History of St. Clair County - Port Huron Township & City

[St. Clair County Marriges & Deaths]

Extracted from
History of St. Clair County, Michigan

by A.T. Andreas

History of St. Clair County

Port Huron Township and City.


[484] The lake and river shore in the vicinity of Fort Gratiot, is a low, gravelly ridge extending nearly a quarter of a mile from the water front, where the ground rises suddenly to an altitude of twenty-five feet above the lake level, and retains this elevation with little variation to the banks of Black River. This elevated ground gradually approximates the St. Clair toward the fort, and, a few rods below, it becomes a perpendicular bluff in immediate contact with the water.

All the wells sunk in the county pass through the following formations:

Soil and yellow sand, 8 to 12 feet.

Compact blue clay, 85 to 100 feet.

Coarse sand and gravel, 1 to 10 feet.

Limestone shale intercalated with thin veins of sand and gravel, 875 feet.

Immediately beneath the strata of blue clay, immense quantities of gas have escaped in many place, and continue to escape, even after the lapse of a quarter of a century. At a depth of two or three feet in the limestone shales, pure water has always been obtained, which has risen in the wells about to the level of Lake Huron, or within ten to twenty feet of the earth's surface in the county. At the depth of 500 feet, salt water veins were struck, with a supply and strength to warrant investment in the manufacture of salt.

The soil is mostly a sandy loam, with a small proportion of marsh.

The physical peculiarities of the St. Clair and Black Rivers are noteworthy in many respects. Black River is formed chiefly by the superficial drainage of the bottom lands, the smaller tributaries constituting its origin, rising in the upland districts of the interior of the State. Its course through the low districts is tortuous, the current sluggish, the water highly colored with decomposing vegetable matter, to the extent of winning for it its name. In the early settlement of the country, it was navigated by small sailing craft, and later, for many years, a little steamboat traversed its turbid waters for several miles into the interior. Later again, its surface was covered with the products of the great pine forests floating to the mills at Desmond or Port Huron, and now, while the same commerce comes up, rather than down that river, it holds the same color still, inclining to be so conservative as to grow blacker as it grows older.

The St. Clair River presents many interesting features, alike as regards its physical relations and its connection with the early settlement and military occupation of the country. That the stream has undergone some very important changes since the historic period, scarcely admits of doubt. Tradition and the conformation of the adjacent country both indicate it. According to the Indian tradition, the ancient river channel was fully a half mile east of the present channel, and the Indian canoes passed directly from the lake into the head of Sarnia Bay. The river was then a broad shallow stream, fully four or five times its present width and scarcely twenty feet in depth. The changes are the result of lake currents, carrying down the sands along the eastern shore, until near the outlet they gradually accumulated, forced the stream into a narrower channel, increased the rapidity and depth of the waters, and finally carved out a deep channel, where in olden times was a shallow stream. Within the decade ending in 1870, the American bank from Ft. Gratiot southward receded fully 100 feet, while a corresponding accretion took place on the Canadian side. In 1760, according to Maj. Rogers, of the British Army, the river, where it leaves Lake Huron, was about 500 yards wide, a distance more than twice its present width.

The climate is much healthier and pleasanter than in the interior of the State. Lying as it does on the St. Clair River, at the foot of Lake Huron, a large body of pure water rapidly [485] flowing past makes the atmosphere decidedly invigorating and bracing. A breeze from the lake or river is delightfully pleasant, and a sail upon the waters in a sailboat, yacht, or rowboat, gives one a new lease of life. The rate of mortality is less than in any other city of the same population in the country.

In such a country, at once lovely and romantic, stood the quiet, unpretentious, Franco-Indian village of Delude, and as the visitor walked lazily over its limits, listening to the murmurs of the rippling waters of Indian Creek or Black River, and the rush and sometimes roar of the river, or watched the mist as it hung in twilight curtains about the groves, it requires no poetic imagination to trace in his mind's eye a long cavalcade of romance, chivalry and heroism proceeding from this spot in the days of barbaric domination, in its march over the world. And he, too, will muse upon the genius that once haunted the forests of the past, may be which had departed forever, and a gloom, not unlike superstitious dread, will only be dissipated when the past vanishes and the present rises before him in all its beauty and magnificence. We can envy the pioneers of the district and those primitive times. Then a single piece of calico would make the best dress for every woman in the place; the mournful tale of "nothing to wear" was never heard by the husbands or fathers of that period. The dry goods side of the store could be carried off in a wheel barrow, and the grocery department was exceedingly limited in variety. The staple articles were whisky, pork, flour and beans. If with a dozen barrels of whisky came two or three barrels of flour, the question was, "What in the dickens is to be done with so much flour?" There was at that time usually plenty of game and fish, and, in their season, wild fruits; but the hardships of pioneer life, while not perhaps involving actual suffering for food, and the accustomed comforts of life, were nevertheless serious, and the monotony of existence sent many early adventurers back to the purlieus of civilization under more favorable surroundings. It was not until the land was opened up for homestead entry or purchase that immigration became active, the country began to fill up, and the necessity of an organized village became obvious. It will be thus seen that, notwithstanding the advantages of locality and its accessibility, it was not though of as a site for a city for a period between the time Hennepin first ascended to the Upper Lake country and the year when the first settlers visited the scene, and decided to establish themselves here, out of the wilderness, to fashion a city which should some day be regarded as a city altogether lovely, altogether promising, the one among then thousand to which the footsteps of active enterprise should be directed, and where the virtues of this life would be treasured and promoted through the instrumentality of agencies, by which alone the maintenance of order and the perpetuity of nations are firmly secured.

Among the American pioneers of the township, the first and most favorably known is Judge Zephaniah W. Bunce. James M. Gill, B. Sturges, S. Huling, James Young and A.F. Ashley, together with others mentioned in the assessment roll of 1821, were all pioneers of the township. When they arrived here, it was a country of Indians, pine, black ash, hemlock and kindred woods. Notwithstanding the fact that a few French Canadians and their children were located on Black River, the township must be considered to be in its wilderness state, with savage men just calming down from the war heat of a few years before. Since their coming, the pine forests have disappeared, and everywhere throughout the township the works of the civilizers are evident.

Originally the name Desmond was bestowed upon the district, under which title it was organized in 1828, with Jeremiah Harrington, Supervisor. Susequently, the name was changed to Port Huron. The only post office outside Port Huron City was that of Marysville, formerly Vicksburg Village.

The value of real and personal property in the township is estimated at $255,375. The population in 1845 was 1,198, including the village; in 1850, 2,301; in 1854, 3,088; in 1864, 5,485, and in 1880, 9,893 (city, 8,883). The area of the township without the city, is 10,128 acres; the number of children of school age in the township, 435, and in the city, 3,003.

Throughout this State there cannot be found a more beautifully located township than Port Huron. Within its limits many of the early French settlers made their homes, there also that natural locater - the Indian - built his wigwam, and squatted, so to speak, in the [486] midst of plenty. The lake and streams of the township offered the lazy red men their wealth of fish, the forest its game, and the soil its wild fruits, herbs and, in some cases, corn.

So many references have been made to the town of Port Huron in the general history of the county, and so complete are the biographical sketches of its citizens, little remains to be written here, beyond the special items pertaining directly to the township.


[see Map]

The first land purchasers in Township 6 north, of Range 17 east, are named as follows:

Sections 2 and 3 - 477.50 acres were reserved for military purposes, since sold. Section 2 was located, 4.75 acres were deeded to Solomon Sibley December 15, 1818.

Section 4 - 18.30 acres were reserved for military purposes, being northeast fraction of fractional section. Samuel Glidden patented 107.84 acres on this section November 26, 1824. Section 5 was patented by A.W. Comstock, Edme A. Goussant, Edward Bingham and George W. Dougall, in 1835-38. Section 6 - Fortune C. White, James C. Kelsey, Z. Wright, Brad. Coburn, J.L. Kelsey, Seth Spencer, Myron Stevens, Amzi B. Botsford, W. and R. Hill. Section 8 - E.A. Goupant, Simeon Cummings, Cornelius Masten, J.W. Edmunds, J.L. Kelsey. Section 9 - J.L. Kelsey 275 acres in 1835.

The Indian Reservation in this township was sold in May, 1839, to John King, John McDonnell, L.B. Mizner and Nicholas Ayrault. Francis P. Browning, Joseph Watson and Solomon Sibley were the first to buy land in Section 10. Anselm Petit located 74 acres in Section 11, June 10, 1824. Section 15 was entered by Versal Rice, Ira Porter, Stephen V. Thornton, A. Westbrook and George McDougall, between the years 1832-34. Meldrum & Abner Coburn, S. Cummings, John A. McGrath, J. McGregor and C. Masten located Section 17, in 1835-36. Section 18 was entered by F. and R. Moore, in 1836, other buyers coming in the following year. Section 19 - Dan Stewart, 1834, John Landon, S. Hutchins, Cummings Sanborn, L. Smith, F. and R. Moore, Alfred Hartshorn, Cyrus Moore, Benjamin Myers, McGrath and McGregor, entered lands in 1836. Section 20 - Zebulon Kirby, H.W. Pressen, Adam Courtney, A. Coburn, Stephen Huling, Porter Camberlain, the Hills, McGrath and McGregor, in 1836. Section 22 - Gerald Miller, James H. Woods, Stephen Warren, Lot Clark, Z. Kirby, S. Cummings, Jonathan Kearsley, 1823 to 1836. Section 22 - Samuel W. Dexter, 1824. Section 30 - Elisha Russell, 1835, John Allan, Rober and Smith, James B. Gorton, Josiah Loomis, John Dean, C. Sanborn, L. Smith, S. Hutchins, McGregor and McGrath, in 1836. Section 31 - Alfred Hartshorn, E.N. Bangs & Co., Melvin Dorr, S. Yuran, John T. Heath, Daniel B. Harrington, A. Westbrook, Sanborn, S.N. Dexter. Section 28-29 - Zeph W. Bunce, B. Whiting, J. Bagley, James M. Gill, B. Clark, L.B. Mizner, L. Clark, S. Warren, M.H. Sibley. Section 32 - Z.W. Bunce, C. Sanborn, Z.H. Gray, J.M. Gill, Edward Purcelle.


In Township 6 north, Range 17 east, or Port Huron Township, the Indian lands were sold May 22, 1839. The following were the purchasers: Thomas Tuters, John King, Jr., Fortune C. White, Shadrach Gillet, Ira Davenport, N. Ayrault, Lansing B. Mizner and John McDonnell. The Indian lands in the township formed a tract of about 800 acres in Sections 9, 10 and portions of 13, 15, and 16.


Jeremiah Harrington, 1828; John Kennelly, 1829-33; John Doran, Ralph Wadhams, 1834, John Kennelly, 1835; Cummings Sanborn, 1836; Ira Porter, 1837; Commissioners Board, 1838-41; John T. Heath, 1842; Peter F. Brakeman, 1843; John T. Heath, 1844; Peter F. Brakeman, 1845-46; John Thorn, 1847; John Wells, 1848; J.P. Minnie, 1849-56; H.L. Stevens, 1857-70-74; M.S. Gillett, 1857-64; A.F. Ashley, 1857-59; Edgar White, 1859-66; I. Heald, 1859; E.W. Harris, 1859-66; J. Demarest, 1860-64; D. Whitman, 1860-63; William Kirwin, 1861; James Talbot, 1864-66; A.W. Clark, 1865; Amos James, 1865; J. Demarest, 1866-71 [487]; Fred Shulte, 1866; R.W. Matthews, 1867; Joseph Wellman, 1867; John Newell, 1867; Richard Casler, 1867; Edward White, 1868-74-80; D. Whitman, 1868; E.M. Cady, 1868; Edward Fitzgerald, 1868; H.A. Beach, 1869; H.W. Stevens, 1869; T.K. Whitman, 1869; Charles Samberg, 1870-71; C.W. Robinson, 1870; J.J. Whitman, 1870; Otis Joslin, 1871; Ernest Ottenburger, 1871; N.S. Boynton, 1872; Thomas Dunfore, 1872; T.K. Whitman, 1872; B.C. Farrand, 1872-74; J. Demarest, 1873-80; C.B. Hubbard, 1873-74; George Brooks, 1873-74; S.T. Probett, 1874; H.L. Stevens, 1875-76; S.H. Robinson, 1875; H.A. Batchelor, 1875; M. Young, 1875; F. Whipple, 1875; John Hays, 1875; Joseph Wellman, 1876-78; James Talbot, 1876-78; Thomas W. Ward, 1876-79; H. Bradley, 1876; J. Montross, 1876-78; E.P. Tibbals, 1877; H.J. Bradbeer, 1877-78; O.L. Jenks, 1877; J. Byron, Hull, 1878; L.B. Wheeler, 1879-80; S.H. Robinson, 1879; Daniel J. Penney, 1879; J.B. Montross, 1879; Joseph K. Gardner, 1879; R.W. Matthews, 1880; Joseph Wellman, 1880; James H. White, 1880; Thomas Schneider, 1880; Frank Ufford, 1880; John L. Newell, 1881; Lewis Atkins, 1881; S.H. Robinson, 1881; Edgar White, 1881; Napoleon Roberts, 1881; J.B. Montross, 1881; Thomas H. Schneider, 1881; Thomas W. Ward, 1881; Gage M. Cooper, 1882; R.W. Matthews, 1882.


Lorenzo M. Mason, 1839; John S. Heath, 1839; John Howard, 1839; Reuben Hamilton, 1840; George White, 1841; Lucius Beach, 1842; Peter F. Brakeman, 1842; Joseph P. Minnie, 1843; Reuben Hamilton, 1844; John Miller, Jr., 1844; Elisha B. Clark, 1845; Alfred Comstock, 1845; L.L. Bailey, 1846; Joseph P. Minnie, 1847, John McNeil, 1848; Harmon L. Stevens, 1849; Reuben Hamilton, 1850; Joseph P. Minnie, 1851; Harmon L. Stevens, 1853; Peter F. Brakeman, 1854; M.S. Gillett, 1852; A.W. Comstock, 1856; A.W. Clarke, 1857; Raymond Wright, 1857-58; Stephen Huling, 1857; D.M. Bunce, 1858; Timothy Barron, 1859; Henry A. Caswell, 1860; Alexander F. Ashley, 1860; A.W. Clark, 1861; Benjamin Burrows, 1862; R.J. Wright, 1863; J.W. Gustin, 1863; William C. Flanagan, 1864; A.F. Ashley, 1865-68; A.W. Clarke, 1865-68; Samuel Edison, 1866; Stephen Huling, 1867; Lewis Potts, 1870; F.D. Manuel, 1871; D.W. Bunce, 1871; Stephen Huling, 1872; Patrick Bourke, 1874; Burton C. Geel, 1875; James Butler, 1877; Richard Courtney, 1878; James Ryan, 1878; Miron Williams, 1879; William Mallory, 1880-81; William Jewett, 1881; Isaac Hubbard, 1881; Amsly W. Griffith, 1882; George W. Hoffman, 1882; E.G. Manuel, 1882; Felix Tousley, 1882; Joseph P. Minnie, 1858-60; John McNeil, 1858-67; Asa Larned, 1859-62; Arnold Saph, 1859; Charles I. Hunt, 1861; Harmon L. Stevens, 1862-69; John H. Mulford, 1863; John L. Newell, 1864; Michael McArron, 1866; Hermon Herzog, 1866; Edwin R. Seerly, 1868; Malcom McKay, 1870-74; Robert P. Young, 1871; Asa Larned, 1873; H.L. Stevens, 1874-78; Jared Kibbee, 1875; William E. Leonard, 1876; Asa Larned, 1877; Malcom McKay, 1878; Harmon L. Stevens, 1879; J.M. Kane, 1880; Malcom McKay, 1882.

Two tickets were nominated in this township, viz., Democrat and Citizen, in April, 1882. The election resulted as follows:

Supervisor - J.L. Newell.

Clerk - C.A. Bailey.

Treasurer - J.B. Whitley.

Highway Commissioner - John Allen.

Justices of the Peace - A.W. Griffith, four years; G.W. Halfman, three years; E.G. Manuel, one year.

School Inspectors - Felix Towsley, A.W. Griffith.

Constables - Horace Wells, Clarence King, Thomas Abbot, Ezra L. King.

The following list contains the names of those who were liable to pay State tax in Desmond Township, January 1, 1837: James Scott, W. and J. Orvis, Clark & McCrary, Black River, Steam Mill Co., S. and J.B. Comstock, Halstead & Thornton, Hewitt & Bowen, J.H. King, Henry Harding, George M. Budd & Co., Shepherd and Bottsford, Elijah Burch, Whitcomb and Ashley, Jeremiah Scoville, the four last named being tavern keepers, the others merchants and traders.


[488] At the period of organization, the northern and eastern sections of the township were sparsely settled, and were infested with wolves and other forest animals. Sheep and hogs could not be kept at all, unless closely watched by day and safely secured by night. The State offered a bounty of $8 for the destruction of each wolf, and the county added to this the sum of $3, in order to stimulate wolf hunters to greater exertion. The various townships offered bounties of from $3 to $5 for each wolf scalp brought to the Town Treasurer.

Having given you a sketch of the early white settlements, let us turn for a few moments to the aborigines. It was no uncommon sight to see a band of Indians with their squaws, papooses and ponies traveling through the country, or to see their wigwams at their favorite camping grounds, or to hear the tinkle of the bells on their ponies on a still night. On a beautiful elevation on the side of Black River, about sixty miles north from the site of the mills, was the remains of an old French trading post or hut. A fine spring of pure water issued from the bank and flowed into the river, but now flows underground. A deep worn path led from the village to the spring. The ground for some distance around the village was literally covered with bones of deer and other game that had been slain to provide food for the red men. Still further back from the river, scattered here and there among the pines, were a number of Indian graves, each being protected by a miniature log house, or what more resembled the second floor of a pioneer cabin, covered with shakes as the pioneer covers his, the top being about three feet high. But the plow and the ax of the white man have swept them away, and naught is left to mark the spot where the red man sleeps his last sleep. About half a mile west from this village was the Indian planting ground or corn fields, and about three-quarters of a mile southwest was the Indian sugar-bush, or sugar-camp, and from the scars the trees bore, it had evidently been used as such for many a year. From this village an Indian trail ran up the river.

The trails were the Indian road leading from one trapping post to another, and were often worn four or six inches deep. The second trail ran in a northwesterly direction along the river by the rapids above the village, and thence through the grove. Near this trail, on the south bank of what was then a small stream or brook, lay scattered here and there among the tall grass a number of human skeletons; who they were, or by what means they came to their death, is not known. Probably they fell in battle.


This city is one of the most naturally attractive, as well as pleasantly located, in the State. The streets are nearly all broad, and richly shaded with large trees, the growth of forty years, and the entire aspect of the place is one that Goldsmith would have delighted to describe, so quietly restful and peaceful is the scene, and so far removed from the restless and, more portentuous activities of large commercial centers. To the north, the broad river trails its beauteous way throughout the land, basking like a silvery serpent beneath the sun's glorious beams, while to the southeast and west extend the farms - the richest portion of the county, presenting to the eye a most magnificent rural view. Any lover of nature will acknowledge the perfection and beauty of the whole picture, and perchance, may indulge a sigh that all the world, and every place in particular, is not so happily conditioned. The inhabitants are generally from the North Atlantic States, or are representatives of the Eastern States, all well known in our vernacular as Yankees, who dropped out of the ever-westward-flowing tide of their brotherhood, and settled down here.

To the people who came and remained we can say - you found a wilderness and cleared a place for habitation. You have taken from the mountains wealth to pay for labor; you have found at hand the clay for brick, the pine trees for lumber, and out of these materials built your towns. No better illustration is afforded anywhere of the skill and ingenuity of man. There is nothing great in this world but man, there is nothing great in man but mind. He found materials in nature's great storehouse; but he was the master, they his slaves. He found the land wild and inhabited by savages - lo! the change! The great stores, the busy banks, the restaurants, the hotels, stand where a few years ago the tangled underbrush gave [489] shelter to wild beasts and creeping reptiles. The morning whistles, the school and church bells ringing from the hillside, have supplanted the wild yell of the Indian. The newspaper, the great modern missionary, is abroad in your midst, and reports to you the outside world. The telegraph and telephone are yours; a railroad system is yours; a well organized society is yours. These are your statistics! This is your civilization! Withal, your neighbors in the old countries may enjoy some advantages which you do not; many live in the midst of culture, in a region of accumulated wealth, yet would you change places with them? Would you go back to the quiet life, so poor in experience, as the old past you left in your old home? Nay, tarry here, amid these scenes, full of the romance of promise, the mysteries of illimitable possibility, where opportunity - a goddess shy in the older communities, and coy and hard to win - extends a friendly hand on hill-top and in vale, and fairly leads you to the summits of success.


Of the places of resort visited by pleasure-seekers during the summer months, those towns along the eastern boundary of Michigan are becoming more and more popular each season. As the conveniences for reaching them become better understood the influx of visitors largely increases. In the last two years, Port Huron has become somewhat noted as a place of rare attractions to those that wish to get away from the bustle and business, and enjoy the quiet of a country city without being subjected to the inconveniences which are often met with in great centers of population. The landscape is beautiful. Fishing and hunting are excellent; the streams and lakes are well supplied with fish; hotels are good, summer lodges or villas numerous, and rents moderate.

A Detroit journalist visited this section in the summer of 1882, and on his return wrote the following apostrophe to the Border Towns: "Just think of it! we mean the future before the towns along St. Clair River, a place for beautiful homes, where not only the adornments that art can suggest may be used, but further made pleasant by nature's fairest stream. Every thing is in its favor, and the wealth, the influence and the business energy that is now found along its banks is but a tithe of what a few years will bring. Port Huron but needs the time to shake from off her shoulders a ponderous debt, when the advantages she can offer will be accepted and her past experiences will cause a healthy growth, in proportions surprising. St. Clair, a beautiful place, doomed to be the Saratoga of Eastern Michigan, the home of culture and 'many fair ones.' Business is, and will be, our theme, and massive structures moved form our busy years, requiring unlimited capital and skill, are but playthings compared with those that are yet to come. Foundries, dry docks, railroads, more enterprises, all are needed, but are forthcoming, so soon as the animate barriers that now are with us find more congenial claims or are called to chant their own fair praise in Gabrieldom."

Huronia Beach and Roslyn Beach, north of Port, may be called the nuclei of a great summer city, stretching from Ft. Gratiot limits along the lake to the north line of Ft. Gratiot Township. Advancing knowledge points out the lake and river fronts as the fit summer homes for those who may be able to loan their days of leisure to the cause of health and quiet in this delightful region.

The description of the city, published some years ago under the auspices of the Citizens' Association, or rather of those men who made the first great efforts to raise the location to that position, which it is so well fetted to occupy, is as follows: Port Huron is located on the St. Clair River at the foot of Lake Huron, in the county of St. Clair, and is the county seat of that county. The main part of the city lies upon ground well elevated above the river level. The city, as now platted, is about three miles in length by two in width. Black River, running northwesterly, divides the city. The population is about equally divided on both sides of the river. The city is laid out upon a liberal scale, with wide streets and broad avenues. The parks and public square are large, and when the improvements now in contemplation are made, there will be none more beautiful and attractive in the State. Pine Grove park, which lies on the St. Clair River, just south of the Grand Trunk Railroad depot, contains twenty acres of high, beautiful ground. This tract was donated by the United States Government to the city when the Military Reservation was sold. From this park is obtained a beautiful view of [490] Lake Huron above and the St. Clair River to the east and south. During the season of navigation, it is a very attractive place for the pleasure-seeker to resort. Under the shade of the beautiful and majestic trees that abound in the park and line the bank of the river, one can pass hour after hour watching the large steamers, propellers, and the magnificent vessels that are constantly passing up and down this great water thoroughfare of the West. At times the lake above is dotted thickly with the white-winged messengers of commerce that ply between the eastern and western ports laden with the cereals of the prairies, the mineral ores of the Lake Superior region, and lumber from the pine forests of Michigan.

It will be seen from the map that the St. Clair River is a link in the great chain of water thoroughfare between the Great West and the Atlantic seaboard, and is without question the finest river on the continent. Its waters are always pure, clear as crystal, and not subjected to sudden rise or fall. It seldom varies two feet from its regular level. There are no muddy streams emptying into it above the city, or even emptying into the lake for eighty miles above. It affords the purest and healthiest water of any river in the United States.

As a railroad crossing, there is no point on the great chain of lakes that presents better advantages than Port Huron. Where Lake Huron empties into the St. Clair River, and for a distance of two miles below, the current in the river is very rapid, the water running at the rate of seven miles per hour. At the point where the Grand Trunk ferry-boats cross the river, the distance is only three hundred yards. This gives a quick and easy transit, never obstructed at any season of the year, winter or summer. While at other points in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers, the ice gorges the channel and obstructs the passage of boats for at least three months in the year; on the other hand, the river at Port Huron has never been obstructed to exceed once in ten years, and then only for a few hours. The current being so rapid, it is impossible for the ice to jam so as to prevent the passage of boats. This natural advantage alone is destined to make Port Huron one of the greatest railroad centers of the West. It is quite evident to every one that the Government will never permit a bridge to be constructed across either the St. Clair or Detroit Rivers. It would place almost an entire embargo on the passage of the immense shipping, which is yearly increasing on the great lakes. Consequently, the great railway thoroughfares passing through Michigan and Canada must seek the most convenient and unobstructed crossing, in order to avoid vexatious delays in the transportation of freight and passengers. The Great Western and Grand Trunk Railways, the greatest rail thoroughfares in the country, terminate at Port Sarnia, opposite Port Huron. The former road connects with the Chicago & Lake Huron Railroad on the American side. The G.T. R.R. also connects with the same line, besides having a branch running to Detroit, and connecting there with the M.C. R.R. The link of road on the Chicago & Lake Huron R.R., between Flint and Lansing will in a short time be completed. This will place Port Huron on a direct through line with Chicago, as well as with Milwaukee, by the D. & M. R.R. The lines tapping these roads from the west and north will contribute greatly to the traffic of the C. & L.H. R.R., Port Huron being on the most direct line east, and having an unobstructed river crossing, both the freight and passenger traffic from points north and west must of necessity pass through that city, particularly during the winter season, to unsure quick transit. The F. & P.M. R.R. have decided to build an extension of their road from East Saginaw to Port Huron. The line has been surveyed and located, and that portion of it between East Saginaw and Vassar has been finished. The Canada Southern have a charter for constructing a line from Sarnia to Oil Springs to connect with their main line, and it will be built in a short time. The construction of this line has become a matter of necessity, rendered so by the fact that at no other point can they secure an unobstructed crossing of the St. Clair River, as the present point of crossing at St. Clair, twelve miles below Port Huron, is totally obstructed with ice during at least four months in the year. There are also other roads in contemplation pointing toward Port Huron, which must, sooner or later, be constructed. Taking into consideration the advantages it has in this respect, it is quite evident that at no distant day, the city will become the terminus of the great railroad thoroughfares passing through Michigan.

The city of Port Huron, lying as it does at the foot of Lake Huron, becomes a very important shipping point. But very little delay is experienced by boats in landing here, and [491] loading and unloading freight. There is a line of propellers plying between this point and Chicago, another line between Port Huron and Detroit, and Port Huron and ports upon the lake shore. Another line runs between the Great Western road and all points on the Canada shore of Lakes Huron and Superior. All the great through lines of steamers plying between Buffalo and Chicago make Port Huron a regular stopping point. A person unacquainted with the immense shipping of the Great Lakes can have no idea of the number and capacity of the steamers and sail vessels that daily pass up and down the St. Clair River. By actual count, last year, it was found that, on an average, during the season of navigation, one passed Port Huron every four minutes, night and day.

The population of the city has more than doubled in the last six years, and the number of inhabitants is rapidly increasing. According to the spring census, the city contained over 8,000 inhabitants. There is not a vacant house in the city. Over 300 buildings were erected last year, and the number will exceed that this year.

The city is furnished with water from the St. Clair River, at the rapids, by the Holly system. The works have been in operation about a year, and are a perfect success. The water coming out of the lake is pure and cool and perfectly healthy. As a fire protection, the Holly system is superior to all others.

The city is well lighted with coal gas, manufactured and furnished by a company composed mostly of our citizens. The works are located on the north side of Black River, and have a capacity for lighting a city with 20,000 inhabitants. Main pipes have been laid on most of the streets, and street lamps of the latest and most approved pattern have been adopted.

An excellent system of sewerage has been adopted, and a large amount of money has been expended this year in constructing sewers throughout the city. The high elevation of the city, and the character of the soil, makes it both easy and economical to give the city good and perfect drainage. This, as a natural result, must add materially to its sanitary advantages.

The manufacturing interests of the city are varied and rapidly growing. There are seven large saw mills now in operation, with capacity for cutting 40,000,000 feet of lumber and 20,000,000 lath each season, employing 300 men. The capital invested in this branch of business alone will reach $1,000,000. The National Stave Company, with a capital of $100,000, employ from seventy to eighty men. There are also four sash, door and blind factories and planing mills, combined capital invested $60,000, employing from fifty to sixty men; three iron foundries and machine shops, and two boiler shops which keep seventy to eighty men constantly employed; four ship-yards and two dry-docks, which generally employ between 400 and 500 men. In this branch of trade, a very large amount of money is expended yearly. The number and size of crafts constructed at this point exceeds that of any other place of the same size on the whole chain of lakes. Three breweries, turning out annually 5,000 barrels of beer and ale. One stave and saw mill employs fifty men, and manufactures 100,000 fish kegs annually and 1,000,000 feet of lumber. There is also on soap factory, turning out immense quantities of that article. The Taylor, Smith & Clark celebrated fire extension ladder is also manufactured here. Although it is a new invention, the company have just commenced operations, the prospects are that they will do an immense business. It is certainly the best fire apparatus of that character ever brought before the public, and must soon take the place of all other similar apparatus in the country.

There are a number of other manufacturing establishments in the city of smaller capacity, but all exhibit signs of prosperity and growth.

The great coal beds at Corunna, west of Port Huron, are easily accessible, and coal can be shipped to Port Huron by the C. & L.H. R.R. at very low rates. This affords an ample supply of fuel for manufacturing purposes at very low figures. There are large quantities of timbered land to the west and north, and wood for fuel can be obtained at a very reasonable price.

A manufacturing association has been recently organized in Port Huron. The object of the association is to encourage men of capital, enterprise and skill to locate there and build up manufacturing enterprises. The association is composed of live, energetic, go-ahead and [492] moneyed men. They are pledged to extend aid to all legitimate enterprises that offer themselves. The association desires to open up correspondence with any one seeking a location for manufacturing purposes. Any correspondence addressed to the secretary of the Port Huron Manufacturing Association will receive prompt attention.

As a manufacturing center, Port Huron has certainly superior advantages over most of the other places in the State. With excellent water and rail transportation, the means of shipping to all points east and west, north and south, are easy and quick. Manufacturers can take advantage of the competition between water and rail, that always exists during the season of navigation, which all will admit is a big point in favor of the shipper, which interior cities and towns do not have.

It is admitted by wool buyers that Port Huron has fairly gained the reputation of now being the best wool market in the State, both in regard to quality and quantity of wool purchased here and shipped to the Eastern markets.

It is further evident that the city must very soon become a trade center of no small importance. With its rail and water communication, jobbers can easily reach a large section of country that is naturally tributary. Already a very large jobbing trade has sprung up and it is rapidly increasing.

The city is well provided with churches. These churches are large and elegant, and reflect great credit on the liberality and enterprise of the people. The Methodist Episcopal Society are now building a fine church, and when completed, will be the largest and most expensive in the city.

The headquarters of the Huron Customs District is located at Port Huron. This district has become one of the most important collection districts in the country. The number of immigrants passing through at that point is second to no other port of entry in the United States. There is now in process of construction a large building for a custom house and post office. Congress appropriated $200,000 for that purpose. The foundation is now laid, and the building will be completed some time in 1875. From seventy-five to 100 men are constantly employed upon it.

There is no city in the State of the same population that has a better school system or finer and larger school buildings. The citizens take great pride in the prosperity and welfare of the schools, and hence they have constantly improved their character and usefulness. Prof. Bigsby, of the State Normal School, has now the superintendency of the public schools of Port Huron.

The Huron House is a very large, fine hotel, and has become a popular place. The Albion House is a fine new hotel, and nicely located at the foot of Butler street. There are in all ten hotels in the city.

The Port Huron Fire Department is well conducted and very efficient. In fact, but very few cities in the State are better provided for in that respect.

A street railway runs from the C. & L.H. R.R. depot on the south, to the G.T. R.R. on the north, a distance of two miles. There is also another street railway being constructed which will soon be completed and in running order. It will run between the same points, the main track running on streets further west, which will accommodate the inhabitants living along the line of the road in that part of the city.

Port Huron has four banking institutions, viz.: First National, Port Huron Savings Bank, John Johnston & Co.'s, and J.J. Boyce & Co.'s private banks.

The City Hall and Court House is a very fine structure, and an ornament to the city. In fact, the public buildings show the good taste and enterprise of the citizens. Public improvements are going on all over the city. Large business blocks are being erected, and the sound of the hammer is heard in all parts, putting together buildings of all sizes. The evidence abounds upon all sides pointing to the future rapid growth and increased prosperity of Port Huron.

All that was prospective in 1874, when the foregoing review of Port Huron's advantages was published, has been accomplished. Much more remains to be done by the people of the present time.

[493] In a former portion of this work, devoted to general history, the endeavor has been made to portray that period in history of Port Huron when the primary steps were taken to found a colony and build a city, bringing the record down to a date when the early settlement, emerging from behind clouds of disappointment and uncertainty, took its allotted place among the established evidences of Western enterprise. It is now proposed to examine into a later period in the history of the same city, when with resources greatly enlarged and territory extended by a brilliant career of enterprise and industry, it has progressed to a degree of perfection, invariably attending the exercise of these incentives. Such success, born of laudable ambition, may have excited the jealousy of rivals, but it has not bred a mischievous policy, nor nurtured the germs of domestic corruption which gradually culminates in dismemberment and decay. History and tradition unite in ascribing to the present city site a semi-sacred character, as the resort of Indians, from time immemorial, to indulge in games of athletic sports and skill. Without the sanctity attaching to grounds wholly devoted to religious usage, it was so far privileged as to be made a ground of neutrality and a common place of assemblage for the various tribes of a large section of the country. Being easy of access by reason of its contiguity to the Black and St. Clair Rivers, both of which unite within the city limits, although the waters of the first does not mix with that of the St. Clair for miles below the confluence. After the manner of the Greeks who, in ancient times contended in the Olympic, Isthmean and Nemean games at stated intervals, those red-browed contestants came from far and near to enter the list against foemen of rival tribes. One who witnessed the game of la crosse, speaks of seeing not less than three hundred of the most superb and renowned warriors of opposing tribes matched against each other. To avoid all incumbrances to their movements, they were stripped almost to nudity, and the efforts made by the contending forces called into exercise every faculty of their savage nature. The excitement was shared by friends of the respective parties, who inspired them to renewed vigor and the exercise of every power of which they were capable, to the end that they might prevail. These gatherings are said to have occurred both in the spring and fall, and the contests were long and bitterly conducted. Following the pioneer period they gathered about the store, and at other eligible points in the vicinity in large numbers, and were occasionally disposed to be pugnacious, especially if the least affected by liquor or the want of it. Hand to hand contests were of frequent occurrence between travelers and Indians, as also among themselves, and notwithstanding the paucity of numbers, the Caucasian was capable of maintaining his supremacy, and of becoming an interested spectator of the squabbles which the red men improvised in their own homes, when aggravated by a continued period of peace.

For nearly a year after the late war, business is said to have been the reverse of brisk. It was the calm that succeeded the storm. At the expiration of that period, the city again grew rapidly. Trade was extended to remote settlements in the northeast; manufactures increased; public and private improvements began to become prominent in various portions of the city; additional schools were provided for the education of youth; new religious and secular societies were organized; agricultural interests prospered and increased, and mercantile ventures were vastly benefitted; new railroads were incorporated, projected and built during this decade; the bridge and internal improvements of immense value were mooted and provided for. As the years succeeded one another times became better and better, and, before the dawn of the Centennial decade, steady progress, with every appearance of ultimate success, was made in the departments, essential to municipal, public and private growth, notwithstanding the temporary paralysis of business caused by Black Friday. The year 1870 gave bright promise for the future, and the career to which this was the introductory annual has not entirely failed of a complete fruition of such promise. Hard times affected Port Huron as they did other points. The failure of Jay Cooke, followed by the panic of 1873, left its mark throughout the Northwest.

The past few years have seemed to intensify the admiration of residents, as also to attract accessions to the citizens. The beauty of location, the enterprise and liberality of the founders and builders not more than their educational and social prominence, the superiority of public, private, denominational and convent schools, and the comparatively high state of [494] morals to be found in the city, combine to render it a point at which merit will receive encouragement and assistance in identifying itself with the town. A railroad has recently connected the city with the Saginaw Valley, and will contribute in years to come to its advancement, its wealth and its population. It is the largest city in the county, and the county seat. Around it are gathered abundant evidences of material prosperity. The glory of fields, the bounty of dairies, the fruit of trees and vines, and the sweets of blossoms pay tribute to the beautiful place, and on every side the altars of the fruitful Pan and the bountiful Ceres are redolent with incense most pleasing to the husbandmen who frequent her markets or make Port Huron a shipping point for their products.


Surveyor Jewett, under date July 25, 1803, speaking of St. Clair County, says: From the mouth of the River Sinclair, six miles up, are twelve farms that front the river in the usual manner, from three to four and five acres, and forty back, none exceeding in quantity 240 acres. This land differs from the face of this country generally. Its soil possesses every mark of poverty, sandy and low in the extreme. Nothing exists to recommend this settlement, except its bordering on one of the most delightful rivers in the Western World.

The only pretension these people have to their farms is derived from a simple possession taken obtrusively in the years 1780, 1785 and 1790. They are all Canadians. From this settlement, for twelve miles up the river, not a vestige of a house can be seen, owing to its being for that distance a perfect barren; when you are suddenly and agreeably surprised with the presentation of a number of fertile and well improved farms, edging the river for the extent of ten miles to the amount of twenty-five farms, now under cultivation and laid off on the river, as other settlements in this country, with the difference, that the claimants extend their farms ten and twenty acres in front of the river, and, in two instances, from forty-five to fifty, all running back to one rear line, which is, by survey, forty acres.

The River Sinclair is in length forty-five miles, and in beauty and convenience of navigation preferable to Detroit, though it is not quite as wide. Such is its transparency, that the eye can distinguish at the bottom, in fifteen feet of water, the most minute object. In it there are no shoals, and in depth, generally five and six fathoms.

As nearly as can be ascertained, the first white settlers on the site of the city were Denis Causlet, who settled near the mouth of Black River previous to 1790. From what Mrs. Brandamour states, it is learned that this old settler was born in 1773 or 1774. His death took place in 1859, and his remains were interred in the Sarnia Cemetery.

Peter Brandamour, Sr., who died in 1852 or 1853, located near Black River two years after Denis Causlet.

Peter Brandamour, Jr., a settler in 1792, died in November, 1880.

Mrs. Peter Brandamour was born at Port Huron March 10, 1803. This old lady still resides in the city (July, 1882), and retains in memory many of the early events in the history of the district.

Frank Brandamour, brother of Peter Brandamour, was the first white child born in St. Clair County. Mrs. Brandemour states that he was born on Mini Creek, a mile up Black River, long before Edward Petit was born. This first white native died about twenty-four years ago.

Causlet and Brandamour were couriers in the service of the French traders. They were young men in 1790, and could not tolerate the severe labors of that service, nor the tyranny of their task masters.

The former deserted previous to 1790, and sought a home among the Indians of Black River, the latter rebelled in 1792, and joined Causlet in his savage home.

Anselm Petit arrived a short time after Causlet and Brandamour, and located near the confluence of the Black and St. Clair Rivers.

Peter Bonhomme, or Burnham, built a log house at Ft. Gratiot, while still the river was named Otsi Sippi.

Racine had a log house at the foot of Butler street.


[495] To understand in a clearer light, the service which these first squatters, at the mouth of Black River, deserted, the following descriptions are given:

The fur company at one time had 3,000 men under employment. The batteaux from the different departments would assemble with the furs they had collected during the winter at Mackinac, generally about the 1st of June in each year, and calculated to get in about the same time. They were watched for eagerly, and would come in singing their Canadian boatsong. When all in, the boats would line the shore of the bay from where the old mission house now stands to the western end of the Island. Then would ensue a couple of months' rest for the men, and Mackinac would be full of life and gayety, somewhat rude in character, perhaps, but as thoroughly enjoyed as are the seasons at Newport or Saratoga. In those days, the island was the center of trade for all this northern country, from the southern extremities of Lake Huron and Michigan to the head of Lake Superior. The dollar of our fathers was the only coin, and the company needed more than one barrel for distribution when the fleet came in. Silver coin was as plenty as blackberries, and as carelessly expended by the men who had earned it, by braving dangers and enduring hardships such as no other class of men in our country have known. There was a spirit of emulation among them and a love of adventure which led them to attempt the most hazardous journeys, both on land and water. Recruits were brought yearly from Lower Canada, and the principal argument employed to get them was a narrative of the perils and hardships of the life before them. This fired the imagination of the young men and stirred their blood. What other of their countrymen had done, they could do, and were eager for the trial. Very frequently the old voyageurs, priding themselves upon the feats they had accomplished, would jeer at the new recruits upon their arrival, and then would follow a succession of fights of an obstinate character, for these men possessed courage and persistency in a rare degree. They were all, however, under the complete control of the officers of the company. They were an army - a well disciplined army. The soldiers of Napoleon at Austerlitz were not under better discipline, or more willing to brave death than these voyageurs. Their rations when starting out on their long expeditions were a quart of corn and an ounce of fat deer a day. The corn was hulled and prepared here. In one of the letters of Ramsey Crooks, he directs the purchase and sending forward of several hundred bushels of ashes to be used in preparing the corn. They voyageurs were not permitted to carry a gun. They took these long expeditions around the head of Lake Superior, to the Red River, to the Yellowstone and down the Mississippi, and up its various tributaries, with no other protection than a knife about a foot in length, and a small hatchet. The loads they carried were called packs. These packs weighed eighty pounds. A one-pack man was not regarded with much respect. A two-pack man was looked upon as a respectable voyageur. A three-packman was an object of veneration, and a four-pack one was a Triton among minnows. They went in companies of from five to ten, one being designated as commander. The spirit of emulation to which I have referred led them to endure fatigue and danger cheerfully. The men from the Yellowstone, the Red River and Lake Superior looked with contempt upon the men who traded along the shores of Lakes Michigan and Huron, and in Illinois and Indiana. The latter were called "Cads," and many a fight occurred between the two classes. As an illustration of the discipline of the men, I will state the manner in which the batteaux left Mackinac, and continued on their journey until they separated in different squads. The clerk to command would start with a boat about half loaded and six stalwart oarsmen, saying to those that were to follow, "We shall stop to-night at" (naming place). The boats that followed would be heavily laden, and have but five rowers, and would not reach their destination till midnight. Then a little fire would be built, and the quart of corn and ounce of fat cooked. Not more than two or three hours' rest would be permitted, and the men were not allowed to take breakfast before starting. They placed the pot of corn and fat on the seat beside them, and dipped fro them and ate as they were rowing. The incidents in the lives of these voyageurs, if properly narrated, would form a history as interesting and graphic as that of the explorations of Livingstone or Stanley.

Anselm Petit, François Lariviere, Baptist Levais, J.B. Duchesne, Michel Jervais, J.B. [496] Courneais and Peter Moreaux, settled near the mouth of Black River, between 1790 and 1794. At this period, the settlers gave the name La Riviere Delude to Black River, and La Riviere Jervais to Indian Creek.

Rev. O.C. Thompson, in his historical paper, says: Several French families settled at the mouth of Black River about the year 1790, among whom was Anselm Petit. They were Roman Catholics, and were permitted by the Indians to build shanties and cultivate small patches of land on the flats. They named the place Desmond. Black River they called La Riviere Delude, from a Mr. Delude, who was drowned in its dark waters. The settlement was also called by the same name. At that time and later, the place was a favorite resort of the Indians for hunting and fishing, as game and fish were abundant. Three thousand sometimes lined the banks with their birchen wigwams pitched under the shading pines. The bluff on which the present Custom House and surrounding buildings stand was their burying ground. Some time during the war of 1812, the settlers were warned by a friendly squaw of the mediated treachery of the British allies, and taking to their boats escaped the massacre. After the war, the first white settlers returned to their homes. Ft. Gratiot was built in 1814, and so named from one of the officers. The last of the military reservation was sold in 1880.

Slavery penetrated into this northern wilderness, and a man, in imitation of the patriarch Jacob, worked seven years in the mill of Park & Meldrum, and purchased one of their slaves for his wife. Desmond was not organized into a town until April 8, 1838. It had a population in 1830 of 377 souls. Either in 1835 or 1837, its name was changed to Port Huron. The population was in 1840, 1,113, and in 1850, 1,584.

The city of Port Huron was organized in 1857, under a charter obtained April 8, of that year. The few French families who came to the mouth of Black River in 1790, were re-enforced in 1815 by a few more of the same nation and faith; and yet, in 1819, the primitive forest covered the site of this city. There were at the latter date only four dwelling houses in the township, two of which were within city limits. On the flats, near the present corner of Third and Court streets, was the log house of Anselm Petit, a Roman Catholic. On the southwest corner of Military and Water streets, stood the block-house of an irreligious half-breed named John Reilly. Outside the city limits, three miles above the mouth of Black River, on its south bank, lived Richard Sansbury, and four miles down the St. Clair was the frame house of Z.W. Bunce. Thirteen years later (1832), there were fifteen buildings in the township - one saw-mill, one hotel, one log house, two trading posts and two dwelling houses. In 1833, the original Black River steam mill and its boarding house were completed. Fine, comfortable dwellings were also erected in the vicinity of this mill. A public house and a dwelling house were built just south of the present railroad bridge, on the east side of Military street, on what was then the military road from Detroit to Ft. Gratiot. Port Huron contained one steam mill, two or three public houses, one shoe shop, four trading posts and eighteen dwelling houses, besides several shanties occupied by the Canadians who came for work in the mill. In 1834, the row-boat over Black River gave place to a bridge, which united Huron avenue with Military street. As yet, most of the inhabitants were squatters with few signs of permanence. From 1835 to 1837, a tide of speculation platted a paper city upon the area north of Black River, which it called Ft. Gratiot. The ebb of that tide left its ordinary traces. The people were disappointed and discouraged, and readily concluded that Port Huron was only a lumber town, a fishing station, never to grow much larger; but soon to grow much smaller. Yet the place began to increase until in 1857, a city charter was obtained.

The first house ever built at Port Huron was that of Anselm Petit, near the present location of the Hogan House on Court street; the second building, which stood where Stuart's store is, was occupied by a half-breed named John Riley. It must, however, be understood that settlers had erected wigwams or shanties previous to the building of the Petit House.

The first village plat was made early in 1835 by Edward Petit, and the location called Peru. In the fall of the same year, Harrington & White platted Port Huron Village, and in 1837 the village of Paris was laid out under the direction of Maj. Thorn.

The first schoolhouse was erected by Francis P. Browning, on the west side of the park north of Black River. The first hotel was a log-house, built in 1827, on Quay street.

Samuel L. Boyce

Samuel L. Boyce

[497] John B. Phillips built the first steamboat at Port Huron.

In 1833, Military street or the Military road was laid out, and the first bridge over Black River built.


The Congress of 1825-26 made provisions for the construction of a military road between Detroit and Fort Gratiot, and Amos Mead, of Farmington, Harvey Parke, of Pontiac, and Conrad Ten Eycke, of Wayne County, were appointed Commissioners to lay out and establish the same. The Commissioners met at Detroit early in June, and the relator of this reminiscence, then a boy of eighteen years, was employed to carry the force end of the chain. The starting post was struck near the present site of the City Hall and Market, which at that time was at some distance from any building, out on the common. Harvey Parke was a practical surveyor, a man of gentlemanly bearing and a fine scholar.

Pushing on from the starting point, in a direct line for Mount Clemens, on the third day we struck the twentieth mile stake, opposite the court house in that village. From Mount Clemens we took as straight a line as we could for Fort Gratiot. About four miles south of Belle River, we struck a heavy windfall of timber, where we camped for the night. The next morning we started on, creeping as we could through the dense mass of fallen timber, and halted at noon on the bank of Belle River for our cook and packer to come up with provisions. Here we waited until next day, enduring a fast of thirty hours. The windfall proved to be of much greater extent than we had supposed, and, in seeking to get around it, our cook and packer had to travel many miles eastward, and then work their way back to strike our lines. Though deprived of our tent and provisions, and feeling the keen demands of appetite, we had rather a social time, as Deacon Erastus Ingersol, of Farmington, the axman of the party, told several stories of a funny character. The deacon was a large, fleshy man, and, it being warm weather, he had divested himself of coat and vest, retaining only his pants and a thin cotton shirt to protect him from the hordes of mosquitoes that sought to refresh themselves from the deacon's store of blood. With the aid of punk, flint and steel, carried by one of the party, we succeeded in getting up a fire; but despite the smoke, in which the deacon sought to hide from his tormentors, he had a hard time of it. Passing over Belle River, some distance above the present site of Port Huron. The only inhabitants of what is now Port Huron were John Riley and his wife - half-breeds - who lived in a block-house of two rooms, on the south bank of Black River, a little above what is now known as Military street, and a Frenchman, who occupied a frame house just south of Riley's. On the north side of the river stood a board shanty, occupied by a man who was a graduate of some Eastern college - a man of culture, but who, disappointed in love, or some other such affair, had strayed into the wilderness and was then following the trade of a cooper. At that time, Fort Gratiot was a tumble-down affair, with a few block-houses within the embankments of the fort, occupied by some fishermen and their families. The site of Port Huron was then owned by John Riley, the half-breed just named. He was not only proprietor of the place, but the chief of a band of Indians, the most of them, at that date, residing on the opposite shore of the St. Clair. He had been educated at the Presbyterian Mission at Mackinaw, and read and spoke good English. He was a gentlemanly appearing man, mild in his address, and expressed a willingness to have the road pass through his premises, if the public good required it. He dressed after the fashion of the whites, but his wife, a full-blooded Indian, though neat and tidy in appearance, dressed in true Indian style. At that early date, who could have dreamed that on that rude, wild spot, a city of goodly proportions was to arise? Yet so it was to be.


The following is a list of building lots, sold at Port Huron, by D.B. Harrington, between the years 1835 and 1841, with the date of sale and amount of purchase money. In the general history, the names of all real or personal property owners in the village in 1821 are given:



Date of Sale.




Date of Sale.


Harding & Shepard

Nov. 15, 1835

$ 74 90


Dale & Hancock

May 10, 1837

$200 00

G.F. Boynton

Nov. 15, 1835

50 00


Ira Porter

May 10, 1837

500 00

J.S. Heath

Dec. 21, 1835

80 00


J.S. Comstock

June 15, 1837

150 00

J. Richardson

Dec. 21, 1835

35 00


O.A. Hancock & Dale

August 1, 1837

300 00

Willard Orvis

Dec. 21, 1835

50 00


M.H. Shippey

August 15, 1837

200 00

Ruth Davis


50 00


A.W. Campbell

Nov. 13, 1837

300 00

N.V. Horton

Dec. 28, 1835

50 00


J.S. Comstock

Jan. 1, 1838

500 00

Mason & Powers

Dec. 28, 1835

50 00


J.S. Heath


200 00

J.P. Minnie


75 00


George Clark

Sept. 14, 1839

1200 00

J. Howard

March 28, 1836

100 00


J.B. Flanagan

Oct. 26, 1839


Mason & Powers


120 00


J.B. Flanagan

Oct. 26, 1839

500 00

J.S. Orvis

April 13, 1836

50 00


J. Howard

Feb. 25, 1840

250 00

S.F. Atwood

April 19, 1836

100 00


J. Spalding

Feb. 25, 1840

250 00

Lucien Beach

April 19, 1836

50 00


J. Miller

July 27, 1840

250 00

Ira Porter

May 10, 1836

100 00


J. Miller


350 00

Clift Comstock

May 12, 1836

100 00


J. Miller

Aug. 29, 1840

2640 00

Minnie & Canfield

May 12, 1836

50 00


N. Nash

Nov. 16, 1840

50 00

J.L. Kelsey


100 00


S.V. Thornton & J. Wilson

Jan. 9, 1841

250 00

L.M. Mason

July 27, 1836

50 00


J. Spalding

Jan. 15, 1841

130 00

L.M. Mason

July 27, 1836

100 00


S.V. Thornton and others

Feb. 4, 1841

300 00

J. Campbell

July 27, 1836

127 75


L.M. Mason

Feb. 15, 1841

200 00

C. Thompson

July 27, 1836

300 00


G.F. Boynton

Feb. 22, 1841

400 00

A. & J.B. Comstock


600 00


Robert Hickling

March 1, 1841

100 00

J. Campbell

August 31, 1836

300 00


S.L. McCuot

March 3, 1841

175 00

L.M. Mason

August 31, 1836

200 00


H.W. Hopkins

March 31, 1841

200 00

D.N. Powers

August 31, 1836

150 00


N.S. Carpenter

April 14, 1841

275 00

J.P. Minnie

October 6, 1836

75 00


G. Clark & C. Flugal

April 27, 1841

800 00

C.C. Waller


500 00


J. Bryce

May 1, 1841

250 00

L.M. Mason

Jan'y 13, 1837

200 00


J.F. Batchelder

May 17, 1841

200 00

Samuel Hall

April 11, 1837

125 00


Henry Dunn

May 20, 1841

125 00

A.F. Ashley

April 11, 1837

200 00


S.B. Carl

May 27, 1841

200 00

G. Clark

April 11, 1837

200 00


L.M. Mason

July 19, 1841

100 00

S. & J.S. Heath

April 18, 1837

350 00





Mason & Porter

April 18, 1837

200 00





William Moore

April 29, 1837

125 00






The financial crisis of 1837 ended, confidence began to reign, and the people resumed their wonted occupations. A brief period was afforded them to realize the dangers which had surrounded them, all the dangers through which they had passed, and to make a survey of the wreck caused by financial depression on the one side, and by famine and disease on the other. They saw the bones of their former savage neighbors lying scattered over the Indian garden plots, along the river banks, and, seeing, regretted their oft-repeated wish that the Indian would die. The new solitude was real; the red men who varied the monotony of life in the wilderness were gone; and the few who remained were so stricken with the calamity which had fallen upon their band, that moroseness was added to their natural stoicism, rendering them at once objects to be pitied and to be feared. In 1838 or 1839, the last of the Indians left this country; a little later, a business revival took place, and within a few years the age of progress was entered upon by the settlers.

Thus, year by year, was formed the nucleus from which has grown this wealthy and prosperous commonwealth. We do not claim this a complete list of those who settled in the city during the years referred to, but have merely made a brief record of the early settlements in different localities in the county, as they have occurred to us. From 1842, the county increased so rapidly in population and the development of its resources, that any attempt to mention more individual names would render this sketch very tedious.


The place, as yet, had no city or even village pretensions, in a government way, the town organization meeting all the requirements in this respect. It was formerly a backwoods clearing [499] satisfied with the name of Riviere Delude, Desmond, and even called St. Joseph by some early travelers. In 1849, however, township government was set aside, in favor of local rule; and henceforth the little lumbering and fishing settlement trod in the ways of progress.

The first meeting of the Port Huron Village Board was held May 14, 1849, with L.M. Mason, President. Martin S. Gillett, Wellington David, J.W. Campfield, John Wells, H.L. Stevens and Robert Hickling, Trustees; James Grover, Recorder; William Mitchell, Deputy Recorder, present. At this meeting, Benjamin Bemis was appointed Poundmaster; Charles Horton was allowed $3 for services as clerk of charter election and William T. Mitchell $6 as Village Attorney. In June, 1849, M.S. Gillett was appointed Overseer of Sidewalk Construction on Military street, between Pine and Water streets. During the fall of 1849, the existence of a few cases of small-pox drew forth the following declarations from the Board: "Whereas, it is the opinion of the Board of Health that persons may take the small-pox from dogs, it is the opinion of the Board that the dogs belonging to Drs. Bell and Jeraw ought not to be allowed to run at large. The Board do, therefore, authorize the Village Marshal to kill all dogs belonging to Drs. Bell and Jeraw, if found running at large."

The officers from 1849 to 1856 are named as follows:

Presidents - L.M. Mason, 1849; M.S. Gillett, 1850; D.B. Harrington, 1851; Alonzo E. Noble, 1852; Wellington Davis, 1853; Alvah Sweetzer, 1854; Newell Avery, 1855; John Miller, 1856.

Recorders - James Grover, 1849; Alfred E. Fechet, 1850; John T. Hamilton, 1851; Alfred E. Fechet, 1852-53; Bethuel C. Farrand, 1854-55; F.H. Vanderburg, 1856.

Trustees - M.S. Gillett, W. Davis, J.W. Campfield, John Wells, Robert Hickling, H.L. Stevens, 1849; William T. Mitchell, John Miller, Tone P. Tucker, 1850; Alonzo E. Noble, Elijah Burke, Nelson D. Horton, J.W. Campfield, J.S. Bottsford, L.M. Mason, 1851; M.S. Gillett, H.L. Stevens, James W. Sanborn, John Hibbard, A. Fish, Jr., David Whitman, 1852; O.D. Conger, John Howard, Perry Dale, John W. Campfield, A. Sweetzer, D. Whitman, 1853; E.R. Sweetzer, Asa Larned, John T. Travers, David Whitman, John C. Forbes, James Baird, 1854; James Baird, Asa Larned, John Miller, Elias R. Sweetzer, Allen Fish, Jr., David Whitman, 1855; Wellington Davis, Joseph P. Minne, William T. Mitchell, John Hibbard, Nelson Roberts, David Whitman, 1856.

Assessors - Joseph P. Minne, John L. Beebe, 1850; Joseph P. Minne, G.A. Eldredge, 1851; Joseph P. Minne, W.H.B. Dowling, 1852; Joseph P. Minne, H.L. Stevens, 1853; Joseph P. Mini, Allen Fish, 1854; Joseph P. Mini, John Howard, 1855; Joseph P. Mini, Alonzo E. Noble, 1856.

Treasurers - George D. Pinkham, 1850; George D. Pinkham, 1851; John T. Hamilton, 1852.

Marshals - Seth L. McCarty, 1849; Newton L. Carpenter, 1851; J.K. Bailey, 1852; D. McKellar, 1853; Noah T. Farr, 1854-55; Amos James, 1856.


The city government was organized, under legislative authority, in 1857. The charter was amended in April, 1869, and again, under the act of March 29, 1877, it was subjected to other changes. Under the amendatory act of the last date, it was ordered that, The territorial limits of said city shall consist of all that tract of country in the county of St. Clair bounded and described as follows: Commencing at a point on the national boundary line in the St. Clair River, directly opposite and in a line with the south line of fractional section fifteen in the township of Port Huron, and running thence westerly along said south line of said fractional section fifteen, to the east line of section sixteen; thence north along said line, and said line extended to the middle of the Black River, thence up said Black River to the northwest corner of the military reservation; thence easterly on the north line of said military reservation to the national boundary line in the St. Clair River, thence southerly along said boundary line to the place of beginning.

The first election under the City Charter, was held within the Port Huron Engine House, April 6, 1857. John Miller, William T. Mitchell and J.H. Vanderburg were Inspectors, and [500] R. Crowell and F.H. Vanderburg, Clerks. The total vote cast was 474. The officers elected were:

Mayor - William L. Bancroft, 279 votes.

Recorder - Frederick L. Wells, 243 votes.

Treasurer - John P. Nizziman, 261 votes.

Street Commissioner - William Thompson, 282 votes.

Marshal - Amos James, 303 votes.

School Inspectors - Thomas Hollihan, 253 votes; John McNeil, 215; John S. Bottsford, 218; George B. Eingle, 264.

Overseers of Poor - William H.B. Dowling, 215 votes; Norman Nash, 263; John Hibbard, 211; D. McKellar, 252.

Supervisors - Harmon L. Stevens, 258 votes; Martin S. Gillett, 115.

Aldermen - John Davidson, 179 votes; Newell Avery, 124; Cyrus Miles, 179; James Beard, 124.

Treasurer - First Ward, Charles H. Travers, 180 votes; Second Ward, Elias R. Sweetzer, 119.

Constable - Amos James, 199 votes; Noah T. Farr, 119.


Mayors - Edgar White, 1858; Newell Avery, 1859; John Miller, 1860; Calvin Ames, 1861-2; Frederick S. Wells, 1863; Cyrus Miles, 1864-65; Jared Kibbee, 1866; John Johnston, 1867; John L. Newell, 1868; John Hibbard, 1869; Samuel L. Boyce, 1870; John Miller, 1871-72; John Johnston, 1873; Nathan S. Boynton, 1874-75; S.L. Boyce, 1876; Daniel N. Runnells, 1877-78; Edmund Fitzgerald, 1879; Joseph Jacobi, 1880; Ezra C. Carleton, 1881.

Recorders - Robert J. Baker, 1858; John McNeil, 1859; William T. Mitchell, 1872.

Treasurers - John Hibbard, 1858; Antoine Marentette, 1859-62; Horace Baker, 1863-65; Daniel Ryan, 1866-67; P.M. Wright, 1868; J.B. Hull, 1869-70; Sigmond Goodman, 1871; Antoine Marentette, 1872-73; John E. Miller, 1874; Henry McMoran, 1875; Carleton W. Robinson, 1876; Martin Huner, 1877-78; Charles Grieb, 1879-81.

Marshal - Amos James, 1858; E.R. Sweetzer, 1859; W.P. Edison, 1860.

City Clerk - Frederick L. Wells, 1859-61; F.A. Weyers, 1862; Hermon Herzog, 1863; Julius M. Carrington, 1864; Lewis Atkins, 1865-66; Albert Dixon, 1867-68; Anson E. Chadwick, 1869; Albert Dixon, 1869; Lewis Atkins, 1870-72; Bennett H. Welton, 1873; Lewis Atkins, 1874; B.H. Welton, 1875; Frank Follensbee, 1876-80; Louis N. Minnie, 1881.

Aldermen - John S. Crellin, William Kerwin, James Beard, 1858; William Kerwin, Samuel Hamilton, Allen Fish, Cyrus Miles, Henry N. Wright, George W. Millen, Frederick Hubert, Calvin Ames, 1859; Lewis Atkins, Jacob F. Bachelor, John S. Crellin, James H. White, 1860; John S. Bottsford, Allen Fish, Jr., Joseph Smith, Nelson D. Horton, 1861; Michael McAaron, Newell Avery, O'B. J. Atkinson, George W. Miller, 1862; William Kerwin, Jacob F. Bachelor, Thomas K. Whitman, Hiram P. Vroman, 1863; Amos James, Henry Howard, Anson E. Chadwick, Frederick L. Wells, 1864; William Allen, John Johnston, T.K. Whitman, W.R. Mulford, 1865; William Kerwin, Henry Howard, Cyrus Miles, James H. White, 1866; Henry McMoran, Samuel L. Boyce, Henry Fish, E.M. Carrington, 1867; Albert Hendricks, S.S. Penney, Tewkesbury Strout, Henry Howard, 1868; Robert Walsh, A.L. Stebbins, W.D. Wright, Albert K. Comins, 1869; Edmund Fitzgerald, Henry Howard, O'Brien J. Atkinson, Frederick L. Wells, 1870; Daniel Ryan, Abram L. Stebbins, Jacob P. Haynes, Carleton W. Robinson, 1871; O'Brien J. Atkinson, E. Ortenburger, Daniel N. Runnells, Edmund Fitzgerald, 1872; George F. Adams, Henry Howard, Albert Hendricks, Frederick L. Wells, Martin Huner, 1873; Benjamin Karrer, D.N. Runnells, John Russell, Martin Huner, 1874; Edmund Fitzgerald, George F. Adams, Peter Schweitzer, Charles Wellman, 1875; Amos James, Guy Kimball, George Brooks, Edwin S. Petit, Otis Joslyn, James Beard, 1876; Edward Fitzgerald, Henry Huner, Sigmond Goodman, John G. O'Neil, Stephen T. Probett, James Golden, James H. Stone, 1877; Henry Huner, Frank Whipple, William Wanless, [501] Hiram R. Mills, Duncan Campbell, Orrin L. Jenks, 1878; W.D. Wright, Sigmond Goodman, John G. O'Neil, Chester Kinney, Myron Northrup, Henry W. Cooley, 1879; Henry Huner, Jared Kibbee, Charles Wellman, John McCormick, S.T. Probett, Otis Joslyn, Jacob Eisenhauer, 1880; Dennis Jones, William Springer, E.B. Harrington, Frank W. Parsons, S.T. Probett, James Golden, John Chambers, 1881.

Supervisors - H.L. Stevens, M.S. Gillett, 1858; H.L. Stevens, M.S. Gillett, James Heald, Edward W. Harris, 1859; H.L. Stevens, Edgar White, David Whitman, E.W. Harris, 1860; William Kerwin, Edgar White, David Whitman, E.W. Harris, 1861; H.L. Stevens, Edgar White, George Phillips, E.W. Harris, 1862; Edgar White, E.W. Harris, David Whitman, H.L. Stevens, 1863; Edgar White, E.W. Harris, James Talbot, H.L. Stevens, 1864; E.W. Harris, F. Schulte, E. White, E.M. Carrington, 1866; R.W. Matthews, John L. Newell, Richard Cassler, Joseph Wellman, 1867; E. Fitzgerald, Edgar White, Joseph Wellman, E.M. Cady, 1868; Edmund Fitzgerald, Edgar White, T.K. Whitman, Horace A. Beach, 1869; Charles Samberg, Edgar White, T.K. Whitman, Carleton W. Robinson, 1870; Charles Samberg, Edgar White, Otis Joslyn, Ernst Orttenburger, 1871; Thomas Dunford, Edgar White, Thomas K. Whitman, Bethuel C. Farrand, 1872; C.B. Hubbard, Edgar White, George Brookes, Bethuel C. Farrand, 1873; C.B. Hubbard, Edgar White, George Brooks, S.T. Probett, 1874; Sylvester H. Robinson, Frank Whipple, Henry A. Bachelor, Edgar White, 1875; James Talbot, Edgar White, Joseph Wellman, J.B. Montross, Henry Bradbeer, Thomas W. Ward, 1876; James Talbot, Edgar White, Joseph Wellman, J.B. Montross, Henry J. Bradbeer, Orin L. Jenks, 1877; James Talbot, Edgar White, Joseph Wellman, J.B. Montross, H.J. Bradbeer, T.W. Ward, 1878; Sylvester H. Robinson, Edgar White, Daniel J. Penney, Jeremiah B. Montross, Joseph K. Gardner, T.W. Ward, 1879; R.W. Matthews, Edgar White, Joseph Wellman, James H. White, Thomas H. Schneider, Frank Ufford, 1880; S.H. Robinson, Edgar White, Napoleon Roberts, J.B. Montross, T.H. Schneider, Thomas W. Ward, 1881.

Controllers - E.P. Tibbals, 1877; J.B. Hull, 1878; L.B. Wheeler, 1879; Edmond Fitzgerald, 1880; Lewis Atkins, 1881; F.L. Follansbee, 1881; Edgar White, 1882.


Previous to the war, the financial history of the city does not present even one extraordinary feature. In 1869, however, the old conservative system of voting moneys for necessary improvements was cast aside, and one more worthy of the spirit of the times adopted. A sum of $80,000 was voted to aid the P. H. & L.M. R.R., but owing to the decision of the Supreme Court, declaring bonds issued by town or city governments in aid of railroads invalid, the sum voted could not be legally raised, and thus the question rested until 1874-75. During the years 1874-75, the contest over the railroad bonds issued by Port Huron and other municipalities of Michigan ended in the United States Courts, by decisions which rendered it certain that all such bonds must be paid. Judgments to the amount of $40,000 or more were rendered against Port Huron, and efforts were made to sell 8 per cent refunding bonds to pay the judgments. No bids were received, however, and 10 per cent bonds were then offered and sold at a little above par. It being universally conceded that there was no escaping judgments on all the outstanding bonds, action was taken by the municipal authorities to confess judgments and make as little costs as possible. In this way all the bonds when due were paid, refunding bonds being sold to raise the necessary funds, a portion of them bearing 8 per cent interest. This left about $37,000 of original railroad aid bonds outstanding and yet to mature, all bearing 10 per cent interest. On these the city paid interest from year to year, and saved the costs of judgment.

While this state of affairs existed, in the years 1872-73, the city water works were constructed, at a total cost of $170,000, all of which was borrowed at 10 per cent interest. This investment has never been regretted by the people of Port Huron. The works have more than paid all expenses of running and maintaining them, have proved a sure protection from extensive fires, and have so benefited the public heath that the death rate of the city has been reduced nearly 50 per cent. In the year 1878, a considerable amount of money had accumulated in the sinking fund, and by unanimous vote of the Council, a portion of the outstanding [502] railroad aid bonds were purchased and canceled, and another portion refunded at 7 per cent interest. This left but $17,500 of the original railroad aid bonds outstanding. Of these, $7,000 mature during the present year, $9,500 in the year 1883, and $1,000 in 1889. The total bonded debt of the city, January 1, 1880, not including accrued interest, was $370,960. Port Huron suffered greatly from the financial panic, through depressions in marine business, and through the practical annihilation of its large lumber business by the destruction in 1871 by fire of the timber adjacent to the streams which have their outlet at the foot of Lake Huron. From 1873 to 1879, the city had no actual growth, either in business or population, the large accessions on account of its increasing importance as a railroad center being fully neutralized by its losses through the disappearance of its lumber traffic and the depression of marine and ship building interests. This being the condition of affairs, it will not appear strange that the burden of a high rate of interest on so large a debt was seriously felt after the decision of the United States Courts had rendered valid the railroad aid debt, increased about $60,000 accumulated interest and costs. Tax-payers began to look about for some measures of relief, but could find no prospect of any, for years to come, as nearly all the bonds had from ten to twenty years to run, and could not be called in and paid until maturity.

During the disagreements in the Council during the year 1879, the city defaulted in the payment of interest on her bonds. A public meeting was therefore called and a committee, consisting of two Republicans and three Democrats, was appointed to negotiate with the holders of 10 per cent bonds, and see if they would not consent to a reduction in the rate of interest, or to the payment of their bonds. After two or three months of correspondence, the consent of the owners of nearly two-thirds of the 10 per cent bonds to refund at 7 per cent had been obtained, with fair prospect that all others would consent to a similar arrangement.

A meeting of the Council was then held to consider the question of refunding the entire debt; but a resolution favoring a total refunding was negatived, and instead one passed for the issue of $200,000 of 7 per cent refunding bonds, to take up a similar amount of 7 per cent bonds, excluding all those issued for railroad purposes. This killed the refunding scheme, as the consent of bondholders to refund had been coupled with the condition that the refunding should cover all the outstanding bonds.

The beneficial results of the financial policy adopted were made manifest May 20, 1882, when canceled bonds and other evidences of the city's debt were burned by the Treasurer, D.N. Runnels, in presence of William Hartsuff, S.L. Boyce, R. Walsh, John McCormick, James Moffat and Edgar White.

The census of the city, taken in July, 1854, by J.P. Minnie, gives the following figures:

Males (married)




Grand total



Males (unmarried)



Population in 1850











Female (married)



Population of the village



Females (unmarried)



Population of the village (1850)











NOTE. - Deaf and dumb, 2; insane, 5; colored, 13; number of marriages during the year, 65; number of deaths, 51.

The census of the city in 1866 was as follows:

Total (First Ward)



Total (colored)


Total (Second Ward)



Total (Fort Gratiot)


Total (Third Ward)






Total (Fourth Ward)




Grand Total


The census of Port Huron in 1870 shows the following figures:












First Ward






Fourth Ward





Second Ward











Third Ward












The column of deaths includes those who died from June 1, 1869, to May 31, 1870.

The population of the city in June, 1880, is given in the general history, as 8,883 persons.

Owing to important railroad changes, and the prosperous condition of commerce, this number is thought to be under the actual population by about 2,000.


The rapid growth of nearly, or quite, all the localities which boast of being lumber manufacturing centers is phenomenal. Scarcely one of the towns which had pine forests in proximity but has, within the past twenty years, made rapid advances in the matter of growth and development far in excess of other localities equally well situated for manufacturing enterprise, but lacking the accompaniment of the forest. In no branch of the industry has a greater stimulus been given to inventive genius; and the saw mill of to-day is in but few respects the likeness of those of a quarter century ago. The incentives to improvement in saw mill machinery have been extended as well to all branches of wood-working industry; and where, in the past, the manufacture of furniture, agricultural implements, wagon, etc., was wholly dependent upon the skill of trained mechanics, whose preparation was accomplished through long years of close apprenticeship, the present time finds them carried on with the aid of labor-saving devices worked by unskilled youth, or men educated at the machine which is devoted to but a single portion of the multiudinous details of the work to be aggregated in a grand and perfected whole. With the decadence of the pine supply, it is the part of wisdom for those localities which will presently find themselves put upon a shortened supply of the pine timber which has formed the basis of their growth, and the foundation of their prosperity, to take steps to continue in the path of manufacturing progress by the establishment of works which shall utilize the timber which has been considered boundless in quantity, and of but little value in comparison with the greater importance of the pine.

Wagon and agricultural implement and furniture factories are valuable adjuncts to the prosperity of any locality, and withal their products are not only in increasing demand as the country develops, but the hands employed at them form a valuable adjunct to the population of the village or city where they are located. An agricultural implement or wagon factory requires the adjuncts of foundries and iron-working establishments, while those towns which boast the possession of furniture factories find other industries following in their train as a matter of necessity. Many large establishments are located at points remote from production of the timber which enters most largely into their manufacture, and the item of transportation is of no inconsiderable importance as a factor of original cost to the finished product. Factories located at the point where the lumber is originally sawed enjoy the advantage of a reduced cost of handling several times, added to the cost of transportation. They, too, are enabled to purchase their raw material at a cheaper rate, inasmuch as they can enjoy the advantages of that by no means small proportion of the log stock which, while too coarse to bear the cost of transportation, is yet excellently adapted, in a large proportion of its bulk, for what is known as "cutting up," the valuable portion being utilized without the expense of transporting that which is worthless. In the near future it will be found that those lumber centers of the past which, with wise forethought among the capitalists and business men, have secured the establishment of manufactories for working up the oak, maple, beech and ash, with other of the hardwoods now in many localities looked upon as of little or no value, will find their prosperity not only assured, put permanently promoted in a direction doubly advantageous, in that it will increase the population, utilize a comparatively useless product, and add to the world's resources in commodities which must always be in demand in an ever-increasing ratio.

In 1854, the pine lumber trade was the great and absorbing business of this place and the surrounding country. By careful estimate, the lumber manufactured in St. Clair and Sanilac Counties amounted in 1853 to 92,900,000 feet.



Logs furnished by these counties, and sawed by mills on Detroit River


New mills erected during the past winter equal to


Add 10 per cent for increased machinery and improvements, and general advance in value


Worth at a low estimate ($10 per thousand), amounting to


[504] Add to this sum the value of lath, shingles, fish, staves and spars, and the exports from the two counties named above will not fall below $2,000,000 the present year. To this immense trade Port Huron is mainly indebted for its hitherto rapid growth and present prosperity. It continued to increase until the trade had reached its maximum - until the forests disappeared.

The saw mill interest of the city to-day is extensive - it is a great industry; but, like the forests of the county, it will fall unless auxiliary manufactories are established.

Port Huron had, in 1867, seven mills, which produced lumber and lath during that year as follows:


Lumber (feet.)

Lath (pieces.)



Lumber (feet.)

Lath (pieces.)

Avery & Murphy




A. & H. Fish



Howard & Son




Z. Bunce



W.B. & J. Hibbard




N. & B. Mills



John Wells & Son







Jacob F. Batchelor







The numbers of logs sawed was 112,000, and about one seventh of the lumber produced was clear stuff. The greater part of the lumber was shipped to Ohio markets, but some of the clear went to Albany. About 1,100,000 pipe and hogshead staves were shipped, worth $60 per thousand, yielding $66,000; beside a considerable quantity of cedar posts, shingles, tan bark, etc.

The total amount of logs inspected in Black River during the year was 64,700,000 feet of the usual board measure.

The following interesting statistics, dealing with manufacturing statistics from 1867 to the centennial year were published by A. Marontette in 1876:

Hibbard's mill started sawing each year, beginning with the spring of 1867, to the spring of 1876, and the amount of money paid each year for labor in manufacturing lumber and lath. Also the total amount paid to the fall of 1876. Also giving the date of the first boat from Detroit to Port Huron each year:





April 8



April 15


March 30



March 26


April 12



April 18


April 11



April 10


March 16



March 27


June 10



April 17


April 29



April 9


April 27



April 10


April 16



April 26


April 21



April 5

1867, April 14, Genesee Chief came from Alpena. No ice in the lake.








$ 9,172 00





12,376 00





14,057 00


35 1/2



13,525 00





11,003 00


13 1/2



5,737 00


28 1/2



11,249 00


21 1/2



8,597 00


16 1/2



5,067 00





5,490 00





$96,273 00



In 1875-6 rebuilding mill, labor only

2,989 00





$99,262 00

[505] These figures do not include clerk hire or office expenses, neither ordinary expenses for furnishing and repairing mill, which is quite an item, as for belting, saws, file, oil, tallow, timber for repairs, etc.

In Sanilac County, the lumber was sold for an average of $16 per thousand feet, a total of $1,440,000 and the lath realized the sum of $45,000. The number of shingles manufactured was 15,000,000, which sold for an average of $4.50 per thousand, realizing the sum of $67,500; making the total receipt for lumber, lath and shingles, $1,552,500. Between 20,000,000 and 30,000,000 feet of logs were floated down Black River and Elk Creek to Port Huron during the spring of 1867.

The firm of W.B. & J. Hibbard was the oldest lumbering firm in existence in the city in 1875. On account of the destruction of their mill by fire on the 3d of September, 1875, work ceased for awhile; but they rebuilt on a larger scale than before. They purchased the interest of the Horton estate in the site of the old mill, and broke ground in October, 1875, for the new building. The site, at the confluence of the St. Clair and Black Rivers (the most easterly point of land in Michigan) is not surpassed anywhere for mill purposes. It consists of eighteen lots of land fronting on both rivers. The new mill is 120 x 34 feet in size, containing one large circular saw, gang edger, lath mill, planning mill, dry kiln, etc., and adapted to fill all orders for the retail trade, which the firm made a specialty. The cost of the new mill was from $10,000 to $15,000. The firm was composed of William B. Hibbard, of Milwaukee, and John Hibbard, of Port Huron. They continued in uninterrupted business for over a quarter of a century at Port Huron.

The Port Huron Ferry Company's new steamer is one of the finest ferry-boats on fresh water. It has been named "Omar D. Conger," in honor of the talented Senator, in 1882.

The Omar D. Conger is 104 feet in length, and 34 in width; depth of hold, 10 1/2 feet; the engine has a 24 1/2-inch bore and a 30 inch stroke. The engine was built by the Cuyahoga Works of Cleveland, Ohio, and the boiler by Messrs. Desotell & Hutton, of Detroit. The main aft cabin is about twenty feet square, and is finished in an elaborate style. The doors, window frames and mouldings are made of walnut, and the wood work is grained in imitation of mahogany and bird's-eye maple. The floors of the cabin are covered with Brussels carpets, and the seats upholstered with red plush. The hull and upper works are painted white, and present a fine appearance. The side cabins and alley ways are grained in oak.

The boat was built under the supervision of Capt. George Hardison, of Detroit, a recognized master mechanic, and reflects great credit on his skill. The joiner work was done by George Travers, of Port Huron, and is acknowledged to be of superior style. The painting and graining was done by the well-known firm of George Crackell & Co., and gives evidence of excellent workmanship. This steamer accommodates 800 people, and is run as an excursion and ferry boat. Capt. Chris. Smith, recently of the Ferry Beckwith commands the new steamer. He has been connected with the ferry company for seven years, and is a courteous and efficient officer.

The Dormer is a favorite ferry boat - an ancient, constant visitor between Port Huron and Canada, in charge of a favorite corps of officers.

The Beckwith and the Baird are new boats, contributing much toward rendering the ferry service effective.


Port Huron City has always been blessed with newspapers of more than ordinary ability, influence and respectability. The general intelligence and prosperity of a community may be fairly measured by the character of the newspapers published therein, and the liberality with which they are supported. An intelligent, thrifty and enterprising community demands newspapers of the same attributes; and, sooner or later, that demand is always supplied. The city has not been in advance of her newspapers, from the days of the first Observer, down to the present publications; and, possibly, has not been up to them in liberality and enterprise. The village had very good local newspapers before it contained a church or a court house, and very soon after the first schoolhouse was erected within the present city limits. They have kept fully up to the excellent standard ever since; always praising and pointing out to the world, without [506] money or price, the advantages of soil, health, climate, location, growth, society, education, culture and enterprise of the place; inciting new improvements and enterprises, where they did not already exist, and wielding, in the case of one or two of them at least, a strong influence in shaping political and State, as well as local, affairs. They have, therefore, played a very important part in the development and growth of the locality and the State, and the best history would rightly be considered far from complete if it contained no account of the various newspaper publications. In the sketches which follow, those are the most liberally treated of whose files were the most perfect and afforded the most material. Many volumes of the different newspapers have been destroyed, lost or borne away by those interested in their publication or the history they contain. This necessarily abbreviates the histories of some of them, although the most that is worth recording and preserving in pages like these is obtained and verified.

The Democratic newspapers of the city may be said to have had a continuous publication from the first inauguration of journalism here to the present time. The Commercial is the successor to a line of well-edited weekly papers, and must be considered one of the best exponents of Democracy in Michigan.

The Daily Times is a neat four-page journal, devoted to general and local news. As a Republican newspaper, it has always taken a most active part in all campaigns, making its influence felt in the most unmistakable manner. It did not, however, spare the Republican party or the party leaders when they chanced to be in the wrong, believing it far better to eradicate an evil than to attempt to hide it by silence. This honorable policy sometimes incurred the displeasure of the Republicans who happened to be criticized, but it secured respect from all quarters, showing an honesty of purpose that gave the utmost need of praise wherever deserved, and administering the severest censure with equal freedom and vigor.

The Daily Telegraph, the Tribune, the Journal, and other papers noticed in the general history, have all contributed a share to that wealth of general intelligence which marks the city.


Once there was a wicked journalist in Port Huron. There may be wicked journalists in Port Huron now, but this wicked journalist is there no more. Once while he was there, Elder Smart proposed to get up a revival, and went about the work systemically. He set the date three weeks ahead, got out posters and made all arrangements to draw good houses. The wicked journalist did not believe in revivals, and he said one day to another Port Huron editor who was not truly good: "I believe we can break up that revival." The other editor thought not. Now is was just the time when the spelling mania was sweeping over the land. At once the wicked editor put an item in his paper suggesting that Port Huron shouldn't lag behind the age, and it was high time she began to spell. T'other editor copied the item and urged Port Huron to do her duty. The third day a call was issued for a spelling match. In a week everybody had a spelling book in his pocket and studied at every odd moment. Orthographic exercises were the order of the day. When the time came for the revival to open, Port Huron and Sarnia were booked for an international spelling match, and Port Huronites scarcely know whether they had souls to save or not. They only knew they would spell the Canadians down or die in the attempt. The revival was abandoned. This does not profess to be a story with a moral, although it may tend to show how easily it is to set folks wild over nothing, and how like sheep they will go astray, or any other way, when some one chooses to lead them.

FIRE OF 1854.

The fire of March, 1854, at Port Huron, was supposed to result from the prosecution of the whisky sellers. The losses, as nearly as we have been able to ascertain, are as follows: E.R. Swetser, good, $12,000, insurance, $5,000; M.S. Gillett, books, papers and building, $4,000, insurance, $1,250; Conger & Bancroft, library and papers, $3,000, total loss; J.H. Haslett, $500, total loss; Sweetser & Sanborn, building and goods, $20,000, insurance, $4,500; H.J. Bockius, boots, shoes, etc., $2,000, insurance, 1,600; A. & H. Fish, goods, $7,000, covered by insurance; Cummings Sanborn estate, building $2,000, insurance, $1,500; J.K. Bourne, $200. In addition [507] to these loses, the telegraph apparatus in Bockius' store was entirely destroyed and the clerks in E.R. Sweetser's and Sweetser & Sanborn's store lost nearly all their clothing, barely having time to escape. Young Wastell, in E.R. Sweetser's store, in descending a rope from the third story, tore the flesh from the palms of his hands, so that he still suffers severely from the injury. George Proud, a young man in the employ of C. Bancroft, who was sleeping in the block, lost his watch and every rag of clothing, barely escaping with his life. The safe of Eddy, Avery & Co., was found to be so much sprung by the heat that it had to be broken open. Sweetser & Sanborn's safe stood the whole of the fire and came out very little injured. E.R. Sweetser's safe was thrown out of the second story window at the commencement.


The citizens of Port Huron, on every occasion when the subject has been presented have made the most generous offers to the people of the county respecting the public buildings. They have often shielded, by such offers, the people from unnecessary and oppressive taxation. Thus, when it was proposed in 1850 to raise a tax of $10,000 to erect new county buildings, some of the most responsible business men stepped forward and proffered a bond to erect a court house and jail, worth at least $10,000, free of cost to the county, on the simple condition that the county seat should be located in this place. Many of the townships were not then organized, a majority of the board was not sufficient to control the question, and hence St. Clair succeeded in retaining the county seat.

No sooner was the action above noticed taken by the board, than the citizens of Port Huron set about complying with the terms, and promptly furnished the committee with the following bond:

Know all men by these presents, that we, Cyrus Miles, Daniel B. Harrington, Jacob F. Bachelor, Allen Fish, James H. White, Henry Howard, George W. Pinkham, T.S. Skinner, John Miller, W. Wastell, D. Bryce, H. Herzog, John Wells, O'B. J. Atkinson, Jno. Stilson, S. McCormick, R. Walsh, J.W. Thompson, Jas. Beard, John Johnston, Jas. Haynes, Wm. Farr, J.W. Sanborn, J.S. Crellin, B.C. Farrand, W.T. Mitchell, W.E. Green, Wm. Stewart, D. Whitman, J.B. Shaller, O.A. Wilson, W.R. Mulford, E. Fitzgerald, W. Sanborn, J. Howard, F. Saunders, M. Walker, J.P. Sanborn, E. Ortenburger, P. Walker, H.J. Bockius, F.A. Weyers, J.B. Hull, - all of St. Clair County, Michigan, - are held and firmly bound unto the Board of Supervisors of St. Clair County, their successors and assigns in the penal sum of twenty thousand ($20,000) dollars, for the payment of which, well and truly, to be made to said Board, their successors and assigns, we hereby bind ourselves, our and each of our heirs, executors and administrators, jointly and severally firmly by these presents.

Witness our hands and seals, at Port Huron, this - day of October, A.D. 1865.

Whereas, The citizens of the city of Port Huron have agreed to furnish a suitable site, and build, erect, and complete a Court House, Jail and County Offices, and to convey the same to said Board of Supervisors by a good and sufficient deed; Provided, and for the consideration, that the County Site of St. Clair shall be removed from St. Clair to Port Huron.

And whereas, the said Board of Supervisors did, at their late session in October, 1865, vote to remove said County Site from St. Clair to Port Huron; Now, the condition of this obligation is, that if a good and convenient location shall be obtained in the city of Port Huron, for County buildings - a Court House, Jail and County Offices, built equal to or exceeding in value those now occupied at St. Clair and conveyed to said Board, on or before the expiration of two years from the time that said County Site shall be declared to be removed from St. Clair to Port Huron; and if, in the meantime, suitable rooms, for Court House, Jail, and County Offices, shall be furnished at Port Huron for the use of the County, and without expense to the County, then this obligation shall be void; Otherwise to be and remain in full force and effect.

William Wastell,

D. Bryce,

B.C. Farrand,

W. Stewart,

H. Herzog,

John Miller,

W.C. Green,

John B. Schaller,

John Wells,

O'B. J. Atkinson,

D. Whitman,

John Howard,

John Stilson,

Samuel McCormick,

Oscar A. Wilson,

E. Orttenburger,

Cyrus Miles,

R. Walsh,

John P. Sanborn,

F. Saunders,

J.W. Thomson,

James Beard,

William R. Mulford,

M. Walker,

John Johnston,

James Haynes,

H.J. Bockius,

P. Walker,

William Farr,

George W. Pinkham,

Edmund Fitzgerald,

J.B. Hull

Jas. W. Sanborn,

Henry Howard,

F.A. Weyers,


J.H. White,

Thos. S. Skinner,

William Sanborn,


D.B. Harrington,

John S. Crellin,

William T. Mitchell,


We, the undersigned Committee, appointed by the Board of Supervisors for the County of St. Clair, do hereby certify that we have carefully examined the within bond, and find the same correct, and do therefore approve the same.


Thomas Dawson,


Henry Rix,


Wm. Jenkinson,


George S. Granger.

FIRE OF APRIL 21, 1866.

[508] A disastrous fire occurred in Port Huron on April 21, 1866, commencing in a saloon and restaurant occupied by H. Williams, and thence extending to other buildings. Four buildings were consumed, three belonging to William Stewart and one to S.S. Ward, the loss to the former estimated at $6,000, and to the latter $6,000.

THE WAR OF 1861-65.

In the decade commencing with 1860, the whole country was convulsed by war between the States; and, while this portion of the Union, being remote from the scene of active hostilities, was not so sensibly affected as the States in immediate proximity, or at a short distance therefrom, the withdrawal of a generous portion of the bone and sinew of the city and county was a sacrifice at the expense of the material prosperity. The population of the city was then only a few thousands, and but little reflection is necessary to an appreciation of the effect on trade, commerce, agriculture and manufactures entailed by requisitions made on its quota of troops by the Government.

As elsewhere, citizens of Southern politics and sympathies were slow to countenance the action of the Government, and while all urged the enforcement of the laws and maintenance of the Union, there were many who differed honestly as to the means to be employed in the behalf. While repudiating the practical application of the resolutions of 1798, they insisted that violations of the Constitution defeated the objects sought to be gained. One class labored for the Constitution and Union, another for the Union with or without the Constitution. This division of sentiment caused interminable disputations, which were characterized by intense feeling on both sides, not altogether obliterated by the lapse of years. How the true citizens, both men and women, acted their part throughout those years of trial, is shown in the general military history of the county.


The purpose of the organization, as set forth in its constitution, is to promote the cause of temperance and sobriety by abstaining from the use of all intoxicating liquors. Perhaps in no city in the world has the cause of temperance had more earnest workers than at Port Huron. It is now some years since the organization attained its full strength. The lessons which it then taught, and the earnest manner of the teachers, rescued numbers of people from the ruin which strong drink was bringing or had already brought upon them.

In 1867, Port Huron had several religious societies, owning five church edifices, worth in the aggregate, $25,000. These societies paid their ministers not to exceed an average of $800 each. The whole expense of supporting these five societies, including taxes, insurance and all other charges, did not exceed $6,000.

Port Huron had also twenty-six saloons, devoted solely to the sale of intoxicating drinks. Her citizens paid the keepers of those saloons an average of at least $600 a year, making an aggregate of $15,600. They also paid their rent, which at a low figure amounted to at least $3,000. Total, $18,600. Her citizens assisted, too, in supporting the bars of eight hotels, at an additional expense of say $4,000.

Looking at the sacred and profane in this light, it is not to be wondered at that the people rose en masse to assert their intelligence.


In reviewing the improvements made during the year 1869, the following description of such improvements is selected from a number of papers on the progress made during that year:


The corner-stone of the County Court House was duly placed October 30, 1872. Early in the forenoon, the music of bands was heard on the streets, and a gathering of members of the Masonic fraternity was noticeable. At noon the Masons entertained members of the fraternity from abroad, and invited guests to the number of 242, at Bazar Hall, where [509] dinner was provided. After dinner, the Masons, led by the Port Huron Band, and the Knights Templar, marched through some of the principal streets, finally halting at City Hall Park. The procession numbered nearly 200, and was made up of Masons resident here, and members of the fraternity from Sarnia, Marine City, Algonac, Lexington and other places. The Romeo Band was also in the line. The Knights Templar, under command of Eminent Commander F.L. Wells, were especially noticeable for their fine uniforms and excellent drill.

The following were the Masonic officers taking part in the ceremonies

Acting G.M. - M.W. Dept. G.M. Hugh McCurdy, of Corunna.

Acting D.G.M. - M.W.P.G.M. W.T. Mitchell.

R.W.G. Chaplain. - Rev. A.M. Lewis, of Romeo.

Acting G.S. Warden. - P.M.A., J. Cummings.

Junior G.W.P.M. - Isaac Thorne.

Senior G.D. - Robert S. Brown.

Junior G.D. - H.W. Stevens.

Grand Tiler. - Charles Flugal.

Grand Marshal of the Day - Lieut. George Duff.

Bearer of the Golden Vessel of Corn - B.F. Owen, of Marine City.

Bearer of the Silver Vessel of Wine - Ralph Wadham.

Bearer of the Silver Vessel of Oil - J.D. Whitney.

Bearer of the Holy Bible, Square and Compass - William Johnston.

The corner-stone of the new building was laid at the northeast corner. Under it was a square cavity in the brick work, prepared for the reception of the box containing the papers and other documents deposited.

The exercises commenced with prayer, offered by the Rev. A.M. Lewis, of Romeo, Right Worthy Grand Chaplain of the State. Following this, Acting Grand Master W. Dep. G.M. Hugh McCurdy, of Corunna, delivered the following address:

"BROTHERS - In the name of our ancient order, we are invited to lay in fitting place the corner-stone of an edifice devoted to the administration of public justice, and the official duties of those who rule a city. As the corner-stone becomes the chief prop of the edifice, so it is deemed important that it should be adjusted to the principles of the square, level and plumb, laid broad and deep, and dedicated to the eternal principles of the Goddess of Justice. It is not unusual that it should also be the chosen stone by which the builders may communicate with their descendants in the great hereafter when the head that conceived and the hand that executed shall have moldered into decay.

"In no other section of the broad land which we inhabit can we drink in the inspiration here afforded. Within the days of men now living, the region here around us was but a vast, continuous forest, shadowing the fertile soil, sweeping over hill and dale in endless undulations, surging the shores of yonder inland sea in verdure, and mantling brooks and rivers from the light of day. Green intervals, dotted with browsing deer, and rice fields blackened with the more formidable game broke the sameness of the woodland scenery. The vast lake at our feet then as now, washed the shore; but the Indian voyager, in his birch canoe, could descry no land beyond its world of waters.

"Agriculture is little known to the dusky sons of the forest and through summer and winter they range the wilderness with restless wandering. Exploring the beautiful strait, or the meandering stream that gives a dark tint as it moves to the crystal waters of the more impetuous river, the Indian lifts his canoe upon the sand beach, and smokes away the sultry hours in lazy luxuriance. To him the wilderness, rough and harsh, has charms more potent in their seductive influences than all the lures of luxury and sloth, and he finds no heart to dissolve the spell. Such is the picture of the past.

"To-day the scene is changed. The wigwam has given way to the stately palace and the Indian, driven by the advancing steps of civilization, has gone still further to the setting sun. On the river the canoe is superseded by the white-winged vessel; and the boat propelled by an element which the red man knows not of, and laden with the products of industry, speeds its way to marts beyond his knowledge. Now, art and refinement spread out charms, and knowledge [510] leads man to the highest type of social enjoyment. The frowning stockades at your northern door have been removed, as no longer necessary to your safety; a teeming population under the direction of skill and capital, extends its labors and scatters prosperity and happiness on every son of toil. Every department of industry is pursued, and every resource of wealth developed. Situated at the outlet of an immense see fed by others and at a point that must make your lovely city a commercial and railroad center, nothing can retard its onward progress.

"This proposed edifice attests the liberality and public spirit of the people, and here, on behalf of the great fraternity I represent, I congratulate the citizens on the prosperity they have so worthily secured, and on the commencement of a building which, when finished and completed in all its parts, will be a pride and ornament to the metropolis. Brethren, according to ancient Masonic usage, we will now proceed to lay the corner-stone."

The corner-stone was then adjusted in true Masonic form, after which the Grand Master addressed the citizens as follows:

"FELLOW-CITIZENS - To our trust, as Free and Accepted Masons, has been committed the laying of this corner-stone; and we who are lawful Masons have performed that duty with an eye single to the glory of the Great Architect of the Universe, and exact justice to all men.

"Centuries have looked down upon our fraternity, and ages still in the womb of time will attest the honor and beneficence of the brotherhood.

"We practice the essential requirements of the good and just, as handed down to us by the best of the sons of earth.

"And now my brethren, let it ever be our effort to observe, preserve and keep every rule enjoined by Masonry, and so live as not to bring a taint upon its future history.

"Thus untarnished and full of fresh life and vigor, may it ever march on to new achievements until time shall be no more."

At the command of the Grand Master, the Masons then gave the public grand honors, in perfect time, and with impressive effect.

The following is a list of papers and other articles deposited in the corner-stone, which was read by the Grand Secretary:

Copy of City Charter and Ordinances.

Port Huron City and Business Directory.

List of members of Board of Education, rules, etc.

List of Mayors of the city.

Autographs of City, County and United States officers residing in the city.

Copies of city papers of latest dates.

Copy of Lake Huron Observer, September 16, 1837.

Proceedings of Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Michigan June 4 and 5, 1872. Other proceedings of Masonic bodies.

Manual of First Baptist Church.

Manual of First Congregational Church.

Certificate of Membership of St. Stephen's Catholic Church.

List of Members of Fire Department.

Historical sketch of Ladies' Library Association with list of books.

Historical paper on "Early Settlement of Port Huron" by Mrs. B.C. Farrand in the Daily Times of June 17.

Photograph of William Stewart & Co.'s hardware store.

Business cards of Howard & Son, W.B. & J. Hibbard, James H. Haslett, L.A. Rose, William Wastell, H. Mears, M. Walker, William Stewart & Co. (with coin attached), Commercial, and Samuel J. Giddey.

One 25-cent fractional currency, issued by John Miller & Co., August 25, 1862.

One dollar note of First National Bank, deposited by Henry Howard.

Silver coin deposited by Edward Petit, date 1854, inscription, "E. Petit, born 7th February, 1813, first white child born in the city of Port Huron."

Five silver coins, inscribed and deposited respectively by John Miller, J. Gillett Wastell, Alice M. Miles, Nellie Stewart and Hattie Howard.

[511] One silver coin, inscription, "S.T. Probett & Son, Builders, August 30, 1872."

Photograph of William Wastell's drug store.

Certificate of membership of Spiritual Society, with date of organization, and date of erection of their hall.

Piece of charred wood from Chicago fire.

Discipline of Methodist Episcopal Church of Port Huron, 1868, with names of officers and members.

Copy of programme of banquet given to the Masons, August 13, 1872.

List of officers and members of Grace Episcopal Church, with history of its organization.

Copies of Detroit daily papers of latest dates.

Copy of contract with Stephen T. Probett, builder of City Hall, dated July 16, 1872.

Photograph and history of Mother Rodd.

Business card of J.W. Campfield, boots and shoes, established 1833.

Early history of the family of S.S. Ward.

The Masonic ceremonies were completed by the application of the square, level and compass, the stroke of the mallet, and the pouring on of the corn (wheat), oil and wine.

Judge Mitchell then made a few remarks, saying that the orator of the day, Mr. Eldredge of Mount Clemens, was not present, being duly detained, as he supposed, by ill health. He thanked the brother Masons from other places for their kind assistance in the ceremonies and labors of the day, and especially those from Canada, whose presence testified that the brotherhood of Masonry in not limited by cities, counties, States or nations, but is as wide as the world. He called upon Mayor Miller to speak for the city.

In response to this, Mr. Miller came forward, thanked the Masons for their assistance in the ceremonies of the day, and expressed his confidence that the building would stand for he did not know how long.

Mr. O'Brien J. Atkinson then spoke on behalf of the Common Council, also thanking the Masonic brotherhood for the part they had taken in the ceremonies of the day. This closed the exercises at the stand, and the crowd, which must have numbered two or three thousand persons assembled in the park and streets adjacent, immediately dispersed. Most of the stores were closed from 1 until 3 o'clock and many places of business were handsomely decorated with flags and streamers. All the exercised passed off pleasantly and satisfactorily, making the affair in every way a success.


During the year 1865, the customs business of this region attained such proportions as to convince the Government authorities that the interests of the revenue service would be advanced by the organization of a new district separate from that of Detroit, of which it was then a part. In the winter of 1865-66, definite movement was made by our citizens to secure the creation of the new district, and a delegation of our leading business men, among them Hon. James W. Sanborn, Henry Fish, John P. Sanborn, H. Howard and F.L. Wells, proceeded to Washington to labor for the result which was attained in the April following by the passage of the bill creating the "Customs District of Huron," embracing twenty-two counties and all the frontier from Lake St. Clair to the Straits of Mackinaw, a line of coast of fully 550 miles, counting the bays and inlets of Lake Huron. The organization of the district was begun in the fall of 1866, and completed the next spring, since which latter time the upper part of Johnston & Howard's block, on the corner of Water and Military streets, has been occupied by the offices of the district. This arrangement was, of course, intended from the first to be only temporary.

Hon. Omar D. Conger was elected to Congress in 1868, and among the first bills introduces in the House by him was one providing for the erection of a Government building at this point. After the usual delays which such measures meet with in Congress, the bill was finally passed June 10, 1872, and approved by the President the same day. It authorized and directed the Secretary of Treasury "to purchase at private sale or by condemnation in pursuance of the statute of the State of Michigan, a suitable lot of ground in the city of Port [512] Huron, State of Michigan, and to cause to be erected thereon a building suitable for the accommodation of the custom house, bonded warehouse, and other Government offices in that city, the lot of land and the building thereon, when completed, upon the plans to be previously made and approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, not to exceed the cost of $2000,000." Plans were at once prepared under the supervision of A.B. Mullett, then Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department, and steps taken to secure a suitable site for the building. There was some rivalry between the north and south sides of Black River in the effort to secure the location of the building, and various spots were placed in competition, most of which, however were excluded by the exactions of the Government, which were that the site should be bounded on at least three sides by streets or alleys. The site finally selected by the locating committee (consisting of Collector Sanborn, Postmaster Hartsuff, Capt. E. Fitzgerald, John Howard, W.L. Bancroft, Albert Hendricks and Peter Hill), was the lot on the corner of Sixth and Water streets, fronting 225 feet on the former street and 131 on the latter, and 175 on the alley. The cost of the lot was $10,000, $5,000 of which sum was paid by subscriptions of citizens, so the cost to the Government was less than had been anticipated. Some fault has been found with the location, but all things considered, it is doubtful in any better one could have been made. It is central, on high ground and convenient of access, which considerations outweigh the single objection that the building is not as conspicuous as if situated on Military street or Huron avenue.

The plans of the building were completed and the first appropriation of $100,000 toward the work made March 3, 1873. It is of rich light-bluish sandstone, three stories in height, hip or square roof, and surmounted by a dome. The style is composite, the Italian predominating. Its exterior in the main is plain, though the carved stone cornice and pilaster capitals are handsomely and rich ornate. The dimensions of the structure are: Length, 113 feet 10 inches; breadth, at the ends, 62 feet 7 inches; at the center, 67 feet 7 inches; height from the basement to the eaves, 53 feet; to the summit of the dome, 105 feet; to the top of the flag staff, 144 feet.

As above stated, the first appropriation, $100,000 in amount, was made March 3, 1873. The subsequent appropriations were $75,000, June 24, 1874; $25,000, March 3, 1875, and $36,000, for completion of building, and furnishing the same, July 31, 1876. The work of excavation was begun in August, 1873, under the supervision of Henry N. Wright, of this city, who remained in charge until the arrival of Mr. George H. Sease, the present Superintendent, who came here in October of that year from St. Paul, where he was just completing the United States Court House and Post Office at that point. Mr. Sease, who is one of the most capable builders in the employ of the Government, besides the St. Paul building, had also superintended the construction of the Cairo, Ill., Court House and Post Office, and was thoroughly familiar with the task before him, which he at once entered upon with vigor, and has prosecuted most faithfully and successfully from that time to the present. He has given close personal attention to the minutest details, and not one cent of the Government's money has been wasted. He first completed the excavation and procured the material for the concrete foundation. The excavation extended three feet below the floor line, which space was filled with concrete composed of limestone, broken into pieces about the size of a hen's egg, mixed with a composition of coarse gravel, sand and cement. As the concrete was laid the system of drainage was also constructed. This is of the most perfect and substantial character. Water from the roof is conducted through cast iron pipes in the wall into two stone drain pipes underneath the basement floor, extending the full length of the building, with lateral branches. These pipes are provided with stench traps that prevent gas accumulating in the sewer fro coming up in any part of the building, and empty into a 15-inch stone pipe leading to Black River. The laying of the concrete was about two-thirds completed when the weather became so cold that work was necessarily suspended and Mr. Sease proceeded to St. Paul to close up his superintendency there and accompany his reports to Washington. He returned here in February, 1874, and as soon as the weather would permit resumed work.

The putting down of the concrete was finished and the laying of stone in the basement story begun May 1. Work was pushed rapidly forward and the corner-stone laid October 8,

James Beard

[513] 1874, with imposing ceremonies. The occasion will be remembered. The Flint Blues with Gardner's famous band, Detroit Knights of Pythias, officers of the Grand Lodge of Michigan, Knights Templar, various Masonic Lodges, and other home societies, and a large concourse of people participated. The oration was delivered by Hon. O.D. Conger, to whom, as much as any other person, the erection of the building is due, and in it were included some statistics concerning the business of the district, which were probably new to most of his hearers, and which we cannot do better than to reproduce here for the purpose of showing the importance of the business interests of this district, for the accommodation of which this new building has been erected:


"We have met, fellow-citizens, to assist in the ceremonies of laying the corner-stone of a beautiful edifice designed to promote and foster the commerce and navigation of our country, facilitate the reception and distribution of letters and literature, provide for the administration of justice, and subserve the necessities of the people.

The peculiar Masonic ceremonial of occasions like this, originated in that early period of man's history when increasing civilization required the magnificent structures dedicated to commerce, religion and social life, and when the 'level, square and plumb' ever heralded man's progress as the emblems and implements of architectural symmetry, beauty and grandeur.

The Pyramids of Egypt attest their presence. The Temple of Solomon acquired its marvelous symmetry and beauty "from foundation to cap-stone" by their application. The splendid ruins of Palmyra are mute but eloquent witnesses of the antiquity of the Order and the perfection of the Craft.

In theory and practice, the ceremonial of laying the corner-stone of the magnificent edifices erected for the public welfare has accompanied man, in the East and the West, from his earliest civilization through all ages of his progression down to the present time.

In like manner, on this day, the representatives of the mystic craft, whose labor and skill have adorned the pathways of human existence through all the ages with the most enduring monuments of symmetry, beauty and usefulness, according to ancient custom, lay the corner-stone of this edifice, erected by a free people to subserve the growing necessities of their advanced civilization.

This building, spacious and beautiful as it seems to us, with its estimated cost of $200,000, though rather insignificant when compared to the magnificent structures for similar purposes at New York, Boston, Chicago and other places, at a cost respectively of from $3,000,000 to $10,000,000, is necessary for the wants of the Government, necessary for the interests of the people of this customs district, and of all the Northwestern States.

It is designated for a custom house for the District of Huron, which extends from Lake St. Clair to Mackinaw, with a shore line of over 550 miles, and embracing twenty-two counties.

For a bonded warehouse for valuable imported articles for the benefit of all the importers of the Northwest, who from Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and other cities, petitioned Congress to provide for its erection.

For a court house for the administration of justice, and for a post office, not only for the convenience of the people of this city, but for the reception and distribution of all the mails of a hundred post offices and mail routes of Eastern Michigan and the Upper Lakes, so that this edifice, although local in situation, is national in its objects and usefulness.

The District of Huron, of which Port Huron is the port of entry, was organized October 1, 1866, only eight years ago.

In the belief that some statistics of the district would interest you, and not be inappropriate to the occasion, I have procured some tables from the custom house reports and other sources, which I shall present with these remarks, and to some of which I wish to refer more particularly as I proceed, and while I am presenting some of the leading items of the business of the district during the eight years of its existence, I will ask you to reflect that all this vast business of this vast Northwest has come into being during the lifetime of many who listen to me this day.

Fifty years ago there was no commerce on these great lakes, only one little steamer on all [514] these waters, and even that was declared unprofitable because its draft of seven feet of water prevented its entrance to most of the harbors of Lake Erie. No railroad in all the land - scarcely a wagon road.

A few frail vessels, a few wandering batteaux, a few Mackinaw boats, a few bark canoes, and here and there an Indian trail, furnished all the means and modes of commerce, transportation and travel.

A few thousand people numbered all who dwelt along these beautiful straits, and in the vast territory bordering upon the Upper Lakes.

The fields yielded no products for commerce, the forests no timber for transportation, the fisheries were unvexed by the seine, the waterfall was unused for the mill, and the steam engine was unknown in the land. The iron mountains were undiscovered, and the copper mines were suggested only in the traditions of unsuccessful explorers and the vague reports of the early missionaries.

In all this marvelous region of the Upper Lakes, o'er all the boundless prairies, through all the gloomy pine forests, amid the mountains of iron and the ancient diggings of the copper mines, even among the lonely Indian tribes, reigned a mysterious silence, a supernatural repose, as if all nature were hushed to temporary rest, before the new era of steam and strife, of business and bustle, of surveying and settlement, of civilization and commerce, should burst upon the land and the lakes.

And then, you came hither, bold pioneers of the vast northwestern lakes and shores, you, and thousands like you came up and possessed the land; came with your wives and little ones, or came singly and alone; came as pioneers, or came following your friends, and raised the log cabin, cleared the land, builded the mill, launched the vessel, opened the roads, erected the schoolhouse, planted the towns, reared the churches, and with privation, patience, toil and energy, you developed the marvelous growth and civilization of this wonderful, beautiful land, and rendered necessary the erection of the building whose corner-stone we are laying to-day.

Brave old settlers of the early days! As you see this day all these evidences of growth and prosperity, where once you found a wilderness, do not the toils and dangers of former times fade from your memory, while your heart glows with the proud consciousness of having borne an honorable part in such a glorious transformation?

And you who came later, to enjoy the fullness of this beautiful land, should never forget the gratitude due to those who first traveled the wilderness alone.

With this brief reference to the past, let us now return to the consideration of our present condition, as suggested by the occasion which calls us together. Michigan is divided among four Customs Districts. Detroit District has the southern part, with Detroit for its port of entry. The City of the Straits, to me the most beautiful city of the Union, our commercial metropolis, with its steady growth, its ever increasing manufactures, its unrivaled harbor, its great mercantile and shipping interests, and its splendid situation on the great highways of commerce both by land and by water.

The District of Michigan, with its port of entry at Grand Haven, includes western Michigan, with its great lumber regions, its marvelous growth of fruits, its numerous harbors and the boundless West for its market.

The District of Superior, with its port of entry at Marquette, the Upper Peninsula, with its untold wealth of copper, its mountains of iron, its forests of pine, its undeveloped fisheries along the shores of the three bordering inland seas, and last, but by no means least, the District of Huron, embracing Eastern Michigan, with its port of entry in our own prosperous city.

Within our borders is the best white winter wheat region of the State; the best pine ever sent to any market in the world; the wonderful Saginaw Valley salt basin; almost the entire salt manufactories of all the Northwest; some of the finest flocks and choicest herds of the country; the finest fisheries on the lakes; the best and largest ship yards in the West; the port of entry of nearly all the commerce and immigration by rail from the St. Lawrence; the only open channel upon the straits for winter crossing of railroad communication, and the most northerly practical point of connection between the Northwest and the East, whether by rail or by water.

[515] And here, my fellow-citizens, at this great eastern gate of commerce, we may, if we will, sit and hold the keys, and lock and unlock the portals through which will pass a wealth of commerce unrivaled in the land. From the East the Grand Trunk and Great Western Railroads pour their vast wealth of freight upon our shores. From the West, the South and the North, the Chicago & Lake Huron and Grand Trunk Railroads and the waters of the straits and of Lake Huron bring our door the wealth and commerce of the whole region of the lakes. In the season of navigation of 1871, the aggregate number of steamers and vessels passing the Gratiot Light House was 26,486; in 1872, 32,976, and 1873, 39,188. On what other waters of the world floats such a fleet of commerce?

In the last eight years, there have arrived at this port 316,419 immigrants - enough to form a State - a greater number than at any port in the Union except New York, and here they pay no head money and are subject to no swindling or extortion.

The importations for eight years at this port amount in value to $7,642,759, and the exportations in value to $21,719,084. During the same time the duties and fees collected and paid into the Treasury from this District, amount to $1,295,746, and from other places on goods entered at this port but transferred to interior ports under consular act and interior port of entry act, $1,312,244, making a total for duties and fees for goods entered at this port of $2,608,990.

Should not the Government have some better place than a rented room and a wooden warehouse to accommodate a business of such proportions?

In the last eight years, there have been built in this district of steamers, barges and other vessels the number of 335, with a tonnage of 86,027 tons, at an estimated value of $9,312,295, of which probably about $7,000,000 was paid out in the district for labor and material.

The principal ship yards are at Algonac, Marine City, St. Clair, Port Huron and on the Saginaw River, with some ship-building at other places in the district.

Some of the largest and finest steamers, barges and vessels on the lakes were built in this district, and our ship-builders have acquired a reputation surpassed by none in the country for excellence, almost perfection of the craft they put afloat, and every year there is an increase in the size of vessels built. As the Government by liberal appropriations improves the harbors and deepens the channels of our waters, the ship is increased in size, and transportation is rendered more secure and cheaper for the producer. As an illustration of the magnitude of the ship-building interest, I am furnished a statement of the value of ship-building and repairs in Fitzgerald's yard in this city, by which it appears that during the last eight years the amount at one yard was $558,000, and in this city there are four other ship yards, whose business statistics I have not on hand.

The Grand Trunk Railway has some 1,100 miles of track connecting our city directly with Buffalo, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec and Portland, crowded with an ever increasing business, sending daily from twenty to twenty-five trains of cars, and for the month of September, 1874, sending 6,285 cars to the East, 3,660 to the West, or about 10,000 cars for the month, being an increase of fully 50 per cent over the corresponding month of last year.

When the Chicago & Lake Huron Railroad shall have finished its line by the completion of its short portion between Flint and Lansing, which will be done within the coming year, our city will be upon the place of crossing of the most direct and shortest routes of railway communication across the continent, and directly upon the line of the only water communication between the East and the West, where the transportation by land and by water meets and may pass on or diverge as the necessities of commerce shall require.

The St. Clair Branch of the Canada Southern Railroad also crosses the straits in this district, and when its western connections are completed will add largely to the commercial importance of this district. The Flint & Pere Marquette and the Detroit & Bay City roads pass for a considerable distance through the District of Huron, and furnish transportation for the immense business of the Saginaw Valley and the interior counties.

Fellow-citizens, it was in the interest of so great and so widely extended commercial interests and postal service, as well as for the benefit of this people and the growing local importance of our city, that Congress has provided for the erection of this building at the port of [516] entry of Huron District. Its dimensions are about 130 feet in length by 67 in width, with an elevation from the floor of basement to the top of the dome of about 120 feet. About 26,000 cubic feet of Sandusky limestone are used for the foundation and basement, and nearly the same quantity of Berea sandstone, with some 800,000 St. Clair brick for the superstructure. The plans and general direction of the work of the building are under the control of A.B. Mullet, Esq., the accomplished architect of the Treasury Department, while its immediate superintendence is committed to the care of George H. Sease, Esq., whose courtesy and ability, well known to our citizens, has been heretofore proven at other places, in an erection of some of the finest Government buildings in the Western country.

And now, my fellow-citizens, having briefly and imperfectly, in obedience to your invitation, presented for your consideration such suggestions as seemed to me befitting the occasion, there remains the pleasing duty of returning thanks in your name to the distinguished societies and visitors, who have gratified us by their presence, and honor this occasion by their attendance.

And while our guests receive from me the assurance of your cordial thanks for their friendship and courtesy in rendering this occasion so pleasant and interesting, I am proud to believe that they rejoice in your good fortune, and are gratified by the evidences of the growth and prosperity of our goodly city, and that we all together may feel a common pride in the commercial advantages of this and other portions of our beloved State - the land of our pride and our hope, the home of our adoption and choice.

How beautiful is her situation! Enthroned in the midst of her crystal lakes! The white-winged messengers of commerce hovering on every shore, and seeking shelter in every harbor; her iron roads traversing every portion; her fields yielding abundant harvests, and her orchards o'erladen with fruit; unrivaled wealth in her mines; abounding riches in her forests, and concentrating in herself all the elements of prosperity and greatness, our Michigan is to-day the home of virtue and intelligence; the abode of peace and prosperity, and has fair promise of a more glorious future in the development of her agriculture and commerce, and the perfection of her free institution."

Later statistics would make the showing still larger and enhance the importance of the District in the eyes of the reading and business public. The exports of later years were more than twice as great as the average cited by Mr. Conger, while the freight and transfer business of the Grand Trunk was very much larger than in any preceding year, 140,000 cars (an average of 440 per day) passing through the hands of the customs officials during the twelve months ending June 30, 1875. The duty collections in some single months exceeded $40,000 gold, outstripping anything known in the Detroit District. The Chicago & Lake Huron Railroad, now completed, and which must hereafter prove a great trunk line, is now running. This will largely increase business at this point, and must aid in making Port Huron one of the leading points in business importance on the Northwestern frontier.

The basement story is 10 feet 4 inches high in the clear. The walls are of blue Sandusky limestone and massive work of masonry. The outside foundation walls are 3 feet 6 inches in thickness and the interior walls 2 feet 6 inches. On the southern side is an area the whole length of the building 5 1/2 feet wide in the center and 8 feet wide at the ends. There is also an area around each window and the retaining walls of all the areas are very heavy. The basement is designed for the heating apparatus, closets, water supply, sinks, hand basins, storage of bonded goods, etc. There are in all in the basement 30 massive stone arches, and the basement walls are unquestionably as good specimen of rubble masonry as there are on this continent. They are sufficient to sustain with safety a building of twice the size and weight of this structure. The basement floor is of brick, stone flagging, and marble and slate tiling. In the larger room in the north half of the basement is the heating apparatus. This is one of the latest and best designs, constructed by the Detroit metal and plumbing works, at a cost of $5,550. The building is warmed by indirect heat from the circulation of hot water. The water is heated in one immense boiler with 53 tubular flues. The heat creates an expansion of water and thus circulation. The water is forced into coils in brick chambers, from which it returns to the boiler as it cools. The coils are fed with pure air from out of doors, through [517] apertures extending through the walls. The air is warmed by passing through the coils and rising, reaches the different offices of the building through flues extending from the basement to all the floors. The superiority of the apparatus over others lies in the fact that the air is always pure, and there is at all times a perceptible circulation like a gentle summer breeze. The other rooms in the basement are for storing of bonded goods, closets, etc. with an elevator in the southeast corner running to the third story. From the solid foundation rise the walls of the building. They are of handsome sandstone blocks, backed with brick. These blocks are laid in courses about 15 inches high, and vary in weight from 1,000 to 8,000 pounds each. They are smoothly finished, the lower story in miter joints. At the top of the first story is a heavy broad belt or first story cornice. The first floor, which is laid on iron beams and brick leveled up with concrete to the proper height for the tiling and wooden floors, is gained by the one staircase of stone steps in the east end, from which one passes into a public hall, out of which an iron staircase leads to the upper stories. The public hall is 12 feet wide, and runs from the north side to the elevator. The east front door opens into this hall, and is the main entrance to the custom house and other offices up stairs. An inside door communicates with the post office corridor, which is 11 feet wide and runs the full length of the post office screen, 70 feet. Two outside doors also open into this corridor, from the north front. The floor of the corridor and lower hall is of slate and white marble tiling in alternate square blocks, with neat slate border on the outer edge.

The general business office of the post office is a noble room 70 by 45 feet in size and 17 feet 4 inches in height. The floor of this is of black walnut and ash alternating. In the room are eight iron columns 14 inches in diameter to support the upper floors. The ceiling is plastered on iron lath, and is a beautiful piece of work. The mails are to be conveyed into this general office through the doors in the rear, or south side of the building, and in this large room is the post office furniture, all very ingenious and labor-saving, built on the premises. The furniture for handling the mails consists of two "general delivery cases," two "assorting table," one "stamping" or "canceling table," one "distributing oven," sometimes called a "throwing table," one "mailing case," one case for advertised letters, transient newspapers, etc., and three standing desks. The screen which separates the general business office from the public corridor is now being put in place. The frame work is of walnut and butternut, with oil finish. In it are the drawers and boxes to the height that a man can conveniently reach, and above that glass reaching to the ceiling. Two-thirds of the space designed for that purpose is now occupied by the drawers and boxes, of which there are 24 drawers, 16 newspaper boxes, and 1,250 lock boxes. Of the latter, 910 are No. 1 size, 2 1/2 by 4 7/8 inches, and 360 No. 2 size, 4 7/8 inches square. They are of metal frame fronts with small glass in each behind the frame through which the box owner can see whether mail is in the box without unlocking. The locks are manufactured by the Johnson Rotary Lock Company, of New York, and are very similar to the Yale lock. Nothing could be better or more convenient. At the west end of the corridor is the money order and registered letter department, a large corner room 22 by 20 in size, to which there is also an outside entrance. Here also the mail carriers and route agents will leave their mails and registered letters, exchange receipts, etc. Adjoining this department are public and private offices of the Postmaster, 22 by 11 feet, and 22 by 20 feet in size respectively. These will be carpeted and handsomely furnished, and provided with the usual office conveniences. Thus it will be seen that the whole of the front story is assigned to post-office uses, and in elegance and convenience of arrangement equals anything to be found in any city of 100,000 inhabitants in this country. The second floor is devoted to the Custom House and Court Room. It is laid on iron beams and iron arches. It is reached by the broad iron stair case at the east end of the building. A hall 12 feet wide, well lighted, and with marble and slate tiling floor, reaches from the east end to the court room door. Immediately at the head of the stairs in the east end is the water supply for the second and third stories, closets, wash hand basins, etc. The height of rooms on this floor (except the court room) is 14 feet and 6 inches. On the left of the hall is the office of the Collector, 21 by 23 feet in size, and adjoining it on the west a large room 24 by 34 feet in size for general purposes. Across the hall opposite the Collector's office is the room of the Special Deputy. This room [518] is of the same size as that occupied by the Collector. A small room, 11 feet square, suitable for wardrobe or stationery supply room, in the northeast corner of the building, opens into this apartment. A door opens from the Special Deputy's room into the general business office, to be occupied by the entry clerk, bonded clerk, vessel clerk, and the clerical attaches of the office. A handsome black walnut counter extends the whole length of the room, and behind it are the desks of the different clerks, cashier's desk, safe, etc. As in the lower story, there are no vaults, the building being essentially fire proof. The safes will be burglar proof, the only sort of protection needed.

The court room to which entrance is made through the wide doors at the end of the hall, runs clear across the building, 56 feet, and is 35 feet wide. It occupies the second and third stories, thus having two rows of windows, and is 32 feet high from floor to ceiling. It is wainscoted with black walnut and butternut, and the walls are relieved with plaster ornamentations. The plastering in this room and throughout the whole building is equal in finish to anything in the West. In the ceiling are two large iron ventilators, from which ventilating pipes extend through the attic into ventilators through the roof. This room is expected to be occupied for one term at least of the United States District Court each year, since a very large share of the admiralty business in the United State Court of the Eastern District comes from this Customs District.

The third story, also gained by the iron staircase in the east end of the building, is similar in arrangement to the second. It will be occupied by the Inspectors of Hulls and Boilers, Collector of Internal Revenue, United States Commissioners, Deputy United States Marshal, etc. There will also be a small room for the use of the janitor. The ceilings of this story are 13 feet 4 inches high. The hall, which is of the same width as below, 12 feet, is not tiled, but floored with ash and walnut. From the west end of the hall a staircase leads into the attic. This is lighted by a large glass-covered ventilator in the roof. Though quite spacious and floored, the attic will not be devoted to any particular use. Through it winding stairs lead into the dome, from which a magnificent view of the city, and the surrounding country, many miles in extent, down the river and up Lake Huron, is obtained.

The wood work of the building is butternut and black walnut, the former predominating, all finished in oil and natural color.

The marble mantels, 17 in number, are of Vermont red marble, and the grates are provided with summer fronts, affording ventilation.

The outside doors are of massive black walnut, and the door trimmings throughout the entire building are of bronze, heavy and of elegant patterns.

There is in and underneath the building over a quarter of a mile of drain pipe, or 1,526 feet in all.

There has been expended up to February 1, for labor, $125,000. This has given employment to a large number of men, most all of whom have been residents of Port Huron, the policy of the Superintendent having been to always give work to our own people when it was of that character that persons here were able to do it, which was not the case with stone carving and some other kinds of skilled labor required. It has been a great benefit to the city in these hard times.

The roof, undoubtedly the best in this State, is of heavy sheet copper, which was purchased in New York and cost 30 cent per pound, or with the labor of placing it in position, $6,300.

The windows of the first story are 9 feet 11 inches by 4 feet 3 inches in size; in the second story, 9 feet 1 inch by 4 feet 3 inches; third, 6 feet 1 1/2 inches by 4 feet 3 inches. The glass in the first and second stories on the north front and each end are of plate glass, four panes to a window, and the glass in the second story rear and third story of double strength sheet. It was all furnished by the Star Glass Company, of New Albany, Ind., and with the other glass in the building, cost $1,550.

The gas fixtures are not extravagant, but are very handsome. The two chandeliers in the court room are each eighteen light.

The following will show the amount of materials of various kinds used in the construction of the building: [519]

Limestone, cubic feet


Sandstone, cubic feet




Wrought and cast iron (exclusive of iron stairs, iron lathing, pipes of the heating apparatus, gas and water pipes, or any hardware), lbs


Nails, lbs


Lead, lbs


Copper in roof, lbs


Cement, bbls


Lime, bbls


Sand, cubic yards


Pine lumber, feet


Butternut lumber, feet


Walnut lumber, feet



The bid of the Holly Company, of $25,000, was accepted May 8, 1872, on condition that the machinery would be completed before September 15, that year. The contract for piping was let to Walker & Rich, at $68.85 per ton, and $500 additional for each crossing of Black River. In August, 1872, the mandamus was replied to by Mayor Miller declaring the contracts which he signed illegal. This resulted in postponing the completion of the work. All the petty disputes in this matter were subsequently settled, and, on September 6, 1873, the works were formally opened.

The water-works machinery cost the city $25,000, and is a very fine piece of mechanism and workmanship. The most important parts are the cylinders and pumps, there being four of each. The engines are rated 100 horse power each, or 400 horse power in all.

Two cylinders are placed upon each side of a heavy iron frame, with the pistons and connecting rods working at right angles to each other, upon a shaft placed at the top of the frame. The crossheads can be disconnected from the piston rods in a moment, so that each cylinder is practically independent of all others in its workings. On the lower side of each cylinder, the piston is extended to connect with the piston of the pump, with a crosshead and key for instantaneous disconnection. The steam cylinders are 14 x 24 inches in size, and the pumps 9 x 24 inches. The pumps are capable of forcing into the pipes 4,000,000 gallons of water each twenty-four hours. By a new combination, the cylinders and pumps put in in this city can be run either high or low pressure, or with high pressure in one cylinder, and low pressure in all the others; that is, the exhaust steam from the cylinder which receives "live" steam, is passed on to the others, and moves them. At a trial made in September, 1873, with the "compound" throttle open 1-32 of an inch, the cranks made 17 revolutions a minute, and with the throttle open 1-16 of an inch they made 28 revolutions in minute, steam pressure being 46 1/2 pounds. With steam in all the cylinders, and throttle open 1-16 inch, 42 revolutions per minute were made.

Connected with the suction pipes are two air chambers, and the discharge pipes have the same number. The cylinders are cased in black walnut, and all the unpolished iron work is neatly painted.

The regulators are ingenious pieces of mechanism, and are essential to the proper working of the machinery under all circumstances. There are two of these; one of which acts as a fire signal, blowing a small whistle when hydrants are opened, and letting more steam into the cylinders at the same time. Gauges placed in conspicuous places also indicate, at all times, the exact pressure of water in the pipes, and of steam in the boilers.

The condenser, used when the engines are run on low pressure, is of the most approved pattern, and has connected with it two air pumps. There is also a "donkey engine," to supply the boilers with water in case of accident to the pumps connected with the machinery. All the steam pipes in the building are covered with asbestos, to prevent condensation.

The boilers are two in number, each five feet in diameter and sixteen feet long, with sixty 3 3/4 inch tubes. They are substantially placed on heavy cast iron fronts, and appear to be excellent in every respect. They weigh over five tons each, and the whole machinery weighs about 100 tons.

These works save the citizens an indirect tax of thousands of dollars. Diseases have almost disappeared since their establishment, while the fire can be said to be fully under their control. The engineers in charge, and the officers of the water supply department of the city prove by attention to duty that they are proud of their service.



FROM OCTOBER 1, 1866, TO JUNE 30, 1867
















Value of Imports entered for Transportation to Interior Ports

$ 73,040 00

$ 153,367 00

$ 129,825 00

$ 101,870 00

$ 108,921 00

$ 258,271 00

$ 117,794 00

$ 69,994 00

$ 108,195 00

$ 321,088 00

$ 429,957 00

$ 169,026 00

$ 110,635 00

$ 408,227 00

$ 384,050 00

$ 865,356 00

Value of Imports entered for Transportation and Exportation to Manitoba

136,563 00

164,667 00

23,899 00

51,476 00

114,574 00

152,661 00

240,284 00

550,239 00

556,722 00

473,925 00

486,755 00

404,868 00

1,100,205 00

2,027,987 00

3,221,419 00

6,950,497 00

Value of Imports entered for Consumption

170,416 00

240,824 00

371,305 00

346,701 00

350,994 00

375,557 00

445,510 00

782,659 00

753,777 00

795,463 00

635,780 00

424,291 00

327,326 00

800,398 00

856,798 00

1,545,088 00

Value of Exports of growth and production of U.S. to adjacent Provinces

1,298,186 00

1,138,091 00

1,667,210 00

1,927,368 00

2,754,463 00

2,684,406 00

3,183,071 00

5,607,838 00

5,023,899 00

5,770,523 00

8,933,028 00

6,645,004 00

5,835,724 00

5,669,649 00

9,229,394 00

9,613,422 00

Amount of Duties collected in Coin

45,736 22

72,402 21

87,183 07

103,384 23

98,508 23

87,128 18

73,211 50

84,506 99

69,585 87

164,317 77

146,675 20

105,762 26

72,117 64

207,076 53

229,214 35

319,538 23

Amount of Duties on Merchandise entered for transportation to Interior Ports

28,125 78

52,436 59

55,657 75

45,526 61

48,719 04

168,068 93

49,673 81

40,226 35

35,902 61

83,519 96

109,406 80

57,943 51

43,182 32

121,867 70

101,010 58

184,299 45

Amount of Duties on Merchandise entered for transportation and Exportation to Manitoba

88,051 61

130,154 78

21,259 01

36,327 48

87,795 03

100,735 63

153,305 72

440,292 53

307,166 14

275,724 00

291,827 03

265,640 81

612,313 54

952,982 68

1,684,915 18

3,817,571 21

Amount of Official Fees collected

6,599 35

14,826 80

16,581 60

16,515 00

14,412 25

13,548 10

8,558 60

9,431 80

7,947 15

9,421 20

15,049 34

14,697 91

12,889 20

20,752 25

23,289 95

44,298 02

Amount of Tonnage Tax collected

5,074 82

7,042 99

8,189 49

9,513 15

2,839 90

3,171 75

3,515 69

4,411 68

3,537 54

4,273 35

4,977 56

3,358 46

2,660 28

2,627 78

2,124 70

3,164 21

Amount of Marine Hospital Collections

480 57

852 18

1,240 61

1,224 93

1,744 75

2,882 07

2,846 41

3,060 68

2,880 62

2,944 57

2,991 53

2,922 86

3,699 28

4,244 29

3,745 90

4,902 32

Amount of Inspection Fees of Steamboats

412 50

1,547 29

1,143 86

1,293 20

1,270 42

1,995 68

2,388 60

2,757 02

2,128 89

2,781 15

2,351 00

2,264 35

2,650 86

3,024 25

3,179 45

3,382 95

Amount of License to Pilots and Engineers






1,970 00

2,395 00

2,650 00

2,250 00

2,230 00

2,115 00

2,290 00

2,500 00

2,910 00

2,785 00

1,806 50

Value of Free Goods Imported

197,445 00

266,085 00

315,738 00

391,812 00

283,889 00

423,705 00

373,949 00

438,420 00

461,372 00

561,153 00

428,725 00

571,531 00

680,322 00

1,114,222 00

1,354,361 00

1,878,652 00

Amount received from Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures












360 34

2,334 98

2,141 22

3,463 63

498 00

Amount received from Bonding Seals












886 80

1,362 16

422 58

599 28

8,767 73

Number of Entries made of all kinds

















Number of Entrances and Clearances of Vessels

















Number of Transportation Bonds made

















Number of Transportation and Exportation Bonds made

















Amount of Tonnage Outstanding (owned in the District)

14,860 77-100

20,659 86-100

25,250 27-100

29,005 02-100

31,500 01-100

39,611 35-100

46,575 76-100

53,265 15-100


55,219 75-100

50,734 88-100

53,688 81-100

49,780 93-100

47,839 57-100

59,975 37-100

64,103 83-100

Number of Vessels owned in the District

















Number of Immigrants arriving at this Port

















In 1871, the Tonnage Tax was abolished, except on vessels engaged in foreign trade.

The number of immigrants who arrived at Port Huron in each fiscal year, ending June 30, 1880, commencing with the organization of the district of Port Huron, October 6, 1866, was as follows:





























1879-80 to May 31












It will be seen from this that the total number of immigrants who entered the United States at this port in thirteen years and eight months was 565,816; or more than one-third the present population of Michigan. Before the close of the fourteenth year (October 3, 1880), the number reached 600,000. Within the past two years, it is supposed that over 200,000 immigrants entered the United States at this port. During the year ending June 30, 1881, no less than 111,170 immigrants crossed the line at Port Huron; while during the year ending June 30, 1882, 71,424 immigrants were registered. During the last six months of 1882, the number of immigrants entering the United States at Port Huron is estimated at 80,000.


The first Postmaster in the Port Huron District was George McDougal. He was succeeded by John S. Heath. In 1840, John Wells was appointed. W.L. Bancroft succeeded him in 1845. On Mr. Bancroft's resignation, in 1846, Cummings Sanborn received the appointment. Either Allen Fish or M.S. Gillett took charge of the office in 1848. In 1853, George W. Pinkham was appointed; in 1857, H.S. Potter; in 1861, M.S. Gillett, and in 1865, Gen. Hartsuff, the present incumbent, was appointed.


The list of United States Revenue Collectors at Port Huron since 1849, embraces the names of John Wells, W.L. Bancroft, William Sanborn, John Atkinson and John P. Sanborn. At date of writing, it is reported that changes are to be made in the official ranks of both the Collectors' and Postal departments.

THE P. H. & N. W. R. R. DEPOT.

The building of the depot of the P.H. & N.W. R.R. Co. was begun August 20, 1881, under the superintendence of James O'Sullivan. The size of the building is 32 x 150 feet and two stories high with cupola. A fourteen-foot platform runs all around it on the ground level, and a balcony six and a half feet wide runs the full length on both sides at the second floor. The framework is very strong, surmounted by a truss roof secured with iron. The projection of the roof on each side is wide enough to shade the balcony, and is supported by strong brackets, sixty-six in number. There are upward of one hundred windows, including a bay window from the roof down on the riverside. There are nineteen outside doors, nine of them double doors. The sides of the building are tightly sheeted with lumber; against this is felt paper lining, and then the siding. Inside the finish is of cherry and ash. On the lower floor are a ladies' waiting room, a gentlemen's waiting room, and a dining room, each 22 x 31 feet in size; also eleven other rooms of various sizes, including ticket office, baggage room, train dispatcher's room and a kitchen. Above them are sixteen rooms, beside halls, all for the uses of the officers of the road.

In the north end, a brick vault extends from the ground to the roof. It is 8 x 16 feet in size, and has two one-foot walls all around, with an air space between them, making it certainly fire proof. The structure is heated by steam and lighted by gas made in the building. The boiler room is brick, 16 x 24 feet in size, with cement floor. The gas pipes are being put in now. The cupola is 8 x 16 feet in size, and rises from the roof twelve feet. The whole building rests firmly on spiles that were driven into the ground ten feet. The cost will reach $10,000.

A short distance south of this building is the new freight house, 24 x 150 feet in size, 14 foot posts. A platform extends all the way around it, and there is an office fitted up in the north end.

The Chicago & Grand Trunk depot is farther south.


One of the very important improvements made by the narrow-gauge company was the building of the neat-looking, strong, iron bridge near the mouth of Black River. The wood work was done by James Sullivan, for the company, and the iron work by the Smith Bridge Company of Toledo. It rests upon spiles driven by Daniel Runnells, and has 144 feet of a span, besides about 250 feet of trestle work approaches.

[522] The iron bridge across Black River, thirteen miles above its mouth, is one of the largest pieces of bridge architecture in Michigan. Its constructions is due to the enterprise of the P.H. & N.W. R.R. Company.

The Military street and that known as Seventh street bridges, are both swing bridges, similar in construction to those in use at Chicago.


The first magnetic telephone line put in operation in Port Huron was that between the office of Fraser & Fish and the office of the Register of Deeds. About the same time a line was established connecting the residence of Mr. C.B. Peck, manager of the N.W.G.T., with his office, and with the office of the train dispatcher at the depot. McMoran & Co. also had an "accoustic" telephone line in operation between their mill at the mouth of Black River and their store in the Opera House Block, during the spring and summer of 1879. None of these lines were of public importance, and no general interest was awakened in the subject.

In September, 1879, the manager of the Times determined to make an effort to secure the establishment of an exchange in Port Huron, and after some correspondence with Mr. W.A. Jackson, Manager of the Telephone and Telegraph Construction Company, of Detroit, which holds all telephone franchises for Michigan, secured the promise that Port Huron should be the next place in Michigan to have an exchange, if fifty subscribers could be obtained. The canvass for subscribers was commenced about a month later, and the project has been completely successful.

The system of telephone exchange is an enterprise that is destined to grow in importance and extent until every business house, scores and hundreds of private houses, and every village and city in the State, if not in the whole country, are brought into immediate speaking connection with every other. The whole thing is so wonderful, so marvelous, so far, indeed, beyond what any of us would have believed possible ten years ago, that it is difficult even now to realize it fully. And yet it is an established fact, and a fact that goes beyond a scientific wonder and becomes of the greatest practical utility.


The schools and churches of the city are fine monuments to the education and religious earnestness of the people. The Congregational, Catholic, Methodist and Baptist Church edifices are substantially built after varied architectural designs. The Huron House, Opera House, and many of the business blocks display both enterprise and taste on the part of their builders. The homes of the principal citizens are marvels of refined architecture, while those of the citizens generally show good taste in building style as well as in the order of the grounds surrounding them.

The secret and benevolent societies comprise the Commandery, K.T.; Pine Grove Lodge and Port Huron Lodge, F. & A.M.; Odd Fellows; Templars of Temperance; Diamond Tent, K.O.T.M.; Integrity Lodge, K. of T.; Temple Lodge, A.O.U.W.; Hope Council, R.A.; St. Patrick's Society, and Huron Lodge, A.P.A. The Literary Associations are the Ladies' Library, the Shakespearian, Lotos Club, and Literary or Debating Society. The military order is represented by a Company of State troops, known as the Port Huron Guards; the medical by the Society of Physicians and Surgeons; the law by the St. Clair Bar Association; the press by two daily papers and four weekly journals; trade, by a large number of enterprising merchants, and banking by three solid money houses. The religious and educational interests are ably represented.


The remarkable and conciliating dispatch exercised by the people of St. Clair County to relieve their northern neighbors during the terrible forest conflagration of 1881 cannot be overestimated. The moment the telegraph wires flashed the astounding news, the people of this county - the people of the two cities in particular - went forward to the rescue. A telegram, of which the following is a copy, was transmitted to Gov. Jerome, then at Marquette:

[523] September 12, 1881. - To Gov. David H. Jerome, Marquette, Mich.: Public opinion is unanimous that you should forthwith issue a strong appeal to the whole country for aid to the fire sufferers. Agent are now in the burnt regions collecting statistics as to the loss of life and property and needs of the people. One million dollars is required by good judges to carry the sufferers through. We have thoroughly organized for systemic relief, and Port Huron can reach the destitute better and quicker than any other point. Don't delay.

O.D. Conger,

W.L. Bancroft.

The executive ability of the people had even then accomplished much. An organization was a reality, and to this organization is due the steady, well-ordered relief which poured into the fire-stricken country, ridding the calamity of half its horrors and rescuing the unfortunate settlers from the starvation which threatened them.

This Relief Committee labored earnestly and well. All efforts were practical, and judicious, good men were employed, and thus the noble cause of charity was made still more noble by the manner which it was observed.

On the 27th of May, the Port Huron Executive Committee for Relief instructed their chairman to appoint a special committee of six, three of whom should not be members of the Executive Committee, to examine its books and vouchers. This special committee appointed a sub-committee, consisting of Rev. Sidney Beckwith, Judge Nahum E. Thomas and Judge Edward W. Harris, to do the work. The report of the sub-committee was submitted by the special committee as their report to the Executive Committee, and was in substance as follows: "Our careful and extended examination satisfies us that every dollar received by the Relief Committee has been fairly and honestly accounted for."

The cash subscriptions amount to $196, 327. 93, and the value of goods donated was estimated at $269,327.87, the aggregate of money and goods thus being $465,655.80.


A meeting was held at the Presbyterian meeting house at Port Huron, May 8, 1840, to organize a Presbyterian or Congregational society. Rev. O.C. Thompson, at that time laboring in the Gospel ministry throughout St. Clair, Macomb and Oakland, presided. The original applicants for membership were Edgar Jenkins, Mary Jenkins, Justin Rice, M.D., Alice L. Thompson, Gen. Duthon Northrup, Pamelia Northrup, Ruth Rice, William Baird and Pamelia Rice. An adjourned meeting was held at the schoolhouse May 15, 1840, when Elizabeth Drum, Abigail Beebe, Margaret Martin and Ann Townsend applied for admission as members. A third meeting was held May 16, 1840, when Lucian Howe, Ruth Miller, Sarah Smith, Sarah R.F. Miller, Salome D. Clark and Julia Eleanor Scott were admitted to membership.

On May 15, Dr. Justin Rice and Gen. D. Northrup were elected Elders, and Dr. Rice, Deacon. On May 16, Gen. Northrup was elected Clerk.

Rev. O.C. Thompson says of this organization: "There was no church nearer than St. Clair at that time. I speak advisedly on this point. I say, positively, this was the first; and there was no other for more than a year after this."

From 1840 to 1858, there was no installation of pastors.

Rev. Orin C. Thompson, the first teacher and organizer, was also the first pastor. The congregation assembled regularly on the Sabbath, and, in addition to the charter members, the names of L.M. Mason, Ira Porter and Dr. Noble, Maj. Gardner, Mrs. Gardner, Lieut. Drum, Sergt. Townsend, Sutler Jenkins, of the garrison at Fort Gratiot, with their wives, were regular attendants. In 1840, Mr. Thompson brought his family to Port Huron, and during the year held morning, afternoon, and sometimes evening services. After some time, the afternoon service at Port Huron was discontinued, owing to the fact that the pastor established a Sabbath service at Wadham's Mill. Again, he preached at Sarnia, and may be called the organizer of the Presbyterian Society at that point.

During his labors at Port Huron, twenty-three members were added to the congregation, seven were dismissed, and one died. Eighteen children were baptized by him from the beginning of his ministry here until its close, May 17, 1843.

Rev. Peter Boughton arrived in January 1, 1844, and continued his labors here until [524] October, 1850. During his administration, thirty-five members united by letter, and seventeen on profession.

Rev. J.H. Benton served the church from October, 1851, to October, 1853. During two years of his ministry, fifteen members united by letter, and three on profession.

Rev. William P. Wastell was pastor from October, 1853, to October 21, 1855. At that time, their house of worship was on Butler street. Thirteen members united by letter, or on profession.

From the close of Mr. Wastell's ministry to December, 1856, the pulpit was filled by Rev. Jesse Gurney, Rev. Newton, Rev. Charles Kellogg, Rev. Elkanah Whitney, Rev. L.B. Fifield and Rev. Mr. Cheever.

Rev. Sylvanus M. Judson served the church from December, 1856, to December, 1857. After he left Port Huron, during the winter of 1857-58, the church was closed; yet the Sunday school and prayer meetings were sustained. The church and society found a temporary home with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and both societies shared in the revival meetings of that period.

Rev. James S. Hoyt, D.D., a graduate of Yale in 1851, and of the Union Theological Seminary in 1858, was ordained at Stamford, Conn., May 25, 1858, and began his eighteen years' term of Gospel work at Port Huron June 1, same year. His engagement for this district was due to the fact that Dr. C.M. Stockwell wrote to an acquaintance at Binghampton, N.Y., regarding a suitable pastor for the church at this point. Inquiry reached Mr. Hoyt, together with a letter from the trustees at Port Huron, March 11, 1858. The student searched the map in vain for Port Huron, but succeeded in learning from a Michigan student that the village was "somewhere north of Detroit, and one of the hardest places in Michigan." Not deterred by this representation, he agreed to supply the pulpit April 11 and 18, on condition that his expenses should be paid. The society acceded to this proposition, and Mr. Hoyt preached to the people on the days named. April 16, 1858, the society met, and voted that the church and society give him a call to supply the pulpit for one year in consideration of $800 salary. On April 26, this call was accepted by Mr. Hoyt, who at once returned to the seminary to graduate, graduated, married Miss Martha A. Osborn, ordained, and arrived at Port Huron, to assume the pastorate of the church, June 6, 1858. October 22, 1858, the society tendered him a unanimous call. This call was accepted December 8, 1858, and on the same day Mr. Hoyt was installed by the Council of the district churches then assembled at Port Huron.

Rev. Mr. Hoyt tendered his resignation of the charge, January 2, 1876, to take effect May 31, 1876, the closing day of his eighteen years of service.

Rev. A. Hastings Ross entered on the duties of his office the day following the retirement of Dr. Hoyt. Mr. Ross is a native of Winchendon, Mass., a graduate of Oberlin, Ohio, 1857, and of Andover Theological Seminary, 1860, taking a full course of study in each of these institutions.

He preached before the church, March 12 and 19, 1876. A call was extended to him March 31, 1876, and on January 4, 1877, he was installed pastor by an Ecclesiastical Council convened for the purpose. Revs. Minor W. Fairfield, W.H.A. Claris, Ward I. Hunt and W.P. Russell participated in the ceremony of installation.

The church may be said to be inaugurated at Port Huron in October, 1839, when the American Home Missionary Society sent agents into the village and neighborhood. During the ten years succeeding, that society expended $1,250 on this mission, to which must be added $300 subscribed for building a hall and enlarging the meeting house. July 29, 1853, the church adopted the present articles, except No. VI, setting aside the articles adopted at organization.

The first Ladies' Sewing Circle in connection with the church was organized under Mrs. Boughton in 1847 or 1848.

The worship of praise was, from the beginning, a volunteer choir, under the direction of Martin S. Gillett and Mrs. Elizabeth Gillett.

The instrumental accompaniment was a boxwood flute, played by Dr. Noble. During his [525] absence, John Miller performed on a black flute with silver keys. Subsequently, an accordion and a bass-viol were introduced, with Messrs. Forbes and David Bryce musicians. Watts' and Select Hymns were sung from 1840 to 1843, when the Church Psalmist was substituted. All this old-time music has given place to a regularly organized choir of talented musicians.

The Congregational Sunday School was organized in October, 1838. Meetings were held in a hall, which was destroyed by fire. The Sunday school, as now organized, has a useful library and rooms in the new church building. The gift of 275 books from Rev. Dr. Savage, Chicago, and of $3,000 from the late Mrs. Sweetzer, aided much in improving the society.

The Ecclesiastical society was organized March 27, 1843, under the title of The First Congregational Society of Port Huron. Gen. D. Northrup, Amasa Bottsford, Martin S. Gillett, E.B. Clark, John Miller, were elected Trustees. Newell Avery, John P. and Peter Sanborn presented a 2,031 pound bell to the society on the completion of the new church.

The salary paid each pastor, in early times, was $500 to Rev. O.C. Thompson; $600 to Mr. Wastell the first year, and $700 the second; $800 to Rev. S.M. Judson. When it is remembered that the County Judge received only $400, the County Clerk $250, the County Treasurer, $500, and the Prosecuting Attorney $300, the salaries paid to these early pastors seem large.

The church built in 1838 by Justin Rice, Alanson Shelley, and others. In 1844, Maj. Thorne offered a site for a Congregational Church, provided the society should locate it on the corner of Fort and Butler streets. The proposition was accepted, and the building moved to the southwest corner of the streets named. The church was lengthened, a belfry erected in 1844, and the first church bell introduced into Port Huron placed therein. This was the house of worship until December 25, 1859; when the congregation took possession of the brick church building. The German-English School Association purchased it and used it until 1870. Subsequently it was used for business purposes until burned in 1878.

In 1856, the site on which the Congregational Church building now stands was located, and purchased February 14, 1857, at a time when that vicinity was minus any improvement. In April, 1859, ground was broken for the building, and on January 4, 1860, the building was dedicated. Regular worship began therein on January 7. In 1868, a new roof was placed on the building, which was re-dedicated October 11 of that year. The edifice cost $18,500. The parsonage was built in 1865-67, at a cost of $5,000.

Among the members of the congregation who served in the war of the Union were C.M. Stockwell, M.D., Surgeon Twenty-seventh Michigan Infantry; James Allen, Assistant Surgeon; Edward C. Avery, Third Michigan Infantry; Samuel B. Carl, Lieutenant Second and Seventh Michigan Calvalry; James Eckels, Seventh Michigan Cavalry (died in service April 28, 1862); H.P. Holland, Third Michigan Infantry; John Sackett, Twenty-second Michigan Infantry (died December 30, 1862); Lieut. William Thompson, Third Michigan Infantry; Eben W. Beach, Seventh Michigan Cavalry; and Lieut. William J. Mulford, Third Michigan Cavalry.

The associations connected with the church are flourishing. They are, the Ladies' Aid Society, the Woman's Missionary Society, the Ecclesiastical Society, the Sunday school and the Choir.

It is said that this church society is one of the best governed and most influential in the State.

The pastors of the church since 1840 are named as follows: Rev. O.C. Thompson, 1840-43; Rev. Peter Boughton, 1844-50; Rev. J.H. Benton, 1851-53; Rev. W.P. Wastell, 1853-55; Rev. S.M. Judson, 1856-57; Rev. J.S. Hoyt, D.D., 1858-76; Rev. A.H. Ross, 1876-82.

The Ruling Elders were Justin Rice, M.D., Gen. D. Northrup, Edwin Thompson.

Deacons - Justin Rice, E. Thompson, Nelson George, D. Northrup, W.R. Mulford, Allen Fish, Jr., Perley Morse, Joel Whipple, Enoch Carver, Christian G. Meisel and John McKeand.

Clerks - Gen. D. Northrup, M.S. Gillett, George Barrett, J.S. Hoyt, F.A. Fish, A.H. Fish, John McKeand.

Treasurers - John Miller, 1850; Allen Fish, 1858-82; Gottlieb C. Meisel and Dr. H.R. Mills.

[526] Leaders of the Choir - M.S. Gillett, Perley Morse and Nicholas Cawthorne.

Society Clerks - Gen. Northrup, E.B. Clark, S.A. Jones, W.T. Mitchell, W.R. Mulford, W.L. Bancroft, S.A. Jones, Edwin Thompson, John Miller, Laban Tucker, John Johnston and C.M. Stockwell.

The Sunday School Superintendents were: Allanson Shelley, 1838; N.D. Horton, 1839; Justin Rice, 1840; Nelson George, Eben W. Beach, Laban Tucker, Allen Fish, B.C. Farrand, 1855-66 and 1860-63; John Johnston, Perley Morse, F.A. Fish, W.J. Mulford, George Barrett, Gottlieb C. Meisel, Justin R. Wastell, E.V.W. Brokaw and H.W. Chester.


The first meeting to organize the Baptist Society of Port Huron was held at the residence of John Lewis, December 5, 1859. Articles of association were signed, and John Lewis, John Howard, J.J. Scarritt, J.B. Hull and C. Ames were elected Trustees. Religious services were held from that time, but it was not until 1861 that steps were taken to erect a house of worship. Not much was accomplished until 1862, when Rev. C.R. Nichols came to the city. Through his endeavors, a subscription of $2,300 was made, and he gave encouragement to the work by becoming the first pastor, the Ladies' Society becoming responsible for his salary, $550 for a year. Lots on Superior street, between Butler and Broad, were given to the society by Messrs. Lewis, Shelley and Ames, on which to build a church. M.E. Dodge became contractor to build the church for $2,600, but this did not include finishing or furnishing.

A Sabbath school was organized, beginning with fourteen scholars, but rapidly increasing in numbers each Sunday. Church services and Sabbath school were held in the old Congregational Church on Butler street, until December, 1862, when they moved into the basement rooms of their new house, which they occupied for one year. The audience room above was finished and carpeted in December 1863.

Up to September, 1863, only a Baptist Society had been organized, so at this time the following named persons, who were baptized, met and organized themselves into a regular Baptist Church:

Rev. C.R. Nichols, Pastor; F.E. Manley, Clerk; William H. Sanborn, James Gleason, Michael Dove, Mrs. Nancy Howard, Mrs. P.E. Nichols, Mrs. Harriet Hubbard, Mrs. Sarah Ford, Mrs. Sophronia Lewis, Mrs. Catharine McIntyre, Mrs. Anna M. Manley, Miss Julia Wilson, Miss Margaret Gardner, Miss Juliette Petit.

On October 4, 1863, the church observed the ordinance of the Lord's Supper for the first time. The church being organized and the house of worship finished, a council of Baptist Churches was called, and the church recognized, and the house dedicated on the 8th of December, 1863.

Rev. A.E. Mather preached the sermon. The address to the church was delivered by Rev. J.C. Baker, of Romeo, and the "Right Hand of Fellowship" extended by Rev. E. Curtiss, of Kalamazoo.

The first baptism took place April 1, 1864, when Mrs. Henry Howard and Miss Sarah Howard were buried beneath the baptismal wave. In May following, the pastor, Rev. C.R. Nichols, resigned, having acted as pastor, and completed the erection of the church edifice and rendered invaluable services which will never be forgotten.

In 1864, about the 1st of June, the Rev. J. Donnelly, Jr., was called, and accepted the pastorate at a salary of $750. At this time the church numbered twenty-nine members.

From this day of small things the church has prospered and increased in membership. In September, 1866, a bell was bought for $700, and in 1868, a parsonage was purchased of E.M. Carrington for $4,000. The church edifice had also been enlarged and repaired, making the whole amount expended for church property to May, 1868, about $12,000. The membership at this time was about 150. Rev. J. Donnelly resigned his long and successful pastorate of nine years in 1873, leaving a membership of 186 and a Sabbath school numbering 206.

The church had no regular pastor during the remainder of 1873, but the pulpit was supplied by various ministers of the denomination. During the last three months, Rev. John Mathews, of Detroit, supplied acceptably while the church was waiting for the arrival of Rev. [527] Alexander Macfarlane, who had accepted a call to be pastor. He entered upon the duties of the pastorate January 1, 1874, and a revival interest was immediately awakened under his preaching, and an increase of about sixty to the membership was obtained. Other additions were made each following year. The church was very prosperous during his whole pastorate of three years, baptism being administered to sixty-eight candidates, and thirty-nine received by letter and on experience.

Mr. Macfarlane, having received a call to the Hanson Place Baptist Church of Brooklyn, N.Y., resigned his pastorate here, to take effect December 31, 1876. His resignation was sorrowfully accepted, and the church was once more without an under shepherd.

After various candidates had supplied the pulpit, a call was extended to Rev. D. Baldwin, of Strathroy, Ont., who entered on the pastorate June 1, 1877. During Mr. Baldwin's service, the church edifice was burned. It was on Sunday, January 12, 1879, a sharp, cold day in midwinter, after the people had returned to their homes from morning service and Sunday school, and after announcements had been made that the coming week would be devoted to revival services, that the sharp clanging of the fire bells brought all to the fact that the Baptist Church was in flames, and was soon lying in a heap of blackened ruins. Since then, the church has held its services in Red Ribbon Hall, until the resignation of its pastor, February 1, 1880. Mr. Baldwin labored faithfully through many trying circumstances, and severed his relation with the church with many expressions of regret from the members.

Steps were taken to procure suitable lots, and a plan for a new house of worship was made. A committee was appointed, and after some delay the lots on the corner of West Butler and Ontario streets were purchased for $1,500, of Dr. Hartsuff, of Detroit, and the contract let to J. Spalding to construct a brick church on the lots according to a plan agreed upon, for about $11,000, some necessary changes, together with heating apparatus and furnishing, bringing the entire cost to about $14,000.

Thursday, the 15th of July, 1880, the ceremony of laying the corner-stone of the new Baptist Church, on the corner of Butler and Ontario streets, was performed. About 250 people gathered to watch the ceremonies, and disposed themselves about the speaker's stand, which had been erected at the southeast corner of the edifice, and in the center of which the corner-stone, bearing the figures 1880, hung suspended. The platform was occupied by the Revs. Alexander Macfarlane, H.S. White, T.W. Monteith, A.H. Ross, Rev. Mr. Johnson, from Sarnia, the Rev. J. McDonald from Brigden, Ont., and the choir, for whose benefit a small organ had also been placed on the stand. The exercises were opened with music by the choir, which was followed with prayer by the Rev. A.H. Ross, after which came the reading of the Scriptures by the Rev. Mr. Johnson, of Sarnia. Another selection was then rendered by the choir, at the conclusion of which the Rev. Alexander Macfarlane took the stand and delivered the address.

Dr. A.A. Whitney then read a list of the articles to be deposited in the corner-stone, which included a manual and list of membership of the church, short histories of the various societies connected therewith, a copy of the Sabbath School record, copies of the Daily Times and Journal, and some specimens of coin. These were put in a tin casket, sealed, and placed in the excavation in the stone covered by the corner stone, which was then placed in position.

The church is built in the English Gothic style of red brick, with basement and ground floor, presenting an enduring and solid, as well as a handsome and truly proportioned exterior. George Wardell, of Grand Rapids, was the architect. There are four entrances, the main one being at the southeast corner. The projection at this corner forms the vestibule. The area of the audience room is 60 x 52 feet, with an inclined floor. The wood work is of oak and cherry, finely polished. A graceful arched alcove forms the choir, in front of which is the pulpit. On either side of the choir is an ante-room, connecting with smaller vestibules that compose the south and west entrances to the church. The baptistery is so arranged that two diagonal sections of the choir floor and railing and the whole of the pulpit floor swing back on hinges, disclosing steps leading down from the ante-rooms to the zinc-lined basin. Pipes for conducting hot and cold water to the basin have been placed. The ingrain carpeting, of which 400 yards were used, was purchased of G.R. Shatto. The room contains 365 comfortable chairs, with iron frames and maroon plush upholstery. They were furnished by A.H. Andrews, Chicago. [528] The windows present silent sermons, in their symbolical flowers and designs, and glowing poems are revealed in their harmonious forms and colors. Few external objects could have a tendency to develop veneration and spirituality more fully than this appeal to the aesthetic perception - sunlight streaming through stained glass, filling the room with a soft radiance, and her and there visible patches of rainbows. The most matter-of-fact could not fail to be impressed by the wondrous effects of these blending, shifting colors in a place of divine worship. The large south window, presented by the Young People's Society, represents at the top a dove, a lily and a sheaf. The east window was presented by Messrs. Albert Dixon and S.L. Boyce. This is covered over with conventional designs of typical flowers and emblems. The long, narrow window back of the choir is a delightful place to rest the eyes; not that the others are tiresome, but because the varied tints of green, and the semi-transparencies, remind one of green pastures and living waters. The glass came form the firm of Frederiech & Staffen, Detroit. The buttresses are gracefully formed to support the vaulted ceiling, all of which await frescoing at some future time. The chandelier, from Mitchell, Vance & Co., New York, has thirty-six gas jets in a circle and an opal glass reflector. Three large arched doors on the north side, sliding upward, disclose the lecture rooms, 47 x 28 feet, neatly furnished with matting, plain chairs and the belongings of the Sunday school. The numerous windows here are also very tasty. To the east side of this is the infant room, 22 x 16 feet, connected by large sliding windows. It is pleasant to observe that, in the new arrangement, the little ones have been remembered with new chairs suited to their size. In the basement is an airy kitchen, with the necessary furniture, and back of this the furnace which heats the last two upper rooms described. A boiler has been ordered, to heat the audience room by steam. A dumb waiter works between the kitchen and upper story, as a convenience for church socials and festivals. The infant and Sunday schoolrooms open into a hall, through which is the east entrance from the street. From this hall, a noiseless double door on reversible hinges connects with the main part of the church. It is a noticeable fact, that throughout the church there is no attempt at superfluous ornamentation; there is a happy combination of beauty.

The dedicatory service was opened May 21, 1882, by the choir singing "Praise God, from who all blessings flow," followed by a prayer by the pastor and the reading of a psalm, singing of an anthem by the choir, a Scripture lesson by Rev. John Donnelly, of Coldwater, and a prayer by Rev. D. Baldwin, of Mason. The choir and congregation then sang the hymn, "In the cross of Christ I glory," after which Rev. L. Kirtley, of Jackson, preached an excellent sermon; his text being a portion of the twenty-first verse of the first chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians - "It pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believed." A quartette was then sung, and the pastor announced that one of the practical parts of the service had been reached - the raising of money. Mr. Harris then read the following financial statement, after which contributions were received:




$ 1,550














Insurance on old building


$ 4,000

Land sales

















$ 4,110







$ 5,000










C.G. Meisel & G.C. Meisel

[529] The congregation responded liberally, and in a short time $3,300 was contributed. The dedicatory prayer was also to have been made at this service, but owing to the late hour it was deferred until the evening. The service concluded by the choir singing one verse of the hymn "Coronation," and the pronouncing of the benediction.

The afternoon service commenced at 3 o'clock by the choir singing an anthem. Rev. J. Grinnell, Jr., of Detroit, then read a psalm, Rev. L. Kirtley, of Jackson, offered a prayer, and the choir and congregation sung "Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah." Rev. John Donnelly, of Coldwater, then delivered an address. He was pastor of the Baptist Church for nine years and four months. He preached his first sermon in the old church eighteen years ago next Sunday. When he first came here, in 1864, the membership of the church numbered 26 persons, 18 being women. The first winter, nine or ten converts were received, and during his pastorate about 200 were added. The speaker referred to the noble women who helped to bear the burdens of the church, and credited them with being the foundation stones. The five trustees who were then in office also received much praise. They labored under the most adverse circumstances, but always met the church's obligations in good spirit. All the work done in the old church would not be known until the resurrection morn. Rev. D. Baldwin, of Mason, also made a brief address. He was pastor here when the old church burned, and well remembered the 12th of January, 1879, the Sunday the church was laid in ruins. It was at a time when Port Huron's business men were passing through one of the darkest financial periods that they ever experienced. When the church was destroyed, the congregation were rejoicing in a revival season, and their joys were mingled with sadness when they found they were without a house of worship, but they soon regained their faith and resolved upon doing more work. Remarks were also made by Rev. T.W. Monteith and Rev. Thomas Stalker and Rev. Mr. McAaron, of Brockway. A quartette was then sung, after which subscriptions to the amount of $200 were received. The services closed by the congregation singing, "O, could I speak Thy matchless Word," and a prayer.

The evening service was probably the most interesting, as it chronicled the raising of the balance of the $5,000. The service commenced by the choir singing an anthem followed by the reading of a Scripture lesson by Rev. A.H. Ross, a prayer by Rev. T.W. Monteith, and the singing of the hymn. "Bow Thine Ear, Thou Eternal One." Rev. Z. Grinell, Jr., of Detroit, then delivered a fine discourse, his text being the fourth verse of the twenty-seventh Psalm. Rev. Mr. Harris then announced that there remained only $1,500 to be raised, and, as already stated, the amount was soon secured. The dedicatory prayer was then made by Rev. John Donnelly, it being a fervent plea that the church would be accepted by God, and that He would pour down untold blessings upon the pastor and congregation.


As early as 1786 we can find traces of Catholic missionaries who visited the Otchipwes of the Sinclair River in the neighborhood of Black River. Over a century before 1786, about 1670-71, the two Sulpitians - Dollier and Galirice - visited the Indian villages along the river, and are supposed to have made a stay at the Champlain mission at the head of the River St. Clair, opposite Fort Gratiot. From this period until 1780, little is known of the Catholic Church of St. Clair. The father of the late Nelson Roberts, who passed this way about the year 1786 en route to Red River, reported on his return to Montreal, that he had seen a priest with the Indians at Black River. After the war of 1812, the visits of the missionary fathers to this district became more regular. In 1817, about twelve Catholic families moved northward from Swan Creek and located along the north bank of Black River. A reference to the chapter on French Settlement, or to the assessment roll of the county in 1821, will show the names of these early immigrants. Rev. Father Badin visited the settlement that year, when the mass was celebrated at the house of Louis Tremble. In 1820, the Rev. Besrinquet arrived from Quebec, and the same year erected a little church on Walpole Island (Isle du Sud). This priest visited the Black River mission in 1820 or 1821, when he made a stay at Louis Tremble's house; celebrated the services of the church, baptized children, and performed a few marriage ceremonies. This priest left for Lake Superior, where he became a great Indian missionary.

[530] Rev. Father Sagelle came in 1825, and made regular visits to the mission stations at la Reviere aux Pins (St. Clair City); la Belle Reviere (Marine City); la Reviere aux Cignes (New Baltimore), making his home at the house of Louis Tremble. Rev. Gabriel Richard visited all these missionary stations before the coming of Father Sagelle.

Rev. Andrew Vizoiski, subsequently the venerable pastor of Grand Rapids, was appointed missionary to St. Clair in 1833. With the aid of the United States soldiers at Fort Gratiot, and the Catholics of the county, he built a log church in Cottrellville Township, two miles below Marine City; but the building and the ground on which it stood were washed away by the waters of the St. Clair. The parish registers, now in the archives of the St. Clair Church, bear testimony to his frequent visits to this portion of Michigan.

Rev. Frederic Baraga came to Cottrellville toward the close of 1834, with the intention of making St. Clair County his home, but finding the mission too limited for his apostolic zeal, he moved to Lake Superior in 1836, where he labored for many years, and where he was consecrated Bishop of Sault de Ste. Marie in 1853.

From 1836 to 1850, the priests who visited the missions of St. Clair were Revs. Bauwen, Scalamon, Van Campenhout, Kendekins, and Van Rantreghan. Rev. Lawrence Kilroy, formerly assistant priest at Grand Rapids, was appointed first resident pastor by Bishop Lefevre in 1850. He made his home at Vicksburg or Marysville, where he lived three years in the home of James Fisher. He visited Port Huron, St. Clair, Marine City, and the country missions, and must be considered the organizer of the various Catholic congregations now existing in the county. In 1852, he completed the frame church at Marine City, in 1853 he built the frame house of worship at St. Clair, and made the village his home until 1857, when he came to reside in Port Huron. Here he purchased the old Methodist Church for $300, which was used as a Catholic Church until 1868, when the present church building was dedicated. This building was on the angle formed by Water street and Lapeer avenue. He erected church buildings in Columbus, Burchville, and Kenockee, and in 1867 was assigned the missions of Columbus and Kenockee, which he now administers. Rev. Lawrence Kilroy was born at Tisarm, Ireland, in 1815. He arrived at Detroit in 1834, and received minor orders from Bishop Raser, in 1839. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Lefevre March 26, 1842, and was appointed pastor of Trinity Church, Detroit. He was assistant pastor of St. Andrew's Parish, Grand Rapids, from December 23, 1847, to January, 1850, when he entered upon the labors of his ministry in St. Clair County.

Rev. John Reichenbach was born at Connor's Creek, Detroit, in 1840, was ordered to Malines, Belgium, December 23, 1865; and the following year was appointed pastor of the church at St. Clair.

Rev. Edward E. Van Lauwe was born at Ghent, Belgium, October 13, 1836; studied at St. Barbe, at the American college of Louvain, under Rev. P. Kindekins, and at the University of Louvain. He was ordained July 26, 1862, came to Detroit the same year, and six years later was appointed pastor of Port Huron.

The corner-stone of St. Stephen's Church, of Port Huron, was laid by Rev. Lawrence Kilroy in 1865, and the foundations completed by him the same year. Work on the building ceased until May 1, 1868, when Rev. Edward Van Lauwe, placed the first brick on the foundation walls. On November 22, 1868, the last brick was placed, and within a month the building was dedicated (December 17, 1868), under the patronage of St. Stephen, the first Martyr. The building is plain Gothic, of red brick with green stone facings; 119 feet in length, 57 in width, and 40 feet in height from floor to ceiling. The central tower is completed; but the spire designed to surmount this tower, and bring its altitude to 150 feet, has not yet been undertaken. The entire cost of this church edifice is estimated at $30,000.

The parsonage was built under direction of Rev. Edward Van Lauwe in 1869-70 at a cost of $4,400.

The school building of St. Stephen's was commenced October 2, 1879, a sketch of which is given in the school history of Port Huron.

The Catholic congregations of this county, in 1875, numbered as follows: Port Huron, 1,800; St. Clair, 1,200; Marine City, 1,000; Kenockee and Columbus, 1,500; Burtchville, 100, and Marysville, 150.


This church was organized in 1840, by Rev. Charles Reighley, D.D. The first church edifice was erected in 1854. Rev. Sabin Hough came in 1842; Rev. Charles Reighley returned in 1843; Rev. P.D. Spalding came in 1845; Rev. George B. Engle in 1850; Rev. Joseph Phelps in 1859; Rev. H. Banwell in 1861; Rev. William Stowe, in 1865; Rev. A.M. Lewis. In 1879, Rev. Sidney Beckwith, the present pastor, took charge. H.L. Stevens and F.L. Wells, Wardens; Albert E. Stevenson, Lay Reader. Number of communicants, 220. The following report to the convention in 1882 shows the condition of the church and society.

Baptized - Infant












Communicants - Last reported



Admitted in the parish



Received from other parishes



Total added






Removed from parish



Total lost



Present number









Public services - Sundays



Holy days



Other days






Holy communion - Sundays



Holy days









Congregation - Families



Individuals not included in families



Sunday School - Teachers and officers






Sunday School Library, volumes







Communion alms not otherwise reported


$ 57 00

Rector's salary


1,100 00



230 00

Other current expenses


200 00

Rectory or improvement thereon


60 00

Indebtedness on church property


411 87


Total for parochial purposes

$2,058 87

Diocesan missions


65 00

Convention assessment


42 00

Christmas fund


12 00

Church building in the Diocese


25 00

Relief of sufferers by fire


500 00


Total for Diocesan purposes

$644 00

Domestic missions


16 00

Foreign missions


15 00

Mission to the Jews


3 81


Total for general purposes

34 81

By the Sunday school for its own purposes


196 00


Total of contributions and offerings

$2,933 68

[532] Sources of above - Offertory



Pew rents



Subscriptions, gifts, pledges, etc.



From parochial societies



Value of church property - Chapel



Church lot



Rectory and lot




Total value of property


Salary pledged to the Rector, $1,100. Number of sittings in the church, 250 - rented. Indebtedness - On church property, $500.


The following historical notice of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Port Huron was written the day after the destruction of the building in July, 1879. Since that time the church edifice has been rebuilt and restored. It forms one of the finest houses of worship in Michigan, and is, beyond all doubt, a true testimonial to the earnestness of the Methodist of Port Huron.

The first Methodist society of Port Huron was organized in 1830, but discontinued or disbanded after a short time. In 1834, a society of nineteen members was formed, which gradually increased until 1844, when a church building was erected. "The building," says the chronicler, "became insufficient for the accommodation of the rapidly increasing congregation, and it was sold to the Catholics, and a new church commenced on Sixth street, near Water. In the course of time, the Catholic society sold the property, and it still stands on the angle between Lapeer avenue and Water street, and is at present used as a saloon. In 1851, the Sixth street building was so far completed that the basement could be used by the congregation, and it was not until some five years later that the audience room was formally dedicated. Many reminiscences are still related by the older members of the church of the efforts put forth to secure this building, and of the sacrifices made by some of its friends to pay their subscriptions. This building still stands, in a good state of preservation, is used as a temperance hall and reading room, and is the property of Mr. George Fish.

"For several years previous to 1871, there was a growing feeling among the membership that their church accommodations were not such as were demanded by the large congregation, and at a meeting of the officers of the church, held February 27, 1871, the pastor, Rev. F.A. Bourns, was asked to call a general meeting of the church to consider the subject. Such a meeting was held March 6, and was unanimous in favor of commencing the erection of a new church. Accordingly, the lot on which the ruined church now lies, together with the house adjoining, was purchased, for which the society paid $5,800. The house being suitable for a parsonage, it was used for that purpose, and the old one, on the corner of Eighth and Court streets, was sold. Under the superintendence of the late Henry Fish and other church officers, a subscription was started, and was responded to most generously by members of the congregation, as well as by citizens generally, and before long a sufficient amount was subscribed to warrant the commencement of the building. The foundation was put down, and arrangements made to proceed with the work, the expectation being to complete the church within two years. In May, 1875, the building was up, the basement finished, and it was dedicated by the late Bishop E.R. Amos. Rev. J.S. Smart, now of Bay City, was pastor at that time. Nothing further toward the completion of the church has been done since. The church edifice was of Gothic architecture, and was one of the most beautiful buildings of its kind in the State. The front of the building was particularly admired for its symmetry and beautiful finish. The roof and finely proportioned spire were covered with slate of different colors, which added very much to its appearance when viewed from a distance. The exterior of the church was finished. The windows were in, the floors laid, and the audience room and vestibule were ready for plastering. The basement, as we have intimated, was well finished and nicely furnished, and has been occupied for over four years.

"The cost of the ruined church, exclusive of the ground on which it stands, was $32,000. This includes a very fine bell, weighing 4,000 pounds, which still hangs securely in the tower. [533] Unfortunately for the society, when the hard times came on they were in debt to the amount of $14,000. About this time, when the pressure began to be severely felt, and thousands of business houses and corporations all over the country were failing, the society suffered the loss of its financial leader, Hon. Henry Fish. Several of the more wealthy members suffered very severe financial reverses, and others have removed from the city, so that the ability to bear this burdensome debt was very much lessened. At different times, within the past two or three years, the society has been in almost utter despair, the saving of their beautiful church seeming an impossibility. At the annual conference, held in September, 1878, Rev. William Fox was appointed as the financial agent of the church, and at once understood the task of raising the $14,000 of debt. During 1879 he was industriously engaged in soliciting subscriptions, both in the city and throughout the eastern part of the State. By an almost superhuman effort, $8,000 were subscribed. About half of this sum was collected, so that the present indebtedness of the society on the ruined church, counting in uncollected subscriptions, is about $8,000. We learn that the membership of the church is so prostrated financially, that they are actually not able to pay the current expenses and the interest on the debt. Thus it will be seen that the Methodist Church of Port Huron is utterly paralyzed under its financial burdens, and now, since this new disaster has come upon them, they are, of course, financially ruined. It will cost fully $10,000 to put the building into its former shape."

Some time previous to 1877, an old settler, whose initials speak a well-known name in the history of this county, saw a sketch of the Methodist Episcopal Church Society in one of the city papers, to which he refers as follows:

To the Editor: SIR. - In your last Sunday's issue, containing an account of the building of the First Methodist Church in St. Clair County, you state that there were but four persons on the subscription list now living, in which you are mistaken. W.R. Gowling, of Clyde, and Mr. Hopkins, of St. Clair, should be included. The writer of this knew a large proportion of the subscribers, and the list extends from the lowest settlements on St. Clair River to John H. Westbrook's mills at the upper settlements on Black River and Mill Creek, now the village of Ruby, and represents nearly all the Protestants of St. Clair County, there being about an equal number of French Catholics, and the two together comprised about the entire population. The amount of subscriptions and the mode of payment is pretty good evidence of the state of finances at that time. The cider, whisky and rum so generously paid in aid of its construction, would doubtless have been classed under the head of "sundries" by a less sincere and truth loving man than John K. Smith, who always called things by their proper names.

What would our croakers of the hard times say now at getting out lumber at $6, and shingles at $1 a thousand? How would our $30,000 churches, our $2,000 ministers, our lady attendants, dressed in wardrobe for the occasion costing more than the whole church building at Point Duchiene, have managed their matters in those primitive days, and now calling the present terrible hard times?

D.B.H. - [Daniel B. Harrington?]

"As has been stated, a new edifice has taken the place of that destroyed by the storm. Under the administration of Rev. Thomas Stalker, this society has made remarkable advances."


The United Presbyterian Church of Port Huron is situated at the corner of Broad and Michigan streets. The organization of this society is referred to in the general history. Rev. Thomas W. Monteith, pastor.

The German Lutheran Church and School, situate on Tenth and Griswold streets, of which the Rev. R. Lauritzen is pastor, claims a small membership. The school is denominational.

The German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Port Huron, with a house of worship on the corner of Seventh and Pine streets, is one of the leading religious organizations of the city. The building is frame, with tower and spire. Rev. C. Bofinger is the pastor.


The country schools throughout the West fifty years ago, whether considering the buildings, teachers or regulations, were generally of a character that would be denominated exceedingly primitive. The buildings were usually sorry apologies for a modern tenement, or a room 12 x 14, in some incomplete residence. The seats were slabs of puncheons elevated at a distance from the floor suggestive of dangerous possibilities to small scholars, who were required to sit thereon, however painful the experience. The teacher was ordinarily a man of fact, who regarded [534] all else but his duties as fiction unworthy of his condescension. As a rule, he occupied an old-fashioned arm-chair about the center of the room, adjoining a small round table, which supported, in addition to the text-books comprising his limited course, a birch rod of tried strength, length, breadth and thickness, as the pupils ofttimes had sensible evidence. With these surroundings, that would, in this day of superior educational facilities, be regarded as discomforts not to be endured, scholars were taught the alphabet, their "abs," reading sentences, contained words of two syllables only, and many other incidents peculiar to school life which, in that age, inspired the intellectual, but to-day provoke the mirthful and cause mental inquiries if such things could be. But recurrence to those days often engages the reflections of pioneers, who see no compensation in the labor-saving apparatus employed to aid the ambitious youth in his ascent of the hill of knowledge.

Gibbon relates that, during a cruel persecution of Ephesus, seven noble youths concealed themselves in a cave, when they fell into a sleep which was miraculously prolonged for a hundred years. On awakening they found everything so changed, to conform to the advanced age, that they burst into tears and prayed God that they might be permitted to return to their slumbers again. Such are the feelings of many who were scholars half a century ago, regarding with feelings of indignation the neglected facilities of the present, "when fond memory brings the light of other days about them." The school teachers of fifty years ago were earnest in their efforts, and the advanced state of education during these final decades of the nineteenth century are, in a great measure, the result of their labors. The pupil of those times, too, was a character of the day beyond comparison or caricature. He usually appeared at school prompt to the minute, barefoot in summer, his trowsers of home manufacture kept in place by a couple of pieces of ticking, to which he appropriated the term "gallusses," and his head protected from the penetrating rays of the summer's sun by a chip hat, or cap deftly fashioned by a mother's or a sister's hands. Thus embellished, the young man of promise came early, and from his advent upon the scene to his exit therefrom joined constant issue with the teacher with such requests as "Lemme speak to sis," "Lemme go out," "Lemme ha' a drink," etc., etc., until the expiration of the day's term, when he is permitted to go home, where, after the chores are done, he slips off his trowsers, hangs them on his bed-post by the "galluses," and, soon reveling in the dim land of dreams, becomes forgetful of the trials that will be born again with the morrow. Among the early settlers there were many men of unusual ability; not men of extensive education, but men who made their marks upon the times, and, had they received the advantages of early training, would have proved themselves giants in intellectual and moral forces. Even with the few advantages which the Western schools of the past age afforded, there were men went forth from them who did prove equal to all and every emergency which private or public life called upon them to meet. The first American settlers were earnest in everything. They said, "We are going to make the utmost of the capabilities of this spot," and they did. First they said, "In process of time, all over this beautiful country will be scattered educational institutions of a high order; the needs of an intelligent people will demand them. What is to hinder us from building a village on this slope which overlooks one of the most lovely landscapes in the world? Nothing is to hinder; let us do it." And it was done. At that time there were a few houses and shanties in the little hamlet of Black River, and the commencement of anything so portentous as a schoolhouse in so small a community without a penny of foreign aid would have seemed preposterous to the average mind, but it was done nevertheless, and there stands the schools of the city to-day the chief supporting pillars of the future. Considering all the circumstances - the times, the poverty of the district, the sparseness of the population, the infinitesimal size of the village - the erection of the first school building was a great achievement. It is safe to say that only a few persons or families subscribed four fifths of all the money it cost. True they reckoned that this money or some of it would come back to them in after times; and it did.

The children of the Canadian French were taught by young men employed in the Black River steam mill. Even in 1821, a missionary school was started at Fort Gratiot by John S. Hudson, John Hart, their wives, and a Miss Osmer. This Indian school continued in operation three years, when the teachers moved to Mackinac, together with thirty or forty of their [535] dusky pupils. In that old school, Edward Petit and other children of the French settlers received their first lessons. Instead of slates, the scholars used small boxes of sand, on which the pupils wrote with pointed sticks.

The first schoolhouse was built in 1833 near the corner of Broad and Superior streets, in rear of the present Hudson House. It was a 24x26 foot building, eight and one half feet from floor to ceiling. This concern was subsequently known as the Old Brown Schoolhouse, not that it was painted brown, but turned that color under atmospheric influences. From 1833 to 1842, this was the schoolhouse of Port Huron. In 1842, a new schoolhouse was built in the park south of Black River. In 1849, the union school building was completed. Ten years later, the Park Schoolhouse was destroyed by fire. The city of to-day supports five public schools, all well administered. The schools of St. Stephen's Parish, in connection with the Catholic Church, form a remarkable monument to the earnestness of the congregation.

In July, 1852, a select school was formed by Mr. Magee. The following is the advertisement: "The subscriber begs leave to inform the inhabitants of Port Huron, of his immediate intention of commencing a Select Mathematical and Classical School in this place. Those wishful to favor the above school, will please call at the Rev. Mr. Benton's residence, or at the stores of Messrs. Gillet, Dowling, and Beach, and leave the names of those whom they wish to have instructed. His terms will be reasonable, and he pledges himself, as a teacher, to be swayed by impartiality, devotedness to the interests of his pupils, and the broadest Christian charity. GEORGE MAGEE.
"PORT HURON, July 17, 1852."

The German-English School was conducted by C. F. Diehl, in 1863. The schoolroom was in the basement of the old Brockway House, on West Butler street, near the Baptist Church.

St. Stephen's School. - The elegant school building known as St. Stephen's was erected in 1879-80 by Rev. E. Van Lauwe. This structure was begun October 2, 1879, and the house finished the following year. The building of the schoolhouse was carried out successfully, owing to the liberal spirit in which the congregation and men of other religious denominations contributed moneys, as well as to the well-directed energy of the pastor. The schools were opened in 1880 with the Sisters of Providence in charge. The number of pupils in attendance at the opening in September, 1880, was 279.

The Convent School of the Sisters of Providence was established at Port Huron in 1879. The design of this institution is to accommodate parents desiring to have their daughters enjoy all the advantages necessary for acquiring a thorough and polite English education in connection with a knowledge of the fine arts, music, painting, and other branches. The method of instruction followed embraces all that goes to form the character of an amiable, useful and accomplished woman. It is the aim of the Sisters to train the hearts of their pupils to the love and practice of virtue, while cultivating their minds and endowing their manners with dignity, simplicity and grace. The government is mild, yet sufficiently vigilant and energetic to secure perfect order. The sole object of the regulations of the house being the welfare of the pupils, they are induced to comply with them rather from a sense of duty than through fear of punishment. They are made to understand that their own improvement and happiness are ultimately connected with the careful observance of discipline. A tender vigilance is exercised over the hearts of the pupils; when one is taken sick, a physician is called in time, and information is given to the parents, who are at liberty to withdraw her. If they leave her in the institution, she receives every attention that kindness can suggest.

The scholastic year consists of four terms, each comprising a period of eleven weeks. The first term commences on the first Monday in September.

Tuition in all the English branches, board, bedding, useful and ornamental needle work with the use of patterns, use of library, clothes of pupils marked for them, are offered at $35.75 per term of eleven weeks, while the following branches of higher education are faithfully taught for an extra charge: French, German, drawing and painting in water colors, oil painting, with use of patterns, piano, organ, or guitar lessons, vocal music, private lessons, use of instruments for practice. [536]


The Ladies' Library Association of Port Huron, Mich., was founded in 1866, and the following historical sketch of the association was prepared and read by Mrs. B. C. Farrand at the decennial celebration of the society held January 6, 1876.

The first consultation with reference to the organization was held by Mrs. A. B. Comstock, Mrs. A. H. Wright and Mrs. B. C. Farrand, who decided to invite the ladies of the Soldiers' Aid Society - then about to disband - with other ladies who were thought to be favorable to such a project, to meet and discuss the matter. Such meeting was held in December, 1865, in the small room of the basement of the old Methodist Church. The Soldiers' Aid Society at that time disbanded, and donated their stores and clothing to worthy families of soldiers, and their other effects, including some odd buttons and buckles and a cupboard, to the new organization, if such should be formed. At this meeting, Mrs. Henry Fish being Chariman, it was decided to organize a society for the mental improvement of its members, and the formation of a library. This first meeting resulted in an organization, with an object exactly defined, a name. "The Ladies' Library Association, of Port Huron," and the possession of a cupboard for a library case.

A meeting was called, through the papers, inviting all ladies friendly to the object, to meet on January 5, 1866. At the appointed time, fourteen ladies were present: Mrs. A. J. Bigelow, Mrs. H. C. Buffington, Mrs. Barr, Mrs. A. B. Comstock, Mrs. B. C. Farrand, Mrs. Henry Fish, Mrs. James H. White, Mrs. J. B. Hull, Mrs. James Haynes, Mrs. Perley Morse, Mrs. William Sanborn, Mrs. J. W. Thompson, Mrs. A. H. Wright and Miss Emma M. Farrand.

Mrs. J. B. Hull was chosen Chairman, and Mrs. B. C. Farrand, Secretary.

The present constitution, modeled after that of the Flint Association, was adopted.

At a subsequent meeting held January 19, presided over by Mrs. Henry Fish, the first officers of the society were elected as follows:

President - Mrs. B. C. Farrand.
Vice President - Mrs. James H. White.
Recording Secretary - Mrs. A. H. Wright.
Corresponding Secretary - Mrs. Perley Morse.
Treasurer - Mrs. J. B. Hull.
Librarian - Mrs. A. B. Comstock.
Executive Committee - Mrs. J. W. Thompson, Mrs. A. J. Bigelow, Mrs. John Botsford, Mrs. William Sanborn, Mrs. H. Fish
Book Committee - Mrs. H. C. Buffington, Mrs. J. P. Sanborn.

The Constitution and By-Laws having been settled upon, the officers elected, the society was already to work, but found no place for meeting. The room in the church was required for extra religious meetings. Two meetings were held at the residence of Mrs. A. H. Wright, on Sixth street, and then at Mrs. Buffington's, on Fourth street. A back room in a lawyer's office was then offered, free of rent, the association furnishing wood. The records tell of committees appointed to look for a room, reported "no room found," and committee discharged.

The number of members constantly increased, until "a place to be," exercised the mind of each by day and disturbed their dreams by night, when to the surprise of all, the City Fathers, through Hon. Cyrus Miles, Mayor, offered for the use of the Association and its library the Common Council Chamber, free of charge.

This was gladly accepted, and furnished a very desirable and convenient room until November, 1868, when the library was removed to the rooms in the Town Hall, then used as school rooms. On the completion of Phoenix Block, the room over M. Walker's store was leased and occupied March 4, 1869, the day of the inauguration of President Grant.

Ladies' Library Association of Port Huron was organized and incorporated under the general laws of the State, January 10, 1868. The charter election meeting was presided over by Mrs. J. B. Hull, of the Corporation Committee. Mrs. Wright was appointed President and Mrs. J. P. Sanborn, Secretary of meeting. The election of officers resulted as follows: Mrs. [537] Thompson was elected President; Mrs. Stevens, Vice President; Miss Sanborn, Recording Secretary; Mrs. Sanborn, Corresponding Secretary; Mrs. Hull, Treasurer; Miss E. Farrand, Financial Secretary; Mrs. Comstock, Librarian; Mrs. Huntington, Assistant Librarian; Miss Carrie Farrand, Historian; Mrs. B. C. Farrand, Mrs. Comstock, Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Finster, Mrs. Crawford and Mrs. Morse, together with the officers of the association, were appointed members of committees.

On April 2, 1870, the books were removed to the room now occupied, which proves ample for the present wants of the association. Frequently during these ten years a desire for a permanent location for the library has found expression in the meetings, and the hope indulged that when the library should be worthy of it, some one of our generous fellow-citizens would bestow upon it a home, and thus honor himself and become a public benefactor, whose name should be held in grateful remembrance by posterity.

The first money received was on January 19, 1866; membership fees, $11; January 26, a donation of $5 from Mrs. Farrand, and fees $3; ten books given by members (the names of these donors I have been unable to obtain, but hope they may yet be found). It would seem that the faith in the library out of these ten books must have been considerable, for we find the Executive Committee ordered 200 suitable labels for the books, which the committee made 300, as a matter of economy.

A committee to procure subscriptions was appointed, and the amount of $116.50 realized in this manner for the founding of a library. Three gentlemen, Mr. Newell Avery, Mr. John Johnston and Mr. B. C. Farrand gave $10 each. Several gave $5. The greater number of subscriptions were $2 each.

The first book in the library was the gift of Mr. Waldo Comstock, entitled "Chronicles of the Middle Ages," by Froisart, a very valuable book. The first twenty-seven books are donations. The first purchase of books numbered eighty-six, so that in September, 1866, there were 113 volumes in the library cupboard, duly labeled, and many of them drawn and read each week.

There were Motley's Dutch Republic, Irving's works, Chambers' Cyclopedia of English Literature, Parton's Lives of Andrew Jackson and Ben. Franklin, Draper's Intellectual Development of Europe, Prescott's Phillip II, a full set of the Spectator, Goldwin Smith's Study of History, Froude's History of England, Daniel Webster's works, costing $30, Life and works of E. A. Poe, Lockhart's Life of Sir Walter Scott, in all 206 volumes, at the close of the first year.

The second year numbered 341 volumes, including Noctes Ambrosianae, Motley's United Netherlands. January 22, 1869, there were 505 volumes. In recognition of the 500 volumes in the collection, a celebration took place which was numerously attended, and a larger interest awakened among those before little acquainted with the association.

In 1870, there were 599 volumes. Many valuable public documents and State papers were received this year through Hon. O. D. Conger, and in 1871, through Dr. Finster, a collection of books valued at $112 was received, called the Swedenborg collection, making 1,083 volumes at the close of 1871.

The possession of 1,000 and more volumes was duly observed, and friends were invited to view the library. Some who came left substantial evidence of their desire to add to its treasures. Some old and valuable books were among the gifts on this occasion.

The numbers swelled to 1,596 in 1872. Many of them were received from Washington, through Hon. O. D. Conger.

In 1873, there were 1,758 volumes. In 1874, there were 1,813 volumes, and in 1875, just closed, 1,938 volumes.

During the year 1875, Bancroft's History of the United States, Hume's History of England, and Epochs of History have been among the excellent books purchased.

And now a library of nearly 2,000 volumes, including many of the very best standard authors, a complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica, a full set of Chambers' Cyclopedia, and Thomas' Cyclopedia of Biography and Mythology, and Chambers' English Literature, furnishes the means for successful research in many departments. All this, through the united efforts of your mothers, wives and sisters, a few ladies, for the short space of ten years!

[538] Various means have been employed for the purpose of raising funds. Lectures have seldom netted but small sums. The first summer, the sale of ice cream and cake on Saturday evenings proved quite successful, the net receipts on seven evenings being $100. Two boat rides brought to our exchequer an increase of $150. But the series of parlor entertainments, with an occasional dramatic representation, have been the chief reliance for an increase of the building fund. The success of them will always be associated with the efforts of one who very largely contributed to them - Mrs. E. W. Glover.

At an early day, funds derived from entertainments and similar sources, were set aside to create a building fund, as according to the Constitution, all fees and dues are to be exclusively used for the library proper.

May 25, 1870, Mrs. Mary J. Sweetser, of grateful memory, made a note in favor of the association for $1,000, to be paid on or before her decease. After her death, which occurred before the close of 1870, this amount, with interest, was paid over by her executors, and was added to the building fund, and invested at 10 per cent. The entire fund amounts to nearly or quite $2,400. Besides the building fund, the amount of money received the first year, 1866, was $479.64; first three years was $1,129.58; the last year it was $505.46.

Of the presiding officers, Mrs. H. L. Stevens has been twice elected, Mrs. J. W. Thompson, once, Mrs. E. W. Glover twice, Mrs. J. McNeil once, and Mrs. B. C. Farrand four times.

Mrs. J. B. Hull and Mrs. H. G. Barnum have filled the office of Treasurer since the beginning, Mrs. Hull seven years, and Mrs. Barnum three.

Mrs. A. B. Comstock, the first Librarian, was unwearied in her devotion and care of the books - for several weeks transporting them from place to place in a basket. For eight years the custodians of the library received no pay.

But the library itself is but an incident designed as an aid to mutual improvement. With very few exceptions, weekly meetings for literary exercises have been held. These hours have been occupied and a good degree of progress attained by those most regular in their attendance. The early records mention readings, recitations, with an occasional original review of a book.

As the years advance, progress is noticed. The year 1874 appears to have a more continuous and decided plan, commencing perhaps with the century readings - the fourteenth century most prominently; while the last year a full and clear study of literature, first of English and now of American literature, has been instituted and is carried on, much to the cultivation of those taking part, as well as attending upon the exercises.

Could the young ladies of the city, as well as the old, be aware of the opportunities and advantages here afforded, it would seem that they would hasten to appropriate them to themselves.

Another means of culture and interest has been instituted - the department of the museum, which it is predicted will receive increased attention with the coming years. It already contains many articles of historic value, which time fails me to enumerate. A new office has been created, Keeper of the Museum, and the officer elected, so that the articles and curiosities will soon be mounted and labeled for exhibition, as well as for preservation. The centennial year will no doubt develop interest in this direction, and the museum will receive the benefit of such awakened interest. The association has from time to time received friendly gifts of pictures to adorn the walls, of a stereoscope and views, as well as curiosities from various parts of the country, and larger and more numerous remembrances of this kind are in store for it in the not distant future.

Mention should be made of the extraordinary success of a club called the Cyclopedia Club, which in a very short time raised funds to purchase the Encyclopedia Britannica, Chambers' and Thomas' Cyclopedias, besides smaller works, which were presented to the association for its Library of Reference, a large and appreciated addition to its resources.

Of the fourteen members at the time of organization, only one has been removed by death - Mrs. Antha L. Bigelow, one of the most hearty and faithful co-laborers, was very suddenly called to leave her family and her work here, but not without leaving an abiding impression upon those who knew her best, that her work had been well done. Her memory is still fresh [539] in our minds, and we drop a tear for our loss, assured that the change to her was gain. Mrs. J. J. Scarritt was taken from our membership by death, but not until she had some time been absent from the city. Her contributions of the works of Dickens to the library have been among the books well read. We recall with interest her great desire to promote the attractiveness of the literary exercises. Mrs. C. A. Chamberlain, after a brief sojourn, and a short time of service as Vice President, retured to her former home to die in the springtime of life, her babe resting upon her arm; both sleep in the quite rural cemetery with the early called.

Among those who came unobtrusively and frequently to the Saturday afternoon gatherings of this association, we recall the name and memory of Mrs. C. W. Robinson, who was removed from our membership through death, in the autumn of 1874.

Our last bereavement was of one in mature womanhood, full of hope and life, surrounded by a growing family of children, herself anxious to improve her mind, and amid her numerous duties and cares found time to study German, to commit to memory gems of poetry and prose, which she would recite when called upon, as a means of entertainment to others. None, among the large membership, valued the advantages of the association and library more than our friend, Mrs. Ulber, now departed. "Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud?" was one of her favorite recitations. Peace to the memory of those gone before. We shall go to them. Shall we not desire to be and to do something to benefit others while we live?

These records of ten years are those of loving work by willing hands, and the results in a very feeble and imperfect manner have been enumerated.

To recapitulate. A society of one hundred and thirty or more members, each paying 15 cents a month, or $1.80 per year, to maintain a library for their own benefit and that of the community, exists.

The library contains very nearly 2,000 well-selected volumes.

The association has its own hired room, carpeted, and furnished comfortably with commodious book shelves, which have taken the place of the cupboard.

This association is an incorporated body.

It has a well invested building fund of $2,400.

The association has no debts, and has never discovered any defalcation or embezzlement of its funds. It has the names of over two hundred who draw books from its library.

It has a well-selected corps of officers for the centennial year.

Its members have hopes that bringing before the community and ourselves this statement "What it is; what it has; and what it does," that "a long train of improvements will come into quiet and irreversible operation;" that its members may be increased tenfold in the next decade, and that in due time a library building or room shall be found suited to contain this large "storehouse of medicine for the mind," this "dispensary for the soul" - as the ancients called their libraries. Over some of its alcoves, at least, may some of the names of those present be inscribed as its honored benefactors.

The officers of the Association, since 1876, are named in the following list.

1876 - President, Mrs. S. L. Ballentine; Vice President, Mrs. J. B. Hull; Recording Secretary, Mrs. A. H. Wright; Financial Secretary, Mrs. K. F. Harrington; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. J. P. Sanborn; Treasurer, Mrs. H. G. Barnum; Historian, Mrs. B. C. Farrand; Librarian, Mrs. S. M. Huntington.

1877 - President, Mrs. T. L. Wells; Vice President, Mrs. N. E. Sanborn; Recording Secretary, Mrs. S. L. Ballentine; Financial Secretary, Mrs. A. H. Wright; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. M. W. Sanborn; Treasurer, Mrs. B. C. Farrand; Historian, Mrs. D. Robeson; Librarian, Miss Mary Wright.

1878 - President, Mrs. H. L. Stevens; Vice President, Mrs. N. E. Sanborn; Recording Secretary, Mrs. Henry O'Neill; Financial Secretary, Mrs. B. C. Farrand; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. D. Robeson; Treasurer, Mrs. H. G. Barnum; Historian, Mrs. A. McKenzie; Librarian, Mrs. R. T. Yeats.

1879 - President, Mrs. B. C. Farrand; Vice President, Mrs. R. T. Yeats; Recording Secretary, Mrs. J. A. Davidson; Financial Secretary, Mrs. D. Robeson; Corresponding Secretary, [540] Mrs. S. M. Huntington; Treasurer, Mrs. J. B. Hull; Historian, Miss Mary Wright; Librarian, Mrs. M. Casler.

1880 - President, Mrs. J. A. Davidson; Vice President, Mrs. J. McNeil; Recording Secretary, Mrs. R. T. Yeats; Financial Secretary, Mrs. M. Casler; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. E. W. Glover; Treasurer, Mrs. J. B. Hull; Historian, Miss Mary Wright; Librarian, Mrs. D. W. Fisher.

1881 - President, Mrs. J. A. Davidson; Vice President, Mrs. H. Burke; Recording Secretary, Mrs. R. T. Yeats; Financial Secretary, Mrs. M. Casler; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. D. Robeson; Treasurer, Mrs. J. B. Hull; Historian, Mrs. J. W. Thomson; Librarian, Mrs. D. W. Fisher.

1882 - President, Mrs. J. W. Thomson; Vice President, Mrs. E. W. Glover; Recording Secretary, Mrs. R. T. Yeats; Financial Secretary, Miss Hendricks; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. P. M. Wright; Treasurer, Mrs. J. B. Hull; Historian, Mrs. Lauritzen; Librarian, Mrs. M. Casler.

The number of members in 1882, was 60; the number of volumes in library, 2,508, and the value of property $5,000. The influences which surround such an association, and extend themselves into the homes of the people, are of that refining character which cannot fail to leave their marks on the manners and customs of the future, if not on the manners of the present time. It has passed into a proverb, that where there are not books there is ignorance and vice.


This club may be said to have been organized in 1873. The first regular meeting, after organization, was held March 17, 1873. The first officers were: A. N. Moffat, President; J. A. Drury, Vice President; M. Young, Secretary; Ada Kibbee, Corresponding Secretary; Fannie Smith, Treasurer; J. F. Talbot, S. & M.; T. J. Parsons, Censor. At this period the association was known as the Oasis Society, and the meeting was held at Cawthorne's rooms. At the next meeting, Angus G. McKay moved that the name Lotos Club be substituted for Oasis Society, which motion was carried.

In September, 1873, the nomination of officers took place, when M. Young was elected President; Mrs. A. M. Moffit, Vice President; Miss Mitts, Recording Secretary; McDearmid, Corresponding Secretary; G. R. Osman, Treasurer; James H. Talbot, Critic. The re-organization of the club took place January 17, 1875, at the Moffat residence. W. D. Wright was elected President; Miss Blennerhaust, Vice President; Mrs. E. W. Glover, Corresponding Secretary; Mrs. A. N. Moffat, Recording Secretary; J. W. Porter, Treasurer. The first regular meeting of the club after re-organization was held at the house of Mrs. Glover.


1875. - O'Brien J. Atkinson, President; Mrs. J. McNeil, Vice President; Frank Whipple, Secretary; Susie Dwyer, Treasurer; E. W. Harris, President, December, 1875.

1876. - A. N. Moffat, President; Mrs. P. B. Sanborn, Vice President; Mrs. W. Walker and Mr. Stevenson, Secretary; Mrs. W. F. Atkinson, Treasurer; Kittie Riddle, Recording Secretary; L. Kay, Corresponding Secretary; John McNeil, President; Mrs. John Miller, Vice President.

1877. - H. G. Barnum, President; Mrs. Brown, Vice President; Miss Hogan, Recording Secretary; Mrs. Gaylord, Corresponding Secretary; C. Gilchrist, Treasurer.

1878. - Dr. Whitney, President; Mrs. J. C. Johnson, Vice President; Miss E. McGinn, Recording Secretary; Mrs. Sherman, Corresponding Secretary; Maude Danger, Treasurer; Miss Eleanor Donnelly, Recording Secretary; E. G. Stevenson, President; Mrs. Glover, Corresponding Secretary.

1879. - H. G. Barnum, President; Sarah Donnelly, Recording Secretary; Hannah J. Dwyer, Corresponding Secretary; Clara A. Sharpe, Recording Secretary.

1880. - Judge Brown, President; Mrs. Allardt, Vice President; Maud Danger, Recording Secretary; Mrs. E. W. Glover, Corresponding Secretary; Johnson Hogan, Treasurer; Fannie A. Smith, Recording Secretary.

[541] 1881. - Mr. Allardt, President; Mrs. Sanderson, Vice President; Lizzie Talbot, Recording Secretary; A. Weyers, Corresponding Secretary; W. Cline, Treasurer.

1881-82. - Judge E. W. Harris, President; Mrs. Thompson, Vice President; Emma McGinn, Recording Secretary; Mrs. Glover, Corresponding Secretary; Judge McNeil, Treasurer.

1882-83. - Albert McCall, President; Mrs. Butler, Vice President; Miss Lillie Harris, Recording Secretary; Miss Hogan, Corresponding Secretary; Mr. Barnum, Treasurer.


1875. - January 17, at Mrs. Moffat's residence; January 29, at Mrs. Glover's residence; February 12, at Mrs. B. Bigsby's residence; February 27, at Mr. P. B. Sanborn's residence; March 7, at George Jones' residence; March 21, at A. W. Smith's residence; April 8, at A. N. Moffat's residence; April 18, at Capt. Hurlburt's residence; May 3, at Mrs. J. E. Johnson's residence; May 18, at Mrs. Glover's residence; May 31, at Mrs. B. Bigsby's residence; June 14, at John Miller's residence; June 28, at Mrs. D. Robeson's residence; July 2, at F. Vanderburg's residence; July 11, at James Baird's residence; July 25, at James Goulden's residence; August 7, at Mrs. Hull's residence; August 21, at Mrs. Smith's residence; September 4, at Mrs. A. N. Moffat's residence; September 25, at Mrs. William F. Atkinson's residence; October 9, at Mrs. Glover's residence; October 23, at Mrs. J. Miller's residence; November 6, at William Jenkinson's residence; November 20, at H. G. Barnum's residence; December 4, at P. B. Sanborn's residence; December 18 and 31, at Mrs. Glover's residence.

1876. - January 15, at J. W. Benedict's; January 29, at Mrs. L. A. Sherman's; February 12, at J. Goulden's; February 26, at J. C. Johnson's; March 11, at William Jenkinson's; March 25, at W. D. Wright's; April 18, at Mr. Robeson's; April 22, at J. J. Boyce's; May 6, at Mr. Neff's; May 21, at Mrs. Insley's; June 3, at Mrs. John Miller's; June 17, at Mrs. W. F. Atkinson's; July 1, at Mrs. Glover's; July 15, at J. Goulden's; July 29, at E. C. Spalding's; August 12, at Judge Mitchell's; August 26, at J. C. Johnson's; September 9, at Mrs. L. A. Sherman's; September 23, at Atkinson & Stevenson's office; October 21, at A. W. Smith's; November 18, at Mrs. Williger's; December 3, at Mrs. John Miller's; December 16, at Judge Brown's; December 30, at Mrs. Glover's.

1877. - January 18, at Mrs. D. Robeson's; January 27, at F. H. Davis'; February 10, at Mrs. W. F. Atkinson's; February 24, at E. W. Neff's; March 10, at P. B. Sanborn's; March 31, at Mrs. J. W. Benedict's; April 7, at W. D. Wright's; April 21, at E. W. Glover's; May 5, at Mrs. O. D. Conger's; May 19, at Mrs. H. L. Stevens'; June 2, at Mrs. Crawford's; June 16, at Mrs. Jenk's; June 29, at Rev. H. Elwood's; July 14, at Mrs. Donnelly's, Sarnia; July 28, at Mrs. Col. Davis'; August 11, at John Howard's; August 25, at W. D. Wright's; September 8, at Mrs. W. F. Atkinson's; September 21, at Mrs. J. Goulden's; September 27, at Mrs. Glover's; October 20, at Mrs. W. Wright's; November 3, at Mrs. L. A. Sherman's; November 17, at Mrs. F. Davis'; December 1, at Judge Brown's; December 15, at Mrs. Gaylord's; December 29, at Mrs. Barnum's.

1878. - January 12, at Mrs. Glover's; January 25, at Mrs. J. Wells'; February 9 and 16, at P. B. Sanborn's; February 23, at D. Robeson's; March 9, at Mrs. Stevens'; March 23, at Mrs. A. N. Moffat's; April 6, at Mrs. Neff's; April 20, at Mrs. Glover's; May 4, at Mrs. W. F. Atkinson's; May 19, at Mrs. Jenks'; June 1, at Mrs. E. G. Spaulding's; June 15, at Mrs. J. B. Farrand's; June 30, at Mrs. Mulford's; annual meeting at Mrs. Benedict's; August 10, at Mrs. J. Goulden's; November 30, at Mrs. A. N. Moffat's; ----, at Mrs. Glover's; December 28, at Mrs. Goulden's.

1879. - January 11, at Gen. Hartsuff's; February 22, at Mrs. Walker's; March 8, at Mrs. O'B. J. Atkinson's; April 18, at Mrs. D. Robeson's; May 3, at Capt. Anderson's; May 27, at Mrs. Spaulding's; June 2, at Mrs. Hendrick's; June 14, at Mrs. Miller's; June 28, at Mrs. Brook's; November 1, at Mrs. Gaylord's; November 15, at Mrs. Barnum's; November 29, at Mrs. Hogan's; December 13, at Mrs. Allardt's.

1880. - January 10, at Mrs. Thompson's; January -, at Mrs. Miller's; February 7, at Mrs. Goulden's; February 21, at Mrs. Bradley's; March 6, at Mrs. W. F. Atkinson's; March [542] 19, at Mrs. J. Talbot's; April 3, at Mrs. F. Davis'; April 17, at Mrs. O'B. Atkinson's; May 1, at Mrs. Glover's; May 14, at Mrs. McKay's; May 29, at Mrs. Gaylord's; June 26, at John Thompson's; November 6, at William Jenkinson's; December 18, at Mrs. Hendrick's.

1881. - January 8, at Mrs. Goulden's; January 29, at Mrs. C. Sharpe's; February 12, at Mrs. O'B. J. Atkinson's; February 26, at Dr. E. P. Tibbal's; March 12, at Mrs. Barnum's; March 26, at Mrs. Walker's; April 9, at Mrs. Glover's; April 23, at Mrs. F. Davis'; May 7, at Mrs. John Miller's; May 21, at Mrs. J. W. Thompson's; October 1, at Mrs. Glover's; October 15, at Mrs. Davis'; October 29, at Mrs. W. Jenks'; November 26, at John W. Thompson's; December 10, at Mrs. H. L. Stevens'.

1882. - January 7, at Mrs. Barnum's; January 21, at Mrs. Walker's; February 4, at Mrs. Glover's; February 18, at Dr. Tiball's; March 4, at Mrs. Hendrick's; March 18, at Mrs. Judge McNeil's; April 1, at Mrs. Crawford's; April 15, at Mrs. Haven's.

Banquets were given by the club annually, until the year 1882, when the annual dinner was dispensed with on account of the illness of Judge McNeil, an old member.

The last meeting was held at Mrs. Glover's, in November, 1882. During the summer of 1882, the club was merely a nominal affair, owing to many of its old members having left the city. However, in the winter of 1882-83, an effort was made to revive an interest in the organization, and it is believed that the old Lotos Club will again take its place among the first literary associations of the State.


This is an association of Shakespearian students and readers of this city. It was formed during the winter of 1881-82, and since that time has continued to hold its regular Monday evening meeting. The originators are members of the Ladies' Library Association. The average number who attended the class during the past year is stated to be twelve. Judge E. W. Harris was elected leader, and has given a great deal of attention to the class since its formation.


This club was organized in 1880, and articles of incorporation filed April 13, of that year. The original members were: Charles K. Dodge, N. M. Sanborn, George R. Wallace, Laura M. Thomas, Mrs. Harriet McNeil, A. R. Avery, Thomas C. Gardner, Harriet Wright, Sara Socia Thomson, and Esther McKenzie. The first Board of Directors comprised A. R. Avery, C. R. Brown, L. A. Sherman, Mrs. H. R. Miller, Mrs. H. H. Wright, E. S. Post, George R. Wallace, Mrs. J. P. Sanborn, Miss Lucy Sanborn, and Mrs. N. E. Thomas.


This society was incorporated October 2, 1882. The original members were: C. B. Stockwell, E. G. Spalding, G. W. Alexander, Ella M. Plant, Rose M. Crittenden, Mrs. J. B. McGregor, Mrs. A. Smith, J. W. Miles, Alma D. Walker, Susan G. Wall, Maggie M. Adams, Mattie Bradley, Tillie Goulden, Mrs. J. B. Farrand, S. Melville, Gertrude Melville, M. Wheeler, E. T. Freeman, and N. Cawthorne. This society is among the best conducted musical associations of the West. Among its members are men and women whose refined musical talent is known and appreciated.


Harrington's new Opera House was opened Monday evening, November 22, 1875, under the most favorable auspices, by what was unquestionably the strongest dramatic combination that ever visited the West up to that time. The company included within its membership, Mrs. D. P. Bowers; the veteran actor, C. W. Couldock; the talented tragedian, J. C. McCollum; and the well-known actors, J. T. Taylor and Hart Conway, supported by a stock company of unusual strength and merit.

The opening play was Sheridan Knowles' sterling drama, "The Hunchback," with Mrs. Bowers in the role of "Julia." The second night, Shakespeare's great tragedy, "Macbeth," with Mrs. Bowers as "Lady Macbeth," was rendered. [543]


This society was organized in January, 1880, with the following named officers: President, William T. Mitchell; Vice President, Dr. C. M. Stockwell; Secretary, George P. Vorheis; Treasurer, James J. Boyce; Directors, Drs. H. R. Mills, S. W. Smith, M. McKay and Peter Hill, Mrs. Hattie I. Wells, Mrs. Francis S. Fish and Mrs. Henry Howard. This society has accomplished much good during the two years of its existence.


Red Ribbon Council, No. 2, Port Huron, was instituted February 5, 1879, by Supreme Councilor, C. K. Porter. The officers chosen were, S. C., William T. Mitchell; V. C., George W. Howe; P. C., D. M. Bennett, M. D.; Chap., Charles Wilson; Secy., John McKenzie; Treas., George Mitts; Herald, John C. Figg; Deputy Herald, Mrs. Peter Mitts; Guard, S. W. Maddox, and Sentinel, Peter A. Mitts. The charter members numbered thirty. The total membership since organization is 75; dismissed by card to other Councils, 2; withdrawn from the order, 2; deceased, 1; expelled for non-payment, 12; present membership, 58; active (male) members, 28; honorary members, 1; contributing life members, 29 (females); beneficiary amount active members, $2,000; contributing life, $1,000.

Past Councilors, D. M. Bennett, M. D., John McCormick and George A. Ashpole. Select Councilors, William T. Mitchell, John McCormick, George A. Ashpole and Angus Cameron.

Present officers, S. C., Angus Cameron; P. C., George A. Ashpole; V. C., Charles B. Stone; Chaplain, John McCormick; Secy., Mrs. William Wastell; Treasurer, Mrs. Lovica Haslett; Herald, Peter A. Mitts; Deputy Herald, Mrs. L. W. Wallace; Guard, Horace Plaisted, and Sentinel, George Mitts.

This association of temperate people has accomplished an amount of good during the few years of its existence. To its charter members must be credited the comparative temperance of the city at the present time.


This lodge received its charter January 14, 1874, its first W. M., Hebner Hamilton; S. W., Wellington Davis; J. W., James H. Burley; these are the only charter members, the names of whom can be given on account of the records being burned some years ago. The names of W. M. up to the present time as far back as can be ascertained are Hebner Hamilton, Edgar White, Edward W. Harris, Albert Dixon, Isaac Thorn, Oliver W. Strout, Henry Burton, William H. Avery and Robert P. Young. The present officers are, R. P. Young, W. M.; Alexander Jacobi, S. W.; William Thorne, J. W.; J. W. Jacobi, Treasurer; H. Burton, Secretary; Edward Gowling, S. D.; William L. Eaton, J. D.; Charles Flugal, Tiler. The present active membership to date is 147 in good standing. The lodge is prosperous and is considered one of the best in this grand jurisdiction.


Lodge instituted July 8, 1875. Number of members at present, 72. Charter members, J. B. Hull, James Gammic, C. B. Hubbard, Joseph Walker, J. R. Taylor, J. B. Montross, H. C. Knill, Edward Gowling, W. D. Wright, C. E. Johnson, Henry Shafer, I. N. Applegate, Isaac Springer.

Past Grands, James Gammic, Edward Gowling, C. B. Hubbard, J. B. Hall, Isaac Springer, C. E. Johnson, Josh Johnson, Joseph Walker, J. L. Bartholomew, J. B. Montross.

Present Officers, N. G., George Frink, Vice Grand, G. A. Bailey; Treasurer, Isaac Springer, Secretary, H. W. Cooley; membership small on account of thirty members withdrawing and instituting a lodge at Fort Gratiot last October. The lodge is in excellent financial condition, having about $1,500 in bonds and in bank as surplus. Also in good social working order.


This order is a secret benevolent society, composed of a Supreme, Grand and Subordinate Lodges. It was established in June, 1873, and organized in Kentucky, January 1, 1874, by [544] persons who felt that the various systems of relief to the families of deceased members, as adopted by other orders, were deficient in important respects, and who believed that an order established with the purpose of paying a death benefit as one of its main objects would meet with approval and success.

The objects of this order are briefly stated by the Supreme Lodge, as follows: 1st. To unite fraternally all acceptable white men of every profession, business or occupation. 2d. To give all moral and material aid in its power to members of the order, by holding moral, instructive and scientific lectures, by encouraging each other in business, and by assisting one another to obtain employment. 3d. To establish a benefit fund, from which a sum not exceeding $2,000 shall be paid at the death of a member, to his family, or to be disposed of as he may direct. 4th. To establish a fund for the relief of sick or distressed members. Subordinate lodges are composed of members of good social and moral standing, who are admitted upon petition, by ballot, after passing a favorable medical examination. The petitioner must be a white, male person, between the ages of twenty-one and fifty-five.

The order extends into every State in the Union and claims 130,000 members. It paid for the year ending May 1, 1882, no less than $2,153,000 to families of deceased members. There are about 2,900 lodges. Port Huron Lodge was organized October 3, 1875, and is known as Integrity Lodge, No. 179.

The charter was granted by the Supreme Lodge Knights of Honor of the World, to George K. Nairn, A. A. Whitney, M. D., W. W. Campfield, George Van Epps, A. B. McCollom, William Wastell, A. H. Tibbits, R. T. Yeats, G. C. Meisel, H. R. Mills, R. A. McCarty, Hon. C. F. Harrington, B. Bigsby, A. B., J. C. Woodbury, C. D. Horton, C. J. Rathfon, P. McElroy, J. W. Burns, C. J. Canan, Hon. H. McMorran, M. Walker, J. W. Thompson, Jr., and their successors constituting them Integrity Lodge, No. 179, K. of H., with power to confer degrees of infancy, youth and manhood, and the benefits of the order.


J. A. EGE, S. Dictator.

October 13, 1875.

J. C. PLUMBER, S. Reporter.

The first officers were George K. Nairn, Dictator; R. A. McCarty, Reporter; C. J. Rathfon, Financial Reporter. The first year the membership increased to forty-six. The whole number received into membership to July, is 107, but by suspensions, death and withdrawal cards, the membership now stands reduced to fifty-six. The following have been Dictators, or chief officers of the lodge: G. K. Nairn, Hon. C. F. Harrington, William H. Fyan, A. A. Whitney, M. D., J. H. Sage, C. E. Spencer, J. P. Rice, J. A. McMartin, B. Hillier.

The present officers are as follows: B. Hillier, Dictator; E. Mead, Vice Dictator; D. McKenzie, Assistant Dictator; J. B. Montross, Reporter; A. A. Whitney, Financial Reporter; A. H. Tibbitts, Treasurer; David White, Chaplain; R. P. Young, Guide; J. Isabell, Guardian; B. San Jule, Sentinel; A. A. Whitney, M. D., Medical Examiner.

The lodge meets every alternate Wednesday evening in Odd Fellows Hall. A sick benefit of $4 per week is allowed, at a cost of $4 a year, and a death benefit of $2,000, at a cost of $16 per year, payable about monthly. The order is growing, has increased in membership 20,000 the past year.


This is an order ancient only in the foundation principles, which are mutual aid and assistance; was first organized in Meadville, Penn., about twelve years ago, and has become so popular with the people that it has spread over the whole United States, and numbers nearly 100,000 members. It is distinctly an insurance order. Each member who has taken the third degree is insured for the sum of $2,000 for the benefit of his family or friend named. The order in any State numbering more than 2,000 members may, by request, become a separate beneficiary jurisdiction. The association is represented at Port Huron by Temple Lodge No. 121, with F. L. Follensbee, M. W., and J. G. Cobb, Recorder.


This tent was organized and received its charter April 14, 1881. Its incorporation was perfected January 23, 1882, and the notice of such signed by John Klaiber, Commander, and Henry Smith, Record Keeper.

John Howard

[545] DIAMOND TENT, NO. 179.

This organization is presided over by by D. J. Penny, Commander, and R. E. Strout, R. K.


A division of this order was instituted at Port Huron in March, 1853, to be called Port Huron Division, No. 155. The names of the officers elect are a guaranty sufficient that it came up to the work of urging on the Temperance Car, nobly and efficiently. They are as follows: J. S. Botsford, W. P.; Smith Barns, W. A.; J. C. Forbes, R. S.; W. F. Cloud, A. R. S.; J. P. Minne, F. S.; E. W. Beach, T.; T. B. Carpenter, C.; Henry Kewley, A. C.; C. Furguson, J. S.; W. H. B. Dowling, O. S.


This society, comprising residents of English birth or the descendants of persons of English birth, was incorporated July 15, 1874, with Stephen T. Probitt, T. Biddlecomb, S. W. Grindrod, Alfred Rush, Edward Percival, John Saunders, A. H. Rush, T. Fowler, Ed. T. Clifford, Stephen Birley and John Blower, original members.


This society was organized in September, 1875, with the following members: William F. Atkinson, M. H. Fleming, E. Fitzgerald, William Reynolds, Henry Walsh, P. Newell, Matthew Finn, George Phillips, Hugh Doran, Sr., and Patrick Bourke.


This organization is presided over by J. B. Montross, Regent, and C. M. Bentley, Secretary.


This is a modern organization at Port Huron. The W. M. is D. Robinson, and the Secretary, Rank Phenix.


This society was organized in 1862, with Mrs. John Wells first President, and Mrs. B. C. Farrand, Secretary. Among the principal ladies connected with this society, from its organization to its close, were Mrs. Allen Fish, Mrs. H. Fish, Mrs. Newell Avery, Mrs. A. B. Comstock, Mrs. M. S. Gillett, Mrs. A. E. Wastell, Mrs. E. W. Glover, Mrs. E. W. Harris, Mrs. E. White, Mrs. Hamilton, Mrs. H. L. Stevens, Mrs. Bedford, Mrs. J. Haines, Mrs. Talbot, Mrs. W. S. Jenks, Mrs. Spaulding, Mrs. Hoyt, Mrs. Ira Osborn, Mrs. Crawford, Mrs. J. B. Hull. All the ladies of the city assisted in the good work.


This society was organized December 31, 1882, and now has over thirty members, and is steadily increasing. It was named in honor of a brave soldier and esteemed citizen, William Sanborn, now deceased. The officers are as follows: Commander, George R. Nairn, Sr.; Vice Commander, James Gain; Junior Commander, Frank Whipple; Adjutant, S. H. Avery; Officer of the Day, E. G. Spalding; Quartermaster, Harry Traver; Chaplain, W. F. Ernst; Surgeon, A. B. McCollom; Officer on Guard, G. B. Mann; Sergeant Major, B. J. Karrer; L. M. Sergeant, H. C. Mansfield.


This organization may be said to have been carried down from the earlier years of the city, under various names, to the present time. Perhaps there is not, in the wide world, a more inspiring locality to the lover of the yacht or row boat than this city; and it is as creditable to the people, even as it is due to the district, to have such a club; because the want of an organization of this character would certainly be detrimental to a community the members of which are, in all social respects, fully as well organized as the people of the oldest cities in the Union. The officers of the club for 1882-83 are named as follows: T. R. Wright, President; A. R. Ballantine, Vice President; P. H. Phillips, Secretary; James Bradley, Treasurer; James J. Lynn, Captain; [546] Arthur F. Spencer, E. G. Stevenson and J. B. McGregor, Executive Board. At the date of the election of these officers, April 11, 1882, the organization was, numerically and financially, in a good condition.


This club is an incorporated society, with a capital of $5,000. During the season of 1882, the players of this club won a very enviable name in the base ball circles of the country.


The Fire Department of the city is said to be among the first in the State. The Sixth Ward Hose Company was duly organized October 20, 1875, under the name of "Deluge Hose," and the following officers were elected: Foreman, Almond Stevens; First Assistant, Stephen Kaiser; Second Assistant, Archibald Wright; Secretary, John Kendall; Treasurer, John Chambers; Steward, Lewis Owens; Branchmen, Arthur Armstrong, Robert McMannus.

Twenty-six members were enrolled. The action of this newly organized company was brought before the Council for approval, after which it was legally organized and ready for work.

The Port Huron Fire Escape and Hook and Ladder Truck Company, was organized April 8, 1876, with a capital stock of $200,000. William L. Bancroft, Wallace Ames, James Goulden, Samuel D. Clark, Taylor E. Daniels and N. S. Boynton had 1,200 shares each of $25 per share.

The department of the present time is in the employ of the city. It is fully equipped and supposed to be equal to meet any emergency which the fire fiend may create.


In the general history the story of the first hotels at Port Huron is told. The principal hotel of the city is the Huron House. It was built in 1871-72 by a local company. The following are the names of the subscribers to the stock of the Hotel Company with the amounts subscribed: N. P., J. H. & E. White (lots), $10,000; Howard & Son, $5,000; John Johnston & Co., $5,000; D. B. Harrington, $5,000; John Miller, $3,000; F. L. Wells, $3,000; William Stewart, $3,000; J. P. Sanborn, $1,000; William Wastell, $1,000; Hull & Boyce, $1,000; M. Walker, $1,000; E. Fitzgerald, $1,000; L. N. & R. A. Minnie, $1,000.

The changes which have marked the management of this house since it was first opened would make a chapter of themselves. It was well conducted under Mr. Whitney, now of the Pacific Hotel, but for some time its management was so poor, that the whole State had to listen to the complaints of discontented spirits. In the summer of 1882, the hotel was re-opened, and gives evidence of good management.

The Pacific Hotel is conducted by Mr. Whitney. Its location on the northeast corner of Butler street and Huron avenue renders it a most convenient hostelry. The house is heated by steam, and very well ordered throughout.

The Larned House is one of the old hotels of the city. The Thompson House, on Military street, is another of the old hostelries. The Albion House, a new hotel at the foot of Butler street, and a number of smaller houses contribute to render the city complete in its hotel accommodations.


Under this head may be grouped the dry docks, iron works, controlled by James H. Fitzgerald; Excelsior Brass and Iron Foundry, by Rudge & Round; Barnett & Blair's iron works; W. W. Smith's plow factory; the ship building industries of Stewart & Carleton, Dunford & Allison and Edmond Fitzgerald; the Port Huron Gas Light Company; the planing mills of Ames Wallace, August Berhand and Charles Wilson & Co.; the lumber factories of Fred L. Wells, Brooks, Joslyn & Co., and Beard & Co.; the flouring mills of McMoran & Co., Guy Kimball, John Holt and D. G. Williams; the marble works of Alexander J. Grant; the industries operated by John Howard, Johnson & Figgs and William Buckeridge's wagon and carriage manufactures, with a number of smaller industries.

Among the incorporated companies of the city, noticed in the county records, are the following:

[547] The Hale Manufacturing Company was incorporated in November, 1874, with O'Brien J. Atkinson, Henry Howard, W. P. Hale, O. L. Jenks and H. G. Richards, Directors. The capital stock was $60,000.

The Port Huron Dry Dock Company was incorporated October 7, 1871, with a capital stock of $100,000, half of which sum was then paid in. The names of stockholders were: Archibald Muir, $32,000; Abijah W. Smith, $32,000; Alexander Stewart, $4,000; William Livingstone, Jr., of Detroit, $25,000; and William Livingstone, Detroit, $7,000.

The Detroit & St. Clair Steamboat Company was incorporated, under authority of Legislative Council, April 15, 1833; with Thomas Knapp, Barnabas Campau, Henry Howard, F. G. Wilcox and James Abbot, Directors.

The Black River Steam Mill Company was incorporated December 5, 1834. It appears, from the preamble to the act, that Phineas Davis, Enoch Jones, Bartlett A. Luce, Frederick H. Stevens, E. Bingham, John Clark and Jonathan L. King were creditors of Francis P. Browning, who owned real estate on Black River with a steam saw mill and water mill thereon. They sought to purchase this property from the heirs of Browning, and, by continuing the business there, so save themselves from loss.

The Port Huron Transportation Company was incorporated May 12, 1881, with William Jenkinson, Eliza M. Jenkinson, Jennie Jenkinson, William R. Soutar, H. C. Hope and Charles Clansen, original stockholders. The capital stock was $50,000.

The Port Huron Oil & Mining Company was formed November 1, 1881, with John W. Twiss, Frank Whipple, Jacob P. Haynes, S. W. Smith, D. A. Cameron, George P. Voorheis, Charles A. Ward, H. R. Mills, A. N. Moffat and L. E. Snively, stockholders. The capital stock was $50,000, of which sum $4,000 were paid in at date of organization.

The Mills Transportation Company was formed February 4, 1873, with a capital stock of $250,000, divided into 10,000 shares of $25 each. Nelson Mills, of Marysville, held 2,812; Barney Mills, 938; August C. Gray, 1,250; Henry McMoran, Port Huron, 2,500; and Charles Neal, Bay City, 2,500 shares.

The Bottsford elevator, above the waterworks, was one of the first structures to mark the return of prosperity to this section of the country. It is an immense structure, well located to meet its uses, and one of the monuments to the business activity of our times.

The Banking establishments of the city are the Commercial, the National, Boyce's private banking house and the Port Huron Savings Bank. These financial houses are ably managed, and enjoy the full confidence of the people.

The city boasts of large business houses; notice of which is given in other pages.

In the pages devoted to personal history, references are made to the men who built up the manufacturing, shipping and commercial interests of the city.

The River Street Planing Mill is a two story frame building, 100x100 feet, and was built in 1876 by Wallace Ames. In 1879, it passed into the hands of its present owner, E. B. Taylor. Doors, sash, blinds, moldings, and, in fact, all kinds of wooden building material are manufactured there, giving employment to thirty men. The buildings and machinery cost $20,000. In 1882, the business amounted to $30,000, and this year will increase ten or fifteen per cent.

Henry Howard & Co.'s saw mill is located at the mouth of Black River, and is one of the largest manufactories in St. Clair County. The mill is two stories high, 34x120 feet, and was built in 1876 by W. B. & J. Hibbard. In 1879, it passed into the hands of Henry Howard & Co., the present proprietors. Mr. Howard is Mayor of the city, a leading Republican, and has been a member of the Legislature. He is also a prominent vessel-owner. The amount of lumber, lath, shingles, etc., sold by this firm in 1882 amounted to $120,000, and in 1883 the business will, it is supposed, reach $150,000.

Brooks, Joslyn & Co.'s saw mill, on Black River, is also one of the most extensive institutions in this city. The mill is built of frame, two stories high, 30x120 feet, with brick engine-house, and was erected in 1880. The cost of the mill and machinery was $20,000. Thirty-five men are employed throughout the year. During the winter this firm engages in lumbering, and employs 100 men.

[548] Love & Schofield's boiler shop is one of the rapidly growing establishments of Port Huron. They commenced business in 1876, near Dunford & Alverson's dry dock, but in 1880 they erected a new shop, 60x100 feet, on St. Clair River, at a cost of $4,000. Love & Schofield do general marine work, and their boilers are rated high by vessel men. Thirty men are steadily employed.

The Port Huron Dry Dock Iron Works were established in 1876 by James H. Fitzgerald and Henry Burton, but the latter retired in 1878. These works are located on St. Clair River, the buildings being of frame, and two stories high. The machinery and buildings cost about $6,000, and twenty men are employed. Most of the machinery in the large vessels are overhauled at these works. The proprietor, James H. Fitzgerald, for several years sailed on the lakes, and is a thorough engineer. In 1882, about $20,000 worth of work was sent out, and this year the amount will increase to $30,000.


The largest lumber yards are owned by Peter Hill, John Hill and John Jenkinson, all being located on Black River. The lumber, lath and shingles handled by these dealers comes principally from up-shore ports.

L. L. Wells' saw mill, on Black River, west of Seventh street, is a thriving industry, furnishing employment to thirty or forty men.


S. T. Probett is the largest manufacturer of lime in this section, and he ships several thousand barrels each week. Jedediah Spalding has the next largest lime kilns. Both are situated on Black River.


George Mitts, whose factory is located on Water street, manufactures heavy and light wagons and carriages.

The carriage factory owned by Asa H. Wright, also located on Water street, is another growing industry. A superior carriage is manufactured there, and although the establishment is not very large, the proprietor competes with the largest institutions in the country.


The Wolverine Dry Dock was built in 1875, by Carleton, Stewart & Co., and is conveniently located near the upper end of St. Clair River. The total length is 205 feet, breadth 45 feet and depth of water over miter sill 14 1/2 feet. Total cost, $24,000. After its completion, several large vessels were built. In 1881, it became the property of the Wolverine Dry Dock Company, and is now owned by that company. During the past two years, the work has been almost exclusively confined to rebuilding large craft, but the company intend to build vessels. One hundred men are constantly employed.

Dunford & Alverson's dry dock is one of the oldest in Michigan. It is situated on St. Clair River, adjacent to all the docks. It was built in 1866, by Archibald Muir & Co., and cost $80,000. Some of the largest vessels on the lakes were built at this dock. In 1880, it was sold to Dunford & Alverson, the present proprietors. Between eighty and ninety men are employed. The frame of a large craft is now on the stocks. No ship-builders in Michigan have a better reputation than Dunford & Alverson.


The largest foundry in the city is situated adjacent to the Chicago & Grand Trunk and Port Huron & Northwestern Railways, and facing St. Clair River. The business was first carried on by W. S. & N. Jenks, in a frame building built in 1857, when ten men were employed. In 1861, this building was destroyed by fire. In the same year large brick buildings were erected, and named the Phoenix Iron Works. In 1882, the business amounted to $125,000, and this year will, it is said, increase to $175,000. The new works and machinery cost $65,000, and seventy-five men are on the pay-rolls. Special attention is given to machinery [549] for mining, milling and marine. This firm manufactures superior engines, from patterns invented in the works.


McMorran & Co.'s flour mill, located on St. Clair River, and adjacent to the Port Huron & Northwestern depot and freight yard, is one of the most extensive institutions of the kind in Michigan. The work of building was commenced in 1876, and completed in 1877. The mill then contained six run of stones, but two years later five more were added. In 1882, the mill was remodeled, five stones taken out and the new patent rollers added. Eighty thousand barrels of flour were manufactured in 1882, and in 1883 the amount will, it is thought, be increased 10,000 barrels. Thirty-five men are employed. McMorran & Co. have an immense local trade, and also made heavy shipments to the New England States, Liverpool and Glasgow.


The Port Huron & Northwestern Railway shops, Grand Trunk shops and Chicago & Grand Trunk shops are located here, and furnish employment to about six hundred men. The first-named shops are purely local, being owned and operated by Port Huron capitalists, who built the narrow-gauge railway.


The harness factory on Huron avenue, owned by John McCormick, is a large, two-story brick building. The factory was established in 1869, and the business has steadily increased until fifteen men are now employed. All kinds of harness are manufactured, and shipped to every State in the Union. In 1882, the sales amounted to $40,000; this year the business will aggregate $60,000. At the beginning of 1883, Edward F. Percival became a partner, and the firm name is E. Percival & Son.


Perhaps in no quarter of the civilized world are the phenomena of the skies to be observed more clearly, or the eccentricities of the atmosphere to be experience more materially, than along the St. Clair River. There cannot be conceived anything more beautiful in nature, than the sunrise beyond the river, and the hues it conveys to the dancing wavelets of the St. Clair, and the tints it gives the spires of churches and windows of public buildings and homes, and to the shade trees, throughout the riverside city of Port Huron.

There is a flutter among the leaves; off there to the right, soft hues rise above the bosom of the dimly-lighted scene; the tops of the trees shiver with the first touch of light; in exquisite tenderness of color there is wedlock between the glowing lights above and the clinging shadows that belong to earth. As one gazes, something stirs in the furrow at his very feet; it is scarcely a sound; rather it is a sigh between two dreams. Frightened at the silence that ensues, the skylark lies close and hushed. Then the blackbird ventures sound; a great, brave chirp, then two, then silence. Then a gap, bereft of every sound. And then a clear-cut call, as if moistened with the new light of dawn - the whistle of a quail, which makes reply from his shelter beneath the grasses of the hilltop. Bolder do these voices gradually grow; answering calls from here, from there, float out from copses hard by; there are dialogues and discussions - a growing flood of sound that swells richer and fuller with the measure of the warming light of day. The heavens are a wonder. While in the east the sun ventures to protrude the tip end of his rosy nose, westward - still enfolded in the chilly vapors of the night - the moon lies dying - dies.

[550] The day succeeding may be characterized by extremes of heat and cold. The weather is very treacherous; but throughout the year, the resident knows, should the visitor fail to realize the fact, that under no other sun can a more agreeable clime be found than here where the vanished pines give place to a prosperous city.

The city was a base of supplies for lumbermen and raftsmen during the great lumber era. It is now the depot for the neighboring farmers. Every class of goods required in the pineries, or anywhere in the vicinity, can be found in the stores and warehouses, which are being constantly added to as business increases. The legal, medical and clerical professions are well represented. In the biographical sketches, the personnel of many of the most prominent of these may be found. The history of the county is inseparable from that of the city. Some points, however, of special interest to the residents of the city, will be presented in this connection. The building of a city at the point was not the result of a deliberate plan or scheme, no one contemplated such a thing; but being at the end of a road by the rapids, and at the foot of a long stretch of smooth water, it naturally became a depot and an entrepot for supplies, and so the town grew. The panic of 1857, it is believed, worked material injury to the progress of the village, as also to that of the county. Few came in, from this year until after the close of the war. Financial stringency produced a practical of the lumber interests, and consequent stagnation of business. There was comparatively no farming of consequence, and less trade. The value of farm products depreciated, and prices of commodities increased correspondingly. The effect of these anomalous conditions were perceptibly visible, not alone at Port Huron and St. Clair, but also throughout this portion of the lumber district. Impoverishment, if not ruin, stared many in the face, and escape therefrom was only accomplished after trials no pen can adequately describe. To the close of the war, both increase in population and the number of improvements were nominal. As one who is familiar with the fact asserts, there was not to exceed forty heads of families who came into the county during the period between 1857 and 1865, who remained permanently. Others visited the vicinity, but, having canvassed the probabilities of the future, decided against remaining, and went elsewhere. Improvements continued to be made, and brick blocks were substituted for the inconvenient and contracted quarters erected before Port Huron became a city. They were on a scale of finish and capacity almost equal to any east of the lakes, and were eminently adapted to the displays of stock made therein. The dwellings were also of a more modern type than any of moment previously erected, and added to the appearance of the city in their neatness and finish. A musical association was organized and gave concerts occasionally, by particular request, at Harder Hall, and the praiseworthy efforts of the society evoked a murmur of surprise at the "quantity and quality of musical talent" that was wasting in the city. Another success scored during the spring was the organization of a fire company, the first in this city. This grew out of the constant alarms of fire raised, it is said, almost daily within the city limits. Its repetition produced an effect upon the public mind, and those who owned property began to fear that the streets of Port Huron would some day be made desolate. In February, three buildings caught fire, and were only saved by the greatest exertions. Later in the month, an alarm from oppostie portions of the city was sounded, and both houses were destroyed. The bucket brigade, with axes, comprised the department at that day, and their labors were considered as feeble in opposition to elements against which only almost inexhaustible resources can combat. The loss that would some day accrue, if measures were not taken without delay to prevent it, would be in the nature of a calamity, the reparation of which would be difficult, if not impossible. There was material in the city out of which to organize hook and ladder and engine companies, and before it was too late the citizens decided to do this. The membership was made up of young men, and for once in the history of the human family, to be youthful was a condition of felicity superterrestrial.

In closing this sketch of a city, which contains within itself all the qualities to render it populous and prosperous, it is but just to point out the great requisites of our time. Owing to its central location, with reference to the important producing and shipping interests, it has become the point from which the major part of these are managed. Hence, it continues to grow in wealth, population and business, despite the neglect of its people in the matter of or- [551] ganized effort to promote its advancement. Its growth without such effort but indicates what its progress might have been, if the stimulus of systematic work on the part of leading property owners and business men to promote its welfare were applied to the development of its natural advantages. The compiler is no chronic fault-finder, but sees so clearly what is lost by remissness in this respect, that he cannot help deploring the want of united action to send the town rapidly forward. He knows that nothing but such action is needed to place Port Huron in the front rank of Michigan cities, as the manufacturing and commercial center of a rich region, and in point of population. The business men are the peers of any to be found in the country in enterprise, liberality, business sagacity and pluck, but the trouble appears to be that they are so absorbed in large undertakings, not dependent upon the prosperity of the municipality, that its material prosperity is but a secondary consideration with them. The city needs more manufacturing establishments of various kinds to insure permanent prosperity, by bringing us skilled artisans, whose labor would increase the wealth of the place; but there is no encouragement offered those to locate here, save what is held out by our natural advantages, while there is nothing done to advertise these to the world. Hundreds of cheap, comfortable homes, to accommodate men of small means who are oblidged to rent are needed. There are being tens put up where hundreds are wanted, and these by persons who intend occupying the buildings themselves, thus but indirectly relieving the pressure that has crowded a large portion of tenements in the city to an extent destructive alike to the health and comfort of their occupants. We might lengthen out this list of "needs" indefinitely, all of which tend to retard the advancement of the town, and many of which exist only because of the lassitude of the people where the welfare of the city is concerned.

Marysville, or Vicksburg, as it was formerly called, is situated on the St. Clair River, six miles below Port Huron, and the same distance above St. Clair. It contains a population of about 300. It has three steam saw mills, one hotel and a Methodist Church. Some shipbuilding is carried on here, Marysville being the headquarters of the Mills Transportation Company, which has a capital of $250,000 - $70,000 paid up. The Lake Shore line of boats stop at Marysville daily, and it has a daily mail the year around and also telegraphic facilities.


History is a relation of facts, while biography is actually a history of the lives and characters of the men who caused such facts to have an existence. One should be inseparable from the other; and so apparent is this, so apparent has it been, that for some years we made it a practice to deal fully with the people who have made subject for the histories of our counties; and particularly with those whose intelligence now guides them to place confidence in our work - to realize its value, to take an especial pride in its success. In the following sketches it will be evident to the reader that an effort has been made to deal fairly with the people of this city. We owe them a bona fide history, for the special support they have given the work; we owe them our thanks for the hearty co-operation extended to ourselves and to our employes.

*This biography is taken from Mrs. B. C. Farrand's historical paper.

Edward Petit was born February 7, 1813, in a log house built by his father, near the foot of the present Court street, Port Huron.

He was the oldest and now only living son of Anselm Petit. His mother was Angelique Campau, daughter of Simon Campau and Angelique Bourdon, from Quebec. Mrs. Campau, the grandmother, was one of fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters. She died at the house of Lebby Campau, in Detroit, aged ninety-six years.

A daughter married one McDougal, who kept slaves - two of them, named Jo and Callette - may be remembered by persons now living in Detroit. Callette, after the death of her mistress, went to live with Lebby Campau, at whose house she died. When Mr. Petit was but a few months old, the family was obliged to flee for safety to Detroit, where they remained till the close of the war (1812), when they returned home, and his father assisted in building Fort Gratiot.

About the year 1821, Mr. John S. Hudson and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Hart and Miss Osmer [552] opened a missionary school at the fort, for the benefit of the Indians and any that chose to attend. The first year they met with poor success, the Indians wholly refusing to receive instruction, believing or fearing that the missionaries wished to enslave them. But after getting an interpreter, named Javerodd, the school numbered some fifty or sixty, and was continued three years, until the missionaries were removed to Mackinaw. Thirty of the Indians followed them thither, thus proving their attachment to these self-denying, good people.

At this school Mr. Petit took his first and only lessons, which were learned in a box of sand. Each pupil was provided with a sharpened stick, and formed letters in the sand after a copy placed upon the wall. After the inspection of the teacher, the work was rubbed out and another trial made.

What a change have these fifty years witnessed!

The chief amusements of Mr. Petit's boyhood were those of the Indian - hunting and fishing.

The Indians were very numerous, and from them he learned their language - French being the language of his parents, and English settlers coming in, he learned simultaneously the French, Indian and English languages, all three of which he now speaks with fluency - and on this account, as well as his enterprising spirit, he was well calculated to trade for the fur companies, and in that trade he was employed almost from boyhood.

He well remembers the visits of old Father Badin at his father's house, and in 1828, at St. Ann's Church, in Detroit, he received the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church from the hands of Pere Richard.

During that year, and at only fifteen years of age, he engaged in the Indian trade and spent the winter on the Canadian side, near the Sauble. He took supplies of shot, powder, calicoes and blue braodcloth, one and three-fourth years of which was called a blanket. The Indians gave for them maple sugar and furs - otter, beaver, mink, marten and bear skins. Of the early visits of the steamer Superior, he has a distinct recollection. About four times a year she was accustomed to visit this place for wood, dry pine being deemed the only wood suitable for steamboats. A Mr. Hatch had a contract to supply the wood.

The captain of the boat charged all who went on board to visit her one shilling each. "Our whole family," says Mr. Petit, "visited the boat, and going on board, stood in mute admiration of the most beautiful thing we had ever seen. We thought we were in heaven."

When in the Indian trade, in the employ of Gurden and Ephraim Williams, then of the fur company, Mr. Petit had a post of the Cass River, at a place called Skop-ti-qua-nou, making a very short bend int he river, shaped like a horseshoe. The Indians on that river were numerous and unusually intelligent. The traders had plenty to eat, and plenty to do looking them up and bartering with them.

Special interest had been awakened by the failure of all the traders to find an encampment of five or six families of Indians who had been gone all winter, and must necessarily have great quantities of furs, or skins as they were called. Party after party went out and returned, not having found them. The head of this camp was Tawas, a cunning old fellow, one of whose sons had blue eyes.

Young Petit resolved to secure this prize if perseverence would accomplish it, and started out with provisions on his back for a week, together with articles for barter. He took with him as guide an Indian with one arm. The other arm had been sacrificed to the revenge of the Indians, who had shot him because he had murdered his own wife at la Riviere Delude.

The two started off and passed over to Sebewaing, then following round the lake came down to the place now known as White Rock, where they encamped, after making for themselves a lodge of bark. Before morning a drenching rain set in, and with nothing to cheer, and only one loaf of bread remaining, they set forth renewing their search, which was rewarded after a tramp of five miles. Tawas and his families were found preparing to make sugar. They had brass kettles of all sizes which had been given them by the British government. They had selected this spot on account of its facilities for fishing. When found they were almost in a starving condition, having no food at all except moose tallow scraps. Petit divided with them his only loaf, and in return shared their hospitality in the shape of scraps of moose tallow for [553] several days. He purchased, during this time, 500 marten skins at $1 each, which were readily sold at $2. Only the finest of the furs could they take away. The coarse ones were left for later traders; and, returning to camp rejoicing, his wages were quadrupled by his employers.

Another winter, while in the Indian trade, he was three months with only one man for company, on the Canada side of the lake. Getting short of provisions, he sent the man forty miles, to Goderich, for food. The snow fell during his absence, and was so deep that return was impossible. The bread and crackers gave out, and he had nothing left but whole corn, without any salt. After some days, an old Indian came in from the hunting-grounds on the Thames, bringing on his back a basket he had made from elm bark, filled with honey, found on his way in a tree. After that, to use his own expression, they "lived first-rate on corn and honey." As soon as the sun came out so as to melt the snow and form a crust, the man who had been sent for food returned on snow-shoes, and soon four Frenchmen came out, bringing relief to the starving trader.

It was in this vicinity, on the Sauble, about forty miles from Sarnia, that he observed the ruins of an ancient house.

Pacing the size, he found it to have been forty by twenty-four feet on the ground. On the middle of the south or gable end, was a chimney eighteen feet high, in excellent preservation, built of stone with an open fire-place. The fire-place had sunk below the surface. This ruin had a garden surrounding it, ten or twelve rods wide by twenty long, marked by ditches and alleys. And most remarkable of all, even wonderful, inside the walls of the house a splendid oak had grown to be three feet in diameter and sixty feet high, without a limb and perfectly straight. It seemed to be a second growth, and must have been 150 years in reaching the proportions observed. On inquiry of an aged Saguenay chief,* (*Onick-nick), eighty-four years old, he stated that a white man built the house at the time his great-great-great-great-grandfather lived, and that white people lived then in all the country round; that they were not Frenchmen, and that everything, no matter of how great or small value, was sold for a peminick, meaning dollar.

Who could these generous white men of the north have been?

After so varied an experience in border and Indian life, Mr. Petit, scarcely past middle age, resides in the place of his birth, blessed with ample means, the fruit of his own industry and well-directed enterprise.

He is a zealous member of the Congregational Church, and lives to enjoy the luxury of doing good, and to help build up those institutions of benevolence and Christianity which, in so short a period of time, have changed the wilderness, where only the swarthy Indian roamed, to the city whose schoolhouses and churches guard and develop the intellectual, moral and religious culture of its thousands.

For the facts and incidents of the foregoing sketch of early French settlers of Port Huron, I am largely indebted to Mr. And Mrs. Petit, and their only daughter, Mrs. Louise Petit Smith.


Judge Zephaniah Webster Bunce


William Jenkinson


William Stewart


Thomas Aistrop

John Allen

Thomas A. Alverson

William C. Anderson

Cyrus Angey

O'Brien Atkinson

B. D. Austin

A. R. Avery

Stephen H. Avery

William H. Avery

Charles Baer

J. Warren Bagley

Frank A. Bailey

Horace Baker

Thomas Balkwill

S. L. Ballentine

William Lyman Bancroft

William Barden

Hiram Barnett

H. G. Barnum

E. W. Barrett

J. L. Bartholomew

David Beard

James Beard

Capt. George Bedford

Capt. Lewis Bedford

Daniel M. Bennett

James R. Bennett

C. M. Bentley

August Berend

Rev. C. Bofinger

E. C. Boice

Thomas Bondy

Capt. Victor Bonnah

I. S. Botsford

J. E. Botsford

W. F. Botsford

S. L. Boyce

W. J. Boyce

Maj. N. S. Boynton

James Bradley

James Brandimore

Rufus Brandimore

H. J. Brockius

George Brooks

Capt. W. H. Brown

William H. Brown

Capt. W. Brownlee

Hiel B. Buckridge

D. M. Bunce

Edward Bunce

Horace Bunce

Judge Zephaniah Webster Bunce

William Burd

Henry Burton

Capt. George Buzzard

Capt. John Buzzard

James W. Campbell

John H. Campbell

William Campbell

John W. Campfield

W. W. Campfield

Hon. Ezra C. Carleton

M. F. Carleton

Samuel B. Carll

Capt. Peter Cartright

Richard Casler

Andrew Causley

Prof. N. Cawthorne

A. E. Chadwick

E. C. Chamberlin

S. D. Clark

Henry Cline

William M. Cline

Asa R. Cole

John Cole

Hon. Omar D. Conger

Capt. Arthur Conkey

H. W. Cooley

Gage M. Cooper

John Cornwall

Capt. Thomas Cowan

Capt. James Cox

P. C. Coy

George Crackel

Alexander Crawford

M. C. Cronk

William Curtis

James A. Dart

J. A. Davidson

Thomas Davis

George Denler

David Dennis

Albert Dixon

Charles K. Dodge

Capt. Frank N. Downer

Lieut. George Duff

Thomas Dunford

J. E. Duval

W. P. Edison

F. Charles Eichhorn

Philip Eichhorn, Jr.

W. A. Eldridge

Capt. Thomas A. Ellery

M. V. Elliott

Robert Elliott

Capt. Charles R. Ely

Philip Endlich

W. F. Ernest

Don Ewer

N. T. Farr

Bethuel Clinton Farrand

Frederick Finster, M.D.

George Fish

Thomas Fish

E. Fitzgerald

James H. Fitzgerald

W. C. Flanagan

Capt. Daniel Flood

Charles Flugal

Daniel Follansbee

Frank L. Follansbee

Capt. William Forbes

Loren Forester

E. T. Freeman

Lizzie Gahan

Capt. Robert E. Gain

Capt. Cumming S. Geel

William George

James A. Gibson

S. Goodman

James Goulden

James W. Goulding

Augustus C. Gray

Charles M. Green

Capt. George R. Green

Charles Grieb

Daniel J. Guerin

S. W. Hamilton

William Hancock

Capt. George O. Harder

E. B. Harrington

Rev. C. E. Harris

E. W. Harris

William Hartsuff

James H. Haslett

John Hayes

J. P. Haynes

Capt. Fred Hebner

Peter Hill

Benjamin Hillier

John Hilton

J. C. Hock

John Hoffman

John M. Hoffman

John P. Hoffman

Capt. F. J. Holland

Henry C. Hope

James A. Hope

Henry Howard

Capt. James T. Howard

John Howard

C. B. Hubbard

I. T. Hubbard

J. B. Hull

Henry Huner

Martin Huner

P. A. Hurd

P. F. Hushin

Thomas J. Hutchinson

Capt. W. H. Hutchinson

H. E. Hyde

Capt. Byron E. Inman

Jerome B. Inman

Edward J. Inslee

Gage Inslee

J. Jacobi

William Jenkinson

W. L. Jenks

David Howell Jerome

Charles A. Jex

Capt. H. N. Jex

William Johnston

Dennis Jones

S. A. Jones

W. W. Jones

Otis Joslyn

William H. Jowett

John M. Kane

Benjamin J. Karrer

John C. Kaumeier, Jr.

J. D. Kenney

Chris Kern

Henry Kessel

John Keyes

Jared Kibbee

Guy Kimball

John S. Kimball

R. J. King

Simon King

Chester Kinney

H. J. Kuhn

Asa Larned

John Lawler

Capt. Nelson Little

Thomas M. Lomasney

William Love

Capt. A. E. Manuel

Henry C. Mansfield

E. G. Manuel

R. Marengo

Antwine Marontate

Henry Marx

Henry F. Marx

Mathias Matzen

D. McArron

Capt. Duncan McCaig

A. B. McCollom

John McCormick

Samuel McCormick

Alexander McDonald

David McDonald

Edward McGowen

Dr. J. B. McGregor

John D. McIntosh

Duncan McKenzie

D. C. McNutt

George R. McPherson

Capt. Hugh McTavish

William A. Mallory

John Meier

Christian G. Meisel

Gottleib C. Meisel

Capt. F. I. Meryman

J. E. Miller

Hon. John Miller

Stephen Miller

H. R. Mills

Nelson Mills

John Miner

Joseph P. Minnie

Louis N. Minnie

Capt. Fred Minor

William T. Mitchell

George Mitts

A. N. Moffat

Capt. James Moffat

Rev. T. W. Monteith

David Moore

Capt. Archibald Muir

W. R. Mulford

William J. Mulford

George K. Nairn

L. S. Noble

M. Northup

John G. O'Neill

Peter O'Neill

David Louis Osborne

Dr. Samuel D. Pace

Dr. G. J. Parker

Capt. E. W. Parsons

F. C. Parsons

Frank W. Parsons

George P. Parsons

R. S. Patterson

Joshua Pennebaker

Edward Percival

S. T. Percy

Frank P. Phenix

Lionel Phenix

Napoleon Phenix

P. H. Phillips

George Poole

J. W. Porter

Elbridge S. Post

Stephen T. Probett

Peter W. Reed

Andrew Richardson

Daniel Roberts

Napoleon Roberts

D. Robeson

Prof. Henry J. Robeson

Dell Robinson

Rev. A. Hastings Ross

John Rudge

D. N. Runnels

Alfred Rush

Hon. James W. Sanborn

John P. Sanborn

P. B. Sanborn

Peter Sanborn

William Saxe

Charles Scheffler

Albert Schofield

Peter Schweitzer

Otis Scott

G. R. Shatto

H. Shoebotham

Capt. Alexander R. Sinclair

Capt. John Sinclair, Sr.

Capt. L. Sinclair

Andrew W. Smith

E. G. Spaulding

Jedediah Spaulding

Fred E. Starkweather

D. J. Stephenson

Harmon L. Stevens

Herman W. Stevens

Elliott G. Stevenson

Capt. Hugh Stevenson

Alexander Stewart

Charles F. Stewart

Capt. W. W. Stewart

William Stewart

William E. Stewart

C. B. Stockwell

C. M. Stockwell, M.D.

Charles E. Stuart

Eli Swartout

N. B. Sweet

Charles F. Taylor

George Tebo

E. Thompson

William Thompson

J. Thomson

Harry Traver

Peter S. Trese

Philo Truesdell

George E. Twiss

John W. Twiss

Oswald Unger

Rev. Father E. Van Lauwe

Mrs. William H. Varney

George P. Voorheis

J. R. Wadsworth

Joseph Walker

M. Walker

L. W. Wallace

William Wanless

C. A. Ward

Owen Ward

William Wastell

Joshua Wellman

Frederick Ludlow Wells

John Wells

B. H. Welton

F. A. Weyers

Eli R. Wheeler

L. B. Wheeler

Frank Whipple

Edgar White

Fred White

J. M. White

James H. White

Joseph D. Whitney

F. M. Wilcox

David G. Williams

Mortimer Willson

L. D. Wilson

Oscar A. Wilson

Frank Wolfstyn

Abel M. Wood

A. H. Wright

P. M. Wright

Capt. L. W. Young