Biography of Jehiel Enos



Berrien County

Online Biographies


Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]

To this gentleman belongs the distinction of being the first settler in the township of Benton; therefore no one is better qualified to relate tales of pioneer life, with its attendant hardships and struggles to obtain a livelihood and build a home in the midst of a wilderness. Mr. Enos was born in Norwich, Chenango Co., N. Y., Oct. 24, 1799, and is the only one now living of a family of seven children, of whom he was the oldest. He worked during summers on his father’s farm, and in the winter attended district school, until he was eighteen years of age, when from a pupil he became a teacher, and spent his winters in the endeavor to inculcate knowledge into the minds of those less advanced than himself. As he grew older, the desire to be more of a scholar obtained strong hold upon him, and, while pursuing his duties as a teacher, he also took up the study of surveying, and applied it practically whenever opportunity offered until 1825. In that year he came to Michigan, and located at Ann Arbor. Washtenaw Co., where he remained four years. During the time he assisted Lucius Lypn in his duties as deputy United States surveyor. In the year 1828, before many white persons had settled in the State west of Dexter, Mr. Enos, in company with a party of explorers, visited what is now Berrien County. In 1829 he was again here, and assisted Mr. Lyon in surveying that portion of the county lying south of the river. The same year, Major Britain made the first permanent settlement in St. Joseph. In 1830, Mr. Enos was married to Miss Nancy Kavanaugh, who was born in Ohio. Her parents were natives of Ireland. The fruit of this marriage was nine children, of whom but two are now living. In 1844 four of their children died of scarlet fever, within the space of three weeks. A. son, who had “gone at his country’s call” to do battle for freedom, fell in the field of strife in 1863.

Soon after his marriage Mr. Enos built and occupied a house in St. Joseph, where he remained one year. He then sold out and purchased a lot of wild land in Royalton township, and began the task of hewing out a homestead in the midst of the forest. About three years later he again disposed of his property, and located in the village of Millburg. In 1836 he settled on the place he now occupies, section 13, Benton township. His wife, who was a most kind and amiable lady, died in March, 1855, and in December. 1856, he started on a second matrimonial journey with Mrs. Wilcox.

Mr. Enos was originally a Democrat, but has been a Republican since the formation of the latter party. He has twice represented the county in the State Legislature, as a Democrat in 1847, and as a Republican in 1856. He was one of the organizers of Benton township, and was its supervisor for several years. He has also been several times chosen to the position of county surveyor. He has been a member of the Baptist Church since 1823, and has always been among the foremost in the advancement of public interests.

History of Berrien and Van Buren Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.

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