The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan



Thaddeus D. Seeley, History of Oakland County, Michigan, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago (1912), Vol. II, pp. 790-791

LEWIS C. BEACH.  One of the oldest native-born citizens of Oakland county, Lewis C. Beach is an honored representative of the early pioneers of southeastern Michigan, and true type of the energetic, hardy and enterprising men who have actively assisted in the development of this fertile and productive agricultural region.  He was born September 7, 1827, in Troy township, Oakland county, a son of Michael Beach, who had the distinction of being the first settler of that township.

The son of Michael Beach, Sr., Michael Beach was born in Monroe county, New York, in 1790, and until twenty-three years of age assisted his father on the parental farm.  Ambitious to try the hazard of new fortunes, he then started, about 1813, for the western frontier, being accompanied by a friend, Peter Van Avery, and trudged on foot, with knapsacks on their backs, to Detroit.  Finding the small hamlet populated almost exclusively by Indians and French, Michael Beach was at first undecided as to his plans, but finally opened a small store there.  He later started on an exploring expedition, coming to Oakland county, which he found to be a fine territory, with plenty of good land, and he concluded to locate in what is now the town of Troy.   With Mr. Van Avery he continued his explorations, and Mr. Van Avery established himself at Franklin, Oakland county, where he established the first grist mill in this county.

Michael Beach took up one hundred and sixty acres of government land in Troy township, becoming the first settler of the place, and was soon joined by his brother, Castle Beach.  A Mr. Davis from Connecticut soon became one of their near neighbors, coming to Oakland county from his New England home and bringing with him his family, which included two fair daughters, Lucy and Marietta, who subsequently married the Beach brothers, Marietta becoming the wife of Castle Beach.  Castle Beach lived and died on his farm near Troy, and many of his descendants are still living there, being people of prominence.

In 1830 Michael Beach disposed of the farm on which he first settled and moved to Highland township, becoming the second settler of [Begin Page 791] that locality, and having bought two hundred and forty acres of land, was there engaged in farming until his death, in 1855.  He married Lucy Davis, as previously mentioned.  She was born in Connecticut, and died on the home farm in Highland township, Oakland county, December 17, 1867.  Fourteen children were born of their union, as follows: William, who enlisted during the Civil war in the Seventh Michigan Volunteer Infantry, was injured at the Seven-Days battle and died at the hospital in Washington; Rebecca, wife of James Everts, of Fenton, is deceased; Michael, Jr., who was seized with the gold fever, migrated to California, and there died; Horace, who accompanied Michael on his trip to California, died there four years later; Lewis C., the special subject of this brief sketch; George, who owned the farm adjoining that of his brother Lewis, married Martha Tallman, of Farmington, and is deceased; Hiram, for thirty-five years engaged in business at Fenton, Michigan, is now a real estate dealer in San Francisco, California; Benjamin F., who married Elizabeth Gue, is a farmer at Hesperia, Michigan; Davis, a retired farmer of Highland, married Jennie Thomas, a daughter of Thomas [sic - should read Isiah] Thomas, and they have five [sic - should read two] children; Julia, wife of John O'Hare, now of Saginaw, died, in 1893, in Saginaw; Sarah died on the home farm [See note below]; Mary was accidentally killed at Merrill, Michigan, being struck by a train on the Grand Trunk Railroad [See note below]; Reuben, who was a farmer in Oakland county until 1909, is now in business in California; and Nelson, who died in infancy.

Leaving home soon after becoming of age, Lewis C. Beach then started in life for himself, buying one hundred and sixty acres of the land included in his present farm.  Putting into practice the lessons which he had learned while working with his father, Mr. Beach succeeded well in his operations, having his land in a high state of cultivation, each year yielding abundant harvests.  He has since bought other land, now owning a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Tuscola county, through his own industry and skill having accumulated a goodly share of this world's goods.  He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, having formerly belonged to the lodge at Fenton, but now being a member of the lodge at Clyde.  He is also a charter member of the first Grange organized in this county.

Mr. Beach married, in 1856, Elizabeth Barkman, a daughter of Frederick and Fannie Barkman, of Waterford, Michigan.  Four children were born of their marriage, namely: Horace, who has the management of his father's farm, married Margaret Duncan, November 23,1904, and they have two children, Lewis W. and Evelyn Lucy; Frances, wife of August Cook, a machinist at Holly; George died when but five years old; and Eugene, who lived with his parents until his death, at the age of thirty-two years.  Mrs. Beach has passed to the life beyond, her death having occurred on the home farm January 13, 1904. 

NOTE:   This account confuses the history of two daughters of Michael and Lucy (Davis) Beach.  It was daughter Sarah (not Mary) who was killed by a train at Merrill, Michigan.  Her sister Mary married James Hughes, a music teacher, and removed to Tuscola County, Michigan.


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