Organization of Mecosta County


Mecosta County was organized by act of the legislature approved Feb. 11, 1859, and the county seat was established at the village of Leonard. The first election of county officers was held the first Monday in April, 1859, and the following officers were elected:
Judge of Probate - Jesse Barker
Sheriff - Alfred L. Clark
Treasurer - Charles Shafer
Clerk and Register - Orrin Stevens
Surveyor - Augustine N. Williams

There being at that time no person in the county who was eligible to the office of prosecuting attorney and circuit court commissioner these offices were left vacant.

The first meeting of the board of supervisors was held on the first Monday in May, 1859, and consisted of but two members, Luther Cobb, representing the township of Leonard, now BIg Rapids, and Jesse A. Barker representing the township of Green. These two towns comprised all of the territory of Mecosta and Osceola counties. The meetings of the board were of course exceedingly harmonious and one of the two members being the chairman, all that was needed was another member to second the motions.

The first term of court was held in the school house, afterwards known as the old red school, on the 17th day of April, 1860. It was presided over by Judge Littlejohn, and there were present the legal fraternity: William T. Howell, J.H. Standish, E.L. Gray, A.H. Giddings, and James Barton of Newaygo; and H.W. Wiltse and J.H. Mulford of Big Rapids. There being a vacancy in the office of prosecuting attorney the court appointed Mr. Howell to that office.

In the fall of 1860 the first convention was held for the purpose of nominating candidates for county offices. The following nominations were made:
For Judge of Probate - H.W. Wiltse
Clerk and Register - Orrin Stevens
Treasurer - Frederick Raynsford
Prosecuting Attorney - H.W. Wiltse
Circuit Court Commissioner - C.C. Fuller

Mr. Fuller refused to support Mr. Wiltse and ran against him on slips, but failed to defeat his opponent. Charles Shafer, another bolter, met with better success and was elected county Treasurer. Mr. Wiltse died in the fall of 1862 and Capt. Daniel Stearns was elected judge of probate to fill vacancy at the regular biennial election in 1862. At the same time Mr. Stevens was re-elected clerk, Sumner Stickney, treasurer, C.C. Fuller, prosecuting attorney and circuit court commissioner and A.N. Williams, surveyor. Samuel W. Rose of Hinton was the regular nominee for sheriff, but was beaten by Daniel F. Wooley, who was the last independent candidate ever elected in this county.