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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.

The township of Kent was organized April 14, 1834. There does not appear to have been any certain limits to the organization, but it is supposed to have embraced all the settlements within the present County of Kent. The records from that time to the present are now in the possession of the township clerk. The division, now called the township of Grand Rapids, received its name in April 1842.

The first township meeting was held at the house of Joel Guild, April 4, 1834. This house stood on the present site of the City National Bank, and was the only frame building in the county except that occupied as a Catholic Church. The officers elected were: Supervisor -- Rix Robinson; Clerk -- Eliphalet Turner; Assessors -- Joel Guild and Barney Burton; Collector -- Ira Jones. This is the same election that was referred to in the history of Ada, to be found in another place.

At the time of the organization, and for several years thereafter, the taxes were collected by the collector, and paid over to the supervisor, and disbursed by him. In 1839, a treasurer was elected. The first entry on his book reads as follows: "May 14, 1839, received of E. W. Davis, supervisor, eight dollars, on the Grand River Bank. Three dollars on the Ypsilanti Bank, one dollar and twenty-five cents on the Bank of Pontiac, and sixty-two cents in specie." Amount of taxes collected the year previous, $174.00. This includes all the taxes collected in what is now Grand Rapids town and city, Ada and Paris. The rapid growth and prosperity of the township will be seen when it is stated that the taxes collected for the year 1869 in Grand Rapids township amounted to $7,763.00.

The first settler within the present limits of the township was Ezekiel Davis, who located on section thirty-four in 1834. He also erected the first house. During the same summer Lewis Reed, Ezra Reed, Porter Reed, David S. Leavitt, Robert M. Barr, settled in the township. James McCrath, George Young, and Simeon Stewart settled in the year 1836. Robert Thompson, John W. Fisk, and Mathew Taylor settled in the year 1837. Mr. Fisk erected the first hotel, now known as the Lake House.


of the township are: Supervisor -- Foster Tucker; Clerk -- Charles J. Manktelow; Treasurer -- Henry B. Davis.


is of good quality, excepting that in the northeastern part of the township. The land is usually rolling, yet in places is quite hilly. The town us generally adapted to the production of wheat and other grain, and is equally well adapted to fruit culture. There are several small marshes in the town, but the largest and most productive is on section eight, and contains about one hundred and fifty acres. The principal part of it belongs to the estate of Obed H. Foote. Saddle Bag Swamp contains about three hundred acres, and is situated on sections twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five and twenty-six. There are a few more swamps, but all of them are small.

There are twelve


in the township. The largest is Reed's. This lake is well known to the citizens of Grand Rapids, being a recognized summer resort for pleasure seekers. Grounds have recently been fitted up and tastily laid out with walks by the Grand Rapids Boat Club, which will add greater attraction to the place. On the north side of the lake is the "Lake House," whose present proprietor is Delos Drew, Esq. Boats and fishing tackle are kept by H. B. Miller and John Paul on the south side, for the use of visitors.



excitement which has run so high throughout the State during the past summer, has not passed us by. One of those "Fountains of Youth" has been discovered on the banks of the lake just mentioned, which is supposed to be of considerable medicinal value. The water has been analyzed by Prof. Kedzie, of Lansing, who makes the following report:


Carbonate of lime 11.59
Carbonate of magnesia 10.80
Carbonate of iron .50
Sulphate of lime 1.49
Common salt .95
Silica 1.10
Organic matter and loss 1.96
Free carbonic acid 17.1-6"

The public


in this township are in a flourishing condition, every inhabitant being attached to a regularly organized school district.

Lake school house, in District No. 3, is situated on the southwest corner of section five, was erected in the year 1863. It is a neat, substantial wooden building.

Knapp school house, in district No. 7, situated on section seventeen, is a wooden structure. It was erected in the year 1850.

The school house in district No. 5, situated on section thirty-six, near the residence of James H. Martin, was erected in the year 1852. It is a wooden building.

The school house in district No. 2, situated on section twenty-five, near Perry Hills, is a substantial wooden structure with a bell. It was erected in the year 1869.

The school house in district No. 9, situated on the southwest corner of section eleven, was constructed of wood, in the year 1850.

The school house in district No. 10, located on section ten, was erected in the year 1860. It was constructed of wood.

The Beckwith school house in district No. 11, situated on section sixteen, was erected in the year 1860. It is a very neat, wooden structure.

The school house in district No. 4, situated on Bridge street, on section number twenty-one, was erected in the year 1860. Material, wood.

There are two


in the township. The Powers Hotel, and the Lake House. The former is situated near the city limits and is kept by A. Powers. The latter is situated near Reed's and is kept by Delos Drew. Owning to its proximity to the city this township has no post office, mill, factory, machine shop, store or church.

Transcriber: JKG
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/directory1870/grandrapidstwp.html 
Created: 23 April 1999[an error occurred while processing this directive]