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Beaver Township History

Notable individuals in Beaver Township history:

Levi Willard:
Born in Portage County, Ohio in 1825. His father, a native of Maryland was the son of Danish immigrants. Levi lived in Summit County, Ohio until he was sixteen when he worked in farming for three years before becoming a shoemaker which he did for twelve years. He married Sarah Ingraham of Medina County, Ohio in 1854. They moved to what is now Beaver Township in 1856 on land that became later became a part of the village of Willard. Nine years passed before other settlement were established in the area near them. Shortly thereafter, these settlers petitioned the county for township status, and in 1867, Beaver Township was organized. Levi and Sarah had four sons and four daughters.

John Farquharson:
A prominent citizen of Beaver Township, John came to America from Perthshire, Scotland. He immigrated to Canada in 1852 settling in Lambton County, Ontario. That year he married Catharine Forbes and began a family that reached eight children. In 1871, he up rooted his family moving to Bay County. A year later he purchased a farm in Beaver Township and became active in local affairs as: Township clerk in 1873-74; Township Supervisor, 1875-79 and 1882; and as moderator and director of schools.

Lumbering and growth:

It wasn't long before the Bay County lumber boom reached the forests of Beaver Township. A lumber mill sprung up near Willard that fueled new businesses; a saloon, blacksmith shop, store, cheese factory and more new homesteads. In I885, the Willard post office was established with J.F. Ittner as its first postmaster. In the first decade of the new century, the Beaver Hotel began serving transient bed needs. The hotel was a converted saloon and later became the Willard-Hilton, a popular local and regional restaurant.

The following transcription was written in October 1873 by an unknown author captures some the early history of Beaver Township:

The town of Beaver is located fifteen miles from Bay City -- ten miles west and five miles north; the land is as good as can be found in the state; we raise the very best of crops; our hay crop was rather light this year on account of the dry weather; there is a large amount here, however, for which we can get a higher price, at our own doors, than we can get in Bay City, as there is a large amount of lumbering done near by and the lumbermen are glad to buy of us, thereby saving themselves the trouble and expense of a journey to Wenona or Bay City.

Our town has been organized about six years, and in that time we have opened up about twenty-five miles of roads, four rods wide, the most of which are passable at any time of the year; we have three organized school districts, one of which has been recently organized, and has not held school yet, but will do so as soon as the schoolhouse which is being erected shall be completed, the others have been in running order for several years; the number scholars are in attendance at both schools is about fifty; in one of our schoolhouses we have preaching and Sunday-school every Sunday.

Seven years ago there were but two families in the town; since that time about forty more have located here, and still them come, yet there is room for more; there are some excellent farms here considering the short time there has been to improve them in; some have about sixty acres cleared while others have from twenty to forty; I think this doing pretty well. Frame barns and dwellings are taking the place of those that were first built of logs; we have some as fine barns as can be found in Bay County; there are two handsome dwellings being erected this Summer -- one by Mr. John Bacon and the other by Jr. John Shreve -- which will add materially to the appearance of the town; Mr. M.W. Jones built a house last Summer that cost about $2,000.

We are bound to make improvements, as we have a fine country here, and there is no one better ware of the fact than ourselves; there is plenty of vacant land to be had cheap -- the prices ranging from $2.50 to $5.00 per acre -- with good roads running past it, and in some cases there are improvements at that price; there is also some Government land here which may be taken under the Homestead Act; we are anxious to have settlers come here to locate, and will gladly inform them where to find land, and how to get it.

We are but five miles from the graded bed of the Bay City & Midland Railroad; when the iron is laid it will only take us about an hour to reach Bay City; we have a postoffice, stores, saw mills, etc., near by; therefore, taking all things into consideration, we have advantages here for settlers that are not offered anywhere else in the county.

Beaver Notes
1874 = 170.
1880 = 350.

Total Valuation:
1882 = $82,900
People Referenced
Bacon, John
Farquharson, John
Forbes, Catharine
Ingraham, Sarah
Ittner, J.F.
Jones, M.W.
Shreve, John Jr.
Willard, Levi
Subjects Referenced
Bay City
Bay County
Beaver Hotel
Homestead Act
Lambton County, Ont.
Medina County, OH
Perthshire, Scotland
Portage County, OH
Summit County, OH
Willard Hilton
Willard Post Office
Willard (village)
Wenona (village)

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