Maybee, the Best Little Town in Michigan

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Photo-Wikimedia Commons

Maybee started out with the perfect recipe to become a village -stands of elm, oak, and other hardwoods that made the charcoal industry possible, two visionary people, Abram Maybee and Joseph Klotz  with land to back up their dreams, and a railroad to carry the goods and people that Abram Maybee and Joseph Klotz set in motion. Today, Maybee is a village in southwestern Exeter Township in Monroe County, established in 1873. Between 1873 and 1875, the land sales, people, and railroad created an agricultural  community that included a grain elevator, grist mill, stone quarry, sand pit, a hotel, three churches, two schools, and a variety of factories and stores. The community became incorporated as the village of Maybee in 1899, with some of its original buildings including the grain elevator surviving into the Twenty-First Century. In 2010, Maybee village had a population of 562. In 2013, Maybee added a 546 acre parcel called the Stoneco Quarry to its area.[1]

Abram Maybee and Joseph Klotz Help Create Maybee

Between 1873 and 1875, Abram Maybee and Joseph Klotz surveyed, platted, and sold the land that later became the village of Maybee. Abram inherited the Maybee farm from his father, Solomon Maybee who brought his wife  Charlotte DeLano Maybee and their children  George, Julia, Morgan, Abram, Esther, and Marilla to settle in Michigan. The 1850 United States Federal Census shows Solomon living in Raisinville, Michigan with their children Morgan, Abram, Esther, and Marilla. Solomon died on March 26, 1860, willing 60 acres of his land “situated in Exeter” to Abram. Solomon and his wife Charlotte are buried in McIntyre Cemetery in Monroe along with Abram and his wife Mary Moses Maybee.

On February 19, 1868, Abram Maybee married Mary C. Moses. They eventually had three girls and two sons. Many Maybee citizens appreciated and remembered their son, Seward, who had a sharp memory and loved history. He recorded daily village events in a black book and he enjoyed pulling out the book and pointing out village historical facts to people. In 1890 when he was 56 years old, Abram Maybee retired and he died on May 18, 1892.

In 1873, thirty-nine-year-old Abram and his partner Joseph Klotz decided to have the land they owned surveyed and on January 6 and 7, 1873, Delos F. Wilcox surveyed the lands which were platted as part of Private Claims 352, 495, and 274. Then Abram Maybee and Joseph Klotz sold the land for village lots. The two men also operated other concerns in the new village. They owned a sawmill together and Abram built some of the first houses and a hotel in the village. On August 24, 1877, Abram Maybee took office as postmaster of Maybee and in 1879, Joseph Klotz served as postmaster. In another stroke of good fortune for the fledgling village, the Canada Southern Railway established a railway line through Maybee, insuring its commercial survival.[2]

Joseph Klotz was one of the ten children of John and Betsey Klotz who were born in Germany. The 1860 United States Federal Census records that John, 58, and Betsy Klutch, 43, (Klotz) were living in London, Monroe, Michigan with their children:  Orickons, 22; Elizabeth, 20; Frederick, 18; Joseph, 16; Catharine, 13; John, 10; Thestian, 8; Anna, 6; Mary,4; and Michael, 1.

The 1880 United States Federal Census shows Joseph Klotz, 34, living in Exeter Township, Monroe, Michigan with his wife Julia Cauchie Klotz, 24, and his children Marcy 5, William 3, and Burtha two months.  He lists his occupation as a merchant.

Businesses Make Their Mark in Maybee

People continued to buy village lots in Maybee and in 1873, the Canada Southern Railroad came through Maybee. By 1875, the village had 200 people.

The Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1875

The Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1875 described Maybee as dating its settlement from 1874 and incorporating as a village in 1899, located on the Canada Southern Railway in Exeter township, Monroe county, 10 miles northwest of Monroe, the judicial east northeast of Dundee, and 26 miles southwest of Detroit. Charles Cook is listed as postmaster.

Business Directory-1875

Conrad Barkeeper, boots and shoes; Gramback & Miller, general store; Henry Houshalter, cooper; A. Maybee, brick manufacturer; Maybee & Klotz, saw mill; Stephen Mock, general store and produce dealer; John A. Patten, Hotel Proprietor opposite railway station; John A. Patten, insurance agent and notary public; John Rogers, blacksmith; Martin Van Buren, physician; and C.V. Whitmarsh, factory.

Click this link for some Maybee businesses between 1875 and 2017.

maybee-businesses     maybee-businesses

Stoneco Limestone Quarry

The Stoneco Limestone Quarry, located at Scofield near Maybee, has been a major supplier of crushed limestone, sand, and gravel in Michigan for more than 100 years. The Quarry has gone through many owners and many names including the Maybee Quarry; Scofield Quarry; Michigan Stone and Supply Company Quarry; Borin Brothers Quarry; and Woolmith Quarry.

Dr. D.Lucius Lee Hubbard building on the geological reports of Alexander Winchell and  Dr. Carl Rominger called attention to the Maybee Quarry in the State of Michigan’s Third Geological Survey conducted from 1869-1920. A bed of pure Sylvania sandstone was discovered and used for glass manufacturing and Colonel Thomas Caldwell , a British officer, originally preempted it from the government and held it for many years. From 1860-1873, Charles Toll of Monroe operated the quarry pits, directing the washing, sifting and shipping of the sand to Bridgeport, Bellaire and Benwood, Ohio, and other American cities like Pittsburgh, Wheeling, Rochester, Syracuse, and Hamilton, Ontario.

The Stoneco Limestone Quarry still operates into the 21st Century.

A Few Memorable Maybee People

Reverend Theodore H. Dannecker. 1886-1955. He was the pastor at St. Paul’s Church from 1921- till his death May 2,1955.  He is buried in St Paul’s Cemetery, Maybee.

Byron Engle. 1910-1990. He established and directed the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Police Assistance Program from 1955 until he retired in 1987. He was married to Geraldine L. Jelsch of Maybee and he is buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, Maybee.

 John Adam Harpst. 1853-1939. John was one of Maybee’s faithful farmers. He is buried in North Side Cemetery.

Remedios “Remy” Namiko Misik. 1928-2012. Born in the Philippines, Remy was he daughter of Tsunetaro and Marcella Yamauchi. At the end of World War II, she and her family relocated to Japan where as a young woman she helped her widowed mother raise her younger brothers and sisters. She worked as an International Switchboard operator, and then as an administrative assistant and translator at the U.S. Air Force base near Osaka, Japan. The U.S. Ambassador gave Remy a commendation for her work.

She married James Misik, came with him to the United States, and they had three children together. When James died in 1969, Remy dedicate herself to raising their three children. She worked for St. Mary’s Church and School for many years, and she also earned certification for dress making and became an excellent cook. At the age of 77, she earned her high school diploma, fulfilling a life-long dream. She is buried in North Side Cemetery, Maybee.

Annie K. Kellie Leathers-1842-1905. The Monroe Record-Commercial of March 9, 1905 noted that Annie came to America from Scotland at age nine. In 1862 she  married John C. Leathers and one of their five children became the wife of Seward Maybee. During her life time she was a kind and loving mother, a patient sufferer never complaining. She always led a Christian life reading her bible daily and was much beloved by all who knew her. She is buried in North Side Cemetery, Maybee.

rath

Carl J. Rath. 1895-1987. He owned and operated Rath Chevrolet Sales in Maybee for several years and he also farmed. He is buried in North Side Cemetery, Maybee.

Mrs. Carl Rath. 1893-1972. For 40 years, Sylva Rath was the chief telephone operator in Maybee until 1955 when the dialing system was installed.  She is buried in North Side Cemetery, Maybee.

Gary L. Simmons. 1949-2016.  Gary worked for eighteen years at the National Archives and Records Administration, serving as general contractor and mechanical engineer during the construction of the National Archives II in College Park, Maryland. Completed in 1993, the building houses textual and microfilm records, for research of historical records of the United States of America.

In 2003, Gary served the National Archives located in Washington D.C. during a major renovation of the Rotunda. He was heavily involved in the updating of the building and mechanical systems, along with other areas. The Rotunda is the area where the Declaration of Independence; the Bill of Rights; The Constitution of The United States, and all of the other charters are displayed.

In 2008, Gary was a team member and mechanical engineer for the ESPC Project at the Presidential Libraries and Museums Energy Saving Performance, receiving the Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management This involved many of the Presidential Libraries, and the Archives branches.

In the 2013 National Archivist Awards, he was honored with the ‘Outstanding Achievement award’ for Exceptional Service at NARA. He is buried in North Side Cemetery, Maybee.

A Few Maybee Veterans

(I originally included an eight page list of Maybee veterans, but it made the article so long that I decided to redo them as a PDF.  I think this makes things a lot easier to read. Sincerely, Kathy Warnes)

Here is the link to the list: maybee-veterans

Notes

[1] The Michigan State Gazetteer of 1875 states that Maybee was first settled in 1834 and incorporated in 1873.

[2] The Railroad History website, Alan Loftis Collections, states that the Canada Southern Railway was the first through Maybee, and later the Detroit, Toledo, and Ironton and the Lakeshore & Michigan Southern Railroads.

[3] Charles Happy is buried in Northside Cemetery, Maybee.(I

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