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History of WILLIAMSTOWN
Originally Called Phelpstown Township
The name of the township was changed from Phelpstown to Williamstown,
by act of the Legislature, Feb. 17, 1857.
From History of Ingham and Eaton Counties, Michigan by Samuel W. Durant
Published 1880 by D.W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia
The territory now included in the township of Williamstown "was without a white inhabitant until the spring of 1835, when Hiram and Joseph PUTNAM left their home in Jackson County for the purpose of making a settlement upon the banks of the Cedar River. In passing through the township of Stockbridge they found David ROGERS building the first house in Ingham County. From there the PUTNAMs cut a road some twenty miles, most of the way through heavily timbered land, to Cedar River on section 35, which track was known for many years after as the PUTNAM trail, - now the PUTNAM road. They took possession of an Indian planting-ground of some fifteen acres, lying on the north bank of the river, it now being in the corporated limits of the village of Williamston. There they built a small log cabin, twelve by sixteen feet, and covered it with shakes, this being the second white man's roof in Ingham County. They fenced, plowed, and sowed the Indian clearing to oats. They met with many privations, difficulties, and losses,...one of which was the loss of their team, which strayed away in the yoke. When they were found, after many days' search through the dense forest into which they had gone, one was dead, and the other reduced to a mere skeleton in his efforts to drag his mate in search of food. And then they imagined that the Indians were quite too numerous, wild, and uncivilized to make agreeable neighbors. These difficulties were somewhat magnified by their desire to mingle again with wives, friends, and civilization at home; and also being disheartened with the prospects before them, they went back to Jackson County and stayed until harvest, then came back, cut, stacked, and fenced their oats, and left not to return, leaving the grain to be fed to the Indian ponies and land-lookers' horses.
The second improvement in the township was made late in the fall of 1839, when Simeon CLAY "rolled up" a log house. He returned to Dearborn to spend the winter, and while he was gone the land formerly owned by the PUTNAMs was purchased by three brothers named WILLIAMS,* from Batavia, Genesee Co., N.Y., who built the second house in town (the habitation of the PUTNAMs having been but a shanty). They were not long without neighbors, for Mr. CLAY returned, and new settlers came in the persons of Dillucene STOUGHTON, James TYLER, and the LOUNSBURYs. Okemos was the nearest settlement on the west, and the nearest house to the eastward was eleven miles distant. In the fall of 1840 the WILLIAMS brothers had a dam and saw-mill in operation on the Cedar River. The smoke of ten or twelve Indian wigwams could be seen from the mills as the 'TAWAS, to the number of 30 to 150, "occupied and planted the farm now owned by J.M. WILLIAMS, and, for lack of better, they were considered very friendly, sociable, and acceptable neighbors, supplying the settlers plentifully with many articles of food, which to-day would be considered luxuries, such as venison, fish, and fowl." It was the custom of the Indians for some time to return to the locality and indulge in a feast at a certain full moon in the spring, not forgetting to give a portion of the food to the departed.
In 1842 the Messrs. WILLIAMS erected a grist-mill known as the "Red Cedar Mill," containing a single run of stone, which in 1874 was occupied by MEAD & FLEMING. An additional run has since been added.
Simeon CLAY and Sophronia STOUGHTON, daughter of Dillucene STOUGHTON, were the first couple married in town, the event occurring in 1840, and the ceremony being performed by Caleb CARR, a justice of the peace from Locke township. The first white child born in the township was Amaziah J. STOUGHTON, son of Dillucene and Sophronia STOUGHTON, his birth occurring in 1840. The first death was that of Oswald WILLIAMS, father of the WILLIAMS brothers, who died, in 1842, while on a visit from New York. At that time the nearest mill and physician were at Dexter, Washtenaw Co.; the nearest post-office was ten miles away and goods were packed from Detroit, Dexter, or Ann Arbor on the backs of Indian ponies.
George B. FULLER, a native of Fishkill, Dutchess Co., N.Y., moved to Ann Arbor, Washtenaw Co., Mich., in June, 1834, and was married at that place in January following. In December, 1836, he removed to Leoni, Jackson Co., and in December, 1844, to his present residence in Williamstown, Ingham Co., arriving on the 19th of the month. No improvements whatever had been made upon his place, and there was no traveled road by it. Mr. FULLER's wife died in March, 1873, and in January, 1874, he was married to the widow of Egbert GRATTAN, and daughter of David GORSLINE, the first settler of the township of Wheatfield.
Nathan C. BRANCH, from Worthington, Hampshire Co., Mass., settled in Williamstown with his family in September, 1846. His wife's parents, Uriah M. and Lydia CHAPPELL, came at the same time; both are now deceased. Dec. 1, 1846, Mr. BRANCH became lost in the woods and remained out all night, but was fortunate enough not to be eaten by wolves or bears.
The winter of 1842-43 was known as "the hard winter," and the voters at the spring election in 1843 traveled on a hard snow-crust above a layer of two feet of snow, which melted on that day for the first time sufficiently to be made into snow-balls. During the preceding winter the cattle were mostly compelled to feed on browse, as the supply of marsh hay was exhausted in a short time. The settlers were obliged to break the heavy crust with poles to enable their cattle to get at the fallen tree-tops. The severe weather was fatal to the deer, which became so reduced that they were easily taken with dogs upon the snow-crust, though they were so lean as to be comparatively worthless for food. The straw covering of sheds and hovels was in good demand for fodder, and the period will long be remembered by those who were then "pioneers."
For a number of years the settlers were dependent upon marsh grass for hay, which they cut mostly along the borders of the Looking-Glass River, in Shiawassee County. This was of course cut by common scythe, and the loss of the implement was a serious misfortune. In the season of 1840 one man engaged in cutting marsh grass accidentally broke his scythe. The nearest trading-point was at Dexter, in Washtenaw County, more than forty miles away. A man was mounted on an Indian pony and started at once for Dexter, but when he reached the place found that every scythe was sold. Hearing that a few were packed in a load of goods for Pinckney, Livingston Co., the day before, he visited that place, but was again disappointed. From Pinckney he was sent to a place familiarly called "Hell," where a man by the name of REEVES owned a store and a distillery. There he found one scythe, which he purchased and started his return, and arrived at home at daylight on the following morning. The pony snatched his lunch by the wayside as he passed along, nipping the weeds and shrubbery.
AN INCIDENT OF THE PIONEER DAYS
The following interesting incident of the early days, written by a prominent citizen of Williamstown, and first published in the Ingham County News, will be of interest, both on account of the noted characters connected with it, and its intrinsic merit as a well-written article:
"At the close of a gloomy day, seated in a one-horse lumber wagon, - one in the prime of life, the other some past the meridian of his days, - reined up at the then only house where now stands the flourishing village of Williamston. Both seemed quite weary from their long, rough ride over what was then called the "Grand River Trail," which led from Detroit to Grand Rapids. They were wet to the skin by the showers which had overtaken them since leaving the last house, some eleven miles distant.
"The house at which the travelers halted was then occupied by three brothers by the name of WILLIAMS. The strangers were in need of a night's entertainment, which was cheerfully granted them, as it was in those times considered a 'godsend' to have some one come along that could bring fresh news from the outside world, as it were. After caring for the horse, the travelers brought in their wet buffalo robes, and hung them, with their saturated coats, around the blazing fire, which shone brightly out into the darkness through where the doors and windows were to be. There being no chairs in the house, the younger man of the two, taking an axe from the wagon, which in those days was considered as indispensable as one of the wheels, soon shaped two blocks of wood for stools, upon which they seated themselves, with backs to the fire, turning either way as their steaming clothes became partially dry.
"Seeing but little preparation for supper they ventured to make some inquiry as to what could be had to satisfy the inner man. They were referred to a solitary kettle which was suspended from the long-pole of the chimney, and also informed that they were not the only hungry men in the house, which seemed to satisfy them that something would turn up.
"In the course of the conversation, while waiting for supper, the travelers discovered themselves to be Jacob M. HOWARD and John VanFOSSEN, from Detroit, on their way to Grand Rapids to attend a political meeting. Mr. HOWARD said it had been intimated to him that if he made his appearance there he would be skinned. Never having been politically flayed he had concluded to take the chances, though the road was long and rough.
"Supper being now ready, it was spread upon a couple of barrel-heads, covered with newspapers for a table-cloth. It consisted of a kettle of mush and a pan of milk. Mr. HOWARD said, with his native politeness, as he supplied the bowl, that he could not have ordered a more acceptable repast, could he have had his choice.As there were no females about the house, apologies were unnecessary, and jokes were free. I assure you those hungry men did ample justice to that rude supper.
"The evening passed pleasantly in talking over the exciting topics of the day. At a late hour a bed was spread upon the floor before the fire, which the two way-weary politicians, after taking a second fill of mush and milk, were not long in occupying. After the first nap, Mr. HOWARD arose cautiously from his bed, so as not to disturb the house, and filled a couple of bowls with the contents of the kettle and pan, conveyed them to the bed, awakened Mr. VanFOSSEN, and in a subdued voice said, 'Take it John, we don't get the like of this in the city every day.'
"In the morning, after a hearty breakfast of venison, coffee, and such other delicacies as a house so remote from civilization could command, they left, with many kind words, to rough it over ninety miles of Indian trail, which long and tedious journey was made, I suppose, for the good of the dear people."...
The WILLIAMS brothers lived for a number of years without the assistance of women, keeping bachelors' hall and doing their own cooking. When erecting their dam and mills they sometimes had a dozen or more workmen, but one of them always did the cooking for the company. Occasionally they employed a woman, but generally performed their own household work.
The first log house, built by them, in the spring of 1840, stood near where now stands the dwelling of J.M. WILLIAMS. The logs were cut from swamp tamarack, or American larch, and, though in constant use for forty years, are still sound as when first cut. Many of them are now doing duty in a fence around the stable-yards.
There was a great amount of sickness for several years, in the form of malarial fevers. Curiously enough, the most unhealthy locations were upon the knolls and highest ground, caused no doubt by the fog which rose every morning and stood about level with the highest places, where it remained sometimes until nine or ten o'clock in the morning. It probably carried the malaria along with it.
At their former home in Genessee Co., N.Y., the WILLIAMS brothers had been well-acquainted with the celebrated Seneca chieftain Red Jacket, and Mr. J.M. WILLIAMS sweeps away much of the romance thrown about the chief by many writers when he relates how he has many a time helped the "noble red man" out of the gutter in the streets of Batavia, and he very naturally accepts very little of the lofty ideas of the Indian which the writings of Cooper and others naturally engender in the minds of their readers. He says that Okemos was nothing but a common savage, and, like all the rest of his brethren, addicted to strong drink.
In January, 1864, the town voted to raise $200 for each volunteer credited to the township, and at a special town-meeting, held Feb. 23, 1864, the electors voted to raise by tax $100 to pay each volunteer from the township.
At the April election in the same year it was voted to raise $100 for each volunteer for that year. (Whether these several actions were carried out, or were all relating to the same transaction, the record does not show, but the last two votes are probably recapitulations)
At a special meeting held on the 8th of November, 1864, the township voted to refund the amounts contributed by individuals to pay volunteers. At the same meeting a committee of three was appointed to petition the Legislature to legalize this action. The committee was composed of John B. HAYNES, James W. WALDO, and H. PRATT. The town-board was authorized to issue orders to individuals so contributing.
During the war the average number of votes polled in the township was about 130.
There are two post-offices in the township,- one at Williamston village, bearing its name, and one in the north part of the town, known as Alverson post-office. The latter was established about the beginning of Gen. Grant's administration in 1869, with S.D. ALVERSON as postmaster. The present incumbent is Philip DeBARRY, who has held it about four years.It was first located at ALVERSON's dwelling, on the northwest quarter of section 3. Upon DeBARRY's appointment he removed it to his residence, on section 4. For account of the Williamston post-office, see history of the village below.
1844 TAXPAYERS LISTING
in Phelpstown (now Williamstown)
Following is a list of the resident taxpayers in Phelpstown (now Williamstown) in 1844:
James TYLER James PAGE
Stephen SMITH O.B. WILLIAMS
Jacob EASTY C. CARR, Jr.
Ira WELCH -- MOORE
Harriet M. TOOKER B. PUTMAN
J.P. HALL Jacob WARFUL
Conrad EPLEY Israel GREEN
Samuel VANDERFORD George CLAY
John MILLER Samuel C. GOODHUE
Isaac LOUNSBURY Alexis TYLER
S.B. OLDS J.C. WATKINS
Edward WEBBER Martin WARFUL
"Several names which would otherwise appear have been torn from the record."
The township was originally organized as Phelpstown, March 22, 1839, and included what are now the townships of Williamstown and Locke. The first town-meeting was held at the home of David PHELPS, after whom the township was named, on the 15th of April, 1839. (David PHELPS was a resident of that part of the original township now constituting the township of Locke. The name of the township was changed to Williamstown, by act of legislature, Feb. 17, 1857) At this meeting Moses PARK acted as moderator, and David PHELPS as clerk, and Caleb CARR, Jefferson PEARCE, and Moses PARK were chosen as inspectors of election. The total number of votes polled was eleven, and as there were twenty-two offices to fill, it follows that they must, if the offices were impartially distributed, have had two apiece.
The following are the names of the officers elected at the first town-meeting: Supervisor, Caleb CARR, eleven votes; Town Clerk, David PHELPS, eleven votes; Justices of the Peace, Moses PARK, David PHELPS, Caleb CARR, Jefferson PEARCE, eleven votes each; Assessors, John MERCHANT, Cornelius COLL, Edmund D. HALL, eleven votes each; Commissioners of Highways, Caleb CARR Jr., Watson L. BOARDMAN, Stephen AVERY, eleven votes each; Town Treasurer, Watson L. BOARDMAN; School Inspectors, Cornelius COLL, Edmund D. HALL, Jefferson PEARCE; Collector, Stephen AVERY; Constables, Stephen AVERY, Edmund D. HALL, Cornelius COLL; Overseers of the Poor, Moses PARK. All eleven votes.
The first ballot-box used at the town election in 1840 was a stand drawer covered with a newspaper, which was lifted up and the ballots deposited underneath. There was no ballot-box stuffing in those days.
At the general election in the fall of 1840 the box used was one made by David J. TOWER from split bass-wood, and divided into five compartments for the different votes. This box is still in a good state of preservation, and is the property of J.M. WILLIAMS, Esq.
The following list shows the names of the principal township officers from 1840 to 1880 inclusive:
YEAR SUPERVISOR CLERK TREASURER JUSTICE of the PEACE
1840 Caleb CARR David PHELPS* Archibald
TenEYCK Hiram TOOKER
1841 Township record does not show any election of officers for 1841.
1842 Lewis H. LOUNSBURY James M. WILLIAMS* Dillucene STOUGHTON Jacob EASTY
Stephen B. OLDS
1843 James M. WILLIAMS Jesse P. HALL Dillucene STOUGHTON A.H. BLANDON
1844 James M. WILLIAMS Horace B. WILLIAMS -- S.B. OLDS
1845 James M. WILLIAMS Horace B. WILLIAMS D. STOUGHTON Joseph C. WATKINS
Jesse P. HALL
1846 James M. WILLIAMS Horace B. WILLIAMS D. STOUGHTON Nahum W. CAPEN
1847 James M. WILLIAMS Jesse P. HALL Lewis H. LOUNSBURY Isaac E. EVERETT
1848 James M. WILLIAMS Joseph Carpenter
TUTTLE Lewis H. LOUNSBURY Stephen V.R. CHURCH
1849 Alfred B. KINNE David CURRIER L.H. LOUNSBURY John S. VANETTER
1850 L.H. LOUNSBURY Stephen V.R. CHURCH Uriah M. CHAPPEL Jesse P. HALL
1851 L.H. LOUNSBURY John C. TAYLOR Eli LORANGER Jesse P. HALL
1852 William TOMPKINS Egbert GRATTAN Eli LORANGER John S. GALE
Charles W. TOMPKINS
1853 L.H. LOUNSBURY Eli LORANGER Nelson LORANGER Thomas W. COLBY
1854 Charles T. MURRAY Eli LORANGER Nelson LORANGER William TOMPKINS
1855 Charles T. MURRAY Lewis C. LOOMIS George B. FULLER Jesse P. HALL
1856 Charles T. MURRAY Moses FOSTER Edwin S. HARGER S.V.R. CHURCH
John B. HAYNES
1857 The name of the township was changed from Phelpstown to Williamstown, by act of the Legislature, Feb. 17, 1857.
1857 Charles T. MURRAY Eli LORANGER E.S. HARGER Jesse P. HALL
1858 Charles T. MURRAY E.S. HARGER John F. BROWN Nathan LEIGHTON
1859 Nathan LEIGHTON L.H. LOUNSBURY John F. BROWN Eli LORANGER
1860 Charles T. MURRAY Egbert GRATTAN Charles M. PADDOCK J.F. BROWN
Charles S. CARR
1861 John S. VANETTER L.H. LOUNSBURY Chas M. PADDOCK Chas T. MURRAY
1862 John S. VANETTER Eli P. LORANGER William L. BROWN Stephen P. MEADE
Ezekiel W. RIGGS
1863 John S. VANETTER James W. WALDO William L. BROWN Jesse P. HALL
1864 John F. BROWN* James W. WALDO Artemus G. NEWMAN* Charles S. CARR
Stephen V.R. CHURCH
1865 John S. VANETTER Eli P. LORANGER Orlando S. FULLER* John J. PASSAGE
Hiram L. SIEGFRIED
1866 James M. WILLIAMS Eli P. LORANGER Nathan LEIGHTON Aaron BOTSFORD
1867 L.H. LOUNSBURY Eli P. LORANGER Nathan LEIGHTON Salmon M. GOODRICH
1868 Hugh H. SPAULDING Eli P. LORANGER Nathan LEIGHTON George L. WILSON
1869 Charles T. MURRAY Eli P. LORANGER L.H. LOUNSBURY Nathan LEIGHTON
1870 Charles T. MURRAY Joseph M. TOMPKINS L.H. LOUNSBURY Philander F. ALGER
Eli P. LORANGER
1871 Charles T. MURRAY Hiram B. TOMPKINS Jonathan B. TAYLOR James W. WALDO
John J. PASSAGE
1872 Daniel L. CROSSMAN William S. HUMPHREY J.M. WILLIAMS William A. SIMONS
1873 Daniel L. CROSSMAN Dwight A. HARRISON James M. WILLIAMS Jesse RANDOLPH
Daniel H. TRUMAN
1874 James M. WILLIAMS Joseph M. TOMPKINS L.H. LOUNSBURY Charles T. MURRAY
1875 Charles T. MURRAY Quincy A. SMITH L.H. LOUNSBURY John H. FORSTER
1876 Charles T. MURRAY Quincy A. SMITH L.H. LOUNSBURY Nathan LEIGHTON
Joseph M. TOMPKINS
Jesse P. HALL
-vacancy, 1 year
1877 Charles T. MURRAY Quincy A. SMITH Nathan LEIGHTON William H. McENALLY
Anson L. SIMONS
1878 Charles T. MURRAY* Robert M. PORTER Nathan LEIGHTON William W. WHITE
1879 Samuel W. TAYLOR Robert M. PORTER James E. WEBB George PORTER
1880 George PORTER Eli P. LORANGER Samuel W. TAYLOR William L. BROWN
1880 Misc. Officers
Superintendent of Schools: Andrew J. FULLER
Highway Commissioner: William M. LAMB
Drain Commissioner: Simeon CLAY
Constables: A.J. SMITH, Silas E. VANNETER,
Joseph YOUNGS, B.F. PLOTTS.
* O.B. WILLIAMS appears to have been deputy clerk in 1841-43.
* 1840: In September, 1840, at a special election, D.J. TOWER and Stephen AVERY were elected justices in place of Hiram TOOKER and Jefferson PEARCE.
* 1864: Resigned Aug 26, 1864, and John B. HAYNES appointed in his place.
* 1864: Resigned, and Jerome B. WALDO appointed in his place.
* 1865: Removed from the township, and W.L. BROWN appointed.
* 1878: Charles E. WEBB was elected, but did not qualify, and MURRAY held over to 1879.
ITEMS From EARLY RECORDS
At the first town-meeting it was "Voted, to raise forty dollars for the support of the poor.
"Voted, to raise a bounty of four dollars to be paid to any person who may kill a wolf within the limits of the town."
At a special township meeting , held at the house of David PHELPS on the 4th of July, 1839, it was:
"Voted, to raise $550 by tax on the taxable property in the town to defray the incidental expenses of the town for the ensuing year."
At the first meeting of the commissioners of highways the township was divided into three road districts, as follows:
First District.- Sections 1,2,3,4,5,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15, and 17, Stephen Avery, Pathmaster.
Second District.- Sections 20, 21, 22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,34,35, and 36, David Phelps, Path Master
Third District.- Sections 6,7,18,19,30,31,32,33, and the whole of town 4 north, range 2 east, now Locke.
The first accounts audited by the town-board, in 1840, were as follows:
Aymar & Shaw $18.25
Caleb Carr 107.25
Jefferson Pearce 5.50
Cornelius Coll 9.70
Henry Pettengill 4.50
David J. Tower 5.90
Edmund D. Hall 12.50
John Merchant 9.50
Stephen Avery 90.00
D. Carroll 62.00
Wm. L. Boardman 77.50
THE VILLAGE OF WILLIAMSTON
The site of the village of Williamston, as related in the early history of the township, was first settled by white men in the spring of 1834, in the persons of Hiram and Joseph PUTNAM, from Jackson Co., Mich., who took possession of lands on the north bank of the Cedar River, which had been a Indian planting-ground. On this spot they erected a small cabin, and, inclosing the Indian clearing with rails or poles, plowed and sowed the ground to oats; but, becoming disheartened or homesick, they left the place and returned to Jackson County. In the month of August following they concluded to come back and look after their crop, which they cut and put in the stack, and again left, and this time for good, for they never returned. The ground was not again occupied by white men until the winter of 1839, when the WILLIAMS brothers, from Genessee Co., N.Y., purchased the land on the east part of section 35, which had formerly been entered by Hiram PUTNAM on the 14th of December, 1833, and began the first permanent settlement in the township.
In 1840 the WILLIAMS brothers built a dam over the Cedar River a few rods above where the present one is located, and in the same year erected a saw-mill and got it in operation. In 1842 they erected a small grist-mill, still standing and a part of the present mill, and called it the "red Cedar Mill," a name by which it was long known. It contained a single run of stones, which were brought from Detroit, a part of the way by wagons, and a part by an ox-sled hauled by three yokes of oxen, the road being too rough for wheels. This primitive mill was a noted institution, and supplied the settlers for many miles around, who were accustomed to come bringing their grists on crotched limbs of trees or rough sleds over the bare ground, similar to the Canadian "trains," or "pungs."
It is probable that the general government may have partly cut out the road running from Detroit to Grand Rapids as early as 1836, for we find $25,000 appropriated by Congress in March, 1835, for such purposes. After the territory became a State, in 1837, the road was gradually worked through by the State authorities and became a State road. About 1841 work was recommenced on the road, and a line of passenger- and mail-coaches was put on soon after from Detroit to Grand River, passing through Williamston. O.B. WILLIAMS, one of the brothers, was interested in this line.
With the opening of a passable road improvements went on in the embryo village, which had been named for the WILLIAMS family, and it grew gradually to quite a business point. The advent of the plank-road in 1852 gave it a new start, and the completion of the Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railway in 1871 still further increased its growth.
The first merchant located in the spring of 1843, in the person of Jonathan B. TAYLOR, of Grass Lake, Jackson Co., who brought a stock of goods, and in 1844 Dr. James A. LEASIA, the first physician, opened an office in the growing hamlet.
The act of incorporating the village was approved April 5, 1871, the first section of which reads as follows:
"The people of the State of Michigan enact, That all that tract of country situated in the township of Williamstown and Wheatfield, in the County of Ingham and the State of Michigan, designated and described as the southeast fractional quarter, and all that part of the southwest fractional quarter of fractional section No. 35 in township No. 4 north, of range No 1 east, lying south of a line commencing sixteen rods north of the Lansing and Howell plank-road in the quarter section line of said section; thence westerly, parallel to said plank-road, thirty-six rods; thence south sixteen rods to said plank-road; thence westerly along the north line of said plank-road to the west line of said section, and the southwest fractional quarter of fractional section 36, town 4 north, range 1 east, and the northwest fractional quarter of fractional section No. 1, and the northeast fractional quarter of fractional section No.1, and all that part of the northwest fractional quarter of fractional section No. 2, town 3 north, of range No. 1 east, lying north of the detroit, Howell and Lansing Railroad, be and the same is hereby constituted as a village corporate under the name of WILLIAMSTON."
The charter was amended by an act approved April 3, 1873, conferring additional powers upon Common Council.
The officers elected by ballot annually are a president, recorder, five trustees, an assessor, and treasurer. The marshal and other necessary officers are appointed by the council. The first election under the charter was held April 10, 1871, at which the following persons were elected:President, James M. WILLIAMS; Recorder, Edward B. Sackrider; Treasurer, Egbert GRATTAN; Assessor, Hugh H. SPAULDING; Trustees, John TOMPKINS, John F. KRUMBECK, Joseph CANFIELD, Eli P. LORANGER, Salmon M. GOODRICH. Whole number of votes polled, 127.
The village officers regularly elected since to 1880 are given in the following list:
Year President Recorder Treasurer Assessor Trustees
1872 James M. WILLIAMS E. Dayton LEWIS Thomas HORTON H.H. SPAULDING George W. SHANE
William A. SIMONS
Joshua K. KIRKLAND
Daniel L. CROSSMAN
1873 Thomas HORTON Frank L. TOMPKINS Joseph M. TOMPKINS Daniel L. CROSSMAN Dwight A. HARRISON
Charles D. CULVER
William A. SIMONS
1874 James M. WILLIAMS Alexander F. CAMPBELL J.M. TOMPKINS M.A. BOWERMAN John TOMPKINS
1875 James M. WILLIAMS William S. HUMPHREY Eli P. LORANGER Randolph W. WHIPPLE Griffith LEWIS
Theodore G. NORTHRUP
John B. STEWART
Joseph M. TOMPKINS
1876 Dwight A. HARRISON William S. HUMPHREY Nathan LEIGHTON Seneca GALE John B. STEWART
Charles H. BEARDSLEY
James C. HORTON
Charles E. LOCKWOOD
Benjamin F. PLOTTS
1877 John S. CROSSMAN Wm. H. McENALLY Charles H. HARTWELL Wm. L. COCHRANE James K. FREDERICKS
Wm. A. SIMONS
Eber S. ANDREWS
Edward H. NICHOLS
Martin V. JESSOP
1878 F.K. ROCKWELL Robert J. FLEMMING Charles H. HARTWELL Charles W. BEARDSLEY John BURKLEY
Daniel L. CROSSMAN
James K. FREDERICKS
John W. DEFENDORF
William P. AINSLEY
George G. WHIPPLE
1879 Martin V. JESSOP Eber S. ANDREWS Dwight A. HARRISON Charles W. BEARDSLEY Anson A. SIMONS
James K. FREDERICKS
John J. DEFENDORF
William P. AINSLEY
George G. WHIPPLE
1880 D.L. CROSSMAN W.H. McENALLY Charles E. LOCKWOOD D.H. TRUMAN Hiram E. HIGBEE
James M. WILLIAMS
Frederick K. ROCKWELL
Alonzo H. KINNE
John J. DEFENDORF
The village attorneys have been E. DAYTON LEWIS, Quincy A. SMITH, and B.D. YORK.
Village marshals: W.W. WHITE, 1871; M.C. MEACH, 1872; W.W. WHITE, 1873; Joseph H. STEEL, 1874; B.F. PLOTTS, 1875; Charles F. ANDREWS, 1876; Charles THOMAS, 1877; W.W. WHITE, 1878-79; S.E. VANNETER, 1880.
The first building erected for the purpose of a country tavern was built, on land donated by the WILLIAMS brothers, on the corner where the drug-store building owned by M.H. BOWERMAN now stands, about 1845, by Nahum CAPEN, who put up the frame and inclosed it. It was completed by Hezekiah GATES, who kept it for about a year and died. It was a two-story frame building, and was kept by a number of parties until about 1852, when it was destroyed by fire.
Another hotel, erected originally for a dwelling, by Frank LOMBARD, stood west of the last-described one, a little west of the new BOWERMAN block. This was also burned, and both fires were incendiary. The one on the corner was kept by Joab PHILLIPS at the time of the fire, the second one by Frank LOMBARD.
The "LOMBARD House," now known as the "SPAULDING House," was erected by Franklin LOMBARD about 1852-53. LOMBARD kept it for a couple of years about the time of the advent of the plank-road. It was a mammoth affair considering the times in which it was built, and has long been a resort for the traveling public. It still remains much the same as when erected, a large three-story frame with an extensive piazza along the lower two stories of its front, and reminds the Eastern man of the famous old caravansaries of the New England country town of a half a century ago. The present landlord is C.F. ANDREWS, Esq.
Another famous inn, known as the "Western Hotel," was built soon after the completion of the plank-road, and is still used for hotel purposes. It was built in installments, and the original building was burnt many years ago and rebuilt. William TOMPKINS erected it and was its first landlord. It is now kept by Daniel JEFFREY. It is on Grand River Street, about fifty rods west of the Spaulding House.
VILLAGE PLAT and ADDITIONS
The original village plat of Williamsburg was laid out on the southeast quarter of section 35, town 4 north, range 1 east, in 1845, by the WILLIAMS brothers, for whom it was named. Additions have since been made by J.B. & J.W. WALDO, July 5, 1866, on the southwest fractional quarter of section 36, and by the same, Jan. 2, 1871, on the south part of the same quarter section; by Richard W. OWENS, on the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 1, Wheatfield; by Hugh H. SPAULDING, on the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 36, Nov. 24, 1871; by the same, on the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 36, Dec. 23, 1873; and by Richard W. OWENS and J.B. & J.W. WALDO, on the northwest quarter of section 1, Wheatfield, Nov. 12, 1873. This last is called OWEN's addition.
A hook-and-ladder and bucket company was formed several years ago, but no regular organization is now in existence. The village has been very fortunate about fires, and the people perhaps imagine there is little danger. The hooks and ladders are stored in a convenient place.
A village calaboose, or lock-up, and a public pound were constructed in the summer of 1871, the former at an expense of about $275, and the latter at a cost of some twenty-five or thirty dollars. The corporation owns no other public buildings.
POST-OFFICE and POSTMASTERS
A post-office was first established at Williamston on the 10th of May, 1842, under President Tyler's administration, and James M. WILLIAMS was the first postmaster. He held the office until about 1850, when he was succeeded by Jonathan R. TAYLOR. Following him have been Franklin LOMBARD, Eli LORANGER, Ferdinand BROWN, Hugh H. SPAULDING, Loren HILLAKER, William S. HUMPHREY, Alexander F. CAMPBELL, John M. CROSSMAN, and the present incumbent, John S. CROSSMAN, who was appointed March 13, 1878, and took possession of the office on the first of April in that year.
The first mails were brought from Detroit once a week on a pony. Letters from long distances then cost twenty-five cents. The first daily mail was received by stage over the plank-road about 1854.
At the present time there are two daily mails each way by railroad, and a daily mail from Dansville and White Oak post-offices.
The manufacturing interests of Williamston are important and valuable for a village of its population, and comprise a variety which is very respectable, and speaks well for the enterprise of its people. An account of the more important establishments is herewith presented, gathered mostly from the proprietors.
Saw and Grist-Mills
These were the earliest establishments in the place, the first saw- and grist-mills having been erected (as we have seen) by the WILLIAMS brothers, the former in 1840 and the latter in 1842. The first grist-mill building is still standing, but there have been three different saw-mills erected on the same race since 1840, one following another as it became old and dilapidated. The dam, as originally built, was several rods farther up the stream than the present one, and is still standing, though hidden by the back-water of the new one. The fall at the present time is some eight feet, and the power is generally ample, though in dry seasons it is necessary to supplement it with steam power.
The WILLIAMS brothers operated the two mills together until about 1852, when O.B. and J.M. sold their interest to their younger brother, H.B. WILLIAMS, who carried on the business until about 1855, when he in turn disposed of the property, including the mills and the water-power, to Franklin LOMBARD. The latter subsequently sold to Messrs. Driggs & Corgill, of Detroit, and this firm to Jonathan B. TAYLOR, of Williamston. At a later date TAYLOR sold to Stephen SIEGFRIED, and the latter to the present proprietors, Messrs. MEAD & FLEMMING, who carry on both the saw- and grist-mills.They do quite an extensive business in hard-wood lumber. Since the original single run of stone was put in a second run has been added, doubling its capacity.
The water-power has been supplemented by a steam-engine, which is required in seasons of drought or low water. The new dam was built some years ago by Stephen SIEGFRIED.
These mills were erected in 1875 by D.L. CROSSMAN, at a cost of $13,500. They are operated by steam furnished by a forty-five horse-power engine, and contain three runs of French buhr-stone, two of four and a half feet diameter, and one of four feet.
The mills do both merchant and custom work, and have a capacity in merchant work of forty barrels of flour daily. The grain used is purchased at the mills. Three grades of flour are manufactured, which are marketed mostly in Detroit. The mills are conveniently located on the tracks of the Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railway, and have excellent shipping facilities. Large quantities of feed are also shipped to the northern pineries. The establishment is complete in every respect, and doing an extensive business.
Foundries and Machine Shops
The earliest establishment in this line was opened by a company, of whom Dillucene STOUGHTON was one, about 1850. An attempt was made to produce a blast in the cupola by means of two common fanning-mills turned by hand, one placed on each side, but it proved a failure, and the business was abandoned. J.H. STEEL, who was then at Fowlerville, in Livingston County, purchased most of the stock and removed it thither. The property at that time had fallen into the hands of Jonathan B. TAYLOR.
Mr. STEEL removed to Williamston about 1860, and commenced business where he is now located, near the west end of the village. He carried on a general foundry and repairing business until about 1870, when he engaged in the mercantile business for some six years, after which he returned to his old employment, and has continued it to the present time. His son is now associated with him, and the firm is J.H. STEEL & Son.
The establishment does general foundry and repairing business, and is also engaged in the manufacture of agricultural implements. Including the proprietors, a force of five hands is employed, and they are connected with the business wagon- and blacksmith shops, where all kinds of work in their line is turned out to order. During the period when Mr. STEEL was engaged in the mercantile business he leased the works. The power employed is furnished by a six horse-power steam-engine.
At the east end of the village is the foundry and repair-shop of Messrs. GRATTAN, WILSON & CLARK, who commenced business on a small scale about 1867, in a building west of the Spaulding House on Grand River Street, and continued until 1878, when the present works on the southeast corner of Grand River and Cedar Streets were erected. Mr. GRATTAN sold his interest to the other partners in 1869 or 1870, and the firm has since been WILSON & CLARK. Mr. WILSON learned his trade in the establishment of J.H. STEEL.
Messrs. WILSON & CLARK are doing a general foundry and repairing business, and are also manufacturing a variety of agricultural implements. The power employed is furnished by steam-engine.
J.H. CROSTICK commenced business as a general blacksmith in 1871, adding thereto the manufacture of a few cutters. His present large two-story shop on the corner of Putnam and High Streets was erected in 1879. It is large and convenient, and well fitted up for an extensive business, and the proprietor is a stirring business man. A shop for woodwork adjoins the main shop on the south. The principal articles turned out are fine carriages, wagons, sleighs, cutters, etc. All the different kinds of work employed in the business except carriage trimmings are conducted in his shops. The trimming is done in Detroit. Including the proprietor, the works furnish employment for five hands.
On the corner of Cedar and Grand River Streets is located the carriage-shop of D.F.P. BURNETT, who commenced business in Williamston on the 1st of January, 1874, on the opposite side of the street from where he is now, in a small building purchased of John YOKUM, a general blacksmith. Mr. BURNETT continued in this location until the fall of 1875, when he removed to his present roomy establishment, which was erected in that year. The building now occupied is a two-story frame, twenty-four by sixty feet in dimensions.
The business is mostly confined to the manufacture of fine carriages and cutters, and every department of the work, - woodwork, blacksmithing, painting, trimming, etc. - is carried on in the shop. An average of eight hands is employed, and the manufactured articles are mostly sold at the works.
The first planing-mill put in operation in the village was built by J.B. & J.W. WALDO about 1868, at the corner of Putnam and High Streets, near the bridge over Cedar River.The planer was manufactured in Lansing by one HOUGHTON. The mill was in operation about ten years. The old building is at present occupied for a livery-stable.
The second planing-mill was erected by Egbert GRATTAN about 1870 and was operated by him about two years, when he was killed in the mill. The machine by which he met his death is now in use in the mill of Harvey HAMMOND.Two other men have been killed in Williamston while working around machinery, - William HARTWIG, cut in two by the large circular saw in the saw-mill north of the river about 1873, and a man named DAVIS, killed in the same mill by a picket-saw in the summer of 1880.
About 1874 the building on Putnam Street, near South Street, now occupied by Harvey HAMMOND, was erected by BALDWIN, HOOKER & Co., for a planing-mill. About a year later HOOKER sold his interest to Daniel MILLER. Harvey HAMMOND bought out BALDWIN & GREEN (the latter the company of HOOKER, BALDWIN & Co.) in 1875, and the firm became HAMMOND & MILLER, who operated the mill about two years, when HAMMOND became the sole proprietor, and has since conducted the business in his own name. Mr. HAMMOND has about $5000 invested, and his mill gives employment during nine months to four hands, and to two hands the remainder of the year. A general lumbering and planing business is carried on, and the sales of lumber for the year will aggregate about sixty car-loads, including lumber, laths, shingles, etc.
Williamston Stave Company
This company represents one of the most important industries of the village. The business was originally begun by Messrs. HENNING & SCHULTZ in 1873. Mr. SCHULTZ sold out his interest before the works were fully in operation, and the proprietor has since been Edwin HENNING, of Chicago, a heavy capitalist and prominent businessman.
The business carried on at these works consists in the manufacture of staves, heading, and packing barrels. The force at present employed counts about twenty-five men, though at times this is doubled.From fifteen to twenty-five coopers are employed in the manufacture of packing barrels, which are mostly shipped to Chicago. The manufacture for 1880 will reach 25,000 barrels. The shipment of staves has aggregated as many as 6,000,000 in a single year, the greater portion of which go to Chicago, though as high as 500,000 have been shipped to St, Louis, Mo. The staves shipped are all for flour-barrels.
The staves for "tight work" are all manufactured and worked up on the premises. The establishment is completely fitted up for every kind of work in its line with the most ingenious and latest improved machinery for cutting heads, turning heading, etc. The machinery is driven by a steam-engine of forty horse-power. The department for the manufacture of staves and heading is well worth a visit to any one who takes an interest in ingenious, labor-saving machinery.
The firm is also the largest apple buying and shipping one in the State. During the present season its fruit business has been transacted at as many as sixty stations in Michigan, and the business transacted will be enormous. As many as eighty-two car-loads of apples have been shipped in a single day. The shipments are mostly to Chicago and the West. The firm owns several large farms in Michigan, from one of which, in Washtenaw County, 2400 barrels of apples have been shipped in a single season. Mr. HENNING is also operating large cooper-shops at Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. The superintendent of the Williamston works is Mr. W.P. AINSLEY, who has been with the house about twenty-two years.
The first marble-shop was established by C.W. HILL in 1877, but he remained only a few months, and sold out to one GRIFFITH, who took the stock to Jackson.
Messrs. G.T. DAVIS & Co. (G.T. DAVIS and G.W. BLISS) opened a shop in May, 1880, and are prepared to furnish every variety of work required in their line of business.
The first banking institution in Williamston was opened buy Hugh H. SPAULDING & Co. in 1871. It was a private exchange bank, and carried on business until about 1876, when it was closed.
The present banking office of Daniel L. CROSSMAN was opened in 1872 by Messrs. CROSSMAN & WHIPPLE. Mr. WHIPPLE retired in 1877, since which date the business has been conducted by Mr. CROSSMAN, who does a general exchange business.
The building in which the bank is located was erected in 1874 by D.L. CROSSMAN and J.B. & J.W. WALDO, both the latter since deceased. It was constructed principally for the purpose of a hotel, is of brick, three stories, and presents a fine appearance. The hotel, which is known as the "National," was opened in 1875. The present proprietor is Joseph WILLIAMS.
A loan-office was opened by John B. DAKIN in 1879. Mr. DAKIN employs his own means, and is doing quite an extensive business negotiating loans upon real estate in the vicinity. He was formerly engaged with D.L. CROSSMAN from 1856 to 1859 in the mercantile business at Dansville; but upon the opening of the railway through Williamston, much of the business and many of the businessmen of Dansville removed thither.
The first coal mined in the neighborhood of Williamston was taken out by J.M. WILLIAMS on section 36 in the south bank of the Cedar River about 1846-47, for blacksmithing purposes. Mining it for market was begun as early as 1852, about the time of the completion of the plank-road.
Messrs. RUSH & STAMBAUGH, from Youngstown, Ohio, made considerable investment and began systematic operations about 1874. Work was carried on for a considerable time, and from 50 to 100 tons of marketable coal was taken out daily; but the difficulty of obtaining any facilities for its shipment rendered the work unprofitable, and it was finally abandoned.
The lower stratum of coal at this locality is from two to three feet in thickness and of a very good quality for ordinary purposes. It is found at the works at a depth of about forty feet. Borings in the north side of the Cedar River penetrated a vein said to be six feet in thickness, but the drill may have possibly struck a fault or a point where the formation was broken or tilted, and passed through the coal diagonally. One difficulty encountered in some places is the absence of any solid material for roofing purposes, the coal being in some cases within ten feet of the surface and overlaid by sand or earth.
Williamston Lodge No. 153, F, and A.M., was organized in the spring of 1864, with the following charter members: J.H. CORNALIA, C. DEITZ, James W. WALDO, James A. LEASIA, Jerome B. WALDO, John F. BROWN, J.B. TAYLOR, Thomas HORTON, Wm. D. HORTON. The first Worshipful Master was Rev. J.H. CORNALIA, and the succeeding Masters have been: C. DEITZ, J.W. WALDO, James A. LEASIA, John GRIMES, Wm. L. BROWN, Wm. P. AINSLEY, and John WEBB. The membership at the present time (September 1880) is about forty.
Eastern Star Chapter No. 1, was organized in the spring of 1880. The Worthy Matron is Mrs. Silas E. VANNETER; Worthy Patron, Wm. P. AINSLEY; Secretary, Miss Belle WALDO. The membership is about twenty.
At present the order has no building of its own, but leases the necessary rooms.
ANCIENT ORDER of the UNITED WORKMEN
A society of this order was organized in May, 1879. It is known as May Flower Lodge, No. 47. It is in a flourishing condition and has about forty members. Among the prominent citizens connected with it may be mentioned Quincy A. SMITH, M. COAD, M.D., Lewis SIMONS, Dwight A. HARRISON, Wm. L. BROWN, and Eber S. ANDREWS.
There have existed also a flourishing lodge of the I.O. G.T. and a Red Ribbon Club, but at the present writing they seem to be doing very little.
The first newspaper published in Williamston was the Williamston Enterprise, which is still continued.The original proprietors were Wm. S. HUMPHREY & Co., and the first number appeared June 5, 1873, when Messrs. CAMPBELL & PHELPS became the owners and publishers, and issued the paper until Jan. 30, 1874. At that time Messrs. BUSH & ADAMS became proprietors, and continued it until Jan. 20, 1875, when E.S. ANDREWS purchased the property and has since published the paper regularly. It is a neat, seven column folio, well conducted and well patronized, as its advertising cards and subscription books show; its circulation reaching a printer's thousand and steadily increasing. The paper retains its original name, and is domiciled in a neat and well-arranged office, fully supplied with the required machinery and stock. A small steam-engine furnishes the necessary power. Its enterprising proprietor has already built up a good jobbing department, and the prospects of the paper are very flattering. It is neutral in politics. Mr. ANDREWS has refitted and stocked the office, and has a capital of about $2000 invested in the business, which gives employment to four hands, including the proprietor and his wife.
The present business-list of the village comprises 4 physicians, 1 dentist, 3 attorneys-at-law, 1 banking-office, 1 loan-office, 3 grain and produce dealers, 2 merchant-and custom-mills, 2 lumber firms, 1 planing-mill, 1 saw-mill, 1 extensive stave- and barrel-factory, 2 foundrys, 3 carriage-works, 1 printing establishment and newspaper, 4 clergy-men, 3 hotels, 2 jewelers, 1 merchant tailor, 5 general merchants, 6 grocers, 3 druggists, 2 barbers, 1 furniture-dealer and undertaker, 2 hardware-stores, 2 millinery establishments, 3 boot- and shoe-makers, 2 harness and saddlery, 3 blacksmiths, 1 tinsmith, 1 bakery, 1 pump-factory, 2 livery-stables, 1 marble-works, and 2 meat-markets. It is a remarkably lively point of trade of the surrounding country and presents quite a busy appearance.
The population of the village by the census of 1880 is about 1100.
Among the earliest physicians who practiced in Williamston were Dr. Joseph WATKINS and Dr. WELLS, neither of whom was regularly educated for the profession. They settled in the place previous to 1844, and were attempting to practice when Dr. LEASIA settled here. Both soon afterwards removed from the place.
Dr. Charles WINNE, a regular physician and an able man, also practiced at an early day.
Quite a large number of physicians, principally young men, have practiced or studied with Dr. LEASIA at various periods. We have room to mention a portion of them in this connection: Dr. William A. DAVIS was associated with him four or five years, commencing about 1860. He was from the neighborhood of Chelsea, Jackson Co., Mich., where his father resided. He removed at a later date to Grand Ledge, Eaton Co., where he is now in practice.
Dr. Charles HILL, from Dansville, was in practice with Dr. LEASIA for about a year after Dr. DAVIS removed. He subsequently went to Perry Centre, Shiawassee Co., from there to Owosso, and later to Cheboygan, Mich., where he now resides.
A Dr. GRAY was also with him about six months. He was a graduate of Ann Arbor, and removed to Marshall, where he soon after died.
Another partner of Dr. LEASIA was Dr. John HOUSTON, who was in Williamston about one year. He went into the army during the Rebellion and served with distinction as commander of a Michigan regiment. He is now a farmer in Leroy township.
The practicing physicians at present residing in Williamston, besides Dr. LEASIA, are Dr. Mathias COAD, Dr. J.J. DEFENDORF, and Dr. J.F. CAMPBELL.
Dr. COAD was born in Eastport, Me., in 1836. He studied medicine with Dr. Mark R. Woodbury, now of Chicago, and graduated at the Berkshire Medical College, at Pittsfield, Mass., in 1866. Previous to the war of the Rebellion he attended one course of lectures at Long Island College Hospital. He served as assistant surgeon of the Fifty-Second Massachusetts Infantry for nine months, and subsequently with the Seventy-Sixth United States Colored Infantry, and was mustered out Jan. 1, 1866.
After the war he attended two courses of lectures at Long Island College Hospital and one at Pittsfield, Mass. He commenced practice at Fentonville, Genesee Co., Mich., in May, 1866, and in 1868 removed to Williamston, where he has since been in practice in the regular school.
Dr. DEFENDORF is a member of the Homoeopathic school of medicine, and was born in Onondaga Co., N.Y., in 1850. He studied medicine at Auburn, N.Y., and graduated at the Detroit Homoeopathic College in 1873, and located in williamston the same year, where he has since continued in the enjoyment of a good practice.
Dr. CAMPBELL was born in Elgin Co., near London, Province of Ontario, Dominion of Canada, in 1854. He studied medicine at the University of Michigan, and graduated from that institution in 1876. He came to Williamston in November of the same year, and is building up a satisfactory practice among his fellow-laborers. He belongs to the allopathic or regular school, and is generally designated.
The resident attorneys are E. Dayton LEWIS, Quincy A. SMITH, and B.D. YORK.
This society, which is the oldest on the village, was organized in Wheatfield township, June 4, 1841, as the "First Baptist Conference of Wheatfield," with the following members: H.T. FERO, Henry LEE, William DROWN, Elijah HAMMOND, William TOMPKINS, Amanda F. FERO, Elizabeth LEE, Orra DROWN, Mary Ann HAMMOND, Margaret TOMPKINS. H.T. FERO, William TOMPKINS, and Elijah HAMMOND were appointed at the same meeting to draft articles and covenant. Henry LEE acted as clerk of the meeting.
In the same month Rev. H.T. FERO was called to the pastoral charge. At a council composed of delegates from the churches of Ingham, Mason, Howell, Unadilla, and Leslie, held Jan. 26, 1842, the society was received into fellowship, and Rev. H.T. FERO was ordained over it as pastor. Of this council D. HENDEE was moderator and E.K. GROUT clerk.
In May, 1842, it was "voted that the covenant meetings be held half the time at the Martin school-house, and half at the usual place."
Elder FERO continued to officiate until August, 1845, there does not appear, from the record, to have been any settled pastor. At the last-mentioned date a resolution was passed to change the name of the church to "First Baptist Church of Williamston," at which time it is probable they began to hold their regular meetings in the village, though there was no church edifice erected until 1867-68. Meetings were held previous to that time in dwellings, school-houses, and various places.
A Bible class was formed in October, 1844, of which the pastor was made superintendent.
On the 23d of March, 1848, Elder Alfred B. KINNE was ordained as pastor, and dismissed in May, 1850. In 1852 and 1853 meetings were held in the Whitcomb school-house. Elder KINNE was again pastor from January, 1857, to december, 1861. It was voted to pay him fifty dollars for his services, exclusive of donations. In 1862 the elder was again engaged to labor one-half the time for $100, and he seems to have continued until December, 1863.
Elder William WHITE was engaged for the year 1864 at $150 per annum, and for 1865 at $160. In July, 1865, preliminary steps were taken towards effecting a legal organization, and building a church edifice in the village. For the year 1866, Elder WHITE was engaged to preach one-half the time, at a salary of $160, "and a donation that shall at least amount to fifty dollars." In 1867, Elder A.B. KINNE was once more engaged at an annual salary of $200, and for 1868 the Rev. J.C. ARMSTRONG was hired and paid, according to one church record, $204.
The church building in the village of Williamston, still occupied by the society, appears to have been erected during the years 1867-68, at an original cost of about $3000. It was dedicated on the 19th of May, 1868, at which time delegations were present from Lansing, Howell, Mason, dansville, and Okemos. The dedication sermon was preached by Rev. J.S. BOYDEN.
In 1869, Rev. A.M. PARMENTER was stationed here, and continued until April 30, 1871. Rev. C.E.B. ARMSTRONG preached occasionally for the society about this time. In 1872-73 Rev. Marshall DUNBAR was the pastor, and Rev. M. HAYDEN occupied the pulpit from the fall of 1874 until September, 1876. The present pastor, Rev. J.W. HENRY, began his labors on the 1st of December, 1876.
During 1880 a chapel was built in the rear of the church edifice, at a cost of $350. The house is surmounted by a tower, and is furnished with a bell and organ. The present membership is about seventy-five, and the Sabbath-school has an average attendance of fifty scholars, with nine teachers and a library of about 150 volumes.
St. Mary's Catholic
(From data furnished by Father Lovett)
There had been a few Catholics in and around Williamston perhaps as early as 1850-55, and priests of the church had visited them occasionally previous to the gathering of an organized church in the village. Among these families may be mentioned Owen BENNAM's, John GRIMES', the LORANGERS, and others, and among the visiting priests were Fathers MONAHAN, KELLY, VanGENNIPE, VanPAEMEL, VanDRISS, and others.
The first resident pastor is the present one, Father J. F. LOVETT, a young man of fine attainments and good promise, who settled here in August, 1879. The church edifice now occupied was erected in 1869, upon a lot donated to the society by the WALDO brothers, who also gave a considerable sum of money in aid of the church. It is a plain frame structure, costing about $1100. The parsonage and lot were purchased in September, 1879, at a cost of $1150, of W.H. COCHRAN. There are about forty families connected with the church in Williamston, and in addition to this Father LOVETT has under his charge the flocks at Bunker Hill, in Ingham County, and at Woodhull, in Shiawassee County. His jurisdiction extends from Laingsburg on the north to Leslie on the south. He makes his residence at Williamston.
(Compiled from information furnished by Rev. C.B. Ludwig)
The First Congregational Church of Williamston was organized in October, 1878. Its original members were Nathan C. BRANCH, Laura M. BRANCH, Mrs. Sarah B. MEAD, Miss Emma MEAD, Mrs. W.L. ROBINSON, Mrs. Aroline A. CHURCH,Daniel MILLER, Mrs. Ann Jane MILLER, Mrs. Floretta WATKINS. The present membership is seventeen.
Articles of association were adopted about Aug. 20, 1878, and subsequently filed with the county clerk. Rev. J.W. DAWSON was principally instrumental in gathering the society, but he did not remain to complete the organization. The work has been continued by his successor, Rev. Casimir B. LUDWIG, the present pastor, who settled over the church on the 16th of November, 1878, and who has been indefatigable in his efforts to build up a prosperous organization. Rev. LUDWIG's first sermon was delivered in the Baptist church of Williamston, at the date last above mentioned.
Under his energetic administration a fine church edifice is now (September, 1880) in process of construction, which will be, when completed, a tasteful and convenient house of worship. It is in the Pointed Gothic style, with tower and spire, and trimmed with artificial stone from the works at Lansing. The building is a frame structure, bricked up on the outside by a process known as "veneering," which gives it all the solid appearance of a brick structure.The main portion of the edifice is thirty-two by fifty feet, exclusive of the tower at the northeast angle, and has a chapel in the rear, eighteen by twenty-four, connected with the audience room by folding doors. The basement is to be occupied as a kitchen. The floor in the body of the house is raised after the manner of a theatre, and the windows are to be furnished with elegant stained glass. The inside finish is to be in oak and walnut, and the seating capacity will be 300. The building is to be heated by a furnace in the basement. The chapel will be seated with chairs.
The total cost of the building is expected to reach something over $3000, of which a considerable portion is contributed by the Congregational Building Union. The society is also largely aided by the American Home Missionary Society, which contributes from $300 to $400 annually towards the pastors salary.
A flourishing Sunday-school is connected with the church, the regular attendance of which is about forty. The school has a very choice library of 200 volumes, which was purchased from a church library in Boston, Mass.
It is the intention of Mr. LUDWIG to have a course of lectures during the coming winter, for the purpose of aiding the society to furnish the new church building. He intends to procure the services of eminent lecturers, and will make the course a decided success, if energy and ability can accomplish it.
The present trustees of the church are N.C. BRANCH, Daniel MILLER, and E. Dayton LEWIS.
(Principally from information furnished by Rev. L.C. York)
The Methodist Episcopal Society of Williamston village was formerly embraced in a large four weeks circuit, including portions of three counties. The church edifice belonging to the society was erected in 1867-68, at a probable cost of over $2000.
Since 1859 the preachers who have officiated here have been Revs. T.C. WRIGHT, J.T. HANKINSON, F. BRITTON, J.H. CURNALIA, J.J. KERN, L.L. HOUGHTON, James BALLS, J.B. VARNUM, R.C. LANNING, A. ALLEN, H.T. EVANS, N.W. PIERCE, and L.C. YORK, the present pastor. The present membership numbers ninety.
The present board of trustees is composed as follows: James C. WEBBER, Charles THOMS, H.E. HIGBEE, Wm. L. MURPHY, C.E. LOCKWOOD, T.J. PARSONS, Frederick DAVIS. The church has a Sabbath-school connected with it which is in a flourishing state.
A class held meetings for a number of years at Williamstown Centre, in the school-house. In 1879 a neat frame church was erected at a cost of over $1500. It stands on section 15, about five miles north-northwest of Williamston village.Rev. L.C. YORK, the pastor of the village, officiates. This society supports a flourishing Sabbath-school.
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