Page 348-349

Dr. Harvey LOOMIS, the oldest practicing physician of Burr Oak, was born in the little village of Atwater, Portage Co., Ohio, Sept. 27, 1824. His parents, Austin and Elizabeth (HOUGH) LOOMIS, were natives respectively of Connecticut and Massachusetts, the father born at Torrington, Conn., Sept. 14, 1794, and the mother in Massachusetts, April 30, 1802. Both families were of English origin. The father was a farmer by occupation, and one of the pioneer settlers of Portage County, Ohio, to which he emigrated from Connecticut when the country was wild and new.

The family of the parents of our subject included six children, all of whom, with the exception of the eldest, grew to mature years. This child died when about two years of age. Harvey upon emerging from the district school was a student in the schools of Twinsbutg and Cleveland, Ohio, and subsequently took out a license from the medical department of the Western Reserve College in 1847, with the degree of M.D. He afterward taught in the preparatory department of the Kenyon College at Gambier, Ohio.

Dr. LOOMIS, in September, 1849, came to this county established himself as a practicing physician at Burr Oak, where he has followed his profession faithfully for a period of thirty-nine years. During this time he has built up an extensive and lucrative business, and has accumulated a fine property. As a physician he stands second to none in Southern Michigan. In 1861 he purchased twenty acres of land in the woods, just outside the village limits, from which he has cleared the timber, brought the soil to a high state of cultivation, and erected a fine brick residence, which he now occupies. A large barn, an orchard of choice apple trees, and an abundance of the smaller fruits, together with the various other appliances of modern life, conduce to the comfort and enjoyment of the family. He has a model home, and enjoys the society of hosts of friends.

Dr. LOOMIS has been three times married; first Aug. 28, 1849, to Miss Mary D. MANSFIELD, of Attwater, Ohio. Of this union there were born three children: Emma died at the age of one and one-half years; Minnie C. still lives at home, and has for ten consecutive years been a teacher in the Burr Oak High School; she is a lady of great culture and refinement. Edgar A. is at present clerk in a dry-goods store at Grand Rapids. Mrs. Mary D. LOOMIS departed this life at her home at Burr Oak, June 30, 1867. The Doctor, on the 24th of May, 1868, contracted a second matrimonial alliance, with Miss Mary L. BARR, of Atwater, Ohio, who died in 1869. He was then married, April 6, 1870, to Mrs. Mary A. VAN PELT, of Coldwater, Mich., whose husband was killed at the battle of Stone River, while serving as a soldier in the Union Army.

Both Mr. and Mrs. LOOMIS are members in good standing of the Baptist Church, and Dr. L. belongs to the Masonic fraternity, and the Home Self-Protective Association. Politically, he is an uncompromising Republic, and an active and conscientious worker for the party to which he belongs. He has taken special interest in educational matters, and been an honored member of the School Board in Burr Oak Township since its organization in 1863. He was for a number of years Township School Inspector. He is recognized as one of the most useful citizens in his community, still following his practice, and lives comfortable in one of the most attractive residences of the township. He is a pioneer who has built up for himself a good record and is in all respects one of whom the county may well be proud.

colored line

Page 349-350

Edward GRAY. The history of St. Joseph County would not be complete if a sketch of this gentleman, whose name is here given, should be omitted. Coming as he did to Michigan, and settling in Mottville Township when it was comparatively new, he has taken an important part in bringing about the present prosperous state of affairs. He is now living on the farm he originally purchased in 1850, located on section 5, Mottville Township, and containing 150 acres of choice agricultural land, well improved and very productive.

The father of our subject, Edward GRAY Sr., was born in Ireland, and came to America about the year 1780, and settled in Northumberland County, Pa. His wife, Ellen (McCLANAHAN) GRAY, was also a native of Ireland, and accompanied her husband when he came to the New World. They were the parents of a large family of children, who were named John, Mary, Elizabeth, Edward (our subject), Andrew and Nancy. John was born in Ireland, and came to America with his parents, remaining at home until he attained his majority; Mary was born in Ireland, as was also her sister Elizabeth, who came to this country with her parents; Andrew, Edward and Nancy were born in Northumberland County, Pa. Nancy was a dutiful daughter, and resided with her parents until she died, in 1874.

When our subject left his native State he came directly to Mottville Township, in 1850, where he purchased the farm on which he has resided ever since. While in Pennsylvania he learned the trade of a boat builder, and for twenty years was engaged in that branch of business, building boats for use on the Pennsylvania Canal.

The subject of this sketch and his good wife are the parents of eight children, six of whom are living: Andrew was born May 22, 1836, is a mechanic, and resides in Goshen, Ind.; James S. was born on the 6th of April, 1838, is living on the old homestead, and is unmarried; John died when an infant, John Edmund was born Jan. 5, 1842, is married, and lives a short distance from the home farm; Elizabeth Ellen was born Feb. 8, 1844, is unmarried and lives at home with her father, the mistress of his home; William was born July 23, 1846; his is unmarried and lives at home with his father, Mary J. was born May 28, 1850; she is married to John McTAFFER, and is the mother of two children, a son, aged eight years, and a little daughter three years old; they live in the village of Nappanee, Ind. The wife of our subject died Sept. 7, 1877; she was a devout member of the Dutch Reformed Church.

Mr. GRAY has held the office of Supervisor in his township for sixteen years in succession; he has also served as Justice of the Peace for two years. He was a member of the Lutheran Church in the State of Pennsylvania, but in his later years he joined the Dutch Reformed Church, and has since been a steadfast, earnest member. He is now and has been for many years an Elder in that society. He has been living a retired life for the past seven years, and is a hale and hearty old gentleman, giving a fair promise of enjoying life for many years to come. The sons living at home are operating the farm. While he was in active life there were but few of his neighbors, if any, who could excel him in energy and ambition. He has always lived a frugal, sober life, and by his presistent efforts has accumulated a snug competence, and is fully able to enjoy the years that are yet left to him in quiet and rest.

colored line

Page 350-351

Thomas REDFEARN. This gentleman, although born across the ocean, is one of the early pioneers of St. Joseph County. He has given the best effort of his life to agricultural pursuits, and as a reward for his industry and application he has a splendid farm located on section 2 and 11 in Mottville Township, where he conducts a business of general farming and dairying.

Our subject was born in Yorkshire, England, July 2, 1825. His father, John REDFEARN, emigrated with his family to America in 1830, and settled in Tamaqua, Pa., where the mother died soon after their arrival. After her death the father left our subject with his uncle, Thomas GRAY, and went by way of the ocean around to the delta of the Mississippi River, thence up that stream to Dubuque, Iowa, where he was among the first miners in that region, but was driven from the mines by the Indians, when he enlisted in the Black Hawk War, which lasted but a short time. The subject of this sketch came with uncle Thomas to St. Joseph County, Mich., in 1834, where the father had come a short time before their arrival. They settled on section 2, Mottville Township, near where the noted Indian chief White Pigeon was buried. Our subject planted a cottonwood tree to mark the spot of the last resting-place of the bones of a noble red man. This tree died of old age, and he planted a black walnut tree in 1866; it also died, when he planted the noble elm which now marks the Indian's lonely grave. The grave and the tree marking it have been a landmark for many years. The chief whose remains rest beneath this tree, to whose memory it is a fitting monument, was one of the most intelligent Indians of his time; he proved his friendship to the white settlers in many ways. The history of his actions toward them forms one of the most interesting legends connected with the early settlement of our country. The town and surrounding prairie are named in memory of this man and his many good deeds and tried friendship.

When the gold fever became epidemic in 1849 our subject, with thousands of others, was attacked and he went overland with an ox-team to California in that year; the train with which he was connected was composed of about 100 persons. It was necessary to go in large numbers like this, as a matter of safety against the depredations of the various hostile tribes of Indians, which at that time infested the plains which our travelers were obliged to cross. He remained in the gold mines for two years, when he returned to the States in 1851, via the "Central American" route. Although they experienced many hardships on their way westward overland, those experienced on shipboard on their return were far more desperate and intense. The journey eastward was made in a sailing-brig; they were becalmed so long that stock of provisions became nearly exhausted, and they were put on short allowance. The water provided was black and dirty, and of that, such as it was, they could not get enough. At the end of the voyage he found himself very weak and emaciated. He quickly recovered and returned to his home in Michigan, and in the spring of 1852 he bought his present farm of 175 acres, where he has since resided.

Mr. REDFEARN was married, on the 28th of March, 1854, to Amelia HACHENBURG. They are the parents of four children, three of whom are living, namely: Arthur, Mary A. and Sarah. Sarah is the wife of Albert POTTS, and resides in Constantine Township. Mrs. REDFEARN has proved herself an able counselor and adviser, and she has contributed largely to the success which they have realized; she has taken special pains with the education and training of her children, and it is through her influence and example that they are so well adapted to hold the honorable positions in society which they do. This is another and apt illustration of the old precept, "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that moves the world," for as parents educate and train their children, so will be the future people of the world, and so the laws of society be made, and as the children of today will become the rulers of the future, the mother's care, wisdom and careful training are the force that molds their future destiny.

Our subject has a large number of valuable and curious articles, the relics of a people who once inhabited the land, but have now passed away to make room for the present age of civilization and progress. The collection contains many articles of stone and copper, including axes, flesh and butcher knives, copper cooking utensils and implements of warfare. Our subject is proud of the fact that he is one of the pioneers of the county, and that it has been his lot in life to contribute so much to its present prosperity and growth. He has a good command of language, and it is a very interesting to hear him describe, in his graphic way, the adventures and hardships endured from the time he started to California until his return. He venerates the memory of the Indian chief White Pigeon, and guards the graves holding his remains with a jealous care.

The improvements our subject has placed upon his farm are of the most substantial and solid character. His residence is a fine piece of architecture, is nicely and comfortably furnished throughout, is surrounded by a lawn filled with ornamental trees, shrubbery and flowers, and well-kept walks. The barns, cattle sheds and other necessary out-buildings are models of their kind. The entire farm is enclosed and divided into fields of convenient size by substantial and well-kept fences. He devotes his time to general farming, stock-raising and dairying. He is prominent in the Masonic fraternity of White Pigeon, never has sought or held any public office, is public-spirited, and is active in all matters pertaining to the welfare of the community.

colored line

Page 353-354

Levi C. RIFENBERGH, a prominent and well-to-do farmer and stock-raiser of St. Joseph County, has been a resident of Constantine Township most of the time since 1850, and has been an important factor in developing its agricultural interests, having improved a valuable and highly productive farm on section 6. He has erected thereon a substantial set of farm buildings, and has it well supplied with the various conveniences for cultivating the land, gathering in the crops, etc., and his home is one of the most cozy and comfortable in the township.

Our subject was born Dec. 29, 1828, in Middlesex, Yates Co., N.Y., being the sixth child in the family of nine children, six sons and three daughters, of George J. and Phebe (FRANCISCO) RIFENBERGH. His father, it is supposed, was born in Schenectady County, N.Y., and his mother was also a native of Eastern New York. In the fall of 1845 they came to Michigan, and the ensuing five years made their home in Oakland County. In 1850 they came to St. Joseph County, and took up their abode in Constantine Township, and passed the remainder of their lives here, the mother dying Jan. 21, 1868, and the father July 15, 1880.

Levi RIFENBERGH spent his early years on his father's farm in New York, and under his practical guidance gained a thorough knowledge of farming in all its branches. He was seventeen years of age when he accompanied his parents to their new home in this State, in Oakland County. He also came with them to this county in 1850, and with the exception of two years spent in Cass County has been a resident of Constantine ever since. He has always been engaged in agricultural pursuits, and now owns 210 acres of the finest farming land to be found within the limits of St. Joseph County, on which he has erected good buildings, and made various other substantial improvements, and besides this farm he and his wife own fifty-two acres of valuable land in Cass County. Mr. RIFENBERGH'S ability and skill as a farmer are of a high order, as in shown by the appearance of his well-managed farm and the success that he has met in its cultivation, which places him in the front rank of the intelligent and representative agriculturist of Southern Michigan.

Mr. RIFENBERGH has been twice married. His first marriage took place in Cass County, May 13, 1854, and was to Miss Harriet DRAPER, a native of Cass County. She bore him one child, who died in infancy. Mrs. RIFENBERGH was a woman of high personal character, and her death, while yet in the bloom of young womanhood, after a brief wedded life, Aug. 23, 1856, in Constantine Township, was a source of sorrow to her friends. Our subject was married to his present wife, formerly Miss Lydia CARR, in Porter Township, Cass County, Nov. 15, 1857, and she has been to him a true helpmate, and a most excellent wife in every sense of the word. She was born in Porter Township, Cass County, Oct. 2, 1838, a daughter of George E. and Polly (FULLER) CARR. Her parents moved from their native State, New York, to Cass County in 1836, and thus became early settlers of the county, where they passed their remaining days. They had a family of nine children, of whom Mrs. RIFENBERGH was the fourth in order of birth. To her and her husband have been born nine children, namely: Hattie, the wife of A.B. HOFFMAN, of Reece, Greenwood Co., Kan.: Henry F., Phylena, Jennie, Jesse and Alnora are all yet under the parental roof. Viola, Loren and Olen are deceased.

Mr. RIFENBERGH is highly respected and esteemed for his many good qualities of head and heart. His reputation is of the best, and both in public and in private life he has ever been found to be a man of principles and honor. He has interested himself greatly in township affairs, and has taken part in their management, having served with credit and fidelity in numerous minor offices. In politics he sides with the Democratic party and uses his influence in its behalf.

It is with pleasures we present on an adjoining page the portrait of this worthy representative farmer of St. Joseph County. A man of unblemished integrity he is eminently worthy of this honor. As a most fitting companion picture is given that of his estimable wife.

colored line

Page 354-355

William H. CASTLE. The subject of this sketch, who at the close of a well spent life departed hence, in 1887, was born in Litchfield, Conn., April 12, 1811. He was a son of Isaac and Phebe (BEECH) CASTLE, who were natives of the same State. Upon leaving New England they made their way to the vicinity of Buffalo, N.Y., and thence came to this county during its pioneer days. The father here had in view the building up of a homestead, but his plans were cut sort by his death, which took place six weeks after his arrival. The mother then returned to Buffalo and made her home there, where her death took place about 1841.

The early years of Mr. CASTLE were spent in Sullivan County, N.Y., and he came to Michigan during its Territorial days, while a single man, in 1835. He purchased a tract of wild land on section 13 in Colon Township, where he made his home until his death, his labors being attended with prosperity. He wisely invested his accumulating capital in additional land, and left an estate including 210 acres, with ample farm buildings, machinery and live stock, and all the appurtenances of the modern country home. A glance at his property conveys the idea of plenty and comfort, with ample means and all the good and desirable things of life.

The lady who for nearly fifty years was the companion and helpmate of our subject, Miss Mary T. WEBSTER in her girlhood, became his wife April 6, 1837, the wedding taking place at the home of her parents in Colon. The latter were Jesse and Cynthia (WEBSTER) WEBSTER, both natives of Delaware County, N.Y. From the Empire State they removed to Lorain County, Ohio, when Mrs. CASTLE was a little child five years of age. There the father carried on farming, and died about 1824. Mrs. WEBSTER was subsequently married to Lorenzo SCHELHOUSE, and with her little family accompanied him to this county as early as 1831. It is hardly necessary to state that they were among the earliest pioneers who first ventured into the wilderness and eliminated a homestead from a wild and uncultivated tract of land. Here they spent their last days. The mother lived to the advanced age of eighty-four years, passed away at her own home in 1875.

To Jesse and Mary T. WEBSTER there were born two children only, both daughters, Mary T. and Sarah M. The latter is the widow of Orrin W. LEGG, a well-to-do farmer of Colon Township, Mrs. Mary T. CASTLE was born in Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, April 24, 1819. She was twelve years old when her parents came to this county. Her education was acquired in the district school, and she remained with her mother until her marriage. Of her union with our subject there have been born five children: Amelia A. is the widow of Edward STRUNK, of Leonidas Township, this county; Isaac H. is farming in Merrick County, Neb.; Willie F. died at the age of five years; Henry B. died when a bright lad of thirteen years; Jesse L. is farming in Colon Township.

Since the death of her husband Mrs. CASTLE has superintended the operations of the farm. She has long borne the reputation of a lady of more than ordinary ability, and is amply fitted to look after the valuable estate left by her husband. She has witnessed with interest the many changes transpiring during her residence of sixty years in this county, and none have rejoiced more heartily at the evidences of its wealth and prosperity. She has performed her part well as a wife, mother and friend, and is held in warm esteem by a large number of people throughout this region. She has been identified with the Baptist Church since 1858 with her husband, and through their united efforts and liberality it has attained much of its present standing today.

Mr. CASTLE was Clerk of the church society for a period of thirty years. Politically, he conscientiously supported the principles of the Democratic party. He held the various township offices during his younger years, and invariable signified his willingness to aid by his means and influences every worthy enterprise in connection with its welfare and prosperity. The children have grown up to be an honor to their parents.

colored line

Page 355-356

George DICKINSON. We are glad to be able to place on these pages a brief record of the life of the gentleman whose name heads this sketch, as he is a fine representative of native-born citizens of St. Joseph County, who are now among its most practical and enterprising farmers and stock-growers, and upon whom has fallen to a great extent the honor of sustaining its large agricultural interests. A son of one of its earliest settlers, born almost in the first decade of its settlement, when it had scarcely begun to merge from its primitive, wildness, he may be said to have grown up with the county, within whose limits his entire life has been spent, and where he built himself and family a home that in all its appointments and surroundings is one of the most comfortable and attractive in the vicinity of its location. He is, as we intimated, prominently identified with the stock and grain growers of the county, making a specialty of raising fine horses, owning and managing a valuable farm on section 31, Florence Township, the place of his birth.

The subject of this sketch is a son of George and Sarah (BOWMAN) DICKINSON, natives of England, the father born in the town of Stockton. They emigrated to this country in 1831, and the following year following year found them among the primeval forest of Southern Michigan, seeking a home in St. Joseph County. They were not married until after their arrival in this county. Mr. DICKINSON, after his removal here, carried the mail on horseback from White Pigeon to Three Rivers, and he was also engaged in driving a stage for a number of years. In 1834 he and a brother bought a tract of land, comprising 180 acres, from the Government and from four individuals, and from that time until his death in 1861 he was active in developing the rich agricultural resources of St. Joseph County. While thus promoting the growth of the county, he was prospered in his work, accumulated a valuable property and improved a fine farm. He lived respected, having led an upright life, and he died lamented, as he was a good citizen, a kind neighbor, and always pleasant in his family relations. He went to take part in the Black Hawk War, but at the end of three days, not being needed, the company was disbanded. He never touched tobacco, and always used his influence to discourage the use of it in others. His worthy wife, Mrs. Sarah (JOHNSON) DICKINSON, died in January 1867. She was the mother of six children, three sons and three daughters, all of whom are married and living in St. Joseph County, except Mary BOWMAN, who is deceased. Mrs. DICKINSON was first married to John BOWMAN, in Yorkshire, England, which was the place of her birth, as well as that of our subject’s father. By this first marriage one child, a daughter, was born, Mary Ann, who became the wife of J.J. DAVIS of White Pigeon.

George DICKINSON, Jr., is the second child and eldest son of these good people, and he was born in Florence, St. Joseph County, Jan. 22, 1839. He spent his boyhood days on the old homestead where he first saw the light of day, and his education was conducted in the schools of White Pigeon, a part of the time in a select school. After his father’s death our subject assisted in settling up the estate and dividing the property, in which he had an interest. He entered into possession of his present farm April 1, 1880, and has ever since managed it with good financial results. It comprises 196 acres of highly tilled and very productive land, admirably adapted to mixed farming, to which Mr. DICKINSON devotes himself, with what success may be noted in the rich grain fields, yielding abundant harvests, and in the sleek and well-kept cattle and fine-bred horses roaming in his pastures. The farm is well supplied with neat and tasty buildings for all purposes, and everything about the place wears an air of thrift and plenty. Aside from the management of his farming interests Mr. DICKINSON does business as an agent for agricultural implements for Mr. Deere, of Moline, Ill., and has been very active in introducing these implements into the county.

Mr. DICKINSON was married, March 10, 1864, to Lydia, daughter of George and Frances (ARNEY) HARDY. Her father was born in England and her mother in Vermont, and they were among the early settlers of St. Joseph County, coming here in 1883. Mrs. DICKINSON was born in Lockport Township, this county, May 12, 1839, and lived with her parents until she married and gained a home of her own. Their marriage has been blessed to our subject and his excellent wife by the birth of five children, four of whom are living: Carrie E., born Jan. 13, 1865, married Edward HOTCHIN, of Florence; George H., born July 26, 1868, lives at home; Sarah F., born Feb. 9, 1870; May, July 16, 1872; Ernest L., born Sept. 18, 1875, died Sept. 22, 1887. Mr. DICKINSON and family occupy a high standing in this community, and they are all valued members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at White Pigeon. The pleasant abode of our subject and wife is the scene of a generous hospitality, and its inmates are often called upon to welcome the coming and speed the parting guests, as they number many friends among their acquaintances. Mr. DICKINSON is a man of much shrewd foresight and keen enterprise, possessing a resolute will and a sound understanding. His geniality, tact, and obliging manners, have won him a warm place in the hearts of his neighbors. Politically, Mr. DICKINSON is a stanch Republicans, heartily in favor of the policy of his party.

colored line

Page 356-357

Samuel EARLY. Occupying a proud place among the names of those who have contributed so much towards making the State of Michigan such a proud member of the great family of States of the American nation, there are none more conscious than that of the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. He now resides in Mottville Village, where he transacts business as a merchant, carrying a stock of goods adapted to the needs of the country.

The subject of this sketch was born in Northumberland County, Pa., Sept. 24, 1824. The father, David EARLY, was a native of Lancaster County, Pa., where he was born in 1768, and followed farming for many years. He was a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church. He died at the residence of his son, our subject, in St. Joseph County, Mich. The mother’s name was Elizabeth (FREES) EARLY. She was born in New Jersey in 1762. She died at a ripe old age. John, brother of our subject, was born in Northumberland County, Pa., in 1822; he is a farmer, now residing in Cass County, Mich. His brother William was born in Pennsylvania in 1826, and died in the county of his birth. Rebecca was born in Pennsylvania in 1817, and died at the age of fifty-three years. The wife of Richard JONES, of Pennsylvania, she was the mother of four children, one only surviving. Adaline was born in Northumberland County, Pa., in 1831, and was married to Jerry DYER, who is a farmer in that State.

Mr. EARLY was married to Miss Margaret GRAY, Sept. 27, 1844. This lady was a native of Northumberland County, Pa., where she was born in 1827. The early days of our subject were not passed in paths of ease and pleasure, but, on the contrary, were filled with many troubles and much hard labor. When old enough to handle a team he was the driver of a stage. In the early 1841 he was a "towboy" on the Pennsylvania Canal, and was the driver of the team attached to the boat that carried the remains of President William Henry Harrison from Harrisburg, Pa., to the Clark’s Ferry, on the way westward to his final resting-place on the banks of the Ohio River. He recalls distinctly the many expressions of regret and sorrow shown by the people along the route. Public buildings and private residences were draped with all the sad paraphernalia of mourning, and when the boat passed people would stand with bowed and uncovered heads until it had passed from sight. The boat that carried the remains was named "General Jackson."

Our subject followed canal and stage driving for three years, when he asked for leave of absence, intending to come to the great Northwest, which request was granted. He wrote his employers that if he did not come back in three weeks they might think he had said good-bye. He came to Mottville, St. Joseph County, and then went to Bristol and engaged in keeping a hotel. At the end of one year he sold his hotel interest, and returned to Mottville and engaged in farming, which he followed for twelve years. In this he was prosperous, and accumulated a goodly store of this world’s effects. Leaving his farm, he moved into Mottville Village, but having been accustomed to an active, stirring life, he could not obtain his own consent to remain in idleness, so he purchased a stock of dry goods, boots, shoes and groceries, and commenced business as a merchant.

This venture proving very successful, Mr. EARLY found a good opportunity of disposing of it to an acquaintance from California, after which he returned to Bristol and purchased the Western Hotel. After conducting this hotel awhile he sold it to Joseph Wheeler and returned to Mottville, after which he was out of active business for a short time. He then purchased another general stock of goods and opened a store, in which he is located today. He is doing a good business, and is considered a good, straightforward, prosperous man. He is also Postmaster at this point.

Mr. EARLY loves to tell to his customers and friends the history of his past life, and being a fluent talker and having a good command of language, his descriptions of many of the adventures of that time, described in his exceedingly graphic manner, are highly entertaining, and do not fail to enlist the entire attention of the listener. He has a nice home, comfortably furnished, situated in the midst of pleasant surroundings, and now in the evening of his life he is enabled to enjoy that which was denied him in his earlier years.

To our subject and his wife were born eight children, seven girls and one boy, four of whom are now living. Mary Jane is the wife of C. KOHLER, and resides in Elkhart, Ind.; Martha A., now the wife of Ira SLOAN, resides in Three Rivers, Mich.; Sarah Belle is the wife of J.H. MADDEN, and lives in Mottville, Mich., and Lucinda is residing with her parents, and is the only child at home. She clerks in her father’s store, has received a good common-school education, and is a fine penswoman.

colored line

Page 357-358

W. W. TEAL, one of the pioneer settlers of Burr Oak Township, came to this county in 1872, and located upon the land which comprises his present homestead. A native of Yorkshire, England, he was born Jan. 2, 1814, and is the son of John and Nancy TEAL, who spent their entire lives in their native England.

At the age of fourteen years our subject was apprenticed to a sea captain on a lumber vessel, the "Tilton," with which he sailed about three years. During this time he made four trips between England and the Dominion of Canada. On their last voyage they came very near being shipwrecked, and the vessel was declared unseaworthy. Shortly afterward, in 1833, young TEAL took up his abode in New York City, and was employed about the wharf nearly a year. Thence he went to Oneida County, where he was variously employed, sometimes as a boat hand, sometimes as a grocery clerk, and whatever he could find to do. He finally migrated to the vicinity of Coldwater, Mich., and thence to LaGrange County, Ind., where he purchased forty acres of land. This was all timber, which he cleared away, brought the soil to a state of cultivation, and added forty acres to his first purchase. In due time he was the owner of 120 acres, and continued there for a period of twelve years, then came to this county.

Mr. TEAL has been twice married first, in 1837, to Miss Ruth PILBEAM, a native of England, and the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth PILBEAM, who spent their lives there. This lady died at her home, in 1867, after having been his faithful wife and helpmate for a period of thirty years . The present wife of our subject, to whom he was married in 1870, was formerly Miss Caroline M. MELLON, at that time of LaGrange County, Ind. Mrs. Caroline TEAL is the daughter of Arthur and Rachel MELLON. Of this union there have been born seven children; Olive, Mary Jane, John William, Arthur, Hattie, Caroline and George.

Mr. TEAL, politically, was in earlier years an active worker in the ranks of the Democratic party. Of late, however, he has taken but little interest in politics. He served as Justice of the Peace in LaGrange County, Ind., a number of terms, and in Burr Oak has been Street Commissioner and a member of the Town Council. He is a reliable and substantial citizen, a man of strict integrity, and one generally respected among his neighbors.

colored line

[top of page]
Go to St Joseph Co., MI Biographical Album Index
This page was created on 28 Oct 2000
Design and updates of this page are by Denise (Beckwith) Frederick, Copyright © 2000
This Page Has Been Visited times....since since 28 Oct 2000
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