Uriah & Eliza Vargason in the News

We now can get a glimpse of the life and times of Uriah and Eliza Vargason from the digital newspsper archive at the Kalkaska County Library, http://history.kalkaskalibrary.org. Here we find Uriah, the fruit grower, ambitious farmer, and family man, and Eliza, the supportive wife and mother. Special thanks to the Kalkaska library for preserving and sharing this information.

The earliest edition available is from 1879, when Uriah was 42 years old, and Eliza was 35. It appears that not all issues of the newspaper have been preserved. However, it’s enough to give us a good picture of their daily life. In chronological order, here is the news as reported by…

The Kalkaska Leader.

October 8, 1879–The first fair was held in Kalkaska County. The paper declared, “Everyone pleased, and pronounce it a great success!” Uriah entered corn, spring wheat, snow apples, russets, a collection of apples, and a plate of white peaches. The following week, the newspaper tells us that Uriah was awarded a first place for peaches, White Russian spring wheat, and Red Glaze corn.

June 1, 1880–Uriah propping trees

September 9, 1880–Uriah fruit grower 1880

September 16, 1880–Uriah kalkaska fruit 1880

October 14, 1880–Winners were announced from the second fair. Uriah took first in “amber sugar cane” and peaches. He took both a first and second for summer apples, and second for fall apples, crab apples, and collection of apples or fruit.

April 28, 1881–Uriah cherry and plum buds

October 6, 1881–Entries were announced for the 1881 Kalkaska fair. In the Fruit category, Uriah entered winter Pippins, gravenstein, Ben Davis, baldwin, jonathan, wagner, grindstone, fall pippins, maiden blush, and autumn strawberry. He also entered a collection of apples and a collection of peaches. He entered white turnips in the Vegetable category and Clawson wheat in the Grains & Seeds category. Two weeks later, it was announced that Uriah took first place for winter apples, first and second for fall apples, first for collection of apples. He also took second place for white turnips and Clawson wheat.

July 6, 1882–More research is needed to find out whether or not Uriah had any takers for this offer. What was his motivation?

Uriah trade land

May 10, 1883–

Uriah the fruit grower

June 18, 1885–Uriah apple grower

January 6, 1887–Uriah and Eliza were probably proud parents on this day. Both Clifford and Myrtle Vargason received a grade of 80% or more for the month ending December 31. Clifford went beyond and received a grade of 95% upon examination.

May 12, 1887–Uriah successful fruit grower

June 9, 1887–Uriah served as executor of the estate of Calvin Storms, a neighbor. The notice was published again on June 30, 1887.
Uriah executor for Calvin Storms

August 30, 1888–Pioneers of Kalkaska was formed. Uriah was appointed to the committee to plan the first annual picnic.

November 26, 1891–Myrtle, Grace, and Clifford Vargason appeared on the roll of honor for the school. Both Myrtle and Grace had an average scholarship of 90% or more at examination.

January 12, 1893–Uriah barn timber

September 21, 1893–The Pioneers of Kalkaska held their third annual picnic. Eliza helped to prepare the table.

September 21, 1893

September 21, 1893

April 16, 1896–uriah fruit prediction 1896

August 18, 1898–Big news; short article.Uriah land purchase

January 30, 1902–A family outing…Uriah outing

March 3, 1904–A sad time begins.Eliza illSeptember 29, 1904–Eliza passed away from uterine cancer on September 17, 1904.Eliza obit Sept 29, 1904 Kalkaska Leader

October 18, 1906–Uriah was president of the “Pioneers” and was elected vice-president for the coming year.

January 4, 1907–uriah pigDecember 19 & 26, 1907–Information from a paper read by Mrs. L. A. Rice at a meeting of the Kalkaska County Pioneer Association on September 5, 1907, includes the following:uriah kalkaska settler

April 16, 1908–Uriah visited his sister Hannah Howe Button–and presumably her husband Star Button–during the winter of 1908. Following is a portion of a letter to the editor by D. J. Rice.uriah in CA

May 28, 1908–Uriah home from CA

November 18, 1909–Our only entry from The Kalkaskan, which merged with The Kalkaska Leader before our 1910 entry below.Uriah bill granger citationUriah bill granger

September 8, 1910–Mr. Simeon Way addressed the Clearwater pioneers about ways provisions were gotten to the pioneers:vargason landing

Uriah & Eliza tombstoneSeptember 29, 1910–Uriah is still winning at the fair! He took first prize, and it appears that he won awards of $3.00, $2.00, and $1.00 for the largest and best exhibit of fruit by an individual. In addition, he won a special premium award of a $3.50 pair of shoes from The Irishman and the Jew for the best exhibit of fruit.

Uriah passed away from bronchial pneumonia on December 15, 1919. While this was probably reported in the newspaper, The Kalkaska Leader from 1919 is not available on this database.


First edition is complete

After four months of nearly daily writing and researching, the first edition of the Vargason/Howe Family History is complete!  There are many more important facts to be learned, theories and suppositions to be proved or disproved, historical details to be discovered, and, hopefully, more photos to be found.  I will continue to make additions and changes in the pages as new, documented information surfaces, and I will post blog entries for major discoveries.

This is a long and facsinating history of two families in America.  Enjoy reading about your heritage!


The web pages are under construction.  While intended primarily for the descendants of Uriah Howe Vargason, this site will also have something to offer other family lines.  I warmly welcome all readers to provide more detailed information, stories, and photos.  I expect to change the pages as new information becomes available.

The blog will be a place to share discoveries, debate theories, and announce news.

My thanks to Alice for providing me with my initial information on the Vargasons and Howes and for motivating a fascinating hobby that has consumed much of my life the past several years.  Thanks also to the many family members who have provided pictures and stories and discussed and debated possibilities with me.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading the story of the Vargasons and Howes as it continues to unfold.