The earliest farming families faced many challenges in establishing a farm of any significant size. Not the least of which was the huge forests that dominated the terrain of the Saginaw Valley. Initial farms were quite small by comparison to present farm lands. The earliest farms primarily provided subsistance to the family that farmed them. The population at that time was sparse and the majority of this population lived in the small villages of Lower Saginaw and Portsmouth (now Bay City).
Benjamin Partridge, who moved to the village of Lower Saginaw (now Bay City) in 1854, established a homestead near present Center Avenue and Jackson Street, only a few blocks away from the Saginaw River. He said the forests between his homestead and the river was so dense that he had to clear a path to get his drinking water.
The farming community was helped immensely by lumber boom which began in the late 1860s. Lumberjacks cleared the easy pickings of forests closest to rivers, and in doing so, left large tracks of land treeless except for their stumps. Farmers laid claim to the stump filled lands, which they cleared for farming.
Reference: [Pioneer History]
Centennial Farms and Families
Source: Directory of Michigan Centennial Farmers
BAY COUNTY (Organized in 1857):
Note: All have Bay City postal address unless otherwise noted.
HELMREICH, Herbert, R. #4
1849: WEISS, Mrs. Johanna & Co-owner: Wilmar WEISS, R. #4
EICHINGER, Arthur & Valerie, 1681 Amelith Rd.
EICHINGER, Carl E. & Gertrude, R.#4
SCHMIDT, Herbert O., R. #4
STEINBAUER, Erwin & Florence, R. #4
WEISS, Alice M., R. #4
BEANE, Wray & Selma, R.#4
BEHMLANDER, John & Christina, R. #4
KLOHA, Carl & Mary, R. #4
SCHMIDT, Ira, R. #4
SCHWAB, Mrs. Carolina, 2457 Hotchkiss Rd.
SCHWAB, Theodore & Leona, 1910 Kloha Rd.
WEBER, Harold G., R. #2
LUTZ, Norman & Alma, 7411 Kraezlein Rd.
HERBOLSHEIMER, Mrs. Dora, R. #4
HERBOLSHEIMER, Mrs. Dorothea, R. #4, 1900 Raymond St.
KORMAN, John G. & Christina A., 1509 Amelith Rd.
NEUMEYER, Tony, R. #4
PFEIFFER, Edward, R. #4
RUEGER, Fredrick, & Co-owners: George & Lorna RUEGER, R. #4
SCHMIDT, Walter G., R. #4
SCHWAB, Alfons E. L., 2457 Hotchkiss Rd.
COLBERT, Omer & Marie (Plant), R. #2 (Auburn)
KEIT, Edard, 1601 - Marie KACZMAREH, Madeline SIELINSKI, Irene MINDYKOWSKI, South Euclid
WEGENER, Erwin G., R. #4, W. Saginaw Rd.
HEMINGWAY, Jay, R. #1
MEIER, Harold, 920 Cass Avenue
MEIER, Herbert & Co-owners: Arthur & Edward MEIER, R. #2
ZIEGLER, Otto G., R. #4
ARNOLD, Edmund L & Elsie C., 3332 Fisher Rd.
DEWYSE, Edward & Clara (Vennix), R. #1 (Essexville)
WEISS, George & Bertha K., R. #4, Weiss Rd.
APPOLD, Christ C., R. #4
BOTHE, Herbert A. & Blanche U., 1341 E. Wheeler Rd.
SPENGLER, Calvin F. & Doris M., R. #1 (Auburn)