IN SEARCH OF FOGO (part III)
In the second part of our search for Fogo, our time machine brought us to Monteith Station in the year 1895. We were still unable to find out who or what Fogo is so we decided to continue our search in another part of the township. As I have said in the previous installments, 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 J.C. Wheeler Public Library in Martin and the Allegan County Historical Society have joined together to answer the question “What or who is Fogo?” Over the past few months, we have been making a journey around the Township of Martin searching for Fogo, and along the way, we have discovered and explored 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 previous installment, we programed our time machine to bring us to Section 36 of our township in the year 1913. As we get out of the time machine, we look around and see a lot of black smoke filling the air. We have arrived at a place that appears to have just had a very large fire. The Sun and the blue sky are masked by the layer of smoke that fills the air. The fire has burned itself out, but the remains of what used to be a small village still smolders. Men stand on what used to be dirt road streets and stare at what appears to be several buildings that were overcome by fire.
This was a sight seen too often in towns throughout the United States. None of the men are speaking. They are just staring and wondering what has happened. As we look around, we realize that we need to make sure we are in the right place and the right time. We see train tracks leading to one of the few buildings left standing in the distance. Let’s walk to the building and see if it can get an answer our question. As we walk toward the building we see a sign posted on the train track side of the building. The sign reads “Hooper.” This is the train station for the Village of Hooper that was located in Section 36 of the township. That means this is the Michigan Central rail line, and we have made it to our destination. Now we need to try and find Fogo. If it was here in Hooper, has it survived the fire? We will need to walk around and try and find some clues.
As we walk around to the other side of the train depot we see a man sitting on the steps by himself staring at the remains of the village. His clothes are dirty with the soil of the fields. His face has been browned by the Sun. It is a look only a person who works in the fields all day could get. As we approach him, he wipes the sweat off of his brow. “Excuse me, sir. We are not from this area and we were wondering if you have heard of or seen something called Fogo?” “Fogo?” The man says. “No, don’t think I have.” “So, how much damage did the fire cause?” I ask. “Almost the whole village is gone. About the only thing left is this depot. The saw mill, dry goods store, warehouse, post office and most of the homes are gone now. I think this is the end of my little town.” “Have you lived here long?” I ask. “Yes, I founded the town in 1890. My name is William H. Hooper. ” He looks down at the ground and says “I thought this village would last longer than 23 years.” With that clue, we all look at each other knowing that we have made it to 1913. He looks up at us and says “ You know, even with my Village of Hooper burning down, I have had a very successful life. When I moved to Gun Plain Township with my father at the age of 12 from New York, I worked hard and took advantage of all my opportunities. I started this village here in Martin Township. I am a successful farmer and I have a successful business selling threshers and farm machinery. Heck, I even brought the very first steam engine that was used for farming into the county.” He stares off into the distance and then says “ I really do love this community here in Martin. I think serving your community is important, too. I have served as the highway commissioner, drain assessor and ran as a Democrat for County Sheriff twice.” He chuckles a little and says “With all of these Republicans in this area, a guy like me doesn’t stand a chance in politics. I think that whole Village of Monteith is nothing but Republicans!” He laughs for a second and then says “Fogo, you know, now that I think about it, I think I heard someone say something about Fogo at one of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows meetings in Martin Corners a few months back. I think I heard someone say something about Fogo and James Redpath and that it had been over 50 years. I wasn’t really listening to the conversation, so that is all I can remember.”
Well, this is the best clue we have gotten so far! Let us get in our time machine and program Martin Corners, 1855 into the computer and see if we are able to finally solve the mystery of Who or What is Fogo?
(Writer’s Comment) After the September, 1913 fire, The Village of Hooper never rebuilt and by 1916, the railroad was sold and the depot closed. That same year, the post office moved to Gun Plain Township marking the official end of the village.
Thanks SO MUCH to Scott Kuykendall for his time on these posts. To find out more Allegan History, visit the Old Jail Museum in Allegan and be sure to thank Scott for these great posts!
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