Cannon, originally a part of Plainfield, lies northwest of
Grand Rapids, having Courtland on the north, Grattan on the east, Ada on the
south, and Plainfield on the west. In the year 1837 the first farm was entered
with in its territory by Andrew Watson, who came with his family, accompanied by
A.D. W. Stout and family, and settled on section thirty, where Mr. Watson and
his aged wife resided for many years after. In the following year came Isaac
Tomlinson, locating upon section twenty-seven, in a beautiful situation
commanding an extensive and enchanting view of the Grand River and its beautiful
valley. In 1839 Wm. M. Miller settled upon section nineteen.
The date of emigration had now fairly set in, and the waving forests rolled back before a hundred pioneer axes. Among the new-comers in 1840 were James Thomas, Oliver Lovejoy, Mr. Rood and Rev. Mr. Frieze.
Among those who distinguished themselves in developing the town, I will mention M.A. Patrick and E.B. Smith. In 1845 the separation from Plainfield was effected, and the township was created into a separate town, under the name, by mistake of the Legislature, of Churchtown, assuming its present name, however, in honor of its principal village at its first town meeting, held to complete its organization, on the first Monday of April, 1846, at the house of C. Slaght, in Cannonsburg.
Cannon presents a great variety of surface, soil and productions, Its main staples raised for the market are wheat, wool, corn and apples. Of the former, large quantities were exported, and its rolling lands and dry, healthful climate make its wool-growing a success. Lying within the great Western fruit belt, and being blessed with a deep, pliable soil, it is eminently adapted to horticultural pursuits. Of this its people are fully aware, and we find in many flourishing orchards, apples, pears, peaches, cherries and currants abound, while grapes and the small fruits are fast becoming specialties.
While its business centers have not reached to any great importance, its rural districts are marked with thrift and enterprise. Comfort smiles from its tasteful dwellings nestled amid shade and bloom, while an abounding plenty is stored in its spacious barns. This township is remarkable for the industry and the wealth of its inhabitants
Cannonsburg, the only business center of any note within the town, was founded in 1842, an Indian war trail its only thoroughfare, and the settler's axe the only key that would open the forest gates that guarded its entrance. In 1844 and 1845 its mills were erected by E.B. Bostwick and H.T. Judson, and a store opened. As an inducement to permanent settlement the village was platted in 1845, and Mr. Bostwick, the enterprising business agent of LeGrand Cannon, its proprietor, (an eastern capitalist and large land-holder in the town), was instructed to give a village lot to each resident not otherwise provided for; thus twenty-five lots were given away.
The town received the name it now bears in honor of its founder, who testified his appreciation of the distinction conferred by presenting the village with a small ordinance, bearing his name and date. This is treasured by the authorities as a memento of early times, and used on the 4th of July and other holiday occasions, wakening the echoes of memory in many a heart as its thunders reverberate among the hills that completely surround the little village. Cannonsburg is situated on both sides of Bear Creek, and is a flourishing and well-to-do settlement.
Cascade lies in the second tier of townships from the south and east line of the county, and is bounded on the north by Ada, on the east by Lowell, on the south by Caledonia, and on the west by Paris. At first it was part of the township of Ada. Louis Cook, a native of New Jersey, is said to have been the first settler within the township of Cascade. He came in 1836, and was soon followed by Hiram Laraway, Ed Linen, James May, David Petted, John Farrell, James and William Annis, Michael Matthews, Patrick, Christopher and Michael Eardley.
In 1838, Frederick A. Marsh, of New York, united in marriage with Olive Guild, a daughter of Joel Guild, one of the pioneer settlers of Grand Rapids, and began domestic life in the unbroken wilderness, one mile north and west of where Cascade village now stands. Mr. Marsh lived to see the forest yield its place to cultivated fields and comfortable dwellings, and to have a school house erected on his own land. He was killed by a fall from his wagon, in 1856. In the winter of 1841, Mr. Laraway was frozen to death while making the journey between Ada and his won lonely residence. His widow braved the hardships of pioneer life and trained up three sons and a daughter to lives of usefulness.
Peter and George Teeple came to Cascade during those years, joining the settlers on the west side of the Thornapple, while the eastern side was yet unmarked by civilization, but inhabited by about three hundred and fifty Ottawa Indians.
In 1841, Peter Whitney, of Ohio, moved his family into that part of Cascade known as Whitneyville, and E.D. Gore, of Massachusetts, selected a site for his future home near the center of the township, in the summer of 1842. Next came Horace Sears, from New York, and Zerah and Ezra Whitney, and settled in Whitneyville.
In the spring of 1845, Asa W. Denison and family, from Massachusetts, and George H. Denison came and joined the settlers on the west side of the Thornapple. Coming in on the State Road from Battle Creek to Grand Rapids, the teams, women and children of the company were obliged to wait at Ezra Whitney's public house for the road to be "chopped out," between that point and the river, theirs being the first teams that passed over the read. At Cascade they forded the Thornapple with their household goods, and found timber on the ground for the erection of the old Ferry House (now Cascade Hotel), which was at that time owned by D.S.T. Weller. During that year the house was so far completed as to admit of occupancy, and the first ferry boat commenced its trips just above where the bridge now spans the stream. D.S.T. Weller then owned the plat of land now occupied by Cascade Village, although first purchased by Joel Guild; and it was at that time staked out into lots of one acre each. This was done as the fine fall on the river gave hopes for the speedy erection of mills at that place, some of the most sanguine settlers prophesying that Cascade would outstrip Grand Rapids in the strife for precedence.
During the year 1845, a disease, which our old settlers denominate the "black Tongue", broke out among the Indians near Whitneyville, reducing their number to two hundred in about two weeks. The band now became wasted by disease and removal, until less than fifty remained at the time of their removal to the Indian reservation, in 1856.
In 1846 another family was added to the few settlers on the east side of the river - Jared Strong, the first settler in the forest between this place and the town of Ada. The following year a school was opened in a little log house on the river bank for the children in that vicinity.
The first township meeting was held at Whitneyville, April 3d, 1848, and the following township officers were elected:
Supervisor, Peter Teeple; Clerk, John R. Stewart; Treasurer, Asa W. Denison; School Inspectors, James H. Woodworth, Thomas I. Seeley; Commissioners of Highways, Ezra Whitney, Fred A. Marsh, William Degolia; Justices of the Peace, Leonard Stewart, Zerah Whitney; Assessors, Thomas I. Seeley, Harry Clark; Constables, Morris Denison, D.P. Corson, Wm Cook, Peter J. Whitney.
From this day Cascade marched forward to success with even progress. Commerce followed the pioneer's axe and stores were soon opened, and it is, to-day, one of the most thrifty places of its size in the State. The town can boast several school buildings of decidedly fine appearance. It has several churches, and enjoys all the blessings of wealth and prosperity.
Document Source: Tuttle, Charles R., History
of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids: Tuttle & Cooney, 1874.
Transcriber: Karen Blumenshine
Total Names: 53