Nathaniel Irish Daniells, 1832-1899
Nathaniel was born in Scipio, Cayuga County, New York. He married Lucinda Reed in February, 1832, and in May of that year, they left for West Bloomfield, Michigan, where two years earlier he had purchased land and had hired 10 acres to be cleared and sowed to wheat. They went by Erie Canal and Lake Erie steamer. In six years he had 140 of his 240 acres cleared. He taught school three winters. He was a gifted penman and made quill pens for his students.
In about 1835, he and Joshua Coonley started a general store, but they were soon ruined in the “Wild Cat Panic.” [Note: This may have referred to the banks with their free lending policies and their issue of paper currency (called specie) that were not backed up by gold or silver. Bank after bank closed its doors, causing a financial panic in 1837.]
In 1848, he moved to Wacousta and started a long round of legal battles with Benjamin Silsbee who tried to keep him off the land he had bought. The problems lasted until 1854 when Nathaniel finally gained clear title. Several of his brothers, Elias, Nelson and David, also located in Wacousta and built a saw mill and grist mill.
From the History of Shiawassee and Clinton Counties Michigan 1880, page 527:
N.I. and Nelson Daniells arrived in 1848 (having been former residents of Cayuga County, New York), and at once repaired the mill property. The grist mill which was in a condition unfit for service, was at once remodeled, and the saw mill thoroughly rebuilt. A store was opened by them and in 1855 the old grist mill was replaced by a new one, which is now owned by Nelson Daniells. This mill has three run of stones, and is devoted to both custom and merchant-work. It is located upon the Looking Glass River, from whence its power is derived, and has a capacity of four hundred bushels per day. Much patronage is enjoyed from the adjacent country, though Lansing and the East furnish a market for its merchant-work.
The saw mill, which is also owned by Mr. Daniells, embraces planing machinery, and has a capacity of two thousand feet per day. It does custom-work exclusively.
Nelson’s oldest daughter, Cornelia Hazard writes:
The Daniells brothers were all men to take an active interest in public affairs, and though somewhat aggressive in their views, yet were all of uncompromising integrity, upholding and maintaining the rights of others in all respects, and so made themselves a force in the community.
In the spring of 1852, Nathaniel was elected Justice of the Peace and served for 17 years. It was often asserted that he did more business than all the other Justices within the reach of his jurisdiction and paid more fees into the county treasury. He built his home and conducted his business in the rear of the home.
In 1850, Nathaniel was Census Enumerator for Clinton, Gratiot, Isabella, and Clare Counties. That same year he was appointed Deputy Marshall to go to Lake Michigan and to prosecute trespassers who were logging off public lands. In 1867, he was elected to the Constitutional Convention for the State of Michigan. [Note: family tradition holds that the Constitution was prepared in his handwriting.] In 1870, he was again Census Enumerator for the east half of Clinton County.
Nathaniel and Lucinda had seven children. Our ancestor is Carey Reed Daniells. Lucinda died in1885, and Nathaniel married Susan Stansell. He died in 1899, and both Nathaniel and Lucinda are buried in Wacousta Cemetery. His brothers Nelson and David, and sister Cornelia are also buried in Wacousta Cemetery.