Thursday, July 25, 1901
A Pioneer and Veteran Gone
One of the Men Who Helped Reclaim the Wilderness and Later to Save the Country Lays Down Life's Burden
Ripe with the honors which come of a live of integrity and devoted to the upbuilding and betterment of the community in which it was passed, John Howard Squier passed to the rest eternal Friday evening last, at the home of himself and his devoted sister, Mrs. Clara Vaughn, on Lawrence avenue.
Mr. Squier was born at New Haven, Vermont, May 30th, 1833, and had, therefore, just passed his sixty-eighth birthday. His father, Waite J. Squier, was one of the sturdy pioneers who came in 1836 and secured, from the government, the land on which Vermontville is located and enough of the surrounding acres to satisfy the desires of the thirty families who had agreed to compose a colony, organized in Vermont, to come and reclaim the wilderness and establish homes for themselves and families in the far west. Mr. Squier returned to Vermont and in the fall started overland with his family, consisting of his wife and seven children, two, Henry and Clara, now Mrs. Vaughn, having been left at the old home. The former never came here to reside but the latter, who remained with her grandmother, came later. John H. Squier was then a child of three years. He grew to manhood under the influences and the rigid examples of the men and women who bore the burden of subjugating the forests and paved the way for the civilization and the ideal enjoyment which characterizes that model section today. His whole life manifested the splendid manhood of that association. In 1861 when the national life was threatened he enlisted in Co. C, 2nd Michigan cavalry, and performed arduous service and incapacitated by disease, when he returned to his home late in the fall of 1862. Immediately after he settled on an unbroken farm of 160 acres given him by his father and there his sister Clara joined him. The companionship then established continued throughout his life. Eleven years, until 1874, they remained on the farm, sharing together the hardships and privations and reaping together the emoluments which came of their toil. After sixteen years of residence in Vermontville, they removed to this city having purchased the elegant home from which Mr. Squier was borne on Monday. He never married, although his sister did, but she would never consent to a separation from a brother with whom she had so long associated and whose life was so closely interwoven with her own. Brother and sister remained together, even during the two or three years her husband survived the marriage. The devotion thus manifested was unchanged and during the two or three years of his life, when practically helpless, from paralysis, the sincerity of this devotion was emphasized by constant care and unremitting attention on her part.
Whether on the farm, in the village or in the city, Mr. Squier was the same quiet, even tempered, dignified gentleman. A true friend and wise counselor he made friendships and always kept them. By industry, frugality and correct living he acquired a competency and in later years indicated in various ways a liberal spirit and disposition. Many kindly acts, which were unheralded stand to his credit.
Early in life, believing in the precepts and principles of Masonry, he joined the order in Vermontville, later committing to the lodge here, and his whole life was a fine __ of his conception of Masonry. He was also an honored member of the Grand Army of the Republic and the insignia of membership adorned the lapel of his coat.
Aside from the disease which had made him dependent on the physical aid of others, he was in seemingly good health and his mind and all his faculties were in good condition. Thursday morning last he was at breakfast as usual but later he was ill and a physician was summoned. Everything which skill could suggest was resorted to but the gradual wasting had been too long in progress and Friday wearied with the struggle he simply sank to rest in the sleep the knows no wakening.
At the residence Monday morning the services were held, reading and a few remarks by Rev. Bastian Smith and a prayer by Rev. W. B. __?. The __ casket in which the deceased lay, as if in a quiet slumber, was __ with beautiful flowers and many pieces of __ design adorned the room. Charlotte Lodge No. __ .....of the service and six of the members served as bearers. The remains were moved to Vermontville on the ..(illegible).
...supplemented by the Vermontville lodge and by invitation, Hon. H. G. Barber of that place officiated as Master.
The church was comfortably filled with old friends and neighbors. The choir rendered two selections, one "Rock of Ages," by special request of Mrs. Vaughn, being especially fine and Miss Jennie Martin sung a solo most exquisitely. The remarks by Mr. Gordon were brief but very appropriate and after a closing prayer, the remains were followed to the cemetery by a long procession and there after the impressive Masonic service most excellently performed by Mr. Barber and those who assisted him the body was laid at rest in the family vault.
Of the large family which has been so much to that community but one member, Mrs. Clara Vaughn, of this city remains and so closely were the lives of the brother and sister interwoven that the separation caused a depth of sorrow which time will hardly mellow. Besides Mrs. Vaughn there were present as mourners, Mr. James McKee*, of Grand Rapids; Mrs. Arthur Squier and daughter Clara, of Cleveland; Mrs. Will Squier of Hastings; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lamb and Miss Jennie Squier of this city.
*Married to John Howard Squier's cousin, Hannah Langdon
Note: My grandkids' are descendants of John H. Squier's brother, Manley Wallace Squier.