Hillsdale Bicentennial Commission 1776-1796
Hillsdale County Historical Society
and the Hillsdale County Bicentennial Commission
Hillsdale, Michigan

Printed by Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, TX

150 Years Hills and Dales Vol. II


Pages 295-296

Page 295
A contributor to early Ransom's population was Orasmus DOTY. He was born September 20, 1815, in Wallingford, Vermont, where he lived with his father until he was 19 years old. He worked at shoe making and as a miller. He left home and went to Worcester county, Massachusetts, where he worked on a farm for two years, earning money which was his start in life. While there he rode on the first train which ran from Boston to Worcester. In 1838, he and his brother came to what is now Ransom Township. He and his brother Nelson started working on these lots together until 1843, when they divided. On his farm, Orasmus built a log house, carrying the window sash from Jonesville, 20 miles on his back, paying for them with his last cent and going home without dinner.

His neighbors, aside from his brother's family, were Indians with whom he lived on the most amicable terms. At the second town meeting held in the town, Orasmus was elected justice of the peace, which office he held for 10 years. Few if any of the settlers deserve more credit than Mr. DOTY, coming as he did with limited means, clearing up a large farm, enduring the hardships of a frontier life and raising a large family. He had many misfortunes, among them the loss of three wives. He was married October 31, 1844 to Miss Lydia INGERSOLL. One child, Albert, was born August 4, 1845. She passed away. On November 5, 1846, he was married to Miss Sarah SQUIRER. The children born to them were: Theressa Marie, born December 1, 1851: Addie B., born March 9, 1854: and Susan E., born June 13, 1858.

Thressa Marie was married to Jacob HILL. They had one son, Donald, who lived in Ransom for several years. Addie B. married Lawrence DIETZ. They had three boys. The youngest boy Wilfred lived on the homestead. After he was married to Marie WILLIAMS, they took care of his parents until they passed away. Wilfred passed away in November 1967.

Orasmus DOTY took for his third wife, Anna E. FENTON, and on May 11, 1878, his fourth wife was Maggie PALMER. One son Orrie was born to them. He was well-known around Ransom until he moved to Lake Worth, Florida.

Orasmus DOTY enlisted for the Civil War, August 16, 1861, in the 7th Michigan Battery of Richmond, Virginia. August 30, 1862, his company was engaged with the enemy and nearly all were captured. Sergeant DOTY and a few others escaped. On account of disability, Sergeant DOTY was discharged March 9, 1863.

Among other early settlers in the township were Thomas and Charles BURT, who were natives of England and immigrated to the United States in February 1833. They came to Michigan in 1838, arriving in Ransom in December. Charles BURT was unmarried. Thomas BURT was accompanied by his wife and four children. One was born on a place near Toledo, Ohio, where Mr. BURT lived during five years of his residence in the country before moving to Ransom.

Another newcomer was Cornelius DERREL, who settled just north of the BURTS. Then came Henry CORNELL and Harvey HIGLEY. George COPPINS, originally from England, for a time a resident of Vernon, New York, came to Ransom from there in 1842, and purchased a farm from Thomas BURT. For 13 years he was a sexton of the township cemetery on Section 23 which was opposite his home. Evergreens were set out, walks and drives were arranged: he took great pride in the appearance of the grounds. The first person buried there was Betsy GIER, wife of Henry GIER on October 11, 1894.

PHOTO Caption: Caleb SHEPARD, who haelped organize the Ransom Congregational Church in 1848.

PHOTO Caption: Mary E. PARMELEE SHEPARD in whose home were held the first Congregational meetings in Ransom.

The first doctor to settle in Ransom was Dr. BALDWIN in 1841-42. The next was Dr. LEE in 1851. Dr. Wilford BATES practiced in Ransom with great success for over 20 years.

The township 8 and fractional 9 South was named ROWLAND on January 28, 1840, in honor of Rowland BIRD, a native of Massachusetts, the first settler of the township, and the great grandfather of Mrs. Otto BAUGHMAN. Several years later an act was passed through the influence of certain parties living in what is now Amboy and on March 9, 1848, was changed to Ransom but the inhabitants were not satisfied. Thinking the name of a pioneer should be honored, they secured an act on April 2, 1849, to change it to Bird. The stife was not yet ended and on March 29, 1850, another act was passed to finally change it to Ransom, which it has since remained.

A small portion of the township contained marshland, the most estensive having been a mile and a helf north of Ransom which is called Tamarack Corners. Here was a swamp filled with tamarack timber which is now mostly drained and productive.

When Ransom Township was first settled, the entire area was covered with a dense and heavy growth of timber. A historical sketch of the town of Ransom by Samuel BROWN, who was a member of the State Legislature, was read by him on July 4, 1876, regarding the first white settler in Ransom, Rowland BIRD.

In 1832, Rowland arrived in Michigan but located in the town of Sylvania, which is now in the State of Ohio (since the Toledo War). From there he came to Ransom, March 8, 1836. With him came his wife, four daughters and three sons; also a young man by the name of Leander CANDEE. Four years later, march, 1840, Leander married one of Rowland BIRD's daughters, Linda BIRD. This was the first marriage to take place in Ransom. The first birth was a child born to Mr. and Mrs. James BABCOCK in 1839.

The second family to settle here was Orrin COBB, who became very prominent in town and held many offices, among them, assessor at the first town meeting.

The first frame barn was built in the township by Rowland BIRD in 1838. Among those who came to help were a few Indians and a few whites from Jonesville.

The settlers knew what hardships and privations were; one man desiring some seed oats started out accompanied by his 13-year-od son in search of some oats. He(end of page)

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bought three bushels, three miles west of Hudson. Two bushels were put in one bag and one bushel in the other. The bags were shouldered by father and son and carried home.

Aaron DOTY came in 1838 but did not purchase any land. He, instead, returned to his home in Vermont where he remained until after the death of his parents. At that time he returned to this township and purchased a farm in Section 16. His brothers, Nelson and Orasamus were inseparable. They were determined to settle in the midst of a forest which extended almost unbroken for miles. They bought in the south eastern quarter of Section 8 and a short time later they also bought land to the southwest in Section 9.

In 1843 the brothers divided their land, Nelson DOTY taking as his share the south east quarter of section 8. The brothers, up to this time, had always worked together and owned everything in common. When one earned a dollar the other got half of it.

Nelson DOTY added to the land from time to time until at the time of his death he owned 320 acres and a greater part of it was under cultivation. Part of this land is now owned by Clarence CURTH.

On April 4, 1843, Nelson DOTY was married to Pricilla BIRD, daughter of Roland BIRD. They were grandparents of Mrs. Otto BAUGHMAN. Three children were born to them: Evaline P. (Mrs. BAUGHMAN's mother): Mahala, who was the mother of Elmer, Edward, and May Raymand, and Horace DOTY who enlisted in the Civil War. 7th Michigan Battery. He died in a hospital April 23, 1863, and was buried at Milikins Bend, Louisiana.

Nelson DOTY died January 10, 1859, and was buried on the farm where he had lived. His remains were later moved to Evergreen Cemetery, Ransom.

Nelson DOTY's farm was at one time noted for wheat growing having produced in one year 3500 bushels of wheat. Evaline DOTY HARTSON acquired 130 acres of this land west of Ransom in Section 8. The HARTSONS had a son, Newton, who died at the age of 16 years, and a daughter, Nellie. She was married to Otto BAUGHMAN in 1904. They lived part time on this farm. This farm had been in the DOTY family until 1967, when Mr. and Mrs. BAUGHMAN found it necessary to sell because of Mr. BAUGHMAN's health. Article by Mrs. Otto BAUGHMAN

PHOTO Caption: The SHEPARD home in which was held the first Ransom Congregational meeting by Caleb SHEPARD whose sons' families are standing, Lulu LOCKWOOD SHEPARD, Edgar SHEPARD, the child-Robert SHEPARD, Mr. CRANDALL, Burton and Esther SHEPARD.

PHOTO Caption: Lawrence and Addie DIETZ, married fifty years, September 24, 1921.

PHOTO Caption: Laura COOPER, the second Ransom "Central" in 1909.


Lawrence and Adelaide (DOTY) DIETZ played a very active and important role in Ransom Township history.

Lawrence DIETZ was born in Summit County, Ohio on March 13, 1847, the oldest son of Godfrey and Elizabeth (SCHENKENBERGER) DIETZ. His father, Godfrey, a cooper by trade, was born in Bavaria and came to the United States in 1840.

On the boat, he became acquainted with Elizabeth SCHENKENBERGER, who was born in Hessen, Hamburg, Germany. They fell in love and were married in 1842 and settled in Summit county, Ohio, near Akron.

In 1848 Godfrey DIETZ and family moved to Ransom Township, Hillsdale County, Michigan, settling on a farm two miles north of Ransom Center and about two miles east on Tamarack Road, where he opened a cooper shop. There Lawrence grew up with his sister Mary and brother Albert. He worked on the farm and also helped in the cooper shop. He acquired his book learning at the Hammond School on Tamarack Road.

Adelaide Rowena DOTY was the daughter of Orasmus and Sarah SQUIRE DOTY.

Orasmus was a descendant of Edward DOTY who came on the Mayflower in 1620.

Adelaide DOTY was born on her father's farm west of Ransom, March 5, 1854. She was a member of the Congregational Church in Ransom, played the church organ for many years, and was an active worker in the church.

On September 24, 1871, Adelaide DOTY and Lawrence DIETZ were married in the Congregational Church at Ransom.

In 1874, they purchased a few acres of land two miles north of Ransom on Bird Lake Road, adding to it in later years. They spent the rest of their lives at this location.

Besides farming, Lawrence DIETZ ran a cider mill for many years, an activity which kept him busy in the fall. Adelaide gave music lessons for many years. They had three sons: Albert Carlton, born June 11, 1873: Wayland Elford, born April 28, 1877: and Wilford Bates DIETZ, born September 4, 1888. He was named after Dr. BATES of Ransom.

On June 5, 1913, Wilford DIETZ married Marie WILLIAMS, the daughter of Horace and "Effie" (JONES) WILLIAMS, and they lived with his parents on the farm. There, Lawrence, named for his grandfather, and Donna DIETZ were born and grew up in a three generation household with no generation gap.

Donna DIETZ HAMMOND has written: "I am so grateful that I had this beautiful relationship with my grandparents, with so many happy memories. Even though we did not have much money or material things, we had much love. Grandpa always had time to tell such interesting stories, play checkers, dominoes and other games, or just sit on the back porch and share an apple with me."

"Grandma baked real good cookies, pies, bread and made such a luscious hickorynut cake from scratch. I loved to listen to the stories she read to me. Grandpa helped my father farm as long as he could. He was in his eighties at that time, and I can see him now cutting weeds with the old scythe."

"I can remember the pretty piano duets that my grandmother and mother played. They also sang with my mother singing the alto part. My father was a good artist, who did many pen and ink drawings. He was a good lover of good books, acquiring a very good education from his reading. Wilford DIETZ, died in December, 1967, and Marie DIETZ, still lives on the farm." - Donna HAMMOND (end of page)


From 150 Years in the Hills and Dales

Jefferson Township

Woodbridge Township

From History of Hillsdale County, Michigan

Woodbridge Township







This page updated May 27, 2001