This obituary chronicles the death of one of our early homesteaders. Before the influx from the Netherlands, our area saw mostly lumberers and farmers. Lafayette Waters was one of these who came to Newaygo county before the Civil War.
From the 15 August 1918 Fremont TimesIndicator:
EARLY SETTLER OF THIS COUNTY PASSES
Lafayette Waters Died at His Home in Sherman Township Last Thursday, Aged 75 Years
Lafayette Waters, one of the earliest settlers of this community, passed away at his home in Sherman Township Thursday, August 8, after a long illness of heart trouble. He was 75 years 5 months and 28 days old.
Mr Waters was the son of Jonas and Lucinda Waters and was born in Warwick County, Ind., February 11, 1843. When ten years of age he went with his father to Minnesota, remaining there only a short time, when they came to St. Joseph County, Mich., where they lived for nearly two years. In the winter of 1855 he came with his father to Newaygo County and settled in Sherman Township where he has since lived. His farm was the Waters homestead. Mr. Waters' mother died while he was still a lad in Indiana. Lafayette, being the oldest of the four motherless children, shared the responsibilities of the family.
COming to Newaygo County when all this section was a wilderness, Mr Waters helped to lumber off the land and clear the country, and saw the wilderness transformed into fertile fields and well kept farms.
On March 16, 1867, he was married to Miss Polly Nichols, and to this union were born six children, one son passing away in childhood, Four sons, James, Myron, Carl and Ceylon and one daughter, Edith, together with thirteen grandchildren, survive. He is also survived by two brothers, Byron and Merrick Waters, and many other relatives.
Mr Waters was a man of splendid qualities. He was always popular, because he was generous and kind hearted, and was every ready to help a friend in need. He was one of the most zealous members of the Grange and one of its officers for many years. He held many offices of trust among them being that of supervisor which he held for many years.
The funeral services were held Saturday afternoon from the Congregational Church, conducted by Rev. F. W. Magdanz. Interment in Maple Grove cemetery.
I can only imagine the change in this land during the time he was in Newaygo county. Coming when it was still lumbering country, and ending with it being farmland and towns. This area grew a lot during his residency here.