Sherman, being the oldest village in the county, naturally comes first in historical order.

In 1869 Sanford Gasser had that portion of the south half of the southeast quarter of section 36, in town 24, north of range 12 W., lying east of the Manistee River, planted and gave it the name of the village of Sherman.

The place at that time contained but one house and one business place, a grocery kept by Louis J. Clark.

The village being at the corner of four townships, though situated in only one of them, there was one other house near the corner of the village, owned and occupied by Dr. John Kerry, as he was familiarly called, though it was a mystery how he came to be called Dr., unless it was because he owned a set of “turn-keys” (the usual instrument for pulling teeth in those days) and occasionally pulled a tooth for an afflicted pioneer.

At all events he was the first doctor in the county and also the first postmaster at Sherman.

He also built the second sawmill in the county on the stream now known as Coles Creek, 1 mile east of the village.

This he operated for about a year after which he sold it to H. B. Sturdevant.

When Sherman was made the county seat by the act organizing the county, quite a building boom was inaugurated.

L. P.  Champenour, the first county clerk, J. H. Wheeler, the first county treasurer, and T. A. Ferguson, the first resident prosecuting attorney, each erected houses in the summer of 1869.

Maqueston Brothers also had a large store erected, as elsewhere noted.

There were several other buildings erected during that summer, and there began to be quite a village in fact as well as in name.

A change of postmasters took place in 1869, L. J. Clark succeeding Mr. Perry, since which time the following persons have had the office in the order named: B. W. Stewart, J. S. Walling, C. E. Cooper, H. B. Sturdevant, H. F. Campbell, J. H. Wheeler, I. N. Carpenter, E. W. Wheeler, Mabel Ramsey, L. P. Champenois and the present incumbent, R. D. Frederick, proprietor of the Sherman pioneer.

The office is now the third in points of business in the county, Cadillac and Manton being the first and second in order named.

It soon developed that locations on lands adjoining the Village plat were more desirable for residence purposes than those platted, and the larger portion of the village has been built upon on platted lands.

In 1882 eight track of land in the northeast corner of section 1 in Springville Township was planted as Crippin's addition to Sherman and nearly all of these lots are now occupied.

The village was situated on the Newaygo and Northport State Road and near the Manistee River, the distance to the river being less than half a mile in a western direction and little more than three fourths of a mile to the north.

When the work of clearing the river for running logs had been completed and lumbering operations were extended up the river to extensive fine for us a little east of the village, Sherman was on the direct line between Manistee and lumber camps, and this fact coupled with the fact that it was almost impossible to haul supplies all the way from Manistee, gave the merchants of Sherman a very large and lucrative trade.

Occasionally some job or would run behind and leave the store keepers with bad debts on their hands, but these failures were very few and not of a serious nature.

Sherman had the honor of having the first newspaper published in the county, the Wexford County Pioneer, owned and edited by C. E. Cooper and A. W. Tucker.

After running the paper together a few years Mr. Tucker sold out his interests to Mr. Cooper, who continued in control until 1877, when he sold it to C. S. Marr, who conducted it for a little more than a year.

It then went into the hands of H. F. Campbell and J. H. Wheeler, where it remained until January 1880, when Mr. Campbell sold his interest to Mr. Wheeler, who thus became the sole owner.

Mr. Wheeler published the paper for 12 years, at the end of which time he sold it to R. D. Frederick, who still retains it. In politics it has always been Republican, though efforts were made at one time to make it a greenback paper, and at another to purchase it and make it democratic.

The first business venture where Sherman now stands was made by Louis J. Clark, who built a small framed building and put in a small stock of goods suitable for a new country trade.

This building was erected in the summer of 1868, and was the first frame structure of any kind built on the south side of the Manistee River in the county.

The first hotel was started by Sylvester Clerk in a log building that was originally put up by the man who homesteaded the land on which the village was platted.

When this land was first located as a homestead, there was not even a highway south of the river.

The State Road had been chopped out, but not cleared for travel and roads made by the few settlers on the south side of the river wound around through the woods where ever they could be made passable.

It was not until after the organization of the county that work out stumping and grading the state road was completed.

It is not much wonder, therefore, that the first man to settle on this piece of land should have got home sick and abandoned it.

Soon after the hotel was started a frame edition was put up and for at least two years it was the only hotel in the village.

The original log part of this relic of pioneer days still stands, though long since been enclosed with lumber to give it the appearance of a frame building.

The first term of the Circuit Court for the County was held in this same building, as was also the first meeting of the board of supervisors.

The first lawyer to locate and Sherman, aside from T. A. Ferguson, who was appointed prosecuting attorney soon after the county was organized, was E. W. Stewart, who located in the village in 1870. The first resident preacher was Jonas Denton, who arrived in 1871.

The first practicing physician was H. D. Griswold, who located in the village in 1872.

Mr. Denton organized the first Congregational Church in 1872 and his work was taken up by Rev. R. Redeoff in 1873, through whose efforts a church edifice was erected in 1874 and dedicated October 11 of that year.

Mr. Redeoff was pastor of the church until 1877, when he removed to Rockford, Michigan, remaining there several years.

Returning to Sherman in 1880 he resumed his pastoral work and continued to serve the church for 17 years, making 21 years service in all.

During his absence the pulpit was filled by Rev. William P. Esler the first year and by Rev. J. W. Young guy next to years.

Mr. Young was ordained at Sherman July 2, 1878.

The pastor is Rev. A. Bentall, whose work commenced in October, 1899.

Mr. Bentall was also ordained and Sherman Church in May, 1902.

The Methodist Episcopal Church society was organized in 1870 and preaching services were held one in two weeks by Rev. Thomas Clayton.

At the conference held that year Rev. A. L. Thurston was a sign this work, often traveling 16 miles through rain and snow, heat and cold, from his homestead in Selma Township, to fill his appointments.

The next year Rev. John Hall was designated as “supply” for the Sherman charge, and in 1872 the site secured its first resident minister, Rev. W. R. Stinchcomb.

Preaching services were held each alternate Sunday in conjunction with the Congregational site, first in the schoolhouse until the Congregational Church was built, then in the church part of the time and a part of the time in the courthouse until the year 1881, when they built a house of worship.

This was in large and somewhat remodeled in 1897, giving it a much greater seating capacity and greatly improved in its appearance.

When the village of Sherman was platted there was no road to the West leading to Fletcher Gristmill, as such a road would require the bridging of the Manistee River, consequently it those living on the south side of the river were obliged to come to Sherman and follow the state road nearly 2 miles north and then go west and south to the mill, making the trip nearly 4 miles longer than it would be if they could go directly west from Sherman.

In 1872 the board of supervisors made an appropriation to aid the construction of a bridge over the River west of the village and the new route to the Gristmill was opened up, much to the gratification of the settlers living south and east of Sherman.

The constant increase of settlers in the county and the ever increasing area of cultivated land soon taxed the capacity of the little Gristmill on the Fletcher Creek beyond its limit, and large quantities of grain had to be sent to Traverse City for milling.

Several efforts were made by the people of Sherman to induce someone to put up a good gristing mall near that village, and finally a couple of gentlemen of Clam Lake, named Shackleton and Bennett, were induced to undertake the work.

A suitable building was to be arrested by the citizens of Sherman and donated to these gentlemen on condition that they would put in the necessary machinery and operate it.

The mill was built in the fall of 1876, J. H. Wheeler having the contract for the building and the damn been put in but W. E. Dean and Daniel Baldwin.

The machinery was furnished and placed in position by Butterworth & Lowe, of Grand Rapids.

The mill was 40 by 50 feet in size and three stories high, with a capacity of 250 or 300 bushels of grain per day.

Under charge of Mr. Bennett who was a practical Miller, having learned his trade in Scotland, the male proof of inestimable value to the farmers, not only a large share of those in Wexford County, but a goodly number of those living in the southern tier of townships of Grand Traverse County and in the northeastern part of Manistee County.

Early in 1878 the mill burned down, which so discouraged the proprietors that they sold the property to I. H. Maqueston, who was just then closing out his mercantile business in the bill each preparatory to remove to the city of New York.

This purchase changed his whole business career, as he commenced at once to build the mill, putting up a better and more commodious structure than the one that burned down and equipping it with the most improved appliances for a custom and merchant mill.

He restocked his large store and was active and liberal in everything that tended to the development of the village and the farming interest surrounding it.

One of the monuments to his memory and generosity swings in the belfry of the Congregational Church in Sherman, being a fine bell, costing $250, donated by him to the church.

And untimely death overtook him in March, 1866.

It was on Sunday and an alarm of fire had called out the villagers, the fire being in a house near the center of the village.

Mr. Maqueston energetically joined in the efforts to subdue the flames, which attempt in a short time proved successful.

He then went to his hotel for dinner, after which he went to his store, as was his custom Sunday afternoons, for a nap.

And our or so later someone wishing to see him went to the store and called to him but without response.

At length the door was forced open and he was found lying on one of the counters dead.

The sad news spread through the village like wildfire and a throng of people hastened to the store to see for themselves if the report was true.

The shock was great to the community, and the loss equally so.

The remains were sent to New York for burial, as a mark of respect and keen sorrow, nearly the whole village followed the hearse to Manson, 16 miles distant, where his lifeless form was taken on its last journey eastward.

In 1887 and act was passed by the Legislature granting a charter to the village, and the first village election was held on the fifth day of May, 1887.

One of the principal objects in securing the charter was to enable the village to issue bonds for the purpose of securing the Toledo, Ann Arbor & Northern Michigan Railroad, which was then being pushed from Harrietta on to Frankfurt.

The bonds were issued and delivered to the railroad company, but owing to a decision of the Supreme Court of the State just prior to that time had found difficulties in negotiating them, and they were finally returned to the village authorities.

The result was that the proposed “spur” was never built, although it has appeared on the county atlas for the past 12 years.

The failure to get this railroad connection was another severe low to Sherman, as it made possible the building up of another trading point, the village of Mesick, fast dividing the business which should have all gone to one town to have made it grow and prosper.

By a recent action of the village it hasn't been voted to issue if bonds for $5000 with which to grade a street through the village.

This has been done in the interests of the Manistee & Northeastern railroad, which now proposes to build a line running within the corporate limits of the village.

If this plan succeeds Sherman will continue to be the largest village in the northwestern part of the county, but will never be what it would have been had it secured connection with the Ann Arbor Railroad when that road first pass through the county.

After the county seat left Sherman the courthouse was purchased by the school district and by a few changes was converted into a very convenient school building.

The school attendance had increased to such an extent that it became necessary as early as 1887 to employ three teachers, and in 1896 it was formally made a graded school.

The village now has a population of about 500, has three large general stores, three hotels, two hardware stores, two drugstores, two blacksmith shops, two churches, one large flouring mill, two grocery stores, besides a bank, a millinery store, saw and planing mill, saloon and other necessary adjuncts to a modern village.

It is situated on the table land, some 80 or 100 feet above the Manistee River, and is surrounded by one of the very best agricultural districts in the country.

In 1897 the Ann Arbor Railroad built a spur (or rather the people of Sherman build it and presented it to railroad company) which came within a mile of Sherman to the west, where a little bird has sprung up sometimes called West Sherman, and sometimes Claggetville, from Clagget, the name of the man whose interest spurt was built, and who erected in a large stave and heading mill, with dry kiln fan story and sheds, the entire plant and yards covering several acres of ground.

This plan has always been operated from Sherman, the proprietors and many of the laborers living in that village.

The place has grown to be a great shipping point for potatoes, wheat, lumber and logs, and all freight for Sherman in car lots is unloaded at this point.

The officials of the railroad are now contemplating the erection of a station on the spur, so that all freight and railroad business for Sherman may be done there instead of going to Mesick, nearly 3 miles distant.

The first secret society organized in Sherman was Powhattan Tribe number 12, improved order of Red Men.

This was a benevolent and social organization, afterwards taking up the life-insurance idea so prevalent now with nearly all secret orders.

This drive was instituted through the efforts of C. S. Marr, a young attorney who had then just entered upon the practice of law and had located in Sherman in the spring of 1876.

The organization was perfected in May of that year and florist for a number of years, some of its members being prominently identified with the great Council of the state and the United States.

One of its members, J. H. Wheeler, served one term as great sachem of the great Council of the state and was representative of the state and the great Council of the United States at three of its annual sessions, one at Philadelphia, one at Atlantic City and one at Springfield, Illinois.

This order took its name and much of its ritualistic wear from the aborigines of the country, its officers being sachem, prophet, sagamore, chief of records, keeper of wampum, etc., and its candidates for admission, pale faces, and its members, warriors.

Its ceremonial work was unique and impressive, and was pronounced by those competent to judge as superior to that of many of the older orders.

It is a little strange that a branch up such an order should not have succeeded in Sherman when they order at large has been constantly growing and counts its membership in the United States by the tens of thousands, but the average American is always looking for something new and novel and with the coming of the Grange, the Odd Fellows, the Masons and other secret orders the old love was cast off for the new in many instances, and this, with the death and removal of some of the prominent workers in the tribe, caused its ranks to grow so thin that at last it resolved to surrender its charter, which it did in 1888.

The Patrons of Husbandry was the next order to establish a branch in Sherman, which was done in February, 1877.

This branch was known as Sherman Grange number 632, and also had a large membership and regular attendance for a number of years, but at last, like its predecessor, the Red Men, it folded its tents and disappeared.

Next came the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, under the title of Sherman Lodge number 336, which was instituted in March, 1880.

This logic is still in a worsening condition, and now has its auxiliary Rebekas.

The Lodge owns its own hall and has a good membership.

The. A. Ferguson Post number 2 to 6, Grand Army of the Republic, was the next to perfect an organization in Sherman, the date being March 4, 1884.

The name has since been changed to “Abram Finch Post,” in honor of an old soldier who located a homestead on section 12, in Springville Township, and who died about the time the county was organized.

As none but ask soldiers of the War of the Rebellion can belong to this order its ranks are nearly growing thinner and it too will ere long be but a memory.

It has been the inspiration of many observations of the beautiful Memorial Day exercises of the order and for those alone its passing will sadden the hearts of many who have witnessed these heart-felt tributes to fallen comrades in arms.

The work of instituting a Lodge of free and accepted Masons was undertaken in 1884 and a dispensation secured as the preliminary step to organization, which in due course of time was affected.

It has had a steady and continuous growth, not withstanding the fact that the charter membership was that much tabooed number 13, and now has 100 members in good standing.

It owns the entire second story of the E. Gilbert store building which is divided into large rooms, ante rooms, kitchen and dining room, all tastefully fitted and well furnished.

An auxiliary Eastern Star was organized several years ago and now has a number ship of 81.

As the years passed organizations multiplied and there is now Masqueston Tent NO. 654, Knights of the Maccabees; Sherman Lodge number 212, Knights of Pythias; Sherman camp number 5514, Modern Woodmen of America.

For a number of years the Good Templars kept an organization, and the Women’s Christian and Temperance Union have for many years had an organization in the village and also a county organization.

An old saying that “Blessed be nothing” can well be quoted by Sherman just now, as it has no lawyer.

While the county seat remained there it always had one, generally two and sometimes three lawyers, and they all lived, therefore the people had to support them.

Since the county seat was removed, the village has been without a lawyer most of the time, and there was very little litigation, for it took money and time to go to Cadillac to see a lawyer, and time nearly always had such a cooling effect on the angry, would-be litigant, that it's better manhood asserted itself, and those many a lawsuit was avoided and much useless expense prevented.

Of doctors there have nearly always been two for the past 20 years, and sometimes three or four; at the present time there are two: Dr. E. A. McManus and Dr. D. L. Rose. In other professional callings may be found S. Gasser, real estate dealer; R. D. Frederick, insurance agent; J. H. Glover, photographer, and A.S. Moreland & Son, bankers.

Written by Perry F. Powers in 1912 in the book "A History of Northern Michigan".

Wexford County Historical Society