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General History / Pioneers 14 of 22

Chester H. Freeman came in about 1855, receiving a good share of practice and has ever since been counted one of the solid men of the county.

Then in 1856 or so the Hon. James Birney appeared on the scene and put up his shingle as a lawyer, but never acquired much reputation or business as such, though it may be truly said of him that he is a success as a politician, having been prosecuting attorney, circuit judge, member of constitutional convention, lieut-governor and for several years United States Minister to the Hague.

More recently the more noted lawyers are Judge Isaac Marston of the Supreme court, H.H. Hatch, Judge S.T. Holmes, formerly member of Congress from State of New York and A. McDonell. Then T.F. Shepard, who is employed in more suits on the present calendar than any other lawyer of the bar. McDonell & Mann standing next. Judge J.W. McMath has been here several years and enjoys a high place at the bar and a higher place as a man among the business community. It may truly be said of the rest of the bar especially among the younger portion, that a more earnest, intelligent and perservering lot of lawyers are seldom found.

Among the early farmers of the county may be named Nelson Merritt, who purchased his land in 1857 on the old Cass road, and has a very fine farm. Samuel Henry, who came in 1854, was employed by B.F. Partridge in the Partridge and Baughman mill, as engineer, but soon bought the land where he now lives in the town of Portsmouth, where he has in course of construction a fine brick house for his future residence.

Henry Hess has also made himself a fine farm on the Tuscola plank road, having come here in 1851.

C.V. Mix came in 1852 and purchased the land where his farm is and where he now lives, the farm being partly in Bay City and partly in Portsmouth.

There are numerous farmers who settled in the towns Williams and Monitor in the early days of the county. But the number of farmers now in the county is "legion", and can't be noticed less any further. Sometime in 1855 or 1856 B.F. Partridge purchased the land of James Partridge on Center street where he completed a fine and extensive house, nearly a half mile from Water street, and nearly that distance in the woods, with no street or road to it till he cut a crooked winding path through the woods to the lots over which to transport his material for the house. As soon as completed he occupied it and continued to do so until 1867. But in Sept. 1861 he went into the army and remained there till July 1865. After returning home he purchased the land for his future home of Theodore M. Bligh, when he sold his house on Center street to H.M. Bradley, and removed to his land where he has lived ever since. The next year, 1857, Center street was opened one mile out. In 1860 a company was formed for building a plank road from Bay City to Tuscola county, and B.F. Partridge was employed to survey the route and engineer the building of the road. William McEwan, Alexander McKay, Chris. Heintzmann, James Fraser and others accompanied the party as assistants. Chris Heintzmann being the axman and McEwan the man to write down the notes of survey, and the work was prosecuted to completion, it being the first road of any kind over which a team could travel at all times of the year.

In 1865 the people of Bay county began to think of promoting the interests of agriculture though but a few farmers could then be counted in the county and that few not very strong. But the business men came to the front and a creditable county fair was held which proved a success

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[Index to People]
[Index to Places]
Names Referenced
Bligh, Theo. M.
Birney, James
Bradley, H.M.
Fraser, James
Freeman, Chester H.
Hatch, H.H.
Heintzmann, Chris.
Henry, Samuel
Hess, Henry
Holmes, S.T.(Judge)
Marston, Isaac(Judge)
McDonell, A.
McEwan, Wm.
McKay, Alexander
McMath, J.W.(Judge)
Merritt, Nelson
Mix, C.W.
Partridge, B.F.
Partridge, James
Shepard, T.F.

{Judge Isaac Marston}

{Hershel Hatch}

BAY-JOURNAL: Check the Maps Library for historical plat maps.