There are a lot of homes in Genesee County that have been here for more than 113 years. Do you live in one of them?
As a historian, I love to drive around our county and try to spot the oldest homes I can find. The best surprise is finding settlement homes, descents like the Atherton families in Gaines and Burton; their homes are wonderful inside.
Another house that I found interesting was the Charles Nash home on E. Court Street in Burton just past Home Depot. He was the fifth president of General Motors in 1910. The family doesn’t live there now, but the house is there.
The Nash farm, was a sheep farm in 1907 (according to the County records), he married Jessie Hallack in 1884 according to history. Nash’s parents moved to Flint in 1866, he was 2 years old, six years later his parents divorced and didn’t want him. So, he became an indentured servant, to be a worker on the Lapworth farm in Flushing, for his room and board until age 21.
At 21 years old he would only receive $100 and a new suit of clothes. Well Charlie did not like these arrangements and ran away to Burton Township where he found a job to get paid a fair wage for other farmers. He met Mr. Hubbard on Court Street and bought some farmland next door. While working in Hubbard’s hardware store, he also worked on his farm and played field baseball with neighbors, per Darrol Roat, my friend.
As a young man he met Billy Durant while cutting Hubbard’s grass and he saw that Nash was a great worker and hired him. He worked for Flint Road Cart Company 1890, before working at Buick in 1908, part of GM, Charles was always fixing things and loved to learn about making things (manufacturing) and others farms in the area, one would be a special place where he would meet his wife, Jessie Hallack.
Ranson Hallack, her father, moved from New York to Burton Township and built a farm and his home is still on Lapeer Road and his descendants still live there today. I visited the family and they were wonderful to tell me the history and give me a few wonderful photos and stories. Charles and Jessie Nash lived in Burton Township until she got ill and they bought another house on Mason Street in Flint to be closer to the hospitals.
The photo with this article shows their Flint home, in 1918 while recruiting for World War I. The Nash family lived here and was a large asset to everyone he knew. Knowing how to run a business, he treated his employees as family. Eventually he had enough, in 1916 he moved to Wisconsin and started his own manufacturing company, Nash Motors and had many other adventures.
The family told me that Charles and Jessie in enjoyed family cookouts in his retirement years in California.
Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email History. Mona@yahoo.com.