||William F. Carpenter
William F. Carpenter, one of the most prominent agriculturists of Newaygo County, resident on section 25, Ensley Township, was born in Chautauqua Co., NY, March 14, 1830. His parents, Timothy and Melinda (Miller) Carpenter, were natives of Orange Co., NY. They were married and resided in the Empire State until July, 1843, when they came to Michigan and located in Plainfield, Kent County. The father died there Feb. 17, 1879. The mother is living and is a resident on the homestead.
Mr. Carpenter was 13 years old when he accompanied his parents to Michigan, and three years later he went to Chicago, where he passed six months as an assistant in a lumber yard. At the end of that time he fell ill, and on recovery became a clerk in the wholesale and retail grocery house if his cousin, Caleb Carpenter. He served in that position about one and a half years, when he returned to Kent County and attended school one winter. The following spring he went to Ottawa County and established lumber interests, where he operated ten years and also pursued farming to a considerable extent. In addition he constructed scows, and during three summer seasons boated on the Grand River. He then went to Lyons, Ionia County, and bought the American Hotel, which he conducted in behalf of the traveling public about one year, when it burned, occasioning a loss of $8,000 to the proprietor. It was covered by insurance, but owning to a defect in the policy only a small portion of the amount of recoverable.
The next business venture of Mr. Carpenter was the purchase of a half interest in a drug store at Muskegon. The remaining moiety was owned by Levi Shockelton, the firm style being Carpenter & Shockelton. This relation continued a year; then he sold to his partner and bought a stock of groceries and conducted traffic in that line of trade about a twelve month, when he determined to investigate the probabilities and possibilities of the lumber trade in Wisconsin, and he proceeded thither to look up pine lands; but, finding a feasible opening for trade, he opened a store in Trempeleau Valley, Jackson County. He continued his operations there two years, sold out and came to Cedar Springs, Kent County, where he opened a general supply store and there transacted business about a year. Meanwhile he bought an undivided half of 440 acres of land on section 25, Ensley Township, on which a steam saw-mill had been located. He made this purchase in the summer of 1868. In the fall of 1869 he disposed of his business at Cedar Springs and went to Charlotte, Eaton County, where he established and managed a lumber yard in connection with the sawmill in Ensley Township.
He again sold out his business in 1871, and after a stay of six months at Pierson, Montcalm County, he settled where he now resides. He added by purchase 40 acres to his farm, which already contained 440 acres, and of this he has 200 acres in cultivation, with a standard of improvements which places it in the front rank of farms in Michigan. In 1879 he erected a fine residence, second to none in Newaygo County and the place is supplied with other farm buildings of proportionate character, among them two fine barns. One of these is 100 feet long by 56 feet wide and has a cupola more than 19 feet in height. He contemplates the erection of two large granaries as lateral accessories to the building, which Gov. Jerome characterizes as the finest structure of its kind in the State. The farm is stocked with 200 sheep, 15 head of cattle, and eight horses. About 15 hogs are fattened yearly on the premises.
Mr. Carpenter was married Jan. 27, 1866, at Augusta, Eau Claire Co., Wis., to C. Antoinette, third daughter of Erasmus D. and Hannah (Crouch) Maxon. The parents of Mrs. Carpenter were natives of the State of New York and settled in Walworth Co., Wis., when their daughter was five years old. Seven years later they located in the northern part of the Badger State and in the fall of 1872 removed to California, where Mrs. Maxon died, July 4, 1874. Mr. Maxon is still a resident of California. Mrs. Carpenter was born March 7, 1844, in Jefferson Co., NY. Two children have been born of her marriage with Mr. Carpenter: Sidney M., June 26, 1870, and Mary, Dec. 28, 1874.
Mr. Carpenter is a radical Republican in politics. While a resident of Ottawa County he was Clerk of Crockery Township two years, and served four years as Justice of the Peace; held also several minor official positions. He is connected with the Order of Masonry, and belongs to Cedar Springs Lodge.
The operations in real estate with which Mr. Carpenter has been connected are varied and extensive. He has trafficked in large tracts in different counties and is the owner of 181 acres in Montcalm County, with 35 acres cleared and cultivated. He also owns a half interest in 1,000 acres of pine and hardwood land in Wexford County, and holds a large claim in from one to two thousand acres, in the counties of Wexford and Manistee.
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