Samuel Mc Kenney
Samuel McKenney, the deceased husband of the lady, Mrs. Elizabeth J. McKenney, was born in Monroe County, NY, 30 Nov 1816, and died 27 Feb 1876. In his teen years of his life he was a salesman, but later became an agriculturist. In the fall of 1854, he and his wife came to Byron township and bought eighty acres of partially improved land on which there was a little frame shanty that served them as a habitation for the time being.
There was no road, only what had been made by the Indians in their passage from their villages or camps to their trading post, and these red men of the forest frequently passed by the door of the McKenney’s dwelling. There were fifteen acres of the farm cleared out from the woods, but eventually Mr. McKenney transformed the whole place into a profitable farm, although he had only the primitive agricultural implements of that early day to work with.
On this place Mr. McKenney erected the first barn ever put up in Byron township, and also grew the first apples. There were then only two schools in that vicinity, but no a church; the village of Byron Center had not then been dreamed of, and the first postoffice was named Buck Creek in 1860. The two schools were in his vicinity and Mr. McKenney had land in section 20, section 32 and section 17. It was in section 20 and 32 where the school were located. This you can find in the "Illustrated Historical Atlas of Ottawa and Kent Counties of 1876". It’s very interesting. One sees only two schools on the entire map. Mr. McKenney added to his land through his industry and skill as an agriculturist, and eventually possessed 300 acres of good land.
Having through these virtues earned a competence, he yielded to his natural impulse and tendency toward charity, and willingly aided all enterprises that had the welfare of the community in his view. In politics he was a democrat, and held full confidence of the voters in his neighborhood who held the same views, and by them, was elected collector of taxes which position he held for eighteen years.
Also, was elected as a treasurer of the township from
1859-1865. In religion he was a sincere Methodist, also, was a trustee of the
church of which he was a member. So devoted was he to his faith that he aided
financially in the erection of the two, M. E. and Adventist churches in Byron
Center and in the death of the excellent Christian, the community lost a member
who can never be replaced by an equal.
Mrs. McKenney’s dwelling was the most beautiful in the township, and on the old homestead, she passed her declining years with her children and grand children. And her kind and genial disposition made her beloved by all her neighbors.
Created: 21 February 2014