||William S. Utley
William S. Utley, a leading pioneer citizen of Newaygo County, resident on section 7, Big Prairie Township, was born in Richmond, Ontario Co., NY, Nov. 6, 1827. His father, William Utley, was of English descent and was born April 19, 1797, in Bennington Co., VT., and his mother, Mahala (Wiley) Utley, of Irish parentage, was born Sept. 22, 1798, in Nashua, N. H. After their marriage they resided in the State of New York.
Mr. Utley was the sixth child of his parents, who came to Michigan and settled in Plymouth, Wayne Co., June, 1828. Ten years later, they made another transfer of their interests, namely, to DeWitt, Clinton Co, MI, where the son was a resident until he was 22 years of age. He had been at liberty since he was 17 years of age, engaged winters in teaching and working summers as a carpenter, fully understanding the value of mechanical skill in a new country, where he designed to settle permanently.
He came to Newaygo County in 1850, and in that year built the first bridge that ever spanned the Muskegon River at Croton. John F. Stearns had been appointed Postmaster of Croton post office, and Mr. Utley showed him how to make up the first pouch of mail matter put up from that point. In October, 1850, he delivered the first temperance lecture in this vicinity, at Culp's school house on Stearn's Prairie, Croton Township, and delivered the first Fourth of July oration, on an island in the Muskegon River, just below where Newaygo now stands.
Mr. Utley has been active in public affairs since he came to Newaygo County, and has greatly aided in the substantial progress and advancement of both county and township where he has resided. He is no an adherent of the National Greenback party; has served his township in many official positions, among the most important of which has been that of Clerk, in which he officiated 20 years. He was a member of the Legislature of Michigan in 1865-6, and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1867. He was elected County Clerk in 1858, and again in 1860, serving two terms.
Mr. Utley is one of the most successful agriculturists of the township of Big Prairie, and owns 240 acres of fine farming land, constituting a most desirable homestead, under good cultivation and with suitable farm buildings and fixtures.
He was married May 14, 1854, in DeWitt, Clinton Co., MI, to Lucy B. Gooch. Following are the names of 12 children, of whom they have become the parents: Cyrus W., William W., Irving S., Harry M. (dec.), Charles E., Esther Ardelle, Lucy G. (dec.), Martha Arletta, Glenn W., Fanny F., Ossian T. and Mabel Grace.
Mr. Utley is a member of the Order of Masonry.
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