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Ogemaw County History

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While researching dates and place having to do with West Branch High School and her alumni, I've come across some interesting Ogemaw County history. If you have pictures, post cards, or historical facts and comments, please send them to me....

West Branch Main Street 1920
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West Branch 1920
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West Branch Community Building....
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William Moss...Ogemaw County Pioneer....
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William Moss
Father of Ethel Harriet Moss(Class of 1912)
Father of Vernon Moss (Class of 1899)
 
(West Branch Newspaper)
November 1942
PIONEER FARMER OF OGEMAW CELEBRATING 90TH BIRTHDAY TODAY..
William Moss, retired pioneer farmer of Ogemaw County who now resides at 333 North First street here, is celebrating his 90th birthday, which occurred Friday, at a family dinner at his home today.
Moss was born at (Shropshire), England, November 6, 1852, and came to the United States from Liverpool, England on the steamship Malta in 1871. First he went to Kansas City to join a brother, Thomas, and worked there in the stockyards for a year.
 
He then came to the Saginaw valley in Michigan in 1872 and engaged in lumbering.  A year later he came to West Branch and found employment, first as a section hand on the new railroad, and then at the roundhouse here.  He states there was not much of the present city of West Branch in those early days, a station, hotel and a few residences comprising the town.  Ogemaw Springs, now a "ghost town" was a thriving community at that time.
In 1875 he bought 40 acres of railroad grant land on the old State road, two miles north of the Ogemaw County Farm and there cleared the land and built a home, residing there until 1910 when he retired and came here to reside.
Five years after the purchase of his farm, he married the former Ogemaw Springs resident Charlotte O. Whitmore. Four daughters and three sons were born to them, six of whom are living.  Mrs. Moss died in April 1938, and a daughter, Mrs. Fred Engle (Florence Adelaide Moss), died in 1924.  His other children are Mrs. John C.(Phoebe May Moss) Davies, of West Branch; Mrs. Oscar(Lottie Olivia Moss) Jones of Ferndale; Mrs. Campbell(Ethel Harriet Moss) Tait of Cleveland; Vernon of Columbus, Ohio, Arthur of Detroit and Burrill C. of Bay City.
William Moss was instrumental in the organization of a school district, now known as the Moss school and served as trustee of the district for many years. He also held township offices.
Moss is said to be the second oldest settler of Ogemaw County from the point of continuous residence.
John Regan, 96 years old Christmas Day, is thought to be the oldest in this respect.
Moss is in excellent health.
Last Tuesday, he was one of the early voters at the polls, walking the half mile and back to the polls.
He was highly pleased with the results of the election for he has been a life-long Republican.
 
******
From the Ogemaw Herald
Obituary Thursday February 5, 1948:
WILLIAM MOSS, 95, OGEMAW PIONEER DIES JANUARY 30..
buried at Brookside..Sunday, February 1, Resident for 75 years.

The Big Spring at Ogemaw Springs
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Maes Road...

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In researching some of the history of West Branch, I found this information..referring to the spring...at Ogemaw Springs...a town existed there at one time with the railroad and many businesses and homes. Ogemaw Springs vied with West Branch to become the county seat. 
****

Ogemaw Springs-On Ski Park Trail and Maes Rd.  This was the first village in Ogemaw County.

1871 The Ogemaw Lumber Company, which was made up of Ohio capitalists.  Dr. C. L. Nauman was the secretary of the lumber company.

In 1873, the year of the Great Panic, The Ogemaw Lumber Company was sold to other parties.

In 1876, the election for the county seat was won by West Branch as they had more people voting.  The mill runs all year, but most of the timber is cut and moved in the winter.  There are some farms in the area. 

Ogemaw County Courthouse and Jail
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Picture postcard contributed by Austin Basham Class of 1962

The first Courthouse was built in 1880 at the cost of $10,000.  It was a two story wood building with a basement.  The basement held the jail, on the ground floor were offices and the living quarters for the sheriff, the second story held the court and committee rooms.

Before this time the trials were held in Tawas City.

1887 a fire destroyed the courthouse.  Luckily this happened in the middle of the day as the vaults which held all the county's records were not fireproof.  All of the records were saved.

1888 a new courthouse was built.  This one was a handsome brick building.  The plans for it were prepared by Pratt & Koeppe from Bay City.

This building had large furnaces in the basement, the ground floor- offices for County Clerk, Judge of Probate, Register of Deeds, and the County Treasurer.  Large fireproof vaults were connected to each of the offices.

The upper story held the courtroom, two jury rooms, a judges room, and a stenographers room.

The jail and sheriff's residence was in a separate brick building.  The jail had ten cells for the male prisoners, the female prisoners were in a cage in the attic.

The courthouse and jail/sheriff residence had water supplied from a tank in the upper story of the jail.  A windmill supplied the water to the tank.

This was situated on a full block which is a 2 1/2 acre site.

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Sue Parliament Ether, daughter of Charlotte Sheppard Parliament (Class of 1940) , has graciously shared many pictures with us.
She tells us that Charlotte's grandfather, Wiliam Bean Sheppard either built or helped to build this church.
The church has now been torn down.
* * * * * *

Friends Church at Selkirk.......
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Inside the Friends Church at Selkirk...
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