Ellington Biographies

Transcribed by Lila Arroyo. Extracted from, "The History of Tuscola, MI," H. R. Page and Co., Chicago, 1883.


JAMES ANDREWS, farmer, was born in Burton, Geauga County, Ohio, July 14, 1827. He left his native State when about twenty-two years of age, and resided nearly five years in Wyocena, Wisconsin. From there he came to Juniata, Michigan, then called Rogers, and from there he went to Indian Fields and while there he scorehacked the large timbers for the saw and grist-mills in Wahjamega, and then removed to Ellington in 1853. He had been married to Miss Eliza Stone, of Claridon, Ohio, Dec. 5, 1847. She was born there Sept. 3, 1832. They had five children, Mary E., (now deceased), Charlie, Cornelia E., James H. and Frank E. Mrs. E. Andrews died Dec. 24, 1876. Mr. A.ís second marriage was to Mrs. Alice E. Russell, of Newburg, Ohio, May 9, 1878. They have one daughter, Mary Alice. They have now over 130 acres of land in Almer and Ellington, with 105 under cultivation. They have a fine fruit-bearing orchard of apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and small fruits, and an excellent dwelling and other farm buildings, where, a few years since, the forest seemed to bid defiance to the purposes and courage of coming pioneers. He himself has chopped and cleared over 150 acres of land, doing very much of the work while barefoot. On Aug. 9, 1862, he enlisted in the Twenty-third Michigan Infantry, Company D, and served his country in the late civil war until honorable discharged, Feb. 19, 1863, because of disability from sickness. Some years ago he and one son fitted, logged, plowed, fenced and sowed twenty-six acres of fallow in one season, besides doing their other work on the place. He had to prepare a good deal of the track from Indian Fields toward his home, and the last four miles had all to be under brushed and opened. The nearest hut was over four miles away. He was then farther up the river than any other settler. Several years ago he went with a Mr. Kesler, over eighty-two years of age, to show him some lands at or near the forks of Cass River. Mr. K. located the lands and afterward the place was derisively names "Moonshine." The county seat was located there and a log court-house was built, but an injunction was served against the removal of the county records to "Moonshine" and the county seat was changed to Caro. He has not been a hunter, but he one day in the woods found a large bear and two cubs, and with no weapon but a pocket-knife he rushed within armsí length of the three bears. The two cubs he frightened up trees, but while watching the one the other escaped. Soon, a neighbor, hearing him shout, came and watched while Mr. A. got a long cord from his house, and, ascending the tree nearly eighty feet with the cord and a forked stick, he caught Bruin in a noose of the cord, choked him from the tree, and then went and adjusted the cord on his neck, getting bitten through his hands in the act; after which he led him home to be tamed, but getting a pair of new pants torn off himself one day by Cuffie, he sold him shortly after to a Jew for another pair of pants. Mr. Andrews has served as highway commissioner nine years, township clerk one year and township treasurer three years, and is now in his twelfth year of service as justice of the peace.

WILLIAM C. BEACH,  Mrs. Gageís former husband, was born in Troy, Mich., January 19, 1823, and came with his family to what is now Ellington in the fall of 1855, and engaged in preparing them a home in the forest, and also in furnishing the early settlers and the Indians with goods and supplies. He also dealt in lands. He enlisted in the service of his country in August, 1861, and served until the retreat from Richmond. In October, 1862, he died in the hospital at Washington, and his remains were brought to Highland, Oakland County, Mich., and interred in the family cemetery.

JAMES BROOKER, farmer, was born in Canada, March 26, 1832. He received his education in his native country, spent five years in mercantile business and two years in a law office, and built sixteen miles of the Grand Trunk Railway. Later he spent two years in New York City in hardware business, and still later about five years in Iowa, dealing in horses for transportation West. He also assisted in locating the line of road for the Pony Express from Iowa City to California. At this time he was called to Canada by the death of his father, James Brooker, Sr. On April 9, 1859, he was married to Miss Lois Thompson of Escott, Canada. She was born in Young, Canada, June 1, 1841. They have seven children, Nina J., Addie E., James D., Alphena Z., Lottie, Lois M. and Myrtle May.

Mr. B., settled in Ellington, Michigan, Nov. 10, 1864. He now has 521 acres of land, 185 of which are improved, with a thriving orchard of apples, plums, peaches, pears, cherries and small fruits, and also with farm buildings and other home comforts. He has served as school director ten years, health officer three years and justice of the peace sixteen years, and is now serving in his sixth term as township supervisor.

EDWARD J. CARPENTER, farmer and lumberman, was born in St. Lawrence County, N.Y., December 15, 1832. He left his native State when about nineteen years of age, and spent some two years as an overseer of men in the building of the Great Western Railway. He afterward took part in building the Utica & Black River Railroad, and later was a conductor on that road. On December 10, 1855, he was married to Miss Mahala Denslow, of Boonville, N. Y. She was born there January 28, 1838. They have had five children, Lester J., Fred E., Albert D. (now deceased), Edward J., Jr., and Jennie Mahala. Immediately after marriage Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter stated for the West, and located on the Elkhorn River. The summer of 1859 Mr. Carpenter spent in traversing the Rocky Mountains, and that fall they returned to their native place. They next came to Ellington, Mich., July 3, 1862, and settled in section 19, where they now reside. Mr. Carpenter has 213 acres of land, about 160 of which are under cultivation. He had two thriving orchards of the best varieties of apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, grapes and small fruits, besides numerous other enticing home comforts and luxuries. Mr. Carpenter has spent most of his winters in lumbering, and with good success. He has frequently found it a more pleasant employment than farming. He has conducted his lumbering business mostly without a partner, yet the enterprise has reached at least ten million feet. Mr. Carpenter has been township clerk two years, and two years supervisor.

JOHN DEITZ, farmer, was born in Germany, December 11, 1838. He came with his parents to America when about eight years of age. On the voyage they encountered a dreadful storm, which so damaged the ship that it drifted to the Azores Islands, where they obtained repairs, and then made the rest of the trip. He came to Michigan in the fall of 1856, and worked for a time in lumber camps and at farm work. On October 23, 1861, he enlisted in the Second Michigan Infantry, Company F, and served until discharged, January 5, 1863, for disability from epilepsy, caused by a gunshot wound in the head, received at the battle of Fair Oaks, May 3, 1862. He had previously fought in the siege of Yorktown, at the battle of Williamsburg, and in other encounters. He suffered much from the wound for about eight years, and received a pension during this time, but his disability ceased, and he voluntarily reported the fact and gave up his pension: and received compliment as being the first soldier who have been known so to do since the war. He settled in section 17, in Ellington in the spring of 1866. He was married to Miss Malvina Mallory, of Ellington, May 12, 1867. She died April 24, 1868. She left one son, Daymond S.,  Mr. Dietz was married May 1, 1869, to Miss Elizabeth Mallory, who died August 21, 1877, leaving three children, James B., Lucy E., and John H. His third marriage was to Miss Mary L. Davis, of Caro, February 1880. She was born in York, Mich., August 7, 1849. They have 21 acres of land, about seventy of which are under cultivation. They have also a thriving orchard of the best varieties of fruit, and he is about to erect a new dwelling to perfect their home comforts. He has been school moderator, highway commissioner and justice of the peace, and is now serving as treasurer of his township. The funeral of Mrs. E. Dietz was conducted by Hon. Judge Wilder, of Watrousville, and was the first spiritual funeral ever held in Ellington.

JOSEPH M. DODGE, farmer and lumberman, was born in Essex County, N. Y, January 27, 1828. He went with his parents to Ohio when eight years of age. He received his education and early culture there, and spent part of his time in agricultural work. He came to Tuscola County in August, 1854. He bought land in Tuscola, and at once cleared some on it and built a dwelling, but soon sold it and bought in what is now Ellington. He had been married July 4, 1848, to Miss Arvilla M. Stone, of Claridon, Ohio. She was born there November 2, 1829. They have one son, Henry A., born January 15, 1850. Mr. Dodge and his son have 400 acres of land, 150 of which are under cultivation. They also have excellent buildings and inviting home comforts. They have also spent some time in hunting during parts of the season. Mr. D. has killed 218 deer, two bears, and one elk. His son has killed at least 250 deer. Thirty-six of them he killed in the last season in twenty days. He killed five in one day. They came to Ellington in March, 1855. William Medcalf, S. Botsford, Rev. I. J. B. McKenney and E. R. Burnett came the same winter. William C. Beach came a little later. Jonathon White and his two sons had come the season before. These were all the settlers there were for two years. Mr. Beach when he came began clearing lands, and also started a general store. He was so kind and liberal and obliging among his fellow settlers that he rendered more help to the early settlers than any other man in Tuscola County. The site of Caro at this time had not even been lumbered. The only road the settlers had was a lumber road from Tuscola to the forks of the Cass River. Mr. Dodge has carried fifty pounds of flour on his back from Watrousville, seventeen miles, to his home. The Vassar saw-mill was running when they came, but the stones for flouring wheat had not yet been put in the grist-mill. Mr. and Mrs. Dodge baked and ate biscuits from part of the first bushel of flour ground in Tuscola County. It was ground on Sunday and eaten at breakfast on Monday, and was nearly as black as a stove. The nearest post office they had at first settling in Ellington was Watrousville. The neighbors took turns in going for the mail up to 1862. Soon after this they got the Ellington post office. Mr. D. has served as highway commissioner one term and four years as justice of the peace, and he has been nine years supervisor.

SAMUEL ELLIOTT, farmer, was born in Young, Canada, June 12, 1835. He was reared and educated there, and his early manhood was spent in farming, mercantile work, and other industrial pursuits. He was married to Miss Mercy Wickware, of Young, October 21, 1863. She was born there May 9, 1838. Their children are Sherman L. and Charles Frank. They came to Ellington December 18, 1869, and bought land in section 9, where they now reside. He has forty acres of land all under cultivation, with a fruit-bearing orchard of apples, plums, cherries, peaches, pears and small fruits, and comfortable buildings. He has served as justice of the peace one term and as deputy town clerk one year, and is serving his fourth term as clerk of the township.

GEORGE S. GAGE,  farmer, was born in Canada June 10, 1838. He came to Tuscola County, Mich., in May, 1859. He bought some lands and located some in Ellington and Elmwood, and at once engaged in clearing the shaded acres of the new forest possessions. On August 14, 1862, he enlisted in the Twenty-third Michigan Infantry, Company D, and served his country in the suppression of the late rebellion. He served in General Schofieldís command in the western army, commanded by General Sherman. He fought in the battles of Resaca and Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia, and all along the line of conflict in that State. As they were nearing Atlanta there came an order for the transfer of a large number of men from the army to the navy. Mr. Gage was transferred, and remained in the naval service until the close of the war. Being then mate on his vessel he remained with her until August, 1865, an did not receive his final discharge until October, 1865. The vessel on which he thus served as mate was an ironclad, the Benton, a flagship of the squadron, commanded by Rear Admiral Porter. She carried sixteen 100 pound guns. She had run the blockade at Vicksburg before Mr. Gage went on board of her. Mr. Gage was married to Mrs. Dorothy A. Beach, of Caro, October 15, 1866. She had then four children, William E., Mike C., Sylvia A. and Joan Beach. Mr. Gage has 206 acres of land, with 160 under cultivation. He has a thriving fruit-bearing orchard of excellent varieties of fruit, an elegant dwelling and commodious farm buildings. Their religious preference is the Universalist Church.

JAMES P. HENDRICKS,  was born in Madison, Lake County, Ohio, in 1838, and lived in that State, with the exception of a few years spent on the lakes, till 1864, when he came to Michigan and bought forty acres of new land on section 2, in the township of Ellington, Tuscola County, which he cleared up and improved and upon which he has since resided. He has held the offices of school inspector and highway commissioner about four terms each. He was married in 1860 to Miss Sarah M. Bugbee, of Ashtabula, Ohio. They have four sons, Edward H., Egbert S., Adelbert F., and Franklin J. His father (Joel T. Hendricks) was a native of Vermont, but settled in Ohio at an early day, and at present is a resident of the township of Ellington. Mr. Hendricks has, for the past eight years, been engaged in the sale of agricultural implements, and is doing quite an extensive business in that line.

REV. INMAN J. B. MCKENNEY, was born in Scipio, N. Y., December 2, 1803. He experienced religion when only thirteen years of age, and began itinerant labor as an Episcopal Methodist preacher in his twenty-fifth year. He was an effective minister in the Genesee and East Genesee conferences twenty-five years. In 1854 he became superannuated and came to Tuscola County, Mich., arriving in Tuscola in October. On November 25, 1854, they settled in section 4, in what is now Ellington. There were then no settlers nearer them than two miles. They had then no road except a lumber trail along the Cass River. When he arrived at his place he at once commenced hewing out a home among the lofty trees of the forest around him. Their nearest post office then was Vassar. They brought in their provisions mostly from East Saginaw, which was then just becoming a village. Mr. McKenney soon raised the banner of the cross in the new country, and preached the first sermon ever preached in Ellington. He continued his pioneer farm labors until he had nearly ninety acres under cultivation, with good buildings, an excellent fruit-bearing orchard, and inviting home comforts. He had been married to Mrs. Paulina Leach, of Canisteo, N. Y., October 22, 1849. She was born in Howard, N. Y., January 22, 1810. They have two children, Edward and Paulina. Mr. McKenney died of congestion of the lungs November 15, 1880, after suffering severely for six weeks. His death was a scene of resignation and Christian triumph. His last words were: "It is gain for a good man to die." He remained a member of the conference till the time of his death. Mrs. McKenney, also, has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church fifty-six years. Her son and daughter are also both members of the same church. They all still occupy the home farm, making such improvements as they can from time to time. They have at present 200 acres of land, and the improvement now is 120 acres.

HIRAM R. PERRY, farmer, was born in Steuben County, N. Y., May 22, 1834. He was reared and educated in his native State, and spent his time partly in teaching and partly in farming. He was married December 29, 1859, to Miss Phoebe A. Leach, also of Steuben County. She was born there September 26, 1833. Their children are Hattie M., Charles B., Thomas H., Loyd Albert and Dorr; also Paulina, who is now deceased. Mr. Perry came to Ellington in March, 1868, and purchased 120 acres of land in section 5, where they now reside. They now have about eighty-five acres improved, and a fruit bearing orchard of apples, cherries, plums, peaches, pears and mulberries. They have good buildings, and increasing home comforts. In fraternity that are Patrons of Husbandry. Mr. Perry has served as highway commissioner and township superintendent of schools, and has been three years supervisor.

ROBERT T. SMITH, gang-saw filer, was born in England, July 8, 1829. He came with his parents to Canada when three years of age. Some years later he sailed, spending three years in American employ. For three years or more he resided in York State, but on September 23, 1863, he came to East Saginaw, from Canada. He had been married December 31, 1850, to Miss Rose Ann Fowler, of Ogdensburg, N. Y. She was born there June 19, 1830. They have had seven children, Mary E., now Mrs. Henry Bigelow, Amelia E., Lois S., afterward Mrs. George Medcalf, (deceased April 8, 1882), R. Fowler, and Carrie Jane, afterward Mrs. Robert J. Hutchinson, deceased December 28, 1880. Two of the children died in early infancy. Before coming to East Saginaw they had lost their property by fire, and when they paid their freight and some other expenses after their arrival, they had only seventy-five cents left; and they had then a family of five children to support. Mr. Smith, however, engaged at once in working in Jesse Hoytís little saw-mill at $1.50 per day. A little later he was allowed $3.50 per day, and later still for filing he has received $4.50 per day; He served in the employ of Mr. Hoyt over eight years. He has filed in all some thirteen years. Mrs. Smith in the meantime had engaged in needle work and other industries, and finally in keeping boarders, and continued in that enterprise five summers. Though the labor was severe and often the task a heavy one, she, with the blessing of God, has had excellent success, and has cleared on an average some $800 each season by that means alone. With the funds thus variously secured, they in 1867 bought eight acres of land in section 6 in Ellington, where they now reside. They have over forty acres under cultivation. They have also a thriving orchard, and an excellent house which Mrs. Smith has built and furnished with her own savings; and their home is thus rendered a most inviting situation. Religiously Mrs. Smith is an Episcopal Methodist. Fraternally they are Patrons of Husbandry. Their son, R. F. Smith, conducts the farm with gratifying success. Last season he had 385 bushels of wheat on eleven acres of ground.

Contributed by Lila Arroyo.

December 2000

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