Report of the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan
Lansing, Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers (1906) page 250
Isaac DOTY died June 24, 1880, aged 76 years and 5 months. Mr. D. was a native of Wallingford, Wt., laboring in woolen mills in several of the eastern states until he was 39 years old, then he came to Michigan, but made no very permanent location until 1864, when he came to Wheatland, where his family still reside.
Ralph BACON died September 14, 1880, aged 61 years and 4 months. He was a native of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where he lived forty-four years, then came to Michigan, settling in Macon, Lenawee County, where he lived four years, then came to Wheatland, residing here thirteen years, where his family still live.
John PECK died October 1, 1880, aged 61 years. He was a native of Phelps, Ontario County, N. Y., where he lived twenty-four years, then came to Michigan, settling in Hillsdale township, where he lived twenty years, coming to Wheatland in the spring of 1863, where the family yet live.
Jonathan G. OWENS died Dec. 5, 1880, in Macedon, Wayne County, N. Y. (while on a visit), aged 72 years and 3 months. He was a native of Patterson, N. J. In early manhood he went to Macedon where he lived a number of years, coming to Wheatland in 1857; the family still living here.
Melissa, wife of John S. ADAMS, died Jan. 16, 1881, aged 60 years and 6 months. She came to Wheatland in 1840 (the husband being absent and no record of her nativity, her son could give only the State of N. Y.).
Eva, consort of the late Philip ALPAUGH - should judge her to be 80 years or over - died in December last. She lived some five miles from me, and it not being convenient to visit the family I have no statistics.
Abigail MACOMBER died March 1, 1881, aged 77 years and 6 months; was born in Saratoga, N. Y., living 20 years in Caledonia, Livingston County, 9 years in Rollin, Lenawee County, and the last five years in Wheatland, with Mr. CATLIN, a son-in-law.
The wife of Aretus BEECHER, an old resident of this town, died April 14, 1881, aged 75 years. She was born in Champeon, Jefferson County, N. Y., and moved with her parents when 11 years old to Orleans county, remaining there some 30 years, and spending the remainder of her life in Wheatland.
I heard tonight of the death of another old resident of this town, which occurred May 27th, - Horace N. BARNES, aged about 70 years. Have no record, but from recollections think he has resided here between 30 and 40 years.
Fayette - letter from hon. W. J. BAXTER
Hon. Alex. HEWITT, Secretary of the Hillsdale County Pioneer Society:
DEAR SIR, - As one of the vice-presidents, I am aware that it is expected of me, and that it is my duty if possible, to be present at your annual meeting, and to present a report of the deaths which have occurred among the pioneers in the township of Fayette during the past year. I have earnestly desired and intended to be present, and until I received notice that your meeting was called for the first day of June, had supposed that it would occur a week later, and so had, as a member of the executive committee of the Hillsdale County Sabbath School Association, united in fixing the annual convention of that association for May 31st and June 1st and 2nd at Church's Corners, and as president of the association it seems absolutely necessary that I should meet with them. This will be the first of your annual gatherings that I have missed for several years, and I trust that it is the only one I shall fail to attend so long as my life and health are spared.
From year to year the death-roll of our early pioneers is lengthened, and the number of those who as active participants cleared up the wilderness and established pioneer homes in this State and county grows less and less, and the sons and daughters of those early settlers will soon be their sole representatives.
During the past year, many, very many, having finished so far as they might, the work that was given them to do, have been called from labor here to refreshment and rest above as the reward of a virtuous and well-spent life. The day is not far distant when not one of the early pioneers will be left, and they will only be known and remembered by the results accomplished by their labors.
For many, very many, of those honored early settlers have we been called upon during the past year to perform the last offices of affection and respect. Among them the president of this Society, whose eloquent voice was by many of us heard for the last time from this stand at our annual meeting one year ago I trust a fitting tribute will be paid to his memory and worth, and spread upon the records of our Society.
Death has been particularly busy among the pioneers in the township of Fayette since our last meeting. Some have fallen in our midst, and some long identified with us have fallen in the new homes they have made for themselves elsewhere, but I have given the names of all who were pioneers in the township of Fayette who have been during the year called to their long rest, wheresoever they may have fallen, as I have deemed it fitting that their names should be recorded in our books.
Mrs. Lydia LUCE, widow of Deacon Thomas LUCE, for many years a resident of Jonesville, where with her husband she encountered and endured the hardships of pioneer life, died at Wellsville, Mich., at the residence of her son. H. W. LUCE, July 8th, 1880, aged 87 years. Her remains were brought to Jonesville and rest in our village cemetery with those of her husband, who died several years since.
Landrus GOODWIN, who, in 1836, purchased the farm just west of Jonesville, upon which he had ever since lived, died October 17th, 1880, aged 77 years.
Simeon B. WHITE, since 1841 a resident and active, earnest worker as a former mill-owner, merchant, and produce dealer, had made his home in the township of Fayette, where he reared a family, some of whom are now among our foremost business men, died at Jonesville, October 27th, 1880, aged 66 years.
Mrs. Thankful GAY, widow of Simon L. GAY, who came to Michigan in 1823 and to Hillsdale county in 1836, where she was the efficient landlady in several of our pioneer hotels, died at Jonesville, November 10th, 1880, at the age of sixty-five years. Her son James H. GAY is one of the efficient business men of Jonesville.
Richard S. VARNUM, who first settled in Monroe when he came to Michigan as a boy from his early home in Massachusetts, and came to Jonesville in 1841, where he had ever since been a leading business man, died December 26th, 1880, at the age of sixty-three years. He was postmaster at Jonesville under Lincoln and Johnson. He was twice married. His last wife was a daughter of E. P. CHAMPLIN, and with her three sons, now all grown to man's estate, now survive him. The sons carry on the business in which he was long engaged.
Daniel A. WISNER, one of the prominent merchants of Jonesville, who came into the county in 1836 and lived here ever since, died at Jonesville, January 5th, 1881, at the age of 71 years. He leaves a widow and several sons, who carry on the business in which their father was engaged. He was an earnest, active Christian gentleman.
John JONES, a native of Wales, who came to Michigan when a boy, and who had lived in this county since 1839, died at Jonesville, January 7th, 1881, at the age of 70 years. He was an earnest Christian and an elder in the Presbyterian church at Jonesville for over twenty years.
John D. EVANS, an early resident of Jonesville, and a volunteer from that place in the late war, died at Allen, in this county, in January, 1881, aged 62 years. He came to Hillsdale county in 1836.
Mrs. Abel E. BABCOCK, a resident of Hillsdale county since her girlhood, and for many years past a resident of Jonesville, died February 7, 1881, aged 59 years. In her careful nursing of the sick, and in affording relief to the suffering, it is said she imperiled her own life, and contracted the disease which carried her off.
Mrs. Jonathan B. GRAHAM, who came to Michigan from Connecticut as a young bride in 1835, and for more than forty years resided in this county, honored and loved by a wide circle of friends, died at Jonesville, February 17, 1881, at the age of 68 years.
Charles T. DELAVAN, who, with his father, the late Dr. Tompkins DELAVAN, and a large family of brothers and sisters, came to this county in 1834, where he had since resided, died at Jonesville, February 26, 1881, aged 72 years.
Elizabeth S., wife of David THORPE, a resident of this township for many years, died early in March, 1881, at the age of 69 years.
John JERMAIN, who came to Michigan in 1823, and to Jonesville at an early day with his sons, where, with his sons, he established the first paper in the county, a large land-owner, and in his maturity a good business man, died at the residence of his daughter in Detroit, about the 20th of March, 1881, at the age of 85 years. His venerable widow, a daughter of Dr. T. C. DELAVAN, still survives.
Uriah B. COUCH, for many years a resident and active business man in Hillsdale county, a resident of Jonesville while this county was still attached to and a part of Lenawee county, and the first sheriff of the county, and who was with us and took part in our last annual meeting, died at Smith Center, Kansas, March 6, 1881. He was over 80 years of age.
The above list is a long one for a single township in a single year, and yet it contains only the names of such as were strictly pioneers, who endured all the hardships and privations of early settlers in this then wilderness. Many who came later, and were therefore only semi-pioneers, having done much to develop, improve, and beautify the county, have passed to their rest, have not been named for the reason that they did not properly belong to the class of early settlers.
The hands that now trace the names of these worthies, who have aided largely to make our county and State what it is, may themselves, before another year rolls round, be palsied and still. But while God gives us life and strength we may emulate the virtues and seek to build well on the firm foundations laid by our pioneer fathers and mothers.
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