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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 Spencer is situated in the northeast corner of the county, and is bounded on the north by the township of Maple Valley, Montcalm County, on the east by Montcalm, Montcalm County, on the south by Oakfield, and on the west by Nelson.
The first white inhabitant of Spencer was an old trapper, by the name of Lincoln. He had a shanty on the bank of the lake of that name, and there he lived, Boon like, for a number of years.
The first regular settler of the township was Cyrus B. Thomas, who located in the summer of 1846. Henry Stroup, the second settler, located in January 1848. Both of these settled on a plain in the southeastern part of the township, near the Oakfield line; and, for a number of years, were the only actual settlers. Matthew B. Hatch, the present Supervisor of Spencer, and one of the earliest settlers, came to the township in 1853. In the list of early settlers may also be mentioned the names of S. B. Cowles, B. G. Parks, Jacob Van Zandt, Wm. H. Hewitt, Wm. T. Parshall, Daniel Haskins, the Cooper family, and others.
The township of Celsus was organized in the year 1861, and the first township meeting was held on the first Monday of April, in the same year, at the residence of Thomas Spencer. Matthew B. Hatch, Thomas Spencer, and Shepard B. Cowles, acted as inspectors of election. The election resulted in the choice of the following named persons as
FIRST TOWNSHIP OFFICERS
Supervisor -- Freeman Van Wickle. Clerk -- Henry A. Freeman. Treasurer -- Daniel Haskins. Commissioners of Highways -- Wm. W. Hewitt and Freeman Van Wickle. Justices -- Wm. W. Hewitt, Edwin D. Clark. School Inspectors -- Hiram Conse and Alfred Hulburt. Constables -- Wm. H. Smith, Geo. McClelland, Henry Strope, and Darius Gray.
Supervisor -- Matthew B. Hatch. Clerk -- Aaron Norton. Treasurer -- Beriah G. Parks. Justices -- Warren F. Getman, Samuel Van Wickle, Avery J. Sutton, Edward H. Smith. Commissioners of Highways -- Edwin Wilson, John Moran. School Inspectors -- Wm. B. Powell, Shepard B. Cowles. Constable -- Joseph DeGraw.
of Spencer is, as might be supposed, rather poor, the timber being principally pine. There are, however, some pieces of good land, which it pays to cultivate. There are some fine farms within its limits, among which are those owned by M. B. Hatch, Owen D. Cooper, Beriah G. Parks, Edward H. Smith, Fayette Hough, and Wm. Rittinger.
Spencer is inconveniently located, having no railroad within its limits, and no railroad station within a number of miles; nevertheless, it is fast setting up, and everything indicates that a few years will greatly increase its population and wealth. The first
establishment, on Black Creek, was commenced in 1853. During the year 1870, one million feet were run out of that steam. The Van Wickle saw mill is located on the same creek, near the south line of section twenty-five. It was built in the year 1856: H. Van Wickle, proprietor. The Powell steam saw and shingle mill, combined, is situated on the bank of Lincoln Lake, on section twenty-seven. It was built in 1867: Wm. B. Powell, proprietor. The Parks steam saw mill, near the center of section seven, was built in 1868: E. H. Gibbs, proprietor. The Griswold steam saw and shingle mill, combined, is located near the southwest corner of section twenty-nine. It was built in the year 1868: Jabes W. Griswold, proprietor. The Spencer Mills, from which the Post-office and settlement derived its name, was built in 1855, by Thomas Spencer, near the southeast corner of
section twenty-seven. It was burned in the year 1861.
is the principal stream that flows through Spencer. It enters from the northwest, and passes southeasterly through the township. It is of sufficient width and depth to float logs, and a number of millions of feet are run out every year. It has several small tributaries, among which are Clear and Butterworth Creeks.
in this township, Lincoln is the largest. It is a fine sheet of water, situated a short distance east of the center of the township, and is nearly one and one-half miles in length, by one mile in width. Cooper Lake, in the easterly part of section thirty-five, is a narrow strip of water, surrounded by a marsh. There is a lake in the southwesterly part of section thirty-four, composed of two distinct sections, connected by a narrow neck. Conjointly they are about one-half mile in length. North of Lincoln Lake is an assemblage of small lakes, extending through the township into Maple Valley, in Montcalm county.
Our list shows but three
in Spencer. The first is held at the Griswold School House, in fractional district No. 1. The building is a fine, wooden structure, painted white, and stands near the southwest corner of section twenty-nine. It was built in 1869. The second is held at the Hatch School House, in district No. 3. This is a substantial wooden building, is located at the center of section seventeen, and was built in 1867. The third is held at the Mill School House, in regular district No. 1. The building is a fine, slate-colored wooden structure. It was erected in 1861.
in Spencer is in the southeast corner of section twenty-seven. Oliver P. McClure, Postmaster.