Three: Time Changed - Ford Plant

(This chapter division has been created for online presentation purposes and does not appear in the original.)

Time Changed

Time changed—back in 1869—same as today. The Standard Time of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Company was Cleveland time (which was about five minutes faster than Standard time) and that was about twenty minutes faster than Chicago time. How did anyone know the exact time? The telegraph operator at Cleveland would telegraph the time to all operators at 12 noon on Sunday and clocks were set.

Marcius Simons was the telegraph operator here and "Manchester was connected with the whole world and part of Soulesville by the telegraph." This was in September 1869.

Also in September, E. H. Lewis was awarded the contract of building a bridge across the Raisin near the brewery for a cost of $385. Completion date was November 1, 1869.

Total enrollment in the Union School was 425 in September, 1869.

The Flag

It was generally believed that the Republicans of Manchester in 1860s had one of the best campaign banners in the state in the early days. The flag was painted by Amsden & Miller for a cost of $75. The size was 45 feet long by 10 feet wide. On one side of the banner was a beautiful scene on the Mississippi River with a fort on the bluffs, gun-boats and General Grant in the foreground. On the other side was a battle scene with the General on horse back ordering the Reserves to the front.

It was reported that pedestrians passing along the street were continually colliding with each other while gazing at the gorgeous flag. With this in mind, it was ordered that it be displayed only on Saturdays.

Graham & Goodyear moved their stock of goods to the Goodyear Block's west store with Wastell Brothers, as Graham prepared to move his old store back on the south end of his lot in preparation of building a new two-story brick building. Clark & Weir planned to build half of the wall on the west side and G. L. Unterkircher one half on the east side, in March of 1868.

The Goodyear block had three stories, which was singled out as a brick structure of architectural beauty and would have been a credit to a much larger town. On the first floor were two stores, one hundred feet from front to rear. One was a hardware store operated by Miller & Webb. The other was the dry good store of the Wastell Brothers. The second floor had numerous offices including the Manchester Enterprise newspaper office. The third floor was the Goodyear hall-one of the best in the country.

Union Savings Bank

A. J. Waters and Walter Mack were the two men who spent long hours canvassing prospective subscribers by horse and buggy in their successful efforts to raise money for the foundation of The Union Savings Bank. The bank opened on June 30, 1894, with a paid-in capital of $12,500.

The prospects of starting any new business didn't appear to be very bright. There had been a nationwide panic in 1893 and banks had closed doors, railroads were going into receivership, and business houses were crashing. Coxey's army of unemployed marched on Washington. Money was scarce, although Manchester didn't seem to suffer as some parts of the country.

The first director's meeting was held on the third floor of Arbieter Hall on June 30, 1894. They were: B. G. English, President; George Heimerdinger, 1st Vice President; Dr. C. F. Kapp, 2nd Vice President; Edwin E. Root, Cashier; Arthur J. Waters, John Wuerthner, John M. Horning, Walter C. Mack, Fred Breitenwischer, and Arnold H. Kuhl.

The directors voted to purchase the corner lot on which the bank now stands, for the price of $1,800. The Union Hall was taken down and a new three-story brick building was constructed and open by early winter. Edwin E. Root, cashier, was the only employee.

These were the days of the plank sidewalks, cobblestone gutters, and hitching posts along Main Street. And the bank paid its share for having the dirt streets sprinkled to lay the dust. The fee was 25¢ a week.

This was the beginning of the electric lights on Main Street, for on February 10, 1892, the village council gave J. H. Kingsley the franchise for supplying the village with electric power and street lamps of the kerosene variety were on their way out.

The three-story Southern Washtenaw Mill was doing big business in State Seal flour, across the street from the bank.

Ed Root arrived at 7:30 a.m. at the bank to build the fire in the stove behind the counter, sweep the floor and serve the customers. Banking hours were nine to four and many a night he had to work after supper to keep the books up to date. Elwin English joined the staff a few years later as a part-time employee.

Eben F. Horning peddled his bike eight miles each way to help out at the bank.

Benjamin G. Horning died in 1905 and he was succeeded by John M. Horning. The same year Bennett C. Root graduated from high school and joined the bank.

In 1907 the bank had difficulty in finding enough cash to do business during its second national panic. Farmers were shipping livestock and coming to the bank to cash checks. Correspondent banks refused to part with large sums of cash. Instead of asking for large sums the Union Savings Bank asked for smaller amounts and kept enough money on hand to meet the demand—and the bank remained sound.

Merchants also helped during this panic by using railroad pay checks for currency. The checks were in five and ten dollar amounts. Merchants kept them and used them as money.

In 1920, John M. Horning, the bank's second president, died, and Dr. C. F. Kapp succeeded him. At his death in 1924, Edwin E. Root became president. Bennett Root became cashier in 1925. In 1927, Edward R. Kirk joined the staff and in 1929, LeRoy A. Marx went behind the counter.

More than one bank failed during the depression of 1929-33 but the Union Savings Bank came through with flying colors, stronger than before.

The Union Bank building was a temporary makeshift school facility while the modern new school building was under construction in 1937. Classes were also held in the Village Hall and the Sloat Building.

Also in 1937, the bank and community lost a friend. Arthur J. Waters, who laid the foundation for the bank and influenced its growth, died. But he had taught well and the bank continued to grow.

After 49 years of service to the bank, Edwin E. Root retired as president and became president-emeritus. He had helped the bank grow from assets of $33,000 to nearly $2,000,000. But retirement didn't mean that he didn't keep in daily contact with the institution. He passed on in 1943, at the age of 89, just a year after he retired.

J. C. Hendley was elected to the Board of Directors in January, 1939, and was named to the vice presidency in January, 1949; in 1950, he became president of the bank, a post he holds at the present time.

On October 1, 1950, Dan J. Boutell became cashier. He is executive vice president and cashier at this time.

On May 29, 1956, the Union Savings Bank and the Peoples Bank merged.

An extensive remodeling program was carried on at the "Bank on the Corner" during 1958 and '59 and the bank carried on its business across the street in the building which had housed the Peoples Bank.

The remodeled facility includes space formerly used by Walsh's Restaurant and Sutton Insurance Agency.

The bank has enjoyed continual growth since it was founded in 1894 with resources in 1967 totaling $9,000,000.

The Fire - 1853

Manchester has never forgotten the fire which nearly wiped it from the map. The sleeping village was awakened at 6 a.m. Sunday, May 1, 1853, by the sound of burning timber as flames leaped from the flouring mill on Main Street (known as Exchange Place). The wind spread the fire to the opposite side of the street and before it could be brought under control 14 business houses and one dwelling had burned.

The entire business section up to the hotel (which stood where Grossman-Huber Station is), was left in ashes. Damage to the flour mill alone was $20,000. The villagers labored for hours to save the village west of the hotel.

As the townspeople began the work of rebuilding, they talked of the growing tension between the North and South. The white colonial styled house on Adrian Street, now owned by the Briggs family, became an underground railway station which played an important part in smuggling slaves into Canada.

Manchester Union Guards

In 1857 the "Manchester Union Guards" were organized under the State militia law. The company was made up of 57 men under command of Capt. Comstock with Isaac Clarkson, 1st. Lieutenant; L. D. Watkins, 2nd Liet.; J. H. Fountain, Sgt. Major; Chauncey Walbridge, Commissary Sgt.; and James Kelly, 1st. Orderly. When the Civil War broke out they served at Alexandria and Bull Run.

GAR Organized

The Chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic was organized in 1886 and signed in Flint, May 1, 1886, by John Northwood, Dept. Commander and Oscar Lechheagle.

The Comstock Post No. 352 was named for Lerine Comstock who was killed in Knoxville, Tenn., 1863. The charter members were: S. Davis, E. Logan, James Kelly, A. A. Stringham, H. L. Rose, N. Whitmoore, Thomas Rushton, Joseph E. Tichner, A. J. Luce, H. H. Fellows, A. J. Lee, Geo. Nisle, Albert Green, William Henson, G. W. Bailey, G. B. Sherwood, Burdett Goodell, Robert Teeter, M. Hough, Ed. O'Neil, J. Zimmerman, William T. Severance, John Tripp, William Neebling, Daniel M. Burch, William Freeman, Sam R. Sherwood, T. J. Farrell.

Commander T. H. Williams of Jackson mustered the men, according to the Manchester Enterprise of May 20, 1886. There was entertainment and refreshments at Goodyear hall. Capt. James Kelly of Manchester organized the men and they marched to the Lake Shore Depot to meet the Jackson and Napoleon posts and paraded down town. Installation took place behind locked doors with the following officers elected: Commander, James Kelley; Senior Vice Com., William Severance; Jr. Vice Corn., E. Logan; Chaplain, T. F. Rushton; Adjutant, Sam Davis; Quarter master, Ed. O'Neill; Officer of the Day, G. B. Sherwood; Officer of the Guard, H. L. Rose; Sgt, Major Sam Sherwood and Quartermaster Sgt., William Freeman.

Among those who are buried at Oak Grove or St. Mary's Cemetery: M. N. Hough, Geo. Mathews, Philander Millard, Geo. W. Bailey, Addis Gillett, Harvey D. Rose, Luther C. Benedict, N. C. Holloway, James Kelley, William J. Tower, Thomas J. Farrell, Thomas F. Rushton, Geo. Sherwood, Albert P. Retan, Geo. Nisle, Daniel Burch, Alfred A. Stringham, William Nebling.

The blue soldier statue in Oak Grove was dedicated in 1907 by the GAR Comstock Post.

World War I claimed two from Manchester. Emil Jacob was killed in the battle of the Argonne in October, 1918. The Legion Post is named in his honor. William J. Ehnis died in France on January 31, 1919, of pneumonia.

Manchester had casualities in World War II. They were Sgt. Arthur C. Frey, Karl M. Rague, Wayne R. Alber, Edward A. Brazee and Richard Seckinger.

Those who gave their lives in the Vietnam conflict were: Ronald Alexander, Roy Bihlmeyer and Peter Valencich.

The tiny Main Street riverside park with its memorial stone made way for the expansion program for a parking area at the corner grocery; The memorial stone was moved to Wurster Park in front of St. Mary's Church and the Library. Oddly enough it is very near the site that the Comstock GAR Post had once considered for a memorial to their Civil War dead.

Richard Lord's Gravestone

A small rnetal plaque at the base of his gravestone now cites Richard Edwin Lord (1745-1843) as a soldier of the American Revolution.

The grave is located in Gillett Cemetery in Sharon Township about five miles northwest of Manchester. DAR members placed the marker at the grave in time for May 30, 1967, memorial services.

Lord enlisted in the Continental Army on March 8, 1777, in the Second Regiment of the Connecticut Line commanded by a Col. Webb.

Records are not clear but Lord apparently moved to Ann Arbor in June, 1825. He brought his wife and three small children with him. A married son, David, had moved to this area a year earlier. David Lord was Ann Arbor's first doctor and Washtenaw County's first county clerk.

Mrs. Nellie Ross of Grass Lake, Lord's great-great-granddaughter, was present at the cemetery when the marker was placed on the grave by the Plymouth-Northville Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Other great-great-grandchildren living in this area include William F. Shaler and Clair Shaler of Bellevue and Mrs. Lois Schlotteman of Grass Lake.


When the Civil War ended the village perked up and started to engage in business of various kinds and new business houses were built.

At that time there were two school districts. The first was District 1 in Soulesville, named for the man who built the dam on the Raisin River and erected a saw mill. This place continued to prosper even after the other two dams were built farther up the river. A brick school stood on the hill on what is now the Lepshis farm.

A sawmill was built on the east side of the upper dam and a gristmill on the westside. There was also a tavern, church, stores—and a school house, on the southwest side of the public square. That was district 2, Ward School. It was across the street from St. Mary's Church. St. Mary's is built on the old hotel site. The area was low and marshy and a corduroy road was built over the bogs.

Union Schools

Meetings were held and in October, 1867, the Union School was completed in the area known as the "old swail." The three-story brick structure cost $25,000. Bonds were issued for that amount, and the last was redeemed February 1, 1880. It was located on City Road on the site of the Junior High School.

On Macomb Street (Brewery Road) was a building on the Berger farm, which served as the Berger District School. Manchester village, in the early years also boasted a "select" school which was held in the basement of the present M. E. Church. This was taught by Mrs. Barnes and later by Miss Case. When the high school opened this school was discontinued.

Prof. E. C. Olney was the superintendent of the Union School and he remained for two years.

In the fall of 1876 the graduates met to form an alumni association and the first meeting was June 29, 1877. with E. M. Conklin the first president; C. F. Field, vice president; William Doty, secretary; and Willis Watkins, treasurer.

In 1879, the Board of Education began publication of the annual catalog and lists the board of trustees as follows: Dr. W. S. Stowell, S. H. Perkins, Hon. J. D. Corey, G. 0. Van De Grift, J. D. Van Duyn and M. D. Case.

Three courses were offered: classical, modern language, and full English. The classical was similar to academic; modern language was designed for those going to college; and full English course prepared students for "business or teaching in the district schools."

Students had to pass an examination in "math, spelling, geography, English grammer and reading" before entering high school. Tuition was $15 a year. There were 3 terms: Sept. 1 to Dec. 19; Jan. 5 to March 26; and April 5 to June 25. Room and board was offered by residents and the cost was $2 to $3 a week and rooms from 50¢ to 75¢ a week.

Ward School Opens Again

The little brick school on the public square, which had been closed since 1867, was reopened in 1885 to take care of the overflow because the high school was operating at capacity. First and second grade pupils living in the west part of the village attended the Ward School.

Alpha Sigma

In 1886, the Alpha Sigma literary society was organized with meetings held every other Monday evening. Self expression, a command of the language and an acquaintance with parlimentary procedure were the topics to be studied. This was founded by Miss Marie Kirchhofer and for 30 years the meetings were held regularly. Debates were a well known form of entertainment.

Diplomas were handed out at the completion of the 8th grade and again to the graduating seniors.

Later, a six-six plan was adopted in 1917. After the completion of the first six grades the student is promoted directly to high school.

First Woman on School Board

In 1903, Mrs. J. H. Kingsley was elected the first woman member of the board of education. She became president of the board of education in 1908.

In 1908, Evan Essery, after 15 years as superintendent, was replaced by Frank E. Howard.

In 1911, three doctors were on the Board of Education: Dr. C. F. Kapp, Dr. Geo. Serviss, and Dr. B. A. Tracy, together with Mrs. Kingsley and A. J. Waters.

In 1915, typing became a regular part of the Commercial course and shorthand was introduced later.

In 1918, Marie Kirchhofer resigned to go to Hollywood, Calif. after teaching 26 years here. A. A. Nevereth from Brooklyn became principal.

In 1921-22, Augusta Haimon Vogt was the high school principal.

First Football Game

The first football game was played with Chelsea in the fall of 1902 on the field south of the Oil Company tanks.

Basketball was introduced in the winter of 1924 with Thomas Nurnberger the first coach.


The FFA, agricultural organization was added in the fall of 1931.

The Union School served from 1867 to 1935 before it was taken down and replaced by a new structure, now known as the junior High. The application for the replacement high school was granted on September 22, 1935 for a cost of $60,622.10. This was a WPA project. At that time Dr. L. C. Kent was president of the School Board of Education. About 800 people graduated from the Union School and the school bell which summoned them was given to the war scrap drive. The new school which replaced it was dedicated in 1935.

The Manchester Public School System expects an enrollment of 1200 students for the 1967-68 school year. These students are housed in four modern and well maintained buildings. A large high school addition was completed in June of this year. This new addition consists of two new science laboratories, a large study-auditorium, five classrooms, additional gym locker and shower facilities, a new band room, administrative offices and a language-speech laboratory. Other buildings within the system include the Intermediate Building, housing the junior high school students, the Nellie Ackerson Elementary Building and the Pleasant Lake Elementary Building. The School District approved a new elementary building at the last annual school election, and this facility is expected to be completed sometime next year. This building will contain twelve new classrooms, an all purpose room, a small library, a kindergarten room, and several other elementary facilities.

The Manchester School District encompasses 125 square miles. Approximately 85% of the students are transported in the system's bus fleet. There are 56 professional staff members and 24 non-certificated employees. A new salary schedule negotiated in May places the Manchester teachers' salaries in a comparable position with the schedules of other Michigan districts.

Iron Creek Is Five Lakes (Elwin B. English)

Another important name in the early history of Manchester Township is English. On the occasion of his 90th birthday, the late Elwin B. English related a few of the interesting things he remembered. That was in February 1964.

"Most people don't know that Iron Creek wasn't always one big pond," he reflected.

"Iron Creek is made up of five lakes, including Iron and Crane lakes. When they dammed the water and built the sawmill the five lakes simply made up one big pond. When the country was new, I think they intended to have a town at Iron Creek. There was a store there at one time, and, of course, the sawmill."

His parents were Benjamin and Mary Baldwin English. His mother used to tell of coming to Iron Creek, four miles southwest of Manchester. Her family left Clarendon, N. Y. for Michigan, May 10, 1836, crossed Lake Erie on a barge, and 10 days later their prairie schooner arrived on the south side of Iron Lake.

They were headed for the farm of an uncle, William Baldwin. Although it was night, the uncle and his family had kept a sharp lookout and saw the lights on the wagon. Mrs. English said it wasn't long before she was perched on her uncle's shoulder and he was carrying her across Iron Lake. There was no bridge and people had to know where to ford the creek.

"My grandparents, Richard and Susannah Green English, built a log house and mother used to tell about the stick chimney," English said. "Their frame house was built in 1852. Then in 1870 they built the frame house where my niece and husband, the Ed Wisners live."

The wood for the house was obtained right on the farm and sawed into lumber at the Iron Creek mill.

Sheep raising was a very important part of the history of the Iron Creek farmer and Mr. English told how the farmers used to think they had to wash the sheep before shearing.

"They'd drive them down to the creek and pen the sheep up in yards. A fellow would wade in and wash each one for about a cent a piece. Then the farmer would drive the wet sheep back home over the dirt road with the dust a-flying. My opinion was that they'd be dirtier when they finished than at the start.

"Sometimes the sheep dropped from exhaustion right in the road until the water had a chance to run out of the wool. I used to like to watch them wash the sheep. We never took ours to the mill because we had a lake on the farm and washed them at home. In those days they paid more for washed wool," the late Mr. English said.

The only person living today, 1967, who went to school at the Iron Creek country school with the late Mr. English is Percy Kelly, and the only person living who granduated with him from high school in 1893, is May Eylesworth Parks.

At the time of his 90th birthday he told about the 4th of July celebrations that the village used to have and lamented that he guessed they were a thing of the past. He would have enjoyed to the fullest the Centennial July 4th celebration, for he recalled an early one when a fellow parachuted out from a balloon at low altitude, after it sprung a leak, shortly after leaving the ground. They tried to throw up wet sponges to put out the fire but it didn't work. "The fellow jumped and slid down the steep roof on the present Keasal home. There he was rescued," Mr. English said.


Into Manchester Township in the year 1829 came John Bruin Crane and Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose Ely from Chariton, New York and settled in what is now Iron Creek. This area had no other inhabitants at the time. It is believed that Ely Road is named for this family. After a few years they sold to George Byrne for $1,000 and moved on to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Mr. Crane set out sweet chestnut trees along the road and reportedly carried apple trees from Clinton to plant on his farm. He built a house and settled near Crane's lake. He never married and before he died went back to New York state.

A Judge, Edward Clark, had the area platted for a village by George Byrne, a surveyor who came from Windham, Connecticut, and the village was named Windham. But it never materialized. Joseph Moore, a cabinet maker also lived in the area. His small son was drowned in the flume at the sawmill on August 3, 1842. The first log house on Ely road was replaced with a large frame building intended for a hotel.

In the scanty history of the area it appears that the people were original. No one copied. The community stood in a class by itself, but as a village Windham didn't succeed. The sawmill is long gone and the general store was in operation a very short time. The area is scenic but in recent years Iron Creek has become an area of trailer houses, stretching along the shore of the lake.

Three Dams - 1908

Building on the east side of the Main Street dam.

Within less than a mile in distance Manchester had three excellent water powers; the upper dam, just below the Exchange Place Bridge was owned by Lonier & Hoffer and was used by them to carry on their extensive milling business and after the dam at the third power went out it was also used to furnish power for the electric lighting.

The upper dam had a fall of 13 feet, but a greater fall could be procured by proper dredging and repairing the embankments and dam.

The second dam which was formerly known as the "foundry dam" was owned by N. Schmid and was used to supply power for a saw mill and factory where all sorts of sawing, planing, etc. were done.

The third power was what was known as the "Premium Mills" power and is that which Mr. J. H. Kingsley sold to the village, together with his public lighting plant for $16,000.

All these powers were built in the 1830s and had been in operation over 70 years. In the early days the dams were built by laying trees and logs lengthwise of the stream and throwing on stones and dirt to the required height.

These crudely constructed dams would be carried away by the spring freshets and new structures were built. As the years went by the dams were constructed by driving piles, two rows across the river to which planks and square timbers were fastened and the space between the piles were filled with earth and stones. But the steady wear of the elements proved too much and in 1908 the lower dam went out on February 14, the middle dam on March 10, and a short time later the upper dam floated away. These were all severe losses to the village and the owners. The water power of Manchester was destroyed by too much water!

There were hundreds of people watching as the seething flood of water hurled over the dam. Then there was a dull roar and the middle of the dam gave way and the rushing flood rolled on unhindered.

The great body of water was like a tidal wave bearing great cakes of ice, floodwood and stone covered the land below. The corner of Kimble's factory was struck and barns and other buildings were flooded.

Scarcely had the water from the upper pond diminished and only the channel of the original stream was left, when subscription papers were drawn and before night $1,000 was raised to assist Lonier & Hoffer in repairing their loss. The damage to the three dams was impossible to estimate. The millers made preparations to repair the dam temporarily just above the old one. Farmers needed flour and feed.

The village was in the planning stages for a new concrete dam. The loss of the old one was estimated at about $2,000 and the loss of business to Lonier & Hoffer was around $4,000.

By putting in a temporary dam to raise the water 10 feet, the mill and the electric lighting machinery was put back in operation within a few days.

View of the Lower dam and bridge.

Fire, Flood Visited Village Same Day

It was on a Tuesday morning in May, 1908, when Dr. C. Kapp turned in the fire alarm after he discovered the wooden building on the corner of Railroad street and Maiden Lane on fire. The one o'clock fire caused people to tumble out of bed as the fire bell clanged. Chemical and hand engines were soon at work but the fire raged out of control so firemen concentrated their efforts on saving Dr. Kapp's building, occupied by the Putnam's harness shop and other nearby structures.

Lee Conklin's broom factory was in one of the buildings and his tools and some stock were burned.

There had been a prodigious rain the first part of the evening and shingles and roofs of all buildings were soaked with water. There was no wind and this helped as citizens kept a sharp lookout to prevent the fire from spreading.

At about 4 a.m. there was great excitement as those who watched the burning embers were informed that Lonier & Hoffer's temporary dam had sprung a leak and was threatened with disaster. The heavy rains had caused high water and men and teams hustled to haul stones and gravel to stop the widening aperture at the west end of the dam.

As the crowd on the bridge watched the surging water carried away the new apron about 8 a.m. and everyone thought the dam was doomed. A temporary sluiceway was made at the lower end of the flume by nightfall. This relieved the pressure and was credited with saving the dam.

Destruction of a Landmark

1908—In the demolition of the old stone and brick building that stood near the center of blocks 1 and 4 at the corner of Duncan and Beaufort Streets, one of the oldest and best known land marks of the village, was wiped out.

The rear of the building was constructed of cobble stones and was erected by a man named Dudley for a bakery way back in the early youth of the village.

Strickland & Morgan built a brewery on the corner to the west, near the river bank and pursued quite a business for many years. But there are no records that the bakery ever baked.

The house was occupied by the Hix and Stringham families and Mrs. H. L. Root, daughter of the late Nicholas Stringham was the last to live there.

Blacksmith Shop

"Under the spreading chesnut tree the village smithy stood."

"Stands, you mean, don't you?" the reader might ask.

No, because that's the way Longfellow's immortal poem will probably read for horseshoeing blacksmith shops are pretty much a thing of the past. Washtenaw county has none and the only place you can hear the hammer against steel is in the "Anvil Chorus" from I Trovatore.

Last blacksmith, John Schneider, at the anvil in the shop on East Main.

Manchester at one time had eight blacksmith shops. Now there are none. Children today will miss stopping at the village blacksmith shop, with its flying sparks, acrid smoke from balky horses hooves, that fascinating forge with its hand-turned blower and the sizzle of hot iron shoes in the water barrel.

Once holes in metal were hand drilled, later an electric device did the work. The blowers, once turned by hand, were later electricity operated and electricity also replaced the jack light. In the old days a horse was shod every six weeks when they were driving over the roads.

William Neebling was a blacksmith, manufacturer and repairer of carriages. He came to Manchester from Wurtemberg, Germany in 1850. His relatives lived in Freedom and he went to live with them. While there he learned the blacksmith trade and worked in Adrian and Jackson before he enlisted in the 9th Michigan Cavalry and served until the close of the war. He came to Manchester, married Elizabeth Emmer, of Bridgewater, and opened his blacksmith shop.

On October 30, 1877, the frame blacksmith shop was moved on the lot to the east on Jefferson street (now East Main). It was replaced by a new, one story brick building 60 x 28 feet. A gang of masons went to work and in eight days had the building ready for the carpenters. The shop had three forges, latest improvements and was well lighted and ventilated.

The smaller room at the rear was used by wagon makers. The old shop which was moved to the side was used for finishing and showing work. There was plenty of storage space. Later the blacksmith shop was owned by Theodore Morschheuser and then by John Schneider and Carl Schaffer. Mr. Schneider was the last one in Manchester to own and operate a blacksmith shop. He had been an apprentice and learned the trade in the same building where he worked for 41 years. With him went an art which few follow today—that of forging red hot iron to fit a horses hoof.


The creamery was in the Morgan store.

The creamery, which stood on the south side of Austin Road at the east village limits, was gutted by fire in 1929. At that time it was owned by Robert G. Sortor. Mr. Sortor came to Manchester in 1912 from Breckenridge. He established the creamery at the Soulesville location in the building which had formerly been the Morgan Agricultural Implement store.

An historical note is that Thomas Morgan (who built the Morgan store) married Deborah Soule in 1832. Soulesville (eastern part of the village) was named for this family. Soules lived in the house on the hill where the Lepshis family now reside. Thomas Morgan erected the first frame building in Manchester. The store which later became the creamery was of brick construction.

In the winter a large ice house at the rear of the creamery would be packed with ice which was used in the refrigeration of the butter during the summer.

Charles W. Sanford, who was a Freedom township farmer until 1867, came to Manchester in that year and specialized in the produce business. He made a speciality of eggs and butter. The location of this first creamery was on Washington Street, where the Herbert Widmayer home is located. Harvey Raby lived across the street (where Robert Popkey lives), according to Jane Palmer, retired librarian.

The Washtenaw County History describes the creamery. Its size was 18 x 24' with walls 14 inches thick, of which 12 inches were filled with saw-dust. The floor was the same. It was 18 ft. high and divided into two stories.

The top was filled with 60 tons of ice, the bottom fitted with zinc-lined troughs to carry off all water drippings. The lower floor could store 80,000 lbs. of butter. Sanford would buy in the spring and hold to fall, for a fine profit. The building was put up by B. A. Stevens of Toledo and cost $1,000.

Ford Plant

In 1937, the Ford Motor Company began construction of its small parts plant on the bank of the Raisin River at the east village limits. This was the site of the old Premium Mill.

Within two years the plant started production and gave a real boost to the village. During the war the peak employment reached 500.

Later, in 1957, the Ford Motor Co. moved the operation to its Rawsonville Plant. About six years ago the empty Ford Plant here was sold to Ray Thornton, an inventor. It is being used as an experimental station for car equipment.