Taymouth: A Small Town with a Big History
Monica Wilson

All the years that I have lived in Taymouth Township, it has always been a small, quiet town where the people keep to themselves. Taymouth Township is the third oldest in Saginaw County, established in February 27, 1842 (Taymouth 18). When Scottish settlers first came to this tiny village around 1774, they bought land in sections and created a booming community that was full of businesses, churches, and schools. Today, there is barely any proof of what used to be a town. Today Taymouth is full of farms and houses that would tell stories about a town that was once full of people and businesses, if they were able to talk.

Before the white people came there were already settlers in Taymouth who had been here since about 1000 A. D. They were the Native Americans. Saginaw County is believed to have had the biggest Indian population in Michigan. The Indians lived in the woods along the Flint River, where the fish were plentiful. The Chippewa Indians were a peace-loving tribe of people, who cared not to fight and offered no resistance to the white man moving in among them as long as they could live their lives as they wished (Taymouth 18). In 1819, the Chippewa handed over their land to the government by signing a treaty.

Ash-A-Tah-Au-Qua-Beh, or the Rev. Daniel Wheaton, was a full blooded-Indian, whose name means "Almost Touches the Clouds." He spent his whole life preaching and working for his people in Taymouth (Taymouth 19). Daniel was born around 1826 in a great pow wow location called Green Point. His father and grandmother were also well known Chippewa in Saginaw County. Daniel was especially gifted and at the solicitation of Ministers in 1849 entered the Methodist Wesleyan Seminary—Indian Department at Albion. When the Indian Department closed in 1851, Daniel returned to Taymouth as an ordained Minister. He spent the remainder of his life leading his people until his death in August of 1911 (McDonald).

The township was settled by Scotsmen, who followed the Flint River north along the bottomlands. Only people who had the pioneer spirit came to Taymouth and bought sections of government land. According to the book Taymouth Yesterday and Today, "The township is heavily burdened with bridges, having over two miles of plank in bridges and culverts, making taxation very high; roads are mostly sandy, the soil when properly drained will produce splendid root and grain crops; about three-fourths of the town is already cleared; it will eventually become a rich agricultural township" (12). Many of the early people who came here were of foreign descent. Some of the oldest people in this township were John Malone, Gardner Foster, William McGregor, and Arthur Ross.

John Malone was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on May 3, 1814. He moved to Taymouth in the autumn of 1835. When John came here he purchased 52 acres of land on Section 6 from the government. He got married to Ann McCormick on August 21, 1836. He fathered fourteen children. He served as Treasurer, Clerk, Justice of the Peace and Commissioner for a number of years (Taymouth 103). At the elderly age of eighty-two, John Malone died. To this day there are still some relatives of his living in Taymouth.

Another key citizen of Taymouth was Gardener Foster, who was born on March 7, 1831, in Saginaw City. Many people believed him to be the first white child born in Saginaw County. On July 15, 1855, he came together in marriage with Martha Lytle. They produced seven children together to make their family complete. "Mrs. Foster died at the homestead in May 1897 and Mr. Foster died in 1907" ( Taymouth 63).

Another vital individual was William McGregor, who was born on May 19, 1839, in Kirkeudbrightshire, Scotland. He came to America at the young age of seventeen and moved to Detroit. He gathered money to purchase 80 acres of land on Section 35. After serving three years in the army of Cumberland, he was discharged in July 27, 1865. On December 5, 1865 he married Isabelle Miller. All five of their children are natives to Taymouth Township. Mr. McGregor was Township Commissioner for six years, and Treasurer for four years (Taymouth 94).

One more significant person was Arthur Ross, who was born January 8, 183) in Aberdeen, Scotland. When he came to the United States and to Taymouth he purchased some land that was called the "old Indian Field." On December 4, 1864 he was married to Lille Angus. They gave birth to three daughters and two sons.

There were a total of nine different schools throughout the entire township. Ross School was located on the west part of Section 22 on Morseville Road. There were from ten to ninety-three students enrolled from kindergarten through eighth grade. The school closed in 1956. McGregor School was on the southeast corner of Section 26 on East Burt Road. There were twenty-five to fifty-six students enrolled. The school was also closed in 1956. McIntosh School was on the northeast corner of Section 33. The "brick school house" was built in 1891 (Taymouth 172). It averaged from twenty-three to eighty-two students from kindergarten to eighth grade. The school closed in 1966. Becker School was on the northeast corner of Section 19. The enrollment varied from forty-two to ninety-two pupils, from grades kindergarten to eighth grade. McNalley School was on the corner of Section 5, but was moved to the corner of Section 8 and named Fosters School. It had students from kindergarten to eighth grade and enrolled from twenty-five to one hundred and seven kids; it closed in 1961.

The Blackmar School was on the east part of Section 11 on Moorish Road. The students varied from kindergarten to eighth grade and there were around sixteen to seventy-one students enrolled. Canada Street School was located on the northwest corner of Section 24. The average enrollment was from twenty-nine to forty-nine children. My grandfather attended this school until he was in eighth grade, then he had to go to work after his father died. He said, "The school room was tiny, and there were a big amount of students enrolled." Then he commented, "The teacher was mean and he still remembers how she treated the students." When the school closed in 1959, the students were sent to the Taymouth Elementary School. Toddish School was built around 1904 on the southwest corner of Section 3. The range of students was around seventy-five. The schools last year were in 1976-1977. Burt School was located on the south part of Section 29. It was a junior high and had around one hundred students. The school closed its doors in 1977.

Taymouth Township also consisted of five different villages. One of them was Morseville Village; it was located fourteen miles south of Saginaw. The 12-block town was plotted April 28, 1886 by James Morse. The town had three saloons and three general stores. It also had three shingle mills, a sawmill, a cheese factory, a gristmill, and a post office substation. The Morse Block General Store was the last survivor of all these prosperous businesses (Taymouth 188). All that is left of this village now is a road that is named Morseville.

Another village in Taymouth was called Blackmar. This town was formed around the sawmill, owned by A. T. Blackmar. In 1887, the population in the village was fifty-five people. Throughout the years the population grew to one hundred and fifty people. Blackmar, like many of the early villages formed around the lumber mills and railroad stations, has slowly diminished through the years (Taymouth 193). There was also a road named after this village.

Verne is another village in Taymouth that had a station on the Grand Trunk Railroad. This village had a population of seventy in 1893. It also consisted of a post office, hotels, general stores, and blacksmith shops. Now there is a road that was named after this village, but that is all that is left as memory of what used to be a village.

The village of Fosters had a population of one hundred people. There was a pickle-receiving station, saloons, and a community church. Today there is only the community church, Dudek's Grocery, and Bob's Bar (Taymouth 198). There is still the town of Fosters, but the kids attend Birch Run Schools.

The village of Burt consisted of a post office, fire hall, the Opera House, and hotels. There was also a store called the Green Brothers Store, which served Burt for almost fifty years. The Green Brothers store and the post office operated together and their fortunes were dependent on each other. Burt is still considered a town and has a library, park, post office, and a few gas stations.

The original Indian church was removed in about 1882, it is said to have been located along the river. The Chippewas rebuilt the existing church around seventy years ago. Rev. Daniel Wheaton assisted in the construction of the new church. The church no longer exists. There were never any pictures recovered of this church, so no one knows what it looked like (McDonald).

The Methodists have been active in Taymouth since 1884. The first records of the Burt United Methodist Church were lost. The church was 32' by 30' with two windows. On September 7, 1958, they held the last service in the small church. The men of the church began to build a new brick L-shaped church. The church is still in service today.

The Burt Opera House was built in 1891. Wellington R. Burt, the lumber tycoon, donated $1,000 to build the Opera House. Townspeople contributed labor and additional funds for the erection of this hall (Brennan). The building hosted vaudevilles, medicine shows, dances, weddings, local fairs, and served as the home of the Taymouth Township's governing body. The Opera House has been named a historical site in Saginaw County. When I was little I went to a play put on there; the building is small inside and has a stage, where the vaudeville acts used take place.

The first Taymouth fair was held in 1863. There was a track built around the groves of trees in the middle of the fairground for racing. It was the biggest social even in the lives of the residents of the surrounding areas (Taymouth 221). Some of the events consisted of horse races, hot air balloon rides, sitting in old bi-wing planes, and dinners.

In conclusion, Taymouth Township used to be a booming community that turned into a tedious town that only has its history to show us what it used to be like. When I was a kid growing up, I never imagined that Taymouth was as busy a community as it once was. When I go down the roads where some of these establishments were located, I find myself picturing the township as it used to be. Now that I know what this town's past was like, I have a greater appreciation for the people and establishments that once were here.

Works Cited

  • Brennan, James. "Burt Opera House/ Wellington R. Burt." 2002. 1 Nov. 2002. <httpi/www.michmarkers.com1pages/L0406.htm>.
  • McDonald, Tom. "Rev. Daniel Wheaton." A Parade of Saginaw Folks I Wish I had Known. Saginaw News. 1996.
  • Taymouth Yesterday and Today. Taymouth Township History Book Committee. Taymouth Township: Print-A-Print, 1976.
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