Portrait and Biographical Album
Ingham & Livingston Counties

BIOGRAPHIES - Pages 637-644

     (637) WESLEY EMERY. Among the old settlers of Lansing, who have been efficient in building up the city and making it what it is to-day, in the social, financial and business world, we are pleased to mention Mr. Emery, whose portrait is shown on the opposite page. He is a member of the firm of Bartlett & Emery, dealers in real estate and insurance, their office being located on Washington Avenue. Mr. Emery came to this city in the spring of 1853 and for five years had charge of the city school.

Image of Wesley Emery

     Our subject was born July 18, 1829, at York, Livingston County, N.Y., and is the son of Samuel and Nancy J. (Wesley) Emery. His paternal ancestors belong to the old New England stock of Emerys, and Samuel Emery was a farmer in New York. The boy removed with his parents from Livingston County to Cattaraugus County, and as soon as he was old enough he attended Genesee College at Lima, N.Y. He completed his Freshman, Sophomore and Junior years at that college, but his Senior year was interrupted by the failure of his eyes and he had to leave college before graduation. As soon as his eyes would permit he began teaching, spending two years in this profession at East Avon, then in Barry Center, N.Y., for two years, and afterward at Barnegat, N.Y. After one year there he came West and taught for two years at Grandville, Mich., and at Lamont was in charge of the Union Schools for three years. He then came to Lansing and after following his profession here for five years and for a while at Okemos, he bought a large farm at the latter place.

     After Mr. Emery gave up teaching he spent eight years in traveling for A. S. Barnes & Co., of New York, handling their schoolbooks and having' charge of their western business. He managed their agents both in Michigan and other western States; and having thus gained experience in the book business he established a bookstore in Lansing, which he carried on for ten years. At the end of that time he sold out his business and again took charge of Michigan for A. S. Barnes & Co. After three years he entered into partnership with Mr. Bartlett, and at the beginning of 1887 opened an office for the transaction of real estate and insurance business. These gentlemen handle real estate for themselves and others, and also represent a number of insurance companies, both in the line of life and fire insurance.

     For three ears Mr. Emery was a prominent member of the Board of Education of Lansing, and later a member of the Board of Examiners, in which capacity he was of incalculable value to the city, as his thorough education, his genuine culture, his breadth of view and experience, have given hint an exceptional outlook. While on his farm he was several times elected Township Supervisor, (
638) Treasurer of the Michigan Central Fair, and occupied other positions of trust and honor. He is a member of Masonic Lodge No. 33, and has long held official position in the Universalist Church, of which he is a prominent member.

     In 1851 Mr. Emery married Miss Adelia Gibson, of Barry Center, N.Y., but in less than twelve months mourned the untimely death of his loved and loving young wife. Two years later he married her sister, Laura E. Of this marriage was born one son, Archie Martelle, who before the age of three years was bereft of a mother's love and care, for death again entered the household. This son, A. M. Emery, is now established in one of the leading bookstores of Lansing.

     In January of 1870, Mr. Emery was united in marriage to Miss Sarah E. Van Dervoort, of Phelps, N.Y. This lady has since become prominent in the reform movements of the day, and is the author of a little book entitled "Seven Financial Conspiracies," which is attracting much attention at the present time.

ANDREW F. SAWYER. The highly respected family at whose headstands the man whose name we have just given, exerts a powerful influence for good in Green Oak Township, and indeed throughout Livingston County, and wherever its members are known. Character always must tell in its effect upon those who meet it, and there is no such argument for uprightness and intelligence as an upright and intelligent life.

     Mr. Sawyer is a native of this county, and was born in Hamburg Township, June 12, 1835. His father, Caleb Sawyer, was born in Massachusetts in 1811, and in his early years removed to New York, where he became a farmer. Michigan became his home in 1834, and he then took up land in Green Oak Township, and brought on his family the following spring, thus becoming, one of the first settlers in this region. He did much  pioneer work, and having subdued the wilderness and placed his farm in a productive condition, passed here the remainder of his days, dying in 1882.

     Caleb Sawyer came to this State with limited means, but he was a man of enterprise and soon built up a flourishing business in brick manufacture, and for a number of years supplied his neighbors with this valuable commodity. His good wife, the mother of our subject, bore the maiden name of Caroline Wheeler. She did not long endure the hardships of pioneer life, and passed from earth in 1840, at the early age of twenty-nine years, leaving five children, four of whom are now living. The father married a second time, but by that union had no children. By his third marriage he had four children.

     Farm life and the district school filled up the early years of the boy who grew to be so prosperous a farmer. His schooling had to come mostly in the winter months, as he was needed at home during the busy seasons, and he remained with his parents until after he reached his majority, subsequent to which be entered the employ of neighboring farmers. During the summer of 1861 he worked upon his father's farm, and in the following spring he purchased seventy-five acres near Whitemore (Whitmore...typo) Lake, in Washtenaw County, and began life for himself. After three years upon this farm he purchased land in Green Oak Township, upon which he lived for two and one-half years. He also spent one year in Brighton, but in the fall of 1869 he purchased his present home on sections 3 and 10, Green Oak Township, a property which was already well improved.

     Nothing in the life of Mr. Sawyer has been more productive of happiness and true prosperity than his union in marriage with the lady of his choice, whose intelligence, social qualities and many amiable traits make her a noteworthy woman in this township. Their wedding occurred December 28, 1860, and they then established a home together which may well serve for a model of domestic happiness and genuine hospitality.

     This lady, whose name was Drusilla Coe, was born in Green Oak Township, and is a daughter of Harrison Coe. She has become the mother of one son, Fred, who was born September, 5, 1876, and whose manly character and devotion to his parents (
639) already give abundant promise of a manhood which will reward his devoted parents for their care and culture.

     The Republican party in its declarations embodies the principles of political economy which Mr. Sawyer believes to be best adapted to insuring the prosperity of our country. For two years he held the office of Town Treasurer, and has also in his capacity as Road Commissioner improved greatly the highways of the township. His one hundred and twenty acres of land are in the best condition, and exceedingly productive.

     With his partner, Mr. Coe, our subject is the proprietor of the "Ragstreet " flock of Shropshires, and the head of that flock is the well-known "Pride of Ragstreet," who was imported in August, 1889, and has won first premium as the best Shropshire ram lamb at the State Fair at Lansing, the International Exposition at Detroit, the Eastern Agricultural Society at Ypsilanti, and the Market Fair at Brighton.

JUDGE ROLLIN H. PERSON.  The honorable gentleman whose name is above does not bear the weight of years that one is apt to associate with the station of life to which he has attained. Although in the meridian of his successful career, as well as of his years, our subject is Judge of the Thirtieth Judicial District of Michigan, embracing the counties of Livingston and Ingham. It seems peculiarly fitting that the sons of the State should occupy these honorable positions, and Mr. Person is a native of losco Township, Livingston County, being here born October 15, 1850. He is a son of Cornelius H. and Lucinda (Stafford) Person, natives of New York.

     Our subject's father was in his younger days a teacher, but later became a farmer. In 1837 he with his father's family came to Michigan and the party settled in losco Township, Livingston County. The gentleman's parents were Daniel and Fanny (Stevens) Person, natives of Vermont and New York respectively. On coming into this State they took up a quarter section of Government land, to which they devoted themselves to improving and cultivating. This was secured in 1836 and was at the time heavily timbered. The improvements that he placed upon it greatly enhanced the value of the tract, which before his decease was made not only a comfortable home place, but a most attractive and beautiful agricultural spot. Daniel Person's death occurred in 1874. His wife survived him by a number of years, passing away in the city of Howell in 1880. The father had been Justice of the Peace several years before his death. He had a family of five children, all of whom lived to attain manhood and womanhood. They were Cornelius H., Polly, Laura, Sally and Stephen. Polly became Mrs. Toncray and died in Nebraska, where she went in 1859.

     Daniel Person's father was the Rev. Cornelius G. Person, a native of New Hampshire. He was a farmer until twenty-nine years of age, and then engaged in preaching until 1833. He had a family of seven children. Our subject's family on the paternal side were of English ancestry. On the maternal side our subject's grandparents were Joseph and Sally (Taylor) Stafford, natives of Vermont and Massachusetts respectively. The former was a builder as well as a farmer in New York, where he carried on a successful and lucrative business. He had a family of seven children. The preceding generation most immediately connected with Joseph Stafford was represented by Isaac and Keziah (Slater) Stafford, natives of Vermont. The father was a farmer and was obliged to work very hard in order to supply his ten children with the necessities of life. His father was John Stafford, who came from England.

     Besides farming in losco Township for many years our subject's father was also Superintendent of Schools in the township, and after leaving his farm he came to Howell, where he now lives, holding the office of Justice of the Peace. Contrary to the usual order in his family, he has only two sons, our subject, Judge Person, and Ozro, who is engaged in farming. Until nineteen years of age the original of our sketch outside of his school life was engaged in farming. After that time he taught (640) school for two winters, engaging in the work in this county, although not living at home. He attended the Howell High School and was early elected Deputy Register of Deeds, which position he filled for two years.

     The young man had determined to become a lawyer and began to read law with Dennis Shields of Howell, After a course pursued with much advantage under this preceptor he entered the law school of Ann Arbor, and after taking the full course there was admitted to the bar in 1873. He then started for the West and settled on the Republican River in Harland County, Neb., at once engaging in the practice of his profession. He had a large patronage while in Nebraska, but was unable to collect on account of the grasshopper scourge from which that district suffered so severely at the time of his being there, every green thing having been eaten by these pests. Not being able to live on debts be returned to Howell in 1875 and engaged in the practice of his profession here. On the formation of this circuit our subject was appointed and in April thereafter was elected Judge. This election was in 1891, running far ahead of his ticket and receiving a complimentary vote of nearly fourteen hundred strong.

     Judge Person has held the office of Circuit Court Commissioner besides his other office, and has also been Recorder of the city of Howell. He resides in a beautiful home, which he himself erected in 1887. It is located on Clinton Street and is a picture of beauty and attractiveness. He of whom we write was married in 1873 to Miss Ida Madden of Monmouth, Ill. She is a daughter of James Madden, a prominent lawyer of that place. Our subject and his estimable and attractive wife are the parents of three children, Harlow, Harry and May, who are bright young people who will without doubt be shining examples of what the best of influences and advantages can do for naturally rich natures.

     The original of this sketch is a Democrat in his political following. He also affiliates with the Masonic Society and is in demand socially on all public and private occasions, being a man of great personal attractions and striking conversational powers. Judge Person is one of the organizers of the first State Savings Bank of Howell. He is also a large stockholder and is variously associated with the large and important enterprises of the community.

HON. DANIEL L. CASE. The gentleman whose name heads this sketch just fails of being the oldest resident of this county, only one other, William A. Dwire, having preceded him here. Mr. Case made his entrance here in 1843. He is a Canadian by birth, having first seen the light of day at Three Rivers, December 21, 1811, and is hence now (1891) an octogenarian. In spite of his age he is still an active man in the perfect possession of all his faculties. His parents were originally from the State of Connecticut. His father whose name was Elijah Case went to Canada just before the War of 1812. On the breaking out of the war he was required to take the oath of allegiance to the British crown, which he refused to do, in consequence of which he was arrested and imprisoned in Halifax until the close of the war, after which he joined his family who had removed to Monroe County, N.Y., during his imprisonment, and died a few years later from disease contracted while thus incarcerated.

     Here Daniel lived until his eighteenth year and had such educational advantages as were common in the districts. On coming to Michigan, which was then called the Indian Territory (1829), Mr. Case first stopped at Pontiac and in the spring of 1830 came to where the town of Jackson now is. At that time there was but one cabin on its present site and not another inhabitant within thirty miles. He remained until 1836 and then went to Texas, which was then the arena of the political and Governmental strife of the period. He remained in Texas until 1842 and then returned to the Wolverine State. Mr. Case corrects the impression that the family of Blackmans was the first in Jackson. When our subject arrived in the spring of 1830, a man by the name of Gillette was the only resident (
641) and Mr. Case drove the team that moved the Blackmans into Jackson. Our subject was in Texas during Houston's War with Santa Anna, and practiced law, giving his attention to the criminal code, his great strength being in the pleading of his cases. His license permitted him to practice in all States and he became widely known as a lawyer of unfailing success in any case that he undertook. The greater part of his practice was along the Mississippi, from Galena to New Orleans. He also took charge of a number of cases in Texas and few lawyers in the country equaled him in legal acumen and skillful fencing when such tactics were necessary.

     After his return to this state Mr. Case practiced his profession until 1845, at which time he was appointed by the Governor as Prosecuting Attorney for the county. At the expiration of two years he was again appointed but resigned and embarked in merchandising in the city, being also interested in politics. In 1850 our subject was elected member of the legislature and in 1858 the honor was pressed upon him as an election to the post of Auditor-General, which position he held for two years. Meantime he continued his business of merchandising in connection with his political and official life until 1878.

     He of whom we write has been pressed into service in various offices of the municipal Government. He has been a member of the School Board and Alderman. Anxious to retire from public life he gave up his business and resigned the majority of his offices in 1878, but in 1887 he was appointed on the board of control of the school for the blind and since that time has served as Treasurer of the Board. Mr. Case is very active and takes a great deal of out of door exercise, seldom allowing a day to pass when he does not go to the city to transact some business.

     Mr. Case was first united in marriage with Miss Marinda Brown of Pittsford, N.Y., whose decease occurred in 1847. Three children were born of this union as follows: Julien M. married Miss Sophia Peck and they became the parents of four children, Daniel, Sophie, Rex Ronald and Julien. He died in London in June, 1890, while on a tour in Europe; Daniel was a student at West Point when the late war broke out and he enlisted in the Seventy-eighth New York Infantry, being appointed by the Governor a Lieutenant. This regiment was afterward consolidated with the One Hundred and Second New York Infantry. He was captured at the battle of Peach Tree Creek while serving as aid to Gen. Hooker and was confined in rebel prisons for ten months. He died shortly after the close of  the war from exposure incident to his prison life. Helen the eldest child of our subject is the widow of Andrew Adams and now makes her home with her father. She has one child, Mrs. Mary Collins of Chicago, III. By a second marriage Mr. Case was united to Miss Adelia Monroe of Eagle, Clinton County, this State, she dying in 1887. There were no children by this marriage.

     Although our subject was brought up in the Presbyterian Church and his inclinations were all in that direction, giving generously for its support, he is not a member, but a liberal-spirited, conscientious man, the friend of humanity. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and also belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic. Mr. Case was in the Civil War as Assistant Paymaster and served for nearly a year, when failing health obliged him to resign and he has since lived retired.

JOEL H. DYKES. Above the average in intelligence and a man of more than ordinary erudition is the prosperous farmer whose name we herewith give. His popularity is based not only on his ability both as a thinker and all active business man, but also on the genuine good will with which he regards his fellowmen and the kindly spirit which he exhibits in his intercourse with them. His home is on section 26, Genoa Township, Livingston County, and he was born in Steuben County, N.Y., on Christmas Day, 1842.

     Joseph Dykes, the father of. our subject, was born in Genoa, N.Y., in 1807, and is of German (
642) descent. He followed the double avocation of a farmer and shoemaker, and when quite young made his home in Steuben County, N.Y., where he married Jane O'Neal, who had her nativity in New Jersey in 1814. Seven out of their nine children grew to maturity, viz: Hiram, Jerusha, Alice, Sarah, Araminta, Joel H., Oscar, George and Elizabeth. The family came to Michigan in 1844, and settled in the wilderness, making their home in a log cabin. In 1864 they moved on to the farm where the family now resides, which the father carried on until his death, at the ago of seventy-seven years. He was a member of the regular Baptist Church, and in politics was first a Whig and afterward a Republican. His faithful wife, who was also identified with the Baptist Church, survives him and makes her home with her son.

     Our subject was only a year and a half old when he came to Michigan, and he obtained his education in the log schoolhouses and sat upon the slab benches which were supported by pin legs. The rate bill system then prevailed and quill pens were the prominent features of the writing class. When twenty-one years old the young man began work for himself, but it was not long before he left the peaceful avocation of agriculture and enlisted under the banner of his country. He joined Company A, Twenty-second Michigan Infantry, and served from January 6, 1864, to September 16, 1865, receiving his honorable discharge at Murfreesboro.

     The Twenty-second Michigan was first sent to Chattanooga, Tenn., and remained there until the 1st of May, when it was sent to the front, in Georgia, and took part in the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, being in all the engagements of the Atlanta campaign. It was in Sherman's army under the command of Gen. Thomas, and did Provost duty at Atlanta until the last of October, when Gen. Thomas' army returned to Chattanooga and there went into winter quarters, doing provost duty in that city. Our subject was then ordered to Murfreesboro, Tenn., where he remained until June, 1865, and was then sent to a small station on the Chattanooga & Nashville Railway, where he was on guard duty. At Murfreesboro he was transferred from his old regiment to the Twenty-second Michigan Infantry. He was sick with the measles at Chattanooga, and was in the hospital for some time, and has never since really been well, in consequence of which he receives $6 a month pension.

     Upon his return from the battle-fields, Joel Dykes resumed farming, and bought out the interest of the other heirs in the home farm. July 18, 1867, he was happily united in marriage with Miss Amelia Morgan, who was born in Dundee, Monroe County, Mich., March 16, 1844. Four children have come to their home, and all are now living except Lois, their eldest, who died when two years old. The daughters who are with them are Edna, Etta and Ida.

     Upon his eighty acres of fine land Mr. Dykes carries on mixed farming and has most of his estate under cultivation. He is a Republican in his political views and has twice been made candidate for the office of Supervisor, but as there is a large Democratic majority in the township, he has never been elected to that position. He served for two terms as Commissioner and for one term as Treasurer.

CHARLES E. BEURMANN. Prominent in agricultural and political circles is the extensive farmer and popular citizen whose name appears at the head of this sketch. His attractive home and beautiful farm are situated in Genoa Township, Livingston County, and he is well-known as the ex-Sheriff of the county and ex-Postmaster of Howell.

     Our subject was born in Hamburg, Germany, June 1, 1827. His father, William Henry Beurmann, was in the mercantile business. He died when about forty-eight years of age and his good wife Henrietta E. Gluer, lived to be sixty-seven years old. They were both earnest and conscientious members of the Lutheran Church and reared their five children under the influence of the Gospel. His wife came to Michigan with the family in 1840 and became a pioneer in the wilderness.

643) He of whom we write came to America when thirteen years old, having been ten weeks on the briny deep. He enjoyed the trip greatly and was sea-sick for only one day. Having reached America the family came directly to Livingston County and built a log house in which they made their home on Christmas Day, 1840. Friendly Indians frequented their door and their mother fed them with a kindly hand. In his boyhood, Charles Beurmann helped to kill a bear near Whitney (Whitmore?) Lake and in triumph carried home some bear steaks. His brother William was quite a huntsman, and shot many a deer, wolf and turkey.

     Only two acres of Mr. Beurmann's farm was broken when he settled here in 1840, and he now has one hundred and sixty of his two hundred and twenty acres under cultivation. He raises both grain and stock and pays attention to the better grades of animals. He has had some full-blooded Durham cattle and now has fourteen horses, some of them draft and some roadsters. His beautiful brick residence was erected by him in 1873, at a cost of $4,000 besides his own labor.

     Fidelia Hageland to whom Charles E. Beurmann was united in marriage in 1852, was born in Steuben County, N.Y., and came here with her parents, Christopher and Clarinda Hageland, in the year 1835. Of the eleven children who have blessed this union, seven are now living, namely: Charles E., who married Mary Brown and lives in Howell; W. Henry, who took to wife Rachel Walker, and makes his home in Oceola; Clara, who in at home; Edward M., who married Stella Knapp and resides in Howell; Mary who is Mrs. Aaron C. Switzer, of Howell; Bert, who is now in Iowa; and Kenzie, who resides with his parents.

     In 1876 our subject was the only man on the Republican ticket in the county who received his election, as the county has a Democratic majority of from four hundred to four hundred and fifty, but his popularity carried his election by one hundred and twenty majority and at the time of his re-election in 1878, his majority was three hundred and seventy-five. During the first twenty months of his shrievalty Mr. Beurmann was able to take twenty-five men to the State prison at Jackson. Under President Arthur's appointment he took charge of the post-office at Howell, January 1, 1882 and served for four years and two months. He has been successful in everything which he has a undertaken, with the exception of his candidacy for County Treasurer in 1872, when the Democratic majority was too much for even his popularity to s overcome.

GEORGE G. HASKILL, an old soldier of the Army of the Cumberland and a prominent citizen residing on section 30, Locke Township, Ingham County, is a native of New York and was born April 13, 1849. He is a son of Henry and Harriet Haskill and was the youngest son of the family, and came when only four years old to make his home in Michigan. The first residence of the family was near Plymouth, Wayne County, and when about seven years old he came with his parents to Ingham County, settling in Leroy Township, in the midst of the unbroken forest.

     The father of our subject died in 1862, in Leroy Township, and the mother makes her home in Locke Township, and is now with Mrs. F. Davis. In this township our subject was reared to manhood and remembers with delight the scenes of pioneer life and the deer hunts, in which he engaged as late as 1865 and 1866 after he had returned from the army. He received his education in the district school and had no further advantages of this kind after he reached the age of fifteen.

     The young man enlisted March 9, 1865, in Company C, Eleventh Michigan Infantry, and was engaged principally in guard duty in various places, going as far south as Chattanooga, Knoxville and Strawberry Plain. He received his honorable discharge at Jackson, Mich., September 28, 1865, after which he returned to Ingham County, and now receives a pension of $14 per month. It was in the spring of 1874 that he settled upon the eighty acres of land which he now has under such fine cultivation. It was then an unbroken forest and he at first cleared the timber from forty acres and cultivated that before proceeding to subdue the remainder of the farm.

     Christmas Day, 1874, was the date of a notable event in the life of this young man, as he was then united in marriage with Damaris Munsell. He is identified with the Grand Army Post at Williamstown and also with the Farmers' Alliance, and is a Democrat in his political views, and in every relation of life he is most cordially esteemed by those who know him.

DANIEL GANNON. Among the foreign American citizens of Cohoctah Township, Livingston County, who have established a reputation as farmers of thorough-going enterprise and system, we are pleased to mention the name which we have now given. This gentleman was born November 14, 1843, in County Kilkenny, Ireland, and is a son of Michael and Mary (Tuly) Gannon, the latter being a native of the same county where her husband and son first saw the

Image of Daniel Gannon's Residence

    The paternal grandfather of our subject reared four sons and two daughters, only two of whom came to America, namely: William, who lives in Fenton and was an early settler of Hartland, Livingston County, and Bridget Whalen, who was a widow when she emigrated to this country.

     Michael Gannon was a farmer in his native land where he died in 1847. The following year his widow brought her children to the United States and remained in New York City for about one year, after which she came to Hartland, Livingston County, and purchased forty acres of land where she resided until death closed her labors in July, 1869. Her nine children are: Margaret, Richard, deceased, Mary, Bridget, James, William, Daniel, Julia, deceased, and Anna.

     A common-school education was given to Daniel Gannon and upon gaining his education he began work for himself in Cohoctah Township, buying one hundred and sixty acres of timber on section 8, which he proceeded to improve. He now owns two hundred and eighty acres, all of which he has cleared from timber and embellished with good buildings. A view of his residence, which is one of the finest in the township, appears elsewhere in this volume. He began life with no capital but has now a handsome competence and his success is due to the fact that he possesses push, pluck and perseverance, three characteristics which are ever essential to success. His political views are in accordance with the declarations of the Democratic party and he is an earnest worker for its success.

     The  marriage of Mr. Gannon to Ann McKeever took place September 1, 1870. Mrs. Gannon was born in Hartland, this county, and is a daughter of Hugh and Ann (Neson) McKeever, natives of Fermanagh and Monaghan Counties, Ireland. He came to the United States and spent six years in New York, and then as he had decided to make it his permanent home returned to the old country for his bride, and brought her to New York. They lived there for two years before coming to Michigan, and upon arriving in this State made their new home in Hartland.

     To our subject and his estimable wife were born seven children, namely: Clement J., Mary B., Hugh F., George W., Joseph D., William M., and Casper H. These children have all been trained up in the religious faith of their parents and ancestors, and are devoted members of the Roman Catholic Church.


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