Thank you to Joyce VanderVere for acquiring the copies
of the Township histories from the book-
This is the largest township in the county, being 9x6 miles, embracing, therefore, fifty-four square miles of territory, much of which is yet to be developed. It will yet be a great fruit district. The attempts that have been made have demonstrated its great value as a fruit region. It is an off-shoot of the old town of Norton, from which it separated in 1867. It has one lovely village-Fruitport- at the head of Spring Lake, which is unrivaled for its scenery, and will again become a favorite Summer resort. It is well watered by Black Creek, crossing its northwest corner, and Norris Creek and Little Deer Creek traversing its center.
Fruitport was a portion of the old Norton Township
until it was set apart under the name of Lovell by act of the Legislature
in 1867. The first meeting of the electors was appointed to be held at
the school house in Section 31, Henry James, Sam'l Torrans and Robert Little
being the first inspectors of election. Austin W. DeFrate was the first
supervisor, and was re-elected the following year. In 1870 John D. McEwing
was elected supervisor. In 1871 the name of the town was changed from Lovell
to Fruitport, and M. B. Converse was elected supervisor, and re-elected
in 1872 and 1873. In 1874 J. D. McEwing again became supervisor, and next
year M. B. Converse was elected, and re-elected until 1879, having the
honor of being chairman of the county board for the last two years. In
1879 H. Beach was elected, and in 1881 J. C. Abbott became supervisor.
In 1882 Frank L. Hough is supervisor.
The first settler in Fruitport Township
was Seth H. Norris, in Fall of 1836, who cleared seven acres and made it
his home for several years. Mr. Torens came in the following Winter. Jacob
Chapman was the first settler in the village of Fruitport, and was its
first postmaster, J. W. Barnes became the second.
SPRING LAKE IRON WORKS
The Iron Company for the manufacture of Lake Superior
Charcoal Pig Iron was organized in 1879 under the mining laws of the State
of Michigan with a paid up capital stock of $100,000. The officers
are Samuel Marshal, of Milwaukee, President; Col. E. H. Broadhead, of Milwaukee,
Vice President; Irving M. Bean, of Milwaukee, Secretary and Treasurer;
Maj. H. S. Pickands, general manager. The blast furnace was erected in
the fall and winter of '79 and '80 under the personal supervision of Maj.
H. S. Pickands, formerly of the Bay and Munising furnaces of Lake Superior,
and also manager of the Bangor Furnace Co., of Bangor, Van Buren County,
Mich., and to this date Nov. 1881, has made the best record of any charcoal
furnace in the United States. The plant is located on the north bank of
Spring Lake and has five hundred feet of dock with sixteen feet depth of
water. The ores from Lake Superior are transported in the new steam barge
H. C. Akeley, built expressly for this trade at Grand Haven by Capt. Kirby
and Mr. H. C. Akeley, and is unloaded at the furnace with improved steam
hoisting apparatus direct into the stock house. The track of the C &
W. M. railroad is laid to the furnace. The furnace stack is an iron shell
forty-five feet high, supported upon iron columns. Blast is furnished by
a Weimar engine of two hundred horse power, driven by two batteries of
boilers. The engine and boiler houses are of brick with iron roof, and
are also the hoisting and cast houses. The cast house is 50x100 feet, stock
house 126x170 feet, and the coal stock house 100x100 feet. Only a small
portion of the charcoal used in the furnace is made in one battery of round
kilns at the furnace, the greater amount being manufactured in Oceana County,
where the company have extensive works and an abundant supply of hard wood,
and is transported to the furnace in cars built for the purpose by the
C. & W. M. R. R. The daily capacity of the furnace is fifty gross tons
of pig iron which is shipped by rail and vessel to eastern and western
markets, the iron being especially adapted to the manufacture of Bessemer
steel, car wheels, malleable and strong foundry castings. The company employ
in the aggregate at the furnace and at the charcoal kilns in busy season
about four hundred men.
Warren J. Barnes, farmer and fruit grower, Section 36, came from Oswego County, N. Y., in 1868, where he was a prominent citizen, and has been Justice of the Peace for four years in Fruitport, and moderator and road director, and in every way makes himself generally useful.
Henry Beach was born in St. Lawrence County, N. Y., in 1838. When quite young his parents went to the Province of Ontario and settled in Elizabethtown, County of Leeds. In 1874 he went back to the State of New York staying there eight years. He then went to Illinois. In 1856 he went to Magill College, Montreal, to study medicine and practiced his profession until 1868. In that year he went to the state of Michigan and settled in the town of Fruitport, where he now resides. During his residence he has held the office of Justice of the Peace and Supervisor. In 1867 he married Miss Mary Jackson, of Chicago, by whom he has five children.
Seneca M. Burgess, principal of the village school, Fruitport, also senior member of the County Board of School Examiners, is a genial gentleman admirably qualified for the position of school principal, for which he has had a successful experience of over fifty school terms in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and California. His whole soul is in his work and he was also a fighting patriot during the war, enlisting as a private in 1862, in DeGolyer's battery of light artillery, serving two years until discharged for disability, having been promoted to the Quarter-master's staff. He married in 1857 Harriet Alexander, of Rollin, Mich., and his only daughter Kate M., creditably assists him in the school.
Arthur V. Chapman, postmaster and dealer in hardware and furniture, was born in Onondaga County, N. Y., in 1847, and commenced business in 1871, went out in 1874 and re-commenced five years afterwards. His father, Jacob Chapman, was the first postmaster of Fruitport. Arthur married in 1874 Miss L. J. Hunt, of Manchester, Mich., and has two children, Sarah, born Aug. 5, 1876, and Marshall, 5th Sept. 1880.
David Chapman, farmer, Section 31, was born in England in 1830, settling on his farm in 1855. Has a fine fourteen acre lot on which he raises grain, vegetables and fruit.
G. L. Calkins, general merchant, established his business in 1870, and keeps a good line of boots and shoes, groceries and provisions, and deals extensively in teas, bark, lumber, flour and feed, and ships fruit to Milwaukee and Chicago. Mr. C. is a man of liberal and generous disposition, and has accumulated wealth.
Wm. Clydesdale, farmer, Section 31, was born in County Cavan, Ireland, in 1822 came to Canada where he remained seven years, thence to Oswego, N. Y., for five years, settling on a farm in this village, and afterwards to his present farm of forty acres.
N. S. Cummins, farmer, born in Canada in 1834, and settled on his present farm in Section 22, since 1877, although he has been in Michigan since 1865. Has for a short period served his country as a volunteer in the late war.
George B. Dignan was born in the county of Northumberland, England, in 1849. When he was four years old his parents left for America and landed in New York, remaining there two years; from there they went to Ann Arbor, Mich. In 1874 he left Ann Arbor and went to Saginaw, staying there two years. In 1876 he went to Fruitport and bought land in Section 29, of Fruitport, where now he resides. Mr. Dignan held the office of Constable one term. In 1863 he enlisted in the northern army and served about twenty months. He was in Washington at the time of the Early raid on that city, and he is one of the survivors of the collision of the Meteor and Pewaubeck, in August, 1865, when about 300 lives were lost.
B. J. Harris, general merchant, purchased in 1879 the business of Mr. Thrope, which has been ten years established. He deals heavily in teas, bark and fruit, and keeps a good stock of dry goods, groceries, &c.
E. F. Hiler is dealer in bark and trees for Hitchcock & Foster, of Chicago, to whom they are shipped direct. Has also in connection a general store. He was born in Monroe County, N. Y., in 1847.
Mrs. Lowe came from Plymouth, Indiana. in 1841 came to Chicago, where she resided two years, and thence removed to Black Lake for two years, and thence after spending four years in Grand Haven she came in 1869 to her present farm in Fruitport.
John Loosmore, farmer in Section 32, was born in England July 16th, 1811; came to this country in 1852, and to his present farm of 120 acres in 1865, and is now an extensive grain raiser, having fifty acres under cultivation in 1881. He is regarded by his neighbors as a model farmer.
John D. McEwing, farmer, has an excellent fruit and grain farm of 200 acres. He was born in New York in 1831, came to Fruitport in 1869, and has been steadily engaged in farming ever since. Was Supervisor for two years, Town Clerk for five years, School Moderator and Overseer of Highways; all of which is substantial testimony to his worth as a citizen.
George E. Mack, carpenter and builder, was born in Ontario County, N. Y., and came to Fruitport from Auburn in 1870, and has erected the principal buildings in the village. He enlisted in the 8th N. Y. Cavalry, serving three years, and was wounded in a skirmish at Green's Station. He has by hard labor acquired a competency.
L. L. Maxfield was born in Lamont, Ottawa County, in 1855, and lived there until he was 21. He then went to Greenville, and was there three years, keeping books for Mr. S. W. Smith, merchant. From there he went to Portage Lake, stayed there two years bookkeeping, and then went to Fruitport and established a grocery trade, where he now resides. In 1879 he married Miss Estelle Osgood, of Port Washington, Wis., by whom he has one child.
G. S. Putnam, druggist, established his business in December, 1880, and keeps a good stock of drugs, groceries, patent medicines, and also a news depot.
Wm. J. Riley, farmer, is a native of Ireland, and came to Fruitport village in 1870, and has a fine 40-acre lot close by the village.
Samuel Torrans, a worthy pioneer of Fruitport,
died on the 30th of April last, of blood poisoning. Mr. Torrans was born
in County Londonderry, Ireland, in 1818, and emigrated to this country
at the age of 19, and settled in Pennsylvania, where he resided a short
time, and then removed to Fruitport, where he resided about thirty-five
years. At the time of his arrival here there were but a few houses at Grand
Haven, and the balance of the country in that vicinity was a vast wilderness.
He engaged in lumbering, and for a number of years owned and operated a
mill at the head of Spring Lake. Lately he had given more attention to
farming, but still he did some lumbering in connection with it. He was
married about sixteen years ago to Miss Virginia Wyatt, of Virginia, who
survives him. He also leaves eight children and two sisters, Mrs. Richard
Clydesdale, of Spring Lake, and Miss Agnes Torrans, of San Francisco, Cal.,
and one brother in Ireland.