Recollections of Early Days in Kent County

This is a collection of letters or papers written by residents of Kent County about the early days and the first settlers in and around Grand Rapids.



Personal Recollections of Early Days 
in Kent County

by Mrs. Marion Louise Hinsdill Withey

In the spring of 1833 my father, Myron Hinsdill, came from Hinesburg, Vermont, to Richland, then called Gull Prairie. This journey was made through the Erie Canal, by boat from Buffalo to Detroit, from there on by teams, one of which father brought with him. Most of the towns on the way were mere stopping places. The vision of Ann Arbor, Michigan, as it was then, still lingers in my memory. Mother used to tell the story of our stop there. The landlord came out to assist us. As he took down four little girls one after the other, he turned to father and in some emphatic words inquired what he had come with them to this country for.

We were warmly welcomed to our new home by the family of Elder Knappen whom my parents had known in Vermont. They had come to Michigan but a short time before us and were sufficiently settled so that we could remain with them until some place could be provided for us. Father at once set about building a log barn for his horses. When it was up and roofed mother proposed that we should move into it ourselves and relieve the Knappens. Accordingly a floor was laid, a stick chimney built, and we took possession with two pieces of furniture brought with us---a small, light stand with leaves and a sideboard and bureau together. I don't remember where we got our bedsteads but father went down to the southern part of the state and obtained six wooden chairs and a small rocking chair, which I still cherish among my household goods.

In this primitive way my parents, who had left a fine old homestead in the east, commenced life in Michigan. A young woman who came with us to assist mother, very soon accepted an offer of marriage from a man who was probably in want of a housekeeper and mother, a frail, delicate woman, was left to struggle with small children, housework, fever and ague.

How that house did leak every time it rained. We had to cover the beds with tin pans and dishes to catch the water. As warm weather came on we did most of our work our of doors. One incident I remember well. Mother had prepared the bread ready to bake in a tin oven before the fire out of doors, and had gone to bed with an attack of the ague, leaving my older sister and myself to attend the baking. Child-like we were interested in our play, and so forgot the fire entirely. Imagine our consternation when we saw two great hogs walk off with poor mother's bread.

The contest with fever and ague was fearful, and ague usually had the best of it. At one time when our distress was the greatest a cousin of father's, Stephen Hinsdill, came to us and remained some time to assist in taking care of us. We were all sick at once. Dr. Deming was our physician.

The music of the wolves at night was quite common when I was a girl. There were other exciting times also. One time during this first summer in Michigan we had a narrow escape. A violent whirlwind passed over that region and blew a large tree, which stood in front, down on the house, crushing in the front part. Mother saw it coming and gathered us into the back part, near the one window, from which we were taken out, unhurt  but badly frightened.

A Mr. and Mrs. Baker riding through the woods during the same storm, were killed by a falling tree. A baby sister of mine who died that November was buried by their side. I have been told that these graves have an enclosure near the center of the present cemetery at Richland. We were living at that time in a house owned by Deacon Gray, nearer the center of the prairie. Of this winter I remember little except our going to meeting on an ox sled. I don't know why we did this as my father had horses.

The next spring my uncle, Mitchel Hinsdill, came with his family to Richland. My father and this brother located on adjoining farms just south of the prairie. My father had five acres cleared and wheat sown when my uncle arrived. They both commenced to build on their farms and located their homes not far apart. Uncle's house was finished first, or as nearly finished as houses were in those days. Here one of my brothers, Chester B. Hinsdill, was born. Before cold weather our own house was ready and we moved into it, although it was not plastered. We used blankets for inside doors for a time, and a carpenter's bench was a part of the furniture. My mother's mother, a woman over seventy, came and spent the winter with us. It was a comfort to mother but poor grandmother was greatly tried at the hardships mother had to endure. She was mostly troubled that the little girls must be brought up in such a wild place.

Our evenings were enlivened by visits from our neighbors who often came several miles for that purpose. Hickory nuts, of which the woods yielded an abundance, were our usual refreshments. My father often read aloud for our entertainment. I have a vivid remembrance of his reading Cooper's "Leather Stocking Tales." The evening he read the scene of the shooting of the panther over Charlotte's head, Mr. Foster Gilkie was with us. He seems to be almost before me, as I recall him with his emphatic "hum! hum!"

During the winter father also made a trip on horseback to the Grand River country as it was then styled. Here the spring before, his cousin, Hiram Hinsdill, of Bennington, Vermont, had gone with his family. Father must have been captivated by the scenery. The fine, rapid river and the high hills seemed to him like his old home in New England. He fancied it world be more healthy, and was quite ready for a change. Accordingly he let his farm, soon after selling it, and the last of May or the first of June, removed to Grand Rapids.

We made this journey through the woods, following blazed trees, as there was no sign of a road. We were several days on the way. One evening as we were stopping for the night in a log house without a floor or roof, the first stage, with George Coggshells' family passed us, bound for the same haven. Temporarily we stayed with Hiram Hinsdill's family. Father purchased of him the frame of the old National Hotel, and proceeded to finish it. While this was being done, a part of the summer we lived in a new barn near by and as soon as a few rooms were done we moved in. This summer of 1836, on pleasant Sundays we used to cross the river to attend services at Mr. Slater's Mission chapel where he preached in the afternoon in English. Occasionally he came over to the East Side and preached in a house built by a Mr. Lincoln.

This summer Miss Page, afterward the wife of Judge Bacon, of Monroe, at the importunity of several families who had small children, opened a school in a new barn. This building, located a little to the rear of what is now the Morton House was built of boards set up endwise while the boards of the floor were laid down without matching. The school committee was not vexed with the matter of ventilation. It was here that I had my first struggles with Webster's Spelling Book.

One of the memorable events of that year was the Indian payment in October on the west side of the Grand River. The Indians were gathered there some two or three weeks waiting for the specie to come.  It  was  great amusement for the white people to go and visit the camp and my father took us children.

Everything about the place seemed curious to us, including the savages themselves. Their campfires and wigwams; the men decked out with paint on their faces, feathers in their headgear, and with strings of tin cut in round pieces or with beads around their necks; the squaws, many of them with fine broadcloth blankets, handsomely embroidered leggings to match, and pretty moccasins; all this quite fascinated us. These varicolored figures, together with the lovely autumn landscape, made a picture well calculated to live in the memory.

This annual payment was kept up for twenty years and from fifteen hundred to two thousand Indians assembled in that place every year. Many of them we came to know personally and we looked forward to their coming. Some of the squaws were skilled with the needle and their petticoats were often embroidered with narrow ribbon and beads a quarter of a yard deep. Their bead and porcupine quill work was often a marvel of ingenuity and most neatly done. It is a great pity that more of the really fine specimens of their work have not been preserved.

Indians were a familiar sight but I do not remember having any serious fear of them or any apprehension of trouble with them. A seat by the fire when they were chick-es-sol (cold), or a generous supper when they were buck-a-tab (hungry), generally insured us the most friendly relation with them.

The summer of 1836 seems a long one to my recollection. The arrival of so many strangers; the rapid changes; the hurry of people to get some place to live before cold weather; the peculiar ways in which people did live; the feverish excitement of speculation; so many events crowded into the space of a few months, make those months seem now, like so many years.

To recall the state of things, I extract from a letter dated April 2, 1836, from my father to a brother-in-law: "I have applied for fine lots of pine-land up Grand River but there is such a press of business at the Land Office, one cannot know under six or eight days whether he can get it or not, and if two men asked for the same land, the same day, they must agree which shall have it, as it is setup at auction. There have been four or five hundred people at Bronson for a week past, all waiting to get land; if I get the pine land it will cost about $2.25 per acre, and a great bargain at that. If land buyers increase as we have reason to expect, when navigation opens there will not be a good lot in the territory at Congress prices, and then I see no reason why land will not be worth $10.00 per acre."

That this came to pass we now know. The resort of the early pioneers to every device to supply food and the other commonest necessities of life, was only equaled by their ingenuity for entertainment. During the winter months debating societies, singing schools and masquerade parties were in order. Conspicuous among these were the meetings of the Grand Rapids Lyceum. This society was organized in a room over the old yellow warehouse, used as an office by Dr. Charles Shepard. Its moving spirits were D. H. Taylor, Noble H. Finney, William A. Richmond, W. G. Henry, George Martin, Simeon Johnson and others who came a little later.

Its public meetings were held in the dining-room of the old National--my father's house--which was the place for all kinds of assemblages. Here was brought out the latent intellectual force and forensic ability of that little coterie of young men, that years after was conspicuous on the platform, the stump and at the bar. The women of that time were no whit behind the men and all womanly graces, intelligence, refinement of manners and accomplishments of head and heart were there. A long search might be made in vain to find finer examples of noble womanhood than were present at every social gathering in that old hotel dining-room.

The Lyceum was maintained for many years and thus was started a valuable library. Some of the books are still doing service in our present Public Library.

My brother, Henry M. Hinsdill, was born March, 1837. He was the second white child born here, Napoleon Godfrey who preceded him by a few weeks having claim to the first place. In August of that year an uncle, Truman Kellogg, moved his family here. They made the journey around the lakes and up the river. He had previously purchased a farm east of the town on Lake Avenue, his house standing where the Paddock House now is. Having set out choice orchards of peach, plum and apple trees. He also planted some fine varieties of grapes and all the small fruits. He gave quite a large plot of ground to the morus multi colus shrub,  and embarked in the manufacture of silk. For several years he raised the cocoons and wound the silk. The family still possess many specimens of this, the earliest of  Grand Rapids manufacturing products. At Belding, Michigan, there is now one of the finest silk factories in the country.

This uncle of mine, although one of the quietest of men, was an avowed abolitionist, subscribing to the abolition newspapers and quietly advocating their opinions. In his correspondence he used as a letterhead the figure of a negro kneeling and lifting manacled hands to heaven in supplication. The engraving was done by a colored man. Some of the letters from a brother in the South, containing pleas to discontinue the use of this paper for letters sent to that place as they were positively dangerous, are curious evidences of the public sentiment of that time.

To show that the higher interests of religion and education were not neglected I quote from a letter of father's dated February 25, 1837: "We have two schools in our house, one instructed by my sister (Aunt Mary Walker) who came out here last fall; the other by Mr. Smith, who was educated in your village. We have had from eight to ten boarders all winter, on the temperance plan in full, and have most of the good custom. Strangers from almost all parts of the Union visit our place and are much pleased. Property has advanced one-third or more since you were here; so much, I think people are crazy. Society has improved very much. A Presbyterian church was formed last October with twenty-two members and ten added since, and we have as talented society of young men as can be found in your state. Provision is very high, flour, $15.00  barrel; oats, $1.00; potatoes, $1.25; pork, $14.00 per hundred; butter, 37 1/2c; and other things in proportion, board $4.50 per week; cash plenty; most of it paid out for land. I have more silver and gold in my house this winter than a pair of horses could draw."

This is a good picture of the times. The church spoken of was soon changed to the Congregational polity, that element largely predominating. It is now the First Congregational Church of Grand Rapids. I remember distinctly the scene of the organization; the little company as they stood up to assent to the articles of faith, and afterwards to celebrate the Lord's Supper, with the bread on a common plate, a pitcher and tumblers for tankard and cups. So true were these early settlers to their convictions of faith and training, that the same roof frequently sheltered the family, the church, the school, and Sunday school. They were, however, very liberal to others; any preacher who could lead a Christian service was warmly welcomed.

The night before New Year's of 1838, we were treated to a new diversion.  A company of French and Indian half breeds, masked and dressed in most grotesque and fantastic costumes, with horns and every hideous instrument of noise, rushed through the houses of the settlers, howling and dancing. Everything the houses afforded in the way of refreshments was brought forth.  The noisy hideous visitors threw it on the floor and stamped it down, to the ruin of house and furniture and to the great alarm of housekeepers. So disgusting was the performance and so general the disapprobation that it was never repeated. What it meant and where it originated, no one has ever seemed to know.

In February of 1838, great alarm was felt at the damming up of the ice below the town. One evening just in the midst of a spirited debate at the Lyceum, there came the cry that the water was rising. Everyone started to the rescue. An anxious night was followed by an exciting day. At mid-day, the ice began to move in a vast body while the water rushed back on the little settlement, to the great danger of several families who lived on the bank of the river. The Almy and Page families were taken from the upper windows of their houses in boats. Their houses were situated a little north of where Sweet's Hotel now is. I remember Mrs. Almy's terror as she was brought to our house.

The spring of 1838 was marked by an event of interest to my own family. This was the marriage of my Aunt Mary Hinsdill to Mr. C. I. Walker. During the summer my father's mother paid us a visit. Father spent most of his time that summer looking and surveying land, and early in November he was taken down with a fever. He died on the 17th, at the age of thirty-nine, a victim to the exposures and hardships of a new country. His remains were interred  in the Fulton Street cemetery, then just purchased but not platted.
(Mrs. Lucinda Hinsdill Stone, of Kalamazoo, educator, author and lecturer, was a sister of Mrs. Withey and Mrs. Walker.)

In recalling this bit of family history connected with the early settlement of our state, and bringing to mind the names of many contemporary with my parents, I am reminded of the precious material of which our foundations were builded. If truth, integrity, intelligence, and heroism are traits of nobility, truly the pioneers of our fair Peninsula were a right royal race.

Michigan Historical Collection, Vol. 39, 1915; pages 345-352.



Sophie De Marsac Campau
By Sophie Bingham Buchanan

When quite a young girl in short dresses, I came here to attend school, residing with my brother, a clergyman. Naturally, in his position, he met many of the older and more prominent citizens of this then thriving and growing village of nearly two thousand inhabitants. Among others, we soon heard of this honored and friendly man, Mr. Louis Campau, and his beloved wife, Sophie de Marsac Campau, as the "Founders" of this Valley-city, of which we now are so justly proud.

Later when I came here a bride in 1854, I became more interested in them, passing as they did so frequently my own home on East Fulton Street, and hearing of their kind-heartedness and benevolent work among the Indians and the poor of this city. Giving a hearty welcome to strangers and pilgrims who had left home and friends in the east, and venturing thus far, were seeking to make another and a better somewhere among the western wilds of Michigan. Many through the inducements held out by these humane pioneers, were persuaded to remain and cast in their lot with the fortunes of this little Indian hamlet. Hearing of several families stranded at Ionia, Mr. Louis Campau went there, brought them here, and his good wife joined him in looking after and caring for them in their own home until they could get a start. Among those who came first, were Joel Guild, Aunt Hattie Burton, and others.

Sophie de Marsac Campau, was born in Detroit, September 25th, 1807.  Her father, Maj. General Rene de Marsac, came from a fine old French family in France at an early day, and with his wife Eulalie Gouin, made their home in Detroit. Susanne Marsac married William H. Godfroy and was the mother of Mrs. E. B. Powers. Their parents were well-to-do and prominent people of the old regime in the city of the straits.

From all we can learn of Sophie de Marsac's home life, it was a simple, joyous, happy and contented one. Her father a man of comparative wealth in that early time gave his children every advantage possible. Sophie was educated at the convent and was taught needle-work, cooking, dancing, deportment, and all the necessary accomplishments of that day and generation.  In Detroit, August 9th, 1825, this lovely young girl of eighteen became the bride of Louis Campau.

But the course of true love even for Uncle Louis and Aunt Sophie did not for a time run quite smooth; for being cousins of the fourth degree, the limitations and restrictions of their beloved Church in that regard were only overcome in the granting of a dispensation by Rev. Father Gabriel Richard (vicar-general) permitting the marriage which he himself performed, "giving them the nuptial blessing according to the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church." The date of this marriage was obtained from the records of St. Anne's Church in Detroit. Two years later Louis Campau with his bride started out on their long journey through the wilderness, and settled in their new home on the banks of the Grand River.

Accustomed as she had been to the delightful atmosphere of this old garrison town of Detroit, with warm friends, genial companions, happy home life, how great the change to this lonely Indian village; herself the first and only white woman in it. But it was to be her home; and she entered heart and soul into the work  apparently laid out before her.

Sophie de Marsac Campau was a beautiful woman, tall and slender, easy and graceful in manner, lovely in character and disposition. As one old friend remarked, "She was the only person he ever knew without a flaw." Her serenity of character and even temperament under all circumstances, adverse or otherwise, proved an excellent foil to the husband's impetuous nature. A great homebody, a devout Catholic, true to her religious principles, a fine hostess and kind mistress, she was a favorite with all.  May 5th, 1828, Rev. Leonard Slater with his bride arrived. He started the Baptist Mission on the west side of the river, and to Mrs. Campau at the old fur-trading post on the east side this addition brought joy to her lonely heart.

How delightful as we of today look back at the beautiful friendship existing between these two lovely Christian women; this Protestant and this Catholic, besides coming nearly at the same time; happy even looking into each other's faces, for they were the only two white women in the Valley at this time. Mrs. Campau later told this story to a dear friend.  "I so glad dear Mrs. Slater come. We the only white women here. We go back and forth to see one another often. I speak no word of English, Mrs. Slater she speak no word of French. But we just sit and look at each other, and we make signs so we partly understand, and we so happy!"  This strong and loving companionship continued until the Slaters left for another field of labor.

Mr. and Mrs. Campau among other beneficent work, adopted and brought up his nephew Antoine Campau, who recently died at the Soldier's Home. Also a French and Indian girl (one-quarter Indian) Lucy Genereux. She was sent to the Convent, educated and developed into a beautiful woman of commanding presence and personality. Later married Mr. John Godfroy, but died soon after of consumption. Years passed on and Louis Campau prospered, amassed quite a fortune for those early days, and with his wife proved the same generous, warm-hearted couple as of old. He traded with the Indians, bought and  sold their furs, maple sugar, fish and whatever they had. I trust he did not meet with the same experience as did my father in his mission station, at Sault de Sainte Marie. The Indians there made the finest of maple sugar, white and nice. Father bought it by the Muckuck (Mocock) and frequently used it in his coffee. One fine morning as he stirred his fragrant cup of coffee, lo, a small but elegant lizard made its appearance!! Thereafter maple sugar was banished from our table.

Mr. Campau built his home at the head of East Fulton street hill, and with his good wife, dispensed alike their broad hospitality to neighbors, friends, relatives, Whites and Indians. Their generosity and kindness of heart was unbounded even to their own detriment. No poor Indian too ragged, unkempt or dirty to be welcomed cordially to their hearth and home. They were warmed, blanketed and fed as the case required. One freezing night a party of Indians congregated in the yard. It was too cold for them outside. They were brought into the sitting-room and kitchen, where, after a good meal prepared by Aunt Sophie and servants, they laid down on the floor wrapped in blankets, furnished by Uncle Louis, and slept soundly till early morning when, like the Arabs of old, "they silently stole away."

For nearly two years she took the six motherless children of a sister (or relative) kept and cared for them in their home. The mother and one child they buried in their own yard until in 1857 they were removed to the Catholic cemetery. These are but a few of the many incidents constantly occurring in the pioneer life of this kind-hearted and philanthropic couple.

No doubt some of the older inhabitants can remember the spacious mansion, with its wide hall and good-sized rooms. In one a fine velvet carpet covered the floor. In another was the so-called "Peacock Carpet" from its resemblance to this handsome bird, with tail out-spread to show its beauty. The dining-room painted in blue and white, with its dainty china, looked very inviting.  Most of the furniture was of very rich looking genuine mahogany. The great "Musical Clock" stood in the broad hall, and all the children and fun-loving young people danced to its music.

A French clock of great beauty, of rosewood, onyx and gilt stood on the parlor mantel. Mrs. Danforth, a niece, has this clock now in her possession. Elegant lace curtains, rare and choice, costing hundreds of dollars, hung from the windows. The large chambers above had hangings of creton, one room in blue, the other in white. Aunt Sophie gave a party in the "Apple Orchard" to celebrate the time of her niece's and nephew's first communion. The priest, the school-teacher, and the children were all invited to partake of the abundant feast prepared, and it was an event long to be remembered.

Their home was the rendezvous for numerous nephews and nieces, and a pleasant gathering place for young and old in which to congregate and talk over old times and new, as well as having an occasional old fashioned cotillion party, to "trip the light fantastic toe," in which all joined. Even during the War of the Rebellion the soldiers were invited over to the apple orchard, and told to help themselves.

Aunt Sophie one morning was making crullers, expecting a few friends in for tea, when a lot of Indians came in. Uncle Louis called out, "Give them some." "No, I can't, " she said, "I'm preparing for company." But with her usual good nature, she passed the sieve in which they lay to an old Indian woman near her, who most unexpectedly tipped its contents into her blanket!  And so, alas! poor Aunt Sophie had to make another batch for her evening guests.

She dressed very handsomely, for Uncle Louis loved to see her in rich attire. She was a fine cook! -- to say "fine"  hardly expresses it. She was a beautiful cook, to which all could testify who sat at her table. She gave a dinner party one day, to some of her neighbors, Mrs. Depew, Miss Burch, Mr. and Mrs. Sarel Wood, Mr. and Mrs. Van Benthusen, and a few other. Introducing Mr. Van Benthusen in her pretty French way to her guests she said, "I am very glad to meet you, Mr. Van Benthusen Berry, and have you get acquainted with my frens." (friends)  To which he gallantly replied,  "Thank you, but with your permission Mrs. Campau, I will leave off the "berry". Mrs. Campau and Mrs. Depew were near neighbors and close friends. They often talked over their religious beliefs and convictions. Each with bible in hand looked over and compared notes and passages of scriptures trying in a friendly spirit, to understand more clearly and truthfully, if possible, the meaning of their own particular Bible as it appeared to them. But with the ever growing thought that, in the near future, they would meet heart and soul, as loving sisters, in the "Paradise" above.

In later years when reverses came, they sold the East Fulton Street home, and moved into the house now owned by "our" Dr. Rutherford, next to the Ladies' Literary Club building. Mrs. Campau's heroic and unwavering fortitude amid trying circumstances showed the true, saint-like spirit, for some did indeed call her a "Saint on Earth." After a short illness of three weeks she passed sweetly and peacefully to her rest, July 31st, 1869, in her sixty-second year, beloved and revered by all who knew Sophie de Marsac Campau.

Shall we not indeed even at this late day,  do honor to this brave, yet gentle woman, who seconded in every way possible her husband's efforts by her self-sacrificing spirit, her generosity, her large-heartedness and simple kindness, to these people of a darker skin, who ministered with her own hands to their necessities and when trouble or sickness came helped to lay their little ones away when disease lessened their thinning ranks. She, like the Master of old, "went about doing good."

May we not by following her example and sweet spirit of charity, and by emulating her virtues, be of service in some way in this work-a-day world, and the effect of her influence on ourselves still be so felt as to let our world know, in a quiet way, that we women of today of this Valley City have not lived in vain.

Michigan Pioneers Collection, Vol. 38, 1912; pages 64-69. 



First "Yankee" Family at Grand Rapids
By Albert Baxter

The permanent settlement of Grand Rapids began sixty-seven years ago, June 23, 1833. The story of the Dexter Colony, which came from Herkimer County, New York, into the Grand River woods, has often been told. Those colonists numbered sixty-three persons, nearly all of whom stopped at Ionia and were the founders and organizers of that town. Only one family — that of Joel Guild — himself and wife, one son and six daughters kept on down the river, "Uncle" Louis Campau providing bateaux, from which they landed on the east bank of the rapids at Mr. Campau's Indian trading post, where now is the foot of Huron street, Sunday the 23d of June. Inasmuch as none of them are now living, it is the purpose of this paper to speak chiefly of that family, as the real founders of the town (after Mr. Campau, the trader). The latter had come to the rapids in 1826, and at about the same time came Leonard Slater, the missionary, establishing his mission on the west bank of the river, a little south of Bridge Street.

Mr. Guild's children were then all unmarried — the eldest being Harriet, who was twenty years old that day, and was married in the following spring to Barney Burton, and who survived all the rest, reaching the age of eighty-three years.  Her husband died April 17, 1861. Consider Guild married Phebe Leavitt, who died in 1853; he died in Ottawa county, July 22, 1883. The other daughters, in the order of their ages, may be chronicled in their marriages and deaths as follows: Emily O., married Leonard G. Baxter, she died August 9, 1861, he died February 3, 1866. Mary L. became the wife of Robert Barr, who is yet living, eighty-seven years of age. Olive, married Frederick A. Marsh, who died March 19, 1856, and survived him until November 7, 1867. Elvira E., was the wife of Albert Baxter, she died June 5, 1855, he is yet living. Lucy E.,  married Daniel S. T. Weller, and died January 13, 1867. Mr. Weller died November 26, 1882. Elvira was married February 22, 1849. Lucy was married April 30, 1848.

Joel Guild built the first frame dwelling at Grand Rapids. He purchased of Louis Campau the first two lots sold on the latter's village plat, which was not at the time recorded---being the ground now occupied by the National City Bank and the Wonderly block and between the two, at the junction of Monroe and Pearl streets; and his house was built on that bank site---begun in June, and the family moved into it the last day of August, 1833. It stood at the west base of what was called Prospect hill, and among the oak trees of the forest there. He, at about the same time, went to the land office and entered the forty known as "Kendall's addition," and some two years later sold the entire property to Junius Hatch, of Buffalo, N.Y.

I may add to this very brief sketch a mention of two or three others of the early settlers. Luther Lincoln came into the Grand River valley in the fall of 1832 with a little son and daughter, leaving the children at the Slater mission, while he went down to Grandville and improved some land. As soon as the Guild family came he transferred the children there. Young Luther Lincoln afterward married, and was killed in his doorway by a stroke of lightning, at or near Greenville, Montcalm county. The daughter, Keziah Lincoln, was adopted and reared by "Aunt Hattie" Burton, and is now living in the city, the oldest continuous resident there. She is Mrs. Benjamin Livingston.  Wm. R. Barnard, now at the Masonic home, came to the Rapids in 1834, and is about eighty-six years of age. There are now, I think, not more than half a dozen residents of Grand Rapids left who were there when Michigan was admitted to the union.

Michigan Pioneer Collection, Vol. 29, 1899-1900; pages 503-505.


URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/pioneercollections/earlydays.html
Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
Created: 26 April 1999