Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Finding a lost Bay City Mayor-George H. Van Etten

Episcopal Report of 1893 mentions death of George H. Van Etten Land Records


Bay City Mayors

George H. Van Etten, who was very well know in Bay City for many achievements including his term as mayor had just disappeared.  Thanks to the internet and knowledge of where some of our lumbermen had gone, I found someone with the same name in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Great, now, how do I know it is the same person.  Alan Flood managed to find an article linked below that connected the two locations perfectly.  It was an answer to a local historian's prayer.  Here are some of the facts we now know.

  1. George H. Van Etten Bay City Mayor 1871-1873, his son Arthur Vam Etten marries at Little Rock, Arkanssa June 1892(article July 1, 1892 Times Press )

  2. As of 1892 he is one of the most prominent cypress lumberman in the South 

  3. Resident of Little Rock, Ark, as of 1892

  4. George H. Van Etten is mentionned on page 83 of the History and Commercial Advantages and Future Prospects of Bay City, Michigan.

  5. Land George H. Van Etten Held is under land records link

  6. Pinconning__Township was created by act of the Legislature approved February 28, 1873, in conjunction with Deep River and Standish townships, which with Arenac then belonged to Bay County, but have since been erected into separate county organization. Originally Pinconning consisted of township 17 North, ranges 3, 4, and 5 east. The first town meeting was held at the warehouse of Kaiser & VanEtten, on the first Monday in April, 1873.

  7. In 1873 Kaiser & VanEtten laid out the village of Pinconning, and the place has prospered until 1905 it is the leading village outside of Essexville, which latter is really but a suburb of Bay City.

  8. Pinconning Village__”Pinconning: Change cars for Mount Forest, Bentley and Gladwin.” Such is the stentorian announcement of the pleasant-faced conductor on the “Mackanaw Flyer” of the Michigan Central, as the train pulls into the pretty village on the Pinconning River. We are 18 miles from Bay City. The trunk line to the Straits of Mackinac runs due north, the Gladwyn Branch almost due west to Mount Forest, and then northwest-ward to the county seat of Gladwin County. As the township to the north of Bay City are being settled, the importance of Pinconning as a trading center naturally increases.

            The village dates from 1872, when Frederick A. Kaiser and George H. Van Etten built and operated the first sawmill there. They built a unique railroad of 3 by 5 maple rails for 18 miles into a timber belt that gave 140,000,000 feet of lumber. They platted 100 acres on both sides of the railway; the streets running north and south were named: Waters, Warren, Kaiser, Manitou and Van Etten, while those running east and west were numbered from one to six. With the later additions, these are the streets of the village to-day. A large general store was started by the firm, and a post office established.

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