Archived Story

History of Cass County preserved in books

Published 10:50am Thursday, July 9, 2009

What do Howard S. Rogers, Lowell H. Glover, Waterman, Watkins and Company of Chicago and the Biographical Publishing Co. of Chicago have in common and who are they?

In 1875 Howard S. Rogers wrote History of Cass County from 1825 to 1875, in 1882 Waterman, Watkins and Co. published a History of Cass County with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches and the Biographical Publishing Co. of Chicago published a Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass County in 1893, then in 1906 Lowell H. Glover wrote A Twentieth Century History of Cass County,

From 1875 to 1906, biographical sketches of county residents, descriptions of activities in the county, and a general history are outlined in each of these books. Not only are they invaluable to people doing a genealogical study of their family, it is also interesting reading for anyone wanting to know the history of the area.

Each township and village is described along with its residents. Mary Montgomery said that it is believed that in some of the books, people paid to have their biological sketch printed. In others the author wrote the sketches.

In the first book by Howard Rogers, he wrote the book in 1875 while employed in a store in Volinia where he lived. He was also the secretary of the Volinia Farmer Club. In the preface of his book, he states he wrote the book at the urgent request of many old settlers. He was not a professional writer or book maker but he wrote as a conservator of facts and incidents that might be lost upon the death of the settlers and it was no bid for literary fame.

The Waterman, Watkins and Co. history was written in 1882 by people all over Cass County but especially mentioned in Ontwa Township were Joseph Jacks, George Redfield, Moses Lee, J. Olmstead, and John B. Sweetland. It took a year to put this book together and it contains drawn illustrations of many of the residents as well as their farms. The first part was written by Alfred Mathews who I believe to be a writer for the Waterman Watkins Company. The biographical sketches may have been written by each person and edited by the company.

The next book was just presented to the Edwardsburg Museum by Harriet Gregory. It begins with sketches of the Presidents, from George Washington to the 23rd President Benjamin Harrison. It contains biographical sketches of prominent and respectable citizens and of the Presidents of the United States. The stated purpose of the book written in 1893 was to perpetuate the names of the pioneers of the two counties

Lowell H. Glover was a native of New York, born in 1839 and moved to White Pigeon. In 1840 his family moved to Edwardsburg and at the age of 16 he lost his right hand in a shotgun blast and because of his limited choice of pursuits he decided to become a lawyer. He moved to Cassopolis to study law with Judge Daniel Blackman. Admitted to the bar in 1862 he went on to become the postmaster of Cassopolis and a deputy commissioner of the State Land Office in Lansing. He was the historian for the Cass County Pioneer Society. His book was published in 1906.

All of these books can be found in the public libraries of the area.

One sketch in the Rogers book is appropriate for this week. It is about Wilson Blackmer. He moved his family to Edwardsburg on the second day of July 1829. On their arrival preparations were in progress for a celebration of the coming 4th of July and Mrs. Blackmer made a flag from two red silk handkerchiefs for the occasion, sewing on stars and stripes. Be sure to fly your flag this 4th of July.

Jo-Ann Boepple provides Reflections of the Past, a weekly feature from the Edwardsburg Museum Group and Historical Collection. She is a third generation Edwardsburg resident.

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