Early Settlers in the Area

Next | Previous


Harrison Averill operates a sawmill on the creek that dumps into the northeast corner of Lower Herring Lake.


Sam Gilbert describes life in the Arcadia area: The area between Manistee and Grand Traverse Bay had only five white families with homes, two "bachelor roosts," and a number of Indian farms. One of them was a 40-50 acre farm that included much of what is Arcadia today.


A few families settle on what they called Bar Lake (named for the sand bar separating the lake from Lake Michigan). Among the first settlers: John Kirchmeyer and G. W. Boss.

The Turnersport Pier Co., owned by Turner and Eckels, builds a pier in Turnersport, later called Pierport, for the purpose of shipping lumber across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin. The Turnersport settlement consists of the pier and three shanties.

Henry Starke purchases his first parcel of land in the area. By 1883 he would own about 2,000 acres in northern Manistee county including much of the land in what would become Arcadia.


More settlers arrive: Michael O'Rorke, Wm. Quimby, and Seymour Calkins

William Quimby applies for a land grant of 160 acres in Manistee County. He and his wife Ursula and two children move to Bear Lake, later known as Arcadia Township (1870) in Manistee County, Michigan. They build a home and begin clearing the land. (Before the land can be deeded to them, they must build a house, live there, and work the land for five years.)

July 26. Kate Quimby is born in Bear Lake.

October 6. Willie Quimby dies of dysentary in Bear Lake.


January 13. William Quimby goes to Traverse City to file an application for his land. He gets 160 acres for $10.00, 6.25 cents per acre plus a $4 filing fee.

August 2. Kate Quimby dies of "bloody flux".   


Arcadia Township is organized. W. H. Cotton is elected the first Supervisor, and and S. Calkins was elected the first school inspector. Local industry: Farming, dairy products, and maple sugar.

A log school opens on the Hotchkiss farm at the northwest corner of St. Pierre and Chamberlain Roads. "Mr. William Matteson Sr. came all the way from Pierport to attend this school. School was held only during the summer because travel was too difficult during the winter." -- Arcadia 1888-1980

July 26. Helen "Kittie" Quimby is born in Arcadia Township.

September 5. The Wass school is completed in what would become Malcolm. The building is a log school 20'x22'. First teacher: Emma F. Arnold.

Silas Overpack of Manistee begins building and selling big wheels. Lumbering can more readily be performed throughout the year.

US Census for Manistee County lists: "William Quimby, 36, Farmer; Ursula, 36, Keeping House; Jennie A., 9, Attending School"A more permanent Quimby home is built (sometime between 1870 and 1872).  

The Turner and Eckels mortgage in Turnersport is foreclosed. C. W. Perry, who loaned them the money, takes posession of the Turnersport Pier Company property.


C. W. Perry settles in Turnersport and builds a log cabin close to the pier where he could run his shipping business. Turnersport is renamed Pierport.

Fire destroys the Manistee County Courthouse. No births will be recorded until around 1877.


July 3. "A warehouse has been built on the pier [in Pierport], and a white light is kept up. The light has an elevation of 24 feet from the water." -- Manistee Times.


C. W. Perry hires Henry Clay Matteson, Hiram Chapin, and O'Rorke to build a general store in Pierport. It will be a 25'x64' wood frame building with two floors.

November 20. The City of Boston, a propellor-driven wooden ship, is stranded during a blizzard four miles south of Frankfort.

December 27. William Quimby signs annexed mortgage.


Henry Huntington opens a steam-powered sawmill on Sprague's creek near Pierport about four miles south of Arcadia near the Lake Michigan shore. It employs five people.

January 27. After living in the area for the required five years, William Quimby goes to the Traverse City land office to secure the patent or deed to property. He files affidavits from Arthur Brown and William Haywood used as proof of residence and pays a $4 filing fee.

November 2. C. W. Perry donates land and materials for a school. Construction begins on the Pierport school. Wood frame. 20'x32'. According to Henry Clay Matteson's diaries, he and M. Swiger, Crabb, Keil, and Patch build the school.

November 14. The first Pierport school meeting is held with Henry Clay Matteson, Assessor; Hull, Moderator; and C.W. Perry, Director. They vote to raise $100 for a teacher for 4 months, 2 in the winter and 2 in the summer. They also vote to raise a $30 contingent fund and require that each scholar provide 1/4 cord of maple wood.

November 28. "The school house is already completed except plastering. It is built near Pierport P.O. and Perry's Pier and is 20 X 30 feet with 11 foot ceilings." -- Manistee Times & Standard.

December 19. "Arcadia can now boast of a store and tavern, [now] that Mr. H. W. James has his buildings completed at Arcadia Corners on the state road equidistant from Manistee to Frankfort." -- Manistee Times & Standard.


January 30. "The new school house at Pierport was built by C. W. Perry and presented to the district at $300. The building is lathed, plastered and well finished in every respect, and would ordinarily cost $600. ... The following buildings have been built in the last 4 months: Hull & Cole, 2 houses and one barn; E. A. Johnson, house and barn; C. W. Perry, warehouse; O. C. Patch, house; B. Crabb, blacksmith shop." -- Manistee Times & Standard.

May 11. Harriet Quimby is born most likely in Arcadia Township.

August 5. The Toledo, a 2-masted schooner, sinks in a storm at Perry's pier.

"Taxes Paid to Town Treasurer" -- Quimby property's Abstract of Title's tax summary


George Dwyer opens a sawmill at Pierport. He sells it a year later to C.W. Perry.

January 22. "Arcadia will build a new school house in District No. 1, 24 X 36 with a brick basement. It will be the first one in Manistee County out of Manistee City." -- Manistee Times & Standard.

"The new school house at Pierport was built by C.W. Perry and presented to the district at $300. The building is lathed, plastered, and well-furnished in every respect, and would ordinarily cost $600. 20'x32' with 11' ceiling." -- Times and Standard

The Bear Lake Tram Railway begins operation between Pierport and Bear Lake. In its first week of operation the car came off the track twice.


William Quimby has an account at the C. W. Perry store in Pierport. The store ledger refers to his account in an earlier ledger: "Jan 1st  To Bal old a/c Old Ledger."

C. W. Perry builds a grist mill just east of the Perry sawmill in Pierport.


The Hopkins pier and store are built in Pierport. The first vessel to arrive at the new pier is the Frankie Wilcox, a 230 ton wooden scow-schooner.

Next | Previous