CONKLIN
(
The Coopersville Observer, Friday, July 31, 1931, Pages 1, 3 & 4)

A Brief History of the Village, Its Churches, School and People. Written by Harry L. Swan of the Observer Staff. One of a Series of Stories to Appear in This Paper.

In this, the second of the series of articles to be published on the history, past and present of this part of Ottawa county, we have taken the village of Conklin as our subject. The township of Chester, in which Conklin is located was surveyed in 1837, but its organization was not perfected until the year 1848. The con______ __ __ independent termship is dated March 11, 1848. The territory was put upon the market as early as 1839, but had no settlers to speak of until 1845, when quite a number of families came into the district to make their home. Philip Fahling, Jacob Brown, Otis Irish, Wm. A. Irish, O. A. Merrick, Henry Austin, Samuel Austin and several others came in 1845. In 1846 we find that Adam Lachman, A. D. Batson, James Rowlinson, Conrad Kritzer, John Pintler, Edward Gardner, Geo. Irish, Daniel Thurston and others came. Samuel H. Averill, John Kies and the Bennetts were also among the earliest settlers of this vicinity.

The first child born in the township, so far as there is any record was a daughter of Philip Fahling.

The first school house in the township was located on section 25, was built of logs and was used as a place of worship as well as for the conducting of school.

The first township meeting was held at the home of John McClane, who was chosen supervisor. O. H. Merrick was made clerk and also justice of the peace; George Irish was elected to the office of assessor. There were but nine voters present at this meeting, but two years later the township cast fifty-three votes for governor.

So far as we have been able to learn the first settler of what is now the village of Conklin was a man by the name of Pugh, who came to this spot and settled upon forty acres of land, Conklin village now standing upon the land which this man once called his home. The land later passed into the hands of O. F. Conklin and was used by him as the town site. The first building of the village to be used for mercantile purposes was built by Mr. Conklin and after many years of constant use as a store room, still stands, though now unoccupied, as a monument to the dreams of a man who could visualize a city in this rich farming center and expended much effort to make the dream come true. The early residents of this community, before the coming of the railroad, had no direct mail service, the mail being handled and carried by the drivers of the stage coaches, the residents of the territory along to the west getting their mail at "Six Corners," which was a stopping point for the stage coach plying between Marne and Ravenna. Others received their mail at Big Springs, Lisbon, Harrisburg, Wright and Gooding, all stopping places for the stage coach and all boasting a postoffice. The stage station at Six Corners was quite an important point, there being several places located there at which the needs of the traveler could be supplied.

Those places _____ _____ have mentioned until the coming of the railroad to Conklin, after which time the mail came by train and these stations disappeared and have passed into history.

The railroad came through this section in 1886, and with the coming of the trains came the men who have been identified with the business and industrial life of the village through the intervening years. The following year, 1887, the postoffice was established and, as we are told, Mr. Conklin made a trip to Washington with the request that this point be named Conklin. At this time the community was known as Westchester. In accordance with his request the postoffice was given the name which it now bears. Henry A. Miller was the first postmaster. Following him came A. U. Dickerson, who served until 1898, when Charles L. Bean, the present postmaster took charge and has continued in the office until now. This has been covered in another part of the story.

With the coming of the railroad and the inevitable migration of settlers to the locality, businesses of different natures were established and the village slowly grew. The richness of the valley attracted the farmers and where the farmer locates to till the soil there always follows the stores, the elevators, mills, churches and schools. This has been the procedure in Conklin.

The first school house, which was of log construction, was built about seventy years ago on nearly the same location as that occupied by the present school where the children of Conklin receive their education, about three-fourths of a mile from the village.

In 1848 Solon Daggett, who passed away about a year ago, settled on the farm where the school house stands, and realizing the necessity for an educational home in the community, presented the land necessary for the project to the school district, the school after its completion being named for him and is still known as the Daggett school.

The school has grown with the community, and when the first log building was found inadequate for the needs of the district a new one was built. The progressiveness of this school district is shown by the present structure, which is a commodious and well lighted building with ample space for the accommodation of the pupils in attendance.

Ten grades are taught in this school many of the students here receiving the balance of credits needed for college entrance at the Coopersville school. Three teachers are employed and the instruction given is of the highest order.

Mrs. R. O. Brevitz, whose home is upon the farm where the school stands, received her early education at this school and for twelve years teacher of the primary department. Charles Bean of the Conklin State bank was also teacher in the school for some time.

COMMUNITY CHURCH

The church at Conklin, which was Congregational in denomination at its inception was built in 1896, to supply the need of a community which had grown beyond the point where the services could be held adequately otherwise. The first pastor of the new church was Rev. John Stapleton, who made his home in Conklin for a considerable length of time. While pastor here he also served the hamlet of Lamont and at one time made his home there.

For a considerable length of time the church was without a regular pastor. Later the services of Rev. John H. Bruggers of the Coopersville Reformed church were secured and the congregation had cause to congratulate themselves that this able man was available. The church, which owing to the mixed Protestant congregation is very generally known as the Community church, is at the present time in charge of Henry Bast, a student pastor. Mr. Bast has been doing a wonderful work since he took charge a few months ago and has the different societies affiliated with the church work well organized and functioning in a most satisfactory manner. When Mr. Bast is compelled to leave Conklin to again take up his school work he will be greatly missed as he has made a host of friends in the short time he has been connected with the life of the village.

About fifty years ago the grist mill at Conklin was established by the Patrons of Industry, an organization, of farmers, and was operated by them for many years, finally being taken over by L. M. Smith, a miller of experience, who served his patrons in a very satisfactory manner until the sale of the mill to Mr. H. I. McMillen. Mr. McMillen continued to give the same high quality of service that had been dispensed by his predecessors, but when the proper offer was made to him by the Peoples Milling Co., a large corporation whose headquarters are in Muskegon, he disposed of his interests to the company, but remained in their employ. Mr. McMillen can still be found performing his old duties he having charge of the grinding of the flour. Arthur Conrad has charge of the mill for the company and between these two men the parent company is able represented in Conklin.

In addition to the milling of all kinds of feeds and flour, this concern buys grain and beans. They are a high grade representative of a community that is second to none as their many years of successful business life is ample proof.

BATSONíS FORD GARAGE

What will perhaps take rank as the largest single industry in the village of Conklin is the Conklin Co-Operative Creamery. This institution ranks high, both in quality of its product and volume of business which is handled yearly.

The Conklin Creamery was first established in 1913, in small quarters in the northern part of the village. Today it occupies a building especially planned for the housing of the institution. It is a modern building in every way and equipped with machinery designed to handle the business of the company with the minimum of waste and the maximum of production. The plant in its present location in the center of the village, built of brick, is an ornament to the community as well as a monument to the enterprise and perseverance of the organization.

The small town creamery is an industry which cannot fail to be an asset to the district which it serves, bringing, as it does, the money from the larger cities back into the smaller communities. A farming district which boasts of a creamery that consistently manufactures a good product, the market for which is almost automatically created by reason of its quality, is invariably a prosperous community.

The Conklin Creamery, for instance, pays out yearly from $150,000 to $160,000, which is distributed among approximately four hundred patrons. This is an average of $400 to each farmer and makes a very welcome addition to the income of any man.

The cream supply of this creamery is gathered from a wide territory and after being manufactured into butter, the bulk of the product is taken by truck to Grand Rapids, where 104 retail stores handle Conklin butter regularly. A considerable amount of this butter is sold in the stores of Coopersville and varying amounts in other cities of the country. The surplus product of the Conklin Creamery is shipped to Boston and sold in the markets there.

Cleanliness is the watchword of this particular plant and we feel that a description of the method of handling the cream from the time it reaches the creamery until the finished product is put upon the market should be of interest to our readers.

The cream is taken from the truck transporting it directly onto the scales where the gross weight of each can is taken. As the weight of the can is stamped upon the container itself, this insures absolutely accurate weight to the producer. The scales are locked and no manipulation is possible. From the can, after it has been weighed, a sample of the cream is taken, put into the strainer, steamed and tested. While this is being done the can from which the cream has been removed is put into the washer, where it is automatically washed with water and live steam, forced into the washer under many pounds of pressure. The cream after having been tested is poured into a vat where a series of coils filled with live steam are slowly circulated. At the end of this process the cream is cooled, the degree of temperature to which the processed cream is lowered varying with the season. At the present time it is brought down to forty-six degrees. The cream is now held over night and the next day is made into butter. The entire process is absolutely sanitary and a knowledge of the care taken with the raw material convinces the most skeptical of the absolute cleanliness of the finished product.

The daily production of the creamery varies with the season, the amount of pasturage available, the balancing of ration fed to the cows and other conditions which enter into the dairymanís method of feeding, all having their effect upon the amount of milk produced by the individual cow. Early in the season this creamery was running with a daily average production of 2,000 pounds. At the present time this has been reduced to about 1,500 pounds, due principally to the condition of the pastures. These figures show that a lot of people are eating and enjoying the product of the Conklin creamery.

CONKLIN CREAMERY

Perl Gilhespy, manager of the creamery, has been with the company since 1915 and enjoys the reputation of being a man who knows and thoroughly understands all the details of the business. His length of service gives evidence that he has certainly made good in this plant. He is a native of Chester township, his grandfather, John Gillhespy, having settled there in the pioneer days when the houses were built of logs, and oxen pulled the plows of the farmers through the fields strewn with the stumps of beech and maple.

James Chittick, who time after time has been re-elected supervisor of Chester township, and John Wiltenberg alternate from year to year the office of president and vice president. This is done with the entire approval of the patrons, who gather in Conklin the third Thursday of each January, to the number of three to four hundred, for their annual meeting. Both of these gentlemen are qualified in every way to handle the responsible position conferred upon them and have in no small measure been responsible for the upbuilding and steady growth of the organization. Evert H. Collar of Wright township is secretary of the creamery organization and like the gentlemen named above is thoroughly sold on and a booster for cooperation.

About twenty-seven years ago, or in 1904, E. D. Wright, realizing that the village of Conklin had grown to proportions where the establishment of a bank was necessary to facilitate the transaction of business in the community, established a private bank. His judgment proved to be entirely correct and when in 1912 it was proposed to re-organize the bank into state corporation no difficulty whatever was experienced in selling the stock necessary to put the institution on a substantial basis.

The capital stock of the Conklin State bank is $20,000 and the surplus and undivided profits on the first day of July was $9,335.99. The commercial deposits at this date were $27,479.71 and the savings deposits were $95,902.00.

When the re-organization was completed Charles L. Bean, Mr. Wright, Thomas Hines, Carlos Muni and Robert Lange were chosen as directors of the new bank with Mr. Hines as president of the body. Upon the death of Mr. Hines in 1919, Charles L. Bean succeeded to the office of president and at the present time is serving the institution in the double capacity of president and (cashier?) His son, Carl Bean is assistant cashier. The board of directors at the present time are Earl B. Thurston, Fred W. Bean, Albert F. Brown, Herbert Triick and Charles L. Bean. The Messrs Bean both have that rare combination of geniality, courtesy and fine business sense which make them valuable to their associates and extremely popular with their clients.

CHARLES L. BEAN

Mr. Thurston is the son of an early pioneer of Chester township. Mr. Brown is a former resident of Conklin but now makes his home in Grand Rapids. Charles L. Bean is a true native son, being born in the township. His father, John W. Bean, settled in Chester shortly after the close of the Civil war, and the family have never felt the urge to move to other localities. Mr. Bean in his active connection with the bank since its incorporation has formed a wide acquaintance in Ottawa and surrounding counties, as well as among the bankers and financiers of the state. Herbert Triick was born in the sunny south, below the Mason-Dixon line, but has been a resident of Chester township for many years, where he has established himself as the leading cattle buyer and shipper, his activities covering a wide range of territory.

Through the efforts of these men the banking needs of Conklin and community are served in a careful, conservative manner, the policy of liberality with safety being carried out by the institution in all its dealings with the people who transact their business there.

Edward O. Willard, whose business activities in Conklin cover a diversified field was for twenty-five years a resident of Holton township, Muskegon county. There he was occupied in the service of Uncle Sam, serving for several years as rural mail carrier and also a considerable length of time as assistant postmaster.

Six years ago Mr. Willard was attracted by the possibilities of Conklin and migrated to the village to make his future home. He acquired possession of the store from which he now supplies the needs of his patrons with a well selected stock of general merchandise which includes groceries, meats, shoes, dry goods, etc. His business venture in the village has been successful and the fruits of his labor have been re-invested in a community enterprise, the Conklin State Bank, considerable stock of that institution having been purchased by him.

Realizing that a restaurant in Conklin was a necessity as well as a convenience Mr. Willard took over the establishment of Mike Fitzgerald when it was offered on the market and has ably upheld his reputation of ability to serve the needs of the people by his method of conducting this new venture. Here you may purchase food guaranteed to satisfy the inner man, cooked in a manner that stimulates the appetite and makes you a booster for this popular place. In addition to meals and lunches, ice cream as well as the coolest and most palatable of soft drinks are served.

The postoffice of Conklin is under the guidance of Charles L. Bean, who has served in the capacity of postmaster of the village for the past thirty-three years. Few if any servants of Uncle Sam can claim the record which has been established by Mr. Bean since his appointment a third of a century ago.

Mr. Bean became postmaster during the presidency of Wm. McKinley and through all the changes in administration of the government since that time has continued in the office. He has served the people of Conklin through the administrations of Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. These men with the exception of our present national executive have completed their terms of office and gone back into private life. Mr. Bean, by the unqualified approval of his townspeople has consistently been chosen to succeed himself in the office.

A considerable territory is served from the Conklin postoffice. Three rural routes center here, the district covered by the carriers including Chester, as well as parts of Wright, Polkton, Alpine and Ravenna. Those handling the rural routes from this office are Robert O. Brevitz, Ralph H. Wright and Alford G. Kaufman. A total of 1878 patrons are served locally and through the rural routes from the Conklin postoffice.

Esther L. Harris, sister of Mr. Bean, is assistant postmaster and her efforts are in a large measure responsible for the excellent service the many patrons are given.

Two blacksmith shops are located in Conklin and the work of the residents of village and surrounding territory are ably cared for by Henry Wiltenberg and Frank Lacey. There is a fascination centering in the blacksmith shop of any village that never entirely leaves a person. Poem and prose have been written in days gone by, the inspiration for which was received from watching the work of the village smithy.

The passing of the "horse age" is deplored by Mr. Lacey, whose preference for the branch of work including their shoeing is very strong. He mentions that many times in the old days he with the help of another blacksmith had been kept busy from four a. m. until ten p. m.

E. T. Dinkel, present proprietor of the hardware store in Conklin, while practically a newcomer to the business life of the village, did not enter Conklin as a stranger. Mr. Dinkel is a product of Chester township, his parents being among the early settlers of the community and he has grown up with many of those who are now supplying their hardwareneeds at his place of business.

Mr. Dinkel purchased the business of John Vandermeer four years ago, the store he occupies having been built very shortly after the birth of Conklin, by Henry Miller, grandfather of Mr. Dinkel. This building is one of the oldest in Conklin, the material for it having been transported by team from Slocum, a small settlement where were located kilns for the manufacture of brick and also for the burning of charcoal. John McWilliams, for many years identified with the business life of Conklin and still a resident of the village was one of the men who erected this building, he having helped with the laying of the brick during its construction.

Mr. Miller, who erected the building and established the business was succeeded by Mr. Lillibridge and he in turn sold the business to Stauffer Bros. These gentlemen passed it on to the Henry Johnson and he in turn sold it to John Vandermeer, from whom Mr. Dinkel purchased the stock and good will.

In addition to a very complete stock of both light and heavy hardward, Mr. Dinkel handles the John Deere line of farm implements. He is also agent for the Holland furnaces and has installed many of these popular heating plants in the vicinity. Mr. Dinkel is a naturally busy man and in addition to his duties at the store cares for the plumbing needs of a wide circle of satisfied customers in Ottawa and Muskegon counties.

He is interested in all the civic needs of his community and gives unsparingly of his time that the village may progress. When he is called to outside duties his wife takes care of the conduct of business in a very able manner and to the entire satisfaction of the customers.

Schafer & Wiltenberg are the proprietors of the lumber yard at Conklin and their arrangement of the work connected with the business causes the wheels to run smoothly and without the slightest friction. The firm carries a complete supply of lumber and building material and also does a large amount of contracting, distributed over a wide area. Here you may ask for and receive a price on any ___________ ____ ___ complete and ready to move into, with heating plant and plumbing installed, all furnished by this firm. Mr. Schafer is in charge of the work outside the shop and Mr. Wiltenberg handles the affairs of the firm at the yard.

Here they have installed a planing mill where lumber may be sawed, ripped and planed to meet your requirements, without the loss of any excessive amount of time, which is a big factor in the lives of the community they serve. Both of these gentlemen were born and reared in the community where they conduct their business and have been filling the lumber needs of Conklin for the past six years. The firm are agents for the heating plants they install and also do a large coal business.

Dan Schamber takes care of a fair share of the automobile ills of the village and surrounding territory, his garage being located in a convenient place on the main street. Dan takes Ďem apart and puts Ďem together in a workmanlike manner and guarantees them to run. He also dispenses gas and oil and conducts a battery charging station.

One of the older institutions of the village is that now conducted by Condon & Runciman, the Conklin elevator. The building occupied by this firm is one of the landmarks of the village. Many years ago S. W. Skeels established a store house on the site of the present structure, using part of the building as a dwelling and conducting his business in the balance. He was at that time agent for the railroad at Conklin. Later John W. Cazier was taken into partnership by Mr. Skeels and the business was changed to handle the regular run of business coming to an elevator. Their interests were taken over by Conklin & Wallace and after some time these men transferred their interests to Haas & Stockhill, Mr. Haas finally selling his interest to Mr. Emmons. This firm later disposed of the business to E. Z. Albright, who conducted the same until it was taken over by a number of the farmers of the community and changed to the Farmers Co-Operative Elevator Co. After conducting the business several years this company sold to the present owners, Arthur Condon and his partner, C. H. Runciman of Lowell. The active management of the business is in the hands of Mr. Condon and due to his careful operation the mill and elevator has enjoyed a successful and growing business.

This firm buys wheat and other grains, cleans beans and does a large business in general farm feed supplies, grinding and mixing feed to order and otherwise proving to their patrons that here may be purchased what they want and when they want it.

Since assuming charge of the business Mr. Condon has purchased the interests of Moseley Bros. in their warehouse located in Conklin and uses this building as a potato warehouse. Across the tracks from the elevator the firm have also taken over another building which they use for the storage of supplies of feed and other commodities handled by them.

Charles G. Batson has been selling Ford cars, the product that made Michigan famous, to the people of Conklin and surrounding territory for the past ten years. During this time Mr. Batson has ever been on the lookout for opportunities to improve both his method of doing business and the community which he serves. That he has been successful is best demonstrated by the fact that he has erected a building for the housing of his business that would be a credit to any city.

The building is partitioned in such a manner that he is allowed space for a fine display room in front to which is added his general office and a private office. Here also is special stock room shelving where may be seen a complete stock of parts and fittings for the car he sells, which means that the average work on any Ford needing the attention of a mechanic can be performed without the necessity of waiting for factory service. Back of the display room is an immense room designed for storage and general garage use. The capacity of this room is greater than the needs of the community and crowding is unnecessary.

Above the office rooms space has been provided for the storage of fenders and other parts of like nature. Neatness has been emphasized in the carrying out of Mr. Batsonís ideas and he has a plant which it is a pleasure to visit.

Mr. Batson, like so many other of the Conklin business men, is a native of Chester township, having been born and reared just a short distance outside the village limits. David Batson, father of Charles, came to Chester township over eighty years ago, a babe of eighteen months and the family has been identified through the intervening years with the progress of the township. His father at 82 years of age is still hale and hearty and taking interest in affairs at home and abroad.

The residents of Conklin are very proud of their fire department and its equipment and have proven themselves a real community asset. The department was organized more than twenty(?) years ago through the efforts of the associated business men of the village and has been sustained by them in cooperation with the farmers of that vicinity. They are equipped at the present time with first class chemical apparatus which is in charge of E. C. Doane, the barber.

Arthur Condon is president of the organization, Glenn McNitt is the treasurer and E. T. Dinkel is chief. The organization is volunteer in its character and has given universal satisfaction both to the village and to the farmers nearby, whom it serves as well.

CONKLIN HIGH SCHOOL

Mrs. C. F. Benton, who conducts Conklinís funeral home and undertaking establishment has had more than twenty years in this most exacting vocation and with the wide knowledge thus obtained and with her never-failing fund of sympathy has found for herself a place in the hearts of those whose loved ones she has prepared for their last rest. Since the death of Mr. Benton she has carried on the work they had been taking care of together and has ably demonstrated her fitness for the task.

In addition to the undertaking business Mrs. Benton carries a line of furniture, linoleums, etc., and the needs of the community can be supplied by her at any time. She will also order any special pieces that may be desired.

Although the McNitt family have for many years been identified with the history of this locality, W. T. McNitt had wandered from the community and taken up other work. During his wandering he enjoyed a varied experience having been employed for a considerable length of time in the railway service and as a traveling salesman and was for some time in business in Grand Rapids.

About three years ago Mr. McNitt felt the urge to return to the home fields of the clan McNitt and opportunity presented itself in Conklin. He was fortunate in being able to secure the large and well lighted brick store room formerly occupied by R. H. Smith Mercantile Co., and the wide knowledge of merchandising gained during his experience as salesman and in the conduct of his Grand Rapids business has stood him in good stead in his business venture in Conklin.

In his store there is abundant opportunity for the display of his choice and varied stock of merchandise and he has utilized this opportunity to the utmost with the result that he has given his customers a store that is up to the minute both in quality of goods handled and in present day merchandising methods. He believes in putting the goods he has for sale where the prospective customer can see for themselves and this belief he has put into practice. His method of doing business is meeting with the success it warrants.

Conklinís oldest merchant, in point of service, is William A. Lovelace, proprietor of one of the most popular general merchandise stores of the village. The business which he conducts is also one of the first to be established in Conklin, it having been in the hands of a number of the first men to locate in the village before being purchased by Mr. Lovelace. Mr. Lovelace is a native of Pennsylvania, but migrated to Michigan fifty-three years ago. He made his home at Lilley, Newaygo county for some time, coming to Conklin thirty years ago. He has been in business there ever since and has succeeded in making a host of friends for himself and his place of business by his never-failing courtesy to those with whom he comes in contact and by his policy of fair prices and honest dealing which has been the unswerving(?) rule through all the years he has been catering to the public.

Coming to Conklin, he was for a short time proprietor of a meat market, leaving that line to take over the store which he has conducted since that time.

In the store of Mr. Lovelace may be found a large and varied stock of general merchandise all clean, new goods, properly arranged and displayed with the idea of creating in the minds of the prospective buyer a desire for his goods.

This business institution has been under the control of a number of men before coming into the hands of Mr. Lovelace. Wilson McWilliams, John W. Cazier, J. R. Pixley and then John H. Hoogstraat, of whom Mr. Lovelace purchased the business have been in charge of this popular store during the many years it has been conducted in the village and their names are closely connected with the business and social life of the community.

Mr. Lovelace was for thirteen years treasurer of the Business Menís Association of Conklin, an organization which has from its inception taken an active part in the upbuilding of the community. Mr. Lovelace gave liberally of his time to the organization and has been a continual booster for the policies which they promoted.

For the past ten years Robert Jablonski has been proprietor of the pool and billiard hall in the village, his place of business having grown in popularity during this time with both the young and old, who with a few idle moments to while away, welcome the opportunity to pit their skill at this scientific game with some friend. In addition to pool and billiards, Mr. Jablonski handles tobaccos, soft drinks, etc.

Another of the old time businessmen of Conklin is William Asman. He has been connected with the business life of the village for thirty-two years and in that time has watched the wheels of progress roll their slow but inexorable way through the affairs of the village.

Mr. Asman handles the McCormick line of farm machinery, choosing this product twenty-eight years ago and has never had cause to regret his choice. The trade territory supplied by Mr. Asman covers a wide range and his customers and his friends, repeating their orders as time works its way and makes the purchase of new and more up-to-date implements imperative.

Here may also be purchased any thing in the way of garden or farm tools, binder twine, oils and gas and a multitude of things connected with the mechanical side of farming.

Mr. Asman was born in Germany and migrated to America with his parents at an early age. A number of his boyhood years were spent in Grand Haven and he has been a resident of Ottawa County for forty-two years. He was in business in Coopersville until the big fire here destroyed his store and stock.

Mr. Asman is a widely traveled man and an interesting talker, his memory of many of the happenings of his younger days in the old country causing ones knowledge of geography to be put to the test. His long residence and business life in Conklin have placed him where the events of village life may pass in retrospect through his memory of the happening.

The telephone service in Conklin is supplied by the Michigan Associated Telephone Company whose headquarters are in Muskegon and the service furnished by this company, both local and long distance is above par. There are 110 users of phones in Conklin and vicinity who are served directly from the Conklin exchange. Mrs. Clara Rhodes is the local manager and ______. This position which she has held efficiently for fourteen years. Mrs. Sophia Waite is her able assistant.

The medical needs of the village of Conklin are adequately taken care of by Dr. R. O. Allen, who for the past twelve years has been practicing his profession of medicine there. This carries him thru the country surrounding Conklin and during his years of service he has faithfully and lavishly given of his time that the last sufferings of those crossing the dark border might be eased. He has ushered into the world many of the future citizens of the village and otherwise done his part in keeping the standard of health in Conklin on a par with her neighbors.

Besides his medical practice Dr. Allen is proprietor of a neat drug store, one that is a credit to the village and where may be found in addition the usual line of drugs and medicines, a fine display of toilet essentials, stationery, etc., as well as an up-to-date soda fountain.

Dr. Allen spent his boyhood days in Muskegon, where his father was at one time mill owner. After gradation from a Chicago medical school he practiced his profession in Mecosta county for sixteen years before coming to Conklin. Dr. Allen has built up a fine practice in the village and surrounding territory and yet has found time to be identified with the projects which make for a better place in which to live.

The Conklin Oil Co., located on the main street of the village, has made itself very popular with those in need of gas and oil. This business, which has been under the management of Clarence Rhodes, has changed hands in the past few days, the interest of Mrs. George Arnold having been purchased by Bernie Lemmen of Coopersville. Mr. Arnold, former owner of the business, passed away a short time ago and since his death Mr. Rhodes has had complete charge of the business. Under the new ownership he will continue as manager of the enterprise, which will be welcome to his many friends in and around Conklin.

In addition to the gas station as mentioned above the business also includes a set of storage tanks, located along the railroad tracks. Regular services is given to the farmers in a radius of about ten miles and Ravenna is also served by truck. This branch of the business has reached the point where a large quantity of gas and oil is handled, the farmers appreciating the service they receive and the fact that the commodity is delivered to their farm. The company handles the popular Indian gasoline.

Mr. Rhodes has a very genial personality and it is very largely due to his efforts that the business has been built up to its present generous proportions.

The fraternal spirit in Conklin is very active, the Odd Fellows lodge enjoying a very satisfactory membership, as does that of the companion order, the Rebekahs. The Odd Fellows own their own home, which is large and well equipped to carry on the work of the order. Here may be found a spacious dining room, which is used from time to time for many local functions.

A Grange was established in Conklin soon after the coming of the railroad made the village possible and this organization also own their own hall, with kitchen and dining room facilities, and also a stage in the large lodge hall.

Many of the Conklin residents belong to the old and once very flourishing Masonic lodge at Lisbon. This lodge is still active though the membership has decreased, and is the mother lodge of several in the community.


Transcriber: Susan Gates Davis
Created: 20 October 2003
URL: http://ottawa.migenweb.net/towns/conklin/history.html