This rich and important township is rather irregular in formation, consisting mainly of Town 7 North, range 13 West, with the exception of all of Section 31, and three-fourths of Sections 32 in the southwest corner, which are assigned to Georgetown, which township, on the other hand, loses most of its own Sections 1 and 12. This irregularity on its southern boundary is caused by taking the Grand River as the boundary.
In the north corner Talmadge takes from Polkton the east halves of Sections 1 and 12. This township is well watered, the Grand River meandering across from the southeast to the northwest. Sand Creek flows in a southerly direction quite across the center of the town, and by means of its branches, as well as by other tributaries of the Grand River, causes this to be a plain well watered and excellent for stock raising and meadow land. There is no richer land in the county, and the consequence is the land has been readily taken up by a good class of settlers who are doing well. It has more area under cultivation than any other town except Zeeland. The cultivated area is about 10,000 acres.
Talmadge is in the eastern tier of townships and is north of Grand River. It is bounded north by Wright, east by Kent County, south by Georgetown, and west by Grand River and Polkton, and is a little less than thirty-six square miles.
Talmadge is said to have been first settled by T. B. Woodbury, in 1835, and the following year there arrived A. Stoddard, A. D. Yeomans, I. V. Harris, J. H. Maxfield, D. Angell, and in 1837 B. Church, S. G. Harris, E. Dalton, A. Hatch, J. Baxter, and Harrison Hunter.
Talmadge at first included Wright, but in a few months what is now Allendale and Polkton were added. It derives its name from an early settler of that name, and was first settled around Lamont. Its soil is sandy loam, with a considerable admixture of clay. About eleven years ago, on petition, two half sections of the extreme southeast of Polkton were transferred to Talmadge for the greater convenience of its inhabitants. The people of Talmadge, Wright and Chester belong commercially to Grand Rapids, where they do their trading.
The first town meeting was held at A. Stoddard's in 1838. Bethuel Church was elected Supervisor; I. V. Harris, Clerk; A. Hatch, A. D. Yeomans, I. V. Harris, I. H. Maxfield, Justices of the Peace; E. Dalton, Collector; A. Stoddard, A. Hatch, I. V. Harris, Assessors; D. Angell, A. Hatch, A. Stoddard, Commissioners of Highways; T. B. Woodbury, E. Dalton, Constables; B. Church, I. H. Maxfield, School Commissioners; I. J. Baxter, T. B. Woodbury, Overseers of Poor; H. Hunter, S. G. Harris, T. B. Woodbury, Inspectors of Schools. Of these the only ones living are T. B. Woodbury, now of Fruitport, I. V. Harris, of Grand Haven, and Harrison Hunter is now in South America. All the others are either away or dead.
It will be observed there were but few electors, and that a few had to take all the offices. Next year B. Church was re-elected Supervisor, and Harrison Hunter was Clerk; Harlow Judson and I. H. Maxfield became Justices of the Peace. In 1841 it was resolved to raise $10 by taxation for fencing each of the following burying grounds: 1st, near Henry Steele's; 2d, near B. Hopkins'; 3d, Abraham Hatch's' 4th, by James M. Smith's and Henderson Strator's, who had given from one-quarter to one-half acres of land each. Lemuel Peaks received $10 a year as Collector.
In 1842 forty-six voters were present at T. B. Woodbury's house, and the following officers were elected: Supervisor, B. Hopkins; Clerk, P. P. Cady; Assessor, J. Steele; Treasurer, A. Stoddard; School Inspectors, H. Griffin, B. Hopkins, D. R. Thurston; Justice of the Peace, George M. Berker. There were then but six road districts.
In 1855 the annual meeting was held at De Witt's hotel, 148 votes were cast, of which George Luther received 146. A. A. Tracy was elected Clerk.
In 1856 one hundred and thirty-seven votes were cast, and W. Angell was elected Supervisor, J. G. Calgrove, Treasurer. In 1857 one hundred and eighty-eight votes were cast, of which John Rice received all for the Supervisorship, A. A. Tracy, Clerk. Next year Levi Day was Supervisor, and Sylvestor Luther, Clerk.
In 1863 J. Rice was Supervisor, and E. Babcock, Clerk, there being 180 votes polled at a meeting held at Minor Hedges, on Section 15. In 1879 the road districts numbered 27. The late Supervisors have been W. De Witt in 1876, Rollin H. Pelton in 1877-8, J. W. A. Turner in 1879, and R. H. Pelton again in 1880 and 1881.
A road is now being made from what is known as the Bridge Street road to Grand River, two miles east of Lamont, thence across by ferry and angling to Allendale Center. This will make the drive from Allendale to the Rapids six miles shorter than now -- twelve miles in going and coming. A Mr. Rosegrant, of Polkton, has been engaged as ferryman,
This lovely village, which so peacefully nestles on the right bank of the Grand River, in the northwest corner of the town, is most picturesquely laid out, and nature has done so much to add to its beauty. The village lies on a broad plateau sixty or seventy feet above the river, and the principal street is of great width, the place evidently laid out for a city. The views on the river, especially above, are grand. This village has now almost a deserted appearance, having only some 400 inhabitants scattered over a wide area. There are two fine general stores, the oldest being that of Walling Bros., where there is a telephone, and the latest comer as merchant is Geert Gringhuis. The post master, Mr. R. Randall, is an old soldier, and gives excellent satisfaction in his office, which he has held since October, 1876. He has also a small grocery and tin-shop in connection.
There are quite a number of old settlers residing in the village, which was platted in 1856 by H. & Z. Steele, and has been known as Middelville and Steele's Landing.
In 1842 there were but three houses in Lamont, that of T. B. Woodbury, now of Fruitport, that of H. Steele, and that of Job Calkins. J. O. Hedges lived just outside of the village, and Allen Stoddard, now eighty-two years of age, about a mile and a half up the river. Stephen Hodges was the first teacher, the school-house being opposite Stoddard's, but now burnt down.
In 1866 Lamont is described as a flourishing post village with two churches, two hotels, several stores, a machine shop, steam flouring mill, saw mill, etc. L. Summer, Postmaster, Babcock & Co. had the saw mill, W. P. Barber was dentist, L. E. Barnard was physician, W. D. Scott and J. Westervelt kept a drug store and grocery. Miner Hedges had a grocery, as had also A. Cassell; W. H. Blakeny and Solomon Snyder had hotels; John Rice was Justice of the Peace and kept a livery; G. Baxter, stoves and tinware; G. Luther, J. Luther and C. Pitman had a general store, as had also E. Brace; Rev. L. M. Bennett was Methodist minister; J. Cilley and W. J. Perlee were Justices of the Peace; J. Velsey kept boots and shoes, and also V. Thompson; R. Tucker and A. Burdick were blacksmiths; W. Cunningham and O. Fuller carriage makers; R. Coman & Co., tanners; H. M. Lane, engineer; J. A. McKay, architect and Notary Public. In 1876 Rev. C. Doolittle is Congregational minister, Rev. C. H. Fisher, Methodist; O. G. Marvin and Scott & Walling have general stores; J. Rice has the only hotel; W. Clark, I. C. McIlvain, L. D. Smith and M. Hedges, are physicians; J. S. Parks, tanner; P. B. Hill, harness maker, and J. Cilley, sash and door factory.
The saw mill now owned by Frank Hedges, who inherited it from his father, Miner, was built in 1864, and cuts 20,000 feet a day of hard wood, having a circular and edger. The old mill, built by Calkins & Babcock, was burned. There are three general stores in the village, the oldest is that of Hedges' on River Street, next Walling Brothers, and then Gringhuis. The postmaster also sells groceries as well as has a tin shop. There is one blacksmith shop. There is no hotel, that of Squire John Rice having been burnt down, but Mr. Rice still dispenses hospitality at his residence to strangers who may be stopping in the village. Mr. Hedges has the only furniture store.
One of the drawbacks of Lamont is the want of a railway, but there is some prospect of the Michigan Central Railway, which controls the charter of a railway called the Grand River Valley R. R., which ran a trial line through Lamont in 1872, building a branch from Grand Rapids to Nunica, 22 miles off, instead of going round to Muskegan via Holland, 80 miles. There are no engineering difficulties in the way. The town library was commenced with 104 books belonging to two school sections, in 1833.
One of the early settlers was Jeremiah O. Hedges, who was born in Rensselaer Co., N.Y., in 1795, settling in Lamont in 1841, and dying in 1868, leaving seven sons, of whom Miner, born in 1826, died in 1881. Stephen is his eldest son, and is a prominent resident near Lamont. His son Silas, of the 10th Michigan Cavalry, died in the war. John Calkins came in 1841.
There are three church edifices in Lamont, the oldest being the Methodist Episcopal, established in 1836, the Congregationalist established shortly after, and the Dutch Reformed, who are about to erect a larger edifice. The present Methodist Episcopal pastor is Rev. Mr. Kitzmiller, that of the Congregationalist, Rev. Mr. Wall.
The present postmaster of TALMADGE POSTOFFICE is Alonzo Patterson. Bethuel Church was the first postmaster; his daughter, Mrs. John Rice, of Lamont, shows still the first diminutive mail bag made of ribbed velvet 9 x 18 inches. The mail was carried by an Indian from Grand Rapids to Grand Haven, and he and his squaw were drowned at the mouth of Sand Creek, being found there under water tightly clenching at roots, and the mail was recovered. Postage on letters in that day was twenty-five cents. The postoffice has been moved about a mile to Wolf's grist mill so as to be nearer telegraph and telephone.
BETHUEL CHURCH, who was one of the honored fathers of Talmadge, was born at Cambridge, N.Y., Feb. 17, 1784. At ten years of age he experienced a change of heart, and was all his life of a deeply religious temperament. He came to Sand Creek in 1836, became first Supervisor and a man forward in every good work. He died full of days and full of honors in 1859, amid the universal esteem of his neighbors. He traces his ancestry from the pilgrim fathers, and was a man of marked force and individuality.
DEVOTED LOVE. A case of romantic devotion occurred in 1875 in the family of Daniel Angell, who with his family had settled here in 1837. As man and wife they had lived in true conjugal love, and when Mrs. Angell died, it so affected her husband that he felt certain he could not survive her loss, and accordingly he directed that her body should be kept so that he might be buried at the same time. Sure enough he died on the 19th of November, just two weeks after her death, and they were buried with one funeral.
WILLIAM CLARKE, M. D., L. S. A., Lamont, although but comparatively a young man, has attained, by indomitable perseverance, and by the aid of a good mental and physical constitution, and enviable distinction as a deep student of the art of medicine. A native of the Emerald Isle, the doctor came to Michigan in 1864, and taking up the study of medicine, graduated at Detroit Medical College in 1871; not content with this distinction, his ambition reached out for still higher honors, and for deeper researches in the arcana of the human system and its myriad ailments, and we find him at the great city of New York, graduating in medicine with distinction from the academic halls of the far-famed Columbia College. The doctor's motto being excelsior, after rapidly accumulating by his extensive practice, sufficient means, he turned his attention to foreign degrees and graduated in 1879 at Kingston, Ontario, from Queen's University, where the examination is unusually rigid and the standard high. Still, on the upward ascent, we find him in the great city of London, England, attending lectures and taking the degree of L. S. A. on the 18th of March, 1880, and a license to practice medicine in Great Britain and Ireland. As the doctor is still young and ambitious, we dare not predict what other honors he will carry off. He settled in Lamont in 1871, and has a very large practice.
GEERT GRINGHUIS, general merchant, artist and portrait painter, Lamont, is a gentleman whose aptitude for art almost entirely unassisted by masters, will lead to his taking rank with the recognized masters of art in this country. He has finished a number of landscape paintings that would stand the criticism of artists. His forte, however, is portrait painting, in which he has an extended experience at Grand Rapids, and at Lincoln, Nebraska, in every case giving satisfaction. He was born at Buffalo, N.Y., April 17, 1850, and when but an infant his parents removed to Grand Haven, where he lived until October, 1881. He then removed to Lamont with a large stock of general goods, and by his genial manner and selling at low profits he has already secured a good run of trade. He has had good commercial training, being a graduate of Grand Rapids Commercial College, and has had long experience in business in Grand Haven, with Mieras & Bros. He was married April 27, 1876, to Miss Cornelia Visser, and has one daughter, Theresa, born at Grand Haven, Oct. 23, 1876.
Mr. Gringhuis is a natural artist, having had but three lessons in portrait painting from Orchison, the artist of Chicago, and one week's instruction in landscape painting from Selzer, of Grand Rapids. Mr. Gringhuis' whole soul is devoted to art, and his masterpiece is a pastoral and river scene, now on view at his own residence. His first effort was on a snow scene, which is creditable as a first effort, but lacks smoothness and finish. The following list shows steady and rapid improvement, and is given in the order in which they were executed: the Alpena sinking, a river scene, a marine piece, a fruit piece (cut melon), portraits of the artist and family in a pleasure boat, and lastly the pastoral and river scene to which reference has been made. We confidently look forward to a bright career as an artist for Mr. Gringhuis, whose portrait will be found in this volume.
ROBERT HART, fruit grower and farmer, Lamont, has a fine lot of 48 acres, of which the lower half, near Grand River, is good pasture and arable land, raising excellent crops. On the bluff he has 120 apple trees, and over 400 young peach trees of the best varieties, the latest being the Waterloo, a very early and large peach, 150 grape vines, pear trees, &c., &c. Mr. H. is a native of Renfrew, Scotland, was born in 1810, and is a skillful silk-weaver, accustomed to take charge of large cotton factories in Massachusetts and New York States. He came to America in 1828, and married, in Vermont, Feb. 12, 1832, Miss Barbara Dykeman, who died Feb. 28, 1876, in her 72d year. He was again united in matrimony to Mary A. Theisman, a native of Holland. He has had a family of four children, of whom only one daughter survives, and now in his hale old age he enjoys the fruits of his long labors, having secured the esteem of his neighbors from his uprightness of life and conduct. While he is noted for firmness of principle and disposition, he is at the same time of a most kindly and charitable temperament, and no proper object of charity has ever appealed to him in vain. He has been settled in Lamont since the spring of 1866. His only daughter, Marietta, is now Mrs. L. R. Goodno, near Lamont. Her husband was formerly Postmaster of Montague Village. Mr. Hart's portrait, as he looked in his younger days, has a place in this work.
J. B. HILL, dealer in agricultural implements, agent for W. C. Dennison, of Grand Rapids, also for the Mansfield Co., O., was born in Schoharie County, N.Y., Sept. 4, 1818. After various moves he came to Lamont in 1868, and shortly afterward entered on his present business, in which he has been successful, being respected by the whole community. He married, July 13, 1843, Miss Sarah A. Bruce, of Allegany County, N.Y., and has four sons and three daughters.
C. W. ROSE, painter and farmer, Lamont, was born in Huron Co., O., Feb. 21, 1836; lived in Wayne and Buffalo, N.Y., working in a stove foundry; was fourteen years at sea and two years on a gunboat. Thirteen years ago he moved to Holland, and in 1872 went to Grand Rapids, three years after to Blendon, and after three years to Lamont. He married, in 1868, Leentzee Vanderslick, and has seven children.
FRANK HEDGES, lumberman, farmer and merchant, is one of the busy men of Talmadge, having inherited from his father, M. Hedges, who died Aug. 22, 1881, a large business. He was born in Lamont in 1854 and early went into business with his father. He has the Lamont saw mill and general store, and a furniture store on River street, also several farms in and near Lamont, 1,700 acres of pine land, &c. He is also clerk of the township.
Among the model farms near Lamont is that of C. N. MASON, who unites to the business of fruit-growing that of his early occupation of shoemaker, and who was born in New York State in 1831. He came to Lamont in 1868 and purchased, in 1876, his present place of 15 1/2 acre, on which he has 400 well developed grape vines; 1 1/2 acres of strawberries, on which he is experimenting with oats as a mulch and as a protective in winter; one acre of raspberries, chiefly Doolittle for black caps, and Philadelphia for red, and is going into raising of the Gregg as a black raspberry. He has also 350 peach trees, 50 plum, and 450 currant and gooseberry bushes. He ia also going more heavily into fruit, onions and watermelons next season. The farm is a pine soil but has considerable clay and requires manuring heavily.
REUBEN RANDALL, Postmaster of Lamont, was born in Ohio in 1836, and removed with his parents to Section 6, Talmadge, in 1842, when there were but three houses in Lamont, those of Woodbury, Steele and Calkins. He enlisted April 21, 1861, and remaining over three years in the service, in the 3d Michigan; was at the first Bull Run, and fought with McClellan on the Peninsula, where he was wounded and discharged for disability. Was appointed Postmaster October 1, 1876. He married, in 1865, Miss Elvira Velzy, and has four sons and one daughter. Mr. Randall has the only tin-shop in the village and sells groceries. He is popular as a man and as an official.
J. J. ROBINSON, fruit grower, Lamont, was born in Tippecanoe Co., Ind., March, 1831, came to Lamont in 1867, as teacher, and teaching in the vicinity, returned and settled on the west side of the village on his plat of twenty acres, of which twelve acres is river flat, devoted to pasture, the balance being elevated over sixty feet above the river. The soil is a gravelly loam. He has 400 peach trees, of which the majority are Hale's early, Barnharts, Hill's Chili, and Crawford's. He has three-quarters of an acre of strawberries, 300 or 400 grape vines, 300 apple trees, 200 cherry trees, 17 quince trees, 60 pear trees, and many plums, gooseberries, apricots, currants, &c. He was married on Jan. 14, 1865, to Miss Eliza Ingram, and has two children living. He enlisted in 1864 in Co. A, 135th Indiana Infantry, and was honorably discharged at the close of the war.
HERBERT W. SLOCUM, physician and surgeon, Lamont, was born in Ashland Co., O., in 1837, and is the son of a doctor, so that he imbibed a taste for and a knowledge of medicine from his earliest years. He removed to Eaton County, Mich., at nine years of age, and when a youth attended Wabash College, Ind., and Detroit Medical College in 1875, settling in Lamont in 1877, after practicing in Grand Rapids and Eastmanville. He married, in 1863, Miss Cornelia E. Shattuck, of Onondaga County, N.Y., by whom he has two sons and two daughters. Dr. Slocum has a large practice and is respected by all.
A. B. SUMNER, Lamont, is now retired after a long, useful and active life, spent in benefiting the community. He was born in Vermont in 1806 and came to this State in 1854, settling on Section 1, township 7, on a farm, and coming to Lamont in 1878 on account of ill-health, In 1867 he had the misfortune to lose his first wife, and in 1868 he married the widow of Thos. H. Cassell, one of the early settlers. He has filled to the satisfaction of all the office of Supervisor for three terms, and Treasurer of the Township for two terms.
PETER A. WEATHERWAX was born in Clinton County, N.Y., July 1st, 1814, and remained there until 1843, when he removed to Adrian, Mich., without a cent in his purse, and had to borrow seven dollars to clear his goods from the railway. After remaining there a short time he removed to the Grand River, where he has resided ever since, sharing in the toils and triumphs of a pioneer life. Since 1866 he has held the office of Constable, and, in 1867, was appointed Deputy Sheriff; he has been re-appointed three times and still holds the office, to the satisfaction of all. He still enjoys the fruits of a well spent life on his farm near Lamont. He married Miss Jane Steele, of Lamont, and they have a fine family of children comfortable settled in the county.
Transcriber: Leslie Coulson
Created: 24 October 2006