History of GRATIOT CO., Michigan. Historical Biographical, Statistical

By Willard D. Tucker pub. 1913 Press of Seemann & Peters, Saginaw, Michigan

Village of Ashley;  pgs.  1063-1094



The subject of this sketch—Hollie J. Rose—was born in Washington Township, Gratiot County, Mich., August 10, 1884, son of Isaac P. and Mary (Garlock) Rose. His parents had moved from Watertown, Clinton County, the previous April. In 1889 his parents moved with their family from the Washington farm into the Village of Ashley, where Hollie J. entered school in September, 1890. In 1893 he moved with his parents back to the old home in Clinton County where he entered school in Wacousta, and was graduated from the high school in that village in 1901.

In September 1901, Mr. Rose commenced teaching school in Clinton County and taught there until 1906, when he was elected principal of the high schools of Ashley. The following year he was elected superintendent of the Ashley schools and served in that capacity four years, retiring from the teachers’ profession in 1911.

In 1911 Mr. Rose bought an interest in the mercantile business of his brother, Harry C. Rose, and is now engaged in that business at Ashley. During his years of teaching he entered the State Normal School, working faithfully until he received his certificate endorsed by the State Board of Education.

Mr. Rose has held many offices of public trust in the village, township and county. When 21 years old he was elected school inspector, and later a member of the Board of County School Examiners of Gratiot County, which office he held two terms. He was elected village clerk of Ashley three successive years, and is at present a member of the village council. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and a Past Worshipful Master of Ashley Lodge No. 399.

Mr. Rose was married August 28, 1907, to Miss Myrtie F. Tallman, of Eagle, Clinton County, Mich. They have a daughter—Helen Lucile—born August 30, 1909.




DeWitt C. Tiffany, whose portrait appears in connection with this sketch, was born in the Township of Schroepel, Oswego County, New York, August 25, 1844. He attended the district school in his township until he was sixteen years old, and after attending Fally Seminary one year and teaching a dis­trict school, at the age of eighteen years he entered the Oswego Normal and Training School from which he graduated in the sum­mer of 1866. He taught a district school in his home township for one year after graduat­ing, and after the close of his school he came to Michigan, landing in Saginaw in the sum­mer of 1867. He was connected with the public schools of Bridgeport, Saginaw County, during the succeeding ten years, and held the office of Township Superintendent of Schools for three years while the duties of that office took the place of County Superintendent of Schools and which was later superseded by the present County Commissioner of Schools. In the discharge of his official duties he visited each school in his township at least twice during each year, advising with the several district officers, conducted the examination of the teachers of the township and improving the township library, which, under his management, advice and counsel soon became a popular and effective literary and educational institution containing over one thousand volumes. So popular did the library become that the people voted at each annual election a liberal sum for its maintenance.

On December 24, 1871, Mr. Tiffany was married to Miss Mary J. Weir, of Bridgeport, who, during all the succeeding years has been his constant, frugal and helpful wife and counselor.

In the fall of 1876 Mr. Tiffany moved to St. Charles, having engaged as principal of the school of that thriving village, which position he held for several years.

In the summer of 1881 he engaged in the mercantile business in St. Charles, which occupation he followed with varying success till the spring of 1889, when he came to Ashley, Gratiot County, where he has resided to the present time.

During his residence here he has taken a very active part in all the public enterprises that tend toward the upbuilding and advancement of the village, the public school and the township.

Mr. Tiffany held an influential position in the village council for several years as one of the village trustees, was three times elected village president and several times as village assessor.

He was director and treasurer of the village school for nine years and being elected as a member of the school board at a time when the district was $3,500 in debt on which ten percent interest was being paid by the district, he, with the aid of a majority of the school board, set on foot a system of retrenchment and frugal outlay and reduction of the rate of interest that in time resulted in an entire freedom from indebtedness and a school that has graduated several pupils who afterward held high positions in the county as teachers and public officials.

Soon after Mr. Tiffany’s arrival in Ashley he became convinced that the time was ripe for the organization of a lodge of F. & A. Masons, and immediately set about the work of organizing a lodge. He hunted up all the members of the order in Ashley and vicinity who would join in the project, obtained the recommendation of the lodges at Ithaca, Elsie and Eureka, and a dispensation was granted by the Grand Master, which was succeeded by a regular charter at the next convocation of the Grand Lodge. Mr. Tiffany was elected Worshipful Master and has held that office nine years.

To Mr. Tiffany’s public spirit and enterprise are due the beginning of the manufacture of brick in Ashley, the cheese factory, the rehabilitation of the grist mill and many other utilities that have tended to the upbuilding of the village, and the improvement of the surrounding country.

In 1898 and again in 1900 he was highway commissioner, and did much for the permanent improvement of highway conditions in the township.



Napoleon B. Bowker, now and for several years past, a resident of Ashley, was born near Pulaskyville, Morrow County, Ohio, June 1, 1848, son of Chester and Eliza A. (Reed) Bowker, lie resided with his parents and aided in the miscellaneous labors of a farmer’s life and attending the district school, until reaching his 15th year, when he enlisted—September 9, 1862—in Co. F, 81st Ohio Vol. Infantry, joining the regiment at Cornith, Miss. He was with the regiment in all its battles and hard, long marches in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, and was with Gen. Sherman in his continuous battle and flank maneuvers from Chattanooga to Atlanta;was wounded while in action at Lays Ferry, May 14, 1864, and again at the siege of Atlanta in August 1864. He was with Sherman in the great march to the sea, and back through the Carolinas;at the Battle of Bentonville;at the surrender of Johnston’s army north of Raleigh, and then on to Petersburg, Richmond and Washington where he took part in the “Grand Review.”

After the review the regiment was sent to Louisville, Ky., where it was kept until July 13, 1865, when it was mustered out. April 24, 1866, Mr. Bowker enlisted in Co. B, 13th U. S. Infantry, and served on the frontier, most of the time in Montana territory. There he saw much hardship and dangerous service, the Indians being hostile at that time. Two men were killed in his company while in Montana. April 24, 1869, Mr. Bowker was discharged, with the rank of 1st duty sergeant of Co. B, 13th U. S. Infantry, at Fort Shaw, Montana territory; returning to his home in Ohio in June following.

June 22, 1870, Mr. Bowker was married to Margaret Frances Steen who was born near Sparta, Ohio, August 12, 1850, daughter of William and Jane Steen.

To this union was born one son—Ora Clayton—August 20, 1871. After two years of sickness with consumption, Mrs. Bowker died at Fargo, Morrow County, Ohio.

September 28, 1876, Mr. Bowker was married to Violet A. Walker, of Andrews, Ohio, born March 5, 1856, daughter of Ephraim and Margaret Walker. In October, 1879, our subject moved with his family to Washington Township, Gratiot County, Mich., settling on section 10; not the first to settle in that part of Gratiot, but it was pretty new 34 years ago;plenty of water and no large ditches to carry it off: plenty of mud, “and more mosquitoes to the square inch than at any other place this side of the Mississippi Swamps,” says Mr. B. in narrating his experiences. The timber was large and the forest dense, making it slow and expensive work to clear the land, but perseverance brought success.

To the last-mentioned marital union two children were born—Peninah M., born Oct. 9, 1883, died Oct. 11, 1884; Zenas H., born Sept. 30, 1886.

Ora C., eldest son of N. B. Bowker was married in 1896 to Alice, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Murdock. of Beaverton, Mich. To this union three sons have been born—Austin Lile, born in 1897, died in 1900; Clayton, born 1900 ; Keith, born 1908. Ora C. Bowker resides at Beaverton, where he has been in business over ten years. He has held public positions there, such as alderman, supervisor, city assessor, etc. He is well known in Gratiot County where he was educated and where he was engaged in teaching.

Zenas H., youngest son of N. B. Bowker, married Anna, daughter of Mr. and Mrs Youngfer, of Beaverton. He resides in Flint, Mich., where he is employed as general machinist in the Buick Auto Factory.

After many years of hardships and privations, such as go with the settle­ment of all new countries, but with many hopes and joys and congenial companionship, and after attaining the one thing essential to earthly satis­faction and happiness—a comfortable home—then, on July 30, 1899, came the darkest day of N. B. Bowker’s life—the death of the beloved wife and mother, Violet A. Bowker.

With the exception of less than one year Mr. Bowker has been a resident of Gratiot County for 30 years. During that time he has been engaged in farming, buying and selling land, and has been in mercantile trade three different times, and has held many different offices of trust and responsibility, in all of which he has given a good and satisfactory account of himself.

September 8, 1900, Mr. Bowker was married to Jannette (Hustead) Cobb, who was born in Oakland County, Mich., daughter of Alfred and Mary A. Hustead. The parents were among the first settlers of Groveland Town­ship, Oakland County. The marriage took place in Ashley, and there Mr. and Mrs. Bowker have resided to the present time, enjoying the respect and confidence of the good people of that enterprising town.

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