Note: "Japheth Fisher and Maria Williams A notch at a time Tough? What's tough? Getting lost in the wilderness but � undaunted � persevering to start the first farm in an unsettled township. Building a barn alone, carrying the heavy logs up a ladder "a notch at a time and laying them properly in their places". Walking barefoot to frontier logging bees "where great savage thistles are apt to abound," then laughing when friends push you onto "the fangs of those thistles". That's tough. So was Japheth Fisher, the first resident of Benton Township in Eaton County. The Vermont-born descendant of an old New England family arrived in Michigan in 1836 from New York, where he had worked on the docks of New York City and along the Erie Canal. He spent his first Michigan winter timbering in Allegan County, where he helped build a mill. From his $266 earnings, he paid $49.75 for a barrel of flour and a half a barrel of pork, using the rest of the money to buy 80 acres of virgin forest near what would become Charlotte. In the summer of 1837, he began the tough task of claiming a farm from the woods and raising corn and potatoes. His first house there was an 8-by-10-foot trough-roofed shanty. The following year, he married another Vermont transplant, Maria Williams, who lived in neighboring Chester Township. When Maria was ready to give birth to their first child, she returned to her mother's house because the Fishers had no neighbors to assist her. The next eight children were born in their own home though. Japheth and Maria planted the first orchard and operated the first brick-making business and cider press in the county. They also donated land on their farm for construction of a frame schoolhouse that Japheth built with the help of two neighbors." From the book "Pioneering Michigan" by Eric Freedman, ISBN 1878005-23-5, pages 220-221.
"The first settler in Benton was Japhat Fisher, who, through a mistake, located his land six miles farther north than he intended, having calculated to settle on section 30 in the township of Eaton. He arrived in the town of Benton in February 1837, and built an eight-by-ten shanty." THE PAST AND PRESENT OF EATON COUNTY, MICHIGAN" HISTORICALLY TOGETHER WITH BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF MANY OF ITS LEADING AND PROMINENT CITIZENS AND ILLUSTRIOUS DEAD THE MICHIGAN HISTORICAL PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION, LANSING, MI
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