- Jim Wade
- May 1, 2020
- 4 Min Read
In 1875 or 1876, the U. S. Congress passed a resolution urging communities, townships, and counties to write their histories for the national centennial celebration in 1876. Anyone who has gone to a genealogical library to do family research has found that most counties published histories of their settlement in the years following 1876.
In 1876, Dr. William B. Hamilton Jr. wrote “A Short History of Almont, Lapeer County, Michigan”. Dr. Hamilton came to Almont directly from Scotland at the age of 9 with his parents in 1841. Some of this history was from personal knowledge but he also knew Almont’s earliest pioneers – many of whom were still around and he could inquire directly about the happenings in Almont. This history is the source of much of what we know about early Almont.
Dr. Hamilton presented it as a speech at the Fourth of July celebration in 1876. That year the Almont Herald published it in an early July edition. In March and April of 1911, the Almont Herald again published his story but as a series of articles. The Michigan School for the Deaf then used it as a training exercise for its students and published it as a small pamphlet. The Lapeer County history, “The History of Lapeer County – with illustrations and biographical sketches of some prominent men and pioneers” was published by H. R. Page of Chicago in 1884. There is no listed author which implies that there were numerous authors but they had someone supervising them because the chapter format of each township is the same. The “Almont Township” section contains 100 biographical sketches of Almont’s earliest settlers.
For Almont’s Old Home Week celebration – our first homecoming – R. D. Harris wrote a very short history that was published by the Almont Herald. At homecoming this pamphlet was given away as a souvenir.
For the centennial celebration of Almont in 1955, Edith Waltz, who wrote for the Almont Times-Herald, published a lengthy history of Almont, which was published in an August 1955 edition of the paper.
In 1970, for the Homecoming celebration, Edith Waltz’s daughter, Hildamae Waltz Bowman, wrote “The History of Almont: 1834-1970”. This book emphasized the developments within the community that occurred over the prior 100 years. There were no biographical sketches included in the book.
The Almont’s Community Homecoming for 1975 was delayed a year to 1976 to correspond with the national bi-centennial celebration. For this event, Ms. Bowman wrote “Almont …the way it was”. This history added to and expanded on her prior book and included numerous addition historic photographs and stories of Almont in the early 1900’s.
In 1978, J. Dee Ellis of Lapeer published his book on Lapeer County history, “Pioneer Families and History of Lapeer County Michigan”. Mr. Ellis started with the 1884 Lapeer County history book, added new biographical sketches and expanded some of the other sketches. There are 27 Almont biographical sketches include in this book.
Ms. Bowman’s next book, “Almont: The Tale of Then and Now” was published for the 1985 Almont Community Homecoming celebration. The book included further updates and upgrades to her prior books but also include 40 detailed biographical sketches of Almont’s pioneer families – many of whom still had descendants active in the community.
In preparation for the 2010 Almont Community Homecoming, my wife, Cindie, and her mother, Betty Walton, decided to update and add to Hildamae’s work by preparing a book for homecoming. That book, “Almont, The Story Continues” was ready for homecoming. It updated stories such as those about the school, scouts, the Post Office, churches, other local societies, and individuals of interest and importance to the community.
For the 2015 Almont Community Homecoming, Cindie and I wrote, “Remembrances of Almont 2015”. This book again updated the continuing stories of Almont and included numerous stories about the people of Almont from the middle of the 1900’s. In the last four years, the Society has prepared numerous presentations on the pioneer families of Almont. From many of these presentations, a booklet has been prepared in what we call “The Beginning – Coming to Almont” series. Completed to date are booklets on the Deneen, Hopkin and Robertson, Hough, Hoyt, Ingalls, Sanborn, Sleeper, Walden, Webster, Oliver Bristol, William Hamilton, and Nathanial Smith families. Additionally, from a presentation made to the Capac Historical Society, a booklet entitled “The Founding of Almont – 1827 to 1834 – A Family Affair” was created.