Community Endowment connects present with historic figures

July 9, 2009 // 0 Comments

This spring, The Rockford Squire reported that five historic people in the Rockford area were honored at Recognition Plaza at Peppler Park. The event is a newer tradition in its second year and organized by the Rockford Area Community Endowment (RACE). Each year, RACE will honor people from the City of Rockford and the townships of Algoma, Cannon, Courtland and Plainfield. In addition to the gift of grants, recognizing the people who have contributed significantly to the history of the area is among the Endowment’s goals. When visiting the beautiful Peppler Park Recognition Plaza (on the west side of the dam), take the time to read the names on the bricks under your feet and in plaques on the columns in the park. The following is one more of the stories of this year’s honorees, with others to follow in future issues of the Squire. William H. Myers Sr. William H. Myers, an early settler in Kent County and the man for whom Myers Lake was named, filled his 92 years of life with adventure, accomplishment and community leadership. Myers, born in Ireland in 1818, was brought to America as an infant. In 1830, the family moved to Michigan Territory. At 15, Myers secured parental consent to leave home and seek his fortune. He first spent three years as cabin boy on a Lake Michigan sailing ship, then a number of years serving on ocean vessels and traveling to South America, Venezuela, and the Falkland Islands. From there, he shipped on a whaling boat for three years as first mate in the Upper Pacific. He returned home in 1840 and married Elizabeth Dancer, producing a family of nine children. In 1847, the Myerses came to Courtland Township and purchased 160 acres of uncleared land for $1.25 per acre. In the 1840s, there was an increasing stream of settlers in the townships of Plainfield, Cannon, Oakfield and Courtland, but towns were few. Courtland Center (at what is now 13 Mile Road and Myers Lake Avenue) was a stagecoach stop. Laphamville (now Rockford) was a small village on the Rogue River. Over the years, Myers improved his farm until it was one of the best in the region. This active farm is still in the Myers family, […]