History of Bay County, Michigan

The aim of the publishers of this volume has been to secure for the historic portion thereof full and accurate information respecting aU subjects herein treated, and to present the data thus gathered in a clear and impartial manner. If, as is their hope, they have succeeded in this endeavor, the credit is mainly due to the diligent and exhaustive research of the editor of the historic statement, Capt. Augustus H. Gansser, of Bay City. In collecting and arranging the material which has entered into this history, it has been his aim to secure facts and to present them in an interesting form. His patient and conscientious labor in the compilation and presentation of the data is shown in the historical portion of this volume. The record gives an interesting and elaborate description of the aboriginal inhabitants, the natural features and the early society of this section, the story of its settlement and a comprehensive account of the organization of Bay County and the Bay Cities, giving the leading events in the stages of their development and the growth of their indus- tries to the present time, as set forth in the table of contents. All topics and occurrences are included which are essential to the usefulness of the history. Although the original purpose of the author was to limit the narrative to the close of 1904, he has deemed it proper to touch on many matters relating to the current year, especially such as refer to the union of the Bay Cities.

The reviews of resolute and strenuous lives, which make up the biographical department of the volume, and whose authorship for the most part is entirely independent of that of the history, are admirably adapted to foster local ties, to inculcate patriotism and to emphasize the rewards of industry, dominated by intelligent purpose. They constitute a most appropriate medium of perpetuating personal annals and will be of incalculable value to the descendants of those commemorated. They bring into bold relief careers of enterprise and thrift and make manifest valid claims to honorable distinction. If "Biography is the only true History," it is obviously the duty of men of the present time to preserve in this enduring form the story of their lives in order that their posterity may dwell on the successful struggles thus recorded, and profit by their example. These sketches, replete with stirring incidents and intense experiences, will naturally prove to most of the readers of this book its most attractive feature.

In the aggregate of personal memoirs thus collated will be found a vivid epitome of the growth of Bay County, which will fitly supplement the historic statement: for the development of the county is identified with that of the men and women to whom it is attributable. The publishers have endeavored in the preparation of the work to pass over no feature of it slightingly, but lo give heed to the minutest details, and thus to invest it with a substantial accuracy which no other treatment would afford. The result has amply justified the care thus exercised, for in our belief no more reliable production, under the circumstances, could he laid before its readers.


Table of Contents

A Brief Sketch of Early Michigan 17

The Aboriginal Period 27

The Colonial Period 48

Early Settlements and Settlers 60

Organization and Growth of Bay County 99

Creation and Growth of the Cities, Townships and Villages of the County 122

Natural Resources and Advantages of Bay County 162

Greater Bay City. 1885-1905 166

Bay County's Lumber, Salt and Coal Industries and Transportation Facilities 215

Sugar Beets, Agricultural Products, Fish and Varied Industries 237

The Bench and Bar and the Medical Profession 254

Churches, Religious Societies, Hospitals and Charities 272

Public Schools, Libraries and the Press 310

Fraternal, Benevolent and Labor Organizations 326

Bay County's Military Record 342

Minor Mention Odds and Ends 359

Biographical 867


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To understand the history of Michigan, one must go beyond the territorial period and take a fleeting glance into the hazy mists of past and unknown ages. This period is entirely within the realm of scientific research. Pre- historic upheavals, the glacial period and the great floods, have given Michigan her present geological formation. Isolated rocks and the rich alluvian deposits on our soil indicate the action of floating ice and great floods. The Great Lakes, which hound Michigan on almost all sides and give to lier unsurpassed transportation facilities, are the deep pools which lay too low to be drained by the great upheavals which laid bare the land. Thus do the scientists account for the wealth of our mineral resources, the boundless fertility of plain and prairie, and the towering forests. Truly Michigan has been blessed with the richest gifts of Nature.