Page 258
Thomas CUDDY. A community of enterprising men soon leave their mark upon the section of country wherein they settle, and to them it is indebted for its growth and prosperity. In order to affect this they must be liberal-minded, progressive and unselfish. Nottawa Township has been fortunate in this respect, and among the men who have aided in her growth and prosperity the subject of this sketch occupies a leading position. Not the least among his labors have been the building of a fine homestead, the cultivation of the soil, the planting of trees, the building of fences, and last, but not least, the erection of neat and substantial farm buildings. These include a handsome and commodious brick residence, while the barn and other structures for the storing of grain and the shelter of stock indicate the enterprise of the proprietor.

A large proportion of the early settlers of Michigan owe their birth and ancestry to a foreign land. The childhood home of Mr. CUDDY was in County Tyrone, Ireland, where his birth took place in 1829. His father was a farmer by occupation, and the boy grew up with limited advantages, but with sentiments of honesty and habits of industry. He was bright and ambitious, and when twenty years of age resolved to seek his fortunes on the other side of the Atlantic. Taking passage on a sailing vessel at Liverpool, he landed five weeks later upon American soil, in the city of New York.

Young CUDDY soon made his way to the State of Michigan, and having in view the pursuits of farm life, located, in the month of June, upon a tract of land in Nottawa Township, near the river. He lived for a time with an uncle, not having yet formed matrimonial or domestic ties. He proceeded with the cultivation of his land, remaining a bachelor for a period of nearly ten years longer, but on the 28th of April, 1859, was united in marriage with Miss Catherine McKINLEY.

The wife of our subject is the daughter of Robert and Catherine McKINLEY, who were natives of Scotland, and settled in Sherman Township, this county, during its pioneer days. The father followed the peaceful pursuits of farm life, and died in 1883. The mother departed this life Jan. 28,1875. Mrs. Catherine CUDDY became the mother of three children, and departed this life at the residence of her father in Sherman Township, on the 4th of September, 1869, at the age of twenty-seven years, having been born in 1842. Her native place was Amsterdam, N.Y. The children of this union were Catherine L., Robert J., and Samuel. The latter died when about eight years of age. The others are living.

Mr. CUDDY, on the 28th of September, 1871, contracted a second marriage with Miss Catherine CULBERTSON, who was born in Pennsylvania, in 1837. She was the daughter of James CULBERTSON, one of the early pioneers of this county, and died at her home in Nottawa Township, Aug. 24, 1878.

The present wife of our subject, to whom he was married March 3, 1880, was formerly Miss Ella PLATT, daughter of Henry and Lydia PLATT, of Leonidas Township. Henry PLATT was also one of the pioneers of this county. He and his excellent wife were natives of New York; the mother died in 1872, and the father is still living. Miss Ella CUDDY was born in 1859, in Leonidas Township, and was the second child of her parents, whose family consisted of two children. Of her marriage with our subject there have been born a daughter and two sons-Jennie L., George L. and Thomas T.

Mr. CUDDY, upon becoming a naturalized citizen, identified himself with the Democratic party, and cast his first Presidential vote for Pierce. Later he considered that he had reason to support the Greenbackers, and accordingly allied himself with them. He has never been an office-seeker, but prefers to give his strict attention to his own affairs.

colored line

Page 259
John RUTHERFORD. The men who came to Michigan in the pioneer days and inaugurated the struggle with the primitive soil, battling with the first difficulties with life in a new country, deserve more than passing mention. It must have required no small amount of courage and perseverance to break loose from old friends and associations, and perhaps with no other means than stout muscles and a hopeful heart, enter upon the task of opening up a homestead from the wilderness, a task which they understood from the first would involve years of labor and no small outlay of capital. Among the men who thus distinguished themselves in this county is the subject of this sketch.

Mr. RUTHERFORD was born in Caledonia, Livingston Co., N.Y., June 26, 1814, and lived there at his father's farm until a youth of nineteen years. Then, learning the carpenter trade he worked a year as a journeyman in his native State, and at the end of this time, resolving upon a change of location, made his way to the Territory of Michigan. Early in the spring of 1836, still unmarried, he migrated to this county, and employed himself as a farm laborer about two years, mostly in Nottawa Township. He had in the meantime purchased 160 acres of land in Allegan County, which he now sold, and invested a portion of his capital in 130 acres just east of Centreville in Nottawa Township, which he occupied and cultivated a period of seven years. He had now practically abandoned his trade and given his attention to the more congenial pursuits of agriculture. At the expiration of the time mentioned Mr. RUTHERFORD sold out again, and purchased 200 acres on section 29 in Nottawa Township, which comprises his present farm. The history of those first few years is similar to that of his brother pioneers, and during which he labored early and late, enduring many privations and sacrifices for the sake of future good to himself and family. Although for the most part successful he has had his adversities and losses, having in April, 1862, suffered the loss of a fine residence, which was destroyed by fire. He at once rebuilt, and in due time found himself on his feet again.

The greater portion of the Rutherford farm is under a fine state of cultivation. Our subject has a fair assortment of livestock, an ample supply of choice fruit, and all the other necessaries conducive to his comfort and well being. He was united in marriage with Miss Betsey Ann ENGLE, in Nottawa Township, March 4, 1838. Mrs. Betsey A. RUTHERFORD, also a native of New York State, was born in Mt. Morris, Livingston County, in 1818. This lady became the mother of two children, and died at the homestead in Nottawa Township in November, 1874. Their elder child, a son, George W., remains with his father at home; he married Miss Ellen ASHLEY, a native of Oswego County, N.Y., and they have two children, John A. and Zoe E. Isabell J. is the wife of Francis GOODEN, of Nottawa.

Our subject contracted a second marriage in January, 1881, with Miss Sarah GEE, also a native of the Empire State, and born in New York in 1812; she died in the year 1888. Her parents were natives of New York State, and are now deceased. Mr. R. has been quite prominent in local affairs, representing Nottawa Township about twelve years in the County Board of Supervisors, officiating as Justice of the Peace the same length of time, and serving as Highway Commissioner at different times for the last twenty years. In religious matters he adheres to the doctrines of the Reformed Church.

The RUTHERFORD family is Scotch ancestry as far back as the records have been preserved. James RUTHERFORD, the father of our subject, was a native of Edinburgh, the Scotland, and married a maiden of his own Province, Miss Mary HUNTER. They came on a bridal tour of United States, settling in Livingston County, N.Y., where the father engaged in farming, where all their children, nine in number, were born, and where the parents spent the remainder of their lives. John was the fifth in order of birth. In the early days the pioneer farmers during harvest time fortified their harvest hands with generous supply of whisky. The father of our subject discontinued this practice when John was a lad of fourteen years, and became a strict advocate of temperance. He succeeded in training his sons to his way of thinking, especially John, who is now a pronounced Prohibitionist, although he still casts his vote with the Republican party.

colored line

Page 260
Stephen M. SNYDER is a native-born citizen of Michigan, Lockport, St. Joseph County, being his place of birth, and May 18, 1843, the date thereof. He is now prominently identified with the agricultural interests of his native State, owning and occupying a fine farm on section 1, Fabius Township. He is a representative of an honored pioneer family of St. Joseph County, his parents, Henry and Lydia (MOORE) SNYDER, being among the early settlers of Southern Michigan. They were natives of Pennsylvania, his father being born in what is now Snyder County, in 1804, and his mother in Union County that State.

Our subject obtained a fair education in the common schools, and was reared to man's estate on his father's farm, having no recollection of being out of the county until he entered the army. The breaking out of the Rebellion found him a strong, active, self-reliant lad, capable of doing his full share of labor on the home farm. He watched the progress of the war with intense interest, and ardently and patriotically desired to go to the assistance of his country. His wishes were finally gratified, and Aug. 15, 1862, before he had attained his majority, he was enrolled as a member or the gallant 25th Michigan Infantry. In the three years that followed he experienced all the dangers and hardships of war on many a hard-fought battlefield, in many a weary march, and in malarious, unhealthy camps, oftentimes without proper food and with insufficient shelter. He bore up bravely under all these discouragements and sufferings, and proved himself to be a good soldier, on upon whom his officers could rely. He took part in the battles of Resaca, Rocky Face, Etowah River, Kingston, Altoona, Pine Mountain, Lost Mountain, Culp's Farm, Kenesaw Mountain, Chattahoochee River, Decatur, Atlanta, Rome (Ga.), Cedar Bluff and Nashville, and in many minor battles and skirmishes.

After his retirement from the army Mr. SNYDER farmed with his father until the year 1868, when he went to Iowa to dispose of some land which he owned there, and after completing his business, visited Kansas and other Western States. After his return home he married, Feb. 7, 1869, to Miss Utica E. STUCK, daughter of Jacob and Rebecca (SNYDER) STUCK, of Indiana. Her parents were of Pennsylvania origin and of German descent, and she was likewise a native of Pennsylvania, born in Snyder County, Dec. 9, 1847. While to Mr. and Mrs. SNYDER have been vouchsafed the joys of parentage, they have also suffered its sorrows in an uncommon degree, as five bright and promising children of the seven born to them have early passed away from the sins of sorrows of this life

"And to all the evil that's in the world
They will know no waking."

They have two children living: Willis C., born April 9, 1871, and Alvin J., Sept. 20, 1875. The record of the others is as follows: Charles E., born May 27, 1873, died Sept. 22, 1882; John M., born Nov.7, 1877, died March 12, 1879; Clarence H., born Nov. 17, 1879, died April 26, 1881; an infant who died unnamed; Lydia R., born April 25, 1886, died Sept. 11, 1887. Mr. SNYDER settled on his present farm in 1887, and has since much improved it.

Our subject is a man of strong, earnest, manly character, combining firmness with such a genial and kindly disposition as to win the regard as well as the respect of his neighbors. He and his good wife, who is held in equal esteem, are leading members of the Reformed Church, he holding the office of Deacon in the congregation at Three Rivers. Mr. SNYDER has been a stanch Republican ever since he was old enough to vote, and he is also a strict Prohibitionist. He takes an active interest in educational matters, and is giving his children the benefit of the superior educational advantages of his and their native State.

colored line

Page 261
Stephen SHOWERMAN. The farm property of the subject of this sketch occupies eighty acres on section 27, in Nottawa Township, and forms one of the well-regulated homesteads of this county. The proprietor is a native of Deerfield, Madison Co., N.Y., and was born Dec. 31, 1819. When but a lad his parents removed to Genesee County, where he was reared to manhood and lived until the fall of 1853. He had been married in the meantime, and now decided to seek his fortunes in the State of Michigan. He accordingly disposed of his property interests in the Empire State, and came to this county. He settled at once in Nottawa Township, of which he has since been a resident. He has eighty acres of land, good buildings, and his industry has gathered around him a large portion of the good things in life.

William SHOWERMAN, the father of our subject, was born near the city of Albany, N.Y., and married Miss Susan LAMPMAN, who was also a native of that State. They settled in Genesee County, where they spent the remainder of their lives, engaged in farming pursuits. The household circle included twelve children, all of whom lived to mature years. Stephen at an early period in his life became familiar with agricultural pursuits, and has been content to make these his vocation. He was first married in Oakfield, Genesee Co., N.Y., in October, 1853, to Miss Adela MUNGER, who was a native of that county, and who became the mother of one child, a son, Seymour, who is now on Ionia, Mich., Mrs. Adela SHOWERMAN died at the homestead in this county, in 1856, two and one-half years after coming to the West.

Mrs. Lucinda (ELLSWORTH) KNICKERBOCKER became the second wife of our subject April 21, 1858, the marriage taking place at the home of the bride in Burr Oak Township. This lady was born in Manlius, N.Y., Feb. 26, 1834, and is the daughter of Ira and Sophia (EATON) ELLSWORTH, who were natives of Vermont and New York respectively, and who passed the greater part of their lives in this State. They are now deceased.

Mrs. SHOWERMAN spent her childhood and youth in Mosherville, this State, receiving a common-school education, and was married in 1849 to James KNICKERBOCKER, who was a clothier and teacher by occupation, and died in Colon Village, June 15, 1857. Of this marriage there were born three children, a son and two daughters-Edgar, Ida H. and Carrie V. Edgar is a carpenter at Lansing; Ida is the wife of Albert DECKER, of Big Rapids; Carrie, Mrs. Charles SMITH, resides in Grand Rapids. Of the marriage with our subject Mrs. SHOWERMAN has four children, namely: Nettie S., Lottie M., Roy E. and Ralph W. Nettie is the wife of Albert THOMAS, of Greenville, this State, and Lottie married George DAVIS, of Nottawa Township.

Mrs. SHOWERMAN is a lady of fine capabilities and more than ordinary intelligence, a lover of books, and a mother looking carefully after the mental training of her children. She has hosts of friends in her community who speak of her in the highest terms. She has for many years carried on the business of dressmaking, numbering among her patrons the first ladies of the township.

colored line

Page 262
Jesse NERHOOT. Among the farmers and stock-raisers of Fabius Township none are meeting with more deserved success than the subject of our sketch. He owns good farm on section 3, which is under high cultivation, is well stocked, and is amply provided with necessary buildings and machinery for properly carrying on agriculture.

Mr. NERHOOT was born in Union County, now Snyder County, Pa., March 7, 1824. His parents were Michael and Catherine (LONG) NERHOOT, natives of Pennsylvania, the father of German ancestry and the mother of English.

Our subject received a good practical training as a farmer in his youthful days, and remained at home to assist his father in the labors of the farm until his marriage to Catherine KNITLE, which took place July 16,1844. She was born Sept. 2, 1824, in Pennsylvania, her parents being Henry and Sarah (ZIMMERMAN) KNITLE, also natives of the Keystone State. Mrs. NERHOOT is an excellent housewife, and has been a true helpmate to her husband, heartily co-operating with him in his labors to build up the comfortable home in which they are now passing the declining years of a life well spent, in the enjoyment of the competence which they gathered together in their busy years, thoroughly respected and trusted by all around them. Our subject experienced some of the hardship and sufferings of war, as he was drafted during the late Rebellion, and faithfully served as a soldier for nine months, being a member of the 172d Pennsylvania Infantry and Heavy Artillery.

In 1864 our subject and his family bade farewell to their friends and their old home in Pennsylvania and moved to Erie County, Ohio. Mr. NERHOOT was employed on a farm there for one year, when he again made a move, and in 1865 we find him with his wife and children in Sandusky County, in the same State, where he bought thirty-five acres of land, which he tilled with commendable industry and good success for twelve years. During that time he was also employed as a carpenter. In 1877 he wound up his affairs in Ohio, and crossed the border into Michigan, where he bought eighty acres of land in Fabius Township, St. Joseph County, which is still included in his present farm. Mr. NERHOOT has been prosperous in his farming ventures since coming to St. Joseph County, and at one time owned land to the amount of 160 acres; he has since disposed of a part of it at a good profit on his original investment.

Our subject and his wife have had eight children seven of whom are living, of whom the following is recorded: Henry, born Nov. 2, 1845, lives in Kansas, is married and has several children; Catherine died in infancy; Sarah, born Dec. 30, 1850, married Henry MOYER, and lives in Ohio; Susan, born April 7, 1853, married James FREDRICK, a farmer of Fabius Township; Jane L., born June 3, 1855, married Albert AVERY, of Fabius Township; George M., born Jan. 15, 1858, in Pennsylvania, lives at home with his parents; Caleb, born March 17, 1860, lives on the homestead, is married and has one child; Melia E., born )ct. 6, 1864, married Levi WETHERBEE, of Fabius Township, and they have two children.

Mr. NERHOOT is an observant, intelligent man, well informed in regard to the news of the day. He was the seventh in a family of ten children but his parents were enabled to give him the benefit of a fair common-school education, otherwise he is a self-made man, having earned all that he owns by his untiring labors, assisted, of course, by his wife. Religiously, he is a firm believer in the doctrines of the Lutheran Church. Politically, he is a Republican. He cast his first vote for Zachary TAYLOR. He is a member of the G.A.R., holding a membership in the Post at Three Rivers.

colored line

[top of page]
Go to St Joseph Co., MI Biographical Album Index
This page was created on 9 Jul 2000
Design and updates of this page are by Denise (Beckwith) Frederick, Copyright 2000
This Page Has Been Visited times....since since 9 Jul 2000
A very special 'Thank You' goes to Josie Garzelloni and Carole L. (Maudie) Carr for their contribution of St. Joseph Co., MI information and transcription efforts for this huge body of work