The present township of Berlin was organized. March 6, 1838, as the township of Cass, and included townships 5 and 6 north, in range 7 west, the west halves of townships 5 and 6 north, in range 6 west, and all that portion of the west halves of township 7 north, in range 6 west, and township 7 north, in range 7 west, lying south of Grand river.

Cass township was christened by Alonzo Sessions as a mark of honor for Lewis Cass, then a conspicuous statesman, and in recognition, moreover, of the Democratic tendency of the age. On February 16, 1842, the name of the township was changed from Cass to Berlin.

On March 19, 1845, the west halves of townships 5 and 6 north, in range 6 west, was apportioned respectively to the townships of Sebewa and Orange.

On March 25, 1846, township 5 north, in range 7 west, was organized as Odessa, and on March 22, 1848, that portion of township 7 north, in range 6 west, lying south of the Grand river was apportioned to Ionia.

These changes left to Berlin the six miles square of township 6 north, in range 7 west, and all that portion of township 7 north, in range 7 west, lying south of the Grand river, that being the territory now included in the township

At the first township meeting in Cass township, held in the house of William Babcock, April 2, 1838, John E. Morrison was chosen moderator and William S. Babcock, clerk.

The officials chosen were, Alonzo Sessions, supervisor; John E. Morrison, clerk; W. B. Lincoln, Levi Taylor and C. R. Bickford, assessors; Lucius Babcock, R. W. Stephens and William Reed, commissioners of highways; John Taft, collector and constable; John Taft, James Hurlbut, Silas D. Arnold and Amos B. Bliss, constables; John E. Morrison, Job S. Sessions and William S. Babcock, school inspectors; Reuben W. Stephens and William Babcock, directors of the poor; Alonzo Sessions, John E. Morrison, Philo B<ites and W. B. Lincoln, justices of the peace.

Overseers of highways clo not appear to have been chosen until the annual meeting in 1839, when Oliver Arnold was elected for district No. 1, Alonzo Sessions for No. 2, E. K. Bigford for No. 3, John Taft for No. 4, Lucius Babcock for No. 5 and Nathaniel Pierce for No. 6.

That portion of Berlin township lying nearest the river, and included within township 7 north, range 7 west, engaged the attention of land-lookers as early as 1833, and because of the general desire of the first-comers to keep within hailing distance of the Grand river, then a highway of traffic, coupled, perhaps, with the opinion that land thereabout was a little better than land in the more remote interior, the river district was in a fair state of development by the time the central and southern portions of the township heard the first notes of the woodman's axe.

The region lying upon both sides of the Bellevue road, which divide Ionia and Berlin, was likewise a favored locality, and, beginning to grow in population almost as soon as the township took its first step forward, advanced materially in that respect when the Bellevue road was pushed through and offered the luxury of a thoroughfare worthy of such a name.

The first land entry in the present township of Berlin was probably made in July, 1833, by John E. Morrison, who was likewise the first person to make a settlement in the township.

The land he entered occupies the northeast corner of the township, upon section 25, in township 7, and lies upon the river.

Mr. Morrison penetrated into Oakland county, Michigan, in 1824, and after nine years experience as a pioneer in that locality was dissatisfied with the progress he had made.

Conceiving that better land could be found farther westward, he determined to investigate the matter and endeavored to impress some of his neighbors with similar sentiments.

His efforts in that direction were, however, unavailing.

They declared themselves suited with what they had, and intimated to Morrison that he had better remain content or it might be worse for him.

Young Morrison was, however, not to be dissuaded, and, in July, 1833, set out alone on horseback over the old Indian trail from Pontiac, bound west.

In narrating that portion of his Michigan experience, Mr. Morrison remarked that he was more determined than ever to push his project since others opposed it.

He added, with a glow of satisfaction, that he never "backed out" of any enterprise into which he entered, although he would have backed out in 1849, when, on a tour across the plains to California, he was taken sick and felt sure that he would die.

He had to stick, however, because there was no help for it.

As he expected, he did find better land farther west, and in section 25, as earlier noticed, he chose a farm to his liking.

He hastened back to Oakland county for his family and, returning in the fall with his wife and little ones, found that he had already got a neighbor in Oliver Arnold, a blacksmith, who was living on the south bank of the Grand river, in what is now Ionia township, having come out with the Dexter colony.

Morrison lodged his family with Mr. Arnold until he could prepare a habitation of his own, and when they began life in their own cabin they felt, no doubt, a deal of comfort and satisfaction at first, although, to recollect afterwards, Mr. Morrison thought there must have been precious little to be thankful for.

However, he set himself sturdily to work, and pushed aside with vigorous arm the jagged edges and tough knots that faced him in his pioneer's progress until he began directly to reap the reward of his toil in improved property, comfort and conveniences.

Although Mr. Morrison was for nearly two years the only settler in Berlin township, and lived upon the fringe of an unbroken wilderness, he was not entirely out of the world of civilization, for there was his neighbor Arnold close by, and just over the river was the little community at Samuel Dexter's village of Ionia, the county seat, so that he was not quite so lonesome or isolated as he might have been.

In 1835, he put out a half-bushel of apple seed that came from Ohio, and from the orchard that followed he supplied many customers with trees.

He therefore not only planted the first orchard, but raised, likewise, the first crop of wheat, in the town.

For his first wheat he got two dollars a bushel, and for his first potatoes a similar price, although these figures were exceptional and must have been realized as the result of an emergency.

George Hosford, who later lived on section 25, in township 7, was among the early comers to Ionia county and at a very early day worked for Mr. Morrison in Berlin, so that he may be strictly regarded as having been a pioneer of the front rank, although not an actual settler in Berlin township until the township was pretty well populated.

Mr, Morrison resided later in Ionia township, on the south side of the river, but not far from the place of his first settlement in Berlin.

He was prominent in county history, not only as the first county treasurer, first clerk of Ionia township and first clerk of Cass, but as a surveyor of many of the county's earliest highways.

He was something of a wanderer, too.

He joined the army of California gold-seekers in 1849, lingered awhile in Texas, and lived two years in Tennessee, but Michigan proved his best love, and to Michigan he returned to find rest for the soles of his feet and a home that would remain his as long as he needed one on earth.

Alonzo Sessions, for many years a prominent citizen not only of Berlin township, but of Michigan, entered the forests of the township as a permanent settler, in company with his brother Job, with whom he had, in October, 1833, traveled from western New York to Ionia county on a land-looking expedition, and on foot made the tour from Detroit to Ionia.

Raw pork and dry bread comprised their diet, and the forest their lodging-place, when night happened to overtake them.

Being suited with the land lying in the northern portion of what was later known as the township of Berlin, they made selections, and at once pushed on to the White Pigeon land office, where they made their entries.

Much however, as the brothers desired to begin the actual experience of a settler's life, they were compelled to await a more favorable opportunity, for to buy land would have taken all their money, and without some spare cash to sustain them until their land might yield its products, they cared not to undertake the roles of pioneers.

So to earn money, Alonzo taught school in Ohio, while Job worked as a farm hand in Michigan.

Their pay was meager, and it was not until after the lapse of two years that they found themselves with a sufficient wealth to make even a beginning.

They were, however, ambitious to make a start, and that start, it may be well to observe, they followed with such effective efforts that fame and fortune were not slow in being overtaken by them upon the journey.

Alonzo Sessions traveled from Dayton, Ohio, with two horses, one of which carried him, while the other carried two trunks.

His own account of the trip thus tells the story:

"Traveling northward along the Miami river, and frequently fording it, I soon entered a dense and nearly"unbroken wilderness where there was only here and there a settler.

In places there were no roads and scarcely a trail.

It was raining daily, and every river, creek or bayou was full to overflowing.

Many of the latter were more difficult to cross than the rivers, being more swollen and muddy.

In places, canoes were found at crossings, but more frequently I crossed on the back of one horse while leading the other.

In this way I progressed to Defiance, several times swimming rivers.

At Defiance my troubles and dangers were not ended.

The only -one way to get into Michigan then was to go down the river from Defiance, by way of Perrysburg, and there were swollen creeks, without bridges, in abundance.

From Perrysburg I rode to Ypsilanti, where I met my brother and left my trunks.

From that point we proceeded in company on horseback to Ionia, where we arrived on June n.

Without delay, the two brothers began work upon their Berlin lands, near which they found that John E. Morrison had already established himself.

They got along- so briskly that in September of that year they sowed ten acres with wheat.

In November, 1835, Alonzo Sessions built a log cabin, the second in the township, and in 1837 he married the daughter of Samuel Dexter, the Ionia pioneer.

During' that year he built the first frame barn known in Berlin township, although a frame house had been put up by Elisha Doty before that time.

Alonzo Sessions, still a dweller upon the land he cleared in 1835, was long in public life.

He commenced his services in 1836, when he was chosen justice of the peace.

In 1838, he was elected supervisor of Cass township and in that office served nineteen terms, besides occupying other local trusts, while for eight terms he was chairman of the board of supervisors.

In 1840 he was elected sheriff, and, entering the state Legislature in 1856, remained there until 1862.

From i860 to 1864 he was internal revenue assessor, having been president of the First National Bank of Ionia from 1866 to the eighties.

He was presidential elector in 1872, and in 1876 was called to be lieutenant-governor of Michigan.

Mr. Session's trifling bit of wild land of 1833 had materially expanded in breadth and length, and, although he had taken from it several farms for the benefit of purchasers, there still remained in the later years of his life a tract of about a thousand acres.

Job Sessions, less conspicuous in Ionia county history than his brother Alonzo, performed most excellent pioneer work in Berlin township.

He cleared two farms and, having done that much, changed his residence to Spring Lake.

The Sessions brothers and John E. Morrison were the only ones in the township for fully a year.

In 1836 there was an important influx of settlers, among whom were William Babcock, Amasa Sessions, Zophar Alderman, William Elvert, William Reed, Elisha Doty and his three sons.

William Babcock and Philo Bates made large purchases on lands on the Bellevue road, in the townships later called Ionia, Berlin and Orange.

In the division of their purchases, the Berlin land was taken by Babcock, and, although he had a small regiment of sons, he bought land enough to give a farm to each of the boys.

Bates and Babcock brought out two hired men, Moses Narsh and Benjamin B. Brand, each of whom became a settler in short order.

These men, with Babcock's sons, gave great assistance to Bates and Babcock in pushing matters forward, and as a consequence there were soon nice-looking farms on either side of the Bellevue roads.

William Babcock died in Ionia in 1871, at the age of eighty-eight. Amasa Sessions made his home on section 3 and, after a hardy campaign as a subduer of the forest, collected his bountiful substance and retired to Ionia.

William Reed lived on section 3 and, save for the fact that he was exceedingly poor, was not conspicuous.

Late in life he was killed in an altercation with a farm tenant.

Reed put up his log cabin on a Sunday and went over into Easton to get some lumber to cover it.

The lumber he found at Mason Hearsey's mill, but he had to assist Hearsey in sawTing it, and afterwards paddled it across the river in a canoe a few boards at a time.

On October 4, 1836, Reed and Alonzo Sessions set out with ox-teams for a trip eastward in search of provisions, and for a good share of the way to Lyons had to cut out the road.

Elisha Doty, who built the first frame house in Berlin, lived on the river road.

Zophar Alderman, like a majority of Michigan pioneers, was poor.

He bought eighty acres of land on section 36 and, besides a wife and eight children, could boast only a yoke of oxen and two cows among his possessions.

The older boys and the old man improved every shining moment by working early and late in the woods.

When a few dollars had to be raised for taxes, they worked for anybody willing to pay money; for money of their own they had none, and had no means of acquiring it except by labor for others.

Alderman is remembered as the man who wore a pair of shirts two years and so patched them from the time to time that at the end of two years it was found quite difficult to trace the presence of any of the original material.

Alderman was always eager to get road contracts, for they meant cash, and cash was one of the hardest things to get; indeed, there was scarcely any plan that would bring cash except the business of working out non-resident taxes.

So desperate was the competition among the settlers to get road contracts that by dint of hardest labor they would yield, as a return for the work of a man and yoke of cattle, twenty-five cents a day.

Twenty-five cents in actual money meant something however, something more, indeed, than a wagon-load of wheat'; for there were times when a wagon-load of wheat even could not command tweiity-five cents in cash.

It was store-pay or no pay at all.

Alderman was the first settler upon section 36, and William Elvert, the second.

The next comer to that section was Edward Butler, in 1840.

Thomas Butler, son of Edward, related, as below, his recollections of pioneering.

Thomas Butler moved into this county from the township of Henrietta, Monroe county, New York, with his father, Edward Butler, who settled in Berlin township, then called Cass, and Thomas was at the time, November, 1840, nearly fourteen years of age.

He helped clear tip his father's farm until 1871, when the elder Butler was killed by a runaway team.

He was then seventy-one years of age.

Thomas later resided on section 14.

He wrote thus:

"We came up the Erie canal, thence by steamboat on Lake Erie to Detroit; there we bought a yoke of oxen, and came by the road through the woods and mud. We were nine days coming from Detroit.

We traveled two nights, there being no place to stay, the people being all sick on the way with fever and ague.

We came in by what was then called the White Lake road, by Pontiac, Shiawasee, Portland and Lyons, to our place of destination, where the people seemed overjoyed to see a new settler.

We went right to work, built a log house and moved into it, chopped ten acres the next spring, cleared it all off, and got it into crops with our own labor.

I think we enjoyed ourselves very well then, since we occasionally had a good deer-hunt and several other amusements, such as fighting mosquitoes and rattlesnakes and hunting cattle, hardly ever coming in without them/although they sometimes traveled far.

We would be belated into the night, so that the neighbors would have to resort to the blowing of horns and the firing of guns that we might find our way out of the woods.

Edward Butler located his land in the fall of 1836.

He came to Kalamazoo and, the office there being closed, had to travel on foot through by the way of Yankee Springs and a place called Marsac's to Ionia, often having to ford or swim the streams, there being no bridges then.

He stayed at Ionia and helped build the old land office, boarding with Oliver Arnold/'

Nelson Beckwith, Robert F. Hall, Abraham Eddy, Reuben Stevens, John W. Young, Nathan and William Pierce, Lyman Simmons, Luke Howard and Julius Babcock came to the township in 1837.

Nelson Beckwith was burned to death in 1862.

Robert F. Hall, who lived alone in a shanty on section 6, was drowned while attempting to cross the Grand river.

How the calamity came upon him was never known.

His dead body was found floating down the stream and that was all the story told. Abraham Eddy lived an uneventful life, and died in 1875, agec* eighty-eight.

Dr. W. B. Lincoln, the first physician to practice in Ionia county, was an early settler in Berlin township, to which place he moved from Ionia village.

In 1838 the town enjoyed for the first time the luxury of a saw-mill within its borders.

E. K. Pickford built it on the small stream that passes through section 3, the millwright being Daniel S. Brownell.

Fire destroyed the structure, and the site, being purchased by William Reed of Doctor Lincoln for six sheep, was directly afterwards occupied by a second mill.

In 1839 George Mitchell made his home on a forty-acre tract in section 13.

He died in 1841 and, the place falling to the control of Curtis B., his son, the latter exchanged it in 1842 for a place on section 23, owned by William' Pierce.

Pierce himself had done no work there, but had hired Van Rensselaer Randall to clear five acres.

The year 1839 also witnessed the coming of George H. Coe,* David Woodruff and, a little latery Solomon Tanner.

Francis Humphreys, an Irishman, was one of the men of 1839, but in getting to the town gained more than his share of hazardous adventure.

He got as far as Bellevue and, there being forced to seek assistance in the matter of pushing himself, family and goods through the wilderness to Berlin, found help in one Peter Kinney, living north of Vermontville.

Humphreys had to make a nightjourney in search of Kinney, and en route was treed by wolves.

The beasts kept him upon his elevated perch until the next morning, when, benumbed with cold and half famished, he descended and made off for Kinney's.

Kinney undertook the job of getting Humphrey's family and goods to Bellevue for forty dollars and, with two pairs of oxen, tried it.

He was five days getting from Bellevue to Vermontville, but at, the latter point only commenced the real troubles of the situation.

In the language of an early historian, "the hardships of that journey were almost incredible—tugging through swamps, cutting out trees, getting across streams, in some instances being obliged to take the wagon apart and carry that and the load piecemeal across the swamp, often not making half a mile a day.

Snow fell during the time, and the cold, sleety storms caused suffering in addition to their exhausting labor.

Serenaded at night by wolves, tired, cold and wet, for five weeks they struggled on—and got through.

It cost Kinney his life, for he was so used up he never recovered."

Joshua Clark and his son, Edward, made settlements in 1842; Joseph Howard, in 1843; Henry P. Yates, William Letts, James M. Crane, Eleazur Murray and Nathan J. Crane, in 1845.

The Cranes were stonemasons, and, purchasing their lands of Alonzo Sessions, paid him part by laying stone walls, upon his farm.

In 1848, B. W. Backus came to Berlin township and bought some land on section 12. He chopped a year and then went back to New York, where he remained three years.

In 1852 he returned to Berlin and traded farms with Asa Houghton, south of him.

He lived on the Houghton place until 1879, when he got his old farm back.

When Mr. Backus came to the township, in 1848, he found already on the ground his neighbors, Lyman Simmons, William Pierce, William Letts ,and Gibbs McKnown.

In 1852, Elias Lillie, R. J. Curtiss, J. W. Loomis and Delos Walker came in a body as settlers, and in 1855 D. P. Aldric bought land on section 17, to which he moved in 1856.

Alanson Youngs had been on section 17 since 1854, and B. F. Hines since 1853.

He also found James Udell on section 18, and David Peck on the place later occupied by David Peck on the place later occupied by George Youngs, the latter having come to it in 1858.

South of Peck lake, settlements were slow.

Stephen Aldrich was on the northeast corner of section 30, and Lemuel H. Potter on section 29. Isaac Austin and Elias Lillie were on section 16, to which came also William O. Sible in 1857, and R. J. Curtiss and Rufus Aldrich, on section 21.

Berlin township had no postoffice until, perhaps, 1850, when the New Berlin postoffice was established and Alonzo Sessions appointed postmaster.

William Jones, his successor, retained possession until 1857, when the office was discontinued.

The resident taxpayers in Berlin in 1844 were: Silas Adgate, section 29, 40 acres; John Adgate, sections 29, 32, 120 acres; Oliver Arnold, section 19, 30, 190 acres; George C. Overhiser, sections 31, 30, 180 acres; Alonzo Sessions, administrator of estate of Philo Bates, sections, 5, 17, 28, 30, 32, 33, 1,253 acres; Eric Le Valley, section 32, 80 acres; Caspar Steigel, section 32, 80 acres; William Babcock, agent for Silas Wood, sections 33, 32, 50 acres; Samuel Babcock, personal; Levi Taylor, sections i, 6, 31, 245 acres; John Hull, section 19, 89 acres; Horace I. Hull, personal; Amos B. Bliss, section 19, 89 acres; John Housman, Sr., section 20, 200 acres; John Housman, Jr., section 20, 80 acres; Gideon C. Holcomb, section 20, 80 acres; Addison Bowman, section 20, 40 acres; Patrick Hackett, section 31, 80 acres; Peter Hackett, section 31, 100 acres; Lucius Babcock, sections 1, 17, 160 acres; Palmer H. Taylor, personal; William Winslow, section 35, 10 acres; John North, section 35, 40 acres; Joseph Howard, section 35, 80 acres; Joseph Babcock, section 36, 120 acres; Herman Babcock, sections 32, 36, 120 acres; John Woodruff, section 4, 80 acres; Benjamin Sage, section 4, 160 acres; Alexander Dalziel, section 5, 120 acres; Thomas I. Marsh, section 5, 200 acres; Reuben W. Stevens, section 36, 160 acres; B. D. Brand, sections 8, 17, 160 acres; William Babcock, sections 6, 1, 32, 555 acres; John K. Kneeland, section 2, 80 acres; Abram Eddy, section 2, 40 acres; Gardner Eddy, section 2, 40 acres; George H. Coe, section 3, 74 acres; David Woodruff, section 3, 40 acres; Alva Hill, section 3, 40 acres; Amasa Sessions, sections 3, 4, 21, 312 acres; David Hull, section 3, 80 acres; David Hull, mill-site; William Reed, section 3, 155 acres; Robert F. Hall, section 6, 460 acres; Joshua Wells, section 7, 85 acres; Nelson Beckwith, section 7, 160 acres; James Hunchlin, section 10, 160 acres; James Lincoln, section 11, 80 acres; Nathan S. Nichols, section 30, 80 acres; Alvinus Nichols, section 12, 80 acres; William Pierce, sections 13, 14, 23, 200 acres; Luke Harwood, sections 13, 14, 24, 120 acres; Winslow Eddy, section 14, 40 acres; John Foster, section 14, 80 acres; David Peck, sections 17, 19, 20, 243 acres; B. D. Weld, sections 32, 33, 320 acres; Asa Houghton, section 22, 80 acres; Eastman Russell, section 26, 40 acres; Emory Russell, section 27, 160 acres; Myron Tupper, section 27, 136 acres; H. H. Kibbey, section 27, 80 acres; Benjamin Tupper, sections 27, 28, 120 acres, Hiram S. Lee, section 33, 80 acres; John M. Evans, section 33, 80 acres; Reuben Haight, section 35, 105 acres; J. D. Hight, section 35, 80 acres.

In 1846 the votes cast numbered eighty-five.

The question of "license" being before the people, there was a vote of thirty-two against license and eleven for license.

The names of the eighty-five voters are: Palmer H. Taylor, Nathan J. Crane, John L. Taylor, Simeon Welch, James Fitch, C. T. Andrews, John W. Crane, Louden Andrews, Robert Barton, John Taft, Luke Harwood, Daniel Austin, Joseph M. Babcock, Ira Carpenter, Amasa Sessions, Samuel Randall, Henry Howlich, Eleazer Murray, Joseph H. Lincoln, S. Tanner, William D. Davis, Eric Le Valley, Nathan Hannah, Charles T. Babcock, Alva Hill, Alvin W. Nicholls, George Townsend, William Reed, John Doty, Job S. Sessions, George H. Coe, Chauncey Lincoln, William Doty, William Elvert, Joel Roberts, David Woodruff, Joshua Clark, Edward O. Clark, William Babcock, George D. Overhiser, Stephen M. Aidrich, Rufus W. Aldrich, E. M. Ware, Nelson Beckwith, Gordon Eddy, William R. Alderman, William Winslow, Oliver Beers, Joseph Cross, Abram Eddy, Jacob Bullman, Nathaniel Pierce, Rufus Smith, Francis Humphreys, Levi Taylor, William Barton, Chauncey F. Arnold, Almond Tefft, Joel Dean, Charles W. Fullington, Gilbert Crane, Oliver Arnold, C. B. Mitchell, Samuel M. Crane, John E. Morrison, James B. Cook, Javan Hall, Silas Adgate, Winslow Eddy, Alonzo Sessions, Robert Hannah, * Henry Stiles, C. C. H. Huggins, Philo Stevens, David Branson, Herman Babcock, Edward Butler, David Peck, James Barton, Jesse Taft, John Adgate, William B. Lincoln, Austin P. Ware, Nathan Nichols, Lucius Babcock.

The votes cast in 1849 numbered sixty-one.

The names of the voters were: N. J. Crane, Abram Eddy, Peleg Eddy, William Reed, Stephen M. Aldrich, Thomas Butler, Lucius Babcock, J. M. Babcock, Francis Humphreys, George Townsend, Luke Harwood, C. L. Babcock, D. Mitchell, Joshua Clark, Alonzo Sessions, William Babcock, H. P. Gates, Hiram Benjamin, Gilbert Crane, Alva Hill, James D. Tarbell, Samuel Randall, Sylvester Stevens, O. Hall, Siloam Stevens, W. Eddy, Joel Dean, Herman Babcock, Morris Woodruff, David Branson, William Elvert, Edward Butler, J. E. Morrison, Chauncey Lincoln, Solomon Tanner, James Fitch, R. W. Aldrich, J. M. Ware, A. P. Ware, George Phillips, J. W. Crane, C. B. Mitchell, William Doty, W. Phillips, D. Woodruff, G. H. Coe, Nelson Austin, Daniel Austin, J. S. Sessions, William Letts, Hathaway Randall, Nathan Pierce, N. S. Nichols, Gardner Eddy, Nelson Beckwith, C. W. Fullington, Asa Houghton, Anson Young, D. W. Lincoln, Samuel Alderman, Harvey Eldredge.