From History of Ingham and Eaton Counties, Michigan
by Samuel W. Durant
Published 1880 by D.W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia
She welcomed with great joy the presence of the next settler, for she had not seen the face of a white woman for eight months. Mr. MEECH raised the first crop of corn grown in the township. He used frequently to carry grain to the mill for neighbors, which would generally require a week to go and return, the time having been much lengthened by the bad roads and swollen streams which had to be forded.
Many instances of wolf-trapping and bear-hunting might be mentioned in which Mr. MEECH took an active part, the bounty on the former offered by the State having materially aided the settlers in their early struggles. Mr. MEECH died on the land he entered, in 1876. His wife survives, and resides on the homestead, where she entertains her friends with many interesting tales of pioneer life.
The earliest birth in the township occurred at the house of Ephraim MEECH, that of Nancy TOBIAS, daughter of an early settler, and who afterwards became Mrs. GORTON, of Leroy.
With him came his wife and seven children, but two of whom now reside in this township. The family remained in Wayne County while a log shanty was being built, to which they removed, cutting the woods before them as they advanced. Five weeks were consumed in making the journey from Illinois to Wayne County. James ROSECRANCE and Ephraim MEECH were already located, the former having been the nearest neighbor.
Mr. LEE was formerly a merchant, and having been unfortunate in trade came to Michigan to find a home, and, if possible, recover his lost fortune.
Many hardships were endured, and the outlook was at times discouraging, A journey of forty miles to Owosso was frequently made for milling purposes, and the oxen were shod at a cost of twenty-five miles of travel. Often on these journeys, Mr. LEE had no boots, and his feet were clothed in rags sewed on tightly. Mrs. LEE was the happy possessor of a bonnet - the only one in the township - which was loaned over the whole neighborhood, and did duty for many years. It was a most accommodating bonnet, and would array itself in sober apparel with black streamers and assume an aspect of deep dejection on funeral occasions, while the various hues of the rainbow were not a circumstance to its bright colors at wedding festivities.
The first marriage was performed at the house of Squire LEE (his daughter, Rebecca Jane, having been united to Cyrenus KINTER), to which all the neighbors were invited.
The earliest religious services were also held here, Rev. Hiram T. FERO having been the officiating clergyman. Among other early preachers were Rev. Alfred B. KINNE and Elder BENTLEY.
The earliest physician who practiced in the township was Dr. WHITCOMB, of Wheatfield. Dr. McROBERT, of Mason, was also summoned in cases requiring additional skill.
The first death that occurred was that of a Mrs. CARMER, who settled on section
28, and died in her own log house in 1839. Mrs. MEECH kindly nursed her during
her illness. A clergyman from Dexter preached the funeral sermon, only six
settlers having been present.
Levi and George ROUSE
Mr. ALCHIN now has a spacious residence upon his land, which is cleared and well improved. James ALCHIN came with his brother and settled upon the same section, but at a later date removed to Shiawassee County.
Levi C. DEAN
Robert COLE and Nathaniel PAMMENT
Alfred F. HORTON,
Among other early settlers who assisted in rendering the township lands valuable by their labor were Harley BEMENT, on section 24; Joshua BAKER, on section 22; H.M. WOOD, on section 23; Thomas MEDBERRY, on section 18; M. BENNETT, on section 29; Calvin WILSON, on section 24; James DeFOREST, on section 7; John MURRAY, on sections 6 and 7; Alva JONES and Nathan JONES, on section 23; Alonzo HOOKER, on section 15, and Luther BROWN, on section 24.
Silas ALGER at an early date purchased land on sections 5 and 6, where he
located a saw-mill.* Circumstances influenced him to remove to section 10,
where he again built a saw-mill, which he conducted for some years, and then
removed to Salt Lake. On the death of Mr. ALGER, Mr. H.P. WEBBER, his son-in-law,
became administrator of the property, and managed the mill, in addition to
which he opened a store. A post-office was located at this point by the
government, which was known as Webberville. On the completion of the railroad
an effort was made to establish a village here, but a stronger influence
decided its location at the point where the present village of Webberville
now stands, on section 11, where it occupies a portion of the southeast and
northeast quarters of the section.
The school building of the district was formerly located three-quarters of a mile west, but a new and commodious structure was erected in the village in 1876, which is occupied as a graded school. Marcus P. SWEET and Miss LANE are the instructors.
* The mill, at what is now known as "Podunk," was erected about 1851, for the purpose of cutting timber for the plank-road then building between Howell and Lansing.
1844 RESIDENT TAXPAYERS
The first meeting for the purpose of electing officers after township No. 3 north, of range 2 east, had become an independent township, known as Leroy, was held on the 16th day of June, 1840, at the house of Isaac COLEMAN. The ballots having being cast and counted, the following officers were declared elected: Supervisor, Levi ROWLEY; Township Clerk, Oren DANA; Treasurer, Isaac COLEMAN; Justices of the Peace, Oren DANA, Daniel TOBIAS, Ephraim MEECH; Assessors, Daniel C. WILCOX, Daniel TOBIAS; Highway Commissioners, Daniel C. WILCOX, Isaac COLEMAN, W. DAVIS; School Inspectors, Ephraim MEECH, Henry LEE, Levi ROWLEY; Directors of the Poor, Oren DANA, Henry LEE; Collector, D.C. WILCOX; Constables, Daniel C. WILCOX, Levi ROWLEY.
The following is a list of township officers to the year 1880:
J. R. DART's Steam Saw-Mill
This enterprise was established in 1872 by its present owner, who
erected the mills for the purpose of utilizing the hardwood
of the vicinity. It is provided with an engine of seventy horse-power,
which gives the mill a capacity of 20,000 feet per day, or 6,000,000
feet per year, which is principally shipped to Detroit. In addition, 30,000
barrels per year are manufactured, for which a ready market
is found in Chicago.*
The Detroit Furnace Company erected during the present year extensive charcoal-pits, for the manufacture of that commodity, adjacent to the village. Fifty cords of wood per day are transformed into forty-five bushels of charcoal. This is shipped to Detroit and consumed in the company's extensive furnaces.
Egbert KEELER is the proprietor of a flouring-mill, which is managed by William BURCH. It is conveniently located and devoted principally to custom work.
A season of decline was then experienced, and for years services were abandoned or held at long intervals. A revival occurred with the ministry of Elder HILL, and under the ministry of Rev. J.W. HENRY a church edifice was erected at a cost of $1250; the building committee were Messrs. LLOYD, ALCHIN, BEASAN, PAMMENT, and William TAYLOR, the latter of whom was awarded the contract for construction. The church was begun in 1879 and dedicated July 17, 1880, with impressive ceremonies. It is located at Webberville. The present trustees are James MONROE, Nathaniel PAMMENT, and Edmund ALCHIN. Rev. J.W. HENRY is the pastor. A Union Sabbath-school, under the auspices of the Baptist and Methodist Episcopal denominations, is held each Sabbath, with Daniel KINGSBURY as superintendent.
A class of the Methodist Episcopal Church holds its meetings in the school-house at Webberville. They are increasing in strength and numbers at a rate sufficient to warrant the erection of a church edifice at an early day. The minister sent to Webberville by the Conference of 1880 is Rev. L.H. HOUGHTON.
The church was organized under the ministry of Rev. Casimir B. LUDWIG, of Williamston, who is the present pastor. Services are held in the LEE school building, and a flourishing Sabbath-school has been organized with about sixty scholars and a well-selected library of 200 volumes. The society is sufficiently prosperous to warrant the erection of an edifice in 1881.
SOCIETIES and ORDERS
Belle Oak Lodge, No. 178, I.O.O.F.
Edson Lodge No. 1461, Knights of Honor
Cedar Lodge, No. 25, Daughters of Rebekah
Leroy Lodge, No. 84, Independent Order of Good Templars
A flourishing grange exists in Leroy, with a constantly increasing membership. A commodious hall has been erected, in which their meetings are regularly held.
Return to Ingham