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(Transcriber's note - This article appeared in the Vicksburg Commercial on Friday, August 8, 1884. It appears to be a reprint of an article which originally appeared in the Kalamazoo Sunday Herald. The original microfilm copy of the article was of varying quality. Some words were rendered illegible and portions of the article are missing due to overlapping pages at the time of filming. Despite these problems, it is still an excellent article and very useful to the local history researcher.)


Some facts and Fancies about a mighty Lively Little Town in this County.

The inducements it offers to manufacturers....Bound to be a big town some day....A list of its enterprising business men.... the historical crank gets in his work.

From the Kalamazoo Sunday Herald.

We do not refer to that celebrated Confederate strong-hold before which Grant pounded away so long, and through whose suburbs are scattered so many Union graveyards. The Vicksburg to which we invite, (3-4 words unreadable) which was never questioned, and a patriotism which made many sacrifices to procure the downfall of its namesake, under the skies of the Sunny South. It is not located by the side of the father-of-waters, which pours its irresistable tide towards the Gulf, but on the banks of the Portage creek which turns sundry grist mills on its journey to the St. Joseph river.

We ask no apology of our readers for a (3-4 words) to the interests of people who reside without the city limits of Kalamazoo. We are booming a town which forms a part of Kalamazoo county, and in booming Kalamazoo county, we are benefitting the county seat. The write-up on Schoolcraft of two weeks ago was but the beginning of a series of descriptive articles on the various towns which are tributary to this city. In so doing we shall not only benefit the subjects of these sketches, but shall infuse into our readers if they follow closely, some new ideas respecting the commercial importance of certain villages which many are accustomed to look upon with contempt.

The first settler who located on the site of Vicksburg and gave his name to the place was John Vickers. Mr. V. had previously built on Prairie Ronde the first grist mill ever erected in the county and in '31, having transported a pair of small millstones all the way from Logan county, Ohio, in saddlebags, he put up a mill on the Portage Creek in Vicksburg, on the site now occupied by the Briggs planing mill. The official name of the village until '72 was Brady, but it generally went by the name of Vicksburg. In '72 when the village was officially incorporated, the popular name was made the official name also. The first store built in the village was erected in '35 by Clark Briggs and John Noyes, but it ran only a short time. The first store of any importance was put up by Hugh Finley on the present site of the McElvain house. The first plat of the village was acknowledged on the 17th of September, '49. The following names appear on that document: Hugh Finley, B.S. Williams, N.J. Kimber, T.W. Kimber, Samuel Hawkins, and Jabez G. Rice. The following are some of the early settlers of the place: Mathew Wilson, Elijah (Chard), Dr. D. Lapp, Isaac Sammer, George Stuart, Elias Cooley, Isaac A. and Asa S. Briggs, Henry Springer, Jerome Fletcher, Rufus A. Royce and many others.

We should like to say something about the early history of Brady township in which part of Vicksburg is located, but haven't the space. The G.R. & I. was completed to Vicksburg on the 19th of July, 1870, and the C. & G.T. went through in '71, and since that time, the village has steadily increased in population. It is now a town of which any county in the country might be proud. Her citizens possess remarkable enterprise and push, and if you don't believe it, go down and get acquainted with them. Schoolcraft has ten rich men to Vicksburg's one, but although the former place had many years the start, it is being rapidly overtaken in the race and another census will see Vicksburg bearing the honor of being the big village in the county.

What Vicksburg needs now to assure her prosperity, and to give her a tremendous boost towards the far off goal of a city charter eminence and metropolitan distinction, is the establishment of manufacturies within her limits. We commend to men in any part of the country who are seeking a desirable location for a factory, the following inducements which are presented by this live little village as a factory town. Real estate being much cheaper in a small town than in a large one, a site for a factory can be obtained much cheaper, and the low rate of rents, and the cheapness of living has a natural effect on wages. The shipping facilities of Vicksburg are excellent and as low a freight tariff can be obtained here as any of the larger places in the State. The Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad, the longest and greatest North and South railroad in the world, which traverses a territory 900 miles long, intersects at this point with the Grand Trunk, a system which stretches out its arms all over the North, and by which only (3-4 words) in the States can be reached without a transfer of freight. This junction makes it one of the most accessible points in the U.S. Eight express trains daily stop in the place, loading or unloading express matter and including local trains, it has 16 trains a day on which a man can get in or out of town. Seven mails a day and ample telegraphic facilities afford means of communication with the outside world.

It has one of the finest water privileges in this section of the country. A mill pond fed by Portage creek affords ample water and with a fall of ten feet gives a power sufficient to keep whirling the wheels of half a dozen large factories. The public spirited citizens of the place will do the square thing by any man who means business and who comes to them, proposing to add to their prosperity by establishing a manufacturing industry.

Vicksburg has two churches, the Methodist Episcopal church, Rev. J. J. McAllister, pastor, and the Congregational, Rev. D. H. (Reiter), pastor. Both churches are gaining finely, and many needed improvements have been made this year. Quite a number have been added to the membership of both churches in the past year, and the (1 word) thrown about the village have been a source of great good.

Vicksburg was the town that kept the land grant alive for the G.R. & L.R.R., by the raising of money from the citizens to pay off the hands every Saturday night. If it had not been for our citizens the road would have collapsed, as this was all the company had to show for what had been done.

American Express Co., handled by S.G. Richardson, of Richardson & Strong, do a good business.

The United States Express Co., did a business here during 1883 of nearly $1500.00.

The Chicago & Grand Trunk and G.R. & L.R.R. are managed here by A. B. Williams, agent, assisted by John Gledhill and F.D. Garrison in the freight departments, while Joe. Bucknell makes the telegraph instruments click and attends to the wants of the passengers in general. He is assisted by a night operator.

It is all right in writing up a town, to present in as forcible a manner as possible the features, which may be expected to draw to it in the future men of enterprise and business sagacity, but no article of the sort would be complete without a reference to those who have stood by the town in the past and helped to make it what it is. Our time and space are both limited and we are not in the best physical condition for composition, but we will do the best we can in presenting to our readers some panoramic views of Vicksburg's prominent citizens.

Ives & Bush Mfg. Co.

In '81, G.L. Ives and Mr. W.H. Bush formed a partnership and began to manufacture in Vicksburg the Ives & Springer Harrow and Seeder. They continued for about a year, and in '82 a stock company was organized with $20,000 capital in 800 shares, and the firm as now constituted is composed of G.L. Ives, R.U., D.S., W.H., C.A., and N.A. Bush, and David Baker of New York.

They gave up the manufacture of the harrow and seeder in the fall of '82 and in '83 began manufacturing screen doors and windows on a large scale. This branch of their business assumed very gratifying proportions during the season just passed. They filled many large orders from different parts of the country and among other heavy contracts, manufactured a thousand screen door frames for a party in Grand Rapids.

Their improved window screen, the Gibney patent, is in use in many of the houses of this locality, and everywhere gives the greatest satisfaction. It is very carefully made and is so constructed that it requires only a moment to put it into a window or take it out, and the window stops do not have to be removed. This firm has recently purchased, at considerable cost, a plant of expensive machinery and will shortly engage in the manufacture of inside blinds. Builders and house holders in any part of the country who are in want of inside blinds will do well to send their orders to Ives and Bush and will be guaranteed satisfaction. They also turn out mouldings and are prepared to execute contracts in any department of wood-working. The president of the company is Mr. D.S. Bush. The Vice President and Superintendent is Mr. R.U. Bush, a practical machinist of 13 years' experience. Mr. W.H. Bush is Secretary and Treasurer. The Ironwork on the Kimball Threshing Machine is made at this establishment. The Bush Bros. contemplate putting in a stock of lumber, and starting a lumber yard.

Rufus Powers

Is the jolly Boniface of the Tremont House, situated on Prairie Street - came here some six years ago, from Marshall, (2-3 words) hotel property of (1 word) Lapp. When he purchased the property, it was at an ebb tide - built up its reputation and is now doing a fair business.

Robert F. Clark

Mr. Clark is one of the striking examples of what energy and sound judgment will do. Although from birth a deaf-mute, he has made a progress intellectually and financially that exceeds the results produced by many a man who had all his faculties perfect. As a youth he stored his mind and acquired the trade of cabinet maker at the school for the voiceless at Indianapolis, Ind. After 8 years of close application as a student, he went to work in the organ factory of Cady and Phillips in this city. The next we hear of him he is at work at his trade for a period in his home in Leonidas, St. Joseph county. From thence he moved to Vicksburg, and securing a desirable location he engaged in the manufacture and sales of furniture. This was in 1877, and from the first he has enjoyed the confidence and esteem of the entire community. Upright and just in his business relations, prompt to the moment in fulfilling every engagement, and an excellent workman, it is not surprising that his trade has already increased until he owns a large two-story double store, well filled with goods from bottom to top. The class of goods kept by him are always the best he can secure and are sold at reasonable prices. He takes great pride in placing on sale the finest grade of suits and upholstered goods, and in this line, as well as pictures and mouldings, he shows a decided taste for the proper blending of shades and patterns. Mr. C. gives his sole attention to the care of his business in all details, and its present magnitude shows that even the voiceless can teach us correct business principles.

B.J. Milliard

Two years ago, Mr. B.J. Milliard, a commercial traveler for a metropolitan house, saw a good opening in Vicksburg and moving his family thither he started a venture in the grocery and crockery line. The enterprise at first was very successful, but Mr. Milliard, still continuing on the road, could not give the the business his personal attention and of late trade has been falling off. Two weeks ago, he secured Mr. A.E. Newman, who has a wide acquaintance with the local trade to manage his Vicksburg interests for him, and already an increase in the volume of business is perceptible. They will pay cash for produce and keep a general line of groceries, crockery, glass ware, etc. Mr. Milliard's acquaintance with wholesale and importing houses gives him an advantage in buying, from which his Vicksburg patrons reap benefit. He makes a specialty of fine teas, and is fitting up a (1 word) in the rear of the store to (1-2 words) a stock of pickled pork, lard, etc.

C.H. McKain, M.D.

Dr. McKain is a graduate of the regular school, having received his professional training at Ann Arbor and at Bellevue Hospital, New York City. After taking his degree, the Doctor went west where he remained for several months and then received an appointment in the medical corps of the U.S. Army. He was stationed for a time at Fort Elliot, Texas, and was subsequently post surgeon at Fort Supply, in the Indian Territory. Tiring of army life, he resigned his commission, and went to New York, where he spent four months in further study, and then located in Vicksburg. Dr. McKain has had an experience which is of great use to him in his practice and the people around his home have great confidence in his skill.

David R. Conden

Mr. Conden is a wide awake young attorney who deserves a good deal of credit for the perseverance he has exhibited in working himself up, in spite of many disadvantages, to a position of favor and respect. He was left an orphan at an early age and while an inmate of a Catholic orphan asylum in New York City, was adopted by Mrs. C. M. Lewis of Vicksburg, a sister of John Long Esq. of the village. He at first served an apprenticeship at the printer's trade, and worked in various newspaper offices in this city and in other surrounding towns. Having a desire to enter the legal profession, he began some years ago the study of law. Alone and unaided, he overcame the difficulties which lie in the way of legal preparation and which are discouraging enough even when elucidated by experienced instructors, and a year ago last May, passed a successful examination and was admitted to the bar. Dave is a pretty shrewd fellow and a good companion. We shall always be glad to hear of his prosperity.

Nelson D. King

Blacksmith and Horse shoer, came to Vicksburg some seven years ago, established a shop in the rear of John Long's drug store, kept steady at work and (2 words) a fine business. Has held a position as trustee of the village council for several terms and is now a member of the board.

John Long

Mr. Long has been longest in business of any man now actively engaged in commercial pursuits in this village. He came out to Michigan from New York City thirty-five years ago. He worked on a farm in the vicinity of Vicksburg for a time, but soon saw that if he expected to ever be worth anything in this world, he must change his avocation. He went into the village, which, by the way, was then a pretty small place, and secured a position as clerk in a general store run by Russel Bishop. After clerking there for a year, he made a proposition to Mr. Bishop to sell out, which he refused. Determined to go into business for himself, he went to several Kalamazoo wholesalers, found one who was ready to let him have a stock of goods on credit, and went back to secure a building to put them in. Mr. Bishop was then ready to sell out and with a capital of $50, Mr. Long obligated himself for $3000, and spit on his hands and sailed in. After running for a time, two gentlemen who were anxious to go into business came along and offered a big buyout, which was accepted. He then erected a building and prepared to set up in business again, but again had an opportunity to sell out for a round figure, which experience was several times repeated. Finally he bought out a drugstore run by one, W.H. Burr, on Main St., which business he has ever since conducted on the same spot; the only change being that increased trade has necessitated the erection of of a fine, brick block. Besides drugs and druggists' sundries, he deals in wall paper, paints, oils, groceries, books, stationery, fancy goods and fruits and garden vegetables in season. The farm boy who began on a capital of $50 is now one of the best fixed men in Vicksburg, and has a trade which in volume is not surpassed by any house in the county outside of Kalamazoo. He is quite a chess player and will sock it to you every time if you give him an opportunity.

The Kimble Separator

Mr. J.E. Kimble, of Vicksburg, has recently perfected a threshing machine which presents so many improvements over all others now made that even the most conservative of mechanics and farmers prophesy a glorious future for it and for the town in which it shall be manufactured. Mr. K. is an old (1 word) and his invention is not the product of any momentary inspiration, but the result of seven or eight years of careful experimenting with appliances suggested by his practical experience.

The following are some of the points in which superiority is chimed for his machine: It is very much lighter and very much more simple than the ordinary separators. It weighs nearly a thousand pounds less than the celebrated separator, "Minnesota Chief" with a cylinder of the same size. It has a capacity from 33 to 100 percent greater than equal sized machines of other make. The frame of the separator is of truss work, thus securing great rigidity and lightness. The journals for the cylinder are of an improved pattern. It has and improved hanger and fork-rod agitator and a double-bottomed separating shoe, with open (riddle) the entire length. The ingenious device by which the separator is driven by eccentrics instead of cranks is also a worthy of mention. A technical knowledge of mechanics is requisite to make clear all the improved appliances incorporated in the machine, but old threshers and men who are in every way capable of judging, pronounce it the best machine made. One of these separators which had been sold to parties near La Grange, Ind., was tested at that place the first of the week and gave great satisfaction. Messrs. John Fleming and J.R. Wagner of Kalamazoo are interested in its manufacture.

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