Hiram M. Hathaway

Hiram M. Hathaway, a descendant of Anne Hathaway, was a native of New York State, with his family they went to Ohio. He married Lemyra Hathaway. They moved here from Ohio in August, 1865 with three small children. They came from Cleveland, Ohio to Detroit by boat, then by train to Grand Rapids, Michigan, just as the boys of the Civil War were coming home. Mr. Higby who was to be their neighbor, met them at the depot with a lumber wagon, which was their only way of transportation, and took them to Hathaway’s farm he had purchased sometime before.

The farm was one mile east and a half mile south of Byron Center, which is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Harm Vorenkamp, 8865 Burlingame, S.W.


Minnie Johnson, 2436 – 85th St. SW, wife of Steve, was born here 3 October 1866 and lived here her whole life. She was born in a log house, and a year later her brother was born in the log house. Three years later a frame house was built for the family and, two sisters and two brothers were born here. There were nine children in all.

Mrs. Johnson says she can remember the first kerosene lamps, and also an abundance of rattle snakes and porcupines. Her father purchased the first buggy, organ and sewing machine in Byron township. When she was four years old she saw the last stage coach come through and stop at the Sharp’s Tavern, which was located on Carlisle Road (which is known today as 76th Street) and the coach changed horses before going on into Grand Rapids. She has seen Division Road from Carlisle Road to Hall Street, which was then the city limits, change four times from plank, to spiles, then gravel to cement. There were three toll gates on the above mentioned stretch of road, and at Hall Street was where the old car barns were, and just east of there were the fairgrounds where her father took cattle, sheep, horses and pigs, for several years, staying from Monday until Saturday. In 1877, her father fatted twenty hear of steers for Wykes and Pegley of Grand Rapids, string butcher, for Christmas beef, and just before Christmas they came after them, tied red, white and blue ribbons on their horns and drove them to the city. Street cars stopped for them and they were driven down Division Avenue to old Canal Street and on th the slaughter house.

When the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern, and the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroads were built, Hiram Hathaway helped to cut thousands of tamarack ties and cedar posts for the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad.

For sometime, the family lived at the end of the road and Mr. Hathaway decided he was going to have a road, so he started to fall trees across the swamp, and he got men to haul sand and soon they had a road through. Before, it was called, "trail through the woods". For years the road was called the Hathaway Road, however, now it is known as Burlingame Road.

In 1892, he left the farm and since had resided in the village. Hiram M. Hathaway died at the age of eighty-five. Of the nine children, two are still living today (1957). Mrs. Steve Johnson in Byron, and Mrs. Nettie Elenore Patterson of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mrs. Patterson is now eighty-five years and Mrs. Minnie Johnson is ninety years old.

When Mr. Hathaway sold his farm in Ohio, he realized a nice sum of money from the hickory trees which were on the farm. When he came to Byron he paid cash for the farm, and put money in the bank. The man who sold the farm to Mr. Hathaway in 1857, also was selling lots in the Winchester Cemetery, and Mr. Hathaway bought eight grave. In the final resting place, in Winchester Cemetery, are twelve graves of the members of the Hathaway family. Mrs. Minnie (Hathaway) Johnson, stated that when the papers were made out for the cemetery lots, her father had to pay fifteen cents for the deed.


Transcriber: ES
Created: 21 February 2014
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/townships/byron/PioneerSketches/hathawayH.html