By Ron and Arlene Kaiser
Names of the very first settlers that came from the east and took up land from the Government are still very well known today, as some of the descendants are still on the original farms or living nearby and many roads were named after these pioneer families.
Eli Ruggles of Brookfield, Massachusetts became owner of the first farm ever purchased in Unadilla in 1833. It consisted of 40 acres on which he built a log house and commenced his pioneer life.
The sons of Unadilla have not been shy in winning for themselves positions of honor and trust. General George Hartsuff was a Unadilla boy and being appointed to West Point, he graduated with honor, and entered the service of his country. Another name given honor was James Craig, an author of early Unadilla and was also proprietor of the Unadilla House. In the years, 1833 and 1834, Marshall, Holmes, Glenn Brothers, Bullock, Westfall, Bird McIntyre, Angel, Jackson and Noble were some of the names of settlers to buy land and settle Unadilla.
In 1835, Pyper, Bullis, Livermore, Wood, Shields and Dunn arrived. 1936 brought the four Sutherland Boys, Mr. Beale, Dutton, Dyer, Townsend and Chapman. Are you seeing the names of nearby roads?
Samuel G. Ives, who settled west of Williamsville in 1835 was one of the prominent and influential citizens of Unadilla and served as a member of the State Legislature.
The list of prominent names of this community is endless. Just a few more are, first store owner, John Drake, first hotel Mr. Noble near where the village of Unadilla now stands. The First Presbyterian Church was organized in 1936, soon after the Methodist and Baptist Churches. Temperance causes flourished, with clubs and reform organizations abounding.
The Taylors, Brearley and Asquith came from the same neighborhood in Yorkshire, England and settled the area of Unadilla in 1840.
Unadilla’s most beloved son, Judson Dwight Collins, born in Wayne County, New York, came to Michigan in 1829, with his father and family. A later article will be entirely of the life of Judson Dwight Collins. There is so much to tell of Mr. Collins. His life was amazing.
As we read the interesting accounts of the different towns and surrounding area bordering on Stockbridge, many articles could be written of their early history and pioneers days. The Mission Statement of the Waterloo Area Historical Society is to foster an understanding and appreciation in children and adults of the pioneer farmers of Michigan their family life and their children’s schooling. I hope these articles are giving a good example of the struggles and life these first pioneer families.