Richland : its sons and daughters

“Richland: Its Sons and Daughters” by Lorenz H. Loesel offers a comprehensive review of the first century of Richland Township, located in Saginaw County, Michigan. Authored in the aftermath of the township’s centennial celebrations in 1962, the book emerges from a deep-seated interest in local heritage among the community’s residents—an interest that prompted the Richland Township Board to commission and fund this work, with hopes of recouping the investment through book sales. The book covers a broad spectrum of topics, from the early pioneers like Lemuel and Martin Cone to the development of local infrastructure such as roads, railroads, and schools, including the history of the Hemlock School District. It delves into the civic, religious, and educational growth of the township, spotlighting key figures and events that have shaped its trajectory. The narrative also touches on challenges faced by the community, including pandemics and disasters like the 1906 fire of Hemlock, Michigan, showcasing the resilience and solidarity of its people.

A review of the first century of Richland Township, Saginaw County, Michigan

by Lorenz H. Loesel

History is the record of the past. Often, it explains the present; sometimes, it inspires the present and the future; generally, it is of interest to all of us because it tells us how our forebears lived. Sometimes it has vast importance when it concerns nations and continents. But in a small community, its greatest interest comes from the intimate relationships with the lives of our immediate ancestors.

A history of Richland Township was proposed by the Centennial Committee but was abandoned because of the cost estimates. However, after the centennial celebration, which showed much interest in local history among most residents of the township, the idea was revived. The Richland Township Board made the idea a reality when it agreed to provide the means to finance such a history, with the prospect of getting the money back from selling copies of the book.

The early history of Richland Township is primarily the story of the lumbering era of the Saginaw Valley and its network of rivers, and the people who changed the primeval forest into the farms and homes and other facilities for modern living we have today.

This volume started to grow when the township planned to observe its centennial in 1962, and the township board asked Miss Rauchholz, Jack Hohman, and myself to gather material relevant to the history of the community. Later, Miss Anna Hase joined this committee.

Miss Rauchholz had collected much material over the years and made this available in the Township Library. I have had the privilege of knowing many people in the area while serving as a Christian Day School teacher at St. Peter Lutheran School for 25 years. Some of my former students are now sending their children to our school; and through the years of living and teaching in the community, we have come to know the older generations as well, with their firsthand evidence of the township’s past or their memories brought down from their parents or grandparents. Also, after accepting this assignment, it became my interesting responsibility to interview many of the older residents of the community who were eyewitnesses to the past or heard stories from the early pioneers. Many people contributed pictures, abstracts, letters, and other material that helped establish certain facts.

The former Saginaw News city editor, Joseph McMillan, was very helpful in finding articles filed at the Saginaw News office. Many township records dealing with the early history, fortunately, were still extant and were of great value as documentary evidence.

The final responsibility for putting this document into words leaves me keenly aware of my limitations. The scope that is needed to present a true picture of our community and its people is difficult to contain in a brief presentation.

History, furthermore, is not a static event but a constant progression of events, that makes it most difficult to present all the facets that are interpreted as history. A former instructor of mine once stated, “When you write history, be sure that you ask yourself, ‘wie es eigentlich gewesen ist,’” which means, ‘What were the actual prevailing conditions?’ These words of Dr. Schwieber constantly haunt me because they are relevant to the task I have undertaken. For this reason, I will attempt to give the source of my information in footnotes throughout this booklet.

Table of Contents


Loesel, Lorenz H. Richland : its sons and daughters : a review of the first century of Richland Township, Saginaw County, Michigan, Hemlock, Michigan : Hemlock Herald-Merrill Monitor, 1962.

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