Chester, extending north of the general line of the county, is bounded on the north and west by Muskegon County, on the east by Kent, and on the south by Wright. The town center is twenty-eight miles from Grand Haven.
The first settlement of the township seems to have been as early as 1845, although it was surveyed in 1837, and in the market in 1839. In 1845 there was quite an influx into the town, Philip Fahling, Jacob Brown, Otis Irish, W. A. Irish, O. H. Merrick, Henry Austin, Samuel Austin, and several others coming in. In 1846 Adam Lachman, A. D. Batson, James Rowlinson, Conrad Kritzer, John Pintler, Edward Gardner, George Irish, Daniel Thurston, and others, came in. Among the pioneers are the Bennett family, John Kies, and Samuel H. Avery. The first child born was a daughter of Philip Fahling. The first school was of logs, and stood on Section 25, the building was also used as the first church.
The town was organized as part of Talmadge in 1838, as a part of Wright in 1844, and as an independent town in 1848. The first town meeting was held at the house of John McLane, who was elected the first Supervisor; O. H. Merrick, Clerk, and also Justice of the Peace; George Irish, Assessor. There were but nine voters present. Two years later the vote for Governor was only fifty-three, and Mr. McLane still Supervisor. The later Supervisors have been: W. H. Harrison, 1876-7; George F. Porter, 1878-9-80; John Sehler, 1881-2.
Chester's share of the county tax in October, 1881, was for State, $807.24; for county, $1,298.17; town tax, $300; highway tax, $311. Chester politically belongs to Ottawa, but her trade is chiefly with Grand Rapids. The number of acres assessed in 1876 was 22,700, and the equalized value of real and personal property in 1876 was $389,362; in 1879 this was $439,623, and in 1881 $424,864.
It is one of the best farming towns in the State. The surface is undulating, the soil a rich sand and gravelly loam, producing splendid crops of wheat and other grains; in fact, everything that makes a farmer prosperous, as they all are. There are over 7,000 acres under cultivation, and everything shows thrift and prosperity.
Chester is a regularly formed town, 6x6 miles, and is Town 9 north, Range 13, west. It is a well-watered region, and is excellent for farming and grazing. In the center is a lake over a mile long and about one-fourth of a mile wide, on Sections 15 and 16, called Crockery Lake, which is one of the feeders of Crockery Creek, which waters the northwest of the town by numerous small rivulets. In the southeast rises Rio Grande Creek, and in the south Sand Creek. There are two post offices, Six Corners in the southeast, and the village of Lisbon.
This village is on the line between Chester and Sparta townships, and twenty-five miles northeast from Grand Haven, and sixteen from Grand Rapids, whence a stage line runs with mail almost every weekday. There are churches of Free Will Baptist and Methodist denominations, a graded school and steam flouring mill. Lisbon was first settled in 1856, is incorporated, and has 200 inhabitants. It has a store, two hotels, a grist and saw mill, and other trades usual in such places. It is also a station on the railway between Grand Rapids and Newaygo, and does a thriving business.
SOLON DAGGETT, born in Orange Co., N.Y., in 1834, has been settled on his present farm of 110 acres since 1848, and has spent his life in farming, on which he is an authority. The section school house, near by, was named after his family out of the respect in which they are held.
WILLIAM MORLEY was born in England in 1823, and immigrated to New Jersey in 1832, and has lived twenty-six years on his present farm. He was married in Canada in 1850, and has six children, who are all now grown up and doing for themselves.
GUERNSEY HANVILLE was born in Delaware County, Ohio, in 1816, has resided twenty-seven years in Chester, and is an adherent of the Free-Will Baptist denomination.
DR. ROBERT GIBBS, botanic practitioner and a self-made man, is postmaster at Six Corners, and was born in Washington County, Pa., in 1818. He keeps also in connection a good stock of groceries and drugs.
JOHN BOOSER, whose widow still resides in Chester, was born in Switzerland in September 1831, and came to America when young, entering the United States Army as Corporal in 1862, and was shot in the last battle under Gen. Sherman.
Transcriber: Leslie Coulson
Created: 24 October 2006