William & Janettie Baldwin
Mr. and Mrs. William Baldwin, were old pioneers of Lake Township, Berrien County, Michigan.
They came with their parents at a very young age. Mr. Baldwin's parents settled at Ruggles Mills, which is now known as Baroda. Originally the family was from New Jersey and came over the mountains with ox team and horses, settling in the woods.
William M. Baldwin was the youngest of seven children and was the last survivor of his family. Three of his brothers fought in the Civil War. They were George, Charles and Elias Baldwin. George was a lieutenant; served three years and then re-enlisted. He would often write home stating he would rather fight rebels than eat when he was hungry. He ventured out on horseback during a battle and was killed. William's brother, Charles, was stricken with fever but rallied and was sent home. He got as far as Buchanan and died. Elias made it home and thankfully lived to be an old man.
William's parents, Mr. And Mrs. David R. Baldwin, two brothers and one sister are all at rest in Ruggles Cemetery.
When the Civil War broke out, William was only 16 years of age. He spent his life working the the sawmills in the winter and farming in the summer for 45 years. He resided at a farm in Livingston area.
Williams wife's maiden name was Janettie Jane Mead. She was the only daughter of Varney Mead, the first Methodist leader of Bridgman. Her parents were originally from Ohio. In January 1, 1927, Mr. & Mrs. Baldwin would celebrate their 60th year anniversary.
Mrs. Baldwin related a story that when she was a small girl, she often heard wolves howl at night and heard a panther's scream, once. She said it sounded almost like a woman's scream. On her father's farm, she noted that she also had seen bears and deer. Her father and uncle once killed a wild hog weighing more than 200 pounds. They salted the meat and made lard and dipped candles.
Her mother would spin wool stockings for the children and they all would gather straw form the fields which they made hats from to sells. Her father was a shoemaker.
At one time, Bridgman was known as Charletville and was located in the western part of Bridgman on the road running south. Two large sawmills were there and they would cut fine pieces of oak, beach and maple, which of course, was made into lumber.
Mrs. Baldwin had one brother in the Civil War, William S. Mead, who served four years and returned home to be an old soldier.
The mail would come in twice a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays, during the war, by stage coach. They would get the hand me down, well worn, newspapers from the neighbors to see what news there was. Later, when Chicago and Western Michigan railroad came, later known as the Pere Marquette, Mr. Baldwin would drive a team on the construction gang and would roed the train in its first trip from St. Joseph to New Buffalo.
They had two daughter, Mrs. Alson Post and Mrs. Leonard Fuller, both of Livingston, 14 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.
In February of 1927, Mr. William Baldwin was about 82 years old.
Mrs. Baldwin passed away on May 19, 1929 and William M. Baldwin died on May 6, 1932 at the age of 87, both are buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Bridgman, Michigan.
Synopsis taken from local newspaper – January 1, 1927 and after news articles.
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