OTISCO, Michigan.
Composed of towns 7 and 8 N., R. 8 W., was organized by act of Legislature in 1835. The first town meeting was held at the house of Ambrose Spencer. There are no records of the meeting in existence. From the memory of individuals is gathered, that  John L. Morse was elected supervisor; R. R. Cook, clerk; Geo. W. Dickenson and H. Horton, justices.
In 1836, five men - Daniel Horton, Nathaniel Horton, Geo. W. Dickinson, Patrick Kelly, and Monson Seely, pushed several miles beyond the bounds of civilization; and, delighted with the appearance of the region, shouted "Eureka!" As neither of them had “college larnin," it is not certain where they got so much Greek. They had been told it was Indian for “Bunkum”, but that was an imposition. It means, “I have found it." So the historian was told by a college student, who was airing himself on a vacation, and  displaying his knowledge before us - a lot of country rustics - and a college student ought to know. He said that Demosthenes, king of Ethiopia, suspected that he had been cheated by the one who made his crown, and that it was not pure gold. He carried it to Hydrocephalus, his principal wise man, and desired him to ascertain if the base metals had been mingled with the gold of the kingly crown. Hydrocephalus long pondered, but scratched his woolly pate in vain. The idea would not come.
But one day - weary, dirty and dejected - he thought to refresh himself with a bath. He ordered his slaves to fill the trough, and laid himself therein. He observed that as he descended into the water the water rose. An idea now flashed into his mind; he could solve the problem of the crown. He leaped from the bath, and without waiting to put on even a figleaf, ran through the streets of Babylon, shouting," Eureka! Eureka!!
Not exactly so with our explorers. With them it meant "Good, A, No. 1;" and their judgment has been respected until the present day.
Of course they pre-empted land, put them up huts, cut down trees, and made an opening. From their report, it was bruited far and near that "Otisco Plains" was the promised land; and the same year, Rufus R. Cook, Abdel Adgate, John L. Morse and Amos H. Russell came on to see-saw, and stayed. They, in turn, told of Otisco; and the filling up was rapid. Soon Otisco had no land to spare.
Of those coming in 1837 and '8, we are able to give the names of Ambrose Spencer, Charles Broas, Volney Belding, Thomas Stocking, William Russell, Edward Ingalls, John
Shaw, Tiberius Belding, Joseph Fisk, Charles H. Morse, John L. Morse, Robert W. Davis, Loring Benedict, Alonzo Vaughn, Paul Hewitt, James Moon, Moses Collins, Alvin Moe, Gilbert Caswell.
There was everything to invite the settler, and its settlement was more rapid than of any other rural town in the Grand River Valley. This was in a great measure owing to the fact that it was little work comparatively to subdue the "Burr Oak Plains."
The original occupants "squatted" on their land, before it was in the market. They, and the other squatters in Ionia County, banded themselves together by an alliance, offensive and defensive, against that abomination of the settler – the speculator; and swore by the beard of Nebuchadnezzar to wreak summary vengeance on the reprobate, who should dare bid on their pre-emptions. One graceless fellow, not having the fear of God or squatter before his eyes, did bid; and the last seen of him, he was all heels; going from Ionia like a streak of blue lightning; a yelling, infuriated score of squatters raising a, cloud of dust in his wake. He went back East, very much disgusted with Ionia county.
The first marriages were those of Ambrose Spencer and Evelina Melvin, of Ionia, consummated in Ionia; and that of Asa Palmer and Rosa McDonald, by N. Horton, Justice of the Peace.
The first birth was a daughter to Arnos Russell, (now Mrs. Fales, of Kendallville). The first male child born in Otisco, was the since Senator A. B. Morse.
Otisco, did not long escape the notice of those energetic scouts-the Methodists. While the Episcopalians hold the fortresses, the Presbyterians and Congregationalists do battle in the open field, and the Baptists valiantly defend the coasts and rivers, the Methodists are scouting and skirmishing, wherever there is a lurking enemy, or a single soul in danger.
The first who found a few souls in Otisco was the Rev. Mr. Frieze, who was appointed by the Ohio Conference to patrol from Grandville to, Otisco, and manfully he did it. On foot, he traversed the region. He felt that souls were of infinite worth, and, willing to sacrifice self, he, unwearied and unflagging, gave himself to his mission. His first sermon was at the house of Munson Seely. Think of it, ye dainty preachers who have taker up the trade to get a living; think of these devoted servants of Jesus, who preached Jesus in log-cabins or under trees, unpaid, except by the still whisperings of a voice within, which said, "It is my master's work; I will glory in doing it." With portmanteau on his arm, as he is  wending his way from station to station, the forest will echo with his song:

"And shall I shrink to bear the cross?
He bore the cross for me."

Floundering at night in a swamp, or lost from the trail his soul still clings to the "promises;" and, wearied in body, he meets those to whom he bears his message as the ambassador of heaven to lost and sinful souls.
Those pioneer Methodists, like Frieze, were no silk stocking gentry, who, standing in cushioned pulpit, will gracefully close their eyes and address a beautiful player to an admiring congregation. No, like Jacob, they wrestled with the almighty, and would not let him go. They had no quartet to whom was delegated the singing. They sung because their burning souls must pour themselves in song. The people listened, not to be entertained by a finished sermon, but as sinners, welcoming the message of salvation. Those were the times when the preacher was heard; when they believed what was preached and when there was a welcome to those who brought good tidings to the sin-sick soul, longing for peace. Alas! Methodism is not what it was; and hense its waning power.

The first to "pass over Jordan" in Otisco, were Clarissa Fisk in June, 1841, and Eliza Stocking at about the same time.
In the cemetery at Cook's Corners, may be found a reminder of how strong are the bonds holding together an aged couple, who were married not to be divorced even by death. Of such it is no uncommon thing, "that one in life they are one in death." These are the monuments "Dea. Dimmick Ellis, aged 81," and his wife lies by his side, hiving survived three weeks.  Again, in the same cemetery e find Noah and Nancy Rich, dying the same year. Often, full often, is it seen that it breaks the heart-strings when the companion of long, long years, is taken away. Earth affords no anchorage. The lone one languishes a day, a week, or a year, and rejoins the lost one. The first persons the writer ever saw buried, were an aged man and his wife, in one broad grave. Forty years from that time, their son and his wife mere buried in the same manner. Perhaps there are few cemeteries that do not tell the same story - an old couple who were one in soul, and all to each other.
And since we are in Otisco cemetery, and thinking of wedded life, we will look at the monuments of Alva and Jane Moe, where one survived the other twenty-eight days. We are glad to record any evidences that people have souls.

But we will come back to these pioneers:
Daniel Horton, removed to Iowa, 1850, where he and his little boy were drowned while crossing a river.
Nathanial Horton, left for Iowa at about the same time.
George W. Dickenson, lives at Grand Rapids.
Patrick Kelly came with Dickinson as a hired man - a good-hearted Irishman. He made a good farm for himself and a good name. He now lives in Orleans.