The Orchard Lake Boat Club was organized in the spring of 1871 in Pontiac, and purchased a yacht, an eight-oared barge, a four-oared shell, and a single scull, and erected a fine boat-house at the lake at an expense of some sixteen hundred dollars. In 1872 the club held a very successful regatta on Orchard lake, in which the Detroit Boat Club, by invitation of the home club, participated, bringing their own boats with them. Governor Bagley and other distinguished persons, accompanied by their ladies, graced the occasion with their presence. The ice of the lake destroyed the foundations of the boat-house, and the club being about to disband, sold the building and the other property in 1874, and closed up their business affairs fully and dissolved the association. Rev. Dr. Parrott, Hon. H. M. Look, and S. S. Mathews, Esq., were the presidents of the club during its existence.
POLITICAL. An organization which, although it never appeared on record nor openly above the surface of society, yet controlled from 1820 to 1830 all political movements in the county, had an existence and a name, being known as the Pontiac Club. It was essentially a secret society, for none but the members of the same knew who those members were. They managed, while they kept the people generally in blissful ignorance of the membership of the club, to elect for ten years or more these same members to the different positions in the gift of the people of the county, who were all of the time cursing the club, in which denunciation the members of the club themselves publicly joined, out-Heroding Herod in so doing. No records were kept nor regular meetings held, but the success of the club was marked until its power was voluntarily surrendered.
MINERALOGICAL. The Michigan Oil Company was the title of an association formed in Pontiac, in 1859, for the development of petroleum-wells in Pennsylvania. The Pontiac members were James Andrews, Abiram Parker, M. Lamont Bagg, C. C. Waldo, and Daniel Clark. The company bought lands at Oil City, owning some twenty rods of the best river frontage at that point on the Alleghany, just below the junction of Oil creek. The company also leased lands on the Buchanan farm,-the farm on which the original discovery of oil was made,-and put down a well, and carried on extensive operations from the early part of 1860 until February, 1864, when they sold their property to a Pittsburgh company. The Pontiac company erected the first oil-refinery in that region. Another company also was formed in Pontiac, which purchased Walnut Island; but did not operate as miners, selling their property at a handsome advance before striking a blow. Another company was formed for mining purposes at Enniskillen, in Canada, and operated their wells for a time; but, owing to the extra cost incurred in refining their oil, it being necessary to give it three '" treatments" for its proper deodorization, the operations of the Canada company were not highly successful. The National Copper Mining Company was organized in 1847-48, for mining copper in the upper peninsula, and made a location at L'Anse, and commenced operations. The first year a gang of workmen and their supplies were lost on the passage from Detroit, and the second year the superintendent of the second company of workmen was drowned, and the men remained all winter and drifted a tunnel into Silver mountain. But no returns were ever received for the labor and money expended, and the company sold the charter to other parties, who have since then made successful ventures, and are still operating the mines under the same charter. There were three other companies formed for mining in the Lake Superior region, but none of them succeeded in developing any paying leads. Colorado mining also was done by Pontiac companies, who worked the precious metalliferous veins more or less successfully for a few years.
PATRONS OF HUSBANDRY. Pontiac Grange, No. 283, was organized February 24, 1874, with Edwin Phelps as Master, Albert N. Goble, Overseer, Charles F. Kimball, Secretary, and forty-one members. Edwin Phelps was re-elected Master in 1875, but resigned, and Albert N. Goble was elected to fill the vacancy. In 1876, Jerome B. Galloway was elected Master. The officers at present (1877) are as follows: Albert N. Goble, Master; Joseph Graly, Overseer; Porter Beach, Lecturer; Philander J. Walton, Treasurer; James F. Bradford, Secretary; Mrs. Philander J. Walton, Ceres; Mrs. David Windiate, Pomona; Mrs. Thomas Flowers, Flora. The grange has ninety-two members on its rolls at the present time. A general store is conducted in connection with the grange in the city of Pontiac, which is doing a fair trade.
PUBLIC LIBRARIES. The Pontiac Library Society was organized October 10, 1830, but did not accomplish the object for which it was organized,-a public library for the village. Later, the juveniles of the village or city raised a fund and bought a few books, quite a respectable nucleus for an extensive library, but the volumes after a time became scattered and lost, and the association suspended. The Reform Club has a library for its members, and maintains a reading-room, but no other public library is in existence at the present time in the city.
OAKLAND COUNTY BIBLE SOCIETY. This society, which celebrated its semi-centennial anniversary on March 26, 1877, was organized in March, 1826, as an auxiliary to the Detroit Bible Society. In 1830 it dissolved that connection, and adopted a constitution under the name of the Auxiliary Bible Society of Oakland County, Territory of Michigan. The first subscription list for home-work contained forty-six names, and the donations amounted to twenty-six dollars and twenty-five cents. Of these subscribers, but six are alive at this writing, viz.: William Burbank, of Rochester, Mason I. James, William Chamberlain, Joseph Morrison, E. B. Comstock, of Pontiac, and John Southard, of Pontiac. The society has during its organization paid over nine thousand dollars to the American Bible Society, six thousand dollars of the same being donations.
Hon. H. M. Look delivered an eloquent address before the society at its celebration, on the legal aspects of the Bible in the schools and its bearings on society. The officers of the society for the year 1877 are as follows: President, H. P. Frost, Esq.; Vice-Presidents, Revs. J. M. Gelston, of the Presbyterian church, M. Hutley, of the Concgregational church, F. B. Cressy, of the Baptist church, C. F. Allen and D. C. Jacokes, of the Methodist Episcopal church; Secretary, James A. Weeks; Treasurer and Depositary, W. S. Albertson; Executive Committee, H. M. McConnell, Judge L. B. Taft, J. B. Merritt, H. F. Messinger, and Daniel Hubbell.
THE LADIES' READING SOCIETY of Pontiac was in active existence during the year 1862, and forward for some time, and was one of the pleasing features of Pontiac society during its reign. Most charming and delightful exercises were held weekly, participated in by the Wlite of the city.
THE PONTIAC LECTURE ASSOCIATION was formed in November, 1863, with the following officers: Hon. M. E. Crofoot, president; Hon. Z. B. Knight, vice-president; Hon. James S. Dewey, secretary; Jno. E. Colby, corresponding secretary; E. B. Comstock, treasurer; Hon. M. S. Brewer, J. Ten Eyck, Esq., and J. R. Bowman, Esq., business committee. A course of lectures was secured during the winter of 1863-64, among the speakers being Jno. G. 'Saxe, " Grace Greenwood," and Mortimer Thompson (" Doesticks"). There is no association now existing.
THE PONTIAC GLEE CLUB, formed in 1864, was spoken of by the Gazette of those days in flattering terms of commendation. Its epitaph has been written, lo! these many years.
THE PONTIAC SHOOTING CLUB was organized under the game laws of the State in 1864, A. G. North, president, Alfred Webb, secretary and treasurer, who remain the officers of the club at the present time. The club has held several interesting matches with other clubs, the last being shot in June, 1876, with the Audubon Club of Plymouth, the latter winning the score. THE PONTIAC DRIVING PARK ASSOCIATION is an extemporized exhibition of fast horses, and has no regular organization, but has given some fine displays of trotting and roadster stock, notably the last one, in 1876.
THE OAKLAND COUNTY SUNDAY-SCHOOL ASSOCIATION has been in active and efficient operation for a long period of time. Its last anniversary was held at Holly, May 27, 1877, at which several subjects touching the efficiency of the schools were ably discussed by the members of the association, both lay and clerical. Large audiences were in attendance on the various sessions, which continued three days, and the exercises were very interesting and profitable for Sunday-school workers.
THE OAKLAND COUNTY SUNDAY-SCHOOL TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION was organized in 1864, and is conducted with especial reference to the duties and qualifications of teachers in the Sunday-school work.
THE OAKLAND COUNTY FARMERS' MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY was chartered January 19, 1862, and its place of business located at Oxford. C. K. Carpenter was the president; L. G. Tanner, Lanson Fredmore, F. W. Fifield, vice-presidents; John F. Stanton, secretary; William H: Fuller, treasurer. Its first annual statement showed a capital of $50,000 and a surplus of $2588.67. It, however, did not succeed in gaining the confidence of the people sufficiently to make its risks a paying investment, and it suspended after a brief existence.
THE MONITOR INSURANCE COMPANY of Oakland County-business office located at Holly-was chartered subsequently to the Farmers', and is now in successful operation. Its risks are confined exclusively to farm property, and the following is the annual statement, for the year ending December 31, 1876, of its condition and affairs:
Source: History of Oakland County, Michigan by Durant, Samuel W. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & co., 1877.