St. Joseph in Homespun

A Centennial Souvenir

by Sue I. Silliman

Three Rivers Publishing Company, Three Rivers, Michigan Copyright 1931 Sue I. Silliman

Dedicated to the Memory of Beloved Pioneers
Who Came to the Shores of Old St. Joseph During the Forties

Official Centennial Tribute

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Title Page
Official Centennial Tribute, Austin C. Ruggles, Mayor,
Three Rivers----------------------------------------------------I

Foreword -------------------------------William H. Shumaker II-III

Introduction ---------------------------------------------------IV

List of Authorities Quoted --------------------------------------V

List of Illustrations ------------------------------------------IV

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Part I


I Indian Tribes of St. Joseph Valley -------------------------------1-6

II Indian Treaties, Trails and Traders -----------------------------7-15

III Indian Manners, Customs, and Beliefs ----------------------16-25

IV Noted Indians of St. Joseph Valley ---------------------------26-32

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Part II


V Travellers of the Thirties ----------------------------------------33-34

VI Settlements: White Pigeon; Nottawa, Centreville,
a Centenarian; Leonidas; Colon; Sturgis

VII Lockport: Three Rivers, a Centenarian ---------------------53-74

VIII Fabius; Mottville; Flowerfield; Park; Burr Oak; Fawn River;
Sherman; Florence; Mendon

IX Constantine, Eschol -------------------------------------------126-130

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Part III


X Overland ---------------------------------------------------------131-133

XI The Forty-Niners ----------------------------------------------134-137

XII St. Joseph "Rings the Potle-Bell" -------------------------138-140

XIII Flodden Waters -----------------------------------------------141-142

XIV St. Joseph in "Kirk-Claes" ----------------------------------143-151

XV Book-Lear -------------------------------------------------------152-162

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Part IV


XVI Honor Roll, Peace -------------------------------------------163-172

XVII Honor Roll, War ---------------------------------------------173-194

Fact Index ---------------------------------------------------------------196

List of Illustrations

St. Joseph River ---------------------------------------------Frontspiece

Hon. John H. Bowman
Silhouette by Charles Troy Starr----------------------------Title Page

Arthur and Mary E. Stoufer Silliman, Pioneers.
Snapshot at "Riversbye"---------------------------------------Dedication

On the Portage River --------------------------------------Facing Page VII

Chief Samuel Manadoka ---------------------------------------------------1

Cassoway and Gibson Trading Post ---------------------------------------15

Sac' War Trail, Eschol -------------------------------------Facing Page 52

Mrs. Martha (Irey) Buck ------------------------------------Facing Page 53

The Old Swimming Hole -------------------------------------------------172

Miss Ruth Hoppin ------------------------------------------Facing Page 172

Frank Dwight Baldwin, C. M. H. ----------------------------Facing Page 173

Sundial, John H. Bowman Memorial Park---------------------------------195

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Official Centennial Tribute

To the memory of those God fearing, home loving, hard working folks who in each succeeding generation of the history of our country, unselfishly dedicated themselves to the upbuilding of those things best, and laid well the foundations upon which has been builded integrity, fidelity and morality, without which no country can live.

In gratitude may give ourselves to carry on in the same spirit, that those who come after us may look back on our handiwork and call us blessed.

Austin C. Ruggles
Mayor of Three Rivers, Michigan
May 15, 1931

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To write the foreward for a volume of the character of St. Joseph in Homespun is an honor. The volume is a delightful series of home spun tales and historic facts intimately connected with the settlement of Three Rivers and St. Joseph county. The setting of romance and early activities of pioneer development at the junction of the Portage, the Rocky and the St. Joseph are so vividly portrayed and pictured that the reader instinctively senses it has been accomplished only by the closest acquaintance with those who personally knew some of the people who founded the social and civic order of government and industry from which has come the present county with its great potentialities for the future.

No one but the daughter of pioneer parents, people who early came to Three Rivers before the stage of cobblestone "St. Joseph" street, when the present city was but a village on sandy "Portage ridge" projected between the Portage and Rocky rivers at their junction with the St. Joseph could have pictured the history of the county so completely and authentically.

St. Joseph county owes the author, Sue I. Silliman, a debt of gratitude for preservation of the valuable history of the county and community, compiling from a vast amount of material the essentials which make the serise of homely, simple tales of life a century ago a living, present thing which we may know intimately. Miss Silliman, as Public Librarian for Three Rivers and in her position as State Librarian of the State Organization of Daughters of the American Revolution of Michigan has made a contribution which will become more valuable to all partiotic as well as historical organizations as the years pass, by preserving for all the future years a keenly selected record of events indicating that basis of pioneering individualism upon which was founded the present hospitable, prosperous city of Three Rivers, and upon which it must depend in the outlook for the future, if the development and growth in education, religion and government is to continue.

We are happy to commend it as a book of the future as well as the present, and congratulate the author on having brought out so complete a volume.

Wm. H. Shusuaker, Editor Three Rivers Commerical,
Three Rivers, Michigan.
June 1, 1931.Wm. H. Shusuaker

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To turn back the pages of years to the first settlers' stories seems an easy task, but looking backward becomes hazardous when the stories are to be retold, for we find many actors to whom all of the feroic deeds in turn are credited, and the dates of family events differing with the records of each branch of the family. Wm. H. Shusuaker

The story is told of Mrs. Norman Andrews, a witty pioneer lady, who was unexpectedly called upon by a toastmaster at a homecoming celebration at White Pigeon. He asked her to look back over the years and tell of pioneer times. Mrs. Andrews responded: "Intensive Bible study in the little old Sunday school at White Pigeon impressed on my childish mind a vivid picture of the awful fate which overtook Lot's wife for looking back. Friends, to this day I never do it. It isn't safe. I refuse to look back."Wm. H. Shusuaker

Notwithstanding Lot's wife and the warning by Mrs. Andrews, St. Joseph in Homespun as a Centennial Souvenir is a glance at the past of St. Joseph County--a compilation of pioneer stories retold. It is not a history but snapshots along the old Indian trails--glimpses caught from some vantage point when, through the shadowy forests, there passed St. Joseph county's colorful migration of pioneers. Wm. H. Shusuaker

The stories were collected, mainly, by the Abiel Fellows Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution and by the St. Joseph County Pioneer Association. They were originally published by local newspapers or in the Michigan Pioneer and Historical collections. Collated by the Three Rivers Public Library, they were republished by The Commercial in commemoration of the St. Joseph County Centennial, 1929. Wm. H. Shusuaker

The compilation attains book form in honor of the pioneers--their courage, endurance and sacrifices, as they platted and developed the villages of St. Joseph County which in 1930 have attained the century mark. Ranking first among them, at least in the hearts of their civic grandchildren, are Moab, platted July 28, 1830, by Christopher Shinneman; the village of St. Joseph, platted July 30, 1830, by Buck and McInterfer; and Three Rivers, platted November 28, 1836, by John H. Wm. H. Shusuaker

Bowman--the three villages which today comprise the city of Three Rivers.

July 28, 1930
Sue I. Silliman
Three Rivers, Michigan

Authorities Quoted

Bartlett and Lyon LaSalle in the Valley of the St. Joseph.
Constantine Weekly Mercury, 1855-1872.
D.A.R. Lineage Books.
D.A.R. Vital Records of St. Joseph County.
Cutler-History of St. Joseph County.
Fuller-History of Michigan.
History of St. Joseph County, 1877.
Littlejohn-Legends of Michigan and the Old Northwest.
Michigan Pioneer Collections.
News Reporter (Three Rivers), 1881-1905
Portrait and Biographical Album (St. Joseph County), 1889.
Records of Service Michigan Volunteers.
St. Joseph County Court Records.
St. Joseph County Advertiser.
St. Joseph County in World War-Service Records, 1917-1918.
Three Rivers Reporter, 1861-1885.
Three Rivers Tribune, 1878-1906.
Vernon-History St. John's Episcopal Church, Three Rivers.
Weissert-Southwestern Michigan.
Western Chronicle, 1847-1861.

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A very special "Thank You" to Linda Hilton, the head Librarian at the Three Rivers Public Library, for her generosity in donating this wonderful resource of information.

Another very special 'Thank You' to Josie Garzelloni who edited and proofed these pages and Carole L. (Maudie) Carr who transcribed all of these pages.

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For those of you who might want to purchase a copy of this book, please direct your inquiries to:
Lowry's Books, 22 N. Main, Three Rivers, Mi., 49093, (616) 273-7323, Toll Free l-800-905-7232

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