1881 Necrologists Report and Election of Officers

The following officers were all re-elected by acclamation:

Executive Committee -- Abijah Huyck, M. J. Gard, Josiah Layland, Henry Keeler, Henry Michael, Robert J. Dixon, Jesse J. Beeson, John Nixon, J. R. Grinnell, J. H. Hitchcox, Jefferson Osborn, J. N. Marshall, D. R. Stevens, R. D. May, James H. Beauchamp, Mason Doane.


Among those present on the stand, we noted Mr. Branch, president of the Pioneer society of Van Buren county; W. B. Langley, secretary of the St. Joseph county association; Elijah Goble, an early settler on Little Prairie Ronde, but now a resident of our neighboring county of Van Buren, where an ambitious little hamlet, with a post office called Gobleville, has sprung up; Hon. A. B. Copley, who has also left the borders of our county, but not liking to get far away, has stopped at Decatur; Hon. George Meacham, the first sheriff of the county; Jacob Rinehart, now 76 years old, who settled on Young's Prairie in 1828; Wilson Harper, now of Berrien; Sewell Hull, also a resident of that county at present, Hon. W. G. Beckwith, Duncan McIntosh, Jesse G. Beeson, Benj. Cooper, Sr., E. C. Smith, and others.


Upon assembling in the afternoon, short, but pertinent and happy speeches were made by Mr. Branch, president of the Van Buren Pioneer society, W. B. Langley, secretary of the St. Joseph society, Hon. A. B. Copley, and Hon. Jesse G. Beeson.


The whole audience, led by the band, sung the Pioneer Anthem, composed by Hon. Levi Bishop expressly for this society, to the tune of Old Hundred, the immense volume of sound making the woods re-echo with the song of praise.


It will be remembered that the Hon. Levi Bishop, of Detroit, donated to the society a copy of his poems, 5th edition, to be given to the pioneer having had the greatest number of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

In the course of the regular order of business, the President announced the names of the competitors for this book as follows:

The President then said: Until within half an hour I had supposed that this industrious and productive pioneer would be entitled to the book of poems; but Mrs. Lovina Reames, of the same town, aged 83 years, the widow of Aaron Reames, can boast a progeny far in excess of any heretofore announced. She has had children 13, grandchildren 61, great grandchildren 42, total 116.

It gives me great pleasure to be able to state that for years I lived on a farm adjoining the one occupied by Mrs. Reames, and learned to know her as a kind-hearted Christian woman, who was loved by all her neighbors and friends. Then addressing Mrs. Reames who sat in front of the stand, Mr. Turner said: In the name of Michigan's most gifted poet, the Hon. Levi Bishop, I am requested to present you this book. It is a token of his high regard for you, the most prolific pioneer in Cass county at present known to this society.

Take it, and rest assured that not only Mr. Bishop but this large assemblage of men and women honor you and yours for having done so much, legitimately, to multiply and replenish the earth; thereby fulfilling a very pleasant duty, and obeying a positive scriptural command. That your, and your children's days may be greatly lengthened in the land, and continued success attend every laudable undertaking of yourself and progeny, is, I have no doubt, the earnest wish of the thousands assembled here today.


NEWSOM TANN, of Calvin, was found dead on his farm, August 16, 1879, aged 67.

ALEXANDER BOLTER, formerly of Porter, this county, and father of Lemuel R. Bolter, died at his residence in Harrison county, Iowa, June 23, 1879, about the 70th year of his age. Mr. B. was an early settler in the vicinity of Shavehead Prairie, and was remarkable for his eccentricities, one of which is well remembered by all lovers of funny anecdotes, in connection with his second marriage to a young maid which occurred after Mr. Bolter had passed the age of 60 years.

MRS. MARY GREEN, wife of Amos Green, of Volinia, died at Manton, Wexford county, Mich., July 15, 1879, in the 48th year of her age. She was the eldest daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth Gard, and was born in Volinia, June 13, 1832. She married Mr. Green, who survives her, in March, 1851, and three children were the fruits of their wedded life. She had always resided in this county until about a year before her death, when she removed to Northern Michigan. A woman of strong mind and tender heart, she bequeathed a warm and motherly influence on a host of sorrowing friends at her decease.

MRS. CLARISSA BROWN MEAD, widow of the late Barak Mead, Esq., of Cassopolis, died at her residence in this village, July 28, 1879. She was born in Middlefield, Otsego county, N. Y., December 11, 1805, and December 26, 1822, was married to Squire Mead at Amenia, N. Y. In 1834, with her husband, she came to Michigan and settled August 1st, at Edwardsburg, where they continued to reside until April, 1847, when they came to Cassopolis. Her husband died February 26, 1874. Mrs. Mead was one of the organizers of the Baptist Church at Edwardsburg, and lived and died a worthy exemplar of the true Christian life. Five children, grown to man and womanhood, survive to cherish her memory.

MRS. MARY ANDERSON, wife of Ebenezer Anderson, of Penn township, died at her residence, August 10, 1879. She was born near Bedford, Pa., November 9, 1798, and when only one year old her parents removed to Ohio, where January 12, 1823, she married Mr. Anderson, who still survives her, and raised a large family of children, Lemuel, Samuel, and Richard, and the late Mrs. D. M. Howell, Mrs. Sarah Stewart, of Iowa, and Mrs. John Ellen Mowrey, whose well-known traits of character came largely from their deceased mother. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson came to Niles, November 28, 1833, and in 1841 came to Cass county.

COLEMAN C. PECK, of Marcellus, but for many years a resident of Cassopolis, fell dead on the street in Marcellus, February 24, 1880.

GREEN ALLEN, of Calvin, was one of the first colored citizens who settled in Cass county. He was born in Northampton county, N. C., February, 1807, and having removed on account of the blight of slavery in his native State, to Logan county, Ohio, he pushed on to Michigan, where larger and ampler opportunities were afforded to his race, and settled in Calvin in September, 1848. Here, by honesty and industry, he acquired a large property, which with an untarnished name he bequeathed to his large family of descendants, among whom are some of the most respected of our county. His death occurred August 17, 1879.

JOHN HARVEY SIMPSON, of Pokagon, died at his residence in that town, August 19, 1879. He was born in New Hampshire, October 2, 1824, and came to Michigan about 30 years ago. He was an active and influential member of the Baptist Church, and a most exemplary Christian and highly esteemed citizen.

MRS. JANE VAN VLIET HULL, wife of Sewell Hull, died near Sacramento, Cal., August 27, 1879, in the 75th year of her age. Mrs. H. was born in New York, and in 1837 came to Niles, Berrien county, and in 1850 removed to Dowagiac, and afterwards to Cassopolis. In 1869, with her husband, she removed to Kansas, and in 1877 they again removed to California. Mrs. Hull possessed great energy and was ever engaged in works of love and philanthropy, and devoted to the propagation of anti-slavery doctrines when they were not as popular as in later days.

NATHAN ROBINSON, of Jefferson died after a very brief illness of a few hours, on Sept. 3, 1879, aged 59, at his home in the southern part of Jefferson township. He was an early settler in this county, but we have not been able to learn the facts in his history.

MRS. HANNAH DECKER died at her residence in Howard township, Sept. 8, 1879, at the age of 64 years. She was an early settler in Cass county, and the mother of Charles Decker, who formerly ran the Cassopolis foundry.

MRS. RACHAEL SHERMAN, widow of Joseph Sherman of Marcellus, died at her residence, Sept. 18, 1879, at the age of 76. She came to Cass county and settled in Marcellus about the year 1842.

MRS. ROXANA HATCH, widow of Noah Hatch, who was the father of Dr. O. M. Hatch of Mason, died at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Hugh C. McNeil, in Mason, Sept. 18, 1879. Mrs. Hatch, who was formerly the widow Ives, came to Cass county about 40 years ago, and married Noah Hatch in 1842, with whom she lived until his death in 1851. She was the mother of four sons and two daughters by her former husband Ives, all grown to years of useful citizenship in our county.

CHARLES HENRY MORRISAND ESTHER JONES MORRIS of Volinia, whose foul murder, Sept. 28, 1879, has been on the lips of every citizen, need only a passing notice. Henry, the youngest son of Dolphin Morris, was born on the farm where he was murdered, May 9, 1847. His wife, a daughter of Asa Jones of Edwardsburg, was born near that village about two years later. They were married December 24, 1869. An only child died in infancy in September previous to their murder.

VORTIMER RATHBUN died in Cassopolis, Oct. 17, 1879, aged 45 years. He was born in Sandusky county, O., July 5, 1834. He came to Cass county about 25 years ago, and lived with his father, Lucius Rathbun, and his older brother, Lafayette. He left a widow and four children.

FLOYD GAWTHROP, formerly of this county, and a brother of David Gawthrop, died at his residence in Amherst, Wis., Oct. 20, 1879.

MRS. LORA NORTHROP HULL, wife of Prof. P. G. Hull, and daughter of A. D. Northrop of Calvin, died suddenly at Jackson, Mich., Nov. 14, 1879. She was born at the present residence of her father, in Calvin, March 18, 1855.

DAVID S. BALDWIN, only son of Wm. Baldwin, a pioneer of Pokagon, died at Troy, Mich., Nov. 19, 1879, aged 33. He was born in Pokagon. He had achieved considerable notoriety and success as a banjoist and end man in the negro minstrelsy business.

ELIZABETH BUTCHER died in Calvin, Dec. 12, 1879, at the age of 79 years.

MRS. JUDITH MARLET, a daughter of Dr. G. W. Fosdick, of Volinia, died in Chicago, Dec. 14, 1879, aged 29 years. She was born in Goshen, Ind., but lived nearly all her life in Cass county.

WILLIAM YOUNG, who was most atrociously robbed and murdered, Dec. 16, 1879, at his residence in Howard, came to this county in 1831, and settled on the land he purchased from the government, in 1832. His daughters, Mrs. Corral Messenger, and Mrs. Austin Curtis, survive him, and one, Mrs. Jason B. Coats has since died. Uncle Billy Young was a man of eccentric habits. He was born in Rutland, Vt., April 17th, 1798.

DAVID BEMENT, the father of Harley S. Bement, Esq., of Jefferson, died at his residence in Ontwa, Dec. 18, 1879. Mr. B. was born in Hartford county, Conn., Oct 17, 1813, and at the age of eight years was taken by his parents to Ontario county, N. Y. In 1836 he came to the then wilderness of Michigan and entered land in Mason township. Returning to New York, he, in 1838, married Miss Roxana Schutt, and returned to Michigan to carve out a home. In 1843 he swapped for a farm in Ontwa, where he lived till his death. A kind and warm-hearted neighbor, an unflinching democrat, a good citizen, and an honest man, the whole community mourned the death of David Bement. His estimable wife and five children survive him.

GEORGE ROGERS, of Adamsville, died at his residence, December 28, 1879, aged 51 years. He was born in Wayne county, N. Y., and removed to this county in October, 1849. For many years a justice of the peace, and for four years, 1869 - '70 - '71 -'72, as treasurer of Ontwa, Mr. Rogers faithfully discharged the duties of official station, and died respected alike by political friends and foes.

MILTON HULL, of Dowagiac, was born in Danville, Vt., October 17th, 1804. His father was the sixth settler of the township in Vermont where young Milton was born. At the age of thirty, Milton removed to Niles, and in 1850 to Dowagiac, where he resided until his death, December 28, 1879, which occurred very suddenly, as he was found dead in bed, apparently having died without a struggle. Deacon Hull was a most exemplary Christian citizen, and by his honest and laborious life justified, yea more, magnified his profession.

MRS. AUGETINE MESSENGER died at the residence of her son, Cruso Trudell, in Cassopolis, January 17th, 1880, very suddenly, aged 65 next November. She was the widow of Reverius Messenger.

DANIEL VAN TUYL -- One of the most remarkable men among the early settlers of Cass county was "Uncle Dan." Van Tuyl. He was born in New Jersey, March 13, 1796. His father died in his youth, and with his mother he removed to Pennsylvania, and then, about 1816 he removed to Geauga county, Ohio, and in the fall of 1835 he came to Cass county and settled on the farm now owned by Henry Hanson, in Jefferson. He left six children to cherish the memory of a truly remarkable man. He was nearly 84 years of age, and had never tasted liquor or used tobacco in any shape in his long life. Another commendable habit from which he never varied, was always to pay his debts either before or at the time they were due. His death occurred January 20, 1880.

MRS. JASON B. COATS died in child-birth at her residence in LaGrange township, three miles west of Cassopolis, on January 20th, 1880. She was a daughter of William Young. She was born in Howard township, May 27th, 1836.

GEORGE SMITH, of Milton, who was one of the early settlers of the south part of Cass county, was born in Sussex county, Delaware, September 22, 1810. He came to Michigan in October, 1828, and built a log cabin that year at the foot of Lake street in Edwardsburg, and there lived for several years until about 1830, when he removed to his farm in Milton, where he died January 25, 1880. Uncle George was a peculiar man in many respects, and possessed many good traits of character. He left a large and well-known family. Wm. H. Smith, of Howard, is a son of this venerable pioneer.

JOHN LYBARKER, of Mason, died February 18, 1880. He was born in Pennsylvania, and came to Ohio at an early day, and twenty-eight years ago came to Mason and settled in the north part of the township. He was a highly respected citizen, and in Mr. Lybarker's death the community lost a quiet and unostentatious citizen. He was repeatedly elected by his fellow citizens to office, and in all stations acquitted himself to the satisfaction of the community.

NATHAN ODELL, of Penn, died at his residence in that township, February 22, 1880, in his 61st year. Nathan was the fifth son of James Odell, who bought in 1832 the old Carpenter mill, the first built in Cass county, and was born in Paint township, Highland county, Ohio, September 8, 1819. In 1831 his parents removed to Pigeon Prairie, St. Joseph county, Michigan, and the next year removed to Penn, and settled on section 34, where Nathan lived until his death. His wife, formerly Miss Electa Knowlton, of Mishawaka, Ind., who still survives him, and to whom he was married January 19, 1851, receives the warm sympathy of the many friends of the deceased. His father, James Odell, was a member of the first constitutional convention of Michigan.

BARKER F. RUDD, of Newberg, died at his residence in that township February 22, 1880. He, with his two brothers, Maryrick and Stephen, came to Cass county from Vermont, where he was born, and settled in 1834 on the farm where he died, in Newberg. Jeremiah came in 1836 and died in 1855. His two sons, Jay and Orson, are still respected citizens of this county. Six children and his widow survive him. He was married to Miss Lucinda Brakeman, in Newberg, July 4, 1838.

MRS. JENNETTE H. MORTON, wife of Charles L. Morton, of Cassopolis, died at his residence February 27, 1880, greatly beloved and respected by a large circle of admiring friends and relatives. She was born at Cassopolis, October 27, 1843, and married Mr. Morton February 1, 1870.

MRS. S. M. ROBERTS died at Vandalia, March 1, 1880, in her 62d year. She was born at Lockport, N. Y., August 21, 1818, and married James Roberts at Stockbridge, Mich., February 6, 1844, and in 1851 removed to Vandalia. Under the preaching of Elder Miller she became an earnest member of the Church of Christ, and maintained her active Christian work to her death.

HENRY W. BROWNELL, died at Adamsville, March 12, 1880, in the 71st year of his age. He was born in New York, and had resided over twenty-five years in Ontwa township. In his religious belief he was a consistent member of the Society of Friends, or Quakers. Several children, among whom Mrs. Eli Benjamin, of Adamsville, were born to this venerable citizen.

MRS. HARRIET WOODIN SMITH, wife of Charles Smith, of Mason, died March 4, 1880. She came to Michigan from Cayuga county, N. Y., in 1846, on the farm where she died. She was beloved and respected by all who knew her. Mrs. Theodore F. Garvin, of Elkart, is a daughter of the deceased.

OWEN DEAL was born in Amsterdam, N. Y., July 2, 1816, and at the age of three years his parents removed him to Cayuga county, N. Y. In December, 1836, he removed to Diamond Lake. April 2, 1837, he married Miss Angeline Nash, sister of Ira Nash, the first merchant of Geneva. In 1839 he built on the north bank of Diamond Lake a pocket foundry, which he ran for about two years and then came to Cassopolis and began the manufacture of the Baker plow in company with Nathan Baker, who had constructed at Geneva, in 1833, the foundry where the first iron plows were made in Cass county. In February, 1845, he removed to Valparaiso, Ind., and there built and operated the first iron foundry. Seven years later he returned to Cassopolis, and here continued the manufacture of all kinds of iron castings until about 1867, when he removed to Constantine, Mich., and there died March 22, 1880. He was the father of twelve children, ten of whom, with his widow, survive him.

MAJ. JOS. SMITH, whose bountiful table spread under yonder trees at our last annual gathering fed all who were not otherwise provided, has gone, and his absence to day is most marked. Maj. Smith was born in Bottetourt county, Va., April 11, 1809, and at the age of three years his parents removed to Clarke county, Ohio, and in 1831 Joseph came to Calvin and purchased the mill property known as the Aiken mill. In 1835 he sold out and bought a large tract of land in Jefferson, where he made his home until 1854, when having since 1847 been engaged in the mercantile business he removed his family to Cassopolis and there continued to reside until his death, April 18, 1880, aged 71 years. Feb. 25, 1830, he married Miss Jennie Lippincott, who with a large family of children survive him. Maj. Smith was a man of large business experience, in which he was eminently successful. Always a Democrat of unyielding devotion to his party he was ever active in the promulgation of his party principles. With Edwin Bridges, Jacob and Abiel Silver, he was chosen delegate to the Ann Arbor convention of Dec. 14, 1836, which adopted a memorial address assenting to the admission of Michigan as a State of the Union upon certain conditions proposed by Congress. Maj. Smith was also a member of the first Legislature of the so-called State, which convened at Detroit, Nov. 2, 1835, and again in extra session July 4, 1836. His colleague was James Odell, the father of Nathan Odell, to whose death allusion has already been made. Smith was also a member of the next, or in reality the first, State Legislature after the admission of the State, which took place Jan. 26, 1837. He was a candidate of his party for the constitutional convention of 1867, but while running ahead of his ticket failed by a few votes of an election. His death, April 18, 1880, was doubtless hastened by a fall he received on an icy step a few weeks before.

MRS. LOTTIE TURNER BANKS, wife of James Banks and youngest daughter of our esteemed President of the Cass County Pioneer Society, Hon. Geo. B. Turner, died at her father's residence in Cassopolis, May 1, 1880, in the 22d year of her age. This young and gentle wife and beloved daughter was most justly esteemed by all who knew her, and we can only lay fresh garlands of sympathy on the new-made grave.

EPHRAIM MC CLARY, of Warsaw, Ind., died at his residence near Warsaw, May 16, 1880. Mr. McClary was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, March 31. 1808, and emigrated to Cass county in 1829. He married Rachael Colyar, May 3, 1832, and the following year removed to Kosciusko county, Ind., where he remained until his death, an earnest and consistent member of the Baptist church.

SARAH JANE JEWELL, wife of Elbridge Jewell, daughter of Eli P. Bonnell, deceased, died at her residence in this township, May 12, 1880, aged 43 years, 11 months, and 16 days, highly respected and universally regretted by all who knew her.

MRS. CLARISSA A. COOPER, wife of Horatio Cooper, and daughter of Eli P. Bonnell, one of Cass county's early settlers, died at her residence on La Grange Prairie, May 27, 1880, at the age of 37 years. She was born in La Grange.

MRS. MARY A. PERRY, daughter of Isaac and Mariah Hull, formerly of Calvin, died at her home in Logan, Harrison county, Iowa, June 7, 1880. Deceased was born in Clarke county, Ohio, June 7, 1838, and the same year removed with her parents to Cass county, Michigan. In 1853 she married Joseph Parker, one of Calvin's early settlers, who, with his family, removed to Iowa in 1868, and there he died in 1875. Two years later Mrs. Parker married William Perry. For twenty-five years she was a member of the Disciple church and died in the faith of the Master.

LEVI SANDERS, a well known colored citizen of Calvin, fell dead in the village of Cassopolis, Feb. 28,1880.

IRA STRICKLAND, of Jefferson, was born in Massachusetts in 1820, and died at his residence in Jefferson, June 7, 1880. At the early age of three years he removed with his parents to Ohio, and in 1833 he came to Michigan. In 1847 he married Miss Jane Waldron, who survives him. She was a daughter of Aunt Katie Waldron whose death we chronicled two years ago.

LEWIS RINEHART, of Baldwin's Prairie, died at his residence Dec. 6, 1879, aged 72 years, having been born in Virginia, Dec. 5, 1807. He came to Cass county Feb. 28, 1829, and about 50 years ago married Miss Anna Frakes, now living and present today, and by whom he had 12 children. Last year Mr. Rinehart was present at the meeting, and gave some vivid pictures of his early experiences in Cass county.

RUSSELL COOK, who has resided in Pokagon for some 36 years, died greatly respected, Dec. 5, 1879. He was born in Otsego county, N. Y., May 4, 1815.

BENJAMIN JARVIS, one of the pioneers of Cass county of 1834, and who came here from his birth-place, Wayne county, Ind., where he was born May 4, 1824, died at his residence in Pokagon, Dec. 29, 1879. He was a brother of Zadoc and Norman, well-known citizens of LaGrange township.

JOHN HAIN died July 8, 1879, at his residence in LaGrange township, where he settled in 1830. He was born in Lincoln county, N. C., August 15, 1799, and removed to Clarke county, Ohio, in 1820, where about five years after he married Miss Jane Petticrew. With his brother, David, whose death was announced last year, he came and settled on section 31, LaGrange. John was enrolled or drafted in the Black Hawk war, and was thrice summoned to Niles to fight imaginary Indians and failing to respond at the third call was court-martialed, but after the Indian troubles were over was pardoned. Four children are now living, two in California, and Mrs. Wm. Condon of Jefferson, and John Hain, who occupies the old farm which his father patented from the government under the signature of Andrew Jackson.

JOSEPH MC PHERSON was born Aug. 16, 1800, in Ohio, and Sept. 21, 1821, married Miss Sarah Petticrew. He came to Cass county in 1829, and settled in LaGrange township, where was built the Petticrew mill. In 1842 Mr. McPherson removed to Laporte Co., Ind., and died near Union Mills, July 4, 1879. His son, John McPherson, is the proprietor of the Centennial Mills at Dailey.

MRS. NANCY RICHMOND, wife of Jonathan Richmond, died at her residence in Porter, July 11, 1879. She was born in Ohio, Feb. 1, 1815, and came to Porter, Cass Co., over 43 years ago.

MRS. MARY FINCH KNAPP, widow of William, and mother of Amos Knapp, of Silver Creek, died at her son's residence in that town, Sept. 8, 1879, aged 76 years. Mrs. K. came here from Columbia county, N. Y., about 36 years ago.

MRS. LAURA H. HAMMOND, wife of Eleazer Hammond, died at his residence in Milton, Sept. 9, 1879. She was born in Rutland Co., Vt., Sept. 22, 1809, and married Mr. H. at Lockport, N. Y., Aug 31, 1837, and with her husband came to Niles in 1844, and soon thereafter settled in Milton.

MRS. MARY WISE died in Mason township, Sept. 9, 1879. Born in Cass county in May, 1843.

DAVID A. KEENE was accidentally killed by a falling tree in Penn township, March 16, 1880. He was born in that township, was well respected, and was about 34 years of age.

WILLIAM M. HEAZLIT of Dowagiac, was born in Cayuga county, N. Y., Sept. 23, 1819, and came to Cass county, and settled near Dowagiac in May, 1847. He died at his residence, April 2, 1880.

JACOB B. BUTTS, who died at his home in Milton, March 22, 1880, had been a respected resident of this county for upwards of thirty-five years. He was born in Pennsylvania, June 5, 1827, His widow, a daughter of Peter Truitt, and several children survive him.