This history of Highland Township is taken from Thaddeus D. Seeley, History of Oakland County, Michigan, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago (1912), Vol. I, pp. 471-475. The account is divided into the following sections:
SPRINGFIELD AND HIGHLAND
[Note: The first portion of this chapter concerning Springfield Township is omitted]
Highland is the middle western township of the county, and was thus named at its organization in March, 1835, because its surface was then [Begin Page 473] supposed to be the highest land in the settled part of Michigan. Within the limits of the township, the water courses run both north and south. Pettibone creek heads in section 10 and runs south, and a branch of Buckhorn creek rises in section 3 and courses north, the sources of these streams being only about a mile apart. There are twenty-two small bodies of water in the township, by courtesy designated as lakes, the largest of which are Duck, Pettibone, Alderman, Highland, Woodruff and Kellogg.
The first purchase of lands in what now constitutes Highland township was made by NAHAM CURTIS on the 6th of September, 1832, in the east half of the southeast quarter of 36, or in the extreme southeast corner of the township. He and his brother, JEREMIAH, sold their property soon afterward and left for Illinois with a colony of Mormons. Among those who came in 1833, JONATHAN F. STRATTON, an Erie county (Penn.) man, was most prominent. He settled on the south half of the northwest quarter of section 27, and was elected the first justice of the peace of the township two years later. MICHAEL BEACH arrived from Troy township, the next year (1834), and bought land just west of the present village of Highland in sections 21 and 28.
Probably as early as 1835 ZENAS PHELPS, GEORGE LEE and others settled on sections 19, 20, 29 and 30, in the southwestern part of the township, where a postoffice [sic] was established ten years later, with GEORGE SHOWERMAN postmaster. This is now known as West Highland, or Highland postoffice. Other settlers located at various points in the township previous to the platting of Spring Mills, in 1846, by JONAS G. POTTER and MAJOR F. LOCKWOOD, on the southeast quarter of section 22. In the summer of that year the proprietors erected a sawmill. In 1857 a postoffice was established here. ENOS LEEK appointed postmaster and held the office until January 1, 1874, when the name was changed and the office moved to Highland Station.
On the completion of the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad, in 1871, Highland village was platted by GERMAN [Sic - should read "GERMAIN"] ST. JOHN and ALMON RUGGLES on portions of sections 22 and 27. As stated, the postoffice was moved from Spring Mills in 1874. Although for some years afterward it looked as though quite a village might spring up at this point, the promise was not fulfilled. The postoffice is now at West Highland, about two miles from the Station.
In the late thirties MORRIS WHEELER purchased some eight hundred acres of land for PHINEAS DAVIS, a speculator, in sections 1, 2, 10 and 11, which included the present site of Clyde, the only considerable settlement in Highland township. JOHN WENDELL put up the first house [Begin Page 474] and a few stores were opened before the Flint & Pere Marquette line was built through the township in 1871. In June, 1875, the original village plat was laid out by JULIAN BISHOP, county surveyor, for LYMAN JOHNSON, the plot occupying thirteen acres of the east half of the northwest quarter of section 10; additions have since been made, so that the site is now virtually the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of the same section.
Clyde is a village of about two hundred people. It is the center of quite a popular summer resort region, as there is good fishing in the lakes to the south and east. Produce and fruit are raised in considerable quantities in the adjoining country, the soil being especially well adapted to potatoes. Besides two good general stores there are also several prosperous produce dealers and potatoe [sic] shippers, and another firm does a considerable business in selling wire fencing and agricultural implements. Further, Clyde has a large grain elevator owned and conducted by McLaughlin Brothers. Banking facilities are afforded either at Holly, eight miles north, or at Milford, seven miles south, both on the Pere Marquette line. The village has a good graded school, and a Methodist church offers regular religious services.
The First Methodist Episcopal church of Highland was organized in 1835, with Elder GOODELL as preacher and D. M. LOCKWOOD as classleader. The original members were Mr. and Mrs. H. SCOLLARD, Mr. and Mrs. A. C. TAGGETT, Mr. and Mrs. D. M. LOCKWOOD, and Mrs. [sic] and Mrs. L. FLINT. At first it was as part of Milford circuit, but in 1848 was transferred to the circuit of Hartland, and in I866 it became a part of what is now Highland circuit. O. SANBORN was then presiding elder and H. WOOD was the minister in charge. The following officers were elected at that time: Stewards, H. MORGAN, G. W. GLINS; recording steward, J. HIGHFIELD; district stewards, G. STRATTON, E. CHASE and A. C. TAGGETT. The trustees elected in 1866 were E. A. LAW, G. W. GLINS, M. B. LYON, G. HALLS, J. MILLS, D. McCROASAN and A. C. TAGGETT, the last named being chosen chairmarn of the board.
Immediately after the meeting of conference in 1865, the Methodist class became known as the Highland Center Class, that date marking its first connection with the Highland circuit, as previously mentioned. At that time the meetings were held in the schoolhouse of District No. 4. In 1875 a Christian association was formed in this place (Highland), composed of the members of the different denominations residing around the station and holding services in the schoolhouse on alternate Sundays. In the year 1881 a church was built under the auspices of the association and was dedicated in February, 1882. This was practically a Union church, services continuing alternately by the different denominations as in the schoolhouse. The Christian association services were conducted by an undenominational pastor one Sunday and by the Methodist Episcopal pastor of the circuit the following Sunday.
The conference of 1882 sent Rev. G. M. LYONS to this point, and new [Begin Page 475] life was infused into the waning congregation. Dissatisfaction was shown as the Methodist Episcopal class prospered, which finally resulted in about twenty-eight members withdrawing and forming a Congregational society, they controlling the church property. The Methodist Episcopal members held services in the church once in two weeks by paying one-third of the expenses, together with interest. On December 4, 1883, a board of trustees of the First Methodist Church of Highland was organized. The present church was dedicated November 4, 1886.
The church at Clyde was first organized about 1855, the first meetings being held in a brick schoolhouse south of the village, and also in the schoolhouse in Rose township about the same time. In 1857 or 1858, the old Baptist church at White Lake, four miles east of Clyde, was used for a meeting place. In the early seventies a small church was built at Clyde, on Wheeler's lot, where meetings were held. The meetings at White Lake were soon after discontinued, part of the congregation meeting at Davisburg and the remainder at Clyde with the new church. Those who united with the congregation already located there built the present church, this event taking place in 1885.
At Hickory Ridge, three miles west of Clyde, meetings were held in the stone schoolhouse at an early date. In 1868-9 the present church was built, where meetings are now held. These three churches, Highland, Clyde and Hickory Ridge, are united in what is known as Highland charge, and are served by one pastor. The following pastors have served the church since its organization: J. M. HOLT and A. B. CLOUGH, 1866; G. M. LYON, 1883; O. SANBORN, 1884; J. A. ROWE, 1886; HENRY KING, 1887; Rev. HUBBEL, 1888-9; Rev. WOOD, 1890-91; Rev. SAMUEL GRAVES, 1892; Rev. O'DELL, 1893; Rev. E. P. PIERCE, 1894-5; Rev. A. S. TEDMAN, 1896-8; O. J. PERRIN, 1899; F. W. WARE, 1900 to the spring of 1902, Rev. H. HINDLE completing the year; Rev. L. B. DUPRIES, 1903-4; Rev. T. B. McGEE, 1905; REV. W. J. COATES, 1906; Rev. R. E. WINN, 1907-09; Rev. W. J. BAILEY, 1910; Rev. F. E. MOCK, 1911 to the present time.
The present membership of the charge is seventy-five, as follows: Highland, thirty; Clyde, seventeen, and Hickory Ridge, twenty-eight.