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his wintering place in Georgia. Business prevented him from returning from Chicago as he had intended, and he was joined there by his family on the 3d of February with a view to having them at once start with him for Georgia. Before this purpose could be put in execution, Mr. Breitung was prostrated by the attack which finally resulted in his death, and remained for several days at his hotel in a critical condition. Some improvement taking place, on the 11th of the same month he, with his family, left for Eastman in a special car, this step being taken by the advice of his physicians.
For a few days after his arrival he was somewhat better, but afterward steadily continued to grow worse, until death at last brought him rest and peace. His wife and son, his private secretary, Mr. F. E. Pearse, and also Miss Lizzie Merry and Prof. A. J. Tourville, were in Eastman with him when the end came.
When the news reached Negaunee it created a profound impression and threw the entire community into mourning at the loss of one of its most influential, liberal and most highly esteemed citizens. The Breitung house, named after the deceased, was heavily draped in respect to his memory. By order of Acting Mayor Hoch the city flag was also draped and suspended across Iron street.
Edward Breitung was born in the city of Schalkau, in the Duchy of SaxeMeiningen, Germany, November 10, 1831, and was, consequently, 56 years of age at the time of his decease. After going through his preparatory course, he entered the college of Meiningen, in Meiningen, and graduated in 1849. After completing his education, and during the same year, he emigrated to this country, coming to this state and locating in Kalamazoo. Two years later he moved to Detroit, where he remained four years. In May, 1855, he came to Lake Superior, located in Marquette, and engaged in the mercantile business. Soon after this he commenced exploring and buying and selling mineral lands. He remained in Marquette for four years and in 1859 came to Negaunee, where he afterwards resided. Here he engaged in the mercantile business and also associated himself with Israel B. Case, and they ran the Pioneer furnace under contract. In 1864 he sold out his mercantile business and gave his entire attention to mining and mining interests. During the winter of 1864-'65 he began to open up and develop the Washington mine and in 1870 he began to open up the Negannee hematite range. No one believed he would find merchantable ore there, and all thought the venture a foolish one. But he had confidence in his own judgment, and future developments have fully proved that it was sound. In the fall of 1871 he began to develop the famous Republic mine, the largest and most profitable
iron mine in this country, if not in the world. In 1863 he commenced explorations on the Menominee range and continued them for three years. Here again everybody believed that he had embarked in a profitless venture, but, as before, the issue verified the correctness of his opinion. The immense amount of ore taken out of the mines on that range fully justifies the faith he had in that section of the Lake Superior iron field. In 1882 and 1883 he became interested in the Vermillion iron range, in Minnesota, where once again the investment that he made proved highly profitable.
Mr. Breitung was one of the pioneers in the Lake Superior mining industry. His capital consisted only of ability, enterprise and determination when he began life, but by the constant exercise of these qualities, coupled with the good judgment which characterized all his operations, he became a capitalist, and was one of the most prominent and successful operators in mineral lands in the Lake Superior iron region.
The deceased held many positions of trust in the village and city government of Negaunee. He was mayor of the city in 1880, 1882 and 1883, besides holding less important positions. He was elected a member of the house of representatives from Marquette county for the term of 1873–74, but resigned in 1873. He was elected a state senator from the thirty second district for the term of 1877–78. He was elected to the forty eighth congress from this district by a large majority, in 1883, and served his term out, declining a renomination at its close. In politics he was an ardent republican, and was for years the acknowledged leader of his party in this section.
Mr. Breitung was united in marriage November 28, 1870, to Miss Mary Pauline, of Port Washington. A son, Edward N., born November 1, 1871, survives him, and another son, William M., was lost in infancy.
In life Mr. Breitung was noted for his liberality, and his generous readiness to aid every worthy object, and in death he will be long and sincerely mourned by the community in which so many years of his life were passed, and for which he did so much by kindly deeds and wholesome example.
BY I. P. SHOEMAKER.
Died, at his residence in Greenville, on Sunday evening, October 11, 1885, Morton Shearer, one of the pioneers of Montcalm county.
The deceased was born at Palmer, Massachusetts, Nov. 26, 1811. Leaving his native state, he resided for a time in the state of New York, where he was married to Elizabeth Westfield, on the 5th day of September, 1833. He removed to St. Clair county, in this state, at an early day, and arrived in Greenville on the 7th of May, 1849.
In the early part of 1850 Mr. Shearer built a hotel upon the ground now occupied by the Exchange hotel in Greenville, wbich was the first public house erected in the county, and was, for several years, the proprietor and landlord of this house, which was known throughout the county as the Shearer house.
The residence now occupied by the Hon. C. F. Morgan, mayor of the city, was built by Mr. Shearer in 1853.
In the earlier days of the county Mr. Shearer took a prominent part in public affairs, being for more than ten years one of the superintendents of the poor, and holding the office of judge of probate from 1855 to 1857.
He was a member of the Masonic fraternity before he came to Greenville, and was one of the charter members of the Blue Lodge of that city, and afterward one of the prominent members of the Green ville chapter.
The latter years of his life he was a farmer and veterinary surgeon; which last occupation he followed at the time of his death.
The funeral services were conducted at his late residence, October 13, 1885, by the Rev. J. L. Patton. The exercises at the grave were conducted by the Masonic fraternity, to which he was greatly attached.
The writer of this obitnary knew the deceased for nearly a quarter of a century, and can say that it was the universal testimony of his neighbors, that he was a truly upright man, his word being as good as his bond. His associates in office speak of him as a man of excellent judgment, and true integrity in carrying on public business.
Mrs. L. E. Backus, Mrs. Maria Savage, and James M. Shearer, all of this city, are the only surviving members of the family of the deceased.
Died, in the city of Greenville, December 9, 1886, Manning Ratan, one of the pioneers of Montcalm county, and a member of this society.
Mr. Ratan was born at New Providence, Sussex county, N. J., September 25, 1802, and consequently was, at the time of his death, a little more than 84 years of age. His father dying when he was quite young, his support and early training devolved upon his mother, who was an admirable woman. After serving an apprenticeship in a country store, the deceased commenced business for himself in New Jersey, in which he was successful.
Leaving New Jersey in the month of October, 1851, he came to Montcalm county, and purchased a large tract of land south of Flat River, and east of Lafayette street, which he subsequently platted, and sold as village lots. And, although he kept a general store in Greenville, the greater portion of his estate was made in real estate transactions.
About the year 1870 he turned his mercantile business over to his son, and was never, subsequent to that time, what might be termed a business man, although he was engaged in many business ventures, in which he continued until near the time of his death.
Mr. Rutan was an energetic, active and intelligent business man; he never let a matter of business pass through his hands until he understood it in all its bearings, and few persons excelled him in accuracy in business transactions. He was quick to acknowledge a mistake, and ever ready to correct. any error that he might have made.
He will be long remembered for his benevolences. While he has been extolled for endowing a professorship at Olivet, yet I think he took greater satisfaction in making donations that were never known to the public. Among these was a donation of something more than fifteen hundred dollars, which he made a few years ago to Henry M. Moore, one of the pioneers of Greenville, and with whom many of those present were acquainted years ago. The writer of this obituary has been more impressed with some of the little kindnesses which he has known Mr. Rutan to perform, than with all those deeds of charity which have been known to the public, and by which the public has estimated his character.
Mr. Rutan was a man of sound sense, had not a shadow of ostentation in his make up, and never boasted of his wealth, either directly or indirectly. In short, he tried to do those things of which God woul: approve. He did his work well and wisely, and sought his chief happiness in the path of duty.
SAMUEL G. HUTCHINS.
Samuel G. Hutchins died suddenly Sunday afternoon, May 15, 1887, of rheumatism of the heart, in his 68th year. Only a short time before he had been in the garden. Returning to the house, he lay down on the lounge, took but two or three breaths and passed way. The deceased was prominent in the earlier years of Greenville as a lumberman, and was once an alderman of the city, of which he was a citizen for 19 years. He left a wife, a Bon, and daughters, highly respected and honored members of society.