Talmadge was constituted a town by act of legislature, in 1838, and consisted of T. 7 and 8 N., R. 13 W. The first meeting was at the house of Wm. Stoddard, April 2d, 1838. At the organization of the town, there were elected:
Bethuel Church, Supervisor; Isreal V. Harris, Clerk; Abram Hatch, Silas G. Harris, Ira H. Maxfield, Alonzo D. Yeomans, Justices.
The record does not show the number of voters, but from them the following names are gleaned:
Edward Dalton, Daniel Angell, Jothan Baxter, Allen Stoddard, Thomas B. Woodbury, Harrison Hunter.
The vicissitudes, as it regards size, through which Talmadge has passed are:
In 1839, the town was enlarged by annexing to it T.7 and 8, R. 14 W.
Since then, by the organization of new towns, and the general arrangement of territory so that the river shall divide no town, the present shape and size of the town was reached in 1847.
By common consent, A. D. Yeomans and Allen Stoddard were the first that settled in Talmadge. They came in 1835. The stay of Yeomans was short. He sold out in 1838, to H. & Z. Steele, went to Illinois, and died. Stoddard lived the first winter in an Indian wigwam.
Ira H. Maxfield came from Clinton county, N.Y., in Feb., 1836. He was a farmer in Talmadge until his death, in 1874. He was a valued citizen; able, patriotic and honorable.
Harlow T. Judson came from Canada in 1836, and settled in Talmadge. He died in 1870
The other accessions of 1836, as nigh as ascertained, were:
Bethuel Church, Andrew Dalton, Edward Dalton, John Baxter, Victor Harris (Jan.), Lemuel Peake (Jan., ‘36), Lewis D. Burch, Jothan Baxter, T. B. Woodbury, Daniel Angell, (fall of ‘36).
In 1837:Damon Hatch, John C. Davis, ----Bromley, Harry Steele, Zina Steel.
The gleamings of the early history of the town are meager; there is little but adventures with wild beasts, among which Mr. Angell made himself a terror, subsisting for many year upon their destruction . Not counting deer, squirrels, bears, muskrats and other minor game, he killed seventy wolves, one of which was a big black one, and one a loop-cervier.
Mr. Angell, one night, out looking for his cattle, was startled by the cry of a panther near him. He did not see the beast. At that time it was known that two panthers were around, one of which was killed by a man near Crockery Creek, by a well directed ball planted between his eyes. The man startled the panther, who, before determing whether to charge or retreat, placed his paws on a log and looked at the hunter, winking first one eye and then the other, and gracefully swinging his candal elongation. The man, ejaculating one prayer to the devil, ground out the words between his teeth, "You impudent cuss!" and fired. Mr. Panther sprang up, turned more summersets than ever witnessed in a circus; and, in fact, acted as though he was mad, or at least half crazy. Calming himself by degrees, he lay down and died, apparently with quiet resignation.
This pair of panthers have been traced from Clinton county to Ottawa; where, one being killed, the other was seen no more. It is not known as they did any harm. They scared some people; and in Talmadge one of them lost his life because he must stop and look, instead of promptly acting. Let all wild beast learn wisdom; and when they meet a man with a gun, charge or retreat, and that instantly.
Soon after the first settlement of the place (for cites were then wonderfully popular), Mr. T. B. Woodbury having a half-section of land admirable for a city, laid out eighty acres of it. The fate of this city was not that of countless others, platted and mapped at about the same time. It became a village, is now a village, and a pretty village, too. Mr. Woodbury in one thing showed that he was a man of taste, a gentleman and a scholar. He run through the village a wide avenue, which is, at the same time, street and park.
But he, the originator of the village, reaped no benefit from it. He sold out, put his property into a grist-mill; that was burned, and he was destitute. He now lives near Fruitport.
The place became known as "Steele’s Landing," afterwards as "Middleville," until in 1857 name was changed by the Legislature to "Lomont." An interesting tradition has been handed down to the present time, that the people of thee place were warm in their admiration of the plaid dignity of A. Lomont Chubb, of Grand Rapids. He had, in connection with his father, opened a store for the sale of agricultural implements. They had seen in front of his store a beautiful road-scraper. It was just the thing they wanted. They feasted their eyes upon it; they coveted it. The village trustees determined in solemn council to but it, when lot the treasury was empty, not a nickel there. Still they must have that scraper, even if it cost them the good name of Middleville. Chubb was sounded, and it appeared that though he valued the scraper at it full worth, he valued immortality more. The historian approves his choice, and will himself add a chain to the scraper when any rising village will immortalize his name, by making it theirs. But won’t they, by-and by, sell their name again?
Having written so much, we sought an interview with Chubb, and having congratulated him on his cheap immortality, he, in his quiet way, with his usual placid smile and sly deliberation, remarked: "Are you-not-a-little-in-error-in-your-chronology? Was-not-the-naming-before-the-giving-of-the-scraper?" The wind was out of our sails. We had armed ourselves with scraper and chain, and had been looking for the village, who for it would give us immortality. What was our charging when we learned that these names were given in compliment to worth, and were not on sale. We’ve a scraper and chain to sell cheap. We’d like to see part of our money back again.
The first school in the town was kept by Mrs. Harrison Hunter, in a log house built by Hunter,. Among the first teachers was Mr. Barry, who is still a resident, and who is widely known as a logical grammarian.
The first house built as a school-house is standing still, degraded into a barn and catch all. It stands east of the brick church.
The town was named in compliment to Gen Talmadge, of Dutchess county, N.Y.
Romance in old age.
Among the earliest settler at Lamont, as many of the old settlers in this locality will remember, were Dan Angell and wife, who went there in 1837. They had lived, with the usual happiness, and trials, the usual health and illness that befall humanity, in Lamont, till the 5th of Nov. 1875, when Mrs. Angell died. Her death affected Mr. Angell very much--he loved his wife with a fervor and fidelity which many of the latter-day people cannot realize or understand, and he felt certain he could not long survive her loss. He insisted that he was going to die soon, and that her body should be kept, so that he might be buried at the same time in the same grave with her. His request was granted, and he did die on the 19th, just two weeks after, and both were buried on the 21st in the same grave. Such romance is not often found in these latter days.
Transcriber: Barb Jones
Created: 2 June 2010