The Hale Telephone Company was granted a franchise to operate a telephone system within the township on March 25, 1925. This system was operated by A.E. Greve and telephone service was available in the village of South Branch. Then on April 6, 1928, Lewis Byce was given a franchise to facilitate telephone service in the rural area, this line was attached to the Hale line for long distance connections. The exchange office was located in the house which is part of the present home of Mr. and Mrs. Glen Taber.
Nearly every home in the area had a telephone for a few years but the depression of the 30’s forced most of the residents to sacrifice their telephones. By 1940 the local telephone office was discontinued and there were only three telephones left in South Branch and none in the rural area. During World War II some of the rural residents repaired the line and organized a farm mutual system so that they could communicate among themselves but this soon lost prominence and has long since disappeared. At the present time the only telephone service in the township is enjoyed by Glen Taber, Irwin Lepper, Gene Roe, Harom and Lloyd Taber in South Branch from the Hale Exchange and Elias Kinyon, who lives in the western part of the township, has service from the Ogemaw County Telephone Company of Rose City.
Electrical service is comparatively new in Goodar Township. Battery chargers supplied lights to a few people dating back to 1912 but kerosene lamps and ice boxes were the general thing until 1937. At this time Consumers Power Company built the first line in the township. However, the line did not extend to Maltby and Robinson’s Mill until the summer of 1950.
As I previously mentioned the first schools were built in 1888 or 1889. The first building of what is known as the Taber School was replaced by the building which still stands in 1960. The original building was then used as a wood shed. This has since been removed from the property by Joe Seward and the latter building still stands and is owned by Alice Heatley of Bay City. It serves as a hunting cabin. It served as a school until 1950 when the present building replaced it. In 1900 Frank Berry donated an acre of land one mile west of South Branch and a school known as the South Branch School was built. This was used until 1946 at which time all the children in the township were transported to the Goodar School. Taber, Byce, and Goodar are all common names for this school building.
About 1900 Maltby had enough population to establish a school. A nice looking brick building was built but because of the decline of the lumbering era this school went the way of the other activities in the village. It has since been torn down. All the remains to mark the spot where it stood are the steps.
A school was also built at Robinson’s Mill about 1911 but this too has long since been discontinued and removed from the property.
The realization that it was impossible to operate four schools in the township was felt as early as 1911. At the spring election of that year the township was organized as a single school district by a vote of 73 ayes and 36 nays. The district still holds this status but is only operating one school, which teaches grades first through seventh. The upper grades are transported to Rose City. A school bus picks up the 32 lower grad students on the same route as it does the upper grade students.
The first post office was established as Hunt on January 17, 1889 and the name was changed to South Branch on September 8, 1893. A post office was also established at Maltby on February 13, 1900. This office was discontinued June 30, 1927. A branch office was set up at Robinson’s Mill from 1911-1914 with Sam Robinson as post-master. (The list and dates of the various postmasters will be found later in this history.)
Church services were held in the various schoolhouses until 1926 when the Goodar Baptist Church was built. The following year the South Branch Community Church was built in South Branch. Reverend William Byler was the minister for both churches for many years. The present Minister is Reverend Warren.
I was not able to fine the official population of the township before 1920 at which time it was 277. However, the general opinion is that perhaps it hit an all time peak between 1910 and 1914.
Again this was written by Evelyn Berry in 1961. This is used with her permission and the permission of the Rose City Area Historical Society. The photographs are courtesy of Beulah Taber Huebner.