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History and Directory of Kent County, Michigan, Containing a History of Each Township and the City of Grand Rapids, Compiled and Published by Dillenback and Leavitt, County History, Directory and Map Publishers, Grand Rapids: Daily Eagle Steam Printing House, 1870.
Courtland is bounded on the north by Nelson, on the east by Oakfield, on the south by Cannon and on the west by Algoma.
Barton Johnson, the first settler in the township, located in May 1838. He is still a resident, and may be found on the west side of the southwest quarter of section twenty-two. Alexander Dean settled in the township in 1839. He was the first to locate lands, selecting the northeast quarter of section twenty-one. The manner in which this tract came to be located by him is quite amusing. Mr. Dean and fifteen others came into the country to select homes and lands, with the understanding that the right of first choice should be decided among them by lot. So they drew, and lo and behold the lot fell upon -- not Jonah, but Alexander, and he therefore exercised the right of first choice by selecting the piece just mentioned.
These sixteen persons located land contiguous to each other, and moving to the township a short time afterward, organized it, and resided there along for a number of years -- or until about the year 1844, or 1845, when they were joined by Horace Colby, Philip Becker, the two Thompsons, and others. The first township meeting was held at the residence of Barton Johnson, in the spring of 1839.
Among the other early settlers of the township were the following named persons: Thomas Addison, John Austin, Sabin Johnson, Benjamin Botsford, David Haynes, Lauren Austin, Iram Barnes, Anson Ensign, Philo Beers, James Kinyon, the Rounds and Hunting families, Zenas B. White, and others.
The present township of Courtland, together with some five other townships, were united under the name of Courtland, about 1839. Subsequently Algoma was detached from this organization, and still later by a legislative mistake, Oakfield and Courtland were reorganized under the euphonious name of Wabasis.
The first officers of the township were: Supervisor, Philo Beers; Clerk, Thomas Addison. The records do not give the names of the persons filling the less important offices.
are Supervisor, Wm. H. Myers; Clerk, Isaac M. Hunting; Treasurer, Frederick C. Stegaman; Justices of the Peace, Joseph Salkeld, Henry D. Burlingame, Wm. H. Myers, Thomas Addision; Commissioners of Highways, Simon P. Peterson, Ezra Stoner, Jos. Salkeld; Constables, Robert Carlyle, John Peterson, Peter Cudington, Cornelius Richardson; School Inspectors, Nelson Graham, Charles H. Carlyle.
of Courtland is mostly good. The southern part is what is called timbered openings; the northern part is timbered with pine, mixed with hard wood, and the soil is less productive than the southern part. There are many better townships, but yet there is some land within its bounds that cannot be outdone in the production of the staple crops.
There are many fine farms in Courtland, among which are those of Alexander Dean, Joseph F. Hayes, Calvin and Almon Thompson, Philip Becker, Jacob Snyder, Daniel S. Moore, Edward S. Fuller, Nathan D. Saunders, Zenas B. White, Wm. H. Myers, Horace Colby, Robert Cornell and Noah R. Ashley.
In this township are few in number. Silver Lake, the largest, is situated on sections twenty-seven and twenty-eight. It is triangular in shape, being about one and one-half miles in length by one half mile in breadth in the widest place. It has fine gravelly banks, and is one of the most beautiful lakes in the country. Johnson Lake, a small, but fine body of water, is situated on the southeasterly portion of section twenty-two. Big and Little Brower Lakes are situated on the southern part of section thirty-four. Both of them are small.
THE SCHOOL HOUSES
are numbered and located as follows: The Round's school house, in district No. 8, is located on the south line of section thirty, is a small, red, frame structure and was built in the year 1860.
The Stinson school house, in district No. 1, is situated on the south line of section twenty-eight. It is a wooden building, painted white, and was built some twelve years ago.
The Shank school house, district No. 2 , is situated on the south line of section twenty-eight. It is a wooden building, painted white, and was built some twelve years ago.
The Graham school house, in district No. 7, a small, frame building, painted white, is located on the east line of section twenty-seven.
The Becker school house, in district No. 4, is located on the south line of section twenty-five. It is a small, white, framed structure, and has been built some fifteen years.
The Smith school house, in district No. 6, is built of logs, and is situated on the north line of section two.
The Courtland Center school house, in district No. 3, is located on the north line of section twenty-two, one-half mile east of the center of the township. It is a fine, framed structure, painted white, and has been standing but two years.
The Benham school house, in district No. 5, is located on the west line of section nine. It is a framed building, painted red, and was erected in the year 1860.
The Becker Shingle Mill, Jacob Becker, proprietor, is located on the north line of section twenty-three. It was built in the year 1868.
The Davis steam saw and shingle mill combined, is located near the center of section 10. It was erected in the year 1869. Hiram R. Davis, proprietor.
The Becker saw mill, Garrett Becker, proprietor, is located near the northwest corner of section eight. It was erected in the year 1867.
The Anderson saw mill, John H. Anderson, proprietor, is located near the south line of section 7, on Potter Creek. It was built in the year 1866.
The Porter shingle mill, Dennis Porter, proprietor, is located on Porter Creek, near the center of section 7. It was built in the year 1868.
COURTLAND CENTER HOUSE
is the only hotel in the township. It is situated at Courtland Center, on the southwest corner of section 15. It is a fine, framed structure.