The Linden Mills Historical Society (LMHS) was the driving force behind proving Linden’s birthday was in 1871. 

 The Times first began reporting on Linden’s 150th birthday in February 2020, when Peter Maas, president of the LMHS, approached the paper about his efforts to have the city’s birthday officially recognized by the Historical Society of Michigan (HSM). To make this happen, Maas had to collect documents to prove the city’s age. 

 The city will receive the Michigan Milestone Award Plaque for its 150th birthday, called a sesquicentennial, Saturday, July 17 at 10 a.m. at the Linden Gazebo. 

 The HSM wanted to see an article printed in a newspaper at the time of the municipality’s inception. However, Linden didn’t have a newspaper in 1871. Maas found an article in the Linden Leader from 1957, which stated that Linden was incorporated in 1871, “just 36 years after the first settlers pioneered here from the East.”

 The article wasn’t enough proof for the HSM. Maas submitted a diary excerpt from Seth Sadler, one of the first pioneers of Linden who arrived in 1851. He also submitted some documents containing the history of Genesee County with Linden’s information. Neither were enough. 

 The articles of incorporation, dated March 2, 1871, weren’t online, so they had to contact the Lansing library to get the information. 

 His search through Seth Sadler’s diary and other old documents began the culmination of events that made the 150th birthday celebration possible. 

 “Throughout the early preparation starting in October 2019, with the help of the city offices and the research of former museum curator Barbara Kincaid, we were able to procure the necessary

documentation indicating Linden was incorporated in March of 1871. We are extremely grateful for their assistance in this endeavor,” Maas said. 

 They sent the information to the Historical Society of Michigan and purchased a “Milestone Award” plaque. A member of the society will be in attendance Saturday. 

 “This plaque, which will be permanently displayed near the Mill Entrance, was partly funded by a group of Holly merchants who sent our group a check to show their support and help the Linden Community heal after our devastating fire of 2007. Our group voted and felt this would be a nice way to recognize their generosity.  In addition, Linden was featured in the April-May copy of Michigan History Magazine for the Milestone Award,” Maas said. 

 The Linden Mills Museum has been closed for the past year and a half due to the pandemic, and they will have a grand reopening Saturday and Sunday, July 17-18, from noon until 5 p.m. 

 “What makes this particular celebration very significant is that it represents the resilience and determination of the people of Linden, who time and time again throughout Linden’s almost 200-year history, whether it be a global pandemic or a town crippling fire, always manage to find a way to get back on their feet, brush off the dirt, and tackle each challenging obstacle that comes their way,” Maas said. 

Original Linden families

 During the ceremony, the LMHS plans to recognize some of the descendants of the early settlers still residing in Linden. This includes descendants of Consider Warner (1791-1870), who was the first to dam the river and build a mill at the same location of the current mill, as well as descendants of Zenas Fairbanks (1790-1851), who was an extensive reader and practiced medicine.

 Descendants of George C. Gamber (1821-1878), who was one of the early settlers of north Linden after the railroad came through, will attend. 

 “This family has one of the largest number of descendants currently residing in or near Linden,” Maas said. “Many residents today have a genealogical connection to the Gamber name due in part to marriages with names such as Stiff, Winslow, Beach, Chapin, Ripley and many more.”

Linden book

 The Linden Mills Historical Society created a souvenir book titled “Memories of Linden Past & Present” with 200 pages comprised of photos, stories and poems written by many Linden residents both past and present, Maas said. The public can make reservations for the book at River Fest. The book will cost approximately $25. Maas said they hope to have it available before Christmas.

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