PIONEER SOCIETY OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
ANNUAL MEETING OF 1891
MEMORIALS REPORT-MICHIGAN PIONEER COLLECTION
VOL. 18; 1891 PAGES 228-251
THOMAS B. CHURCH
The life and character of the deceased are admirably portrayed and sympathetically treated by George H. White, Esq., who enjoyed a close acquaintance with him, and whose purpose in inquiring as to certain facts was fully understood by Mr. Church and his family:
"Thomas Brownell Church was, from a very early day in the history of the vicinity, a well known and highly esteemed citizen. He was one of the oldest and best known of the Puritan families of the Plymouth colony; a lineal descendant of Richard Church through his son, Captain Benjamin Church, who was the commander of the colony's forces during the seven year's Indian war known as 'King Philips war,' in which he conquered that noble Indian Sachem.
Thomas B. Church was the youngest son of Thomas Church and Mary (Almy) Church, and was the great-great-grandson of Captain Benjamin Church, mentioned above. Every one of his immediate ancestors were named Thomas, and he was the third of his father's sons so named. An aunt of his was the mother of the distinguished bishop. Thomas Church Brownell of Connecticut.
Mr. Church was born at the family seat at Dighton, Bristol county, Massachusetts, Sept. 13, 1813, as appears of record in his native place. The youngest of a large and at the time of his decease, the last descendant who bore his family name except his son, Frederick Stewart Church, the eminent artist. Until past ten years of age his body was weak and his health precarious, so that it seemed that he, the Benjamin of the family, would not long survive his two brothers of the like name who had each died before his birth. His father was, at times a ship-builder, ship-chandler, warehouseman and a fisherman at Taunton, Massachusetts, and at Providence, Rhode Island. He was left motherless at an early age and lived much of the time with a widowed aunt who was herself an educated woman and gave him his early education. His feeble health prevented his attendance at and enduring the discipline of the schools as then conducted. Under advice he was placed aboard of coasting vessels engaged in the West India trade, at the age of twelve years, hoping that he would thereby gain good health. After some time that result was measurably attained, and he abandoned sea life. He was then placed in a preparatory school, where he made rapid progress. At the age of about fifteen, he matriculated at Trinity College at Hartford, Connecticut, an Episcopal institution. After a time failing health caused him to quit Trinity and go to Virginia, and there engaged for a year in teaching. Then he joined his uncle, the late Judge John Almy of Grand Rapids in surveying and civil engineering in western Michigan in 1838. At Grandville he became very sick with fever and was brought by his uncle into his own family, then residing in Grand Rapids. As his recovery was very slow it was evident that he could not very soon resume surveying. Learning that an old acquaintance, James Wright Gordon, afterwards lieutenant governor and acting governor of Michigan, and a friend of his father's and of him, was practicing law with marked success at Marshall, Michigan, he went there and entered himself as a student in his office. He then pursued the study of law with great enthusiasm and energy, and made surprising progress, and was, in 1841, admitted to practice law. In the meantime, he was a student in the law school of Harvard college, under the distinguished Judge Story, of the supreme court of the United States, who was an old acquaintance of the family. Mr. Church practiced law nearly a year after his admission, and acted as agent for the non-resident owners of the plat of Marshall, and occupied an office with Gov. Gordon. In 1842, he married Miss Mary Steward, of Marshall, and in December of that year came to Grand Rapids to reside. At Marshall he was noted for close attention to his studies, a great fondness for reading, an acute and comprehensive intellect, a remarkable memory, his classical attainments, his choice command of words, the ability he displayed in public speaking, and the varied and great amount of legal knowledge he had obtained.
"The Marshall bar at that time was as able as any, if not the ablest in the State, and in numbers was beyond the requirements of that locality. Grand Rapids was regarded as a promising point, so he came here to seek his fortune. Immediately his ability was acknowledged and he took a high position in competition with such lawyers as Osgood, Rathbone, Martin, Sargeant, Patterson, Ball and Johnson. Soon after his arrival the prosecuting attorney (an appointive officer) resigned and without solicitation Governor Barry at once conferred the office upon Mr. Church, who entered upon the duties of it and performed them very acceptably during one term. While holding the office he tried a number of celebrated cases, one of which (notably misstated in the history of Kent county) was that of the people vs. Miller, who was convicted on trial before Judge Ransom in Grand Rapids of murdering Nega, a squaw of the Ottawa tribe, within Ottawa county. Afterward he was pardoned, because he was in the last stages of consumption. Mr. Church, Judge Ransom and the sheriff signed a recommendation of pardon, stating their full belief in his guilt, but basing their action solely on the ground of his health. He died at his father's home a few weeks after liberation.
"February 28, 1845, Mr. Church became editor of the Grand Rapids Inquirer, which he edited with marked ability and learning for four years. He held several local offices preceding 1850. In that year he was elected a member of the constitutional convention and satin that body and participated in its deliberations with much credit to himself. In 1853 he was elected mayor of the city of Grand Rapids. In 1854 he was elected State representative and sat in the legislature with great advantage to his constituents. In 1858, 1860 and 1862 he was nominated for representative in congress; and because the party who nominated him was in the minority, he failed, though receiving more than his party's strength of votes. During the war he utted on the platform and stump many patriotic sentiments and warmly espoused the Union cause and urged with all his powers of eloquence, enlistments in nearly all causes of much importance tried in this vicinity. Among the many were the Warren Mills perjury case, the George Mills arson case, the Vanderpool case and the Phillips murder case.
"In politics Mr. Church was a lifelong democrat, in religion an Episcopalian. For the last few years his health was poor, occasioned by over-exertion and an accident at the fire which destroyed the county records, June 23, 1860. His health caused his withdrawal from active law practice. During a career at the bar extending over more than forty years, on many occasions he made powerful, eloquent and brilliant arguments that thrilled his audiences and gave him a State reputation. It required, however, great occasions to warm him up to his subject, feelings, and came with an increasing power until they became irresistible, and before which every barrier was carried away; his action then became impressive. It was especially so in his patriotic speeches, his fourth of July orations, and on some occasions in his political speeches. Unfortunately his lymphatic temperament cause him to be very unequal in his forensic displays. If his abilities had been incited into action in the national councils, he would have been more nearly equal in the use and display of them, and would have attracted as marked national attention as any one who sat therein since the days of Clay, Webster, Calhoun and Douglas. In social life Mr. Church was a rare ornament with his ever instructive, interesting and entertaining conversation. He died in Grand Rapids, July 30, 1890. A widow, an only son and an adopted daughter, with a very large circle of relatives and acquaintances mourn his departure for the other shore. "Requiescat in pace."
ZENAS G. WINSOR
Zenas G. Winsor, of Grand Rapids, died at Chattanooga, Tennessee, August 3, 1890.
Mr. Winsor and his wife were in Chattanooga for a long visit with his daughter, Mrs. George W. Wheeland and her family. He has not been in firm health for some months past. He was at home in the spring to attend to some business affairs, but was not at all well, and returned as soon as possible to the care of his wife and daughters. The immediate cause of his death was typhoid fever, of which he had not long been ill. The burial was at Chattanooga.
Zenas G. Winsor was born in Spafford, N. Y., December 28, 1814, hence was nearly seventy-six years of age. In Marchm 1833, when but little more than eighteen years old, he came with his father's family from Syracuse to the wilderness which has since been replaced by the city of Grand Rapids, and it may fairly be said that this city has since been his home. True, for a year thereafter, as a youth, he was at Grand Haven, under the Hon. Rix Robinson, as an employee of the Great American Fur Company, that is to say, of John Jacob Astor. In those days peltry and fur were plentiful in this region. Then for two or three years Mr. Winsor spent a good deal of time previous to 1840, at "the mouth of the Thornapple," where is now Ada, continuing in the employ of the Hon. Rix Robinson. Then his business brought him back here, and ever since, until the infirmities of increasing age compelled him to rest from active labor---having earned that rest---he has been connected with the mercantile and the shipping interests of Grand Rapids and Grand Haven, the shipping interests including both the Grand River line of boats and the Chicago and Milwaukee lines. He was also quite largely identified with the realty interests, and his family had an important influence in the early efforts to make salt here, and in other directions for the growth and improvement of Grand Rapids. Mr. Winsor was a quiet, modest, plain, honorable citizen, a good neighbor, a true friend,--the stuff pioneers in thrifty, prosperous cities are made of. All who knew him will mourn his death, and will feel their hearts grow warmer as they recall his life and worth. He leaves a widow--his third wife--three married daughters, Mrs. Wheeland, of Chattanooga; Mrs. S. B. Humphrey, of Lincoln, Neb.; and Mrs. Benton Harris, of Gibbon, Neb.; and a son, Henry, of his immediate family. He also leaves a younger brother, Mr. E. E. Winsor, and a sister, Mrs. Adelaide M., widow of Dr. Chas. L. Henderson, of Grand Rapids.
DR. CHARLES B. SMITH
Dr. C. B. Smith died at his home in Grand Rapids, Sept. 17, 1890. Charles Billings Smith was born in Paris, N.Y., on Oct. 29, 1814, and entered college from his native town. He left college in the third term of his junior year, but pursued the class studies regularly, and in 1846 was restored to the class list.
He was a member of the most famous class that ever graduated from Yale, and had such men as Wm. M. Evarts, Morrison R. Waite, Samuel J. Tilden, Andrew D. White, ex-president of Cornell, Judge Pierrepont and Judge Sillimon for classmates. He studied theology under the instruction of Dr. N. W. Taylor, in New Haven, Conn., and in 1840 began work as an evangelist in western New York. After continuing this work for about two years he went to Chicago, where he organized the Tabernacle Baptist church and became its pastor. A one story frame structure was built on the corner of LaSalle and Washington streets, where the old Board of Trade building formerly stood, and this primitive church edifice was dedicated in August, 1843. In 1846 he took charge of a church in New Haven, Conn. In June, 1851, he became pastor of the Sixth street church in New York City, and held this position for three years. In 1856 he again came west and became pastor of a church in Iowa City, where he continued until 1860, removing thence to Dubuque, Iowa, where he preached for three years.
Dr. Smith first came to Grand Rapids in 1863, and for six years was pastor of the Baptist church. In 1869 he became political editor of the Daily Democrat, which position he held for seven years.
Dr. Smith leaves no family excepting his widow, formerly Mrs. L. N. Ellicott, whom he married Sept. 30, 1866.
He was one of the most entertaining writers who ever lived in Grand Rapids, and his facile pen has made the very stones weep when writing of the virtues of his dead acquaintances. You could not mention a subject on which he could not talk or write understandingly and entertainingly, and he was a very encyclopedia of knowledge, with a large fund of anecdote on which he could draw at will.
Dr. Smith received the honorary degrees of B. A. and M. A. from Yale in 1847 and the degree of D. D. from Wabash college in 1859. Besides minor works, he published in 1846 "The Philosophy of Reform," of which a second edition has been published, "A Life in Earnest," in 1849, of which there have been three editions, and "Scenes in the Life of Luther," 1848, of which eight editions have been issued.
Dr. Smith was a man of strong character---of Marked individuality. His nature was generous and kindly, and tender, but the intensity of his feelings and the earnestness of his convictions sometimes led him into vehemence of expression which a stranger would mistake for harshness. His opinions, right or wrong, were at least sincere and honest, and he was always ready to assert and defend them. He had been a great student and wide reader. Until failing health forbade it, his voice was often heard in public assemblages, and he was a frequent contributor to the columns of the local press.
MRS. MATTIE M. TINKHAM
Mrs. Mattie M. Tinkham, well known to every old settler in the city, and county, peacefully passed away at her home at 85 Paris avenue, Grand Rapids, October 16, 1890, after an illness lasting over a year.
She was born in Ohio, in 1838, and was the daughter of S. O. Kingsbury, also well known to the older residents. She moved to the city with her parents in 1844 and married John F. Tinkham in 1858. They had two children, Frederick, so long with Nelson, Matter & Co., and Mrs. Harry Ellis, living with her husband at Ford River, near Escanaba. Hers was a noble Christian life. She was a member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church and had been since she was sixteen years old. She has a brother, Peas Kingsbury of Muskegon, ex-county treasurer of Muskegon county. She was a sister-in-law to Gen. Wm. P. Innes, Mrs. Innes and Mr. Tinkham being brother and sister.
MRS. JOHN T. HOLMES
About five o'clock p. m., November 2, 1890, the serious illness of Mrs. John T. Holmes terminated in death as had been expected for several days, and another of the best known, most respected and thoroughly loved of the "Mothers in Israel" in Grand Rapids, was at rest from her labors. Mrs. Holmes was born May 18, 1815, and in 1836 became the wife of the man whose life she has blessed for more than half a century since, in Niagara county, N.Y. In 1837 they came to Michigan, and to Grand Rapids in 1838. Here they have lived ever since, and here she has ever proved a most faithful, loving wife, a wise yet tender mother, and generous friend. She leaves of her own family, her honored husband and three children, Mrs. L. C. Remington, Miss Lizzie, and John T. Holmes, Jr. These have the sympathy of all who knew her; they also have the assurance that none has left a more fragrant memory, a more goodly life record than she.
EBENEZER W. BARNS
Mr. Barns was born in Pomfret, Vt., in 1819, and came to Grand Rapids in 1838 with his father's family. He was the first clerk Kent county ever had, and was afterward county treasurer. In 1850 he removed to Grand Haven, and there, in 1853, married Mrs. Slayton, sister of Mrs. Dwight Cutler. Mr. Barns remained in Grand Haven fifteen years, eight of which he was postmaster. He returned to Grand Rapids in 1865, and was engaged in the forwarding business, on Grand river chiefly, until he retired from active business in 1885. He left a widow and two daughters, Mrs. I. E. Lambert and Mrs. David Potter, in Emporia, Kan., to remember his virtues and counsels, and a host of friends---all who were acquaintances--to honor his memory. His death occurred November 20, 1890.
Joseph Stone, one of the oldest citizens and an old resident, died at the residence of his brother, Mr. Charles Stone, 222 East Fulton street, Grand Rapids, Dec. 3, 1890, aged eighty-six years.
Mr. Stone, who was born in Rhodes Island in 1804, came to Grand Rapids when forty years of age, and has made his home here with the exception of about six years which he spent with two of his sons, Charles and Calvin, on the Pacific coast, ever since. He has ever had the esteem and respect of all who knew him, and is gathered to a well spent, useful life. His wife preceded him in death some twelve years. He leaves four children, the two sons above mentioned, Normandus A. of West Fulton Street, and Mrs. Mary Burchard. Mr. Charles Stone is the only one of his generation, of his family yet living.
MRS. JOANNA R. HOLDEN
Mrs. Joanna R. Holden, mother of E. G. D. Holden of Grand Rapids, died at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Fanny H. Fowler, on Jan. 2, 1891. Mrs. Holden was born in Londonderry, N. H., March 10, 1800, and was married to Josiah R. Holden, at Grafton, N. H., January 24, 1825. Mr. and Mrs. Holden resided in New England until 1832, when they emigrated to Ohio and endured the hardships incident to pioneer life until 1834. Then they went to the state of Illinois, where they remained until 1843. Subsequently they removed to Michigan, and located in the vicinity of Grand Rapids. Six children were born to them four of whom lived to adult age. Three of the children, Charles H. Holden of Chicago, Mrs. Fannie H. Fowler, wife of Hon. S. W. Fowler of Manistee, and Hon. E. G. D. Holden of Grand Rapids, survive her. Mrs. Holden had remarkably good health until a few days before her death, and lived to the ripe old age of ninety years, nine months and fifteen days.
MRS. SALLY HURD ROBERTS
Mrs. Sally Hurd Roberts memorial obit is extensively long and was in fact a sketch of her life as published in the Daily Eagle, July 3, 1890, in honor of her 100 birthday. For the sake of brevity, I will summarize the highlights. In addition to the newspaper article, you may find this sketch on pages 235-241 of the above named volume. ~RA
Mrs. Sally Hurd Roberts, or "Grandma Roberts", died in Grand Rapids, Feb. 6, 1891. She was born to Jacob Hurd and Abigail Carey in the village of Middle Haddam, Ct., July 3, 1790. The family bible bears the following record:
Jacob Hurd was born March 28, 1762. His wife Abigail Carey, was born May 24, 1762. The following are their children:
Fanny, April 6, 1784
William, July 21, 1786
Amanda, June 14, 1788
Sally, July 3, 1790
Clarissa, April 24, 1792
James C., March 27, 1795
Newell, December 27, 1796
Randall, November 11, 1800
Caroline M., February 11, 1803
William A., March 14, 1806
It was at a quilting party that Sally Hurd first met her future husband, Amos Roberts. They were married on the 23rd of December, 1809 at the Congregational church of Middle Haddam, Connecticut. Mrs. Roberts borne six children---fours sons and two daughters--of whom Mrs. John W. Pierce is the only one living.
Julius Houseman was born at Zeckendorf, in the kingdom of Bavaria, Germany, Dec. 8, 1832, of Hebrew parentage; his father, Solomon Hausmann, was a native of Bavaria, a merchant and manufacturer of silk and cotton goods at that place, where he died in 1873, at the age of seventy-one years. His mother was Henrietta, daughter of Julius Strauss of Heiligenstadt, Bavaria; she died in 1835, at the age of thirty-five years. Mr. Houseman was the older of two children born to them, his sister, Mary, being now the wife of Albert Alsberg, a prominent merchant of New York city.
Mr. Houseman's education, up to the time he was thirteen years of age, was obtained in the national schools of Zeckendorf and Bamberg, and was completed with a two years' commercial course, after which he engaged as a dry goods clerk in a store in Bavaria, where he remained three years. Very early in life he had a strong wish to come to this county, and so in 1851, when nineteen years of age, he started out to cross the ocean and seek usefulness and business success in America. His first home was in Cincinnati, where he was clerk in a clothing house for a few months. Then he went to New Vienna, O., where he remained as clerk in a general store until March, 1852, when he came to Michigan, to Battle Creek. In Battle Creek he engaged in the merchant tailoring and clothing business with Mr. I. Amberg, the firm name being Amberg & Houseman. He soon heard of Grand Rapids and its prospects, and in August of that year, 1852, before he was yet twenty years old, came to this city for a home, establishing a branch of the Battle Creek house here. The business under his able management prospered, and in 1854, he became sole proprietor, which he continued for nine years, growing steadily in the confidence and esteem of the community, and in wealth and influence. In 1864 the firm of Houseman, Alsberg & Co. was organized, with branch houses in New York, Baltimore and Savannah, which continued until 1870, when the firm was dissolved, Mr. Houseman retaining possession of the Grand Rapids establishment. In 1876 he disposed of his business to his cousin, Joseph Houseman, Esq., who had been a partner for several years, and the late Moses May, who continued it for a number of years under the firm name of Houseman & May, which was later succeeded by Houseman, Donally & Jones.
Mr. Houseman had meanwhile taken an active interest in other lines of business and investments, notably in timber lands and the manufacture of pine lumber in this State, and after 1876 devoted himself largely to those interests. He is one of the largest holders of real estate in this portion of the Michigan, and also has large tracts in the Upper Peninsula and in other states. He has many investments in lumber companies in this and other states. He also bought quite largely of real estate years ago, and has long been one of the most sagacious and progressive promoters of the growth of the city. The Houseman building which occupies the entire half block bounded by Lyon, Ottawa, Pearl and Ionia streets, is one of the largest and finest business blocks in the State, and a fitting monument to his good taste and good citizenship.
He has also been largely identified with other business interests here, and in all of them has proved a tower of strength, both with his cash and his counsel. In 1870 he became a stockholder in the City National bank, the predecessor of the National City bank. In August, 1874, he was chosen a director to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of the late Ransom E. Wood, who was going to Europe with his family. That office he has since held.
In 1882, at the annual meeting in January he was chosen vice president of the bank when the late William B. Ledyard declined a re-election because of infirm health, and that office he has since held. Mr. Houseman was one of the organizers of the Grand Rapids chair company, has ever since been a director, and was vice president. He was a director, too, of the Grand Rapids Brush company and a leading stockholder, director and president of the Grand Rapids Fire Insurance company, which in large measure owes its proud position as one of the best companies of its class in the west to his business energy and sagacity. He was one of the founders and directors of the Michigan Trust company. He was identified with many other enterprises, and left a large property, estimated to be worth nearly or quite a million dollars.
In political affiliations Mr. Houseman was a democrat, yet his partisanship was never narrow, and in his official life he ever strove for the public weal, with all his great energy and sagacity. He served the city as alderman for eight years, from 1863 to 1870, was mayor in 1872, and in 1874, and represented Grand Rapids in the State legislature in 1871-72. In 1883 he was elected to represent this district in congress, and was the first democrat who had been able to achieve that honor in this district in many long years. In all his official relations he enlarged the esteem in which he was held, won added confidence and respect.
He became a member of the Masonic fraternity in 1854. He was also a member of the Odd Fellows and of the B'nai B'rith. He was a leading member of both the Peninsular and the Owashtanong clubs, and had served the latter as a director and officer.
He was of the Hebrew faith, and has been one of the most generous promoters of Congregation Emanuel in Grand Rapids since its organization. Though a faithful son of the Covenant he had a broad charitable spirit in matters of faith, and was as tolerant of others' belief as he desired them to be of his.
He was ever one of the most generous of men. Hundreds of people throughout this city and section of the State have been the recipients of his quiet, unostentatious, but wise helpfulness, both in counsel and in liberal assistance with funds, or in other tangible ways. Many a tear will be dropped in his memory by persons to whom he, unknown to the world, has proved a friend indeed. He was a good man in all his relations in life and few if any will be more missed than will he.
The immediate relatives left by Mr. Houseman are his daughter, an only child, Mrs. David M. Amberg and family of Grand Rapids, his sister, Mrs. M. Alsberg of New York city. William Houseman, a half brother; Mrs. Simon Mainzer, a half sister, and his cousin, Mr. Joseph Houseman and family. He leaves, also, several half-brothers and half-sisters in Germany.
He died at Grand Rapids Feb. 9, 1891.
G. CHASE GODWIN
The day of Hon. Julius Houseman's funeral Mr. G. Chase Godwin, after attending it, complained of not feeling well, and the next day, after being at the office but about an hour went home. His illness, the grip, and a complication of other ills, terminated fatally Feb. 16, 1891, at his home, 125 Livingston street, Grand Rapids.
G. Chase Godwin was born April 18, 1840, in Wyoming township, this county, being a son of a pioneer of that township, Wm. R. Godwin who settled therein in 1836. Mr. Godwin's education was received in the common schools of Wyoming and the public schools of Grand Rapids. In 1862 he entered the law office of Holmes and Champlin (Hons. John T. Holmes and J. W. Champlin) to study law, and in 1865 was admitted to the bar. For six years he was a partner of Judge Holmes, then was a partner of Mr. J. Edward Earle, and later of Judge Adsit and Prosecuting Attorney McKnight. He has held the offices of city attorney, of recorder of the city, and of U.S. district attorney during President Cleveland's administration, and was assistant prosecuting attorney at the time of his death. He has long been a prominent member and counselor of the democratic party, and has been frequently named by his friends of that organization for other high and responsible positions. He was one of the leaders of the local bar, and has been identified with some of the most important criminal and civil litigation of Kent county and West Michigan, during the past quarter of a century.
In 1868 Mr. Godwin married Miss Cornelia Chambers, daughter of Nelson Chambers, Esq., of Wayland. She survives him; also four children, one son and three daughters.
CHARLES C. ROOD
Charles Conant Rood, one of Grand Rapids' oldest citizens died at this residence No. 210 East Fulton street, Feb. 22, 1891. He was only confined to his residence since Wednesday noon last, but has been in failing health for some time. With indomitable courage, although aware of his serious condition, he attended to business as usual up to Wednesday noon. The he went home---"his house was in order"-- and calmly and quietly awaited the end which he, better than others, knew was so very near. Mr. Rood was one of the older residents of Grand Rapids. He was born in Vermont, Aug. 24, 1815, and was one of a large family of brothers and sisters. His father came to Michigan, to Oakland county, about 1821 or 1822, and his home has been in this State ever since. So early a resident in the then territory of Michigan he well knew the struggles and privations of pioneer life--the toilsomeness of securing an education, of fitting himself for the profession which he early selected, the law. He studied his profession for a time in Detroit, later in Marshall, and in 1846, came to Grand Rapids to make it his permanent home, and here his life work has been done. On Feb. 28, 1850, he married Cornelia Foster, daughter of the late F. D. A. Foster. She survives him. He leaves besides, of his immediate family, three children, Mrs. E. B. Fisher, Chas R. Rood and Mrs. Chas. F. Renwick, all of Grand Rapids. Mr. Rood was a member of the Masonic fraternity, was a democrat of the Jeffersonian school in affairs, was a kind and true husband, a loving father, a good citizen.
CHAS. W. HATHAWAY
Chas. W. Hathaway was born in Ashfield, Mass., April 15, 1825. When ten years old his parents, Col. Nehemiah and Lucretia Hathaway moved to Grand Haven, being among the first white settlers there. In 1836 the family moved to Grandville, and in 1840 to Grand Rapids. Col. Hathaway set up and operated the first trip hammer at McCray's machine shops, where the Butterworth & Lowe works now are. After this death in 1844, Chas. W. continued the business, being already an expert blacksmith and ingenious and experienced mechanic. As a maker of edge tools and temperer of axes, drawing knives and chisels there was not a more expert mechanic in the State. His tools were known throughout the State. For about four years he was a resident of Spring Lake, and employed in the mills of Hopkins Bros. where his ingenuity as a blacksmith and engineer won for him an enviable reputation among the mill men of Grand River. In 1852 he worked as an ax and tool maker for the firm Cook, Blain & Gunn.
About 1856, with Daniel Alcumbrack, he entered edge tool making, succeeding by purchase the business which had been started five years previously by Cook & Blain. The shop was near where now is the north end of the Valley City mills. While in this business he invented and for some time manufactured steel fingers for grain cradles, which, until the old hand cradle was supplanted by harvesting machines, were considered very fine for their use. Later, about the close of the war, James D. Lyon, his brother-in-law, was associated with Mr. Hathaway, and the factory in 1870 was turning out some twenty dozen axes per day. Not long after he removed to Detroit, where he resided until his death and held for several terms the office of building inspector.
In November, 1846, Mr. Hathaway married Mary T., daughter of Deacon Addison Tracy, a well remembered early settler here, who with his two sons, H. A. Hathaway of Buffalo, and C. S. Hathaway, the well-known Detroit News journalist and art critic survive to mourn the loss of a much beloved husband and father. He died at Detroit, Feb. 22, 1891.
Still another of the pioneers of Michigan and old residents of Grand Rapids has joined the majority. A little before four o'clock p.m., March 4, 1891, Mr. Alexander Blake of Cherry street entered into rest.
Alexander Blake was born in East Greenwich, Washington county, N.Y., May 21, 1812, and so was nearly seventy-nine years of age. He came to southern Michigan a little more than fifty years ago, and was for a time largely engaged in mercantile operations, in conducting a foundry, and in buying and selling cattle in Lenawee county and that section of the State. About 1853 or 1854 he engaged in lumbering in Newaygo and vicinity, and his family shortly after made Grand Rapids their home, and for a good many years he was one of the most prominent and successful operators on the Muskegon river and its tributaries. Later he met with business reverses which impaired his fortune greatly, and about 1876, went west, whence he returned some four years ago to take the rest his labors and years so richly earned. He has lived since his return at 311 Cherry street.
Some forty-five years ago Mr. Blake married Miss Susan Crosby in Lenawee county. She survives him, also their four daughters, Mrs. Geo. R. Perry, and Mrs. Otis H. Babcock, Miss Ophelia Blake, one of the teachers of the Division street school, and Miss Mary Blake, teacher of drawing in the city schools. Mr. Blake was one of the most sagacious, energetic and honorable of business men, was a kindly neighbor and friend, a good citizen and a model husband and father. Though he had not been so actively identified with affairs of late years in Grand Rapids, a large circle of older residents will sympathize with his family.
Orson Cook, one of the oldest residents of Gaines township, died Wednesday night, May 15, 1891, at the old homestead, aged seventy-seven years. He leaves three children, Martin V., of Oregon; Ira E., now in California, and a daughter, Mrs. John Ross of Gaines. He also leaves two brothers, Ariston J. Cook of Ross and Cleveland C. Cook of Grand Rapids.
Orson Cook was born in Seneca county, N.Y., July 6, 1814. In 1829, his parents moved to Wayne county and in 1838 moved to Grand Rapids, which at that time contained but a few log houses. Mr. Cook built the old Bronson house on Canal Street. He also built the first school house in Gaines and was the first and warmest supporter of the first newpaper, the Grand Rapids Enquirer. He was a staunch democrat and held the offices of justice of the peace and town treasurer for many years.
JAMES M. PELTON
Jas. M. Pelton, an old resident of Gaines township, and one of the oldest pioneers of the Grand River valley died at his home Tuesday night May 21, 1891. Mr. Pelton was well known throughout the county having been a supervisor of Gaines for eight years and of Bryon for six years. He also held the office of justice of the peace for twenty-five consecutive years. Mr. Pelton was born in New York seventy-seven years ago but his boyhood days were passed in Canada, where his parents moved. At the age of twenty-two he came to Kent county and has made it his home since. He purchased his farm in Gaines in 1865 and has since lived there.
MRS. EUNICE TURNER
Another of the pioneers of 1836, Mrs. Eunice Truner, widow of the late Isaac Turner, passed away peacefully, at her home, corner of Turner and Third streets, Grand Rapids, of old age, June 16, 1890, about 4 o'clock. She has been in failing health and quite helpless therefrom for some time, yet had not until but a few hours before her decease, manifested any marked change, and so her death, which was not unexpected, was yet a surprise to her family, and but two of her children, Mrs. Madison and Mrs. Rosenberg were with her at the time of her death. So great was her age, and so feeble had she become the force of the expression, "second childhood," was fully exemplified in her case, but as she had given the most loving of care to others, she was not without it during her need for it.
Mrs. Turner, whose maiden name was Bullis, was born Sept. 11, 1801, at Peru, a small hamlet near Plattsburg, N.Y. In 1819, when she was eighteen years old, she became the wife of Isaac Turner, in Plattsburg. In 1836, they came from that city to Michigan, and settled in what is now Grand Rapids. They lived for a short time on the east side of the river, but a little later Mr. Turner becoming largely interested in real estate on the west side, they went across to that side for a home, and there she lived almost without interruption since. She was living at a home her children had provided for her, corner of Turner and Third streets, and where she was cared for by a competent nurse, when she died.
Mr. Isaac Turner, her husband, was one of the most competent mechanics---a millwright---in the State. He was of the material requisite for successful pioneers, and during his long and busy and most useful life, which closed by his death March 6, 1879, he was one of the foremost citizens, a leader in improvements, in the efforts which conduced to the growth of Grand Rapids, and especially of that portion with which he was so long most intimately identified. Mrs. Turner was indeed a helpmeet for such a man---a good wife, a devoted and loving mother, a kind and helpful neighbor and true friend. She was of a cheerful and hopeful disposition, and though ever quiet and retiring devoted to her household and the duties it devolved upon her. She had in the highest degree the esteem and regard of all who knew her.
Mrs. Turner had had ten children. Four of them preceded her in death. The six yet living are: Aaron B. Turner of the Eagle; Chester B. Turner of Detroit; Willard S. Turner of Grand Rapids; Mrs. Alzina Madison, Mrs. John Rosenberg, and Mrs. E. F. Harrington, all of Grand Rapids; of those dead was Mrs. Boardman Noble, of Grand Rapids. She left twenty-six grandchildren and twenty-seven great grandchildren, among her direct descendants.
MRS. D. A. BLODGETT
Mrs. Jennie S., wife of Mr. D. A. Blodgett, who died Oct. 23, 1890, in Grand Rapids was born in Lycoming County, Penn., Aug. 26, 1841, and was the only daughter of John and Clara L. Wood. On the 9th of September, 1859, she was married to Mr. Blodgett at Woodstock, Ill., where her parents were then residing. She came at once with her husband to her new home at Hersey, in this State, where she continued to live until the family moved to Grand Rapids in the fall of 1881, and since then Grand Rapids has been her home.
She leaves, besides her husband, two children, John W., and Susan Richmond, wife of Mr. Edward Lowe. Her mother still survives her, and she has had a most happy home with her the greater portion of the time since she was married.
Mrs. Blodgett was a woman of great breadth of view, of remarkable grasp of business and the larger affairs of life and the world. Her husband valued and sought her counsel in all the cares of business, and in her found not only an unfailing friend but a helpmeet in the truest sense of that homely but admirable word. She was so fully conversant with his interests and plans that she could and did act for him in many important matters of practical detail on many occasions. While attending to all her other duties of wife and mother she always found time to cheerfully share in his plans, labor and triumphs.
She had an abiding and hearty interest in the progress of the world, in the development and betterment of mankind. She read and thought on topics of this nature to a degree and with a pleasure not often seen in one of her sex.
Yet while she was of a particularly strong, broad cast of mind, she was one of the most simple and unaffected of women. She had a passionate love of the good, the true and the beautiful in nature and in art. She had read much, of the best books, and often counseled her children and friends in literature, always with wisdom and tact. She had rare good taste, and innate judgment in art--her friends came to rely implicitly on it. The beauties of the flowers, of the birds, of the fields and the forests appealed to her most strongly. The robins found a dish of water, fresh for them, daily, on the lawn at her home, and knew perfectly well how welcome they were. She petted animals; and above all she loved children. Not a few of the little folks in our city had learned that fact and watched lovingly for her coming and going before her long illness prevented her showing them how truly she enjoyed their smiles and affection.
She was thoughtful of others, always to the utter exclusion of herself. During all her long illness, and intense suffering, not a complaint, not a murmur escaped from her; she thought only of making those about her happy. That the world was shut out from her eyes did not prevent her thought of striving, for the pleasures of seeing beautiful things, for others, nor caused her ever to advert to her own blindness. But a few days ago, hearing of illness in the family of a friend----she had not been told of the death----she desired a delicacy sent to them, and told what dish it should be carried upon "because food is so much more appetizing from pretty dishes, you know." This little incident is the key note of her character and nature---tells as well as volumes could, of the one whose loss is irreparable to her and more precious as time recalls to them the value of the lessons of her loving and her life.
She had their most ardent devotion in life. Every other interest was subordinated sacrificed by husband and children, to add to her comfort, to afford her relief. Now that rest has come to her, they cannot regret it---they loved her too well---but no words can express their sense of loneliness and loss, and their friends can only point to the spirit she manifested as the true example for them, to make life the better for others because she had lived.
MRS. HENRY SPRING
Mrs. Henry Spring died at her home in Grand Rapids, April 17, 1891.
Mrs. Spring was born in Orleans county, N.Y., December 5, 1830, and became the wife of Henry Spring, March 26, 1854. She leaves her husband, a daughter, Mrs. Geo. E. Raymond, and one son, Willard S. Spring, now attending college at Ann Arbor. Her other son, Fred, died suddenly seven years ago last January. While not being fond of society in its ordinary sense, she took a lively interest in all the movements in the community that had in view its moral and social elevation. She was quite prominent in the union benevolent association, which was for some time under her management, as well as the humane society, and it was in the interest of the latter work that she caused to be built a drinking place at the corner of State and Cherry streets. Always a member of the Universalist Church, she took an active part in its affairs, and was at one time assistant superintendent of the Sunday school. One characteristic that she possessed was that she did her own working and her judgment never was at fault.
MRS. MARTIN L. SWEET
Mrs. Martha L., wife of Martin L. Sweet, died December 6, 1890, of pneumonia, aged seventy-four years. Mrs. Sweet was born at Fabius, Cayuga county, N.Y., married M. L. Sweet and came to Grand Rapids forty-six years ago. She leaves three children, one daughter and two sons. She was well and favorably known for her kindly acts by the old residents of Grand Rapids.
MRS. HENRY G. BARNES STONE
Mrs. Henry G. Stone, daughter of Jacob Barnes, Sr., came to Grand Rapids with her father's family in 1836. Was born May 4, 1828 in Vermont. Died at her home in Grand Rapids, May 10, 1891; was the mother of nine children, four of whom survive her, two sons and two daughters. Mrs. Stone was a consistent Christian mother, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
ORLANDO K. PEARSOLL
Orlando K. Pearsoll was born at Troy, Michigan. Came to Grand Rapids about 1845. A carpenter, but of late for several years engaged in real estate and insurance. Died at Grand Rapids. May 9, 1891.
John Calkins was born in Sherburn, Chenango Co., N.Y., June 23, 1806. Came to Michigan in 1849 or 1850. Settled at Grass Lake. Died at Grand Rapids. May 13, 1891.