Michigan Pioneer Collection
Vol. 6; 1883; pages 328-338
Memorial Report by Robert Hilton, V.P.
Kent County, MI
 


JUDGE LOVELL MOORE
Judge Lovell Moore died Nov. 24,1882. He was among the oldest and best known of the "Old Residents" or pioneers of this city. He was born at Shirley, Mass., March 23, 1797. When he was fourteen years of age his father's family moved to Dalton, N.H., and engaged in farming. In his youth he was not rugged, and soon abandoned the farm and went to St. Johnsbury, Vt., where he engaged as a clerk in a store, and also learned the trade of engraver of marbles and tombstones, serving a regular apprenticeship. His brothers John and Hiram being in business at Savannah, Georgia, he went there for his health, and staid one year; then returned to St. Johnsbury and studied law in the office of Joseph P. Fairbanks. He married, April 14, 1819, Tirzah West of St. Johnsbury, who died Mary 17, 1824, leaving two sons---Lovell Moore, Jr., now living in Brandon, Wis., and Presbury West Moore who died at Fort Independence in 1849, aged 25. He again married, Dec. 14,1828, Lucy Fuller, who survives him, now in somewhat feeble health, and of whose children three are now living--Mrs. Tirzah Hall, of Ripon, Wis.; Mrs. Eliza J. Safford, and Julia Ann Moore. Horace C., a son, died in 1851, aged seven, and Charles F. died in Mobile in 1875, aged 44.

In April 1831, the three brothers, John, Hiram and Lovell Moore, the two former having removed from Georgia to Vermont, started west and explored Michigan Territory, and made extensive purchases of lands where are now Comstock, Galesburg and Climax, Kalamazoo county, and began some improvements, breaking land and putting in crops. They then went back, and in October of the same year left St. Johnsbury to make Michigan their permanent home, accompanied by Henry Little, a brother-in-law of Lovell, and family. They were thirty-three days on the journey, arriving at Galesburg, November 5. The Moores erected a saw-mill at Comstock that winter, and public records of Kalamazoo county tell of a meeting held April 3, 1832, at which Lovell Moore was clerk, to organize the north half of the county into a township to be called Arcadia. That must have extended to Grand River.

In the fall of 1836 Lovell Moore came to Grand Rapids with his family and occupied the old Baptist Mission House on the west side of the river. He opened a law office on the east side, about where Leonard & Son's crockery store now is on Monroe street, and kept an Indian canoe, with his name painted on the side, for crossing the river. He was soon after chosen a justice of the peace, and took part in determining many of the disputes in law of those days. He was a conspicuous figure in the local bar of the early days, being of ready speech, a genial, buoyant disposition, and always ready for a friendly tilt with any comer; also eminently social and companionable in society circles.

About 1840, Mr. Moore moved into and soon after purchased the house on the corner of Fulton and Division streets, which has ever since been the family residence. It is one of the oldest frame houses in the city. In 1854 he was nominated by the convention of the free democratic party, which me in Jackson February 22, and to which he was a delegate, as candidate for Secretary of State; but as the republican party was organized at the same place in July following, some changes of names on the ticket were involved, his being one of those dropped. He had been a Whig, before joining that movement, and in later years of his life he acted with the democratic party. In 1855 he was elected Recorder of the city, and presided over the Recorder's Court for a year.

Soon after this his health began to fail, and, though he was able still for a long time, intermittently, to be upon the streets, and attend to some business, he many years ago retired from active professional duties, and for several years preceding his death was an invalid, confined mostly to his home; where he has been assiduously and tenderly ministered to by his youngest daughter, Julia Ann, whose constant and filial care of her aged parents furnishes an example of untiring, affectionate solicitude and devotion that is praiseworthy beyond the power of words to express.

Mr. Moore was a man of good business capacity, a prudent and turstworthy counselor, a man of thorough integrity, appreciated and greatly esteemed by a large circle of friends; a model husband and father, loved and beloved in his family and all in intimate relations with him and them. He was a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity, of high standing in its councils, had been Grand Master and Grand High Priest of the State, and was the recipient of many valuable testimonials of esteem from the ancient order. His religious tenets were those of the Protestant Episcopal Church; he was a zealous and exemplary member of St. Mark's, and among the early patrons who have contributed to its prosperity. A resident of Grand Rapids nearly fifty years; one who participated in the early struggles, aided in the development and lived to share in the successes of our city, and always took a lively interest in things pertaining to its welfare; prominent in the social circles of a community whose members are passing away, ------a retrospection of the life of Lovell Moore brings to the mind's eye of every "Old Resident" almost a panoramic view of the entire history of the city and valley. He goes peacefully and in confident hope through the dark vale appointed for the exit of all living from the shores of time. And an entire community join in respectful and heartfelt sympathy with his aged widow, surviving children and other relatives, rendering tribute to the memory of the departed, their friend for half a century.

The funeral of Lovell Moore which occurred from St. Mark's church under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Michigan F. & A. M., was an occasion long to be remembered from its imposing nature. It was a fitting demonstration in honor of the fine old man whose life went out after eighty-six years of existence, fifty of them in the city, and most of the fifty in the house where he died.  Nearly three hundred Masons from all parts of the State were out, among them some of the best known persons in the State, to do the dead honor. Heavy delegations were present from Muskegon, Grand Haven, Rockford, Lowell, and smaller ones from all parts of west Michigan.

Among the eminent members and ex-members of the Grand Lodge of Michigan out to honor the remains of ex-Grand Master Moore were Alanson Partridge of Birmingham, grand master; R.W. Landon of Niles, grand treasurer; David Patterson of Detroit, grand junior warden; W. P. Innes of Grand Rapids, grand secretary; Henry Chamberlain of Three Oads, Daniel Stricker of Hastings, and A. T. Metcalf of Kalamazoo, ex-grand masters, and many others.

(...goes on to explain the procession and resolutions to express sympathy to the family. ~RA)

RICHARD GODFROY
Richard Godfroy, one of the pioneers of Grand Rapids and of this Valley, died Oct. 30, 1882, at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. S. J. Sarsfield, in Muskegon. Mr. Godfroy was quite generally known throughout the State among the old residents, and highly esteemed for his probity of personal character, and for his genial and social disposition. He was born in June, 1809, and was the son of Gabriel Godfroy, original patentee of lands where the city of Ypsilanti now stands. He came to Grand Rapids in 1832, and for some years previous to that was an Indian Agent at Lowell, this county. His daughter, now Mrs. Sarsfield, was the first white child born here, outside of the missionary stations. In the early days, with the Campaus, he was prominent in the Indian trade here. About four weeks ago he suffered a stroke of paralysis, from the prostration of which he never fully rallied. He was a member of the Old Residents' Association. For some fifteen years past his home has been mainly with the family of his son-in-law, Dr. S. R. Wooster, at Muskegon and in this city. He was one of comparatively few who have lived to witness nearly all the growth and development of this State from its primal wilderness condition, and one who will be long and lovingly remembered by a wide circle of friends.

JAMES M. NELSON
James M. Nelson died January 18, 1883, aged 74 years. He was born at Milford, Worcester county, Mass., November 17, 1809, and was therefore in his 74th year when he died. He was a son of Ezra Nelson, who was captain of the artillery company of Milford, which went into the war of 1812. Mr. Nelson came westward in 1836, at the age of 26, and although originally intending to embark in business in a small way at Green Bay, Wisconsin, then in the far west, when he reached Detroit the advantages of Grand Rapids as a business location were called to his notice and he altered his mind and came hither instead. A brother, George, had preceded him, and when he arrived here the two engaged in business together. In 1838 Mr. Nelson built the first raft that ever floated to the mouth of Grand River. In 1840 he became postmaster of this city, and continued to hold that position four years. He gradually increased his business interests as years passed and the city grew, and for fifteen years he was engaged in lumbering. In 1859 he retired from the lumber business and engaged in milling with Martin L. Sweet as a partner. He remained in this business only four years, retiring in 1863  to enter the furniture manufacture, purchasing with his brother Ezra T., a half interest in the factory and business of C. C. Comstock. From that year he has been the head, through its various changes, of what for some years past has been the firm Nelson, Matter & Co. Mr. Nelson was regarded in all furniture circles as one of the foremost of the pioneers of the early furniture trade and stood near the head of the successful furniture manufacturers of the country. As a private citizen he was unblemished, and not alone respected but having the cordial good will and esteem of all. As a business man he early made his mark in the western wilderness and all along through the half-century that he lived in Grand Rapids was one of its most vigorous and energetic citizens. He was one of the little group of honest, sturdy, brainy men who away back in the days when Grand Rapids was but just founded, by their enterprise, business worth, and earnest labor laid the foundations for its present proud growth and material prosperity. And he is among the last of them. As years pass on they rapidly grow less, and within a few years the last of them will have passed from the scene of their active existence. The loss of none of these venerated pioneers will be more keenly felt than that of Mr. Nelson. During his residence of nearly fifty years in Grand Rapids he established wide acquaintance and lasting friendship. He was as well known as any citizen, and what can not be said of many men, respect and esteem were co-extensive with acquaintance. Something of the feeling entertained for the dead pioneer by workmen of the city, particularly of those of his employ, was pathetically evidenced during his last long illness. Nearly every day some of these people came to the residence with little things of their selection, tid-bits and delicacies they thought might please him. Mr. Nelson died a comparatively painless death, in the fullness of years, with relatives about him, and in a city where living fifty years he leaves nothing but a respected name, an honored memory. In so much as death can be robbed of its sting to the family these facts must tend to lessen the supreme bitterness of his relatives' sorrow. Mr. Nelson was twice married, first in 1839 to Mrs. Abba Gray, of Boston, Mass. She died in 1858. In 1860 he married Mrs. Anna M. Sargeant who died in 1872. Four daughters survive him, Mrs. Stephen H. Ballard, of Colorado, Miss Abbie R. Nelson, Mrs. E. W. Wright, and Mrs. Fred A. Maynard, of this city.

ALONZO PLATT
Alonzo Platt was born in Stephentown, Rensselaer county, N.Y., upon the 10th day of January, 1806, and died November 18, 1882, and was therefore nearly 77 years old at the time of his demise. His mother was a descendant of the French Huguenots. He received a literary education at Lenox, Berkshire county, Mass., and was about beginning a collegiate course when an attack of inflammation of the eyes compelled him to abandon his project. In 1825 he began the study of medicine in the office of a Lebanon, N.Y., physician. In December, 1829, he graduated from Berkshire Medical college. After his graduation, he practiced his profession for two years in Port Gibson, N.Y., coming in the spring of 1832---over fifty years ago---to Ann Arbor, in this State. He practiced there for a full decade, in 1842, removing to this city. He was the oldest surviving practitioner, in point of years of residence here, in continuous practice the while, in this city, with the exception of Dr. Charles Shepard, who, though younger, antedates him in years of residence with us. For many years he was in most active practice and had an extensive list of families for whose health he card during all this time. He was a very popular, careful, reliable, and successful physician. For a couple of years past he has been in failing health, but it is only within the last few weeks that he has given up work. During the war the doctor was surgeon of the enrolling board for this congressional district. he had for many years been prominently connected with the Grand Rapids medical society and other county and State organizations devoted to medical science. He was of the old school of practitioners, straightforward, trustworthy, and painstaking, and was in high repute among those old residents who knew him best. He was very charitable in his nature, much of a philanthropist, and took an active part in the foundation of St. Mark's Home, and for some time thereafter kept a free dispensary at his house. In politics he was first a Whig, and afterward a republican; in religion Episcopalian, having been for thirty years a warden of St. Mark's church. He was married in the fall of 1832 to Laurella, daughter of Stoddard Smith, a prominent lawyer of Greene county, N.Y. She survives him. For several winters last past, since the doctor's health has been declining, he and his wife have summered each year in Florida. The immediate cause of his death was kidney complaint, aggravated by a general breaking down of the system. He had been a great sufferer for  some days. His name will live in the memory of the people of Grand Rapids for years as a synonym for honesty, uprightness, and charity, and his death will be widely lamented.

A called meeting of the Kent county medical society was held at Dr. Shepard's office to take formal action on the death of Dr. Platt. There were present Drs. Shepard, Johnson, Boice,Wood, Wooster, Chipman, Brady, Gerrick, Shultz, Miller, Hoskins, and Sleigh. Drs. Boice, Brady, and Miller were appointed a committee to draft appropriate resolutions, and it was decided that the resolutions should be given to the daily papers for publication, and a copy of them with the official seal of the society and the names of the present officers should be sent to the widow of the deceased. The committee afterward made a formal report, and it was decided that the physicians who wished to attend the funeral should assemble at Dr. Shepard's office at 12:30 p.m., when the members of the profession shall proceed to St. Mark's church in a body. Drs. Johnson and Chipman were named as pall-bearers. The other pall-bearers will be two vestrymen of St. Mark's, and two representatives of the Old Settlers' Society.

HENRY BREMER
Henry Bremer died at his residence on Trowbridge street, Grand Rapids, May 20, 1883. The anatomical injuries sustained from a fall from his wagon were the fracture of some ribs and contusion about the head and face. The most serious complication, however, was the shock to the nervous system, from which the vital organs failed to react. He bore the most intense sufferings quietly and patiently, and his death was one of remarkable peacefulness, corresponding to the life he had lived.

Mr. Bremer was born in Germany, November 28, 1806, and was therefore in his 77th year. He received a collegiate education, graduating from Petershogen college with high honors in 1839, and emigrated to America the same year, coming at once to Ohio, where he remained two years. He then went to Detroit, where he resided for ten years. For a time he was a teacher in the German schools of that city, but subsequently he engaged in mercantile transactions, establishing himself in the soap and candle business. In 1850, he moved to this city, engaging in the same business, which he pursued prosperously for several years. In 1855 he purchased a stock of groceries on the corner of Canal and Lyon streets, where he did business until 1860. In 1861 he was elected city marshal on the republican ticket, serving one year. He then purchased a meat market, which he operated for a short time. In 1872 and 1874 he was elected county treasurer, and from 1879 he served two terms as city comptroller. In all these trusts, he was a faithful, painstaking officer.

Mr. Bremer was one of the organizers of the German Evangelical Lutheran church in this city, and constantly served it in an official capacity. He was also a member of the Old Residents' Association, and was held in high esteem by the members of that society. He was married in 1844 to Miss Maria Ackermann, a native of Germany, who survives him. No children were ever born to the couple, but they adopted a child in infancy and reared her as their own. She is now the wife of Mr. William G. Herpolsheimer.

Mr. Bremer was of a genial disposition, and although quiet and unobtrusive, invariably won the respect and warm friendship of all with whom he came in contact. His beaming face and cheerful heart will be sadly missed by many.

The funeral was held from the German Lutheran church at the corner of Bridge and North Division streets, and there was a very large attendance, the church being crowded. The old Settlers were out in a body and Mayor Angell and the common council wee present to witness the last sad offices over the veteran servant of the people they all had known so long. Rev. Henry Koch made a very affection sermon. In its course he said that he desired to render thanks to all those present for attending the funeral, and thus showing their high esteem of the deceased and their sympathy with his family and relatives.

"Henry Bremer was a kind man, a faithful husband, a loving father, an affectionate brother, a peaceful neighbor, a good citizen, and a faithful servant of the public in every office with which he had been honored--more than all this, he was a good churchman. he was one of the founders of this congregation, has ever been an officeholder in the church, and a leader among its people. He was, indeed, a pillar and a precious jewel in our congregation. He was a Christian, not only by name, but in heart and in fact, for he truly believed in the true God and in the Bible as His word. He was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, but believed in the power of God unto salvation to all that believe. he was not uncertain in his belief. He could say and did say, "I know in whom I believe." And in this, his faith, he finished his course,  he kept his faith through his life, and there is given to him the crown of righteousness, and therefore we truly believe that we have not lost him forever. It is our consolation in this our great sorrow that the Savior took him home to eternal life and blessedness." After the sermon was finished the remains, which were in a casket decorated with a beautiful wreath of tuberoses, woven in green, were followed to their last resting place in Oak Hill cemetery, and there interred with solemn ceremonies. The pall bearers were H. Castens, G. Blickle, Peter Voigt, F. Drekel, J. Faenger, and C. Prange. It will be years before the memory of the just walks and kindly ways of Henry Bremer will pass from the minds of men and the remembrance of his quiet virtue will be cherished through their lifetimes by the hundreds who know him but to reverence his qualities.

MRS. CHARLOTTE CUMING
Mrs. Charlotte Cuming died May 19, 1883, at her residence on Bostwick street, aged 71 years. She leaves five daughters, two of whom are married and an extensive circle of friends to morn her death.

Mrs. Cuming was born in Rochester, N.Y., in the year 1812. Her maiden name was Charlotte Hart, and her father was one of the wealthiest, most influential, and most public spirited men of his region. He and his brothers did much for the growth and material welfare of Rochester, which in his time was but a mere hamlet compared to its present size. The Hart family still hold a prominent position in society and business circles at her birth place.

About 1830 she married Rev. Francis H. Cuming, D. D., becoming his second wife. In 1839 they came together to Ann Arbor where they remained for four years, and then in 1843 came to this city where he took charge of St. Mark's church. Mr. and Mrs. Cuming made this city their home until death put an end to their respective careers of usefulness. He died in 1862 or 1863 at a ripe old age, after residing here nearly twenty years and during the most of this time acting as rector of St. Mark's church. Since the death of her husband Mrs. Cuming has lived at the family residence on the hill and managed a large and valuable estate in a masterly and business like manner. She has been engaged extensively in works of benevolence and charity, and many poor people in the city will mourn her death as that of a cherished friend. She was the mother of six children, on of whom is dead. They are Mary, Charlotte, Frances, Emily and Anna, all daughters. Charlotte is the wife of Dr. Reed, a well to do physician of Philadelphia, and Frances is the wife of Mr. Nourse of Allegan county. As the husband of Mrs. Cuming was a very prominent man in his day, a brief reference to his life will not be out of place. Rev. Francis H. Cuming was born in Hartford, Conn., His father was a Scotchman who came to this country during the Revolutionary war to assist in the subjugation of the "rebels". His heart failed him at the magnitude of the task and he soon left the army, fell in love with a blooming American lady and married her. Young Francis was educated for the Episcopal ministry and took orders about 1820. At Rochester he married a Miss Hurlburt, who died a few years later, leaving him the father of two children. One of these children, a son, afterward was educated at Ann Arbor and went west, subsequently becoming governor of Nebraska. About 1830 Mr. Cuming married his second wife, the lady lately deceased. About this time his name became involved in the anti-Masonic move and the William Morgan disappearance and supposed assassination. He was a prominent Mason, and was credited by Thurlow Weed with giving the toast, shortly before the Morgan disappearance, at a Masonic banquet: "The enemies of our order---may they find a grave six feet deep, six feet long, and six feet due east and west." Immediately after this toast was pronounced, according to Weed's statement, a number of prominent Masons left the hall, and it is said then made way with the man Morgan. In 1839 he came to Ann Arbor where he remained for four years. In 1843 he came to this city and took charge of St. Mark's Episcopal congregation which was in its infancy. He first lived in the house now occupied by the U.B.A. home and when he removed to a new brick house on the hill, Dr. Bliss of Garfield sickness fame, occupied his old residence. Under his management the church prospered and waxed strong. During his administration the present church was built. In 1861 he went into the army with the Third regiment, and in the fall of the same year he returned home broken in health. A year or two afterward he died, mourned by a large circle of friends. Mrs. Cuming survived him twenty years, increasing year by year the high esteem in which she was held by the old friends of the family, and making new ones. She will be sincerely mourned.

After the closing prayers and benediction by Bishop Gillespie the procession went to Fulton Street cemetery where the interment was made in the family lot by the side of the late Dr. Cuming. Among the relatives and friends of the family who were present at the funeral were: Rev. J.S. Large and daughter, Traverse City; Rev. Eugene Babcock, missionary of diocese; Mrs. Dr. Reed, Colorado Springs, Col.; Mrs. Nourse, Plainwell, Mich.; Miss Anna Cuming, Chicago.


Transcriber: JKG
Created: 1999
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/memorialreports/1883bios.html