History of St. Clair County - Cottrellville Township and Marine City

[St. Clair County Marriges & Deaths]

Extracted from
History of St. Clair County, Michigan

by A.T. Andreas

History of St. Clair County

Cottrellville Township and Marine City

[687] A reference to the Organic Chapter of the general history points out the organization of this town so early as 1822, with A. Hemminger as Supervisor. In the general history also appear the names of its pioneer settlers - the Cotterals (Cottrell's), Wards, Browns, etc. The land rises gradually from the river; is fertile, and must be considered among the rich agricultural lands of the county, the marsh, running back from the river, being perhaps the only exception, and this is capable of cultivation. Marine City of Roberts' Landing are the only centers of population in the township. The population in 1845 was 727; in 1854, 1,442; in 1864, 1,930; in 1870, 2,371; and in 1880, 2,904. The equalized valuation is $600,000; number of acres, 13,011, and number of children of school age, 941.


The land buyers on Section 10 were: Sardem Smith in 1832; John Smith in 1833; Reuben Smith, Job L. Smith, William Smith, in 1835; Samuel Ward, W. A. Bacon in 1836. On Section 11, James and William Brown and Samuel Ward located lands in 1833. Bosiel Petit and Gabriel Richards located lands on Section 12; William Brown on Section 14, in 1833. J. Wright, J. Broadbridge, D. F. Healy, and Edward Kean in 1833-34, on Section 15. James McIntire, R. Smart, George McIntire, James P. Mini, R. Clark and George Clark on Section 19, in 1836; David Seuter, Warner Stewart, Darius Lamson, H. Wilcox, J. Dunlap and D. F. Healy on Section 18, in 1836.

Lands on Section 19 were purchased by A. Westbrook in 1831-32, and Samuel Haywood, Ira Marks and Healy in 1836. Section 20 was entered in 1835-36 by John Cook, Robert Harlow, Phillip Rikert, Mathias Rikert, Isaac F. Vanderbilt, George McIntire, Elisha Tyler and R. Clark. Nathan Ward, Elliot Gray and George W. Gallagher entered 277 acres on Section 21, in 1835-36. Silas Campbell located on Section 22 in February, 1833; Peter Hart, on Section 27 in 1835; James Pitcairn, John K. Smith, Abraham Smith and John R. Smith on Section 28, in 1835-36. Gurdon Kimball, C. W. Newhall, Frederick Thompson, Benjamin Barker and R. Stewart on Section 29, in 1835-36. Westbrook, Stewart and Dunlap entered Section 30 in 1828-36. Jones and Luce located lands in Section 31 in 1836.

Samuel Ward located eighty acres in Section 2 in 1833; Louis Chortier, William Brown, Jr., in 1834; Thomas Emerson and L. Beardsley in 1836. John Rector, Chester Kimball, C. W. Newhall, John Landon, B. H. Norton, Luce and Jones and James Pitcairn on Section 33, in 1834-36. George Preston located on Section 3 in 1834; Elisha Fish, W. B. Ranke, Daniel F. Hart, Peter Hart in 1835; Joel Tucker, B. U. Sharp, Thomas Emerson and Thomas Fincont in 1836. Aaron G. Peiry, G. Kimball, W. H. Drake entered lands on Section 32 in 1835-36. Jacob Warner, Anne Richards, W. A. Bacon, S. Ward and Lorin Baldwin located lands on Section 4 in 1836. Mary Peckham, Jerry Marks, L. Beardsley and Bowen Whiting on Section 5, in 1836. Robert Pringle on Section 6, in 1836. Henry Wilcox, James Loomis, Felix M. Williams, on Section 7 in 1836. Dan Wilkins, Dan H. Hathaway, Darius Lawson, Henry Wilcox, George Clark, Kerchewall and Healy on Section 8, in 1836; Henry Cottrell, Robert R. McNiff on Section 9, in 1836. Daniel Hart, Jacob Kendall, Lucia A. Tucker, and Enoch Jones located on Section 34 in 1833-36. The private claims in this township are known as Nos. 186, 187, 188, 190, 191, 196, 197, 198, 200, 202, 203, 204, 206, 245, 252, 253, 301, 308, 309, 311, 318, 568, and 598. A description of each of these claims is given in the general history of the county.


The following historical reminiscences were published in the Marine City Reporter in 1881, by a settler who wrote under the nom de plume - "One Who Was There:" [688] I was born in what is now known as the township of Cottrellville the 18th day of October, 1808, on what is now commonly known as the Tom Robertson farm and have never since lost a residence here, and flatter myself that I know something of the history of the township and its inhabitants. The growth and vicissitude of the settlements along St. Clair River has to me many points of interest, and, I judge, might for some of your readers. At the time of my birth there were but few settlers in the county, the nearest large settlement being Detroit, and that was a mere hamlet. The families of note in this vicinity were Capt. Harrow's, Pascal Potva's that occupied the farm now occupied by O'Leary, and what is now the Roberts farm was occupied by Nicholas Huffmaster and owned by John Grant, a local mogul among the few French settlers at Grosse Point. Samuel Crable occupied what is now the M. Fitzgerald farm. William Thorne, father of Maj. Thorne, who died at Port Huron, owned and occupied that land now owned by J. J. Spinks and T. Fitzgerald. He died there and is buried underneath the large pear tree that now stands near the bank of the river. A man named Roe lived on what is now the Lumby farm, and the next was the Robertson farm. Our nearest neighbor on the the north was Joseph Minnie. Then came David Cottrell, William Brown, father of James D. and Charles Brown, George Cottrell, father of the present Capt. George, and John Cottrell, who lived in a log house near the mouth of the creek that empties into St. Clair River near Richard Cottrell's farm. These families formed what was known as the Cottrellville settlement. About a mile north on Belle River was what was known as the Duchene settlement, comprising the families of Duchene, Nichola, Burdeneau, Lozo, Geror and Yax. No one surrounded with the advantages of to-day can understand the hardships endured by these early settlers; farming was the only employment, and this was unlucrative as there were no markets, and our money was our few farm products which soon became interchangeable at stated values. Bets on horse-racing would generally be for so many bushels of oats, and it became a matter of interest, especially to the horses, as the horse that was beaten generally went hungry until the new crop was harvested. Imagination cannot picture the miseries brought upon us by the war of 1812. After the cowardly surrender of Hull, the Indians became troublesome, and there was no time for months when we were safe from their depredations. I can distinctly remember of mother hiding us children in the willows and keeping us there for five days, as our lives were endangered. Our family was marked by the British and Indians, for special persecutions on account of the older boys being in the American Army. About this time a terrible tragedy was enacted near Bunt's Creek, a few miles south of Port Huron. Five soldiers started from the stockade at Ft. Gratiot for Detroit in a small boat. A company of Indians under Tawas, a half-breed, was at this point awaiting them. When the soldiers were nearly opposite, a white flag was raised and the soldiers started for the shore. When near the shore, the Indians fired into the boat, killing instantly four of the five soldiers; the fifth, unhurt, escaped by swimming the river. The Cottrellville settlement then built a stockade for their own protection. It stood upon the Roussell farm, but it was never used. Matters became so desperate that every family in the settlement went to Canada and donned the British allegiances for protection. All went except Mrs. Harrow, and she stubbornly held the fort alone. Our family moved to the banks of Little Bear Creek, and occupied an old log house, the most costly piece of furniture being the mud hearth and the oiled paper, substitute for glass. The warmth of our fire would at night attract unwholesome guests. Many times have we in the morning seen black snakes coiled upon the hearth, but they were extremely accommodating, and retired upon the first invitation. This manner of living was continued until the Americans had again taken possession of Detroit, when our family removed to that place, where we stayed until 1815, when we returned to our old settlement. The fine-haired young men of to-day would be shocked could they but see the clothes I then wore. Up to the time I was five years old my whole wardrobe, for winter and summer wear, was a tow-sack with a puckering string about the neck and arms, belted down with a string. This was the whole of it, and it was a handy, if not a handsome outfit.

After our return from Detroit, we suffered from our absolute destitution; the soldiers, Indians and seemingly everything worked to our injury, but there was but one way to do - "grin and bear it;" and with all the trouble there was a bright side, and the "company dances" occupied the attention of the settlements through the winter, and he who best "cut a pigeon [689] wing" was a lion in our little society. One feature of the dance we will give to show Senator Farr the progress society has made in the matter of temperance. Some one of the gentlemen were supposed to furnish a gallon of whisky or a half dollar, its equivalent, and he was the favored partner of the evening, generally designated by a rosette pinned on the lappel of his coat by a fair one in recognition of his services toward the pleasure of the evening. About the year 1819, I think, Capt. Samuel Ward came to the township. He built a house of round logs where Dr. Haddin's house now stands. It was, indeed, a primitive structure, contained but one partition, and was covered with oak shake. His family at that time consisted of his wife and son Harrison. Soon after Capt. Ward was settled, a brother-in-law by the name of Gallagher came, he being the father of David and John Gallagher. The next year, the first boat ever built in the town was placed upon the stocks. It was the little schooner St. Clair, of about thirty tons burthen. She was built about where the foot of Broadway now is. Gallagher was the master builder and Ward the owner. She was shaped like a canal boat, full ends and rudder "out doors." In this boat Capt. Ward gained his start, peddling pumpkins, potatoes, whisky, etc., which then as now all went under the head of general merchandise. The Captain made some very extensive trips in this little boat, one of which was from Green Bay to New York. This boat occupied his attention for about six years. A short time after the St. Clair was built, Henry Robertson, afterward of Algonac, and Isaac Pomeroy built the schooner Grampus on Belle River, directly opposite of where Morley's yard is now situated. She was about the same size of the St. Clair. The iron in this boat was taken from a little schooner named the Salem Packet, in which Capt. Ward came from Coneaut, and was a part owner. About 1830, Capt. Ward built a tannery about where Holland's mill now is; a man named Taft run it. It proved a failure, as there was not sufficient business to keep it going; this lasted only about two years, when he took down the tannery and upon the spot manufactured the brick from which Holland's present store is built. A man named Hoyt about this time came in to the settlement and lived where Dr. Parker now lives, in the first frame house that was ever built in what is now Marine City. Through Ward's influence at this time, a man named Philips, a blacksmith by trade, moved into the town and built a house on the Drulard lot. This man was one of no mean abilities. He was the inventor of the process of manufacturing cut nails, but was shorn of the benefits he should have derived from the invention, and died poor and discouraged in Algonac. John Sindal also moved into the settlement; he was a shoe-maker and lived near the Ward house in the upper part of the village. He afterward built the frame house on the corner of the Klemmens lots, on Main street, that burned down but a few years ago. About this time, Alexander St. Barnard built a frame house where V. A. Saph's residence now stands. Capt. Sam was the king of this community, arbitrator of all disputes, and so long as he could control, business was quite decent; but he could not, nor would he allow any one else to raise above dependency upon himself if he could help it; yet, notwithstanding this, he was socially very agreeable, and always made friends of those he wished to defeat. In about the year 1831, he built the schooner Marshal Ney. She was a seventy-five ton schooner and was the first boat built in Ward's ship-yard proper. Her building was superintended by Capt. Church. Ward sailed his own boats and made money fast, as he had a monopoly of the trade. About this time Aunt Emily and her father came and lived in a little log house which stood near where Buttironi's store stands. Aunt Emily at this time taught school, and was therefore the first school teacher that graced our village. Her life before and after this period was one of useful industry, and no family who has resided in this place for any considerable time but what has been the recipient of her kindness and a witness of her unqualified goodness of heart. The manner in which Capt. Ward paid his carpenters would be a novelty now. The wages averaged about $1.50 per day, payable half in goods and half in cash in six months. If a man took flour or pork, it was cash, and deducted from his cash account. In this manner but little ready cash was needed, as the carpenters would be obliged to get goods before the cash was due - a collateral feature being that Ward gave his notes for the case earned by his men, and if they wanted money he would send them to O. H. Thompson, Ward's broker at Detroit, who would shave them unmercifully. Thompson was afterward superseded by Gleason F. Lewis, now a Euclid avenue nabob. [690] I think in the fall of 1834, the schooner Harrison was commenced at Ward's yard. She was a vessel of something over one hundred tons, and was built under the supervision of Capt. Church, a man named Ramsey being foreman. She was not launched until in the 1835, and I fitted her out. She was exceedingly long and narrow, and somewhat crank, but she was a good sailer, being the best then on the lakes. Capt. B. F. Owen sailed her, and E. B. Ward was mate. She traded between Chicago, Green Bay, Detroit and Buffalo. E. B. Ward sailed this vessel for some time, and we think this was his first sailing. At this time the settlement where the village now stands had become quite large. Capt. Drulard, Daniel Wilkins, R. R. McNiff, J. C. Brigham, Zeal Ward, Amasa Rust, Nathan Ward and families had moved in, and finding work steady and plenty, they remained. A short time afterward, Joseph Huntoon and Mr. Clark, father of Cheney and Henry Clark, came and soon sent for their families. In 1836, a man named Coe J. Saliers built the house lately moved by Matt Sicken from his lot on Water street to one near his lumber yard. This Saliers was a conundrum that Capt. Ward tried hard to solve, but without success, and so long as he lived here he was a thorn in the old man's side. In 1839, Capt. Ward conceived the idea of building a steamboat, which even to him was a large undertaking, but the hull of the steamer Huron No. 1 was built that year. After the hull was built, Ward had no means to purchase machinery, and the boat lay at the wharf for nearly two years without anything further being done upon her. E. B. Ward then took the matter in hand and in this case he demonstrated a business activity that was at that time astonishing. Soon the little Huron was ready for business, and the Wards never owned a boat that paid a better percentage on the money invested. There cannot be any doubt of the business shrewdness of Capt. Sam Ward, but it is just as evident that in this line he was discounted by his nephew Eber, and would not have amassed the wealth he did had it not been for the stirring qualities of he who afterward became one of Michigan's most prominent citizens. The Wilkins house was commenced in 1837. An event in the history of this house is worth mentioning. An entertainment was given in the house and quite a number of our prominent citizens took part. J. C. Brigham did the heavy work, in tragedy he was immense, at least we thought so. John Warner and R. R. McNiff supported Brigham in a masterly style, and Reuben Warner, the inimitable would have taken part, we suppose, if he had been a believer or hadn't been tired. The receipts of the evening was about $100. Capt. Ward had some time previous to this placed the Huron on the Lake Erie route in opposition to a line of steamers occupied in that trade. He made it so exceedingly lively for them that they bought him off, a condition of the contract was that the Huron should not again be placed on the route; this part of the agreement Ward lived up to, but to be exceedingly fair he immediately built the steamer Champion, and in 1841 placed her on the route in opposition to his old rivals. She was exceedingly fast, and they again bought him off, giving him $10,000 to leave the route. He then placed the Champion in the Huron's place, running from Chicago to New Buffalo, and brought the Huron down here and run her on the river route. Ward, in 1843, built the steamer Detroit and run her from Detroit to the Sault. He in 1846, sold the Huron to John Galagher and Eber Ward; they run her from Detroit to Port Huron in opposition to the Erie. It was in this boat that Eber Ward was started and amassed a sufficient amount to fail in good style under the pressure of the latepanic, we understand that was the cause of it. In 1848, Galagher and Ward built the Franklin Moore and used the machinery of the Huron. This or part of the same machinery was placed by D. Lester in the side-wheel tug Wave. In 1848, Capt. Sam Ward built the Sam Ward, an exceedingly fine and in every way a good boat. Previous to the opening of the Sault canal, this steamer was hauled around the rapids. Capt. George Cottrell then sailed her and had charge of the work. She staid upon Lake Superior two or three years and when she was brought down run the rapids, a dangerous experiment to say the least. About this time a company from Ohio moved in and purchased all the land in the village north of Jefferson street, running to Westminster street, they platting that part of the village between the two streets. Gen. Northrup was a head man in this company, and they exerted quite an influence here for awhile, but failing to meet their payments the property soon found its way back into Ward's hands. In 1845, the Oregon was built on Belle River, where the one upon the stocks in Lester's yard now stands. She was owned by John P. Philips and Capt. [691] Pangborn superintended her building. She was finished superbly and was considered a fine craft. She burned at Chicago in 1849.

John P. Philips soon after built the high-pressure steamer America at Port Huron, William Kelly being his foreman. This boat was not a success and broke Philips, financially. The last I heard of him he was interested in a small mill on Pine River, a small stream emptying into Saginaw Bay, near Rifle River. In speaking of William Kelly, we should say that he had been at work in the ship-yards here, and after he was through at Port Huron, returning soon after, married a daughter of Amasa Rust, and he became interested with the Rust family in the lumbering and mercantile business. He proved, as is well known, an excellent businessman and accumulated considerable wealth here, and aside from this was a most worthy citizen. Some time previous to this, the Rust boys built the schooner Vermont. She was a thrity-ton hooker and a very ungainly looking craft. This was the first boat the Rusts ever owned, and it was an ugly looking start for so much success. Aloney Rust was the principal owner. After they had disposed of the schooner, they built the mill that formerly stood where V. L. Souer's store now stands. They received considerable assistance from Capt. Ward, who furnished them the engine and some other necessaries, and allowed them to pay him in sawing. For some time they did nothing but custom work until, through the influence of friends, they procured a tract of pine land on Mill Creek. The Rusts were energetic men in their business, and amassed large fortunes. About twenty-five years ago, the machinery was taken out of this mill and taken to Saginaw. Capt. Ward in the meantime had been busy in his ship-yard building some of the finest boats that have ever been built on the lakes, and much nicer than any that are now built. But little attention was paid at that time to freight, the boats being fitted out especially for the passenger trade, and that traffic was tremendous at that time. I have seen 800 passengers on the Oregon, each of which paid $18 for the trip from Buffalo to Chicago, and her run through would, including her stops, take about five days. She made money. Ward, in 1849, built the steamer Atlantic. She was an elegant boat of 1,100 tons. She was sunk by the propeller Ogdensburg in Lake Erie, many lives being lost at the time. Nothing was built to speak of for some time; but in 1851 no less than four side-wheel steamers were built here - the Arctic, Ruby, Pearl and Caspian. The Ruby was built by Eber Ward in the yard now occupied by D. Lester, Esq., and the others were built by Sam and E. B. Ward in Ward's yard. The Arctic was wrecked on Lake Superior in 1860. The Ruby was broken up at Saginaw in 1865; the Pearl was dismantled in 1869, and the Caspian was wrecked at Cleveland in 1852. I should have spoken of the steamer Pacific, built by Ward in 1847, under the supervision of Jacob Woolverton. She was of exceedingly firm model and was the fastest boat of her size ever built by Ward. In 1852, the Wards built the steamer Huron No. 2 and the Traveler. Nearly every person of any age can remember these boats, as they were both good boats and run for many years. In 1853, they built the E. K. Collins and Forester. The engine of the Collins was taken out of the steamer Canada, a boat that it was alleged Ward got through some sleight of hand performance. The Collins burned at Malden in 1854. She was afterward raised, or at least what there was left of her, and called the Ark. The engines of the Ark afterward went into the steamer Marine City. The Forester never run on any but the river route and was a remarkably good boat. In 1854, M. B. Kean built the side-wheel tug R. R. Elliot. She was turned into a barge in 1866. Ward, in 1855, built a hull for the Collins engine. It was the Planet. She was one of the best boats that Ward ever owned, very fortunate and popular. She was dismantled at Manitowoc, and part of the old boat can be found in the make-up of the steamer Northwest. The same year, Eber Ward built the steamer Forest Queen. She, a majority of the time she was in existence, run in the Saginaw trade and was a very successful steamer. Ward built no more until 1858, when the Gazelle was brought out. She was wrecked in 1860 at Eagle Harbor. In 1859, he built the Sea Bird. She was burned in 1868 on Lake Michigan, and in 1860 he built the Comet that is now doing good work.


The town of Cottrellville embraced the present township of Clay, until the division in May, 1828, previous to which there were two town meetings held in Cottrellville. The people [692] of Clay, looking forward to the time when a division would be made by common consent, called their district Plainfield. The circumstances which led to the division was, that Capt. Samuel Ward, one of the early settlers of the county, a prominent business man, a good neighbor, and an earnest politician, with whom a compromise was impossible, made a series of nominations of town officers to be voted for in April, 1828. Learning that the people of Clay were opposed to his selections, he determined to ignore their vote, on the plea that they were residents of Plainfield and had no voting privileges in Cottrellville at the town meeting. The Clayites met in John K. Smith's office, resolved to vote in Cottrellville, and if their votes were rejected to return and hold an election of their own. At an early hour on town meeting day, the Clayites appeared at the poll; but only to learn that their votes could not be received, upon which they returned to Mr. Smith's and there elected a full set of town officers. Before separating, a petition was drawn up and signed, asking the Legislative Council to legalize the act of the people and to establish the boundaries of their new township. At this time Judge Bunce was representing the district in the Territorial Council, and through him the petition was presented. The Judge claimed immediate consideration for a bill to relieve the electors of Clay, which bill was passed and received ex. ap. May 28, 1828. It is said that Capt. Ward did not relish the division of Cottrellville, for at that time there were more voters in Clay than in the old town. He could not but look with a jealous eye on the dispatch used by Judge Bunce in the Council, and consequently became the first and most bitter political enemy of the Judge.


John S. Fish, 1827; Amasa Hemminger, 1828; George Cottrell, 1829-30; Amasa Hemminger, 1831; Samuel Ward, 1832-33; David Cottrell, 1834-37; Commissioners Board, 1838-1841; David Cottrell, 1842-45; Zael Ward, 1846; Sol. Gardner, 1847; David Cottrell, 1848-54; Aloney Rust, 1855; David Cottrell, 1856; William F. Chipman, 1857-60; Samuel Roberts, 1861; William F. Chipman, 1862; Samuel Roberts, 1863; William F. Chipman, 1864-65; V. A. Saph, 1866; N. S. Boynton, 1867; David Cottrell, 1868; Samuel Roberts, 1869; B. S. Horton, 1870-71; V. A. Saph, 1872-73; P. J. Kean, 1874-75; C. A. Blood, 1876-82.


John P. Phillips, 1837; Duthan Northrup, 1838; Henry A. Caswell, 1839; Samuel Hayward, 1839; David Cottrell, 1840; John P. Phillips, 1841; Zael Ward, 1842; Reuben Smith, 1843; Solomon Gardner, 1843; David Cottrell, 1844; John Button, 1845; Solomon Gardner, 1846; Reuben Smith, 1847; T. C. Owen, 1848; David Cottrell, 1848; Reuben Warner, 1849; David O'Dell, 1850; Frederick H. Blood, 1851; D. Cottrell, 1852; Daniel F. Hart, 1853; D. D. O'Dell, 1854; A. Gilchrist, 1856; Joseph Rickerson, 1857; William Duncan, 1857; D. F. Hart, 1857; David Lester, 1858; William Duncan, 1859; James Bushnell, 1860; William A. Cottrell, 1860; Jacob H. Randall, 1861; D. F. Hart, 1861; D. Lester, 1862; S. Roberts, 1862; N. Fraser, 1862; V. A. Saph, 1863; George Langell, 1864; Daniel F. Hart, 1865; Sylvester Donaldson, 1866; V. A. Saph, 1867; James Rickerson, 1867; Eph. H. Butler, 1868; Krider Peter, 1869; Ramel Bell, 1870; Sylvester Donaldson, 1871-74; E. H. Butler, 1874; R. R. McNiff, 1872-73; W. B. Morley, 1875; James Stephenson, 1876; T. E. Butler, 1877; S. Donaldson, 1878; J. A. Wonsey, 1879; Nelson Woodworth, 1880; Albert Stephenson, 1881; Truman Butler, 1881; F. C. Blood, 1882.

The Republican ticket was elected in 1882, as follows: Supervisor - C. A. Blood; Township Clerk - E. T. Huntoon; Treasurer - W. S. Roberts; Justice of the Peace - F. C. Blood; Highway Commissioner - R. Folkerts; Drain Commissioner - J. D. Hill; School Inspector - One year, E. M. Clark; two years, R. Baird; Constables - I. G. Marks, William Shortie, J. Bennett and E. Frank.

The township of Cottrellville voted in April, 1882, to bond itself for $8,000 for the purpose of stoning or macadamizing the lower marsh road from the lower bridge to Smith's corner. Heretofore all efforts to this effect proved fruitless.

The persons liable to pay State tax in Cottrellville Township January 1, 1837, were Amasa Hemminger, Fulger & Bellamy, Phillips, Robertson, and Miles, and Samuel Hayward, all [693] traders. Henry Cottrell, Louis Chortier, Philander Rice, H. A. Caswell and William Brown, tavern-keepers, and Cole G. Salyer, grocer.

Robert's Landing is the name of a small settlement or postal village of Cottrellville Township, about twelve miles below St. Clair City, and three north of the old village of Algonac. The manufacture of handles at this point was carried on extensively by W. C. and W. S. Roberts. This, with the fishing business, furnished the main industries of the locality.


The village of Marine was incorporated under the authority of the Legislative Act, approved March 21, 1865. The election of village officers took place April 3, 1865, resulting as follows: D. Lester, President; William Kelly, Clerk; A. B. Clough, Treasurer; Aloney Rust and B. S. Horton, Assessors; D. H. Westcott, George H. Cottrell and W. T. Chipman, Street Commissioners; William Pringle and Aaron G. Westbrook, Fire Wardens; D. Westcott, Poundmaster; B. S. Horton, W. T. Chipman, J. W. Backus, D. H. Westcott, Alexander Gilchrist, D. Gallaher, Trustees. The inspectors of this charter election were D. Lester, I. Wilkins, and A. B. Clough, with Isaac Wilkins, Clerk. B. S. Horton was appointed Clerk on April 13, and J. W. Backus, Fire Warden, to fill vacancy.

The village records from 1866 to 1876, cannot be found at date of writing. In 1867, Valentine A. Saph was elected President; and in 1871, D. Lester.

1876 - President, L. B. Parker; Trustees, G. Francis, R. Holland, G. Koenig, W. B. Morley, J. C. Durling and A. McElroy.
1877 - President, Gregory Francis; Trustees, G. Koenig, V. L. Souer, F. Hart, A. B. Clough, W. B. Morley, George King, A. McElroy.
1878 - President, A. B. Clough; Trustees, Volma, Woodworth, Hart, Bennett, Francis, Souer.
1879 - President, W. B. Morley; Trustees, S. Duff, J. Bernetz, J. Dornoff
1880 - President, Frank Hart; Trustees, H. Koebel, W. Jones, N. Staley, G. S. Donohue.
1881 - President, Robert Holland; Trustees, J. Woods, W. Anderson, J. Dornoff.
1882 - President, Valentine Saph; Trustees, J. Robertson, N. Staley, Dr. R. B. Baird, W. B. Morley, J. Woods, W. S. Roberts; Clerk, C. H. Saph; Marshal, H. G. Street; Assessor, C. A. Blood; Engineer, George Hornbustle; Chief of Fire Department, Dr. L. B. Parker.


The rechartering of Marine City, in 1879, provided for holding the annual meeting on the second Monday of March instead of the first Tuesday of that month, as was formerly the custom. A bill containing this and other provisions was brought forward by Senator McElroy February 17, 1879, which passed both branches of the Legislature March 6, and was approved May 3, 1879, substantially as follows: "The People of the State of Michigan enact, That all that tract of country in the county of St. Clair in the State of Michigan, described as follows, to wit: Commencing at the northwest corner of fractional section number six, in Township 3 North of Range number 17 East, at the northeast corner of said township on the margin of St. Clair River, thence west, on the north line of said township to the center of Belle River; thence southeasterly down the center of said river to the junction of Belle River and St. Clair River; thence northeasterly up the west channel bank of the St. Clair River to the place of beginning, be and the same hereby is re-incorporated under the name and title of the village of Marine City.

"The officers in said village now in office shall continue in office with the same powers; and shall perform the same duties as are conferred by this act upon like officers, until their cussessors shall be elected and qualified to enter upon the duties of their respective offices, pursuant to the provisions of this act and the general law relating to villages, entitled 'An act granting and defining the powers and duties of incorporated villages,' approved April 1, 1875.

"All ordinances, by-laws, orders and resolutions of said village shall continue in force until modified or repealed.

"The first election under this act shall be held on the second Monday in March, 1880, at [694] the village hall, in said village of Marine City. Notice of the time and place of holding said election shall be given in the same manner as is provided in section four of chapter three of said general law relating to villages above mentioned, and the manner of conducting said election shall be the same as provided in said act.

"Said village of Marine City is hereby made subject to the general law, entitled 'An act granting and defining the powers and duties of incorporated villages,' approved April 1, 1875, and shall possess all hte powers and be subject to all of the duties and liabilities of said act.

"The said village of Marine City as re-incorporated, shall own and possess all of the property and rights of whatever kind or nature, and be subject to all of the liabilities and obligations of the said village as heretofore incorporated."


The Marine City salt well was bored to a depth of 1,748 feet, July 22, 1882. The boring of this well originated in the belief that there were large quantities of brine or salt beneath the Marine City stave company. Thinking that the manufacture of salt would work well in connection with the manufacture of staves and heading, on account of refuse and cheap fuel, barrels, excellent shipping facilities, etc., decided to sink a salt well, and now their most sanguine expectations have been met and they have a well second to none in the country, and unquestionably the best in Michigan. At a depth of about 750 feet, brine was found, after which a splendid quality of mineral water (some of which has been preserved) similar and equal to the Mt. Clemens and St. Clair waters. At a depth of 850 feet, something rare in the shape of sulphur, in hard, clear chunks, was pumped from the well. Since 900 to 1,000 feet were reached, the nature of the stratas were hard, mostly lime rock, and probably dry. At 1,633 feet, there were indications of salt, and dry chippings of the rock were brought up. From that time until the present depth, 1,748 feet, the grindings pumped out were pure as salt.


Tha first newspaper published at Marine City was the Gazette, in 1874, with P. D. Bissell, now of St. Ignace, editor. The Marine City Express was published by the St. Clair Republican. The Reporter was founded by Messrs. Blood & Huntoon. In December, 1881, the office passed into the hands of W. N. Miller, formerly of the Mount Clemens Republican, by whom it has since been conducted. A reference is made to these newspapers in the general history.


The schoolhouse was built in 1870; $15,000. The first Principal was George R. Whitmore. The building is 60 feet in length by 58 feet in breadth, with a total elevation from the ground to cupola of 77 feet. It is three stories high, the first story being 12 feet from floor to ceiling, the second fourteen feet, and the third sixteen feet. The edifice is built in the form of the Greek cross, from designs by Hon. Benjamin S. Horton, and the drawings reflect credit upon that gentleman's skill as an architect. The mason work was performed by Stephen Mittig, of St. Clair, and the joiner work by George Langell, of Marine City.


The first church built in St. Clair County was the Catholic Church at Cottrellville, and was erected while Michigan was a Territory. It was situated on the Cottrell farm, two miles below Marine City, on the St. Clair River, but was torn down, or washed away by the river many years ago. The Catholic Church of Marine City was built in 1849, and was originally a very small and plain edifice, 60 feet in length by 35 feet in width. In 1864, the building was enlarged by adding 17 feet to the front and a new steeple built over the addition. In 1866, the building was again enlarged, the addition being two wings, one on each side, and an extension of the main building to the rear, the edifice now being cruciform. The building is now, as before, 35 feet in width, except at the arms of the cross, where it is seventy-five feet, and the entire length is 112 feet. The congregation now numbers 180 families, the principal nationalities being French (American and Canadian), Irish and German. The affairs of the [695] church are in a prosperous condition, and the educational facilities in connection has given considerable impetus and influence to this denomination. The bell was blessed February 15, 1870.

Catholic Church. - In the history of the church at Port Huron, the early history of the church at Marine City is given. In 1855, Rev. Father Werlhe became the first resident pastor of Marine City, and was at the same time appointed pastor of the church at St. Clair. He built the house of worship in the village. Rev. Father Francis succeeded him in the pastorate. Rev. Mr. Lambert, now of New Baltimore, succeeded Father Francis, and under his direction the church building was enlarged, a Catholic school and parsonage erected, and other improvements made at an aggregate cost of $12,000. In 1874, Father Lambert resigned the charge, when Rev. F. Van Straelen was appointed.

Rev. Joseph Medar took charge of the parish of Holy Cross December 8, 1881, and is the present pastor. The congregation of Marine City is 250 families, or about 1,200.

St. Joseph's School, the first Catholic school in the county, is in connection with the Church of the Holy Cross. Its location is four and one-half miles northwest of Marine City.

The school of Marine City is conducted by the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.

Methodist Episcopal Church. - Every effort was made to obtain a look into the old records of the society, but without success. They could not be found. However, the following roll of pastors who served the church since 1861 was made out from recollection of members and present records: Rev. Arthur Edwards, 1861; Rev. R. S. Parthington, 1861; Rev. George W. Lowe, 1863; Rev. James Vining, 1865; Rev. Irving House, supply; Rev. H. Mentse, German Methodist Episcopal Church; Rev. W. Hagadorne, 1867; John Levington, 1869; Rev. C. Anderson, 1869; C. C. Lee, 1870; J. E. Whalen, 1871; E. Pearman, 1872; U. S. Steadman, 1873; Rev. D. W. Misner, 1874; Rev. A. B. Wood, 1876; Rev. J. S. Joslin, 1877; Rev. J. E. Whalen, 1879; Rev. Jacob Horton, 1881.

The old church on Elizabeth street was repaired in 1882, at a cost of about $3,500. It was built twenty-seven years ago. The number of members is seventy-five. The Sunday school claims seventy scholars.

St. Martin's German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Marine City was organized in the fall of 1857 by Rev. Christian Bauer. Previously Rev. Prof. S. Fritchel, of Detroit, grouped the scattered members together, and to him may be credited the formation of the first society. At that time services were held in private residences and schoolhouses. In 1862, the first church building was erected on the site of the present church, and dedicated July 20, same year. Mr. Bauer was succeeded by Rev. Conrad Ide, June 10, 1861. In 1868, July 4, Rev. John Graening assumed pastoral charge and remains pastor up to the present time.

The old church was sold to C. A. Blood, in April, 1881, and the foundation of the new church begun in September, 1881. The cost of this new building was $4,400. It is constructed of wood, with brick veneer, gothic in style, with tower and spire 100 feet high. It was built from plans by J. C. Kaumeier, of Fort Gratiot, under the supervision of the pastor. The size of the building is 60x36 feet and 30 feet to the ceiling, or 40 feet to apex of roof. Its dedication took place November 5, 1882.

The German Evangelical School was taught in the old church until 1881, when the new school, just west of the church was erected, at a cost of $500, including lot. The number of pupils shows an average of fifty. The school is supported by the members of the church, and conducted by Rev. Mr. Graening.

The parsonage was built in 1866, at a cost of $950. It is situated between the church and school. The number of the congregation approximates 225.

St. Mark's Episcopal Church of Marine City was organized in 1863, by Rev. Joseph B. Pritchard, who had charge of the mission at this point, December 14, 1862. The church edifice was erected in 1866 at a cost of $3,000. The property is now valued at $3,000. It is a frame building, gothic in style, and situated at the corner of Main street. The original members were: Mrs. Jane Rust, Alona Rust, William Rust, Mary Rust, John H. Rust, A. B. Clough and Mrs. Clough, B. L. Horton, wife and family, D. H. Wescott, wife and family, John Pringle and family, Joseph Luff and family, John McCann, W. Dixon and family. The pastors [696] since Mr. Prichard's time were, Revs. D. H. Lovejoy, G. M. Skinner, Messrs. Smith and Thorpe. Rev. A. B. Flower has been pastor since October, 1875. The congregation averages about seventy-five. Sunday school, sixty-five scholars.

K. of P., Fortress Lodge, Marine City, is governed by the following named officers: W. H. Scott, P. C.; J. A. Ward, C. C.; W. F. Sanber, V. C.; A. B. Flower, Prelate; A. B. Scott, K. of R. S.; I. C. Chester, M. of F.; O. Dandell, M. of F.

Sam Ward Lodge, No. 62, F. & A. M., Marine City, was charted about forty years ago. Among the charter members were: Sam Ward, D. D. Odell, James Grummond, James Forsyth, B. F. Owens, W. A. Bacon, L. B. Parker, Alona Rust, James P. Hagerman, and perhaps one or two others. The present officers are Richard Cottrell, W. M.; T. A. Walker, S. W.; J. C. Durling, J. W.; J. F. Widows, Secretary; Frank Hart, Treasurer; Alfred Brodbridge, I. G.; William Baker, O. G.; A. Shepard, Chaplain.

The People's Club was organized in November, 1882, with forty-four members. The following officers were elected: Dr. T. McDonough, President; Albert H. Cottrell, Treasurer; R. McNeil, Secretary.

St. Michael's Benevolent Society of Marine City, adopted articles of association February 25, 1876.


The observance of the 100th anniversary of the Government was carried out at Marine City with every manifestation of joy. The Gazette, in describing the observance, says: "Usually the early hours of night see the streets deserted, save here and there some gay roysterers returning homeward from the 'social,' but Centennial night was an exception. Everybody seemed resolved into a committee of one to welcome the coming of the New Year and the one hundredth anniversary of this country. The gamins were out in tremendous force equipped with pans, oyster cans, fish-horns, and other appalling instruments, and paraded the town, making a most horrible din. They serenaded any house where they could discover a light, and in many instances were invited in and treated to cider and apples, most people accepting the situation with very good grace. The youngsters had plenty of fun for themselves and considerable was left over for older heads. The Centennial arrived in portions of Marine at 11:30 o'clock; in other portions at different times according as different time-pieces denoted the hour of 12. The guns of the minutemen cracked here and there, the cannon roared, anvils bellowed, the gamins shook up the cow-bells and beat their oyster cans, the church bells clamored most loudly and prolongedly, men hurrahed until they were hoarse, and then hurrahed some more, until all Sombra rubbed its eyes and wondered if an insurrection had broken out in its neighbor's limits.

"The morning dawned clear, and it soon became much warmer than many a July day. As if to welcome the joyful anniversary, Nature afforded us a glorious day, and the relieve the heat, sent a lively southern breeze. Soon great activity was noticed in the shipping, and erelong nearly every boat in Marine's grand merchant navy was decked in holiday attire, flinging to the breeze streamers, stars and stripes, ensigns, and every inch of colors possible.

"The example of the T. & S. T. Co.'s line of boats was contagious: up ran the American flag from house top, hotel, stores, and private residences, all over the town, and a shout answered shout as flag after flag proudly rose into view; to the glad shouts along the river, Joe Souer sent back a ringing huzzah from the mast-head of the Marine City, in Belle River, when reefing her halyards, and soon her colors waved and nodded to the splendid line of craft and bunting on the St. Clair. In an hour's time the town was girt with flags from the Spademan, by the way of Catholic point, to Broadway bridge, full two miles in distance, and the beauty of the scene no pen can describe. How the heart quickened into new life, swelled in pride and beat with joy at the glorious spectacle! Each resident of Marine then felt that no town of equal size in Christendom could half match the display, and that despite the combative dispositions of some, Marine's citizens were a unit for their town and country. Capt. Gordon, of the Blood, said the view from Recor's was superb, and something he had never seen equaled in his life, nor expected to again witness. Many went to the head of the island and to Sombra [697] to gain better views of the beautiful sight, and all united in the opinion that Marine had covered herself with glory - that such a sight was reserved for man to see but once."

The Marine City fleet of that year, referred to in the following table, conveys some idea of the immense ship-building trade:


The name, number of crew and tonnage in round numbers of each craft comprising the immense fleet in quarters at this port during the Centennial Year, gleaned from returns made by C. A. Blood, Customs Collector, are as follows:

Propellers - William Cowie, tonnage, 208; crew, 12; Abercorn, tonnage, 261; crew, 11; Mary Mills, tonnage, 244; crew, 10; D. W. Powers, tonnage, 363; crew, 14; N. K. Fairbank, tonnage, 980; crew, 15; Tempest, tonnage, 412; crew, 14; V. H. Ketcham, tonnage, 1,660; crew, 17; P. H. Birckhead, tonnage, 569; crew, 14; Gladys, tonnage, 337; crew, 7; D. F. Rose, tonnage, 258; crew, 12; Bay City, tonnage, 263; crew, 12; H. D. Coffinberry, tonnage, 650; crew, 16; Germania, tonnage, 261; crew, 12; George King, tonnage, 532; crew, 13; Porter Chamberlain, tonnage, 257; crew, 12; Mary Pringle, tonnage, 204; crew 11; R. Holland, tonnage, 533; crew, 14.

Barges - Katie Brainard, tonnage, 413; crew, 6; Troy, tonnage, 486; crew, 7; Dayton, tonnage, 493, crew, 7; Marine City, tonnage, 337; crew, 6; Buckeye State, tonnage, 518, crew, 5; D. K. Clint, tonnage, 471, crew, 7; C. G. King, tonnage, 363; crew, 7; A. Gebhart, tonnage, 354; crew, 7; J. H. Rutter, tonnage, 1,224; crew, 9; Taylor, tonnage, 298; crew, 4; C. L. Young, tonnage, 382; crew, 5; C. H. Weeks, tonnage, 324; crew, 6; Charles Spademan, tonnage, 306; crew, 7.

Scows - St. Joseph, tonnage, 165; crew, 4; Canadian, tonnage, 17; crew, 3; C. J. Scott, tonnage, 13; crew, 2. Total tonnage, 14,156; crew, 308.

The tonnage here given was increased 96 tons when the Carrie H. Blood laid up, making a grand total of 14,252 tons. The Venice and Transport, also owned here, were laid up in Toledo. The value of this fleet cannot fall short of $800,000. Its probable cost, new, was about $1,000,000. Marine City capitalists also own stock in the R. N. Rice and Northwest, steamers plying between Detroit and Cleveland; in the Escanaba & Lake Michigan line; in the Star line and steamer Marine City. The actual list of steamboats and propellers built at Marine City previous to 1871 is given in the history of navigation.


The Marine City Stave Company was incorporated December 14, 1874, with C. McElroy, John Batten, William Jones, Hiram Chambers and Jacob McElroy, proprietors. The capital stock was $200,000, of which $80,000 were paid in at date of organization.

The actual organization of the company took place January 12, 1875, when Crocket McElroy, Henry C. French, James F. Buffum, O. C. Thompson and John Batten.

The present directors are the same as mentioned in report of January, 1881. The office is connected by telephone with Toledo, and many points in Michigan.

The last annual meeting of the Stave Company, held January 9, 1883, resulted in the election of James F. Buffum, of Detroit, Henry C. French, of Buffalo, C. McElroy, of St. Clair, Andrew McElroy and Frank McElroy, of Marine City, Directors. The officers elected were C. McElroy, President; Frank McElroy, Secretary and Treasurer. The Secretary's report shows that 12,039,740 staves and 431,025 sets (or 17,241 bbls) heading were manufactured against 10,327,110 staves and 350,687 sets heading manufactured in 1881. There were shipped in 1882, 12,290,440 staves and 412,000 sets of heading. 1,249,609 feet of elm longs and 12,367 cords of bolts were bought against 3,628,902 feet of elm longs and 2,817 cords of bolts last year. The amount paid out by the company during the year for material and labor was $87,922.37.


Alonzo Arnold

Robert B. Baird

Simon M. Baker

Capt. Henry Balfour

Mark D. Billings

C. E. Blood

Calvin A. Blood

Fred C. Blood

Augustus Breuer

John J. Britz

Charles H. Brown

James D. Brown

Martin V. Brown

Capt. William H. Brown

Mrs. Lucy Warner Butler

Truman E. Butler

Henry Buttironi

E. M. Clark

Charles D. Cottrell

Daniel Cottrell

Capt. George H. Cottrell

Capt. Joseph Cottrell

Richard Cottrell

William A. Cottrell

Gibbons S. Donohue

John J. Drawe

Robert P. Durling

Capt. R. J. Gordon

Rev. John Graening

Capt. James P. Harrow

Frank Hart

Capt. J. C. Hazen

John J. Hill

Robert Holland

E. P. Huntoon

William Jones

George Koenig

Capt. L. C. Larned

Capt. Harry Lawrence

Capt. James Leitch

Capt. Robert Leitch

Isaac C. Lester

Philander Lester

Capt. Thomas Lester

Capt. J. B. Lozen

Frank McElroy

Rev. James Meder

Capt. Alfred Mitchell

Capt. John Mitchell

Capt. William B. Morley

L. B. Parker

Michael Reiter

W. S. Roberts

William C. Roberts

Capt. John Robertson

Benjamin Robbins

Capt. Stephen Rose

Capt. William Rouvel

V. A. Saph

William F. Sauber

Adam Scott

Capt. M. P. Scott

Capt. William H. Scott

Humphry Smith

Simon P. Smith

V. L. Souer

Charles Spademan

Herman Springborn

Nomer Staley

John Sykes

Capt. Thomas Walker

Capt. David H. Westcott

Isaac Wilkins

J. A. Wonsey

Capt. Nelson Woodworth