ROBERT MUSSON. The quiet annals of the lives of our farming people do not read like in exciting story of adventure, but they form a more substantial foundation for a belief in the present well-being and the future prosperity of our nation. We are always pleased to give the details of an industrious, honorable life which has made the quiet virtues of industry and perseverance shine forth more brightly than before. Such a life is that of the one whose name appears
at the head of this paragraph.
Robert Musson, whose fine farm of one hundred and forty acres is situated on section 23, Howell Township, Livingston County, is a native of Lincolnshire, England, where
he was born in 1831. His mother bore in her maidenhood the name of Elizabeth Winter, and his
father John Musson, was a boot and shoe maker and followed that trade through life. Of their eleven children the following are now living, namely: Thomas, George, Eliza, Robert, William
Henry, Sarah (Mrs. Sleaford), and Joseph.
Previous to his coming to America in 1857 our subject had received his education in his native land and being now a man of mature years he came to Howell Township and purchased his farm in 1863. He has upon it
a commodious and attractive farmhouse and other fine farm buildings, besides the improvements which one always delights to see upon a well-cultivated farm. He
has an Englishman's true love for a fine animal and takes pleasure in raising Jersey stock besides other grades of cattle and a
fine grade of horses.
The happy marriage of Mr. Musson, which took place in 1852, brought to his home and hearthstone a true and affectionate helpmate in the person of Mary A. Thompson, a fellow-countrywoman of his and a daughter of Moses and Elizabeth (Folley) Thompson. Mr. Thompson was, like the elder Mr.
Musson, a boot and shoe maker and passed his whole life in his native land. He and his good wife had a family of eight children, namely: Mrs.
Musson, Mrs. Rowett, Moses, Bone, Sarah (Mrs. Scott), Susan (Mrs. Watton).
The children who gathered about the fireside of our subject were six in number, namely: Mrs. W. Whipple who has two sons--Robert and Eben;
Mrs. George Crocker who has four children--Willie, Minnie, Burt, and an infant unnamed; Frank is Mrs. James Brewer; George R. and Maud.
This active, intelligent farmer takes a lively
interest in every matter which concerns the welfare of the county and is ever willing to aid with his
influence and services to promote any movement which is for the upbuilding of the community.
His political views bring him into alliance with the Democratic party, and his religious views have
made him a Methodist, and not only he but his wife and children are members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church and earnest workers in all church work. He has been a hard worker all his life and
has done heroic pioneer work in clearing up and cultivating his fine farm.
AMASA D. KNEELAND. It is a pleasure to see a hard working, industrious and enterprising man reach the point where
he can lay aside the anxieties of life, and the arduous details of a farmer's career, and spend his later years in quiet and comfort. The city of Howell contains a number of these worthy gentlemen
and among them there is none more highly valued in agricultural and social circles than the one whose name appears at the head of this sketch.
Mr. Kneeland was born in Livingston County, N.Y., in 1830, and is directly descended from
Warren and Fannie (Hyde) Kneeland, both of whom were natives of the Empire State. In early life,
the father of our subject was a clothier, but after he came to Michigan in 1835,
he settled upon a farm in Oakland County and engaged in agriculture. It was in 1840 that he removed to this county and settled in Howell Township, where
he continued to carry on farming until his death which occurred in 1848. His bereaved widow survived him for many years, and it was not until 1876 that she passed from earth. In politics he was a Democrat, and in religion a Presbyterian.
The paternal grandparents of our subject were John and Sarah (Benson) Kneeland, both of whom were born in the Empire State. John Kneeland pursued agriculture throughout life and brought up his large family of twelve children in Livingston County, N.Y., where he also ended his days. His wife, who survived him for some years, came to Michigan and was living in Howell, when her life ended in 1841. Her husband, like his son, was attached to the Democratic party, and he traced his lineage to Irish stock. The maternal grandparents of Mr. Kneeland were Moses and Sarah (Dana) Hyde, natives of Connecticut, who came to New York, where they engaged in farming, and there spent the remainder of their days and reared a family of four children. Mr. Hyde bad been one of the soldiers in Washington's army in which
he held the office of Adjutant. His wife's father was of French descent, and was one of those unfortunates who were killed at the massacre of Wyoming.
He of whom we write was, one of seven children in the parental home, namely: Sarah, DeWitt C. (deceased) A. Dana, Minerva, Harriet, Lewis B. and Clara. With his brother DeWitt, our subject bought out the rights of the others to the estate of his father, and proceeded to carry on the farm, living on it together until about the year
1875, when they retired from active life, coming to the city of Howell and buying, four lots on State Street
where they built one of the most attractive homes in the town. The old homestead contains four hundred and fifty acres of land, part of it in Howell Township, and part in Oceola Township, and is one of the best improved estates in this part of the State, being well stocked with cattle and sheep.
DeWitt C. Kneeland was united in marriage with Augusta Walker, and they had one daughter Maude, who is an artist of considerable merit. While upon the farm, one day, this gentleman went into the loft of his barn, where a board broke and let him fall through to the floor below, and he lived only twelve hours. This was in 1876, and his wife died in 1889. Since her parents' death Miss Maude looks after the household affairs of her uncle, who is a single man. The two brothers were owners together of all their possessions. Our subject helped to organize the First State and Savings Bank of Howell, and
he is a stockholder therein. He is a Democrat in his political affiliations, and a
public spirited man, and at the time that the railroad came through Howell, he was liberal in giving toward securing its advantages for his town.
QUINCY A. SMITH, LL.
B., was Judge of the Probate Court for Ingham County, from January 1, 1885, to June 30, 1891, at which time he resigned. He was elected to the office in 1884 and re-elected in 1888. His law office in Lansing was established in 1887. Judge Smith was born at Dover, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, October 5, 1844. He is a son of Elijah T. and Caroline (Fisher) Smith. Socially, as well as legally, our subject is a potent factor in whatever circle
he may be with. A man of fine intellect, keen perceptions and a facile power in expressing himself he seems particularly adapted to
Our subject was reared in a small town a short distance from Cleveland, Ohio. There he remained until eight years of age when with his parents he removed to the southern part of Shiawassee County, this
State. The family located literally in the (457)
woods, where the father purchased a farm. They made the effort to draw about them as good a class of neighbors as possible,
and as the work of clearing the farm progressed advantages became more attainable in the district. A school was built and equipped, crudely enough it is true, with the paraphrenalia required by the student. However, few of the pupils attended the district school longer than
during the winter months, when they were not required by the necessary farm work to be
Judge Smith remained at home with his parents
until he was twenty-two years old and then removed to Owosso where he had the benefit of the public
schools. He had previously attended the High School at Corunna. After coming to Owosso he taught in the winter, attending the school as time
allowed until he was twenty-six years old. He then entered the law office of the Hon. W. M. Kilpatrick
of Owosso and after reading in his office for two years entered the law department in the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He was
in March, 1871, and located for the practice of his profession in Saginaw City, where
he opened an office with William H. Sweet and there was admitted to practice before the bench and bar. In the spring of 1872
he went to Wichita, Kan., and remained until the fall of 1874. While there
he became the owner of a whole block east of the Santa Fe station, but sold his property before the boom and thus did not make as handsomely as did many others.
On returning to
Michigan from his Western experience he settled in Williamston, this county, and soon after, September 15, 1874, was united
in marriage to Miss Carrie E. Rogers. She is a daughter of Harris D. and Charlotte E. Rogers.
He remained in Williamston, engaged in the practice of his profession until 1884. In the meantime
he was several times elected to offices in the gift of the township. He was Township Clerk and President of the village. In 1878
he was nominated as Circuit Court Commissioner on the Democratic ticket and came within twenty-three votes of being elected.
In 1885 our subject removed to the town of Mason and was there a very successful and leading
practitioner. He carried on the practice of his profession in connection with his duties as Probate
Judge and in December, 1887, he removed to the city of Lansing making his family a home in the
house which he had previously built. At that time he had no intention of accepting the re-nomination of Probate Judge, but being the popular nominee
of the Democratic party it did not seem wise to decline the honor which was thrust upon him and
he was again re-elected. Judge Smith is a member of the Masonic fraternity. He also belongs to the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows and holds a prominent position in the confidence; and esteem of the
Knights of Pythias. The domestic life of our subject is as pleasant as possible, nor could it well be otherwise, for his amiable and cultured wife presides with charming
dignity over his elegant home. She is interested in all that interests him. They have two daughters just budding into womanhood, named Lottie
L. and Lena H.
lawyer Mr. Smith is engaged in a general practice and has participated in many important
cases in the Supreme Court which have shed luster on the jurisprudence of the State.
He is a careful,
painstaking lawyer and is recognized is an able pleader and eloquent advocate.
FRED J. COOK. Our subject is the representative
and leading member of the firm of J. Cook & Co., dealers in hardware,
stoves, implements, lumber, lath and shingles, and although he is very young, has already firmly established himself in a good and lucrative business
in the city of Fowlerville. The energy and enterprise that has pushed Mr. Cook to the fore at so early an age is sure to accomplish for him good things in the future. So fertile a mind seconded by so good
a judgment, cannot fail to be made of use in the service of State and country as well as in the accumulation of riches.
Our subject is a native of the Wolverine State, having first opened his eyes at Byron,
June 11, 1868. He is a son of (458)
Jared and Sarah M. (Drake) Cook, native of New York and Michigan respectively. Our subject's father was formerly in the hardware business at Byron, later in the same business at Fowlerville, and at present is at Byron, where he takes charge of his son's interest in a lumber yard. Our subject's paternal grandparents were Jared and Aurilla (Straight) Cook, natives of New York, where the former was an extensive farmer, later in life, however, coming to Michigan and settling in Livingston County, in Cohoctah Township, where he purchased one section of land, spending the remainder of his life upon that place and there passing away to the better world January 29, 1849. The old gentleman always went to the name of Capt. Cook, as he held that office in the State militia in New York. He had twelve children, who as the years went by, scattered and formed domestic relations of their
own. Politically, he of whom we write was a Democrat.
The original of our sketch is one of three children born to his parents, Jared and Sarah Cook. The eldest, Mrs. F. C. Starkey, is a lady of literary talents and an elocutionist of extended reputation. Following our subject comes J. Frank, who is employed as clerk in his brother's establishment. After finishing the high-school course at Fowlerville, he of whom we write took a business course in the Detroit Commercial College. He started out in life as a clerk in Kuhn's hardware store in Fowlerville, and later was employed by E. Bement
& Sons, of Lansing, there learning the various branches of the business, paying particular attention to the sale of agricultural implements and
stoves. While with them, he traveled on the road for some time and was one of their most popular and successful salesmen.
Since engaging in his present business Mr. Cook has been favored with extraordinary success. He has a very large stock of goods, being the heaviest dealer in Fowlerville. He has four men
in his employ who have all they can do to keep up with the demands of the business. Our subject entered the benedict's ranks in 1890, being united with
Miss Jennie M. Miller, February 19, of that year. She is a daughter of William R. and Annie (Nelson) Miller, of
Howell and is a charming woman of great capacity and capability, made to be an inspiration and help to the man to whom she has given her
hand and heart. Republicanism has in our subject one of its strongest and most ardent advocates in Fowlerville. Every plank in its platform has to him a good cause for being. Socially
he belongs to the Knights of Pythias and also to the Ancient Order of United Workmen. Mr. Cook occupies with his stock a fine brick store in Fowlerville. He is one of the prominent young business men of Livingston County, and is bound to make a better record in different channels ere the world hears the last of him.
ARTHUR CARPENTER. The intelligent
young farmers of Livingston County are the bone and sinew of the community, as
their strength and vitality, their enterprise and energy are carrying forward not only the agricultural interests but the foundations for
commercial success throughout this section of the State. None of them is more highly prized and
more justly appreciated than he whose name stands at the head of this narrative, and his beautiful
farm, lying on the slope of Pleasant Valley is well adorned and improved by the good buildings which
he has placed upon it.
William Carpenter, the father of our subject, was born in Niagara County, N.Y., in 1818, and the grandfather, who also bore the name of William, came to this State in 1836, when the
father was a lad of eighteen years, and they located in Lyon Township, Oakland County. Here they cleared away the forest and turned the wilderness into a highly cultivated and richly productive estate, and here the grandfather lived until his death. The family is of English descent and traces its lineage through generations of honorable ancestors. The father of our
subject followed farming in the township of Lyon, Oakland County, until the year 1887, when he died, being then
sixty-nine years old. His bereaved widow, who had borne to him eight children, had the maiden name
of Catherine Dolph. She is still living, and is being tenderly cared for
by her faithful and affectionate children.
The original of this sketch grew up on his father's farm, and took his education in the home and in the district school. His birth took
place in Lyon Township, Oakland County, September 30, 1848, and he began farming for himself in 1883, in Green Oak Township, Livingston, County, and in 1886
he exchanged it for the farm which he now occupies, upon section 22, Brighton Township.
The most notable event in the life of the young
man before us is his marriage in 1883 to Miss Addie Ryder, a talented and intelligent lady of
Wayne County, Mich., and in their home they enjoy the companionship of congenial minds and
sympathetic hearts. The political views of this intelligent gentleman are in accordance with the
declarations of the Republican party, and he keeps himself well informed as to
the movements of national affairs. His handsome farm of one hundred and twenty acres gives abundant evidence
that he understands the business of a farmer, and that he has the enterprise and
energy essential to keeping his estate in good condition, and making it abundantly productive.
KELLEY. Business men of Lansing, as of other enterprising towns, are its bone and sinew, and draw to its centralizing influence such citizens as are
of profit and will forward its prosperity. The genuine push and perseverance of a Westerner is
shown in the work of the gentleman whose portrait appears on the opposite page and whose real-estate and insurance business has been
prosecuted in Lansing for some seven years. His place of business is to
be found at No. 113 Washington Avenue, where, as representing his own property
and as agent for a number of the best old line companies of fire, life and
accident insurance, he is meeting with success.
Image of Edward O. Kelley
Mr. Kelley was born in Milton, Pa., June 26, 1828, and is a son of Obadiah and Ann (Orr) Kelley.
In his native home the boy remained, receiving a good, common-school education until after the death of both parents. He was early orphaned, as his mother died when he was but six years old and he had scarcely completed his first decade when he was deprived of a father's care and affection. He remained in that vicinity and for a few years was with Mr. Shields, in Lewisburg, Pa., where he learned the foundation of business enterprise. There he sojourned until he reached the age of twenty years, after which he spent one year in Danville, Pa., and in 1849 determined to come West. Arriving in Michigan he settled in Flowerfield, St. Joseph County, this State. He remained in that place for two years, engaging in the furniture business on his own account, and also buying in that vicinity forty acres of prairie land which, however, he never cultivated.
Leoni, Jackson County, Mich., was the next home of Mr. Kelley and he there entered into business in a general village store. In 1852, in Leoni he was united in marriage with Caroline M. Bennett, daughter of, Rev. Aruna Bennett, of Washtenaw County. Mr. Bennett was one of the pioneers who came to Michigan in 1832 as a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He bought three hundred and twenty acres of land and upon it he afterward made his home until his death. Our subject remained in Leoni until 1854 when
he removed to Grass Lake and engaged in the furniture business. From there he came to Lansing in 1858 to take a position as clerk in the office of the Auditor-General, under D. L. Case. He remained in that office until 1878, serving in the capacity, of clerk for twenty years and in the meantime interested himself in Lansing realty. During the first three years after he resigned the office of clerk for the Auditor-General he was engaged in the mercantile business and carried on a ninety-nine cent store on Washington Avenue, but at the end of that time devoted himself entirely to the line of business in
which we now find him.
The political views of Mr. Kelley in his early days were with
the anti-slavery branch of the Whig and his first Presidential ballot
was cast for (462)
John P. Hale. After that he entered the Republican party to which he was attached until quite recently, but now casts his influence and vote for Prohibition.
He is prominently identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church and is a member of the Lansing Lodge, No.
66, F. & A. M. He has two children still living and his daughter, Mary E., died when fifteen years old. Lillian B. is now Mrs. G. W. Wood, of Lake City, Mich., and Anna L. is at home. The beloved and honored companion of his youth was called from his side by death January 24, 1890, having reached the age of
fifty-nine years. Her irreparable loss is keenly felt by her husband and children, but her beautiful influence remains not only with them but with all with whom she associated during
HON. WILLIAM BALL. Michigan is known
among the sisterhood of States as having among her sons many citizens of noble
character and high repute, whose public-spirited services and aggressive and far seeing
enterprise have raised her to her proud position as one of the most highly cultured land prosperous
commonwealths in the Northwest. To such sons the State owes a debt of gratitude
and all who love her delight in reading the record of their lives. The
man of whom we write in this sketch has made his mark as a noble son of Michigan and
has helped largely in the development of this part of the State.
Samuel H. Ball, the father of the Hon. William
Ball, whose home is in Hamburg Township, Livingston County was a farmer and had
an excellent education. He was born in Vermont in 1803, and came to New York when but a boy and there in due time undertook the profession of a
teacher. After living there for some years he came to Webster, Washtenaw
County, Mich. and bought some land to which he afterward added until he secured
three hundred acres. Here he built a house and barns and proceeded to improve and cultivate his
land. He married Olive Seeley about the year 1829. She was one of nine children in her parental home and was born in New York about the year 1806.
James Ball, the paternal grandfather of our subject, had a family of six children, all of whom have now passed to the other world. The
son, Samuel, had five children, William being the eldest of the flock, his natal year being 1830. Samuel Ball died in 1878 in Webster, and had been a prominent man throughout his life, having been Supervisor and Justice of the Peace and a prominent worker in his early life in the ranks of the Whig party and later affiliating with the Republicans. His widow still resides in Webster, Washtenaw County, and makes
her home with Charles Rogers.
William Ball has a collegiate education acquired
at Albion College and at the University of Michigan. He taught for ten
years in the district schools and in the Union School in Otisco, Ionia County
where he occupied the position of Principal. At the age of twenty-one he had started out for
himself, buying eighty acres of land in Webster Township about the year
1850. He came to Hamburg Township in 1858 and bought three hundred acres
on sections 26 and 27. Since that time he has added by purchase until he now has five hundred
acres, much of which he has cleared, and upon it he has built barns and a pleasant house and has
set out fine orchards.
The most momentous event in the life of the young
man was his marriage in 1858 with Catherine, daughter of David B. Powers, a New Yorker, who had two children of whom Catherine was the youngest, being born in 1838. To
her have been born one son and four daughters. Erwin was married in 1884 to Carrie E. Fisk, daughter of Theodore and Edna (Gardner) Fisk. This lady is
an only child, born in 1865, and a graduate of the State Normal School at Ypsilanti, where she completed her course in 1883. They have three children, Edina C.,
Florence R. and Leland
H. Erwin Ball is Secretary of the Washtenaw County Farmers' Association and Corresponding Secretary of the Farmers' Club at Webster. His college society is the Delta Tau Delta and he
has served as both President and Secretary of that fraternity. He is an earnest worker in the ranks of
the Republican (463)
party and a hearty promoter of every movement which looks to the advancement of the farming
community, fully one-half of his time being take up by his duties as Secretary of the Michigan Merino Sheep Breeder's Association, which office
he has held for five years. The second child of our subject is Sarah, who is the wife of Louis Saunders, of Omaha, Neb., and has two children. Following her are Julia, Kate, (the wife of Henry Queal, living in Hamburg) and Alice H. Kate has one son. Erwin is a graduate of the Agricultural College. The three older daughters have all taken their diplomas at the State Normal of Ypsilanti. Alice H., the. youngest, is now a student
in the same institution.
The Hon. Mr. Ball is prominently identified with the Free and Accepted Masons of Howell and is
a member of No. 26, Howell Commandery. He was one of the charter members at Ann Arbor of the Delta Kappa Epsilon, and in the State Grange he is a prominent member. For ten years
the State Agricultural Society has been favored with his services as one of its Directors, and is one of the Directors of the Central Michigan
Agricultural Association. The Michigan Live Stock Association has made him its President and in that office he has shown great efficiency and breadth of view which has brought this association to the front. He has also been President of the Michigan Merino Sheep Breeders' and Wool Grower's Association as well as occupying the same office in the Short-horn Society of this State. Upon the Board of Director of the State Reform School, of Lansing,
he has shown himself most judicious and aggressive.
The record of Mr. Ball as a leader in the Republican party is worthy of note. His early training made him a Whig but after the formation of the Republican party he joined its ranks and has ever since then been identified with it. His services as Supervisor from 1863 to 1864 evinced his more
than ordinary capacity as a man of public affair and his fine superintency of the county schools, to which office he was elected in 1872, made him known to the best men of the county. He was elected to the State legislature in 1864 and re-elected to the same office in 1866. In 1880 he was again re-elected to the Michigan State Legislature, was elected Speaker pro tem and was Acting Speaker most of the session (the Speaker being
sick). In 1890 he was sent to the State Senate and became President pro tem of that body and by
the death of Lieut. Gov. McDonald he became acting Lieutenant-Governor. In 1890 his party placed
him in the field as candidate in the Sixth Congressional District for Member of
Congress. He made a fine run personally and came within five hundred of winning his election, but as that was the year
of the great land slide, when Michigan went strongly Democratic, he did not meet with success.
His popularity, however, is undiminished as it is
based upon a thorough knowledge of his really fine character, which is notable for his broad and discriminating judgment, his uprightness and
THOMAS W. BREWER, proprietor of the
Livingston Herald of Howell, Livingston County, is a native of the township in which
he resides, being born here April 9, 1847. His grandparents were among the first settlers of the township, his grandsire Peter having been a native
of New York and a soldier of the War of 1812. His grandmother bore the maiden name of Dorcas
West and will long be remembered by the inhabitants of this county as one of the brave pioneer
women of the early days.
Ebenezer Brewer was the father of our subject and had his birth in Wilson, Niagara County,
N.Y. He came to Michigan in early boyhood and at the age of twenty-one married Charlotte Thomas
who became the mother of the subject of this sketch. She passed away from earth in Howell in
November, 1857, leaving three children, two sons and one daughter, the eldest, Thomas, then being
but ten years of age.
From the time he lost his mother the lad was thrown upon his own resources but
he attended the district school nearly every winter until 1863 when he left home, although only a little over sixteen years of age and took his place in the ranks
of our country's defenders. He joined Company C, Fourth Michigan Cavalry and served until June 26, 1865, when
he was discharged at Louisville Ky., on account of the cessation of hostilities and returned home to Michigan. The young man felt that
he had not gained the education which he ought to have, and he continued working on the farm, in summer and attending the district school during the winter months, until
he gained his majority.
Mr. Brewer now found his health insufficient to bear the heavy toil of the farm, as agriculture still partook very largely of a pioneer character, and
he tried an experiment of investing in a patent right which made him rich in experience but was a failure financially, and
he again took up his former occupation. His marriage upon March 27, 1872 brought to his side a faithful companion in the person of Mary J. Craig, a lady of Howell.
He continued to follow agriculture until the beginning of 1874, when he entered the employ of the Howe Sewing
Machine Company and followed that line of business until 1878 when he became an employee of S. Andrews, remaining with him until August 1881, when he left this business and took a trip to the Western frontier. A few
months stay at the Cheyenne agency in Dakota cooled the "go West young man" fever in the veins of Mr. Brewer and
he returned home and took up the sale of sewing machines, in which he continued until 1888.
Mr. Brewer purchased in June, 1889 a weekly local newspaper, the
lnter-Lake, which had been published by the Rev. D. W. Hammond of Vernon,
Shiawassee. County, Mich. He published the same until April, 1891, when he sold the subscription list
of that paper to J. A. Keyes of the Durand Express and bought the subscription books of the
Livingston Herald. It was on May 15, 1891, that Mr. Brewer, issued his first number of the Herald
which he had enlarged from a five-column folio to a six-column quarto. His paper received a hearty
welcome from its first issue and with his thorough knowledge of the county and large acquaintance among its people his success is an assured one. Although he is not acquiring great wealth he
is filling a useful place in the community, and commands the respect of all who know
him. Of the four children who have blessed his home, three sons and a daughter, two have passed away, George W. and Robert E., while Alice A., a girl of sixteen, and Thomas W. Jr., a sprightly lad of thirteen years, still remain to receive the affection and training of their fond and judicious
HARRIS, a prosperous and
well known farmer residing on section 34, Putnam Township, Livingston County, is a son of Henry Harris, a native of Kings County, Ireland, who emigrated to America in 1825, where
he worked for two years in New Jersey on the Delaware and Raritan Canal. In 1827
he returned to Ireland and married the mother of our subject, Mary Ryan, who was born in Bally Britton, Kings County. After their marriage they returned to America, where Mr. Harris worked on a railroad in Pennsylvania for a season, and then worked on a farm
as overseer for Joseph Boneaparte for one year.
Henry Harris came to Michigan in the spring of 1829, and bought two hundred acres of wild land from the Government. The land was located on the section where his son now resides, and the patent was signed by President Andrew Jackson. Having built a log house,
he removed his family into it in December, 1829. At that time there was a small tamarack log house belonging to a Mr. Camfield where Pinckney now stands. There was also a sawmill, which, was built by Andrew Knowland, of Ann
Arbor, a few houses and two stores in that vicinity on Portage River, which little hamlet died out after Pinckney was established, and there is not a soul now living who was here at that time.
The father of our subject was poor except in it brave determination to provide a home
for his family, and a wealth of physical strength which enabled him to clear his land, subdue the wild forests, and meet the exigencies of pioneer life. There were then plenty of Indians; and wild animals and deer,
bears and wolves were about the door. No roads (except Indian trails and paths which could
be followed by blazed trees) were available for use and the market was at Ypsilanti, thirty-eight miles away.
This early pioneer was wide-awake to his duties as an American citizen, and walked to Ann Arbor to vote at the first election which he attended here, and his next opportunity was in a house west of Hudson Corners. After living here twenty-nine
years, he had three hundred and sixty acres of excellent land, one hundred and thirty of which he had cleared.
He had also built a frame house which was then the best house for miles around, and it is still standing, as is also his frame barn, 35x40 feet in dimensions, which was one of the first in the neighborhood. He died January 9,
1859, but his widow survived until April 20, 1883.
Of the nine children of this pioneer four are now living, viz: our subject; Mrs. Michael O'Connell, of Jackson; Mrs. James Morgan, of Unadilla Township; and Thomas, of Lake View, Miss. The parents were devout Catholics, and in the early days
services were held in their house for twenty years by Father Kelley, who at that time was located at Wayne, Washtenaw County, and who used to make numberless trips on horseback through the woods between Wayne and Milwaukee. Henry Harris took an interest in politics, and was an intimate friend of Gen. Lewis Cass. He filled the responsible offices of Overseer of the Poor, Township Treasurer,
School Officer and was one of the first jurors. He gave to his children as fair an education as circumstances would allow.
July 25, 1839 was the natal day of our subject.
His first home was on this farm where he now lives. Here he received his early education and grew to manhood, and upon the death of his father
took charge of the farm, being then but nineteen years old. In the course of time
he bought out the other heirs and the land now belongs to him by virtue of the old patents, some of which are signed by Jackson, some by Van Buren, and some by John Quincy Adams.
The wedding day of John W. Harris, was November 27, 1867, and
he was then united with Agnes Morgan, a daughter of Peter and Catherine Morgan, of Unadilla Township. Mrs. Harris was born March
25, 1847, in Unadilla Township, and she has become the mother of two children, Harry Casper and James Morgan. The oldest son was born October 27, 1868, and is a stenographer in the office of A. C. Walker, at Aspen, Col. He was a student at Pinckney until
he reached the age of seventeen, after which he taught one term and was then a student at Dexter and at the Ypsilanti Business College. For two years he was with the Anchor Manufacturing Company of Detroit, and then after one season on his father's farm he went to Aspen, Col.. where he now resides. He was married July 20, 1891, to Carrie Kelly, of Aspen; James was born July 23, 1870 and after being a student at Pinckney, at the age of eighteen began teaching, and then received the appointment from Gov. Winans to be his page during the term of the Legislature of 1891. The parents feel justly proud of
their sons, and are happy in being able to say that neither of them
knows the taste of liquor.
In 1878 Mr. Harris built the pleasant home on which
he now resides at a cost of $1,500 besides the labor which he himself expended upon it, and in connection with this house Mrs. Harris boasts the best
cellar in the township. They now have three hundred and twenty acres of land, one hundred and ninety acres of which is improved, and he carries on the farm himself, having
always been a hard worker. He began raising thoroughbred American Merino sheep in 1874, and now has one hundred and thirty head. He has also fine registered Jerseys and Holsteins, and in horses has some splendid animals, which trace their lineage to
"Ambassador", "Tremont," "Louis Napoleon" and "Pasacas." Among his twenty-three horses
he has some very valuable ones, and the dam with which he started, was one of the finest "Clay" mares in the State at that time, she taking second premium, and her colt first premium at Detroit in 1879.
Mr. and Mrs. Harris are devout members of the Catholic Church, and both of their sons follow their parents in religious belief and life. They all belong to the Father Matthew Temperance Society of St. Joseph Church, at Pinckney, and in political matters the father has ever been a strong supporter of temperance candidates. He has also been useful as a member of the School Board, and sets a grand example to many an American-born citizen
in this regard, that he never for the sake of gain, or to get work out of his boys, kept them out of school a day in their lives. His aim has been to make them good citizens, and to train them in thorough business habits.
The Catholic Church at Pinckney had for its pioneer priest Father Kelley, and since that time it has been favored with the ministrations of Fathers Cullen, Pulcers and Mutarh, and the congregation now has one hundred and eighteen families connected with it. The church building which was completed in 1868 by the Rev. J. Van Genip, was begun in 1866. The priests who have officiated since its dedication, were the Rev. Fathers J. Rafter, T. Slattery, Herbert, Duehig and Considine.
Mr. Harris enjoys telling stories of his father's early experiences in the pioneer days. One of his most thrilling adventures was when
he and a hired man were cutting hay upon a marsh three-quarters of a mile from home. They were so busy at their work that they did not remember to listen prudently for the approach of wild beasts, and before they knew it a large pack of wolves had attacked them. They kept off the animals by hard fighting until they reached
a point within thirty rods of home, when the wolves were driven off, and they arrived safety at the house.