The History of Genesee County, MI
Chapter V
Flint Township

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Clayton

 

FLINT TOWNSHIP.

Much that is of interest to the early settlement of the township has been given in the history of Flint, with which the township is very closely allied. The earliest land entries were made in 1833, by Nathan M. Miles, Levi Gilkey and Nathaniel Nelson. Most of the lands of the county were taken up in the year 1836 and scarcely an acre was left in the hands of the government after that year. To the families of Elijah Carmen and Jesse Torrey belongs the honor of first breaking the forests of the township. Mr. Carmen, who was slightly earlier than Mr. Torrey, settled in 1835 on section 25. He died there in 1840. Mr. Torrey settled in 1836 on section 24, with his wife, daughter and four sons, and their neighborhood became known as the Torrey settlement. At this settlement were cut the first logs ever floated down the Flint river, about one thousand, for which a compensation of fifty cents a log was received.

Other early neighborhood settlements in the township were the Dye, Ultey, Cronk, Standard, Carter and Crocker settlements, all originally founded by the gentlemen whose names they bear, who were leading spirits in these locations. One of the earliest of these was the Stanard settlement, on section 35, founded in q1836 by William N. Stanard and sons, of Genesee county, New York. The Cronk settlement, originally on sections 7 and 8 was founded by James W. Cronk in 1837. The Dye settlement was founded by Reuben dye, who located on 1843 on section 20; his sons established themselves around him and populated the settlement--hence the name.

 

Among other leading settlers of the township in the earliest period were:

Lysander Phillips

Daniel O'Sullivan

Andrew Hyslop

George Crocker

Jeremiah Kelsey

Dewitt C. Curtis

Capt. Benjamin Boomer

Horace Bristol

Marvin B. Persons

William Van Slyke

Philip Beltsworth

J. D. Eggleston

John Thorne

Jabez Blackinton

F. A. Begole

Anson Gilbert

Edward Tipper

A. Herrick

Robert P. Aitkin

Morgan Chapman

Alfred Gifford

Cornelius Lane

Thomas Daly

Stephen Crock

Robert Dullam

and others

.

 

The first school house in the township was built in 1838, on the bank of Swartz Creek, on the corner of section 23. The teacher who disciplined the youth of this early period was Miss. Louis Kimball, who afterwards became Mrs. Joseph Freeman and, later, Mrs. Horace Bristol. The second teacher was Miss Jane Watkins, whose brief career there was terminated by the burning of the log school house. Thereupon Mrs. Alonzo Torrey opened her own house for the school and for three months the pupils were taught by her, while a frame building of more extended proportions was bring constructed. The new building was opposite the old site on section 24.

It was in this building that the early religious services of the township were held. Previous to this, however, in 1836, Rev. James McAlester, of the Methodist denomination, formed a class and held service at the house of Alonzo Torrey. The class embraced members of the Torrey, Kelsey, and Bristol families. The first circuit preacher who ministered to the spiritual wants of the little flock was Rev. Luther D. Whitney, who held services there during the years 1838 and 1839.

We are happy to say that the aid of Ernest Neff, clerk of Flint township, the early records of the township have been found and their valuable contents are not accessible to the historian. These records consist of various books: Book of Road Records; Book of Estrays and Marks; Record of the School Inspectors; Record of Town Libraries; Minutes of Surveys of Roads of Town of Flint. These books probably contain the earliest records in the county, except the records of the town of Grand Blanc, which are earlier by two or three years.

 

Among the curios of these records are the records of marks, by which each owner of stock identified his prperty, and which suggest the time before fences were in order among the settlers. The first entry was made on the 4th day of April, 1836, as follows:

Lyman Stow

A slit in the right ear.

April 4, 1836

Alanson Dickinson

A square crop of the left ear

April 8, 1836

Ezekiel R. Ewing

A swallow tail in the end of the right ear

May 2, 1836

Lewis Buckingham

A hole in the right ear, square left.

August 25, 1836

John Patton

A square crop off the right ear

October 11, 1836

Grover Vinton

A half crop off the under side of the right ear and a half crop off the under side of the left ear

October 10, 1836

Sherman Stanley

A crop off the right ear and half penny under the left

January 25, 1837

Ephraim S. Walker

A crop off the left ear and a slit in the right

April 12, 1837

Asa Torrey

A crop and a slit off the right ear

April 17, 1837

James W. Cronk

A swallow tail in the end of the left ear

April 20, 1837

Jeremiah Kelley

A slit in the left ear

May 5, 1837

John P. Kelley

A slit in the end of both ears

June 2, 1837

Alonzo Torry

A hole in the right ear

June 12, 1837

Lysander Phillips

A crop off the right ear and a slit in the left.

July 1, 1837

Jessee Torrey

A crop and a slit off the left ear (An interdelineation says "Deceased 1865.)

July 6, 1837

Rufus W. Stevens

A crop and a half crop of the right ear

July 8, 1837

Philo Fairchild

A half crop of the underside of the right ear

January 14, 1839

Plinny A. Skinner

A swallow tail in the left ear and a slit in the right

May 22, 1839

Eben Storer

A slit in the end of the right ear and a slit on the under side of the same

October 26, 1839

Shubal Atherton

A square crop off the left ear

April 17, 1840

Adonijah Atherton

A swallow tail in the end of the left ear

April 17, 1840

Perus Atherton

A hole thought the left ear

May 2, 1840

James Ingalls

A square crop off the left ear and a happenny under the right

January 22, 1842

Nathan J. Rublee

A square crop of the wright ear

Flint, January 29, 1842

Stewart H. Webster

A slit in the point of each ear

Flint, October 27, 1842

 

From this time on the entries of marks are less frequent, as probably the fences were beginning to hold the stock and make the ear-mark record of less utility.

Charles G. Curtis, Asahel Curtis, Asahel Robinson, O. Parker, Lewis Colby, Jesse Whitcomb, George R. Sprague and William Barnhart had entered their respective marks before 1850, and on January 21, 1851, the firm of Hazelton & McFarlan recorded their mark for logs, it being the letter "H.M.T.B." this was the only mark for logs entered.

The first entry of strays was in the month of December, 1839, and is as follows: "Came into the enclosure of the subscriber one yearling heifer on or about the fourth of December, 1839. Said heifer is red, with one white star in her forehead and the end of her tail white; also said heifer is very small in size. Flint Dec. 17, 1839." Another similar finding of estray is entered in December of same year by John P. Kellogg, and thereafter from time to time strays were so reported to those who took them up.

In the middle fifties the stock evidently had become more numerous and many entries are made of strays in 1855 and 1856. Later on they were less proportionally and the last is entered on November 21, 1896.

The record of libraries is a valuable index to the literary tastes of the earliest settlers of the county. From it we have taken some interesting data in "Res Literaria." After the formation of the Ladies' Library Association in 1851, the activity of the school district libraries was not so pronounced. It was, however, kept up for many years more and the high standing of the books bought was maintained to the last. Many of the older people of the county can remember of school libraries and the educational work they did among the hungry minds of he patrons. The entries of the old book come down to 1859, among the last entries being a list of books bought in 1858.

The record of school inspectors opens with the records of a meeting of the board of school inspectors held at the town clerk's office, April 11, 1837, at which Ephraim walker was elected chairman. Orrin Stafford, town clerk, signed the minutes of the meeting. At this meeting the inspectors divided the town into ten school districts, number one of which covered the territory of the present city south of the river and number two, that north of the river. the growth of the region rendered it necessary to create three more districts during the year. For the year ending with September, 1838, the report from district number one shows the attendance of pupils bet wen five and seventeen years of age to have been thirty-nine in all; over seventeen, twenty-one; making the total number of scholars, sixty. The term of school was nine months. Most of the districts made no report. The amount of money raised in the first school district was ninety dollars for a school building and four hundred ninety-nine dollars for current school expenses. School district number five had school for six months, and raised seventy dollars for school purposes. School in the sixth district was kept seven months, and one hundred and ninety dollars was raised for expenses. After paying therefrom one hundred dollars for a school house. No other district made a report of any school supported in the districts.

It appears that Lyman Stow, E. S. Walker and J. L. Gage were inspectors of schools for Flint township, and Josiah Alger, W. D. Morton and Dudley Brainerd, of Mundy township, in 1839. In 1839 districts numbers one, three, four and five reported schools, and an attendance in all of the four reporting, one hundred forty-seven pupils. The text books were Kirkham's Grammar, Blake's Philosophy, Webster's spelling book, Hale's United State History, Cobb's Reader, as standards; while in some, the report shows a number of text-books, including Peter parley's Geography, Olney's Grammar, Emerson's Arithmetic, Smith's Arithmetic, Botham's Arithmetic, Adams' Arithmetic, all in the same school.

In 1840 the inspectors of the county, E. Drake and L. Stow, reported district number one as having the same number of pupils as in 1838, namely, sixty; district number two, however, reported thrifty-three, making the number within the territory of the present city of Flint, ninety-three. District number four had twenty-nine pupils; district number five had twenty-five; number six had forty-two, and number eight, thirty-six.

The record shows the reports of 1841, 1842, 1843, 1844, and so on, down to the organization of the city, and then continues until the year 1869. This old volume contains a mass of information as to the early schools of the county, and as such is invaluable.

 

History of Genesee County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions
by Edwin O. Wood, LL.D, President Michigan Historical Commission, 1916

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Deb

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