A Twentieth Century History of Allegan County, Michigan

In the preparation of this History of Allegan County a large number of persons have contributed directly to the completion of the undertaking, either by furnishing material or by suggestions and narratives from personal knowledge and experience. It is impossible to name all who have thus assisted. Of the county officers. Judge Padgham has allowed the use of some articles from his pen and also has assisted actively in the preparation of the chapter on the Bench and Bar. The county clerk, Mr. Brower, as also the county treasurer, Mr. Hall, the register, Mr. Dunn, and probate judge, Mr. Williams, have offered their records for examination. Mr. McDougal, the county surveyor, drafted the county map which is used in the work. Nearly all the township clerks have contributed to the work by furnishing a list of the principal township officers. Among others who have given their assistance whenever called upon to this work should be mentioned Gen. B. D. Pritchard, Willard Higgins, E. C. Reid, Mr. W. W. Warner, Miss C. Wilkes, Mr. I. G. Thorpe. The data for the fraternal orders and churches has in most instances been furnished by an officer of each organization. Credit should also be given Miss Frances Muff for valuable assistance in collecting data.


Table of Contents.

Organization and Civil Government — Early History of Michigan— First Township Meeting — Court House — Provisions for the poor — Formation of the Townships — Township Organization — Plainfield — Martin — Wayland — Leighton — Otsego — Watson — Dorr— Hopkins - Allegan — Trowbridge — Cheshire — Monterey Salem — Heath — Pino Plains — Newark — Manlius — Fillmore — Oversel— Lee — Clyde — Ganges — Casco — Saugatuck — Laketown 1-25

The County from 1830 to the Close of the Civil War — Decade of the "Thirties" — Erie Canal — Overland Roads — Black Hawk War — Early Settlement— Saugatuck — Southeastern Allegan County — Distribution of Population — Dutch Colonization 26-52

Allegan Village and Vicinity — Site Purchased by George Ketchum, Stephen Vickery and Anthony Cooley — Investment of Eastern Capital — Samuel Hubbard and C. C. Trowbridge, Proprietors — Allegan in 1837 — Allegan Company— Settlers of 1835 — Progress and Present Status — Fires, Fire and Water Departments — Biographies 53-117

The Railroad Era (1868-1906) — Canals, Plank Roads and Early Railroad Attempts — Kalamazoo & Allegan Railroad first of the County — Allegan & Southeastern Railroad — Increase of Population During Railroad Era — Population by Nativity — Valuation of Real and Personal Property 118-132

Centers of Population — General Considerations — Saugatuck Village — Douglas — Fenville — Ganges Township — Bravo — Pearl — Pullman — Centers in Ganges and Casco — Casco Township — Centers in Manlius Township — Centers in Northeast Allegan County - Wayland Township — Hopkins Township — Hopkinsburg — Dorr Township — Salem Township — Monterey Township — Heath Township — Graafschap — Piainwell — Otsego — Leighton Township — Martin Township — Valley Township — Cheshire Township — Trowbridge Township — Cylde Township 123-494

Agricultural and Kindred Interests - Lumbering and Clearing of the Land - Ditching and Draining - Silo Plants - Creameries and Cheese Factories - Horticulture Fruit Production for Three Decades - Present Status - Saugatuck and Ganges Pomological Society 495-501

Manufacturing - Statistics for 1905 - Paper Manufacture 502-506

Education — History of, in Michigan— State Primary Fund — Tax Appointment by Townships and Cities - First Schools in Allegan County — Township System and Districts — The "Union School" — County Normal Training Classes — Compulsory Education — Supervision of Schools — School Districts of the Townships 507-519

Village Schools - Allegan - Allegan Graduates - Plainwell - Plainwell High School Alumni - Saugatuck - Saugatuck High School GRaduates - Fennville - Burnip's Corners - Wayland 520-532

Banks — Allegan Bank Established — Allegan State Savings Bank — First National Bank and other Financial Institutions — List for 1906 533-535

History of the Press — First Paper and First Publisher - Allegan Journal and Later Publications — Plainwell— A Little History 536-543

Medicine and Sugerry — First Active Physician of Comity. Dr. Linsford E. Coates, Otsego — Allegan's First Physician — Practicing Physicians of 1880 — Present Licensed Physicians 543-546

Courts and Lawyers — State Judicial System as Applied to County — Circuit Court of Allegan County — County Courts and Judges — Allegan County Bar - List of Attorneys and Dates of Admission 547-552

Polities in Allegan County — Half a Century Ago — Presidential and Gubernatorial Votes, 1836-1906 — Organization of Republican Party at Jackson (1854) — Changes in Party Votes — Tho Greenback Issue — Prohibition 553-556

Libraries and Literary Clubs — Allegan Library — Henika Library, Wayland — Ladies' Library Association, Plainwell — Sangatuck Woman's Club — Ladies' Library Club, Wayland— Woman's History Club, Allegan — Treble Clef Society 557-561

Fraternities — Allegan Masonic Lodges — Plainwell, Wayland, Dorr, Saugatuck and Fennville Lodges of Masonry — I. O. O. F. Lodges at Allegan, Plainwell, Wayland, Salem, Sangatuck, Watson, Hamilton, Fennville, Moline, Martin, Leasure, Pullman, Otsego, Hopkins and Monterey — Daughters of Rebekah, Allegan — K. O. T. M. — L. O. T. M. — Ancient Order of United Workmen 562-569

Pioneers — List of, Alphabetically Arranged 570-572

Churches — First Meetings and Organization of Baptist Church — Churches at Otsego, Plainwell Allegan, Trowbridge and Watson — Congregational Churches at Otsego, Allegan, Sangatuck, Douglas, Dorr, Dorr Center, Wayland and Hopkins — Methodist Churches at Allegan, Mill Grove, Otsego, Plainwell, Ganges, Cheshire, Monterey, Hopkins Station, Burnip's Corners, Martin, Shelbyville, Wayland and Dorr — Presbyterian Churches at Allegan and Plainwell — United Presbyterian Churches — Protestant Episcopal Churches — Swedish Lutheran Church — German Methodist and Lutheran Churches — United Brethren Church — Seventh Day Adventist Churches — Dutch Reformed Churches— Church of Christ — United Brethren in Christ 573-597

Military Records — Officers from Allegan County in Civil War - Allegan County soldiers in Civil War — Allegan County Soldiers in Spanish-American War - Soldiers ' Monument 598-615

Official Lists — Congressmen, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, University Regent, Commissioner of Land Office, Railroad Commissioner, State Senators, Legislative Representatives, Probate Judges, County Clerks, Registers of Deeds, County Treasurers, Sheriffs, Prosecuting Attorneys, Circuit Court Commissioners, Surveyors, Drain Commissioner, Coroners, Members of Constitutional Conventions and Township Officials 616-655


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Strictly speaking, the settlers of Allegan county were not pioneers. The majority of them were people of more or less education and culture, trained and accustomed to the usages of civilization. In the settling of the country there was no interim between savagery and civilization. The pioneers did not come and build their cabins and defend them with their rifles for some years until the civil officers, courts, schools and churches made their appearance. This was necessary in some settlements but not here. In Allegan county civil government sprang into being almost at once. The settlers brought civilization with them. They brought the common law with them, and, in harmony with the legislative statutes, they saw to it at once that the community should be governed thereby. The machinery that governed populous and organized communities was elastic and adaptable, and could be readily extended to this new county. Utilizing it, the people provided for courts, public buildings, for roads, and every possible institution necessary to a civilized country. And the result was that Allegan county soon became a populous link in the great chain of similar political communities stretching 'from the Atlantic beyond the Mississippi, maintaining without a break the institutions of civilization at the standards of older states and counties.