1882 BLENDON TOWNSHIP
This township is south of Allendale, north of Zeeland, west of Georgetown and east of Olive, and the center of the township is about eighteen miles southeast of Grand Haven. Its principal production has been lumber, the Blendon Lumber Company owning most of the land, and running their logs and lumber to Grand River by railroad, and tramways. This interest is now declining. The population is now about 800. There are about 2,500 acres under cultivation, producing over 20,000 bushels of grain and between 700 and 800 tons of hay. There are over 100 acres in orchard, which produced in 1873, $1,200 in orchard products, and now produces much more. The soil is sandy loam, and well adapted for agricultural purposes and fruit culture. The lumber interest has retarded the settlement and development of the township, but with its decline, it will be more rapidly developed in agriculture.
As this town lies so far from the earliest and most important highway, although surveyed in 1833, it had by the United States census in 1874 only 639 inhabitants, and in the last census of 1880 it has 785 inhabitants. Its census has varied from 85 in 1854, 381 in 1860, down to 276 in 1864, up to 718 in 1870, to 639 in 1874, and 785 in 1880. The township is very little developed, and was set off from Allendale in 1854. It has several "iron strap" railroads extending a few miles into pineries, and lumbering is the chief interest, but is becoming less and less. There are two post offices, one of which is Blendon in the northeast. An immense swamp runs through the center.
The first town meeting was held April 9, 1854, when the following officers were chosen: A. H. Vredenburg, Supervisor; J. R. Hall, Clerk; W. S. Woodruff, Treasurer. The following have acted as :
A.H. Vredenburg, 1855-6; W. G. Gravis, 1857-8; C. L. Sterrs, 1858-9-60-1-2-3-4; S.S. Gilbert, 1865; W.C. Scott, 1866-7-9-70-1-3-4; A. Forbes, 1872; C. E. Storrs, 1875; Jesse P. R. Hall, 1876-7-8-9-80-81.
J r. Hall, 1855-6; S. S. Benham, 1857-9-60; S,W. Sherburn, 1858-65; W. C. Scott, 1861-3; E. Thayer, 1862; C. Sherburn, 1864; C. E. Storrs, 1866; W. E. Keyes, 1867-8-9; J.P.R. Hall, 1870-1-2-4; P.L. Jewett, 1873-5-6; O. W. Sherburn, 1877-8-9-80-81.
W.S. Woodruff, 1855-6--8-9; C.S. Storrs, 1857; N. Culver, 1860-1; W.G. Gravis, 1862-3-4-5-6-7; James Sullivan, 1868; M.B. Payne, 1869; R. Sleffers, 1870; A. Forbes, 1871; A. Tuokbury, 1872-3-4; W.C. Scott, 1875; G. Ohlman, 1876-7; A. Fahrnow, 1878-9; Henry Havikhorst, 1880-1.
Votes polled in 1881, 108.
There are five school districts; teachers’ wages average, male, $35 per month; female $24. Number of scholars on whom public money is received, 322.
There are four church organizations, Wesleyan, Dutch Reformed, True Dutch Reformed, and German Dutch Reformed,
There are several township ditches communicating with Rush and Pigeon Creeks, to drain swamps.
One of the first to penetrate into the wilds of Blendon Township, at an early day, before any crop had been raised in Kent or Ottawa, when nearly everything had to be transported from Buffalo or Cleveland, was John Ball, of Grand Rapids, in that year of speculation, 1836. After describing in graphic language the hardships of his journey to Grand Rapids, he says that in company with Mr. Anderson he rode to Grandville before breakfast, which he got from Charles Oaks, and secured some more provisions from a Mr. Ketchum, who was building a mill near where Jenison’s planing mill stands. All they got was some flour and beef, and after waiting until a loaf was baked, they took their course in a vague quest to pine lands, and at dark they arrived at what is now the south of Blendon, camping on a branch of the Black River. During the night they heard the tramping of deer and the howling of wolves. In the morning, not finding what they were looking for, they were about to start for home, when they came upon fine pine, and in the excitement forgot about their food and lay down at night supperless, so as to have something for breakfast. On waking in the morning they found their blankets covered with snow, and being still in the pines they continued their explorations. They finally struck the river, expecting some road out but found none. Some Indians whom they met declined their offer of three dollars to guide them to Grandville. So, trudging wearily over bluffs and through swamps until dark, they lay down by a fire kindled by their last match, next morning at 9 o’clock arriving in Grandville. A short time after he explored the lands more minutely and entered forty-one eighty-acre lots in his own name, on which the Blendon Company, years after, lumbered. But the speculation proved a worthless one for Mr. Ball.
John R, Hall, was born in England November 12, 1819; settled in Chenango County, N.Y., in 1836, and in Blendon Township, Ottawa County, in 1851. Was the first Township Clerk, and has been a Justice of the Peace for years. Married, September 22, 1844, Maria Fairchilds, who was born at Kinderhook, N.Y., October 9, 1817; two children, Jesse P. R., born February 16, 1847, and who is the present Supervisor of Blendon Township, and Mrs. Julia Sears, born March 2, 1852. Jesse P. R. Hall was married November 18, 1866, to Charlotte Abbot, who was born in Grandville, Kent County, March 6, 1848.
Transcriber: Barb Jones
Created: 12 June 2010