Soil and Production—Early Settlers—Origin Of Name— Organization And First Officials—Jared S. Spring—Cannonsburg —Chauncey—Lakes—Prospect Hill—List Of Supervisors.

The prevailing soil of Cannon Township is deep and pliable.

Crops, in quality and yield, compare favorably with any of the other townships.

The railroad facilities consist of the Grand Rapids & Indiana railroad, which passes near its northwestern corner, and a nearby station in Algoma and Plainfield townships—Rockford.

The township presents a great variety of surface, soil and productions, being quite hilly and broken along Bear creek and in the vicinity of Grand River, but in other parts, more gently rolling or beautifully undulating scenery meets the view.

In the southern part there are patches of beech and maple timber land, with a sprinkling of pine along the streams, but mainly the town was originally oak openings, plentifully interspersed with hickory.

Its main staples raised for the market are wheat, wool, corn, and apples.

Of the first named, large quantities have been exported, and its rolling lands and dry, healthful climate make its wool growing a success.

Lying within the great western fruit belt, it is eminently adapted to horticultural pursuits.

Of this its people are fully aware and many flourishing orchards are found.

Apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and currants abound, while grapes and the small fruits are specialties.

Whatever may be said of its business centers, thrift and enterprise mark this rural district.

Comfort smiles from its tasteful dwellings, nestled amid shade and bloom, and an abounding plenty peeps from its well filled and commodious barns.

Indigence is scarcely known among its population.

All are, to a remarkable degree, independent in worldly goods.

One of the earliest settlers was Andrew Watson, who moved into the township with his family, accompanied by A. D. W. Stout and family, and settled on Section 30.

The first entry of land was made by James S. Potter, in Section 30, on July 15, 1835, but he did not become a permanent settler.

In 1838 came Isaac Tomlinson, Sr., locating upon Section 27 in a beautiful situation commanding an extensive and enchanting view of Grand River and its beautiful valley.

In 1839 William M. Miller settled upon Section 19.

Steadily now a tide of immigration set in, rolling the wilderness back by the sturdy energy of the hardy and determined pioneer, swiftly multiplying farms and broadening cleared areas.

Prominent among the newcomers, in 1841, were James Thomas, on Section 20, Oliver Lovejoy, on Section 7, Zebulon Rood and Rev. Mr. Frieze, on Section 19, the last named being the first minister of the Gospel to take up his residence within the township.

James Thomas was born in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, Jan. 1, 1814.

His mother died when he was four years old and he was bound to Joseph R. Priestly.

Their affairs were managed by the outside jury—the neighbors—and Mr. Thomas lived to regret the severing of his relations with his real friend, Mr. Priestly.

He learned the blacksmith's trade and after six months went home and commenced working on a canal.

He was taken ill, and after recovery went to boating, working hard and saving nothing, going to school in the winter and doing chores to pay his way.

In 1834 he came to Michigan, and in 1841 settled on Section 20, the southwest eighty acres, and in 1865 sold this tract to his son and purchased on Section 27.

In 1867 he purchased a blacksmith shop.

Mr. Thomas was the fifth settler in the township, and his experiences with Indians and pioneer life rank with the "oft told tale."

Zebulon Rood was born in Vermont, July 29, 1810. In 1823, with his parents, he came to Oakland County, Michigan, and there remained until he was of age.

He worked at the carpenter's trade three years and conducted a grocery in Birmingham two years.

In 1838 he came to Cannon Township and pre-empted land in Section 31, and subsequently purchased 240 acres on Sections 20 and 29.

He cut the first road in Cannon and brought the first team and first wagon-load of goods across Bear Creek.

He built the first house in Cannon, and it was a log structure.

He did the first clearing and planted the first crops.

In fact, Mr. Rood broke the forest and led the tide of immigration in among the race of savages to make the now prosperous township of Cannon.

He organized the first school district and helped build the first school house.

He located all the roads in that portion of the township and aided in all its first improvements.

In early days he served in the various local offices of the township.

Among the early settlers who bore a conspicuous part in the development and organization of the new township, honorable mention should be made of M. A. Patrick, locating on Section 26, and Ebenezer C. Smith, on Section 12, in 1844.

About the same time Samuel Steel located five lots for as many sons, in the near vicinity of Mr. Smith, thus fixing the name of Steel's Corners to a most beautiful and productive part of the township.

Mrs. John Hartwell, on Section 34, and Demas Hine, on Section 30, were settlers of 1845, and James Dockeray, on Section 4, settled in 1846.

Demas Hine was born in Connecticut, in August, 1804, and was reared a farmer.

Later he became a physician of some prominence, came to Cannon Township in 1845, and practiced his profession there until his death, April 25, 1872.

He was one of the earliest, if not actually the first, physician to locate in Cannon Township.

The township was named at the time of its organization, in 1846, in honor of its principal village, or rather the promoter of that village—LeGrand Cannon, an Eastern capitalist.

In 1845 a separation from Plainfield was effected and the township was erected into a separate town under the name, by a mistake in the legislature, of Churchtown.

The first town meeting, to complete the organization of the township, was held on the first Monday of April, 1846, at the house of C. Slaght, in Cannonsburg.

The whole number of votes cast was sixty-four, and the following gentlemen were selected as the first township officers: Supervisor, Andrew Watson; clerk, Henry H. Worden; treasurer, Lewis D. Dean; school inspectors, Loyal Palmer and M. A. Patrick; directors of the poor, Ebenezer C. Smith and Martin Johnson; commissioners of highways, John Hartwell and Cornelius Wample; justices of the peace, Harlow T. Judson, John Bishop, Demas Hine, and Jared S. Spring; constables, Robert Howard, Major Worden, Isaac Tomlinson, and Mindrus Whitney.

John Bishop, who was one of the four justices of the peace chosen at this election, was a native of New Hampshire and came, in 1845, to Cannon Township, being among the early settlers, and he followed farming during the remainder of an active and useful life.

His son, Loomis K. Bishop, became in turn register of deeds and sheriff of Kent County and also served as postmaster at Grand Rapids.

Jared S. Spring, another of these pioneer magistrates, came from Farmersville, Cataraugus County, New York.

In the spring of 1845 he started with his family, consisting of his wife and six sons, their household goods on a wagon, a team of horses and two cows.

From Buffalo they took steamboat for Detroit, and there began the struggle over the log ways and through the deep sands of Michigan.

The cows and a bag of meal furnished sustenance until they reached Cannonsburg.

In Clinton County the horses were exchanged for two yoke of oxen.

They purchased a farm, and the family struggled onward through fever and ague and dire necessities until fairer skies appeared and they felt that they were literally "out of the woods."

The oldest of these six sturdy sons was Henry Spring, who for years was the king among dry goods merchants of Grand Rapids.

Robert Howard was born in Lincolnshire, England, Oct. 10, 1815.

He immigrated to America when a young man of seventeen and landed in New York, his objective point.

He came to Michigan soon after its admission as a State and resided in Detroit a number of years.

He then came to Cannon Township and bought a piece of unimproved land, which presented the aspect of a wilderness.

He afterward sold this tract, but repurchased it, and he also secured land in Grattan Township, where he afterward made his home.

Bear Creek, the exclusive property of Cannon, rises in the northeast corner of the township, on Section 1, in a large spring, which is claimed by some to have the peculiar power to petrify all substances that may chance to lie in its waters.

The creek, fed by springs all its length, takes its devious way south and southwest, cutting the town nearly in halves, and debouching in Grand River on Section 30, the southwest corner of the township.

This stream, being fed by springs, presents a never failing supply of water, and, running rapidly, furnishes a power that would be excellent for manufacturing purposes.

Cannonsburg, the only business center of any note in the township, was founded in 1842, with an Indian war trail as its main thoroughfare and the settler's axe as the only key that would open the forest gates that guarded its entrance.

In 1844 and 1845 mills were erected there by E. B. Bostwick, with H. T. Judson as architect, and a store was opened.

As an inducement to permanent settlement the village was platted, in 1845, and Mr. Bostwick, the enterprising business agent of LeGrand Cannon, its proprietor, was instructed to give a village lot to each resident not otherwise provided for.

Thus twenty-five lots were given away.

The town received the name it bears in honor of its founder, who testified his appreciation of the distinction conferred by presenting the village with a small cannon bearing his name and the date.

This is treasured as a memento of early times and has been often used on the Fourth of July and other holiday occasions, wakening the echoes of memory as its thunders reverberated among the hills that completely surround the little village.

Cannonsburg is situated upon both sides of Bear Creek.

It has suffered by the growth of other towns with railroad accommodations, but it still is a trading point.

It has Congregational and Methodist churches, a resident physician, a grocery, a grist-mill, and a general store.

Chauncey, formerly called Buena Vista, is situated on Section 30, near the mouth of Bear Creek.

It consists of a few dwellings, a gristmill and a general store.

There is nothing more to be said of it, save that it is located amidst beautiful scenery.

There are several lakes within the township, but only two are worthy of particular mention.

Silver Lake, on Sections 9 and 10, lying just north of and touching the line of the Grand Rapids & Ionia State Road, is a most beautiful sheet of water, containing about 300 acres.

One mile directly east of Silver Lake is Bostwick Lake, which has been described as "a huge crystal, in emerald setting."

No more beautiful scene can well be imagined.

Its waters are very cold, evidently emanating from springs, as it has no visible inlet or natural outlet.

This was a favorite resort in early days for fishing parties, and parties of pleasure coming from the village often camped on its banks and tarried over night.

A huge canoe, fashioned by an Indian from a white wood tree grown a mile south of Cannonsburg, was transported with a vast amount of labor to its shores and launched upon its waters.

The distance traveled was five miles, occupying two days in the transit, and four yoke of oxen were employed.

There, in later years, the settlers on lands adjacent to the lake found the deserted canoe, a monster of its kind, over thirty feet in length.

Wind and wave completed their work of destruction upon it and only a fragment of it finally remained as a relic to be gazed upon by those sentimentally inclined.

This lake also lies north of the State road, which bends slightly in passing around its southern shore.

It contains about 400 acres.

Prospect Hill, sometimes called Ball Hill, from the name of its long-time owner, John Ball of Grand Rapids, is a noteworthy eminence on Section 1.

It rises abruptly from the surrounding country, and lifting its lofty tower above the surrounding trees, is visible for many miles away.

A former owner planted it with apple trees to its very summit and in yielding seasons it has been a veritable bower of fruit.

The school facilities of Cannon Township are first class and various church organizations are represented.

The following is a list of supervisors of Cannon township from its organization down to the present time: 1846, Andrew Watson; 1847, Hugh E. McKee; 1848, Norman Ackley; 1849, James Dockeray; 1851, Andrew Watson; 1852, Timothy E. Wetmore; 1853, James Dockeray; 1855, Daniel C. Pratt; 1856, Benjamin Davies; 1862, George W. Van Every; 1863, James Dockeray; 1866, Asa P. Ferry; 1871, James Dockeray; 1876, Loomis K. Bishop; 1877, Albert W. Davies; 1878, Andrew J. Provin; 1879, William C. Young; 1882, William S. Johnson; 1887, Oscar House; 1888, William S. Johnson; 1889, Frank Ladner; 1890, John G. Berry; 1891, Frank Ladner; 1894, W. J. Thomas; 1897, Charles N. Tuxbury; 1900, William Norman; 1902, Fred Thomas; 1903, Willis Young; 1909, Wilbert B. Moffitt; 1912, Bert Ramsdell; 1915, Wilbert Moffitt; 1916, William Norman, present incumbent.

Benjamin Davies was a native of Rhode Island, and settled at Napoleon, Jackson County, Michigan, in 1832.

A number of years later he came to Kent County and located on a farm of 266 acres on Section 12 in Cannon Township.

He was a carpenter as well as a farmer by occupation.

He died Oct. 1, 1861.

Albert W. Davies was born, Aug. 13, 1842, in Jackson County, Michigan, and was a son of Benjamin Davies, above mentioned.

Mr. Davies held the offices of treasurer, supervisor and highway commissioner of Cannon Township.

William C. Young was born, Sept. 1, 1821, at Little Britain, Orange County, New York.

At the age of twenty-one he received about $1,700 and prospected nearly two years in the southern and western parts of the United States, searching for a spot to locate that exactly pleased him.

Much seeking and much territory of varied attractions only confused his preconceived ideas, and at last, in June, 1844, he invested his money in a large tract of Government land in Cannon Township, and pitched his tent.

He at one time was probably the wealthiest farmer in Kent County.

He served his township in various official positions.

William S. Johnson was born in Norfolk, England, May 8, 1830.

He was reared on Old England's soil until eighteen years old, at which time he and his brother, Matthew, ventured across the wide Atlantic.

He lived in Orleans County, New York, until 1852, when he came to Solon Township, Kent County, and entered eighty acres of land.

He was one of the organizers of Solon and served as its treasurer six years.

He cleared up a farm there, and in 1873 removed to Cannon Township, where he served as township treasurer and also as supervisor.

Willis Young was born in Cannon Township, April 3, 1858, and was the second son of William C. Young, mentioned herein.

He passed his childhood days on the home farm, and his education was acquired primarily in the common schools until in 1875, 1877 and 1879, in which years he attended the State Normal School at Ypsilanti.

Farming was always his chief occupation.