Herron History Home Page

Alpena County - the only place we knew

This site shares some of the history of the families that grew from George Colburn Herron and Catherine (Link), his wife, who moved to Alpena County, Michigan, in 1860, or thereabouts. Many of the stories that are currently included here were written down in the late 1950s by Lorraine Mains (Cochrane), a daughter of Estella Herron and Henry Cochrane, and a granddaughter of George C. and Catherine Herron. The copies of the Herron stories that I present here are verbatim transcriptions of the typesettings of them that appeared in the "Wilderness Chronicle," No. 22. (This magazine was published for several years by Nelson Yoder [nice name]. They did not print for a while, but apparently the Steiner Museum in Fairview/Comins, MI has revived the magazine.) The stories about the Link Family and Henry Cochrane were taken directly from the Mains monograph "A Century and a Half of Family History." I recently (summer, 2002) obtained access to a copy of the original monograph from my aunt Kay Lacombe, and it contained these two stories that were not printed by the "Wilderness Chronicle." You can reach a table of the first three generations of Herrons in Alpena County and links to various newspaper clippings, primarily death notices, by going to the Herron Genealogy page

It is a peculiar twist of fate that when their son George S. Herron moved approximately 12 miles to Spratt in Green Township on the other side of a rather small to middling-sized Michigan swamp, effective knowledge of the earlier history of the family became somewhat mythical. Connection to many of the other branches of the family were weakened so that in my generation most of them are lost. It was only in the summer of 1999, that I, a great grandson of George sought out his father's and mother's gravesite in the Wilson Township Cemetery on King Settlement Road. There it was in the old section, and, to my amazement, it had a brand new headstone. No one in our branch of the family had been to the grave since perhaps my grandfather Franklin George Herron's youth. His grandmother, Catherine Link Herron died in 1919 and was buried in the cemetery. Roughly, since that time I do not believe anyone from our family visited the gravesite. My father, Elden Herron, was born in that year, and he says he was unaware of where it was.

Starting with my great grandfather George S. Herron, the Herron family I knew were farmers in the southern part of Green Township of Alpena County near Beaver Lake to the south, and, later, the Fletcher Floodwaters to the west. For many years our family raised strawberries and, at various times, raspberries, which were well-known in Michigan. My parents had a fairly large cherry orchard for about 25 years. There were also periods with asparagus, cucumbers, and beans, and, like, every mid-western farm there was some livestock about and a couple of grain crops.

The forests and lakes in the area have also played a strong role in our lives. Everyone in the family who grew up in the area has eaten so much vension that they no longer like it, but it seems we can't stop hunting. As a kid I also remember sitting with my father in an ice shanty on Beaver Lake fishing for perch while waiting to spear pike. I also remember less fondly trying to dislodge those forked pike bones from my throat with a half a slice of bread. Never seemed to work.

I also remember working in the pulp woods as a kid trying to shag pulp sticks around as fast as dad could cut them. That never seemed to work either. I can remember with something like awe looking at the aged old stumps that were still standing about, left over from the great white pine logging days. I have heard stories of my grandfather splitting railroad ties from those logs and his father and grandfather before him had been loggers in the tall timber. Those old stumps seem to have all disappeared now.

Another branch of the family contributed the long-time mayor of Alpena, Harlo Herron who owned a hardware store in town. I believe he was a generation older than my father, but not that many years older. His son Paul was a high school friend of mine, but as time and the Vietnam-era dislocation of America have worked their ways, I have not seen him in approximately thirty years.

Note: In late July 2001, Paul contacted me as a result of finding this website. He had done a search on his father Harlo's name and arrived here. I found out that Harlo's father was Fred Herron who is listed in the George C. and Catherine page. My grandfather and Harlo were first cousins, Paul and my father were second cousins but a (long, thirty-year) generation apart.

From time to time I hear of other members of different branches of the family that grew from George C. and Catherine Herron. I remember a college friend/occasional roommate, Bruce McLeod returned from his grandmother's funeral, and told me he had met my father. His grandmother was my dad's aunt Edna. I found out after moving to California from Las Vegas that my mother's brother, Robert Huston, and his wife, Kathleen (Coombs), visited a Herron relative of hers who also lived in Las Vegas, but whom we never met.

Please bear with me. Hopefully, this site will continue to grow, now that my job is computers and I have to keep at webslinging to keep up professional appearances. If you have any insights into which troop of monkeys our crowd fell from, please contact me at nelsonrherron@sbcglobal.net


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