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History of the Kiwanis Club of Mt.Morris

The Kiwanis Club of Mt.Morris, Mi was chartered on August 19, 1958. The club was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Swartz Creek, at that time a member of Division 16.


The club was organized with 26 members. Kenneth B. Loheed was the first club president. J. Bullock was the first club secretary. Members were selected within territorial limits which at the time were Coldwater Rd. on the south, Clio Rd. on the west, Dodge Rd. on the north and Dort Hwy. on the east. Dues were $18.00 per member payable semi-annually.


The goals for this club were to provide programs for children, i.e. vocational guidance, underprivileged children, and support of local churches. As years went by, these goals have changed, however, some of the original goals are still employed for today's youth. The current club continues to support local churches, the annual Memorial Day parade, provides scholarships for students at the EAJ High School and provides funds for the Michigan District/Michigan State Police Academy. District wide the club supports the Kiwanis of Michigan Foundation and it's five (5) major projects.


Four of the club's current members have served as Lt. Governor of Division 17: Burton Jones, Jake LaFurgey, Frederick Thorsby and Robert Burkey.


One of our members, Jake LaFurgey, is the recipient of the Kiwanis International George F. Hixson Award.


The club continues to live by the objectives of Kiwanis and to provide the same to our local community.


The Kiwanis Club of Mt.Morris celebrated its 50th birthday in August of 2008 with the hope of continuing support to the Mt.Morris area community.



Do You Remember:



At the beginning of 1958:


The US was in a space race, Russia had launched Sputnik on the previous October 4, the first satellite to be put into orbit.


The Mackinac Bridge had opened the previous November 1. 3005 vehicles crossed in the first 10 hours. 5 ferry boats and 475 employees were put out of work. By January, all but 100 had found new jobs. The boats were for sale.


The State of Michigan started the year facing a $50,000,000 deficit. G. Mennen "Soapy" Williams was in his 5th term as Governor.


The Enrico Fermi power plant, the first nuclear power plant in Michigan, was under construction in Monroe.


The March of Dimes began their 20th year fighting polio, the Salk vaccine having been developed 2 years previously.


In Mt. Morris, Martin Auto Company was selling Renault Dauphenes, 4CV and 2CV which claimed 35, 43 and 50 miles per gallon fuel economy.


Freeman Pontiac was selling the Vauxhall, which claimed 35 mpg.


The Buy Rite Supermarket in Downtown Mt. Morris had been destroyed by fire the previous November 9.


Two Mt. Morris firemen were injured when an explosion occurred while they were pouring water into the basement. Jake LaFurgey had to be treated for burns at St. Joseph hospital in Flint. John Elleman was less severely injured.


The A & P supermarket in Mt. Morris advertised cigarettes at 23 cents per pack.




Thanks to the Genesee County Herald.


Norman Duford






History of the Kiwanis Club of Mt. Morris



The history of Kiwanis began in Detroit. Although the anniversary of the Detroit Number One Club is celebrated in January, dating back to 1915, first meetings for organization began in the summer of 1914. Allen S. Browne was a professional organizer for the Loyal Order of the Moose. He approached Joseph G. Prance, a tailor, about forming a fraternal association of businessmen. This was first proposed as an organization that would provide sick benefits. The first meeting of Detroit businessmen was held in August of 1914 and Allen Browne suggested the name of Benevolent Order of Brothers. “BOB” This name was kept until November of 1914. Joseph Prance and others thought more of an association providing social and commercial relationships, so they consulted with the City Historian, Clarence Burton, to suggest a name. The result was ‘Kee-wan-is,’ which a Miss Crum, Burton’s assistant, assured was from Father Baraga’s dictionary of the language of the tribe of Otchipew Indians, and that the meaning was ‘I make a noise.’ The researchers offered it because they thought it expressed the purpose of ‘social, business and recreational’ intercourse which had been explained to them. The name was adopted and the spelling was made as Kiwanis.

On December 7, 1914, Browne asked Prance to fill out an application for the new organization, as no signatures had yet resulted from all of the discussions thus far. This is how Joseph G. Prance became the first Kiwanian. However, no application forms had been printed up for the new name, so his receipt carried the name Benevolent Order of Brothers.

Articles of Incorporation were drawn up and submitted January 11, 1915, and were returned as a Charter for a non-profit organization by the Secretary of State dated January 21, 1915. The final legal step was taken when the Articles of Incorporation were filed with the County Clerk on February 13, 1915.

The first officers were President – Donald A. Johnston, Vice-President – George Haas, Secretary-Treasurer – Ottie Robertson, and Board members Carl Von Poetgen, Fred Miller, George Eyster, and Joseph Prance.

The new club grew quickly, meeting weekly for lunch; first, at the Club Frontenac, then at the Hotel Tuller. By early spring the membership was almost 200, and as many as 175 attended the meetings.

In July of 1915, a controversy developed at one of the luncheon meetings. Allen S. Browne had been receiving the entire membership fees as his salary as recruiter. The fees began at five dollars but soon were increased to ten dollars. The understanding was that Browne would receive all fees up to and including the 500th member. No record was kept of the nature of the controversy, but at the end of the meeting, Browne and Ottie Robertson, the Secretary-Treasurer, were both gone along with about 150 other members. Donald A. Johnston, the president, was out of town at the time. Upon his return, he suggested that to restore confidence and interest that all of the officers resign and have the membership elect new leadership. A meeting for this purpose was not held until the first Monday in October. The election results were; President – Donald Johnston, Vice-President – T.C. Rice-way, Secretary – Forrest Boswell, and Treasurer – Fred W. Morton. Thus Donald Johnston was elected as both the first and second President of the Kiwanis Club. I find it interesting that the office of Secretary-Treasurer was divided at this time, especially since one of the first items of business was to take care of an unpaid bill for $350 from the Hotel Tuller, left over from previous meetings.


Norm Duford