History of Manchester's first hundred years, written by Marie A. Schneider, published by the Manchester Centennial Committee of 1967, Irvin Gill, President.
Editorial notes: The book has been divided into chapters for online presentation purposes. Printed pages were scanned, then proofread and corrected. Words misspelled in the original have been corrected to aid in search. Photo captions that appear in brackets were not in the original, printed edition.
This history is dedicated to the memory of the pioneers who selected Manchester for their home and to the Centennial Committee of 1967. This pilot group of dedicated volunteers made it possible for a closely knit community to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the signing of its charter without engaging outside help and at the same time guided the celebration events to a most successful conclusion.
As Chairman of the Manchester Centennial Committee, I wish to express thanks to everyone who helped in any way to complete the centennial events which were outlined early this year. I, and many others, believed we could have a worthwhile Centennial without soliciting outside professional help. This was accomplished, not by any single individual or group of people, but by the united efforts of everyone in the immediate area of Manchester—and with help from interested people not necessarily involved.
Committees, subcommittees, farmers, merchants, boys and girls, worked many hours on centennial features. We didn't want this Centennial Celebration to be a burden to our merchants and townspeople, as has been the case in some communities.
Individuals loaned money early in our plans to get the ball rolling. We had fun throughout the spring and summer as we tried to utilize new ideas and suggestions.
To name people to whom this committee is indebted would be useless. We needed everyone—from the Centennial Queen to the last fellow who bought a membership button.
I want to personally thank everyone of our officers and our Board of Directors for their endless hours of volunteer help and cooperation. And we are grateful to the Hendleys for giving us this history of Manchester and its surrounding area. Now everyone can have a lasting reminder of the growth of our community and turn the pages and read again how we celebrated our one hundredth birthday!
— Irvin Gill, Centennial President
A full century has elapsed since the Village of Manchester was granted a charter. The organization of the community took place more than thirty years before. The accomplishments and struggles of these early pioneers is a part of its history. A better way of life, religious freedom and education of the children prompted the settlement.
[more to come]
(This chapter division has been created for online presentation purposes and does not appear in the original.)
Manchester is celebrating a birthday in this year of 1967. Just one hundred years ago J. D. Corey introduced a bill to organize Manchester as a village. That was on Feb. 28, 1867, and it was approved on March 16, 1867. The charter granted in 1867 was set aside in 1879, and the village affairs were carried on under the authority of the State of Michigan.
The first election of village officers was held at the Union Hall on March 18, 1867, when Newman Granger was elected President. Alvinza S. Doty was the Recorder and Philetus Coon the Treasurer.
It should be remembered that long before Manchester received its charter it was a busy thriving community. Its history dates back to the early 1800's when southern Michigan was a country of rolling hills, rivers and "burr oak openings."
It was James Fennimore Cooper who wrote of the "burr oak openings" in one of his visits to this part of the country as: "a small variety of a very extensive genus...which stand in copses and separated by vacant spaces, that bear no small affinity to artificial lawns, being covered with verdure." The grasses were credited to the Indians who lighted fires periodically to clear their hunting grounds.
The nomadic Indian tribes had settlements throughout the area. Where to begin with Manchester's history is difficult to decide, but there should be some mention made that these people once had this as their happy hunting ground.
They cannot be ignored especially when, as late as October 3, 1965, the skeleton of an Indian woman in her late 20s or 30s was discovered by Jan Huber, 12, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Huber.
"It's an Indian," said Dr. Donald Huelke of the University of Michigan when he looked at the skeleton which was found in a pit near the Schaffer Airport in the southwest part of the village.
The skeleton was well preserved, Huelke said, probably because of the sandy soil in which the woman was buried. It was found about two and a half feet below the ground level--the level where most Indian skeletons are found. "The Indians didn't have tools to dig much deeper," Huelke said.
So few had a chance to see the bones before they were whisked off to the University to find out how old the skeleton was that it was decided that she should return. The Manchester area had been her home a thousand years ago--add or subtract a couple of hundred years.
She was brought to the historical room at the Manchester Township Library and dubbed Umma. It was a toss-up whether to call her Minnie Ha Ha--which wasn't quite fitting--or Umma. The last was what was printed on the end of the box the skeleton arrived in. Of course, Umma stands for University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology, too.
The big reason for bringing Umma back was to give some 1,000 children a chance to see her. They might never get to the museum. This was first hand history and children from the four townships flocked to the village, which is tucked off in the southwest corner of Washtenaw County--and even that is an Indian name. With her in her glass case, lined with sand from the Schaffer pit is the typed article, "A Burial from Manchester, Mich." Since leaving Manchester Umma toured other villages in the county before she settled down--UMMA.
Much has been written about the Indians. Central Michigan was the home of the Pottawattomies. Their territory extended from northern Indiana and southern Michigan as far as the Shiawasee River. The Hurons occupied the eastern part of the state, the Chippewas the Saginaw Valley and north, and the Ottawas the western part. The Pottawattomies were pushed by other tribes until they made a final stand on the bank of the "Washtenong Sepe," (Grand River), and drove the invaders back.
An Indian trail left the Great sauk Trail from Detroit to Chicago (now US 12) and crossed the township on a diagonal on the old John Fisk farm. It is said that the trail was so worn and packed that for years it was impossible to grow grass on it.
According to The History of Manchester by Annetta English, the trail crossed Iron Creek west of the present highway and then east to avoid a steep hill on the late John Martin farm, and then across the southwest corner of Section 21 to Section 16 where Miss English writes that she saw the worn pathway still on the land (side hill) too steep for the plow.
The Indian roamed the area hunting and fishing everywhere and Indian arrows and some of their stone tools are in many of the old homes in 1967.
One of their planting grounds was on Section 29 at the head of what is now the Iron Creek mill-pond. The ground is rich and there is a spring, which in the driest season has a "flow as large as a man's arm."
Back in 1805, when the Territory of Michigan was established, the Indian danger west of the Ohio River was not entirely past. But, by the 1830's the Indians had nearly all moved from the Washtenaw County area.
The early settlers had contact with the Indians but they were friendly. These occurred mostly when the bands of Indians would travel over the territory to receive supplies or government payments for land. It was at these times that the curious Red Man would peek his face up to the window of the pioneer home or maybe ask for food.
No one could blame the Indian if he was a little homesick for this area as he made visits to the four townships, Manchester, Sharon, Bridgewater and Freedom as late as the end of the 1840s. Maybe his heart was a little heavy for the happy hunting grounds--gone forever. Theirs was an annual trek to Fort Malden in Canada for the treaty meeting. They liked to swap trinkets with the settlers and they were good at the business. The besetting sin of the Indian was, and is, his intense love for "scootawaubu" or "fire water." Nothing quenches his craving for whiskey.
A story is told about a farmer who had a bottle of whiskey. At the end of a hard, busy day he and a friend went after the bottle which had been carefully hidden. He lifted the bottle and took a drink, then looked at his friend, "I've heard the story of Christ changing the water into wine but it takes the Indian to change whiskey to water." Apparently the Indians had been watching, drank the whiskey and filled the bottle with water and put it back.
By the end of the 1840's, the Indian had been transferred to new reservations outside the state.
The Raisin River which runs through the village of Manchester is one of four in Washtenaw County. Its name is derived from the dense cluster of wild grapes which lined both banks in the early days. The Raisin River begins in Wheatland township, Hillsdale County and empties in Lake Erie, two and a half miles below Monroe. It is the most serpentine stream in the peninsula. It meanders for some 140 miles, but a direct line from beginning to end would be only sixty miles. It is one of the most important streams in Michigan as it passes through Sharon, Manchester and Bridgewater in Washtenaw County.
The other three rivers are Huron, Grand and Saline in Washtenaw County.
The Township of Manchester, or Mashawesid Senibawegin, forms the main section of the Burr Oak Plains of Washtenaw. The lakes are Iron Lake, Half Moon, Lower, Mud, Holmes, Twin, Mountain Lake and Sigwan Kitchigami, a small pond near Iron Creek.
Manchester and Bridgewater Townships were settled about the same time, both prior to 1832, within the boundary of Dexter Township. Col. Daniel Hixson and his wife were the first settlers in the new township and their farm was near the Clinton line. Manchester and Bridgewater were divided in 1836, and Manchester Township's first Supervisor was James H. Fargo.
By 1833 pioneers began to filter into the new settlement and many young businessmen from the East chose Manchester in preference to Ann Arbor as a location.
Among those early venturesome people was a man by the name of James Soule. He was an aggressive individual who built a bridge over the Raisin River, a dam and a sawmill, at what is now the eastern part of the village of Manchester.
Soule was born Feb. 2, 1783, at Nine Partners, New York. He learned the carpenter trade and worked at that business for 12 years in Chenango County. In 1805 he was married to Abbie Dillingham at Bedford, N.Y. He manufactured pearl ash for some time, but a decline in prices ruined him financially. After the death of his first wife he moved to Monroe County and married Fannie Noyes. In 1833 he took a large tract of land in Washtenaw County and named it Soulesville at what is now Manchester's east side of the village. After he developed the land and sold it, he bought another large tract near Milton, Wis. in 1843. There he died on March 20, 1873, at 90 years. Soulesville was, for a long time, in School District 1, and Manchester proper was in School District 2. Now it is combined.
John Gilbert of Ypsilanti had a good eye for business. He recognized this as an ideal spot for a growing village. Then he patented the lands. Emanuel Case was contracted to construct the grist mill on the Raisin. The lumber, hewed timber, was got out by W. S. and Elijah Carr. Harry Gilbert aided Case in the construction work. The original plat consisted of 22 blocks, now the Main Street section.
The first woman in the village was Mrs. Henry Annabil. She came here with her husband who ran the Soulesville sawmill. Though he died soon after they arrived, she remained. The other early settlers included William S. Carr, Ben. Case, Elijah G. Carr, Emanuel Case and J. Soule.
A few log huts were erected. The ground was muddy and covred with tree stumps. There was a store where the Union Savings Bank stands, there were no roads--no place very inviting to settle down for a day. Yet, this was Manchester in the 1830s.
This was the country that was to be transformed from a wilderness to an Eden. This had been the haunt of the wild beast and the untamed savage. This was to be the home of cultured and thrifty people. This was an area where forests were growing--where they might decay. But sawmills were coming and the railroads would be built and the lumber would be used here and shipped to other points east.
In years to come, more luxuriant homes would replace the log cabin, hotels would be built and the line of crudely built frame stores would be replaced by stately, sturdy, brick buildings. And all these brick structures stayed. Main Street has, for the most part, the same skyline as when these brick buildings were first constructed. Bricks for them were made right in Manchester.
The second plat was added in 1837. This was in two parts--one on the west side, and another on the east side of the river. Other additions were made from time to time, the Granger and Morgan addition south of City Road, the Torrey addition, the Case addition, south of the New York Central railroad, the Cowan addition, north of the Ypsilanti branch of the railroad and the Corey addition on Ann Arbor Hill. The Case addition south of the L. S. & M. S. R. R. was laid out in half-acre lots by Barnabas Case.
Exchange Place from the river to the Goodyear House, was the business center of the village although on the eastern extension of the street there were a number of brick houses devoted to mercantile business with other blocks being erected.
The first brick building was a general store owned by W. S. Carr and built in 1837. Log lime was used for mortar. Factory made cotton cloth cost $0.24 a yard and tea cost $1.25 a pound. The first brick store on the east side of the river was that of J. D. Corey and is now the corner tavern. The second brick store erected on the west side was that of John Keyes in 1838.
The store occupied by Case & Corey was built in 1852 by Andrew Spafford. The "Gleeson Block" was built in 1863 by J. Gleeson, and Chauncey Walbridge built the store west of the Gleeson block. The Hoy Block was built in 1866, the Goodyear Block in 1869; Goodyear House in 1869. The Kirchgessner and Lehn Blocks were erected in 1873, and the Bank Block by Peabody and Baxter. The Conklin Block, on the north side of Main Street next to the river on the east,was built by Dr. Amariah Conklin in 1880-81. The northern part of the Daly & Unterkircher Block was occupied by Postmaster Walbridge, who purchased it from Unterkircher. That was the site of the post office (now Brown T.V. Service) before it was moved to the present location on Madison Street.
The Burkhart Block was immediately south of the post office. In March, 1881, Conrad Lehn and John J. Clarkson erected a large building on the north side of Exchange Place which was occupied by Mack and Smith, according to the Washtenaw County History.
By 1838 the town had added a cabinet shop and a distillery was run by Barnabas Case. He must have been a shrewd character for he replied to an apostle of temperance who questioned Case on the propriety of establishing a distillery in this way: "I am doing more for the cause of temperance than he who advocates total abstinence. I sell the pure article; it will hurt no one. Manufactured as it is on the banks of the pure water of the Raisin, it is as pure as the water you drink. No one need fear of being injured by it."
When Michigan officially became a state in 1837, Manchester officially became a township. On Monday, April 23, less than a month after the legislature had separated Manchester from Bridgewater, (the two townships having formerly constituted the township of Hixon), the organizational meeting was held at the schoolhouse. James H. Fargo was elected township supervisor.
Like many other villages, Manchester was to receive its share of hardship through the "wildcat" bank which was established about 1836. It complied with the banking bill of 1835 by backing thirty per cent of its capital in gold and securing the remainder of the circulation in real estate. There was one catch. It shared its specie with the bank in Sharon. George Howe was president, and James Erwin, cashier.
As soon as the inspector, Commissioner Alpheus Felch, had approved the local bank and headed for Sandstone, the gold was loaded for Sharon, too. According to the reports it was some race. When the dust cleared, Mr. Feich's coach and four stood exhausted at the door of the Sharon bank, and there was no gold in the safe.
The people lost much, but they gained in return for all their losses and trouble some very valuable experience. Reuel Ambrose was president of the Sharon Bank and S. Baldwin was the cashier.
The Manchester 'Wildcat" bank was incorporated for $100,000. George Howe was president and Andrew G. Irwin, cashier. It stood on the location of the Dr. L. C. Kent residence. Dr. Klopfenstein sold it off the lot to Joseph Faulhaber Sr. who moved it to S. Macomb St. where it was stuccoed. It is now owned by the Leon Balls.
The story of Mat D. Blosser, publisher-editor of the Manchester Enterprise for 72 years, is a colorful one. He was born in Tecumseh, Sept. 3, 1846, and died April 17, 1941. His parents were Peter F. and Sarah Baylis Blosser. They came from Lockport, New York, in the fall of 1844, bringing their 7-week-old infant son, Thomas Baylis.
Thomas and Ann Baylis and their children had preceded the Blossers to Tecumseh. Baylis, a millwright, came to Michigan to oversee the building and maintaining of flouring and grist mills. The Globe Mill was already established in Tecumseh, so Baylis and his son Lyman, and son-in-law Peter Blosser (also a miller) were employed there.
In Sept. 1846, when Mat was a small boy, his parents came to Manchester. He remained in Tecumseh with his grandparents as his mother was a semiinvalid most of her life.
The Tecumseh Herald, a weekly newspaper, employed three young boys, George and Charles Spafford and Mat Blosser. After they learned the printing business George Spafford and Mat Blosser came to Manchester. With the help of others the Manchester Printing Co. was organized and the first weekly paper rolled off the press on October 17, 1867, with Geo. Spafford as editor-publisher.
A year later, Nov. 26, 1868, at the age of 22 years, Mat Blosser purchased the business and assumed entire control of the Manchester Enterprise. He continued to be active until December, 1939. He established a record of one person in the same business for 72 years.
Previous to coming here Mat became interested in a cigar factory in Tecumseh and learned the trade of making cigars. Equipped with two means of earning a livelihood, printing and cigar making, he sought members of their family living in the east and spent time in Buffalo and Lockport, New York and finally New York City, but when the opportunity arose he went into printing.
He married Mary Etta Harris, 19 years, of Grass Lake. She was the daughter of Burlingame and Sarah Harris. They had lived in Manchester for a while after coming from Syracuse, New York. Etta (as she was called) attended the Ward School. Mr. Harris was in ship building in New York State.
Peter Blosser became affiliated with J. D. Van Duyn and Dr. J. A. Lynch in their druggist-grocery business. But in 1875 he joined his son in the printing business where he worked as a pressman, had charge of the mailing list and also the book bindery.
For some years Mat published a German text book. It was printed in Chicago, but the binding was done at the Enterprise office. In those days,magazines were not plentiful and families often had them bound for their libraries. Blossers were no exception and volumes of Century, Cosmopolitan and St. Nicholas were among those they bound for their home along with the files of the Enterprise.
The Blosser children, Fred, Margaret and Maree were associated with the local paper. Fred started at an early age and made this business his life work. He was employed in Jackson, Sioux City, Iowa and Seattle, Wash. He returned to Manchester in 1917, and worked with his father until in October 1928, he went to Tucson, Arizona,because of ill health where he died a short time after his arrival. His father was 82 years at that time.
Mr. Blosser was one of the early members of the Michigan Press Association and very active in it. In those early years, the association arranged some extensive trips both east and west. Reports of Mr. and Mrs. Blosser's trips from Seattle and California to the rugged coast of Maine were always shared with their readers. He took in the world's fair in Philadelphia in 1876 and reported on the novel exhibition.
The Blossers were zealous members of the Masonic fraternity. Peter was a Knight Templar of Adrian Commandery, Fred a member of the Adronriam Council here and Mat a 32nd degree Mason in Detroit.
Mat Blosser made himself a friend to those who lived here and put out a welcoming hand to those who made Manchester their adopted home. He was noted for his willingness to work to promote the best interests of the community.
His daughter Margaret learned to hand set type at the age of 12 and her free time from school was spent helping. After graduating from high school, she was taken into the office as compositor and continued to work until 1900. Daughter Maree also had her duties and on publication day everyone had to help hand fold the papers. It was not uncommon to have villagers tease Mr. Blosser about "his homemade office force."
In the history of the Enterprise written by Margaret Blosser Burtless in 1952, she recalled the early days of the printing office. She remembered visiting it as a small child when it was located in the back room over what is now Brown's TV store. At that time the building was the Wm. Baxter store. Mrs. Burtless remembered seeing her father printing the newspaper on a hand press.
A few years later the equipment was moved to the second floor at the left of the stairway, in what was then the Goodyear building. It was later owned by the Arbeiter Society and is now owned by the American Legion. In 1904 Mr. Blosser purchased the building on the east side of the river on the south side of the street. This is the building which the Blosser family sold to Fred and Ellen Buss for a restaurant. At this time the Manchester Enterprise office has been moved to 111 E. Main St. and is operated by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Macomber.
Two grandchildren of Mat Blosser are living in this community. Mrs. Rolland Grossman and Mrs. LoRen Trolz are both very active in community affairs and have contributed in many ways to the growth and welfare of this area by giving freely of their time and energy to promote many worthwhile ventures. And when they help on Community Chest or a cancer drive they are not following in the path of strangers-long ago grandfather Blosser set the pace.
In l833, Wait Peck, who had taken up the farm land which later was the Walter Frey farm, took some logs to the sawmill on the north bend of the Raisin, just across the river from Mann's grist mill.
Mr. Annabil operated the sawmill and Mr. Peck asked where he could get a drink of water. "Go over to the house and my wife will get you one," said Mr. Annabil. Mr. Peck cried, "You don't mean to say there is a white woman in these parts!"
"Certainly, go over and see," said Annabil.
The log cabin stood just south of the site of Morscheuser's house (where Del Ludwig lives today) and Mr. Peck was soon rapping on the door. The cheery "Come in" was according to the custom of the time. Throwing open the door, he stood gazing with delight at the pretty little lady. At last he recovered his surprise and told her that she was the first white woman he had seen in a year. That summer he built a house and returned to Connecticut to bring his bride to the new west.
Mrs. Annabil was the first white woman in Manchester. Her sister, Catharine Dudley, was the first white child. She was 15 and lived a year with the Annabils until her parents came here and settled on the farm, which later became the Ray Trolz farm.
Catharine became the wife of James Hendershot and lived in the house where Hugh Walsh lives on Adrian street. Mr. Hendershot was a blacksmith and did the iron work for the first mill in the community.
From the Manchester Enterprise of 1868---The Literary and Debating Society of Manchester High School held its meeting on Tuesday and debated the question: Should the United States repudiate its National debt.
Affirmative: J. D. Corey, E. Norris and James Kelly.
Negative: G. R. Palmer, Rev. I. Bloomer and Dr. E. Hunter
Dedication* We learn that Professor Dunn of Hillsdale College dedicated the Freewill Baptist church of Iron Creek to the worship of God last Thursday. He was assisted by Rev. Maynard of Macon, Rev. Botes of Augusta and Rev. John Thomas of Dover. We understand they raised money and pledges sufficient to clear the house of debt.
March 4, 1869---an editorial---Manchester needs a bank. Among other things, he says: "We need a bank where a responsible mechanic, farmer or manufacturer might borrow money (with proper security) at a reasonable rate of interest, say ten or twelve percent, not a fraction above the latter.
The first cemetery for Manchester was in the northwest section of town on the bend of the Raisin. In the history by Annetta English, she mentions that "the first death was that of Henry Annabil, who lived in a log house on Water Street. He ran the sawmill on the east bank of the river. His grave was made in the woods on Ann Arbor Hill prior to establishing a cemetery, but later the body was removed to the cemetery on the bend of the River Raisin.
"The cemetery was used until 1856 and a bier was used to carry the coffin from the gate to the grave.
"Many have been removed to Oak Grove but a few graves remain, marked by head-stones and some with unmarked graves. One unmarked grave is that of Mrs. William Johnson's first husband, Mr. Taylor and father of Miss Martha Taylor and Mrs. Wm. Rushton. He was killed by a falling tree in 1852.
"Among those buried there is Charlotte Mosely, whose mother was Rhoda Root, a daughter of Dr. Eleazar Root who died in 1852 at the age of 15. Miss English's father was a pall-bearer for the first time.
"Henry Byron died in 1856 aged five months. This child was the son of Calvin Townsend, a lawyer here at the time. Later he went to Rochester, N.Y. to live where he wrote a text book on Civil Government. He was blind the later years of his life.
"William W. K. Marshall died at the age of 30.
"Artemas Kief is buried there as is his stepdaughter, Emily Caldwell, Alonzo Fargo's wife. The land for the cemetery was given by Mr. James H. Fargo.
"John Coon died April 3, 1841, aged 64, and Sarah Coon died Nov. 27, 1847, aged 71 years.
"Also buried there are the parents of Lorenzo H. and Philetus Coon, who lived in a log house on the site of the brick house where later George Huber lived on the Spafard Plains."
Others who are buried there include Alexander Falconer and his wife Isabel and Elsie, daughter of John and Susan Falconer and Nancy, wife of John Falconer.
Newcomers in this area might be surprised to know that just three miles west of Manchester on Austin Road was the hamlet of Elba back in 1833. This burr oak opening later known as the "Spafard Plains" once promised to become a busy community. Most important it was a stage coach stop and post office. The school was located on the same site as the one which stands today which has been remodeled into a dwelling.
The blacksmith shop and stage coach stop were directly across the road on the Spafard farm, now owned by the Martin A. Keasals. Mrs. Frank Spafard, who spent long hours digging into the history of the area, says that the first post office was established in 1833 in the home of Alanson Harvey Squiers and was known as "Noble." It was located near the west line of the township on land now owned by Mrs. Gaita (Waters) Cathey. When Squiers resigned, Dr. Bennett F. Root, was appointed postmaster and the Elba Post Office was located in the east wing of his home. The last location of the Elba Post Office was on what was later known as the John F. Spafard farm, now owned by Mrs. Lillian Washburn.
The Spafards have a letter written by their great-grandfather, T. L. Spafard, sent through the Elba Post Office in 1846 to his brother, Andrew Spafard, in Massachusetts. The letter was sealed with wax (no envelopes) and postage was ten cents.
Early abstracts of this section are designated Bridgewater instead of Manchester. Both Manchester and Bridgewater Townships were settled about the same time and prior to 1832 were both within the boundary of Dexter Township.
The Erwin Pauls live on the site of the first Baptist Society where meetings were held at the home of James Stevens as early as Feb. 17, 1836. Sections six and seven were platted into lots for a nucleus for a village, before 1838. It can only be speculated that lack of water power might well have hampered further development.
The three Row brothers were the first pioneers to take up land from the government. They came from Dutchess County, New York in 1832. They settled on parts of the Keasal, Washburn and Joseph Holzhoffer farms. After two years they relocated in Sharon. Rowes Corner in Sharon Township still bears their name. So does the cemetery.
Although there are no records of a school prior to 1839, A. D. English was quoted as saying that his mother had pointed out the site of the school where she first attended-just a few rods south of the four corners on the present Willis Hassett farm.
On May 27, 1837, School Inspectors set off sections 3, 4, 5, 6 and the north half of sections 7 and 8 in the Township 4 south range 3E. be set off and constituted as District No. 3. Just two years later, Jan. 18, 1839 the district was revised and became known as fractional district No. 4 of Manchester and Napoleon.
Marvin and Lovina Howard deeded 36 square rods of land in the southwest quarter of section 5 to be used for a school site. A frame school was built by Thomas Spencer and cost $350 when it was completed in Sept. 1839. In 1842 it was plastered. The cost was $42.60.
School officers were A. H. Squires, H. L. Luce and Thomas L. Spafard. The first teacher, L. W. Thompson received $17 a month. Of the list of children who attended that school only two families have descendants residing in Manchester. They are Palmers and Spafards.
The frame school was used until the early 1860s when it was sold and moved. The new school was erected between 1860-65. John Feather built the cupola for $100.
The winter term started the last of October and concluded in February, and the summer term began in April and ended in August. Teachers were examined by the School Inspectors at the county clerk's office and if they qualified were given a two-year teaching certificate. No high school diplomas or college degrees were required. Men usually taught in the winter and women in the summer.
Women teachers often received $2 a week plus room and board and they were required to teach from the primer to algebra and often psychology in the early times. Teachers were paid by rate bills and they boarded at the homes of those sending children to school. The rate bill was divided proportionately among parents and the assessor was responsible for collecting the amount plus an additional five percent for his fees. He had 60 days to collect.
If a person refused or neglected to pay, the assessor could seize any of his goods or chattels wherever found in the county in which the district is located. In the records, mention is made that one person worked it out by helping the assessor with threshing.
An interesting note is that when the late Mary Huber Waltz was 10 years old and helping with the evening chores she saw a bright light in the schoolhouse window. With her father and brother they hurried across the road and broke into the school. Some green wood had been left setting against the stove and it had caught fire. Only the wood burned.
Christmas and Commencement exercises were the chief amusements and box socials were fund raising projects. Electricity was added along with a new oak floor in 1936. The old school, no longer in use, was converted into a dwelling in later years.
This community celebrated its first "fourth" of July Celebration on July 4th, 1839. Willis L. Watkins found an old poster printed on a sheet of handmade paper which probably at one time was white. Manchester has had some notable celebrations in years past, and no wonder, when the example was set by such elaborate preparations in 1839.
This poster read: "At a meeting of the Committee of Arrangements at the home of Albert Howe, for the purpose of making the necessary arrangements for celebrating the approaching Anniversary, adopted the following order of the day:
"At half past 10 o'clock A.M. the procession will form under the direction of the Marshal, in front of Albert Howe's (Manchester) Hotel, in the following order:
"The procession will march down Exchange Street to Washington Street, up Washington to Boyne, up Boyne to Macomb Street, down Macomb Street to Exchange Street, up Exchange to the Hotel. On arrival at the Hotel, the ladies and the choir of singers will be received in their appropriate places in the procession.
"The procession will then proceed to the place prepared for the exercises; on arriving at the place the procession will open to the right and left, and face inward, and march to the seats in inverted order.
"At the close of the exercises, the procession will form in the order specified in the bills of the day, and march to the Hotel, where dinner will beserved by Mr. Albert Howe.
"The committee invited the few remaining veterans of that band of heroes, who achieved our independence, residing in the vicinity, to unite with our citizens in celebrating the period of their trials and sufferings and their victories. They also solicit the citizens of this and adjoining towns, to unite with them in commemoration of this birthday of our Independence.
John D. Kief
J. H. Fountain
J. D. Corey
J. R. Sloat
Wm. S. Driggs
J. S. Clark
William S. Carr
U. M. Carter
"Committee on Arrangements, Manchester, June 15, 1839"
(This chapter division has been created for online presentation purposes and does not appear in the original.)
On September 23, 1870, the first train chugged into the vilage and this was a red letter day.
By 1874 there were three flouring mills, a sawmill, woolen factory, paper mill, basket factory, foundry and a machine shop, all utilizing the water power from the Raisin. The planing mill and the two breweries were using steam power.
Of short duration was the attractive business of J. D. Kief. He ran a hotel next to the river at the northwest corner of the village. He exploited the flowing wells which are still to be found in the neighborhood (near the John Neuderfer residence). They were advertised as "Mineral Springs and Water Cure" in 1874. There was a pretty walk across the river and a well kept park. But the enterprise went out of business in 1875 or '76.
Fifty farmers and stock raisers along with forty businessmen were listed in the 1874 business directory, and the town prospered as the third most important business center in Washtenaw. In 1900 it had a population of 2,146. About a decade passed and Manchester ceased to grow. With the coming of the automobile, larger cities were brought close to the farmer and industries centralized. Mass production made the small factories impractical.
In 1905, a bus line from here to Chelsea was inaugurated. It was one of the first, if not the initial system, in the country. R. C. Merithew, part owner, had many headaches. He used to tell that the farmers were so opposed to the automobiles that they plowed up the roads so the bus couldn't get through. They said the automobile frightened horses and livestock so badly that the bus was a menace.
The project was promoted by a John Blake from Cheboygan, and Merithew, 21, working at the bank, was induced to invest in the venture. It lasted only one summer.
The bus was an open type, four-cylinder Oldsmobile, with entrance through a door at the rear. When it rained, the curtains around the sides were let down, but the driver faced the elements. Passengers set on the seats that ran parallel with the sides of the car. When the bus developed trouble, some passing farmer would be asked to go to town for parts. The driver received $50 a month. By the time he was paid and the bills for gas, oil, parts and livery hire were settled there was nothing left—no profit.
The bus fare was 75Â¢ round trip, Manchester to Chelsea, one way 50Â¢—leaving Manchester at 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.
The last of two railroads through the village was torn up in April 1965. This completely isolated the community of rail service.
Ernest Fick, foreman of track retirement, had charge of taking up the rails on the New York Central lines from Hudson to Jackson and Osseo, and from Manchester to Clinton.
Lack of business was the reason given by NYC for removing the tracks. Some of the rails were marked 1917 as the year they were laid.
The route through Manchester was chartered in 1836 as the palmyra and Jacksonburg Railroad. It also went through Tecumseh and Clinton to Jackson. Later the line was acquired by the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway and operated as the Jackson Branch of that road.
In the early days the route had only one station in Washtenaw County—in Manchester, which at that time was a flourishing village.
The Detroit, Hillsdale and Indiana Railroad was projectd shortly after the Civil War and completed through Washtenaw County in 1870. Its tracks were taken up in 1964 in Manchester. That route began in Ypsilanti and ran through Saline, Bridgewater and Manchester and on to Hillsdale.
There was a time in the early 1900s when trains were coming into or leaving Manchester every half hour. Some of the older women remember well the problems they had trying to dry clothes without having them covered with coal soot.
Passenger service by train in Manchester was the envy of many communities in the area. In the early part of this century, it was possible to pack a bag and leave for almost any point within an hour. Manchester boasted two depots.
But the last year of service saw the trains coming into the village only two or three times a week. Fick said that in his forty years of taking up tracks, residents of Manchester were the only ones who bothered to stop and express regret in seeing the tracks being hauled away.
The bridge connecting Exchange Place (Main Street) on the west bank of the river with Jefferson street on the east bank was built in 1833. In those days the road level was much lower and sloped down toward the river. This old bridge was built of planks and was considered a "substantial and safe viaduct." Whenever the water was high it was not uncommon to get wet feet while crossing, for the water would come up between the planks.
A story is told about the village's first physician, Dr. Bennett F. Root, who settled here in 1834. As he was crossing the old pole bridge that spanned the river south of town, near the old school, he fell through and into the water. He had been practicing for 50 years and at the time was over 70. He had always been a firm believer in the cold water cure, but after his escape he dropped all faith in that belief.
The steel overhead bridge was a thing of beauty in 1881 but it, too, had to bow to progress when the present concrete bridge was built in 1929. The cement bridge is dedicated "to the memory of the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines of the Civil, Spanish and World Wars."
Cement sidewalks made their appearance in 1903, when eight were poured.
It was also in 1903 that the Toledo Portland Cement Co. poured walls for what supposedly would be one of the largest and most up-to-date cement plants in the country. It was situated in the southern part of the village a short distance from the Lake Shore railway station and occupied 23 acres.
The local paper gave the venture a feature display and elaborated in detail the plans for the immense plant. The promoters pointed out the existence of great lakes of marl and banks of clay in the village. The building was never erected and the walls stood like the remains of some ancient ruins until shrubs and vines covered them.
This community has seen many changes since John Moran lit the kerosene lamps along Main Street. In the early 1890s, J. H. Kingsley, approached the village concerning electric lights for the village. Kingsley had been operating the Premium Mills on the Raisin River at the east village limits.
On February 10, 1892, he was given a ten-year franchise "to do a general lighting business. The contract called for furnishing fifty 32-candle lights for the street and alleys ... to cost $700 a year payable in monthly installments. The cost to the consumer was not to be over 600 a month for each 16 candle power light." The electric light plant was to begin operation by May 1, 1892.
On July 17, 1895, a new contract for three years for a total of $2,100 was signed with Kingsley by the council. This called for 52 lights of 30-candle power and four 100-candle power. The street lights were to go on at 5 p.m. or twilight from Oct. 6 to March 10. They could be turned off at day light.
In checking council proceedings of Dec. 21, 1922, council ordered that "no porch light should be over 40 watts and should not burn after daylight." At that time the electric light plant was owned by the village and porch lights were not on the property owners electric meters. At another time the council approved a light pole and light on Duncan street in front of Joe Seckingers so that Seckingers wouldn't have to leave their porch light on all night unless they wanted to.
On March 15, the Bridgewater township supervisor attended council meeting to protest a dollar charge for line rent for the Bridgewater townhall and school house. Their reasoning was that they gave a franchise to their property for the light poles. Council decided that the rate should be the same as the rest of the patrons.
In December, 1923, by order of council all porch lights were to be out by 1 a.m. Violators were to be charged 50 cents penalty.
When Bennett C. Root was president of the village a special election was held August 31, 1925, to sell the distribution and lighting system to the Consumers Power Co. for the sum of $15,000. The vote was 278 yes and 103 no.
The franchise was assigned to Consumers Power in 1926.
In Manchester Township at this time (Aug. 1967) there are 408 residential; 24 commercial; and 6 industrial consumers of electricity, for a total of 438. In the village there are 557 residential; 107 commercial; and 7 industrial consumers, for a total of 671.
Consumers Power Co. reports that the number for gas consumption in Manchester township totals 14. Seven are residential space heating; 4 commercial space heating and 3 industrial space heating for a total of 14 consumers. Village gas consumption: residential - 7; residential space heating - 396; commercial space heating - 54 and industrial - 5. This makes a total of 476 gas consumers in the village of Manchester.
Marvin Kirk has recently been appointed Manchester's 17th postmaster. Preceding him were Alanson Harvey Gilbert, James Fargo, Barnabus Case, Lorenzo Higgins, William Root, Alanson Case, Hull Goodyear, Chauncey Walbridge (who served for 25 years starting in 1861), John Nestell, Marcus Case, Thadeus Bailey, Nathaniel Schmidt, Frank Koebbe, Frank Leeson, Albert Lowery and George Merriman.
On June 1, 1959, the new post office opened its doors for business in its new location a block north of Main Street off Clinton St. to Madison. For the first time in the town's history, the post office could boast of a building erected specifically for its use. Services at the old office on Main St. had outgrown the building, which lacked adequate facilities for loading.
The Knights of Columbus started construction on the 30 x 50 foot KC hail in December, 1958. L. V. Kirk was KC building chairman. General contractor, was Wilbur Shadley. KC members checked in nightly to put in long hours of volunteer help.
The modern structure has some 500 lock boxes, a tile floor lobby, working area covered with inlaid linoleum and air conditioning. The government has leased the building for 10 years with an additional 10-year option.
In the midst of moving, showing patrons how to open new boxes and sorting mail, Postmaster Merriman was a bit chagrined to find a pail of paint had been sent through the mail-minus a cover.
It is much different from the early transportation of mail, for more than a century divides the stage coach line of Hibbard and Hubbard of Jackson back in 1854 with today's mail distribution. In those days Manchester was on the direct daily route from Detroit to Jackson. Four horses would come prancing up to the hotel (where Grossman-Huber station now stands) and coachmen would blow their horns and with a flourish throw off the mail sack. In those days there were no sidewalks.
When the first post office was established there were no envelopes and postage was 25 cents. The first post office in the village was established in the 1830s with Harvey Gilbert the postmaster.
The Manchester Post Office was established in the log house of Harry H. Gilbert in May, 1834 with mail available once a week when the postmaster went to meet the stage coach at Ann Arbor or Clinton. James Fargo succeeded Gilbert. Others who served were Barnabas Case and Lorenzo Higgins. In 1848 William Root was appointed. In 1853 Alanson Case was placed in charge and held the office until he resigned in 1859. Hull Goodyear was appointed and Chauncey Waibridge carried the mail.
An interesting note in the records shows that: "The boxes and furniture for the new post office arrived Monday, Nov. 8, 1897, and Postmaster Bailey and a number of carpenters at once set to work putting them in position. So the office was moved on Thursday evening to the place so long occupied by The People's Shoe Store. The room had been newly papered and painted and looked as slick as a button. The new outfit is of polished oak with carved cornice and glass panels of Florentine design, glass and metal front drawers, with combination locks, convenient assorting tables, large money order counters, cabinets, etc. In fact, everything is new and of the latest patterns as is usually found only in large cities.
"We were always proud of our old post office because it was so much nicer than any of our sister villages had, but my, the new one 'is out of sight!' We cannot tell how nice it looks. You will have to make a speedy visit and see for yourself.
"The old post office was shipped to North Adams today."
This community can be justly proud of its firefighting equipment. The newest is the $19,881 fire engine that was purchased last year. The chassis was bought from the local Ford dealer and sent to the John Bean Co. in Lansing. There, the equipment was installed. The bill for the chassis was $5,958.
It was in 1947 that the late Charles Waltz, then Manchester Township Supervisor, suggested that the township take over the financing of the fire department. Prior to that time the volunteer department was operated on a makeshift basis with money from subscription to farmers in the outlaying districts.
If a farmer "belonged" to the tune of $50 a year, his property would be included and if he needed the department they would answer the call. Otherwise there was some special assessment connected with out of town calls. But the system did not work very well.
At that time the department had only the old hose truck. In 1950 Clayton Parr was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr. Waltz.
Since then the township board has been active in affairs of its fire department. Mr. Parr, Treasurer M. H. Wolfe and Clerk Waldo Marx are proud that they were able to appropriate the necessary funds without voting special millage.
This is quite a change from the old bucket brigade or the first chemical wagon bought in 1924. The second piece of equipment was a tanker to carry water. Then the township voted 1 mill for the purchase of the first piece of equipment.
In the old days there was an organization known as the "Hook and Ladder Club". But those volunteers had very little equipment to fight a fire with.
In 1954 the township bought a tanker and utility truck for the 22 volunteers. According to Parr, the area can enjoy the best possible rate of fire insurance available for a volunteer department. This is reflected in the insurance rates to every property holder.
Last year six of the volunteers went to Lansing to learn to operate the apparatus. They were Chief Kensler, Lyle Widmayer, Ora Walcutt Jr., Lauren Bertke, Ted Stautz and Gale Koebbe.
Chief Kensler says that with the new 8-cylinder powered truck with its two pumps and high pressure, Manchester area can be assured that they are well protected. Only three trucks leave on any call and they carry 2,000 gallons of water. One truck always remains in the fire hall as reserve.
In 1882, Thomas J. Keech, of Ann Arbor, who was the city exchange manager for Michigan Bell, came to the village and induced Mat. D. Blosser, publisher of the Manchester Enterprise, to assist in selling a sufficient amount of script which would be good to pay telephone rentals and messages. Enough stock was sold to build a line from Manchester to Chelsea.
It took hard work to accomplish the objective but the following May, 1883, the line was completed and the first telephone was placed in the Enterprise office because Mr. Blosser had consented to become the manager for the village. This was a toll phone.
The next July the exchange was established. The following people were the first subscribers: Dr. C. F. Kapp, Wm. Burtless, Mack & Schmid, Peoples Bank, Mat Blosser's residence, Kensler Brothers, M. Dealy, Ypsilanti Branch Depot, John Koch, brewer. Miss Jennie Moore (Mrs. T. J. Keech of Ann Arbor) was the first lady operator.
Copper wire wasn't used in those days and in wet weather it was next to impossible to get connections with Toledo, Grand Rapids or Detroit. Other early operators were Mrs. F. A. Kotts of Toledo and Miss Eva Case. Miss Case remained until Mr. Blosser found his own business demanded all his time and the office was transferred to Frederick Steinkohl's Drug Store. He managed the switchboard until the new exchange was built.
The telephone rates in 1884 ... $36 a year with $48 the charge for a business phone.
In 1904, the Manchester Exchange was built and the switchboard was moved to the second floor of the Clarkson Building with E. W. Mason as manager. In 1908, the roadway plan started and a year later, in 1909, Mason was transferred to Grand Ledge and Michael Welch came to Manchester from Sunfield.
By January, 1912, Welch was moved to Chelsea and George H. Graham came to Manchester from Willis. At that time the Exchange had nine roadway circuits, 101 subscribers, and three toll lines. These went to Ann Arbor, Chelsea and another included the two villages of Clinton and Adrian.
Dial service cut to Manchester in December, 1940. This did away with the local operator. Free calling and extended service to Chelsea and Ann Arbor came in December, 1949.
All number calling was introduced in September, 1961, and direct distance dialing in August, 1962.
Today there are 1,291 main telephones out of the Manchester office. People from the Manchester office can call the 35,231 phones in Ann Arbor, 2,688 in Chelsea and those in the local area, toll free for a cost of $33.20 for a 4-party and $49.20 for a private line for a year.
N. J. Prakken is Michigan Bell Manager for this District and has been since 1936. An interesting note is that Mrs. Whitney (Lena) Riedel of Bethel Church Road, Manchester, was the chief operator in Manchester when the system was changed to dial.
A bit of history on the telephone is that in the year 1882 Francis Blake made a practical mechanism out of Alexander Graham Bell's invention. Bell made his historic call to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, on March 10, 1876. That was the beginning of the telephone that hung on the wall. Dry cell batteries were the power element for the voice mechanism. One call wouldn't take much power, but when all the receivers went up on those many party lines, the power would be drained noticeably. The crank on the side of the phone powered the bell.
The Manchester Township Library is completing 127 years of service in the area.
It is one of ten libraries in the county and second in age to the Ann Arbor City Library, which was founded in 1827. But Manchester has reportedly the oldest township library in the state.
It is the former home of Dr. and Mrs. James A. Lynch, whose niece is Mrs. P. A. Scheurer. Erected in 1867, the building is celebrating its centennial this year. It is well constructed and houses some 6,000 books, newspaper files, and pictures and maps of the township.
The tinted glass windows can't be reproduced--and when occasionally a window pane is broken, it is replaced with a similar window taken from the back of the building.
Originally the library was part of the John Gilbert property and was laid out to be a park. Main Street now divides the park. The section on the south side is used for a skating rink for the children in the winter.
The Manchester Township library is in close cooperation with state and county libraries, which swells its average number of volumes to about 8,000.
A booklet entitled, "Libraries in Michigan--An Historical Sketch," on file at the state library in Lansing, pinpoints the beginning of Manchester's house of books. "The Manchester Library had a long season of vicissitudes," it says, "Early in 1838 there was a small circulating tax supported library."
In the second floor historical room is a small book that recorded the proceedings of the Township Board and school inspectors.
On Sept. 20, 1852, the two groups met to work out a plan for weeding out and catalouging the township library and to sell discarded books, known as the "Family Library." In all there were 172 volumes.
These were to be sold at not less than one-half their appraised value, which averaged 32 cents each. The township clerk kept the catalogue on file. Names of some of the books for sale included "Expedition to the Dead Sea," "War in Mexico," "Camp Fires," "Charles Lamb," and "Wild Scenes of a Hunter's Life."
Money from the book sale was credited to the library fund. Twenty books for twenty dollars swelled the total number of books to 517 in 1854. The township spent from $25 to $50 a year in that period for books and the library was housed in the county clerk's office, which he opened a couple of times a week for the use of the public including a two-hour period on Saturday afternoon.
The library had its own inclosed case mounted on a long table. A black walnut table served as a desk. In the file of the Manchester Township clerk in 1845 it was voted to have the school inspector send the township library tax money to New York to purchase additional books.
A clipping from the Manchester Enterprise in 1900 noted that a meeting of the executive board of the library association was called by President C. W. Case, and plans were taken toward the establishment of a free public library with the township library put in charge of the association.
This, together with the books owned by literary clubs in the township, made several hundred volumes and formed the nucleus of a library. Plans called for renting of rooms and placing a librarian in charge at certain periods of the week. Anyone could be a member by paying a fee of 25 cents.
In 1919, an epidemic caused the library to be closed and circulation dropped to 2,808.
With the circulation of 3,525 books in 1923, the township was asked for $500. The library moved to rooms in the Mahrle building and later plans were made for moving to new quarters with the possibility of buying.
The Lynch property was suggested at a cost of $1,200. Payments of $15 a month-less than the rent the library had been paying-were arranged. Mrs. Howard Macomber and Mrs. Henry Pfeifle set up the details for the purchase. Walter Schaible said that $300 would be available from Manchester township and the other three townships were contacted for money.
The Lynch house stands in a park area, once owned by Major John Gilbert. The library was bought from Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Short. Local Boy Scouts helped to move the books and women of the community armed with scrubbing pails, brooms and paint brushes started to clean the lovely old building. This had been "home" to the library since 1934.
In 1935 Fr. John Eppenbrock of St. Mary's offered to have his home talent players put on a benefit play for the library. Emanuel offered their hall, rent free and the Methodist church served a lunch to the cast following the play. This fine cooperation of everyone has gone a long way to make the library the outstanding place it is today.
Jane Palmer, retired librarian, said she believed the early township board had been reading the Ordinance of 1783 which states that knowledge of religion and morality being necessary to good government, schools and means of education shall be encouraged, and the library went right along with the schools.
But like the cobbler's barefoot children, ironically, this library which offers information on everything under the sun, had nothing compiled on its own history.
No history of Manchester would be complete without a story about the mill which pinpointed the location of this village. The Raisin River furnished the power around which clustered business interests in this northeast corner of the township. When John Gilbert, who platted the area, sold the mill property to Stephen Fargo there was a stipulation. The property was to be used for a flouring mill. This mill was to receive water power from the river.
Emanuel Case and Harvey Gilbert built the first mill, in 1826, with timber sawed into lumber by William S. and Elijah G. Carr. The first millwright was Richard Fogy. In 1842 Charles Noble and Austin Wing were the owners.
It is unique that this mill should stand in the center of the village today, just as it did in the beginning. It has been a deciding factor in the growth of the community-and it was responsible for nearly destroying the town.
About 6 a.m. Sunday, May 1, 1853, the sound of burning timber awakened the settlers. Flames leaped from the flouring mill. The wind fanned the flames to the opposite side of the street and 14 business houses and one dwelling were leveled before it was brought under control. The hotel on the corner of Clinton and Exchange Place was saved. Damage to the mill was $20,000 and the entire loss was over $50,000 according to the Washtenaw County History.
John D. Kief rebuilt the mill in 1854, and it was known as the Farmers' Grist Mill. James Fountain took over in 1866 and sold to George Sedgwick in 1877.
Noah Holt bought the mill in 1896. He was an inventor of milling machinery. He was credited for designing and building some of the largest and most perfect mills in the United States and while here put in some of his new type of rollers. The name was then changed to Southern Washtenaw Mills.
Lonier and Hoffer bought the mill in 1903. Lonier died in 1919, and Hoffer in 1930.
People still talk of the second huge fire which destroyed the mill in 1924. Robert Mahrle, the nightwatchman, discovered the fire Sunday evening, July 22. By the time the alarm was turned in, flames were shooting through the sides.
When the floor burned, the safe and desk tumbled into the flume. Later they were rescued by workmen. The papers were soaked but legible. There was a good breeze blowing from the west. All attempts to save the building were futile.
Flames leaped across the river and threatened Mary Swift's millinery shop (now Knouase barbershop). But the building escaped with little damage.
Across the street to the north several stores were threatened, including Wm. Holt's confectionery, Gauss' barbershop and the G. M. Smart variety store.
The plate glass windows in the Union Savings Bank were broken by the intense heat. Even the windows at Mrs. Conklin's across the river were broken. Several others on Exchange Place and Railroad street were damaged. Burning brands, carried by the wind, were reportedly landed on roofs as far as three blocks away.
A paper reported, "A considerable number of young men were attending a dance at Wampler's lake. Someone telephoned Mr. Nisle and asked him to send them home. It didn't take many minutes for them to get here."
But the mill was rebuilt, this time without the flouring mill-only as a feed mill. Wm. Blaess became the owner in 1930, and he sold to E. G. Mann. Today the mill is operated by Willard and Earl Mann, known as the E. G. Mann & Sons mill.
Three water wheels were installed before 1900. The one being used today was installed in 1896 and came from Springfield, Ohio, manufactured by Leffie Mfg. Co. The wheel is 5.5 ft. in diameter and is one of the last, if not the last, in use in Michigan. Twelve years ago there were a couple of dozen water generated mills but the others have changed to electric power.
The grain elevator was added in 1954 and over 5,000 bushels of grain can be stashed away in huge bins. Later it is ground, mixed, and such things as protein, minerals and antibiotics added to make a complete balanced feed for livestock, hogs and poultry. Bulk trucks, distribute the feed to farmers specializing in big time operations.
The 50' x 50' mill has galvanized steel siding. It opens its doors at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 5:30 p.m. Saturday the four workmen finish at noon. During wartime the mill worked on a 'round the clock basis. World War I period saw the mill recognized for its State Seal Flour.
Five years ago a second feeder grinder was installed to speed production. Now the time is cut in half and the volume of business doubled.
Part of the power is generated by electricity but at least half is water power. When the water has been very low the gates have been closed so that by morning there would be enough water to turn the water wheel for at least a half day.
The mill grinds feeds for farmers for their use and also buys from those who want to sell. This gives the mill needed grain for their custom business with the bulk trucks.
The first legitimate bank opened on July 28, 1871, when the Peoples Bank with a capital of $50,000 started business. Officers were: L. D. Watkins, president,and J. D. Van Duyn, vice president.
On the board of directors were: J. D. Van Duyn, 0. Priest, G. L. Unterkircher, F. L. Spafard, Joseph McMahon, James C. McGee, J. S. Reynolds, A. C. Torrey and L. D. Watkins. 0. F. Hall, secretary was appointed cashier at a salary of $1,000 a year. A. E. Hewitt was named lawyer for the bank.
On February 10, 1872, the directors of the bank approved the purchase of the Jno. M. Peabody real estate for $9,000. On the night of October 10, 1876 the bank was robbed. Inasmuch as the criminals were never caught, the local folks decided that the James boys must have been the culprits.
Manchester Lodge 148 F & AM celebrated its centennial in October, 1964. The first lodge meeting was held Dec. 3, 1862, on the third floor of the Clarkson Building, now housing the Manchester Bakery.
All the Masonic meetings in the village have been held on the third floor of whatever building the Masons were using at the time.
John B. Gilman was the first worshipful master. The lodge received its official charter in 1864—the date upon which the centennial was based—and $40.25 was appropriated for a charter seal and Bible, $5 for spitoons, and $1 was given to Mr. Chandler for making the lodge emblem. The same emblem is used in the lodge hall at the present time.
On March 30, 1864, the lodge was consecrated, The Masons obtained a meeting room on the third floor of the Union Savings Bank in 1895, its present meeting place.
When Manchester was young, about a hundred years ago, one of the biggest concerns seemed to be the education of the young. This has not changed. In October, 1867, the announcement that the Union School would be open on November 4th of that year was received with enthusiasm.
Prof. E. C. Olney was to be assisted by Eugene C. Olney, Miss Mary Hitchcock and Miss Viola Gordon. It was pointed out that a Union School is systematic and orderly. "Children must obey for the principal is king. Children do not go to school under the direction (much less whims) of parents—only in so far as they coincide with the principal and teachers."
In October of that year a special school meeting approved a $1,000 bond at 10 percent interest for building fences and other improvements. With this additional money the Union school cost $21,000.
Plans were underway for a Planing Mill, Sash & Blind factory and the old stone building near depot had been purchased for this by a Mr. Parsons. Morgan & Torrey added 40 acres on the east side of the village and were dividing them into lots.
The new Goodyear Hall in the Goodyear new brick block was dedicated Nov. 22, 1867. The size was 50 x 80 feet with a large stage and beautiful scenery. The building was owned by Henry Goodyear. Professor Beck's band played and a supper was served at Exchange Hotel.
These were the times that S. W. Lockwood was advertising that he had bought out Stowell & Crafts and as the village's new undertaker he wanted it known that a hearse would attend funerals.
Fine calicoes brought 10 cents a yard, ginghams, a shilling, fine black all wool doeskin brought eight shillings and a person could get enough heavy all wool beaver for an overcoat for five dollars-and a hoop skirt sold for 6 to 8 shillings.
About 300 people greeted the New Year at the biggest party ever held in the community when they gathered at Goodyear's hall, 1868.
A vast amount of snow fell during the winter of 1867-68. This was followed by heavy rain. Old inhabitants of the area recalled that they could not remember of so much property being destroyed. The continuous rains caused the ice to break in the upper pond and it floated down against the Brewery bridge, sweeping it away on Sunday. On the next Wednesday, the Tannery dam gave way as did the dam at Clinton. The water gushed on, ripping out the Tecumseh Red Mill dam and the bridge on Ridgeway road, on March 11, 1868.
The Methodist Church purchased a new bell that weighed 1280 pounds and it called the congregation to worship for the first time, Sunday, May 3, 1868.
Wm. Kirchgessner started in the bakery business in June of 1868, in the building which had been occupied by Rose and Rothchild.
In the same year, the city fathers approved building cross walks so that (according to the Manchester Enterprise) "we will be enabled to cross without danger of having our heads kicked oft, or getting in the mud." The board walks included one at the east side of the Union School.
After one year of publishing the local paper Geo. S. Spafford sold to Mat Blosser who began publishing on November 26, 1868.
Land in this area was selling for about $40 an acre and real estate was changing hands swiftly in Sharon township. In 1868, houses ranged from $800 to $2,000. Rent for the smaller home was $2 or $3 a week. Houses were in great demand.
A foundry and machine works was one of the early industries of the village. This was owned by A. Dickerson and was located in the eastern part of the village. It commanded one of the finest water sites of the area on the east bank of the Raisin.
Champion and Curtis plows were manufactured along with corn cultivators and other farm implements which were shipped to other parts of the country.
A shingle machine was also located in the establishment and more than 3500 shingles were sawed in a couple of months. There was also a blacksmith shop in connection with the factory, making new parts and repairing old.
In August 1869, the voters gave approval to raise $80,000 for the Detroit & Hillsdale railroad.
On June 17, 1869, Mat. Blosser interviewed some of the older people of the community who remembered when Manchester was young—some forty years before. These veterans remembered when the area was a vast wilderness. They were the people who should be credited with the development of civilization and wealth of Manchester more than the tradesman and statesman who followed them.
One such early settler arrived in Manchester June 3, 1834, by horse and wagon from New York State. He decided to stop here, not only because of the fertility of the land, but because, even then, the flour mill stood on the bank of the Raisin. The mill and two other buildings, Union Hall and another building owned by Chas. Gwinner, were all that marked the inroad of civilization. Among those early men were Barnabas, Arthur and Emanuel Case and William and Elijah Carr.
They had the satisfaction of seeing the community thrive. From a sturdy forest which afforded shade for the wild beasts and a hunting ground for the uncivilized Indian they watched a village flourish and develop into one of the most beautiful inland villages in the state. From the brick buildings on the Main Street could be heard the roar of the water as it tumbled over the falls, sweeping through field and forest as it swept along toward Lake Erie.
By 1869 there were three dams and the river afforded unlimited resources for manufacturing. J. S. Reynolds kept the mill in operation night and day turning out an average of 150 barrels of flour per day. The Woolen Mill across the street deserved equal mention. The 12 employees of Porter & Jaynes could manufacture 100 yards of wool a day. The mill had cost some $13,000 to build and $70 a week was needed to meet the payroll. Materials consumed would be about $240.
Other enterprises and manufacturing indicated that Manchester, Michigan, was indeed destined to symbolize the great manufacturing and commercial city in England from which she derived her name.
The same energy that puts forth its strong arm in battle for wealth had not been forgotten in the early days when education took its footing beneath the roof of the rustic log school house. Just how they valued their school and education was shown by their crowning effort—the erection of the Union School. The three-story structure was erected in 1867 at a cost of $2,000 with improvements planned for years ahead.
The six churches in 1869 were ample to meet the needs of the community. Each pulpit of the churches had ministers of ability, men whose Bible study placed them high in the rank with the noble soldiers of the Almighty.
At that time one of the largest and finest hotels in the state was the Goodyear House with a fine location near the depot.
A stroll around town would satisfy the most fastidious, that in the construction of private residences, the citizens displayed a degree of taste and refinement difficult to rival.
A long row of fine brick homes on Ann Arbor Street overlooked the Raisin. "Cobble Hill", a little farther on and on the opposite side of the street, boasted of an elegantly constructed mansion owned by Hon. J. D. Corey.
The railroad through the village afforded the facility for getting produce into the large markets of the east and south. Manchester was the hub for all the immense quantities of all kinds of produce which the rich plains afford.
There is an old saying that "what has been done once can be done again". With this in mind some were giving thought to a second railroad for Manchester. There was the Central which started in Detroit and on to Chicago. The other, the Southern, started in Toledo and also terminated in Chicago. The two vast facilities, with their cargo of rolling stock, was insufficient to meet the increasing demands. At this time another road was being planned from Detroit to Ypsilanti, Manchester, Hilisdale and also to be terminated in Chicago.
To this Manchester township voted $50,000, believing that every dollar would help farmers, merchants and mechanics. Instead of being the victim of a monopoly these railroads would serve better because they would be operating on a competitive basis.
Money was beginning to circulate more freely with the wool crop coming into market. Local buyers, with strict orders from the east, were paying as high as 35 to 40 cents. J. P. Gillett of Sharon received recognition for raising Saxton sheep, which European fairs were still hailing as a "best of breeds." Some Michigan breeders were changing to larger sheep with heavier fleeces.
Among the early enterprises of the village was the Pierce & Wortley marble works. The shop was on Railroad Street and the owners came from Ypsilanti. The marble was from the celebrated quaries of Vermont. Monuments were sold to residents in many of the surrounding communities and an impressive one is on the grave of Lawson W. Leap in Oak Grove.
As the wheels of time rolled on vast changes were taking place. Work shops were springing up in every direction and the clang of the anvil and the sound of hammer and saw were heard from early morning to late at night. It was no longer necessary to go to Jackson or other places for wagons that would withstand the wear and tear of the hilly country roads with heavy loads of grain or merchandise. Comfortable carriages were manufactured here, too. P. C. Vreeland and Company had the reputation of manufacturing some of the finest wagons and carriages in "the west." The shops were on the east side of the river. The iron work and painting was done on Water Street.
Seven men were employed with others working part time. They manufactured more than one vehicle a week and prices ranged from $150 to $400. Wagons were selling at $110 and a good month's sales averaged $1,500.
(This chapter division has been created for online presentation purposes and does not appear in the original.)
Time changed—back in 1869—same as today. The Standard Time of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Company was Cleveland time (which was about five minutes faster than Standard time) and that was about twenty minutes faster than Chicago time. How did anyone know the exact time? The telegraph operator at Cleveland would telegraph the time to all operators at 12 noon on Sunday and clocks were set.
Marcius Simons was the telegraph operator here and "Manchester was connected with the whole world and part of Soulesville by the telegraph." This was in September 1869.
Also in September, E. H. Lewis was awarded the contract of building a bridge across the Raisin near the brewery for a cost of $385. Completion date was November 1, 1869.
Total enrollment in the Union School was 425 in September, 1869.
It was generally believed that the Republicans of Manchester in 1860s had one of the best campaign banners in the state in the early days. The flag was painted by Amsden & Miller for a cost of $75. The size was 45 feet long by 10 feet wide. On one side of the banner was a beautiful scene on the Mississippi River with a fort on the bluffs, gun-boats and General Grant in the foreground. On the other side was a battle scene with the General on horse back ordering the Reserves to the front.
It was reported that pedestrians passing along the street were continually colliding with each other while gazing at the gorgeous flag. With this in mind, it was ordered that it be displayed only on Saturdays.
Graham & Goodyear moved their stock of goods to the Goodyear Block's west store with Wastell Brothers, as Graham prepared to move his old store back on the south end of his lot in preparation of building a new two-story brick building. Clark & Weir planned to build half of the wall on the west side and G. L. Unterkircher one half on the east side, in March of 1868.
The Goodyear block had three stories, which was singled out as a brick structure of architectural beauty and would have been a credit to a much larger town. On the first floor were two stores, one hundred feet from front to rear. One was a hardware store operated by Miller & Webb. The other was the dry good store of the Wastell Brothers. The second floor had numerous offices including the Manchester Enterprise newspaper office. The third floor was the Goodyear hall-one of the best in the country.
A. J. Waters and Walter Mack were the two men who spent long hours canvassing prospective subscribers by horse and buggy in their successful efforts to raise money for the foundation of The Union Savings Bank. The bank opened on June 30, 1894, with a paid-in capital of $12,500.
The prospects of starting any new business didn't appear to be very bright. There had been a nationwide panic in 1893 and banks had closed doors, railroads were going into receivership, and business houses were crashing. Coxey's army of unemployed marched on Washington. Money was scarce, although Manchester didn't seem to suffer as some parts of the country.
The first director's meeting was held on the third floor of Arbieter Hall on June 30, 1894. They were: B. G. English, President; George Heimerdinger, 1st Vice President; Dr. C. F. Kapp, 2nd Vice President; Edwin E. Root, Cashier; Arthur J. Waters, John Wuerthner, John M. Horning, Walter C. Mack, Fred Breitenwischer, and Arnold H. Kuhl.
The directors voted to purchase the corner lot on which the bank now stands, for the price of $1,800. The Union Hall was taken down and a new three-story brick building was constructed and open by early winter. Edwin E. Root, cashier, was the only employee.
These were the days of the plank sidewalks, cobblestone gutters, and hitching posts along Main Street. And the bank paid its share for having the dirt streets sprinkled to lay the dust. The fee was 25¢ a week.
This was the beginning of the electric lights on Main Street, for on February 10, 1892, the village council gave J. H. Kingsley the franchise for supplying the village with electric power and street lamps of the kerosene variety were on their way out.
The three-story Southern Washtenaw Mill was doing big business in State Seal flour, across the street from the bank.
Ed Root arrived at 7:30 a.m. at the bank to build the fire in the stove behind the counter, sweep the floor and serve the customers. Banking hours were nine to four and many a night he had to work after supper to keep the books up to date. Elwin English joined the staff a few years later as a part-time employee.
Eben F. Horning peddled his bike eight miles each way to help out at the bank.
Benjamin G. Horning died in 1905 and he was succeeded by John M. Horning. The same year Bennett C. Root graduated from high school and joined the bank.
In 1907 the bank had difficulty in finding enough cash to do business during its second national panic. Farmers were shipping livestock and coming to the bank to cash checks. Correspondent banks refused to part with large sums of cash. Instead of asking for large sums the Union Savings Bank asked for smaller amounts and kept enough money on hand to meet the demand—and the bank remained sound.
Merchants also helped during this panic by using railroad pay checks for currency. The checks were in five and ten dollar amounts. Merchants kept them and used them as money.
In 1920, John M. Horning, the bank's second president, died, and Dr. C. F. Kapp succeeded him. At his death in 1924, Edwin E. Root became president. Bennett Root became cashier in 1925. In 1927, Edward R. Kirk joined the staff and in 1929, LeRoy A. Marx went behind the counter.
More than one bank failed during the depression of 1929-33 but the Union Savings Bank came through with flying colors, stronger than before.
The Union Bank building was a temporary makeshift school facility while the modern new school building was under construction in 1937. Classes were also held in the Village Hall and the Sloat Building.
Also in 1937, the bank and community lost a friend. Arthur J. Waters, who laid the foundation for the bank and influenced its growth, died. But he had taught well and the bank continued to grow.
After 49 years of service to the bank, Edwin E. Root retired as president and became president-emeritus. He had helped the bank grow from assets of $33,000 to nearly $2,000,000. But retirement didn't mean that he didn't keep in daily contact with the institution. He passed on in 1943, at the age of 89, just a year after he retired.
J. C. Hendley was elected to the Board of Directors in January, 1939, and was named to the vice presidency in January, 1949; in 1950, he became president of the bank, a post he holds at the present time.
On October 1, 1950, Dan J. Boutell became cashier. He is executive vice president and cashier at this time.
On May 29, 1956, the Union Savings Bank and the Peoples Bank merged.
An extensive remodeling program was carried on at the "Bank on the Corner" during 1958 and '59 and the bank carried on its business across the street in the building which had housed the Peoples Bank.
The remodeled facility includes space formerly used by Walsh's Restaurant and Sutton Insurance Agency.
The bank has enjoyed continual growth since it was founded in 1894 with resources in 1967 totaling $9,000,000.
Manchester has never forgotten the fire which nearly wiped it from the map. The sleeping village was awakened at 6 a.m. Sunday, May 1, 1853, by the sound of burning timber as flames leaped from the flouring mill on Main Street (known as Exchange Place). The wind spread the fire to the opposite side of the street and before it could be brought under control 14 business houses and one dwelling had burned.
The entire business section up to the hotel (which stood where Grossman-Huber Station is), was left in ashes. Damage to the flour mill alone was $20,000. The villagers labored for hours to save the village west of the hotel.
As the townspeople began the work of rebuilding, they talked of the growing tension between the North and South. The white colonial styled house on Adrian Street, now owned by the Briggs family, became an underground railway station which played an important part in smuggling slaves into Canada.
In 1857 the "Manchester Union Guards" were organized under the State militia law. The company was made up of 57 men under command of Capt. Comstock with Isaac Clarkson, 1st. Lieutenant; L. D. Watkins, 2nd Liet.; J. H. Fountain, Sgt. Major; Chauncey Walbridge, Commissary Sgt.; and James Kelly, 1st. Orderly. When the Civil War broke out they served at Alexandria and Bull Run.
The Chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic was organized in 1886 and signed in Flint, May 1, 1886, by John Northwood, Dept. Commander and Oscar Lechheagle.
The Comstock Post No. 352 was named for Lerine Comstock who was killed in Knoxville, Tenn., 1863. The charter members were: S. Davis, E. Logan, James Kelly, A. A. Stringham, H. L. Rose, N. Whitmoore, Thomas Rushton, Joseph E. Tichner, A. J. Luce, H. H. Fellows, A. J. Lee, Geo. Nisle, Albert Green, William Henson, G. W. Bailey, G. B. Sherwood, Burdett Goodell, Robert Teeter, M. Hough, Ed. O'Neil, J. Zimmerman, William T. Severance, John Tripp, William Neebling, Daniel M. Burch, William Freeman, Sam R. Sherwood, T. J. Farrell.
Commander T. H. Williams of Jackson mustered the men, according to the Manchester Enterprise of May 20, 1886. There was entertainment and refreshments at Goodyear hall. Capt. James Kelly of Manchester organized the men and they marched to the Lake Shore Depot to meet the Jackson and Napoleon posts and paraded down town. Installation took place behind locked doors with the following officers elected: Commander, James Kelley; Senior Vice Com., William Severance; Jr. Vice Corn., E. Logan; Chaplain, T. F. Rushton; Adjutant, Sam Davis; Quarter master, Ed. O'Neill; Officer of the Day, G. B. Sherwood; Officer of the Guard, H. L. Rose; Sgt, Major Sam Sherwood and Quartermaster Sgt., William Freeman.
Among those who are buried at Oak Grove or St. Mary's Cemetery: M. N. Hough, Geo. Mathews, Philander Millard, Geo. W. Bailey, Addis Gillett, Harvey D. Rose, Luther C. Benedict, N. C. Holloway, James Kelley, William J. Tower, Thomas J. Farrell, Thomas F. Rushton, Geo. Sherwood, Albert P. Retan, Geo. Nisle, Daniel Burch, Alfred A. Stringham, William Nebling.
The blue soldier statue in Oak Grove was dedicated in 1907 by the GAR Comstock Post.
World War I claimed two from Manchester. Emil Jacob was killed in the battle of the Argonne in October, 1918. The Legion Post is named in his honor. William J. Ehnis died in France on January 31, 1919, of pneumonia.
Manchester had casualities in World War II. They were Sgt. Arthur C. Frey, Karl M. Rague, Wayne R. Alber, Edward A. Brazee and Richard Seckinger.
Those who gave their lives in the Vietnam conflict were: Ronald Alexander, Roy Bihlmeyer and Peter Valencich.
The tiny Main Street riverside park with its memorial stone made way for the expansion program for a parking area at the corner grocery; The memorial stone was moved to Wurster Park in front of St. Mary's Church and the Library. Oddly enough it is very near the site that the Comstock GAR Post had once considered for a memorial to their Civil War dead.
A small rnetal plaque at the base of his gravestone now cites Richard Edwin Lord (1745-1843) as a soldier of the American Revolution.
The grave is located in Gillett Cemetery in Sharon Township about five miles northwest of Manchester. DAR members placed the marker at the grave in time for May 30, 1967, memorial services.
Lord enlisted in the Continental Army on March 8, 1777, in the Second Regiment of the Connecticut Line commanded by a Col. Webb.
Records are not clear but Lord apparently moved to Ann Arbor in June, 1825. He brought his wife and three small children with him. A married son, David, had moved to this area a year earlier. David Lord was Ann Arbor's first doctor and Washtenaw County's first county clerk.
Mrs. Nellie Ross of Grass Lake, Lord's great-great-granddaughter, was present at the cemetery when the marker was placed on the grave by the Plymouth-Northville Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Other great-great-grandchildren living in this area include William F. Shaler and Clair Shaler of Bellevue and Mrs. Lois Schlotteman of Grass Lake.
When the Civil War ended the village perked up and started to engage in business of various kinds and new business houses were built.
At that time there were two school districts. The first was District 1 in Soulesville, named for the man who built the dam on the Raisin River and erected a saw mill. This place continued to prosper even after the other two dams were built farther up the river. A brick school stood on the hill on what is now the Lepshis farm.
A sawmill was built on the east side of the upper dam and a gristmill on the westside. There was also a tavern, church, stores—and a school house, on the southwest side of the public square. That was district 2, Ward School. It was across the street from St. Mary's Church. St. Mary's is built on the old hotel site. The area was low and marshy and a corduroy road was built over the bogs.
Meetings were held and in October, 1867, the Union School was completed in the area known as the "old swail." The three-story brick structure cost $25,000. Bonds were issued for that amount, and the last was redeemed February 1, 1880. It was located on City Road on the site of the Junior High School.
On Macomb Street (Brewery Road) was a building on the Berger farm, which served as the Berger District School. Manchester village, in the early years also boasted a "select" school which was held in the basement of the present M. E. Church. This was taught by Mrs. Barnes and later by Miss Case. When the high school opened this school was discontinued.
Prof. E. C. Olney was the superintendent of the Union School and he remained for two years.
In the fall of 1876 the graduates met to form an alumni association and the first meeting was June 29, 1877. with E. M. Conklin the first president; C. F. Field, vice president; William Doty, secretary; and Willis Watkins, treasurer.
In 1879, the Board of Education began publication of the annual catalog and lists the board of trustees as follows: Dr. W. S. Stowell, S. H. Perkins, Hon. J. D. Corey, G. 0. Van De Grift, J. D. Van Duyn and M. D. Case.
Three courses were offered: classical, modern language, and full English. The classical was similar to academic; modern language was designed for those going to college; and full English course prepared students for "business or teaching in the district schools."
Students had to pass an examination in "math, spelling, geography, English grammer and reading" before entering high school. Tuition was $15 a year. There were 3 terms: Sept. 1 to Dec. 19; Jan. 5 to March 26; and April 5 to June 25. Room and board was offered by residents and the cost was $2 to $3 a week and rooms from 50¢ to 75¢ a week.
The little brick school on the public square, which had been closed since 1867, was reopened in 1885 to take care of the overflow because the high school was operating at capacity. First and second grade pupils living in the west part of the village attended the Ward School.
In 1886, the Alpha Sigma literary society was organized with meetings held every other Monday evening. Self expression, a command of the language and an acquaintance with parlimentary procedure were the topics to be studied. This was founded by Miss Marie Kirchhofer and for 30 years the meetings were held regularly. Debates were a well known form of entertainment.
Diplomas were handed out at the completion of the 8th grade and again to the graduating seniors.
Later, a six-six plan was adopted in 1917. After the completion of the first six grades the student is promoted directly to high school.
In 1903, Mrs. J. H. Kingsley was elected the first woman member of the board of education. She became president of the board of education in 1908.
In 1908, Evan Essery, after 15 years as superintendent, was replaced by Frank E. Howard.
In 1911, three doctors were on the Board of Education: Dr. C. F. Kapp, Dr. Geo. Serviss, and Dr. B. A. Tracy, together with Mrs. Kingsley and A. J. Waters.
In 1915, typing became a regular part of the Commercial course and shorthand was introduced later.
In 1918, Marie Kirchhofer resigned to go to Hollywood, Calif. after teaching 26 years here. A. A. Nevereth from Brooklyn became principal.
In 1921-22, Augusta Haimon Vogt was the high school principal.
The first football game was played with Chelsea in the fall of 1902 on the field south of the Oil Company tanks.
Basketball was introduced in the winter of 1924 with Thomas Nurnberger the first coach.
The FFA, agricultural organization was added in the fall of 1931.
The Union School served from 1867 to 1935 before it was taken down and replaced by a new structure, now known as the junior High. The application for the replacement high school was granted on September 22, 1935 for a cost of $60,622.10. This was a WPA project. At that time Dr. L. C. Kent was president of the School Board of Education. About 800 people graduated from the Union School and the school bell which summoned them was given to the war scrap drive. The new school which replaced it was dedicated in 1935.
The Manchester Public School System expects an enrollment of 1200 students for the 1967-68 school year. These students are housed in four modern and well maintained buildings. A large high school addition was completed in June of this year. This new addition consists of two new science laboratories, a large study-auditorium, five classrooms, additional gym locker and shower facilities, a new band room, administrative offices and a language-speech laboratory. Other buildings within the system include the Intermediate Building, housing the junior high school students, the Nellie Ackerson Elementary Building and the Pleasant Lake Elementary Building. The School District approved a new elementary building at the last annual school election, and this facility is expected to be completed sometime next year. This building will contain twelve new classrooms, an all purpose room, a small library, a kindergarten room, and several other elementary facilities.
The Manchester School District encompasses 125 square miles. Approximately 85% of the students are transported in the system's bus fleet. There are 56 professional staff members and 24 non-certificated employees. A new salary schedule negotiated in May places the Manchester teachers' salaries in a comparable position with the schedules of other Michigan districts.
Another important name in the early history of Manchester Township is English. On the occasion of his 90th birthday, the late Elwin B. English related a few of the interesting things he remembered. That was in February 1964.
"Most people don't know that Iron Creek wasn't always one big pond," he reflected.
"Iron Creek is made up of five lakes, including Iron and Crane lakes. When they dammed the water and built the sawmill the five lakes simply made up one big pond. When the country was new, I think they intended to have a town at Iron Creek. There was a store there at one time, and, of course, the sawmill."
His parents were Benjamin and Mary Baldwin English. His mother used to tell of coming to Iron Creek, four miles southwest of Manchester. Her family left Clarendon, N. Y. for Michigan, May 10, 1836, crossed Lake Erie on a barge, and 10 days later their prairie schooner arrived on the south side of Iron Lake.
They were headed for the farm of an uncle, William Baldwin. Although it was night, the uncle and his family had kept a sharp lookout and saw the lights on the wagon. Mrs. English said it wasn't long before she was perched on her uncle's shoulder and he was carrying her across Iron Lake. There was no bridge and people had to know where to ford the creek.
"My grandparents, Richard and Susannah Green English, built a log house and mother used to tell about the stick chimney," English said. "Their frame house was built in 1852. Then in 1870 they built the frame house where my niece and husband, the Ed Wisners live."
The wood for the house was obtained right on the farm and sawed into lumber at the Iron Creek mill.
Sheep raising was a very important part of the history of the Iron Creek farmer and Mr. English told how the farmers used to think they had to wash the sheep before shearing.
"They'd drive them down to the creek and pen the sheep up in yards. A fellow would wade in and wash each one for about a cent a piece. Then the farmer would drive the wet sheep back home over the dirt road with the dust a-flying. My opinion was that they'd be dirtier when they finished than at the start.
"Sometimes the sheep dropped from exhaustion right in the road until the water had a chance to run out of the wool. I used to like to watch them wash the sheep. We never took ours to the mill because we had a lake on the farm and washed them at home. In those days they paid more for washed wool," the late Mr. English said.
The only person living today, 1967, who went to school at the Iron Creek country school with the late Mr. English is Percy Kelly, and the only person living who granduated with him from high school in 1893, is May Eylesworth Parks.
At the time of his 90th birthday he told about the 4th of July celebrations that the village used to have and lamented that he guessed they were a thing of the past. He would have enjoyed to the fullest the Centennial July 4th celebration, for he recalled an early one when a fellow parachuted out from a balloon at low altitude, after it sprung a leak, shortly after leaving the ground. They tried to throw up wet sponges to put out the fire but it didn't work. "The fellow jumped and slid down the steep roof on the present Keasal home. There he was rescued," Mr. English said.
Into Manchester Township in the year 1829 came John Bruin Crane and Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose Ely from Chariton, New York and settled in what is now Iron Creek. This area had no other inhabitants at the time. It is believed that Ely Road is named for this family. After a few years they sold to George Byrne for $1,000 and moved on to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Mr. Crane set out sweet chestnut trees along the road and reportedly carried apple trees from Clinton to plant on his farm. He built a house and settled near Crane's lake. He never married and before he died went back to New York state.
A Judge, Edward Clark, had the area platted for a village by George Byrne, a surveyor who came from Windham, Connecticut, and the village was named Windham. But it never materialized. Joseph Moore, a cabinet maker also lived in the area. His small son was drowned in the flume at the sawmill on August 3, 1842. The first log house on Ely road was replaced with a large frame building intended for a hotel.
In the scanty history of the area it appears that the people were original. No one copied. The community stood in a class by itself, but as a village Windham didn't succeed. The sawmill is long gone and the general store was in operation a very short time. The area is scenic but in recent years Iron Creek has become an area of trailer houses, stretching along the shore of the lake.
Within less than a mile in distance Manchester had three excellent water powers; the upper dam, just below the Exchange Place Bridge was owned by Lonier & Hoffer and was used by them to carry on their extensive milling business and after the dam at the third power went out it was also used to furnish power for the electric lighting.
The upper dam had a fall of 13 feet, but a greater fall could be procured by proper dredging and repairing the embankments and dam.
The second dam which was formerly known as the "foundry dam" was owned by N. Schmid and was used to supply power for a saw mill and factory where all sorts of sawing, planing, etc. were done.
The third power was what was known as the "Premium Mills" power and is that which Mr. J. H. Kingsley sold to the village, together with his public lighting plant for $16,000.
All these powers were built in the 1830s and had been in operation over 70 years. In the early days the dams were built by laying trees and logs lengthwise of the stream and throwing on stones and dirt to the required height.
These crudely constructed dams would be carried away by the spring freshets and new structures were built. As the years went by the dams were constructed by driving piles, two rows across the river to which planks and square timbers were fastened and the space between the piles were filled with earth and stones. But the steady wear of the elements proved too much and in 1908 the lower dam went out on February 14, the middle dam on March 10, and a short time later the upper dam floated away. These were all severe losses to the village and the owners. The water power of Manchester was destroyed by too much water!
There were hundreds of people watching as the seething flood of water hurled over the dam. Then there was a dull roar and the middle of the dam gave way and the rushing flood rolled on unhindered.
The great body of water was like a tidal wave bearing great cakes of ice, floodwood and stone covered the land below. The corner of Kimble's factory was struck and barns and other buildings were flooded.
Scarcely had the water from the upper pond diminished and only the channel of the original stream was left, when subscription papers were drawn and before night $1,000 was raised to assist Lonier & Hoffer in repairing their loss. The damage to the three dams was impossible to estimate. The millers made preparations to repair the dam temporarily just above the old one. Farmers needed flour and feed.
The village was in the planning stages for a new concrete dam. The loss of the old one was estimated at about $2,000 and the loss of business to Lonier & Hoffer was around $4,000.
By putting in a temporary dam to raise the water 10 feet, the mill and the electric lighting machinery was put back in operation within a few days.
It was on a Tuesday morning in May, 1908, when Dr. C. Kapp turned in the fire alarm after he discovered the wooden building on the corner of Railroad street and Maiden Lane on fire. The one o'clock fire caused people to tumble out of bed as the fire bell clanged. Chemical and hand engines were soon at work but the fire raged out of control so firemen concentrated their efforts on saving Dr. Kapp's building, occupied by the Putnam's harness shop and other nearby structures.
Lee Conklin's broom factory was in one of the buildings and his tools and some stock were burned.
There had been a prodigious rain the first part of the evening and shingles and roofs of all buildings were soaked with water. There was no wind and this helped as citizens kept a sharp lookout to prevent the fire from spreading.
At about 4 a.m. there was great excitement as those who watched the burning embers were informed that Lonier & Hoffer's temporary dam had sprung a leak and was threatened with disaster. The heavy rains had caused high water and men and teams hustled to haul stones and gravel to stop the widening aperture at the west end of the dam.
As the crowd on the bridge watched the surging water carried away the new apron about 8 a.m. and everyone thought the dam was doomed. A temporary sluiceway was made at the lower end of the flume by nightfall. This relieved the pressure and was credited with saving the dam.
1908—In the demolition of the old stone and brick building that stood near the center of blocks 1 and 4 at the corner of Duncan and Beaufort Streets, one of the oldest and best known land marks of the village, was wiped out.
The rear of the building was constructed of cobble stones and was erected by a man named Dudley for a bakery way back in the early youth of the village.
Strickland & Morgan built a brewery on the corner to the west, near the river bank and pursued quite a business for many years. But there are no records that the bakery ever baked.
The house was occupied by the Hix and Stringham families and Mrs. H. L. Root, daughter of the late Nicholas Stringham was the last to live there.
"Under the spreading chesnut tree the village smithy stood."
"Stands, you mean, don't you?" the reader might ask.
No, because that's the way Longfellow's immortal poem will probably read for horseshoeing blacksmith shops are pretty much a thing of the past. Washtenaw county has none and the only place you can hear the hammer against steel is in the "Anvil Chorus" from I Trovatore.
Manchester at one time had eight blacksmith shops. Now there are none. Children today will miss stopping at the village blacksmith shop, with its flying sparks, acrid smoke from balky horses hooves, that fascinating forge with its hand-turned blower and the sizzle of hot iron shoes in the water barrel.
Once holes in metal were hand drilled, later an electric device did the work. The blowers, once turned by hand, were later electricity operated and electricity also replaced the jack light. In the old days a horse was shod every six weeks when they were driving over the roads.
William Neebling was a blacksmith, manufacturer and repairer of carriages. He came to Manchester from Wurtemberg, Germany in 1850. His relatives lived in Freedom and he went to live with them. While there he learned the blacksmith trade and worked in Adrian and Jackson before he enlisted in the 9th Michigan Cavalry and served until the close of the war. He came to Manchester, married Elizabeth Emmer, of Bridgewater, and opened his blacksmith shop.
On October 30, 1877, the frame blacksmith shop was moved on the lot to the east on Jefferson street (now East Main). It was replaced by a new, one story brick building 60 x 28 feet. A gang of masons went to work and in eight days had the building ready for the carpenters. The shop had three forges, latest improvements and was well lighted and ventilated.
The smaller room at the rear was used by wagon makers. The old shop which was moved to the side was used for finishing and showing work. There was plenty of storage space. Later the blacksmith shop was owned by Theodore Morschheuser and then by John Schneider and Carl Schaffer. Mr. Schneider was the last one in Manchester to own and operate a blacksmith shop. He had been an apprentice and learned the trade in the same building where he worked for 41 years. With him went an art which few follow today—that of forging red hot iron to fit a horses hoof.
The creamery, which stood on the south side of Austin Road at the east village limits, was gutted by fire in 1929. At that time it was owned by Robert G. Sortor. Mr. Sortor came to Manchester in 1912 from Breckenridge. He established the creamery at the Soulesville location in the building which had formerly been the Morgan Agricultural Implement store.
An historical note is that Thomas Morgan (who built the Morgan store) married Deborah Soule in 1832. Soulesville (eastern part of the village) was named for this family. Soules lived in the house on the hill where the Lepshis family now reside. Thomas Morgan erected the first frame building in Manchester. The store which later became the creamery was of brick construction.
In the winter a large ice house at the rear of the creamery would be packed with ice which was used in the refrigeration of the butter during the summer.
Charles W. Sanford, who was a Freedom township farmer until 1867, came to Manchester in that year and specialized in the produce business. He made a speciality of eggs and butter. The location of this first creamery was on Washington Street, where the Herbert Widmayer home is located. Harvey Raby lived across the street (where Robert Popkey lives), according to Jane Palmer, retired librarian.
The Washtenaw County History describes the creamery. Its size was 18 x 24' with walls 14 inches thick, of which 12 inches were filled with saw-dust. The floor was the same. It was 18 ft. high and divided into two stories.
The top was filled with 60 tons of ice, the bottom fitted with zinc-lined troughs to carry off all water drippings. The lower floor could store 80,000 lbs. of butter. Sanford would buy in the spring and hold to fall, for a fine profit. The building was put up by B. A. Stevens of Toledo and cost $1,000.
In 1937, the Ford Motor Company began construction of its small parts plant on the bank of the Raisin River at the east village limits. This was the site of the old Premium Mill.
Within two years the plant started production and gave a real boost to the village. During the war the peak employment reached 500.
Later, in 1957, the Ford Motor Co. moved the operation to its Rawsonville Plant. About six years ago the empty Ford Plant here was sold to Ray Thornton, an inventor. It is being used as an experimental station for car equipment.
July, 1861. Motion was made that sidewalks be constructed of pine at $15 a thousand . . . Gleason's slaughter house on Beaufort street was tagged as a nuisance . . . M. D. Case made a motion to appropriate funds to repair fence around the old cemetery . . . 151 voted in the village election in 1868 and councilmen were fined 25¢ for non attendance at meetings without good reasons . . . The contract for building the bridge across the river near the Brewery went to C. H. Lewis for $385.
November, 1870. L. D. Watkins erected a building on the corner of Jackson and Union Street near the depot 24 x 80 feet and two stories high. The shop was built for 12 workmen and 4,000 barrels. Capacity output was 1000 barrels a week.
March 3, 1870. Manchester organized a hook and ladder company in the event of fires. The name of the organization was "Neptune." Orin Watt was elected foreman.
October, 1871. Council appointed two night firewatchers and approved buying water pails for fire buckets.
August 8, 1872. The weather was very hot and the cows were having all the street room they wanted. Three teams were drawing straw for the new Reynolds and Unterkircher paper mill. Council approved building a side walk 5 ft. wide of 2" pine planks on oak stringers on the east side of Beaufort street ... Water was so low factories and mills were operating only half time . . . Mack, Schmid & Co. put in a new burglar and fire proof safe in their German American Bank . . . Van Duyn, Lynch & Co. had a full line of school books. The band stand was built and the music was "high toned."
September 5, 1872. The annual school meeting was held at the Union School. Those who do the most grumbling and growling about taxes staying away, instead of coming and by their vote and influence trying to lessen the expense. At an earlier meeting July 8 a site was located for a Ward School in the Lyons District and the sum of $200 was voted for building the ward school.
December 5, 1872. Potatoes were 80¢ a bushel . . . hams 17¢ and shoulders 9¢ . . . Lard was 8.5¢ a pound ... Dried beef was 18¢ a pound ... and bacon 10¢ lb.
November, 1872. The friends of Prof. Fowler met at the Free Will Baptist church at Iron Creek for a donation visit on the evening of October 28. The social interview and the skillfully prepared "fixings" were such as to render the occasion pleasant to all concerned. The cash donations to the pastor amounted to $50.
Personal—The person who took the buffalo robe from a certain buggy, and left another marked "Ide" in its place, on Saturday evening will please return same to this office and get theirs ... Mike Howard paid us a visit last Wednesday and is looking well and hearty. He reports this is a pleasant season on the lakes. His vessel is at Trenton discharging railroad iron.
Jewelry Gone Down—G. A. Fausel has moved his stock of jewelry, clocks, etc. from the Bakery Building down Exchange Place to the Union Hall block where he has more room. He expects a large shipment in next week.
Horse Epidemic—All of Walt and Farrell's livery horses are down with the disease and many of the farmers are afraid that their horses will catch it. It is doubtful for the weather is now dry and the temperature is better.
Election Returns—Can't be published for the county because of conflicting figures.
Found—In this village a nice sash ribbon. The owner can have same by proving property and paying for ad ... The woman who blew down the kerosene lamp chimney to extinguish the light will never do so again . . . The boys are careless with their bows and arrows while shooting at doves on the streets. Look out for your eyes ... The wheat market at this village is very active ... Jacob Huber of Freedom has purchased the B. F. Sutton farm for $15,460 . . .
November, 1872. W. H. Lewis, proprieter of the Goodyear House will soon open an oyster room in the basement of the hotel and there will be service in first class style ... A skating rink is being prepared near the Goodyear House . . . Mack and Schmid have received a large stock of winter goods.
November 24, 1872. Several churches will hold Union Service at the Methodist House on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 28 at the usual hour with Rev. J. M. Tatterington officiating . . . The bird's eye view of the village of Manchester sketched by and engraved for E. S. Glover is complete and he will be here to deliver them in a few days ... T. Morgan & Co. are ready to take in apples at the storehouse at East Manchester, if the weather is favorable . . .
November 28, 1872. G. W. Fowle and Cub. Berdan will give one of their dancing parties at Goodyear Hall on Christmas. Cards of invitation will be issued soon. Prof. Fowle has organized a class of dance and those wishing to attend are requested to meet at Goodyear Hall.
February 5, 1873. The Goodyear house has been sold to Coon and Burch but Mr. Lewis will remain in charge . . . Farmers complained that the snow was drifted to 15 ft. deep on the north and south roads last week . . . The bird's eye view of Manchester and other photographs were sent to Vienna, Austria, to be placed on exhibit at the World's Fair in the summer ... People complained about trains standing at the depots and obstructing the wagon roads, causing some to wait as much as a half hour. "If we had a marshal that was worth a chew of tobacco, this could be avoided." . . . J. S. Case was appointed deputy sheriff by sheriff Fleming . . . Citizens signed a petition requesting Council to purchase a number of street lamps like the one at Goodyear House. Council agreed to have one placed on Ann Arbor Street, at the railroad crossing and another at Exchange Place bridge. Council has been approached to buy some Babcock Fire Extinguishers—or some other means for putting out fires.
February 13, 1873. About 150 cords of ice were harvested during the winter... J. R. Holmes oi Manchester township sold five trees, four black walnuts and one cherry for $300 from his farm in Riley, Clinton Co. He had sold 160 acres of land for which he paid $1208, three years ago. He was offered that amount for 18 trees ... Henry Younghans is preparing to do carriage trimming, upholstering, paperhanging, carpet laying etc. on short notice in the very best style and at reasonable prices. Give him a call at the Farmers Hotel or at his shop in the Hendershot's building... Good and Dr. Conklin have purchased the Goodyear Hall Block for which they paid $14,000. They have not disclosed what they will use it for but presumably a hotel.
March 6, 1873. The street lights are a fine thing . . . D. B. Sherwood is starting a weekly in Saline . . . The village treasury has a balance of $329.53. . . . John Miller has maple sugar ... Emerson Annabil sold 122 acres in Sharon to W. B. Osborne for $50 . . . Workmen are cutting the ice around the piles at the Railroad bridge . . . Fausel has a new engraving machine. Sleighs continue to come to town. Its "which and tother" between sleighing and wheeling...
March 13. 1873. Don't think that because so many are desirous of selling out that business has "played out" in this village. The truth is some of the would be sellers are played out." John Miller, a veteran in the grocery business, says he learned the value of advertising long ago.
March 20, 1873. Announcement was made that Porter & Jaynes had liabilities which totaled more than $15,000. This came as a shock to the entire community.
From the Files:
October 2, 1873. The Riverside Medicinal Springs hotel and water and air baths were reopened with J. D. Kief proprietor and J. D. Field the Superintendent ... Demand was great for bricks-far more than supply ... John Baur sold his brewery to two men from Indiana
October 9, 1873. L. D. Watkins' celebrated horse attracted attention at the Ann Arbor Fair . . . The Peoples Bank sustained no losses in the great financial panic. The bank was short of money-but that was general and depositors showed every confidence in the bank.
October 16, 1873. William Kirchgessner opened his new store (brick). The front part is the store for the bakery and confectionery and the back room is devoted to refreshments and a lunch room. This is one of the most complete establishments in the state. The second and third story are for his home. The lunch room specializes in serving oysters in many styles . . . Publisher Mat Blosser takes a day out to visit B. G. English in "their beautiful new home on 160 acres. The house had been built two years earlier by S. C. Ruckman and cost $2500. The editor and Mr. English spent the afternoon picking up hickory nuts.
October 23, 1873. Sherwood & Co. sold water privileges to the James Reynolds in East Manchester. Reynolds is putting in a steam engine ... Straw is so scarce in this vicinity that people are unable to secure enough to fill their beds ... The Planing Mills of Field, Blosser & Co. are doing a good business . . . Fire at 9 p.m. October 22 destroyed the Shoddy Mills of Jaynes and Dawes. The building was destroyed. Value was $2,500. Plans are already under way to open for business in the Woolen factory in Manchester. Mattresses sell for $12 ... Field and Kirchgessner were named by council to build a new fence around the old cemetery.
November 6, 1873. The post office was to be moved from railroad street to the Union Hall block which was the west store on Exchange Place.
November 20, 1873. The Banner store advertised a new supply of paisley shawls . . . The Enterprise sponsored a fair for the community and gave prizes for top grains, butter, ducks, squash, apples, etc.
From the files:
January 8, 1874. Street Lamps—Our city fathers got "bit" when they bought the street lights but we can't see why they should give up all desire to light the streets by some other method. These are only a mark for the reckless urchin's snowball. We think a kerosene lamp, well trimmed, would shed sufficient light. Adrian has kerosene instead of gas. They like it. We know our citizens will join us in saying "let there be light."
January 22, 1874. The Union Livery stable was sold by Orrin Wait to Thomas J. Farrell.
March 26, 1874. The Banner store of Mack & Schmid has the largest stock ever bought for this market . . . W. H. Pottle left on a buying trip to New York and Boston . . . Warren Kimble, who has agricultural implements, plows, rakes, grain drills, windmills, plaster, etc. now puts a delivery wagon on the street. Leave orders for the dray at the corn exchange.
April 15, 1874. Munson Goodyear agreed to furnish council room for 1 year for $30. Mat Blosser agreed to print council proceedings for 1 year for $40 and Otto Munch furnished desk for recorder for $17.
April 16, 1874. Sam Kirchhofer is the agent for European tickets. Send a ticket to a relative or friend to come to Manchester. Tickets from Glasgow, Londonderry, Hamburg, and London to Manchester, Michigan are now reduced to $37.00 and are good for one year . . . The Banner store is advertising 20,000 yards of ribbon (values from 50¢ to $1.50 per yard) at 25¢... Doty's Variety Store is selling wall paper, window shades, hats, boots, shoes, drugs and patent medicine . . . The Union Hall (Men's Clothing Store) has a sale on men's boots and shoes. H. Munch is the owner. .
April 3, 1874. Following is the list of saloons in Manchester: Conrad Lehn, Kirchgessner's Bakery, Charley Gwinner's, Michael Dailey's, Conrad Nauman, John Walz and Mrs. Traub who sold only wine and beer.
June 4, 1874. H. Barnum & Co. Circus was in town and at that time five elephants went "frolicing" in the Raisin River . . . Banner store was moved to the Capt. Clarkson Building on the west side of the river—owned by Mack & Schmid.
August 5, 1874. Council talked of special election on August 17 to allow Council to loan $1000 for fire protection. February 24, 1876 Council appropriated $493.50 for half payment of a fire truck.
August 6, 1874. Fire destroyed the flouring and paper mill at East Manchester which belonged to James S. Reynolds. Value $60,000. George L. Unterkircher was associated with Reynolds in the mill. The building carried $28,000 insurance. Both mills were planning to open September 1. Cause of fire unknown.
August 13, 1874. Well drillers were busy putting down a well on the Catholic Church property.
August 2, 1874. New Lutheran Church 3 miles east of Pleasant Lake was dedicated with guests including Rev. John Bauman of Rogers Corners and Rev. S. Klingman of Scio was named pastor of the 46 x 32 ft. white frame church. The bell tower was 70 ft. high with a new bell which tipped the scales to 1415 pounds and cost $443.85. Inside of the church is pine and black walnut. Cost of building $4,000.
August 20, 1874. The Union School will open August 31, 1874 without the help of a superintendent or principal. "it has a petticoat government like England and we shall see if school can be sustained -many claim it will be no worse than it has been in the past two years.
August 20, 1874. The Enterprise reprints from the Ann Arbor Courier "We would advise the newspaper pirate of the Chelsea Herald to throw his $8 scissors out the window, buy a 2¢ pencil and write his own locals—or send copies of the Courier to his subscribers—so they wouldn't get news second handed." That's right, give him thunder! We furnished him locals for over 3 years and only stopped it by cutting him off the exchange list. Such gobblers are a disgrace to a third rate justice office.
September 10, 1874. W. S. Carr & Son are busy putting in one of Bidwell's patent fruit dryers in the Cider Mill on Jackson Street (now the Carr Park Area). This mode of preserving fruit is similar to the Alden Process and fruit put up this way is superior. Forty bushels of apples can be dried in 12 hours. There is a paring room where machines remove skins, cores and slices the apples. They are placed on frames, covered with netting. The dryers are 6 x 10 feet and 3 ft. high with fire box and hot air chamber. The apples are heated to 200 degrees.
From the files.
September 10, 1874. John and Fred Schaible burned their first kiln of brick on June 24, 1874. They are busy drawing bricks to be used in the construction of the new home of A. T. Bruegel on Jefferson Street . . . Albert Case has an apple tree loaded with apples and some of the lower branches have blossoms ... Loads of hop pickers leave town every morning for the hop yards just west of the village. The people seem to have a jolly time and laugh and sing . . . Conklin is selling ice from his ice house. This ice is 4 years old and clear as crystal.
September 24, 1874. Joseph Gordonier has opened a blacksmith shop in the old P. C. Vreeland shop.
October 8, 1874. The Enterprise bought from Chicago the largest stock of paper ever bought by a country printing house in the state.
October 22, 1874. Jacob Brown near Pleasant Lake Freedom township had 10 acres of orchard. He harvested 195 barrels of Greenings and Baldwins which he sold. He keeps 100 bushels and gave away a hundred bushels. He plans to make 60 barrels of cider. Charles Vogel also has a nice orchard which was set out by Henry Goodyear. Apples sell at $1.50 to $1.75 a barrel.
November 19, 1874. A large black bear was seen in the village of Dexter last week . . . Neebling is busy manufacturing carriages and sleighs
... On November 12 Mr. Oversmith of Sharon built a fire to warm the hands of the corn huskers. It burned out of control over a large area and reportedly burned down 4 feet into the ground. Trees and rail fences toppled.
April 1, 1875. Great flocks of pigeons are winging their way north and pass over the village. They will spend the summer in the north woods where they roost unmolested by the acre.
April 8, 1875. At Manchester there was no dam by a mill site and at East Manchester there is no mill by a dam site
... Van Duyn and Calhoun were busy making perfume and toilet articles.
June 3, 1875. A large number of farmers and people in the village are helping to rebuild the dam for the Southern Washtenaw Mills.
August 5, 1875. George Haeussler came to town to look over the possibility of location of a drug business. He had been working in Ann Arbor for five years.
August 19, 1875. One of the subscribers to the paper asked to have her hay fever remedy printed:
1 grain of sulphate of quinine to which is added 1 ounce of water. Apply to nostrils with camel hair brush. Two or three applications may be necessary to relieve patient.
September 23, 1875. A dozen buildings have been shingled in Sharon Hollow and a new house built. There are also new roofs on the blacksmith shop and sawmill. Squire Kappler intends to put a new roof on the school by fall.
May 17, 1879. Council voted to pay village attorney $25 a year for services. On May 21 voted to pay $1.10 per day for labor on streets.
April 19, 1880. Council ordered 60 shade trees to be set out on public square.
June 16, 1880. Street committee leased land and barn situated on the northeast corner of block 40 and council ordered a fence be put around it for the village pound to encase all cows, horses, mules, sheep, swine and geese running at large on streets. Village marshall had previously been ordering residents to keep animals off the streets but the warnings were not heeded.
September, 1881. Louis Koebbe threshed 100 bushels of wheat in 70 minutes with horse power. Youngsters were planning nutting expeditions.. . The sidewalk in front of Haeussler's store was being repaired . . . The Methodists were planning a picnic at Short's Grove in Bridgewater
... James McMahon reaped 573 bushels of wheat from 32 acres
... W. H. Pottle had laid a new sidewalk in front of his store and making it on the grade level with other walks. He removed the step that had been a resting place for many of the village's tired individuals ... L. D. Watkins was expected home from a trip to Europe ... WORMS: At Sharon, in the vicinity of the church and town hall residents were excited about the appearance of a dangerous looking worm in alarming quantities.
The worms were first discovered in two fields adjoining and east of the townhall. These fields were covered with a rank growth of purslain (more commonly called pusley) and the worms were feeding on it. Every inch was covered and in some places they were two and three inches thick. It was estimated that there would be 1,000 bushels on 20 acres. This was the army worms first invasion.
October 13, 1881. S. W. Dorr won a pair of men's slippers for the best apples at the county fair. Squire Kappler will rebuild his hop house which burned early this past spring.
December 24, 1881. The props under the floor at the Emanuel (Lutheran) Church gave way and let the floor drop but no one was injured.
August 17, 1882. Conrad Lehn built a new porch and awning at the rear of his brick block and William Kirchgessner built a large portico on the new bakery building. This will be convenient on wash day. At this time in 1967, D. E. Limpert owns the three buildings on the south side of Main Street next to Widmayer Hardware down to the Sportsman Tavern which is owned by Wm. Bross. Mr. Limpert has cleaned up the rear of the buildings, removed old sheds and made an extensive parking area and enhanced the rear of the old brick buildings which he has completely remodeled for apartments and offices. Wrought iron railings and a New Orleans decor has been used to revamp the exterior and gay flower beds add a cheerful note.
October 5, 1882. Walbridge and Dealy ordered cornices for their buildings and the two-story Kimble block was completed.
February 14, 1883. The volunteer fire department was organized and the new fire engine had its trial run. That was the time that the Saline Observer was backing the manufacture of the Gross Brothers Star Windmill and reported that a $2000 capital was needed.
February 14, 1883. The village bought hand fire extinguishers, hose cart, ladder truck with attachments for the volunteer department and the fire apparatus was to be stored at Eugene Schwindle's place on railroad street for $100 a year.
March 29, 1883. Twenty-five sheep breeders met in Manchester from Lenawee, Jackson and Washtenaw County at the Peoples Bank and organized the Southern Michigan Sheep Breeders Association. C. C. Dorr of Sharon was the director, along with J. M. Moore, Manchester, and J. M. Horning of Norvell. President was James Kress of Bridgewater, vice president, Henry Calhoun, of Bridgewater, secretary, Charles Fellows of Sharon and treasurer, Thomas Van Gieson,of Bridgewater.
April 5, 1883. Manchester Township offered a bounty of 15¢ for every woodchuck scalp.
April 12, 1883. C. W. Case sold his beautiful residence on Jackson Street to Douglas Baldwin and plans to build another house in the spring... Some cheeky individuals are taking owners horses from the Baptist Church sheds in the evenings and placing their own there. The Baptists will repair the sheds and enclose the stalls... Scarcely had the doors of the old store of Colwell & Son been locked when Gillam and Steinkohl of Lansing were leasing the building for a drug store.
April, 1884. The marshal's salary was set at $400 a year and he was to take care of the fire apparatus and street lights, make arrests and turn over all fees to village treasurer and attend all council meetings.
April 8, 1886. The roads were blocked with snow which was considered the worst of the season with some roads so drifted that they will be impassable for days. The Tuesday train on the Jackson Branch arrived here Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. On the north side of Exchange Place there was a snow drift six foot high and Davis took some pictures while the clerks were shoveling.
April 22, 1886. The city fathers talked of erecting a village hail. There was $2,500 in the treasury and a like amount was possible from the saloon tax.
May 31, 1886. A bottling works for lager beer, export beer and ale was planned for the rear of Lehr's store until better quarters could be obtained. Special bottles were ordered from Pittsburgh.
June 3, 1886. The first canopy top carriage built here has been finished by George Nisle.
September 2, 1886. George Nisle moved his building from the lot sold to the village for a council building to the corner of Exchange and Clinton St.
September 9, 1886. New Industry. Valentine and Town of Rose, New York have rented the rink and are planning to evaporate fruit by the Rose Process. The plant will run at capacity (350 bushels) day and night through February. Forty or fifty people, mostly women will work for 50 to 75¢ a day. The firm wants 40,000 bushels of apples that drop from trees (not cider apples). They are paying 10¢ a bushel.
September 23, 1886. Ground was broken Monday for the Council Chamber and the dirt is being used to raise the grade on Main Street.
October 7, 1886. People have the impression that the building on Clinton Street is to be a town hall. Others think there is to be an amusement hall in the building. Neither are correct. The village is to erect the building and pay for it out of the village treasury. It will be used for an engine house, jail, and a place to store tools belonging to the village. The second floor will be used for a council chamber, clerk's office, etc. The latter will be provided with a fire proof vault in which to keep the books and papers of the village. (At that time the council room was over Baxter's store with meetings the 1st and 3rd Mondays.)
November 11, 1886. The street sprinkler is working. Strawberry and raspberry bushes are in bloom. Fifty citizens went to council to see what to do about the new bridge. Mr. Burtless talked with the state agent of the bridge company at Charlotte and he plans to come Friday to set up the bridge.
November 18, 1886. The citizens "who pecked away" and asked questions have brought to light some valuable secrets which had been hidden. The town board had borrowed of B. G. English $2,400. The note was for 3 years. They intended to use some of the money to pay for the iron bridge but the committee made it so warm that they returned the money to English and now it is likely that our taxpayers will have the great satisfaction and pleasure of paying the whole sum by way of taxes this year. The Board acted unwisely but they intended to make it easier for the taxpayers.
November 25, 1886. The Bridge was thrown open to the public Monday and it was a great relief. Some people complained because it should have been wider—others said it was just right. All in all, we think the bridge is sufficient for our needs and will be a joy forever.
December 2, 1886. Council is asked to repair the wooden sidewalks. Many places are not safe and when covered with snow will be dangerous. The approaches at each end of the Exchange Street bridge are dangerous and the planks are slanting and slippery. Proper officers should see that they are made safe at once.
April 28, 1887. The Bottling works has been sold by W. H. Lehr to Wurster Brothers and will be moved to the Southern Brewery where John Koch will set up the machinery and Wurster will do the business.
May 5, 1887. Cows are beginning to roam the street and council will have to take action as the boys who herd the cows are saucy and they, and the cows, should be off the streets.
July 21, 1887. The little building on the corner of Exchange Place and Clinton Street used by George Nisle as a trimming shop has been moved to the rear of the Gwinner Block. Reichert intends to move the building in which Nisle lives to the corner lot.
February 17, 1887. Rha Conklin bought the old cooper shop building at the corner of Jackson and Union street and moved his broom factory there.
February 5, 1889. The village bought a fire bell. Later this bell was used to call the council meeting until the practice was abolished in the early 1900s.
March, 1890. An ordinance was adopted prohibiting trains to travel more than 6 miles an hour in the village. Fine $50.
April 24, 1891. Council ordered the windmill on Exchange place to be painted ... Later in the summer council approved locating a tank or reservoir to be placed on the west side of South road 22' from the L.S. & M.S. railway near the spring. It was 12' in diameter with a capacity of 225 barrels for fire protection . . . cost $42. Another reservoir was placed on E. Main Street near the Frank Spafard residence.
August 7, 1891. Council approved the German Day Celebration set for August 19, 1891. Committee for arrangements invited council to participate in the grand street parade and gave permission for the celebration committee to erect several arches across the streets of the village. Six special policemen were to be on duty August 19, and council ordered the village hail be decorated in honor of German Day.
Jan. 29, 1892. We miss the street lamp that stood in front of the Goodyear House. Why don't the city fathers erect a tallow candle on Ann Arbor Hill and illuminate the whole town... The People's Bank received two sacks of small coins. They are one, two, three and five cent pieces and are for general circulation.
November 22, 1895, A. Freeman, who owned Goodyear House, asked council to remove the windmill (which he called barn yard fixture) from in front of Goodyear House. He offered to move the windmill to the rear of Goodyear House and said he would pipe the water from the well to a stone watering trough similar to those in other towns. He also offered to keep the windmill in repair as long as it was worth repairing.
December, 1897. Saturday being Christmas, the banks will be closed all day and will not be open Saturday evening. The post office will be closed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and after 4 p.m. Some of the stores will be closed Saturday (Christmas) afternoon but doubt if any will be closed all day. Lewis Kueblet bought the brick store recently vacated by Lynch & Co. and will move his tin shop there. John Kensler moved his beanpicking establishment next to Amsdens—where the post office used to be located... The Stevens farm, about two and a half miles west of the village, which has been owned by Walker Bros. of Rochester, N.Y., was sold by their agent, T. J. Farrell, to Wm. H. Buss of Rogers Corners, Freedom. The place consists of 160 acres, 40 acres of which lies about a mile farther west. Selling price $40 per acre....
February 10, 1898. Rowe and Smith were advertising milk at 30 quarts of milk for $1.00, after that the price will be 4 cents a quart.
March 14, 1898. Box rent at the post office increased: after April 1st call boxes will be 20 cents a quarter, small lock boxes will be 35 cents, medium 40 cents and a large drawer fifty cents.
November 24, 1898, Manchester has eight firms selling dry goods, boots and shoes, ten selling stationery, 15 selling tobacco and cigars and 12 selling groceries.
Thursday, June 12, 1902, is a day many in the village still remember. It was the hardest windstorm recorded in the town but there was no loss of life. At 5 p.m. the storm broke with raging wind and hail. Trees were uprooted. Small houses overturned and roofs were torn from buildings. Water stood an inch deep at Freeman House.
Most of the teams had been hurried away to the barns for safety but there were three carriages left. On Furnace Street, Will Haschle's barn was tipped over on his cow but men hurried to the scene and extricated the cow without serious mishap.
The private bridge on the Rehfuss farm was carried away, and on in Bridgewater the wind continued to destroy property but the path of the storm was not more than a block wide.
February 28, 1908. The transfer of the electric light plant to Lonier and Hoffer was made and the lights of the commercial circuit turned on Saturday. President Freeman gave the transaction his personal attention ... The well of Jack Maloney went dry and so did the one of his neighbor when the dam went out. They did the same several years before when a dam went out. It was quite evident that the water supply was obtained from the river.
March 12, 1908. Part of the dam at Schmid's factory site was swept away during the high water. Schmid borrowed a steam engine and began sawing logs in his yard. The thunder storm Thursday was severe and lightning set fire to the Dresselhouse mill at River Raisin, near Bridgewater. The saw mill, feed mill and cider mill burned to the ground.
May 13, 1908. Council approved the building of a dam and flume for the village electric light station. The village was instructed to purchase 50 electric light poles and wire.
August 15, 1908. Council approved selling to Lonier and Hoffer gravel from the village pit for use in the construction of their dam on Exchange Place location. They charged 10¢ a load for gravel.
October 21, 1908. Council voted to have the electric light plant in operation on an all night basis beginning Nov. 1, 1908. At the same time council approved having all porch lights free with the installation costs paid by the consumer. John H. Mahoney was appointed at a dollar a day to help L. R. Hatch at the electric light plant, who was paid $75 a month.
April 6, 1910. Mr. Johnson was permitted to use the old watering trough on Exchange Place for a flower bed.
April 20, 1910. The wages of day laborers was raised from $1.50 to $1.75 a day.
November 2, 1910. Discussed the opening of the alley at the Handle factory.
November 16, 1910. Council approved the sale of the Mill Building at the Electric Light plant to Adam J. Wurster for $136. It was to be removed by April 1, 1911. It was moved to the curve on Riverside Drive where the Paul Ernst home stands. At one time it was owned by G. H. Breitenwischer as a barn for his horse.
February 21, 1912. Council discussed the possibility of bonding the village for a water works system.
March 14, 1912. Village election results were tabulated by the council on the proposition of bonding the village for $27,000 to be used for the constructing and installing of water works. The vote was 229 for the bond issue and 88 against it.
April 17, 1912. B. A. Tracy, chairman of the stand pipe committee reported that Adam Wurster would sell a parcel of land on Ann Arbor Hill (v shape) with 2 rods fronting on Ann Arbor Street and running back about 18 rods for $500. Council gave a contract to George Wurster to drill the well for the village water supply at the Electric Light Plant at $3.00 a foot.
June 19, 1912. Council deemed it unlawful to park a vehicle on Exchange Place between Water Street and Clinton Street for longer than a 10-minute period.
July 6, 1912. Council approved paying $355 for a cover for the stand pipe.
October 18, 1912. Council approved purchasing an engine for $1,800 for the water works.
March 13, 1913. The voters turned down the proposal of John B. Cole and William E. Stipe for a gas franchise for the village.
May 15, 1918. Council appropriated $50 for the building of a band stand and flag staff. It was to be located between the mill and the bank. Later they put the stand on wheels so it could be moved to other locations.
April 2, 1919. A group of citizens complained because a neighbor was raising onions for seed. They objected to the offensive odor. Council referred the incident to the Health department.
May 21, 1919. $520 was approved for oiling the streets.
August 5, 1919. Village appropriated $100 for a Welcome Day for the soldiers.
October 1, 1919. The street commissioner was asked to remove all useless hitching posts.
December 15, 1919. Voters approved building a transmission line for electricity between Manchester and Clinton.
April 7, 1920. Charles Conroy and F. D. Kern were authorized to build the electric transmission line to Clinton.
November 4, 1920. New York Central Railroad trains were using: 6 passenger trains using 2,000 gallons each daily, and 5 freight trains using 3,000 gallons each per day.
December, 1923. Council ordered that all porch lights were to be out by 1 a.m. with a penalty of 50¢ for violators. In that year the village clerk, LeRoy Marx was ordered to write a letter to a Belle Isle Creamery Co. to have their truck driver slow down when traveling through Main Street, especially across the bridge. Children swinging from trees in the public park were deemed a nuisance and throwing snowballs from business places was subject to prosecution....
In March, 1963, LeRoy A. Marx pushed back his pen and traded it off for a fish pole. At 67 years, Mr. Marx had spent 41 years keeping the records of the village. It was hard for people to comprehend that he wasn't going to run for office. In December, 1961, Mr. Marx had retired as assistant cashier of the Union Savings Bank after 33 years.
When he became clerk in 1922, the salary was $75 a year. When he retired it was $750.
Checking the old council notes he noticed that, "The village council in 1922 ordered that no porch lights should be more than 40 watts and should not burn after daylight. That was because the village owned the electric plant and porch lights were not on meters. Some of the property owners were ordered to leave the porch lights on at night to light the streets because there were no street lights.
"Then, in 1923, the council ordered all porch lights be turned off by 1 a.m. Violators found a fine of 50 cents added to their light bills."
In 1925, the village held a special election to decide whether to sell the electric plant to Consumers Power Co. for $15,000. The proposal passed by a vote of 273 to 103.
In 1927, the village records showed, Main Street was paved and in 1928 council approved building of the Main Street bridge.
The rapid increase of automobiles also increased traffic problems; so in 1931 the council voted to have tickets printed to simplify matters in making arrests for traffic violations. That same year, Carr Park was graded and 500 pine and spruce seedlings were planted.
"In 1931," Mr. Marx said, "the council voted to pay common laborers 25 cents an hour and the street commissioner got 30 cents an hour. And we hired a man to read the water meters and paint fire hydrants for $50 a year.
"By 1934, with the depression in full effect, the salary of the meter reader had dropped to $40 a year. Laborers pay had been dropped to 20 cents an hour. The street commissioner got a raise-to 70 cents an hour-but he also had to use his own truck. The village marshal was paid $40 a year.
Other entries in the village records:
In 1935, the village sold water rights at two sites to the Ford Motor Co. for $12,500 for five years. The council voted to pay the village president $150 for promoting the sale.
December, 1936. Pay for laborers was raised to 35 cents an hour.
April, 1937. $150 was appropriated to repair the Lynch home which had been purchased by the Library Association for a public library.
March, 1938. A man was appointed as street commissioner, meter reader, "water pumper and supervisor of all other work" at a salary of $100 per month.
November, 1939. The council ordered that the village pay a bounty of five cents for every rat caught in the village limits.
December, 1939. The village purchased colored lights for the municipal Christmas tree.
As a young man, Mr. Marx was a pitcher in the old Southern Michigan Baseball league at the time Manchester won a pennant.
Herman Kuebler retired in the summer of 1962 after 50 years in business. The name of Kuebler's Plumbing and Heating went with him. Manchester residents had been going to Kuebler's for about 70 years for plumbing and heating needs.
Herman's father, Louis A. Kuebler, started his business in 1895, and was known to everyone as "Tinner" Kuebler. The elder Kuebler learned his business in Germany and was joined by his son in 1910.
It is hard to imagine milk pails and milk pans being made by hand-but they were. This was an art the Kueblers brought from Germany. Metal roofing was important in the early days and the Kueblers put metal roofs on many business places here. There was a demand for flat roofs on porches. Making stove pipes was important for it wasn't until about 1908 that furnaces started to be at all popular.
In about 1912, the village put in city water and the demands for knowledge to cope with this new type of enterprise caused Mr. Keubler's father to hire a plumber from Detroit to help out.
From the time of soldering a new copper bottom on a tea kettle and making stove pipes to installing the plumbing in a new home, or hooking up gas furnaces and air conditioners, Mr. Kuebler encountered many changes. In 1928 all of the pipe railing for the present Main St. bridge was built by Kuebler.
In the early days they traveled by horse and wagon out in the country and prepared to stay days until the job would be finished. Farmers provided room and board. It was part of the bargain. There were no 8-hour days.
Many times they shopped in town for the farmer and took him the supplies "as long as we were making the trip anyway."
Mr. Kuebler always found time to help in community projects. He was a charter member of the Exchange Club and Optimist Club, served six years on the school board, 16 years on Emanuel Church Council and eight years on the village council. He and his wife live on E. Duncan Street.
Mrs. Ina Haeussler resigned after a 28-year teaching career. She taught school for six years before her marriage and returned to the profession in
1944. She has held offices in the local, district and regional Michigan Education Association and has just finished three years as local treasurer of the MEA.
She was employed at the Short School east of the village when it was consolidated with the Manchester system and she was transferred to teach the fourth grade.
When enrollment reached a new high and two rural schools were put into use again she returned to the third grade in one of these.
It was no hardship for Mrs. Haeussler to teach in the country school-even though she had only one grade the second time around. She liked the variation of different classes. School enrollments ranged from 15 to 42 and she doesn't remember when she didn't have at least one child in each grade, kindergarten through eighth.
There was more to being a country school teacher than met the eye. The teacher tried to be at school at 7:30 a.m. and the children came at 9 a.m. In the winter there were paths to be shoveled, not only to the road, but also to a couple of "little buildings" not too far away. Another path led to the pump. A pail of water had to be brought in. Everyone used the dipper.
Often on an icy cold Sunday, she and her husband, Erwin, would drive to school and start the fire so it wouldn't be so chilly Monday morning.
With school out for the children at 4 p.m. the teacher would find herself sweeping and cleaning to prepare for another day.
There was a closeness and friendliness in the country school that is lacking in the larger systems. Older children accept the responsibility of caring for the little ones. At recess they taught youngsters to play games and how to get along with one another and helped them in and out of their heavy wraps.
"Children no longer come to school barefooted," she recalled. "One early spring a family of children came barefooted. About noon it started to snow and continued all afternoon. They were worried. I suggested that the bigger boys help me by chopping kindling after school and the younger ones help put the room in order so I could leave a little early and I would take them home. They were so happy!"
In those days you didn't miss school because of the weather-at least the teacher didn't. But if there was sickness or some major reason for not having school the teacher and children made it up at the end of the year.
The highlight of the year was the Christmas program. The children were given parts to learn around Thanksgiving. Parents helped and loaned furniture and other props. The night of nights came and the little country school would bulge at the seams with relatives, friends and folks in the area, with or without children.
The teacher provided a gift for each child. It was expected and she did it gladly.
With the close of school was another treat. Sometimes Mrs. Haeussler chartered a bus for a field trip, maybe to Greenfield Village or the zoo. This was her party. Occasionally parents offered to drive and take a load of youngsters.
She said she tried to plan something to give the rural children an opportunity to know some of the things that their city cousins took for granted.
Children are far more advanced today for their age than they were when she launched on a teaching career, said Mrs. Haeussler. But in the rush and hurry of today, she believes some important things are lost along the way.
With a teacher so devoted, it was understandable that when one of her former students, not yet in high school, on hearing that Mrs. Haeussler was leaving, rushed up and grasped her hand, "You aren't leaving? You just can't."
In 1949 the new Manchester elementary school building was named for Miss Nellie Ackerson who retired in 1959, after teaching for 51 years. She had taught four years in rural schools, one at the Schlaffer School and three years at Sharon Hollow School before joining the Manchester school system in 1912.
She always taught the third and fourth grades and was principal of the elementary school for many years.
She was graduated from Manchester High and Ypsilanti Normal College where she earned a bachelor of science degree. Miss Acketson will always be remembered for her art work and admits that she was torn between a love of art and music, and an admiration for the teaching profession. There were always beautiful chalk drawings for the children to look at on the blackboard of her schoolroom.
Miss Ackerson received another distinction when she was made an honorary member of the Manchester Township Library Board, the second person in the 128-year history of the library, the first being Mrs. Frank Merithew, who received the honor in 1945.
Probably one of the best known persons in the Iron Creek area is the Rev. Alvin Brazee, who served the Iron Creek church close to 35 years. Now retired, he and his wife spend winters in Florida. He has always had a great appreciation for the old McGuffey Reader and brought many a Sunday School lesson to the children.
"There were no bright pictures in the books. They were not especially attractive but they were printed to teach the student and not entertain him," Rev. Brazee said.
He taught for many years in the Tecumseh Junior High School. During his lifetime he collected many old and rare books, but he prizes most the McGuffey readers used by his own parents during the Civil War days.
The Centennial Parade Marshal in 1967 was Carl F. Wuerthner. The 93-year-old former village president has a feeling for this community. One of the things he enjoyed most was getting 1,045 signatures on a petition for a mail box on Main Street, while on crutches.
He has served as the Maccabee Supreme Lt. Commander in the United States and Canada. Wuerthner is the son of the late John and Caroline Wuerthner. He attended Manchester High School and Brown Business College in Adrian; then he worked for his father in the clothing store here.
He and a brother Gustof bought an interest in the business in 1909 and it became known as John Wuerthner and Sons. They added a wholesale business in 1924 which Carl operated until 1952, when he sold to a partner Richard Alden. Walter Schaible bought the store in 1941.
Wuerthner remembers that the first bicycle was owned by E. A. Carr. He became interested in local politics in 1907, when he helped organize the Young Men's party. He organized the Progressive Party in 1919 and has been a guiding influence ever since. In 1944, he was elected Village President, serving three terms. He is the only Village President to be elected to an office of the Muncipal League of Michigan, having served as Vice President.
He was active in the Chamber of Commerce and in two summers was instrumental in collecting $2,712 from merchants here to show movies on Main Street on Wednesday nights to bring people into town from the surrounding area.
Wuerthner was one of the committee from the village named to raise $15,000 to bring the Double A Products Co. to Manchester in 1939. This is Manchester's largest factory. He was secretary of the building committee and has watched the growth of the plant with satisfaction.
Wuerthner made his first trip to Europe in 1949 on a conducted tour and left the group to spend 34 days with relatives. Surprised as to their lack of good clothing, he made a mental note to try to help them when he returned home. He made it a community project and asked people to bring usable clothing to his home. The first shipment was 50 parcels-894 pounds; the next shipment was 192 packages.
When the Village Council passed a resolution to unanimously instruct the village attorney to find the heirs of Carr Park and return the park to them, it was Wuerthner who stopped the move. Every child who plays in Carr Park can thank Mr. Wuerthner for his farsightedness.
He is active in the Washtenaw County Historical Society. At 83, he was named vice president of the Union Savings Bank. He is active in the Emanuel United Church of Christ and a member of its Senior Citizens.
On June 28, 1966, while in Lansing he was handed a copy of the Michigan House of Representatives Resolution 452. This commends him for his many active years of participation in civic, religious, commercial and political activities in the community and in the state. The resolution states in part: "That the highest praise and commendation be extended to him for his lifetime of active participation and service to the community, church and state and that he be held out as a sterling example of citizen responsibility and participation to be followed by all citizens....
Riding in the centennial parade was nothing new to Mr. Wuerthner. He rode in one in South Africa in 1956 and still wears the hat and shirt with its centennial motif that he wore then.
Lawrence P. (Dutch) Wurster was feted in March, 1960, for his years of service to the community. At that time he received a life membership in the Optimist Club and was named member-emeritus of the board of education. Yes, and he was given a pass to all high school athletic contests.
Councilman John Pippenger read the council proceedings of several years ago, in which the park across from the churches on W. Main Street was officially named "Wurster Park."
Dan Boutell, vice president of the Union Savings Bank, recalled Wurster's many years as clerk at the Peoples bank.
Wurster managed the local baseball team which won five area championships in the 1920s. He was instrumental in developing the current high school athletic field from a swamp when many said it could never be done. He was also very active in promoting the improvement of the big Carr Park.
If Bill Widmayer were alive today and could look at this History of Manchester and the picture of the wooden Main Street bridge, he'd say, "Yes, I remember."
He had a keen mind and an excellent memory. On his 90th birthday, in November 1962, he recalled "Good Old Days."
"My, Oh my! There are many changes," he said. "There was an old wooden bridge across the Raisin River on Main Street and the wooden sidewalks.
The sound of people's feet clattering across that old bridge-nothing like it today. Along the hitching posts, where the horses would stand, the merchants spread cobble stones to keep the horses out of the mud and keep them from digging up the roadway with their hoofs. In the summer, the stones helped keep down the dust. Believe me, it used to get mighty dusty on Main Street with a good breeze a-blowing."
"There was a fellow, Joe Howard, who operated a sprinkling wagon. He'd go down back of the old Kimble building and fill up the tank and sprinkle the main streets. I remember that the storekeepers used to chip in 25¢ or 50¢ a week to have the area in front of their stores sprinkled.
"I remember when Fred Steinkohi (druggist) bought the first car. Maybe you don't think that created some interest. You know its a funny thing, but I never owned a car. Never had any desire to. I didn't even learn to drive. I did have a horse and buggy," Mr. Widmayer said.
He worked for his brother, Fred in the hardware store. He did the delivering for the store.
"Stoves were among the big items to be delivered. Lawn mowers became popular about 1890 and a little later. We used to marvel at them and it took about 10 years for the public to really become interested enough to buy them in quantity. The dry good stores sold mosquito netting for windows," Mr. Widmayer said. His nephew, Herbert Widmayer, operates the hardware store on West Main.
He remembered when the trains chugged in and out of town every hour and when the apple and tomato canning factory was in operation. There was no such thing as putting up apple sauce in small cans, always in gallon jars for restaurants and hotels.
In this year of 1967 there is only one man living here who worked in a store on Main street when Will Widmayer came from the farm home in Sharon to work for his brother in the hardware store. That man is Carl Wuerthner.
James Hendershot, 83 years died February 20, 1895. He was born in Jerseytown, Pennsylvania and grew up in Groveland, New York where he learned the blacksmith's trade. He decided to join the throng of fortune seekers and first stopped at Tecumseh and later decided on Manchester.
There were but few dwellings here at the time, a new mill just built where the Holt mill stands and a couple of stores and a shop or two comprised the settlement.
Farmers were settling in the area and he decided to seek his fortune with the rest. A few years later he was married to Catherine Dudley, whose parents lived on the farm later owned by B. G. English.
He was a hard working man, good citizen and served as one of the trustees of the village in the early days.
Homer Palmer, 22 years, died in the regimental hospital, Chickamauga Park, Georgia August 15, 1898, after a brief illness of typhoid fever. He was at Camp Thomas serving with Company C in the Spanish American War. This was the first death in the company. Flags were at half mast and the news cast a deep gloom on the community. His father, Sam Palmer, arrived at the camp the day before he died. Funeral services were at Emanuel church here.
Mrs. Elizabeth Magoon Goodyear, 80 years, died at the home of her nephew, Perry Winslow, January 6, 1906. She was born in Cornelius, New York, and at an early age came to Freedom Township, where she taught school. She married Henry Goodyear and started housekeeping on a farm near her former home.
At the close of the Civil War her husband was one of the largest land owners in Washtenaw County. He was public spirited and ambitious, and bought property in Manchester. In 1867 he erected the Goodyear Hall block. He also built a large brick hotel which took his name but was later called the Freeman House.
Later they moved to Nebraska and engaged extensively in stock raising. Their only child, a daughter, went to Nebraska with them. She married a ranchman and died a few years later.
After the death of her husband, Mrs. Goodyear returned to Michigan and for several years kept house for her nephew. Burial was in Oak Grove, Manchester.
Bennett C. Root loved Manchester, and his love for the town in which he spent nearly all his life was felt even after his death, August 2, 1963. He provided for the village, students, churches and his former fellow employees.
Mr. Root, who was chairman of the board of the Union Savings Bank at the time of his death, left $5,000 to make improvements at Carr Park, the village park which has facilities for family outings and is the site of Little League baseball games.
He left another $5,000 to the local Methodist Church, where he was a board member for many years and church treasurer for 14 years. He left another $2,000 to the Sharon Evangelical United Brethern Church. There were scholarships to Manchester High School from which he graduated in 1904, and there was money for a Bank Pension Fund. He became cashier of the Union Savings Bank in 1925, president in 1949, and chairman of the board of directors in 1950. He also served as village president, Manchester Township Clerk and a member of the Manchester School Board.
by Marie Schneider (reprinted from the Jackson Citizen Patriot)
February 28, 1964
They buried Bill Blumenauer last week. And this village isn't quite the same.
It has lost someone who was as much a part of everyday Main Street as the Raisin River bridge, the Union Bank and the grist mill.
Bill was not thought of as prominent. He never held a village office. He was no politician, no civic leader. But he was a friend to everyone and he greeted one and all with a cheery, "Hi, shotsie!" (Schatz is the German word for sweetheart).
He was nearly totally blind.
Main Street was Bill's front yard. Until recently he lived in a room above one of the stores -a place he seldom stayed except to sleep. This was because he liked to be with people.
His handicap didn't seem to affect his good nature and many residents here believed him to be the happiest person in the village.
Bill's blindness was the result of catching measles when he was an infant. He used to say that he never remembered seeing a color. Everything was a shade of gray, varying only in intensity. He used to wonder what grass would look like if anyone could see the color green. The 77-year-old Bill said that in the last few years he could barely make out the outlines of objects.
One thing was certain ... Bill wanted no part of charity. For years he shoveled coal until he could do the heavy work no longer.
He supplemented his small Social Security income by doing errands. He did the banking for many of the business places, took mail to and from the Post Office and did various kinds of work.
In the winter he shoveled snow in front of the stores, and if you had hired Bill to sweep the walks, you knew that they'd be taken care of on Sunday just as well as Monday. His dependability was one of his greatest assets.
He had an excellent memory. While others needed to make out a list of things to shop for, Bill didn't. It wouldn't have helped any, because he couldn't see. He used a white cane in crossing streets.
Bill's feelings were hurt if anyone failed to pass the time of day with him. He enjoyed visiting with children and teenagers and knew a few German songs he liked to sing.
Although Bill carried mail for people along the street, he received very little himself. There probably were few people in the Bethel United Church, of which he was a member, who listened to or read the church report as intently as Bill listened when his was read to him, sometimes asking that it be repeated in places where he was trying hard to memorize what was said. Sometimes he'd bring in a newspaper and ask to have a few of the headlines read to him as he'd try to piece together what other people were talking about.
"Shucks, shotsie, I'd hate to ask what they were talking about, but I'd like to know more and maybe someone could read it to me, if we could find the right article," he'd chuckle.
Many people thought Bill was just a happy-golucky individual without a care in the world. But he once remarked that everybody had troubles enough of their own without adding his. He demanded little and was thankful for everything he had.
"I have one good hot dinner every day, a place to sleep and a lot of friends," he used to say. "I don't know that I have a single enemy. What more could anyone ask for?"
The mention of Bill Blumenauer's name still brings smiles to people's faces.
A woman born before the Civil War deserves a niche in Manchester's history. Mrs. Caroline Bruns came to the United States from Schalla, Germany. She was no prominent figure, no social belle. She married Lewis Bruns and had two sons. Her husband died in 1907 and, in 1920, she came to Manchester to live.
During her lifetime, which spanned more than a century (101 years), she knew nothing of the luxuries of life. She lived alone without "modern" conveniences and pumped water from a well, planted her garden and kept house well.
But she was "Grandma Bruns" to a community. Friends, neighbors and the children who skipped past enroute to school knew her for her unfailing warmth, good humor and for her music. She could be heard for hours of the day and evening playing her organ and singing German hymns. But they never heard her complain.
After she fell while adjusting a curtain in 1957 she was taken to a Nursing Home. Children of Emanuel Sunday School with teacher, Miss Amanda Leeman, came each year to help her celebrate her birthday with cake. This custom they started on her 90th birthday.
Way back in 1843 when Michigan was young as a state and Manchester was just large enough to be named, there came from the east a strong, robust man, William M. Brown.
He was just the type expected to pioneer the country. He at once entered business as the landlord of the only "tavern in town." Many a hungry and tired traveler stopped off for food for himself and his beast.
After this beginning he went to milling and it's said that thousands of bushels of wheat was ground into flour and hauled to Monroe or Chelsea for shipment east. This was before the time of the railroad.
Yes, Brown was a businessman. He was associated with Elijah G. Carr and the late Frank Freeman in a general store and it should not be forgotten that he was one of the first trustees of the village after its incorporation in 1867, and was reelected in 1868. He was elected president of the village in 1870 and again in 1873. In 1878 he left Manchester to live in Muskegon where he died November 12, 1894, at 82 years. He was brought back to Manchester for burial.
William Chase was born in New York state July 16, 1831, and died November 13, 1918. He came to Michigan with his parents, who first lived on the F. D. Merithew farm, long known as the Howe farm. He went to California in search of gold in 1852 and served as a policeman in San Francisco and mining camps. On his return, the ship was wrecked off Hatteras and he lost some of the gold saved in California but always said "he was thankful he saved his boots and other things."
He married Hannah Conklin. They had five children, one of which was Frances W. wife of Ed E. Root of Manchester. Mr. Chase was a farmer by occupation.
One of the pioneers of Manchester and for many years one of its most prominent businessmen, Newman Granger, died, July 17, 1888, aged 73 years. He is buried in Oak Grove.
He was born in Lowville, New York and because his father was a brewer, he was said to often remark that he was "born and brought up in a brewery." The Grangers moved to Michigan in 1838 and first stopped with Amos Bullard in Sharon.
The site of the old brewery opposite the Universalist Church was selected for the site of the brewery where father and son brewed ale for several years. Thomas Morgan was taken in as a partner. Business was good and on the death of his parents, Newman and his sister, Mrs. A. Strickland, acquired the property. The old and well known firm of Granger & Morgan was dissolved and Granger & Strickland assumed control.
He gave both the Methodist and the Universalist Churches the land for their edifices—along with many gifts of hard cash.
He was a born leader and was a promoter for the Jackson and Hillsdale branches of the L.S. & M.S. Railroads. Newman was also township supervisor for many years. He never married.
Old maps of the village showing how the village was platted, carry the inscription—"Granger-Morgan Addition."
Benjamin G. English died February 21, 1905, at 73 years. He was one of the pioneers of Manchester and a prominent and wealthy farmer. He lived on his farm five miles southwest of the village until moving to the village a few years before his death.
History says he was well posted on affairs of the world, was a great reader, and possessed a remarkable memory as to dates and events. He was in favor of schools and education and contributed liberally to Hillsdale College. He was long-time president of the Farmers' Club and was interested in its work. Politically he had been an ardent democrat until Bryan's campaign. He was Justice of the Peace for many years and by his wise counsel settled many differences between neighbors. When the Union Savings Bank was organized he was made president and held the office until his death.
This community's oldest lifelong citizen, Ernest M. Smith, 94, was buried Sunday, September 25, 1965, at the Jenter Funeral Home and burial was in Oak Grove. He was born August 3, 1871, in Sharon Township, the son of Francis and Elizabeth Raymond Smith. He married Carrie Mount on October 9, 1890. She died in May, 1941.
Mr. Smith had served for 30 years as director of the Sharon Hill School Board and for many years as board treasurer. He also served as highway commissioner and justice of the peace for Sharon township.
He was a member of the Manchester Methodist Church and of the Farm Bureau. He has two sons, Mahlon of Sharon township and Francis of Detroit and four grandchildren.
This community lost one of its most noted personalities, Thursday, October 14, 1965, when author Franklin M. Reck, 68, died at his typewriter in his home here. This was on the eve of the release of his 25th book, "Stories Boys Like."
Mr. Reck had lived at 665 W. Main Street since 1941, and had written all but three of his books there. He became a full-time, freelance writer after moving to Manchester, writing "The 4-H Story," the official history of the 4-H movement. He also served for six years as boys' editor of the Farm Journal.
Employed as a consultant for Ford Motor Company, he handled the Company's Recreation Unlimited department, and wrote the Ford Guide to Outdoor Living and Station Wagon Living.
He made several extended trips to South and Central America and wrote books and periodicals on Latin America. On several of these trips his wife accompanied him.
At the time of his death, he was planning a book on trout fishing. An outdoor story of his was published in the August True magazine of 1965. He was also working on a proposal to publish a farm quarterly for Latin America to be sponsored by the Ford Overseas Tractor Division, and was collaborating with other writers on a book dealing with growth of cities in the U.S.
He was born in Chicago, and went through high school in Rockford, Ill. As editor of the high school paper and of the yearbook, he acquired his first taste of writing.
Later he worked for his father in the machine tool business in Cincinnati, Ohio, for just a year, listened to his father's advice and enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania in the Wharton School of Finance. But Reck's heart was never in that field.
This was during World War I, and Reck enlisted in the spring of 1917 in the 28th Division of the Pennsylvania National Guard. After the war he took a job in the steel mills and worked 12 hours a day. His personal experiences were as diverse as his writings.
Late in the summer of 1941, after the demise of 'The American Boy" Reck and his wife, Claire, began looking for a place to live. Their daughter. Linda, was 8 years old. Another child was on the way.
On October 29, the Reck family, augmented by baby Sarah, settled down in Manchester to a career of freelancing.
Just days before his death he was interviewed prior to the release of his new book. At that time he said, "till, the aspiring young authors that all books are not best sellers—they don't all make money. Sometimes there is quite a lull between checks."
He wrote many magazine articles but his first love was books. "Books are a challenge and stay on the shelves a long time. Magazine articles have a pretty short life."
For twelve years he was in "Who's Who in America."
At Manchester, Mr. Reck served in many community activities. He was on the school board and served as president for nine years, member and president of the Optimist Club, and also Community Chest. He was very active in Washtenaw County Red Cross Chapter, and before his death received a citation for outstanding service.
G. William Kramer, 84 years, a rural mail carrier and bank director here for many years died Wednesday, October 20, 1965.
He was a director of the former Peoples Bank for many years and served as a director of the Union Savings Bank after the two firms merged.
A rural mail carrier for 55 years, he was given the nickname of "Manchester Santa Claus" because he distributed candy and other gifts to the children on his mail route every Christmas. He was often assisted by his wife. Bill, as he was known to everyone in the area, liked to tell stories about some of the requests he received from patrons along his route. The good natured mail carrier always complied.
He was a former member of the Manchester volunteer fire department, and was a charter member of the Knights of Columbus Fr. Fisher Council, St. Mary's Catholic Church, Holy Name Society and was very active in the American Red Cross.
On September 2, 1965, the late Michael Guass, recalled some of his younger days in Manchester. It was Mike's 90th birthday.
He was born in Freedom Township, September 1, 1875, and his father, Michael, died when he was only a year old.
His first job was working on the Hank Rushton farm and this brought him $16 a month.
At that time Jake Briegel operated a barbershop in the "Old Hotel" where the Grossman-Huber Station is located on West Main and Clinton. Jake encouraged young Mike to become a barber.
Finally Gauss became his apprentice and worked for him for a year. At the end of that time he went to Detroit for his test which was cutting one man's hair and shaving him. "Later my license was sent to me from Lansing-that was all there was to it," Mr. Gauss said.
"In those days the fee was 25 cents for a hair cut and 10 cents for a shave. The work day began at 7 a.m. Of course we were open every Wednesday and Saturday night until midnight or even one o'clock," he recalled. The aged barber mentioned that no one had heard of a 40-hour week and pointed out that in his business they couldn't have made a living in 40 hours.
Back when he was busiest in the trade he received $2 a day while working for Briegel.
In the old days every regular customer had his own shaving mug and brush and the barber kept them on a shelf in the shop. Besides the oil lamp at night, and that is when most of the farmers had their hair cut, there was the problem of water supply for the shaving.
Soft water was the most effective and merchants along the street let the barbers use their cistern water.
They would haul the water up in a pail with a rope and carry it over to the shop where it was poured into a big tank to which a pipe was attached. In a way they had "running water in the shop." There was a spigot and it could be turned off and on and heated over a gasoline burner or, in the wintertime, in a kettle on the pot bellied stove.
Those were the days when people congregated in the morning at the barbershop to read the newspaper and a spicy magazine called "Police Gazette."
The most publicized event here is the annual Chicken Broil. It is held the third Thursday in July and the largest Broil in the state. This, the 14th, was the largest. Some 300 men in the area served 10,000 people, July 20. They worked under 28 chairmen.
Co-chairmen are Luther Klager and Rolland Grossman. As in the past, Howard Zindell of the Michigan State Poultry Department supervised the broiling.
The first Manchester Broil was a great success. The profits went to help pay for the athletic field fence. This was put on by the Exchange Club and was the dream of Luther Kiager. The following year the Jaycees offered to help.
The profits from this year's Broil cannot be ascertained at this time. But the total profits from the 13 previous years total $26,750.94. Of this amount $22,108.34 has been spent.
The money earned is always used for youth activities of the Manchester area. Some of the projects which have benefited include the athletic field, equipment for the Township Library, shelter at Carr Park, bleachers for the Little League diamond at Carr Park and at the athletic field.
With a balance of over $4,000 on hand, the Chicken Broil committee has pledged $4,000 for a track at the High School.
The Manchester Community Fair is just what the name implies-it is a community project. Beginning in 1951 the Community Fair Association printed Fair Books, with the premium lists, general rules, exhibit entries, and all other pertinent facts concerning the fair. Ted Stautz is in his 4th year as president of the Fair Board.
But the fair had operated before that time. In the beginning it was considered an agricultural and school display type of fair. That was all.
Now the fair centers around the Optimist sponsored Steer Club and the Jaycee sponsored Fat Lamb Club. During the fair these prize animals are judged, they are on display, and they are auctioned off. The boys and girls who own the animals receive the profits.
A big parade, over a mile long, will set the fair in motion. Every year all of the merchants and industries enter displays, trucks, farm equipment, floats and decorated cars.
There will be a Fair Queen and her court. L. V. Kirk promotes a cooking school each year. 4-H clubs and individuals bring in displays, sewing, cooking, canning. You name it, they have it.
Working with Stautz are vice president, Jesse Walker; secretary, Maynard Leach, and treasurer, Lehman Wahl. Other board members are Ellis Pratt, Willis Uphaus, Lawrence Kemner, Lowell Spike, Willis Hassett, Maynard Blossom, Herman Kuebler, Elmen Kopka, Paul Eisele and Ted Curley.
Manchester township is one of the very few to have a township library and a township fire department, according to Clayton Parr, supervisor. Stories on both are found elsewhere in the history. The fire department is also on call to help in other areas on a fee and contract basis.
The total assessed valuation of Manchester township is $5,000,540. It has been equalized (2.53) at $12,655,723.
The value of all real estate in the township as assessed is: agricultural, $1,200,675; commercial, $296,200; industrial, $377,550; residential, $1,616,460. The total of all real estate in the township is $3,490,885.
Personal property tax breakdown on assessed valuation is: commercial, $184,005; industrial, $1,150,950; utilities, $174,700. The total personal tax is $1,509,655.
The total 1960 census for the township was 2,590 including 1,568 in the village.
The township officers are: Clayton Parr, supervisor; Waldo C. Marx. clerk; M. H. Wolfe, treasurer and Malcolm Billings and L. P. Wurster are the trustees.
Industries outside the village include: Manchester Stamping, part of Manchester Division of Hoover Ball, Schlosser Chicken Plant, Irish Hills Locker, Mat Walden's Sawmill, Max Sellers Lumbering, Mindus Iron and Metal and K & W Farm Supply.
The Lithuanian Youth Camp and the Manchester Speedway are also located in the township.
By an act approved April 12, 1827, this, then unorganized and unnamed township was attached to and formed part of the township of Dexter. A committee of the Congress of 1818, sent to the Territory of Michigan to examine it for soldiers' bounty land, reported that the Territory of Michigan was worthless for agricultural purposes. By 1830, this township had no inhabitants save the wandering Indians who fished the Raisin River.
In 1832 and 1833 the township was rapidly settled and this beautiful tract of land needed a name. Those who came from Amenia and Romulus, New York wanted the area named for their old towns; while pioneers knew that "Sharon" was the loveliest name among ten thousand, and that the name of their home in Connecticut ought to be given to this, the home of their adoption. All of these views were sent to the Legislative Council.
The story is told that Dr. Amariah Conklin was mounted on a horse by his father, and sent out with a "Sharon" petition up into Berks and Annabil settlement on his first electioneering tour. Since that time the doctor achieved great success as a physician, but he never did a better day's ride than when he killed those Amenia and Romulus petitions.
The name was adopted March 7, 1834 and approved by Governor George Porter.
June 22, 1830, Lewis C. Kellam, of Pike county, Pennsylvania, located the first lot of land in the township and Daniel F. Luce, a government surveyor located the second lot of land. Afterwards this formed a part of the farm of Amasa Gillett.
In the spring of 1831, Ira Annabel, Amos Bullard, John Bessey, M. Burk, David Cook, Edward Campbell, James Harlow Fellows, R. L. Fellows, Joseph Gilbert, Francis Gillett, Henry and Gilbert Row and J. R. Sloat made the first visit to the township and made it their home. David Sloat is credited with building the first home.
These first settlers were so happy with the township that they sang its praises and others followed. The town was organized in the spring of 1834, and the first election was held in the frame school house at Row's corners, which had been built the previous year. Lewis Allen was the first supervisor.
The sawmill had been built by Amasa Gillett and B. F. Burnett on the extreme northerly bend of the Raisin about 1834, and obtained its power from a mill race. The construction of this mill was the beginning of Sharon Hollow. A grist mill was started at the same time. Buckwheat flour from the grist mill became famous as it poured forth from the grinding mechanism powered by the churning waters as they spilled over the dam nearby. It was believed that the mill was put up in 1834 by a Mr. George Kirkwood in whose family the mill remained until purchased by the late Henry Ford in 1927.
With the passing of the old grist mill, much of the tradition handed down in the pioneer community, which has retained much flavor of days gone by, faded from the scene. The A. T. Kirkwoods, son of the probable builders, and his sons George, were familiar figures to farmers for many miles around.
Ashley Parks, the first village blacksmith, arrived in 1834. David J. Sloat erected the first house.
Richardson and Temple opened the first store in the township and later it was owned by Nathaniel Ambrose who made additions and added a tavern.
The first child born in the township was Minerva Bullard, born September 3, 1833. The first death was in the same year, 1833, when David J. Sloat, the builder of the first house was laid to rest.
Miss Myra Winchester was the first school teacher in the township. The school house was a frame building, but had neither lathe or plaster.
The early settlers of Sharon were not exposed to the numerous difficulties which surrounded those of the neighboring townships. While over 50 per cent of the settlers in Manchester and Bridgewater were suffering from fever and ague, not more than 10 per cent of the Sharon people were ill.
Sharon Hollow, like Manchester, had a wildcat bank. Under the free banking law, a company was organized, a branch of which was located at Sharon Hollow. The business of this concern was extremely extensive. Reuel Ambrose was president and S. Baldwin, cashier. Finally justice swept it out of existence.
Ashley Parks had the first blacksmith shop, and Daniel Burch, at the age of 88, was the last blacksmith.
About a half mile south of Sharon Hollow stood the small building called the Gillett's church. The structure is gone and the land surrounding is now known as Gillett's cemetery.
A grocery store built on the opposite side of the grist mill was later operated by C. H. Gieske until he sold out in 1930 and went in business at Norvell. The sale of the old grist mill, about the same time, left the village without a business of any type.
This restoration of a picturesque rustic village was done by Henry Ford. Residents remember that one day Mr. Ford visited the quiet spot where the only noise to be heard was the hammer of the blacksmith on his anvil. He called on the blacksmith and the storekeeper, discovering that neither had a radio or a phonograph.
He learned that they both liked music but had no facilities for providing electricity. So a couple of weeks later, both received a phonograph. When the Ann Arbor Land Co. began purchasing property in and around Sharon Hollow, the blacksmith and storekeeper left. The village was deserted.
The old mill, known as the Kirkwood mill, was remodeled and a new water wheel and new generator put in it. The river, both up and down stream, was cleared of stumps and drift wood. A new dam and new bridge were built and the mill race faced with stone.
For awhile the mill became a manufacturing plant, with the huge electric generator and 50 hp. steam boiler' installed by the new owners. Stop light switches, cigaret lighters and armatures for passenger automobiles were manufactured.
But like the Sleepy Hollow legend, some felt that the ghosts of such pioneers as Casper Raby, who ran the saw mill for eight years, and A. T. Kirkwood who ground out 17,550 bushels of grain in one year, and the famed King of Sharon Hollow, Mike Cobbler, wouldn't continue to permit such earthly things coming out of the old mill which manufactured flour. Now the mill is the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Eric Martin.
But Sharon Township, tucked away in the remote northwest corner of Washtenaw county is every bit as picturesque and has just as many legends as the more famed realm of "Ichabod Crane."
The citizens of Sharon erected a beautiful memorial monument, near the town hall in the center of the township. It was raised by voluntary and general subscription. It commemorates the names of President Lincoln and twenty-four "volunteers" from Sharon-martyrs to the cause of freedom, and cost $1,500 in 1886 at Pleasant Lake and Sylvan roads.
The 1960 census showed 760 living in the township.
The Sharon Short Hills and other areas of beauty are being utilized by business and professional men for lovely residences. The Washtenaw County Road Commission owns an 80-acre park area which is only in the developing stages.
There is only one lake. This is a private one owned by Tisch on Struthers Road. Water empties into the Raisin, Grand and Huron rivers.
The churches include the North Sharon Community Church on Washburn road, Sharon United Brethern Church at Rowes Corners and the Faith Community Church which is meeting in the Sharon townhali on Pleasant Lake road.
Utilities provide about 15 per cent of the total tax levy. Included are transmission lines of Consumers Power, Panhandle Eastern, Wolverine Pipe Line, and American Oil Co. of Chicago also have pipe lines crossing the township.
Industries include Merit Products, the Weeks' Brothers commercial sawmill on Washburn road, Bakontrol Mfg. Co. making commercial augers and the Short Hills Gravel Co. with its gravel and transit mix cement and fill dirt.
On Leeman road is one of the largest pig farms in the area, operated by William Ternes. Leslie Chavey, E. Erwin, Ernest Kemner and Floyd Proctor all have commercial chicken houses.
The total tax levy for Sharon township for 1966 was $100,856.64. $60,129.86 was levied for the Manchester school district, $11,883.43 for Chelsea school district; $2,169.56 for Grass Lake; $502.69 for Napoleon and $4,469.24 for the Washtenaw Community College.
The Sharon township officers are: Russell Fuller, supervisor; Duane Haselschwerdt, clerk; Herbert Jacob, treasurer; Max Roedel and Donald Irwin, trustees; Ray Haselschwerdt and Mahlon Smith, Justice of Peace.
This is predominately an agricultural township which leads in wool production. At no place in the fall of the year can a person see a more spectacular autumn show unfold than in Sharon. Its rugged landscape, churlish knobs, tangled trees and brush are a refuge for wild game and when mother nature welds her paint brush no words can express the beauty as a deer wanders into a farmer's field. The Short Hills ridge angles across the township and the Southeastern Michigan Beagle Association has a five-acre tract and club house. For a postage stamp color tour Sharon township excels most.
Large farms have been bought as investments by prominent professional men and they are next door neighbors to farmers whose ancestors settled the area in the 1830s. And at the township-cared-for cemetery at Sharon Hollow and Sharon Valley Road, Herbert Jacob, township treasurer, is still puzzled as to why four children by the name of Pierce died within 10 days of each other in May, 1884.
It has been said that after the area was separated from Dexter it was called Hixon. In 1833, the people wanted a separate township and at the suggestion of George Howe named the township "Bnidgewater" after the village in Oneida county, New York.
Col. Daniel Hixon was the first settler. He stopped off at Tecumseh which had only two log cabins at the time. George Lazelle, T. Lazelle and E. Wheelock also came in 1829.
Bridgewater is a country of gentle farmland, beautiful rivers and streams and picturesque lakes -Joslin lake, Columbus lake, the expansion of the Raisin River and Iron Creek run through the area. It has a wealth of agricultural resources and 90 per cent of the township is devoted to farming.
At the first election in the township,George Howe was named supervisor; R. H. Heggie, township clerk; Norman L. Conklin, treasurer; and B. H. Norton, Justice of the Peace.
The question of erecting a town hall was discussed at the township board meeting April 2, 1855. On the building committee were Daniel Le Baron, D. W. Palmer, Norman Calhoun and W. H. Aulls. When they brought in their report on June 22, they were discharged. Another committee was appointed April 7, 1856. They were Norman Calhoun, Lewis Potts, Junius Short and Ransom Bradley. They were told to locate the town hall within a mile and a quarter of the geographical center of the township. A completion date was given-November, 1856. This was so the November meeting could be held in the new town hall. A sum of $250 was raised and added to the $300 already earmarked for the purpose.
On April 6, 1857, the board "voted that the town hail be opened for moral and scientific lectures, and for funerals."
In 1834, there was a four dollar bounty on every full grown wolf; all hogs weighing upwards of 40 pounds could be free commoners; and a lawful fence should be four and a half feet high. In the 1830s, it was the custom to mark cattle and horses. The owner had to register the mark used.
The first birth was that of Henrietta Hixon. The first marriage was that of Dennis Lancaster and Harriet Frederick. It was Daniel Hixon who built the first house of log and the first frame house was built by Daniel Brooks.
Norman Conklin was the first school teacher in the first district school built in 1834, and Jacob Gilbert erected the first sawmill on the "East Bend" of the Raisin in the same year. The first grist mill was built by Wm. W. Aunin in 1857.
The German Lutherans erected the first church with Rev. Mr. Foltz the pastor. The Taylor and the Morris sawmills existed up to 1870, when a fire destroyed both. A shoddy mill was established; but because of the difficulty in obtaining rags it was discontinued.
The Southern Washtenaw Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance Co. had its office in Bridgewater with Junius Short, the president, and D. W. Palmer, secretary. In 1881 there were nine school districts in the township with 390 children attending.
In the early days Bridgewater was a station on the Detroit, Hilisdale and Indiana Railroad in the northeast corner of the township. The Presbyterian church was started about the year 1856, and Elder Powell used to go afoot from Bridgewater to Manchester, to preach in the early days.
St. James white frame church with its high steeple at the crossroads in the village is reminiscent of old country churches which dot the countryside in Vermont.
Bridgewater village is not incorporated. There is a post office in the grocery store of Russell Wilson and Mr. Wilson has been acting postmaster for about five years. Thirty have post office boxes. Clinton, Manchester and Saline rural mail carriers come into Bridgewater. The 1960 census showed the population to be slightly over 1,000.
This is primarily a good farming area with 90 per cent agricultural—general farming. Industries include the Regis Manufacturing Co. The plant manufactures fixtures for auto plants and employs from 15 to 20 men. Henry Marks is the plant manager. The Kiager Hatchery is also located on the Main Street (Austin Road).
Besides the general store, there is the Bridgewater Lumber Co., Braun Implement and Hardware and the Meadow Lane Golf Course. The nine hole course is located in the south central part of the township and owned by Glen Clark.
There are several large farms including the Hickory Farms, owned by a group of Detroit businessmen and operated by Don Decker. The farm specializes in quarter horses. Manchester Farms have an operation in Bridgewater township.
The township is divided into three school districts: Manchester, Saline Area, and Clinton Community.
The township officers are: Russell Hughes, supervisor; E. L. Blaisdell, clerk; Harold G. Bersuder, treasurer (more than 20 years) and Ted Parker and Norman Randall, trustees.
The assessed valuation of Bridgewater township is $2,192,525 and is equalized at $4,849,306.
June, 1831, the first settler, James W. Hill,located in a part of section 29 and later purchased land in section 32, owned by John M. Allen. By fall Hugh Campbell, Jason Gillett, Robert Myers, Matthew Myers and Jacob Haas arrived and in 1832 Roswell Preston, Roswell Preston Jr., Levi Rogers, Lyman Williams, Reuben Williams, and a few others located in Freedom, according to the Washtenaw County History.
By 1834-'7 the tide of immigration flowed along the valley of the Washtenong until by the close of 1837 every acre was claimed.
The history continues and says that in the case of Freedom it might be said that 2,000 acres of the wilderness was turned into fertile fields. "Throughout its length and breadth the woodman's ax was heard, a few more years of labor converted the country into a smiling garden."
James W. Hill was the first settler in June, 1831, and he established the first school in his own house. He was the first district school teacher. A Dr. Porter traveled the township as early as 1831.
Miss Angeline Rouse was married in 1833. The second wedding was that of Eldred Spencer and Miss Emeline Adams in December, 1834.
H. M. Griffin was the first supervisor, and Roswell Preston was appointed a Justice of the Peace, March 8, 1834, by Gov. Porter.
These early settlers knew hardship and during 1833 the provisions of the settlement were exhausted. Twenty sheep belonging to James Raymond were destroyed by wolves in one night.
B. F. Burnett, a Methodist, held the first religious meeting at the home of James W. Wills. But Arunah Bennett was the first ordained preacher to hold services.
James W. Hill built the first log house, raised the first barn, and planted the first wheat in the county in 1831. Richard Preston raised the second barn, without the aid of whiskey, according to the Washtenaw County History.
These people were of hardy stock and it is recorded that Mrs. Barbara Bailey, at the age of 84 years arrived from Benton Yates, New York. She died at 95 years in 1845.
Several prominent men in the county in those days were: James W. Hill, Levi Rogers and Dr. Morgan, all members of the State Legislature; Dr. Samuel, S. Peckens, County Treasurer and Judah B. McLane, Register of Deeds. Jacob Preston was Drain Commissioner.
Americans settled the township but German immigrants came in and by 1881 it was a German community.
The first death was that of Jacob Haas, 20 years. He and his father were cutting logs, when one of the heavy oaks fell on the young man and crushed him to death. A year later, two young men, named David Cook and William Campbell, son of Hugh Campbell, left their homes to assist with the raising of Bingham's sawmill in the town of Lima. Returning home they were lost. Campbell, unable to go farther, sank down on the ground. Cook pushed on and reached home. When rescuers went back they found Campbell—but too late. He lived to be taken to his father's home in Freedom but he died in a few days.
When the first election was held there were 38 votes cast. At the meeting to organize the town, a dispute arose as to the name; finally they agreed to compromise. Someone thought that a good deal of FREEDOM should be exercised. At that Samuel S. Peckens said that he thought that was the best name proposed. It was adopted.
In the early days the supervisors received one dollar a day for their services, school teachers fifty cents a day and women teachers only a dollar a week. Girls doing housework received fifty cents a week.
Dr. Porter of Ann Arbor reported that in 1831 when he went through the township he didn't see a person. He camped out along Pleasant Lake. There are two lakes in the township, "Pleasant" and "Silver". Freedom is undulating, with alternate plains and openings. The Washtenaw County Atlas notes that the immigrants came in so fast that a schoolhouse was built near Mr. Hill's house. M. B. Wellman had the first cooper shop in 1833. The first birth in the township was Antionette Gillett, born November 6, 1831.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Freedom was organized in 1842 with the Rev. Mr. Friedrich Schmid as pastor. The church was built in 1881 and 106 were listed as parishioners. Two other Lutheran churches were in the township in 1881 according to the Washtenaw County History.
The Methodist Episcopal Church had Rev. Edward Weiss as the pastor and the congregation "was large" (no figure given).
Catholic Church: In 1839 the first Catholic church was erected two miles north of the second church and was served by missionaries, Fr. Kreutel and Bernick. The second church was erected in 1858 with a congregation of 200. The rectory of brick was built in 1873 at a cost of $2,000. This church history ties in with St. Mary's in Manchester.
According to the Washtenaw County History the church buildings were among the finest in the county.
"The Schools of the township are well ordered, and the morale of the children good. It is said that both the young and old form a hive of quiet industry wherein every competitor not of German nativity or extraction must fail to exist. Industry is inculcated in the schools and fostered in the home circles."
William Beuerle came from Wurtemberg, Germany in 1854 and went as far as Wisconsin. In 1861 he returned to the north and purchased land in Freedom Township, built a log house and opened a saloon. He also was a carpenter. He was a member of the Arbeiter Verein of Manchester. He was a Democrat.
Another man who came from Wurtemberg, Germany was William F. Pfitzenmaier. He came to America in 1837 when he was 17 years. For three years he worked by the month and then bought 80 acres in the southern part of Freedom Township. Later he purchased his 180-acre farm located about ten miles southeast of Chelsea. He was a Republican and held a number of township offices. In 1873 he was appointed Postmaster of Fredonia post office which was located in his home. He was the maternal grandfather of the late Edwin Schaible, supervisor of Freedom Township. The post office was in his home and, according to the Washtenaw County Atlas, had a bi-weekly mail. The farm was later known as the Schenk farm at 10850 Waters Road.
When Grover Cleveland became president in 1881, Pfitzenmaier lost his position. A democrat, Henry Renau, became the new postmaster and it was moved to his home at 11061 Ellsworth Road. Henry was the cousin of the late Will Reno. Mr. Reno was township clerk for many years.
John F. Vogel, grandfather of Louis D. Vogel, was the next postmaster. He took office in 1893. In 1897 the office was moved to the corner of Schneider and Bethel Church roads, to the log house of the Eckerts. This was a fourth class post office and the postmaster was assisted by a mail carrier to Chelsea. It is said that the day of issue of the Detroit Free Press governed the mail delivery to Fredonia.
Fredonia post office ceased to exist with the coming of free delivery of rural mail in the early 1900s. In the Washtenaw Atlas of 1874 some 32 families listed Fredonia as the post office.
Rev. Fr. Joseph Staus, pastor at St. Francis and St. Mary's Manchester in 1880, reportedly had 30 families in the Freedom parish and 45 families in Manchester. The Washtenaw History reads, "Fr. Staus is a man of fine education and talent. Broadminded and intelligent, he is liberal and just to all. His kindness of heart and truly Christian charity has won for him the love and respect of all who come in contact with him
.... many others as well, feel that in him they have a true friend."
The Freedom Township census of 1960 lists the population as 1,050. The township is near the geographic center of Washtenaw and the folks who live there are mostly of German descent. They have preached hard-headed economics, hard work and thrift. Their farms show it. They excel all other townships yearly in hogs, sheep and potatoes.
There is no industry, yet some of the area looks like a miniature Texas. At Pleasant Lake there are a series of one-story buildings with roaring metal tubes marked Michigan Gas Storage Co. Thirty communities are served by Consumers Power shuttling gas to nearly 300 consumers as compressors thump night and day. This is by far the largest utility which runs through the area. About one third of the total assessed valuation of Freedom is marked utilities. The total assessed valuation is $3,103,225.
In this network of utilities is the Wolverine Pipe Line Co. And every hour about 168,000 gallons of refined furnace oil, kerosene, etc. flows through. Its storage building is on Fletcher Road. Others are the Michigan-Ohio Pipe Line (headquarters in Alma, Mich.), the American Oil Co., Panhandle Eastern and the Consumers Power, which supplies no electricity in Freedom but furnishes all of the natural gas. The Detroit Edison Co. lines bring in electric power for all the township.
German pioneers are remembered in the names of all but five of the roads in the township. The only large lake is Pleasant Lake surrounded with cottages and year 'round homes. The Pleasant Lake brick school, built for $125,000 in 1953 was consolidated with the Manchester School District. Michigan Gas Storage assessment in the Manchester school district for 1967 is $784,000 and $31,200 in the Chelsea school district.
The lake area has a trailer camp, several stores (grocery and hardware) tavern, service station and the old township hall. In September, 1954, it looked as if Freedom township would have its own "Texas" oil well. A 3,964-foot well was drilled on the Henry Niehaus farm at 3590 Fletcher Road. But the oil supply didn't last and other wells drilled later were dry.
Freedom has more woodland than any other township in the county and nearly 850 acres of reclaimed muckland in the northwest part specializes in raising of potatoes.
There are four country churches. All are well kept. They are: Bethel United Church of Christ, St. Johns United Church on Waters Road, Zion Evangelical Lutheran at Rogers Corners and the St. Thomas Lutheran Church on Ellsworth. A cross and cornerstone in the Catholic cemetery at Bethel Church and Koebbe Roads mark the site of Washtenaw county's second Catholic church, which was dedicated in 1858. The church building was razed in 1933.
The Freedom Township total tax levy for 1966 was $194,218.16. The 1966 school tax levy for the Manchester school district was $122,937.95; Chelsea school district, $27,142.89; Dexter school district, $1,298.23; and Saline school district, $6,547.79 for a total of $157,926.86 in the four school districts.
The township officers are: John C. Miller, supervisor; Harold Eiseman, clerk; Walter Hieber, treasurer; Alvin Weidmayer and Gilbert Luckhardt, trustees; Christian Kuebler and Alfred Trinkle, Justices of the Peace; and Luther Nagel and Paul Egeler, constables.
The Earl Huehi farm at 4100 Fletcher Road, Chelsea has been designated a centennial farm. The 13-room house gleams with its white aluminum siding—but it had a log cabin beginning. It is situated on more than two acres of lawn which is well shaded most of the day by 11 Norway maples.
They know the maples were purchased from a nursery in Monroe in 1915 and cost $1 apiece.
Earl Huehl's ancestors have farmed the land since 1839 when the original 120 acres were bought by John Huehl. He was born in Prussia. There he married Adelaide Dresselhouse. They finally took up land in Freedom Township on Section 17.
John Huehi Sr. was a poor man but he wasn't afraid to work. He improved and cleared land for the log house.
In his biography appearing in "The Portrait and Biographical Album of Washtenaw" published in 1891, he tells of the struggles of early settlers and how he used to walk to Ann Arbor about 15 miles away to sell eggs and butter and farm produce.
There was also the time he joined a group of farmers and walked to Chicago. The journey took seven days. The men looked for work and slept in fields and farmers' barns en route. They worked on the canal in Chicago and received a dollar a day. The trip cost 50 cents and they earned badly needed money.
The biography states that the Huehls were members of the Evangelical Association of Freedom and active in church affairs. "In politics Mr. Huehl was an ardent Republican, dating back to Abraham Lincoln's second term of office," it states.
At one time the farm had 195 acres—now there are 194. An acre was given to the Freedom Township Cemetery Association. This area is behind one of the barns, and there Earl's grandmother is buried beneath a sandstone slab. She wanted to be buried on the farm but her husband didn't share this desire. He is buried down nearby in the Freedom Evangelical Cemetery. Mrs. Earl Huehl says that in recent years there has been only one burial in the little cemetery.
John G.'s son, John F., married Elizabeth Finkbeiner and they raised three children. Their daughter, Mrs. Carl (Irene) Morhardt lives in Owosso, their son Norman lives in Arcadia, California, and Earl and his wife, the former Mildred Gieske, and their two sons, Dennis, 10, and Gerald, 8, live on the farm.
The frame barn which John erected before his death is still in use with its hand-hewed timbers 40 and 50 feet long, held by wooden pegs. The house was built by Earl's grandfather in 1887.
A farm owned by Walter W. Hoenes of Sheridan Road, five miles south of Manchester has been designated as a Centennial Farm by the Michigan Historical Commission.
It was originally purchased on July 2, 1866, by Ludwig Hoenes, grandfather of the present owner, from John Betz. It is located in Manchester Township, Washtenaw County, and has been in the possession of the family since 1866. The original farm had 40 acres. Later, 60 more acres were added. The oldest part of the house has a thick stone foundation with hewn logs on top.
After the Hoenes family acquired the farmhouse, they added several rooms so that now there are 10 large rooms and a large utility area. Although Lewis Hoenes used to find arrow heads on the land Walter never found one.
However, he did find a stone which had been fashioned to make some kind of a tool which the Indians used. Hoenes said that he threw it out of a field and then noticed that when it fell against another stone, it had an unusual clanging sound. He investigated and scraped off the dirt to find it was no ordinary stone.
His grandfather used to tell of watching the Indians on the farm as they followed along the creek which ran through it. He would warn his family to be careful and noted that "the noisy Indians are friendly but watch out for the quiet ones."
Hoenes said that according to old records there was once a saw mill on the property. His father was highway commissioner beginning in 1886, and among his papers he found an order to pay G. E. Smith 75 cents for shoveling snow for two and a half hours in 1926.
Otto Weber, 80, of Manchester and a nephew and his wife, the Donald Dolls, own one of Washtenaw's centennial farms at 17410 Heim Road, Chelsea. Weber also has a home in Manchester where he spends some time.
Otto's grandfather, Simeon Weber, bought the farm and it has been in the family ever since. They estimate the double brick house to be about 115 years old. The huge Scotch Pine in the yard is about 106 years old.
The farm was designated a centennial farm by the Michigan Historical Commission.
The purchase price of $13.30 per acre for the 180 acre farm caused Simeon to sign a mortgage when he bought. The Dolls and Webers have legal papers which show when the farm came into the Weber family. Land prices in the area have soared since that early beginning.
In 1814, Simeon Weber was born near Steinbach, Germany. When he crossed the ocean in 1843 it took two months. Arriving at the same time was Genevieve Hauser, who later became Mrs. Weber.
There were no white satin and orange blossoms for the bride and the family has no record of a honeymoon. But they do know that the couple walked from Sylvan to Detroit to be married at St. Mary's Catholic Church. The bride lived to be nearly 100 years old.
The Simeon Webers had four sons and three daughters. John, who was born in 1855 and his wife, the former Lena Kirchgessner, were the next owners. Their children included: Otto (who today is one of the owners) Lawrence who died in July 1964; Mrs. Loretta Doll of Chelsea and Mrs. Genevieve Dagwell, who died in May 1959, and Celia, who died in 1913.
Otto married and lived in Manchester from 1935 to 1965 but decided to return to the farm. He works 30 acres of woods during the winter time. Don works at Chrysler Proving Ground and does general farming. It is not too uncommon for them to find Indian trinkets and arrow heads while dragging the fields.
Dolls did an extensive remodeling of the house at the farm. When they tore up an old floor upstairs they found deeds and other valuable papers where someone had put them years ago for safe keeping. Although the newspapers had become a target for mice-not a single deed was touched. There were original insurance papers from a German insurance company.
One thing they learned in the early descriptions was that Heim Road many years ago was the main route from Ann Arbor to Grass Lake. Another bit of history was that there used to be a sawmill near the Baker Dam site. The old ice house and several old buildings have gone but one huge barn still stands.
Otto remembers that, when he was a boy, the Indians came back to the vicinity for the burial of their chief on an island in Island Lake. And the red rose bush which Don's great-grandmother planted so long ago blossomed again this year.
The farm residence of Oscar Raab, 11665 Bemis Road, Manchester, which is owned jointly by Raab and his brother, Rolland of Ypsilanti, is a centennial farm.
Their great-grandfather, Jacob Raab Sr. bought the 180-acre farm, located 5.5 miles east of Manchester. It was handed down to his son, Jacob Jr., and then to Theodore Raab, father of the present owners.
For the first eight years, Jacob Raab Sr. and his wife lived in a log house until they could put up the present stone structure. Building a house of stone in those days created no problem, for as the land was cleared, the stones could be gathered for building.
In 1866 a brick addition was built to the rear of the stone house. Oscar Raab believes the first log house was in that location. To the rear of the frame kitchen was a second addition, erected in 1888.
Part of the farm borders Columbia Lake, a private 70-acre lake surrounded by farms. Three lakeside cottages have been built by the Raabs which can be reached through a private drive.
During World War II, when housing was at a premium, Oscar said, they rented the cottages year around. But that had drawbacks. The long private road to the lake had to be cleared of snow every day so the tenants could get to work.
Although the farm is in Bridgewater Township, the family owned 32 acres of timber across the road in Freedom township. Oscar has lived all his life on the farm. He enjoys the location, but farm work never appealed to him. He has been a plumber and rented out the farm.
They can remember hearing their grandmother tell about the Indian family which lived across the fields on a nearby farm for several years and can understand why it was an area where Indians would have settled. There would have been very good hunting and fishing. They have never found arrow heads in the area, but they do have a stone which Indians used as a tool to pound the grain.
Emanuel Church members first held their services in homes. Most of them were from Wittenburg, Germany. The nearest church was Bethel in Freedom Township. The Rev. J. G. Hildner was the pastor and started to organize a congregation in 1862.
The charter members were: Casper Raby, J. J. Walter Sr., Michael Jung, Christ Jaudes, Fred Kurfess, George Unterkircher, John Hartbeck, Fred Schill, Henry Aichele, Henry Haeschle, George Briegel, John Schlicht and Matthias Schaible.
Rev. J. Neumann, pastor at Bethel Church, kept the Manchester congregation under his wing until the Rev. S. Edeistein became the first resident pastor. He lived in Soulesville until a parsonage was provided for him on the corner of Duncan and Macomb street. This was used until 1911.
A small unused school building at Soulesville was purchased and moved on a lot north of the present Elementary School. The small church was enlarged, but it bulged at the seams as the congregation grew. On Christmas Eve, with the building full to capacity, the floor gave way and plans were made for a new building. The present site, which is an entire city block, was purchased for $1,000.
The cornerstone was laid in the summer of 1882, and on December 10, 1882, the dedication of the new building took place. Bricks for the edifice came from the brickyard of Frederick and Michael Schaible nearby. They were members of the congregation.
Pastor J. Neumann wrote: "Just take a glance at the most beautiful ornament of Manchester and the most attractive German Church of Washtenaw and adjoining counties. Splendidly she stands, 80 by 40 feet, with her 156-foot steeple constantly pointing heavenward, away from the wearisome toils and troubles of this life to the land of peace and rest." The cost of the structure was $14,000.
The Rev. George Schoettle served the congregation from 1885-1906.
During the war of 1941-45,the church service flag had 79 stars and one gold star, representing Captain Karl M. Rague, M.D., son of the church pastor Rev. Henry Von Rague, who died in Belgium.
Early in the program of the church, the Sunday School became one of its teaching agencies and the pastors gave thorough-going confirmation instruction. Formerly the old church was used, but in 1889 a new school was erected at the cost of $937, which was used until 1927, when it was replaced by the present parish hall. This was during the time the Rev. Albert A. Schoen was pastor. But before it was completed, Pastor Schoen became minister of Salem Church in Farmington. The church hall cost $27,000.
Emanuel Church had never joined any synodical church body, although it had always been served by pastors of the Evangelical Synod. On January 1, 1936, the church decided to apply for membership in the Evangelical and Reformed Church and it was formally received as a member on April 29, 1936.
The Rev. H. S. Von Rague served Emanuel for 21 years and was named Pastor Emeritus of Emanuel in 1952. While the Rev. Karl H. A. Rest was pastor, Emanuel joined with the Congregational Churches of America to establish the United Church of Christ.
The present pastor, the Rev. Ralph L. Kuether, came to Emanuel on April 19, 1959. He gave his full support to enlarging the educational facilities. Plans called for a new Chancel, placing new pews, redecorating the church sanctuary, installing a public address system and new lighting fixtures, erecting a two-story building joining the church and the parish hall, remodeling kitchen facilities and excavating under the church for additional rooms.
The work went along rapidly "for the people had a mind to work." The total cost of the project was $140,000.
Six men and one woman from Emanuel have entered the ministry.
Emanuel has, by far, the largest congregation of any in the Manchester area.
The Catholic Mission of Manchester was established in 1870 with the Rev. Fr. Edward Van Lauwe as pastor. On November 14, 1863, Fr. Van Lauwe was appointed resident pastor of St. Dominic's church in Clinton. As the congregations increased he was asked to take on the missions of Manchester, Milan, Freedom, Tecumseh and St. Joseph's in the Irish Hills. The first confirmation in the area was at Clinton in 1865 by Bishop Peter Paul Lefevre of Detroit.
In the early days Catholics walked or went by horse and buggy to the first Catholic church in Washtenaw county—in Freedom township. It was built in 1839. Two missionary priests, Fr. Kreutel and Fr. Bernick served the parish. But it was impossible for Mass to be celebrated every Sunday. Like in all other early parishes, services were held in homes until the churches were built. St. Thomas church in Ann Arbor was built in 1843 according to the Washtenaw County History. Members of that first Freedom church were: John Emmer, John Graff, T. Mosier, Adam Kress, Martin Cash, Paul Fritz, Adam Riedel, J. Blum, Adam Kramer, Conrad Seckinger, Joseph Weiss and their families.
In 1858, a new brick church dedicated to St. Francis de Borgia was erected in Freedom at a cost of $3,000. This was a short distance from the first one. In 1873, a brick rectory was built nearby. It cost $2,000.
Fr. Ferdinand Aligayer succeeded Fr. Van Lauwe in 1867. He built the first Catholic church in Manchester in 1870, near the intersection of Wagner and Macomb streets. The 30 x 50' church building contract was awarded to George W. Hoy and 0. Priest. The present Baptist Chapel is in the former church rectory. Rev. P. B. Murray of Ypsilanti was the visiting pastor in 1876-'77 when Rev. Fr. Andrew Leitner was appointed pastor of churches in Manchester and Freedom. Charter family names were: Kirchgessner, Cash, Coleman, Kelly, Kirk, Egan, McMahon, Green, Lehn, Haag, Singer, Cavanaugh and 10 others.
Rev. Fr. Joseph Staus was appointed to the parishes in 1880. The cost of the first church in Manchester was $1,200 and the furnishings were valued at $400.
In 1890, St. Mary's became a parish with Fr. Peter Ternes as its first resident pastor. Clinton was its mission. Fr. Frederick Heidenreich was pastor from 1895-1900, and Fr. Daniel McGlaughlin, as his successor, were the two who kept Clinton as a mission. Mass was celebrated once a month. Clinton parishioners often came to Manchester for Mass.
Fr. Edwin Fisher, well known to many in the area, became pastor of St. Dominic's (Clinton) from 1906 to 1908, with missions at St. Joseph's (Irish Hills) and St. Francis (Freedom). In 1909, Fr. Fisher became pastor of St. Mary's (Manchester) and attended Clinton, though Clinton was listed as a parish with the two previously mentioned missions.
It was Fr. Fisher who built the stone church here on W. Main street. He was instrumental in having the village of Clinton set aside the small plot of land in the center of the village on US-12 as a memorial park. He also built field stone churches in Tecumseh and Brooklyn. Farmers and boys in the area of the churches worked long hours hauling in stones for the structures.
By 1917 Clinton had missions of Tecumseh and Blissfield but Fr. Fisher and his assistant Fr. James Carolan were the attending priests, and in 1918, Fr. John Hackett, pastor of St. Mary's, and Fr. Carolan had missions of Clinton and Tecumseh. For the next 25 years Clinton was a mission of St. Mary's. Fr. Joseph V. Pfeffer came in 1924 and Fr. David Cunningham was his assistant, followed by Fr. John Eppenbrock as Fr. (Now Msgr.) Pfeffer's assistant from 1927 to 1935.
When Msgr. Pfeffer came his missions included churches at Manchester, Clinton, Irish Hills, Tecumseh, Brooklyn, Freedom and Clark's Lake—2400 square miles in three counties. He is noted for erecting the Way of the Cross at the Irish Hills. He lived to see new roads built, telephone lines installed and electricity become commonplace. Monsignor Pfeffer is pastor of St. Elizabeth's, Detroit.
Fr. Wm. R. Schneider did much to improve St. Mary's. There are no missions with the church which has three Masses every Sunday. Under his artistic eye an extensive refurbishing program was carried on in the church and rectory. Fr. Raymond Schlinkert, well known television personality, is pastor of St. Mary's.
The 125th anniversary of the Manchester Methodist Church on West Main Street was celebrated in October, 1964.
Earliest records of Methodism in the area show Manchester belonging to a Tecumseh circuit which reached as far west as Coidwater and included 27 preaching places.
Washtenaw County was practically a wilderness with no railroads. Hardships were on every hand. The first church society was organized with nine members in a log house owned by Gilbert Rowe in Sharon Township. The Rev. E. H. Pilcher was organizer.
In 1831, Amasa Gillett donated the beautiful "burr oak" grove as a site for a Methodist Church, but the building was not erected for another 15 years.
The building, known as the "Sharon Center" Church was built by the Congregationalists in 1848, and later purchased by Methodists. This building was used until destroyed by a cyclone, June 7, 1917. At that time many of its members joined the local Methodist Church.
The Manchester Methodist Church is the combination of these early churches.
The first Methodist Church was organized in 1839 with the Rev. George Bradley the pastor and Samuel Doty the class leader. This first meeting house was erected on Beaufort Street and cost $1,600. Most of it was brought "piece meal" from Sharon Township's Rowes Corners Church.
By 1866 the valuation of the Manchester Methodist Church was $8,000 and the Sharon Methodist, belonging to the same circuit was $3,000. In 1868, the Rev. J. W. Scott divided the two and made Manchester a station alone.
Pews or "slips" as they were called were rented by parishoners. Fifty-two were rented and 12 were free. The Sunday School library had 665 volumes and by 1876 the average attendance at Sunday school was 98.
The Beaufort Street Church was used until 1892 when the frame of the building deteriorated so much that services were held in the Presbyterian Church. In 1893 the Methodists bought that church.
The bell that rings in St. Mary's Catholic Church every Sunday hung in that Presbyterian Church which the Methodists bought in 1893.
John Moran circulated a subscription to raise money for the bell and it was blessed by Fr. Ternes. This friendly atmosphere between the churches exists today.
A new pipe organ was given in 1928 by the three grandsons of Dr. W. H. Bessac in his memory.
Largest of gifts to the church was one for $18,000 from the estate of Mr. and Mrs. George Gott. This made it possible for the church hall addition to be built.
Pastor at the Methodist Church is the Rev. Oscar Cooper.
A church in the Manchester area is celebrating its centennial this year. A century has rolled by since the first bricks were laid for the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Freedom Township at Rogers Corners, 10 miles northeast of Manchester at the intersection of Fletcher and Waters Roads.
On November 20, 1865, members of St. Thomas Evangelical Lutheran Church considered it wise and in the best interest of everyone that they organize into a separate congregation. But it was not until 1867, in May, that John K. Schenk started to erect the building which cost $3,213. So from November 1865 to May 1867, the Rev. Mr. Hildner of Bethel Church in Freedom served the congregation.
The first church building committee included John Roller, Jacob Eschebach, John Schenk and Michael Hinderer.
In the early days, Zion Church was served jointly with other churches but in August 1873, the Rev. John Baumann took over as a full time minister. The congregation purchased the Emminger property and provided a parsonage for its pastor and a school for the religious instruction of its children.
The same church bell in the steeple that was installed 90 years ago still rings to call the members to worship. The cost was $598. A new parsonage was built in 1889 and the following year a number of members left the congregation and organized the neighboring St. John's Evangelical Church.
The Ladies Aid, organized in 1895, still serves the church today.
Members sometimes encounter problems as they look at the records of the church because of a language barrier. All services and business until 1926 was conducted in German. At that time some special services were in English. Beginning in 1930, regular English services were instituted and by 1951 only one service a month was conducted in German. Today, German is no longer used.
Not all churches have a band, but the Rev. H. Hemster organized one in 1893. In 1909, a major building program provided for an addition to make room for the altar, sacristy and organ. Art glass windows were added.
The church planned its golden jubilee festival for July 1, 1917, and everyone was working diligently when a cyclone on June 6, 1917, ripped through the area and ruined a part of the church and parsonage and several homes belonging to members Christian Grau, Michael Schiller, Martin Wenk, John Wenk and Edward Koch.
But the German pioneers were not to be discouraged. With increased effort they kept working for the jubilee celebration which took place September 16, 1917 with a rededication of the reconstructed church.
The by-laws of the church were translated from German to English in 1942 when the church celebrated its 75th anniversary.
The parish hall plans had to be delayed because of World War II, but it was constructed across the road in 1948 at a cost of $38,818 and dedicated a year later.
Longest in the service of Zion Evangelical was the Rev. M. W. Bruckner—from 1926 to 1955 when he retired. He is now 90 years and is taking part in the centennial celebration services.
In 1962 the church was extensively redecorated and the choir loft enlarged. This year the Rev. C. J. Renner retired after 8 years because of ill health. On June 11, 1967, the Rev. John R. Morris was installed as the new pastor.
People of the community are invited to a community service Sunday, Sept. 17, when Rev. Ronald J. Diener of St. John's Lutheran Church, Bridgewater, will lead the 7 p.m. service.
A jubilee centennial service will bring to a close the series of summer centennial celebrations with the 10:15 a.m. service Sunday, September 24, at which the Rev. B. Piper of Zion Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor will be the speaker. He is vice president of the Michigan District of the American Lutheran Church. The church centennial committee are Martha Eiseman, Evelyn Haab, Wanda Heydlauff, George Prinzing and Norman Wenk.
If the Germans who founded this country church a century ago could stop in at the centennial celebration they would be confused, for no German is spoken there today.
Improvements for the celebration include sidewalks and curbing at the church and parish hall and a new roof on the hall. But the industrious Germans of a century ago, without a doubt, would be delighted with the well-kept buildings and attractive lawns at the Zion Lutheran Cnurch at the crossroads.
The Iron Creek Church celebrated its centennial on April 21, 1955. It was organized on April 21,
1855, when the Rev. Leonard P. Tompkins first held a service in the Iron Creek school. The Iron Creek Church was built in April, 1868.
The church is located about five miles southwest of Manchester in Washtenaw County. It was not until 1868 that the white frame church was erected. At that time it was known as the Free Will Baptist and prior to that services were held in the school house.
Charter members were Joseph Noyes, Selah Noyes, John G. English, James Nowlen, Susan Raby and Rebecca Blinn.
John G. English was the first church clerk, and began office May 19, 1855; Warren Noyes and James Nowlen were first deacons, Benjamin G. English the first treasurer.
Mr. Noyes offered to give a church site and one hundred dollars, provided the church was built in Manchester.
On September 28, 1867, members of the church voted to construct a building just as soon as $2,500 could be raised by subscription. The land on which the church stands was given by Francis and Jane Lee Baldwin. The one-half acre site was valued at $500. Orville Curtis, a notary and public surveyor, "drew up the deed." At that time there were but seven families prominently connected with the church. They were the two English families, the Rabys, Dorrs, Rushtons and Johnsons.
In the early years of the church the pastors were usually affiliated with Hillsdale College, and members of the congregation were asked to "entertain the ministers who would come on the train Saturday, stay over night Saturday and Sunday, and leave Monday morning."
One family in the congregation was asked to entertain on such a weekend. The farmers had planned to do butchering on a cold Monday morning and rose very early. After the chores were done and the family was about ready for breakfast they called the visiting minister.
At the breakfast table he was asked to say "Grace." He bowed his head, then glanced toward the window. It was still dark out. As he concluded his prayer he added—"and thank God for seeing us safely through the night—so far."
The largest single amount subscribed to the building fund was $500 given by John G. English. Five contributed $100 each and among the varied gifts were three pork barrels. In the records mention is made that the Bible was given by Ezra Simmons and came from a disbanded Free Will Baptist Church in Lenawee county. Lamps for the church were given by Mrs. Elizabeth Baldwin.
The only social gatherings in the early days were to donation parties, Sunday School picnics and July 4th celebrations. The early affairs were held in English Grove just north of the Iron Creek School. Later, in the early eighties the parishioners met at homes of members and it was at these times that the people became better acquainted. Mostly the entertainment would be visiting, playing games or a literary program. Dancing and card playing was never thought of.
At the quarterly meeting in April 1930, the name was changed to THE IRON CREEK CHURCH and soon after the church withdrew from the Michigan Baptist Convention.
The church had never had a basement until August, 1946, and in May, 1947, a furnace was installed. In September, 1948, Mrs. Mina Trolz gave a new organ and sanctuary painting to the church.
The public road which crossed the church property was closed, the old horse sheds removed, shrubs planted and new entrance and addition have been improvements in recent years. A new room was added at the back and restroom facilities were other improvements during the pastorate of the Rev. Alvin Brazee. He came to the church in 1927 and served longer than any other pastor ... a period of 35 years.
From sunset to sunrise lights on the church steeple at the Sharon Evangelical United Brethren Church beacon the traveler. It is located three miles north of Manchester on the Manchester-Chelsea Road and Pleasant Lake Road. Its congregation is composed of members living in the area and at Manchester.
The pastor is the Rev. Charles R. Fox.
The church is of brick and was built in 1876 at Rowes Corners. Henry and Gilbert Rowe came to Sharon Township in 1831 and bought land. Henry Rowe was supervisor in 1841.
The Rev. Edward Weiss organized the congregation March 22, 1874. Named to the building committee were William Schulte, Heinrich Huesman and Henry Uphaus. There were 15 charter members. The church was built in 1876 and was dedicated on November 12, with the Bishop Rudolph Dubs officiating.
It is interesting to know that in the early days there was no offering taken at the church. A member of the church board collected for the pastor's salary, another collected for the presiding elder's salary and another collected for the missions. In 1888 the families of the congregation were divided into two classes. One group was asked to pay $2 a year, the other group $1.50.
The yearly expense account for 1886 included $1.44 for oil for lamps, $27 for janitor, isinglass for stove and new rope $1.00, lamp wicks 30¢ and fire insurance on building $4.
Stained glass windows replaced the plain ones in 1900 and 1919 saw a new parsonage purchased in Manchester. Prior to that time a parsonage at 11525 Ellsworth Road, Freedom Township was used by the minister who served a part of the Washtenaw Circuit. This included Freedom, Sharon and Lima Center churches.
The parsonage on Ann Arbor Street has been used until the present time when the church purchased a new parsonage on Schaffer Court in Manchester. This will be dedicated later this year.
The Evangelical and United Brethren in Christ churches merged to become the Evangelical United Brethren Church on November 16, 1946. Also in 1946 the Sharon church dug a basement and installed oil heating.
Gus Koebbe was the first member of the congregation to own a car. People tell that he drove up to the church horse sheds and absentmindedly called "Whoa" but the car didn't heed the order and plowed through the shed.
Other improvements include new ceiling and replastering, indirect lighting system and new carpeting.
Fortune smiled on the country church in February, 1964, when Bennett C. Root, president of the Manchester Union Savings Bank, in his will left money for church improvements. A special dedication ceremony was conducted Sunday, April 11, 1965, after chancel furniture, communion rail and other improvements were completed.
About 11 years ago the Galilean Baptists were organized here in a store building next to the A & B Grocery on East Main Street. Sometime later services were conducted at the former St. Mary's rectory on South Macomb Street. The Rev. E. P. Cranston of Tipton is the pastor and conducts services at the South Macomb Street address.
The Bethel United Church in Freedom Township celebrated its 125th anniversary when it dedicated its new $49,000 educational building October 24th.
The Rev. Friedrich Schmid, a pioneer church organizer among the Germans of southeastern Michigan, first held services in a public school building, one mile east of the present church property on Bethel Church Road about seven miles northeast of Manchester, between the years of 1833 and 1840. In 1840, a log church was erected on a plot of ground now occupied by Bethel Church.
The earliest deed in the church files, in describing the five-acre plot all read "except one acre," showing that the congregation had acquired that acre earlier. Records in the Court House indicate that there was a transaction of 1-1/4 acres by "Levant Hewes (Hughes) for the First Dutch (German Reformed) Church of Freedom for $40.
In early American History the use of "Dutch" for German comes from the similarity of the word "Deutsch."
When the early missionary was unable to officiate, services were often read by a member of the church council such as Jacob Spathelf or August Hutzel.
A granite boulder and bronze plaque in the church cemetery mark the location of the first log church. The occupation of the early members was farming. There were a few blacksmiths and an innkeeper. Now the church members are city and suburban dwellers who commute to nearby industries to work.
The church is often referred to as Evangelical Lutheran and attempts were made during the years by pastors to obtain affiliation with a synod, but the membership stubbornly resisted. It took until 1958 for them to consent to join the Michigan Indiana Synod.
Some members attend regularly from Manchester, Saline, Bridgewater, Ann Arbor and as far as Detroit.
In its long history the church has had only 10 pastors. The Rev. Fredrick Mayer was the first to start preaching English at Bethel.
In church records many names are misspelled because early settlers had little practice writing and, when asked to sign anything, would be embarrassed and ask someone to sign for them. And names underwent changes into near English, for better or for worse.
The congregation, purchased land across the road from the church in 1878 for "schaedz" (sheds) for their horses and members built their own. If they left the church they could sell to another member, but the sheds could never be removed from the row.
After some forty years they were torn down for a parking area. The church bell in the new edifice cost $627. It, like Angelus, turned thoughts to prayer and served as a time piece.
In the early days the men sat on the right and the women on the left in church. This was discontinued in 1909, when the present granite church was built. For this the farmers brought in stones, rocks, sand and gravel.
In the beginning the church board ruled with a stern hand. The records mention that the Rev. E. G. Kuenzler presented a bill for $1.70 for whitewashing the parsonage. The bill was paid but the board resolved that in the future any "reperring" done must be with the permission of the board.
Pastor Mayer had his troubles. In 1912 he had arranged for a district representative to speak. This was in pre-electricity days when carbide was used for lighting. It was noticed that when carbide and water was put in the pressure tank that it did not work properly.
Just as the first visitors arrived, there was a terrific explosion. Windows were damaged and the stained glass windows upstairs were permanently bent outward. A member and his family driving up said momentarily they thought there was an earthquake.
In the midst of a snow storm on March 10, 1909, Architect Charles Sauer of Ann Arbor brought Henry Lelling who cut all the stones for the edifice which stands today. The Rev, and Mrs. T. W. Menzel have served the church since 1948.
The Faith Community Church was dedicated Sunday, October 29th. The $67,000 edifice is situated on a four acre tract at 8400 Sharon Hollow Road, a quarter of a mile south of West Austin Road.
This is an interdenominational evangelical church with the Rev. Thomas E. Hicks the pastor. The church is of brick construction with William Miller of Britton the building contractor. Claude Gage was the building committee chairman. The first meeting of the Faith Community Church group was a prayer service at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Canton on Monday, March 27, 1967 and the congregation was established March 29, 1967 at a meeting held at the Sharon Town Hall. Sixty people attended the groundbreaking service on June 4th and the actual construction begun June 17. The first church service in the new building was Sunday, September 3.
The building which houses the Uphaus drug store was built in 1866 and was built for a drug store by Van Dyne and Calhoun. Ten years later it was sold to George J. Haeussler who was a druggist in Ann Arbor before coming to Manchester. The store also went under the name of Haeussler and Lynch, and Haeussler and Kingsley, during the time that Dr. Lynch and H. Kingsley were partners.
Raynor Haeussler followed in the footsteps of his father, George and became a druggist. He retired from the business after 47 years. But Raynor and his father were not the only members of the family interested in drugs. Raynor's grandfather, Dr. William Bessac, at one time operated a general store and drug store on the site of the Widmayer hardware, also on Main Street.
When George Haeussler was in business he carried a good line of china dishes, stationery and many other commodities, including a little soda fountain. The prescription business was not the flourishing business it is today. In years past the doctors carried most of their own drugs and only on special occasions were prescriptions given to druggists for filling. Raynor Haeussler said that the change over was so gradual that one hardly noticed it.
The late Mr. Haeussler's wife is the former Marjorie Kingsley, also a lifelong resident of Manchester. Mr. Haeussler served for six years on the village council and as village president for three years. He was on the school board for six years, a director of the Union Savings bank, a life member of the Blue Lodge of the Masons.
Haeussler sold his interest in the business to his partner, Millard Uphaus, who began working for Haeussler after graduating from the University of Michigan in 1935. Uphaus still operates the drug store.
On Nov. 27, 1911, an elaborate attempt to burn the Manchester House, presumably for the insurance was made but failed because a passerby saw the flames and gave an alarm. The proprietor, by the name of Lewis, was suspected of being the incendiary.
On each of the three floors of the hotel one room was selected and the windows heavily blanketed. Rags saturated with kerosene were stuffed in holes knocked in the walls and lighted candles were placed close to the rags. Lewis left on the 10 o'clock train.
Sometime later Frank Koebbe, passing by, saw a gleam of fire in a third story window. The fire department was summoned and little damage was done.
Very little was known about Lewis who had recently bought the business from Johnson. Three girls were staying in the hotel when the fire was discovered but they had heard nothing. Lewis was caught in Toledo. The hotel caught fire under circumstances which were questionable early in the summer. The building was owned by a man in New York State by the name of Beagle and it was insured for
The village was thrown into excitement on a Monday afternoon in July, 1909, when news reached here that John Hause was in an accident and killed. He had bought a new automobile in Detroit and was bringing it home. A demonstrator was with him showing him how to handle it. Mr. Hause was driving and an electric car came along. The driver either became frightened or lost control of the car and drove it onto the track in front of the electric car, killing the driver and wrecking the auto.
The first automobile to be owned in Manchester, according to a report in the Manchester Enterprise, was purchased by Frank D. Merithew for his son Robert. Robert was a bookkeeper at the Peoples Bank and leader of the military band.
Robert went to Jackson for the machine which was a single seated Jaxon and "a neat looking rig." It was on exhibition on the streets and Robert gave his mother her first ride.
March 1908 saw the home of Moses Stalarsky destroyed by fire. The cry of fire and the ringing of the fire bell at the engine house about midnight Sunday awoke many from a sound sleep. The telephone girl in the Central station informed them that the Stalarsky home (in the early days known as the "shot tower") was on fire.
Moses hustled his little family out and ran to the engine house where nightwatchman Fisk rang the bell and men hauled the chemical engine to the scene. But the chemicals were soon exhausted. The engine "Juliet" was placed on Exchange Place Bridge and a hole cut in the ice but it all caused too much delay and the building was gutted.
Double A Products Co. is a subsidiary of Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Co. The Double A factory is an autonomous unit employing in excess of 450 people. Except for general guidance and direction from the parent company in Rhode Island all management, sales, engineering and manufacturing is located in Manchester.
Hydraulic pumps, valves, and fluidic controls for industrial machinery make up the product line. The factory is primarily a machine shop operation, somewhat on a job lot production basis. Machines are the conventional lathes, milling machines, drill presses, grinding machines, etc. Also, there are valves and pump assembly departments. Approximately two-thirds of the employees are associated with production. The non-supervisory production employees are represented by the International Association of Machinists Union. There are job standards for most of the machining operations and the general productivity of the shop is good. Other than a profit sharing plan, there are no production type incentives used within the company.
The company was incorporated and started in Ann Arbor in 1934 by Herbert H. Upton and Finley Riggs. The original business at that time was the production of inexpensive power tools for five and ten cent stores and later Sears Roebuck and Company. News reached Manchester that Herbert Upton and Finley Riggs were interested in a new location because the building occupied by the company was very old, inefficient, and costly from which to conduct the operations. James C. Hendley, President of Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and Robert C. Merithew, Secretary, went to investigate and found out they were interested in a new location with more adequate facilities. Mr. Upton and Mr. Riggs agreed to meet with the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and outline their needs and plans. It was as a result of this meeting that the Chamber of Commerce sponsored the obtaining land and constructing a building for the company. This was accomplished in 1940 and the move was made about the first of July. Most of the key personnel moved to Manchester with the company. Some of them are still employed by the company. Finley Riggs retired from the company and Herbert Upton became President and General Manager, and it was through his efforts and ambition that the company expanded and grew.
Gun parts were manufactured for the government during World War II. After the war power tool business was resumed with Sears Roebuck as the principal customer and this business flourished in the post war boom. In 1947, Mr. Upton felt the company should diversify. He became interested in the hydraulic field and acquired a small hydraulic valve company in Detroit. This business was moved to Manchester. The company grew and expanded rapidly during the Korean War, and consequently, power tools were replaced as the principal product of the company. The power tool business was finally eliminated and discontinued.
After the company became well-known in the hydraulic field, Mr. Upton felt the need for further expansion. Then in 1957 it became a subsidiary of Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Co. It is from this time on the company again grew rapidly. In 1958 hydraulic pumps were acquired from a company in Baltimore and the business moved to Manchester. It made it possible to have a product line of complete hydraulic and pump facilities. The company is continuing to grow and is now under the management of Donald A. Roach. Manufacturing and office facilities occupy over 125,000 square feet. The company has a plant operating in England.
The Chamber of Commerce committee responsible for obtaining the relocation of the company in Manchester are shown in the picture.
Manchester Division of Hoover Ball and Bearing Company was started with ground breaking ceremonies on September 21, 1964. Production of decorative automotive trim parts was started in 1965. At present Manchester Division employs some 125 people who live in Manchester and nearby towns.
Manchester Division is one of seventeen divisions and subsidiaries of Hoover Ball and Bearing Company which is listed by Fortune Magazine as one of the 500 top industrial corporations in the country.
Products of Hoover Ball and Bearing Company include die casting, plastic parts, farm equipment, seating components, chemical products, handling systems, aluminum extrusions, furniture, and balls and bearings
Locally Manchester Division produces nameplates, knobs, mouldings, bezels, grille parts, and other ornamentation for all major automobile companies.
One of Manchester's newest industries is Manchester Plastics, Inc. This company is situated on 15.5 acres of land inside the village limits (just behind the Ford garage). The portion of land which is not used for buildings, is now planted to field corn, which gives one the feeling of being in the country. Pheasants and rabbits contribute to the country atmosphere.
The old railroad freight depot was used by the company for its headquarters, during the spring of 1964, while the factory was being built. Manchester Plastics is, at present, planning its second addition to the building, after constructing a 45 ft. by 90 ft. addition in the spring of 1966.
Max E. Kenyon heads the company, which is the realization of a dream of his. W. J. Gamin is the treasurer. Mr. Kenyon has had twenty-years experience in engineering in the plastics molding field, while Mr. Gamin has had 15 years in the plastics fabricating field.
At the time production of parts was started, the plant possessed four injection molding machines. In the last year, they have purchased a 20 oz. machine and a 60 oz. machine. Parts as small as one-half gram in weight, to one the size of a chair seat can now be molded.
Of Manchester Plastics' employees, numbering approximately 25, the greatest percentage are from the Manchester area.
Being able to purchase such an attractive piece of land within the village; its distance from larger cities; good labor situation, and good freight transportation facilities were given as reasons for locating the plant in Manchester.
Manchester Plastics is one of the few industries left today that is not a subsidiary of a larger corporation. This makes for a closer employer-employee relationship. They are small enough to have that "big family" atmosphere. An indication of this is that everyone's birthday is observed with a cake and gift; and on frequent Fridays (just about 11:30 a.m.) the president, himself, can be seen grilling hamburgers or steaks (as the case may be) on the loading dock—these to be shared by the employees.
Products produced are, for the most part, automotive and industrial.
Schaffer Industries is the unofficial name given to three local corporations headed by Allen W. Schaffer.
One of the corporations, Union Construction Company, is engaged in underground construction and commercial dewatering. During the years the facility has expanded until activities of the corporation extend not only in Michigan but to Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
Founded in 1951, the corporation conducts the business which Mr. Schaffer executed by himself prior to that time.
Schaffer Lumber Company was founded in 1945 and operates retail lumber yards in both Manchester and Jackson, Michigan.
Manchester Ready Mix Company was founded in 1954 and furnishes Ready Mix Concrete within a 15-mile radius of Manchester.
The three corporations employ approximately 50 people.
The Manchester Stamping Corp. is relatively new to the community. The small Brooklyn Plant was bought by three Manchester men, Ted Stautz, now president, Eugene Bentschneider and Clarence Fielder, in 1963. The business and equipment was purchased from Brannock Construction of Brooklyn.
In February, 1966, the Stamping Corporation was moved into their new building, one mile west of Manchester on Austin Road.
The plant produces all types of metal stamping for numerous industries such as automotive, household, electrical and refrigeration. Products are shipped throughout this area and to Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.
The 7,000 sq. ft. cement block building is geared to production which is operated by semi- and non skilled help. Stamping that can be produced on punch presses up to 150 ton can be handled by the Manchester operation.
The Manchester Tool & Die started in business at 124 South Macomb St. in the garage of Clarence Fielder and the firm was incorporated in 1954. Eugene Bentschneider, now vice president, was the first to give up his regular job to work full time for Tool & Die. Fielder is president and Ted Stautz is secretary-treasurer.
They put up a 900 sq. ft. building in 1955 at the present location at 110 Division St., Manchester, one block from the High School.
As the business expanded, three additions have been added. The cement block structure has 6,000 sq. ft. of working area.
The company's 16 employees produce blanking and form dies for all types of metal parts, trim dies, die cast parts and special machinery and fixtures for various applications.
The Thornton operation is in the location of the building which was the Manchester Ford Plant on East Austin Road at the village limits. Ray F. Thornton, president of the Manchester Products Co., is an inventor, Thornton has been named by the Michigan Patent Law Association as one of Michigan's outstanding living inventors.
The plant manufactures the Thornton Tandem Four-Wheel Drive, among other things.
Mr. Thornton invented and developed the SpicerThornton Powr-Lok Differential used by Packard in 1956 and later produced by Dana Corporation of Fort Wayne, Ind. He applied for his first patent at the age of 16 years—a gadget to lift valve pins from Model T engines.
Among the things now under study at the plant is a new processing machine for frying bacon and safety devices for cars, which are in the experimental stages.
In 1930, Luther C. Klager and his brother Erwin started the Klager Hatchery on the family farm in Bridgewater. Now it is the largest producer of egg type baby chicks in Michigan.
The four incubators have a capacity of 210,000 eggs—50,000 chicks a week. Pullet chicks supply replacement pullets to egg production farms in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
The operation used to hatch 32 different breeds. Now they hatch only one-a layer type. Other changes are that today most of the consumers are commercial operations. Ten years ago, general farmers bought from 100 to 1,000 baby chicks and raised them, selling eggs and chickens on regular routes.
Klager contracts a number of farmers to produce the pullets under their supervision and the hatchery delivers around 650,000 ready to lay pullets per year. Their largest customer now has 75,000 layers. Today 98% of all layers are in cages which house 2 to 9 birds. Growing birds are also raised in cages.
The hatchery employs 11 full-time and several part-time employees.
Merit Products Corp. at 9050 M-52, at Rowes Corners north of Manchester, has been in operation for four years. Walter E. Miller, with eight years experience, heads the business. The firm works in fiberglas fabrication, designing and developing; and specializes in fiberglas truck covers.
Fiberglas boats are a specialty at the plant and are made according to specification with plans on the drawing board.
The plant employs five.
Sippin' sweet cider in the fall was one of the fancy festivities back when grandmother was a girl, and still is. It is just as American as Thanksgiving Day and pumpkin pie—and every bit as delectable.
The Alber' cider mill, last one in the Manchester area, is still grinding out apples every fall. The farm, owned and operated by Nathan Alber and his son, N. Allen Alber is at 13011 Bethel Church Road, about four and a half miles northeast of Manchester. If the weather stays mild the Albers plan to operate for several weeks in December.
The mill is part of a typical American farm—with a large white frame house—which Michael Alber, Nathan's father built 68 years ago. All of the other buildings are painted red and trimmed with white and neat as wax.
The cider mill was built in 1870 as a barn and converted to a cider mill in 1890. It is part of the 217 acre farm. There are about nine acres of apples with about 300 apple trees, which are graded and sold by the peck and bushel.
Alber will tell you the best cider comes from the presses late in the fall—when the apples are good and cold.
If the apples are good, you can expect about four gallons from bushel (50 pounds). Crates hold more than bushel baskets.
When Michael Alber first had his mill, there were many others in the area. All of the farmers had at least a few apple trees and there was a real demand for cider mills. They first had a steam engine for power for the presses. This gave way to the gasoline engine. And in 1928, when electricity first went through on Bethel Church Road, they immediately changed to electric power.
When Albers grind their own apples—they do custom work, two-pickers in the orchard load the apples for cider on a truck which holds about 200 bushels of apples. They are taken to the mill, where they are put on a conveyor and carried through a water tank and washed. Then they are put in a grinder, which is electrically operated.
The ground apples are carried down a chute to a hydraulic press, where the juice is squeezed out and pumped through a screen. The clear juice runs through a conductor to the mill basement and into waiting barrels.
Alber says the most cider he has processed is about 3,300 gallons a day. The average is about 2,000.
They do a lot of custom grinding for orchards and customers who bring in tons of apples, such as a concern at Michigan Center which sells to the Jackson area.
Work begins at sunup and takes until sundown to complete. Nothing is added to the pure apple juice. The farmer gets back the cider from the apples he brings and Alber can remember when he did it for 2 cents a gallon.
This is the sixth year for operation of the Manchester Motor Speedway, located 2.5 miles south of the village off South Macomb street.
Some 35 people work in the pits and grounds on Friday nights when the races are held. This is a half-mile, high clay bank track and provides amusement for hundreds who jam the gates every week to watch the Sportsman modified and superstock cars tear around the track.
This is the only race track of its kind in Washtenaw County and cars are timed into one hundredth of a second during the time trials. The track is operated by a corporation headed by Veryl Schill of Manchester. Eighty cars sign in for races on Friday's with a rain date of Sunday.
As the centennial plans progressed questions arose. What did great-grandmother wear a century ago? Everyone was talking about hooped skirts, leg-of-mutton sleeves and petticoats with rows of ruffing.
Delving into family trunks resulted in many interesting costumes being brought out. Mrs. Leonard Ahrens had the 85-year-old lilac and white candy stripe cotton dress belonging to her aunt, Mrs. Walter Behnke of Ann Arbor. There was lilac velvet ribbon trim and lace at the high neck. Rows of tucking and lace adorned the petticoat and bloomers. She borrowed high buttoned shoes from her motherin-law, Mrs. Harold Ahrens. An embroidered label inside the shoes reads: "H. L. Holmes Merz. Co. Chelsea-Pingree Gloria $3.50."
She found a sailor-style white hat, belonging to the family of Mrs. F. M. Reck. It dates back 75 years. Then there was the violin belonging to Mrs. Ahrens family, dated 1902.
Mrs. James C. Hendley brought out the two-piece graduation dress of white wool serge which was worn by Mrs. Alleda Case Tracy, a member of the second class to be graduated from Manchester High School, the Class of 1873. Brussels point lace forms the collar and vestee, and is repeated in the V trim on the back of the bodice. The long slightly flared skirt has several 15-inch pleats with frog trim. This is on display at Marx and Marx store.
Mrs. Ahrens inquired around. As long as there would not be a pageant surely a fashion show would be interesting. The women in the six area churches agreed. Helping with plans were representatives: Mrs. Glen Lehr and Mrs. Maynard Blossom of Emanuel Evangelical and Reformed Church; Mrs. Ruth Sodt and Mrs. Harold Steinaway from Sharon EUB; Mrs. Paul Kappler and Mrs. LeRoy Knickerbocker from the Methodist; Mrs. Louis Vogel and Mrs. Elton Hieber from Bethel; Mrs. Loren Trolz and Mrs. Roger Trolz from Iron Creek, nondenominational; and Mrs. Ahrens, general chairman, and Mrs. William Schwab from St. Marys.
On Sunday, July 23 at 3 p.m. the High School's new auditorium was jam-packed as more than a hundred costumes were exhibited. An Irish linen sidesaddle riding habit worn in 1904 was modeled by Mrs. Robert Ross. The ensemble, tailored for her aunt, Mrs. W. P. Leech of New York City, is styled with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a skirt cut to dip on the right side. The bow for her hair, her aunt's black gloves and the original riding boots complete the costume.
Dr. and Mrs. D. M. Petersen were models. The doctor wore a reproduction of a Daniel Boone suede costume with matching hat and shoes, and his wife's dress of gunmetal and white heavy print dates back more than a century.
Mrs. Wm. Schwab wore Mrs. Louis Merz' family heirloom black taffeta dress dating to 1847. The long bodice is styled with ruffle trim and tucking near the collar. There is heavy lace over pleated chiffon attached to the underskirt.
Monica J. Kirk had on the black velvet bonnet with satin bows that her great-grandmother, Mrs. Maria Coleman had with her when she arrived in this country from Ireland on New Year's Day 1852. Her two piece black wool dress belonged to Mrs. Tracy. The 1870 outfit was fashioned with bustle back, full skirt and fitted jacket with leg-of-mutton sleeves. Her 75-.year-old laced shoes had pointed toes and spool heels.
Miss Bess Satterthwait of Tecumseh loaned a three-piece evening ensemble made for her mother by Mrs. Fred Briegel, mother of Dr. Walter Briegel. The 90-year old creation had a cape of black ribboned silk adorned with lace.
Other exhibits included a 120-year old wedding dress made for Mrs. Sy Sloat; an 1898 white wool wedding gown owned by Mrs. Kenneth Wolfe.
William Schwab modeled a Prince Albert style wedding suit worn by George Bowins when he claimed Stella English as his bride.
Mrs. Stanton G. Roesch and Mrs. Louis Vogel were narrators and Mrs. Roesch made arrangements for ballroom gowns from the collection of William Crim of Ann Arbor to be exhibited. The gowns date back to the 1890s.
Those attending were in costume and everyone enjoyed the pink lemonade and cookies after the show.
A wheat threshing demonstration—as it was done years ago—was one of the highlights of the Centennial Celebration.
Hundreds of farmers and interested persons drifted to the Clayton Parr farm on Austin Road at the west village limits for the afternoon performance. Camp So-Ber was in charge of the arrangements.
Wheat has always played an important part in Manchester. Its location of the River Raisin was in a way based on wheat. A flour mill was built on the river and around this the community grew.
The lumbering black steam engine had chugged out to the Parr farm. It had been in the Farmer's Day parade, and is owned by the Fox Brothers of Napoleon. Years ago a team of horses would draw the tank wagon to a nearby stream and it was filled with water. During a day of threshing a water tank would have to be filled two or three times—depending on the amount of grain.
There would be coal in the fire box. Threshing coal is something different and all farmers had to have it on hand at threshing time—not only enough to thresh their own grain but to pile on the rig to be used as the steam would furnish the power to move the equipment to the next farm.
It took at least two hours to get the steam pressure high enough to be of use to the threshers.
The Avery gasoline tractor—a later model—was also on display at the Parr farm. This was used in the days of threshing before the combine. These were the days when it took 12 or 15 men to "help out" at threshing.
The grain separator, used at the demonstration, was brought in from the Walter Blumenauer farm in Freedom Township. The separator does what the name implies—it separates the grain from the chaff.
Several farmers used antiquated flails. This was the method used for threshing grain by hand. These consist of a wooden handle at the end of which a stouter and shorter stick, called a swiple or swingle, is hung so as to swing freely. The operation is called winnowing. The process calls for some wind, the cut grain and chaff is dropped and the wind blows the chaff away. The grain falls into a basket.
Robert Chapin, a senior at Manchester High School, was proclaimed winner for his original seal to be used on all Manchester Centennial official communications.
His entry showed clasped hands—Agriculture and Industry—depicting how the two have worked together through a Century of Progress in the Community.
Chapin received ten dollars for his efforts. The other nine in order of rating were: Ray Meyer, Mike Randall, Michael Berry, Sandie Trolz, Myrtle Spaur, Richard Weir, Cindy Blossom, Carolyn Haab and David Westfall.
Some time ago, Gale Koebbe, village president, appointed a committee to sound out the thinking of a representative group of residents to see just what type of celebration the community wanted.
It was not surprising that a group of some 70 people were in agreement not to hire outside help. Manchester would go it alone: "If we can put on an annual Chicken Broil second to none—we can do this, too."
It wasn't that the committee wouldn't appreciate the professional help—but the group felt it did not want to commit the community to have to pay several thousands of dollars for this help. The cost, the committee reported, would vary with the size and length of the celebration.
Incorporation papers were drawn up and the centennial program for the summer was on the way.
So successful was the River Raisin Boat race on Saturday, April 22, that many were expressing the desire to have a repeat performance, possibly have it an annual event.
High winds discouraged 11 of the registered entrants, but 31 canoes and rowboats each manned by two oarsmen battled the wind and the current for the approximately nine miles from Fellows bridge to just north of the Main Street bridge.
Charles Hough and Allen Clark made the arrangements for the race on the River of Grapes.
James C. Hendley, L. Dean Sodt and Allen Clark checked the boats and entered them at the Fellows Bridge starting point. The race started promptly at 1 p.m. At the finish line, just north of the Main Street Bridge, was Irvin Gill, Allen Alber and Doug Hughes. Centennial committeemen were stationed at strategic points along the route.
Winners in the father-son canoe event were Alton Grau and his son, Michael, with a time of 40 minutes, 28 seconds. Second were David Hoeft and his son, Rodney, with a time of 46 minutes, 16 seconds.
In the choose-your-own partner, or open canoe race, Hal Poucher of Brooklyn and Therman Green of Manchester were victorious in 37 minutes, 31 seconds. Larry Kouba and Ed Waltz were second with 37 minutes, 50 seconds. In third place was the team of Gale Koebbe, Manchester village president, and Eldon Lamb. Their time was 38 minutes, 57 seconds.
The only entry in the father-son boat competition was the team of Don Paukin and his son, Lee. Their time was 65 minutes, 5 seconds for the nine mile winding race.
Winners in the open boat rowing were Merle McKeever and Larry Sturdevant of Manchester in 44 minutes, 33 seconds. Second were Gary Guenther and Paul Buss with a time of 51 minutes, 14 seconds. Duane Roller and Curtis Day were third, bringing their boat through the course in 51 minutes, 31 seconds.
The official opening of the centennial celebration was 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 18 with a downtown parade.
Leading the procession, which started at Main and Beaufort Streets, was the police escort for cars carrying centennial committee officers.
About 60 "Brothers of the Brush" marched. Leading them were the pallbearers carrying a casket complete with the razor. Pallbearers were Art McGee, Merle McKeever, Dave Walton, Jackie Smith, Ken Brokaw and Lauren Bertke.
The centennial band was under the direction of Roger Marrison who has been named to direct all musical functions of the centennial.
Going along Main Street the parade stopped at the official centennial headquarters at Rymack's Printing Shop. Last "rites" were held with Rev. Oscar Cooper acting as chaplain. The casket carrying the razor was deposited in a window display at headquarters.
Centennial certificates, buttons and bows went on sale along with certificates commemorating Manchester's 100th birthday at all merchants and from E. G. Mann's Mill in Manchester and Bridgewater, Pleasant Lake Tavern and the Pleasant Lake Grocery.
The committee pinpointed four major dates for celebrations: Memorial Day (May 30) with a community picnic, July 4 for an old time celebration, a tie-in with the Chicken Broil and conclusion of the celebration during the community fair, Aug. 22 to 26.
Centennial celebration officers are: Irvin Gill, chairman; Ted Curley, co-chairman; Harry Macomber, secretary; Douglas Hughes, publicity; Gary Brokaw, chairman of the Brothers of the Brush; and LeRoy Marx, treasurer.
Other committee heads are: Don Limpert, finance; Allan Alber, rural participation; Mrs. Clarence Schaible, chairman of village decoration; Lauren Bertke, membership; Don Ross, Keystone Cops chairman; Mike Scully, Kangaroo Court and Bill Wilson, traffic and safety.
On the Board of Directors are: Allan Alber, Ted Curley, Irvin Gill, James Hendley, Charles Hough, George Koda, Harry Macomber, LeRoy Marx, Don Limpert and Ray Tirb.
People came from miles around to watch the Farmer's Day parade. Allen Alber and L. Dean Sodt headed a willing committee which worked for weeks rounding up farm equipment worthy of this parade which started at the K & W Farm Supply at the north village limits. It continued along Ann Arbor Street to Main Street and ended at the E. G. Mann & Sons Warehouse on Union Street.
There were real museum pieces which had been assembled from the four townships surrounding Manchester. Alber and Sodt are members of the SoBer Chapter of Brothers of the Brush. The name combines part of their names.
Four township supervisors, Clayton Parr, Manchester; Russell Fuller, Sharon; Russell Hughes, Bridgewater and J. C. Miller, Freedom, representing the form of government known a century ago, rode in a surrey at the head of the parade.
Household paraphernalia, long outmoded, from churns to washing machines and clothes boilers gave onlookers a glimpse of "The Good Old Days."
There was smiling Centennial Queen, Vicki Roberts and her court waving to the people along the streets. Many were in centennial costumes and the whole effect was most colorful. There were American Flags flying in front of every place along Main Street and the business houses on the side streets.
There were horses and buggies and a few old time floats. And there was the covered wooden wheeled lumber wagon with hand carved wooden hoops holding the canvas top. Herb Jacob, who owns the antique is proud that the hoops are of wood and not steel. Other displays include a one-horse wooden-frame cultivator, a walking plow and cradle, used a century ago to clip off the grain.
A pitch fork, with a handle long enough to toss the hay high on the stack, was something to behold. The reaper, forerunner of the grain binder, and pulled by horses, had a place in the line-up of tools of bygone days. The chugging old steam engine and separator' added color to the moving spectacle.
The caravan stopped at the E. G. Mann Warehouse, an historical spot. There some of the machinery was put in operation.
The warehouse itself was built in 1856, and became combined freight house and New York Central passenger station. Oak lumber from the farm of the grandfather of the late Byron Hall was used in the construction of the sturdy warehouse. These solid 10 inch square beams are about 60 ft. long and were pinned together.
There are those, today, who remember the 30-foot ramp which rose from ground level to the top of the building. There teams of horses tugged heavy loads of grain to the top where it was unloaded onto hand carts which ran along steel tracks between two rows of storage bins. The 16 bins are of 2 x 6s of solid oak laid flat.
The ramp is long gone but the bins which hold 1,600 bushels can be seen at the warehouse. The late Fred Widmayer used to tell his son Herbert how the farmers butchered hogs in the winter and brought them frozen to the freight house. They'd be stacked like concrete blocks until there were enough for a shipment. Not very rigid meat inspection in those days!
The third of three main events for the holiday weekend (July 4) was the centennial parade. With the county spotlight focusing on Manchester for the big celebration it would be safe to say that no one was disappointed.
The whole atmosphere was that of a century ago. Residents in centennial dress and their guests sat in yards and watched as the colorful spectacle passed. And the spectators created quite a picture, too.
Bill Hainstock and Mike Schneider co-chairmen for the parade said that when they arrived at the east village limits (starting point of the parade) at 7:30 a.m. some were already getting into position. There were more than 50 entries and over 500 people involved in the parade.
"Bring a cheery word, a camera and wear a centennial costume," said Hainstock in an open invitation.
The parade route was along City Road to Riverside, onto Main and out to Carr Park. No cars or trucks later than a 1936 model was allowed.
Grand marshall was 93-year-old Carl Wuerthner. Riding with him in a 1921 model car was Mrs. L. C. Kent. Her husband, the late Dr. Kent, served this community for more than 50 years.
Queen Vicki Roberts and her court were on a float following the high school band directed by R. C. Sortor and Roger Marrison. Eight or nine floats depicting yesteryears added lots of color and lots of laughs.
Horse drawn buggies, a sleigh on a wagon, horse drawn, horses of all kinds, marchers in costume, cars of antiquated vintage, a sheriff's posse, antique tank wagon, fire engine and tank truck.
One of the focal points along the two-mile parade route was the First Michigan Light Artillery of Detroit. Later, at Carr Park, there was a demonstration which included the firing of some of the Civil War cannons.
The Aowakiyas Indian baton group from Tecumseh, including some 40 girls ranging in age from 4 to 14 years had a spot in the parade.
There were refreshments at the park sponsored by Jaycees. There was shuttle bus service between the park and starting point of the parade for those who needed it. Most of the merchants had their windows decorated for the big parade which exceeded most everyone's expectations.
Probably no other event connected with the centennial celebration had such impetus as did the appearance of the 8th Michigan Cavalry which arrived in the village for the demonstration skirmish on July 2. They came on the invitation of Don Limpert of Manchester. He is a member of the organization and one of the state's leading Civil War buffs and researchers.
As Manchester relives its early history it can't brush aside the Civil War. Company B, consisting of about 90 members of the 1st Michigan Infantry, was recruited and departed from Manchester at President Abraham Lincoln's first call for men. This is history and the people who watched the show were cognizant of it. Many had relatives who enlisted and fought in that war.
It was a spectacle of nostalgia with men, women and children decked out in the costumes of the 1860s sitting in chairs and on the grass on the hillside at Carr Park on a day that must have been "handpicked." It was cool but the sun shown bright. There was a soft breeze.
Limpert had arranged to have four teams fire four musket events. These four represented cavalry, artillery, Union Infantry and the Confederate soldiers. They are all members of the North-South Skirmish Association (NSSA).
According to Limpert, the muzzleloaders of the NSSA are required to dress in authentic Civil War uniforms, fire Civil War weapons and generally follow in the footsteps of the men of a century ago.
The original 1,117-man 8th Michigan cavalry left on May 2, 1863 in pursuit of the rebel raider, Brig. Gen. John Morgan. He was captured near New Lisbon, Ohio on July 26, 1863. The original regiment included the great-grandfather and great granduncle of Ray Russell of Rochester, a charter member of the group that came on July 2.
Today's units are organized to take part in skirmishes and other Civil War Centennial observances. A skirmish is a marksmanship contest with pageantry to bring out more vividly than history book could the events of the Civil War. They also aim to promote better relations between the north and south.
The U.S. Army regulations of 1863 are the authority the "new" 8th Cavalry unit uses as its final authority, including the manual of arms.
The 1863 model .58 caliber Springfield muzzle-loading muskets are the firearms.
That was not the last that Manchesterites were to see of the Civil War buffs. The Loomis Battery of the 1st Michigan Light Artillery of Detroit marched in the mile and a quarter long parade July 4th at Carr Park. Some were in original Civil War uniforms. Two Civil War cannons were inspected by curious spectators.
R. C. Sortor and Roger Marrison directed the High School Band in several selections.
The crowd moved over to the south side of the park to listen while a narrator explained how the cannons operated. Then there was silence as the old cannons blasted away into the marshland.
The Twentieth Century Club entertained people whose birth dates are before the World War I period at a lawn party Tuesday, July 25, 1967, on the spacious lawn of the Thomas Walton home on West Main Street.
This was held in conjunction with the Sidewalk Sales where older folks could "stop a spell and sip lemonade and eat cookies." There were antiques on display and waitresses wore centennial costumes.
The Walton house has been selected as a "landmark" house by the Washtenaw County Historical Society. It was built in 1842, by Jabez Fountain. At that time it was a one-story structure. According to the historical account by Annetta English, Fountain was a wealthy flour mill owner. He wanted a home nicer than the one built by his rival, John D. Kief.
Four years later he sold to Dr. William Bessac. Dr. Bessac was born in Corsackie, New York, and graduated from Woodstock College, New York, 1835. He and his family moved to Michigan and settled first in Lima Center when he thought the Michigan Central Railroad was going through there. When he learned the railroad was to pass through Manchester he moved to the Walton home.
His daughter, Mary, married George Haeussler. George Haeussler and his son Raynor later owned the drug store, now known as Uphaus Drug. George's son, Raynor, built a home directly north of the Walton home where Mrs. Haeussler lives now.
After Dr. Bessac bought the Fountain home he added the second story. The Thomas Waltons bought the place in 1943. In 1949 they enlisted the help of the late Prof. Emil Lorch, former dean of the College of Architecture at the University of Michigan, to help them restore the old home.
It took over a year of work to preserve the interior framework. One bedroom on a west wing was removed. Historical accounts say "it was a fine old place with hand-wrought woodwork, three old fireplaces with andirons, which were made by hand."
The home has six graceful fluted columns with Roman Ionic caps. The maples in front of the house were set for Mrs. Fountain by George Greene Matthews, who brought them from the timberland near their farm.
Someone in the village recently remarked that there was some repair work going on at the village hall-and was quickly corrected by a longtime resident who insisted that the building of brick on Clinton Street is the Manchester Township Hall.
A plaque in the front of the building reads "Village Hall 1887." The village owns the building site. It is not on the tax roll of the township.
In the old council minutes of June 8, 1886, the council approved buying the George Nisle property—size 35 by 66 feet for $600 for the purpose of erecting a village hall or engine house. This resolution gave Nisle the privilege of removing any buildings on the premises. Money was taken from the village general fund to pay for the property.
By May 24, 1887, the council received a petition signed by 67 citizens asking that the building not be erected. This was tabled. But by July 19, 1887, the council appropriated $500 for the village hall.
There most have been some controversy over erection of the building if it were a joint venture, because in the local newspaper, dated
May 8, 1884, was this item: "It is probable that the township board will pay back to the village the $1,500 paid in toward the town hall. If they do it, goodbye town hall."
At various times in the minutes of the Village Council there were appropriations of money for the hall and on March 6, 1888, the council ordered a special committee to finish the hall.
In the township notes, Clayton Parr, supervisor, found that on May 26, 1883, the township considered submitting to the electors the question of raising tax money for obtaining a site and building a town hall and appointing a committee to select a site. By August 25, 1883, the township adopted a resolution to appropriate money for construction of a hall and defining and stating the rights of, and the interests of the village of Manchester if the hall were constructed. By November, 1883, the township transferred $900 from the town hall fund to purchase Lot 8 Block 3 on Clinton Street.
The repair bills for the hall go to the village.
Manchester is situated 22 miles from either Jackson or Ann Arbor. The population in 1960 was 1600 but it has been increasing. Unofficially it is about 1800. Austin Road runs east and west, becoming Main street in the heart of the village and connects with Jackson and Saline.
M-52 runs north to Chelsea and south to Adrian and other points in Ohio.
The big project underway now is an improvement program for the water system. A $275,000 revenue bond issue is under consideration. If approved, the bonds would be paid off in 25 years. This would also finance extensions of the present water main system to equalize pressure throughout the village. At this time a new $3,800 pump at the new well site is in operation.
Manchester's total budget for the year, as approved by council was $132,975.
Gale Koebbe, was the village's youngest president when he took office in 1966. This is his second one year term. Prior to that he had served three years on council.
The Community Fund and Red Cross Drive for 1966 hit an all-time high of $15,240.
This summer the voters approved a $650,000 bond issue to erect, furnish and equip a new elementary school. This involves acquiring additional land for the site and developing and improving it.
Other village officers working with Koebbe are: Lyle Widmayer, clerk; Edward R. Kirk, treasurer and councilmen, Basil McGuire, John Althouse, Herbert Mahony, Robert Lowery, James Bauer, and Al Gaige. Russell Widmayer is assessor.
There are two youth camps in the area: the Lithuanian Youth Camp about five miles west of the village and Hi Scope Camp south of Manchester.
The assessed valuation of Manchester is over two million dollars. Within the last two years a Planning Commission has been set up with Vilican and Leeman the consultants to cope with the expansion of the community.
Because of its importance in the Manchester area for more than a century, the sheep and lamb industry highlighted Saturday's Centennial Day, the final day of the Community Fair.
Despite the rainy weather, crowds gathered at the Athletic Field for both the afternoon and evening performances. The entire cost of the presentation was underwritten by the Union Savings Bank.
Arthur N. Allen of Perthshire Farms in McLeansboro, Illinois, presented the shows. He was a contest winner in official trials in border collie events from 1946 to 1962 and has been featured in events at the International Livestock Exposition at Chicago and other shows.
The border collie was developed to have a characteristic "eye," or the power to control sheep with its eyes.
Washtenaw County is the second largest wool producing county east of the Missouri River. For many years it was in first place. Washtenaw is the largest in the state in sheep production and for many years the Black Top Merino breeds were the most popular. They are heavy wool producers, but the synthetics on the market has decreased the demand for wool.
Today, according to the Washtenaw Agricultural Office, the largest single breed is the Corriedale. This breed is a good wool and meat producer. Lamb ranks less than 10 per cent of the red meat sale in the state.
The Manchester area has more sheep shearers than any other in the state. For more than a century men have been active in the Sheep Shearers Association. The four townships, Sharon, Manchester, Freedom and Bridgewater have for many years been large sheep producing areas.
For many years Manchester was a major shipping point for wool producers in the county. Pasture land in the area has been used extensively for sheep, and—according to Bob McCory of the Washtenaw Extension office—most farms used to have some sheep, flocks of 150 to 200 ewes along with other livestock.
Washtenaw ranks first in the state in lamb feeding and there are several with three or four thousand head of lambs. Some of these large feeding farms bring in lambs from southwest Montana and Wyoming.
Some of the big farmers include the Finkbeiners of Saline, Herbert, Gerald and Raymond Jacob of Sharon and the Harold Hannewald farm on the Jackson county line.
Mrs. Lawrence Boettner of Bridgewater is the state chairman of the "Make it yourself with Wool" program for the state. In this program, according to Bob McCory, the wool producers pay most of the promotion on lamb and wool. Although the price of wool has dropped to 35 cents a pound (a low for recent years) the government has an incentive payment so that the price to farmers is about 65 cents a pound. This is to keep flocks in production because wool is listed "as an item for national defense."
by Jane Palmer
The first board of school inspectors for Manchester township was appointed by the Township Board in May, 1837, and at that meeting nine school districts were set off to cover the entire township. On the board were John B. Crane, Thos. Stockwell, J. B. Case and Mr. Crane. Crane, chairman of the board, lived where Raymond Loucks lives. The next step was for a voter in each district to petition the board of school inspectors for permission to levy taxes, put up a schoolhouse and start a school. District 7 did this at the home of Richard Hall.
District 8 received its notice to start a school, April 15, 1844. Peter Van Winkle presented the petition and the meeting of all qualified voters was called at his home just east of the present house. The first school was built on Peter's land, south of the three corners on Ely Road. It must have been a small house for all the story tellers agree that the three older Alvord boys moved it one winter night while their elders were sleeping. They moved the building to the present site, still on Van Winkle's land. The family agreed to the site and it was never changed.
The road now known as Scully road, was laid out in 1844-45 making it easier for those living in the northeast section of the district to get to school and that was a good reason for the change.
The school was in full swing in 1845 with 42 scholars and $2.44 in public money that year. There is little known of the teachers. Albert D. English says that Arvilla Curtis taught the winter term of 1844-45 and some of the pupils were: Jane Alvord, Ann, John, Benjamin, Sarah, and Susan English, Eli, Henry, George and Almira Fisk, James and Joseph Cobb, George Pembroke and Albert Van De Walker, Caroline, Lois and Alvira Baldwin, Johnathan Holmes must have gone to that school for he told his grandson that he was nine when his parents settled in Iron Creek and he used to play with the Indian boys.
Records show that William Fisk and William Estabrook qualified as teachers in the township and it seems most likely that they taught in their own district. In 1860, Elizabeth Matthews taught for a short term at $1.50 a week. Ebenezer Davison was director and John Raby was assessor. Laura Green Row was a teacher and later Sarah English and Sarah Cochran. It is told that one morning when Sarah Cochran came down to the Creek she found the water over the road. Undaunted she removed shoes and stockings, plunged boldly into the raging flood and arrived promptly at her scene of duty.
Albert English told where a few of these people lived. The English family lived in a log house near where the English and Grossman roads meet. The Cobbs lived on the Raby place and kept house for Mr. Crane who was a bachelor. Mr. Van De Walker lived on the farm variously known as the Lancaster and the Coleman home. Originally it belonged to Emery Lowe (the surname pronounced with a short sound of o). The lake in that region is named for him.
There is a letter written by Hannah Dunham Van Winkle to her husband Peter. At that time he was starting his career in the ministry. She says not to mention it but Virgil doesn't want to go to school and she is troubled by this and ill health. She wishes he could come home for a few days. She does not want to complain and let nothing stand in the way of duty, but the "children want to see Pa awful much."
He came home and his family returned with him. Virgil never liked school and ran away and joined the army at 17, rather than speak a piece at rhetorical exercises. He was devoted to his mother and when he came to visit, always planned to arrive while the family was at church so he could visit with her all by himself.
Jacob Van Winkle built the school and the fine home of Richard Green on English road. Frances Van Winkle told about the family of Patrick Scully who lived on the hilltop in the old hotel. There were 10 children but their mother could keep them in line. Myrtie Holmes said they were great fun and she loved to go there. A daughter Rose became a teacher in this school. John Raby had no children but his young nieces grew up in his home and went to school. Maude Baldwin, daughter of Lyman and Teresa Baldwin taught at the Iron Creek school. The lovely young teacher died young and her old neighbors would say, "Maudie was a nice girl." The young Martins, Colemans, Van Valkenburghs, Galls, Witherell, Paynes were of this group. Others came and went. The school closed in 1952, and the place was made into a home.
Cornelius was the son of William and Mary Ann Rowley Carr. He was born in a log house which stood north of the barns on the homestead of the Parr family on Austin Road. William, and his brother Elijah Carr, were among the early settlers and owned a large tract of land including what is now Carr Park.
Leesons owned directly to the south. Recently the Leeson family gave several acres of land to be added to the park area. Directly south was the John Sanborn farm with a beautiful little one and a half story house with two wings, just alike. Painted white, it was snug and low and sheltered behind the big hill that separated it from Carrs.
According to a history by Miss Jane Palmer, the eldest Sanborn daughter was an object of interest to Cornelius and he and Nelly Sanborn were married. Nelly liked to sew and often fashioned her dresses with a basque and wide shoulder seams, collars and cuffs. She turned back the cuffs to work in the morning and donned a gingham apron. But in the afternoon, she liked white aprons with dainty hand made trimming.
The area, now Carr Park, had at one time two houses, a brick kiln and a cider mill. Cornelius didn't peruse the brick works and finally the equipment was moved out Union street along with the workmen, and the brick house at the end of the street was built by the Schaibles with their own brick. For years, Cornelius operated the cider mill, supplying the community with cider, vinegar and jelly in large earthen crocks.
Although the couple traveled and spent one winter in California they liked their own home best. The story is told that Mrs. Carr bought a lovely new hat for traveling and wore it several times before she discovered she wore it backwards. No one enjoyed the joke more than she did.
Because they had no children the couple planned to leave something to the community. Rumor is that they considered a hospital location but everyone feels sure they would approve of the popular playground area of Carr Park.
Miss Palmer writes, "Carr's was a delightful place with a garden and orchard and a lane across the marsh. The split rail fence had asparagus in the corners and they gathered morels in May. On the hill north of the marsh there is a little wild land where dogwood and witch hazel and wintergreen keep their secrets."
The passenger pigeons used to wing their way over Manchester as they migrated north to Nova Scotia and Quebec. Samuel Palmer, father of William and Jane Palmer, used to tell about seeing the last flight of the colony of birds in 1877 or 1878 which swooped over this area. The Ann Arbor public library also confirms the report and describes the last flight as being 28 miles long and 3 or 4 miles wide.
The sky was darkened by the dense mass of birds and a sound like a heavy wind. It swept across the sky like an immense narrow cloud, black as night and as Elsie Singmaster's book They Heard of a River reads, "It seemed to be as solid as the rocks themselves, yet portions appeared to
fly off and drift this way and that. They did not fall or separate permanently having fluttered into the clear air but fluttered back to be absorbed in the current which moved in no channel and had no bounds but those it set for itself-bewildered-confused... The birds journeyed by the millions... If a bird cheeped or cried the sound was lost in the concerted beat of wings as the birds followed the pilot birds."
Sam Palmer liked to watch and study nature and as his eyes followed the last of this huge black cloud of birds, he little dreamed that he would never see another flight of these strange feathered friends—now gone forever.
The passenger pigeon was handsome, about 16" long with a bluish grey head and back. Its underparts were reddish in the male and grey in females. They lived on seeds, berries and nuts. At one time they were the most numerous specie of bird in North America in the early 1870s. They were a game bird. A colony was reported to spend a year in Michigan in the 1870s. The birds went south to Kentucky and west to the eastern edge of the Great Plains. They wintered in Florida and Texas. What caused them to be wiped off the face of the earth so completely can only be theorized as disease or storms. The last passenger pigeon died in a Cincinnati zoo in 1904. It is interesting to include in this history, Samuel Palmer's account of the last flight of the passenger pigeon.
Samuel Palmer's parents were William H. and Esther Brownson Palmer. William was born in 1810 and his wife in 1812. They lived on what will be remembered as the John Buss farm on Austin Road before they built and moved to their home on Herman Road in 1853. Their families came from New York State. Sam was born in 1841 and died in 1917.
His wife, the former Frances Van Winkle, died in 1921. Two of their children, a daughter and a son; Jane Palmer and William Palmer and his wife, Laura, live on the homestead.
Christian Marx, Austin Yocum and Dennis Torrey were partners in the store now occupied by the Gamble store, when they first went into business in 1896. The following year, 1897 they moved to the present location which had been occupied by Mack & Schmid. The store had been built the year before by Nathan Schmid and it was planned for a Dry Goods store. Nat Schmid and his family lived on the second floor which had been built for living quarters.
After the first year they decided to sell to Yocum Marx & Co. who carried a line of ladies coats, fur muffs, dresses, piece goods, footwear and a full line of dry goods.
Later they rented the store just east, where Widmayer's Furniture store is located and opened a men's furnishing store. They built an archway between the stores. Myron Silkworth and Lester Blaisdeli were put in charge of the men's store. Later LeRoy Marx and Clair Riedel ran the clothing store.
About 1918 the next store east (now the Way Bakery) was bought from J. Fred Schaible who ran a grocery store. An archway was put in between the men's store and the grocery. It was the practice of the store to put on a general sale twice a year—in January and July, discounting everything in the building at least 20 per cent. This practice has been continued to the present time.
Now the Marx & Marx store is between Walt Schaible's Men's store and Widmayer Furniture and is operated by Waldo and Ruth Marx.
Two business houses on Main Street still carry the names of early merchants. They are Widmayer Hardware and Marx & Marx.
Herbert Widmayer has followed in the footsteps of his father and operates the Widmayer Hardware store on West Main. His father, the late Fred Widmayer, was born in Adrian and came to Manchester with his parents, the George Widmayers after the Civil War. They lived on the present William Grossman farm south of town first. Then the family moved to the Wm. Weinhardt farm in Sharon before coming to the village to live.
Fred Widmayer started his career in the hardware business in 1882. He worked for Charles Norton in the building now occupied by the Gamble Store. That same year the business was sold to J. H. Kingsley who moved the hardware store across the street to the brand new brick building known as the Rehfuss & Kapp block which they had just completed. Widmayer went into business for himself in 1892 in that same location and stayed until 1930. This building is owned by D. E. Limpert and is located next to the present Widmayer Hardware.
Then the Widmayer Hardware moved across the street to the building now occupied by Widmayer Furniture.
Widmayers bought the old Bessac store, razed it, and put up a new building on the location of their present store. March 12, 1941 Fred Widmayer and two of his sons, Herbert and Rolland, held grand opening in their new hardware store. The occasion marked Fred's 59th year in business and was also the occasion of his 81st birthday. Fred's wife, the former Emma B. Fausel had died December 10, 1939. Mr. Widmayer passed away in 1950. Herbert and his wife, Isabel, operate the hardware store and across the street the widow of Rolland Widmayer has the furniture store. Herbert recalls that his uncle Bill Widmayer, who worked in the store, used to say, "We do everything—from the top of the chimney to the bottom of the well."
A dance with standing room only wrapped up the Centennial Celebration Saturday, August 26th in the exhibit tent on the Athletic Field as Manchester concluded its 18th annual Community Fair.
A mile-and-a-half long parade kicked off the Community Fair Tuesday night, August 22. Leading the parade was Manchester's oldest resident, Carl Wuerthner, 93, a former president of the village.
In activities at the fair grounds, Sue Swartz, 16, the daughter of Superintendent of Schools and Mrs. Robert Swartz was named fair queen.
A senior at Manchester High School, Sue was one of 12 candidates selected by her classmates to compete for the title before school let out for the summer. She was crowned by Deneine Steele, last year's queen.
Runners-up were Sally Barber, 16, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Barber, and Kay Walter, 13, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Walter.
Awarded first place in parade float competition was the Manchester High School's class of '69 entry "Happy Birthday," honoring Manchester's centennial celebration.
Other winners were: "Centennial Ride," entered by the class of '70, second; "Time to Celebrate," entered by the jolly Farmerettes 4-H group, third; and "A Busy Affair," Manchester High School class of '71, fourth.
In the decorated bicycle competition, prizes were awarded to: Janet Popkey, Thomas Blossom, Marty Fielder, Vicki Wurster, Grace Day, Lee Pauken, Terry Pauken, and Pamela Jose.
The parade high school band was under the direction of R. C. Sortor.
As usual the high school senior class had charge of the food tent and reportedly did an exceptionally big business.
Twenty-two steers and 42 lambs were auctioned Thursday night under the lights at the Fair with the Grand Champion steer bringing 80 cents a pound and Grand Champion lamb bringing $2.06 a pound. The animals had been judged on Wednesday by John Comstock, Lenawee Extension agent.
David Pratt, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Pratt, was the owner of the Grand Champion steer which weighed 1125 pounds and brought 80 cents a pound when sold to Jay Lantis of the Manchester IGA store.
The champion lamb, owned by Jim Bruestle, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bruestle, weighed 104 pounds. It was bought and reauctioned by the Manchester Division of the Hoover Ball & Bearing Co. Hoover' donated it for reauction and the second time around Hoover Ball bought it again, this time at $1.05 a pound, and the proceeds went to the Jaycees, sponsors of the Lamb Club.
Other winners in steers:
The Reserve Champion, owned by Lyndon Uphaus, weighed 1080 pounds and was bought by Hoover Ball for 60 cents a pound.
The Runnerup Reserve Champion, owned by Sandra Walter, was bought by Ray Kerr of Manchester for 57 cents a pound.
In Showmanship: first place, Lynn Niehaus; second place, Doug Keasal; third place, Gary Walter.
Winners in lambs:
The Reserve Champion, owned by Linda Hoeft, weighed 107 pounds, and was bought by Klager Hatchery for $1.50 a pound.
The runner-up was owned by Leslie Kopka, weighed 100 pounds, and was bought by Manchester Tool & Die for & $1.25 a pound.
Highest Rate of Gain winner was Ruth Curtis. Her two lambs gained 106 pounds.
In Showmanship, Jim Bruestle placed first in the senior class, and Linda Hoeft was in second place. In the junior class, Bill Merriman was first, and Ross Haeussler was second place winner.
Dale Heselschwerdt of Napoleon Livestock was the auctioneer for the livestock auction.
The steer calves were purchased by a committee of Optimist Club members and fathers of Steer Club members and were allotted by a drawing to the boys and girls. The financing is arranged by the Union Savings Bank with the notes endorsed by members of the Manchester Optimist Club. All profits from the sale go to the club members.
The steers were purchased in November 1966 from Elmer Rohroback and were insured.
Working on the Optimist Steer Committee with chairman Norman Buckholtz were Earl Mann and Tom Walton with assistance from Maynard Blossom, vocational-agricultural teacher, and Dr. H. P. Eames.
Special awards to Steer Club members were donated by Grossman-Huber, L. V. Kirk Electric and Tom Marshall, Inc.
The Union Savings Bank was host to Steer Club members, their fathers and buyers at last year's sale at a noon luncheon Thursday, August 24 at Emanuel Church Hall.
This was the third year for the Jaycee Fat Lamb Club. The lambs were purchased and delivered to all members in May. They were all vaccinated and shorn before they were given to the members. All profits go to the lamb owners.
Providing the special awards were: Manchester Plastics, Manchester Ready Mix, and Tirb Chevrolet.
The money from the two club lambs go to operate the Lamb Club. The Manchester IGA and Hoover Ball have bought the club lambs every year. It should be noted that Elmen Kopka gave the first ewe lamb for two years to be used as a means of starting the Lamb Club. Each of the 20 members have two lambs. Co-chairmen this year were Jim Lyon and Stan Poet.
REPRODUCTIONS of Centennial Costumes: 1. Mrs. Carl Schwab, 2. Mrs. Glen Bertke, 3. Mrs. George Dobner.
ORIGINALS: 1. Monica Kirk, 2. Mrs. Eugene Schuman, 3. Mrs. Larry Wright
BEST MEN'S COSTUME: 1. Bill Wilson
BEST CHILDREN'S REPRODUCTION: Debbie Blossom & Bernadette Fielder
BEST COUPLE'S REPRODUCTION: Mr. and Mrs. Richard Scott
BEST FAMILY: Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Schneider and family
CHILDREN'S ORIGINAL: 1. Larry Lee Wright, 2. Lisa Culp
Co-chairmen were Mrs. Ray Tirb and Mrs. Clarence Schaible. Judges were: Mrs. H. C. Ayres, Ann Arbor; Mrs. Arlene Ousterhout, Tecumseh, Mrs. Stanton Roesch, Mrs. Edwin Haeussler and Mrs. Richard Clark.
Mutton chops – Jim Kress; Van Dyke – Webb Seegert; Most handsome – John Culp; Reddest – Paul Schilling; Blackest – Duane Kuebler; Most original – Guy Gilbert; Ugliest (3 winners) – Raymond Jacob Jr., Lorenz Wackenhut and Lowell Bishop; Fullest (3 equal) – Dr. D. M. Petersen, Lorenz Wackenhut and Lowell Bishop; Grand-daddy of them all – Carl Cole. Judge was Ernest Dascola of Ann Arbor.
NAIL DRIVING (20 penny spikes were driven into 4 x 4s of hard oak) 60 contestants – 1. Erwin Buss (13.3 seconds), 2. Vern Leach (14.5 seconds), 3. Ken Miley (15.5 seconds). Best young nail driver – Charles Schaible.
CROSS CUT SAW (elm log 1 foot diameter) – 1. L. Dean Sodt & Floyd Parr (36 seconds), 2. Ron Kuhl & Erwin Buss (46.4), 3. Luther Schaible & Earl Horning (55.2).
Among those who celebrated golden wedding anniversaries this year were:
Mr. and Mrs. Frederick E. Feuerbacher, Jan. 16, 1917
Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Widmayer, Jan. 24, 1917
Mr. and Mrs. Ray A. Haselschwerdt, March 4, 1917
Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Frey, Sr., April 14, 1917
Mr. and Mrs. Theo. Blumenauer, Feb. 14, 1917
Mr. and Mrs. Carl Schwab, Aug. 22, 1917
Mr. and Mrs. Herman Schwab, October 22, 1917.
1. Cathy & Jim Schneider (drum & organ); 2. Jean Pfaus (piano); 3. Becky Feldkamp (piano). Judges were Grace Stierle and Mary Ellen Graden of Saline. Co-chairmen of the talent show were Mrs. Wm. Tervo and Mrs. Ralph W. England.
The 26th annual cooking school was held in the new high school auditorium and was sponsored by L. V. Kirk in conjunction with the Consumers Power Co. and Detroit Edison. Prize winners were: Mrs. Viola Wells, Ann Arbor; Mrs. Harold Eiseman of Chelsea; Mrs. Lawrence Paul of Brooklyn; Mrs. Birdella Flood, Mrs. James Pratt, Mrs. Marilyn Lamb, Mrs. Patricia Miller, Mrs. Mildred Guenther and Ellen M. Kuebler all of Manchester.
Officers of the Community Fair for 1967: president, Ted Stautz; vice president, Jesse Walker; treasurer, Lehman Wahl; and secretary, Maynard Leach. Also on the board are Lowell Spike, Lawrence Kemner, Ellis Pratt, Willis Hassett, Willis Uphaus, Maynard Blossom, Herman Kuebler, Elmen Kopka, Paul Eisele, Ted Curley and Ron Mann.
With Manchester's famous chicken broil and homecoming now an annual event it is interesting to learn that homecomings are nothing new to the community. The first one was held Wednesday, Aug. 27, 1910. The Manchester Enterprise account said it far exceeded expectations and was pronounced a "grand success." Citizens kept open house all day and welcomed friends home "in good old-fashioned style."
"The examiners opened at 9 a.m. with a reception on public square, band music and a welcome by A. J. Waters, an address by W. W. Wedemeyer, and a former townsman Hugo Kirchhofer sang Auld Lang Syne and The Sword of Bunker Hill.
"All Homecomers registered and received a souvenir badge at headquarters tent which was in charge of James Kelly and R C. Merithew. Over 400 registered and 600 badges were passed out."
There was a band concert on Haeussler's lawn in the afternoon. This is now the Thomas Walton residence. Boos conducted the concert.
A ball game between Tecumseh and Manchester drew a huge crowd and another band concert in the evening on the east side of the river was dubbed one of the finest the villagers ever heard.
The first hundred years of Manchester's history is completed by showing as many pictures of this past year's events as space will allow.