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Excerpt from the Book "History of Berrien and Van Buren Counties, Michigan: Its Prominent Men and Pioneers"

D.W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia, 1880.


by David Schwartz.

Go to Part 2 of the History of Lawrence Township.



This gentleman was born in the town of Moriah, Essex Co., N.Y., Sept. 15, 1827. In 1828 he moved with his parents to Bridport, Addison Co., Vt., and in 1834, to Brockport, Monroe Co., N.Y. In 1840 he removed to La Grange Co., Indiana; in 1843 to Benton, Elkhart Co., Ind.; in 1848, to Cass County, Mich.; and in 1857 , to Lawrence, Van Buren Co., Mich., where he at present resides, enjoying the comforts of a pleasant home. Until the year 1850 he was engaged in agricultural pursuits; but at that time he decided to enter the professional field, and chose the medical branch. He engaged as a teacher until 1855, employing his spare time in the study of medicine. In the fall of 1855 he entered the office of William E. Clark, and read for two years, attending lectures during the time at Ann Arbor. In the fall of 1857 he began practice, and through the succeeding years has been eminently successful. His father, Samuel R. Haskin, came to Lawrence about 1866-67, and died here in November, 1868. His wife had died in 1866, on the old homestead in Vermont. Mr. Haskin, Sr., passed his days as a farmer, never desiring to engage in any other pursuit.

Dr. Haskin was married, April 9, 1854, to Miss Olive, daughter of Selah and Charity Pickett. Her death occurred Nov. 10, 1855; and on the 17th of December, 1860, the doctor was married to Miss Martha J. McKnight.

Dr. Haskin has filled, with satisfaction to all, several offices in the township and village, to which he has been elected. He is at present one of the coroners of the county of Van Buren. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, uniting with it at the age of seventeen. In politics he has always been and remains a staunch Republican.


Thomas Ferris, father of David, was born in Washington Co., N.Y. , April 19, 1779. Mrs. Thomas Ferris was born Nov. 9, 1790. Their family consisted of the following children, viz.: David, born Dec. 12, 1812; Rachel, born April 30, 1814; Daniel, born Jan. 20, 1817; Adeline, born July 9, 1818; Julie E. , born June 23, 1820; Warren, born Sept. 20, 1822, died Oct. 28, following; Elizabeth A., born April 23, 1824; Lucy Ann, born Feb. 25, 1826; Sheldon, born Jan. 18, 1830; Ira W., born Oct. 3, 1832; Hattie, born Dec. 1, 1834. Mrs. Ferris died Sept. 14, 1840; Thomas Ferris died May 27, 1875.

David Ferris, the oldest of the above large family of children, was born in the State of Pennsylvania. When but a child he removed with his parents to Washington Co., N.Y. ; thence, in 1820, to Jefferson County; in 1833, to St. Lawrence County; and in 1850 he came to Lawrence township, Van Buren Co., Mich. Mr. Ferris was reared on a farm, and engaged in agricultural pursuits, with his father, until he was twenty-five years of age, when he entered the employ of an iron company, at ten dollars per month, and remained with them five years. Jan. 9, 1843, he married Miss Elizabeth A., daughter of Joseph and Jerusha Goodell. Their children have been six in number, as follows: Jerusha, born April 6, 1844; Louisa A., born July 14, 1845; Charles D, born May 29, 1847; Ellen J., born Aug. 29, 1849, died Aug. 7, 1873; Harriet J., born Nov. 1, 1854; Sheldon E., born Jan. 6, 1862, died Oct. 8, 1865. In 1862, Mr. Ferris purchased eighty acres of wild land, cleared and improved it, and has transformed it into a fruitful farm, which he now occupies. He is known to his neighbors as an upright, honorable man, and to no one is he indebted a single dollar. His perservering labors through the years that have passed have brought him prosperity and a competence, which he can now enjoy. Mrs. David Ferris died April 7, 1878.


Soon after the close of the Revolutionary war two brothers named Barnes emigrated from Boston, England, to America, and settled in the State of Connecticut. One of these brothers was Abel Barnes, the father of Uriel T., and grandfather of A.U. Barnes, of Lawrence, the subject of this biographical sketch. Not long after his settlement in Connecticut Abel Barnes removed from that State to Schoharie Co., N.Y., and a few years later to the town of Floyd, Oneida Co., in the same State. He had married Miss Mindwell Roberts, and they became the parents of eleven sons and three daughters, most if not all of whom were born after their removal to New York.

Uriel T., the fourth son of Abel and Mindwell Barnes, was born in Schoharie Co., N.Y., Oct. 14, 1794, and while yet scarcely more than a child removed with his parents to Floyd, Oneida Co., where on the 30th of August, 1821, he married Huldah A., daughter of Zenas and Mary (Merrill) Gibbs, of Broome Co., N.Y., and with her settled in Floyd, where their daughter Adelia was born, June 19, 1824. Their eldest son, Trumas S., was born in Westmoreland, Oneida Co., N.Y., Dec. 27, 1826, and soon afterwards Mr. Barnes moved to a small farm which he had purchased in Oswego County, where three children were born to him, viz., William M., born April 26, 1828; Mary S., born Oct. 5, 1829; and Harlow G., born March 3, 1831. About that time he sold his farm with the ultimate design of leaving the sterile lands and severe climate of Northern New York to find a better home in the West. He, however, engaged to work in a saw-mill in Durhamville, Oneida Co., during the winter of 1831-32, but in the spring of the latter year was so severely injured by the machinery of the mill that he remained a helpless invalid for many months. In the following December, being unable to perform heavy labor, he commenced a grocery business in Whitesboro, N.Y.; but soon found that he could not live by this, unless he engaged in the sale of ardent spirits. That he would not do; his principles would not permit him to support his own family by carrying desolation into the families of others, so he sold his little stock and left Whitesboro. During his stay at that place his daughter Sarah Ann was born, Jan. 2, 1833.

Mr. Barnes having now regained his health sufficiently to labor, spent the following winter in the vicinity of Geneva, chopping wood at twenty-six dollars per month and house-rent, and on the 10th of April, 1834, he set out with his family for Michigan, by way of the Erie Canal, Buffalo, and Lake Erie. About a week was spent on the canal and three days on the steamer "Michigan," but at the end of that time they safely reached Detroit, from which place they engaged Lorenzo Graham to transport them to Jackson County, where they arrived about the 1st of May. Mr. Barnes' first Michigan settlement was made in Albion, Calhoun Co. His total property at that time consisted of two cows, his few household goods, and fifty dollars in money. He engaged to work for Mr. Tenney Peabody, of Albion, but about that time the entire family were taken sick and his fifty dollars was soon exhausted. But he was still resolute in his determination to secure a home, and he resolved to "squat" on government land, hoping to be able to pay for it in time. With the help of a few neighbors he reared a cabin which was warm and comfortable enough, though there was not a pane of glass in it, nor was there a nail nor a sawed plank or board used in its construction. Into this dwelling the family moved in January, 1835. They had some corn, raised in the previous season on land owned by Mr. Peabody, and on this corn and the milk of their cows the family subsisted. During the entire summer of 1835, Mr. Barnes was sick with the ague, and to add to his troubles a speculator purchased the land on which he had "squatted" and demanded possession. Being unwilling, however, to proceed to extreme measures, he finally paid Mr. Barnes fifty dollars to vacate. This money he invested in forty acres of land, and with the help of neighbors erected a pole cabin upon it. In this cabin the family were comparatively comfortable, and here Anson U. Barnes was born. Settlers were coming in rapidly, a mill was being erected near by, work became plenty at reasonable wages, the family had regained their health, and the worst of their privations had passed.

In the fall of 1837 Mr. Barnes sold his land near Albion for eight hundred dollars in "wild-cat" money, and in January, 1838, removed to Lawrence, Van Buren Co., where he domiciled his family in a log house on what is now the Baker and Richards farm. Not long after, he purchased from Eaton Branch, for two hundred dollars, the eighty acres on which his son, A.U. Barnes, now lives. On this land he put up a frame house in the following spring, and went energetically to work to convert the wild land into a productive farm. He cleared nearly the whole eighty acres with his own hands, besides doing a large amount of work for others. In the year next following his settlement he was chosen commissioner of highways, and was elected justice of the peace in 1840, being a member of the board at the election held (at his house) in the fall of that year, when Gen. Harrison was elected President of the United States. In 1844, Mr. Barnes' daughter Adelia was married to Allen Rice, this being the first marriage in the family. About this time Mr. Barnes' health began to fail, and he never again fully recovered. In June, 1853, he had a sudden and violent attack of hernia, which baffled the skill of the physicians who were called to attend him. He sank rapidly and died on Sunday, July 3d, in that year. At his funeral (July 4th) the Rev. E.S. Dunham preached from the text, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."

Mr. Barnes was converted in 1820, and became a member of the Baptist Church in Floyd, N.Y. He was the first of the family to pass over the mysterious river, and he died in the firm hope and belief of immortality. Mrs. Barnes survived her husband thirteen years, and died Sept. 30, 1866, of consumption. She was an excellent wife, and in every way a most worthy woman. She bore with patience and fortitude all the trials and privations of pioneer life. She was respected and beloved by all who knew her, and her children rise up and call her blessed.

Anson U. Barnes, the youngest son of Uriel T. Barnes, was born near Albion, Mich., as before mentioned, the date of his birth being Jan. 6, 1837. He was a boy of but sixteen years of age at the death of his father, and after that event remained on the old homestead, which is still his residence. He was married, Feb. 21, 1860, to Sarah E. Shaver, whose family were from Lowville, Lewis Co., N.Y. Of their union there have been born six children, - three sons and three daughters, all of whom are living. Mr. Barnes cast his first vote in 1860, for Abraham Lincoln for President. He has been elected by his fellow-townsmen to the office of commissioner of highways, and has been a member of the school board for a number of years. He is a substantial land-owner, and a man who commands the respect of all who know him.


son of Vine and Abigail Branch, was born in Benson, Rutland Co., Vt., April 8, 1808. His father was of English descent; mother, Scotch. In 1810 the father moved with his family to Onondaga Co., N.Y., locating about nine miles from what was then called Salt Point. They remained there twelve years, clearing up land, and in 1822 pushed west to the Holland Purchase, in Wyoming Co., N.Y. As the family possessed little means the educational advantages of the children were limited. Eaton says, with reference to his education, "I was schooled in the use of the axe, hoe, and ox-gad." In 1833 he started to see the western country, and pushed as far as Ann Arhor, Mich. Returning to the old home the same year, he married Amanda M. Allen. In 1834, in company with his wife, father, and mother, he came back to Michigan. In 1835 the country was threatened with war, and Eaton, with many others, was drafted in the "Toledo war," by order of Governor Mason. As the trouble was of short duration he was soon able to return to his work. Not having means to purchase land he was obliged to hire out, and engaged with a Mr. Allen to go to Van Buren County and superintend his business, as he (Allen) had bought land at the mouth of Brush Creek and laid out a town. On the 7th of November, 1835, Mr. Branch and his wife started in a wagon for this place. They were eight days going one hundred and twenty miles; stayed in Kalamazoo over the Sabbath, and attended service in a school-house, the sermon being preached by Rev. Silas Woodbury. They finally reached Mason, as it was then called, - now known as Lawrence, - November 15th, where they found a log house, owned by Mr. Allen, and at once occupied it; it was twelve feet square. Thirteen persons lived in it until they could build a double log house, which latter was used for some time as a hotel. Mr. Branch has been a very active man in the advancement of the interests of his township. In April, 1837, he assisted in organizing the first town-meeting, and was elected one of the highway commissioners, which office he held for many years. He was a charter member of the First Presbyterian Church, organized Aug. 19, 1837, afterwards changed to a Congregational Church. In 1858 a new church was built, Mr. Branch furnishing about two thousand five hundred dollars towards its construction. In 1852 the first agricultural society was formed, which he helped organize, and a fair was held in the court-yard at Paw Paw. In 1872, Mr. Branch was an assistant in organizing the first pioneer society, and has been present at every meeting since, and is one of its officers. Mr. Branch has raised a family of six boys, all of whom lived to manhood. His oldest son was the first male child born in the town. Three sons served in the Rebellion, all returning after the war. Four of his sons are settled on lands which their father assisted them in buying. Mr. Branch first located a quarter-section in Lawrence township, President Van Buren signing the deed, and a part of this is now in his home. He united with the Presbyterian Church in 1831, and has always been an active member. Mrs. Branch died March 30, 1866, in her fifty-third year.


was born in Lawrence township, Van Buren Co., Mich., Nov. 13, 1841. His father, Hosea Howard, had settled here in 1838, on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which he improved and occupied until his death, in 1847. His family consisted of four sons, of whom the above is the only survivor. Mrs. Hosea Howard has reached the age of eighty years, and is living with her son.

T. W. Howard has owned the old homestead since 1861. On the 3d of June, 1864, he married a daughter of Horace Place, and to them have been born the following children, all of whom are living: George E., Aug. 19, 1865; Effie C., Oct. 22, 1868; Fannie E., Nov. 13, 1870; Isa C., March 26, 1873; Frank E., Aug. 31, 1876. Mrs. T.W. Howard was born in Albion township, Crawford Co., Pa., June 3, 1842, and came with her parents to Michigan in 1848. Her father, Horace Place, died in 1850; her mother is still living in the township of Hamilton, Van Buren Co. In politics, Mr. Howard is a Democrat.


Prominent among the thrifty farmers of Lawrence township is found H.S. Allen, who was born in Washington Co., N.Y., July 2, 1810. During the early part of his life he assisted his father, who was a blacksmith, and learned the trade, at which he worked until he was twenty- two years of age. In 1838 his mind became impressed with the advantages offered by the West, and he accordingly came as far as Cleveland, Ohio, where he remained six weeks. He purchased a farm thirteen miles from that city, and occupied it until 1851, when he removed to Van Buren Co., Mich., and settled near Breedsville. Five years later he purchased two hundred and two and a half acres of land, unimproved, in the township of Lawrence, moved upon it, and began the work of clearing and improving it. His present surroundings are evidence of his perseverance, industry, and energy. Mr. Allen was married, Oct. 9, 1831, to Miss Esther, daughter of John and Elizabeth Moore, and four children have been born to them, viz.: George W., born Nov. 24, 1834; John Augustus, born June 7, 1837, died Sept. 26, 1838; William M., born Oct. 6, 1839; James E., born April 3, 1845. Mr. Allen's parents both died in New York. Mrs. Allen lost her father when she was but five years old, and her mother came to Michigan as one of its pioneers. She is now living with her daughter, Mrs. Allen, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years. While residing at Breedsville Mr. Allen was elected and served as justice of the peace and supervisor, and upon settling in Lawrence was again elected justice of the peace, but refused to serve, preferring the quiet of his home to political honors. Two of Mr. Allen's brothers are at present residing in the State of New York, one on the old homestead. Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Allen, and a view of their home, appear in this work.
(Transcriber's Note: At this time, these portraits are unavailable).


(Transcriber's Note: For an unknown reason, Abner Munger is included in the Lawrence Chapter of this book, although no mention is made of Lawrence in this sketch, but of Porter instead. Based on my own extensive research of Porter Township, I believe that he indeed was a resident of Porter and that this was simply an editor's oversight).

Luke Munger, the father of the above, was a native of Boston, Mass., and when seven years of age removed with his father to Ohio, locating near Sandusky City, where a farm was taken and cleared of timber. Luke Munger remained at home until 1835, and on the 29th of March in that year he was married to Miss Loretta Reed, also a resident of Ohio. In the fall of 1839 they removed to Michigan, and purchased land in Kalamazoo County. Upon that, however, he did not settle, but rented a farm for the first year, and afterwards traded the forty acres he had purchased in Kalamazoo County for eighty acres on section 24, Porter township, Van Buren Co., upon which he built a log cabin and commenced making improvements. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Munger were as follows: Esther A., born Dec. 6, 1835; Russell V., born Aug. 22, 1837; Lafayette M., born June 27, 1840, killed by lightning, Aug. 7, 1861; Abner M., born Feb. 7, 1842; Eliza A., born May 14, 1844. Mrs. Munger sickened and died June 18, 1847, aged thirty-two years, leaving Mr. Munger with five small children. On the 12th of March, 1848, he married Rebecca, daughter of Amos Harris, an early settler in Kalamazoo County, and by her was the father of the following children: Eunice A., born _______, died April 17, 1851; Sarah M., born Nov. 7, 1849; Mary E., born Sept. 30, 1851, died April 14, 1852; Salmedor R., born Aug. 15, 1853; William H., born Oct. 1, 1855; Cynthia J., born Feb. 28, 1858; Luke W., born June 30, 1859; Eva A., born Nov. 22, 1861; Frank M., born April 21, 1863, died Feb. 6, 1865. Mr. Munger lived long enough to find himself and family in very comfortable circumstances, and died Dec. 3, 1863. He was an active worker in the affairs of the township, and sought to further its interests in every way. In religious matters he was liberal, and in politics a Democrat. He was a man who respected the religious views of others, and who was not a seeker after political distinction. His sons, Abner M. and Russell V. Munger, cause this article to be inserted in the history of the county in which he resided so long.

Abner M. Munger was married, Dec. 24, 1865, to Oliva Corey, whose parents - Sanford and Eliza Corey - were among the earliest settlers of Porter township. Mrs. Munger was the oldest in a family of three children, and in turn became the mother of three children, - Charles C., born Oct. 26, 1866; Warren G., born March 11, 1870; Albert L., born Aug. 31, 1875. Mrs. Munger died Oct. 17, 1876, and Mr. Munger's sister assisted in the duties of his household until Nov. 28, 1878, when he married Miss Sarah M. Hibbard, daughter of Enos B. and Betsey Ann Hibbard. She is a native of the State of New York, and came with her parents to Lenawee Co., Mich., in 1866. Her father died Nov. 6, 1879; her mother is yet living in Lenawee County. Mr. Munger resides with his family on the farm formerly owned by Sanford Corey.

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