HENRY W. LAIRD. In the career of this esteemed citizen, late a resident of Nottawa Township, and now deceased, was embodied the creed that "no man should live for himself alone, but also for other." He departed this life at his home in Nottawa Township, Oct. 1, 1881, at the age of sixty-nine years, having been born Oct. 14, 1812. He was familiarly called "HARRY LAIRD," and from this simple fact may be gathered an idea of the character of the man-genial, companionable, and one who, since his taking off, has been sadly missed in his community.
A native of Greene County, N. Y., our subject was the son of GLOVER LAIRD, who was born in Ireland, and emigrated to the United States early in life, settling in the Empire State, where it is probable he was married. There HARRY lived with his parents until a lad eight years of age, then accompanied his father to Ohio, and from there, in October, 1830, to Michigan. After assisting is father in breaking forty acres and fencing eighty acres, on section 2 in Nottawa Township, this county, young LAIRD, in June, 1831, returned to Ohio for the purpose of attending school.
In 1833, leaving the Buckeye State the second time, MR. LAIRD came again to Nottawa Township, where he sojourned the following winter, and journeyed to and from Ohio several times from that time until 1836. In 1837 he was united in marriage, in Butler County, Ohio, with MISS SUSANNAH MANTHA. This lady was born in Hartford County, Md., Feb. 10, 1817, and of this union there were born seven children, six sons and one daughter, viz: WILLIAM H., GEORGE C., GILBERT W., JAMES M., JOHN M., CHARLES W. and CAROLINE F.
In 1852 MR. LAIRD purchased his father's old homestead in Nottawa Township, where he turned his attention mostly to agricultural pursuits effected many improvements in the property. In the meantime he signalized himself as one of the most public-spirited men in his township, generously giving his time and attention to the enterprises calculated for the general good. He was instrumental in securing the building of the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad through the township, giving much of his time and considerable money toward its construction. He was a Republican in politics, and held the office of County Treasurer several terms, besides filling many other position of trust in connection with the affairs of his neighbors and fellow-citizens. An active member of the Old Settlers' Association, he was possessed of the intelligence and forethought which recognized the importance of preserving history and biography, and at one period was zealously engaged for some time in securing facts and data in connection with the history of the Nottawa Indians, the incident associated with their removal from this part of the country, and various other interesting matters pertaining thereto. He was a keen observer of human nature and an extensive reader, and possessed of a fine fund of general information. His name is held in kindly remembrance by hosts of friends.
The sons and daughter of HENRY W. and SUSANNAH (MANTHA) LAIRD are residents mostly of Mendon, and are intelligent and worthy members of society, whose endeavor it is to perpetuate and honor the name of him who ever appears to their minds the generous and kind-hearted father, the useful and self-sacrificing citizen.
OZIAS F. FRENCH, a pioneer of Constantine Township of 1834, has been a continuous resident here since that time, engaged in agricultural pursuits. He is the son of OZIAS and LIZZIE (DAYTON) FRENCH, the former a native of the Bay State, whence he emigrated to New York, where his death occurred when our subject was a child of two years, in Yates County. The death of the mother also occurred when there.
Our subject was born in Chester, Hamphsire Co., Mass., June 1, 1803, and was the youngest of his parents' family. He accompanied his father upon his removal of New York State, and there grew to manhood, assisting his parents as time and opportunity demanded. From Yates County he removed to Cattaraugus County, remaining there four years, when he migrated to this State, and located in Constantine Township, this county, on land which he had purchased from the Government. His farm has been nicely improved, and is the source of a lucrative income, while it is adorned with neat and well arranged buildings, which do great credit to the proprietor. His first purchase consisted of eighty acres, but it has since been added to, and now embraces an acreage of 110.
MR. FRENCH was married in Yates County, N. Y., to MISS REBECCA BATES, a native of Bennington County, N. H. Their union has been blessed by the birth of eight children, namely: CANDACE L. and LUCY A. (twins), RACHEL E., EUNICE R., OZIAS F., Charles DAYTON, ERASTUS MILO and SETH M. CANDACE became the wife of GEORGE POE, of Fabius Township; LUCY, MRS. JOHN OXENFORD, died in Calhoun County, Iowa; RACHEL E. is the wife of Frederick Alonzo HOISINGTON, of Fabius Township, (the son of Abishai HOISINGTON. Note from Denise Frederick: The preceeding information is from HOISINGTON researcher, Harriette Jensen and the HOISINGTON website can be accessed at: HOISINGTON Family Website); EMMA is MRS. CHESTER C.MITCHELL, of Otesego County, this State; OZIAS F. is also a resident of Otsego County; CHARLES DAYTON married MISS MARY ROBERTS, and resides in Constantine Township; ERASTUS MILO is living in Montana Territory, and SETH M. is a resident of Otsego County, this State. The mother of these children died in Constantine Township, July 18, 1864. She was a faithful and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
OZIAS FRENCH, our subject, was a second time married to MISS ALMIRA ENGLE. This lady died in Constantine Township, July 4, 1874. She also was numbered among the regular attendants of the Methodist Episcopal Church, as is also her husband, having been a member of that denomination for a half-century. He gives liberally and cheerfully to promote the good cause, and is one of its influential members. Our subject has held many of the township offices in his earlier days, the duties of which he discharged in a thoroughly satisfactory manner.
MR. FRENCH is a man of sterling integrity and sound business principles, and one whose word is considered as good as his bond. It is to such men as he that the country is indebted for its wonderful progress and development, and his name will be remembered with gratitude long after he has been gathered to his fathers.
BENJAMIN F. BUTLER. One of the finest brick residences in Nottawa Township is located on section 10, and forms the nucleus of a valuable farm which stretches its broad acres on nearly all sides adjacent. The proprietor, whose name stands at the head of this sketch, ranks among the honored pioneers of St. Joseph County, to which his father came with his family late in the spring of 1841, they locating on the land which later grew up into a valuable homestead.
The country at that period had undergone but little cultivation, the neighbors of JOSEPH BUTLER being few and far between. He possessed however, the substantial qualities required by the men who came to this region at that time, and began at once his struggle with the elements of a new soil and the difficulties which are the invariable attendants of life in a new settlement. The first primitive dwelling in due time sheltered a family of eleven children, and BENJAMIN F., of our sketch, was the tenth in order of birth. He began life upon the homestead which he now occupies, but under a more humble roof than that of the present. Of the sons and daughters belonging to this household six are living.
JOSEPH BUTLER was born in Canandaigua County, N. Y., and married MISS REBECCA NEWTON, who was also a native of the Empire State. After marriage they first settled in Genesee County, and thence removed to Medina County, Ohio, settling on a tract of land not far from the present site of the city of Cleveland. It is hardly necessary to say that it bore little resemblance at that time to its present goodly proportions. They did not sojourn long in the Buckeye State, however, but in the fall of 1830 resumed their westward wanderings, and in due time pitched their tent among the pioneers of Southern Michigan. The face of the country in Nottawa Township, this county, appeared to meet their requirements, which were largely governed by their means, and the lives begun this in a new country but the parents of our subject ended not far from the spot where they selected their pioneer home. JOSEPH BUTLER after an honorable and upright career rested from his earthly labors on the 6th of June, 1882, being then nearly eighty-six years old. When but a youth of sixteen years he shouldered his musket and proffered his services as a soldier in assisting to quell the troubles of 1812. He was in the fight at Black Rock, and there is no doubt that met the foe as unflinchingly as his comrades. Later, in 1832, he served in the Black Hawk War, being under the command of CAPT. RAINES, father of the late JAMES RAINES. He was a man of conscientious and religious principles, and about 1855 identified himself with the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he remained a member for a period of twenty-five years. He and his excellent wife for good reasons then joined the Baptist Church at Mendon. JOSEPH BUTLER was known far and wide as a man of true benevolence, ever ready to assist those in need, tendering his charities in that unostentatious manner which underlies the true principles of Christianity. The mother survived her husband nearly five years, her death taking place at the home of her daughter, in Mendon, May 19, 1887.
BENJAMIN F. BUTLER was reared to manhood in his native township, and acquired his education in the common school. He had all his life long been engaged in agricultural pursuits, seeing nothing more desirable as an occupation than tilling the Healthful soil and watching the smiling fields, which seldom failed to yield generously to the hand of the faithful husbandman. To the first purchase of the father more land was afterward added, and the homestead ow embraces 230 acres of some of the finest farming land in the county.
The marriage of BENJAMIN F. BUTLER and MISS JESSIE ANN CATTELL was celebrated at the home of the bride in Centreville, May 19, 1863. MRS. BUTLER was born Feb. 28, 1843, and is the daughter of WILLIAM and ANNA (TOTTERDALL) CATTELL, who were natives of Lancashire, England. They came to the United States in 1856 with their family of nine children, and settled in Nottawa Township, where they spent the remainder of their days. The father died in 1858, and the mother passed away very suddenly, after a brief illness of twenty-four hours, in 1874. A further history will be found in the sketch of CHARLES H. CATTELL on another page in this volume.
MRS. BUTLER is a native of the same county as her parents, having been born in Lancashire, Feb. 28, 1843. Of her union with out subject there are two children: LAWRENCE F., who died when a babe of sixteen months, and CECIL A>, who is now eighteen years of age. MR. BUTLER during the summer of 1884 put up his present residence, and is accredited with one of the pleasantest homes in St. Joseph County. He has lived quietly and unostentatiously, meddling very little with public affairs. He keeps himself well posted, however, upon current events, and upon election day gives his unqualified support to the Democratic party.
E. C. WELLESLEY has been identified with the business and social interests of St. Joseph County for forty years, he having established himself at Colon, as merchant tailor in 1848, and is still carrying on that business in this town. He is a native of England, born in 1814, the second in the family of ten children of EDWARD and AMELIA (POTTER) WELLESLEY, natives of England. They were lifelong residents of their birthplace, their death occurring a great many years ago.
The subject of this sketch was reared in his native land, and carefully trained by his good parents to a life of industry and honesty. When a young man, full of energy and ambitious to make his own way in the world, he decided to emigrate to America, and embarked from Liverpool in the American sailing-vessel "Washington," bound for this country. After a long and tempestuous ocean voyage of six weeks, he landed at New York in November, 1832. He remained in the East some two or three years, working in different cities. He also worked in Pennsylvania, and in Erie County, that State, he met MISS JANE VAN WORMER, who became his wife in 1835. She was born in New York in 1819, the third child of the six children of CHARLES and ELIZABETH (SHERWOOD) VAN WORMER, natives of New York, being pioneers of the western part of the State. Her grandfather SHERWOOD was a Captain in the navy during the Revolutionary War. Shortly after marriage MR. WELLESLEY came to Michigan, and worked at first at his trade in Detroit, Wayne County. In the next year, 1836, he settled in Manchester, Washtenaw County, where he opened a tailor ship.
HIRAM DRAPER. Among the old and much respected settlers of Colon Township is the subject of the present sketch. His property and residence are on the section 32, and 600 acres in extent. He was born on the 16th of November, 1808, in Vershire, Orange Co., Vt. His parents removed to New Hampshire when he was six years of age, and later to Western New York, where they settled in Allegany County, which was his home until the fall of 1836, when he emigrated to this State, settling in Colon Township, where he has since continued to reside.
In first making his home her Mr. DRAPER purchased eighty acres of land. To this he added from time to time, as he became able, unit he became the owner of over 900 acres, over 200 of which is under the plow. He provided good farm buildings, substantially erected and conveniently arranged. He also has continued to make good and valuable improvements from time to time, and has been careful to keep his land in the highest possible state of cultivation. He has seen the country pass from the Territory to the State, and watched with pride its magnificent onward march in civilization, commercial importance and National influence, and in his younger, more active days was not behind his fellows in helping to make Michigan what it is.
The subject of our sketch was four times married; first while in Allegany County, N.Y., in 1829, to June COUCH. This lady was born in that county, and was the daughter of Jonathan and Mary COUCH. Of this union there were born three children, of whom his son Charles, of Kalamazoo County, is the sole surviving member. This wife died in 1834. He suffered the desolation and loneliness consequent upon this bereavement until the year 1837, when he became the husband of Mrs. Lydia (WEAVER) HOLLENBACK, a native of the Empire State; of this marriage there were born two children-Eunice and Benjamin. The former is happily married to Andrew GIBSON, and resides in St. Louis, Mi.; the latter is a resident of Coin, Page Co., Iowa, and is engaged in farming. MR. D.'s second wife died in Burr Oak Township, on the 29th of February, 1840. He was again married, the lady being Calista WILCOX, who was born in Onondaga County, N.Y., Jan. 15, 1801, and died June 23, 1867. He was a fourth time married, Jan. 8, 1868, to Frances INNMAN; she was born in New York, April 14, 1818, and has one daughter, MARY E., by her first marriage. Mrs. DRAPER'S first husband's name was Francis DUPAUL.
Mr. DRAPER has held several of the offices of the township, and is an earnest member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Although he has retired from any active participation in the various political campaigns, he is by no means the less interested in political affairs. He is, and always has been, a stanch Republican.
Mr. DRAPER was active in the matter of introducing the Air-Line Railroad from Jackson to Niles, and other enterprises. At the time of the war, as far as was possible, he showed the greatest willingness and anxiety to help in its suppression, and was extremely anxious that in some way that end should be attained without the needless expenditure and loss of life, treasure and property.
JOHN BAUMEISTER, whose farm is situated on section 2 of Burr Oak Township and comprises eighty acres, is a native of Wurtembert, South Germany, where he was born in the year 1834. The education within the possibility of his attainment was by no means extensive. He learned the trade of a weaver of linen, and became an expert workman. This article of household use was formerly in general use for fine wear for the person, and in both chamber and dining room, but now it is almost solely relegated to the latter. Of all countries where this article is made none cam compare with the beautiful, heavy German linen, which is almost entirely made by hand.
The subject of our sketch emigrated to New York in 1854. His first home was in Pike County, Pa., but after one year spent in that district he came to this county, and located at Burr Oak, where he purchased forty acres of land, to which he has since added forty acres. This he has largely improved and cultivated assiduously. The result of his enterprise is apparent, and may be seen in every direction upon hi property.
The marriage of our subject was celebrated in this county, Nov. 20, 1859, the lady of his choice being Sophia STULL, daughter of Barney and Elizabeth STULL of Burr Oak. There has been born to them one son, who bears the name GEORGE W., and is still living with his parents.
Mr. BAUMEISTER is one of the leading German-Americans of this county. He is a man who has risen to his present position as the result of his own well-directed and perseveringly sustained effort. He is broad and liberal in his views on matters of social and religious import. He is one of the chief members and supporters of the Lutheran Church, at Burr Oak, and at the same time on of the most able. His home is the abode of culture, refinement and elegance. He has given his son the best education opportunities, in which accomplishments have also found a place, and is happy in knowing that his efforts are appreciated and the opportunities fully utilized by his son, who is now the husband of Miss Ella TROST, daughter of John and Hannah TROST, to whom he was united in wedlock at Colon, Jan. 25, 1888. The son owns forty acres of land, and is farming in connection with his father. They make a specialty of raising American Merino sheep and Poland-China hogs, and are quite successful in this line of business.
CHARLES H. CATTELL, whose beautiful home and admirably conducted fertile farm is situated on section 35 of Mendon Township, is one of the most capable and valued citizens of his district. His father, William CATTELL, was a native of Somersetshire, England, as was also his mother, whose maiden name was Anna TOTTERDALL. His parents were there married, and made their home until about the year 1856, when they came to this country, bringing with them their family of nine children, and settling on Nottawa prairie, where they made their home until their death. His father died in 1858, his mother in 1874, after an illness of twenty-four hours only. They were both much esteemed in the community, and their home was one of the brightest; in their death the community sustained a loss that was fully realized.
Our subject was the fifth child in the above family. He was born in the same county as his parents, and on the 15th of July, 1835. His early life was spent in England and there also his education was obtained. He accompanied his father on the journey to America in the spring of 1856, the mother and remaining members of the family joining them in the fall of that year. He has made his home at Nottawa and has made agriculture his chief employment. His farm of 380 acres, part of which is in Mendon and part in Nottawa Township, is one of the best in this part of the county. He has expended no little thought and care upon it in the endeavor to bring it to that desirable condition. He has made many good and valuable improvements and enjoys good success.
Mr. CATTELL has been twice married, once in Nottawa on the 8th of March, 1871, when he received the hand of Marion VANDERMARK, of Leonidas. This lady was born to John and Jane VANDERMARK, at Leonidas, April 4, 1844. Three children blessed their union, viz: Addie J., Agnes C. and Charles J. This wife died on the 2d of June, 1879. The second marriage was celebrated in Lucas County, Ohio, where, on Jan. 27, 1881, he stood before the altar with Alice HAIN, the estimable daughter of Joseph and Susan HAIN. She was born in Waterville, Lucas County, June 22, 1855. She has presented her husband with one beautiful little daughter, who bears the name of MABLE S.
Mr. CATTELL has been called upon by his fellow-citizens to occupy various township offices, and he has always done so in a way that has shown the wisdom of the selection. He is a genial, pleasant gentleman, intelligent, educated, a man of character and unimpeachable honor. He is usually found voting the Democratic ticket and is affiliated with the party presenting the same. He is the head of one of the most happy households in the county, and, with his wife, is no stranger to hospitalities and social influences.
JAMES O. SMITH, although not very long a resident of Mendon Township,is recognized as one of its most valued citizens, and is the proprietor of a good farm on section 1. During the years of a busy career he has labored to good advantage and acquired a competence for his old age.
Our subject was born in the town of Half Moon, Saratoga Co., N. Y., Dec. 19, 1843, and was the youngest of ten children of James, Sr., and Abbie (VICKERY) SMITH, who were also natives of Saratoga County. There also they were reared and married, and lived until the death of the mother, which occurred in 1845. The father subsequently changed his residence to Albany County, where he spent his last years, passing away about 1876. Of their three sons and sevens daughters, five are now living, and located mostly in Saratoga and Albany Counties, N. Y.
Mr. SMITH was reared at his father's country homestead in his native county, where he lived until a youth of eighteen years, acquiring a common-school education and becoming familiar with agricultural pursuits. His mother had died when he was a lad of two years, and from his youth up he was largely dependent upon himself, and formed the habits of industry and economy which have paved the way to his success in life. Upon leaving home about 1861, he went into Orleans County, N. Y., and for one year was employed there on a farm by the month. Later he took up the science of agriculture on his own hook, operating four years in Orleans County, N. Y., until about 1866.
Our subject now migrated to Southern Michigan, and sojourned a period of a few months in Brady Township, Kalamazoo County. Then returning to his native State he lived in Orleans County, carrying on farming until May, 1881. He now decided to locate permanently in this county, and accordingly purchased his present farm in Mendon Township. Here he has 136 acres of good land with suitable buildings, a fair assortment of farm machinery, live stock and the general appliances of the well-regulated country estate.
On the 28th of January, 1863, occurred a most interesting event in the life of our subject, viz: his marriage, which was celebrated in Orleans County, N. Y., the bride being Miss Hattie V. FLINT. This lady was a native of Albion, and died at their home in Orleans County, Jan. 14, 1879, leaving no children. Mr. SMITH contracted a second matrimonial alliance in Kalamazoo County, this State, June 7, 1881, with Miss Emma PAINE. MRS. Emma SMITH was born in Barre, Orleans Co., N. Y., Oct. 23, 1858, and is the daughter of JOHN and Mary A. (BATES) PAINE, being the third in a family of ten children. Her parents were natives of Buffalo, and are now residents of Orleans County. All of their children are living, and located mostly in Orleans County, N. Y.
Of this marriage of our subject there have been born three children, two daughters and a son-Hattie, May and James O. Mr. SMITH cast his first Presidential vote for A. LINCOLN, and is one of the most reliable members of the Republican party.
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