History of Geneva Township excerpted from the book "Coleman, a Pioneer Mill Town, 1870-1964" written by Alma Jane Preston High, and the book "Coleman, a History,"
The Township of Geneva was organized June 24, 1873. The first election was held in North Bradley's school building, which stood south of North Bradley on the Russ farm.
Early Township Supervisors were: Cyrus Carr, William H.H. Gee, L. Babcock and Silas Harcourt.
North Bradley, the only town in Geneva Township, was settled shortly after the railroad was built through to Coleman. It once boasted several nearby mills, 2 hotels, a depot, several general stores, a drug store, a physician, a Methodist church, a school and many homes. North Bradley was once called "Buttonville" in honor of William R. Button. Mr. Button was born in New York State. In 1849, he married Sarah Jane Harris in Geneva, Ohio before coming to Michigan in 1850 to buy a farm. In 1868, along with four others, he formed the firm of Button, Mason and Company and purchased all of Section 12, less 120 acres, which he named Geneva Township, after Geneva, Ohio. He built his saw mill on the new Pere Marquette Railroad which was brought through to Alamando at that time. He platted out 50 acres of land which he had surveyed and named the village Buttonville.
One of the best stands of Hemlock timber once stood in the back forty of John Muhany's farm in Geneva Township, and the largest hemlock ever cut in Michigan came from this track.
Geneva Township, Midland County, MI
Some early Geneva settlers were:
David Berthume, a French Canadian who came to Michigan at the age of twelve to work in the lumber camps. He came to Geneva Township by way of North Bradley in 1880. He purchased a farm on Barden Road.
John Mainhood, another Canadian, came to Geneva Township in 1886. He bought and settled a farm 3 1/2 miles south of Coleman. Mr. Mainhood and his wife, Elizabeth, started the first Sunday School in the community in their small log home. After Geneva District No. 3 School was built, Sunday School services were conducted in the school house. Mr. and Mrs. Mainhood were instrumental in keeping this Sunday School going for over forty years.
Charles Spencer created a pond on his farm by damming a tiny spring-fed stream. He stocked it with fish. In winter he cut and supplied ice from this pond to grocers and saloon keepers in Coleman, who packed it in sawdust in ice sheds for summer use.
Harrison Sampson, a Civil War veteran, lived at the corner of Barden and S. Coleman Road. Mr. Sampson, at one time, made brick on his farm. Later, Rhinehart Ruhle operated this brick yard and supplied the brick for some of the buildings in Coleman. Mr. Sampson was an interesting storyteller who loved to tell of his experience in the War Between the States. Some folks said he had never been in a battle, but the local children were spellbound when he told of dodging cannon balls and terrifying encounters with boa constrictors in Southern swamps.
Other early settlers in Geneva Township included: John Rose, brothers Joseph and Jacob Warner, brothers Daniel and John McFarland, brothers Thomas and John Walker, John Clarke, Philip Preston, Robert Burns, Robert Cunningham, William Wilson, George Atkinson, William Baker, Charles Mainprize, the Fenton family, Alex McCartney, the Gilbanks, the Hubers, the Nobbs, the Rhules, Robert Boyce, Let Babcock, William Childs, the Holstroms, the Forsbergs, the Johnsons, the Fulmers, the Schads, the O'Dells and the Button family.