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

Printed by Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, TX

Pages 349-362

150 Years Hills and Dales Vol. II

page 349

In 1834 the first settlers took up residence in what is now Woodbridge Township. The only families remaining in the community who are direct descendants of the first settlers are members of the MASON, CRAMTON and FIELD families.

Woodbridge was set off from Fayette Township in 1840. Its original territory embraced within its boundaries the present townships of Woodbridge, Cambria and the west half of Amboy. The following year, Cambria was set off as a township. Amboy was set off in 1850.

The boundaries of Woodbridge enclose thirty sections.

Many ask how Frontier received its name. Perhaps the men who formed the skirmish lines for the Ohio-Michigan war felt this was a true frontier of wilderness. One of the officers, marching into towering trees, came upon a fairly clear area of ground and thought he was on the line cleared by surveyors. He placed three signs at intervals to say frontier. When the commanding officer did not see one of his companies of men, he sent a runner to look for them. He found them five miles north of where they were suppose to be. They were dispatched forthwith to the line. The signs and the name "Frontier" stuck.


Three tornados have struck the settlement, twenty years apart. In 1928 some farm damage was done west of the town. The roofs were taken from at least two barns and many trees were taken down.

In 1948 a tornado struck again west of town, with some damage in town. The Ed WESTFALL barns were badly damaged. Etta CRAMTON's garage in town was flattened. The two-story mercantile building, that stood where the barber shop is now, was toppled against the YOUNGS building to the east of it. The chimney was taken off the BAUGHMAN house. Many windows all over town were broken out. The barn on the United Brethren parsonage lot was leveled.

The third tornado, in 1968, was the one that wrought major destruction. It swept across some of Amboy, Woodbridge and Cambria Townships, doing $500,000 in damages.

The tornado was formed over Lake Diane. Two members of the DUNN household and Curly MATTOCKS witnessed the forming of the funnel. Ed YEARLING's housetrailer and the adjoining house on Harmon Road were badly damaged. It skipped across the mile and hit the homes of Donald PARNEY. Orlie HAUER and Harold DUNBAR. In the next mile it took Dan SMALLEY's barn. Sheet metal from this building was strewn on the ground and in the trees across the next mile. It then headed for Frontier. The funnel at this time was quite wide with a swath of nearly a block. It caused $50, 000 damage to the properties in Frontier. One small travel trailer and one mobile home were lifted in the air, spun around the splintered in little pieces like matchsticks. Articles from both trailers were found miles away. It deposited a great deal of the debris from the town in the LANGHANN woods. The sign from the front of SHEPARD's trailer park was found in a tree. The tornado struck the LANGHANN barn roof, buildings and trees. Dale WATKIN's house and buildings were hit. Across the next mile it struck the Merle WATKINS and Armond McOSCAR homes, doing much damage. In the next mile its strength was spent in a wood-lot.

Many strange things occurred in this tornado. Squares of Roberta PARNEY's lace curtains were found in HAUER's living room. A five-gallon can of Prestone was picked up in the HECKMAN garage and set in the Harlow COLE upstairs without spilling. Small twigs were driven into the parsonage siding. A board from DURBIN's garage was driven through the end of CRALL's housetrailer. A set of rings and money were carried from the CRAMTON trailer and found in the field a half mile away. Three letters were placed in a mailbox on Grass lake road by the mailman; one remained in the box, one was found east of Hillsdale and the third was never found.

Carl DEISLER was the only local person injured by the tornado and he had a storm? Which necessitated several stitches.

The County Civil Defense sealed the town off for a night and day until things could be put under cover. A very uneasy night was spent by most of the residents. The people quickly went about their jobs of cleaning up and repair. It was winter before people could begin to feel alive again. Many people and organizations did many things to help. The community around helped to furnish food for those hit until utilities were reconstructed. The Fire Department Auxiliary and the Salvation Army set up a canteen in a very short time after it all happened. The Civil Defense tagged the buildings and tested drinking water. The Red Cross came in and helped with lunches and clothing. Those needing assistance were given all the help possible.


Each country school had its beginnings in the early 1840's. Each two mile square set up a school to train their children in the three R's. Some of the area school's names were BRODOCK, BRAHMAN, East and West Maple Grove, Tamarack and FULLER.

In 1844 a board of inspection met and organize the district schools. Isaac HOAG was chairman. One district had twenty-four pupils and was taught by Emily FISH.

The first Frontier School was a building at the corner of Clark and Montgomery Roads on land formerly owned by George BLOUNT who gave it for a school. The first teacher here was Miss Jane BARCLAY. The first superintendent of the school systems was Stanton LAMPHERE. Teachers were inspected each year by the school board to see if they were qualified to teach. Teachers were paid by the year and each child's parents took turns boarding and rooming the teacher. Each family was responsible for so much wood for the stove according to the number of pupils that they had in school. A few years later, one family took the teacher for the whole season and so this family was then exempt from furnishing wood. In 1860 the school went from a fifth to a sixth grade school.

In 1873 a larger Frontier school was necessary. A site was chosen on Brad Street because it was far enough away from the road so that the fast-moving horses could not hurt the children. A two-story, three-room building was erected at a cost of $3500. The grades were primary, intermediate and high. The completion and dedication of this ten grade school were held in the summer of 1895. The head mason who built it was John CURTH. As the school began sessions, George WISMAN, husband of Blanche WISMAN, was the superintendent, carrying forth from the old school. He served this school as headmaster for four years.

The first graduating class (1895) held its ceremonies in an orchard just in back of the Methodist Church across the road from the school. The first class graduated six students: Mary WARNER, Leroy ZUVER, Fay CELLAR, Clyde WOLFF, Fred BLOUNT, and Warren CLAY. The next few classes were larger. The graduation exercises took two nights. Each student graduating was required to give a speech before receiving his diploma. The second graduating class graduated Will WARFIELD among seventeen others. He took a short college course and came back as principal of the school. Records state that Will WARFIELD received $540 for nine months teaching in 1912. Another teacher, Ross HOPKINS, received $360; Floy NICHOLS received $120 for three months teaching; Dale BROWN and Lucy FIELD were paid $360 for nine months teaching. Eighty-five students were taught. Seven of these were from Ranson [Ransom] Township. They paid a tuition of $9.00 per student for graduate schooling.

In 1912 the Ransom School district joined Frontier for the high school education by sending their students to Frontier to complete their schooling. In 1913-1914 there was no graduating class as the school changed from a ten-grade to a twelve-grade school.

In 1914 Professor REED, superintendent, applied for and received accreditation for the school. Under the direction of Edith CLARK, the beautiful maple trees surrounding the school were planted on Arbor Day 1918. The 1968 tornado took several of them down.

In 1926 a mass meeting was held for a discussion by the people of a proposed bonding of the school district for $17,000 so that the high school building could meet the state requirements for accreditation and standards. The election, held on May 9, 1926 carried 2 to 1. The bonding included a two-story addition 40 by 45 feet for a new high school. The old high school became a grade school. The new building was to include a heating plant. The committee to oversee the building was W. J. WESTFALL and R. I. KINNEY. The jubilant students were so pleased about the vote they rang all three church bells and the school bell. Some fired guns and firecrackers.

The school bell was brought by horse and wagon from Angola, Indiana by Fredric CHESTER. It had been in a church there but the church had bought a new bell, so they sold the old bell to the Frontier School. Pete FOSBENDER was one of the first janitors. He rang the bell from the second story each day. It wasn't till some years later that Guy SNYDER, as janitor, fixed the bell so it could be rung from the main floor.

In 1928 the Frontier school was placed on the University of Michigan accredited list. This same year the first alumni meeting was held.

In 1929 C. E. SWIFT was given a big thank you for serving thirty-five years on the board of education quite an achievement.

Commencement and baccalaureate exercises were held in both of the Frontier churches, with one church serving one year and the other church the next year. When the school cafeteria was begun in 1942, Wynola LOTT was head cook. Iola VENIER, Lois SHANEOUR, and Vina SHIFFLER were her helpers.

Mrs. Hazel DRUMM, a teacher in the Frontier school, started a Mothers' Club in 1945. It is still active in the school system.

In 1945 the last graduating class exercises were held in the Frontier school.

Two of this community's people, Grover and Edith CLARK, had been active in school affairs for years. She was a teacher for 31 years. Grover had been a member of the school board.


According to the tax rolls a lot of ditching was done in 1923 and again in 1939.

Silver Creek has been a major drain within (Woodbridge Township) confines. In 1898 this drain had a bill for work done on it amounting to $1,663.98. In 1940 a survey was made on this drain to its outlet, the St. Joe River. Much of the land it drains is level land, therefore a very deep ditch would be needed to have an elevation by the time it reached Woodbridge Township. It would have cost $10 per acre in 1940 to have it drained. Each person draining into it would have to pay drainage tax. This large amount of taxes raised quite a controversy. An injunction was placed upon this ditch and nothing could be done to the ditch until the Injuction was lifted. It was dug in 1958.


In 1844 a board of health was declared and $25 was given them to purchase a burying ground and fence the same. Three locations were obtained in Sections 10, 5 and 20. They were named West Woodbridge (some records call it JENKINS), Central Woodbridge (some records call it SHELDON) and DEVINE.

The first Memorial service was held in the Woodbridge cemetery in 1877 for the Civil War veterans and the previous wars' veterans. Services in later years were held in the Frontier cemetery. Flags in 1924 were placed on veterans graves and cost the township nine cents each. Since 1960 Memorial services have been in charge of the Extension Club. All veterans from all the township cemeteries are honored. A veterans' monument was erected and paid for by David THOMPSON and Leo GEEDY. It stands in the Frontier Cemetery.


This church was set in order on January 10, 1950 with Rev. P. E. PATRICK, District Superintendent, and Rev. Harry SUMNER as pastor. The church was built on the corner of Hillsdale and Harmon roads.

Ministers who have served this church are: Rev. Harry L. SUMNER, Rev. Durand PARISH, Rev. Delmar HARRYMAN, Rev. Richard BUHER, Rev. Paul HARVEY, Rev. S. D. VAUGHN and Rev. Donald MOSIER.


It is located on Camden Road, near Hillsdale Road. It was begun in 1948 under Rev. PATRICK's leadership. The twenty-acre campsite was purchased of Denzil HUKILL.

The first structure was a small red-striped tent which served as a meeting house. In its place now stands a 60 by 120 foot tabernacle that shelters the crowds that come to camp each year. New sleeping quarters and eating facilities have been added.

This unit serves as a place of worship and fellowship for many people of the state and the nation. The church's headquarters is in Missouri and people come from all over the United States to the camp.


The first services were held in a schoolhouse east of Frontier in 1864. Church sheds were built in 1886. The parsonage, the first house east of the United Brethren Church, was built in 1871 on a lot given by Warren ATWOOD.

The deed to the church lot was made in November 1892. The token dollar was paid and the land taken from the Thomas and Dinah MILLS estate. The conference trustees when the church was begun, were George MILLS, William FELIX and Warren ATWOOD. The church bell was bought for $9.00. Dedication of the church was made by Rev. Aaron LILY.

Building of the church was done by conscript. Some of the family names contributing to the building are: Aaron LILLY, Charles SWIFT, W. A. CALKINS, Marion PALMER, Charles PATTERSON, P. E. CRAWFORD, Joseph STURDEVANT, Manford HINKLE, C. L. STAHLER, S. D. HINKLE, Dave FREED, Thomas MILLS, Perry HOPKINS, Adam MARTIN, William FELIX, R. B. MASON, R. C. SCOVILLE, John MARTIN, L. M. NEVINS, Harry HELMICK, J. D. FREED, E. HILTON, Daniel SHELNEY, M. C. MASON M.D., Martin STAHLER, E. H. BOVEE, John WARNER, Hiram HAVEN, Edwin ANDERSON, W. J. CALKINS, C. MANSLEY, J. SLOAN, William DONLEY, ORSON HOPKINS, E. T. AVERY, George BLUNT, James DALEY, Allen AGNEW, George MILLS, H. A. MILLS, Philander HEWITT, S. H. BRIGGS, Walter HULETTE, George TARBELL, Mr. DOUGHTBY, Joel NORRIS, Jason NORRIS, Byron STANLEY, M. Lillie NORRIS, John T. YOUNGS, Mr. WERTNETZ, Peter HEWITT, J. P. WOLFF, W. H. CLAY and C. MARTIN, Jr.

The fifth anniversary was held November 17, 1929.

On October 26, 1969 a celebration was held honoring 105 years of the church being in existence in Frontier. An all day meeting was held. A dedication of three paintings depicting the Crucifixion, Ascension and Invitation "Come unto me", given by Mrs. Lewis THOMPSON, in memory of her husband, Lewis THOMPSON, was held in the morning service. Ann VAN BUSKIRK sang a special number, as did the adult choir. There was a basket dinner at the community hall at noon. The afternoon service was a recognition of former pastors or their families, reflections of past church affairs and special music. The Lynwood Browns and Doctor Browns sang some specials and Merle HUKILL sang a special. A poem written by Rev. WARD was read by Roberta PARNEY. Flowers in memory of present and past church families were presented as beauty for the beholder. The speaker for the afternoon, was a former minister's daughter, Mrs. Faye CONNOR. She is the Huntington College historian. She spoke on "Walking in my Father's Footsteps". Lewis HILL, church superintendent, gave appropriate remarks for the day. Glenn EBAUGH made the frames for Mr. THOMPSON's paintings and Charles DURBIN stained and varnished them. In charge of the guest book was Hazel BOWMAN. Beatrice GEORGE had charge of the dinner. Iva CRAMTON was the flower chairman. Vera VAN BUSKIRK had charge of pictures, periodicals, Bibles and history of the past church. Two gentlemen, Don PARNEY and Chuck KLINCK, took care of the tables and chairs. Kenny VINCENT was usher. Invitations, program, planning and history was done by Idella DURBIN. Rev and Mrs. CLARK were in charge. On October 7, 1973, the last service was held in the Frontier edifice. The church families joined with south and west Woodbridge families and constructed a new church at the corner of Montgomery and Gilmer Roads, and have named it "New Hope". Superintendents of the church were Warren ATWOOD, Elmur OSMUN, Rex FLICKINGER, Thomas FLOWERS, Bertha CROW, Victor BIRDSALL, George OVERLY, Howard WILLIAMS, Don PARNEY, Sid HILL, Robert HINKLE and Louis HILL.


A Protestant Methodist Church at the corner of Woodbridge and Camden roads was called the Prod Church, a nickname because of its beliefs. About 1900 the church was destroyed by fire. The church was rebuilt. Jake KNAPP, a member of the church, head carpenter, placed a five dollar bill in the southwest corner of the structure as a keepsake for the future. When the framework was up a high wind damaged the structure again. The frame stood as it was braced well.

About 1931 the church membership dwindled and the building was sold to three men: William KNAPP, Charley HILTON and Earl HUKILL. The KNAPPs put a new roof on it. These men plus Orlie HAUER and Leon ? Conterence to become a part of their denomination. It became known as the South Woodbridge United Brethren Church and was placed on a circuit with the South Amboy Church.

Some of the ministers remembered are Rev. GEE, Rev. Grace TANNER, Rev. HERSHA, Rev. MAULSIN, Rev. FULLER, Rev. SHULL, Rev. THROOP, and Rev. CLARK.

In 1966 the South Woodbridge church voted to go into a consolidation of churches with West Woodbridge and Frontier and later built a new church. The Consolidation committee sold the furnishings and some of the lumber. All that was usable was utilized and the rest was burned. No trace of the five dollar bill implanted in 1960 was found.


In the winter of 1853, Rev. John MARTIN conducted meetings in homes, barns and in the JOHNSON school a mile south of the church.

The first class was established January 29, 1853 and was named West Woodbridge United Brethren in Christ. Six years later, with eight new members, they decided to build a church.

On January 26, 1851 a parcel of land at the corner of Burt and Carpenter Roads was purchased for $50 from Sylvester FARR. The first church was dedicated on August 23, 1862 with building costs of $1,138.

At this time the minister received a salary of $90 a year.

On December 16, 1914 a gas lighting system caused the church to catch fire and burn. Immediate plans for rebuilding were made. All the timber for rebuilding was contributed and much of the labor volunteered. When it was dedicated on October 12, 1915 there was $500 owing. The offering that day cleared the debt. When the edifice was ten years old it burned, this time from faulty wiring. A third church was built and dedicated on October 11, 1925. It was also declared debt free the day it was dedicated.

Until 1953 when the church celebrated its 100th anniversary, they had had 42 ministers, many of them from the Frontier church circuit. Mr. and Mrs. George TANNER were honored as sixty-year members on the day of the anniversary celebration. In 1968 the congregation voted to join the South Woodbridge Church and Frontier Church in the building of the New Hope Church.

The South Woodbridge Church was sold and is now being made into a house.


The Free Methodist Church that stood in the east end of Frontier was strict in its beliefs. This denomination did not believe in any instruments in the church, only human voices in singing. The men wore no neckties, the ladies no plumes or flowers on their hats and no jewelry. The sermons preached were not fifteen to twenty minutes in length as they are today but usually an hour and a half. It was fire and brimstone preaching. The children were made to be attentive all through the sermon. Many "Amen"'s could be heard throughout the congregation through the service.

The rostrum was at the south end of the church. They heated with a pot-bellied stove. Many times the stove would be left with the draft open and the stove and long pipe would get fire red before someone noticed it and checked the draft.

Some of the ministers remembered were Rev. POST, Rev. LARKIN, Rev. HAUK, and Rev. SICKMILLER. When Rev. POST left the church and moved to California, the membership dwindled. A vote was taken and they voted to join with the church in Hillsdale.

Members remembered here at that time were Henritta PATTERSON, Viola MEEK, Divela MEEK, Susie JONES, Henry HELMICK and wife, and Emma NEVINS.

At the death of Vivian NEVINS, the family requested music for the funeral. They took an organ into the church for the funeral and removed it afterward.

At the consolidation of the churches, this church stood empty a few years. A chapel church was started in the building. Four families: harry and Loa TEAL, the Harve FISHERS, Mr. and Mrs. DICK and the Paul KOPE family started this church. The church ran until the early 1950's when it was again closed for lack of membership.

One of the ministers remembered here was A. J. BERRY.

When the building was vacated, Paul KOPE bought it. It was moved to the Montgomery and Gilbert Road intersection and the second farm north. There Paul KOPE make the church building into a home for his family.


In 1855, the Woodbridge Township board voted $250 for the building of a town hall. They appropriated $10 to buy a site in Section 16 of Woodbridge Township. Three men, John BEARD, A. FULLER, and Cyrus PATTERSON, acted on the building committee and selected the site at the corner of Woodbridge and Montgomery roads. From a sawmill near by, they contracted lumber to be sawed from tulip wood, more commonly known as popular. In 1856, the building was completed. The board appropriated $10 for lamps for the hall.

Twenty years later, an addition and repairs were added at a cost of $150. In 1890 polling booths and a dividing fence were installed. A wood and coal stove has heated the building in the past and is still adequate for the voting needs. The EASTERDAY family has furnished the wood for the stove for many years. In 1903 a rail was installed in front of the building. With the advent of cars, this was no longer needed and was removed.

The exterior is kept painted but the interior remains very much the same as it was in the beginning. The natural wood has become well-preserved and much darkened with age.

In 1975 the Michigan Township Association paper was questing the oldest town hall still in existence in Michigan. Our township clerk sent it our data and found it to be the oldest as of November 1, 1975.


Lodge Number 510, I.O.O.F. was begun in 1908. A building of cement block, two stories high, was built in 1912 on main Street in Frontier. Clem SNYDER and Frank CARPENTER were head masons and directed the erection of the building. Merritt SHAW was head carpenter. The blocks were made by Fred MOHR and John GREEN. They also drew the first load of stone. When the building was dedicated, it was an all day and night celebration. Their charter was given to them March 22, 1905.

The main floor was rented for mercantile business. Herman HIGLEY had a store there and John GREEN worked for him for ten years.

Others who had businesses there were Claude SPADE, Will SAVAGE, and Frank CURTH. Mr. SCHAFFER and the LOUDENS ran a store there. Orrin WEBB operated an electrical shop there.

The last few years the Camden Branch Library has been in this building. The librarian is Florence SHELDON.


The building used to stand on the back street and housed a creamery. John CURTH moved it to its present location on Main Street. It was a two-story building. The upper story was all bedrooms. The lower story housed Dr. STEARNS' Drug Store. Bill YOUNGS bought it from him in 1906. Mr. YOUNGS sold books and maintained a book store for the school pupils nearby. Mary YOUNGS, his wife carried a line of notions. She was always helpful to any youngster who happened to tear his clothes or had the misfortune to take a fall. A word of consolation or advice was forthcoming if asked for. Mary cared for and about people. Will operated a printing press in the backroom and printed public announcements and sale bills. After Mr. YOUNGS passed away, and she became unable to handle it, the building was sold to Pat MALONE.

In the 1948 tornado the building west of it fell against this house and did quite a bit of damage to it. pat tore the top story off the house after this and made a nice one story home. He cleared the building away to the west of it which was, once, three stories and housed a grocery store. After the debris was cleared away, he built a cement barber shop in it's place. Pat sold the two properties to Dean HARVEY, who now owns them.


To most people's recollection, Jim and Sam CROW were the first persons to own this property. In 1899 Jim and Sam bought the corner lot at Montgomery Road and Short Street, Frontier. Shortly thereafter they had a two-story building constructed on the lot. Sam handled International Harvester farm equipment and accessories. Jim did eavespout work and tinning. These two men were well-known and well-liked in the community. Sam was instrumental in starting the Democratic party in this township. In 1900, Jim sold out to Sam and Sam carried on for many years with a hardware business. He sold Deal buggies also. When cars became the thing to buy, Sam became acquainted with the president of the Auburn Car Company and sold cars for him. The first gas pump in town was installed in front of this store and has continued through the years.

The upstairs of the building was used for public meetings such as plays and boxing matches. There was an outside stairway on the west going to the upper floor.

The building was bought in turn by Frank ARNOLD, BOHNER and DRAKE selling out to Drake and the present owners, Charles and Idella DURBIN. They purchased it in 1951. Since the world is changing so rapidly, they have tried to maintain the old-fashioned atmosphere with the help of antiques.


This building was known as the Benny HAGERMAN building. Port BURROUGHS had a shoe store there. Henry BAILY had a grocery store next. It stood idle for a few years and then Fred MOHR bought it and held wrestling matches there. Ober CRAMTON operated a pool room in it. Ralph BLOUNT bought it and Avis OBERLIN ran a bakery in it. Howdy PRESTON used to work in the bakery. He would start his bread about four in the morning so he would have bread to sell when he opened up. When this business was discontinued, Ralph BLOUNT bought it and chickens were bought from there. In 1925 Etta and Ernie CRAMTON bought the building. Ernie had a barber shop in front and Etta had a beauty shop in back. They had living quarters in the upstairs. In 1955 Ernie retired from the barber trade and she took her beauty shop to their home in the west part of town. The building made living quarters for several families after that. About 1960 Louanna LANGE bought it and made it into a restaurant, the "Country Kitchen" for about ten years.


The home at 174 West Montgomery Road, belonging to Ed and Betty WESTFALL, has a wonderful heritage. Perry HOPKINS, when he came to this part of Michigan, took up two farms from speculators, who had taken it up from the government. This farm and the other one, where Bobbie Russell lives for the selling price of $1.25 an acre. Perry HOPKINS built the brick house at a cost of $3000.00 including a slate roof and furnishing. It had two cellars. In 1884 he built a barn 44 by 68 with 20 foot posts and 33,000 shingles covering it. A basement 8 foot high under the center was built with 30 cord of stone. The cost of the barn was $ 1,500. Perry HOPKINS sold the north farm to Levi and Cora WESTFALL. Later they built two large barns. They were the parents of two sons and a daughter. William J. was one of the sons. Levi was an elder, known as a minister in other churches in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. This gave him the legal privilege of performing marriages, as a minister, in another church. He was very privileged to marry two of his granddaughters, Morine and Maleta. The first place west of this place had a log cabin on it. The log cabin was used to bunk the workers at the Freed Saw Mill across the road. Levi bought this ground and built a brick house on the land. Bill (W. .J.) and Nora were married in 1913 and moved into the brick house on the newly acquired farm. Bill began buying cattle and shipping them from his father's barn. In 1919 it was necessary to have some aid and care for the older parents. W. .J. and Nora moved into their home to care for them for 12.

In 1920, two large barns on the farm burned. The community felt the need for the cattle facility. They called a community bee. The community turned out on January 29, 1920 and cut native timber for the new barn. They bought buzz saws, crosscuts, axes, hammers and the women went with well-filled dinner baskets. Even some of the stores closed and joined the workers. After the lumber was sawed and seasoned, they gathered again and put up a new 40 by 60 barn.

In 1931, Bill and Nora bought the W. .J. WESTFALL property at 130 East Montgomery Road. He built a large shipping barn there.

When Bill and Nora moved to the west home, Ed was married and he and Betty moved into the home place. Ed worked with his father in the stock business. Since his parents death, Ed has moved all the stock buying operation to his home and has installed a big pair of weigh scales there. It is now Ed WESTFALL Stockyard instead of W. .J. WESTFALL stockyard.


A very few round barns exist. One is located at 911 South Hillsdale Road. A book, soon to be published, will recognize this barn by including a picture of it.

The first owners known were the Andrew McDERMID family. In the fall of 1901, a friend who was studying architecture, began telling McDERMID about his idea of utilizing space by constructing a round barn. They drew up the plans and Charles TRIPPETT from Hillsdale, contractor, was hired to build the barn. Some of his crew were local men, including Sherman DENNIS, Monte SMITH, Glenn EBAUGH, who built the cupula, and Evan STAHLER. The barn was a post and beam-framed building. From its beginning to the present day, the barn has been a curiosity to many people. It took one year to build.

McDERMID lived a short time on the farm, then rented the farm to Ira KINNEY. He was the Frontier postmaster. The round barn held relief horses for the long mail trip from Hillsdale to Frontier, especially in the cold winter.

The building has a silo built through the center of the building, extending through the roof and having a cupola on top of it. The silo has doors at intervals on the way up and down for the removal of silage. There was a spout used at the doors to dispense the silage into the mangers below. On the back side of the barn was an enclosed hay track, 90 feet in the air and across the roof to the cupola. In order to fill the silo or the hay mows, the hay was lifted to the roof, released by a tripping mechanism to fall into the place needed. It was necessary to have extra help to put hay or ensilage into this barn. On the second story, against the silo, stood the granary. On the main floor, the animals were kept. Stanchions were placed around the barn with four box stalls on one side where the cows were stabled. Horses and sheep at different times were kept there. The roof is a work of art and took a long time to install. Each shingle had to be cut separately and fitted. Electricity was added about 1940.

In 1923 the Jake STAFFORD family moved there. After Jake passed away Mrs. STAFFORD did the chores. She went to the barn one evening and a bad electrical storm came up. A lightning bolt hit the hay track, traveled down the track, followed the stanchions around to the box stall and , there, killed several sheep. In its path, the bolt struck Mrs. STAFFORD. She was wearing rubber galoshes that had been patched. The lightning force blew the patches off her boots and it was felt this had saved her life. She was stunned for three days. The STAFFORDS lived there until 1940.

The owner, Mrs. McDERMID passed away and the farm was willed to Moody Bible Institute. It was rented, by them, to Ralph TORREY and later, was sold to Harry and Mayme SHARP. Harry added an outside stairway to the house and made upstairs apartments.

In 1952 Helen and Harold FRUTH purchased the place. They own it at the present time. The barn is in need of repair. As the FRUTHS have little need for it, they see little need to repair it. It will be a memory soon.


The Frontier Post Office building may be the oldest business place in Frontier. It was built in 1869 by Elijah FIELDS. The first occupancy was a post office and general store. The building has turned full circle, as the building, in 1969, became a post office again.

In 1892, a grocery store, alone, was housed here. It was operated by Warren ATWOOD. Two doctors, Dr. and Mrs. FURGESON were the next to occupy it with offices in the building. Mike WOLFF bought it after the FURGESONS left for Missouri and made it into a home. Behind it Dave GIBBS had a sawmill. He also ran a threshing machine and clover huller. The building became a mercantile business again when Charley SAUL opened a cream station in it. three others ran a store there: Jean CROSS, Lee ELLIOTT and Norman COLE. Norman also put gas pumps in front of the grocery.

A. L. SHEPARD bought it of the COLES in the early 1950's. He and his wife, Peggy, sold mobile homes and travel trailers.

The post office returned to the building soon after 1968, with Marcine VALLIEU as postmistress. The building was then sold to Lynn GREEN. The post office is rented to the government by Lynn. The postmaster is Clyde DRYER.


The SPANGLER barn, located on Short Street, was once a very buzzing mercantile business. It was a flour mill built by Percy and Orrin HOPKINS around 1900. The building originally stood on land now occupied by the laundromat. HIGLEY and CULBERTSON moved it. First operated in it was a roller mill owned by Blake HOPKINS's father, Elfred, and Lou EASTERDAY. It was sold to John WILLIS and a Mr. SEAGRAVES. The name of the flour manufactured there was under the trade name "White Lilly". Glenn BLOUNT, on Blount Road, has a bag with this name on it.

The mill is now a barn and winter quarters for cattle and pigs.


On the site of Harvey's store used to stand a sawmill and feed store owned by John SEBRING and William SAVAGE. They sawed native timber into lumber. After this operation was discontinued about 1925, Harry TEAL bought another building and joined it to the mill, placing it on a cellar and foundation. Harry ran a business along with a post office until 1955 when he retired. Dan RYAN ran a soft ice-cream store a couple years. It was sold to Juniata WILLIAMS and Doris TRACY for living quarters. They had it three years when it was sold to the present owners, Dean and Margaret HARVEY. They hold bingo games in the building and sell sale merchandise.


The building of M9, later M99, through the township was a very important part of its existence. The road was built through Amboy, Woodbridge, and Cambria Townships, and each township built in a different and individual way. The road was laid out and begun in 1918. Each township worked independently of the other. The road base they started with was a one-lane buggy trail.

The cook shack from Ransom Township was brought to Woodbridge Township and set up at Fern WILLIAM's home. The Woodbridge portion of M9 went from Grass Lake Road to Squawfield, the long way around. The first M9 turned west at Brittons' Corners, came down Burt Road to Clark Road and north to Montgomery Road on the east edge of Frontier. It went through Frontier to Hillsdale Road and then north to Squawfield. The contractor for this portion of the road was to have been Grant KIMBLE, but grant was called into World War I. Charley FLINT then took over the job. The boss on the job was Charley CRAWFORD. Some of the workers remembered on this portion of the road where Pat, Lloyd and John PATTERSON, Howdy PRESTON, Coe SMITH, Charley REUBEL, Guy DODGERS, Homer SERGANT, Glenn CRAMTON, Hank VAN AKEN, Burr HOWARD, Harve OVERLY, Bert MILLS, Elmer BLOUNT, Charley EDAUGH and Camilius CRAMTON. Hank VAN AKEN had a team that was blind and he talked to them to indicate where he wanted them to go. He was responsible for cutting some of the sleeper grades. Howdy PRESTON was about the only one that could handle his team of mules. At the time the road was begun, the county road commissioner was Jack BAGER.

The river bridge below Fern WILLIAMS's on Burt Road was the next to the largest fill. Frank, Harry and Lynn Smith hauled two loads of stone each day from the HOOVER gravel pit when workers started to pour the foundation. The bridge was a masterpiece of bridge building in that day. It was one of the widest made. The foundation needed to be sturdy because there was a mill race below it. A plaque on the bridge tells the story.

Later, there was need to change the location of that section of the road. The new route went north of Britton's corners to Montgomery Road, straight west, through Frontier to Hillsdale Road and north to Squawfield Road. It ran through a sink hole east of Frontier. A legend remains: a huckster wagon passing through the sink hold on the road began sinking. The driver managed to unhook the horses from the wagon and whipped them to pull him through the quick sand with the lines. The wagon went down. The road was built to the south of the sink hole and this road held up.

In the spring of 1920 the road lying between Pat Patterson's and Albert FRENCH's sank out of sight. The quicksand and muck came up in mounds on both sides where the road had been. The road was closed.

Charley REUBEL lived on top of the log cabin hill where VAN SICKLES now live. His farm was one of the stoniest around. They decided, since it was so near that hole, they would pick his farm and put the stones in the hold. They had flat bed wagons with small racks, as stones weighed heavily. They hauled 7500 wagonloads of stone and 1500 wagonloads of dirt, one and one-half yard loads, to dump in the hole. They picked the farm, plowed the fields and picked it again. All the stone used came from the REUBEL farm. In order to work in the hold they built another road to the west and took the wagons around the hole and emptied from the south. They stretched a cable across the hole. They used horses to draw the wagons to the hole and dump them. Eventually the hole was filled and a new road built over the top. They still, at times, have to work on this spot of road.


The Floris MILLARD home had to be built in the early 1900's attesting to the different stores that were housed there. The first recorded store in this building was a boot and shoe store. Hank BUCKNER, next, had a cigar factory in the building. Charley ROBINSON, Fern WILLIAMS's father, had a pool room and livery barn there. They were bought by Monroe GARVER. He also had a hotel there. When horses gave way to cars, Abe RICHARDSON who owned it then, installed gas pumps in front of the store. Erma BARNES purchased the property and put ice-cream parlor equipment in. It was run by Barney and Letha BARNES.

Bill and Peg MILLARD next bought the establishment and ran the ice-cream confectionery store. Bill sold hunting and fishing licenses and equipment. They also pumped gas for the public. They were open seven days a week. Mr. MILLARD passed away, and several years later, Peg discontinued business.


The township was serviced by Pioneer, Ohio and Camden, Michigan fire departments. Feeling that the community needed a little better and closer fire protection, the idea was brought to a vote. The township approved the proposition, and in 1956, the township board appropriated $10,000 to buy a new truck, equipt it, buy a lot in Frontier and construct a fire house. The land was purchased from Grover CLARK next to the United Brethren Church on Montgomery Road.

When the new building was up, the new pumper, bought from the Barton Company, Battle Creek, was delivered in December, 1956. It was a Chevrolet truck with 1000 gallon capacity tank, which could pump 500 gallons of water per minute. The truck carried two, one-inch reel hoses, 150 feet long and a suction pump for filling. Two fire extinguishers were mounted on it also. Floyd (Pat) MALONE, the first fire chief, held the office from 1956 to 1958. Marlow PETERS accepted the white hat next and served from 1958-1959. Ralph LANGHANN was chief from 1959-1967. Karl OLMSTEAD was elected in 1967 and is still serving as chief. The first phone set up was a fire phone in MALONE's Barber Shop, Pete's Garage, and Ryan's store. When Pat quit barbering and moved from town, his phone was moved to the DURBIN store. For a number of years the phone system worked this way with one person at home at all times. In 1965 the new dial system telephones went into operation and a ten-phone answering system was set up. The Frontier department serves Ransom, Amboy, and Cambria townships under contract with each township.

In 1957 they raised money for additional equipment by having a chicken dinner at the school. The first year they cleared $564; the second, $400. They put on chicken dinners several years to by boots, coats, hats, hose and other equipment.

In 1957 Orrin WEBB installed the fire alarm system.

Ola STUMP gave the department at 1947 Dodge chassis for which the men secured a 750-gallon oil tank which they cleaned, installed and painted the whole thing red to equip their tanker. The truck and tank have since been replaced.

In 1957 a Fire Department's Woman's Auxiliary was formed. The women furnished coffee and sandwiches for the men at fires. The first president was Mary Lou OLMSTEAD. The women earned money to buy a proximity suit and an asbestos blanket for the truck.

In 1964 the Michigan Inspection Bureau gave the town a better fire rating because of its fine department. In 1971 a third vehicle was added, a war surplus jeep. It was outfitted with hose and small tanks for fighting grass fires. Even though the department is not so old in years, it is a valuable asset to the township.


The township was actually 120 years old in 1961, but the first town meeting was held in 1851.

A meeting of the community organizations was called by Mrs. Charles DURBIN, committees were formed and the dates August 10-12, 1961 were set.

Money had to be raised to pay for a celebration. A minstrel show was the means chosen to raise the funds. The end men were David STOLTE, Rod BEARD, Jerry SPANGLER, and Dave WARFIELD. Grace LANGE was interlocutor. The play, directed by Mildred WARFIELD, was put on in the Camden-Frontier School gym May 3, 1961. Don WARFIELD played the music for the whole show. Many people of the community played roles in it. By this means $142.00 was raised to put on the centennial.

Radio spots, bulletin releases by Helen JOHNSON and her daughters and the Lewis SPIETH family, and newspaper coverage helped to keep people informed.

Linda RICKARD was chosen centennial queen. Her court consisted of Margaret SPIEONE and Sue Jean DRAKE. Camden and Waldron fire departments enacted water ball fights on the back street on centennial afternoon. A championship Little League team played an afternoon exhibition game. All the businesses in town exhibited displays of old-fashioned articles owned by community residents. Virgil GRAY was in charge of the displays of larger articles in the HILTON building. A large number of pictures of bygone eras were shown.

The beard judging was won by Lyle HUKILL and Maurice ROBARGE. The Fire Department Women's Auxiliary sold sandwiches, ice cream, pie and coke. Dale TANNER, Jack SIEGEL and others brought horse-drawn vehicles to take people for rides during the day.

The parade was led by horseback riders, John DRAKE, John STEMEN, Pauline and Everett STANLEY. The Camden-Frontier band played. The queen and her court rode in convertibles. A contingent of old cars paraded. A group of decorated bikes, animals, floats and a covered wagon joined the parade.

At the completion of the parade, a company of the National Guard starting to Grayling, Michigan came through town for hours. The Methodist Church served supper to the public. Saturday night the street to the north was blocked off and an old-fashioned square dance was staged. Music was furnished by the WARFIELD orchestra. Sunday was devoted to the churches and their services. Many people enjoyed the window displays on Sunday. The general chairmen were Yale SALISBURY and Elwyn BRYNER. Vic SCHARP was master of ceremonies. He was dressed in a tuxedo of the olden days as were many other people.


The planning committee for Frontier Day was Carolyn COLE, Billie JONES, Rita BUCKNER and Idella DURBIN.

A queen contest was held with the court consisting of Joan SPANGLER, Rosemary VAN BUSKIRK, Pam SHEGITZ and Vickie BUCKNER. The queen was chosen by a three-man board consisting of Wilfred ROCK, rosemary PEERBOOM, and Joan VAN ARSDALEN. The points judged were interviews, formals and talents. Joan SPANGLER was chosen queen. Some of the former queens of this area were present Julia HUKILL, Vonda ANSPAUGH and Connie LASHAWAY. Vonda Anspauch acted as master of ceremonies for the day's activities. Senator Roger JOHNSTON, Democratic representative from this district, was present in the afternoon and for the parade.

Two local boys, Doug SPADE and Max GREEN, operated their Frontier radio station from a tent next to the barber shop. One of the KUSTER boys furnished a flat-bed trailer parked next to DURBIN's store for the stage. Don WARFIELD wired a public address system and amplifiers for use. The highlight of the afternoon was music by one of the former members of the community, Sheldon FIELD and part of his performing group from Toledo who had performed in nightclubs and on the radio.


One of the newer businesses in the Woodbridge is the ANKE Sports Shop which is owned by George and Joan ANKE with help from their children James, Scott and Angel.

George sells motorcycles, motorscooters, snowmobiles, chainsaws, and travel trailers. He services all the articles he sells. He has attended school to learn the new servicing techniques. His newest achievement is the lining of the interiors of panel trucks with carpeting and curtains.


The laundromat is owned by Richard and Madonna GREEN of Frontier. It is located at the west edge of the town. They have three children Max in the Navy: Vicki, who works at Hillsdale College; and Mark in school.


Lavon and Paul ANKE own and operate a clothing manufacturing shop on Steamburg Road.

Paul worked many years as supervisor at the Baumgarten factory, thus learning the business. When the BAUMGARTEN shop closed, Paul and Lavon began their own shop in their Baw Breese Lake home. When their business outgrew that facility, they built a clothing shop nearer their families in Frontier. The business has continued to grow, necessitating their building onto the shop.

They hire up to ten people to make insulated clothing. They begin with bolts of cloth and end with tailored coats, ski pants and fishing clothes. They sell wholesale as well as retail.


On land purchased from the FIELD family, Albert DIETZ built a store building at the corner of Montgomery and Hillsdale roads. Albert was the father of Leland Dietz, a SPANGLER candy salesman in the area for many years; Albert ran the store for quite a while. The store was sold to Harry BEERHOUSE who ran the station for some time. It was next sold to a CHRISTMAN family who ran it about a year. TURNER and HUGGETT next bought the store. Mick and Dorothy ran it for a few years and then made a trade with Glenn CRAMTON. They took the farm east of Frontier that Glenn owned and he took the store. He and Huldah moved into Frontier and lived in a mobile home. Glenn sold the store to Ora BATES of Hillsdale. The station was rented by Max and Pauline SPRANG, who ran it for a few years. When their health failed they left the station and went to Hemlock Lake. The station then was rented to Tom and Hilda COULTER a short time. Vi and Bob WORTHING ran it about a year. Lawrence and Leta MILLS gave it a ten-year try. One of the things remembered by the public is the mohawk haircut their grandson, Skip MILLER, wore.

The present owners, Bill and Millie ROTHLISBERGER, have removed a partition and added extra space for groceries. Bill gave up barbering when he went into the station.


The post office was established in 1857 for one year under Benjamin DIRESLAR as postmaster and then was closed until 1861 when it was given a charter. It remains a means of news delivery. Postmasters who had served are Benjamin DIRESLAR January to July 1857: Walter BAKER 1861: Warren ATWOOD to 1869: Elijah FIELD to 1872: Warren ATWOOD to 1882: Matthew DOTY to 1884: Warren ATWOOD 1885: Frank STEARNS to 1890: Charles HIGLEY to 1894: Frank HAYNER to 1898: Jonathan SHERMAN to 1906: Richard KINNEY to 1915: Frank HAYNER to 1928: Lester MORGAN to 1931: Harry TEAL 1931: Otto WASNICK to 1938: Harry TEAL to 1957: Orrin WEBB to 1959: Marcine VALLIEU to 1972: Clyde DRYER 1972 to --.

There were two rural routes supported from the post office at one time. One was started in 1903 through 1915 and the other in 1903 through 1918. Carriers on the first route were Stanton LAMPHERE, Edgar MOORE, Harlie MASON, Rose HOPKINS and Ellis ROOSA. The second route carrier was Fred BLOUNT.

The office was fourth class until 1957 when it became third class. In 1861 the box rental was five cents a box and post cards were one cent. The postmaster, Frank HAYNER, had the post office and the telephone office at the same time in a small building on the northwest corner. He was bonded for $1000 and, a few years later, Otto WASNICK was bonded for $2000.

During World War II a victory stamp and a savings-bond stamp were sold. A special victory tax was taken from the postmaster's pay. During World War I a thrift stamp was sold.

In 1949 and 1950 box rents went from 15 cents to 25 cents quarterly. Today they are rented by the year.


Justices of the Peace were appointed and voted on each election day. It was their duty to take care of the township's legal affairs. They held court in settlement of claims, collected traffic tickets, and traffic fines, settled civil claims and performed marriages. H. M. EWING performed one marriage and Marshall FIELD performed 12 marriages between the years 1945 and 1968.


After the Civil War was over, many veterans needed help. The township voted to give each veteran serving from the township $100 each, if they were honorably discharged. The district voted to bond for the amount of $1,300 to pay this obligation. The township supervisor was instructed to provide relief for the honorably discharged when needed, and to work with the soldiers home and relief commissions to their needs. Twenty-five years later a new law was made and assistance was extended to their families also. In 1891 only one entry of $32.35 was found as paid from the soldiers relief fund.


The Rebekah organization was begun in approximately 1908 with 20 members. The Ransom Lodge joined this lodge. Mrs. Pearl BLOUNT was one of the first Noble Grands to be sent to Grand Lodge in Traverse City. The organization was a unit for about 30 years when it disbanded. Members included Elizabeth SWIFT, Pearl BLOUNT, Bertha CROW, Mrs. SAVAGE, and Rhoda GREEN.


The Frontier Town and Country Extension Club was begun in 1958 with 15 women. The original members were Norma SALISBURY, Carol MILLS, Alice MILLER, Grace HARMON, Helen FOWLER, Iva BUTTS, Idella DURBIN, Retta PEARCE, Alitza BOWLES , Loree CARTER, Alice EASTERDAY, Leta MILLS , Marie REICHARDT, Treva ROSE, Dora SALISBURY, Jean SPANGLER, Leah WATKINS, Etta CAMPTON, Karen WAMPLER, Clela CRALL, Mrs. Roscoe BROWN, Mrs. Kenneth OWENS and Mrs. Harley CARTER. Of the original members, six remain today.

Many homemaking ideas have been gained by the club. The lessons are presented through Michigan State University and the County Extension Office.

The club sponsored the Over 60 Club for 14 years; it named the two streets that were unnamed in Frontier; and it was responsible for seeing the three-way signs go up at the intersection of Hillsdale and Montgomery Roads. Many enjoyable projects were sponsored by the club: a formal tea, a progressive supper, a fashion parade of shoes from buttonshoes to present-day, chair caning, book reviews, how to bake an angel food cake, foreign foods, Michigan supper, several tours, sample sewing, mending, laundry detergents, new foods, new fabrics and many others. The women are working on a project for the bicentennial year now.


Charles HIGLEY built the home the second door west of DURBIN' s store. It was a hotel. He built a livery barn behind the hotel. The barn was built in the 1900's and run by Orson HEWITT. Those using the hotel put their horses in the livery barn. It held five or six horses.


PINKHAM and WRIGHT built a block building where Glenn CRAMTON's mobile home now sets. It was a building 60 foot wide with a showroom across the front. They sold Model T Ford cars and Fordson tractors. Evan STAHLER purchased a car there in 1918. John BROWN was their mechanic and some of the managers for the dealership were Carleton SNYDER, Harley LAPE, Mr. HAWK, Mr. DILLWORTH, John BROWN, Pullman, Everett HUKILL and Mr. GILBERT. After the dealership was closed, Cook and Spinner tore the building down. The blocks were used in houses in Hillsdale.


A two-story building behind OLMSTEAD's which housed an apple drying industry which employed 10 to 12 people, mostly women. Farmers picked their apples and hauled them by the wagonload to the dryer. They were carried in buckets to the tables. The women used apple corers to peel them. these machines had a sharp blade, a sprocket and a handle to peel and core. The apples were, then, taken upstairs to the drying racks for curing, dried for a week and then packed in barrels for shipment. The apple peelings were hauled to a field behind the factory and, there, allowed to rot. The barrels of dried apples were transported to Hillsdale for shipment by train.


Lumber from a building at the Wild Cherry Cemetery was used in the making of the building that stood at the corner of Montgomery Road and ATWOOD Street.

In 1909 Ober CRAMTON sold it to Fred MOHR. The building was remembered to have had silent movies in the upstairs. A skating rink was on the main floor. On the weekends a public dance was held on the same floor. In 1916 the building was sold to Bert ELLIOTT. It was equipped with a gasoline lighting plant. He ran a market there for a short time. A store, built west of this, housed the MASON store. and a small building west of the MASON store housed a millinery shop. The lot on which they all stood was owned by the same person.

The ELLIOTT building was sold to Jake HARMON. He ran a garage there for some years. The EICHLER Brothers ran a garage there as did Herman SNYDER for a short time. Pete PETERS had a garage here, and later built a garage in the west end of town and moved there.

The building and lots were sold to William HART in 1948. He remodeled the building and made the building into a feed mill. He ground feed for animals, mainly. He added a shed to the west for wind protection and the shed covered his scales. Bill ran the mill for 15 years. Richard CLARK was a helper for a number of years. When Bill retired he sold the mill to Dick who ran it several years: then it was closed. Bill and Eva built a home on the lot where the store stood and enjoyed the very pretty view. After the mill was closed, Bill tore it down.


Near the corner of Carpenter and Dimmers Roads in Woodbridge Township is a very nice mercantile store that handles a line of general merchandies. It is managed and run by Charles and Mary RICHARDS. They selected and built the store in 1970 and have operated it since that time.


The first barber we have knowledge of was Merton LOWN. His shop stood on the lot where Dorothy KING's mobile home is now. Merton worked for Charley SWIFT in his cooper shop by day, and then barbered by night. Merton LOWN is the grandfather of Pat PATERSON of the W.C.S.R. Radio Station. John SHERMAN had a corner of the shop where he molded shot for guns. This shop was sold to John KNISLEY. John was a violinist. After his day's work was done, it was his custom to play his instrument in the doorway at night in the moonlight and once in a while, at noontime. John sold his shop to Dick HILLYARD. John moved with his family to California where he barbered for years.

Dick HILLYARD had the shop moved to the middle of town near his home. His home was the home now owned by Grace ELLIOTT. The shop stood east of the house just back of the hickory nut tree. The shop was small but Dick had one barber chair and six or eight chairs for those waiting for a cut. Dick had a white dog which he and Edna, his wife, both idolized. The dog would sit up, beg, and play the organ a hundred times a day at his master's bidding. Dick started out charging ten cents and fifteen cents a cut. He finally raised his cuts to a quarter. He quit doing any shaving after his hands became shaky. He barbered in this shop 52 years. He was there most any time anyone wanted a haircut. Five generations of the RUSSELL family had their hair cut by Dick HILLYARD.

After Dick passed away, the post office was inthis building a short time and then the building was sold to Herb STUMP. He and his family moved the building to Burt Road and there it was torn down.

Harry TEAL was a barber in Sears, Michigan about 20 years prior to coming to Frontier. He ran a dry goods store in Frontier and cut a little hair. When he went into the grocery and post office he still cut special customer's hair.

Earnie CRAMTON was a barber int he building east of the DURBIN store. Ernie and Dick used to compete. Ernie couldn't see charging just two bits for a hair cut. He did a little more styling and a little different job and charged 40 cents. Etta, his wife, for a while had a shop in the back of this building where she gave permanents.

When the two-story mercantile building on the north side of the street was blown down in the 1948 tornado, the rubble was cleaned up and a cement-block shop was built on the foundation by Pat MALONE. In the early 1950's Pat became the town barber.

The shop was rented to Bill ROTHLISBERGER. Bill ran the shop for several years and then, became a businessman at the Montgomery Road and Hillsdale Road intersection. Dean Harvey bought the house and shop. It was rented to Max MOORE. Max was a barber for several years and then purchased a shop in Camden where he is today. Frontier is now without a barber.


Etta CRAMTON had a hairdressing establishment longer than any other in the township. She had an office at 105 Main Street a while and than at her home at 133 Main Street, Frontier.

Ila RUSSELL ran a hairdressing shop at her home, 151 Montgomery Road for a bout ten years. She no longer is a hairdresser. Julia DUNLAP has a beauty shop at 123 Burt Road in her home wher she serves the community's women. Mary MARVIN has a shop in her home at 251 Montgomery Road near Frontier. Linus and Lunda MEEK owned and operated an ice cream parlor on the north side of Main Street. Mr. MEEK also ran a pickle station on the south side of Main street for several years.

Frontier has had an official song and an official poem written about it, which were written by Dell CAREY about 1900. About the merchants of that day, the song was sung to the tune of 'Come Take a Trip in My Airship.' Dorr HATCH, who with Lynn DAVIS, Roy OVERLY and Avis OBERLIN composed a quartet which sang it many times, sang the song for Idella DURBIN, who wrote it down.

The song, sung by the SPIETH family at the centennial, follows:

It's just of late I've nearly gone crazy,
Over the love of the Allegan sway;
Merchants and tradesmen of Frontier,
For a long time have had their own way:

You ask them to give you a reason
Why their prices are all up in gee;
They certainly will give you an answer,
Just wait a short time and you will see:

Wait till Port BURROUGHS quits buying
All the melons that come into town
And quits hiring such painters
Wait till Ben HAGERMAN builds a brick block
And HAYNER trades off all his wheels;
Then SHERMAN will not need his glasses
To read FOOT and YOUNG's handbills.
I'm sure if you'll wait and be patient
There'll be a railroad right past our grist mill,
And trains will stop off for free lunch.
Sam TOOMAN will have a big fill;
Wrigley's big show will exhibit
The elephant, monkey and bear
And fish will have wings like an eagle.
They will soar way up high in the air;

I'm sure if you wait and be patient
Till the dawning of some Christmas Day.
Walter will sell off all his fence lots,
GREEN's saw handles will be given away:
The clerks and the school girls will get married,
And then things will be better in tune;
Our hotel will be furnished with night clerks,
And we'll all take a trip to the moon.

( A recording of the song by Blanche HINKLE, mother of Robert HINKLE, was played in many homes at the turn of the century.)


The Macabees organization was granted its charter June 1, 1900. The charter members of the organization were Mary GIBBS, Mary MARTIN, Irene WILDE, Ella SAVAGE, Mary MORRIS, Minnie HINKLE Maude HOWARD, Elizabeth SWIFT and Cora CONNLEY. They were an active organization. After they stopped meeting, they still kept up their insurance program. Jesse MORGAN was their last treasurer.


Although Frontier does not have a doctor now, the town has had a succession of them over the years. Dr. and Mrs. FURGESON had an office where the post office is located. They both were doctors. They went from here to the state of Missouri. Dr. STEARNS, Dr. CAULKINS, Dr. DOTY, Dr. NORRIS and a veterinarian by the name of Dr. BELL all practiced here.


Elmer HATCH had a photo gallery at the present Mary DAYTON residence. He took, developed, and finished pictures. Sam CROW had a darkroom on the second floor of the store where he finished pictures. He had an old-fashioned wooded easel and a cloth covered camera. Merle LANGE took many pictures and developed them. He took pictures of graduations, weddings and portraits.


I'm sure you've heard of Sile DOTY's escapades, of his stealing and robbing, and running. Sile had a good side too.

Will MOULTROP told of his father knowing Sile DOTY, personally. One winter his only horse died of old age and he couldn't afford to get another for spring plowing. While sitting at the breakfast table one spring morning, they heard a horse whinny: they rushed to the door, and there tied to the fence was a large workhorse. They used the animal all summer until the crops were in the fall. The horse disappeared as mysteriously as it had come.


The first telephone system ever to be used in Frontier was a single line. Frank WHITNEY had a line from hhis store in Frontier to his store in Cambria.

About 50 years ago, Frank HAYNER instigated the effort to obtain a Bell telephone here. He had an office on the lot now owned by Blanche WISMAN. He operated a switchboard there for about 25 phones. It was a metallic system.

The Camden Telephone Company was organized. The purchase of the existing Bell line was negotiated and Charley BATES, Will KNAPP and Charley SMALL strung more telephone lines. Under this new system, Sto DEVINE, in 1906, became the first telephone operator. The telephone office was moved into the building at 101 Montgomery Road after the hotel was discontinued. There were a number of operators over the years, the last one being Cecile WALKER.

Lake Diane was being developed and phones were being installed in numbers there. The company built a new phone building at the corner of Cellars Road and Hillsdale Road to take care of the Frontier area. The small building in Frontier was given to the township for the token dollar. The front of the building had a door installed and the fire department jeep is housed here.

Phone-car telephones were initiated around 1970.


Rie MASON had a brick kiln on the BONDSTEEL property east of town. It was located on the side hill east of the house. It was housed in a long shed there. The kiln was run by coal heat. He made both tile and brick there. It operated about five or six years.


The cheese factory stood on the back part of the lot now owned by Art and Marsha CARR. It was built by Jim and Sam CROW. It consisted of two buildings, one in which the cheese was made and the other where the cheese was stored on curing racks. Fred SHUMAKER was head cheese maker. When he sold the factory, it went to Charley BELCHER and, then, to Bob OVERLY. Pete FOSBENDER next owned it. He bought milk. After he stopped this operation the building was torn down.


The home in which Maude SPURLOCK lives was built by Elmer HATCH. Mart STAHLER bought it off of him. STAHLER, in turn, sold it to I. B. GREEN. Mr. Green built a blacksmith shop east of the home. He and his son, John, ran it until 1936. The shop was then torn down. A meat market run by Fred and George MOORE, was moved to the position of the old shop. Charles EBAUGH bought the store building, added to it, and started a gas station. He ran the store and gas station for quite a few years. Jim SPURLOCK traded his home on the back street for the store and home.

The tornado ruined the store building.


SWIFT's mill was opened and operated by Emmett and Charley SWIFT. They employed ten men to work in the mill. The men were paid 75 cents to $1 a week, including their board and room. Mrs. SWIFT cooked for them. Land owners, when they needed money, would haul their timber to the mill. The logs were barked, kiln-dried and cut into staves. These were piled in the sun to dry. When they were dried, they were made into barrels. These barrels held about 4 bushel of produce. About 125 barrels would be loaded onto a wagon to be taken to STOCK's mill. Mr. SWIFT supplied an apple owner by the name of ARCHER at Baw Beese Lake with barrels for shipping apples.


A large brick building stood on the corner of the United Brethren Parsonage garden spot. It was owned and operated by Irvin MARSH of Cambria and Frank HAYNER. The front of the building had a board floor and housed the necessary funeral supplies. At the back part was a lean-to shed that housed the hearse. The vehicle was drawn by a pair of bay horses. It had inside curtains. The building, when it was no longer used, was torn down by the MEEKS.


The Frontier Creamery was started by Henry HINKLE. Farmers in the surrounding communities sold him their cream. Bud Brown remembered bringing his cream to Frontier from his home, near Ransom, when he came to school each day. Butter, then sold for less than 20 cents a pound. The butter made there was package-wrapped and unnamed. When the business was discontinued the building was moved from the back street to the site of Harvey's[Henry's?] home.


The small house that stood on the lot where CROW brothers built their store was moved back of the store. Ernest HILLYARD rented this building for a blacksmith shop. When the building was vacated, Jim and Sam CROW put in a set of weigh scales and started a coal yard. The scales were sold by Warren DRAKE when he owned the store.


A SEBRING family lived where BRYNERS do now. Mr. SEBRING built a long building where the garage is now. It was a recreation hall. Pool was played there and there was a bar. It was an old-fashioned saloon. When the township was voted dry, the building was torn down.

Pete PETERS had had a garage in the former mill. He moved to the SEBRING home and built a cement-block building in which he could do garage work. He operated the garage several years. He, later, leased the garage to Ralph and June LANGHANN. They ran it several years more. The home and garage were then sold to the present owners, the BRYNER family. The station and garage are now closed.


Frank HAYNER owned a 1902 Brush roadster, black in color. It had side curtains and isinglass windows. He and Ira KENNEY went to Detroit to get it. It took four days to drive it home. The tire size was 28-3. When they pulled away from the factory, they broke a wheel. They had to wait to have a new wheel made, causing the four-day return. It was a chain-driven car, what they called a one luger. It had a wood-hickory axle and the transmission blocks were wood. It was water-cooled, had beautiful black leather upholstering and the flywheel was in the front end. it was a two-passenger car. It ran on a dry-cell battery, and to start it, it had to be cranked backwards. Seventeen years later, they had to patch a tire. After a quarter of a century, Harley BOWMAN drove it in a Halloween parade in Reading. It was sold to Stan SINK from Pittsford for $50.

Forest BOWMAN traded a horse and buggy for a "Church" auto of 1900 vintage. He lived at Whitetown. The car had a lever for a steering wheel.

George Potter had a "Sears" auto. It had high wheels, a two-cylinder motor, and was air-cooled. This auto, too, had a lever for a steering wheel. It lacked a fly wheel, so it had to be driven with one foot on the clutch. It would travel nicely at 15 miles an hour. No wonder parents were afraid the school children would get run over.

Fred MOORE, who lived on Short Street, owned a Model T Ford. He had a custom of racing his car with a hand throttle before he began driving it.

In December 1966, Herb STUMP purchased ten light fixtures from the Hillsdale GALLOWAY house, which was being torn down. They were brass and weighed about ten pounds each. They were originally meant to hold candles. They had been electrified. The fixtures were made in England in 1853. They were made in a numbered series lights. He has them hanging in his home in use.

A Senior Citizens Club met for 14 years in the town, sponsored by the Frontier Town and Country Club. Its name was Frontier Over 60 Club. Lack of senior citizens interest from the community forced the club to discontinue the many nice programs presented for the senior citizens' enjoyment. A number of people presented pictures of their travels, the Good Will Ambassadors spoke, many choirs and special novelty numbers from far communities presented their talents. The Odd Fellows furnished the hall for their meetings. Several times the club gave money or merchandise to the I.O.O.F. in appreciation for the use of the hall.


A cigar, by the name of BUCKNERs Novelties, was manufactured in Frontier. Two others were also manufactured. My Best Girl and Michigan Whip. The novelty was a three cent cigar. These were all hand-rolled cigars. The building, in which they were manufactured, stood on the Waterbury lot. The proprietor's brother-in-law, Elmer BLOUNT, worked for him and owned the house next to the shop. The shop and demand grew and the manufacturing was taken to the building now occupied by Peg MILLARD. Fifty years after the cigars were manufactured, a box of them was found at the SPANGLER Candy Company in Bryan. The smokers spoke that the cigars were rather dry but mild to taste. Evan STAHLER preserved one of their boxes which can be seen at the DURBIN store.


A bandstand was constructed near the mill. Ernie CRAMTON donated the lumber to build the stand. A town collection was taken up to pay for the nails and labor. The local school band played on it one summer.

A band was formed by one of the older groups. The eleven men dressedn in blue uniforms with brass byttibsm braud acriss the chest and swallowtail coats. The drum major wore a high furry hat. Some of those in the band were Bill FELIX, Frank HAYNER, Skile NEVINS, Emmy MEEK, Charley RADABAUGH, Ally MEEK, Charley FOWLER (the leader), Emmett SWIFT, Erve BLOUNT, and Charley SWIFT. They used to play every Saturday night. They traveled to other towns and were a big attraction. They performed at the Hillsdale Fair from a band wagon drawn by horses. In order to get the band's attention, the leader shrilly whistled through his teeth.


FREED's sawmill was one of the oldest industries in the town. It was built in 1852 by the William FREED family. William had six sons: John, James, Henry, David, Joseph and Seth. The first four helped in the mill. The mill stood where the laundromat is now. They sawed native timber for a considerable number of the buildings in town.

Seeing a need for a gristmill, they built one in front of the sawmill. After operating a few years, it was sold to CULBERTSON and HIGLEY and moved uptown.

A steep incline marked the entrance to the building. After the logs were taken in upstairs and sawed, the sawdust fell down-stairs. This mill operated until 1936 when Dave FREED tore it down. One very tragic accident occurred: Joe WOLDE had an arm and leg taken off at the mill.


Woodbridge as a Township was established int he year 1840 and for the early years, the Township Board met in various homes.

It was voted in the year 1848, to raise $100.00 to build a Town-house as near the center as may be. The vote was recinded the following year.

In 1855 it was voted to raise $250.00 to build a Town-house. The site to be the northeast corner of Section 16. Also voted $10.00 to pay for the site and that. John A. BEARD, A. FULLER and Cyrus PATTERSON be building committee.

The building was completed and put to use the following year. In most part the building material for construction was native Tulip or Yellow Poplar wood, probably from the sawmill of Robinson S. LOCKWOOD, located on the St. Joseph's river a short distance north of the site.

Its unique distinction was discovered as a result of a contest announced and updated in three issues (May, July and November, 1975) of the Michigan Township News.

Woodbridge Township Hall is located on the corner of Woodbridge and Montgomery Roads about ten miles south of the city of Hillsdale and five miles north of the Michigan-Ohio border.

Woodbridge Township has a population of 1,026 and an annual budget of $43,200. Last year the Township hall was scheduled for remodeling but when the Woodbridge Township Board found out that its Township Hall was the oldest in Michigan it tabled the motion indefinitely.


The exact history of the store building itself is unknown prior to being brought to its present location just south of Sqawfield Road on Hillsdale Road. It is believed to be over 100-years-old. It was built in Cambria to be used as a butcher shop. Later it was used for other purposes, including a recreation hall and an ice cream parlor. Sometime later it was moved to the southwest corner of Card and Hillsdale Roads by Mr. and Mrs. Fred MADER. This corner then became known as Maderville.

Arthur and Emma ANSLEY started the "Log Cabin Store: in approximately 1934 when they built the log cabin. They had a gas station as well as a general store where they also served lunches. A few years later they moved the present store building to this location from maderville. Leaving the log cabin for living quarters they transferred the business to this building and discontinued serving lunches. They were in business here for eleven years, selling it to Mildred and Leonard COX in September 1945. April 1946 Curtis and Mary MITCHELL purchased the business and operated it until March of 1949, when they sold it to Mildred and Wilbur BOND. A beer and wine carry-out was started in 1956 and the gasoline business was discontinued a few years later. Wilbur, between customers, started construction of the addition to the front of the log cabin in 1968. BONDS will observe their twenty-seventh year of proprietorship in March 1976.


School District No. 2, of Woodbridge Township, Hillsdale County, containing sections, 3, 4, 9, 10, 15, 16 was formed by the School Inspectors, and notice sent to all qualified voters of the district to meet at the home of William BELL on May 10, 1847 to organize and select officers.

At this meeting, Sam WHEELER was elected moderator, William BELL director, and R. S. LOCKWOOD assessor. It was voted to have three months of school, and that the school site be on William BELL's farm, at the corner of, one quarter of an acre. Bruma BLANCHARD was hired as the first teacher, to teach three months, commencing December 28, 1847 for the sum of ten shillings per week. On April 7, 1848 said teacher was paid $15.75 for services properly rendered.

There is no record of where school was held, and it was not until at a special meeting May 25, 1849 that it was voted to purchase half an acre of land from William BELL and to pay him $11.00 for the site. Nine were present at the meeting. It was also voted to raise $100.00 to build a schoolhouse. The financial report for the school year 1849 showed a balance of $1.87, a sum of $21,96 had been paid to teachers. Other early teachers were Martha WHITNEY, Ruth BARCLAY, Clarenda BEAM, and Betsy ASHLEY.

On September 30, 1850, the taxable inhabitants of the district met at the schoolhouse. It was voted to raise $150 by tax, to finish the schoolhouse and fence the lot, and that one dollar for each pupil be raised by tax for the purpose of paying the teacher.

December 10, 1850, the schoolhouse built by Mr. VANAKIN, was accepted and December 16, Francisco CARBINE began a term of three months at a salary of eight dollars per month. Teachers were still paid at the end of the term, so on March 27, 1851, Miss CARBINE was to receive $24.00. A term of one month equaled 26 school days and a week of school was five and one-half days.


From 150 Years in the Hills and Dales

Jefferson Township

Ransom Township

From History of Hillsdale County, Michigan

Woodbridge Township







This page updated October 20, 2003