Lake County recognizes 23 founding families

'Many of them still have connections here today'

BALDWIN — The Lake County Sesquicentennial week-long celebration concluded on Saturday with a touching ceremony recognizing 23 Lake County founding families, with a descendent of each family receiving a certificate.

The celebratory occasion took place at the Wenger Pavilion, where those gathered enjoyed old-time song selections performed by the Pine Stump Savages, who set the tone back to the late 1800s. Dulcimers, fiddles and a string bass played a range of slow, reflective songs, to lively jigs and dance tunes.

Bruce Micinski, president of the Lake County Historical Society, gave an introduction.

"I am pleased with the turnout, with a number of families represented from all over," Micinski said. "In 1871, the families started coming, even in the 1860s, to a beautiful area of streams and lakes and white pines. Many of them still have connections here today."

Susie Bradford Tripp and Linda Drilling researched early settlers and contacted descendants to receive a certificate in celebration of the Sesquicentennial.

"We have the honor and privilege to recognize 23 families," Tripp said, as she presented awards beginning with early settlers in Carr Settlement, including ELi Miller, John Peterson and William Wilkinson.

Vicki Anthony accepted the award for her great-grandfather, Eli Miller, a Civil War veteran who settled in Carr Settlement in 1875.

"So many cousins of mine trace back to Eli Miller. He is well remembered, and I thank you," Anthony said.

Tripp told how William Wilkinson owned Carr Store in the late 1800s, and later he moved to Baldwin and owned the Sportsman Bar.

"There are only about five of us left out of that family. Thank you," said Gerald Bromley, as he accepted the certificate honoring his grandfather, William Wilkinson.

Helen Radtke, active with the Lake County Historical Society, accepted a certificate for her grandfather, William Gleason, who was a farmer, teamster and carpenter in the Baldwin area. Emily Allison was given the honor to receive a certificate on behalf of the Jesse and Sarah Bradford family, who homesteaded in Pleasant Plains Township along the Sanborn in 1877. The couple had 18 children, 15 who lived to adulthood, and many descendents.

Other Baldwin founding families recognized were descendents of Louis Duffing, a Civil War veteran, John Wilder, Fred Drilling, Albert Weavers, John Austin Updegraff, Ralph Hollister, Alfred Kinney and Nelson DeLong.

Zack Drilling, great-great-grandson to Fred Drilling who owned a sawmill east of Baldwin, and later was a janitor at Baldwin Schools, was happy to have his ancestor recognized.

"Thank you and aunt Linda for keeping the lineage in the family. It's been a blessing," he said as he accepted the certificate

In the Irons and Luther area, Mark Fairbanks accepted the certificate for his great-grandfather, Dr. Earl Fairbanks, who started out in Luther in the 1890s, and later moved to Irons. He was a physician, Michigan state representative and state senator.

In the Chase area, Civil War vet James M. Avery, who came to Cherry Valley Township in the spring of 1871, was honored, a certificate being accepted by his great-grandson Bryce Avery. Deborah Smith-Olson accepted a certificate for her great-grandfather Thomas Fisher, who came to Chase in 1880 from Ontario, and was a dairy farmer.

Descendants of William Ringler, Harrison Blanchard, Fredrich Miller/Mueller, and Albert Kadwell also were recognized, as well as John Spears, who came to Pinora Township in 1879 from Ontario, buying the property unseen from the railroad; John T. Batchelder, one of the founders of Forman in 1869; and Charles Randall, a Civil War vet who homesteaded in Pinora Township in 1866.

"Thank you to the local historians for keeping our heritage alive," said Trisha Shoemaker, who accepted the award for her great-great-grandfather Albert Kadwell.

The memorable occasion was topped off with ice cream from Jones' Ice Cream. Tripp said anyone from the mentioned families who would like to receive a certificate for their ancestor, more can be made.