Page 335-336

William REITERMAN, Ph. D., is a gentleman of thorough education, great culture, and in many respects possesses more than ordinary ability. he occupies a pleasant home in Burr Oak Township, and has been a resident of this county since March 1, 1866.

A native of the Prussian Province of Brandenburg, our subject was born May 22, 1832, and there spent the early years of his life, until a youth of seventeen, acquiring a thorough common school education. He was a bright and ambitious lad, and, not being satisfied with his prospects in his own country, determined to emigrate to America. Embarking at the port of Bremen, he crossed the Atlantic unaccompanied by any friend or acquaintance, landing in New York City penniless. His most pressing business was to secure employment, and his first day's work was on a railroad, but with this employment he was not at all pleased. The next day he sought for something more congenial to his tastes, and finally engaged with a farmer, John SCHNEIDER, who lived near Carlisle, in Schoharie County, N.Y., and with whom he remained one and one-half years. He was very careful and economical in his expenditures, and kept steadily in view his determination to secure a good education. In due time he became a student of Harwick Seminary, near Cooperstown, Otsego County, and upon leaving this entered Geneva College, where he took a classical course, and from which he was graduated in the class of '57. Our subject now commenced teaching at Sand Lake Collegiate Institute, in the vicinity of Troy, N.Y. He had married Miss Sarah E. WHITEMAN, of East Springfield, N.Y., Oct. 15, 1857, with whom he moved to Findlay, Ohio, where he lost his companion, who left a daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, four weeks old. Her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas WHITEMAN, of East Springfield, took her, and with them she is still living. Prof. REITERMAN remained five years at Findlay, and spent the following two years at Toledo. He came to this county in the spring of 1866. Prof. REITERMAN, on the 1st of November, 1859, was united in marriage with Miss Mary E., daughter of Josiah and Sarah (HOUSER) MOOREHEAD, the wedding taking place at the home of the bride in Findlay, Ohio. The parents of Mrs. REITERMAN were natives of Pennsylvania, and the father carried on harness making in Findlay, Ohio. He had during his early manhood learned the trade of saddler, which he followed until 1874. The parents spent their last years in Benton Ridge, Ohio.

Mrs. REITERMAN was born May 22, 1843, in Findlay, Ohio, and received a common school education, remaining under the parental roof until her marriage. The Professor and his wife began their wedded life together at Findlay, where they lived until 1864, when they removed to Toledo. Their union has been blessed by the birth of six children, the record of whom is as follows: Henrietta S. was born Oct. 4, 1860, and is now the wife of Frank BROWN, a farmer of Champaign, Ill.; Gertrude was born Nov. 1, 1862, and married Willis APPLEMAN, who is engaged in farming at Turkey Creek, Ind.; Josiah was born Oct. 7, 1864, and is manager of a hardware store at Grand Rapids; Julia, born Feb. 6, 1867, died at the home of her parents in Sturgis, May 4, 1870; Isabella, born July 8, 1872 and Frances, Oct. 20, 1883, are at home with their parents.

Prof. REITERMAN, in the year 1878, invested a portion of his surplus capital in land, and now owns a fine farm of 220 acres on section 5 in Burr Oak Township. He identified himself with the Presbyterian Church in 1870, in which he is an Elder, and has at times occupied the pulpit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. He is a gentleman of fine tastes, and possesses considerable talent as an artist. It is a real pleasure to meet a refined gentleman like Prof. REITERMAN, and the biographer especially enjoyed the hour spent with him. His portrait graces an accompanying page, and will be welcomed by his many friends throughout the county.

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Page 336

Howard HOPKINS, a veteran of over eighty years of age, and a resident of this county since the summer of 1845, was one of the earliest pioneers of Michigan Territory, to which he came in 1836. He was a resident of Washington County for the first ten years after his arrival here, and his made of agriculture a lifelong pursuit. He is now located on section 3 in Mendon Township.

Abner HOPKINS, the father of our subject, was native of Rhode Island, and married Miss Caroline AMES, who was born in Massachusetts. After marriage the parents settled in Otsego County, N.Y., and from there moved to Seneca County, where the mother died. Abner HOPKINS after the death of his wife came to Washtenaw County, Mich., where his death took place about 1844. The parental household consisted of eight children, three of whom are still living.

Our subject was the sixth child of his parents, and was born in Burlington, Otsego Co., N.Y., May 26, 1808. He came to Southern Michigan, and in December, 1845, purchased 101 acres of land in Mendon Township. Of this he has now seventy-two acres, upon which he has erected good buildings, planted fruit trees, and gathered about him, as years passed by, the comforts and conveniences of rural life.

Mr. HOPKINS was first married in Wayne County, N.Y., to Miss Damaris TRIPP, who became the mother of three children, and died at the homestead in Mendon Township, March 11, 1854. Their eldest daughter, Martha, is now the wife of J.W. BROWN, of Wichita, Kan.; Clarissa married George W. WING and lives in Mendon; Sarah, Mrs. C. E. WOLCOTT, makes her home in Vicksburg.

The present wife of our subject, to whom he was married April 8, 1857, was formerly Mrs. Martha TRYON, widow of Henry TRYON, and daughter of Alson and Almira WING. Mr. and Mrs. WING came to Mendon Township from Sturgis about 1848, and here spent the remainder of their days, the father departing hence in 1873, and the mother in year 1880. Mrs. Martha HOPKINS was born in Washtenaw County, this State, April 8, 1838. Of her first marriage there was born one child, a daughter, Henrietta, who is now the wife of Charles HOPKINS, of Owosso. Of her union with our subject there have been born seven children, namely: Elinor, the wife of Franklin CLARK, of Vernon; Caroline, Belle, Berenice, Howard A., Harry A. and Lillias. The later died Aug. 6, 1877, when ten years old.

Mr. HOPKINS attended the first Republican mass meeting held in the State of Michigan, and from this is indicated his political principles, he having been a stanch Republican since the organization of the party. As one of the honored pioneers of St. Joseph County, he is accorded that tacit reverence and respect involuntarily given to those whose experience has been one uniformly useful and honorable. Mrs. HOPKINS is a very estimable lady, looking well to the ways of her household, and making her home one of the pleasantest to be found within the precincts of St. Joseph County.

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Page 336-337

Ransom CRAW, of Florence Township, was born on the homestead which he now owns and occupies, Jan. 30, 1843. This property his father secured at an early day, when the country around was in its primitive condition, and the settlers few and far between. It is pleasantly located on section 6, and by the exercise of years of industry and a wise investment of funds has been brought to a valuable and productive condition.

Our subject is the son of Marshall CRAW, a native of New York State, who emigrated to Michigan when a young man, while it was a Territory, settling in St. Joseph County as early as 1833. At that date he secured the tract of land which has since been in the family, and where he spent the remainder of his life. Here he labored for a period of twenty-two years, passing away on the 15th of April, 1853, at the age of fifty-five. He was married in Wayne County, N.Y., to Miss Mary Ann SLOAN, daughter of Robert SLOAN, a native of the same State. Of this union there were born four children, two of whom, Hirman and Mary, died in infancy. The others were Phoebe, and Ransom, our subject. The former was the wife of Richard WEATHERBEE, and died Feb. 26, 1877. Mr. and Mrs. W. became the parents of two children, May and George. Mrs. WEATHERBEE died in Mendon, this county, in 1877.

The mother of our subject died Dec. 30, 1847, and Marshall CRAW was married a second time in Florence, in 1849, to Miss Eunice WEATHERBEE, who was born in Kingsbury, N.Y., Nov. 2, 1801, and is still living, making her home with her stepson Ransom.

Our subject acquired his education in the common schools mostly, but completed his studies in the graded school of Three Rivers. Aside from this he spent his boyhood and youth after the manner of most farmers' sons, being trained to habits of industry, and becoming familiar with the various employments of farm life. After reaching man's estate, he was married, in Fabius Township, this county, Dec. 16, 1863, to Miss Mary L. WEATHERBEE, who, like her husband, is a native of this county, and was born April 21, 1844. They are the parents of six children, all of whom are living, namely: Mary D., Henry, Frank, Marshall, John and Carlos. Mary D. was born Jan.1, 1865; Henry, Sept. 23, 1866; Frank, April 13, 1868; Marshall, Nov. 4, 1869; John, Aug. 31, 1875, and Carlos, May 28, 1881. Mr. CRAW cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, and uniformly supports the principles of the Republican party. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity at Three Rivers.

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Page 337- 338

Stephen M. NASH occupies a foremost place among the thrifty and intelligent agriculturists of this section of Michigan.

He lives on his highly improved farm located on section 17, in Mottville Township. It is one of the most valuable and highly improved tracts of land in the county. He was born in Stark County, Ohio, Jan. 26, 1823. His father, Sampson C. NASH, was born in Maryland, Jan. 1, 1789. He was a farmer, and when his time was not occupied on the farm he followed the occupation of a carpenter. His mother was Lovina ALLERTON. She and the father of our subject were married in Stark County, Ohio, in 1843, they moved to Elkhart County, Ind. During the residence of the family here the father was killed in a railway accident, Jan. 24, 1853.

Our subject is one of a family of six children, named as follows: John P., born in Ohio, Sept. 4, 1820; Stephen, our subject; Aaron, born Oct. 7, 1827; Ira, Aug. 21,, 1830; George, March 9, 1833; William, Aug. 31, 1837, and Amos. The mother is deceased. Amos was a solider in the Union Army during the Rebellion, and died May 10, 1862, of camp fever; William was also a soldier, and died Feb. 10, 1863, from camp fever; John lives in Monroeville, Ind., and is a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church; Aaron lives in Mt. Ayr, Ringgold Co., Iowa, where he is a carpenter; George lives in Minneapolis, Minn. In his earlier life he learned the trade of a carpenter; he is now traveling for a wholesale house in that city.

The subject of this sketch began life as a poor boy. He did not have wealth or position to aid him, and he relied solely upon his own efforts to attain success, and he has made his life what he started out to do, both in the sense of accumulating wealth and property, and in doing good to those about him. He found no royal road to fortune, but the commanding position which he now holds was reached by the way of a rough and tedious road, every step of which presented obstacles. By his will and perseverance he overcame them all, and now we find him one of the most wealthy and highly respected men of the times.

The first wife of our subject was Caroline VOORHEIS, to whom he was married April 21, 1853. She was born Aug. 7, 1826, and died March 27, 1882, aged fifty-seven years. She was the mother of one child, a daughter, who is now the wife of John W. BAXTER, to whom she was married Oct. 10, 1877. Mr. NASH was again married, April 15, 1884, the lady of his choice being Caroline Eliza WRIGHT. She is of Scotch and English descent, and is a worthy member of the Church of the Disciples. He is an active member of this church, having held the office of Elder and other important positions in the society. The first wife was also a member of this church.

The farm occupied by the subject of this sketch is one of the finest located and highest improved in the county. His residence is large and roomy, of a modern design, is handsomely furnished throughout, and many of the latest improved conveniences intended to contribute to the welfare and comfort of its inmates are found within its walls. The building is located in the midst of a beautiful lawn, and is surrounded by trees and flowers, and the barns and other outhouses are of the most substantial character, erected with a view to care for the stock and handle the crops raised on the farm economically, and to the best advantage. The success that has accompanied his efforts had been but little short of phenomenal, and his life may be taken as a copy by the youth of the present day, which, if adopted and zealously followed in all its details, cannot fail in crowning their efforts with unbounded success. This gentleman has served as Justice of the Peace for many years, but is not in that office now, having declined a re-election. He has served as Chairman for the Board of Supervisors of the county for several terms. He is a man having great force of charter and personal influence over all with whom he becomes associated.

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Page 338-339

Harvey K. FIELD. In the incidents due to the labor of compiling a biographical work such as this, there are none which afford to the writer any greater pleasure than to meet and converse with the large number of old settlers of the country, and among the greater number of such, residing in St. Joseph County, we have found none that were better informed on all matters of history pertaining to the early days than the subject of this sketch. He is now living in the village of Mottville, having retired from the active life of a farmer, which he followed for many years.

This gentleman was born in Ontario County, N.Y., in 1826. His boyhood days were passed on the farm, as was also the major portion of his life, up to the time of his retirement. He received but a limited education in the district schools. He never attended any college, but he possessed a natural studious habit, and he was a close observer of men and events, and by the constant exercise of these two traits he has attained a practical knowledge that has served him to a good purpose. In 1845 he first came to Mottville, where he lived until 1849, when he, with many others, was attacked with the gold fever, and went to California in that year. There he remained for nearly two years, when he returned to Michigan in 1851, and purchased a tract of 203 acres of land located in Cass County. It was partially improved at the time of purchase, and is now one of the best improved farms in the county. It was his home until he retired and removed to Mottville Village.

Mr. FIELD is the son of Darius FIELD. The father was born Aug. 12, 1792, in Vermont. The mother was Saloma (CLARK) FIELD. She was born Jan. 5, 1797, in Vermont. The parents were married in Vermont, Nov. 22, 1815. About a year after their marriage they moved to New York, settling in Prattsburg, Steuben County, where they lived until 1845, when they moved to St. Joseph County, Mich., and settled in Constantine Township. The father purchased a farm in Cass County, which he held for a number of years. He sold this farm, and moved into Mottville Village, where he resided until Feb. 16, 1874, on which day he died. The mother died July 2, 1864, in the village of Mottville. Both parents were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church; the father held many different offices in the church, and his entire life was exemplary in all respects.

A large family of children were born to the parents of our subjects, and were named as follows: Rhoda A., Diana, Lavinia, Desdemona, Hermione, Darius, Saloma, Adeline, Caroline A., Martin D. and Emory G. Rhoda A. was born in Prattsburg, N.Y., Feb. 14, 1817, and was the wife of Orris BRIGGS; both husband and wife are dead. She was the mother of eight children, five of whom are living, four in Michigan and one in Iowa. Diana was born in Steuben County, N.Y., June 6, 1819, and died when quite young; Lavinia was born March 20, 1821, in Steuben County, and is now living in Mottville Village, the widow of Thomas BURNS; Desdemona and Hermione are twin sisters, born Dec. 31, 1828. Hermione is the wife of Joseph PARKER, and resides in Ontario County, N.Y., and is the mother of five children, two girls and three boys. Desdemona is the wife of Nathan HESS, to whom she was married Jan. 1, 1845; they resided near Jackson, Mich. Her sister, Hermione and her husband were married on the same day. Darius W. was born in Steuben County, N.Y., April 26, 1831, in the town of Cohocton; he was married in December, 1852, to Sarah Ray. He is now a farmer, living near Kalamazoo, the father of two boys and one girl. Saloma is the wife of Hollis H. TYLER, to whom she was united in marriage April 26, 1831, in Cohocton, N.Y.; she now resides in Naples, Ontario Co., N.Y., and is the mother of three children. Her two daughters are married, and reside in Montana; her son is on the old homestead. Adeline and Caroline were also twins; Adeline died Dec. 25, 1844, aged ten years; Caroline lives in Nebraska with her husband, Christopher WOOLGAMOOD, where he is a prosperous farmer. She is the mother of four children, one of whom is dead. Chester A. is married to Rosa BRAGINTON; they were married Oct. 27, 1858, and have two sons and two daughters. He is a farmer and merchant, residing in Russell County, Kan. Martin D. died April 4, 1839, in New York State; Emory G. married Elizabeth BRAGINTON, Sept. 7, 1861, in Sturgis, Mich.; they lived in Mottville until 1883, when they moved to Fairmont, Neb., where he died on Thanksgiving Day, 1885. He was the father of four children, one son and three daughters, all living in the West.

The subject of this sketch and his good wife are the parents of four children, three of whom are dead. Their daughter, Ella L., is the wife of Rodolph KLETT, and resides on the home farm with her husband, near the village of Mottville. She is the mother of one child, a son. Mr. FIELD is a strong Prohibitionist, and has a conscientious belief that the time is not far distant when the saloon will be dispensed with, and the liquor element, which forms such and important factor in the political questions of the day, will become a thing of the past. Both himself and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Mottville Village, conscientious and sincere in their religious belief. They are both generous and large hearted, and take an active part in all matters pertaining to the spiritual and material welfare of their neighborhood. They are very sociable in their disposition, and the visitor to their home is made doubly welcome. Mr. FIELD has been Sunday-school Superintendent for the last twenty-five years. He is a man who has, and merits, the highest opinion of his fellowmen. In the family of our subject's father there were five pairs of twins.

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Page 339-340

Stephen W. GILKISON is one of the industrious, frugal and successful agriculturists of Burr Oak Township, and is worthy a place in an Album of this description. He is a native of Mansfield, Richland Co., Ohio, where he was born on the 12th of June, 1843. His father, George C., was the son of James GILKISON, a native of Kentucky, and a pioneer of that county. He was fully established in business as a mason, to which he was succeeded by his son, the father of our subject. Besides George he was the father of twelve children, of whom four daughters are now living.

George C. GILKISON, the father of our subject, came to Michigan and located at Centreville in the year 1844, remaining there about twelve months. Thence he removed for about two years, and then went to Clingers Lake. After that he came to Sherman in this county, finally locating in Burr Oak, in the year 1866. The maiden name of his wife and faithful life companion was Mary KEASEY, who bore him nine children, of whom our subject was the fourth born.

The subject of our sketch is a man of character, wide information, and with large ability as a farmer, a faithful and true friend as well as citizen. In the spring of 1846 he enlisted in defense of the Union, becoming a member of Company G, 11th Michigan Infantry, and served almost two years. During that time he saw many of the larger and more important engagements, besides other service. Among the battles in which he fought may be named those of Peachtree Creek, Resaca, Atlanta and others. He came out of the military service unscathed, excepting as his constitution had been strained by exposure and camp life. He received an honorable discharge in 1865 at Nashville, Tenn.

On the 10th of April, 1870, Mr. GILKISON and Priscilla FREED were united in marriage at Burr Oak. The wife of our subject is a daughter of John and Priscilla FREED. It was her misfortune to lose her father by death when she was about three years of age. Her mother subsequently removed to Ohio, and later married Mr. James C. BLANCHARD, of Burr Oak, one of the venerable and much respected pioneers of this county. Our subject's marriage has been blessed by the birth of ten children, whose names are as follows: Salathiel S., Zavala V., George R., Leston T., Clarion M., Amcy, Nina L., Joy L., Sherman Blaaine and Mary Gertrude.

Our subject, although not a leader in political affairs, is always glad to bear his full part and responsibility as a citizen and as a member of the Republican party, with which he has worked and voted for many years.

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This page was created on 28 Oct 2000
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A very special 'Thank You' goes to Carole L. (Maudie) Carr for her contribution of St. Joseph Co., MI information and transcription efforts for this huge body of work