History of Salem, Washtenaw County, MI, published 49 years ago - 1881, page 3
History of Salem,
Washtenaw County, Michigan, 1881, Page 3

(EDITOR'S NOTE - The following data is taken from a history of Washtenaw county published 49 years ago - 1881. This is the second of a series of interesting township histories.)

A compilation of History for Salem, Washtenaw Co., MI, Page 3

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Early Settlement of Salem.

The First Baptist church was organized within the house of Wheaton Bullock, Jan. 17, 1833, with J. L. Twiss, moderator, and Thomas Harper, clerk. Elder Eben Carpenter preached the first sermon to the society on the day of organization;  Elder Moses Clark was the first pastor of the church;  L. C. Goodale, the first clerk; John Bennett and Eliphalet Lewis, first trustees; with Alexis Packard and John Bennett, deacons.  Elder Clark served as minister for a short time after organization; when Elder Carpenter was appointed pastor.  Elder Noyes was called to the pastorate about 1837.  The pulpit has been filled by many preachers since that period.

Mrs. Almira Wheeler was the first member who received baptism.  Rev. J. L. Twiss officiated at this ceremony, which took place in May, 1833.  The church was erected in 1852, at a cost of $900.  It was moved from its first location to the depot in 1877, at a cost of $300.  Since its organization the society has advanced steadily, so that it now claims a membership of 100 persons.

  The First Free Will Baptist church of Salem was organized July 7, 1839, in the northeast part of the township of Salem.  The Rev. C. P. Goodrich was pastor;  Manley Smith, clerk; Michael Thompson and Deacon James Filer, trustees.  In 1850 the society erected a church edifice, which was dedicated in November of that year.

Congregational Church - Several settlers of Salem township, who had previously worshipped with the Presbyterian church, decided to form a society to be known as the Congregational church, and a meeting was therefore called on March 27, 1839.  The following persons gave their names as members of said society:  Isaac Hamilton, Charles Pratt, Ethiel Hubbard, Orange Green, Hiram Rhodes, Enoch C. Hamilton, Harvey Hubbard, Edwin Hubbard, Reuben Peebles, J. H. Peebles, Parley Crowell, Cola Bennett, Zebedee Waldron, S. G. Haywood, Sebra Perkins, George N. Stoddard, Seth Thompson, J. W. Hamilton, John Peebles, Lorin Pratt, and Adam Spence. Zebedee Waldron, Adam Spence, S. G. Haywood, Parley Crowell, Harvey Hubbard and Joseph H. Peebles were the first trustees.  Zebedee Waldron was the first secretary, and Harvey Hubbard the first treasurer.  A call was extended to Hiram S. Hamilton to become the first pastor.  A house of worship was commenced in 1848, and dedicated as "Zion Church" on Aug. 8, 1849.  The cost of the building was about $900.  The organization has been very prosperous, and has for its present pastor, the Rev. Mr. Gilson.

The Presbyterian church - The Presbyterian church was organized in the township of Salem in 1833.  The first deacons were Isaac Hamilton and Nathaniel Terry.  Subsequent to this organization several Congregationalists settled in the district, who were not content with the society as it was found existing.  A meeting was called and the society organized as a Presbyterian Church and Congregational Society.  This society erected a house of worship about 1850, at a cost of $1,000.  The names of the pastors since the organization are as follows:  James Morton, 1852; J. D. Pierce, 1856; C. H. Eaton, 1858; Samuel Phillips, 1860; R. J. Williams, 1863; P. C. Thompson, 1867; E. F. Strickland, 1869; J. W. Wastel, 1870; Robert Hoverden, 1871; M. B. Wilsey, 1874; Armon Spence, 1875; T. O. Childs, 1877; James Vinson, 1880.  The present toll of members shows 40 names of males and 65 names of females.  Of the aggregate number, 105, there are 26 absent members.  The Sabbath school, in connection with the church, was organized in 1841 with a class of 15 members.  The school has increased to 35.

The First Wesleyan Methodist Church of Salem was organized in a school-house on section 33, in 1841, with David Norton as class-leader, and Joseph Lapham, first steward.  The first annual conference was held in that school-house, where also was formed the first church discipline.  Marcus Swift, Samuel Bibbins and Orin Doolittle were the first preachers.  The first house of worship was built in 1851, at a cost of $840, near Lapham's Corners, or Brookville.  The pastors, have been as follows:  B. F. Pritchard, J. G. Spaulding, J. H. Castor, A. W. Wilson, H. Noble, S. Clements and B. F. Hedger, the present pastor.  The first Sunday school was established in 1844 or 1845, with 20 members present.  The average attendance now is about 50.

The Methodist Episcopal Church - In 1864 the M. E. church in Salem was dedicated, and the church organization was perfected, with a membership of about 25.  J. B. Van Atta and William Hollingshead were made stewards and A. M. Farley and L. D. Perkins, class-leaders.  Previous to that time there had been a temporary church organization and preaching at different points in the township by the M. E. ministers.  The perfection of this church organization was brought about by the earnest efforts of Elder Anderson, who was then preaching on this charge.  The dedicatory services were performed by Elder J. M. Castor, who succeeded Elder Anderson.  Since that period the membership of the church has been  alrgely (sic) increased until it numbers about 60.  At the present time, B. F. Hedger is the preacher in charge.

Salem Grange

Salem Grange was organized July 6, 1874, at Salem Station, by the State Deputy, C. L. Whitney, of Muskegon, with 30 charter members.  Names as follows:  John B. Waterman, Eleanor P. Waterman, Myron E. Root, Priscilla Root, Charles P. Waterman, Belle Fairchilds, Henry C. Dennis, Martha L. Dennis, Dwelle Smith, Rosa A. Smith, Daniel E. Smith, Kate Smith, David Roberts, Susan Roberts, William S. Whipple, Charlotte Whipple, Alfred S. Waterman, Lydia Waterman, Hiram B. Thayer, Almira J. Thayer, Rufus Babbitt, Ellen L. Babbitt, William Tousey, aJne (sic) Tousey, Eliakim T. Walker, Isadore Walker, George S. Van Sickle, Jane A. Van Sickle, Daniel W. Wheeler, Jane Wheeler.

The first officers of the grange were as follows:  Rufus Babbitt, Master; Eliakim T. Walker, Overseer; John B. Waterman, Lecturer; Daniel W. Wheeler, Steward; David Roberts, Asst. Steward; Henry C. Dennis, Chaplain; Daniel E. Smith, Treasurer; Hiram B. Thayer, Secretary; George S. Van Sickle, Gate-keeper.

The following have served as masters of the grange since its organization: Rufus Babbitt, J. B. Waterman and Dan E. Smith.  The officers at present are as follows:  John B. Waterman, Master; Harvey C. Packard, Overseer; Susan Smith, Lecturer; James H. C. Mosher, Steward; John M. Thompson, Asst. Steward; John B. Smith, Chaplain; Daniel E. Smith, Treasurer; Darwin D. Cook, Secretary; Simeon Root, Gate-keeper; Kate Cook, Pomona; Louise Bidwell, Flora; Irene Roberts, Ceres; Priscilla Root, Lady Asst. Steward.

Of the 30 charter members seven have withdrawn by demit, six have been suspended for non-payment of dues, one removed by death, and 16 are still members.  Of the 87 admitted since organization, 32 have been suspended for the non-payment of dues, eight  have withdrawn by demit, three removed by death, 44 retain their membership, which added to the 16 charter members makes a total membership of 60, with a fair prospect of an increase in members during the present year.

Salem has been represented in the Territorial and State Legislatures 14 terms, and in Constitutional Convention as follows:  George Rennick served six terms, two in the Territorial and four in the State Legislature;  Robert Pindy, one term as member of the Constitutional Convention that framed the first constitution of the state: two terms in the State Legislature; Ira Rider, one term in Legislature; Henry T. Walker, two terms; Calvin Wheeler, one term; Thomas D. Lane, two terms, one in the House, and one in the Senate.

Salem has been noted for the number of physicians it has furnished to the world, having sent out some 20 men, all of whom were graduates of some medical college of good repute, besides many others who have never sought or obtained the coveted diploma.  In the law and theological departments, she has not been so prolific, having furnished but four lawyers and one minister.  She has furnished one county clerk, Leonard Goodale, one county treasurer, J. W. Babbitt, and one county superintendent of schools, George S. Wheeler.

A special 'thank you' to Charla Kurtz for transcribing and submitting this historical data.

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