From History of Ingham and Eaton Counties, Michigan
by Samuel W. Durant
Published 1880 by D.W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia


The first settlers in the township were probably two brothers by the name of MARSHALL in 1837 or 1838, on the southeast quarter of section 3, on land now owned by George CULVER. Obed MARSHALL entered land on this section in 1837, and was presumably one of the brothers. They were physicians by profession, and apparently had plenty of means, but we have not been able to learn anything of their antecedents. They cut pine timber on the east shore of Pine Lake, rafted it across the lake and erected a log house a few rods south of where the dwelling of George CULVER now stands. They brought with them ten yoke of oxen, and had a number of hands employed. They cleared a small area, but whether they raised any crops tradition does not inform us.

About 1839 or 1840 they sold the property to Parley DAVIS, who was from the town of Greene, Chenango Co., N.Y., who cleared up a farm, and remained upon it until about 1852 or '53, when he sold it to Benjamin GUILE.

Mr. GUILE lived on the place until 1855, when he sold to George CULVER, the present owner.

was born in Palmyra, Wayne Co., N.Y., in October, 1793, and is consequently, at this writing, October, 1880, eighty-seven years of age; but no one who sees his well-preserved and active form would suspect that he had seen "Yon weary sun twice forty times return," and seven years to spare.

Mr. CULVER, married, in 1824, Miss Olive SMITH, of Luzerne Co., Pa., who was born in 1804.

When he settled on the banks of the beautiful lake where he now resides, the log house built by the MARSHALLs was still standing.

Mr. CULVER has been twice a pioneer; once in 1825 in Farmington, Oakland Co., Mich., and a second time in Meridian, Ingham Co., for the country around Pine Lake was almost a wilderness twenty-five years ago. The lake has a clean shore along his property.

James SMITH,
from Ohio, settled on section 1 about 1839, and died at his home about 1844-45. His three sons now own the land entered by him in April, 1837.

settled on section 13 about 1840. He and his wife both died in 1851, and are buried in the Okemos cemetery. He was the father of George MATTHEWS, the first supervisor of the township, and long a prominent citizen. George MATTHEWS was a farmer and mechanic, and was interested in building the plank-road from Lansing to Detroit. He filled the office of county treasurer for four years, during which he resided at Mason.

Robert Russell SOWLE
was another early settler. The SOWLE family were Quakers who removed from Nantucket, Mass., to Nine Partners, Saratoga Co., N.Y., where Robert R. was born in 1788. His father was a Quaker preacher. The family subsequently removed to Lenox township, Madison Co., N.Y., where Robert Daniel SOWLE was born, June 4, 1815. In 1818 the family removed to Oxford, Chenango Co., and from there to Rochester, N.Y., from which latter place, in July, 1841, they removed to Meridian, Ingham Co., Mich., and settled on the northeast quarter of section 15, a mile southwest of Pine Lake.

Upon the death of the old gentleman, in August, 1841, R.D. SOWLE purchased the interest of the heirs and kept the property until about 1864, when, on account of impaired health, he sold to Freeman DOOLITTLE. He had removed to Okemos in 1863 and entered into the mercantile business, where he remained for about two years, when he sold his Okemos property and removed to detroit about 1866, where he was gate-keeper on the Detroit and Saline Plank-Road (formerly the Chicago road) and remained until about 1870, when he returned to Okemos and bought the place where he now lives, on the bank of Cedar River.

Mr. R.D. SOWLE married, in 1840, Miss Catherine, daughter of Dr. Gilbert STORMS, a native of the Mohawk Valley, near Canajoharie.

was born in Columbia Co., N.Y., in 1811. About 1835 he removed to Genesee County and from thence to his present residence on the southwest quarter of section 33, in 1842, arriving Oct. 2d. On the 8th of October in the same year he entered at the government land-office forty acres, to which he has since added forty acres. His land was densely timbered, and he built the first log house between Okemos and the county farm the same fall. from the time he arrived until he had his house ready for occupation, his family were domiciled in the dwelling of Freeman BRAY, at Okemos, then called Hamilton. His family then consisted of a wife and three small children. Mr. BARNES was a cabinet- and chair-maker by trade, and had never cut down a primeval forest-tree in his life when he sat down upon his land in Michigan. When his cabin was ready to "raise" he traveled two days to find men enough to help put it up.

Previous to coming West he had worked at his trade in New York and New England. His ancestors were originally from Connecticut.

The county was almost entirely a dense wilderness in 1842, and wild animals were plenty, particularly deer, bears, and wolves. Mr. BARNES said "the bears carried off, first and last, more than fifty hogs in the neighborhood." There were no roads, and traveling was among the lost arts. In front of Mr. BARNES residence is a fine row of locust-trees, which he raised from seed. He has also a large fruit-orchard and good improvements. He remembers his old trade, and still keeps a shop for doing his own repairing.

S.E. JEFFERS settled on the northwest quarter of section 12 in 1844. His father is still living at an advanced age.

A.D. WILMARTH settled probably about 1840 or 1841 on section 7, and Alanson CALKINS about 1844 on section 8.

though not an early actual settler in Meridian, was one of the first settlers of Michigan, and deserves more than a passing notice. He was originally from Rutland Co., Vt., from whence he removed to Genesee Co., N.Y., and thence to Buffalo, and from the latter place to Detroit, Mich., in 1814. He was a noted surveyor, and his handiwork is in all portions of the Northwest. Scarcely a county in Michigan but he has set his compass along its lines, and he also did a great amount of surveying west  of Lake Michigan. His son, J.H. MULLETT, is also a practical surveyor, and has done a large amount of work in his line in Ingham County.

Mr. MULLETT, Sr., settled with his sons, in May, 1855, on section 25, and died on his place in 1861. He was a prominent and influential member of the Masonic fraternity. His sons, J.H. and C.F. MULLETT, own large tracts of land on sections 24 and 25 in Meridian, and on section 32 in Williamstown.

Alonzo PROCTOR settled on section 17 in 1847, and A.L. STURGES, from Genesee Co., N.Y., settled half a mile north of where he now lives in 1849. Removed to his present location in 1865.

Isaac COLE was an early settler, locating upon section 5 in 1843. He was one of the early justices of the peace, and a prominent citizen.

John SALTMARSH, from England, settled on section 13 in 1848, and G.M. TOWAR located on section 6 in 1853.

was born in Cayuga Co., N.Y., in 1823. Removed to Lansing, Mich., in 1854. He had some  property in Lansing which he purchased in 1853. In 1855 he removed to Kosciusko Co., Ind., where he had a brother living, and remained until 1858, when he returned to Ingham County and purchased land on section 21, Meridian township. There he resided until April, 1867, when he removed to his present location in the southeast quarter of section 28, where he now owns a farm of ninety-four acres, which is cut diagonally by the Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railway.

settled in Alaiedon in 1853, and removed to Meridian in 1855. His father, Lewis KENT, was from Palmyra, Wayne Co., N.Y., and settled in Alaiedon in 1841. S.R. KENT was from Sodus, Wayne Co., N.Y.

Albert CASE,
from Portage Co., Ohio, settled on section 7 in Williamstown, in 1852. In 1854 he removed to his present location on section 12, in Meridian township. The farm had been unoccupied for a period of eleven years previous to his purchase. It was owned by a man from Indiana, but he failing to pay the purchase-money, and owing Mr. CASE, the latter became the owner of the property, and has made it what it is to-day, with various improvements. It was originally known as the MOE farm.

One of the largest and finest farms in the township and county is owned and occupied by George B. VANATTA, a native of Washtenaw Co., Mich. Mr. VANATTA settled in Locke township, Ingham Co., in 1856, and removed to his present home on section 13, Meridian township, in 1858. His first purchase of what constitutes a part of his present farm was from a man named MURPHY, and he gradually added to it until at one time he owned 800 acres on sections 11, 13, 14, and 23. He at present owns 550 acres, mostly on sections 13 and 14. The farm is in a high state of cultivation, with excellent buildings and improvements. His elegant new brick mansion was erected in 1879. There are also three tenant houses on the place. A peculiar feature of his place is the fine double row of forest-trees lining the road north and south of his dwelling. All the outbuildings were constructed by the present owner.

L.H. STANTON, who settled in section 35 about 1865, was an old resident of Alaiedon township.

G.W. and N. PHELPS, on sections 34 and 35, were early settlers, and N. COOK and Alonzo OSBORN, on 36, were also among the early settlers.

James WOODWORTH settled about 1863.


The first settler at this point, though not strictly within the limits of the village, was Sanford MARSH, who entered the fraction of the southeast quarter of section 21 lying south of the Cedar River, on the 13th of May, 1833. Mr. MARSH settled with his family on this tract, building his house on the high bank of the river near where the bridge now is, in September, 1839. here he made his home until his death, in 1863, his wife following him to the silent land in 1869. They are both buried in the cemetery a mile below the village. Mr. MARSH was a prominent and respected citizen, and one of the earliest justices of the peace in the township.

Following him came Joseph H. KILBOURNE, a native of Lower Canada (now Province of Quebec), born on the St. Francis River, near Sherbrooke, in 1809. His parents were Americans, his father being a native of Connecticut, and his mother of Cambridge, Washington Co., N.Y. His father, Joseph KILBOURNE, was a surveyor by profession, and previous to the war of 1812 had taken a contract to do a large amount of surveying in Canada. The war broke up the business for a time, but it was resumed subsequently.

When Joseph H. was twenty years of age he removed to Holton District, in Upper Canada (now Province of Ontario), of which Dundas was then the county-seat, since Hamilton. Mr. KILBOURNE took quite an active part in the "Patriot war" of 1837-38, in which the Canadian people undertook to throw off the government of Great Britain. Upon the collapse of the patriot cause he was taken prisoner and held for nine days, when he was liberated through the friendly assistance of the adjutant-general, with whom he was acquainted, who advised him to volunteer in the British service to enable him to remain unmolested at least for a time. This he did, but left the first opportunity, and came to Michigan in February, 1838, and remained in and around Detroit until the following June, in the mean time becoming acquainted with many sympathizers on the American side, who, through organizations known as "Hunter Lodges," were secretly assisting the Canadians. Mr. KILBOURNE became a member of this organization, and returned to Canada in the summer of 1838 to assist in resuscitating the collapsed rebellion, but remained only a week at his former home, the plans of the patriots having been divulged to the Crown officers.

In July he came again to Michigan. With him came Freeman BRAY, - who married his sister, - his mother, and his own family. His father had died in Canada in 1815. Leaving his family and Mr. BRAY's at Northville, Wayne Co., Mich., Mr. KILBOURNE in September, 1839, visited the place now occupied by the village of Okemos, and in October purchased, in the name of Freeman BRAY, the fraction of the west half of the southeast quarter of section 21, lying north of Cedar River, and containing about sixty-one acres. Returning to Northville he brought out his family in December, and while building his log house, which was a large one, the family lived in the house with Sanford MARSH's family.

Freeman BRAY was also a native of Canada, born in the Upper Province, between Bronti and Oakville, on the shore of Lake Ontario. In early life he followed the lakes as a sailor, and was also a vessel-owner. He married Caroline KILBOURNE in January, 1839, and, as before stated, came to Michigan with his brother-in-law in the same year. In January, 1840, Mr. BRAY and wife, and her mother, Mrs. KILBOURNE, came to Okemos, and the two families lived for a considerable time in the log house which Mr. KILBOURNE had built.

The land purchased by Mr. KILBOURNE was owned by a gentleman living at Farmington, Oakland Co. Mr. KILBOURNE's property in Canada was under a ban for about four years, but a proclamation of the Queen finally released it, and he disposed of it, and used the proceeds in building a home in Michigan. He married, in 1833, Miss Susan HUGHES, a native of Berks Co., Pa. In the spring of 1840 a large addition was made to the log house, and the two families lived together until about 1843, when Mr. KILBOURNE removed to his present location on section 23 and 26, where he has a fine farm of 177 acres, with good improvements and an excellent assortment of fruit. Mr. KILBOURNE has been a prominent citizen, filling many important offices in the gift of the people, among others that of member of the Legislature. He was also the first post-master at Okemos.

Freeman BRAY was proprietor of the village, at first known as Hamilton, and has always been prominent as a citizen and is one of the best story-tellers of the place. In 1852 he visited California, and was gone some four years. He kept a hotel for several years in the village; was post-master for a considerable period, and removed to his present location in 1856. His farm is a good one, and he has fine improvements. The farm now contains something over 160 acres, including an eighty-acre lot purchased about 1855 by his wife while he was absent in California.


A post-office called Sanford was established in the spring of 1840. Joseph H. KILBOURNE was the first postmaster. The new office was named Sanford, after Sanford MARSH, the first settler to the locality. Mr. KILBOURNE held the office, which was kept in the log dwelling first erected by him, for about two years. In 1842, Freeman BRAY was appointed under President Tyler, and kept the office until 1854, during the administration of Gen. Taylor, or, rather, Millard Fillmore. Mr. BRAY kept tavern and had the office in the same building. In 1852 he went to California, having deputized his wife to run the office in his absence. She continued to fill the position until 1854, when Eli MORSE was appointed, and held it until 1857, when he was succeeded by Ebenezer WALKER. The latter held it for about six months only, when he removed, and Caleb THURBER appointed, and held the position about one year. Freeman BRAY, who returned from California in 1856, was again appointed, and continued until 1861, when he was succeeded by Ebenezer WALKER, who has ben continued to the present time. The office has been kept during most of the time where it is at present located.

The early mails were brought once a week on horseback. There were two routes - one from Detroit via Howell, and one from Dexter on the Central Railway. The post-office business, like every other, has increased with the growth of the country, until at the present time Okemos is in daily communication with the world in all directions.

The name of the post-office was changed to Okemos, in obedience to the general desire of the people, in 1857.


A village was originally laid out and platted by Freeman BRAY, and named HAMILTON, at the suggestion of J.H. KILBOURNE, not, as some have claimed, from the city of Hamilton, in Canada, but from Alexander Hamilton, the great American statesman and friend of Washington. According to the recollection of Mr. and Mrs. BRAY and J. H. KILBOURNE, this was in the year 1841; but the plat was not put on record until May 29, 1851. The name was changed to Okemos in 1857 by act of the Legislature. The original plat was located on the southeast quarter of section 21, mostly on the west half of the quarter, and has had no additions.

When Ebenezer WALKER settled in Okemos, in 1854, he purchased of Freeman BRAY the mill and water-power, and shortly thereafter the entire village plat remaining unsold. The village has grown gradually to its present dimensions, and enjoys a considerable trade with the surrounding country. It is about one mile from the post-office to Okemos Station, on the Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railway.


This has been a regular passenger-station since the opening of the road in 1871. It is one mile south of the post-office at Okemos village, and about six and a half miles east by south from the station at Lansing. It is a point of considerable traffic in grain, stock and lumber. A gentleman by the name of STEWART is doing quite an extensive business in handling grain, having unusual facilities in Detroit for the accommodation of the business; and there are also stock-buyers operating at this point.


Freeman BRAY built the original dam across the Cedar River at Okemos,* and erected a saw-mill, to which was also attached a turning-lathe and cabinet-shop, about 1842. The entire establishment was subsequently burned, and Mr. BRAY always considered it a work of incendiary. About 1846 or 1847 the property fell into the hands of M.E. CROWFOOT, of Pontiac, Oakland Co., Mich., who probably sold to Augustus CLEVELAND, who built another saw-mill, and in turn sold the property to Ebenezer WALKER, as stated farther on. The fall at this point in the Cedar River is about seven feet, and the power is a very good one, not seriously affected by floods or ice.

All the old saw-mills are now gone, several having been destroyed by fire, and there remains nothing except the flour- and grist-mill of Mr. BLAIR, run by water, and the steam-works of Mr. T.F. DAVIS.

Ebenezer WALKER, from Rochester, N.Y., came to Michigan and settled at Okemos (then Hamilton) in 1854. He purchased the water-power on Cedar River, and an old saw-mill of Augustus CLEVELAND, and built a steam saw- and grist-mill together. The saw-mill, run by water, was then in operation, and Mr. WALKER operated all three of the mills until the dam was carried away by a flood in 1858, when the water saw-mill was discontinued. The grist-mill stood where the present mill stands. It was about thirty by sixty feet in dimensions, two stories in height, and contained three runs of stone. The saw-mill was built in 1855, and the grist-mill in 1856; they were close together, and one engine furnished power for both. The engine was of thirty horse-power. These mills burned in 1864, and in 1865 Mr. WALKER sold the water-power to Amos ORTON. Mr. ORTON rebuilt the dam and grist-mill about 1866, and his son-in-law, F. POWERS, rebuilt the saw-mill about the same time.The long race reaching across the bend in the river was dug by Mr. ORTON. The grist-mill was operated by ORTON until about 1879, when it became the property of a man named Blair, of the State of New York, who leased it to the present operator, Charles BERTRAW. The present mill has three runs of stone. It has always done a fair business, but has never been a source of great profit to its owners. During the time in which Mr. WALKER owned it he did a considerable amount of merchant work, but in later years it has been mostly employed in custom work.

Mr. ORTON also erected a steam saw-mill, which was destroyed by fire and rebuilt. The machinery has lately (1880) been taken out and set up at Shaftsburg, Shiawassee Co.

Saw- and Planing- Mill and Steam Bending- Works
Theodore F. DAVIS erected his present quite extensive establishment in 1866. It includes a saw-mill with planer attached, and bending-works. He cuts lumber and bends by steam material for wagons, carriages, sleigh-runners, bob sleds, etc., and gives employment ordinarily to five hands. The market for manufacturing materials is mostly at Detroit, though considerable quantities are sold to small shops throughout the country. The works are driven by an engine of twenty-five horse-power.


The first regular hotel-keeper was probably Freeman BRAY, in his own dwelling, as early as 1840 or 1841; and he continued to keep a place of accommodation for travelers until his removal to his farm in 1856.

A building was erected for a tavern about 1850, by William McGIVREN, in the corner east of the school-house. He kept it for a number of years in connection with his dwelling. Following him Russell BLAKESLEE was for a time landlord. He subsequently moved across the road to where the Barnes or Okemos House now is. The first building on this ground was erected by Melzor TURNER as early as 1848, and occupied as a dwelling. BLAKESLEE made an addition to it and opened a hotel. E.F. BARNES purchased the property during the war, and kept it as a public house since. He has also made considerable additions to it.

The Union Hotel was built by Rev. Merritt HARMON, a Presbyterian minister, about 1852, a double dwelling. In 1856 Caleb THURBER became the owner, and converted it into a hotel. Among the landlords who have officiated in the building have been Ralph WILLINGS, Otis FALLS, Anson WEST, William SHUTTLEWORTH, and benjamin W. CUSHMAN, the latter having kept it since 1879.

Mr. CUSHMAN was an early settler in Clinton County, a few miles north of Lansing, and assisted in finding the body of John W. BURCHARD, the first settler within the city limits of Lansing, eleven days after he was drowned, in April, 1844, at his dam in North Lansing. Mr. CUSHMAN has recently made a large addition to his house.


Freeman BRAY may, perhaps with justice, be called the first "trader" in the village, if not the first merchant, for he trafficked more or less with the Indians who encamped for a number of years at Okemos after the settlers began to come in. The principal business was of course the traffic in furs and peltry of various kinds, for which he paid in such commodities as best suited the sons of the forest - powder, calicoes, lead, trinkets, cutlery, and possibly a little "fire water,' which every redskin prized beyond anything save powder and ball. The chief, Okemos, was a frequent guest of Mr. BRAY's, and his people were very friendly to the white man, and never stole from him, as Mr. BRAY says, though they would sometimes be tempted to take the property of others.

The first regular merchant was probably Eli MORSE, who opened a general store about 1853, and continued until Ebenezer WALKER bought him out in 1854. Mr. WALKER has been in trade in the same place since. His son George was connected with him for about four years, from 1865 to 1869, when he left the business and traveled on account of failing health, being much troubled with asthma. Traveling seemed to help him for a time, but he finally came home in January, 1880, and died at his father's place in May following.

Among those who have pursued the trade of merchants in Okemos have been Collins THURBER and George W. STEVENS, about 1860 and 1862; Aaron JONES, 1868 too 1880; and the present ones, Ebenezer WALKER, John FERGUSON & Co., general stocks; J.J. BROWN, drugs, medicines, and groceries; and A.J. McNEAL, groceries, drugs, and medicines.

There is also a harness-shop by George ROGERS; two shoe-makers, Henry PHILLIPS and John C. PHILIPS; one millinery store by Mrs. H.A. PHILLIPS; two blacksmithing establishments by HUFF & TURNER and henry SCOVELL; wagon-shops by Mr.STARR, Frederick THOURER, and William McGIVREN. Among early blacksmiths was Frederick HERRE. There is also an express agency at the station, John STANSEL filling the positions of station- and express- agent.

At the Corners, a mile east of the Agricultural College buildings on section 18, H.L. COOKE has a blacksmith- and carriage-shop.

(Link to Page)


The resident taxpayers in the township of Meridian in 1844 were the following:

Parley DAVIS F. DAVIS Freeman BRAY
Lorenzo D. JOHNSON Chauncey DAVIS Jabesh GILPIN


The township of Meridian was organized by an act of the Legislature approved Feb. 16, 1842. It had formed a part of the old township of Alaiedon since March 15, 1838. The first township-meeting was appointed at the house of George MATTHEWS, where it was probably held in the spring of 1842. The old record covering the years 1842-44 has been destroyed by fire, and we have only the recollections of early settlers to aid us in furnishing the names of the earliest township officers. According to the statements of Joseph H. KILBOURNE, Freeman BRAY, M.W. BARNES, and others, though somewhat contradictory, we make out the following list:

1844 George MATTHEWS Lyman BAYARD Sanford MARSH Lyman BAYARD
& probably
Sanford MARSH
1845 Joseph H. KILBOURNE Runa MORTON Melzor TURNER Isaac CARLE
1846 Stephen HALL* Runa MORTON Melzor TURNER Alanson CALKINS*
1848 Alanson CALKINS Runa MORTON Isaac CARLE Nathan ALVERSON
1849 George MATTHEWS Thomas HUMPHREY Chauncey DAVIS Hiram D. COREY
Joseph L. HULSE
1850 George MATTHEWS Thomas HUMPHREY Chauncey DAVIS Stephen D. ALVERSON
Joseph L. HULSE
1853 George MATTHEWS* Myron W. BARNES Samuel CARLE Nathaniel SMITH
Augustus STURGIS
1856 Menzor D. MATTHEWS Myron W. BARNES John T. BUSH* Caleb THURBER
1857 Noah PHELPS Mason D. CHATTERTON Augustus STURGUS Americus V. EDGERLY
1858 Augustus L. STURGUS Charles H. DARROW Jacob S. THOMPSON Noah PHELPS
Sylvanus WATSON
1859 Myron W. BARNES Charles F. MULLETT Jacob S. THOMPSON George W. PIPER
1860 Charles H. DARROW George W. PIPER Jacob S. THOMPSON James NORTHRUP
1861 Charles H. DARROW Willard BASCOM Russell D. SOWLE Philander THOMPSON
1862 Charles H. DARROW* Mason D. CHATTERTON Ezekiel F. BARNES Lawrence MEECH
1863 Noah PHELPS Mason D. CHATTERTON Horace C. BIGELOW George W. PIPER
Morris S. BROWN
1864 Charles H. DARROW Thomas HUMPHREY Collins THURBER James NORTHRUP
Sylvanus WATSON
1865 Charles H. DARROW Thomas HUMPHREY Collins THURBER Ebenezer WALKER
1866 Charles H. DARROW* Thomas HUMPHREY Collins THURBER Sherman W. HAMMOND
1867 Augustus L. STURGES Thomas HUMPHREY Collins THURBER Sylvanus WATSON
1868 James F. SMILEY Thomas HUMPHREY John H. MULLETT Charles M. BROCK
1869 James F. SMILEY Thomas HUMPHREY John H. MULLETT Daniel F. BETTS
Thomas F. POWERS
1873 Amos ORTON Flavius THOMPSON James F. SMILEY Jeremiah J. BROWN
1876 Amos ORTON Aaron JONES George W. WEAVER John FERGUSON
1878 Abram R. BLAKELY Jeremiah J. BROWN Jacob D. GREENMAN Amos ORTON
Russell M. CADWELL
1879 Origin D. HARDY Jeremiah J. BROWN Jacob D. GREENMAN Henry A. PHILLIPS
1880 Origin D. HARDY James A. HAMILTON Harvey LAPHAM Samuel A. ROBINSON
Norman COOK

1880 Misc. Officers:
Commissioner of Highways: Thomas PARKER
Superintendent of Schools: W.F. HEWITT
School Inspector: George F. FULLER
Drain Commissioner: Emery HARDY
Constables: William H. McGIVREN, Herman COOK,

*1842: Mr. Bayard started overland for California about 1850, but got no farther than
Salt Lake, where he died.
*1843: Isaac Carle may also have been one of the justices.
*1846: There was a tie between J.H. Kilbourne and Stephen Hall, which was decided by lot. Also between Alanson Calkins and Myron W. Barnes, decided the same way.
*1853: George Matthews resigned, and Sanford Marsh appointed May 9, 1853.
*1854: Mullett resigned, and Menzor D. Matthews appointed Sept. 9, 1854.
*1856: John T. Bush died, and Augustus L. Sturges was appointed in his place Aug. 18, 1856.
*1862: Darrow resigned, and Sanford Marsh appointed Nov. 3, 1862
*1866: Darrow removed from township and James F. SMILEY appointed in his place Feb. 12, 1867


In January, 1864, the electors of the township voted to pay $100 to each volunteer credited to the township, and authorized the town authorities to issue bonds to that effect. They also voted to reimburse those citizens who had contributed individually to the raising of funds for volunteers and their families. On the 8th of March, 1864, bonds were issued in favor of the following persons, or their representatives, who had enlisted:

Emery HARDY William E. JOHNSON William COOK
Fayette MEECH Cyrus H. POTTER

At the town-meeting in April, 1864, the electors voted viva voce to pay each volunteer under the President's last call for 200,000 men, "who is or may be credited to the township of meridian, $100, payable in two years."

On the 25th day of April, 1864, the township, by its proper authorities, issued a bond for $100 to Francis LOGAN, and on the 10th day of May, in the same year, another bond of $100 to Joseph C. WARDELL. On the 30th of May the board issued a like bond to Myron HOPKINS, and on the 11th of June following two for the same amount each to A.M. WINSLOW and James MILLER.

At a special township-meeting held at Union Hall, on the 20th of August, 1864, it was resolved that twenty dollars be assessed on each person enrolled for military duty in the township, to be used as a fund to pay volunteers, who should enlist and be credited to the township, under the President's call for 500,000 men. Bonds for $100 each were subsequently issued to the following persons:

Sept. 8, 1864 Henry B. CASTERLINE
Sept. 9, 1864 James A. HAMILTON, William J. STEVENS, S.B. THATCHER
Sept. 10, 1864 Henry WILLEY, Henry U. FILLEY, John M. STRAYER
Oct. 25, 1864 William L. MOSHER, Augustus AYRES, Ellis BUCKINGHAM,, James W. TERRILL, 
Christy QUIGLEY, James DISBROW, Edward HOGAN, Emmett REEVES, William J. CATON
Nov. 25, 1864 Egbert JOHNSON

On the 7th of October, at a special meeting, it was resolved "that for the purpose of clearing the town of Meridian from draft, we, the electors of said township, hereby agree to pledge the faith of the township to pay by tax the sum of $1200 when legalized by the Legislature of the State of Michigan.

On the 4th of February, 1865, at a special township-meeting, the electors authorized the township board to pay all volunteers who should enlist in the United States army, and be duly credited to the township, $200, and that the board pay all drafted men $100.


from Schenectady, N.Y., was one of the first practicing physicians in the township, coming as early as 1859. Dr. DARROW was elected register of deeds in 1867, and removed to Mason, where he has since resided, though not in practice. He is a man of decided ability, and built up a large practice while in Okemos.

was also an early practitioner at Okemos, and was in partnership with Dr. DARROW for a considerable time. He removed to Mason some years since, and is still a resident of that city.

 Dr. James F. SMILEY,
formerly from Genesee Co., N.Y., came to Michigan and located in Lansing, from whence he removed to Okemos about 1863. He was associated with Dr. DARROW for a time, and practiced in Okemos until 1874, when he removed to Marshall, Calhoun Co., Mich. He had a drug-store in connection with his practice, and was a prominent citizen, filling a number of public offices.

Dr. J. B. PARK
succeeded Dr. SMILEY in 1874. He was born in Blairstown, Warren Co., N.J., May 6, 1851. He graduated at the University of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, in the spring of 1873. In the same year he came to michigan and located in Lansing, where he remained about one year and removed to Okemos, where he has since been in practice with good success. He belongs to the regular school.

John FERGUSON, one of the early settlers of Delhi township, has two sons in the practice of medicine in Okemos.

was born in Delhi, Mich., May 31, 1848. He attended one course of lectures at Ann Arbor and one at the Lansing Homoeopathic College, and commenced practice in his native town in 1869, but remained only a short time, removing to Okemos in the same year, where he has since been in practice. His younger brother,

was born in Delhi in 1850, and graduated at the Cleveland Homoeopathic College and Hospital in 1874, since which date he has been in practice at Okemos.


A station was established on the Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railway, on section 36, soon after the completion of the road in 1871. A telegraph station was added in 1879, and the people hope to have an express office soon.

A post-office called Meridian was also established shortly after the railway was opened, probably some time in the year 1871, and James. F. CARR was appointed postmaster. Mr. CARR held the position until April, 1879, when he was succeeded by Timothy L. BALDWIN, the present incumbent.

Mr. CARR, in connection with the post-office, kept a small store down to about 1877, when he closed it out.

Enos WOODWORTH, formerly from Cayuga Co., N.Y., came to Manchester, Washtenaw Co., Mich., in 1842. In 1861 he removed to section 1, in Alaiedon township, and from thence to Meridian Station in 1876. He opened a small store in December, 1877, just over the line, on section 32, in Williamstown, and has continued the business since.

In 1878, A.A. DWIGHT established the lumber business at the station, and also opened a supply store in connection with the lumber trade at the same time. He has a steam saw-mill in Alaiedon township and one in Meridian on section 25, at the bridge over Cedar River, about one mile from the station. The Alaiedon mill is about four miles distant. He handles both hard and pine lumber, and has employed at times from forty to sixty men. In connection with his other business, mr. DWIGHT handles grain, and has during the past season of 1880 erected a new grain warehouse.

A steam saw-mill was erected at the station by Uriah MOORE and Asbury LONG about 1871. It has since been the property of William GIBSON and Morris BROWN; Enos WOODWORTH and GIBSON; WOODWORTH and Henry COLLER; COLLER and M.B. BARNES; Timothy BALDWIN and BURLINGAME, and the present firm, John BARNARD and Timothy BALDWIN, who carry on the sawing business and have recently added the manufacture of boat oars. They are doing a brisk business.

About 1874 a stave-factory was put in operation by CHAPMAN & MASON, who continued it for about eighteen months, when they removed to Fowlerville, in Livingston County.

Samuel BROWN has carried on the blacksmithing business at his shop, a quarter of a mile north of the station, for the past twenty years.

Leonard OSBORN is purchasing grain at this point in the present season.


This point is on the Chicago and Grand Trunk Railway on the line between sections 10 and 11, the station being on section 11, and the post-office on 10. The post-office was established about June 1, 1879. Edward ELLIOTT is postmaster. He also keeps a small assortment of patent medicines, candies, nuts, groceries, etc. The station was established in 1878. There is a water-tank and siding.

The township is well supplied with railway-stations and post-offices, having three of each, well distributed.


One of the finest pleasure resorts in this portion of Michigan is located at the northern extremity of Pine Lake, on the northeast quarter of section 3. This locality has been a favorite resort for pleasure-seekers for many years, the lake being the only considerable body of water in this region. Thomas BATEMAN appears to have been the first person to furnish boating facilities. R.W. SURBY bought land of BATEMAN, and also his interest in the boating business, and erected the first building for the accommodation of the public in 1870. In 1871 he built a hall, which was subsequently torn down to give room to the present commodious one. In 1873, George W. NORTHRUP became a partner with Mr. SURBY in the enterprise, and the firm put up the frame of the "Lake House" and erected a barn. In the fall of 1874 SURBY sold his interest to NORTHRUP, and Origin HARDY became a partner with the latter. Under their administration the hotel was completed and the remainder of the buildings now on the ground were erected.

Subsequently NORTHRUP sold to the brothers Origin and Anson HARDY, who have continued to improve the grounds and add attractions to the place. They now own about thirty acres of land purchased of various parties, and have an unusually attractive resort. They have some twenty-five or thirty row- and sail-boats, and intend to put on a leasure steamer in the spring of 1881. A small steamer was brought from Lansing and launched on this lake in 1876. This was afterwards taken to pieces and the engine transferred to a new boat built for the Messrs. HARDY. This last was sold to parties in Portland, Ionia Co., Mich., in June, 1880. The buildings consist of an extensive hotel, a dancing-hall, two barns, an ice-house, bath-house, boat-houses, etc., with swings and other attractive features, all situated in a fine grove of oak and hickory timber. The place is well patronized through the warm season, as many as six thousand people having been on the grounds at one time. Boating and fishing facilities are excellent.

Reuben K, HARDY, father of the HARDY brothers, settled on section 6, Meridian township, about 1857. The old people are dead, but the property remains in the family.


The first meeting to organize a Presbyterian Church in Meridian township was held on the 2nd of February, 1864, under the management of Rev. C.S. ARMSTRONG, then pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Lansing, and commissioner for the Presbytery of Marshall. Rev. Alfred BRYANT was moderator of the meeting. Mr. BRYANT had been preaching occasionally at Okemos to the few scattering members of the Presbyterian Church then settled there. The society was organized as the Presbyterian Church of Okemos.

On the 9th of March following, at a meeting held at the school-house in Okemos, articles of association were adopted and the following trustees elected: E.F. BROWN, for three years; Lansing CLINE, for two years; and James F. SMILEY, for one year. Ezekiel F. BARNES was chairman and Ebenezer WALKER secretary of this meeting.

The earliest meetings were held in the school-house at Okemos, and Rev. Alfred BRYANT was the first preacher as stated supply, residing at Lansing. He continued to serve the society until 1870, when Rev. J.E. WEED succeeded him and remained as stated supply for about one year, after which period for a considerable time the society was without stated services.

In May, 1876, Rev. B. FRANKLIN came as stated supply and ministered to the church until April, 1879, since which there has been no regular preaching. The church edifice, owned by the society, was erected in 1868 at a cost of about $2300. It is furnished with a bell and cabinet organ.

The original members were Ebenezer WALKER, Frances S. WALKER, his wife; Mrs. Betsey FREEMAN, Mrs. Sylvia MELCHER, Ezekiel F. BARNES and Olive, his wife; Lansing CLINE and Elizabeth, his wife; Mrs. Mina SMILEY, Mrs. May J. CLARK, Miss Mary BARNES, Mrs. Caroline R. BANCROFT. At present the society numbers only about ten members, and is not in a flourishing condition. A Sabbath-school was formerly kept up, but has been discontinued with the decline of the society.

The first meeting for the purpose of organizing a Baptist Church was held dec. 21, 1867. The original members were Charles HULETT, Sarah C. HULETT, John H. WILSON, Joanna A. WILSON, G.C. YOUNG, H.G. PROCTOR, Harriet A. HULETT, all from the Baptist Church at Lansing; Elizabeth H. STEVENS, Sister S.A. KENT, Martha BRIGGS, Rev. O.B. CALL and wife, Myra REYNOLDS. Articles of faith were adopted at the same meeting, and George C. YOUNG was chosen clerk and Charles HULETT and John H. WILSON deacons.

The council called to authorize the new organization met Jan. 9, 1868. The first trustees were William COLE and A.L. STURGES, H.G. PROCTOR and S.R. KENT.

Rev. O.B. CALL, who was efficient in the original organization, was the first minister, followed by Rev. G.H. HICKOX. In 1872, Rev. J.M. DUNBAR succeeded Mr. HICKOX, and preached about two years. Rev. ___CROSBY preached occasionally for a few months after him. He was located at Lansing. Afterwards, Rev. A.H. PARSONS officiated for about a year, and was followed by Rev. ___McLAREN, who remained only a short time. Rev. L.F. COMPTON was also with the church for a short period in 1879. In the latter year, Rev. A.H. PARSONS again became pastor of the society, and has continued to the present time.

The church edifice in Okemos was erected in 1868, at an expense of about $2400. In 1870, Mr. G.C. YOUNG presented the society with an 800-pound bell, and they have also a cabinet organ.

The present membership is fifteen. A Sabbath-school has been maintained from about the date of the organization of the church. Frank HEWITT is the present superintendent.

Clerk of Church, Runa MORTON; Trustees, S.R. KENT, William COLE, J.K. HARDY.

Methodist Episcopal

The traveling preachers of this denomination began to visit Okemos probably as early as 1840. The Revs. JACKSON and LAPHAM were the first circuit-riders. The Rev. Franklin BLADES, known as the "Boy Preacher," Orrin WHITMORE, BESSY, GLASS, and others were among the early ministers who visited the place.

A class was formed about 1840, and among the members were Joseph H. KILBOURNE and wife, his mother, Mrs. Phebe KILBOURNE (since deceased), Mrs. Rebecca BAYARD, George BAYARD, Mrs. Maria MATTHEWS, R.D. SOWLE and wife.

The Mapleton Circuit was established in 1839, which included among its stations Mason, Okemos, Dewitt, Little Prairie, a point near where St. John's now is, Maple Rapids, and perhaps others. Okemos has never been a regular station, but has been supplied by circuit preachers.

A church edifice was erected at Okemos in 1870 at a cost of about $2400. It is plainly finished and has a cabinet organ. The present membership is about fifty.

A Sabbath-school with 134 scholars on the roll is sustained. A.L. STURGES is superintendent, and there are twelve teachers.

Among the ministers who have preached here have been Reverends Jacob S. HARDER, George SHERMAN, Wm. MULLEN, ___CRITTENDEN, Charles CHICK, L.W. EARL, and B.W. SMITH. Rev. Wm. TAYLOR is the present preacher.

German Methodists
There is a small society of Germans at Okemos which has been organized since 1873. It is supplied with preaching by the minister resident at Five Corners, in Delhi township, Rev, Daniel VOLZ. The membership at present is twelve, and they support a Sabbath-school with twenty-five scholars.

A German Lutheran Society was organized about 1877. It is supplied from Lansing.

Wesleyan Methodists
A small society of sixteen members was organized in August, 1880, which holds services in the Presbyterian Church. Rev. Mr. BRUCE, a circuit preacher, supplies the pulpit.

The Wesleyans have also a society of some fifty members at Meridian Station, which has been in existence since about 1877. They are now erecting a frame church, to cost probably $1500. Rev. Mr. BRUCE has preached here for some time and is returned for 1880 and 1881.

Return to Ingham County