Early Pioneers, Shiawassee County

EARLY PIONEERS



The information found on this page is about some of the early pioneers to Shiawassee County. Volunteers have shared the research material they have gathered about their own families and others. Anyone may send information to be included here. The only requirements are that the source of the information be included. If you have information that you would like to see included please send it to me. Send me an email to work out the way in which you would like to send it.

 

 

Hosea Baker, Aaron Swain, John Swain and others.

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(THE HISTORY OF SHIAWASSEE & CLINTON COUNTIES) - page 120 - Other settlers who came in the year 1833 were Hosea Baker, his son, Ambrose Baker, and his son-in-law, Aaron Swain, all of whom settled in the same township 6, range 4.
Page 123 - The first township meeting, 23rd of March, 1835, was held at the house of Hosea Baker, who was elected supervisor.
Page 280, Hosea Baker, 1833, section 12, 80 acres, 1833, section 13, 9.98 acres, 1833,1834, section 14, 359.88 acres, 1833, section 23, 80 acres, 1833, section 24, 92.09 acres.
Page 281, Shiawassee Twp, - In August 1833, Hosea Baker and his son, Ambrose Baker, arrived from Bradford Co., PA, having in the previous April come to the county on a prospecting tour, and entered land on section 14, upon which the former settled. He also purchased much land in the township for other parties.
Page 288 - Newburg - Hosea Baker having come to the township in 1833, and purchased the larger portion of the land between Shiawasseetown and Newburg, may be be regarded as the founder of the hamlet of that name.
Section 12 - 80 acres, section 13 - 9.98 acres, section 14 - 93.92 acres, section 23 - 80 acres, section 24 - 92.09 acres. Have copies of land transactions.
(THE PAST AND PRESENT OF SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, MICHIGAN - Page 35) - The first man who entered land in his own name with the intention of tilling the land himself and making his home on it, and who lived, died and was buried on the farm he first located, was Hosea Baker. In April of the year 1833 he and his son, Ambrose Baker, threaded their way with an ox team and wagon through the almost impenetrable forest lying northwest of Pontiac to the Shiawassee river. Mr. Baker had sold his farm in a narrow Pennsylvania valley and brought the proceeds to invest in Michigan's wild lands.
Page 42 - A township meeting was held in 1836, held at the house of Hosea Baker, who was elected supervisor for that year. Pages 111, 112 - Tells about Hosea getting in trouble by shooting an Indian's horse.
Aaron Swain came with Hosea Baker, and his son Ambrose, to Shiawassee Co. MI, section 24, of township 6 north, or range 3 east, in 1833. The first term of the Circuit Court of Shiawassee Co. was held on the 4th day of December, 1837. The sheriff was ordered to appoint four constables to attend during the term, one of whom was Aaron Swain, the under-sheriff.
Property in Shiawassee Co. Newberry, recorded in 1844 from Hosea Baker to Aaron Swain by A. Parsons.
Found Aaron in Federal Census: Michigan Census, Shiawassee Co. (186) and 1840 Shiawassee Co. Have copy of 1870 census in which he is listed.
(HISTORY OF SHIAWASSEE AND CLINTON COUNTIES)
Page 120- The settlements made in Shiawassee Co. in 1834, one of whom was John Swain (in Caledonia).
Page 124- Wolf bounty was paid to John F. Swain, $10.
Page 134- Dr. Patterson had as a guide "that noble man John Swain". Also several prominent members supported Dr. Patterson to settle in Owosso, one of whom was John Swain.
Page 156- Elder Brigham received members into church on 10 Feb 1838, Hannah Morton, John F. Swain and Benjamin Morton. In 1840, Bernard Morton and Wealthy Swain became members. Early meetings were held at the dwelling houses of Deacon Comstock and John F. Swain. John was also elected clerk.
Page 212- J.F. Swain,1834, Section 25, 32.07 acres and Section 36, 40 acres, Caledonia Twp.
Page 212 & 213- The earliest settler within the township of Caledonia was John Swain, who removed from Chenango Co., NY, and located upon 32 acres on Section 25. He entered this land in 1834 and erected a log house upon it probably in the same year. Mr. Swain was for awhile a resident at the Williams trading-post in Shiawassee Twp, and while there did something toward clearing the land and rendering it habitable. He was by occupation a carpenter and joiner, and also filled the sacred office of preacher at a very early date. The first religious services in the township were conducted by him, and the latter years of his life were entirely devoted to the duties of an evangelist. Mrs. Swain's death occurred in 1836. She was buried on the farm, and the funeral services were the earliest held in Caledonia. The first birth in the township occurred in the family of Mr. Swain in the same year. (NOTE; Julia Swain, daughter of Aaron, who was a bother to John, was the first white child born in Shiawassee Twp. From Owosso, Michigan, A to Z, by Helen Harrelson, city historian.) At a later period Mr. Swain purchased a farm in Vernon township, upon which he died, as nearly as can be ascertained about thirty years since.
Vernon Twp.- Page 306- 1843, John F. Swain, Supervisor - 1845, John F. Swain, Treasurer - Page 307- 1844, J. F. Swain, School Inspector.

Page 312- Baptist Church - The church was first organized under Rev. John F. Swain, who was ordained as a licentiate in 1844. He removed from Owosso in 1845, and filled a brief pastorate of six weeks, when his death occurred.
Page 312- Greenwood Cemetery - It has an especial interest from the antiquity of some of the memorial stones which mark the graves. Especially noticeable is that of the earliest settler in Caledonia, John F. Swain, whose life suddenly terminated at the beginning of a career of ministerial labor at Vernon. in the year 1845.
(PAST AND PRESENT OF SHIAWASSEE CO)
Page 37 - The settlements made in the county in 1834 were but few, though entries of land and preparations for permanent occupancy were numerous, among those who came in and made permanent location was John Swain.
Page 125 - Caledonia Township - Mr Swain had for a while lived at the Williams trading post. He was by occupation a carpenter, and also filled the sacred office of preacher at a very early date. The first religious services in the township were conducted by him and the latter years of his life were devoted to the duties of an evangelist. Mrs. Swain's death, in 1836, (his first wife) was the first which occurred in the township.
Page 167 - The Greenwood Cemetery grounds laid out have in time become one of the most beautiful and well kept cemeteries in the state. It has an especial interest from the antiquity of some of the memorial stones that mark the graves, especially notable being that of the earliest settler of Caledonia, Rev. John F. Swain, whose life terminated at the beginning of his ministerial labor at Vernon, in 1845. Historical Society has a collection of all cemeteries that have ever been in Shiawassee Co., and one is the Swain Family Burying Ground and all it says is "This cemetery was located in Caledonia Twp in Section 25. There are no gravestones and the exact location is unknown." Whether John was originally buried there and later moved to Greenwood is unknown. Greenwood Cemetery in Vernon has 'AH 3 Swain, John F., d 15 Apr 1845, 34 y 11 m 9 d".
Page 168 - The Baptist church was organized in 1844, by Rev. John F. Swain.
OWOSSO, MICHIGAN, A to Z Page 470 - John F. Swain was a resident of Owosso at the time of the 1840 Census. He had joined the Owosso Baptist church on February 10, 1838 at Elias Comstock's cabin. On October 19, 1837 John married Wealthea Irons. Elder Benjamin B. Brigham officiated at the wedding. They moved to Vernon where John died. Wealthea married Levi Bronson, age 56, of Vernon on September 8, 1848 when she was 38.

 

WOODHULL TOWNSHIP OF SHIAWASSEE COUNTY MICHIGAN


 

 

As written by Wanda Lyon for the Perry area Diamond Jubilee book-1968

 

 

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John and Josephus Woodhull reached the little log cabin known as Laing's Tavern, probably the first building erected in the village of Laingsburg. It was just a shanty of logs, without floor other than the ground, a hole in the roof serving as a chimney, and stones set in one corner served as a fireplace. They employed a man named Johnson as a guide and started looking for land. After taking description of certain portions of sections 5 and 9, now in the township of Woodhull, the brothers proceeded with haste to Detroit. They found they had been preceded by another man whom had purchased from the guide minutes of the same land. They finally bought him off for twenty dollars, and succeeded in getting the duplicates of their lands.
John Woodhull entered the north east quarter of section 9, Josephus Woodhull entered two hundred and forty acres of section 4, comprising the southeast quarter and the east half of the southwest quarter. They then returned to the new land with two teams well loaded with provisions, and the necessary implements and tools for building a house and making a home there. On the return trip they were accompanied by William Hildreth, a young man in the employ of Josephus Woodhull. While these two came into the township and built a cabin, John Woodhull returned to Nanking County for the rest of the family.
Josephus Woodhull and William Hildreth built the first house in the township of Woodhull. The work was started and the first tree was felled on the 2nd day of December, 1836. The house was built entirely of logs except the door, which was made of the lumber of a dry-goods box brought from the state of New York. The workers spent many cold and stormy nights sleeping under a wagon, until the house was finished.
Between Christmas and New Years, John Woodhull returned, bringing his parents and sister, his wife and three children. The settlement at this time, therefore, consisted of ten persons.
William Hildreth, the employee of Josephus Woodhull, removed to Muskegon after living a number of years in this county. His wife, who came to the township in 1838, died in the fall of that year. Her's was the first death in Woodhull. She was buried on the farm of Josephus Woodhull. At this place one-half acre of land was afterwards set off as a public cemetery.
Josephus Woodhull was a bachelor when he came to Michigan. He married Phoebe Laing, whose parents helped to settle Laingsburg.
In the early spring of 1838, Benjamin Lewitt and Abram Schermerhorn and their families came to Woodhull. Mr. Lewitt purchased all of a fractional section 5, except 40 acres, and employed Mr. Schermerhorn to work for him. To him he sold the east half of the northwest quarter of section 5 soon afterwards. In about 3 years after coming to the township, Mrs. Lewitt died and was buried on the farm. Mr. Lewitt then moved to Laingsburg. Mr. Schermerhorn sold his land to Josephus Woodhull and moved away.
Philander T. Maine, a surveyor, came to the township in 1837 and was married to Miss Viana Woodhull. This was the first marriage in the township. In the fall, several families located across the line in Sciota township. Henry Buel and Oliver B. Westcott was the first town clerk and also the first school teacher in Woodhull. In the spring of 1838, Francis F. Mann, John and Samuel Graham, and Perry Parshall, with their families, arrived.
Patrick Corcoran, with his wife and children, John, Barney, Owen, Bartlett, Henry, Fannie, and Ann, came to Woodhull Township from Ireland in the fall of 1838. He located a large tract of land on sections 32 and 33.
The most serious inconvenience known to the early settlers was the distance they were compelled to travel for their groceries and provisions. If trading to any amount was to be done, a trip was made to Ann Arbor or Detroit, usually occupying from ten to fifteen days, according to the condition of the roads. They were at times almost impassable and frequently the wagon, and sometimes even the oxen, would have to be raised from the mud or sink-holes. A trip to market often involved starting from Woodhull, with two wagons of produce and upon arrival at Williamston, and the toll road, changing to one wagon load the remainder of the journey to Detroit. The other wagon would return home from Williamston. A serious need was a blacksmith shop. The iron implements so necessary in clearing and subduing a new country were constantly broken. Sometimes this called for an eight or ten mile trip, a half a day spent getting these necessary repairs. But in the spring of 1839 Josephus Woodhull purchased a good bellows and kit of tools and opened a blacksmith shop in a little log cabin on his farm.
Several Indian trails crossed the township. The one mostly used by the Indians led east and west through Antrim, Perry, and Woodhull townships to Laingsburg. The first road established in the township passed between sections 9 and 16, and 10 and 15. Another was then established leading also to Laingsburg. The next one led south through the western part of the township. These roads were established in the summer of 1838.
Woodhull was set off from the old township of Shiawassee and erected a separate township by act of the Legislature approved April 2, 1838. In accordance with the terms of this act the first town meeting was held at Peter Laing's house on April 30,1838. Henry Leach was chosen Moderator; Oliver B Westcott, Clerk; Benjamin Lewitt, Assistant Clerk; Josephus and John Woodhull, Walter Laing, and John Graham, inspectors of election. The entire votes cast numbered twenty-two. The voters names follow:

Henry Buell Cornelius Putnam
Joseph Woodhull Perry Parshall
John Woodhull Lewis Shippee
Joseph Hildreth Harris Parshall
John Hill, Jr. Alvin S. McDowell
John Brindle Samuel Graham
William P. Laing Henry Leach
Abraham Schermerhorn Francis F. Mann
John Graham Samuel Millard
Benjamin Lewitt Oliver B. Westcott
Josephus Woodhull Walter Laing
In the fall of 1838 the inhabitants of Woodhull and the neighboring townships of Bath and Victor in Clinton County met at the house of Josephus Woodhull to discuss school business. It was decided to have a bee and build a schoolhouse. Nearly all the settlers attended the bee and a few days later, after much hard work, had completed the log schoolhouse. It was the first schoolhouse built in Woodhull Township, and was taught by Mr. O. B. Westcott. He received ten dollars a month, and attendance was from ten to sixteen pupils.

 

James S. Colby


 

 

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James S. COLBY, a retired farmer of Owosso, Shiawassee County, Mich., was born in Granby Township, Oswego County, N.Y., March 14, 1822. His father, Daniel D. Colby, was a native of New York, and a farmer by occupation, and a son of William Colby, a Revolutionary soldier of Scotch-Irish extraction. The mother of our subject, Elizabeth Singer, was a sister of the notable I. M. Singer, the inventor of the Singer Sewing Machine. She was a daughter of Adam Singer, of Dutch descent, and was born in Rensselaer County, N. Y. Both the father and the mother of our subject remained on the farm in Oswego County, and there spent their declining years. The father was born in 1799, and passed away in 1884. In 1874 he was bereaved of his wife, whose natal year was 1800. They were the parents of eleven children, of whom our subject was the eldest of seven sons and four daughters, eight of whom are still living. They were all born in Oswego County, and two of them are living in Michigan, one in Missouri, and the others in their native Sate. He of whom we write was trained in the practical work of farm life, and attended the district school when he could be spared from the farm. Being the eldest son, he was his father's mainstay, and remained under the parental roof until he had reached his twenty-second year. When he came to Michigan he made his first home at Pinckney, Livingston County, and in 1884 established himself there in the coopering business, and the last year of his residence in Livingston County kept hotel.
Mr. Colby removed to Shiawassee County in 1854, and located on a farm six miles south of Owosso, in the township of Shiawassee Here he devoted himself to raising sheep, and in cultivating the more prominent cereals such as wheat, oats and corn. His farm consisted of three hundred and twenty acres, and he continued upon it until 1881, when he removed from the farm to Owosso. He owns three farms which are operated by tenants. Mr. Colby was married in November, 1843, to Eliza Nelson, who was born in Oswego, N. Y., in 1826. Five children were born to them, namely: Gaylord F., who is now a farmer; Clarence D., who has an extensive farm in Ingham County, this State. Rudolph J., who owns a part of the old farm in this county; Leola L., who resides at home ; and Nellie, the wife of Clarence Edgerton, a farmer living near Grand Rapids. The present Mrs. Colby was a widow, formerly Mrs. Harriet Durgen of Saginaw. Mr. Colby is a stanch Democrat in politics, and has made a grand and successful struggle with the difficulties of life, having begun his career with very limited means. He has now accumulated a handsome property, and has on of the finest brick residences in the city, with all the modern improvements.
George M. COLBY, a prominent and wellknown resident of Woodhulll Township, Shiawassee County, was born in Granby Township, Otsego County, N. Y., July 2, 1831. His father, Daniel D. Colby, a native of New York State, was born in 1799 and his grandfather William, a native of New Hampshire, was born in 1760. He enlisted the Revolutionary War when sixteen years old and served through the whole period of conflict, carrying to his grave a British bullet which he received at the battle of Monmouth. He was a pensioner of the Government until the day of his death. He carried on a farm of some seventy-five acres, was the father of eight sons and three daughter, and added to this number one adopted daughter. In his later years he was an earnest and devoted member of the Methodist Church. His wife died in 1835 and he survived until 1847. The family is of Irish descent and their original ancestor came to this country in Colonial times.
The father of our subject owned the homestead farm but sold it in 1836 and bought a farm in Oswego County, seven miles from Oswego City. In early life he was a Presbyterian and later a Methodist. He was a man of strict integrity and always religiously inclined. His death occurred in 1883 when he was eighty-four years old. Like his father he was a Democrat but after the breaking out of the war he became a Republican. He held the office of Justice of the Peace and was considered a Justice of more than usual ability, frequently trying cases from Oswego City. The wife of Daniel Colby was Elizabeth Singer, a sister of Isaac M. Singer, the inventor of the Singer Sewing machine. She was born in Rensselaer County, N. Y. in 1802. Eight boys and four girls completed the number of her children, all of whom she had the happiness of rearing to mature years.
They were James S., Edwin R., Eleanor M., (Mrs. Mason), Polly A., (Mrs. Place), Elizabeth., (Mrs. Erwin), George M., Archelaus A., John, Lydia E., (Mrs., Dean), William D., Charles C. and Ernest B. She was in early life a Presbyterian and later a Methodist, and was beloved and respected by all who knew her for her sterling Christian character and real goodness of heart. She and her husband had the great happiness of celebrating their golden wedding, December 4, 1869, since which time she has passed away.
Adam Singer, the maternal grandfather of our subject, was of German descent and as far as known was a native of New York State. His father, the ancestor of this family, came to New York from Germany, and was a millwright and carpenter. He used to tell about being behind the redoubts during the Revolutionary War. He built many mills in New York and Ohio and in other States and died in New York in 1856 after completing his four-score years.
Our subject was reared upon the farm and educated in the district school, and although he worked out some before reaching his majority he really began life for himself at that time. He came to Michigan in 1853, journeying by boat to Niagara then took cars to Buffalo, boat to Detroit and cars again to Dexter. He made his first home at Pinckney, where he had a brother living, but after a year and a half there he came to Shiawassee County. He was married July 31, 1855 to Rachael VanRiper, who was born in Lodi Township, Washtenaw County, February 18, 1835.
The parents of Mrs. Colby were Andrew J. and Catherine (Dubois) VanRiper, the former, born in New Jersey and the latter in Ulster County, N. Y. They became early pioneers of Washtenaw County, settling there in 1831, while Michigan was still a young territory. After doing much to subdue the land in their new home they moved to Shiawassee County in May, 1847, and made a farm here. Mr. VanRiper owned four hundred acres here besides giving each of his four children a generous tract of land. He was a hard worker, a Democrat in politics and a Presbyterian in religion. He died here in September, 1888, when eighty-three years old,. His faithful and devoted wife had preceded him to the other world in 1876, when she was seventy-four years old.
Mr. and Mrs. George M. Colby have been blessed with seven children, but have also been sorely bereaved, having lost all but two of these children in early infancy. The two surviving are Catherine E. who married Enoch Carl, living on a farm in Woodhull Township, and is the mother of one child, Hazel, and Charles M., who yet resides at home but has eighty acres of his own land. Charles M. is very ingenious and can turn his hand to any work presented to him. When our subject took the farm upon which he now lives it had no improvements upon it., and he built a log-house which at that time was considered the best in the township. He used to keep a good many travellers who would come in at all times of the night. He built his barn in 1866 and the house in which he now lives in 1880. He carries on mixed farming on his estate.
Mr. Colby is a Democrat in his political principles and affiliations and has held some minor township offices. He is now Deputy Sheriff and was Assessor for this school district for over twenty years. He is agent for the Shiawassee Mutual Insurance Company, also for the Niagara Company of New York and the Fire and Marine Company of Detroit. He also does collecting. His is a member of the Grange, belongs to the Patrons of Industry, and is connected with the Masonic Lodge at Williamston, Ingham County. He is a fine man and his good qualities and enterprise make him known favourably throughout all this region. A view of the pleasant homestead of Mr. Colby is represented on another page.
Rudolph COLBY. Another of the pioneers of this State who has done much to make Shiawassee Township bloom and blossom as the rose is Rudolph Colby, who lives on a fine farm on sections 17 and 18, Shiawassee Township. He was born on the place September 2, 1855, his father being James S. Colby and mother Eliza L. (Nelson) Colby. They came to Shiawassee County and settled at their present location one year previous to the birth of our subject, coming hither immediately from Pinckney, Livingston County, but prior to that time from New York, about the year 1848. After coming to this State, the father secured a tract of one hundred and sixty acres, which he farmed for a number of year, constantly adding to the original acreage until he became the possessor of three hundred and twenty acres, nearly all of which is improved.
Our subject remained at home attending high school at Corunna and began to teach at the age of eighteen, in which work he continued for two years and then relieved his father of the care of the home farm in which he was in charge until 1883. Mr. Colby then began to build his present home. He has added twenty acres to the original tract of one hundred and sixty acres.

Upon the place he has built a new barn, 32 x 62 feet and twenty feet high and under which are good granaries. He erected this at a cost of $800. His barn and sheds for stock are supplied with water that is forced where needed by a wind mill.
Mr. Colby does not devote himself to any special line in agriculture, but he engages in the more lucrative course of mixed farming. He is a most intelligent man and keeps abreast with the times in all the improvements of the day. He was elected Township Treasurer in 1835, in which capacity he served for two years. And at the close of the term he elected Supervisor, and is now serving his fifth term. During his service an arrangement has been satisfactorily made for the liquidation of the old debt standing against the county of the sum of about $40,00, which had been hanging over the county for forty years, the basis of settlement being outlined by the Supreme Court as carried up by the recent Board of Supervisors. This happy result is largely due to the action of Mr. Colby and his colleagues. At the June Session of 1891 of Supervisors, Mr. Colby succeeded in reducing the equalization valuation of his township $22,000, which was an important item to the people of the township. At other times his efforts have been crowned with success toward making or modifying measures for the benefit of the township. Three years ago he succeeded in getting a reduction of valuation, amounting to $6,000. Some of the new bridges that have been built in the township have been secured by his influence in the Board. In June, 1891, the new law of School Commissioners was first tested and a citizen of Shiawassee Township was chosen for Commissioner. This concession was largely due to Mr. Colby's efforts.
The gentleman of whom we write was married January 7, 1880, to Miss Georgiana Sergeant, daughter of Collins Sergeant. She is a native of the township, being born March 14, 1861. They have a family of two bright children--Roy L. and Wayne S. Mr. Colby has been a Mason since 1866.
Politically, our subject is one of the most active Republicans in the county, always having taken a prominent position in every political campaign. His a Director of the Owosso Fair Association. He is interested in every measure that can benefit in the least his fellow townsmen.

 

 

John KING, Hazelton Twp., Pioneer (1853)


 

 

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Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Clinton and Shiawassee Counties, 1891 (pp. 356-7) provided to Gary Kline by Danielle Barkman, another King descendant.

 

JOHN KING, a well-known and prosperous resident of Section 13, Hazelton Township, Shiawassee County, is the son of John King, a native of County Longford, Ireland, of which county his mother also (whose maiden name was Bridget Murtaugh) was a native. They were married at their old home and came to America in 1846, landing at New York City. Here they remained for three years, and in 1849 came to Michigan and settled in Flint Township, Genessee County, on an unbroken farm covered with oak openings. Upon this they remained for four years and cleared some twenty-five acres of the land.
Settling their first Western farm, the parents of our subject removed to Hazelton Township in 1853, and settled on Section 13, which was all wild land. Before reaching their home they were obliged to cut the road through the woods for a mile and a half. Here they finally acquired a handsome property of four hundred and eighty acres. They encountered many hardships in their early life in the West as they were unused to such experiences. It was so solid a forest that it was with difficulty that they found their way from point to point, even with the help of blazed trees. There were but few families then in the township and only nine voters were registered that spring. The farm was greatly improved during the lifetime of the father who passed way in 1871, at the age of sixty-six. His worthy companion outlived him ten years and attained the age of eighty-one. They were the parents of six children who grew to maturity.
Joseph King, one of the sons of these parents, was a soldier in the Twenty-third Michigan Infantry during the War of the Rebellion, and being taken prisoner at Knoxville, underwent the hardships at Andersonville for eighteen months, but he lived through them and with eleven other comrades escaped and returned to the Union Army. He was relegated to his own regiment and returned to Detroit to be mustered out. He was taken sick the night after reaching Detroit, and died there. He was a man of great popularity, not only among his comrades in arms, but also with the citizens of Flint, where he made his home.
The subject of this sketch was born upon the Green Isle of Erin April 17, 1836, in the Parish of Cloonglish, County Longford, and was nearly eleven years old when he came to America. He was well educated in his native county, and attended the Grammar School in New York City. He was fourteen years old when he came to Michigan and almost eighteen when he made his home in Shiawassee county. Until after he was twenty-two years old he remained at home helping his parents upon the farm, and then he worked out by the month for a few years. His father had been unfortunate in contracting debts and he assisted him in lifting them. His father gave him a one-third interest in the undivided three-hundred acres which constituted the farm, and when they were finally divided he received the one-hundred acres lying west of the remainder of the tract.
In 1860, John King had some chopping done upon his land a built a little frame house, 16x24 feet, and November 17 of the same year he began keeping a bachelor's hall in this new home. A yoke of oxen was the team with which he assisted himself in his arduous labors. The young man found that he was not able to live alone and November 19, 1861, he took unto himself a wife in the person of Bridget E., a daughter of Patrick Trainor, an old settler in Flint. She was born November 1, 1844, in Ireland, and lived only five years after marriage, dying December 6, 1866. She was the mother of two children, both of whom were snatched from her arms by death: Joseph Patrick was born October 15, 1862, and died September 1, 1866; and Annie, born July 21, 1864, died December 28, 1865. The mother and both of the children died within twelve months of each other. This left the home indeed desolate.
The second marriage of John King took place August 5, 1867, his bride being Bridget Delehanty, daughter of Patrick and Bridget (McNamara) Delehanty, natives of County Clare, Ireland. Mr. and Mrs. Delehanty came to America in 1850, and after spending a year in New York City came West, spending four years at Cleveland. In 1856 he came to Michigan, settling in Gaines Township, Genessee County upon a farm. Mr. Delehanty was a man of intelligence and worth, and for some time was section foreman on the railroad. he died March 18, 1891, having reached the age of seventy-eight years, and his widow, who is now eighty-four, still survives him. They were the parents of ten children, six of whom are now living.
Mrs. King, was born September 5, 1846, in County Clare, Ireland, and she has become the mother of fourteen children, eleven of whom are now living. They are named: Josephine, born April 30, 1868; Francis J., born June 17, 1869; Hannah, January 20, 1871 (deceased); Ambrose, born March 11, 1874; Cecelia, October 17, 1875; Ellen, July 1, 1877; and infant unnamed (deceased); John Albin, born January 3, 1880; Ann Lilly, May 25, 1882; Elizabeth, November 7, 1883; Agnes, December 12, 1885; Esther, July 13, 1887; and Stephen A., March 7, 1890.
The farm has been greatly improved since Mr. King went upon it, and he now has one-hundred and twenty acres. The original one-hundred is the finest farm and assessed the highest in the Township. In 1885 he built his residence at a cost of over $4,000, besides his own labor and hauling. The front part is 18x28 feet and nineteen feet high, and is built of brick with a cellar wall under the whole house. This wall is seven and one-half feet high and two feet thick. The cellar has a cemented floor and is thoroughly under-drained. The front wing has the dimensions of 18x28 feet and the rear wing of 18x30 feet. It is the handsomest house in the township and is as well built and attractive as any in the county, being finished in graining. It contains thirteen rooms, conveniently arranged and lighted, with all improvements. Mr. King does not enjoy good health as he has suffered with spasmodic asthma ever since 1863. Both he and his wife are devout members of the Catholic Church.
To his children, Mr. King has granted a good education and the younger ones are many of them attending school. Josephine has held a teacher's certificate since she reached the age of sixteen years. She is a graduate of the Fenton Normal School and has taught for five years, being considered a very successful young woman in her profession. Our subject is active in school matters and a member of the School Board. He is a Democrat in his political views, but is independent to a considerable degree, and in local elections votes for the man rather than for the party. He has been Highway Commissioner for three years and for five years in succession filled the office of Township Treasurer, and filled it well. He received the unqualified support of his fellow-citizens although this is a strongly Republican Township. He also serves as Clerk of township elections and is a member of the Board of Review.