Grant E. Farrand


Grant E. Farrand

Born September 25, 1863. Son of Phineas and Betsey (Kinne) Farrand who were natives of Naples, Ontario County, New York.

Grant was reared on a farm, remaining there with his brothers. They became stock raisers of large herds of registered short-horn cattle and DeLaine Sheep. They owned 800 acres along the banks of the St. Joseph River. Grant was married to Catheri ne Roy in 1893. She was from Constantine.

Their children were Phineas Roy; Ray McKinley; Theron Kitchel; Virgil Clark; and Walter Joseph. He was a Republican. Grant’s father came to Colon with his parents, when he was 17 years old. The parents purchased 90 acres of land in a virgin forest.


Daniel B. Wagner


Daniel B. Wagner was born in Colon Township, February 28, 1846, son of Peter and Catherine Wagner, natives of Pennsylvania. They bought 160 acres of government land and built a log house. Daniel was a Republican, served several terms as highway commissioner and one term as a member of the board of review of Colon.

He was married to Leona E. Tomlinson, may 6, 1866. Children born to this union were Helen G. (married Eugene Grimes of Colon). Wallace H. who married May Staliey. The homestead was known as “Oak Woods.”

Elias Wagner, born Colon, December 30, 1836, was the brother of Daniel Wagner.

Phineas Farrand


     Phineas Farrand Sketch


One of the most successful farmers on Colon township is Phineas Farrand. His father, Joseph Farrand, was a success in the same line of business before him, beginning the same with the grandfather of Phineas, in Morris county, New Jersey. At the age of twenty-one Joseph Farrand married Julia, a daughter of Edward Cumpson.

Mr. Cumpson owned and operated the first mill for cutting iron into bars ever used in America. For fear of confiscation by the British forces during the Revolutionary war, he secretly operated his machinery in a cave, in the interests of the colonial armies.

In 1799 Mr. Farrand, immediately after his marriage, removed to Mentz, Cayuga county, New York, where he bought two hundred acres of land, wild and heavily timbered, subsequently adding two hundred acres more, clearing up three hundred and sixty acres of the tract, and bringing it to a high state of cultivation. Mr. Farrand owned and operated in his barn on this farm, the second cylinder threshing-machine, which worked successfully, in the United States.

Of eight children,–five sons and three daughters,–Phineas, the subject of our sketch, was the youngest, and was born in Mentz, December 22, 1820. Here he attended the district-schools of the township, and assisted his father on the farm, until 1837, when he removed with his family, consisting of his father and mother and two sisters, Catharine A. and Abigail E., to Michigan, via Canada, by teams, arriving at Albion, in Calhoun county, in July of that year.

The family remained at Albion during the summer, Phineas occupying the time in driving a breaking-team of ten yoke of oxen, and the father making a tour of observation for a location, which he found in the township of Colon, wherein his son, Henry K., had located a year previous. He bought the location of George Brooks, one hundred and thirty acres, the last public land being entered by his son, Henry K., in 1836, in the township. This original purchase is the present homestead of the subject of this sketch. In the month of October the family removed to their new home, and occupied, for the winter of 1837-8, the small log-house on the premises built by Mr. Brooks.

There were about thirty acres partially broken-up on the location, and Phineas put eighteen of them into wheat that fall, which was the first crop raised by him in Michigan. One term at the district-school, in the Mathews school-house, during the first winter of his residence in Michigan, “finished” his education, and henceforth his “schooling” was that obtained in practical life.

To the original purchase the father and son added a large tract, the farms now numbering four hundred and ninety-one acres in a body, three hundred and nine-one of which are under cultivation, and upon which Mr. Farrand has erected fine, commodious barns and a comfortable dwelling—a view of which may be seen on another page of our work.

Orchards and good fences add to the sense of ease and comfort that pervades this old pioneer homestead, all of which has succeeded wild nature through the steady, persistent strokes of the original purchaser and his worthy successor, who now occupies it.

Mr. Farrand has also been engaged in the breeding of thorough-bred cattle and fine-woolen sheep, and has now upon his farm some of the best-blooded short-horns and American merinos in the county. He has also some very excellent horses, to the breeding of which he pays considerable attention.

During the terrible year of 1838, when death stalked abroad through the country, gathering his harvests with unrelenting hand, the two sisters died within a brief period of each other. In 1845, on the 8th day of January, the mother died, and on the 4th day of December, 1854, the father, too, sank to rest in the old homestead, and of the five persons who came to it in 1837 Phineas alone remains.

In politics Mr. Farrand is and has been a Republican since the rise of that party, and was a Whig previously. His religious sentiments are independent, and he is tolerant of all beliefs.

On the 23d day of October, 1845, Mr. Farrand was united in marriage to Betsey M., daughter of Elias B. and Martha Kinne, of St. Joseph county, Mrs. Farrand being a native of Naples, Ontario county, New York. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Colon. The children of this household are Joseph K., Grant E. and Ella, all of whom remain at home. The second son, Theron G., died at the age of twenty-five years, leaving a wife, but no child.



Henry K. Farrand

HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, 

     Henry Kircher Farrand Sketch

 Since society was first formed on the earth, the public burdens of a community have ever been borne by a few of its individual members. Is there a school-house to be built, a church to be erected, a railroad to be secures, or even a cemetery to by surveyed and laid off for the burial of the dead, the few free-hearted, unselfish, enterprising citizens of the community to be benefited must perform all the labor and sustain the greater portion of the financial responsibility.

The little village of Colon, though possessing as much enterprise among her citizens as many of her more pretentious sisters, is yet no exception to the general rule.

Foremost among the “bearers of burdens” for the public benefit stands Henry Kitchell Farrand, whose finely cultivated farm of eight hundred acres lies near the village. Thrown early upon his own resources he became thoroughly self-reliant, and with his native energy of character, disciplined by the trying ordeals of pioneer-life in Michigan, he was well-fitted for the honorable position he occupied in his later years, and which has given him his well-earned title of a public benefactor. Though not an actual resident of the village of Colon, his residence being about a mile and a half distant there from, yet none of the residents have done more, and but a meager few as much, for the prosperity of the village and to build up for it a good reputation than has Mr. Farrand.

Not one of her public institutions or conveniences but has felt the impetus of his energy and spirit, and drawn largely from his ever-open purse, from its inception to its accomplishment and truly successful operation, and it is the delight of the historian to do honor to such a truly representative man, and adorn the page of this work with the records of his life.

Mr. Farrand was born in Mentz, Cayuga county, New York, on the 19th day of June, 1812, where he resided with his parents, Joseph and Julia Farrand, until 1834, attending the district-school in the neighborhood in his younger days, and assisting his father, on the farm of the latter, later on in life.

In the spring of the last-named year Mr. Farrand made the first venture for himself in business, renting a farm near by his father’s homestead for a cash rental higher than any tenant had ever paid before for it, every one of whom had made a losing operation of its management. His father, to test the young man, declined to assist him as he had his brother before him, but this course, instead of discouraging the new beginner, served only as a stimulus for steady exertion on his part. His aunt, Maria Farrand, who was visiting at his father’s at the time, admiring the spirit of her nephew, proposed to go to the farm with him and become his housekeeper, which proposition was quickly accepted, and on the 1st of April, 1834, young Farrand, with two good teams and one assistant, began his farming operations. He worked long and laboriously, taking no time or money for recreation or pleasure, but steadily pursued his business, and at the end of his first wheat-harvest, contrary to the expectations of his friends, freely expressed, he paid from the proceeds of his labor all of his rent, living expenses, the cost of his stock and implements, and had three or four hundred dollars to loan his prophetic friends whose predictions of failure had signally failed.

In the spring 1836 the farm he had rented for a term of years having been sold, he surrendered his lease, to take effect after his next harvest, and went to Michigan to seek for a location of his own, and finding none that suited him so well as his present homestead, that he could buy at the government price, he bought two hundred acres on the east half of section fifteen in Colon, and which was the very last tract in that township subject to entry in the general land-office.

He then returned to Mentz to harvest his wheat, which being done and disposed of, he, accompanied by his faithful aunt and judicious advisor, returned to his purchase in St. Joseph county, coming with a single pair of horses and wagon through Canada, a portion of the way with his brother Charles, whom he overtook on the road, and who settled near Burr Oak, but in Branch county.

Mr. Farrand arrived at Lorausi Schellhous’ on the 12th day of October, where he and his aunt were provided for most kindly until a log-house was put up and made comfortable, into which the new-comers moved and passed the winter as pleasantly as circumstances would allow. This pioneer cabin was the home of Mr. Farrand for seventeen years, when it gave place to the present spacious mansion in 1854.

In the spring, when farming operations actively began again, Mr. Farrand founds his means exhausted, but his will to do was as fixed and steadfast as ever, and so he began a steady march for a competency, which, despite sickness and embarrassments incident to life in a new country, he has obtained, and has used no niggardly policy in his efforts therefor.

He has added to his original purchase some six hundred acres, having about four hundred acres under cultivation. His large and commodious barns and sheds are tenanted with some of the best blooded-stock in the country, both of cattle, sheep, horses and swine, to the breeding of which he has paid considerable attention for some years, buying his first sheep at public sale of Boswell Schellhous, in the spring of 1838. This small flock of sheep were the especial care of “Aunt Maria,” who brought them home every night in the grazing season for some years.

Among the many schemes for the public good that Mr. Farrand has been engaged in since his first coming to Colon, none is more gratifying to him, by reason of the good results accomplished, than that of the Colon seminary, which was projected by himself, Dr. A. J. Kinne and some few others, a detailed account of which will be found elsewhere in our work.

In securing the passage of the railroad through the village, and thereby making it a point on the same, Mr. Farrand’s effort were most persistently put forth, both in time and money, and it was largely due to his labors and zeal that the road was not diverted from Colon entirely. When the railroad company failed to fulfill their obligations under the contract for the township bonds voted in aid of the construction, Mr. Farrand, as supervisor, instituted and pushed the suit for the recovery of the bonds so vigorously that the whole amount, twenty-five thousand dollars and accrued interest, was cancelled and returned to the town authorities, and at a most insignificant expense.

Mr. Farrand has, for the most part of his busy life, pursued the quiet path of a private citizen, but during the years 1872-73-75 he held the office of supervisor of the township. In politics he was originally a Whig, and joined the ranks of the Republican party at its formation, being an active member thereof to the present.

He is an independent thinker on religion, and liberally inclined towards all creeds. He acknowledges with gratefulness the kind offices of his aunt, Maria Farrand, who was his housekeeper and advisor in the first business years of his life and until his marriage, and who, also, when death robbed him of a companion and his children of a mother, again assumed charge of his household, and gave herself unstintingly to the care thereof. He feels that to her, in a large measure is due his early success in life, on which is based the prosperity of his later years. She died in the old homestead, February 2, 1869.

On the 7th day of December, 1837, Mr. Farrand was united in marriage with Maria, daughter of Levi and Eunice Mathews, and a sister of L. C. Mathews, of Colon. She was born in Plymouth, Litchfield county, Connecticut, on the 23d day of November, 1817. By this marriage Mr. and Mrs. Farrand had born to them the following-named children: ANN ELIZA, now Mrs. M. W. Price; HENRIETTA M., who died at the age of four years; MARGARET S., JULIA ELIZABETH, now Mrs. Oliver H. Rodd; FRANCES EUGENIA, and CHARLES H., the latter married, and with his wife and little boy and two sisters, “Maggie” and “Frank, living on the old homestead. Mrs. Farrand was an estimable woman and a helpmeet indeed for a pioneer. She was a member of the Protestant Episcopal church for several years previous to her death, which occurred on the 1st day of July, 1855. Mr. Farrand was again united in marriage on the 14th day of September, 1865, to Phebe M., daughter of Leonard and Mercy Blanchard, who was born in Marcellus, Onondaga county, New York, on the 26th day of November, 1827. A little girl, who they called Louisa Kitchell, came to gladden tier hearts for a few brief years only, and then her prattling tongue was stilled, and her active, winsome ways vanished from their sight. Mrs. Farrand is a woman of most amiable disposition, and has the love and respect of her household, among whom she moves quietly and trustingly. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Colon.


William Eck

HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, 




Not only have many of the citizens of St. Joseph county left honorable names to descend upon those who follow them, but many of them also can trace back their lineage to honorable names left by their ancestors for their inheritance. Such an individual is the subject of our article,–William Rittenhouse Eck, who, though he can as yet trace no descendants from himself, can and does go back in the line of his maternal ancestors to the first paper-makers of America,–the Rittenhouses of Philadelphia,–in the “good old colony times when we lived under the King.”

Mr. Eck is the oldest son of Joseph and Mary (Rittenhouse) Eck, and was born in the township of Briar Creek, Columbia county, Pennsylvania, August 31, 1809, where he resided with his father, and obtained such an education as was imparted in the public-schools of that day. He assisted his father on the farm and in the clover and oil-mill until April 13, 1833, when he came west and located at what was then called the village of North Bend, but is now known as the second ward of Three Rivers. When he arrived at Buck’s hotel he had only a French five-franc piece left in his pocket. He worked for Philip H. Hoffman and Christian B. Bowman two weeks, then for George Tuck for six weeks, after which he husked corn on Prairie Ronde, and put in the balance of the fall shaking with the ague. In the winter he split rails for Mr. Hoffman, and helped to raise the first frame-house in Three Rivers,–the store-house that stood near the site of the present bridge over the St. Joseph river. In the spring of 1834 he began to learn the carpenter trade, and worked at it till May 31, when his master left the country, and the apprentice took his “kit” and knowledge (both very limited) and went into the service of John H. Bowman at farming, carpenter-work and milling, indifferently, and never left him until 1845. That year (on October 20) he came to Colon and bought an interest in the Colon mill,–the first stones of which he dressed,–and ground the first grist therein, in 1839. He operated the mill in company with John H. Bowman until 1848, and then with W. F. Bowman for three years longer, when he disposed of his interest to Joseph B. Millard, and in the summer of 1851, together with L. C. Mathews and S. S. Riley, built the saw-mill house known as the Riley mill, and operated in two years, when he retired from the firm, and has not been engaged in any active business since.

He owns property at Three Rivers, and also the seminary building in Colon, and is quietly enjoying a well-earned competency. He has held the office of supervisor of Colon for six years, and represented the county two years in the legislature. Mr. Eck was a Whig in the days of that party, and has been a member of the Republican parts since its organization to the present. He is not a member of any church, but from his good old Quaker mother imbibed principles of justice and mercy, which have actuated him in his dealings with his fellow-men through life.

For reasons satisfactory, doubtless to himself he has never married, but he has not, therefore, ignored the just demands of society, but in all things that would serve to improve its standing has ever been a generous and hearty contributor. No subscription was ever circulated in the township for any charitable object or business enterprise that has not had his name thereon, with a liberal sum affixed thereto. He aided liberally in the building of the seminary, and also in securing the railroad, although at the time owning no real estate in the town. Mr. Eck is highly esteemed by his neighbors, and is passing through life’s later stage with the serenity that a consciousness of a life of rectitude necessarily gives.

Samuel Gorton

HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, 


The subject of the following sketch, Samuel Gorton, was born in Lisbon, Connecticut, September 20, 1817, and is the second of eight children of John and Almira Gorton. At the age of about four years he removed with his parents to Henrietta, about six miles south of Rochester, N. Y., from whence, five years later, the family removed to Bergen, Genesee county, in the same State, where Samuel continued to reside with his father until 1840, when he came to St. Joseph county, Michigan, to look for a location for himself. In 1841 he finally located on section four in the township of Colon, but subsequently sold his first location and made another on section ten in the same township, in 1842, where he still resides. His homestead contains eighty acres, besides which he owns sixty-five acres in the township of Leonidas. In 1874 he built an elegant house of the boulder stones found in the township,–a view of which we present to our readers in another part of this work.

Mr. Gorton’s political faith in his early days accorded with the Whig policy, and when the Republican parts came into existence he joined it, and remained a member thereof until 1872, when he voted for Horace Greeley for president, and in 1876 voted with the Democrats for Mr. Tilden. Though not a member of any church-organization, he acknowledges the force of a Christian line of conduct, marked out by the golden rule.

On the 8th day of April, 1844, he married Julia A., daughter of Samuel Noyes, late of Leonidas, but now deceased. The fruits of this marriage were: Charles James, who died in 1848, and Clarence Ernest, who is now living at home with his parents. Mrs. Gorton was born in Berlin, Ohio, in the year 1824, and came to Leonidas in the year 1832 with her father’s family. She is a member of the Baptist church of Colon.

Adam Bower



On of the thriftiest farmers of the township of Colon is the subject of the present sketch, Adam Bower, who was born December 18, 1813, in Springport, Cayuga county, New York. His parents, John and Mary (Cline) Bower, were born in Schuylkill, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, the former in 1764, and the latter in 1762, and were married in that place in 1795. They emigrated to Cayuga county in 1800, while it was a new and wild country, leading there the lives of pioneers—there Mr. Bowers died, August 10, 1817.

The senior Bower again married, and with his family removed to Colon, St. Joseph county, Michigan, in 1836, Adam accompanying them. He located a large tract of land on section six, on which the father and mother resided till their death in 1844. Mr. and Mrs. Bower are gratefully remembered by the older residents of Colon for their kindness and unbounded hospitality.

In the fall of 1836 Adam returned to the old home in Cayuga county, and brought back Hannah C. Richards as his wife. She was the daughter of Simeon and Mary Richards, and was born September 8, 1814, in Ballston Spa, Saratoga county, New York, and was married on the twenty-second anniversary of her birth.

The new housekeepers went to their own location on section eight in the spring of 1837, where they lived most happily together until December 6, 1848, when Mrs. Bowers sank to her dreamless sleep, mourned sincerely by all who knew her. She was the mother of two sons, Simeon A. and John Francis Bower, of whom the latter alone survives.

Mr. Bower lived a life of loneliness until January 15, 1850, when he was united in marriage with Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Levi and Vilenda Pitts, who was born in Onondaga, Onondaga county, New York, November 3, 1827. Mr. Pitts was born in the same county, March 16, 1797, and his wife, Vilenda Deuel, in Washington, Dutchess county, New York, November 5, 1806.

They were married March 4, 1824, in Onondaga, whither Mrs. Pitts had removed seven years previously, and where Mr. Pitts died March 4, 1836.

Mrs. Pitts re-married July 16, 1840, and removed to Michigan in 1842 with her husband, Lewis Shuert, and her daughter, the present Mrs. Adam Bower.

By the second marriage Mr. Bower has had born to him six children: Augustus Levi, Hannah Elizabeth, now deceased; James Elliott, Lewis Adam (deceased); William Emery and Henry F. The two older sons are married and live on their own farms in Colon; one son is in business in Colon village, and the two younger ones are still members of the household on the old homestead of 1837.

Mr. Bower is an active member of the Republican party, and was formerly a Whig in his political affiliation.

Neither Mr. or Mrs. Bower are members of any church, but their preferences are towards the Methodist Episcopal organization.

Mr. Bower owns at the present time five hundred and fifty-seven acres of the choicest land in the township, and has given his son eighty acres besides.

In 1858 he built a most elegant mansion of stone, of which and his ample barns and beautiful grounds by which they are surrounded and connected, we present our readers a fine view on another page.

Mr. Bower is recognized by his neighbors as a man of liberal views, public-spirited and ready to assist generously with his purse and hands any object which bids fair to conduce to the public good; and hence he has been an able assistant is all of the enterprises which have advanced the prosperity of the town and ministered to the progress of its society.

HISTORY OF ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, MICHIGAN, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS, Published by L.H. Everts, Philadelphia, 1877, pp. 166-167