THE VILLAGE OF WATROUSVILLE
This village is located in sections 9, 10, 15, and 16 of the town of Juniata. In February, 1851, Patrick McGlone settled on section 9 and built a log house. This the necessities of travel compelled him to turn into a tavern, this being on the thoroughfare for lumbermen, settlers and prospectors seeking pine or farming lands. Mr. McGlone was also a woodman and well acquainted with the surrounding country, which fact caused his aid to be constantly sought by seekers after homes in the wilderness.
In October, 1852, came to McGlone's Aaron Watrous with a crew of men to commence lumbering on the Cass River, and made his home with McGlone during the winter. The latter proposed to him to build a mill at that point, to which Mr. Watrous assented, provided sufficient pine could be located to warrant a mill. Returning in June, 1853, with A. B. Weaver and Wright, and finding from Mr. McGlone's report that the necessary pine could be secured, a site was purchased of D. G. Wilder in the northwest quarter of section 15 and the mill built in 1853. In the same year Mr. Watrous built a frame "lean-to" to his log boarding-house and put in a stock of goods. This point thus became established as a center of trade. It was for many years the depot of supply for all the country to the north and northeast. Mr. Watrous put in a run of stone and at once tended to this point the steps of settlers from every direction, bringing, generally, on their backs their small bags of grain. The miller was A. B. Weaver, and never did a miller have a more motley array of grists to grind. The average did not exceed a half bushel, and it was mostly corn. The elevating at first was very primitive, a box beneath receiving the meal which was carried up by hand, for bolting. This, however, was a great improvement on the more primitive coffee-mill method, and was welcomed accordingly.
Not only for his business enterprise is Mr. Watrous remembered, but also for his kindly heart and for the ready aid he gave to many an early settler about whose door the world of privation, hunger and distress was prowling. Many instances are related of his prompt response to the appeal of the struggling pioneer, and many a pack was loaded by him with flour and pork, for which his only payment was a promise of an honest man and the pleasant consciousness of a kindly act.
We find the following paragraph written by E. E. Caster while on a visit to Watrousville in May 1867. He says: "Watrousville is in reality only about eight or ten years old. I remember sleeping in the woods one night, near this place, and listening to the howling of the wolves until nearly daylight, when they ceased their music. Mr. McGlone's log shanty then stood here, a one sentinel in the wilderness. Now there is a very tasty little village here, which contains, by actual count, upward of seventy buildings of various dimensions. One steam saw-mill, which also drives a run of stone for custom work, two hotels, six stores of various sizes and kinds, a good school building, which is used for church purposes also, and three residences especially noticeable for their elegance".
Prior to 1856 the people of Watrousville and vicinity had received their mail by private conveyance from Vassar. Uniting together for that purpose they employed a messenger who came in on foot or on horseback once a week, usually on Saturday or Sunday, and was paid one dollar for the trip. Chauncey Furman was the carrier most of the time.
In 1856 a mail route was established from Vassar to Sebewaing by way of Watrousville, Mr. Furman being contractor, and a post-office was established at the latter place with Aaron Watrous as postmaster. In 1861 B. A. Wood became postmaster. The following persons have held the office since, viz: Henry B. Wilber, R. C. Burtis, Geo. Rogers, B. A. Wood, a second term, John Walton, J. A. Hamilton, and again B. A. Wood, the present incumbent.
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