Bingham township dates back to 1856 when Joseph Frantz and Joseph Deachin made a location here.
Joseph Frantz was born in Alsace, France, and at the age of 23 years came to America. He went first to Canada where he was engaged in agriculture for three years and then decided to go to Michigan. On going to the state land office at Detroit, he met Philip Link, of Minden, who told him of the very promising prospects and outlook of Huron County although not yet organized. He purchased 160 acres on section 31, Bingham, under the Graduation Act. He set out to look at his property and found that it lay in the depths of an unbroken forest with no roads of any kind. This, however, did not discourage the young Frenchman but with all the courage and energy of his race he determined to locate his land. Finally he reached the place and laid the foundations of a home. He was the first permanent settler in Bingham township and had to carry all his provisions and supplies from Forestville, a distance of 24 miles. One time he carried 100 pounds of flour in on his back, making the trip in one day. The organization of this township took place in 1863 with Robert Scott as the supervisor. It is named after Governor Bingham, who was in power when the township was first settled. Robert Scott settled on
section 11 in the year 1857, locating four eighties and by industry and perseverance was able to overcome the trials and difficulties of pioneer life. Another man who came the
same year was Alexander McKenzie, a Scotchman. He purchased 160 acres of land in section 17 Bingham. Six families had moved in by this time. Jacob Miller being one of these and Joseph Deachin who came the same time as his cousin -Joseph Frantz. They cut a trail through the forest for eight miles but like his cousin Mr. Deachin was determined to have a home for himself under a free flag and the privileges of a republic. C. F. Hathaway came in and settled on section 20 in 1867. At that time the little settlement numbered 42 or 45 families. There were no roads to speak of and only one or two wagons in the entire township. Another familiar name was that of James McAllister, who bought 400 acres of government land in 1859, on which he was actively engaged in lumbering for several years.
THE VILLAGE OF UBLY
The village of Ubly is situated in Bingham township. D. H. Pierce platted the town and met with success in his scheme of establishing the place by offering a substantial inducement to business men to make this a point for their operations. (3) Mr. Pierce was a heavy loser in the fire of '81. The names of J. B. Madill, Alex Pike, Alfred Pagett are all connected with the history and business life of this town.
Back in 1856 we find Casimer Smolenski locating land in Paris township on which he erected a building for his future home. From that time this section of the county settled rapidly. The greater portion of the settlers were Polanders who are very thrifty.
Peter Pawlowski in recent years wrote several sketches of this township's early history for The Huron County Tribune, which no doubt are the most reliable records we have. Therefore we quote freely from these
(3) Huron County Album, page 417.
interesting stories of pioneer day and of those who participated in the development of the township.
Mr. Pawlowski says: "In the year 1854 three Polish families emigrated to Huron County from Canada. They were John Woytlewiez, Ambrose Chuknowski and Anthony Slavick. These early settlers were men of great courage and determination and soon demonstrated this in reclaiming the marshy land which under their careful and painstaking mode of cultivation rapidly became very productive soil. In the year 1855 Mr. Pawlowski's father, Stephen Pawlowski, landed at Forestville, Sanilac County, with some tools and provisions which he had to carry on his back, fording streams, crossing marshes and going around swamps which he could not cross, to make the first improvement on his farm. Returning back to Canada and speaking of felling the trees he said he had only "cut a hole in the sky". A year later he returned with his wife, but she like many others of the pioneers' wives had to remain alone in the woods for months in the winters while the husbands worked in the lumber camps. At such times Mrs. Pawlowski carried her supplies on her back from Forestville, a distance of 18 miles. Another pioneer was John Pyonk, who walked 100 miles to get his cook stove. He took it apart at Forestville and
carried it home one piece at a time.
Miss Binenza, now Mrs. Charles Worchock, quite a frail girl at the time, made over 60 18-mile trips for supplies for her parents and later for herself. Some of the fruit trees in Mr. Pawlowski's orchard were brought in on her back. This orchard is the oldest one in Paris.
The forest abounded with all kinds of game. Deer were very plentiful. When Mr. S. Pawlowski was building his second log house, John Woytlewicz shot a deer from the building they were working on. Often they had to get up at night to scare the deer away from destroying the crops. There were hundreds of wolves and almost any night one could hear them howling in the dark, deep forests.
The first mail was brought into Paris from Forestville. Eight years later a turn pike was built to Cato, now Charleston, and later to Minden. In 1869 a grist mill was built which relieved the housewives, as most of the grinding before that time was done with a 100-pound stone. In 1874 a saw mill was built by Susalla Bros., at Parisville, and this helped the men out. Before this they sawed the lumber by hand.
Paris township was organized in 1861 with Donald Curry as supervisor. Stephen Pawlowski's farm was valued at $100 at that date. The forest fires of '71 and '81 destroyed the timber and half of the settlement. It wiped out an entire family except the father, who was absent. James Shaw came to this township in the early sixties. He lived in Paris at the time of the Polish rebellion against conscription in 1863 and his home was visited by the U. S. troops.
South of Port Austin is the township of Dwight, settled in 1856 by Henry Hellems, who was also the first supervisor. Here we find J. F. Weatherhead, who came in 1859 and Benjamin Cartwright, who came in 1861, and bought 80 acres of land. He was the owner of the first wagon, the first fanning mill and the first threshing machine and also built the first brick chimney in Dwight. Other early settlers were Thomas Sullivan, M. Fremont and Peter Smeader, who spent nine years in Port Austin before coming here.
Maguire Fremont was an early and well known pioneer of this township. He came in 1856 to Port Austin, where he worked 16 years in a saw mill and in 1879 located land and established a home in Dwight. He was one of the organizers of the Catholic church in Port Austin and was a splendid type of the sturdy and thrifty settlers in this county. Once he walked from Bay City to Dwight, a distance of 78 miles, in one day.
The soil in this township is of a gravelly loam nature in the northern part and sandy in the southern part.
The timber was originally hard wood with some pine and hemlock. Bird's Creek and its tributaries run through the township and afford good drainage. All kinds of fruit do well here. The township has several good schools.
Down in the very southeastern part of the county was the division known as White Rock, first organized with Sherman under the name of "White." The name was afterwards changed by special act of the legislature to White Rock and the other part of the territory was set off as Sherman. A Mr. Smith is said to have been the first settler at White Rock in 1845. The land here is flat and a sandy loam. On the site of the village fishermen and shingle weavers would camp for months at a time when they pursued their avocations. The first clerk of Huron County was a pioneer in this section, Robert Irwin. He bought an extensive salt block, which was established in 1871 by Thompson & Bros. John Stocks, who came in 1852 was another pioneer. He had been a soldier in the Mexican war, enlisting in 1846. Robert Munford was a leading merchant in White Rock, coming to that vicinity in 1860. Clarke Munford, now president of the Huron County Pioneer and Historical Society, is his son. Sherman was organized under its present name in 1865. It was settled in 1856 by John Huersanger and Joe Willy and others. The land of this township is rolling except in its northerly portion. The timber was beech, maple,
ash, hemlock, elm and basswood. The soil is a clay loam in spots and clay or sandy in other parts. The entire township was burned over in the fire of '71 and the northwest corner in '81. There are several creeks in the township, Welsh, White river, Elm and Sucker creeks. At an early date there were four schools and two churches. Robert Campbell had a fine residence in the town of Ruth as well as a general store. This town is on the Sand Beach division of the railroad. The town was formerly named Adam's Corners. It had a hotel and two saw mills. Mr. Campbell
acted as express and station agent as well as postmaster and lumber manufacturer. Mr. Hanselman was one of the pioneers in this section of the county, locating here before Sherman became a township. Such men were the beginners of progress and the builders of civilization. They cleared away forests, bridged streams, opened roads, built houses and barns and thus paved the way for those who followed them. Mr. Hanselman was a member of the board of organization and the privilege of naming the township was accorded to him. He greatly admired General Sherman and his achievements in 1862, and thus selected the name of Sherman to honor his memory on the Huron peninsula. Mr. Hanselman served the new township for 13 years as its efficient supervisor. Other settlers followed and among the names we find that of L. Tschirhart, who was the fifth man to make this township his home.
To such men the log cabin was a necessity, but the first thing was to reach his location. This often meant the cutting of a path into the unbroken wilderness. In many places the ground would be soft and yielding, if not covered with water. Thick undergrowth varying with the open forest would meet the eye of the traveler and a few miles a day would be the most that could be gained. When the site was finally reached the sturdy settler with the help of the few neighbors would erect the "log cabin", his future home. The cracks between the logs of which were stopped with wedge-shaped chinks and plastered with clay. The single room was divided by hanging up quilts or sheets. In this cabin the pioneer and his wife and children set up that sacred thing we call home.
Coming up the shore we find a well known township, that of Hume, named after Walter Hume, who came some time in the fifties. He has been called the Daniel Boone of this portion of Huron County. He married Mary Schilling, a daughter of an early pioneer of
Sebewaing township and built the first house and opened the first clearing in what is now Hume. He also built a hotel at the mouth of the Pinnebog River, which was probably the first structure for that purpose in this part of the county. He owned at one time over 1,000 acres of land near here. The Indians called him their friend and many a day he spent in their wigwams. The only roads were Indian trails and the nearest neighbors were miles away. The next settlers to come were Anthony Etzler and two brothers who located a half section of land. There were no families as all of the men mentioned were single, No improvements of any kind within five miles of their location. All supplies were obtained at Port Austin. Obstacles of a formidable type were the rule not the exception and not the least of these were the wolves with which the forests were infested. It often happened that the early settlers were beset with these fierce creatures as they traveled back and forth to the settlements to get the necessities of life. Mr. Etzler had a thrilling experience on returning one time from Port Austin with a bag of flour on his back. Part way home he discovered three wolves on his tracks. The forest was
dense, making rapid progress almost impossible and the burden on his back increased the danger. He finally had to drop the bag of flour and make the best time possible. Only the urgency of his peril which had grown clearer with every step saved his life, for the savage animals were close upon his heels when he reached the little log cabin exhausted and worn in the race with his foes.
This township was heavily timbered with pine, hemlock, cedar, beech and maple. The soil is a clay loam except that bordering the bay. It is drained by the Pinnebog River which for many years was the principal means of transporting logs to the saw mills at Port Crescent. As fine a body of pine as was ever seen once shaded this land but it has fallen before the sturdy axe of the pioneer, been manufactured into lumber and become a factor in the construction of many of the cities of this country. Over the ground where the Indian chased
the red deer and elk, and the wolves and lynx held nightly vigils may be seen the prosperous farms and villages of today.
Among the men who located land in Hume township was Jonathan A. Stockman, a prominent Michigan land owner who purchased here in 1849. This later became a mill site where many logs, cut in the valley of the Pinnebog River, were converted into lumber in the early days. The drainage of about five townships is carried by this river into the lake. It's headwaters are near Wadsworth.
A VANISHED VILLAGE
The vanished village of Port Crescent was situated at the mouth of the Pinnebog on a bluff overlooking the bay. The peculiar crescent shaped line of the bay which forms a natural harbor gave the town its name. Not only was this town a great lumber center but also a noted fishing point for herring and white fish. Eakins & Soule did a large business in this line at one time. They also owned a salt block. Another one was owned and operated by Bennett Haskell. Each company had a saw mill and a general store in connection. The two hotels were kept by William Cartar and William McCoy. A drug store by F. W. Sellars M.D.; a meat market by George Meader. Two of the best docks in the county were built here and a regular line of steamers and freight vessels came to this port. The pioneer miller of Huron County lived here, Christian Schlegelmilch, who owned the first grist mill. He came to the village in 1866 and determined to build a mill on the Pinnebog River which project he carried into effect. It ran by steam power. Three months after the first mill was built it was burned down, but he immediately rebuilt the structure and manufactured flour that was noted for its excellent quality all over the
county. A carriage and wagon shop was conducted by Klebba and afterward by Mutart. Another early pioneer in this vicinity was Reese Williams, who spent much of his time hunting.
J. W. Kimball was the builder of the Bennett Has
-kell saw mill. This mill cut the first lumber on the Pinnebog river. Dr. James Eakins was the pioneer physician of Hume township, coming there in 1869. People often walked 15 to 20 miles to secure his services. No telegraph or telephone in that period. Dr. Spohn was an early settler here. Thomas Sinclair took an active part in affairs of those days. One of the important lumbering firms was Woods & Go., who conducted an immense business and opened a camp at the mouth of the Pinnebog before Port Crescent came into existence. The history of a clerk they had by the name of Holmes constitutes quite a romantic chapter in the history of the county. Chas. D. Thompson, of Bad Axe, gave this in full in a splendid article, written about the "Broken Rocks" country a few years ago. Today all that remains of Port Crescent is the story of its vanished glory. It reads like some mythical legend of the past and the people who once walked its busy streets are either in the "eternal world" or scattered over the face of the earth. Mr. Thompson mentions the sand dunes along the lake shore and says: "The only opening between Port Austin and Caseville is the Pinnebog opening at Port
Crescent. The sand here has peculiar constituents which make it valuable for use in smelting copper and in the manufacture of glass. Shipments from Miss Haskell's dock are made by boat to the copper smelters of the Upper Peninsula and Tonawanda, N. Y. and to the glass factories at Detroit and Cleveland. Otherwise the sand plains back are of little value.
About three and a half miles further up the shore we come to Loosemore's Point. There are several small islands near the shore and the scenery is beautiful. There is a tradition that a pot of gold was buried here by the Indians many years ago. No one has ever found
it, however. The point takes its name from a former owner who lived here in a large, loosely built building which was called "Loosemore's Castle." Still further up are the Babbitt Quarries. Here we find sand stone which in former years was shipped to Detroit for building purposes. These quarries are not worked now.
Caseville Township is next and is numbered 47 north of range 10 east. It embraced all of the territory now occupied by Brookfield, Chandlor, Lake, Fair Haven, Grant, Oliver, McKinley and Winsor, A meeting to organize the township and elect officers was held April 2, 1860. At this time Alexander Wheeler was elected supervisor, Abraham Fox, treasurer and Francis Crawford, clerk. A sandy ridge varying from a hundred rods to three or four miles belts the shore of the bay and where the village of Caseville is situated the Pigeon river empties into the lake. This fact gave the village the name of the "Mouth' in early days. One of the earliest records we have of white men visiting this place on the Pigeon river is that related by Edwin Jerome at a meeting held in Bay City, June 24, 1874. Mr. Jerome said: "In the latter part of the summer of 1833 1 enlisted in the war department commanded by General Anderson, then a resident of Detroit, to assist in a coast survey of Lake Huron. Our field service commenced on the shores of Lake Huron a few miles above Fort Gratiot, at the then northern terminus of the government survey of Michigan. Our party made the first survey of the pearly little
stream, took soundings of the noble harbor and the beautiful site of the then far famed city of White Rock. Leaving this capacious harbor so well stocked with defensive boulders we soon arrived at and successfully doubled that rough, rocky, small caverned cape, Pointe Aux Barques. Leaving the broad expanse of Lake Huron we entered the extensive bay of Saginaw, whose dangerously rough seas brought to mind the perilous voyages of the fishermen of that and later times. At our arrival at Pigeon river we crossed over and made a survey of Charity Island , but unfortunately left a small dog belonging to Lieut. Poole in the woods. The next day I was detailed with four others and with two days' provisions in a yawl boat to rescue the dog. We proceeded about 13 miles, propelled by oars under a clear, calm sky and placid waters. On approaching the cove sided
island we were reminded of our errand of mercy by the dog leaping into the air, running and capering, with joyous yelpings he leaped into the boat. We immediately set out on our return with the brightest prospects and a full spread of canvas. When about eight rods from shore we suddenly encountered a southwesterly gale and twice attempted and failed to come in stays with a view to . regain the island. On the third endeavor our mast cracked about off near the foot and the sail dipped water bringing in stays double quick with an ominous sheet of water pouring over the side. By a great and despairing effort with our weight on the upper -side our sail lifted from the water and our craft righted. Hats and shoes were vigorously plied in bailing and as soon as possible our oars were put in motion and the boat headed for the island, a quarter of a mile distant. After an hour of the hardest struggle for life we found ourselves nearing the island on which we were glad to camp for the night. The next day we placed our little craft before the gale and one hour and twenty minutes sped us safely into our camp on the Pigeon river." (6).
About 1836 Reuben Dodge, a hunter, trapper and shingle weaver, came to what is now Caseville and built a small house just back of the Holland House on the banks of the river. With him were his wife and three daughters, Sarah (afterwards Mrs. Moses Gregory), Mary and Susan. July 24, 1840, his son, Reuben Dodge, Jr., was born, the first white child in this section of the country. For the first four years this family had no neighbors other than Indians. This place and above the present Caseville cemetery being a favorable camping ground. Fish and game were in abundance. There were also plenty of wild fruit and nuts in their season. The maple trees nearby furnished sap for sugar. One squaw came up every spring from Port Huron during the sugar season. They had tapped the trees for many years before the white settlers came as the black spots in the trunks where the cuttings had been made to get the sap
(6) Michigan Historical Col. Vol. 1, page 22.
were entirely grown over and the annual concentric rings showed that sugar-making had been carried on for more than a century. For flint for arrow points, spears or knives these red men had resorted to the vicinity of Bay Port or Port Austin. They had an arrow factory at the east end of the "Broken Rocks" and flint chips can still be found there. They also made pottery at the clay mound in a grove of small trees near there. At this date there was quite a settlement of the Chippewa Indians on the Sheboyonk creek. They were quite friendly towards the white settlers and often gave them venison or bear steak. Amid such surroundings as these the children of this pioneer family spent their childhood. The first white neighbor they had was a trapper and hunter by the name of Heath. He erected a log cabin nearby for his Indian wife Milly and his two sons, John and Martin. It was no unusual thing for these white fur traders and trappers to marry Indian women. Many of these men spent their lives in Indian communities and by their kindness to the savages made the future settlers' entrance into the community possible. The traders' influence was often required to induce the Indians to give up
their hunting grounds to the emigrant and peacefully vacate lands which they had rightly considered theirs. (2) A few years after his arrival Heath died while Dodge was away on one of his periodical hunting trips. As there was no undertaker, Heath's Indian wife dug the grave and buried him just behind the present residence of James Horton. This man was the first white person buried there. Mr. Dodge killed the last moose seen in Huron county near the present Maccabee Hall. He had a narrow escape with his life from the infuriated creature, which attacked him on being wounded. At this time Port Huron was the nearest market and there Dodge carried his shingles and furs in a canoe. A tenderfoot would have been out of place on trips like these. In the day plying the oars, at night camping if possible near some rivulet or spring. Wrapping himself in a blanket
(2)The Michigan Fur Trader
with gun nearby he often lay on the bare ground or perhaps with a few green boughs for a bed. Such was the life of many of these trappers, stripped seemingly of every comfort in the shape of food, clothing or recreation. They became immune to every form of hardship and privation and resembled in many respects their Indian allies.
The next white man to settle in this vicinity was Charles Smith, a land broker and hunter. Milly Heath became his house keeper. He pre-empted the land which now constitutes the Leipprandt and Wightman farms, also one forty of the Joe Gwinn estate. In his rambles along the shores of Saginaw bay he made the acquaintance of James Dufty, who had come to Grindstone City in 1848. Neighbors were few and far between so in the course of time Mr. Dufty and his family came up the shore in a canoe to visit Smith. Such events as these were the only breaks in the humdrum life of the pioneer. When Mr. Dufty landed at Pigeon river he found no one living there other than Chas. Smith and some Indians, Dodge having departed on one of his hunting trips down the shore. He would often be away for weeks at a time if he found good timber to make into shingles. It was a common thing for the shingle weavers to prey upon Uncle Sam's timber domain before the organization of Huron County. Mr. Dufty spent a few days visiting and then returned to his home near Port Austin. William Dufty, his son, although but a child at the time has a vivid recollection of seeing the squaws.
He was naturally afraid of these dark-skinned women, but they were delighted with his light-colored hair and tried in their way to be very friendly with him. In 1856 James Dufty moved to Caseville and entered upon his duties as employee of Mr. Crawford. He became justice of the peace at the formation of the township and held this office until his death. His name is associated with the erection of all the steam saw mills built in Huron County at that early period. During the later years of his life he served as sexton of the Caseville M. E. Church and woe betide the boy who dared to make any disturb-
ance during a service. One look was enough and there was perfect order. His untiring industry, his legal acquirements and his skill as an advocate will long be remembered by those who knew him in the years of his activity in the local affairs of the town.
PINE TIMBER ATTRACTS ATTENTION
Early in 1851 the splendid pine timber in the county began to attract the attention of lumbermen and speculators from states adjoining Michigan. In 1851 Leonard Case, of Cleveland, purchased 20,000 acres of pine land on the Pigeon river. The next year William Rattle, representing the interests of Mr. Case came and built a saw mill at the mouth of the river. The little settlement that gathered around this place was named Port Elizabeth in honor of Mr. Rattle's wife. In 4856 Mr. Case sold this property to Francis Crawford and George Martin, of Cleveland. This partnership continued for two years when Mr. Crawford became sole owner and the village was re-named Caseville.
Another name familiar to every lumberman was that of Moses C. Gregory. lie had lumbered in his native state, Maine, and about the year 1851 went to Cleveland, where he entered the employment of John G. Worth, who sent him out in search of pine timber.. In 1853 he landed at Stockman's Point (now Pointe Aux Barques summer resort) and followed the Indian trail to Pigeon river. Here he found Reuben Dodge and Chas. Smith. He spent some time in getting out shingle bolts which he shipped to Cleveland on the first floating craft other than a canoe landing at Caseville. This was the schooner Ohio with Capt. John Armour in command. In 1857 he entered the employment of Francis Crawford with whom he remained for over 16 years. During that time he married Sarah Dodge Loverage, daughter of Reuben Dodge. For a number of years he had large lumber camps on the Pigeon river and also had charge of many of the log drives in the spring of the year. After he left the employment of Mr. Crawford he was connected for a number of years with the hotel interests of
Caseville. Of strong and striking individuality to meet ,him once was always to remember him. He was also postmaster of the town under President Harrison.
The first hotel in Caseville was opened by Robert Squires in 1856. It was situated at the head of what is now main street.
Rev. J. B. Varnum held the first preaching services in this vicinity. His circuit reached from Lexington to Bay City, then Hampton. Educational opportunities were limited but the children of the village were given private lessons by Mr. Wheeler, the first supervisor, and the first school was taught by Miss Elizabeth Fox. The second teacher was Miss Setton.
After Mr. Crawford became owner of the Pigeon river property he not only built saw mills but later 6 grist mill, the foundation of which is still to be seen.
SALT WELLS, IRON WORKS AND THE McKINLEYS
In the spring of 1871 the first salt well was opened and sunk to a depth of 1764 feet. Later in 1878 three other salt wells were opened. The annual production of salt was from 40,000 to 50,000 barrels. The Pigeon River Salt and Iron Works were started in 1873 by Messrs Edison, Sandford & Crawford. The works ran about a year or more when owing to the' depression in the iron trade the blast went out. The property changed hands, additional works were put in and the furnace started once more in 1879. It ran a while then closed down. While these works were in operation a familiar face on the streets of Caseville was that of William McKinley, the father of President McKinley. He had an interest in the business and during this time he and Mrs. McKinley were often guests in the Woodworth home. He boarded at Jacob Shelton's, one of the early settlers in the village who came in 1868. What is now Johnson Park, recently given as a public park to the county by Messrs. Wallace, Tack & Curran, was owned by Mr. McKinley.
In connection with the manufacture of salt the name of James Curran is prominent. He came to Caseville
from Saginaw in 1871 and immediately entered upon his duties as manager of the salt blocks, holding that position during all the years of its manufacture.
As lumber was the first manufacturing of Mr. Crawford after he purchased the pine lands on the Pigeon River there are several names worthy of mention in connection with that industry. Henry Libby, who had worked for Mr. Crawford in Cleveland, came in 1857 to Caseville. He erected all the machinery in the works built there and was acknowledged a master of his trade as a machinist and engineer. Another man well known at that period was Henry Campau. His people are intimately connected with much of the pioneer history of Saginaw and Detroit. One of his ancestors once owned Belle Isle. In the first store built for Mr. Crawford and Mr. Martin, James Adams officiated as clerk and manager. This building was afterwards removed to what is known as the "Cove" to be used as a carpenter shop. Could this old structure have spoken it doubtless would have unfolded a chapter in pioneer history never to be repeated in Huron County. For ten years it was the only place between Sebewaing and Port Crescent, a distance of 35 miles, where the necessities of life could be obtained. It stood on the bank of the Pigeon river just at one side of what is now the Grand Trunk railway track. Mr. Crawford built
the second store on the hillside near the present depot. Here he did an immense business for many years. One of the head sawyers in the mills was William Barbor, who came in 1857. He was engineer for several years in the grist mill belonging to Mr. Crawford; also ran a large boarding house which was situated on the park now belonging. to the G. A. R. society. Once a bear entered the pantry of this house through an open window and ate all the fried cakes which had been freshly baked for the morning meal. It also tipped over a swill barrel in its endeavors to get a drink after its feast. No one heard the bear, although Mrs. Dufty and Mrs. Robert Smith, then unmarried, slept in a room adjoining the pantry. Among the young men of that day were William Dufty, Robert Smith, John Smith.
Bert Smalley, Columbus Pheonix, Carl Patterson, Cunningham Richmond, Henry Loverage, Jack McKenzie and the Fisher boys. William Dufty at the age of 18 was head sawyer in one of the mills. He continued several years in the employment of Mr. Crawford, also acting as foreman in the lumber camps. Going to the woods was an annual event in those times. In 1865 he purchased the original 80 acres of land his father had owned in the earliest history of the township. Mr. Fisher and Robert Smith are now living in Caseville and can tell many incidents and adventures that happened amid the hardships and difficulties of pioneer life during the development of the county. Among the men who came later were T. B. Woodworth and J. A. Holmes. Mr. Woodworth came in 1867 and for the next few years was engaged in lumbering and ran a store in connection with this business. He was elected county surveyor in 1870, the duties of which office he performed for several years. Was elected supervisor of the township in 1868 and held that office continuously until 1876, in which year he was elected the representative of Huron County in the legislature of Michigan. He then took up the study of law and was admitted to the bar
in July 1876. Was prosecuting attorney in 1882. He held a prominent place in all town affairs and did much to build up the educational interests of the village Was one of the founders of the Methodist Episcopal church of Caseville and superintendent of the Sunday School for 35 years. He was editor of the first paper published in Caseville, "The Caseville Advertiser." The members of his family are well known in the county and state today. J. A. Holmes, who landed at Caseville March 17, 1871, was a merchant in the town for a number of years. He took a prominent part in the civil, educational and religious affairs of the place. Mrs. Holmes also took a leading part in the church and social life of that period. She died several years ago and Mr. Holmes is now a resident, of Lansing.
Another merchant was H. H. Case, a brother-in-law of Mr. Crawford. His second wife was Sarah Kimball,
of Port Austin. The first physician was Dr. James Eakins, who only remained here a few weeks and then located at Port Crescent. His successor was Dr. John Hutchins and still later Dr. S. J. Henderson and Drs. Johnson and Jackman.
A well known lumberman and sailor was Captain John Waters. He had at one time the largest lumber camp on the Pigeon river. Among the very earliest settlers in the township were the four Anderson brothers, who came in 1860. Two of the brothers, John and George with a cousin of theirs, had traversed the county the year before in order to locate land. They walked up the shore, crossing over to Verona, where they obtained a loaf of bread from Thomas Philp, all he had to spare and with this as supplies they crossed just where Bad Axe now stands and three days later came out at the Indian Mission House on the Shebeon creek., hungry and tired after their wearisome journey. Mr. Auch, the missionary had gone to Sebewaing to try to get some bread.
However, they had a good dinner of potatoes and fish with their Indian hosts. The next year the four brothers secured the entire acreage of section 11 and one-half of section 14 under the Graduation act. The county at this time was unimproved. Life to these early settlers was extremely primitive. Log cabins sheltered its joys and sorrows. No roads other than those used for lumbering. Wild game was abundant. One morning the wolves drove a deer into the small clearing around John Anderson's house, and only departed when driven off by the men.
The nearest market for farm produce was Sebewaing, 20 miles away, and the mail was brought up from Port Austin about once a month by men sent for it.
Two other men who located in the township were D. Perry and Chas. Stewart. That same year Richard Gwinn, Sr. decided to secure land here. He came up the old sand road from Port Austin and when he reached Port Crescent met an old schoolmate of his, Walter Hume. When about three and one-half miles from Caseville he also met for the first time Moses C. Gregory. He
was taken into this home and treated with as much hospitality as though he were an old friend. Mr. Gregory being a lumberman and land broker was able to give Mr. Gwinn the necessary information in regard to land, timber and soil. He also secured Mr. Wheeler, afterwards the first supervisor of the township, to go with Mr. Gwinn and they selected what today is the "old homestead". Here Grandma Gwinn spent nearly 60 years, dying when she was nearing her 97th birthday after a life that had witnessed all of the improvements of the past century.
One of the most prosperous farmers in the sixties was George Cleaver, who purchased the old Chas. R. Smith farm with 40 acres under cultivation. The first frame barn in the township was on this farm. In the local history of Caseville appear the names of these pioneer settlers: the Meyers, Shampaigns, Wilmicks, Hemsteads and William and Charles Fisher, with their families. John Duane, who was manager of Crawford's Caseville farm.
Arthur McAulay was another resident of the township. He was a son-in-law of Chas. Fisher, and at one time owned the property now belonging to the Leipprandt Bros. in McKinley township. When the McAulay family visited the Fishers they would go down the river in a canoe as the road was a mere trail through the forest. Joining this farm was the land owned by William Handy, who came in '51 from Port Austin, where he landed in 1849. When he came up the shore in order to secure more game he first purchased land near Caseville. Both Mr. Handy and Mr. McAulay assisted in the construction of the base line on Sand Point under the supervision of Gen. George Meade, of Gettysburg fame. During the four years that Gen. Meade was engaged in the lake survey he had his headquarters in Detroit and it was from there he was called to serve in the Union Army in 1861. Mr. Handy and Mr. McAulay were paid in gold for their services. This was brought up from Port Austin, the nearest post office. Mr. Simmons was another early settler in this vicinity. The Conatons and Flannerys came later. Along the Pigeon River we find
the Wilfong, Newman and Herbert families. William Horn owned the land later purchased by D. Schubach and erected the first log cabin built on it. Still further up the river were the Notter, Barr, Bill and Verbeck homes. At Mud Greek the settlers were John Richmond, Ann Smith, a widow, and the three Smith brothers, the Harders and Rows. The three Wallace brothers with their aged mother and sister Maria owned land bordering on both sides of the creek. Henry Wurm had taken as a homestead the farm now belonging to Preston Murdock. He fled to Canada to escape the draft and was killed a few weeks later in a saw mill. The land went back to the government and was taken up later by M. Birshing. Robert Morse, Sr. came in 1863 and bought 40 acres of state school land on the north side of the creek and later purchased 40 acres from Dawson Wallace, who enlisted in the Union Army. Very few of these early pioneers had stoves. The cooking was done by means of a fire place. Even the tables and chairs were home made. Benches were found in every home and the brooms were made of hickory. Latches were used to fasten the doors and nearly every door had a cat hole for convenience.
The farm owned by Thomas Smith afterwards became the property of H. and J. J. Murdoch and under their management was one of the noted stock farms in the county. John Murdoch served as supervisor of Caseville township for several years. He was also at one time a member of the state legislature.
In 1870 C. F. Leipprandt came and purchased land on the Pigeon river. He proved to be a progressive farmer as well as preacher, store keeper and wagon, maker. He also had a brick yard and in later years was the postmaster at what is now called Hayes. This post office was discontinued when the R. F. D. service began. His two youngest sons own the old homestead of 320 acres.
A COMMUNITY EXPERIMENT
Among the vanished villages of Huron County is that of Ora Labora, a colony situated between Caseville
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