WHEN Cass County was erected by an act of the Territorial government approved
November 5, 1829, the township of Jefferson was included in the north half in the township of Penn, and the south
half in the township of Ontwa. It formed a part of these townships until 1833, when by an act of the territorial
government, approved the 29th of that year, the present township of Jefferson was erected, the enacting clause
reading as follows: "That all that part of the county of Cass known and distinguished as Township 7 south
of the base line, and in Range 15 west of the principal meridian, compose a township by the name of Jefferson;
and that the first township meeting be held at the house of Moses Reams in said township."
The legal boundaries of this township, as created by law, is La Grange on the north, Ontwa on the south, and Calvin
and Howard on the east and west respectively. The surface of the township is considerably diversified, being in
places quite level, and in others rolling and hilly, although nowhere does the land rise to any considerable height.
The south and eastern portions are quite level; while north and west of the lakes, which, are found nearly in the
center of the township, the surface is, as mentioned, quite rolling, and the soil quite sandy not so much so, however,
as not to be quite produètive. The soil throughout the greater portion of the township is sandy, but there
also can be found considerable black loam, this being especially true in Section 28; and it was cultivated in places
by the Indians. Upon these fertile fields were found excellent specimens of the famous garden~beds of Southwestern
Michigan, but of these no trace can now be discerned, they having long since been entirely obliterated by the plowman.
There are no streams of any considerable importance that hardly more than touch the township; the Christiana Creek
being the only one, this passing through a small portion of Sections 25 and 36, and has been utilized by various
manufacturers in years gone by, that of milling being the only one now pursued. But numerous lakes dot the surface,
from which, with springs, wells, and the use of modern wind mills, ample supplies of water are obtained. Painter's
Lake, found in Section 36, was so named in honor of Joseph Painter, one of the pioneers who figured quite prominently
in the affairs of the township in days long since gone by, as well as being an important factor in its agricultural
and manufacturing enterprises.
Goose Lake, or lakes, there being In reality, two lakes joined together by a very smill neck, located in Sections
15 and 16, is supposed to have received its name from the fact that thousands of wild geese frequented its waters
when they quacked, dived, and' swam to their heart's content until disturbed by the pioneers, who made many an
excellent meal upon them. Crooked and Pine Lakes were named respectively, the first from its meandering contour,
and the second from trees of that name upon an island in the lake. An early settler named Gray gave his name to
a small lake in Sections 20 and 21, while others of less magnitude are not honored with a name.
In 1827, before any settlements were made in the township, the boundary lines were surveyed by William Brookfield,
D. S., and in the year following, 1828, he surveyed the subdivisions, they being completed on the 11th day of July.
Thus were the preliminary arrangements made for the advent of settlers, and they were not slow to avail themselves
The early autumn sun of 1828 dawned upon the broad acres of openings and timbered
land in this township, and found it bedecked in all its pristine glory and natural loveliness. The foliage began
to assume those handsome tints, so prized by lovers of the beautiful, and all presented a most enchanting and attractive
scene. The smoke could be seen ascending from the wigwam of a few solitary Indian families who, with the wild beasts
and birds of the forest, were its only occupants.
Tis true Young's, Pokagon and Beardsley's Prairies had several occupants, while in La Grange and Ontwa could be
found the adventurous pioneer, but as yet, the smoke from the first settler's log cabin offered no landmark to
him who, in search of adventageous locations, chanced to cross this fertile section.
Following the natural course of events,, however, such a condition of affairs could not long exist, for the tide
of emigration which had set toward this county could not be stayed, and accordingly, October of this year, 1828,
saw four families established as first corners in what is now a thickly settled and very productive region.
John Reed, who had, previous to this time, located on Young's Prairie, wrote back to his brothers-in-law, Abner
Tharp and Nathan Norton John Reed and Norton having married sisters of Abner Tharp setting forth in glowing language
the beauties and productiveness of this Western country, so that they were induced to come here to better their
fortunes and grow up with the country, although, in their wildest moments, they did not imagine the wonderful transformations
in the county and changes in inhabitants that would be wrought within their lifetime. in early October, 1828, could
have been seen, in Jefferson Township, Logan County, Ohio, four families busily engaged in packing into cloth covered
lumber wagons their entire household effects, with provisions enough to last them for a journey of many days toward
the setting sun. The names of the heads of these families were Nathan Norton, Abner Tharp, Moses Reams and William
Reams and their destination, Cass County, Mich. Having gotten everything in readiness, a last long farewell look
was given to familiar places, and tearful good byes spoken to loved friends, and then the adventurous spirits started
on their western journey, the men driving the cows and several swine. As a whole, the journey was quite pleasant,
for there was no lack of companionship, and the weather was propitious. Having reached Elkhart, Ind., they stopped
a few days with a friend, and while there were subjected to quite a fright, although nothing serious resulted.
A hasty prairie fire came sweeping onward, and soon the cabin where the women were, and near which were standing
their wagons, became enveloped in flames. One of the women, became so frightened that, seizing a gun, she ran out
on a tree that had fallen into the river, where she was found convulsively grasping the gun and a friendly limb.
Fortunately, no serious damage was done their household goods, but their stock scattered to the woods, and it required
some search to find them again. The attractions of that locality were lost upon them after this occurrence, and
they hastened on their journey to their destination.
Passing through Edwardsburg, they there found two families only, Thomas H. Edwards and Mr. Beardsley, the latter
living on the same place now occupied by Dr. Sweetland. They took a westerly course through Jefferson, crossed
Beardsley's Prairie, and thence bore eastward to Young's Prairie, where they were heartily received and welcomed
by John Reed, who was expecting them. They only remained here a few days to recuperate, and then made their way
south of Diamond Lake, where they proceeded to erect their cabins and make preparation for the winter months. Then
and there was erected the first habitation of a a white man in the township. These cabins were very primitive affairs,
and viewed in the light of modern structures, would be considered simply uninhabitable. They were constructed of
unhewed logs, ranged one above the other, with notches in the corners into which they interlocked, thus forming
a solid wall on three sides, the front being open, and across which was hung a quilt in lieu of boards and a door.
The earth formed the only floor of which the cabins could boast, while the roof was constructed of poles, over
which was piled sods and earth, through the center of which was left an opening for the smoke to ascend. No bedstead
graced the cabin; a pile of hay in one corner, over which was laid coverlets, answering the purpose until nearly
spring, when Labin Tharp, our informant, said his father, Abner, bored some holes into the logs, into which were
driven poles, which were supported at the other end by upright stakes driven into the ground. This pioneer bedstead
was used by his parents, the children occupying the place before described. When it was necessary to replenish
the fire, huge logs were cut and drawn into the cabin with a horse, the ends being raised from the ground by logs
placed crosswise. Once firing up lasted two or three days, and if the wind was in such direction as to blow the
smoke to one side instead of its ascending upward, they shifted to the other side of the room. A bake kettle did
service on all occasions, and was an indispensable article in the preparation of food for the family. Two of these
"halffaced shanties," as they were called, were built facing each other, with only a small space intervening,
so that if neighbors were few, they had one within easy call. The stock was supplied with hay cut from the marsh
land near Diamond Lake, and were protected from the inclemency of the weather by rail pens, covered with hay. While
en route, their hogs strayed away and were lost, and some of them were not recovered for two years, consequently
pork was a scarce article, bat the woods and plains abounded in deer, which supplied plenty of fresh meat. Laben
Tharp speaks of these as "happy times," and says he never enjoyed life more than at this period.
In the spring, Abner Tharp went into the Township of Calvin, where he erected a shanty and plowed ten acres, which
he planted to corn with some potatoes. This was the first settlement in Calvin and the first ground cultivated
there. They made this change so as to be near water, of which there was a scarcity where they settled in Section
1, Jefferson. The first spring they went to Pokagon and purchased of two old bachelors, named Duckett and Davis,
a quantity of corn, which was shelled by pounding it in a wooden trough. This they took to Paine's mill, below
Niles, where it was ground together with some wheat they procured on the way. The flour they thus Obtained had
all to be sifted through a hand sieve, the mill not being provided with machinery to do this part of the work.
This was their home until 1830, when they sold out to a man named Charles, and with the proceeds entered eighty
acres of land in Section 27, Jefferson; this was in turn disposed of, and with the, money thus obtained he entered
two hundred acres in Section 23. After a time, he embraced a good opportunity to dispose of this, and returned
to Ohio, and from there went to Illinois, but the attractions of Michigan proved too strong for him,, and he returned
and settled in Brownsville, where he remained until his death, which occurred in 1869. They were blessed with eight
children, three of whom were girls; they are all dead except Nathan, who is in Colorado; Nichodemas, in the Indian
Territory, and Laben, who lives on Section 23. William Reams, familiarly known as "Uncle Billy," one
of the original four men who first settled in this township is still alive and a resident of Section 10, where
he lives in humble quietude, envying no one and envied by none. He never knew ambition for wealth or distinction
and evidently believes that "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," for he is evidently blessed
with a contented mind. His seventy four years bear lightly upon his shoulders, and many more are probably in store
When Nathan Norton reached this township, he was, in common with nearly all the settlers of that day, in very moderate
circumstances, and being somewhat advanced in life, did not accomplish as much in this new country as his son,
Pleasant Norton, who came in 1832, and purchased of Government the land on which his father resided, and presented
him with forty acres of the same act of filial affection which could readily be expected of the donor. The elder
Norton died on this place. He was the father of five children, two girls and three boys, viz.: Mahala, Pleasant,
Levi, Jane and Richard. The first named became the wife of Moses Reams, now deceased. Jane became the wife of Maxwell
Zane, and upon his death married Mr. Lumpkins, who is also dead. Levi died some time since, and Richard is a farmer
in Jefferson. Pleasant Norton, now deceased, was, during his lifetime, one of the active, energetic men of the
township. He was born in Grayson County, Va., in 1806, removed with his parents to Champaign County, Ohio, and
subsequently removed to Logan County in the same State, where, he remained until coming to this county, with his
wife, Rachel (Fukey) Norton, who is still a resident of the old place, and although in her seventy third year,
is in possession of all her faculties. It is a pleasure to converse with "Aunt Rachel," as she is affectionately
termed, regarding early experiences. She points with pride to a stately oak, which when eighteen inches in height
grew in an onion bed she was weeding out with a table fork, and which was spared beeause of its thriftiness. While
they were deprived of many of the luxuries, the necessities of life were always within reach, and wild honey could
be frequently found upon their table. The township records show the name of Pleasant Norton there inscribed year
after year, he having filled the office of Supervisor for eight years, Township Treasurer for a number of years,
besides various other offices in the gift, of the township. He was not a stranger to legislative halls, having
served in the State Legislature two terms. Although a man not physically strong, his mind arid body were particularly
active, and before his death he had accumulated a handsome compe tency which he left to his family, he being the
father of eight children, as follows: Jane (deceased), Amanda (Mrs. Charles G. Banks), Elizabeth (widow of William
Peck), Hiram and Maxwell (in Cassopolis), James (deceased), Louisa (Mrs. Haywood, in Portland, Maine), and John
(who is a resident of the old homestead).
Having learned of the new El Dorado in Michigan by way of his father-in-law, Nathan Norton, Maxwell Zane left his
home in Champaign County, Ohio, in September, 1829, with his family and his household effects, together with farm
utensils and stock. They were accompanied by four young men, three of them named John Tracy, David Hildreth and
Mr. Jacobs, who came to assist in driving stock and teams. They all returned except Tracy, who remained and became
the husband of a Miss Hunter, he residing here until his death. The journey, which occupied eleven days, was accomplished
with no particular mishap. Mrs. Zane, nee Jane Norton, riding a pony purchased, expressly for her, carrying in
her arms an eighteen months' child, beside preparing the food for the men each day, which is a feat few, could
accomplish, when we consider that within six weeks after arrival she, became the mother of the first white child
born in the township Nancy, now Mrs. Monroe, who resides on a portion of the old farm. Being of an energetic disposition,
he immediately plowed the ground and sowed a crop of wheat, which yielded abundantly the year following, it being
one of the first crops sown in the township. This was on section twelve. The land here is what is known as burr
oak openings, there being only an occasional tree, all the smaller trees and shrubs being burned each year by fires
started by the Indians for this especial purpose; consequently the labor incident to clearing a heavily timbered
country was obviated. But the ground plowed very hard, it being filled with innumerable roots of small trees and
bushes, known as grubs, which formed a very considerable obstruction to the plow, and in order to overcome them
a team of from four to twelve yoke of oxen were employed, known as "breaking up teams," and some of the
pioneers ran these teams, "breaking up" land at so much per acre, the usual price being from $3 to $4.
The first season after they came here Mrs. Zane grubbed out the garden, which she attended herself.
Having sold the first land he purchased 150 acres in section twelve Mr. Zane removed to section twenty one, in
which section and Section 28, he purchased 200 acres, his death occurring on this place. The laws at that time
were such that the children inherited all the property; but, nothing daunted, Mrs. Zane set to work and by careful
management soon increased the eighty acres of clearing by as many more, erected a barn and purchased eighty acres
additional. Being possessed of almost unbounded ambition, she was enabled to accomplish this. She is now a resident
of the farm first purchased by her husband when coming here, the house standing nearly on the' same spot where
the log cabin was erected, and from the back door of whiuh she had seen wolves coming to eat the crumbs shaken
from her table cloth. Although in her seventy fourth year, she has within the past twelve months earned $200 by
weaving carpets. The Zane family are the lineal descendants of the Zanes who first settled Wheeling, W. Va., and
erected a block house, or fort, from which forays were made against the Indians, and to which the settlers would
flee when pursued by the blood thirsty savages. Pressing westward into Ohio, Zanesville and Zanesfield were named
in honor of them, and finally we find them as residents of this county.
Among those who emigrated from Logan County, Ohio, this particular county being the germ from whence sprang so
many settlers in this township was Nathan Tharp, whose wife, Lucinda, was a Zane. He first settled in Calvin, southeast
of Diamond Lake, where he located eighty acres and remained until 1836, when he moved to the farm now owned Joseph
Baldwin. S. C. Tharp is infatuated with the life of a hunter and trapper, and has made many trips to Iowa to satisfy
his love of exploits and for his health. One journey there was made with an ox team, in 1853 54, and seventy two
nights of the 365 were spent in camp. One day, while out hunting, his young brother, aged ten, exclaimed: "Oh,
there come some black hogs!" Glancing in that direction, he discovered a bear with two cubs. One bear was
killed by a blow on the head, while trying to climb a tree, and the she bear shot where she was found held at bay
by the dogs. When nineteen years of age he killed seven bears in one day, and became so noted as a bear hunter
that if one was discovered he was sure to be called upon to dispatch him; one day he was summoned to dispatch four
bears that were feasting on acorns on the farm now owned by H. B. Shurter, and they all paid the penalty death
for their intrusion.
Entries of land were quite numerous at this period, 1830-31, for in addition to those enumerated were Stephen and
Peter Marmon, Aaron Brown, David T. Nicholson, Daniel Burnham, F. Smith, Richmond Marmon, John Pettigrew, Samuel
Colyar, William Barton, William Mendenhall, Obediah Sawtell, Ezra Beardsley, Isaac Hultz.
Samuel Colyar was raised in North Carolina, from which place he removed to Logan County, Ohio, and from there to
Penn, in the spring of 1831, and made a crop on Young's Prairie. In the fall he went after his family, which consisted
of his wife and fourteen children, ten of whom came with him, and settled on Section 11, When en route the streams
were so swollen that it was necessary to unload the goods and ferry them across and reload them again; on one occasion
the wagon box floated off and was making rapid descent down the river when it was caught by them after a lively
pursuit in a pirogue that was near at hand. In November, that. year, long' before farmers were ready for it, there
came an immense fall of snow, burying everything beneath sight, and the cattle, as they wallowed through it, were
encased up to their üdes; it was finally dissipated by the sun. Mr. Colyar helped very considerably in the
developmentof the country. and was always ready to assist in every good cause. As a christian, he was a zealous
advocate of christianity, and assisted very materially in establishing and maintaining the Baptist Church, of which
he was a member. He was esteemed by all his neighbors for his many good qualities of mind and heart, and passed
away deeply lamented. Of his large family. of children, but three remain in the county Phoebe, Mrs. R. Reams, in
Cassopolis; Mary, Mrs. Reams, in Jefferson, and Jonathan, also in Jefferson, he being twenty one years of age when'
comjng into the county.
In 1835, Relief A. Allen emigr4ed with her father, Reuben Allen, from Rutland County, Vt., and settled in Mason
Township, where they purchased the first land sold by Hon. George Redfield, he having purchased quite largely for
speculative purposes. At that time, only three families were in the township, but before the close of the year
some sixty had taken up their abode there. Those coming from Vermont, were very appropriately termed Yankees by
the other settlers, who were chiefly Southerners. Until they could erect a log cabin, they occupied one used as
an office by Mr. Pells, of Edwardsburg. The year following was what has been termed the sickly year, almost every
one being afflicted with the ague. Mr. Allen would always. contend that he enjoyed the felicity of three hundred
shakes. Miss Allen became the wife of A. M. Morse, who was born in Ontario County, New York State, came from there
in 1837 with his father, and settled near Redfield's sawmill. About eleven years since, they removed to the farm
now occupied by Mrs. Morse, he having died some years since.
Among the early residents can be counted Daniel Vantuyl, who was born in New Jersey, and removed from there to
Lake County, and from there here, his method of locomotion being by horse team. Accompanied by his family of four
children, July 26, he arrived in Edwardsburg, and occupied a schoolhouse until he purchased eighty acres of Abner
Tharp, in Section 27. He departed this life January 20, 1880, aged eighty four years. With him, his word was considered
as good as his bond. One of his. sons, Joseph M., owner of a' farm in Section 36, recalls the wonderful changes
that have transpired since coming here. Daniel Vantuyl, nephew of Joseph M., and for whom he works, is an enterprising
young man aged twenty six.
In these early days it took a young man of considerable pluck to leave home and kindred and start without money
and friend for the wilds of Michigan, there to carve out for himself a home ; but such a person was Harrison Adams,
he coming into the county with Robert Crawford and commenced working by the month for a livelihood. He soon purchased
eighty acres of land of Hon. George Redfield, and now has. a fine farm with., the necessary accompaniment of buildings,
and possesses wisdom enough to enjoy the fruits of his labors. He recalls the economies practiced by the people,
and instances the fact that men and women would carry their boots and shoes in their hands while on their way to
church, in order to save them, and just before entering would, on. a friendly log secreted from observation, encase
their extremities and walk into church with as much sang-froid as if they could. afford such things. The costumes
of the ladies were singularly alike, they consisting of blue calico, with. a bonnet made of the same material.
The people were cosmopolitan in the strictest meaning of that word, aristocracy being a thing unknown. Stanbury
Smith, father of Mrs. Adams, came from New Jersey in 1831, and settled in Milton Township, where she was born with
her twin brother in 1832. They being the first twins born in that township, were naturally quite a curiosity, the
people for miles around calling to see them, while the merchant at Edwardsburg sent out the material for dresses
for the diminutive pair. When she attained the age of five years, the whole family were prostrated with the ague,
and she carried water for their use in a jug from a neighbor's. On one well remembered occasion, the jug was by
accident broken, and many bitter tears did she shed over what appeared to her infantile mind, a calamity. Mrs.
Adams' twin brother now lives near Niles, in this State.
Robert Salisbury was born in Scipio, Cayuga Co., N. Y., from which place he removed to Huron County, and after
a stay there of twenty one years, in the spring of 1833, removed to Howard Township, Section 1, where he unloaded
his household effects in the midst of the solid woods, and went to ,a saw mill on Pokagon Creek and purchased lumber,
which was set slanting from the ground to a ridge pole supported in crotches. This formed their first habitation,
which answered this purpose until a more substantial log cabin was erected. Here he endured the trials incident
to pioneer life. At his house could frequently be heard the voice of worship, he being a member of the Methodist.
Episcopal Church. Under his roof many an itinerant minister of the Gospel found food and shelter after his arduous
labors. But he has gone to his final reward, and William Salisbury, a representation of the family, now lives in
Jefferson, on a farm purchased some sixteen years since. He recollects seeing in his boyhood days many people start
for church, gun in hand, with which to dispatch a stray deer or strutting turkey that might cross their path. During
service the guns could be seen ranged against the outside of the building, which presented more the appearance
of an arsinal, from its external decorations, than a house of worship.
Among the records of township officers frequently appears the name of H. Carmichael. He was an early resident,
but getting what is called in native parlance "the Western fever," be removed to Booneboro, Iowa, and
there died. He was from Ohio.
The Quaker element was well represented by Richmond Marmon, who came from Logan County, Ohio, in the spring of
1830, and after making a crop went after his family, which consisted at that time of seven, but subsequently of
nine children, four of whom are of a spirit of rivalry as regards external decorations and equipages was that of
truly neighborly kindness and industry. The literal latch string hung out to all corners, and the best the house
afforded was tendered the passing guest, who was ever admonished to "call again" should they be in that
vicinity again; there was a heartiness of welcome and genuine hospitality exhibited that would be truly refreshing
now days, for it has passed away with the log cabin, the loom and the spinning wheel, together with the whitecapped
spectacled old lady who graced the puncheon floors of a few decades ago. Occasionally can be found one of these
venerable pioneers, and they almost without exception claim to have enjoyed life and experienced more true happiness
when they were pioneering than since fortune has émiled upon them. In order that none be neglected who are
entitled to notice, we append a full list of original land entries which, aside from their historic interest, will
be valuable for future reference:
TO ORIGINAL LAND ENTRIES>>
Aside from those who came and settled in an early day, are others who came in later and contributed largely to
the development of the township, and are entitled. to notice. In this connection, we refer to R. B. Davis, a native
Virginian, who reached this county in 1840, after a five years' stay in Clark County, Ohio, and purchased a quarter
section of land, which he still retains. At that time, but thirty acres had been cleared. Mr. Davis has not been
an aspirant for civic honors, he devoting his energies almost exclusively to agriculture, his chosen occupation,
but has ever taken a deep interest in religious matters; and it was through his instrumentality that the Christian
Church of Jefferson was organized, he being one of the original nine members. He has now retired from active business,
the farm being conducted by his son. H. C. Davis, who is a member of the Executive Committee of the County Pioneer
Society, and has filled several township offices.
The most trivial circumstances frequently change the location a person selects for a home, and this was the case
with Matthias Weaver, who came here from Montgomery County, N. Y., and, not finding land that suited him was about
to start for Berrien County, this State, when accosted by Asa Kingsbury, who, learning the state of affairs, took
him to Section 35, where he purchased the farm on which he died in November, 1869, his wife Catharine following
him in June, 1876. Being a carpenter by trade, he at once erected a frame house, it being among the first in the
township, and was erected on a farm where not a stick of timber was amiss. The old homestead is now occupied by
his son, William Weaver. William Hanson came from Albany, N. Y., when eleven years of age, with his father, and
by persistent effort, since arriving at the age of maturity, has acquired a competency and now resides in Edwardsburg,
his two sons, Charles and H. A. (Hanson) Hanson, occupying two of his farms in Jefferson.
The father of George S. Parker (Haines) came from Logan County, Ohio, in 1848, and settled in Calvin. His death
occurred in Jefferson. Mrs. Parker is a daughter of Rev. B. H. Kenneston, one of the first pastors of the Christian
Among those quiet ones who go about their daily labor, which in the aggregate expands and develops the county,
is M. A. Thayer, who, when he first commenced laboring on his present farm in 1855, found but thirty acres under
Mr. Thayer has an exemplar in the person of William E. Morse, who came from Onondaga County, N. Y., in 1858, and
is now a resident in Section 24. And still another of these quiet workers can be found in the person of Smith Wooden,
a son of Zaccheus Wooden, who trapped in this county in 1818, Smith becoming a resident of the county in 1853.
This township has always been irrevocably Democratic in politics, but through the indefatigable efforts of J. J.
Higgins, Republican and some others, this majority was cut down one half at the last election. Mr. Higgins takes
great interest in anything that pertains to the general weal of his. township and county, he being a resident since
Among the prominent grangers of the county is W. E. Peck, who came from Onondaga County, N.Y., in 1866. Cassopolis
Grange, No. 162, includes in its jurisdiction Penn, La Grange, Calvin and Jefferson Townships, and was organized
December 18, 1873. Mr. Peck is Master of the Grange, and his wife, Sarah E. Peck, is Secretary. A record of the
society will be found in the general history. Mr. Peck has been appointed by the. Secretary of the State as reporter
of the agricultural products and resources of his township.
Since the advent of J. A. Reynolds into the county, from Chenango County, N. Y., he has been identified with many
of its public interests. First settling in Howard, he acted as one of the Commissioners to reconstruct the roads
and have theta surveyed as at present. Since 1850, he has been a resident of Jefferson, and has served as Justice
of the Peace and in various other public offices. On his, farm can be found fine farm buildings, while from an
orchard of eight hundred trees, the largest in the township, he derives a fine income.
The County Infirmary, located in this township, is a rather imposing looking building, and the manner in which
it is kept by A. J. Tallerday reflects credit upon him. Mr. Tallerday has been a resident of the county since 1846.
Lester Graham possesses one of the oldest farms in the township, it being located in Section 2. Mrs. Graham is
a daughter of the pioneer Maj. Smith, whose record appears elsewhere.
Although an Englishman by birth, no more patriotic Republican can be found than D. Rose, who has been a resident
William A. Runkle, a representative young farmer, is a son of one of the pioneers noticed elsewhere, while Frank
Fox, also a forehanded young farmer, sought after the mystical pot of gold to be found by the setting sun, and
returned from the Pacific Slope well compensated for his search.
The name of Frank Hayden should not be omitted as among the later agriculturists, and thus have we traced the records
from the first tillers of the soil, who performed the initial labors among many discouragements, down to the time
when improved farms with modern machinery for tilling are in possession of young men who start life under far more
auspicuous circumstances than did their predecessors. Fifty four years, during which time many momentous events
have occurred in nations as well as communities, have passed into eternity since the first settlers located in
this township, and now we find it teeming with a population of 1,014 individuals who possess in the aggregate 19,721
acres of land, divided into 160 farms. On these farms, in 1869, they raised 69, 437 bushels of wheat, 104,225 bushels
of corn in the ear, 633 bushels of clover seed, 6,055 bushels of potatoes, 1,700 tons of hay. In 1880, they possessed
550 horses, 482 head of cattle, 1,996 hogs and 2,300 sheep; 418 acres are occupied by orchards, while lesser fruits
can be found in great abundance. There can still be seen quite a number of log houses, but these are fast being
replaced by more elegant and commodious buildings.
When the early settlers came into the county, those who went north from Edwardsburg
made a detour along the western side of Jefferson, and then eastward through La Grange, following an old trail
as marked out by some one unknown. Isaac Hulse, who came from Clark County, Ohio, changed the road by first staking
it out with burnt sticks, and then drawing an immense log the entire distance several times, to give it the appearance
of an old traveled road, and when, in 1837, David Crane, Jacob Silver and George Rogers, Road Commissioners, instructed
H. P. Barnum, Surveyor, where to survey the road that extends from Edwardsburg to Oassopolis they followed, with
hardly any variation,, the road as laid out by Mr. Hulse, and which, by the way, had been traveled up to this time.
This was the first road laid through the township, and to that row of burnt and blackened sticks in the hands of
one who wanted "a short cut" is this diagonal road attributable.
The next road that was projected extended west from the present farm of L. Graham. Many roads were laid out by.
the Commissioners crossing in all Directions through the land, the accommodation of those making the petitions
being the principal consideration. Many of these were never worked, and eventually taken up, so that unless lakes
interfere, the roads are now principally on section lines.
The Grand Trunk Railroad runs diagonally from nearly the northeast to the southwest corners, while the Michigan
Central Air Line runs through three sections in the northwest corner, and on which is located Dailey, the only
railroad station in the township.
In the "estray book," under the date of December 8, 1835, we find the following, signed by Benjamin Cooper:
"Taken up by the subscriber in Jefferson Township and county of Cass, M. T., a steer one year old last spring,
colored read and with white star on his forehead, marked with a half crop off the side of the left ear."
This shows a custom then existing among settlers of cropping and otherwise disfiguring the ears of their stock,
so that when lost they could be identified by means of these "marks" as they were designated.
The first frame barn was erected by Maj. Smith, on the farm now owned by James Lowman, in 1838, and that season,,
or the one following, he constructed the first frame house. Deacon Sherrel was among the first to erect a frame
Orchards, now so plentiful as to elicit no comment, were once considered almost invaluable. In 1832, Peter Marmon,
Richmond Marmon and P. T. Nicholson, set out orchards, the first in the township.
The first marriage bells rung in the township was in honor of the marriage of Mary Colyar to Peter Reams, in the
winter of 1831.
The stern messenger of death is ever with us, and first. made his appearance in the family of D. T. Nicholson,
who lost a child.
The only place in Jefferson that can be dignified by the name of village, is Dailey.
It is located in Sections 5 and 6 on the Air Line Railroad, to which it owes its existence. After the completion
of the road, in 1871, the citizens, desiring a station, purchased three acres of land and donated it to the railroad
company, who erected thereon a freight and passenger house. The names of the donors of the land as far as can'
be ascertained, are: I. A. Shingledecker, H. Kimmerle, William Hain, H. C. Westfall, William Sailesbury, T. T.
Higgins and S. Stephenson. In 1872. a post office was established, with M. T. Garvey as Postmaster. The business
is done at two stores, one machine shop and one, blacksmith shop.
In March, 1881, the Dailey Cornet Band was organized, with Schuyler Hain as President; William Brewer, Secretary;
H. D. Gifford, Treasurer, and has a membership of thirteen; is now oflicered as follows: Ralph Ham, President;
A. J. Gifford, Vice President; Schuyler Rain, Secretary, and W. T. Very, Treasurer.
A post office has been established at Redfields Mills, where also can be found a small country store.
Jefferson Post Office is numbered among the things that were. It never was a necessity and has ever had an uncertain
Knowledge is power, and that those who early inhabited this township realized
this fact is evinced from the interest taken in educational affairs; the young being instructed, before a schoolhouse
could be erected for them, in private houses. The first school was taught by Martha McIlvaine (now Norton), in
the smoke house of Maxwell Zane, in 1883. Mother earth smoothed and patted down constituted the floor, and the
scholars sat on benches made of slabs split from logs, the legs to the seats consisting of four roughly hewn sticks
inserted in auger holes. The school was maintained by subscription. The first schoolhouse was constructed of logs,
on the corner, near the pres. ent residence of Lester Graham, and afterward moved south to the forks in the road,
on the same place where stands the brick schoolhouse. M. Hunter taught the first school in this house. The second
schoolhouse was built on the farm now owned by John Condon, also of logs.
With other things, the school interests have advanced, until now it comprises seven school districts, with one
brick and six frame schoolhouses, having a seating capacity of 379. There are 106 volumes in the school libraries.
During the school year ending in 1880, there were twenty two and one half months taught by male teachers, who were
paid $7l6.50, and by female teachers thirty months, and they received as compensation $522.90. The districts are
free from bonded debts, and have a school population, that is, children between the ages of five and twenty years,
The location of this township in the interior, with no water communication, no
streams of anj considerable size, and until of late years no railroad communication, would naturally prevent very
extensive manufacturing establishments being erected. It is not, however, destitute of them. To John Pettigrew,
Jr., belongs the honor of building the first saw mill in the township. He came from Clark County, Ohio, in 1830,
and in the spring of. 1831 or 1882 erected on the South Branch of the Pokagon, in Section 6, a sawmill containing
an old fashioned upright saw, the irons and saw for which were brought from Ohio in wagons drawn by oxen. This
mill played an important part in the early settlement of that section, and, in fact, it helped very materially
in the advancement of the country many miles distant, for lumber was sold at Niles, this State, and Mishawaka,
South Bend and Elkhart, Ind., When worn out, it was replaced by another located farther down the stream; to which
was dug a race, thereby increasing its motive power. This mill has also had its day of usefulness, and is now numbered
among the things that were. The next record we have concerning mills was one erected by Peter Shaffer, of Calvin,
and Dr. Beardsley, of Elkhart, hid., on the Christiana Creek, in 1836. This soon passed into the hands of Hon.
George Redfield, who ran it for a number of years; but this, too, has succumbed to the ravages of time, and in
its place, or nearly so, stands a grist mill of three run of stone built by Mr. Redfield in 1867. This is now run
very successfully by Mr. W. B. Hayden, under the firm name of Redfield & Hayden, and is used for custom work
About 1840, Robert Painter built a grist mill, with two run of stone, just below the Shaffer Beardsley mill, and
commenced the manufacture of flour. His mill pond, when flooded so as to give sufficient water, interfered with
the saw mill just above, and he therefore changed its site further down the stream, nearly on the bank of Painter's
Lake, cutting a millrace from his dam first built, which, passing through a small pond, afforded ample water power.
With his increased power, his ambition to manufacture increased. Thereforef a saw and woolen mill were added to
the grist mill. The outlay necessarily made exceeded his means, and recourse was made to his friends. The property
did not pay, however, and his creditors were forced to foreclose their mortgages, and take the property, which
was hard upon those who had befriended him. From this time on, it changed hands rapidly the machinery to the woolen
factory having been removed, it not being a paying investment until all was closed up, and the grist mill machinery
taken to Edwardsburg, where it now does duty.
In, 1876, Mr. John McPherson, son of Joseph McPherson, whose early record can be found in La Grange Township history
built a grist mill with two run of stone, on the site occupied by the John Pettigrew saw mill, and is now engaged
in. manufacturing flour, which is branded "Centennial," in honor of our national anniversary, which occurred
the year the mill was erected. This mill turns out, 2,700 barrels of flour per year, besides grinding over fifteen
thousand bushels of feed per annum.
In 1875, Benjamin Field established a machine shop in Dailey, after a two years' trial in Jones, this county, and
since that time by diligence and industry, has sueceeded in building up a very fine business. When first locating
here, he only possessed some blacksmith tools and a small four horse portable engine. He now has an eight horse
engine, two lathes, one planer the first in the county and an upright drill press, all valued at $3,000, all of
which shows what results can be accomplished if efforts are properly directed, for the fame of this little machine
shop is extending every, day, a molding department having been recently added.
A colored preacher who proclaimed the gospel in the house of Maxwell Zane was,
according to all accounts, the first one who proclaimed the Gospel of "Peace on earth, good will to men,"
The First Christian Church of Jefferson was organized at the house of R. B. Davis, November 20, 1847, by Elders
Joseph Roberts and James Atkinson, with a membership of nine, as follows: Henry W. Smith, Sabrina Smith, Peter
Smith, Sarah A. Smith, Edmond Thatcher, Phoebe Thatcher, Reuben B. Davis, Susanah Davis and Mary Cooper. It now
has, according to the records, a membership of ninety six. The first Deacon was Henry Smith; first clerk, Peter
Smith. In 1851, Rev. Jeremiah B. H. Kenaston came from Vermont and went to the schoolhouse, where services were
then held, to preach, but found his congregation outside, one of the school officers, who shall be nameless, having
locked it and refused them admission. Nothing daunted, Rev. Kenaston mounted a friendly stump and delivered a most
powerful sermon, after which he baptized four persons. He was immediately employed as their pastor at a salary
of $60 per annum, his contract calling for sermons one Saturday each month, every first and third Sunday of each
month, and "generally a meeting in the afternoon and evening of same day," besides protracted meetings.
May 31, 1851, a resolution was passed to construct a frame church, 30x45, with twelve feet post, and the contract
was awarded to L. Painter, for $550. The church was constructed this year, and the dedicatory sermon was preached
by Rev. Whitman. The deed for the land on which it now stands was obtained by Leonard Goodrich, in October, 1859.
The present officers are: Deacons Oscar Bishop, Elias B. Lowman; Elder, Adam Miller; Clerk, Levi Weaver.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH.
July 10, 1830, a meeting, called by Rev. Adam Miller, was held in the barn of
John Reed, for the purpose of organizing a Baptist Church. Andrew Grubb was elected Moderator and Isaac Hulse Clerk,
and after some preliminary work an adjournment was made to August 7, when a "constitution" was adopted,
and Adam Miller engaged as pastor for one year, the second Saturday and Sunday of each month being designated as
the time for holding services. The first offices elected were: Andrew Grubb, Deacon; Adam Miller, Moderator; Isaac
Hulse, Clerk and Treasurer.
The first house of worship was constructed of logs in Section 12, where their cemetery still remains. For a time
no stove or fire place was provided and a fire was built on the floorless ground, from which the smoke ascended
heavenward through the "shakes," then used in lieu of shingles.
Church etiquette has undergone many changes and innovations since then, for what was at that time admissible would
now be considered a grave offense, if not sacrilegious. It was not then considered a breach of decorum to smoke
during services, and many availed themselves of the opportunity afforded, and, should occasion require, would repair
to a stump outside where a fire had been kindled in warm weather to obtain a light, and then resume their position
among the worshipers. The gravity of the most sedate would surely be overcome to see these honest Christian people
seated in long solemn rows, drawing in spiritual nourishment and knowledge, as they sedately puffed forth into
the atmosphere clouds of fleecy smoke. The present church edifice was constructed in 1844, at an expense of $1,500,
and is a substantial building. The Rev. Mr. Stephenson, pastor of the Baptist Church at Cassopolis, supplies their
pulpit at present. The present officers are: Jonathan Colyar, Deacon and Clerk; Levi Reams, J. Colyar and R. B.
About three years since, a Christian Church was organized at Dailey after a revival, and it has now about twenty
five members. Services are held every other week in the schoolhouse, the present pastor being Rev. Mr. Terwilliger.
The officers are: Elder, Josbph Cook; Deacons, Horace Cooper and H. C. Westfall.
The following comprises the principal township officers up to 1881:
1833, Robert Painter; 1834-40, Pleasant Norton; 1841, Maxwell Zane; 1842, Joseph
Smith; 1843, Marcus Peck; 1844-45, Joseph Smith; 1846, Barton B. Dunning; 1847, Joseph Smith; 1848-50, Pleasant
Norton; 1851, N. Aldrich; 1852, Pleasant Norton; 1853, Henry W. Smith; 1854, Nathaniel Monroe; 1855-56, J. N. Marshall;
1857-58, Marcus Peck; 1859-60, Joseph Hess; 1861, Hiram R. Schutt; 1862-63, Marcus Marsh; 1864, C. S. Swan; 1865-66,
G. W. Westfall; 1867, Andrew Wood; 1868, Marcus Marsh; 1869, S. C. Tharp; 1870-72, John S. Jacks; 1873, S. W. Breece;
1874-76, Andrew Wood; 1877-80, Harley H. Bement; 1881, Heman B. Shurter.
1833-35, Levi Norton; 1836-37, David Reams; 1838-39, David Carmichael; 1840, Lorenzo
Painter: 1841, William B. Reams; 1842-45, Pleasant Norton; 1846, P. F. Carmichael; 1847-48, Henry Carmichael; 1849,
Samuel Patrick; 1850-52, Henry Carmichael; 1853-56, L. Goodrich; 1857, G. W. Westfall; 1858, S. E. Davis; 1859-60,
Henry Carmichael; 1861, Corkin Hays; 1862, A. W. Zane; 1863, N. Hedger; 1864, H. C. Shurter; 1865, Samuel Hess;
1866-67, H. R. Schutt; 1868-70, A. Tietsort; 1871-72, P. F. Carmichael; 1873-74, N. B. Farnsworth; 1875, Samuel
W. Breece; 1876-77, Robert Snyder; 1878, Henry C. Westfall; 1879- 80, Almanza Tietsort; 1881, John Condon.
1883-34, William Zane; 1835, D. T. Nicholson; 1836-39, William Zane; 1840, William
Boslev; 1841, Marcus Sherrell; 1842, William Bosley; 1843, Marcus Peck; 1844-45, Marcus Sherrell; 1846, Robert
Crawford; 1847, S. L. Higinbotham; 1848-50, Charles Amy; 1851-58, A. C. Carmichael; 1854, N. O. Beach; 1855, A.
C. Carmichael; 1856-57, George Tichnor; 1858, Charles Sherrell; 1859, H. C. Holdin; 1860-64, J. C. Carmichael;
1865, Nathan Marr; 1866-68, C. L. Neff; 1869 S. W. Breece; 1870, N. B. Farnsworth; 1871-72, S. W. Breece; 1873-81,