The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan



Doane Robinson, History of South Dakota, B.F. Bowen & Co (1904), Vol. II, pp. 1232-1233

HENRY CLAY ANDRUS is a native of the state of Michigan and a scion of one of its honored pioneer families.  He was born in Highland township, Oakland county, on the 26th of September, 1844, being a son of Justus I. and Sarah W. (Smith) Andrus, and as his father was a great admirer of Henry Clay the honored name was given to our subject.  Mr. Andrus was reared on the old homestead farm, and his educational advantages were such as the common schools of the time and place afforded. In the spring of 1864, at the age of nineteen years, he tendered his services in defense of the Union, enlisting as a member of Battery H, First Michigan Light Artillery, and joining the command at Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He thereafter remained in active service until the close of the war.  He was an active participant in the ever memorable Atlanta campaigns, and later his command came back to Nashville, Tennessee, in pursuit of Hood's forces, and it remained in that state until the news of the surrender of Lee was received.  Mr. Andrus proved a loyal and valiant young soldier and made a record which will ever redound to the honor of his name.  He was mustered out at Jackson, Michigan, July 22, 1865, and then returned to the old home farm in Michigan.  He thereafter continued to be actively engaged in agricultural pursuits in his native county until the spring of 1883, when he determined to cast in his fortunes with what is now the state of South Dakota.  He came with his family to Aberdeen and shortly afterward took up a homestead claim in what was then New Hope township, his farm being in that portion which was afterward segregated and named Highland township, this title having been suggested by him, in honor of the township in which he was born, in the old Wolverine state.  He located on his claim and forthwith began its improvement and cultivation, and today he is the owner of one of the finest farm properties in this favored and attractive section of the state.  He not only improved the original claim, but also took up tree claims, and the landed estate now comprises two hundred and forty acres, the major portion being under cultivation while the place is equipped with substantial buildings, good fences, an orchard of apple and plum trees, which are bearing each year, and all represent the tangible results of the well directed efforts of the subject of this sketch.  He was, however, not satisfied to thus look only to his personal interests, but from the start evinced a lively public spirit and gave his aid and influence and service in the promotion of all measures and enterprises for the general good.  He served for thirteen years as township and school treasurer, and continued to be treasurer of the school board of his district until his removal to Aberdeen.  He took up his residence in this city in November, 1897, having a pleasant home and amidst a host of staunch friends he is enjoying the rewards of his former toils and endeavors.  He is now a member of the board of education in Aberdeen and is a member of its building committee. Mr. Andrus has ever been a staunch advocate of the principles and policies of the Republican party, and has been an active worker in behalf of its cause.  In 1896 he was made the nominee of his party for representative in the state legislature, but met the defeat which attended the party ticket in general throughout the state in that campaign, there being a veritable landslide in favor of the Populist party.   He is a member of Robert Anderson Post, No. 19, Grand Army of the Republic.

In Highland township, Oakland county, Michigan, on the 15th of January, 1867, Mr. Andrus was united in marriage to Miss Amelia Ann Curdy, who was born and reared in the above township, and was a schoolmate of her future husband.  Her parents, Thomas and Sarah J. (Lockwood) Curdy, were natives of New York state, from whence they removed to Michigan, and were early settlers of Oakland county, that state, where they continued to reside until their deaths, the father dying March 17, 1898 and the mother on March 1, 1904, at Milford.  To Mr. and Mrs. Andrus two sons have been born: Ernest Curdy, who died January 3, 1879, aged nine years, and Homer S., born April 3, 1879.

Mr. Andrus and wife are members of the First Baptist church of Aberdeen, of which he is a deacon a trustee and superintendent of the Sabbath school.  Mrs. Andrus has ever been active in the different lines of church work, has served for four years as organist, is teacher of the young ladies' class in the Sabbath school, and is president of the Woman's Relief Corps.  Mr. Andrus has led a busy and active life, and his work has not been without success.   The world is better for his having lived in it, as his endeavors have been set to a high standard of citizenship, and the communities in which he has resided have felt his influence and been benefited.  Perhaps his greatest and most beneficial influence was felt in the pioneer community with which he cast his lot when he came to Brown county, this state.  At that time what is now Highland township was without church or Sunday school organization of any kind, and but little, if any, attention was given by the people to the proper observance of the Sabbath day. Sunday was the same as any week day.   Aided by a few kindred spirits, Mr. Andrus, in 1884, organized a Sunday school.  This was followed in 1892 by the organization of a church, services being held in school houses.  The result of this missionary work in Highland township is appreciable today, and Mr. Andrus has his reward in the knowledge that that community stands with any other in the state in regard to law-abiding, religious and Godfearing people.  Truly, Mr. Andrus has proven himself a pioneer of South Dakota in the broadest and best sense of the term.

Mrs. Andrus is one of the pioneer school teachers of Brown county.  She received a normal school training in Michigan, and upon coming to South Dakota and finding a dearth of school teachers over the country she became a teacher in the district schools of Highland township and taught for nine terms, and then in New Hope township.

Homer A., son of the subject, was educated in the public schools of Aberdeen and at the Agricultural College at Brookings, South Dakota, where he spent two years.  He served as a sergeant in Company F, First Regiment South Dakota National Guard, and then became sergeant in Company E, Second Regiment, and is now on detail as sergeant major of the regiment.  He is a fireman in the employ of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company at Aberdeen.


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