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These writings were taken from a history compiled by the Nashville Centennial Committee in1969 for the Village of Nashville's Centennial Birthday.

Barry County's early history


In what is known as the Chicago Treaty, concluded by General Cass at Chicago, August 29, 1821, the soil of Allegan and Barry Counties was conveyed from red to white owners. In consideration for said treaty or sale of lands, the United States Government agreed to pay the Ottawa Indians a thousand dollars a year forever, besides fifteen hundred dollars a year for fifteen years, to support a blacksmith, teacher and farmer. To the Pottawattamies, the government agreed to pay five thousand dollars a year annually for twenty years, and one thousand dollars a year to support a blacksmith and teacher.

Nearly the whole of this money thus received went into the hands of the traders. If an Indian had neither money nor furs to offer, and wanted to purchase on credit, it was generally given him, unless he was known to be dishonest. On the average, they paid quite as well and as promptly as white men do at the present time. The traders always attended the payments by the U.S. Government agents, and generally received the money due them from the Indians. If he did not, or if there was a dispute about amount, the trader would sometimes take the law into his own hands and seize the money.

Barry County was established by law, with its present boundaries, on October 29, 1829; six days later it was attached to St. Joseph County as were ranges 11 and 12 in the territory of Allegan, while the rest of that territory was, for the most being, assigned to Cass County.

The first known settler to clear land in Barry County was Amasa S. Parker, a sturdy bachelor, who came in the fall of 1830 and selected a piece of land in township 1, range 10, now known as Prairieville. He built his house in the Spring of 1831, and became the first permanent white resident in the county.

Lorenzo Mudge made the first improvement in Castleton Township in 1837, having purchased the southeast quarter of section 32 on the south line of the township, where for eight months his family resided alone, his wife not seeing the face of a white woman during that period.

Nashville's early history


The major portion of land on which the village of Nashville is built was purchased from the government during the years of 1836-37 for purposes of speculation. From that date until 1855 no improvements whatever were made. A little later a mill was erected, as well as a few crude structures necessary to accommodate the men employed in its operation, and these remained until about 1864, the only forerunners of the future flourishing village.

IN 1865 the village was first platted by Robert B. Gregg, the survey having been completed on the second day of October by Joshua Martin. In 1866, the Grand River Valley Railroad was projected, and the preliminary survey made. In January, 1869, the first train passed over the recently completed railroad, and then began an almost unprecedented era of progress. Nashville embraces portions of the townships of Castle and Maple Grove. Only a small portion, however, is in Maple Grove, and that is outside of the thickly built part of the place. Pursuing its devious way through the central portion of the village limits is the Thornapple River, a stream which, aside from the picturesque beauty it imparts to the landscape, serves a more useful purpose in affording an excellent water power, which, for over three quarters of a century, was utilized for commercial purposes.

To the original plat the following additions have been made: the A. W. Phillips addition in September, 1866; the Orsemas Phillips addition in September, 1867; Phillip Holler's addition in October, 1870; Daniel Staley's addition in January, 1871; Alanson W. Phillips' addition in August, 1871; R. B. Gregg's addition in 1873; Orsemas Phillips' addition in October, 1875.

Nashville was named after Mr. Garaudus Nash, the chief engineer of the Grand River Valley Railroad (1869). While Nash never lived here, he suggested to the townspeople that the village be named after him, and apparently enough of the early pioneers approved of the idea for them to call this community Nashville. (This decision was made by 3 local men)

The first meeting for the election of village officers was held at the office of Lewis Durkee on Wednesday, the 7th of April, 1869, at twelve o'clock; and, the ballots having been cast, the following officers were declared elected; President, Lemuel Smith; Recorder, Leonard E. Stauffer; Treasurer, John M. Roe; Assessor, Elihu Chipman; Trustees, George A. Truman, Jacob Purkey, and Albert W. Olds.

Act of Incorporation

"The people of the State of Michigan enact: That all that tract of country situate in the town of Castleton and Maple Grove, in the County of Barry, and distinguished and designated on the Plat in the land office of the district as section thirty-five and thirty-six, and the south half of sections twenty-four and twenty-five, in town tree north, two north, of range seven west, be, and the same is hereby constituted a village corporate, to be known by the name of the Village of Nashville."


Henry P. Baldwin

Governor of Michigan

March 26, 1869