Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]
Among the pioneers, who by their industry and perseverance laid the foundation for the present prosperity of
Comstock township, none is more worthy a prominent place in its history than Jesse Earl.
The Earl family was originally from Connecticut. Daniel Earl, grandfather of the subject of this biography, was
a near neighbor and friend of Gen. Israel Putnam, of Revolutionary memory; but little is now known of his history,
except that he removed to Pennsylvania snd settled on the Susquehanna River, where he remained for seven or eight
years, when be removed to Ontario Co., N. Y., where he died at an advanced age. He was a farmer by occupation,
and reared a family of ten children.
William Earl, father of Jesse, was born in Pennsylvania in 1782. Subsequently he removed to Yates Co., N. Y., where
Jesse was horn, on the- 8th of May, 1813. He afterwards removed to Niagara Co., N. Y. In 1829 he came to the State
of Michigan on a tour of observation, and was much pleased with the region now constituting Kalamazoo County.
In 1831 he purchased the farm where Jesse Earl now resides. Returning to New York, he came again to Kalamazoo County
in the following spring, accompanied by his two sons,— Jesse and Lyman,—whom he left to construct a dwelling, and
make the necessary preparations for establishing a permanent home, while he returned to Niagara County once more,
where he re mained until the autumn of 1832, when he came to the new home in the wilderness, bringing his family
William Earl was the first supervisor of the township of Comstock, at which time it included within its limits
the territory of the present townships of Charleston and Climax. He was three times elected to this office; was
a prominent and influential man in the early days of the settlement, and himself and family contributed greatly
to the development and
prosperity of the township. He died January 10, 1851. His faithful and devoted wife died on the 5th of December,
The pioneer life of Jesse Earl was beset with the hardships incident to a new country. He remained with his father
until he was twenty-three years of age, when he embarked in business for himself as a farm hand, working by the
month. In 1838, when twenty-five years of age, he married Miss Mary, daughter of Rufus Clapp. She was born in Otisco,
Onondaga Co., N. Y.
The Clapp family is one of the old aud reputable New England families, tracing its descent from Capt. Joseph Clapp,
who settled in Dorchester, Mass., in 1630, and was a prominent character in colonial history. Many of his descendants
have likewise been men of note.
The grandfather of Mrs. Earl, Capt. Rufus Clapp, served with distinction in the Revolutionary army.
Mrs. Earl received a common-school education, which she has made practically useful to herself and others as a
teacher. She is a refined and cultured lady, a thrifty housewife, an excellent mother, and a fine type of the pioneer
Mr. Earl has been prominently identified with the history of Comatock. His sterling common sense, excellent judgment,
and integrity have been understood and appreciated by the people, who have often called him to serve them in responsible
and honorable positions. He was the first collector of the township; has officiated as treasurer several terms,
and represented the township in the board of supervisors.
Politically he was formerly a Whig, but since the formation of the Republican party he has acted with that organization.
Socially be is a courtly and genial gentleman, and devotedly attached to his family and friends; a man of ability
and prominence, worthy to stand with the foremost men of the county.
History of Kalamazoo County, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of its Men and Pioneers.
Everts & Abbott., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia.