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.