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This page contains biographical sketches (full or extract) of former Shiawassee County residents.
Souce citations (pre-1923) are included with the sketch.





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Schneider, John ** Searl, Chauncey D. ** Seelhoff, Henry ** Shaft, James ** Shaft, John M. ** Shay, John **
** Shippey, Alexander ** Simpson, John ** Shuster, Samuel ** Smith, Harrison ** Smith, M.D., J. L. ** Smith, Nelson **
** Sprague, Otto L. ** Stanlake, George W. **


John SCHNEIDER

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 471

This gentleman is native of the canton of Zurich, Switzerland, as were also his father and mother. He was born March 18, 1844, and when nineteen years old he decided to come to America. He set sail from Havre, France, leaving his parents behind, among the mountains of the beautiful and interesting little republic of Switzerland. It may not be amiss to say in this connection that the name of Switzerland is derived from Schwytz, one of the twenty-two cantons of the confederation. Switzerland is the very pinnacle of Europe, nestling in the Alpine crags, protected from France, Germany, Austria and Italy by mountain barriers. With an area of fifteen thousand nine hundred and eighty-four square miles and a population about as large as Michigan, only sixty-nine per cent. of the land can be called productive and not much of that is really good soil. The stupendous mountain ranges are peculiarly valuable, as they attract tourists, thousands of whom go there yearly from all parts of the world. The first real triumph over the Alps was achieved when the Mount Cenis tunnel was completed. That grand work of engineering is one of the wonders of the world. It was begun in August 1857, and completed in December, 1870. It was thrown open to the public the following September. It lacks only thirty yards of being eight miles long and it cost fifteen million dollars. Trains run through it in about thirty minutes and it connects Italy and France. The swiss are a very simple-minded people. Their one prominent native name, aside from the mythical Tell, is Zwingle, one of the illustrious names of the religious reformation. The national hero of Switzerland was William Tell, whose very existence, though, has been questioned, and certain it is that all that is known of him is more legendary than historical. An Austrian bailiff raised a cap on a pole in the market place of Altorf, and before this every one was ordered to bow down, in token of submission to the government. Tell belonged to an organization formed for the purpose of throwing off the yoke of oppression, that of the Hapsburg, which claimed sovereignty over Switzerland. Tell was condemned to death, but was reprieved on condition that he shoot an apple from the head of his own son. Being a remarkable bowman, he ventured the shot, however, and hit the apple without harming the boy. The tyrannical bailiff noticed that Tell had two arrows and asked him why he had more than one, to which Tell replied "If I had hit my son I should have shot you!"

Our subject received his early education in his native land, and was thirty-three days on the trip across the ocean. He finally landed in New York, however, but was in the harbor three days before being permitted to come ashore. He then proceeded to Canada and worked on a farm, for seven dollars a month, near Markham. This was in 1864. He remained there but one and one-half years, when he found his way to Michigan, Canada being then too much like Europe. He worked in Bennington township four years, for twelve dollars to sixteen dollars per month. He spent three months in the lumber woods north of Greenville, and passed one and one-half years in all at lumbering. He.then returned to Shiawassee county, and worked eight months on a farm, for a Mr. Harding, of Owosso. His next important move was to take unto himself a wife, in the person of Mary Wenchell, a native of the Empire state. She is still living. She is a daughter of Frederick Wenchell, an early pioneer of Saginaw county. Mrs. Schneider was one of four children by her father's first marriage. His second mar. riage resulted in eight children. Those were days when men and women believed implicitly in "multiplying and replenishing the earth." One of these children is a resident of Shiawassee county-Mrs. Elizabeth Purves, who lives in Fairfield township.

In 1873 Mr. Schneider came to Shiawassee county a second time, and bought eighty acres of virgin forest, in Rush township. He first erected a frame house on this property, and the building is still standing. This was followed in due time by barns and other buildings and he continued to live there until five years ago, when he erected a large new house on fifty-two acres of land, adjoining his original eighty, having bought the property nine years previously. He made a beautiful farm of this original purchase and his son now lives on it and works the place on shares. Our subject thus rents out his farm and takes life easy. Mr. and Mrs. Schneider have seven children, all living: Louise is the wife of Henry S. Northrup, of Owosso, where he works in the Bentley factory; they 'have no children. Elizabeth married Calvin Willoughby, of Middlebury, and they have one child, Myrtle. John, who lives on the old farm, married Mlaude Loomis and they have five children. Gertrude, now Mrs. Jones, is a twin sister of John and lives in Brant township, Saginaw county. Rose is single and lives in Owosso. Henry lives on a farm in Rush township; he is married and has two children. William, who is a farmer in Rush township, is married and has one child.

Our subject has always been a Republican. He is treasurer of his school district but has never held any other office. He was brought up in the Lutheran church but is not now a member. He was formerly an Odd Fellow but is not now affiliated with the order.

Eighteen years ago he visited Switzerland, a few years before the death of his parents. He did not find many changes there, however, the people not being so progressive as in this country. He greatly enjoyed his trip but would not like to stay in his native land. His father was a blacksmith by trade, but he was a farmer most of the time. He died at the age of seventy-four years, and his wife, Rachel (Fretche) Schneider, was seventy-eight years of age whei she died. They became the parents of five children, four of whom are living; Anna, who lives in Zurich, Switzerland, married a man named Folcott, now dead; Susan married John Demuth and they live in Switzerland; our subject, John Schneider, was the third child; Jacob, who died at the age of fiftyone, in Switzerland, married a Miss Haugarnter; Henry lives in Fairfield township, Shiawassee county.

Mr. Schneider is an excellent farmer and a good citizen and has the respect of all his neighbors.


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Chauncey D. SEARL

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 472

Chauncey D. Searl, of Fairfield township, was born in Brooklyn, Ohio (now Cleveland), December 10, 1831. His father, Phineas Searl, was a native of Vermont, where he was born in 1804, and he died in Fairfield township December 25, 1874. Julia Ann (Brainard) Searl, mother of our subject, was born in Connecticut, November 10, 1810, and died at Elsie, Michigan, in April, 1891. Mr. Searl's maternal grandfather, Warren Brainard, was born in Hudson, Connecticut, and died at Strongsville, Ohio, in 1856, at the age of sixtysix years, and his grandmother, Sally Brainard, was born in Haddam, Connecticut, in 1784, and died in Fairfield township, Shiawassee county, Michigan, in 1874. She located in Ohio in 1&14, and after her husband's death came to Fairfield, in 1858, where she remained until her death. Our subject's father was a millwright and worked at the business for many years. He owned several grist and saw mills in Ohio, where he located in 1823, and where he learned his trade. In 1865 he came to Fairfield, where he followed his old business and also that of a carpenter and joiner until a year before his death, which was the result of a stroke of paralysis. Mr. Searl's mother bought thirty-four acres of unimproved land in 1860, but subsequently sold it and purchased a home in Elsie, where she lived until her death.

Mr. Searl is a carpenter and joiner by trade, having mastered the trade in Ohio, where he worked one year afterward. Then he removed to Michigan and in 1855 bought forty acres of wild land and commenced clearing it. Meanwhile he worked at his trade at the same time and hired the land chopped and logged. The farm was all cleared thirty years ago and was one of the first in the township to be in this,condition. While thus engaged Mr. Searl lived with his brother-in-law, William Oakes. In March, 1856, he returned to Ohio, and April 23 of the same year was married to Harriet E. Kelley, a native of Aurora, New York, where she was born July 24, 1833. He returned to Michigan with his bride and lived with his brother-in-law while he completed the building of a log house. This was effected in March, 1857, and he then removed into the new dwelling. He built a frame house in 1889 and a frame barn in 1876. His wife was a,daughter of Stephen Kelley, who was born in Aurora, New York, and who died in Ohio; her mother was Ruth (Blackmor) Kelley, a native of New York state. She died in Elsie. Mr. and Mrs. Searl have three children: Franklin, born in Fairfield, July 26, 1857, lives in Gratiot county; he married Lucinda Lewis, December 5, 1881, and their one child died.at birth. Kelley S., born February 4, 1862, lives at Ithaca, Michigan; he is an attorney and was elected judge of the twenty-ninth judicial circuit in the spring of 1905. He attended school at Elsie and Ovid, taught school one term when sixteen years old, was graduated in a school at Valparaiso, Indiana, and also in the law department of the Michigan University. He commenced the practice of law at Ashley, Michigan. He married Margaret Smith in 1885, and they have three children-Ethel, 1891; Hazel, 1894, and William C., 1897. Annie M., who was born October 30, 1868, lives in Bay City; August 4, 1892, she married James W. Haley, a machinist, and they had three children,-Clara, Glenn and a baby.

On December 13, 1892, Mr. Searl married a second wife, in the person of Corintha West, widow of Calvin West, by whom she had four children: Byron M., born August 1, 1858, lives at Elk Rapids; he is a carpenter and is not married. Everett W., born March 19, 1860, lives at Laingsburg and is single. James J., born November 19, 1870, lives at St. Louis, Missouri, where he is superintendent of gas works; he married Edna Wade and they have two children-Theodore, born August 11, 1902, and Delos, born December 10, 1903. Milton B., born November 7, 1880, lives at Flushing; he graduated from Toronto, Ontario, Veterinary College, and is now practicing his profession. He married Maude Pierce.

In 1882 Mr. Searl went to Ann Arbor with his first wife for treatment, she being an invalid. The facilities there for an education were so fine that he concluded to remain for five years to afford his two younger children the great advantages thus offered. His first wife died October 6, 1890, aged fifty-two years, two months and twelve days.

Mr. Searl was the first in a family of four children, as follows: Mary Jane, born October 30, 1839, lives in Detroit; she married August Buell, now dead, and had two children-Charles E. and Lottie. Sara, born in 1841, died in Fairfield when about thirty years old; she married Almond Bennett, a civil war soldier in the First Michigan Cavalry. They had no children. Charles W., born in 1843, died in Brooklyn, Ohio, June 7, 1860.

Mr. Searl is a professor of religion and a believer in the Universalist faith. At Elsie he is one of the charter members of Maple River Lodge, No. 76, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being the only charter member left. He first joined the order at Corunna in 1855. He has passed all the chairs and also held many appointive offices. Indeed, he has officiated in all the appointive places. He is a charter member of the encampment at Elsie and chased a home in Elsie, where she lived until her death. Mr. Searl is a carpenter and joiner by trade, having mastered the trade in Ohio, where he worked one year afterward. Then he removed to Michigan and in 1855 bought forty acres of wild land and commenced clearing it. Meanwhile he worked at his trade at the same time and hired the land chopped and logged. The farm was all cleared thirty years ago and was one of the first in the township to be in this,condition. While thus engaged Mr. Searl lived with his brother-in-law, William Oakes. In March, 1856, he returned to Ohio, and April 23 of the same year was married to Harriet E. Kelley, a native of Aurora, New York, where she was born July 24, 1833. He returned to Michigan with his bride and lived with his brother-in-law while he completed the building of a log house. This was effected in March, 1857, and he then removed into the new dwelling. He built a frame house in 1889 and a frame barn in 1876. His wife was a,daughter of Stephen Kelley, who was born in Aurora, New York, and who died in Ohio; her mother was Ruth (Blackmor) Kelley, a native of New York state. She died in Elsie. Mr. and Mrs. Searl have three children: Franklin, born in Fairfield, July 26, 1857, lives in Gratiot county; he married Lucinda Lewis, December 5, 1881, and their one child died.at birth. Kelley S., born February 4, 1862, lives at Ithaca, Michigan; he is an attorney and was elected judge of the twenty-ninth judicial circuit in the spring of 1905. He attended school at Elsie and Ovid, taught school one term when sixteen years old, was graduated in a school at Valparaiso, Indiana, and also in the law department of the Michigan University. He commenced the practice of law at Ashley, Michigan. He married Margaret Smith in 1885, and they have three children-Ethel, 1891; Hazel, 1894, and William C., 1897. Annie M., who was born October 30, 1868, lives in Bay City; August 4, 1892, she married James W. Haley, a machinist, and they had three children,-Clara, Glenn and a baby. On December 13, 1892, Mr. Searl married a second wife, in the person of Corintha West, widow of Calvin West, by whom she had four children: Byron M., born August 1, 1858, lives at Elk Rapids; he is a carpenter and is not married. Everett W., born March 19, 1860, lives at Laingsburg and is single. James J., born November 19, 1870, lives at St. Louis, Missouri, where he is superintendent of gas works; he married Edna Wade and they have two children-Theodore, born August 11, 1902, and Delos, born December 10, 1903. Milton B., born November 7, 1880, lives at Flushing; he graduated from Toronto, Ontario, Veterinary College, and is now practicing his profession. He married Maude Pierce. In 1882 Mr. Searl went to Ann Arbor with his first wife for treatment, she being an invalid. The facilities there for an education were so fine that he concluded to remain for five years to afford his two younger children the great advantages thus offered. His first wife died October 6, 1890, aged fifty-two years, two months and twelve days. Mr. Searl was the first in a family of four children, as follows: Mary Jane, born October 30, 1839, lives in Detroit; she married August Buell, now dead, and had two children-Charles E. and Lottie. Sara, born in 1841, died in Fairfield when about thirty years old; she married Almond Bennett, a civil war soldier in the First Michigan Cavalry. They had no children. Charles W., born in 1843, died in Brooklyn, Ohio, June 7, 1860. Mr. Searl is a professor of religion and a believer in the Universalist faith. At Elsie he is one of the charter members of Maple River Lodge, No. 76, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being the only charter member left. He first joined the order at Corunna in 1855. He has passed all the chairs and also held many appointive offices. Indeed, he has officiated in all the appointive places. He is a charter member of the encampment at Elsie and has attended the sovereign grand lodge and encampment several times. He is a pronounced Republican, and has the entire confidence of the people of his township, a fact that is evidenced by his election to the office of supervisor for three terms, clerk for six years, and justice of the peace for fourteen years. He was chosen last spring for another term as justice of the peace, and he has been a school official almost continuously since he came to Michigan. Verily, to be thus trusted is a great compliment.


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Henry SEELHOFF

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 474

Henry Seelhoff was born in the dominion of Canada, April 27, 1866. His father, Frederick Seelhoff, was born in Germany, November 22, 1836, and is now living with his son, Frederick, Jr., in Rush township, being eighty years of age. His wife, Augusta (Brant) Seelhoff, was born in Germany, March 1, 1836, and died June 5, 1890, while visiting a sister at Bancroft, Michigan.

Our subject's father came to America at the age of twenty-seven years and located in the dominion of Canada, where he was married. He was a mason by trade and followed that occupation in Canada and afterward in the city of Detroit. He finally located in Rush township, where he purchased forty acres of partly improved land. To this he afterward added eighty acres, making him a farm of one hundred and twenty acres. Here he resided until about ten years ago, when he went to live with his son.

The subject of this sketch is the sixth of a family of eleven children. The first, Alvira, is now the wife of Jacob Raff, of Owosso. The second, Rosa, is the wife of Edgar Hughes, of Rush township. The third, Fred, Jr., resides in Rush township. The fourth is Albert, of Rush township. The fifth, Katie, is now Mrs. Kester, of Owosso. The sixth is the subject of this sketch. The seventh, William, who lived on the old farm, died at the age of about thirty years. The eighth, Charles, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, is residing in Laporte, Michigan. The ninth is John, of Rush township. The tenth, Harvey, died in infancy. The eleventh is Frank, of Rush township.

Henry Seelhoff was educated in the district schools of Rush township. He lived with his parents until the year 1891, when he and his brother William purchased eighty acres of his father's land, on section 10. About eight years ago he bought his brother's interest in the farm, and two years thereafter he purchased the Harshburger eighty, adjoining the old farm, and has since resided there. The Harshburger farm is all improved and has very fine buildings.

On the 3d'of February, 1894, Mr. Seelhoff was united in marriage to Helen Bierwirth. She was born in Detroit, April 9, 1876, being a daughter of Henry Bierwirth, who was born in Germany, and who died in Detroit several years ago. He was a wagonmaker by trade; Mr. and Mrs. Seelhoff have two children: Sadie, who was born November 3, 1895, and Richard, born February 23, 1897.

Mr. Seelhoff politically is a Republican. He and his wife are both members of the German Lutheran church, the church of the subject's father and mother. Our subject is one of the young, energetic farmers of his community, keeping up with the times and availing himself of the improved conditions in general farming. His farm buildings are large and substantial and are kept in splendid repair. His farm, of which he is justly proud, is very productive and is excelled by but few in the county. He has, by good management and business ability, made himself practically independent at an early age.


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James SHAFT

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 474

It is the custom of historians to record the events which make and unmake nations. They speak of the men who by fate have been destined to be leaders, but they neglect those who furnish the power by which achievement is wrought. It is the purpose of this work to preserve the record of lives that have been spent in building up the great state of Michigan and this the greatest of all nations.

James Shaft was born in Woodhull township on the 31st of July, 1866. He is a son of John M. Shaft, a mrerchant and farmer of Woodhull township, and a man who took part in the affairs of the township when it was in its infancy.

Our subject received his early education in the district schools of Woodhull township, this being before the village of Shaftsburg was incorporated. At the age of nineteen he discontinued his school work and took up the business of telegraphy, serving his apprenticeship in the office of the Grand Trunk Railroad in the village of Shaftsburg and working for three years as relief operator. At the end of that time he started on his business career, as a clerk in a store at Shaftsburg. He remained there for a period of two years and then accepted a position at Perry, where he remained the same length of time. He then worked in a store at Ovid, Michigan, for one year and at Williamston about six months.

Having acquired a thorough knowledge of the mercantile business he purchased a general store at the village of Shaftsburg and' commenced business for himself. He conducted this store about two years and then disposed of it and went to the state of Washington, where he clerked in a wholesale grocery house about ten months. Having acquired a knowledge of the western country, he preferred his native state and returned to the village of Shaftsburg. Immediately after his return to Michigan he took charge of the hotel at Shaftsburg, conducting the same for a period of two years.

In 1897 Mr. Shaft began the purchasing of grain, wool and general farm produce; he has been running the elevator at Shaftsburg since that time, and is at present doing a thriving business.

Politically he is a Democrat, and he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is a public-spirited man, taking much interest in all things that look to the betterment of the village in which he lives.

In March, 1891, Mr. Shaft was united in marriage to Ada Stears. She was born August 2, 1871, and received her early education in the village of Laingsburg. She is a daughter of Samuel and Eliza Stears, and is one of a family of six children. The father was a soldier in the civil war, and for the last few years before his death was engaged in the agricultural implement business at Laingsburg, where the mother still lives.

Mr. Shaft is a representative of one of the old and honored families of Shiawassee county and has well upheld the high prestige of the name he bears.


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John M. SHAFT

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 475

There's a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough hew them as we will.

Some believe these words to be literally true in the lives of men, while others totally repudiate the sentiment. But it seems to be a fact that cannot be successfully contradicted, that good fortune pursues some men and showers her smiles upon them, whether they will have them or not. James Lick entered San Francisco with a few thousand dollars in his pocket, bought property and engaged in business in an ordinary way. The vicious village became a great city and the "squatter" became a "sovereign," dying worth millions. Whether it was fate or luck or pluck or foresight that induced John P. Shaft, father of our subject, to purchase the land, in Woodhull township, on which the village of Shaftsburg is now located, will always remain a mystery. His son, John M. Shaft, the gentleman with whom we are immediately concerned at this time, and whose name heads this sketch, was born in Orange county, New York, June 18, 1837. He received his early education in the log school houses of Perry and Woodhull townships. At the age of twenty-two years he purchased eighty acres of wild land, seven of which were partly improved, in Woodhull township. He erected a house and barn and set out an orchard. He continues to reside there. In 1875, while the Grand Trunk Railroad was being constructed, he erected a building for general store purposes on land previously owned by his father, where Shaftsburg is now situated, the village being named in honor of that sterling pioneer, the father of our subject. He then embarked in the general mercantile business. Until the completion of the railroad he was obliged to haul his goods from Lansing and Williamston by team. He is still in the same branch of trade, with the addition of a hardware department, which was established in 1884, and in which he keeps a very complete stock, as he does of all lines handled. Indeed, his is a model establishment and enjoys a large and lucrative trade.

Mr. Shaft has not only been most prominent and successful as a business man, but has been also repeatedly honored locally as a loyal Democrat. He served as constable for a number of terms and has filled the office of town treasurer for four terms. He is identified with Lodge No. 230, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

January 1, 1859, Mr. Shaft was united in marriage to Elizabeth Pinckney, of Woodhull township. She was born in Genoa, Livingston county, Michigan, February 1, 1840, being the fifth in a family of seven children: Charlotte, born February 4, 1829, married Marvel Hawkins and both are deceased; they had one child, Arola Lockwood, who is a resident of Fowlerville. Matilda, born July 29, 1831, married Horace Chalker, a blacksmith, now deceased, and has one child, Thomas. She still lives in Fowlerville, Livingston county. John born March 14, 1833, is a farmer of Locke township,. Ingham county; he married Rebecca Fisher, who died in 1872, leaving three children-Robert, George and Elizabeth. Mary, born January 16, 1836, married Hartwell Lewis, a Livingston county farmer, and they have one son, Herbert. Elizabeth is the wife of our subject. Eveline, born in 1843, married John Green, a Williamston township farmer, and both are now deceased. They had two children,-Herbert and Annie. Louisa born July 12, 1846, married Sidney Green, proprietor of a hotel and a brother of John Green, residing in Durand; she died in 1897, having become the mother of three childrenArthur, Alice and Thomas.

Mr. and Mrs. John M. Shaft are the parents of eight children: Cass M., born December 9, 1861, is a farmer of Woodhull township; he is a Democrat and has served four years as postmaster at Shaftsburg. He married Trettie Van De Walker, and is the father of three children-Roy, Benjamin and Catharine. Lillian, born January 13, 1863, is the wife of Orney Goodridge, a Shaftsburg farmer, and has two children-Zorah and Josephine. James, born July 31, 1866, married Ada Stears, and they live in Shaftsburg. Elizabeth, born January 8, 1868, is the wife of Frank Lockwood, a farmer of Williamston township and a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and they have four children-Raymond, Mabel, Sherley and Pauline. Ellen, born September 16, 1871, married Perry Wilsey, a musician, and they reside at Lansing, Michigan. John P., born September 30, 1873, married Jane Warner. He is a resident of Shaftsburg, is a Democrat and has served six years as township. clerk. He is a notary public and a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. Raymond, born February 16, 1878, was graduated in the Lansing Business College, and is a clerk in his father's store. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Roe, born June 1, 1881, died August 30, 1902.

Thomas Pinckney, Mrs. Shaft's father, located in Genoa township, Livingston county, on eighty acres of government land, which he cleared and improved, erecting a substantial house and barns. His death occurred December 9, 1849. The maiden name of Mrs. Shaft's mother was Rebecca West. She had one brother, two half-brothers, and one half-sister, who, like herself, were born in New York state. Some of them removed to Livingston county, where they still reside. Mrs. Pinckney died January 22, 1859. When the family removed from Genoa to Locke township the father took up eighty acres of wild land, clearing and cultivating it and erecting upon it the homestead buildings. Across the way from this tract was afterward built the first frame school house in Locke township. For many years it bore the name of the "Pinckney school house," in honor of the pioneer who settled in the locality when the region for miles around was but a wilderness. When Mr. Pinckney first came to the country, wolves, bears and deer were plentiful, and he became quite a hunter. For some time he had in his possession four tame deer which he had captured when small and had domesticated. When he located in Locke township, Williamston was the nearest market place and milling point. As Mr. Pinckney located in Michigan long before the Republican party was in existence, he was originally a Whig, afterward joining the ranks of its successor. He was an earnest member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and died a firm believer in its faith, November 16, 1890.

John P. Shaft, the father of our subject, was a native of Rensselaer county, New York, where he was born September 16, 1804. He was of German and French descent. His maternal grandfather served as an officer under the great Napoleon, and the grandfather on the paternal side emigrated from Germany to America before the beginning of the Revolutionary war, in which he was engaged on the side of the patriots, serving until the close of the struggle, when he "turned his sword into a pruning hook," in Rensselaer county, New York, and engaged in farming. This was the native county of Peter, father of John P. Shaft, and after the birth of the latter, a portion of the family removed to Saratoga county, in the same state. Seven children were born to Peter and Elizabeth Shaft and when one of these, John P., was still an infant the family residence was changed to Madison county, New York, where the homestead remained until 1838. John P. Shaft remained with his father until he reached his majority and had been thoroughly educated in the common-school branches. Thus equipped, he further fitted himself for intelligent, practical and successful work, by mastering the shoemaker's trade, which he followed until he came to Michigan, in 1839. He had not only a good trade at his fingers' ends but also brought with him a fair stock of boots, shoes and leather, and, backed by hope, confidence, and general ability as well, he settled in the town of Perry. It must be remembered that shoemaking in those days was an important industry in every town, city and hamlet in the land, boots and shoes having to be made to order. This was before the days of much ready-made work. He had the foresight to buy two hundred and eighty acres of wild land, on sections 19, 20 and 29. In 1846 he removed to Woodhull township and purchased a tract of one hundred and sixty acres, which he improved and cultivated, erecting thereon a residence and other farm buildings and setting out a fine orchard. To these purchases he added from time to time until he was the proprietor of two thousand three hundred and thirty acres of land. When he died he was the owner of one thousand and eighty acres, mostly in Woodhull township. When Mr. Shaft settled in Perry his nearest neighbors were three miles north and seven miles west, but he lived to see the country all about him thickly populated and highly cultivated. He was a leader in the construction of the Grand Trunk Railroad, a staunch promoter and a liberal supporter of educational and religious enterprises, and such an indispensable friend to the best life of the community that the town itself was named after him, as already stated.

John P. Shaft was married four times, first to Christiana Olsaver, in 1829. She was a fine type of the pioneer woman, a model wife and mother and most highly esteemed as a friend and neighbor. The result of this union, besides our subject, was the following named children: Orville, born in Madison county, New York, for many years was a western miner, and he died in California about 1900. Elizabeth, also born in Madison county, New York, became the wife of Johnson Treadway, a farmer of Perry township, by whom she had seven children, her death occurring in Morrice, December 22 1904; her children were all born in Perry township. Julia is the wife of Melville Grant, a horse breeder, of Morrice. Adna married George Graham, clerk in a Morrice store. John and Johnson were twins; the former is dead and the latter is a Grand Rapids railroad man. Orville, a Perry township farmer, died about twelve years ago. Alice, wife of Mr. Clark, a farmer of Perry township, had three children, and she died in 1882. Mary married Frank Ormsby, a farmer of Locke township.

John P. Shaft's second wife was Christina Sherry, and eight children were born to them; and the third was Julia Parks, a native of New York state. They had no children.

Our subject was a child of his father's first marriage. His mother, Christiana (Olsaver) Shaft, was born in Madison county, New York, her parents being pioneer farmers of Washtenaw county, Michigan, where they had purchased a farm of one hundred and twenty acres. She was one of a family of eight children, her father, Martin Olsaver, and her mother, Hannah (Williams) Olsaver, both being natives of New York state. Lawrence, her elder brother, was the first child of the family; she was the second; Cornelius, the third; Eliza, the fourth; Susan, the fifth; William, the sixth; Nancy, the seventh, and Henry, the eighth.t The children all reside in either Washtenaw or Livingston counties.

It will thus be seen that John M. Shaft comes from good stock, and like his father before him, will leave a lasting impress on the community as one: who has accomplished something in life. Indeed, he has already done this, and may justly be proud of his achievements as a safe, reliable business man. But it may be claimed that Mr. Shaft has been, lucky. Some eminent men, however, have persistently claimed that there is no such thing in the world as luck, that men are at all times the arbiters of their own fortunes, and that if an unkind fate overtakes them it is because of their imprudence and carelessness. A critical observer has written: "If a man will put his mind into his business and drive it with energy, bad luck will never overtake him." Mr. Shaft has pushed his business, has attended to it closely, has succeeded admirably, and, although on the down-grade of life's journey, he is still active and in good health. Verily, such men should have a secret fountain from which to drink and renew their youth and vigor and thus perpetuate their stay in the world.


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John SHAY

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 480

Sixty-nine years ago but little could be said of the state of Michigan. The constitution of the state was not then adopted, and the greater part of the commonwealth was an uninhabited wilderness. Yet, in that early day, a man came to Lenawee with a son, who, at the age of twelve, working on a farm for six dollars the month, could provide for his own support and the support of his younger brother.

John Shay lived in Lenawee county until af- [misprinted] York, February 9, 1832. He is a son of Ansel Shay, a shoemaker by trade, who was born in the state of New York, and who died about fifty years ago. The mother died when our subject was but a child and of her he has no recollection. There were five children in the family. The oldest, Martha, is deceased; the second, Millie Ann, lives in Ohio; the third is the subject of this sketch; the fourth, Henry, died when a small boy; the fifth, Frank, is the youngest child and is now sixty-eight years of age, having been about six years cold when the father died, leaving him dependent upon his brother John, then but twelve years of age.

John Shay lived in Lenawee county until after his marriage to Maria Dutcher, his first wife, when he came to Rush township about the year 1855. At that time this section was all wild, being covered with heavy timber. He bought eighty acres of this wild land and started in to make the home which he now occupies, in section 16.

John and Maria (Dutcher) Shay became the parents of three children. The first, Martha Jane,' was born in Lenawee county, and she died unmarried; Frank is now forty-four years of age; Mary is the wife of Anson Shuster and they reside in Ontonagon county, Michigan. In 1892 our subject was married to the widow of Andrew Hurst. She has five sons and two daughters by the first marriage. The sons are all holding responsible railroad positions, and one of the daughters is teaching in Ypsilanti and the other in Danville, Illinois.

Mr. Shay erected a board shanty upon the land which he purchased when he came to Rush township. He afterward enlarged this and at present it constitutes a part of the house now standing upon the land. In his early life he had but few school advantages, and acquired but a limited education; but while his schooling was neglected he was not neglecting the responsibility which the unfortunate death of his father had placed upon him, and was caring for his brother, who'was too young to care for himself.

Politically, he has always been a Democrat in national affairs, but is independent and uses his judgment of men and measures in local matters. He has served as a school officer and as highway commissioner. He now owns eighty acres of well-improved farming land,' on section 16. The land is well fertilized and has good, substantial buildings. He still attends to the management of his farm, which is devoted to general farming. He has lived long in Rush township and has seen the forest fall before the stroke of the pioneer's ax. He has earned and has the respect of all who know him, and deserves the comforts of life which he now enjoys.


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Alexander SHIPPEY

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 481

This gentleman comes of good stock, some of his ancestors having figured in the war of 1812. Alexander Shippey was born in Oxford township, Oakland county, Michigan, March 17, 1847. His father, John Shippey, was a native of Seneca county, New York, where he first saw the light of day in 1809, and his mother, Mary (Graham) Shippey, was born in Ontario, Canada, in'1813, and died August 26, 1897. Mr. and Mrs. John Shippey were married at Rochester, Michigan, October 30y 1830. Previously to this date John Shippey came to Michigan, and took up forty acres of government land in Oxford township, Oakland county. On this he built a log Louse and barn, eventually clearing the land and subsequently adding one hundred acres, which also he cleared. He afterward erected a frame house and barns. He lived on the place at the time of his death. Detroit was his market for trading in the early days, and he went from Pontiac to Big Rapids to make a millstone at a time when there was nothing but an Indian trail be-" tween the two points.

Alexander Graham, maternal grandfather of our subject, was in the war of 1812, and his daughter, mother of Mr. Shippey, was'kept, in the fort at Detroit, the only companions be-' ing "papooses." She was in the fort when it' was attacked by the English and Indians and for a time it was thought that the stronghold would be captured and the inmates taken prisoners. At the close of the war Mr. Graham re. moved with his family to Rochester, Michigan, near which place he settled on a large tract of government land, where he and Mr. Shippey's mother drove the ox team which turned the first furrow ever plowed in Oakland countya distinguished honor which falls to the lot of few women. John Graham, brother to Mr. Shippey's mother, was the first male child born in Oakland county.

Alexander Shippey was the seventh of nine children. Maria, now living in Lapeer county, first married Frank Wilder and had four children. After his death she married Hiram Travis; they have no children. Clarica; who lives at Hadley, Lapeer county, married Ernest Mann, and had three daughters. John, who lives near Bad Axe, Michigan, married Emma Hallenbeck and they have one child. Ann is the wife of Martin Jersey, of Romeo, Michigan, and has three children. Jane, who is living at Metamora, Lapeer county, married Hiram Lee, and had three children. Olive, who is deceased, lived at Metamora, Lapeer county, having been the wife of Enos Pitcher, and having had three children. Alexander is the subject of this sketch. Benjamin died in Oakland county, at the age of ten years. Ada, now living in Lapeer county, married Mr. Marston, and had two children. Her second husband is Mr. Barber, by whom she has had four children.

Mr. Shippey started the battle of life for himself at the age of sixteen years, beginning to work on a farm by the month. He continued this for six years. At the end of that time he rented a big farm in Lapeer county, for one year, but owing to ill health he found it necessary to sell out in 1871, and he subsequently spent six weeks prospecting in Kansas. Prior to going to that state, however, he visited Hazelton township, at which time he made the declaration he would not take it as a gift. In the fall of 1871, however, he experienced a "change of heart" and after returning from Kansas bought eighty acres of wild land, on section 2, Hazelton township, for which he paid four hundred dollars. During the first year he lived in a board shanty twelve by sixteen feet in dimensions. This he afterward tore down, and started to build a frame house sixteen by twenty-four feet in dimensions, but before it was completed it was blown down. Finally, however, the damage was repaired and the structure completed. He continued to occupy it till eighteen years ago, when he built a larger and finer residence with suitable and more commodious barns. All the land has been entirely changed, by clearing off the timber, thus making it a beautiful and attractive spot. Three years ago Mr. Shippey retired from the old homestead, on account of poor health, and located in New Lothrop, this county, where he purchased a house and four lots and where he now lives in ease and comfort.

In 1869 Mr. Shippey was married to Amanda Campbell, who died in 1878, leaving three children: Arthur, who was born September 7, 1872, lives on his father's farm; he married Myrta Smith and they have two children, Mildred and Vivian. The second was Ernest, born March 6, 1875, and the third was an infant which died at the age of three weeks, the same time as did its mother.

In 1880 Mr. Shippey took a second wife, Ella Enders, who was born March 28, 1856. To them one child, Iva, was born, June 10, 1885. She married Oscar Bower and has two children: Roy, born May 5, 1903, and Kenneth, born January 14, 1905.

The father of Mrs. Shippey was Samuel Enders. He settled in Oakland county, where he bought eighty acres of partly improved land. At the time of his death, in 1898, he lived in Ortonville, Michigan. His wife is still living at that place. Mrs. Shippey was the fourth of eight children: Charlotte, who lives at Ortonville, Michigan, married Damon Irish, and they have no children. Almeda, who resides at Port Jarvis, New York, is the wife of Richard Whitmore and they have five children. Warren, who lives in Colorado, is married and has six children. Ella is the wife of Mr. Shippey, subject of this review; Charles, who resides at Ortonville, Michigan, is married but has no children. Norman, who is living in Bay county, married Etta Wilkins and they have one child. Jennie, who lives at Vassar, Michigan, married George McGinnis, and they have two sons. Lucius died in Montana, having been married. The father of Mrs. Shippey was a native of Pennsylvania, while her mother, Nancy (Rhodes) Enders, was born in New York state. Endersville, Pennsylvania, was named in honor of Mrs. Shippey's family.

Alexander Shippey is a Democrat and is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.


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Samuel SHUSTER

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 483

For many years one of the best-known and most honored pioneers of Rush township was Samuel Shuster. On account of temporary illness he was prevented for the first time within a half century from attending and voting at the spring election in the township in 1905.

He was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, on the 11th of July, 1821. He was a son of John Shuster, who was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, and who died in the state of Ohio, at the age of eighty-one years. Our subject's mother, Elizabeth (Wingate) Shuster, was born in Delaware, near Philadelphia. She was bound out, when a child, to a family in Ohio, where she was reared.

At the age of twenty-one years our subject's father located at New Baltimore, Ohio, where he lived several years. He then removed with his family to Hardin county, Ohio, where both he and his wife died. Ohio at that time was a sparsely settled state. The subject of this sketch remembered when there was but one lumber wagon in the county in which they lived. He used to go to mill, a distance of sixteen miles on horseback, and return with the grist and other food supplies. As the father was one of the pioneers of Ohio, so was the son a pioneer of Michigan. Mr. Shuster's grandfather was a very wealthy man. He gave each of his children one hundred and sixty acres of land, a cow, and a saddle and bridle. To the eleventh child, a (laughter, he gave five hundred dollars in money and a house and lot in Philadelphia.

The subject of this memoir came to Michigan in 1854, and located his land, situated in Rush township, Shiawassee county, with a pocket compass and a piece of birch bark two rods long. His one hundred and sixty acres of wild land cost him twelve and one-half cents per acre. The trip from Qhio was made with two yoke of oxen, a cow and a heifer. His family consisted of himself, his wife and their infant child.

Mr. Shuster was married in Ohio, at the age of twenty-nine years, to Elizabeth Main. She was born in Ohio, and lived only eight years after their marriage. To them were born three children. The oldest, Sanford, lives in Rush township; the second, Anson E., lives in Ontonagon county, and the third, John, lives in Rush township.

After Mr. Shuster had erected a log house upon the land which he had purchased, he commenced cutting logs on the river to obtain the means to support his family. He was a good worker and a better financier. Twentyfour years ago on the first day of January he moved into the brick house in which he lived at the time of his death, November 15, 1905, at the age of eighty-four years. He hired the laborers who worked upon the house, superintend personally its construction and did not permit a piece of imperfect material to be placed in the building. When completed it had cost him the sum of two thousand and two hundred dollars, every cent of which he paid in cash. When we consider the difficulty of obtaining money in those days, when most men struggled for an existence, we must admit that this is a record of which to be proud.

Mr. Shuster's second wife was Lucy, widow of Jacob Rush. Her maiden name was Freeman. To them were born five children. Elizabeth Ann is the wife of Horace Hayt, of Owosso; Jane is the wife of John Dellamater, of Rush township; Athelia is the wife of June Johnson, of Chesaning, Michigan; Leslie resides in Rush township, and Edna is the wife of George Brock, formerly of Saginaw, Michigan. Since the death of Mr. Shuster Mr. Brock has had the management of the farm.

In early days Mr. Shuster often carried upon his shoulders a bag of meal from Owosso to his home, a distance of nine miles, through the woods. Although the feat mentioned is but one of the many hardships which he encountered.

Politically he was affiliated with the Democrats, but was independent in local affairs. He held the office of highway commissioner for a period of fourteen years, but never sought political office. He was a man highly respected by all who knew him.


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John SIMPSON

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 484

The surroundings of a home and the influence of a father and mother go far to mould the character of the boy or girl and to start them on the right road to good manhood and womanhood. The boy who is left in infancy without either, and who is compelled to meet the hardships and evils of the world alone is as gold tried in the fire if he arrives at manhood without dishonor.

John Simpson was born in Scotland in the year 1826, being a son of William Simpson. His parents both died in Scotland when he was but a child. The only recollection he has of either of his parents is that of being lifted in some one's arms to look upon the face of his dead mother.

Subject lived with his paternal grandparents until he had attained to the age of twelve years. At that early age he had to shift for himself, and he began earning his daily bread by working on a farm by the month. He labored thus for nine years, and though he had to bear the hardships of an orphan and the sorrows of childhood alone, he came to his majority with his character unblemished, and so he has preserved it throughout his long and useful life.

At the age of twenty-one years he married Jane Gordon. She was born in 1828, and died in 1903. The companion of his youth and his first true friend lies buried in the cemetery at Henderson. To them were born two children. The older, John, died at the age of three years. The second, Jane, was born in 1853, and she is the wife of John Telfer, who conducts a general store in the village of Henderson, where he is also postmaster, Mr. and Mrs. Telfer have four children, Harry, Daisy, Grace and Lyman.

Our subject was the third in a family of four children, who are now widely separated. The oldest, William, is a shoemaker by trade and resides in Scotland; the second, Jane, lives in Scotland; and the fourth lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

Mr. and Mrs. Simpson sailed from Aberdeen, Scotland, on the 8th day of April, 1854, and two months were consumed in making the voyage. They landed at Quebec and went from there to Hamilton, Ontario, where they resided about two years, then removing to Detroit, where he was employed for four years at construction work and repairing on the Michigan Central Railroad. He then came to Rush township in the year 1868, and purchased eighty acres of wild land. Not a stick of timber had been cut on the land and the timber was the heaviest in this section. He built a log house upon the land and for the next few years labored as a section hand upon the Michigan Central Railroad, to obtain a living for himself and family. In connection with this labor he succeeded in clearing a few acres of the land.and in planting crops. He has continued his labors until now he has a very fine farm, located in section 22. Politically he has always been a Republican. In early days he was a member of the Presbyterian church, but at present belongs to the Disciples' church. For the last few years he has rented his land, and though he is now seventy-nine years of age he is still in good health. His daughter and her husband live with him. Although advanced in years he is not a man that can bear to be idle. He manages the farm, repairs fences and sees that everything is kept in first-class condition.


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Harrison SMITH

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 485

Harrison Smith, the subject of this paper, now a resident of Owosso, has for nearly forty years been a highly honored citizen of Venice township, and, as one of the most substantial farmers of the county, is enjoying the rewards of an industrious life, directed by sound judgment and morality. He was born in Orleans county, New York, on November 24, 1821, and his parents were also natives, of the Empire state. His father, George Washington Smith, was born in 1796, and died, at the age of eighty-eight, in 1884; his mother, Almira (Lee) Smith, died in New York state in 1830.

The father of our subject was married four times, Harrison being the eldest child by the first marriage. His brother Orson, next to him in age and now deceased, married Harriet Patterson and was the father of five children. Lee, the third, living in Missouri, married Harriet Smith, and they are the parents of four children. The fourth, Nelson, who is a resident of New York state, has been twice marriage of George W. Smith was to Mrs. Polly whom he had two children, and, second, to Mrs. Ann Eliza Buckland. The second marriage of George W. Smith was to Mrs. Polly (Whaley) Jenning, by whom he had four children. Harvey is married and lives in California. Henry died when a small boy. Mary J., deceased, married Solon Parish and had two boys. Sabrina Mariah is now Mrs. Cline, lives at Adrian, Michigan, and has two chil dren. The third wife, formerly Lois Wheat, became the mother of one child, who died in infancy. The fourth wife was a widow named Patterson.

Harrison Smith obtained his early education in the district schools of Orleans county, New York, and until he was nearly twenty-two years of age he assisted his father in his saw mill. He then started out to carve for himself an independent career, having, as a foundation for the future, one hundred acres of improved land, presented to him by his father. It was about this time that the young man was introduced to the Wolverine state and its fair prospects, through a visit which he made to Tuscola county, whither he was invited to attend the wedding of his cousin. That entire region was then virtually a wilderness, there being only nine families in the county named, and the wedding of his cousin was the first ceremony of the kind between white people ever performed within its limits.

Mr. Smith returned to Orleans county, where he successfully cultivated his farm for several years, but his visit to the west had set at rest all doubts as to his final residence. At first he traded his New York farm for eighty acres of wild land in Ottawa county, Michigan, which, in turn, was exchanged for the one hundred and ten acre in section 10, Venice township, where he resided until October, 1905. This tract was also unimproved, but he built a log house and a frame barn, and cleared and broke the land; later, he erected a comfortable frame residence, transforming the wild, crude piece of land into an attractive, up-to-date homestead. Following the example of his father, he has also given to each of his sons forty acres of land.

Mr. Smith has been thrice married. He first wedded Mrs. Louisa (Holt) Hopkins, who died in New York state, childless. He later married Sarah Wager, who died March 3, 1885, at the age of forty-four years, leaving three children: Lewis Eugene, born in May, 1861, married Nellie Warren, from whom he was divorced, their children being Everett and Fern; his second marriage was to Naomi Brees; they have no children and live with our subject. Mary was born in 1865, and died in May, 1883. Willis Henry, born in December, 1867, married Minnie Bernear and lives on a forty-acre farm which his father gave him. He has five children-Frankie, Ada, George, Gertrude and Rodger. Mr. Smith's third marriage was to Mrs. Emily Jane Paine, widow of Damon E. Paine. She was born in 1828 and had one child by her first marriage, Viola Celestia, who was born in 1858 and who married William Ackland, becoming the mother of three children, Wallie, Flora (deceased). and Irene. Mr. and Mrs. Ackland reside in Morencie.

Our subject is not a member of any political party, being too busy a man to devote any time to politics. To illustrate how he has kept himself aloof from politics, it may be stated that he has voted for but one president in the course of his entire life.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Smith are Seventh Day Adventists and are prominent in practical works of charity. Mr. Smith is one of that stalwart band of pioneers, now diminished to such small proportions, who have been privileged to see the wild country over which they once hunted deer and other game, blossom into scientifically cultivated farms and beautiful villages and cities.


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J.L. SMITH, M.D.

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 486

Of the followers of Esculapius practicing in Durand, Shiawassee county, none is more progressive in his professional ideas and tendencies than our subject. The tendency of the time in professional circles is a dissatisfaction with one's acquirements and a feverish anxiety to rend the veil of future discoveries and inventions, taking to one's self all the advantages that may be utilized. On the whole, this is a wholesome condition of affairs. Dr. Smith is no exception to the rule, being ambitious to stand in the front ranks of his profession. He is a skilled physician and surgeon and his practice is large and of a representative character. Since the year 1875, with the exception of four years passed at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he has been known as one of the most successful physicians of Shiawassee county.

Ohio is the native place of Dr. Smith, who was born in Coshocton county, where he spent his boyhood days and where he acquired his early education in the district schools.

Dr. Smith is a son of Jacob and Mary (Thompson) Smith. His father was born in Virginia, in 1813, and his mother was a native of Scotland, her birth having occurred in 1814. For a time our subject attended the Hopedale Academy, at Hopedale, Ohio, later was a student in the Iron City Commercial College, at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and he finally entered the Western Reserve University, at Cleveland, Ohio, being graduated in the medical department of this institution as a member of the class of 1873. He later took a post-graduate course in the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago.

The young physician started out for himself by locating at Strasburg, Ohio, where he practiced successfully. In the year 1875, being dissatisfied with the field of his activities, he removed to Vernon, -Michigan, where he remained, with the exception of a few years in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, until he came to Durand, in the year 1896. Since locating in Durand he has met with marked success and his strict attention to business and the welfare of his patrons has won for him many friends. He is ever found ready to lend a helping hand to one who is needy.

Dr. Smith has been twice married, first to Jennie Patterson, daughter of John Patterson, of Strasburg, Ohio. Mrs. Smith died in Vernon, Michigan, in 1880. In the year 1893 Dr. Smith was married to Miss Florence Willhide, of Hagerstown, Maryland. Two children came to bless the home of Dr. Smith-a son and a daughter. Lillie is following the calling of an actress and her stage name is Lillie Morrell, and the son is a conductor on the Toledo & Ann Arbor Railroad.

Dr. Smith is a Democrat, and though not an office-seeker, he was for one term president of Vernon village and also, for the same length of time, president of Durand. He interests himself in everything that can be of advantage to him in the acquiring of knowledge pertaining to his profession. He is a member of the Michigan State Medical Society and also of the Shiawassee County Medical Association.

In social life, Dr. Smith affiliates with the Masonic order, Knights of Pythias, Knights of the Maccabees, Foresters and the Dramatic Order of the Knights of Khorassan, at Saginaw, in all of which he takes an active interest. He is a warm admirer and personal friend of W. J. Bryan.


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Nelson SMITH

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 487

It is a pleasure to preserve the history and the recollections of the men who have taken part in the development of a community. No more valuable hour can be spent than to hear them impart the knowledge which they have acquired in many years of life and experience. The step may be slow, but they have not much farther to travel. The eye may be dim, but they need not look far to see the goal.

Nelson A. Smith was born in Genesee county, state of New York, on the 2d day of February, 1826. His father, Sanford Smith, was born in Jefferson county, New York, and his mother, Laura (Tanner) Smith, was born in the state of Vermont. His father came to the state of Michigan, in the fall of 1842, and settled in Burns township, a short distance from where our subject now lives..

Sanford Smith traded land in New York state for three hundred and four acres of land in Shiawassee county, Michigan, and made his first trip to the state for the purpose of seeing the land, not having seen it before he traded. He erected a small log cabin on the land and returned to the state of New York, and rented the land he bad formerly owned there. After two years he returned to Michigan and started to clear and improve the land. He died three years later, in 1848.

Our subject is one of seven children, all of whom are dead but himself and one brother. He received his early education in the state of New'York, in the town of Perry. He first worked on the land which his father owned, and his father afterward gave him a deed of forty-eight and one-half acres of wild land. He later purchased eighty acres. There was but tourteen acres cleared on the eighty, the remainder, of over one hundred and twenty acres, he has cleared and improved himself. This is a great work for one man to accomplish. His farm is located in sections 2 and 3, Burns township.

Nelson Smith has continuously lived upon the farm which he first owned. He has erected good buildings, made general improvements and has one of the finest farms in Burns township. In the year 1852 he visited the gold fields of California, going by way of New York and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Upon this trip he was gone nineteen months, which is the longest period he has been absent from his farm since he located upon it. In early days he drove the Fentonville stage.

In 1851 Mr. Smith was united in marriage to Jane E. Barnum. Her father was an old and highly esteemed settler bf Michigan, locating near Byron in the year 1837. To our subject and wife has been born one child, John S. Smith, who now resides on the farm with his father. Mr. Smith gave his son a liberal education, sending him to the high school at Byron, and college at Kalamazoo. He is still a very studious and scholarly man.

John S. Smith married Samantha Burlingame, whose parents were old settlers, and very much respected people of Burns township. To Mr. and Mrs. Smith have been born four children. The oldest, Jeanette, is a graduate of Mount Pleasant Normal and is a kindergarten teacher. The Second, Lulu, is a normalschool graduate, and is now engaged as a drawing teacher. The third, H. Brayton, is attending the Michigan Agricultural College. The fourth, Ruth, is attending school in By-. ron, and expects to specialize in music.

Our subject and his son are both Republicans, and the son has held the offices of justice of the peace and school inspector.


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Otto L. SPRAGUE

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 488

Among the prominent young business men of Owosso is Otto L. Sprague, the druggist. Mr. Sprague is a native Wolverine, having been born at Farmington, Oakland county, Michigan, January 19, 1865. His parents, John and Helen (Lee) Sprague, were for many years residents of Oakland county, where the father was engaged in farming. When our subject was seven years of age his father moved to Caro, and later, in 1886, to Owosso, where he now resides, being engaged as mail carrier.

In the year 1882 Otto L. Sprague was graduated in the Caro high school, and soon afterward he accepted a position in a drug store at that place, being subsequently employed at Fair Grove, Bad Axe and Traverse City. The firm of Sprague & Company was formed in 1890, since which time Mr. Sprague has been identified with the business interests of the city of Owosso.

July 27, 1886, Mr. Sprague was united in marriage to Mabel A., daughter of Henry P. and Emily (Wilson) Atwood, of Caro. To Mr. and Mrs. Sprague three children were born-Lee Atwood, Jonathan Henry and Robert Wilson. Jonathan Henry is the only surviving child and is a pupil in the Owosso public schools.

It is scarcely necessary to say that Mr. Sprague affiliates with the Republican party. He believes in its principles and is enthusiastic over its triumphs and victories. He has served the city as clerk one term and was for two terms city treasurer. In 1900 Mr. Sprague was supervisor of census for the eighth congressional district of Michigan. He is now serving his third term as deputy oil inspector for the twelfth district of Michigan. Mr. Sprague has developed the social and fraternal side of his nature by his association with the Odd Fellows, the Maccabees and the Masonic fraternity. Mr. Sprague readily comprehends the fact that nothing succeeds like success, and acts accordingly. He never waits for an opportunity, but makes for himself opportunities and improves the advantages afforded. His friends say of him, "Otto usually has his hat the right side up when the plums fall." He is greatly appreciated for his public spirit in his home town, where he is best known.


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George W. STANLAKE

The Past and Present of Shiawassee County, Michigan - Historically - Together with Biographical Sketches of many of its Leading Citizens And Illustrious Dead
The Michigan Historical Publishing Association, Lansing, Michigan
Page 488

George WV. Stanlake was born in Waterford, Oakland county, Michigan, December 28, 1849. He is a son of Charles Stanlake., who was born in Devonshire, England, February 7, 1824, who died in Owosso township, May 12, 1899. His wife, Caroline (Derby) Stanlake, was born in the Empire state, and she passed to the life eternal in 1884, in Owosso township. The father of Charles Stanlake was William Stanlake, who came to America when the former, Charles, was only twelve years old. In 1836 he located in Waterford, Oakland county, Michigan, where he bought one hundred and sixty acres of land from the government. This he cleared and improved, and there he lived until the date of his death. Our subject's father was one in a family of ten children, two of whom died in England. Five sons and three daughters accompanied their parents to America, and all have since passed away. They were named respectively Charles, John, Thomas, Robert, William, Mary, Jane and Charlotte.

Our subject's father attended the district school in Oakland county, living at home with his parents. When his father died he stayed on the farm and took care of his mother, realizing that There is none In all this cold and hollow world, no fount Of deep, strong, deathless love, save that within A mother's heart. Charles Stanlake was married in Oakland county anAd lived on the old homestead until 1856, when he sold his interest in the farm and moved to Shiawassee county, buying eighty acres in Owosso township. Of this there were about seven acres cleared, with no buildings. As soon as possible he erected a house, in which he lived for thirty years afterward. He cleared and improved the land and in later years built a commodious residence. In politics he was a Republican, but he never held office. He was a member of the Protestant Methodist church at Burton and was active in all that pertains to the betterment of society. He had a family of ten children-such a family as would now delight the heart of President Roosevelt. The first-born of the household was the subject of this sketch, George W. Stanlake. The others are: Henry, who lives in DuPlain township, Clinton county, Michigan; James, who lives in Owosso, being employed in the Estey factory; Harvey, who lives in Detroit, and who is a contractor and builder; Williafn, who resides at Kingston, Canada; Fred, who lives in Owosso; Martha, who is the wife of Orrin Williams, of New Haven township; Elizabeth married Joseph Bradley and they live in Owosso; two children were born to them and both died in infancy.

Mr. Stanlake was afforded the advantages of the district schools of Owosso and Middlebury townships and subsequently attended a select school in Ovid. He started for himself at the age of fourteen years, working on a farm summers and attending school winters. This he continued until twenty-five years old, when he purchased forty acres of improved land, but he soon afterward sold this and bought one hundred and twenty acres, partly improved, on section 27, Middlebury township. The place had a log house and barn. He subsequently built a frame house, added to the barn and built another. He lived there until one year ago, when he leased the Marshall farm and removed there. He still owns his farm, of one hundred acres, which he cleared, improved and fenced.

Mr. Stanlake was married to Amah Haight, November 8, 1870. She was born in Steuben county, New York, October 12, 1852. A sketch of her family is given in connection with that of her brother, Clarence Haight, elsewhere in this work. To Mr. and Mrs. Stanlake were born three children, two of whom died in infancy. One son, Claude, aged twenty-six years, is single and lives with his parents.

Mr. Stanlake has always been engaged in general farming. He buys and feeds stock, but not extensively. He is a Republican and was supervisor of his township for twelve years 'in succession and is now serving his second term as township treasurer. He was also highway commissioner one year.

Though not connected with any church the family are regular attendants of religious services and help to support the good work. It is said by his neighbors that Mr. Stanlake hasn't an enemy in Middlebury. Certain it is that he is extremely popular and that he possesses the confidence of his neighbors in an unqualified degree.


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