History and directory of Kent County, Michigan

The publishers of this work take pleasure in presenting to the citizens of Kent County a book that supplies a long-felt need experienced by business men, and which unites with its utility an amount of truly interesting historical matter. At the same time, they pride themselves upon its originality of design and tasty execution not being altogether blind, however, to its defects. Doubtless errors will be found, which, to some may seem almost inexcusable; but where they occur the public may rest assured that they are not the result of carelessness on the part of the publishers. It can be safely said that no book of the kind was ever published which was free of errors. In collating the historical matter great care was taken to draw the information from the most reliable sources. As you glance through the history of your township or city, or any township with whose history you claim to be acquainted, do not hastily pronounce statements errors until you are confident that you are correct and the historian wrong; but remember that some one equally as well informed as you, in regard to the general tacts, has stated otherwise. In a number of instances, the histories of particular townships have been written by residents, who have taken great pains to collect facts into the form in which they appear. To this diversity of authorship may be attributed the repetitions which occur in some of the sketches; similar thoughts in regard to the sufferings and privations of the pioneers being in the minds of all.

The publishers are well aware that a work of this kind, relating, as it does, facts with which purchasers are themselves acquainted, will meet with more or less criticism. Knowing this, they have left no stone unturned which would assist in making the book what the prospectus represented it would be. Besides using every precaution to avoid errors in the matter promised, they have even added to its appearance and utility a very pretty map of the State, which was engraved expressly for this work.

The book purports to contain the name of every man in the county (of twenty-one years of age and upwards) outside of Grand Rapids city, and of every widow owning real estate. The canvassers were instructed to call at every house, and to be as thorough as a census taker.

The names were copied, compared, and arranged in every instance before they were placed in the hands of the printer; and where a question arose in the mind as to the correct name, or mode of spelling, it was referred to the canvasser.

Numerous advertisements have been inserted, but in no instance in a manner that can be made just cause of complaint. The history is complete in itself, and only here and there have advertisements been placed in the directory matter, and even then uniformly on the right hand page. Further, the advertisements are from the best business firms in the county, and if carefully noted, will prove of great value to purchasers.

It has been customary to prepare Directories of cities exclusively, while there has been even greater need of Directories of counties and farming territory. The publishers intend to make this the first of a series of like publications, in this and other States, and, while they hope to increase their facilities for preparing even better books than the present, they trust this will not only meet the present demand in this locality, but be preserved as a book containing an account of the sufferings, trials, and achievements of the pioneers of Kent county.

The generous patronage and cordial co-operation of all classes of the community have fully justified the publishers' reliance on their intelligence and public spirit; and they are under obligations, in every town, to the township officers and old residents for historical and statistical information, always cheerfully furnished.

 

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The county of Kent was organized in the year A. D. 1836. It was at that time very thinly populated, fifteen years only having elapsed since the first white settler placed his foot upon its soil. Rix Robinson came in the year 1821, and remained several years almost entirely alone, trading with the Indians. In 1826, Uncle Louis Campau settled here, and from that time forward the county has been steadily settling up.