The word Crockery in the Ottawa language is Nunica, which is said to be a corruption of menonica, which signifies the clay used by the Indians in the manufacture of their earthenware. Others derive the name of the township from a large amount of Indian pottery found on the banks of Crockery Creek.
The township has not the regulation breadth owing to its southern side being bounded by the river, which leaves a breadth of but five and one half miles. It is on the northern tier of towns and lies between Spring Lake and Polkton. It is well watered, the main drainage being into the Grand River, and the chief stream Crockery Creek, which traverses the eastern portion. Most of the township has been pine and hemlock land, with here and there oak openings, and heavy timber. The lumbering interest is now giving way to farming and fruit raising.
In 1874 the township had 3,883 acres improved, and produced 3,000 bushels of wheat, 8,368 bushels of corn, 10,000 bushels of other grain, 10,000 bushels of potatoes, 2,000 tons hay, 4,000 lbs wool, 24,000 pounds of butter, 7,000 pounds of maple sugar, and $5,500 worth of fruit. Population 1,124, real and personal property $248,231. In 1880 there was a population of 1,240, of which Nunica had 297 and Spoonville 56.
Nunica is the principal township center, has about 400 inhabitants and was platted by Henry Ernst in 1865. Until a few months ago it was at the junction of the D. & M. R. R., with the railway from Holland to Muskegon, but the track of the latter is now removed. It has a good school house and several good church edifices, also two dry goods, one hardware, one drug and three jewelry stores; three wagon, three blacksmith, two shoe and one harness shops, two hotels, and a grist mill is being erected.
The first white settler was Manly Patchin, in 1836, next came Wm. Hathaway, Jr., and Josephus Hathaway in 1839, Chas. T. Gibbs, from Grand Haven, came into Crockery in 1844.
Col. Amos Norton, a prominent and early lumberman of Spring Lake, was the first supervisor of the township of Norton, which included Spring Lake, Crockery, Norton and Fruitport in 1845. Dr. Timothy Eastman, Surveyor, Richard M. Mason, Richard Hathaway, and C. T. Gibbs, Commissioners of Highways. The road from Spring Lake through Nunica to the east line of Crockery was laid out in 1845-6.
Crockery became a separate township in 1849, and the first meeting was held at Wm. Hathaway's, who became the first supervisor. The supervisors of late years are, S. Lawrence, 1877 and 1880, Benjamin Murray, 1878, Henry W. Cleveland, 1879, and in 1881-2.
The town was principally covered with pine and hemlock, interspersed with beech and maple. For many years lumbering was the principal business, but as that interest declined, farming has taken its place, and the township has commenced to prosper. The soil is mostly a light sand, and sandy loam, interspersed here and there with clay and clay loam. There are many rich farms in the township, and many valuable fruit orchards.
Spoonville is a neat little village on the north bank of the Grand River, to the west of the mouth of Crockery Creek, and two and a half miles south of Nunica. The railway from Norton to Holland formerly crossed by a fine bridge at Spoonville, which was a flag station, but owing to the amalgamation with other lines this line was found to be superflous and the track was taken up in the beginning of 1882.
The principal feature of the place is the saw mill of Mr. John Spoon built in 1856, at which time there was but one log house in the village. The mill has a large circular, a gang edger, and a lath and picket machine, cuts 40,000 a day and has all modern improvements, cut in 1881, 7,500,000 feet. The engine is 75 horse power. Daniel Spoon, foreman.
Mr. Spoon's barn is the largest in the county, being 100 feet by 40 feet, with 24 foot posts, and 60 feet to the top of the cupola, and costing $2,000. On Mr. Spoon's farm were found some remarkable mounds containing a large number of skeletons, stone and copper implements, and elaborately ornamented earthen vases.
JOHN SPOON, lumberman and farmer, Spoonville, is a gentleman of energy and tact, to whom the township is deeply indebted for its present prosperity. He was born in Seneca Co., N.Y., in 1820, resided there until 1856, working until of age on his father's farm, and afterwards as a carpenter. In 1850 he married in Janesville, Wis., Miss Annie M. Bennett, and came to Spoonville in 1856. At that time it had but one log house, but there was an abundance of pine, and he immediately proceeded to erect a mill, and three years after his elegant residence, which externally and internally would do no discredit to a city mansion. Mr. Spoon farms in the vicinity of 840 acres, has also land in Muskegon and Illinois, and is one of the solid and successful men, who well deserves prosperity. He has been almost perpetual treasurer of his township, but declines all other honors. Is Republican in politics, has three children living, and has lost two.
DANIEL SPOON, foreman of J. Spoon's mill, and manager of farm, was born in Seneca County, N.Y., in 1824, and stayed on his father's farm until thirty years of age, and came to Spoonville a few weeks before his brother John in 1856, the mill being built by Spoon & Becker. He married April 14, 1859, Miss Helen Lautenschlager, and has four sons and two daughters.
HENRY W. CLEVELAND was born in the township of Rutland, Jefferson County, N.Y., June 17, 1835, and was married to Phebe M. Perhan, at S. Rutland, N.Y., Feb. 16, 1852. The following May he removed to Ottawa, La Salle County, Ill., and in 1856 moved to Spring Lake, Ottawa County, Mich., where he worked as a millwright, and constructed the first steam cant hoister ever used in Spring Lake, in the Hopkins mill, now the Mineral Springs House. He afterwards learned the drug business, which he carried on for a number of years with marked success. He held the office of Justice of the Peace for twelve years and Township Clerk for several years. He was the first Recorder of the village of Spring Lake under the village charter. He moved to Nunica and bought the drug stock of A. C. Adsit & Co., in 1874, and in the same year was appointed post master. He was elected Supervisor of the township in 1878 and 1880, and Township Clerk in 1879.
J. H. EASTERLY was born in Herkimer County, N.Y., in 1831, and in 1838 moved to Jefferson County, N.Y., where he resided until 1865, when he came to Crockery. He was married first in 1854 to Miss Louisa Taylor, of Jefferson County, N.Y., who died in 1865. His second marriage was with Miss Sarah A. Williams, and they have eight children. The father of Mr. Easterly, now in his eighty-second year, came to Crockery with him and has been with him ever since. Notwithstanding his great age he is active and enjoys good health.
T. F. HUNTER was born in Brownsville, Jefferson County, N.Y., in 1815, and in 1846 moved to Marshall, Mich., and to Crockery in the following year. He married the 13th of January, 1842, Miss Priscilla Becker. The parents and elder brother of Mr. H. lived with him until their deaths, as did the parents and grandmother of Mrs. Hunter.
HUGH McLEAN was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1826, and came to Livingston County, N.Y., in 1829. In 1846 he came to Saginaw, and six years after he went to Lake Superior, where he was married to Miss Harriett Kocher in 1854, by whom he has four children. In 1860 he came to Spring Lake, where he has engaged in lumbering.
JOHN T. M'MANN was born in the city of Oswego, N.Y., in 1841. He went with his parents to Milwaukee, Wis., in 1845, and thence to the town of Crockery in May, 1847, and stayed on the farm till 1862, when he enlisted in the 21st Michigan Infantry for three years. He was a non commissioned officer till June, 1864, when he was promoted to 2d lieutenant United States Engineers, and again to 1st lieutenant in 1865. He was mustered out of service in November of that year (1865). He was in the battles of Perryville, Ky., Oct. 8, 1862, and Stone River January 1, 2 and 3, in 1863, and was Pontooneer laying bridges for the army moving from Murfreesborough to Chattanooga, fought that battle, and laid a bridge across the Tennessee 1,447 feet long in seven hours. He was in the battle of Mission Ridge Nov. 24, 1863, after that was building block houses until 1864, then was assistant topographical engineer until July, 1864, then was appointed Inspector of Fortifications at Chattanooga. In Oct. 1864, he was ordered to report to General John E. Smith with the Pontoon train, at the Etowah river. He found General Smith at Resaca, reported, and was ordered to remain at Resaca with the train until further orders. In Nov. 14, 1864, the post was attacked by General Hood's entire army. The railroad and Pike river bridges being gone, he laid a Pontoon bridge, and on the 16th General Sherman's entire army crossed on his return from Atlanta. Mr. M'Mann was in the siege and though it took six days to cross, he was on duty the whole time. He asked to be relieved that he might get a chance to sleep, but was refused. He went back to Chattanooga and remained on various engineering duties till mustered out in 1864. In 1867 he was appointed second lieutenant of the regular army, and was on special duties in the territories distributing recruits in 1867 and 1868, and joined his regiment at New Orleans in December, 1868. His health failing, he resigned in 1870, went to Cincinnati and went into the city engineering department with General Hickenlooper, but gave that up on account of failing health, and went to the township of Crockery where he now resides. He has been U.S. Claim Agent and attended to other law business since his location in the county. In 1860 he married Miss Harriett Blakesly, of Crockery, by whom he has had one child.
WILLIAM MINES, farmer, was born in Prussia in 1839. He came to America in 1852, settling first in Talmadge Township. In 1859 he came to Crockery. In 1862 he married Miss Phebe J. Thompson, of Crockery, they have four children. For six years he worked for Spoon & Thompson, at Spoonville mills as bookkeeper. In 1881 he was elected township Treasurer.
HENRY PENNOYER was born at Norwalk, Fairfield County, Conn., Feb. 8, 1809. When ten years old he removed with his parents to Cayuga County, N.Y., and remained at home until 1834, when he started for Chicago, Ill. Here he remained for about two years, when he married Harriet Kells, of Mentz, and removed to the then territory of Michigan, settling at Muskegon, Ottawa County. On the organization of the county he was elected its first sheriff in 1838, which office he held for a year. By a commission, dated Jan. 3, 1838, and signed by Amos Kendall, P. M. G., he was appointed post master of Muskegon, and continued in office until 1843, when he removed to Grand Haven. At that place he kept hotel until 1856, when he commenced farming on his present homestead. His first wife died in 1852, leaving four children, and in 1853 he married his present consort by whom also he has four children. Mr. Pennoyer is a staunch Democrat and has held various offices of trust, such as Justice of the Peace, Supervisor, County Treasurer, Deputy Collector for the port of Grand Haven, Representative in the Legislature for 1849, State Senator for the 31st Senatorial District for 1859, and various other township offices. In 1860 the Republican party gained the ascendancy, when the subject of this sketch retired from public life, and has since devoted himself to farming pursuits. He is greatly respected and esteemed by a large circle of friends.
E. S. RICHMOND was born at Leroy, N.Y., Dec. 2, 1820, and married Oct. 16, 1843, Miss Susan Readfield, of the same place, by whom he had five children, four of whom survive. He removed to De Kalb County, Ill., in 1860, and six years after came to Crockery engaging in the hotel business.
ALLYN SEYMOUR was born in Oswego County, N.Y., in 1819, where he lived until 1855, having been married four years previously, in 1851, to Miss Isabel Murray, by whom he has had four children, three of whom survive their mother, who died Dec. 22, 1865. In 1855 Mr. Seymour removed to Crockery and has been engaged in farming, in which he has met with success. He married again in Feb. 1869, Miss Margaret Ginkerson, who died in 1871, and in Feb. 1872, he married his present wife, Miss Jane Mudge.
WILLIAM THOMPSON, lumberman and farmer, Section 24, Crockery, was born in Monroe County, N.Y., on March 25, 1818, and moved on his present place in 1843, purchasing land the following year. He has 540 acres where he lives, and 1,000 acres in Moorland. He has been associated for years with Mr. John Spoon in his lumbering operations. He married in 1844 Miss Mary E. Carpenter, who died July 2, 1862, and in 1863 he married Miss Mary J. Tibbits. He has three children. Mr. Thompson is a wealthy and enterprising man. His Moorland farm, which will be treated of in the history of that township, is a monument to his energy.
SAMUEL VAN ETTEN was born in Tompkins Co., N.Y., in 1827, where he resided until 1832, when he moved to Seneca County. In 1847 he enlisted in the time of the Mexican war in Company K, 8th United States Regulars, Capt. Gates, Col. Stafford, and was discharged at Jefferson, Missouri, Aug. 6, 1848. He then came to Chicago, and in the fall of the same year to Kalamazoo. Next year he went to Niles, Trumbull Co., Ohio, where he worked in the Rolling Mills. In 1852 he went to Steuben, where he was engaged in boating on the Erie Canal until 1855, when he came to Crockery, where he has ever since resided, with the exception of the time he was at the late war. He enlisted Aug. 11, 1862, in Co. H, 4th Michigan Cavalry.
A. WARNER was born in England Feb. 7, 1815, and came to America in 1817, landing at Boston, where he continued to reside until 1837. He then went to La Salle Co., Ill., where he lived until Sept. 1856, when he came to Allendale, having purchased land of Henry Pennoyer, to reach which he had to cut his way for miles. Mr. Warner is engaged in lumbering and farming.
JAMES H. YOUNG was born in Gloster, R.I., in 1834, and in 1836 removed to New Hampshire; came to Crockery in 1862, settling on a farm and working at the carpenter trade. He enlisted in the navy in 1862, and next year was honorably discharged, and has been in saw-milling ever since.
HOMICIDES IN OTTAWA COUNTY.
The cases of homicide which have occurred in the county have happily been very few:
Oct. 23, 1855, Jordon Turpin was tried for the murder of a man named Fox, of Spring Lake. After four days' trial he was found guilty, and sent to penitentiary for life. He died in prison.
In 1856 Ebenezer Spencer was found guilty of manslaughter, and imprisoned three years.
In October, 1875, John H. Fuller and his son, Melvin C. Fuller, were tried for the murder of an eccentric old man named Wilson Pound, of North Holland. John S. Watson, an accomplice, was used as State's evidence, and was released after four months in jail. The father, J. H. Fuller, was sent to prison for life, and the son was not convicted, although twice tried, one dissenting juryman saving him. He went forth a free but branded man. The probable reason of the murder was to prevent Pound from being a witness against the Fullers, who were charged with displacing the track of the railway.
The case of Mr. Cady, a highly respected farmer of Wright Township, near Lamont village, who was brutally and wantonly murdered by a hired man named Voscamp, excited great popular feeling, and two attempts were made to lynch Voscamp in the jail, but they failed, and six of the would-be lynchers were captured, and afterwards fined $100 each. Voscamp tried the "insanity dodge," but was sent to prison for life.
The following is a list of the Supervisors elected and their political complexion:
Allendale -- Geo. Latham, R.
Blendon -- Jesse P. R. Hall, R.
Chester -- John Sehler, D.
Crockery -- Joel A. Bond, R.
Georgetown -- Geo. Weatherwax, G.
Grand Haven City -- H. C. Akeley, R.; 1st and 2nd wards, Chas. J. Pfaff, I.; 3d and 4th wards, Geo. D. Sanford, D.
Grand Haven Town -- John Mastenbroek, D.
Holland City -- Wm. H. Beach, R.; K. Schaddelee, D.
Holland Town -- Wiepke Diekema, R.
Jamestown -- Not heard from, but probably Gardner Avery, G.
Olive -- Joel M. Fellows, R.
Polkton -- Edwin Thayer, R.
Robinson -- W. C. Harper, D.
Spring Lake -- Aloys Bilz, R.
Talmadge -- Rollin H. Pelton, G.
Wright -- W. F. Kelly, R.
Zeeland -- C. Van Loo, R.
The Board will stand, 11 Republicans, 6 Democrats, and 3 Greenbackers.
Transcriber: Leslie Coulson
Created: 24 October 2006