||Thomas H. Stuart
Thomas H. Stuart, farmer, section 6, Garfield Township, was born in Washington, Macomb Co. Mich., Sept. 26, 1829, and was the son of Wilkes L. and Frances (Hopkins) Stuart. When he was 12 years old his father went to Tyrone, Livingston County, and took charge of 1,000 acres of timber land belonging to John A. Wells, Cashier of the Farmers & Mechanic's Bank, of Detroit, where the family resided seven years, clearing 100 acres.
In 1845, Mr. W. L. Stuart bought 100 acres of wild land in Hartland Township in the same county, and lying adjacent. He retained the place but a short time and went to Cambria, Hillsdale County, where he bought 40 acres of land, and by additional purchases increased his farm to 160 acres.
In 1855 he sold out and came to Newaygo County, accompanied by his son, Thomas H., where, in company with Daniel Weaver, he bought 320 acres of land on the present site of Fremont Center and east of that village. Under the regulations of the Homestead Act they could not hold the land in partnership, and it was consequently divided, Mr. Weaver taking the portion now constituting the village site. The entire tract was wild and covered with the primeval forest. Mr. Stuart and his companion made their way from Newaygo through unbroken woods, cutting their road as they advanced. On arrival they cleared a small space and built a cabin of logs, 18 x 24 feet in dimensions. The structure was occupied the succeeding winter by James B. Mallory and wife, Mrs. Stringham, Samuel and Henry Shupe and Philip Weaver, who kept open house for all new comers. Mr. Mallory built his house in the spring. Mr. Stuart, his son and Mr. Weaver returned to Hillsdale County for the winter. In the spring Mr. Stuart removed his family, consisting of his wife and three sons, to the new home.
On arrival in Newaygo County, Thomas H. Stuart bought 160 acres of land adjoining the farm where he reside, located on the southeast quarter of section 36 of town 13, range 14 west, where he built a house and resided about two years. In 1858 he went back to Hillsdale and passed one year, returning afterwards to his farm, where he cleared 50 acres, and resided until 1865, when he exchanged his farm for the Mateva Hotel at Newaygo. He managed the house about 18 months, when he again exchanged his property with his father for 80 acres of land. Only ten acres of this was under improvement at that time, but he later had 60 acres under cultivation with good residence, barns, orchards, etc., upon it.
Mr. Stuart accepted his share of the responsibilities of public life in the county. He was Supervisor of the old township of Fremont one year, served 12 years as Justice of the Peace in Sherman Township, and filled the same position in Garfield Township after its re-organization. He had been Township Clerk several times and was Highway Commissioner, which office he had filled several years. He was one of the organizers of the Grange, No.494 at Fremont, in which he had held all the important offices. He was also one of the organizers of Pomona Grange, No. 11, at Newaygo, where he was an active worker in the interests of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry.
Mr. Stuart was married in Reading, Hillsdale Co., Mich., to Sarah A., daughter of Matthew and Sarah Mallory, and a native of the State of New York. Their two children, Wilkes C. and Mary A., were born on the first farm in (now) Dayton Township. The son married Mary Du Bois. The daughter had been a teacher since she was 16 years old, and was a student in the Literary Department of the Normal School of Michigan.
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