This is town 8 north, range 14 west, and is bounded on the north by Muskegon County, on the east by Wright, on the south by Grand River, and on the west by Crockery. It is rather larger than a full Congressional town, as it includes that former portion of Allendale, which lies north of Grand River, except a couple of sections in the southeast, which go to Talmadge. The soil varies from clay to sand and sandy loam, and is mostly of good quality for agricultural purposes. In oats, rye and barley it produces twice as much as any other town in the county, and it also surpasses in potatoes, hay and butter. The population is about 3,000, and the value of property is over half a million.
The settlement of Polkton and Talmadge are in substance the same, and as the centre of the settlement was at Steele's Landing (now Lamont), it is natural that the earliest pioneers are to be found near that village. The oldest settler in the township is Justus Stiles, Jr., a prominent farmer of Polkton, who was born in Rutland County, Vt., in 1788, coming to Polkton in 1836, and was at the first town meeting in 1845, with some fourteen other voters.
Timothy D., and Benjamin Lillie pushed on a distance from the "Landing" in 1843, and settled themselves where they have ever since resided. They cut their own road from the Landing. Richard Platt and Sylvanus Waters came in 1844. Chauncey Stiles is also a very early settler. Warren Streeter (transient), Peter McNaughton, Richard Stiles, Abraham Peck, Josiah T. Lawton, Walter McEwing (the first in the Cooperville part of town) all came in 1845. Paul Averill, a Canadian patriot of the rebellion of 1837, Daniel W. Scott, who established the first tannery between then Haven and the Rapids, on Dorr Creek, east of Cooperville, John Averill (son of Paul), John V. Hopkins, and Wm. Platt were also on the list of early settlers. Josiah Lawton died in 1863, aged 77; Paul Averill in 1873, aged 55, and John V. Hopkins is also dead.
The growth of the town away from the river was slow until the advent of the railroad. There was no school nearer than Eastmanville until 1853. Then Miss Eliza B. Torry taught, about a mile north of Cooperville, a school of ten pupils, in a windowless log house, which did service until 1871. Miss Torry became Mrs. Daniel W. Scott, of Cooperville.
Polkton has been the theatre of an unusual number of tragical deaths:
Albert Randall, killed by a falling tree in 1850; also, about the same time, Fred. Marshall and Fred. Whitcup, the latter a Hollander; Peter Wilde, an old man, hanged himself in 1875; Harry Steele, killed by the bursting of a mill-stone; Norman Hinsdale, drowned at Lamont while attempting to rescue a boy; James Van Gorden, a young man, was killed by being struck by a club on the head -- his assailant was a youth, who was sent to the house of correction for two and one-half years; a young man named Vanden Bowt, a non-resident, was killed by a falling limb, and Herman Leland, accidentally shot, in 1864.
Polkton was organized on the 19th of March, 1845, by the State Legislature, and consisted first of towns 5, 6, 7 and 8 north, on range 14 west. The first meeting was held on the 7th of April, 1845, at the residence of Timothy Eastman, of Eastmanville, who was chosen Moderator, and R. T. Terry, D. Stanton, E. Pearsons, C. Wiley and Paschal Maxfield, were chosen Inspectors of Election. The meeting adjourned to the school house near by, and voted $100 for town expenses. There were but twenty-one voters present, and there were so few fit for office that several offices were assigned to one individual. The list of officers was:
T. Eastman, Supervisor; J. V. Hopkins, Clerk; P. Maxfield, Treasurer; B. Hopkins, R. F. Tracy, P. Maxfield, and T. Eastman, Justices; D. Realy, P. Maxfield, and Justus Stiles, Highway Commissioners; B. Hopkins and E. Pearsons, Assessors; C. Wiley, D. Stanton, S. Morse and E. Pearsons, Constables; B. Hopkins and P. Maxfield, Overseers of the Poor; T. Eastman and R. F. Tracy, School Inspectors; C. Wiley, over Road District No. 1; D. Realy, over Road District No. 2; E. Pearsons, Poundmaster.
In 1847 there were but twenty-eight voters, and T. Eastman was again elected Supervisor, Justice of the Peace, School Inspector and Poundmaster. In 1848 he went in again by acclamation, forty-three voters being present, and Mason Eastman was Clerk. We find new family names, in this year, on the list, the Castles, Gardners, Garters, Averills, Streeters and Burlingames.
In 1848 Dr. Timothy Eastman, who was also a Judge, was again elected Supervisor, &c., only thirty-four voters being present; Dennis A. Reed became Clerk, S. Camp and Jacob Potts, Assessors; Wm. C. Comfort and Sylvester Jackson, Overseers of the Poor; and Henry Garter, Jr., School Inspector. In 1850 it is gravely recorded that a certain motion by one G. W. Taylor "to allow hogs weighing less than 100 pounds to run at large" was lost, probably because it would be too much trouble to catch and weigh them. Fifty-seven voters were present, and Dennis A. Reed was elected Supervisor, H. Garter Clerk, Warren Streeter Treasurer, M. Richards Highway Commissioner, and A. Peck School Inspector.
The next year Timothy Eastman made a run for Supervisor but lost by three votes, W. C. Comfort being elected; Chauncey Stiles was chosen Clerk, H. C. Durphy Highway Commissioner, and Justice of the Peace along with N. C. Severnus. In 1852 seventy-two voters being present, Timothy Eastman secured 58, and W. C. Comfort 14 for Supervisor. Mark Richards became Clerk, R. Platt, Treasurer; J. Potts, Justice; T. Eastman, School Inspector; J. T. Lawton and Jas. Hudson, Overseers of Poor.
In 1853 $1,000 was raised for roads and bridges. Eighty-three voters assembled and elected T. Eastman over H. C. Durphy, who, however, got the Clerkship. In 1854-5 Simon Hazelton received all the votes for Supervisor. In 1856 Hazelton was again elected, H. C. Durphy being Clerk, Justus Stiles, Treasurer; Hubertus Fish and A. B. Sumner, Justices of the Peace.
Great interest appears to have been taken in the election of 1857, 263 votes being cast, of which Jas. Sawyer received 147 for Supervisor to 86 for S. Hazelton; J. A. Walter became Clerk, J. Stiles, Treasurer; J. G. Gilley became Justice of the Peace, O. B. Shaw, School Inspector. In 1858 the former election was reversed, Hazelton got 131 and Sawyer 117 for Supervisor. J. A. Walter became Clerk, Joseph Brown, Treasurer, by six votes over Justus Stiles; J. G. Colgrove, School Inspector.
In 1859 Jas. Sawyer received 123 votes for Supervisor to J. A. Walter's 88. Mark Richards got the Clerkship. There seems to have been some difficulty this year owing to the Supervisor failing to qualify, and at a special meeting held in June he was reelected, and yet it is recorded that J. A. Luther took the oath of office as Supervisor. In 1860 the meeting was held in Cooperville, 190 voters being present. A. B. Sumner was elected over S. Hazelton for Supervisor, M. Richards, Clerk, and C. S. Stiles, Treasurer.
In 1861 the election was very close, A. B. Sumner received 90 votes and H. C. Durphy 88; Joel A. Walter became Clerk, C. S. Stiles, Treasurer; Simon Hazelton and Jas. Cilley, Justices. In 1862 A. B. Sumner again gains the Supervisorship by 96 votes to H. C. Durphy's 73. In 1863 Joel A. Walter became Supervisor by 123 to 86 for S. Hazelton, C. B. Shaw became clerk, A. Sumner, Treasurer. At a special meeting held on the 4th of January, 1864, $100 bonus was voted to each volunteer. J.A. Walter was reelected Supervisor, Joseph Brown, Clerk; A. B. Sumner, Treasurer; R. B. Hanchett, Highway Commissioner; A. Peck and R. Platt, Overseers of Poor.
In 1865 Wales F. Storrs was elected Supervisor, C. S. Stiles, Clerk; E. R. Ford, Treasurer; G. W. Danforth and Marvel Garrison, Justices. In 1866, there being 212 voters, W. F. Storrs received 140 for the Supervisorship and S. Hazelton 72. Joseph Brown was elected Clerk, W. S. Cole, Treasurer; H. S. Averill, Commissioner of Highways; Jas. Cilley and Joseph Brown, Justices of the Peace. In 1867 Storrs gained the Supervisorship after another contest with Hazelton, vote 136 to 131.
In 1868 there was an increase in the votes cast, there being 372 votes cast, and J. A. Walter received 196 against 176 for S. Hazelton; Jos. Brown, Clerk; and Clark Barnet, Treasurer. In 1869 Hazelton's perserverance was rewarded by his election of 202 against 128 for J. A. Walter, John Spencer became Clerk, Thos. F. Easton, Treasurer; Thos. W. Lowe and J. B. Philipps, Justices of the Peace. There was a general change of officials this year.
In 1870 there was great interest taken, 334 votes being cast. Hazelton was reelected by 207 against 127 for W. S. Cole; Joseph Brown, Clerk; D. R. Spencer, Treasurer. In 1871 Hiram Lull received 224 votes for Supervisor against 127 for T. F. Easton. In 1872 G. T. Peck was elected Supervisor by 220 votes against 96 for S. Hazelton, but in the following year Hazelton was elected by a large majority. Joel A. Walter then entered upon a long term of the Supervisorship during 1874-5-6-7-8.
In 1879 E. Thayer was elected by 9 votes over G. J. Sherman, Joseph Brown, Clerk; W. H. Baronett, Treasurer. In 1880 E. Thayer was reelected Supervisor; Joseph Brown, Clerk T. M. Reed, Treasurer; A. Lawton, Commissioner of Highways; J. V. B. Goodrich, Justice of the Peace; N. Garrison, Supt. of Schools; W. T. Stamp, School Inspector; John Newland, Drain Commissioner; P. R. Averill, J. M. Peterson, C. Watt and N. Garrison, Constables.
Among the earliest settlers were Dr. Scranton, who gave his own name to what is now Eastmanville, and J. V. Hopkins, who settled in 1835; J. Simons and J. Crickmore were also early settlers.
The township contains three villages, of which the first is DENNISON, a small place about three miles west of Cooperville in the D., G. H. & M. railroad, consisting half a dozen houses, railway station, post office, and steam saw mill.
On the Grand River is the village of EASTMANVILLE, which was settled at an early day, about 1835, by Dr. Scranton, formerly of Port Sheldon, taking up a pre-emption there, and calling the place Scranton. J. V. Hopkins and Benjamin Hopkins and family from Canada were also among the early settlers.
But the chief historical family that have made their residence there have been the EASTMANS. Dr. Timothy Eastman was from Maine, and came at first to Grand Haven in 1835, engaging in the practice of his profession. The Eastmans trace their descent to Roger Eastman, who was born in Wales in 1611, and immigrated to Salisbury, Mass., in 1640. Dr. Timothy Eastman was the fourth in descent from this Roger, and was born Jan. 17, 1798, and on the 18th of Oct. 1825, he married Mary Jane Barker, then but 16 years of age, and who died in 1858. The doctor pursued his medical studies in Boston, graduating in 1822, and settled first in Maine. He removed to the wilderness of Ottawa County in 1835, and after an active and useful life died at Eastmanville in 1868, just one year after the death of his life-long friend, the Rev. Mr. Ferry. The only question of any importance on which they differed was that of the County seat, the Doctor, as was natural, being an ardent advocate of Eastmanville, while Mr. Ferry was just as strenuous in the cause of Grand Haven. But the slight estrangement from this cause was but temporary, and they died warm, mutual friends.
The surviving children of Dr. Eastman are George, born May 29, 1828, who is a prominent lumberman and agriculturalist in Robinson Township, and Galen, born July 8, 1829, and who married Dec. 14, 1858, Mary L., youngest daughter of Rev. Mr. Ferry. He is now an Indian agent to the Navahoes, while his family reside in the Haven. He has been prominent in the development of the county as a merchant, lumberer, editor and real estate operator.
Dr. Eastman was a man highly respected, and useful in many ways, and his memory as a pioneer is cherished by the early settlers. He had a very versatile mind, as is evident from various and diverse duties he performed in those early days. He was a skillful physician, a good Judge of Probate, an excellent land surveyor, and a keen politician and prominent representative.
Eastmanville had an active existence, as it was well situated on the north bank of the Grand River, far enough from Grand Haven and Grand Rapids to be a sort of half-way distributing point for all the country north and south of it, as well as to a great extent east and west. There were lively times in this village, and ambitious schemes for its advancement loomed up. But the course of the railway, three miles north, has built up Cooperville, and left Eastmanville to a fate somewhat similar to Lamont. However, there is considerable business done in the village, and there is a graded school, two churches, good general stores, drug store and post office.
In 1876 Rev. J. J. Bennett was the Congregational minister, Goldborough, Niles and Slocum (now of Lamont) were the physicians, G. Vannett, hotel proprietor; W. Watt, wagon maker; Wagner Bros. had a general store, planing and handle mill; H. S. Taft, grocer and druggist; Griffin & Watson, flouring mill; E. Mayes, Justice of the peace and real estate agent; T. Hefferan, lumber manufacturer; H. Lull & Son, lumber; M. & N. Garrison and E. Ackerman, carpenters, and E. Crandall and H. Egleston, blacksmiths.
EASTMANVILLE FLOURING MILL was built in 1873 by Griffin and Watson (Frank F., who had come to Eastmanville the year previous), and in 1880 Mr. Griffin's interest was purchased by Ozro C. Lull. The building is forty by sixty feet, with a sixty horse-power engine, and a capacity of 200 bushels per day. The flour is of a superior quality, and finds ready sale in Muskegon and Grand Haven and near home.
We now proceed to give biographical sketches of some of the prominent residents of the village:
OZRO C. LULL, son of H. Lull, was born in Erie County, N.Y., in 1845; came to Eastmanville in 1865, and went into the flouring business in 1880 with Mr. Watson, and by his energy has managed to do a successful business.
THOMAS HEFFERAN, manufacturer and dealer in all kinds of hard and soft lumber, and in farm wagons, was born in Washington County, N.Y. in 1831, coming to this State in 1842, and to Eastmanville in 1848, and was employed by Dr. Eastman for three years, then by Galen Eastman as clerk and manager of his lumber interest in Chicago. In 1858 he returned to Eastmanville in the employ of the Eastmans for seven years, when he went into business for himself, also dealing extensively in real estate, and being very successful in all his operations. He is looked up to by the community as a man of honor and ability.
ADAM WAGNER, Postmaster at Eastmanville, was born 1831 in Germany; emigrated to Ohio in 1851, and to Ottawa in 1855, working at first clearing the farm of his brother John, and afterwards worked in Galen Eastman's store. In 1868 entered into company with Messrs. Thayer and Eastman as general merchants. In two years Mr. Thayer retired, and in another two years Mr. Eastman's brother went in, and the firm name was Eastman Bros. & Wagner until 1871, when the Eastmans retired and John Wagner went in, the firm name being Wagner Bros. until 1879. Since that time the whole business has been in the hands of Adam Wagner. In 1868 he was appointed Postmaster, having previously been clerk to Timothy Eastman, his predecessor. He has also had the ferry since 1868. He was married in 1869 to Miss Eunice Thayer, and has a family of six children. He takes an active interest in all public matters, and has the respect and esteem of all his neighbors. His success in life may be attributed to sterling honesty united with great energy of character. He takes a warm interest in Free Masonry, and is master of the lodge in his village.
JOHN WAGNER was born in Prussia in 1825; came to Allendale in 1840, settling on Section 10, working at shingle making. In 1863 he worked for Galen Eastman, and in 1871 bought out G. Eastman's share in Eastman & Wagner's general store, and in 1879 he sold it to his brother and went into the wood, bark and tie business, and also with his brother runs a planing mill. He has been a successful and energetic man. Married in 1852 Miss Lucinda West and has one son, John A., born in 1854, who has been in the store ever since he was old enough to do any business.
Among the new mercantile establishments is that of WAGNER & WELLS, dealers in general hardware, stoves, flour and feed, who commenced Nov. 1, 1881, and who have a well-filled store. They expect to work up a good trade, as they have secured public confidence.
Mr. R. H. WELLS was born in Yates County, N.Y., in 1853, and is son of G. M. Wells, who settled in this county in 1859. Mr. Wells lived at home until he was twenty-three years of age, and has since that time resided in Eastmanville. In 1876 he married Miss Eva L. Griffith, of Ottawa County. Six months previous to engaging in his present business, he was employed by the Gold and Silver Plating Company of Adrian. Mr. Wells has received a liberal education, and has taught school five years.
J. A. WAGNER, son of John Wagner, was born in 1854 in Allendale. In 1871 he was employed in Wagner & Eastman's store at Eastmanville, remaining there until Sept. 1, 1874, when he went into business for himself in the same building as he now occupies, but in 1881 was obliged to relinquish business, and worked for the Adrian Plating Company until Nov. 1st, when he resumed business, taking in as a partner Mr. Wells, whose sister Julia he had married in 1879.
Dr. P. L. GOLDSBOROUGH, Eastmanville, was born in Nottingham, Eng., in 1837, and when 16 years of age entered the office of Dr. Worth, of Nottingham, remaining three years, and attended King's Medical College, London, for three years more. He came to St. Louis in 1858 and graduated at McDowell's College in that city. He commenced practice in 1859 at St. Louis, and at the beginning of the war was detailed as Assistant Surgeon in the Western department, remaining until the close of the war. His health having suffered he traveled, making a specialty of the eye and ear, until 1875, when he permanently settled at Eastmanville, where he enjoys an extensive and lucrative practice, which, from his great skill and experience he deserves. He married, in 1875, Miss Sophronia Derby, of Grand Rapids, and has one son, Edwin, born in 1877.
EDWIN THAYER, real estate dealer, was born in Hillsdale Co., Mich., in 1840, and settled in Eastmanville with his father, Ezra Thayer in 1849, afterwards moving to Southern Michigan and returning in 1868. He received a liberal education, having attended Hillsdale College for two years; was with Wagner & Eastman in the mercantile business for two years, and since then has been successfully engaged in handling real estate. Was elected Supervisor in 1879, and still holds the office. He married, in 1870, Miss Cunningham, and has one son and one daughter. Mr. Thayer has about 1,000 acres of land in Polkton, and also many other farms and pine lands throughout the State. He has the well-deserved confidence of all his fellow citizens.
D. R. SPENCER, retired farmer, was born in Jefferson County, N.Y., in 1835, coming to Eastmanville in 1863, where he purchased property and resided two years. He then moved to his farm in section 34, where he remained until 1880, then selling out and moving into Eastmanville, and lives surrounded by his friends.
E. KINNEY, hotel keeper and shoemaker, was born in the North of Ireland in 1816; when sixteen years of age joined the British army and served nearly ten years, going to the West Indies for three years, and thence to Montreal until discharged, being Master Shoemaker during that time, and holding the position of full Sergeant. He married in 1851, Miss Eliza Foster, of New York, and has five children. Came to Eastmanville first in 1855, and with some exceptions has been there ever since.
This lively and rapidly increasing village is situated on the line of the D., G., H. & M. Railroad, and is the chief station for business between Grand Haven and the Rapids. Real estate sells well, business is lively and increasing, houses are going up on every side, and altogether, in 1881-2, Cooperville is enjoying an era of prosperity. It has some fine business establishments, but time will be necessary to improve many of the buildings, which are mostly of wood. There is nothing to hinder Cooperville from becoming a place of considerable importance, as it is situated at sufficient distance from rivals in the midst of a rich farming country to be free to develop itself, especially if manufactures are introduced.
The founder of the village was Benjamin F. Cooper, who, in the spring of 1845 purchased the section on which Cooperville now stands, but it remained untouched until the railroad went through. He then offered, as an inducement, to give the railway company the undivided one-half of the 160 acres if they would locate a depot there and call it Cooperville. He then sent two sons to start the place. They built a saw mill, started a store, struggled on for years, failed, and went back to Utica, N.Y. Mr. Cooper became discouraged and did no more, and after his death the property was sold to W. F. Storrs, George W. Danforth, Charles Hosmer and A. C. Ellis and the place began to grow and develop into importance. A good deal of money has been expended in draining Cooperville, and the front street gravelled from pits in Ada twenty miles off.
Seventeen years ago Cooperville had but two or three houses in it. There were a portion of the National Hotel, a small grist and saw-mill, owned by Storrs, of Grand Haven, and a shanty near where O. G. Wilson's dwelling now is. The growth of the village has been steady and uniform as the development of the agricultural resources of the surrounding community is the chief factor in its prosperity. Mr. Watson and his family have done much to develop the place, and are among the early settlers. Mr. Storrs, of Grand Haven, was a useful citizen and left in 1871. The first store was owned by Mr. Danforth, of Iowa, and the building is now owned by W. H. Blanchard.
The village was incorporated by act No. 208 of the Legislature of 1871, and consists of portions of Sections 23, 24, 25 and 26 of the Township of Polkton. The first meeting was held at the school on the first Monday of March. Simon Hazelton, Albert Lawson and Thomas Watson were Inspectors of Elections, and W. G. Watson was elected President, Joseph Brown Recorder, and S. Hazelton, H. W. McBryer, J. H. Hermance, A. Lawton, W. F. Storrs and N. J. Benedict, Trustees; Thomas Watson, Assessor, and W. McEwing, Treasurer.
In 1881 the officers were: J. V. B. Goodrich, President; R. Lillie, Recorder; W.E. Watson, Treasurer; T. M. Reed, Assessor; I. J. Thompson, J. H. Hermance, F. D. Smith, J. E. Rice, and G. L. Root, Trustees. The salaries were: for Marshal, $25 and fees, Recorder, $15; Assessor, $20, and Treasurer, $5. In 1882 the officers are: President of the Village, Oscar F. Conkling; Recorder, Roswell Lillie; Treasurer, G. W. Watrous.
In 1867 there was but one hotel, three general stores, a tannery and several mechanical shops. The Postmaster was William Wilson, who, with Elish Brace, carried on a general store, and G. W. Danforth had another store, and Warren Lillie, the third. James Cilley was lawyer, S. Hazelton Justice of the Peace, Rev. Daniel B. Lawton was Methodist minister, J. Newton kept the Cooperville House, W. Storrs & Son were dealers in lumber, Phelps Brothers had the tannery. The carpenters were Joseph Brown, J. S. Van Gordon and Joel A. Walter. S. Randall and S. Treloar were the blacksmiths.
In 1877 we find J. H. Hermance has a grist and saw mill, T. M. Reed has the National Hotel, and Chas. Smith the Temperance House; Rev. C. C. Faro (Methodist) and C. S. Gitchill (Free Methodist), are the clergymen; J. N. Cloud is jeweller, W. G. & J. Watson and Chas. Squier have general stores; the lawyers are G. A. Farr and Roswell Lillie; the physicians, Dr. Austin and Dr. Sheldon; L. Parker & Son have hardware, and B. F. Treat is photographer and dentist.
The first newspaper in Cooperville was started in 1875 by H. Potts, now of the Courier-Journal of Grand Haven, who first started the Ottawa County Courier at Nunica, and transferred it to Cooperville, running it for several years, thence he took it to Spring Lake and after two years took it to Grand Haven in 1880. Cooperville was without a press for three years, when in the Spring of 1880 Mr. Smith, of Grand Rapids, issued three numbers of a newspaper and left suddenly.
W. G. Barnes, the present proprietor of the Observer then came in, and after a severe struggle has succeeded in placing his paper on a firm foundation, enjoying the confidence and support of the whole community. The circulation is 500 and is increasing; politics, neutral.
The churches of Cooperville are the Methodist Episcopal, the Free Methodists, the Adventists, and the Protestant Episcopalians. The first church was built by the Congregationalists, with the privilege of the Methodist Episcopal church using it once in two weeks, but in 1875 the Congregationalists having dwindled away, the edifice was purchased by the Methodists, who had started their class in 1866. The original class were: Walter McEwing and wife, Roswell Toothacre and wife, Robert Martin and wife, Mrs. Sours, Mrs. Austin and two others. For over two years meetings were held in private houses, and then in a hall over a store.
The Seventh Day Adventists have congregations at Grand Rapids, Blendon, Allendale, Wright, Ravenna, Cooperville, Twin Lake, &c.
Dr. Sherman, now of Utah Territory, was the first physician, and Dr. Sheldon is also one of the first settlers, also John McEwan. The population is 800. It has one brick school building, 226 scholars and three teachers. It is a plain but substantial structure costing $5000. The first principal was Milo D. Anderson, who remained two years, and was succeeded by Geo. A. Farr. It has a lodge of the Knights of Honor, with J. J. Austin, Dictator; and R. Lillie, Reporter. There are two steam grist mills, one steam saw mill, and one wagon factory, three dry goods and general stores, two grocery and drug stores, one drug store, one hardware store, two harness and three shoe shops, four blacksmith shops, two hotels -- the Maxfield House and National Hotel -- three attorneys, James Cilley, J. V. B. Goodrich and R. Lillie. It also has a post-office.
We now proceed to five brief sketches of prominent citizens.
JOSEPH BROWN, post master at Cooperville, came to Polkton April, 1850, and settled at Cooperville in 1864, and was appointed post master in 1867. He was born in Franklin County, Mass., in 1825, and removed to Pennsylvania in 1831, and in May, 1861, enlisted in the 3d Michigan Infantry, and was discharged Aug. 1863. He was wounded at the second battle of Bull Run in the thigh, lying on the battle ground for three days, and was then removed to the hospital. There are but two other men on record that were similarly wounded, and survived. Mr. Brown is a gentleman highly respected by all for his good qualities, and as an early pioneer has done his share in the development of this section.
W. G. WATSON, merchant at Cooperville, came in 1867 from St. Lawrence County, N.Y., and was elected a member of the village Board in 1869, also president of the same. Mr. Watson has shown great enterprise in the erection of buildings, and in doing on all occasions what he could for the advancement of Cooperville.
C. E. BLAKELY, druggist at Cooperville, commenced business in 1869, coming from Rockford, Mich., where he was born in 1847, and had been engaged in the drug business for thirteen years previous.
JUDSON E. RICE, merchant at Cooperville, came to the village in 1875, and went into business with W. G. Watson, as Watson, Rice, & Co., for three years. He was born in DeKalb County, N.Y., in 1844. Being of an ardent and patriotic disposition he made three attempts to enlist in the late war, but was twice rejected on account of being under age. In 1864 he was successful in getting into 106th N.Y. Infantry, and was discharged in July, 1865. He returned to New York and remained until 1875. After being at Cooperville for a time he was in business for a short time at Whitehall and then came back.
N. D. MARSH, furniture dealer at Cooperville, came in 1878 as pastor of the M.E. Church for two years, and is still a supernumerary of the Michigan Conference. He was born in Union City, Mich., and removed to Ionia County, where he remained until he came to Cooperville. He married in 1861 Libbie M. Fegels, and has three sons and three daughters living.
W. G. GRIFFIN, retired merchant at Cooperville, was born in Ireland in 1844, and came to N.Y. State in 1856. In 1862 he enlisted in the 9th N.Y. Calvary, was wounded in 1864, and taken prisoner on the field, and detained five months in Libbie Prison from which he was paroled; he was discharged in Nov. 1864. He came to this section in 1865, and in 1869 went into mercantile business in Cooperville in company with W. E. Watson. He married in 1869 Louisa J. Lawton.
J. B. WATSON, druggist at Cooperville, was born in Edwards, St. Lawrence County, N.Y., coming here with his father, W. G. Watson, in 1867, working in the store until 1880, when he engaged in the drug business. He married Nov. 3, 1880, Mary Ackeley. Mr. Watson is a graduate in Pharmacy, is well skilled in his profession, and has received a liberal education. His establishment is thoroughly equipped, and a model of neatness.
L. PARKER & Son, hardware merchants, came to Cooperville in 1871 from Erie County, N.Y. L. Parker was born in Cayuga Co., in 1806. The business was established five years before L. Parker, Sr., took an interest in it by purchasing the share of L. Parker, Jr., and continuing the business with his son E. Parker. They do a very extensive business in their line, giving general satisfaction to all their patrons. E. Parker was born in Erie County, N.Y., in 1851, and married in 1872 Miss Sarah A. Lawton.
O. G. MAXFIELD, of Maxfield House, Cooperville, was born in St. Lawrence County, N.Y., in 1840, coming to Ottawa County in 1844. He is by profession an engineer, and was in different localities in pursuit of his profession until 1870, when he married Elzora Rudd, of Chicago, and rented a hotel, the Eastmanville House, at Cooperville. After two years in this, he rented a hotel in Grand Rapids, and afterwards bought a hotel here, which was burned in January, 1881, when he rebuilt the same summer a spacious house, well fitted up, opening it in September. He enlisted in 1862 in the 5th Michigan Rifle Corps, and was honorably discharged in June, 1865.
E. O. PHILLIPS, Cooperville, came here in November, 1856, from Allegan County, Mich. He was born in Cass County, Mich., in 1845, and has by his own efforts succeeded in acquiring quite a competence. He was married in 1867 to Emma S. Ellis, of Cooperville. Mr. Phillips is largely interested in pine lands and real estate, and is a good type of successful American business man.
ROBERT GRAHAM, of Cooperville, was born in Ontario, in 1840. He came to Ottawa County in 1858, enlisted in 1861 in the 3d Michigan Infantry, was wounded in the first day's battle of the Wilderness, and was taken with his regiment to Cold Harbor, when he was discharged. In nine months he enlisted in the Hancock Veteran Corps, remaining in the service one year. He is proprietor of the only billiard and sample room in Cooperville. Was married in 1873 to Margaret Malone, of Polkton.
J. V. B. GOODRICH, attorney at law, was born in Onondaga Co., N.Y. Oct. 10, 1839. In 1851 he removed to Homer and attended the Courtland Academy. In 1858 he settled in Lenawee County, Mich., and from there, in 1861, he enlisted in the 4th Michigan Infantry, serving bravely until the close of the war, with the exception of one year from being disabled by a severe wound received at Malvern Hill July 1, 1862. In 1865 he went to Oakland, California, and there practiced law for ten years, also carrying on business as builder, being County Clerk for four years. He was elected in 1878 President of the village, which office he still retains, and also that of Justice of the Peace, to which he was elected in 1880. He married in 1860 Miss Carrie, of Oakland, Cal., and their children are: Herman, born Nov. 6, 1865; Miner, Nov. 5, 1875; Verna A., April 29, 1878.
THEOPHILUS M. REED, of Cooperville, was born in Wayne Co., N.Y., July 13, 1838. In 1852 he removed to Branch County, in this State, and two years after removed to Cascade, Kent County. After a stay of another year he went to Paris, and in January, 1874, came to his present place of residence, Cooperville, where he has ever since been actively engaged in the livery business. He keeps the only hearse in town, and makes a specialty of the commercial livery trade. In 1880 he was elected Township Treasurer, and has been re-elected in 1881, when he was also appointed Deputy Sheriff. April 14, 1861, he married Miss Rosa A. Roath, and has two children: Elroy M., born March 22, 1862, and Rose Iva, Sept. 26, 1863.
B. F. TREAT, photographer and dentist, was born in Alleghany County, N.Y., Nov. 26, 1828. At eighteen years of age he went to Ashtabula County, Ohio, engaging in the profession of dentistry. In ten years he removed to Pontiac, Mich., engaging in the same business until the breaking out of the war, when in 1862 he enlisted in the 1sr Michigan Cavalry, and served until the close of the war. In February, 1865, he was promoted to be second lieutenant. He then went to Oil City, and then to Whitehall, Mich., and finally settled in Cooperville in 1875, and opened an art gallery, and also practices dentistry, being the only dentist and photographer in the village. He has just refitted and enlarged his gallery, which is 16x34 feet. He was married in 1875, and has six children.
EZRA WALLING, M.D., Cooperville, was born in Otsego County, N.Y., Dec. 27, 1824, educated there and at Delhi Academy, studied medicine with his uncle, Dr. Wm. Knapp, of Waverly, N.Y., and attended Long Island College Hospital in 1854-5-6, practiced for a short time in his native place, thence to Plainfield, Mich., in 1856, and did the whole range of practice there; seven years after moved to Berlin, in Wright Township, and in March, 1881, came to Cooperville, where he was already known from his practice extending there. He takes a leading part in surgical operations, having a natural aptitude for that branch of medicine.
Wm. H. BLANCHARD, carpenter and builder, Cooperville, was born at Albany, N.Y., in 1814, left when young, and resided in Lockport, where he married April 18, 1841, Miss Maria Connit, who died in 1871. Mr. Blanchard removed to St. Joseph County, Mich., 1861, coming to Talmadge in 1863, and was so honored with the confidence of the people that he was elected Treasurer for six terms. He married in October, 1873, Miss Mary Weatherwax, by whom he has one son, Elmer H., born Feb. 16, 1875. He removed to Cooperville in 1873, and has been engaged in the erection of many of the best buildings.
J. J. AUSTIN, M.D., settled in Cooperville in 1873, and was born in Onondaga County, N.Y., in 1843, and lived in Oswego County fifteen years previous to coming to Cooperville. He studied medicine with his father, a skillful physician, in 1867-8, and graduated at the medical college in 1872. The doctor has secured an extensive practice which success is well deserved. Was married in 1874 to Miss Ellen Allen, of this county, and has one daughter.
GEO. H. WOODWARD, grain merchant, was born in Ottawa County in 1849, removed to Kent County in 1866, and engaged with his father in the purchase of grain and produce. He then removed his sphere of operations to Oceana County, where his father still remains, the son retaining an interest in the business. In 1879 they purchased the Cooperville elevator, and to this part of the business the son devotes special attention. He was married in 1871 to Viola Vorhees, of this county. The father, George W., settled in Ottawa County in 1847, coming from Chautauqua County, N.Y., and in 1862 enlisted in the 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, but in about eighteen months was discharged for disability. He then assisted in organizing a company in the 21st Michigan Infantry, and received commission as second lieutenant, remaining with the regiment until the close of the war, when he held the commission of major. Soon after he was elected County Treasurer, showing the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens.
WILLIAM SHERMAN, was born in Canada in 1840, came to this State in 1860, engaging in farming and many other enterprises, and is at present lessee of the National Hotel, Cooperville.
ROSWELL LILLIE, attorney at law, was born in Wright Township in 1847, and has always resided in Ottawa County. He graduated from the State Agricultural College, and at Michigan University, in 1872, and after engaging a few months in teaching, entered into the practice of law in Cooperville, dealing extensively in real estate and money loaning, and doing the leading business in fire insurance. He is also a partner with Mr. McNaughton in the agricultural implement business.
HERBERT RUSSELL, barber and band-master, was born in Eaton County, Mich., in 1852, and learned the carriage painting trade, working at it until 1879, when he learned barbering, opening a shop in Cooperville. He has organized and leads the village cornet band of eight pieces, it being the first and only band in the place.
J. N. CLOUD, jeweller, Cooperville, was born in Norwich, Vt., in 1844, and at eighteen years of age moved to Chicago, where he was four years learning his trade. In 1866 he moved to Grand Haven, opening a jewelry establishment there, and in 1871 came to Cooperville, where he has the best establishment in the village. He married, in 1871, Miss Helen F. Fisk. He has been very enterprising in the erection of numerous buildings, and has helped to build up the village.
W. H. TAYLOR, wagon-maker, was born at Detroit in 1840, and settled at Oakland, Mich., in 1853, learning the carpenter trade. He married in 1862, and in 1881 came to Cooperville, working in Mr. Trealor's wagon shop, and in August went into business for himself, manufacturing and doing a general repairing busines, in which he gives general satisfaction.
CHARLES HOSMER, carpenter and builder, Cooperville, was born in Vermont in 1814, thence removed to New York, remaining there many years, and in 1865 settled in Cooperville, engaging in contracting and building. He is the principal contractor in the village.
JOHN JOHNSON, lumberman and farmer, was born in Ireland in 1820, came to New York State in 1827, and shortly after went to Ohio, where he was interested in several mills. He came to Cooperville in 1858, settling on Section 13, taking charge of the "Cooper-mill," which he subsequently purchased, as well as the mill at Dennison Postoffice, and now owns a portable mill on Section 2. He married, in 1850, Miss Nancy Marshall, and has four sons and three daughters. He is a prominent and successful citizen.
COL. S. RANDALL, retired farmer, was born in Clinton County, N.Y., in 1807, and in 1822, enlisted in the 253d New York Militia, and in 1857 was elected Colonel of the same. In 1852 he came to Polkton, and in 1871 retired from his farm and opened a blacksmith shop in Cooperville, selling out in June, 1881. He was married in 1839, and is an old and respected citizen.
JAMES HIGGINS was born in Ireland in 1846, came to Cooperville in 1874, married Miss Maggie Welsh in the same year, and four years after engaged in the restaurant business at Nunica, and in 1881 went into business here. Has four children.
ADELMER WELLS, Cooperville, is patentee of a new process of graining and painting on wood, which he invented in the spring of 1881, and in June received a patent, and has sold already, at remunerative rates, several States, and many counties in Michigan. It answers the purpose of paint and varnish at one-fourth the cost. He is a skillful painter of many years' standing. In 1874 he was married to Miss Louisa H. Covey, of this county.
POKLTON TOWNSHIP BIOGRAPHICAL.
GEERT W. HORLINGS was born in Holland in 1825, and came to Polkton with his father in 1849, who was killed by the fall of a tree in 1850. They settled on a farm in Section 25, where he resided until his death, which occurred November 7, 1881, from the kick of a horse, to the rearing of which animals he devoted special attention, as well as to the culture of bees, in which he was very skillful and successful. His sudden demise was a shock to the community, as he was held in universal esteem. His mourning widow and family, consisting of four sons and one daughter, live on the farm.
DANIEL REALEY, farmer, was born in Germany in 1818, and came to Eastern Michigan in 1832, and in 1837 settled on what is now the County Poor Farm, selling it in 1866 and moving to the Dr. Eastman place, adjoining Eastmanville. He is one of three voters who voted at the first town meeting. He married, in 1843, Miss Sarah Hatch, and has four children. He is an old and respected citizen.
GEERT RANKANS, farmer and dealer in musical and agricultural implements, was born in Holland in 1841; came to America in 1843, settling in this county in 1861, and in 1870 commenced handling musical instruments, with headquarters at Holland and Grand Rapids. He married, in 1861, Cornelia Whitkup. Mr. R. has an agricultural warehouse in Cooperville, and is a man of great energy and enterprise.
H. C. DURPHY is a native of Massachusetts, where he was born in 1816, and was connected with a woolen manufactory there. He settled on a farm in Section 22, Polkton, in 1849, and has three sons, Lyman E., W. H. and D. A., who still live on the same beautiful farm, while he now resides in Northern Michigan. His son Lyman went to work as night operator for the D. & M. road at Nunica, and was afterwards station master at Cooperville, but resigned on account of ill-health, and returned to the paternal farm.
JOEL A. WALTER, retired farmer, came to Cooperville in 1855 from Tioga County, N.Y., where he was born in 1820. He was married in 1841 to Louisa A. Durphy. He is one of the early pioneers of this place, and helped to erect the first frame building here. Was Town Clerk for seven years, and afterwards Supervisor for nine years. In 1881 he was elected Highway Commissioner, all of which goes to show the estimation in which he is held by his neighbors. He has one daughter and one son, who occupies the homestead about two miles northwest of Cooperville.
ALEX A. NOBLE, farmer, was born in St. Lawrence County, N.Y., in 1831, and came to Polkton in 1863, settling on Section 11, where he has remained ever since, being highly successful in his operations. In 1859 he was married to Almona J. Hayden, of St. Lawrence County, N.Y., by whom he has two sons, Willis J., and Joseph, and two daughters, Lucy and Ellen.
W. J. CONKLING, farmer, was born in Cayuga County, N.Y., in 1830, and came to Ottawa in 1854, settling on his present farm in Polkton in 1859. He married, in 1855, Miss Louisa Marshall, by whom he has two sons and one daughter. He has taken a keen interest in agriculture, being the President of the County Society for four years.
ALEX A. SALIERS, farmer and lumberman, was born in Vermont in 1833, came to Ottawa in 1853 and worked at his trade of carpenter until 1855, first settling at Lamont, where he improved a farm, but now resides on Section 10 Polkton. Enlisted August 16, 1862 and served three years in the late war. He was married in 1853 and has three children. Has had a portable saw mill on his place since 1871, with an Atlas engine of twenty-five horse-power and cutting about 10,000 feet per day.
R. B. HANCHETT, farmer, on Section 20, was born in Tioga Co., N.Y., in 1825, and died in 1872. His widow still resides on the estate of 240 acres, and manages the farm, which is in excellent condition. She has two daughters and one son.
JOHN VINE, farmer in Section 34, was born at Albany, N.Y., in 1836, and came to Polkton in 1864, purchasing his present farm. He married, in 1862, Miss Clara J. Sylvester, and although they have no family of their own, such is their benevolence and love of children that they have adopted five children, of who the oldest is only thirteen years of age.
J. McCARTHY, farmer on Sec. 17, was born in Ireland in 1841; in 1851 came to New York, and in three years moved to Grand Haven, engaging in lumbering. He settled on his farm in 1869, and has been successful in business. He was married in 1868 and has five children.
CARL SCHAFER, farmer, born in Prussia 1825, came to America in 1852, with his wife and family. Settled on his present farm in 1868, and has ever since been engaged in farming and stump extracting. He has a fine family of nine children.
JOHN SPENCE, born in Jefferson Co., N.Y., 1842, came to Ottawa Co., in 1867, and cleared up a farm in section 34, Polkton. He had the misfortune to lose his first wife shortly after his marriage in 1870, and in 1871 married Miss Jane A. Northrup, by whom he has six children. He enlisted Aug. 1862, in 103rd Ohio Infantry, and was discharged April 1865, was wounded at Chattanooga. He is now engaged in tubular well business in connection with L. Parker & Son.
L. R. LULL, lumberman and farmer, on section 2, township 7, born in northeastern Pennsylvania in 1847, settling in Eastmanville in 1865. At the age of 18 he commenced business for himself, and has now a finely improved estate, and does logging business for Senator Ferry, putting in about seven million feet each winter. He was married in 1867 to Miss Lucy Hymes, of Oswego, N.Y., and has three children. He is one of the enterprising men of this county.
JAMES FITZPATRICK, farmer, on section 18, born in Ireland 1838, came to New
York in 1851, and thirteen years after came to Spring Lake, working at lumbering
for ten years, also dealing in real estate, and still owns considerable village
property in Spring Lake and Grand Haven. He settled on his present farm in 1873.
He was married in 1872, to Miss Julia Glenn, and has five children. He is a man
highly respected and has held many minor offices in the township.
Transcriber: Leslie Coulson
Created: 24 October 2006