ALLEN. In nothing does the thoughtful biographer take more pleasure than in recounting the life story of a venerable minister of the cross who has done pioneer service in the interest of humanity and Christianity and is now patiently waiting for the great change which will take him to his reward. Among the citizens of Williamstown Township, Ingham County, we are gratified to recount the history of this aged minister of the Methodist Church and a member of the Detroit conference, whose name we have just given.
Dr. Samuel C. Allen, the father of our subject, was a native of New Jersey and when quite young went to Pennsylvania and was there united in marriage with Julia Ann Bicking. Unto them were born eleven children namely: Alfred, Amanda, Catherine, Pennington, James P., Sarah, Elizabeth,
George A., Samuel, Franklin and John W.
In 1831 the parents of our subject came to Michigan and settled in Macomb County, where wolves,
deer and bears abounded. Dr. Allen settled on a farm but as he desired to continue practicing his
profession for which he had been educated in Philadelphia, he removed to
Parkston, Oakland County,
where for a number of years he enjoyed an excellent practice. He made his final home at Byron,
Shiawassee County, where both he and his wife died and were deeply mourned especially by their
co-laborers in the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which they had long belonged.
He was a Master Mason and highly honored in his order.
Alfred Allen was born February 8, 1819, in Brandywine Township, Chester County, Pa., and
in his childhood wandered upon the banks of the beautiful stream for which this township was
named. At the age of twelve years he came to Michigan where he received a common-school
education and after reaching his majority he began work as a local minister. He also taught in the district schools and in 1843 was received on trial
in Conference, becoming a member of that body two years later. His first circuit was in Flint
Circuit, Genesee County, and from there he went to White Lake.
In 1852 our subject located at Ann Arbor, where
he attended a course of medical lectures, as his own frailty of health had led him to
an interest in this subject. Having regained his health he resumed the
ministry in 1856, and followed it until 1877 when he made his home in Williamstown and engaged in the hardware business. In 1889 he sold out
his business to Mr. Charles Williams having previously parted with his farm of forty acres.
He now owns a fine residence on High Street in Williamstown.
The marriage of Rev Mr. Allen in 1849 united him with the lady of his
choice who has been through life his true companion and helpmate. Her maiden name was Louisa J. Hartwell and her father was J. M. Hartwell for whom Hartwellville, Shiawassee
County was named. One child has blessed this union--Dell M.--who is now Mrs. George Penock of Williamstown. Mr. Allen has been an influential member of the Masonic order and in his early days
he was attached to the Whig party and afterward transferred his allegiance to the young Republican party, but he now esteems
the liquor question the great point in political debate and has enrolled himself among the
PROF. W. A.
JOHNSON. One of the peculiar products of our modern civilization and an outgrowth of our modern methods of doing business is the business college. There is so much greater demand for the help which may be rendered by young men and women in these days than formerly that it is necessary to give them
an acquaintance with the methods of doing business, so that when they are put in positions of responsibility they may more readily fall into the routine of work. It is not claimed that the business college makes a business man, but it opens his eyes to see what is to be done and fits his hand to the work. Practical experience must do the rest of the work and will do it if supplemented by a quick brain and willing hand.
The proprietor of the Interlake Business
College of Lansing was born March 5, 1851, at Clarksfield, Huron County, Ohio. His father, the Rev. L. S. Johnson, was born in
Northamptonshire, England, in 1819, and came to America when a boy of twelve. The grandfather, William, was a native of North Buckley, England, and was a fine workman in his line, being a successful cabinet-maker, contractor and builder, and
he during his lifetime accumulated a large property. In 1831 he removed to this country and located in Essex County, N.Y., where
he had the misfortune to contract the ague, which decided him to remove from that locality. He brought his family to Ohio, where he died about the time they arrived at Cleveland, leaving his wife with five children in an almost destitute condition as he had lost his property. This brave woman struggled through the task of rearing her children in the midst of poverty, and lived to be over ninety
years old before her death which took place in Avon, Lorain County, Ohio.
The father of the subject of this sketch was the eldest
of this family and therefore upon him fell
the brunt of the burden of helping his mother in her efforts to support the family, and his opportunities for
education were consequently exceedingly limited, but he persevered in his efforts to gain learning, and at the age of twenty began teaching.
He was intensely religious in his character and early became a preacher of the Gospel, receiving a license from the North Ohio Conference to which
he was admitted at the age of twenty, and there remained a member for forty years.
The Rev. Mr. Johnson preached at many points,
all through Northern Ohio and held an important position in the Conference.
He was a strong Abolitionist and was one of a notable four who withstood pro-slavery, resolutions when introduced into
the Conference and voted steadfastly against them. His last years were spent upon his farm, and
he died there in Fairfield Township, Huron County, Ohio, in the month of October, 1887, and was laid
to rest in the beautiful cemetery of Mt. Hope, at Lansing.
Sarepta R. Stickney was the maiden name of the wife of the Rev. Mr. Johnson. Her birthplace was in Lorain County, Ohio, and her father, Albin Stickney, was born in Cornwall, Vt., in the year 1786, and was
a soldier in the American Army during the War
of 1812. The Western fever had its effect upon him at an early date and in 1815
he located in Madison County, Ohio, and thence removed to Avon, Lorain County, where
he settled upon a farm and resided until his death. He was a man of more than ordinary ability and character,
being possessed of unfailing industry and perseverance, true moral integrity and honesty of purpose. He accumulated a large property and was a
money loaner, but such were his convictions of right and wrong that when money everywhere was
commanding ten or twelve per cent he never asked nor would receive a cent more than six per cent.
This good man passed to his heavenly reward, February 7, 1887. His wife, who was born in Tyringham, Mass. bore the maiden name of Clarissa Moon.
The Stickney family is notable in the early
annals of our country, as its first member came to America in 1643. His name was William and he
was born in Frampton, in the Parish of Stickney (487)
in Lancashire. He located at Rowley, Mass., and there spent the remainder of his days. His son, Amos who was also born in England about the year 1635, set up the first fulling-mill in America. He lived in Newbury, Mass., and his son Benjamin was the father of Joseph, whose son Moses was born in Boxford and served through the Revolutionary
War, dying in Springfield, Vt. His son Lemuel, who was born in Boxford and died in Franklin, N.Y., was the grandfather of our subject. Mrs. Sarepta Johnson now resides with her son in Lansing and is the mother of five children.
The brother and sisters of our subject are: A. W., the
head of the Samuel Lilburn Company, dealers in butter and eggs at Ottumwa,
Iowa; Cory E., who died in 1887; Clara, now Mrs. Carroll, a graduate of the National
Normal School at Lebanon, Ohio, and Ada S., who is a
stenographer and typewriter for E. Bement & Sons, of Lansing, having
graduated at the Interlake Business College. Mrs. Carroll has had an extensive experience as a teacher in the South and
East and now has charge of the Normal Department of the Interlake Business College, being a proficient
in stenography and typewriting and one of the finest Normal teachers in the State.
The subject of this sketch spent his boyhood in Northern Ohio, wherever his father was located at the time as a preacher and at the age of twelve
he attended the Western Reserve College for a year, and became a fluent reader of Greek and Latin, having begun the study of Latin at the age of ten
years. When at the age of thirteen he removed with the family to Milan,
he engaged to work through the summer in Stowe's Nursery, but after his father settled upon the farm in Fairfield he had a more certain abiding place through the rest of his boyhood, and studied at home, using all his leisure in the pursuit of the sciences, and the languages. and at the age of seventeen he was prepared to teach.
He took an additional term at the Western Reserve Normal School and then having
passed an examination, began teaching at Republic, Seneca County, Ohio.
The first endeavor of the young teacher was made in a district school, where
he taught six days in the week and "boarded around." Being the eldest son of the family
he had heavy responsibility in the carrying on of the farm, and while he was away teaching
he employed a man in his place. At that time he received $40 a month, and although paying a man
he managed to save $100, the first considerable sum of money he ever possessed. The next summer
he worked on his father's farm and in the fall undertook the "toughest" school in Huron County. In this Hartland Center School a "free fight" was precipitated by a rebellious pupil within the first five days but the teacher most effectually subdued the mutiny and after that peace reigned supreme and it was a most successful session.
In 1870 Mr. Johnson went West, stopping in Vermillion County, Ill., at State Line
City; there he took employment upon a farm until October, at $22.50 per month after which
he passed examination and taught for six months at Marysville in that county. The
next summer he engaged in training standard-bred horses in which avocation
he was successful financially. He thus alternated teaching in the winter with business in the summer,
and in the spring of 1872 engaged in buying and shipping corn, and did well in it. During that
spring he joined the Free and Accepted Masons at Blue Grass City. In the fall of 1872
he went as far north as St. Paul, Minn., and worked in the harvest field at Farmington, Dakota County, Minn.,
operating a Marsh harvester and thresher, and somewhat later he returned to Ohio.
In 1873 Mr. Johnson came to Michigan and located in Lansing Township, where his father had over one hundred
acres of wild land, and where the young man engaged to cut off the timber from forty or fifty acres and sell it to the Lake Shore
Michigan Southern Railroad. While doing this lumbering he kept bachelor's hall and remained
here until 1874, when he returned to Ohio and taught through the winter in the home school. In
March of the following year he went to Texas,
journeying by the Ohio River to Memphis and then crossing Arkansas on horseback. He went there
expecting to go into the sheep business, and he explored the grand prairie at Duval's Bluff, Ark., and
then went on to Dallas, Texas, and from there to Ft. Worth. There he fitted out with others for an
expedition and went to the vicinity of the Rio (488)
Grande some four hundred and fifty miles distant in Western Texas. At that time the Mexicans and Indians were raiding the frontier. They remained there three or four months and at one time he rode
nine hundred miles in eighteen days, and having lost the pack pony which carried their provisions the party was obliged to go thirty-six hours
Having thoroughly explored the State he came North in June,
1875 passing through the Indian Territory, and after reaching Iowa purchased a steam thresher, which was the first one ever introduced into Clayton County, Iowa. He operated it near McGregor, that county, and threshed that fall over fifty thousand bushels of grain. Again
he taught through the winter and in the spring of 1876 returned to Ohio, and in Ashland County became acquainted with the lady who is now Mrs. Johnson. During the next year
he handled agricultural implements in Iowa, and again engaged in
operating a thresher and in the winter he undertook another school with a bad record and subdued it thoroughly.
Returning to Ohio in the spring of 1878 he was married April 21, at Jeromeville, to Emily L., a daughter of Justis Wetherbee, of Ashland County. By a
former marriage Mrs. Johnson had one child, Stella M., who was
reared and educated by her stepfather, and after graduating at Jeromeville, became Mrs.
C. Stewart, of Columbus, Ohio. She is also a graduate of the Interlake Business College and has had a successful career as a teacher in said institution. For two years Mr. Johnson held the principalship of the school at Jeromeville, after which he successively presided in the same capacity over the schools of Mohican and Sterling, and in 1886 he came to Lansing with his brother to begin the business which has since constituted his life-work, and which has grown to be the oldest and largest Commercial College in Central Michigan. This school was founded in 1867 by Henry P. Bartlett, and later it became the property of W. A. and C. E. Johnson, who materially broadened its curriculum of studies, increased its facilities and multiplied its patrons. During the following year he had the great grief of losing his brother and in the spring
of 1888 he was joined in the management of the
school by Mr. M. L. Miner who had had experience in business colleges in Philadelphia, Ypsilanti and Albion. This partnership, however, lasted but a year, since which time our subject has been the sole
proprietor. Besides the branches which are necessary in business life, the graces are not overlooked and the health and vigor of the students is regarded as
truly as their fitting for work.
Both theory and practice are considered in this model school and the college has a bank of its own
with a capital stock of $150,000 of college currency. It: is conducted on the plan of a regular National Bank and each student does
an actual banking business. Genuine business transactions are carried on and rapid and legible business penmanship is insisted upon. Voice and physical culture are not overlooked, and the system of shorthand used is one of
the most complete as well is simple that is known.
When our subject was in Iowa
he joined a company of one hundred that started from Sioux City to the Black Hills, in 1876.
He had $80 in the outfit but was detained, and being two days late failed of meeting the party. As he heard rumors
of Indian outbreaks he did not push on alone to join them, and it was well for him that he did not,
as the whole party was massacred and the teamster escaped alone to tell the tale. But as Mr.
Johnson's friends had seen his name published in the list of those, who had started they for a short time
mourned him as dead. While teaching in Sterling, Ohio, he and all his family were sick at one time
with typhoid fever and the Knights of Pythias, to which he belonged, came to their rescue and carried them with most brotherly kindness through this
period of trial. This experience has bound him more closely than ever to this order, in which he is
Past Chancellor. He has also been chairman of the Finance Committee of their Grand Lodge and
is at present District Deputy Grand Chancellor, and is Past Captain of Lansing Division No. 15, U. R.
K. P. In the Masonic order the Professor is a Royal Arch Mason and a member of the Lansing
Lodge, No. 33, F. & A. M. He is also Past Regent of the Royal Arcanum, and Chairman of the
Committee on State of the Order of its Grand (489)
Council. He owns one hundred and twenty acres upon section 30, Lansing Township, which is an improved farm with
buildings upon it. Upon this property he has placed a tenant and he resides at the corner of Ottawa and West Streets. His children are L. E. W., Major S. and Carroll E. Both he and his wife belong to the Central Methodist Episcopal Church.
Prof. Johnson is one of the strongest and most prominent Democrats in Lansing and cast his first Presidential vote in 1872 for Horace Greeley, following it in the next two campaigns by voting the
straight Democratic ticket. In 1880 he was Chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee in Ashland County, Ohio, and voted for Hancock and
again in 1884 was a member of the Committee at Cleveland. He was Mayor of Jeromesville for two years and for the same space of time was Township
Clerk at Mohican. In 1889 he was candidate for Alderman in a strong Republican ward and
although he was defeated he brought his opponent's majority down low. In the Legislature of 1891
he was appointed Corresponding Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Michigan. This popular gentleman is a practical business man and makes a success of every enterprise in which
HENRY S. STONER.
An American by birth our subject has a splendid inheritance from his parents, who are of Teutonic ancestry,
in the mental and physical qualities of which he is possessed and the distinctive traits
that have insured his success. He was born July
27, 1833, in Sparta, Livingston County, N.Y. and is a son of Samuel and Mary (Dean) Stoner. Samuel Stoner was of German parents who came from
the Fatherland and settled in New York State. The whole family were engaged in the calling of
He of whom we write was the only child born of his Parents' union. In 1836 he was brought to
Michigan by his mother, who settled in the town of Brighton, Livingston County, where she again
married, her second husband being George Camron and by this marriage one child, a daughter,
Elizabeth, was born. Mr. Camron died in Cohoctah Township, and our subject's mother passed away from this life in December, 1882. She was a daughter of Daniel Dean and one of a family of six
children, there being three sons and the daughter. Our subject was denied the advantages of education but has made an effort to supply the
deficiency by wide reading and study. When but seven years of age he began to be self-supporting,
working by the day and month from that time on until he was twenty-five years old, being engaged chiefly
on farms in Livingston and Oakland Counties, this State. In 1864 he
determined to experience the sweetness of possession and purchased his first
eighty acres of land; this he still resides upon. It is located on section 6,
Cohoctah Township, and he has improved it until it is one of the most attractive
spots in the township. He has added another eighty acres in the same section. It has not been
Mr. Stoner's policy, however, to make himself land poor, believing that
he is as fully entitled to the enjoyment of his possessions is are those who may come after him. He has erected
a fine residence upon his place, which is a model of comfort and neatness, both in style of architecture and in interior arrangement; he has also good barns and outhouses.
At the time of Mr. Stoner's settlement upon his farm he had only $100 in money to purchase the many things that are indispensable to agricultural life. In his political liking our subject is a Republican, although in starting out in life
he allied himself with the Democratic party. Since 1860 he has cast his vote and influence with the first-named party.
He of whom we write was married March 24, 1858, to Miss Rebecca R. Warner, who was born in Monroe County, Mich. She is a daughter of Ira and Laura (Foster) Warner. The former was a Christian minister and came from New York to settle in the Wolverine State at an early day. He was born in Van Buren, Onondaga County, N.Y.,
November 10, 1809, and was left fatherless at the age of nine years. Feeling a calling, to pastoral
work when a young man he came to Washtenaw County, this State, in 1839, settling in Brighton in 1849. On his death, in 1887, he left a widow and five children; they are as follows:
Henry, Judson, Rebecca, George and Obadiah. Eliza died at the age of thirty-nine years; all were married and have families of their own. The widow still survives. The original of our sketch is the father of seven children whose names are
Warner I., Clark H., Charles E., Martin I., Frank A., Andrew D. and Lilly M. Charles and Martin died in infancy. Our subject and his wife are associated in membership with the United Brethren Church of which they are active and consistent members. They are good citizens and desirable
acquisitions to society.
ORLANDO B. STILLMAN
is probably one of
the best known men in Alaiedon Township, Ingham County. He is a general farmer
and the owner of a fertile and productive farm of one hundred and forty-five acres, located on section 3. He was born in the town of Groton, Tompkins County, N.Y., March 6, 1825. His father is
also a native of the Empire State, his natal day having been September 20, 1800.
He was a brick-maker by trade, and in 1832 he went to Ohio and settled in the college town of Oberlin. While there
he made the first brick ever used in that part of the country, and it was he who made the brick for
the first building of Oberlin College. At the time of his advent into the little place, it contained only
four dwelling houses. On the crest of the wave of Westward emigration,
he started with his family for Michigan with an ox-team and "prairie schooner"
in 1841. When Tecumseh was reached, a heavy fall of snow compelled him to leave his wagon
behind and proceed with a sled. When he reached Alaiedon Township, he had left only $5 in money, two cows, and a canister of powder. The $5 was
spent for a yoke of three-year-old steers that were so weak they could hardly walk, but by careful
nursing on the part of the family, our subject's father was enabled to exchange them the
following spring for a fine yoke.
On first coming to the State, the father of the original of our sketch suffered many discouragements. The members of his family alternately
shook and burned with fever and ague. At one time, and during the harvest season, eight out of the family of ten, were on the invalid list. In 1852 Mr. Stillman caught the gold fever and went to California by the overland route, the journey taking nearly six months, and he was obliged to walk over the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
He worked in the gold fields for a time until taken sick, and when well he secured a position in a brickyard in San Francisco. His skill soon manifested itself and the company offered him a very tempting salary to remain, but he was longing to rejoin his dear ones at home, and soon came back to his old home, where
he died in 1862.
Before coming to Michigan the subject of our sketch spent one year in the preparatory school at Oberlin, where
he acquired a good knowledge of the English branches. On coming into the township with his father, Alaiedon,
Meridian, Delhi and Lansing were combined, and possessed but forty voters, Mr. Stillman being personally acquainted with them all. The woods were alive with wolves, deer and bears. Orlando B. Stillman became engaged as a teacher after
he had been in Michigan for four years, a younger brother having taught the first school in the district in a frame barn, built soon after the family came to this State.
Our subject was married January 1, 1852, to Minerva J. Freeman, a native of Niagara County, N.Y. Five children were born of this marriage. They are Henry A., Orlando J., Rosalind, Daniel C. and Roy V. The first-born dates his years from December 9, 1852. He was married to Esther Post, and is now a farmer in this township. Orlando J., was born September 9, 1854, and died when in his seventh year;
Rosalind was born September 9, 1856, and married U. C. Guile, a farmer of Alaiedon Township; Daniel C. was born January 28, 1865, and married Emeline Wilkins; Roy V., who was born October 12,
1870, is still at home and unmarried.
Mrs. Minerva Stillman died in 1873, and our subject was again married, his bride being Miss Mary A. Bowdish, of Mason. Mrs. Stillman is a
member of the Baptist Church of this place, and most efficient worker. Our subject is a charter member of the Masonic fraternity of Okemos, having been thus connected since he was twenty-seven years old. Politically his sympathies are
strong with the Democratic party, and he has been prominently identified with the local political history of the township. He has been Supervisor for six years, Township Clerk for four years, and is still Justice of the Peace, which position he has held for seven years.
Mr. Stillman's mother bore the maiden name of Eunice Call. She was born in Massachusetts, June 23, 1802. Her grandfather, Levi Call, was of Scotch descent, and her mother's name in her maiden days was Purrington. Her great-grand mother was a French Huguenot, and settled in South Carolina. Our subject's mother died April 6, 1862, and the father April 1, 1862. Elisha Still man, the grandfather of Orlando Stillman, was born in 1778, and died in Aurora, N.Y. It is said that two brothers by the name of Stillman came to this country from England during the old French War and from them all those in the United States are descended. Our subject is in prosperous circumstances, and knows how to enjoy life. He has a fine library which contains standard works in all classes of literature. He is also well posted as to current events.