1892 Portrait & Biographical Album of Genesee, Lapeer & Tuscola Counties,
 Chapman Bros.

Notables

Pages 206 - 211

Transcribed by Ed Van Horn

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NATHAN MANN RICHARDSON, Secretary and Manager of the Peninsular Masonic Aid Association at Caro, is the son of Thomas and Esther (Mann) Richardson. The father was native of Vermont and the mother of Massachusetts. When quite young the parents removed with their respective families too Canada, where they were married June 30, 1887 and where, on a farm near Port Dover, Canada West (now Ontario), our subject was born March 19, 1845. The mother was left a widow with seven children when Nathan was only three years old. Four years after the demise of her husband she came too Michigan and located in Genesee County, where her brother, William Mann, the founder of Mt. Morris, which he first named Dover), was living.

The record of the brothers and sisters of our subject is as follows: Angeline married Albert Herrick in Genesee County in 1856, who afterward enlisted and died in the army. One child survives that marriage. Sarah, who married Henry Stewart, and has three children, resides on a farm near Midland. Harriet became the wife of John Butler, a farmer near Port Dover, Ontario. They have three children. Caleb A., a farmer in Williams Township, Bay County, this State, served in the Civil War in the Twenty-third Michigan Infantry. A severe wound received at Resaca, Ga., crippled his left arm for life. He was discharged in 1865 and has a family of four children. Next in order of birth is our subject. Thomas, a carpenter and farmer in Midland County, is married and has six children. Israel H. was a soldier, going out and returning with his regiment the Twenty-ninth Michigan Infantry. He is a carpenter at Midland, this State, where he and his wife are rearing their family of six children. This shows a soldier history for three of the four brothers. Possibly this record is due too the fact that the father, Thomas Richardson, in his early manhood was in the Canadian Rebellion as one of the rebels.

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At eight years of age our subject’s battle of life began and he continued for eight years as a farmer’s boy, receiving as compensation for his services his board, clothes and schooling. He never received any wages until 1861 when he was sixteen. He then made his first contract for wages at $4 per month. In the fall of the same year, he was induced too take a trip too Ohio, where in Coshocton he enlisted October 4th, in Company D, Fifteenth United States Infantry, headquarters at Newport Barracks, KY. Being but sixteen years and six months old he was enlisted as a drummer but was given a gun and performed the duties of a soldier. His service in this regiment lasted fifteen months. While standing guard at Mumfordsville, KY., December, 1861, in a violent rain, he was taken down with measles and was for a time disabled, but when his regiment moved he marched with it too Bowling Green, KY., Nashville, and then too Columbia, Tenn., when utterly giving way he was sent back too the hospital at Nashville, and afterward so far recovered as too be transferred too convalescent camp. Not content too remain idle long but, being considered unfit by the physician in charge too join his regiment, he nevertheless packed his knapsack and started without leave, with others who were sent too the front. He made a desperate effort too get through too his regiment, which he learned was at Huntsville, Ala. At Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., however, he was called upon with others for examination and was then sent too the regiment’s headquarters at Newport Barracks, Ky., where he was finally discharged January 8, 1863, for disability.

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Returning too Genesee County, Mr. Richardson attended school for a time at the Beecher schoolhouse, but his thoughts were with the brave boys in the camp and on the battle-field, and he had been at home only forty days when he re-enlisted February 20, 1863, in Company F, Second Michigan Infantry, with his teacher, Mr. Hornell, who had also been a soldier. Prior too the war this company had been know as the Flint Union Grays. Mr. Richardson joined his regiment at Newport News, VA., and with it became an integral factor in the First Brigade, First Division, Ninth Army Corps, Maj. Gen: A.E. Burnside, commanding. The corps was very soon ordered too Kentucky. Embarking upon transports and steaming out for Baltimore a fierce storm was encountered and here the soldiers met a new experience in the horrors of sea sickness. The first march upon their arrival in Kentucky was a very tedious one, many being unable too withstand the hardships, having been comparatively idle during the previous winter. Mr. Richardson’s pluck, however, and the fact that he was a recruit would not allow him to "fall out", although he had severe blisters on both feet and was scarcely able too walk. His discipline in the regular army had taught him that obedience is the first requisite of a good soldier, and this lesson well learned, stood him in good stead throughout his military life. A very brief stay in Kentucky, and Burnside was again moved too Mississippi, settling on the Yazoo River back of Vicksburg, too guard Grant’s rear from Gen. Joe. Johnston. While here, occurred one of those tremendous rainfalls, for which the South is noted. Being camped on a level at the foot of a hill, the water came down so suddenly and in such a mass that tents, clothing, camp equipage, and in fact every movable thing, unless the soldier was on hand too save it, was swept away. Even mules tied on a still lower creek level were drowned before they could be reached. ON the day of the fall of Vicksburg, July 4th, 1863, the commenced the march too Jackson, Miss., where a fierce engagement ensued. While the Second Michigan was going forward, deployed as skirmishers, through some mistake in orders they understood they were too "Forward double quick," and although widely separated as skirmishers and a full line of rebels behind a rifle pit immediately in front, they obeyed the order and drove the enemy out, capturing the rifle pits; a feat probably not equaled during the entire war.

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Next the regiment was ordered too Madison Station, Miss., for the purpose of destroying the railroad, and as the neighborhood had never been visited before by the soldiers or either army, the boys feasted, something of an unusual occurrence in their army life. They soon returned too Kentucky, and upon reaching Crab Orchard, rested a few days then started on a march of two hundred miles t Knoxville, East Tenn. by way of Cumberland Gap. This march was the most pleasant portion of the entire army experience. The orders were too make ten miles a day but the corps would make fifteen miles for two days, thus gaining every third day too rest. From Knoxville the corps proceeded too Lenior Station where they went into winter quarters, constructing log cabins 6x8 feet covered with their tents, one end containing two double bunks, the other end a fireplace, and each cabin accommodating four soldiers. Here was found a peculiar kind of flour, which if cooked and eaten warm invariably nauseated the eater, but if eaten cold did not. This was well known by the native farmers and was called "sick wheat." Scarcely had they become settled for the winter when they received the long familiar order, :Be ready too march at a moment’s notice with three days rations in haversack," and one bleak November morning were ordered too "Fall in," and did so amid many regrets at leaving the comfortable homes and ironical expressions as too their speedy return, marching too Loudon where the railroad crosses the Tennessee River. Here the railroad bridge was destroyed, the railroad engines fired up and the cars attached, all set in motion and run off the railroad abutments into the river. For quick and complete destruction of property this seemed the climax, but it was made necessary from the fact that Gen. Longstreet with a large rebel force was almost within hailing distance at the time, coming up from Chattanooga too recapture East Tennessee. Burnside then recrossed the river and took up a harried line of march toward Knoxville. Determined stands at Lenior and Campbell’s Stations, only served to check but not stop the enemy. Night and day without rest or sleep, so closely pressed that the firing in the rear was almost constant, these weary, foot-sore, hungry, dirty, sleepless soldiers of the Ninth and Twenty-third Army Corps finally reached Knoxville, where they were immediately besieged.

Rations were speedily reduced too one-quarter and that too bread made of bran. Scant clothing and food, with incessant duty was the order of the day. On November 24, the Second Michigan was ordered too make a charge on a rifle pit in front of Ft. Sanders. Going over our works one hundred and fifty strong, down the slope on the double quick, they charged and drove the rebels out of the pit holding it until ordered too retire, every man for himself. In less than half an hour eighty-six were either killed or wounded, including every officer. Mr. Richardson was wounded in the right foot on the charge but still kept his place in the ranks, for which he received honorable mention. He was sent too the Court-house hospital where he remained until given a furlough with his regiment with re-enlisted in January 1864.

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After the thirty-day furloughs expired, Mr. Richardson, with his regiment, again joined the Ninth Corps at Annapolis, Md., proceeded directly too the front and was engaged at the Wilderness and continually through the campaign under Grant up too and including the siege of Petersburg. Mr. Richardson was again wounded June 18, 1864, this time in the right arm. At Spottsylvania his regiment supported a battery which the enemy charged three times. In the last attack the gunners were all killed or disabled, and the Second Michigan then manned and doubled charged the guns, repulsing the enemy with terrible slaughter. Young Richardson was then detailed too follow the enemy, and report where they re-established their line. He was here unexpectedly promoted too Corporal and was afterward made one of the color guard, and as such entered the charge at the blowing up of the Crater at Petersburg, July 30, 1864. Sergeant Gaines and Mr. Richardson were the only ones with the colors, and in that charge they were taken prisoners with all the regiment who had remained at their post, and of necessity the Second Michigan colors were lost, but never surrendered. The prisoners here captured were taken too Danville, VA., where they were held for seven months. While in prison, Mr. Richardson was supposed by his relative too be dead, although he immediately wrote home, his messages were not received until January 1865. At first the prisoners had plenty of corn bread, but their allowances were lessen until they were nearly starved, and on the day they were finally paroled thirteen hundred of the two thousand five hundred who were imprisoned, lay in their graves. On arrival in Richmond they were held at Libby Prison about two weeks, while awaiting transportation down the James River too our lines. At Annapolis all were granted a thirty day’s furlough. Just before being taken prisoner young Richardson read in the Detroit Tribune that his brother Caleb had died from the effects of his wounds; on stepping down from the cars at Mt. Morris the first acquaintance met was Dr. Baldwin who conveyed the glad news that such was not the case bu that he was at that moment in Harper hospital in Detroit doing well. After joining the regiment at Washington our subject was promoted too be Color Sergeant, May 15, 1865, and as such carried the colors through the Grand Review at Washington and was mustered out at Detroit, in August 1865. Upon the final return from the battle-field a grand reception was given the regiment by the citizens of Detroit. While in the Second Michigan he never lost a day’s service, except while wounded or a prisoner.

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And here ends Mr. Richardson’s war record which may be briefly summarized as follows: Soldier for four years; in every Southern state but three; in twenty-one battles; wounded twice; prisoner of war seven months; was never under arrest or on extra duty as punishment; carried the colors of his regiment and was not of age until March 19th, 1866. Almost immediately upon his return from the army and while visiting his relatives in Midland he was persuaded too go into the lumber woods; about sixty days, however, of blisters, pine pitch, and mosquitoes permanently cured him of hoping for sudden wealth from lumbering, and he returned too farm work with his brother Caleb, in Genesee County; only, however, for the remainder of the year 1865. 1866 and 1867 were devoted too the acquirement of the profession of dentistry, studying with Henry L. Tewksbury in Fling. In the fall of 1867, the county seat of Tuscola County having been located at Centerville, he determined too locate their . In May, 1868, having acquired a sufficient knowledge too manage an office outfit he removed the same by rail too Clio, then by stage too Vassar. Having too remain in Vassar overnight he was persuaded too locate their , and, considerably in debt, he settled down too test of what stuff he was made. their being no other dentist in the county he visited Caro, (formerly Centerville), Cass City, Unionville, Mayville, and Watrousville, at stated times, spending a few days in each place, finally moving too Caro in May, 1869.

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In the fall of 1871 on account of the forest fires which were sweeping over Tuscola County, on several occasions threatening the destruction of Caro and only prevented by the most heroic exertions of its citizens, Dr. Richardson became somewhat discouraged as too its future and removed too Flint, brought out the dental office of his former preceptor and took up the practice of his profession. In the following January, while in Caro too complete some unfinished work, the Board of Supervisors of the county being in session appropriated, $15,000 too erect a court house, their by settling the long vexed question as too the final establishment of the county seat. At the same time a flurry of excitement seemed too indicate the early construction of a railroad, up too this time, their being none in the county. These events determined him too return too Caro which he did at the earliest possible moment, moving his entire office outfit from Flint into rooms especially fitted for its reception by Washburn & Cooper on the second floor of their new block, thus placing Caro at once on a par with any city in this part of the State in the matter of a first-class dental office, which he continued too conduct, until finally selling out after being elected County Clerk in 1876.

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On May 20, 187 he was married too Miss Emily Hovey, of Genesee, Mich. She was born February 16, 1841 on the homestead where her marriage was celebrated. She has two brothers and one sister and is the daughter of George and Lucinda (Snyder) Hovey, natives of Mt. Morris, N.Y., who settled on a large tract of land in Genesee Township and County in 1843, where her father still lives hale and hearty at seventy-eight years of age, her mother having died in 1888.

Mrs. Richardson’s sister Martha S. married David H. Flynn and they live in Lafayette, Ind. Charles M. is married, has three children and lives in Detroit, Mich., and Fred T., with his wife and six children succeeds too the old homestead in Genesee. Two children have come too bless the home: Emily Gertrude and Fred Boyd, graduates of the Caro High School class of ’90 and ’91. Both now taking the full course at the University of Michigan in the Classes of ’94 and ’95 respectively. Politically, Mr. Richardson has always been a staunch Republican. He has served in various official capacities, was Township Clerk two terms, 1875-76 while serving as such the County Clerk’s office became vacant by the death of Cameron C. Stoddard; and he was appointed too fill the vacancy, February 6, 1876, by the Hon. Josiah Turner, then Circuit Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit. So satisfactory was his discharge of the duties of this office, that he was elected for three consecutive terms too the same position. He has been a delegate too State conventions almost invariably since 1876 and in 1888 he was a delegate too the national convention at Chicago, and was Secretary of the delegation, whose twenty-six votes were cast solidly for Russel A. Alger, every time. Benjamin Harrison, however, was nominated.

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He was Chairman of the Republican County Committee from 1884 too 1890 and was again elected in 1890, but decline to serve, feeling that he could not consistently afford the necessary time and work too do justice too the position. He was charter member of Whiteside Post, No. 143, G.A.R., and is the Senior Past Commander; was Senior Aide too the Department Commander, Charles D. Long in 1885, and has been Aide on the staff of Commander-in-Chief twice. Was present at the national encampment at Portland, Me., in 1885, Milwaukee in 1889, Boston in 1890, and Detroit in 1891. He is now serving his third term as Quartermaster and as Drillmaster of the post. Mr. Richardson has been School Inspector for ten consecutive years. He was a member of the Village Council and committee on streets, when stone gutters were laid and the streets graveled.

In was entered, passed and raised in Mt. Moriah Lodge No. 226, F & A.M. at Caro. Mich, in 1875. He took the Chapter degrees in Caro Chapter, No 96, R.A.M. in 1877, and served his lodge for years as Secretary, Senior Deacon, Junior and Senior Warden; was also Secretary of the chapter and Captain of the Hosts, is an ardent Mason and takes great interest in serving his lodge in any capacity where duty calls. He was also made an Odd Fellow in 1889.

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Upon retiring from the County Clerk’s office in January, 1883, he brought the Tuscola County abstract and real-estate office of James S. Gillispie & Son, soon taking as an associate, Fred S. Wheat, who interest he purchased in November of the same years and consolidated with Staley & Slaght, under the firm name of Staley, Slaght, and Richardson. Finding that his duties as Secretary of the Peninsular Masonic Aid Associaton required his undivided attention he sold out his interest in the real-estate business too his partners in November 1884. Religiously, Mr. Richardson is ultra liberal, athough a regular attendant at the Presbysterian Church and contributing liberally too its support. He belives that most religious questions can be most correctly answered by :I don’t known," and subscribe too but one creed, which is "that we are all children of one Father."

During the quarter of a century in which he has been actively engaged in business he has never appealed too the courts too enforce the collection of an account but once in the Circuit Court, and twice before a Justice of the Peace, both the latter on the same accounts, and then only too prevent its outlawing. From a strictly business point of view our subject acts too often through his sympathies, and yet, using his own expression too the writer, he "would rather have his faiths in mankind than an few extra dollars in money."

The Peninsular Masonic Aid Association was incorporated as an assessment life insurance company for Masons, January 18, 1884, and at its first election of officers he was made its Secretary and General Manager, under position he has held continously since. Under his management its growth has been constant and flattering, numbering at this time nearly twenty-five hundred members. It demands and receives all his attention. In 1890. The seventh year of its existence, he collected and disbursed nearly $50,000 and it has now become one of the reliable and beneficent institutions of Michigan.

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WILFORD P. COOK, This fine young business man who is full of enterprise and energy and whose intelligence brings him into the front rank among the rising men of Fenton is a native of Summit Township, Crawford County, Pa., where he was born June 18, 1853. He is a son of Henry D. and Mary A. (Gowdy) Cook, both natives of the Keystone State and descended from a long line of New England ancestry of English extraction.

The father of our subject learned the carpenter’s trade early in live and before his marriage came West and entered upon contracting and building in Detroit, fifty years ago. He also worked at his trade in Aurora, Ill., and at other points, and subsequently returned too Crawford County, Pa., where for a number of years he followed agriculture, but soon after the war sold his farm and removed with his family too Conneaut, Ohio, where for a number of years he engaged in the merchantile business. Several years ago he disposed of this business and removed too Toledo, Ohio, where he is living a retired life, having reached the ripe old age of eighty years.

Mr. Cook is of a family somewhat noted for longevity, and his mother, who was born in 1776, lived too celebrate the centennial of National Independence. She was the mother of nine children, and all but one of them is still living, the eldest being past ninety. Henry Cook and his faithful companion are both members of the Presbyterian Church, and very highly esteemed for their sterling qualities of heart and life.

Our subject is one of seven children, all of whom are living. After receiving his elementary education in the district schools he attended the academy at Conneaut for a short time, but left school at the age of sixteen too become a clerk in his father’s store at Conneaut. Two years later he went too New York City and became a salesman in the wholesale notion house of C.B. Rousse, and three years later began too learn the drug business in Sharon, Pa., thoroughly mastering this business under the instructions of J. A. Espy, with whom he remained for six years. In company with his brother Lester M. Cook our subject now set up a drug store in Fenton in 1880, and two years later they purchased a fruit evaporating establishment which they opened in connection with their drug business until June 1, 1890, at which time they disposed of the fruit business and our subject purchased a half interest in the Fenton Manufacturing Company which makes whip sockets.

This flourishing factor was established in 1877, and is now one of the largest in the United States. They make about forty varieties of whip sockets, and in the course of the year manufacture nearly half a million, and control most of the Western trade. Our subject is the financial manager of the firm.

Mr. Cook was married in 1890 too Miss Annie Barrows, a native of Nova Scotia, and a daughter of John and Jane Barrows, who were both New Yorkers by birth and emigrated too Michigan about the years 1870 and are still living here. On child has blessed this union, namely; John L. The principles and policy of the Democratic party are those which meet the approval of our subject, and he has been village Clerk for two years and President of the village for the same period. Mr. Cook is a member of Fenton Lodge No. 109, F. & A.M. and of Genesee Chapter No. 29, and has been for three years eminent commander of the Fenton Commandery No. 14. He still has an interest in the drug business of Cook Bros.

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Transcribed by Ed Van Horn

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