Archived Story

Dear John: How did Henderson Hill gets its name?

Published 10:01pm Thursday, August 2, 2012

Haven’t been able to answer this question so far, but it’s one I’ve wondered about myself while driving out Marcellus Highway to Kincheloe Elementary School.

I consulted an 1882 Cass County history at Niles District Library and there aren’t even any Hendersons in the index.

Maybe one of our readers knows. I hope so.

Lots of interesting reading otherwise.

I knew Uzziel Putnam made the “primal settlement” on Nov. 22, 1825, on Pokagon Prairie, where he lived until his death in the summer of 1881.

Ezra Beardsley soon followed in Ontwa Township. A Townsend was first to build a cabin on the LaGrange Prairie. Penn Township settled next.

Jefferson Township was settled in October 1828, though Abner Tharp “removed” to Calvin Township in the spring of 1829 before returning in 1830.

In Porter, John Baldwin pioneered the prairie bearing his name in 1828. Volinia was settled in 1829, with Jonathan Gard living on — where else? — Gard’s Prairie.

Mason received its first inhabitant in 1830, Elam Beardsley.

Howard Township was settled before Mason by a William Kirk, but the exact date is lost to history.

In Milton Township, no record exists of the first settler.

John Bair made Newberg’s first settlement in 1831.

When Wayne settled in 1833, Jacob Zimmerman was “probably the pioneer.”

James McDaniel located to Silver Creek Township in 1834.

Did you know which was Cass County’s last frontier? Marcellus Township, in 1836.

The county’s “pioneer preacher,” the Rev. Justus Gage, who died in Dowagiac on Jan. 21, 1875, settled in Wayne Township in 1837, coming from New York.

The first newspaper

The first newspaper published was the Cass County Advocate in Cassopolis on March 11, 1845. Ezekiel Smith moved the weekly to Dowagiac in 1850 to an office on North Front, which burned.

James Gantt in 1854 established the Dowagiac Tribune. It lasted until 1859, when the Republican came along because the Tribune had “become very distasteful to the Republicans of the county.” Gantt went to Mackinaw, then Baltimore.

Publisher Charles A. Smith succeeded because he had “studied the desires and peculiarities of the citizens of the county.”

Edwardsburg’s first newspaper was the Index, printed in Mishawaka on Dec. 3, 1874. The Marcellus Messenger debuted in 1874, too.

Even Vandalia had a paper, the Journal, first issued June 14, 1881.


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