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

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





The six miles square known as the Township of Elba, and described as town 9 north, range 1 west, has probably shown greater advancement in many ways in the past thirty years than any other township in the county. In saying this there is no thought of saying that it is the best township in the county. The word "advancement is only relative, in this case, and must be taken with the understanding that the townships advancement started to advance from a starting point for more unpromising than was that of most of the others. The much-talked-of Maple River overflow has always affected Elba far worse than any of the other townships. There is much swamp land. The last thirty years, however, has brought about great improvement in this respect, thanks to persistent work in establishing and maintaining drains. With the surface water disposed of-and it is being disposed of at a comparatively rapid rate-the township will rank well up among the good townships of the county.

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A portion of the township was surveyed by the Government in 1831. A portion had to be left unsurveyed, for reasons set forth by the surveyor in


his field notes. He says: "The remainder of this town it was impossible to survey on account of the depth of the water on Maple River bottoms, which are one and a half or perhaps two miles wide. In running to the north between sections 29 and 30, we set the corner of 19, 20, 29 and 30 in three feet of water. We then attempted to run to the west, but after proceeding fifty chains were obliged to return, and gave up all hopes of surveying the remainder, which is nothing more than a chain of alder and tamarack swamp. The whole of the west and northwest part of the town is under water."

This depressing outlook is far from being descriptive of present conditions, and it is quoted only to emphasize the original statement that the township had made greater advancement than any other in the past thirty years. The southern and southeastern part of the township was never subject to the disadvantages mentioned. Much of the land formerly inundated by the Maple has been reclaimed and is rapidly taking rank with the best in the county. The early growth of the township as indicated by the vote at the elections, was very slow. At the first election-1856-there were 21 votes; in 1863 there were 20, and in 1865 there were 14. To show what the township has done in a material way, I mention that at the first equalization of assessments in the county there were only three townships rated lower than Elba. At the equalization of October 1912 only five were rated higher.

Elba has the benefit of the Ann Arbor Railroad across its face from southeast to northwest; and it has the stub end of the Toledo, Saginaw & Muskegon division of the Grand Trunk as it comes in from the west and takes the Ann Arbor tracks for Owosso. In drainage it has all the benefits to be derived from the "gurgling Maple", supplemented by the advantages of the gentle slope eastward toward Bad River. The Villages of Ashley and Bannister furnish excellent markets for the farmers' produce, and not a farm is farther away than six miles from market.


The illustration shows the big ditch, or Maple River cut-off, near Bannister, constructed by the Ann Arbor Railroad Company along the west side of its track, across the ox-bow bend of the river, to serve for quick delivery


of surplus water in time of floods. Reference to the map will show how this mile of canal aids in time of high water by furnishing a short-cut. It is a great benefit to the company, but as to its benefit to the farmers there is a difference of opinion.



The first election was held April, 1856, at the house of Michael Miller. There were 21 votes polled.

April, 1856: Sup.-Hason Sinclair; Clk.-John O. Wool; Treas.-Michael Miller; H.C.-Wm. W. Dodge, Jas. Wooley, Sherman Call; J.P.-Nelson Buyer, Daniel Call, Wm. W. Dodge, Ralph Sutfin; Sch. Insp.-Chas. Call, Hason Sinclair; Overseers of Poor-Jas. Wooley, Richard G. Finch; Const.-Andrew Call, Wm. Wooley, Edward Letts.

The board of supervisors had a June session; and Elba was represented by Hason Sinclair. At the session in October, however, the township was represented by Abram B. Beebe as supervisor, and the county treasurer's records also show that he was supervisor that fall. All of which shows that Hason Sinclair resigned as supervisor some time after June and before October, and that Abram B. Beebe was appointed to the vacancy by the township board. The fact that the township records do not mention the change, seems to make this explanation appropriate, in order to give clearly, in this history, Mr. Beebe's standing as the successor of Mr. Sinclair and as the representative of the township on the hoard of supervisors.

At this first township meeting in Elba a contingent fund of $75, and a highway fund of $250 were voted. A resolution was passed "for the destruction of obknoxious (sic) animals; $5 bounty for wolves and $3 for bear, by the destroyer shooing (sic) good and satisfactory proof that be or Shee (sic) did take and kill the same within the limits of this township", says the record.

The next township meeting to be held at the house of Jas. Wooley.

1857: Twenty-seven votes were polled at this election. Sup.-Richard G.Finch 11, Daniel Call 9, Abram B. Miller 7; Clk.-John O. Wool 27; Treas-Michael Miller 27; H. C-Byron S. Beebe 27; J. P-John O. Wool 18, Daniel Call 9; vacancy caused by the death of Nelson Buyer-Wm. B. Beebe 15, John 0. Wool 8, Wm. Myers 2; Sch. Jnsp.-Wm. Myers 7, A. B. Beebe 7, Derrick Sutfin 7, Byron S. Beebe 5; Directors of Poor-Daniel S. Letts 27, Andrew Call 18, Christopher Dodge 9; Const.-Wm. Miller, Wm. Call, Edward Letts, Wm. Myers.

The meeting decided by vote to pay no bounties the coming year. The board paid, for "obknoxious" animals already killed, as follows: To Geo.Burch $9 for three bears; A. Call, one bear, $3; Richard G. Finch, three bears, $9; Wm. Mattison, three wolves, $15; Hason Sinclair, one bear; Jas. Miller, two bears; Michael Miller, two bears.

Oct. 26, '57, Wm. W. Wooley was appointed treasurer vice M. Miller, resigned, and Wm. W. Dodge school inspector vice Wm. Myers, removed from the township.

A special township meeting was held Dec.26, '57, to fill various vacancies, at which 12 votes were polled. Daniel Call was elected clerk; Michael Nicholas, treasurer vice Wm. W. Wooley, resigned; Wm. Call highway commissioner vice Dodge, deceased; Andrew Call justice vice Dodge deceased; and Christopher Dodge justice vice Wm. B. Beebe, removed from the township.

1858: Sup.-Richard G. Finch; Clk.-Daniel Call; Treas.-Wm. Call 9, Cyrenus Thomas 9; Call won the draw; H. C.-Cyrenus Thomas; J. P.


-R. G. Finch; vacancy, Daniel Call; Sch. Insp.-Dewey Smith, Christopher Dodge; Overseers of Poor-Daniel S. Letts, Andrew Call.

Judge of the 10th judicial district, Longyear, Dem., 11; Woodworth, Rep., 12.

1859: Sup.-Chas. Dodge; Treas.-Wm. Call. No further record.

1860: Nineteen votes were cast-two less than were cast at the first election four years ago.

Sup.-Chas. Dodge; Clk.-Wm. Wooley; Treas.-Hiram Coffman; H. C.-M. Nicholas; vacancy, Andrew Call; J. U.-Daniel Call; vacancy. Chas. Dodge; Sch. Insp.-Chas. Dodge, Dewey Smith.

1861: Sup.-Wm. Call; Clk.-Nathan S. Spooner: Treas.-Rufus Sheldon; H.C.-E. J. Miller; J. P.-Bruce Hunter; vacancy, Andrew Call; Sch. Insp.-Wm. A. Steffey.

April, 1862: Sup-Daniel Call; Clk.-M. Nicholas; Treas-Wm. W. Wooley; H. C.-Andrew Call; J. P.-C. B. Waldo, Dewey Smith; Sch. Insp.-Dewey Smith.

April, 1863: At this seventh township election there were 20 votes polled.

Sup.-Daniel Call; Clk.-M. Nicholas: Treas.-Wm. W. Wooley; H. C.-Michael Nicholas; J. P.-Arthur Burlingame; vacancy, Chas. Dodge; Sch. Insp.-Arthur Burlingame.

A special township meeting was held May 25, '63, to fill some vacancies. For clerk Chas. Bradford was elected, but evidently did not accept, for later on L. M. Crego was appointed by the board. Chas. Dodge was elected justice vice Bruce Hunter, resigned. Wm. W. Wooley was elected highway commissioner vice M. Nicholas, resigned. Oct. 31, '63, Wooley resigned as treasurer and the board appointed Chas. Dodge.

At a special election held Nov.22, '63, $600 was raised by vote to pay volunteers.

April, 1864: Sup. - Daniel Call; Clk. Derrick R. Sutfin; Treas.-Loren M. Crego; H. C.-B. H. Van Cleave, Geo. F. Terry; J. P.-Daniel Call; vacancy, A. J. Hurshey; Sch. Insp.-Geo. E. Terry.

June 22, '64, the township board voted a bounty of $100 each to volunteers or drafted men.

April, 1865: Sup.-Daniel Call; Clk.-Ira J. Andrews; Treas.-L. M. Crego; H. C.-Isaac Wooley; J. P.-Wm. Call, Dewey Smith; Sch. Insp.-Dewey Smith, Andrew Call.

April, 1866: Sup-Ira J. Andrews; Clk.-Henry Edden; Treas.-L. M. Crego; H. C.-Jas~ R. Harvey; J. P.-Hiram A. Brintuell; Sch. Insp.-I. J. Andrews.

April, 1867: Sup.-Ira J. Andrews; Clk.-Henry Edden; Treas.-Wm. W. Wooley; H. C-B. H. Van Cleave; vacancy, Reuben R. Smith.

April, 1868: Sup.-Henry Edden; Clk.-Daniel B. Wooley; Treas.-Wm. W. Wooley; H. C-Allen Oberlin; J. P-Jacob Bishop; vacancy, J.G. Hustin; Sch. Insp.-Alonzo Mattison.

The township records give the above facts, but the record of the board of supervisors shows no reference to Henry Edden as supervisor from Elba or in any other way. Ira J. Andrews is shown to have represented Elba in 1868. Whether Mr. Edden resigned, removed from the township. or failed to qualify, is left to the imagination. As he was justice of the peace and drain commissioner in June, '71, it seems quite certain that he did not die. Also he was clerk in '66, '67.

1869: Sup-Win. H. Morrison; Clk.-D. B. Wooley; Treas-Win. A. Krom; H. C.-Jacob Bishop; vacancy, Abraham Shellenbarger; J. P.-


Samuel N. Huston 3 ys, Heman Dockem; 1 yr, Dewey Smith; Sch. Insp.-Goodsell Stewart.

A special election was held Oct. 23, '69, to vote $7,000 aid to the Owosso & Big Rapids Railroad, conditioned that a depot he erected near or on section 9, and a flag station where the road crosses the line between 26 and 27. Yes, 48 no, none. Fifteen years later the Ann Arbor road was built, substantially along the line indicated, and two regular stations. Ashley and Bannister-were established in the township.

Nov. 1, '69, John B. Kneeland was appointed supervisor vice Morrison, removed from the township.

April, 1870.: Sup.-Hason Sinclair; Clk.-Daniel B. Wooley: Treas Wm. A. Krom; H. C.-Arthur Burlingame; J. P.-B. S. Brownel; vacancy Henry Adams: Sch. Insp.-S. N. Barber.

July 23, 1870, the hoard appointed G. S. Stewart supervisor vice Sinclair, removed from the township.

Dec.31, 1870, Wm. W. Wooley was appointed supervisor vice Stewart, resigned.

April, 1871: Sup.-John B. Kneeland; Clk.-D. B. Wooley; Treas.-Wm. A. Krom; H. C.-Wm. A. Krom; J. P.-Henry Edden; vacancy, John Scott Sch. Insp.-Stepben Guthrie, Joseph Davidson.

June 12, '71, the board appointed Henry Edden drain commissioner, none having been elected in April.

April, l872: Sup.-J. B. Kneeland; Clk.-Edwin Meacham Treas.- Wm. A. Krom; H. C.-Jacob Bishop; J. P.-John Scott; Sch. Insp.-E. D. Sargent; Dr. Com.-H. Edden.

April, 1873: Sup.-J. B. Kneeland; Clk.-Ed Meacham Treas.-Wm. A. Krom; H. C.-A. Sebring; J. P.-C. H. Root; Sch. Insp.-W. H Morrison; vacancy, J. G. Hustin; Dr. Com.-E. D. Sargent.

Apnl, 1874: Sup.-J. B. Kneeland; Clk.-Wanton West~ate Treas.-Wm. A. Krom; H. C.-Reuben R. Smith; J. P.-Wanton Westgate vacancy, Jas. R. Green; Sch. Insp.-J. B. Davidson, Edward Bensinger

A motion was made and it was carried, that Wm. A. Krom. treasurer be requested to burn certain railroad bonds in his possession given to the Owosso & Northwestern Railroad.

April, 1875: Sup.-J. B. Kneeland; Clk.-Wanton Westgate; Treas.-Wm. A. Krom; H. C.-E. D. Sargent; J. P.-Wm. A. Krom; 2 yrs John Hustin; 1 yr, Edward Bensinger; Supt. Sch.-Norman L Higbie Sch. Insp.-Stephen Guthne: Dr. Com.-E. D. Sargent.

April, 1876: Sup.-J. B. Kneeland; Clk.-Ed. Meacham Treas. W A. Krom; H. C.-J. B. Davidson; J. P.-Edward Bensinger; Supt. Sch.- Alex. T. Rice: Sch. Insp.-Wm. Letts; Dr. Com-Homer Davidson

April, 1877: Sup.-Alex. T. Rice: Clk.~John W. Smith: Treas W. A. Krom; H. C.-J. B. Davidson; J. P.-J. G. Hustin ; vacancy, Ed Bensinger; Supt. Sch.-J. B. Davidson; Sch. Insp.-W. Westgate.

Nov.22, '77, special election to vote on bonding to finish jail-yes 25 no, 5.

April 1, 1878: Sup.-A. T. Rice; Clk.-J. W. Smith; Treas.-Wm W. Wooley; H. C-Ed. Bensinger 39, B. Miller 39; J. P.-Jas. Young Supt. Sch.-L. N. Highie: Sch. Insp.-W. Westgate; Dr. Com~-Danie~ Gower

Authorizing the issue of bonds to complete jail-yes, 50: no, 24

April, 1879: Sup.-A. T. Rice; Clk.-J. W. Smith: Treas.-W. W. Wooley; H. C.-J. G. Hustin; J. P.-Henry Shellenharger; Supt. Sch.-W.M. White; Sch. Insp.-W. Westgate.

For tax to complete jail-yes,114; no, 3.


April, 1880: Sup.-A. T. Rice; Clk.-J. W. Smith; Treas.-J. B. Kneeland; H. C-Ed. Bensinger; J~ P-A. J. Brown; Supt. Sch.-Dwight Morrison; Sch. Insp.-.Wm. Letts; Dr. Com.-Jsaac Wooley.

By a vote of 22 to 7 it was decided at a special election held Jan. 31, '81, to build an iron bridge across Maple River between sections 28 and 33.

April, 1881: Sup.-Edwin Meacham; Clk.-T. A. Hanvey; Treas.-J. W. Smith; H. C.-Bishop Miller; J. P.-Nehemiah Lamb; Supt. Sch.-Dwight Morrison; Sch. Insp.-Wm. D. Letts; Dr. Com.-Goodsell Stewart.

April, 1882: Sup -Alexander T. Rice; Clk.-T. A. Hanvey; Treas.-J. W. Smith; H. C. Bishop Miller; J. P-H. G. Tyler; Sch. Insp.-W. D. Letts, D. S. Morrison; Dr. Com.-N. Lamb; Review-Jas. Young, Daniel Gower.

April, 1883: Sup.-Ed. Meacham; Clk.-T. A. Hanvey; Treas.-Alonzo Peterson; H. C.-Wm. Fitzgerald; J. P.-Chas. Markham; vacancy, Jas. Young; Sch. Insp.-Noah W. Kaltrider.

April, .1884: Sup-Ed. Meacham; Clk.-T. A. Hanvey; Treas.-W. D. Letts; H. C.-Reuben R. Smith; J. P.-Wm. A. Krom; 2 yrs., R. R. Smith; Sch. Insp.-Aaron Martin.

A vote was taken on the question of bonding for $450 for a town hall site at Bannister. The result was 82 votes for it, and 82 against it. Here was a tie, and the board proceeded to decide the matter by lot. Two ballots, one marked "yes", the other marked "no", were put into a hat, and then Esqr. A. J. Brown drew one out, and on examination it was found that he had drawn out the "yes" ballot. So the question was declared carried. Nothing easier.

April, 1885: Sup.-N. W. Kaltrider; Clk.-Burwell Teeter; Treas.-Wm. D. Letts; H. C.-Jas. Young; J. P.-Daniel Kelsey; vacancy, R. M. Brooks; Sch. Insp.-Josh. Davidson; Review-J. B. Davidson, Daniel Gower.

April, 1886: Sup.-Ed. Meacham; Clk.-T. A. Hanvey; Treas .-W. A. Krom; H. C.-Wm. D. Letts; J. P.-Lloyd Webb; Sch. Insp.-Aaron Martin; Review-Wm. A. Krom; Wm. H. Morrison.

A special township meeting held June 7, '86, voted to raise $100 to contest the tax spread by Commissioner Wm. Kroll for the Maple River improvement. Yes, 63; no, 6.

April, 1887: Sup.-Lorenzo F. Randolph; Clk.-Alonzo M. White; Treas.-Chas. F. Chittenden; H. C.-Frank Hurshey; J. P.-Thompson Kirby; vacancy, Thompson Kirby; Sch. Insp.-Wm. A. Krom; Review-Wm. A. Krom, Loren M. Hutchinson.

At the election on local option held Feby 13, '88. the affirmative vote was 111; negative, 35.

April, 1888: Sup.-Ed. Meacham; Clk.-Kellv S. Searl: Treas.-T. A. Hanvey; H. C.-Solomon J. Haring; J. P.-L. F. Randolph; vacancy, Ellis Meyers; Sch. Insp.-Edwin W. Fieto; Dr. Com.-Bish. Miller; Review-Thompson Kirby, Nehemiah Lamb.

April, 1889: Sup.-Ed. Meacham; Clk.-Wrn. J. Barker; Treas.-T. A. Hanvey; H. C.-Bish. Miller; J. P.-Geo. W. Mead; Sch. Insp.-J. Belle Sickles.

April, 1890: Sup.-Ed. Meacham; Clk.-T. A. Hanvey; Treas.-Edson C. Brown; H. C.-Myron Mills; J. P.-Wm. A. Emery; Sch. Insp.-Jacob Powell, Sr.; Dr. Com.-Myron H. Mills; Review-Geo. F. Clutterback, Wm. H. Morrison.

April, 1891: Sup.-L. F. Randolph; Clk.-Geo. C. Douglas; Treas.-Edson C. Brown; H. C-N. W. Kaltrider; J. P-Jacob Powell; Sch. Insp.-Chas. F. Pike; Review-A. Peterson.



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