Speaker Township


A Brief Summary of speaker township's history

The First White settlers to Speaker Township were Peter McCaroll and his brother-in-law, John R. Davis in 1852.  They bought land for fifty cents and acre from the United States government through the Graduation Act.  In 1853 Sarah Davis became the first white child born in Speaker Township.

Speaker Township was covered with heavy white pine timber.  Logging was the principal occupation from 1857 to 1867.  Lumber companies built the first roads in the township out of logs (corduroy roads) due to the lands low and wet areas. 

The 1st school was built in 1860 on the South East Corner of Galbraith Line and Arendt Road and ran until it was destroyed by fire in 1875.  In November of 1875 William Murray Sr. deeded property for the new school on Galbraith Line East of Melvin.  This school was closed in 1905 because a larger building was needed.  George Gilbert then deeded property just east of that site for a new school which ran until it consolidated with Brown City in 1966.  This building is currently (2021) owned by the great, great granddaughter of William Murray.

In 1875 the post office was founded.  The name Hog Town was submitted to the postal headquarters in Washington D.C. for registration purposes but was rejected for not conforming to government standards.  Postmaster Charles Dewey named the town Melvin in honor of his wife Melvina McGregory Dewey.

In 1880 The Port Huron Northwestern rail line was constructed between Port Huron and Saginaw.  The Pere Marquette Railroad brought mail, passengers and supplies until 1926.  In 1928 the post office was moved to its current location.

The first General Store was opened in Melvin in the 1860’s.  It was located on the corner of Melvin and Galbraith Line Roads.  The first gas station was opened in 1926 near the current Melvin Tavern.  A butcher shop opened in 1910 on Garfield Street. 

The south side of main street opened the first hotel known as the McMann Hotel and Later became the King Hotel.  Another hotel opened on the site of the Melvin Park called The Eagle House.  The Melvin Tavern started as The Commercial Hotel and later became the Gamble House.

The Melvin bank ran from 1901 to 1926, when it collapsed.

In the early 1900’s the Melvin Elevator was built.  It was partially destroyed by fire in 1927 but continued to operate until it was completely destroyed by fire in the 1970’s.  In the early 1900’s Melvin also housed the largest stockyards from Port Huron to Saginaw.

The above information is credited to James Robert Tayler

North Speaker school -1905
North Speaker school -1905
George Elston (early settler) on buckboard with horse
George Elston (early settler) on buckboard with horse