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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.
VERGENNES

Vergennes is bounded on the north by Grattan, on the east by Keene, Ionia County, on the south by Lowell, and on the west by Ada.

Sylvester Hedges, the first white settler in the township, came from the State of New York, in the year 1836. He transplanted the first apple trees put out in the township of Lowell, also assisted in building the first house where the village of Lowell now stands. The trees referred to, may now be seen standing on a lot owned by Mrs. Caroline Snell, near the bank of Flat River, a short distance from the road leading from the village to the D. & M. Railroad depot.

The township of Vergennes was organized in the year 1838. The first township meeting was held on the second day of April, of the same year, when the following persons were chosen as

FIRST TOWNSHIP OFFICERS

Supervisor -- Rodney Robinson. Clerk -- M. Patrick.  Assessors -- Lewis Robinson, T. L. Daniels, John M. Fox.  Collector -- Porter Ralph.  School Inspectors -- Everett Wilson, Lewis Robinson, George Brown.  Directors of the Poor -- Everett Wilson, Chas. Newton. Commissioners of Highways -- Lucas Robinson, Henry Daines, P. W. Fox.  Constables -- Porter Ralph, A. D. Smith, O. H. Jones, Jas. S. Fox.

We are informed by Benj. Fairchild, Esq., that at this time there were only about nineteen families in the township. This gentleman, who went there during the year 1838, says that, as he passed through the township of Lowell, on his way from Canada, he counted but three houses. For several years the farmers in that vicinity were obliged to take their grist to Ionia, to Grandville, or to Kalamazoo to be ground. Considering the poor roads which the scattered community were thus tormented with, and the bridgeless streams which must be crossed, such journeys seemed quite uninviting.

Reader, have you ever traveled through a new country? If you have, you can understand the meaning of the expression poor roads, horrid roads. You who have not, I would advise to take a trip into the northern part of the State of Michigan immediately after a heavy rain. A trip of that kind will benefit your ? as much as a voyage on the lakes, during rough weather.

The entire county was then a howling wilderness. Grand Rapids could boast of but half a score of houses, with most of them owned by one man; and two stores, one kept by Uncle Louis and the other by a man named Watson.

Among the early settlers may be mentioned the following: Silas S. Fallass, who settled in the year 1838, J. Wesley Fallass, in 1839, Lucas Robinson, in 1837, Thompson I. Daniels, in 1837, James Wells, in 1842, A. R. Hoag, in 1842, Sylvester Hedges, in 1836, James S. Fox, 1836,William P. Perrin, in 1837, Alexander Rogers, in 1837, Alanson K. Shaw, in 1839, Emery Foster, in 1837, Newcomb Godfrey, in 1838, Amos Hedges, in 1838, Eliab Walker, in 1838, Christopher Misner, in 1838, Morgan Lyon, in 1838, Benjamin Fairchild, in 1838, John Branagan, in 1837, Alfred Van Deusen, in 1838, Adam Van Deusen, in 1840.

THE SOIL

of Vergennes is mostly heavy; yet along the banks of Flat River we found some quite light and sandy. The greater portion of the township consists of what might be called oak openings. We noticed a belt of timbered land extending south from Eagle or Horse Shoe Lake, one and one-half miles wide, and four miles in length, reaching into sections twenty and twenty-one; also a short strip of timbered land on the west side of the same lake.

The township is well watered by Flat River, and numerous little tributaries through the easterly and central part, and Honey Creek, which passes through three sections on the westerly tier.

THE PRESENT OFFICERS

of the township are: Supervisor -- J. W. Walker. Clerk -- John L. Covert.  Treasurer -- James Casey.  Justice -- Joseph S. Jasper, J. L. B. Kerr, Dennis Driscoll, John L. Covert. Constable -- John Hull.

The site now occupied by

THE VILLAGE OF FALLASSBURG

was settled upon about the year 1840, by the family or families from which it derived its name.

The two mills and the hotel therein situate were erected before the thriving village of Lowell had commenced to be built up. Fallassburg Grist Mill situated on Flat River -- a three-story wooden building -- was erected in the 18? Proprietor, J. Wesley Fallass. Hecox's Saw Mill, situated there, is an old three-story building. The upper part is occupied as a chair manufacturer. It was erected in 1839: Proprietor, Charles Hecox.

Fallassburg supports one store, which has been in operation for many years and the building was erected before any similar structure in the village of Lowell. The village school house, located in the easterly part of the burgh, is a wooden structure, painted white. It was built in the summer of 1867.

FLAT RIVER

passes into Vergennes from the east, three-quarters of a mile south of the northeasterly corner of the township, when it curves and passes back into Ionia county at a point about three-quarters of a mile south of the place of entrance. It enters on section thirteen, and meandering southwesterly, passes out near the quarter post, on the south line of section thirty-five. It forms a junction with Grand at the village of Lowell.

THE LAKES

of Vergennes are nearly all small. Eagle, or Nagle, or Horse Shoe Lake, projects a short distance into the town. eagle was once the most familiar name. It was thus christened, after a bird of that species, which built its nest in a large oak, on an island or peninsula in the lake. From its resemblance to a horse shoe it sometimes passes by that name. It has an outlet called Lake Creek, which is a tributary of Flat River.

Odell lake is situated near the center of section twenty-nine. It is fifty rods in width, and has an average depth of thirteen feet. The lake and surrounding swamp cover about eighty acres.

Cole's Lake, situate on the east half of section thirty, is a shallow sheet of water, covering ten acres. Miller's Lake, situated on the west half of section twenty-nine, is quite deep, and covers four or five acres.

Long Lake, situated on section nineteen, is a fine body of water, about three quarters of a mile in length, with an average width of thirty rods. It is frequented by pleasure seeks in both summer and winter.

Vergennes has good educational facilities. Its

SCHOOLS

are well organized and are supplied with competent teachers. The school buildings are generally good, though not costly, and present a tidy appearance.

The Valley School House situated on the south part of section twelve, is a plain, wooden structure. It was once white, but the elements have produced their natural effects upon it, until now it presents a wood-colored appearance.

Bailey School house, situated on the northeast corner of the northwest quarter of section twenty-nine, is a plain, white, wooden structure. It was built in 1855.

The school house at Fox's Corners is a beautiful, new, wooden building, is located on an eminence at the southeast part of section twenty-seven, and was built in 1870. The McPherson school house is situated on the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section eighteen. It was a white wooden building, built in 1861.

The Aldrich school house, situate at the center of section nine, is constructed, is quite old, and, to all appearances, is becoming unsafe. The people of this district intend to build a new one ere long.

The Kelsey school house, situate on the northeast corner of section thirty-two, were erected in 1852. It is a red wooden building.

Earle school house, situated on the northeast corner of section two, is a plain, wooden structure. It was built in the year 1856. The Godfrey school house, situated on the south half of the southeast quarter of section two, is an old wooden building. It was built about twenty-five years ago.

The Water's school house, situated on the northwest corner of section twenty-?, is a neat wooden structure, painted white. It was built in 1868.

There are two

CHURCHES

in Vergennes, outside the village of Fallasburg. The First  Methodist Episcopal church is situated on the southwest corner of section twenty, within a short distance of Long Lake. It is a substantial wooden building, painted white, and has a capacity to seat three or four hundred persons. The present pastor of the congregation who worships there, is the Rev. Charles Chick. The First Christian Church of Vergennes, situated at the southwest corner of section two, was built in 1868, and is a substantial wooden structure, painted white. The Wesleyan Methodists in this vicinity also hold their meetings in the same building.

There are two grist

MILLS

and one saw mill in Vergennes, outside the village of Fallassburg. The Foster grist mill is situated on Flat River, on section twenty-six. It is a three-story wooden structure, painted white. Proprietors, T. W. Fox & Co.

Alton grist mill is situated on the northeast corner of section ten, on Wood's Creek. It is a two-story wooden building, used exclusively for mill purposes. Proprietor, Thomas B. Woodbury.

Ring's Saw Mill and Wagon Shop, are situated on the northwest corner of section ten, on Wood's Creek. The mill contains one upright saw. Proprietor, Edmund Ring.

There are

BLACKSMITH SHOPS

at the following places: Northwest corner of section twenty-nine; northwest corner of the southwest quarter of section fifteen (Lewis Smith, proprietor); and northwest corner of section thirty-four.


Transcriber: JKG
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/directory1870/vergennes.html  
Created: 10 May 1999[an error occurred while processing this directive]