JOHN E. ADAMS. There is probably not a pioneer of St. Joseph County who has seen more of life in a new county and endured more patiently its varied hardships than the venerable gentleman whose name heads this biography, and who is now, and has been for a period of twenty-one years, a resident of Burr Oak Township, and of the county fifty-three years. He was born in Cairo, Albany Co., N. Y., Sept. 20, 1817, his childhood home being situated about two and one-half miles east of the village. His father, Edward ADAMS, was a farmer by occupation, a conscientious Christian gentleman, and spent much of his spare time traveling over the Catskill Mountain regions, laboring as an exhorter or local preacher in the Master's vineyard. He was called from his earthly labors in 1857, after having rounded up the sum of fifty-five years.
Edward ADAMS in early manhood was married to Miss Mary MOSHER, the daughter of Ephraim MASHER, who was one of the most devout Quakers of Dutchess County, N. Y. She was an eminently good woman, a faithful helpmate to her husband, and a kind and loving mother of two sons and six daughters. Of these, John E., our subject, was next to the youngest. EPHRAIM, a brother, and Mrs. Asenath BENJAMIN, a sister, still live in the town f Florence, this county, where the family located in the spring of 1835. The other children have long since passed away.
John E. ADAMS, our subject, was born Sept. 20, 1817, and lived with his parents until twenty-two years of age. On the 31st of December, 1840, being ready to establish a home of his own, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary M., daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth (ROWSER) METTLER. The latter were natives of New Jersey, and of Dutch ancestry, who probably crossed the Atlantic during the Colonial times. Benjamin METTLER emigrated to Michigan during its pioneer days, settling on a tract of land in Nottawa Township, this county. He carried on farming successfully.
To John E. and Mary M. ADAMS there were born six children: Levi E., Sept. 21, 1841, and now a farmer of Adams Township: Loren was born Aug. 11, 1843, and is carrying on farming successfully in the vicinity of Grand Rapids; Sarah J. was born Feb. 25, 1847, and is the wife of William HOLLINGER, of Elkhart, Ind.; Minerva was born April 23, 1856, and is the wife of H. P. DUNCAN; they live at the homestead. Two children, Christiana and Alice C., died in infancy. Mrs. ADAMS died in 1885.
Mr. ADAMS during a long and useful life has acquitted himself as an honest man and a good citizen, and gathered around him hosts of friends. His homestead comprises a snug farm of thirty acres on section 7, where he has good buildings, and the land of which has been brought to a fine state of cultivation. Here he and his estimable partner lived for a period of twenty-two years, enjoying a goodly measure of life's comforts as the result of years of industry and economy. After marriage they settled in Florence Township, and labored with a mutual interest for the building up of a home and the proper training and education of their children. Their lives were quiet and unobtrusive, but those in which they had little to reproach themselves with, making it a point through a long and well-ordered career to do unto their neighbors as they would be done by.
PHINEAS FARRAND. This gentleman occupies a prominent place among the citizens of his neighborhood, and is among the old residents of Colon Township, one who has played no mean part in the development and growth of the county, and who bore to the full the peculiar difficulties and trials connected with pioneer life. His father, JOSEPH FARRAND, was born in Morris County, N. J. His mother, before her marriage, bore the name of JOLIA COMPSON, and was a native of the same State. They were married in Morris County, N. J., Dec. 1, 1799, and first settled in the town of Mentz, in Cayuga County, N. Y. There they made their home, and the husband engaged in farming until 1837, then came to this county and settled in Colon Township, which was their home as long as they needed one. They were the parents of eleven children, eight of whom came to mature years, viz: CHARLES C., EBENEZER, JAMES H., ELECTA M., HENRY K., CATHARINE C., ABIGAIL E. and PHINEAS.
The subject of this sketch was the youngest of the family, and is now the only surviving member thereof. He was born in Mentz, Cayuga Co., N. Y., on the 22d of December, 1820. There his early years were spent, and his school days were passed. There he filled as was usual with his companions for the most part dividing his time between his lessons and "home chores," with some little time, perhaps, for the play that every schoolboy finds a vital necessity.
When he was seventeen years of age MR. FARRAND came with his father to Michigan, and has been a resident of section 3, Colon Township, since 1837, or fifty-one years, and has given his attention continuously to agriculture. He put up one of the finest residence in the county, that which he now occupies, which was erected in 1883, and is an elegant brick structure, arranged and subdivided with the view to comfort and convenience. All his farm buildings are well built, and designed especially to meet the various requirements and uses to which they may be put. His whole farm, which contains about 700 acres, is managed with the same thoroughness and practical utility.
October 23, 1845, in Leonidas Township, St. Joseph County, MR. FARRAND and MISS BETSEY M. KINNE were united in marriage. His wife was born at Naples, Ontario Co., N. Y., on the 4th of December, 1826, and is the daughter of Maj. ELIAS B. and MARTHA (CLARK) KINNE. Her parents were natives of Massachusetts and New York respectively. Their family circle included twelve children, and their daughter BETSEY was the sixth child born. She is the mother of four children. viz: JOSEPH K., a farmer in Colon Township; THERON G., who died March 8, 1875; ELLA M. and GRANT E., both whom are at home.
MR. FARRAND has been for several years County Superintendent of the Poor, and also Highway Commissioner. He is a firm friend of the Republican party, and always votes its ticket. He is everywhere held in high regard, as are also his wife and the members of his family.
WILLIAM W. BATES, proprietor of the Burr Oak ACORN and the Burr Oak Bakery and Restaurant, came to this county in the fall of 1862, and located on a tract of land in Sturgis Township. Here he operated two years, and then removed to Mason County, Mich., where he took up a homestead and carried on the improvement and cultivation of the land for a period of sixteen years. Then returning to Sturgis, he embarked in the bakery, grocery and restaurant business, and was thus occupied until his removal to Burr Oak, in October, 1886.
Our subject was born in Brantford, Canada West, Dec. 21, 1836, and is the son of Benjamin C. and Sarah (CHAPIN) BATES, who were natives respectively of Canada and New York State. They had a family of seven children, all of whom lived to mature years. About 1840 the family removed to Ohio, thence to Indiana, and from there to St. Joseph County, Mich., where the father of our subject spent the remainder of his days, his death occurring in the fall of 1875. The mother is still living, making her home in Sturgis, Mich. The early years of our subject were spent under the parental roof, where he became familiar with farming pursuits and also acquired a common-school education. In the winter of 1861 he was united in marriage with Miss Sarah E. THURSTON, at that time a resident of Sturgis. Mrs. BATES was born in 1842, and is the daughter of George and Sarah (JONES) THURSTON, who were natives of Pennsylvania, and came West about 1832. Of this union there were born four children, namely: Lillian Huntley died when two years and eight months old in Sturgis; George B., engaged in a carriage factory in Kalamazoo; Edwin P., editor of the Burr Oak ACORN, and Gordon D. G., a compositor in the office of his father. Family difficulties resulted in the separation of our subject from his wife in the winter of 1875, and in the winter of 1886 he was married to Mrs. Rebecca J. (MORRIS) WEBSTER. The first husband of Mrs. BATES was a direct descendant of Daniel WEBSTER. Our subject left home at the age of eighteen years, and going to Lena ILL., was there employed as a clerk in a dry-goods store seven months. Thence he migrated across the Mississippi to Osaga, Iowa, and had charged of a store there for the same length of time. From the Hawkeye State he went into Kansas, and in the vicinity of Manhattan carried on farming a period of four years. We next find him at Pike's Peak, prospecting for gold, but an experience of six weeks satisfied him as to this errand, and he returned to Kansas in the company of another young man, crossing the plains on horseback. The journey consumed eighteen days, one of which was the 4th of July, and which the two travelers celebrated in a highly independent manner. They fired thirteen salutes with their revolvers, and otherwise made the day one of enjoyment, as far as possible, on the desert plains.
Mr. BATES was in the vicinity of the scene of John BROWN'S operations, and sheltered the old hero after he had driven the soldiers into Ft. Scott, Mr. BROWN sleeping in the bunk occupied by our subject. From Kansas Mr. BATES returned to the home of his parents in Indiana, whence he repaired later to Canada, and resumed merchandising, having charge of a store in the Domimion a period of six months. Upon the outbreak of the late war he returned to the farm of his father, while his two younger brothers went into the army. The younger Gordon, lost both eyes in the service, but turned his musical talents to good account, and became celebrated as a singer and performer on musical instruments. He died at Pentwater in 1873. The other brother, Charles, was injured by being thrown from a load of wood at Murfreesboro, and is now living in Iowa, independent of the Government. Mr. BATES on account of failing health proceeded to New Mexico, where he staid nine months at Scoorro, but returned no better in health. In 1885 he took a trip through years identified himself with the Republican party, with which he affiliated until about four years ago, when his warm interest in the temperance cause led him to rally to the support of the Prohibitionist. He was at one period of his life an active politician, but has deemed it the wisest course of late years to remain neutral, and in this spirit conducts the ACORN. He also has considerable music talent, and taught singing when a youth of sixteen years. Since that time he has been a member of the Baptist Church, and has served, more or less, as Sunday-school Superintendent, teacher and chorister.
SILAS W. BENNETT. The subject of this sketch is a man prominent and popular in community, and for the last fifty years has been farming in an intelligent manner on section 33, Nottawa Township. A native of Brunswick, N. J., he was born Feb. 15, 1822, the eldest son in a family of nine children, the offspring of Rev. Asa and Sallie (GORAM) BENNETT, who were born in Connecticut. The father was of French descent, while the mother traces her ancestry to England. After their marriage they settled in Burnswick, where the father prepared himself for the ministry, but later they removed to the Empire State, locating about twelve miles north of the city of Albany.
From Albany the parents of our subject changed their residence, first to Lodi, and thence, in the spring of 1838, to this county, settling on a farm in Nottawa Township. The father here founded the Dutch Reformed Church of Centreville, being its first pastor, and remained in charge of it for several years. He spent most of his life thereafter in Nottawa Township, although he resided in the village one or two years. The parents both died on a farm in the township.
Our subject, when a lad of fourteen years, preceded his parents to Michigan, coming to Monroe in the fall of 1836. Upon his parents joining him sometime later, he made his home with them, and occupied himself as a clerk in a dry-goods store. His education was acquired mostly in the common schools, and his occupation, with the exception of his two-years clerkship, has been farming continuously. His homestead embraces 150 acres of good land, with fair improvements, a comfortable house, a good barn and orchard, together with other fruit and shade trees, a fair assortment of live stock, and machinery necessary for the successful prosecution of his calling.
For the last thirty-six years our subject has been accompanied in the journey of life by a most estimable lady, who in her girlhood was Miss Laura M. TYLER, and to whom he was married, in Colon Township, this county, Oct. 12, 1852. Mrs. BENNETT was born Feb. 23, 1833, in Onondaga County, N. Y., and is the daughter of Rev. JOB and Sallie (DAVIS) TYLER, who left the Empire State and came to the Territory of Michigan in 1836, settling in Colon Township when their daughter Laura was a little child of three years. The father had, prior to this, occupied the pulpit of the First Baptist Church in Onondaga County, N. Y., but after coming to Michigan gave his attention mostly to farming. In farming the fall of 1852 he went to California, and died on the Island of San Diego, in July, 1853, where his remains were laid to rest. The mother remained a resident of Colon Township a number of years, and died in the village in April, 1876. They had a family of eleven children, of whom MRS. BENNETT was the youngest. Eight of these are living. They have grown up worthy and useful citizens, an honor to their parental training, and form valued factors of their community.
Mr. and Mrs. BENNETT commenced the journey of life together in Nottawa Township, this county, and have labored with one mutual purpose in the building up of their homestead and the education of their children. Of these there are eight in number, six sons and two daughters, namely: DEMONT T., DeWITT C., JAMES C., ASA G., SHERMAN, DORA, CARRIE and one infant. The eldest son is farming in Mecosta County, this State; DeWITT is prosecuting agriculture successfully in Colon Township, this county; JAMES, ASA, SHERMAN and the two daughters are at home with their parents.
Mr. BENNETT cast his first presidential vote for Gen. HARRISON, in 1840, and since the organization of the Republican party has given to it his unqualified support. In the building up of one of the best homesteads of St. Joseph County, he has thus contributed his quota to its growth and development, and may properly be numbered among its representative men. As an agriculturist he has exercised both industry and good judgement, and as a business man is prompt and reliable, one whose word is considered as good as his bond. He has served as Road Commissioner in his township, and with his estimable wife, is a member in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which they have ever given a liberal support, and are numbered among its chief pillars.
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