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Douglass Township
Montcalm County, Michigan

Memories of a small town
By: Agnes Comden
(written in 1973)

transcribed by Sharon Miller.

Entrican is a tiny Michigan village located on the intersection of Grow and McBrides Road in Montcalm County.
In the early 1800's there were many Indians living in this area. Then the white people began to move in and build homes and clear the land. In 1860 there were still forty Indian families living in this area, under Chief Shog-wo-gino. At this time the Indians had cleared land enough to raise corn for their own use. As the land was cleared the wild-life moved north. The government moved all but three Indian families north about this time.
The Flat River runs through the country just west of Entrican. The early settlers cut the forests down and floated the logs down Flat River to Greenville and Grand Rapids.
The Civil War was declared in 1861 and a number of the settlers enlisted in the Union Army. In 1865 when peace was declared men came back to their homes and faimilies.
Some of the first settlers were George and Albert Entrican, for whom the village was named. Some of the other settlers were Charles Blumberg, Jerome Pintler, John Steele, Mr. Bond and others.
The members of the first township board conducted their meetings in the town hall which was located 1/2 mile east of Entrican on the southwest corner.
In 1878 a minister named Anthony Comden moved to this area from Canada and settled on a farm west of Entrican. He served this community and others, also. He often walked to schoolhouses at Pleasant Hill, Knotmaul, Bannen, Edgar, Langston and Westville to condouct church services.
In 1880 Charles Blumberg leased the northwest corner to the Baptist people for 100 years. They built a Baptist Chuch on this lot.
At this time the people built a schoolhouse 1/2 mile east and 1/2 mile north of Entrican and named it the Entrican School. A Grange Hall was built just north of the Baptist Church about the same time.
The first post-office was located in the house known as the Pintler Store building. Albert Entrican was the first post-master.
M. Murray ran a small grocery store for a short time located on the northeast corner. Later Mr. Thompkins put in another small store just south of the Pintler Building. These two stores were a great accomodation to the village residents.
In 1890 a young man named Arthur Steere came from Crystal and started a general store in Entrican on the southeast corner. There were no phones or rural mail delivery but news traveled, and people came from many miles to see this new store. They liked Mr. Steere and his business grew rapidly. He had a grocery wagon going through the country pciking up eggs and butter in exchange for groceries. This was a big help to the farmers in busy seasons.
Dr. Carl was the first doctor and he had his office in his house which he built on the northeast corner and which still stands.
Henry Ingraham built a saw-mill west of the river on the north side of the road. He sawed lumber here for awhile then moved the mill 1/2 mile north of Entrican to the east side of the river, where he operated for many years.
In 1899 the Methodist Church was built. Local people donated lumber and labor and in January 1900 the church was decicated. This church is now know as the Entrican Bible Church.
In 1902 the Grange members had a three-day fair. The farmers brough their livestock and produce to show and be judged. There were many different activities held during the three-day celebration. One event which the people enjoyed was the dance held in the pavilion which was constructed in the middle of the street.
At this time the Maccabee Lodge built a hall and this brought a lot people to Entrican. The Gleaners rented the Maccabee Hall for their meetings, also.
Arthur Steere rented the ground-floor of the new hall and put in a modern clothing store. This store was like big-city stores with three-way full-length mirrors. It feted ready-to-wear, shoes, dry-goods, and hats trimmed by Mrs. Steere. Mr. Steere built a new home south of the Maccabee Hall and two barns near the corner grocery store. One barn he used for his own horses and the other barn was used for the first implement store in Entrican. A board-walk was constructed from his home to the grocery store which he operated on the corner. Large maple trees shaded the street on both sides.
Dr. Carl left Entrican to set up a practice in Stanton and Dr. John Tabor from Hubbardston came to Entrican. He rented Dr. Carl's house where he had his office.
In 1904 Mr. Steere sold his businesses and his home to his brother-in-law, Herman Smith. Mr. Smith moved the groceries from the corner down south of the Methodist Church and made it into a home, which is now Lela Peters. Mr. Smith moved one of the barns to the southeast corner and remodeled it to become a general store. He moved all his business from the Maccabee Hall to this location.
The post-office was moved across the road to George Entrican's home where it was for some time, Opal Hacker owns the house now.
In 1908 Ray Pintler built a store on the southwest corner. By this time Entrican had become a growing, thriving village containing two churches, two stores, an ice-cream parlor, post-office, blacksmith shop, two halls, a barber shop, a doctor's office, a school and a cemetery.
Dr. Tabor left Entrican and Dr. Danforth came to serve the area. He bought a home in the south end of the town and treated his patients in his office there.
In 1909 a threshing-machine going through town threw a spark, which set fire and burned the Baptish Church. It was rebuilt in 1910.
By 1909 the automobile had put in its appearance in Entrican. The first one was a 1902 one-cylinder Rambler owned by Dan Steele. One of the early cars was a N.R.S. Ford with a right-hand drive. Later Leon Ingraham drove a1903 Olds and Herman Smith had the first Model T Ford in Entrican. The last Model T owned and drive in Entrican was owned by Sam Comden. It is now owned by Vernon Ellsworth.
In 1910 Dr. Danforth sold his home and practice to Dr. Woodburn, who had been a missionary from India.
The Odd Fellows organized a lodge in Entrican in 1911 and held their first meeting in the Pintler Hall above the store. Later the Odd Fellows bought the Maccabee Hall and held their meetings upstairs. The wives of the Oddfellows formed an auxiliary organization called the Rebekahs and held their meetings at the same time and place. The Rebekahs became quite well-known for their degree work and traveled around the state putting on the degrees for other Rebekah organizations. THe Oddfellows let the township use the lower floor for a Town Hall. It is still used for that purpose today.
In 1911 and 1912 the Entrican people celebrated the 4th of July on the four corners with games, races, greased pig and greased pole contests, a ball game and a big display of fireworks in the evening. A 4th of July Dance was was held in Pintler's Hall.
Ray Pintler built a park along the river in his grove south of the bridge. It was a nice place for picnics and was used for 4th of July Celebrations and many other activities for many years.
In 1911 lightning struck the Methodist parsonage and burned it to the ground. The people were kind and rented Sarah Comden's house for a parsonage and donated furnishings and food for the minister and his family.
One of the older settlers of the Entrican commonity, Mrs. Lisa Vaughn, passed away in 1917. At her funeral which was held on the 4th of July it was revealed that during the Civil War she was a maid in the home of a southern general. One evening as she helped serve at a big dinner for the Confederate generals she listened to the plans to attack the Union Army. She went out and got on one of the general's horses and rode north to the Union Army camp and told them of the plans of attack. When the Confederate Army got to battle they were badly beaten. Of course Mrs. Vaughn came on north where she married and settled on a farm west of Entrican. Every Memorial Day a flag is placed on her grave in the Entrican Cemetery.
In 1915 Dr. Woodburn sold his home and practice to Dr. George Horne.
At this time there were two stores, two churches, two halls, a blacksmith shop, a meat market, an ice cream parlor, a post office and a doctor's office. Mr. Cook was the post-master in a building which was located on the north side of the street west of the new Baptist Church. He operated an ice-cream parlor in the back end of the building. The Post-office was later moved to Herman Smith's store and he took over as the post-master. As there was no electricity at this time both Mr. Pintler and Mr. Steere has their own ice-houses. In the winter they would cut the ice in the surrounding lakes and bury it in sawdust. This ice was used to cool the meat which the butcher bought from the farmers around the area and sold in his meat market. It was also used for freezing home-made ice-cream which was sold in the ice cream parlor and in both stores. Home-made baked goods could be bought at the Pintler Store.
When our country became involved in World War I in 1917 many of our young men enlisted and some were drafted. Peace was declared in 1919 and our boys were welcomed home with open arms.
As the number of automobiles in the area increased the Hacker family realized that there was a need for a mechanic in Entrican. Mr. Hacker had several sons who were mechanically inclined so he built a garage and started them in the repair business. Soon they had enough work so they needed more room and a new garage was built and still stands today.
At the close of World War I Rev. Mayhew was the Methodist minister. His was a musical family so he organized a band in Entrican. Many young men in the area were eager to join and under the expert supervision of Rev. Mayhew the band soon became an organization composed of skillful musicians. The Entrican people were proud of their band and had them play each Saturday evening on the street corner. They also played at all celebrations in Entrican and other nearby towns and at many social events.
Paul Kebler had a cream station and shoe-repair shop just north of the town hall. THe building was later sold to Melvin Dunn and he put in groceries. The place is now the home of Carl Smith.
There were many social events held in Entrican. Besides the local events such as the Ladies' Aid Meeting, church and school plays, many parties and ball-games, Entrican was treated each year to traveling entertainment. These consisted of medicine shows, tent-shows featuring trained animals, and even circuses.
Bill Williams built a store and barber shop west of the Baptist Church which he remodeled into a grocery and hardware store.
The advent of the automobile brough changes to small towns such as Entrican. It was easy to go to larger towns to shop and many of the younger people left Entrican to find better paying jobs in nearby cities. This caused business to slow up in Entricane as well as many other small villages.
Herman Smith passed away in 1925. Mrs. Smith tried to carry on the business, but found that it was too much for her. Her brother, Arthur Steere tried to help her and rented the Store to several different parties but finally Mrs. Smith sold the bilding to Mr. Dean. Mr. Dean's son rant the store until it closed in 1947.
Ray Pintler and son, Lyle, operated a saw mill and a cider mill on the eat side of the river south of the bridge for several years.
After Ray Pintler's death his widow, Grace Pintler sold the store to John Hauser. He operated the store for several years and continued to live there after closing it.
After several years Bill Williams left Entrican to start a hardware business in Stanton leaving his son, George, to run the Entrican Store. When George went to Stanton to take over his father;s store there the store in Entrican was operated by Jack Miller. He also ran a barber shop and his wife a beauty shop. After Millers moved to Greenville the Entrican Store was operated by the following people: Mr. Batton, Mr. Van Ostran, Mr. Drier, Mr. LaClear, Mr. Gates and Mr. Swartzmiller who owned the store when it burned in 1972.
Now as this history of the once prosperous and thriving town of Entrican is compiled in 1973, all that is left are the following: the town hall, the Entrican Bible Church, and garage which Ed Doran uses as a fertilizer warehouse and fifteen houses.
Many acres have been added to the original Entrican Cemetery which is located 1/2 mile east and 1/4 mile north of Entrican. Many of the early settlers and their descedants have been laid to rest there in this well-kept and beautiful cemetery.


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