Matthias BECKER PUTNAM stands among the foremost of the agriculturists of St. Joseph County who have been instrumental in building up its great farming interests. He is a prominent citizen of Constantine Township, where he owns a large farm on section 36, and is extensively engaged in agriculture. He has one of the finest residences in the township, and his home is very attractive. Mr. PUTNAM is the son of a pioneer family well known here in early times, and our subject, though but nine years of age when he accompanied his parents to their new home in the forest depths of Southern Michigan, may well be denominated a pioneer himself. He has been a dweller in St. Joseph County and Constantine Township, boy and man, for over fifty years, and in that time has witnessed the wonderful change that has been brought about by the energy and indomitable perseverance of the early pioneers and their successors, rendering this one of the richest and most prosperous farming regions in the country, with extensive commercial interests and flourishing towns and cities. It must be a pleasant thought to him that he has materially contributed to this prosperity.
Our subject was born in Johnstown, Montgomery Co., N. Y., March 17, 1827, and was the seventh of the eight children, four sons and four daughters, born to Peter F. and Martha (BECKER) PUTNAM. His parents were also natives of Montgomery County, and were born respectively in Johnstown and Florida Township. They married and settled down in their native county, and there all of their children were born. In August, 1836, they broke up their old home, and with their family came to St. Joseph County, Mr. PUTNAM having the April previous visited this part of Michigan and purchased a tract of land in the southeastern part of Constantine, paying therefore $12.50 an acre. He and his wife made their home here the reminder of their lives, he dying in November, 1858, and she several years prior to that date.
Matthias PUTNAM was a lad of nine years when he accompanied his parents to this State, consequently most of his life has been passed here, and he has been as much interested in the progress and growth of the commonwealth of Michigan as if he were native and to the manor born. He was reared on a farm, and in the pioneer influences that obtained in his early home here grew to a vigorous, self helpful and capable young man. He adopted the calling to which he was reared, and in following agriculture has accumulated considerable wealth. He owns 300 acres of valuable land all in one body in Constantine Township, and has it under fine cultivation, supplied with substantial and commodious buildings for all purposes, and the most approved farm machinery for lightening labor.
Matthias PUTNAM and Miss Sarah A. DICKINSON were married Oct. 12, 1859, the ceremony being performed in Florence Township. Mrs. PUTNAM is in many respects a superior woman, and she presides with characteristic graciousness over her and her husband's commodious and well-appointed home, dispensing its hospitalities with a free hand and a happy heart, and she is warmly seconded in her efforts to entertain friends or strangers who may come to them by her husband and family. Mrs. PUTNAM, who was born in Florence Township, this county, March 11, 1837, was the eldest of the five children, three sons and two daughters, born to George and Sarah (JOHNSON) DICKINSON, natives of Yorkshire, England. Her father came to America when he was sixteen years old, and in 1832 came to Michigan, and was a pioneer of White Pigeon. His wife came to this country in 1833, and they were married in the town of GIlead, Branch County, near the residence of Gov. Luce, in 1836. They began their married life in Florence Township, and indeed, continued it there until death did part them, he dying May 3, 1861, and she Jan. 12, 1867. Mrs. DICKINSON had been twice married, and at the time of her marriage to George DICKINSON was the widow of John BOWMAN, who died in England. By that marriage she had one child, Mary, who died in 1868 at White Pigeon; she was the wife of John J. DAVIS. By her marriage with Mr. DICKINSON she had five children, viz: George, a farmer in Florence Township; Anna, wife of Charles KELLOGG, of the same township; Richard, in White Pigeon Township; Charles, also in Florence, and Mrs. PUTNAM. Mr. and Mrs. PUTNAM are the parents of six children: Anna who lives at home; Maria, who died when about two years and a half old; Mary, Nellie, George and John. Their daughter Mary was married at their residence, Dec. 5, 1888, to Frank P. HOTCHIN, of Florence Township, and there was a large gathering of friends to witness the impressive ceremony.
Mr. PUTNAM is a man of clear head and sagacious judgement, and possesses weight and influence in the affairs of this community, with which his interests have been bound up so long. No one is more liberal and public spirited than he in encouraging the various schemes for the benefit of the township and county, and he is thoroughly respected for those characteristics that mark the true man and honest citizen. He has been School Director for many years, and has held some of the minor offices. In politics he casts his vote with Democratic party. Mrs. PUTNAM is a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has been for upward of thirty years.
Samuel KLADY. The subject of this sketch is one of those who have achieved the goal after years of toil, labor and anxiety, and all the attendant incidents of a busy life, and now has retired from active service, residing in the village of Nottawa. He has been engaged in the peaceful pursuits of an agriculturist since his advent here, in 1837, while Michigan was still a Territory. Although now retired from the active duties devolving upon a farmer, he is one of those men whose intimate knowledge of his calling and success in the same are worthy of mention in connection with any volume treating of the township.
The ancestry of an individual is next in importance to his own personality, and can never be properly omitted from the record of his life. Our subject's father, Isaac KLADY, was a native of the Quaker State, while his mother, whose maiden name was Mary MORGAN, named New Jersey as the State of her nativity. Isaac KLADY looked his last upon the scenes of earth in Livingston County, N. Y., whence he had removed with his family. The mother journeyed westward after the death of her husband to this county, and made her home with her son until her death.
The parental family of our subject numbered eight children, five sons and three daughters, of whom Samuel was the eldest. Consequently, upon the death of the father a great deal of the responsibility of the family fell upon the shoulders of the oldest son. He was born May 15, 1806, in Cayuga County, N. Y., in which place he lived until attaining the age of twenty years. Livingston County, however, held out greater inducements than he could hope for in his native county, whence we find him migrating. So correct did his foresight in regard to bettering his condition prove, that he remained in Livingston County until 1837, being engaged in the meanwhile upon a farm. At the expiration of that time, however, feeling that the largely undeveloped State of Michigan would prove an excellent field to carve out for himself a financial prosperity, he migrated hither, locating in Nottawa Township. Nor was Mr. KLADY in the least mistaken in selecting Michigan as his future home, as the reader will see that he began with practically nothing, and whatever has been attained is the result of his earnest, manly efforts, which have, however, been supplemented by the faithful affection and counsel of his devoted wife.
In 1852, Mr. KLADY desiring to see something of the farther West, crossed the plains to the Pacific Slope, remaining there five years, when he retraced his steps to this county, and with that one exception has been a resident here since his first advent into the county in 1837. As before stated, our subject has always been engaged in the cultivation of the soil, and is the proprietor of a tract of 179 acres, which, although not very extensive, it is to be doubted if any in the county is more perfect in its operations and workings.
Mr. KLADY, in August, 1888, had the dire misfortune to lose his house by fire. In the fall of the same year, however, he erected a beautiful dwelling on the old site, complete with all modern improvements and conveniences, and which is not only a credit to its proprietor, but something to be admired by the entire county. He was married in New York City, to Miss Mary SISCO, and to them were born two children, William E. and Charles J., the former of whom died in Washington Territory, when twenty-four years old, and the latter died in infancy. The mother of these children died at her home in Nottawa Township, Aug. 1, 1847. Mr. KLADY was a second time married, at Centreville, this State, to Mrs. Jane REED, the wedding being celebrated Nov. 13, 1860. Mrs. KLADY was the widow of William A. REED, by whom she had four children, three dying in infancy. The remaining child, a son, William M., died in Centreville when a young man.
The parents of Mrs. KLADY were Richard and Hannah KEELER. The father departed this life in Eire County, Ohio. The mother survived her husband many years, and passed from this life in Nottawa Township, in the fall of 1885. The wife of our subject was born in Hopewell, N. J., June 30, 1812. Mr. KLADY has served his township in the capacity of Constable and Justice of the Peace, and on all matters of political interests takes his stand with the Democratic party, but never at the expense of principle. He is a friend to good morals, and anxious to do all in his power as a citizen to further the interests of his community.
William H. STEARS. Prominent among the native born citizens of Michigan who are now some of the most active members of its agricultural community, is the subject of this biographical record. He was born in Florence Township, July 4, 1854, and is now one of the leading farmers and stock-raisers of his birthplace, owning and occupying as fine a farm as can be found in this locality. He is a son of Thomas STEARS, a prominent pioneer of St. Joseph, whose sketch appears on another page of this volume. Our subject was reared on the old homestead in this town, and was carefully instructed by his father in all the details of farming, so that when he had to choose his life work he naturally preferred the pursuit of agriculture. He received a substantial education in the public schools of Florence, and lived under the parental roof until twenty-two years of age. He then, in 1876, came to take possession of his present farm on sections 32 and 33, one of pleasantest and most valuable sites in the neighborhood. He immediately entered upon its improvement, and with persistent energy and skill has brought his land under high cultivation. He has his farm well stocked with stock of good grades, as he pays much attention to that branch of agriculture, as well as to raising grain and other farm products. His buildings are all in good order, and adapted to their various uses, and he has a good supply of machinery for carrying on his farming operations.
Mr. STEARS was married in Florence Township, Dec. 13, 1876, to Miss Mary, daughter of Henry SEVISON, of Florence Township, whose sketch will be found on another page of this work. Mrs. STEARS is likewise a native of Florence Township, her birth occurring her Dec. 13, 1856. She was educated in the public schools here, and is an intelligent and well-bred lady, whose kind hospitality, together with her husband's genial courtesy, makes their home one of the most attractive in the community. One child, Thomas H., was born to them Dec. 23, 1879.
Mr. STEARS has shown himself to be a man of much decision of character, prompt and capable in the management of his business affairs, and a thoroughly practical and systematic farmer, who is meeting with deserved success in his calling, and will undoubtedly be counted among the moneyed mend of the county in the course of a few years if he continues to prosper, and he has the good wishes of many friends that he may do so. As an intelligent citizen should he takes much interests in politics, and is an ardent supporter of the Democratic party. He is identified with the P. of H. Mr. and Mrs. STEARS are earnest Christians, who strive to do their duty in their home and toward their neighbors, and they are members of the Reformed Church at Constantine.
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William BELLAIRS is recognized throughout White Pigeon Township as a fine specimen of the typical English farmer, who came to the West in his younger years, equipped with a good supply of muscle, and the sturdy perseverance which seldom fails to succeed. He is now the owner of a good farm on section 7, which he has built up from a tract of uncultivated soil, placing thereon good buildings, making fences and setting fruit trees, laboring early and late, and laying the foundations of a good property. He is now practically independent and sitting under the vine and fig tree of his own planting, certainly may look upon the result of his labors with satisfaction.
A native of Lincolnshire, England, our subject was born July 31, 1820, and is the son of Vincent and Ann (JILLINS) BELLAIRS, who were natives of the same county as their son. They were the parents of eight children, and spent their entire lives upon their native soil. The sole survivors of their family are our subject and his brother John, the latter a resident of Van Buren Township, LaGrange Co., Ind. William at the age of twenty-five years decided to emigrate to America, and upon reaching New York City proceeded westward to this county, within whose limits he arrived with a capital of $2.50 in his pocket. He at once secured employment as a farm laborer at $7 per month, which wages during the summer were increased to $9. For the labor of twelve months, the first year in America, he received $127. The year following he made $130; this he invested in land in LaGrange County, Ind., paying therefor $15 down, and had two years in which to pay the balance of $130, the whole sum required being $280.
Mr. BELLAIRS, while a resident of Van Buren Township, LaGrange Co., Ind., took unto himself a wife and helpmate, Miss Ruth JULIAN. Their wedding was celebrated in White Pigeon, Mich., Dec. 19, 1852. This lady was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, Oct. 8, 1831, and is the daughter of John JULIAN, who spent his last years in Nappanee, Ind. The young couple commenced life together on the new farm, where our subject put up a house, into which they removed the spring following their marriage. In the fall of 1857 he returned to White Pigeon, settling near Fish Lake, where he remained six years, then returned to Indiana. In the fall of 1864 he recrossed the Atlantic to look after the estate of his father, who had died that year. He spent a few weeks in his native country, and then returned to his farm in Indiana, which he now owns, comprising 240 acres, after which he came back to White Pigeon Township and secured possession of its present farm. This comprises 142 acres of good land, which, with its substantial buildings, its goodly assortment of live stock and the convenient farm machinery, presents a picture of comfort and plenty which is pleasant to look upon.
There have been born to our subject and his estimable wife an intelligent family of eight children, who were named respectively: Olive, Annie, George, Henry, Caroline, Josephine, Levi and Mary. Annie is the wife of William BENHAM of LaGrange County, Ind., and is the mother of one child, a son Frank; Olive married Charlie LINN, is the mother of one child, Otto, and a resident of White Pigeon Township; George married Miss Fanny BELOTE, lives in LaGrange County, and has three children; Ethel, Inez and Hugh; Henry married Miss Minerva WALTER, and occupies the old homestead in LaGrange County, Ind.
Mr. BELLAIRS, politically, is a warm supporter of Republican principles, and in religious matters a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He has never had any weakness for office, preferring to give his attention to his farming affairs. He is regarded by his neighbors as a law-abiding and reliable citizen, who in the building up of one of the best homesteads of White Pigeon Township has thus contributed much toward the development of its most available resources.
Joseph BROWN. It is a well-known fact that Michigan is one of the greatest sheep-raising States in the Union, only Ohio, California and Texas outranking her in this respect. The gentleman whose name stands at the head of this sketch is one of the leading representatives of this great industry, as carried on in St. Joseph County. He is a prominent farmer and stock-grower of Florence Township, where he owns a valuable farm on section 31.
Mr. BROWN is of English birth and ancestry, as were likewise his parents. He was born in Nottinghamshire, May 9, 1834. His father, Charles BROWN, was a lifelong resident of England, born in 1807, and dying in 1835, while yet a young man. The worthy mother of our subject, whose maiden name was Elizabeth (KEMPSHELL) BROWN, was born in 1807. In 1845 she left her native England, taking with her her little boy, our subject, and made her way to this country and to Michigan, where she had determined to make her home for the future; she now has a home on her sonís farm, where she is spending her declining years, surrounded by every comfort that filial love can provide for her.
The little English lad who has thus brought to this country when he was but eleven years of age, grew up under Republican institutions, and is today one of the foremost sheep-growers of this great and powerful commonwealth of Michigan. He spent the first few years after coming to this State in his motherís home at White Pigeon. At the age of sixteen years he commenced to earn his own living by working on a farm for the sum of $8 a month, and was thus employed by month, and was thus employed for about four years, receiving nearly $100 a year for a full yearís work. At the age of twenty he had saved money enough to carry out his ambitious project of seeking a fortune in California, and in 1850 he started for the land of gold, going by boat from New York to the Isthmus of Panama, and then walking across the Isthmus to take passage in a vessel for San Francisco, arriving there in January, 1851, having been fifty-eight days en route. He remained in California three years, working diligently in the mines all of the time, and managed to accumulate some money. Tiring of the hard life of a miner, his thoughts turned once more to home and friends in Michigan, and he soon retraced his steps and once more settled in this State. He purchased a threshing machine, and during the harvesting season for twenty-two years was employed in running it at a great profit, and worked a farm on shares the rest of the year, having purchased his present farm after his return from California. It comprises 198 acres in an excellent state of tillage, and amply provided with all the necessary farm buildings. Mr. BROWN carried on mixed husbandry, his land being admirably adapted both to raising grain and stock, and he makes sheep feeding a specialty, feeding from 1,500 to 1,800 annually, and shipping them to Buffalo. He has made this branch of industry a great success, and is now numbered among the solid, moneyed men of St. Joseph County.
In 1858 our subject was married to Catherine DALE, a native of Pennsylvania, and a daughter of Amos and Mary (SHINEBERGER) DALE. Her father was born June 13, 1813, came to Florence Township in 1848, and died June 18, 1853. Her mother was born in 1811, and died Sept. 24, 1860. She and her husband were the parents of seven children, of whom Mrs. BROWN was the third in order of birth. Mr. and Mrs. BROWN have spent their entire married life at their present place of residence, and in their pleasant home five daughters have been born to them, as follows: Mary E., born Feb. 1, 1862; Anna H., July 21, 1864; Alice E., June 10, 1866; Vinna, July 7, 1869; Helen L., May 1, 1872. The family are all members of the Presbyterian Church at White Pigeon. Mr. BROWN is a stanch Democrat, and uses his influence to promote party measures, although he never seeks public honors, as he prefers to devote his time to the management of his extensive interests. He is a man of wide experience, systematic in his methods, of prompt business habits, and one who can thoroughly be relied upon to act in the most honorable manner in any transaction with others.
Jonathan A. HARTZLER. Prominent among the many substantial and prosperous farmers who are resident within the limits of Mottville Township, the subject of this sketch holds no secondary position. He resides on section 13, where he owns and operates a splendidly cultivated farm containing 110 acres. He comes from that sturdy race of people that originally settled in Pennsylvania, from the German countries of Europe. The various peculiarities characteristic of those people are fully exemplified by the life and conduct of our subject. Quiet and persevering, he has yet to learn what the word failure means. He is very conservative in his life, and before he engages in any enterprise, he calmly weighs the matter, and when he decides to act, the invariable results is success.
This gentleman was born in Mifflin County, Pa., Jan. 25, 1833. He is the son of Abraham HARTZLER, who is now living in Cass County, Mo. The father was born Nov. 26, 1807, in Mifflin County, where he was married to Magdelena ZOOK, in the year 1832. She is a daughter of Abraham ZOOK, was born Aug. 13, 1805, and is also a native of Mifflin County, Pa. They lived in Pennsylvania until March, 1855, when they moved to Elkhart County, Ind., where he purchased a sawmill and a farm. They lived in that county until 1866, when they moved to St. Joseph County, Mich., where he purchased a small farm, and lived there until 1881, in which year he traveled a great deal for the benefit of his health. He now resides in Cass County, Mo., a hale and hearty old gentleman, aged eighty-one years; his wife is dead.
The grandfather of our subject, David Abraham HARTZLER, was born Jan. 26, 1768, in Berks County, Pa. He died Oct. 21, 1855. His wife was Mary YODER; she was born Sept. 16, 1771, and died June 25, 1856. Jacob HARTZLER was a native of Switzerland, and was born in "The Palatine," at that time a Province of France, where he was married. He came to America, and returned a widower to his native country. There he was married again. The dates of his marriage and his trips to and from America are lost. The father of David HARTZLER was John, the son of Jacob HARTZLER. He was married to Veronica REICHENBACH. She is now deceased. John died April 1, 1801, in Berks County, Pa.
Our subject is one of a family of six sons, who are named as follows: Jacob, Abraham D., David E., John J., Jonathan (our subject), and Samuel Z. David E. married Mary YODER, and lives in Cass County, Mo., where he is engaged in farming; he is the father of a son and daughter. Jacob married Susannah BLOUGH, and resides in Elkhart County, Ind., where he is a farmer; he has two sons and two daughters. Abraham D. married Mattie SCHROCK, and to them were born three sons; the mother died in Elkhart County, Ind. He afterward married Miss Lydie BLOUGH, and to them have been born two daughters, and they now reside in Goshen, Ind., where he does general work, and has a family of five children, two sons and three daughters. John J. is the husband of Mattie MAST, and they live in Cass County, Mo., where he is a farmer and a minister in the Mennonite Church; he has a large family. Samuel Z. is a single man, and lived in Nebraska, where he teaches school and is also engaged in railroading; Jonathan A. HARTZLER, our subject; was married in Mifflin County, Pa., June 6, 1831; his wife died April 7, 1872, and her name was Nancy HARTZLER. He is the father of eight children, who are named: Rachel, Mattie, Elizabeth, Nancy, Abraham, Matilda and Lydia. Rachel is married to Levi J. PEACHEY; he is a laborer, and has no family. Mattie is unmarried, and resides in Cass County, Mo.; Elizabeth is the wife of Elias R. MILLER, a farmer in Cass County, Mo., and she is the mother of one son; Katie is unmarried and lives in Cass County, Mo.; Nancy is unmarried and lives with her father; Abraham is single, and is employed as a carpenter; Matilda unmarried, and Lydia, the youngest, are both at home with their father.
Mr. HARTZLER has been a farmer all his life, in which he has proved fairly successful. He has held various offices in the town in which he resides, and has lived on his present farm for the last twenty-five years. The whole farm is under a very high state of cultivation. The buildings, although not elaborate, are of a very substantial and permanent character. The house is roomy and very comfortably furnished; nicely located, the barns and other necessary out-buildings are very capacious and well adapted for their intended use. He has always lived a very frugal and contented life, and he has gathered about him a handsome property, and one which speaks very highly for his industrious habits. He is Signal Service Reporter for his locality. He is a member of the Mennonite Church, of which his wife was also a member, and they were very earnest and devout in their religious duties. He is a man of considerable note in his neighborhood, and he prides himself on the fact that all his undertakings are almost always crowned with prosperity. In politics he is a Republican.
Ethan B. PIPER. Some things must be seen to be appreciated. Wordy descriptions, whether abbreviated or more lengthy, fail to do justice even when used by a master in rhetoric. The property of Mr. PIER is a case in point, and one glance at his excellent farm, which stretches away acre after acre until 260 have been told, his farm buildings, excellent in construction and adaptability, his commodious, well-furnished and admirably situated home, would be better than all the merely verbal descriptions that could be given in this Album.
Our subject is the son of Solomon Pier, who was born in Steuben County, N. Y., in the year 1814. He grew to manhood in that and Genesee County, where he lived until he was about twenty years old, when he came to Michigan, and for the next few years lived here and at other different points in the State. During the first few years he devoted himself to farming, afterward following the carpentry trade for about twenty years, during which time he constructed quite a number of bridges for different railroads. Subsequently he returned once more to farming, and continued in agricultural pursuits. In 1869 he came from Texas, Kalamazoo County, with his family, and settled in Leonidas Township, where he died on the 20th of February, 1880.
December 3, 1855, Mr. PIER, Sr., was married to Miss Frances BIRD, at Saginaw City, this State. This lady was born at Mansfield, Warren Co., N. J. Sept. 17, 1818, to John and Frances BIRD. Two children were born of this union, viz: Hiram J. and Ethan B. Hiram died at Girard, Branch Co., Mich., in 1879, when twenty-two years of age, and the second child is the subject of this sketch.
Mr. E. B. PIER was born in Mattawan, Van Buren Co., Mich., on the 1st of April, 1859. He received good, practical, English education in the common schools, and has been engaged chiefly in agricultural pursuits. Since the death of his father he has operated the farm, which he owns, and which, as before stated, contains 260 acres. The chief buildings thereon were put up by the father of our subject, but numerous improvements have been made since that time, and additions as required.
On the 26th of November, 1881, the nuptials of our subject and Julia A. CRAFTS were celebrated at Fulton, Kalamazoo County. This lady was born in Sherwood, Branch County, on the 31st of January, 1857. Of this union one daughter has been born, whose name is Fannie M. Mrs. PIER is the daughter of Myron and Mary CRAFTS, who were natives of New York. The family circle included four children, and of these their daughter Julia was the eldest born.
Mr. and Mrs. PIER are members in good standing of the Reformed Church, and are very active in advancing the interests of the cause as opportunity presents. They are held in high regard, both there and in society at large, where they moved in the best circles. Mr. PIER has been elected Justice of the Peace, but is not given to office-seeking, neither is he very prominent in political circles, taking delight first in his family, and secondly in his farm. He usually votes the Republican ticket, of which party he has long been an affiliate. By its members he is regarded as a good and loyal citizen, and stanch friend of the party.
James JOHNSON is one of the representative citizens in this county, and held in high regard by all who know him. He is one of that most appreciable class of citizens who hail from the Buckeye State. He was born in Somerset Fairfield Co., Ohio, on the 22nd of February, 1814. His is the son of James and Sarah (SCHAEFER) JOHNSON, natives respectively of Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Our subject was brought up on a farm, and amid surroundings of an agricultural nature. He came to Michigan, and in April, 1832, located at Sturgis, taking the land that was then the wildest prairie, but which is now one of he best cultivated and most productive farms in the county, and owned by Mr. Peter Baker. In 1862 he removed to his present farm, part of which is on the Fawn River, comprising 250 acres, and 140 acres in Burr Oak, sixty-five acres located near Sturgis Pike, and 130 acres at Bronson. He has always been very active as a business man, and has been very successful. He made his first start as contractor on the Chicago Turnpike, with which enterprise he was connected from 1832 and 1836. Since that time he has been continuously and extensively engaged in the lumber business and agricultural pursuits. The years 1853 and 1854 were spent in California, where he was engaged in mining. His interests as a lumberman have been chiefly in Kent County, of this State. There, in 1885, he sustained a loss by fire of $50,000. He still has extensive yards at Mendon, in this county. He has the reputation of being one of the pioneers, and perhaps the most prominent of pioneers, in that industry in Michigan.
The marriage of our subject was celebrated on the 19th of February, 1839, the lady of his choice being Miss Jane MOE, the daughter of Charles and Maranda MOE, the former one of the venerable pioneers of Sturgis. This lady was born in Ashtabula County, Ohio, on the 5th of September, 1820. Mr. and Mrs. JOHNSON have no children of their own, but have furnished home and educational opportunities to others, and aided them to start in life. Their home is very pleasantly located on the Chicago Turnpike, about four miles east of Sturgis. They live a comparatively retired life, but are very highly esteemed throughout the county.
Mr. JOHNSON is a man well informed on all general subjects, and broad and liberal in his religious views, believing that true Christianity consists in a large measure of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. He has been particularly fortunate in his selection of a life partner, Mr. and Mrs. J. seeming most admirably adapted to each other. They have trodden the path of life together for a period of fifty years, sharing each otherís joys and sorrows, and, if appearances are correct, making it the study of their lives each to insure the happiness and comfort of the other. They appear more like a newly wedded couple than people who have spent so many years together, apparently as careful and considerate toward each other as in the days of their early wedded life. Few homes are more pleasant to look upon, both within and without, and the sunset hill of life for Mr. and Mrs. JOHNSON seems to be a very pleasant and easy path. They are surrounded by hosts of friends, whom they have made by their uniform hospitality and kindness, and who will recall their names with affection long after they have departed hence.
It is eminently fitting that the portraits of Mr. JOHNSON and his estimable wife should be present in this volume as the representatives of all that is reliable, worthy and good, and we are pleased to be able to perpetuate their features in this manner.
Orsamus C. M. BATES. Among the prominent and successful farmers residing within the limits of this county, the name of our subject holds a proud place. His handsome and highly improved farm is located on section 12, Constantine Township. He is a husbandman of much ability, and keeps his home in the best condition, and has from the beginning of his agricultural life made the business a study, and reduced it to a science. He was born in Bennington County, Vt., Feb. 21, 1806. He lived in his native State until he was nine years old, when his parents with their family moved to Middlesex, Yates Co., N. Y., where he lived until in September, 1833, he came to St. Joseph County, and settled in this township, first on a farm on section 1, which he yet owns. Nine years later he bought his present homestead of 108 acres, on section 12 and 13, on which he has ever since lived.
Mr. BATES was married to Sarah M. HARWOOD, in September, 1831, just prior to his leaving for the West. This lady was a native of Vermont. They were married in Gorham, Ontario Co., N. Y. She was a refined and highly educated lady, and in all things proved to be a helpmate to her husband, and a prudent and careful advisor. She had a great pride in her family of children, and carefully instructed them in their early childhood in the ways of uprightness, honor and virtue. She was attacked with that dread disease, consumption, and departed this life Jan. 5, 1875, leaving her husband and a family of five children behind her. Each and all revere the memory of the wife and mother. The children were named: Philorman B., Esther M., Rachel M., Bradford L., Avis R. and Orsamus M. C. Philorman B. is a farmer residing on the home farm in Constantine; Esther is the widow of A. SELLECK; Rachel is the wife of George KINNEY, and resides in Sumner County, Kan.; Bradford died before his mother, when he was six months old; Avis is a farmer in Sumner County, Kan.; Orsamus M.C., Jr., resides with his father in Constantine Township.
The father of our subject, Caleb BATES, was born in Bennington County, Vt.; his mother was Rachel (MILLINGTON) BATES, and was a native of Vermont. Both parents were earnest, thorough-going, prosperous people, looking well to all the details of life, which quality they transmitted to our subject. His grandparents, Joshua and Avis (SHERMAN) BATES, were natives of the State of Rhode Island, and before the War of the Revolution removed to Vermont, in Bennington County, where both died. The night before the battle of Bunker Hill Joshua BATES was employed in running bullets, expecting to take part in the fight, but got to the field as the battle closed.
Since his settlement in Michigan, which was at a very early day in history of the State, Mr. BATES has brought into play the many sterling qualities inherited from his New England parents, and by close application and the exercise of an indomitable will and perseverance, he has gathered about him a snug competence and all the comforts of life, and now, when he has reached the evening of life, he can look about him and feel that the world is better for his having lived in it. Always generous and public-spirited, the various interests that have advanced the State to its present proud position have found in him an earnest and hearty supporter.
In political matters our subject has always acted with the Republican party, feeling that it has for it object the advancement and enlightenment of the masses. He has taken a prominent and active part in the educational interests of the township, and has made them bear the impress of his individuality and force of character. During his life in Michigan Mr. BATES has had a varied experience, can recall many successes and many failures, many joys and many pleasures. In the earliest days he suffered discomforts from sickness and poverty. But the trials incident to the life in a new country were borne by himself and wife with fortitude, as he felt assured in his won mind that the time would come when he would be relieved of the burdens then imposed. How well his feeling was justified, it needs but a glance about him to witness.
The residence of our subject is finely situated, and in its outward appearance is one of the most elegant in the township. The interior is handsomely furnished, is large and roomy, the ideal American country home. The grounds surrounding the house are large, and are ornamented with a number of trees, shrubbery, flowers and beautiful walks. The other farm buildings, barns, granaries, etc., are extensive, well designed, and constructed in the most substantial manner. His residence is on what is know as Broad street.
John TROST. There are few more worthy representatives of the German Empire than the subject of this sketch, who is now an American citizen and enterprising farmer in Colon Township, this county. He was born at Mecklenburg, Germany, on the 21st of August, 1830, and was educated in the schools at Mecklenburg, leaving them when about twenty-four years of age. He remained at home with his parents until about 1854, and then started in life for himself. He was reared upon the farm, and the greater part of his life has been given to agricultural pursuits.
In the spring of 1854 Mr. TROST came to America and landed at New York City. He came on from that place direct to this county, and determined to settle in Colon Township. On landing in New York his exchequer was reduced to $4.40, and upon arrival in St. Joseph County he had but three shillings. This condition of affairs was speedily remedied, for he at once found work as a farm hand, and continued thus employed for about eight years. As soon as he felt himself able he rented a farm until he could purchase eighty acres of land. This was situated on section 16, Colon Township, and here he began to work in earnest, and made headway from a financial standpoint.
The eighty acres which were first purchased by Mr. TROST have been added to by other purchases, and the present farm in 120 acres in extent, and all has been brought to a high state of cultivation. Upon the farm he had erected a very pleasant and commodious farm dwelling, which is to him all that home could possibly be to any man. His farm buildings are built upon sanitary principles, and are calculated to meet his requirements fully. He has two large barns and all necessary other out-buildings.
In the month of June, 1856, Mr. TROST became the husband of Miss Henrietta COOHON, in Branch County. His wife was born in Germany, Feb. 12, 1831, and came to this country in June, 1856. She is the daughter of Chris and Dora COOHON. Of this union there have been born eight children, viz: Rachael, now the wife of William TRAHNES, of Colon Township; Charles, now of Elgin, Ill.; Henry, who died in September, 1880, when twenty-two years of age; Albert is at home; Ella, the wife of George BAUMEISTER, an enterprising farmer of Burr Oak Township; Mary; Lena; and Maude, who died at home on the 29th of October, 1887, when fifteen years of age.
Mr. and Mrs. TROST are both esteemed members of society, and are also held in much regard in the German Lutheran Church, with which they became united while in the Fatherland. They sustain their profession by strict adherence to the rights and rules of the church, and are among its most devout members. Our subject, although deeply interested in all the institutions of his adopted country, and appreciating them to the utmost possible extent, has never taken a prominent part in politics. He is, however, a member of the Republican party, and usually votes its ticket, endeavoring always to do so intelligently, and with a view to the necessities of the case and the ability of the candidate proposed to meet the same.
James W. WOOD, owning and occupying a good farm on section 4, Fabius Township, St. Joseph Co., Mich., is one of the farmers and stock-raisers of Southern Michigan who have been instrumental in developing its splendid agricultural resources, and he is well worthy of representation in this biographical work. He was born in Wayne County, N. Y., Aug. 22, 1821, and is a son of William and Hulda (MERRILL) WOOD, natives of New York, and of English ancestry. By his fatherís death, when he was quite young, our subject was left without a home, and he went to live with his grandfather, and at the expiration of two years an uncle took charge of him and brought him to Michigan as early as 1836, while it was under Territorial government. This part of Michigan was then in a wild, unsettled condition, settlements were few and far between, the greater part of the primeval forest was still standing. Indians still made their home in their depths, and savage animals prowled amid the trees and swamps. Education advantages were then very limited, and our subject lived here about two years, without even seeing a school-house. At length he attended a school that was established in Coldwater. His rough experience in the pioneer life of his first years in this State early developed in him sagacity, strength of character, and a reliance on his own faculties and resources that made a man of him long ere he had attained his majority. He commenced to work for himself when he was about eighteen years old, being employed by the month, and as the result of his hard labors and frugal economy in the few years that followed he had bought eighty acres of land, and had it all paid for by the time he was twenty-one years old. He immediately commenced the improvement of his place to prepare it for a home, and on the 22nd day of October, 1848, he was united in marriage to Miss Roxanna PUFFER, daughter of Ira and Charity (PANGBORN) PUFFER. Mrs. WOOD was born Sept. 16, 1821.
Mr. WOOD disposed of his first farm after living on it a few years, and bought another in Florence Township, St. Joseph County. He managed that farm with good financial success for eighteen years, when he sold that, too, and bought one in Flowerfield Township, which he afterward traded for a large farm in Tuscola County, Mich. Subsequently he sold all of his property in that county, and returned to St. Joseph County in 1860. At that time he bought his present place, which was then a tract of wild land. By unremitting and skillful toil he was wrested a farm from a state of nature which in cultivation and all of its appointments will compare favorably with any other in this part of Michigan. He has erected a substantial house, barn and other necessary buildings. He owns stock of good grades, and finds a ready sale for all that he raises.
The married life of our subject and his worthy wife has been blessed by the birth of three children: Arvilla, Ellen M. and Ira Leroy. Their son died at the age of five years. Arvilla married William H. WETHERBEE, who lives on section 6, Fabius Township, and they have three children; Ellen married Frederic M. BENT, of Cass County, Mich., and they have five children.
Mr. WOOD is a man of good business qualifications, of keen, resolute nature, one who does his own thinking, and in general stands well with his fellowmen. He is a hearty supporter of the doctrines promulgated by the Republican party, but is independent in local affairs.
Joseph RUSSELL. One of the mightiest factors in bringing about the present high civilization is the religious influence of Christianity. Our land has everywhere it representatives of this power. Among those identified with the religious interests of this county is the gentleman whose biography is here briefly presented, who for many years has been upon the roster of religious officials and churchmen.
The father of our subject, Andrew RUSSELL, was born in Pennsylvania, and was of English descent. His mother, whose maiden name was Isabell SUNDERLAND, also of English ancestry, was a native of New Jersey. They were married and first settled in the Keystone State, but removed to Ohio, and located in Montgomery County at an early day in the history of that settlement. From there they removed to Allen County, where they were the first white settlers. Mr. RUSSELL died in that place in the year 1824. His widow subsequently removed to Michigan, but returned later to Allen County, where she died June 6, 1859.
The family of which our subject is a member included eleven children, all of whom lived to mature years, Joseph being the fifth child of the family. He was born near Dayton, Ohio, on the 24th of June, 1816. When he was about three years of age the removal to Allen County was made, and when his father died he was seven years of age. After that trouble had come to the family he lived part of the time with his maternal grandfather, Mr. SUNDERLAND, in Montgomery County. Subsequently he made his home in Allen and Williams Counties, in the same State, until he came to Michigan, which he first visited in the spring of 1833, but only remained a short time, returning to Allen County.
In the summer of 1834 Mr. RUSSELL returned to Michigan and visited St. Joseph County, but did not come to make his home permanently until the following spring. Then he located on section 36 in Nottawa Township, and there made his home until the fall of 1883. He has always been engaged in agricultural pursuits, and is a through, practical farmer. In the fall of 1883 he removed to his present home on section 33 in Leondias Township, where he owns 100 acres of splendid tillable land, admirably adapted to his purpose. Here, by the aid of his machinery, he is enabled to gather in abundant harvests, except upon rare occasions, when, owing to causes absolutely beyond human control, it was impossible.
Mr. RUSSELL has been twice married; first on the 15th of November, 1837, at Ottawa, in this State, when he became the husband of Lucinda KNOX, who was born in the Empire State, on the 20th of October, 1819. By this marriage there were born three children, viz: Andrew C., a prosperous farmer in Nottawa Township; Orlando D., who is engaged in business as an agricultural implement dealer at Sturgis, and David E., who died when about nine months old. Mrs. RUSSELL died after seven years of happy married life, on the 11th of March, 1844. The present wife of our subject entered that relation on the 3rd of June, 1845, at Sturgis. Her name prior to that date was Lucinda A. LYMAN. She was born at Fenner, Madison Co., N. Y., on the 26th of April, 1828, and received her education at Batavia, N. Y. Mrs. RUSSELL is a lady of character and culture and has made the home of our subject bright and homelike by her presence. She is respected and admired by a large circle of friends, and is one who is more esteemed as she is better known. She has presented her husband with the following children: Langdon E., who is a farmer in Sherman Township; Francis E., who died when but two years of age, and Frederick J., who resides at home.
Mrs. RUSSELL is a daughter of Colvin and Betsy (SWIFT) LYMAN. Her father was born near Pittsfield, Mass., and her mother was a native of the same State. They came to Michigan, and shortly after settled in Mendon Township, where they made their home until their death, which occurred April 6, 1872, and Aug. 25, 1876, respectively.
The subject of our sketch has held several offices in Nottawa Township. With his wife he is an earnest and efficient member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with which he has been identified for nearly half a century, and Mrs. RUSSELL since she was fifteen years of age. Since the first few years of his church life he has been almost continuously in office in connection therewith, and is one of the most able and trusted in the communion. He is one who endeavors to adorn his profession and sustain his official position by a consistency that is much commended, and in this his wife is by no means behind him. The political position of our subject is almost identical with the Republican party. He cast his first vote for Gen. Harrison, and also voted for the grandson of that gentleman in the Presidential election of 1888. Orlando D. RUSSELL, the second son of our subject, was one of the first to answer the call for troops. He enlisted in the 1st Michigan Volunteers and served for three months.
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