THE OLD RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION
OF THE GRAND RIVER VALLEY
ORGANIZED IN 1858 AS
THE OLD SETTLERS SOCIETY OF KENT COUNTY
The Old Settler’s Society of Kent County met 22 February 1858 and again 29 February 1868.
A group of the early pioneers, thinking an organization should be formed to represent the early settlers of Kent County, issued a circular letter inviting the residents of Kent County who settled in the territory of Michigan prior to January 26, 1837 (that being the date Michigan became a state), to attend a meeting at the office of Messrs. Ball and McKee on Monday evening, 22 February 1858 at 7:00 p.m.
Twenty two men attended, and with John Ball presiding and D. W. Evans acting as secretary, they formed The Old Settlers’ Society of Kent County. Its purpose being to perpetuate the early history of Kent County and to continue good social feelings among the pioneers. Jonathan F. Chubb, J. Almy, S. L. Withy and William J. Welles were appointed a committee to draft a constitution.
Those attending were:
George Coggeshall John Ball George Martin
Antoine Campau John Almy M. Ringuette
John W. Pierce John Ringuette W. G. Henry
D. S. Leavitt James Lyman S. T. Perkins
John T. Godfrey Rix Robinson Ransom C. Luce
Charles Shepard Robert Hilton C. H. Taylor
A. B. Turner Nelson Robinson D. W. Evans
S. L. Withy
HISTORICAL DATES CONTINUED
Met to re-organize 27 December 1871
Adopted Constitution 17 January 1872
First picnic held, 21 June 1873
Name changed to "The Old Residents’ Association of the Grand River Valley", 26 January 1875
Picnics held annually since 1876
First Banquet and Reunion held at the Morton House, 8 February 8, 1876
First Officers Elected – 1872
President Jonathan F. Chubb
Vice President Thomas D. Gilbert
Treasurer John Ball
Secretary John W. Pierce
First Officers After Re-Organization 26 January 1875
President Rix Robinson
First Vice President Ezekiel W. Davis
2nd Vice President Dr. Charles W. Shepherd
Secretary John W. Pierce
Treasurer Luman R. Atwater
Officers at 50th Re-Union 2 March, 1925
President Capt. Charles E. Belknap
1st Vice President Richard E. Blumrich
2nd Vice President T. Emory Tuttle
3rd Vice President Mrs. Martha Campbell
Secretary Mrs. William J. Glasgow
Treasurer Charles W. Garfield
Presidents Following Mr. Belknap
Julius Tisch 1929-1930
Frank Van De Van 1931-1933
Leo Caro 1934-1935
Oscar Kilstrom 1936
Mrs. Ida Witcomb 1937
George M. Reed 1938
Truman Smith 1939
Leon R. Stow 1940
J. Neal Lamoreaux 1941-1942
Fred P. Geib 1943-1944
Leon R. Stow 1945-1946
Clarence A. Middleton 1947-1948
W. Newton Cook Elected 31 years
Thomas Hefferan Elected 27 years
George W. Thayer Elected 22 years
Reuben H. Smith Elected 19 years
Dr. Charles Shepherd Elected 16 years
Thomas D. Gilbert Elected 14 years
Eber Rice Elected 14 years
Charles E. Belknap Elected 14 years
Leonard Covell Elected 13 years
Robert Hilton Elected 12 years
P. V. Fox Elected 11 years
R. C. Luce Elected 10 years
R. E. Blumrich Elected 9 years
J. W. Holmes Elected 8 years
Dana B. Shedd Elected 7 years
F. E. Tuttle Elected 6 years
C. C. Comstock Elected 5 years
Ezekiel W. Davis Elected 5 years
George W. Owen Elected 5 years
J. W. Pierce Elected 4 years
Luman Atwater Elected 4 years
Hiram H. Allen Elected 4 years
Zerras Winsor Elected 4 years
H. J. Hollister Elected 4 years
Leonard Remington Elected 4 years
At. S. hite Elected 4 years
Mrs. W. J. Glasgow Elected 4 years
Rix Robinson Elected 3 years
Charles Taylor Elected 3 years
Aaron Hills Elected 3 years
Henry Spring Elected 3 years
John Ball Elected 2 years
William A. Tryon Elected 2 years
Noyes L. Avery Elected 2 years
Robert Sinclair Elected 2 years
W. L. Coffinberry Elected 2 years
W. A. Berkey Elected 2 years
Charles W. Garfield Elected 2 years
Jonathan W. Chubb Elected 1 year
F. Everett Elected 1 year
J. A. Rumsey Elected 1 year
J. C. Klyn Elected 1 year
Charles A. Robinson Elected 1 year
Mrs. Martha Campbell Elected 1 year
Revised 26 January 1925
Revised 26 January 1948
Article I - Name
The name shall be "The Old Residents’ Association of the Grand River Valley", consisting of Kent, Ionia and Ottawa Counties.
Article II - Objects
To unite in social fellowship, to promote an interest in the history and growth of the community, and to collect and preserve biographical sketches, statistics, and historical facts and reminiscences.
Article III – Membership
1. Any person who has resided in the Grand River Valley twenty-five years or more, who has attained the age of 40 years, at the time of application is a resident thereof, and is of good moral character, is eligible to membership in the Association.
2. At any annual meeting of the Association, Honorary membership may be bestowed on any member who has had a continuous membership for thirty five years. Persons become honorary members cease paying dues.
Article IV – Admission and Fees
All applications for membership shall be made in writing, and shall give the applicant’s full name, date and place of birth, present residence, and if not a native, the time of his or her immigration to the Valley.
Each applicant shall pay to the Secretary an admission fee of one dollar, which shall accompany the application.
The annual dues shall be one dollar.
The Association may at its annual meeting call for a special assessment upon each of its members, not exceeding one dollar a year.
Names of members two years in arrears shall be dropped from the rolls and notified of same.
Article V – Meetings
The annual meetings of the Association shall be held at the city of Grand Rapids on the 26th day of January of each year, that being the anniversary of the formation of the Association.
The Executive Committee may by reasonable notice through the city papers of Grand Rapids, call extra meetings when they may deem if advisable.
There shall be held an annual banquet and reunion prior to May 1st, and an annual picnic prior to September 1st, same to be under the direction of the Executive Committee.
An annual fall meeting shall be held prior to December 1st, at which time business may be transacted.
Monthly social meetings may be held on the first Saturday of each month, except July an Augu
Article VI – Officers
The officers of the Association shall consist of a President, three Vice Presidents, a Secretary and a Treasurer, who shall be elected at the annual meeting and shall take office at the close of the annual banquet.
The Executive Committee shall consist of the above officers and the retiring President.
The Executive Committee shall have power to fill by appointment any vacancy occurring from any cause in its membership.
Article VII – Duties of Officers and Executive Committee
Article VIII – Standing Committee
The Standing Committees of the Association shall be – Fellowship, Historical, Membership, Program, Reception, Finance, Publicity, Genealogical, and Honorary Membership.
Article IX – Amendments
February 29, 1868
Pursuant to notice a meeting of the Old Settlers was held at the Counting Room of A. Roberts & Son.
When William A. Tryon was called to the Chair and J. W. Peirce, Secretary.
The proceedings of the old records was made.
On motion of J. W. Peirce, I. G. Tompkins was admitted an Honorary Member of this Society.
On motion of P. Tracy – Resolved that a committee of five persons be appointed by the Chairman, to take charge of the Photographic Picture now on exhibition in the Post Office and see that the same be kept in some suitable public place.
Then – P. Tracy, J. W. Peirce, George C. Nelson, L. R. Atwater and A. B. Turner were appointed.
On motion of J. W. Peirce – Resolve that the subscription paper for the Photographic Group of Old Settlers be entered on the records, together with the names of the subscriber.
Meeting then adjourned
W. A. Tryon, Ch’n
Attest – J. W. Peirce, Sec’y
We the undersigned old residents of Grand Rapids for the purpose of encouraging Art and Enterprise, and further as a mark of our appreciation of Mr. Tompkins efforts in getting up the Photographic Group of the Pioneers of Grand Rapids, do subscribe and pay the amount of one dollar each to I. G. Tompkins.
And it is further understood and agreed that after all who will have subscribed and paid, "the said" Photographic Group of the "Pioneers of Grand Rapids" shall be given to one of the said subscribers by lot, in the manner that shall de devised and agreed upon among the said subscribing.
The drawing of the Picture to take place on Christmas Ever, December 24, 1867
Grand Rapids, December 8, 1867
A. Hosford Smith
J. W. Peirce
S. L. Withey
William A. Richmond
W. D. Roberts
F. D. Richmond
T. H. Lyon
W. P. Mills
Ira S. Hatch
G. M. McCray
R. E. Butterworth
C. P. Calkins
Eliphalet H. Turner
George C. Nelson
Israel V. Harris (Died-12/17/1886)
J. W. Squier
J. M. Nelson (D-1/10/1883)
John T. Holmes
C. H. Taylor
C. W. Taylor
Z. G. Winsor
L. R. Atwater
A. B. Turner
William A. Tryon
H. K. Rose
W. N. Cook
The next meeting recorded was 27 December 1871 and then Wednesday, 17 January 1872 at which time the Constitution was adopted.
Transcriber: Evelyn Sawyer
Created: 31 July 2002