Reflections on the Redfield namePublished 3:15pm Thursday, November 18, 2010
The Redfield name has been a vital part of the Edwardsburg area. Redfield Road is a busy thoroughfare in the area. It is an east-west corridor that parallels U.S. Highway 12. How did Redfield Road gets its name and why are the Redfields important to this area?
The volunteers at the Edwardsburg Museum are in the arduous task of attempting to do an inventory of the papers stored in the museum. Boxes of documents, letters, receipts, plat books, programs and newspapers, all involved with the Edwardsburg area, have been collected for the last 10 years. Trying to get the museum organized with displays and events have taken the major amount of time of the volunteers.
Now seems to be a good time to begin an inventory of printed material. Most of the tangible items in the museum have been inventoried but there remains a large of amount of paper items.
One of the first tasks has been reviewing the materials associated with clubs and organizations. As the boxes are being reviewed numerous pieces of information are coming to the forefront that have been either forgotten or overlooked. This is a time of refreshing memories and noting their relevance to the Edwardsburg area.
Such is the case of a program for the funeral of the Honorable George Redfield.
Redfield was born in Connecticut Oct. 6, 1796 and died at his residence in Edwardsburg Oct. 29, 1887 at the age of 91 years and 23 days.
A member of the cabinet of Gov. John S. Barry, he advocated the passage of a law to protect the poor emigrant and his family by granting them an exemption of a homestead from levy and forced sale.
This account of George appeared in the Redfield Genealogy published in 1860:
“George Redfield, 5th son of Peleg Redfield, removed to Michigan in 1835, then for the most part a wilderness, and settled a wild tract of land near its southern border, and near what is now known as Adamsville in Cass County. He was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, one year; was three times elected State Senator; was an Elector for President and Vice President in 1844; State Treasurer in 1845 and 46; and in 1850 aided to make the then new constitution of Michigan.”
In 1834 he purchased 800 acres where he built his home and resided. In 1836 he purchased 10,000 more acres in different parts of the county and later sold it to men of limited means. His generosity was proverbial.
When he passed away in 1887 the minister who gave his eulogy said this about George Redfield: “His life covered almost the entire political history of the land. He saw the recuperation from the struggle for independence; he was acquainted with the war of 1812, its war and its accomplishments; passed through the dark days of the rebellion. He had seen war and peace; the struggles of the nation to promote its material and industrial interests; had seen the western land redeemed from the forests; had watched the swarms of busy workers as they moved westward to take possession of the land and had been a force of no small energy in the accomplishments of the progress. It is seldom that one man‘s life spans so much of national history.”
This man from a small town influenced the developments of the state of Michigan. His life is a history lesson: he was teacher, a politician and a farmer. Edwardsburg can claim a few famous Americans and George Redfield is one of them.It is a fitting tribute that the road on which he lived bears his name and his homestead can be seen on the corner of Redfield and Adamsville roads. His burial plot and those of his family members are in God’s Half Acre, which can be seen from the road.