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The cultivation of the soil at Grand Rapids was begun by the Indians. A report of a surveyor made to the General Land Office Commissioner in 1838, contained this statement: "All the grounds on the front of sections 24 and 25 are cleared, and have been occupied by the Indians as cornfields from time immemorial." This has reference to the grounds on the west bank of the river, for a mile north and south of Bridge street---the report mentioned being that of a survey of the Indian mission lands. The methods of cultivation employed by the natives were crude, but it is evident that they raised corn before the whites brought any "corn juice" among them.

The first plowing by white settlers was doubtless done at Grandville, by Luther Lincoln, and in the year 1833 several of the pioneers broke ground in Grand Rapids, Wyoming and Paris. Louis Campau had a garden on ground south of Monroe and west of Waterloo street, cultivated by hand labor. The first plowing within the site of this city was done in the spring of 1834, by Joel Guild, for Mr. Campau---about three and a half acres lying below Division and between Monroe and Fulton streets. Mr. Guild also in 1834-35 cleared, broke and planted eight or ten acres of ground east of the public square on what is now known as Kendall's addition. There was much diversity, originally, in the quality of the soils hereabout, but they responded to the work of the farmer, and the first crops of wheat, corn, potatoes or garden produce were usually good. As late as 1860 there were sixty-nine occupied farms within the limits of the city, having an estimated value of  $375,040.  Among the products returned from the farms within the city that year, were 1,629 bushels of wheat, 2,921 bushels of corn, 3,742 bushels of potatoes, 400 tons of hay, 12,604 pounds of butter, and  $1,575 worth of orchard products.

In Kent County the census of 1884 shows 5,246 farms, including 282,163 acres improved, and 140,128 unimproved. The estimated value of farms in the county, including fences and buildings, in 1884, was $18,522,117; value of farm implements and machinery, $784,893; value of live stock, $2,191,988. Amount paid for wages in 1883, for out door farm labor, $387,595; expenditures for indoor and dairy labor, $60,601; estimated value of products, $2,618,372. Among farm products of the county in that year were 50,000 pounds of honey,
1,320 pounds of wax, 161,569 bushels of apples, and 41,592 bushels of peaches. The orchard products of 1883 were valued at $164,658. The forest products, mostly of wood sold or consumed, was valued at $256,719.

In 1850 the number of farms returned in Kent county was 885; wheat raised same year, 69,300 bushels; number of horses, 791. In 1840 238 horses were returned, and 18,750 bushels of wheat. In 1884 the number of horses was 15,459. The area of Kent County is estimated to be 545,657 acres; of the State, 58,915 square miles, or 36,443,346.2 acres.

Prominent among the Grand Rapids dealers in seeds and accompanying agricultural and garden supplies in recent years has been William T. Lamoreaux, at 71 Canal street. Philip Kusterer, at 120 Canal, has also done a handsome business in that line for many years. M. L. Sweet & Co. have been steady dealers in grain and seeds for upward of thirty years.


The history of horticulture in Kent County begins in the garden of Louis Campau, as early as 1834, which he made attractive by the cultivation of flowers, shrubbery and small fruits. This was by the river banks, just below the foot of Monroe street. In 1836 Abel Page and John Almy started gardens near the river, above Huron street. In Mr. Page's garden the first tomatoes were raised, grown as ornamental plants, and called love-apples. Only one person, the school teacher, would eat them, as they were generally considered poisonous. In 1838 Mr. Page moved, and planted another garden and nursery on East Bridge street hill, above Ionia street, occupying two or three acres of ground. There also he grew Morus Multicaulis and raised silk worms, dealing in the cocoons. He raised Rohan potatoes that would weigh two pounds, and sold them at the rate of $15 or more per bushel. He and his sons gathered from the woods, gooseberries, currants, raspberries, blackberries and plums, which they transferred to this nursery, and improved upon the wild plants by cultivation. They raised melons and cranberries, and the garden was a favorite resort for those who wished a feast of fruit. In 1845 Mr. Page and his sons started a nursery north of Coldbrook, where for many years they kept a stock of upward of 200,000 young fruit trees. From the first Mommoth Pie-plant brought into the county in 1850, Mr. Page procured a slip for $1, the next year sold $5 worth of plants, and two years afterward sold to S. L. Withey for $2 enough pie-pant for an Independence dinner. Samuel White brought a Lombardy poplar and planted it near the head of Stocking street, from which Mr. Page soon procured sprouts and largely replenished his nursery. Abel T. Page, about 1845, secured a quantity of seeds of the yellow locust, which were planted at their nursery, and realized for them, in a few years, several thousand dollars.

Abel T. Page is a native of Rutland, Vermont, born April 15, 1829. At seven years of age he came with his father's family to Grand Rapids; attended the early village schools and afterward the Grand Rapids Academy, and assisted his father in horticulture and the establishment of the first nursery of much note in Kent County, which he managed by himself for some three years after the death of his father in 1854. After 1857 he followed farming for a time, then the grocery trade and finally settled down to dealing in real estate, which he follows with fairly good success. He is and has been a valued member and earnest worker in several religious, social and humanitarian associations; was among the founders of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, and is now in active, busy life.

Truman Kellogg came in 1837, and started a farm and established a small nursery of seedling trees on Lake avenue, near where now is the east line of the city. He had a decided taste for horticulture and set out a variety of fruits. For some time his was among the favorite nurseries of this region, in the supply of apples, peaches, plums and small fruits, though he did not have much grafted stock. He also planted two or three acres with the Morus Multicalius shrub, and manufactured silk, specimens of which are yet in possession of the family.

George M. Barker in 1845 had a small nursery on West Bridge street near the city limits. Barney Burton, as early as 1836, started a nursery of seedling trees, on his farm in Paris, now the Garfield place. Charles W. Garfield has in his garden perhaps the oldest apple tree in the county, planted by Mr. Burton, the body of which is nearly two feet in diameter, while the top has a spread of near forty feet.

Thomas R. Renwick, as long ago as 1867, had a floral nursery and green-house on Crescent avenue near Barclay street, and has up to the present time been a steady and persistent cultivator of flowers, with special attention to exotics and rare varieties.

About 1850 and several years thereafter, George C. Nelson had a fine fruit and garden shrub nursery on the north side of Cherry street about where Union street now is.


The State Agricultural Society was organized March 23, 1849, and its first fair was held in Detroit in September of that year, with a premium list of $1,000. Its fairs were held in Detroit until and including 1862. Since then they have been held at Kalamazoo, Adrian, Detroit, Jackson, East Saginaw, and in 1873 at Grand Rapids. In 1872 the State Fair was held at Kalamazoo, during the same week with that of the Northern Michigan Agricultural
and Mechanical Society at Grand Rapids. There was a strong rivalry between the two exhibitions, the result being a coalition, and the holding of the State Fair here in 1873, as just mentioned. No fair of the State Agricultural Society has been held nearer to Grand Rapids than at Kalamazoo since that date. Henry Fralick of Grand Rapids is among its ex-presidents.


May 16, 1871, upon call of the executive officers of the Kent County Agricultural and State Pomological Societies, a large number of representative men of Western and Northern Michigan, interested in the project, met at Sweet's Hotel in Grand Rapids, and organized the Northern Michigan Agricultural and Mechanical Society. By the articles of association its object was declared to be "to foster and promote the interests of agriculture, horticulture, and the mechanic arts, and kindred arts and sciences." For officers they elected: President:
George W. Griggs, of Kent; Secretary: Henry S. Clubb, of Ottawa; Treasurer: Charles Kipp, of Clinton. A Board of Directors, one for each county, was chosen: C. C. Comstock being the Director for Kent. The association thus organized included all except the two southern tiers of counties in the State. Its first annual fair was held September 12-15, 1871, on the fair grounds at Grand Rapids, in conjunction with that of the Michigan Pomological Society; the Kent Society foregoing its annual exhibition as such, and joining in the "Union Fair." The fair proved a great success, leaving in the treasury a balance of several hundred dollars, and valuable buildings erected upon the grounds. Another Union Fair was held upon the same ground September 16-20, 1872, at which time in competition the State Society held its annual fair in Kalamazoo. Nevertheless great crowds were in attendance, and Grand Rapids fairly held its own. In 1873 this society was consolidated with and became merged in the State Agricultural Society.


February 26, 1870, the State Pomological Society of Michigan was organized at Grand Rapids. President, R. G. Saunders; Secretary, A. T. Linderman; Treasurer, S. L. Fuller. At the annual meeting in December, J. P. Thompson was chosen President, and served two years. Succeeding Presidents were: A. S. Dyckman, of South Haven, for 1873-74; George Parmelee, of Old Mission, for 1875; T. T. Lyon, of South Haven, for 1876 and re-elected every year to and including 1887. The Secretaries have been----A. T. Linderman in 1871, re-elected for 1872; J. P. Thompson, 1873-75, and since 1875, Charles W. Garfield. S. L. Fuller resigned the office of Treasurer, June 25, 1873, and Henry Seymour was appointed to fill out the term, and re-elected for the succeeding two years. H. Dale Adams was chosen Treasurer for 1876, and the two years following, and was succeeded by S. M. Pearsall in 1878, re-elected every year to 1888. The name of the society was changed in 1880 to the


The first annual fair of this society was held in connection with that of the Kent County Agricultural Society, on the grounds of the latter  at Grand Rapids, and its second, third and fourth were held at the same place; but in 1874 and since, its annual fairs have been held in connection with those of the State Agricultural Society, and its meetings have been movable from place to place about the State. On September 9-11, 1885, the American Pomological Society held its first biennial meeting at Grand Rapids. Its sessions were held at the First Universalist Church, and the exhibit of fruits was made at the Armory on North Division Street. The display was excellent, showing nearly a thousand plates, beside individual collections. The society was heartily welcomed and entertained in behalf of the city and the Michigan State Horticultural Society, and the meeting was a very enjoyable one to all parties. At this session Charles W. Garfield was elected Secretary of the American Pomological Society.

Since 1870, on the high grounds near Grand Rapids, the cultivation of peaches has been quite as successful as in any part of the State, and the cultivation of apples in this vicinity is also profitable. The principal nursery hereabout is the large one of Munson & Knapp in Grand Rapids township, comprising about thirty acres of ground. The fruits of this region have been awarded a considerable number of premiums by the orchard committee of the State Pomological Society. First premiums to Grand Rapids people in 1871 were awarded---to David Robertson for Delaware Vineyard; George S. Linderman for half-acre plat of raspberries, also for a similar plat of blackberries; to John Suttle for a general greenhouse; to Mrs. E. T. Nelson for a private conservatory. In 1872---first premiums to S. B. Smith for an apple orchard; H. W. Slocum for collection of hardy grapes; Mrs. R. W. Morris for ornamental city lot; second premium to E. U. Knapp, for peach orchard for profit; C. J. Dietrich, for half-acre of raspberries. In 1873, J. M. Dean, first for peach orchard for profit, second for vineyard for table use; to John Suttle first, and T. R. Renwick second, for commercial plant house. At the centennial exhibit of the State Pomological Society at Philadelphia, the Grand River Valley Horticultural Society contributed a general collection of fruit, which elicited much commendation.

Jonathan P. Thompson, who was Secretary of the State Horticultural Society for several years prior to 1880, was a very energetic member and organizer, and an enthusiast with respect to fruit culture. He died at Detroit in 1880. He had been well known as a resident of Grand Rapids to which place he came in 1856, and engaged as editor of the Enquirer, and was connected with the press here for about four years, after which he went east. About 1868 he returned, and for three or four years was connected with the Eagle as one of the editorial staff. The remainder of his life was devoted chiefly to the promotion of the interests of horticulture and pomology in the State, and upon his death the State Society adopted resolutions of tribute to his memory, and directed the procuring of his portrait to be placed among the archives.

Charles W. Garfield was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, March 14, 1848; came to Paris, Kent County, Michigan, with his parents, in 1858; settled on the Barney Burton farm, one mile south of Hall street, the present city limit; was alternately in the schools and on the farm until seventeen years of age; taught school, attended the Grand Rapids High school a year; entered the State Agricultural College at Lansing in 1868 and graduated from there in 1870. He then turned his attention to horticulture, spent a year at Painesville, Ohio, with a nursery firm; returned to Grand Rapids and was here engaged in the nursery trade until 1873. He next, until 1877, had a position in the Horticultural Department of the State Agricultural College, and was four years in charge of the farm department of the Detroit Free Press. From 1875 to 1889 he was Secretary of the State Horticultural Society, and then became a member of the Executive Board. In 1885 he was elected Secretary of the American Pomological Society. He is studious, scholarly, and a tireless worker, and exhibited a specially lively interest in all that pertains to horticulture and fruits. His reports of the transactions of the State Horticultural Society comprise several volumes of much merit and value. He is President (1889) of the Grand River Valley Horticultural Society.


The State Horticultural Society having become practically merged in the State Agricultural Society, and the fruit growers of this region having reached the conclusion that another organization was needed, more attentive to their interests, the Grand River Valley Horticultural Society was organized February 10, 1874, at Grand Rapids---President, E. Bradfield; Vice President, H. H. Holt; Secretary, C. J. Dietrich; Treasurer, George W. Dickinson; Executive Committee: H. H. Holt, William Rowe, C. H. Merriman and John Suttle. The articles of  association required that monthly meetings to be held at Grand Rapids, and that special ones might be held at other places. The counties included within the sphere of its work were Kent, Montcalm, Ionia, Barry, Allegan, Ottawa and Muskegon. With its own special field of operation this society may be regarded as in some sense an outgrowth from and auxiliary to the State Society. Its meetings have been kept up with much regularity, and it has had a prosperous and successful career.

The annual exhibits of fruits and flowers by this society, have been held in connection with the annual fairs of the Kent County Agricultural Society. In the fall of 1879 it made exhibits at a meeting of the American Pomological Society at Rochester, N.Y., also at the Michigan State Fair at Detroit, and at that of the Western Michigan Agricultural and Industrial Society at Grand Rapids. Fifty-four varieties of apples were sent to Rochester, in charge of Edward Bradfield of Ada, who added a fine display of grapes, chiefly from his own vineyard, and for this collection the bronze Wilder medal was awarded to the Society. It was also fairly successful in winning premiums at the other exhibits that year. In 1880 the society made a collection of fruits, including upward of one hundred varieties of apples and twenty-five varieties of peaches, which it exhibited at St. Louis, in charge of William Rowe and William N. Cook, and which received marked attention and special compliment from the officers of the Mississippi Valley Horticultural Society. At other prominent fairs in the same year, and generally during its entire existence, where this society has made exhibitions of the fruit and flower products of the Grand River Valley, it has taken first premiums. It contributed freely to the State display of fruits in the winter of 1882-83 at the New Orleans Exposition. In 1886, upon the invitation of this society, the State Society held its annual meeting in Grand Rapids, when was made an unusually fine flower and plant exhibit, also fruits from California.

Among the officers of this association have been: Presidents: William Rowe, 1878-81; Henry Holt, 1882; Charles W. Garfield, 1883 and since. Secretaries: William N. Cook, 1878-82; R. D. Graham, 1883-85; G. C. Bennett, 1886; Wm. N. Cook, 1887-88. Treasurers: S. L. Fuller, 1878-85; Wm. N. Cook, 1886; E. Chase Phillips, 1887-88. Officers for 1889---President, Charles W. Garfield; Vice President, Joseph A. Pierce; Secretary, Thomas L. Brown; Treasurer, E. Chase Phillips; Executive Board--Sluman S. Bailey, W. E. Calkins, W. N. Cook and John Saylor.


January 12, 1848, an association, in which Horace Seymour was a prominent and active worker, was organized in the township of Walker under the comprehensive title of "The Walker Agricultural Society of Kent County." October 27, 1848, this society held a fair at the west end of the Bridge street bridge, at which premiums aggregating $31.75 were awarded. This display was an attractive one for those days. Addresses were delivered by the Rev. Joseph Penney and Dr. A. C. Westlake. At the next annual meeting the name was changed to "Grand River Valley Agricultural Society." Its membership included residents on both sides of the river. The second annual fair was held October 9, 1849, at the Court House on the Public Square; subsequent fairs were held there or at the corner of Fulton street and Jefferson avenue for some years. The display of farm produce in 1849 was thought very fine. Mammoth pumpkins and squashes, enormous beats and turnips, and stalks of corn that reached from floor to ceiling of the court room, were among the exhibit; while tied to the trees near about, or inclosed in pens, were numbers of fine looking cattle, sheep and hogs. The mechanics of the village joined in the show, and the ladies, with specimens of their handiwork. A chair of the style then known as the Boston rocker, which took premium at the fair is now in possession of Mrs. Julia A. Baxter, of South Division street, as strong and servicable apparantly as when it was made. The Rev. James Ballard delivered an address on the occasion, at the Congregational Church.

January 6, 1851, the name of the organization was again changed, to "Kent County Agricultural Society" ----- George Young, President; Damon Hatch, Secretary.

In 1855 the Kent County fair was held on grounds north of Wealthy avenue and west of Division street. In December of that year, the society purchased a forty-acre tract just south of the city, where its fairgrounds have since been and are at present located. In 1850 its premium list amounted to $37. In 1851 the premiums aggregated $76; in 1852, $80; in 1854, $92.75. In that year W. S. H. Welton was elected President and Sluman S. Bailey Secretary. In 1855 the fair was held for three days, September 25, 26 and 27. The ground purchased in that year has been much improved and built upon. A set of rules and regulations and a much larger premium list than ever before were adopted in 1856, and this spirit of order combined with liberality has since prevailed in the transactions of the society. Its annual exhibits were increasingly large and attractive and regularly given until 1879, since which time the use of its grounds has been granted to the W. M. A. and I. Society. In the mechanical and trades departments the displays yearly made by the traders and manufacturers of the city were especially good.

At the county fairs of 1863 and 1864 entertainment for raising funds in behalf of soldiers' aid societies were added to the ususual features, with a good degree of success. The following is nearly a full list of the principal officers of the society:

Presidents: 1848, D. Schermerhorn; 1850, Obed H. Foote; 1851, George Young; 1852, J. F. Chubb; 1853, Solomon Wright; 1855, W. S. H. Welton; 1857, Henry Seymour; 1859, Sluman S. Bailey; 1864, E.U. Knapp; 1865, Warren P. Mills; 1868, George W. Griggs (remained in the position several years); 1874-76, Aaron Brewer; 1878 and since, Levi Averill.

Secretaries: 1848, Horace Seymour; 1850, Damon Hatch; 1853, Henry Seymour; 1854, Sluman S. Bailey; 1856, Timothy E. Wetmore; 1857, E. M. Ball; 1859, O. R. L. Crozier; 1864, L. R. Atwater; 1865, L. S. Scranton; 1868, Jacob Barns; 1871, Eseck Burlingame; 1874, and since, James Cox.

Treasurers: 1848, Sullivan Armstrong; 1850, T. D. French; 1851, Andrew Loomis; 1856, J. F. Chubb; 1857, G. C. Fitch; 1864, G. S. Deane; 1865, John Porter; 1869, O. H. Simonds; 1874, F. W. Foster; 1885 and since, Aaron Brewer.


The Agricultural and Mechanical Association of 1871 having been absorbed by the State Society, a new organization of similar character was formed in May, 1879, with headquarters at Grand Rapids, under the name of Western Michigan Agricultural and Industrial Society, which has held fairs annually on the Kent County Fair Grounds, in September, down to the present time. This has been a very successful association financially and otherwise, its annual exhibits being scarcely second to those of the State Society. Its district comprises nearly all of the western half of the State, from Van Buren County north to the Straits. At its first fair in 1879, out of receipts amounting to $16,611.44, it realized a surplus of $2,974.85. In 1881 its surplus was $4,415.35. The sum increased until it had at the end of 1888, $9,581.61 in its treasury. The annual expositions of this society have been very attractive and popular shows, to which competitors come with their mechanical products, horses, and other live stock, not only from all parts of Michigan, but from neighboring States. The attendance is always large and the premiums are liberal. Grand Rapids mechanics, manufacturers, and merchants delight in exhibiting their products, goods and wares, making of the grounds a veritable bazaar, to the delight and entertainment of all visitors.

George W. Thayer was its first President serving five years; after him David P. Clay was President for three years. In 1887 H. C. Sherwood was chosen President, and served until his death in August, 1888. He was succeeded by J. G. Ramsdell, followed in 1890 by George W. Thayer. James Cox has been Secretary continuously since the organization of the society, and Edmund B. Dikeman has likewise filled the position of Treasurer. Among other prominent and active workers of the society in the city and vicinity, are S. S. Bailey, John H. Withey, Z. V. Cheney, M.L. Sweet, and Levi Averill.


An association that is among the best of its kind in its educational features, with its headquarters here, is the West Michigan Farmers' Club, organized August 23, 1881. Its first officers were: President, Wm. T. Adams, of Paris; Vice Presidents, Lyman Murray, of Sparta; Henry C. Denison, of Ada; George Van Nest, of Byron; Nathan Gould, of Oakfield; Secretary and Librarian, Frank M. Carroll; Recorder, Edmund Manly; Treasurer, George Porter. The officers for 1889 are: President, George S. Linderman; Vice Presidents, W. W. Johnson, of Grand Rapids township; E. F. Bosworth, of Georgetown; S. S. Bailey, of East Paris; E. U. Knapp, of Grand Rapids township; Secretary and Treasurer, Samuel L. Fuller. The objects of this society are to advance the interests in farming and fruit culture, and stimulate inprovement therein. There is no other school hereabout so well adapted to the education of the classes interested. The members hold regular monthly meetings for discussion, and by their earnestness and persevering enthusiasm demonstrate their intellectual as well as physical strength. No branch of the farm or fruit-growing industry is neglected. Their club work is systemized, always with some important topic in the foreground and as their talks and discussions are quite fully reported through the press, their influence must be greatly beneficial to thousands of others who read and learn. A society of such character and spirit should not be allowed to die out, nor to slacken its efforts. It is valuable to the entire community, and should grow more and more popular and become as indispensable as is the system of common schools. Prominent and influential in this club are Edward L. Briggs, Ocenus Van Buren, W. N. Cook, Robert Briggs, William Rowe, E. Graham, and others, besides the officers mentioned.

EDWARD L. BRIGGS, the oldest child of Barber and Mary Swan Briggs, was born in the town of Skaneateles, Orange County, New York, July 30, 1830. The name Briggs is of Welsh origin, but the family never traced their ancestry back to Wales. On the mother's side the Swans were of Irish extraction. Edward's family removed in the spring of 1834 to Michigan, settled near Ann Arbor, and after a few years purchased land covered with a heavy growth of timber, and began the work of making a farm and home. The subject of this sketch while but a child in years bore his part in the severe labor of clearing the land and carrying on the farm. His opportunities for obtaining an education were limited, being such as were afforded by three months each winter of the common school, in a district so new that many terms of its school were held in a log school house. The school teachers of those days, from the very nature of their position and surroundings, could give but little instruction to the individual pupil. The young boy was very studious, and read with avidity every book that he could obtain. His father sold the farm, and after about a year spent in the village of Ann Arbor, the family removed to Kent county, March, 1850, and settled in the town of Grand Rapids, a short distance north of the city. Here they again began making a home upon land upon which a furrow had never been turned. This farm has always remained in the hands of the family. After helping to clear and break up a part of the land and put it into crops, young Briggs left home to seek his fortune; worked about the lumber mills near Grand Haven awhile; then crossed the lake on a lumber vessel and made his way on the canal from Chicago to Lasalle, and thence by river to Saint Louis and New Orleans. He spent about two years in the south, engaged in steam boating, house building and various occupations upon the plantations, and finding his health seriously impaired, returned home to Grand Rapids. In November, 1853, he secured employment through the late Lucius A. Thayer, with the St. Mary's Falls Ship Canal Company. From this time until 1858 he was in the employ of that company, and of private capitalists engaged in exploring for mineral and timber lands, and traversed nearly all portions of the Upper Peninsula, and the newer portions of the Lower Peninsula. In 1857 he was married to Cordelia T. Fitch, the oldest daughter of the late Lemon Fitch, at that time a resident of the West Side in this city. In 1858 he was engaged with a surveying party, and was eight months in the field, making surveys in Minnesota, and ran the first line of the United States survey that touched the Red River of the north. In 1859 he received the appointment of Timber Agent from the Commissioner of the State Land Office, and retained this position until 1868. Acting under the authority of the United States Marshal for Michigan, and the Register and Receiver of the United States Land Office at Marquette, he also looked after timber cutting on the lands of the United States. During these years the most of his time was spent in examining and surveying the public lands of the State and United States, detecting and arresting trespassers, and settling damages for timber-cutting. He was elected County Surveyor of Kent county in 1862, and re-elected in 1864. In November, 1872, he was elected to represent the then Third District of Kent County in the State House of Representatives; served through the regular session of 1873, and the extra session of 1874, and gained the reputation of an industrious and influential member. He was re-elected in the fall of 1874, and served through the session of 1875 as chairman of the standing Committee on Public Lands and of the special Committee on Apportionments. Mr. Briggs although an ardent Republican, was very much opposed to the re-election to the United States Senate of the Hon. Zachariah Chandler, and bore a leading part in the revolt that led to his defeat. Seeing no other way of accomplishing this he declined to take part in the Republican Senatorial Caucus, and in the Joint Covention voted for J. Webster Childs. Mr. Briggs has always been firm in the conviction that it is the right and the duty of the State to prohibit the traffic in alcoholic liquors as beverages, but he continued to act with the Republican party until after the election in November, 1884; when he decided to act with the Prohibition party, has since been active in the counsels of the latter, was its candidate for Representative in Congress for the Fifth District at the election in 1886, and received 3,086 votes. Mr. Briggs was one of the incorporators of the Grand Rapids Chair Company, served on its Board of Directors for five years and was at one time President of the company. He was also one of the incorporators of the City National Bank and the Grand Rapids National Bank. He was one of the charter members of the Citizens Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Kent, Allegan and Ottawa Counties, and served as President and Treasurer of the company from 1874 to 1886. He is a member of Valley City Lodge No. 86, A. F. and A. M., and of Harmony Grange Patrons of Husbandry. he belongs to the Fountain Street Baptist Church but is liberal in his religious views. Nearly all his life he has been engaged in farming, and feels thoroughly identified with that class. Mr. Briggs has a passion for tree planting and culture, and has probably planted and cared for a greater number of trees that any other man in Kent County, for the purposes of shade, ornament, wind-breaks and plantations. For twenty-four years he has made his home on his farm, half a mile north of the city limits; but he and his wife have in recent years been spending the winters in California. At the present time he gives most of his attention to his real estate interests in and near the city and on the Pacific Coast. In the winter of 1888-89 he made a journey through Mexico, spending a month in some of the principal cities, and wrote some letters on Mexico and California that were published in the Grand Rapids Daily Democrat and were received with favor by his friends. As a man and citizen, and in public trusts, Mr. Briggs has won and enjoys the high esteem of the community.

SAMUEL L. FULLER was born at Geneseo, Livingston County, N. Y., January 24, 1818. His parents were natives of New England. He came to Grand Rapids in September, 1836, and was engaged four years as a surveyor and assistant engineer under John Almy on Grand River and the Sault St. Mary's Ship Canal. In 1840 he returned to Livingston County and was in the employ of the Hon. Charles H. Carroll; was on a farm from 1845 to 1862, during which time he served two terms in the New York Legislature, and was sent by an association of Livingston County farmers to England to purchase short-horn cattle. From 1862 to 1866 he was in the express business in New York City. In 1867 he returned to Grand Rapids for permanent residence, and engaged in private banking with his brother, Edward P. Fuller, and retired from that business in 1875. Mr. Fuller was one of the incorporators of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Grand Rapids. He married in 1844 Emily Stevens, who died in 1852, and again in 1854 Arthuretta S. Van Vechten, his present wife. He is a member of the various agricultural associations here, in which he takes an active interest; also of the Kent Scientific Institute, and of the Equal Suffrage Association. In politics he is a Republican.

SLUMAN S. BAILEY came into Paris, Kent County, in 1846, and lived on a farm there fourteen years, when he moved into Grand Rapids. He was born at Somerset, Niagara County, N.Y., December 14, 1821. Farming has been his favorite occupation, but he has been a busy man in public as well as private life, in various town offices, as Sheriff, and fifteen years as Collector of Internal Revenue.

ERASTUS U. KNAPP is a native of Oswego county, N.Y., born in 1820. He came to Grand Rapids about 1847, and bought and cleared the farm which he has since occupied on Section 17, by the northeast corner of the city. He has been a prominent and influential citizen, both in private and official life, and a successful farmer, fruit grower and gardener. Politically he is a Republican. He has served several terms as Justice of the Peace, and many years as Highway Commissioner.

WILLIAM E. CALKINS  a farmer and gardener just east of the city line for about twenty-five years. He was born at Earlville, N.Y., October 1, 1838. His father and mother, John and Sarah A. Calkins residing here also, are 83 and 82 years of age respectively, and have passed their sixtieth marriage anniversary. Mr. Calkins is a member of the Baptist Church, and also of the Knights of Honor. He is a Republican, politically.

THOMAS E. REED resides upon the place where he was born, May 4, 1847. His father, Porter Reed, was one of the three brothers from whom Reeds Lake is named, having settled there in 1834 on Section 33, Grand Rapids township. In his seventeenth year, January 4, 1864, Thomas enlisted in the Twenty-first Michigan Infantry, and served until December 16, 1865, when he was discharged, and has since been engaged in farming. He was wounded at Bentonville, and was held as a prisoner three days. Mr. Reed retains the old homestead, though most of the original large farm has been platted into building lots. He married, February 21, 1867, Mary L. Walker. They have three children. He is a member of Custer Post, G. A. R., and Mrs. Reed is a member of the Relief Corps. During the past three years he has been Town Treasurer and Highway Commissioner.

GEORGE P. HOGADONE lives in Walker township, where he was born December 6, 1850. His father died December 25, 1853. His farm is on Section 33. He is Town Treasurer and Drain Commissioner. Has been in the dairy business. He married in 1872 Isabella Graham, of Walker. In politics he is a Republican.

ROBERT BRIGGS, born in Onondaga county, N.Y., in 1818, came to Grand Rapids township in 1853, and since then has been engaged in dairying, or the mild business. Has been elected to local offices, but never served. In 1876 his barn burned, and 1885 he lost his house by fire, involving losses to the amount of $8,500. Politically he is an adherent of the Democratic party. He is classed as a methodical and successful farmer.

HORACE D. CARPENTER, a native of Columbia county, N.Y., came to Grand Rapids in 1869, and purchased the home now occupied by his widow, Mrs. Esther Carpenter, on Section 29, just east of the city. Her maiden name was Esther Hydorn. He held the office of Town Clerk one year, and was Justice of the Peace seven years. He died August 7, 1888. His occupation here was that of gardener, and dealer in loans and real estate.

SANFORD W. LYON came to Michigan in 1862; enlisted and served in the Twenty-first Infantry; was twice wounded, but served until the close of the war. He then returned to the town of Grand Rapids, where he has since been engaged as market gardener, and has built a fine home. In September, 1862, he married Harriet A. Tracy, daughter of Addison Tracy, an early resident. He is a member of Custer Post, G. A. R.

JAMES M. LIVINGSTON, born in Rochester, N. Y., April 12, 1829, is of Scotch descent. His father was among the early builders of saw mills in this valley. James M. came to Grand Rapids in 1845. He has twice married: First, Maria Miller, who died in 1852; second, Jane Ferguson, his present wife. He lived on a farm in Grand Rapids township till 1862, was afterward a contractor until 1884, when he bought his present homestead and built his house, on Section 31, in Plainfield.

ORSON C. KELLOGG of Grand Rapids township was born in Onondaga county, N.Y., October 2, 1826; son of Truman Kellogg, mentioned elsewhere in this work. The family came in 1837. After the death of his father, he took charge of the farm, and has since lived there, on Section 29, Grand Rapids. Fruit raising and gardening have been prominent features of his business. He married, October 30, 1851, Lydia H. McKenzie, of this city. They have three children. He enlisted in 1863, and served nineteen months in the First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics. He is a Republican in politics, and still resides at the old homestead, which has been platted into city lots.


In 1869 the Grand Rapids Horse Association was organized. Samuel A. Browne was President, and very active thereafter in its affairs, and in all that pertains to the rearing and training of fine horses, and to speed trials and contests. A few years later there was a reorganization, under the name of Valley City Driving Park Association. Of this E. B. Dikeman was for some time President. In that and similar organizations J. Boyd Pantlind, Walter S. Gee and G. S. Ward have also occupied official positions. In March, 1888, the Grand Rapids Horsemen's Association was incorporated, and soon after joined the American Trotting Association as a stockholding member. Its officers (1889) are: President, M. J. Smiley; Vice President, J. B. Griswold; Secretary, Fred A. Maynard; Treasurer, H. P. Baker. It held a trotting and pacing meeting in July, 1888, with purses aggregating $5,000, on the Fair Grounds.


April 5, 1882, the Michigan State Poultry Association was organized in this city. President, J. P. Clark; Secretary, R. C. Greiner; Treasurer, Henry R. Naysmith. The name was subsequently enlarged to State Poultry and Pet Stock Association. As may be inferred from its title, the objects of this society are improvement in the breeds of fowls, and stimulation of the general interests in poultry raising. It has made several special exhibits, and has participated more or less in displays at agricultural fairs. An exposition of fowls and pet stock made in Grand Rapids in January, 1887, was fine and an object of general admiration. An influential part of its official membership has remained in this city.

Document Source: Baxter, Albert, History of the City of Grand Rapids, New York and Grand Rapids: Munsell & Company, Publishers, 1891. (Name Index)
Location of Original: Various.
Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/baxter1891/44farms.html
Created: 23 October 1999[an error occurred while processing this directive]