Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, September 18, 1994, pg. 12
This past Wednesday, September 14, the Albion area lost one of its oldest and historic homes when it was demolished due to age and advanced deterioration. The Amos A. Babcock house at 25127 D Drive South, Homer (yes, part of Babcock has a Homer address) stood as a landmark on top of the hill on the former “Wilder Creek Road,” (now D Drive South) since it was built in the 1840s.
The home was erected by Amos A. Babcock (1806-1893), who came here from Otsego County, New York, and settled the land at Babcock on July 30, 1835. He was the first settler in the Babcock area. He purchased the land from the U.S. government, and the deed was signed by President Andrew Jackson. The 1888 Calhoun County Portrait and Biographical Album states, (p. 350), “Mr. Babcock put up a shanty and began housekeeping, the principal furniture in his house consisting of a nondescript article making two beds and a table, supported by three legs. He had but $3 in money when he reached here. He worked at brick-making north of Marshall one summer, walking from his little cabin home to and from his work.
Wolves howled around the humble dwelling during the night and Indians were the only near neighbors. Albion was not even dreamed of and the nearest trading point was Marshall. The first trip made by Mr. Babcock to the present site of Albion compelled him to cross the Kalamazoo River upon a foot-pole above a beaver dam. Little by little the 80 acres comprising his farm was developed and made productive of grains and vegetables useful to man, and a half century ago (1840s) he built the first farm house in this neighborhood, which still stands, a landmark of the olden time. A considerable addition has been made to the structure since it was first occupied by Mr. Babcock and his family. He has added also to his landed estate not having a quarter-section of valuable land, one hundred acres of which is thoroughly tilled and highly developed.”
Mr. Babcock also erected the schoolhouse of the area, and Babcock School was in existence for over a century until it was closed in 1965.
Upon the death of Mr. Babcock in 1893, the house and farm passed to his son, Daniel M. Babcock. The latter moved to Lehanna County in California around 1913. He sold the farm and the Babcock farm house to Cameron N. and Cara (Howell) Wilson on January 12, 914. The house has been in the Wilson family ever since. In recent years the structure has deteriorated due to age, and the decision was made to demolish it and erect a new modern house behind the original one.
It has been rumored that the Babcock house, or the property might have been used as part of the “underground railroad” in the 1840s. It is a known fact that Babcock operated a sorghum mill there, and there were plenty of places to hide people. In the back of the property on a wooded hill is a private family cemetery, containing five circles of stones. These were children who died in infancy. Mr. Babcock however, was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Albion.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Amos Babcock’s landmark home, which was recently demolished, and a lithograph of Mr. Babcock.
Amos Babcock Home
Next: JOSEPH A. BALDWIN
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic