St. Joseph's Honor Roll -- Peace
Peace has its victories and St. Joseph County's Honor Roll of Peace rightfully includes the names of the members of the Michigan State Senate and House of Representatives elected from St. Joseph County, 1836-1930.
Among the Congressmen from Michigan, St. Joseph County has given John S. Chipman, Charles Upson, E. W. Keightly and George L. Yaple.
Of the members of the State Legislature, St. Joseph County has been the home of the following state senators:
John S. Berry (Constantine) 1835'-8 and 1841. He was the first president pro tem of the senate; Frank S. Cummings (Centreville) 1925; Orlando J. Fast (Mendon) 1883; J. Mark Harvey (Constantine) 1919; E. B. Linsley (Three Rivers) 1905, 1907; E. S. Moore (Three Rivers) 1853; E. W. Pendleton (Sturgis) 1897; A. C. Prutzman (Three Rivers) 1869, '70-'2. 1873-'4; H. H. Riley (Constantine) 1850-'`1, 1862; Marden Sabin (Centreville) 1891-1893; Frederick Schurtz (White Pigeon) 1857-'8; Isaac D. Toll (Fawn River) 1847; Comfort Tyler (Oporto) 1859; Charles Upson (Centreville) 1855, served U.S. Representative 1863-64-65-66; J. G. Wait (Sturgis) 1863-7; Joseph R. Williams (Constantine) 1861, Pres. pro tem; Warren J. Willets (Three Rivers) 1887.
Homer L. Allard (Sturgis) 1919-21; William Allman (Sturgis) 1857-58, 1877; E. S. Amidon (Sturgis) 1895; Edward J. Buys (Three Rivers) 1929; I. G. Bailey (Ft. Pleasant) 1840; J. W. Bnetley (Mendon) 1883-5, 1887; Chas. Betts (Burr Oak) 1863-64; James G. Bishop (Burr Oak) 1881-82; Asher Bonham (Centreville) 1850; C. O. Boussum (Colon) 1909; J. H. Bowman (Three Rivers) 1838, 1845; P. H. Buck (Sturgis) 1849; J. G. Cathcart (Constantine) 1840;
S. C. Chapin (White Pigeon) 1839; J. S. Chipman (Centreville) 1842; Leverett Clapp (Mottville) 1873-77; Andrew Clinne (Leonidas) 1871-74; Ezra Cole (Three Rivers) 1846; A. L. Driggs (Constantine) 1847; J. W. Frey (Three Rivers) 1853-54; Wm. R. Eck (Colon) 1867-70; Samuel Gibson (Constantine) 1897-98; John Hamilton (Constantine) 1879; F. A. Hassenger (Constantine) 1917; O. F. Howard (Three Rivers) 1865-67; Wm. Hull (Centreville) 1875; James Johnson (Sturgis) 1883-85;
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Harrison Kelley (Sturgis) 1859; C. B. Kellogg (Constantine) 1895; Edwin Kellogg (White Pigeon) 1850; Columbia Lancaster (Centreville) 1838; John Lomison (Parkville) 1855; J. W. Mandigo (White Pigeon) 1869, 1870; Parrick Marantette (Nottawa) 1847; G. B. Markham (White Pigeon) 1877, 1881-82; L. C. Matthews (Colon) 1849; Neal McGaffey (White Pigeon) 1837; A. R. Metcalf (Constantine) 1841; C. L. Miller (Colon) 1853, 55; C. R. Millington, (Constantine) 1869-1872; Thos. Mitchell (Constantine) 1859; A. H. Moore (Mottville) 1851; Otho Moe (Sturgis) 1879; Wm. Morris (Sturgis) 1848; Wm. Mottram (Nottawa) 1843; G. W. Osborn (Parkville) 1891-92; W. F. Pack (Centreville) 1899; F. S. Packard (Sturgis) 1875; Fayette Parsons (Burr Oak) 1867, 1873-74; Levi Patchen (Centreville) 1848; R. R. Pealer (Three Rivers) 1889; Washington Pitcher (Constantine) 1845; L. B. Place (Three Rivers) 1915; Gardner Powell (Constantine) 1903; Milo Powell (Constantine) 1848; Otis Preston (White Pigeon) 1842; P. E. Runyan (White Pigeon) 1844; O. D. Russell (Sturgis) 1911; G. W. Schaeffer (Sturgis) 1913; A. W. Scidmore (Three Rivers) 1905-07; Martin B. Schellhouse, (Colon) 1837; Benj. Sherman (Centreville) 1835-36; Frederick Shurtz (Three Rivers) 1839, 1844; W. T. Smith (White Pigeon) 1869, 70; Wm. L. Stoughton (Sturgis) 1867-69; Edwin Stewart (Mendon) 1861-65; Hugh Stewart (Centreville) 1907-08; Bracey Tobey (Burr Oak) 1871; I. J. Ulman (Constantine) 1835-36; W. J. Thomas (Constantine) 1923, 1925; Comfort Tyler (Oporto) 1841; Isaac D. Toll (Fawn River) 1846; J. G. Wait (Sturgis) 1851; Hezekiah Wetherbee (Three Rivers) 1857-58; Charles P. Wheeler (Three Rivers) 1901; William Wheeler (Flowerfield) 1861-64; Washington Weld (Centreville) 1843.
John Stewart Barry, Governor of Michigan
Of the names on the Hornor Roll of Peace worthy of special public recognition - though belated, is John S. Barry, for among the hundreds of immigrants, early Michigan presents no finer character study than the life of John S. Barry, of Constantine, immigrant of the thirties, a politician, statesman, one of St. Joseph county's most able citizens whose record, shorn of its greatness, comes down to us in meager, distorted anecdotes because, in the ill will of a civil war, he believed on the losing side.
At this late date the county has found State records that reveal his great influence and with characteristic justice it gladly pays tribute to John Stewart Barry, Michigan's third governor. He was born at Amberst, New Hampshire in 1802;
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was educated in Vermont; became principal of an academy and later practised law. He was on the governor's staff and made a captain of the New Hampshire militia. He moved to Georgia and after several years came to Michigan and settled at White Pigeon in 1831. In 1834 removed to Constantine; was in partnership with I. W. Williard and engaged in mercantile pursuits. He had a warehouse and navigated a fleet of grain and flour boats on the St. Joseph river.
The granite shaft on the Barry lot in the Constantine cemetery, in five brief lines, epitomizes a life devoted to the public interests of St. Joseph county;
"Pioneer of Michigan, 1831---
Member of the Territorial Legislature;
Member of the First Constitutional Convention;
Member and President Pro Tem of the First State Senate;
Three times Governor of the State of Michigan".
His wife (Mary Kidder) died in 1869.
The earliest public records by Mr. Barry are those with his signature as justice of the peace for White Pigeon township, 1831-1835. He performed the first recorded marriage ceremony in the county and thereafter in the long processional of the pioneers who affirmed their truthfulness before Judge Barry were, not only wedding parties, makers and breakers of wills, circuit riders and land speculators, but also, the proprietors of village plate whose visions have since materialized in brick and stone.
Then we find him judge of probate with court sessions held at his warehouse in Constantine. During the tenure of these county offices we find him growing in public favor and note his growing influence in the political affairs of the times. He was elected to the Territorial Legislature and his old letters, on file in the Three Rivers Free Public library, reveal a canny political insight. He advised the establishment of more roads and better roads. He urged the opening of new post offices and the distribution of postmasterships among the deserving". Of one postmaster, a Mr. A, ----Representative Barry wrote: "I am not his advocate but as now he supports our cause, it would be injudicious in us at this time to ask or permit his removal. He is certainly an improper person for the office but as an untoward fate (Whigs) fixed him upon us in the first place, and a malign influence preserved him there until now, it is for our interest to let things remain 'status quo'".
One of the letters concerns the establishment of a post office at Constantine. Mr. Barry wrote from White Pigeon, 1834: "The Village of Constantine in this township is four
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miles nearly north of this village. It is on the St. Joseph near the mouth of a creek and possesses a first rate mill seat. The village of Constantine will be the largest in the county and even now it contains three full story mills etc. and does more business than White Pigeon.
"The people of Constantine have tried to get a post office, but as yet have failed. The mail from Pigeon to St. Joseph, Berrien county, can go by way of Constantine, as can mail from Pigeon to Schoolcraft, without inconvenience.
"Thomas Charlton has seen recommended for postmaster and he has my endorsement. Any assistance you can give will confer a favor on your constituency".
In another letter Lucius Lyon, Mr. Berry reports: "One of the charges brought against a postmaster in St. Joseph county was charging $3.50 for a letter weighing one ounce, because it contained bank notes. The charge should have been one dollar. The same postmaster compelled some one else to pay his postage six months in advance oa a newspaper, whereas the law required three months".
In 1833, the probate court was held at the house of Dr. Noble Loomis. The records show that a letter of administration was granted to Abigail Phelps, widow of Arauna Phelps, John S. Berry, Judge. Later in the year, probate court was held at Barry & Willards, White Pigeon. When the estate of Jacob McInterfer was probated, Michael Beadle represented Solomon McInterfer. Security was given for Elizabeth McInterfer, Susan M.----, Dolly Winchall and Sally McIntosh. Other estates which came before Judge Barry were those of Robinson Hazard, Rufus Downing of the trading post, and other early settlers.
In 1833 letter to the Hon. Lucius Lyon from Representative Barry, is a plea for St. Joseph county in behalf of a larger representation. Barry wrote: "If there is no possibility of our becoming a state soon, another member ought to be added to our elective district, in St. Joseph. We gave in this district precisely as many votes at the last election as Wayne. We have one member of the Council and Wayne three. We must have a third more people here. Our sales for last four months have been about $6,000. I mention this that you may know that the 'removal of the deposits' has not affected business here".
The Detroit Free Press eulogized Mr. Barry in the following:
"To reform the evil bequeathed by a Whiggery rule, Gov. Barry used the veto power to check wild and extrava-
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gant appropriations. He is God's noblest work, an honest man.
"His adversaries referred to him as "Blue Ruin" candidate. Well, he did knock them cold in '41 and '43 and will in '50. Gov. Barry is a man of wisdom, firmness and honesty. We advocate the inflexible, straightforward, upright Barry."
Workers in the interest of temperance were busy and to gain their vote a story had been circulated that the ex-governor was selling liquor. To this came a certified statement of denial and the Western Chronicle's article follows: "Governor Barry is not selling liquor. To this came a certified statement of denial and the Western Chronicle's article follows: "Governor Barry is not selling liquor except for medical purposes and that upon certificate of a physician. The slander originated with the Niles Intelligence. "That Governor Barry has heretofore kept liquor when engaged in mercantile business no one pretends to deny, but that he retailed it is charged as a slander....... Judge H. H. Riley wrote: "I regard John S. Barry as a prince of pioneers. As a man he should not be forgotten, for no man worked harder to lay the foundation stones of this State on which you have built than John S. Barry. "You remember that he sold the hay cut on the old Capitol grounds for three dollars. But do you know that to this sum he added $500.00 saved from salary which was allowed for the services of a private secretary, which he said a bankrupt state could not afford, and with the $503.000 he defrayed the postage bills for the call of the second constitutional convention, a necessary bill which the legislature had failed to pass? "John S. Barry had the confidence of the people of the State. When the State was poor and bankrupt and pushing internal improvements, trying to get money to buy iron to lay the railroad from Marshall to Kalamazoo, Michigan's credit was not good abroad. Barry said to the iron owners: "If you will not give us iron on Michigan's bankrupt credit, I will give you my credit. I will trust the State of Michigan. He did it, they took his name, he got the iron, we laid the road. Should he be forgotten?
Mrs. John S. Berry
A most delightful sketch by Miss Emilie Comstock, of Mrs. John S. Berry, was given before the Abiel Fellows chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution and filed with their historical records at the Three Rivers library for public use. The sketch follows:
"In ascertaining a few of the salient characteristics of "the governor's wife," Mrs. John S. Barry, the compiler has consulted no printed books - as a matter of fact there were
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none about her to consult, but she did have the pleasure of delving into the books of memory held by some of the older man and women of Constantine. Their stories prove that the governor's wife was no ordinary individual but one who shone in the lime light for certain strong characteristics that were peculiarly hers. Before her marriage, she was Mary Kidder, a native of Vermont. She talked with the accent natural to those of the eastern state and when she spoke of the Governor, as was frequently her custom, she pronounced the name "Mister Bahrrie". She and the Governor never has any children of their own but they adopted a son, Henry Dudley, who afterwards took the name of "Barry" and of whom both came to be exceedingly fond.
"Now, if one of our free verse writers, especially one of the type of Edgar Lee Masters, who does not hesitate to till the truth bluntly, often cruelly, were presenting this, he would first of all inform you that the lady in question was not beautiful. She was tall of stature and angular, and her angularity was in marked contrast to the rotundity of Governor Barry. Were she living today, she would undoubtedly be consulting the best known eye specialist of the land and undergoing an operation for the correction of an eye difficulty which would make her gaze more direct.
"Madame Barry's characteristics bring to mind the well known quotation from Proverbs: "She lookety well to the way of her household, and eateth not of the bread of idleness", for she brewed and stewed and boiled and baked and washed and ironed and when not hard at work in the duties found in the kitchen, she busied her ever active fingers in making ruffled shirts, for the governor, out of the finest linen. She did all this even though there were always two, sometimes three and even four, strong capable maids in the house. Her delight was in serving the Governor and for her the sun, moon and stars rose and set in him.
"All the 'memory books' consulted assure us that Mrs. Barry was exceedingly charitable, kind of heart and eager to be of service. In illustration of these virtues, one of those who knew her intimately, relates the following story: 'At one time there was living in the Barry household a young man who later enlisted for Civil war service. Many and many a time this young man was asked to take a basket, on of the proverbially well filled kind, to someone who was ill, someone who was unfortunate, or some one who would especially appreciate the delicacies it held. And always there was this admonition: 'Don't say anything about this, Charles.' It is said she often journeyed into the woods to hunt out herbs and plants for the brewing of medicine which she would carry to the sick. The
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poor, the infirm and the needy always seemed to have her sympathy and compassion.
"Her frugality was an outstanding characteristic. It is told that when she was visiting Mr. Berry in Lansing and being feted and dined as was due her station, she was forced to leave the festivities given in her honor and go home. The urgent reason for leaving was that if she did not get home at once the grease she had been saving to convert into soap would spoil.
"At home she was too busy, too occupied in looking after the Governor's comfort to shine in society. One woman tell that if you wanted to see Mrs. Barry you could not depend on meeting her at some afternoon or evening function, but it was necessary to go to her home, and then undoubtedly you would be ushered into the kitchen, where, if she were not making soap, she would be busy at some other task disdained by many. Because she entered so little into the social affairs of her community, she was regarded by many as queer, eccentric, peculiar, or, as one man said, 'a curiosity.'
"The Governor was a regular attendant at the Sunday morning church service. He was always garbed in his best and wearing one of the ruffled shirts that 'Polly' - his nickname for Mrs. Berry - had made and washed and ironed, and a suit of black broadcloth, and he looked the fine gentleman he was. But it was a rare occurrence to see Mrs. Barry at church. She had to stay at home to oversee the maids, that the Governor's dinner might be cooked to a turn and woe unto the servant who let the meringue on the pie brown a wee bit too much."
BOYHOOD OF JOHN BAGLEY
Among Michigan's celebrities of the forties, whom St. Joseph county may claim, is Governor John Bagley, whose boyhood was spent at Constantine. He was born in New York in 1832. On his mother's side he was descended from Timothy Judson, a soldier of the American Revolution. When John was eight years of age, his parents removed to Mottville, and later settled at Constantine. John's father was a tanner and the family was in moderate circumstances. The future governor of Michigan began a business career in a little country store. Shortly afterwards he went to school at Owosso. Then at the age of sixteen, he sought work in Detroit, which proved to be with a tobacconist. His mother was a most remarkable woman and we are told that when John started out as a traveling salesman for the tobacco store, "she insisted that he take letters of introduction to the ministers and lawyers of each town. He laughed at the idea but his mother insisted
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that it was the way a person worked, and the people with whom he associated, that revealed character". As a child, he had been admonished: "Black your boots, John. Every town must have first class children in it. Black boots and a clean collar will show you are to be counted among the best".
At another time, his mother corrected him for a fault - He replied, "Well I only do it once in a while". And the mother quickly asked: "Would I trust a servant who stole only once in a while?" Leaning against the gate, John dolefully exclaimed: "Wish I could be like she wants me to be, but it's no easy thing to be the son of such a woman."
Something more of the mother of John Bagley may be gleaned from an old letter written by her in 1835, in which she says in part: "A cheerful face and a word kindly spoken, when I am gone I would rather that one should say: 'Here lies one who, when others crushed, gave me a helping hand, one whom I can never forget because of his friendship, - no marble monument can equal that'".
A letter written by John Bagley on his twenty-first birthday shows the strong tie of affection between mother and son. John wrote: "To many, twenty-one is the happiest year of their life. They consider they are men, not boys, that they are rid of all legal and moral obligations to their parents. I have been thinking today how much I owe to the best of mothers. All that I am or expect to be that is good came from her. Still how little I have done to repay her. She has often told Fred and me that having two such boys repaid her for all she had ever done, but how much better we could be if we had our lives to live over again".
Gov. Bagley's public career may be read anywhere but his love for his childhood home in Constantine may be gleaned only from old letters. In one dated 1854, he writes: "I realize that I am no longer a boy playing amid flowers of the forest, or dabbling in the waters of the St. Joe; gathering knowledge from Webster's Spelling book or nuts from the tall hickory trees that surround our home. Today I have been dreaming of past old times, old scenes, boyish loves and hates. The spelling schools and the walk home, the Saturday afternoons, the master's ruler and the fire we kindled with it, the snow-balling, the prize for being at the head and the shame for being at the tail ot the class. The old fashioned tuning fork, and the voice of the leader that no one but our choir could sing "Old Hundred" as our choir sang."
The mother's training and the spirit of the boy are shown in a school oration delivered at White Pigeon when John was
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about twelve years old. The subject was: "The Importance of Improving the Season of Youth", from which we quote one paragraph: "Now is the time when, in the spring of life, when health sparkles in the eyes, when your blood flows purely in your veins and when the spirits are gay as the morning, to mould your future actions, habits and dispositions. On the manner in which you spend your early days depends your future destiny".
Another talented son of Constantine was Franklin Wells a descendant of Hugh Wells and his wife Frances of Colchester, England, who came with their children to Massachusetts in 1635, and the next year were among the first settlers of Hartford, Conn. They soon afterwards removed to Wethesfield, Connecticut.
John Wells, father of Franklin, was born in Colchester, Connecticut. He married Lucy Hollister of Manchester, Vermont. He was a merchant at Cambridge, New York, and later a hotel-keeper at Salem, New York, where Franklin was born, April 19, 1823. Mr. Wells was educated in the public school, with a few terms in Washington Academy at Salem.
In the spring of 1837, the family made the journey from New York to Michigan by wagon. They settled in Mottville township, on the Chicago road, about two miles west of White Pigeon, but soon afterward moved to Constantine, where Franklin Wells lived the remainder of his life.
From 1838 to 1842, he was a clerk in the stores at the Willis & Williard House and also of Barry and Williard. He then became a partner in the store with Mr. Andrus. He continued in the general mercantile business, sometimes alone and sometimes with a partner, for about 30 years.
He was married to Helen May Briggs, a niece of Governor and Mrs. John S. Barry, Oct. 31, 1844. They had seven daughters and two sons.
In 1873 he sold his stores and gave his attention to the management of several farms which he owned near Constantine.
He was for several years a member of the executive committee and chairman of the business committee of the State Agricultural Society.
He was a delegate to many Republican county and state conventions and was active in the affairs of his church. He was one of the incorporators of the Constantine Hydraulic Company, which built the dam across the St. Joseph river at Constantine.
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The last thirty years of his life he was a member of the State Board of Agriculture, the greater part of the time being president of the board. He was first appointed by Governor Bagley, who as a young man had been a clerk in his store.
He was at one time township clerk, president of the village 1870-71, and was a member of the local school board for 25 years. From 1878 to 1890 he was Agent of the county for the State Board of Charities and Corrections. During the administration of President Harrison, 1889-93, he was postmaster; and Michigan agent and reporter of the Department of Agriculture. He died July 3, 1903.
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