History of St. Clair County - Mussey Township

[St. Clair County Marriges & Deaths]

Extracted from
History of St. Clair County, Michigan
by A.T. Andreas

History of St. Clair County

Mussey Township.

[769] The early purchasers of United States lands in Mussey Township were Herman Humphrey, N. Dickinson, H. Imley, George Beach, Lucius Lyon, R.L. Clarke, Jere Allis, Lyman Burgess, Ellis Smith, Emmons Russell, David Mack (Dewitt C. Walker, 1853), Daniel Alverson, John Taylor, Ebenezer Youngman, Mark Faverly, Artemus Walker, Theodore Romeyn, 1836; Patrick Haggarty, 1854.

The first permanent settlers were Daniel Alverson, W. Burk, R. Shutt, S.I. Fancher and W.B. Preston.

The equalized value of the town is estimated at $290,785. The population has increased from 806 in 1864 to 1,746 in 1880; its area of 22,186 acres, gives place to many first-class farms. The number of children of school age in the town in 1881 was 583.


William B. Preston, 1855; O.J. Burgess, 1856; D.C. Walker, 1857; G.A. Funstan, 1858; Richard Shutt, 1859; G.A. Funstan, 1860-64; William Chapman, 1865; G.A. Funstan, 1866; W.D. Churchill, 1867; G.A. Funstan, 1868; Richard Shutt, 1869-70; G. Alder, 1871; G.W. Curtiss, 1872; Richard Shutt, 1873-77; Sidney S. Brooker, 1878; William Chapman, 1879; Richard Shutt, 1880-82.


Daniel Alverson, 1857; Jefferson J. Wilder, 1857; Mortimer C. Pomeroy, 1858; Daniel P. Denton, 1859; Dewitt C. Walker, 1859; W.B. Preston, 1859-61; W.Y. Mead, 1860; Jefferson J. Wilder, 1862; L.F. Partridge, 1862; John H. Downey, 1863-67; Perrin C. Goodell, 1864; Reuben Banfill, 1865; Nelson Churchill, 1867; M.C. Pomeroy, 1868-72; James Love, 1868; Robert English, 1869; W.B. Preston, 1870-74; George H. Curtis, 1871-75; Reuben Banfill, 1871; John Herritt, 1873; Andrew Milspaugh, 1876; Graham Alder, 1877; W.B. Preston, 1878; H.J. Downey, 1879; Alonzo Wright, 1879; John Edmonds, 1880; Andrew Milspaugh, 1880; T.H. Bottomley, 1881; C. Wendt, 1882; Alonzo Wright, 1882.

The following officers were elected to fill the township offices for the year 1882-83, all Republicans except Richard Shutt: Supervisor - Richard Shutt; Clerk - John Hewitt; Treasurer - Sidney S. Booker; Justice of the Peace - (full term) Christian Wendt; (fill vacancy) Alonzo Wright; Highway Commissioner - Albert G. Tosch; Drain Commissioner - Nelson Churchill; School Inspector - two years, Duncan Patterson; one year, Robert McGurk; Constables - William Roy, Benjamin Sidell, Hezekiah Allen, Archibald J. McNaught.


Capac Swamps have been objects of ridicule, especially by residents of neighboring villages, for years past, but the time is coming when Capac can laugh at its revilers, as the swamps are being rapidly developed from wet, disease-breeding lands into some of the best garden lots in the whole country. One person who seems to have foresight to this effect is Mr. Lester, who has bought up over 1,500 acres of the great eastern swamp, and is now having the slashings cleared up and numberous ditches dug, in order to properly drain the land. The labor in this direction is being performed by Germans, who came to this country last spring. Capac is not by any means entirely surrounded by swamps, but has within its territory some of the best farming lands in the county.

But few persons have any idea of the commercial importance of the cranberry to the State, though the berry is acknowledged and appreciated by all as the last fruit of the season. In the year 1876, there were more than 4,600 acres of land used for the cultivation of this berry, and at present more than twice that area is under cultivation, and fully twice as much used as wild [770] marsh, where the berry grows to as high a state of perfection as in a cultivated marsh, although the yield cannot be as great on account of the inaccessibility. The cultivation of the berry consists simply in ditching, damming, draining and flooding the marshes at proper seasons of the year, the plants or vines being under water from November till May. To the cultivator, the berry is a paying investment, as it costs but little to raise, and yields in return about thirty per cent, net, annually, on the investment in lands, selling in market for from $2.50 to $4.50 per bushel. Michigan is said to be almost entirely free from the blight common in the New Jersey marshes, and from the worm to be found in the marshes of Connecticut, and the attention of Eastern capitalists, who are becoming interested in the culture of the berry, is being drawn to the marshes of this State.


In 1857-58, a band of pioneers from Romeo, under the leadership of Judge Walker and George A. Funstan, settled in the wilderness, which gave place to the village of Capac. Funstan chopped the first tree, where he built the National Hotel. This man conducted the establishment until his removal to St. Clair, to take charge of the City Hotel there.

The village contains three general stores, four grocery stores, two hardware stores, two millinery stores, three hotels, drug store, jewelry store, post office and stationery store, agricultural implement depot, two furniture stores, brick yard, two meat markets, saw and flouring mills, foundry, planing mill, marble works, wagon shop, two elevators, shoe shops, harness shop, blacksmith shops, livery stable, besides four doctors, a barber, a tailor, two lawyers, a dentist, dress-makers and others in the business line. In religious and educational matters, the town stands well up, having Baptist and Methodist Episcopal Churches and a Methodist Protestant (brick) just building, within the village limits, and the German Methodist and Lutheran churches one half mile north of the village, while one of the finest brick school buildings in the land graces the northwestern part of the village proper. This latter building was erected some three years ago, at a cost of nearly $8,000 - a beautiful building on the outside, and furnished on the inside to correspond with its outward appearance. The village pastors are Rev. E.J. Doyle, Rev. F.E. Pearce and Rev. H.D. Miller, of the Baptist, Methodist Episcopal and Protestant Methodist respectively. The Principal of the school is Prof. E.M. Fisher, who has been ably assisted during the past year by Miss Lottie Cooley, of Dryden, as First Assistant, and Miss Jennie Warren, of Capac, as Second Assistant. Mr. Fisher has been retained another year, at an increased salary.

In the northern portion of the village is situated the Capac Agricultural Society's grounds, where the society holds its annual meetings.

In the way of distinguished men, Capac has her quota, as here lives D.C. Walker, who has represented his county both in the Senate and the House, and for four years filled the office of Judge of Probate, besides having borne a prominent part in the early history of the State and county. The present honored Senator has his residence here. Thomas H. Bottomley, at one time a Representative from this district, and for some years presiding officer in the Grand Lodge of the I.O.G.T., has a pleasant home on Main street.

The village has lodges of F. & A.M., I.O.O.F., K. of P., I.O.G.T., and K.O.T.M., although organized last of all, is undoubtedly the strongest of all.

In manufactories the village has never made a great mark, but its future begins to look brighter. Mr. Gurley Lester has recently purchased the Cohoe planing mills, and will at once put in a force of men, who will turn out large quantities of sash, doors, blinds and moldings, and also wagons and smaller agricultural implements. Locke & Warn are turning out large quantities of work from their foundry this season, while James Banfill, the miller, has found his mill inadequate for the demands upon it, and is, therefore, now engaged in putting up an additional story, and will also put in considerable new machinery, which will be ready for fall business. Herbert Seigel has, within the past three or four years, turned out a large number of nobby spring wagons, but his too close attention to business now necessitates a change, which he will soon make by accepting a position with Mr. Lester in his new industry.

John Edmunds is the proprietor of the Capac Marble Works, and has long since acquired a reputation for first-class work. He has a pretty little shop on West Mill street, where he is [771] turning out his quota of work. On account of last winter being so unfavorable, very few logs were hauled into the mill-yard, resulting in the big saw being laid away to rest. The brick yard is owned and controlled by D. Walker. He is now engaged in getting out the brick for the new Protestant Methodist Church.

Capac is an incorporated village, being governed by a President and six Councilmen. The village has nice streets and good sidewalks.

It was named after Manco Capac, one of the first Peruvian Emperors, the title being given by Judge Dewitt C. Walker, the founder of the village.

The first Methodist Episcopal church building was erected in 1875. This was blown down a short time afterward. A new building was commenced, and this was swept away by the tornado of June 11, 1879. The present church was built and dedicated without further injury from the storm fiend.

The Capac Agricultural Society was organized October 21, 1878, with D.C. Walker, President; H.J. Downey, Vice President; D. Patterson, Secretary, and Dewitt Walker, Treasurer. The Directors were Richard Shutt, William Chapman, John Burt, William Bealey, A. Milspaugh, H. Allen, A.C. Downey, William York, Charles Hebden, S.A. Calley, Adolph Cohoe and N.B. Eldredge.

Its location on the G.T. & C.R.R., as well as the enterprise of its citizens has given to the place an air of importance sadly wanting in other old settlements of the county. It boasts of churches, schools, a newspaper, a local government, well-kept stores, a few industries, and is undoubtedly destined to take a leading place among the settlements of the interior.


The following personal history of the township constitutes a very essential part of the history of the county. It is the record of industry, of enterprise and of duty done.

James H. Banfill

Andrew J. Bickford

Hon. Thomas H. Bottomley

Christopher Braker

John T. Brink

Warren D. Churchill

Henry H. Collins

G. W. Curtis

Rev. Edward J. Doyle

Elbert M. Fisher

Henry Grant

John Hewitt

Francis M. Hough

Peter Kelley

Gurley Lester

D. C. Lewis

James Love

Edward Matteson

James R. McGurk, M.D.

Robert McGurk, M.D.

H. D. Miller

John C. Miller

Dr. D. Patterson

James A. Rooney

Richard Shutt

Henry C. Smith

Nicholas Smith

Samuel L. Smith

Martin Stoffer

Albert G. Tosch

Barton J. Wade

Martin Wagonshed

Dewitt Walker

Judge Dewitt C. Walker

Eri Watson

Alfred J. West

John C. Wheeler

William Wills

Chester Williams