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History of New Buffalo Township, MI.
FROM History of Berrien and Van Buren Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Their Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia.

New Buffalo Township *.


This township contains fourteen full sections, eight fractional sections in the southern tier, on the Indiana line, and six fractional triangular sections along Lake Michigan on the west. It is the most westerly township of the lower peninsula of the State. It is bounded on the northwest by Lake Michigan, on the north by Chickaming, on the east by Three Oaks, and on the south by the Indiana line. The surface is for the most part level, interspersed with slightly rolling land, and was originally timbered along the lake-shore with oak and some pine, and in the easterly part with beech, maple, ash, basswood, and oak. Lying along the coast of the lake, its soil is sandy and better adapted to the cultivation of fruit than grain, and to the former pursuit the attention of the people is mainly directed.

The water-courses are the Galien River and one or two small streams that empty into the lake in the southern part of the township. The Galien is, in this township, a sluggish stream, running through Pottawattamie Lake, which, in an early day, was a body of water two miles long, half a mile wide, and in places ninety feet deep, but in the main shallow. Its surface was covered with wild rice, and wild fowl in countless multitudes frequented it in early times.

This river flows from the east through Weesaw and Three Oaks, and is augmented by a south branch that rises in Indiana, enters the township near the centre of the west line, and flows northwesterly, forming a junction on section 36. This stream has Squaw Creek and Bloody Run as its branches. Galien River empties into Lake Michigan at New Buffalo village.

The list which follows is of persons who entered government lands within the territory of the township of New Buffalo, and the sections on which such entries were made:

Section 31.- Henry Little.

Section 6.- J. Little, W. Hammond, T. A. Clough, - Camp, B. S. Morrison.
Section 7.- F. Bronson, H. H. Camp, B. S. Morrison. W. Whittaker, J. Haas.
Section 18.- W. Whittaker, P. Hunt, Jr., Thomas Maudlin, P. Hunt, Jr., W. Whittaker.
Section l9.- W. Goit, J. Haas, B. Maudlin, W. Whittaker.

Section 36.- E. P. Deacon, W. G. Driving, J. H. & B. H. Kinzie, B. B. Kercheval.
Section 35.- W. Goit, J. Bedding, E. Goit, - Pratt, E. P. Deacon.

Section 1.- B. B. Kercheval, N. Willard, I. P. Warner, B. Carver, T. Kenworthy, G. Taylor.
Section 2.- B. B. Kercheval, Beeson A Winslow, D. Robb. Section 3.-Winslow Britain, C. K. Green.
Section 8.- I. P. Warner.
Section 9.- G. Taylor, C. K. Green, D. Robb, W. Whittaker.
Section 10.- D. Robb, C. K. Green, W. Whittaker. J. H. & R. H. Kinzie.
Section 1l.- D. Robb, C. K. Green, B. Poole, B. Carver, T. Clough, W. Whittaker.
Section 12.- F. Kenworthy, F. A. Holbrook, A. Averill, Julius Hackley, F. Bronson.
Section 13.- J. R. Brown, M. Pierce, B. Butterworth, E. N. Sheldon.
Section 14.- J. R. Brown, J. Beeson. B. Goodrich.
Section 15.- W. Hammond, W. Whittaker, F. Clough, D. Robb.
Section 16.- School land.
Section 17.- B. Carver. Sheldon & Co., I. P. Warner, I. O. Adams, F. A. Holbrook, R. Goodrich.
Section 18.- R. A. Lamb, H. Bishop, I. P. Warner.
Section 19.- Warner Sherwood & Co., I. O. Adams, J. Gerrish, Wm. H. Adams.
Section 20.- I. O. Adams, C. Jackson, F. A. Holbrook, I. P. Warner, R. Goodrich.
Section 21.- J. Haas, W. Whittaker, P. Carver, I. P. Warner.
Section 22.- J. Haas, F. Bronson, D. Robb. I. P. Warner.
Section 23.- E. N. Shelton, F. A. Clough, H. Bishop, - Trask.
Section 24.- J. & G. Belden, E. N. Shelton, R. A. Lamb.

Section 24.-.J. Little, R. A. Lamb.


The township of New Buffalo originally comprised Chickaming, Three Oaks, and the present township. The west line of its territory bordered on Lake Michigan. The shore line was sandy and shifting, now forming into dunes, varying in height, often reaching 40 or 50 feet. and then again reduced to a level and moved to other parts. The Soil in the western portion was sandy, and offered few inducements for agricultural purposes. The first to take note of its commercial advantages was Capt. Wessell Whittaker, a resident of Hamburg, Erie Co., N. Y., and fhr many years a captain on the lakes.

In the fall of 1834 he was in command of the schooner "Post-Boy" (partly owned by Barker & Willard, of Buffalo). During a heavy gale, when the vessel was liable to be driven ashore, they ran for the mouth of a stream now known as State Creek. They were beached, however. The weather was intensely cold, and the captain and crew left the vessel, and walked to Michigan City, where they procured a conveyance, proceeded to St. Joseph, and notified the underwriters of the loss of the vessel. While passing the mouth of Galien River, Capt. Whittaker, after studying the surroundings, was impressed with its advantages for a harbor. After transacting his business at St. Joseph he visited t.he land-office, and entered the land on which the village of New Buffalo now stands, and soon after proceeded to Buffalo, N. Y. He laid out the land into blocks and lots on paper, and called it New Buffalo. Ue then exhibited the plan to his friends, expatiated on its advantages, and persuaded Jacob Barker and Nelson Willard, who were partners in business, to engage with him in the new enterprise, and sold to them the undivided one-half interest in the property for $15,000, afterwards reducing it to $13,000. Capt. Whittaker, Truman A. Clough, Wm. Hammond, and Henry Bishop started from Buffalo and Hamburg on the eighteenth day of March, 1835, overland, and arrived at New Buffalo the first week in April, calling, on their way, at Bertrand, on Alonzo Bennett, a surveyor and old acquaintance, and employing him to go with them and survey the village. Henry Bishop, now of Kalamazoo, was a clerk in the employ of Barker & Willard, and was sent by them to manage their interests. A log cabin, 15 by 24 feet, was first built, at the corner of Whittaker Avenue and Merchant Street, north of Seaman's Square. Along one side of the cabin pine brush was laid for a bed, and a fireplace was built in one corner. A road was then cut through from the lake to Talbot's mill, a distance of about five miles, from whence lumber was procured. Some lime was burned from marl found a short distance from this mill. Whittaker & Co. erected a frame building for a store and warehouse on water lot No. 1, at the foot of Whittaker Avenue. In this building was placed a stock of goods. Another building was erected adjoining, with an alley between. In this latter building Mr. Whittaker put a tenant, Mr. Cummings and wife, who opened their house for entertaining travelers. A sign was painted on a rough board by Mark Beaubien, since of Chicago, representing a man holding a horse, and also a decanter and glasses. Soon after this, Russell Goodrich, Truman A. Clough, Dr. Reuben Pierce. Myel Pierce, Simeon Pierce, Moses G. Pratt, and Festus A. Holbrook came by vessel from Buffalo, and soon bought lots. Building commenced rapidly. Russell Goodrich bought block 12, and erected a hotel on lot 2. Whittaker built a house for his family on block 24, lots 7 and 8, near a spring of good water, by the west ravine, that runs through the town plat north and south. Moses G. Pratt built where Dr. Moses M. Clark now lives. Dr. Reuben Pierce built on the corner of Barker and Merchant Streets, on block 23 and lots 1 and 2, where John Helm lives; Simeon Pierce, on block 23, adjoining; Thatcher Abbott, a brotherin-law of Whittaker, adjoining, on the same block and on lot 5; F. A. Holbrook and Alonzo Bennett, both on block 13. About this time Mr. Whittaker laid out a block as a gift to captains of vessels, as an inducement to them to settle in the place. Deeds were made for these lots, and the names will be found in another page. These lots were not settled upon by the parties, but were sold by them. This block was known as the "Seaman's Square," block 21. The family of Mr. Whittaker, consisting of his wife and four children, under the care of William Ratcliff, came from Hamburg, by Lake Erie, to Detroit, where they procured a team, and proceeded thence overland, arriving at New Buffalo in June, 1835.

Mr. Ratcliff carried the first mail to Michigan City, and Moses G. Pratt drove the first stage and mail-wagon through to that place. At this time there were a number of others gathered in the new settlement, some unmarried. Their occupations were as follows: A. Bennett, surveyor; Henry Bishop, clerk; T. A. Clough, speculator; R. Goodrich, hotel-keeper; Henderson, F. A. Holbrook, Mundle, Doty, Dunham, A. and E. McClure, Ezra Stoner, and Washburn were carpenters; Haight, plasterer; Maudlin, farmer; R. Pierce, physician ; S. Pierce and J. Hixson, sailors; Pratt, teamster; Whittaker & Willard, proprietors; Ira P. Warner, agent. The lots were valued and sold at from $150 to $300 each, one-third down. In the summer and fall of 1835 important accessions were made to the settlemerit in the persons of' James Little and Jacob Gerrish, of Boscawen, N. H.; Richard L. Phillips, of Erie Co., N. Y., a native of England; and in the spring of 1836, 0f Francis and Joseph C-. Ames and Alvin Emory, of Canterbury, N. H.; and Ezra Stoner, of Frederick Co., Md. A demand for the improvement of the harbor was soon started. Meetings were held and many speeches made, but the usual delay followed this action.

During the year 1835, Whittaker, McGivens & Co. built a mill, on section 1, on the south branch of C-alien River. At the time of their preparation for this mill, they were warned by Governor Mason to appear at Niles and assist in the retention of the ten-mile strip along the Ohio line. Mr. Whittaker informed the Governor that he should arm his men with handspikes on the day set, which he did. He was also interested in a mill at State Creek, owned by the State Creek Mill Company.

In March, 1836, the township was organized, and the first election held at Goodrich's Hotel. A list of the voters will be found on another page. In this year, also, Isaac 0. Adams, a native of Newburyport, Mass., but last from White Pigeon, E. T. Clark, and Timothy Harris built a house on lot No. 105, which was known as Bachelors' Hall, and which afterwards became famous as a convivial headquarters. The building remained until it was removed to make way for the railroad.

In the fall of 1837, the Virginia Land Company, composed mostly of natives of Virginia, but the majority of whom lived in Laporte, md., purchased 640 acres of land, and laid it out into lots, Joshua R. C. Brown coming there to reside as agent. The members of the company were David Robb, Dr. G. A. Rose, Courtlandt Strong, De Witt Strong, Maj. John Lemons, Joshua B. C. Brown, Daniel Brown, James Whittam, and Jacob Haas.

The books of Mr. Whittaker for 1837, from which these facts are gleaned, give the prices at that time, which may be of interest: Potatoes, 75 cents; oats, $1 ; corn, $1.50; butter, 37~ cents; bacon, 16~ cents; board, $3.50 per week; salt, $7 per barrel; beef, 6 cents per pound, by the quarter; whisky, 41 cents per gallon, by the barrel, and 75 cents at retail; team-work, $4 per day; common labor, $1 per day. Between the dates May 22 and July 26, in 1837, 95 consecutive entries occur of stage-fare charged, varying from $4 to $12. This entry also occurs: "Schooner Oregon left New Buffalo with 2358 bushels of oats, 1246 bushels to be delivered at Milwaukee; 1112 bushels were lost in a storm in Milwaukee Bay; also delivered 23i. bushels of corn. Left New Buffalo in April, and delivered oats at Milwaukee from the 1st to the 10th of May, 1837." Hiram and Solomon Gould were charged for use of lighter and labor in June, 1837. They owned a mill at New Troy, rafted their lumber down the river, and shipped to Chicago from the former place.

Not far from this time Lieut. T. B. W. Stockton, of the regular army, was sent by the War Department to examine as to the feasibility of constructing a harbor at New Buffalo, and the report of the Navy Department was received May 1, 1838. Lieut. Berrien and Lieut. Rose were sent soon after to make a survey, and reported favorably. A light house was built in 1839.

In June, 1837, Elder Hascall preached in the diningroom of Mr. Goodrich's hotel, and, as the bar-room was near, some of the party were often thirsty, and retired for a few moments.

The panic of 1837 had a depressing effect upon New Buffalo, as well as upon the whole country, but the company struggled along, firm in the faith that the plan was essential to the well-being of the universe. Prices ruled high, no help came, and in the winter of 1841-42 but two families were residents of the place,-Jacob Gerrish and Russell Goodrich. But the spring found a respectable number in the village, and from 20 to 30 votes were east at the election. About 1840 the effect of speculation ceased, and money became very scarce. About the only thing that brought money into the country was non-resident taxes. Inhabitants took contracts for building roads at their own prices. The business of the country was carried on by barter and credit. About 1844 thc schooner " Saranac" was built by Joseph Oates and Austin; in 1845, the sloop "Buffalo," by Amos Johnson; and in 1855, the schooner "Ellen Pike," by Alonzo Bennett.

Non-residents were still holding their lands fbr high prices, and but few sales were made until about 1850, when the tide of German emigration began to flow in, and between that time and 1854 the following Germans settled in the places mentioned: Philip Edinger, on section 1; John BahI, on section 15; Louis Kruger, John Walter, Fritz Klauss, and O. Dohl, on sections 13 and 14; Christian Gulesdorf, on sections 15 and 22; Fritz, Louis, Adolph, and Rinehart Siegmond, brothers, on sections 13, 19, and 24. Gust. Horn, Christolph Kamm and his son, Fritz Louis, and Fritz Schroeder, ~- Roemer, Henry Luhr, and Carl Stannwell settled in the village. Since that time large accessions have been made of thrifty Germans, and the township is largely populated by them.

About 1844, George W. Allen, of Laporte, md., purchased the interest of Barker & Willard, and spent a large sum of money in improving a road from New Buffalo to Springville, led. They built a grain warehouse, 60 by 120 feet and four stories high, on the north fraction of section 9, near the foot of Willard Street, hoping to make this an important shipping-point for Indiana grain. During the same year Alonzo Bennett, Thomas Comins, and J. B. C. Brown bought several thousand cords of wood, at 62~ cents per cord, which was lightered out and delivered to vessels for the Chicago market; but even at this low cost the business did not prove successful.


Upon the purchase of the land on which New Buffalo is situated by Capt. Wessel Whittaker, in 1834, he proceeded to plat it, and induced Jacob A. Barker and Nelson Willard, of Buffalo, N. Y., to invest with him as before mentioned.

On May 31, 1836, a division and valuation of the lots was made.

The 79 lots, located in different parts of the village, belonging to Mr. Willard were valued at $29,520. The prices of a few of the lots are given:

Lot 2, in block 3, $500; lot 5, in block 13, $275; lot 12, in block 16, $500; lot 7, in block 22, $600; lot. 2, in block 28, $800; water-lot 33, $900; lot 8, in block B, $375; lot 7, in block C, $475; lot 7. in block K, $300. Water-lots Nos. 18, 22, 25, 26, 29, and 30, belonging to Mr. Barker, were valued at $1000 each.


The recipients of the gift lots in block 21 (Seaman's Square) did not occupy these lots, though they afterwards sold them. The following are the names of the captains designated by Capt. Whittaker: Levi Allen, Robert Wagstaff, Lester Colton, Samuel Chase, Charles Ludlow, James L. Baxter, Stephen R. Walker, John P. Ludlow, George Miles, Abi Allen, Ira Perkins, and H. F. Day.

The lands purchased by the Virginia Land Company (names given elsewhere) in 1837 were as follows: the west half of northwest quarter of section 11, northeast quarter of section 10, east half of southeast quarter of section 10, southwest quarter of section 10. and southeast quarter of section 9. These lands were platted and divided into blocks and lots, and were held for many years. When Mr. Barker sold out, in 1844, the lands of the Virginia Company were mostly in the hands of the original proprietors; the only lands in the village that were sold in the early day by Mr. Willard, with a few exceptions, were the lands that were allotted in the division of 1836 to Mr. Whittaker. Of the 800 acres originally laid out and platted, seven-eighths in 1844 were in the hands of the original proprietors.

About 1842-43 the prices were from $5 to $25 a lot., and upon the location of the railroad they advanced to from $100 to $500; but upon the extension of the railroad to Chicago a depreciation followed. Upon the incoming of the Chicago and Michigan Lake Shore Railroad, prices again advanced. Farming-lands in New Buffalo township sold at from $2.50 to $5 per acre. From 1840-46 prices were from 75 cents to $3.50 per acre; in 1850, about $5 per acre; in 1856, about $15; from 1863-.70, from $10 to $40.


The township of New Buffalo was erected by act of the Legislature, March 23, 1836. The text is as follows:

"All that portion of the county of Berrien described by the United States survey as townships 7 and 8 south, of range 20 and 21 west, be and the same is hereby set off and organized into a separate township, by the name of New Buffalo, and the first township-meeting shall be held at the Goodrich tavern, in the village of New Buffalo, in said township."

In accordance with this act, an election was held in the spring of 1836 at the tavern of Russell Goodrich. Thirty-six votes were cast, with the following result: Alonzo Bennett, Supervisor; Henry Bishop, Clerk; Daniel Washburn, Festus A. Holbrook, Thomas Maudlin, and Alonzo Bennett, Justices. Robert Crary and James Little were elected Commissioners of Schools; Reuben Pierce, Festus A. Holbrook, Alonzo Bennett, Ezra Stoner, and James Little were elected Inspectors of Schools.

One hundred and fifty dollars was voted for the support of schools.

The names of the 36 voters at the first election are given, as a matter of interest: Alonzo Bennett, Henry Bishop, T. A. Clough, Richard Camstock, W. E. Davis, George Dunham, Joseph Doty, R. Goodrich, F. A. Gilbert, Henry B. Hull, Joseph Henderson, F. A. Holbrook, Daniel Haight, James Little, Stephen Mix, Henry Mundle, Thomas Maudlin, A. McClure, E. McClure, Dr. R. Pierce, M. Pierce, R. L. Phillips, H. Pierce, Simeon Pierce, Moses G. Pratt, William Ratcliff, Ezra Stoner, Wessel Whittaker, Nelson Willard, John Wilson, Daniel Washburn, John Walker, and Ira P. Warner. But few of these voters are living in the township at the present time.

The population of the township in 1840 was 123; 1845, 416; 1854, 873; 1860, 834; 1870, 1389.

The towsiship originally embraced the territory now known as Three Oaks and Chickaming, which townships were set off in 1856.

At the organization of the township of New Buffalo, by some oversight, fractional township 8 south, range 22 west, was omitted from the organizing act, and remained attached to the township of Niles for some years. It was annexed to New Buffalo in 1843.


Following is a list of township officers of New Buffalo from its organization to the present time:

1837-38, Alonso Bennett; 1839, Reuben Pierce; 1840, Thomas Comics: 1841-42, Elkanah Ryther; 1843, Isaac O. Adams; 1844, Levi Paddock; 1845, Henry Chamberlain; 1846, Valentine Bennett; 1847, Henry Chamberlain; 1848, no record; 1849, Richard L. Phillips; 1850, Isaac O. Adams; 1851, Henry Chamberlain; 1852, Alonzo Bennett: 1853-57, Hale E. Crosby; 1858, James M. Patten: 1859, Alonzo Bennett; 1860, Joseph M. Goodrich; 1861, Philip Edinger; 1862, Abram I. Phillips; 1863, Richard S. Phillips; 1864. Abram I. Phillips; 1867-72, no record; 1873-75, George Werner; 1876, Alonzo Bennett; 1877, George Werner; 1878-79, F. Gerdes.

1837, Henry Bishop; 1838, A. Bixby; 1839-40, James Blain; 1841-44, William Ratcliff; 1545, Hale E. Crosby; 1846. Samuel Patrick; 1847, Dwight Plympton; 1848, no record; 1849, Samuel S. Clark; 1850-51, Joseph M. Goodrich; 1852-53, John G. Mason; 1854, Thornton Ewan : 1855, Thomas S. Ballard; 1856, Samuel Stratton: 1857-58, John D. Phillips; 1859, Samuel Stratton; 1860, Henderson Ballengee; 1861, Jacob Oppenheim; 1862, R. L. Phillips; 1863-64, John V. Phillips; 1865-66, no record; 1867, Seth Sheldon; 1868, George F. Collitt; 1869, no record: 1870-71, John C. Dick; 1872-78, Charles Deuell; 1879, Moses N. Clark.

Prior to 1839 the supervisor acted as treasurer, and the first election to that office was at the annual town-meeting of that year. The first to fill the office was Jacob Gerrish, 1840; Thomas Comens, 1841-44: 1845, Thomas Maudlin; 1846, Simeon Pierce; 1847-48, no record; 1840-51, Thornton Ewan; 1852, Truman A. Clough; 1853-54. Joseph U. Ames; 1854-58, Thornton Ewan; 1859, Joseph M. Goodrich; 1860, Isaac W. Martin; 1861, Louis Kruger; 1862-63, George Horn; 1864, Cornelius I. Bierstadt; 1865-65, no record; 1867-70, Sadler Batter; 1871-73, Henry P. Nourse; 1874-77, Albert Kellogg; 1878-79, George Horn.

1837, Alonzo Bennett, Francis W. Ames; 1838, A. Bixby, Jacob Gerrish and Sylvester Shead; 1839, Joshua R. C. Brown, Samuel Bennett, Jr.; 1840, Reuben Pierce, Levi Paddock; 1841, Thomas Comins, William Hammond, Richard Love, Levi Paddock; 1842, Richard Peckham; 1843, Richard Love; 1844, Festus A. Holbrook; 1815, Alonzo Bennett; 1846, Dwight Plyupton; 1847, none elected; 1848, no record; 1849, Abel M. Brownlee; 1850, Henry Chamberlain: 1851, R. W. Smith; 1852, Joseph G. Ames, Benoni Newell; 1853, Erasmus N. Shead, Dwight Plympton; 1854, Nathan Maudlin; 1855, Samuel Stratton, Maben J. Marshall; 1856, Hale E. Crosby, Festus A. Holbrook, Alonso Bennett; 1857, Wm. Aldrich, Hale E. Crosby; 1858, Thomas Maudlin; 1859, Samuel Stratton, Isaac W. Martin; 1860, Festus A. Holbrook, Thomas S. Webster; 1861, George Horn; 1862, J. V. Phillips, Thomas Maudlin; 1863, Henderson Ballengee, Henry Leland; 1864, Thomas S. Webster, John Murray, Ludwig Lubke; 1865-66, no record; 1867, John R. Hill; 1868, George Werner; 1869, no record; 1870, John C. Dick; 1871, Alonzo Bennett; 1872, George Werner; 1873, Charles Deuell, Moses M. Clark; 1874, Henry Leifken; 1875, George P. Nourse; 1876, George Werner; 1877, Charles Denell; 1878, Charles H. Schultz; 1879, Henry P. Nonrse.

1837, Samuel Bennett, Festus A. Holbrook, Reuben Pierce, Jonathan Hascall, Francis W. Ames; 1838, Alonzo Bennett, Samuel Bennett, Jr., Dr. Reuben Pierce; 1839, Reuben Oierce, Elkanah Ryther, Jacob Gerrish: 1840, James Blain, Reuben Pierce, Elkanah Rythcr; 1841, Wm. Hammond, Elkanah Ryther, Jacob Love; 1842, Thos. M. Bennett, Richard Peckham; 1843, Joseph M. Goodrich, Richard Peckham; 1844, Samuel Patrick, Richard Peckham; 1845, Alonzo Bennett, Henry Chamberlain; 1846, Valentine Bennett, D. Gilman Wood; 1847, Richard Peckham, Hale E. Crosby; 1848, no record; 1849, Hale E. Crosby; 1850, Jesse Wasson; 1851, Hale E. Crosby; 1852, H. E. Crosby, Jos. N. Goodrich; 1853, James M. Patten; 1854, Joseph M. Goodrich; 1855, Hale E. Crosby, Wm. Chamberlain; 1856, Hale E. Crosby, Joseph M. Goodrich; 1857, Alonzo Bennett; 1858, John W. Carter; 1859, Nathaniel B. Pitt; 1860, Hale E. Crosby, John V. Phillips; 1861, Charles Banville; 1862, John W. Carter; 1863, Charles L. Deuell; 1864, Joseph M. Goodrich; 1865-66, no record; 1867, J. B. Crosby; 1868-69, no record; 1870, Henry P. Nourse; 1871, Frederick Gerdes; 1872, Charles Eberling; 1873, George Werner; 1874, Charles Eberling; 1875-76, Alonzo Bennett; 1877, F. Gerdes; 1878, Charles Eberling; 1879, Henry E. Crosby.

The tax-list for 1836, as taken by Jacob Gerrish, Ira P. Warner, and J. S. Doty, is as follows:

Abraham Willard, Henry Bishop, Aloezo Bennett, Truman A. Clough, James A. Corse, Robert Craig, Joseph S. Doty, John Foote, Russell Goodrich, William Hammond, Festus A. Holbrook, Jacob Gerrish, James Little, Henry McCourt, Stephen Mix, J. Love, Richard Love, H. Little, Henry Mundie, Hugh MeGiven. Thos. Maudlin, B. Maudlin, Moses G. Pratt, Myel Pierce, Reuben Pierce, Simeon Pierce, Ezra Stoner, Thomas Thorp, Wessel Whittaker, Nelson Willard, Ira P. Warner, Willard, Whittaker, Barker & Co.

The assessed valuation of resident tax-payers was $41,786. Wessel Whittakcr was the largest individual tax-payer, his tax being $30.00. Amount of resident valuation, $41,786; amount of non-resident valuation, $106,684; total, $148,470.


Capt. Wessel Whittaker was a man of a noble, generous nature, and his house furnished a home for all it could hold. He was of untiring energy and great perseverance. His early life had been passed on the lakes, and he had acquired habits which in those days were common, and which were greatly to his disadvantage. He died in 1841, at New Buffalo, leaving a wife and four children. The family removed to Terre Caupee Prairie, Ind., where the youngest son, Alanson, still resides.

Alouzo Bennett is a native of Brookfield, Orange Co., Vt. He came to Niles, Berrien Co., in September, 1833, and shortly after removed to Bertrand. He was educated as a surveyor in Erie Co., N. Y., and was employed to survey the village of Bertrand by the Bertrand Association. The proprietors of the New Buffalo tract passed through Bertrand, on their way to New Buffalo, in the spring of 1835, and employed him to go with them and survey the village, which work he completed in March or April of that year. In January following he married, in Erie Co., N. Y. and moved to New Buffalo. He was elected time first supervisor of the township, in 1836. He followed his occupation of surveyor, was elected to several positions of trust in the township, and in 1838 was elected county clerk, re-elected in 1840 and 1842, and elected to the Legislature in 1842. He returned to New Buffalo in 1845. He was in the employ of the Central Railroad for two years, and served the company as surveyor and paymaster. At the expiration of his term he engaged in the mercantile business until 1856, and for a short time was editor and publisher of the Vindicator. He removed to Buchanan and to Southern Illinois, and moved to Chicago, where he resided five years, when he returned to New Buffalo, and is now in the express and drug business. His son, A. N. Bennett, is in Chicago; Wm. Bennett, in Kansas; and two daughters, living in Niles, Mrs. C. Jackson and Mrs P. A. Ballard.

Richard L. Phillips was a native of Oxfordshire, England, and came to this country in 1832, and to New Buffalo, from Hamburg, Erie Co., N. Y., in the spring of 1835. Nov. 11, 1839, he married Mary C., the daughter of Joshua R. C. Brown. He lived in the place most of the time until his death, in 1868. He was a man of great energy, but was seriously afflicted with rheumatism in his later days, which confined him to the house nearly half the time; he yet succeeded in maintaining his family and accumulated a competence. Joshua R. C. Brown, one of the Virginia Land Company, was a native of Virginia, and came to Laporte, Ind., and thence to this place in 1837. He lived on Barker Street. His death took place in 1862. His daughters, Mrs. R. L. Phillips and Mrs. J. T. Hopkins, live in New Buffalo; a son lives at Niles, two daughters in Virginia, one in Indiana, and one in California. He returned to Laporte, Ind., about 1838, and to this place in 1846, where he bought the Goodrich property and continued the hotel business until his death. He was a hospitable landlord and a gentleman of the Virginia school, with some peculiarities. An anecdote is related of him as follows: A traveler was stopping with him, and upon being asked if he would have some bacon and greens, which was a favorite dish of Mr. Brown's, asked if that was the only meat he had, and upon being answered in the affirmative, replied, sneeringly, that he did not eat bacon and greens; upon which Mr. Brown emphatically said, "Get out of my house, sir! A man that don't eat bacon and greens is not a gentleman."

Henry Bishop came with Whittaker, and clerked for Whittaker & Co., but in 1838-39 left, on account of his health, and went to Kalamazoo County, and is now a prosperous business man in the village of Kalamazoo. Truman A. Clough came to New Buffalo with the first settlers, but returned to Hamburg, N. Y., about 1840. and came back, in 1850, to Chickaming, and in 1854 again went back to New York. Russell Goodrich was a long time, prior to his coming West, proprietor of a noted hotel at Hamburg, Erie Co., N. Y. He died at New Buffalo about 1850. His son Jasper was a prosperous man in Chickaming, and died a few years ago. His son Joseph M. was for a time a farmer in the township, then a merchant in the village. He removed to Chicago in 1869, where he was in the commission business, and died about 1875. Albert E., after being a steamboat clerk for some years, became a steamboat owner, and for the last twenty years has owned several very important lines on Lake Michigan. A man of ability and great energy, he has amassed a handsome fortune.

Festus A. Holbrook became a farmer in New Buffalo township, and at the present time is living with a grandchild in Three Oaks township, in his eighty-ninth year. James Little and Francis W. Ames died in the sickly season of 1838. Thomas Maudlin, a venerable man, lives on the farm which he settled, in the eastern part of the township. Dr. R. Pierce moved, about 1840, to Terre Coupee Prairie, Ind. He was distinguished for many years as a physician, and died about 1858. His son, R. W. Pierce, is now a leading physician of Buchanan.

Simeon Pierce went to Lake Station, Ind., and is now a retired merchant of Valparaiso, Ind. Nelson Willard had large interests in New York, and did not remain here long.

Isaac O. Adams, who perhaps did more to improve New Buffalo than any other person, was a kind-hearted, genial man. He went to Chicago about 1853, where he still resides. He was a man of culture and fond of story-telling. The following is told of him: " The peninsula known as north fraction of section 3 was speculation property, and was sold in undivided interests. At a time when property was at its lowest value a man came to the place from Connecticut who owned one undivided nineteen-hundred and twentieth interest. Finding no purchaser, he inquired of Mr. Adams how he could best secure a division. Adams replied he might get a division in chancery, but it would be expensive. The man anxiously pressed Mr. Adams to know what he had best do, that he might know how and where his property was. Adams answered by saying, You better go up to Uncle Jacob's (Mr. Gerrish) and borrow a two-bushel bag; go over there, fill it with sand, take it home with you, and you will have about your share." It is not known whether the advice was accepted.

Jacob Gerrish, coming in 1835, kept a record of events from that time to his death, in 1858, from which many facts in this history have been gleaned. His desire to see New Buffalo prosperried him to advance money to every undertaking that he supposed would advance the interest of the place. His house was open to all who came. The poor and suffering had only to ask to receive.


The cause that led to the settlement of New Buffalo was the apparent availability of the Galien River and Pottawattamie Lake for a harbor. The advantages were seen at a glance by Capt. Wessel Whittaker in 1834, and 100 acres of land were secured by him very soon after the settlement was fairly inaugurated. Meetings were held, speeches made, and the usual enthusiasm incident to such enterprises kept the minds of the settlers in a high state of excitement. Petitions were sent to Congress, which, after the usual delay, received some attention, and an appropriation was made for a lighthouse. The site was selected and stakes were set Sept. 6, 1838. Plans and specifications were made, and contracts were advertised. The journal of Jacob Gerrish of July 10, 1839, contains the following: "Lots of people in to the lighthouse letting; Hixon builds the house." The location was on a point, of land in the north fraction of section 9, about a quarter of a mile from the mouth of the river. Sand dunes of from 30 to 60 feet in height were between it and the mouth, on which were growing trees from 18 to 20 inches in diameter. In the course of time the river and the lake washed away these shifting sands, and about 1857 the house was undermined and fell, for it was founded upon the sand. The lighthouse and keeper's house were built of brick and whitewashed, a large bowider of limestone found near by furnishing the lime. Isaac O. Adams burnt the brick. The buildings were finished in March, 1840. Timothy S. Smith was appointed the first keeper, under Van Buren. Wm. Ratcliff and his wife moved into the keeper's house June 1, 1840, Mr. Smith living with them. The keepers who succeeded him were Elijah Pressey, under Harrison; Reuben Smith, under Polk; and Joseph Miller, under Taylor. It was demolished about 1857, and has not been rebuilt.

Soon after the incorporation of the Michigan Central Railroad Company, they determined to make New Buffalo their western terminus, and work was commenced in the fall of 1847. The company built a bridge across the Galien River and two long piers into the lake, to make the point accessible for steamboats. This work furnished employment to a large number of men and caused a general revival of business. Capt. Eber B. Ward put on the lake a line of steamers connecting with the morning and evening trains for Chicago.

At the time of building the piers it was believed that New Buffalo would be the western terminus of the road, and the village received an impetus by the erection of a large hotel and other buildings to accommodate the travel and traffic. Steamers ran in connection with the road till its completion to Chicago about 1852, when they were withdrawn.

The Chicago and Michigan Lake Shore Railroad, now the Chicago and West Michigan, was completed, Sept 7, 1870, from Pentwater, Oeeana Co., Mich., to New Buffalo, where it connects with time Michigan Central Railroad.


The plat of the village was laid out in 1835, by Nelson Willard, Jacob A. Barker, Wessel Whittaker, and Russell Goodrich. It was incorporated as the village of New Buffalo, March 28, 1836. Its officers were a president, recorder, and six trustees, to bear the title of president and trustees of the village of New Buffalo. It embraced the whole of section 10 and the east half of section 9, being situated about midway on the lake line of the township, and fronting Pottawattamie Lake on the north.

Alonzo Bennett was the first president of the village. Jacob Gerrish was president in 1838 and treasurer in 1839. The corporation lapsed about 1840. The village was again incorporated in 1869, as noticed farther on.

As near as can be ascertained the postmasters have been as follows: Dr. Reuben Pierce, Jacob Gerrish, Thomas Comins, Alonzo Bennett, Dwight Plympton, Alonzo Bennett, Joseph M. Goodrich, and George R. Weed, who is the present incumbent.

The second act of incorporation was approved April 3, 1869, and the election for officers was held April 5th of the same year at the school-house in the village. The result was as follows: Sadler Butler, President; George F. Collett, Recorder; James MeCarter, Frederick Gerdes, David Terwilliger, Harry H. Gilbert, Ludwig Lubke, and Dwight Plympton, Trustees; John McGlavin, Treasurer.


Presidents,-1870, Sadler Butler; 1871-72, Ransom S. Hastings; 1873, Henry P. Nourse; 1874, Alonzo Bennett; 1875. Henry Liefkien; 1876-77, George Weimer; 1878. Alonzo Bennett; 1879, John V. Phillips.

Recorders.-1870, J. C. Dick; 1871, George D. Butler; 1872, John C. Dick; 1873-78, John V. Philips; 1879, Claus H. Scholtz.

Treasurers.-1870, William H. Weed; 1871-72, George Weimer; 1873-75, Frederick Gerdes; 1876, Christian Guhistorf; 1877, Charles Kruger; 1878-79, Christian Goldstorf.

Trustees.-1870, L. M. Woodmansee, Albert Kelling: 1871, Alonzo Bennett, William Armstrong, Sadler Butler; 1872, Charles Kruger, Moses M. Clark, William Mittelman; 1873. Louis Eggert, Henry Weigel, Fritz Kamrn; 1874, Charles Kruger, Herman Beutlen, Henry Liefkien; 1875, Henry Wiegel, Louis Eggert, Albert Kelling; 1876, Charles Kruger, Henry C. Wiegel, David Terwilliger; 1877, Henry Wiegel, Christian Doll, Jacob Hiler; 1878, Charles Deuell, Fritz Kamm, Charles Kruger; 1879, Henry P. Nourse, John Peo, Alonzo Bennett.

The charter was repealed May 28, 1879, to take effect Aug. 28, 1879.


The first school-house was built of boards, in 1836, and is still standing, owned and occupied by C. H. Schultz. The lot is now owned by Mrs. R. L. Phillips. A new school-house was built on a lot adjoining, which was removed and replaced with a larger, two-story one. The first school district was recorded March 15, 1837, known as District No. 1. Francis M. Ames and Irwin McClure, commissioners of schools.

At a town-meeting April 19, 1838, it was voted to raise $400 for the payment of teachers' wages for that school year. The inspectors of schools formed Districts Nos. 2, 3, and 4, described as follows:

District No. 1, consisting of sections 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23, 24, in township 8 south, range 21 west.

District No. 2, consisting of sections 4, 7, 8, 9, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21, township 8 south, range 20 west.

District No. 3, consisting of sections 2, 3, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23, and 24, township S south, range 20 west.

District No. 4, consisting of sections 29, 30, 31, 32, in township 7 south, range 20 west; sections 5 and 6, township 8 south, range 20 west; sections 25 and 26, township 7 south, range 21 west; and sections 1 and 12, township 8 south, range 21 west.

Feb. 16, 1839, a certificate of qualification as teacher was granted to O. H. Phillips. Miss Mallory commenced teaching school April 17, 1838. She was examined April 18, 1838, and received a certificate.

Oct. 19, 1844, a certificate was granted as teacher to Miss Craney; and November 2d, of the same year, to Miss Elizabeth Chamberlain. On the 20th of March, 1845, there was received from the town treasurer $32.25 for library purposes, and May 3d, Hale E. Crosby was appointed librarian. Forty-six volumes were purchased. August 1st, of the same year, 60 volumes were added, and 21 volumes in 1847, 93 volumes in 1850, and 41 in 1851.

In 1847 the districts reported as follows: District. No. 1, number of children of school age, 109; No. 2, 27; No. 3, 32.

The record of apportionments of moneys and books in 1848 was, District No. 1, 109 scholars, $32.70, 109 volumes; No. 2, 27 scholars, $8.10, 29 volumes; No. 3, 32 scholars, $9.60, 35 volumes; No. 4, 12 volumes.

Upon the organization of Chiekaming and Three Oaks, in 1856, a change was made in districts, and a division of the property was also made, and the several amounts were turned over to the new districts.

In 1865 a report was made as follows: District No. 1, number of scholars, 157; received from dog-tax, $54.19. No. 2, number of scholars, 42; received from dog-tax, $14.17. No. 3, number of scholars, 80; received from dog-tax, $27.61. No. 5, number of scholars, 31; reeeiyed from dog-tax, $11.03.

The report of schools for 1879 showed: District No. 1, scholars, 230; apportionment money, $111.15; library money, $1. No. 2, scholars, 68; apportionment money, $32.85; library money, 29 cents. No. 3, scholars, 77; apportionment money, $37.20; library money, 33 cents. No. 4, scholars, 45; apportionment money, $21.73; library money, 19 cents.


Methodist Episcopal Church.-The first class was organized at New Buffalo, in 1847, at the school-house.

The following notice is in the journal of Jacob Gerrish: "Sunday, June 24, 1838, Meeks preached in the forenoon ;" July 8, 1838, "had a sermon from Mr. Meeks," undoubtedly the Rev. Richard Meek, of Niles; Aug. 4, 1838. "Meek preached in the morning." Afterwards the Rev. Daniel Smith, of Galena, Floyd Co., Ind., preached there. About 1844, the Rev. Mr. Kellogg. In 1847-48, Thomas McCool. Alanson C. Stuart was a contractor and also a local preacher. Among the members of the first class were Mrs. J. R. C. Brown and J. W. Wilkinson, who was first leader, Geo. Barnes and wife, and Dwight Plympton. Regular preaching was not supported until 1852, when the Rev. J. W. Robinson was stationed there. He was succeeded by the Revs. A. C. Beach, T. Hendrickson, Milo Covey, G. W. Chapin, G. A. Van Horn, E. Beard, E. L. Kellogg, J. Hoyt, D. C. Woodward, A. J. Van Wyck, J. S. Hicks, J. S. Valentine, A. T. Gray, W. Matthias, E. A. Tanner, G. W. Goslin, and Isaiah Wilson, who is the present pastor. Meetings were held in the school-house and at various places. In 1861 and 1862 the present church was built. The society numbers about 40 members.

German Evangelical Church.-This church was organized Nov. 13, 1858, by the Rev. Charles Haas, of Michigan City. The first pastor was the Rev. Charles Buffinger, succeeded by Loffler, Emil Wemer, Geo. Weiser, Diedrich Behrens, --- Dahlmann, --- Hoch, Christian Reiser, and John Stanger, who is the present pastor. The society numbers at present 64 members. The church was built in 1862, and finished in 1863. Services were held for some time in the building formerly used by the Congregational society, on block 23.

Baptist Church.-The society was organized June 3, 1876, as a branch society of Union Pier Church, and organized as a separate society April 9, 1879. The first meeting was held at the house of thc Rev. R. H. Spafford. The society at first consisted of 19 members, and now numbers 76. Mr. Spafford is still the pastor. The society purchased a dancing-hall, and converted it into a church. The Sunday-school has 133 pupiis, E. P. Rundell, Superintendent. Two branch Sunday-schools are also connected with it. Bethel Mission, in Laporte Co., Ind., has 66 pupils, J. T. Fields, Superintendent. West Road Mission is also in Laporte Co., Ind. and has 78 pupils, E. D. Rundell is Superintendent.

St. Mary's Church of the Immaculate Conception. - The Catholic church at New Buffalo was built in 1858 by Father De Neve, and completed in 1860.

It was blessed by Father Cappon, assisted by Father Steiner. It stands on the northwest corner of Buffalo and Whittaker Streets. Its communicants include about 35 families.


Rarmonia Lodge, No. 144, I. O. O. F-This society was organized Aug. 11, 1871, and contains at present 27 members. It is composed entirely of Germans,-Albert Kelling is the Noble Grand.

New Buffalo Lodge, No. 84, I. O. O. F.-This lodge was organized July 18, 1861, and has at present 30 members,-David Tenvilleyn, Noble Grand.

New Buffalo Encampment, No. 79, I. O. O. F., organized in 1877. Has at present 22 members,-Claus H. Schotz, Chief Patriarch.

Working Men's Association of New Buffalo.-This society was organized in October, 1877, and is composed entirely of Germans. It numbers 43 members,-Fritz Kamm, President.

* By: Austin N. Hungerford

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