Of the men who came into the county later we shall speak as we give the history of the various townships of the county. Huron being one of the earliest organized and embraced nearly all of the territory of Huron County. Many years before any permanent settlement was formed the present site of the village of Huron City was occupied by fishermen. In 1837 Theodore Luce erected a saw mill on Willow Greek, the Indian name of which is Wet-to-bee-wok. Later Mr. Brakeman, of Port Huron bought the mill and after operating a year or two sold it to Dowling & Forbes, also of Port Huron, and they in 1856 sold to R. B. Hubbard & Co. This firm continued operations here until the fire of 1871 destroyed their mills, docks, store, and the entire village. The loss to the company was a very heavy one. Their large warehouse on shore and another one on the dock filled with grain and lumbering supplies, the entire stock of clear lumber for the year, a large quantity of shingles, [an bark and cedar posts were entirely destroyed. Immediately after the fire the firm rebuilt and continued their business until 1878, when R. B. and Watson retired from the company leaving Langdon Hubbard the sole owner of this immense business. The forest fires of '71 found
the township an almost unbroken forest of very heavy timber, principally pine, hemlock, beech and maple with scattering cedar, black ash, elm and bass wood. In that fire most of the timber was killed and in the course of a few years fell in such dense masses that it was almost impossible for man or beast to pass through it. In fact fences were unnecessary except
along the roads. When the fires of 1881 came along this timber was in prime condition for the great fire which in its march swept everything before it, Langdon Hubbard alone lost $250,000 in this conflagration. But Mr. Hubbard, with his accustomed energy set to work, immediately rebuilt his store and also a flouring mill, saw mill, shingle mill, blacksmith shop and several other business enterprises of the village besides giving his attention to farming.
THE BEGINNING OF HURON CITY
Prof. William Lyon Phelps gave a splendid history of this well known pioneer in the memorial services held in his honor at Huron City a few years ago. He said: "The history of this town is simply a history of his life for 40 years. He built a road straight through the forest for 16 miles to Verona. His lumber business grew to gigantic proportions. Hundreds of men were in his employ. They cut timber in the winter, floated the logs down Willow Creek, sawed them into lumber, placed it on Mr. Hubbard's cars and took it to the end of the pier where it was loaded on his boat, the 'Huron City' and sent it to Detroit, Cleveland and Sandusky." Mr. Hubbard first bought land in the county in 1853. Among the men who came to Huron City in the '50's was Dr. Dickinson, who worked as a lumberman for two years for Mr.Brakeman. When the Civil War broke out in'61 he enlisted. At the close of that struggle he entered a medical college in Cincinnati from which he graduated and again became an inhabitant of Huron County.
The name of Andrew Shaw is a familiar one to all pioneers. He came in 1850 and in 1858 bought 109 acres of government land. Was appointed keeper of the light house by President Lincoln and at his death was the oldest settler in Huron township. The first life saving station was at Huron City in 1876. Five of the captains who had charge there are well known through
out the county: Kiah, Morgan, Ferris and Oliver. Captain Kiah's story of the attempted rescue in April 1880, of the scow Sally McGruder, when the entire crew of the life savers lost their lives but him, is as thrilling as any sea story ever published.
About three miles east of Grindstone City was the now vanished hamlet of New River. Here on May 12, 1845 J. Spikeman and Walter Hume bought some land. Other men who came there in the 50's were J. R. Chambers 1851, John Ginn 1853, Francis Palms, 1854, S. Sharpstein 1855, Thomas Donahue 1856, and Alexander Miller in 1858. Here Cooper, Creevy & Co. used to operate an extensive salt block, their headquarters being at Port Austin. The first deed recorded in the county of which we have any trace is a conveyance from Lorenz M. Mason to the County of Huron. It is for a consideration of $175 and describes what is now known as the New River Cemetery, consisting of four acres and described as being the burying ground now in use in the said township of Huron. I think the record was made by Charles B. Cottrell. Where the village stood is now the farm of Frank Kinch, one of the most enterprising and modern farmers of the Thumb. As late as 1883 this town had a Ion g dock where steamers regularly stopped for freight and passengers. Had a store, church and school house. When the salt industry declined the town began to go down. Finally every vestige of what had been a flourishing town disappeared. The soil in this township is a clay loam with a
mixture of sand and is very fertile.
SAND BEACH TOWNSHIP
An interesting page in the county's history is the story of the early settlement of Sand Beach township. Steps were taken to organize this township as early as 1853. The first town meeting was held near Port Hope in a private house and Hiram Whitcomb elected supervisor
visor in the spring of 1853, but he objected to assuming control over such a large territory, so the town was not really organized until 1855 when John Hopson . was elected supervisor. He was instrumental in getting the first state road. The name given to the bay and beach in those early days was on account of the fine, wide, clean beach so free from rock ledge at this point. The shore below for some distance is rocky. Upon the organization of the township G. W. Pack, of the firm of Carrington, Pack & Co., who did business here, suggested that the same name be given to it. The name gave the impression that the general character of the soil was sandy and therefore valueless, so in later years the village was renamed Harbor Beach.
FIRST COUNTY SEAT AT SAND BEACH
Upon the organization of the county in 1859 Sand Beach was made the county seat. It remained so until 1864 when the court house burned with nearly all the records. One term of court was held in the Dow House, after the fire, and then the capital was moved to Port Austin. The first settler was John Allen in the spring of 1837 and with him came Alanson Daggett. The fishermen, however, had visited this point at an early day to catch the white fish and trout with which the clear waters of the lake abound. Mr. Allen and Mr. Daggett put up a saw mill at Rock Falls and in the fall of that same year Bela Hubbard, of Detroit, tells of a trip he made here in connection with the Michigan Geological Expedition from Detroit to Port Huron. Dr. Houghton, State Geologist, and C. G. Douglass with a guide, Pierre Guret, of French -and Indian blood and a dog being the rest of the party. Mr. Hubbard states that they were to examine and report upon the salt springs of the lower peninsula. Prior to the settlement of Michigan by white men the Indians supplied themselves with salt from the saline springs of the Saginaw Valley and the Huron Peninsula. The state being desirous of knowing more
about these springs sent out this Party into the wilderness far from the habitation of white men. They had completed the river explorations after many difficulties and reached the point where Saginaw now is in October 1837. Mr. Hubbard says: "We then prepared for an expedition which was attended with some danger at that late season of [lie year, a lake journey of 150 miles from Saginaw to Port Huron. We procured a canoe from the Chippewa reservation. It was a dugout of wood 30 feet long, but so narrow, that seated in a line of the center we could use a paddle on either side." Bay City was then an infant of one year and boasted a frame building used as a chapel and two or more log huts." He also mentions finding apple trees along the Tittabawassee river. An old manuscript mentions the planting of these when Father Marquette and his Jesuit brethren paddled around our beautiful peninsula 200 years before, dropping here and there a few apple and pear seeds from which the earliest settlers were to gather fruit. Some of these trees were found in Caseville township in 1841. No doubt these warriors of the Gross camped there over night. When the party reached the islands near the Au Gres river they caught a large sturgeon with
their hands and threw it on the shore. It stocked their larder for many days with its variety of meat.
Mr. Hubbard says: "Of our further voyaging until we rounded Pointe Aux Barques I have nothing to note beyond the usual adventures and delays that attend mariners on so perilous a trip in such a tiny craft upon the treacherous waves U Saginaw Bay. The toils of the day were compensated by the sweetest of slumbers when after having supped upon pork and hard bread, each wrapped in his blanket, we fell asleep beneath the soft influence of the Pleiades."
He also gives the following description of the coast in that day: "It is rock bound affording no harbor and being thickly wooded with evergreens its aspect was forbidding and gloomy. Added to this the waves are
incessantly lashing the rocks whether the wind be from the lake or bay. This action of the winds has caused channels to be worn through large masses of the movable sand stone which tumbles into the lake from small islets, In the immense caverns formed by the constant action of the restless waters a fleet of skiffs might be safely hidden. In doubling the cape the voyager is struck with the singular appearance of two projecting masses detached from the main and covered with timber. They bear close re8emblance to the bows of vessels with hulls exposed down to the keel. The bowsprit and sides are nearly perfect. They are about 50 feet in the beam and 16 to 20 feet in height." (4).
The name the French voyagers bestowed upon it at an early date is significant of the mimic resemblance, Pointe Aux Barques. This point was first settled by Jonathan G. Stockman. He came from Cleveland with his wife and six children and engaged in the fishing industry. The next settler was Henry Gill who landed at Burnt Cabin Point, July 4, 1852. When a resort started at Pointe Aux Barques it was made a township, 700 acres being taken from Port Austin for that purpose.
But to continue the story of Mr. Hubbard and his party. Near White Rock, on Lake Huron, they found a settler or rather a lumber man, the first they had seen since leaving the Saginaw reservation. John Allen had been there for three months. He and five other men had erected a saw mill on a dashing little brook that nearly swamped their canoe on entering the stream. lie had no neighbors but the mistress of the house informed them that they were expecting families to come and settle in the then visionary White Rock City. The annals of this place constitute one of those chapters of romance of which the records of 1835 and 1836 are so replete. (5).
(4) Michigan Historical Collections.
(5) Huron County Album.
Maps had been displayed in Detroit and other places depicting a magnificent harbor into which steamboats were entering. Pictures of saw mills, court house, churches and other public buildings were shown. And as a result lots were sold at fabulous prices to buyers and the rage of real estate speculation was at its height. Mr. Hubbard states that even those lines of advancing civilization - the surveyor's marks were lacking. Except Mr. Allen, it was 40 miles to the nearest inhabitant. The party carved their names on the large beech tree for the benefit of future visitors as the first guests of the advertised White Rock hotel. Mr. Allen later sold out to Mr. Robinson and he to Hiram Whitcomb in 1845. The creek still bears the name of Allen's Creek.
In an interview with John Hopson three weeks before he died he made the following statements to Mrs. Dow of Sand Beach: "I came to Rock Falls, or Barnettville as it was then named in 1847. The trip was made in a skiff owned by Lyman French and a Mr. McDonald. They started from Port Huron and every night would camp on the beach resuming their journey in the morning if the weather would permit."
On one of his early trips Mr. Hopson brought with him a yoke of steers and a wagon. This was the first wagon to enter Sand Beach, now Harbor Beach. This town is situated on Magnet Bay. The ground upon which the village stands is high and level. At a distance of about one-fourth of a mile from the shore there is an abrupt descent of about 20 feet, below which is a beautiful plateau extending to the lake.
Mrs. Ludington, the first white woman in Sand Beach township states that Mr. Ludington and herself came to Rock Falls, then Allen's Creek. In order to find a suitable location for their home Mr. Ludington explored the shore with a small row boat until he reached the point where Harbor Beach now is. The beautiful white sand of the beach attracted his eye and he decided
to locate there. Their first child, Almont A., was born berein1851. At Allen's Greek were their nearest neighbors, Dr. Cutler, Hiram Whitcomb, Mr. Allen and Alason Daggett. Mr. Ludington built a frame house in 1854 just west of where the depot now is. They moved from here in 1857 to Center Harbor where they lived seven years. This town was first known as Jerry's Mill. The firm of Leuty, Durant & Co., of Lexington purchased the mill and premises with a large tract of valuable pine land in 1864. They also built a fine dock, several buildings, including a boarding house and dwelling house, for Mr. H. H. Ostertrout. their agent and fireman. The first wedding in Sand Beach township was that of Duncan McCash and Mary Ann French. Levi H. Buell officiated. Date, April 19, 1852. The daughter of Mr. Buell is now Mrs. Banker, of Harbor Beach. Sand Beach dates its first settlement to 1837, but no improvements were made then. In 1868 its population was 200. At the present date Hunting Trescott is its oldest resident. In those early times Hiram Whitcomb was a leading man in the settlement. His neighbors were the lumbermen and their families. An interesting character of those days was a man whose name still clings to the point below Harbor Beach
resort. His ostensible business was fishing but his real business was coining counterfeit Mexican dollars. Then he began engraving bank notes. Mr. Whitcomb told him that this fact had become known to the people. At first he denied it, but later made a full confession and said that he had been at one time an employee in the Philadelphia mint. He left the country soon afterward. The old die he used was at one time in H. W. Chamberlains store.
The first railway train came into Sand Beach in 1880. Mr. Gilchrist and Dr. Cutler, the father of Dean Cutler, of Bad Axe, organized the first Sunday school in 1852. The first church built in the town was the Baptist. It was also the first of that denomination in the county. Before that time traveling M. E. preachers had
held services in the settlement. The first M. E. church was erected in 1878 under the pastorate of Robert Bird.
Little is known of the early history of the Catholic church in Sand Beach. In 1866 Father Klug made visits to the few Catholic families there. A Free Methodist church was organized in 1879 with seven members. The Evangelical Lutheran people had Rev. Mr. Schwarz as supply in 1872. The Presbyterians were cared for by Rev. E. Davis in 1880. In 1854 Mr. Burleigh, who came to a place named Purdyville, just below Band Beach, gives this description of the dwellings in that day: "The log cabins had clay floors. The settlers had no nails, so used poles to bind the shakes on the roofs of their dwellings. The window casings were made of pine, split with a frow, and kept in place by wooden pins. They had tallow candles for lights and jumpers, a roughly constructed sled about 8 feet in length, were the only vehicles used then for travel, both summer and winter. The maple trees in that vicinity had been tapped by the Indians for so many years that the marks were far above a man's head. The Indians used the bow and arrow-to kill the deer. They had no difficulty in doing so.
The first school was organized in 1852 and E. B. Ward, of Detroit, contributed the land on which the school house was built. Alonzo Trescott (son of Hunting Trescott) was the first teacher.
Another name associated with that of Sand Beach is that of John Brennan, who has lived there 44 years. He contributed a very interesting paper on the early history of the town to the Huron County Pioneer and Historical Society a couple of years ago. In it he states that: "Sand Beach was the home of the first real settler as many of those-coming first were lumbermen. Here was erected the first steam saw mill by John Hopson. Here was located the first bank. In the natural course of events as the familiar scenes of pioneer days began to disappear and the whole county to show signs of an
order of things obliterating the past the government harbor was erected with its broad entrance and the light house as if to mark the pioneer gateway of the county.
The next one of the pioneers of prominence was Jeremiah Jenks, who in 1864 with J. L. Woods and George W. Pack purchased a saw mill on Allen's Creek. This structure had been built on the site of the first saw mill on the eastern side of the county. During the 11 years following they produced over 50,000,000 feet of pine lumber for the outside market. B. W. Jenks was the clerk and bookkeeper for the firm in 1866. He afterwards became one of the partners. Another settler, Jesse L. Jenks, came into the township in 1870 when he had control of a stage route between Port Sanilac and Port Austin. In 1856 we find Hunting Trescott assisting in the construction of a mill at Center Harbor for Mr. J. Jenks.
Among the early newspapers of the county was the Huron County News, published at Sand Beach from '62 to '64 by 0. F. Harrington. This paper followed the county seat to Port Austin, where in 187 1 it finally passed into the hands of W. F. Clark.
The work on the Harbor of Refuge at Sand Beach was begun in 1873 but a number of years elapsed before it was completed. Up to 1883 the largest number of vessels at one time seeking shelter from the storms was 89. Capt. Robert Wagstaff was appointed custodian of the harbor in 1882 and held that position until ill health compelled him to resign in 1898. He was well fitted for the position, having made a trip around the world and crossed the ocean nine times. Capt. W. S. Rice was his successor. The life saving station was constructed and went into commission during the year 1881 with Keeper D. E. Dues and G. W. Plough in charge. Another name on the records of that early day was Andrew Maule, whose grand-daughter, Mrs. Nathan Case, is now a resident of Sand Beach township. He took the first load
of provisions to where the city of Bad Axe now stands. The food was for the early surveyors. About four miles from that place the oxen were mired and they had great difficulty in rescuing them and getting the provisions to the camp which was on the site of the present court house. In the night they had to drive away the bears which were after the barrel of pork. Much more could be said of this thriving city but space will not permit.
PORT AUSTIN TOWNSHIP
Another of the early settled townships was Port Austin, although it was not organized until 1862 with Isaac Brebner as supervisor. The first settlement here was made by Jedushu Bird, who came from Canada at the time of the Rebellion of 1837 in a small sail boat. With him were his wife and two sons, Ben and Alden. Mr. Bird built his home on the site of the present Macabee hall. Half a mile from the mouth of the creek which bears his name he built a dam and a water mill. The remains of this may be seen today. Besides the manufacture of lumber Mr. Bird carried on a fishing business. He built a small dock at the mouth of the creek and also made a rude shanty further up the stream. These were the only dwellings when John Buttars, to whom we are indebted for this sketch, came to what is now Port Austin in 1852.
Mr. Bird sold out to Smith, Austin & Dwight in 1853 and they built a large steam mill at the mouth of the creek. James Dufty assisted in this work. In the winter of 1853-4 a lumber dock was constructed and the mill began operations in 1854. The name of the town was changed from Bird's Greek to Dwightville and still later to Port Austin in honor of Mr. Austin, the second partner of the firm. They did not make a, success of the business, however, and it went into the hands of a receiver, Mr. William Warner, who sold it to G. and W. F. Smith. In 1859 they sold out to Ayres, Learned & Wis
wall, who operated the mill until the supply of timber was exhausted.
We find this item in a paper of that day: "Ayres & Go., have shipped this week 284,644 feet of lumber and 2,638 barrels of salt to Sandusky, Ohio." The first salt well in the county was sunk at Port Austin in 4864 and brine was struck at a depth of 1184 feet. The salt made here took the first prize at the state fair in Ohio and was considered the finest made in Michigan.
An early settler in the town was Mr. J. Kimball, who came in 1852. He built one of the first houses in Port Austin. He chopped a trail from there to Huron City in order to get mail through once a week. He then hired Jacob M. Groat to carry it from Forestville. Mr. Groat walked the 411 miles both ways following a trail. When the telegraph came in 1865 the inhabitants of Port Austin thought they were surely "out of the woods." Mrs. Case, the daughter of Mr. Kimball, tells of picking berries in those early days and trading them for beefsteak when the steamers came into port.
The first real farmer was Samuel Doax. He cleared and cultivated part of the land now belonging to Mrs. Con. Culhane's farm, two miles south of the village. The first resident Protestant minister was Rev. Mr. Black a Baptist who made his home with Mr. Kimball. A paper, entitled "The Huron County Reporter", was owned and edited by D. R. Joslin. It is said to have been the first paper in the county. It was discontinued about the year 1862 and a few years later The Huron County News took its place. The first school house is still standing and is part of the dwelling house of Jay Smith. It's former site being near the present post office. Miss Emma Smith was the first teacher.
Among the first settlers who came to Port Austin and helped build up the town and surrounding country we find these names: Capt. Henry Gill, John and Esther Buttars, Capt. Chas. McDonald, William Nash, Peter
Buchkowski, Fred Empkie, Thomas Morrow, Mark Carrington, J. W. Kimball, Mrs. Carroll, Archie Smith, Mrs. Copeland, George Gereau, Mrs. M. Sturtevant, Jennie Sinclair and James Dufty. All of these mentioned were pioneers of the fifties. In this necessarily brief sketch it is impossible to name all of those who came early in the 60s. In order to give some idea of the transportation of that day we quote the following items from The Huron County News of 1866:
"The barge Ocean arrived here last week with a cargo of merchandise, brick, 70 tons of hay and 3,000 bushels of corn for Messrs. Ayres, Learned & Wiswall. She took on 200,000 feet of lumber on Monday and will finish loading this week. Two weeks before this same barge left for Sandusky with 437,000 feet of lumber, 100,000 shingles and 200 barrels of salt."
There was no light house then so they had a lamp placed on top of a cedar post just back of where the Maccabee hall now stands in order to guide vessels into port at night. There was a steamboat up or down the lake almost every day. Often there were several vessels in the harbor at the same time waiting for loads of lumber or salt. A tramway to draw lumber on ran nearly three and a half miles back into the country. What changes have taken place since then? The entrance and exit of the stage coach, the development and entrance of the railroads, the advent of the telegraph, telephone and ' electricity. Marvelous has been the progress in the past 50 years. Chas. G. Learned, who came to Port Austin in 1857 to buy land for Smith, Austin & Dwight, of Detroit, discovered the value of the pine lands of this county and in company with his brother-in-law, F. S. Ayres, purchased several thousand acres of pine land. They also purchased, as has been stated. the property of Mr. Bird and be.-an the manufacture of lumber.: Mr. Learned built one of the finest residences on the shore. Both he and Mr. Ayres had large farms later on, Mr. Ayres' consisting or about 1,000 acres,
all in an excellent state of cultivation, and the farm of Mr. Learned's, partially in Port Austin township, consisted of more than 2,000 acres equally well cultivated. James Ryan also had a large farm here. Of the men who had good orchards in the 70s and 80's we noted the names of R. H. Winsor,, W. H. Cooper, Mark Carrington, Timothy Walker and others. The scenery around the village was the most beautiful of any along the lake. The business men of the town at that period were: hardware, John Brett; blacksmith, Robert Allison; general store, James Baldwin; harness shops, Chas. Friers and George F. Jackson; Shoes, Taylor & Donley; wagon, carriage and agricultural implements, W. J. Campbell, whose son became a nationally noted cartoonist and artist. Crevy, Cooper & Razek and the Winsors were also in business here. Richards & Richard, physicians. The lawyers were Engle & Engle, and James H. Hall. John King had a furniture store. William H. Cooper ca e to the county in 1857 and was bookkeeper for Hubbard & Co. for several years. Went to Grindstone City in 1865 and to Port Austin in 1870. He married Charlotte, daughter of Capt. A. Peer and mother of Mrs. Dr. Herrington, of Bad Axe.
James Ryan came in 1867 and purchased the land on which he built the Ryan House. He also became proprietor of a stage route between Port Huron and Bay City for 11 years and one from Port Austin to Bad Axe for four years.
Other names inseparably connected with Port Austin are those of Edmond Cole, C. B. Cotterell, Richard Smith and G. H. Gallup as well as that of B. W. Merrick, who erected many of the dwelling houses in the village. 0. B. Williams had a fine hotel and was well known throughout the country. H. G. Snover who conducted a law business there married his daughter. Mr. F Snover is now a resident of Port Huron.
One of the saw mills of that day, built under the supervision of J. W. Kimball cut more than 120,000,000
feet for the eastern market, obtaining the timber from the surrounding country. Ayres & Go. also had a large flouring mill, an institution of great value to the people at that time. Hiram Adams was connected with the salt industry. Forty thousand barrels were shipped out each year. Richard Winsor was an important factor in the political affairs of that period. He was a member of the state legislature when but 23 years of age; served four terms and was then elected to the state senate. He also was engaged in the practice of law both in Huron City and Port Austin for many years. He now lives in Seattle, Washington.
The first religious services hold in the township were by Rev. J. B. Varnum in 1854. Later church services were held in Ayres & Learned's store and sometimes in the homes. Capt. McDonald states that Sarah Kimball Case was his first Sunday School teacher. Kimball's point was first owned by a Mr. Dougereau. Mr. McDonald said that Port Austin was but a sand hill when he arrived there. Several of the houses were built of slabs. There was but one frame house. Later the cull lumber was thrown into the lake to float away. Today that same grade of lumber would sell for $50 or $60 per thousand. Only the clear lumber was piled on the dock.
Among the things worth mentioning are, the "Broken Rocks" which are situated here at the very tip of the Thumb of Michigan, looking out upon Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. Beautiful in their picturesqueness they stand out unique among the varied scenery of the lake region and were first visited by Father Marquette in 1668. Dr. James Henderson, of Detroit, formerly of Bad Axe' has written a poem about them in which he says:
"Here the Indian spread his grim teepee in the days of long ago,
When the Broken Rocks were not so gray and the giants were all laid low;
And the Indian maiden trilled her song to join with the sea's low croon,
As she watched the braves in their birchen barks under the silver moon."
The government built for the port a good light house on a reef two and a half miles north and east from the town. It was completed in 1878. Before that time when expecting boats they would build bon fires on the beach or hang a lamp on a cedar post. Here we find the earliest Catholic mission in the county. The Presbyterians organized a society in 1871 with E. P. Clark as pastor. The Baptist church was organized February 12, 1875, at the home of F. S. Ayres. Today the town is noted for its summer resorts. Here people from all over the state come each year.
Turning to Grindstone City, also situated in this township, we find a man who came when Huron County was but a wilderness and by his wisdom and energy helped to develop some of the great resources that have placed the county in the rank it holds in this great state today. He quarried stone here in 1834 and we find a record on the old tract book in the Register of Deeds office telling that Capt. Peer located the first land in Huron County in 1839. This land was just east of what is now Grindstone City. He also built a grindstone mill, using water power. Among those who assisted him in his work we find the name of James Dufty, whose name is connected later on with the settlement of Caseville. Capt. Peer was also the owner of several brigs and schooners and had spent a long and varied career upon the lakes. His daughter, Mrs. Cooper, of Bad Axe, tells this story of 1852:
"In that year I came up the shore with my father and mother. We landed just outside of the quarry. Capt. Gill's father came to meet us with a fish boat. We
came up on the old steamer Huron. My father had a yoke of oxen on board. The men threw the oxen off the boat and they had to swim ashore. We remained three months and during that time I wore out my shoes. As there was no place to buy more Mrs. Gill made me a pair of moccasins with the seams on the outside. I had to wear these back to Port Huron. Three years later I came up with my father in a sail boat and before we left Port Huron there had been skating on the Black River but at this time it was raining hard. We reached the quarry some time the next day and the following day as far as we could see there was nothing but ice. When we passed Huron City Mr. L. Hubbard remarked, "That must be Capt. Peer. No one else would dare to venture out.' We did not have a stage until 1862."
Richard Winsor, editor of The Huron County News in 1870 gave the following sketch of the quarries at Grindstone City in his paper:
"June 16 we started for a trip down the shore which we -had not yet beheld. After getting in a by-road or two at the end of which we always brought up in a tree top light was seen ahead through a rift in the woods and the stone quarries came in view. These quarries are two in number and are situated six miles below Port Austin. It is thought that some unknown voyagers discovered at this point the existence of a quality of stone the grit or grain of which is far and widely known as being superior to that of any other quarries in the world for grindstones, scythe stones, etc. A company under the name of Pease & Smith located the first quarry and continued the opening and getting out of stone with varied success for about ten years. Capt. Peer was related to one of the firm who later died and his property passed into Capt. Peer's hands through heirship. He then ran the business for a few years and finally disposed of his entire interest to Wallace & Prentiss, its
present owners. William H. Cooper opened the second quarry in 1865. The capital stock in these two companies is in that of Wallace & Prentiss' Lake Huron Grindstone Quarry $20,000; in that owned by Mr. Cooper $10,000. Total, $30,000. In a season at the first named of these quarries 4,900 tons of stone are manufactured and at the other 1,500 tons, making a total of 3,400 tons manufactured, docked and shipped during the season. In connection with the four new lathes for turning grindstones in the quarry of Wallace & Prentiss is to be found the shop for the making of whet stones and so forth. Two gangs of saws are at work as we enter, which saw masses of rock-placed under them into slabs about one inch in thickness. These are then squared and placed under a descending saw which slices them into rough scythe stones. The finisher then takes them in hand and by means of wearing them on a revolving cylinder produces the finely shaped and well finished whetstones and heel stones that we buy in the harvest time in the village stores.
There are two distinct grades of rock in the quarries termed from their respective qualities, the light and heavy rock. The light rock is from 12 to 15 feet deep, while the heavy rock is five or 10 feet deeper. The rock lies in strata varying from two to three inches to six feet in thickness; the top sheets being very light. The grindstones made here vary in weight from three pounds to three and one-half tons. They are shipped to all parts of the United States and Canada and also to Germany, Russia and other foreign countries. About 80 men are employed at these works and these with their families form quite a community which bears the appropriate sobriquet of Grindstone City. Besides, the manufactured stone there is shipped from here large quantities of building stone to the various cities on the lakes. Ever since the first opening the quarries have increased in importance and thousands of dollars have
been expended in improvements such as shipping docks, warehouses and so forth."
We find that W. Cooper sold his quarry in 1871 to Worthington & Sons. James Wallace was the first partner in the firm of who bought from Capt. Peer but later took into partnership Robert Wallace, of Grindstone City, Frank B. Wallace and E. L. Wallace, of Detroit taking the name of the Lake Huron Stone Company. Robert Wallace whose name is connected with the business came to America from Ireland when but a lad of 15. He worked as a laborer in the quarry from 1854 to 1864, then secured the position as manager and finally became the chief proprietor in 1868. His family have evinced the same the same traits of industry and ability and are well known throughout the state today for their active work in business, political and social life.
In 1874 the first post office was established with James green as postmaster. In 1888 the Cleveland Stone Company purchased all the property owned by the Lake Huron Stone Company and thus became the sole proprietors of the quarry property at Grindstone City. They employed about 150 men and manufactured about 35 to 40 tons of grindstones daily. One grindstone made here weighed six tons.
In 1860, J. B. Johnson, afterward so well known in the county, came to Grindstone City, where he and a brother of his were engaged in the quarry business. Mrs. Johnson taught school here on account of the scarcity of teachers. Their home was often used as a preaching place for the traveling M. E. preachers of that period.
Where the township of Rubicon, now is was for many years the site of lumbermen's camps. Forest Bay was quite a large place then. The meeting to perfect
the organization of this township was held April 4th, 1859. W. D. Ludington was elected the first supervisor. It is almost impossible to tell at this date just who the first settlers were. 1855 is the date of the first appearance of the white race at this particular part of the county. Hunters and trappers as well as fishermen from St. Clair and Sanilac counties used to make it their headquarters. About the year 1850 shingle weavers came up the shore and plied their trade here. In 1855 1 a man by the name of Diamond came along and camped I for some time in the vicinity. Later he took out several United States patents of timber land. The river that flows through the township is named after him. He was here two years and during that time Port Hope was named in this manner, according to a paper given by Mrs. Bisbee of that place. Mr. Southerd and Mr. Witcher, put off of a steamboat outside of here., tried to reach the shore in a small skiff. They rowed all night with no success and Mr. Southerd declared that if ever they reached the shore they would call the place of landing a port of hope. They finally landed at the site of the present docks and true to their word named it Port Hope.
In 1857 W. R. Stafford came from Lexington and purchased the claims of Southerd and Diamond and the rest of his company took out United States patents on the balance of the land. A saw mill was erected in 1858 and the town grew all around this mill. This plant of Stafford's was entirely destroyed by the fire of '71 Over 100,000,000 feet of choice lumber was manufactured,, here. Mr. Stafford drove the first double team over the lake shore road and also brought in the first buggy. Later he drove the first cutter into Port Austin.
W. F. Clark, of Port Austin, editor of The Huron County News, in an article on Port Hope in 1871, speaks of Mr. H. E. Baker, one of the editors of The Detroit Tribune, making a trip up the shore. Mr. Baker was
especially impressed with the town of Port Hope in that day, and says:
"Port Hope on the whole is the handsomest village in general appearance above Lexington. It has a population of 400 and a large mill owned by Stafford & Haywood. The unusually neat and thrifty appearance of the town I attribute to the fact that its proprietors have wisely sold their village lots to all who desire to purchase and hence most of the houses are enclosed with neat fences, painted and surrounded by gardens. There is nothing like giving a man ownership in the roof that shelters and the spot of ground in which it stands. Rented tenements are not improved by the occupant for he has no inducement to do it and the landlord has scarcely more. Port Hope stands out conspicuously in this regard from all the towns along Lake Huron's shore. There is also a large tannery here, partly owned by the town proprietors and partly by Messrs. Dean, who run it and who are bred to their business and understand it to the minutest detail. Here may be met the very unusual sight of father, son and grandson all at work and interested in the same business enterprise. The hides that are consumed are purchased in Toledo and other downlake ports, the freight in upward bound vessels being small while hemlock bark is of the best quality and in an
unlimited supply. Their large yearly product finds a ready market in the New England States. There is talk of soon building a meeting house. This village is a rival of Sand Beach for the harbor of refuge. It is said that Port Hope possesses much better anchorage ground, but the whole matter is a question of facts easily ascertainable. The town is about midway in the county north and south with roads diverging into interior towns so that it will command a goodly portion of the trade. The town itself is laid out into 40 or more squares or blocks and commanding one of the finest views on the entire lakes. On the south is a large grove or park which has been named for General Meade, who in former years erected a tower that now stands for observations while
surveying the lakes. The grove has since been improved and drives made through it so that all may enjoy a walk or drive beneath those wide-spreading branches that have withstood the storms of ages. Vessels coming up the lake cannot get but a short distance above Port Hope with a northwest wind as the land breaks off to the west above this point and a heavy sea always meets them from Saginaw Bay. Vessels bound down the lakes on their regular course make the land at this point and change their course for St. Clair river."
Port Hope had two schools, an English school and also a German school, of from 40 to 60 pupils under the charge of Rev. Th. Schoeck. This town was the trading center for the adjoining townships of Bloomfield, Gore and Huron. It had a fine location, extending back from the shore about three-fourths of a mile. The sand ridge which is supposed to once have been the bank of the lake and skirts the county here nearly meets the shore, giving the village an elevated appearance without an even slope to the water.
The first religious services held in the town were by the Methodists. Rev. John Kay preached to the Presbyterians in 1875.
The first school in Rubicon township was taught by Thomas Nichols., afterwards a Methodist preacher. Mrs. James E. Hayward was the first teacher in the village public school.: W R. Stafford was the first postmaster and held that position 22 years, The tax roll of 1864 shows Stafford personally assessed for two houses, a carriage and a watch. He paid $1.72 tax on the watch.
William Ludington named the township which had been known in the years before by the settlers of Sanilac and St. Clair as "Town 17." It was the headquarters for their lumbermen and fishermen. It had their dense forests of pine, beech, maple, birch, ash, basswood, cedar and hemlock. The soil is varying in character, in some parts dry and in others a sandy loam. In time
the timber either had been cut into logs or burned and many *squatter, farms appeared all around the little village. Much of the lumber was shipped to Ohio. When a once a week mail was received it did much to melt the forest-line which separated the little village from the outside world.
The great forest fires of '71 and '81 did untold damage but it enabled the settlers as at so many other points in the county to clear with rapidity and cheapness and the result has been excellent farms.
The track of the fires can only be traced today by the new structures which have taken the place of the old ones, neater and better buildings, showing the enterprise and thrift of the community. Some of the most noticeable farms were those owned by James Miller, Robert Hunter and John McWillis. W. R. Stafford's farm contained $00 acres all under cultivation. He also had another farm called the "Mill Farm", used for stock, containing more than 1,000 acres.
The first salt well in the village owned by the Port Hope Salt Company made annually about 45,000 barrels of salt. The second. one was owned by R. C. Ogilvie and had a capacity of 200 barrels per day. W. H. Leuty had a general store; Bert Morris, the hardware business; F. Beckwith dealt in boots and shoes, while Mrs. J. Geltz was the milliner. A fine hotel, of which Robert Winterbottom was the genial proprietor, stood on Main street.
As the lake cuts off to the east side a portion the total area of the township is about 23 square miles. The extremes of temperature are in a great measure prevented, by the influence of the surrounding waters making the climate very favorable for the cultivation of fruit.
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