Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, October 28, 2001, pg. 12

Occasionally in this column we go "on the road" and feature a neighboring community (does anyone have an old picture of something in Marengo I could borrow, like the Erie Lake grocery?). Many of these were centers for area farmers to gather and contained a schoolhouse, meeting hall, church, and cemetery. Some even had their own post offices in the 19th century.

This week we will feature one such unincorporated village, Partello. This community is located along 23 Mile Road in Sections 11 and 12 of Lee Township, just south of T Drive South. The village dates back to 1844 when G. W. Dryer and others formed the "Dover Company" and purchased several parcels of land from the previous owners. They began to erect a mill to harvest timber, but were not successful in its completion and the project was stopped. The land was sold to J. R. Partello, who promptly erected a saw mill on the site, which burned after a year in operation. The site became known as Partello after its owner, also the namesake of Partello Road which went to Marshall.

Despite the loss of the mill, the village continued to grow. There was a general store run by Charles Osborn who also served as the township clerk from 1866 to 1877. A horse-powered cider mill owned by D. M. Murray was erected in 1872 and converted to steam power in 1876. A wagon shop was also located in the settlement, as well as another store and two blacksmith shops. The village plat contained over 50 proposed lots and at least three side streets: East, West and Mill.

The Partello Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by Rev. Nichols in April, 1875. Its six charter members were: Mrs. Luff, Henry Harris, D. P. Wood and wife, and Leander Curtis and wife. Services were first held at the local schoolhouse. Later a church building was constructed off the side road east of 23 Mile Rd. The Partello Cemetery is located just south of the settlement.

The U.S. Government opened a Post Office at Partello on April 23, 1856. It was located on the west side of 23 Mile Rd. "Main St." across the from the schoolhouse. The first postmaster was Jepthah T. Scarlett. The Partello PO operated until June 15, 1905. Old letters that were sent from Partello will bear the Partello postmark on the front of the envelope, and are collectorís items today. Donít throw them away.

An area Grange Hall hosted various lively events attended by farming families for miles to come, especially on Friday nights. I have a 1926 postcard featuring this message: "Tell your old friends about Partello Home-Coming Day. Saturday and Sunday May 29 and 30. Pot Luck Supper, 7 oíclock Saturday Evening at the Grange Hall, Followed by a Program. Hear your old neighbors speak. Special music. Everyone is invited. Sunday Morning at 10:30 Rev. Berry will preach at the Church. Many of our old friends are coming back. No service at Lee Center Sunday. You should be there."

In its heyday, there even was a Partello band made up of musicians from the rural Olivet-Partello area. From our Historical Notebook this week we present the Partello Band, circa 1901. The photo is courtesy of Roberta (Mains) Whitbeck of Battle Creek, and Jack L. Sheldon, Jr. of Mesa, Arizona, whose great-grandfather Frank M. Sheldon (he is buried in Bosworth Cemetery between Olivet and Charlotte) is holding a clarinet next to his son-in-law Gordon Raymond. All the musicians are wearing hats that say "Partello" in the embrodery.

Front row, left to right: Vern Thomas, Clyde Butterfield, Frank Starks, John Dewey, Elmer Rugh. Center row: Floyd Raymond (Gordonís brother), Earl Wood, Sylvester Galusha. Top row: Gordon (Walter) "Pete" Raymond, Frank M. Sheldon, Fay Starks (he ran the Ford garage in Olivet and operated a grocery in Partello), Rollo Bennett, Jim Wilbur. How many of our readers have been to Partello?

The Partello Band, circa 1901


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