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from the Kalamazoo Telegraph

1830's and 1840's


Newspaper article from the Kalamazoo Telegraph that describe Kalamazoo in the 1830's and 1840's - republished by A. D. P. Van Buren in 1889



by George Torrey

We have been favored with a view of Kalamazoo papers of 1846 and found much of interest in them.  It is like turning back the curtains that shut out the past, the opening of a year's volume of newspapers.  There like a stratum of the geological world is imbedded the drift of the period, and the forgotten days, the unremembered events, incidents and names are revealed; and, if you were part and parcel of the occurrences and scenes inscribed you live over again all that was done, and there arises christening associations with them; you see the very form and color of the times, and the men and women, boys and girls long departed, as well as reminiscences of those still living, again become vividly present in memory.

The old time newspapers, especially in villages, are singularly wanting in local news, and present a striking contrast w ith f today.  The gossip and personal items, notes of public improvement, village growth, social proceedings, religious intelligence, and very much of that matter which makes the journal of today so much sought after, so chatty and agreeable a companion - a map of busy life, its fluctuations and its vast concerns are absent.  It was made up of political discussions and week old news.  One is obliged to look at the advertisements ( which prove really valuable ) to find out who were here and what was doing.  The change from the old fashioned newspaper is great indeed.

The record of marriages and deaths is a matter, too, of interest, but they were but seldom given, and were in the briefest announcement, in small type and in obscure corners of the paper.



The year 1846 formed a new era in the growth and prosperity of the village ( Kalamazoo ).  On the 2nd of February, the Centrl Railroad was finished to this place and the influence of this enterprise was at once felt in growth and advancement of business of all kinds.  The stage lines run by Davis, Humphrey & Co. , had heretofore a great business eastward, now it was limited to lines south, north, and west to Chicago house was the headquarters.

The village at that time was small affair, nearly all the business houses being east of Burdick street, and were with one exception we believe, one and two story wooden structures.  The dry goods stores were not exclusively dry goods, but very general in the variety of their stock.  There was but one or two brick houses in the town.  There were no sidewalks but those of mother earth, and the streets in the "rainy season" were desperately muddy.  Kalamazoo was then just emerging from its hamlet-like appearance and preparing to take its rank and station among the first towns of the State in the future.


business firms and dealers

From the papers before us for 1846 we learn the business firms and dealers were:

 Dry goods and general stores - D. S. Walbridge (later a very prominent citizen of Kalamazoo - see Historical Marker page ), Foster & Fish, Arnold & Cobb, Huston & Sweetland, Clarke & Gilbert, J. Parsons & Co ( W. B. Clark was the company ), Smith & Co. , O. Davenport, Bowen & Bro., W. A. Tomlilnson, Goss & Darling, M. Israel (fancy store) Kendall & Camp, Francis Dennison,  M. Wilson & Co. The year 1846 formed a new era in the growth and prosperity of the village ( Kalamazoo ).  On the 2nd of February, the Central Railroad was finished to this place and the influence of this enterprise was at once felt in growth and advancement of business of all kinds.  The stage lines run by Davis, Humphrey & Co. , had heretofore a great business eastward, now it was limited to lines south, north, and west to Chicago house was the headquarters.

Druggists - David A. McNair, James P. Clapham

Grocers - J. A. Walter, W. T. Campbell

Jewelry - B. M. Austin, S. K. Selkrig

Boots and shoes - T. Paige, W. H. Gray, Noah Gray, W. C. Hoyt

Bookstore - S. K. Selkrig, afterwards A. J. Sheldon

Variety store - Oliver Edwards

Public houses - Kalamazoo house, I. Kellogg, River House, N. Berchard

Stoves, etc - Wm. M. Cram

Eating house and barber shop - J. H. Powers

Boarding House - J. Patrick

Meat market - James Taylor

Saddler and harness-makers - William H. Stewart, J. H. Everard

Insurance agent - Chas. A. Sheldon

Land agent - Fred Booher

Furnaces - White & Turner, Whiting& Hildreth

Livery Stable - Pattison and Denson

Chair factory - Hedges & I. Eames

Carriage and wagon shop - J. C. Spencer

Furniture establishment - Jason Russell

Kalamazoo carriage works - Davis & Crittenden

Tailors - Andrew Taylor, H Blackett, Lewis H. Davis, J. Barnum, Underwood & Foster

Blacksmiths - A. B. Gray, W. Beckwith and Josephus Case

Painter - P. S. Grimes

Dealer in stone - W. S. Minton

Woolen factory - Beals & Johnson

Wagon works and blacksmith shop - Hogeboom & Burrell

Attorneys - Mower & Webster, Stuart & Miller, Clark & Balch, Edmund Rice, J. W. Breese, Samuel Rice, Ebenezer Hoskins, W. H. DeYoe, Paul W. H. Rawls, law students S. A. Rice, justice of the peace, W. B. Watson, surveyor.

Physicians - Dr. Starkweather, Spague, Howard, J. Adams Allen, Starkey, Stewart, Sill, Swan

Ministers Rev. O. P. Hoyt, Rev. J. A. B. Stone, Rev. Wm. Spague, presiding elder of the M. E. church,  Rev. A. D. Cole, St. Lukes

Teachers - Mrs. Jane Everett, school for young ladies

Rev. J. A. B. Stone, principal of the Kalamazoo Branch of the University, T. P. Sheldon - banker,  McNair & Eames - oil manufacturers, I. Eames - sawmill and turning factory



The editor says with prophetic ken in an article, "Kalamazoo is destined to become a place of importance"

Dr. Joseph Sill is announced to give a temperance lecture at the Congregational church

The friends of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. B. Stone held a donation party at the parsonage, west Main street, December 16

September 9, the democratic congressional convention was held at the court house.  The counties composing the district at that time were Jackson and Calhoun, delegates ? each Branch, six; Cass Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Berrien, St. Joseph, six each, Allegan, Eaton, Kent, Ottawa, Ionia, Van Buren, and Barry, three each.  Edwin Bradley, democrat, was nominated and elected over J. W. Gordon, whig.  Rix Robinson was vice president of the convention.

The marriage of Chauncey P. Kellogg and Mrs. Mary Burdick by Rev. A. D. Cole, July 29 1846 is announced.

H. G. Wells was elected representative and N. A. Balch senator over Stephen Brown.  H. G. Wells was county judge.

There is stirring news from Mexico all through this year which keeps the people stirred up.  A company is raised here for the war. 

Colonel L. Cobb was one of the officers of  the new bucket (fire) company.

April 27:  Bill to repeal the charter of Kalamazoo passed the House 33 to 6.

Death of Wm. Dutton, principal of the "Branch".

The first boat left the mouth of the Kalamazoo river for Chicago about the middle of February; two mills alone shipped this spring 20,000 barrels of flour from Allegan and not a steamer on the river.

Kalamazoo Village had a population at the beginning of 1846 of 1,314, the number of inhabitants of the county was 10,242.  There were four churches, Congregational, Baptist, Episcopal, and Methodist.

The corner-stone of the new Episcopal church was laid September 3.

Austin & King succeed W. A. Tomlinson.  Haven Monroe was elected representative, N. A. Balch senator, Geo. W. Rice sheriff, Charles A. Sheldon register of deeds, Geo. T. Clark treasurer, H. G. Wells county judge, A. C. Roberts surveyor, Geo. Rix and E. B. Delano side judges, Ira Burdick and Alfred Nevins coroners.  Alexis Ransom was postmaster.

Volney Hascall's paper says that Jones Woodard of Portage had the first cider mill in this county then just builded for him by Davis Hubbard, and return thanks for a quantity of apple juice as well as apples.

The Kalamazoo county agricultural society was organized and held its first meeting in October, 1846, A. G. Moore, president; W. H. Edgar, secretary, Edmund Rice, corresponding secretary; S. P. Cobb, treasurer.



There was a meeting to give encouragement to the emigration of Hollanders.  Mr. Van Raalte, the pioneer and promoter of the scheme was present.



This was before the era of graded schools; the school houses were one on the site of the present Jewish synagogue, another was on South street near where Mr. Dickinson resides.  Then there was the old branch which stood in the northeast corner of the park then the principal school of the village, taught by the Rev. and Mrs. J. A. B. Stone.


1846 County History Kalamazoo Mall
1876 County History Kalamazoo Theater Views
 1980 Tornado Kalamzoo Views
 Chronology of Township, Village and City Formation Obituaries from the Pioneer Society Reports
Centennial History and Pageant Program Railroads, Interubans, and Transit History
Historical Markers Index Reminiscences of Kalamazoo, 1832 -1833 by Jesse Turner
History Pages Index Schoolcraft History
Indians in Kalamazoo - Early Letters Vicksburg History Site

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