Return to: 1921

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Hamlin Township

By  Hilda Johnson, 8th Grade, Nordhouse School

(Hilda was born April 10, 1907 so she must have about 14 when she wrote this essay. This was written about 1921. )

The first settlement in Hamlin township was made by Charley Mears in 1858 on Section Two.  The next settlers were Mr. and Mrs. Louis Sladick.  They settled on Section Twelve.  They came from Bohemia.  Later Albert Nordhouse, Mr. Gilson, and Frank Williams came.

The first wedding was Miss Paulina Duquette and Mr. Gilson.  The first white child born was Mr. Frank Sladick Sr.

The outstanding men and women as teachers are: Mrs. Edna Dostal and Miss Edna Jensen; as stenographers are Mildred Soneral and Myrtle Matson; as soldiers in the World War are: Joe, George and Ambrose Barnhart, Oscar E. Johnson, Andrew Delbarker, Fred Peterson, Ernest Hirner, George Allard, Arthur Guepin, Norman Gilbert, and Herbert Matsen.  Mr. John Swanson was a soldier in the Spanish American War.


Sawmill at Hamlin Dam

Before they had a cemetery they buried the dead on their farms.  While they had a sawmill by the Hamlin dam, they buried the dead by the dam.  The graves are still there.  Now we have a cemetery on Section Fourteen. 

We have good soil and plenty of water supply.  We have a lake which has little creeks running into it, this makes a good drainage in our township.

We have some timber still standing across the lake all the rest of the timber that was here years ago has been cut and sawed into lumber.

There are plenty of fish in Hamlin lake.  Years ago when they did not have cars and trucks to haul their goods in they had oxen and horses.  There was a camp across the lake where they sold clothing, groceries, and other goods.  These camps belonged to Joe LaSarge.  He got the goods in Manistee and brought them here to sell to the people otherwise they brought their goods in Ludington. 

There were no gravel roads then, there was just an old sand road that went from Ludington to Manistee and a road here and there through the township.  As the years went by and more people settled in Hamlin, they built better and more roads.  Then they began to gravel them and now we have pretty good roads.

The people of today travel with cars. horses and trucks.  George Barnhart and Sons run a taxi in the summer, and there is a bus running from the New Phaleron Hotel to Ludington.


Dummy Line Taken Up

There was a railroad from Ludington to the North Bayou, they called it the Ludington & Northern or the Dummy Line.  They just ran it in the summer until about four or five years ago when it was taken up. 

When the first settlers were living here, it took all day to go to town because the roads were so poorly, but now we have good roads and it only takes about a half hour to go to town with a car or truck. 

The people were very industrious because they wanted to get as much land cleared as possible.  

There were only a few families living here and they visited together very much.  They made sugar from the maple sap which they got from the maple trees.

William Bugg and William Mallory had barn raising bees.  They also had shingling potato digging bees and spelling matches.  The first sawmill was at the Hamlin dam and the first feed grinder belonged to A. Cartier.

They held Sunday School for many years in our school house.  The first school house was built by John Jones in the Southeast quarter of Section 12 on Albert H. Nordhouse’s farm.  It was a log school house built in our district.  The first school teacher was Maggie Hartle.

We have a grange in our township it is called the Hamlin Resort Grange.

The first town meeting was in 1864.  The first clerk in our township was William Bickle and the first Supervisor was W. H. Saxon. 

When the first two people came and settled here, there were woods all around.  Then they had to cut these trees down and clear the land so it would be possible to cultivate it.  As the years went by and the population grew large, more timber was cut and now there is very little woods standing.  And all the rest of the land is being farmed.

Some of the first farmers in Hamlin township were:  Locus Sladick, Albert H. Nordhouse, Frank Egner Sr., Mr. Mulich and Frank Williams.  The most common crops raised were: corn, potatoes, oats and wheat.

There are now 84 farms in Hamlin Township.  When there was timber growing in the Township, they took their logs either to Albert Nordhouse’s or Eli Nelson’s saw mills. There they had them sawed up into lumber and sold it or built houses, barns, etc.  Albert Nordhouse was a soldier in the Civil War.  John Swanson was in the Spanish American War and several in the World War.

Hamlin Lake, hotels, and the large resort add much interest to Hamlin Township also the large farms and orchards.

The population is two hundred and thirty-five. 



  Hamlin Lake Preservation Society, PO Box 178, Ludington, MI 49431