and Wild Fowl Bay (now Bay Port) which was modeled after the famous German society at New Harmony, Penn. The property was held in common but each settler held a piece of ground in his own right. They had several thousand acres of land, bought from the government in 1857-8. The heavy timbered country and the swampy nature of much of the land required a large amount of ditching to render it valuable for cultivation and the remoteness from any existing village, at that time Bay City was the nearest trading point, rendered the making of the colony an extremely difficult task. Their hardships were unusually severe. The purchase had completely exhausted their money, Fever and ague abounded and aggravated all of their other ills and the wonder is that the colonists struggled as long and bravely as they did against the odds they encountered. Then the war came on and in its latter stages sent its drafting summons into their ranks. Too poor to procure substitutes and too honest to run away as many of their neighbors did, thus increasing the burdens which fell upon them (as the county had to furnish its quota) their ranks were depleted until the women and old men were almost left alone to carry on the
farming operations. The load was greater than they could bear and Ora Labora was broken up.
In 1865 the editor of the Huron County News visited the colony and gives this vivid picture of it in that day: "While on a trip up the shore we improved the opportunity of visiting our friend Mr. Emil Baur, pastor and one of the founders of the society which at the present time numbers 140 souls of which 28 are heads of families, 10 single men, five young ladies, 28 wives, 73 children under 14 years of age and 36 voters.
The society has purchased about 3,000 acres and contracted with the state for 10,000 more. They have 160 acres cleared and under cultivation. Have built a saw and grist mill making their bread stuffs from grain of their own production and also manufacturing all kinds of lumber both for their own use and exportation. A dock has been built extending several hundred feet into the bay. The society also owns one of the islands in Wild Fowl Bay
containing 180 acres on which they plan to raise grapes. The village, of Ora Labora is regularly laid out in squares with wide streets and the colonists have adopted a good old custom of the fatherland adorning the streets with fruit trees. Each newcomer we understand, is given 40 acres of land."
After the disbandment of the colony we find this statement about the colonists in a Detroit paper of 187 1. "The colonists of Ora Labora while they did not succeed as a community did much permanent and really valuable work for that section of-the county, and the case being presented to the legislature homesteads of 80 and 40 acres according to service rendered were granted them by the state under proper restrictions and a goodly number of the, hardy and faithful band are still to be found living on their own farms, well cleaned up and finely tilled and gradually emerging into a condition of independence and comfort hardly earned and richly deserved." The remaining lands and buildings became the property of the. Harmony Colony of Economy, Penn., who held a mortgage on it. A few of the old buildings remain to mark the site of this once populous village. Bert Baur, of Bay Port, is the son of Emil Baur, once so prominent in the affairs of the colony.
The township of Sebewaing is situated in the southWest corner of Huron County on Saginaw Bay and contains the village of Sebewaing and the hamlet of Kilmanagh. This township was organized Feb. 12, 1853. Prior to this it was attached for judicial purposes to Tuscola county under the name of Auchville, Frederick Schilling was the first supervisor. Mr. Schilling, his father, mother and one sister were taken and sold as slaves when they first came to America. Their bondage continued 18 months and they had difficulty in getting their freedom. They finally escaped from Pennsylvania, going to New York. They made their way by stealth,
begging food and passing three days of the time without food of any kind.
The first white man to reach what is now the town of Sebewaing was J. J. Auch, who came to preach to the Indians. He found one log house belonging to a half breed named Chas. Rodd. Mr. Auch with the aid of this Indian allies constructed the second house of logs in 1845. He labored among these children of the forest seven years. In 1849 his brother followed him and that same year John Gettel, Frederick Zeigler, John Zeigler and John Gruenbeck entered the county. In 1851 Gottfried Beek, Frederick Schilling, C. Auch and families came from Ann Arbor and were landed with much difficulty on Lone Tree Island at the mouth of the Du Fill river. This island has since been washed away.
Through the efforts of Mr. Auch the Indians were induced to carry them to the main land in a leaky canoe. They were three weeks on the island which tells part of the story of the privations and hardships they endured before finally reaching the site of their future homes. These pioneers built at first but one log house which sheltered the entire population of 45 men, women and children. They procured their supplies from Saginaw by means of small boats and during this period the mail was brought from Hampton (now Bay City) occasionally.
Other pioneers who came there were Christian Bach, Jacob Streiter, Peter Schairer, Mr. Volz, Mr. Ruehle, John Mullerweiss, Jacob Roller, Martin and John Gremmel, Martin and Fred Krouse and Mr. Bauer.
In the family of Mr. Volz there were 13 children. His youngest son John was born here in 1853.
The village was named Sebewaing (in the Chippewa language, a river nearby). The river gradually taking the same name, although on the early maps it is called Du Fill (in French, Thread river). It was very winding and crooked in its course but navigable for small boats for about one, mile.
At the session of legislature during the winters of '62-'63 Richard Winsor obtained a grant from the state of five sections of state swamp lands to be appropriated toward laying a channel running as near straight as practicable through the marsh and bar at or near the mouth of the river so that its waters might empty directly into the bay instead of overflowing the valuable lands lying in its immediate vicinity. In addition to the above grant the business men of the village, together with the farmers at the annual township meeting raised by subscription nearly $4,000 for the same purpose.
FIRST SCHOOL IN SEBEWAING
The first school was taught by Rev. J. J. Auch in 1854. It was attached to the Lutheran church, of which Mr. Auch was pastor. He had about a dozen pupils in all. The first marriage was that of John Gruenbeck and Margaret Schmidt. The first child born was Mary, daughter of Frederick Schmidt.
Many hardships were endured by the founders of what is today some of the finest homes in the county. There were the mosquitoes who never seemed to rest during the summer season, the swampy land, the lack of food other than potatoes, and last but by no means least the ague in all its varied forms. With it one could be in Iceland in the morning and in the torrid zone by midday. No person escaped the clutches of this disease very long. All these things today are but memories of the past and the children and grand-children of these hardy pioneers are enjoying the fruits of their labors.
In 1866 the principal men of the village were Jacob Kundinger, John C. Liken, John Mullerweiss, Albert Irion, Eustus Sert and Henry Lintner. There were two stores, two hotels, grist mill, saw mill, cooper shop, large stave mill, blacksmith, wagon ' shoe and tailor shops, school house and church. The various firms were shipping large quantities of oak staves, oak timber,
black ash hoops" cord wood and all kinds of produce to outside markets at this date.
The timber of this township was mixed beech, oak, black and white ash prevailing. There was also some maple. The land is mostly level with a strip of sand on the shores of the bay. The richest soil being in the center of the township. The land drained easily into the Saginaw Bay and the Sebewaing river with its three tributaries.
We cannot conclude the history of Sebewaing without speaking of John C. Liken, whose life history is so closely interwoven with that of the town, Mr. Liken was a cooper by trade. Coming to Sebewaing in 1865 he at once began that branch of business in connection with his other interests, He shipped large quantities of white oak staves to Germany. He built two saw mills and four stave mills, employing over 200 men. In 1871+ he erected a fine brick block where you could buy anything from drugs to dry goods. He also had branch
stores at Bay Port, Kilmanagh and at Unionville in Tuscola county. He owned over 1,000 acres of land in Huron county and 500 in Tuscola county. He had a prosperous business in Sebewaing up to the date of his death in 1920.
At Kilmanagh, which is situated just on the corners of four townships, the best known name for many years was that of Francis Thompson, who was the first postmaster of the little hamlet. It is a small place today owing to the fact that it is several miles from any railroad.
TOWNSHIP OF FAIR HAVEN
The Township of Fair Haven was organized April, 1863. Its territory was originally included with that of Sebewaing and Caseville. John S. Davis was the first supervisor. The land in the western portion is a sandy loam and in the eastern part a clay loam. The lumber was oak, elm, maple, hemlock and pine. This township
includes all of the islands in Wild Fowl Bay. It has an area of 58 square miles. Its east boundary diverges so as to include part of Sand Point, which is a narrow strip of land extending due west into Saginaw Bay. This point forms the northern boundary of the township and also that of Wild Fowl Bay.
The fire of '71 touched the eastern portion, but the township escaped the destruction of '81. Rev. J. J. Auch, of Sebewaing established a mission on the Sheboyonk Greek, on a beautiful spot near the "Middle" grounds among the Chippewa Indians, who then numbered several hundred. They were peaceful, hospitable and humane, zealous in their devotion to their Che-mon-a-tow (Great Spirit) and were ruled by their beloved old chieftain Soe-a-che-wah-o-sah or (brilliant rising sun) with love and kindness says one familiar with their ways and habits.
Their hunting grounds were extensive and abounded with game. They tilled small patches of ground, raised their own corn and potatoes, bartered their furs for clothing when they had an opportunity to do so.
They were not impressed with Mr. Auch and the interpreters who had frequently misinterpreted what he said. The result was that he did not have a single convert during the years he preached to them. They had bought their land from the government in 1847 and in 1856 sold it to settlers coming into that vicinity.
Most of these Indians either fell a victim to King Alcohol or the smallpox. Some left for parts unknown and others went to Warwick, Canada, until after the Civil War. At the close of that struggle a number of them came back to Huron County, where they hunted, trapped or fished while the squaws made baskets, which they either sold in the villages or to the settlers. Often the children of these Indians would attend the country school if their wigwams were near by.
The little town of Bay Port is in this township. It borders on the bay and is quite a noted summer resort.
The scenery along the shore is beautiful and there are numerous little coves where small craft Can rest at anchor. The township is rightly named Fair Haven. The first white settler was Carl Heisterman, who purchased an island in Wild Fowl Bay from the United States. It contained 400 acres. The township was not organized at the time he located, in 1853. He retained this property for 30 years, then sold it to a club from Saginaw for resort purposes. The consideration was $11,000. Mr. Heisterman was unusually well informed, having obtained his education in Prussia, where he took courses in philosophy, medicine and political economy, going later to Leipsic to translate French medical literature into English. He came to America at the time of the Mexican War and enlisted for a period of five years. When his term of enlistment expired he came to Saginaw and soon afterward to Huron County. He married Mary Dutcher in 1849. Was supervisor of Fair Haven for sixteen years, register of deeds in 1876 and state senator in 1884.
Another island in Wild Fowl Bay was the home of the Gilinghams, who were engaged in the fishing industry.
About a mile from the present site of Bay Port, on the Sebewaing and Port Austin road, was a commodious hotel kept by R. S. Squires, who had come into this county in 1851. All of this region was then one vast wilderness and the Indian trails were the only roads. There were but few white people except those on the eastern shore of the county. The neighbors of Mr. Squires were, mostly Indians. His daughter, who died a few years after her birth, was the first white child born in what is now Fair Haven township. It is strange that so many men in all ages have had such a prosperity to abandon the comforts of home in their native land, or land of their birth, and seek a new home in such a wilderness as this was at that early period. The spirit of adventure had a strong appeal for many. Another early settler was William Henne, who came in 1863, and three years before that Sidney Smith came into the township and bought 280
acres on the Shebeon Greek. He lived here alone for many years. The early pioneers of the township nearly all settled along the shore on the old sand road between Bay Port and Sebewaing. Here we find the Tacks, Hartmans, Hilyers, Tarrys, Sharpsteins, Dutchers, Pitchers, Demings and George Taylor, who did all the blacksmith work in those years in that vicinity. The Snell brothers came to Bay Port in the 60s. J. W. Snell and his wife purchased 2,000 acres of land in the county. He built a general store which he conducted in addition to farming and lumbering. He represented the people in the Michigan Legislature for two terms, beginning in 1868. Mrs. Snell did much for the Methodist Episcopal Society at Bay Port, while Mrs. Thomas Snell was an ardent supporter of the Baptist church. Thomas Snell and his wife afterward moved to. Bad Axe, where they purchased a farm, while Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Snell moved in later years to Albion to educate their children. The Abbots and Givils were also early settlers here.
The Shebeboyonk Greek drains Fair Haven. Vegetables of all kinds do well here and the township boasts of having produced the largest yield of potatoes in those years in the county, over 300 bushels per acre. Three miles southeast of Bay Port are several quarries, which have been operated in these later years. They produce a stone of surpassing strength and beauty. The stone has a thickness of one hundred feet through all its strata. The upper sixteen feet are limestone, the next twenty feet are a drab-colored sand stone and then follow fifteen feet of red and brown stone which makes very fine building material. Underneath are fifty feet of shale. The tests of the stone prove it to be of remarkable strength and beauty. It is as impervious to water as granite and will weather perfectly. It is also as heavy as any lime stone and as heavy as most granite. It is therefore an ideal material for all building and structural purposes. The upper layer of stone is used for macadamizing roads and has been used for this purpose in the various cities of the state. The second layers are burned for lime. The sand stone is quarried and used for
building purposes! The Hoyt public library in Saginaw is one of the most elegant and conspicuous buildings constructed from it. Today on these grounds are lime kilns, crushing plants and other forms of heavy machinery employing scores and scores of men and turning out tons upon tons of valuable products. Little did the pioneer of those early days dream of the untold wealth lying under his feet as he traveled over this part of the township. The lumber resources were the principal attraction in that period of the county's history. By means of this industry men were enabled to live and support their families.
Going away from the bay we find one of the older townships, Verona. The township was organized by act of legislature in the winter of '60 and '61, out of the following territory: Surveyed township No. 16 North of Range 13 East.
The first township meeting was held at the home of Thomas Philp. He with Thomas Tear and Andrew McAllister were the inspectors of the election. At the time Verona was organized there were just 12 free holders residing within its jurisdiction, being just the required number to petition for a new township. Thomas Philp was the first settler and shortly afterward he was joined by Messrs George Martin, John and Thomas Scott and Andrew McAllister. These pioneers were about the only ones who had made any improvements when the township was organized. They deserve much credit for their bold courage in undertaking such an arduous task knowing that they would have to do many a hard day's work, undergo 1-nany privations before sufficient improvements could be made to make themselves and families comfortable. With one exception, they had little or no means left after paying for their land and consequently like many others had to live out at different places on the lake shore to earn. provisions and other necessities for their families. Then carry
it on their back fifteen or twenty miles through thick woods and swamps without a road or often even a path; only a blaze which by the aid of a -pocket compass they were able to follow. This was the only mode of transportation for three or four years, after which sled roads were cut leading from the Forestville state road into their township.
During the winter of '58 a grant of one section of swamp land from the state was obtained for the purpose of making a state road from Sand Beach to Midland City via Bay City. This road did not prove to be a success and in 1861 the governor appointed George W. Pack, commissioner for that portion of the above road which lay in Huron county. Mr. Pack immediately resurveyed it from Sand Beach to Pinnebog River via Bad Axe, running nearly through the center of Verona. In the course of three or four years a good road was built along this route and emigrants began to enter not only Verona but also Sigel.
Mr. Philp had located 320 acres of land under the graduation act in section 36. Had to make two miles of road to reach his future home. He became the first supervisor of the township. Mr. McAllister, who came in 1858 told this story of how the township got its name. He had for neighbors, Thomas Philp and Thomas Tear. They were both scholarly young men who had read much in their native Scotland and were familiar with Shakespeare's works, especially the play "Two Gentlemen of Verona." The scene is laid in Verona, an open place. In some way or another Mr. McAllister and Mr. Philp came to be termed the "Two Gentlemen" and later the three young men decided to call their new home Verona. George Martin, who also came in '58, located on section 25 and built a home in the wilderness. Here his son John was born, the first white child in the settlement. George Whitelem, another settler of '58, tells interesting stories of those pioneer days. When his father came to Verona there was an old mill that worked by hand to
grind the wheat. The grain was put in at the top and came out at the bottom, flour, bran and shorts, all together, but people were glad to have even that kind of. flour. The wolves in those days were another source of trouble. A man was going to Verona one day with some meat when the wolves took after him and in order to save his own life he had to drop the meat and flee for safety.
We must not forget to mention Jeremiah Ludington, whose name occurs in the sketch of Sand Beach. In '64 he disposed of his property at Center Harbor, (then known as Jerry's Mill) and the next year became purchaser of about 2,000 acres of good agricultural land, well timbered with cork pine. Mr. Ludington was a true pioneer, fearless, enterprising, prompt to act and resolute to hold, neither discouraged by reverses, nor too elated by success, but persevering until his object was gained. He built a large grist mill, saw mill and also a shingle mill which were hailed as a "God send" by the inhabitants of Verona and the adjoining townships. He also erected a large boarding house, several dwellings, a store, blacksmith and carpenter shop, and last, but not least, one of the largest and finest school houses in the county at his own expense. His house and that of his brother-in-law, John Kneal, were the first frame houses in the township. He employed 60 men and 10 teams in his lumbering operations. In 1869 he cut 40,000,000 feet of lumber and 100 planks averaging from 36 to 49 inches in width. Each plank was 16 feet in length. Two of these planks were in Cleveland for several years and
afterwards were shown at the Fair in Philadelphia. Mr. Ludington lost many thousands of dollars in the great fires of '71 and '81. He served in the Michigan Legislature two terms and also three years as State Swamp Land Commissioner. During this time the Huron City and Bad Axe state road was built under his supervision. He also built a number of roads at his own expense in 1866.
Another well known name is that of John Ballentine, who built a store at Verona Mills in 1867, which he conducted until it was burned in the fire of '71. He next tried lumbering and built a saw mill which he ran for seven years when he added a flour mill. Had good success until the fire of '81 swept away all of his property leaving him only 50 cents to start anew with. This he did, moving to Bad Axe, establishing a fine mercantile, business.
Robert Scott came into the township in 1859. He was a stone mason by trade and laid the foundation for the first house built by Francis Crawford, of Caseville. He was assisted in this work by Richard Gwinn, Sr. This was the first stone wall built in Caseville township. Two families of the Pangborns came to Verona in 1862 and 1867 and the township settled quite rapidly from that date. The beautiful little village of Verona Mills was swept over by the great fire of '81 and only four buildings were left. This town had a post office established in 1867 with J. Ludington as postmaster. The first school was opened the same year. A great portion of the township is a series of hills and valleys which add much to the beauty of the landscape. The timber found here was beech, ash, maple, cedar, pine and hemlock. This was nearly all destroyed in the terrific fire of '81. The township is drained by Willow Creek, whose outlet is at Huron City. All records were burned, so the real date of the organization of the township is unknown. The following named settlers came before 1868 and had from 10 to 120 acres of land under cultivation: Thomas Rapson, Mrs. Talbert, John Noonan, Fred Pethers, Alex Snetzinger,
Richard Braden, 'Angus McDonald, William Thompson, John Metcalf, James Murray and C. B. Shire. Wheat was the principal crop then.
The first agricultural fair in the county was held in Verona Mills, October 20, 1869. The commodious barn of Mr. Ludington was placed at the disposal of the society for the display of manufactures, agricultural pro
duce, etc., while the live stock was exhibited in an adjacent enclosure. Among the exhibits we note 10 pounds of maple sugar, 1/4 M shaved shingles, 100-foot plank, chain hook, 1/2 dozen axe helves, best yoke of matched oxen, best yoke of working oxen, best 30 yards of full cloth. The prize for the last item mentioned was taken by Robert Scott. John Pangman took the first prize for axe helves, while Donald Currie had the best matched yoke of oxen. The paper of that day states that the sheep, like angels' visits, were few and far between. There was also a fine exhibit of fruit.
Colfax township is located very near the center of the county and joins Verona on the west. It was organized in 1808 by an order of the board of supervisors, Metzar Granger was the first supervisor. The first settler in this place was Elijah Brown, who located on section 21. Shortly after this Francis Nash, M. W. Farnsworth and John Peacock came with their families. The first school was opened in 1869 with 13 pupils in attendance. Elijah Brown brought the first mail into the township. It was but a brief period until the whole section was swept over with the fire of '71 and then -again by that of '81. The people had difficulty in even saving their lives as the terrific blaze came rushing along like the waters of a great sea, destroying everything in its course. The "slashings" with the heaps of dead limbs and knots, the results of lumber camps were regular tinder boxes and the flames rolled from 20 to 50 feet in height. In many places trenches were dug, the women and children placed in them, covered over with boards and wet blankets while the men fought the fire to save their lives. It is impossible to describe such a scene. Only the participators can have any adequate idea of what
it really was like. The late Col. Bope, of Bad Axe, described his thrilling experience in this tire
at a meeting of the Pioneer and Historical Society. He said it was so dark at mid-day that the people thought the day of judgment had come. Everything had such a weird look amid smoke and flame. Such experiences were the lot of all who chanced to be in the track of the fire monster.
The county poor farm is located in this township near the eastern line and about one mile west of Bad Axe. It consists of about 200 acres of land for which the county paid $600. The site at the time was all wild land. Thomas Morrow was appointed the first overseer and by 1876 had cleared off 25 acres of the land. The following year the house was built. Mr. Morrow resigned in 1882 and William Tahash was his successor for a few years then William Story was appointed overseer.
Among the pioneers of this section of the county we find W. H. McDowell, who bought 720 acres of land in 1878, and Oliver Haley, who came in the spring of 1866. D. H. T. Williams was another resident who secured a grant of 160 acres of land under the Homestead law. Mr. Williams served in the Civil War, enlisting in 1861. He came to Colfax in 1873. The township was named after the running mate of President Grant. The first school house here was built by Francis Nash. In the spring of '71, Hon. J. C. Waterbury, then a member of the' State Legislature, obtained from the state an appropriation to build the Sand Beach and Sebewaing highway, and also succeeded in getting George W. Pack appointed as commissioner. Rudolph Papst, of Lexington, conducted the survey. At that date the whole interior of the county was an unbroken forest, the favorite resort of sportsmen and trappers, who made the beautiful spring north of Bad Axe their tenting ground. Here George Martin and Jerome Sharp built a shanty and furnished it with articles necessary for the chase. When in the progress of their work Messrs. Pack and
Papst reached this vicinity they visited this cabin in which they passed the night. Here they found the now historical axe which was old and broken by use in removing the horns of elk and deer. One of the party took the axe, made a drawing of it upon a large tree at a point where the road crosses the line between the townships of Verona and Colfax. He then drove the axe into
the tree writing underneath the present name of the city, Bad Axe. This spot was called Bad Axe corners for a number of years. This record of naming the place is taken from an old paper of that date.
LOCATING THE COUNTY SEAT
At the annual meetings of the Board of Supervisors, October 15, 1872, W. W. Whitelam in the midst of a heated discussion between the towns for a permanent location of the county seat offered a resolution which on motion of Mr. Hanselman, seconded by Mr. Scott was carried by a handsome majority, designating the present site of the county seat of Huron County. Woods & Go. donated the county 40 acres to be used for county purposes. During the coming summer the contract was let to "Sep" Irwin for clearing the site and erecting a temporary building for the use of the county until the completion of a brick court house. Mr. Irwin had the building ready for the October meeting of the Board of Supervisors in 1873. This was the only building within several miles and the members of the board brought bedding with them and boarded in a temporary shanty erected for that purpose. In the fall of that same year Mr. Irwin commenced the erection of a large hotel which was destroyed in the fire of '81. It has been replaced by the present hotel Irwin. Mr. Irwin thus describes the fire which nearly swept everything before it: "In 1881 the 4th of September, which happened to be my birthday, we
had this second fire. About 11 o'clock the fire was about two miles west of us. I came in just before
dinner and said to my wife, "You had better get the girls over to the court house. We are going to have a big fire and there will be no chance to get away." Well, they went to the court house. My son, who was about 17 or 18 had been to the west fighting the fire. He came in and as he was very hot took off his shoes and left them just outside. It so happened that after the fire came the boy had no shoes. My wife was undaunted by our loss and said: 'We will have to build again.' With all the energy we had we went to work and built the second house." Just after Mr. Irwin completed the first building L. Mathews put up a building in which he carried on a general store. The following season Robert Philp built a store which was burned in the fire of '81. Mr. Philp immediately rebuilt and in 60 days his business was in running order, building completed, stocked and trade in full operation. Being away from all means of transportation, either by rail or water, the town of Bad Axe had but slow growth for the first seven years. The population at the end of that time was only 179. The post office was first opened about three miles west on the state road. This was in 1868 and the mail was
carried in on the back of a horse and received but once a week. The people of today can hardly appreciate what it means to live in an isolated town with few mail facilities. Chas. Brown was the first postmaster, retaining this office until 187 5 when "Sep" Irwin was appointed. The pioneer paper was the "Backwoodsman", started by Belle Irwin in 1876. In 1880 it was sold and the name changed to the "Huron Tribune," George A. Maywood and John Maywood being the proprietors. Later John Maywood had entire control of the plant. The Bad Axe Democrat was started by E. J. Diamond and later sold to Jacob Rorick.
Among the pioneer lawyers we find the names of Hiram Chipman, W. T. Bope, George Maywood and Mr. Carpenter. Mr. Chipman came to Bad Axe Aug. 3, 1875 and was prominently identified with the growth and development of law
in that town. He told the story of that day in these words: "When I arrived in Bad Axe there were just 1-8 people living there. The first man I saw was "Sep" Irwin sweeping off his steps. There were very few settlers and they were all Canadians as far as I could find out. Good, generous sort of fellows. When the fire of '81 burned this village I was coming down main street by the hotel, or where the Irwin hotel had been, now a heap of ruins and ashes. Mr. Irwin had men engaged in putting up a barn. As I passed by I heard "Sep" Irwin say "he-yon he"! Phoenix-like he was there raising a barn over those ashes. I thought that is the spirit of our people. No matter ' If you do burn them up the next thing you hear is "He-yo-he!"
Mr. Chipman was elected prosecuting attorney of the county in 1881. W. T. Bope came to Bad Axe in January 1879 and established his business in company with George W. Carpenter with whom he was associated for one year . Later he was associated with Hiram L. Chipman. Mr. Bope was the first president of the Huron County Pioneer and Historical Society and always took an active part in its welfare until ill health compelled him to resign his position. "Col." Bope was intensely interested in the county's pioneer days and in one of his addresses before the society said: "We hope that children in their cradles today may be 50 years hence continuing the work of this Historical Society." He was elected president emeritus of the society at the annual meeting of 1918, which position he held until his death in the winter of 1919.
Among the men prominent in the early affairs of the county we find two especially deserving of mention Richard Smith and Charles E. Thompson. Mr. Smith came to Port Austin at the close of the Civil War in company with a comrade who had been with him in the army. They purchased 420 acres on which they spent the winter. In the spring Mr. Smith worked in
Port Austin a couple of months, then entered the employment of Chas. B. Cotterell whose name is also on the pioneer roll. ' From the fall of 1866 he held various offices in county affairs for 12 years moving to Bad Axe in 1873, living there until 1877, when he opened an abstract office in Port Austin. Mr. Thompson came to Huron County with his parents in 1854, being absent only during the time he was in school in Detroit. He worked in New River, Port Hope and Huron City until he was nominated and elected county clerk in 1876 on the Republican ticket. Held this office two terms. In 1880 he was elected county treasurer for two terms and in 1884 he was elected register of deeds, holding this office six years. C. D. Thompson is his son and ranks high as a county historian. He held the office of president of the Huron County Pioneer and Historical Society and aided in getting the system of county parks organized.
Thomas Morrow, who built the Morrow House in 1883 came to Port Austin with his parents in 1854. He was overseer of the county farm for seven years and also foreman in lumber camps for several years.
Among the early physicians were W. H. Deady, M. C. McDonnell, H. Gale, E. C. David and J. B. Dixon. Bad Axe is well known today to all the medical fraternity as the home of the late Dr. Herrington, whose fame as a surgeon was not confined to this state.
B. F. Scott was one of the enterprising men of that period locating here in 1879. He manufactured lumber and flour, had a large elevator and did a general merchandise business. At that time he cut about 3,000,000 feet of lumber annually. Reuben Rapson had a wagon shop, which he started in 1874. In the jewelry trade were W. S. Small and N. 1. Cummings. E. A. Johnson was the proprietor of a harness shop. George C. Clark had a grain elevator, J. S. Deady and J. M. Honey, drugs; F. H. Krause, furniture. Blacksmith shops, Chas. McAvoy and Reuben Rapson.
Planing mill, Belle Irwin; hardware, L. C. Truax and Jas. Stillwell; meat market, Andrew & Son and Kelley Bros.; shoe shops, C. Foster and J. S. Emery; real estate, the Maywood Bros. The millinery shop was conducted by Rossiter & Brower. Other well known men in Bad Axe were O'Dell & Collins, George Smiley, Jas. E. Roberts and J. A. Morgan. Mr. Morgan was born in Wales and came to America in 1848. He was a tailor by trade and was noted as a superior workman in that line of business. He came to Bad Axe in 1877, erected a building and established a fine trade there. After his death his daughter, Miss Ruth Morgan, successfully carried on the business for several years. She was an excellent buyer, a better seller and altogether an admirable example of what a woman can accomplish when she sets out to do for herself. His other two children, W. T. Morgan and Miss Mary, have been identified with the best interests of Bad Axe for many years. Miss Mary is now the only member of the family living. She is an influential member of the Pioneer and Historical Society and has served on the executive committee ever since its inception. It is worthy of note that she has lived in the same house
continuously for over 43 years. She has charge of the public library of Bad Axe and makes a most efficient librarian.
The site upon which Bad Axe is built is an elevated plateau sloping gradually on all sides into low bottom lands. The soil consists of a gravelly loam with substratum of gravel. The nature of the soil is such that it absorbs the heaviest rain in the course of a few hours, leaving the ground as dry and pleasant as before- the shower, yet the soil is sufficiently retentive of moisture for the-growth of good gardens and beautiful lawns. Stretching away from the city is a broad acreage of fine farming land.
Very early in the history of Bad Axe the people turned their attention to religious matters and the various societies began the work which has resulted in the
establishment of several fine churches. In the Huron County News of 1883 we read the following item: "A Presbyterian church was organized in Bad Axe with 26 members by the Rev. John Kay and E. P. Clark. The following persons were chosen elders: Donald McTaggart, of Sheridan, John McKenzie, of Colfax, Mr. Rapson, Sr., of Verona and Donald Shaw, of Paris, thus representing four townships. Many of the members of this organization resided quite a distance from the town and this fact led to the disbandment of the society later on." Finally the United Presbyterians established a society in 1881. Another paper states that the First Presbyterian church was organized in 1878 under the labors of Rev. J. Beecher. The first church had seats around the wall. The choir generally used these while the congregation often utilized cord wood for seats. When they had evening services each family brought a lamp to light the room. After the fire of '81 the services were held in the homes. The present church edifice was completed in 4900 and has a seating capacity of 500 with basement under the entire building. Dr. Fulton was the chief factor in building up a fine organization in Bad Axe. The Westminster
Society celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 1919. Of the first members of this organization only four remain: Mrs. Burgess, Miss Mary Morgan, Mrs. Dixon and Mrs. G. E. Thompson. Rev. Robert Brown is the present pastor.
The Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1878 under the labors of Rev. George Walker and two years later a class of 13 was established. Mr. and Mrs. Durfy and Mr. and Mrs. Williams were members of this class. The senior member being Thomas O'Dell. The first church building was erected in 1883. Before that the parsonage was used as a place of worship. As the society increased in members, needs and resources, the old church was outgrown and a more capacious building became necessary. In the spring of 1899 under the direction of Rev. J. W. Campbell ground was broken for a new building.- It was eventually completed and
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