Philip Fahling

NOTE: See family information below

Pages 206, 207 - PHILIP FAHLING, an enterprising andsuccessful general agriculturist, and son of the first German settler of ChesterTownship, Ottawa County, Mich., was born March 2, 1853, on the farm where he nowresides, and is the only son of Philip and Elizabeth Fahling, both natives ofGermany. The parents were married in the Old Country, but soon after emigratingto America located in Ohio, where they remained three years. From the BuckeyeState journeying to the farther West with oxen, they came to Michigan, fordingand swimming rivers on the way. Arriving in the Wolverine State in 1844, theytwo years later, in 1846, entered from the Government the farm of one hundredand sixty acres upon which they now live. The land was then heavily timbered,but, persistently worked upon, has been brought under a high state ofcultivation, and to the original acres have since been added others, until thehomestead now contains two hundred and eighty acres of valuable land, improvedwith buildings of a superior character, commodious, of modern architecture andfinely arranged. When the parents located in Michigan the father had $300 andthe wife $140, money which they had made in Ohio. The father, working on a farmfor $10 per month, had saved it all, and now, with Conrad Kritzer, made thefirst settlement in Chester Township. The first white child born in the townshipwas the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Fahling, Margaret, now Mrs. Klink,of Alpine Township, Kent County.

When the Fahlings located in Chester Township they were obliged to do alltheir trading in Grand Rapids, and as they had no horses the grist was broughtupon their backs all the way home, there being no roads over which their oxenmight have hauled the stuff. Their nearest neighbor was John Coffee, five milessouth from their place. Desiring to fill their beds with straw, they wereobliged to transport the same a long distance on their backs. The first shantyerected by Mr. Fahling Mr. Kritzer assisted in putting up, as did also AdamLachman, a young man who had accompanied them from Ohio. It was built in threedays, no nails being used in the construction, with the exception of a few inthe door. Mr. Fahling and Mr. Kritzer with their families lived together threemonths, and then Mr. Kritzer built a similar house for his family. These earlypioneers, enduring sacrifices and great privations, toiled unceasingly thattheir children might in the days to come reap the benefit. The father throughincessant toil contracted consumption, and at the early age of forty-five yearspassed away, in 1860, leaving a widow and five children to mourn his loss. Twolittle ones had preceded him to the better land. Margaret, Mrs. Klink, is theeldest-born; Elizabeth is the wife of Chris Peters, of Casenovia Township,Muskegon County; Philip is our subject; Christiana, deceased, was the wife ofFred Rister, of Chester Township; and Mary, deceased, was the wife of John Mortz,of Big Rapids. The mother, married in 1862 to Henry Ritz, resides in SpartaTownship, Kent County, and by her second husband has one son, John, a citizen ofSparta Township.

Our subject was educated in the free and Lutheran schools of his homeneighborhood, both his parents being of the Lutheran denomination. Reared tofarming life and work, he was but eight years of age at the time of his father’sdeath, and continued to live with his mother and stepfather until mature age,upon his twenty-first birthday purchasing one hundred and four acres of the oldhomestead on which he was reared.

Upon December 31, 1881, at the age of twenty-eight years, Philip Fahlingmarried Christina Rister, a native of New York and a daughter of Jacob Rister,who in the early days came to Michigan and here prosperously engaged in farming.Unto our subject and his estimable wife have been born three children: Mary,Philip, Jr., and Charley. Mr. and Mrs. Fahling are both valued members of theLutheran Church and are active aids in good work. Politically, our subject, aswas his father before him, is a strong Democrat and an ardent advocate of"the Party of the People." Financially blessed with an abundance ofthis world’s goods, Mr. Fahling is ranked among the energetic and ambitiousagriculturists of Ottawa County, and is recognized as a leading man of publicspirit, ever ready to do his full share in all matters of mutual welfare andenterprise.

Family Information per Teresa Wagner:  2nd Paragraph - Christiana,deceased, was the wife of Fred Reister (not Rister), of Chester Township.
4th Paragraph:  Rister should be Reister.  When the familyfirst arrived in Niagara County, NY, their name was spelled Reuster.

Portrait & Biographical Record of Muskegon & OttawaCounties, Michigan 1893, Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company

Transcriber: Susan Gates Davis
Created: 3 April 2003