ALFRED WISE One of the prominent men in the city of Lansing, Ingham County, who has been active in encouraging industries of intrinsic worth to the city, as well as the upbuilding and perfecting of
older institutions, is the gentleman whose portrait appears on the opposite page. By parentage, birth and education he is an Englishman. The place of his nativity was the county of Kent, England, and his natal day December 20, 1827. He received his
education in England and came to the United States in 1849, first locating in New York City. Thence
he went to Ohio and in 1856 came to this city and made a permanent location, engaging as a contractor and builder.
Mr. Wise is the President of the Union Building
& Loan Association and also President of the city water works during their construction and for three years after their completion. Considering the age of the place he is an old settler here and taking into account his energy has accomplished a very great deal for the city. At an early day he was connected with the building of many of the prominent edifices in the city, turning his attention to that line until 1889. In the meantime the greater portion of his time was given to the erecting of mills for the making of sash, doors and blinds and also planing mills.
When our subject came to Lansing it was a mere village, not being organized as a city until
1868. After its incorporation as a city Mr. Wise held a number of minor offices. He was for three terms elected as Alderman for the Fifth Ward, each term being for two years. When the water works were erected in 1885 our subject was elected President and maintained this position, being also General Superintendent of Construction for three years. A standpipe one hundred and twenty feet in height was built. He also superintended the putting in of the mains on the principal streets, which entailed an expenditure of a large amount of money.
Socially Mr. Wise is a member of the Masonic order, in Lodge No. 33, of Lansing. He married Miss Elizabeth Whitefield of Kent, England, their wedding being celebrated May 13, 1849. Two children, who are still living, are the fruit of this marriage. They are Samuel Lord, who is an artist in this city, and William W., who is engaged in the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds in Chicago,
Ill. Mr. Wise is an ardent Prohibitionist, its principles, having, been his for many years. He was one of the organizers of that party in this State and never fails to use his influence in this direction. The honor has been
paid our subject of a nomination to the Mayoralty of the city. He has, however,
declined to serve in this capacity, his private affairs consuming all his time. He has, however,
acted upon the Board of Health and in this capacity has done efficient work. Mr. Wise is a
man of fine literary tastes and is the owner of a large and well
selected library that comprises the Works of the standard English and American writers. His beautiful home is located on Townsend Street, opposite Central Park, one of the finest locations in
the city and the house in itself is perfect in all its appointments and furnishing.
The Union Building & Loan
Association of which our subject is President was organized June 1, 1886, with a capital stock of $1,000,000. Our subject as one of its most active organizers was elected
its first President, the other officers being Nelson Bradley who is Treasurer and Mr. R. A. Clark, who held the position of Secretary for two Years. He was followed by Mr. E.
I. Foster who held the position for one year. The present incumbent of the position is
H. D. Bartholomew, who has been Secretary for two years Their place of business is located on Michigan Avenue and they have a most satisfactory and prosperous local business.
"moulders of public opinion" in Michigan are a class of men of whom the State may well feel proud, as
they have shown themselves citizens of value and helpers in every plan for promoting the
progress and welfare of the State. Even the younger members of the newspaper fraternity in the Wolverine State while they have not had the experience
and perhaps do not possess the sagacity, of their older brothers, do evince a spirit of enterprise and
a hearty good will which is a positive factor in the development of our resources and a stimulus to
The editor of the Leslie Local was born in Tompkins Township, Jackson County, Mich., October 20, 1835. His worthy parents, George and Roann (Bannister) Gould, were natives of New York who came to Michigan in early days. George Gould
was only ten years old when he arrived here in 1835 and the young girl who was destined to become
his wife was brought there by her parents in 1837. In Tompkins Township they grew to maturity,
met, loved and wedded and there they still live, being in comfortable circumstances they have farmed all
their lives, beginning with nothing and gaining their excellent farm by their own efforts. Our subject's father was attached to the Republican party until Peter Cooper originated the Greenback party, since which time
he has been a Greenbacker and a labor man. For several terms he has served his fellow citizens as Justice of the
Peace and he is a prominent member of the Masonic order, the Odd Fellows and, the Grangers. Three children constituted his household: Edgar, Bert and
Upon his father's farm young Gould grew to manhood taking his schooling in the district school of Tompkins Township, Jackson County, coming to Leslie, Ingham County to take his High School course. In
1883 he entered the office of the Leslie Local and there he learned the printer's trade, preparing himself practically and thoroughly for the work which
he now has in hand. For about two years he read law in the office of F. C. Woodworth but before being admitted to the bar
an opening presented itself for him to become the proprietor of the Local
and he at once seized this opportunity which was directly in the line of his inclinations and became the proprietor and editor of' this paper. His first connection with the
Local in this way was in the fall of 1886 as he entered into partnership with Mr. Woodworth but
he subsequently purchased the entire paper.
Mr. Gould is independent in politics and his paper is of the same stripe.
He has worked up a good circulation and has brought himself unaided to the excellent position which
he now holds. Besides this newspaper business he finds time to attend to the duties of his office as Village Clerk.
He has reached the third degree in the Free and Accepted Masons and belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
A happy home life opened before our subject, when he was united in marriage December 9. 1886, with Miss Nellie Austin, of Leslie, a native of Leslie Township, and a daughter of Thomas Austin,
and his happiness has been clouded only by the death of their one child, little Jay, who was born October 15, 1887, and died July 12, 1890. Mr. Gould gives promise of becoming one of the most useful citizens not only of Leslie but also of Ingham County.
MICHAEL J. MURRAY. He of whom we write is Mayor of the beautiful city of Mason, the county seat of Ingham County, this State. He is also station agent on the Michigan Central road. He has been elected to his present high position in the municipality, not because of monied influence, but because of fitness for the place that he occupies. It is fitting that the town should place in its highest offices those who by birth have the interests of the locality most at heart, and as our subject is
a native of this State, he naturally takes a pride in its welfare that an alien would not readily feel. He was born at Battle Creek, Mich., April 18, 1847, and is the son of John and Anna (McGraw) Murray, natives of Ireland, who came to this State and settled in Ann Arbor where they were married. The mother came hither to Ann Arbor on the first railroad train that ever ran into the city.
Mr. Murray's boyhood days were spent on a farm in Livingston County which his parents had purchased upon coming into this State. He received a good
common-school education, educational advantages being a feature to which the young State early devoted herself to perfecting as fully as possible. He remained at home until
twenty-three years of age and then began to do for himself. Having in his young manhood suffered intensely from rheumatism,
he was induced to abandon farming and went to Toronto, Canada, at which place he attended a school of telegraphy, after which, being an expert operator, he went into an office in
Howell, Livingston County, Mich., where he finished his practical course, and became a night operator, holding this position for about one year.
On removing to Metamora, Lapeer County, Mich. our subject became station agent, in which place he remained for three years in the employ of the Michigan Central railroad. He then removed to Colwell, where he remained for one year, then again moved to North Lansing, being at that place chief clerk for the Michigan Central for a period of three years. While there
he was married to Miss Anna L. Merriam, a daughter of John and Sara Merriam. She was born in Green Bay, Green Bay County, Wis., September 16,1849. Their marriage took place October 23, 1875. Three years later, Mr. Murray moved to Mason, where he has ever since had the position of station agent.
Our subject has a fine residence property at the corner of Oak and B. Street, worth $2500. The home is comfortable and attractive and is charmingly located and surrounded by a beautiful lawn and fine shade trees.
Mr. Murray is a Democrat in his political faith and following, but has never interested himself in politics. The post that he now holds was unsought and unsolicited, his party making him a candidate for the
Mayorality, and he has filled the position to the best of his ability since that time, having been re-elected for the third time, and receiving the compliment and
honor the last time of a greater majority than at either preceding elections. Mr. Murray has ever been ready out of his means and substance to help those in trouble or need, making the gift a gracious one by the kind and sympathetic words that accompanied it. He has never been able to lay by any amount of this world's goods because of the fact that he has always found some one who needed what was not necessary to himself.
REV. CHARLES H. BEALE, pastor of the
Plymouth Congregational Church of Lansing, Ingham County, is a man of high
attainments. Of a finely and delicately balanced nature, spiritually and morally, he has
always taken the highest stand. A man of fine education and good address, he is fitted as an
orator to perfect the good work that
his example as a Christian sets before his people. Besides engaging in pastoral work
he is Secretary of the Beacon Publishing Company, is editor of the paper entitled
The Beacon, which is a journal devoted to the interests and growth of
the Congregational churches in the State of Michigan.
Our subject was born in Patchogue, L. I., N. Y.
August 20, 1854. His father was Prof. David B. Beale, also a native of the same place with our subject, as was his wife. The Beales came from England about 1700.
Our subject's paternal grandfather, William Beale, was a farmer in Long Island and there died in 1855. Prof. Beale,
our subject's father, was a teacher and was the greater portion of his life employed in educational work.
He was Superintendent of a number of schools, but his distinction as an educator was attained at the private academy of which
he was President at Northport, L. I. It was called Hillside Seminary. When a young man in the early part of 1862
he enlisted as a Sergeant in Company I, of the One Hundred and Thirty-ninth New York Infantry and was
in the campaign of the James River, when his health failed. He received his discharge while yet in hospital after two years' service and
on returning to his home continued conducting his private school. The last four years of his life
he had to retire from active duty, and made his home with our subject. He died July 4,
1876 at a picnic, immediately after his son had delivered an address having strained himself in getting into a wagon to return home. For many
years he was an active member of the Congregational Church and officiated as a lay preacher.
Our subject's mother was previous to her marriage, Miss Esther Hallock and born in Smithtown, L.
I. She was a daughter of Thomas Hallock, a native of the same locality and was descended
from Peter Hallock, said to be the first white settler from Connecticut
on Long Island. They trace their ancestry to the founders of the New Haven Colony and back to England. Thomas Hallock was a farmer and a well-informed and able man. Mrs. Beale resides with
her sons. Our subject's father had been married previous to his union with the present Mrs. Beale and by that
marriage he was the father of six children. The second marriage resulted in the birth of four children, our subject being the second one of these. Two of the brothers of the family served through the Civil War, one having been made a Lieutenant,
another enlisting at sixteen and serving throughout the war.
The original of this sketch received the greater part of his education under his father,
graduating at the Hillside Academy when eighteen years of age. He then assisted his father in the charge or the school by becoming
one of the teachers and afterward was called to the position of Principal of the Bayport school, where
he remained for two years. While there he was licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal Church, having joined that body in 1876
as a probationer and in 1880 uniting with that body in full membership. In 1875 he became pastor at Good Ground, L. I., and remained there for two
years. He was the incumbent of his next charge for three years and then went to Rockville Center where
he remained for one year. The next year he was pastor of the Carroll Park Church in Brooklyn and in 1882
he withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal Church and came to Michigan where
he joined the Congregational Association. He organized the church at Cadillac, Mich., and erected an edifice there.
In the spring of 1886, he became pastor of the Plymouth Church, Lansing. In 1888 he was one of the number to organize the Beacon Publishing Company which had originally been published in Detroit.
Removing the business to Lansing it has since been carried on in this city.
He is the Secretary of the company and editor of the organ which has changed its form from a folio to a quarto journal. It is a weekly paper which enjoys a good circulation, having increased from two thousand to thirty-five hundred since
he has had charge.
Mr. Beale is a member of the Executive Committee
on home missions of the State of Michigan, being Secretary of this committee.
In fact every good work that promises to help humanity appeals to his large and generous heart. The Rev.
Mr. Beale's first marriage took place at Rowayton, Conn., June 11, 1880, at which time
he was united to Miss Mary E. Smith. She died in Rockville (379)
Center, leaving to her bereaved husband one child, a son, Arthur S. His second marriage was made with Miss Lucy M. Reeve, who is a native of
Long Island and a daughter of the Rev. B. F. Reeve, a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church. The marriage of our subject and his wife was solemnized at Sag Harbor,
L. I., in 1887. Mr. Beale is independent in polities, believing it not only right but
polite to vote for the man best fitted to fill the office in question rather than a man who is the
tool of unscrupulous politicians.
Since coming to Lansing our subject has had a call from the Congregational Church at Madison,
Wis., but prefers to remain here, feeling that he has work of the highest importance at Michigan's capital City.
TOBIAS. Happy is the man who
has lived a long life that has been characterized by uprightness of purpose, integrity of
principle and whose high mental and moral standing is gratefully recognized by his
fellowmen. Such a man is James Tobias and the publisher of this ALBUM would fail of their purpose
of recording lives that have been useful and worthy of note were they to omit mention of his
successful career. Ingham County proudly claims him as one of her best
and most enterprising citizens, and he is the fortunate owner of two hundred
acres on section 26, Lansing Township. By a proper rotation of crops, the land has been brought to a
high degree of cultivation, while various buildings have been erected such as best subserve the purposes of agriculture.
The parents of Mr. Tobias were Julius and Laura Tobias, natives of the State of Ohio. Their
son James was born in Medina County, that State, October 25, 1832, and at
the early age of three years he was orphaned by the death of his mother.
He was then given to the care of Mrs. Simon Van Osdall, who was always devoted and kind to him.
He attended school, acquiring a common-school education and during the intervals of
study assisted his foster father on the farm. At the age of sixteen
years he was apprenticed to learn the trade of a blacksmith and after the term of
his apprenticeship had expired he followed his trade until 1860.
On December 6, 1855, Mr. Tobias and Miss Jane Buchanan were united in marriage; the bride was a daughter of John Buchanan, of Ashland County, Ohio. She died in 1872 leaving three children, who are still
living, John J. married Mattie Foster and resides in Williamston, Mich.; Rachel Adella became the wife of Adelbert Moore and also makes her home in Williamston; Ida M. is single and is a teacher by profession, although at present she is an art student. After remaining a widower until 1880 Mr. Tobias was happily wedded on June 28 to his present wife, whose maiden name was Esther J. Mead. She was the widow of Austin Barker. Her father was a native of the State of New York. This estimable lady presides with dignity over the elegant home of her husband and by her gracious ways wins friends of all who meet her.
The career of Mr. Tobias is certainly worthy of
emulation, as he started in life without a dollar and by persistent industry has attained to
a comfortable competency. His farm being only one and one-half miles from
the city limits of Lansing is very valuable property, furnishing at the same time all
the advantages of city life and the comforts of a rural abode. In political matters
he adheres to the principles of the Democratic party and ranks high in the councils of his party. Socially
he belongs to the Royal Arcanum, and Lodge No. 33, F. & A. M. of Lansing.
CORTLAND B. STEBBINS. Prominent among
the manufacturing men of Lansing is the
gentleman whose name we have just given. He is Vice-President of the Lansing Wheelbarrow
Works, and an old and honored resident of this city, to which he came in 1857. He was born in Williamstown Orange County, Vt., February 17, 1812,
and is the son of Bliss Stebbins, a native of Massachusetts who went to Vermont when young, and
married Miss Betsey Cole, of Clermont, N.Y. He was by occupation during the latter years of his
life, what was then known as a clothier--that is, he made a business of dressing cloth that
had been woven by farmers. His death took place in 1826, and he left a family of five children. The only one now living besides our subject is Francis R., who is a leading dealer in carpets and general house furnishing goods
at Adrian, Mich. A good education was given to his children by this faithful father and every opportunity that lay in his power given them to become proficient in the best branches of learning.
When fourteen years of age our subject was as competent to teach, except for government, as any teacher in that part of the country, but after this he took a few terms at an academy. Before he was twenty-one he began writing for papers, bringing out both prose and poetry, but not being able to complete his education, he apprenticed himself to a cabinet-maker and became an accomplished workman in four years.
The year after reaching his majority Mr. Stebbins received an office under the Speaker of the House of Legislature which
he held for four years under succeeding administrations. It was a
peculiar way in which he came into this office, as he had not planned to make an effort in that direction but a report got abroad the day before Legislature met that he was a candidate for the office of messenger to the Governor and Council, upon the
anti-Masonic ticket. He was much surprised, but upon due consideration concluded he might as well run to the office, for if he did not he would get the credit of being defeated, and so he made a short but gallant run for the place and received it. Mr. L. B. Vilas, father of Secretary Vilas of Wisconsin was at that time Secretary to the Governor and
he and the Governor both gave their influence for the young man. After holding this position for four years
he decided to go West, and as West in those days was not as near the Pacific as it is now he settled at Buffalo, N.Y. in the fall of 1836, and for several months studied law there.
In 1837 Mr. Stebbens was united in marriage with Susan E. Burley of Salem, Mass., and soon
after marriage they came to Michigan and made their home in Adrian, where Mr. Stebbins went into the furniture business, in which for several years
he was associated with his brother. In 1844 he began editing the Michigan
Expositor, a Whig paper which he carried on for four years and part of that time conducted a weekly temperance paper. Previous to the election of Taylor and Fillmore he was the first man in the United States to place the name of Fillmore at the head of his columns as candidate for the Presidency. During that administration, and after Fillmore came into power through the death of Mr. Taylor, Mr. Stebbins became Special Agent of the Postoffice Department by appointment under Fillmore and in order to attend to the duties of that position he sold out the furniture business to his brother and served in the Postoffice Department until the close of Fillmore's administration.
After he had closed his official duties, his wife, who had been his companion for many years, died in 1854, and by his next marriage he was united with Miss Eliza Smith of Adrian. In the year of 1857 he removed to Lansing to edit the Lansing
Republican, and July 1, 1858, he entered the office of Public Instruction, being the Deputy
Superintendent of Public Instruction, which position he held for twenty years under five different superintendents. After leaving that office he retired from active life and contented himself with the general oversight of business.
He of whom we write was one of the original members of the company which organized the Wheelbarrow Works, being an original stockholder and Director and the Vice-President from its inception,
his son being also Superintendent for several years. This business has been excellently managed and has been subject to steady growth until it now ranks among the largest institutions of the kind in the country.
He is also a stockholder in the Lansing National Bank, as well as in the gas works. In 1865 he purchased the property at No.
219, Capitol Avenue, N., and has remodeled and rebuilt this residence until he now has a beautiful and commodious home which is an ornament to that part of the city. His wife died in the winter of 1888, loving three children.
They were named, Arthur C., who is Superintendent of the Wheelbarrow Works; Susan
E. and Bliss, who is now
traveling for the company and is about twenty-five years of age. During the activity of the Mechanics Mutual Protection Society
he was a member of that body and ever since his early youth he has been identified with the Congregational Church.
He has always been a strong advocate of temperance measures and is willing
at any time to aid in promoting measures which look to the moral and
business upbuilding of' Lansing.
ALBERT BROWN. Among the farmers of White Oak Township, we are pleased to mention the gentleman whose name we
given, who is a native of Ingham Township, Ingham County, where he was born in 1844.
He is of English parentage, his father, H. W. Brown, having been born September 19,1811, in Great Britain, whence
he removed to New York and afterward to Michigan making his home in Oakland County. In the family there were six children, equally divided between sons and daughters. His wife, Jane Burgess, was American by birth, New York being her native State and she was there born February 27, 1818. Her marriage with
Mr. Brown took place January 12, 1837.
To these parents were born two daughters and three sons, namely: Elizabeth, who was born January 22, 1838, and married C. P. Osborn and is the mother of four children. Samuel E. was born October 9, 1839, and married Addie
Hibbs, who has one child and resides in the State of Washington; Emily J., was born March 25, 1842, and also lives in Washington, and
our subject, who was the fourth in order of age and was born March 22,1844, while the youngest brother, Joseph E., whose birth occurred August 24,
1850, is established in a home of his own with a wife whose maiden name was Minnie Putnam.
Mr. Brown was born March 22, 1844. He married Miss S.
I. Lowe, and to them was born upon the 11th of May, 1868, a son, Edward
J. Brown. Our subject is a man who is universally respected as an honorable farmer and business man.
He and his family belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church and are active in
service in its behalf, being ever ready to lend a hand to building up its interests.
J. Brown, the grandfather of our subject, was born in England,
November 2, 1787, and was united in marriage October 10, 1809, with Ann
Ward, who was born October 3, 1779. This progenitor came to America in 1827, and made his home in the West, dying in Ingham
Township, in 1841. His wife died in Walled Lake, Oakland County, expiring November
20,1850, having outlived her husband some nine years, and being then past her three-score years and ten. Our subject is doing a general farming business, and has fine stock.
He built his new home in 1880 and his excellent barn eight years later. He devotes himself entirely to the pursuit of his business and has steadfastly declined to
hold any of the county or township offices. He belongs to the order of the Patrons of Industry and in his political views is strongly Republican, as
he claims that the party which supported the administration through the awful days of the Civil War should now receive the support of loyal men.
E. S. BATES. ex-Chief of Police and
Marshal of Lansing and ex-Deputy Sheriff of Ingham County, was born in Manlius, Onondaga County, N.Y., March 14, 1848. His father, Eli
T., was also a native of New York, and his grandfather, Daniel D. of Springfield, Mass.,
at one time in his life lived in Georgia, where he owned slaves, but as this was contrary to his love of freedom, he liberated them.
He went to Onondaga County in 1808, where he worked at his trade as a
wagonmaker. In January, 1865, he came to Michigan and located in Stockbridge, Ingham County, where
he worked at his trade until about the time of his death in 1883. During the Civil
War he enlisted in 1861 in the Sixty-first New York Regiment as a nurse, and served for two years in the hospital, after which he was discharged on account of physical disability.
The father of our subject was reared in New York and became a painter by trade, and being musical in his tastes and education, also taught music, both vocal and instrumental. In 1861 he enlisted with his father in the Sixty-first Regiment New York Infantry, and served for three years, after which he re-enlisted in the Twenty-second New York Veteran Corps as Sergeant. At the battle of the Wilderness he was captured and sent to Andersonville Prison, where he spent eight months and three days. He was then paroled, but his health had been so broken down by the hardships and agonies of that period of imprisonment that he died nine days after reaching home, passing away January 1, 1865. The biographer pauses in his narrative to lay a tribute of grateful appreciation upon the graves of such as he, who in those terrible Southern prisons sacrificed so much in loyalty
to the old flag.
The mother of our subject was Laura Helmer in her maidenhood, and was born near Kendallville, Noble County, Ind. She was a daughter of Peter Helmer, a farmer, who died in Indiana. She still resides in Stockbridge, Ingham County, where she is
an active and earnest member of the Episcopal Church, to which her husband was also attached. Of their four children three were daughters and one a son, and of them three are now living, our subject being the oldest of the family. When only thirteen years old, this boy had to take care of the family because his father and grandfather had gone to the war, and
he engaged as clerk in a grocery store at Manlius until he enlisted in November, 1864, although not yet sixteen years old, in Company F, Second New York Cavalry, going from Rochester under the command of Gen. Custer.
The regiment to which young Bates belonged spent the first season in the Shenandoah Valley. They went up and down that valley until the poor boy froze his feet, and was afterward taken down with typhoid fever and sent to Park Hospital at Baltimore. In the meanwhile
had taken part in numerous skirmishes and saw the smoke of battle at New Market, Rudd's Hill, Fisher's Hill and Manchester. He was mustered out of the service in July, 1865, and came home. It was not long before he decided to come West and brought with him the family, locating at Stockbridge, where he engaged with his grandfather in
wagon-making. He continued there until 1872.
Upon coming to Lansing, the young man entered the employ of W. S. Holmes and for quite a while traveled for him, pushing the sale of pianos and organs. He then became a policeman in the city about the year 1883, and served for one year in North Lansing. He then acted as engineer for four years at the School for the Blind, after which he became Deputy County Sheriff,
under H. O. Call, of Mason. After this he was appointed City Marshal and Chief of Police in 1889, and after serving one year he started in the grocery business here in June, 1890. He is the only private detective in North Lansing and has worked up some remarkable cases, notably that of Carl Keroski. He is the man who was successful in bringing the murderers of the Diamondale tragedy to justice. He had the case in hand only from Sunday night until Monday morning, and had gained possession of the man and had his identity proven. The man had come here from Green Bay, and thought that
he was safe, but he "reckoned without his host," as he did not know Mr. Bates' wonderful detective abilities. He has arrested a great many men, and has probably done more in the detective line than any man in Lansing, but he has never used firearms but once. He unearthed a gang at Mullikan for whom the officers had long been seeking. He now devotes himself to a considerable extent to his grocery business in which Mr. F. I. Moore is a partner.
The gentleman of whom we write has a pleasant home in Lansing, and in it may be found his talented and intelligent wife, and one child, Donald. He was married July 1, 1876, in Unadilla, Livingston County, and Mrs. Bates, who bore the name in maidenhood of Flora McIntyre, was a native of that county, and after completing her education taught for some nine
years. She is an earnest (383)
worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and both she and her husband are most highly regarded in the social circles of Lansing. Mr. Bates
is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Royal Arcanum, the Ancient Order of Foresters and the Grand Army of the Republic. He stands high as a Republican and is often sent as a delegate to city and county conventions.
JOHN N. BUSH, who has been one of the
largest contractors in the city of Lansing, Ingham County, but who has now retired from active business, is a representative of an old Jersey family who are well known for their patriotic sentiments. Their family history is replete with incidents that redound to the honor of the various members of the family because of their loyalty to their country. Mr. Bush was one of the very earliest settlers in Lansing and a pioneer.
He was born in Orleans County, N.Y., January 21, 1821, and although he has reached the three-score years and ten allotted by Scripture, he is still hale with unfailing faculties, and has never been sick a day in his life.
The father of our subject was Oliver Bush, born in Monmouth County, N.J. His paternal grandfather was John Bush, also of New Jersey. He was a farmer in that State, and there died. Oliver Bush, our subject's father, was a mason by trade, and employed himself in the pursuit of his calling until his decease. Very young in life, in 1810, he located in Seneca County, N.Y. Later, in 1820,
he located in Mason, Murray Township, Orleans County, but five years later made a trip to Michigan and worked for a time at his trade in Detroit. While thus engaged he had an opportunity of learning something of the resources of the country, and
he was so pleased with what he saw and heard, that he returned to New York the same fall, and the following spring brought his family to Detroit. For a time
he remained in the city, but in the fall of 1826 he located in Ypsilanti, dividing his time between working at his trade and hunting
and trapping which must indeed at that time have been a fascinating occupation.
Whether the father felt that there were here so few advantages for his children or whether he was tired of combating with the hardships of pioneer life the writer cannot say, but in 1832 he returned to New York and located in Murray Township. There he remained until 1847, when in the month of June, he came to the city of Lansing and began the work of contracting. One of his first contracts was on the building known as the old Seymour House, now the Franklin House. While thus employed
he was taken sick with erysipelas, being obliged to leave his work October 9, and a few days later, October 20,
he passed away from this life the age of sixty years. He was of French descent, his family having emigrated from France at the time of the Huguenot exodus. Mr. Bush, Sr., was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and a consistent Christian and a conscientious man.
The mother of him of whom we write was, previous to her marriage, Miss Laura Dusett. She was a native of Connecticut, and a daughter of John Dusett, who was also born in Connecticut, and there engaged in farming. Our subject's maternal grandfather when but fifteen years of age enlisted in the Revolutionary War as a fifer, and was a participant in all the principal battles. His chosen calling in
life was that of a farmer, and after the war he located in Orleans County, N.Y., being there a pioneer, opening up a new
farm, which he improved and occupied until his decease. He too was of French ancestry. Mr. Bush's own family name is Be Son. His parents on emigrating to this country landed on Staten Island, and there died of yellow fever. The two children that were thus orphaned were adopted by a German family by the name of Bush, and besides rearing the little ones they gave them their name.
The original of this sketch is the eldest of eight children.
He was reared until five years of age in Murray Township, Orleans County,
N.Y., and was brought by his parents to Detroit in 1826. There were at that time more Indians to be seen than white people, and when the following, fall they went to Ypsilanti it seemed very wild to the new
comers. Upon their advent into the country there (384)
was no school. One who has been in the Northern timber regions at
the present time, where there are still unbroken forests of pine and oak with an impenetrable tangle of underbrush and vines through which steal only shy, tender-eyed deer and hare, with all occasional wildcat, and as night approaches the screech owl, whose dreary call fills one with a homesick feeling, can appreciate in some slight degree how desolate must have been the country in an early day, when there were no roads and but few neighbors within reaching distance, and how brave the hearts must have been to have dared to go out into such wilds and brave the dangers of treacherous Indians, wolves and the encroachments of other wild animals. However, our subject's father was fearless, and his son relates that for some cause
he destroyed a temporary Indian village.
On the return of the family to New York in 1832, our subject's school days began. They were
meagre to be sure, for school was held only three months during the winter when there were no
spring planting, summer harvesting or fall plowing. His work began at an early age, for at ten years
he carried the hod filled with brick, and thus employed, soon learned the mason's trade, so that
before he was fifteen years of age he could lay a wall as well as his father. Mr. Bush is a self-made man.
What knowledge he has, has been gained largely by observation and self-selected courses of study
which he pursued with an indefatigable determination to conquer mysteries and difficulties. He set
out in life for himself while in New York.
In September, 1847, Mr. Bush returned to Lansing. His first contract resulted
in the completion of the Seymour House, after which he erected the Packard House, and the following March built the Lansing House, and in the fall of 1874 put up the principal block in the city of Lansing. He has erected more
business blocks than anyone who is in same business and has had the principal contracts. The schoolhouses in the city were built chiefly under his supervision
and also the old engine house. In 1874 he took the contract for building the High School, but it embarrassed him to a great extent, and since that time he
has followed his business less extensively,
For the last two falls, he of whom we write has been in the employ of the Republican State Central Committee. During
the falls of 1888 and 1890, he stamped the State and canvassed different points for votes. In 1888
he was principally in Detroit and the Upper Peninsula. During one month of that year
he spoke every night, and in 1890 he spoke as many times, if not more than
on the previous trip. He was an agent in six different counties and did good work for the Republican party. He was a delegate to the State Republican Convention held September 1, 1890. His political work began in 1878, when
he began stumping the State, and in 1880 he confined himself to work in the
county, but so fluent a speaker was he found to be, and so widely and well known that his influence was felt to be
value to the party.
It does not lack a great deal of being a half century since our subject united his fate for better or worse with that of Miss Ann E. Powell a native of Oneida County, N.Y., and a daughter of John Powell, an early settler in
Michigan, who prior to that had been a school teacher and bookkeeper. Their wedding was celebrated in Oneida County. N.Y., in 1849, in the month of September. Mrs. Bush is a lady of exceptional culture and education. She was educated in Olivet College, having received the rudiments of her schooling in New York. She was living near Olivet when there was but one log house in the village. After finishing school she was engaged in teaching, and has the distinction of having taught the first school
in the city of Lansing. Our subject and his estimable wife are the parents of two children: The
eldest, Willis O., is a telegraph operator in Eldorado, Kan.; Carrie P., now Mrs. Shoemaker, resides in Lansing. One other child, who was named for his father, and called John N.,
Jr. died at the age of seventeen, just after he was graduated from the Commercial College in this city. His death was
a great blow to his parents and friends.
The gentleman who is the subject of this sketch, has been instrumental in effecting many of
the changes that have taken place for the better in this city. At all early day he was Alderman for one
term and Supervisor for one year in the Fourth (385)
Ward. He has been a resident here since 1847. Although
he himself is liberal in his religious views he is a generous supporter of the church of his wife's preference, she being a Presbyterian. To say that Mr. Bush is a Republican, hardly does justice to his political sentiments, so zealous is he, having inherited his Republican tendencies from generations of patriotic ancestors. A great-uncle of Mr. Bush's, Paul Galtry, when a boy, during the Revolutionary period, saw a British officer enter the yard of his home. There were no gentlemen about the place, and he considered himself the protector of the ladies. He
got a shot-gun and lay in wait behind a fence for the officer to make his appearance, determined that there should be one less red coat for the Continental soldiers to fight. His loyalty was not quelled, when his sister took the
gun away from him. Our subject has frequently acted on county and State committees. He has frequently been solicited to become a nominee for the Mayoralty and for Representative and other official positions, but he has ever refused, because he realizes how difficult it is for one to maintain such a position with dignity and still be honorable and unbiased, unless one has great wealth at his command so that pecuniary temptations are not a