Harvey Metcalf


The second white settler in the town of Handy, was born in Worthington, Mass., Dec. 20, 1795. After the death of his father, which occurred when he was quite young, he found a home with his grandfather until he was fourteen, when the death of his grandfather left him without a home. He then lived among the farmers, working at whatever he could get to do and for what they chose to give him. Under such circumstances his chances for an education were necessarily very limited. He was drafted during the war of 1812, and served until his company was mustered out at the close of the war. Soon after his discharge he went to West Bloomfield, Ontario Co., N.Y., where he found employment on a farm. From there he went to Geneseo, Livingston Co., N.Y., and engaged in the livery business, which he followed for some time. But becoming satisfied that an old settled country like New York was a hard place for a poor man to get a start, be determined to go to a new State, where land was plenty, and cheap. In the spring of 1836, having sold out his business, he came to the town of Handy and bought of the government one hundred and sixty acres of land, for which be paid down. During the summer of 1836 he made a small improvement, sowed ten acres of wheat, and put up a log house. In the fall he returned to Geneseo for his family, whom he at once brought to the new home in the forest. At that time there was but one family in the town of Handy. The country around was entirely new save the small clearing made by Mr. Handy. There were no roads save Indian trails, while deer and all kinds of fish and game were abundant. The wolves made night hideous by their howling, although they were not a source of much danger. With the exception of the Handy family their only neighbors were the Indians, with whom they lived on friendly terms. Although everything was new and strange to them, and they endured many privations and hardships, still they were contented and happy. So says Mrs. Metcalf, who is still living, a hale and hearty old lady of nearly seventy. Under Mr. Metcalf's energy and industry the wilderness home was soon made to "blossom as a rose," and peace and plenty prevailed. At the first town-meeting held in the township Mr. Metcalf was elected road commissioner. But political offices were not to his taste, and he never held one by his own wish. In the schools of his town he always took an active interest, and was generally one of the school board. In politics Mr. Metcalf was first a Whig and then a Republican. He departed this life March 28, 1878, respected and esteemed by his neighbors and friends for his many good qualities.

IMG_5566On the 9th day of June, 1831, he was married to Miss Eveline Adams, who was born in Geneseo, N.Y., March 26, 1810. She was the daughter of Amos and Elizabeth (Wright) Adams. There have been born to them the following-named children : Theron, born March 25, 1832 (Theron Metcalf enlisted in September, 1864, in Company H, 4th Cal. Volunteers, and served one year, mustered out as assistant commissary sergeant in September, 1865. Edwin A. Metcalf enlisted Aug. 6, 1861, in Company K, 9th Michigan Infantry. Was taken prisoner at Murfreesboro' and paroled; discharged September 16, 1862; re-enlisted in Company D, same regiment, Sept. 10, 1864; discharged May 17, 1865.); Amanda F., born Jan. 18, 1834; Angeline, born April 29, 1836; Adelaide, born Aug. 14, 1840; Edwin A., born June 27, 1844; Cornelia, born March 9, 1848, died June 19, 1872; and Emma L., born Sept. 5, 1851, died Jan. 17, 1878.

Eveline Metcalf died twelve years later, December 15, 1890, at the age of 80.


Ellis, Franklin. History of Livingston Co., Michigan: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Philadelphia: Everts & Abbott, 1880. Reprint Evansville, IN: Unigraphic, 1975.

The Fowlerville Review (Fowlerville, Michigan), April 22, 1936.

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