We have another installment of Finding Fogo by Scott Kuykendall. Have you figured out the mystery yet?
If you missed Part One, click HERE to go back and read it!
IN SEARCH OF FOGO (part II)
In the last installment, we started our journey traveling North on the Plank Road searching for Fogo. We still do not know who or what Fogo is but we will know who or what it is when we find it. As I said in the first installment, Fogo is actually a part of our township’s history that was found in a very obscure document while conducting research on our county.
The Martin Public Library and the Allegan County Historical Society have joined together to answer the question “What or who is Fogo?” Over the next few months, we will be making a journey around the Township of Martin searching for Fogo, and along the way, we will discover and explore the history of Martin Township since its inception in 1836.
If you already know the answer, PLEASE DO NOT POST IT! Let us not ruin the suspense of this historic journey for the rest of the history travelers. So, let us jump in our time machine and hop through time and across our township to learn about the people, places and interesting facts that make our community such a fantastic place to live today.
In our last installment, our time machine brought us to Section 32, Monteith Station, 1895. As we get out of the time machine we look around at a populated and bustling little village. We can see a building just off to our left. Maybe that will tell us if we are in the right spot. We walk over to the building and we see a sign on the front of the building: MONTEITH POST OFFICE. We made it. Right beside the door there is another sign: POSTMASTER: JOHN JAMES NEELEY. Neely was the first postmaster when the post office opened in 1871. We now know we are at the right location.
About a hundred yards in the distance, we can see the train depot. Let us walk over to the depot and maybe we will find Fogo. As we walk up to the train depot, we see the sign on the front of the building. MONTEITH STATION. This was a very important little town in Allegan County during this time. This was the crossing point for the East/West and North/South rail lines. The Grand Rapids and Indiana line went North/South and the Allegan and Southeastern line (also known as the Michigan Lake Shore line) went East/West. In about 20 years, this town is going to be even more important when the electric interurban starts running through here. We look around the depot, but there are no signs of Fogo.
As we walk out of the depot, we see a man standing next to us with his horse. He is dressed very nicely and does not appear to be a common worker. Could he be Fogo? We walk over to the man and I say “Excuse me, sir. We are not from this area and we were wondering how Monteith got its name.” The man smiles at us and says “Let me introduce myself. I am William T. Monteith. My father, Thomas Monteith, bought the land in section 32 of this township in 1836 when the U.S. Government was selling the land in Western Michigan. It’s named after my family” He then smiles at us and says “Do you want to hear about my family?” We all sit on the depot bench and await his first words. “My Grandfather came from Scotland in 1743 and settled in New York. That’s where the rest of our family was born. My Grandfather also fought in the Revolutionary War. My older brother, Walter, and I came here in 1837.
We brought a team from Livingston County, New York all the way to Plainwell. From that point, there were no roads cut yet and we had to take an Indian path up to our land. There were only two families in the township at that time. The Eldreds and the Whites. When we first got to the land my brother’s farm is on now, we built a small log cabin and cleared and sowed ten acres of wheat. That is how we got our start. My father, Thomas, eventually came out here from New York in 1841 giving me and my brother, Walter, a quarter of Section 32 each. The farms you see on our land are the result of hard work and today, the Monteith family owns over a 1,000 acres in this township. There are several people who have told me that our family has done more to advance growth and prosperity of the county than any other family. My father paid to have the first church built in the township. The building is a mile south of Martin Corners and it is being used as a school today. They call it school number one. My family has also been involved in politics in the county and the township. ” He hops up onto his horse and says “I need to head home now. My wife, Margery, is holding dinner for me.” Mr. Monteith had a great story, but he is not Fogo.
So far, we have not had any luck with finding Fogo, so we decide to travel a little east on what is now 114th Avenue. We travel for about a mile on this dirt road. The Monteith family owns all of the farm land and trees in sight. Then we get to section 28 on our left. There, the land is owned by R.H. Wylie. And then we see it. A small building on the road just to the left of us! Is this Fogo? We race over to the building and see a sign on the front. OAKSHADE School No.4. This is the school for Monteith. It was located east of 8th Street on 114th Avenue. Well, it is not Fogo, but it is the second school we have found so far. We do not feel that Fogo is in this area so we head back to our time machine
Now that we are back in the time machine, we enter Section 36, 1913 into our computer. Let us hope we can find Fogo there.
Thank you for your time involved in this, Scott Kuykendall. We are REALLY enjoying these!
Check out more information (and maybe some clues!) at the Old Jail Museum.