Early Events In Akron
It is supposed that the first settler in the township that was formerly Geneva, was Peter Graverott, a Frenchman, who had a squaw for a wife. He had formerly been an Indian trader in the Saginaw Valley. They had a large family of children, some of whom are still living where they first settled, on the shore of Saginaw Bay. In 1858 Gottlieb Layer, his mother, brothers and sisters, settled there. Then come Daniel Marvin and Hugh Willson.
The first town meeting in Geneva was held April 2, 1860, at the house of Gottlieb Layer. Sixty dollars was voted to be raised for township expenses.
The following officers were elected: Supervisor, Lucius Marvin; clerk, Lemuel S. Stone; treasurer, Warren B. Fuller; justices of the peace, Hugh Willson, Benjamin, Gardner, Daniel Marvin, Ephraim Briggs; highway commissioners, Daniel S. Marvin, Gottlieb Layer, Charles Anthony; constables, Warren B. Fuller, Charles Anthony, Samuel D. Everett, Jacob Layer; school inspectors, Lucius S. Marvin, Lemuel S. Stone; overseers of the poor, Daniel Marvin, Benjamin Gardner; overseers of highway, Hugh Willson, Daniel S. Marvin.
Speaking of the early days of the town Hugh Willson, who came into Geneva in October, 1854, says, that where there are now waving fields of grain he has waded through the water up to his knees. Nothing can show the rapid redemption of the low lands more than this.
The first settler in the original town of Akron was undoubtedly Martin W. Cramer, an Indian half-breed. His entry, which was in the northeast quarter of section 1, was made November 10, 1852. He, however, sold his place to Samuel B. Covey, shortly after the latter came to the town. Following him came Edward Van Demark, in July, 1854. The Coveys, L. Hover, Richard Clark, the Waldos, C.P. Abbott, Charles Beach.
The first services of the Christian religion were in 1856. A funeral service was held by Elder Santee, at the house of Francis Hover, and Elder Klump held services at the house of Robert Kile. At the latter the three families who composed the congregation, filled the house. This latter service was in December, 1856. In the following winter a protracted meeting was held and a class of the Methodist Episcopal Church formed.
At the first town meeting in Akron which was held at the time and place designated, Edward Van Demark was chosen moderator and Lucius H. Waldo, clerk; C.H. Beach and James P. Demarest, inspectors. Alvin Waldo was chosen overseer of highways. Fifty dollars was voted for contingent expenses. The whole number of votes cast was twenty. The following were elected, viz.: Supervisor, Edward Van Demark, receiving twenty votes; treasurer, C. P. Abbott, receiving twenty votes; clerk, L.H. Waldo, receiving twenty votes; school inspector for one year, J. Covey, receiving seventeen votes, three being for S. Merrill; inspector for two year, James P. Demarest, receiving twenty votes; overseers of the poor, S. Merrill, receiving seventeen votes, and T.F. Nicholson, receiving nineteen; commissioners of highways, John Nicholson, C. Brown, and Charles H. Beach, each receiving twenty votes. Ransom Briggs and T. F. Nicholson were elected constables, the former receiving eighteen and the latter twenty votes. Archibald Black, James P. Demarest, Cornelius P. Abbott, and Richard Clark were elected justices of the peace.
The number of farms in Akron in 1881 was 202; acres of improved land, 4,475. There were raised in 1880, 19,422 bushels of wheat, 31, 575 bushels of corn, 861 tons of hay.
According to the report of the school inspector for the year ending September 4, 1882, there were six whole and four fractional school districts in Akron. Names of directors for the ensuing year: George W. Smith, Samuel Bell, Delos Mead, Myros H. Vaughn, John McLaren, H. King, Arnold McCoy, D. W. Leonard, Alfred Petit, Josiah Bell. Number of school children in the town, 578; number that attended school during the year, 455. There are in the town ten frame and one log school-houses.
Extracted from History of Tuscola and Bay Counties, Mich., H.R. Page and Co., Chicago, 1883, pages 128 & 129.
Submitted July 2000 by Sherrye Luther Woodworth.