Columbiaville, Marathon Township, Lapeer County, Michigan.
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Brief history: Chippewa Indians were the earliest settlers on Lapeer's some what rolling countryside, and Archaeologists have discovered sites throughout the county. As always the river was of major importance for the Indians as well as the white man who later came. This river (Flint) was called Pe-Ong-Go See-Be, and the translation was Treasure store of stone, very important to the indians. It is known that indians camped on the north side of the river near the bridge. Just east of Klam Road at Piersonville 2 indian mounds were found and in Oregon Township on the high banks of the river near stanley road there were burial grounds. The entire area is amass with indian trails, camps, and artifacts. The 1st white settlers were Ephraim Clute and Abijah Willey in 1836 looking for land in which to settle, they came form New York State. Ephriam Clute ( 1804 - 1897) and Abijah Willey (1793 - 1871) arrived to a place behind the old Willey School site on North Lake Road. Oct 13, 1837 Abraham Hollenbeck (1796 - 1843) who had bought the northwest quarter of section 21 in 1836 moved in with a large family. And thus the population begins. The first settler of the site that becomes the Village of Columbiaville was Levi D. Cutting born Dec 1, 1820 in the town of Marshfield, Vermont, then at age 15 his family moved to Seneca County N.Y., and afterwards to Hartland, Niagara County, N.Y. Mr. Cutting was married in 1842 to Eliza M. Warner of Niagara County N.Y., and they had one son David. In 1847 they moved to Marathon Township and settled where Columbiaville now stands. His house still stands at the corner of Water and Lapeer Streets. His wife died 1873 and in 1875 he married Abbie Hopkins who operated the first Ice Cream Parlor in the Village. Mr. Cutting served as Village President and Fire Warden. He died in Grand Rapids Oct 31, 1909 and in buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.
Families Histories of Early Settlers:
Ephraim Clute born June 8, 1804 Saratoga, Saratoga County New York. Marries first Adelia Phillips of Wany County, New York in 1833, by whom he had 3 children. The children were Roxanna (Mrs. William Peter) born 1835, Edwin, and Adelia. Edwin died July 24, 1839, age 4 months; Adelia died March 27, 1839 age 5. The wife Adelia died Oct 27, 1841 age 27. In 1843 Ephraim marries Maria Gifford a native of Eastern N.Y., and they have 2 children; son Summer born 1844, and a daughter named Calista born 1852 who marries Judge Elmore Brown. Ephraim Clute age 92 dies 1897 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Columbiaville Michigan.
Abijah Willey born Dec 24, 1793 came from New York with his family of 3 sons and 3 daughters, the oldest son Seth was born near Saratoga Springs N.Y., in 1817. Abjiha born Savannah, Wayne County N.Y., 1833. Abijah died March 20, 1871 and his wife Harriet died Oct 5,1854. A grand daughter of Seth Willey was Mrs. George (Harriet) McIntyre.
Abraham Hollenbeck born Feb 19, 1796 and came here from Columbia County N.Y., and he died Sept 16, 1843 and his wife Jane nee Gardner died Sept 6, 1868. They have many descendents which include; Ratie Herfurth, Eva Burch, and the Late Probate Judge Glen Hollenbeck, as well as Ray Hollenbeck postmaster of Metamora, Dr. John J. Blue and also Dr. Max Burnell.
David Burritt (1800-1860) moved here in 1838
Andrew McArthur (1793 - 1869)
Martin Valentine (1793 -1869) moved here Sept 28, 1838.
Asa Phillips / Harvey Perkins / Benjamin Niles / Amsa Wood (1788-1872)/ A.J.Richards / Chauncey Phillips/
Col. Needham Hemingway (1793 - 1878 ) and 2 sons Henry and Isaac. / George Aurand (1784 - 1854 ) and his sons George, Jacob, Andrew, and Daniel.
Dennis Lawrence (1819 - 1912 ) and family and then later his brothers Joseph and Levi Lawrence.
Chauncey Maxfield / Leander LeValley / Mortimer LeValley/ W.W.Wagner / B.J.Harris / Abram Purdy / Edwin Richmond/ W.W.Brown / David Haskell / James Petteys.
In 1852 a young man working in the saw mill of Nivers decides to start his own business and then begins the career of William Peter. He builds a 2 story building on the corner of Lapeer and Middle Streets, and opens the first store in Columbiaville. There after a Mr. Alfred Pettit builds a Wagon shop, and later Reuben McArthur erected a building at the north end of of Lapeer Street for a store but did not use it. It was sold to John and Peter VanDyke who enlarged it and fitted it for a hotel. It was later sold to a man named Farrel and thus became called Farrel House. Later the name was changed to the Columbiaville Exchange owned by Elson Walt, later a Lapeer County Sheriff.
In 1861 it is noted that Columbiaville has seven houses, and a store. In 1864 the Richards Brothers buy the old Nivers Sawmill property from William Peter and erect a Grist Mill the first one in the township. Soon after Thomas McDowell builds a store on Pine and Lapeer Streets. Later the store is sold to Dr. Congdon who was also served as Postmaster. Mr. Peter's store is bought by W.P.Wheeler. In 1872 the Railroads coming induces others to open up business's among them are General Store of D. Lawrence, Pool Room owned by Mr. O.I. Brant, the Grover Temperance Hotel on Pine Street, Cabinet Maker A.W.Fox, Shoemaker Jim Moore, Harness Shop of Mr. D. Adams, Foundry of D.N. Laing.
1877 William Peter strikes a deal with Mr. Johnston to saw timber, from logs floated down the river, at the sawmill erected at the west end of Pine and Water Streets. At the time the village enjoyed it's greatest proserity. In 1879 Mr.Peter erected a large Steam Grist and Flouring Mill on Water Street next to the railroad track. In 1800 he erected a 2story brick building as a general store containing his business and banking office. In the next 10 years he also built the hotel block that was to be known as Marathon House; a livery barn; opera house; meat market; lumber shed; and in 1884 the woolen mill, all made brick and from his brick yard north of town.
The Planing Mill was built by Alexander Johnston in 1882 at the south end of 1st street. It was a brick structure and employed at one time of about 50 people. From this time on their was a division of Business in village with the old business district on Lapeer Street being called Up Town, and Mr. Peter's area on the west side known as Down Town. The business's were as follows in 1883: 2 - Sawmills / 2- Planing Mills and Sash, Door, Blind manufacturies; one stave; one shingle and heading manufactory; one flouring, and one custom mill, one foundry and one machine shop, one brick yard, four dry goods and general stores, one hardware, two drug stores, one furniture store, two hotels, two wagon shops, one farm store, one bakery, one harness shop, 3 blacksmiths, 3 shoe stores, 3 millnery shops, one fancy goods store, 2 meat markets, one photograph gallery, one barber shop, one printing shop, and one weekly newspaper.
Page 1 of many to come.
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Information gathered from notes of my Grandfather's Family who were residents of Columbiaville as well as Marathon Township. The Johnson /Tibbetts / LeValley/ Betzing Family
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PAGE CREATED BY: Clayton E. Betzing on 2-10-2000 all contents are owned by C.E.Betzing and may not be used without written permission of same.