire meeting.
Jonathan Hall may be considered as one of the first settlers of the town of Ridgeway, as he commenced to clear up a farm in the spring of 1828. Mr. Hall was born in Lyme, New London County, Connecticut, April 7, 1801. He was brought up a farmer and received a common school education. He lived at home until he was about twenty-five, and in the fall of 1826 went to North Carolina, and during that winter he taught school near Wilmington. In the spring of 1827 he came to Michigan to "look land," but went back east as far as Huron County, Ohio, where he taught school during the winter. In the spring of 1828 he returned to Connecticut, got some money from his father, and came back to Michigan the same fall. He located 24o acres of land in Lenawee County, the same being the east half of the west quarter and the west half of the northeast quarter of section 6, and the west half of the northwest quarter of section 5, all in Ridgeway-a part of the village of Ridgeway standing on this property. He cleared off and cultivated 13o acres of the land himself, until he had a fine and highly productive farm, with a large brick house, good barns, etc. In I83o he returned' to Connecticut on foot, being about two -weeks making the trip. It was in the month of March that he made the journey, going from Tecumseh to Detroit, and then through Canada to Niagara Falls, where he crossed and went on to Troy. His greatest concern during the trip was a package of $500 in money which he was carrying to Troy for Judge Blanchard, of Tecumseh; but he delivered it safely. At one place in Canada the ice was thin, the water was over his hoots, and he pulled them off and waded the water and ice barefoot for fifty or sixty rods. A few years afterward he made the same trip again on foot, but this time he went through Ohio to Buffalo.
The townships of Woodstock, Rollin, Hudson, Medina and Seneca are frequently referred to as the "Bean Creek Country," because they are drained by Bean creek and its tributaries, and the beginning of the year 1833 found all this part of the County an unbroken wilderness. Nine years had elapsed since the first settlement was matte within the County limits, and although considerable encroachments had been made on the dense forests, yet comparatively but little had been done. From Tecumseh, as a center, settlers had made their way through the township of Franklin and some settlements had been made in Cambridge. But the principal part of the settlers were in the region of country between the two principal points, Tecumseh and Adrian. From Adrian settlers had ventured as far west in Dover as Robert and Bart White's, who lived on either side of the road where the Raisin crosses the line between sections 2 and iii. Settlers had occupied the most eligible lots in Madison, and commenced on the two northerly tiers of sections in Fairfield, but the southern part of Dover, the townships of Seneca, Medina, Hudson and Rollin were yet untouched by the pioneer hand, and but one or two families had settled in Woodstock. The government military road had been surveyed in 1825 and built in the succeeding years, probably before 1830, but for years it was but little better than a quagmire. The road followed the old Indian trail along the highest lands, but a single belt six rods in width, through interminable forests, afforded the sun but little opportunity to dry the soil, and it required but little travel to make the newly plowed road almost impassable. In 1832 the general government surveyed another military road, from La Plaisance Bay to the Chicago road, uniting with the latter in the township of Cambridge. This road was not finished until 1835, but its completion afforded a valuable route to the westward bound emigrant. In 1828 the Legislative Council appointed commissioners to lay out a territorial road "from Port Lawrence (Toledo) in the County of Monroe, running in the most direct and eligible route through Blissfield and Logan, and also through the village of Adrian, to intersect the Chicago road on the most direct and eligible route." This road was surveyed soon afterward to pass through the townships of Rome and Woodstock, just touching the corner of Rollin, but the westerly portion of it was not completed until 1835. This road passed to the northeastward of Devil's Lake.
Thus matters stood in 1833. The valley of the Raisin had been sparsely settled, while beyond to the westward, half of Lenawee was an interminable forest., On June 4, 1831, Ira Alma, of Seneca County, New York, had entered the west half of the northwest quarter of section 20 in the township of Rollin, and on May 10, 1832, Addison J. Comstock entered the east half of the northeast quarter of section 32, in the same township, but nothing was done toward effecting a settlement in either of those years. Hiram Kidder settled in "the valley" in 1831, and .early in the year 1833 visited the Bean Creek country, on February 6th entering the southwest quarter and west half of the southeast quarter of section 6 and the northwest fractional quarter of section 7, town 7 south, range 1 east, now the township of Hudson. This land he entered in the names of Daniel Hudson, Nathan B. Kidder and William Young, all of Ontario County, New York.
About the first day of April, 1833, Joseph Beal and his son William, equipped for a land hunt, departed from the village of Adrian, and taking a southwesterly course, reached Bean creek in the vicinity where Morenci now stands. They then proceeded up the creek until they reached the bend in the southerly part of town 7 south (Hudson), and then taking their bearings by the aid of a pocket compass, they proceeded through the wilderness on a straight line as near as possible for Devil's Lake, the headwaters of the Bean. They came out on the banks of Round Lake. After considerable explorations thereabouts they returned to Adrian through town 6 south, range 2 east (Rome). Several other exploring parties visited the region of the lakes during that month, and the result of such explorations was that on May i David Steer entered seven or eight lots, and on May 3 William Beal and Erastus Aldrich entered their land, all in the township of Rollin as now constituted. During the early part of May the Hon. Orson Green visited Devil's Lake and slept under the blue vault of heaven on the land he afterward entered. At that time there were no inhabitants save Indians in all this country from the Chicago road to and into the states of Ohio and Indiana.
On June 16, Hiram Kidder entered the east half of the southeast quarter, and the west half of the north part of the northwest fractional quarter of section 8, town 7 south, range i east (Hudson), in the name of his brother, Nathan B. Kidder, and on July 27 he entered the west half of the northeast quarter of section 7, same town, in the name of Hudson, Kidder and Young.
On June 1, 1833, Stephen Lapham bought land on section 4, in town 6 south, i east (Rollin), and immediately built a shanty and moved a man into it. The man's name was Levi Thompson, and to him must be accorded the fame of being the first settler in the valley of the Bean. Erastus Aldrich settled on' section 9 in August, and in the month of October Joseph Beal and his son Poster settled on sections 15 and 10.
Porter Beal was born in Perinton, Monroe County, New York. April 6, 1808. His father, Joseph Beal, son of Seth Beal, was born in Cummington, Mass., April 15, 1778, and resided there until he was seventeen. In the year 1795 he went to Macedon, Wayne County, New York, where his brother, Bernard, then lived and owned a farm. He lived with his brother until he was twenty-one, and assisted him in clearing up a new farm. About the year i8oo he purchased a new farm in Perinton, which farm he cleared up and resided upon until he came to Michigan in the spring of 183o. He came to this County because his oldest son, William, had settled in Adrian Township. In 1833 Joseph Beal located forty acres on section 15, in Rollin, and ever afterward resided in the township. He died in Rollin on January 22, 1877, Porter came to Michigan with his parents in 1830, and arrived in Adrian on June i. In 1833 he located land on section 1o, in Rollin, and made a home there. He afterward removed to section 15, in the same town, and there erected a very large brick house upon the land his father first located. He served the township as supervisor during the years 1861-2. For many years he was a member of the Rollin Methodist Episcopal church, and was very active and energetic in the erection of the fine brick church at Rollin Center. He gave liberally towards its construction and was trustee for years after its completion. He devoted considerable time and attention to fruit culture and was one of the most successful growers in the County, during one season marketing 1,000 bushels of peaches. In politics he was always liberal, having first voted for James G. Birney, but on the organization of the Republican Party he adopted its principles. During the later years of his life he was an ardent Prohibitionist, and in 188o was a candidate for Commissioner of the State Land Office on the Prohibition ticket.
Samuel Gregg, then of Adrian, piloted a party of mill men into the Bean Creek country in search of water power. They left Adrian on July 4, 1833, going by the way of Mudge's Corners and Samuel Jordan's, the latter place being near the south bend of the Raisin, which was on the "very verge of civilization in that direction." They followed an old Indian trail until they reached the creek on what is now the site of the village of Canandaigua. It was dark when they arrived and they passed the night in an old Indian wigwam. In the morning they took their bearings and found they were at the southeast corner of section i, town 8 south, range i east. They resumed their journey and followed Bean creek to a little stream just below where the village of Morenci now stands, since called Silver creek. They did not find water power to suit and returned to Adrian. Gregg was so pleased with the country that he wrote a glowing description of it to his brother-in-law, William Cavender. The latter visited Michigan in August of that year and selected lands on section 6 in town 8 south, range 2 east, and on section 1, town 8 south, range 1 east, comprising the site of the village of Canandaigua and lands adjoining. The land was entered at the land office on September 2d, the Seneca lands in his own name, the Medina land in the name of Samuel Jordan. But the latter tract was afterward deeded to Cavender according, no doubt, to an agreement entered into at the time the land was taken up.
On August 14, 1833, Hiram Kidder took with him from the Valley George Lester and Henry C. Western, proceeded with them to his Bean creek purchase, and rolled up the body of a log house and put a roof on it. This, the first log house within the limits of Hudson, was twenty-five feet square, and in the fall it was finished .off in the height of style, with chinked and mudded cracks, stick chimney and puncheon floor. But these finishing touches were not put upon this mansion in the wilderness until after the house was occupied. In October Mr. Kidder moved his family from the Valley 'to their new home, arriving on the.evening of Tuesday, the 29th. The family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Kidder, their five children, and two men who assisted them in moving. The house was yet unfinished, as it had no floors, doors or windows. To the eastward it was twelve miles to the nearest abode of civilized man. Near the shores of Devil's Lake there was a solitary cabin, and there were a few houses along the Chicago road from fifteen to twenty miles distant, but all to the westward and southward was one vast wilderness.
On November 9, 1833, Francis H. Hagaman and Gershom Bennett purchased of the United States lands on section 31, in Dover, and section 6, in Seneca, and the same months erected a log house near the northwest corner of the township of Seneca. Samuel Gregg, desirous of opening a road to his brother-in-law's new purchase, induced' the highway commissioners of the township of Blissfield to lay out the angling road leading northeasterly from Canandaigua. The surveying party went to Cavender's purchase in the month of November to commence the survey of the road. They found Hagaman and Bennett there, having arrived the day previous and commenced building a house. The surveying party encamped on the ground that night. The next morning there were several inches 'of snow on the ground and the survey was postponed for a while, but it was executed and the road established during the winter of 1833 and '34.
The Kidder settlement was the nucleus not only of the future
MEMOIRS OF LLNAWEH COUNTY
city of I-udson, but of the region known as the Bean Creek Valley as well. Hiram Kidder, the chief moving spirit in this settlement, had previously, in 1831, been a settler in the township of Raisin, and he helped to pioneer the first settlers to the western part of the County. Winter had fairly settled down soon after the completion of the house which served as a home for a considerable family and a haven of refuge for wandering land-lookers during a period of several months. The house is said to have accommodated at one time twenty-six persons, by their sleeping on the floor in two rows. Mrs. C. R. Beach, a daughter of Mr. Kidder, wrote in later years of the scenes of that winter as follows
"The excitement of this first winter was an ever-changing drama; the land-lookers, the wolf-trappers, and deer hunters. I remember a manner of sleeping in those days that would hardly do in these modern times. It was a sort of general bed that covered the entire floor of the house. I have seen Mrs. Kidder picking her way over the heads and toes of this pavement of sleeping men, women and children, early in the morning, to get things started for breakfast than she might be able to supply the demands of all for breakfast. And every night brought a new set of lodgers.
"An adventurer (one of the kid-gloved kind), dressed in broadcloth, with beaver hat and calf boots, anxious to become a land speculator, started on foot from Adrian to the Bean Creek country. In the evening one of the children reported to Mrs. Kidder that something white out in the bushes kept flapping its wings. Observing it for a moment, the object left the brush and came to the door. Mrs. Kidder was much surprised to find it a man. Our would-be speculator had been thrown down so many times by his long-toed boots that, fearing his fine clothes would be spoiled, he had changed his habit by putting his white cotton flannel underclothes on over his broadcloth, and thus became the white fowl that flopped its wings to the terror of the children.
"Mr. Kidder was awakened one night by the squealing of some hogs in an enclosure near by. A hear had entered the enclosure, killed one hog, and, seating himself on the carcass, proceeded to hold the other hog in fond embrace until it, too, was dead. One night Mr. Kidder was absent, having gone out that morning with some Land-lookers- Mrs. Kidder put the children in bed and laid down too, hoping at least to get a little rest. She thought of wolves, bears and Indians, until she fell asleep. Soon afterward she was awakened by a noise like the gnawing and crunching of bones. She arose in terror to see which of her darlings had become a prey to the beasts. She went quickly to the fireplace, and taking a fire brand, turned toward the door. She found a horse in the doorway; the blanket which had served as a door now served as a head-dress for the horse. The horse was neither in the house nor .out of doors. There was no floor on that side of the house, and as he rested across the log that served as a door-sill his feet could not reach the ground. He could neither advance nor retreat. In this dilemma he had seized a tin pan and was biting it, which made the peculiar noise that had alarmed Mrs. Kidder."
The following description of Mrs. Kidder, then a young wife and mother, as she appeared amidst the scenes of the October evening when she first gazed on a sunset from her pioneer cabin door, is quoted from a paper prepared by Mrs. C. R. Beach, and from which the foregoing extracts are taken. It is a daughter's fond recollection of her mother's early loveliness, but it will be none the less interesting on that account: "A log cabin on the brow of a hill; at its base a little stream whose ripple could be heard at its summit. It was sunset. From the aperture left for a doorway the view is obstructed by dense forests. Before us, on the right hand, on the left hand, all around us on every side were deep, dark forests. The departing sun gilded for a while the beautiful canopy of brown, crimson and yellow leaves, and then the shades of night drew on and all were wrapped in impenetrable gloom. At this moment another home, with its vacant places beside the cheerful fireside, the school and college days, with well remembered classmates, all came back on memory's wings to add intensely to homesick feelings, which, despite strong endeavor, came over the spirit of that young wife and mother as, standing there with head uncovered but wreathed in golden curls, she views her future home. Those golden locks are silvered now; those strong arms are palsied by the lapse of years; but her heart seems as young and blithe as ever."
The following story is told as illustrative of Mrs. Kidder's kindness of heart-. "She had one child-a daughter-in delicate health. One day a party of twenty-six persons arrived at her house. They had been lost in the woods and were very hungry. The last provisions had been cooked, Mr. Kidder had gone for a supply, and it was hoped these would last the family until his return. It took several days to go to market then, and the day of return was by no means certain; but Mrs. Kidder could not resist the appeals of hungry fellow-beings. Her entire store was placed before the hungry crowd. Still they were not satisfied, and one woman bemoaned her fate in bitter terms.. Soon one of the boys came in and said `Mamma, is there not something Maria can eat?' `No,' said Mrs. Kidder. Soon he came again. Ain't there some potatoes that Maria can have? Was not some dropped around the hole whence they were taken?' `No, my son, there are none.' Soon after, Maria fainted. 'Why, how long is it since that child has had 'anything to eat?' asked the lady who was making such a fuss. `None since morning,' said Mrs. Kidder. `God bless the child!' went up the chorus from twenty-six voices: `Why!' said the lady, I have just had something to eat, and I am repining while the child is starving.' Just then the signal gun announced the arrival of Mr. Kidder on the hill east of the creek, and summoning aid to descend the dangerous declivity. It was ten o'clock when the wagon reached the door that night, -but supper had to be prepared for the family and the guests before sleep was thought of."
Besides the exciting scenes incident to land explorations, it became necessary for the settlers to become acquainted with their Indian neighbors. The Indians here were the Pottawattamies who had been crowded by the settlement of the eastern, portion of the state into this then unbroken forest. The principal Indian trail extended from Detroit to Chicago, nearly where the Chicago road was located. A trail left this in the northeastern part of the County and led off, through the townships of Dover and Medina, to Defiance. Another left the main trail near Silver Lake, skirted Devil's Lake, passed near the Kidder settlement, to Squawfield in the present limits of Hillsdale County. Another connected the Indian villages; and still another, leaving the main trail at Jonesville, Hillsdale County, passed through Squawfield, Medina and Morenci, and terminated at the rapids of the Maumee. These were the Indian thoroughfares, and into them came and from them went many lesser trails, all as well known to an Indian as our roads are to the present denizens of the land.
In March, 1834, Reuben Davis located the middle sub-division of the southwest fractional quarter of section 18, town 7 south, range 1 east (Hudson) and commenced building a log house. That lot of land now forms a part of the city of Hudson, it being that portion lying north of Main street and between Church and High streets. The house he commenced stood in the vicinity of Market Street, between Main street and the Lake Shore railroad. In
OLD STAGE HOUSE, CLINTON
-the month of May Beriah H. Lane and his brother, Erastus, came to the Bean Creek country. Beriah selected the first sub-division of the northwest fractional quarter of section ig. Upon going to the land office he found it had already been entered by Harvey Cobb. He returned to the Bean Creek and selected the west and middle sub-divisions of the southwest fractional quarter of section Ig, which he afterward entered. Almost immediately afterward he traded the south part of the tract to Reuben Davis for his land, and sold the north half to Sylvester Kenyon. The land he bought of Davis had a log house partly finished and about one and a half acres chopped. Mr. Lane also purchased of Jesse Kimball the south half of the west sub-division of the southwest fractional quarter of section 18, or' that part of the city of Hudson north of Main street and west of Church street.
Beriah H. Lane was born in i8oo, in Enfield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, and was reared in his native town, where he learned the trade of a carpenter and joiner. This trade he pursued until the spring of 1834, when he came to this County and entered a tract of land from the government, the same being located one mile south of the present city of Hudson. He soon exchanged 16o acres of it for eighty acres now included-in the city, lying north of Main Street. After erecting a sawmill, the first in the vicinity, he returned to Massachusetts for his family, coming back with his wife and two children in the fall of the same year. On their way they staid for a short time at Elyria, Ohio, and from there journeyed to Hudson with an ox-team, and upon their arrival at once took possession of the log cabin-the only dwelling where the city of Hudson now stands-and commenced clearing the land. The father of Hudson, as Beriah H. Lane may be justly termed, witnessed during his half century's residence here its development from a wilderness, with his rude log house as a nucleus, to a thriving city of 3,000 inhabitants. In this wondrous change he took a prominent part, always aiding financially or otherwise anything that would add to its advancement. The first election in Hudson was held in his house, and at that time he was elected justice of the peace. When a post office was established here it was named Lanesville in his honor, and he was appointed postmaster, an office which he held a number of years. He died at Hudson in November. 1887.
The settlement of Francis H. Hagaman and Gershom Bennett in the northwest corner of town 8 south, 2 east (Seneca), in November, 1833, has already been noticed; also the purchase by Cavender of several parcels of land in the fall of the same year. Besides these, Ebenezer S. Carpenter, John F. Packard, Archibald Brown, and Levi Sherman entered land in 1833; but aside from these purchases the township was government property in the beginning of 1834. On February I, 1834, Roswell J. Hayward purchased of the United States land on section 13, and settled on it immediately afterward. Mr. Hayward had first come to Michigan in 1831, locating in Livingston County, where, in 1832, he enlisted in the Black Hawk war. After the "war" he returned to New York and reported so favorably of Michigan that others were induced to come to the territory with him. Jacob Baker entered land on section 30, on March 1o. And soon afterward came with his family and commenced a settlement. Horace Garlick and Arnold H. Coomer accompanied Mr. Baker to the wilderness. They proceeded at once to build a log house. Coomer had the bark to peel for the roof, and he pressed the Indians into service to assist him. The house was the usual log cabin of the early settle puncheon floor, bark roof and gables, small window holes, and paneled doors. The doors were of the kind called batten doors, but the batten was a piece of timber a little longer than the width of the door and larger at one end than the other; the large end projected beyond the door and was bored to serve as part of the hinge. The boards were fastened to the battens by wooden pins or by nails, as the necessity or convenience of the builder required. Arnold H. Coomer entered his land on section 31, town 8 south, on May 8, 1834. In the early part of the same month Simon D. Wilson and four other gentlemen came to the township, looking land, and Mr. Wilson selected tracts on section 30, in town 8 south, and on sections 6, 7 and 8, town 9 south.
Simon D. Wilson was born in Thompson, Windham County, Connecticut, November 7, 18o4.' He lived with his parents until he was ten years old, when he went to live with an aunt, Mrs. Lydia Ford, of Berkshire, Mass. He lived in Berkshire until he was twenty-one years old, and only received a limited common school education. At the age of twenty-one he returned to Thompson, Conn., where he worked on a farm and taught school until.1834, when he came to Michigan and settled in the township of Seneca, this County, taking up from the government the northwest quarter of section 30. He lived on this farm and cleared it up from a dense wilderness, building a good house, barns, etc., until 1866, when he moved into the village of Morenci, where he spent the remainder of his days. He was elected the first clerk of the .township, in 1836, and was again elected to the same position several years afterward. He was also elected the first school inspector and held the office for fifteen years.
Upon his arrival in the new country Mr. Wilson immediately commenced operations on his land by building the inevitable log cabin, but he had not yet got settled when Dennis Wakefield .came into the township, prospecting for land. The latter made his selection-a tract of 42o acres-on Bean creek, and he entered the same on June 14th, after which he returned to Connecticut, but again came to his new home with his family in the month of August.
Dennis Wakefield was born in Thompson, Windham County, Connecticut, in November, 1809. After receiving a common school education, and working out for about three years, he came- to Michigan, in 1834 and entered the land mentioned above, the original homestead being on section 2, town 9, Medina, this County. He afterward entered additional land until he owned over four hundred acres in Medina. He died in Morenci, June 1, 1886. He did his share in making all improvements and in helping to make a new country a pleasant abiding place.
On September 29, 1834, Alvah Holt entered his land in the township of Seneca and immediately commenced to build upon it. This gentleman was born in the town of Hollis, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, on March 17, 1803. He graduated in the old log school-house and in the shop of his father. For eleven years he cut stone in Onondaga, N. Y. He came to Seneca in 1834 and took up 16o acres of land, two and a half miles north of what is now Morenci. At Maumee he took an Indian trail, following it to Bean creek, bridging his way over logs and swales through the dense forests of Michigan. At nightfall he gathered the family around him and, taking the chart that guides the traveler through the wilderness of this life, he read and, kneeling on nature's wild, yet sacred soil, committed to God his earthly interests.
On May 21, 1834, Dexter Smith, George W. Moore, Nathaniel -Upton, and a Mr. Pierce started from Dean's tavern, Adrian, to locate land in the Bean Creek country. Their outfit consisted of an axe, a rifle, ten pounds of crackers and an Ohio ham. They traveled on foot and that day reached the house of Gershom Bennett, in the northwest corner of town 8 south, 2 east, now known as Seneca. The next day they viewed lands on sections 3 and 4 in town 8 south, and on sections 34 and 35 in town 7 south, i east.
The land suited them, and the following day they started on their return to Adrian by the Indian trail running from Defiance to Detroit. The trail crossed the Kidder road about three miles west of Adrian. Here they fell in with a man named Corey, who was also traveling Adrianwards. They learned from his talk that he intended to locate 160 acres of the land their party had selected. A consultation was held in Dean's barn that night, and Moore and Smith were detailed to go on to Monroe in haste and locate the land before. Corey could reach there. It was raining, but they at once set out and reached Blissfield, eleven miles distant, at i o'clock a. m. Here they laid themselves down on the bar-room floor and rested until daylight, then pursued their journey, reached Monroe that afternoon and entered their land. Corey arrived the next morning. Smith and Upton returned at once to commence the new settlement. They arrived at the creek on May 28. They built a log cabin-or three sides of it were logs, the other being open-and before it they built their fire. The roof was of elm bark. The bedstead was a fixture of the house. When the house was laid up, notches were cut' in the logs, at the proper height and poles laid in; the outer corners were supported by stakes or posts made of a section of young trees. Beech withes were woven across in place of cords, and on these, elm bark was laid. It was called a Michigan bedstead, and was probably the first spring bed on record. In this cabin Smith and Upton lived during the summer, but in the fall they built themselves a comfortable log house, in which they kept bachelors' hall until the winter of 1836. The cabin and house occupied by these men were in the township now called Medina, but as Smith's land was situated in the township now called Hudson, Nathaniel W. Upton has been considered the first settler in Medina.
On April 8, 1834, Cook Hotchkiss and John Knapp purchased the northeast quarter and the east half of the southeast quarter of section 2. They brought their families to Adrian on June 2. On June 3d William Walworth purchased the northeast quarter of the southwest quarter of section i, and on June 6, John R. Foster purchased the northeast quarter of section 6. Knapp, Walworth and Foster each built houses and settled their families during the month of June, but Foster's family preceded the others a few days, and Mrs. Foster was therefore the first white woman resident of that township. Mr. Foster's house was built near the northeast corner of his farm, and was built after the model of the early log houses, only this had no chamber. The floor was of split
and hewed basswood, the roof of bark, two small windows, and a stick and mud chimney. John Knapp built a somewhat better house-in fact, it smacked a little of aristocracy. It Was 20X26 feet, one and a half stories high, the floors were of split and hewn basswood, and the roof was covered with shakes. Shakes were rived out of oak timber; they were about thirty inches long, all the way of a thickness, and as wide as could be made out of the quarter of an oak log. The shakes, therefore, varied in width according as they were split out of a large or small tree, or was the first or last riven out of the bolt. The shakes were laid on poles flattened to the rafters and held in place by other poles, the poles, underneath and top, being fastened together with hickory or blue beech withes. But, notwithstanding these aristocratic notions, Mr. Knapp was compelled to have a stick and mud chimney, because there were neither brick nor stone to be had. The land bought by William W. Walworth was that on which the Canandaigua mills afterward stood, and fie built a house a little northwest of where the old saw mill was afterward built.
Deacon Cook Hotchkiss way born in Cheshire, Conn., September 14, 1797, and went to Delaware County, New York, with his parents before he was twenty years old. He experienced religion in Homer, N. Y., when he was twenty, and subsequently united with the Baptist church in Medina, N. Y., where he served in the office of deacon. He was a blacksmith by trade, and carried on a shop in the village of Medina for several years, until the spring of 1834, when he came to Michigan in company with John Knapp. They traveled the entire distance on foot, in the month of March, and located together 32o acres of land on section 2, in Medina Township, where the village of Medina now stands. After locating their land they immediately returned to New York, traveling on foot as far as Buffalo. About May I they again started for Michigan, with their families and all their effects, coming by their own teams and arriving in Adrian on June 2d. Mr. Hotchkiss remained in Adrian, working for Gabriel Todd until January 1, 1835, when he moved on his land in Medina, the purchase which he and Mr. Knapp made these having then been equally divided. Mr. Hotchkiss at once put up a blacksmith shop, making a frame of poles, which he covered with shakes, it being the first shop in the township. The village was subsequently platted upon the land of Hotchkiss and Knapp, principally upon that belonging to Knapp, and was named by them. During Mr. Hotchkiss' residence in Adrian he united with the Baptist church and was one of the organizers of the Baptist church at Medina village in 1836, serving as a deacon until his death. He was the first justice of the peace in Medina. He was well known by every early settler of the Bean Creek Valley, his house being a meeting-house, almshouse, and resting place for all, and no man was ever more sincerely mourned by an entire community than was he at the time of his death, August 28, 1839, after an illness of only one week.
John Knapp was born in Mamaroneck, Westchester County, New York, August 22, 1785. He was reared a farmer and first began his independent career in Onondaga County,-but finally went to Ridgeway, in Orleans County, and purchased a farm. He resided there until May, 1834, when he came to Michigan, bringing his family of a wife and three children, and all his possessions with his own horse team, and he finally settled on the west half of the northeast quarter of section 2, in Medina, this County. As has previously been stated, he came in company with Cook Hotchkiss, his brother-in-law, and together they took up the northeast quarter of section 2. Mr. Knapp cleared up his farm and lived there until 1841, when he sold out to the Medina Milling Company and removed to Fairfield, purchasing 20o acres on sections 18 and 2o, where the village of Weston now stands. He resided there until 1870, when he became feeble in health and went to Adrian to reside with his son, John I. Knapp, and there he died January 17, 1874.
The present township of Palmyra began to be settled along the river as early as 1826. The first saw-mill in Palmyra was built in 1834; and a large flouring mill, with four run of stones, was built in'1836-37, costing about $60,000 and mostly furnished by Toledo capitalists. It was burned in 1870 and never rebuilt. In the south and southwest part of the County, the first land entered in Fairfield was in 183o, and the first house was built in 1831. The settlements in Seneca and Medina have already been mentioned. In the southeast part of the County the town of Ogden began to be actively settled in 1836, though some scattering settlements were made several years earlier. There were some settlers moving into the, south part of Riga in 1836, but the north part was but little settled until Roswell W. Knight and others moved into it in 1839.
Roswell W. Knight was born in Canaan, Conn., April 11, 1792. He lived on a farm with his parents until he was about eighteen years old, at which time he went to Hornellsville, N. Y., where he worked in a store until 1812, and' then enlisted as a drummer boy and served through the second war with Great Britain. At the close of the war he returned to Hornellsville and established himself in the mercantile business, conducted a grocery and provision store, carried on a saw-mill, and did an extensive shipping business for many years. In 1837 he came to Michigan and settled in Blissfield. Shortly afterward he took up forty acres of land on section 4 in Riga, on the north side of the Cottonwood swamp, on the old Stateroad, between Toledo and Adrian. He built a log house, the first building erected in that part of the township (this was in 1839) and kept a hotel for several years. During this time he took the contract of rebuilding the Erie Kalamazoo railroad between Sylvania and "Crane's Curve," west of the village of Palmyra. In 1853 he founded Knight's Station (now Riga) and Wood Station, three miles east. At Knight's Station he erected the first house and established the first store, making his son, A. J. Knight, a partner. At Wood Station he built side-tracks and erected large sheds, which he donated to the rail- . road company. He afterward furnished thousands of cords of wood to the company. He gave the ground for all the churches and school-houses in the village, and donated seven acres to Bradbury & Wilkinson for the purpose of erecting a saw-mill. He also gave seven acres of land to the railroad company for station purposes. At different times he owned 657 acres of cottonwood swamp land, and was the instigator of the "big ditch," which made the land tillable. He was the first justice of the peace and the first postmaster at Riga, and he resided there until his death, which occurred on March 12, 186o.
It will be seen by the foregoing pages that at the time the territorial days had ended and Michigan assumed the dignity of statehood, every portion of Lenawee County had been invaded and settlements were quite generally planted throughout the domain. Those who came first had the first choice in making their selections, but in due time there was intense rivalry. Often ludicrous situations were presented, and a certain tract of land would be the prize for the winner of an exciting race to Monroe, where the government land office was located. We will close this chapter by giving one of these incidents, a good story on Levi Goss and Orville Woodworth, early' settlers of Medina township. Our authority is John J. Hogaboam in his little volume entitled, "The Bean Creek Valley."
Messrs. Goss and Woodworth were strangers to each other, but came to Baker's settlement land-looking at the same time. Arnold H. Coomer was detailed to guide Goss, and Horace Garlick performed that service for Woodworth. They carried on their explorations separately, and pretty thoroughly scoured the country. Coomer and Goss, having finished, came in late one afternoon and found that Woodworth had preceded them. Mr. Goss was already somewhat advanced in age and was considerably fatigued. He had written the description of land selected on a slip of paper thus: "S. E. half sec. 3, T. 9 S., I E.," etc. and placed the slip in his hat, which on coming in he sat on the floor. Woodworth sat where he could see into the hat, and was observed to be earnestly looking in that direction. All at once Woodworth started up and inquired, "How far is it to Hagaman's?" "Five miles," was the reply. "Then," said Woodworth, addressing two fellow travelers, "we have time to reach there before dark; let's go." And immediately they started. Their sudden departure was a cause of wonderment to Mr. Baker, his household and guests. Goss sat demurely contemplating the movement, when his eyes resting on the slip of paper in his hat, he exclaimed "He has gone to enter my land." After a moment's further thought, he asked “Is there no way of reaching Adrian tonight? He will go no further than Hagaman's tonight, and if I can reach Adrian I may save my land yet." Baker told him there was no way, unless he could make some arrangement with Coomer. Said he, "I have two horses in the barn; maybe you can make arrangements with Comer to bring them back." The hint was acted on and without waiting for supper, the horses were mounted, and away went the adventurers toward Hagaman's, through thick woods, with nothing but a bridal path to follow. It was dark early in the forest, but Coomer had provided himself with a tin lantern and candle, which lighted, enabled them to pursue their journey with tolerable speed. When they reached Hagaman's it was -dark' in the clearing, but beyond the house were some log heaps burning. To prevent discovery the candle in the lantern was put out and the house passed as noiselessly as possible. At the most remote log heap the candle was relighted and the journey pursued. They now had a wagon track to follow and they traveled more expeditiously, and reached Jordan's somewhat past midnight. Mr. Jordan was aroused to get the travelers something to eat. It was here arranged that Coomer should go no farther, but that Jordan should take Goss on as soon as light appeared. Jordan was to remain up to insure an early start, but so great was Goss' anxiety he could not sleep, so the two were up the entire night. With the appearance of light they were off for Adrian, and from there to Blissfield.
It will no doubt occur to the reader that via Adrian was not the shortest route from Jordan's to Blissfield, but on the more direct route there was no road through the wilderness. At Blissfield, Goss hired a man to take him to Monroe in a wagon (the journey had so far been made on horseback), but it was stipulated that the driver was to let no man pass him, and away they went towards Monroe. Coomer, sharing none of Goss' anxiety, slept soundly at the house of Jordan until long after the departure of the others, but at last awakened, and breakfast procured, he set out on his' return to Baker's. A little way out he met Woodworth on foot, who recognized him and at once asked, "Where's the old man?" Boylike, Coomer desiring to worry him, sang out, "He's in Monroe by this time." Woodworth probably suspected that that could not be true, but Goss was ahead, and something must be done. He traveled on at as quick- a pace as possible until, somewhere eastward of Jordan's, he found a man plowing in his field. Woodworth walked up to the team and commenced unharnessing one of the horses. While unfastening the harness- he told his story, and as he sprang upon the horse's back, he said, "I have no intention of stealing this horse. If you want him, follow me." The other horse was stripped and mounted, and away the pair went over the road traveled by the other party in the gray of the morning. At Blissfield the horses were changed, and Woodworth and his new companion proceeded towards Monroe. Expecting to pass Goss on the road, Woodworth attempted a sort of disguise by changing hats and coats with his companion. Toward evening, as Goss and his driver were jogging along near the end of their journey, two men appeared riding along in the distance. One of the men appeared to he better mounted than the other, as he neared the wagon much more rapidly. "Are you afraid of that man?" said the driver. "No," said Goss, "he lives hereabouts, I think," and the man rode by. Woodworth, for it was he, rode rapidly forward, while his companion jogged leisurely along, some way behind the wagon, seemingly in no hurry. Riding up to the door of the land office, and thrusting his hand into his pocket, Woodworth called out, "I want to enter -" but alas! his memorandum was in the pocket of his own coat on the other man's back. Giving rein and whip to his, horse he dashed away, met and passed the wagon, rushed up to his companion secured his paper, and turned again towards the land office. The driver of the team, seeing the same man coming again, apparently very anxious to pass, said, "There is some deviltry there," and put whip to his horses. Woodworth passed, however, and as he passed, Goss recognized him. Away they went towards the land office, where they arrived almost at the same instant. "I want to enter -" said Woodworth. "I want to enter -" cried Goss, at the same time jumping, but his foot caught on the wheel and he fell heavily to the ground, knocking the breath from his body. When Goss recovered consciousness, Woodworth had entered his land and was quietly chewing his quid, chuckling, over the success of his scheme.
Goss cared little for his bodily injuries, but mourned pitifully over the loss of his land. The receiver tried to comfort him by suggesting that perhaps some other land in the immediate neighborhood would answer as well. "Let me see your description," said Miller. The paper was produced, when lo! It appeared that Goss' land was not the Woodworth land at all. Woodworth had selected and entered-the southwest quarter of section 3, and Goss had selected and now was but too glad to enter the southeast quarter of the same section. And thus it cone about that after an exciting race, each man had secured his own land and neither man had any intention of getting the other's land. Looking with suspicious eyes at the slip in Goss' hat, Woodworth had confused the southeast with the southwest, and hence the race. The two men settled on their land, where they lived and died, respecting each other, and each enjoying the respect and esteem of their neighbors.