AURELIUS TOWNSHIP

From History of Ingham and Eaton Counties, Michigan
By Samuel W. Durant
Published 1880 by D.W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia

EARLY SETTLEMENT

Reuben R. BULLEN
The first actual settler in this township  - or the first permanent settler, was probably Reuben R. BULLEN,* from Wayne Co., N.Y., who came to Michigan with his wife, in November, 1837, and stopped at Mason. In January, 1837, having built a house in Aurelius, on the farm where his son, James T. BULLEN, now resides, he moved into it. He had purchased the land from government when he first came (November, 1836). A man named WILSON had moved to the township before Mr. BULLEN had his house ready for occupation, and located east of the latter's place, on the farm now owned by Mrs. HASCALL. He intended to become a permanent resident of the town, but a severe felon on his finger caused him to return, in the spring of 1837, to Ann Arbor, from which place he had come. Mr. BULLEN is yet living in town, as are his four sons, - Richard J., James T., Joseph, and John. The farm originally located by Mr. BULLEN is on section 4.

*It is possible that Elijah WILCOX had settled on section 20 before Mr. BULLEN arrived, as he purchased his land April, 1836. None of his family are now left in the township)

Lewis BUTLER
settled east of Mr. BULLEN early in 1837, and lived in the township until the fall of the same year, when he removed to the village of Jefferson, in Alaiedon township. He sold his place to James TURNER, and after a time it became the property of Abram WILSON. James and Richard TURNER and Mr. WILSON were early settlers.

John and Ezekiel NILES were also among the early arrivals, John first stopping on the BUTLER place mentioned above. The families of the Messrs. NILES are all gone from the township.Squire MOON arrived considerably later, settling in the neighborhood about 1850. John WRIGHT, from near Syracuse, Onondaga Co., N.Y., settled in Aurelius in 1841, and is still a resident of the township. Michael MATTESON, still living in town, was an early settler, as was John COOK, whose sons - Matthew and Thomas - are now numbered among its citizens.

The Indians were accustomed to come in considerable numbers to Aurelius to pick huckleberries in a marsh in the northeast part of the town. The berries were sold in Mason or traded for flour, with which they made "pudding" and considered themselves living in the greatest of style. They also had numerous places for making maple sugar, and it is related that in the manufacture of the latter article they were not excessively neat, although occasionally very good sugar was brought in by them. It is even said that they would cook their meat in the sap, and then skim it and boil it down and sell it as though nothing were wrong! The Indian sugar made in portions of the State at much more recent date is probably a fair sample of that manufactured in "auld lang syne," and its quality is certainly not of the first-class.

George B. WEBB,
from Syracuse, Onondaga Co., N.Y., came to Ingham County in the fall of 1836, and in February or March, 1837, settled on section 9 in Aurelius, where he now resides. He built his cabin - twelve by fourteen feet - against three trees, which fortunately stood in the right position, setting a post for the fourth corner. The load of household goods was tipped over and somewhat damaged when being brought to the place. When Mr. WEBB first came into the county, (via Dexter) he cut his road for twelve miles. In 1837 he sowed a small piece of wheat at the west line of Aurelius, about where the village of Columbia was platted, and in the same year raised oats in what is now the central part of the city of Mason, which place when he first saw it was of little importance. Mr. WEBB was accompanied to his new home by his wife and one son, John H. WEBB, the latter now living on section 4. He was but three years of age when brought to the township. George WEBB's father, William WEBB, settled on section 9 about 1841, and died finally in the township of Delhi. Mrs. George WEBB died in 1847. Their sons, John H. and William M., both reside near the old home.

Abner POTTER,
from the State of New York, settled in Ingham township with his family in 1839. His son, Allen POTTER, now living on section 9 in Aurelius, has been a resident of the latter township over twenty years, the farm occupied by him being that formerly owned by William WEBB, Sr. Mr. POTTER's parents are both deceased.

(The Village of Columbia)
About 1836-37 the proprietors of the village plat of Mason laid out a town on Grand River at the county-line in Aurelius township, and gave it the name of Columbia. A saw-mill was built at nearly the same time with the one at Mason, and was operated for a time, but had little custom and was finally abandoned. Another was afterwards erected by a man named NORTON, and a blacksmith-shop was also built. This was all the village ever amounted to, notwithstanding its patriotic name and the hopes of its projectors. The village plat was not even recorded, at least in Ingham County.

John BARNES
The first settler in the southeast part of the township was John BARNES, from Cayuga Co., N.Y., who purchased land in September, 1836, on sections 23 and 26, and settled with his family in June, 1837, half a mile east of what is now Aurelius Centre. He was among the most prominent citizens in the township, and his sons, Orlando M., Zaccheus, and John A., have also become worthy and respected citizens. O.M. BARNES is well known throughout the State, and is now one of the most eminent lawyers of the country, and numbered among its wealthiest men. John BARNES is now deceased. Orlando M. resides in Lansing, and Zaccheus and John A. at Mason.

Robert G. HAYWARD,
with his brother, Franklin HAYWARD, and the former's three sons, Robert, Abner, and Henry, moved to Aurelius in May, 1837, from Monroe Co., Mich., the family having come from Providence, R.I., in May, 1830. Arriving in Aurelius they settled on Montgomery Plains, in the southwest part of the town. Robert G. HAYWARD died in 1866, but his brother, Franklin HAYWARD, still resides in the township. Henry HAYWARD is deceased, and Abner lives at Mount Clemens, where he is engaged in the practice of medicine, which he began before leaving Aurelius. Robert HAYWARD removed to Aurelius Centre in 1856, where he now resides, and where for a few years he was engaged in the boot and shoe business.

From the records of the
Ingham County Pioneer Society:

Joseph WILSON,
born in Yorkshire, England, came to Michigan, May 20, 1837, and in October, 1840, settled in the township of Aurelius. His wife, who accompanied him, was a native of Rutland Co., Vt.

John M. FRENCH,
born in Essex Co., N.J., in 1798, settled on section 31, in the township of Aurelius, April 29, 1838. During the first ten years of their residence in the county Mr. and Mrs. FRENCH lost three of their children.

Joseph L. HUNTINGTON,
whose death occurred at Mason, March 19, 1874, was born at Hinesburg, Vt., Nov. 16, 1800. His father, Deacon Jonathan HUNTINGTON, died at St. Albans, Vt., in 1856, aged seventy-eight years. Mr. HUNTINGTON, who was a tanner by trade, removed to Ludlowville, Tompkins Co., N.Y., in 1832, and in the spring of 1838 "he removed to Aurelius, Ingham Co., and engaged in the business of a tanner, in connection with that of shoemaking, which he followed for about five years, when he entered upon the business of clearing up and improving a new farm in the same town. In 1846 he was elected to the office of sheriff of this county, and being re-elected in 1848, he removed to Mason, and became the keeper of the first jail built in the county."*

After the location of the capital at Lansing, Mr. HUNTINGTON was appointed one of three commissioners to appraise and fix the minimum prices of the lots on section 16, where the city of Lansing had been platted. After removing to Mason, Mr. HUNTINGTON was identified with its business interests for twenty-five years, and was a prominent citizen of the county for thirty-six years. His wife died at Mason in 1862, and he afterwards (1863) married Miss Caroline ROYCE, who died in 1870. Several of his children are at present residing in Mason. George M. HUNTINGTON is the present judge of the Circuit Cort; Charles G. HUNTINGTON is engaged in mercantile business; and Collins D. HUNTINGTON has been for years engaged in various manufacturing enterprises.

*Mr. Huntington's son, Collins D. Huntington, now of Mason, slept in the jail for three weeks, in December, 1848, and kept a fire to dry the walls, in order that the family might sooner move in.

Alfred PARKER,
a native of Wyoming Co., N.Y., located at Leoni, Jackson Co., Mich., in May, 1837, and the same year purchased land near the site of Lansing. In May, 1847, he removed to Ingham County, and settled in the township of Aurelius. Some time in the same year his wife made a trip through the woods with an ox-team, via Lansing, to a place in Clinton County, thirty-five miles away. Mr. PARKER says: "My first labor in this State was holding a plow drawn by seven yokes of oxen, and camping in the woods nights and building smudges to keep off mosquitos. Hunted deer and wild turkeys; also turned out and searched for the lost boy, Ami FILLEY, in 1837, in the town of Leoni, Jackson Co."

AURELIUS CENTRE

The first settler at this place was Enoch HOWE, now of Lansing, who lived on the corners which have long bore his name. The locality of HOWE's Corners" is better known to many than "Aurelius Centre," notwithstanding the same place bears both names. Mr. HOWE was the first postmaster at the place, the post-office being known as Aurelius. William ABRAMS also held the position for some time. The present incumbent is B.W. STARK, who came to the place in 1860.

In 1856 a dwelling was built at the Centre by Robert HAYWARD, and was afterwards converted into a store; it is now occupied by B.W. STARK. A second building was erected for the purpose of a store in 1870 by R. and F. HAYWARD, and is now owned by the latter. Robert HAYWARD erected the greater portion of buildings at the place. In 1857-58, the large frame hotel now owned by Nelson ISHAM was built by William ABRAMS.

The Centre now contains two stores, three blacksmith-shops, a wagon-shop, a hotel, a millinery-shop, and two physicians, Drs. G.W. SWARTWOUT and Thomas W. STITTS, the latter formerly of Chicago, having come here from Detroit, in 1878.

Aurelius Lodge, No. 274, I.O.O.F., was instituted Feb. 8, 1876. Dr. G.W. SWARTWOUT was the first Noble Grand. The lodge-rooms are situated over F. HAYWARD's store. The present membership of the lodge (September, 1880) is about forty, and the officers are: William GILMORE, Noble Grand; Z. DOLBEE, Vice-Grand; Cohan KING, Rec. Sec; Henry RAHN, Per. Sec.; Theodore STRATTON, Treas.

ORIGINAL LAND ENTRIES
(Link to Page)

1844 TAXPAYER LIST

John BARNES J.G. BUMP L.A. HEATH
Ransom HAZLETON D.H. WIGHTMAN B.B. ROBINSON
L. PRATT O.C. ROBINSON J. WILLOUGHBY
William POTTER John COOK M. MATTESON
J. MATTESON William ISHAM A. WAGGONER
Z. BARNES J.F. FREEMAN J. ROBINSON
B. HAZLETON, Jr. E.S. HOWE J.E. HUNT
L. MILES William L.P. HAZLETON H.H. FREEMAN
J.H. HENDEE S. BOND D. OAKS
J.S. COVERT Henry KENNEDY P. WHITFORD
M. VAUGHAN William WHITTER John WRIGHT
Joseph BULLEN DUNN & HOLLY William WEBB
 George B. WEBB Winslow TURNER J. SNYDER
John NILES A. WILSON William WEBB, Jr.
R.R. BULLEN E. RANNEY R.G. HAYWARD
F. HAYWARD J.C. STEDMAN John M. FRENCH
D. SOUTHWORTH John MONTGOMERY Joseph L. HUNTINGTON
A.B. AMESBURY John BUNKER John BUNKER, Jr.
M. McROBERT R.B. AMES D.M. IRONS
T. STRONG William ARTHUR George WILCOX
E. WILCOX L.H. FOWLER Jonathan FOWLER

RELIGIOUS

Baptist Church, Aurelius Centre.
from the records of this church is taken the following account of its organization:

"Aurelius, May 1, 1847.

"At a regular notified meeting of baptized persons, for the purpose of forming a church, proceeded to business.

"1st. Voted, That Elder GROUT serve as moderator.
"2d. Voted, that E. SMITH serve as clerk, pro tem.
3d. Resolved, That we form ourselves into a society known as the First Baptist Conference of Aurelius.

J. BARNES William ISHAM M.A. BARNES
J.H. HENDEE S. BOND D. HOWE
C.J. ROLFE Mrs. C. ROLFE C. PEEK
E.S. HOWE E.J. HOWE

"5th. Voted , That J. BARNES serve the Conference as Deacon.
"6th. Voted, That C.J. ROLFE serve as clerk of the Conference.
"7th. Resolved, That the Conference have covenant-meetings in four weeks from the above date, at one o'clock P.M., and at the expiration of each four weeks thereafter.
"8th. Resolved, That we adopt, as the summary of our faith and practice, the articles recommended by the Baptist State Convention.
"9th. Resolved, That all members received hereafter into this Conference shall be by the unanimous vote of the Conference.
"10th. Resolved, That we observe the Institution of the Lord's Supper each Sunday following our covenant meetings.
"11th. Resolved, That the Conference authorize the clerk, in behalf of the Conference, to give Elder GROUT a recommend, setting forth his ministerial character and labors in this vicinity.
"12th. Adjourned four weeks; one o'clock P.M.

Meetings were first held in the school-house. Elders D. HENDEE and ___ FREEMAN preached at different times. A reorganization was effected Jan. 12, 1849, by Elder D. HENDEE, with twelve members, and on the 30th of the same month, at a council convened at the BARNES school-house for the purpose, the church was regularly recognized. Elder HENDEE continued as pastor until early in 1850. Elder B. HILL was secured in April, 1850, and remained until April, 1853. The Baptist Churches of Aurelius and Onondaga united May 20, 1854, under the name of the "Aurelius and Onondaga Church," with a membership, as consolidated, of thirty-two. Rev. S.P. TOWN was then pastor. He was followed by Elder E.K. GROUT, who was in charge from 1855 to early 1859, and in April of the latter year Elder George BRIDGE was secured as pastor, his services continuing until February, 1861. Elder H.B. SHEPHERD became pastor in 1862, and resigned April 18, 1863. In the fall of the same year Elder Samuel P. TOWN was engaged, and was dismissed by letter May 14, 1864. Elder J.B. ALLYN was pastor from Sept. 15, 1867, until January, 1869, and Elder John GUNDERMAN from August, 1869, to August, 1870. Succeeding the latter was Elder A. McLEARN, from October, 1870, to April 14, 1872. Elder H.B. FULLER came in the latter part of 1872, and remained until May, 1874. Elder M.J. DUNBAR had charge from Aug. 29, 1874, to Aug. 4, 1877, when he resigned, but remained until November of that year. He is now pastor of the Baptist Church at Kinneyville (Winfield), in Onondaga township, and preaches also to the Congregationalists at Onondaga. The present pastor of the church at Aurelius is Elder J.R. MONROE, who came in December, 1879. The membership of the church, Sept. 14, 1880, was 204, and the Sunday-school has an attendance of about 100, with William FANSON as superintendent. About 1870 the name of the church was changed to the "First Baptist Church of Aurelius." The frame house of worship owned by the society was built in 1866-67, and dedicated Oct. 3, 1867, by Elder PORTMAN.

In the BULLEN and WEBB neighborhood, in the north part of town, the first meetings were held by Rev. Mr. FINCH, who lived at the DUBOIS settlement in Alaiedon. He was accustomed to come in every morning from his home on foot, preach once or twice and return the same day, saying he must "get home and attend to the chores." He preached in the log house of William WEBB, Sr., soon after 1841, and was a Methodist. The Baptists have also held meetings in the neighborhood for many years, and as early as 1850-55, Elders HENDEE and FULLER, from Mason, preached in the locality. During the present season (1880) a neat frame Union church has been erected on the southeast corner of section 4, by the Methodists and Baptists, at a cost of about $1800, and the two denominations alternate in holding meetings, the pastors coming from Mason.

Meeting-houses have also been erected on the west side of town, one on section 19 and another on section 31, and meetings are now held in them principally by the Methodists. The church on section 31 is maintained by people of various religious beliefs, and meetings have been held in the neighborhood for a considerable number of years by pastors of different denominations. Both buildings are frame, and the societies or classes are small.

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