Six: Manchester Township - Raab Home

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

Manchester Township

Manchester township is one of the very few to have a township library and a township fire department, according to Clayton Parr, supervisor. Stories on both are found elsewhere in the history. The fire department is also on call to help in other areas on a fee and contract basis.

The total assessed valuation of Manchester township is $5,000,540. It has been equalized (2.53) at $12,655,723.

The value of all real estate in the township as assessed is: agricultural, $1,200,675; commercial, $296,200; industrial, $377,550; residential, $1,616,460. The total of all real estate in the township is $3,490,885.

Personal property tax breakdown on assessed valuation is: commercial, $184,005; industrial, $1,150,950; utilities, $174,700. The total personal tax is $1,509,655.

The total 1960 census for the township was 2,590 including 1,568 in the village.

The township officers are: Clayton Parr, supervisor; Waldo C. Marx. clerk; M. H. Wolfe, treasurer and Malcolm Billings and L. P. Wurster are the trustees.

Industries outside the village include: Manchester Stamping, part of Manchester Division of Hoover Ball, Schlosser Chicken Plant, Irish Hills Locker, Mat Walden's Sawmill, Max Sellers Lumbering, Mindus Iron and Metal and K & W Farm Supply.

The Lithuanian Youth Camp and the Manchester Speedway are also located in the township.

Sharon Township

By an act approved April 12, 1827, this, then unorganized and unnamed township was attached to and formed part of the township of Dexter. A committee of the Congress of 1818, sent to the Territory of Michigan to examine it for soldiers' bounty land, reported that the Territory of Michigan was worthless for agricultural purposes. By 1830, this township had no inhabitants save the wandering Indians who fished the Raisin River.

In 1832 and 1833 the township was rapidly settled and this beautiful tract of land needed a name. Those who came from Amenia and Romulus, New York wanted the area named for their old towns; while pioneers knew that "Sharon" was the loveliest name among ten thousand, and that the name of their home in Connecticut ought to be given to this, the home of their adoption. All of these views were sent to the Legislative Council.

The story is told that Dr. Amariah Conklin was mounted on a horse by his father, and sent out with a "Sharon" petition up into Berks and Annabil settlement on his first electioneering tour. Since that time the doctor achieved great success as a physician, but he never did a better day's ride than when he killed those Amenia and Romulus petitions.

The name was adopted March 7, 1834 and approved by Governor George Porter.

June 22, 1830, Lewis C. Kellam, of Pike county, Pennsylvania, located the first lot of land in the township and Daniel F. Luce, a government surveyor located the second lot of land. Afterwards this formed a part of the farm of Amasa Gillett.

In the spring of 1831, Ira Annabel, Amos Bullard, John Bessey, M. Burk, David Cook, Edward Campbell, James Harlow Fellows, R. L. Fellows, Joseph Gilbert, Francis Gillett, Henry and Gilbert Row and J. R. Sloat made the first visit to the township and made it their home. David Sloat is credited with building the first home.

These first settlers were so happy with the township that they sang its praises and others followed. The town was organized in the spring of 1834, and the first election was held in the frame school house at Row's corners, which had been built the previous year. Lewis Allen was the first supervisor.

The sawmill had been built by Amasa Gillett and B. F. Burnett on the extreme northerly bend of the Raisin about 1834, and obtained its power from a mill race. The construction of this mill was the beginning of Sharon Hollow. A grist mill was started at the same time. Buckwheat flour from the grist mill became famous as it poured forth from the grinding mechanism powered by the churning waters as they spilled over the dam nearby. It was believed that the mill was put up in 1834 by a Mr. George Kirkwood in whose family the mill remained until purchased by the late Henry Ford in 1927.

With the passing of the old grist mill, much of the tradition handed down in the pioneer community, which has retained much flavor of days gone by, faded from the scene. The A. T. Kirkwoods, son of the probable builders, and his sons George, were familiar figures to farmers for many miles around.

Ashley Parks, the first village blacksmith, arrived in 1834. David J. Sloat erected the first house.

Richardson and Temple opened the first store in the township and later it was owned by Nathaniel Ambrose who made additions and added a tavern.

The first child born in the township was Minerva Bullard, born September 3, 1833. The first death was in the same year, 1833, when David J. Sloat, the builder of the first house was laid to rest.

Miss Myra Winchester was the first school teacher in the township. The school house was a frame building, but had neither lathe or plaster.

The early settlers of Sharon were not exposed to the numerous difficulties which surrounded those of the neighboring townships. While over 50 per cent of the settlers in Manchester and Bridgewater were suffering from fever and ague, not more than 10 per cent of the Sharon people were ill.

Wildcat Bank

Sharon Hollow, like Manchester, had a wildcat bank. Under the free banking law, a company was organized, a branch of which was located at Sharon Hollow. The business of this concern was extremely extensive. Reuel Ambrose was president and S. Baldwin, cashier. Finally justice swept it out of existence.

Blacksmith

Ashley Parks had the first blacksmith shop, and Daniel Burch, at the age of 88, was the last blacksmith.

About a half mile south of Sharon Hollow stood the small building called the Gillett's church. The structure is gone and the land surrounding is now known as Gillett's cemetery.

Mill Passes

A grocery store built on the opposite side of the grist mill was later operated by C. H. Gieske until he sold out in 1930 and went in business at Norvell. The sale of the old grist mill, about the same time, left the village without a business of any type.

This restoration of a picturesque rustic village was done by Henry Ford. Residents remember that one day Mr. Ford visited the quiet spot where the only noise to be heard was the hammer of the blacksmith on his anvil. He called on the blacksmith and the storekeeper, discovering that neither had a radio or a phonograph.

He learned that they both liked music but had no facilities for providing electricity. So a couple of weeks later, both received a phonograph. When the Ann Arbor Land Co. began purchasing property in and around Sharon Hollow, the blacksmith and storekeeper left. The village was deserted.

The old mill, known as the Kirkwood mill, was remodeled and a new water wheel and new generator put in it. The river, both up and down stream, was cleared of stumps and drift wood. A new dam and new bridge were built and the mill race faced with stone.

For awhile the mill became a manufacturing plant, with the huge electric generator and 50 hp. steam boiler' installed by the new owners. Stop light switches, cigaret lighters and armatures for passenger automobiles were manufactured.

But like the Sleepy Hollow legend, some felt that the ghosts of such pioneers as Casper Raby, who ran the saw mill for eight years, and A. T. Kirkwood who ground out 17,550 bushels of grain in one year, and the famed King of Sharon Hollow, Mike Cobbler, wouldn't continue to permit such earthly things coming out of the old mill which manufactured flour. Now the mill is the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Eric Martin.

But Sharon Township, tucked away in the remote northwest corner of Washtenaw county is every bit as picturesque and has just as many legends as the more famed realm of "Ichabod Crane."

The citizens of Sharon erected a beautiful memorial monument, near the town hall in the center of the township. It was raised by voluntary and general subscription. It commemorates the names of President Lincoln and twenty-four "volunteers" from Sharon-martyrs to the cause of freedom, and cost $1,500 in 1886 at Pleasant Lake and Sylvan roads.

The 1960 census showed 760 living in the township.

The Sharon Short Hills and other areas of beauty are being utilized by business and professional men for lovely residences. The Washtenaw County Road Commission owns an 80-acre park area which is only in the developing stages.

There is only one lake. This is a private one owned by Tisch on Struthers Road. Water empties into the Raisin, Grand and Huron rivers.

The churches include the North Sharon Community Church on Washburn road, Sharon United Brethern Church at Rowes Corners and the Faith Community Church which is meeting in the Sharon townhali on Pleasant Lake road.

Utilities provide about 15 per cent of the total tax levy. Included are transmission lines of Consumers Power, Panhandle Eastern, Wolverine Pipe Line, and American Oil Co. of Chicago also have pipe lines crossing the township.

Industries include Merit Products, the Weeks' Brothers commercial sawmill on Washburn road, Bakontrol Mfg. Co. making commercial augers and the Short Hills Gravel Co. with its gravel and transit mix cement and fill dirt.

On Leeman road is one of the largest pig farms in the area, operated by William Ternes. Leslie Chavey, E. Erwin, Ernest Kemner and Floyd Proctor all have commercial chicken houses.

The total tax levy for Sharon township for 1966 was $100,856.64. $60,129.86 was levied for the Manchester school district, $11,883.43 for Chelsea school district; $2,169.56 for Grass Lake; $502.69 for Napoleon and $4,469.24 for the Washtenaw Community College.

The Sharon township officers are: Russell Fuller, supervisor; Duane Haselschwerdt, clerk; Herbert Jacob, treasurer; Max Roedel and Donald Irwin, trustees; Ray Haselschwerdt and Mahlon Smith, Justice of Peace.

This is predominately an agricultural township which leads in wool production. At no place in the fall of the year can a person see a more spectacular autumn show unfold than in Sharon. Its rugged landscape, churlish knobs, tangled trees and brush are a refuge for wild game and when mother nature welds her paint brush no words can express the beauty as a deer wanders into a farmer's field. The Short Hills ridge angles across the township and the Southeastern Michigan Beagle Association has a five-acre tract and club house. For a postage stamp color tour Sharon township excels most.

Large farms have been bought as investments by prominent professional men and they are next door neighbors to farmers whose ancestors settled the area in the 1830s. And at the township-cared-for cemetery at Sharon Hollow and Sharon Valley Road, Herbert Jacob, township treasurer, is still puzzled as to why four children by the name of Pierce died within 10 days of each other in May, 1884.

Bridgewater Township

It has been said that after the area was separated from Dexter it was called Hixon. In 1833, the people wanted a separate township and at the suggestion of George Howe named the township "Bnidgewater" after the village in Oneida county, New York.

Col. Daniel Hixon was the first settler. He stopped off at Tecumseh which had only two log cabins at the time. George Lazelle, T. Lazelle and E. Wheelock also came in 1829.

Bridgewater is a country of gentle farmland, beautiful rivers and streams and picturesque lakes -Joslin lake, Columbus lake, the expansion of the Raisin River and Iron Creek run through the area. It has a wealth of agricultural resources and 90 per cent of the township is devoted to farming.

At the first election in the township,George Howe was named supervisor; R. H. Heggie, township clerk; Norman L. Conklin, treasurer; and B. H. Norton, Justice of the Peace.

The question of erecting a town hall was discussed at the township board meeting April 2, 1855. On the building committee were Daniel Le Baron, D. W. Palmer, Norman Calhoun and W. H. Aulls. When they brought in their report on June 22, they were discharged. Another committee was appointed April 7, 1856. They were Norman Calhoun, Lewis Potts, Junius Short and Ransom Bradley. They were told to locate the town hall within a mile and a quarter of the geographical center of the township. A completion date was given-November, 1856. This was so the November meeting could be held in the new town hall. A sum of $250 was raised and added to the $300 already earmarked for the purpose.

On April 6, 1857, the board "voted that the town hail be opened for moral and scientific lectures, and for funerals."

In 1834, there was a four dollar bounty on every full grown wolf; all hogs weighing upwards of 40 pounds could be free commoners; and a lawful fence should be four and a half feet high. In the 1830s, it was the custom to mark cattle and horses. The owner had to register the mark used.

The first birth was that of Henrietta Hixon. The first marriage was that of Dennis Lancaster and Harriet Frederick. It was Daniel Hixon who built the first house of log and the first frame house was built by Daniel Brooks.

Norman Conklin was the first school teacher in the first district school built in 1834, and Jacob Gilbert erected the first sawmill on the "East Bend" of the Raisin in the same year. The first grist mill was built by Wm. W. Aunin in 1857.

The German Lutherans erected the first church with Rev. Mr. Foltz the pastor. The Taylor and the Morris sawmills existed up to 1870, when a fire destroyed both. A shoddy mill was established; but because of the difficulty in obtaining rags it was discontinued.

The Southern Washtenaw Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance Co. had its office in Bridgewater with Junius Short, the president, and D. W. Palmer, secretary. In 1881 there were nine school districts in the township with 390 children attending.

In the early days Bridgewater was a station on the Detroit, Hilisdale and Indiana Railroad in the northeast corner of the township. The Presbyterian church was started about the year 1856, and Elder Powell used to go afoot from Bridgewater to Manchester, to preach in the early days.

St. James white frame church with its high steeple at the crossroads in the village is reminiscent of old country churches which dot the countryside in Vermont.

Bridgewater village is not incorporated. There is a post office in the grocery store of Russell Wilson and Mr. Wilson has been acting postmaster for about five years. Thirty have post office boxes. Clinton, Manchester and Saline rural mail carriers come into Bridgewater. The 1960 census showed the population to be slightly over 1,000.

This is primarily a good farming area with 90 per cent agricultural—general farming. Industries include the Regis Manufacturing Co. The plant manufactures fixtures for auto plants and employs from 15 to 20 men. Henry Marks is the plant manager. The Kiager Hatchery is also located on the Main Street (Austin Road).

Besides the general store, there is the Bridgewater Lumber Co., Braun Implement and Hardware and the Meadow Lane Golf Course. The nine hole course is located in the south central part of the township and owned by Glen Clark.

There are several large farms including the Hickory Farms, owned by a group of Detroit businessmen and operated by Don Decker. The farm specializes in quarter horses. Manchester Farms have an operation in Bridgewater township.

The township is divided into three school districts: Manchester, Saline Area, and Clinton Community.

The township officers are: Russell Hughes, supervisor; E. L. Blaisdell, clerk; Harold G. Bersuder, treasurer (more than 20 years) and Ted Parker and Norman Randall, trustees.

The assessed valuation of Bridgewater township is $2,192,525 and is equalized at $4,849,306.

Freedom Township

June, 1831, the first settler, James W. Hill,located in a part of section 29 and later purchased land in section 32, owned by John M. Allen. By fall Hugh Campbell, Jason Gillett, Robert Myers, Matthew Myers and Jacob Haas arrived and in 1832 Roswell Preston, Roswell Preston Jr., Levi Rogers, Lyman Williams, Reuben Williams, and a few others located in Freedom, according to the Washtenaw County History.

By 1834-'7 the tide of immigration flowed along the valley of the Washtenong until by the close of 1837 every acre was claimed.

The history continues and says that in the case of Freedom it might be said that 2,000 acres of the wilderness was turned into fertile fields. "Throughout its length and breadth the woodman's ax was heard, a few more years of labor converted the country into a smiling garden."

First Events

James W. Hill was the first settler in June, 1831, and he established the first school in his own house. He was the first district school teacher. A Dr. Porter traveled the township as early as 1831.

Miss Angeline Rouse was married in 1833. The second wedding was that of Eldred Spencer and Miss Emeline Adams in December, 1834.

H. M. Griffin was the first supervisor, and Roswell Preston was appointed a Justice of the Peace, March 8, 1834, by Gov. Porter.

These early settlers knew hardship and during 1833 the provisions of the settlement were exhausted. Twenty sheep belonging to James Raymond were destroyed by wolves in one night.

B. F. Burnett, a Methodist, held the first religious meeting at the home of James W. Wills. But Arunah Bennett was the first ordained preacher to hold services.

James W. Hill built the first log house, raised the first barn, and planted the first wheat in the county in 1831. Richard Preston raised the second barn, without the aid of whiskey, according to the Washtenaw County History.

These people were of hardy stock and it is recorded that Mrs. Barbara Bailey, at the age of 84 years arrived from Benton Yates, New York. She died at 95 years in 1845.

Several prominent men in the county in those days were: James W. Hill, Levi Rogers and Dr. Morgan, all members of the State Legislature; Dr. Samuel, S. Peckens, County Treasurer and Judah B. McLane, Register of Deeds. Jacob Preston was Drain Commissioner.

Americans settled the township but German immigrants came in and by 1881 it was a German community.

The first death was that of Jacob Haas, 20 years. He and his father were cutting logs, when one of the heavy oaks fell on the young man and crushed him to death. A year later, two young men, named David Cook and William Campbell, son of Hugh Campbell, left their homes to assist with the raising of Bingham's sawmill in the town of Lima. Returning home they were lost. Campbell, unable to go farther, sank down on the ground. Cook pushed on and reached home. When rescuers went back they found Campbell—but too late. He lived to be taken to his father's home in Freedom but he died in a few days.

Naming the Township

When the first election was held there were 38 votes cast. At the meeting to organize the town, a dispute arose as to the name; finally they agreed to compromise. Someone thought that a good deal of FREEDOM should be exercised. At that Samuel S. Peckens said that he thought that was the best name proposed. It was adopted.

In the early days the supervisors received one dollar a day for their services, school teachers fifty cents a day and women teachers only a dollar a week. Girls doing housework received fifty cents a week.

Dr. Porter of Ann Arbor reported that in 1831 when he went through the township he didn't see a person. He camped out along Pleasant Lake. There are two lakes in the township, "Pleasant" and "Silver". Freedom is undulating, with alternate plains and openings. The Washtenaw County Atlas notes that the immigrants came in so fast that a schoolhouse was built near Mr. Hill's house. M. B. Wellman had the first cooper shop in 1833. The first birth in the township was Antionette Gillett, born November 6, 1831.

Early Churches

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Freedom was organized in 1842 with the Rev. Mr. Friedrich Schmid as pastor. The church was built in 1881 and 106 were listed as parishioners. Two other Lutheran churches were in the township in 1881 according to the Washtenaw County History.

The Methodist Episcopal Church had Rev. Edward Weiss as the pastor and the congregation "was large" (no figure given).

Catholic Church: In 1839 the first Catholic church was erected two miles north of the second church and was served by missionaries, Fr. Kreutel and Bernick. The second church was erected in 1858 with a congregation of 200. The rectory of brick was built in 1873 at a cost of $2,000. This church history ties in with St. Mary's in Manchester.

According to the Washtenaw County History the church buildings were among the finest in the county.

"The Schools of the township are well ordered, and the morale of the children good. It is said that both the young and old form a hive of quiet industry wherein every competitor not of German nativity or extraction must fail to exist. Industry is inculcated in the schools and fostered in the home circles."

William Beuerle came from Wurtemberg, Germany in 1854 and went as far as Wisconsin. In 1861 he returned to the north and purchased land in Freedom Township, built a log house and opened a saloon. He also was a carpenter. He was a member of the Arbeiter Verein of Manchester. He was a Democrat.

Another man who came from Wurtemberg, Germany was William F. Pfitzenmaier. He came to America in 1837 when he was 17 years. For three years he worked by the month and then bought 80 acres in the southern part of Freedom Township. Later he purchased his 180-acre farm located about ten miles southeast of Chelsea. He was a Republican and held a number of township offices. In 1873 he was appointed Postmaster of Fredonia post office which was located in his home. He was the maternal grandfather of the late Edwin Schaible, supervisor of Freedom Township. The post office was in his home and, according to the Washtenaw County Atlas, had a bi-weekly mail. The farm was later known as the Schenk farm at 10850 Waters Road.

When Grover Cleveland became president in 1881, Pfitzenmaier lost his position. A democrat, Henry Renau, became the new postmaster and it was moved to his home at 11061 Ellsworth Road. Henry was the cousin of the late Will Reno. Mr. Reno was township clerk for many years.

John F. Vogel, grandfather of Louis D. Vogel, was the next postmaster. He took office in 1893. In 1897 the office was moved to the corner of Schneider and Bethel Church roads, to the log house of the Eckerts. This was a fourth class post office and the postmaster was assisted by a mail carrier to Chelsea. It is said that the day of issue of the Detroit Free Press governed the mail delivery to Fredonia.

Fredonia post office ceased to exist with the coming of free delivery of rural mail in the early 1900s. In the Washtenaw Atlas of 1874 some 32 families listed Fredonia as the post office.

Rev. Fr. Joseph Staus, pastor at St. Francis and St. Mary's Manchester in 1880, reportedly had 30 families in the Freedom parish and 45 families in Manchester. The Washtenaw History reads, "Fr. Staus is a man of fine education and talent. Broadminded and intelligent, he is liberal and just to all. His kindness of heart and truly Christian charity has won for him the love and respect of all who come in contact with him
.... many others as well, feel that in him they have a true friend."

The Freedom Township census of 1960 lists the population as 1,050. The township is near the geographic center of Washtenaw and the folks who live there are mostly of German descent. They have preached hard-headed economics, hard work and thrift. Their farms show it. They excel all other townships yearly in hogs, sheep and potatoes.

There is no industry, yet some of the area looks like a miniature Texas. At Pleasant Lake there are a series of one-story buildings with roaring metal tubes marked Michigan Gas Storage Co. Thirty communities are served by Consumers Power shuttling gas to nearly 300 consumers as compressors thump night and day. This is by far the largest utility which runs through the area. About one third of the total assessed valuation of Freedom is marked utilities. The total assessed valuation is $3,103,225.

In this network of utilities is the Wolverine Pipe Line Co. And every hour about 168,000 gallons of refined furnace oil, kerosene, etc. flows through. Its storage building is on Fletcher Road. Others are the Michigan-Ohio Pipe Line (headquarters in Alma, Mich.), the American Oil Co., Panhandle Eastern and the Consumers Power, which supplies no electricity in Freedom but furnishes all of the natural gas. The Detroit Edison Co. lines bring in electric power for all the township.

German pioneers are remembered in the names of all but five of the roads in the township. The only large lake is Pleasant Lake surrounded with cottages and year 'round homes. The Pleasant Lake brick school, built for $125,000 in 1953 was consolidated with the Manchester School District. Michigan Gas Storage assessment in the Manchester school district for 1967 is $784,000 and $31,200 in the Chelsea school district.

The lake area has a trailer camp, several stores (grocery and hardware) tavern, service station and the old township hall. In September, 1954, it looked as if Freedom township would have its own "Texas" oil well. A 3,964-foot well was drilled on the Henry Niehaus farm at 3590 Fletcher Road. But the oil supply didn't last and other wells drilled later were dry.

Freedom has more woodland than any other township in the county and nearly 850 acres of reclaimed muckland in the northwest part specializes in raising of potatoes.

There are four country churches. All are well kept. They are: Bethel United Church of Christ, St. Johns United Church on Waters Road, Zion Evangelical Lutheran at Rogers Corners and the St. Thomas Lutheran Church on Ellsworth. A cross and cornerstone in the Catholic cemetery at Bethel Church and Koebbe Roads mark the site of Washtenaw county's second Catholic church, which was dedicated in 1858. The church building was razed in 1933.

The Freedom Township total tax levy for 1966 was $194,218.16. The 1966 school tax levy for the Manchester school district was $122,937.95; Chelsea school district, $27,142.89; Dexter school district, $1,298.23; and Saline school district, $6,547.79 for a total of $157,926.86 in the four school districts.

The township officers are: John C. Miller, supervisor; Harold Eiseman, clerk; Walter Hieber, treasurer; Alvin Weidmayer and Gilbert Luckhardt, trustees; Christian Kuebler and Alfred Trinkle, Justices of the Peace; and Luther Nagel and Paul Egeler, constables.

Huehl Centennial Farm

The Earl Huehi farm at 4100 Fletcher Road, Chelsea has been designated a centennial farm. The 13-room house gleams with its white aluminum siding—but it had a log cabin beginning. It is situated on more than two acres of lawn which is well shaded most of the day by 11 Norway maples.

They know the maples were purchased from a nursery in Monroe in 1915 and cost $1 apiece.

Earl Huehl's ancestors have farmed the land since 1839 when the original 120 acres were bought by John Huehl. He was born in Prussia. There he married Adelaide Dresselhouse. They finally took up land in Freedom Township on Section 17.

John Huehi Sr. was a poor man but he wasn't afraid to work. He improved and cleared land for the log house.

In his biography appearing in "The Portrait and Biographical Album of Washtenaw" published in 1891, he tells of the struggles of early settlers and how he used to walk to Ann Arbor about 15 miles away to sell eggs and butter and farm produce.

There was also the time he joined a group of farmers and walked to Chicago. The journey took seven days. The men looked for work and slept in fields and farmers' barns en route. They worked on the canal in Chicago and received a dollar a day. The trip cost 50 cents and they earned badly needed money.

The biography states that the Huehls were members of the Evangelical Association of Freedom and active in church affairs. "In politics Mr. Huehl was an ardent Republican, dating back to Abraham Lincoln's second term of office," it states.

At one time the farm had 195 acres—now there are 194. An acre was given to the Freedom Township Cemetery Association. This area is behind one of the barns, and there Earl's grandmother is buried beneath a sandstone slab. She wanted to be buried on the farm but her husband didn't share this desire. He is buried down nearby in the Freedom Evangelical Cemetery. Mrs. Earl Huehl says that in recent years there has been only one burial in the little cemetery.

John G.'s son, John F., married Elizabeth Finkbeiner and they raised three children. Their daughter, Mrs. Carl (Irene) Morhardt lives in Owosso, their son Norman lives in Arcadia, California, and Earl and his wife, the former Mildred Gieske, and their two sons, Dennis, 10, and Gerald, 8, live on the farm.

The frame barn which John erected before his death is still in use with its hand-hewed timbers 40 and 50 feet long, held by wooden pegs. The house was built by Earl's grandfather in 1887.

Hoenes Centennial Farm

A farm owned by Walter W. Hoenes of Sheridan Road, five miles south of Manchester has been designated as a Centennial Farm by the Michigan Historical Commission.

Walter Hoenes and Centennial Farm.

It was originally purchased on July 2, 1866, by Ludwig Hoenes, grandfather of the present owner, from John Betz. It is located in Manchester Township, Washtenaw County, and has been in the possession of the family since 1866. The original farm had 40 acres. Later, 60 more acres were added. The oldest part of the house has a thick stone foundation with hewn logs on top.

After the Hoenes family acquired the farmhouse, they added several rooms so that now there are 10 large rooms and a large utility area. Although Lewis Hoenes used to find arrow heads on the land Walter never found one.

However, he did find a stone which had been fashioned to make some kind of a tool which the Indians used. Hoenes said that he threw it out of a field and then noticed that when it fell against another stone, it had an unusual clanging sound. He investigated and scraped off the dirt to find it was no ordinary stone.

His grandfather used to tell of watching the Indians on the farm as they followed along the creek which ran through it. He would warn his family to be careful and noted that "the noisy Indians are friendly but watch out for the quiet ones."

Hoenes said that according to old records there was once a saw mill on the property. His father was highway commissioner beginning in 1886, and among his papers he found an order to pay G. E. Smith 75 cents for shoveling snow for two and a half hours in 1926.

Weber Centennial Farm

Otto Weber, 80, of Manchester and a nephew and his wife, the Donald Dolls, own one of Washtenaw's centennial farms at 17410 Heim Road, Chelsea. Weber also has a home in Manchester where he spends some time.

Otto's grandfather, Simeon Weber, bought the farm and it has been in the family ever since. They estimate the double brick house to be about 115 years old. The huge Scotch Pine in the yard is about 106 years old.

The farm was designated a centennial farm by the Michigan Historical Commission.

The purchase price of $13.30 per acre for the 180 acre farm caused Simeon to sign a mortgage when he bought. The Dolls and Webers have legal papers which show when the farm came into the Weber family. Land prices in the area have soared since that early beginning.

In 1814, Simeon Weber was born near Steinbach, Germany. When he crossed the ocean in 1843 it took two months. Arriving at the same time was Genevieve Hauser, who later became Mrs. Weber.

There were no white satin and orange blossoms for the bride and the family has no record of a honeymoon. But they do know that the couple walked from Sylvan to Detroit to be married at St. Mary's Catholic Church. The bride lived to be nearly 100 years old.

The Simeon Webers had four sons and three daughters. John, who was born in 1855 and his wife, the former Lena Kirchgessner, were the next owners. Their children included: Otto (who today is one of the owners) Lawrence who died in July 1964; Mrs. Loretta Doll of Chelsea and Mrs. Genevieve Dagwell, who died in May 1959, and Celia, who died in 1913.

Otto married and lived in Manchester from 1935 to 1965 but decided to return to the farm. He works 30 acres of woods during the winter time. Don works at Chrysler Proving Ground and does general farming. It is not too uncommon for them to find Indian trinkets and arrow heads while dragging the fields.

Dolls did an extensive remodeling of the house at the farm. When they tore up an old floor upstairs they found deeds and other valuable papers where someone had put them years ago for safe keeping. Although the newspapers had become a target for mice-not a single deed was touched. There were original insurance papers from a German insurance company.

One thing they learned in the early descriptions was that Heim Road many years ago was the main route from Ann Arbor to Grass Lake. Another bit of history was that there used to be a sawmill near the Baker Dam site. The old ice house and several old buildings have gone but one huge barn still stands.

Otto remembers that, when he was a boy, the Indians came back to the vicinity for the burial of their chief on an island in Island Lake. And the red rose bush which Don's great-grandmother planted so long ago blossomed again this year.

Raab Centennial Home

The farm residence of Oscar Raab, 11665 Bemis Road, Manchester, which is owned jointly by Raab and his brother, Rolland of Ypsilanti, is a centennial farm.

Their great-grandfather, Jacob Raab Sr. bought the 180-acre farm, located 5.5 miles east of Manchester. It was handed down to his son, Jacob Jr., and then to Theodore Raab, father of the present owners.

For the first eight years, Jacob Raab Sr. and his wife lived in a log house until they could put up the present stone structure. Building a house of stone in those days created no problem, for as the land was cleared, the stones could be gathered for building.

In 1866 a brick addition was built to the rear of the stone house. Oscar Raab believes the first log house was in that location. To the rear of the frame kitchen was a second addition, erected in 1888.

Part of the farm borders Columbia Lake, a private 70-acre lake surrounded by farms. Three lakeside cottages have been built by the Raabs which can be reached through a private drive.

During World War II, when housing was at a premium, Oscar said, they rented the cottages year around. But that had drawbacks. The long private road to the lake had to be cleared of snow every day so the tenants could get to work.

Although the farm is in Bridgewater Township, the family owned 32 acres of timber across the road in Freedom township. Oscar has lived all his life on the farm. He enjoys the location, but farm work never appealed to him. He has been a plumber and rented out the farm.

They can remember hearing their grandmother tell about the Indian family which lived across the fields on a nearby farm for several years and can understand why it was an area where Indians would have settled. There would have been very good hunting and fishing. They have never found arrow heads in the area, but they do have a stone which Indians used as a tool to pound the grain.