Archived Story

Bacon lineage dates back to pioneers

Published 10:12pm Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In the 1930s and ‘40s, Edwardsburg High School graduated three sisters known as the Bacon girls: Eleanor, Virginia and Thelma. They grew up on a farm on Redfield Road and after the girls finished college, they moved on and away from Edwardsburg.
Thelma Bacon Bittenbender lived in the area for some time and wrote for the Kalamazoo Genealogy Society. She later moved to Oklahoma, where she still resides.
An issue of the Kalamazoo Valley Family Newsletter from December 1977 was recently given to the Edwardsburg Museum. Thelma Bittenbender was the editor at that time.
She was the great-granddaughter of Cyrus and Malinda Guernsey Bacon, who were pioneers of Cass County. They came to Cass County from Saratoga Co., N.Y., by way of Buffalo, then by boat to Detroit and by wagon via Ypsilanti, Saline, Clinton, Jonesville, Coldwater, Sturgis, White Pigeon, Mottville and Edwardsburg. Following the old Sauk Trail, which led them to a pleasant prairie where they settled.
Cyrus Bacon was born in 1796 and was the son of David and Hannah Tarbox Bacon. The father of Hannah Bacon, Capt. Tarbox followed the sea for a livelihood and had served in the Revolutionary War.
These early pioneers settled on the prairies of Cass County, where there were 10 different prairies totaling about 20,000 acres. History refers to the area with names of Beardsley, Young, Little Prairie Ronde, LaGrange, Pokagon, Baldwin, McKenneys, Sand, Gards and Shavehead prairies.
Cass County has more than 250 lakes and ponds, which make it one of the leading resort areas of Michigan. It had one of the first summer resorts in western Michigan. In a survey taken in 1958, there were 5,458 summer cottages in the county.
Bittenbender did research to find all of the information for her journal at the Western Michigan University library and the Cassopolis libraries.
Thelma Bittenbender is a supporter of the Edwardsburg Historical Museum and often sends a note to the museum from her home in Oklahoma.
Next week, we will include more of her Cass County research.

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