Caledonia, Kent County, Michigan



History of Caledonia

The first settler in the town is said to have been Mr. Asahel Kent, who settled on the " Gull trail," in section 35, n the year 1838. He opened a public house, which at that early day became known. In 1839 this was the only house on the road for a distance of 17 miles.

David Kinsey laid out and platted the village.  Kinsey offered two village lots to the man who would build the first house in Caledonia.  He donated two lots for the site of the U. B. Church (United Brethren).  David Kinsey married Nancy Pletzer in 10-9-1855, both were born in Canada. (David Kinsey is the father-in-law to my great Aunt) Click here for his Marker in Caledonia Lakeside Cemetery

James Minsey also came to the town in 1838, and among other very early settlers were:

Peter McNaughton, John Sinclair, Orsemus Rathbun, Hiram McNeil,

Eber Moffitt, Levi Tobey, John Pattison, 0. B. Barber, Henry Jackson,

William H. Brown, Warren S. Hale, Lyman Gerrald, Justus G. Beach,

Loren B. Tyler, M. P. McNaughton, Norman Foster, Roswell F. Tyler,

John Camp-, bell, William G. Wooley, and Frederic B. Thompson.

The town was set off from Ada in 1840, and the following were the first officers: Supervisor-John P. MeNaughton. Clerk-Justus G. Beach. Treasurer-Norman Foster. Collector-R. F. Tyler. Justices-Justus G. Beach, Loren B. Tyler, Malcolm P. McNaughton, Asahel Kent. Highway Commissioners-Mr. Tyler,. Kent, and Norman Foster. School Inspectors--Norman Foster, William G. Wooley. Among the present town officers are: Supervisor-Martin Whitney. Clerk--D. S. Havling. Treasurer-Sherman T. Colson. Justices-H. B. McColister, R. G. Culver, Adam Shirk, James McGarry. Superintendent of Schools-Francis Campau. Commissioner of Highways-John Patterson.

Adam B. Sherk influence the post office and it was established 1843 , in 1870 he was appointed Postmaster.  He was the owner of the Caledonia grain elevator costing $2000 in 1881 and also Justice of the Peace 15 years. Click for Marker

Lewis C. Spaulding, saloonist in Caledonia, was born in Paris, Kent Co., March 4, 1850. He also built in the early 1880's a hotel called the Spaulding House. (Lewis is my Great Grand Uncle)

OFFICERS IN 1870. Supervisor —Adam B. Sherk. Clerk —Daniel S. Haviland. Treasurer-Sherman T. Colson. Justices —Adam B. Sherk, Levi White, Hugh B. McAlister, Elijah V. E. Pratt. Highway Commissioners-John Patterson, David Kinsey, Isaac Stauffer. School Inspectors-Alfred W. Stowe. Levi White. Constables Fayette McIntyre, Charles E. Emmons, Eliphalet Scott.

David Kinsey was the father-in-law to my great aunt.

Caledonia Photos

December 1894

Two versions of who they are:

Top Row is: Bert Barber, Rob Kraft, John Spaulding, Henry Shaw, Verne Kinsey, Bert Kester

Middle row is: Owen Kinsey, Abe Kolenstein, Will Barber, Elbert Snow

Bottom row: Denton Pratt, Ed Apsey, Meyer Kolenstein, Charley Foreward.


2nd Version of who they are.

Top Row left to right = Bertie Gem Barbour, Noah C. Kraft, John Cook Spaulding, Jenry K. Schall, J.

Middle = Owen Kinsey, Abe Kohlensein, Willie J. Barbour, Elbert Snow

Front Row= D. Dent Pratt, Ed C. Apsey, Meyer Kohlenstein, Charley Forward.

Caledonia Men

Top Left: Bert Duell, Will Barber, Bert Barber

Bottom Left: John Spalding, Clearence Konkle, Orr Bergy, L"Ripped Page.


Liplia Sherk, Carrie Kinsey and Helen Spaulding


Otto Zelrces(?), Helen Addie Baily and Claude Seibert

Spelling of Otto's last name is very hard to read.


Labarge School

Click on link below for identification of students


This is a Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera "The Mikado". Thank you to Khandro for enlightening me.

They have Japanese Costumes on with a Japanese Flag in the back ground.

1st Row

Mrs E Hale, Mrs. Hubbaard, Peg Nolan

2nd Row

Audrey Mc Connell, Thea Palmer, Helen Van Amburg, Cecil Oprey, Florence Palmer, ?, Lucile Loring, Elsie Irene Oldt

3rd Row

?la Detwiler, Alice Wilson, Mrs. Godfrey, Mystle Palmer, Ira Henderson, Charlotte Alley, Blanche Brook, Marion Clark, Esther Johnson, Pearl Woodward. Myethe Ceisler, Kathrine Menger, Rugh Williams, Mrs. Purcell, Adah Mode, Leona Vincent, Arlis Remsey, Rhea Kinsey, Peggy Palmer.

Woman of Caledonia

1st Row

Helen Spaulding, Magie Bergy, Ollie Clemens Eby

2nd Row

Lou Kinsey, Carrie Kinsey, Mina Emmons

3rd Row

Ella Kinsey, Ella Bergy Carey, Jennie Kinsey, Meda Bergy, Verna Meyers


Green Lake July 4th 1894

John Spaulding, A Kohlenstein, Lb Pratt,

Helen L. Spaulding, Gretie Meech, Daisy Meech, Verna Myers, Marion Swain


Doris C. Betzner

In 1920 Doris was 15 Years old, Daughter of Allen B. Betzner and Alice M. Betzner


Caledonia 1918

Caledonia Snow 1918

Caledonia Fire

Caledonia 1902

Caledonia Main Street 1912

Looking East



Death of Alice Davis Devine

October 13, 1893


Vivian Land and Josephine Stein

Harbor Springs June 9


June 5,1927

Donald Kraft and Olive Kraft

Graduation with a class of 21


A quite Day in Caledonia

First Pioneer Picnic, 1886, Labarge


Caledonia original school in front the new school in back.  The new school is now torn down.

In 2005 the School was torn down.



 This is information from the Grand Rapids Public Library

Marcie GRHSC

It would seem that your photo of the "First Pioneer Picnic" (1886) was taken at the small settlement of LaBarge in Caledonia Township (Kent County, MI)  This village was described in 1881 by C.C. Chapman in "The History of Kent County" as having ..."80 inhabitants, ... (it) claims a post-office, saw and flouring mill, two blacksmith's shops, one shoemaker, one wagon shop, one general store.  The post office is in charge of Alexander Kilgore."      The village was first called Caledonia Center and was indeed located smack-dab in the center of the township. (about where secs. 15, 16, 21, & 22 come together). Wm H. Brown had built a grist mill and a saw mill there in 1868, and the settlement seems to have grown up around these businesses. 


The name had been changed to LaBarge by the time the post office was opened on Dec. 11, 1876.  The post-office operated there until Nov. 30, 1901.  The village was identified on the Caledonia Township plat map of 1894 (tiny print!), then it is easier to see on the plat maps from 1907, 1919, 1939 and 1955.  (interesting that the name was still being used so long after the post office had been closed?)  Another interesting note is that LaBarge was not the only local settlement for which Wm. H. Brown was responsible.  In 1853 he had built a grist mill in section 3 of the township and then platted a village which he called Brownsville. 


Later the name was changed to Alaska. Chapman comments, "(Wm. H. Brown) was popular in public life: he was an ardent believer in and advocate of the principles of the Republican party;  was many consecutive years the incumbent of town offices, whose duties he discharged to his own credit and the entire satisfaction of his constituents."  In the late 1800s it became popular to recognize the sturdy pioneers of the county's early history (the Old Settlers Association was organized in 1871), and it seems likely that early settlers of central Caledonia Township got together in 1886 to remember the "good old days", enjoy a picnic lunch and have their picture taken. (lucky you to have an image of that day!)

Labarge School link



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This site was last updated 02/10/07