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Garber Family History, of Essexville & Hampton Township.
John B. Garber (1838-1926) and Melissa Collar (1842-1912.

Biography, 1892 - Added June, 2011.

History of Bay County, Michigan - 1891.


We here present a life sketch of one the successful farmers of Hampton Township, Bay County, who was born in Schuylkill County, Pa., in 1838, and there passed his boyhood and youth, taking such opportunities for education as he could find in the common schools of his neighborhood. He fully improved all the advantages thus attainable, and in his native home grew up to an intelligent and vigorous young manhood.

At the age of twenty-two, young Garber left his native State and removed to Ohio, where he spent some time and then came to Michigan. His first location here was in Genesee County, where he remained for two years, being there engaged in the manufacture of shingles. At the expiration of that time he removed to Midland County, where he remained until 1871, and during his residence there met with serious misfortunes, as a destructive fire swept away all his possessions.

Upon leaving Midland County, Mr. Garber came to Bay County and engaged as engineer with J. R. Hall, the shingle manufacturer. He soon took the position of head engineer, and from that time to this has served Mr. Hall in that capacity. His domestic life began in 1860, as he was at that time married, in Canfield, Mahoney County, Ohio, to Miss Melissa M., daughter of Thomas Collar. To Mr. and Mrs. Garber have been granted an interesting family, consisting of seven sons and one daughter, viz.: Jesse B., William, Thomas, Harry J., Frederick R., Mabel H., Otto and Clyde.

Our subject now owns a beautiful farm of fifty-two acres which is in an excellent state of cultivation and productiveness, and has upon it attractive and substantial buildings. This gentleman is of German descent, as his parents, John R. and Frances (Franc) Garber, were born in Baden, Germany. They emigrated in early life to Pennsylvania and were there married. They reared to man's estate six sons, of whom our subject was the first born, and his brothers are Andrew, George, Frank, Philip and William. Andrew is pursuing the business of an undertaker in Philadelphia; Philip resides in Scranton, Pa.; and William is a resident of California; George and Frank are both passed from this life, George dying in Pennsylvania, leaving a family to mourn his loss, and Frank, who had not married, was drowned in the Potomac River. The political convictions of our subject ally him with the movements of the Republican party, and he casts his ballot for its men and measures.

Family: Jesse B. Garber. Added June, 2011.

History of Columbiana County, Ohio - 1926

Jessee B. Garber has been a resident of Salem since 1885, where he is identified with the Deming Company as general superintendent. He was born at Canfield, Ohio, May 25, 1862, the son of John B. and Melissa (Collar) Garber.

John B. Garber, who resides in Bay City, Mich., was a stationary engineer during his active career and was employed by J. R. Hall Company for 20 years. His wife is deceased.

Mr. Garber was married July 2, 1891, to Miss Josephine Garwood of Salem, the daughter of Joseph and Eliza (Blacksmith) Garwood, both deceased. Mr. Garwood died during the Civil War, while serving as a member of the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Mr. and Mrs. Garber have two adopted children: Joseph C. Ford, who lives at Madison, Wis., and Jessie Bell Ford, married W. H. VanSkiver, lives in Pittsburgh.

Mr. Garber is a member of the Christian Church and Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is an independent voter.

Family history. Added June, 2011.

From Chalkboards to Computers.. The Essexville - Hampton Story, 2001.

Page 19.

Mrs. Melissa Garber was very active in church, school and community affairs. She was a charter member of the Congreational Church and the first female member of the Essexville School Board in the 1890s. She felt that music and culture were important enough to arrange for the first piano to be brought to the area. Sunday afternoon "musicals" wre often held in thier parlor. The boys played in "The Little Dutch Band."

Page 20.

William Garber began his working life in a mill. He was a shingle packer and became a champion in Saginaw Valley as a journeymn. He became a leader of the first Essex Brass Band, a widely known band in the lumber days. He married Ada Webster, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William C. Webster, a Civil War veteran who was employed at the Hall Mill, as a saw filer, a highly skilled trade in lumber days.

Bill Garber's interest had always been with boats and water. He was never away from the water long, for it was his happiness. In those days the river was busy with tugs, lumber barges and logs. It was said that Bill could instantly name each boat on the river by its whistle. It was even said he could identify each upcoming steamer by the smoke pattern long before its hull appeared. (Of course in those days Paul Bunyan was still living.)

His interest in boats made his selection as manager of the new formed Bay City Boating and Fishing Club in 1894 a natural. He began a term of service, which end in his retirementin 1945 -- some 50 years of service. The first clubhouse was located at the foot of Scheurmann Street. It was later moved on the thin ice to the present site of the Saginaw Bay Yacht Club.

Garber Heritage House Museum.

The family homestead of John and Melissa, is still standing at 305 Pine Street in Essexville, where it is maintained by the Heritage House Foundation. This family home, erected on John's farm in 1874, is an excellent representation of family living during the late 19th century, and is open to the public on Sundays during the summer months.

Additional notes:

    1850 Census: Norwegian, Schuykill, Penn.

  • Garber, John B. - b. 1805 Germany Fransico, wife b. 1815 Germany
  • John, son b. 1838 Penn.
  • Andrew, son b. 1839 Penn.
  • George, son b. 1844 Penn.
  • Franklin, son b. 1846 Penn.
  • Wiliam, son b. 1848 Penn.

    1867 Michigan State Gazetteer Business Directory.

  • Collar and Garber (Thomas Collar and John Garber), saw and shingle mill at Pine Run.

    1870 Census: Midland township, Mich.

  • Garber, John B. - age 31, b. Penn lumberman
  • Melissa, wife age 27, b. Ohio
  • Jessee B., son age 8, b. Ohio
  • William A., son age 6, b. Ohio
  • Harry J., son age 4, b. Ohio
  • Elmer T., son age 2, b. Mich. (aka Thomas)
  • Fredric R., son age 1 month, b. Mich.

    1883 - History of Bay County, MI.

  • John Garber was among the first trustees of Essexville, after it was incorporated in 1883.

    1883 Directory: Bay City, MI.

  • Garber, Henry shingle packer J.R. Hall.
  • Garber, John B. - engineer J. R. Hall.

    1900 Census: Essexville, Bay, Mich.

  • Garber, John B. - b. Jan. 1839, Penn.
  • Melissa, wife b. Nov. 1842, Ohio.
  • Mabel, dau. - b. Nov. 1874, Mich.
  • Otto, son b. May 1878, Mich.
  • Clyde, son b. Apr. 1887, Mich.

    Garber Deaths: Hyatt Funeral Home, Bay City, Mich.

  • John B. (father) - b. Jan. 1838, d. Mar. 11, 1926
  • Melissa Mary (mother, Collar) b. Nov. 1942, d. Jun. 10,1914
    Childen by birth year:
  • Jessee B. (son) b. 1862, d. unknown
  • William Albert (son) b. 1864, d. Jun. 23, 1957
  • Harry B. (son) b. 1866, d. unknown
  • Elmer T. (son) b. 1868, d. unknown (aka Thomas)
  • Frederick R. (son) - b. 1870, d. Aug.19, 1970
  • Mabel Hall (daughter) b. Nov. 1874, d. Oct. 26, 1971
  • Otto Ray (son) b. May 1878, d. Mar. 2, 1965
  • Clyde Hadley (son) b. Apr. 1887, d. Dec. 22, 1967

Related Pages/Notes

John B. Garber

Melissa (Collar) Garber

Related Pages:
Hall, Jerry R.
People Referenced
Blacksmith, Eliza
Bunyan, Paul
Collar, Melissa M. (wife)
Collar, Thomas (f-inlaw)
Ford, Jessie B. (g-dau)
Ford, Joseph (g-son)
Franc, Frances (mother)
Garber, Andrew (bro)
Garber, Clyde (son)
Garber, Elmer T. (son)
Garber, Frank (bro)
Garber, Frederick R. (son)
Garber, George (bro)
Garber, Henry J (son)
Garber, Jesse B. (son)
Garber, John B. (subject)
Garber, John R. (father)
Garber, Mabel H. (dau)
Garber, Otto (son)
Garber, Philip (bro)
Garber, William (bro)
Garber, William A. (son)
Garwood, Joseph
Garwood, Josephine (d-inlaw)
Hall, J.R.
VanSkiver, W.H.
Webster, Ada (d-inlaw)
Webster, William C.
Subjects Referenced
104th Ohio Vol. Inf.
Baden, Germany
Bay City, MI
BC Boating/Fishing Club
Bay County, MI
Canfield, OH
Christian Church, OH
Civil War
Columbiana Co., OH
Congregational Church
Deming Co., OH
Essex Brass Band
Essexville, MI
Hampton Twp, Bay, MI
Genesee Co., MI
J.R. Hall mill, MI
Mahoney Co., OH
Midland Co., MI
Philadelphia, PA
Pine Run, MI
Potomac River
Saginaw Bay Yacht Club
Saginaw Valley, MI
Salem, OH
Schuykill Co., PA
Scranton, PA.
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.