Firsts of Grand River Township

The first death in the township was a child of George and Ellen Tetherow, who died in October of the year 1833. It was buried at the Bennington graveyard and was the third burial in it; two children of a Mr. Roberts were buried before. They came. from another township.

The first child born in the township was Evans, son of William and Abbey Bowman, in 1836.

The second birth was that of John L. Netherton, in 1836.

In 1839, July 12, Rachel L. Grant, daughter of John and Mary Grant, was born; she was born in a cabin located on section twenty-four, township sixty, range twenty-eight.

The first marriage in Grand River township was, undoubtedly, that of James Tetherow and Miss Mary Smith. James was persevering and Mary very loving, and as their hearts throbbed in unison and beat as one, it was thought best to have a wedding. The Rev. J. McMahan was called upon to perform the interesting ceremony, and he came, so did a few of the neighbors, and it was not long before Miss Mary Smith became Mrs. James Tetherow. There were hearty congratulations and similarly earnest wishes for a happy life, and all was over. James did not take the cars and go off with his bride on a trip to spend the honeymoon, but he took an ax and started out to furnish provisions for the extra mouth he had to feed. All this happened on one of the balmiest days of spring, in the year 1835.


From 1835 to 1840, new settlers came flocking in. They were scattered in all sections of the township, and the cultivated lands began to have an extended area, and handsome farms took the place of the wild prairies or the thickly timbered woodland. The settlers still found plenty of game for meat, yet here and there was found an old pioneer who could boast of a few long-legged and long-nosed hogs that went by the name of “Hazel-splitters.” Cows began to increase in number, cattle and horses, too, became more numerous, and the settlers began to see daylight ahead. The Mormons brought the greatest number of horses to this county. When they left Kirtland, their Ohio Zion, they moved in wagons and on horseback. They brought large droves of horses, and it is surmised that a part of them were picked up on the way. Be this as it may, they had a large number, and many of them fine animals.

Another Settlement

In the settlement on section twenty-one, east of the Big Muddy, the first death was a son of John McMahan. He died in the fall of 1840, and was buried in the Everly graveyard. An old lady by the name of Morgan died the same spring and was also buried there.

The wedding of Philip Felwest and Miss Elizabeth Cravens, daughter of Dr. John Cravens, took place in the spring of 1841. The Rev. James McMahan also officiated on this interesting occasion.

Dr. John Cravens was the first resident physician, although all through this country the name of Dr. William P. Thompson was a household word, although he lived some fifteen miles away.

The first resident minister in this part of the township was the Rev. Benjamin Smith, belonging to the Baptist denomination. The first log church was built through his instrumentality, about one and a half miles east of old ‘Di-Amon. It was a log structure and put up by the neighboring settlers. The logs, however, were hewn and the puncheon floor and seats were considered very neat. Not far from that, only some half mile east, stood the first school-house in that neighborhood. It, too, could boast of its puncheon floor and seats, but the logs were left in their native roundness. These settlers did their principal trading at Lexington, and the early milling was done in Livingston county, at what was known as Dr. Livingston’s horse-mill.

Rev. Benjamin Smith preached at the houses of the settlers for a number of years ere they reached the proud position of having a church building. Then, there was the Rev. Christopher Nation, of the Methodist denomination, who was probably the first settled minister in the township, and conducted services at the houses of many settlers in 1834. Wilburn Nation, his son, and Miss Nancy Tatwater, were married not many years after, and Mrs. Nation is still alive with a strong recollections of those early days. This denomination, after a few years, was also able to put up a log church, and so make room .for the growing congregation. This building was erected in the winter of 1840 and ’41.

There was another school, taught by A. M. Grant, in 1841 and ’42, in a little log hut built on section twenty-three. He had about fifteen pupils, and taught at the low price of two dollars per head.

Mrs. Mary Grant, wife of John Grant, made a regular business of weaving. Her loom was in motion in 1840, but the writer cannot say how much earlier.

Alfred Coots, who belonged to this settlement, and Miss Odell, were married in 1843. This is all that could be learned of this interesting event.

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