Monday, May 18, 2009

Where the Heart Is

That is home . . . where the heart is.

Back at the Fowlerville Historical Village at the fairgrounds, two buildings representing home stand side by side -- a place to feel comfortable, a place to belong, and where a great deal of time is spent -- the family abode and a church.

The Kirkland House, donated by the Kirkland family from Gregory, stands slightly askew, showing its obvious age of over 150 years old. The roof seems to bow in places but the shutters and window show signs of replacement. It helps us to remember this has been preserved, saved from the bulldozer, and restored as best as it can be.

What I found curious is how brilliant new tulips show off their colors with pride. A stark contrast to the paint chips peeling from the siding.

Across a small patch of green grass the church stands tall and imposing. The Green Church -- built a little over 100 years ago.

When this historical village was being organized, the Lavern Johnson family stepped up and donated this building. It had been located south of Fowlerville.

As I researched facts regarding this church, I came across an obituary from Friday, January 10, 1879 for George W. Palmerton, whose sudden death was felt through all of Fowlerville. His funeral was held in the M.E. Church. Following is the obituary, as printed in the Fowlerville Review:

Never, undoubtedly, have the people of Fowlerville and vicinity been more shocked than they were on Thursday morning last when the announcement went forth that George W. Palmerton was dead! The deceased was taken on Tuesday night with diptheria but was not considered in dangerous condition until about midnight Wednesday, at which time he fell into a state of unconsciousness, from which he did not revive, except for a few minutes when some stimulents were being administered. It was its sudden and unexpected arrival that made the calamity all the more appalling, and many moaned when told of it said, "It can’t be true," while the almost universal expression of all was, "It is as great a loss as the village could sustain."

George W. Palmerton was born in Saritoga county, N. Y., Feb. 28, 1836, and was consequently nearly 43 years old. He was the eldest son of Samuel G. And Lucy E. E. Palmerton and was married Dec. 16, 1857, to Joanna Fowler. He began the merchantile business in this village in 1859 on a small scale but gradually increased his stock, capital, etc., until September, 1872, when he associated himself with his brother-in-law, Albert D. Benjamin, under the firm name of Palmerton & Benjamin. In consequence of Mr. Benjamin’s failing health this partnership was dissolved on the 21st of May 1874, since which time he has continued the business alone. A magnificent three-story brick block was erected by him on the corner of Grand avenue and Grand River street in 1876 to better accommodate his largely increased business, which came to him as the reward of his diligence and square dealing. Few men have enjoyed a better business reputation than Mr. Palmerton, his patronage being continually sought and coveted by rival wholesale dealers.

To know him was to admire and respect him and his loss is more felt by the village by his being always the foremost in everything that would tend in any manner to advance the interests of the same. Every public improvement received his hearty co-operation and was aided on by his means. Deeds of charity were not uncommon to him and any movement that had for its end a charitable object received his attention.

The deceased leaves behind him a wife and two children, a son and a daughter, besides a very large circle of other relatives and friends. The last sad rites were paid on Sunday last, the funeral services being conducted from the M. E. Church under Masonic ceremonies. The discourse was delivered by the Rev. D. E. Hills, from Jeremiah 48 17th, and was a most fitting eulogy. The proccession was headed by the Fowlerville Cornet Band followed by the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Masonic fraternity in full uniform and regalia all wearing badges of morning and forming a most solemn spectacle as it moved to the well executed dirges played by the band.

After seeing the size of this modest church and after reading this obituary, I wonder how that building ever held everyone attending Mr. Palmerton's funeral.

Note: The 3-story brick building still stands strong and tall at the northwest corner of the main four corners, owned by and housing Harmon Real Estate.


allynathome said...

That was truly a great obit. They sure knew how to personalize one, back in the day. I felt I had known him and was sorry he was gone!

Mike G said...

"After seeing the size of this modest church and after reading this obituary, I wonder how that building ever held everyone attending Mr. Palmerton's funeral."

Actually, this was not the church in question. The church at the fairgrounds was located south of town at Bull Run and Coon Lake Rds.

The church referred to in the obituary sat where the current Methodist Church is in town. It was built in the 1860s and used until the early 1910s, when it was sold and moved, and the current church was built. Look at the photo at this link to see the original Methodist Church in Fowlerville:

The size consideration still applies, though.


m good said...

Thank you, Mike, for your added information. :) Marion