Early History and Stories of Orleans Michigan 1875
The history of Orleans is of settlement and growth, with no striking events to render it peculiar.
It was not a town by itself until 1846.
The first town meeting was at the residence of Ira Wheeler.

The first township officers elected were:

  • Gilbert ZH. King, Supervisor;
  • Seneca H. King, Clerk;
  • Ira Wheeler, Treasurer;
  • Gilbert H. King, Jesse Wood, Guy Webster, Gerret Snetiker, Justices.

The first school was kept by a Miss Hewitt, in the chamber of a log house.
The first settler was Guy Webster, in the southeast corner of the town, in 1838; he came in March.
He was followed in May by Joseph Collins; and soon after by Erastus Higbee in June; and by Asa Palmer and Lorenzo D. Bates in December.
Of these, Webster and Higbee are dead. The rest have moved off, leaving Mr. Palmer alone in his glory.
In 1839 a few more came - Daniel Hoyt, who still resides on the land he first purchased; and, by the way, he was the first preacher in the town; Archibald Sangster and Chester Schoffield, both of whom moved away; and Joseph Collins.
In Collins' family occurred the first death in the town — that of his son Joseph, Jr., in the winter of 1839-40. Also in his family occurred the first wedding.
Two young fellows from Otisco, Wm. G. Bradish and Hiram Baxter, being out hunting one day, discovered Collins' charming daughters, as they were picking blackberries.
The consequence was that, some time afterwards, Thomas Cornell, Esq., of Ionia was called to the house of Collins, and by him four were made two-that is, if man and wife are one.
We cannot give the date of the entry of others, neither is it important.
Orleans was settled at a time when it was only to go one step further.
We have as early settlers the names of Jesse Wood, Alexander Howe, Martin Eckart, Gilbert H. King, Wm. R. Kidd, Wm. Bradley, Samuel Raby, and Joseph C. Green. All of whom are dead.
As transient residents, we find Agnus McPherson, Isaac Harwood, Milo K. Cody, David Courter, Robert W. Kidd, Dewitt C. Hurd, Chester Goss, and Marvin Haight.
Of those who came to stay, stayed, and at this writing (1875) are living residents, were Edward B. Post, Richard Hill, Richard Hale, Albert Dorr, Ira Wheeler, Samuel T. Kidd, Warner Wheeler, Thomas Neep, W. Gould, James C. Beach, Seneca H. King, Lewis J. Holcomb, Charles Chadwick, Hiram Hall, Adam Bussard, and Joshua Hall.
The list above given are reported to have come from 1348 to 1846, inclusive.
A quiet farming town, it has gone on the even tenor of its way; every one, as a general thing, minding his own business; thus engaged, they have prospered.
They have only modest churches, and are not overstocked with them. The Seventh Day Adventists have a church; also the Free Methodists, and the Episcopal Methodists.
There is a pretty Town Hall-erected in 1871.
Such is, in brief, the history of this excellent town - no history at all. It is a good place to live in, and the distance from there to heaven is the same as from Ionia.
Are we to suppose that because Ionia has her spires pointing heavenward, the people there worship God more devoutly than in Orleans?
Perhaps, too, Orleans will build her temples, and decorate her altars. But at present she is content with rural simplicity.
That she does not associate ignorance with simplicity, her ten school-houses attest.
But still she has no history-long may it be before she has any.
Since writing the above, we have clipped from a paper the following obituary notice:
Died in Ronald, Dec. 23rd, (1874,) Mrs. Lucretia Webster; aged 84. The deceased and her husband, the late Gen. Webster, came to Ronald in 1838.
They were the first settlers in the town of Ronald (Orleans?). In their house many an early settler found a hospitable welcome and a temporary home.
Few women were so universally esteemed as Mrs. Webster in the community, where she had so long lived, and where she died.
She was, in the truest sense of the term, a Christian lady.
Attentive to the poor, kind to the sick, and warmly sympathetic with the afflicted; an excellent neighbor, a true friend and counselor; she was an invaluable member of society, and has left behind her a name that will not be forgotten."
That is but a part of what was said, but if that is true, and she was your mother, you are not a very bad man.
Good and wise women don't raise low families.