"Our Journey In Time" was written for Morenci's U.S. Bicentennial celebration in 1976. The book is now out of print, but the text is presented in four parts within this tab. The local history ought to be updated to reflect changes since 1976. Historic photos of Morenci can be found here on the City of Morenci website.
Histories of Fayette, Chesterfield Township and Gorham Township are also included.
Morenci History I
In 1833 a small settlement was established in the wilderness along Bean Creek. It seemed an ideal location as the virgin forest was an excellent source of timber for log houses, and the creek furnished water power for grist mills.
The name given to this settlement was Brighton. However, it was discovered that another community of pioneers to the north in the territory had prior claim to the name. There has been some controversy as to how the name “Morenci” was selected. Some say it was an Indian name but others believe that it was taken from the name “Mount Morency” and the ‘y’ changed to ‘i.’ The two men most responsible for the name were Simon D. Wilson and Jeptha Whitman.
Morenci was not a fast growing community in the early years, due in part to the fact that the clearing of land was a slow process. Indians were often used to help peel bark for the roofs of the cabins. Many settlers suffered through the early years from hunger, cold, snakes and wild animals from the forest.
About the same time, two other settlements were flourishing north of Morenci. A lumber mill was in operation in Medina in 1836. Both Medina and Canandaigua had established churches and schools.
Morenci became an incorporated village in 1871 with Joseph Hagerman as its first village president. It remained under the status of a village until 1934 when a city charter of home rule was adopted and it became a city. Dr. James A. Blanchard was the first city mayor.
The first post office was established in 1838. The first hotel was called the “Morenci House.” The first furniture store and undertaking parlor was started in 1851 by Silas A. Scofield, who was an inventor. The first child born was Mariette Beckwith, who later became the mother of Mr. E.D. Stair.
E.D. Stair was generous to his home town and gave money to help build the Stair Auditorium, Stair Gymnasium, Stair Public Library and at various times donated money for other causes.
In 1872 a railroad began its route through Morenci (“Old Dolly”) giving freight and passenger service to the community. A new school building was erected as well as several new churches to replace old structures.
Horses, buggies and wagons lined the streets of Morenci in the early and late 1800’s. Farmers came to town to bring their grain to the grist mill and women came to purchase the necessary items needed from the various stores and emporiums. Everything from spices and clothes to all sorts of household items were available.
At one time there were 72 business places and three schools to serve the community. There were also many doctors, lawyers and other professional men. An early newspaper, one of the first published, was called “The New Era.” The newspaper contained advertisements of lawyers, doctors, hotels, jewelry and millinery shops and a stage line. One stage line ran between Morenci and Clayton and the round trip fare was 75 cents. In 1885 another stage line traveled from Wauseon, Ohio to Hudson, Michigan passing through Morenci and this was also 75 cents.
Entertainment of the time consisted of church socials, traveling shows, local fairs, and horse racing.
In January 1908 the Stair Auditorium was opened with a stage play called The Fatal Flower. This building served for many years as the center of all entertainment. Until the new high school was built, all graduation exercises, school plays and other school events were held there. In the early 1960s it was not being used and was in a state of disrepair. The city was no longer able to keep up the building, and like many other beautiful old structures it was torn down to make way for progress.
Another building that stood as a landmark was the Mausoleum at Oak Grove Cemetery. It was built by a company of men who had permission from the village to erect the structure and to sell compartments. In the early 1950s it too was in need of repair, and like the auditorium, fell to the hands of a demolition crew.
In the early days it was necessary to have a good fire department since nearly all buildings were constructed of wood. The fire department was the most important group within the village and consisted of a Hook and Ladder Company No.1 and a Fire and Bucket Brigade. In 1880 there were about 75 members who served as volunteer firemen. The first motorized fire engine was purchased in 1914, the second in 1924 and the third in 1934. This last one is still in the possession of the present fire department. Many pieces of modern equipment are now in use and the volunteer fire department today is still one of the most valuable organizations in our community.
In 1891 an ordinance was adopted by the village to prohibit gaming within the village and Oak Grove Cemetery. The same year a poll tax was instituted at the rate of $1.00 per person. Many early ordinances were adopted pertaining to the building of plank sidewalks and the construction of wells in various parts of town.
It was not uncommon in the late 1880s for a person to run for office on two or three tickets. In 1884 there were 281 votes cast at an annual election. In 1886 a grand opening was held for a new building on West Main Street which housed the village offices, the jail with several cells and the fire department. The total cost of the building was $3,481. At this time a bell was purchased to hang in one of the towers for use by the fire department, but was found to be unsatisfactory since it could not be heard by everyone. It was returned for another one. The cost of the bell was $127.43 and the cost of hanging it was $4.18.
Through the years many organizations have influenced the life of Morenci and its residents. There have been fraternal and civic groups which flourished for many years, some of them disbanding when interest waned. Two of the oldest organizations still active are the Masonic Lodge and the Order of the Eastern Star.
Cultural clubs were organized and through the efforts of the Morenci Monday Club our public library came into existence in 1930. Through generosity of Mr. E.D. Stair the former office of Dr. C.H. Westgate was purchased. In 1961 this building was remodeled and a two level addition was added to increase the size of the library.
Many veteran organizations such as the GAR, American Legion Posts and Auxiliaries and Veterans of Foreign Wars and their Auxiliary have been faithful to the community in their patriotic efforts.
The years have passed and brought many changes to our community. Now we find it difficult to imagine the small settlement of log cabins surrounded by virgin forests. Our hardy pioneer ancestors made many sacrifices to settle in a wilderness far from families and friends. However, they made for themselves and for us, a pleasant place to live along the banks of Bean Creek.
The initial early settlement which grew to be the present city of Morenci was and remains geographically bounded on the northwest and northeast by Lenawee County Michigan townships of Medina and Seneca respectively. On the southeast and southwest our neighbors are Chesterfield and Gorham Townships of Fulton County, Ohio. This segment of our heritage review concerns this area and all its generations of residents.
From our earliest beginnings we were primarily an agricultural people. Many pioneers who had chosen an agricultural life were convinced they could find what they wanted here. It is recorded that some settlers came into the area experienced in different trades but eventually the majority turned to farming. Through the long years which included hard work, adversity and sacrifice our agricultural lands were developed and became highly productive.
Before 1845 a family in a log cabin at the edge of a forest had a “slashing” where they hoped to have a crop of corn, wheat, barley, vegetables, sorghum and flax to be used for their own needs. The farm tools at that time consisted of an axe, froe, one horse plow, a spiked tooth wooden drag and a flail. With honey and meat from the forest animals our pioneers were able to stay alive. During this early period nothing was sold and very little was traded.
Following 1845 through the Civil War years, agriculture included clearing the land for the plow, planting fruit trees and building dams to power flour and saw mills. Lumber was needed to build better homes and farm buildings. During this period small settlements and villages sprung into existence.
Progress in agricultural mechanization was rapid and wide-spread between 1865 and 1900. The one bottom plow gave way to the steel gang plow, the reaper replaced the scythe and cradle and the cultivator took over for the hoe. The corn planter, hay press and twine grain binder had all been invented by 1876. The common denominator among these machines was that they were powered by animals. Horses and mules became the standard draft animals. Before the turn of the century horses did yield some work to mechanical power as a result of the portable steam engine. Agriculture now started to become profitable.
As the villages and towns grew in size there was a growing local market for milk. Practically every farm had a dairy herd, just as it had pigs, poultry and sheep. A great impetus to dairy farming came with the building of railroads and their branches which reached villages as well as big city markets. In the early days milk from the area went to market in the form of cheese and butter, products of the individual farms. Because the climate and soil conditions were suitable for dairy cattle Lenawee County had become the leading dairy county in Michigan at the turn of the century.
By 1902 cheese making factories were abundant. George B. Horton of Fruit Ridge had nine cheese factories including locations in Seneca and Canandaigua. S.S. Beatty had factories in Morenci and Lime Creek. Local creameries started to exist and eventually refrigeration allowed milk to be transported daily to the people in the cities. Our area townships helped their respective counties to become national leaders in the production of dairy products.
Probably no machine was more rapidly adopted by farmers than the horseless carriage. For all practical purposes, the automobile did not exist in 1900. By 1914 there were 343,000 autos and 15,000 trucks on American farms (compared to 17,000 tractors).
For farmers, the auto was more than a better way to move about, it was a work vehicle adaptable to all sorts of hauling and pulling tasks. It brought the markets closer to the farms and helped put an end to rural isolation, thus narrowing the differences between rural and urban life.
With the introduction of tractors and electric power, farming today has very little in common with it’s “yesteryears.” Today as we celebrate our 200th birthday as a nation we find the spinning wheel, the oxen, the single wooden plow, the churn and in general the pioneer home with it’s security, a fact of history.
Today in this area we find a small group engaged in the business of agriculture, They produce great amounts of grain with the aid of commercial fertilizers and powerful machines. Some wool, milk products, meat animals, poultry and eggs are still produced on our area farms. Agriculture that was once a “slashing” at the edge of the forest and a pioneer family that had little use for money, now consists of hundreds of acres of improved land, owned and operated by one farm family. It is now possible for one man to do the work of many and thus has changed our agriculture to the extent that we are no longer primarily and agricultural people.
“Historic preservation is, or should be, a part of every community’s development plan. Without a sense of place, without visual ties to the past, a people will become essentially rootless and fragmented.”
To make our people more aware of our agriculture heritage, what could be more appropriate than to print a 1976 listing of the officially designated Centennial farms in our area. Basically to be so designated, a farm must have been in continuous possession of the same family for 100 years or more. Each owner, after becoming certified and registered with its State authorities, receives a certificate embellished with the Great Seal of the State. Official plaques or markers are provided to Lenawee County farms by Consumers Power Company and in Fulton County through the County Extension Office. Take time to look for the display markers on our historic farms.
Lenawee County Michigan
Harold E. and Hazel Acker 1868
George Sawyer Burdick 1866
Edwin Haff Farm 1864
Ward C. Joughin 1859
Leslie and Lois Moore 1835
Clare Root 1849
T.R. and E. Doris Sims 1861
Richard G. Walter 1847
Roy H. Gould 1837
James A. and Kathryn B. Marlatt 1841
Robert and Sandra Packard 1853
Dale and Geraldine Pelham 1833
George H. Rorick 1853
John and Julia Rorick 1845
Harold and Minnie Wolf 1851
Fulton County Ohio
Mrs. Hale H. and Calvin Canfield 1860
Mrs. Eugene Carncross 1837
(Nee Mary M. Griffin and Lawrence Griffin)
Leroy Hochstetler 1874
Crandal and Faye Lester 1837
Floyd and Audrey Bates 1864
Walter P. and Mary Jane Bates 1864
Gail Buckley 1836
Burton A. and Adeline Deyo 1864
Roy and Ruth Marks 1860
LaRay and Ruth Stong 1858
Donald and Orvilla Stubbins 1843
Mabel H. Stutesman 1849
Charles and Betty Stutesman 1835
Morenci History II
In order to trace the beginning of the Churches of Morenci we must consider the history of the city. The first white man to settle in this district was Simon D. Wilson. He moved to what is now the John Zachel farm, 2-1/2 miles north of Morenci. In those days neighbors lived a considerable distance apart, the nearest being five miles to the north, fifteen miles to the south, and thirty miles to the west. No other white man lived within the three adjoining townships.
Mention is made of this early settler, Simon D. Wilson, because of his influence on the surrounding districts. When new settlers came, he directed them to Medina if they were Baptists, to Medina Center if they were Congregationalists or Presbyterians, to Gorham Township, Ohio if they professed no church alliance, and to Morenci if they were Methodist. Because of this rather mechanical division, the Methodists dominated from the beginning.
As was the history of many churches, the first Christian work was organized into a Sunday School, and the first Methodist class was born in 1836. Meetings were held in the old log school house in Simon Wilson’s grove, under the leadership of Alah Holt. Wilson was the first superintendent of the school and served for 31 years. The meetings were held every Sunday morning during the summer months and may have been called Union Services, for the people assembled together for the study of God’s word and for worship without church identity. Before regular preaching services were attempted, Alah Holt led in worship and read a printed sermon.
In 1846 the Sunday School was moved to what was known as the Carter school house, 1-1/4 miles north of Morenci. In 1850 the services were moved to the Round school house in Oak Grove on the corner of North and Converse Streets. Mr. Wheeler of Hudson occasionally walked all the way to Morenci to conduct a preaching service for the Union Sunday School. Such was the consecration of those days.
First Methodist Church
Named for the beautiful flowering bean trees along the banks of Bean Creek, the oldest church in Morenci was organized in 1836 with seven members and was known as the Bean Creek Mission.
The first meeting place was a rude school house made of logs, rolled up square and caulked with mud. The seats were plain, rough benches, made of slabs of wood with round sticks inserted in auger holes for legs. A huge fireplace did duty on one side of the room. This school stood two miles north of Morenci in Simon Wilson’s grove.
In 1847 a parsonage was purchased and used for the next ten years. It was located opposite the farm now owned by Russell Sutton. In 1865 the church owned a parsonage where the Congregational Church now stands.
During these years the old log school house had been replaced by a frame one on the same site in which the “meetings” were held until 1846. Then a round or octagon-shaped schoolhouse, 1-1/4 miles north of Morenci, became the preaching place. Later the old round schoolhouse in the village of Morenci, on Canandaigua Street, was used for a meeting place; it stood near the intersection of our North and Congress Streets.
In 1851 a 36’x50’ frame church was built at Main and Summit Streets, upon the ground deeded to the congregation by Franklin Cawley. A room half the size of the church was finished in the basement for Sunday School and was attended by all denominations, as it was the only Sunday School in the village for several years.
A bell was considered a necessity, and Josiah Osgood circulated a subscription in August 1853 to raise the money. He then went to Troy, N.Y., stationed himself a mile from the bell factory, listened to the sounds of the bells by number, and made his selection by the quality of their tone. The bill of sale for the bell, dated September 27, 1853, shows that it weighed 960 lbs. and cost 30 cents per pound. The yoke cost $18, for a total cost of $306. It was warranted not to break for one year, and to suit in tone and finish; if not, the Jones & Hitchcock Foundry agreed to recast it without charge. The bell was floated down the Erie Canal from Troy to Buffalo, New York. From there it went to Toledo on a lake boat, and Mr. Osgood brought it to Morenci with his ox team over the plank road (now U.S. 120). People were so excited upon delivery of the bell that Mr. Osgood guessed they would have rung it all night if he had not managed to get it inside the church and locked up. The bell was rehung in the tower of the present church when it was built in 1914.
The church was expanded toward the north sometime between 1866 and 1868. The “Amen” corners were torn out and a high pulpit replaced by a platform and stand. In February 1881 the church was damaged by fire. The damaged, assessed at $466, was fully covered by insurance and the church was put into good condition throughout.
The Ladies Aid Society, now the Woman’s Society of Christian Service, has been an important factor since 1874 in finances, raising hundreds of dollars for repairs and furnishings on the church property and towards liquidating debt.
About the turn of the century a new parsonage was built on Main Street just east of the church, a fairly large two-story house.
The Rev. H.G. Pearce came to Morenci in 1910, an enthusiastic and earnest worker, and during his pastorate the Methodists realized a long time dream—a new church. In October 1913 the Official Board authorized architects to draw up plans for a new church at a cost of about $17,000. Twelve men offered to build a Tabernacle for worship while the new church was being built. This temporary place of worship was located on Locust Street, about a half block east of North Main Street. The white frame church was razed and a fine brick church erected on the site. The cornerstone of the new church was laid in the summer of 1914 and the dedication services held March 21-28, 1915.
Minor changes and improvements have been made since, but the building remains basically unchanged. In the interest of safety and to preserve the outer walls, the parapet was removed; a fine oak floor was laid in the Sanctuary and the rotunda; and in the spring of 1970 the Summit Street entry was remodeled to enclose the outside steps.
First Congregational Church
The Congregational Church of Medina Township was organized in 1837, and its minister, Rev. George Varnum, came to the home of Mrs. Mary Norton March 1, 1858 to help organize a Congregational Church in Morenci. A committee was appointed for this purpose; an Ecclesiastical Council was formed with ministers and delegates from Hudson, Medina, Clinton, Wheatland, and Adams; the First Congregational Church of Morenci was officially organized March 17, 1858 with 24 members.
A year later, in 1859, a separate organization, the Congregational Society, was formed with a full slate of officers to look after “and direct the pecuniary affairs of the Church,” while the original organization, the Congregational Church, was to aid “in the dispensation of the gospel among the people, and to take charge of temporal concerns.”
Worship services were held in various places available to them; however, in July 1868, the Trustees resolved to raise $300 by subscription to make a down payment to the Methodists for their parsonage located at Locust and Summit Streets for a building site. The next month a committee was chosen “to draft and present a subscription paper for the erection of a church.” In 1871 the Congregational Society resolved to build a church 40x60 feet, to be of brick. The church was finished and dedicated in 1872.
A horse shed was built on the west side of the church for the protection of the horses and carriages from the cold in winter and the heat in summer. This was later torn down and the site used for the parsonage.
According to the records of 1877, the minister was receiving a salary of $500 per year plus a donation, the janitor was hired for $20 a year, and the ladies of the church were a committee to keep the lamps trimmed and cleaned.
Early in 1894 the two organizations of the church decided to merge, to have one set of officers, and the be known as The First Congregational Church Society. At this time a new constitution and manual were adopted.
In 1897-1898 an addition to the north was added to the church. The years that followed were lean ones, and members worked hard to meet expenses. In 1905 the bell tower had to be rebuilt at a cost of $220; however, there never was a bell in the tower since it was not constructed properly.
On Easter Sunday of 1906 the memorial window dedicated to Elias B. Rorick was unveiled with proper ceremony. Later in the decade other memorial stained glass windows were added. In 1923 the church underwent a complete remodeling program. The interior of the auditorium was reversed, placing the front of the sanctuary to the south. The balcony was built and an entrance made to the east.
October 10, 1916 the Church body adopted the constitution and manual as recommended at that time for Congregational Churches in Michigan. This constitution was used until January, 1954 when a new one was adopted.
The present parsonage was built in 1913. The first pipe organ was dedicated June 9, 1924 with Hazel Crabbs at the console. In 1955 the pipe organ was replaced with a Hammond electric organ, gift of Dr. and Mrs. James A. Blanchard, and in 1957 Memorial Chimes were presented to the church by Dr. and Mrs. Blanchard.
On January 1, 1954 Charles R. Kellogg retired as Treasurer of the church, an office he had faithfully served for forty years. A new Bible of the Revised Standard Version was presented to the church by Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Kellogg at that time completing a modernization program of the altar and front part of the church.
The stately structure, originally dedicated in 1872, has undergone numerous additions and changes, inside and out, each time adding to its charm and beauty as a House of Worship.
First Baptist Church
The First Baptist Church was organized October 19, 1853 with fifteen charter members, eight men and seven women. These people continued in fellowship with the Union Sunday School but met separately for worship. One of the charter members, John B. Kemp, was set apart to be the Lord’s servant and to minister to them; he was first licensed to preach in 1854 and was later ordained here in 1857. Brother Kemp was the first resident pastor, the first of any church in Morenci.
There apparently was an arrangement whereby the Baptists held services in the Methodist Meeting House, as minutes of 1860 noted “are still occupying the Methodist Meeting House, but taking measures to build a house of worship.” A site for the church was obtained on the corner of Summit and Locust Streets, the deed signed by Mr. and Mrs. Hagaman for a consideration of $225, and in 1862 the minutes recorded “building a house of worship, which is nearly completed, where we hope to enjoy the presence and blessing of God.” Tradition tells us that in the construction of the church the people gave of such things as they had; stone, gravel, brick, timber, etc., as well as strength and hours and labor.
At first loose chairs were used until old-fashioned straight pews were installed. Short pews were attached to east and west walls with long pews in the center, allowing two aisles leading down to the front. The lights were kerosene lamps with reflectors in back of the light attached to window frames. Two large iron chandeliers were suspended from the ceiling in the center of the room. Later Mrs. Hagaman presented a hanging lamp which was hung over the large heavy pulpit. The platform extended across the entire north end of the auditorium. Behind the pulpit stood an old-fashioned horse-hair sofa. In the south end of the room were two small square entries and between them was built a platform about three feet high intended for a choir loft, but used mostly for primary Sunday School classes. The church was heated by two big coal stoves located in front of the south windows, the pipes running across the room into the chimney at the north end. The windows, three on each side were of many small panes and had dark green blinds on the outside.
The first Missionary Circle of the church was organized in 1874 with Mrs. Miner as its president. The first year $22.26 was given to missions, and the following year $25 to home and $10 to foreign missions.
In 1881 $200 was spent in repairing and beautifying the church. In 1883 Mrs. H.C. Maybin and Mrs. Susan Hagaman purchased the house and lot east of the church and presented it as a parsonage providing the church would either repair it or construct a new house.
In November 1883 it was voted to dissolve the organization of the First Baptist Church and to incorporate it anew under the act of Legislature of the State of Michigan which had been approved May 29, 1879.
The church was remodeled during 1888 at a cost of over $1,500 which included installation of new pews, a furnace, converting small entries to one front entry, and a gallery across the south end using old pews. A large chandelier with canopy top and ten rows of prisms was installed; years later it fell and was replaced with electric lights. New windows of ground glass were installed.
Rev. and Mrs. Vincent L. Garrett were called to Morenci in 1888. They were greatly loved by all and “deserved the title of father and mother Israel for their tender shepherding.” Their daughter, Lena, organized a flourishing young peoples’ society called Christian Endeavor, later changed to Loyalists, then to BYPU. The first reports of an active young peoples’ organization is found in the minutes of 1892. W.J. Bauman was the president, and there were 13 active members and 30 associates.
The year 1884 was an extremely active one for the church with many accomplishments. A new bell was purchased and installed. This first rang for worship services on December 23, 1894. Church sheds were built on the north of the church lots. A new Baptistery was installed. Pulpit furniture and chairs were purchased by Rev. Garrett and Deacon L.T. Porter.
In 1915 the church was remodeled at an expense of approximately $4,000. This work included the excavation of the basement, the installation of a furnace, and the building of two-stories of classrooms.
In 1919 the change in civilization necessitated the removal of the sheds and the old barn. The horse and buggy days were gone; the automobile had come to stay. The B.Y.P.U., previously disbanded, was reorganized. An orchestra started, and the Junior Department of the Sunday School met for separate worship and bible study periods. During the summer of 1922 improvements of modernization were made in the church and parsonage at a cost of about $1,000. Part of this expense was raised from a legacy given by Tillie Swan. In 1944 the church basement was enlarged to provide classrooms, dining room and kitchen.
A beautiful Hammond organ was presented to the church by Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Porter as a memorial to her parents, Addie and Will Goodyear. An organ dedication service was held Sunday afternoon January 27, 1946, with Professor Eric Franker of Moody Bible as guest organist.
The site for a new parsonage and church was chosen at the west edge of Morenci and the land was purchased in 1960. The present parsonage was built in 1962. Construction for the new church began in the fall of 1969.
History of the Baptist Church proves much has been accomplished through the efforts of faithful members who have found no mention in this history. There is no doubt that from the very beginning the Ladies’ Aid Society by its untiring efforts to promote the interest of the church were the means of making the high ideals of the church a reality.
Church of the Nazarene
In 1925 a group of people started meeting together regularly in a home at 117 West Walnut Street, Morenci, to worship the Lord. Before long this group of believers realized they were in full agreement of the doctrines and standards of the Church of the Nazarene. Rev. U.B. Arnold met with the group and organized the Morenci Church of the Nazarene in 1926 with 29 charter members.
Rev. Harvey Schoonover and Rev. William McKown led the church as co-pastors from 1925 to 1930. Rev. Schoonover attended God’s Bible School in 1931. Rev. Carmen Scott pastored the church during that year, Rev. Schoonover returned as pastor in 1932.
The fine leadership of these pastors led the people to build a church for worship. They purchased a former Free Methodist Church from west of Waldron, tore it down in sections and reassembled it on the corner of Railroad, now Maple Drive, and Chestnut Streets. The building was dedicated in the year 1930. In 1944 a house at 121 East LaGrange Street was purchased for a parsonage.
The prayers, vision, and work of the pastor, Rev. Harvey Schoonover, and the people brought forth growth that led to a need for a larger building. The present sanctuary at Baldwin and North Summit Streets was built to meet this need in 1952 and was dedicated January 4, 1953. Most of the construction was done by members and friends of the church.
Rev. Schoonover concluded his ministry in the fall of 1963 after 37 years as pastor. He continues his ministry in the community.
Rev. Verian Traver became pastor of the church September 22, 1963.
Property adjoining the church property, corner of North Summit and Coomer Streets, was purchased in 1967, the house providing additional Sunday School classrooms.
The vision of the congregation led the church into a new venture—the building of an 8000 sq. ft. educational unit, and the building of a four bedroom parsonage. Ground for the parsonage was purchased in 1969 at 403 East Coomer Street, construction completed in June, 1970. The educational unit was occupied in February, 1971.
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church
The first Lutheran service in Morenci was held on Sunday, April 28, 1946 in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 126 Stephenson Street. The services were conducted by numerous ministers on a part-time basis until Theodore Thurow came in 1947 as the first resident pastor.
The second resident pastor was Rev. A.W. Hueschen, installed on Sunday, May 14, 1949. He served the congregation until ill health forced his retirement February 26, 1964. During his pastorate the congregation was organized May 15, 1950, as a mission congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. “Trinity” was chosen as the congregation’s name.
In 1950 Trinity Congregation was granted a Church Extension Fund Loan of $9,500 to purchase a home to be used as a parsonage at 140 Stephenson Street. During the summer of 1965 a new parsonage was built at 805 West Chestnut Street.
On June 12, 1966 a corner-stone service was held as a start for a church building, and on November 27, 1966 the nearly completed chapel was dedicate to the service of God.
The need for additional space for Sunday School and Vacation Bible School in the early seventies led to the building of the Christian Education wing. Curtis Keefer, a local building contractor, provided much help and direction of the volunteer congregational workers in the project. This new addition was dedicated Aug. 15, 1973.
Seventh Day Adventist Church
Founded on the bible doctrine of the seventh day Sabbath and the second coming of Christ, the Seventh Day Adventists, as a result of a Tent Meeting, organized in Morenci in 1932.
The lot for the building site was donated by Arthur E. Foote. Under the leadership of Leonard Lee, the pastor, the church was built with nearly all volunteer labor. Herman Snyder brought his team of horses to excavate the basement. Mr. Lee’s father-in-law, Mr. Rickenbaugh, was the bricklayer, working for $2 per day.
In 1946 the church facilities were rented to the Lutherans for their services and meetings and used by them until their own church was built in 1966.
As the membership moved to other areas and attendance diminished, the church was closed in the early sixties. On July 17, 1970 the property was sold to Virgil Valentine and was soon converted into an attractive apartment house.
Where our city now stands was, in 1830, a wilderness. Prior to the first town meeting held at Jacob Baker’s in May, 1836 the question arose, “Where and how shall we educate the young Morenciites?” This question was answered by building the first schoolhouse in the village in the Spring of 1835 on the West Main Street site now occupied by Meyer’s Warehouse. It was of logs, about 18 feet by 24 feet, with eaves 10 feet from the ground. An ample fireplace provided heat, and the furniture was of wood slabs.
Morenci continued to prosper. The log school was considered unfit for use and was abandoned for a new eight-square or octagon shaped schoolhouse. This frame building, usually called the “round” school, was erected about 1846 on the southwest corner of North and West Congress Streets. It is said that the seats in the school were built around the sides and the teacher’s desk was in the center of the room.
The “round” schoolhouse was succeeded in 1856 by the two-story brick schoolhouse later called the “old brick.” The building was erected by Ezra Gillis on the site of the former Union Street Elementary school. The first floor was used for the lower grades and the second floor for advanced pupils. On the same lot to the west of the old brick stood a frame building known as the “little white schoolhouse.” This was erected sometime in the late 1860’s.
Morenci became an incorporated village in 1871. The question again arose concerning the education of Morenci youth. The old brick was deemed unsafe and a new building was planned. In 1872 the “old” high school was built on the Commons on North Summit Street. It was erected by James H. Turner assisted by his two sons, Isaac and Calvin, and his neighbor Albert Deyo. It was a three story brick building, 66 feet high, surmounted by a cupola copied from one on a Sylvania schoolhouse. The cost was approximately $12,000. The heating system consisted of stoves.
In 1882 the third story of this old high school was rented to a Professor Tate for use as a boarding school. The classes were held at the school and the students roomed in the old Boarding House on Mill Street. Most of these students were from out of town.
The wreckage of the old brick on Union street was removed n 1900 and in 1902 a new one-room brick elementary school was erected on the site., An addition to the building was made in 1929, The Page Street Elementary school building was opened in 1957.
In 1907 the old high school building of 1872 was torn down and the current high school building was erected on the same site. Edwyn A. Bowd was the architect and George A. Crawford was the contractor. There have been many changes and additions to this building: in 1929 the United Brethren Church was moved and used for grade classrooms until the Congress St. rooms were built in 1951; Stair Gymnasium was opened in 1942; classrooms to the north side were opened in 1957. Thus we come to the present.
Morenci area school history closely follows the clearing of land, erecting of shelter and construction of mills or other business housing. Since most of our settlers emigrated from the east many of them were aware of the advantage of being able to read, write and cipher. Agricultural work came first and required boys and men for nine months of the year. The other three months could be spared for learning. In fact, the government set aside Section 16 in every township for school location. Records state that in the 1830’s wilderness schools were already in Seneca and Medina Township, Mich. and in Royalton and Chesterfield Township, Ohio.
These crude log structures were heated by a fireplace at one end, into which older boys rolled logs. Desks were split logs, flat side up, pegged into outside walls, the seats of like construction and backless. The center of the room was the realm of the teacher, who reigned like a monarch with his beech rod. The curriculum consisted of the three Rs.
The first school in Seneca Township was built in 1835 in a grove just north of the Charles B. Wilson home (now John Zachel’s on M-156). By 1907-08 there were 290 pupils enrolled in nine districts, excluding the graded district of Morenci, an average of 32.2 pupils per room. During that year $3,218.25 was paid to nine teachers, and average of $357.63 per district. District two had the largest enrollment at 44 and district four had the smallest at 12. Aggregate value of district school property, exclusive of Morenci, was estimated at $7,000.
Sugartown School on Yankee Road, district 9, where Mrs. Arthur Brewer once taught, still stands. Rorick School on Packard Road was demolished in July, 1975.
Chesterfield Township’s first school was built in 1838 on section 16, northeast corner, a short distance south of Hawley Cemetery on Road 16. Another early school was near the present East Chesterfield Church. Today the Chesterfield Schools bear the name Evergreen. This system combines Metamora, Fulton, Lyons and Chesterfield schools and is located on Road 6 off Route 20.
The first school in Royalton Township was located south of Lyons (Morey’s Corners in the 1830’s) about one mile. On the same spot (or nearby) a frame school, the “Little Red Schoolhouse” was built, which most children attended until 1850. When this was abandoned, a school was built east of Seward. A man of reputation, James F. Burroughs, taught for 59 winter terms in Fulton and Lucas Counties. He farmed nine months of the year, teaching during the other three.
The first school in Medina Township was in Canandaigua. Mrs. Increase Hamilton taught the first term in 1836.
In 1845 a school was opened in the center of the township in the home of Rev. and Mrs. J.M. Barrows, who later founded an academy in Medina. Rev. Barrows was later professor of science at Olivet College and of his four children (all became prominent men), John H. became president of Oberlin College. The simple log home of Rev. and Mrs. Barrows provided a corner, a little more than 12x15 feet, where fifteen students were taught grammar, geography, arithmetic, and algebra. Rev. Barrows also lectured in chemistry, using improvised apparatus.
The fee for each student was $3 for the 12-week term. Two of the young boy students made $50 the next winter from teaching in Ohio.
As a result of the success of the Barrows school, some of the students originated a plan which resulted in the Medina Union Seminary. A 30x50 foot building, financed by issuing shares for $5 each, was finally constructed and opened in June, 1853. The school gradually attained prominence in the area counties of both Michigan and Ohio, Boarding privileges were provided by Medina residents. One of those homes is that o Charles Schaffner today. A small boarding house was built.
The curriculum included Greek, Latin, advanced English, history, philosophy, botany, chemistry, and physiology. Also called Medina Oak Grove Academy, the school, no longer needed, became the home of the Medina Grange. Today it is being converted into a private residence, but the old grove still provides memories.
One more school of importance in the late 19th century was located in Fayette, Ohio in Gorham Township. This was the Fayette Normal, Music and Business College, which was established in 1881. The imposing brick building was situated on an ample campus on W. Main Street. It housed departments of mathematics and pedagogics; English literature, rhetoric and history; natural sciences; German, French and ancient languages; commercial subjects; penmanship; anatomy; physiology; voice culture, harmony, composition, solo, organ and piano.
A fine faculty and the broad curriculum attracted young men and women from a large area. Room and board were supplied by Fayette residents and some students secured cooking privileges to save money. However popular the school, in 1888 the management transferred their interest to Wauseon. The Eclectic Institute established there did not survive.
Fayette succeeded in securing another school, the Fayette Normal University, which opened in 1888 in a new building on the north side of town. The former Normal building was demolished and the area where it once stood was taken over by the Toledo and Western Railroad.
The emergence of free high schools led to the closing of Fayette Normal in 1905 and the building served as Fayette High School for several years.
Centralization and consolidation of district schools in the 1950s led to the closing of one-room school buildings and the end of an era in educational history. Still to be seen along country roads are a few of the brick or frame relics which provided eight years of generally adequate preparation for high school. Some stand mute in their deterioration, others have been converted for other uses.
Usually situated on a large plot these schools had outdoor gymnasiums, outdoor lavatories and usually a wood house in earlier years. If no well was provided, older boys carried water from a nearby farm in a pail from which students shared a common cup or dipper. At completion of the eighth grade, those wishing to attend high school were required to pass a qualifying examination in Morenci or another town with a high school. Many anecdotes of one-room schools are related by students and teachers from this era.
Invention of the automobile eventually brought bus transportation to replace the trudge to and from school. Lunch programs replaced the tin lunch box and the bell rope has been replaced by electronic communication systems.
The first tavern owner in Morenci was William Sutton, who came to this area in 1835 with his wife Rebecca and their three children. In 1836 Sutton erected a double log house in Morenci where Stair Auditorium once stood. The tavern sign was made of half a barrel head nailed to a post.
In 1843 Mr. G. Rozin Joy came to this area from Connecticut and built the first hotel, known as Morenci House.
Mr. Orville Woodworth came to this part of the country in 1834 and was given a government grant of 160 acres of land. This grant was signed by Andrew Jackson. In 1848 he erected the Eagle House, which was a combination tavern and inn. A large medallion of an eagle was painted on the upright section of the building.
To the rear of the Eagle House building was a large Indian burial mound and a promise was made to the friendly Indians that this would not be disturbed. The location of Eagle House was three miles west of Morenci on the north side of the road. This property is now owned by Steve Struhar.
The road passing by the Eagle House from east to west was first an Indian trail from Lake Michigan to Maumee, Ohio. It was also known as Vistula Highway or Territorial Road and has been under the flags of three nations.
The road from north to south was the route from Bryan, Ohio to Adrian, Mich.—Adrian being the rail center where all supplies arrived. The journey from Bryan to Adrian took four days. The Eagle House, sometimes known as the Halfway House, was the lodging place on the trip for overnight travelers.
The Eagle House became a popular social center for a large surrounding area. Political meetings, Independence Day celebrations, turkey shoots, sleighing parties and dances were all held there. The dancing usually lasted until the early morning hours. The ballroom was then divided into cubicles by curtains on wires and beds were set up for the guests.
Horse racing was a popular pastime with the men who patronized the tavern. The race course was a half mile stretch of road in front of the tavern and the betting was lively.
In the tap room corn whiskey sold for two cents a drink and was the usual order, although hard cider was always available. Twenty-five cents furnished drinks for the house.
In the summer a man would be sent to Toledo, Ohio by horse and wagon for barrels of whiskey and a barrel of salt. It was said the barrels of salt usually outlasted the barrels of whiskey.
In later years the Eagle House became known as the Buckhorn Tavern since the walls of the building inside and out had been decorated with deer antlers.
The Eagle House also became a popular “Marrying Place,” as Michigan required no marriage license at that time. A bridal chamber was maintained for the newly married couples.
In 1847 Franklin Cawley, one of the early settlers of Morenci, built the Morenci Exchange Hotel. He moved the portion built by Mr. Joy to the rear of the hotel. In 1859 Mr. and Mrs. Abe Mace purchased the Exchange. Mr. Mace was a much respected gentleman and was popularly called Uncle Abe Mace. The other two owners of the hotel were Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Snow and Mr. and Mrs. Jabez Snow. The latter couple owned the hotel when it burned to the ground along with almost a block of Morenci’s business district.
Mr. and Mrs. Jabez Snow then moved to the brick building across the road and continued taking in roomers in what is now the Eagle Lodge.
The Hotel Temperance, or the Quiet Cottage Home as it was sometimes called, was built in 1850 by Thomas Baker. It stood where the Rexall Drug Store and Gillen Hardware are now. In 1862 part of this building was moved to South Summit Street and the other part to East Locust Street. The section moved to Locust Street continued to be used as a rooming house for a number of years.
Asa Kennedy built the Nurnett House, also called the Upper House, in 1851 on East Main Street. In November 1887 this structure caught fire and the story was told that the firemen, in their excitement to put out the fire, threw the crockery out the windows and carried the feather mattresses down the stairs. Joel Acker was the last owner of this hotel.
In 1889 Mr. and Mrs. C.S. Saulsbury erected a large brick hotel on the corner of Main and North Streets. On November 7, 1889, the first meal was served in the new hotel’s dining room.
The ownership of this hotel changed hands many times through the years. Perhaps the most familiar of the proprietors was Frank and Lottie Blair, who operated the hotel for nearly 40 years. The Sunday chicken dinners in the hotel dining room were very popular with patrons near and far. With the passing of the years and the changes that were taking place, the hotel soon found the rooms were empty most of the time. The once prosperous and elegant hotel was demolished in the summer of 1970.
An Ordinance—May 10, 1915
An ordinance to regulate billiard, pool and ball alley rooms within the Village of Morenci and to prescribe the hours for the opening and closing of the same read:
The Village of Morenci Ordains
Section 1. All billiard rooms, pool rooms, ball alleys and all places where billiards, pool or ball (bowling) are played for hire, gain or reward, within the Village of Morenci, shall be closed on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, and on each week day night from and after the hour of ten o’clock, until half past five o’clock of the morning of the succeeding day, except on Saturday night when such places shall be closed from and after eleven o’clock. It shall be the duty of the Marshall, and all other police officers of the said Village of Morenci to close all places that shall be found open in violation of the provisions of this section, and to forthwith make complaint against the person or persons who violated any of the provisions of this section. The word “closed” in this section shall be construed to apply to the back door or other entrance, as well as to the front door, and in prosecutions under this section it shall not be necessary to prove that any such games were played, but if such place is not closed, or if any person or persons excepting the proprietor or proprietors are within the same during the time such place is to be closed, it shall be deemed a violation of this section.
Section 2. During all times, all curtains, screens, partitions and other things that obstruct the view from the sidewalk, street, alley or road in front of or at the side of the building containing such place where any of such games are played shall be removed so that the interior of any room where such games are played is plainly visible without extra effort on the part of the passersby. It shall be deemed a violation of the section if such games are played in a back room not visible from the street at any time. It shall be the duty of the Marshall and other public police officers of the Village of Morenci to make complaint against any person or persons who shall violate any of the provisions of this section.
Section 3. Any person or persons offending against this ordinance upon conviction thereof, shall be punished for such offense by a fine of not less than ten dollars or more than fifty dollars, and costs of prosecution; or by imprisonment in the lock-up of said village, or the common jail of the County of Lenawee for not less than ten days, or more than thirty days, or both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.
Section 4. All ordinances, or parts thereof, inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.
Section 5. This ordinance shall take effect on and after its passage and due publication.
Passed, Ordained and Ordered Published this 10th day of May, A.D. 1915.
J.G. Meister, President
Attest: Leo E. Baker,
Morenci’s first newspaper, “The Morenci Herald,” was started in 1855 and published by Silas Scofield. Mr. Scofield sold the paper to John Crabbs. This was followed by “The Morenci Journal,” published by S.B. Smith. In 1859 E.H. Thorp published “The Morenci Star.”
All of these early papers were short-lived. From the beginning of the Civil War until 1868 there was no newspaper in Morenci. In 1868 G.W. Fenton started “The Morenci Gazette,” which lasted only six months.
The railroad came to Morenci in 1871 to start a new era of prosperity and the forerunner of the present “Observer” was started in 1872 and appropriately called “The New Era.” This paper was published by Erasmus D. Allen, a former school teacher here. When Mr. Allen went to Detroit in 1875 to become publisher of the “Michigan Christian Advocate,” the paper was published as the “Morenci News” for about nine months.
Still in 1875, Augustus Allen, son of E.D. Allen, took over the paper and renamed it “State Line Observer.” Later the name was changed to the present “Morenci Observer” and was still operated by Augustus Allen and his younger brother, Vernon.
Vernon Allen, along with E.D. Stair, published “Our Boys and Girls’ Paper” when they were about 14 years old and the Stair brothers published “The Morenci Review” for a short time in 1878.
Other early publishers included Edwin E. Brown (1907), Alfred Schmidt (1923), E.E. Bishop (1923).
The Allens sold the “Observer” to Emil Ahrens, who in turn sold it to E.T. Armstrong. Then came Bacon and Harris, who sold to Dwight J. Robbins. Mr. Robbins sold the “Observer” to Walter J. Pinkstone in 1929. He was joined by F. Russell Green in a partnership in the Morenci, Swanton and Metamora papers in Ohio.
Upon the death of Mr. Green in 1939, the partnership was dissolved and his widow, Mrs. Minnie Green, became publisher. In 1943 she leased the paper to Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Mack. Her son Robert G. Green, became publisher in February 1949 and remained publisher until 1985 when his son, David G. Green, took over.
In 1961 the paper changed its method of printing from “hot type” to “cold type,” using the offset method.
In 1973 the Observer went a step further by purchasing their own computer for computer set type. The change from the Linotype, the “hot type” method, to the computer was as great as the change from handset type to the Linotype.
The greatest difference between the two methods as far as the reader is concerned is probably the use of pictures. A picture seldom appeared in the early papers and until the offset method was employed, only one or two photographs would be used in the same edition. The change to offset made the use of pictures much cheaper by eliminating the engraving cost and at the same time producing much clearer and better reproductions.
It was shortly after the change to offset printing that the Observer went to a controlled circulation process of distribution with the paper being delivered free to everyone in the Morenci shopping area. Under this new policy, the circulation has changed from a little over 1,000 to nearly 4,200.
With the change to offset printing, the Observer is actually printed in a central printing plant in Wauseon, Ohio on a huge web-fed offset press, a far cry from the Country Campbell letterpress still sitting in the basement of the Observer office.
Camera-ready pages are “made up” at the Observer office, taken to Wauseon for printing and then delivered to the Morenci post office for distribution by mail.
The Morenci Observer is one of the oldest business establishments in the city, marking 100 years of continuous operation in 1972.
Along with the newspaper, the Observer has operated a printing department for about the same length of time, doing both offset and letterpress commercial printing.
Morenci’s transportation story is a fascinating one.
In the beginning the land seekers came to the Morenci area by the earliest mode of transportation known to mankind—by foot. They followed old Indian trails leading to the vicinity, followed a path by compass, or followed a creek or river. Occasionally a few came by horseback through the heavy forest.
In 1834 Benjamin Hornbeck, having purchased land, contracted with the United States Government to clear approximately a mile of the Territorial Road (sometimes known as the Vistula Road) from Toledo, Ohio to Indiana, the mile being our Main Street from (approximately) East Street to the Medina Township line (present day Sims Highway), building the first bridge across Bean Creek with the assistance of Jacob Baker.
Other settlers in this locality came with yokes of oxen, sometimes a horse or team of horses, hacking out a path through the wilderness for the wagons. By 1853 a plank road had been constructed from the Ohio Sate Line east of town to Toledo, which was a great boon to the small settlement. Produce could then be taken by wagon with a team of horses from Morenci to Toledo and the return trip brought all manner of goods for sale in the stores.
In 1855 the Southern Michigan Railroad had reached Clayton, thereby providing a new mode of transportation. Clayton was reached by stagecoach. Most stages were owned and operated by livery stable proprietors. Later, stages also ran to Hudson through Canandaigua and Medina carrying both passengers and mail. It is said that the Clayton stage at one time was drawn by a team of four horses and could accommodate as many as twenty-four passengers. Arrival of the stagecoach was announced by a blast on a bugle.
The Wabash Railroad reached North Morenci about 1881 and by the early 1900s the hack, or stage, drawn by a team of horses made regular trips to meet the trains there. Later the trip was made by an automobile jitney or taxi.
In 1871 due to the tremendous competition among railroad promoters the president of the Chicago & Canada Southern Railway decided to build the United States branch of his road from Grosse Isle to Chicago. Roadbed was constructed and track laid, crossing the Erie and Kalamazoo at Grosvenor and reaching Morenci that year.
The construction workers were gangs of men, both local and immigrant. One Morenci boy, LaForest Snow, desirous of earning money took the job of water boy, carrying the water pail and dipper wherever called. The men nicknamed him Tom and the nickname stayed with him the remainder of his life.
On July 27, 1871 a huge celebration was held to commemorate the breaking ground for the roadbed near North Street. The Honorable J.P. Cawley was guest speaker at the celebration.
On June 20, 1872 the steam cars reached Morenci for the first time and passenger service was given until 1938. The depot was built in 1872 and, although in dilapidated condition, still stands.
In 1879 the Chicago & Canada Southern became part of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway, which in 1914 consolidated with the new York Central. Stages, hacks and drays were a commonplace in that day. The heavy drays with stout teams of horses did a tremendous business in transporting freight to and from the railways.
Bicycles also had their day. They were especially popular in the 1890s when clubs were organized, and touring the countryside and visiting neighboring towns was popular. One man did a thriving business with a bicycle repair shop.
The electric interurban railway was also popular and Morenci was able to secure the services of one through the tremendous efforts of Mr. Albert Deyo. The Toledo and Western Railway was built from Toledo through Morenci. It reached the junction of the Angling (or Weston) Road and East Main Street Jan. 21, 1902 and come to the newly built depot on West Main Street April 17, 1902. This depot still stands.
The line carried both freight and passengers and reached as far west as Pioneer, Ohio, with a connecting line to Adrian. The T&W line was eventually partially abandoned and from it the Ohio & Morenci Railroad was formed, running to Denson, Ohio where it made connections wit the D.T.&T. The O&M was abandoned in 1951.
The invention of the automobile brought a different mode of transportation, the first ones coming to Morenci early in the 1900s. This brought on a tremendous improvement in highways.
Today the major portion of freight moves in and out by truck, and passenger traffic moves entirely by automobile. For a while during the late 1930s and early 1940s there was bus service from downtown Morenci to Adrian and Toledo. This was a short-lived project.
The first airplane came to Morenci in October 1913, landing in Mr. Roty Blanchard’s pasture (where the elementary school now stands). Although there is no major movement by plane directly from Morenci there are private planes as well as an occasional helicopter flying in and out.
The history of the Morenci Fire Department is as old as the town. The first fire fighting group was a bucket brigade, which dated back to 1833.
The first organized volunteer fire department was formed in 1871 and was named Hook & Ladder company #1. In 1885 the first floor of the new city hall was designed to house “Sitting Bull,” the man-powered fire engine, along with the ladder truck and hose cart. At this time the department had about 75 members.
The first motored fire engine came in 1914 with a model T Ford. Their second vehicle was purchased in 1924, which was a Dodge. In 1934 another Dodge was purchased, which the department is still very proud to have in their possession.
A new Buffalo Fire Truck was purchased in 1947 and was eventually replaced by a 1966 Ford. Arrangements are being concluded toward the purchase of a new fire engine , and upon its delivery the 1966 Ford will be retained as a useful back-up unit.
The department’s efficiency has greatly increased with the addition of two smaller grass pumpers, used for combating grass fires. The department recently updated its tanker unit to a 1975 Ford with a 1500 gallon capacity for principal use beyond the city’s hydrant system.
Steady advancement is being made in other service equipment including radio communication systems and the building which houses the entire physical properties.
In 1963 a big change for the department was when they became involved in rescue. The rescue squad is a totally volunteer organization and many hours of schooling and training is necessary to prepare members. The organization if fully supported by only the donations which they receive from the individual citizens of Morenci and its immediate rural area.
A few years ago the wives of department members organized into a group known as the “Fire Sirens.” Much credit is due this organization of volunteer workers for invaluable services rendered to our proficient department.
Communication in the early days was slow and often haphazard. Postriders were the principal means of communication between settlements. Riders were commissioned by the government and the way was slow, often requiring a change of horses.
After the establishment of post offices, it was still a slow process delivering the mail from town to town. The Rural Free Delivery service was started in November of 1900. Little by little progress was made and much of our mail now travels by plane.
When the railroads came to cities and towns so did the telegraph system. This type of communication was used by railroads, for their use, and also used for emergency messages. All election returns were sent and received by telegraph.
The first switchboard in Morenci was installed in the Saulsbury Hotel. Miss Nellie Saulsbury (Mrs. A.A. Thompson) was the first operator. In order to reach the operator or “Central” as she was called, one turn of the crank on the telephone was required and she would connect the parties.
The operator also had a hand crank at the switchboard and each phone had its own special series of rings. One had to listen carefully—sometimes it would be a long and a short ring or two short rings and a long one and so on.
Central not only took care of the switchboard calls but kept track of the doctors so she knew where to reach them in an emergency. She also called the firemen, kept a list of people who were away from home and acted as a general secretary to all. She was on duty 24 hours a day.
Newspapers have always played an important part in our communication system. In the early days in Morenci, the people would gather in front of the Exchange Hotel and the newspapers were read from the upper porch to those gathered below. Newspapers have been a great influence in the lives of people in a community.
With the advent of radio, news of the world traveled much quicker and the radio became a focal point in the home for not only the news but also for entertainment. For the first time it brought voices of people into the home and the world came closer to us all.
Television has not only brought the entire world into our homes, but outer space as well. This type of communication has broadened our outlook, and with sight and sound combined we are no longer the isolated community of the wilderness.
Morenci History III
Businesses to 1900
Early settlements became large settlements for various reasons. Some clustered together for protection, some grew around a crossing of highways or rivers and some, like Topsy, just grew. All however, found it necessary to have money for investing in enterprises, artisans ofall kinds, and faith and vision. Morenci enterprises also grew from avery small beginning to a variety of businesses.
In 1836 Franklin Cawley purchased the pioneer Baker sawmill on Bean Creek about one anda half miles north of the site of Morenci.
In the spring of1836, Jeptha Whitman built a log building near the west end of the present day Baker Street and opened a store. He sold articles in drygoods, hardware, grocery, drug and saloon lines. In about 1841 DavidHaight opened a second store.
At the time, both Canandaigua and Medina seemed destined to become the metropolises of the area. In 1846 Valorous R. Paine wrote to his mother in Connecticut:
“But to begin I am located on the old Territorial Road from the head of Lake Erie to the head of Lake Michigan about 36 miles west of Toledo, 1-1/2miles east of Tiffins River or Bean Creek so called. We have a small village in embryo on the creek; it is one mile from the west line of my farm to the east line of the village lot. We have there a steam sawmillsome mechanics have recently come in and built, 1-1/2 miles we have a good water power sawmill, clothing works and carding machine. In short,all that we want to make our place a prominent one is a good flouringmill.”
Franklin Cawley bought the land on which Morenci principally stood. It is reputed that he, Dennis Wakefield and GeorgeW. Wilson built the sawmill, and later a grist mill, and opened a store. By 1852 there were four stores in Morenci—Mr. Haight’s, AsaKennedy’s, Moses Worth’s and the Company Store. The early store had disappeared due to Mr. Whitman’s death.
In the fall of 1852 Silas Scofield arrived and built a building with steam power and began tomanufacture furniture. Pegg & Swindle built a tannery on the northwest corner of Mill Street and West Main. By 1885 John Crabbs had a tailor shop, David Blair a blacksmith shop and Mrs. Dawson amillinery shop. Slowly the artisans and merchants began to arrive in Morenci.
1857 showed the following businesses:
Zimmer &Patten, groceries and dry goods; John Crabbs, tailor shop; Flavel N.Butler, drugs and groceries; Dr. J. Tripp, physician; White’s, wagonshop; Dr. P.F. Taylor, physician; Silas Scofield, cabinet shop andstore; John Allen, jewelry store; Headquarters Store, general merchandise; Pegg & Swindle, tannery; G.W. Wilson, grist and sawmill; David Andrews, machine shop; Dr. James Sweeney, physician.
More money from the East, principally Rhode Island, continued to be invested in Morenci. A woolen mill was constructed in 1866, opening on New Year’s Day 1867. The workers lived in the boarding house across the street. The mill met with financial difficulties in the Panic of 1873and was re-structured for use as a flouring mill. It was torn down to make space for a Parker parking lot.
By the time the Centennial of these United States arrived, the Centennial Memorial booklet of July4, 1876 listed many businesses; among them were the following:
Acker & Sons, general merchandise; J. Allen, jeweler and American Expressagent; A.E. Allen, publisher; G. Henry Baker, furniture dealer andmanufacturer; T.S. Baker, attorney at law; Leander Baker, machineshops; Allen Beach, druggist; D.M. Blair, carriage manufacturer; Mrs.D.A. Baylor, millinery;
Matthew Bennett, agent for the Howe Machine; Canada Southern Railway; J.H. Capp, meat market; W.L.Chappell, foundry; W.L. Church, groceries, books and stationery; EdwardClark, brick manufacturer; W.W. Cone, agent for Singer sewing machine; James F. Clark, brick machines; H.S. Cole, druggist;
John Crabbs, tailor; J.C. Crabbs, variety works; E.G.Day, tailor; Mrs. L.C. Fleming, millinery; M.F. Fuller, dry goods; Arthur Fuller, harness manufacturer; G.H. Gates & Co., gent’sfurnishing goods; H.E. Green & Co., hardware; W.R. Gates, graindealer; Dr. W.C. Hayes, dentist; Houseman & Rowley, dealers in lumber; Henion Bros., blacksmith; C.S. Ingals, attorney; N.R. Jones,blacksmith and wagon maker; Kingman & Co., groceries, crockery,etc.;
Kirkman & Acker, harness and auction room; W.H.Kelley, barber; Mrs. James Killin, millinery; Mrs. Keith, millinery;G.W. Kuney, saloon and billiards; Mrs. Helena Losey, dressmaker; C.L.Luce, general merchandise; J.H. Markman, jeweler; Morenci Mills; G.L.Mace, Morenci Livery; I.D. Packer, livery; F.A. Partridge, barber shop;
Pooler & Thorp, lumber; Richard Richards, boots and shoes; M.D. Richardson & Co., general merchandise and produce; RobertRock, photographer; Mrs. F.A. Rowley, hair goods; C.H. Rowley, schoolbooks and stationery; Saulsbury Bros., hardware merchants; W. Shephard, baker and confections; Robert Simpson, harness maker;
Freeman Smalley, carpenter; A.T. Smith & Bro., groceries, boots, shoes andnotions; P.T. Southworth, saloon and billiards; W.G. Stevenson,dentist; Terpening, saloon and billiard hall; G.P. Van Alstine,watchmaker and jewelry; C.C. Wakefield & Co., bankers; C.M. Weaver,attorney; J.F. Welch, attorney; Daniel Williams, carpenter; Phillip Zimmer, general produce; Doctors (physicians): Samuel Stevenson, C.W.Stocum, H.S. Wyman, C.T. Bennett.
A.T. Smith is well remembered for his advertising plaques around the countryside, one of which read: “Do your trading at A.T. Smith’s, Don’t pick the codfish.”
Morenci continued to grow. An Observer of 1896 brings new names in addition to some of the older ones:
W.W.Crabbs, drygoods; E.B. Butler & Co., men and boys clothing, boots,shoes; P. Coddington, bicycles; Chas. McDuffee, novelty store; G.M.Keyes, shoes; C.C. Wakefield & Co., bank; Bank of Morenci; S.S.Beatty & Sons; J.H. Turner, roofing; Morenci Roller Mill; M.A.Bell, bicycles, jeweler; Wilson & Lee, paper and paint; F.E.Benjamin, West End Grocery; L.S. & M.S. Railway; Smith &Willis, groceries; H.D. Pegg, druggist; S. Humphrey, clothing and drygoods; S.A.Scofield & Son, furniture and undertaking; H.E. Green, hardware; Doctors: Older and Blair; W.G. Stevenson, dentist; Wabash Line; HenryPerry, veterinary; C.S. Ingals, Lawyer; G.W. Gust, notary located at Rorick Hardware.
Indeed there were many businesses, some of which did not advertise in the newspaper.
Atone time there were six shoe cobblers: M.L. Davis, Wm. Parker, Charles,Chase, Richard Richards, Chas. O’Neil, Ovid Pair. Flavel Butler had adrug store, Daniel Mowry had merchandise, Ezra Tunison had drygoods,P.T. Southworth had a bakery. Among the blacksmiths were Henry Hauseand James Blair (later the county surveyor). Others were:
MatthewBerry, carpenter; Cyrus Baldwin, drayman; Mr. Dewey, photographer; J.O.Converse, photographer; B.F. Horton, carpenter; T.F. Drake, carriagemanufacturer; C.H. Rowley and Jacob Wolf, cabinet makers; Wm. Jibb,blacksmith; James Pratt, cooper; John Sharr, mason.
John Sharr taught his sons the mason trade, and when he died his sons built a brick vault at the cemetery to enclose the casket.
In1900, at the turn of the century, when the Observer published its Morenci in Rhyme, an advertising booklet, there were these businesses:
W.W.Crabbs, drygoods; P. Coddington, bicycles and farm implements; D.S.Williams, lumber and coal; G.W. Gust, hardware; Harry Allen, jewelryand musical goods; Aretus Homes, livery; Geo. M. Keyes, boots andshoes; Roscoe Wilson, druggist and grocer; Rorick and Son, meat market;Saulsbury Hotel, Elmer Acker, prop.; M.A. Bell, jeweler and optician;Beatty & Scott, drygoods; Hause and Blair, blacksmiths; HughMiller, flour and feed; O.D. Osgood, cider, flour and feed mill; Geo.Oldfield, candy kitchen; Scofield & Son, furniture; Rorick and Son,harness goods; S. Humphrey, clothing, boots and shoes; Butler andGates, clothing, boots and shoes; Porter and Son, draying, wood andice; Wakefield State Bank; Metcalf & Butler, groceries; F.E.Benjamin, groceries and provisions; Mrs. N.R. Brown, millinery; M.E.Saulsbury, harness goods; F.W. Granger, blacksmith shop; Dan Goodyear,variety works (machinist and repairs); Cottrell & Seeley, The Fair (merchandise); C.S. Saulsbury, farm implements.
These are only a few of the many businesses that came and went in Morenci during a long period of time.
Business from 1900
Atthe turn of the century, Morenci was a busy and prosperous town with avariety of professions, businesses and trades. One prominent characteristic of any early store was the fact that the merchandise orwares offered consisted principally of a single line of products.
Meatmarkets or butcher shops (Murfitt & Rorick) as they were sometimes called were noted for their fresh meats. A fruit store (Hodge) furnishing a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables was a welcomeretailer on Main Street.
During the first 30 years of the 1900smillinery shops (Killin, Price) were as important as the clothingstores. No woman was considered properly dressed without a hat. Thesecreations were made by hand with some styles being plain andserviceable and others fancy and elaborate.
For many yearsMorenci had its book store (Crittenden, Collins) which was exceedingly busy on the opening days of each school year. Such a store sold all ofthe text books used in the schools while today the books are furnishedby the school district.
One cannot dwell long on businesses in Morenci without mention of the shoe cobbler trade. Our former historianand Morenci Observer columnist, the late Maude Chase often wrote about the career of her father Chas. Chase as a shoe cobbler. He not onlyprovided shoe repair service but in the early days of his career, madethe entire leather footwear for purchase. We are still fortunate to have a shoe repair shop operated by Leslie Brink.
One ratherunique store, for a town of our size, was a shoe shine shop operated by Tom Davis for many years. One could also have hats cleaned and blockedin a masterful fashion, Later Mr. Davis added newspapers and magazines.
Wehave always been able to take pride in our quality grocers that primarily offered the necessary household staples in the early yearsand later became a combination of meats and groceries. The names of Reppert, Scott, Smith & Smith, Spencer, McCurdy, Emerson and Slagleare among such retailers. Two chain grocery stores once occupied buildings on our Main Street under the names of Kroger and Atlantic& Pacific Tea Co. (A&P). The latter went out of business in1975.
For the most part of our community existence, we have had prospering jewelry stores (Bell, Stephenson, Allen). Allen Jewelry wasestablished in 1853 by John Allen. His son, Harry E., continued thebusiness for many years. Harry’s daughter, Mary Jane Allen Weber, is the current owner. This family has operated the business for 123 yearsand has claim to being the oldest jewelry and watch repair store inMichigan.
Morenci has had well-stocked clothing stores (Butler,Gates, VanDam); drug stores (Wilson, Lee, Ranger, Burns, Dersham, Meech, and others); hardware stores (LaRowe, Gust, Cassidy, DeMeritt, Decker); dry goods stores (Crabb, Littleton, LaNew) and there was also the Fair Store (Cottrell) where Christmas toys could be purchased.
Inthe early 1900s Main Street could boast of a Candy Kitchen (Oldfield,King) and a Confectionery Store (Kast, Schoonover, Onweller). Harnessshops (Hanna, Rorick, Whitney, Nuoffer) were most essential in thepre-automotive days. Carriage makers (Blair & Drake) were among thetrade merchants as well as the much needed blacksmiths (Stetten,Granger, Sonnanstine, Donnelly, Porter). There have always been well-known restaurants (Reppert, Taubitz, Siegfried, Red Apple, Stub’s,Home Style).
Many of the retail stores were often multiple in number and adjacent in locations during their operations; yet were prosperous and their tireless proprietors were loyal supporters of our community life.
In the early 1920s Morenci could boast of two furniture stores— Ackland and Stockwell. In addition to being retailers, their owners normally provided the service of undertakers with funeral services held in the home or church. The modern funeral home of today has a licensed mortician known as a funeral director.
Atone time there were two prosperous lumber yards in Morenci. Porter Lumber Co. has been in the same location for many decades and is nowour only remaining dealer in lumber and building materials.
Clineand Awkerman operated a lumber business for many years that was located on the west side of North Street just south of the “Old Dolly” railroad tracks. It was last owned by Clyde Dailey. In the early years when coalwas used almost entirely for heating and cooking, the lumber yards werethe principal suppliers.
The poultry and egg business has thrived in our past (Rice & Bowles, Neilinger, Woodward). Such productsobtained from our area were trucked as far away as Allentown, Pa.George Anderson operated the State Line Creamery in the building still standing near the bridge on W. Main St. Butter and cottage cheese were produced here from the milk acquired from our area farms.
Mr. LeRoy Sutton ran a green house for many years north of town.
Thiswas the only one for a number of years. Later, on Baker Street a flowershop was operated by Riffners and Carl Tittle. During the 1930s, Charles Bradley ran a flower shop at his residence on W. Main St., purchasing flowers from a commercial supplier. In the 1940s Doyle andMary Bell ran a flower chop on Orchard St.
Morenci had several people engaged in the hatchery business for many years. Some of themwere Glen Sowle, George Spangler and S.E. Rupp. Mr. Rupp’s Main Street hatchery was later known as the Morenci Hatchery and operated and ownedby Merlin Henry. With the changing of the times there is no demand for small hatcheries today. Mr. Rupp also operated a fox farm east of townwhere he had his chick hatchery earlier.
Implement dealers(Coddington, Spencer, B. Fauver, Saulsbury and Fay) were a necessity and sold the tools for farming as it was done in the early part of this century.
The ice man (VanArsdalen, Mitchell) made his deliveries to the store and homeowners with the neighborhood children always waiting for his arrival on a hot summer day.
What about those good old days when our area people visited the Osgood Mill on North St.(now Rendel Oil), to buy a jug of cider in the fall. This mill was in operation for many years in the hands of the Osgood family where the area farmers had their annual feed prepared with service and joviality.
Morencialways had the various service businesses that were greatly needed.There were livery stables (Reppert, Fauver, Green) where one could hirea rig, have a horse and buggy taken care of if necessary or even acquire passenger service to the train depots in the area.
Barbershops were multiple in number with the barbers performing a variety of tonsorial services and it was common for most men to go to the barbershop to be shaved. In the late 1920s, women became intrigued with the new hair fashion of marcels and permanent waves and soon departed fromtheir personal care of long hair with many pins. Today we have severalfine and capable hairdressers operating as licensed businesses known asBeauty Salons.
We have had our local photograph studios (Tremear, Rock, Leonard), Billiard-Pool Parlors (Winslow, Dangler, Pike) and draying or cartage services by Baldwin.
With vast changes in farming as we know it today, the once known wool buyers, livestock and horse dealers (Camburn & Walker, Colegrove & Rorick, Meister)have all disappeared. There have been many excellent tradesmen in masonry, carpentry, paperhanging, painting, plumbing and electricians (Marcellus, Smith, Handy, Ritter, Williams, Sharr, Baker, Allen, Rockand Reynolds and Morningstar).
The family doctors that made their calls in the homes of the sick (Bailey, Blair, Vaughan, Older, Peters,Raabe, Blanchard) all were valued citizens of our community. We hold in high esteem our local physicians that serve us today.
In the field of veterinary medicine there is recorded the names of Gerlach and Rozine with Dr. Sutton who is now retired. The legal profession recalls the past services of Cornelius, Hart, Kuney and Williamson (could besome others). The dentists who served our community were Pilkinton, Munro, Agnew and Adgate.
Tailoring services, hat cleaning and clothes pressing were once available, but are no longer practiced in Morenci.
With the advent of electricity, Morenci eventually had its electric power proprietorship. The first electric lighting observed in Morenci camethrough the efforts of S.A. Scofield when he constructed his ownpersonal generating unit, but it was not for general use. The first electric power service locally owned was under the name of “Luetke” who constructed a power distributing plant located in back of the N.Y.C.Depot. Electricity was contracted for from Toledo & Western R.R. then operating in Morenci. Later the Citizens Light & Power Co.purchased the interest and now operates the utility as we know it today.
Our telephone utility service has operated from the very first phone underthe name of Morenci Home Telephone Co. We too have gone from the day ofthe wall crank phone to the modern equipment and facilities.
Many changes began to transpire with the horseless carriage era. Automobile dealerships began to spring into existence and along with them came the gasoline stations, garage mechanics, tire repair shops and of course the unavoidable auto body repair shops.
This new transportation mode brought about the disappearance of our blacksmiths, harness shops, carriage makers and livery stables. Many of our readers will remember the early automobiles such as Whippets, Hupmobile, Essex, Maxwell, Studebaker and others along with the continued makes by Ford, GeneralMotors, Chrysler and American Motors.
Among the early entrants in the auto dealerships in Morenci were Hill, Green, Freed, Swaney andHunt, followed by O’Donnell, Tidwell, Yoder, Gibson and File. The automobile brought a new concept of marketing.
Hundreds of new products came into being, the goods were marketed through alreadyestablished retail stores, thus the beginning of our local stores offering a multiple line of goods. As further improvements were realized, the development of new goods along with the capacity to produce, larger sales outlets became prominent. The larger cities began to attract the trade from the smaller communities thus closing out a number of our smaller retailers.
We continue to be fortunate inhaving a variety of excellent retail stores, business services and professional people attending to our needs.
The history of banking in Morenci begins with the loaning of money by individuals, most of whom were pioneer business entrepreneurs. Among them were members of the Wakefield family.
Mr. Charles C.Wakefield, son of Dennis Wakefield, first engage in the mercantile business in Pioneer, Ohio. In 1868 he returned to Morenci and purchased a plot of ground on the south side of West Main Street. Here he erected a brick building (now owned by Michael Van Dam) and opened a private banking concern to the general public. In 1869 the bank was re-organized formally as C.C. Wakefield and Company.
This bank operated as a private banking institution until 1898 when it was reorganized under State law of that time as the Wakefield State Bank of Morenci. In 1916 the bank purchased the land and building occupied by Rorick Hardware, tore down the hardware building, and erected a new bank building. The building was opened to the public Feb. 17, 1917.
The beginnings of the Bank of Morenci are indefinite. Colonel E.L. Barber of Wauseon, Ohio was the promoter. In 1892 land was purchased for the erection of a building to house the bank and the market already located there. The market continued to operate while construction was in progress by moving the building forward onto the sidewalk.
After completion of the building, the market was moved back into the new building and today is operated under the name Knoblauch’s Market. The bank, with H.E. Green as president, occupied the rooms used by Smith’s Newsstand.
In 1900 The First National Bank of Morenci was organized as the successor to The Bank of Morenci. It continued too ccupy the Bank of Morenci site with Elias B. Rorick as president.
In1927 negotiations began for the consolidation of the First National Bank and the Wakefield State Bank. In August 1927 organization of The First State Savings Bank of Morenci as the successor to the former First National Bank and the Wakefield State Bank was completed.
The new bank began its operations in the bank building of the Wakefield State Bank since this was the larger and newer of the two buildings.
Thebank continued to prosper and do well in the community under the name First State Savings Bank. As the years went by mergers of banks to make much larger institutions became popular and the First State Savings Bank was no exception.
On Dec. 31, 1956 a merger of the First State Savings Bank and the Lenawee County Savings Bank of Adrian was accomplished. The Morenci bank became known as the Morenci office ofthe Bank of Lenawee County. Today it remains as the only banking institution in Morenci.
Winterin earlier times meant ice skating on Bean Creek if it was frozen. If not, you could skate at Cammy Young’s bayou. A later generation skated on Dead Man’s bayou. Today skating is provided by flooding a rink atWakefield Park.
Sleighing and coasting parties were prominent in a day when snow removal from the highway was unheard of.
Rollerskating was also popular. The first roller skating rink in Morenci wasbuilt by Horace Snow in 1883 on the site of the present North Tavern.The rink was later moved to the north side of the alley north of theI.O.O.F. Temple. The building still stands today.
Elvin Metcalfbuilt a cement block building on West Main Street (part of PorterLumber Company today), which housed a skating rink on its main floor. Spectators sat on benches built against the wall while the skaters circled the center to the strains of music from an electric organ.
The first circus to come to Morenci was Van Amburgh’s in 1863. The tents were erected on a portion of the Cawley farm on the southeast corner ofCoomer Street and North Street. It is said that approximately 4,000 people attended the circus.
Other circuses put their tents onStephenson Park and later on the Roty Blanchard pasture (the site ofthe present day elementary school). The early circuses traveled the highways to reach their destination, but after the advent of the railroad the circus reached Morenci by train.
When the circus train came in the towns people got up at four o’clock in the morning to sit on the hillside and watch them unload. Morenci’s own circus people were the VanZandt Brothers (Babcock) and Mrs. Anse VanZandt (MillieMarette) who traveled all summer and wintered here.
Dancing was popular at all times. The ballroom of the old Exchange Hotel was afavorite place and the dancing continued until early morning. It issaid so many tickets were sold for the dance in the Exchange on July 4,1865 that some people never got on the dance floor.
The BuckhornTavern west of town held dances as did the hotel at Canandaigua. TheCanandaigua Hotel was reputed to have a spring floor in its ballroom.
Inthe 1890s masquerade balls with a supper were popular. The dances wereheld in Crabb & Rorick’s Hall (the present Masonic Temple) and the supper at Hotel Saulsbury. They were sponsored by different organizations such as the Royal Hamlin Camp of the Sons of Veterans.The ticket price was $1.50, and a costumer was on hand if you had no costume of your own.
Music for these events was provided byHunt’s Full Orchestra of Adrian, Fayette Quadrille Orchestra and the Morenci Quadrille Orchestra.
Later the I.O.O.F. Temple was the scene of many dances. The late Oscar Anderson often told of escorting a young woman to a dance at the Temple, meeting another young woman thereand taking the latter woman home after the dance while leaving the first one to get home by herself. The second young woman later becamehis wife.
In 1872 and 1873 the Morenci Fairs were held on the Jonathan Salsbury farm north of town. The display booths and Clarkson Warne’s Merry-go-round were held in the oak grove which is now occupied by Oak Grove Cemetery.
The race track was directly across the road to the east. From there the Fair Association moved toland on Gorham Street (the George Shaffer home) where buildings and a race track were built. The Association disbanded in 1893.
Traveling shows and local talent shows were usually held in the ballroom of theExchange Hotel. Some of the shows were Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Ten Nights ina Bar Room and Cricket on the Hearth.
Famous locally and in northern Ohio and Indiana were the Ginnivan Tent Shows. Norma Ginnivan stored tents and equipment in Fayette, Ohio and some of the players lived there. The melodramas were heart-rending.
A band concert on the street was given preceding the show. since the show troupe was small, local musicians assisted in the band concert.
After the new City Hall was erected in 1885 shows were given in its upstairs auditorium. This auditorium served as the gymnasium for boys and girls high school basketball games in the 1920s.
Stair Auditorium opened in 1908. A variety of dramas, musicals, lectures and high school operettas were performed there. Some of the dramas were presented by traveling show troupes. Others were presented by local talent such as Isle of Spice and Pinafore.
Negro minstrel shows were popular. The early musical plays such as Queen Esther were given in the Methodist Church auditorium (in the early church).
There was considerable musical talent in the area so there were bands and orchestras from early times. One of these was the Imperial Band. There were also Tommy O’Neil, a banjo player; a number of brass players andlater Ward’s Concert Orchestra.
Harry E. Allen directed an orchestra and the Allen Brothers of Seneca had a dance orchestra which played as far away as Wyandotte.
When the moving picture became popular Morenci had its local electric theater. This wasfollowed by the Gem in 1916 (the present day Rex) and later the Temple (Princess) in the building now occupied by the North Tavern.
Baseballwas a popular sport for many years. Morenci had a number of teams, one of them being known as the “Halcyon.” Others carried no name except Morenci Baseball Club. Two of the later coaches were Milan Powers andDeCorsey Humbert.
Today baseball is still played by Little League organizations and softball teams.
Football was strictly a high school team performance starting in the 1920s.
Inthe 1890s bicycling was a favorite sport. Many bicycle clubs were formed for both men and women. They traveled in groups to other townsand just around the countryside.
A swimming pool in Wakefield Park was another short-lived project.
In its earliest day Morenci had no village square as did most other towns of the locality. In the 1870s Andrew Stephenson gave the land to the village for a park at the south end of town. This park resembled the village square of towns in the eastern United States. It was known by both South Park and Stephenson Park.
The Stephenson Park gift carried a restriction that it must always be used as a park and couldnot be sold or used for any other purpose by the village.
The next park procured by the village was Riverside. This land was purchased from Stephen Tuggle in order to add to the Oak GroveCemetery. The portion not suitable for burial sites was used as a park.
In the 1920s the businessmen of Morenci donated time, labor and money to make it a useful park. Electric lights were installed, drives were made, wells dug, benches and tables provided, a baseball diamondlaid out, the creek was dammed to provide a swimming hole, a bath housewas built and one concession stand was erected. The park became a most popular place for the surrounding area.
In 1929 the Boy Scouts built a cabin there and dedicated it. This was used by both the Boy Scouts and the Camp Fire Girls.
After the village was given the land for Wakefield Park, Riverside Park was allowed to deteriorate, vandals took over and the Boy Scout cabin was burned. However, in 1974 the Morenci Garden Club arranged with the City to make it into a nature study area so once more Riverside is in use.
In1936 after the death of Mrs. C.C. Wakefield the pasture owned by the Wakefield family on the west side of town was given to the village for use as a park. Incidentally, the pasture contained three Kentucky coffee trees, which are rare in this locality. This park also carried a restricting clause as to its use on Sabbath Day.
The City has since added to this park by purchase of land to the north and today itcontains baseball fields, a skating rink and picnic shelters. At onetime the high school football games were played there. For a town thesize of Morenci we are fortunate to have these “bits of green” within our city limits.
One could add countless incidents of recreation to the list, among them being the excursions on the railroad to Grosse Isle, the Sunday school picnics sponsored by the churches and the Chatauqua in later years.
Morenci History IV
No words shall be written or spoken as to our heritage if there was to be an omission of reference to our own resolute patriots who have or are rendering national service in response to our country’s need.
We could possibly claim that our area military history began with the Revolutionary War for records do disclose that residents served in this opening struggle destined to establish the birth of our then new nation. This same claim could well be extended to include those patriots who offered and gave their services in the War of 1812, The Black Hawk uprising in April 1832 and the Mexican War.
The great test of patriotism that initially challenged our local citizenry arose at the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861. The call to “Save the Union” generated liberal response by our able-bodied men who volunteered to serve in the ranks of Lincoln’s army.
Following the Civil War, various army societies were started. One of the initial and foremost was identified as the Grand Army of the Republic. Its birth is credited to the State of Illinois in 1866. Michigan’s Union veterans initially organized in 1868 and reorganized in 1879.
Many other societies were founded following conflicts in which our nation was involved. Most, if not all, were basically founded on the principles of exemplifying non-partisan fraternity, charity and loyalty as well as the remembrance of those comrades that gave the “last full measure of devotion.”
It was at an organizational meeting of Morenci Area Veterans on December 10, 1881 that the Myron Baker Post #33 was chartered. This was the first post-war organization of any kind in our immediate area. D.C. Henion was elected as first Post commander. A membership fee of $1 with an application made the “man who wore the blue” eligible for review and probable membership.
The Post was named in honor of Myron Baker, the son of Elisha A. and Mary Baker, residents of Medina Township, Seneca Township and the village of Morenci, respectively. Myron Baker became a colonel in the 74th Indiana Infantry and was killed by a sharp shooter in Atlanta, Ga. August 5, 1864.
The Sons of Veterans society also began a local charter.
The Woman’s Relief Corps (Auxiliary to the G.A.R.) dated the beginning of its organization to July 25, 1883. It was not long after, that the Myron Baker Post began to take pride in the work performed by the local Woman’s Relief Corps (W.R.C.) organization.
It was recorded that Mrs. Ellen Oldfield was Morenci’s last surviving member of the W.R.C. at the time of her death in 1936 at the age of 88. “The daughter of a soldier, wife of a soldier and mother of a soldier,” a Gold Star Mother who lost her only son in France during World War I.
Available records known at this time are inadequate to determine the many specifics as to the area citizens’ participation as servicemen in the Spanish American War precipitated by the blowing up of the U.S.S. Maine lying peaceably in Havana Harbor on the night of February 14, 1898. The call to arms was generally directed to the established National Guard units although this call to duty gave impetus to volunteer enlistments; thus the response by an unknown number of our citizens.
Veterans of Foreign Wars, of the United States, is an organization created by the amalgamation of three national societies of overseas veterans, formed immediately after the Spanish American War in 1899.
The VFW has since continued and remains an effective force with its activities concerning the welfare of disabled veterans and their dependents, care of the widows and orphans of veterans and our national defense. In November 1946, a Morenci charter known as the Wolverine Buckeye VFW Post #8325 was granted. There were initially 48 area charter members. The local society disband in 1970 and its charter was turned back to the State Headquarters. Eligible veterans can, and many do, affiliate their interests with other VFW posts regardless of residence location.
The American Legion, a patriotic, non-partisan, non-political organization of veterans was originally incorporated by Act of Congress in September 1919 following the war to “End All Wars.” Its original charter has since been amended to include any soldier, sailor, or marine of any sex who has honorably served our nation’s interests.
In 1920 a group of World War I local veterans was granted a charter identified as the Raymond R. Sebring Post #241. The name of Raymond R. Sebring was selected in memory of 2nd Lt. Sebring, a Morenci boy who served in the 91st Aero Squadron and who was killed in action September 4, 1918 in France. Dr. Van Barnes served as its first post commander.
Other than inactive years from 1925 through 1930, our American Legion Post remained active within itself and in community affairs through the year 1955. In 1934 the Woman’s Auxiliary was organized and chartered with Cecile Grimes as its first president.
In 1941 a second post was organized and chartered as the F. Russell Green Post #219. The formal ceremonies and official installation of its first commander, Albert Renner, and other officers took place in Wakefield Park on May 18, 1941. The post was named in honor of F. Russell Green, veteran of World War I and former editor of the Morenci Observer, to perpetuate his memory and influence in the community.
Post #219 had an effective Auxiliary unit also organized in 1942 with Addie Sampson as its first president. It was in 1955 that the charters of the two respective posts were terminated and the memberships joined together under a new charter which is now identified as American Legion Post #368.
There are other societies not mentioned that our eligible citizens hold memberships in that directly relate to our proud heritage. At one period there were 20 Gold Star Mothers among our citizenry. Although unknown in numbers, there are citizens who have been, now are, or could be, registered members of the D.A.R. And many local veterans have attained eligibility in the Forty et Eight, a body of select Legionnaires.
After World War II, our nation became involved in further major conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. Once again, our youth dutifully responded to their call.
In 1940 the national draft lottery, which determined the order of induction of the country’s manpower into military service, was introduced. All American males 18 years and older were required to register. Out of this process a permanent Selective Service draft system was established, which beckoned the call to duty in our National Armed Forces. This draft system became permanent in 1948 and remained in operation even during “times of peace.” It was through this process that untold numbers of our local men served their country.
The history of industry in Morenci appears to begin with a sawmill built about a mile north of town by Jacob Baker and Horace Garlick in 1835. The mill was sold to Franklin Cawley in 1836. Sometime later Franklin Cawley, Dennis Wakefield and George W. Wilson built a sawmill in Morenci.
In 1852 Silas Scofield built a furniture factory at the rear of the Rex Theater’s present location, and that same year Franklin Cawley and Dennis Wakefield erected the first gristmill. Dennis was the father of C.C. Wakefield who started Morenci’s first bank in 1868.
In 1854 Pegg and Swindle built a tannery in Morenci. It burned in 1874 and was rebuilt.
In 1876 David M. Blair had one of the finest carriage factories of southern Michigan in Morenci.
In 1866 a three-story brick woolen mill was built at the north end of Mill street. This was the largest factory in Morenci in post-Civil War times. It was converted to a flour mill around 1885 and was leased by Charles F. Buck and Frank D. Kellogg from 1889 to 1899 when they purchased the building.
In 1921 their sons, Arthur Buck and C. Ray Kellogg, formed a partnership and became the owners and operators of the mill. In 1952 it was changed from a flour and feed mill to a feed and grain elevator. It was owned by Stanley Russell for about twenty years, then sold to Parker Division and was torn down in 1975.
About 1900, two brick and tile yards were opened in Morenci. One was on the land approximately where the rubber factory burned and the other was on the north side of West Main Street north of Wakefield Park. The one on the south side operated until it burned about 1936.
The Knapp and Bonner Illustrated History and Biographical Record of Lenawee County (1903) says that Morenci had a Michigan Brick and Tile Machine Works at the north end of Saulsbury Street which was prosperous.
The above mentioned reference book also stated that Chappell Heating Furnace Company was an important industry around the same time. It was located on the S.E. corner of Baker and Main Streets. This company built cast iron warm air furnaces enclosed with brick. These furnaces burned coal or wood giving steady, efficient heat. The company was owned by William Chappell and Son. William was a great uncle of Gardiner and Leo Bess Chappell. Around 1900 the company was sold to the Majestic Furnace Company and was moved to Indiana.
In 1900 Knosco and Campbell started to make sweetened condensed milk in Morenci. In 1902 the Ohio Dairy Co. bought the plant and built a new building in 1905. The building on the east side of Mill Street was added in later years. In 1910 a large cement smokestack was erected. This plan later became the National Dairy and then the United Milk Products Corp. At the peak of production the plant handled 180,000 pounds of milk per day and made 148,000 pounds of cheese per year.
During this time, the dairy pumped water for the city and furnished heat for Stair Auditorium. They also provided a steam fire alarm whistle. Production was halted in November 1950.
In 1926 the Parker Rust Proof Company of Detroit bought a tile roofed brick building on the west side of Mill Street and began manufacturing chemicals to rustproof iron ad steel.
In 1927 A.C. LaRowe, father of William A. LaRowe, became manager of the plant. Van Darsey graduated from Adrian College and became the first chemist here. The chemical processes of rustproofing were greatly improved by Darsey; Robert R. Tanner, chief of research in Detroit; Dr. H.H. Willard of the University of Michigan and Dr. Elmer Jones of Adrian College.
As the company expanded during the following year, space was needed and additions were built to the south and to the north of the original building. Still later, more space was essential and the company rented the vacant dairy building across Mill Street and later purchased it. The original building and the section next to Main Street have been torn down and a new modern office section with parking lot was built.
The company was purchased by Hooker Chemical Company in 1967 and Hooker was purchased by Occidental Petroleum in 1968.
Credit for locating the Parker Company factory in Morenci should go to Willard Cornelius, Charles Awkerman and Glen Luke who began their careers in Morenci.
In the 1940s the Keeshen Trucking Company erected a building at the north end of Saulsbury Street where trucks were repaired. Later a company from Fayette, Ohio called the Wilmapeg Industries Corp. took over the building and manufactured boat trailers. These companies were only in business a brief time.
About 1925 a small factory was built on the south side of Main Street just across from the west end of Wakefield Park. This factory was started by a Mr. Van Hendricks and produced machines to put tarvia surfaces on roads. It closed about 1930 and for a few years the building was occupied by Ex-Cel Products Co., which manufactured mortuary tables.
In 1939 this building was purchased by Reliable Rubber Company of Toledo, Ohio, a small rubber molding company. The new company became identified with production of rubber molding with some rubber extrusion being done. With developing growth the plant’s physical structure was enlarged. This factory was destroyed by fire in 1941, but was rebuilt immediately.
During the early years of World War II the Morenci Rubber Products discontinued operations and the buildings were occupied by a thermo-setting plastic industry identified as Morenci Products. Plastic nose cones and plastic bearings for military shells and bombs were the sole products.
Near the end of the war, the factory building was again idle for a short span of time. Under new ownership, rubber molding and extrusion operations resumed in our city and once again the name of Morenci Rubber Products came into being. A continuous growth in business volume necessitating interval enlargement of plant facilities materialized through the 1950s and 1960s. This industry became one of Morenci’s largest, employing 275 workers. Catastrophe struck again in November 1975 when the plant was entirely destroyed by fire and it has been a great loss to our city. Plans at the present time are to rebuild on the same site.
The American Heating and Lighting Company, started by Ed Clark, made equipment to turn gasoline into gas for locations where natural gas was not available. This factory stood on the south side of West Main Street opposite Mill Street. The business was world-wide and continued for many years until the market declined.
This building was later sold and ultimately occupied as the sales offices of the Haulette Division of Fayette Manufacturing Company, makers of truck and trailer chassis. In 1965 the main building was destroyed by fire at which time it was owned and occupied by The Morenci Automatic Inc., a screw machine factory. The buildings left at the rear are now owned and occupied by Seneca Enterprises, Inc.
In 1947 the M&S Corporation of Hudson, Mich. built a factory on the east side of Saulsbury Street and a subsidiary was formed which became identified as M&S Morenci Corporation. This industrial firm manufactures all types of screw machine products.
A second division of M&S Corporation came into being in 1953 and is known as Quality Automatic. It occupied a portion of the industrial building owned by Wayne Production Broaching Company located nearby. In 1966 Quality Automatic built a new building adjacent to the M&S Morenci Corporation buildings.
Quality Automatic operations differ only to M&S Morenci Corporation in respect to size of products machined. Combined employment is approximately 35 people. Morenci is fortunate to have this well managed and stable industry as part of the community.
A very unique business developed from a Christmas display on the lawn of the home of Mr. C.C. Fauver on Orchard Street during the 1930s. A life-sized Santa Claus that waved his arm in greeting to passersby was a great attraction to children and adults alike. A steady stream of viewers drove by during the holidays.
From this beginning Mr. Fauver started the Morenci Art Display Company in 1934 on Orchard Street. For the most part, the Christmas scenes were biblical in nature and were centered on the Christmas theme. All figures were life-sized and hand-painted by artists. The various displays were rented and returned after the holidays each year. They were shipped and displayed all over the United States. The business was closed around 1955.
The Fauver Molding Company was started by Lynn Fauver, a son of C.C. Fauver, in 1945 in a building next to the Morenci Art Display Co. on Orchard Street. The molding company produced plastic nose cones for military shells. After the war, the factory changed to making molded rubber items. In 1966 this plant was moved to a new building on the west side of Saulsbury Street. At the present time they are also engaged in doing emergency work for the Morenci Rubber Co.
Seneca Enterprises, Inc. began in the early 1960s on the west side of M-156 just north of town. This company produces molds, dies and molded rubber products. At the present time they also own the south end of the former “Clark” factory where the cutting and grinding of extruded rubber tubing is processed. Since its beginning, Seneca Enterprises, Inc. has displayed a well-managed and successful operation which has contributed greatly to Morenci’s economic stability.
The Wayne Production Broaching Company started a small factory on Weston Road in 1949 engaging in the operation of broaching metal parts principally for the automotive industry. Since its establishment in Morenci, this company has built facilities located on the west side of Saulsbury Street. The products of this fine industrial firm no longer serve the automotive field alone. The current operations are able to supply a much more diversified market and are able to gainfully employ some 50 employees.
Eklund Broach Company, also a Division of General Broach and Engineering Company of Detroit, is currently located and occupies the former Keeshen Trucking building on the east side of North Saulsbury Street. It engages in the production of building special precision cutting tools and averages employment of 30 working personnel. Eklund Broach contributes greatly to our community’s well being.
For many years prior to 1930, Michael Hochradel operated a cement products factory on the south side of Elm Street, a block west of East Street South, making cement blocks and bricks, burial vaults and cemetery urns.
Bancroft Cleaners, once considered the largest dry cleaning operation in southeastern Michigan, developed from a small tailoring shop on Main Street operated by Mr. D.L. Bancroft, Sr. This led to the erection of the first building which Mr. Bancroft built at the rear of his residence on East Chestnut Street. The business and buildings expanded through the years and continued until 1975.
It appears that the main industry in early Morenci was milling, which included lumber, wool, grain and flour. Later developments were the processing of milk, eggs and related by-products and the manufacturing of metal finishing and rust-proofing compounds and the molding and extrusion of rubber products.
The Hal C. Blair Hospital
The Hal C. Blair Hospital was the first hospital built in Morenci and was believed to be the first private hospital in Lenawee County. It was founded by Charles A. Blair, M.D. July 24, 1908 in memory of his son.
Dr. Blair was born in Smithville, Ontario, Canada, Jan. 1, 1859. His father was a veteran surveyor of Lenawee County. Dr. Blair set up his practice in Morenci in 1892 after graduating from the Michigan College of Medicine and Surgery in Detroit. The frame, two-story building was erected on the east side of North Street. Later a porch canopy was built over the sidewalk.
The office, waiting room, drug room and examining room were on the first floor. The second floor contained the operating room, sterilizing room and five beds. Meals were brought over from Dr. Blair’s residence next door. The charges were $15 a week, payable in advance. This included room, board, dressings and a nurse. However, if more than the usual amount of supplies were necessary, an extra charge was added. Five and ten dollars was charged for the operating room and anesthetic. Dr. Tallman did most of the surgery.
Ethel Rae Morgan was the first nurse. The nurse worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When the nurse took time off or if they were busy, extra help would be hired.
Doctors in the surrounding area used the hospital, but some still operated in the homes. The hospital received $950 in donations and an invalid chair, five beds, X-ray coil and tubes, canned fruit, a stretcher for carrying patients, and an oil painting were also donated.
Orla Bachman, the only nurse who has worked at all three of Morenci’s hospitals, recalls when the first X-ray machine was purchased. She assisted Dr. Blair when it was used for the first time. The patient was given an anesthetic and put on the examining table which was partly constructed of iron. After the machine was turned on the doctor became entangled with the cord and the patient was shocked into consciousness. Miss Bachman was holding the patient and she also received such a shock that the ends of her toes were burned.
Hal c. Blair Hospital closed in the late 1920s.
The Blanchard Hospital was established on Jan. 15, 1935. It was the materialization of a dream which Dr. James A. Blanchard had during the previous years of his medical practice in Morenci, which began Nov. 1, 1930.
Dr. Blanchard felt the need for a hospital in Morenci to serve his patients here and in near-by towns without having to transport them to Adrian and other cities. He purchased the former Dr. Older property on the corner of N. Summit and Main Streets and equipped the building for use as a private hospital.
This institution never drew on the community for support. It was small, consisting of 14 beds and six bassinets, operating and sterilizing rooms as well as a nursery. There was a laundry and a well-stocked kitchen in the basement.
This hospital was open to any licensed physician or surgeon who cared to use its facilities. It achieved 130,000 patient days, 13,000 patients were admitted and there were 1,734 births during its 26 years of operation.
In 1960 the hospital was notified by the Michigan State Fire Marshall that certain improvements would have to be made to meet standards if the hospital was to be kept open. The cost of such improvements was too much and the hospital was closed in 1961.
Morenci Area Hospital
With the closing of the Blanchard Hospital several town meetings were held to discuss the possibility of building a new hospital and a committee was formed to formulate some plans.
Prior to this time a hospital had been proposed for the use of Hudson and Morenci areas, to be built about half-way between the two towns on U.S. 127. Many people had made pledges to this project. When the Morenci Area Hospital was in the planning stage, these pledges were, for the most part, turned over to this effort.
The Morenci area Hospital was built on a seven acre plot on Sims Highway. The cost was about $490,000 of which $330,000 was a gift from an anonymous donor. $160,000 was pledged from the surrounding areas including Lyons and Fayette, Ohio, Waldron, Mich. and the townships of Seneca and Medina in Michigan and Chesterfield and Gorham in Ohio. Other donations were received from people living in other areas as well.
The exterior of the hospital is of field limestone. It is one of the best equipped small hospitals in the State of Michigan. The hospital was dedicated on Aug. 7, 1961 and the deed to the 25 bed hospital was presented to the City of Morenci at this time.
The patients from the Blanchard Hospital were transferred to the new hospital. Dr. Blanchard turned over all usable equipment from his hospital to the new one.
The Morenci Area Hospital Auxiliary was organized Aug. 3, 1961 with 108 charter members. Through the years the auxiliary has been able to purchase many important pieces of equipment for the hospital. Other Auxiliary projects include a nursing scholarship given annually to a high school graduate who is entering nursing school, sponsorship for the Candy Stripers, a group of teenage girls who do volunteer work at the hospital and a flower and gift case in the hospital lobby.
The Morenci Garden Club sponsored the landscaping at the hospital and have added to it from time to time.
In 1968 an additional 12 rooms were added, plus a coronary unit, making it a 38 bed hospital at the present time.
To the early settlers death was part of life. One of the most used epitaphs, and the one which appears on the first Postmaster’s headstone in the old cemetery in Morenci, reads in part: “Death is a path that must be trod, if man would ever pass to God.”
Due to the art of embalming not being well developed, burial of family, friends and visitors took place in the locality in which one lived or in which one was visiting. The burial customs of the Morenci area derived for the most part from those of the New England states from which a majority of the people came. These were principally interment on one’s farm or in the church graveyard.
Burial on one’s farm was made in a vault erected for that purpose, such as that of the Stockwell family of Medina Township, or was made in a special place in the garden like that of the Hale family of Gorham township. Otherwise, interment was made in the churchyard.
The story of the Revolutionary War soldier buried in Oak Grove Cemetery says that when he died in 1839 he was interred on the farm of his grandson. Later, in the 1860s, he was moved to the plot in the Old Cemetery belonging to his daughter. After the death of his wife in 1889, he was placed in Oak Grove Cemetery beside her.
Burial in the graveyard of a church was not only for those who attended the church but for people living nearby. The graveyard of the Medina Village Baptist Church was in use as early as 1849. This cemetery has been continuously used and several acres have been added.
Some years later, the Village of Canandaigua formed a cemetery association. The earliest association records are not available, but the reorganized Association has records dating back to 1886. Land was purchased north of the village for a cemetery. This, too, has been enlarged and is in use today. A Revolutionary War soldier is interred in the older part.
The Congregational burying ground at Medina Center has interments reputedly as early as 1846 when the Farley children died. This small cemetery on White Pine Highway has also been known as the Converse Cemetery and more recently as the Whitney Cemetery. Another Medina Township cemetery still in use is on Munson Highway just north of Lime Creek Road. It is known as Bradish or Lime Creek.
The Goss Cemetery on Morenci Road in Medina Township has had no recent interments. The land was given by Mr. Goss and then the Woodworth family added their family plot adjoining on the west. Today it is all known as Goss Cemetery. The interment records date from the late 1860s, although it was in use earlier than that. There is also a small cemetery in Medina Township known as County Line (Joughin), which stands on U.S. 127. It was originally a churchyard cemetery. The church is no longer there, but the burial ground remains.
The Porter Cemetery in Seneca Township at the Packard Station on the D.T.&I. has been in use many years. Although its name is Porter, it is sometimes called Packard. It has been enlarged greatly from its original plot.
In Gorham Township, Ohio, the Snow Cemetery is on land given by Elijah Snow. Remains of many people have been removed from this one to Pleasant View Union Cemetery in Fayette, Ohio or Oak Grove Cemetery in Morenci. The cemetery is no longer used, although there are still some families such as Whitman, Mace, Whaley and Price interred. Among them is Dr. Jabez Paul who died in 1946.
The Cottrell Cemetery on present day U.S. 20 was abandoned in 1902 and the land was sold to the Toledo & Western Railway for its right-of-way. Many people buried there were reinterred in Morenci and Fayette.
In Chesterfield Township, Ohio, southwest of Morenci, three early cemeteries—the Roos Cemetery east of the Chesterfield church, the Butler Cemetery south of the Chesterfield school and the Hawley Cemetery—are all still in use. Esther Parsons (Mrs. John Miller), an early Morenci school teacher, was interred in Hawley Cemetery.
The early cemetery within the city limits of Morenci, known as the Old Cemetery, was used by residents of Seneca and Medina townships as well as the Village of Morenci, and occasionally by residents of Gorham and Chesterfield townships. As far as it is presently known, there are no interment records for this cemetery, although it is thought that it was in use in the mid 1840s. Jeptha Whitman was interred there in 1847. This cemetery was plotted originally with a wide drive around the south and east sides. Later, an addition was made to it on the north from Dr. James Sweeney’s land.
In 1875 the Common Council of the Village of Morenci brought Oak Grove Cemetery into existence with the purchase of part of the Jonathan Salsbury land from his daughter, Charity VanAkin.
The motion read as follows:
“Report of committee, Oct. 25, 1875
. . . we negotiated the land for a cemetery authorized by resolution adopted at last regular meeting, and purchased therewith of Charity S. VanAkin, 15 and 77/100 acres of the old Saulsbury property at $125 per acre, amounting to the some of $1,971.25 and had the same deeded to the Village of Morenci. We would therefore offer the following resolution. . .
Therefore resolved that said lands be and the same are hereby accepted and shall be held by the Village of Morenci in trust for a village cemetery to be known as Oak Grove Cemetery.”
The first interment made in Oak Grove was Anna Brown in February 1876. The cemetery was supervised by a Council appointed Committee with the Committee making suggestions for its landscaping, perpetual care fund and other improvements. One committee member, Mr. Albert Deyo, believed in adding to the natural beauty of the plan, and through his efforts the magnolia trees were placed there. Today only one of these remains.
In 1903 the building of a chapel was discussed. The matter was again brought up in 1906 and a stone chapel was erected at the main gate by Flint & Clarkson for the sum of $1,238. It was used for many years. More recently the building has been made into a workshop.
The metal posts and frame bearing the name Oak Grove Cemetery were worn out and replaced by stone pillars. These pillars were constructed from the flagstone sidewalks removed from the city streets.
In 1908 a mausoleum was built in the south part and many families were interred there. The visitors rooms were well furnished with sturdy wooden chairs and tables. In 1954 the State of Michigan condemned the building. The bodies were reinterred in the cemetery grounds by the city and the mausoleum passed into history.
There have been three additions to the original Oak Grove Cemetery lands—the Sutton, the Tuggle and the Kennedy.
Today Oak Grove Cemetery in Morenci is used by most families of the locality. It is a gracious place where one can go and recall the pleasant memories of life. As one person remarked at the interment of a friend, “What a beautiful place to come home to.”
The first settler in Medina Township was Nathaniel W. Upton, who built a log cabin in 1834 on sections three and four. It wasn’t until March 11, 1837 that Medina Township was separated from Seneca Township and became an entity of its own.
In late 1834 and early 1835 other settlers came to take up land traveling long distances at times by foot. By the summer of 1835 some of them had brought their families.
John Knapp built the first house and Cook Hotchkiss had the first blacksmith shop. Mr. Hotchkiss was on the of the organizers of the Baptist Church of Medina, serving as a deacon. He was also the first Justice of the Peace, performing the first marriage ceremony in the township.
Samuel Gregg arrived and decided to open a tavern. He built a log house 20 by 30 feet and later added another 12 feet. He purchased groceries, whiskey and brandy from Adrian, and in June and July of 1835 had more customers than he could handle—sometimes 12 to 20 at one time. His barroom was also used for the first sermon preached by Rev. William Wolcott of Adrian. These services were continued every four weeks during the fall of that year.
In October 1835 Dr. Increase S. Hamilton settled in Canandaigua, and at the same time the first school house was built. The following year saw the first saw mill in operation. Later, William Walworth built a small mill on Lime Creek and ground only course grain.
George Moore came to Medina Township in 1836. In 1837 he assisted with the organization of the Township and became one of the first assessors. He was a progressive farmer and introduced the first mower and reaper to the western part of the Township. Mr. Moore served in many capacities, one of which was as director of the Farmers Mutual Insurance Company of Lenawee for 14 years. He was also active in county and state politics.
The Spring of 1836 was a severe one for the early settlers. They had not raised a crop as yet and provisions were scarce and prices were high. Flour sold for $16 a barrel, salt at $10 and pork at $30. Many young men born during these hard times lived to serve their country during the Civil War.
Before any public buildings were built, the school and church activities were held in various homes. However, it was not long before there were three log schools in the Township.
At this time, Medina Village coveted its neighbor’s doctor. Dr. Hamilton had built a new frame house in Canandaigua, and to entice him to move, the people of Medina bought the house and the doctor moved.
It made little difference where the doctor lived, as the two villages were only about two miles apart. However, it was very humiliating to Canandaigua to lose their doctor to their rival. To make matters worse, the doctor’s frame house was moved to Medina, leaving Canandaigua with no frame house.
Orville Woodworth was another who contributed to the welfare and growth of Medina Township. He built, owned and operated the Buckhorn Tavern and was a great hunter. He was always active in the affairs of the township.
The first merchant was located in Canandaigua as was the second. The third settled in Medina Village.
From 1840 to 1844 the villages of Medina and Canandaigua were at the height of their power and glory. They did the most extensive milling business in the area. The Medina Mill in 1840 floured 40,000 bushels of wheat and did custom work for the farmers.
Medina Township can still boast of prosperous farmers, good land and an active community of civic minded citizens.
Church lore in the township is ample. In 1836 at the home of Gershom Bennett, 23 members formed the Canandaigua Baptist Church. Change of location to Medina in 1837 brought a change of name to the Medina Baptist Church.
Homes or schools were meeting places until 1846 when a church was built in Medina on the south side of the main street. A Methodist church, opposite, was abandoned in the 1930s and torn down, leaving the Baptist as home for both congregations. Federation followed, and the church still attracts both denominations today under Pastor Howard Yatzek.
In the 1830s a congregational church stood in the central part of the township near the intersection of White Pine Highway and Ridgeville Road. Later it was taken down and moved to Prattville and rebuilt as a Congregational Church there.
Two United Brethren churches faced one another across Ingall Hwy. south of the railway crossing (then the Wabash) in the small community of Ontario. The church on the west side resulted from a division in the one on the east side over policy relating to secret societies. Thus, the east side church was termed radical, the west side church liberal.
When the churches discontinued, the building in which the liberal church was housed reverted by to the Harold Acker property, upon which it was situated, and was moved near his home where it serves as a small white barn with identifying church windows today.
The fundamental, or “radical,” church building can be seen on the Hawkins farm just north of its original location. Furnishings went to the Fayette Nazarene Church. When the United Brethren group closed their church on the County Line south of the cemetery, the structure was taken down and rebuilt in Wright Township as a house. The present-day Munson United Brethren Church is located just north of Morenci road.
There are two other churches, the Canandaigua Community Church and Brookside Memorial Chapel. The Community Church schedules a full program under Pastor Eugene A. Kooi. Brookside’s unique story centers in Rev. Gerard French, whose interest in youth led him to procure the two-acre plot between Bean Creek and Warwick Road east of Medina, where he built the chapel. The first services were held in 1964 after completion of the basement. When the superstructure was finished in 1968, the present sanctuary was decorated and furnished for worship. (Only masonry work was done by hired labor.) Rev. French contributes all his services along with transportation in his van as needed. He has driven on occasion more than 100 miles to provide rides on Sunday. All of this translates as a true labor of love for people.
Seneca Township was established by an act of the State Legislature on March 23, 1836. The southern boundary was later changed following a dispute with the State of Ohio. This dispute was known as the Toledo War, and was formally settled on March 31,1838. At the time, this area also included the present township of Medina. On March 11, 1837 Medina became a separate township.
The first officers of Seneca Township were elected in May 1836, and consisted of a supervisor, clerk, and treasurer.
The soil in the Township was considered the best in Lenawee County, and the prosperous farmers later built beautiful homes surrounded by large trees and orchards. It was good land for growing crops, and everything flourished in the rich soil.
Some of the early settlers enlisted and served in the Black Hawk War. One of these was Roswell J. Hayward. He influenced relatives from New York State to settle on land in other parts of Lenawee County, some near Posey Lake, where he established his son-in-law on a farm. He erected the first saw mill near Black Creek.
Amos A. Kinney came to Seneca Township at the age of 20, traveling with a team of horses and a wagon for 16 days through the wilderness. He entered 80 acres of land and at once began to clear the land and put up a log cabin. Indians often came by, but they never molested him as he treated them with consideration. He was active in affairs of the Township and cast his first vote for Andrew Jackson.
Stephen Spear arrived from New York Sate in 1831, stopping near Adrian. There he worked for a year and a half and then took up 160 acres of land. He located on Bear Creek, about four miles from Morenci. He was drafted for service in the Black Hawk War and encamped near Coldwater with his company. They marched to Niles on the St. Joseph River and were stationed there until the capture of Black Hawk and the end of the war.
The little village of Seneca was the scene of a train wreck on Nov. 27, 1901. This was one of the most disastrous train wrecks in the history of the Wabash Railroad.
The wreck occurred one and one-half miles east of the village at about 6:45 in the evening. Some of the cars contained immigrants going west, others were people going home for Thanksgiving. It was reported that approximately 80 persons died and many more were seriously injured. The first doctor on the scene was a physician from Detroit who had been called to Morenci to see a patient.
At the inquest, the train crew of the eastbound train was cited for ignoring orders. However, it was also thought that since the trains usually passed each other at Sand Creek, the names of Seneca and Sand Creek had been confused by the engineer. For a time following the wreck, the name on the depot at Seneca was changed to Ennis in order to avoid another such accident.
The Village of Seneca has been in the past a busy place with several stores, a post office, a dance hall and various other businesses. At the present time, there is one church called the Seneca Community Church serving the area.
The township has served the people well and the officers have been active and conscientious in their efforts. It is still a thriving township with prosperous farmers and beautiful homes.
The Wreck of the Wabash
(written by B.F. Denson, Morenci, Mich.)
Has not death been very busy in the circles low and high,
from September’s assassination, til Thanksgiving day drew nigh
Has some planetary reasons made disturbances of late,
to have brought such dire disaster with such sad and shocking fate?
Was it a visitation of Providence divine,
Upon a strenuous nation, as well as the Wabash line?
Can it be accounted or full three times out of five,
In any other better way that mortals can contrive?
Electric headlights then deceiving, to be seen on purpose too,
Thought each other on the side track, their great engines fairly flew.
Conductor Felt applied the steam brakes, saw the Seneca lights flash by;
Thought of slowing for the siding, furthermore we know not why;
Why the visitation followed in these engine cabs that day.
That each mistook the other, was to give the right of way,
‘Til the instant, just too late, as the crash and slaughter came,
When many a helpless victim’s time had come in wreck and flame.
Was it a dispensation that impelled those poor souls there
From many and many a mile away in a lake of fire to share.
Gone home for their Thanksgiving–entered the golden gate.
A hundred human beings dead by a fatal mistake.
Fayette History I
Father Marquette visited the upper Great Lakes in 1668. He is undoubtedly the first white settler west of the Ohio. In 1763, by the Treaty of Paris, France ceded all her American possessions east of the Mississippi to the English. Indian tribes were dissatisfied with the English and preferred French control. In May 1763, the Indians under Pontiac, an Ottawa chief, made a simultaneous attack on Forts La Boef, Presque Isle, Michilimackinac, St. Joseph, Miami, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Sandusky, Niagara and Detroit.
Pontiac regarded the French as friends. The French often married Indian women. Even when the French traders cheated the Indians, it was done in a graceful, pleasant manner. Pontiac said of the English, “These dogs dressed in red” had come to rob them of their hunting grounds and drive away game. The cruel Indian war was a failure. In the summer of 1764, General Bradstreet arrived at Detroit with an army of 3,000 men.
By the Ordinance of 1787, territory northwest of the Ohio was ceded to the U.S. Great Britain retained possession of Detroit and Michilimackinac until July 1796, when Michigan became an American possession.
On Aug. 20, 1794, General Anthony Wayne broke the strength of the Indians and their allies. He defeated the Indians in the Battle of Fallen Timbers, west of Toledo, (named because of debris from a tornado).
After Chief Tecumseh’s threats, by Hull’s treaty on Nov. 17, 1807, at Detroit the Indians ceded the southern part of Michigan and northern Ohio to the whites. This treaty did forever extinguish all Indian titles within said boundaries. This was a council of Chippewas, Ottawas, Wyandottes and Pottawatamies.
Indiana Territory was organized by an Act of Congress in 1800, and in 1802 the Lower Peninsula of Michigan was made a part of it until 1805. On Jan. 11, 1805, Congress passed the Act for Organization of Michigan Territory to embrace all land lying “north of a line drawn east from the southerly bend of Lake Michigan until it intersected Lake Erie.” In 1897 Indiana Territory was subdivided and the northern part (north of the Fulton line—the boundary of the Ordinance of 1787) was organized into the Territory of Michigan.
In 1803 Ohio was admitted as a state with an indefinite northern boundary. This included Toledo (Vistula) and a considerable strip of land. Gov. Lucas of Ohio proclaimed control and Gov. Mason of Michigan Territory called out the militia. Several shots were fired, but no blood was shed. This was the “Toledo War.” Congress settled the dispute in favor of Ohio—Michigan relinquishing all rights to soil south of the “Harris Line” (the present boundary) giving Michigan the Upper Peninsula. The disputed territory became a state Jan 26, 1837.
The territory of Gorham Township has been in four township organizations: Logan, Medina and Chesterfield of the east part and Mill Creek of the western part. In 1826 Gorham was under the jurisdiction of Lenawee County. In the winter of 1831 the western part was under Hillsdale County. In 1836 Lucas County controlled the eastern half and Williams County the other half, which lasted until April 1, 1850, when Fulton County was erected.
There is no account that any Indian or white man lived within the present limits of Gorham Township prior to 1833. The Indians had no camping grounds, as no indications of such appear on its soil before the advent of the real settlers. Yet the soil was for ages trodden by warriors and hunters of the dusty tribes of the forest for game. It was roamed by Pottawatomies and a small band of Ottawas.
Fulton County was included in “Congress Lands,” so called because they were sold to purchasers by the immediate officers of the general government. Land within its limits was sold by Federal government at the price of $1.25 an acre. For free schools, Congress reserved one thirty-sixth part of all lands lying northwest of the Ohio River for their maintenance. Ranges were numbered east from the meridian line being the west line of Ohio, and the towns numbered north and south from the base.
“Fulton” is said to be chosen in honor of Robert Fulton, the inventor and builder of the first steamboat.
Fayette is located on a beach ridge. It crosses the west line of Franklin Township, a half mile north of the Fulton line, and runs northeast to Fayette and thence to the Michigan line. An ancient shore of Lake Erie came almost to Fayette. The beach ridges have but a small area. Interspersed with these are marshes and wet prairies.
The first real settlers of Gorham Township were Hiram Farewell and his wife, who came in the fall of 1834. They settled on the east side of Section 10, town nine south, range one east, later called Ritter’s Station.
On the evening of Dec. 31, 1834, David and Esther Severance arrived at Mill Creek Township (now Gorham) and located on the north side of Section 36, town nine south, range one east of the meridian.
Among the settlers of 1834 were Abijah Coleman and his wife and family, town nine south, range one west.
Settlers in 1835 were William Lee in March and Freeman and Clement Coffin in June. In the spring James Baker, Martin Lloyd, Stephen Chaffee, William Sutton, Asa Butler and William Griffin settled.
In September Sardis, Joseph and Erastus Cottrell settled. North of the Harris line (William Harris concluded his survey in 1816) were Henry Meach, Justice Cooley, James McCrillis, Sr., Orville Woodworth, Abel Perry, John Gould and Henry Teneyke.
In 1835 the Old Plank Road or Vistula Road from Toledo west, was laid out and built by the government. This was the “Old Territorial Road.”
In 1836 settlers included Levi Crawford, Philip Clapper, John Whaley, John C. Whaley, Aaron Price, Calvin Ackley, Nelson Fellows and John Donaldson.
The settlers of Gorham Township endured the privations of a new wooded country. The place of trade was Adrian, and for milling Medina and Canandaigua.
Gorham Township was incorporated in 1837, named after Gorham Cottrell, one of the first settlers in 1835. His son, Erastus, was the first postmaster. The first post office was named “Gorham.” (From the Ford Genealogy Book, 1910, Library of Congress.)
Another story is that Gorham Township was named for Elisha Gorham, one of the first settlers and a prominent petitioner for township organization before the Board of County Commissioners of Lucas County.
Settlers who came between 1837 and 1840 were George McFarland, John Jacoby, Elisha A. Baker, Simeon Baker, Lucius Ford (1838), Nathan Shaw, Hosea Ford (March 1839), Elijah Snow, Wendal A. Mace, George W. Sayles, Alfred Whitman, Abel Paul, Justice L. Hale, Willard Gay, Nathan Salsbury, Nathan Salsbury, Sr., Joseph Sebring, Josiah Colvin, Benjamin Russell, Almon Rice, Milo Rice, John Kendall, M.D., James Griffin, Amos Kendall, M.D., Hiram Hadley, Alanson Pike, James P. Emerick and Renssilaer S. Humphrey.
Within the first 10 years a very large immigration set toward this township, mostly from central New York. It included Michael Martzoff, Ansel Ford, Sr., Asa Cottrell, Daniel Huffman, John Saltzgaber (1841), Oliver B. Verity (1843), Day Otis Verity, James Henry Verity, Jacob Woodward, Abram Van Valkenburg, Ephraim Sergeant, Truman L. Schofield, Jacob Cox, Martin Beilhartz, William Conrad, Amos Ford, Philander Crane, Israel Mattern, Jacob Mattern, A.P. Boyd, Joseph O. Allen, Jacob DeMerrit, John Gamber (1846), Henry Gamber, George Acker, Sr., George Acker, Jr., Charles Hoffman, Samuel Hoffman, Isaac and Daniel Hoffman, John Paul, Obadiah Griffin, John Woodward;
Stilly Huffman, William Davis, Daniel Bear, William C. Ely, Joseph Ely, Benjamin Dee, Stephen Hicker, Franklin Ford, Amos Belden, Bainbridge Belden, John Mallory, Peter Holben, George W. Kellogg, Truman Whitman, John B. Kimmel, John D. Brink, Jared Parker, Peter F. Chambard, William F. Ward, Junius Chase, J.P. Ritter, Jacob Hippert, Thomas C. Lester, J.L. Wise, George Lewis, Ebenezer Lloyd, Lyman Ellsworth, George F. Dubois, George Graves, David F. Spencer, Edward Gamble (1845), A. Amsbaugh, Rial Sweatland, Henry T. Caulkins, Daniel Rhodes, Oliver Town, Uriah S. Town, Hosea Harmdon, Isaac Town, John W. Lillley, George Gamber, Henry Punches (1850), Samuel Farst, Hon. A.W. Flickinger, William Plopper, W.P. Garrison, William Thompson, John Wiley and Josiah Woodworth.
There were Gabriel D. and Spencer T. Snow, Benjamin and Columbus Sayles, Wendel A. Mace, A.A. Gay, H.S. Conrad, Charles Conrad, Charles H. VanOstrand, Thomas T. Baker, Byron Hoag, Asher Bird, Ezekiel Griffin, George W. Coffin, Cyrus Ford, James Cox, Edwin Farwell, children of pioneers.
Later migrants were Miles Wolcott, R. Todd, William Kinkaid, J. Reynolds, Abram Schneider, E. Jones, Anson Aldrich, S. Youngs, B.F. Robinson, Calvin W. Thomas, John Smtih, S.A. Allen, C. Hettinger, John Beilhartz, J. Walkup, A. Kanaur, Thomas Ellis, Solomon Gotshall, S. Oswald, W.W. Oswald, J. Toosley, Herman A. Canfield, William Woolace, Jacob Gorsuch and Solomon Wynn.
Fulton County was not organized until Feb. 28, 1850. It was created by the surrender of portions of Lucas, Henry, and Williams. At this time the population was 352 people.
In 1839 Gorham post office was established and located for a number of years at the home of Erastus Cottrell at Cottrell’s Corners on the northeast quarter of section 20, town nine south, range 1 east. It was moved to Fayette in 1854 and the name was changed to Fayette. Dr. Joseph O. Allen was postmaster for a umber of years.
Volume 4 of Barber’s Abstracts mentions that John I. Schnall, surveyor, started surveying lots Feb. 26, 1852 and Israel Mattern announced that lots would be sold “for a village called Fayette, June 23, 1852.” Towns usually have to have a certain number of settlers before being incorporated. Fayette’s main north and south road, called Fayette Street, was half in Section 19 and half in Section 20.
Henry Punches, who settled near Fayette in 1850, was township treasurer for nine years. In his family story it is told that it was his suggestion to name Fayette after Fayette, New York, from which many of the early residents came.
Many families from New York State bought the land.
The Cottrell settlement (Handy), settled in 1839, was the beginning of Fayette, although the corporate limits eventually developed a mile or so beyond their land.
The first to settle within the present Fayette was Renesselaer S. Humphrey.
Maude Chase, the late Morenci historian, says that Fayette was first called “Parkers Corners.” The land on which Fayette started was taken up from the government by Justin Cooley in 1835.
The Paul Ford house, said to be the oldest in Fayette, has Justin Cooley’s name as first land owner—filed in 1837. Justin Cooley deeded to Clarissa and Rensellaer S. Humphrey for a $300 consideration in June 1844. Then Rensellaer and Cornelia Humphrey deeded to John J. Gamber. It’s called Gamber’s addtion of Fayette. Here lived John Keller, who drove a sprinkling wagon around the streets of Fayette to lay the dust on hot summer days.
Fayette History II
Henry and Polly Gamber came from Seneca County, N.Y., in 1852. He had earlier purchased “80 acres being on each side of town with Main Street as the southern boundary. He paid $750 for the eastern half (80 acres) and $800 for the land he purchased and which he cleared and improved.”
Renesselaer S. Humphrey was the first man to clear up the land upon which a part of Fayette is located. He built the first log cabin within the present limits of the village. Renesselaer S. Humphrey was sometimes called the “Father of Fayette.”
The first mill, the only one Fayette ever had, was constructed in 1850 in partnership with Dr. Joseph O. Allen. It was a steam grist mill, the only one in the township. Dr. Allen was the first Postmaster; his successors were E.B. Wightman, Charles Allen and W.P. Goodsel.
Renesselaer (probably named for Renesslaer Co., New York) Samuel Humphrey was born in Lysander, New York, July 29, 1821. He was the youngest son of Josiah C. and Esther Daball Humphrey.
Renesselaer Humphrey married Cornelia Emerick Jan. 28, 1845. In the spring of 1845, he started to Ohio with his wife and her sister, Maria Emerick, to make a new home. This was the time of emigration toward the west. Hannah Humphrey Shipman, daughter of Renesselaer and Cornelia Emerick Humphrey, writes of this move as follows:
“...in the spring of 1845, Renesselaer Humphrey with his wife and her oldest sister, Maria, started for Ohio; coming most of the way by stage and canal boats. The journey took many days. The country to which they came was then a dense forest filled with Indians, wolves and deer. The white settlers were few.”
Renesselaer Samuel is known as the “Father of Fayette.” He cleared away a part of the forest, he built the first log cabin on the present site of the town, made the first road, and cleared the first farm land. He later built the first store in Fayette, which was then Gorham Center, on the site where Farmer’s State Bank later stood.
In 1851, Renesselaer Humphrey owned and operated the first saw mill, which was built in that part of the country. The mill was built on the Humphrey land. In 1856 he tore down this mill, and in company with Dr. J.O. Allen, built a better one with a grist mill. This mill still stands in Fayette, and some of the first machinery installed is still being used today in the mill.
Charley L. Allen, brother of Dr. Allen, is living in Fayette today, although he is a man of 84 years of age. He writes of Renesselaer Samuel Humphrey:
“I came from Monroe County, New York in November 1859 and stopped at Fayette, which was then a village, to visit my brother, Dr. Allen. There were 40 people living in Fayette then.
The first man with whom I became acquainted was R.S. Humphrey, who in company with my brother, had built and was operating a flour mill with a saw mill attachment; and doing a thriving business, as the nearest mill was eight miles away and the land all about Fayette held a growth of wonderful timber—walnut, oak and ash—of superior quality.”
Autobiography of Ellery Abraham Humphrey
“Life began for me at Fayette, Ohio, May 26th. Renesselaer and Cornelia Humphrey, my father and mother, cleared away the forest trees and began a home there in 1845. It was a far from lonely or quiet home when I arrived; for there were nine children already there.
My thoughts go back to a Christmas morning when I was four years old. I hurried downstairs with my brother so early in the morning. There in my high chair were Red Topped Boots. Red Topped Boots were all that I could see. They fit perfectly. Charley and Elmer found new boots on that tree also. Away went the boys to Dr. Allen’s! It was merry there. Don, Earl, Lillian and Viola, all around the lighted Christmas tree.
Our first home was a log house and was so small that we boys slept in the attic. I remember the attic, for I was afraid of rats and the boys kept me awake nights be telling me the noises I heard were rats. I was glad when the new house was built and I could escape that attic, in which I never saw a rat, but because of fear, suffered the tortures of the damned...
Because of the school we moved back into town and I recited my first lessons in the “Old School House.” Professor Barber was the schoolmaster and Will Lewis, Earl Allen and I made up the ABC class. Have any of the boys of that ABC class forgotten the old hickory stick, which Professor Barber kept hanging over his desk? Never! But the hickory stick helped to build strong, moral men, and we took our medicine.”
The youngest daughter of Ellery Abraham and Maud Donaldson Humphrey was Carol Emerick Humphrey. “Emerick” was a given name, which had long been saved for the son who never came.
Mary Humphrey married James Emerick, brother of Cornelia Emerick Humphrey.
(Humphrey—Published 1923 by Oak Leaf Press, Clinton, Okla. Michael to son Samuel, to Samuel, to Isaac, to Isaac. d 1732.)
Letter written by Mary Humphrey Emerick to her sister, Mrs. Daniel G. Smith (Norcissa) Humphrey Smith:
Dear Sister: Gorham, June 30th, 1851
It is a long time since we have heard from you. I do not recall that we have heard anything from you since Daniel wrote to Mr. Spencer soon after his mother died. I do not recall when we have had a letter from you last, but I think that it was some time last year.
Our family is enjoying good health as usual. Josiah D. has had the Ague and Fever this spring, but he is smart now and I have had a few fits of it and Lame also. Mother is at Renesslaer’s now. They are well as usual. Mr. Spencer has had the Ague this Spring pretty hard and he got better of it so that he has been to work for a number of days, but today he is sick again with it. The rest of your acquaintances in this part of the country are well.
Mr. Ware has gone to housekeeping about four miles from here. We hear a great deal about the sickness and death in Lysander. We heard week before last of Mother E’s death and also of Mr. Shanck and a number of others, but we hear no particulars from you.
Josiah, we have not heard from you since last fall. Only D. said in his letter to Mr. Spencer that his health was better. We feel very anxious to hear from all of you. R. wrote to Josiah last winter, but he never received an answer. We received a visit from Cousin Sylvester Humphrey a few weeks past. He said that Uncle Wm. Diseson died this spring and W. D. B. Diseson’s wife, and that Tidelia was almost gone with consumption, and Wm. H’s wife’s health was very poor.
Silvester married his stepmother’s daughter and they have one child. Asenath’s married to Charlotte’s husband. Brother Wm. has bought out the heirs and lives on the home farm. We have a new school house about 180 rods from our house built last fall so that our children have a good opportunity of going to school.
I want you to answer this letter as soon as you receive it. We want to know how you get along, all of you folks, and particularly about Josiah, where he and his family are and what they are doing. I want you to write about Father E., how his health is and where he is. Daniel said his health was quite poor, but he was some better.
I wish you would come and make us a good visit this summer. We would be very glad to see you all. It seems as tho’ there was nothing to hinder you from coming. Mary can keep house and Daniel can hire hands enough to do his work. Just think so and start, for, O how glad we would be to see you. Do not forget to write all about our friends and acquaintances in those parts.
I remain your sister, Mary A. Emerick
[Renesslaer is Renesslaer Samuel Humphrey.
Josiah is Josiah W. Humphrey, brother of Renesslaer.
The schoolhouse built 180 rods from the home of Mary Humphrey Emerick is the schoolhouse where Ellery Abraham Humphrey first went to school in Fayette, Ohio.
Gorham is the name given to Fayette, Ohio.
Elijah Snow built and ran an ashery located on the east side section 17, town nine south, range 1 east. His son Gabriel ran this successfully until about 1860. He had a store in connection with the ashery and this was the first store in Gorham Township.
Philander Crane built and operated an ashery south of Handy, as early as 1841, and worked it for two or three years and stopped.
The first cemetery in the township was located on the northeast corner of section 17, town nine south, range 1 east, at what is called the “Snow Schoolhouse,” in the year 1848. The next cemetery on land owned by George W. Coffin was built. After the Fayette cemetery was laid out, these graves on Section 21 were moved to Fayette.
The first organized school district in the township was in the Cottrell settlement, in 1836, and a log schoolhouse was built upon the southwest corner of the northwest quarter of Section 21, town 9 south, range 1 east. Lucinda Rogers taught the school. She began under the jurisdiction of the territory of Michigan, and ended it under the jurisdiction of Ohio.
In 1842 another district was organized in the Snow Settlement, and a frame schoolhouse was built by R.S. Humphrey. It was the first frame schoolhouse in the township. At about this period, another school district was organized in the east part, and a log schoolhouse was built. Oliver B. Verity taught the winter school of 1844 and 1845 at $14 per month and board around which all teachers of that age did. The practice went out of date with the adoption of the free school system in 1854.
The first school in the southwest part of the township was a log building (Severance schoolhouse) situated in the southeast corner of Section 26, town 9 south, range 1 west. In 1845 a frame schoolhouse was built on the northwest corner of section 35, town 9 south, range 1 west and was painted red. Miss Minerva Cottrell, the daughter of Asa Cottrell and wife of George Acker was the first teacher.
In 1888 the Gorham Township had eight school districts and one joint sub-school district, besides a special district for Fayette.
The first union school building was erected in 1862 on the north side of Main Street. The school was moved east of the hotel, and burned in the hotel fire of 1880.
From the old “Fayette Record:” “In the spring of 1836 the first schoolhouse in the township was completed. It was built of hewn logs, and located on the northeast corner one mile east of Fayette. In 1839 the post office was situated a few rods south of the schoolhouse. The mail route extended from Defiance to Medina, Adrian and the mail was brought every Thursday by a man on horseback. Young John Butler of Chesterfield, a boy of 13, was the mail carrier over the route, and for many years after, who blew a horn as he came near the post office, greatly to the delight of the little people in the schoolhouse. There were no postage stamps in those days and everyone who received a letter must pay 25 cents postage before he could get it from the post office.”
In 1888 the Fayette public school building was a large and convenient brick structure with four rooms for first through eighth grades, and had an average attendance of 130 pupils. (Note: This building was located on the northeast corner of the present cemetery, now Maple Street.) Burd Gamble remembers the Bennington bucket and dipper which everyone drank from.
The Fayette Normal Music and Business College was established in 1881. It was an institution of which the Village was proud. Students came from all over the area to Fayette. It had ample buildings and grounds through an able and efficient faculty had become a prominent institution.
The school district was overcrowded. Mr. E.P. Ewers came here and with Mr. Jodgen began the work of soliciting funds for a college building with boarding house attachments. The Fayette Normal Music and Business College continued for several years with a fair degree of prosperity when the management, for a season never ascertained, transferred their interests to Wauseon. The Normal College first opened in 1881 and was closed in 1888.
Mike Sell writes, “Appreciating the value of such an educational institution, the people of Fayette set about securing another school. In Sept. 1888, the Fayette Normal University was opened to students. The school flourished a number of years, but finally the citizens become convinced that the University militated against the success of its graded schools. They withdrew their necessary support. In 1905 the Fayette Normal University closed its doors. A high school maintained by public funds, took its place and building. The first Superintendent was C.D. Perry. (He later was County Superintendent; then registrar at B.G.S.U.)”
In 1905 there were 10 rural schools in Gorham Township. (The author graduated in the Opera House and taught in 1930 at the newly consolidated Gorham-Fayette School.)
When one had completed the eighth grade, he took the Patterson-Boxwell examinations at Wauseon. If these were passed, one was eligible to attend any high school in Ohio tuition free. These tests were rugged. Out of 50 some taking the test, only two passed from our village one year.
Fayette Civil war Veterans
When Fayette resident Ruth Marlatt visited a cemetery in Philadelphia, she was impressed by the tours that pointed out the city’s well-known residents buried there.
When she returned home, she told her friend, Cherrie Spiess, that a similar project should be started in Fayette. With the anniversary of the Civil War underway, Cherrie suggested focusing on veterans of that era and the idea to create plaques honoring the veterans was born.
Ruth obtained lists of veterans from Fayette’s Legion post and from the Fulton County Veterans Service. Then she started digging into historical records for additional information, and she got some help from Cherrie.
The cemetery register at the library designated several people with GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) and old county history books off a few more names.
Ruth focused on the military history while Sheila Chonko used her genealogy skills to track down personal information.
Short biographies are now written for nearly 80 Civil War veterans and about 40 have been made into plaques and placed on graves.
Following is a selection of the biographical sketches.
CHARLES L. ALLEN was the son of Isaac and Mary Allen of Enfield, Connecticut. He was born in Monroe County, New York, in 1839. Mr. Allen was a member of the 38th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
He served three years in the War of the Rebellion. He was adjutant and first lieutenant, and resigned in 1863. He was married in 1864 to Susan C. Gamber. They had two children, Carrie B. and Elsie M. Mr. Allen was a merchant who served as a Justice of the Peace and Postmaster in Fayette.
COLUMBUS ARMSTRONG was the son of Samuel B. and Susannah Armstrong. He was born in Ohio in 1840. He enlisted in the 182nd Regiment of Ohio Infantry and was in Company D as a private. He took part in several battles and was honorably discharged at the close of the war. In 1863 he married Ellen Crain in Hillsdale County, Michigan. They had one son, Milton. Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong each lost a brother in the war of the rebellion. Columbus owned a broom handle factory. He died in 1908 in Chesterfield Township and is buried in Morenci, Michigan.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BARNES was born in Maine in 1828 to James and Jennie Barnes. He married Catherine Black in 1850. They had two daughters who died in infancy and a son, James, who lived to become a doctor. Benjamin enlisted as a private in the 87th Infantry in 1862. He served five months in Company K. He contracted malaria and typhoid while in the Army and died of these ailments in 1867 in Indiana. He has a military stone in Maumee, Ohio, and a memorial stone in Fayette.
SAMUEL RHOADS BEER or BAER was the son of Daniel and Sarah Rhoads Beer. Samuel was a private in the 111th Infantry Regiment Company, 23rd Army Corp., second brigade, second division, and was in many battles and suffered much hardship. He mustered out at the end of the war in Cleveland.
He was born in Pennsylvania in 1842 and died in Gorham Township in 1921. He married Mary and they had five children. His children spell their name Bair.
LOUIS O. BENNER was born in Pennsylvania in 1839. He enlisted in October 1861 at the age of 24. He was a bugler in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment Company G. He mustered out of the Army in January of 1863.
Louis was married to Elizabeth J. Ely (Jennie) in 1867. They had five children. He was a jeweler.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BELDING was the son of Amos and Miriam Jane (Fuller) Belding of Massachusetts. He was born in Ohio in June 1832. He married Lucila Creglow about 1857. They were married for over 50 years and had no children. He was a private in the 21st Regiment in the Michigan Infantry. He served in Company I. Benjamin spent time in an asylum in Michigan because of the trauma in his Civil War past. He was listed in the Census as a farmer in 1880 and as a carpenter in 1890. He lived in various cities in Michigan most of his life and moved to Fayette sometime between the 1900 and 1910 census. In 1910 he was listed as retired and living on Spring St. in Fayette. In 1920 he was living with his nephew Eugene Belding in Fayette and is listed as a widower. He died in Fayette in October 1920.
ASHER ELY BIRD was a private in the 67th Ohio Infantry, Co. A. Asher was born in 1839 and died in 1911. From Census records it appears that his parents died young as Asher and his three sisters lived with Jacob and Catherine Schoonover in 1850 and with Campbell and Martha Ely in 1860. Perhaps these are relatives that have taken the children. In 1863 Asher married Charlotte (Lottie) Van Buskirk who was born in Virginia and moved to Fulton County, Ohio, between 1852 and 1860. They had one son, Harry. Later they adopted a boy named Frederick. Asher worked as a farmer most of his life. In the 1900s he moved to Main Street in Fayette with his wife Lottie.
JOHN W. BIRDSALL lived in Morenci, Mich., and enlisted as a Sergeant in the Michigan 11th Infantry, Company F, in 1861. He was regularly promoted and ended his army career as a Captain. He was born in New York State. In 1869 he married a widow named Lucinda Jarvis Davidson in Hillsdale. John died in 1879 in a railroad accident in Detroit. Lucinda had one son, Frank, from her first marriage. Lucinda and John had no children together.
JOHN LEVI BRINK was born in 1845 to Levi and Elizabeth (Robinson) Brink in Crawford County, Ohio.
John’s parents died within a few years of his birth and he and his siblings were raised by the grandparents, Cornelius and Hannah Brink. John helped his grandfather farm in Gorham Township. John enlisted as a private in the Civil War in the 38th Regiment, Company K. His rank at the end of his enlistment was Corporal. John married Sarah Ann Saltzgaber in 1868 in Fulton County. They had three boys. John worked as a farmer all of his life. In 1910 John and Sarah were living in Fayette with son Earl and his wife Minnie. John died in 1913 in Fayette.
JOEL B. BURNHAM was a private in the Ohio 128th Regiment, Company AD. He was the son of Joseph and Angeline (Brehm) and was born in 1845. He married Fannie B. Moore in 1858 in Lucas County. They had five children. He was a farmer. He was listed as having throat trouble and rheumatism and retired to Fayette where he lived on South Gorham Street. He died in 1915.
HARVEY COLLINS was born in 1828 in New York. His parents were James and Laura (Gould) Collins. He married Nancy Ellen Clark in 1859 in Illinois. Harvey was a private in the Michigan Light Artillery, 1st Regiment, Company I. Harvey and Nancy had nine children. Seven of them survived him. He was a day laborer and a mason. Before 1870 he moved his family to Gorham Township. In 1900 he is listed in the Census as retired and living on Goss Street in Fayette. He died in Fayette in 1912.
WILLIAM JAMES CONNELL was born in 1839 and died in 1910. He was a private in the 100th Regiment of the Ohio Infantry, Company C. He was the son of Dr. Aaron and Mildred Connell. William was the eighth of 13 children. He married Martha Shepardson. They had four children. He was a builder and a landlord.
ALONZO ORISON DEE was born in 1846 to Benjamin and Sarah Dee. He enlisted as a private in the Army in the 100th Volunteer Infantry, Company H, in 1862. He died in 1864 in Knoxville Tenn. He is buried in the National Cemetery in Knoxville. He has a marker in the Fayette Cemetery.
GEORGE T. COTTRELL was the son of Joseph and Maria Lloyd Cottrell of Gorham Township. He served in Company K, 38th Regiment, of the Ohio Infantry. He enlisted as a private and ended his military time as a corporal. He was wounded in 1863 in the battle of Mission Ridge, Tenn. He was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate of disability. In the 1880 census George was residing in Morenci with his wife, Lavina, and five children. He worked in a store. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Morenci.
HENRY B. DANIELSON (also listed as Donaldson in some places) was the son of Daniel and Matilda (Starkweather) Danielson. He was born in 1843 in Gorham Township and served in the 38th Regiment, Company K, as a private during the War of the Rebellion. After the war he married Cornelia S. Elsworth in 1878 in Hudson, Mich. They had no children. They lived in Fayette from the time they were married. Henry died in 1915 in Fayette.
LEMUEL P. DUBOIS was the son of George and Amelia DuBois. He was born in 1837 in Ohio. He enlisted in the 128th Regiment, Company G, as a Corporal and was mustered out as a Sergeant. Lemuel married Virginia Shockey in 1866. They had no children. He was a farmer until the late 1880s and then he became a bank clerk. He died in Fayette in 1905.
WILLIAM HENRY DIVERT was born in 1840 and died in 1915. He was a private and served in the 38th Regiment, Company A. William was born in Pennsylvania and was the son of William and Rebecca (Sickel) Divert. He married his first wife, Sarah, in 1866. They lived in Defiance County and had nine children. Before 1900 they moved to Fayette, Ohio. Sarah died in 1906. William married Anna Belle (Gold) Young later in 1906. His occupation was listed as a farmer.
JOHN GRAHAM EDDY was born in 1841 in Pennsylvania to Abial and Millicent (Tripp) Eddy. John enlisted in the 38th Regiment, Ohio Infantry Company K. He served as a private. In 1869 he married Sarah Heckman in Lenawee County, Mich. They had three children. In 1860 they were living in Adrian. John was a carpenter. In the 1880 census John and his family were living in Gorham Township. John died in 1897 at the age of 56 in Gorham Township.
ASHER BIRD ELY was born in Fulton County in 1843 and was the son of Joseph and Susan (Struble) Ely.
He enlisted as a private in Company G, 81st Ohio Infantry. He participated in battles at Fort Donelson, Pittsburg Landing, Corinth and Shiloh. He was severely wounded at the battle of Shiloh and was granted an honorable discharge on account of physical disability. He was long engaged in his trade as a carpenter and builder. In 1866 he married Amelia D. Earick and they lived in Fayette. He served for a time as a Justice of the Peace. In 1899 he moved to Lenawee County and continued his trade there for a few years. He was a noted Justice of the Peace in Seneca Township. He died in 1904.
LEVI ELY was born in 1835 and died in 1913. He was the son of William and Sarah Ely. He was a private in the infantry, Ohio 128th Regiment, Company K. This Regiment was organized in Columbus, Ohio, and they were prison guards on Johnson’s Island near Sandusky. Levi was married to Sarah Ely and they had one son, Carl. Levi was a pastor.
LAFAYETTE ESTERLINE was born in Ohio in 1845 to Jacob and Elizabeth (Rhodes) Esterline. He enlisted as a private in the Ohio Cavalry in 1864. He served in Company H. He was discharged in 1865. In 1867 he married Sarah Shephard in Williams County. In 1870 they lived in Franklin Township. At that time LaFayette was a common laborer. In 1880 they lived in Gorham Township. He lists his occupation as farmer. Sarah died in 1904. LaFayette then married Emma (Allen) Blaker in Hillsdale. In 1910 LaFayette again moved to Gorham Township with Emma and three step-children. In 1920 the census lists the family as living in Fayette. LaFayette retired and Mabel worked a dressmaker. LaFayette died in 1920 in Fayette.
ANSEL BATES FORD was born in 1834 in Cummington, Mass. He served as a sergeant in the 38th Regiment, Company K. He was temporarily attached to the 105th Regiment, E Company. Ansel was the son of Hosea and Jemima Bates Ford. In 1865 Ansel married Hannah Elsworth. They lived in Gorham Township and had one son, Walter. Ansel was a carpenter in the 1880 census. He died in 1919 and is buried in the Fayette Cemetery.
AUSTIN K. FORD was born in 1836 in Cummington, Mass., to Hosea and Jemima Bates Ford. Austin was a Private in the 38th Regiment of the Ohio Infantry, Company K. He married Delia Stebbins in 1866 and they had two children. Delia died in 1887 and Austin married Celestia Wesscott in 1890. Austin died in 1913 and is buried in the Fayette Cemetery.
MYRON O. FORD was born in 1840 in Massachusetts to Amos and Deborah (Tower) Ford. He enlisted in December 1863 as a private in Company K in Ohio 128th Infantry Regiment. Myron married Melissa Robinson and they had four children. They first lived in Lucas County and by 1870 they were living in Gorham Township. His occupation is listed as a farmer. Myron died in 1915 in Fayette.
GEORGE GAMBER was born in New York in 1821 and settled in Gorham Township in 1854. He was the son of John and Elizabeth (Swarner) Gamber. He married Mary Catherine Singer in 1842 in New York. They had three children. George was a farmer in the 1840s and 50s. In 1855 George married Caroline Bachman in Ohio. They lived in Gorham Township and George farmed. George and Caroline had 10 children. In 1870 George was still involved in farming, along with his oldest son. George died in 1895.
LORENZO GAMBER was born in 1845 in the state of New York. He was the son of Henry and Polly (Hartrest) Gamber. He enlisted as a private in March 1864 and served in the 128th Ohio Infantry, Company K. After the war he married Jane Donaldson. They had no children. Lorenzo’s occupation was a teamster and a rural mail carrier. He died in 1928 at the age of 83.
DEWITT C. GARLICK was the son of Benjamin and Mary I. Garlick of Michigan. He was born in 1841. He enlisted in the 18th Michigan Infantry, Company A, in 1862. He was discharged in June 1865. In 1874 he married Nancy G. Gunsaullous in Lenawee County, Mich. They had two children. In the 1880 census, they were living in Fayette and DeWitt was a wagon maker. In 1889 at the time of his death he was listed as a mechanic.
NATHAN N. GORSUCH was born in 1831 in Maryland. He was a Sergeant in the 38th Ohio Regiment, Company C. He ended his service career as a Captain. He married Susan Ely, a dressmaker, about 1865. They had four children. He was a carpenter and a farmer after the war. He died in 1908 in Fayette.
JAMES GREGORY was born in June 1844 in England. His parents were Robert and Ann (Carter) Gregory. He immigrated to the United States in 1855 and was a naturalized citizen. James enlisted in February 1864 in Unit 60 of the Ohio Infantry as a private. He was discharged in July 1865. He married Sarah C. in 1873. They had one child, Nellie, born in Ohio in 1873. James was a day laborer. He died in May 1909 in Fayette from lupus.
HENRY GRIFFIN was born in January 1838 to William and Clarissa (Gunn) Griffin. He enlisted in the Union Army in June 1861 as a private, serving in Company G of the 24th Infantry Regiment. He received a disability discharge from the army in September 1861. He married Sarah Gorman in 1867 in Fulton County. They had two children. He was a farmer and a blacksmith. In 1910 he and his wife and daughter were living with a widowed sister-in-law in Morenci. He died in Fayette in 1913.
FRANKLIN HECKMAN was born in 1837 and died in 1913. In 1862 he was a private in the 100 Regiment Ohio Infantry, Company H. In 1864 he was transferred to Company 74th of the 2nd Battalion Regiment U.S. Veteran Reserve Corp. Franklin was the son of Jacob and Elizabeth Lathzgarber Heckman. He was married to Gertrude Booream in 1872. They were the parents of six children. Franklin was a carpenter and the family lived in Gorham Township. In 1910 the family had moved to Fayette and lived on Fayette Street. Franklin was then retired with two of their sons living with them.
JOHN H. HECKMAN was the son of Jacob and Elizabeth Heckman. He was born in Ohio in 1837. John enlisted in the army in 1863 and served as a private in Company K, 38th Infantry Regiment. He mustered out in July 1865.
It is unknown whether John was ever married. He died in December 1866 and the government supplied a military headstone for him that was placed in the Fayette Cemetery.
SMITH M. HALE was a member of the 38th Regiment and served as a private in Company E. He was wounded and died near Nashville, Tennessee.
LUTHER J. HALE, a brother of Smith, was in the 68th Regiment and also died of wounds near Nashville.
MANUEL W. HENRY was born in 1844 to Cyrus and Adeline Henry. In 1871 he married Louisa Fackler. They had six children and lived in Van Wert and Williams counties before moving to Fayette. He served as a Private in the 1st Independent Battery of the Ohio Light Artillery (movable cannons). After his service in the Civil War he became a farmer. Manual died in Fayette in 1928.
AMBROSE HOLLINGTON served as a Chaplain with the 111th Ohio Infantry. He enlisted in 1862 and received a disability discharge in 1864. He had a noble record of carrying off the battlefield wounded soldiers to places of safety. He was assigned to Companies F and S.
He was born in England in 1826. He moved with his parents to Wood County in 1832. For nearly half a century the name of Ambrose Hollington was a familiar one to all Methodists in Northwestern Ohio. He was noted as a man of unusual intelligence and great strength of character. In August 1853 he was married to Sophronia E. Deming. They had three children. He died in 1899 and is buried in Fayette.
JEROME C. IVES was born in Canandaigua, Mich., in 1842 or 1843. Jerome was a private in the 26th Michigan Infantry, Co. F He was married to Elizabeth or “Lizzie” in 1867 and they had seven children. They moved from Ohio to Kansas and back to Ohio. Jerome was a farm laborer, carpenter and a thresher. He died in 1908 in Gorham Township.
SHERMAN ALFRED JONES was the son of John and Margaret (Hoover) Jones and was born in November 1848 in Portage County, Ohio. He enlisted in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry in February 1864 as a private. He served first in Company K and was transferred in September to Company E. He was discharged from the Army in December 1865. In December of 1872 he married Lunetta Kinney in Fulton County. He was a farm laborer and later a grain buyer who worked on commission. In the 1920 census he is listed as retired. Sherman died in June of that year in Fayette.
STEPHEN H. JUDD was the son of Elihu and Eliza (Rowe) Judd, born in 1843 in New York. He enlisted in 1865 as a private in Company D, Ohio 195th Infantry. He mustered out in September 1865 in Alexandria, Va. He married Phoebe Irene Barger in 1866 and they had three children, Estella, Mary and Earl. Stephen and Phoebe moved from Williams County to Fulton County sometime after the Civil War. He also filed for Civil War disability from Ohio in 1875. His occupation is listed as a farmer. Stephen died in 1925. He might have died in Michigan because his wife applied for a widow’s pension from the State of Michigan.
ADAM KANAUER was born in Ohio in 1840 to Andrew and Elizabeth Kanauer. He died in Gorham Township in Fulton County in 1916. He was married to Lealine Kitler Miller. They had one child, Martin. Adam was a private in the 182nd Regiment, Company F, of the Ohio Infantry. He was a farmer in Gorham Township after the war.
JOHN KELLER was born in 1836 in Richland County, Ohio, to Peter and Mary (Weiser) Keller. John is listed as being drafted and serving in the 37th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Company K. However it states that he furnished a substitute. In 1860 John is listed as head of household with his widowed mother. John married Eliza Tator in 1862 in Lenawee County, Mich. John was a carpenter. In 1870 and 1880 he is listed as a common laborer. His son Edgar is listed as “at home” and either maimed, bedridden or otherwise disabled. In 1900 John is listed as a teamster. He died in Fayette in 1905 and his occupation at that time was a carpenter.
AARON KUNEY was the son of Henry and Rachel (Landis) Kuney. He was born in May 1845 in the state of New York. In 1855 Aaron and his family moved to Fulton County, Ohio. At the age of 14, Aaron was finished with school and secured employment in connection with the construction of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad. In 1860 he enlisted in Company B, 60th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, at Columbus, Ohio. He took part in the Battle of the Wilderness. He also participated in engagements in Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, North Anna River, Gains’ Mills, Weldon Railroad, Yellow Tavern and Poplar Grove, as well as several engagements incidental to the siege of Petersburg. After the war he returned to Fulton County. In July 1872 he married Alice Ardilla Nothnaugle in Fayette. They had three sons. Aaron died in Fayette in 1928.
LEE KUNEY was born in 1845 in Fayette County, N.Y. He was the son of Jacob and Katherine (Shaffer) Kuney. His first wife was Maria Paige from Canada. She was the mother of three children. She died in the mid-1880s. Lee married his second wife, Mary Stants, in 1888. Mary was the mother of Sylvia. Lee was a farm laborer and a mail carrier. He enlisted in the Army as a private in 1862. He was in the 100th Regiment, Company C, in the Ohio Infantry. He was involved in the Kenesaw Mountain Campaign along with other battles in Tennessee. He also marched in pursuit of Gen. Hood in the Tennessee River area. He was discharged in 1865.
History of Trustees of Chesterfield Township
Written by Walter P. Bates, 2002
The area that today is Fulton County, Ohio, was first opened for settlement by white people in 1832. Chesterfield Clemons came with his family in October 1834 and settled on Section 14, which is a mile north of present day Oak Shade. This was the first white settler in Chesterfield Township. It was then a territory in southern Michigan. Clemons and his family lived in a covered wagon in the forest until a house could be built.
About a year later the Indians told Clemons of a white family that was living about a mile north and about a mile east. His name was Alanson Briggs.
There were no roads at that time, only Indian trails. During the years that followed, many settlers moved into the area. Among them were James M. Bates and George W. Bates, who came in 1842 and served as trustees for five years.
There was eventually a post office established in the township at a location called Oak Shade, at the corner of U.S. 20 and County Road 16-3. The mail was supplied three times a week by a route running from Morenci to Wauseon. At a later time, Oak Shade was moved a mile east. The post office and telephone office were in the Johnston house.
The first election in the township was held at the Briggs store (on State Route 120, in Section 12) on July 19, 1837. At this meeting, the township was organized. All 12 voters present agreed that the township should be called Chesterfield in honor of Chesterfield Clemons. All official papers had to be signed before a Justice of the Peace. The closest one was in Sylvania. There was no one qualified to administer an oath. Mr. Briggs went to Sylvania and was sworn in. Upon his return, he could swear in all the other officers.
There was no mention of what officers were elected that day, but it is presumed that the trustees were among them.
Some of the minutes of the trustees’ meetings mention that they met in homes. Other minutes do not mention the location of the meeting. Their meetings were not on a regular basis. Sometimes they were a month or two apart, and sometimes six or eight months apart.
The minutes from April 7, 1873, state that the trustees met in their meeting house. It was no doubt the brick building on the corner where the former Chesterfield School stands.
In April 1915, the Chesterfield voters voted to build a centralized school. In May 1915, a contract was entered into between the Board of Trustees and the Board of Education. The brick township hall and one half acre in the northwest corner of Section 28 was turned over to the Board of Education by the Board of Trustees. The one half acre on which the township hall is located, was transferred to the Board of Education from George W. and Helen Lee for $1. In return, the township trustees were to reserve the privilege of using the school building on the above described land for all business purposes, for all board meetings, and for holding the general and special elections. The trustees at the time were M.C. Jones, Mort Taylor and L.L. Smith.
Three and a half additional acres was purchased by the school board from George W. and Helen Lee for $500. The land was adjacent on two sides to the land acquired from the trustees. Upon this site the Chesterfield Centralized School was built. It was open for school in the fall of 1916. The cost of the school was $30,000.
The corner where Oak Shade stands today was called Jewell’s Corner, named after a family whose surname was Jewell. They lived in the house at the end of Township Road 16-1.
The Toledo Ironton Railroad was built in 1901. The railroad also had a freight stop there. The post office and telephone office were moved to this corner and then its name became Oak Shade.
The one-room schoolhouse was also moved and a second room was added to accommodate all of the boys and girls of the school district. The schoolhouse is now the home of Harold Rising. A general store was built there and also a barber shop. At a later date, a Methodist Church was built on the corner. H. Partridge owned a cheese factory.
In time the east and west running road, now called U.S. 20, was graveled and so was the road from Oak Shade to Wauseon. All other roads were dirt.
When the writer of this history was a boy in the 1911 to 1930 era, the township owned two road scrapers to be pulled by a team of horses. They also owed a scraper on four wheels. The blade was adjusted up and down by a hand wheel and the angle of the blade changed by another hand wheel.
The smaller scrapers were used most of the time. After the ground settled in the spring, some farmers would hitch a team to the small scraper and scrape the roads in their area. In the trustees’ minutes of the time, it is recorded that several farmers turned in a bill of $1.50 and $1.75 for scraping roads.
The trustee minutes of Aug. 2, 1909, record that two adjustable road drags were purchased at $25 each.
The following items were taken from the trustee minutes:
Feb. 25, 1856: The trustees ordered a survey of a ditch (Bean Creek) thru Sections 29, 30 and 31 of Chesterfield Township. The survey was requested by John I. Schwall Co. Surveyor. This survey included all of the ditches in the township.
Aug. 20, 1897: the Tecumseh Gravel Co. will furnish gravel for one mile of road, F.O.D. cars at Oak Shade @ 30¢ per yard in car load lots. (This is interesting as Oak Shade at this date was located where the Chesterfield School building now stands. The railroad, a mile east, was not built until four years later.)
In 1898 the plank road (State Route 120) would be graveled providing the railroad would have it free and the citizens would place and grade the gravel.
Sept. 1, 1902: Bills—Road, $952; gravel, $2,087.77; and bridge, $169.25.
Nov. 20, 1944: Voted to purchase tractor and mower combined, as State required the roadsides to be mowed.
Dec. 4, 1944: Voted to purchase additional one half acre to the east and south of the one half acre with the grange, from the heirs of George W. Lee and Helen Lee for $200.
Dec. 21, 1944: Purchased a Gallion grade for $4,746.
May 3, 1948: Purchased a truck with a four-yard dump body, about $3,500.
from "The History of Fulton County, Ohio"
Thomas Mikesell, Editor
Published by: Northwestern Historical Association, 190
The territory embraced within this township is peculiar for having been in four township organizations. to-wit: Logan, Medina and Chesterfield, of the east part, and Millcreek, of the western part, and fifthly, and lastly, Gorham. As origin.aliy organized the township included all the land now within its limits, excepting three tiers of sections on the west, as well as onehalf of the township of Franklin, which lies north of the Fulton line. The organization of Gorham dates from 1838, and its original territory has since contributed to the formation of Franklin township. Upon the organization of Fulton county, in 1850, three tiers of sections were taken from the east side of Millcreek township, in Williams county, and attached to Gorham; and again, at some period of time since the organization of the township, and by the commissioners of Fulton county, the west half of sections seven and eighteen was detached from Chesterfield township and attached to Gorham, so that at present the township contains nearly forty-four full sections of land. Gorham is not only one of the most fertile and naturally wealthy townships of the county, but it is also one of the most prosperous in its material development. The course of the streams through the township is generally southeast towards Bean creek, which runs upon its eastern boundary, crossing the southeast corner, and thence southwest across Franklin on its southern boundary. The water power afforded by Bean creek was utilized in a very early day, when the primitive mills were hailed with delight by the industrious pioneers.
The first permanent improvement which was made in Gorham township is credited to Hiram Farwell, who came early in the fall of 1834 and settled on the east side of section ten, town nine south, range one east, now called Ritter's Station, on the Canada Southern railroad. He came from the State of New York with his wife, and raised a family of three girls and one boy. He was a man much esteemed by the early settlers for his candor and peace-making peculiarities in the whole range of his social circle. He sometimes preached and was often called to minister comfort and consolation to mourners at funerals and helped to lay at rest their dead. He has long since passed to that bourne from whence no traveler returns.
On December 31, 1834, in the evening, David Severance and his wife, Esther, arrived in the township of Millcreek (that portion of it which is now in Gorham) and located for themselves a farm on the north side of section thirty-six, town nine south, range one west of the meridian, which placed them among the early settlers of the original township of Millcreek, Williams county, and the second family in the present limits of Gorham township. David Severance was born in the State of Vermont, and his wife, Esther (Knapp) Severance, was born in Jefferson county, New York, July 3, 1797. She died February 17, 1887, and David Severance in 1844. Both died upon the farm on which they first settled. They came to Ohio in 1819, soon after marriage. At the death of Esther Severance she left six living children (having buried four), fifty-one grandchildren, eighty-two great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren, and many of this lineage are now living in the township of Gorham.
Among the settlers of 1834 that can be remembered were Abijah Coleman, town nine south, range one west, with a wife and family.
Waidron and Alfred Severance came at the same time, with their father and mother, David and Esther, and soon became the main support of a large and growing family.
Among those that came in 1835, that can now be called to mind, were William Lee and his wife, who settled in Gorham in March, 1835, upon section thirteen, town nine south, range one east of the meridian. William Lee was born at West Bloomfield, New York, in June, 1797, and died in Chesterfield township in 1854. He settled in Michigan about 1823, came to Gorham township in 1835, and lived there until 1845. when he removed to Chesterfield. Mr. Lee was a tanner and currier by trade and upon settling in Gorham township became engaged in that business. He was justice of the peace and clerk of Chesterfield township at the time of his death. The very earliest of the settlements of Gorh.am township commenced just south of the Harris line, and north of this line many settlers had located at an earlier date. Very soon settlements commenced in the southwest corner and center of the township. They were John Gillett, Gorham Cottrell, Sr., September, 1835; Freeman Coffin in June; Clement Coffin in June, and in September, 1835, Sardis, Joseph and Erastus Cottrell. Gorham Cottrell, Sr., was born in Worthington, Hampshire county, Massachusetts, and died in Gorham township, which had been named for him, in 1852. He entered several hundred acres of land, and, with the assistance of his sons, cleared and improved the same. He was a very influential man. Just north of and contiguous to the Harris line were Henry Meach, Justice Cootey, James McCrillis, Sr., Orville Woodworth, Abel Perry, John Gould and Henry Teneyke, whose lands lay principally in Ohio. In the spring of 1835, came James Baker and wife, who settled on section fourteen, town nine south, range one east. They came from Pittstown, Rensselaer county. New York. He died many years ago, his wife preceding him. In 1852 he built a saw-mill in Royalton township, just west of the present village of Lyons, and sawed the planks for that and the adjoining townships, for the plank road built in the season of 1853, and which road was laid out upon what is known in history as the Vistula road, leading from Toledo to Morenci, Michigan. James Baker was followed the same season by Martin Lloyd, Stephen Chaffee, William Sutton and Asa Butler. William Griffin was born in Westchester county, New York, and settled in Gorham township on August 8, 1837, with a wife and four children. He was a cooper and carpenter, but in early life began larming and followed that occupation until his death in 1843.
In the season of 1836 came Levi Crawford, Philip Clapper, John Whaley, John C. Whaley, Aaron Price, Nelson Fellows, John Danielson, his wife, Catherine, and son, Daniel Danielson.
Calvin Ackley came in 1840. He was born in Winfield, Herkimer county, New York, in 1815, settled in Fairfield county, Ohio. in 1836, and in 1837 purchased a farm of one hundred acres, for which he paid two and one-half dollars per acre. In 1840 he settled with his family in Millcreek township, or rather on that strip which was then in Williams county but is now a part of Gorham township, and he resided in Gorham the remainder of his earthly career. He purchased one hundred and fifty acres for three hundred dollars, in 1842, which he cleared and placed under cultivation. He was the first postmaster at Fayette and held that office for several years. He was also a justice of the peace and a member of the school board for many years.
Of the later settlers for 1837, 1838, 1839 and 1840, it is found from the best information on the subject, that they were George McFarland, John Jacoby, Elisha A. Baker, Simeon Baker, Lucius Ford, Nathan Shaw, Hosea Ford, Elijah Snow, wife and family, three boys and three girls; Wendal A. Mace and wife, one boy and two girls; George W. Sayles and family, Alfred Whitman 'and wife, Abel Paul and family, Nathan Saisbury and Nathan Salsbury, 'Sr., Joseph Sebring, Josiah Colvin, Milo Rice, John Kendall, M. D.. James L. Griffin, Amos Kendall, M. D., Hiram Hadley, Alanson Pike, Rensselaer S. Humphrey and James P. Emerick. Of these we find that John Jacoby a native of Pennsylvania, came into what is now Fulton county, in 1835, and died here in 1842.
Nathan Shaw was a pioneer settler of Gorham township, coming here in 1838, and was born in Hampshire county, Massachusetts, in 1820. He removed to Michigan in 1833, and after coming west taught school for several terms. He became one of the representative men of Fayette; was justice of the peace, township treasurer, town clerk and a member of the school board for over thirty years. He purchased his farm, consisting of eighty acres, in 1844, but afterwards traded it for another, on which he spent the remainder of his life. He lived to see the wilderness cleared and the land blossoming as the rose, a country inhabited by the red men when he came settled by civilized people, and dotted over with school houses and churches.
Elijah Snow settled in Fulton county in 1839. George W. Sayles was born in Oneida county, New York, in 1807, and settled in Gorham township in 1838, when he purchased his homestead, consisting of 120 acres, for $250. Justus L. Hale was born in New York, May 3, 1815, and settled in Fulton county in 1842. Willard E. Gay was born in Herkimer county, New York, March 29, 1815, and settled in Fulton county in 1841, his father, William Gay, having removed thither the previous year. Willard E. Gay filled the office of infirmary director of Fuiton county.
Benjamin F. Russell was one of the early settlers of Gorham township, coming here in 1844, and was born in Rochester, Monroe county, New York, in i8i8. He became engaged in the grocery and provision business at Maumee City, in 1841, but sold out and became a salesman at Seneca, Michigan, in 1842. Two years later, he came to Gorham township and purchased a farm of thirty acres for which he paid $120. To this he added until he owned at one time nearly five hundred acres of land. He was a very active and successful man.
Aimon J. Rice was born in Oneida county, New York, May 29, 1812, and settled in Gorham township in 1844. James L. Griffin came in 1837, when a mere boy, with his parents, William Griffin and wife, and consequently became well versed in the many trials of the early settlers and changes in the township and county. He was horn in Delaware county, New York-. in 1826. Amos Kendall, M. D., was born in Monroe county, New York, September 28, 1820, the son of Dr. John Kendall, who is spoken of on another page. Amos Kendall filled the position of postmaster at Fayette, and was justice of the peace sixteen years.
Within the first ten years a very large immigration set towards this township, mostly from central New York, and as Hiram Farwell first opened the forest to the sunlight, it was left for these to put the finishing touch to all that was primeval. They were Michael Martzolf, Ansel Ford, Sr.. Asa Cottrelh, Daniel Hoffman, Benedict Zimmerman, Cornelius Jones. Henry Emerick, John Saltzgaher. Oliver B. Verity. Day Otis Verity, James Henry Verity, Jacob Wodward, Abraham Van Valkenburg, Ephraim Sergent, Truman L. Scofield, Jacob Cox, Martin Beilhartz, William H Conrad, Amos Ford, Philander Crane, Israel Mattern, Jacob Mattern, A. P. Boyd, Joseph 0. Allen, Jacob Demerrit, John Gamber, Henry Gamber, George Acker, Sr., George Acker, Jr., Charles Hoffman. Samuel Hoffman, Isaac Hoffman, Daniel Hoffman, John Paul, Obediah Griffin. John Woodward, Stilly Huffman, William Davis, Daniel Bear, William C. Ely, Joseph Ely, Benjamin Dee, Stephen Hicker, Franklin Ford, Amos Belden, Bainbridge Belden, John Mallory, Peter Holben, George W. Kellogg, Truman Whitman, John B. Kimmel, John D. Brink, Jared Parker, Peter F. Chambarci, William F. Ward, Junius Chase, J. P. Ritter, Jacob Hipput, Thomas C. Lester, J.L. Wise, George Lewis, Ebenezer' Lloyd, Lyman Ellsworth, George F. Dubois, George Graves, David F. Spencer, Edward Gamble, A. Amsbaugh, Rial Sweatland, Henry T. aulkins, Daniel Rhodes, Oliver Town, Uriah S. Town, Hosea Harmdon, Isaac Town, John W. Lilley, George Gamber, Henry Punches, Samuel Farst, Hon. A. W. Flickinger, William Plopper, W. P. Garrison, William Thompson, John Wiley and Josiah Woodworth, the latter being killed by lightning about 1846. He was hiving, when killed, in the part taken from Millcreek township.
Daniel Hoffman settled in Gorham township from Seneca county, New York, in 1844, although he was a native of Pennsylvania. He died in Gorham township in 1873. Henry Emerick, an early and influential settler, who came here in 1849, was born in Seneca county, New York, January 18, 1826. He purchased his homestead of eighty acres in 1851, the land adjoining the corporation of Fayette. He served as trustee of the township, and was an active member of the Agricultural Society. Abraham Van Valkenburg was born in Kinderhook, New York, in 1820, and settled in Gorham township in 1847, where he purchased eighty acres of land. Ephraim Sergent was born in Rutland county, Vermont, in i8o8, and settled in what is now Gorham township, but what was then Lucas county, in 1835. He purchased his homestead farm of eighty acres, in 1836, and cleared and improved it, besides liberally educating his fourteen children. Truman L. Scofield was born in Onondaga county, New York, July 5, 1820, and settled in Fulton county in 1844. He was a stock raiser and farmer. Martin Beilhartz was born in Wurtemburg, Germany, December 15, 1803, and emigrated to America in 1833, settling in what is now Fulton county. He was a shoemaker by trade, but becanie a successful farmer and stock raiser. William H. Conrad was born in Johnstown, Fulton county, New York, in 1818, and settled in Fulton county, Ohio, in 1845, with a cash capital of sixteen dollars. But before his death he owned 490 acres of the best land in the county. Philander Crane settled here in 1837. Israel Mattern was born in Columbia county, Pennsylvania, April 15, 1818, and came into Fulton county, in 1846. He served as justice of the peace for twenty-five years in Gorham township, and also filled the offices of township trustee and school director. Jacob Mattern, also a native of Pennsylvania, settled in Gorham in 1846, where he engaged in the manufacture of wagons and carriages, was deputy sheriff of the county and active in other public affairs. He enlisted in Company K of the Thirty-eighth Ohio regiment, in August, 1861, under Colonel Bradley, was discharged on account of disability and died at his home in May, 1862. John Gamber was born in Seneca county, New York, in 1819. In early life he learned the carpenter trade, which he followed until he purchased his farm of 160 acres, in 1845, in Gorham, and for which he paid $460; He settled on the farm in1846, cleared it, and in 1863 sold it and purchased a half interest in the steam flouring mill of Humphrey & Allen. In 1869 he sold his interest in the mill and purchased the Fayette hotel, and in 1872 sold the hotel and became engaged in the real estate business. He was street commissioner at the time of the incorporation of the village of Fayette, and he also served as treasurer of the village. He was one of the most active business men of the town, but in 1880, he retired from business life.
Samuel Hoffman, a pioneer farmer of Gorham township, but who later engaged in the mercantile business, was born in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, June 11, 1824, and was a son of Daniel Hoffman, who came to Gorham township from Seneca county, New York, in 1844. Daniel Hoffman was born in 1798, and died in Gorham township in 1873. Samuel Hoffman commenced business life as a poor man in 1845, when with his brother he purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, for which they paid $555. He became engaged in the mercantile business in 1875, and in 1880 he erected two brick store buildings in Fayette.
William C. Ely settled in Fulton county in 1848. He was born in Knox county, Ohio, April 1, 1831. William Ely, father of William C., was a native of Pennsylvania and settled in Fulton county in 1848, and lived here the remainder of his life.
John D. Brink was born in Ulster county, New York, September 19, 1807, and settled in Gorha.m township in 1844. Jared Parker was born in Rhode Island, in 1819, and settled in Fulton county in 1848, the county being thinly settled at that time. He commenced teaching school in Gorham township, however, in 1840, and taught seven years, summer and winter. After taking up his residence in the township he filled the office of justice of the peace nine years, township clerk fourteen years, notary public six years and postmaster at Fayette six years.
Peter F. Chambard was born in France October 12, 1822, camewith his parents to America in 1836, and settled with them in Wayne county, Ohio. In 1851, he came to Gorham township, where he' followed successfully the business of farming and stock raising.
Jacob P. Ritter, who was a leading and influential man of Gorham township, was born in Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, in 1824. He apprenticed himself to the carpenters' trade and became a master builder and jobber. After locating in Fulton county, he at once evinced a great interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community. He became interested in the building of the Chicago and Canada Southern railroad and assisted in procuring the right of way. He held the position of tie inspector and was in the employ of the railroad for a number of years. He was the first ticket agent at Ritter's Station, established the postoffice and was appointed postmaster at that place. He served as justice of the peace for two terms, town clerk, assessor, trustee, and in 1874 became engaged in the grocery business at Ritter's Station.
Thomas C. Lester was born in Cayuga county, New York, February 22, 1819, and settled in Fulton county in 1848. John L. Wise was born in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, in 1829, and settled in Fulton county with his parents, Hon. J. Wise and wife, in 1848. He was a member of the One Hundred and Eighty-ninth regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the war of 1861-5. (;eorge F. DuBois settled in Fulton county in 1847, having been born in New York, April 28, 1814. George P. Graves was born in' Massachusetts, June 23, 1841, and as a child came with his father, Perry Graves, to Fulton county, in 1852.
Edward Gamble was born in Leicestershire, England, and with a family of three sons migrated to America and settled in Richiand county, Ohio, in 1841, coming to Gorham township in 1845, where he died in 1882, at the age of eighty-eight years. At the time of his death he owned 235 acres of land and had proved himself a successful farmer.
Henry T. Caulkins was born in Otsego county, New York, April 15, 1830, and with his father, Charles Caulkins, settled in Fulton county in 1845. He became quite prominent as a stock raiser and farmer, and filled the office of township trustee and school director.
George Gamber was an early settler of Gorham township, and was born in Seneca county, New York, April 22, 1821. He settled in Fulton county in 1854 and purchased a farm of 185 acres. He served as trustee of the township for twenty years and held other local offices.
Henry Punches was one of the early settlers of Fulton county, and was born in Seneca county, New York, in 1821. He settled in Gorham in 1850, and purchased a homestead of eighty acres, which under his management was finely improved. He served as township treasurer for nine years.
William P. Garrison was born in Richland county, Ohio, March 12, 1847, and settled in Fulton county, in i868.
As before stated, Hiram Farwell was the first settler, and it 'is supposed that he erected the first cabin in which white people dwelt. The first saw mill was erected near the western limits of Fayette, by Rensselaer S. Humphrey. Henry Boyd of Maumee City, was the first merchant in the township and opened his store at Fayette, in 1852.
The first election of which we have any record occurred at the house of Erastus Cottrell, on the first Monday in April, 1838, but the names of the fortunate ones-who were called from obscurity and compelled to withstand the trying ordeal of having political honors thrust upon them-have not been preserved to posterity.
The town of Fayette, which had a precarious existence for the first years of its life, gradually assumed the proportions of a thrifty town. Prior to the construction of the Canada Southern railroad, it was scarcely a business center, and had a small population, though there were successful business enterprises located in the village. But with the building of the railroad, and the establishment of a station there, the town began to take on life, and soon thereafter was incorporated. It is supported by a rich agricultural district, remote from formidable towns, and is an extensive shipping point on that branch of the Lake Shore railroad. Its business men are a class of progressive and enterprising people, who command ample capital and first-class facilities for the transaction of the large volume of business. Though it has not made rapid strides in growth, its population is mainly of that solid, permanent character which adds financial strength and stability. According to the census of 1900, the population is eight hundred and eighty-six. The town has wellbuilt residences and business blocks and good educational advantages and church facilities.
Gorham is well supplied with district schools now, in striking con- trast with the log houses and antiquated instruction of former days. Among the early teachers in the township were Oliver B. Verity, Lucinda Rogers, Elizabeth Freeman and Minerva Cottrell-all "sturdy knights of the birch," if it be proper so to designate the ladies.
The soil of Gorham township is generally fertile and well adapted to the raising of all kinds of grain, grasses and fruits. The valleys of the small streams are rich and productive, and as a whole the soil of the township is of excellent quality. It was originally covered with a fine growth of timber, in which the hardwood varieties predominated.