Sunday, May 8, 2011

1836 Pioneer History

In 1899, the following informational article was published in The Republican and re-published in The Fowlerville Review, giving some early history to the settlement of Fowlerville:

Some Pioneer History~~Mrs. Wm. Hinman of Lansing, formerly of this county, celebrated the 50th anniversary of her married life last Wednesday.

The first settlers in the town of Handy were from Danby, Tompkins county, N.Y. In the spring of 1836, Calvin Handy and his family, consisting of himself, wife and three children -- Polly, Homer and Helen -- accompanied by Chas. Bush located in that town just north of Fowlerville. They built a log house for Mr. Handy, and during the summer another for Mr. Bush, each clearing up some land and that fall sowing wheat so as to have their bread for the next year. After sowing, Mr. Bush returned to Danby, his native place, to spend the winter with his family. There he taught a winter school, and in the spring of 1837, with his family, composed of his wife and four children -- Sarah, John, Isaac and Charles -- returned to his new home in Handy, accompanied by the family of his brother, Richard Bush, then composed of a young wife and one child, Maria; also by their cousin, John Bush, his wife and four children -- MaryAnn, David, Electa and Maria.

Sixty-two years find among the living of the above-named twenty persons, just four: She that was Polly Handy, now Mrs. William Alsbro, and Mrs. Benj. Curtis, both still living in Handy; the other two living are Mrs. Wm. Hinman of Lansing (she that was Sarah Bush) and Isaac W. Bush of this place. The oldest child of each family, with one exception, are living, the oldest, Mrs. Curtis, being about 80.~~Republican

As a side note, the Mrs. Benjamin Curtis mentioned in the last paragraph was probably the wife of Benjamin Curtis, the man rumored to have christened the Reason House, a wooden structure built in 1852 at the southwest corner, by breaking a whiskey bottle against the side of the building, thus naming it "Independence Hall."  This building burned in 1878 and was replaced by 1880 with a 3-story brick building known as the Commercial Hotel.

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