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Grand Rapids Township Organizes
The first township election in Kent (or Grand Rapids) township was held April 4, 1834, in the house of Joel Guild, and nine voters were present. Rix Robinson was chosen moderator and Jonathan F. Chubb secretary pro tem. The nine voters elected the following officers: Town clerk, Eliphalet H. Turner; supervisor, Rix Robinson; assessors, Joel Guild and Barney Burton; collector, Ira Jones; poor-master, Luther Lincoln; constables, Myron Roys and Ira Jones; overseer of the highways, Jonathan F. Chubb.
According to the record it seems that every one of the nine voters was elected to an office, but they were determined to start with a full-fledged government--and they did.
The newly-elected officers at once began transacting business. The voted "that a fence five feet high shall be a lawful fence," and "that Luther Lincoln, Jonathan F. Chubb, Gideon H. Gordon and Barney Burton shall act as fence viewers." The township receipts for the first year appear from the records to have been $66.50; expenses, $45.12; leaving $21.38 in the hands of the supervisor.
May 9,1835, the first school district was established by the town board. It was a large district and thus early the foundation was laid for a liberal system of public schools, and every year a goodly sum for those times was voted, to be raised by tax, for their support--in some years as much as $200.
In April, 1836, it was voted "that a bounty of $5 be paid for every wolf scalp taken in this town."
April 2, 1838, the voters met at a dwelling house and adjourned to the court house. Ezekiel W. Davis was chosen moderator. The meeting voted that $200 should be raised in support of the poor. Evidently the financial crash of the year before had begun to show its results. The meeting also voted that $3 be paid for the scalp of every wolf taken in the town and $1 for every wolf's whelp, and that $50 be raised by taxes for this purpose. In this and several subsequent years it was voted that meat stock, horses, and hogs, with certain exceptions should be "free commoners." Charles Shepard, town clerk, was allowed $10.38, Antoine Campau, assessor, $15; Henry P. Bridge, assessor, $18 for services.
At the annual meeting April 6, 1840, 139 votes were polled. Poundmaster John W. Peirce was authorized to select a "sight" for a pound and to receive funds for the same when collected. Also, $150 was voted for the support of the poor and $200 for the support of the public schools.
February 16, 1842, the name of the township was changed from Kent to Grand Rapids. At the April meeting $300 was voted for contingent expenses for the ensuing year and $200 for primary schools. During the year accounts allowed totaled $184, and in the next year, 1843, the expenditures were $257.26.
In the spring election of 1845 a vote was taken on the license question, with this result: For license, 89; no license, 121.
In 1848, $10 was voted for killing Canada thistles, "to be paid to Billius Stocking upon his satisfying the board that he has destroyed the same."
At the April, 1850, election 414 votes were cast, indicating that the drab days were over and that the newcomers were again increasing in numbers. In May of that year the City of Grand Rapids came into existence, extinguishing within its limits the township form of government.
Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
Created: 14 December 1999