Van Buren County Directories
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Columbia Township, Michigan
In May, 1835 Rev. Jonathan N. Hinckley and Barnard M. Howard, both from Monroe Co., NY, visited the region now known as Columbia Township, then unorganized territory attached to Cass county, and purchased several tracts of land in the immediate vicinity of the present village of Breedsville.
Early in the fall of the same year a party of about 25 persons, all from Monroe Co., NY started out for the purpose of making a settlement on the new purchase. They journeyed via the Erie Canal to Buffalo, thence by Lake Erie to Detroit. In the latter city they bought an ox-team and wagon. Upon their wagon they loaded their household goods and the small children, and then, with the major portion of their number on foot, set out via the Territorial road for Paw Paw. It occupied two days to cut out roads and make their way from the last-mentioned settlement to the cabin awaiting them on the banks of the outlet. Here all arrived safely, however, Oct. 1, 1835, and here began the first settlement of any importance in the northern half of Van Buren county.
There are several different soils and terrain's in Columbia, making for good farming. Blueberries and fruit such as apples, cherries, and peaches are abundant in the township.
Although lumbering was the principal occupation of the people in earlier years, most of the lumber has been taken, leaving several nice woods in the township which keep the deer at a high number.
There are thirteen lakes in the township. The Black River also flows through Columbia. In earlier days the river was one of the main waterways used by the Pottawattami Indians and the early settlers. The land around the lakes was wet and considered pretty worthless in early days. Today, it is some of the most expensive property in the Township and homes and subdivisions are around most of the lakes.
Two railroads were in Columbia Township. Both of these tracks were opened in 1870. The Kalamazoo and South Branch of the Michigan Central Railroad which ran east and west and which is no longer used. Also The Chicago and Michigan Lake Shore which is now the Chesapeake and Ohio and runs from Chicago to Grand Rapids.
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