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Amboy Twp. History

Amboy School [Click here to view full size picture] Amboy Township is located on the southern border of Hillsdale County along the state line with Ohio.

Amboy Township’s population has quietly grown over the past decade because of its orientation as a largely rural farming area. U.S. Census Bureau figures show the township with 1,224 residents in 2000, which is up from the 978 recorded in 1990.

Amboy’s uniqueness stems from its long and narrow shape: 12 miles long and 2 ½ miles wide – which requires four different fire protection contracts to make sure they are protected, according to township officials.

Records show the first settlements began in 1830; the purchase of land from a government auction in Monroe also helped to boost growth, according to the local history book “150 Years in the Hills and Dales (Volume II).”

By the 1860 census, 756 people living in the township, which peaked at 1,795 in the bureau’s 1870 count.

One of Amboy’s major attractions is its lakes. Merry Lake is manmade, while Lake Diane is partly manmade and partly natural, according to “Hills and Dales.” The Lake Diane Property Owners Association monitors the area’s affairs. Amboy’s rural nature is further underlined by nearly 40 miles of gravel roads.

The Amboy Baptist Church at 3020 E. Territorial Road, Camden, is one of the township’s other longest-standing attractions. Residents first organized it on Feb. 23, 1850; Saturday afternoons were typically set aside for “covenant meetings” for worship, followed by business meetings.

Church members undertook a series of major renovations between 1941 and 1972, including purchase of a parsonage east of the Territorial Road bridge; repair of the belfry and bell; and an additional exit for the basement. Additional classroom space followed in 1971, on the church’s north side.

Drinkers Mill

Drinkers Mill

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Morganville was located in the last century by Richard Waln Drinker as a milling site. It was called The Forks because its location near the junction of the east and west branches of the little St. Joe River and was later known as Drinkers Mill.
The town consisted of a cooper shop (barrel factory), blacksmith shop and a general store in which the post office existed.
These buildings all stood on the south side of the road. Mr. Drinker, a Quaker, came from Pennsylvania was a doctor, but never practiced medicine.
The Morgans, a wealthy family sent the Drinker family to Michigan to locate a timber site and to establish a milling industry. A thousand acres of virgin timber was taken up by Mr. Drinker in Amboy Township.
Flour mills were built on the east branch of the little St. Joe. The very valuable tract included oak, maple, ash, basswood, whitewood, walnut and butternut trees.

At one time the saw mill shipped three carloads of black walnut plank, three inches thick and thirty inches wide without a knot or a blemish from Hillsdale to Philadelphia.
The flour mill erected was lined with whitewood boards, many were thirty inches wide without a blemish.
Richard Drinker founded the mill in 1849, he was succeeded by his son Elwood Drinker and two uncles.

Edward Drinker, the grandfather of Richard W. crossed the Atlantic with William Penn, and it is stated in Sewell`s history of the Quakers that Edward Drinker put up the first mill in the what is known now as Philadelphia Pennsylvania and was standing as late as 1836.

The flour mill was known for miles around and before roads were made, people would come with several sacks of wheat over their horses back to have ground.
The mill which employed 25 people at one time, was run by water power dammed up into mill ponds in the bluffs back of the mill, the water would come down over the wheel that turned the grinding wheel. The grinder consisted of two large round stones about three feet across and a foot thick with a square hole in the center, the grain fed in from one side. The one stone was lowered onto the stationary bottom one and the top one turned slowly grinding the grain in between.

Mr Drinker lived on his farm in Amboy Township until 1886, then wishing to provide better education for his children he moved to Hillsdale, they occupied an elegant residence on Manning Street, with its surrounings formed one of the most tasteful of homes.


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