In order to show the progress and development of Alpena county, it will be necessary to go back to the earliest days of its settlement by white people, and to show the circumstances, conditions and influences by which they were surrounded at the time of such settlement, as these have much to do with their future prosperity and happiness, and determines in no small degree the character of their popular institutions.
And hence this work would be incomplete without referring to the History of the State of Michigan—at the time and since its admission into the Sisterhood of States.
An act was passed by Congress, on the loth day of June, 1836, for the admission of Michigan as one of the States of the Union; but with the then humiliating condition, that it would relinquish its claim to the southern boundary, (which was a narrow strip of land extending from Lake Michigan to Lake Erie, and claimed by Indiana and Ohio,) and accept instead thereof, the Upper Peninsula, which was then an unexplored region, and considered of no probable value.
In December, of the same year, a packed convention met and agreed to the conditions imposed by Congress; and Michigan was admitted as one of the States of the Union, on the 26th of January, 1837.
In the winter of the same year, Canada became involved in a quasi rebellion, and the country becoming too warm politically for the healthful exercise of the writer’s American proclivities, be resolves to quit the Queen’s Dominions, (as he was only a visitor,) and he crossed the dividing line, at Port Huron, into the State of Michigan, which was then undergoing some material changes, financially and politically.
Steven T. Mason was elected first Governor.
He was a young man, of more than ordinary ability,—had been Secretary and acting Governor of the Territory while in his minority; and now, with the young State, was merging into manhood and freedom, with many wants and ambitions to satisfy; and the young State and its young Governor, without experience, launched out into many extravagances, and committed many errors, which resulted in financial ruin to the State and its inhabitants.
There was some question at the time, as to who got the money; but there was no disputing the fact that the State got the experience.
At this time, (1876), when we have railroads and telegraph lines traversing the State in every direction, it is impossible for the present generation to fully comprehend the situation or feelings of the people of our State in those days.
Then there was no railway communication with the east; nor was there any convenient way of traveling by land between Detroit and Chicago.
A large portion of the State of Michigan, at this time, (1838,) was an immense forest, the most of which was unsurveyed, and but little known.
It was, therefore, not only desirable, but necessary, that the lands should be surveyed and explored; and that certain improvements should be carried into effect, in order to develop the resources of the country.
Uncle Sam was doing his part.
The public lands were being surveyed by Deputy United States Surveyors, who done the work under contracts, at a certain price per mile.
In the fall of 1838, the writer hired with Messrs. Alvin and Austin Burt, who had a contract for surveying lands on the Aubetsies River, in the northwestern part of the Southern Peninsula.
We started—fourteen in number, and four pack horses—from Washington, in Macomb county, and traveled west through the counties of Oakland, Shiawassee, Livingston, Ionia and Kent, to Grand Rapids.
Sometimes we traveled in a road, and other times in an Indian trail; and much of the way through wood and marsh, without trail or road.
The first night out, we camped where Fenton now is.
This was the first time that the writer had ever camped out in a tent, but not the last.
Here was a log house and a small clearing.
The next day we passed through Shiawassee county, near the village of Owosso, where there was a clearing in the oak woods, and a small cluster of buildings; but the people were in excellent spirits and good working order, for the survey of a railroad had been made through their town only a short time before, and they felt confident that it would be made in a very short time.
We struck another clearing near the Looking glass River, but clearings were “few and far between” on our line of march.
In passing through Livingston County, we were terrorized by snakes.
In the marshes and low lands we found in profusion a species of rattlesnake called the Mississauga, many of which we killed, and which kept us in constant dread.
On the plains we had some experience with the blue racer.
One day one of the advanced party saw a large snake of this kind, and gave chase, but the snake kept at a safe distance ahead of the man, running with his head high above the ground and small bushes.
Finding he could not overtake the snake, he gave up the chase and started to return, when, to his astonishment and terror, he found the snake returning also, and with a loud yell, he started on double quick to reach the rest of the party.
When, almost breathless, he came to a halt among us, there was his snakeship at a respectful distance, his head above the bushes, his tongue flashing derision at the whole party.
He looked immensely good natured, and as though he was king of snakes, and was out on a reconnoiter.
Capt. Darins Cole was one of the party and one of the packers, and who proposed to unpack one of the horses and surround and capture the snake, as it was a very large one, or run it down with the horse.
But his snakeship seemed to understand what was transpiring, as well as the ancient one in the Garden of Eden, and before we were ready to surround and take him in, he respectfully withdrew, and could not be found.
In Ionia County, we met Douglass Houghton, the then State Geologist.
He was on one of the early geological surveys.
He had an Indian for a packer, and his pack-horse was a coal black one, and his camp tins were new and bright and were hung on both sides of the animal, making a singular appearance, and rattling when he traveled, as though he belonged to a charivari party.
In due time we reached Lyons, which we found quite a lively little town in the woods, containing about five hundred inhabitants, who were hoping for and expecting a railroad in a very few years.
From this place to Grand Rapids we traveled in a very passable road for a wagon, and saw some settlements, placed at long intervals.
We halted at Grand Rapids a short time, to make some purchases and recruit our provisions, as this was the last village we would see for many months?
Grand Rapids, at this time, (1838,) had the appearance of a growing little village, with say fifteen hundred inhabitants.
It had water communication, by boats on the river, to Grand Haven.
It had a bank, a sawmill and two painted buildings, which were used as stores.
It was the center of considerable trade in general merchandise and peltry.
From this place to Aubetsies River, a little over one hundred miles north, was a howling wilderness, with only an Indian trader at the mouth of Muskegon River, a small sawmill at White river, and a Missionary Station at Manistee.
The writer has given a short sketch of this trip across the State, in order to show the condition at this time (1838) of that strip of country over which the palace cars of the Detroit & Milwaukee railway now (1876) travel, and conveying the traveling public with dispatch and comfort.
The travel west, at this time, was very large, and most of it was by steamboats, around the lakes.
Some of the boats were large and commodious, and although they would not compare in structure with those of the present day, yet they conveyed passengers with comfort, safety and dispatch.
Judge Campbell, in his excellent work, “Outlines of Political History of Michigan” says, in regard to improvements:
“The first State legislature was chiefly directed to the development of the resources of the country.
Roads were laid out in every direction, and placed under local supervision, so that the people most nearly interested might have means of preventing neglect and dishonesty.
Railroads were chartered whenever asked for.
The University and School lands were put in market on long time.
The State prepared, as soon as possible, to enter upon a general system of internal improvements, whereby all parts of its jurisdiction would be made readily acceptable and be brought within easy reach of market and business facilities.”
“One of the first and best schemes devised to further the development of the State resources, was the organization of a complete geological survey.
In February, 1837, an act was passed for the appointment of a State Geologist, to conduct such survey, and annual sums, increasing from $3,000 the first year, to $12,000 the fourth, were appropriated.
Doctor Douglass Houghton was selected to fill the office.”
“In addition to some smaller debts, it was determined to borrow five million of dollars to expend in various public works. It was expected that by the aid of this sum and such other donations as might be received from the United States, three trunk railroads could be built across the State, two canals made, several rivers improved so as to be navigable, some small railroads finished, and a ship-canal opened round the falls of the Ste. Marie river.
“A Board of Commissioners of Internal Improvements had already been appointed.
On the 20th of March, 1837, this Board was directed to survey three railroad routes across the peninsula.
The first was the Michigan Central, from Detroit to the mouth of St. Joseph River, in Berrien County.
The second was the Southern, to run from the mouth of the River Raisin, through Monroe, to New Buffalo.
The third was the Northern, to run from Palmer, or Port Huron, to Grand Rapids or Grand Haven.
A purchase was to be made of the Detroit & St. Joseph Railroad, which had gone partly through Washtenaw County.
Five hundred and fifty thousand dollars were appropriated to these roads at once, four hundred thousand for the Central, one hundred thousand for the Southern, (both of which included private railroads to be purchased,) and fifty thousand for the Northern.
Twenty thousand was appropriated for surveys of a canal, or combined canal and railroad, from Mt. Clemens to the mouth of the Kalamazoo River, a canal from Saginaw River to Maple or Grand River, and river surveys on the St. Joseph, Kalamazoo and Grand Rivers, for slack water navigation.
Seventy-five thousand dollars more were to be expended on some of these and other works.”
When the geographical position of the State is studied, it will be seen that this scheme of improvements was not without merits, was within the range of possibilities and usefulness, and within the means of the State, had the five million loan been properly negotiated and expended.
The State, at the time of its admission, was out of debt; was entitled to five per cent from the sale of the public lands, which then amounted to $450,000, and it had received and was receiving large donations of land from the general Government; and these, with the five million loan, and the accumulating earnings of the improvements as they progressed, would have been ample for finishing the contemplated work; and this will more fully appear, when we take into consideration that railroads were not then as perfect and costly as at present.
Judge Campbell says in regard to them: “In a level country, well supplied with wood, the cost of building and ironing a railroad was very trifling, and its rolling stock was also cheap and scanty.
The original capital stock of the Detroit & St. Joseph Railroad Company, the corporation which began the Michigan Central railroad to Marshall, was recorded in 1846, as having been two millions of dollars.
In private hands it would probably have been less; and the capital stock of the $1,500,000, aided by the earnings properly managed, would have been adequate, according to the plans first devised, to build the road; although the subsequent improvement in track and stock would have made new arrangements necessary, if the road had been built as slowly as was then customary.
Twenty miles a year was, in those days, rapid railroad building.
The passenger cars were small vehicles, holding no more than from eighteen to twenty-four passengers, and not much, if any, heavier than the large stage coaches.
The iron was flat bar iron, from half to three-fourths of an inch thick, spiked on wooden sleepers which were lightly tied, and on tracks not perfectly graded or heavily ballasted.
The locomotives weighed from two to six or seven tons, and drew corresponding loads.”
The emigrants and settlers in Michigan were mostly from New England and the-State of New York; were intelligent and enterprising, and well calculated to advance the material interests of the State, and to build up strong communities.
They had unbounded confidence in the disposition and ability of the State to perfect its plans of improvements, and had not the remotest idea that there was a possibility of a failure.
They purchased lands in the midst of the forest, but on the lines of the proposed railroads and canals, and commenced to clear farms, erect mills and factories, and to build up towns and cities, with the hope and expectation that the day was not far in the future when they would hear the breathings and snorts of the iron horse.
Their wealth was more in the future than the present, and depended largely, if not wholly, upon the State completing its railroads and canals.
Another institution, which depended for its life and usefulness on the internal improvements, was unlimited banking.
It was a scheme calculated to help develop the resources of the State, but the foundation of its security rested in real estate, the value of which depended entirely upon the completion of the improvements promised by the State.
Judge Campbell, in speaking of the law, says: “In 1837, a general banking law was passed, which was supposed to contain better securities than any other similar scheme, and included the safety fund plan, in addition.
Any persons residing in a county of the State, including among them at least twelve freeholders, could organize banks of from $50,000 to $300,000 capital; and care was taken that at least one-third of the stock should always belong to county residents in good faith, and for their own use; and on executing the preliminaries and paying in thirty per cent in specie, they could proceed to business.
Ten per cent was payable on the stock every six months, until all the capital was paid in.
Before beginning banking business, bonds and mortgages, or personal bonds of resident freeholders, satisfactory to the County Treasurer and County Clerk, were to be filed with the Auditor General, to the full amount of the circulation and indebtedness.
Neither the circulation nor the loans and discounts were to exceed twice-and-a-half the amount of the capital stock.”
During the years 1837, ’38, ’39, hope and expectation were standing on tip-toe.
Surveying parties, employed by the State and United States, could be seen moving in every direction, and large districts of the State were surveyed and brought into market.
Large, anxious crowds assembled at the land sales, many of whom, for want of better accommodations, lived in tents during the time the sale lasted.
At these sales, large purchases were made, sometimes as high as thirty thousand acres a day, and the utmost activity was manifested in every part of the State, in regard to its general improvements, and everybody had his pockets filled with engravings which passed current for money.
But in 1840, a reverse came, like the shock of an earthquake; and but very few in the State escaped without injury.
When the people learned the true state of affairs, and that the State would go no further with its improvements, all business became at once paralyzed.
Real estate dropped to nominal values, while the banks that were secured by it became worthless.
No greater commercial calamity ever overtook the people of the State.
Those who were considered wealthy in money and property suddenly found they had but very little.
Their property was in the midst of a forest, without a hope of communication, and they could not work, for they had nothing to work with, as their money was worth less than their real estate.
The laborer could get nothing for his work, and what he had already earned was worth but little, if anything.
Many made their exit from the State, while others, like the Roman Senators, resolved to stay and die with their property, as they could not sell it, and afterwards their property made them rich, and thus it was some could not be poor when they would.
Others refused to be rich when they could.
In the spring of 1839, the surveys in the State of Michigan were continued.
Lewis Clason and Thomas Patterson, of Cincinnati, Ohio, had the sub-division of townships 27, 28, 29 and 30 north, and from range 4 east, to Lake Huron; and John Hodgson, Esq., of Detroit, Michigan, had the contract to run township lines north of the third correction line.
The writer hired with Mr. Clason, for eighteen dollars per month, to carry the chain, which was considered fair wages in those days.
The parties of Clason and Patterson left Pontiac, in Oakland County, Michigan, in the early part of April, 1839, some of them in a lumber wagon in advance, and the balance with the packhorses, brought up the rear.
We traveled with the wagon as far as Pine Run, as it was then called and this being the terminus of the wagon road, each one was compelled to “make his pack and play it alone.”
The road from Pine Run to Saginaw City was in progress of construction, under the system of internal improvements, and was one of continual variation, changing from dry land to low, wet swamp, and back to dry land, and from an Indian trail up through every stage of progress, to a good wagon road.
After much hard traveling, we reached Saginaw River, and were ferried across to Saginaw City.
Here was an isolated town of about seven hundred inhabitants, who were all very hopeful and sanguine in the future growth and prosperity of the place.
Their only communication with Bay City, or Lower Saginaw, as it was then known, and the outer world, was on the Saginaw River; in the summer by small boats and vessels, and in the winter by sleighs and dog trains on the ice.
They had a large public house, a bank, two or three sawmills, and as many stores.
The principal occupation of the people was fishing, hunting, lumbering, and trading with the Indians for furs, which were then very plentiful in the northern part of the Southern Peninsula.
Harvey Williams and a man by the name of McDonald were the principal Indian traders, who made yearly visits along the shore, to buy furs; and sometimes came as far north as Thunder Bay River.
From this place we went down the river to Lower Saginaw, now Bay City, where we found a half dozen or so of frame buildings, a warehouse, a dock, and a small steam sawmill, called the “McCormick Mill.”
We camped in a beautiful oak grove where the city of Wenona, where West Bay City is now located.
Here Mr. Clason chartered an open scow of about eighty tons burden, and the property of a man named Umpstead.
This was the largest craft to be chartered at that time, in Lower Saginaw.
It is remarkable to observe with what sagacity the early settlers made their locations.
There is scarcely a place that the writer has visited, not even the solitary log house situated in the midst of the forest that has not grown to be a place of considerable importance.
After staying at Bay City a few days, to let the ice move out of Saginaw Bay, we embarked on board this champion of the Saginaw’s, for Thunder Bay.
Mr. Clason and his party were landed at Au Sable River, and Mr. Patterson and his party continued their voyage to Devil River, in Thunder Bay, where they built a depot for the supplies.
The survey work was all finished in due time, and we all met at the depot, near the mouth of Devil river, to wash up, and to determine how to get home.
While we were thus engaged, Pete Wa Watum, an Indian from the Au Sable river, came along with a large birch canoe, and Mr. Clason hired him to take all of us to Thunder Bay Island, where we could take a boat for Detroit; excepting the packers and their horses, who would travel to Presque Isle, and take a steamboat there.
This was the writer’s first sailing in a birch canoe, and on the waters of Thunder Bay.
On Thunder Bay Island was a lighthouse, kept by Jessey Muncy, a very clever man, who lived there with a large family, and done some fishing with gill-nets.
Here we were treated very kindly by Mr. Muncy and family; and after feasting on whitefish for a few days, we were put on board of a schooner, which was bound for Detroit.
William Ives, Esq., who subsequently ran the first lines of survey for the United States in the Territory of Oregon, was second in the party and compass-man for Mr. Clason.
Messrs. Clason and Ives had the misfortune to have all their spare clothing stolen, so that when they came out of the woods they had no change of clothes.
The writer’s clothes, fortunately being in another place, escaped the hands of the thief, and so he was favored with a presentable suit, and enough to lend Mr. Clason, who was nearly of the writer’s size, to make him look respectable.
When dinner was ready, this being the first meal on board the schooner, Mr. Clason and the writer were notified for the first table, with officers, while Mr. Ives, who ranked much higher in employment than the writer, waited for the second table, with sailors and common hands, simply because he had the misfortune to have his clothes stolen.
The thief, perhaps, with the stolen clothes on, was seated at first table somewhere, and enjoying himself hugely, in the company and confidence of the wise and good.
This little episode taught the writer the fact, which he then noticed, and from which he never has been compelled to retreat, that people, as strangers, are judged by their fellows, more by the purity of the clothes they wear, than the purity of heart, character or employment.
This was the first Government survey made in Alpena County.
It was conceded by the whole survey party, that the entire tract that we had surveyed was worthless; that the Government would never realize enough from the sale of the lands to pay for the surveying.
Mr. Clason was so confident of this, that he said: “I live in Cincinnati, and am able to do what I agree, and I will give any of you a good, warranty deed of any township of land that we have surveyed, for your wages, and will bind myself to purchase the land of the Government for you, should the land ever become so valuable that the Government could sell it to other parties.
“Not one of the parties would accept Mr. Clason’s offer.
This is not the only report of the kind on record.
Judge Campbell, in his History of Michigan, has the following:”
The first necessity of the country was more people.
No lands had been surveyed before the war, except the old private claims.
In 1812, among other war legislation, an act was passed, setting aside two million of acres of land in Michigan, as bounty lands for soldiers.
As soon as the war was over, and circumstances permitted, Mr. Tiffin, the Surveyor General, sent agents to Michigan, to select a place for locating these lands.
Their report was such as to induce him to recommend the transfer of bounty locations to some other part of the United States.
They began on the boundary line between Ohio and Indiana, which was the western limit of the lands surrendered to the United States by the Indian treaty of 1807, and following it north for fifty miles, they described the country as an unbroken series of tamarack swamps, bogs and sand barrens, with not more than one acre in a hundred, and probably not one in a thousand, fit for cultivation.
Mr. Tiffin communicated this evil report to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, Josiah Meigs; and he and the Secretary of War, Mr. Crawford, secured the repeal of so much of the law as applied to Michigan.
They were stimulated by a second report of the surveyors, who found the country worse and worse as they proceeded.
In April, 1816, the law was changed, and lands were granted instead, in Illinois and Missouri.
This postponed settlement, but it saved Michigan from one of the most troublesome sources of litigation which has ever vexed any country.
It was in that way a benefit.
But the report of the surveyors is one of the unaccountable things of those days.
Surveyors are usually good judges of land, and not likely to be deceived by the water standing on the surface of the ground where the nature of the vegetation shows the soil cannot be marshy or sterile.”
In the spring of 1840, the Surveyor General gave contracts to survey about half of Alpena county, the whole of Presque Isle county, the most, if not all, of the county of Cheboygan, to John Hodgson, Sylvester Sibley, Henry Brevoort and Henry Mullet, all of whom, with their surveying parties, left Detroit soon after the opening of navigation in the spring, on the steamer Madison, for Presque Isle.
The writer was employed by John Hodgson, as an assistant surveyor or compass-man.
Hodgson had the sub-division of towns 31 and 32 north, and from range 4 east, to Lake Huron shore.
We all had a jolly time on the boat going up, and were all landed, with our supplies, at Presque Isle.
This was a wooding station for the steamboats going round the lakes, and the only inhabited spot at that time, between Mackinaw and Bay City.
It was also the first fishing station on Lake Huron shore, north of Saginaw Bay.
The fishermen used hooks, seines and gill-nets, and had considerable trade with the boats, in furnishing them with fresh fish.
After stopping a few days at Presque Isle, to make arrangements for leaving the supplies, and packing them to the work, which supplies were to be carried on the backs of men and horses, the several parties started for their work.
The writer, in making the survey near the mouth of the An-a-makee-zebe, or Thunder river, as it was called by the Indians, discovered the site of a house that had been burned, some square timber, and an excavation for a mill-race; and on enquiry since, was told that Mr. Donseman, from Mackinaw, with other parties from the State of New York, had, sometime prior, attempted to build a sawmill at that place, and were driven away from their purpose by the Indians.
In running the section line between sections 22 and 23, on approaching the river near the foot of Second Street, city of Alpena, we were discovered by some Indians, who were camped a little further down the river, and who were all drunk.
They consisted of the Thunder Bay band, excepting Sog-on-e-qua-do and his family, who were camped at the “Ox-Bow,” a peninsula made by a large bend in Thunder Bay river, and who gave us our dinner of boiled sturgeon the day before, which we all ate with a relish.
It was the first sturgeon the writer had ever eaten, and being very hungry, thought it very nice.
As soon as the Indians saw us, they began to gather themselves up as best they could, and approached us, having the old chief, Mich-e-ke-wis, or Spirit of the West Wind, at their head.
They all looked very sour, and did not return our salutations.
The old chief came very close to the writer, and said, in the Indian language: “White man no good. This place is all mine; you go away.”
The writer replied that the Great Chief at Washington had sent us to run lines and explore the country, and we did not like it, and as soon as we had done our work we would go away.
He, finding I could answer him in his own language, and noticing that the writer gave some orders to the men, which they obeyed, said to the writer; “Are you chief?” and being answered in the affirmative, he said, “You are welcome to do your work.”
Up to this time not a word had been spoken by any of the accompanying Indians; but when the old chief said “You are welcome to do your work,” their countenances changed, and they all said, “aw-ne-gwi-naw,” which is “certainly.”
Then each one took our hand and said, “bo-zoo.”
The old chief then said: “We have had a big drunk; we can give you nothing to eat or drink, for we have used up all the women left us to eat; but if you will go to the wig-warn, I will show you my regalia.”
We went with him, and he showed what the white man seldom gets a look at.
The old chief took from a trunk, a large broadcloth blanket, worked with beads and ribbons, a large otter skin tobacco bag, called a “koosh-kip-it-aw-gun,” and elaborately worked with beads and ribbons, a large peace-pipe, beaded leggings, cap and moccasins.
He had a splendid worsted sash, which was presented to him by the British Government, and beaded belts to wear round his leggings, to keep them in place, and some other things of minor importance.
For the writer this was a feast.
We borrowed the Indians’ only canoe, and crossed the river to camp, putting it out of their power to annoy us during the night.
In the morning, we used the Indians’ canoe to cross the river, and after establishing the corner of sections 23, 24, 26 and 27, in township 31 north, of range 8 east, and doing some meandering on the bay and river, we bid, as we supposed, a long adieu to the first experiences at the mouth of “Thunder River.”
The Thunder Bay baud of Indians then numbered about twenty-five, with Mich-e-ke-wis as council chief.
He had seen nearly, if not quite, one hundred winters; was admired by his people for the wisdom of his counsel, and had much influence over them, in favor of the British Government, whose friend he was, and continued to be as long as he lived.
He drove Mr. Douseman and his party away from the river, and showed the same disposition toward the writer, who probably saved himself and party some trouble, in being able to speak a little of the Indian language.
He was the father of a large family, some of whom were then in 1840, grown up men and women.
The names of his older sons were Wa-gamaw-ba, Ba-ga-nog-ga, and Nee-zhe-was-waw-ba.
If his record was right, he had seen one hundred and ten years, ere he went to his Father, in the beautiful “hunting grounds towards the setting sun.”
He once said to the writer, at Ossineke: “I remember when these pine trees here were very small.”
Some four or five years prior to his decease, which occurred about 1857, he called all his children and people together, and told them that he was nearly blind, and no longer of any value to his family or his people.
He then gave one of his sons, whom he had educated for his successor, his regalia, before described, and installed him in his office as council chief, and presiding over all their religious ceremonies.
He then distributed his goods among his children; and never after was he seen dressed in anything but a common Indian blanket.
He thus prepared himself to meet the “pale horse and rider,” worthy the admiration of those who, in a Christian point of view, think themselves much wiser and better, and who style him
“The poor Indian, whose untutored mind
Sees God in the clouds, and hears Him in the wind.”
Sog-on-e-qua-do, or Thunder Cloud, was a war chief.
He was an O-taw-waw.
He was not very well liked by his people, on account of his temperance proclivities; he was very much opposed to the Indians getting drunk, and he lectured them too severely to please them.
He was the only Indian the writer knew who could keep whiskey in his wig-wam and not get drunk.
He was brave and independent; none of his people ever wished to oppose him, or measure war clubs; nor did any avaricious trader ransack his shanty for furs, without his consent; and he could quiet an Indian drunken row in “double quick.”
He was honorable and scrupulously honest, as the following incident will show: In 1848, the writer cut and put up two stacks of wild hay, at Squaw Point.
Late in the fall, Sog-on-e-qua-do’s boys were playing near one of the stacks, and set it on fire, and it was consumed.
He immediately came to see the writer, at Ossineke, and enquired of him what the certain stack of hay was worth.
The writer, not knowing what his object was, mentioned the value of the hay to him.
Sogon-e-qua-do then said: “My boys, in their play, set it on fire and have burned it, and I have brought you these furs to pay you in part for it, and next spring I will bring you the balance.”
Being somewhat surprised at so beautiful an example of the Golden Rule, by a savage, the writer said to him, that, as he had been honest enough to come and inform him of the fact, and had offered to pay for the hay, he, the writer, would charge him only what the hay cost him to put it up; and that the furs he had brought would pay the amount.
He looked at the writer a moment, and then putting his hand on his breast, said: “I am a man; I will pay the balance in the spring.”
The winter passed and spring came, and so did Sog-on-e-qua-do with a bundle of nice furs, worth much more than the whole stack of hay, and threw them down, and insisted that the writer should take them for the balance on the hay.
Here is an act that challenges our admiration, and which is worthy to be placed on record as parallel with that instructive one related in the twenty-third chapter of Genesis, where Abraham bought the cemetery of Ephron, among the children of Heath.
He bought a lot in Alpena, and built a frame house on it.
He also built a small house at Squaw Point, where he lived much of his time, using a cook stove in his house, and cultivating a small piece of ground.
He died, believing in the traditions and religion of his fathers, and was buried after the manner of the Indians, except that the Rev. F. N. Barlow preached a funeral sermon, and he was laid in the cemetery of the whites.
Shortly after he was buried, his grave was desecrated by some unscrupulous thief, who took from the grave his gun and some other things that had been deposited in the grave with him, to use on his journey to the hunting ground beyond the setting sun.
He left one son, by the name of No-quash-cum, who lives on the same lands that his father occupied before him.
Ba-zhick-co-ba, or Put Down One, was a strong, athletic man, who supported himself and family entirely by hunting and fishing.
He was much in favor of the Canadian Government; despised the idea of living like a white man, and loved his “Scho-ta-waw-boo,”—fire soup—dearly.
Nain-a-go, or Ant, was a good hunter and a companion of Ba-zhick-co-ba in his trapping and hunting expeditions, and lived after his fashion.
These men and their families composed the Thunder Bay band of Indians.
After finishing up the survey work with Mr. Hodgson, the party went out to Presque Isle.
Here the writer hired with Sylvester Sibley, to help him finish up his surveys.
The improvements at Presque Isle were owned by Lemuel Crawford, of Cleveland, Ohio, and consisted of a dock, store, and frame dwelling, a log barn, and a few log shanties.
They were all built on Uncle Sam’s land, which had not yet been surveyed, and therefore it was thought advisable by those in command, that they should be on the best of terms with the surveyors.
As the survey of the harbor and its vicinity was assigned to the writer, he was treated with very kind regard by the proprietor and his people.
Here the writer made the acquaintance of Simeon M. Holden, William Cullings and Robert McMullen.
They were mechanical geniuses, and well calculated to live in and promote the growth of a new country.
Mr. McMullen had the greatest variety of talent, working when occasion required, in the blacksmith shop, the carpenter shop, the cooper shop, at boat building, and mill writing.
Mr. Holden subsequently moved to Thunder Bay Island, where he built the first frame dwelling in Alpena County, in 1846.
He was the first permanent settler in the county, his occupation being fishing with gill-nets.
After residing on the island a few years, he moved to where Harrisville is now located, where, in company with Crosier Davison, he built the first sawmill in Alcona county.
After working the mill a few years, he sold his interest in the property, and moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he was waylaid, murdered and robbed of five hundred dollars.
Messrs. Cullings and McMullen still survive, and reside in Alpena and Alcona counties.
It was late in the fall when the surveyors finished their work and returned to Presque Isle, on their way home.
It had been blowing a gale of wind for some time, so that no boats had gone up the lakes for a while, and only one or two was expected down that season.
Among the steamers expected down was the Madison, which brought the surveyors up, and which was a high pressure boat, the exhaust of which could be heard for fifteen miles away.
We were all very anxious to get this boat, for should we miss it, we might be compelled to travel on foot to Flint, if not to Pontiac, a distance of about two hundred miles.
A watch was set, day and night, to catch the first sound of the Madison’s exhaust and signal her in, and to make doubly sure of her calling.
After anxiously waiting for about a week, at 9 p. M. the watch yelled “Steamboat,” and for ten minutes every one shouted at the top of his voice, “Steamboat! Steamboat!”
Such a shout Presque Isle never heard before, and probably will never hear again.
The Madison came into the harbor, and we all boarded her for Detroit.
The Government lands in Alpena and adjoining counties were offered for sale by the United States, in 1843.
In the fall of the same year, the writer again visited Alpena County, accompanied by a man by the name of Youngs, whom the writer hired as a hunter and trapper, for the purpose of studying the nature and habits of animals, and obtaining their skulls as specimens of phrenology.
Youngs stayed in the woods until February, when he came out to Thunder Bay Island, leaving the writer alone in the forest, who stayed until May, and obtained many fine specimens, some of which he now has, of the otter, beaver, lynx, marten, raccoon, fisher, bear and mink.
These animals were then very plentiful, and easily taken.
The writer learned much in regard to the nature and habits of these animals, and unlearned very much that he had learned from books prior to his going into the woods.
Many who write works on Natural History, are not themselves acquainted with the animals or things they describe, for they have never interrogated or examined nature for themselves, but have taken their knowledge from the schools, and the repositories of dead men’s hearsay knowledge and speculation.
The writer’s inexperience in trapping did not afford him a very large quantity of furs, but what pleased and paid him for his trouble and privation, was the fact that he found, upon examination, and comparing the phrenological formation of the skulls of those animals he had studied, with their nature and habits, they harmonized beautifully, and in every respect with each other, and established in the mind of the writer, beyond a cavil, the fundamental principles of phrenology.
If any man, however skeptical he may be, but willing to know truth, will go with me into the forest, and there study the habits of the beaver and the fisher, and compare their skulls with their habits, and with each other, he can not hesitate one moment to acknowledge the principal truths claimed for that science which enables us to know ourselves.
In order to further prosecute his studies, and at the same time make a living, the writer prepared himself as well as he knew how, for the further study of animals, and trapping for their furs.
He hired a Frenchman, who pretended to understand trapping, but when the little schooner was ready to sail for Thunder Bay River, he refused to go.
The writer, supposing he would find someone on his way, that he could hire, continued his journey, without finding any one to hire, and was landed on the 18th day of September, 1844, at the mouth of Thunder Bay river, alone.
From that time to the 20th of May following, he saw not the face of a white man—for he had no glass—or heard the crack of any rifle but his own.
On coming down to the mouth of the river, in the spring, he found Washington Jay, his wife and daughter, and a man by the name of William Dagget, who had moved there late in the fall, from Thunder Bay Island, for the purpose of making some staves for fish barrels.
They built a log house, near Second and River streets, in Alpena, and cut timber and made some staves, on the present site of the city; but the most of their cutting was done near the great bend in the river, called the “Ox Bow.”
This was the second house built by white men on the present site of Alpena, and Mrs. Jay and her daughter Emma were, in all probability, the first white women that had ever visited the place; they certainly were the first to live here.
In September, 1844, Jonathan Burtch and Anson Eldred purchased two pieces of land at the mouth of Devil River, it being the first lands purchased of the United States in Alpena County, and the patents were issued in 1848.
In the fall and winter of the same year (1844) they erected a water-mill on Devil river, with two upright sash saws, and driven by two old fashioned “flutter wheels,” and cut with both saws, when run twenty-four hours, the large sum of eight thousand feet of lumber.
This was the first sawmill erected in Alpena county.
At this time mulley saws were more generally used, and were receiving many improvements; but large circular saws, for cutting lumber, were yet in the creation of genius.
The mill that cut two million feet of lumber was “A1” on the list, and those were “few and far between.”
Lumbermen did not then buy large tracts of timber lands, to lumber on, for they could cut all they wanted on Government lands, without being called “timber thieves,” or asked for pay for the timber.
This state of things continued until 1850, when Uncle Sam came down upon the lumbermen, like an avalanche, and threatened destruction to them all.
But a compromise was had, by which the lumbermen were to pay the costs made by the Government, and a promise “to do so no more.”
In 1845, Mr. Burtch located forty acres more at Devil River, and Mr. Eldred located two fractions on Thunder Bay River.
The writer sold his winter’s catch of furs, in Detroit, for two hundred eighty dollars in silver, by stipulation, and two hundred eighty dollars in paper money.
Furs being sold in foreign countries were about the only product that would command the specie at this time.
The writer then purchased a small stock of goods of B. G. Stimson, Theodore H. Eaton and Moore & Foot, of Detroit, Michigan, and took them to Thunder Bay Island, where he built the first store in Alpena County.
Thunder Bay Island had now grown to a large fishing station, numbering thirty-one fishing boats and one hundred and sixty persons.
Their catch of fish in 1846, was a little over twelve thousand barrels.
The people were mostly from Ohio and the Saginaws.
In the summer of 1847, the writer purchased the Devil River mill property of Jonathan Burtch, and moved there late in the fall of the same year.
The place was called by the Indians, “Shing-gaw-ba-waw-sin-eke-go-ba-wat.”
Shin-gawba was, as the Indians believe, the name of a Divine Chief, who lived a long time ago.
He told his people that, after his death, his spirit would come back to where these stones were placed, for the presents his people might deposit near them.
The Indians do verily believe that his spirit does come back to these stones, to receive the spirit of the things they present to him near these stones.
This belief has the coloring of Spiritualism.
Waw-sin-eke, signifies Image Stones.
Go-ba-wat, signifies to put down more things than one.
When the writer first visited Devil River, in 1839, he saw, near the mouth of the river, two large stones standing together.
One was a gneiss rock, with bands of quartz, and having the appearance of being worn into its present shape by the action of the water.
It weighed about three hundred pounds.
The other stone was about four feet long, and in shape like the trunk of a man’s body, minus head, legs and arms.
It had very much the appearance of being moulded from lake sand, and concreted with some substance having the appearance of bark.
It was hard on the outside, but soft and easily crumbled where excluded from the atmosphere.
At this time, near and around the stones, were large quantities of pipes, tobacco, beads, ear jewels, silver broaches, bell-buttons and other kinds of trinkets.
When the township was organized, the writer named it “Waw-sin-eke,” but, like many other Indian names, it was misspelled Os-sin-eke, the whole Indian name of the place being too long to retain.
A fisherman came to Devil River while the writer was absent, and, wanting some anchor stones for his nets, seized the Shin-gaw-ba stones and carried them to the bay, thus depriving the place of valuable relics and Shin-gaw-ba of his presents.
These stones are found through all the country of the Chippewas.
The Indians say, that a long time ago, some Iroquois captured two Chippewas, near Devil River, and put them and their image stones in a canoe, and started across the bay.
When they reached near the middle of the bay, they threw the stones into the water, when, suddenly the water boiled and spouted up, and capsized the canoe and drowned the Iroquois, while the Chippewa prisoners succeeded in saving their lives, retaining the canoe and reaching the place from whence they started.
When they went upon the land, they found, to their surprise, the stones had preceded them, and were standing in their places, as they did before they were moved.
Whether their story is true or false, the stones failed to capsize the fisherman when he threw them into the bay, or came out of the water since.
The river was called “Reviere Au Diable,” by the early mail carriers, who spoke the French language, and who sometimes in the fall and spring found much difficulty in traveling the large marsh between the river and the south point of Thunder Bay.
So the river was named after his Satanic Majesty, not because it was a bad river, but because it kept bad company.
LOCATION OF LANDS.
In 1849 and 1850, Robert Dunlap and E. Baily, of Chicago, Illinois, purchased of the United States, the lands round the mouth of Thunder Bay river.
In 1855, they sold these lands to John Oldfield, James K. Lockwood, John S. Minor and George N. Fletcher, for thirty dollars per acre; Oldfield owning a quarter interest, Lockwood and Minor a quarter interest, and Fletcher owning a half interest.
The following letter, handed the writer by G. N. Fletcher, Esq., indicates the first visit of the proprietors to Alpena, prior to making the “Baily purchase”:
Port Huron, Aug. 4th, 1855.
G. N. Fletcher, Esq.,
I propose to take my vessel, the John Minor, and in company with my partner and other parties interested at Thunder Bay River, to make an exploring expedition to that place.
Ample time will be given to make all necessary observations at that place, at as moderate expense and with as much comfort as circumstances will permit.
Your company, together with any persons you would like to take with you, will be acceptable.
Please to advise me, by note, if you will or will not go, so that I may give you notice of our sailing, which we propose to make about the 1st Sept.
Very truly yours, (Signed,) J. K. LOCK WOOD.
David D. Oliver purchased some lands at Devil river, in 1851, and in August of the same year, W. L. P. Little, of East Saginaw, purchased a fraction or two, on the bay shore, which would be in the northeast fractional quarter of section 27, in town 31 north, of range 8 east, in his own name, as security for the purchase money; but the purchase was made for Walter Scott, for a fishery.
Scott moved his family to Thunder Bay River in the fall of the same year and tried the fishing, and found it a failure, on these lands.
Scott then, considering the lands of no value, failed to pay for them, and Little, as he thought, was left with a piece of poor property on his hands.
Scott traded with the Indians and looked up pine lands for Lewis & Graves, John Trowbridge & Bros., and some others, until September, 1856, when Messrs. Lockwood & Fletcher & Co., desirous of getting him away with his whiskey, before their men should come up to work, bought all his buildings, and some other things, for the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars.
Scott left Alpena in the spring of 1857.
Early in 1857, Mr. Little offered his property at Thunder Bay River, to the writer, for five hundred dollars, half down, and the balance in a year.
Although the writer was considered by some of his contemporaries as extravagant and “luna” in regard to the value of property in Alpena county, and its future growth, yet he was not controlled by the moon, or any other influences, enough to accept this Little property, which now comprises a large portion of the best residences in the city.
The writer think it will now be conceded by those who have noted the rapid development and growth of the city and economy, that his idea did not reach the reality by as much, as they thought him above it.
Subsequently Mr. Little came up in the price of his properly at Alpena, to fifteen handled dollars, and sold it to S. E. Hitchcock, who now resides upon a portion of it.
He subsequently made it an addition to the Tillage, now city, of Alpena.
The Union School house stands on a portion of this property.
In 1850, Congress passed an act, granting all the swamp land to the several States, but the United States Land Offices continued to the lands as before the grant was made, until the latter part of 1859.
In 1852, Congress passed an act, granting seven hundred and fifty thousand acres of land for the purpose of constructing a ship canal around the falls of the Sault Ste. Mario, and thereby connecting the commerce of the lower lake» with that of Lake Superior.
A company was duly organized to prosecute the work, known and styled the “Sault Ste., Marie Ship Canal Co.,” and in 1853, commenced selecting their lands.
Parties of “land lookers” were sent out by the company, into all parts of the State, and finding large bodies of good pine in Alpena county and vicinity, it led other parties, desirous of purchasing pine lands, to look in the same direction.
In 1853, George N. Fletcher employed Daniel Carter, Esq., to look up and locate some pine lands on the waters of Thunder Bay River.
Mr. Fletcher purchased the lands in the name of Thomas Campbell, of Boston, Mass., about eight thousand acres, up to 1857, in which he owned an interest, and he had been a purchaser and holder of pine lands in Alpena County ever since.
John Trowbridge & Bros. commenced locating pine lands in 1854 or ’55, and in two or three years had purchased about thirty thousand acres.
Frank H. Page and David D. Oliver located and purchased about two thousand acres. G. H. Lester purchased, near Turtle Lake, about nine hundred acres.
Lewis & Graves, of Detroit, purchased about three hundred acres; and Elisha Taylor, of Detroit, purchased about five hundred acres, near the rapids; and Capt. J. J. Maiden purchased a lot in section 27, town 31 north, of range 8 east.
This comprises most, if not all, the land holders and lands purchased in the county, prior to its organization, in 1857.
TOPOGRAPHICAL AND GEOLOGICAL CHARACTER OF THE COUNTY AND VICINITY.
Alpena county is bounded on the north by Presque Isle county, east by Thunder Bay, south by Alcona county, and on the west by Montmorency county, which, at present—1876—is attached to Alpena county for judicial purposes.
It includes townships 29, 30, 31 and 32 north, of ranges 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 east, taking in all of Thunder Bay and the islands. It has an area of about one thousand four hundred and forty square miles.
It contains approximately three hundred ninety-one thousand six hundred eighty acres of land.
The surface descends a little to the south and east, and is from gently rolling to rolling.
The timber is of great variety, and is no indication of the soil on which it grows.
Sometimes a rich argillo-calcareous loam is covered with white and black birch, aspen, balsam, tamarack, cedar and a few small sugar, hemlock, and Norway and white pine.
The principal timber is pine, hemlock, sugar, beech, cedar, balsam, white and black birch, black ash, elm lynn, poplar, spruce, etc.
The soil is mostly a rich loam, reposing on limestone rock, and containing all the elements necessary to make the agricultural capabilities of Alpena county compare favorably with any county in the State.
A few spots of arenaceous soil is met with, but it contains large quantities of carbonate of lime and magnesia. I
t also contains considerable ammonia, and it only requires a little addition of vegetable matter, and a sprinkling of salt, to make it very productive, so long as the ground does not suffer for want of rain.
The salt produces chemical action in the soil, and dissolves the silica.
On this kind of land, the seed should be put in with a drill or hoe, so that it will be covered the proper depth, and the land prepared by a roller, so as to enable the soil to hold the moisture, and in no case should the land be raised above a level.
Thunder Bay River enters Thunder Bay on the southwest quarter of section 23, in township 31 north, of range 8 east, and is the principal stream in the county.
The river, with its branches and their tributaries, take their rise in, or run through, the counties of Montmorency, Oscoda, Alcona, Presque Isle and Alpena, and drains and affords log-running facilities for thirty-nine townships.
The river is 197 feet wide where it divides the city, on First Street, but is much wider between this point and the mill dam.
With nine feet of water on the bar, and fourteen inside, it is navigable only three-fourths of a mile.
The river, from its mouth to the Broadwell Rapids, by its serpentine course, is about five miles; and the river rises thirteen feet.
It is from four to six rods wide.
Near the section line between 15 and 22, the river passes over a limestone ledge, now covered by water of the dam, nine feet four inches, which the writer believes to be identical with the limestone found at Sunken Lake.
From the foot of the rapids to Trowbridge-s dam is 231 chains, by the river, and the fall of the water from the summit level of the Trowbridge pond to the foot of the rapids is sixty-five feet; and the river is from eight to twenty rods wide.
At the time the writer made the survey, he noticed at one place an exceptional dip in the rock, a short distance above the Broadwell pond, where the dip of the rock was east, but was only three and one-half feet in forty rods.
The Trowbridge dam slacks the water up the river a short distance above the North Branch, and the perpendicular fall of water from this point to the bay is seventy-eight feet.
From the level of the Trowbridge pond to the head of Long Rapids, the rise cannot be less than seventy-eight feet more.
The river is rapid above this place, and runs over limestone ledges, in town 31 north, of range 4 east, town 30 north, of range 3 east, and has a rise of not less than fifty feet more, making a total fall of water from range one to Thunder Bay, of two hundred and sixty feet.
All the tributaries are rapid streams, showing no lack of drainage for the laud.
Devil River is a small stream, taking its rise in a small lake near Thunder Bay River, and runs south through Mud Lake, and empties into Thunder Bay, twelve miles south of Alpena.
It has a log-running capacity for about six miles.
Long Lake is a beautiful sheet of inland water, being in Alpena and Presque Isle counties.
It is eight miles long and from one to one and a half miles wide, surrounded by good farming lands, densely covered with hardwood.
The waters are well stocked with fish, the principal being pike, bass and sunfish.
The outlet of Long Lake, called by the writer “Crystal River,” from the clear, crystal appearance of the water, is a large stream in the spring, and dwindles to a small brook in the summer.
It runs nearly east from the outlet to Lake Huron, and on its way passes through two small lakes, mostly surrounded by high bluffs of limestone.
In one of these lakes is a subterranean passage for the water, of sufficient size to pass nearly the entire stream during the lowest stages of water in the summer.
The city of Alpena is located at the mouth of Thunder Bay river, which enters Thunder Bay near its head, in forty-fifth degree of north latitude, and eighty-three degrees and fifty minutes west longitude, in sections 22, 23 and 27, in town 31 north, of range 8 east, and is the county seat of Alpena county.
It is, by section line, twenty miles west.
and one hundred and ninety-two miles north of Detroit, and twenty miles east and ninety-six miles north of Bay City.
It is north from Ossineke twelve miles, and west from Thunder Bay Island twelve miles, and south from Presque Isle harbor about eighteen miles.
At the time the writer first visited the place now occupied by the city of Alpena, there was, on the east side of the river near the foot of Dock street, a narrow ridge of land extending east, along the bay shore, for about eighty rods.
Near the river, and extending to the bay, was a beautiful oak grove, containing about four acres, where the Indians camped, feasted, drank their “fire soup,” sang their war songs, danced their war, religious and festive dances, held their councils, and buried their dead and feasted their spirits.
North of this, and near the river, was a narrow ridge, crossed by a small stream, on its Way to Thunder Bay River, and covered with a thicket of white birch, aspen, cedar, and a sprinkling of Norway and white pine, and east of this was a dense cedar and tamarack swamp.
This ridge widened as it extended north, until it reached the vicinity of Walnut Street, where it was about forty rods wide, and covered with a belt of large timber, of hemlock and pine.
It thence extended north, into open Norway pine plains.
On this ridge was a deep-worn Indian trail, from the mouth of the river to the then rapids, near the section line between sections 15 and 22, in town 31 north, of range 8 east, and now covered by the mill pond, where the Indians fished for sturgeon, pike, pickerel and suckers, which were in abundance, and sometimes whitefish.
From this point were two trails, one extending north, through section 16, to Long Lake, and the other extending up the river.
On the west side of the river, also, was a small ridge.
A line, commencing near the foot of Second Street, and thence running to the corner of Chisholm Street and Washington Avenue, and from thence reaching the bay a little below Messrs. Campbell & Potter’s dock, would separate the ridge from the swamp.
All of that portion east and south of this line, and reaching to the bay, was a sandy ridge, covered with small pine, white birch and yellow oak; and all west of this line, for a mile or more, was a dense tamarack and cedar swamp, filled with water, and well stocked with batrachians, whose loud prate gave token of approaching spring.
By the united efforts of thousands, the timber has been removed, the swamp drained of its water, and the croakers, like the smoke of the Indian’s wig-wam, are growing less every year, and soon will be known as only a something of the past.
This swamp, so abhorrent a few years ago, has become valuable property, on which, in 1876, is standing beautiful residences, the abode of intelligence, peace and plenty.
From Second Street, north a few rods, was a small brook, winding its way to the river, and bounded by a cedar swamp about fifteen rods wide.
North of this swamp was a piece of high land, containing about thirty acres, which was well timbered with white pine and hemlock.
This ridge narrowed to a strip near the river, and extending north to the Norway and spruce pine plains.
On this ridge, also, was a deep and well-marked Indian trail, which had been tramped by moccasined feet for many centuries.
It led to the rapids, before mentioned, and thence to the big bend of the river, near Messrs. Campbell & Potter’s sawmill, where it became two, one leading up the river, and the other following the sandy ridge to Shin-gaw-ba-waw-sin-eke-go-ba-wot—now Ossineke.
These Indian trails were of much importance to the early surveyors, land-lookers and settlers, being the principal means of communication by land between various parts of the country.
These were called “paths” by the first explorers and settlers, and this is the reason for finding a “Pathmaster” in the list of the first officers of the township of Fremont.
Geologists have represented the geological formation of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, as a slightly depressed basin, having its center in or near Jackson and Ingham counties.
As you travel any direction from this central point, you pass over the outcropping edge of various lithological strata, in a descending series, until you reach the granite formation; hence, Prof. N. H. -Winchell, in his notes on the geology of the Thunder Bay region, published in the Pioneer, in 1870, says: “As one goes toward the north from Saginaw Bay, along the shore of Lake Huron, he passes over the outcropping edges of rocks lower and lower in the geological series, until he reaches Lake Superior.
The same is known of the Michigan side of Lake Michigan, northward from Grand Rapids.”
The writer believes this to be true, only in part, and as confined to the shores of the lakes, but not true in regard to the interior of the State.
His travels and explorations in nearly all parts of the State, have led him to the conclusion that the interior of the northern portion of the Southern Peninsula has not been sufficiently explored by competent geologists, as to warrant them in coming to any definite conclusion concerning the geological structure of this region.
A little observation will teach us that all rivers, wherever they run over stratified rocks, do not run with the dip, but over the outcropping edges.
Whenever they run with the dip, they seldom show the rocks; the streams are mostly sluggish, and the rocks generally covered with alluvial deposit.
This being the case, the sources of rivers indicate the highest portion of country; and a little study of their courses and their descent, and the rocks over which they run, will give us an approximate idea of the geological structure of the district of country through which they run.
In referring to the rivers of the Lower Peninsula, we find the St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, and Grand rivers rising in the interior of the southern part of the Southern Peninsula, and carrying the summit level east of the center of the State, and running west and northwest with a moderate descent, over the outcropping edges of rocks, dipping slightly toward the center, empty their waters into Lake Michigan.
The Shiawassee River, rising in the same vicinity, runs north and mingles with the waters of Saginaw River, while the Clinton, Huron and Raisin rivers take their rise on the same summit level, and pour their waters into St. Clair Lake and Detroit River.
After admitting that these rivers run over the outcropping edges of rocks dipping slightly toward the center of this geological basin, then allow the writer to invite the reader to go with him into Roscommon, Crawford and Otsego counties, where we will reach another summit level, which is estimated to be one thousand feet above the level of the lakes.
Here the Muskegon and Manistee, two large rivers, take their rise, and after running south and southwest, over ledges of rock dipping slightly to the northeast, discharge their waters into Lake Michigan.
The Cheboygan, Pigeon and Black rivers rise in Otsego county, run north over ledges of limestone, dipping south, and lose themselves in the lakes of the Cheboygan River.
The Thunder Bay and Au Sable rivers take their heads in small lakes in Otsego and Crawford counties, run east, with a rapid descent, over outcropping rocks, which dip to the west and northwest—with some local exceptional dip to the east, near Thunder Bay—pour their waters into Lake Huron.
The Tittabawassee River, commencing in and running near Roscommon County, runs south, and loses itself in Saginaw River.
The Boardman, Elk and Pine rivers, take their sources on or near the summit level, and run west, into Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan.
Here we have another well-defined geological basin, which, to practical geologists, is very little known, and especially that portion comprising the counties of Alpena and Montmorency.
In 1859 and 1860, Prof. A. Winchell made some geological explorations in Alpena county and its vicinity, and subsequently it was visited by Prof. N. H. Winchell, but neither of them carried their explorations far enough to determine, in the faintest degree, the geological character of Alpena county; and they are not certain in regard to the super-position of the rocks, or the groups to which they belong.
But the most important fact, entirely overlooked by geologists, in regard the geological formation of the Lower Peninsula, is the depression between those two basins.
A line drawn from the mouth of Saginaw River to the mouth of the Muskegon River passes nearly in the bottom of a synclinal valley between the two places.
The Tittabawassee River running south from the northern basin and the Shiawassee River running north from the southern basin; these rivers, with their branches, and other streams, establish the important fact that there is a depression running entirely across the Southern Peninsula, near its center, and dividing it into two parts or basins.
This being a fact, we find the gypsum beds at Alabaster, and coal at Rifle River, to belong to the northern basin.
Prof. N. H. Winchell says, in one of his notes to the Alpena County Pioneer, published in 1870:
“There are various interesting problems, yet unsolved, connected with the geology of the Thunder Bay region.
The foregoing ‘notes’ have merely indicated the outlines of its prominent features.
These indications even, are too often based on conjecture, rather than actual observation.”
Although the explorations now made are indefinite and of no available benefit to the county, yet they afford important suggestions, and will assist materially in any further survey; and, therefore, the writer has copied from the reports, all that he deemed of any probable value.
In the groupings of the rocks in this region of the State, all the reports are vague and ambiguous, if not contradictory.
Prof. A. Winchell, in his report for 1859 and 1860, says: “The elevated limestone region, constituting the northern portion of the Peninsula, consists of the higher members of the Upper Helderburg Group, which gradually subsides toward the south, and in the southern part of Cheboygan county, as nearly as can be judged, sinks beneath the shaly limestones of the Hamilton Group.”
In the “Atlas of the State of Michigan,” Winchell calls these limestones the “Little Traverse Group,” and says:
“This is composed chiefly of the Hamilton Group proper, of the New York geologists; but as the lower limits of the Hamilton have not yet been clearly fixed upon in the State, we apply the above terms to a series of limestones outcropping in the vicinity of Little Traverse Bay and Thunder Bay, and constituting physically a single mass.
They have been the subject of considerable study.
In 1860, we made an official survey of the Little Traverse strata; in 1866, a special survey and report, and in 1869, the ground was again officially examined, and as the result of all our studies, we submit the following: generalized arrangement:
“IV. Chert Beds.
“III. Bluff vesicular magnesian limestone overlaid by characteristic crinoidal beds.
“II Bituminous shales and limestones, composed of (b) Acervularia beds above, and (a) Bryozoa beds below.
“I. Pale-bluff massive limestones. comprising (b) Cenostroma beds above, and Fish beds below.”
The total thickness was set down provisionally at 141 feet, which is probably too low.
This grouping will apparently hold good over extensive region.
On the Geological Map of Michigan, this group occupies the shore north from Little Traverse Bay to Thunder Bay, and round the bay as far as Ossineke.
Prof. N. H. Winchell says:
“The Hamilton limestones and shales, and the Huron shales, furnish the geological basis of the Thunder Bay region”; but he is somewhat puzzled in regard to the arrangement and super-position of the various strata, as will appear by his remarks, before quoted, and by the following to the Pioneer:
“It has been remarked that the natural dip of the strata is toward the center of the State, in all places.
This, however, is so slight as to be almost imperceptible to the eye; and hence, the natural beds generally appear horizontal, unless local causes have produced exceptional dip.”
Now, it has been found that rocks which underlie the Thunder Bay district are much affected by an exceptional dip.
Along the lake shore, and in the limits of Thunder Bay, the exceptional dip eastward is always found.
This is true as far north as Nine Mile Point, but it is not noticeable within Thunder Bay, and as far inland as Broadwell’s mill, dip toward the bay.
This downthrow of the rocks accounts for the occurrence of higher members in the Hamilton at the mouth of Thunder Bay River than at the “Big Rapids,” thirty miles west.
Prof. A. Winchell, in his report of 1859-,60, page 69, says: “On the east side of Thunder Bay Island, the rocks of the Helderberg group are seen overlain by a black bituminous limestone, abounding in Atrypareticularis, and numerous other Brachiopods allied to the types of this group, (Hamilton).
The locality furnishes, also, two or three species of trilobites, (a) Favosites, a large coral allied to Acervularia, and some small fish remains.
The same beds are again seen at Carter’s quarry, two or three miles above the mouth of Thunder Bay River, and here it contains the same fossils.
It is seen again on the south shore of Little Traverse Bay, replete with Brachiopods and Bryozoa, and is here eighteen feet thick.
The exact order of super-position of the rocks constituting the Hamilton group, has nowhere been observed.
The bluffs at Partridge Point, in Thunder Bay, are believed to come in next above the bituminous limestones of the localities just cited.
The rock here is, at bottom, a bluish, highly argillaceous limestone, with shaly interlaminations, the whole wonderfully stocked with the remains of Bryozoa, and not a few encrinital stans.
Above these beds, which are but five feet thick, occurs a mass of blue shale, six feet thick; still higher is a massive limestone, below filled with Bryozoa, encrinites and Brachiopods; above, little fossiliferous, the whole with interlaminations of clay.
At the upper rapids of Thunder Bay River, still a different but entirely detached section was observed, and it is yet impossible to collocate it with the others.
At the upper rapids—northeast quarter of southwest quarter of section 7, town 31 north, of range 8 east—on the south side of the river, limestone is seen in a bluff fifteen feet high, dipping east-southeast about five degrees.
At Squaw Point, on the main land, south of the island, near the residence of the old Indian Chief ZwannoQuaddo, the black slates are found in places, in a cliff ten feet high.
The exposed surfaces are very much discolored by oxide of iron.
On the opposite side of the State, the black shales are seen at the southeast extremity of Mucqua Lake, in Emmet county; on the north side of Pine Lake, section 3, town 33 north, of range 7 west; near the outlet of Grand Traverse Bay, section 3, town 32 north, of range 9 west, and a few miles south of there, and again near the head of Carp Lake, in Leelanau county.
The greatest observed thickness in this part of the State, is twenty feet.”
From the foregoing statement, we draw the very probable conclusion, that three distinct kinds of rock are found outcropping on and near the shores of Thunder Bay; that the carbonaceous limestones belong to the Helderberg or Little Traverse group; that the black bituminous limestones belong to the Hamilton group, and the black slates, seen at Squaw Point, belong to the Huron group.
That an exceptional dip of the rocks exists in many places in the vicinity of Thunder Bay, and that they are much disturbed and displaced.
The limestones termed the “Little Traverse Group,” compose the surface rock on and near the lake shore, from Little Traverse Bay, northward to Thunder Bay.
In Cheboygan County, they reach as far south as the small lakes of Cheboygan River.
In Presque Isle County, they probably reach as far west as the western extremity of Long Lake; and they cover most of that portion of Alpena County north of Thunder Bay.
These limestones lie nearly horizontal, as observed along the shore of Lake Huron, and measured from the level of the lake.
The high bluffs on the lake, at Crawford’s Quarry, are about sixty feet high, and the one opposite Middle Island is of about the same height.
The rock from here south gradually subsides, until it reaches Little Thunder Bay, where it forms an escarpment abutting on the bay, about thirty feet perpendicular.
They probably dip slightly toward the center of the northern basin, with some local exceptional dip in the vicinity of Thunder Bay; but the western limits of their disappearance, under higher formations, have not been determined.
These limestones are fine grained, highly crystallized and handsomely clouded, by the unequal distribution of the fossils and bituminous matter they contain.
They are susceptible of a high polish, and when the large corals—especially the Favose and Cyathophylloids, which are abundant—are cut and polished; they present a very beautiful and agate-like appearance.
Some years since a quarry was opened near Adams’ Point, by Mr. Crawford, and is now known as Crawford’s Quarry; and subsequently another quarry was opened nearly opposite Middle Island, by Mr. Litchenberg, and large hopes were entertained at the time, that samples would be found largo enough to place the Lake Huron marbles with the most esteemed varieties; but no such samples have yet been found, and it is extremely doubtful whether they ever will be, as the rock is very much shattered.
If the black bituminous limestones spoken of, belong to the Hamilton group, then this group of rocks in the Thunder Bay region is inconsiderable, not being in any known place more than six feet in thickness; and the same may be said of what is known of the Huron slates noticed at Squaw Point, whose aggregate thickness would probably exceed one hundred and twenty-five feet.
Townships 31, 32 and 33 north, of ranges 6, 7 and 8 east, are remarkable for the abnormal and broken condition of the rocks.
Ledges with large cracks and cavernous fissures, sink-holes or basins, in many of which streams of considerable size disappear, and exceptional dip in the rocks in various directions.
A ledge of limestone, fifty feet high, occurs in the south part of section 35, in town 33 north, of range 7 east, faced on the north by a small lake, whore can be seen large cracks and cavernous partings partly filled with detritus.
These openings in the rocks run with the strike, sometimes for one-fourth of a mile.
The dip could not be well ascertained.
North of the partings, the rocks were much broken up, but south of the partings they dip in some places, slightly to the southwest.
The strike bears southeast for about half a mile, in a well-defined cliff, and then becomes very much broken and irregular, and which is very distinctly marked on the section line between sections 1 and 2, in town 32 north, of range 7 east.
This ledge is traced in a northwest direction, into the northeast quarter of section 33, where it is about fifty feet high, and faced on the northeast by a long but narrow lake, apparently very deep.
Here, again, are large partings in the rocks, and cavernous chambers, similar to the former, but the rocks are more broken and irregular.
Here the dip appeared to the west, and the strike bending round the west side of the lake, had a trend southeast and north twenty degrees west.
In the northwest quarter of section 16, town 32 north, of range 7 east, occurs a similar ledge, about twenty feet high, and also faced on the northeast by a small lake.
Here are partings similar to those first mentioned.
In the northwest quarter of section 14, in town 32 north, of range 7 east, near the section line, is a very singular basin.
It is nearly round, two hundred feet or more in diameter, and about seventy feet deep.
It was tunnel-shaped for about forty feet, and then the rocks became perpendicular; reposing at the bottom in what appeared like a cavern, was a small lake of nice, clear water.
The writer did not examine the rocks, nor did he ascertain whether the water in the lake was in motion, or in repose.
In the southwest quarter of section 5, in the same town and range, is a stream eight feet wide, which approaches from the northwest, a cliff of limestone, about twenty feet high, and at the foot of this cliff is an irregular cavernous looking basin, about thirty feet deep, into which the stream descends and disappears at the bottom.
But the most remarkable basin in this vicinity is the one known as “Sunken Lake,” on the west side of section 32, in town 33 north, of range 6 east.
This is a wonderful and interesting locality, and affords a key, when placed in skillful hands, to unlock many, if not all, the geological mysteries attached to the Thunder Bay region.
When the writer visited this beautiful and interesting spot, in 1866, he was exploring for pine timber, and was not prepared, and did not examine anything critically or geologically.
All of his measurements and descriptions are only approximate, and are given to assist those who hereafter may desire to examine the several localities, from curiosity or for scientific purposes.
A few rods west of Sunken Lake, at this time, was a sink-hole of recent formation.
It was oval in form at the top, its major axis being about one hundred feet over, was perpendicular on its west side, and about seventy feet deep, with water at the bottom.
Commencing at the bottom and reaching up the side of the basin for thirty feet, was a coarse grained, buff colored, smooth, compact, argillaceous sandstone, and appeared to be the side of a fault in the sand rock.
Reposing upon this was about three feet of black slates, similar to those met with at Squaw Point; and resting upon these slates, and reaching to the surface, is a laminated limestone, from thirty to forty feet thick, well and variously stocked with fossils.
Near the west side of this “hole in the ground” the limestones commence to dip to the east, and plunge over the edge of the sandstone, at an angle of about sixty degrees, to the bottom of Sunken Lake, which is not less on the west side than seventy-five feet deep.
The rock continues under the lake as far as it could be traced.
Here is a very singular and extraordinary exceptional dip to the east; but what is still more singular, is, that the limestones are not cracked or broken, but lie over the precipice made by the faulted underlying rock, as though it had flowed over them in a soft state, and hardened on its passage, leaving a hollow space between them and the margin of the rock, forming a channel of a subterranean river.
The strike of these rocks was traced only about forty rods, bending to the east on the bottom sides of the lake, and forming the west half of Sunken Lake.
Between this downthrow and the more northern limestone is a valley filled with drift, composed of very coarse gravel, sand, clay, etc., with a few large boulders.
The North Branch of Thunder Bay river, which is thirty feet wide near Sunken Lake, and capable of floating saw-logs for twenty or more miles above the lake, in making its channel to Thunder Bay river, passes over a portion of this drift bed; and that portion of the drift between the channel of the river and the drift flanking the west side of the lake, being very porous, filled with water from the river, and was pressed with great force through the small cracks and seams in the limestones.
In time these holes through the rocks were made large enough to pass sand and small gravel, and then commenced the hollowing out of the lake.
The limestones becoming denuded, were split and crumbled by the frosts of winter, presented additional mouths to invite water from the river, until it quit its old bed, turned at right angles with its old channel, cut a new one for half a mile to the lake, and after making a few gyrations, sank beneath the rocks, to pass in subterranean darkness to the waters of Little Thunder Bay, where it is indefinitely ascertained that it emerges.
The apertures in the rocks are not yet large enough to admit the whole river in time of a freshet, and the surplus water returns to its old channel, affording the lumbermen a small chance to run their logs past this difficult place.
This subterranean stream, in all probability, follows the strike of the faulted sandstone, which we think bears about east-southeast from the lake.
At the same time the writer examined Sunken Lake, he discovered a very interesting sink-hole, or basin, somewhere about southeast from the lake, and thinks it was between sections 15 and 16, in town 31 north, of range 6 east.
It was situated in the midst of a heavy growth of sugar, beech and hemlock timber.
The hole was nearly round, and about two hundred feet in diameter.
The alluvium and drift was about fifty feet deep, and the cavern below was spacious enough to take this immense mass of matter and the large forest trees, and hide them in the chambers below; it had fallen entirely out of sight.
In sinking the first well in Alpena, the lithological structure was noted for 64.5 feet, and it is remarkable that after passing through the alluvinm and drift for 30 feet, and through only two feet of limestone, a quartz rock was reached, 18 feet thick, carrying copper, and perhaps gold.
If the records be true, the chances for gold would be better than for salt from the Saginaw basin.
Taking all these facts into consideration, we are drawn to the inevitable conclusion that the Saginaw salt group and the carboniferous limestones found in the lower basin, compose the nine hundred feet of rock piled up above the sandstones seen at Sunken Lake.
That the Saginaw salt lies in a valley between the two basins, and extending from Saginaw Bay to Muskegon.
That Alpena city and its immediate vicinity is on the outcropping edge of the northern geological basin, and below the Saginaw salt group; and that if salt is ever found here, it will be taken from the Onondaga salt group of rocks.
And now that roads have been made into the interior of the county, affording good facilities for reaching every part of it, that a few hundred dollars would be well expended by the county, in employing a competent geologist to make a proper survey of this most interesting portion of the Southern Peninsula.
At the time the public surveys were made in Alpena, Presque Isle and Cheboygan counties, all that part of the peninsula was known as the Thunder Bay region, and was attached to Mackinac County, for judicial purposes.
In 1854 or ’55, the land district was divided, and a Land Office was established at the village of Duncan City, in Cheboygan County.
Subsequently these land districts were sub-divided, with offices at Traverse City, East Saginaw, Ionia, and Detroit, Alpena County being in the Detroit district.
In 1840, boundaries were made, and names given to twenty-nine northern counties.
One of these counties was named after an ancient chief of the Thunder Bay band of Indians—”An-a-ma-kee,” or Thunder.
The name was changed to Alpena, in 1843, but for what reason, is not known to the writer, but he thinks the name a phonetic rendering of the word “Aw-pe-na,” which – means Partridge, in the Indian language.
The point of land between Squaw Bay and Alpena is known by the Indians as “Aw-pe-na-sing,” or Partridge Point, and the name of Alpena was probably taken from the name of this point, through the influence of the Hon. Henry Ashman, who was well acquainted with the Thunder Bay coast, spoke the Indian language, and was subsequently a member of the State Legislature, from Midland county.
In seems to be a word of recent coinage, as the writer can find no place on the globe of the same name.
The word should be spelled “Awpena,” to mean Partridge, and if rendered into English, as it is now spelled, would be, “not quite a Partridge.”
In speaking of Squaw Bay, reminds the writer of the origin of the name.
Places sometimes receive their names from trifling circumstances.
The writer named the bay “Squaw Bay,” from the following incident: In the winter of 1850 or 51.
Robert McMullen was traveling across the bay and when about the middle of it.
He discovered some one fishing through a hole in the ice; and on approaching near, he found it to be Na-o-tay-ke-zhiek-co-quay, the daughter of the old Chief Mich-e-ke-wis, who was then camped on Partridge Point .
The Indian maiden was fishing, with her head covered with a blanket, and when she heard approaching footsteps, she bounded to her feet, with a frightened look, and without waiting for any apology from Me, she started for the point, with the fleetness of the antelope.
When McMullen told the writer of his adventure, he said to him: “We will call that bay ‘Squaw Bay,’ and since that time it has been known by that name.
In 1853, Cheboygan County was organized, and Montmorency, Presque Isle, Alpena, Oscoda and Alcona counties were attached to Cheboygan County, for judicial and municipal purposes.
In the spring of 1855, the first assessment of taxes was made in Alpena County.
The assessor from Cheboygan came as far as Presque Isle, and returned, having assessed the whole territory, without seeing any of it, as many assessors have done since, and are now doing in most of the northern counties.
No tax was collected in Alpena County for this year.
In 1856, the second assessment, and the first collection of taxes, was made by Cheboygan county, and which tax so collected, amounted to a little over five hundred dollars.
After making the Bailey purchase, the proprietors deemed it advisable to have a county organization for the success and convenience of their enterprise; but it required considerable “cheek” to ask the State Legislature to organize a county where it was a dense wilderness, and where men had to be immigrated to hold the offices for conducting the first election, and where there was only one resident freeholder in the district sought to be organized.
It also required not a little courage, end liberality, to incur at such a time, the expense of organizing and running a new county, where their property would eventually have to pay a large proportion of the expense.
In order to make a fair showing before the State Legislature, the proprietors, in 1856, came to Thunder Bay river, bringing with them E. A. Breakenridge, a surveyor, to make a temporary survey of a village, to give it a name, and ascertain where the two squares were that they intended to offer to donate to the county, as a site for the county buildings, in the event of, and as an inducement for establishing the county seat at this place.
This was in the year of the Fremont campaign, and Messrs. Fletcher, Lockwood and Breakenridge, being “Fremont men,” and the Canada parties, Messrs.
Oldfield and Minor, having no prejudices; they had resolved to call the prospective village “Fremont.”
They had brought with them a Fremont flag, which they raised on a pole when naming the town.
Daniel Carter was one of the party, but being opposed to Fremont, he refused to help raise the pole, declaring that he “would not help raise a flag that he would not support.”
He moved his family to Thunder Bay River in November, 1856, and the same fall obtained signers to a petition for the organization of the county of Alpena.
In regard to this petition, Mr. Carter says, in a letter to G. N. Fletcher, under date of February 14th, 1857: “I got the petition, and went up and down the shore, and the folks were all glad to see it.
I got fifty-one names.
Mr. Harrison, owner of the mill at the Highlands, would not sign it.
He wants the county seat at his place, or be set in Saginaw district.”
In February, 1857, through the energy of the proprietors and the personal efforts of Hon. J. K. Lockwood, the Legislature passed the following act, organizing the county of Alpena:
An Act to Organize the County of Alpena, and to locate the County Seat thereof.
Sec. 1. The People of the State of Michigan enact, that the county of Alpena shall be organized and the inhabitants there of entitled to all the rights and privileges to which, by law, the inhabitants of other organized counties of this State are entitled.
Sec. 2. The county seat of said county is hereby established at the village of Fremont, at the mouth of Thunder Bay river, in said county: Provided, That the proprietors of lands therein shall convey to said county, for the exclusive use thereof, for county buildings and county purposes, free of all charge, the following described lots, to wit: Two entire blocks, each twenty-four rods square, lying between Eighth and Ninth streets, and River and Lockwood streets, in the village of Fremont, as surveyed by E. A. Breakenridge, Esq., in the year (1856) eighteen hundred and fifty-six, on section twenty-two (22), in town thirty-one (31) north, of range eight (8) east, in said county.
Sec. 3. There shall be elected in said county of Alpena, on the first Tuesday of November, eighteen hundred and fiftyseven (1857), all the several county officers to which, by law, the said county is entitled; and said election shall, in all respects, be conducted and held in the manner prescribed by law, for holding elections for county and State officers: Provided, That the county officers so to be elected, shall be qualified, and enter upon the duties of their respective offices, on the first (1) Monday of January, eighteen hundred and fifty-eight (1858), and whose term of office will expire at the time prescribed by the general law.
Sec. 4. The board of canvassers of said county, under this act, shall consist of the presiding inspectors of election from each township therein; and said inspectors shall meet at said village of Fremont, on the first Tuesday after the election, and organize, by appointing one of their number chairman, and another secretary of said board, and shall thereupon proceed to discharge all the duties of a board of county canvassers, as in other cases of election for county and State officers.
Sec. 5. The Sheriff and County Clerk, elected by the provisions of this act, shall designate a place in the village of Fremont for holding the Circuit Court in said county, and also suitable places for the several county offices, as near as practicable to the place designated for holding the Circuit Court; and they shall make and subscribe a certificate, in writing, describing the several places designated, which certificate shall be filed and preserved by the County Clerk; and thereafter the places thus designated shall be the places of holding the Circuit Court and the county offices, until the Board of Supervisors provide suitable accommodations for said court and county offices.
Sec. 6. The counties of Alcona, Oscoda, Montmorency, and that portion of the county of Presque Isle lying east of range 4 east, be and the same are attached to the county of Alpena, for judicial and municipal purposes.
Sec. 7. All acts, and parts of acts, contravening the provisions of this act, the same are hereby repealed.
Approved Feb. 7th, 1857.
Mr. Lockwood, finding that “the presiding inspectors of elections from each township therein,” referred to in the fourth section of the above act, had declared “non est inventus,” procured, ten day later in the session, the passage of an act, as an amendment to the fourth section of the first act, which is as follows:
Sec. 1. The People of the State of Michigan enact, That this act shall stand in lieu of section four (4) of said act, and that Daniel Carter, Harvey Harwood and D. D. Oliver are hereby made and constituted a board of county canvassers, who shall act as inspectors of election; and said inspectors shall meet at the said village of Fremont, on the first Tuesday after the election, and appoint one of their number chairman, and another secretary of said board, and shall thereupon proceed to discharge all the duties of a board of county canvassers, as in other cases of election of county and State officers, and shall have the power to act as a Board of Supervisors in and for said county, for the organization of townships therein, and for other purposes, and to hold their office until there be three organized townships in said county, and until other supervisors are elected and qualified: And provided, that that the first Board of Supervisors of Alpena country hold their offices until three towns were organized in the county, and to fill any vacancy in the board, if one should occur.
After being duly notified of their appointment, and about the first of Jane, 1857, the members of the new Board of Supervisors for the county of Alpena, met for business, and organized by making Daniel Carter chairman, and. having no County clerk, D. D, Oliver was made secretary.
Mr. Harwood soon moved out of the county, and left the chairman and secretary to have it their own way.
They were both inexperienced in county business, and were at least one hundred miles from a precedent; without books, or anything to guide them in their new position; and not a man in the county that could legally administer an oath, and but one in the county who knew anything about township business, and his knowledge done them no good us as Board of Supervisors, and they had no townships organized; but something must be done by the Board of Supervisors, and they did it as well as they could.
The first and most important business before the board, was to settle with the neighboring Board of Supervisors of Cheboygan County, and get back a part, if they could, of the $500 tax which the county of Cheboygan had collected of Alpena County and its territory the preceding winter.
Carter and Oliver made two trips to Cheboygan, in a sail boat, at a large expense, to meet the supervisors there, who avoided them, and they failed to make a settlement.
Oliver then went to Lansing, and had a talk with the Auditor General, in regard to the matter, who told him if he would forward certain papers from Cheboygan, before the fourth day of July, 1857, he would charge back the tax to Cheboygan county, and credit Alpena county with the same.
Oliver then made another expensive trip to Cheboygan, procured the necessary papers, and sent them to Lansing; but heard nothing from the Auditor General, until he was threatened with publication, and then he received the following letter:
Auditor General’s Office,
Lansing, Nov. 13th, 1857.
D. D. Oliver, Esq.
Dear Sir:—I have just received your letter of the 11th inst. I am not conscious of any neglect in answering your letters. I received your letter of July 10th, with statement of the Board of Supervisors of Alpena county and certain transcripts from the records of Cheboygan County. I answered you at once, stating that I had not the power to help your county, referring you to Sec. 99 of the Tax Laws of 1848, as giving the Auditor such, and all the power he has to cancil the sale of lands. You wrote me again on the 21st August, which was attended to by repeating the answer made to yours of July 10th. I understand a letter was received, in my absence, a few days since, and which has been mislaid, but from what I learn of its contents, I could have answered only as heretofore, that I have not the power to do what you wanted me to do.
I am, very respectfully,
Signed,’ ‘WHITNEY JONES, Aud. Gen’l.
This letter from the Auditor General explains the inwardness of the whole matter, and closed up the tax business between Cheboygan and Alpena counties.
The next business before the Board of Supervisors, was the organization of the town of Fremont, but the board could not act without a petition, and as there was not freeholders enough to sign the petition, the organization of the township was tabled, to wait for the further growth of the place.
The next care of the board, was to provide suitable books for the county records, and to obtain the statutes from the Secretary of State, and other matters, as the following letter from the writer to G. N. Fletcher, Esq., will show:
Detroit, Nov. 18th, 1857.
G. N. Fletcher.
Dear Sir:—A small craft, chartered by Craig & Bro., left for Sugar Island, the night I arrived down. I told them you wished to send something up, but could not tell how much, or what it was. I shall leave for the upper country in a few days, and would like to meet you before I go. I learn by some persons from the shore, that the vessel arrived there safely, and that it brought but little, and took most of the folks away with her. I have written to the Governor, to appoint a Notary Public, and also written to the Secretary of State, for some books. I hope to get returns in two or .three days. What is to be done about the county books? If they go up this fall, they must go up soon. I think you had better come down and see what can be done, for I cannot get them. I am using my time and money in doing the county business, and that is all I feel able to do.
Signed, D. D. OLIVER
To be a supervisor then, was to work without pay and pay your own expenses; and it wore the seat from many a pair of supervisor’s pants before the board became smooth enough to afford four dollars for six hours’ work, and step over to a full treasury and get your money.
In August of 1857, the schooner John Minor came into Thunder Bay river, bringing Mr. Addison F. Fletcher, who came in the interest of G. N. Fletcher, Esq., and who superintended the structure of a rough board store, which was located on Water street, at or near its junction with Second street, the schooner having brought the lumber for that purpose.
He – A. F. F. – took an active part in the early affairs of the town and county, being the first clerk of both.
He assisted the writer in designing the seal of the Circuit Court, and suggested that, “If we have the river, we should have the pine trees.”
He, at one time, owned the best property and residence in the village of Alpena; but he never had much faith in the large growth of the place, and has, up to 1876, persisted in remaining a noun in the singular number.
In September, 1857, Mr. Joseph K. Miller came to Fremont, and with him came a number of settlers.
He was a man beyond the middle age; was well educated, and experienced in business.
He was a theologian of the severe school, and an inveterate hater of tobacco and whiskey.
He was from Boston, “The Hub of the World,” and having some fanciful notions of himself and the place he came from, he placed but little value in the people among whom he came to live.
He was very scrupulous in doing what he supposed to be right; but he differed with many of his neighbors in what was right.
It is evident that man has no standard of right and wrong, for what is right in one part of the world, is wrong in another part.
What is right in one nation, is wrong in another; what is right among one class of people, is wrong among another class; what is right in the manifestations of religion of one people, would be wrong in the manifestations of religion of another, and what would be right with one person, would be wrong with another.
Eight and wrong seem to be fictions, invented by parents, societies and nations, for their guide and government, and a person is said to be doing right when obeying those rules or laws, and doing wrong when violating them.
Right and wrong with the individual depends upon his phrenological make-up—his education and growth, and his surrounding influences.
These form the conscience which the individual is bound to and will obey.
In proof of the above remarks, the writer refers to the fifth chapter of Matthew, and the history of the political struggle between the northern and southern States, from 1860 to 1865.
Soon after Mr. Miller arrived in Fremont, he was appointed to fill the vacancy in the Board of Supervisors, made by the moving away of Harvey Harwood, Esq.; and now, the board, being full, was prepared to obey the organic law.
Without observing technicalities, the board proceeded to organize the township of Fremont.
This township was made to comprise the whole of Alpena County proper, and all the territory attached to it, for judicial and municipal purposes.
Mr. Miller, in a letter to George N. Fletcher, Esq., and dated at Fremont, Oct. 23d, 1857, says, in regard to the petition necessary to be presented to the Board of Supervisors:
“On examination of the statutes more minutely, I find it requires twelve freeholders to organize a township, as that number must petition the supervisors for organization.
We had one petition signed by sixteen electors, but there are only two freeholders among them all – Mr. Oliver and myself – so we must make ten of the others freeholders before the day of election, the first day of November.”
On the 4th day of November, 1857, as provided by the organic law, the first election took place in Alpena county, and the township officers entered upon the duties of their several offices as soon as they could be qualified, there being no person in the county who could legally administer the oath of office.
Mr. Miller says, in a letter to Mr. Fletcher, dated Nov. 4th, 1857: “We had our couty election to-day, and all passed off pleasantly and satisfactorily.
Addison, County Clerk; myself County Treasurer and Register of Deeds.
Our neighbors down the shore came up, and we had quite a respectable turn-out; one boatload from Messrs. Harris’ place, at the Highlands, and one from Black River.
If Addison has not left to return, tell him he must ascertain where he must go to be qualified for County Clerk, by taking the oath of office, and take it before coming up, as his services are wanted immediately.”
The official records of the election read as follows: “In pursuance of notice for the first township election, posted according to law, in the township of Fremont, in the county of Alpena, and State of Michigan, held on the fourth day of November, 1857: Present, David D. Oliver, Joseph K. Miller and Daniel Carter, the board of inspectors, appointed by the supervisors, to hold said election. Chose David D. Oliver, chairman of said board, and Joseph K. Miller, secretary, and appointed Addison Fletcher, clerk; also Isaac Wilson to officiate as constable for said election. Polls were opened, and the following persons were elected to the several township offices:
Supervisor—James S. Irwin.
Township Treasurer—Daniel Carter.
Township Clerk—Addison Fletcher. Highway Commissioners—Daniel Carter, David D. Oliver, James Thomas.
Justices of the Peace—Russell R. Woodruff, David D. Oliver, Lewis Atkins, Isaac Wilson.
School Inspectors—David D. Oliver, George B. Melville.
Constables—James Thomas, Robert Bowman, Willis Roe.
Signed, DAVID D. OLIVER, Chairman,
ADDISON FLETCHER, Clerk, –
J. K. MILLER, Secretary.
Isaac Wilson was from the Highlands, as the place was then known—now Harrisville; and Willis Roe was from Black River.
The following is a list of the county officers elected at the first election, held on the 4th day of November, 1857:
Sheriff—William R. Bowman.
County Clerk—A. F. Fletcher.
County Treasurer—J. K. Miller.
Register of Deeds—J. K. Miller.
County Surveyor—David D. Oliver.
Circuit Court Commissioner—David Plough.
Coroner—A. F. Fletcher.
It will be observed that in the list of township officers, the clerk is “Addison Fletcher,” and the clerk of the board of election has signed his name “Addison Fletcher,” while in the list of county officers his name is written “A. F. Fletcher.”
This discrepancy can be explained by saying the clerk of the board of election neglected to write his name in full.
At the general election, held on the 2nd day of November, 1858, the whole number of votes cast was thirty-five, and were all cast in favor of the general banking law.
The county officers were all re-elected; and party politics showed itself, only in the State ticket.
Moses Wisner, Republican, for Governor, received twenty votes, and Chas. E. Stewart, Democrat, for Governor, received fifteen votes; the balance of the State ticket run about the same, except for Representative in the State Legislature, and for that office, Daniel Carter, received twenty-one votes.
At the time Alpena County was organized, all the northern counties had been thrown into a Representative District, without any regard to their condition, location, or convenience.
The election returns for the district were to be made to Traverse City, in Grand Traverse County, that being the largest town in the district.
The people of Alpena County, finding it impracticable to make returns of election to Traverse City, in time to Joe used in the canvass, resolved to have the pleasure of voting for a Representative peculiarly their own, and so gave their first vote for Daniel Carter.
In 1860, Alpena having grown to some importance, resolved to send a Representative to the State Legislature, and request a seat for him in that body, not in opposition to the regular candidate for that office, who was a resident of Grand Traverse County, but conjointly with him, as the territory was ample for two districts, with divided interests.
Capt. A. E. Persons was nominated for this important and experimental position, and was elected, receiving nearly all the votes of Alpena County and its territory.
Captain Persons accepted the nomination and election, as complimentary, but was not a little surprised when requested by his constituents to go to Lansing.
He regarded the matter of going to Lansing but little better than a farce, and that, as a matter of course, he would be rejected.
But being assured and encouraged by his friends, who thought differently, and who agreed to fund his expenses, in case he was not seated, he made up his mind to “Try the thing on,” and prepared himself with his credentials; went to Lansing; presented himself at the bar of the House of Representatives; was administered the oath of office, and took his seat with as much freedom and matter of course as if he had been a regularly elected member from the oldest counties.
No questions were asked and he was addressed as “The member from Alpena.”
This affair, for boldness of conception and execution, has few if any precedents in the annals of legislation.
This gave importance and notoriety to Alpena, among her sister towns and brought tio her shore many seeking for labor, settlement, or speculation.
Captain Persons was a man of energy, with sound judgment, and kind and obliging manners.
He was a faithful friend to his Government daring the long struggle with rebellion, and by attending to the wants of his county, he gave pride and satisfaction to his friends and constituents.
Subsequently, the district was changed, and in 1867, was composed of the counties of Midland, Isabella, Iosco and Alpena and their territory.
The right of selecting a man for Representative from this new district was claimed by Alpena, and conceded by the other counties: and the Hon. James K. Lockwood was elected.
No better man could have been selected to take care of the scattered interests of this district, the combined population of which numbered about five thousand.
Ten years of experience had made him familiar with the wants of people living in new counties.
While he was a member of the Legislature, he did what he could for the scattered interests of his district, and gave general satisfaction.
He made a strong effort to secure the swamp lands to the exclusive use and benefit of the several counties in which they were located; but he was opposed by the southern districts, which had no swamp lands, and was defeated.
He was always a persistent guardian of the interests and well-being of Alpena, and ready at all times to encourage and assist in any and every enterprise that had for its object the improvement of the place.
When he now looks back over two decades, to the time he was lobbying for the organization of a county with only one resident freeholder in it, in contrast with the present city (1876) and county, with their organizations, improvements and wealth, he can feel a conscious pride that he was one of those who were instrumental in bringing around these grand results; and the writer thinks he sometimes whispers to himself, “Who thanks me for all this?
If I had done more for myself, and less for the county, I would be the better off for it.”
In 1874, the Hon. Worthy L. Churchill was elected a representative in the State Legislature, ostensibly from Alpena.
He was a young man, and mostly a stranger to the people of his district and their wants; had then but little interest in the growth of Alpena, and has the credit of being instrumental in defeating a bill for the appropriation of land to aid in the construction of a railroad from Alpena, and to connect with the Jackson, Lansing and Saginaw railway.
If this be true, the people of Alpena have reason to say to him, in spirit, as Balak said to Baalim, “I called thee to curse mine enemies, and behold, thou hast altogether blest them.”
The people becoming dissatisfied with the name of Fremont, petitioned the Legislature to change it to Alpena, and in February, 1859, it was so changed, by the following act:
An Act to change the name of the village of Fremont, in the comity of Alpena.
Sec. 1. The People of the State of Michigan enact, that the name of the village of Fremont, in the county of Alpena, and State of Michigan, be and .the same is hereby changed to Alpena.
Sec. 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
Approved February 29th, 1859.
The first township organized after Alpena, was Ossineke, in 1867.
Prior to this, Harrisville had been organized into a township, and subsequently was made the county seat of Alcona county.
The township of Corles was organized at the same time that Ossineke was, but lived only a brief period, and then returned to the embrace of Alpena.
The organic territory of Ossineke consisted of town 29 north, of ranges 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 east.
The first meeting was held at the boarding house of D. D. Oliver, on the first Monday in April, 1867, D. D. Oliver, George B. Melville and G. W. Hawkins being inspectors of election, and G. B. Melville to post notices.
The Board of Supervisors was now composed of Daniel Carter, of the county; Obed Smith, of Alpena; D. D. Oliver, of Ossineke, and L. R. Dorr, of Harrisville.
As soon as these towns were organized, Messrs. Carter and Oliver ceased to be county members of the Board of Supervisors, as by the law organizing the county of Alpena, their terms of office should expire as soon as three towns were organized in the county.
They bad been on the board together a full decade.
They differed in politics, Carter being a Democrat and Oliver a Republican; but they made it a standard principle never to allow party politics to interfere with the interests of the county.
They had always worked together in harmony, for the benefit of the Thunder Bay region, and especially Alpena; and now, when they retired from the Board of Supervisors, they did so with the consciousness of having performed the duties of their trust without fear or favor, and at all times to the best of their abilities.
They left no bonds for the county to provide for, except those given to the brave men who volunteered to help silence the thunders of a southern rebellion, and give freedom to three millions of slaves.
Their names are as follows: James J. Potter, Moses Bingham, Arthur Irwin, Denton Sellick, James Whalen, Frank Squires, John Kaufman, Solomon Evans, John Ellsworth, George Plude and John Dawson.
The township of Corles, having failed to keep up its organization, the Board of Supervisors was convened, on the 19th day of May, 1868, to take some action in regard to the matter.
James K. Lockwood, Ira Stout and David D. Oliver were appointed a committee to present the matter to Judge S. M. Green, for his advice.
The committee made its report to Judge Green, and the organization was restored to Corles.
At this session of the board, a resolution was passed, to purchase a piece of land at Harrisville, on which to erect buildings for a poor house and farm, at a cost of $5,000, to be raised by tax of SI,000 a year, until paid.
The board at this session was composed of Ira Stout, of Alpena; Lawrence R. Dorr, of Harrisville, and David D. Oliver, of Ossineke, Oliver having been elected Supervisor of that township.
Sometime in 1868, the township of Alcona was organized; and after the spring election of 1869, the Board of Supervisors was composed of the following gentlemen: James K. Lockwood, of Alpena; L. R. Dorr, of Harrisville; D. Stewart, of Corles; E. R. Haynes, of Alcona, and David D. Oliver, of Ossineke.
On the 20th of May, 1870, the Board of Supervisors was called together, for the purpose of organizing the township of Rogers, in Presque Isle County.
Heretofore Alpena had taken the lead of all the towns, in political matters; but now a shadow was stealing over it, calculated to injure, if not to crush it.
During the past winter, Alcona County had been organized, taking with it the unorganized county of Oscoda and the organized towns of Harrisville and Alcona; and the township of Corles having failed to keep up its organization, it left only two organized towns in the county of Alpena, the Supervisors of which were Charles W. Richardson, of Alpena Township, and George J. Robinson, of Ossineke.
The petition for the organization of the township of Rogers was signed by many of the best men in Alpena, they little dreaming that they were furnishing means for much annoyance, if not for their own destruction.
A remonstrance had been made, but Supervisor Robinson had it his own way, and wishing to befriend Mr. Molitor, organized the township.
Alpena, like the bird after which it was named—partridge—had now grown to good size, and had grown fat and plump, under the fostering care of its old guardians, was now watched by a number of Hawks, who were only waiting for its protectors to be absent, to pounce upon and gobble it up.
One of these Hawks had his nest at Rogers City, and another at Ossineke, and a third had a temporary nest in Alpena, but carried all his spoils to a more permanent one, in Canada.
After considerable maneuvering, the time came for the descent, when the bird dodged under a city charter, and was safe.
The Board of Supervisors again met on the 20th of September, 1870, and there were then present, Chas. W. Richardson, of Alpena; George J. Robinson, of Ossineke, and Albert Molitor, of Rogers City, and the Clerk.
At this session commenced a series of aggressions by the majority of the board, which was so continued that it compelled the people to seek relief in a city organization.
In a speech made by Hon. Seth L. Carpenter, at a caucus held in the Evergreen Hall, March 29th, 1871, where the people threw aside party politics to put in nomination the best men from both parties to fill the first offices of the new city, and at which caucus he, who was nominated for the first Mayor, said: “So far the organization of the city of Alpena has been a necessity, urged upon us by the aggressive majority of our Board of Supervisors, whom we charitably believe misrepresented the small minority of the inhabitants of the county.
But their aggressions have been of such a character as to drive our citizens en masse, without regard to party politics, to seek relief by a city organization.”
Among the aggressive acts of the Board of Supervisors, passed at this session, and subsequently, before the 20th of January, 1871, were resolutions giving the Sheriff the illegal salary of $1,000 per year; to the County Clerk the large salary of $1,200 per year; to the County Treasurer $1,000, and the Prosecuting Attorney $1,000 per year.
They detached large territory from Alpena, and attached the same to the townships of Ossineke and Rogers.
They considered favorably a petition of J. B. Tuttle and S. E. Hitchcock, for locating a site for a court house on lauds belonging to Hitchcock, and for raising money for building the same.
They also passed a resolution, making S. L. Carpenter, George J. Robinson and Albert Molitor a board of commissioners of immigration; and, also, “It shall be the duty of said board to encourage immigration, by such measures as they may, in their discretion, deem proper.”
Supervisor Robinson offered a resolution to purchase a tract of land at Ossineke, for the poor farm.
After these aggressions had been continued for some time, the citizens of Alpena became alarmed, and held several meetings, to determine what course to pursue.
They finally held a meeting on the 8th day of February, 1871, “To take into consideration the propriety of having a city corporation.
At this meeting, William Jenney, Esq., was called to the chair, and P. M. Johnson was made secretary.
The meeting passed a resolution, requesting the Board of Supervisors “To take no action for the purpose of incorporating the village of Alpena.”
A committee was appointed by the chair, to draft a charter for the city, to be presented to the people of Alpena, for their consideration. Messrs. S. L. Carpenter, J. H. Stevens, J. A. Case, A. W. Comstock, D. McRae,
J. D. Holmes and A. Hopper were appointed such committee.
They were instructed to present such charter to the adjourned meeting.
“The deficiencies of our present township government’ were the cause which led to these proceedings.
Soon after the committee report was made, a petition was signed by one hundred and twenty-one citizens of Alpena, and forwarded to Lansing, asking the State Legislature for a city corporation.
A remonstrance was also sent, signed by forty-nine persons; and Mr. Bostwick and five others who signed the petition, also signed the remonstrance, saying, “They did not know the character of the petition when they signed it.”
An efficient corps of lobbyists accompanied the petition, and it was not long before the attention of the Legislature was given to the pressing demands of the citizens of Alpena, and a charter was granted them, the first section of which reads as follows: “That so much of the township of Alpena, in the county of Alpena, as is included in the following described territory: The southwest quarter of section 13, the south half of sections 14, 15 and 16, the whole of sectons 21, 22 and 28, the west fractional half of section 24, and fractional sections 23, 26 and 27, in town 31 north, of range 8 east, in the State of Michigan, be and the same is hereby set off from said township of Alpena, and declared to be a city, by the name of the City of Alpena, by which name it shall hereafter be known; and by that name may sue, and be sued, implede and be impleded, complain and defend in any court of competent jurisdiction.
May have a common seal, and alter it at pleasure, and may take, hold, purchase, lease, convey and dispose of any real, personal and mixed estate, for the use of said corporation.”
The law provided also, that there should be three wards in the city, and so giving it three Supervisors.
The city charter provided, also, that the annual election of city officers shall be held on the first Monday of April of each year. The Mayor, Comptroller and Treasurer were to be elected annually; the Recorder every two years, and the full term of the Justice of the Peace was three years.
On the ward tickets two Aldermen were to be elected at the first election, one for one year and one for two years, and thereafter one.
Alderman to be elected each year, and to hold office for two years; the Common Council to be composed of the Mayor, Recorder and Aldermen; The officers to be appointed by the Common Council were Attorney, Marshal, Street Com missioner, Director of the Poor, and Engineers of the Fire Department.
At the first city election, the following gentlemen were elected to fill the first offices: Seth L. Carpenter, for Mayor; Abram Hopper, for Recorder; James A. Case, for Comptroller; Albert L. Power, for Treasurer; George Richardson, Justice of the Peace for three years, and Ira Stout for two years.
In the First ward, Alexander McDonald, for Supervisor; George Richardson, for Alderman two years; John H. Stevens, for Alderman for one year, and Frank Drew for Constable.
In the Second ward, James J. Potter, for Supervisor; Henry S. Seage, for Alderman for two years; Ira Stout, for Alderman for one year, and Richard Campbell, for Constable.
In the Third ward, James McTavish, for Supervisor; Samuel Boggs, for Alderman for two years; Gordon Davis, for Alderman for one year, and Timothy Crowley, for Constable.
The incorporation of the city was thought, at the time, to be a fearful experiment; that it would subject the citizens to a large increase of taxes, and result in financial ruin and death.
But this was their only alternative, and the people preferred to take the chances of committing suicide, than to endure uncertain torture and ruin that threatened them by the aggressive acts of the majority of the Board of Supervisors. Contrary to the expectations of the most hopeful, the experiment has proved a success, paying for all it cost, if not more.
The city government, with few exceptions, has been conducted with wisdom and economy, and if the citizens have to pay more taxes, they have more conveniences and better protection for life and property.
While it required the united efforts of all the people to make the experiment a success, yet the city is largely indebted to the integrity, economy and perseverance of its executive officers, who were leading business men, and personally interested in the growth and prosperity of the city.
Their names are given in succession, up to and including the centennial year of 1876.
The first Mayor was Seth L. Carpenter; the second Mayor was Albert Pack; the third Mayor was Andrew W. Comstock, and the fourth Mayor is George L. Maltz.
The following is a list of city officers in 1876: Mayor, Geo. L. Maltz; Recorder, A. R. McDonald; Comptroller, J. D. Turnbull; Treasurer, Charles B. Greely; Justices of the Peace, Paul Dane, A. R. McDonald and Chas. A. D’Aigle.
Supervisors—First ward, Thomas G. Spratt; Second ward, Ira Stout; Third ward, Marshall N. Bedford. Aldermen—First ward, Charles H. Rice and George Richardson; Second ward, James Tims and J. P. Healy; Third ward, Jason Gillett and J. D. Sheahy. Board of Education—First ward, B. F. Starbird and H. R. Morse; Second ward, J. C. Viall and Ira Stout; Third ward, Paul Dane and D. McRae.
City Attorney, V. C. Burnham; City Marshal, Douglass Scott; Chief Engineer, A. L. Power.
The incorporation of the city had detached a large portion of the inhabitants from the township of Alpena, yet there remained enough to keep up the organization, and N. M. Brackinreed was elected Supervisor.
He was a good scholar, a persevering business man, and well calculated to build up the much reduced interests of the township.
On May 8th, 1871, the Board of Supervisors of Alpena county, met for business, it being the first session of the board after the city election, and was composed of the following members: N. M. Brackinreed, of Alpena; A. McDonald, First ward, city; J. J. Potter, Second ward, city; J. McTavish, Third ward, city; G. J. Robinson, Ossineke, and Albert Molitor, Rogers.
At this session Messrs. Robinson and Molitor were absent.
The Hawks did not care to meet the bird they had so much sought to maim or destroy, which, retaining its name, had changed to an Eagle of formidable dimensions, and on which the Hawks could now have but little impression.
One of the Hawks, through the influence of the people of Alpena, who wished to be rid of him, obtained a quasi organization of the county of Presque Isle, where he continued to depredate, until he became so intolerable that he was shot. But little inquiry has been made in regard to who it was that did the shooting, the people all seeming to say, “Sic semper tyrannis.”
On the 15th of March, 1873, the Board of Supervisors met for the purpose of erecting two townships—one to be called Long Rapids, and the other Wilson. The territory embraced in the township of Long Rapids is as follows: The north half of town 31 north, of ranges 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 east, and the whole of town 32 north, of ranges 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 east. The first annual meeting was to be held at the Jones school house, in the Louden settlement, on the 7th day of April, 1873. W. H. Marston, J. 0. Carr and John Louden were appointed to act as a board of inspectors of election, and William E. Jones to post notices.
The territory embraced in the township of Wilson was as follows: Commencing at the southeast corner of section 36, in town 30 north, of range 7 east, running thence northerly on the town line between ranges 7 and 8 east, to the northeast corner of section 1, in town 30 north, of range 7 east; thence easterly on town line to the southeast corner of section 36, town 31 north, of range 7 east; thence northerly on town line, to the northeast corner of section 24, in town 31 north, of range 7 east; thence westerly on section line, to the meridian; southerly on meridian line, to the southwest corner of section 31, in town 30 north, of range 1 east; thence easterly on town line, to the place of beginning.
The first annual meeting was to be held at the boarding house, on the Luce farm, on the 7th day of April, 1873. Noble M. Brackinreed, George Herron and Charles B. Greely were made inspectors of election, and X. M. Brackinreed to post notice of election.
The members comprising the board at this time, and who voted for the erection of these townships, were, G. J. Robinson, of Ossineke; X. M. Brackinreed, of Alpena; D. McRae.
City Comptroller; A. L. Power, First ward, and John D. Potter, Second ward.
At the end of this chapter is given a list of the county officers and a list, also, of the several township officers from the time of their organization, up to and including the centennial year of 1876, so far as the writer is in possession of the facts.
This is done for the benefit of those who may wish to use this work for reference.
The first officers elected in the township and county of Alpena, are given in full before in this chapter, and also the city officers of 1876.
COUNTY OFFICERS ELECTED IN 1860.
Representative in State Legislature, from Alpena county— Alonzo E. Persons.
Sheriff—John W. Glennie.
County Clerk—David D. Oliver.
Register of Deeds—Abram Hopper.
County Treasurer—David Plough.
Prosecuting Attorney—Oliver T. B. Williams.
Judge of Probate—David D. Oliver.
Circuit Court Commissioner—Oliver T. B. Williams.
County Surveyor—David D. Oliver.
Coroners—Levi O. Harris and Hugh Johnson.
ALPENA TOWNSHIP OFFICERS, 1865.
Supervisor—J. K. Lockwood.
Township Clerk—A. Hopper.
Township Treasurer—H. R. Morse.
Justice of the Peace—Martin Minton.
Commissioner of Highways—S. E. Hitchcock.
ALPENA COUNTY OFFICERS, 1863 AND 1864.
Sheriff—A. J. Gary.
County Treasurer—David Plough.
Judge of Probate—J. B. Tuttle.
Prosecuting Attorney—Obed Smith.
County Clerk—Robert White.
Register of Deeds—Abram Hopper.
Circuit Court Commissioner—J. B. Tuttle.
County Surveyor—David D. Oliver.
Coroners—Samuel E. Hitchcock and Josiah Frink.
County Supervisors—-D. D. Oliver and Daniel Carter.
ALPENA COUNTY OFFICERS, 1865 AND 1866.
Sheriff—J. C. Parke.
County Treasurer—David Plough.
Judge of Probate—J. B. Tuttle.
Prosecuting Attorney—Obed Smith.
County Clerk—Robert White.
Register of Deeds—A. Hopper.
Circuit Court Commissioner—J. B, Tuttle.
County Surveyor—David D. Oliver.
Coroners—S. E. Hitchcock and Josiah Frink,
ALPENA TOWNSHIP OFFICERS, 1867.
Supervisor—James K. Lockwood.
Township Clerk—A. Hopper.
Township Treasurer—James A. Case.
Justices of the Peace—Obed Smith, four years; Frederick N. Barlow, three years.
Highway Commissioner—James Cavanagh,
ALPENA TOWNSHIP OFFICERS, 1868.
Township Clerk—A. Hopper.
Township Treasurer—J. A. Case.
School Inspector—A. W. Comstock.
Justices of the Peace—James Cavanagh: to fill vacancy of F. N. Barlow, Meade X. S. Macartney; to fill vacancy of Martin Minton, P. M. Johnson.
Highway Commissioners—Samuel Boggs and Thos. Murray.
Constables—Timothy Crowley, John McKay and Thomas Gillan.
ALPENA COUNTY OFFICERS, 1867 AND 186S.
County Treasurer—Josiah Frink.
Judge of Probate—J. B. Tuttle.
Prosecuting Attorney—Obed Smith.
County Clerk—Fulton Bundy.
Register of Deeds—A. Hopper.
Circuit Court Commissioner—Truman P. Tucker.
County Surveyor—P. M. Johnson.
Coroners—J. W. Glennie and L. V. Vincent.
ALPENA TOWNSHIP OFFICERS, 1869.
Supervisor—James K. Lockwood.
Township Clerk—Abram Hopper.
Township Treasurer—A. L. Power.
Justice of the Peace—J. A. Case.
Highway Commissioner—Thomas Murray.
School Inspector—F. N. Barlow.
Constables—Timothy Crowley and Wm. Andrews.
ALPENA TOWNSHIP OFFICERS, 1870.
Supervisor—Charles W. Richardson. Township Clerk—Abram Hopper. Township Treasurer—Albert L. Power. Justice of the Peace—Ira Stout. Highway Commissioner —Daniel Carter. School Inspector—Andrew W. Comstock. Constables—William E. Rice, Fulton Bundy, E. K. Potter and Orin Erskine.
Overseers of Highways—First district, George Richardson; third district, Albert Merrill; fourth district, Geo. C. Herron; fifth district, James O. Carr.
ALPENA COUNTY OFFICERS, 1869 AND 1870.
County Treasurer—-Abram Hopper.
Judge of Probate—David Plough.
Prosecuting Attorney—Obed Smith.
County Clerk—F. Bundy.
Register of Deeds—James A. Case.
Circuit Court Commissioner—Obed Smith.
County Surveyor—John Lyman.
Coroners—James J. Potter and Isaac Wilson.
OSSINEKE TOWNSHIP OFFICERS, 1868.
Supervisor—David D. Oliver.
Township Treasurer—George J. Robinson.
Township Clerk—Fayette Jones.
Justices of the Peace—Charles E. Blauchard aud Dougald Me Arthur.
Highway Commissioners—David Oliver and Amasa Chaffee.
Constables—John Ellsworth and Amasa Chaffee.
School Inspectors—-David D. Oliver and R. E. Gallup.
OSSINEKE TOWNSHIP OFFICERS, 1869,
Supervisor—David D. Oliver.
Township Treasurer—George B. Melville.
Township Clerk—Reuben E. Gallup.
Highway Commissioners—William Cole, Joseph Reed and John Riddle.
Justices of the Peace—Joseph H. Parsons, Samuel Ellsworth aud Robert B. Oliver.
OSSINEKE TOWNSHIP OFFICERS, 1870.
Supervisor—George J. Robinson.
Township Treasurer—John Ellsworth.
Township Clerk—Alonzo Randall.
Highway Commissioners—A. M. Chaffee, Jeremiah Patnod and Duncan McKillop.
Justices of the Peace—Samuel Ellsworth. Duncan McKillop, Jeremiah Patnod and William Shortland.
School Inspectors—G. J. Robinson and D. McKillop.
Constables—J. J. McFall, James Powers and William Johnson.
ALPENA COUNTY OFFICERS, 1871 AND 1872.
County Clerk—Seth L. Carpenter.
County Treasurer—Abram Hopper.
Prosecuting Aitorney—J. B. Tuttle.
Register of Deeds—Alex. McDonald.
Circuit Court Commissioner—J. H. Stevens.
County Surveyer—T. McGinn.
Coroners—D. Carter and . Simons.
ALPENA COUNTY OFFICERS, 1873 AND 1874.
Sheriff—Thomas B. Johnston.
County Treasurer—A. Hopper.
County Clerk—Chas. N. Cornel?.
Prosecuting Attorney—V. C. Burnham.
County Surveyor—Thomas White.
Register of Deeds—A. McDonald,
Circuit Court Commissioner—John H- Stevens.
ALPENA COUNTY OFFICERS, 1875 AND 1876.
Sheriff—Thomas B. Johnston.
County Treasurer—Abram Hopper.
County Clerk—Charles N. Cornell.
Register of Deeds—Alex. McDonald.
Prosecuting Attorney—V. C. Burnham,
County Surveyor—Thomas White.
Circuit Court Commissioner—John H. Stevens.
ALPENA TOWNSHIP OFFICERS, 1876.
At the spring election, seventy-six votes were cast in this township.
Supervisor—James A. Case.
Township Clerk—Conrad Wessel.
Township Treasurer—Henry L. Oppenborn.
Highway Commissioner—Patrick Egan.
Justices of the Peace—Richard Naylor, James B. White, William Lumsden and William Pulford.
School Inspector—James Glennie.
Constables—Walter Gavagan, Jeremiah Sears, Chas. Cook and Chas. Gierke.
LONG RAPIDS ‘TOWNSHIP OFFICERS, 1876.
At the spring election, this township cast one hundred votes; nearly three times as many as was cast in the county of Alpena and all her territory in 1858.
Township Clerk—Joseph Cavanagh.
Township Treasurer—Darwin J. Soper.
Justices of the Peace—H. Hodgins, W. W. Hicks, James O. Carr and A. AV. McFarland.
Commissioner of Highways—David McNeil.
School Inspector—Albert Milton.
Constables—Charles Keating, John McMillen and John Vance.
WILSON TOWNSHIP OFFICERS, 1S7C.
This township cast sixty votes. at the spring election,
Supervisor—Noble M. Brackinreed.
Township Clerk—Pardon BuelL
Townsbip Treasurer—John McSorley.
Justices of the Peace—J. McSorley, George M. Green. Jas. Kimball and George C. Herron.
Highway Commissioner—Richard M. Cornell.
School Inspector—X. M. Brackinreed.
Constables—Thomas Smith, Robert McLeod, Joseph Wviuan and Daniel F. Carr.
OS8INEKE TOWNSHIP OFFICERS, 1876.
Snpervisor—Israel G. Sanborn.
Township Clerk—Chris Rimer.
Justices of the Peace—Israel G. Sanborn, David Oliver, Jas. Lewis and John Force.
Highway Commissioner—John E. Sanborn.
School Inspector—Martin Benjamin.
Constables—Andrew Poths, James Lenox, John P. Profrock and Thomas Sampson.
GEORGE N. FLETCHER – ONE OF THE FIRST TO ENGAGE IN THE LUMBER BUSINESS, AND WHO WAS CHIEFLY INSTRUMENTAL IN THE RAPID GROWTH OF ALPENA, MICHIGAN.
The “Jay House,” built in the fall of 1844, as mentioned in Chapter I, was built near the corner of River and First Streets.
In the fall of 1846, a party of four families of French halfbreeds, came from Mackinaw to the mouth of Thunder Bay river, for the purpose of hunting and trapping.
They occupied the “Jay House,” and built two others.
Of course, they could not be called settlers, for they came there only to spend the winter, and went away again in the spring.
Walter Scott came to Thunder Bay River in 1851, for the purpose of fishing and trading with the Indians. He moved away in 1857, and so did not become a settler.
The first settler that came to Fremont, was Daniel Carter, who moved his family to Thunder Bay river in the fall of 1856.
He came in the interest of G. N. Fletcher, and was accompanied by a few men, who came to work during the winter.
Mr. Carter’s family consisted of wife and daughter, and were the first resident ladies of Fremont.
Mr. Carter and men chopped a narrow strip of timber, on both sides of the river, and cut the timber in Thunder Bay River, nearly up to the South Branch, with a view of clearing it for running logs.
This was the first work done, looking toward the improvement of the place.
When A. F. Fletcher came to Fremont, in 1857, a number of mechanics came with him.
He brought lumber for building a store and boarding house, and under date of August 30th, he writes to G. N. Fletcher, Esq., and says: “I arrived safely here Wednesday noon, and found Mr. Carter at home.
He had been to Duncan, had not commenced the boarding house, but we will have it up day after to-morrow.
I am building that and the store a little stronger than you spoke of, as Dan. says it would not last through the winter, if I did not.
We cannot tell where the store ought to be, but will get it as near as possible.”
At this time only a temporary survey of the town had been made, and for this reason, it was impossible to know where to place the building.
In September of the same year, John McNevins came to Fremont with some men, to make some timber for a mill dam, to be erected across Thunder Bay river; but the work was soon after discontinued, on account of the unparalleled depression in financial matters.
It may be well to remark, that the year that Alpena county was organized and assumed a place among the sister counties of the State, was remarkable as being the most depressing year, financially, that this country ever saw; business being good in 1856, when placed in contrast with 1857.
The following letter, written by John Oldfield, Esq., to George N. Fletcher, and dated Dunville, Ontario, Oct. 14th, 1857, gives a plain and concise statement of financial affairs at that time; it says:
“Your favor of 8th instant, in relation to Thunder Bay affairs, came to hand last evening. I immediately saw Mr. Minor, on the subject, who is decidedly of the opinion, as well as myself, that it will be imprudent to attempt to go on with the work, unless, indeed, that you are prepared to furnish the means yourself. As far as I am concerned, I cannot furnish one dollar towards it; indeed, there is such a general depression in all financial matters here, that I cannot raise money enough to run my mill, and intend shutting down. All business seems completely paralyzed; nobody pays, nor can pay, and I find myself with a large amount of bills receivable, some past due, and others falling due at an early date, but no money, and no prospects of getting it. Even clear lumber, in Albany, will not bring the cash. With all these depressing circumstances staring us in the face, Mr. Minor and myself can see no other way but to stop the work, and, consequently, do not think it worth going up to lay any of the piers this fall, as you suggest. “Yours truly,
“Signed, J. OLDFIELD.”
Mr. Fletcher, owning a half interest in the property, and not being so much affected by the hard times as his co-partners, for the reason that he had sold his mill property at St. Clair, prior to the panic, was disposed to go on with the work, hut the other proprietors not furnishing means, the company’s work ceased.
Mr. Fletcher continued to make improvements in his own interests, and it was very fortunate for the people of Alpena County, and its organization, that he was able and willing to do so.
In the fall of 1857, Mr. G. N. Fletcher, in company with other parties, started a store in Fremont, under the firm name “Miller, Fletcher & Co.”
They kept a general assortment of such goods as are wanted in a new, isolated place, even whiskey and tobacco, and these articles Air. Miller was very much opposed to handling.
The work on the mill dam, for the Thunder Bay Dam Co., as it was called, was discontinued; but Mr. Fletcher continued to give employment to most of the people of Fremont, on his own account, and built a dock, and a large building on the corner of Second and Water streets, and known in 1867 as the “Myers Block.”
It should have been known as the “Miller Block” for he had the care of building it, and occupied it for many years.
It will be referred to in the rest of this work as the “Myers Block.”
All the proprietors, except G. N. Fletcher, having business relations other than at Fremont, were much embarrassed by the unprecedented hard times that shook many off their feet, financially, did but little for the improvement of Alpena, during 185T and the first half of 1858.
In the fall of 1858, men began to multiply in Alpena, “and sons and daughters were born unto them.”
Financially, matters having improved a little, Messrs. Lockwood, Minor and Fletcher resolved to go on with the work at Fremont.
In pursuance of this resolution, the schooner J. S. Minor came to Fremont, having on board about thirty persons, among whom were Messrs. E. K. Potter, Abram Hopper, W. Stevens, Moses Bingham and Thomas Murray.
Alexander Archibald and family and Samuel Boggs and family were among the number.
Many of those who came were mechanics.
Messrs. Archibald and Murray came for the purpose of lumbering for the firm of Lockwood & Minor, having a contract to cut, haul and run onto the rapids, one million feet of logs, more or less, at one dollar and seventy-five cents per thousand feet, being the first contract by the proprietors of Fremont, for cutting logs on Thunder Bay river.
Mr. Archibald, after building a frame house for his family, near the corner of Second and River streets north, (for buildings in Fremont at this time were few, and not far from the woods,) commenced to cut his supply road to the lumber woods, this being the first road made in the county that exceeded a mile in length.
He made this road nearly on the same line that the so called Section Line Road is now on, until he reached section 13, in town 31 north, of range 6 east, and thence northwest to Thunder Bay River, in section 2, of the same town and range.
Men’s wages at this time were from $11 to $16 per month, and they agreed to stay and run the logs in the spring.
The very low price for putting in the logs, and the wages of the men, show that there was not much “boom” to business at that date.
Mr. Edward K. Potter scaled and marked the logs for this camp this winter, and to him must be accorded the honor of scaling the first log on Thunder Bay River, not barring the honor due the scaler who scaled in the camp of Alvin Cole during the same winter.
It is claimed by William Boulton, in his History of Alpena, that Mr. E. K. Potter measured the first cargo of lumber “that left Alpena, and that the schooner Meridian, Capt. Flood, carried the first cargo of lumber from Alpena.
” If he had, added the word “City,” he would have been correct.
In writing a history of the county, nice distinctions should be observed, between the whole county, and a certain locality, where both have the same name.
While it would be true that Mr. Potter measured the first cargo of lumber that left Alpena city, and that the schooner Meridian, Capt. Flood, carried the first cargo of lumber from the city of Alpena, yet it would not be true in regard to the county of Alpena, for the writer measured a cargo of lumber, and shipped it on his schooner, the Marshall Ney, John W. Paxton, Captain, before the county had an organization.
In December, 1858, Messrs. John Cole and Alvin Cole arrived in Fremont, accompanied by a large number of men.
Alvin Cole came for the purpose of lumbering for George N. Fletcher, having taken a contract of him, similar to the one taken by Messrs. Archibald and Murray.
The logs were to be cut in the same vicinity, and banked near each other in the river.
John Cole was a millright, and came to Fremont for the purpose of building two large sawmills, to be run by water power.
One was to be erected on the east side of Thunder Bay River, for George N. Fletcher, and the other on the west side, for the firm of Lockwood & Minor.
The timber was all made, hauled and framed for the mill, during the winter and spring.
The mill dam was not built, according to expectations, on account of some disappointment or disagreement among the proprietors.
The work of building the two sawmills was suspended, for the reason that they had no dam for water, and the two mill frames were piled away to await further consideration and development.
The timber for the Fletcher mill was burned in 1860, in a sweeping fire that burned over a large district around Alpena, and came very near burning what there was of the town.
Although this was considered a great loss to Mr. Fletcher at the time, yet it was a blessing in disguise.
It saved his timber until it was more valuable, and relieved him of the embarrassing perplexity that attended milling at that time, in Alpena, and in which his co-partners were soon after engaged; and while their business did more to build up the village, it put less money into their pockets.
The mill frame made for Lockwood & Minor was not put up for several years.
The survey of the village of Fremont, by E. A. Breakenridge, was only a temporary one, without map or record, and was made for the purpose mentioned in Chapter III.
As by law, it was imperative that a survey must be made of the village, and a map of the same be placed on record in the Register’s office, with a conveyance to the public of the right of way of the streets of the same, before lots could be legally sold, the proprietors were resolved to have the survey made and recorded.
In April, 1858, the writer was engaged by Messrs. Fletcher, Lockwood and Oldfield, to make the survey, under their supervision, all of them being in Fremont at the time, Mr. Oldfield being particularly anxious to have a thorough survey made.
The writer then organized his party for the work, and after ascertaining the variation of the needle, and administered the oath to his chain-bearers, proceeded to make the survey, as follows: Commencing at the southeast corner of section 22, thence north nine and one-half degrees east, 3.78 chains, to a point where he planted a post.
From this post he projected a line bearing north, fifty-one degrees east, and south, fifty-one degrees west, for a base line, and named it First Street.
He then projected another line, bearing north, thirty-nine degrees west, and south, thirty-nine degrees east, from the post for a meridian line, and called, it River street.
On this meridian line, south to the bay, posts were set at proper distances, and at all proper places between this line and the river. On this meridian, northward to Thunder Bay River, posts were placed at proper distances.
Posts were set at all proper places between this line and the river, and the river was meandered up to the section line between sections 21 and 22.
The base line was carried east, across the river, to a point designated by one of the proprietors, and another post was planted, and another meridian line projected, and named Fletcher street.
On this meridian line, south thirty-nine degrees east, to the bay, posts were set at proper distances, between this line and the river.
The meridian line was also extended north, thirty-nine degrees west, from the said post, to Beech Street, and posts set at proper distances on this line, and between it and the river.
Then Beech Street was run north, fifty-one degrees east, to Oldfield Street, and thence on Oldfield Street to Bridge Street, and posts set on these streets at proper distances; thence north, fifty-one degrees east, on Bridge street, to Miller street, and thence north, thirty-nine degrees west on Miller street to Mackinaw street, and posts were set at proper places.
Soon after the field work was completed, the writer made a map of his work, and presented it to J. K. Lockwood, who approved of it, and went with the writer to Mortimer L. Smith, in Detroit, who made two copies on cloth, one for Mr. Lockwood and one for the writer, and which copy the writer has yet in his possession.
Mr. Fletcher was not satisfied with the survey, for the reason that some of the streets reached the river, and that the meridian, on both sides of the river, was too close to it for mill purposes.
The proprietors, after making many important alterations, bad the mutilated and changed map of Oliver’s survey lithographed and put upon the records, ostensibly as the survey of E. A. Breakenridge.
There is no acknowledged survey of the city on record, nor is there any original field notes on record.
E. A. Breakenridge is credited with the survey, and Oliver with the mistakes, if any are found.
The west square, belonging to the county, was named Victoria Square, in respect to the proprietors who resided in the Queen’s Dominion; and the east square was called Jessie Square, Jessie being the name of the wife of General Fremont, after whom the village was named.
One half of the proprietors then resided in Canada, and hired their help there; and the other half resided in Michigan, and per sequence the town and county received their immigration from both places.
They were hardy, industrious and enterprising people, who came for the purpose of making for themselves homes, and to build up communities and industries for themselves and their children; and to learn how well they have done their task, you have only to look over Alpena county in 1876.
In January, 1859, provisions began to be very scarce in Fremont and in the lumber camps, and by the last of February; many people were reduced to whitefish and bread.
It was utterly impossible to get anything from Saginaw, by land, and the writer having people at his place (Ossineke,) to care for, could render but little assistance.
The people bore their privations with remarkable fortitude.
All remained at their work, as though they had plenty, until in March, when they were relieved by the appearance of Mr. Lock wood’s schooner, the J. S. Minor.
This visit from “General Scarcity” was repeated for several years, but only once succeeded in driving any one away.
This shortage of provisions was occasioned, not so much by the inability or unwillingness of the proprietors to furnish the supplies, as by the incalculable increase of population, outside of those employed by the proprietors.
Every year the supplies were largely increased, but the increase of consumers was still in advance of the supplies, and it was not until outside parties began to bring in provisions that the defect was remedied.
The following letter, from E. K. Potter to the writer, and dated June 2nd, 1876, with liberty to use, graphically and humorously characterizes the events at that time. He says:
“In the fall of 1858, Lockwood & Minor inaugurated the first lumber operations on the Thunder Bay River.
Contracts were let to Archibald and Murray, and Alvin Cole.
It being something new to provide a supply of everything for six months, in a country as new and undeveloped as this was, it is not to be wondered at that the supplies run short long before spring, and by the first of February, 1859, that -General Scarcity,’ you spoke of, was here in full dress uniform.
I was in the lumber camp that winter, and with sorrow beheld the last piece of pork hung up by a string, over the center of a rude table, as a reminder of happy by-gone days of peace and plenty.
Mr. Whitefish stepped in and took the place of honor which had been occupied by Hog, and held the balance of power from that time until the 16th of March. Mr. J. K. Lockwood being informed of our sad state, had his good schooner, the J. S. Minor, fitted out and started for Alpena, or Fremont, as it was then called at that time, with pork, beef, sugar, etc., and she arrived as above stated, on the 16th of March, and to all appearances, it was just as cold and winter-like as at any time during the winter.
We all felt rejoiced to hear the news in camp, that the Minor had arrived with provisions, and we all sung Mr. Lockwood’s praise, as many a poor man and his family have had occasion to do since; and I will here say to Mr. Lockwood, more than to any other man, belongs the credit of starting and keeping in motion the then small lumbering operations which gave employment to the few who were here, and thus securing the necessaries of life until better times should change the then discouraging situation of affairs, it being right after the dreadful panic of 1857, which will be remembered by all, as the hardest times this country had seen for fifty years.
Messrs. Lockwood & Minor built the so-called -Island Mill,’ in 1860, which was the principal means of support for this then small and poor village, for three or four years. One pair of horses did the log hauling for the mill in the summer, and the lumber woods was the present site of Alpena. Down timber and burnt timber, and in fact everything that would make a piece 6×6, was hauled to the little mill, and squared, and the block ends cut off, and shipped to Cleveland, and pork, flour, tea, sugar, etc., brought back in return, and thus, from year to year, the ‘log’ was kept rolling, until to-day we have, from this small beginning, which has been so imperfectly described, a city of nearly, if not quite, five thousand inhabitants, an honor to the founders, who, while striving to advance its interests and that of its inhabitants, in all proper ways, have not, by selfishness, grown rich in this world’s goods, but they have the satisfaction of knowing that they helped their fellow man.
“Yours respectfully, “Signed, E. K. POTTER.”
The writer would here suggest, that those who have come to Alpena, of later date, who cannot do a day’s work for the city or county, or even for the celebration of the “Glorious Fourth,” without being paid for it; who came here after a town was made for them, by the old pioneers, and when the coffers of the treasury were well filled; who never underwent any hardships or expense for the city or county, should well remember, that many privations had to be endured, and many days’ labor performed for the city and county, without pay, by the proprietors and first settlers, ere a town was built up for their reception; and the men who were wise, prudent and persevering enough to build up and govern the county, until it had grown to opulence and influence, should be allowed at least a complimentary voice in making the laws, and not considered over-selfish if they wish to have a “hand share” in the spoils, when any are had.
Mr. Fletcher and the firm of Lockwood & Minor having failed to build the two water mills referred to, were anxious to have their logs manufactured into lumber, and gave sufficient inducement to Messrs. Obed Smith and Harman Chamberlain, of St. Clair county, to determine them to erect a steam sawmill at Fremont; and in the spring of 1859, they commenced the work of building the first steam sawmill in Alpena county.
They pushed forward the work with vigor, and in August or September of the same year they sawed the first boards. This was an important, and an encouraging event.
All before had been failure, disappointment and expense, without any adequate returns.
Now the mill would give employment to the people, and the proceeds would furnish the means to purchase the necessaries of life.
The first work done by this mill, was to cut the logs belonging to the firm of Lockwood & Minor.
This occupied the balance of the season of 1859, and a part of 1860.
In the summer of 1859, Mr. J. K. Bingham came to Fremont. He brought with him, what was then considered a large stock of merchandise.
He landed his goods on the north side of the river, (the reason will be given in the chapter on temperance,) and proceeded at once to erect a store, on Dock street; and in a few weeks a second store was added to the village.
He then commenced the erection of a public house, near his store, on Dock Street, and sometime in September, the first hotel in Fremont was finished and opened to the public.
In the summer of 1860, John Trowbridge & Bros. leased the Smith & Chamberlain mill.
They also purchased Mr. Fletcher’s logs, as they were then situated in the river.
They thought they could get better sawyers in the State of Pennsylvania, than they could in Michigan, and there they engaged Mr. George Bundy, to come with a crew of men, and saw their lumber.
When Mr. Bundy came with his men, to saw the logs, behold, the logs were all fast on the “Big Rapids” and nothing less than a big flood would get them off.
Trowbridge & Bros. then procured a charter from the Board of Supervisors, to build a dam across Thunder Bay River, in section 1, in township 31 north, of range 7 east, for the purposes of flooding and manufacturing.
Then they proceeded to make the dam, and in September or October it was ready for the first flood.
A few of the logs reached the mill that fall, and the balance in the spring, and were sawed during the season of 1861.
All the lumber sawed from these logs, was made into one raft, and towed to Chicago.
It reached that place without much, if any, injury, and was the first and last raft of sawed lumber taken from Thunder Bay River.
At this time, a bitter feeling existed between John Trowbridge & Bros. and the proprietors of Fremont, growing out of an affair that took place in 1858 and 1859.
In Thunder Bay River was a middle ground, covered with water, except in low stages of the river.
The Trowbridge Bros. claimed that this middle ground was an island, unsurveyed, and consequently belonged to the United States.
The proprietors of Fremont claimed that it was a middle ground, and a part of the river, and the right to it was purchased with the adjacent lands.
On this middle ground, the Trowbridge Bros. built a board shanty, to hold it by pre-emption, and the proprietors of Fremont, or some of their representatives, pulled it down.
This was repeated two or three times, and the Trowbridge Bros., finding they could not hold it in that way, resolved to have the disputed “middle ground” surveyed by a United States Deputy Surveyor, as an island.
In order to do this, it was necessary to bring into this survey, certain other unsurveyed islands in Thunder Bay and vicinity. These islands the writer, a short time prior to this, had been authorized by the Surveyor General to survey.
By false representations, the order to the writer to survey the islands, was revoked by the Surveyor General, and a Deputy Surveyor sent on to make the survey.
After the surveyor’s report was sent to Washington, and a strong remonstrance was sent from the proprietors of Fremont, the writer sent a detailed account of the whole transaction to the Surveyor General, and nothing since has been heard from the survey, and the islands remain as they then were, and the proprietors of Fremont were victorious.
In 1860, Lockwood & Minor, finding the Smith & Chamberlain mill was in the hands of John Trowbridge & Bros., and operated by them, foreign to the interests of Fremont, resolved upon building a steam sawmill on the disputed -middle ground.”
They commenced the work accordingly sometime in July, and pushed it with such vigor, that in six weeks from the time they struck the first blow, they were cutting lumber with one six foot circular saw.
This was called the “Island Mill”, because ii was situated upon the disputed island.
The importance of this mill is given in Mr. Potter’s letter, to which the reader is referred.
Sometime in 1859. Mr. Hilliard Broadwell came to Fremont.
He came for the purpose of locating a site for a water mill.
He was very conservative in his principles, from in his own opinions, and familiar with water sawmills in the “old way,” and nothing would do him but a water sawmill.
He selected a site on the long rapids, and in the spring of 1860, commenced to erect a mill dam across Thunder Bay river, on section 7. in township 31 north, of range 8 east, which was finished in July or August of the same season.
He then erected a sawmill, on the east bank of the river, having two upright sashes, carrying two saws each.
The lumber was taken to Trowbridge Point, on a tram railway, and shipped.
This mill was operated a few years by Mr. Broadwell, but was found to be too primitive to be profitable, or compete with later improvements in milling, and was abandoned, and is now one of the old things of Alpena County.
A large portion of the improvements made in 1861, consisted in finishing up buildings, clearing the ground around them, making fences, etc.
Some short sidewalks were made this year.
From 1858 to 1862, a number of dwellings had been erected, and among the most noted were: One by J. S. Irwin, a cottage, between River and Minor streets, and then “way up in the woods”; one built by A. F. Fletcher, on the corner of Water and Second streets, a two story building, and for a long time the best dwelling in the village.
It was occupied for a time, in 1861 and 1862, by Mr. Leroy Bundy, as a hotel, for the best visitors to Alpena.
Mr. Bundy was Postmaster for a short time, and was Deputy County Clerk in 1861 and 1862.
John Cole built a large dwelling near the corner of Water and First streets, and Samuel Boggs built a cottage on River and Second streets.
John W. Glennie built a two story dwelling on the corner of Chisholm and First streets; and William E. Jones built a cottage on the corner of First and River streets.
David Plough built a cottage on First and River streets; Martin Minton, a cottage on the northeast corner of River and Second streets; and on the opposite corner Oliver T. B. Williams erected a large dwelling, which was destroyed by fire before it was entirely finished.
Daniel Carter lived on Water Street until 1859 or 1860, when he erected a large dwelling on Chisholm Street, and moved into it, from Water Street, the same year.
At his house on Water Street, was held the first election, the first session of the Board of Supervisors, the first session of a court.
It was made the first post office, the first boarding house, and for a long time the hospital, where all the sick and wounded, who had no home in the village, were taken and cared for by Mrs. Carter, who was the only physician in the county, and she did good service, as many have good reason to remember.
In 1862, Lockwood & Minor commenced to build another steam sawmill, on the east side of River street, between Sixth and Seventh streets.
They had got the frame up, when the fire from the woods, which was near, spread into and through where the town now is,—1876,—by a strong wind, burning the mill frame, together with a number of dwellings, and destroying a large quantity of rubbish.
This so happened on the fourth day of July, and admonished the people, more than an oration, to clear away the timber around their dwellings.
The mill frame was soon replaced, and in October the mill was completed, running one six-feet circular and a siding mill.
This was known as the “Home Mill.”
In 1861, Samuel E. Hitchcock, familiarly known among his friends as “The Deacon,” came with his family to reside in Fremont; and in 1862, erected a fine dwelling on Chisholm Street, near the bay.
He had his lands surveyed, and made them an addition to the village of Fremont.
In pursuance of an agreement with the Board of Supervisors, “The Deacon,” in 1863, erected a large and commodious building, on the corner of Washington avenue and Chisholm street, and finished it, for county offices, and a room for holding the courts; and also for holding church and Sabbath school.
It was known as “The Deacon’s Court House.”
As soon as it was finished, and accepted by the Board of Supervisors, a lease was made for five years, and longer if the county of Alpena desired, with a provision that the court room might be used on the Sabbath, for the purpose of holding church and Sabbath school.
The year 1863 was not remarkable for the number of new buildings erected, but much improvements were made in finishing and enlarging those already erected, in clearing grounds, making fences, and improving the streets with ditches, sawdust and sidewalks; so that, in 1864, the little village began to assume the appearance of civilization.
The year 1864 is remarkable in the history of Alpena county, as the one from which it can date the commencement of its rapid growth and prosperity.
“General Scarcity” was superseded by “General Plenty,” and has held command ever since.
Although a fierce and bloody war had been and was then raging in the southern States, and General Grant was fighting his way from the Rapidan to Richmond, and General Sherman was advancing step by step from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and a heavy draft, for soldiers and revenue, had been made on the northern States, yet they were prosperous in their business relations, and rapidly increasing in material wealth.
This was particularly so with Alpena.
Greenbacks were first issued in 1862, and in 1864 began to be frequently seen in Alpena.
The supply of pitch and tar from the southern States, and articles manufactured there, being cut off by the blockade, brought Norway pine into demand, and tar and turpentine reached fabulous prices.
This brought a large number of people to Alpena, to look for Norway pine to manufacture into timber and lumber, and the Norway pine stumps to manufacture into tar and turpentine.
Lester, Long & Co. built a steam sawmill, on the east side of River street, between Fifth and Sixth streets.
This mill run one large circular saw and lath mill—capacity about two million feet of lumber and one million pieces of lath, and employed about twenty men.
They also built a boarding house near the mill.
This year, the “Home Mill,” belonging to Lockwood & Minor, was destroyed by fire, involving a heavy loss to them.
It was re-built the same season, and now—1876—belongs to Bewick, Comstock & Co.
This rear—1864—the Thunder Bay Dam Company’s dam was finished and a large water mill built, on the east side of the river, by John Oldfield.
It ran one large circular saw, one muley, with edgers, slab saws and lath machines.
It employed about forty men.
Mr. Oldfield built, in connection with his mill, a large boarding house, barn, and a few small dwellings.
Mr. Bowen built a storehouse and dock, on the south side of Dock Street.
Messrs. Doer &. Fairchild erected a manufactory for making tar and turpentine from Norway pine stomps and many hundreds of these were made into tar, turpentine and charcoal.
They sold their interest to Martin Minton, who, in 1365, built another factory, at Ossineke.
This was a lucrative business as long as the war lasted, but when the war ended, prices of tar and turpentine soon dropped so low that there was no profit to the manufacturer, and it ceased to be an industry in Alpena County.
This year—1864—the first bridge was built across Thunder Bay river. (For particulars see chapter on roads.)
In 1865, William Jenney and Elisha Harrington built a large steam sawmill, on the east side of River street, and north of Fourth street.
This was, when erected, and is, in 1876, the largest mill in Alpena.
They run one gang, one muley saw, and two large circular saws, with lath machines, edgers, slab saws, etc.
They also erected, near their mill, a large boarding house, and store, and a few dwellings.
This property changed hands, and in 1876 belonged to Hilliard, Churchill & Co.
In 1863, the Smith & Chamberlain mill was destroyed by fire, which was strongly suspected to have been the work of an incendiary.
This year—1865—it was re-built, on the site of the burned one.
It run one gang, one muley saw, one large circular saw, and lath mill.
Has a capacity to cut about six million feet of lumber, and about one and a half million pieces of lath per season.
The property, in 1876, belongs to Folkerts & Butterfield.
The First Congregational Society of Alpena, commenced this year—1865—the erection of a large and beautiful church, on the north side of Second Street.
It is a wooden structure, and cost about $6,000—finished in 1868—and is, in 1876, the largest and best church in the city.
This year— 1865—two large hotels were being built; one on the corner of Fletcher and Dock streets, by J. R. Beach, and called the Union Star Hotel, and the other on the west side of Chisholm street, by Julius Potvin, and known as the Alpena House.
They were finished in a style to accommodate the traveling public, and were expected to supply a need long felt by the citizens of the village.
In 1866, E. P. Campbell & Co., built what is known as the Campbell & Potter mill.
It is located one and a half miles due west from the mouth of Thunder Bay river, and on its most southern bend.
A tram railway was made from the mill to the bay, a little over a mile in length.
A large and commodious dock was built out in the bay, for the purpose of piling and shipping lumber, and landing goods.
The mill run one muley saw and two large circular saws, and a lath mill—had a capacity to cut six million feet of lumber, and a million and a half pieces of lath per season.
At or about this time, G. S. Lester, under the firm name of C. Thompson & Co., erected a large shingle mill, a short distance north and east of the Campbell & Potter mill, using the tram road and dock of E. P. Campbell & Co. for shipping purposes.
It run a rotary machine and one Chicago, and had a capacity to cut about ten million shingles during the season. These very important improvements were soon followed by others, as a matter of necessity.
The two mills would give employment to about fifty men, who must board near their work; and being separated then from Alpena, by a mile and a half of a dense tamarack swamp, it became necessary to erect suitable buildings for their accommodation; and a cluster of dwellings and other buildings were soon erected near the mills, and this cluster of buildings was known as Campbellville.
The next necessity that presented itself, was a road on the section line, and direct between the two places; and the first step to be taken in that direction, was to drain the swamps.
Two large ditches were made, one near and parallel to the tramway, and the other near and parallel with the section line, to the bay.
These ditches drained a large portion of the surface water, and enabled the people to open a road for pedestrians, but it was some time before teams could travel over it, during the spring and fall.
This year—1866—two shingle mills were built; one on the north side of the river, near the bay, by Thomas Robinson, who introduced the first planing machine into Alpena.
This was a great desideratum.
Prior to this, all lumber had to be dressed by hand, or brought from Detroit, and as mechanics’ wages were from three to five dollars per day, and board, it made building very expensive.
The other shingle mill was built by Hopper & Davis, on the north side of the river, and west of Chisholm Street.
Both of these were burned, the former in June, 1867, and the latter is unknown to the writer.
L. M. Mason & Co. completed the water mill, commenced by Lockwood & Minor in 1858, the frame of which was made at that time, by John Cole.
This mill is located on the west side of the dam, and runs one muley saw, two shingle machines, and a lath mill.
Although Alpena had as few crimes to punish, perhaps, as any county in the State, of its age and population, yet it was necessary that it should have a place where disorderly persons could go and be taken care of.
In 1864 or 1865, the Board of Supervisors made a contract for clearing Jessie Square, and erecting a suitable building for a jail.
It was built on Chisholm Street, and made of two-inch plank, doubled, and fastened together with spikes driven close together.
It had three or four cells, well made, and strong; two light rooms for prisoners, and ample rooms for turnkey and family. Attached to this was a woodshed and stable.
It was painted the Scotchman’s “muckle dun” color, and made a very unimposing appearance.
In 1866, three church edifices were in construction—Catholic, on Chisholm Street; Congregational, on Second Street, and Episcopal, on Washington Avenue.
These will be noticed in another chapter.
The increase of population, the erection of dwellings, public buildings and places for doing business, depended largely on the enlargement of the improvements made for the manufacture of lumber, and followed them as rapidly as could be expected.
Most of the buildings were substantial structures, either as business places or dwellings; and many of the residences were spacious, tastefully made and commodious.
At this time, a large portion of the business of the village was transacted on Water Street, and the leading mercantile firms were as follows: Benjamin C. Hardwick, on Water Street, dealer in dry goods, groceries, clothing, boots and shoes, crockery, hardware, etc. L. M. Mason & Co., merchants and lumber dealers; store on Water Street; miscellaneous merchandise.
A W. Comstock & Co., on Second Street, near the bridge, carried a fine assortment of miscellaneous goods.
A F. Fletcher & Co., on Water Street, dry goods, ready-made clothing, boots, shoes, etc. Mason, Doty, Luce & Co., lumbermen and merchants; store on Fletcher street; carried a large assortment of miscellaneous merchandise.
Hopper, Davis & Co., dealers in dry goods, groceries, clocks, jewelry, etc., on the west side of Water Street.
Mason, Lester & Co., lumbermen and merchants; store on Water Street; a large assortment of miscellaneous merchandise.
Bolton & McRae, dealers in choice groceries, provisions and liquors, on the corner of Dock and Fletcher streets.
William P. Maiden, the first physician and surgeon in Alpena, opened the first drug store, on the corner of Second and River streets, and carried a fine assortment of goods in his line.
F. N. Barlow and J. H. Noxen, under the firm name of Barlow & Noxen, introduced the first hardware store in Alpena, on the corner of Second and River streets; carried a fine assortment of hardware, iron, stores and tinware.
Martin H. Minton and John Creighton, manufacturers of and dealers in boots and shoes, and harness, on Second Street. Wm. West, shoemaker and dealer in boots and shoes, on Second Street.
H. Hyatt, this year—1866— built the first bakery, and commenced the business of baking. It was known as the Eagle Bakery.
He also erected a building and opened a meat market, near his bakery, on Water Street.
Although both of these improvements were much needed and duly appreciated by the people, yet the village was not large enough to make the business very lucrative.
The upper rooms of this building were nicely fitted up for a Masonic hall, and this was the first one occupied by the Masonic fraternity in Alpena.
At the door of this hall, many excellent citizens knocked and were admitted, and brought from darkness to light, and presented with the tools and instructions whereby they could work out the problems of life, on the square and compasses, -with temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice, and to travel on the level of time, toward that Divine Architect Who has made all things well, and Who uses neither trestle-board or patterns, and never made a mistake.
Besides the business places already mentioned, Alpena had a number of mechanical establishments, great and small, five public houses, only two of which could be honored with the name of “hotel.”
These were the Union Star Hotel, owned and kept by J. R. Beach, and the Alpena House, owned and kept by Julius Potvin.
Both houses were well managed, and were rivals for business; were favorites with the public, and a satisfaction to the business men of the place.
Alpena also possessed one or two billiard rooms, and a number of drinking places. We will now leave the village for a time, to look after the surroundings.
In 1862, John Trowbridge & Bros. lumbered a large quantity of short logs, and put them into the North Branch of Thunder Bay River; and the same season built a small shingle mill propelled by water, near the dam, in section 1, town 31 north, of range 8 east, and a boarding house near the same.
In 1863, the Trowbridge Bros. lumbered long timber, from section 16, town 31 north, of range 8 east, and in the autumn of the same year, undertook to raft it to market.
They proceeded to make cribs of the long timber, and load them with short logs.
When the raft was nearly finished, and which contained about two and a half million feet of lumber, a furious storm arose, which lasted long enough to tear the raft to pieces, and scatter the timber in every conceivable disorder along the shore of the bay.
They then built a small steam sawmill, near the first point east of Alpena, and about two miles distant, and subsequently known as Trowbridge Point.
Here they cleared a small piece of ground, made a dock, and erected a number of buildings.
They spent the season of 1864 in removing the logs from the bay shore to the mill, and sawing them, and which cost them nearly as much as the logs were worth, resulting in a large loss to the parties.
In 1865- and 1866, Trowbridge Bros. built a large water mill, at the dam, for sawing lumber, and made a tram railway from the mill to their dock at the point, and being about seven miles in length.
The mill run one muley saw, one six-foot circular saw, one shingle machine, and a lath machine.
Up to this time, little or no attention had been paid to tilling the soil.
Indeed, it was almost the universal belief that the land was too poor, and the climate too arctic to produce good crops, and that it never could be a good farming country.
In an article published in the Pioneer, in November, 1866, headed “Our Prospects,” and written over the signature of “Don Pedro,” is the following: “The question is this; you have all heard it, so do not look for anything new.
What is there to sustain Alpena when the lumbering is done with, but farming? and will that pay for the undertaking, or, in other words, reward the laborer?
Reader, this is a question which comes home to the bosom of all who have an interest in the futurity of Alpena; and it is one that should be agitated and pushed forward for one sole and particular reason: that is, the lumbering must surely come to an end and then there must be some other resource to fall back upon, or Alpena will then soon sink into decay, and the tenements now so rapidly going up, will become but stables for the wandering kind.
Fruits will not generally become a source from which we shall ever reap much benefit, although Prof. Winchell has even gone so far in his geological statements as to declare that the best fruit country in Michigan is from this latitude, extending to the Straits.
But let that be as it may, there is no one who will deny the fact that this is a first class grazing country.”
Then, after admonishing the people to raise hay and stock, he says: “All kinds of roots, so far as I can ascertain, grow in large quantities and of good quality.
The cereals do quite well, but not enough so to warrant a cultivation of them.
The writer has answered the same question many times, by stating what he now writes, that there is good farming lands enough in the county to support Alpena, when the pine timber is exhausted; but the question need not fret the questioner, for he will be in his grave long before lumbering ceases to be an industry of Alpena.
It was truly refreshing to many, at that time, to learn that the country was not totally barren, and absolutely worthless, when stripped of its pine timber, and that the timber would last longer than one decade; and hence the importance of Don Pedro’s discovery and announcement, “that this is a first class grazing country.”
The writer cultivated some land, at Devil River, and raised good crops; but this was attributed to its peculiar situation, the abundance of manure, and the extra care and cultivation.
In 1861 or 1862, Alexander Archibald and Thomas Murray purchased a piece of land, on the rapids, below Broadwell’s mill, of Elisha Taylor, of Detroit; built a house and barn, and moved his family there; cleared four or five acres of land, and sowed it with oats and grass.
They harvested a very good crop, and were satisfied with their experiment, and would have proceeded to make the first farm in the county, had not the property changed into the hands of Mr. Broadwell, with whom they were at enmity, and they abandoned the contract and the place.
Mr. Broadwell also cleared aud cultivated with success, a few acres near his mill.
In 1860 or 1861, a man known by the name of Antwine, cleared a few acres of land and tilled it, at the confluence of the North Branch with the main river, and about the same time, G. N, Fletcher selected a piece of land, in section 29 or 30, town 31 north, of range 7 east, and had from ten to fifteen acres cleared.
He sold or rented the same to John King, who moved on to it with his family, and stayed two or three years.
King raised large quantities of potatoes and bagas, and sold them by the quantity, or sleigh load.
This was the first produce raised in the county, and sold by the quantity.
This seems to be all that was done in the farming line, up to and including 1866.
In the future of this chapter, it will be impossible to follow in detail the rapid growth of the village; and I shall notice, only in a general way, those that do not introduce some new industry, or necessarily promote other improvements.
In 1867, the business men of Alpena began to feel their financial strength, and the want of larger facilities tor transacting their business.
Their harbor deficient, their roads bad, their docks, warehouses and business places too small.
A “Harbor Improvement Company” had been organized, and considerable work had been done in the way of building piers and dredging, yet the water on the bar was too shallow to admit large vessels and steamers, and the company resolved to extend the piers into twelve feet of water, during the winter of 1867 and 1868; and this was expected to remove the harbor difficulty.
The only roads, at this time, connecting Alpena “with the rest of the world,” during the winter season, was the East Saginaw and Au Sable River, and the Duncan, Alpena and Au Sa that purpose two sets of machinery were necessary.
Oliver not being able to finish the mill with a gang, and finding that the engine was able to run two large circular saws, put a circular in place of the gang, which did good work.
Subsequently, the property went into the hands of Cunningham, Robinson, Haines & Co.
They not knowing the design of Oliver, put into the mill the gang, and retained the two circular saws, thereby crowding the mill with saws, which the stream was not able to supply with logs.
The year 1868 gave a new impulse to mill building.
A young man of good business capacity, stern integrity, and persevering industry, came from the State of Ohio, to Alpena, and purchased a site for a steam sawmill, on the north side of the river, next to the bay.
Backed by a father who was a man of means, and who declared that “Frank was a good boy,” he commenced the erection of a mill, near the end of the north pier, and then out in the bay.
This was an undertaking of considerable magnitude, and was a very important improvement to Alpena.
It extended the limits of the town, and gave a better appearance to its front.
It would give permanency to that side of the pier, as the offal from the mill would soon fill in and about the pier, and make it solid and free from the attacks of the waves from the bay.
The pier would be an advantage to the mill, for with a very little modification and expense, it could be used as a dock for piling and shipping lumber.
This mill was commenced in 1868, and finished in 1869.
It ran one large circular saw and one muley saw, and a lath mill.
It had a capacity to cut about five million feet of lumber per season, and about eight hundred thousand pieces of lath.
It employed about twenty-four men, and is known as the Gilchrist mill.
A lumber and shingle mill combined was built this year—1868 —on the north side of the river, and named the Chamberlain mill, by A. P. Fletcher & Co.
It ran one large circular saw, which is capable of cutting two million feet of lumber per season, besides doing the necessary work for the shingle machine.
For the manufacture of shingles, it ran one Valentine doable cutter, one Evarts single cutter, and one hand machine.
It also ran a lath mill, edgers, slab saw and cant slasher.
Its capacity for shingles is about twelve millions per season, and five hundred thousand pieces of lath.
The manner of working tip the timber in this mill is very economical.
The logs are first taken to the circular saws, and all the upper qualities of limber taken off.
The balance of the logs are cut into cants of proper size for shingle bolts, and then passed to the cant slasher and cut into blocks for the shingle machines.
The only objection to cutting timber in this way is, that some of the shingles are cut with the grain of the wood, instead of being cut across it.
The mill employs about forty persons, men and boys.
The company also built a large dock for piling and shipping their products.
Bewick, Comstock & Co. commenced to build a shingle mill and dock, on the south side of the river, above Second Street.
It was not finished until 1869.
It runs one Valentine double cutter, and one Evarts single cutter.
The logs are cut into blocks with a drag saw.
The daily cut of this mill is about seventy thousand, and it gives employment-to about twenty persons.
A small shingle mill was built in 1867 or 1868, by Hagerty & Co. on the bay shore, near Campbell & Potter’s dock.
It run one single cutting machine, with a capacity to cut two or three million shingles per season, and employed eight persons.
A. H. Doty built a shingle mill, on the north side of the river.
It run two single cutting machines, with a capacity to cut about six million shingles per season, and gave employment to thirteen persons.
At what date this mill was built, the writer is not able to give.
In regard to the first shingle mill erected in Alpena, the writer has passed over until now, not being able to get the particulars.
J. S. Minor, under date of March 16th, 1878, to the writer says: The first shingle mill was built by G. S. Lester; run a Valentine machine; twenty men; twelve million; and since destroyed.”
The rapid increase of mills caused a corresponding increase in the cutting of timber.
In the spring the river was packed with logs for miles, so that those having logs in the rear would have to wait for them until the logs in the front had been moved.
Every one having logs to drive, in the spring, was anxious to get in ahead on the drive of logs.
This sometimes caused contention and strife.
Some mills were compelled to be idle in the spring, on account of the jam of logs in the river, unless logs were wintered over in their booms; and it became necessary that some arrangement should be had whereby logs could be delivered at the different mills, during the summer seasons they were needed.
On the 25th of April, 1868, a number of citizens of Alpena met at the office of L. M. Mason & Co., and organized the Thunder Bay River Boom Co. The capital stock of the company was $10,000, in one hundred shares of $100 each.
Officers were elected as follows: President, B. F. Luce; Secretary and Treasurer, S. Mitchel Noxen; Directors, B. F. Luce, P. M. Johnson, Wm. H. Potter, E. Harrington, and S. Mitchel Noxen.
If civilization means a great number of wants and their supply, then Alpena had reached a high state of civilization, for her wants were many, and as soon as one was satisfied, another stood ready to claim attention.
Prior to 1867, all machinery and foundry work for the mills at Alpena, was done at Detroit or Saginaw, and sometimes a small break caused a serious delay.
A foundry and machine shop was very much desired by the mill owners, but this question stood in the way: Is there work enough to make it pay?
David Crippen was the first man that undertook to answer the question.
He was a practical machinist, and by hard work and prompt attention to the wants of his customers, he has been able to answer the question in the affirmative.
He came to Alpena in 1867, erected a foundry and machine shop, built up a trade, and made the business a success.
The visit of the “Fire King” will be noticed in the chapter on fires.
A fruitful source of mortification and regret to the people of Alpena was a deficiency in accommodations for visitors, and this led to the erection of the Fletcher House.
This want was felt, more or less, from the lime of the incipient village, to the opening of that house.
To meet this desideratum, Samuel Boggs, in 1867, commenced the erection of a large and commodious hotel, on the north side of Dock Street, near the river.
It was finished and opened in 1868, and known as the Huron House, and became a competitor for business, with the Star Hotel Both of these houses run expresses to the boats, and the traveling public was pleased and satisfied.
But this state of things lasted only until 1871 when both hotels were swept away by a fire, the details of which may be seen in the chapter on fires.
In 1868, Dr. Wm. P. Maiden built a three story building, on the corner of Chisholm and Second streets.
He designed the first story for a drug store, the second story for offices, and the third for a Masonic hall.
The Alpena House, destroyed by fire January 1st, 1868, was re-built, on the site of the old one, in 1868 and 1869, and will be noticed in the chapter on fires.
The frame of the Union School house was raised in August, 1868, the details of-which are given in the chapter on education.
In 1865, the oil excitement reached Alpena, and in the Thunder Bay Monitor of April 8th, we find the following:
“notice.—The stockholders of the Alpena Oil Company will meet at the Court House, on Friday evening, April 14th, at 7 o’clock, to organize, and transact such other business as may lawfully come before them.
“MARTIN H. MIXTON,
“E. K. POTTER,
“D. R JOSLIN,
D. D. Oliver, of Ossineke, made this company a proposition, that, if they would locate the well at Squaw Point, on lands belonging to him, he would contribute $1,000, and would deed the company five acres of land, provided they should find anything valuable.
This proposition was accepted by the first stockholders, who agreed with the writer, that Alpena was too near the dip of the rock, or edge of the basin, to find much brine or oil.
Subsequently, men became stockholders, who had more property interests in Alpena than knowledge of geology, and either thought or pretended to think, that oil could be found in Alpena as well as in any other place, and this divided ideas and interests delayed the operations of sinking a well until in January, 1869, when new arrangements were made to feel into the “bowels of the earth,” for oil, salt, or whatever might be of value.
The first work in putting up the derrick and necessary buildings was done in January.
The location selected was near E. Harrington’s mill. In March, 1869, Mr. Hagerty, who had a contract for sinking the well, reported the lithological structure for 64.5 feet, as follows:
1st . Various strata of sand, gravel, boulders, 30 feet.
2d. Limestone, 2’
3d. Quartz rock containing considerable copper ore, 18’
4th. Shale, 4’
5th. Soapstone, 3.5’
6th. Limestone, 7’
Total, 64.5 feet.
After this, but little attention was given to the structure or kind of rocks, but generally limestone, with some layers of shale and soapstone.
At 600 feet, a vein of mineral water was reached, which flowed with such force as to keep the borings clear, without pumping.
The well was sunk to a depth of 1,185 feet, and when the tubing was put in, in 1870, it was discovered that the drill had stopped in a solid rock of salt.
The brine was very strong, but could not be obtained in paying quantities.
It was supposed by some that, by letting the water flow upon this bed of salt, it would soon dissolve and form a reservoir for brine, of sufficient size to establish a business in salt making.
But this kind of rock does not dissolve as readily as manufactured salt, (chloride of sodium,) for, mixed with it is often sulphate of lime, (gypsum,) chloride of calcium, magnesium, etc., which renders the rock hard, and not easily dissolved.
The proprietors, G. N. Fletcher, Wm. Jenney and E. Harrington, being disappointed in regard to obtaining brine, turned their attention to the mineral water.
Mr. Fletcher submitted a quantity of the water to Dr. S. P. Duffield, a practical chemist, of Detroit, Mich., for a quantitive analysis, with the following result:
Specific gravity, 1.012
IN A GALLON.
Bicarbonate of soda, 15.736
Bicarbonate of lime, 55.136
Bicarbonate of magnesia, 62.920
Bicarbonate of iron, 1.840
Sulphate of lime, 30.056
Silica and aluminum, 3.088
Chloride of sodium, 68.256
Organic matter and loss, .928
Total mineral constituents, 237.032 grains.
Sulphurated hydrogen gas, 3.91 cubic inches.
Carbonic aicd gas, a trace.
Another well was bored by Mr. Hagerty, in 1874, on the east side of Thunder Bay River.
At 700 feet a vein of very soft water was struck, which flowed the full capacity of the well.
At 950 feet a mineral vein was reached; and at 1,050 feet salt rock.
It is somewhat remarkable, and to be regretted very much, that a minute and detailed record of the geological character of the several strata of rock was not made.
It might have led to valuable results.
The first hardware store was started by Barlow & Noxen, in 1866.
Mr. Noxen soon left the firm and J. J. Potter stepped into his place, and with Mr. Barlow built up a large trade.
In March, 1869, Mr. Barlow retired from the business and E. K. Potter filled the vacancy.
The firm soon was changed to Potter Bros. & Co., and so re-organized, the business was well managed and is now one of the largest mercantile establishments in Alpena.
The same year, Mr. Barlow commenced to build a clapboard mill, on the south side of the river, near the pier, for the purpose of cutting clapboards and door stuff.
It ran one clapboard machine and sapper.
Subsequently, it was changed to a shingle mill, running one double and one single machine.
Had a capacity to cut 100,000 shingles per day, and employed twenty-seven persons. It was owned in 1876 by Edward White, and valued at $8,000.
In 1870, the people of Alpena had become exceedingly prosperous, in the general acceptation of the term in this country—people are prosperous according to the accumulation of wealth, over and above paying their expense of living.
To show how prosperous the people are, we have only to show their surrounding conditions and influences, and their accumulation and increase of property and population, and we can do this in no better way than to show the acts and statistical reports of the people themselves, or through their representatives.
The population of Alpena proper, in 1864, was 674, and in 1870, according to the state census, was 2,756, an increase of 459 inhabitants yearly.
The vote cast in 1864 was 69, and that in 1870 was 519, a yearly increase of 75 votes.
This verifies the statement, before made, that Alpena dates its prosperity and rapid growth from 1864.
From its organization to 1864, six years, it had accumulated only 69 voters, while from 1864 to 1870, six years, it more than doubled that number each year.
The valuation of property, as made by the Board of Supervisors, and as shown by the census, was made upon the town of Alpena, which, in 1860, comprised the whole county.
When the towns of Ossineke and Corles were organized, in 1867, it materially changed its territory.
Alpena was again metamorphosed in 1871, by the organization of the city, and again changed by the organization of the towns of Wilson and Long Rapids.
A large portion of the accumulation of wealth belonged to the village of Alpena, and when connected with other territory and subject to such changes, the figures of the supervisors fail to express fairly the rates of increase of values in the village.
In 1868, the equalization of the assessment rolls were as follows:
Unorganized territory, 620,505.37
In 1870, the several tax rolls were equalized at the following amounts:
Unorganized territory, 576,152.66
The two years above have been selected: First, to show the change in value by a change in territory, and second, to select two years in which no change had been made in Alpena territory.
But this shows only the ratio of values for the two years, is found to be $69,917.18.
In July, 1862, Congress enacted a law, imposing a tax of five per cent on all incomes over and above one thousand dollars net, and now, by giving a list of persons in Alpena, who paid an income tax in 1866 and in 1868, and the amounts on which they paid their tax, will better show their increase of wealth than any estimates made by the supervisors.
The following is the income tax lists (exclusive of legal exemptions’) for Alpena County, for the years 1866 and 1868, as furnished by E. B. Chamberlain, assistant assessor, 15th division, 6th district:
Henry Bolton, $966.62
Samuel Boggs, 926.00
Andrew W. Comstock, 500.00
Wm. B. Comstock, 500.00
John Campbell, 240.00
James Cavanagh, 283.84
Alexander H. Doty, 900.00
‘Temple Emory, 2,000.00
Addison F. Fletcher, 781.34
John W. Glennie, 136.65
Elisha Harrington, 8,676.55
Benj. C. Hardwick, 1,162.00
Thos. H. Hunt, 800.00
Phineas M. Johnson, 781.34
Edward Sachpell, 600.00
Benjamin F. Luce, 2,356.66
Donald McRea, 743.34
William P. Maiden, 293.00
William Norris, 341.00
S. Mitchel Noxen, 4,656.91
John Oldfield, 4,531.91
Chas. Oldfield, 4,531.91
D. D. Oliver, 9,795.00
William H. Potter, 2,600.00
Edward K. Potter, 230.00
Henry Bolton, $578.24
A. W. Comstock, 1,500.00
Wm. B. Comstock, 1,500.00
James Cavanagh, 3,007.88
Josiah Frink, 200.00
A. F. Fletcher, 500.00
Thos. H. Hunt, 1,500.00
Elisha Harrington, 7,213.00
Jas. K. Lock wood, 3,957.50
Benjamin F. Luce, 4,290.00
Donald McRae, 578.23
Henry R. Morse, 313.73
S. Mitchell Noxen, 2,631.80
Charles Oldfield, 2,631.80
James J. Potter, 613.05
William H. Potter, 6,375,00
It may not be uninteresting, to some of the readers of this book, to how in this place.
The various circumstances that conspired favorably for the growth of Alpena and that which exercised the largest influence, was the then so-called “depression greenback.”
Most of the wealth of Alpena in 1864, was her immense forests of pine timber and the accumulation of wealth by the people depended mostly upon the low price and easy purchase of those lands.
For the purpose of settlement and drainage of the swamp lands, the Legislature in 1859 passed a homestead law, by which ant settler or occupant of eighty acres of swamplands upon making application to the Commissioner of Land Office, was entitled to certificate of purchase conditioned that the settler should live on the land continuously for five consecutive years.
That also, within three months, from the date of such certificate, the settler should file with the Commissioner of State Land Office, a certificate from the Supervisor of the Township which the land is located, Together with his own affidavit that he is in actual possession and occupancy of such land, that he shall not cut or carry away any valuable timber, except upon lands cleared for cultivation – complying with these provisions and proving the same at the expiration of the five years, he would be entitled to the deed of the land from the State of Michigan.
In 1862, Congress also passed a homestead law, by which any person male or female, being the head of a family or a male twenty-one years of age, and a citizen of the United States or had declared his intention to become a citizen, and who had always been faithful to the government, and by paying a small registration fee, was permitted to select and occupy one hundred and sixty acres of land, from any United States Lands, subject to entry at one dollar and twenty five cents per acre, and that, by living on the land for five consecutive years, and making proof of this to the Register of the Land Office of the District where the land belonged, was entitled to a patent of the land from the United States.
In 1862, Congress established a Department of Agriculture at Washington, D. C, and in 1863 made a grant of lands to the several states, to aid them in establishing an Agricultural College in each state.
Some of the states selected their lands, while others, being remote from the land districts, put their certificates on the market, and sold them for what they could get, being always less than one-half their cash purchasing value at the United States Land Office for lauds.
For the purpose of drainage and reclamation of the swamp lands, the Legislature, in 1859, made a law granting swamp lands to aid in making roads and bridges, and in 1861 appropriated about four hundred thousand acres for that purpose. Subsequently a large portion of the swamp lands have been used in the same way.
The law provided that, if the contractor elected to take lands for the construction of any road, as soon as his contract was accepted by the Board of Control, he had a right to select a portion or all the lands called for by his contract, and the Commissioner of the State Land Office would withdraw them from the market and hold them during the life of the contract; that whenever the contractor finished two miles or more of the road, and it was accepted by the local road commissioner, be was entitled to receive deeds of so much land as he was entitled to per mile for making the road.
As soon as the contract was accepted by the Board of Control, the Swamp Land Commissioner credited the contractor with the amount of the contract.
This was called “unmatured scrip.”
As fast as the contractor finished his road and had it accepted by the Road Commissioner, he was credited with so much “matured scrip,” on which he was entitled to deeds.
This scrip was transferable by an order from the contractor, drawn on the Commissioner of the State Land Office. This scrip was placed upon the market and sold at a low figure, sometimes for less than one-half its purchasing value for land
Besides these substitutes for cash, in the purchase of pine and other lands, were “bounty land warrants,” issued to all persons who had been soldiers in the service of the United States.
Those issued to soldiers of the war of 1812, were in the State of Michigan exempt from taxation for three years after the date of the patents.
During the years 1865, 1866 and 1867 the prices of those substitutes, in the hands of middle men or brokers, ranged about as follows:
Land warrants of 1812, 40 acres, $ 40 to $ 48
Land warrants of 1812, 80 acres, 88 to 94
Land warrants of 1812, 120 acres, 109 to 115
Land warrants of 1812, 160 acres, 134 to 140
Agricultural college scrip, 160 acres, 104 to 108
Swamp land scrip, on the dollar, fifty to fifty-two cents.
It may not be without interest to some of the readers of this book, to notice the condition of the currency of the country, at this time.
Hon. E. G. Spaulding, in his history of the greenback, on page 198, says:
“Gold and commodities continued to advance in price.
On the loth of January, 1864, gold was $1.55; on the 15th of April, $1.78; on the loth of June, $1.97, and on the 29th of June, $2.35 to $2.50, which showed that the legal tender notes were only worth forty cents on the dollar in gold.
The next day, the 30th of June, 1864, Mr. Chase resigned the office of Secretary of the Treasury.
At this time the inflated paper issues, outstanding, were over $1,100,000,000, and in a few days thereafter, gold reached its highest quotations, $2.85, or more accurately speaking, greenbacks depreciated until they were worth in gold thirty-five cents on the promised dollar, at the board of brokers, in the city of New York.”
It may be well to examine this point a little, to ascertain whether gold appreciated, or as it is asserted, “that greenbacks depreciated.”
Facts support the allegation that, among the business men and laboring classes, in the United States, gold appreciated, the same as other property.
Foreigners, and those basing their values on gold, claimed that the greenbacks had depreciated, but this was a fact, only when the greenback was taken out of the United States.
Gold and foreign currency, not being used as a legal tender, became property, and with it fluctuated in prices.
In 1864, a gold dollar would buy, say $2.50 in greenbacks, and in 1876, it would buy only $1.12.
Now, the greenback would buy as much government land, in 1864, as it would in 1876.
The taxes, State and county, were no more on the dollar, in 1864, than in 1876, and the greenback dollar would pay as much tax in 1864, as it would in 1876, and the greenback dollar would pay as much debt, in 1864, as in 1876.
The gold dollar could not force the payment of any more taxes or debts, in 1864, than it could in 1876, nor could it buy any more government land, unless it was exchanged for legal tender.
Surely there was no depreciation shown by these facts, and if the people had to pay high prices for what they purchased, they also received high prices for what they sold, whether that was labor, lumber, iron or merchandise.
All these circumstances combined to make it extremely easy for any person to become the possessor of a piece of pine land, which was rapidly increasing in value.
Many, who had gold or Canada currency, exchanged it for “the depreciated greenback,” receiving two dollars or more for one, and then purchased scrip or land warrants, at about fifty per cent below their value, for land, making it cost the purchaser from twenty to thirty cents per acre, in gold.
Many, in this way, were becoming wealthy, who did not appear on the income tax list, or add much to the figures of the Supervisor.
These conditions extended to Alpena and her surroundings and was applicable more or less to all the Northern States.
The following quotations from the Alpena Pioneer, of various dates, will give you a better idea of the condition of things about the Village, and the thrift and activity of the people, than any report made by the writer:
May 8th. 1869.
James Hunt has laid the foundation for an upright to his house.
Charley Cornell is making his lots look much better by clearing them up.
M. B. Spratt and Frank Starbird are improving the appearance of their houses, by new fences.
J. B. Turtle has bought a house on State Street.
J. H. Stevens has purchased the next lot, and has the lumber on the ground for building.
Will it be safe for two lawyers to live so close together?
Deacon Hitchcock is erecting a feed store, next to Hueber’s meat market .
Kesselmeyer has bought the residence of Robert Carnes, and has raised a two story building for a barber shop, grocery, etc.
Dr. Maiden’s new office and fence are a great improvement to his premises.
W. M. Sutton has traded houses with E. K. Potter, and is building an office between his house and Dr. Maiden’s.
E. K. Potter has a large pile of lumber on the site of the old drug store.
We expect to see a hardware store there before long.
J. W. Hall is building a cabinet shop for our friend Aber; also a dwelling house; and Mr. Todd a tailor shop and dwelling house, making that corner look lively.
May 15, 1869.
We are pleased to see the improvements going on in the way of paint and shade trees.
The idea of getting shade trees in this sand is quite discouraging, but when it proves successful, the beauty of the improvement more than repays the trouble.
J. S. Minor is entirely refitting the residence purchased of Leroy Bundy, and building a fence.
W. H. Phelps has erected a very convenient and substantial dwelling on Third Street.
Ira Stout is finishing another for himself by its side, while the street is being extended south of the section Hue Bridge, and five or six new buildings going up, the owners of which we did not learn.
Going back to Chisholm Street, we found a new fence, nearly finished, around Rev. Mr. Barlow’s house, also preparations for building on John Blakely’s lot. (Wonder if this isn’t a shadow, which a future event casts before.)
The new coat of paint, on Mr. Mortimer’s house, improves the appearance of this corner, and. we observed some timbers on the site of the old Alpena House, which was burned down last New Year’s.
On Lockwood Street, several buildings are going up, which causes our village to gradually creep towards Campbellville. We learn that Henry Potter intends to make an addition of forty acres to the village, this spring.
November 20th, 1869.
Burrell’s Hotel is improving very fast in its appearance.
Its new coat of paint, and its blinds, making it one of the most presentable buildings in town.
Z. M. Knight has covered his new store and is finishing it up.
It will show a neat front to Water Street.
Abe Crowell is building a tasty residence near the Court House, which, with Mr. Chisholm’s new house on the opposite side, makes that street look more attractive.
From our window we can see the goodly proportions of Mr. Gilchrists’ new residence, beautifully located on the banks of the river.
On Chisholm Street, Mr. Potvin’s hotel makes glad the waste place, where the old one burnt last New Year’s.
This new building needs another story to make it look well.
John Blakely’s cottage gives a very sunny appearance to that side of the street and makes a very desirable cage for the bird he caught this week.
The progress of agriculture, from 1866, was more than a doubtful experiment.
The writer, having been correspondent of the county of Alpena for the Agricultural Department at Washington, from 1863 to 1870, and compelled to make monthly returns to the department, during that time, his attention was called to that department of industry.
Perhaps more than anyone in the county, and as he traveled over the country, in making surveys and exploring for pine lands, he naturally noticed the soil and its adaptation to raising farm produce, and he became early convinced, by observation and experiment, that there was but very little fault in the soil or climate, and that the application of intelligent labor, would place Alpena county among the best agricultural districts in the State.
In the fall of 1865, the writer located the southeast quarter of section twenty-five, in town thirty-one north, of range six east, and the southwest quarter of section thirty, in town thirty-one north, of range seven east, being the first burnt lands purchased, for farming purposes.
He sold these lands to Dr. J. B. Truax, H. Sawyer and H. King.
Sometime in 1866, Sawyer, for defending J. K. Miller and G. N. Fletcher, against the attack of some drunken men, was the next day assailed by a mob, headed by one Crawford, whom Sawyer shot and killed instantly.
For this he was arrested, tried, and bound over to the Circuit Court, and sent to Saginaw to jail, as there was none in Alpena, by the same class that assailed him, but he never had a trial, as the people refused to appear against him.
More about this affair in the chapter on temperance.
In consequence of this sad affair, Sawyer and Dr. Truax surrendered their contracts and left the place, while Mr. King paid for his land and became the first permanent farmer in the county.
The writer subsequently sold the Truax quarter section to N. M. Brackinreed, in 1868, and the Sawyer lot to Pardon Buell, for farming purposes.
This became the nucleus of a settlement.
In 1867, Charles B. Greely and George B. Erskine commenced to clear a farm in section nineteen or twenty, in township thirty-one north, of range six east.
The land was densely covered with large sugar maple, beech and hemlock timber, and it required a good ax, a strong arm, much will power, and persevering industry to make a large farm in this place.
Fortunately, they possessed all these requirements, and constantly the sound of the ax and the crash of falling timber, could be heard, until a large piece was ready to be piled into log heaps and burned.
This was done, and the ground was planted with potatoes and baga turnips, and Mr. Greely reported that the first crop brought them over one thousand dollars, besides what they used for the family and seed.
This was the largest sale of farm produce that was raised in the county.
The chopping, clearing, and planting continued until 1871, when they found that, from being the possessor of a good ax each, and some other “traps,” in 1866, they were now the owners of a farm of two hundred acres, and more than one-half of that cleared, with a good house and barn, etc., good teams, wagons, and farming implements, and this mostly made from the land.
Their prospects, at this time, were exceeding prosperous, but a dark cloud suddenly came over their sunshine.
About two years prior to this, Mr. Erskine brought to his forest home a charming bride, a lady of about twenty-four summers, and who by her industry, cheerful disposition, and accommodating spirit, made her endearing to her husband, and his home bright and cheerful, and won for her the kind regard and respect of all that knew her.
In June, 1870, she went to the State of Maine, to visit her mother, and while there, died, soon after giving birth to a son, that also died at, or soon after, its birth.
When the sad news of the death of his beloved wife and darling son, reached Mr. Erskine, it gave him such a shock, and cast such a gloom over his once happy home, that he could not bear the thought of living there longer, and Mr. Greely, sympathizing with him, they sold the farm and came to the city.
In 1876, the property belonged to Mr. Emerson, having passed through several parties.
Soon after Messrs. Greely and Erskine commenced their farming, they were followed into the woods by Mr. Kimball, who located a farm on the south side of them, and Mr. Green, who located near them on the northeast, while A. R. Richardson commenced to clear a large farm, a mile or so east of them, and who soon had a large clearing, with a good frame house and barn.
This formed the beginning of another settlement.
About the same time, 1866 or 1867, James A. Case and William Hawley commenced to clear farms on Thunder Bay River, in section thirty-one, in township thirty-two north, of range seven east, and John Mainville and one or two others, located in section twenty-eight, of the same town and range, and while Mr. Case was debating with himself, whether farming there would pay, and the probability of any more settlers.
Mainville was disputing his rights with a family of beavers, for the occupancy of an old beaver pond.
This, with Antoine’s clearing, at the mouth of the North Branch, was the first settlement in this township.
In 1867, James Demster, William Pulford, David Dunn, and a few others, settled on homesteads a few miles east of Alpena city, and about the same time, E. Woodruff and Alex. Macaulay and others, settled on and near Partridge Point.
Richard Naylor commenced farming about three miles northwest from the city, and a few other settlers at other points, so that, in June. 1869, the writer reported to the Department of Agriculture, at Washington, thirty-six farmers in the county.
In 1870, the Rev. F. N. Barlow commenced to build a large steam sawmill, and booming grounds, out in the bay, near the south pier.
He commenced the work, by running a large crib around an area of the bay, sufficiently large to hold his logs, and drove piles for the foundation of his mill, out in the water, to be filled in around it with the refuse from the mill, which was afterwards done.
This mill was finished in 1871, and run one large circular saw, one of J. B. Wayne’s iron gangs, two patent edgers, one gang lath mill, one drag saw, two clapboard sawing machines and one sapper, for clapboard bolts.
It had also, in connection, a planing mill, with one large iron planer, and a clapboard planer, one re-sawing machine, two ripping saws, and one butting saw.
This mill gave employment to, from forty-five to fifty men, and was valued at fifty thousand dollars.
The refuse from the mill soon filled all the places, that refuse could be used to advantage, besides making steam.
A large wrought iron refuse burner was made, ample in capacity, for burning the accumulations, together with machinery for conveying the refuse, directly from the saws to the burner.
This property changed owners several times, passing from Mr. Barlow to George Prentiss & Co., and from them to the Alpena Lumber Co.
In 1876 it is owned by Mr. Churchill.
The city of Alpena is indebted to the thrift and business push and capacity of Mr. Barlow, in this enterprise, for the large and important extension of territory, the stability of her harbor improvements, the accumulation of fifty thousand dollars of wealth to the city, and the addition of, at least, one hundred inhabitants, and while Mr. Barlow got more experience out of the operation, than money, yet it was a permanent good for the place.
In 1871, A. R. Richardson built, on Maine Street, the first brick dwelling in the city.
Soon after the fire, in April, Bolton Mc McRae built a large, three story and basement brick block, on the corner of Dock and Fletcher streets, being the first brick store in the city.
This rear a telegraph line was extended from Bar City to Alpena, and will be noticed in the chapter on communication.
Events in history take place in regular succession, the same as the events in a persons life, and it is impossible for any event to take place before its antecedent.
So with the growth of Alpena.
Among its first wants were streets and roads and as soon as these became well made, horses and carriages were in order, and needed; and people who con Id not keep a horse and carriage, borrowed, or hired of those who had.
Until a livery stable became necessary, as one of the appendages of the city. J. R. Beach was the first one in the city to keep horses and carriages for hire.
In 1871, McDade & Co. built and maintained a livery stable, on the corner of Washington Avenue and Second Street.
In the winter of 1872 and 1873, John S. Minor built his new mill, on the old disputed middle ground.
It was planned for two five and a half foot circular saws.
In 1876, he employed twenty-four men, and cut, with one circular saw, five and a half million feet of lumber.
Prior to 1872, all the banking business for Alpena was done in Detroit.
But very little currency was taken at Alpena, for the reason that there was no safe place for deposit.
Mill men in Alpena checked out of Detroit banks, and payees generally spent a large portion of the money in Detroit; and this dwarfed the trade of Alpena, and kept it without money.
On the 1st of March, 1872, Charles Bewick.
Andrew W. Comstock and William B. Comstock organized The Alpena Banking Co., with A. W. Comstock as cashier.
In April of the same year, Geo. L. Maltz and J. L. Whiting organized The Exchange Bank, with Geo. L. Maltz as cashier.
These banks brought a large amount of currency into the city: supplied the needs of the business men of Alpena, and became very important institutions of the place.
A large hotel was erected this season, by George N. Fletcher, of Detroit, under certain arrangements with the people of Alpena, and called the Fletcher House.
It is situated on the bay shore, and occupies the whole space between Water and River Streets, one front of one hundred and forty feet facing the bay; one front of one hundred and forty feet facing Water Street, and fifty-one feet fronting on River Street, the whole being forty-five feet wide.
The building is three stories high; the first story fifteen feet, the second story fourteen feet, and third story twelve feet, and surrounded by a mansard roof and observatory, which commands a view of the bay, with its islands and various points.
This house is warmed by steam, and lighted with gas manufactured for the purpose.
It is intended to be, in all its arrangements, a first class hotel.
Although Alpena was considered a very healthy place, yet it sometimes happened that people died there; and it therefore became necessary to have a place to bury them.
For this purpose, and to locate and establish the first cemetery in the city of Alpena, Daniel Carter, in July, 1873, donated to the city, ten acres of land, from the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 21, in town 31 north, of range 8 east.
We too often find cemeteries located so near growing towns, that they soon become surrounded with buildings; become a nuisance, and have to be moved.
This one, however, is located near the western limits of the city, on the Section Line Road, so called, and so far away that it never will be reached by the buildings of the city.
It is located on a sandy plain, covered with spruce pine trees, and when properly improved will be a very peaceful spot to repose this “mortal coil,” when the spirit that gave it life has left it and gone to higher spheres.
The only objection to it is its homogeneousness.
The first white person buried in this cemetery was a man by the name of Peter Duclos, and the first Indian buried there was Pe-na-se-won-aquot, son of the old chief Sog-on-e-qua-do.
Directly after the great fire of July 12th, 1872, the City Fathers passed an ordinance, establishing a fire limit, which was very much opposed, as being unnecessary in so small a town; but it had this good effect, that it caused parties on Second street to re-build with brick, and gave an impulse to the structure of such buildings as gave permanency and beauty to the place; and from this time until 1876, brick buildings were the order of the day.
In 1873, A. McDonald erected a fine brick block, on Second Street, and in the same or following year.
Potter Bros. & Co., F. S. Goodrich and Chas. C. Whitney built large brick stores, on Second Street.
In 1875, Pack and Blackburn erected fine brick stores, and in 1876, Deacon Hitchcock built the brick Centennial building, on the site of the old court house.
Other large and substantial buildings were erected on the burnt district, during this time, the details of which the writer has not been able to reach.
FIRES AND FIRE ORGANIZATIONS.
Alpena has been a great sufferer from fires. Perhaps no place of its age and population has been visited by the fire king so often, and with such terrible effect, as Alpena.
In 1860, an extensive fire run through the woods adjoining Alpena, destroying much valuable timber, both standing and made into flat and square timber, and destroyed a large mill frame belonging to G. N. Fletcher, and one of the mill frames made by John Cole, in the winter of 1858 and 1859.
In 1862, another fire from the woods, destroyed Lock wood & Minor’s new steam mill, shortly after being enclosed, and burned, also, a number of small buildings, the loss being considerable for Lockwood & Minor at that time.
In 1863, the large steam mill belonging to Smith & Chamberlain, was destroyed by fire, resulting in a loss to the owners and to the place, that cannot be estimated.
The property was valued at $30,000.
It was thought by many, at the time, to have been the work of an incendiary.
A shingle mill, built and owned by Thomas Robinson, in 1866, and running in connection with the shingle mill, the first planer brought to Alpena, was destroyed by fire, in 1867.
This was a ruinous loss to Mr. Robinson, as he had placed in it all the means he had; was without insurance, and was unable to re-build.
Another shingle mill, built in 1866, and owned by Hopper & Davis, was burned soon after Robinson’s.
This fire so crippled their business relations that for a long time the mill was not re-built; and the damaging result to their future prosperity could not be estimated.
And still another shingle mill was destroyed by fire, but I cannot state the time.
This mill was the first of its kind erected in Alpena, and was built by G. S. Lester.
A tar factory, owned by Martin Minton, was submitted to the flames.
Some other fires occurred between 1863 and 1869, the particulars of which the writer has not been able to procure.
Soon after the burning of the shingle mill and planing mill of Thos. Robinson, Scott Doane, Moses Bingham and J. B. Beers formed a co-partnership, for the purpose of carrying on the general planing business, and making doors, sash and blinds, on the north side of the river, near the bay.
On the 1st of June, 1868, Beers retired from the firm, and the business was continued by Doane & Bingham.
They run a surface planer and matcher, a large molding and sash machine and other auxiliary saws and machinery.
At this time, a demand arose among the lumbermen for grinding feed, and Mr. Bingham, being a practical miller, as well as an excellent mechanic, resolved to supply the want.
The firm soon started a feed mill in connection with their sash factory, capable of grinding three hundred bushels of feed per day.
All went on well until the 3rd of May, 1S69, when the fire king, which seemed to rare had his headquarters near Alpena in those days, burned the upper story of their sash factory, together with a quantity of dry lumber.
Since 1866, some daring experimenters in farming had raised, contrary to expectations, a large quantity of wheat, and they wished to have it made into flour.
The firm determined to meet the exigency.
They soon enlarged, and changed their feed mill into a grist mill, with a bolt and other machinery for making flour with success.
This gave great encouragement to the farming interest.
The firm was now doing excellent work, and progressing finely, until October 1st, 1870, when the fire king made them a serious visit.
Not to be foiled again by “that hose,” this time HE started the fire in the engine room, and in a few minutes the factory and mill were in flames.
Nothing was saved, nor had they any insurance.
For years of labor they had only a mass of blackened ruins and disappointed hopes.
But they possessed intrinsic value in themselves, and had the confidence, esteem and sympathy of the people.
By their persevering toil and fair dealing, they had built up an industry which the people of Alpena could not afford to see blotted out.
The Alpenians never allowed a necessary institution to die, and that which they needed they always made strenuous efforts to obtain.
Meetings were held by the people, and arrangements soon made for money and credit for the firm, so that they could commence at once to re-build on the site of the old factory; and in June, 1871, they came out with a new edition, revised and enlarged by the authors.
It would seem that “His Fire Majesty” took particular delight in destroying the public houses of Alpena, for every one erected prior to 1872, was given to the flames, except the re-build of the Alpena House, the first one being destroyed on the 1st of January, 1868.
This was a large loss to Julins Potvin, the proprietor, who, as soon as he had recovered a little from the daze occasioned by the fire, commenced to re-build a larger and better house, on the site of the burned one, and soon had it ready for the accommodation of the public.
In 1863, a court house was finished, by Deacon Hitchcock, according to a contract between him and the Board of Supervisors, and was known as the “Deacon’s Court House.”
This was burned in 1870, under circumstances which gave rise to suspicions that it was the work of an incendiary; but no proof of the fact could ever be elicited.
In the summer of 1870, the dwelling of Fulton Bundy was given to the flames, and a “right smart” fire it was.
And in February, 1871, another fire occurred, which consumed the foundry and machine shop of David Crippen, valued at $5,000, and insured for $2,000, together with a boarding house belonging to Lockwood & Minor, and valued at $1,800, and insured for $1,000.
The north side of Dock Street had been built up with good buildings.
Next to the river, on the north side, was a large and commodious public house, owned and occupied by Samuel Boggs, called the Huron House, and on the opposite side of the street was a large building, used as a store and storehouse, owned by J. C. Bowen, and occupied by Folkerts & Butterfield.
On the northeast of Dock and Fletcher streets was the store and residence of Bolton & McRae.
On the opposite corner was the Union Star Hotel, and next to it, north, was the Evergreen Hall, so named by the ladies of Alpena, for the tasteful manner in which J. R. Beach, the owner of this and the Star Hotel, had decorated it with evergreens for some festive occasion.
Moses Bingham owned and occupied a large dwelling, on the next lot north of Evergreen Hall.
At this time, business on the east side of the river began to assume a lively appearance; the bridge was in fair condition, and the hotels run carriages to the boats, for passengers, so that visitors to Alpena could find good accommodations.
“But a change came over the spirit of their dreams,” the powers that “dominate behind the scenes” had engaged the fiend to destroy their property and bright anticipations, for on the 9th day of April, 1871, about noon, the alarm of fire was given, from the billiard saloon of Guild & Clewley, in the Beebe block, situated near the center between the Huron House and Bolton & McRae’s store.
It was soon discovered that all the buildings on that side of the street would be destroyed, as everything was very dry, and the village had no engine or any organized fire company, so everything was in confusion, as might be expected, under the circumstances.
It was soon seen that the most that could be done, was to save what of the furniture and goods they could, and let the fire burn itself out.
Accordingly, the people got two lighters from the opposite side of the river, on which they piled the contents of the buildings nearest the river, and carried them beyond the reach of the fire; but many of the goods and furniture of the Star Hotel and other buildings in the vicinity, were carried into the streets and there burned before they could again be moved.
When the fire reached Bolton & McRae’s store, the wind was blowing quite fresh, and soon carried the flames across the street, to the Star Hotel and other buildings in the vicinity, which soon became a heap of ruins.
The principal buildings destroyed in this fire, were the Huron House, owned and occupied by Samuel Boggs, and valued at $10,000.
He had an insurance on the property of $2,000 only, and this was for the benefit of Benj. C. Hardwick, who then held a mortgage on the same.
The Star Hotel and Evergreen Hall, owned and occupied by J. R. Beach, and valued at $12,000.
He also had a small insurance of $3,000 on his buildings, for the benefit of T. Luce & Co.
Those parties were the greatest sufferers by this fire.
The small insurance only paid the indebtedness on their property, and left them nothing with which to re-build.
For their industry and enterprise, they had nothing left but the lots and blackened ruins, and the furniture saved from the fire; but they were both good mechanics, and of cheerful and hopeful dispositions, and not being easily discouraged, they soon gathered up what they had and commenced work, in hopes to retrieve their losses; but the destroyer was still on their tracks, as the sequel will show.
The building occupied by Folkerts & Butterfield, and owned by J. C. Bowen, was valued at $4,500, and insured for $3,000.
The goods of Folkerts & Butterfield were covered by insurance.
The building owned by Henry Beebe, valued at $3,500, had no insurance.
The dwelling of Moses Bingham, valued at $2,500, with no insurance.
Both of these losses were severe, but did not fall with such crushing weight upon Mr. Beebe, as he had means to re-build, as it did on Mr. Bingham, who had so recently sustained a heavy loss in the burning of the Doane, Bingham & Co. sash and blind factory.
The building and goods of Bolton & McRae were fully insured, which prevented a ruinous disaster to them and much loss to the place.
Others sustained losses, which the writer is unable to particularize.
The city felt a severe loss in the destruction of Evergreen Hall, as it deprived the people of any hall suitable for holding public entertainments, and the city was again without hotel accommodations for the traveling public.
There is an old saying: “There is no great loss without some small gain.” and this may be applied in a very small way in this case.
It taught the people of Alpena, and the newly made “City Fathers,” the extreme necessity of organizing a fire company, and procuring a steam fire engine: and this business must have been among the first of their official acts, for in May, 1871, the first fire company was organized, by electing the following officers:
Foreman—A. L. Power.
Assistant Foreman—Fred. Buchanan.
Secretary—G. W. Hawkins.
Treasurer—L. B. Howard.
G. W. Hawkins, J. T. Bostwick and William Johnson were appointed a committee to draft a constitution and by-laws.
NAMES OF MEMBERS.
A. W. Comstock,
S. S. Meade,
J. T. Bostwick,
E. G. Johnson,
H. S. Seage,
A. L. Power,
Geo. W. Hawkins.
L. B. Howard,
Thos. H. Lester,
C. E. Wilcox.
A. F. Fletcher,
Abe C rowel 1,
D. G. Aber,
S. A. Aber,
R. J. Kelley,
John D. Potter,
J. R. Beach,
C. C. Whitney,
Thos. C. Lester,
A. D. Stout,
On the 4th day of July of the same year, a well uniformed and equipped fire company, with a steam fire engine, was, for the first time, paraded in Alpena, and his Honor, Mayor Seth L. Carpenter, addressed them in a very appropriate speech.
The engine and company were named after an old chief of the Thunder Bay band of Indians—Sog-on-e-qua-do.
His name is mentioned in the first chapter.
Soon after the destruction of the Star Hotel, J. B. Beach rented the American House of Gelos Potvin, and commenced again to keep a public house, as they were at this time much in demand.
He opened sometime in May, and in October of the same year, was again compelled to flee before the devouring flames.
This time his loss was not large, as he saved most of his furniture; but he lost his business, and no man can be thrust out of business without sustaining considerable loss.
Only a part of the house was consumed, as the fire company was promptly on the ground, and did good service.
The success of this engine led the people to suppose that they were safe from the attacks of large fires.
But the fire king was laughing to think what a “big smoke” he would give them the next season, and show them how utterly inadequate was such an engine to quench his wrath, when once fairly kindled.
In the spring of 1872, we find Mr. Beach proprietor of the Burrell House, but the same destroyer was still on his tracks, and followed him there, and he was again burned out in the big fire, this time losing all he had.
Soon after the loss of the Huron House, Mr. Boggs purchased some property of Dr. W. P. Maiden, on Second Street, and commenced to erect a hotel called the Sherman House.
He had scarcely finished and opened it, before it was swept away in the great fire—the fire being particularly severe on the hotels.
The account of the great fire we shall give as we find it in the Alpena Pioneer Extra, of the date of July 13th, 1872.
Loss of Property $200,000—Insurance $80,000.
Sixty-Five Buildings Burned—Four Persons Burned to Death, Others Badly Burned.
At fifteen minutes to five o’clock yesterday afternoon, July 12th, the barn in the rear of the Sherman House, a house recently opened, and owned and occupied by Samuel Boggs, was discovered to be on fire.
The alarm was given, and the engine in position promptly, but there was some delay in getting up steam.
The fire being among hay, spread with fearful rapidity, and in an incredibly short time the Sherman House and Goodrich’s jewelry store were enveloped in flames.
The engine commenced to play, but the wind blowing fresh from the northwest, carried the fire with astonishing rapidity across the street, into the row of business houses on the south side of the street.
Crowell & Godfrey’s building, the Burrell House, McDonald’s building, Blackburn’s building, the Huron House, Maltz’s residence, and the barns and offices, etc., in that block, were soon all ablaze.
Mayor Pack’s residence and office were burned.
Potter & Bros’, hardware store, McDade & Gavagan’s hotel, and Comstock’s mill and boarding house were burned.
Aber’s building and furniture rooms, and the whole row of houses on the north side of River Street to Luce’s mill.
The fire raged until about six o’clock, before its limits were confined, when it had destroyed about three and a half blocks, containing about sixty-five buildings.
Among the heaviest losers were Potter & Bros., Anspach & Co., C. Burrell & Co., A. Pack & Co., George L. Maltz & Co., P. McDade, F. S. Goodrich, and Charles C. Whitney.
These might not have been the greatest sufferers, as many lost all they had.
The Alpena Weekly Argus office was entirely destroyed.
But the saddest record we have to make, is the burning to death of three persons, and badly burning of three others, one of whom has since died.
Mrs. Westbrook, keeping a millinery store, on Second Street, perished in the street, in front of her store, and could not be rescued until nothing but her bones remained.
The bones of two others, supposed to be men, have been found.
George Westbrook, son of the milliner, was so badly burned, in trying to rescue his mother, that he has since died.
A sailor named Kelly, and George Westby, Barlow’s engineer, are very badly burned.
Doubts are entertained of Westby’s recovery.
One of the men burned is supposed to be John Lavin.
The county papers were saved.
We subjoin an imperfect list of sufferers and their losses, as hastily estimated:
The county papers were saved.
This last paragraph can be explained by saying that, soon after the court house was destroyed by fire, in 1870, the court and county offices, and the court and county records were removed to rooms in the Potter block, on Second street, and had again to pass through the uncertainties of a large fire; but they were all saved.
The experience of the last fire convinced the city officials that their fire department was too small to work successfully against a large fire.
In July, 1875, at a special meeting of the Common Council, a resolution was passed, for the purpose of purchasing one of Silsby’s No. 4 size rotary steam fire engines, for the sum of $5,850, with hose cart and hose.
The engine was soon after purchased, and a fire company organized, called Alpena No. 2.
Robert Oliver was appointed First Engineer.
Soon after this, a change was made in the management of the fire department.
And now they had the engines and a proper organization, there was a scarcity of water; and large tanks had to be made in various parts of the city, for a supply.
These tanks proved to be only a partial success, as the water was muddy, and many of them with a scanty supply.
It is hoped that not far in the future, the city will be well supplied with water from the river or lake; and until this supply of water is had, but little progress can be made against fires, as the following will show:
In June, 1875, E. Harrington’s house and barn were burned, valued at $1,500; insured for $3,000; Robert Napper’s blacksmith shop and wagon factory, valued at $6,000, and insured for $1,500; H. J. Eaton-s residence, valued at $3,000, and insured for $2,000.
On February 25th, 1876, Henry Beebe’s block was a second time destroyed by fire.
Building and stock valued at $12,000, and insured for $4,000.
Michael O’Brien lost his stock of boots, shoes, leather, etc, valued at $1,000, and insured for $1,000; and soon after this the residence of Dr. Jeyte was destroyed, valued at $4,000, and insured for $2,300.
On the last day of November of the same year, the Myers block, so called, and the oldest building in the city, was burned.
How it caught fire was a mystery.
Some other fires occurred, the details of which the writer has not been able to obtain.
This chapter is the most gloomy and thankless of any in the history of Alpena, but it affords some food for careful thought and study.
In looking over the list of sufferers by the several fires, you will find that those who needed insurance the most, had the least, and some had no insurance at all.
Our fellow citizens, Samuel Boggs, J. R. Beach, Thomas Robinson and others, are poor men this Centennial year, simply because they did not keep fully insured; and Mrs. Westbrook and son probably owe their shocking and untimely deaths to the same cause.
Many not only lost their property by the fire, but being without insurance or means to re-build, they were swept out of a lucrative and monopolized business worth to them many times the value of the property they lost.
It is impossible to reach the exact value of property destroyed by fires in Alpena, between 1857 and 1876, but we can approximate very nearly, and keeping within the bounds of certainty, we have the very nice sum of $342,900.
In 1875, the assessed valuation of property in Alpena City was $906,640, so that, by these figures, one-third of the entire accumulations of the people for eighteen years had been destroyed by fires.
About $100,000 of this loss has been paid back by the insurance companies, leaving a dead loss upon the industry of the people, during that time, of twenty-five per cent.
Long before the writer came to Thunder Bay, and probably since the establishment of the military posts at Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinaw, a mail route had been established between these points and Saginaw, and carried along the west shore of Lake Huron, on the backs of men or on sledges drawn by dogs, and for that reason the mail is placed in this chapter, before steamers or roads.
The conveyance of the U. S. mail was entrusted to the care of Frenchmen and half-breeds, and was carried on their backs, but mostly on what they called a trainaud, and drawn by dogs over the ice and snow.
The trainaud was made of two flat pieces of oak, maple or birch wood, about one-half inch thick, six or seven inches wide, and from nine to fourteen feet long.
These were fastened together with cross-bars, and nicely turned up at one end.
On this the mail was placed, with their camp and provisions, and fastened to the trainaud with cords attached to the cross-bars.
The dogs were placed tandem, or one before the other, and attached to the trainaud by long traces.
The dogs were generally large, muscular animals, well trained for the work, and capable of much endurance; and in early times were often very fancifully harnessed.
The harness consisted of a buckskin collar, with harness of some bright metal, and extending about six inches above the neck of the dog, and turned with a whorl at the top, in which was suspended a nice little bell.
The straps were all made of black leather, with large housing of red broadcloth, when the dog was of a dark color and blue when the dog was of a light color.
The housings were fringed with a long yellow fringe, and nicely worked with beads all over.
The men were rapid travelers, making trips from Bay City to Sault Ste. Marie in four days, under favorable circumstances—a distance of about two hundred and twenty miles—and in two instances they made, under a reward, a traverse from Bay City to Devil river, in seventeen hours—a distance of one hundred miles or more.
Having given some idea how the mail was carried on the Lake Huron shore, at the time Fremont was first settled, we now proceed to give some details in regard to the establishment of the first post office in Alpena County.
Among the many privations that are experienced by the early settlers of a country, is the absence of reading matter and mail facilities.
The American thinks it a hardship to do without his newspaper, if only for a short time, and receives it again with as much eagerness as he does his “bread and butter,” after being without his dinner.
The first settlers of Alpena were no exception to the rule, and Mr. Carter says, in a letter to George N. Fletcher, under date of the 14th of February, 1857: “I want you to send more papers; we read everything all to pieces.”
As soon as A. F. Fletcher arrived in Fremont, he became sensible of this great want of mail, and in his first letter to his cousin, G. N. Fletcher, he says: “You ought to write to Washington about a post office.”
Soon after this letter, a petition went to Washington, for a post office at Fremont, and on the loth of January, 1858, the papers arrived “from Washington, establishing a post office at Fremont, with Daniel Carter as postmaster, together with blanks and other things necessary for the newly made postmaster to exercise the functions of his office.
From 1850 to this time, the writer received his mail in the winter, through arrangements made with the postmaster at Bay City, and the mail carriers, the writer’s mail being made into a sealed package and carried outside the mail bags; and in summer, by arrangements with the postmaster at Detroit, and his schooner and other vessels coming to Devil river for lumber—receiving his mail quite regularly during the winter, and at intervals of from one week to one month during the summer.
Soon after the operations of the post office at Fremont had commenced, it was discovered that there was another Fremont in the State, and some letters occasionally went to the wrong Fremont, and the people had the name changed to Alpena Post Office.
Then letters sometimes went to a place called Alpine, and the name of the post office was again changed to Thunder Bay Post Office, and subsequently to Alpena Post Office, which name it still retains.
Having a mail route established along the lake shore, for the winter season, the mail came regularly once a week during the winter, but having no mail route established for the summer season, the office had to depend on such arrangements as the postmaster could make with the postmaster at Detroit, and circumstances.
When any responsible person went to Detroit, and to return soon, he was authorized to carry the mail; and about the last words to those leaving for Detroit, were, “Don’t forget the mail.”
This state of things continued only one summer.
Mr. Carter petitioned the department at Washington, to establish a mail route between Bay City and Fremont, in the summer season.
They replied that they could not establish a mail route, but would grant him the whole proceeds of the office for the purpose of carrying the mail.
During the summers of 1859, 1860 and 1861, Mr. Carter procured the mail to be carried between Bay City and Alpena, as often as it could be carried, in a small boat; and at the end of the three years, Mr. Carter found himself to the good, less expenses, about two hundred dollars.
The mail was then carried by steamers, running between Alpena and Bay City, for the proceeds of the Alpena post office and the other offices along the shore, and what the people donated, until July, 1866, when a regular mail route was established; and from that time until 1876, there has been a daily mail carried on the boats, and as regular as the weather would permit.
Up to 1863, the winter mail had been carried by “dog train,” along the shore.
This winter, the arrangement was changed, and the “dog train” came only as far as Fremont, and returned.
Mr. Carter, under a sub contract, carried the mail between Fremont and Bay City, and continued to carry it in the winter, until the summer route was established, in 1866.
It was then carried by stage, until 1876.
Mr. Carter’s house was made the first post office, and this, as well as many other of the institutions that now belong to Alpena, took their incipient growth at Mr. Carter’s house.
For remuneration as postmaster, Mr. Carter was to have sixty per cent of the revenue from the office, yet his salary for the first year did not reach the moderate sum of five dollars.
Mr. Carter resigned the office in April, 1860, but was not relieved until October, when E. K. Potter was appointed his successor, and following him in office was Leroy Bundy.
The present incumbent, in 1876, is William D. Hitchcock, and the fourth on the list of Alpena postmasters.
The office is now one of considerable importance, being made a money order office in 1868.
Its revenue, in 1875, being $3,027.31; and the amount of orders issued reached the sum of $24,036.09.
In 1867, through the influence of the writer, a post office was established at Ossineke, called the Ossineke post office, and the appointment of George B. Melville as postmaster.
The revenue of the office, for the first year, was a little over three hundred dollars.
In 1876, there were four post offices in the county, two as above stated, and one called Long Rapids post office, with John Louden as postmaster, and one called East Side post office, with Mrs. Ellen Roberts as postmistress.
Prior to 1844, but little was known of Alpena County, and its waters were very seldom visited by any craft larger than a fishing boat.
In 1845 and 1846, Thunder Bay Island becoming a large fishing station, made it profitable for steamboats going around the lakes, to call at this island, for freight and passengers.
In 1846, the fishermen on the island entered into an agreement’ with two steamers, to call at the island every trip up and down during the season, when the weather would permit; and it became a habit with all the steamers to land passengers at the island, and call for them when signaled for them to call, by hoisting a flag.
And this habit, once obtained, continued until 1859; and most of the travel to and from Fremont was by this route—the freight mostly coming on sail vessels.
After the sawmill was built at Devil River, vessels occasionally came there for lumber.
In 1852, the writer purchased the schooner Marshall Ney, and run it regularly from his mill, at Devil River, to Cleveland, for four years.
Occasionally, during this time, small vessels came in search of freight or trade.
In 1859 and 1860, the business of Fremont having largely increased, steamers found it profitable to make occasional trips there, and Capt. Darins Cole, owner of the steamer Columbia, was induced by the people of Alpena, to place his boat on the route between Fremont and Detroit, and in a short time began making regular trips.
The Columbia being a small boat, was able to land her passengers and freight on the dock inside the river, while the Forest Queen, that came to Fremont only when she could obtain a profitable freight, was compelled to lay outside the river, and discharge her freight and passengers on lighters and boats, on account of the sandbar at the mouth of the river.
In the spring of 1860, we find the following in the Detroit papers: “Steamer Columbia, Darius Cole, Master, leaves Detroit every Monday, at 2 p. M., arrives at Bay City Wednesday morning, and leaves Bay City for Thunder Bay every Wednesday morning, at 10 o’clock.”
At the same time, the Forest Queen made trips to Tawas, every Friday, and every other Friday extended her trips to Au Sable, and sometimes came to Fremont.
From 1859 to the fall of 1864, the Columbia continued to make weekly trips from Detroit to Alpena, and the Forest Queen came when she could get a paying freight.
In 1863, the Genesee Chief, Capt. Clark, run on the Bay City route, and continued on that route until the fall of 1867.
In the fall of 1864, the Sky Lark, Capt. A. G. Ripley, came on the Bay City and Fremont route, and the “old Columbia receded.”
The Sky Lark continued to make bi-daily trips each season, until the summer of 1866, when she was sold to western parties and taken off the route, and the steamer Huron, Capt. D. Cole, run in the Sky Lark’s place during the remainder of the season.
In 1867, the steamer Alpena, Capt. John Robeson, run on the route between Detroit and Alpena, making regular trips; and the Huron, Capt. D. Cole, run with the Genesee Chief, on the Bay City route.
During the years 1867 and 1868, the harbor of Alpena had been so much improved by piers and dredging, that steamers could enter the river, and in 1868, a new impulse was given to mill building in Alpena, and consequently a large increase of freight for that place, as well as a corresponding increase along the shore.
In the spring of 1868, the steamer Huron, Capt. D. Cole, started on the Bay City and Alpena route, and in July, the steamer Geo. W. Reynolds, Capt. Benj. Boutell, run with the Huron, on the same route.
On the 4th day of July, the steamer Metropolis made her first visit to Alpena, and run on the route the remainder of the season.
The Marine City run this season, on the shore route, from Detroit to Alpena, in place of the Alpena, and extended her trips to Mackinac Island.
In 1869, the steamer Metropolis, Capt. Cole, run on the Bay City route, and the Marine City, Capt. John Robeson, run from Detroit to Mackinac.
Business having largely increased in Alpena and on the bay shore, in 1870, the Metropolis, Capt. Cole, started on the Bay City route in the spring, and in October, the steamer Sandusky, Capt. McGregor, was placed on the same route; and the Marine City, Capt. John Robeson, run on the shore, from Detroit to Mackinac.
In 1871 and 1872, the steamer Sandusky, Capt. John Stewart, run on the Bay City route; and in 1872, the steamer Lake Breeze, Capt. Lathrop, run with the Sandusky, on the same route; and the Marine City, Capt. John Robeson, continued to run from Detroit to Mackinac, and the propeller Galena, Capt. Broadbridge, made regular trips from Cleveland to Alpena.
About the middle of the season of 1873, the steamer Dunlap, Capt. Brown, and the steamer John Sherman, Capt. John Stewart, were placed on the Bay City route, the Dunlap continuing on the route until after 1876.
She was sailed in 1874, by Capt. Snow, and in 1875 and 1876 by Capt. A. G. Ripley; and the Sherman, Capt. Stewart, run with the Dunlap in 1874.
In 1875 and 1876, the steamer Dove, Capt. Knowlton, run with the Dunlap on the Bay City route, and the Marine City, Capt. John Robeson, continued to run on the shore route, between Detroit and Mackinac Island.
In the meantime, the propellers Wenona, Capt. L. R. Boynton, and the Galena, Capt. Broadbridge, run from Alpena to Cleveland.
The first meeting of the Highway Commissioners took place at the house of Daniel Carter, on March 26th, 1858, and, “On motion of D. D. Oliver, it was voted to form two road districts:
“Road District No. 1, to be bounded as follows: Commencing on Thunder Bay, where the east and west center line of town 30 north, of range 8 east, intersects the bay; thence west, to range line between ranges 7 and 8; thence north, to town line between 31 and 32; thence east, to range line between ranges 8 and 9; thence south, to Thunder Bay; thence on margin of bay, to the place of beginning.
“Road District No. 2, to be bounded as follows: North by Road District No. 1; thence east by Thunder Bay, to the town line between towns 28 and 29; thence west to range line between towns 7 and 8, and thence north, to the south boundary of District No. 1.”
At the second meeting of the Highway Commissioners, which soon followed the first, a petition, signed by Joseph K. Miller, Addison F. Fletcher, David Plough, Daniel Carter, Moses Bingham, Abram Hopper, James S. Irwin, Lewis Atkins and David D. Oliver, was presented to the board, to lay out and establish a road, “commencing near the mouth of Thunder Bay river, and thence by the most feasible route to the mouth of Devil river,” this being the first township road surveyed in the county.
The petition was accepted, and the county surveyor was requested to make the necessary survey of the road.
At the spring election of 1859, a motion was made by the electors, and carried, and the following was placed upon the records: “Voted to raise the sum of one hundred dollars, according to the report of the Highway Commissioners, for the purpose of surveying and establishing a road from the mouth of Thunder Bay River to Devil River.”
The records do not show that any one was authorized to levy and collect the tax, but nevertheless the tax was levied and collected, as the same has been done many times in towns where their organizations were much older than Fremont.
The writer made the necessary survey of the road the same season, but too late in the fall to do any work on the road.
WILLIAM D. HITCHCOCK.
CLOSELY IDENTIFIED WITH THE QROWTH OF ALPENA, AND WAS ITS FOURTH POSTMASTER, BEING APPOINTED IN I868.
MRS. SARAH L. CARTER, ONE OF THE FIRST WOMEN SETTLERS OF ALPENA COUNTY, AND IN THE EARLY DAYS, THE ONLY PHYSICIAN IN THE COUNTY.
HON. EDWARD K. POTTER.ONE OF THE EARLY SETTLERS OF ALPENA. PIONEER LUMBERMAN AND MILL. OWNER, AND AT ONE TIME REPRESENTATIVE IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE.
The first highway tax roll was made in 1858, by Lewis Atkins, township clerk, for Road District Mo. 2. Only four parties appear on the roll, subject to road tax, as follows:
Page and Oliver, taxed 112 days, 4 hours.
David D. Oliver, taxed 1 day, 7 hours.
Andrew Horn, taxed 5 days, 6 hours.
John Dawson, taxed 1 day, 3 hours.
The highway tax roll of District No. 1, the writer has not been able to obtain.
The people all along the Lake Huron shore, and especially those at Fremont, were very anxious to have a road opened between Bay City and Fremont.
Indeed this road bad become a necessity, and a petition was drawn up and signed by nearly all on the shore, and presented to the State Legislature, who, in 1859, passed the following act:
Sec 1. The People of the State of Michigan enact, That Daniel Carter, of Fremont, C. C. Chilson, of Bay County, D. D. Oliver, of Devil river, Allen Terry, of AuSable, and Charles H. Whittemore, of Tawas City, be and the same are hereby appointed commissioners to lay out and establish a state road, from Saginaw City, in the county of Saginaw, to Cheboygan, in the county of Cheboygan, touching at Tawas City, AuSable, and Fremont, on Thunder Bay.
Sec. 2. For the purpose of the further construction and improvement of said road, there is hereby appropriated all the non-resident highway taxes, not otherwise appropriated by law for State roads, within six miles of the line of said road, on each side thereof, for the year 1859, and for five years thereafter.”
The act also provided that the Highway Commissioners, of each township, through which the road should pass, should adopt and work the same, and it also provided that “said commissioners” should receive the large sum of “one dollar and fifty cents per day, for each day they were so engaged in laying out said road.”
Soon after the commissioners had received notice of their appointment, a meeting of the commissioners was called to meet at Tawas City, that being the central point.
The only way to reach that place from Fremont, was either to foot it down the shore or go in a small boat.
Accordingly Messrs. Carter, of Fremont, and Oliver, of Devil River, two days before the meeting was to take place, started for Tawas City, in the said small boat.
They reached the place of meeting, in good time and found all the newly appointed commissioners on hand, excepting C. C. Chilson, of Bay County, who had but little interest in the road.
The commissioners met and, after thoroughly discussing the matter, and considering the great wisdom and munificence of the Legislature in passing the act, came to the conclusion that there would not be money enough collected during the said five years, to keep a brushed road that length in repair, after it had been laid out and made, as at that time but little land had been purchased along the line of the proposed road, and after voting the enterprise a failure, they adjourned sine die.
Thus ended the first effort for a road from the Saginaws to Alpena.
After a week spent in this useless effort, Carter and Oliver returned, having spent their time and money, for which they could not expect any remuneration, except the consciousness of having faithfully discharged the duties imposed upon them by the people, and the imposition imposed upon the people by the Legislature.
The subject of a State road, from Bay City to Cheboygan, was not dropped, but the subject continued to be agitated until, in 1861, the State Legislature passed a large bundle of bills for making State roads, and among them was the following:
Sec. 1. The People of the State of Michigan enact, There shall be laid out and established, by commissioners to be appointed by the Governor, upon the most direct and eligible route, between the places hereinafter designated, the following State roads: (The 22d in the list is) a road from Duncan, in Cheboygan county, to AuSable River, in Iosco county, via Alpena, to be known as the Duncan, Alpena and AuSable River State Road.
Sec. 3. To secure the construction of said road, there is hereby appropriated an average amount of six hundred and forty acres of State swamp land to the mile.”
David Plough, of Alpena, was appointed commissioner on the Duncan, Alpena and AuSable State Road.
No provision having been made, by the Legislature, for laying out this road, excepting the lands, the Board of Supervisors met and passed an order, to accept lands of the State of Michigan, for the benefit of the county, and issue road orders, provided they would be accepted, for making the survey of the road, in lieu of the land, and they authorized the commissioner to make a contract accordingly, and in April, 1862, he made a contract with the writer to make a survey of the road, for the sum of five dollars per mile, payable in county orders, or lands, at the option of the surveyors.
The road was to be surveyed under the supervision of the commissioner, the writer furnishing all things needed for the work.
On the 31st of May, 1862, the writer commenced the survey of the road at AuSable River.
His party consisted of David Plough, commissioner, and Daniel Carter looking out the most feasible route for the road; A. J. A. Micholowski and Frank Trowbridge, for chain men; John King and Isaac Isaacson, for packers; Robert Newell, for axmau, and Elijah Degroat, for cook.
The survey was made in due time, and the report accepted by the Board of Control, at Lansing, in the fall of 1862.
In July, 1863, the first contracts were made for the work on the road.
The largest contractors on the road were S. O. Harris and J. B. Babcock.
Mr. Plough remained commissioner for a number of years, and was variously praised and blamed, as interest or prejudice prompted, but he was honest, and failed to make money out of the road, when he could have seen “millions in it.”
Here the speculative ideas of Plough and Oliver were at fault, for the extensive knowledge that Oliver had at that time of pine lands, and the extensive influence and power exercised by the Commissioner of State Lands, in letting and accepting contracts, would have made the business extensively profitable; but all this passed like a panorama, with but little thought, if any, in that direction, and so the wisdom, that comes after the fact, is worthless.
A short time prior to the survey of the Duncan, Alpena and AuSable State Road, a State road had been made from East Saginaw to AuSable river, called the East Saginaw and AuSable State Road, but was only passable for teams in the winter, on account of the condition of the AuGres swamps, and it was, after repeated efforts and appropriations of swamp lands, that it became passable in the summer season.
The road, from the AuSable to Alpena, was finished during the summer of 1864, and that winter a stage line was run by Daniel Carter, between Alpena and Bay City, and the people rejoiced that they had a way out of the woods during the winter.
In order to carry the mail, Mr. Carter, in 1863, run teams between Alpena and Bay City, by traveling sometimes in a bushed road, and sometimes on the ice, on the lake shore, but this way of traveling was risky and disagreeable.
The Legislature had failed to connect the two roads, by one-half mile of road, and a bridge across the AuSable River.
In the winter of 1866 and 1867, through the Hon. J. K. Lockwood, an appropriation of swamp lands was made for the improvement of the road, and for building a bridge across the AuSable River, and in 1867, the connection of the roads was made by a bridge across the river.
The road, from Alpena toward Duncan, was continued to be made slowly, and in 1865, Daniel Carter built a bridge across Thunder Bay River, on the contract of G. N. Fletcher.
It was many years before this road was finished to Duncan, and indeed, in 1876, it is not passable for teams, the whole length, in the summer.
From the organization of the township, to 1870, most of the proceeds of the road tax were expended on the streets of Fremont.
A bridge had been made, in 1865, across Thunder Bay River, connecting Dock and Second streets, and paid for from the proceeds of the road tax.
It was a poor experiment, and soon went to decay.
A road had been surveyed and cut out for a bush road, on the west side of the river, from Fremont to the Broadwell mill, at the rapids, and some work had been done, on what is known in 1876, as the section line road.
When the Duncan, Alpena and AuSable State Road was surveyed, it was carried in a direct route from the town line, near Greenbush, in Alcona county, to Ossineke, in Alpena county, and passed west of Harrisville and Black River.
It was surveyed there instead of following the lake shore, through the instance of S. O. Harris, who compromised with the commissioner, and paid the writer thirty dollars for backing up on his line, from Harrisville to Greenbush.
What his object was, the writer was not informed.
The people along the shore still needed a road, and, in 1865, an appropriation of swamp land was made for a State road from Ossineke to Harrisville, following the shore to South Point and Black River, and late in the fall of 1866, the road was opened for winter travel.
Obed Smith was the principal contractor and builder of this road.
On the 3rd of May, 1869, a meeting of the citizens of Alpena was called, for the purpose of taking into consideration the condition of the old bridge.
At this meeting the Highway Commissioners were requested to examine the bridge and report at the next meeting.
On the 15th of May, the commissioners, D. Carter, Thos. Murray and Samuel Boggs, made their report, and the following resolution was passed:
“Resolved, That a new bridge be built by tax, on the present site of the old one, and to be finished by the first of May next.”
A motion was also made and carried, requesting the Board of Supervisors to call a meeting and take the necessary steps to build a county bridge. J. K. Lockwood, Chairman; A. Hopper, Clerk.
This meeting had the desired effect, and during the winter of 1869 and 1870, a good and substantial wooden bridge was placed over the stream, connecting Dock and Second streets.
This bridge is good in 1876.
For several years, during the winters, much talk and agitation was had by the people of Alpena, and those along the bay shore, in regard to a railroad along the shore, to Alpena, but was always dropped during the summer.
In January, 1875, quite an impulse was given to the railroad agitators by a man of the name of Jefferds, who proposed to build a railroad, from Alpena, direct to Sterling, on the Saginaw and Mackinaw road, and the spring opened with a fair prospect of a railroad to Alpena, and made quite a stir for a short time.
The road was surveyed, and grounds cleared for a site, for workshops, and an engine house, and some of the road cleared and graded.
Had the people of Alpena “boosted” the enterprise a little, as much as they will have to do, in all probability, when they get a road, they would have had one this summer, but they had lapsed into their usual summer complaint, and Mr. Jefferds not being able to build the road, it was abandoned.
In the winter of 1875, five sections of swamp lands were given by the State, to build a State road, from Alpena to Long Lake, and called the Long Lake State Road.
The five sections of land, being insufficient to build the road, it being six and one-half miles long, a sum of $700 was raised by the people for that purpose, and in July, of the same year, a contract was made for building the road, and in 1876, the road is being made.
DAUGHTER OF MR. AMD MRS. DANIEL. CARTER, AND FIRST SCHOOL TEACHER IN AL.FENA COUNTY.
As soon as practicable after the township meeting, held on the 5th day of April, 1858, the School Inspectors of the township of Fremont, met for the purpose of forming a school district, and as much territory as could be allowed by law, was incorporated into School District No. 1.
Soon after this, a school meeting was called, and Addison F. Fletcher was elected the first School Director.
Miss Mary L. Carter was hired to teach the first school, and after being inspected, commenced teaching, m a small cooper shop, made of rough boards, which was then the best building that could be procured for a school house, and which stood on lot 10, in block 3, of the village plot.
The writer has not been able to find a record of this school, and thinks that no record was kept.
The second school was commenced on the 23d day of May, 1859, and ended on the 20th of August of the same year. The report is as follows:
DISTRICT NO. I, ALPENA.
Number of days taught, 69
Number scholars enrolled, 28
Whole number days attendance, 1,246
Average attendance, 18 4-69
Signed, MARY E. TROMBLY, Teacher.
Accepted Aug. 30th, 1859, Signed, ADDISON F. FLETCHER, Director of School District No. 1.
This school was taught in an upper room in what is now called the Myers block, on the corner of Second and Water streets, on lot 13, in block 3, of the village plot.
This building was completed in the fall and winter of 1858.
The first floor was used as a storehouse, and the second was used for county and other purposes, viz: Circuit Court room and county offices, school room, church, Sabbath school, printing office, and all public gatherings.
We give below the names and ages of the scholars attending this school, as being of some importance, should the record be preserved for the next Centennial year, and may be interesting to some of the present generation:
The first male teacher was M. R. Clark, who taught only twenty-two days, ending September 22d, 1859. David Plough, Director.
Soon after the Rev. C. G. Bisbee came to Alpena, in 1860, he was hired to teach the school, but he made no report until the 27th of February, 1862, when the number of scholars enrolled was fifty-one, doubling in two-and-a-half years.
Following Mr. Bisbee, as the next school teacher, was Leroy Bundy, who only taught forty-eight days.
In 1863, the school was taught by C. P. Butler, who had an average attendance of twenty-five scholars during the summer term.
The winter term ended April 29th, 1864, and was a full term, with an average attendance of twenty-two scholars.
The report is made, but not signed.
Miss Kate Barclay taught the summer term of 1861, but made no report.
In 1863 and 1861, the first district school house was erected in the county.
It was located on lot 2, in block 20, of the village of Fremont, and was the construction of Samuel Boggs.
J. B. Tuttle taught the first school in this house, and consequently was the first teacher who taught in a district school house in Alpena County.
His report is as follows:
Report of a term of the public school, taught in District No. 1, of Alpena village, Alpena County, Michigan, during the winter and spring of 1864 and 1865. School began Jan. 3d, 1865 – School closed April 1st, 1865.
Number of days taught, 71
Number of scholars enrolled, 94
Number of days attendance, 4,047
Average daily attendance, 57
Signed, J. B. TUTTLE. Dated at Alpena, April 1st, 1865.
This report shows a rapid increase of scholars, and a corresponding increase of inhabitants in Alpena County, more than doubling in two years.
In 1865, another district school house was erected, on the east side of the river, and a school taught there.
The large increase of population rendered it necessary to have more school room, and the School Board, deeming it advisable to erect a Union School house, took the necessary steps in that direction and in 1867, the Legislature authorized the building of a Union School house, by the following act:
An act to authorize the formation of Union School District Number One, of the township of Alpena, in the county of Alpena.
Sec. 1. The People of the State of Michigan enact, That the School Inspectors of the township of Alpena, in the county of Alpena, are hereby authorized to organize the said township of Alpena, or so much thereof as they may deem necessary, into a school district, to be known as Union School District Number One, of said township.
Sec. 2. Said school district shall be organized according to the provisions of the school laws of the State, and all moneys lawfully voted to be raised in said district, by tax or loan, shall be a valid debt against all the property in said district.
Sec. 3. This act shall take immediate effect.
Approved March 27th, 1867.
Soon after the passage of the preceding act, bonds were issued and negotiated, and the necessary funds raised for the construction of a Union School house, and in 1868, a suitable building was erected, under the supervision of David Plough, as directed by the School Board.
The building was located on grounds, donated to the township, for school purposes, by S. E. Hitchcock, and it cost, in round numbers, the sum of $20,000, when finished, furnished, and the ground cleared off and fenced.
When first built, it was on the margin of the forest, on the west, isolated, and in a swamp.
Noble M. Brackinreed taught the district school, on the southwest side of the river, after J. B. Tuttle, until the Union School house was finished, when he was transferred to it, as principal teacher.
Charles T. Brockway was engaged as the first Superintendent, and in November, 1809, the Union School commenced its regular operations, under his supervision.
Mrs. Sutton, Mrs. Stevens, Mrs. Vanlnwegen, Miss Doane and Miss Barclay were engaged as teachers.
They were inspected by Messrs. Comstock and Barlow.
The school was divided into four grades—the primary, secondary, senior and junior.
Each grade was divided into two classes, called the A and B class, excepting the senior grade, which was divided into three classes, the highest of which pursue the higher English branches, and is in every respect a High School grade. Scholars were taken into the school at the age of six years.
F. S. Dewey succeeded Mr. Brockway, as Superintendent, in 1871 or 1872, for he says in his report of 1874: “In 1872, or two years ago, I changed the course of study.”
He divided the school into five grades, of two years each, primary, secondary, intermediate, grammar and high school. It now takes ten years to go through the course.
Mr. Dewey is Superintendent in 1876.
The writer has given the names of the teachers, in the Union School, as reported in 1874, with their salaries, showing the condition of the school, at this time.
But little change from this was made in the school up to 1876.
F. S. Dewey, principal, salary $1,400 per year.
Miss H. S. Bachman, assistant principal and teacher of grammar school, salary $600 per year.
Miss L. J. Bachman, intermediate teacher, salary $500 per year.
Miss Godfrey, secondary, salary $450 per year.
Miss Ella Myers, secondary, salary $450 per year.
Miss Mary E. Smith, secondary, salary $450 per year.
Miss L. Rutherford, primary and secondary, salary, $400 per year.
The whole number of pupils in school was 374, and the number of scholars enrolled was as follows:
The number of seats in all the rooms was 450.
In 1876, there are fourteen school districts in the county, and twelve district school houses.
In the village is a Catholic school, a German school and a Norwegian school.
We are indebted to the proprietor of the Pioneer for the following letter, written to him by D. R. Joslin, in regard to the history of the Alpena County Pioneer.
We give all of his letter that is pertinent.
Mr. Joslin says:
“In the year 1862, I was publishing a paper at Port Austin, in Huron County, called the Huron County Reporter.
During the winter of 1862 and 1863, hearing of a commencement of a village, at the mouth of Thunder Bay river, and the fine prospects of a large and thriving village, not far in the future; the large amount of pine lands on the river and its branches, and the large amount of lands, which appeared upon the- tax rolls, and not satisfied with the prospects of Port Austin, I was induced to correspond and learn the prospects of locating a paper at Alpena.
Accordingly 1 corresponded with O. T. B. Williams, the Prosecuting Attorney.
He took an immediate interest to encourage the enterprise, and so did all the people of the village, which, at that time, contained about 250 inhabitants, and according to their means, subscribed a liberal donation of $200 to aid in establishing the paper.
Accordingly, about the 26th of April, 1863, on Sunday, I arrived with my printing office, at Alpena, on the Forest Queen, which anchored out in the bay.
Freight was loaded on scows and poled in.
The printing office was landed off the scow, on Miller’s dock, Sunday, and procuring a room over Miller’s store, now the Myers block, and commenced immediately to set up the office, and in order to secure the tax printing, must issue by the 1st day of May, which, by working day and night, with one hand, issued on the last day of April, a twenty column paper, having five columns per page, of 17.5 inches a column, of which twelve columns were reading matter, called the Thunder Bay Monitor.
It was hailed with great satisfaction and well patronized.
The issue of the first year was about 150 copies, which was very large, according to the population, for at that time, there were only two mills in the place—Messrs. Lockwood & Minors, on Water Street, and the Island mill—the Chamberlain mill just burned.
One dry goods store, Mr. Hardwick’s.
Messrs. Lockwood & Minor kept a- few things, but could hardly be called a store.
Mr. Miller kept a small grocery store.
Mr. Bingham kept the only hotel, a small two story wood building, on the north side of the river, which had to be reached from the south by a boat, if one could be found, if not, go over on a saw log, or stay where you were.
These composed the business places of the town; therefore the paper was almost destitute of home advertisements, so we had to look abroad for advertisements to fill up, many of which were of little profit.
The tax list, which was large, was a great relief to the expenses.
The next year, three other mills were built, and a number of stores and hotels, having double the population and business, and gave the advertising columns a much better appearance, and helped greatly to its support. I continued to publish the paper until the fall of 1865.
Being so unfortunate as to lose my wife, causing a derangement in my business, in the month of November, 18G5, I sold the office to D. D. Oliver.
Mr. Oliver immediately installed J. A. Case as editor, and J. Honsburger as publisher.
Sometime in the spring of 1866, Mr. Oliver changed the name of the paper to the Alpena County Pioneer, which has continued since.”
In 1867, Oliver sold a half interest in the paper to Robert S. Toland, and the paper was conducted under the firm name of Oliver & Toland.
Finding the paper too small for the growing business of the town, Oliver, through the direction of Toland, enlarged it to a twenty-four column paper, being 24×16.
Oliver resided at Ossineke, and having business there, could not see to the management of the office, and consequently the business run behind expenses about five hundred dollars, up to the spring of 1868.
James K. Lockwood and Oliver were very anxious to have the paper live a Republican, and after some talk in regard to the matter, Oliver sold his interest in the office to Lockwood, at a certain price, with conditions that Toland should have the same chance with him as he had with Oliver, and that George McFadden, who was employed in the office, should have the privilege of buying the half interest in the office, if he should so elect, at the same price that Lockwood purchased of Oliver, it being the object of Lockwood and Oliver to make the business live.
In 1868, we find the Pioneer published by Toland & McFadden.
Had these young men taken the advice of Oliver and Lockwood, and had been more persevering and economical, they might have had, at the Centennial year, a good property, a successful business, and an honorable standing among the citizens of Alpena.
But they could not see what the result would be, and in June, 1868, McFadden turned over to Lockwood, his interest in the Pioneer office, and for a short time, the business was run in the name of Lockwood & Toland.
In November, 1868, Lockwood & Toland sold the Pioneer office to Albert C. Tefft.
Mr. Tefft was not a practical printer, and says, in an issue of his paper, in February, 1871: “Not being a practical printer, we have had some bad luck in not presenting so ‘clean’ a sheet as we wished sometimes.”
Mr. Tefft purchased the business to keep, and by industry, economy and good management, has made it a success, when practical printers had failed, and as a reminder of this fact, Mr. Tefft says, in an issue of his paper of the 22d of February, 1871: “Two years ago, when we first took charge of the Pioneer, its proprietors informed us that it had never been a paying institution, but that each succeeding owner had lost money in trying to sustain it.”
In September, 1871, Mr. Tefft enlarged it to a nine column paper, of 24×30, and put a new head on it, making it a large and respectable paper, and which was a true index of the growth of Alpena.
A second paper was started in Alpena, in June, 1871, owned and edited by J. C. Viall, and called the Alpena Weekly Argus.
It is Democratic in politics, and a champion worthy the steel of the Pioneer, and will have a tendency to arouse the Republican proclivities of the editor who has had his own way so long that his Republicanism was becoming egotistical.
The Argus office and its contents were completely destroyed in the great fire of July 12th, 1872.
He had no insurance, but the people, with their usual generosity, soon helped the editor to renew his paper, and in 1876, it is a successful and important institution of the city.
Sabbath Schools and Churches.
Soon after J. K. Miller came to Fremont, lie commenced to teach a Bible class on the Sabbath, at the house of Daniel Carter.
The class consisted of only five persons, being the children of James S. Irwin and Cyrus Erwin.
In the spring of 1860, the first Sabbath school was organized, with J. K. Lockwood as superintendent; W. H. Potter, treasurer and librarian, and A. Hopper, secretary.
In the summer of the same year, the Rev. C. G. Bisbee came to Fremont, and soon after took charge of the Sabbath school, as superintendent.
Mr. Bisbee was a man of considerable talent; was well educated, but not a good orator.
He was a good man, kind and obliging, and won the love and regard of all who knew him; and no one ever left the place with more well-wishes than the first minister of Alpena.
He was industrious, and taught school for two years after he came to Fremont, partly for his support, as the then newly organized church did not feel able to wholly employ and pay a minister.
He held preaching services and Sabbath school in the first room over the store now occupied by J. Myers, on the corner of Second and Water streets.
As soon as Deacon Hitchcock had finished the court house, the church and Sunday school were held in it, and Mr. Bisbee continued superintendent until he went away, in the spring of 1865, when Deacon H. Hyatt was elected in his place.
Mr. Hyatt was followed as superintendent, in the spring of 1860, by Rev. W. D. Russell, who left Fremont in September of the same year, when Wm. D. Hitchcock, the present superintendent, in 1876, was elected.
Mr. Hitchcock has done much to elevate and systemize the school, and bring it up to a high standard of excellence, and has succeeded in gaining the affectionate regard of the children of his school; and will be remembered kindly by the coming generation, when those who occupy higher positions will be forgotten.
There is another name that has taken high rank in the annals of the first Sabbath school, and in the remembrances of the children, and which deserves honorable mention in this connection—Julia F. Farwell.
She has always taken a lively interest in the school, and done much for its advancement.
She always had charge of the class called the “Birds’ Nest,” being a large class of small scholars, and with her received elementary teachings.
In 1860, the whole number of scholars in attendance was twenty-five.
In 1866, the scholars had increased to 126.
In this year, the Episcopal Sabbath School was organized, and in 1867, the Methodist, Baptist and Catholic schools were organized, all of which drew more or less scholars from the old school; yet, in 1875, the scholars had increased to 193, divided into twenty-seven classes.
This school belongs to the First Congregational church, and is held in the church, being the first and largest school in Alpena.
The officers, in 1876, are as follows: Wm. D. Hitchcock, superintendent; T. M. Luce, assistant superintendent; Belden W. Smith, secretary; John D. Potter, treasurer; Eugene Motley. James Johnston and Charles Watrous, librarians; Henry S. Seage, George Nicholson, Mrs. W. H. Potter and Nannie Person, choir, and Mrs. F. H. Armstrong, organist.
On the 2d of March, 1862, an organization was effected, under the name and style of “The First Congregational Church, of Alpena.”
The organic members were as follows: C. G. Bisbee, S. E. Hitchcock, Samantha Hitchcock, Julia F. Farwell, Elizabeth Mooney, Emily H. Plough, B. C. Hardwick and Lydia J. Martin.
The Rev. C. G. Bisbee was the first pastor, and held church in the upper room of a building, standing in 1876, on the corner of Second and Water Streets, and now called the Myers block, and continued to hold services there, until the court house was built, in 1863, on the corner of First and Washington Streets, and was then adjourned to the court house, and the church and Sabbath school continued to be held in the court house, until their church was finished and dedicated, and then law and gospel, that had so long been in such fearful proximity, was separated.
Gospel says: Steal not.
Law says: Steal by night and steal by day, but do it in a legal way.
The church is a wooden structure, costing $8,000, and was built all the way from 1865 to 1868, and dedicated October 4th, 1868.
A bell was purchased in 1860, and placed in the church, at a cost of $420. The value of the property, in 1876, is about $10,000.
Soon after the Rev. C. G Bisbee left the pastorate, his place was filled, for a short time, in 1864 and 1865, by the Rev. Thos. F. Hicks, and following him, the Rev. W. D. Russell filled the pulpit until 1866, when he left the place.
During the year 1867, services were held by the Rev. D. C. White, and the Rev. F. N. Barlow, a Baptist minister.
It must be borne in mind that, up to about this time, it required all the people in Fremont, without drawing any lines, to fill a church, “and they could hardly.”
In the latter part of 1867, the Rev. Rufus Apthorp accepted a call to the pastorate, and continued to officiate until 1870, when he was succeeded by the Rev. A. B. Allen, who fills the pastorate in 1876.
On the 15th day of October, 1867, steps were taken to organize the society, known as the First Baptist Society, of Alpena.
F. N. Barlow was the first minister. The organic members were as follows: P. M. Johnson, D. Carter, E. Harrington, C. L. Kimball, W. M. Sutton and John Nicholson.
In 1864, the Rev. Patrick Barnard Murray came to Alpena, in the interest of the Catholic Church, and held services and attended to the needs of the Catholic people, as best he could without a church.
In 1865, he purchased of David D. Oliver, all the land in Oliver’s addition to the city of Alpena, east of Chisholm Street, for $300, Oliver donating $100, for the purpose of building a church, and in 1866, the Rev. Murray succeeded in erecting a good and substantial church, and was dedicated as the Saint Bernard Church.
In the Catholic Church, the Bishop owns the church property in fee, and the presiding pastor or priest is president, secretary and treasurer of the local church.
As soon as the church was finished, a Sabbath school was commenced, and in 1870, a week day school was commenced, having about 100 scholars.
The Catholic churches count their members by families, and in 1876, Saint Bernard’s church numbered about 300 families, and was presided over by the Rev. Father John Van Gennip.
The schools, at this time, numbered 250 scholars in each, and taught by four teachers—the Sisters of Charity.
The value of the church property, in 1876, is $10,000.
If our dwellings in the spirit world are built up of the good deeds we do here to our fellow beings, and that each good deed is a separate piece of the structure, then we think that the Sisters own many of the best dwellings in the summer land, and many people, when they arrive there, Will be surprised and disgusted at the shabby looking dwellings they have erected.
This church was organized on the first of February, 1865.
The Rev. G. O. Bachman was the first rector, and held his first services on the 9th of July, 1865.
He remained in charge of the church for eighteen months, and was relieved by the Rev. H. H. Brown, who remained in charge for six months, and was succeeded by the Rev. W. W. Rafter, in June, 1868, and who is still rector of the church, in 1876.
In the paper of 1868 and 1869, was a notice of a public library, kept at the residence of Chas. W. Richardson, and open to the reading public every Saturday.
Mrs. S. A. Mather, president; Mrs. H. R. Morse, secretary, and Mrs. C. W. Richardson, treasurer and librarian.
It is said to have been organize in 1864, by four ladies, and called “The Ladies’ Metropolitan Library.”
This was the first library, for public reading, in the village, and reflects much credit on the benevolent ladies, who got it up.
Long will they be remembered.
Soon after the writer was elected Justice of the Peace, in 1857, he purchased a justice docket and Tiffany’s Justice Guide, being the first docket and law book used in the county.
Ai the spring election of 1858, Daniel Carter was elected Justice of the Peace, and the writer, having no desire to do any business in the justice line, turned over to Mr. Carter his docket and law book.
Some time, during the summer of 1859, Leonard Jewell came into the river with a sail boat, having liquor on board, to sell.
As soon as he commenced to sell his liquor, J. K. Miller brought suit against him, before Daniel Carter.
There were, at that time, no lawyers in the town, and Mr. Carter, very young in the business.
However, it so happened that Obed Smith, who was then a Justice of the Peace, in St. Clair County, and who had some experience in law matters, was in Fremont, on a visit.
So Mr. Smith, after instructing Mr. Carter, in regard to his duty as Justice of the Peace, then acted as counsel for Mr. Miller.
The case was tried.
It was proved that he had sold liquor unlawfully, and he was fined.
The boat was anchored out in the stream, and the Constable had taken the rudder ashore, to prevent the boat leaving until they had got through with it.
Jewell pretended that his money, to pay the fine, was on board the boat, and requested the privilege of going after his money, which was readily granted, supposing that he could not go away without his rudder, but what was their surprise, when they saw him sailing out of the river, steering his boat with an oar.
There was no boat to chase him and bring him back, so they had to let him go, but he never came back to sell liquor.
This was the first law business transacted in the county.
Under the constitution of 1850, the Judiciary was changed, making eight Circuit Judges, and each presiding over certain districts, called Judicial Circuits.
This number was soon enlarged, and in 1857, Alpena was placed in the Tenth Judicial Circuit, which was composed of the following counties: Saginaw, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, Iosco, Bay and Alpena, with unorganized counties attached to them for judicial and municipal purposes.
Subsequently, the Circuit was changed, and in 1876, Alpena is placed in the 18th Judicial Circuit, composed of the counties of Bay, Iosco, Alcona, Alpena, Presque Isle and Otsego.
The constitution of 1850, also fixed the salaries of all officers, and making the Circuit Judge’s at $1,500 a year, a sum barely sufficient to pay the board and traveling expenses of some of the Judges in the northern counties, and they were compelled to seek relief through the several Boards of Supervisors, who, in order to do justice, which the Legislature had not done, they were compelled to violate the laws of the State, and become a law unto themselves.
The first session of the Circuit Court was held in the Myers block, in October, 1860, and presided over by Judge Woodworth.
The court officers were: William R. Bowman, Sheriff, and Addison F. Fletcher, Clerk. Oliver T. B. Williams was the only resident lawyer.
He had moved to Fremont, in the spring of 1860.
He was a man of considerable ability, and in the fall of 1860, was elected first Prosecuting Attorney.
Judge Woodworth held but one or two sessions of court, and was succeeded by the Hon. James Birney, who held but one session of court each year, until the fall of 1865, when the Honorable Jabez G. Sutherland was elected.
Judge Sutherland held two sessions of court each year, until 1870, when he was elected to Congress.
The Hon. T. C. Grier was appointed to fill the vacancy, and held the May term for 1871.
Judge Grier died before the time of holding another session of the court, and the Hon. Sanford M. Green was elected to fill the judgeship, and who is the presiding Judge in 1876.
Alpena has been very fortunate in her selection of Circuit Judges.
All have been able lawyers, old and experienced jurists, and well headed.
The court officers, in 1876, are:
Thomas B. Johnston, Sheriff.
John Thompson, Under Sheriff.
George W. Jones, Deputy Sheriff.
Charles N. Cornell, Clerk,
Alexander McDonald, Deputy Clerk.
Victor C. Burnham, Prosecuting Attorney.
A. M. Haynes, Reporter.
John H. Stevens, Circuit Court Commissioner.
The Circuit Court continued to be held in the Myers block, until 1863, when the first session of the court was held in the, so-called, Hitchcock Court House, and all the county officers, and records, were moved there, and so remained, until 1870, when the building was destroyed by fire, and many of the records and papers were burned.
The court records, records of the Board of Supervisors, the records of marriages, deaths, naturalization, some assessment rolls, account books and vouchers.
The court and offices were then removed to rooms over Potter Brothers’ hardware store, where they remained until they again passed through the ordeal of fire, but this time without being scorched, as everything belonging to the court and records, were saved.
The Court was then held in the Union School house, until the Potter block was finished, when the court and county offices were removed to rooms prepared for them, over the hardware store of Potter Bros., where they remain in 1876.
The following are the members of the Alpena bar, in 1876: Obed Smith, J. B. Tuttle, R. J. Kelley, J. D. Turnbull, J. D. Holmes, J. H. Stevens, V. C. Burnham, A. R. McDonald.
All survived the Centennial year, excepting Obed Smith, who died at his residence, in Alpena, on the 20th day of November, 1876.
He was the oldest member of the bar, being an octogenarian.
He was admitted in 1852. He was a Mason, in good standing, and was buried with Masonic honors—the Alpena bar attending his funeral in a body.
He was one of the early settlers of Fremont, having built the first steam sawmill in the county, in 1859.
In 1865, he built the first bridge across Thunder Bay River, between Dock and Second streets.
He was active in business, temperate in habits, truthful in his expressions, and was just in his dealings with his fellow men.
The writer has given a list of the names appearing upon the first and original tax roll of the county, and the valuation of real estate and personal property, and the tax assessed to each person.
There seems to be some mistakes in this roll, which the writer has been able to point out below, and a discrepancy between this roll and the first highway tax roll, which he cannot explain.
Mr. Irwin, when he made the first assessment tax rolls, was inexperienced in township business.
He had no prior rolls to look at, and no one to instruct him in the matter, that was wiser than himself.
The property, to be assessed, was scattered from South Point to Middle Island, and the only way to reach it was by small boat, or foot it along an Indian trail along the lake beach.
The value of real estate, ah! what was it worth?
Any nominal sum that might be placed upon it.
Under those circumstances, would it be anything strange to find some mistakes?
It would be something unusual if there was not.
Real estate. Personal. Am’t of tax.
The first disbursement, from the road tax, was to pay for surveying a road, from near the mouth of Thunder Bay River to Devil river.
The first disbursement of the county funds was to pay J. K. Miller for making a transcript of the records of lands, from the counties of Mackinac and Cheboygan, which lands belong to Alpena County, and were recorded in those counties, while Alpena was a part of their territory.
The writer has given the valuation of property in Alpena County in 1858, and the amount of tax spread upon the tax roll, in order to show the financial condition of the county when it was organized.
And now it may not be uninteresting to the reader to give the assessed valuation of property in the county in 1875, and the financial condition of the city in 1876, as a contrast, and showing the rapid growth of the county; and also serving as a starting point for another Centennial.
At the annual meeting, on October 11th, 1875, the Board of Supervisors equalized the real estate and personal property in the city of Alpena and the several townships, subject to be taxed, as follows:
City of Alpena, $788,270 00
Township of Alpena, $100,000 00
Township of Long Rapids, $300,000 00
Township of Wilson, $299,256 00
Township of Ossineke, $350,000 00
A resolution was passed as follows:
Resolved, That the several Supervisors of the county of Alpena, are hereby authorized and directed, by the Board of Supervisors of Alpena County, to spread upon their assessment rolls for the year 1875, the following sums, and for the following purposes, to wit:
TOWNSHIP OF WILSON.
For contingent expenses, $2,400 00
For highway purposes, $1,496 28
TOWNSHIP OF LONG EAPIDS.
For contingent expenses, $4,092 48
For highway purposes, $1,592 48
TOWNSHIP OF ALPENA.
For contingent expenses, $8 400 00
For highway purposes, $521 73
TOWNSHIP OF OSSINEKE.
For contingent expenses, $600 00
For highway purposes, $2,880,00
For school purposes, $700 00
And it was also, Resolved, That the several amounts to be raised for State and county purposes, for the year 1875, in the several townships and city of Alpena, in the county of Alpena, be apportioned as follows, to wit:
City of Alpena—State tax$ 325 00
County tax, $6,870 00
Township of Wilson—State tax,$ 122 50
County tax, $2,605 00
Township of Long Rapids—State tax, $123 00
County tax, $2,615 00
Township of Alpena—State tax, $41 00
County tax, $875 00
Township of Ossineke—State tax, $143 39
County tax, $3,035 00
These resolutions were adopted by the following vote: Ayes, Bedford, Lewis, Louden, Phelps, Spratt, Turnbull, White and Brackinreed.
Nays, none. Cornell, Clerk of Board.
In March, 1876, the Comptroller and Treasurer of the city of Alpena, made a report to the Mayor and Common Council, as follows:
From the Comptroller.
Gentlemen:—I would most respectfully submit the following report, in reference to the finances of said city, for the present fiscal year, beginning April 1st, 1875, up to March 20th,
Outstanding contingent orders, April 1, 1875, $ 901 61
Contingent orders issued since, $8,697 45
Outstanding fire orders, April 1, 1875. $406 75
Fire orders issued since, $2,250 47
Outstanding police orders, April 1, 1875, $345 38
Police orders issued since, $1,007 50
Outstanding street orders, April 1, 1875, $195 95
Street orders issued since, $2,807 08
Outstanding bridge orders, April 1, 1875, $34 40
Bridge orders issued since, $721 15
Outstanding engine bonds, $2,000 00
Coupons on above, $300 00
Interest on coupons, $24 66
Interest on orders redeemed, $310 53
Total, $20,002 92
Contingent orders redeemed to date, $7,557 10
Contingent orders now outstanding, $2,057 68
Fire orders redeemed to date, $2,322 47
Fire orders now outstanding, $324 74
Police orders redeemed to date, $1,262 88
Police orders now outstanding, $90 00
Bridge orders redeemed to date, $745 35
Bridge orders now outstanding, 10 15 Signed, J. D. TUENBULL. Comptroller.
MARRIAGES, BIRTHS, ETC.
In the spring of 1859, the first marriage was celebrated in Alpena County.
Miss Mary L. Carter being the first young lady that had come to the county as a permanent resident, assumed the right to be the first married; and in harmony with previous arrangements, it was recorded:
Married, March 10th, 1839, at the residence of the bride’s mother, by David D. Oliver, Esq., Justice of the Peace, George B. Melville to Mary L. Carter, both of Fremont.”
The record of marriages was burned in the court house, in in 1870, and not having any more of the records in his possession, the writer will not be able to notice any more of the early marriages of Fremont.
The records kept since the fire, shows that, from February 11th, 1871, to June 1st, 1876, two hundred and forty-four marriages, three hundred and sixty-seven births, and one hundred and ten deaths have been recorded.
This subject involves the feelings of so many persons now living in Alpena, that a full discussion of the subject cannot be had; and the writer would omit the subject entirely, did it not play so conspicuous a part in the early settlement of the county; for he would find it extremely difficult to use the truth so sparingly as not to contradict the conceived ideas of some, and not offend others.
Almost every town, when new, has had its “roughs,” and “spreeing” time, and Fremont was not an exception.
Pontiac, Oakland county, Michigan, was noted, in its early days, for its “spreeing,” and a facetious gentleman, well known there in 1840, by the cognomen of “Salt Williams,” who said he “had an altercation with a man, and told him to go to hell or Pontiac, and the great fool went to Pontiac.”
Fortunately most of the proprietors and early settlers of Fremont were temperate people, and opposed to the introduction and traffic of spirituous liquors; and consequently the “spreeing” season of Alpena was not long, but it was not without its evil effects.
The writer had been much annoyed and injured in his business, at Devil River, by the sale of whiskey to his men, by one Walter Scott, who resided near the mouth of Thunder Bay River, and fished, looked pine lands, and traded with the Indians.
A number of times his life and property had been in peril, during the drunken sprees of his men, and in one instance, his mill was shut down for a month, in consequence of a drunken spree of his men.
Those who live in a well settled country or in a city where, if a man gets drunk and abusive, he is taken care of by the Sheriff, Constable, or the Police, can form no adequate idea of the annoyance, hardship and peril that liquor makes in a new place.
There you must either abscond, or be prepared to defend yourself by physical force.
In the spring of 1862, the schooner Helen, from Saginaw, came into Thunder Bay River, to bring supplies for Walter Scott.
This happened on Sunday, and some of the writer’s men saw her come in, and knew that she would have liquor on board, as Scott had run out of that article toward spring.
So two or three were delegated, by the others, to go to Thunder Bay River and bring three gallons of whiskey.
We had finished the winter’s logging, and run the logs to the mill, and were intending to start the mill, to run night and day, that Sunday night, at midnight, but when the time came to start, we found only one man that could work, or could be trusted in the mill.
We had seen what was going on, and had placed in our pocket one of Colt’s revolvers, as a protector, while watching the mill.
Soon after daylight, in the morning, as we were standing in our door, we heard a loud noise in the men’s sleeping room, across the way, and soon an old German came down the steps, his face streaming with blood, and following him were three or four men.
We stepped quickly forward, and as we passed into the street, the old German passed us, going into the house.
We asked, what was the matter, but received no response.
We then passed on to meet the men, who said the German had committed some offense; had got drunk and went to bed and left them, and that they had gone to wake him up and give him hell.
Before they got through with their “yarn,” the German appeared with a shot gun, loaded with nine buck shot.
As soon as they saw the German with the gun, there was a scattering, each one dodging out of sight, as quick as possible, except one who was standing close to us, and did not at once take in the situation, but when he did, he clung to us for dear life.
The old German came within two rods of us, with the gun cocked and pointing at us, said: “Get out of the way or I will shoot.
I will kill him.”
We told the old man that he would do wrong to shoot us, for we could not get out of the way of the man; to put down his gun and go into the house, and we would settle the matter all right, and after talking, perhaps two minutes, which seemed a much longer time, he put down the gun and started for the house.
As soon as the gun was laid down, the man behind us ran and seized it by the muzzle, and gave it a whack across a log and narrowly escaped setting the gun off, pointing at his breast.
In the meantime, those who had been hidden away came out, swearing that they “would kill the Dutchman,” and all made a rush for the house.
We quickly made up our mind that we had business on hand, and we felt for our revolver and a small round stone, to grasp in the hand, to support it, and give weight to the blow, and started on the run for the house.
A number had reached it before us, some with sticks and other things they had picked up.
Two had reached the German and were whacking away at him.
As we went into the house, we reached from the shoulder, for every head that came in our way, until we came to the old man, whom we told to go upstairs, and on obeying, we followed him to the stairway.
By this time, those that their heads had come in contact with the hand that had the stone in it, were rushing for us, and to go up the stairs, when we turned round with the revolver in our hand, and with words well qualified, we told them that we would shoot the first man that made any more disturbance; for them to go home and get sober and pack up their things, for they would all be discharged, and go down on the schooner Helen.
This made a quietus.
We then sent the only sober man we had to Thunder Bay River, to engage the schooner to call at Devil River, on her way down.
The next day the schooner came in, and, reluctantly, they all went aboard.
Some were good men, and had been with us for a number of years, and we felt loth to let them go, but under the circumstances, we could not retain those and not the whole.
We then went to Detroit, by the way of Thunder Bay Island, and hired a new crew of men and women, and put them on board a small propeller, called the Clifton, that had just started to run on the shore, from Detroit to Alpena, and came up as far as Port Austin.
Here, the boat went into the harbor, to discharge some freight, and in backing out, she struck a rock and went on so fast, that she could not get off.
We then took all our freight and persons on shore, found a place where the ladies could stay, and went into camp with the men.
We were here two weeks before any craft came in, that could take us to Saginaw.
After reaching Bay City, we hired a craft to take us to Devil River, where we arrived, after four weeks’ absence.
Although we had succeeded in keeping the sale of liquor from Devil river, yet so long as it was sold within reach of the men, it was impossible to escape the pernicious effects of the occasional sprees, and we were pleased to learn that the parties, about to operate at Fremont, were opposed to the sale of liquor.
Soon after Mr. Miller came to Fremont, an informal meeting was had, at which were Daniel Carter, J. K. Miller, J. S. Irwin, A. F. Fletcher, and the writer, and it was verbally understood and agreed to use all proper means to keep the sale of spirituous liquors from Devil river and Fremont.
This was the first combination against whiskey, in the county, and although not very strongly bound together, yet firm enough to have kept whiskey from the place for a long time, had Mr. Miller not taken so much responsibility on himself, and left more for his neighbors.
Several attempts were made to sell liquor from small boats, but they were severely dealt with, and generally quit the place in disgust.
In 1859, J. K. Bingham came to Fremont, bringing with him a general assortment of goods, that he supposed would be needed in a new country, and among other things, a few barrels of assorted liquors.
He saw Mr. Miller, and requested him to store the goods in his warehouse, for a few days, until he could build a store.
Mr. Miller, learning that Mr. Bingham had liquors, refused to give it storage, and no other storehouse being in the place, Mr. Bingham was compelled to provide storage for his goods, which he did by landing them on the east side of the river, where he covered them with boards, set a watch over them day and night, and commenced to sell his liquors, and before Mr. Carter or the writer had any intimation of the facts, the business had got so far established, that it would require more effort than they wished to accept, and more responsibility than they wished to incur, under the circumstances, to stop it.
Mr. Bingham was a man of energy, had a fair education and address; had considerable means, and much influence at that time, as Moses Bingham was his son, and had been in Fremont for some time, and he was acquainted with Abram Hopper and others, from his part of the State.
He was not long in winning the respect and sympathy of a large portion of the citizens of the county.
Had Mr. Miller quietly taken possession of the liquor, and then notified his friends what he had, and all went to Mr. Bingham, in a body, and requested him to send the liquor away, and stating our reasons, he would have complied with our requests, and liquor, for a long time, might have been kept out of the place, with but little effort, had it been well directed.
Mr. Miller was very conscientious in regard to handling whiskey and tobacco, and so utterly refused to have anything to do with Mr. Bingham’s liquors, and for this hasty and conscientious act, he made an enemy of Mr. Bingham, alienated very much the sympathies of friends, lost much of his influence among the people, and caused himself, for many years, to be treated with discourtesy, by those who were in favor of the liquor traffic, and which sometimes took on a form of open abuse, which was not approved by the majority.
These abuses, after a time, extended to everyone who was opposed to seeing a drunken mob in the street, and finally culminated in a man, by the name of Crawford, being shot and killed.
This was a sad affair, and created much excitement and heated discussion at the time, the details of which cannot, with propriety, be given here, or at this time.
Whether this affair was a fortunate or unfortunate one, it did much good for the county.
It made a line of demarcation between rowdyism and law and order, and showed a large majority for the latter.
It showed the roughs, that they were not masters of the situation, as they supposed they were, nor did they receive the sympathy they expected from the people.
In 1867, a man by the name of Sprague, was arraigned before the Circuit Court, for heading a drunken mob, and fined, and whiskey, in large quantities, ceased to abuse people in the streets, and marked the end of the spreeing time of Alpena.
The same causes, which produced a change in the spreeing, also divided the people, in regard to the temperance question, and for some time a bitter feud was carried on between the parties.
In February, 1870, a temperance organization was effected, called the Temperance League of Alpena, its object being the suppression of the liquor traffic, in the place.
The officers of this powerful organization were: for President, Capt . A. E. Persons; for Secretary, F. S. Goodrich; for Treasurer, James J. Potter, and for executive committee, Wm. H. Potter, Scott Doane, Wm. D. Hitchcock, Christopher Burrell and T. M. Luce.
The following paper was drawn up, which explains itself; “We, the undersigned, agree to take the number of shares set opposite our names, at $5.00 each, subject to such assessments as the Executive Committee of the Temperance League may find necessary to make, in order to carry on the work of organization. The capital stock to be $2,000.00, or more.”
The names of the stock-holders are given, to show the power and influence of this combination against the sale of liquor. W. H. Potter, W. J. Roe, A. E. Persons, T. M. Luce, Balfor Lee, J. J. Potter, Scott Doane, J. D. Potter, Fred. S. Goodrich, W. D. Hitchcock, C. Burrell, F. H. Vroman, H. M. Jacobs, J. C. Park, Robert Rayburn, Samuel Dafoe, E. K. Potter, C. W. Vail, Henry S. Seage, B. R. Young, A. C. Tefft, A. N. Sprait, J. W. Marshall, F. S. Dewey, Benjamin Richards, James Oglevie, H. Cook, Rev. F. N. Barlow, C. C. Whitney, T. Lang Taylor, Z. M. Knight, M. B. Spratt, A. Miller, G. W. Jones, A. Crowell, A. L. Powers & Co, C. E. Wilcox, Wm. E. Rice, James Tuggy, Thos. G. Spratt, Herman Chamberlain, E. M. Raymond, Chas. N. Cornell, H. M. Hyatt, A. Hopper, A. F. Fletcher, P. M. Johnson & Co.. Folkerts & Butterfield, J. W. Van Horn, S. E. Hitchcock, C. H. Trask, W. H. Sexton, S. L. Meade, J. Van Dusen, Fred Miller, Geo. 11. Nicholson, E. C. Barlow, W. Nason, H. R. Morse, F. D. Spratt, D. G.Aber, T. Luce & Co., E. White, B. Williams, C. L. Kimball, Rev. A. B. Allen, D. Plough, C. H. Rice, Geo. Masters, W. McMasters, J. S. Minor, Douglass Scott, A. L. Seaman, and Hugh Mellen.
Many who were favorably inclined toward the temperance cause, refused to take stock in this combination, on account of the belligerent attitude, its extreme measures, and the bitterness then existing between the parties, alleging that action on the part of the League, would endanger the property of Alpena.
Among those were: Geo. N. Fletcher, David D. Oliver, Daniel Carter, and J. K. Lockwood.
The League went into operation, and for two years a fierce struggle ensued with various vicissitudes of success and defeat, the details, or discussion of which, cannot, with propriety, be given here, nor would they be amusing or instructive, if they could be.
It is enough to say, that the League never accomplished its object, and the animosity of the people was smothered in the great fire in 1872, which swept away much of the cause of contention, and mingled the sympathies of the citizens in the great calamity that had overtaken both parties.
Two criminal prosecutions were made, growing out of the affair.
Prejudice condemned the parties and sent them to prison, but justice liberated them, and sent them home, as nothing could be proved against them.
It is to be regretted that the temperance cause has been so extreme and intemperate in its movements.
Time, talent and money enough have been expended to have accomplished all necessary good that was sought, had it been properly directed.
While it will be readily conceded that much good has been done to persons and localities, through the cause, yet it would require but little argument to prove that it has utterly failed to destroy liquor or decrease its manufacture and sale.
The obvious reason is, that it has always tried to do too much at a time, and to have some events transpire before their antecedents; or, in other words, to do an impossibility.
Whenever it asked and obtained a passage of law in its favor, it was always so stringent that it was impracticable, and only led to litigation, without any good result.
When the temperance organizations shall cease to be so extreme in their views, and change their belligerent attitude—shall be willing to treat the opposition with as much respect and amiability as the Savior did Satan in the wilderness—shall endeavor to modify the cause, rather than cure effects—prefer making their own drunkards, to having them made by others; then they will make some headway against the monster that is destroying its thousands every year, and has, by repeated liberties in the shape of strictures by the temperance cause, grown to its maximum of poisonous effects.
The first society of Good Templars was organized sometime in 1866, but for some cause, soon became disorganized, the records of which the writer has not been able to find.
The present society of Good Templars was organized October 3rd, 1873, under the name and style of Alpena lodge, No. 775, I. O. of G. T.
The charter members were: J. J. Potter, D. P. Lester, K. M. Donnelly, John D. Potter, Alex. Campbell, Nettie Riddle, William Powell, J. D. Holmes, D. B. Hagarty, Mark Young, Johnson Hamilton, with J. J. Potter first Worthy Chief Templar. The following are the officers installed in Alpena lodge, No. 775, I. O. of G. T., May 5th, 1876:
W. C. T.—A. Harshaw.
W. V. T.—Miss Jennie Campbell.
W. S.—J. C. Brockler.
W. T.— H. A. McTavish.
W. M.—C. C. Snider.
W. I. G.—Miss Belle McKenzie.
B. H .S.—Miss Belle McNeil.
L. H. S.—Miss Ruby Huston.
W. C— H J. Eaton.
W. A. S.—Miss Mary Pickering.
W. F. S.—James H. McDonald.
W. D. M.—Miss Mary McTavish.
W. O. G.—John B. Cole.
Installing Officer.—Alex. Campbell.
We find the following prepared.
On December 28th, 1860, being St. John’s Day, the following officers were installed:
W. M.—Seth L. Carpenter.
S. W.—F. N. Barlow.
J. W.—A. Hopper.
Treas.—William H. Potter.
S. D.—W. E. Rice.
J. D.—Geo. W. Hawkins.
Stewards.—John McKay, James A. Case.
“The Alpena lodge of F. and A. M. has enjoyed a greater degree of prosperity than any other lodge of its age in the State.
It was organized in 1865, when our town was very small, and it was difficult to find Masons enough who would remain in town until we could establish a lodge.
With true Masonic perseverance and industry, a dispensation was finally procured, and Bro. Wm. P. Maiden was appointed Master.
No brother could have been called to preside over the lodge, who would have devoted more of his time, talent and energy than did Bro. Maiden.
The lodge immediately commenced to thrive and flourish in the most satisfactory manner.
A hall was elegantly fitted up, over Hyatt’s bakery, and a large class of the most excellent citizens knocked at the door for admittance.
Every stranger admitted the work to be excellently done, and our members visiting other lodges were masters of their work.
Bro. M. was elected in 1866, and re-elected in 1867, during which time the lodge has been in most excellent condition, and has found it necessary to procure a larger hall, which it has done, over the drug store.
Bro. Maiden retires from the Mastership of the lodge, with a noble record and the gratitude of all his fellows.”
Bro. Carpenter, who succeeds him, is an excellent man and Mason, an accomplished scholar, and a worthy citizen, and no doubt will discharge the duties of his office with ability and honor.
Lodge 199, F. and A. M., was organized in 1865, but did no work until 1866, when they obtained a hall over Hyatt’s meat market, and proceeded, under a dispensation, to open the first lodge, with the following officers and members:
W. M.—William P. Maiden.
S. W.—Orin Erskine.
J. W.—Josiah Frink.
Sec’y.—James K. Lockwood.
S. D.—James J. Potter.
J. D.—David Plough.
Stewards.—O. H. P. Allen, Chas. B. Greely.
Tyler.—H. N. Harvey.
Members: John Newton, P. M. Johnson, Robt. J. Taylor,
A. C. Tefft, Geo. B. Erskine, and William Long.
Second W. M., Seth L. Carpenter; third W. M., Chas. H. Rice; fourth W. M., A. Hopper; fifth W. M., C. H. Rice; sixth W. M., L. B. Howard, in 1876.
THUNDER BAY CHAPTER.
Thunder Bay Chapter, No. 74, R. A. M., held its first convocation in Masonic hall, August 30th, 1870, working under a dispensation, but was chartered January 10th, 1871, the first officers of which were:
High Priest—Henry Bolton.
King—Charles H. Rice.
Scribe—William D. Hitchcock.
Charter members: Henry Bolton, W. D. Hitchcock, S. L. Carpenter, Alex. McDonald, Chas. Oldfield, A. C. Rice, Charles H. Rice, Geo. W. Hawkins, A. W. Smith, J. B. Erskine, Chas. B. Greely, F. N. Barlow.
Second High Priest, A. Hopper; third High Priest, W. D. Hitchcock; fourth High Priest, Z. M. Knight.
In 1868, A County Bible Society was organized, as auxiliary to the American Bible Society, by the election of the following officers:
President—Rev. F. N. Barlow.
Vice-President—C. L. Kimball.
Corresponding Secretary—Rev. Rufus Apthorp.
Treasurer—W. D. Hitchcock.
Executive Committee —Rev. John Maywood, O. Mather, H. Hyatt, Benjamin Richards and M. B. Spratt.
THE YOUNG MEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION.
Was organized in May, 1870, with the following officers:
President;—William D. Hitchcock.
Vice-Presidents—C. T. Brockway and B. Richards.
Corresponding Secretary—Dr. McSween.
Recording Secretary—J. D. Holmes.
The Board of Managers were as follows: A. B. Blakely, A. D. Hermance, B. Haywood, J. M. Blakely and D. W. Campbell.
AMERICAN PROTESTANT ASSOCIATION.
In September, 1868, the American Protestant Association was organized, at Evergreen Hall, entitled Pine Grove lodge No. 5.
The first officers elected are as follows: John Kesten, W. M.; Alex. Campbell, W. D. M.; John Smith, R. S., Dougal McArthur, F. S.; James Dixon, A. S.; William Waltenbury, Treasurer; John A. Sloan, Conductor; Henry Wickerson, Assistant Conductor; William Hamilton, Lt.; W. H. Harvey, O. T.; J. R. Beach, Chaplain.
The first notice for the organization of a band, appeared in the Pioneer of the 20th of June, 1868, through the instance of the writer, who first agitated the matter, and donated the first ten dollars toward purchasing the instruments, which cost the sum of $350.
On August 1st, 1868, the organization of the band was completed, by the election of the following officers:
President—P. M. Johnson.
Vice-President—Dr. Wm. P. Maiden.
Treasurer—C. F. Lacy.
Directors—R. S. Toland, J. B. Tuttle, W. D. Hitchcock.
The band was composed as follows:
First Eb Cornet, Chas. F. Lacy.
Second Eb Cornet, F. A. Pennington.
Bb Cornet, Chas. Golling.
First Alto, Geo. F. Howard.
Second Alto, Thos. B. Johnston.
Third Alto, Scott Doane.
First Bb Tenor, Denton Sellick.
Solo Baritone, Abram Hopper.
Tuba, Sylvester Williams.
Tenor Drum, Robert S. Toland.
Cymbals, Willie B. Boggs.
Bass Drum, Joseph C. Park.
Mr. Howard, Teacher and Manager.
ALPENA AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.
In April, 1874, a meeting was called, for the purpose of forming an agricultural society, but no action was taken at this time; but on the 30th of May, when the citizens of Alpena county met and organized the Alpena County Agricultural Society, by adopting a constitution and by-laws, and electing the following gentlemen directors to manage the affairs of the society for the first year: W. H. Potter, Seth A. L. Warner, J. K. Lockwood, James J. Potter, D. P. Buker, W. H. Phelps, James A. Case, Joseph Cavanagh, N. M. Brackinreed and W. H. Sanborn.
The object of the society was the promotion of agricultural, horticultural and domestic industry, by the use of competition prizes.
The officers shall be elected annually, by ballot, and shall consist of a President, a Vice-President in each organized township, who shall have the care of the society in his township, and shall be presiding officer of any meeting pertaining to the society in the absence of the President, a Secretary, Treasurer and Executive Committee.
The by-laws give the general duties of the officers and the general management of the society.