Christopher C. Wonders has lived in Seville Township since 1896. He is a native of Seneca County, Ohio, horn October 17, 1842, only son of Christopher and Electa (Desmond) Wonders. His mother was afterward married to David Strouse. She died in Newark Township, this County, at the age of 70 years. When Christopher was two years of age his parents moved from Seneca County to Sandusky County and there the lad grew to manhood. At the age of 18 years, he left home and began life for himself. He went to Indiana, remaining about five years, and then, in June, 1866, he came to Michigan and to Gratiot County, where he lived for the next ten years. In 1876 he removed to Dushville, Isabella County, remaining there about three years and then returned to Gratiot County.
Mr. Wonders was married in 1872 to Lucinda Down. Six children were born to them-Lillian married Burdette Southwell; Laura married Bert Johnson; Alzada is single; Burrill married Laura Drew; Jennie married Bert Willett; Jesse married Maggie Rundio.
520 HISTORY OF GRATIOT COUNTY.
Mrs. Lucinda Wonders, the wife and mother, died February 24, 1883. On September 14, 1885, Mr. Wonders was married the second time, to Mrs. Alma (Franklin) Emsley, daughter of John and Lucy (Carter) Franklin, of North Star. She was the youngest of seven children, all of whom were born in Lenawee County, Mich. Jane was born in 1838, died February, 1862; Elbridge, born 1840; Luther, born 1841, died July 30, 1863, of wounds received at the Battle of Gettysburg; Susan, horn 1844, died 1863 Lydia born April 10, 1848, married James Harter; Elisha W., born May 4,1850; Alma, born November 2, 1852.
Alma Franklin was married to Emanuel Emsley, July 11, 1874. By this marriage she had three sons-John F., Arthur and George, the last two now being dead. John F. is now a resident of Buffalo, N. Y., married to Louisa Lininger. They have one son.
Mr. and Mrs. Wonders have one son, Ernest, born August 7, 1897.
Mr. Wonders, during his busy life, has not been confined to one line of activities. His avocations have been varied. He spent twelve years at the blacksmith's trade, and was for a considerable period of time engaged in running saw mills. He is now devoting his energies to farming. He served three months as a soldier in the Civil War, a member of Co. H, 21st Ohio Infantry. In politics he is a Democrat, and has served in various local positions of trust, including that of highway commissioner of his township-Seville-four years, and is esteemed as an honorable, energetic and reliable citizen.
John Franklin, Mrs. Wonders' father, was born in Palmyra, N. Y., in 1811; removed to Lenawee County, Mich., in 1835, and to Gratiot County in 1854, settling in North Star Township. He was son of Billa Franklin, who was born in 1774, and died in 1849, he being son of Col. John Franklin, prominent in the Revolutionary War, born in 1749, and died in 1831, in Athens, Penn. He was the son of John Franklin, of English ancestry.
Henry M. Miller, a well-known farmer of Seville, residing on section 15 of that township, was born in Cascade Township, Kent County, Mich., January 2, 1867. His father, Anton Miller, was born in Hesse, Germany, April 2, 1837, and came to America with his parents, Christian and Elizabeth Miller, in 1846, settling in Canada. Henry M. Miller's mother. Augusta Merkel, was born in Swartzburg, Germany, November 22, 1835. Her parents, Anton and Elizabeth (Krouse) Merkel, both died in Germany. Augusta came with her brother to Canada in 1857, and lived there until 1863, when she was married to Anton Miller and moved to Kent County, Mich., where the subject of this sketch was born.
Anton and Augusta Miller's family consisted of seven children Anna- Mrs. E. L. Bock, of Port Elgin, Ontario; Leah-Mrs. W. H. Thomas, of Shepherd, Mich.; Henry M., our subject; Edward M., deceased-murdered at St. Ignace in September, 1893; Alex E. and Alfred, of Seville, and Almina-Mrs. W. C. Perkins, of Winn, Mich. In September, 1875. they moved to Seville, where Mr. Miller still resides, Mrs. Miller having died February 27,1910.
After acquiring a common school education, Henry M. Miller began work in a shingle mill and followed that occupation-working in both the upper and lower peninsulas-until the fall of 1890 when he settled on a farm on section 11, Seville. In the fall of 1896, he bought the farm on
BY TOWNSHIPS-SEVILLE. 521
section 15, on which he still resides. He is a man who stands well in his community, as is shown by the fact that he has serve4 about 15 years as school director, and eight years as highway commissioner of his township. Energetic and industrious accommodating and helpful among his fellows, he gains many friends and retains them As evidence of his sympathetic kindness it is mentioned that at one time when a fellow-workman was disabled he took his place on the night force, working both day and night with scarcely any sleep, for six days, in order to hold the position for his friend.
Mr. Miller was married February 22, 1889, to Lorett Worthing, of Sumner Township. She was a teacher by profession. Their children are Zelma, horn August 15, 1894, and Willard Wellington, born May 27 1903. Barlow Worthing, father of Mrs. Henry M. Miller, was horn in Bakersfield, Vermont, November 29, 1812. He located in Sumner Township in 1855, helped to organize the township, and was its first supervisor. (See sketch.)
Mrs. Miller's mother, Sibyl (Kellogg) Worthing, was horn in Troy, Penn.; moved with her parents to Michigan in 1848; married to Norman Metcalf in 1851. In 1858 he died, leaving her with four children. They are-Mrs. Clara Mecomber, of Greenville; James H., deceased; Mrs. S. N. Fletcher, of Wheeler; Levi F. Metcalf, of Stony Brook. In
October 1862 Mrs. Metcalf was married to Barlow Worthing, of Sumner. Their children are-Lorett-Mrs. Miller, of Seville; Mary- Mrs. Levi Pritchard and Barlow A., both of Sumner. Barlow Worthing, the father, died December 20 1893. The mother, Mrs. Sibyl Worthing, died May 17, 1910, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Levi Pritchard, of Sumner Township.
Napoleon B. Bradley was born June 20,1838, in Sullivan County, N.Y., son of William and Harriet (Fisk) Bradley, natives of Connecticut and Vermont, respectively. At the breaking out of the Civil War he enlisted in Company H, 28th N. Y. Infantry, served about two years, was captured and spent some time in Libby prison; He was married in 1864 to Harriet, daughter of William and Jane Barton. In 1871 he came with his brother, William A., to Seville Township, settling on land where Riverdale was afterward located. He was later proprietor of the Commercial Hotel at Riverdale and was otherwise actively interested in the business and social life of the village. He was elected justice of the peace in 1887, and in 1892 was elected register of deeds, and was re-elected in 1894. He remained a resident of Ithaca after the close of his term as register, and in 1897 he was elected village president, serving acceptably one term. He was a man of genial and pleasing personality and unusually popular. Children born to Mr. and Mrs. Bradley were William, Alvin and Marion. Mr. Bradley died at his home in Ithaca, February 14, 1899.
Patrick D. Eagan died at his home in Seville, March 16, 1911, aged 89 years. He was among the earliest and best known of Seville's pioneers. His first-class standing among his townsmen is proven by the fact that he was chosen to nearly all of the important offices-township clerk twelve years, treasurer two years, supervisor two years. His son, James D., was treasurer in 1901 and '02.
Calvin B. Fisher was one of Seville's sturdy and substantial citizens. He was early on the scene, and did valiant service as a pioneer agriculturist when it took grit and perseverance. His name appears among the
522 . HISTORY OF GRATIOT COUNTY.
elect in 1857, when he was chosen as one of the justices of the peace. He died February 1, 1887, at the age of about 60 years. His widow passed away in April, 1907, at a ripe old age.
John J. Moffett was one of those who faced and braved the terrors of the Seville forests in the early '5Os. He stood well among his townsmen who elected him clerk in '65, justice in '68 and several times superintendent of schools. He died January 1, 1897, aged 88 years. His wife, Susan, died August 28, 1879, aged 68 years. Their son, William J. Moffett, was elected supervisor in 1873; 'still a respected citizen of Gratiot.
James L. Shults, still remembered by old settlers as one of Seville's tried and true pioneers, came to that township in 1854 and at once took an active part as a progressive and public-spirited citizen. That his neighbors appreciated his worth is evidenced by the fact that they repeatedly elected him to responsible positions-treasurer at the first election, and supervisor in 1866, '68, '69, '70, '71, '74 and '81. He died October 5, 1900, aged 79 years.
Thomas J. Tann was born in London, England, April 27, 1g13, son of William and Hannah (Jenkins) Tann. He came to America with his parents, and then to Oakland County, Mich., in 1839. In 1854 he came to this county, taking up land on sections 35 of Seville and 2 of Sumner, and then devoting himself to clearing up his possessions. In 1839 he was married to Mrs. Sarah C. (Truman) Lathrop. Children of this union were George J., Charles W. and Emily H. Mr. Tann was a man of superior intelligence, with positive convictions and with a tendency to maintain them against all opposition. Nevertheless he was courteous, sympathetic, and an all around good friend. He was entrusted with various local offices-school inspector, justice of the peace, etc. In 1860 he was elected a county coroner. In another place in this volume may be found an article from his pen in humorous vein, telling of an adventure when Seville was still young. Mr. Tann died November 13,1901. His wife preceded him by about 25 years, having passed away February 9, 1876.
Lucius J. Van Leuven was for many years, dating from 1854, a prominent citizen of Seville, and quite well known throughout the county. He was born September 20, 1828, in Albany County, N. Y., son of Nicholas and Mary P. (Delamater) Van Leuven. The father and mother were early settlers in Sumner Township, this county. The latter died in 1873, the former in 1875. Lucius J. located on section 3, Sumner, in 1854. In 1860 he removed to a tract of land on section 6 of Seville where he spent many years in agricultural pursuits, in lumbering and in the manufacture of lumber. He married Mrs. Mary (Delamater) Sweet. Their children were Warren, Elton, Laura, Ida and Myrtle.
Among the many other prominent citizens of Seville more or less entitled, either in the past or at the present time, to at least brief notice in this connection, the following are mentioned: Henry Boyer, who was several years supervisor in the early years; Henry Shults, for similar official reasons: also Asa N. Rockwell; Ira Amsbury; James R. Errett; George Brandell; Seely Amsbury; William Horton; Thomas H. Patterson: Francis E. French; John B. Adams; Samuel Boyer; George W. Newcomb, Greenback candidate for sheriff in 1878; C. R. Rockwell: David Hamp; Adam Oberlin; Austin Dusenbury; John S. Hildreth; Isaac Hilsinger; Ambrose McLaughlin; William and John Medler; W. D. Strong; D. Frank Abbott; Thos. S. Tallon; Lee Houck; Sylvanus Mathewson; Vincent P. Cash, Democratic candidate for representative in 1908, and for state senator in 1910; A. J. Williams; H.. B. Angell; W. A. Bradley.
BY TOWNSHIPS-SEVILLE. 523
DEATHS OF WELL-KNOWN CITIZENS.
524 HISTORY OF GRATIOT COUNTY.
BY TOWNSHIPS-SEVILLE. 525
1880, Sept. 7-Dunning's saw and shingle mill, at Riverdale, burned at 2 o'clock a.m. Mill and contents a total loss.
1881, Feb. 2-J. B. Adams' shingle mill at Riverdale burned. Loss, $3,000; no insurance.
1885, July 7-The home of Wm. J. Moffett burned with the greater part of the contents, and with no insurance.
1896, April 22-The residence of Horace B. Angell, with most of its contents, was destroyed by fire. Partially insured.
1897, Sept. 23-A destructive fire at Riverdale Thursday night at 11 :30, destroyed Delon Fleming's store and R. E. Moblo's hardware and furniture store, and some other smaller affairs. Fleming's loss was reported as $3,000, with 8500 insurance; Moblo's loss, $8,000, with $2,000 insurance.
1898, Jan. 23-Another big fire for Riverdale. Fire started in R. S. Keyes & Co.'s store, owned by J. B. Adams, and extended to W. D. Strong's livery barn, also owned by Mr. Adams, and both were destroyed; also a blacksmith shop.
1909, May 23-Fire did a lot of damage in Marlie Slingluff's store at Elwell.
1910, Feb. 2~Van Alstine Bros.' store, at Riverdale burned with loss of $5,000 and no insurance.
1911, April 3-Elwell had a destructive fire Monday morning, April 3rd, burning W. C. Pugsley's hardware store, a meat market and two other buildings. Appliances for fire-fighting are limited, and much other property was in great danger. Alma, four and a half miles away, sent its fire team with men and ladders, and an automobile made the distance in 12 minutes. The losses were stated to approximate $3,500 with $1,500 insurance.
1911, April 18-Fire made quite extensive inroads into the business section of Riverdale at 4:30 a. m., destroying Geo. Skaff's clothing store, the postoffice and jewelry store of John G. Young, and damaging the Wyeth building, occupied as a general store by McNitt & Hendee. The entire loss was estimated at $8,000, on which there was a light insurance.
1913, May 31-A disastrous fire visited Riverdale at 10 o'clock p.m., destroying the hotel and a livery barn near by on the north. The fire originated in the barn. The loss was about half covered by insurance.