THE civil township of Hastings, from the subdivision of the old township of that
name, on the 16th day of February, 1842, until the formation of the city of Hastings, on the 11th day of March,
1871, was identical with surveytownship No. 3 north, in range 8 west. It now comprises the whole of that territory
except what is included in the city just mentioned. It is bounded north by Carltou, east by Castleton, south by
Baltimore, and west by Rutland and the city of Hastings, which cuts out sections 7, 8, 13, and 14, and parts of
sections 16, 19, 20, and 21.
The Thornapple River flows through the township from southeast to west in a sinuous course, and close beside it
runs the Grand River Valley Railroad, commonly known as the Grand Rapids division of the Michigan Central road.
On this thoroughfare there is one station within the township, which bears the name of Quimby. The township is
a productive agricultural district, containing many excellent farms and wealthy farmers.
THE PIONEER SETTLERS.
The first settlers in Hastings, outside the village, were James and Daniel McLellan,
two brothers, who, in the years 1837 and 1838, penetrated the wilderness south of the Thornapple, and made their
homes on section 27. James had come from New York in 1836, entered the land for himself and brother, and returned
to the East. Late in 1837, Daniel moved to his place with the family, followed the next spring by James. For some
time they were the only settlers in that portion of the township, being shut in by dense woods, through which their
only roads were such paths as they themselves could make. Still they were but about three miles from the little
village of Hastings, and were not compelled to make such long journeys to "mill and to meeting" as some
of the pioneers.
Daniel McLellan was for several years a mail-carrier, and after an active pioneer experience died in Hastings village
in 1865. His brother James died on his farm two years after settling there. James and John L., Sons of Daniel,
also became early settlers in t.he south part of the township. One of Daniel McLellan's daughters married Willard
Hays, a prominent pioneer in Hastings village, and is still a resident of that city. Among those to settle at an
early day in the neighborhood of the McLellans were Ambrose Hubbell, Kirk Munger, Mr. Morley, and Mr. Germon. Ambrose
Hubbell, who located on section 21, in 1842, still lives there.
In 1846, Adam Tinkler, who had become a resident of Ohio in 1836, came into the township on a land-looking tour,
and concluded to locate in it. He accordingly traded his outfit of horses, wagon, and harness for 120 acres of
land on section 28, which was then a wilderness. The only house between his location and Battle Creek was that
of Mr. Bristol, in Johnstown, while on the northwest his nearest neighbor was Ambrose Hubbell.
Directly after Mr. Tinkler made his settlement, his father, John Tinkler, and his brothers William, Thomas, John
O. Martin, and Joseph, came from Ohio, and made their homes in the neighborhood. Mr. John Tinkler died in 1860,
on the place where he first settled, on section 21. Thomas and John O., who located on section 21, now live in
Hastings city; Martin bought a place on the same section, and still resides there; William took up his residence
in Hastings village, and has since made his home there; Adam lives on section 21; and Joseph, who resided with
his father until the death of the latter, has a farm on section 21. It is a circumstance worthy of remark that
of the six brothers who began their pioneer experiences together thirty-five years ago, all are still living and
are near neighbors, as they were at the outset.
Ephraim Shattuck, now resident on section 23, came to Hastings from Orleans Co., N. Y., in the fall of 1844, in
response to the persuasions of Seymour Andrus, who had been his neighbor in New York, and who had located in Hastings
the same autumn. Mr. Shattuck leased Lewis NeLellan's place (now the poor-farm) directly after coming, having for
neighbors Daniel McLellan on the south and a Mr. Hutchinson on the west, while about two miles east were the families
of Stephen Robinson and Ehphalet Hyde, who had come in together from New York in 1842. North of Mr. Shattuck's
place the country was a wilderness, into which there soon after came the Pierson family, Almon Covey, John Fisher,
and his brother-in-law, Mr. Cook. C. B. Benham, a pioneer from Ohio, now occupies the place settled by Stephen
Robinson in 1842 on section 25.
In that neighborhood Adam Sponable and his son Isaac (early settlers in Ohio) made a location, in 1857, on section
27. Washington Sponable, another son, came out in 1859, and in 1861 the two brothers made separate settlements
of their own in the neighborhood where James Lewis, John Aithouse, H. Hardy, and Elam Crook had already located.
S. J. Bidleman, a Branch County pioneer, came to Hastings about the time the Sponables did, and made his home on
section 34. E. D. Reid located in Baltimore township in 1855, and in 1857 moved to his present home, on the same
section. North of hini was John Francisco,
while on the west his nearest neighbors were John and Gottleib Oberle.
David N. Lake came from Seneca Co., Ohio, in 1863, and bought a place on section 33, being induced thereto by his
son-in-law, Daniel Reed. who a few years before had migrated to Hastings village to follow his trade as a carpenter,
and who in 1864 settled upon a farm on section 33 where he now lives. Porter Burton, a member of the Legislature
during the session of 1879, located in Jackson County in 1842, and in 1856 moved to his present home, on section
33, which was even then in the midst of a very wild country. West of Mr. Burton lives G. W. Gregory, a pioneer
in Baltimore township, and later a new-corner in Hastings. Adjoining Gregory's on the west is the Bush farm, earlier
known as the Toms place, once owned by Maj. Toms, and occupied in 1851 by Richard Stillson, a pioneer in Lenawee
County in 1844. His son, J. W. Stillson, settled in 1867 upon a farm on section 28, previously occupied by Walter
W. Kelley. Ebenezer Pennock, a settler in Kalamazoo County in 1844, moved to the town of Barry in 1845, and to
Hastings in 1872.
Seymour Andrus, already spoken of, came to Hastings in 1843, bought 160 acres of Dr. Hays on section 9, and the
following year moved his family out from New York. On the way he overtook, at Detroit. Hiram Greenfield, whom he
persuaded to conic on and settle in Hastings. At the time of Mr. Andrus' settlement he had no neighbors in the
township either north or northeast of him. The first to locate near him were John Lewis and Philander Turner, who
had been working for a few years as carpenters in Hastings village, and who, in the spring of 1845, moved out upon
farms close to Andrus' place. Subsequently the earliest corners into the neighborhood were Edward Bump, Ami Palmer,
Hawley Stillson, William S. Meloy, and a Mr. Russ. Upon section 16 Boyd Craig settled in 1850, and even at that
recent date found his home in a wild district where now the eye roams over a broad expanse of cultivated fields.
The annual report of the school inspectors- S. H. Bunker and Marsh Giddings -
for 1842 set forth that there was one district in the township, with an enrollment of 35 school children, and that
school had been kept seven months. A report from Vespasian Young, director in school district No. 1, dated Oct.
6, 1845, gave 47 as the number of school children enrolled, and Henry S. Jennings, Pheoby Hays, and Mary J. West
as the teachers, to whom, for six months and a half teaching, an aggregate of SIS in wages had been paid.
The first meeting of the school inspectors was held Oct. 31, 1838, when A. C. Parmelee was chosen chairman. Nov.
3, 1838, the inspectors formed 2 school districts, each composed of 9 sections, and each three miles square. No.
1 included sections 4, 5, 6. 7, 8, 9, 16, 17, and 18, in township 3. No. 2 comprised sections 21, 22, 23, 26, 27,
28, 33, 34, and 35, in township 3. District No. 3 was formed in 1839. Oct. 17, 1839, district No. 1 appropriated
$15 for a library-case and $10 for library-books. A. C. Parmelee was librarian, and the library was ordered kept
at his house. Districts No, 4 and 5 were organized Jan. S, 1840; "No. 9," Feb. 6, 1841. A new No. 2 was
organized March 10, 1843; a new No. 3, March 20, 1844; a new No. 4, Nov. 12, 1846; and Jan. 28, 1853, No. 5 was
organized. in the north half of section 25, on the petition of seven Indians possessing land on section 25.
The school inspectors' records show that from Feb. 6, 1841, to May 27, 1854, the following persons received teachers'
certificates: John Fowler, in 1841 ; Dameras Ellis, in 1843; Mary Jane West and W. T. Orr, in 1845; Sophia E. Standish
and Henrietta P. Cooley, in 1847; S. C. Sprague, in 1848; Harriet Pease, Cordelia Warner, and I. S. Geer, in 1849;
Rich, and Margaret Young, in 1850; Miss Johnson, in 1851; Miss Morley, Miss Newton, Miss A. Hawley, John Evans,
and H. H. Bement, in 1853; Mary E. Johnson, Emeline Robinson, and Miss Philancie Hollister, in 1854.
The official report for 1879 gives the following statistics touching the township schools:
Number of districts (whole, 5; fractional, 2)
Number children of school age ...........387.
Value of property...........$4350.00
The school directors for 1879 were S. Bidleman, James Murray, Robert Newton, Oscar Matthews, Morris Burton, Boyd
Craig, and James Cutler.
Southeast of Hastings city, on the railway, is Quimby Station, once a bustling
hamlet, but now of much less importance. H. L. Quimby moved thither from Grand Rapids in 1872, erected a mammoth
saw-mill, engaged a force of 30 or 40 men, built a score or more of dwellinghouses for them, opened a store, caused
a post-office to be established at that point, and, in short, set out to make Quimby a full-blown village. For
two years it thrived greatly, but at the end of that time the mill was destroyed by fire, the prosperity of the
place came to a sudden halt, and, although the post-office was continued there until 1878. when it was removed
to Sheridan, the village has never recovered its former position.
ORGANIZATION AND OFFICERS.
Under a legislative act approved March 6, 1837, townships 3 and 4, in ranges 7
and 8, were organized as the township of Hastings, the name being bestowed in honor of Eurotas P. Hastings, a large
land-owner in Barry County. An act approved Feb. 16, 1842, separated from Hastings three townships, and called
them respectively Woodland, Carlton, and Castleton leaving to Hastings the territory of township 3, in range S.
The first town-meeting in Hastings was held at the house of Slocum H. Bunker, April 6, 1838. "A township board
was chosen by electing Parsons Rhoads moderator or judge of the election. The meeting also elected Willard Hays
clerk of the election." A full list of the officials chosen on that occasion is herewith given: Supervisor.
Thomas H. Bunker; Town Clerk. Willard Hays Assessors, E. R. Carpenter. Thomas S. Bunker. and Willard Hays; Commissioners
of Highways, Slocum H. Bunker, Jared S. Rogers, Nelson N. Sprague; Collector, Levi Chase, Jr.; School Inspectors,
John Kenyon, Frederick Burgess, and Thomas S. Bunker; Constables, Levi Chase, Jr., Harrison Barnum, George W. Fowler;
Directors of the Poor, Levi Chase, Jr., Nehemiah Lovewell; Justices of the Peace, George Fuller, Nelson N. Sprague,
A. C. Parmalee, Slocum H. Bunker; Pathmasters, John Kenyon, Slocum H. Bunker; Fence-Viewers, Levi Chase, Jr., Harrison
Wickham, Zebulon Barnum. The poll-list for 1838 has been lost, but the list for 1839 has been preserved, and from
that we have taken the names of the voters in the town that year, as follows, the number being sixty-one:
A. C. Parmelee.
Elisha R. Carpenter.
Thomas S. Bunker.
Hiram J. Kenfield.
E. C. Johnson.
Allen B. Cooper.
Slocum H. Bunker.
William A. Moore.
Lyman R. Covey.
John L. MeLellan.
Nelson N. Sprague.
William P. Wilkinson.
George W. Fowler.
M. C. Barnum.
James Gilson, Jr.
J. W. Stewart.
Levi Chase, Jr.
Henry M. Rush.
Appended will be found the names of those chosen annually from 1839 to 1881 to serve as supervisors, clerks, treasurers,
and justices of the peace:
1838, Thos. T. Bunker: 1840, no record: 1841, Willard Hayes; 1842-43, A. C. Parmelee;
1844, H. A. Goodyear; 1848, Wm. Upjohn; 1846, Willard Hays; 1847, Vespasian Young; 1848-49, Daniel Cook; 1850.
H. I. Knappen; 1851, W. S. Goodyear; 1852, A. W. Bailey; 1853, N. Barlow, Jr.; 1854, D. G. Robinson; 1855, G. W.
Mills: 1856-57, 0. B. Sheldon; 1858, R. B. Wightman; 1859, J. P. Roberts; 1860-62, D. G. Robinson; 1863, W. Hays:
1864, J. W. Stebbins; 1865, George H. Keith; 1866, D. Striker: 1867, H. A. Goodyear; 1868, S. J. Bidleman : 1869,
D. G. Robinson 1870, D. R. Cook; 1871-77, P. Brown; 1878, H. G. Carter; 1879, O. Matthews.
1835, Willard Hays; 1840, no record; 1841, B. A. Goodyear; 1842, H. I. Knappen;
1843, H. S. Jennings; 1844, I. A. Holbrook; 1845, D. H. Daniels; 1846, W. S. Goodyear: 1847, A. W. Bailey; 1848,
Willard Hays 1849, W. S. Goodyear; : 4850, G. W. Mills; 1851, I. S. Geer; 1852, G. W. Mills; 1853, N. S. Palmer;
1854, G. A. Smith; 1855, H. Edgcomb; 1856, Willard Hays; 1857-58, A. W. Atkins; 1859-60, J. W. Bentley; 1861, Julius
Russell; 1862-63, J. S. Goodyear; 1864, F. D. Ackley; 1865, R. Mudge; 1866-67, George Rice; 1868, J. W. Bentley;;
1869, B. Main; 1870, C. E. Barlow; 1871, O. M. Moon; 1872-73, W. H. Merrick; 1874-75, E. H. Lake; 1876, E. Pierce;
1877, S. E. Phillips; 1878-79. W. H. Merrick.
1839, James McLellan; 1840, no record; 1841, H. A. Goodyear: 1842, A. W. Bailey;
1843-44, Willard Hays; 1845-46, George Fuller; 1847, H. J. Kenfield; 1848, A. W. Bailey; 1849-50, W. H. Kenfield;
1851-52, W. K. Ferris; 1853, J. Y. McLellan; 1854, W. K. Ferris; 1855, Z. Sidinore; 1856, R. Boss; 1857, I. S.
Geer; 1858 -59, G. P. Baker; 1860, William Barlow: 1861, J. W. Stebbins; 1862, H. J. Kenfield; 1863-64, D. R. McElvain;
1865, A. R. Hall; 1866, D. E. Birdsell; 1867-68, H. M. Merrit; 1869-70, J. Bessmer; 1871, H. M. Merrit; 1872, Eber
Lake; 1873, H. M. Merrit; 1874-76, R. P. Brown; 1877, D. E. Birdsell; 1878, J. Townsend.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.
1839, P. Coe; 1840, no record; 1841, E. R. Carpenter; 1842, H. J. Kenfield; 1843,
D. H. Daniels; 1844, W. W. Ralph; 1845, H. S. Jennings; 1846, Hiram Greenfield; 1847, Daniel Cook; 1848, H. Bidwell;
1849, L. W. Hitchcock; 1850, E. D. Alden; 1851, 0. N. Boltwood; 1852, Daniel Cook; 1853, William Burgher; 1845,
L. Maltby; 1855, G. A. Smith; 1856, C. G. Holbrook; 1857, Daniel Cook; 1858, William Barlow; 1859, William H. Burgher;
1860, George A. Smith; 1861, Daniel Cook; 1862, P. Brown; 1863, William Burgher; 1864, J. W. Buckle; 1865, I. S.
Geer; 1866, J. W. T. Orr; 1867, D. Cook.
CHURCH OF CHRIST IN HASTINGS.
This organization, having a church edifice in the northeast corner of the township,
was formed in 1875, with 20 members. The church building was dedicated January, 1877. Rev. 0. S. Barnes, the first
pastor, remained four years, and was followed by Rev. John Grice, now in charge, who preaches once in four weeks.
The membership is now about 35. William Smith, B. F. Wolf, James Farrell, A. I. Barnum. and Dexter Sprague are
the trustees; William Smith, Levi Cotton, and Leonidas Farrell the deacons and B. F. Wolf and James Farrell the
B. F. Wolf is superintendent of the Sunday-school, which has an average attendance of 50, and employs the services
of six teachers.
By David Schwartz.